Its still overwhelming to think that I have reached 14 episodes.I hope to complete this fanfiction and not leave it abruptly. Thank you for all the love.
Akira: I’d like to take half a day off today , Anusha.
Anusha, the receptionist in the law firm,looked surprised and shocked.
Anusha: What happened Akira? You never take a day off unless its some festive occasion or some Pooja. Everything okay at home?
Akira: Thank you for the concern, Anusha.It’s a festive occasion alright.My didi is coming home.
Anusha: You never told me about your Didi,Akira.
Akira: That’s a story for another long,Friday afternoon break.(Smiling widely)
And within half an hour ,the storm,riding on her scooter reached the Oberoi Mansion.
In the Oberoi Mansion.
This is the place,finally. A place,which so familiar to me, seems so strange, new and as I enter it,I only feel strangeness and fear enter every fibre of my being.My fear,I easily gauzed was due to one person in particular.I cannot afford to meet Mr.Shivaay Singh Oberoi,not now.I cannot deal with him too.I have just started anew. My new running away avatar reminded me of Mallika.Her story had a happy ending,thankfully.And I see my happy ending coming pretty soon.For once,I can imagine it without him
Daadi: Annika puttar,come in dear.
Welcome,didi!! shouted the Oberoi youngsters in unison.
Annika felt herself festive and their enthusiasm awakened some old, warm memories and emotions in her.
That one man and his mother, made me lose so many gem of people, who could have given my barren life, purpose.
And there with large strides, she did not notice someone literally jumping on her and hugging her tight. So much was the impact that Annika twirled around in a half circle.
Rudra: This is the first time Didi….
Om: That you are not late.
Akira: How can afford to be late when my best didi is coming home!
Annika: Idiot,I’m your only didi.
Soumya: Come on in everyone.
Rudra:We will go make some snack for everyone. And Rockstar Rudy will make his World famous fruit punch!
Mishra: Punch,sir,it was a big punch!A big punch in the face of the companies which wanted to bring our share prices down. This MOU with the Government Of Singapore is going to turn in a positive investor sentiment for the Oberoi Empire,sir.
Shivaay: Mishra, stop advertising our move like an excited school boy. I am the boss here, remember?
Shivaay: And I know what you just said? Don’t be so Sorry,Mishra.Since you have worked extra hard,I’ll give you three days leave with pay.Go enjoy,with your family.
Mishra: Thank you,Sir.(Smiling usual Mishra Smile)
Though Mishra had whimpered about like an excited schoolboy, he didn’t know that my attention had only been focussed on the word “punch!” Than the contextual meaning, my stupid mind went back to that day when Rudra had made us all drink fruit punch. As if on auto focus, my thoughts turned back on to her. If OmRu were at home today, Rudra would be insisting that we serve his fruit punch to the guests. I remembered that the woman who was coming was married and older to Rudra. I smiled inwardly, poor Rudra! His worries indeed! My phone blinked. The call was Khanna’s.
Shivaay :What is it,Khanna?
Khanna: Sir,please watch the video I sent you now.
Shivaay :Fhat The Wuck,Khanna? I don’t watch those kinds of videos. I am going to fire you now!
Khanna: Sirji,Please.Before you come to any conclusion,look at the video.
Shivaay : Tell me what is in it, Khanna.Do you think of yourself as a thriller film’s director?
Khanna: Sirji ,this is to be seen,not to be said.(Cuts the call)
Melodramatic Khanna, I muttered to myself. Ever since I had employed him, every whim and fancy of his imagination landed as a video in my phone.
I looked at it anyway. Someone with long back tresses whom Daadi was asking to come in. The guest she was expecting, probably. Welcome, didi, said all the youngsters in unison. Wait! All of them knew her, there was no way I could not.Akira came, walked long strides and hugged her, I saw her face, just for a fraction of a second.
Damn Khanna! wasn’t there a better angle to take this video? My heartbeat raced. The puzzle pieces fitted. Akira had taken a day off. Mom was out for shopping. OmRu were at home. Daadi wanted to know particularly today, of all days, which time I was exactly coming home. I sprung from my seat, took the lift and with a jiffy, was in the car. And I thought this afternoon was going to be dull!
You will have to face me today,
Annika Shivaay Singh Oberoi.
Annika: Daadi,I said I would come and here I am.I have come to tell you what all happened these months.There were many truths I hid from you, Daadi and I feel guilty for all of them.
Daadi : Puttar,It is ok.Sometimes people have to take decisions they themselves don’t like just because of the circumstances and I know you would have never hid them from me without a reason.
Annika : Daadi,this was exactly why it was hard for me to leave this house,inspite of all that was thrown my way.You,Daadi,who treated me so well and thought of me as your daughter in law.
Daadi :Then why did you,Puttar.
Annika remained silent.
Daadi :Will you open the box of secrets now or not?
Annika : Daadi,I live in a flat here in Mumbai.That day,I asked for a jeweller’s contact nuber because I had Tia’s gift with me which I sold to get a better house for myself.
Daadi : And also paid Saahil’s education loan and your house’s as well?
