Hey all!! So here I am!! Back with another update… Being jobless.. Typing typing typing… Feels so good.. I hardly care of fingers aching or going numb.. I’ll give updates like this if I’m finding time…
I was supposed to update yesterday.. but couldn’t due to certain reasons… Here I am today with two chapters in one update…. Just felt like giving it…
Now to the story…..
Please do bear with my typos and grammatical errors
Happy reading ??
Chapter 24- Waiting for “something” to happen
Delhi to Rishikesh was only five hours. So, Saral didn’t have to take much stress. He somehow managed to sit in between the dry fishes. Not much of checking was there as the driver took another route. Was not on highway. Saral managed to rummage through the sacks and what he found shocked him. The truck was was loaded with drugs. Cocaine, marijuana, heroin (brown sugar), ganja. Half of the sack filled with fish and the lower half with drugs.
Saral was impatient to reach Rishikesh as he didn’t want to get caught again. With extra charges. He just wanted revenge. He had to reach Brijesh’s warehouse soon. It was the only hideout possible. None of the officers check it as the warehouse is almost brought down and is called hunted. He had called him up and Brijesh was ready to help him too.
Brijesh was one of the most wanted criminals in town. He was a big time smuggler. He managed to escape every single time. Which amazed everyone. Brijesh smuggled even diamonds. This guy was a high time danger. Brijesh knew Saral was obsessed with Radhika since the age of 15. Ankush and Karthik didn’t know him. He supported his friend calling his obsession love.
On the other hand, the Mishras and Joshis were warned. This shook up both the families. They were so scared now. Riddhima was even more scared. Her husband was warned. The Mishras feared for Radhika and Ankush.
Ankush got Mala’s call…
Ankush said “haan maa.”
Mala stammered “Ankushh… a… a… Ankush.”
Ankush tensed up “what maa? What happened? Is everything OK? Dada ji..?”
Mala composed herself “Papa ji is fine. It’s Saral.”
Ankush asked “Saral?! what about him?”
Mala panicked “he escaped!!”
Ankush roared “WHAT?!”
Everyone turned around and looked at Ankush’s panicked and angered face. Niti suspected it was Saral. “The Saral.”
Mala said “yes beta. We will take care. There are police force guarding us. Just take care of choti and yourself. Please.”
Ankush said “maa all of you shift to Mumbai. Please. I don’t want anything to happen. You want me to come over, I can.”
Mala said “no beta we’ll manage. Please take care of yourself.”
Ankush sighed “ok maa. Bye.”
Mala said “bye beta. God bless.”
Arjun asked as he placed his hand over his shoulder “what is it Ankush?”
Ankush snapped “Saral escaped.”
Niti shrieked “omg!! It was him then!!”
Ankush asked “you know him?”
Niti asked “are you talking about the Saral Joshi in tihar jail?”
Ankush clipped “yes.”
Niti answered “I was his councillor as he was mentally unstable. His obsession for Radhika grew worse. I never it’d be her. Never in my dream I had thought of it to be you all. Omg!!” she gripped her hair panicked.
Arjun cooed “Nithika calm down. Please.”
Nithika looked at Arjun as if he was an alien. Nithika? From since when? It was only chutki for him. Yeah, it was her who kept on screaming at him, insulting him. He deserved it though. But it hurt when he called her Nithika and not chutki.
He said “sorry Ms. Rajput.”
Oh that hurt even more. Ms. Rajput? Nithika sounded even more better.
“I am calm” she snapped “just worried of how to handle the higher ups. I promised Vaibhav” she stated.
“Chutki…” Arjun was frustrated now.
That felt good. Back to chutki. She let out a sigh of relief closing her eyes. She wanted to hug him tight. But, NO.
“He is dangerous” she blurted out.
“And why is that so?” asked Arjun.
“He is” she snapped “he was obsessed with me too. Tried to flirt with me. He tried to seduce me. He hates you all so much. He can do anything. I know everything. Even about Radhika’s attack. I know everything. Mr. Mehra, he hates you the most. Because you married Radhika and took away what was his. He told me you were always between them.” she finished.
“But good thing, you did it” she said again.
“What attack?” asked Sam.
“Yeah what?” asked Neil.
