Sunday, 7 July 2019

Last Chapter : Numb

She looked at herself in the mirror for the umpteenth time hoping it was still a dream. She was dressed as a typical bride to be in her red lengha adorned with jewelry, makeup and with her hands full of mehndi with her soon to be husband's name written in between the patterns. There was a time when she had dreamed that she would be sitting in a room waiting for the love of her life to come and take her. But little had she known that destiny would once again play its game. She had gone from spending a day full of laughter and fun with the people she loved to being put into a room being forced to marry a man she loathed. She couldn't help but let a tear drop down her eyes as she once again tired to figure out how her life had changed in the past 72 hours.


 It had been an amazing day at the beach. I had never had so much fun in my life. I had always loved going to the beach as a child but after things had gone sour with my family I had stopped going. But today after years I had fully enjoyed myself. I had seen how much Eva enjoyed it too. And that's when I had made a mental note to start bringing her here more often. It was 3 in the afternoon when we had returned home and decided to take a nap as everyone was tired. I had woken up first and decided to go and make everyone some coffee. I had just turned on the kettle when the door bell had rung calling for my attention. I walked towards the door and as I got closer towards it I didn't know why but a sinking feeling was beginning to come over me. I didn't know why but I felt as if something was going to happen. Finally reaching the door I placed my hand on the door knob and opening the door I came face to face with Shashank Gupta. I was surprised and shocked that he was standing in front of me after I had told him very clearly to leave me alone. But I guess he just didn't get it. I was about to close the door in his face when he had put his hand against the frame of the door and asked me in a voice I had not heard in a long time to just listen. I didn't know what to do. I didn't trust him one bit but I also knew that if I didn't give him a chance then he would never leave. And so reluctantly I let him in.



He sat down in front of me on the sofa and when he noticed that I wasn't going to say a word he started talking. He told me how he was sorry for what had happened. He told me how he was sorry for abandoning me. He told me how he had gotten sucked into the world of crime that he had let everything slip from his hands. He told me that he wanted to start over. He told me that he wanted to make it up to me. He told me that he wanted to be in mine and Eva's life again. He wanted to make things right. I don't know how long he had talked but by the time he was done he had broken down into tears. I had sat still for minutes watching him cry. I didn't know what to do. But somehow my body on its own accord had made the decision for me. For the next minute I had gathered him into my arms and hugged him back allowing myself to let the pain out that I had harbored inside of me. I guess I somewhere felt deep down that he was still my father no matter what I said or did. We cried for what felt like eons until he finally moved out of my embrace. He then wiped his tears and looking into my eyes for the first time in 10 years he asked me for something.



"Will you come home with me?"



I felt shivers run down my spine as his words rung into my ears. He was asking me to come home with him. Home. The place that I had grown up in. The place where my mother was still living. How was I supposed to say no? And so I nodded my head in a yes not knowing that I had just fallen into a trap.



What had started out as a day filled with laughter and fun had turned into her worst nightmare. She was trapped. She was getting married and there was nothing she could do. She still couldn't believe how stupid she had been for thinking that her father had changed. How could she have fallen into his trap? How could she have agreed to his every wish? How could she have left Armaan with nothing but a note. She hadn't even been given the chance to see him one last time. But then again what else could she do? If it was about her she would have handled it but it wasn't. Her father had put her into such a predicament that she had no choice. It was about Armaan and Eva after all. She didn't want to see them dead and so she had agreed reluctantly to get married to Rohit. Yes her own father had made her agree to marry Rohit again in exchange for Armaan and Eva's life. She had tired hard to make her father change his mind and let go but he had been adamant and she had no other way but to agree. And now as she thought back she wanted to press rewind. She wanted to go back in time.



Hearing the sound of the door opening Riddhima came out of her thoughts and looked to see her mother standing at the door.



"Riddhima. It's time."

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He stared at his text message for the zillionth time in the past 72 hours. How he wished what was written was wrong. How he wished he could go back in time and change things. If only he had been able to stop Riddhima from leaving and maybe she would have still been with him. He could still remember waking up that day and finding a note beside him on the pillow next to him. Curious he had picked it up to see Riddhima had written something in her childlike handwriting. 





If you're reading this it means you found my note and realized that I'm not around. I know you must be wondering where I am and why I didn't even say a proper goodbye. Well what happened was that my father came over while you were sleeping and he apologized to me for everything that he had done. He wanted to start over. He wanted another chance. And I know this may be crazy but I am going to give him that chance. I want him back in my life and for that I'm going to go spend a few days with him. I'll be okay don't worry. I'll be back soon. I love you.


