EPISODE 5: LUCKY
It took her three and a half days to wake up. During this time, someone or the other from the Oberoi Mansion would always be with her. Most of the time, it was either Anika or me. I don’t know what it was, but I waited impatiently for those doe eyes to open up. The assailant who was responsible for this was still in our custody. His lips were sealed but Shivaay had assured me that it wouldn’t be for long. Nothing of consequence happened for three days, but on the fourth, I was sitting next to her bed when her lids fluttered opened. The doctors were called for and the quiet atmosphere transformed into a flurry of activity.
It was like raising the curtains before a play. Before long her eyes focused on the ceiling first, then on the doctors and nurses around, and then she started screaming. If she weren’t so weak and connected by so many wires to various equipment, she would have definitely karate chopped all the other people in the room. Frankly, most of them looked scared of her. I pushed my way through the crowd and tried controlling her. Her tear stained face was fraught with fear. I would have sworn to not recognizing her if I didn’t know better. I held her tight, making a kind of cage with my arms and she fit in perfectly. She cried into my chest saying, “Om, I don’t want to be here. Why am I here? Make them go away, Om. I don’t want to be here.”
I stroked her back comfortingly, saying words that I hoped were soothing. “It’s just for a little while, Ishu. I’m right here. Nothing will happen to you.” She passed out after a few minutes and the doctors cautiously came back in to check on her. Before leaving, I heard one of the nurses mutter to another, “Lucky girl. She has such a hottie to take care of her!” Although that wasn’t meant for me to hear, I couldn’t help correcting her.
During these few days, Anika had told me some things about her. For example, I now knew that Ishu had always been afraid of hospitals, ever since she was a kid. But I never imagined that it could be this serious. I wondered at the reason behind it while holding her hand and waiting for the doctors to be done with their work. I noticed that her hands weren’t so soft as other girls’; probably because of her rough and tough profession. But it wasn’t hard as rocks either. One could say it was a delicate balance between the two. Soon enough, Anika too came to visit her. “What’s new?” she asked casually.
“She woke up once. They’re keeping her under sedatives now. She actually freaked out when she woke up”, I told. The one thing I knew about these two girls was that their bond was stronger than friendship; they were more like sisters. Sure enough, her eyes rested on our entwined hands for a moment and before she could get all protective, I explained, “I tried to calm her down.” I watched her face for some reaction, but she seemed cool about it. Then she left.
After some time, I had to leave too. I gently disentangled our hands, but she had quite a grip. When I did succeed, she woke up suddenly. I thought that she would start crying again, but she surprised me. She looked past me at Mr. Oberoi standing behind me. I hadn’t noticed him coming in, but he had a weird look on his face; as if he was pained about something. But he composed his expression before Mom joined us. Today seemed to be a day of surprises for me! I left with a smile at Mom, completely ignoring Mr. Oberoi. Somehow, it made me happy to see Mr. Oberoi being compassionate to other people. I never admitted it but I hoped that maybe one day he could try being a better person and that we could actually get along well. I left the hospital with a hopeful smile.
My head felt heavy. I had a sudden urge to bang it against the wall. But the hand that held mine kept me from doing anything stupid like that. I sensed him leaving and I opened my eyes all of a sudden. The abrupt brightness threw me for a moment and my eyes focused on a pair of unfathomable eyes. There was someone standing behind him and I had a kind of flash from another time. A black masked man pointing a gun towards this long haired guy. My head throbbed at that far away memory, but before I could turn my eyes away, there was another image flashing in my mind. A woman’s cry drowned out in a splash of red, while someone shouted “Ishu”. I didn’t remember it as a dream or anything, but there was something oddly familiar and disturbing about that image.
I willed my mind to get a hold and through squinty eyes, I barely managed to see Om going away and Tej uncle looking back at him. Jahnvi aunty claimed my attention then as she thanked me for saving her son’s life. I nodded at her, unsure of managing anything besides a squeak. My throat felt parched and I reached out to get a glass of water. Tej uncle handed me one and that was when I saw his expression clearly. Anguish, a wee bit of guilt and a lot of gratitude were spelled clearly in his features. I was anxious for a moment but then he collected himself before thanking me.
I drank the water slowly and cleared my voice before speaking. “Why do you have such a big house? Your security guys took a long time to come, didn’t they?” I asked with a pout. His face fell and he was about to apologize but I cut him in between. “You can make it up to me by finding my phone!” I said with a somber expression. It took him a second to realize that I was kidding. His face then lit up in a crinkly smile and those traces of guilt were almost gone. He didn’t smile too often, but when he did, it wasn’t difficult to see the young and handsome guy whom Jahnvi aunty fell in love with.
We had grown close in the few times we had met, something like a father and daughter or a teacher and apprentice. He had been really impressed by my insights in business and the fact that I was too well-read for my years. I had grown to admire him too, though it wasn’t anything like the love I had for my Dad. Nonetheless, he seemed really happy about us hitting it off. I still had no idea why Om didn’t get along with him, or why Jahnvi aunty was so careful around him. And I never asked, not wanting to seem nosey. Shakti uncle and Pinky aunty were there too, but he was a quiet person and she was a festival of chit-chat and humdrum. They weren’t so interesting to me besides being Anika’s future in-laws.
