Sunday, 9 February 2020

Part 9 : I See You!

Maasi: I wonder what is taking him so long!



Daija: he'll be reaching any moment! I'm sure! (both of them looked at their respective watches)



Maasi: thank god they took shilpa for some tests otherwise she would've asked about him.



Daija: I know!(sounding worried she was thinking of calling when her brow cleared as she saw him striding down the corridor towards them)




Immediately her face wreathed in smiles she opened her mouth to greet him but snapped closed in surprise as she registered the clothes he was wearing. Armaan was dressed in formal suit and tie, he wore a rolex watch on his wrist and his Italian shoes were polished to a shine.



Maasi: Ammy! Finally you are here! We've been waiting for you!(she smiled at him)



Armaan: is everything ready? Lets go!(he immediately started to move forward but got stopped by maasi)



Maasi: no beta! Not yet! They have taken shilpa for some additional tests once she comes back then they'll take off the bandages.



Armaan: how long will they take?



Maasi: I'm sure they'll be coming any moment! Why don't I check with the nurse?(she moved away leaving daija and armaan alone)



Daija: Ammy! Why are you dressed like this?(armaan just stayed quiet) you're leaving aren't you!



Armaan looked at the woman whom he loved same as his own mother and knew that he couldn't lie: yes!



Daija: but how could you armaan! Now! Of all the times!



Armaan: I have to go, daija! Its time!



Daija: and what are you going to tell shilpa?



Armaan: the truth! That's why I'm here! Waiting even though I'm getting late!



Daija: don't do this Ammy! Don't go! Do you think that I don't know whats in your heart for shilpa! (she looked into armaan's eyes and so his pain) why? Ammy, why?



Armaan: because I have to! Life isn't simple daija! And for a little while I had forgotten the world beyond this place! But one can't run from reality forever!



Daija: Ammy, plz tell me…(but was cut by the return of maasi)



Maasi: the nurse said they'll be done in 30 minutes till then we can wait in her room.



The three of them started to move towards the room when armaan's cell rang, he immediately took the call: yes! (he answered the phone curtly)



Atul: I hope you have started back!



Armaan spoke through clenched teeth: I told you I'll be there in the evening.



Atul: sorry to break this to you but we don't have time till the evening! The latest you have is till late afternoon. So you better come back fast!



Armaan: I told you…(he broke off as a realization hit him) Singhania!



Atul: bingo!



Armaan moved back towards the room where massi and daija were waiting, as he stood on the doorway he literally growled in the phone: tell him that it is a bad idea messing with me!



Atul: I'm counting on it! But till you get here he's holding the cards!



There was a pause at armaan's end and then: I'll be there!(armaan cut the line)



As he entered the room daija looked up at him her heart saddened as she saw the same remote and harsh expression on his face that he had sported when he had arrived few months back.



Armaan stood in the doorway looking at daija and knew that there was no other way, he walked upto daija and maasi and spoke in a clear voice: I have to go!



Maasi: excuse me!(clearly surprised) where?



Armaan looked at daija who remained quiet: back to my world wher I came from! I had hoped that I'll be able to meet shilpa but I'm running out of time. Maybe this is better for both of us!



Maasi: what is this Ammy? How could you…



Armaan: maasi ji! I'm sorry but I don't have time! I'm requesting you to give this letter(he withdrew from the inside pocket of his jacket) to shilpa! You can read the letter yourself to make sure that I haven't written anything to upset her more than she already is going to be. But now I need to go!(he held out the letter which maasi took from him)



Armaan stood there unable to move as he felt torn between what he wanted to do and what he needed to do. Then on an oath as if wrenching himself away he turned and left before they could gather themselves (maasi and daija) shilpa returned to the room followed by the nurses.



Once settled shilpa: maasi where is Ammy?



Daija looked from shilpa to her firend's face and replied: he'll be along shortly!



Dr. Manan entered the room: so are we ready?



Shilpa: can we wait for Ammy?



Maasi jumped in: no shilpa! Lets continue and Ammy can join in later! I'm sure Dr. Manan must have other responsibilities.



Daija: yes! Yes! Ammy would be here! Lets begin!



Shilpa went quiet: ok!(her fingers clutched at the sheets of the bed hinting at her nervousness) I'm ready!



The nurses went to work on taking of the bandages while Dr. Manan spoke gently: once we'll take off the bandages, shilpa you are going to take your time opening your eyes. There is no hurry and there might be some soreness so don't worry about it.



Shilpa could manage only a nod as her throat felt closed she wished that Ammy would've been there to hold her hand but then she fisted her hand: lets just do this!



Dr. Manan smiled at her tone: ok this is the final bandage I'm taking off! Here now! Slowly open your eyes!( shilpa started to comply) we'll take it slow! Everything might not be in its place so don't panic! Yes that's fine open them!



