SWASAN – MR MAHESHWARI AND I
Heyy, It’s Anjali back with the next chapter!!!
Thnxx for comments and to my silent readers….
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Sanskaar finally begins to tell the truth
THIS CHAPTER IS DEDICATED TO ALL MY READERS!!!
Sanskaar caught her hand.
Sanskaar : I can’t let you go. I WON’T let you go…
Swara (looking beseechingly) : Then tell me the truth.. Please?
Sanskaar became quiet. Swara smiled sadly. She placed her hands around Sanskaar’s cheek and kissed him gently. It was an act of surrender. An act of good-bye.
She began walking to go outside. Sanskaar started panicking. He COULDN’T lose Swara. Suddenly, The whole world went sideways for him. If Swara wasn’t there, nothing was.
And Sanskaar made his choice. SWARA was the choice.. He wouldn’t let her go. He would tell her the entire truth.
Sanskaar (falling to his knees, choking) : Swara…
Swara didn’t stop.
Sanskaar (louder) : SWARA! Please… I am begging you.. Please listen to me! Swara Maheshwari, I did all this because I AM GOING TO DIE!
Swara stopped. She didn’t have a choice. His words had startled her out of her wits. Sanskaar going to die? Swara’s throat clenched. Her stomach churned. She raised her hand to hold the door post and steadied herself.
The mere thought of Sanskaar dying had threwn her into a panic. She couldn’t think about anything else. She couldn’t turn around. She couldn’t see straight. Swara tied to calm herself but she couldn’t. She couldn’t bear the thought of losing Sanskaar!
Swara whipped around to see him on his knees, looking down and crying softly. And Swara changed. She didn’t panic anymore. She wouldn’t go into hysterics. Sanskaar needed her and she would not let him down.
She wiped her tears from her face and walked slowly to Sanskaar. She stood next to him and tousled his hair lightly. Sanskaar didn’t look at her but immediately raised his slumped form and put his arms around her waist and clutched her tightly. Swara closed her eyes as she felt his tears on her navel.
After some time, Once Sanskaar had regained his composure, Swara sank to her knees and placed her palms on his cheeks.
Swara (Whispering) : Look at me.
Sanskaar slowly raised his eyes.
Swara (still in the same tone) : Are you ill?
Sanskaar : No! I’m not ill.
Swara : Then what did you mean? What do you mean by saying you’re going to die?
Sanskaar closed his eyes for a moment, then stood, his fingers trailing through her grasp until finally they were no longer touching at all. For so many years he’d been careful to keep his odd convictions to himself. It seemed best. Either people would believe him and then worry or they wouldn’t and then think him insane.
Neither option was particularly appealing.
But now, in the heat of one terrified moment, he’d blurted it out to his wife. He couldn’t even remember exactly what he’d said. But it had been enough to make her curious. And Swara wasn’t the sort to let go of a curiosity. He could practice all the avoidance he wanted, but eventually she’d get it out of him. A more stubborn woman had never been born.
He walked to the window and leaned against the sill, gazing blankly in front of him.
Swara (getting up, softly) : Please Sanskaar! Now that you’ve started… Don’t stop. Are you dying? Are you ill? Are you not? These questions are filling my head with worry. Please.. Just tell me.
Sanskaar (softly) : Swara! There is something you should know about me.
She didn’t say anything, but he knew she’d heard.Maybe it was the sheer electricity in the air. But somehow he knew. And Swara knew he knew.
Sanskaar turned around. It would have been easier to speak his words to the curtains, but she deserved better from him. He walked towards her and guided her to a sofa in the corner. He then sat on his knees on the floor holding her hands.
Sanskaar : What I’m about to say may sound ridiculous…. Not may, It is ridiculous but… I….. I don’t know how to tell it to you.
Swara : Try me. Just try.
Sanskaar took a breath and nodded.
Sanskaar : When my Bade papa died, Something changed.
Swara (nodding) : You were very close to him right?
Sanskaar (whispering) : Yes.. I was closer to him than anyone else. Until I met you…
Swara (smiling sadly) : What happened?
Sanskaar : I was in Boston getting ready for dinner. It was 7 ‘o’ clock in the evening and I got a call. It was Laksh. His voice was so broken.
As Sanskaar continued to tell his story, Swara felt like she was living it. She could imagine a younger Sanskaar getting the call and it broke her heart. His entire life was about to be crushed.
