As the flash bulbs popped all around her, she was constantly asked, "Is this best seller, Seasons of our lives, autobiographical?" What could she say? Thirty something, Zenia Framroze, winner of an international award, flashed a brilliant smile and ensured that her sparkling eyes did not portray the truth. Soon she was whisked in a shiny limo to attend yet another cocktail party. Leaning back she thought of where it had all begun.
Her parents had divorced when she was just six years old. Her mother was a poet, albeit an unknown one. Zenia still had kept these poems that had been scribbled in a hurry behind laundry receipts and chemist bills. Her father, a brilliant lawyer, had no time to understand the sentiments of a sensitive poet. Their marriage ended in a bitter separation.
She had shuttled for the next two years, between her father`s villa in Juhu, Mumbai and her mother`s ancestral home in Dhanu. Till her mother found a soul mate, and shifted to Paris and over the years lost touch with her.
The four walls of a convent boarding school brought her solace, but the strictly regimental life, did not give much leeway for the creative spirit within her. To make matters worse, then entered the stepmother. Another brilliant advocate, she sneered at Zenia and her "stupidity". She hated going back home for her holidays. But, then there was no choice. She remembered the piano lessons. She had loved music. Only her stepmother was far, far better in playing it. It seemed that anything she tried her hand at, her stepmother did it better, be it music or painting.
But not when it came to writing. She had seemed to have an inborn talent for it. Writing under a pen name, her stories were soon published in various magazines, stories that showed maturity far beyond her teenage years.
Journalism College gave her the necessary freedom. Thank God for that scholarship. Her father hellbent on making her a proficient advocate had refused to sponsor her education in this stream. She never went back for her holidays. And apart from a formal greeting on her birthday, there was virtually no contact with the family.
It was here that she had met `him`. Cocky and arrogant, with a part-time job at a small ad-agency, Robin seemed to sail through the projects, while she actually trembled during each and every presentation that was part of the curriculum.
On a project they were thrown together. Her willingness to work hard and concentrate on the tiny details, her sensitivity that shone in any written copy and of course Robin`s usual aplomb, made them a strange team but a winning team. They also shone in various inter-college competitions. Robin had complimented her writing. The very first compliment that she had received and that to from a "rude stranger".
In a way, it was Robin who had goaded her to carry on writing even after college life was over and she too had joined an ad agency. Whatever free time she could spare, was spent in her hostel room writing, just writing. Chapters grew, interesting chapters.
A story began to take shape, of a child with big dreams, trying to understand why people divorced, of a teenager stumbling and getting up stronger with the will to break away from the stifling respectability of a house in Mumbai, of a growing feeling of warmth and hope and the need to sever the ties that bound the child to her past. Zenia`s fiery imagination and sensitive soul managed to bring out the best in this book, a fine balance of human understanding and the craving to be free.
Was this autobiographical? Partly, thought Zenia as the car moved swiftly on. Robin of course, was lost in the rat race of an ad agency. In the past, he had just sent her one email. It stated: "People come into your life for a season. Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.
Zenia smiled. She knew that Robin would be there at this cocktail party, it was the only reason that she had accepted the invitation to attend. Robin`s presence in her life was not just for a season. Her season of life would now be much brighter.