Saturday, 29 February 2020

Part 29 : I See You!

It was his absence which woke shilpa, she extended her hand on the side of the bed which was empty but held a little bit of his body's warmth. She lay on her side  trying to hear if he was in the room but in her heart knew he had already left. When the door opened shilpa smiled: Hi maasi!

Maasi came in and dropped a kiss on her head: how are you feeling beta?

Shilpa: I'm fine! But you didn't have to come here so early

Maasi smoothed a hand over shilpa's hair: I wanted to be here when the doctors came with the results.(Shilpa opened her mouth to speak but maasi continued) I just met the doctor outside and he said he'll be in anysecond to talk.

There was a knock and Dr. Akshid walked in: good morning ladies! How are you shilpa? Any change in the darkness, has it lessened or darkened?

Shilpa: pretty much the same!

Maasi: Doctor what did the tests show?

Dr. Akshid: the results just came back this morning I was going through them when I met you outside (shilpa frowned but let him continue) well there is good news and bad news

Maasi grabbing shilpa's hand: please tell us!

Dr.: well there is a blood clot which has travelled up and lodged itself on the optic nerve which is creating this blindness. But the good news is this that we can remove the clot and hopefully restore shilpa's sight.

Shilpa listened to the doctor give her maasi a run down of her problem and its solution like it was the first time he was telling her. She frowned as she heard him ask for Dr. Manan's number so that he can discuss the case with him but not once did he mention he had the same talk with armaan last night.

Maasi: how soon can we have the operation?

Dr. Akshid: well I would like get in touch with Dr. Manan first only then I can say anything.

Shilpa shook her head in disbelief: so can I go back home?

Dr. Akshid: sure! I'll discharge you in a couple of hours( he left the room)

Maasi: you sit tight and I'll get you some breakfast.

Shilpa lay back and wondered what armaan was doing.

Armaan walked into the empty office building and made it to his office in last night clothes. He had taken the coward's way out but he was avoiding going home where he had to face his mothers questioning look. Armaan shrugged out of his tuxedo jacket and stood staring out the window of his office.

"Either your night totally sucked or you scored": Atul spoke from the doorway.

Armaan turned around: excuse me?

Atul walked in: the reason for not changing clothes!

Armaan: I was at the fund raiser with Natasha

Atul raised his brows: I know very well where you were last night armaan!(after a pause) how is she?

Armaan serious: angry! Scared but at present anger is winning.

Atul nodded his head: how long are you going to continue with this charade?(when armaan stayed silent) dammit armaan! Even Rahul has started asking questions how long do you expect me to keep a lid on things.

Armaan: as long as possible! You are not only a trusted employee Atul but a real friend too.

Atul: do you expect me to lie to your family too?

Armaan frustrated: then what do you expect me to do?

Atul: tell shilpa the truth, let your family in.

Armaan laughed but without mirth: and then what? Do you think everything is going to become normal like in the movies. Are you seriously so nave?

Atul getting angry: I am not nave! But you sure have lost your mind

Armaan rounded on atul: yes I have lost my mind! And I'll be damned before I let Singhania get to the people I love.(before atul could comment armaan continued) you think I want things to be like this. To torture shilpa put her through mental anguish, god damn you no! But her being with me will ruin her

Atul: why don't you let her make that decision?

Armaan looked at atul in bafflement: are you seriously asking me that question? She will never leave me, even last night when I went to her after insulting her and breaking her heart she asked me to stay with her. Do you think she is going to leave me when I tell her what is going on?

Armaan shook his head: I'll be damned if I let Singhania try and bring her down only because Anjali and I broke up. And don't try telling me he won't, as soon as he figures out that I left Anjali for Shilpa, he'll ruin her. He'll trash her reputation professionally and personally. He has the resources to do that, I can fight him but some damage will be done. But this way he doesn't find out about shilpa.

Atul shook his head: you could let your family know, they can always help! They are in no danger you and I both know that you have already safeguarded them. Even while doing business for Malik's its your name and resources on line. Maybe uncle hasn't realized it yet but you have signed your name as guarantor instead of the Malik's Enterprises, so in case of any problem or loss you are the one who will go down.

Armaan turned his back towards Atul: I will protect my family!

Atul tried once more: you will break her heart and her trust! She needs you right now!

Armaan: I know and it hurts me that I cant be there for her!(the pain evident in his eyes and voice)

Atul looked at the face of his closest friend: I did what you had asked me to do.

