Thursday, October 9, 2014

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Previous chapter here
The story so far:
The sudden rage in Ahuja catches Cyrus off guard.  He nods meekly and goes around the house to the terrace. Lovely potted ceramic plats lined up at the entrance, leading to an aesthetically done sitting area, confuse Cyrus all the more and Jen’s words come back to haunt him.

“That is how he manages to own a flat and a guest house in posh localities in Bombay. Do you think a struggling artist can afford all this?”

He knows that Jen is not the saint she is making herself out to be.  She must have her own motives to save Roohi.  After all, the mystery of her sudden disappearance and her casual reappearance at the climax of this intriguing drama is a question that continues to bother him.  However, thinking of Roohi’s welfare, Cyrus has no option but to choose the lesser of the two evils. He decides to play along with Jenny’s plan and rehearses the steps in his head.
“We need to get Ahuja to come out” says ACP Sameer Thorat and pauses for a second.  “We need to ensure that he leaves Roohi alone for a while; that will give us a chance to attempt to save her with relatively lesser risk,” he adds.

Right.  So, the only way is to give him what he wants,” Jen replies as they settle down at a table on the terrace of the cafe opposite the guest house.

“Green Tea” she says, not bothering to even look up at the waiter.  Her eyes are focused on Thorat and thoughts start clearing up in her mind.  “Make that two” she adds impatiently, looking at Thorat fiddling with the menu card.   “That's it for now.”  The waiter leaves.

Forcefully, yet politely, she lowers the menu card hiding his face and says “Can you concentrate?  Getting this girl out of his hands without a scratch is a big deal for me.”

“Okay. So where were we?” he asks casually.
We need to give him what he wants, to make him crawl out of his hole.” she says.

“My hairs are going to turn grey by the time I understand what you are saying.  I am still trying to make sense of your reply to my proposal years ago.  For once, please do me a favour and come to the point directly, as a girl's life is at stake; not that I am not used to such situations.” he says, his eyes on the guest house opposite.  To his disappointment, all is absolutely still.
They want to know the password of the memory card, which I know.  I just have to ask Shekhar to pass it on to them”.
“What's the deal with the memory card?  What's in it to justify gambling with a little girl’s life?” he asks quizzically.

They think it has a photograph of a minister involved in a crime” she answers and gets distracted with some movement in the guest house, opposite them. “Look! Look! The kid is peeping out of the window.” she says.
ACP Thorat looks in the direction Jennifer is pointing. Although it is just a fleeting glimpse of the child, it is like a feast to a starving man; they have been waiting for hours now, just watching stillness and nothing more.

“Did you tell me it involved a minister's photograph?” he asks, getting back to business.

They think it does, but actually it doesn’t” she says.
'”How do you know the password?” he asks.
It's a little complicated.  I had sent Shekhar a blank memory card...,” she pauses and gathers her thoughts. “by...” she goes on reluctantly “mistake...” cringing at having to expose her transgressions.  ACP Thorat's calm demeanour as he listens to her gives her the courage to blurt out “...instead of another memory card; his wife being a journo pig leaked out the information to the media. That b**** didnt think of Shekhar or her own kid.
Thorat reflects for a minute on what he has just heard.  “Why is a blank memory card protected with password?” he asks in his best professional tone.
Jennifer feels trapped and is reluctant to handle that question. She doesn’t want to tell him what a fool she had been, wanting to woo a man who had ditched her years ago. She doesn’t want to be judged, not by someone she thinks still loves her.  Attention from an eligible bachelor is the last thing a girl wants to lose. 

 Just then the waiter brings them their orders, distracting the conversation, or from Jen's point of view doing away completely with the need for further conversation.  She is spared the trouble of coming up with a convincing tale.

Okay then.  So I will call Shekhar now and ask him to give them the password.”  She deftly diverts the conversation, sipping the green tea.

Ew! This is so strong!!!” she wrinkles her nose and places the cup back on the table.”

She excuses herself and goes to call Shekhar.  Although she had decided to stay away from him, it is not so easy as she thought.  Old memories are still too strong to allow her to dissociate herself from him completely. She still has some love left for him and wants to talk to him in private.  Who knows, it might be the last time she hears his voice.

