Heyo guys! 🙂 How are my awesome friends doing today? 🙂 thanks for making my days and nights with your lovely comments. Now that my second ff on TU is coming to a close, I don’t feel like giving it up yet, if only to continue reading all the wonderful comments and suggestions and guesses and everything. So I decided to have one more episode to end it. This episode is only from Om’s point of view and may not be up to the mark in writing as I stayed up at night to write this in silence. There’s also no sneak peek as I don’t know what I want to write in the next one. Anyone who has any wishes or something here? Or if anyone finds any small or big mysteries I missed out on? Feel free to tell me so I can find some gems of ideas for the last episode of Lucky. 🙂
Also, this episode is dedicated to four of my most regular readers. No matter how good or bad I write, these four have always cheered me on, appreciated the good parts of my work and suggested ideas whenever I was stuck. Of course my other readers are just as valuable to me, but the ideas for this episode particularly came from you guys, hence the special mention. Diyaa, Kehkasha, Mrunal and Renima, you guys inspired this story and basically this episode. So thanks a ton and lots of love 🙂 <3
RECAP: Ishu back in Oberoi Mansion. Om and Ishu talk about the time they weren’t together. Om gets confused as Ishu doesn’t understand when she had disappeared or anything. But then she shakes it off as it doesn’t matter after their reunion. Om is doubtful about something.
LUCKY: EPISODE 38
It seems like just yesterday when I was with her team and her Action Academy’s Director, Shaan, and he had tried to interrogate me like a lawyer to a criminal or an interviewer to an interviewee. Needless to say, we had hit it off right away and his strict façade had melted away real quick. But that one meeting had told me enough about him. At a young age, he had made a nice place for himself on his own and still managed to stick to his values which was evident in the way he carried himself. Ishu also respected him a lot although her demeanor around him was more like a spoilt princess than his employee. And he knew her well, as he described her as “a free bird, whose life goals are really simple but the way she achieves them are truly incredible”.
But the important question was: why am I thinking about him now? The more apt question would be why I hadn’t thought of him all this time? I guess I really was depressed enough for my brain to stop working then. Ishu’s bell-like voice interrupted my train of thought and stunned me to that same degree once more.
“Om, what do you mean I took off? Didn’t you know I had a shoot scheduled?” she asked with a crease between her brows. I replayed that a few times in my head to be sure I had heard her correctly. Did she possibly mean that she had gone for a shoot from the hospital when we had last met? But I had framed my question correctly too, right? She had taken off without even me noticing when she disappeared, and she had definitely not mentioned anything about a shoot or whatever.
In any case the situation then hadn’t been as simply unforgettable that she could go for stunts after our meeting. With some effort, I stuttered out, “Ishu, what… what are you ta… talking about?”
“Don’t you know?” she chirped up with visible surprise. “Yeah, I did think it was weird you would go abroad when I was in a hospital. Well, I guess it’s not important, now that we’re together again”, she mused to herself and smiled at the conclusion of the topic. There was, however, something in her pitch black eyes that I couldn’t recognize; was it confidence or recklessness?
Worried, I wrapped my arms around her slender frame again and rested my cheek on her hair, lest she saw the growing fear in my eyes. I looked down at her once and saw her smiling into my chest with pink cheeks.
Later that evening, I finally allowed myself to think about it as I sat at the lawn bench and looked thoughtfully at Shaan’s number on my mobile’s screen. Through the huge windows at the side, I could see everyone sitting in the hall with big smiles, including Ishu. “Would life be cruel enough to play the same sick joke on her yet again? Or am I missing something? I really hope I am!” I said to myself with fingers crossed. At length I called him and held my breath, not that I had much of breath left anyways; Ishu had run away with it.
I was very glad I had made that phone call then. What I came to know from that one call at least made my mind open to other possibilities, which I hadn’t thought of at the moment, but which changed my perspective completely.