Shilpa was surprised that she was till conscious because she was holding her breath, as her eyes opened there were dim images, nothing clear as the images swam also. She blinked to bring things in focus and in a trembling voice said: I can see! But everything is fuzzy and swimming!



Dr. Manan gave a triumphant smile: nothing to worry about, you brain is trying to recognize the images its seeing after a very long time. Focus on me, focus on my voice!



As Dr. Manan had started speaking shilpa had immediately zeroed on him, her eyes had taken a few minutes to focus but then his face had become clear to her.



Dr. Manan: tell me shilpa! What do you see?



Shilpa took a deep breath to calm her racing heart: well Dr. Manan you are better looking than I had imagined! Actually your are the best sight in the world!(her face all but burst into a smile) I can see! (she turned her head and looked at massi blinking owlishly to bring her into focus) maasi! You've gotten old! (hearing her maasi dissolved into tears while shilpa got up from the bed and took a wobbly step forward and then sat back again)



Dr. Manan holding shilpa's arm: you'll have to take it easy for a couple of days! Your brain needs to get use to seeing again. So no overdoing, no reading, no watching tv, no going out in extreme temperatures or facing sunlight. And most importantly no tears!



Shilpa blinked owlishly and smiled tremulously: the no tears are a difficult condition but I'll be careful! Dr. Manan! Thank you! I can see again because of you! I don't have words to thank you properly.



Dr. Manan smiled: the fact you can see and are happy is thanks enough for me! Now you take rest! I'll come after a while to check on you!



As he left shilpa zeroed in on daija: daija! Finally!(daija walked to her an denveloped her in ahug) I always wondered how you look!



Daija smiled even though her heart was breaking: and you are as usual your beautiful self and now you'll be able to see the world! Its beauty and its ugliness and all!



Shilpa again looked at maasi who walked to her and closed her arms around her and murmured: my baby! I'm so happy! So happy for you!



Shilpa said in a choked voice: don't cry maasi or otherwise I'll cry too.



Immediately maasi pulled back and wiped her tears away and smiled brilliantly at her. Shilpa smiled back at her: where is Ammy? Of all the days to be late!



Maasi and daija shared a look which did not go unnoticed by shilpa making her ask: what? What is it?



Maasi: shilpa! Beta! Ammy has gone!



Shilpa's brow furrowed in confusion: gone! Where? And why today?



Maasi: Shilpa, ammy has gone back!



Shilpa felt herself go still as she absorbed the meaning of the words, Ammy was gone. Her heart screamed: but he had promised to be here.



Maasi and daija saw shilpa go pale: he left you a letter! (maasi held out to shilpa, shilpa reached for it and then stopped)



Shilpa swallowed: I can't read! Dr. Manan forbade!



Maasi asked tentatively: I could read it for you!



Shilpa still could not believe that Ammy had gone looked at the face of the woman who loved her like a mother: plz!



Maasi opened the letter and glanced at shilpa, and read….



Shilpa,

I'm writing you this letter because I'm leaving Panchgani and going back. There was so much that I wanted to say to you so much I wanted to share with you but fortunately or unfortunately there wasn't enough time. But I couldn't leave without saying goodbye.



When I came here couple of months back Shilpa there was a part of me which was lost in the fast pace life of the world that I had come from. I was jaded shilpa, my outlook towards life and people bordered on cynicism but then I met you. Initially I just couldn't understand you, your life, your spirit everything was extraordinary to me. No one could've been more surprised when we became friends and the time I've spent with you here is something I will remember forever.



You've changed me Shilpa, just by being you, your friendship has made a better person. Now I notice the people around me whether they are happy or troubled. I see flowers blooming shilpa and I even know the colors, which I never use to notice before.



There is so much more I have to say to you, some of it you know and some of it you have no clue about. Things about me and my family but time has run out and I need to go back to the world from which I had taken a sabbatical. I always use to believe that I could control the world around me bend it to my will but I was wrong because today when I wanted more than anything to be here with you, when you open your eyes to the world I have to go back.



I know you won't understand it now but I broke my promise to you because I have to keep a promise I had made before I had met you. You have no reason to believe me but I had never intended to break my word to you. I had just never expected to meet someone like you who made me forget me.



Even though I'm leaving I want you to know that I want you to be happy in life. You are such a talented and beautiful person. Your beauty is not restricted to your physical attributes but you have a even more beautiful soul. Don't change but go conquer the world because you have the potential. I'm leaving behind the sculpture you made of me something to remember me by coz as the song lyric say shayad iss janam mein mulaqat ho na ho.



Take care shipa and have a happy life.



Yours,

Ammy.