 Armaan had been shocked at first that Riddhima had even considered let alone spending time with her dad but giving him another chance after what he had put her through? He couldn't understand what had come over her to do such a thing. He had tried calling her numerous times but she had never picked up the phone. He had even contemplated on going over to see her but would stop himself thinking that she would call if anything was wrong. He knew Riddhima that much. And he trusted her. But what he hadn't expected was to get a text message from Riddhima 24 hours later saying that she was getting married to Rohit. He had felt his body go numb. He felt as if someone had shot him and he was dying. How could this be true? How could Riddhima be marrying the same man that had tried to destroy her life? He just didn't get it. Something was not right. But what it was he didn't know.  And now 72 hours later Armaan was still trying to understand what the hell was going on.



I just don't get it! How can she do this to me? How can she marry that ******* *******! Something is fishy here. This is not the Riddhima I know. She would never do this to me. She could never forgive her dad that easily and then agree to marry Rohit. No! This wrong! I have to do something. I can't let Riddhima marry that man. I have to save her. I'm coming Fruitloop. I'm coming.



Grabbing his car keys from the side table he walked out of his room to save his fruitloop.



Shashank stood to the side and watched as his daughter descended down the stairs. He had waited for this day all his life when he would get to see his daughter dressed as a bride. He was so happy today. After all his plan was working. He had never thought that Riddhima would fall into his trap that easily. He had thought that she would fight back but she had quietly agreed to every word that he had said. And now all he had to do was wait until the wedding was over and he would quietly take Eva and leave.



Just a little longer and it's all over. Eva will be mine and Riddhima my dear dear daughter you will be well ...you will join your dear sister in heaven. I'm sorry beta but daddy has to do this.



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As she stepped down the final step Riddhima could feel her body freeze. Her feet refused to move and her heart began to race. She could feel tears build up in her eyes as reality had begun to sink in. Her life was about to end. She was about to get married all in the name of sacrifice. And there was no going back.



I guess this is it. My life as I know it is about to end. I'm never going to be the same. I'm about to lose everything that I had. I'm never going to see Armaan again. I'm never going to be able to tell him that I love him. I'm never going to be able to wrap my arms around him when I need him. Eva is never going to see her Daddy again. I can't believe I let this happen. I can't believe I let that man get the better of me! And now because of him I am ending my life. I'm losing everything that is dear to me. I just wish I could see Armaan one last time.





She didn't know how or when god had heard her thoughts but the next second just as she was about to take a step towards the mandap she heard a voice call her name. She shot her head up and looked to see him standing a few feet away from her. Her everything. Her Skittle head.





"Riddhima!"



"Armaan!"



Her body that had refused to move a few minutes ago now began to move. It was as if it had come alive again. Riddhima ran from her spot and straight into his open arms. She didn't care that everyone around her including her father was watching. All she knew was that her Armaan had come for her. The tears that she had been trying to control finally began to flow.



"It's okay fruitloop. I'm here. Everything will be fine."



The sudden sound of clapping boomed through the room and Armaan and Riddhima who had been lost in their own world turned towards the sound to see Shashank Gupta.





"Welcome Armaan. Welcome to my daughters wedding. I'm glad you could make it. But if you don't mind could you please let go of her. She doesn't belong to you. She's my daughter and she will do as I say. So keep your filthy hands off of her or I'll shoot you."



Armaan could feel his anger build as he heard Shashank speak. His body itched to grab a hold of him and rip him to pieces. How dare he say that Riddhima didn't belong to him. She was his. And only his. Shashank had lost the right to say anything about Riddhima a long time ago.



Riddhima could feel Armaan's body begin to tense up. She looked up into his eyes and she could see the anger slowly appear in his eyes. She knew her father's words were affecting him. And seeing thing that Riddhima couldn't take it anymore. She had had enough. Her father had absolutely NO right to say anything to Armaan let alone point a gun at him. And so without letting her father say another word Riddhima turned around in her spot and walked towards her gangster of a father.



"You want to shoot someone? Shoot me!"



Shashank stared at his daughter bewildered who stood before him with his gun pointed to her forehead. He could feel his hands shake for the first time in his life. He hadn't expected Riddhima to do such a thing.



"Riddhima move! That man doesn't deserve you! Why are you trying to save him! He's nothing but a ...