Sanskaar : When I heard the news, I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t anything. I became blank. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to tell Laksh. He was crying and you know what I felt? You know what I wanted to tell him that time?
Sanskaar raised his eyes and Swara almost fell back at the raw pain in his eyes. Even after 8 years, this death was haunting him. Swara suddenly didn’t want to hear anymore. She didn’t want to know that she had failed… She had failed miserably. She couldn’t help heal his pain even a little.
Swara (tearfully) : Sans….
Sanskaar ( cutting her off) : No.. Please. You need to understand! You need to understand why I am who I am. You need to understand.
Swara nodded and he went on.
Sanskaar : I wanted to laugh and ask him to shut up. This wasn’t a joke. This couldn’t be true. But my voice just wouldn’t come out. My voice failed me. Laksh told me he had already booked a flight for me and that I was to come home immediately. I heard that command in my brain. I packed few clothes and got on that fricking plane.
Sanskaar got up and sat next to Swara. By this time, Their tears had dried up. Sanskaar continued as Swara clutched his hand tightly.
Sanskaar : I came home. Saw scores of people waiting in the hall. They moved as I entered. Few of them mumbled condolences and other inane comments. But I didn’t hear them. I walked straight to his room. That’s when I saw them. Badi Ma, mom, Adarsh, Laksh and choti Uttara. They weren’t crying when I got there. But as soon as they caught sight of me, Uttara began sobbing. Mom was crying. Badi Ma didn’t though… Deep down, I think she might be the strongest of us all.
Swara smiled and agreed.
Swara : What happened then?
Sanskaar : I went to my family. Spoke a few words… They sensed that I wanted to be alone with Bade Papa so… slowly they left. They went outside and I finally looked at the figure on the bed. He looked so peaceful and vulnerable. I… I was smiling and sad at the same time. Then it hit me….
Swara waited as Sanskaar grew quiet. She understood that he hadn’t told this to anyone… He had never told anyone about all this. 8 years of bottling up was finally going to end.
Sanskaar (closing his eyes and taking a deep breath) : I stood there for almost half a day… a night? I don’t know. But when I finally left the room, I was sure.
Swara : Sure? That he was dead?
Sanskaar (roughly) : No, that I would be, too.
Swara expected herself to cry at that or exclaim loudly and protest against his words. Instead, she surprised them both by just looking at him with an assessing stare.
Sanskaar (until he could bear the silence no longer) : I am not such a great man like him. I can never be.
Swara (quietly) : He might choose to disagree.
Sanskaar (snapping) : Well, He’s not here Swara! So, We’ll never know, will we?
Swara again said nothing. Sanskaar felt like an ass taking it out on her.
Sanskaar : I’m sorry… I really am… But you never knew him. You don’t know him. You (quietly) don’t know my Bade Papa! This is my judgement to make. Swara! I need you to listen to what I have to say now seriously ok…
Swara nodded with trepidation.
Sanskaar : Bade Papa was the greatest man I’ve ever known. Not a day goes by when I don’t realize that I’m not living up to his standards. I knew that he was everything to which I could aspire. I might not ever match his greatness, but if I could come close I’d be satisfied. That’s all I ever wanted. Just to come close. If there was one thing I knew, (whispering, somehow finding the courage to keep his eyes focused on hers) it was that I would never surpass him. Not even in years.
Swara : What are you trying to tell me Sanskaar?
Sanskaar : I know I can offer no rational explanation. But since that night when I sat with his dead body, I knew I couldn’t possibly live any longer than he had.
Swara (quietly nodding) : I see.
Sanskaar (giving a short laugh) : Do you?
Swara : I think I do.
Swara got up and began pacing the room. Sanskaar realized that this was her way of thinking. He kept quiet as she mulled over everything he had just told her.
Swara (finally) : How old was Bade Papa when he passed away?
Sanskaar : 42.
Swara (pacing) : And how old are you now?
Sanskaar (surprised… Swara knew his age) 28.
Swara : So you believe that you will live for only 14 years more. That we have only 14 years together?
Sanskaar nodded. She pursed her lips and let out a long breath through her nose. Finally, after what felt like an endless silence, she looked back up at him with clear, direct eyes.
Swara : You’re wrong Sanskaar!
Oddly, Sanskaar smiled. There was something refreshing in Swara’s directness.
Sanskaar : I know it sounds ridiculous…. but..
