Thursday, 1 February 2018

Part 29: Remember this (Arsh ff)

Muskaan looked up from the notes she was reading to find shilpa standing at door of her office.
Muskaan: hey! What are you doing here? (she smiled quizzically as she looked at a serious shilpa)
Shilpa took a couple of steps in the room and stopped: you're not busy?
Muskaan smiled: no! come on in! (she kept looking at shilpa who looked disturbed as she came and sat down) so tell me! what brings you here? Didn't you have a meeting with your lawyer today?
Shilpa shrugged: not with the lawyer!

Muskaan leaning forward on her desk: whats wrong? You seem disturbed(shilpa sat there with her arms crossed over her chest but her eyes gave away the turmoil she was feeling inside) 
Shilpa wet her lips as she looked at muskaan with shadowed eyes: I think I need help!
Muskaan: shilpa! talk to me you know you can tell me anything!
Shilpa swallowed hard: I don't know what to do?(she whispered brokenly she passed a hand across her eyes then looked back up at muskaan)I don't know!
Muskaan looked at her eyes which were filled with pain: shilpa! if you won't tell me I won't be able to help you. What happened today which has disturbed you so much?
Shilpa pressed a fist to her mouth: I went to the jail today!
Muskaan quirked a brow: to see tayaji! But why? Did he say something to you? Did he threaten you?
Shilpa shook her head: no! it was I had expected and hoped for. I saw the despair in his eyes and I felt happy but when I left from there I felt so empty. This is what I had wanted since the day I came across that letter from my dad. I don't regret doing anything but somehow now I don't feel happy. That place inside me still feels empty(she covered her face with her hands rubbing it and then drew it away) I know I don't make any sense!
Muskaan: No! I understand shilpa! this was your mission or focus for so long that now when you have accomplished it you are at a loss. (before shilpa could interrupt) let me finish first! But it is more than that! Even though you have taken your revenge and justice has been served the truth is all of this is not going to bring your dad back (she saw shilpa's eyes well up with tears and knew she was right)
Shilpa whispered back: its just so unfair!
Muskaan looked at her with sympathy: I know darling!
Shilpa shaking her head: for the last two years I have not thought of anything else but getting to this point and now (she pressed a hand to her chest) it still hurts muskaan!
Muskaan got up from behind her desk and walked over to shilpa and sat beside her on the chair: Shilpa! I know its difficult but you've got to let go of the past. You've achieved what you had set out to do but now its time to move forward.
Shilpa: how? I don't know how? I feel so angry !
Muskaan: let go of that anger shilpa! they didn't get away with it you made them pay. But now its time to focus on the good things in life. You've got friends who love you and a man who is madly in love with you, and would do anything to make you happy. Even his parents are crazy about you and love you more than him.
Shilpa laughed a rusty laugh: I know! And I love all of you guys too! Its just that at times I feel guilty that I might forget my parents. Stupid! I know!
Muskaan: shilpa stop being so hard on yourself! Your reactions are very normal but the thing to remember is that will your parents want you to be unhappy. No! shilpa! they'll want you to grab on to your chance of happiness. Let go of the past! You cannot completely erase it ever but by being happy and having people in your life who love you, you are letting go of the pain.
Shilpa blinked back the tears that had sprang up in her eyes: when I had lost my memory I was so lost! I use to wonder why god would put me in such a situation. But I understand now! I needed to find you people! B'coz otherwise I would have never even bothered with you as I was so into finding justice. (shilpa threw her arms around muskaan and hugged her tight)
Muskaan also hugged her back the feeling of a vise around her lungs dissolved after this talk. Since shilpa had regained her memory muskaan had felt the change in shilpa's behavior making her feel unsettled. But now with this heart to heart she felt much better.
Shilpa pulled back and wiped the tears from her face: there's another thing! I'm confused about myself! (muskaan made a confused face) I'm a very decisive person! I know my likes and dislikes! What I wear and how I wear it! But now it seems that there are two shilpa's. The shilpa from before is more comfortable in pants and jeans with her hair pulled back in a braid or pony. But the shilpa you guys knew, she's more into dresses with sandals and hair mostly kept loose or in a softer style. Now every morning I can't decide what to wear, how to do my hear, its very frustrating.
