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Episode 18: Here
EPISODE 19: LUCKY
Taking a sip of water, he turned to look at me. “So, you want to know what took me so long?”
I nodded and waited again. He finished his whole glass of water and then turned towards me again. “I met Riddhima today.” His statement was nothing strange. People meet other people all the time. Who was this Riddhima, anyways? I thought for a while longer before I remembered.
“Riddhima; your ex-girlfriend? The one who cheated on you?” I almost shouted in surprise. Om rolled his eyes at me, disapproving my choice of words. “She didn’t cheat on me. She lied and broke my trust. So I dumped her.”
Something about his tone didn’t sound right. It felt like he was angry, uncomfortable and sad at the same time. I studied his mood and posture for a few seconds to decide how to react. “So, how did you meet her?” I asked tentatively. He looked at me angrily for a split second before turning away and said, “She came to the art hub. I was also there for a meeting. She said she wanted to talk.” By the end, his voice went hard as stone. He didn’t sound like the Om I had come to know in these few days. Or maybe it was just that I didn’t know him well yet. For some weird reason, I felt an instant sense of antagonism towards this girl. Who the hell did she think she was to make my Om sad or angry?
In my dislike for the girl and worry for Om, I didn’t realize where my thoughts were coming from. Instead I was busy trying to figure out why he would be either sad or angry about it? He seemed to read my mind as he launched into a detailed account of why he never wants to see her face and why he absolutely hates lies and how any relationship or even a person with a foundation of lies and mistrust can stand up straight for long. I was beginning to feel drowsy with his speech, but something he said woke me up. “Looks can be deceptive indeed! In the end Riddhima was no different from Ishana, was she?”
He didn’t say it consciously enough but it was enough to grab my attention. I raised an eyebrow and he grasped his slip of tongue. His face turned apologetic while I tried to comprehend the meaning of his words. Was Ishana also one of his ex-girlfriends? Did she cheat on him or trick him in anyway? I asked these out loud before I knew it, but to my relief Om wasn’t shocked or embarrassed with my directness.
“I told you she wasn’t my girlfriend. But she tried to con me. ShivRu found out her truth and then we confronted her about it. She even defended her lifestyle by saying that when poverty strikes, honesty is the first one to leave our company. Do you also believe that?” he asked a little harshly. His anger stemming from dishonesty and deceitfulness was apparent enough, but I still didn’t know how to respond. As for my feelings, I waited to feel something at the mention of her name, but everything seemed to be pretty normal for now. Ironically, that was the abnormal part!
After a thoughtful minute, I answered him, “I think poverty is not the only reason that can make people resort to lying. It’s stupid to think that there can be any one factor which leads people to make the choices they make in life. For example, a poor person can also live an honest life or a rich person can also be the king of liars. What matters are the intentions, the thoughts and the consequences. If a rich lawyer lies through his teeth to save a murderer, can he be considered a dishonest person? He is just doing his job and getting paid for it. How is that wrong?”
My little innocent speech appeared to strike a chord with my listener. But it wasn’t for long either. “If the lawyer succeeds in saving the murderer, wouldn’t there be a chance that he’ll kill someone again? Being a responsible lawyer, he should judge whether the murderer deserves the second chance. If he doesn’t, then the lawyer should realize the potential danger in having such a man roam freely and thus, never give him the chance to escape punishment for his deeds.” His words made sense, but it didn’t fit the big picture.
I could be totally wrong, but I just had this impression that he was sticking to his belief on truth with a tiny bit of stubbornness. It was like a child with his favorite toy. He was too possessive when it came to truth. I tried once again, “Finding out the truth is the work of police and deciding whether he deserves a second chance is the work of the judge. The lawyer’s job is to give the murderer the benefit of doubt. Who are you and I to decide his life or death on the basis of the one fact that we know about him? Even if he’s a professional killer, you never know how much a single lawyer’s conviction can change him for the better!”
I don’t know what came over me at that instant, but words started flowing out of my mouth on their own, and I didn’t do anything to stop them. “Om, I know the importance of this because once, I myself was in that situation. When my parents went missing, I had gone to the police station to file a report. But they turned on me instead. My parents were both academics, and they didn’t have any enemies. Since I was popular in my college for being rough and tough, the police suspected me of being the reason they went away. They even considered the possibility of me killing them! What I wouldn’t have given then for people to believe me or even listen to me! But since then, I’ve become used to no one believing me, and making people believe stuff by force or letting them believe what they want to.”
I was saying this while staring off into space. When I returned to the land of the living, Om was looking at me with a depth in his eyes that pulled me into them like a swamp of dark chocolate or a black hole. I turned away and waited for him to continue the conversation in his honey-like voice. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to wait for long. “I understand your point of view. But not everyone in the world is a lawyer. There can be some exceptions, but even if half the people in this entire world are truthful and honest, most of the problems on Earth will disappear.” He spoke for some time more, and I closed my eyes, resting my head on the back pillows of the couch.
He fell silent and I was suddenly too tired to reply. When I gathered up some energy to speak, I heard him mumble to himself, “She fell asleep again! She didn’t even have dinner!” I was too sleepy to agree with him, so I snuggled deeper into the cushions towards him. Everything was silent for a few minutes and I wondered if he had left. ‘Am I imagining his warm presence?’ I thought to myself. Just when I was slipping into sleep, I felt two strong, but soft arms picking me up gently. ‘The artist is strong too!’ I thought through the dark and quiet creeping up.
He carried me carefully to my bed and set me down tenderly. As he pulled the comforter over me, I clutched a handful of his shirt again. And that was the first night I dreamt of Om.
Next morning, I awakened by the sound of a door closing and hurriedly sat up on the bed. My mobile rang once and I checked my inbox.
“I’m leaving early today. I’m going back to the Oberoi Mansion. I also prepared some breakfast for you. It’s in the kitchen. Also, come by the Oberoi Mansion later. Shivaay asked me to tell you. And there’s a gift for you on the sofa. Wear it if you like.”
“Wow, that’s a great beginning for the day! I wonder what the rest of my day will be like…” I mumbled to myself as I hopped down my bed.
SNEAK PEEK: I got nothing! 😐
So, I know it’s not all of what was promised in the last precap, but you’ll have to make do this time 🙂 I’ll try to write a longer one next time. No promises though! Please comment if you can. 🙂