EPISODE 23: LUCKY
As dusk fell, I walked inside the Oberoi Mansion. To any outsider, this building is a magnificent piece of architecture that reflects our deep rooted dedication to traditions and values, and the heights of our success perfectly. This structure somehow reflects my personality and identity. And why not? The Oberoi Industries was one of the most reputed and obviously extremely wealthy group of companies in the world today. And I was currently the backbone of the Oberoi Industries, although both, Dad and Bade Papa were still an integral part of it. This is my identity for the world. I’m Shivaay Singh Oberoi.
But there is only one person in this entire world for whom my ‘this identity’ is void. She knows me as someone else, or rather, as the real me. It would be incorrect if I say she changed me. In fact, she had awakened my hibernating heart and made me alive to emotions, besides the sense of success that is. My right hand flew to my left and caressed the ‘A’ on my ring lovingly. As I walked to my room, I heard her laugh bring the whole house alive, as she had done with me. A smile made its way to my lips automatically. With each step, the laughter grew in amplitude and I heard her say, “You won’t get away with it Sahil! OmRu! Stop helping him!” Her chuckles contradicted with her fake-angry tone, giving rise to more snickers, giggles and chortles. After Om’s dramatic exit earlier, I had assumed the atmosphere to be dull. Bade Papa had been infuriated with Om’s blatant rebuff and had retreated to his study in a huff. Everyone else had been worried about the drama that we were sure would follow. But all that was put on hold for something much more important.
I took a step inside my room, which had now been turned into a chaotic arrangement of pillows, chips and people. Saumya was sitting on the couch, munching on some snacks and enjoying the view. Rudra and Anika were trying to pull Sahil to their side on the bed, like a tug of war! Om was standing at a side with his arms folded across his chest, trying very hard to control his chuckles.
“Anika”, I called her name softly. Everyone literally froze in place as she turned guiltily. But seeing the soft smile on my face, she relaxed and reverted to her cute/mad self. We met halfway and held hands while Rudra and Sahil clapped happily on being free from her. Being close to her was enough to breathe life into me, and I realized that my decision was perfect. I turned to Sahil who was jumping happily.
“Someone is extra happy today”, I said as I went to him. He gave me a quick hug and said, “Look Jiju, Doc said I’m okay now. All the tissues are healed and I can move my leg. Pehelwan is even taking me to play games!” I loved it when he called me that, and I relished in that feeling for a moment before his words registered.
I gave Rudra a suspicious glance and he winked at me. At the same time, Anika complained, “Shivaay, please explain to them why he cannot play games right now.” Sahil pouted cutely and we shared a furtive look. Making him sit down on the bed, I casually remarked, “Do I look like a referee or your messenger? You tell them yourself.”
This was enough to incense her and she launched into detailed speech of how irresponsible both her brothers can be and why Sahil should listen to the doctor and why no plays at night. I looked at Saumya and Om who were holding back their laughter at her innocence and I burst into a fit of chuckles. “They’re just pulling your leg Anika!” I told her finally. She wasn’t angry for long and everyone was hungry after bringing her around. Before Om left, I asked him about Ishu and was told that she was with Dadi. This information surprised me, but I didn’t ask about their earlier performance. Om was only too happy to not be questioned further and left quietly.
When everyone was gone, I sat back on the couch, as the bed was still untidy. Anika noticed my expression and set to tidying it up herself.
“Anika, come here”, I called her with my hand outstretched. But she didn’t even look at me while replying, “Just a minute.”
“Anika, I’m announcing our wedding date today.” She stopped at that and turned to me with a weird expression. I could see she was worried about something, but happy at the same time. With slow deliberate steps, she came to my side and sat down. “Now? Like today-now?” I nodded, not understanding her hesitation.
“Shivaay, you know Bade Papa is angry right now. After this evening’s events, you think it will be okay to announce anything else today. The media will make it a huge scandal about family differences. Also, I know you are still trying to find about Dad and Bade Papa’s relation with Ishu.” My eyes grew wide at her words. How could she know about that? Moreover, I felt proud of her thinking like an Oberoi already.
All that she said was true. But I had managed the problem with Mr. Chadda for now and Bade Papa will be appropriately supportive in front of the media to maintain his image. I had it all planned out very well. “Would you like to have a lavish wedding in a month? I remember you once said that everyone has a lot of expectations and wishes with my marriage. Everyone will be happy if we do this. But only if you’re okay with it.” My words moistened her eyes and my fingers automatically trapped a tear drop at the corner of her eyes. Why is she crying? I wondered to myself.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked in choked up voice. I pulled her in a hug, feeling our synced heartbeats. In a soft whisper, I said, “This is why.”
“I see what you’re doing. You’re keeping everyone together and this is just an excuse to bring others as one in a happy occasion. But what about you?” she asked in a small voice. I was so touched with her thoughtfulness but I changed the mood by kidding. Pulling away, I said in a serious voice, “It’s for me too. The honeymoon is for me!”
Laughing inwardly at her aghast look, I feigned seriousness again, correcting myself. “I know, the honeymoon is for us!” she blushed scarlet and turned her face away while I chuckled at her reaction.
A press conference with my family standing behind me. Anika and I announced our wedding will be held in a month. Without answering any questions, I asked the security to show them out and turned to look at my happy family. Only Bade Papa’s face betrayed a little anger but I ignored it. Ishu, Saumya and Prinku enveloped Anika in a hug while OmRu did the same with me. Dadi blessed us together by putting a hand over our heads, “Always be happy like this. Live prosperously. God bless you.”
I looked at my Anika and thought, “I already got my blessing. I don’t need anything else.”
SNEAK PEEK: Om says to Ishu, “Be safe. I’ll be waiting for you.”
So guys, thoughts? 🙂