Muskaan laughed at shilpa's expression: why are you trying to compartmentalize your self. So what if you didn't wear dresses before either way its you. If you like wearing them then go for it, just before you didn't do it before doesn't mean you can't change your style now.
Shilpa smiling: you're good! No wonder you're busy all time.(her voice thickened with emotion) but the reason I came to you had nothing to do with your professional capability. One thing that hasn't changed with the return of my memory is that I still think of you as a sister. There is no one else I would go to in such circumstances.
Muskaan hugged her again touched beyond words at her sentiments: it's the first time I don't mind that someone is not appreciative of my credentials.
Shilpa pulled back and rolled her eyes: my! You doctors are really tough to make happy.
Muskaan smiling at her: what are you going to do now?
Shilpa: I'm going over to meet my baby girl! She's always happy to see me!(looking at muskaan's amused expression) I'm going to work on your advice! Try and focus on the present, let go of the past. Spend time with one hunky doctor.(making muskaan laugh)
Muskaan: what are you waiting for?
Shilpa smiling: adieu!
Muskaan continued sit there as shilpa left the room, she got up and called reception: tell me is dr. armaan available right now?
Nurse: I'll have to check his cabin!
Muskaan: if he is plz tell him to come to my cabin or call me.
Shilpa sat in the nursery with Ayesha in her arms who was awake and completely mesmerized by a talking shilpa.
Shilpa: …so you see I'm trying to focus on the good things in life and you are the best.(smiling down at the baby as she babbled and grabbed a fistful of shilpa's hair) you like doing this, don't you?(she gently pried her hair hair lose from her grip) I'm still to young to go bald, it seems I'll have to keep my hair tied up when I come to visit you.(she bumped the baby's nose with her own)
Armaan: not if I have something to say about it (shilpa jumped at the unexpected sound of armaan's voice she turned around to find him standing inside the nursery with an indulgent look)
Shilpa beamed at him: hey! I didn't know you had a duty here!
Armaan: who says I'm here on duty?
Shilpa raised her brows: you came to meet me? how did you know I was here ?
Armaan: you honestly think you'll come to the hospital and I wouldn't know about it(he had walked over to shilpa and raised his hand to push back her hair from her face)
Shilpa smiled: well! I'm very happy to meet you too!(armaan smiled at her response as his fingers traced the arch of her brow, down to the rise of her cheekbones. The truth was muskaan had actually hunted him down and told him about shilpa)
Armaan glanced down at the baby who looked enthralled by shilpa: so what were you talking to Ayesha about?
Shilpa glancing down at the baby too: oh! We were having our girl talk!
Armaan grinned: really! What was it about?
Shilpa: how much I had to be thankful for! I have wonderful friends and one hunky doctor who loves me!
Armaan tugged at her hair making her look up at him: beyond reason! (shilpa smiled up at him but there were shadows in her eyes) whats bothering you?
Shilpa: nothing is wrong! Things are little screwed up in my head I'm just trying to straighten them out. (when armaan stayed quiet, silently urging her to continue) things were much simpler when I couldn't remember my past. Now it seems everything has a different meaning a different context making it difficult for me to react. I know its going to sound weird but the truth is now there are two reactions in my head, one for the shilpa I use to be before I came here and the other for the shilpa I was for the past one year.
Armaan felt uncertain not sure how to respond to her confusion but shilpa continued: muskaan thinks I'm making too much out of it both are a part of me now that I'm aware of the differences I should try and combine the two. I just don't like feeling so uncertain (shilpa handed ayaesha back to a nurse)
Armaan: do you regret making the choices you made in the past year.(he asked seriously)
Shilpa glanced sharply at him: what are you asking armaan? Are you asking if I regret being in love with you?(when armaan stayed quiet) armaan! I love you! I believe even if I had not lost my memory we would have managed to meet. But I would not have given in as easily as I did. The old shilpa was a tougher cookie to crack.
Armaan: you gave in easily! Are we talking about someone else!(he laughed)
Shilpa: if I remember correctly it was I who declared myself first becoz someone was chicken.(shilpa retorted) Armaan! Today when I look back I'm glad that the memory loss happened b'coz it brought me you, your family and friends (she added softly)
Armaan pulled her in his arms: I love the shilpa you were when you didn't even remember your name and as for the new shilpa you claim is so different,  I think its worth a shot to get to know her. So in the interest of getting to know you what say Ms. Shilpa Garewal will you go out on a date with me.
