Thursday, 6 February 2020

Part 6 : I See You!

Shilpa was in love and she was having the time of her life spending it with the object of her affection.

Shilpa gave bogart a final rub: good boy! Sit! Sit! Such a good boy! Here you go! (she gave him a treat which he took from her). Shilpa stood up to go back inside when bogart pressed his head against her leg showing his affection. Shilpa had no defence against such unconditional love she again sat down and rubbed his ears: wanna come in with me bogart? Will you be a good boy?(in response bogart gave her a wet sloppy kiss making shilpa laugh as she gave him a hug)

Shilpa: ok bogart!(she stood up) come along! Here come with me!(bogart came on her side so that she could place a hand on his head as they moved inside) today bogart we are going to do some sculpting! Its going to be messy as I'll be working with clay but it will be fun!



Bogart gave a little bark as if in agreement as he walked with her to a room she used as a studio place, it had wide windows which brought in sunshine and fresh air. Once there shilpa walked to the center where a chair and a table was placed with something lying on top covered with a piece of cloth.

Shilpa turned to bogart once again: hey bogart! Why don't I sculpt you today? Make a replica of you? Come here! (she hunkered down to his level and took his face in her hands as he tried to lick her face, shilpa laughed) aren't you handsome? Just one more minute! Here! Good boy! Here is another treat for you! Now ! sit! Bogart sit!

In the last month Bogart and Shilpa had developed a bond, bond based on training and mutual love. Shilpa had never wanted a pet even as a kid but something was different about Bogart he made you fall in love with him. Shilpa was totally mad about that dog and it would not been wrong to say that the feeling was very much mutual.

Shilpa rose up and made her way to chairs, sitting down she raised her arms and pulled back her hair from her face and started to braid them loosely. Once done she lifted the cloth from the table which was covering a big ball of clay. As shilpa was sitting the table reached her waist level, on top of it was an axle, shilpa picked the clay and pressed it down the shaft. Once the clay ball was securely attached to the axle shilpa sat back: ok bogart! I'm going to start working on your replica! Now don't fuss! And you can make your comments once I'm done! Not before! Done!

Bogart barked in response as if agreeing to the terms making shilpa laugh once again as she settled to work. As her fingers started to smooth out and pinch the clay in to different shapes and angles her mind started to drift towards Ammy. It had been more than two months since Ammy had walked into shilpa's life and her life had changed.

Shilpa took off a piece of clay and placed it on the table as her mind continued to wandered over the mystery of Ammy. She still was not sure why they had become such good friends they were world's apart but there was something that brought them together. Shilpa smiled to herself as she recalled the events of the past weeks, when they were trying to train shilpa and Bogart. Ammy had been her constant companion shilpa acknowledged, not once had he left her to deal with the things herself.

Shilpa finally acknowledged to herself unknowingly she had also started relying on him somehow her day just wasn't complete till she had heard his voice. He was good at keeping his feelings to himself but she knew he thought of her as a friend and he never broke a promise. For a moment her hands stilled as she recalled his promise to not smoke again. The feeling that had coursed through her when he had handed her the box of cigars. She had stood there running her fingers reverently over the box as if he had handed her a box of diamonds. Shilpa shook her head at her silliness as smiling she started to work on Bogart's replica.

But she wondered where he was as it was close to 3 in the afternoon and she had not heard from him today. So she continued working and wondered…

Armaan stood in his room with his cell phone pressed to his ear: thank you dad! I wish you were here too!

Billy laughed on the phone: really? Then why aren't you letting us come back?

Armaan: dad! I'm not going to ruin your second honey moon just b'coz its my birthday!

Billy: for a smart guy you sure say the stupidest things at times! Here talk to your mom!

Armaan braced himself for his mother's voice and couldn't help but smile as he heard her say: Armaan!

Armaan: hey! Maa! How are you?

Ananya: I'm fine! And how is my son doing? Happy Birthday beta! I wish I could be there with you!