There was no use hiding now. It had to be told out. Radhika narrated everything of what had happened. How she had met him in the market to how Ankush had warned him. Then he in her bedroom, trying to molest her and kill her. How Ankush saved her and handed him over to the police. During the hearing, how his parents had taken her side. Which was a very big thing. Ans he was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment.
All of this Sam and Neil shocked. Piyali and Samrat were angry. Arjun had his fists balled. Radhika kept crying and Niti hugged her. Radhika hugged her back tight and cried onto her shoulder. Niti saw Arjun angry and held his hard balled fists. For one minute Arjun had got his Niti back. She was calm, trying to soothe him just like old times. He calmed down instantly and smiled a little.
Arjun went to Radhika and Niti pulled away. Arjun knelt down and kissed her forehead and cupped her cheeks.
“I promise. He won’t hurt you. Over my f**king dead body!!” he screamed.
Niti scowled “Arjun!! How many times have I told you? Don’t you dare cuss.”
Arjun asked “why shouldn’t I?”
Niti snapped “because you shouldn’t.”
Radhika stuttered “pp.. proo” deep breath “p.. promise?”
Niti answered “yes Radhika. We will never let him harm you. Please don’t be so scared. Your fear will only lead to his victory.”
She spoke again “you all please be careful. Neil and Sam you both too please” she sounded even more concerned.
Niti’s phone rang…..
She tensed up. The same number. For the past five years. She’d been changing her number, but still this person managed to get her number. The person on the other side Never spoke. It’d be quite. She started sweating. Fear rose. Her legs turned jelly. She stood rooted to her spot. Why couldn’t that person just talk? What did they want from her? She shrieked throwing her phone away. Luckily it didn’t break. The phone was a hard nut and was stubborn to not die. It stayed intact.
(Poor phone… Donno why it loved her so much.. But I love it ??)
She found a place in the corner of the room and crouched down. She shivered. The phone buzzed again. Ankush gave the phone to her.
Ankush said “answer it.”
She nodded in negative. Arjun just couldn’t get it. How much trouble did she get herself into in the past eight years? They were taking advantage of her being all alone. She overcome all of it and stood up big in the evil world. But she was breaking inside. She was so broken. She was not the Niti he knew at all.
Ankush was in tears seeing her state. He just didn’t know why. But it did hurt. Neil went to Niti and caressed her head. Niti kept staring at Ankush and the phone in his hand. She hugged him tight and sobbed. Ankush just hugged her tight and kept patting her head.
She wiped her tears and answered the call. Ankush put it on loudspeaker mode.
“Hello?” she said.
As said the person never answered. The line was active thought. Niti kept screaming. It was only her who spoke through. All the while Ankush kept holding onto her.
Niti screamed “tell me what you want
As expected. No answer. Not even the wind.
Niti was pissed. Just pissed.
“You f**king psychotic freak. Why don’t you just talk?” She had lost it now.
“From where the f**k are you getting my number? Why are you doing this to me? It’s been five years” she cried.
“Talk to me you asshole. Don’t be a dick” she kept cussing.
No answer. The line went dead the next minute. What was wrong? Who was that person? Niti cried on more. Why? Why the poor girl?
Arjun left the cabin in a huff. Niti saw him angry. Oh no!! She knew of his anger very well. He almost beat a person to death who tried to flirt with her and touch inappropriate places. This guy could go to impossible heights when angry. Radhika ran behind him. Sam pulled Neil along with her as he wasn’t in a state to pull himself up. He seemed lost. Ankush kept holding onto Nithika. He didn’t wanna let go.
He said to himself pulling her closer “whatever happens I’ll always be by your side. Promise to protect you. You’re my everything. I Love You.”
(Love at first sight ??… Omg ??…. Did that just happen?!….. Oh yes, it did ??…)
He himself seemed a bit startled at his own confession. Good that it wasn’t loud. Else, hell have to be hearing her curses. Piyali came to Niti, pulled her into a big hug and left. Samrat blessed her and left. Ankush just watched her.
(Dude get a grip ??)
Arjun was not in his senses. He had thrown everything that came in hand. He screamed as he pushed everything. He was so very frustrated. His office was a mess. Ransacked. A man who had kept things in order and who maintained discipline was so messed up now. His vision was blur due to tears and he kept stumbling on things that were scattered all over the room. Files scattered. The PC disconnected lay on the floor. His pens in random corners of the room. Artifacts broken. On the whole, the room was a mess.
