Hello people 🙂 I must say this is getting to be boring. I imagine you guys have a way with commenting on alternate episodes only! How else is it possible that on one episode people implore on me to not end this ff too soon, on the next one people don’t even bother to tell me whether they liked the huge, shocking twist or not? Anyways, let’s not waste much time on this and begin with the next part.
Link to previous episodes: http://www.tellyupdates.com/user/6187/?profiletab=posts
RECAP: Om takes care of Ishu and stays with him at her place on her request. Shivaay and Anika find out from the attacker that either one or both of their fathers, that is Tej and Shakti Singh Oberoi are the ones who wanted to kill Ishu. They are shocked beyond words and they go out for some time to their lake.
EPISODE 11: LUCKY
I woke up to the delicious aroma of poha and tea. It was a little funny that I sniffed the air to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. It was as if I had been pulled three years back in time, when that kitchen was used by my mom. I could visualize her in there, cooking passionately with an end of her saree tucked in at the waist. She would make a face at me for waking up late and I would give her a back hug and use sugar coated words to win her over again. I smiled at the memory and just like that, I awoke from my dream. The bright light coming from the window didn’t matter to me. I was busy dabbing at the wetness in the corner of my eyes.
“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty”, I heard a gentle voice at the door. His beautiful smile was immediately replaced by concern as he walked over to me and asked, “What happened, Ishu? Why are you crying?” I didn’t understand his words at once, as if he was speaking in an alien language. My confused stare was reflected back in his eyes. And then the memories from the previous night started flooding in.
I remembered having woken up once during the night and although I was now used to living alone in this house, I was searching for someone. That someone rushed in at my call with his hair literally flying behind him and the worry I saw in his eyes was somehow reassuring. It was weird that I held out my hands and as he came near, I grabbed a handful of his shirt and slipped back into sleep.
My eyes grew larger as these memories filled my head. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience”, I blurted out for no good reason. A small pucker formed between his eyebrows and he tilted his head a little, asking, “Are you still sleeping? Are you unwell?” His hand reached out to touch my forehead and it felt so warm. My hand involuntarily flew up to hold his and his concern visibly grew. “Ishu, your hands are so cold! Do you need to go to a doctor or something?”
I couldn’t find my voice to speak, so I settled with rapidly shaking my head. His hand slid down from my temple to the corner of my eye and trapped a tear drop there. I had to blink a few times to make sure it was all real. His warm touch on my skin, the mouthwatering smell of poha and tea, the bright light coming in from the window; it didn’t seem out of place at all. But there was something wrong and I could feel it. I looked around again and the too clean room finally registered in my brain.
“You did this?” I all but screamed. He was taken aback with my sudden change in expression. “Yes. Why?” he asked more confused than ever. “Yeah, why would you do something like that?” I asked miserably. This was too much for him. “What do you mean? It was so untidy! I just cleaned it a little. It’s no big deal”, I didn’t know if he was the one freaking out now or I was the one being absolutely unreasonable. In any case, I wasn’t backing down first. It was childish, but I wasn’t doing it.
Suddenly, a thought struck me and I jumped out of the bed, running to the laundry basket. Seeing most of my T-shirts thrown in there, I narrowed my eyes at him, “Did you take a peek at my undergarments?” He was absolutely flustered and appalled at that. “What do you think of me? Do I look like a pervert? Hey, I have a sister too. So I know how to respect girls and their space. Don’t mistake me for any roadside weirdo, okay?” his voice grew loud in response to my blunt question. Making a disgusted and offended face, he looked away in indignation. Uh… maybe I was too hard on him. He did clean my house on his own after all. That called for a thank you.
But I was not in a mood to do anything of the sort. “Yeah, whatever”, I tossed at him and skipped away to the inviting smell of breakfast. I could hear his gruff footsteps but I couldn’t really think of anything. As soon as I reached out to take a spoonful of the golden snack sprinkled with peas and finely chopped carrots and beans, he put a lid on it. Folding his arms across his chest, he gave me the look. “What?” I snapped petulantly. He raised a brow meaningfully as if he had caught on a lie and didn’t want to give up the opportunity of getting an apology out of me. And I accepted my mistake. Pulling on my cutest look, I said, “I’m sorry Om. Put it down to morning moodiness, okay?” I could see that he was amused with my efforts, but he still didn’t give in.
“I’ll make it up to you. But first, thank you for all this”, I said waving my hand at the whole place, which frankly looked much more pleasant than ever. He finally allowed himself a smile and it made me happy. This was a weird feeling for me. I hadn’t experienced something like this in a long while. And now, I couldn’t remember if I had ever felt like this. The first words I had heard this morning finally registered in my head. “Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.” Well, I guess it was an apt title for me. Wait, what time was it? I pulled at his hand still resting on his chest and looked at his wrist watch.
