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The story so far:
“Cheers”! They both enjoy coffee over discussions about work and the superficial women he had met in Delhi
Cyrus is attracted towards Tara and her friendly behavior; Tara enjoys all the flattering attention she gets from Cyrus.
The day passes very pleasantly for Tara….
The lift opens onto the landing outside Tara’s office. Motwani, the editor, looks at Tara out of the corner of his eyes, with agitation and anger brimming in him, as he walks towards his cabin. She is lost in her own thoughts about the talk show, with a smile spread across her face. He stomps harder at each step. Tara looks up in his direction. The instant she sees the agitation on his face, a look of triumph creeps up into her face. She gives a broad smile. She knows what’s going on in the editor’s mind. Motwani increases his pace, enters his cabin and shuts the door behind, leaving Tara to smile sarcastically at the name board on the door.
Motwani sinks into his executive chair impatiently, leaving it to roll back a few inches. He pulls himself close to the table. He loosens his tie and rolls up his neatly ironed sleeves in anger. The thought of being arm twisted by Tara makes him seethe from within. “How could she?” keeps echoing in his mind. He takes a deep breath to calm himself down. Just then the phone rings.
“Hello. Motwani here” he says.
“Eh Motwani, Potwani, or whatever your name is. I am sure you will remember me for the rest of your life.” The person at the other end of the line says.
‘Who is this?’ asks Motwani.
“Could be your angel or even your demon. Depends on how you respond” says the strange, metallic voice.
“Who are you and what do you want?”
“Do you understand how much trouble you have invited by telecasting that news?”
“Can you be specific? Can you tell me who you are and what you are talking about?” asks an already agitated Motwani, losing his cool, like steam evaporating off a hot plate.
“What made you publish that news about a Minister from our party? Did you know which Central Minister’s path you were crossing?” asks the voice belligerently.
“Are you talking about the news that got telecast yesterday, involving a photograph clicked by Jennifer?”
“Are you kidding me? Do you telecast news about our Ministers every day?’ the voice asks not shedding a bit of the belligerence.
Without giving Motwani a chance to answer, the voice says firmly. “Do you want your news channel to be closed down and your office in smithereens? Do you want your daughter to be our guest? Or do you want to meet us personally? Do you know how much we are spending to win this election? We have to win it. Do you think we will allow your news channel to come in the way of our victory?” he pauses.
He continues “Where is the photograph? Where is that photographer girl?”
“I have no idea. This news was brought in by one of our reporters. I don’t have a clue about the photograph.” Motwani stutters, as fear masks his face. This isn’t the first time he is receiving such a call, but the mention of his daughter has shaken him thoroughly.
“You don’t want to know what the photograph is about. Better for you that you don’t even try. That Jennifer might not come back to light at all. We will sue your news channel for defamation”.
“Okay. What’s the deal?” Motwani comes to the point.
“That reporter should not be allowed to investigate any further into this matter. I don’t care what you do to keep her out of reporting.”
“Okay, I will see to it that she quits the channel.”
“Publish an apology stating that a reporter has broadcast false information and the reporter is being thrown out of the organization” he demands.
“Mansi. I like your daughter’s name.” he laughs. “Anyway, I hope you understand the gravity of the situation.”
“I do” Motwani says to the beeping sound at the other end as the call is disconnected.
He presses three numbers as hard as he can. “Tara, come to my cabin.”
“May I come in?” asks Tara, as she peeps into the editor’s room.
“Please.” he says with a plastic smile.
‘Ms. Tara Dutta, the great journalist, who brought us false news about a Central Minister” he says as she sits down on the chair opposite him.
“What do you mean?” asks Tara, sharply.
“That’s going to be the headlines tomorrow, Ms. Dutta. We are going to issue a note of regret for the news we published about a Central Minister being inadvertently false.’ says Motwani with a smile purposely widened to irritate Tara.
“Why should we? The news is genuine.” she says.
“Why can’t we?”
“You don’t have the power to”.
“You are right. I don’t have the power to publish that. But I do have powers to snatch the talk show from your hands and ruin your career.”
“I will escalate this to the boss.”
“Can you? Do you think the boss would listen to someone like you, with no track record of achievements or would he listen to me, an editor who has given the channel enough TRP? Do you think giving a single one liner as a news item without any follow-up will make you the most valuable resource of a 24*7 news channel? I think you should ask for a refund from your journalism school. They have taught you nothing.” Sarcasm cuts through his tone.
Tears well in Tara’s eyes. Anger blinds her vision. The heat of anger turns her eyes and ears red. Tara stomps out of the cabin, swinging the door out, harshly.
A few minutes later, Tara barges into the editor’s room without excusing herself. She places a sheet of paper covered in her handwriting on his table.
“Mr. Naren Motwani, if a 24*7 channel doesn’t consider a person as a good resource just because the editor doesn’t like her, let the matter rest. This isn’t the only news channel in the whole world. My journalism school has taught me enough and instilled a little bit of self-respect in me. I am deeply indebted to them for also teaching me ways to tackle idiots at work. I am not referring to you Mr. Motwani” she adds seeing him going red in the face. Next moment she walks towards the door.
Holding the door open, she turns back and says with a wide, forced smile“Please get a refund from your school for not teaching you even a bit of fairness. Good Bye!”
“Ah..!’ he sighs. “Why do I need a refund? They have taught me well to manipulate people into doing what I want them to”. He laughs looking at the neatly drafted resignation of Tara.
Read the next chapter here-->Chapter 14
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