Tara could still not believe that it was all over. She kept turning back to look at the stadium to be alert of any fresh instance of violence erupting all over again. As the team stumbled out escorted by policemen, Roohi rushed to wrap her mum in the tightest of her hugs. It took a while for Tara to come out of her numbness to reciprocate her daughter’s loving embrace.
“How did you get here princess?” queried Tara, as a sudden flash of concern flitted across her face. Roohi pointed at Shekhar who stood behind them watching his wife’s reunion with his daughter with pride and fondness. They were his brave tigresses. Suddenly, all three of them were sharing a group hug, reassuring each other that all was well. God had been kind to them once again. Soon, they bade farewell to the eventful city of Delhi and were on the next flight to Mumbai.
Meanwhile someone else was sucking in deep breaths of freedom. Cyrus was overwhelmed with the flood of events coursing through his veins waiting to pour it into his vlogs and words on his blogs. He learnt that he had turned into a celebrity overnight, all because of his vlogs that went viral during the siege. There was so much more he wanted to share. He sipped his coffee as he went through his blog, trying to respond to the comments his blog space was showered with. He itched to write each and every account of the episode, narrating it minute by minute. He knew he had a wide readership by now, but he wanted it to reach every nook and corner of the world, every lane and village of his own country. Before the horrific turn of events he had been contemplating on registering himself on this blog directory called BlogAdda, which he had learnt of from some fellow bloggers. He was told that their readership had multiplied manifolds after they had registered with the site. He was sure, this was the only way he could ensure that the patriotic tales of his horrific experiences would reach the length and breadth of his country by registering on a popular site like BlogAdda.
The Dutta family walked into their nest with a sigh of relief. Everything was the same…the cozy den that they had lovingly nurtured. Home sweet home. After all the nerve-wracking excitement of the past few days in Delhi, coming back to the familiarity and warmth of Mumbai was like a balm to the tired soul.
Shekhar quickly stepped into his homely responsibilities, as he scanned the refrigerator. He fished out a few eggs and started making a quick meal for them. Tara smiled fondly as she heard him whistling under his breath, so apparently enjoying every bit of the chore he was doing. He made the best Kheema Pau in the world. After a hearty meal, Roohi switched on the tv to watch her favorite cartoon show, while her parents settled on the sofa trying to get a grip of the magnanimity of the dangerous events they had just been through.
“I’m so tired, Sheks…” Tara murmured propping her feet on the center table, as she eased her head onto his broad shoulders. Shekhar reached forward to massage her delicate pedicured toes gently.
“Oh my poor baby…I’m sure your feet hurt,” he added ” I tell you, you should find better shoes next time you go on a sting operation. After all, these shoes don’t let the cam capture videos at proper angles.”
It took a moment for Tara to register what his words implied. Shekhar winked at Roohi as his wife gave each of them one perplexed look to another.
Jennifer was found in a state of deep shock by the cops. She had gone into a blank daze unable to digest the bitter truth of losing her love to the wicked hands of death. Such was her state that she had to be put under rehabilitation at a care-giving rehab center. Looking at her medical condition the charges against her were dealt with leniency. The fact that she had helped curb the disaster in a big way had helped her to a large extent. At the rehab center she withdrew into a shell and hardly responded to any kind of therapy offered to her. Till one fine day, after a few months, she had a visitor at the home. She did not lift her gaze to acknowledge him when he wished her with a cheerful hi. But when he went ahead and introduced himself as Cyrus, something snapped within her and memories came flooding through. He further clarified her suspicion by adding that he was writer and a well known blogger. So he was the same guy who had posted those horrendous videos of Kareem during the siege? What was he doing here?
“I read about you in the newspapers. Shekhar, my friend, tells me that you had helped him after you saw the videos of the Continental Siege on my blog, in spite of your boyfriend’s involvement in the attack.” he said. She struggled with her choked emotions with her head bowed hidden under her mass of hair that fringed her face with ringlets, as she wondered where this was leading to.
“I’m sorry for your loss…but I truly respect you for your strength and courage,” he further added “The reason I came to see you is because I’m writing a book on the whole series of the siege saga. And I was wondering if you could help me with your side of the story. And if it interests you, maybe assist me in co-authoring this book.”
Something about his sincerity stirred a strange feeling within her. It surprised her. She did not understand why she was suddenly interested in this stranger who was here to evoke bitter memories. But somehow, his book sounded like an interesting project. She mulled over it a bit before agreeing to help Cyrus in shaping up his book ‘The Siege Saga.’
It was a new beginning for her and for him…