The Caged Bird – Chapter 4

Sayi who always showed the stronger side of hers, who was the strongest, felt this vulnerable for the first time. She had everything, and that everything felt suffocating. The whole mall would be closed for commoners before and the whole theatre emptied before her arrival, her dad would buy her everything she kept a hand on, but won’t ever look at her. This marriage, her marriage, she knew was a punishment….punishment for raising her voice…punishment for dreaming to fly….punishment for spreading the wings breaking the chains tied. Her dad forgot to tell her groom’s name, she didn’t even seem to bother. She was crying profusely, sitting in a corner of that huge room…that huge well ventilated room was asphyxiating. She gasped for air, before passing out.

*******************

Sayi was lying on the bed, like a lifeless bird. Her lips had turned grey, and the now dried up tears, left an impression her cheeks, the doctor had said she lacks some nutrients, wrote a prescription and put her on IV. Her mother and Usha tai were sitting on the two sides; their eyes were wet and were looking at that little girl with helplessness.

After an hour and a half, Sayi slowly opened her eyes.

“Aayi….paani (water)” she said in a weak voice.

Her mother and tai helped her sit and she was given a glass of water and a straw to drink with.

“Aayi I don’t want to marry…Please take me out from here”

“Sayi, I wouldn’t have let this marriage happen, if things were in my hand. You have to understand that are 25 already and we have to get you married by next year at any cost.”

“But aayi how can I marry a stranger?? What if he can’t keep me happy?? Aayi please help me escape from this mess”

“Even if we help you flee, there’s no way you can hide from your dad for long, and you very well know that he will find you even in space. Didn’t he find out about your tickets and course?”

“What about that guy?? Did he agree to marry a girl he never met in his life??”

“I don’t know about anything. I think you should take some rest.”

******************

Virat was sitting inside his cabin and was staring at something kept on his desk, just then Pakhi storms into his cabin.

“Oh! So you saw.” Virat comes out from his trance, hearing her voice.

“Pakhi, when did you come? Come sit” he offered her a chair

“When you were spacing out seeing this piece of paper. What does this mean Virat?”

“I have no idea”

“‘From rivals to partners; the hottest couple in town set to marry in 10 days.’ The princess of the Joshi Empire, Sayi Joshi and the heir to the Chauvan enterprises, Virat Chauvan will be exchanging rings tomorrow and will tie a knot for lifetime after 10 days. Do you want me read the whole article?? It says your engagement is tomorrow, and you are telling me you have no idea?? Do you know what it means? It means you are getting married to Sayi, Virat, it means you betrayed me, the promises you made yesterday…..yesterday…. you made me wear this ring right?? You proposed me for marriage…then what is this… SPEAK UP YOU GOD DAMNIT….ANSWER ME…WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN??” she burst into tears. Virat tried to come to her to console her “Don’t…don’t you dare touch me Virat Chauvan, you’ve lost all rights on me. It’s over between us” She threw the ring to his direction and dashed out of the building crying.

Virat picked up the ring and clutched it tight forming a fist “I really have no idea Pakhi, I can’t ever dream of betraying you”

*******************

Ninad was in the meeting hall, attending a few clients, the door opened with a bang, diverting everyone’s attention.

“Virat??”

“Dad, can we talk for a while……please”

“Son, I’m in the middle of something important, wait for me in the cabin”

“It’s urgent dad”

Ninad asked his secretary to handle the clients and excusing himself went with Virat

“What is this behavior Virat? This deal with Joshis is very important for us.”

“When did deals and business become this important for you??”

“Our stocks were drastically dropping and we suffered huge losses in just an hour yesterday. If not for this joint project with Joshis, we would have gone bankrupt today.”

“So you decided to make your son a sacrificial lamb by fixing my marriage for this deal?”

“No, I just fixed your marriage. And Sayi is a nice girl, she is well educated and well mannered, the cherry on the top being, she hails from the biggest empire of this country and her dad was the one who propose this marriage.”

“How could you agree to him when you know how much I love Pakhi?”

“You will forget her with time”

“I love Pakhi since the time when I didn’t even know what love means. I’d rather die than marrying a stranger whom I never met.”

“Certain decisions need to be taken practically and not emotionally. You won’t understand it now, but try keeping yourself in my place, you will realize how much does one have to sacrifice for the betterment of their family. Kamal Joshi is a powerful person, he won’t have let any of us in peace. If you really love Pakhi and want to protect her, marry Sayi.”

“Kamal sir can never do anything wrong. For a moment I can doubt you, but I can’t ever question him. He is my mentor, I’ll talk to him, he will understand.”

“Virat don’t do anything in your foolishness and remove the blindfold your Kamal sir tied, for you to see what kind of demon he actually is. Small companies like ours, who are still struggling for a name in market are like snacks to him. He would eat us up and won’t even burp. This is the first time I’m asking you something, please don’t say anything about Pakhi to Kamal. You have Pakhi’s swear (Tumhe Pakhi ki kasam)”

“I had never seen a selfish person like you in my entire life.”