Radhika came running and saw the room. Oh God!! The state of the room depicted his mood and the pain he was going through. She went to him and pulled him up. He was on the floor in between the pile of mess he had made minutes ago. She cupped his face and looked into his eyes. He calmed down. Those big brown eyes. His only weakness. What would he be without her? No no. He couldn’t even think of it. His hands slipped to her waist and pulled her closer. Heartbeats raising. Breathing haggard. Her arms snaked around his neck and pushed herself even more closer. Going on tippy toes, her lips met his. Arjun just lost himself as she poured out all her emotions into the kiss. His hand gripped her jaw, tilting it deepening the kiss. Radhika could understand how much he wanted her now. He had gone through a lot today. Radhika pulled back as she fell short of breath and Arjun bent down planting kisses down her jawline and neck. He buried his face in her neck’s crook and just held onto her. Radhika kept patting his back and caressed his hair. Pulling back he looked at her assaulted red juicy swollen lips. Tracing his finger down her bottom lip, he smirked looking into her eyes. She too had the same smirk.
Neil on the other hand didn’t know why it hurt seeing her in a miserable state. Who was she to him? Why did she have such an effect on him? Was she his Nithika? His gudiya? His baby little sister?
“NO” screamed his mind.
Neil too brushed it off. She can’t be. Having the same name didn’t mean that she had to be his Nithika. She resembled her in no way. She was kind hearted. Sweet. Fun loving. Would never hurt anyone. Even in her dream. No no. She cannot be her.
Little did he know that destiny had played it’s role well. Played it’s card well.
Sam just came to Neil and cuddled him up. Neil in a flash claimed her lips. Sam gave in, letting him take control. Both of broke the kiss smiling, breathing hard.
(Neil I just donno what to do to you….. Look around…… Try listening to your heart)
Saral reached Rishikesh. But didn’t know how to move out. He’ll be caught. Most of them know his face for his family’s name in business. The truck kept moving. It took the route down the hill, towards the forest and reached to a halt after a while. He peeped out and looked around. He got around and examined the place. He did stink. His nose scrunched and he flinched at it. It smelled horrible. How did he sit in there for five hours?
“Welcome Saral” he heard a voice.
Obvious. It was none other than Brijesh. Both of them shared a brotherly hug and Brijesh showed Saral a room that was hidden. It was behind a wall that was never been able to be brought down. As the wall wasn’t been able to be brought down, people thought it to be haunted. As a lot of people had died in it in a fire accident. They all thought the wall held the spirits of the dead. Little did they know the real reason.
“Stay in. And you stink” snapped Brijesh.
“What if I need to go out? Yeah thanks” Saral snapped back.
Brijesh answered “you just can’t. Don’t you know that the Rishikesh police are looking for you? They want you dead or alive.”
He spoke again “if you still want to, you can go through that door on the right and come back. There’s everything you need here.”
Saral looked around examining the place. A bed, a washroom and a small kitchen. There was a room that held weapons. Saral needed them. This was the best hideout ever. Saral hugged Brijesh tight as no one could stop him now. He was so close to attaining peace. He was going to have his revenge alright. Brijesh then left as he had a meeting with the other smugglers whom he supplied drugs to.
A big deal to bag huh? Dumbo.
(Saral don’t fly too much… Your wings will be cut off if you desire for more)
Time passed. Almost two and a half weeks. The Mishras, Joshis, Mehras, Malhotras and the Khannas feared. Nothing had happened. No sign of Saral. The security around the Joshi and Mishra’s residence had tightened up. None of them predict what was going on in his head. Niti as promised, managed the higher ups and saved Vaibhav from trouble. Security was provided in Mumbai too. On the other hand, Nandini’s health was in a bad condition.
Everyone were just waiting for something to happen. The air between them was thick and tense. No one knew what to do. They all kept in touch with each other, updating. Niti was given special security as Vaibhav didn’t want her to face any trouble. He was a very good friend. But, a little too sensitive.
As they were working on their next project, Neil got a call. Prerna’s call.
He answered “hey mom.”
“What? No I’m not doing that” he snapped.
“Ok mom fine. I will” he said letting out an annoyed sigh.
Happy reading ??