Apparently, he didn’t even know where Ishu was now. But he knew when she had left from Mumbai. “She had come to see me a day before she left for Pune, but I think she met with an accident on the highway. As I was saved as #1 on her speed dial and there was no one else they could call, the hospital authority contacted me when she was admitted. It wasn’t anything serious, but there was a minor concussion and bruised ribs. She was very lucky to have survived with minor injuries and the doctors said everything was fine. But later when we were talking, she asked me where she had to go that she had ended up at the highway. That’s when the doctors suspected her memory could have been affected. So, to not put her under more stress, I told her she was going for a shoot.”
He paused while thinking about something and then continued, “Om, did you know I trained her? So every move she pulls off, I recognize it easily. There had always been this aggressiveness and recklessness around her when she practiced. But after that accident, she became much more careful with everything she did. When I asked her, she said she promised someone.”
He paused again for confirmation and I told him simply, “Yes, it was me.” He sighed as if he knew as much and then told me, “I don’t know much about the past, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring it up. Nothing good can come out of it anyways, so think before you say anything to her. Okay?”
As he said this, my eyes connected with Ishu’s, who was standing near the windows now. Unsure of what she could see on my face, I replied in “Hmmm…” Our conversation moved on to lighter topics as the dusk fell around me like an invisibility cloak. I sat there for a long time before making up my mind and walking determinedly towards the looming mansion. Most of the family had gathered there, except for a few like Ishu, Shivaay, Rudra, and Mom. I lingered for some time and then excused myself to go back to the comforting solitude of my room. On my way, I saw Ishu and Shivaay talking about something while Rudra listened with a carefully controlled expression. Ishu was smiling a bit while Shivaay seemed a little embarrassed. Catching my eye, Shivaay looked a little dazed but that was enough to prompt a question in my mind: “What are you hiding from me, Ishu?”
No sooner had I thought this than she turned and our eyes locked on to each other. One glance was all it took for her to almost, nearly, more or less spill the beans. Given her transparent nature, I was actually impressed she had managed to keep the truth hidden from me for so long! She had probably sensed my insight too as she looked away immediately. I nodded at my clueless brothers and went to my room to sit quietly and think about what this meant. ‘The voice-note that she had left behind with her photos would make much more sense if this truly was the case’, I decided.
So I had narrowed down the events and the results to two possible explanations: first, the obvious memory loss story Shaan had told me. But a lot of things didn’t fit into that story perfectly. For example, I had definitely not imagined the flash of anger in her eyes when she saw Papa and Chhote Papa, just as I had not imagined her unbound happiness on seeing me. Then there was her dialogue from last night: “What am I doing Om? Handing myself over to my supposed enemy! Just to be beside his polar opposite son!” She hadn’t forgotten our conversation at the hospital, so how could she forget three nights right before that?
As if to confirm my suspicions, I pulled out my mobile and plugged in the earphones and thought about what I should be doing now.
As if some long forgotten song which comes back to you at solitary leisure, Ishu’s soprano voice said to me, “Sorry Om, that I hurt both your fathers and that I had to leave like that. I didn’t want to meet you before going because I know I can’t face you and if I do, I won’t want to leave; but I’ll probably do that anyways. What will I do away from you? I have no idea. I think I should take up meditation or something. Do you think that’ll help? And yeah, I have clicked a lot of pictures for you. You wanted to make my portrait, but since I won’t be there as a model, I thought I could do this for you. You should be so thankful right now!
Also, I should thank you too. You are the best thing that ever happened to me in a long, long time. You probably know this too, but I… I wanted to tell you this in person, that I… *sigh* that you are a really good person. You are a blessing to everyone who crosses paths with you. I have never met a gentler, kinder, stronger and better soul than you, and maybe never will. Thanks for being here for me when I needed you the most. You probably don’t know this, but you may have noticed it already: no one else knows about my place or is allowed to come here, except for Anika. You and your siblings are that special to me.