Armaan understanding the wistfulness in her voice: I miss you too maa! Both of you! But this time away from everything is good for you! So just sit back and enjoy!

Ananya: what are you upto? I hope you are taking care of yourself! Not working all the time are you?

Armaan laughed: no maa! I'm taking it easy!

Billy and Ananya on a speaker phone together: how is Atul doing?

Armaan: you know him! Still holding down the fort!

Billy: so how is the market going?

Armaan: good(for the past week or so the market had shown a rising trend)

Ananya: of all the things to talk about! Quit talking business!

Billy laughing: and what about our crown prince?

Armaan rolled his eyes: you tell me! Last I knew he was going to be in touch with you!

Ananya: what are you doing today, armaan? I hope you are going to take it easy!

Armaan: maa! Stop worrying about me! No you and dad go and enjoy your vacations!(she was about to interrupt but he continued) no! I'm not listening! Plus I have plans! Ok bye!

He cut the call and made his way out of his room and made his way to daija: daija! I'm going out!

Daija smiling: ok! Have good time with shilpa!

It gave him a pause that daija already knew that he was going to Shilpa but he didn't stop. As he walked to her house his mind kept wondering what was it about Shilpa that drew him to her. He smiled as he recalled their first meeting, her spirit had just blown him away. Armaan stopped on the sidewalk as he waited for the traffic to slow down, it was her inner peace which made him want to sit beside her and just look at her.

He acknowledged the fact that as long as he was with with her he also felt the peace, the contentment. He needed her like he had never needed anything else, the realization making him stop in the middle of the road.  He shook his head and continued walking thinking that the relationship he shared with shilpa was world apart from any other friend he ever had, even Atul.

Atul and he went back to college days, he knew atul inside out and the same was true about in his case. But where shilpa was concerned there was a part of him even he himself had not known existed. He was different around her maybe because she was different, what worried him though was the emptiness he felt when he was not around her. When he was with her he had started noticing flowers and the different colors they came in. When he was away from her he noticed how dull his surroundings were, an acquaintance  of two and a half months and he felt empty without her.

He reached her house and walked up to the door, knocking briskly he waited for her.

Shilpa had finally completed Bogart's face when Bogart started barking: what is it?(bogart came upto her and bumped her leg with his nose and again barked) what is it bogart? (she picked the wet cloth and wiped her hands with it and then heard the knock on the door)

Shilpa got up from her chair and wondered who it was and then: who is it bogart? Is it Ammy? (but bogart barked and bounded out of the room and stood at the door waiting)

Shilpa made her way to the door and called out: who is it?

Her heart just lifted when she heard the voice she had been waiting for say: It's me!(she quickly opened the door and stood aside to let him enter) hi!

Armaan felt a warmth spread through him as he saw her smile: hey!(hunkering down to bogart he gave his ears a rub) how's my pal doing? Are you being a good dog? Looking after her eh?(the dog in response gave a short bark and then gave him a wet kiss, armaan laughed and then stood up)

Armaan: what are you doing?

Shilpa started to walk back to her studio: I was working in my studio!

Armaan: really? I've never seen you there! What are you making?

Shilpa: oh I made bogart's face! Come I'll show you!

Armaan was a bit skeptical as to how she would've accomplished such a feat and wondered whether he should be kind or honest. He walked behind her into the studio and immediately liked the place. It had sunlight streaming into the room through the big windows on one side, the room was big and airy and presently smelled of wet clay. He looked around him and saw some canvases propped against the walls. He walked upto them and saw a mixture of colors and textures, he couldn't really make out a face but it was a shape of some sort.

He tilted his head and continued to look at the canvas realizing that it was some form of abstract art which took shape and form as you continued staring at it. Though he didn't know much about art he knew it was eye catching. He turned back and saw shilpa sitting infront of a table her hands busy molding something.

Armaan walking back to her: are these paintings your's?

Shilpa laughed: paintings? I don't know! But I just like messing around with colors!

Armaan smiling at her casual behavior: well whatever they are, they sure are eye catching! How do you do it? I mean how do you know which color you are using?

