Hey guys, I know I’m late and sorry for that… 🙂 let’s begin directly.
Link to previous episode: http://www.tellyupdates.com/lucky-om-ishu-episode-5/
EPISODE 6: LUCKY
I fiddled with everything within my reach as I sat on my bed two hours before my given time for getting discharged. All my bills were paid and all the paperwork was done; the perks of being a ‘VIP guest of the Oberois’. Dressed in a simple white knee-length dress and a denim jacket that Saumya had brought over, I looked myself over in the bathroom mirror. Dark, wide eyes framed with long eyelashes stared back at me, filled with wonder at the angelic beauty that I just couldn’t relate to. To put it simply, I liked what I saw. Feminine dresses sure looked good on me! I heard a noise outside but when I went to check, I found the room to be empty. Except for a can spewing out some dangerous looking gas, that is. I ran out and caused quite a ruckus with the alarms. Luckily, the situation was contained sooner than later.
Well, that was because it wasn’t a dangerous gas after all. It had a complicated name and was apparently something easily found in hospitals.
I was thinking about how it came to be in my room for a long time. As fate would have it, I didn’t have to be on my toes for long to witness Rudra and Saumya bickering in the hallway! For some reason, they went quiet as soon as they saw me, probably for my benefit. I didn’t mention the recent incident and they seemed unaware of the shocking events that had taken place not too long before their arrival. They didn’t prolong my anxiety and before I knew it, we were on our way to the Oberoi Mansion. The drive was a classic example of live entertainment with the two kids exchanging snide remarks as usual. Surprisingly, I forgot all my qualms around them. Occasionally, when it became quiet again, I too tossed in a word or two to re-ignite the fire and a fresh argument would start.
When we finally reached, I saw Tej uncle’s car in the drive. I didn’t think much of it and went inside swinging my arms like a school kid on vacation. Everyone was gathered in the hall to welcome me and it felt a tad uncomfortable. I missed my team again as they never made a fuss over me getting injured. They knew how to reign in their concerns and act normal around me; warm and comfy. This was still too new for me. I sensed there was something wrong, but I couldn’t place it. While the ladies of the house hugged me taking turns, I noticed Tej uncle and Shakti uncle standing behind, a little red in the face. I found myself amazed at my grown appetite as I ate everything served to me, which was, frankly, enough for three people, or so I thought. As I stuffed my mouth with another paratha that Rudra snatched from Saumya and put on my plate, Shivaay chastised, “Slow down Kumbhkaran! Do you have a well for a stomach or what?”
“The hospital’s food was terrible. And this is heaven!” I replied putting another piece of ‘chilli gobhi fried’ in my mouth. “I love this!” I moaned in pleasure. He rolled his eyes at me while Om looked on amusedly. He had hardly touched his food unlike everyone else at the table. I met his eyes for a minute and then suddenly it became difficult for me to swallow the food in my mouth. Soon after I was sent to my room as no one would have it otherwise. All I remember since I hit the bed was that I was sleeping in an awkward angle. Who cared?
I couldn’t remember the last time we had lunch in such a happy mood. I was about to go back to the office, when something clicked in my head. “Could it be that Swetlana had gotten back to her cheap tricks? Or was it someone I knew?” I thought to myself. The attacker in our custody had still not said anything worthwhile. I had ordered my own investigation but there was no progress. I had let Swetlana go back to her invalid sister with a threat that I’ll be keeping an eye on her. I didn’t think she would ever try to pull off such a stunt, but for some reason, the conversation I had had with her kept knocking on my mind. I was sure there was something I was missing, but there wasn’t anything for me to do now. I left a message for the investigators to look into it and went about my work.
NEXT MORNING, THE OBEROI MANSION
I woke up to a golden glow around me. Even without looking at the watch I could tell it was around six in the morning. I rolled over to face Rudra and decided to sleep a little longer when my phone vibrated loudly. The sound made me jump and the number on the screen left me puzzled. “Anika?” I breathed into the receiver.
