Saturday, 15 February 2020

Part 15 : I See You!

Armaan looked down at the sculpture that he had just placed on the table infront of him. He would've had to be blind so to not know it was his sculpture. Armaan turned around to leave but stopped as he saw Shilpa standing behind him and he knew that she knew.

Shilpa looked at the face of the man who had changed her life, changed her. She took a step forward closing what little distance there was between them. Armaan looked at her as she came nearer still and decided to distract her with conversation: Shilpa…(before he could continue shilpa placed her fingers atop his lips stopping him)

Armaan felt on fire as shilpa slowly glided her fingers across his lips, she then traced her finger tips across his cheek bones, down his jawline to sweep up across his brow tracing his eyebrows and nose. Armaan again tried to speak: Shilpa!


Shilpa paid no heed to him she swept her hand down to his shoulders and then to his chest to stop atop his heart. Armaan almost sighed in relief as hse stopped but then felt his heart contract as shilp closed even the little gap that had left and placed her head atop his chest closing her eyes.

Armaan felt his throat close and without his knowledge his arms went around her holding her close. How long they stood like that they were not sure slowly shilpa pulled back and looked up at armaan's face. She again lifted her hand and this time with a tremulous smile as she cupped his cheek her eyes shimmering with tears she whispered: Ammy!

Armaan couldn't help it, his eyes closed as he struggled to control his emotions but when he opened them his heart was in his eyes as they also shimmered with unshed tears.

Shilpa hiccupped as she struggled to control her tears andagain whispered: Ammy!(but this time a tear made it's way down her cheek)

Armaan felt as if someone had squeezed his heart, he trapped her hand against his cheek unaware as a tear escaped his control. He pulled her closer bringing her in firmer contact with his body as he wrapped his arms around her.

Shilpa felt her heart akin to burst as she fully realized that this brilliant brooding stranger that she couldn't help but feel pulled at was her Ammy. She reveled in his strong yet gentle touch as he caressed her hand which cradled his face. Her eyes traced his fingers which slid across hers gently caressing when her world came crashing down.

Armaan felt shilpa stiffen in his arms, unsure as to what had happened he looked at her and found her gaze fixed on his hand. Shilpa made herself touch the platinum band on armaan's ring finger and then lifted her gaze to armaan's eyes. In that second both felt their world crash, shilpa let go of armaan's hand and pulled back moving backward.

Armaan let shilpa go and stood there with his arms painfully empty facing shilpa who had tears streaming down her face. Armaan looked at shilpa feeling empty …

Do, pal ruka, khwaabon ka kaarvaan
Aur phir, chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan

Shilpa looked at armaan with tears on her cheeks…


Do pal ki thi, ye dilon ki daastaan
Aur phir, chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan
Aur phir chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan

Before both could say anything there was pounding at the door and then muskaan calling out: Shilpa! Where are you?

Shilpa rubbed at her face with the back of her hand as she walked out and saw muskaan and Rahul walk in through the door.

Muskaan: why was the door unlocked? (before shilpa could answer muskaan got distracted by the sight of armaan walking out the studio) armaan!!

Rahul: hey! What are you doing here?

Armaan: I came to pick shilpa!(his voice came out sounding gruff due to suppressed emotions making tears well up again in shilpa's eyes as she recalled him sounding like this often in Panchgani)

Muskaan: oh! But shilpa you are not even ready!

Shilpa swallowed: it'll just take me a couple of minutes

Muskaan: come I'll help you! (they both walked out)

Armaan looked at shilpa's back and thought…

Tum the ke thi koyi ujli kiran
Tum the ya koyi kali muskaayi thi (thinking of her laughing and enjoying in rain in Panchagani)

Shilpa recalled the same incident in Panchgani when they had played like kids in the rain

Tum the ya tha sapnon ka tha saawan
Tum the ke khushiyon ki ghata chhaayi thi

Armaan took a turn in the loungetrying to act as if everything was fine infront of rahul's keen gaze when shilpa walked out wearing  black chiffon sarree with gold borders

Tum the ke tha koyi phool khila (looking like a exotic flower)

Across the rooms when their gazes met shilpa knew in her heart that he was her entire world

Tum the ya mila tha mujhe naya jahaan
Do pal ruka khwaabon ka kaarvaan
Aur phir chal diye tum kahaan ham kahaan
Do pal ki thi, ye dilon ki daastaan
Aur phir chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan
Aur phir chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan

Aa... aa... aa...

