Sitting on the stone bridge edge, Swara’s unanimated reddened with tears eyes fix the river’s flow while the whistling wind and the infinite sound of temple’s bells are curdling her silent sobs, since when was she here? She couldn’t say… since that night.
Black and white images of the memories filling her head are reflected on the water’s surface… love and anger, passion and frustration, romance and fight… the music of a romantic song, caresses, sweet words are melted to shouts, crash and explosion… she’s startled at this last though, the smell of fire and smoke is confounded with the incense’ perfume wrapping her as she recalls Laksh’ and Ragini alarmed faces irrupting at the “accident” site, her sister trying to calm her while Laksh accompanied by rescue and police taking the situation in hands… against all advices of going home, she just doesn’t move from there, her feet were glued to the ground waiting… and waiting… and waiting…
At the early twilight, a covered stretcher is brought from the void. Ragini gripped her arm restraining her from hurrying to the aid forces, she’s barely aware of Laksh’ shattered state as her eyes can’t get off from the stretcher disappearing in the ambulance.
She shivers hugging her legs folded under her chin closing her eyes; far away she can hear a prayer anthem with a deafening bell’s rings coming probably from the temple. She wonders surprisingly if some bride was making a wish on her wedding’s day like she did so long time ago, if she had a fiancé’s obsessed lover for sister and her life will change at the moment she’ll come to throw a flower garland in those waters…
May be this is just a nightmare? Ha she’s really suffering… haa it really happened… but maybe it’s one of those nightmares where Sanskar will arrive from nowhere and wake her reassuring “shhh… don’t worry… you’re safe now…”.
It was him who woke her in the hospital after she has been thrown in the river for death by Ragini… in the forest when Urvashi and Kavitha tried to kill her… on her Sangeet repetition when she had been beaten on her head… after her memory recover…
Haa… he’ll come now, take her hands in his and say that it’s over… she wipes her nose angrily thinking about what happened… turning and returning the events in her mind not able to understand…
She could hear his angry words blaming her about the result of her decision… warning her:
“- … what if we change the story line? What if that day Laksh’ never gone missed? … What if it was me who was missing? … If it was him who tried to kill me? … if he killed me… if I was dead… no sindoor, no mangal sutra, no bangles… you are looking bilkul like a widow for the past months… and I feel bilkul dead every time I see you… don’t worry, I would be an open minded dead husband… kia hua, … scared at the idea of becoming a widow?”
Shaking, she closes her eyes tightly to chase the image of his accusing eyes when he shouted at her face the other secret she never wanted him to know:
“- my innocent chote bhai announced me that my lovely wife faked a suicide attempt to prove my false innocence!… did you point an arm here?… did you pressed the trigger? Did you shoot yourself?”
His broken voice memory makes her cry more recalling the tears filling his eyes when he said:
“- what I felt when you escaped from my hand… when you fell then disappeared under water’s surface…I can bear everything in that world, princess… but THAT… nahi…”
She puts her hands on her ears to stop those words thinking of that decision he blamed her for not respecting ages ago:
“- If anyone of you has any relation with Maheshwari family I’ll kill myself…”
She was panting; helpless to calm down her racing heart beats suffering from every breath filling her lungs… how long will she have this unbearable feeling… didn’t she ask him to kill her? Why he didn’t?… is it his manner to love her?…
“-as a proof of my love to you… you’re asking me to punish you by the reason for what I’m punishing you…”
Then… how could he do that to her?
“-… call it punishment… or a last promise I’ll fulfill to you…”
Again the sound of the crash… again the explosion… again the stretcher disappearing behind ambulance closing doors… she just wants to scream to blow out this mass pressing her throat, squeezing her heart…
Suddenly she’s startled to feel the warmness wrapping her freezing hand, she looks down to see it… her wide opened eyes can’t believe the sight of his hands holding hers, the sound of his worried voice caresses her ears, she looks aside in disbelieve:
“- enough, princess… bahut hogaya!”
His sad eyes, his frowning brow, his perfect long nose and parted lips… his some days beard… her heart skips a beat seeing him sitting there, just at her side taking her hand in his and looking to her so lovingly, her breaths are suspended to his words:
“- how long will you stay here?”
The void consuming her from inside seems has disappeared like by magic, she keeps quite her eyes detailing his face’s features, his shoulder’s shape, his collar, his torso… arms… she couldn’t focus…
He lets go of her hand to take her face in his big hands, wiping her swollen eyes with his thumbs before pressing his lips on her forehead in a tender kiss. Looking in her eyes, he says:
“- come back, princess!”
Her trembling lips succeed asking with a small voice:
“- ka ha?”
He smirks suppressing his tears and explains like to a little girl:
“- to home… they’re all waiting for you… you don’t want them to worry, hai na?”
“- kaun?” she’s frowning not really understanding him, she wants to touch his face but he already withdraws saying avoiding her eyes:
“- all of them… ma… baba… bade ma, bade papa, mum, dad… Rag…”
She stops him saying abruptly:
“- but I want to stay here with you!”
He smiles taking her hand to his lips to kiss it before he replies with a sad smile putting some strands of her hair behind her ear…
“- you know that you can’t, princess… I can’t see you like that… remember… if something happens to Swara, it’s Sanskar who will suffer!”
She grabs his hand tightly trying to argue but suddenly he’s no more here… she cries out
She wakes up soaked in tears and sweat, sitting in her bed, her scared eyes scan the décor, the deep blue of her room couldn’t reassure her, she looks to her hands, she could feel the warmness of his hold on them, she touches her forehead, there were his lips kissed her…
“- S… S… San..s…kar…”
Her shaking voice was a whisper, she’s sure that he’s here, she wants to get up, to check in bathroom but moving her arms make her wince, she surprised to discover an intravenous nipping her forearm. She frowns looking around again confused, the images of her vivacious dream still haunting her… bells sounds and incense perfumes where wrapping her yet…
She snatches the injection nipping her arm and stands up holding on her head as the room was spinning around her, the awkward feeling of déjà-vu consuming her as she remembers when she wake up more than six months ago after losing her baby… standing in front of her mirror, looking at her miserable state, images of her last conscious memories rush in her head making heavy tears fill her tired eyes again… her finger tips caress the jewels ornamenting her table… bangels… pendant… mangal sutra… a moving reflect in the mirror startles her, she looks up to it then abruptly behind her to the window side… she hurries there… but finds nothing!
A sight outside made her sees unknowns white silhouettes going in and out from Maheshwari’s mansion… she looks back to the mirror and details her image… in white, without bangels… without mangal sutra… without sindoor… her feet take her back to the bed side where she takes a photo of her beloved husband recalling his bitter words. She looks up to her image in the mirror again then to it and says:
If this is your love, my Prince… Then, please hate me!
TO BE CONTINUED…
I’ll be happy to read your feedbacks, critics and advices.
Again, English is my 3 rd language, so sorry for errors, misused expressions and orthographic/typing mistakes.
* Shameless Swasan’s fan club leader *