Hi guys, Bela is back!
I know there are many who haven’t come to terms with the fact that this is the last episode(there will be an epilogue too). Sorry to disappoint you all but I had said right from the start that this was a short ff and later that it was a 12-15 episode venture. I feel that unnecessarily dragging the story would destroy its charm. Hope you all understand that. Thanks to everyone who read and commented on the previous episode. Your comments are invaluable to me.
Links to the previous episodes:
Let’s start the most awaited episode of this ff……………..
“Lakshya!” I heard her whisper. I ran to her and dropped on the ground beside her. I took her head and placed it on my lap. Tears rolled down my eyes seeing her condition.
“Lakshya!” She whispered again. She tried to move her head to see him. He was lying on the ground just behind her, his head bleeding where Sanskaar had hit him to save Ragini. He was surrounded by all the Maheshwaris while we were surrounded by our family. Everyone was crying and there was a total chaos.
“Ragini, stay awake. Don’t close your eyes. I am trying to stop your bleeding. I know you are feeling weak but PLEASE, for God’s sake, do NOT close your eyes!” I told her desperately as I tied a clean duppata around her neck to stop the blood from seeping out. Ragini shook her head.
“It is turning…………………….black. Everything is turning black. Laksh………ya!” She whispered. “How is he? He doesn’t know. He…..he…….doesn’t know.” She kept on muttering.
I looked over at Lakshya who was bleeding profusely. Sanskaar was wrapping a handkerchief around his wound.
“He is unconscious Ragini. But he will be fine. Everything will be fine.” I said, more to myself than to her.
“It……isn’t hi….his fault. It isn’t my……..Lakshya’s fault. Please take……care of him. Please!” She whispered.
I cried heavily. Why? Why did MY sister have to suffer always? Why her? Why me? Why us?
I heard the siren of an ambulance and soon, they took Ragini and Lakshya away. I felt myself being lifted from the ground by a pair of strong hands. I looked up and found Sanskaar, his eyes bloodshot.
“Forgive me Swara. It is all my fault. Please forgive me……….”
I shook my head at him and hugged him tightly. He hugged me back, stroking my hair and apologising to me constantly.
A fear gripped my heart. The fear of losing someone close. Till a day back, I was sure that nothing could go wrong. And now, I feel that nothing is right………………………………..
I paced the floor outside the operation theatre. It had been an hour since they took Ragini and Lakshya inside, bleeding really bad. I felt like stabbing myself. All this was my fault. While everyone had been following Ragini and Lakshya, I decided to become a hero and strike Lucky from behind so that he leaves Ragini. I didn’t foresee that he would fall and that Ragini would get hurt. And that was my biggest mistake.
Everybody was tensed. Swara’s Dadi was crying and slapping her forehead and cursing Ragini’s fate loudly while Shomi Maa and Dadaji were trying to console her, themselves soaked in their grief. Shekhar papa was standing numb outside the door of the operation theatre. Right across them, outside the other operation theatre, the entire Maheshwari clan was sitting, worried for their son and daughter in-law.
The doctor who was treating Lakshya came out first. Everybody hounded him and started asking questions together.
“Is he fine…….?”
“Will he be okay…….?”
“It isn’t too serious, is it?”
“Is he awake?”
“Is his memory gone?”
The last question,obviously, came from my mother’s mouth. Everybody stopped and gaped, turning to look at her in disbelief. Mom bit her tongue and made a weird face. Badi Maa shook her head at her.
“There is no need to worry, the patient is fine. The wound wasn’t that deep, the only problems were the loss of blood and the chance of an infection. We have taken care of the blood and cleaned the wound but we have to keep him under observation for a day to see if he has any infection or not.” The doctor said.
Everybody thanked him and he told us that we could meet him only after the medicines had been administered to him. After giving the list of medicines, he went away.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Lakshya was okay. My guilt lessened. I turned to the operation theatre Ragini was taken to. Hopefully, she would be fine too…………….
The doctor treating her came out. Everybody hounded her like Lakshya’s doctor had been.
“Maari laado kaisi Hai?”
“Is she fine?”
“The cut isn’t too deep, I hope?”
The doctor smiled. “She is alright now. There had been loss of blood but whoever tied that duppata around her neck did the right thing.” Everybody looked at Swara gratefully. “We have given some blood to her but she is unconscious. When she wakes up, we will do a final test and then you can meet her.”
Everybody smiled widely hearing that. I let out the breath that I hadn’t known I had been holding. They were alright. Everything was fine.
Suddenly, my mind drifted to the events which led to this situation. My heart sank as I recalled the video and Lakshya’s actions. My brother. Lucky………NO! Lakshya. My brother Lakshya. He isn’t fine. I looked around at everyone. They were all joyously celebrating. Tears welled up in my eyes.
We will have to confront the reality soon. We cannot run away. My Luc……Lakshya isn’t……..mentally fit. We will have to accept it and treat him. I wiped my eyes furiously. Even if nobody stood by me, I was sure I would support him. He has suffered enough alone. I had known that Lakshya was mistreated while I was in the house. And then, when I left for five years, I didn’t know what had happened. I will stand by my baby brother. Alone, if I have to.
But deep inside, I knew that I wouldn’t be alone. Shona would support me. And then, there was her. I turned around to face the room where my brother’s biggest supporter laid on the bed, breathing deeply in her induced slumber. SHE wouldn’t ditch him. Never. I smiled. Ragini wouldn’t leave her Lakshya alone…………………….
