So I’m back with my second one shot. It’s about a married couple who are together and yet are far away..
It’s also a short follow up of my previous one shot. The link —
In this story, Sanskar is a fashion photographer. Swara is a fashion runway model.
Thanks for the love you bestowed to my debut work here. I couldn’t be more happy with such an awesome welcome.
~ FIREPROOF ~
Surprisingly, the adoption process is not nearly as difficult as it seems. That may be because Swara was already named legal guardian, but still, I had expected it to take longer than it did. Not that I’m complaining. We finalised the adoption and me and Swara had our court marriage on the same day. We didn’t make a big deal out of it. My parents had been a little disappointed that we hadn’t had a big ceremony, but they understood. Swara’s parents still aren’t talking to us. And Anjali is almost three now.
Let me tell you, the first few months were not easy. She was over a month premature and, despite what we had been told the day she was born, she isn’t as healthy as we had hoped. She’s not seriously sick, but her immune system is very weak and she may have a few developmental delays. It doesn’t matter though. Neither of us would give her up for anything.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time taking her in and out of hospital and taking her to the doctors. It gives you a lot to worry about.
But when we aren’t at a doctors appointment and she’s not sick and I’m not away for photoshoots, Swara decided to stop working for a while after a year of us both working and being dead on our feet all the time, our house is full of laughter and music and happiness.
People don’t actually know that me and Swara got married, not many of them anyway. She did change her name, but as far as the industry knows, she’s still Swara Gadodia – the famous fashion runway model. Very few people know about Anjali either. They know she exists and they’ve seen her with either me or Swara, or with both of us, and they have their theories, but nobody knows that she’s ours.
I still can’t believe we have a daughter together. We’re married and we have a kid. Sometimes it’s like my dreams literally came to life.
Except, sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re together..
We’re married, we live in the same house, we’ve even both admitted we love each other, but we aren’t together. We’re still in that place where we mostly act like a couple, we certainly look like a couple, but we’re not. We aren’t quite there yet.
It’s not that we don’t want to, at least I don’t think so. I want to at any rate. It just hasn’t happened.
There’s I-love-you’s and there’s hugs and most nights we sleep in the same bed unless one of us ends up falling asleep in Anjali’s room. But in almost three years, believe it or not, I’ve never even managed to find the guts to kiss her.
I was planning on saying something within the next month or so, but apparently fate had other plans.
I was on the sets surrounded by those boring skinny models when Swara called. We were in the middle of a photoshoot when I heard my phone going. I had finally changed Swara’s ringtone, but had ended with a song of One Direction, changing it to something even older. Or rather Anjali had made me. So now it was “Stockholm Syndrome”. Considering it’s a lot louder than Fireproof I can literally always hear it going off. When I heard it this time, I knew I needed to answer. Swara wouldn’t call me while I’m working unless there’s an emergency.
I froze, forgetting my surroundings.
‘Sanskar, you need a different DSLR or something?’ Adarsh asked.
‘No. I just need a minute.’ He nodded and I almost ran for my phone. I managed to answer just before it stopped ringing.
‘Sanakar, I know you’re on set, and I really wouldn’t have called but Anjali’s temperature isn’t going down. It’s gone up. I’m taking her to the hospital.’ My heart sank. Yet again, my daughter had to go to hospital.
‘Shit! It’s never been that high has it?’
‘No.’ I ran a hand through my hair, stressed.
‘Alright. You go ahead and take her. I’ll meet you there.’
‘You don’t need to. I can call you if there’s any updates.’ I would usually have just stayed on set but I was more worried than I’d ever been before.
‘No, I’m coming.’
‘Okay. I’ll see you there.’ She hung up and I went to talk to Adarsh.
‘Are you alright? You’re really pale.’ Adarsh said.
‘I need a favour.’
‘What kind of favour?’ He asked.
‘I kind of need to leave.’
‘Like right now?’
‘Yeah.’ I confirmed.
‘Sanakar we’re already behind schedule. I can’t just let you leave without reason.’ I didn’t know what to tell him. He didn’t know about Anjali. There was a handful of people we had told. My parents and my sister obviously, Swara’s siblings because they were my closest friends and Sahil because he’s like a brother to us both.
‘Adarsh, it’s a family issue.’ I told him.
‘Surely it can wait.’ I was about to tell him it couldn’t when my model friend, who just so happened to be Kavita, came over.
‘Sanskar, Swara just called. You really need to go.’ She told me, trying not to let on too much in front of Adarsh.
‘I thought you said family issue?’ Adarsh questioned.
‘It is a family issue.’ I almost growled, agitated.
‘Adarsh, it’s pretty important.’ Kavita told him.
‘But you can’t tell me what so you can’t leave.’
‘Adarsh, my daughter is in hospital! I need to leave!’ He looked at me, shocked.
‘I’ll explain later but she is really not sick. I need to go meet Swara at the hospital.’
‘What’s Swara got to do with this?’ I groaned. I didn’t have time for the questions.
‘Like I said, I’ll explain later. Please can I just go?’ I pleaded.
‘Fine. But I want a full explanation.’
‘Whatever.’ I told him. I turned to Kavita. ‘You said Swara called?’
‘Yeah. Anjali’s temperature has gone up. 41.9.’
‘But it was 41.3 ten minutes ago.’
‘Exactly. It’s going up fast. You better get going.’
‘Yeah. I’m going.’
‘Keep me posted.’ Kavita called as I ran to my car.
I drove faster than I normally would have dared and ended up getting to the hospital in ten minutes. I barely paid attention to where I parked, getting out of the car and literally sprinting inside.
‘Anjali Maheshwari?’ I asked at the reception desk.
