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SWASAN – CAPTIVATED FOREVER!
Heyy, It’s Anjali back with the next chapter!!!
Thnxx for comments and to my silent readers….
Swara learns the truth from Tia
The sun was setting and everyone was making the most of the light by playing in the garden. Ragini and Laksh were taking a walk, Om, Gauri and Uttara were chatting while Swara was sitting and watching the kids as they ran and played.
Sanskaar watched them from his study window, having just concluded some work for his company. He had neglected it a few days ago and so, the pile had become bigger.
It pleased him that his family and the bolder Oberois seemed to like one another. It particularly pleased him that Swara had been so well accepted here and that she seemed genuinely delighted by her surroundings and the people in it.
He was going to ask her hand in marriage in earnest at the engagement party which was in two days. He would convinve her of his love for her. He would.
Suddenly the sound of the gates opening reached his ears and he watched a black XUV enter the compound. The window rolled down slightly as Swara raised her arm in a greeting, but the car didn’t stop there.
Sanskaar watched as the car stopped at the driveway and then the door opened and a lady stepped out. Sanskaar’s mouth turned into a straight line.
Yesterday, Swara had gone out with Uttara and though they hadn’t told him anything about it, Sanskaar had guessed where they might have gone.
After all, Swara had been clear when she told him that she wouldn’t stay out of it as her brother was involved in the incident as well.
Yesterday, Swara had gone to meet Tia and now, Tia had come here. Tia was in his house. Why?
He watched her climb the steps leading to the inside of the house as she disappeared from view. Swara was looking up at the window. Briefly their eyes met before he turned away. Was this too a part of her revenge?
Had Tia come to see him?
He would refuse to see her. It was as simple as that.
But then a servant came to tell him that Tia Raichand wished to speak to him. Sanskaar opened his mouth to say no. After all, even if she had come to ask for his forgiveness, he had none to give.
Some thing were unforgivable.
Swara’s voice entered his head.
Oh really! Does using your enemy’s sister as a pawn for your revenge count as an unforgivable sin?
Sanskaar suddenly remembered a part of the prayer that he had once learnt in school.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
Sanskaar : I’ll see her. Show her to the inner salon. I don’t want to be disturbed.
He looked out to see if Swara was still there, but she was no longer there. He moved out of the room and entered the salon. Tia was staring at the desk that was present but turned towards him when she heard his footsteps.
Tia : Sans…. Mr Maheshwari.
She was, he realized with some satisfaction when he heard the tremor in her voice, very nervous.
Sanskaar (curtly) : I don’t think we have anything to say to each other anymore, Miss Raichand.
He saw the forlorn female and wondered what had happened to her. As a girl, She had been beautiful with high cheekbones and lovely eyes. She was even more lovely now. But the vitality was missing from her eyes. She simply looked tired. He wondered why she had not wanted to marry Shivaay who had been and was still one of the most eligible bachelors right now.
Tia : You’re right, Ofcourse. But I have to explain what happened that night.
Sanskaar (in a biting tone of voice) : What happened? You drugged me, made me look like a rapist and a theif, destroyed the trust between my father and me, made me look like a criminal in front of Shivaay and worst of all, made me leave my family for five long years. And now…. Now you want to explain all the pain, regret, sorrow and anger that I go through every day? Tell me Tia, Why I shouldn’t try and hurt you the same way you did? Why should I let you have the satisfaction of asking me for forgiveness?
Tia flinched and though her eyes were moist, She did not cry.
Tia : I deserve all this and more. I can offer no excuse. I was too scared to choose someone my father chose but a fear of my father were no excuses for what I did to you and then what I allowed to happen to you even though I had not foreseen it. An apology is cheap and perhaps even an insult considering how long I made you suffer. But, Sanskaar, it is all I have to offer. I wish there were more. I wish I could go back and change the past, but it is the one thing none of us can ever do. I stand guilty and offer no plea in my own defense. There is none.
Sanskaar : You should have left. Left Chandipur so that I wouldn’t have to go through the pain of looking at you. We would never have seen each other again.
Tia turned white. Sanskaar thought she might faint and took a step towards her to help, but she steadied herself and smiled sadly.
