TEAM - WORD WEAVERS
SOUL OF A STAR
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Chapter – 10
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“Shakes, where is cuddles?” Tara asked at the breakfast table. Her short-hair was nicely done and she looked elegant in cream cotton sari with maroon border. A simple solitaire rested in her ears and a brilliant diamond bracelet was wrapped around her wrist.
“I don’t know. Since yesterday evening, she is inside her room. Playing her keyboard, I guess. I tried to go inside but she put a note on door” said Shekhar.
“A note? What note?”
“Trespassers will be prosecuted” laughed Shekhar.
“Kids these days. What is she up to?” Tara sighed and gulped the orange juice.
“Amma and Baba, follow me”, said nine year old Roohi, their daughter. Her two ponytails danced as she walked. Tara glanced at the wall clock. She was getting late. But, Roohi forcefully led them to her bedroom. The sticky note was still there.
“Wait” she said with an air of confidence and command. Yet it sounded very sweet, oozing with childish innocence.
She started playing the keyboard and sang:
“Amma and Baba
You are my eyes.
I see the world through you.
You are my teachers.
And my best friends.
You make me smile wider and wider.
You buy me gifts
But how I wish
Amma is less busy.
I miss you, amma.
Amma is working hard for us,
And, he plays with me all through the day.
So, it is okay.
Amma and Baba
You are my eyes.
You are my world
Here I am wishing you
A happy-happy marriage anniversary
Let’s cocoon together
And weave happiness!!!”
Shekhar ran towards Roohi and lifted her up in the air. “Did you compose this?” he asked in awe. Roohi nodded shyly and glanced at her mother. Tara was spellbound. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. She was overwhelmed. She wanted to hug Roohi and kiss her lovingly. But, she couldn’t move.
“Amma, why are you crying? Didn’t you like it?” Roohi asked. Tara knelt before her and said, “you are a marvel cuddles. My soul.” She hugged Roohi and cried uncontrollably. It was a very emotional moment for both Tara and Shekhar.
“She writes beautifully. Like you.” Tara told Shekhar as they walked towards her car. The chauffeur was waiting. He looked amused because Tara respects time and that day she was late.
“She sings soulfully. Like you.” Shekhar said.
Mumbai traffic is world famous. Vehicles become snails. They move ahead with a pain. Generally, Tara prepares To-Do list for the day or makes some important business calls. But that day, like the day before, she was lost in thoughts.
She thanked Gods for blessing them with Roohi.
She reminisced that evening when she had broken the pregnancy news to Shekhar.
Shekhar looked anxious and preoccupied. But, when he looked at Tara, he fell in love with her. Again. She was wearing a yellow sari and her skin glowed against it. He observed that she looked more beautiful. Beautiful than ever, he corrected himself.
“Hi Shakes”, Tara said as she planted a kiss on both his cheeks. Shekhar was relieved that she called him Shakes. She always used his full name when she was angry. She is not angry, he told himself and smiled back.
Silence followed. But, they did not feel uncomfortable.
When the waiter offered to pour red wine, Tara declined. Shekhar was surprised because Tara always enjoyed wine.
“Tara, why you don’t want wine?” asked Shekhar. “What happened to you?” he looked worried.
“Shakes, I can’t… I mean I should… Ummm... Must not drink alcohol”, said Tara. She was blushing and had a tough time in finding right words to express herself.
“What do you mean?” asked a confused Shekhar.
“I mean... Alcohol is not good for health”
“What? I mean suddenly what happened?” asked Shekhar. Tara always enjoyed drinking. “I love the high it gives. That feeling of flying higher and higher… In the midst of clouds. Even the skies seems to be within reachable limits” she used to say. Tara always knew her limits though and Shekhar never discouraged her. He secretly enjoyed to listen to her random ramblings, which often carried a poetic or philosophical quality. Sometimes, a fierce love-making session would follow.
“Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves for the sake of others”, she said.
“Pari, can you please stop being cryptic? Can you please tell me what happened? Are you sick?” Shekhar was really worried. Her silence and subtle smile started to disturbed Shekhar.
“I am talking to you…” he said visibly losing patience.
“No Shakes. You are not only talking to me… But… But to our baby also”, Tara said it. Finally. Tears started to pour down her cheeks.
Shekhar was taken aback. He couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. It was the happiest day in their life; a day that gave back their lost love and a new soul to love.
The months that followed opened gates to blissfulness.
Shekhar took care of Tara like a mother. He cooked healthiest food for her and accompanied her for strolls.
Modelling and movie contracts were terminated because of Tara’s pregnancy. But, she didn’t feel bad or insecure. She was delighted that she was building a family of her own.
Shekhar, on the other hand, pledged on their unborn baby that he would never touch alcohol. He also made up his mind to have a positive approach towards his attempts to publish books. He apologized Tara almost every day for picking lame fights and for hurting her so badly.
As the delivery date approached, they spent most of the time together. Shekhar took up freelancing and stayed at home most of the times. They read, walked, laughed and talked.
“I am thinking of a career shift”, one day Shekhar said. “I am planning to write about parenting and do research on child psychology” he said. Shekhar wanted to see their baby grow and he wanted to provide everything possible. He wanted to shower the baby with care and love. Tara understood Shekhar very well. She supported his decision.
Tara decided that she should make a career shift too and start earning enough to support a threesome family. But, she didn’t communicate her decision right away. There were better things to do, she concluded.
She enjoyed Shekhar’s company and the way he used to pamper her. Their biggest pastime was deciding the baby name. Tara’s glow and comparatively smaller belly assured them that it would be a girl. Besides, they wanted a girl.
“It is a girl, Shakes” Tara used to say confidently. “But how would you know?”
“Because I am the mum!!!” Tara used to declare.
One afternoon, Tara jumped from her nap and said, “Shakes, how this name is? R-O-O-H-I. Roohi” Tara asked. Delivery date was only a week away. “It means Soul in Urdu. I don’t know how I remembered suddenly” she sounded excited as she continued, “She is the soul of our togetherness and our marriage. She is the soul of our happiness and everything we would ever be.”
“Roohi…” Shekhar was interrupted with Tara’s sudden cry. Her labor pain had begun…
The 21 storeyed building came into view. Tara had never imagined that she would have a family of her own. Also, she didn’t know what good she had done to bear a sweetie pie like Roohi.
Slowly, gratitude was washed away by regret. Her eyes lost the sparkle and the color in her face faded.
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