They kept me company for some time until I feigned tiredness and then Jahnvi aunty left with a “Get well soon”. Tej uncle stayed back to say something to me in private. “Ishu, I don’t know how to thank you. But Om is my life. We’re not at great terms with each other, but I couldn’t live with myself if anything happens to him. It’s like you have saved my own life with yours. So, if there’s anything I can ever do for you, you just need to say the word.” He was clearly not comfortable with expressing his gratitude and I didn’t want to prolong the awkwardness. So, I simply smiled and nodded. He seemed relieved and left with a content look.
Lying awake with my nerves strung like piano wires, I strove not to think about my surroundings. Instead, I focused on the dynamics of the Oberoi family. How I missed mine right now! I entertained myself imagining the day the father and the son confess their love for each other like in melodramatic movies! That reminded me of my own team and I briefly wondered about Director knowing about my condition. I realized that I didn’t even know how many days I had slept through. I went into flashback when a similar thing had happened, although there had been no direct attack on me then.
It was over three years ago when I returned from a college event to an empty house. I waited all through the night for Mom and Dad to come home. Eventually I passed out on the floor. When I woke up, I had no idea how long I was unconscious for! The clock showed that it was a little over twelve hours and my stomach grumbled uncomfortably. The first thing I did was to eat just enough to keep me going. Later, I called my uncles and a few of the neighbors to check if my parents had left a note or something for me; apparently they hadn’t. After twenty four hours of their missing, I headed to the police station and then to Anika’s place. She was away and her Bua ji asked me if I had some food with me. When I got back home, I saw a bag kept at the door. Warily, I checked my surroundings. Obviously, no one would leave a bag full of important stuff in such a place where anyone could steal it; especially at night! I didn’t find anyone though and I took the bag inside. It was heavy and I remember having briefly considered the possibility of a bomb in that bag. If only that had actually been the case!
As it turned out, it was full of money; a lot of money and in cash, at that! I was scared out of my brains, but then I mustered up the courage to go through it. All I found was a note in print by some anonymous and apparently wealthy person.
“You may use this money as you deem fit. I will send it to you every month. I don’t want to tell you why. I’m not trying to trick you either. There’s no use going to the police. Please don’t be afraid of anything.
For a student in her final year of college, now that seems like too much to handle. I had asked questions out loud like a crazy person and tried leaving notes outside my house, but none of it worked. Although those notes I left outside after getting the money had vanished too. I was sure that the sudden disappearance of my parents and the money from that anonymous person was more than closely linked, but the police wasn’t helpful and there was absolutely no trace of them to come to any solid conclusion either.
My mental monologue took the form of questions and answers. Frankly, I couldn’t even think of closing my eyes in this creepy place, and it took a lot of meds to get me under. Not that I was ever gonna tell them that. To keep myself engaged, I kept up a mental checklist of questions as I went through the turning point in my life. Technically, it was the last turning point in my life that I could remember!
So, what did I do? I made the best of my situation. Since I then had enough money to pursue any field I wanted to, most people would think I moved to a pricey place and lived lavishly. But no, I didn’t. I tried using as little of it as possible and joined the action academy on my own merits.
Why did I join the action academy? It was true that I could do anything else that I wanted to, from starting my own company to working as an executive. But that would mean living. Except that living didn’t have any meaning for me now. Every day was similar in routine, besides my occasional holidays spent in hospitals like today.
If I don’t want to live, why don’t I commit suicide? Suicide is something that cowards think of. I would rather keep breathing than lose out in this battle-of-sorts. Plus, I still have a hope in my heart. My only hope is to find my Mom and Dad one day, dead or alive. There wasn’t any visible sign of that happening, so I had kinda given up on that as well. But it would be so uncool to kill myself without being sure that there’s a reason to die, wouldn’t it?
This was getting depressing. Why wasn’t anyone coming to meet me? Whenever I got hurt during shoots, all my team members would come and keep me company. That was also because I was so loveable and everyone knew the kinds of scenes I created in hospitals. Ah! The good old days! I directed my thoughts to the present. How’s my life now? Well, it’s boring and interesting at the same time. I surround myself with people who I’m comfortable with, one of which is surprisingly the kindest and purest soul I’ve ever met. Omkara Singh Oberoi. ‘Om’ sounded better though. I often watched him work at his sculptors and paintings and what I saw always amazed me. For a person like me who didn’t have much of an interest in observing the good things in the world, he was an idol of loving patience and calm understanding. There was no denying that he was a unique kind of person; more like one of a kind.
It was funny how my present was all about him; both directly and indirectly. Directly as in how I was in this creepy place, unable to sleep because of him. Indirectly as in how thinking of him calmed my nerves more than anything else. There were many other things in my present. And yet, even in my internal protest, he dominated. Childishly, I forbade myself from thinking too much about him. “Hey Mind, don’t think of that long haired devil who wouldn’t even let you die peacefully! You got it?” I thought violently. And then I went right back to doing just that!
Damn! There’s someone I’m fascinated by!
SNEAK PEEK: Something really shocking in store for our heroines!
This is the wrong place to put it, but here’s the link to the previous episode: http://www.tellyupdates.com/lucky-om-ishu-episode-4/
Hey guys 🙂 thanks for all the encouraging comments last time. And I know the story is progressing really slowly, but trust me there’s a lot of action coming up. I just felt that Ishu’s past revelation was necessary before the big reveal. Another point to be noted by the readers: Shaan has just a supporting role, as he is like a brother to Ishu. Shivika fans, you won’t have to wait for too long now. Their story will catch up soon, I promise. In the meantime, your reviews of this episode will be appreciated. Have a good day guys 🙂