Swara : On the contrary, It is not ridiculous at all.
Sanskaar (surprised) : It isn’t?
Swara : No! It sounds like a perfectly normal reaction, actually, especially considering how much you adored him. But you’re still wrong.
Sanskaar said nothing.
Swara : His death was just a tragedy. It was unexpected and very hurtful… But that’s all it was. A tragedy.
Sanskaar : I’ll be gone the same way!
Swara : blo*dy hell! Sanskaar.. I could die tomorrow. I could die in a year or two. In few months. I could have died when I was 3 when the huge thunderstorm came to my town.
Sanskaar (pale-faced) : SWARA! Don’t ever remind me of your death… Don’t ever mention it.
Swara : MY mother died when she was 25. Did you know that?
Sanskaar (Shaking his head) : What does that…
Swara : So, If your convictions are true, I will die next year. MY next birthday will never happen.
Sanskaar : Don’t be silly.
Swara (Raising an eyebrow) : Silly? You think this is silly?
Silence took hold of the situation. Swara went and sat down on the bed,leaning her aching head against the bed post.
Sanskaar (whispering) : I don’t know how to get past this. How to overcome it.
Swara (softly) : Sanskaar! You don’t have to. Would you come here? I… I want to hold your hand.
Sanskaar responded instantly; the warmth of her touch flooded him, seeping through his body until it caressed his very soul.
And in that moment he realized that this was about more than love. This woman made him a better person. He’d been good and strong and kind before, but with her at his side, he was something more.
And together they could do anything.
It almost made him think that forty three might not be such an impossible dream.
Swara : You don’t have to overcome this. In fact, I don’t see how you could get completely past it until you turn forty-three. But what you can do is not allow it to control you. Don’t let your fear stop you.
Sanskaar felt Swara squeeze his hand and he felt alive and stronger than he had before.
Swara (curiously) : You have never told this to anyone right?
Sanskaar shook his head numbly.
Sanskaar : Never!
He paused. Swara felt that he was trying to muster up courage to tell something to her and remained quiet.
Sanskaar (After a while, his voice bitter and painful) : I.. I did tell one person.
Swara felt her shoulders tense. But she didn’t know why. Actually, she thought she did. Sanskaar’s voice indicated that this was the make or break of him… The pain in his voice broke Swara’s heart.
Sanskaar (closing his eyes) : Kavita….
Swara drew in a breath. There was the name again. Who was this Kavita? She waited for Sanskaar to tell more, but he was lost in his thoughts. Finally, Swara prodded him.
Swara : Who was Kavita?
Sanskaar : Kavita Chopra was a girl I dated in Boston. She was special and she liked me… Or so I thought.
Swara didn’t feel a pang of jealousy when he mentioned girlfriend. That was a long time ago and it was over now. But she did want to learn one thing about her.
Swara : Did… Did you love her? Is that why you can’t forget her?
Sanskaar (smiling bitterly) : Love? I don’t know. I thought I did. But it was nothing more than a childhood crush. She wasn’t worth loving.
Swara (surprising) : Then what…
Sanskaar : What happened? I’ll tell you. I finished all the obligatory ceremonies and rituals for Bade Papa and I came back to Boston to pack up forever. I needed to go back and take care of the business. Kavita came to help me.
Sanskaar : We both were packing and I thought I could trust her… I thought if I tell her about my feelings she will help me. She will be my pillar of support. But… (giving a bitter laugh) But I was wrong… So wrong.
Swara (poker-faced) : She called you ridiculous..
It was a statement, not a question. Swara’s heart clenched with concern, pain and anger…. That one conversation of Kavita had changed Sanskaar.
Sanskaar : Ridiculous. Stupid. Idiot. Weirdo…. Anything that she didn’t call? I thought I could trust her and she broke it… She didn’t care for me. She never had. And she broke me.
Swara impulsively hugged Sanskaar. Tears were streaming from her eyes now. She couldn’t help it. The thought of someone hurting Sanskaar… It tore her heart in two.
Swara (mumbling) : I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry…
Sanskaar pried them apart and put his arms around her shoulders.
Sanskaar : Don’t be… Don’t be. I am the one who should be sorry. I hurt you so much!
Swara : You didn’t do that on purpose. I knew you didn’t. You could never be so cruel to anyone. But why? Why did you do it? Why make us go through all this Sanskaar?
