The perfect girl. Blessed in every way possible. Born in a rich household, a renowned artist for a dad, beautiful, intelligent, gracious. No demand ever refused. In her childhood, envied by the girls at school. Yeah, a perfect life in every way possible. What more could one ask for? That’s what everyone thought.
Deep inside her soul, she hid her darkest secret. This ‘luxurious’ life of hers, was just a pretense. No, she really had all the materialistic comforts. But the girl had, all these years, been craving for something else. Not a boyfriend or love relationship, family. She longed to spend even a short moment together with mom and dad, all laughing and smiling with no care in the world, like a real, happy family. Something that’d give her the feeling of being loved, and security. It seemed her hopes would remain a dream forever.
Malini still remembered. She occasionally had a vivid flash of memories, where dad would be giving her a piggyback ride and mom would be recording them with a camera. All three of them giggling, together…. That was back when she was about 5 years old. Tears filled in her eyes at the thought. She would do anything to get those days back. To hell with all the riches and money.
Everything had changed, after dad returned from his trip to Pagdandiya, 20 years ago. Even as a child, she had sensed it. He had been very distant, refusing to open up about anything. He had stayed lost for days and weeks. Dad never gave any details of his trip. The fights between her parents had escalated to another level; they seemed to be yelling abuses at each other most of the day. Little Malini would watch them hiding, terribly scared. Nothing was ever the same again.
Her childhood was ruined. All this had impacted her. She had beauty, but was a very reserved person. Lack of confidence. A weak personality. Apparently, the saying “Parents’ fights ruin their children” is true. Still, she was what she was, and she couldn’t change that. Though, gradually, she could try to improve herself. Mom and dad were too absorbed in their own fights to pay any attention to her issues, or she herself. She felt so ignored, unloved. She never had a true friend, who’d listen to her patiently, and help her through this phase. Many a times she wanted to scream, to burst out crying. Thankfully though, she was good at hiding her emotions. Malini hated how her mom had become this very cold, money-minded woman. Dad was always bitter, barely taking stand for the right things. Only dear Grandma could give her some comfort. Grandma would sometimes sing lullabies to make her fall asleep. Malini was grateful for that. Thus, her school years passed by. She would never want to go through them again.
Halfway through her last year of college, she met him. The most special person in her life. The person who made her heart flutter. The person, who carried himself with a slight air of arrogance, but to her it was all very charming. The person, who was very righteous; never afraid to speak up against the unjust things. The person, who made her fall for him more and more each time he smiled. The person, who made her feel she meant something to someone. The person, who understood her emotions better than anyone. A journalist for Bhaskar Times, Aditya Kumar Tripathi.
She still remembered their first meet like it was yesterday, when he had come to her college regarding a job assignment. She had found herself admiring the guy at first sight. Later in the day, they had had a little conversation. There was some shy, harmless flirting and they exchanged phone numbers. The friendship rapidly grew after that. Both of them began sharing snippets from their lives with each other. Wasn’t long before he had asked her on a date, and they started a relationship. To this date, Malini’s still astonished why he asked her of all people, and how did she, such an introvert, agree! Sure, he wasn’t behind her money. The two really felt a connection with each other, which they didn’t deny. She felt on instinct he was the right guy for her. Basically, she sought from him everything she had craved from her parents. He was her support system through tough times, a trustworthy friend, a responsible person you could confide in. He was her soulmate. She loved how he called her Mun. She felt ready to face anything, as long as she had his shoulder to lean onto. Thinking all this never fails to bring a smile to the present Malini’s face.
She had an imperfect childhood but perfect love story.