Ninad had seen a lot in the past 2 days. He wanted to protect his family and Pakhi, who was like a daughter to him from every bad eye, even if he was asked to sacrifice himself, he wouldn’t have hesitated.

Virat walked away from his cabin. His child, whom he loved a lot, was screaming, crying, begging for him to let him marry his love, but Ninad couldn’t do anything. He was made helpless by the dirty schemes of Kamal Joshi.

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A DAY AGO

Ninad was getting ready for work, when he received a call from one of his employees, he put the phone on speaker as he was tying the knot to his tie.

“Sir, it’s an emergency, our stocks are falling at an unimaginable rates, their has been a great declination in sales and even the clients are asking to cancel the deals and initiate refund”

“You keep me updated, I’m coming within an hour.”

He rushed out of his room and went straight towards his car, his wife had repeatedly called him for breakfast, but he was too lost to even listen.

On reaching, his PA gave a complete briefing of the current situation and hinted Kamal Joshi’s role in this. He immediately booked an appointment with Kamal and rushed to met him.

Kamal Joshi welcomed him with a smile, which made him more nervous, but, he knew, his everything was at stake and all he had to do was to agree to every demand of the person whom every businessman feared and who was sitting right in front of him. Despite the inner turmoil, he decided to boldly face the tiger.

“Mr. Joshi, I guess you are well aware that our company’s stocks are decreasing drastically since the morning.” He said sitting on the chair in front of Kamal’s desk

“I’m sorry Mr. Chauvan I really don’t have any idea about what is going on.”

“I was expecting you would confess your role and motto for doing this. Guess I was wrong.”

“Have I become that predictable?”

“I have no time for your jokes, Joshi”

“I don’t joke, I do business.”

“Chauvan Enterprises is a result of my blood sweat and tears, I won’t let you takeover my company this easily.”

“I wasn’t actually planning a takeover, but something else”

“With that tone I feel you are upto no good”

“I’ve know Virat since he was 15 and he came to me to teach him business as he wanted to prove himself to his dad. I know you love him, but you chose to be strict.”

“What do want to prove??”

“Nothing”

“Then what has Virat to do with this?”

“He has everything to do with it.”

“Stop talking in circles Joshi, come to the point”

“I want your son Virat to marry my daughter Sayi, and I will give the next 3 projects of Joshi industries to you. Think carefully before you decide, this will hike your stocks and will help you recover the loses”

Just when, Ninad was about to say something, his PA comes inside “Sorry to disturb you sir, but the prices have gone down to Rs. 100 now, we’ll be bankrupt in no time”

“I accept your deal Joshi” Ninad said without thinking for a second.

Kamal signed his assistant and he came back with some documents. Both signed them finalizing the deal.

“We will make a press release tomorrow and then will proceed further with this deal.”

******************

Ninad is still standing in the same position. The lights in the building have dimmed as most of the staff had already left. He slowly walked towards his adjacent room and there, Virat was sitting on his chair, holding the ring in his hand, lost in his world.

Ninad never showed his soft side to Virat, but his heart ached everytime Virat got hurt, and he felt a proud dad, everytime Virat received a trophy. In order to make his son the best, Ninad unintentionally increased the gap between him and Virat. He wanted his son to excel in every field, he had high expectations on which Virat never stood up, and Virat did his best everytime to prove to his dad, but his dad always pointed out his mistakes.

Ninad’s POV

Parenting, just a normal 9 letter word with the deepest meanings and huge responsibilities. We want our kids to be better than Sharma ji ka beta and we never realize that comparing them to other kids, or burdening them with our expectations can make them lose their own identity. We never realize that being strict and cold towards them may lead to differences among us in future.

I always wanted my son to be the best, therefore, I started to teach him the so-called businessman ethics since he was 10. Virat is the best child a parent could ever ask for, and I am such a fool that I couldn’t even tell him how blessed I feel to have him. Am I really this selfish as he said?? Maybe yes….maybe everything I’ve been doing for him or asking him to do were not his will, but my selfishness? All he wanted to do was to play with his friends and cousins, when I forced him to take several tuitions and other classes.

I know am never satisfied with his work, why should I be? He does everything half heartedly.

But, what if he puts enough efforts and I don’t appreciate in the greed for perfection? Is my son really as useless as I think him to be?

I know I failed as father, I couldn’t even help my son get his love. I don’t know what kind of girl Sayi is, and if she will be able to keep him happy. I am that unfortunate father, who, dug his own son’s grave with his hands.

1 Comment
  1. Very emotional episode🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺💖💖💖💖💖
    I had tears in my eyes😥😥😥😥
    Sayi’s condition had me crying😣😣😣
    Virakhi sad face-off😖😖😖😖
    Most of all, It was Ninad’s feelings for his son that melted my heart😭😭😭😭😭
    Loved this episode💖💖💖💖💖
    Keep writing!

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