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I'm Coming To Get You, Princess - Part II - Chapter 1 - ROMANCE BLOOMS IN KOCHI





                                                                                                                                                              To see the previous chapter  (Part I, Chapter 9), go here                                                                                                                                                             


(Three weeks earlier)

Jennifer waved her journalist’s pass at the security man and walked down towards the conference centre at the hotel, which was just a stone’s throw away from Kochi’s famous Marine Drive. She felt elated to be covering this international conference in her native city.  It was a beautiful  summer morning and there was an air of magic, almost expectancy, in the air.  Her keen eyes, as always,  were on the lookout for a suitable photo opportunity.  Her attention was taken up momentarily by a couple and their cute daughter.  The mother was an impressive lady in a designer sari and a short, almost shaven designer haircut which showed off her sharp features to their best advantage.   The father was  a pleasant looking man sporting a goatee, who looked most uncomfortable in the suit his wife had obviously made him wear for the occasion.

“You know, Shekhar, as the Americans say, you clean up good.  You look so handsome in that suit.  You really should dress like this more often.  Shouldn’t he, Roohi?” said the woman, looking towards her young daughter for support.  The young one, a complete cutie aged around ten, Jennifer guessed, giggled and nodded, obviously agreeing with her mother.”

“I’m outnumbered as usual,” groaned the man, in mock despair.

Jennifer smiled.  A happy family is a lovely thing to see.  Will I ever belong to a family like this? She thought about it and shrugged inwardly.  Maybe, someday……

“Well, well, well!  If it isn’t little Jenny Joseph!  And what brings you here, may I ask?” said a voice from behind, interrupting Jennifer’s reverie.

Jennifer swung around to see who had spoken and found herself gazing into the smiling eyes of Cyrus Daruwala.  Cyrus!  Her old associate and sparring partner from her days in Delhi University.

“Cy?”  She couldn’t quite believe her eyes.

“Jenny?” he replied, not quite believing that it was really her, either.

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.  It’s not Jenny.  It’s Jennifer.  Jennifer Joseph.”

“I’ve always called you Jenny.  And you always called me Cy….  In fact,  you just did.”

“Just did what?”

“Called me Cy.”

“Did I?  Oh……”  She was caught.  But only for a moment.

“Ha!  I don’t know what came over me.  I must have been distracted,” she replied coolly, acting like she couldn’t have cared less.

“Anyway, what brings you here?”

“What brings me here?  I’m a Kochiite, remember?  I’m a freelance photographer and journalist, covering this conference for a national publication.  And you?”

He smiled.  “I’m with an NGO called Tamso Ma Jyotirgamaya,.  We are militantly anti modern slavery.  We’re a pain in the neck to a lot of politicians and establishment people.  But there’s no other way to pursue your cause, other than by being a persistent pain in the neck.”

“Anti-slavery?  This conference is against human trafficking.”  Jennifer could feel her curiosity rising.

“Human trafficking invariably leads to slavery of one sort or another, whether it’s domestic slavery or sex slavery.  There’s no basic difference between the two except that sex slavery tends to leave the victims stigmatized for life.  We work against slavery in all its forms.”

Jenny was fascinated.  “So, after you completed your BA, you didn’t bother going for the LLB as you’d always said you would?”

“Oh, yes,” he replied.  “I most certainly did.  I completed LLB and LLM at JNU.  In fact, I’m working towards my doctorate.  Legal knowledge is extremely useful in my line.”

“Indeed,” she replied.  Well, Cyrus had always been committed to causes of some sort or another.  It was only natural that his educational choices would reflect that commitment.

“I must say,” he said, changing the subject, “I’m impressed with your beautiful city.  Kochi is…….well, amazing.”

“Yes,” she replied, pride obvious in her voice.  “It’s known as the queen of the Arabian Sea.  It’s rich in culture and history and it’s a big naval and commerce centre.  I don’t know why it’s not considered to be one of the more prominent cities in India.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s no way less than the big four cities.”

“Big four cities?” Cyrus was intrigued.
“Yes. Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata.  You know what I mean.”

“There’s Bengaluru also, nowadays.”

“Right.  And Kochi’s no way less than any of them.”

“Jennifer, I was just thinking.  Maybe you’d like to show me around?”

“Sure, I’d love to,” she replied, to her own surprise.  She’d always considered Cyrus Daruwala to be an arrogant braggart, but for some reason, she was warming to him.   She didn’t quite understand it herself.  “Maybe we could go for a walk on Marine Drive when the day’s session is over.  It’s one of our famous city walks.”

“Great.  Why don’t we swap mobile numbers and catch up later, then?”

“Okay.”  Jennifer was starting to have second thoughts.  Did she really need to spend the evening with Cyrus Daruwala, listening to him pontificating on the evils of slavery? Not that it wasn’t a worthy cause, of course.  But the Cy she knew of old could be a pain if he had a bee in his proverbial bonnet about something.  Which was usually most of the time.

But as they swapped mobile numbers, she found herself looking forward to their meeting later on.  He had matured a lot, she could see that.

“How are things with you, Jenny?  Jennifer, I mean,” he added, correcting himself.  “Your boyfriend won’t have a fit because you’re meeting me later?”

“No worries there.  I’m not in a relationship at the moment,” she replied, a little embarrassed.  Is Cyrus Daruwala checking me out?

“Surprising,” he replied, with a grin.  “I’m amazed you haven’t found some nice Mallu man yet, to make an honest woman out of you.  I’d honestly imagined you’d be married to someone called John Matthew by now and that you’d be the mother of two kids called George and Mariamma.”

“Why, you…..” she replied, stung.  “No.  No John Matthew on the scene right now.  And what about you?  I’d have thought you’d be married to some nice Parsee woman called Perizaad by now, with two kids called Darius and Nargis.”

Cyrus laughed long and loud.  “No sign of any Perizaad on my horizon.  You’re still the same Jenny Joseph.  Always up for an argument.  And please, don’t bother correcting me again.  You’ll always be Jenny Joseph for me.  I still remember how you always used to ask me how come all the Parsee men you knew were called Cyrus.”

“And you always used to ask why all the Mallu women you knew were called Mariamma, and I’d always tell you that you knew very well that wasn’t true and you’d say I was different.”

“Well, that was certainly true.  You always were different.  So Jenny, this evening, then.  I’ll call you up on your mobile at five o’clock sharp.  Be sure you don’t switch it off.   I’ll be waiting for you in the reception of the hotel in any case.”

“Okay, Cy.  I’ll be there.  See you later.”

“Looking forward to it.  See you later……..Jenny.”

*****


And the story continues here.......

 “Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with 
us.”
 
The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of DivsiPRBPeeVeeArpitaDatta Nupur,SulekhaMaria and Roshan.





Comments

  1. Excellent build up! A Subtle but a great start to Week 2!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Datta, looking forward to your post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brilliant piece of writing, Maria.Enjoyed reading your interesting chapter of the second week.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.
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