Hello everyone 🙂 I know nowadays I’m leaning towards the deeper and philosophical aspect of our leads’ love stories, but as I already said, there’s the Shivika wedding coming up, so this is only temporary. Also, I really hope you guys like this episode. Ignore mistakes please 🙂
Link to previous episodes: click here for all episodes
EPISODE 24: LUCKY
That warm feeling, which I had run away from, started creeping over me again. Even with the undercurrent of resentment running throughout, there was an overall warm, homey feeling of security and happiness too. Good for me, I had to leave soon. Just as I thought that, Tej uncle remarked, “You’re lucky Shakti. Not all parents are blessed with such dutiful and responsible sons.”
Like a wildfire, the argument grew and soon Om and Tej uncle were exchanging insults with Jahnvi aunty caught in the middle of it terribly. They were standing right in front of me, and I was seated comfortably on the sofa. I was focusing on Om’s facial expressions so much that I kinda didn’t listen to anyone else speaking. It was a little comforting to see Shivaay and Rudra stand up for him. I didn’t understand why I should be feeling bad at Tej uncle’s harsh words, except that I was. Shivaay tried to get everyone to settle down, but Pinky aunty, in return, asked him to stay out of it. Anika looked disturbed with all this, but she held her place for now.
When Tej uncle said, “The fault is mine, because I’m the one who foolishly thought that my son wouldn’t want his father to lose out on such an important deal. If only he wasn’t so busy playing in the mud!” I felt like a knife had been twisted in my gut. A faucet that was dripping had broken and water was flowing out uncontrollably, causing a flood.
“Whose fault is it then? You’re responsible for this because you’re the one who thinks of ‘your son’ like a business asset rather than an actual person! I’d warned you before, but you thought that I was bluffing. Sorry for your loss, but I am not your property to use as you wish to.”
Everything happened in a matter of seconds. I saw Tej uncle’s hand rise slightly and I knew he was about to hit Om. But I reacted in self-defense, lunging forward to hold his hand and twisted it behind him. Turning him around and knocking his knees under him, I held his collar bone, ready to snap it with a flick of my fingers if he attempted any other move. Presently I realized what I had done and turned to see gaping mouths and shocked faces around me. Shivaay had come in front to Om to protect him from Tej uncle’s slap, which was not required for now. Om was just as flabbergasted with my action as everyone else, but there was also a hint of recognition, as if he had expected this to happen.
I turned my attention to the groaning man at my feet who was too stunned to move. Straightening my position and helping him up, I cried, “I’m so sorry, uncle. I reacted rashly, but it was purely in self-defense. Please forgive me.”
Frankly speaking, he was scared of me. I could see it in his eyes. And much as I didn’t want to, I felt good watching his fear filled eyes and trembling body. And I hated myself for that.
“How dare you attack Tej Singh Oberoi?” he asked in an angry, yet shaking voice. I bowed my head and tried to go with the cute and innocent child charade. In a small voice I continued with my apology, “Sorry uncle, I didn’t do it on purpose. Of course, he’s your son and you can hit him. Why should I stop you? It was completely illogical and it will never happen. Please go ahead and hit him if you want, I won’t interrupt this time.”
Before I could go on with my nonsensical and absurd speech, Om put a finger to my chin and lifted my head up. It was incredible how I recognized his touch this time, but I didn’t have time to dwell on that as surprise registered in my brain. The hall was almost empty now and everyone was returning to their own rooms. I saw Anika turn back to look at me in a strange mixture of concern and pride. Tej uncle was limping while holding his hand, with Jahnvi aunty following close behind. I directed my focus to Om who was waiting for my attention with an angry expression.
At length he said, “So you’d let him hit me?” My chin lowered again as I recalled my inexcusable actions.
“He’s your father. I didn’t have any right to do that. I hope he’s okay”, I mumbled into his hand which was still at my chin. His towering height and narrowed eyes bugged me to no end. Of course, he was mad at me now! No matter the differences between them, the father-son bond doesn’t break so easily. And I was the third rail which no one wanted around. Ugh! Why did I do it? My self-berating came to a stop when he pulled his hand away and I heard him snort derisively.
Folding his arms across his chest, he interrogated me, “You think I care about that man?” Unable to catch on to his train of thought, I truthfully answered, “Yes. Don’t you?”
I saw his face go blank as he kept looking at me without even blinking. I snapped him out of his daydream and he squirmed under my gaze. Finally he decided to just leave and turned around to go back into his room. I watched him go, but then I remembered I had to tell him something.
“Om, wait up”, I called out. Before I could go near him, he walked towards me, such that we met halfway. “I told you about my two days shooting, right? I’ll be leaving tonight itself. So, if you wanna stay there, you can totally do so. Okay?”
I could tell he was thinking deeply about something, but it wasn’t what I had just told him. He quickly replied, though. “It’s okay. I’ll be here. No problem.” Not wanting to push it, I simply nodded and turned around to leave. He held my hand again, but for once, I took my time recognizing the big and soft palm and found myself amazed at its feel on my wrist. With a smile playing on my lips in appreciation of my accomplishment, I turned back to see his sad eyes. Somehow, they seemed sadder and deeper because of his hair falling on his forehead. Taking a deep breath, in a rough voice he said:
“The brave and the foolish
Meet the same fate.
Some more time won’t hurt you,
Just let the future wait.
Elders taught us once
That trouble won’t fail
Even if you’re looking
In a field or a jail…”
I could only stare at his angelic face as he said this. After thinking it over for a while, I replied in a bittersweet tone, “Not soon enough, dude!”
He was a little taken aback by my response, but also sadder. His hand covering my wrist was positively burning now, but he didn’t remove it. His head tilted downwards as he quietly said, “Ishu, be safe. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Overcome by emotion, I instinctively moved close to him and wrapped my arms around him tightly. For such a long time, I had been saying these very words to so many people in my life. Although it wasn’t a very long life, I had been waiting indeed. Finally, after all these years, when I had given up on it, I received my reply. I couldn’t believe my luck! Blinking back the tears that threatened to break out, I rested my head against his warm chest. Om seemed to understand my unspoken emotions and he simply touched his chin to my hair, waiting for me to compose myself before pulling away. When I was sure I looked okay, I pulled myself away from him and smiled happily. I didn’t think I could manage anything more than a squeak, so I patted his hand in gratefulness and left quietly.
I didn’t notice the four pairs of eyes following my exit from the first floor, but the one pair of dark chocolate eyes bore a hole through my back as I walked away without a parting glance at them. I was sure I could never leave if I looked back now, and I thought of Dadi’s words:
“I know my grandson hates lies and values relations, but if he said something like that, there must be a reason behind it. Even if you’re not in a real relationship, take care of my child. As he trusts you, I do too. You know very well, I believe in Ishqbaazi between people who are well matched; not in the social sense, but personality wise. When I looked at the two of you together for the first time, I thought you are well matched in your virtuousness and humble nature. Both of you are so trusting and bold at the same time! Anyways, that’s all I wanted to say. Think about it if you don’t mind.”
Dadi’s innocent but wise countenance and kind words and Om’s profound eyes were all I could think about during my journey.
SNEAK PEEK: Om spies on someone.
So guys, thoughts?