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Hi guys 🙂 I’m so happy that so many of you guys liked the last episode. There’s an author’s note at the end of this episode, which I would like you guys to read. Let’s begin with today’s part.
Episode 24: Precious
OM’S POINT OF VIEW
“Our paths had crossed for once
Or was it the play of fate?
If we had met at act one,
I would’ve held you till act eight…
No more should we repine,
And be grateful for the meet.
Let another moment decide
The stage we share the treat!”
As I finished, a look of awe and delight overcame her features. She understood the meaning perfectly, unlike the others who surrounded me.
[For those of you, who didn’t understand it, I’ll explain it in brief: Om was thinking of the short while they had shared the same space. The ‘Act one’ refers to Shakespeare’s ‘The Seven Stages of Man’, and he means that if we had been as close as childhood friends, then I wouldn’t ever have let you go; even after the seventh act, which is death. In the second stanza, he says that we shouldn’t think of anything else and be grateful to fate for our encounter, and let another moment in time decide when and how we meet again, to share the treat of each other’s company.]
Ishu was quiet for some time, before continuing.
“Let time keep our memories
Before we meet again, mate!
No matter which act it is,
I’ll hold on to you till eight!”
She winked at me and a broad smile surfaced on my face. I nodded and she raised her hand for a hi-five. As our hands met, I was seized by a weird feeling. It seemed as if something punched its way through me, although there was nothing but air. I ignored that weird feeling and smiled at the girl standing in front of me. I had felt it before too; there was something about her. But I shouldn’t have to care now. She was just a guest, and she was leaving now. I put away my unusual feelings and thought, “Don’t be too sensitive, Om. That face is a reminder to not be too good to people whom you barely know.”
However, the girl was a mystery to me. In the two days that she had stayed with us, she had made a place in everyone’s hearts. Mr. Oberoi had been won over by her sassiness too. She came over to my studio sometimes and I had worried that she might begin with her chatter again. But she had sat down quietly, observing me work. Once I had seen her sit on the railing of the second floor balcony. I was so scared that she would fall down that I ran to her, but she was completely at ease. Rudra liked her from the beginning. Although he was disheartened to know that she was elder to him, she had cheered him up by becoming his gym partner. Saumya too had found her to be the perfect literature tutor.
She was an enigma in herself. Her interests were as varied as the colours of the rainbow. But one thing stuck in my head. I had never once seen her hair open. She always tied it up, whether it’s a ponytail or a top-knot like now.
She hugged all the elder ladies of the house and left with the one possession she had come with. Her jacket. She had even refused to take the car which Mr. Oberoi had offered as a gift.
I watched her go and thought of my first impression of her. Wind and water. Never stays in one place. I saw Shivaay go towards Anika and I thought to myself, “At least something good happened in these few days!”
ANIKA’S POINT OF VIEW
“Is Sahil coming back from his trip today?” he asked.
“Yep. I have to pick up Sahil from his school and before that I have so many things to do. I have to make something delicious for him. I have to clean up the place. I have to check up on a few papers. There’s so much to do and you’re wasting my time by talking? Don’t you have work to do as well?” I asked, trying to look busy. To say the truth, most of my work was done. I just had to pick Sahil up from school, and buy him dinner from a nearby restaurant, as was our monthly ritual.
“Fine then. You’ll miss out on your surprise”, he drawled in a lazy voice. He sure knew how to catch my lies! He had roused my interest and now I wanted to know what surprise he was talking about. I asked him repeatedly but he didn’t let on a single clue. In fact, he was enjoying himself thoroughly and I was forced to think whether it was a bluff. The only thing he said at long last was, “Keep tomorrow evening free. From 2:00 pm. Okay?” I gave up on finding out and finished up with my work.
Sahil was angry that Ishu had not waited around to see him. I convinced him that I’ll scold her the next time and then he proceeded to ask about the current events here. When I told him about Billuji asking me to keep my schedule free after 2:00 pm, he said, “Are you going on a date? Whoa!”
I declared him stupid and said, “Why would he go on a date with me? He must have some work or something.” Sahil continued with his mischiefs until he fell asleep. I slept thinking about Shivaay’s words.
I had no idea that Shivaay had a side to him which was totally hidden from the world, maybe from himself too!
THE NEXT DAY, AT 01:50 PM
SHIVAAY’S POINT OF VIEW
She was waiting impatiently for me. In her faded blue jeans and cold shoulder walnut brown top, she looked uber-cool. The dark peach pink lipstick highlighted the perfect bow shaped lips in the afternoon sun. “Is she out to kill?” I wondered to myself.
I walked in casually in a pair of trousers, two shades darker than her top, and a blue shirt to match. I couldn’t help but note that we complemented each other well.
“Did you have your lunch? And did you bring a jacket?” I asked her. Her eyes went wide as she countered, “Am I gonna need one?” “You might”, I answered simply, throwing her mine. “Wait outside for two minutes”, I told her and went on my own. I heard her call out to me, “Where are we going?” It was fun to have her annoyed.