I opened my eyes slowly, adjusting them to the darkness in the room. A single bulb was placed to provide SOME light. My head throbbed painfully as I tried to take in my surroundings. I sniffed and made a face. Phenyl………………..ughh!
It seemed like a hospital room. I looked around. White walls, blue draping, and surgical tools on the table next to me. I touched my aching head and discovered that it was bandaged.
How did I reach here? I racked my brain for answers. The last thing I remembered was being in the TV room with everybody, watching that video……………
Oh No! What was that? It was I in the video, but I don’t remember saying that. I tried to remember the video. And then, I recalled it. Something about split personality.
My heart filled with dread. Goosebumps crawled on my skin. My breathing started to get heavy. Was it true? Was I mad? No, this can’t be true. Surely, someone was playing a very nasty prank on me.
I recalled Ragini’s tearstricken face. She had been the one who showed the video. She wouldn’t lie, would she? Did she believe it? Does she believe that I have a……….mental condition?
“He is awake……Badi Maa, see. Bhai has woken up.” I heard Uttara’s voice outside. There was a shuffling of feet and then, they all burst into the room in a frenzy.
Maa rushed towards me and hugged me tightly, sobbing on my head. Papa was standing beside her and stroking my hand(WTH?). Everybody else was standing around me in a circle. Yet, I didn’t find her. The one who I wished to see. My Ragini.
“Maa, where is Ragini? Why isn’t she here?” I asked her. She stiffened instantly. I looked around and saw everyone looking at each other apprehensively.
“Don’t you remember what happened? Why you are here? Anything at all?” She asked me. I shook my head slowly and knitted my eyebrows in confusion.
Everybody looked at each other with worry etched on their faces. This confused me even more. It seemed to me that there was a great mystery behind what had happened.
Maa took a deep breath. She opened her eyes and looked at me. I felt her determination. Her next words made me faint.
“Lakshya, you……….you attacked Ragini with a knife. She is in the other OT, with her neck slashed by you.”
My mouth opened in shock. My eyes widened. What? I didn’t do that! Why would I attack Ragini with a knife? I love her, for God’s sake! Why would I do something like that?
Reading my mind correctly, she continued, “It seems you have some……………..mental disease. You………turn into someone else.” Her voice was shaking and tears were rolling down her eyes.
“Haan, like that disease shown in that film, what was its name? The one with Akshay Kumar? Ghosts and stuff…….” Chachi said, tapping her chin.
Uttara looked at her in irritation and muttered, “Bhool Bhulaiya.”
Chachi widened her eyes in recognition. “Haan, haan. Wahi. Bhool bhulaiya. That chhori was mad, wasn’t she? The one who turned into that Monjulika? You were similar. Na re chhora, you weren’t dancing to that Bangali song! You just behaved differently.”
Chachaji looked at her in rage. He took her out of the room by her elbow while she protested loudly. Papa rubbed his temples and looked at me.
“I know that this must be hard for you. But this is the truth. All of us were there when you threatened to kill Ragini and then held her at knifepoint. You were trying to take her away. Sanskaar hit you on the head to stop you, that is why you are here. But as you fell down, you slashed Ragini’s neck by mistake.” Papa said gravely.
I felt pukish. I did that? All of it? No! He is lying. He has always accused me of doing things that I didn’t do. I refuse to believe him. I told him so and his face contorted with grief. Sanskaar came closer to me. He kept his hand on my head and looked me in the eye. And there, I could see it. He had seen it too. It was the truth. I had done that. But I don’t remember doing so. And this pointed to one thing.
I did have a mental condition. Split personality disorder. I know of it. Roughly. I had read stories where any character suffered from it and did things that normally he doesn’t do. Which is the case with me as well. I was freaked out. Scared. It was very hard to imagine that I was two different persons. I remembered the entire video now. I had blackmailed Ragini to marry me. She didn’t do it herself. I forced her to. And she did it. For who? And most importantly, why did my………..other personality do it? What did he get?
A wave of guilt washed over me. I hated myself. I had ruined her life and she had gone through so much, just for me. And because of me. I wondered, with dread, if she would forgive me for this.
Sanskaar spoke to me, “We have talked to the psychiatrist here. He will do a session with you and then, give give us the report of your condition.”
I nodded my head which was exploding with pain that this new information had brought about. I closed my eyes and slowly went to sleep, my mother patting my forehead rhythmically.
I opened my eyes slowly. A blinding light flashed and I closed them back immediately. Slowly, I opened them again.
I was in a hospital room. Again. I tried to remember how I had reached here. With an alarming speed, I recalled the events of that day. I exposing Lakshya, his holding me at knifepoint, everything. I took a long breath. So now, Lakshya knew. He knew that he was suffering from this peculiar condition. Was he fine? I looked around and saw Swara dozing on the sofa kept in the room.
I tried to get up but the bandage around my neck posed a challenge. As pain shot through my neck, I yelped and Swara woke up with a jerk. Within a heartbeat, she rushed to my side, and gave me a glass of water.
“How are you now Ragini? Shall I call the doctor?” Swara asked.
I shook my head in a No. “Where is Lakshya? Is he fine? Has he woken up?” I asked in a hurry.
“He is fine. He woke up two hours ago. He slept for an hour more and is now being prepared for an examination.” She said.
I frowned. “What examination? He was injured on his head, right? Is he fine? Why is he being examined?” I asked, impatient.
Swara wasn’t making eye contact. My heart started sinking in despair. I shook her and repeated my question. She finally looked at me and said, “He is being prepared for a session with the psychiatrist. To determine if he is………..mentally sick or not.”