*clears throat* I think I am essentially a selfish creature because I’m already thinking of the perfect plan to come back without looking suspicious or disrupting your family’s peace. Quite a stretch, huh? But I have to find a way, because I really don’t know how long I can survive without your warm presence. It’s kinda funny how I wanted to run away from this place when I began talking and now, I’m already missing you. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some peace of mind soon and some sensible, non-creepy way to come back home, to you. Till then, live like a saint. If I ever find out about you going around with another girl, I’ll beat her to a pulp and lock you up in a castle, you Rapunzel! Haha! *cute giggle* That sounds too dramatic, right? Don’t you worry! I won’t do anything of the sort. If you actually, really like someone else… I’ll be happy as long as you are happy.
Let’s not end at that horrible note! So… I’ll, for sure, miss your food. When I see the sunset or the sea or watch a movie or go to sleep or wake up in the morning or dry my hair or eat lots of food or listen to music or see a painting or hope for anything or… anything, whatever I do, I’ll always, always remember you Om. I… I really think that I… I lov… *heavy sigh* I should stop here. Bye. *sniff*”
And there’s my second explanation: she was lying. Maybe that wasn’t the right way to put it. I could say she was playing with words and using it to her advantage. She had put everything behind her and tried to forget about it, figuratively. But she told everyone, including Shaan, that she had no recollection of all that had happened. That must have been why she had been avoiding me all day, to keep me from reading the truth in her eyes before she could learn to keep a poker face in front of me. Her smile from earlier in the evening took on another meaning as I realized how much she loved me to bear such pain only to be with me. And there was nothing I could do to make it better!
I hated that I was the one causing her pain, then and now.
Should I send her away by telling her I knew? Or should I play along and protect her from everything else that tries to hurt her? The ideals I had lived my life by were pitched against my love, and they were very close to losing as well! The final blow came when she walked into my room in all her smiley glory and called me for dinner. Love had won, and of course it didn’t matter that I had to lie to the whole wide world. She looked at me again and a moment of wordless conversation passed between us. She knew that I knew and she was worried I would turn her away because I hated lies. I reassured her that nothing in the world was as important to me as her now. No truth, no relation, no yearning, no joy could ever compare to what she meant to me.
Ever since I had stepped into adolescence, my worldview had been heavily influenced by my father’s failures. I had believed with all my heart in a pure love with a base of honesty and a connection of hearts with enough personal space for not feeling suffocated. Thinking back now, I had done away with any girl’s attention holding this one belief as a shield in front of me. I had always been extra careful to never give in to the two addictions I feared the most: lying and infatuation. If you lie once, you’ll never stop. Similarly, if you give in to your more basic cravings once, it becomes very easy for your heart to wander around with every sensual body that comes your way. After my final year of college, I had dated Riddhima for a few years, but had maintained a careful, but not so evident distance from her both, emotionally and physically. But now, here was the person who had modified my beliefs with her simple prioritizing.
A love is pure when there’s a foundation of honest intentions and a connection of hearts beyond that of attraction, and that allows you to be comfortable in proximity. She had taught me it wasn’t a crime to either lie or want a person as long as both of us are on the same page and have the courage to accept the other person as they are. Just as she had accepted me with the baggage of my dysfunctional family, I had accepted her with the responsibility of the pains she had gone through due to me.
As these thoughts were going on in my head, we stood there gazing into each other’s eyes. I didn’t realize when I had gravitated toward her such that we were standing really close now. My hands developed a life of their own as I encircled her waist, holding her closer still. She too wrapped her arms around my back and waited for me to speak. “I love you”, I declared finally and she simply replied, “And I love you.”
On an impulse, I traced my hand under her jaw and holding her face, I whispered to her fluttering lashes and peppermint breath, “I’m really good at granting wishes, you know!” She nibbled at her lower lip for a second while finding a fitting reply. With a smile in her voice, she whispered back, “I’m counting on that!” And then we picked up where we had broken off all those days, weeks, months ago.