Armaan: thanks! Not only for the work but for being my friend

Atul his face grim: Armaan are you sure there is no other way

Armaan looking weary: Singhania is going to make a move, he is going to have a meeting with the Security and Exchange commission trying to have me disbarred. He will try and convince the commission that I have been manipulating the share market. He's going to come after me on all the fronts, you know it I know it.

Atul taking a deep breath: He is trying to destroy you Armaan! He will try and get you convicted on charges of fraud and manipulation.

For the first time in days armaan smiled but it was a smile of satisfaction: He can try but he is not going to succeed! I have things in place but I will not let him harm my family or shilpa.

Shilpa walked in her apartment with Maasi holding her hand, shilpa stood in the entrance trying to bring in the apartment in her mind for navigation.

Maasi: Shilpa where do you want to go?

Shilpa: I think I'll sit for a little while in the lounge! (she took tentative step forward bracing a hand on the wall or on the sofa to make her way to the lounge. She had managed to sit under the watchful gaze of maasi when the bell rang.

Shilpa heard maasi move away to answer the door as she tried to still the trembling in her limbs. The voices made her lift her head as the sound of feet came towards the lounge.

Ananya burst through the door: Shilpa!(who had been sitting quietly staring into the space, her head shifted to her direction surprise crossing her face)Shilpa! (she moved towards her)

Shilpa rose: Aunty ji!(her mind went blank not sure what to say) what are you doing here?

Ananya simply hugged herholding her close as Rahul and Muskaan along with Billy filled in after her. Pulling away she gave shilpa a shake: why didn't you call me? Or any of us?

Shilpa felt a lump rise in her throat, unable to speak she stayed quiet. Ananya looked at her face and lightly caressed her hair: where is armaan?

Shilpa felt her emotions rise to the surface, she swallowed trying to speak through the tears which threatened to spill over. She opened her mouth and only managed: Armaan! (and burst into tears)

Ananya wrapped her arms around him: sshh! Don't cry? Tell me what happened?

Shilpa continued to sob: I don't know what happened

Ananya looked at Muskaan and Rahul: where is armaan, shilpa?

Shilpa hiccupped: I don't know!

Rahul took out his mobile and tried calling armaan, then shook his head when muskaan looked at him and whispered: he's not picking my call!

Ananya frowned but sat down with shilpa: tell me how are you feeling?

Shilpa: I'm fine aunty ji

Ananya glanced at her husband and then back at shilpa: you are not! Its been some days since you have come over, whats going on shilpa? Have you and armaan had a fight? Armaan is also acting so strange, he's hardly ever home.

Shilpa: I don't know what to tell you!

Muskaan: when you called last time you were trying to get to armaan, he was not taking your call.(when shilpa remained quiet) you said you were going over to the office to talk to him. What happened, shilpa?

Shilpa stayed quiet as her mind replayed armaan's words spoken at the office and then at the hospital.

Billy: what did the doctors say?

Maasi filled them in to the prognosis and the operation that was needed, also shilpa's refusal to have the operation.

Billy sitting beside shilpa: but beta why are you postponing the operation?

Shilpa: I need some time

Billy: you are doing this because of armaan

Shilpa took a deep breath: I need him here when I open my eyes, uncle.

Billy: go ahead with the operation and he wil be here

Shilpa shook her head: no! he needs time, I'm giving him time. I'm waiting for him!

Rahul  looking at his father meaningfully: fine! Lets eat something, I haven't had any proper breakfast (trying to lighten the mood)

Shilpa smiled at Rahul: I need to freshen up a bit

Muskaan: need any help?

Shilpa stood up and took a couple of tentative steps: I'm fine! (slowly she made her way from the lounge to her room)

Ananya to Billy: why is armaan behaving like this?

Billy: I don't know but I intend to find out.

Rahul: I'll go with you

Billy: no! its time armaan and I had a talk.

Armaan had just finished a conference call with a couple of the stakeholders when Atul buzzed him making armaan answer curtly: yes!

Atul voice came over the intercom: uncle is here! He is coming straight to your office

Armaan paused: thanks atul for the heads up!

Armaan sat behind his desk and started to read a file when the door opened and Billy walked in. Armaan looked up and raised his brow in surprise: Dad! What are you doing here?

Billy looking closely at armaan: do I need a reason to be here?(smiling a little) you've been very busy lately haven't seen you at home

Armaan leaned back in his chair his eyes sharp on his fathers face: I've been busy, some projects have been lined up that need to be looked into.