Maasi folded the letter and looked at shilpa she couldn't help but cry as she had read the letter. She looked at shilpa sitting there dry eyed the only reaction she could see was that her lips trembled which she bit with her teeth to still. She looked at her lifelong friend who like herself was wiping the tears from her cheeks. Even though she wanted to call Ammy all sorts of name she could sense the sincerety of his emotions through the letter.



Maasi holding out the letter to shilpa: here! Take this!



Shilpa looked at her maasi her eyes gave away some of her pain and confusion but she reached out and took the letter from her.



Daija: he needed to go beta!



Shilpa gave a small sad smile: I'm sure he did, daija! But …(she tried to give voice to her emotions but couldn't, her eyes smarted and she pressed a hand to them) I can't cry! Plz! I just can't!



Maasi: sshh! Just take it easy! I'm with you! We are together like always and nothing is out of our reach. We can touch the sky and we can go talk to ammy once you have recovered, your daija can give you his address.



Shilpa: no! I don't want to meet him!



Daija: but shilpa don't be hasty!



Shilpa cried out: don't you get it! He doesn't want to meet me! He said his goodbye maasi, daija don't you understand he doesn't intend to meet me again. (her voice broke)



Daija: this is not the time to take decisions, come on lie down rest your eyes!



Shilpa rested her head on the pillow and closed her eyes as she felt tired but she knew in her heart that the decision was already made.





Armaan walked through the ground floor of the Mallik Enterprise office building and made his way to the elevators. All through the way different staff memebrs came running towards him to welcome him but all they got from him was a curt nod. The muscle in his jaw twitched giving clear indication to everyone about his temper.



The elevator stopped at the 30th floor where Armaan's office was located over looking the city. He walked straight to his office as he approached the doors Atul walked looking angry and harassed.



Armaan calling out: Atul! (making atul lift his head and look at him)



Atul: thank god you are here! (then gesturing to his office) in here!



Armaan lifeted his brow: why are we going into your office to have a discussion.



Atul closing the door behind Armaan: because Singhania is sitting in your office awaiting your return.



Armaan looked at Atul: who let him in?



Atul huffed: plz! As if I would let him in your office he just waltzed his way there. And hasn't budged from there.



Armaan took a deep breath: forget him! Singhania was always an idiot! I'll deal with him.(trying to reign in his anger) tell me! How are you Atul?

Atul: Armaan! Are you feeling alright?(looking at armaan curiously)



Armaan: I'm ok! Why can't I ask you about how you are doing?



Atul: umm! Of course I just thought you'll be anxious to deal with Singhania!



Armaan smiled but it wasn't a pleasant smile: my poor atul! It seems Singhania has really harassed you a lot! Want me to take your revenge!



Atul: make him cry!



Armaan smiled at atul and walked out his office an entered his own.



Singhania who was sitting stood up as he saw Armaan and came forward: well Armaan its about time that you come back. I've been waiting for you!



Armaan: why?



Singhania looked at armaan incredulously: why? Because we had a deal! Because I had supported you when no one was touching your stock and now its your turn to pay up. (he finished going right up to armaan who had turned his back to him as he took off his jacket and placed it on the back of his chair)



Armaan turned around so swiftly that Singhania took a step backwards as Armaan advanced towards him as he spoke: you are a fool Singhania! A big fat fool! You think you can come in my office and make stupid demands. Do you even know who I am?



Singhania: listen to me my boy!(blustering up) we had a deal! You needed my help!



Armaan cut him off: I didn't need squat from you! You were just insurance! I know business and I never try and sell a product which I know will not go well with the public. Yes! We made a deal and since when have Mallik's ever backed out on a deal or broken their word.



Singhania: my boy! Who said anything about breaking your word? I just wanted for you and I to give a joint statement about our arrangement.



Armaan raised his hand to silence him: plz! Firstly I'm not your boy! And don't try and lie to me, I know what you said and how you said it. Now I'm going to tell you what is going to happen and how.



An hour later Armaan faced the hundreds of cameras and reporters who had gathered in the Mallik enterprises auditorium. After handling the press and their million questions armaan went back to his office and found Atul waiting for him.



Armaan: what are you doing still waiting for me?



Atul smiled: well I want the details!



Armaan: details to what?



Atul: how you managed to persuade that Singhania not to be part of the press conference 



Armaan: it was easy! I just convinced him that I had something of his which was far more valuable to him than showing up in the press conference.



Atul intrigued: really!! What?



Armaan replied blandly: his throat!



Atul look was a cross between horrified and amazement: you mean that you had him by the throat (and then as the image was too much to bare he started to laugh) Armaan! You are the best, yaar!



Armaan was smiling at his friends words but when he turned around and looked out the window of his office the smile disappeared as he looked out remembered what he had left behind.



His heart called out: Shilpa!

Amani

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