Seven years disappeared with a whoosh. She completed college, and took up a job as a professor. It was a gorgeous feeling to be earning her own money, to be independent. Secretly, Malini thought having her own cash would go handy, in case she ever had to leave home someday, finally fed up by mom and dad’s behavior, and find a hotel to stay. She need not depend on anyone any longer. She had met Aditya’s family, very kind and fun-loving. They liked her, she liked them. Oh, how she wished she was born in this family. The atmosphere was so cheerful here, while her own house seemed like a bunch of hungry obnoxious vampires tied together, ready to snap at each other. The worst thing happened; Mom didn’t approve of Aditya. Why, apparently because he came from a middle class family and didn’t own expensive cars. To her relief, Dad and Grandma didn’t seem to mind. By this point, Malini was determined to go against her Mom, no matter what. Perhaps the result of years of pent up frustration. She had already had an awful childhood, she couldn’t afford to lose Aditya too. So they continued dating. On various embarrassing occasions, her Mom would arrive and attempt to humiliate Tripathi family. “Oh, couldn’t she care for her daughters’ happiness even once in her lifetime?” “Couldn’t she see how loved I am with Aditya and his family” were the thoughts a miserable Malini would have.
Malini had not realized just how emotionally dependent she had become on Aditya. To what extent she had become attached to him. How she couldn’t even imagine spending the rest of her life without him. Losing him was a shock she wouldn’t be able to bear. No, she wouldn’t.
Unfortunately, that was the very thing to happen.
They got engaged. Just before their wedding, Aditya had to travel to Pagdandiya due to work commitments. His job as a journalist often required him making trips here and there, sometimes risky. It always took all of Malini’s patience and strength to be strong, and wait for him each time. As he departed this time, she was teary eyed, making him promise he will return soon and safe. Her job was a good way to divert her mind. Eventually, Aditya returned safe, though late and after a lot of tussle. He seemed a bit disturbed. With him he brought a young village girl. Little did Malini know this was the incident that would change her life forever.
The girl, 18 year old Imlie, was introduced as a house help in the Tripathi household. Aditya revealed how her mother had sent her with him to the city, for her higher education. Imlie was bubbly, humorous and witty. She would joke about the entire day, making others laugh with her antics. A kind person and helping hand too, she was a pleasant addition to the household; everyone welcomed her whole-heartedly. Malini liked this girl on first sight. She didn’t know why, but she instantly saw Imlie as a little sister, as if there was some unknown connection tying the two of them together. Though she was fond of the family, she never had anyone to really talk to, the way girls do. The elders were obviously much older. There were Rupali and Nidhi, but she had never been able to hit it off with them, more so Rupali. Thus, Malini and Imlie became really close in a short matter of time; there weren’t any differences between them based on caste, color, or language. The duo helped each other like sisters.
The wedding happened. That morning, Malini felt a little sad. She was drifting away from Mom, and however she was, Mom was her mother after all. She wanted to set things right between them again. Later, she swore she had seen Imlie sobbing and having a brief talk with Aditya, just moments before the fere. What about, no idea! Nonetheless, they got married, and the little incident was forgotten.
Her marital life didn’t begin as well as she had expected. Malini had noticed a change in Aditya’s demeanour the past few days. He seemed so….distant, self-absorbed, as if he was in some pain but not willing to share what it was. He also wasn’t spending as much time with her. She wondered if she had done something wrong, or was it because something happened in his….Pagdandiya trip? Whatever it was, was related to Imlie for sure. On several occasions by now, she had spotted Imlie exchanging grave words with Aditya. She wondered what it was. Whenever she would have a chat with Imlie, and mention Aditya, Imlie would become uncomfortable and fearful. She also observed Aditya was very harsh with Imlie, for no reason. Something was there.
Malini asked Aditya. But her words fell on deaf ears, he didn’t bother giving any explanation. Not for himself, not for Imlie. Now, she was certain he was purposely ignoring her. His changing demeanour led to feelings of frustration and worry both within her. What had she done wrong, for God’s sake? He was her only support system, her dream husband, and they had had a dream love story so far. Why was everything going wrong now? After marriage? Why was he drifting away from her?
Imlie had started her college.
Malini tried many times, and failed, to get to him. She had sought elders’ advices and guidance, which hadn’t been useful so far. Malini was deeply saddened at being ignored. She wanted to straight away confront him for his behavior; but knew it wasn’t in her nature. Imlie was always trembling, on being asked the reason she just trembled more.
