So here I am again serving up Sunday Sundaes. How mad ;)) I guess as it was brewing in my mind I decided to make a Sunday sundae out of it. So we put TPR1 and TPR2 behind us, here we begin again. Story mein kuch twist and turns…with new specs and new beginnings we jump into their lives. First serving is kuch lamba so sit back and enjoy! ;))
Once again do tell me what you liked and what you didn’t- comment karna nahi tou Mugambini kush nahi hogi! :)))
‘OK roll Pinky.”
“So Mr Ramcharran you rang into DBC News and said you had a breaking news story that would rock the very foundations of Delhi.”
“Camera chalu hai?” Ramcharran, a small thin wiry man, fidgeted nervously, hopping from one foot to another.
“Yes Mr Ramcharran, camera is running, please give us your breaking news story.”
“Saachi Madam?” His eyes wide as he practically shoved his nose into the camera lens.
“Mr Ramcharran, please stay back.” Geet pulled him off the lens muttering under her breath about the quality of leads from the network, Pinky sniggered from behind the camera.
“Aachha now please tell Delhi your groundbreaking story- remember this is your chance to speak to all of Delhi.”
“No pressure then…” Pinky muttered rolling her eyes at the still fidgeting Ramcharran.
“Haan madamji…Meine he phone kiya tha.”
“So why DID you phone in Mr Ramcharran?”
“Madamji I was walking very late at night just outside of our basti….and…” His eyes grew wide and he started shaking.
“What did you see?” Geet held her breath, would this be the story that makes waves, the network had been eager to get them out to it.
“Madamji…a vahan came down….”
“Vahan?” Geets brow furrowed.
“Shiiippp madamji a Shiip!”
“A Ship?” Geet looked at Mr Ramcharran closely, the basti..his basti was nowhere near any significant body of water.
“Yes madamji a shiip came from sky and took me.” He started shaking, “ Woh Eliens!”
She could hear Pinky sniggering.
“Eliens?” This was getting worse, Pinky’s sniggers had broken out into giggles.
“Err you mean Aliens? Mr Ramcharran are you sure?” Her tone was doubtful.
“Eliens…madamji! Woh Koi Mil Gaya picture nahi dekha, bas just like that?” Ramcharran glared at Geet for not understanding his explanation. “Door se aate hai woh…They took me on their Shiip and mere saath kya kiyaaaaa….” He collapsed on the ground and started wailing loudly.
For a whole minute Geet just stared at him with her mouth open. Then turned and glared at Pinky who had abandoned the camera on its tripod and was bent over laughing. This is what the network had sent them out to? This was their breaking news story? Two whole hours drive here and this…she stared at the still wailing Ramcharran and had a good mind to haul him off to the local asylum.
“Sorry…Sorry…leave him Geet..” still laughing Pinky said “…its the best laugh I’ve had for ages.”
“I am going to kill that Ramu on the network desk. He promised me this would be a ground breaking story.”
“Na Na Madam, ground pe nahi, aasman mein…” Ramcharran intervened, “they took me on their shiip zameen se upper….”
Pushing her large framed specs back up her nose, even she had to smother a smile at the tragic face he made as he howled, poor man he really believed he had been abducted by aliens.
“Err aachha, Mr Ramcharran thank you for your story we will take it back to the network and see if it can be aired.”
“And my reward madamji?” The large black eyes in his dark weathered face looked so hopeful.
Geet pulled out a few notes from her purse and handed them to him. Pinky glared at her knowing the network would never pay them back but then burst into giggles again as Ramcharran tried to tell them what had been done to him by the ‘Eliens’ in horrifying detail.
“Quick, before we hear any more that makes you blush Geet lets go, that must have been some pot he had been smoking that night.” Pinky laughed as she packed up the camera, “come on lets get some lunch and go back to the office.”
“Thank you madamji, kuch aur news hoga then I will tell, you aapka number de do.”
“Haan,” Geet nodded handing him her card, it was always good to add to their bank of informants.
“But dekho only if they are actual news stories Mr Ramcharran, “errr alien stories ka market nahi hai aab, you wont get paid.” Telling him in the language he would understand.