Chapter 25- Lunch with the Malhotras.
Everyone stared at Neil as he hung upon the phone frustrated. Prerna had just invited Nithika for lunch. Why? Why couldn’t anyone understand that he hates her? Not even his mom. He could never say a no to her. Sam smiled as it was her who instigated Prerna to invite Nithika for lunch. Prerna happily agreed. Her face beamed when she had mentioned Nithika. But, her face fell the next moment when she heard her last name Rajput. Sam felt guilty for lying, Prerna would believe. But, Neil wouldn’t. She had to do something to prove that it was her. Niti breaking down in front of her mom would help.
Neil said looking at Nithika who was sitting opposite of him “Ms. Rajput my mom has invited for lunch tomorrow. You’re welcome to come home.”
Niti asked sarcastically “you seriously want me to come?”
“I don’t” he replied “but it’s for mom. I can never say a no to her” he completed.
“Then even I can’t say a no to your mom” Niti answered back.
“Sweet. Tomorrow by 12 sharp” Neil clipped.
“How will I come when I donno your address?” she asked. She did know. But…
“I’ll pick you up from Juhu” Neil stated.
“Okay” was the only thing she could say.
Niti was going to meet her mother after fifteen years. Does she still expect her return? Or has she moved on? Will she recognise her? What will happen tomorrow? No she cannot break down. Control. Emotions need to be kept in check. No one’s going to believe if she claims herself to be Nithika Malhotra. With Sam by her side, will it be possible?
With all these questions running in her head, she had tears welling up. The thought of meeting her mother wasn’t letting go of her. She brushed them off and carried on with her work.
She reached home and was as usual taunted by her landlord. She just hated her no matter what. She didn’t care if her being one of the best gynecologists in the world or one of the five people ruling the ad world. Be what, that woman left no chance in taunting. She had no other go. It was only them who were ready to take her in as a paying guest. “The Venkatramans”
She was grateful to them for taking her in. Little did she know the actual reason being taken. The couple had a twelve year old daughter and a 27 year old son. The man being a pure brahmin Tamilian, she was a Gujarati. The couple lived a happy life. But had major arguments at times. Normal thing between all married couples.
Sleep was not in cards for Nithika tonight. She just had her eyes wide open. She couldn’t stop thinking of Prerna. With all thoughts running in her head. How she’d look? Had she lost weight or gained some? Niti had always been on a watch with what her mother eats. She wanted her healthy and fit. Slim and trim. She wanted the both of them to look more like sisters than being called mother-daughter pair.
Nithika hot ready early in the morning. It was a Saturday, so all of them were fast asleep. Niti left a note on the dining table and left. She reached Juhu by 11:30. Neil arrived after 10 minutes. She quietly sat in and watched the road outside. The city had changed so much. The playground she used to play in was no more there. It had a humongous apartment. She just kept watching. Neil saw her amazed and smiled at the way she was looking at things.
“First time eh?” he asked her, pulling her out of her thoughts.
She looked at him and answered “nope. I’m just coming here after a long time. That’s all. This place has changed a lot.”
He smiled “yeah it has. Long time? After how many years are you coming here?”
She was silent. What was she going to tell him now? It was better to call it her first time here.
She answered “I returned three years back and it’s the first time I’m stepping in India after jiji’s death. But Mumbai, eleven years ago.”
“Hmm” he hummed.
It went silent after that. The drive was silent. Niti felt relieved. She kept humming onto her own tune. She didn’t look at him. Kept humming on tapping her feet lightly, playing with her fingers. Neil looked at her and smiled. Such a cute kid. Wait.. kid? Naah she was 26. To him, she was a kid. They reached in a while. Niti had slept as she hadn’t slept the whole night. Neil smiled watching her. She was a kid. 100%. No 200%. She slept with her mouth half open, faint snores. Choo ccuuutttee. And then her mouth closed. She squirmed in her sleep. Then what he saw, amazed him. Her smile. She smiled in her sleep. She was so beautiful. Why couldn’t she smile?
“Wake up lazy pants” he shook her up.
“Bhai five minutes. Pleeeaaassseee” she stirred and fell asleep again.
Bhai?! What? She might be thinking of her brother. Wait.. She had no brothers. Only a sister. An elder sister who was dead. Ok, maybe her cousin.
