Team Name: Scribblers Orchard
Read the previous part of the story here
And then, everything changed…
Shekhar left his job as a news correspondent with an English Daily and decided to go freelance, for he was a free bird who couldn’t manage any intervention in his stories. As a correspondent, he had written liberally against the corrupt politicians, exposing them. So, when he went the freelancing way, the powerful people ensured life became a struggle for him.
Tara was growing the corporate ladder fast in a reputed media house. However, her professional growth went inversely proportional to the quality of her relationship with Shekhar. She took solace in her work to stay afloat and pretend a happy family picture to their 9 year old daughter, Roohi.
But now, even that reason was gone. Despite working for a media house, nobody was willing to take risk of pursuing Roohi’s story, for the politicians Shekhar frequently wrote against owned significant stake in the media company. Tired and dejected, Tara lay on her bed, her wet eyes closed in prayer for safe return of her daughter.
Her prayers were disturbed by the ringtone of her cellphone.
“Hello, is this Roohi Gupta's house? The one who studies in MP school?
“Yes, I am Roohi’s mother. You know where she is?”
She heard a loud shriek and the line went blank…
Cyrus looked at the railway tracks. Parallel and lifeless, they were taking him away from the land of bitter memories. That evening too, he had looked at the tracks with the same remorse. Like the screeching sound on the tracks that brings the train to a halt, his life too, had come to a halt.
They found his father’s body on the railway tracks. Manan Daruwalla, an honest IAS officer, had earned more wealth of morals than the wealth his family needed to live a comfortable life. As a consequence, his children had changed more schools than the digits in their years. Honest officers like Mr. Daruwalla were transferred almost as soon as they gave a hint of their honesty to the corrupt system.
The Delhi posting, his last had been very different. At the receiving end for unearthing a famous politician’s illegal land acquisitions, Mr. Daruwalla received death threats every day, to remain quiet or become quiet forever. A brave officer, he was not the one to be shaken by the threats and told his family to be brave and honest rather than surrendering to weak situations in life.
Then one day, his bravery surrendered to life. The corrupt politicians he had vowed to expose finally had their way in silencing him forever. His body was found on the railway tracks. The public prosecutor, bought by the politician proved it case of suicide by a depressed officer with domestic issues. Cyrus had vowed that day to become a criminal lawyer so that nobody ever suffers to the hands of injustice the way his father did.
His thoughts were disturbed by a screech. The train had reached Mumbai Central.
It was his friend Rohan’s wedding after 2 days. They had been childhood friends and Cyrus was proud of the success Rohan had achieved despite being from a humble background. Rohan insisted he would come to the station to receive Cyrus.
Cyrus looked through the crowd on the platform. Here he was in the maximum city, in the midst of crowd, yet he felt a strange loneliness and antipathy. Nevertheless, he was here for his friend. Cyrus walked aimlessly near the station entrance. As he looked out for Rohan, his eyes fell on a schoolbag lying in a corner. He knew any unidentified object could be a bomb, but hey, who would hide a bomb in an empty school bag. Still, something inside him felt something fishy about the bright pink school bag and he decided to examine himself first.
As he surveyed the bag, a big smile came on his face. The bag displayed a small name slip, “Roohi Dutta, IV-B, 65, The Orchard…9820xxxxxx” The next minute, he was desperately trying to reach someone on his phone.
“Hello, is this Roohi Gupta's house? The one who studies in MP school?" Cyrus said.
“Yes, I am Roohi’s mother. You know where she is?”, said a husky female voice on the other side of the call…
The next moment, he saw darkness all around and collapsed at the station…
The iron rod had hit him hard enough to take his conscious away…
Read next part of the story here
Read next part of the story here