They left for the venue the conversation during the travelling stilted and brief. Muskaan and Rahul looked at one another but did not comment. As they entered the hall the media went wild with snapping pictures as armaan escorted shilpa forward introducing her different people. Muskaan moved forward taking over from armaan as she started maneuvering the crowd and letting armaan do his own thing.

Armaan turned away walking in the opposite direction as shilpa, nodding his head at acquaintances feeling the room lose its color

Tum the aa khushboo hawaaon mein thi
Tum the ya rang saari dishaaon mein the

Shilpa as walked away from armaan with muskaan felt the room turn dark and empty

Tum the ya roshni raahon mein thi
Tum the ya geet goonje fizaaon mein the

Armaan stopped as he realized that all he had ever wanted was Shilpa turning around to find her

Tum the mile ya mili thi manzilein

Shilpa turned around and looked across the hall to get trapped in the magic of armaan's gaze

Tum the ke tha jaadoo bhara koyi sama

Do pal ruka, khwaabon ka kaarvaan
Aur phir chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan
Do pal ki thi, ye dilon ki daastaan

They walked back to one another and stood looking at one another as both knew despite how they felt things were not going to be easy

Aur phir chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan
Aur phir chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan
Aur phir chal diye, tum kahaan, ham kahaan

Shilpa closed her apartment door and stood in the hallway not sure what to do. Completely at loss she walked back to her studio and stood there staring at the sculpture of armaan she had created in Panchgani in love. Carrying the sculpture she walked to one she had created that afternoon and compared the two. One she had created in love nd the other in pain, was it her emotions that she could see reflected on the faces or were they actually his expressions and emotions.

Shilpa closed her eyes against the pain the sight of the sculptures brought to her chest. So lost was she in her pain that she was completely startled by a loud banging sound on her door, making her drop the sculpture. Shilpa couldn't stop the cry of distress as the sculpture hit the floor and shattered into pieces, on the way down it had taken a good chunk of the wet sculpture.

She stood there still as a statue looking down at the shattered pieces, she came out of her trance as the pounding on the door continued. She managed to get her feet to move so that she stood outside her studio as the pounding continued. She wanted to go to the door but the grief kept her rooted.

Armaan pounded at the door as he heard the faint rustling sound, unable to control himself: Open up Shilpa! I know you are inside!

Shilpa froze as she heard armaan's voice, she didn't want to meet him now, she felt too raw, too exposed she couldn't face him now.

Armaan: we need to talk! Open the door!(the pounding continued)

Shilpa felt cornered and let the frustration well inside her: go away!(she yelled standing inside) I don't want to talk to you.

Armaan felt her words pierce his heart but he pushed away the hurt: I'm not going anywhere! And you have to talk to me (he again pounded at the door)

Shilpa unaware that tears were flowing down her cheeks yelled back: I don't have to do anything you say. I'm my own person and I will not talk to you. So go away!

Armaan placed his forehead next to the door for a second an then in a voice which brook no argument growled: you'll open this door or I'll keep shouting through out the night and then your neighbours will start complaining. And a scene will ensue.

Shilpa got furious hearing him threaten her: don't you dare threaten me! You might be a Champion pusher but you don't push me( she yelled back) I will not open this door.

Armaan felt his anger surge and he growled through the door: You open this door shilpa or I swear to god I'll kick it down.

