A Saga by “Crowning Glory”
Chapter 14..?? Read here.
Tara asked, “Are you okay if we adopt a child, instead of having our own?”
Shekhar was startled and couldn’t believe that Tara just said it and so he reconfirmed, “Are you sure, you don’t want a child of your own?”
Tara had made her mind, she replied, “Yes, I don’t see any wrong in adopting a child rather than bearing one. And, you know it well sweetheart, that I have a long way to go till I reach where I want to be. For no cause, can I risk my dreams. I hope you understand.” She was too determined to let anything come in her way to success and fame.
They had a good discussion over this topic. Tara had her own arguments in her support. She didn’t want a time off from her career as she had just begun to rise on the corporate ladder and she wasn’t even prepared to take up the responsibilities of being a mother and face the challenges of motherhood. She avoided pregnancy as she didn’t want to waste time by taking maternity leaves or doing anything that would hamper her career growth and decelerate her speeding career path.
Shekhar understood Tara’s passion for her work and her ambitions and hence gave her, her own space and time. He would have preferred to have his own child but considering Tara’s wish he compromised. Moreover, he was sensitive and mature enough to understand that adopting a child would mean one orphan less in the world with a happy and a secure future, and parents’ love that otherwise such children long for. He agreed and Tara felt very lucky to have such an understanding husband.
And now she was left wondering how their love had changed over all these years. The past was gone but it was so good while it had lasted; then what had happened to mess up the present so much? She kept contemplating and fell asleep exhausted, and lost in her memories and thoughts.
The next morning was better than the usual ones at Dutta’s place. It was Roohi’s birthday the day after and they had planned to throw a party; after all she was Tara Dutta’s daughter. At the breakfast table, they had a small discussion over this. Tara said that she will be sending invites to the guests and that the rest should be handled by Shekhar as he was doing nothing sitting at home and she was too busy to organize birthday parties. He felt ridiculed but kept calm and silent as Roohi was present there. He didn’t want her to witness such arguments.
Having said what she had to, Tara left for office. Shekhar thought, “What was the need to mention that I do nothing as it went without saying that I am supposed to organize the party?” He always did. Was it because she had offered him to write those advertisement jingles and he denied? He thought it was better to avoid the arguments & concentrate on the party, so he did and engaged himself with the arrangements.
Jennifer was still busy thinking ways to dig into Tara’s past as she had a strong instinct that something was really fishy behind her quick success and fame and she had to know the reason at any cost. Amidst all this, Shekhar’s invitation for the party was a golden, albeit a last, chance for her to gather all the information that she wanted. Also, she was troubled by the thought that why had Shekhar called her up to invite her, even though they hadn’t spoken much. And, if it was due to professional reasons, then the invite should have been for Marie Claire and not her. By now, she was well aware that Tara didn’t like her and couldn’t want her to be present at her daughter’s birthday.
Also, she would have to be wary of Aryan Ahuja who, being Duttas’s neighbour would obviously be there at the party. She couldn’t afford to meet Aryan and at the same time she couldn’t let go of this last chance to be able to find the answers to the questions that trouble her. Jennifer, otherwise a very happy-go-lucky girl was terrified by the thoughts of her past. She had sworn to never think about her past again but Tara’s success mystery story was forcing her to relive it in her mind. She hated this fact and wanted all this to end soon. This time she was determined enough to leave no stone unturned to reach where she wanted to.
Roohi’s birthday finally arrived. It being a Saturday, Tara had managed to come home early in order to check the arrangements herself and if everything was okay to suit her VIP guests. While she was busy, the door bell rang. She opened the door and was delighted to see Aryan. She greeted him warmly and Aryan asked if he could be of any help to her with the party arrangements. This was just to impress the lady herself, Mrs. Tara Dutta. He was such a mean and wicked man. And Tara, as expected, was impressed by this hum done. They indulged in their own conversations which Shekhar silently observed while putting the finishing touches to the party decorations.