“Wake up Ms. Rajput. We’ve arrived” Neil shook her harder.
Niti woke up instantly. She had a horror stricken face. Oh Lord, did hsedo something stupid? Did she blurt out something?
“I’m sorry I slept through” she said.
“It’s alright. Come. We’re here” he said.
“Oh wow. Okay” she said.
She looked up and had tears. It was the same house. The name plate that had “Nitheil” encrypted. Her favourite swing was still there. She walked in with Neil with a normal face. Prerna who came out from the kitchen saw her. She had tears as she saw her. The perfect way she had imagined her daughter to be. She had dreamt to see her daughter so beautiful. Long hair. Perfect figure. Those eyes!! Those grey eyes!! Anyone could fall for them.
Nithika saw Prerna staring at her with love and tears. Omg! Her mom was standing right in front of her, but she couldn’t go hug her. How cruel of destiny. Niti put her emotions on check and stood there watching her.
Neil said “mom this is Ms. Rajput. Nithika Rajput. The poker face.”
Nithika scowled while Prerna gave him a death glare. He just looked here and there.
“Hello ma’am” Nithika spoke with difficulty.
Calling your mother ma’am is the toughest thing ever. She had to though.
Prerna just pulled her into a hug and cried a little. Niti hugged her back with all she had. But controlled herself. Why was it so tough? Why did it have to be like this? You have your family in front of you, but can’t hug them with all you have. Prerna broke the hug and smiled. Niti just stared back.
“You’re beautiful bete” she complemented.
“Thank you ma’am” she said.
“Call me aunty” Prerna smiled.
“Okay aunty” she said.
Sam came and pulled her into a hug. Both of them stood like that for a long time. Looked like long lost sisters. They broke the hug and Niti looked around. She looked at the family portrait. All the four of them. Aarav, Prerna, Neil and a baby Nithika. Then her pictures with Prerna and Neil. Neil and Prerna’s pictures. Neil’s pictures with Sam and the three of them together. Perfect family.
“Who is this with you?” asked Niti pointing to her portrait with Neil.
“She’s my sister Nithika. My gudiya” answered Neil, letting out an exasperated sigh.
“Oh wow!! We share the same name. What is she doing?” she asked.
“She’s not here. She’s missing” answered Neil.
“For how long?” she asked.
“Fifteen years” he clipped.
“What?!” she gasped.
“Such a drama queen” thought Sam.
“Didn’t you try finding her?”
“We keep getting calls from the kidnappers saying they’ll return her. That’s why we never filed an FIR” answered Neil.
“This is heights” she said to herself annoyed.
“Even now?” she asked annoyed.
“Yes” he answered.
“Hell to it” she snapped and hopped towards the kitchen like a kid.
It shocked them all when she found her way to the kitchen. Prerna’s eyes lit up in hope. Neil stood there rooted. Sam being cool as a cucumber smiled. Prerna went behind her. Niti kept examining the kitchen. Prerna pulled her to face her and cried.
“Aunty are you okay?” she asked concerned.
“Are you not my Nithika?” asked Prerna.
“No aunty. Sorry” she lied. It felt so bad. So hurt to lie to her.
“Then how did find your way to the kitchen?” asked Prerna.
Niti internally facepalmed herself for being so careless.
She said all composed “the food smelled so good. That’s how I came in.”
Okay” was all Prerna could say.
She lost the last ray of hope thinking it was her daughter. Niti felt so bad to see her mom devastated. She had lost hope.
“Sorry mom” she apologised internally.
Sam who saw this facepalmed herself. All her plans in the drain. Neil came into the kitchen after they left. He added chilli powder to plain rice and left. Only to a portion of rice. When all the items were set, Prerna saw an extra cup and wondered. She kept quiet and sat. Then came Neil. He stopped Prerna from serving her plain rice and took out the bowl. It had red rice. Looked fierce. More like szechuan rice. Niti cocked up an eyebrow. Neil happily served the rice. Sam knew something was fishy. When Niti tasted it, she literally chocked with her eyes red and wet. She looked at Neil and he smirked. She too looked back and smirked. If that’s how you want it big man, let it be.
“What happened bete?” Prerna sounded concerned.
“Nothing aunty” she answered.