Tia : An eye for an eye, An exile for an exile. Is that what you would like? I… I suppose it cannot be helped. Very well, Sanskaar.
Sanskaar : But where I had to leave my family and friends behind, You won’t be losing anything other than your house and I hear that you have enough money to build a new one anywhere in the world. So, No, It’s not quite an eye for an eye.
Tia let few tears slide down her cheeks.
Tia : I won’t lose anything other than my house? I’ll be losing a sister and my cherished reason to live now. I’ll be losing everything, Sanskaar. Is this really what you want me to do?
Sanskaar paused. Losing a sister? But Tia didn’t have any sisters. She didn’t have any friends either. Except for…
Who had been Tia’s accomplice that night? There must have been an accomplice if her plan was to succeed. He had always realized that but had assumed it was some servant.
But what if it was Uttara?
It would explain all, would it not?
But did he want to know for sure? Was he willing to ask the question?
Sanskaar : Your most cherished reason? May I know what it is?
Tia : Mr Bankim and his wife are going to have a baby. I am going to adopt that baby.
Sanskaar’s eyes widened in surprise.
Tia : I will never be able to trust a man again. My father destroyed me too much for that. But I do want a baby and the Bankims want their child to have a happy family. They will live with me and we will raise the child together. I am going to be a mother, Sanskaar.
Sanskaar stared at her for a long time. Finally, he spoke in a much warmer voice than before.
Sanskaar : I learnt many things from my stint abroad. I learnt that I can stand on my own feet and accomplish anything that I need to. I am no more the same Sanskaar from five years ago. I have grown and I know myself now. I am going to marry the woman I love and I have to thank God that I was exiled. If I had not been, I may never have met her and perhaps regretted it for the rest of my life.
He wished he had not said that out loud. Swara was going to leave him. He still could not be confident that she would not. But it was true, nonetheless. If he could go back now and erase the past five years, if he could start again from the day of that party and cancel that incident with Tia, he was not sure he would do it.
Sanskaar : I forgive you.
She set both hands over her face. They were visibly shaking.
Tia : I took Shivaay Singh Oberoi’s email ID and phone number and have explained everything to him. He should have known the truth five years ago and I’m sorry that it took so long for me to instill that courage in me.
Sanskaar merely nodded.
Tia : Thank you, Sanskaar. It was nice to see you again, even if under awkward circumstances.
She moved past him to leave, but he spoke, stopping her.
Sanskaar : As you may know, Swara and I are planning to announce our betrothal officiallly in two days. We are having a grand party. I would like you to come.
Tia (shocked) : What?
Sanskaar : As neighbours, It is natural that we should be civil and courteous. Might as well start with the party. Will you come?
He thought if he would regret this decision later. Somehow he did not think so.
Tia : I will…. I will think about it, Thank you.
She fled after that and Sanskaar knew it was to stop him from seeing the tears that fell down her cheeks.
He was glad.
He did not want her to see the tears that had formed in his eyes after all. Sanskaar closed his eyes. He waited until he heard Tia’s car start and exit through the gates. Then he set out in search of Swara.
He needed her desperately.
Swara had not expected Tia to show up at the house. She had though Tia would have sent a message or an email at the most. And now, Swara was anxious. She had not told Sanskaar about the visit to Tia’s house– or the truth that she had learned there.
Some time ago, when she had seen Sanskaar’s eyes when he noticed Tia’s car was here, Swara thought she could detect intense suffering and pain. Ofcourse it could be imagination on her part, but somehow she didn’t think so.
Suddenly she couldn’t bear sitting there with everyone, pretending everything was alright. And so, She had excused herself and left. She started walking and soon found herself at the beach cave that she had grown to cherish.
She sat down and looked around. It was going to hurt to leave here. She had known no other home but Oberoi Mansion and the other country houses that Shivaay had, and she had always been essentially happy there. But then she had been to Bareilly, for Om’s wedding to Gauri, and later the same year she had gone to Mumbai, Laksh’s main home, on the occasion of Ragini’s betrothal. And it had seemed to her that she would like to have a home of her own, one that was not simply Shivaay’s.