My eyes widened. I begged Swara to take me in the examination hall too. She vehemently refused. But I am Mrs. Lakshya Maheshwari! Stubbornness is something I have mastered staying with him. I threw the greatest tantrum anyone had ever witnessed coming from me and then emotionally blackmailed her. Seeing my condition, she agreed to talk to the doctor.
The doctor allowed me to go but advised me to stay out of Lakshya’ sight. I nodded and then, escorted by Swara, went to the Psychiatric ward.
The room was dark. There were two chairs facing each other. I was made to sit behind a screen from where I could see everything but no one could see me.
Soon, Lakshya was escorted to the room. My heart started beating faster by seeing him. He looked really disturbed and scared and all I wanted to do was fondle him and hug him tightly. He sat on one chair. A middle aged man, probably the doctor, sat on the other one. His assistant stood behind him. I looked beside me and saw Swara, Sanskaar, Maa and Papaji sitting tensedly. I smiled faintly at them. Maa held my hand tightly. Papaji nodded at me. Sanskaar smiled at me while I smiled back. Then, we turned to look ahead.
“Good morning, may I know your full name?” The doctor asked, sifting through a file.
Lakshya fiddled with his shirt nervously. “Lakshya Durgaprasad Maheshwari.” He replied.
The doctor smiled. “Relax Mr. Maheshwari! It is just a routine exam. I am Dr. Shobhit Sen. I will be examining you.”
Lakshya gulped and smiled feebly. The doctor gave the file to his assistant and turned to him.
“Okay Mr. Maheshwari. Let me tell you what I have understood about your case. You were living a very normal life and were married recently. You complained about lapses in time though. Did you consult a doctor?”
“N….no. I didn’t. I thought that I was just being forgetful. I AM forgetful.”
“Hmm…….so last night, your wife showed everybody a video which showed you behaving very differently and admitting to certain things which you say you never did. Your family says that you behaved exactly like you had in the video after it ended. You became violent and even attempted to kill your wife………………”
Lakshya started sobbing. My heart clenched. I dug my nails into my skin and muffled my own tears.
“Relax Mr. Maheshwari. I saw the video too. I cannot say whether it is real or you are trying to fake it…….”
“I don’t know what is happening. I do not have an idea…….”
“How are your relations with your wife? Maybe that will help……..”
“Ragini and I……we are a bit complicated. I mean I love her…..I really do. We had a marriage of convenience. I was supposed to marry her elder sister. She didn’t turn up and I married Ragini. She was kind of my best friend. I feel she loves me too.”
“Hmm……….well Mr. Maheshwari, in the video, you said that you had blackmailed your wife into marrying you. Why did you do that?”
“I have no idea. In fact, I used to think that Ragini did it herself. It is now that I came to know that she didn’t do it on her own. I have no clue doctor. No clue.”
The doctor stared at Lakshya. His face was serious. Then, he turned normal and said, “I want to do a small exercise. I am going to hypnotise you. Let us see whether you are speaking the truth or not……….”
He took out a chain and moved it in a to and fro motion, asking Lakshya to focus on it. Soon, his eyes started becoming heavy and he closed his eyes.
“Mr. Maheshwari, are you there? Can you hear me?”
“Mr. Maheshwari, where are you? Why aren’t you answering me?”
“You are not helping. We need to check you. Answer me. Are you there?”
The doctor turned to his assistant. “He is faking it. It isn’t real. He is just wasting our time………..”
And then suddenly, in front of our eyes, something incredible happened. Lakshya’s face transformed. It became hard and dark. He started breathing rasply.
“Fake…..fake……..fake! I am NOT fake. I will tell you who is fake. It is that wretched Maheshwari family. Those negligent parents, unsympathetic cousins and that wife of Lakshya. They are fake. I am not fake.” Lakshya said in a different voice. It was rough. I remembered it. He had spoken like this in the video and at the hospital.
“Mr. Lakshya Maheshwari……….”
“I AM NOT LAKSHYA! How many times do I have to tell you that? I am Lucky. The cool dude. Are you guys retarded or what? Don’t you understand this simple fact?”
“Okay. Lucky. Who are you exactly?”
“Tum Sab Ka baap hoon main! I am Lucky.”
“Did you force your wi………Lakshya’s wife to marry him?”
“I repeat, did you blackmail her?”
Lakshya laughed like a maniac. “Tch, tch, tch! So much eagerness. You want to know? Shall I tell you? But why? What would I get?”
“Stop playing games……..you are wasting our time and traumatizing Lakshya.”
“SHUT THE F*** UP! I am not traumatizing him. You all are. That poor fool feels that his wife loves him. Which ‘loving’ wife would put him in so much agony?”
I closed my eyes tightly as tears rolled down.
“Did you force her?”
“You ain’t no getting an answer out of me, dockie.”
“Did you force your love, your wife, the woman you are going to spend your entire life with to hurt her sister and marry you? Did you make her push her sister into the river? Did you try and kill her? Did you try killing Lakshya? Answer me! Did you?”
“YES! Yes I did! I forced Lakshya to marry Swara because I thought that she was perfect, she would fight for him. But that useless girl changed overnight into a simpleton. And then, I saw how crazy Ragini was for him. I then started blackmailing her to marry him. She did that well. I used to force her to stay away from him because I didn’t want Lakshya getting close to her, Swara would undoubtedly expose her. I then forced her to destroy the Maheshwaris’ presentations and files. She didn’t do that. Was kicked out before she could………”
“How could she destroy them?”
