Tara drummed her fingers at the steering-wheel impatiently. Fiddling with her tips, she drew the edges along-side it over and over as she looked at the sight ahead. Thank God, the air-conditioner of her car was acting as her savior, she thought, wondering how on earth those people could even walked for miles in the sweltering heat outside, not to mention wait for hours too just for a glimpse of their revered Guruji, Shri Parmand Pujari. People flocked to his ashram, seeking his blessings with many claiming to have gotten their wishes fulfilled as well. Those claims had led to a frenzy of sorts with people from all walks of life, traversing miles, sometimes even from foreign lands to test their fate at the feet of the Guru. Many of those claims, just fake hype orchestrated by the Guruji’s cohorts who acted as his disciples, Tara mused, something she had come to know much later. Donations poured in from the ignorant believers making the Guruji’s wealth and assets soar overnight. Rumour has it, that his trust had recently bought a private island somewhere near the English Channel.

Such a farce it was, Tara smirked as she gazed out at the unending line of devotees coming in and out of the ashram gate. She had been careful to park at a distance, so as not to be noticed. And with a scarf, tucking away her short hair and almost hiding her face, not many would recognize her in this remote sleepy town, some 400kms away from the city. Being in media profession, she could even camouflage her real intention of seeing the Guru. That made her smile sarcastically. All those preachings, teachings and the whole austere atmosphere in the ashram, so meticulously created, was such a fake world really. That of course, Tara wasn’t aware of until she really came to know the Guru closely. ‘Intimately!’ Tara corrected herself. A hot rush went through her body as she remembered her own liaison with the Guruji, something she had managed to keep a secret till date. After many failed attempts Guruji had finally agreed to an interview on her newly launched Lifestyle Channel. The media recluse Guru at first was practically impossible to reach. But after a series of mails exchange between the media house and the ashram PR and dealing with an impenetrable human fence of ashram devotee staff, and reaching at frustrating no-ends, she had atlast managed to secure an interview. That interview changed her entire life well almost. And in time things will get even better, Tara tapped her fingers more determinedly, looking ahead as she remembered the first time she met her Guruji.

She had received a Terms and Condition letter from the Guru’s ashram, to sign first, wherein there was some pre-decided questions printed which the Guruji would only answer, nothing more or less; Tara had readily agreed knowing how well it was easy to sell spirituality to the gullible public. Anything was better than nothing. A mere appearance of the famous Guru on her channel would mean hundreds if not thousands of his worldwide followers gluing on to her channel immediately. An instant TRP hike! That also meant great cash flow as advertisement revenue. A meeting was finally arranged and Tara had driven the long way from the city to this obscure ashram in the remote little town. At first she didn’t quite know what to make of what she saw. The surroundings were bland and almost abandoned like an eerie little ghost town. But her first impression changed immediately when she saw the bulk of devotees thronging the ashram in their hundreds.
She was made to wait almost 2 hours in the verandah where everyone had assembled, before her turn came. A young girl in an maroon coloured ashram robe came to give her a glass of water as she waited.
“Hi” Tara said cheerfully, in an attempt to divulge more information about the Guruji before she actually met him in person. “Quite a packed day today, isn’t it?”

“Oh yes, it is like this every day. But don’t you worry, by noon the crowd will thin out a bit, as it is the Guru’s resting time. I suppose you have your schedule time then.” The girl replied, adding, “You’re from the media isn’t it?”
“Yes, that’s right,” Tara said, as she sipped from the glass, the much needed chilled water to quench her thirsty throat. “You’ve been here long? What’s your name?”
“Oh no..I joined just last month temporary really. I’m Jennifer. Like you, I wanted to make some photographic portfolio for my project on the Guru’s life and his Ashram as an assignment. I live in Kochi. After being here, I really loved what I saw this whole concept of inclusive spirituality where people of any faith can join and take bliss out of it, and so with the Guruji’s permission decided to hang on a bit and serve him. I’ll of course have to show all my clicks to the Guru’s staff before I use them anywhere as that was the condition I had to sign before I joined. There are restricted places too, which I cannot shoot. “
“Hmmm…I see. It’s quite peaceful here isn’t it?” Tara asked, interestedly looking around. Even with so much people gathered in the ashram premises to get their darshan of the Guru, there was a serene calmness in the atmosphere. “The Guru doesn't readily accept media interviews too, right? I had to really work my ass off to get this one byte.”
“It depends. He is generally media shy, but if you are lucky, like I got, of course after signing the conditions, then I think its smooth enough. I guess he had given some pre-determined questionnaire to you as well.”

Tara looked at Jennifer curiously. She seemed quite observant for a young girl. She was dusky, average height, had a tattoo on right hand and some funky earrings dangling, quite contrast to the robe she was wearing. Tara sensed something unusual about her, but couldn’t place what exactly; especially her dark eyes that seemed to be hiding something. “Do all ashram devotees have to wear that robe all the time?” Tara asked, her own appearance very formal. She had to chuck those high heels at the ashram’s entrance gate itself.
“Oh no…only in the ashram if you want to serve as I am. Generally when I’m in my hometown, I prefer my shorts and tees. My stint here will anyways end next month. What about you, I’ve heard bit about your channel. Its kinda new isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s our new launch. Shekhar, my husband will be scripting some shows for it too. Actually the set of companies are originally owned by Shekhar’s family itself. But he, being the moody creative person that he is, he rarely shows interest in running the business. He likes to do his own freelancing thing without anything binding him, no business responsibilities you see. It’s when I had to step in. Can’t let it all fall into wrong hands now, can we?” Tara didn’t want to give in more information to the girl, so decided to cut it short. There were some dark corners in her mind she could not afford to allow strangers to enter. She’ll have to take care of that herself.