Billy: really? Would love to know about them

Armaan inclined his head: I will share with you the details once I finalize them.

Billy perched on the side of the desk: how is shilpa? Haven't seen her in some days now!

Armaan looked directly at his dad: I don't know! I haven't talked to her

Billy felt anger rise in him as he saw his son face close: haven't talked to her today or haven't talked to her in days.

Armaan cutting to the chase: when you already have the answers dad why are you asking these questions.

Billy: because I'm trying to understand why would you try and wreck your relationship (when armaan stayed quiet) whats going on armaan? Do you have any idea what shilpa is going through?

Armaan getting up abruptly: I'm sure she is fine

Billy furious: she's lost her sight armaan! She's blind and she needs to have an operation to restore her sight.(he waited for armaan to react when he didn't he continued) She's waiting for you, she wants you there.

Armaan trying to control his emotions turned and faced Billy: I think you should convince her to go ahead with the surgery.

Billy grabbed armaan by the arm: whats the hell is wrong with you? You claimed to love this woman, you fought with me for her and now you don't have the time for her.

Armaan looking at his watch: Dad I would love to stay and discuss this with you but I have a very important appointment out of the office.

Billy looked at him in shock as Armaan turned away and started for the door: you are leaving? Just like that, dammit armaan I'm not done.

Armaan turned at the last moment: sorry dad but I'm done! (he walked out of the office leaving a very angry Billy behind) 

Armaan got in the car and headed for a lunch meeting with his stakeholders. He reached the restaurant and was sitting with the stake holders. His mind torn with his fathers comments he looked up and saw shilpa walking towards the back doors. Without thinking armaan got up and quickly walked to where he had seen shilpa go but found no one there. He turned back searching for the sight of her when he realized that he had been imagining her. Feeling dejected….

 Jeh main tenu baahar dhoonda
Teh mere andar kaun samaaya?(Armaan feeling as if he lost her all over again he braced himself against the wall)

Shilpa sat in her room alone trying to hold on to the hope that Armaan had left her with. She recalled his words that he had said to her, the feel of his hands on her face and shoulders which had gripped her tight to him. Trying to hold on to the feeling shilpa felt a tear run down her cheek…

Jeh main tenu andar dhoonda
Teh baaher kisdi maaya? (she heard armaan's family calling her to come out and be with them)

Shilpa went out to be with everyone her heart and mind full of armaan
Andar tu ein baaher tu ein

Armaan sat back on the table trying to concentrate on the talks but all he saw was shilpa
Vekhaan har thaan tera saaya

Main vi tu ein teh tu vi tu ein(both were lost in each others thoughts)
Ratta farak nazar naa aaya
(ratta: little/small amount)

Armaan left after the lunch and went back to the office, hoping to lose himself in the work. He closed the blinds and the door trying rein in his emotions but they came out in a burst as he swept all the things off his desk in frustrated anger

Yaar ajj luttna haye luttna
Oh.. dil tuttna tuttna tuttna
Yaar enj lutna haye luttna
Oh.. dil tuttna tuttna tuttna
Yaar enj lutna..

Shilpa lay at night in the dark her unseeing eyes staring blankly into space her heart questioning her…

Log charaag jalaate ghee ke
Maine dil ka deep jalaaya
Log hain khaate kasam wafa ki
Main zehar hijr ka khaya (hijr: Separation)

Armaan also sat alone in the dark in his room late at night, sleep thousand of miles away …
Log gawaande dil ishqe mein
Log gawaande dil ishqe mein
Maine apna aap ganwaya

Shilpa recalling armaan's hurtful words at the office felt her heart crack against the ruthlessness of his words
Phir bhi mera kujh naa haaye
Mere sohne yaar ko bhaaya

Shilpa angrily brushed away at the tears promising herself not to shed another tear on him

Aaja khelein khel wafaa ka
Aaja khelein khel wafa ka
Yeh khel hai bahut purana
Yaa tu mera, yaa main teri
Hai chaukhat par mar jaana (she promised herself she was not going to go down without a fight)

Armaan worked like whirlwind, he refused to leave any stone unturned, he was a tyrant at office. He was relentless in his drive to get every 't' crossed and every 'I' dotted. When the time came he was not going to be the one to fall
Yaar ajj luttna haye lutna
Oh.. dil tuttna tuttna tuttna
Yaar enj lutna haye luttna
Oh.. dil tuttna tuttna tuttna
Yaar enj lutna..


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