Shilpa: oh I've got the paint boxes stenciled with the color name! so I check the name on top and then continue using a color.

Armaan: what are you doing now?

Shilpa grinned: I'm sculpting bogart! And by the way where have you been today?

Armaan walked closer and inspected what she was doing and to his surprise he could see bogart face atop the axle molded in clay: well I'll be damned! That's bogart!

Shilpa heard the shocked delight in his voice and couldn't help but grin like an idiot: really? Is it really like him!

Armaan: like him? It's the spitting image of bogart! This is fantastic!

Shilpa: so its safe to say that you like it!

Armaan: like it! Its bloody unbelievable! How the hell did you do it?

Shilpa smiled: well this is the way I see him!

Armaan looked at her smiling and very seriously asked again: but how?

Shilpa called out to bogart: Bogart! Come here! Good boy!(as he nudged her leg as he stood beside her. She hunkered down to his level) hey bogart so how do you like your likeness! Did I miss anything?(she traced his features again) well I think you look very handsome!(and was rewarded by bogart with wet sloppy kisses, shilpa laughed) ok! Lets ask Ammy! Hey Ammy! Doesn't bogart look handsome?

Armaan couldn't help himself: you're amazing!

Shilpa: hear that bogart!

Armaan: no! I'm talking about you shilpa! You're amazing! (the emotion in his voice made shilpa feel jittery inside to cover it up she changed the subject)

Shilpa: thank you! Kind sir! But you still haven't told me where you've been all day!

Armaan: home with daija! She likes making a big deal out of my birthdays!

Shilpa surprised: its your birthday! Oh my god! Why didn't you tell me before? Happy Birthday Ammy! (she turned towards him holding out her hands which armaan grasped)

Armaan smiled at her exuberance: its only a birthday!

Shilpa shook her head: Ammy! You are seriously mad! Why didn't you tell me? We should've had a party!

Ammy holding on to her hands: no parties! I have had enough of them! I'm doing exactly what I want with my birthday!

Shilpa: and what is that?

Armaan smiled: spending it with my favorite person! (the moment the words escaped his mouth he realized he had given away too much of his feelings)

Shilpa felt herself flush with pleasure: still! Birthday gift is a must! So tell me what do you want!

Armaan: nothing!

Shilpa: nope! I want your preference coz you are going to get a gift from me one way or another!

Armaan smiled: you're stubborn!(to which shilpa smiled) ok what about bogart's likeness! I want it!

Shilpa beamed: its yours!

Armaan: just like that! Don't you want it for yourself!

Shilpa laughed: I'll make another one if I want it!(after a pause) armaan I want to ask you of something! You can say no if you don't want to!

Armaan looked at her and already knew the answer: its yes! Whatever you want!

Shilpa: don't you want to know?

Armaan: you'll tell me! But I'm giving my answer beforehand! Yes!

Shilpa: Ammy!(she said his name in protest) at least hear me out!

Armaan: ok! Tell me!

Shilpa: I wanted to ask that would you mind if I make your likeness!

Armaan was quiet for a second: you already know my answer shilpa!

Shilpa felt her heart thud at his words: its my gift to you!

Armaan: but you just gave me bogart!

Shilpa smiled: I know! But this is something to remember me by!

Armaan replied in all seriousness: you're not someone I can ever forget shilpa!(he stopped not sure what he would've said) when do you want to start?

Shilpa felt her heart rate accelerate but tried and act normal: how about now?

Armaan: sure!

Shilpa cleared her table and placed another mound of clay atop the axle, armaan stood near her and watched her work. When she had everything to her satisfaction she called out : Ammy!

Armaan: hmmm!

Shilpa: do you mind if I start now!

Armaan: of course not! (but again they stood there unmoving, confused armaan asked her) do you want something shilpa!

Shilpa tried to hide her nervousness: umm! Actually Ammy I need to see you! (when armaan stood looking at her in confusion shilpa took a step towards him and raised ahand towards his face: need to see you!

Armaan: oh!