Then Aditya and Imlie visited Pagdandiya once again, and this time, the change was drastic. When they returned, Aditya no longer seemed to even acknowledge Malini’s presence. He found reasons to shout at her, criticize her choices and bring her down. No, this wasn’t the Aditya she had loved for 7 years. Couldn’t be. He stayed happier with Imlie, always joking, and taking care of her preferences. She was his priority over Malini. Malini felt ashamed of herself for this, but there was not a day she had not cried herself to sleep. She was jealous of Imlie. Even Aditya’s family seemed to be fonder of her than Malini, though she didn’t mind this fact as much. Her soul was helpless and twisted. Was this it then? Her marriage was coming tumbling down and she didn’t know who to blame for this.
Arrived the wretched day. When she finally put the pieces together, realized what exactly was wrong.
Aditya loved Imlie, not her.
Malini had been visiting her maternal house. Imlie had achieved second rank in the state in her exams, and the Tripathi household were at her awards’ ceremony. The fact that no one bothered about her, stabbed like a knife. The hurt, helplessness and despair she felt at this moment, could not be described in words. Why, God, why? She had already gone through this situation in her childhood, why again. The person her life depended on, had left her. Without any warning or reason. Just all of a sudden.
She poured herself a cup of coffee and sat by the window, gazing at the view out there. The leaves of the trees outside were rustling in the cool breeze, and one by one fluttering to the ground. It was autumn. Without their trees, leaves have no existence. They dry and rot on the ground. She felt herself to be a leaf at that moment, and Aditya her tree. He had shed her, and got himself someone new. Recalling the entire thing, a few silent tears escaped her eyes and she choked. No, she was not angry at them. Nor was there any hate or bitter feelings. Just the quiet pain of betrayal, deeper than one could imagine. She was content to let them lead a happy life together. Just, it was over for her. Malini was done with this world, done with everybody around her, done with being rejected, and done dealing with all her troubles. She was done with everything. She couldn’t bear living in this harsh world a second longer, without Aditya by her side. She could not face the reality. Her soul was broken, crushed for the second time. She just wanted to be at peace.
With a trembling hand, she picked up the knife. Drops of sweat were running down her face. Her eyes shut for a couple of seconds, recalling all her life memories from birth till now, smiling briefly at the few happy moments. She was determined to take this step. Just as she was about to……a scream sounded, making her jump and drop the knife. Anu rushed to her daughter and engulfed her in a tight hug.
“Malini, what were you even thinking of? Don’t you dare!”
At that moment, Malini broke down completely. Having her mom hug her after so long, so many years, with that genuine concern in her voice, was too much emotions for her. She even forgot there was any coldness between her and her mother. It was just a daughter, sobbing uncontrollably in her mother’s arms, and the mother consoling her.
After what seemed like an eternity, they recovered enough to interrogate each other.
“What are you doing here, Mom? I thought you were in Jaipur for your business trip?”
“I was, but the trip was cut short due to some reason. And Thank God it was. My dear daughter, why did you take such an extreme step?” It was her Mom’s turn to start weeping. “I’m so sorry dear. I know I have been a terrible mother to you all these years, and I have no right to ask you this. But I can’t lose you, beta! You are my sole support, my precious daughter. Other than you, I don’t have no one dear in this world”
Malini didn’t know how, but she felt very comforted in her mother’s presence. With a choking voice, she began to tell all about her situation with Aditya, and why she wanted to end her life. Her mom listened silently. When it was her turn to speak she said, “I have something to inform you as well. The servant girl Imlie, that Aditya cheated you with, is your half-sister. Remember Dad had gone to Pagdandiya 20 years ago? He had an affair there, and Imlie is the result. We have always hidden this from you, but you have the right to know.” Malini took several deep breaths and let the reality sink in. So, Imlie was really her sister! The fact that Aditya rejected her for her own sister.
“Malini beta, I was very hurt with your Dad’s affair. That literally made me into the bitter and selfish woman I am today. I just regret not divorcing him then. I know, we ruined your innocent childhood. I can never apologize enough for that. But today, seeing you trying to harm yourself, seeing you in this condition made me realize how much you mean to me, how much I’ve missed by being so horrible to you. I hate that we are so distant and I know it’s my fault”
Malini didn’t know what to expect next. but hearing her Mom’s story, made her feel very sorry for what Mom went through too. She had had such a painful time of her own. Maybe it isn’t so late. Maybe, just maybe, she and her mom could make a fresh start, since she knows there’s nothing she wants to do more than this. She rested her head in her Mom’s lap, feeling so relieved.
