It was a hectic day for Naksh…his day should have started out with waking up at 5:30am freshening up after sleeping, getting changed and then going on a morning run till he is needed at home. But today thanks to his ‘amazing’ sisters who felt that he needed more sleep, his alarm went off at 8:15am! His sisters, Naira, Mishti and Gayu, had messed with his alarm. They claimed that they were only doing it for his wellbeing since sleep is very important. When he found that out at 8:15am, he made a mental note to buy a lock which required a key for his room. The key would stay with him and those darling sisters of his would not have access to his room.
So because he woke up at 8:15am; he had to quickly freshen up, wear the first suit he could see in his cupboard once that was all done, he rushed out of his room then his house without saying good morning or goodbye to anyone.
Oh did I mention that the suit wasn’t ironed properly and since he brushed his teeth in such a rush, he had to take at least 6 breath mints?
Now you may be wondering that Naksh, why are you in such a rush at least sit down and have breakfast. Well thing was that Naksh had a meeting at 8:40am. By the time he had left the house, it was 8:30am. Already the day was off to a bad start and to top it all off he was stuck in traffic. He had to get someone else to start the meeting in the office and at 9am, he reached the office to finish off the meeting. His assistant fell and split coffee on Naksh so Naksh had to find another shirt which he kept in his small office room. Then at 3:15pm, he went to his family’s restaurant Krishna where surprise surprise the head chef was sick so he had to help out in the kitchen and he might have made Krishna get a bad review since Naksh couldn’t cook to save his life. Whilst he was on a break, he was going to check his emails on his laptop which he took from the office only to realise that he didn’t bring the charger so the laptop died. He did check those emails on his phone though. A little while later, Naitik came and gave Naksh a half an hour lecture on responsibility. It was honestly a great lecture.
Now it was 5:30pm and he was finally done with work, he went into his car and drove from the parking lot. After driving straight for a little while, he was then made to decide whether he wanted to go left or right. Normally his way to home required him to go left but this time, he went right. Why did he take that direction? Well we are about to find out.
He reached Chum Chum Cafe. The beautiful baby pink and pearly white cafe. He wasn’t exactly fond of the fact that it had to be a lot of baby pink but the cafe offered the most amazing baked goods and mindblowing coffee in the whole of Udaipur. He entered the cafe and like always, he admired the pin and white decor; the curtains, balloons, interior designs and the pastel pictures of mouthwatering cakes – red velvet, chocolate lava, simple vanilla, the famous Victorian sponge…the list goes on and there were delicious pastries on the wall which made the cafe the perfect place for sweet lovers. The air was what Naksh admired the most about the cafe.
In the bakery the air was more delicious than any flavour. Somehow the aroma captures everything good in there: the filter coffee, the various cakes, the danish pastries. The blend was perfection, but as a mixture of flavours they would be terrible- “coffee-cake-pastry”, he didn’t think so somehow. It’s the kind of place he would sit in for hours, the air so perfumed without chemicals.
He went up to the counter and ordered his usual order; a grande cinnamon dolce latte with sugar free buttery brown flavoured syrup, nonfat whipped cream completed with sprinkles and a chocolate chip cookie. Once he ordered his order, he went to sit at his normal table only to find it occupied by a family so he went to sit somewhere else. Chum Chum Cafe seemed to be very busy today. He probably was going to have to wait a little while before getting his order. As he was trying to find a seat, he saw at the entrance some immature men running out of the cafe causing a woman to drop her handbag. Naksh quickly went to her as she bent down to pick her stuff. He couldn’t see her face since it was covered by her hair but since stuff fell from her handbag, he could tell by the diapers and tiny fluffy teddy bear that she had a small baby. As the two went up, he spoke.
Naksh: here are all your things…
He couldn’t complete since he was shocked to see who the woman was. His ex fiancee Tara. The girl who left him on their wedding day months ago. The girl who got those prenup papers made. Could his day get any worse?
Naksh didn’t reply since his eyes wandered off from Tara to a small baby girl who surprisingly resembled him expect for the fact that she had Tara’s small nose and lips. His jaw dropped opened. Tara was a mother now? Why did this baby look like him? Maybe it could just be a friend’s baby…right?
Tara: how are you Naksh?
Naksh looked at Tara and chuckled.
Naksh: how am I? Really Tara? After ages, you ask me this question. How about a ‘I’m so so so sorry Naksh for those prenup papers. I didn’t mean to get those prenup papers done. I didn’t know what I was thinking getting those prenup papers done’ instead you ask me ‘how are you Naksh’…well I am still hurting from your betrayal. Imagine how you would feel if the one you were about to marry left you on the wedding day.
Tara sighed. Clearly he was still thinking that she was the one who made those prenup papers when really she didn’t, it was her friend Preeti. Also it was clear that he wasn’t thinking twice before yelling at her in public, in a cafe where everyone was now looking at her. She was about to speak when Naksh spoke: and who is this child? A friend’s child? Oh wait, she looks a little like you. Have you already moved on from me and had a child with someone else? Well guess what Tara…I haven’t moved on. I am still hurting. Honestly I can’t believe that you moved on so quickly. It’s only been 11 months since our incomplete wedding.