Shilpa: may I !

Armaan: of course! (braced himself for her touch)

Shilpa placed her hands on the side of his face and felt a warmth travel from her fingertips to her heart. Armaan felt his breath get stuck in his chest at her first touch and felt as if a veil was lifted and his heart called out…

Ek ajnabi sa ehsaas dil ko sataye

shayad yahi to pyaar hai

(Shilpa felt her heart thunder as she smoothed her fingers down his cheek bones and then rise towards his forehead)

betabiyon mein dhadkan meri chal paye

shayad yahi to pyaar hai(shilpa fingers trembled as her fingers smoothed his eyebrow)

kutch bhi kaha na

kutch bhi suna na

phir bhi

bechain dil hai humara(Armaan felt as if his skin had come alive as he felt fire course through his skin)

behke kadam hai

mushkil main hum hai

dekho

sambhle bhala kaise yaara (as shilpa drew her hands back armaan took a step back but stumbled as his knees felt wobbly)

chahe bina bhi

nazdeek hum chale aaye

shayad yahi toh pyaar hai (Shilpa cradled her hands against her chest and wondered what was happening)



Shilpa moved to her table and started to fuss with the clay willing her fingers to relax as they felt stiff with nervousness. She took deep breaths willing herself to relax, involuntarily she closed her eyes telling herself that she was just being fanciful. She drew a breath and brought the features one by one in her mind so that she could start molding the clay in shapes and form. She pressed her fingers into clay and knew her heart was no longer hers.



nazrein bichade

pehre laga de

dil pe

par dil kisiki na mane

Armaan turned away from shilpa not sure if he could look at her as her delicate hands continued to work that clay. He wanted to run away from there but knew in his heart that he lied

Kaaton pe chalke

sholon mein jalke

roke

milke rahenge deewane

o o o

He turned back towards her and just looked at her

chahat ki lau to

aandhi mein bhi zilmilaye

shayad yahi to pyaar hai



Shilpa could feel his gaze like a physical touch trying to stay calm and not show how much his presence had started to affect her…

Ek ajnabi sa ehsaas dil ko sataye

shayad yahi to pyaar hai



Armaan couldn't take it anymore and decided to leave, shilpa heaved a sigh of relief as he left deciding it was the moment that had made everything feel so intense. At home at night armaan lay on his bed unable to stop thinking about shilpa. Whenever he closed his eyes all he could see were their different meetings, their talks. The worst were her eyes they haunted him, whenever he closed his eyes her beautiful green eyes filled his head.

ye mulaqatein

yeh teri ankhein

ek pal na main bhool pau

It was dawn when armaan gave up on the idea of sleep and made his way outside and stood staring at the brightening horizon acknowledging the truth that was buried in his heart.

kitni mohabbat

hai kitni chahat

tumse

kaise bhala main bataoo

Shilpa told herself that events of yesterday were just flukes something she felt as she got too involved in the moment. When there was a knock on the door she knew it was armaan she rushed to get it and opened it breathlessly.

Armaan: hi!

Shilpa smiled: hi!

Acha lage jo

toh samne muskuraye

shayad yahi to pyaar hai(looking at her smile armaan knew what his heart was telling her as he walked in behind her)

Ek ajnabi sa ehsaas dil ko sataye

shayad yahi to pyaar hai

kutch bhi kaha na (Shilpa felt her heart beat rapidly just at his being close)

kutch bhi suna na

phir bhi

bechain dil hai humara

behke kadam hai

mushkil main hum hai

dekho (Shilpa stumbled as they entered the studio where the sculpture was resting, armaan held onto her letting her stand firmly then withdrawing his support)

sambhle bhala kaise yaara

chahe bina bhi

nazdeek hum chale aaye

shayad yahi toh pyaar hai (Shilpa heart continued screaming this)

shayad yahi toh pyaar hai (Armaan looked at shilpa and realized what his heart was saying)

shayad yahi toh pyaar hai (both turned towards one another and heard what their hearts were telling them.)

Amani

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