When there was no answer from inside armaan backed up and then kicked the door the door shuddered but did not break. Armaan backed up again and then gave another solid kick making the door shudder and groan again.

Shilpa almost shrieked in horror but clapped a hand over her mouth as she saw her door shudder against the onslaught of armaan's temper. Any second she knew the door was going to come flying at her feet. Furious she yelled at him: you jerk!

She rushed to the door and jerked it open glaring at him just as he was about to kick it again: who the hell do you think you are?

Armaan looked at her for a second looking like a very angry but gorgeous goddess, her eye make up was smudged coz of tears but her eyes were shooting fire and her cheeks were flushed with color. She was spitting mad and he had never found her more appealing but her next words made him scowl at her.

Shilpa: go away and don't come back!(Shilpa yelled at him, all her life she had not felt so angry as she did at the moment)

Armaan growled one word: No!(with that he took a step forward the look on his face effectively making shilpa move backwards.)

Armaan crossed the threshold and shut the door behind him, they both stood there glaring at one another.

Armaan took a deep breath: we have to talk! You have to let me explain!

Shilpa: explain what?

Armaan: why I left?

Shilpa: I don't want to know(she turned away coldly)

Armaan: god dammit woman! Listen to me!

Shilpa: don't you dare swear at me!(whirling around) what are you going to say? That you didn't have a choice, coz you needed to keep your word. I've heard all that, it was there in the letter.

Armaan:try and understand…

Shilpa: understand? I've  always understood, you jerk! Even when you left with that letter as an explanation I understood, Ammy! I always understood! But what I don't understand is you now

Armaan: let me explain atleast!

Shilpa: you want to explain! Then explain to me why when we met now why you didn't say anything, when we started to work together you never mentioned once who you were. Like an idiot I poured out my life story and you didn't have the courtesy of acknowledging the fact that you knew me.

Armaan: for the love of god, Shilpa it was not like this! I just didn't want you to be reminded of me.

Shilpa: reminded of you? Honestly Ammy stop being so considerate, as if you care?(seeing Armaan's eyes flare with anger she continued) fine I'll give you that you cared so then tell me when we met in Panchgani were you committed.

Armaan: it was not like this

Shilpa: then tell me Ammy! How was it? Were you or were you not committed to Anjali? Were you not aware of the fact ?

Armaan: it was not like that! Let me explain!

Shilpa: NO! better yet why don't you explain to me how could you see with your eyes the turmoil I was going through. How the idea of being pulled towards you kept me in constant agitated state. I'll tell you why because you don't care, you never cared(she turned away only to be whirled back by armaan)

Armaan grabbed shilpa's arm and pulled her towards him crushing her body to his as he held her hands behind her back: Listen to me! Believe what ever you want to but remember one thing I always cared. (she tried to twist away only to be brought up sharply against armaan) when I met you I had never expected to fall for you and I had never even met Anjali at that time.

Shilpa: lies! (angry tears spurted in her eyes) how many times are you going to lie?

Armaan pulled her closer still: I'm not lying, I have never lied to you!

Shilpa turned her face away as this close she could not bear looking at him: I don't care! What you do or say! You and I have a professional relationship and nothing else.

Armaan: look me in the eye and say that you don't feel anything for me(armaan grabbed her face and tilted it towards him so that she had to look him in the face) say it!

Shilpa bit the inside iof her cheek to stop the scream of frustration: I don't poach on other people's property! And you have no right to ask me such questions wearing someone else's ring. Now let me go.

For a second it was as if armaan's hold loosened on shilpa just as she was about to get out of his hold armaan pulled her back to him and growled: you keep forgetting shilpa, I don't follow the rules I make them. You don't want to talk right now fine but we will talk shilpa and you will know my side of the story.

Armaan brought one of his hands up to lightly caress her cheek and pushed her hair away from her face making shilpa's heart tremble against the tenderness. Before she could prepare herself armaan released her and stepped back: Lock the door!

He walked out the door shutting it behind him leaving shilpa standing there.

Amani

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