“Because she was doing Lakshya’s work! He was busy in his interior designing which he was doing secretly so she was helping him.”
Everybody turned to look at me, obviously with shock. I bowed my head down.
“What would you get by destroying the Maheshwaris? What was in it for you?”
Lakshya smirked deeply. “Revenge.”
“Revenge? What for? What did they do to you? ”
“What did they do? Of course, you don’t know. Well, dockie, welcome to the party! You see, Lakshya’s father used to taunt him and mistreat him. He even beat him with his belt. His mother had no time for her sweet baby and the cousins couldn’t care less. Sanskaar was one good friend but soon enough became a nuisance when Lakshya was compared to him and made to feel inferior. So it was all about protecting Lakshya. I just wanted to protect him. And wanted revenge for all the torture he had gone through.”
“Did it help? This revenge and all. Did you achieve anything?”
“Oh yea! You see, Ragini supported Lakshya unconditionally and was a constant companion to him. He felt loved and was happy. It was with her advice and support that he continued designing and is now making a strong clientile……..that is what I always wanted.”
“Then why did you try to kill her? If she was doing what you wanted, why did you try to kill her?”
“I became mad for her. She IS amazing, have you met her? I wanted her for myself. But Lakshya resisted me whenever she was near. Plus, the power she has over him was becoming dangerous for my existence. So I had to remove her from my path……”
“Okay. So what are your plans now? Lakshya knows you exist. What would you do?”
“Are you my girlfriend, wife or parent that I should tell you my plans? I am answerable to none! Enough of this! I am going away. I am fed up with you and your big fat ugly poking nose!”
Soon, Lakshya relaxed. His face softened. Slowly, he woke up. He opened his eyes and looked around. He looked at Dr. Sen and asked, “Was I of any help? Did you find anything?” His voice was normal.
Dr. Sen looked at him seriously. Then, he smiled and replied, “You helped brilliantly!”
When Lakshya was escorted out, he called us out. We followed him to his cabin.
“Look, I am sorry to inform you that he is really suffering from Multiple Personality Syndrome. At times, his other personality takes over his mind and controls him. It happened due to the childhood neglect and abuse he suffered. Some children are able to cope but some aren’t. In such cases, they make up a world of their own or another Personality is created which can cope with the trauma. Unfortunately, the latter happened with Mr. Maheshwari. ” he said.
Papaji began sobbing while Maa hugged him. I sat there, numb.
Dr. Sen continued. “Normally, 90% of such cases can be cured. However, the time period of their treatment can vary. It may take years to treat a person and cure him/her. And it has to be done by keeping the patient in isolation. We will have to find an establishment away from your house to treat Mr. Maheshwari. I will talk to the Head and maybe, in a week, we will be able to update you. Till then, if his personality gets switched again, try and keep him away from Mrs. Maheshwari.”
We thanked him and came out. I slumped to the ground and cried heavily……..for the man who I knew was being punished by destiny for no fault of his. My husband. My Lakshya.
We were discharged the next day. Preparations had been made in the Maheshwari Mansion to welcome us back. Lakshya was silent throughout the journey, obviously troubled. I tried my best to talk to him but wasn’t successful.
I was worried for him. The doctor’s words came to my ears. He may take YEARS to recover. And yet, there was no guarantee that he could be cured. I looked at him again. I was willing to wait. I was willing to do whatever it took to treat him.
Maa did our aarti and we were brought inside. All of us stood in front of the mandir in our house and folded our hands to pray. I prayed for my Lakshya to get well soon. I opened my eyes and saw him staring at me with pain. I gave him a small smile. He shook his head slowly and turned towards the mandir.
We assembled in the hall and tea was served. While all of us were talking about mundane things, trying to avoid the real topic, Dadi said something which made my blood freeze.
“Dekhiye, Annapurna Ji, I have come here to take my Laado back with me!”
Everybody froze and looked at her in shock. Papa whispered in confusion, “Maa?”, while Shomi Maa looked at her in utter bewilderment. But Dadi was looking straight ahead at Papaji and Maa.
“Ji Kakisa, what are you saying? Why do you want to take her with you?” Maa asked her.
“Don’t act so innocent! You know why I want to take her back. You have cheated us! You never told us that your son is mad!” Dadi screamed.
Everybody gasped. Papa raised his voice at her and told her to not speak another word.
“Why? Why should I keep quiet? My granddaughter’s life is ruined. She has married a crazy man who wants to kill her. Do you think I will allow her to stay here after all that has happened?” Dadi replied.
I looked at Lakshya. His head was bowed down and he was holding his teacup with a fierce grip. His knuckles had turned white.
“Look Kakisa, I know how you must be feeling. Even I am a mother and to me, Ragini is like my own daughter. But don’t you think that you are rushing things. We can sit calmly and discuss matters………….” Maa tried to reason.
“No! There is nothing left to discuss. This man has ruined my Laado’s life. She had to suffer so much due to him. We all cursed her but in reality, it was all your son’s kalakaari! She is not safe with him. She has already destroyed her life because of him and I won’t allow her to do it anymore. We are taking Ragini with us. We will talk to a good lawyer soon.” She said.
I was growing desperate. “Please don’t do this Dadima! I know that Lakshya has……..issues but then, you taught me to support my spouse at every step. I can’t run away from my duties. Please Dadima, think about it. Where will I go? What will happen to me?” I pleaded.
Swara and Sanskaar tried to pacify her and supported my statement. Swara told Dadi that she was committing a sin by coming in between a husband and wife. Everybody agreed with her and pleaded with Dadi to reconsider her decision. But she stayed adamant.