“Is it 10 o’clock already?” I looked up at him in shock and he laughed out loud. When my stomach grumbled loudly in reply to my question, he ruffled my already messy hair like I was a five year old and grinned widely. I ignored his kidding and went back to the poha that was calling out to me.
“Go, wash up first. I’m not letting you eat anything before that”, he declared stubbornly and turned me around to face the door. I hung my head and dragged my feet to find my toothbrush.
I had no idea what I should do now. On one hand was Ishu who was like a sister to me. If she knew about this, I know she’ll keep me away from the whole matter and face it all alone. Just like last time. On the other hand was the family that I had come to love like my own. This was nothing short of a nightmare for me. My family, I thought again; my family which was now in the danger of breaking up and scattering into pieces; my family which I would give anything to protect, if only it wasn’t against my own sister.
I glanced at Shivaay standing near the window quietly. It had been very difficult for me to convince him to come back home. Our conversation could have easily turned into our worst argument, and who would have imagined that Shivaay would be on the side of never coming back? It wasn’t that I didn’t understand his state of mind. I had felt it too; the sharp pang of betrayal, the short stab of denial, the huge load of acceptance.
I wondered about whether or not to tell Ishu. I knew Shivaay will be against telling anyone in the family about this, but I couldn’t ignore the fact that it was Ishu’s right to know about this. I glanced at Shivaay’s emotionless mask of a face again. Where is she anyways? I thought again. It was almost afternoon but there was no sign of either Om or Ishu. I’ll have to figure out a solution for this before I face them, I decided.
Rudra knocked at the door loudly, breaking my trance-like state. Out of the blue, Shivaay did something too weird for… well, Shivaay! He jumped out the wide window opening to the pool side. I looked after him for a while until Rudra knocked again. When I opened the door finally, he began to say something but stopped immediately, registering my unnatural mood.
“Anika Didi, are you alright?” Worry fraught his childish eyes and it looked totally out of place. A wave of kindness and affection overcame me when I saw him and I wanted nothing more than holding his face between my hands and protecting him from the world. “It’s nothing Rudra. What happened?” I said at last.
“Where’s Bhaiya? I wanted to ask him about something”, he said, scanning the room carefully as if expecting to find him hiding under the bed or inside the cupboard. I smiled and told him, “I guess he went out or something.” Satisfied with that piece of information, he made himself comfortable with a magazine. I received a text from Ishu that they’ll be coming back by evening. I heaved a sigh of relief before turning my attention to the commotion outside. Within seconds, Dadi, Badi Maa and Maa came in and started talking about something. It took me a moment to come out of my spell of watching their happy faces and actually listen to what they were saying.
“This year’s Lohri will be a memorable one Mummy ji! We should organize a lavish function for all of India’s royalties and celebrities”, Maa was saying excitedly. “Yes Mummy ji, let’s celebrate it with a party this year. Even the Mehta’s are planning a kite flying program on the next day and they’re going to invite some VIPs as well”, Badi Maa spoke eagerly before Dadi could get a word out. Rudra too joined in, excited at the idea of another party. “Anika, you’ll have to organize everything. Mummy ji, why aren’t you saying anything?” Maa asked at last. Dadi gave her an incredulous look saying, “How can I speak if you won’t let me?”
I smiled besides myself and it felt good to forget my worries for a second and join in their seemingly trivial concerns. “Look here child,” Dadi said to me, “Back in our ancestral home and traditions, the festival of Lohri is celebrated with a lot of extravagance and vivacity, especially when there is a upcoming wedding or something huge like that. So, it’s my wish to throw a party as well.”
“Dadi, this year’s Lohri will be memorable indeed. I’m here, right?” I told her confidently. She caressed my hair softly and her eyes twinkled with happiness. Just then I saw Shivaay leaning at the door, watching us with an unfathomable look in his sea blue eyes. And I knew what had captivated his mind and where his thoughts were leading, since it was the same with me.
Dadi’s smile was magical and in that instant I knew I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize its presence in this house. No matter what, I’ll give up anything to keep this loving and unassuming family safe from every threat.
A thought rattled at the back of my head. ‘But Ishu?’
I found an answer to my own doubt and advised myself, “Go and watch Mahabharat Anika. This Dharma sankat is similar to those in that epic. Hopefully you’ll find something useful there.” I pitied my own condition in the face of this one dilemma and fell into the endless nightmare again.
SNEAK PEEK: Ishu finds out something shocking. She runs into Om and looks at him with fear and sadness in her eyes. Om yells at someone.
So, I don’t know what to expect from you guys. I don’t even know what the problem is due to which my ff is not reaching out to as many people as it should. It’s sad, but it’s not the end of the world.
To all my friends who are preparing for the boards, any other exam or just any endeavor in their lives, “All the best guys! You guys will rock!” 🙂 keep smiling and take care. 🙂