She quietly ate her bowl of rice without any reaction. She felt so bad that her brother hated her so very much. Neil stared at her in utter shock and was guilty for his act. Sam had tasted it while they were having their staring competition. Neil had crossed all the bars of limit. How can he do that? Sam scowled at Neil. He just begged for forgiveness through his eyes for which Sam turned her face. Niti had all the items quietly and appreciated Prerna for her cooking skills.
Niti sat on the sofa holding her head. The heat was too much. The chillies were playing their role well. Her head felt like it was a pressure cooker ready to explode any moment. Prerna came and touched her forehead.
“You’re hot bete” she exclaimed.
“I’m fine aunty” Niti answered.
“Sam get me oil from my room please” Prerna said.
“Aunty it’s ok. I’m fine” said Niti.
“You just keep quiet and sit down” commanded Prerna.
She just sat down. Sam came back wih the oil and handed it to Prerna. She massaged her hair. Niti sat there enjoying her mom’s massage. It was lovely. After fifteen long years. She just sat enjoying, sighing in pleasure. She remembered how she used tonrun when Prerna had to massage her head. Now she herself was sitting here, enjoying it. How she missed those fingers. They had magic. Neil felt jealous. Sam fket happy to see Niti getting a portion of her mom’s love.
Prerna said “you have very long and beautiful hair. I miss my daughter so very much” she sobbed in the end.
Niti felt so bad. She turned around to face her mom. She missed her mom so much. Now ske knew how much her mom yearned for her and missed her. She just hugged her tight and sobbed onto her shoulder.
“And I miss my mom” Niti confessed.
“Ok I’ll go get desert” said Prerna, wiping her tears.
“Yeah sure aunty” Niti said.
“Mom massage for me” whined Neil.
“Later” she snapped “guests first” Prerna stated.
Neil pouted, which made Prerna smile and shs laughed. Sam too joined in. Niti too smiled. It was noticed by no one. Neil waa the same. He was still the same. The kiddo Neil. Prerna went him and ruffled his hair. Neil scowled and set it right. She did it again and he set it right. Niti was so happy to see her family happy. They did miss her. She knew no one would fill up that place, but they didn’t cry for her. She was happy for it. Prerna then patted his cheeks and walked to the kitchen to get the desert. Neil went to his study and smiled at her while walking away. Sam too went along with Prerna.
Just then the landline rang. Niti answered it. The voice shook her. She was so scared. That very voice. Fifteen years back. Her kidnapper’s voice it was. She remembered it so well.
“We have your daughter. She’ll be returning today. Date to go to the police, we’ll kill her” the voice said.
“Enough of lying. She’s back home” snapped Niti.
“What?!” he exclaimed.
“Yes. And you’re talking to her. So, stop troubling my mom and brother” she hissed angrily.
“f**k” he hissed.
“I know you’re so down. Chill baby” she taunted in a sarcastic tone.
He just hung upon the call. Niti smiled as hshs got him annoyed. No wonder they never went to the police. They were expecting her everyday. Niti spotted Prerna coming towards her. She still held the phone. Prerna looked at her suspiciously.
Niti mumbled “wrong number” and cut the call.
“Who was it bete?” Prerna asked.
“They asked for someone called Nandish” Niti lied.
“Oh there’s no one with that name here. Thank you” Prerna said.
“You’re welcome” Niti replied.
“You have a great kitchen. You a chef?” Niti complemented and asked.
“Yes. Thank you” Prerna smiled.
“Do you have a blog?” she asked.
“Yes. Aunty Prerna’s cooking” Prerna answered.
“Thank you. It’ll be a big help” Niti said.
“You’re welcome” Prerna smiled more.
Prerna handed her over the cup of kheer and called out for Neil. Niti happily took it and started to eat. Sam bought some more cups and they all sat there enjoying the desert. As Niti kept eating, she felt uneasy. She brushed it off and kept eating. But, she panicked when she saw rashes. She still kept quiet. She decided to visit the doctor after reaching home. She looked at Neil, even he had the same reaction. She knew it now. Oh God. Now she’s surely going to get caught. She quietly completed her cup. She tried to get up, but her body never cooperated. She silently prayed to God to help her.
That’s it for today my peepliboos… hope you all liked it… will be back soon… till then tata babaye… love you all loads…tc.. keep smiling.. bear hugs to all of you ??
Up next : Chapter 26