“Shivaay, Swetlana! She said something”, her voice sounded disheveled, as if she hadn’t slept all night. A part of my heart was thumping in happiness just by listening to her voice. “I already thought about it. The detectives will look into it. Will you get some sleep please?” I scolded. It didn’t make sense or help anything if she lost sleep over trivial matters such as these. But she was persistent. “No, I meant she had said something to you while you held her captive. Do you remember? What was it?” her voice came in a rush, although it was heavily shrouded in hesitation.
“What are you talking about early in the morning?” I asked again, an irritated pucker forming on my forehead as I shuffled towards the couch. “Shivaay, I have this really strong intuition that it’s important. Try to remember please. When we had gone downstairs and she was acting all haughty and everything. Did you remember now?” she encouraged me. “I was thinking about this last evening. But I can’t remember”, I said with a finger against my temple.
“Did you become Ghajini or what? Just think properly for a second”, she complained. Before I figured out a comeback, she shouted, “Wait! Did you have it on camera?” That threw me for a minute and I uncertainly replied in the positive. She finally quieted down while I pieced it together and exclaimed, “We can know what she said from the CCTV footage! Yes!” I heard her let out a long breath and at length she said, “Let me know what she had said. It could be of some help.”
“Sure thing, Sherlock”, I teased and she said, “Good night” before hanging up. I couldn’t ignore the feeling that there was something wrong in her tone. Maybe this whole matter was messed up pretty bad. Rudra waddled towards me then, managing to stumble across invisible obstacles. He rested his head on my shoulders and sleepily mumbled, “You guys are so boring, Bhaiya! You don’t even say stuff like ‘I love you’ or call each other names like honey, munchkin, cutiepie…” he went on with all the weird ‘names’ he knew until he fell asleep again. I sat there thinking for some time before deciding to tell Khanna to find the video and send it to me. For some weird reason, I was scared with the results of this inquiry. I wasn’t one to believe in superstitions, but this seemed ominous, like evil lurking in the dark, ready to cast its shadow as soon as things begin to look good for my family. I again decided to do away with such disturbing thoughts.
I stood in front of the mirror, focusing only on breathing deeply. I closed my eyes, seeing my favorite face in my head and a smile made its way to my lips. I opened my eyes to see an absolutely radiant Shivaay Singh Oberoi in front of me. I gave him a thumbs up and went to get ready.
Given the tantrum she had thrown to get discharged soon, I shouldn’t have been surprised when she showed up at my gallery the next day. Dressed in a pair of ripped jeans and a light jacket, her hair covered with the bandage for most part and some rebellious strands framing her childish features, she could have been a runway model shooting for bandages! She was obviously looking for me and I stood there quietly, watching her caught in a spell. Someone pointed me out to her and she walked over with a sheepish grin. I felt my face take on a serious expression as I disapproved her unthinking actions silently.
“I felt stuffy. Can I hang out here? I won’t disturb you if you’re busy”, she pleaded with her eyes. “Would you like some tea?” I asked, letting my displeasure color my voice. “Early lunch?” she said hesitantly. We went to the art hub cafeteria nearby and that brought back the memories of the last time I was here with Ishana. But I cast them all aside and we sat down to lunch which would have been enough for more than four people. Ranging from fried rice and chilli chicken to naan and kofta, she ate most of it like a person on a fast for over hundred days.
“Is it a head-wound-thing?” I asked waving my hand at the table of half-full or empty plates. She grinned and said, “I was feeling really hungry. But there was no one at your place. So, I came here.” She paused to take another bite of her naan and continued, “This place is really good! Do you come here often?” I paused at that, lost in the past again. I had been deceived once. How was any other time going to be different? “I wouldn’t call it often but it is the nearest to my gallery, so I come here once in a while”, I answered. She seemed to think for a minute and then said, “Om, there’s something I wanted to ask. Will you answer me honestly?” Not to be creepy, but her eyes had that shine which made you imagine that there were stars secretly living in each one! I had a fair guess as to what her question might be and to say the truth, I hoped she didn’t ask me.