He nodded, pocketing the notes gratefully.
They trudged back to the office after a quick lunch at a roadside dhaaba. Geet sat down at her desk and started writing up her report to the network, firing off a strongly worded email to Ramu their contact at the offices of DBC for not checking out the story properly before sending hem out.
Suddenly from behind her, Pinky who had been tackling the mail let out a scream of excitement.
“Pinky kya hua….have we won the lottery?”
“Oh MY GOD! Geeeeet! You have been shortlisted for the ‘Emerging Young Journalist of the Year’ prize. Such a coup for our company!” Pinky finished with a flourish grabbing Geet’s hands pulling her up and dancing with her around their studio offices.
“Arey I entered you, that story you did on commuters of Delhi. It was really so damn good I had to enter you, anyhow you were never going to enter by yourself.”
Geet stopped and stared at Pinky, she hadn’t said anything about it to her. Probably because she would have talked her out of it. Pinky knew she didn’t like being the centre of attention.
“WOW!WOW! Think of all the high fliers that are going to be there…” Pinky’s eyes lit up as she imagined …the prize money they would win…the latest fashions they would buy…the best restaurants they would go to…..that is until she saw her friend slump down again on her office chair with a resigned sigh.
“Geettttttt no! I am not listening. Nope…No!” She covered her ears and glared at Geet.
“Pinky socho, lets face it we will never win, the MEN that are on that panel are all khadoos old Media Moguls and boring Businessmen, there is not one woman on that panel. They will only choose from stories covered by other men. I have even heard one of them say ‘Women Journalists’ they are only useful for covering children’s parties and school openings.”
She remembered that so clearly. As she walked past some of the senior panel members after the competition had been announced, she heard those words that made her realise that however hard they worked and however many current trending issues they covered and pushed out, the panel was still in the dark ages and what she had heard had come from no less than the mouth of the Maan Singh Khurana, supposedly the dynamic future of India.
“Dynamic future my foot,” Geet growled, Dinosaur more like! She had not listened to anymore, she had moved away angrily before her mouth had run away with her and she really made a mess of the reputation they had worked so hard to build up.
There were many women anchors on TV to be sure, but an all female journalist and camerawoman crew, not many. Constantly their fledgling media firm faced bigger challenges than the other companies that placed rival bids. They were always having to fight that bit harder to sell their story to networks or newspapers, but to their credit they had managed to build up a good reputation as a trustworthy firm and now were getting steady business through word of mouth.
“Forget it, I can’t even be bothered to go. Look at what DBC sent us out to this morning.” She finished straightening up in her chair and swivelling back to face her computer.
“Huh?” Pinky grabbed Geet’s chair and swivelled it back around to face her. “Geet we are going and you are going to look so glamorous after I’ve finished with you that all the men there will be trailing their jaws behind them after one look at you.”
Pushing her dark rimmed specs up her nose with annoyance Geet glared back at Pinky. “That is precisely why we are not going, I am no ones token glam doll to be gawked at only to be told that although our stories were spot on we didn’t win because networks wouldn’t have confidence in our abilities to do thorough research and report on trending stories in-case we go running off to get married at the first proposal that lands on our doorstep to have cute chubby little babies, leaving them high and dry!”
But Pinky was in no mood to give up on her super intelligent but totally uncalculating friend. Geet didn’t have a devious bone in her body and was unable to comprehend at all why going to events just like this dressed to kill would rock the foundations of those very sleepy dinosaurs on that panel and give them more business in the long run, and she wasn’t above using the ‘sexy stereotype’ advantage they had to get their company up there with all the others.
“Trust me Geet this will work. You do trust me don’t you?”
Geet looked at Pinky with wary eyes. Every time Pinky came up with some hair brained scheme there was chaos and mayhem to be had. A broken heart or two left in Pinky’s wake but definitely fun! Fun which she had so missed out on before she met her.
