Chapter 25 – Surfing through troubled times
Team Name: The Scribe Tribe
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“How did it get so late so soon?”
It is a rhetorical question the purport of which Jenny understands fully well and doesn’t attempt to answer.
Our marriage had taken a nose dive so Shekhar and I thought a sea-side holiday would bring some change but it took us nowhere. In my selfish attempt to pull my own life up I hurtled notches lower on the rungs of humanity. Within a span of a fortnight both the people, the only people whom I can call my own, almost lost their life. All because of that one choice I made on that ill-fated night.
We are still standing but the bonds seem to have broken. “Irreparably so?” Now this is a question I desperately need an answer to.
In the blink of an eyelid, everything has changed and become much worse than what I’d feared it would be. I just don’t want anybody to come to me and say that it is too late for me to set things right. That is just unimaginable!
I pulled Roohi closer to me and wrap my arms around her, tightly. Rocking to and fro with her in my arms, I feel a hot gush of tears flow down my cheeks. I am wailing, uncontrollably. And like Shekhar, I can feel Roohi has turned stone cold towards me, too. She seems to wordlessly blame me for all the harrowing incidents that have happened with her, recently. My daughter however is letting me hug and kiss her profusely.
“Now this is a good sign, I suppose.” I murmur to myself.
She is not hugging me back probably because I’d forgotten to hug and kiss her, over the last few days and possibly the months before that too. I confess I’d been nose deep in work, wrapped in my ambitions. I’d lavished her with goodies but forgotten to give her the most essential gift. Love!
“Tell me it’s not too late. Tell me I can still make amends. This isn’t fair! I wanted only the best of everything for us. You and me, Roohi. You and me and Papa too!” I wail. And through my tears I can see Jenny pitifully looking down at me.
“Tare there’s an old saying that goes like this…Never trouble trouble, till trouble troubles you. If you trouble trouble, then trouble will trouble you!”
Jennifer is trying to help. Suddenly she’s stepped into my shoes quoting phrases.
“Speaking my language eh?” I can’t help but smile at her slow but great attempt to bring me back to normalcy.
It is surprising to see that the shutterbug has left Jennifer. Probably after capturing the three horrid faces of our friends-turned-foes, she’s bitter about picking that camera up again. I feel sad for her too.
Jeremy has trampled far too many hearts, I see but I cannot imagine why he would travel all the way back from the USA, strike an alliance with Jen, just to get to me? And then the spurned lover plans to lash back at me like this? I see no reason for an act of vengeance. I had foolishly given him my all. Or is it that he wanted more? So much that he didn’t mind trampling over my loved ones to squeeze the most out of me?
And hiring goons to support him in his ulterior motives? Smartly planting them into my life?
“What a mastermind he must have been!” I remark loudly.
” Money indeed corrupts!” Jennifer observes.
I look up at her. Some stray curls are playing around her ears. Life may fall apart but she will not forget to stack her neck with trinkets that jingle. Her face doesn’t show any signs of aging but I can see the look in her eyes is of a much wiser mind.
“This girl has aged like a bottle of wine while I have wasted away. She’s matured and worldly-wise. And what have I made out of myself, a pompous fool?” I think to myself.
I am searching within for some words of consolation for myself but I only find rebuke. It will take me many good deeds before I can forgive myself and forget the pain I’ve inflicted on so many.
” Has he no conscience, that inhumane f*****” I abuse Jeremy, forgetting that Roohi is right here, in my lap.
“Just be thankful to God, Jeremy wasn’t a serial killer. Or we’d all be dead by now!” Jennifer is serious. The thought sends a chill down my spine once again.
“I’m more thankful to God that you didn’t hold it all against me. Jen, you just rushed out, putting your life at risk for my little Roohi. If it wasn’t your presence of mind, I don’t know what that devil had planned to do to her.” I shudder, pushing away that ugly thought.
I feel Roohi snuggling closer to me. Her very first reaction in quite a while but I’m happy to know she feels secure with me.
” Jen, I have decided, I’m going on a break. I want you to continue staying here with us till everything is alright. I beg you, I need you Jen!” I’m on the verge of breaking into yet another bout of sobbing.
“I don’t know how much of all this you will be able to forget but you have definitely forgiven me like no other friend ever would.” At this Jennifer has bent down and is hugging me and Roohi. At this moment I can hear Roohi suddenly begin sobbing.
Her tears begin to roll and grow rapid. Her crying has brought relief to me. I don’t want her to bottle up all the pain. I want her to speak to me. Jennifer is wiping her eyes and her own. I begin to console Roohi too.
All the crying has drawn Shekhar out of his cave. He timidly approaches us. He’s a kind man I know but I’ve taken his heart and trampled all over it, one too many times. I don’t blame him for being so bitter. I also do not expect him to forgive me but I pray that all is well between us soon.
” Forgive me? For Roohi’s sake?” I ask, looking pleadingly towards him.
The wailing of the police van outside drains his voice but I’m sure he had mouthed a “Yes!”
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