"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT YOUR DIRTY MOUTH UP! HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT ARMAAN LIKE THAT! HOW DARE YOU TRY TO RUIN MY LIFE AGAIN! HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ARMAAN DOESN'T BELONG TO ME! HE IS MY LIFE! DO YOU HEAR ME! HE IS MY LIFE!. And what was that? What did you say? I will do what you say? THE HELL I WILL NOT! I WILL NOT DO AS YOU SAY! I AM NOT MARRYING ROHIT! I AM NOT LETTING YOU TOUCH MY DAUGHTER! And what did you say I'm your DAUGHTER! I'm sorry Mr.Shashank Gupta but I'm not your daughter! I'M NOT YOUR DAUGTHER DO YOU HEAR ME!!!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGHTER YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER GOTTEN ME MARRIED TO ROHIT!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGTHER YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER SOLD ME TO A STRANGER!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGTHER YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER TRIED TO SELL MY CHILD LIKE SHE WAS A TOY!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGHTER YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER ABANDONED ME!!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGTHER YOU WOULD HAVE PICKED UP THE DAMN PHONE TO SEE IF I WAS ALIVE OR DEAD!!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGTHER YOU WOULD HAVE PROTECTED ME FROM ALL THE CRAP THAT I HAD TO ENDURE ALL ALONE!!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGTHER YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE WHEN I NEEDED YOU!!! IF I WAS YOUR DAUGTHER YOU WOULD HAVE GIVEN ME A SHOULDER TO CRY ON AND SAID "BETA I'M HERE FOR YOU!!" BUT YOU WEREN'T!!!! YOU WEREN'T THERE WHEN I SPENT 10 YEARS LIVING WITHOUT A FATHER!!! WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I HAD TO WORK DAY AND NIGHT JUST TO GET A ROOF OVER MY HEAD BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE THE OPTION TO COME HOME!!! WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I SPENT EVERYDAY CRYING WITH NO ONE TO TALK TO OR HUG BECAUSE I KNEW THAT ONCE MY TRUE STORY CAME OUT NO ONE WOULD CARE!!! WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I WAS RUNNING TO SAVE MINE AND EVA'S LIFE!!! WHERE WERE YOU WHEN MY OWN HUSBAND WAS TRYING TO KILL ME!!! WHERE WERE YOU!

And as far as Armaan goes.  HE GAVE ME A SHOULDER TO CRY ON!!! HE ACCEPTED ME DESPITE MY PAST!!! HE TAUGHT ME THAT I'M ALLOWED TO LIVE AGAIN!! HE TAUGHT ME THAT I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS UNLIKE YOU!!! HE TAUGHT ME THAT I HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE!!! HE GAVE ME THE STRENGTH TO MOVE ON!! HE WAS THERE FOR ME WHEN I NEEDED HIM!! HE WAS THERE TO COMFORT ME WHEN I CRIED!!! HE GAVE ME A SECOND CHANCE!!! HE HELPED ME TO OVER COME MY FEARS!!! HE TAUGHT ME THAT I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS WORLD!!! HE GAVE MY DAUGHTER A FATHER! AND YOU HAVE THE AUDASITY TO STAND THERE AND SAY THAT I HAVE TO OBEY YOU!!"



Riddhima could feel her body shake and tears rapidly fall from her eyes. It wasn't everyday that she told off her own father. But today she had reached her tolerance level. Her father had popped her bubble and she had erupted. She didn't care who was around her and what they were thinking. All she knew was that it was time he realized how much he had put her through.



"I'm sorry Shashank Gupta but today you have lost another daughter. Congratulations."



And with that Riddhima grabbed Eva from her mother's arms and walked out of her father's house with Armaan beside her holding on to her hand.


Shashank stood in his spot as he watched his daughter walk out of the door. He wanted to yell and scream for her to come back but he knew it would never work. Her words were still echoing through the house and into his ears. He felt as if someone had shot him in the heart. He didn't want to admit it but everything she had said was true. He had ruined his family's life with his own hands. If only he could go back in time and fix things. If only he had never made that deal. If only he had listened to his wife and maybe things would have been different. But it was too late. He had failed. He had failed as a father and as a husband. For the first time in his life Shashank Gupta the all and powerful gangster had been taken down by his own daughter.



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She stood in front of the window looking out at the evening sky, her mind still reeling with what had occurred a few hours ago. She didn't know what had come over her. It was like she had been possessed. She couldn't believe she had finally said what she had kept inside of her for years. She could still picture her father's face after she had told him off. It was the first time Riddhima had ever seen her father look ashamed and defeated. After all It was the first time Shashank Gupta had been shown the reality of his actions and that to by his own daughter. Riddhima continued to stare out of the window lost in her thoughts that when the sudden feel of warm fingers creeping around her waist and the moist feeling of lips touched her cheek did she awake from her reverie. She looked to the right of her and come into contact with a pair of grey blue eyes boring into hers with nothing but love filled in them.



"What are you thinking about fruitloop?"



"Nothing I was just thinking that I finally told my father how I felt. I mean I never thought that one day I would be able to stand up to him. And you know what. It's all because of you. I'm so lucky to be with the most amazing man in the world, who stands by me through thick and thin and is willing to not only accept me but my daughter too. And for that I love you from the bottom of my heart."

 "I love you too fruitloop. And I'm so proud of you for what you did today. I know it wasn't easy. But from now on there will only be room for happiness."

 She turned around in his embrace and resting her head against his chest she took a sigh of content as a sense of peace filled her heart as she realized that her life was no longer numb. She now had everything she ever wanted.

 -The End-

Tashu

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