She nodded reluctantly, the fact was she would trust Pinky with her life and already had. If she hadn’t met Pinky in the offices of her first job she would have probably ended up in jail taking the rap for something her boss had done. Pinky had not only saved her reputation but she had neatly turned the tables on her boss so that he was the one now behind bars for taking a bribe to cover up a story that exposed the very foundation of a local politician’s network of criminal activities.
Older than her by three years Pinky had become her best friend in this impersonal city that Delhi was. She really didn’t know what would have happened to her in this vast city that readily welcomed people only to quash and spit them out when it suited.
“And Geet don’t worry even dinosaurs like Maan Singh Khurana are going to wake up and drag themselves to the present once he sees you.”
With short spiky pink hair and an hour glass figure Pinky set many men’s hearts a flutter, Geet had seen that herself. “Pinky! You are the glamorous one, you have sex appeal in droves, men are always falling at your feet.”
“Ah but you know I really am not interested in them- I am still looking for that ONE. And once I find that ONE I am not going to waste a moment longer to claim them for me.”
Geet rolled her eyes, it had always been that ONE for Pinky. Whether that one could ever be found would remain a mystery to Geet. She on the other hand couldn’t see herself even think about a man appearing in her life, let alone having a relationship with him. Her only interest were studying and living and breathing Journalism. The tragic death of her father in a senseless bomb blast had triggered her need to report news that spoke of facts and was clear for all to understand.
She had just finished college when it had happened, just about comprehending what his death meant to them, when the media had cooked up all sorts of reports about him. Her world shook on its axis, left with her step mother who didn’t even to bother to deny all the made up stories about him and indeed created more lies to make money out of unscrupulous journalists who started calling him an ‘atankwadi’.
Her younger siblings began to get bullied at school. Even previously friendly neighbours shunned them and gossiped about her father. She decided then to change from wanting to be a doctor to becoming a journalist. She would clear her fathers name one day even if it took forever and vowed once she became a news journalist she would only stand on the side of truth.
It took a huge amount determination in the face of constant opposition from her step mum. At every turn she thrust her siblings upkeep in her face, but Geet worked hard, put herself through the necessary courses and took up several jobs to pay for the twins schooling as well. Finally her break came when she was offered a job in Delhi that paid well, her first job in media journalism.
She loved covering stories that mattered to common people, the things that they came across everyday that made it just a bit harder to live their lives because of someone’s criminal activity or downright incompetence. Stories that needed to be exposed to the world so that the everyday lives of people, which were hard enough became easier and justice was served. Geet came back to the present as she realised Pinky was still talking.
“And my stunning Geet, you have a natural beauty that when even slightly enhanced with good clothes and make up (Geet made an alarmed face) can give men heart attacks, coupled with your super clever brain you can outwit and out match the brainiest of them. Most of the panel are easy to please and as you have been shortlisted already it seems somebody is impressed with you, but the one you need to impress most is Maan Singh Khurana. Business and Media tycoon, if you can impress him we are made Geet. I have heard and seen Maan Singh Khurana and he is sharp as a knife and quite hot if you like that sort of thing.”
Geet grinned..like that sort of thing? You would have to be dead from the waist down to not ‘like’ that sort of thing. Maan Singh Khurana was definitely HOT with a capital H. One of Delhi’s top eligible bachelors. Various businesses and Media companies flourished under the MSK umbrella. Even she had noticed and to her delight he had been just as intelligent, which the speech he gave without any prompts or aids had indicated. That’s why like a awestruck groupie she had actually sought the man out to ask further questions about the points he had raised, only for her to hear those words from his mouth and for him to kill her whole euphoria completely dead.
“Pity for you he is engaged.” Pinky said as she grabbed Geet’s hand to take her shopping for THAT killer outfit.
He was engaged?
Geet grinned, good luck to that woman! He would have her knee deep in flour and babies by the time the mandap had been even dismantled!
Maan stared hard at Sabrina.
His fiancée. Groomed from head to foot she looked sleek and completely untouchable. Even if he lent towards her she would whip out her mirror and make sure he hadn’t moved her hair out of place.
“Maan…darlingggg the photographers they are always around to snap your (and of course now my) every move. Now you don’t want me to look less than my best do you darling,” that was always her excuse.
