Bihan screamed as the sudden weight came crashing down on him jolting him out of his beautiful dream. Whatever choice words he was going to spill died down on his throat as he realized what or more aptly who fell on him. Her hair, still wet, was all over his face, she was completely lying on top of him, not an inch of space in between them; her lips were so very close to his own that he doubted if there was any actual gap between them. Oh god why did it had to be her? The sudden urge to taste her lips took over him; he felt that any movement from Thapki would shred the narrow thread of self control he harbored. To his utter horror, Thapki tried to get up and her lips grazed his. The sudden feel of his lips on hers disarmed Thapki, her concentration slipped and she fell back on him.
Bihan groaned in pain. His chest was bruised due to the impact of her elbow. Thapki winced hearing his groan. She carefully rolled to his side and got up, guilt washed over her but another feeling dominated the guilt. She was unable to bring herself to look at Bihan. What transpired between them moments ago had landed both of them in a predicament which they were quiet incapable of escaping from. Bihan got up with difficulty. His chest ached very much but his heart raced something which had nothing to do with the bruise. Thapki was red in the face and too shy to look up but she heard Bihan let out a low grunt and was suddenly worried. She turned abruptly and moved towards him but stopped as she saw Bihan’s bewildered look. Thapki felt her face turn even redder if that was possible, with difficulty she met Bihan’s eyes and was disarmed for a moment by his smoldering gaze. But the passion in his eyes disappeared the very next moment leaving Thapki in a state of confusion as to whether she had imagined it.
“Yeh..Yeh kya tha?” Bihan asked averting his gaze. For a moment Thapki had a dearth of words believing that he was asking about the accidental kiss. Her face turned a brighter shade of red. But that was what it was. A kiss. unintentional, but still a kiss.
“Gazab… Subah subah hume marne ki koshish meim lage ho kya? Jagane keliye koi aur tarika nahi tha tumhare paas?” He asked trying to reign in temper which didn’t exist. Anger was the last thing he could feel now. He desperately wanted to get away from her.
“ww..w.woh mei…ch..ch…chai..galti se…g ggg..gir..” Her stammer just worsened and she very well knew that it wasn’t because of her actual disability. She just pointed mutely at the cup of tea finding it impossible to form coherent words.
“Haan haan teek hai, ab hume ghoor kyun rahi ho? jao hum fresh hokar ate hai.” Bihan muttered turning around to escape looking at her face. Thapki let out a low sigh in relief. May be he hadn’t noticed her lips grazing his, may be it might just have been her imagination. A bout of disappointment threatened to surface much to her shock and she snubbed it at its bud. She should be relieved but she was feeling something along the lines of a sense of loss. She hastily locked up her thoughts and almost ran to the door.
Bihan let out a huge sigh and fell on the bed. His chest ached but that was nothing, nothing compared to the shock she gave him. He had been dreaming about her. He hoped and prayed that Thapki hadn’t had a chance to hear his words in sleep. He suddenly pinched himself. He had to make sure that he wasn’t dreaming. Realizing that he was not dreaming he looked up at the tea she had made. That girl would be the death of him, he sighed.
Thapki made it a point not to come in front of Bihan the whole day. The memory of the morning incident was fresh in her mind but that was only a part of the reason for her avoidance. On the other side, Bihan missed her very much; she barely showed him her face since morning. But he was more than relieved not to have her around him. The fact that he was irrevocably, irreversibly and immensely in love with her was eating him from inside. Unrequited love is agony, he decided. But the agony had a euphoric side to it, something carnal, such that his entire existence based upon the need to sustain this agony, the excruciating pain which soothed him. He remembered once again; when you love you need to be the incense stick, you have to burn yourself to give off the fragrance, the love, it might burn you but you impart happiness to your loved ones. He had always been the incense stick. His lips spread into a meaningful curve.
Thapki of course wanted to avoid Bihan but she never intended to do so. However she was presently busy in something very important, the preparation for Bihan’s birthday. Kiran and Thapki were in Kiran’s room, putting their heads together since morning trying to come up with an idea, something special. Gradually the conversation changed, Kiran began narrating all of the stories of the siblings from childhood spreading out their childhood album. There weren’t much pictures of Bihan but she found herself lookin for each one of them. Thapki soon found out that Kiran had a clear inclination towards Bihan than her real brother Dhruv, she wasn’t surprised by the information however. She saw how that could be, Bihan was always prone to mistakes, the more humane big brother who would be content to be her partner in crime and protect her at the same time when Dhruv was exactly the opposite, he would protect her but he would always be the model whom she would look up to first. Kiran was later joined in by Dadima, who was more than content in relating every detail about Bihan to Thapki. As the stories progressed she listened even more intently, she tried to memorize every small thing she learned about Bihan.
The Bihan in the stories resembled the Bihan she had come to know, it wasn’t the same person she first met at her office, it wasn’t the same person who bullied her but the person who fought with her for small things, the person who fussed about minute details of her health, the person who would go to great lengths to save her life, the one who cared. She never recognized the Bihan who betrayed her in any of the stories or in the real Bihan whom she lived with. It was as if that person never existed at all. A sudden thought struck Thapki, it was the one moment of clarity and then it passed. She closed her eyes for a moment and opened it once again. That person never existed at all…
It was way past 10 in the night. Bihan was irritated. Thapki hadn’t showed up in the room yet. She was down in Dadima’s room since dinner. Even though he was happy about the distance before, he was missing her very badly now. You are a fool Bihan, his mind told him, what will you do in a week when she will leave you for good. He ignored the voice in his head; there wasn’t any point to argue with it. He lay down in the mattress and waited for the jingle of her bangles but there were none. Sleep is an old friend of silence and hence it closely followed.
PS- thank u guys for the appreciation…