She turned to me and held my shoulders. “Dekh Laado, you don’t need to worry. You have been cheated! Don’t worry about what will happen. As soon as you obtain a divorce from him, we will start looking for other marriage proposals for you. After all, there is no fault and shortcoming in you. You are a gem of a woman who deserves the best! You are beautiful, traditional, mature, smart and sanskaari. You need not waste your life over this man who has nothing of his own and is mental!” She said.
I turned to Lakshya who put down his teacup and climbed the stairs and rushed out, wiping his tears.
I tried to run behind him but was stopped by a hand on my arm. I turned and saw Dadi shaking her head at me. “Now, there is no relation left between you two. No need to go after him.” she said.
My blood began to boil. Enough is enough! I yanked my arm away and glared at her. She looked at me in shock.
“Please. Not a word more. I won’t tolerate ANYONE insulting my husband and my marriage in front of me. And I refuse to bow down to your demands and whim and fancies anymore. I am not the little girl who you fooled into believing that she will get her dead mother back if she obeys you blindly. I am a grown up woman who took the decision to save her sister and love all alone and sacrifice her own happiness for them!” I said.
Everyone gasped. Dadaji and Papa looked at Dadi in anger. “Did you do such a thing Parvati?” Dadaji asked her sharply.
Dadi glared at me. I glared right back. I knew I was disrespecting her but today, I was right. I would not back off today. Because today, was my agnipariksha. Today it was the battle for my life, love and happiness.
“Yes, I did it. But just look what it led to. Ragini became so obedient and good. The perfect girl…………….” she was saying when Dadaji cut her.
“SHUT UP!” Dadaji barked at her. Dadi ma flinched at his tone. “Just shut up! How dare you play with my princess’ heart like that?” He yelled.
Papa shook his head. “I never knew that you would stoop so low to control Ragini. Just like you did with me. But why did you drag Janki into your games Maa? Couldn’t you leave her alone in her death?” Papa sobbed.
Tears rolled down my eyes. I knew that my family was slowly breaking with my revelation. But it had to be done one day. It could have been avoided had Dadi not tried to impose her decisions on me. If only she had not tried to dictate me in my marriage, things wouldn’t have reached here.
“Laado, look, you are just being headstrong! The idea of being a good wife seems fascinating to you right now but what if he doesn’t get cured ever? Will you sit down and wait for him and get old alone? Is he worth it? Do you deserve it? No! You are a child but I am an elder. My decision is final! You will leave with us right now!”
“I. Won’t. Do. Any. Such. Thing.” I replied slowly, emphasising on my each word to show her that she couldn’t interfere in my life.
“Hey maara Khatu Shyam Ji! My Laado is going against my wishes for that man! But let me make one thing clear, if you disobey me, I will never speak to you again! Please Ragini, will you do this to me? Your own Dadi?” She said to me.
I laughed bitterly and without humour. “You know what Dadima? I have never had a choice. Not when you were trying to control me and not when I was being blackmailed. But now, I realise that it was my own fault. I let you order me around. I let myself be blackmailed. I was cowardly. It was MY weakness. But not anymore. I will NOT let you emotionally blackmail me and leave me with no choice. I refuse to be the ‘bechaari aurat’ anymore. I will fight for my marriage and happiness. I will stand up for what I think is right. And no one will stop me. I have let people play with me and my emotions for too long. But even I have dignity and self respect. I have my integrity still intact. I won’t be a puppet who listens to everybody else. I have listened to you while growing up and the blackmailer during my marriage. Both ended up in a disaster. Now, I will write my fate on my own. You have told about your decision. Now listen to mine. I won’t leave Lakshya ever. Even if he wishes for me to go, I won’t.” I replied with finality in my voice.
Swara smiled and came to my side and held my shoulders. She looked at Dadi and said, “I stand by my younger sister.” Sanskaar came to my other side and held my other shoulder and said, “I stand by my Duppate waali dost!” I smiled at them and kept my hands on top of theirs.
Shomi Maa and Papa came over beside Swara and said, “We support our daughter. The journey may be tough but we will hold her hand.” Dadaji kept his hand on my head and smiled. “My Laado has grown up into an admirable woman!” He said.
The entire Maheshwari clan stood behind me and we looked defiantly at Dadima who was simmering with anger. “You will regret it. You will be alone.” She said with grief in her voice.
I shook my head at her. “At least the blame won’t fall on you Dadi ma. If it doesn’t work, at least I won’t regret NOT fighting for my love even once.” I replied serenely.
Dadi wiped her tears. “Toh theek Hai. Jaa uss pagal ke peechhe. Even if he gets cured, no one can deny that he is absolutely crazy!” She smilingly said.
Everyone smiled at her statement. I hugged Dadi tightly and rushed outside to find my ‘Laksh Ji’.
I tried his phone a lot of times but he wasn’t answering. I was starting to worry. I called up Sanskaar and told him that I would require time and to tell everyone not to worry. Next, I called up the mobile company. Being a Maheshwari had its perks. And one of them was power and influence. I asked them to trace Lakshya’s mobile and tell me about its location.
Subrato Avenue. He was near our farmhouse! I started the car and drove madly, praying that he was fine. The unknown fear that had gripped my heart was making me feel restless. It seemed that something was going to go wrong…………………
I reached the exact location they had mentioned. It was a cliff. What was Lakshya doing on a cliff? I came out of the car and started searching for him. For ten minutes, I tried to find him. But it was of no use. Finally, I reached the end of the cliff. And there I saw him. But what he was about to do made my heart stop.