I brought the Lamborghini Huracán 610-4 Spyder to the front where Anika was waiting. Her reaction to the blue supercar was worth watching. Her eyes grew wide and she forgot to shut her mouth, making a huge ‘O’. “What is that?” she managed to eke out. “Isn’t she a beauty?” I boasted. She appeared to shrink in on herself after seeing me opening the passenger door for her. “Come on”, I encouraged her, cocking my head towards the seat. She walked with hesitant steps and finally lowered herself into the luxurious seat, looking around at the numerous controls. I walked around to my side and settled myself. I saw her clutching the jacket I had given her. I moved closer to her and she froze. Our breath mingled and I noticed that she smelled of cherry blossoms. I allowed myself a small smile as I clicked her seatbelt into place.
“Ready?” I asked. My heart was soaring! “Not at all!” she closed her eyes shut. “Get. Set. Go!” I started the car and she almost screamed. When she opened her eyes slightly, feeling the car going really slowly, I laughed at her reaction. “It’s not so fast!” she remarked. “How do you expect me to drive fast in this traffic?” I countered, waving my hand at the number of vehicles ahead of us. “Oh. Yeah. Right”, she composed herself, naturally assuming that we will be going at this snail’s speed only. I tried reassuring her. “It’s perfectly safe. There are multiple airbags, and the body is built to protect. So don’t worry. Don’t you trust me?” I asked without thinking. She looked into my eyes for a moment before nodding. “I won’t let anything happen to you”, I said truthfully.
Once we came to the road with considerably less traffic, I let the car unleash its power.
The increasing speed caused her to panic. She shut her eyes tightly and bit her lower lip to keep from shouting. I tapped her closed fists and she opened an eye to look at me. she had no idea how funny and cute she looked then! Behind us the engine roared and she screamed in tune with it. I opened up the top and allowed the wind to blow past us. Listening to Anika shout out, I too let out a hoot. After sometime of whooping and howling, she finally started laughing. It felt like we were in an amusement park, rather than on the road. We flew past the scenery in the three o’clock sun and I was glad that she got over her fear, for the moment at least.
We drove around for a bit, the drive lasting longer than I expected, and I slowed down near a café. “Coffee?” I asked her. She looked around and then pointed towards a tea stall a few paces ahead. I narrowed my eyes while she fluttered hers.
At last we went to the tea stall. She got a cup of tea for herself, while I waited in the car itself. She came and sat down beside me, sipping her tea in the little earthen pot. She offered me the cup to taste it and I thought for a while before giving in. I could throw it away if I didn’t like it.
To my surprise, I liked it and she was super happy about it. “See? I told you!” she took the credit herself. “I like it, but not more than espresso”, I corrected her. She turned back to look at the café behind us and got off to walk towards it. I followed her and watched as she ordered an espresso for me. I walked up behind her, smiling at her thoughtfulness and paid by card. She was surprised seeing me there and asked me, “Keys?”
I asked her back, “What keys?” “The keys of the car”, she explained. I smiled at her naiveté and told her, “There are no keys. Without the security key, no one can start the car. So no worries. I won’t make you walk home, Anika.” She caught her breath as I took back my card. I returned her kulhad to her, while she handed me the espresso calling it “Saira Bano” again. I gave her an impossible look and we walked together to the car. I paid the tea stall owner before she could reach for her purse. “I already told you. When we go out, I pay.” I left a heavy tip for the tea stall owner and she muttered “Tadibaaz”.
“Let’s go. I don’t want to miss it”, I said impatiently, not wanting to fight with her over this. She was rendered speechless by this information and I answered her unasked question, “Yes, there’s this one place we have to go to. So get in the car.”
She sat down quietly, having overcome her fear now, and we sped off into the sunset.
Hello again! How was today’s part? I’m sure that poetry and car enthusiasts would have loved it specially, right? 😀
There’s a request guys. I was curious about the number of readers I have. I know some of you are the silent type, or you may be busy, but even one alphabet would do 😉 So could you guys please comment on today’s episode? It doesn’t matter when you comment, but you should know that I’ll be waiting to see exactly how many of you read this, even if it’s once in a while. Also, I’ll be ending this ff in a few episodes, and before writing Om’s point of view, I had asked you guys to help me decide whether I should write Om’s story too. Now that I’ve tried to portray Om’s point of view, I’ll be writing a sequel to Precious, which will be dedicated to Om. I would like to know how many of you would like to read my ff on Om. So, your number of comments will help me to decide. I’ll be able to write on Shivika’s marriage too, if I continue with Om’s story.
I know that there are many of you who love this ff, and some are exceptionally talented writers themselves. But the other readers who are busy, or shy, or have any other reason due to which you can’t comment, it’s okay. But I would be really happy if you try to. I hope you guys don’t disappoint me…
Bye Bye… Take care and be safe guys 🙂