“When we first met, you thought me to be someone else, right?” she stressed each syllable, speaking slowly and softly, as if it was a top secret. I nodded and waited for her to resume. “Who was she?”
I let out a long held breath. “It’s a girl I knew a long time ago. Ishana.” I didn’t want to tell her anything more. But she persisted. “How did you know her? Was she your girlfriend?” I looked up at her, stunned into silence by both, her question and her choice of words. “Sorry if I am being nosy”, she bit a side of her lip. I was thinking more about the possibility of them being sisters or something. It wasn’t every day that you came across two strangers who are lookalikes! I knew from Anika that they had met in an orphanage, so there was a high chance of my guess being right.
For now, I tried distracting her from the topic. “No, not at all. She wasn’t my girlfriend or anything. But why are you asking this all of a sudden?”
Conflict raged in her transparent eyes as she formed her answer carefully. “I was just thinking how you guys behaved then. And you called me by another name. I guess it stuck in my head. There’s nothing worse than an unsolved mystery to keep you up at night! Right?” she passed me a lopsided smile. I tried reading her eyes again, but it felt like a wall had been slammed down within her eyes.
I wondered if, for some reason, it would cause her pain to know the truth. It wasn’t always that truth was rewarded with an irrevocable pain. But whenever that happened, it either made the person stronger or weaker. I didn’t want to take the chance that such a vibrant and lively girl as she could wither like a flower, just because I chose truth over silence. I asked her a question in return, “Why are you asking me this right now?” she heard the choice I had left for her and decided to ignore it.
“Why am I asking you? You are famous for your honesty. Plus, I thought we were friends now. Why am I asking this right now? I just remembered it. So I asked”, she answered nonchalantly, taking another bite of her food. I looked on speechlessly as she called the waiter again. What amused me more than her newfound curiosity was the fact that after having that sumptuous meal, she had enough place in her stomach for a coke too!
When she was finally done, she looked hopefully at me, still waiting for me to tell her.
I explained to her in the best way I could. “Consider this:
“When it becomes too much to bear,
It’s good to let go and feel the wind.
When you tire out before reaching there,
It’s better to eat well before you go.
When it becomes too chilly to step,
It’s best to trust your friend for heat
Who held your load while you felt the air,
Who warmed the food in the fire of pain…”
[For those of who didn’t get it, I’ll explain in brief: Om wants to tell her that he cares for her as a friend and he would be willing to do anything for her. If her emotional burden becomes too much even with her strength, she can take a break and let him comfort her. If her strength gives out before she can see it through till the end, he would help her restore her strength by getting warm food for her. The word ‘chilly’ has a dual meaning here. The first one is for if she is scared or she gets the ‘chills’ while taking a difficult decision. And the second one is for if the circumstances are too hard on her, as in the cold weather. In either case, Om wants her to know that she can trust him as he is the one she can lean on for support and he is the one who would warm the food for her in the fire his own pain has ignited in his heart. In short, he’s asking her to trust him as he has known the depth of emotional pain and he doesn’t want her to go through it.] She mulled it over for some time and finally she looked up.
“Your concern is worth thanking
And your words, I trust more than my own.
Isn’t your knowledge worth sharing?
While time passes in a swirl…
While I get weaker with the seasons…”
[Ishu wants to persuade Om to tell her what he knows. She is thankful for his concern and trusts him, but her logic is that this is the best time for her to know. Now, she has time to process any new information that comes to light. Who knows what other things she might have on her mind later when the info turns out to be so shocking that she can’t handle it?] She did have a point, but I was still reluctant to say it out loud just yet. We had no option but to meet halfway. “I’ll tell you when I think it is fine to do so. If you can wait, then very well; or you can try finding out on your own. How’s that?”
She was okay with that as she finally asked for our bill and we went on our way. I wished I was wrong in all the possibilities I imagined her sorrow in, but I knew better than anyone that good things didn’t come easily to good people. Was Ishu really a good person?
SNEAK PEEK: Lots of shocking stuff.
Well, I hope to finally include that in the next episode!
Wishing you guys all the happiness and prosperity this Christmas and New Year… keep smiling people 🙂