A while later, Aryan asked for leave as he had to finish some important work before he could come back for the party. Once he left, Shekhar asked his princess, the birthday girl to go and get ready while he himself went to his room to freshen up.
Tara and Shekhar started attending the guests as they began to arrive. It seemed like such a happy family together. When Jennifer arrived at the door, Shekhar rushed to welcome her. Tara saw the gesture and then understood which friend Shekhar was talking about, about whom she had inquired the other day, after he had disconnected the call.
Jennifer’s eyes were searching for someone. Yes, Aryan Ahuja and she relaxed when he was nowhere to be seen. She had to finish her work before he arrived. He shouldn’t see her there; else, she might land in trouble.
Roohi and her friends were fascinated by the decoration and arrangements Shekhar had done. They started playing with the colourful balloons and the Mickey Mouse Bouncy that he had arranged to put in the corner of the hall as a special attraction for the kids. He had also put up the streamers and hung the balloons all over. A “Happy Birthday Roohi” banner was placed right above the table where the cake Roohi would cut had to be placed. Oh! Yes the cake, it had to be a special one and so it was, a ‘Barbie’ cake for his little doll, which was a surprise for his darling daughter. Jennifer along with the other guests seemed to like the party arrangements.
Shekhar initiated a conversation with Jennifer. He was trying to be friendly while he accompanied her to Roohi. It aroused doubts that how the normally calm and silent Shekhar was suddenly cheerful and candid. But then, she thought, it was probably because it was his daughter’s birthday and she had witnessed the father-daughter bond before. They came up to Roohi, she wished the little girl a very happy birthday by planting a kiss on her cheeks and handing over a gift to her. She knew she was fond of kids but was not able to understand why she had special concern and a soft corner for Roohi. Shekhar excused himself saying that he would be right back after attending a few other guests. He had left her in front of the study.
She also wanted a chance to escape everyone’s sight and get on with her work, the reason she was there. And, Shekhar had helped her with that by safely leading her till the study. She hardly knew anyone except Tara and Shekhar. Tara was too occupied to find time to attend to her. She took advantage of the situation, went inside the study and started searching for anything that could be of help to her in solving the mystery of Tara’s success. She hunted carefully through each drawer and cabinet making sure that she made no noise.
Suddenly, her eyes caught a dustbin where some papers, including the letterhead of an orphanage, were visible and which Tara, after being so disturbed by her past and afraid of the future, had hastily torn and thrown. She turned the bin upside down, probing each paper she got hold of, quickly glancing through its contents. She was a bit relieved having found something that was going to help her a great deal; at least she would now know which direction to head to. She slyly hid whatever she had found to be of use, in her bag.
Since, she wanted to avoid meeting Aryan, she had decided that as soon as she managed to get some hint or evidence or proof, she would rush out of that place. She conscientiously came out with her eyes vigilant enough to check if Aryan had arrived. And, to her surprise, she found out that he hadn’t. She was glad and told herself that it was her day. She had been lucky enough and she had managed to escape from there with whatever she had hidden in her bag.
Soon, she was on the road ahead of Dutta’s complex calling for a taxi controlling her excitement. Finally she got hold of one. Once inside the cab, the first thing that she did was to take out the papers she had brought along and was going through them. Her eyes stuck at a phone number which aroused her curiosity and she immediately dialled it. It rang for quite a long time and then finally someone from the other end responded. Those few seconds when the phone kept ringing were difficult for her to pass but what she heard when the call was picked left her both stunned and delighted. The wait and her efforts were worth it. It was a sense of accomplishment that brought a smile to her face while on the other hand she was left bewildered and obfuscated as the things were still not crystal clear. A lot more was still to be done. She felt as if she had won some battle but she reminded herself that the war is still on and merely winning a battle doesn’t declare her victory. She needs to apply brakes to her emotions and thrill and be more alert and careful now a she cannot afford doing any mistake at this stage. She thought that it wasn’t just a coincidence, it surely had various hidden angles to it which she now has to find out and she will. She promised herself.
Excited to know what happens next…?? For Chapter – 16, click here.