A lonesome man stared out of the window of his bedroom watching vacantly at the heavy downpour outside. The storm outside was nothing compared to the storm raging within his body, mind, and soul. He was completely consumed with agony, grief, guilt, and REGRET.
It had been exactly one month since she had walked out of his life. He had pushed her out with his own two hands and had pushed himself towards absolute despair. Shivaay remembered his last meeting with Anika as if it had taken place a minute ago.
The divorce papers had finally been made and delivered. He did not know why his hands shook as he leafed through them. A strange shiver ran down his spine and he felt cold sweat break out from his tensed brow. “What the blo*dy hell is wrong with me” thought Shivaay. “It’s all this nonsense by OmRu, Prinku, Soumya, Dad, Badi ma, and biggest of all culprits, Dadi. They have hammered the marriage crap in my brain so much that my own freaking mind is playing games with me. But I am Shivaay Singh Oberoi. I am not defeated so easily” Regaining his haughty resolve and his stiff upper-lip , Shivaay marched resolutely to his room, divorce papers in hand.
She was sitting in a chair in a corner in their room. Funny, that he thought of it as their room and was not even aware of it. She sat there in a pink churidaar , plain white kurta, and a vibrant pink dupatta. The sun’s rays from the window gently touched her hair and gave it a soft brown hue. Her beautiful dusky face had its usual pink glow. He knew that she was not the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. And yet, noone moved him like she did and noone mesmerized him like she did. Aware if what he was about to day, he stood quietly for a while , staring at her as she she wrote in her diary unaware of him. His eyes and his mind hungrily took in and memorized every detail of her appearance as if those details were going to be used as life support later on. Then he took a deep breath and started to walk towards her.
She heard his footsteps. Unlike Shivaay being able to sense Anika, she had never been able to sense him. Probably an indicator of who was more smitten but was to arrogant to realize leave alone accept.
She stopped writing and stood up as if understanding that something of importance was about to take place.
Shivaay: Anika, I need to talk to you.
Anika: yes. Go ahead.
Shivaay: you know I told you why I had married you and what my family has been saying about our marriage makes no difference to me. Our marriage rituals mean nothing to me and…
Anika: that’s old news. What’s new?
Shivaay was taken aback by her blunt question. It threw him off.
Regaining his composure, he continued.
Shivaay: Ok fine! The divorce papers have been prepared. They need our signature. Once signed, they will be processed and soon our divorce will be final. I will be free of this meaningless marriage and you will be free to do what you please. Here are the papers. Sign on them.
He handed the papers to her. She stared at him as she took the papers from him. Her eyes were blank but her lips quivered. That gave him an urge to kiss them which in turn infuriated him giving him an even more arrogant expression.
Anika stared at the papers in her hands.
Shivaay: Now please don’t start thinking about the marriage, sindoor, mangalsutra, crap everyone has been feeding you. You are not the type of girl a man like me can marry. Your background…
He stopped speaking mid sentence as without a word she had started signing on the papers. His jaw dropped. He felt a sense of panic rising up in his chest. A voice shouted in his brain
” What the heck is she doing! Why is she signing the paper so easily? Why didn’t she cry or show sorrow. Does she feel nothing for me? How is this possible?”
Outwardly, he just watched her sign the papers stunned into disbelief. Eventually, she took his left hand with her right hand and turned his palm upwards. Her touch sent a hot flush throu his entire body. Then she slammed the papers in his hands and walked out of the room.
For a few minutes, Shivaay stood motionless trying to grasp the full meaning of what had just taken place. Then he had an urge to run. So he marched out of his room and left for his office.
Unable to concentrate on his work, he decided to visit Tia. He reached her house and found the front door open. He knew which room was Tia’s so he walked towards it. Noone was around. He pushed down the door handle and pushed the door open.
He heard voices from inside
“But baby, so what if I have to pretend to be married to him. Suhaagraat to roz tumhare saath he manaati hoon Na.
But Tia, I feel horrible every time I think of you with him.
Robin, why don’t you understand that this is temporary. Let him divorce that sadakchhap Anika and get married to me . Once I am sure I have access to his property, I will leave him and run back into your open arms.
But Tia, how will that marriage be valid when you are already married to me.
Shhh Robin, noone except you, me and my mom knows that. And we will keep it that way. After divorcing Shivaay, I will marry you openly. Now let’s make some good use of these moments rather than talking about this bekaar stuff.
Shivaay was shaking with rage. He walked into the room fully with quiet menace. The sight that met his eyes shocked him.
Tia and Robin lay in bed naked, indulging in intimate acts, a white sheet barely covering them . To my own amazement, the first thought that came to my mind was, “serves me right”
I was very confused by that but decided to think about it later as I had much more important things to care of. I remembered how tortured I had felt when Daksh told me that Anika had slept with him for money. But what I felt now is not torture. Just cold seething anger at betrayal. I took out my phone and started clicking pictures of the disgusting scene in front of me. They heard my movements and the clicking sounds from the phone. Startled they turned their heads and color left their faces. Tia was apparently choked up and unable to utter a single word. Robin first looked terrified, then completely resigned to the situation. I told them that they’d hear from my lawyer and left that house immediately.
As I was driving home I remembered all the instances when Anika had tried to show me the truth about Tia. And how I had chosen to insult her instead. And that is when it hit me.DAKSH HAD LIED!!! Anika could not have done what he had said she had done.
I drove like a madman thoughts rushing through my mind at lightning pace. Loan papers. If Daksh hadn’t given them then who. Anika wouldn’t take lian from anybody. Only from someone she trusted. Whom did she trust? From someone she had accepted lian before. DADI!!!”
Shivaay’s car screeched to a halt in front of Oberoi Mansion. It was already 9p.m. He ran to Dadi’s room and without any introduction, he asked her
Shivaay: Dadi, did you give Anika any loan, a couple weeks ago?
Dadi: Yes. Shakti approved it. It was for Saahil’s boarding school. Par ab to wo sawaal hi paida nahi hotaa hai. No question of that now. Anika and Sahil will live here now.
Voice shaking, tears flowing, he asked
Shivaay: how much was the lian for Dadi?
Dadi was concerned now as Shivaay looked physically ill…
Dadi: 15 lakhs Billu. What is the matter ? What happened?
Shivaay fell on his knees as if lifeless. All the insults hurled at Anika by him, his mother, Tia, all if Anika’s humiliation, her terror at the thought that her Saahil had been killed…all of it revolved in front of his eyes like a horror movie and he felt like his brain was going to bust a nerve.
He managed to tell Dadi that he had made a big mistake and was going to try to fix it. Then he rushed to his room. He looked for her frantically. She was nowhere. He started searching the mansion shouting “Anika! Anika!”
Everyone came out of their rooms and looked at him worriedly. He briefly told them what had taken place and showed his stunned family Tia’s compromising pictures.
They all joined his search for Anika. She was no where in the mansion and neither was Saahil Except for a few of their clothes , all of their other things were still there. But Anika and Saahil were nowhere to be found.
It’s been a month since the search started but to no avail. His angel , his life had left him. All he was left with were those memories of hers he had captured and they were the only life support he had.