Sanskaar : From the first time I met you in that party, You have not stopped plaguing my thoughts Swara. The Swara who fought me for her sister, The Swara who sacrificed her happiness and agreed to marry me, The Swara who fell in love with me, The Swara who knows me more than I know myself… (voice softer and slower) The Swara who I LOVE (Swara’s eyes grew round), The Swara who is my reason to live, love.. Swara, who is my everything! You have been plaguing my thoughts. What I thought was a spark between us turned into a roaring flame… A flame that made me happy.. A flame that made me hope.. And that is why I did this.
Swara (confused) : Huh?
Sanskaar : I didn’t want to love you. It was the one thing I feared above all. I’d grown rather used to my rather odd little outlook on life. Almost comfortable, actually. But love—
He stopped as he choked. He was telling her his deepest thoughts and secrets but it didn’t matter anymore. Because he knew she’d love him no matter what. It was a sublimely freeing feeling.
Sanskaar (continuing) : I know love exists in the world. What they say about me in the articles isn’t true. I don’t believe that love is for the weak. Hell. There is true love in my family right now.. I believe in love. But I was sure that this was going to make me miserable. Love was the only thing that was going to make that unbearable. How could I love someone, truly and deeply, knowing that it was doomed?
Swara (sighing) : Oh Sanskaar! But it is not doomed.
Sanskaar (smiling) : I know. I fell in love with you. My lioness, My princess, My Everything! Standing here right now, with you, I realized another thing.
Swara (smiling) : And that would be? L
Sanskaar : Love isn’t about being afraid that it will all be snatched away. Love’s about finding the one person who makes your heart complete, who makes you a better person than you ever dreamed you could be.
It’s about looking in the eyes of your wife and knowing, all the way to your bones, that she’s simply the best person you’ve ever known.
Swara sighed, melting into his arms.
Swara : Oh Sanskaar! That’s exactly how I feel about you.
Sanskaar (suddenly turning serious) : I know… And I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. But I knew that I could never stop loving you. I was scared.. I was so scared to clutch onto this piece of happiness. For once I had tasted the bliss, How will I ever want to leave you?
Swara : You have to live each hour as if it’s your last, and each day as if you were immortal. You can’t shun new challenges or hide yourself from love just because you think you might not be here to carry your dreams to completion. In the end, you’ll just have many regrets.
Sanskaar (seriously) : I still believe I won’t be here for more than 14 years Swara!
Swara : I don’t want you to believe anything else. All I want you to do is know that you can’t let this stop you from living. You can’t deny yourself your dreams.
Sanskaar stared at her for a long moment, his eyes locking with hers until he felt they must be one person. Then, with a shaking hand, he cupped the back of her head and leaned down to kiss her. His lips worshiped hers, offering her every ounce of love and devotion and reverence and prayer that he felt in his soul.
Sanskaar (brushing his lips along hers) : Did you hear the part where I told you I love you?
Swara (smiling) : Yes, I did. Will you tell again?
Sanskaar : I love you, Swara! I love you so much…
Swara (her eyes glistening with happy tears) : Again?
Sanskaar (laughing) : I love you Swara! I love you…
Swara : Again?
Sanskaar : I love you, I love you, I love you… (fake pout) You won’t tell me?
Swara (laughing) : I love you Mr Khadoos Sanskaar Maheshwari. I love you too! I love you so damn much…
Sanskaar (wonderingly) : Was life meant to be this perfect?
Swara : No, This is better than perfect. I have my Mr Maheshwari!
Sanskaar : This will be a new beginning in our lives.
Swara : And we will be together. As long as we can be. Mr Maheshwari and I
PRECAP : Umm… 😉 😉
Guys, I’m so sorry for the late update.. But I was not very well… I mean physically, I was fine.. but was thoda depressed and didn’t feel like writing.
So sorry about that.
MY FIFTIETH CHAPTER 😮 😮 😮
I swear I cannot believe I reached my half century. When I first started MMaI, I thought I’lltake 30 chapters at most. But you people gave me the encouragement and support to continue.. SO this chapter is dedicated to ALL OF YOU! Thank you so much for being part of this journey so far.
I know I have had many ups and downs.. .Thank you for tolerating them. But most of all, Thank you for accepting me as part of this TU family. MY friends here, my family.. LOVE YOU!!!
Last, I had posted my OS a few days ago,
A helping hand..
Please do read it!!! 😀 😀