Sure, she was taking care of Shekhar’s family’s business, but the biting truth was everything was in their daughter’s name. Well, Shekhar and his first wife’s that is. Even the very thought of Roohi, the apple of Shekhar’s eye, had an intense feeling of hatred creeping into her heart, whenever she remembered the father and daughter duo and their undying love for each other. Shekhar, after his first wife’s death, had decided to give full attention to his daughter and bring her up as a mother himself, hence, had decided to become full time stay-at-home dad. This had him totally neglecting his family inheritance which he had left entirely to the company board members, with some of them taking undue advantage too, Tara grimaced. She had to do something fast, else she’d be stuck as a media executive forever inspite of being so close to the riches. Her effort to launch this channel was an effort to divert some of the family wealth her side. Still, Roohi being direct beneficiary of all the companies’ endeavours left Tara fuming. Only one person could help her get rid of the obstacle. Guruji! Well, she had no intention of killing the child, but gladly Guruji’s spells were starting to work a bit and the child was falling ill as expected, her usual healthy notorious demeanour fading slowly, but it wasn’t enough. There was something bigger that needed to be done, and quick. It brought her thoughts to the present again, surely, Guruji will aide her in her plans. Haha… only she knew how notorious he could be, Tara laughed to herself as she started to get out of the car.

As she opened the car door, she thought she saw someone quickly dart behind the closed paan-shop besides which she had parked the car. She had to be careful, Tara thought, as she pulled the scarf more closely over her face, as though shielding herself from the glazing sun above. Ever since her relationship with the Guru grew more intimate than what was originally supposed to be, she had been extra careful to cover her tracks, so as not to raise any suspicion. Another hot flash went through her body; excited as she was, she could barely wait to see him.


Tara flashed the VIP token which was given specially to her by the Guru. That meant no questions asked or identity checked at the gate, privilege of an immediate entry, with instant access to Guruji’s private quarters too, behind the ashram. To think the ordeal she went through when she first sought his interview, Tara gave another amused smile to herself. She had come a long way since then.

“Come on in,” his deep commanding voice had said, as she stood hesitantly at the door, clutching the video recorder in her hands. Strictly no other person was allowed to record, so she had to do the grind herself. The Guruji waved his hands, and two of his attendants who were near him, vanished instantly closing the door behind. “I have little time, so be quick with the interview.”

Tara had quickly set up the video-recorder, zoomed on the Guru and proceeded, trying hard to stick to the questions he had agreed to answer. After almost fourty-five minutes of questioning, it was time to wrap up ~ with no real masala she was hoping to get. Well, anything was better than nothing, she had sighed turning off the microphone preparing to leave.

"You are very pretty," she heard the Guru saying suddenly. Instantly, she looked up at the Guru confused as to what made him say that, that too at the end of such a formal interview session. The Guru was smiling at her, his eyes gleaming, giving out a very different kinda vibe, quite contrast to the chain of events so far. He was looking very intently at her as though saying something silently. His smile had made him look quite young, not that he was that old; he was maybe a decade or so older than her ~ perhaps in his late fourties. "You have a sadness around you too," he said, his imploring eyes never leaving hers even for a second. "Something is troubling you; do you want to share it? Hmmm...let me are not very happy with your marriage and the way things stand, is it?"
Tara was stunned at his questions. How did he knew? Why did his eyes kept her so transfixed. She could barely move or blink. She tried to gulp as she struggled for words. The Guru then stretched out his right hand and grazed the sides of her face slowly, up and down; tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "Smooth....," He said, more to himself, as his hands touched her face again stroking.

to be continued...

The plot : Initially Tara interviews Guru just to hike TRP of her channel, but later gets involved with him and slowly hatches a plan to get roohi her step-daughter kidnapped, so that she can lay hands on Shekar's family wealth. Shekhar has inherited wealth, but he prefers to live a maverick lifestyle as freelancer/stay at home dad. Jennifer meanwhile is spying on the Guru, who is a notorious person who destroyed many women's life ( including some one very close to her ). She wants to catch him red-handed and over hears the plans. She then tries desperately to contact shekhar, who doesnot believe her at first, though he suspects his wife to be very greedy woman. After the child gets kidnapped, thats when he actually believes her, and this brings them close. To save the child, Jennifer takes help from Cyrus, who had massive crush on her at one point. He helps in rescueing the child, but sees jennifer's growing feelings for shekhar instead and gives up on his own feelings. He helps sending the Guru n the wife tara to jail. Since, tara is media professional, its another sex scandal about nexus between media and the spiritual gurus. Shekhar gets freelance story of his lifetime, reporting about his own criminal wife!

Based on the following characters :

Shekhar Dutta - Stay home Dad, freelance writer, Hindu, Stays in Mumbai
Description - French beard, bald, average height, fair, thin specs, lean, wears t-shirt & track pants generally, ever smiling.
• Tara Dutta – Shekhar’s wife, Media professional , career oriented woman.
Description - Fair, short hair, tall, prim & proper dressed, wear formals & high heels.
• Roohi Dutta – 9 years girl, Shekhar and Tara’s daughter.
Description - Fair, healthy, notorious, 2 ponytail, wear frill frocks.
• Jennifer Joseph – Photographer, Christian, Stays in Kochi (Kerala)
Description - Dusky, average height, tattoo on right hand, wears casual shorts and tees, lots of accessories, always carries a camera.
• Cyrus Daruwala – A law student, Stays in Delhi
Description - Tall, extremely fair, big specs, curly hair, stern face, beard on the chin.

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