Shilpa looked at him and couldn't suppress the smile:  I would love to but its Shilpa Malhotra (as she threw her arms around him and hugged and for no reason at all armaan felt fear settle down like lead in his stomach)
The days that followed were filled with fun and self discovery for shilpa. Shilpa discovered that she was no longer as driven as before. She never had any romantic involvements and had always assumed herself to be not a very emotional person. The only people she had been involved with were her parents but now she discovered that she had a vast well of love for all the people who were close to her. As the days for muskaan's and rahul wedding drew closer, shilpa spent more and more time with muskaan. She realized how much she had in common with muskaan and both of them felt a sisterly bond which just grew stronger everyday.
Her relationship with rahul was an enigma, she found rahul fascinating as he had many layers to his personality but the funny part was so did she and that was what drew them to each other. They were blood kin but for shilpa the bond she shared with him had not gotten stronger due to this revelation. Initially shilpa had tried to distant herself from him due to her aversion to the Garewal name. But the love and friendship they shared had been too special for shilpa to just throw away.
Armaan. Shilpa couldn't believe that she could love someone so much. Even though she remembered everything from the past year she could not pinpoint one incident when she fell in kove with him. It was as if she had woken up from her coma and fallen in love with him the first instant she laid her eyes on him. Everything about him attracted her, his face, calling it good looking was saying that sun is bright. It was more than his good looks, it was the man underneath the good looks that attracted her more. She observed him with his patients, the patience with which he listened to their problems, the infinite care he took while examining the patient.
Shilpa shook her head at herself and couldn't hold back a self deprecating laugh as she realized how bad a case of Armanophobia she had. Looking at his his gentle yet strong hands checking the joints of a patient or dressing someone wounds had the ability to make her feel hot under the collar. To make matters worse he was playing a total gentleman, not once cornering her in the doorways or corridors. The truth was shilpa loved him completely, each and every aspect of his personality fascinated her.
Armaan on the other end was in state of turmoil. Everyday brought a new set of revelations about shilpa making him realize that the shilpa he had fallen in love with was only one aspect of a complicated but fascinating shilpa. This new shilpa had baggage of her previous life even though she didn't carry it everywhere but it colored her dealings with people. She was a lot stronger and willful than the other shilpa, she was prone to making her own decisions. The decision she made, she made on her own and she was not sorry about it.
It was rahul-muskaan wedding and the venue was still not decided when shilpa announced that the wedding was going to be held at the Garewal mansion and the reception was also to be held at the gardens of the mansion. Everyone had been shocked to which she very matter of factly replied: well rahul is a garewal so his wedding should be at the garewal mansion plus muskaan had wanted the wedding to be held there.
Muskaan: shilpa! but the garewal mansion is yours and you were going to ….
Shilpa cutting muskaan before she could complete her sentence: as you just pointed out it is mine and I'm doing what I want to do. (when she continued to look dissatisfied) I'm moving forward muskaan! I'm letting go of the bitterness of the past and focusing on the promise of tomorrow.
Rahul had walked over and wrapped his arms around shilpa and held on tight: I thought you were never going to forgive me!
Shilpa who was hugging him back laughed: for what?
Rahul pulling back: for being a garewal! I thought I had lost you!
Shilpa tugged at his ear lobe making him smile: you can't lose me! you an I are bonded by genuine affection and a something little extra. Maybe its b'coz we are cousins or maybe something else, I've stopped ananlysing it and am following my heart. I want you to have the wedding you have dreamt of and if I can help you get it I'm all for it.
Armaan had stood nearby and felt the love he felt for shilpa grow as the petals to her personality unfurled. When she looked up at him with smile oanin  her lips an love sparkling in her eyes, armaan couldn't help but close the distance between them. As he wrapped his arms around her waist and brought her body in contact with her all he could think was of how much he loved her. He brought his head down and pressed his lips to hers amidst cat calls from his friends and family, as he felt her arms wrap strongly around his neck and her tongue tangling with his in an intimate kiss, he felt fear. As the kiss continued armaan tried to drown the voice in his head which kept getting louder: how the hell am I going to keep her.


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