“Look Malini, if Aditya cheated you, you must not make the mistake of suffering for him. Do not do the same thing I did. He is not worth ending your life. You are such a talented soul, you deserve better. Believe me, there’d be happiness in your life soon. Promise me to be strong, and not let a man control your life. I’ll get you divorced soon from that ”
Malini nodded, though she wasn’t listening very attentively, she was ready to do whatever Mom said her to. Because she knew, Mom’s concern was genuine.
It was a mother-daughter union. They promised to make their relationship better with time. Malini stayed with her Mom for a while, hearing motivational lectures, watching happy movies and just relaxing for a while.
A few days later, she visited Tripathi house, intending to have a conversation with Aditya and Imlie. She had to know their complete truth. She loved Aditya very much still, was reluctant to divorce him, but knew this had to happen. The truth she learnt, shook her to the core. Apparently, Aditya and Imlie were already forcibly married by the villagers of Pagdandiya, and when he married Malini hiding this fact, it was the second time. The revelations were hurting her more and more. Such a big truth was kept from her; she was involved in a bigamy. So that’s why Aditya and Imlie used to stay so stressed all the time, fearing their truth would be out and hurt Malini. The Tripathi family was informed, which created a big tussle. Many of them didn’t accept the fact that Aditya married Imlie, a servant.
Malini gave Imlie a blank look, and without any further words she left the house. Imlie cried when she discovered they were sisters.
The divorce proceedings happened. Still heartbroken, but strong, inspired from her Mom’s words, Malini was facing every hurdle of her life, learning to accept the situation. She had to come out stronger. On the final day, when they were required to sign the papers, Aditya and Malini were both present. He gave her a shameful, apologetic glance. Was he really sorry? As they both signed the papers with shivering hands, flashes from their seven years’ love playing in front of their eyes, both cried. The divorce was granted.
Officially separated now, Malini made to head towards her car when Aditya grabbed her hand. They looked at each other for a moment, perhaps both wondering what the other was thinking.
“Malini, I just want you to know I’m really sorry our relation ended this way. I know its useless saying this, but I really didn’t want to hurt you.”
“Well, anyway Malini, I hope you know our relation will always have a special place in my heart; it may not in yours though, as I know you are deeply hurt with this. I do love Imlie but you have been my best friend too and you didn’t deserve this. It was kind of you not to file a bigamy case against me. Would you care to stay friends?”
“I appreciate knowing that, Aditya. I only wish you had informed me yourself about this, earlier, so I could have had the chance to walk out with dignity. Well, I’m fine with staying friends. Just make sure you never do the same thing, to your now wife, Imlie. I hope you both lead a good life together.”
With that, she turned and strode her way. All the self-control she had, was now falling apart. Tears streaming down her cheeks, she ran the rest of the way and locked herself in the car. “This is it, then. AdiNi is over. I have separated from my soulmate, my Aditya. He is not mine anymore. He will now be leading a happy life with his wife Imlie. But it will take me time to move on.” She felt stupid for weeping like a child, but couldn’t stop.
Two Years Later
As Malini spread her arms wide about her, and spun madly, she laughed. Collapsing to the ground in a heap, she stared up at the bright sky. She was on a picnic with her Mom, to a park. It was a huge park, lush green and full of children. Malini had just been teaching some kids how to dance, and in the process, had become a little girl herself, madly shouting and laughing. She had not felt this happy for a while. Her Mom was resting under a tree, smiling at her. They had grown much closer, beginning to understand each other. Malini hoped it would remain the same way forever. Today, she had not worn her regular saree; she was wearing T-shirts and pyjamas with loose hair and thoroughly enjoying herself.
