Team : Writers' Express
Read the previous Chapters of the story here
Chapter 1: Pawan Hegde
Chapter 2 : Partha Sadhukhan
"Daya darwazaa todo," bellowed ACP Pradyuman
Cyrus grimaced ... that trademark order of ACP, so very famous in whole India.
‘Why doesn’t he get it copyrighted? Or instead of repeating the whole sentence again n again, why doesn’t he just short-form it with DDT? Indian TV programs are so hopelessly idiotic and still it's world's second largest TV market. We have Rs. 42,000 crore TV industry that reaches 800 million Indians. I must be a true blue Indian to love it all,’ Cyrus wondered .
Cyrus was sprawled on a Sofa-cum-bed, which had now become his all-night throne, for enjoying his daily dose of TV serials. Shekhar, who had just finished his favorite chore of tucking Roohi into bed, joined Cyrus.
"How's Mumbai growing on you? You seem to have fitted here seamlessly," Shekhar said.
"Yes, I have started addressing all sundry people as 'Boss' and they love it. I adjust myself comfortably on the 4th seat, like a pro. I even claim the seat , as soon as I get in the local. Instead of Golgappa, I order Pani-puri at Elco arcade. One week ago, when I was a newbie here, a taxi-driver smirked, when I asked him to turn right at the Red-light. No more Red-light for me, it's signal now. I relish cutting-chai on street and pumpkin latte at Starbucks with same gusto. In the beginning, I was miserable as I missed my niece, Tiana a lot. Roohi has more than filled her place with love and HOME-WORK ( that's Bold and Dutyful not Beautiful ) These Mumbai-kids have such a vast home-work, project assignments, I wonder, what do the teachers teach in class?" Cyrus asked rhetorically.
Shekhar agreed wholeheartedly. "In our days, we learned almost everything in school, from our teachers. We returned home with little home-work to do, lots of spare time to play and enough time left to help our mothers with household chores. But now …. Thanks to you, I am getting a little respite from Roohi's never-ending string of project-assignments. Roohi enjoys doing her project-work with you. Tara is delighted with Roohi's new-improved, school-grades, since you joined forces with me.”
"Forces... reminds me... Roohi is forcing me to buy her a Strawberry ice-cream-cone almost every day, while returning from our daily park-visits. I confess, that I could not deny her and since yesterday, her voice is a bit hoarse. Hope it's not serious."
Shekhar "Yes, I noticed that and gave her Vasakoff- syrup, in the morning. Cyrus, you should not be too indulgent with her about ice-creams and cold-drinks as she catches cold faster than normal. Health-wise she is rock-solid like me but tonsillitis is something that bothers her often "
"Sorry Shekar bhaiya for giving in to Roohi's sweet-talk, I will take utmost care of her henceforth." Cyrus apologized with heavy heart. He cursed himself for being negligent in his duty as an uncle.
Shekhar assured Cyrus that Roohi will be fine in the morning. After wishing good-nights to each other, they both returned to their respective beds. Cyrus decided to get up early in the morning and accompany Shekhar in walking Roohi to the school-bus. That way, he could check out on Roohi's well being first hand.
Roohi was so excited to have her late-riser, Cyrus uncle accompany her to the school-bus, that she asked her dad to stay home. She wanted to show-off her brand-new Cyrus uncle to her school-bus-mates. She introduced Cyrus to her friends, " Hey, meet my Cyrus uncle, all the way from Delhi. He loves Doraemon and Shin Chan. He sings and dances to 'Char bottle vodka' better than Yo Yo." Here she winked at Cyrus mischievously. " Isn’t he awesome?" Roohi's infectious enthusiasm fooled Cyrus into believing that all was well.
Shekhar and Tara were at the dining-table, having Orange-juice and Kellogg’s corn-flakes. Cyrus joined them with a mug full of black coffee and choco-chip cookies. Shekhar was discussing about his early morning appointment with Ms.Lekha Khanna, which was influenced by Tara's contact in media.
Tara encouraged him to go easy and be accommodating to clients’ demand. Shekhar agreed reluctantly saying "I thought Demand and Supply theories existed only in the Economics textbooks, but who am I to differ with Ms. Terrific Tara?. Anything for you my dear". Here Shekhar spread his arms ala Shah Rukh Khan and repeated that world-famous Marathi dialogue "Tumchyasathi Kay pan." I want you and Roohi to be happy always 24*7 . It's for Roohi's sake I am wearing bandana now-a-days, though it makes me sweat profusely. One of Roohi's school-bus-mate teased her, “Tera baap takaloo.” It caused her so much grief that she persuaded me into wearing bandana to cover my baldness."
Cyrus had decided to stay home that day. He was feeling a bit home-sick and wanted to chat with his mom for an hour non-stop.