Lakshya was standing on the edge, looking at the waters beneath. And he was slowly stepping forward and trying to jump…………………………………..
Crazy. Lunatic. Mad. Pagal. Mental. These were the words that were swimming in my head whenever I was trying to think about myself. I was mentally unstable. I laughed bitterly. Wow! Brilliant! I may take years to get cured. My whole life would be wasted.
What wrong was Ragini’s Dadi saying? Ragini didn’t deserve this fate. She didn’t deserve a man who wasn’t mentally stable. She deserved the best. And I certainly, was the WORST.
And yet, I cannot help but be selfish. I want Ragini. I want to live with her, eat with her, shop with her, fight with her, flirt with her and breathe with her. I want to be in love with her. But my love story would remain incomplete. Because Ragini would surely never stay with a man who destroyed her life and tortured her so much. Even though I wasn’t that man. Or was I? Ughh…….so confusing.
I know that I won’t be able to live, knowing that I inflicted so much pain on the love of my life. I will never be able to live, knowing that she has become someone else’s while I am crammed up inside an asylum. I won’t be able to live, knowing that I lost my only chance at happiness.
It is better to die. Just leave everything. Everyone was worried because of me. It is better that I go away from their lives. At least, they will be able to live peacefully. I looked down at the flowing river. It was deep. If I close my eyes and jump, and not move my hands or legs and think about Ragini, I would not try to stay afloat. I will sink and drown and then, I would be dead. But what if the water is cold? I have just had a bath a few hours before. I HATE cold water. And what if a fish got inside my mouth?
My eyes widened in horror. I can’t do the sin of eating meat before I die. I won’t reach heaven then. But hey, considering the track record of my deeds, I will never go to heaven in any case……………………..
Ugh!!! Have I gone mad? I am thinking about depth and cold water and fish while I am about to die! But hey, I am already mad. My grief and pain are driving me crazy. That’s it. I would jump.
I closed my eyes. I heard sounds. Her voice. ‘Lakshya!’ Her voice reached my ears. I smiled. I am sorry Ragini. I am sorry that I am going away like this. But please do understand that it is for your betterment. Please forgive me. I will try and not trouble the man who you marry by returning as a ghost. I will try and be happy for you. Remember me my love. Remember me…….
As I took the final step ahead which would plunge me into the waters below, the voice in my head became louder. As soon as I was about to jump, a hand caught my arm and pulled me backwards. I turned around due to the force and landed on the ground with a thud. I opened my eyes. Two familiar chocolate brown orbs stared back at me. Did I die already? I was seeing her. My Ragini. I smiled sweetly at her. And then yelped in pain. I had been kicked on the stomach by a knee. The knee which I had claimed was beautiful. She was real! Oh my God! Ragini is here.
I rolled over her on the ground and clutched my stomach in pain. Beside me, I saw her sitting up and looking at me murderously. I scowled at her.
“HOW DARE YOU TRY TO COMMIT SUICIDE LAKSHYA MAHESHWARI!” she screamed at me. I winced. She had well functioning vocal chords! I tried to sit up but was pushed to the ground. She sat on my stomach and started beating me on my chest. Hey woman, Ouch! Stop it!
“You blubbering, disgusting, loony monkey! How dare you try to do that?” She said to me as she punched. Hey! I do not look like a monkey! I tried to tell her so but was punched on my nose. I howled in pain.
Ragini stood up and started crying badly. Seeing her, my heart clenched. I never do keep her happy. Which was one reason why I wanted to die. I stood up and went back to the edge of the cliff to try and jump again.
“What do you think you are doing?” She asked sharply. I turned to her. “Jump!” I told her in a low voice. She glared at me and I swear, for a moment, she looked just like her Dadi. Even scarier than her! I gulped in fear.
“You want to die? Go ahead. Go and die. Leave me all alone. Why would you care? You are a selfish man who never cared for others. Just go.” She said to me and turned away and stared going.
My anger started building. “You are not going to be alone,really. I am sure your Dadi will find a brilliant arrangement so that you never be alone!” I called out to her in spite. I was jealous. Obviously.
She stopped in her tracks and turned to me. “Do you actually think that I would remarry Lakshya? Do you? Because if you do, then I seriously and grossly overestimated your intelligence!” She said to me mockingly.
I walked towards her in strides while she resumed walking away. I almost ran and caught her arm and turned her to face me. “Why WOULDN’T you remarry? Obviously, there are so many good men out there who would happily accept you. Then why would you hesitate? You can find a man who is the best and will keep you happy. And he won’t have a split personality! Then why the hell, would you not remarry?” I shouted at her in rage, holding her by her shoulders and jerking her.
“You don’t know? You really don’t know? You don’t know why I wouldn’t marry again? Are you that dumb? Never mind. I am going.” She said and tried to free herself. I pinned her to a tree nearby and put my either hand on her either side. I leaned closer to her and with my face a mere inch away from her, I asked her, “Why? I want to know. Why can’t you marry again?” My voice was low in the beginning but raised at the end. It came out more like a shout.
Ragini had tears in her eyes. She looked at me and then hugged me tightly. I put my arms around her too. While I was inhaling her scent, she drew back a little and whispered in my ear, “Because I love you!”
Time stopped. My eyes which had been closed, opened widely. I became warm suddenly. I could feel my heartbeat. I went stiff. My mind stopped working and the only thing that I could think of was her words which kept on repeating in my mind.
