Chapter – EL – 1
Flying in the air, dodging the electric poles and millions of naked wires running through it, on a hot and humid Mumbai morning, a crow came and sat on the parapet of an old building. The crow tilted its head left and then to right and to left again for few moments. Finally, after spotting the target the crow lets it go. The semi-liquid tiny piece of blob travelled all the way down three floors and hit the target, which was Shekhar Dutta’s forehead.
“What the &#()@! Damn it! I will kill these crows,” swore Shekhar.
“Then it shall be called as ‘Murder of crows’ in your news paper headlines tomorrow,” said a young man who was sipping his morning tea sitting next to Shekhar in the tea shop. Shekhar gave him a dirty look and was about to retort as he noticed the young man’s feature.
He was much taller than him, extremely fair with trimmed beard on this chin, had curly hair and was wearing big specs. Shekhar gulped his words down and turned to the shopkeeper and asked for a cutting.
Shekhar Dutta is a writer and freelance reporter in a local newspaper. The newspaper isn’t doing well and so is Shekhar’s career. The sale of newspaper was going down and the editor wants him to come back with an interesting story, or he might lose his job. Typically dressed in t-shirt and track pants. Thin as a beanpole, bald, sporting a French beard, fair, and wearing thin specs, this pretty sums up Shekhar’s looks. Shekhar is usually ever smiling and talkative, but today he was different.
Shekhar took out a cigarette from his pocket and asked the shopkeeper for a matchbox. Suddenly, a lighter lit in front of his face. Shekhar lit his cigarette, took deep puff, and turned his head to look who offered him the light. It was the same tall guy who made that funny comment minutes before.
“Thanks!” said Shekhar. Taking another puff of the cigarette, he added, “I’ve seen you around. Do you stay close by?”
“Yes, I stay right there,” he pointed at the building close by.
“Hi, my name is Cyrus,” he extended his hand towards Shekhar. Shekhar took his hands and said, “I am Shekhar” and continued to shuttle between smoking and sipping his tea.
Cyrus continued, “Shekhar, if you don’t mind me asking this, I’ve noticed you here before. You are usually smiling and talkative but today you seem different. Is there a problem?” Shekhar was surprised by this brusque and inappropriate question. He stared at his face for a while and asked, “You are not from here are you?” Cyrus replied, “No I am from Delhi, I came here to visit my sister”. “Hmm, no wonder, Delhites always poking nose in others business,” Shekhar murmured. “What’s that now?” Cyrus asked. “Nothing, just saying good for you, enjoy this dirty, stinky, over-populated, unbearably hot and humid city.”
Shekhar paid the shopkeeper for tea and started to walk away. Before Cyrus could say anything, Shekhar was already crossing the busy road.
As Shekhar walked towards his home several thoughts were crossing his mind. “Who was she talking to last night for so long?” “She’s always late these days either in some meeting or late night office presentations” “It wasn’t like this before..”
Shekhar remembered how Tara and he met for the first time, how they couldn’t keep their hands away from each other. They were so much in love. It was just like yesterday when Shekhar saw Tara for the first time, Fair, short hair, tall, prim and properly dressed in suave formal business suits and high heels. She hasn’t changed much in 10 years of their marriage. However, one thing that had changed was that she doesn’t have time for him or the family anymore. She always was a career woman but in the last couple of years she had given her career more priority than him, their family, and even more than Roohi.
Read the next part of the story on link given below.