‘Paediatric emergency wing room 247.’ I had never been so thankful that I knew my way around this hospital. I nodded my thanks and headed for her room.
When I got there, I saw Anjali was asleep and Swara was sat next to her on the bed. She looked up as I walked in.
‘Hey. She just went to sleep.’ Swara said.
‘She did not take a nap at all today?’ All three of us had been up all night so I had expected Anjali to take a nap.
‘Not till now.’ I stood looking at the small figure of my little girl.
‘How is she?’
‘The temperature is staying at 41.9. She’s dehydrated and she keeps coughing. She was complaining of pain everywhere so they’ve given her medicine.’
‘And how are you holding up?’ I asked, taking my eyes of my daughter to look at my wife and reaching out to grab her hand.
‘I’m actually scared this time. She’s never been this bad before.’ Swara admitted.
‘She’ll pull through, Shona. She’s strong. After all she is a Gadodia.’
‘Maheshwari.’ Swara whispered.
‘You said Gadodia.’
‘I know. She is partly Gadodia.’ The only thing that made her a Maheshwari was her last name. I had no blood relationship with her. She’s still my daughter, but her last name doesn’t make her any stronger.
‘Sanakar, we’ve been over this. She is a Maheshwari. If you’re going to say she’s a Gadodia, you shouldn’t have said it’s okay to give her your name.’
‘That’s not what I meant!’ I protested. ‘But a last name doesn’t change her genes.’
‘I didn’t say that. But you say she’s a Gadodia more than you say she’s a Maheshwari. She’s just as much yours as she is mine.’ I hadn’t seen Swara so angry at me in years. I knew it wasn’t just about the name. She still had a slight fear that I would leave them.
‘Swara, I know that. She’s mine, ours, that will never change.’ I assured her. ‘I told you before, I’m sticking around.’ She let out a sigh of relief.
‘Good. I really can’t do this by myself.’
‘You will never have to.’
‘You know you don’t have to stand right?’ She asked after a minute.
‘Yeah. I kind of forgot I was standing.’ She shook her head at me and moved a little to make some room. I sat on the bed, mindful of the wires and the IV line and Anjali. We sat in silence for a couple of minutes before the doctor came in.
‘Sanakar, I would say nice to see you, but under the circumstances it’s really not.’ Dr. Patel, the doctor who mostly dealt with Anjali’s case, said.
‘We really have to stop meeting like this, doc.’
‘Indeed.’ He looked down at his clipboard for a second. ‘I have good news. There isn’t anything seriously wrong, it’s just a commonplace flu. I know she’s had the flu before and it wasn’t nearly this bad, but her body is starting to get used to Nurofen so it’s not working like it should.’ Me and Swara both let out a sigh of relief. ‘We’re going to keep her over night and I’ll give you something to keep the temperature down.’
‘Thanks, doctor.’ Swara said.
‘I didn’t do anything. It’s mostly you two. I’ve seen a lot of kids in this situation that have been a lot worse because the parents don’t know how to deal. You’re doing a great job.’ He left the room after that.
‘I feel like I can breathe again.’ Swara told me.
‘I know. I haven’t ever panicked like that.’
‘I’m surprised Adarsh let you leave.’
‘Yeah, about that. I may have accidentally said something about Anjali.’ I had sort of expected her to be angry but she wasn’t.
‘It was bound to happen sometime.’
‘You aren’t mad?’
‘No. In fact, I was thinking maybe it’s time to tell the truth.’
‘First I think we need to figure out what that is exactly.’
‘What do you mean? We’re married and we have a kid.’
‘But are we together?’
‘Sanakar, we’re married.’
‘I know. And we live together and we have a daughter and I love you. But…’
‘But what?’ She asked, exasperated. And that’s when I kissed her. I was pleasantly surprised when she kissed me back. I pulled away after a minute.
‘I want a proper relationship.’ I told her.
‘I think that’s manageable.’ She said, grinning at me. I was about to kiss her again, but a little voice spoke up.
‘Papa?’ Anjali asked, opening her eyes a little.
‘Hey angel, I’m here.’
‘Mummy?’ One of her little hands rubbed at her eyes.
‘I’m here too.’
‘What song?’ I asked.
‘You want mummy to sing?’ I asked her.
‘No, both sing.’
‘Okay.’ I agreed, only because it was Anjali. She settled into a comfortable position.
‘Wait, where’s Teddy?’ Swara looked behind her and found the multicoloured bear known as Teddy. Swara tucked the bear under Anjali’s arm. ‘Okay. Now sing.’ Swara smiled and started singing. I joined in.
‘I think I’m gonna lose my mind… Something deep inside me can’t give up…’
‘Cause nobody knows you baby.. the way I do…
And nobody loves you baby the way I do…
It’s been so long.. Its been so long…
Maybe we are fireproof…’
We were indeed “Fireproof”. I loved her more than anything and anyone else and nothing could change me and her.. Nothing could change “us”.
– So, that was fun to write. A little more emotional than I had intended but I think it was sweet.
I think Anjali may make a few more appearances in some one shots. I am rather fond of her.
Hope you liked this too. Kavita was positive for a change.
I’ve an awesome idea for another one shot (different story titled “Stockholm Syndrome // The Green Eyed Monster”) which I’ll be penning down and posting by Sunday. I promise it will be hell awesome and romantic.
– But a little confused about the couple. Swasan or Raglak?
– I’ll cast be One Direction in the next one. (I just love them!)
– PS — Do read “Stock Syndrome” when I post it irrespective of the couple. I bet you’ll like the story so much. I’ll decide the couple on the basis of a poll so don’t forget to vote for your favourite couple / and share your views about this one too.
See you soon.
Love you all. ?