She loves me. She loves me. Ragini loves me! Ragini loves Lakshya! As the full meaning of these words hit me with impact, I started shaking and lost my balance. Ragini held me and asked worriedly, “Are you fine?”
Fine? I am awesome! I smiled like a Cheshire cat and looked at her. Finally, I was able to understand the expression in her eyes. The expression that I had always seen but never understood. Suddenly, it became crystal clear to me. It was love. Pure, true love.
I couldn’t believe this. It must be a dream. I had to make sure. I cupped her face gently and asked her, “What did you just say?” I was frowning a little, straining my ears to catch the right words this time.
“I love you Lakshya. I have always loved you. Loved you since I saw you for the first time. I have loved you since forever and I will keep on doing so till my heart stops beating!” She whispered.
My hands which were on her face, were visibly shaking. Tears were slowly forming in my eyes. My dream had come true. My fantasy was becoming real. I wasn’t unloved. I had felt that Ragini loved me. Now, I knew for sure that she did. I wished for this moment to never end. I wished that we stayed there, her and I, till eternity, looking at each other’s eyes and smiling.
But reality struck in. I couldn’t tie her down to me. I wasn’t fine. I couldn’t risk her life. It was best that we part. I closed my eyes in pain. This is unfair. I had to leave her hand just a few minutes after knowing that she loves me.
I felt her lips on my eyes. She kissed them both and then, wiped off the tears that were rolling down. Then, she cupped my face and and gently kissed my forehead.
I drew back and saw her looking at me worriedly. I braced myself for what I was about to do. “Ragini, I can’t do this to you. Please leave me and go. Live your life. Don’t worry about me, your confession is enough for me to live the rest of my days in joy.”
“I won’t Lakshya. Why should I leave you? Because of a disease? My love has been so patient, so strong. I won’t ditch you just because you aren’t fine. You can be cured, my love. It may take time but it can happen. Won’t you try it, for my sake? Please?”
“Ragini, it may take YEARS! Can you wait so long? Even if you can, I won’t do this to you……” I tried.
“Lakshya, did you leave me when you got to know that I had stopped your marriage with Swara? Even though I had been blackmailed, you hadn’t known that. In everybody’s eyes, I was the culprit, even in yours. Did you leave my hand then? Despite knowing that I had ruined your life?”
“I hadn’t Ragini. Because you didn’t ruin my life. You made it. YOU were my soulmate. I wouldn’t have been happy with Swara. I was happy with you.”
“So how am I different? My love for you is my biggest strength and my biggest weakness. At a time when everything was going wrong in my life, I woke up every morning because of my love for you. I watched my sister’s name getting joined to yours yet didn’t go mad because I loved you. Hell, I followed the blackmailer’s demands because I love you. Our love has given me strength at every step and do you think that I would leave all of this just because of your illness? That isn’t my love Lakshya. Let me tell you, I had known that you had been blackmailing me for about a month now. Yet, I didn’t leave. You know why? Because I love you. This love has made me what I am today. Because before you, I was just a girl who listened to elders. It is your love and my love which has made me into a woman who isn’t afraid to fight for her loved ones. YOU have given me the strength. And now that you need my support, I won’t leave you.” She said.
My heart swelled with happiness. I came closer to her and hugged her tightly. “You love me so much?” I asked. She replied with a ‘hmmm’. We started swaying gently.
“Why do you love me so much Ragini? What is so special in me?” I asked her. I had to know. I had to know what I had done to make the most beautiful and kind hearted woman in this world fall in love with me.
“Because you are Lakshya. And I am Ragini. We don’t need any other reason. That, alone, is enough.” She replied.
I smiled widely. Still, I had to take care of a few things.
“I may take time to recover.”
“I am willing to wait.”
“I may turn into my other personality and try to harm you.”
“I know a bit about self defence. I will carry chilli spray with me too!”
“There will be times when I wouldn’t understand you.”
“I am sure that you will feel my feelings though.”
“At times, I would make you upset.”
“There will be times when I would upset you too.”
“I would always love you.”
“And I would love you till I breathe.”
“I love you Lakshya.”
“I love you too Ragini.”
“I love you more Lakshya.”
“I love you the most Ragini!”
We parted and looked at each other. Our eyes were full of promises, visions and happiness for the future. I looked at her lips and then at her eyes, silently asking for permission. She smiled and nodded slightly. I leaned closer and she closed her eyes. I closed my eyes too as my lips touched hers. And there, right under the sinking sun, we had our first kiss. Fireworks occurred. It seemed as though I was doing something very natural. Something which I was always supposed to do. Current jolted through my body. I drew back, breathing heavily. Ragini still had her eyes closed and was breathing heavily too. Thunder struck. Small drops of water fell on us. I held Ragini’s hand and we ran towards my car. I opened the door for her but she left my hand and started dancing in the rain. She rotated slowly with a big smile on her face. I smiled looking at her. She started singing by looking at me.
Yeh Saajish Hain Boondon Ki Koi Khwaahish Hain Chup Chup Si…
Yeh Saazish Hain Boondon Ki
Koi khwaahish Hai chup chup si
Dekho Na Dekho Na…
Dekho Na……dekho Na…..
She motioned to me to join her. I smiled at her and held her hand. I traced my finger on her wet face, looking at her with love. I started singing.
Hawa Kuchh Haule Haule Zubaan Se Kya Kuchh Bole
Kyon Duuri Hain Ab Darmayaan
Dekho Na Dekho Na…
Dekho Na…….dekho na
Ragini tried to run away from my grasp. I pulled her back and she buried her face in my chest. I put my arms around her and lifted her and rotated her. She squealed in happiness.