Her Mom and Dad had divorced too, recently. They decided the toxic environment home was just too much. Dev had offered to be the one to move out, and Malini and Anu were living happily along with Grandma. The Tripathi family had been decent enough to keep checking on her. They had all accepted Imlie and Aditya’s relationship by now. Malini had met Imlie’s mother, Meethi too, and both really liked each other. Finally, Malini felt as if the stressful chapter was behind them, and they could now be peaceful. She had been able to move on from Aditya, too. As she got up once again, to run a round of the garden, she bumped into a man and went crashing in the ground again. He seemed to be in a hurry, though offered his hand to help her up. As she got up and glanced at him, she found herself staring. He was so cute.
“I hope you’re not hurt”, he frowned, wondering why on earth she was staring at him like that!
“Ah, yeah, I’m fine. Thank you, uh…?”
“Myself barrister Kunal Chauhan, KC actually. I live just two streets away from here. Am here for a breath of fresh air, you know, hectic schedules”,
“Oh, I’m professor Malini Chaturvedi. I live close too. Well, hope to see you around then Mr. KC”
She smiled, and walked away.
So lovely..so lively, so… I don’t know what to say !
But your writing made me fresh…so fresh actually.
You are such a good writer and I think you should write a book too.
Your vocabulary is so good… You are just doubting your skills I guess. But I must say, you have skill… Your pen is indeed mightier than sword.
Story was simple and soothing and covered everything and cliffhanger at the first meet of KC and Malini is also praiseworthy. Cliiffhanger suits at this point.
I salute this piece of writing… Even the Imlie writer would be amazed reading your work !
Thank you so much. I honestly didn’t expect such a good response. It was my first time writing a fic, and am glad you liked it.
Since you all are more experienced than me, it does good to hear what you think about it, and how I could improve. I do love reading and writing, have always thought to keep ‘author’ as my second career choice. So you are right! I will keep on improving my skills.
Well, thanks again, have a good day. 😊
This is wow! Just wow! Gorgeous! Fantastic! Fabulous! Mind-boggling! So lively! 🤯🤯You have immense potential @Tara, such great expression of emotions, excellent vocabulary, beautiful story, interesting and gripping. I am short of words today to appreciate this beautiful piece of writing.👏👏👏👏you will surely make a great author one day, so beautiful really very well done👍👍👍👍
@Shruti alias Board exams
You have no idea how happy that makes me.
A big, big hearty thank you for your such kind words and appreciation. 💕 I’m glad you liked it so much.
I actually wasn’t sure what to write about. 😅Eventually, just decided to write a fic from Malini’s perspective, with an altered ending. I think it got a big too long though, so thanks to you and Shriharshita for reading till the very end, and giving your feedback.
Good luck to you both too, with your respective fanfictions. 😊❤️
If anyone else reads it till the end too, please spare a few minutes and do tell me what you think. Your opinions help a lot. And where could I improve?
I should have mentioned this in the Author’s note but forgot to add one. 😂
Words can’t express how awesome u have written❤❤. I agree with everything u wrote. Though I personally feel Adilie should be punished yet ur story felt so nice❤.
Thank You dear 😊
Yeah, personally even I wanted Adilie to be punished, but I wanted to stay true to Malini’s character. And she is someone who is (was) extremely kind, if we look at her orignal character graph. So she’d definitely go by the peaceful method, that is forgive and move on.
Gradually, she grows stronger. ❤
Story. Yeh serial me hota toh bahut acha hota use se bahut better likha hua hai apne great…aur yeh characters based story likhiye
Tara, big little Tara🤗, good job 🙌😊!
A very good sense of observation, very interesting insight into many details… I think, you could make a very good critic in the future📰✍️.
Your expression is very clear and yet not too prosaic.
You really managed to give the story your individual touch, and I don’t mean the ending alone.
And, look at that, it seems like there is also an optimist in you😉😜.
I couldn’t see that very clearly from your comments🙃😀. I like that👍. Keep it up.
Grateful for your compliments, @Lin 😊
I am aware, that my comments on the daily episodes are mostly negative, criticizing the show and characters. But I’m not like this in real life. 😂 Given the exception of blood boiling star plus soaps, I usually see the positive in things as well.
And thank you very much for reading till the end, giving your very valuable detailed feedback. I always like your analysis of the episodes, so it means a lot coming from you. 😊 I’ll keep that in mind for sure.
The fanfiction page of Imlie is really active now! So happy