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Shekhar had taken refuge on the sofa in the drawing room. There wasn’t any reason. He just felt stuffy inside that room. Watching his wife as she battled to get something as simple as a good night’s sleep was too much for him. And the fact that he could not help was even worse. With these train of thoughts, Shekhar dozed off…
A dashing young 23 year old blazes into a group of students.
"Shekhar! Buddy! You did it!", and he hugged his dear friend.
"What happened? What did she say?” inquired Shekhar.
"Yes, yes and a thousand times yes. And I have you to thank for it. Your words are magic! The note that you gave me worked wonders. I memorized every bit of it and she was mesmerized!"
"Congrats bro, now learn a bit of poetry yourself. I won't do this for you again.” Shekhar quipped with a wink.
And all friends had a laugh.
And that sums up Shekhar. At the peak of his writing prowess and able to weave magic with his words. His future was bright and his present was perfect.
He was the editor of the college newsletter, a popular choice amongst his friends and touted to be a good, if not great writer by one and all who read his work.
This was the time when he met Tara, at a friend’s marriage. Swept off his feet by the sari and this firebrand of a girl, he knew in heart that this is the person he wants to spend my life with.
And unlike some stories, Shekhar did get the girl. Everything was fine and life couldn't be better. For a brief period of time, Tara was happy. Shekhar’s laid back charm and simple ways of life helped her to see the good things in life. To stop and smell the roses is what she learned. She was happy and in love.
It was after this that things took a turn for the worse. But you can only run from your past, you can’t hide from it. And Tara’s past was a devil in its own .Love between the couple was lost and with that all their happiness. While their turmoil steeled Tara and gave her a single minded objective to win in life, the simpleton and easy going Shekhar was lost in this chaos.
The simple little things lost their meaning. Waking up to the sight of your loved one was just, waking up. Having a conversation over food was just eating food in front of a TV now. The magic was gone, and so was Shekhar’s will to live.
He still loved Tara to bits, and was ready to support her in her endeavor. But how he wished that Tara, only once a while, would stop and smile. Just once a while, she would live, laugh and love.
All this took a toll on his career, or whatever was left of it. Three publication disasters and a failed book had brought him down to his knees. What had life come to?
Shekhar woke up with a start and looked in the direction of the sound. Morning light had flooded the house. It was Roohi, trying to get hold of the fridge magnets again, and knocking down a few things in her exploits. The little minion looked at her dad, gave a squeal of laughter and ran off.
“I’ll be late today. Don’t wait up for dinner.”, Tara emerged out of the bedroom, all proper and ready.
Shekhar acknowledged this with a very indifferent nod and resumed doting over Roohi. He smiled. She was the only reason to live, he thought. He felt bad for her too, deprived of a mother's attention and love, what life is that for a child?
He did not want Tara's attention. If only she could give some of it to Roohi. Not that Tara didn't love her. In fact she very much did, and Shekhar knew that. But only if she had the time to express the same. She was deep into her career. And so single-minded was her devotion, so firm was her resolve that not even her child was significant enough to warrant a few moments of her life. There was nothing Shekhar could do.
Tara had built walls around herself. And no one was allowed inside.***
“Should we go straight to office or should I stop at a Restaurant Ma’am?” , asked the Driver.
“No, just office.” ,Tara replied as she browsed through her mails. And that was when she saw Jenny’s mail. It read:
I’m Jennifer from Marie Claire. If you remember, we talked the other day in your office.
Just wanted to know if is good enough me to visit your place. For the photo-shoot.
Please confirm the same.
Tara took a deep breath, and replied. “YES. IS FINE.”
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