Now she flitted about his office making her presence known to all and sundry asking them to do this and that for her. He really had to stop her from doing that he thought, his highly trained staff were not here to run menial errands for her. He would talk to her away from the office about it he decided.
And really, he couldn’t care less what she looked like if she could go back to the reasonably good friend she had been. Trying to appease his Daadima had been a monumental mistake. Why had he ever thought he could marry Sabrina and spend the rest of his life with her? He had only been with her as her fiancée for five months and those five months had already shown him how a very long and boring life it would pan out with her.
When she had been coming to the house to assist daadima to renovate the interiors of the haveli she had been a quietly efficient, unassuming, unpretentious woman. But from the moment he had relented to daadimas pressure and proposed she had really had turned into the most monumental bore. Not that daadima had meant that he propose to her specifically but seeing her with daadima he had thought she would fit into their family.
Shutting his eyes for a moment he sought to push these doubts from his mind. He realised that his options were limited, already he had many experiences of women who were only after his money and his status. It seemed to him when women came into his vicinity they either simpered and expected him to fall for their false charms or they tried to win him over in some way by going to extraordinary lengths– one even climbed into his bedroom once to try and get into bed with him! Shuddering at that horrible experience he reigned back his thoughts to more conforming lines.
Sabrina seemed at that time to be the most logical choice and he reiterated to his brain, remained that logical choice. He took a deep breath and looked away from her, he would be fine. They would get married, live their own lives. Sex with her wouldn’t be a problem, they had already been down that road one late party night. She seemed to enjoy being with him as she had said the next day and he hadn’t found it abhorrent to be with her not that he recalled that much about it, only that he had woken up in her bed.
He hadn’t expected their relationship to move mountains, that kind of thought was for movies and people who had lost their brains somewhere. Sex was just a basic need that they could both assuage and in time perhaps they would have the babies daadima longed for but he was no hurry and he didn’t think she was either.
Looking back at the pile of work on his desk he pulled out the most urgent and started to look through the finalists for the prize winning stories covered this year. He had already narrowed them down to two from the six and now looked over the two in more detail, playing their footage again. Finally he chose the one. It had to be the most innovative approach to an issue that the majority of Delhi people faced everyday he had seen in a long while. It spoke of a mind that thought beyond just the story and gave the serious issues commuters faced from crowded trains to sanitation, a humorous but inspirational angle.
Impressed, he looked again at the profile of his choice– Unlimited Thought -Ms Geet Handa (News Journalist) Ms Pinky Gupta (Camera woman). The nominated candidate being Geet Handa.
Wasn’t Ms Handa that young woman he had briefly seen at the last Media conference. She was the only one who had asked pertinent and insightful questions about his speech, infact he had been just as impressed with her and wanted to talk to her but had become embroiled in an argument with some of the judging panel. Setting them straight about their opinions on a woman’s place in journalism had taken some effort on his part and in the meantime she had vanished. He was sure it was her.
Well well….well, this would put quite a few of their male noses out of place because he had decided on Geet Handa as the winner.
A big smile lit his face as he added his hand written note personally endorsing Geet Handa as the worthy candidate and declaring her entry as the winner. Sealing it he placed it in the out tray for it to be collected by the office boy and sent to the offices of the judging panel.
He settled back down in his executive chair steepling his fingers in front of him, her tousled, glorious long brown hair came to mind. As if she had been running her hands through it in agitation. A determined face behind large framed glasses. Her cheeks flushed as she had argued against one of the other debaters in the audience and the spark that had lit her eyes as she pushed up her specs up her nose. She had passion and brains, Ms Handa. A passion that could move mountains if she chose and the wherewithal to carry that passion through.
Sabrina came in and saw his wide smile. Immediately her radar went on alert. Rarely had she seen him smile and usually only with daadima and Maan smiling to himself! She had never seen that before. Normally he kept his emotions completely in check. So what had put that smile on his face?
Glancing at the sealed envelope marked urgent she asked, “So Maan which candidate did you choose in the end?”
“Ms Geet Handa’s story about Delhi commuters. What a talented team, hands down her companies entry is the best.”