Tara had planned an important Tele-conference with her UK and U.S.A. counterparts. It was so urgent that it should have happened yesterday. Tara left home in a hurry but still looking like, straight out of Vogue-cover , not a hair out of place. Shekhar and Cyrus both gave her admiring smiles with different contexts.
Shekhar made sure that his home resembled a warm, cozy place and not a pigsty before leaving Cyrus with a, ‘Bye; Have a nice time’.
Cyrus took a leisurely bath, poured himself another cup of coffee with lots of milk and sugar this time. He installed himself on his throne for that long pending chat with mom. He was startled by a shrill telephone ring just at the moment he was about to dial his mom's number.
.... Meanwhile, Roohi was feasting on huge slices of Black-forest cake in the school-bus. It was the full-blown, mega-hyper birthday celebration of her BFF Kimaya. Kimaya's treat, that too with her favorite Black-forest cake, how could Roohi resist such a deadly combination?.
Within minutes of stuffing herself with cake slices, Roohi's aggravated, sore throat could take it no more. Roohi was vomiting violently and her friend was trying to help her with water and tissues. The school-bus attendant came rushing to Roohi's rescue but it was in vain. The bus had reached the school-building. The attendant carried Roohi to School's in-house medical clinic.
The doctor checked her pulse, sponged her and decided to shift her to a hospital immediately. The school-principal and class-teachers were informed and were trying to contact Roohi's parents continuously.
Tara was busy with her foreign counterparts in Tele-conference room, so she had muted the mobile, while Shekhar had completely switched off his mobile to concentrate totally on his meeting with Ms. Lekha Khanna. At the Bhabha hospital, the municipal doctors were adamant. They refused to admit a patient in such a serious condition without any family member to sign the case-paper. The class-teacher finally tried to reach the Duttas on the landline number, which caught Cyrus by surprise as he was about to call his Mom.
Cyrus picked the receiver to hear an agitated plea of Roohi's class-teacher, calling him immediately to the Cooper hospital. Cyrus was shocked by the horrible news of Roohi's severe condition. Firstly he tried to reach Shekhar and Tara on mobile. Both were still unreachable. He stuffed the cash from his cupboard in his wallet, locked the door and rushed downstairs without caring for his disheveled condition. He stopped an auto-rickshaw and barged in without requesting "Chalenge kya", he ordered "Bhabha chalo. Quick!".The rickshaw-wala zoomed through the early-morning opposite direction traffic easily.
Cyrus persuaded the municipal doctors with his Parsi charm and broken Marathi. He got Roohi admitted in an ICU ward as well as he managed to get urgent treatment for her within a jiffy. They had put her on IV-fluid and the medicines were being administered through IV. Cyrus was keeping an eye on Roohi's shallow breathing and simultaneously trying to reach Shekhar and Tara. Cyrus could not move away from Roohi so he called up his friend and briefed him about the serious situation. He gave Tara's office-address and asked him to go and personally fetch Tara.
First time in his life, tears streaming through his eyes, Cyrus prayed not only to Ahura Mazda but all the gods in the whole world for Roohi's well-being. Whenever he spotted any little movement in Roohi's motionless body, he called for doctors and nurses to check her.
Cyrus's friend had picked up Tara from her office on his bike. It must have been the first time in Tara's adult life, that she looked disheveled, with her hair astray and her immaculate dress creased. Tara's face was scrunched up in dreadful worry for her little angel. She tried to embrace the bed-ridden Roohi but the doctors stopped her and soothed her with the report of her improving health. Roohi was out of danger now, but still needed 24 hours medical attention.
Cyrus decided to bunk his college for 2 more days to help the Dutta-family which had become like his own. By now Cyrus’s friend had managed to contact Shekhar. He joined Cyrus and Tara in sharing the news of Roohi's improving health. Doctors assured them that Cyrus's timely intervention had provided Roohi with prompt medical assistance.
Shekhar and Tara, especially Tara was speechless in gratitude for this quiet, nerdy Parsi boy , whom she had refused to have as a PG in the beginning. First time, Tara realized the warmth of Cyrus's voice, when he called her Bhabhi.
It was the day of lot's of First Times. Secondly , Roohi as per her Rock-solid constitution , improved rapidly within 2 days. The Dutta family now 4 members strong returned to their Hill-road Residential Heaven in high spirits
And they lived happily ever after ?
keep reading the 4th Chapter to find out ... what next
Read the next part of the story here : Chapter 4 : Shilpa Gupte
Chapter 5 : Manjulika Pramod
Chapter 6 : ShazninPathak
Chapter 7 : Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli
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The copyright for the sketches lies with "Manjulika Pramod"