Phir Na Hawayen Hogi Itani Besharam
Phir Na Dag Mag Dag Mag Honge Yeh Kadam…
Phir Na hawayen hongi itni besharam
Phir Na dag mag dag mag honge yeh kadam…
I sang as I tried to kiss her. She smiled naughtily and freed herself and ran away. I followed her. She leaned against a tree and breathed heavily. Her chest was moving slowly. She started singing.
Haa Saawan Yeh Seedha Nahi Khufia Bada
Kuchh Toh Baraste Hue Keh Raha
Samjho Na… Samjho Na…
Samjho Na…..Samjho Na…..
She smiled beautifully. As I approached her, she ran away again. I laughed and followed her. I managed to catch her and placed my hand firmly against her stomach. She raised her head a little and gasped. I sang.
Hawa Kuchh Haule Haule Zubaan Se Kya Kuchh Bole
Kyon Duuri Hain Ab Darmayaan
Dekho Na Dekho Na…
Dekho Na……dekho Na.
I buried my face in her neck and sucked her skin. She moaned and turned towards me. She hugged me tightly and then licked my cheek. I stroked her back which was exposed due to her blouse. Ragini whimpered at the touch and leaned back, resting her head on my shoulder while I kissed her collarbone.
Jugnu Jaise Chahat Dekho Jale Mujhe
Meethi Si Mushkil Hain Koi Kya Kare
Jugnu Jaise Chahat Dekho Jale Mujhe
Meethi Si Mushkil Hain Koi Kya Kare
Even though I was wet due to the rain, my body was heating up. I still had her in my arms. I looked ahead and found an abandoned hut. I lifted Ragini and went inside the hut. There was a lot of hay there. I managed a small fire to warm ourselves up. Ragini’s wet hair was hanging behind her back while her wet sari was clinging to her body, showing her figure perfectly. Desire seeped through every fibre if my being. Looking at her dark eyes, I figured out that she too, wanted to take our relationship forward. I approached her.
Hothon Ki Arzi Aaise Thukraaon Na
Saanson Ki Marzi Ko Jhuthlaaon Na
Chhuu Lo Na Chhu Lo Na…
Chhuu Lo Na…….Chuu Lo Na……
I kissed her deeply while she reciprocated. She ran her hands through my hair while I started kissing her neck and chest and ran my hands through her waist and pelvis. She moaned my name loudly as I licked her skin and left love bites. Her moans of ecstasy drove me crazy, fuelling my desire to please her. Suddenly she yanked my upwards by my hair and kissed each part of my face. Then, she kissed me on my lips and I slowly laid her down on the hay. I removed her sari and kissed her stomach. She moaned and arched her back, pushing upwards towards me. I slowly undressed myself and removed the remaining pieces of clothing she had on. She was beautiful. I never left eye contact though. Ragini looked at me in the eyes and whimpered, “Lakshya!” I whispered, “Ragini!”. Then, I lowered myself on top of her.
Hawa Kuchh Haule Haule Zubaan Se Kya Kuchh Bole
Na Duuri Hain Ab Darmayaan
Dekho Na Dekho Na…
Dekho Na….dekho Na…..dekho na
Dekho Na Hmm Hmm Hmm
Hmm Hmm Hmm Dekho Na
The rain outside witnessed us making love. The night became the most beautiful night of our memories. It was only later, that I realised that this night was the night which marked the first anniversary of when I met Ragini.
Sun rays fell on my closed eyes, disturbing my sleep. I frowned. Suddenly, they went away. I relaxed. I slowly opened my eyes and saw Lakshya standing in front of the window, blocking the rays from reaching my eyes. Last night’s memories flashed through my mind and I blushed deeply. I looked at Lakshya who was giving me an amused smile.
I sat up and saw myself covered with my sari. I smiled sweetly at Lakshya while he grinned happily. I stretched my hand towards him and he took it and I pulled him towards me.
“I realised something last night.” He said. I looked at him innocently. “What?” I asked.
He smiled devilishly. “That Mrs. Lakshya Maheshwari is naughtier than Mr. Lakshya Maheshwari! ” he replied and burst into laughter. I pouted at him and hit him on his chest. I blushed deeply as his words sank into my head. He lifted my chin up and smiled at me. Then, he kissed my forehead.
He went outside to allow me privacy while I wore my clothes. He is so sweet! And then he asks me why I love him! A few minutes later, he knocked on my door. “Our family has called us a million times since the morning!” He said. I called out to him that I was coming.
We left in his car while I called up the driver and told him to fetch mine. As I looked outside at the trees, I smiled serenely. The road ahead in our lives was very bumpy. But I had the best partner beside me to lessen the burden. And a lot of love and understanding between us. I looked over at Lakshya beside me who had clasped my hand in his tightly. I smiled at him when he turned towards me and he smiled back, oblivious to my chain of thoughts. Just pleased that I was smiling at him. That was my Lakshya. My love. Lakshya turned to me and asked, “Everything would be fine, right?”
“Everything would be okay.” I replied. “Everything would be okay, agar tum saath ho….” I smiled at him and he smiled back.
We looked ahead at the road as the music player in the car played Moh Moh Ke Dhaage which we both sang softly under our breaths. It wasn’t a lie. We will have our happily ever after. I was sure.
There. The last episode us finished. I chose Dekho Na as it was a perfect mix of naughtiness and romance. Thank you for being a part of Raglak’s journey so far. Just the epilogue remaining. See you……….
And please do comment and tell me how you found this episode.