Annika was shocked.
Daadi : I know it because I am Kalyani Oberoi,Annika.I was especially keeping an eye on your house.When the first prospective buyer came,I knew it was you,and hence sold it to you.Billu didn’t mind that because he was disinterested in everything at that time,but I had to take money for it,because I didn’t want to stir his attention.
Annika : Thank you Daadi. Here is one more, Om and Rudra knew where I was living all these months.
Daadi, looked at them ,shocked.
Daadi :Did the love for your brother die , Om , Rudra?Didn’t you see how he was all these months,you could have atleast told him that Annika was here if not where. Why did you do this?
Annika : Daadi,before all that.I want to show you something.Badi Maa,are you there?
Yes ,Annika!(Handing over the phone to Daadi)
Daadi : (Looked at Annika in confusion and slightly choked) Jhaanvi! Beta? How are you? You were so angry with Tej that you didn’t bother about your children and not even about us?
Jhanvi: Mummy ji,How is your health now?
Daadi broke into tears.
Jhanvi : Mummy ji, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you where I was all this time. I didn’t want you to come and plead on that ungrateful man’s behalf,mummyji.I didn’t forget my children, they and you were the only reason I tolerated Tej all these years sacrificing my self-respect and my career, mummyji.When Annika told me yesterday that she was coming there,I could no longer control myself from talking with you.(Sobbing)
Daadi : Don’t cry.Atleast you remembered me now. Wait, Annika told you?You both..
Jhanvi : Are living together.
Daadi : Bless you Annika, You still do good to our family. May God always keep you happy!
‘While all he does is keep me sad!’
All turned to the man who had hastily dashed on to the hall.
And before Annika knew what was happening, she was enveloped in his arms. He hugged her tight, murmured a “I missed you” before breaking down completely in her arms.
Who could even think that Shivaay Singh Oberoi would hug this middle class, girl-of the-streets like his life depended on it?
How the mighty have fallen!
All the pent up frustration, fear, love and guilt came bursting out. I cried less and shook more. Even in this moment of intense intimacy,I noted with immense pain that the other pair of hands never came over to my shoulder. They just stood there, firmly still near her legs. Had I lost her?
Annika : Wipe your fake tears off, Mr Oberoi.
Annika : Daadi,please tell me didn’t I tell you to tell me the time when he would not be at home?
Daadi : We honestly did,Annika puttar.
Shivaay : Great! My family hides things from me now.OmRu,if you remember, this is the second biggest thing you have hidden away.
Annika: Don’t worry,they will not anymore. It’s not their fault. I didn’t want to see your disgusting face after all these months.
Shivaay : I’m the most disgusting person ever,ok?All I want is just five minutes of your time.Can we talk?
Shivaay: But why? Please. Please… Problems get solved when people talk.
(Walking towards her)
Annika: Doesn’t apply to you and me. I cannot deal with you now.I have my own life now!I am already in mich michi seeing your face now! (Moving away)
Enough of my pleasing.I had to use my Annika tested technique now.After she agrees,I will revert back to how I usually was with her.
Stiffening his body and hardening his face,
Shivaay : I’m just asking for 5 minutes in your precious life. If you don’t agree,I know how to make people fall in line.(Between gritted teeth)
What followed was totally unexpected.
Annika: Don’t you dare,Mr.Oberoi.(Eyes flashing angrily) I’m warning you.If you try to do anything like you did few months ago,I will kill you.In all honesty,I will kill you.(Holding his hand with her sharp nails)I don’t even mind going to jail.I will not let you make my life a hell ,again. (Taking a deep breath)
Annika:(Maintaining composure with difficulty) I need to leave now, Daadi. It was nice meeting you all.
I was literally shivering after this outburst.All her outbursts would result in a complete breakdown,but now even after her faltering,anger filled speech, she still had not broken down.Blood oozed out very slowly,but even that hurt only after the effect of her anger had totally subsided on me.Akira ran,calling out her,requesting to drop her home.I flopped on the sofa.I decided that even if the wound became septic,I would not dress it.It would remind me that I had brought of the worst in the person,who had been sweet faced in the face of life’s severe assaults.
Two pairs of hands, however,held my arm tight, put in the cream and dressed the wound.
Om: Wounds, shallow or deep, Shivaay. They all heal. Time heals them.
Rudra: Time is a Doctor, O? But our lecturer just told us Time is gold yesterday. I tell you, that guy doesn’t know a thing or two about smartness.
Om: Can’t you at least pretend to be smart in such volatile situations, Rudra?(Fierce whisper)
Rudra: Sorry O! Waise,what is this violet tile? We have only pure white tiles in our home, no? Did that Lady baba have any of her “Purple tiles” put in our home while she was here, O?
Om pumped his fists together, but then released them in thin air.
Inspite of all the mess,I couldn’t hide a smile.
Thank God, I have my own back up in the battle with pain.
Thank God for Brothers!!!
My Billi’s fiery eyes flashed before me again.
The smile disappeared.
In her own language, Smile gaya tel lene!