“Hello Shekar, this is Jen.  Hope your phone has a better memory and remembers me, unlike you” she says, sarcastically.
“Before you start preaching about family, values and the other bull shit, let me tell you ‘FAKE’ is the password for the memory card.  I am on the scene trying to save Roohi, unlike your wife who is more bothered about the brand of mascara her tears need to be hidden under, and the colour of her lips when she pouts.”  She disconnects the call without another word.
She masks her emotions with a fake smile and walks back to the table. “I gave him the password.  Now things will go as per our plan.  Cyrus will tell Ahuja that this memory card is pseudo crypted and send him out to get a guy's help to get it decrypted” she says.
'Perfect' says Thorat sounding very impressed.
Jen picks up her bulky camera and looks at the window of the guest house.  All she could see are the curtains of the french window drawn across, while what is happening behind it remains a mystery to her.

What Jen can't see is Roohi playing with her new Barbie doll.  Cyrus asks Ahuja to follow up with Shekhar and get the password.  He tries his best to hide the anxiety and tension in his face with a casual expression.
“Writer saab, bacchii zinda maangta hai ke nahin” Ahuja asks biting a piece of cloth with his teeth, to sound different than his usual voice. (Mr. Writer, do you want the child back alive or not?)

“'FAKE' 'FAKE'“ Shekar blurts out.
Kya bakwaas karta hai be?” Ahuja yells, scaring Roohi.  (What nonsense are you talking?)  Roohi starts crying.
“Rooohi... Roohi...” cries Tara listening to Roohi cry on the speakerphone.
Aapun ko password abhi ke abhi maangta hai...” Ahuja says.  (I want the password right now.)
Before he can complete, Tara interrupts “Roohi ko kucch mut karo, password ‘FAKE' hai,” she says spelling out the password at the end. (Don't do anything to Roohi. Fake is the password.)
Agar password fake nikla, toh soch lo.” Ahuja says firmly and disconnects the call. (If the password is fake, you had it.)  The unintended pun in Ahuja's threat is ironical.

He loses no time in bringing his laptop and trying the password to open the memory card folder. “Damn! The memory card is empty” he eyes turn red in anger.

I have read something about this.  Highly confidential details are stored in an encrypted form when they are on flash drives or such cards.”  Cyrus fibs, trying to sound more genuine than rehearsed.
'What does that mean?' Ahuja asks ignorantly.
They keep it extra safe with a blank folder view. It's a kind of encryption” he says, keeping an eye on the door and Roohi.
“How do we get this thing out?” Ahuja asks.
I know a guy who decrypts, in your terms ‘get the thing out’ of this.  But I am not on talking terms with him.  So, I think it's better you go and deal with it, while I take care of Roohi.  We can’t afford to carry Roohi all round the place.  It would be too risky.”
'You are right. Give me the address and I will deal with it.' Ahuja agrees.
He notes down the address quickly, and picks up the memory card.  “I can't trust you fully, can I?  No, not really.  So let me lock the two of you and leave.”  Ahuja slams the door behind him, not giving Cyrus enough time to respond.
Cyrus picks up Roohi in his hands and waits for someone to break in to help.  Not much later, Jen and Thorat break in.
“Thanks Cyrus.  Good job.” says Jen as she collects Roohi from him .

Ahuja has gone to the address you gave me.” Cyrus informs her, not knowing that Ahuja is already receiving ‘special treatment’ from the cops.

“You don’t have to worry about it. He is already learning numbers, counting bars.  Or rather, the cops are learning numbers counting his bones,” Thorat says quietly.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

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5 Scribbles:

  1. Excellent. The riddle almost comes to an end. Almost. Team Dynamic WordWeavers have done a GREAT JOB :)

    Destination Infinity

  2. CHAPTER 29
    Nice password reflective of the blank content. Is the memory card really blank or is it some form of an encrypted file that does not show up. The technical angle has been thrown up brilliantly. Never thought, Ahuja will draw a blank on IQ! For the trio of Shekar Tara & Roohi a relief is in sight at the end of all the drama preceding. The story has moved on thriller tracks professionally in a clinical mode. The story and the episodes have been beautifully handled by the entire team!

  3. Conversation between ACP Thorat and Jen is interesting . Jen prices herself smart evading ACP s doubts.

  4. What password is FAKE - The technical of IT is well written.Now the family is on its way for a reunion. Good job- Hope all are in safe habds

  5. Enjoyed reading Ganga! Good dialogues. :-D


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