She loved living in Chandipur. She loved the house and park, the surrounding countryside, the family here, the neighbours. And it could be hers for the rest of her life. She could be mistress of it all. She was betrothed to Sanskaar Maheshwari. But it was not to be.
She noticed Sanskaar walking down the path to the cave and surmised that Tia had left. He was walking with purpose and did not even notice that his shoe laces were untied. He had noticed her and she got up and stood up at the entrance to see him walking even faster towards her.
He finally caught up to her and hugged her tight.
Sanskaar (murmuring) : I’ve been looking everywhere for you.
He released her but took her hands in his and kissed them. He looked at her and she was astonished at the sight of his moist eyes.
Sanskaar : Mere aasmaan se, jo hamesha gumshuda the chand taare, tumne gardishon ki lay badal di laut aaye aaj saare.
He placed his palms around Swara’s cheeks. Swara blushed prettily at Sanskaar’s words.
Sanskaar : Shona, You look more and more beautiful each time I see you. It’s very hard to resist you.
Swara thought that this was that hardest Sanskaar to figure out. The one who managed to blurt out excessive compliments without missing a beat. Was he being true to her or was he just accustomed to telling these expletives?
Sanskaar (his tone growing serious) : Tia came home now. She… She told me everything. Except for who her accomplice was. But I suppose it was Uttara? Did you ask Tia to tell me the truth? Did you demand her to tell everything to Shivaay?
Swara : I did not order her or even demand her to tell anything to anyone. I suppose I showed some disdain when I learnt the truth. She came her out of her own volition.
Sanskaar : Thank you. I’m also sorry.
Swara looked up at him in surprise.
Sanskaar : Thank you for not betraying my sister and trying to keep the peace in my family. Whatever Uttara did, I’m sure she had her reasons and though I will eventually ask her for an explanation, Today I want to apologise to you.
Swara : Apologise to me?
Sanskaar : You were right. Forgiving Tia was the hardest thing I have had to do and now that I have, I feel free. I feel unburdened. All these years, I’ve kept the bitterness and anger within me like a talisman so that I will never forget the people who wronged me and I will get my revenge. But…
He blinked the tears that had now started to form in his eyes. Swara ached to hug him, make all his pain go away but she stood there rooted to the spot, her hands still entwined with his.
Sanskaar (clearing his throat) : But then I met you. I thought I had changed completely when I fell in love with you. That wasn’t true. I still had some darkness left in me. You got that darkness out of me, Swara. You taught me that forgiveness is better than retaining that anger within me. You made Tia come here and finally absolve me of all blame and I, in turn, freed her from her guilt. You have made a start in turning things right and what did I do…. I tried to use you.
Swara couldn’t stop the tears anymore. She tried to see him through her blurred eyes, but failed and so, closed her eyes, letting his words wash over her.
Sanskaar : All these days, I thought that I could earn your forgiveness and that we would be together but it’s not your forgiveness I seek, Shona. It’s your trust. I broke the trust we had.
Swara felt Sanskaar get down on his knees and kiss her knuckes once more.
Sanskaar : I’ve been a terrible person to you. God and I both know I don’t deserve you, but I still love you, Swara. I’ve loved you since Srinagar. I loved you in Kolkata and I love you now, Swara. I’ll love you forever, Shona and if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life making up for this mistake that I’ve made.
Swara opened her eyes and looked at his beseeching eyes. She didn’t know what to say. She had a lot to think about. Seeing her passive manner, Sanskaar smiled sadly and stood, finally releasing Swara’s hands. Swara immediately felt the pain of losing his touch and wished that he would hold her just for a few minutes more.
Sanskaar (softly) : I don’t want you to feel rushed, My Shona. Take all the time you need, My love.
He bent down once more and kissed her cheek. With one last look at her, He left her. Once Swara could no longer see him, her legs gave way and she collapsed on the sand, sobbing her heart out. She cried for her and for Sanskaar. She cried for Shivaay and his cold exterior. She cried for Rudra, the brother that they had all lost. She cried until she had no more tears left.
She stood up considering her next action. Did she really want to break things off with Sanskaar? But she knew that wasn’t the right question to ask.
Swara : Do I trust you Sanskaar? Do I love you enough for me to forget everything and have a fresh start?