Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Part 3 : A Burdened Love

It was a humid night. The rain had decided to stop for some time and the fire flies were peacefully floating outside the entrance of Sanjeevani. How beautiful  Armaan thought to himself as he saw them emitting small rays of coloured green light. They looked like mini lanterns floating in the cobalt blue sky.

Armaan had reached the worn out bench which Abhi was sitting on. Abhi  moved aside on the seat and made space for Armaan to sit. The two men both so different in many ways different morals, different traits and different lifestyles for the first time in their lives were actually going to have a decent conversation which didn't involve a boxing match or being sneer to one another. They sat as acquaintances.  little did they know that after this conversation they were going to change the title of the relationship to friends or more to a relationship of two long lost brothers reuniting.

After a silent ten minutes of watching aimlessly into the scene of serenity of the floating lights in the sky, Abhi broke the silence as he knew Armaan was worn out and in no state to start the discussion. Not that Abhi himself was any better, but he could comprehend with Armaans state of mind. As he himself had previously been a victim of a similar situation.

Abhi: "Armaan, before I begin I just want to say that I can understand what frame of mind you are currently facing"

Armaan sat their mum not knowing what to say. Did Abhi actually understand? Or what he just being another one of those sympathetic corpses like the rest of the people in Sanjeevani, throwing sympathetic feeble smiles at he and Riddhima. Did he really know what was going on in Armaans mind? Did he know how it felt to not be able to stop those merciful cries for help, that were replaying in his head. Did he know? Did he really understand? Could anybody understand? ...However, there was an edge of genuineness and a hint of sincerity to his tone of speaking that made Armaan believe otherwise.

Abhi: "It's tough. Tough to watch the ones you love most in pain. A pain so severe, so strong so cruel that you feel secluded you feel like  a recluse in your life. You feel helpless as if  you have entered a state of paralysis and there is nothing you can do to escape and help"

For the first time in the duration of the whole conversation Armaan looked up at Abhi in disbelief. Abhi had stated in words so coherently and so true exactly as to how Armaan was feeling at present situation.

Abhi saw Armaan looking at him. Armaans expression conveyed a quizzical look of disbelief.

For the second time in his life Abhimanyu Modi was about to reveal the  story of his past. This time not to his fiance Niki. , but to Armaan Mallik, his to be 'new best friend.'

Abhi- He started his story straight away and got straight to he point. "Four years ago I was the father of a Four year old daughter named Aliyah."
( These fifteen words spoken  by Abhi turned Armaans expression to mock horror)

Abhi witnessed the change in Armaans face but nevertheless continued. "My wife Ankita had died giving birth to our daughter."
( Armaan kept mum- he couldn't imagine his life without Riddhima) "It was tough playing the role as both mother and father for my daughter but some how I managed and got through this hurdle thrown by life." Abhi smiled as he recollected  and shared his memories with Armaan of Aliyah growing up. As he listened Armaan prayed to the almighty God (If there was one out there' Armaan never really had faith in religion, until he met Riddhima that was)  that his daughter lived to experience these beautiful experiences such as birthdays, ballet recitals, attending nursery, flute lessons... Abhi was feeling nostalgic he delineated each experience with every detail possible without leaving any intricacies. There were so many incidents, such as when Aliyah broke her arm and instead of her crying, it was role reverse Abhi was crying. Both men smiled as Abhi told Armaan many sweet stories of the father daughter relationship.

As Abhi was narrating one of his stories about Aliyah  a little girl across the road had dropped her ice cream. She was bawling her eyes out. Armaan looked up ahead at the little girl. He was about to go up to her when he saw her elder brother come from behind her and surprise her with a new ice cream cone. Both Armaan and Abhi smiled at this brother sister  incident.

After some time Abhi's expression dropped and he looked sullen. As if the grim reaper had snatched away his living existence. Armaan sensed foreboding. He knew what Abhi was about to say next it would not be pleasant. Abhi continued. "It was the eve before Aliyah's fourth  birthday. I was cooking Jam Tarties (jam tarts= pastry filled with strawberry ) as Aliyah liked to call them, as they were her favourite. The sickly sweet aroma of strawberries filled  each corner of the house. During the afternoon our cat Milo had dropped Ankitas cherished vase . I was a little disappointed, but I do no believe. In superstitions I just let this incident pass as if  nothing had happened . I paid no heed to it.

Little did I know what was coming my way next...
It was six o'clock. Tia one of my closest friends was to bring Aliyah home from ballet class. As I was busy in the preparations I didn't have time to pick her up. It had just turned ten past six and the door bell rang. Tia and Aliyah entered. Tia had bought Aliyah home but not in the state Aliyah had left. Tia was expressionless. Her face had lost all colour. She had Aliyah in her hands. Aliyah lay there limp and lifeless in her tutu clad body. Aliyah had been hit by a car as she crossing the road. All that was visible a small poppy bruise on Aliyah's forehead .... This was where the car had hit her.  My Princess had suffered internal bleeding (head injury) a quick painless death. And that was the day my life ended. ..That is up until I met Nikita." He let out a faint smile as he said Nikitas' name.

Abhi had never thought in his life that he would share his experience  with Armaan. And he felt no regret in telling him. It was so easy to speak to him. If he were talking to a younger brother or a good friend.

Silent tears seeped Armaans eyes as Abhi's story came to a close. On the other hand strangely enough Abhi was not crying as he looked once again into the cobalt blue sky. Abhi had washed away all the tears a long time back related to his past. Now whenever he remembered Ankita and Aliyah all he wanted to remember were the lessons they taught him, and those points in life when they brought him happiness.

Abhi:  "It's strange Armaan. Life takes numerous twists and turns just make sure you know your role in how to handle them. I am no deity I cannot  for seek the future as to what will happen to Aahana, but what I can say is whatever happens, happens for the best. You and Riddhima will get through this crisis, so long as you stick together. Everything will be okay."

After a long silence Armaan said softly : You saved my Angels life by risking your life  and I don't know how I will ever repay you.. Armaans voice trailed off... He looked down on the gravel path as his shoulders slouched low.

Abhi: "Armaan it was my duty to save Aahana. I could not see history  repeat itself, a family breaking once more and that too in front of my own eyes.  I did my bit the rest is in Gods hands now. I just pray that you and  Riddhima do not suffer through what I once did."

Abhi- "As for what happened to Aahana. Stuck in the burning house...He paused for a moment...Well I don't know how to begin to narrate this unfortunate incident to you but here goes..just be prepared and let me finish...

Armaan looked up at Abhi. He was ready but little did he know what was to come his way..

Hannah Sophia

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