Tara was getting angry. Did he really think that low of her? Did he really spend 11 months hating her so badly whilst she spent 11 months thinking about how he already moved on? When she saw him in that restaurant with his family, laughing and smiling a little after their incomplete wedding…she thought he had moved on when she was hurting from his accusations. It was now or never. She had to speak up. It was her turn to speak and tell her side of the story.
Tara: wow Naksh, words hurt. I see you still have the habit of accusing without listening to the other side of the story. Let’s start with this little girl in my arms. My 2 months daughter…Talika but we call her Titli. Naksh, meet Titli. Titli, meet your father…Naksh Singhania.
Naksh was shocked. This little girl was his. Well it had been 11 months…Tara would have had the normal 9 months pregnancy and 9 + 2 was 11 so the maths add up and besides, Titli did look like him except for the nose and lips.
Tara: and now let’s talk about our incomplete wedding but first I feel that it’s better to talk somewhere else because unlike you, I don’t need people to witness the drama here. Whatever is between us, it stays between us. I don’t need anyone else to think that our drama is entertainment. So if you ordered anything, make it a takeout and I will meet you outside.
She made sure that she had her handbag then went out of the cafe. One of the waitresses went up to Naksh with his order. He paid them and went out.
Naksh: let’s go in my car.
Tara nodded. They went to his car. Tara sat in the front whilst Naksh went to sit in the driver seat.
Naksh: now say what you want to say.
Tara: now this time you have to listen to my side of the story because I think only I know my side of the story better than you do. Preeti got those prenup papers made because one of our friends got married and she was going to pursue hockey but she couldn’t because of her in-laws. Preeti and another friend of ours wanted me to taking forward my sports ambition even after our marriage. Believe me Naksh, I was really against it….
Before she could say anything, Titli started crying. Tara could immediately tell that she was hungry. She looked around…thanks goodness Naksh had parked his car in a place where there were no members of the public walking about. She started to feed Titli. Naksh didn’t look. Even though he wasn’t Tara’s biggest fan, he still somehow managed to figure out that she didn’t want him to look as she fed his…well her…well technically their daughter. Once she was done, Tara gently patted Titli’s back. Once everything was sorted, she looked at Naksh to talk.
Tara: I didn’t want to have prenup papers in our marriage and if you had looked closely that day, then you would have noticed that I didn’t sign it. My signature was not on those papers and yet you skimmed through those papers and assumed. I ran away because you didn’t listen to me and you refused to believe me at all. Also that day, when you was busy yelling downstairs, I got a text from my doctor who told me that I was pregnant.
Tara: we did it a while before marriage. I went to the doctors a few days before the marriage. I remembered once your Buadadi telling me and everyone else that she wouldn’t be surprised if I got pregnant before marriage. Pregnancy meant I couldn’t play in the Asian Hockey Games but I didn’t care. Titli was my only support during these 11 months. I went through the pregnancy by myself Naksh, I couldn’t show my face and my baby bump to my family because getting pregnant before marriage is considered a bad omen for my family. I already disgraced my family because you made everyone think that I was the one who made those prenup papers. I bet you right now that everyone still thinks I am a messed up woman. Also if you think I have moved on then guess what? I haven’t. I still love you and I hate the fact that I still love you. I saw you in a restaurant a while after our incomplete wedding and you were having fun laughing whilst I was busy hurting and trying to find a job to support me and a child. Do you know how expensive a child can be? People told me to abort but I didn’t. People told me to give Titli up for adoption and can I be honest? I did consider it as an option at first because the job I got as a waitress wasn’t enough to support me and a kid and a house. I currently have a one bedroom flat. I thought Titli deserved to be in a better place with parents who were financially stable.
Naksh: you wanted to put our daughter for adoption?
Tara: yes I did. Could you blame me Naksh? I couldn’t go to the Asian Hockey Games with a baby bump and earn money that was more than enough to support us both. It took me ages to find a city and a place to live in. Also Naksh, we are both young…I am only 20, I kept thinking that can I even take care of a child but after 12 hours of labour, she was put into my arms and I immediately forgot about my option about adoption. I thought that me and Titli were going to get through any storm together so I got myself three more jobs and thankfully I made some friends who have helped me look after Titli whilst I could earn some money to keep a roof over our heads.
Naksh: where are you even staying at?
Tara: Delhi but I am in Udaipur because one of my friends is getting engaged, only for a little while though. You know Naksh, not a day goes by when I miss you and I wish that things turned out differently. I wanted you to be with me when I went for my first pregnancy appointment and I saw Titli for the first time on the screen. I wanted you to be with me when I had midnight cravings. I wanted you to be with me when I was walking around the baby shop. I wanted you to be with me when I was in labour. I wanted you to be with me when Titli was finally in this world. I wanted you to share the same happiness I felt when I held my baby girl for the first time. I used to wait in the waiting room before my pregnancy checkups and I was nearly on the verge of tears seeing the other pregnant women with their husbands. They looked so happy and they weren’t lonely but me? I was sitting on the chair, alone only wishing that you was next to me.
Naksh: if you told me that you was pregnant on our wedding day during the drama then maybe it would have all been fine. Maybe we still would have worked through our problems and be a happy family.
Tara: but what would our marriage be based on? You accepting me and forgiving me only because I was pregnant with your child? No. I wanted our marriage to be based on you actually listening to my side of the story and to stop with the accusations. I didn’t want it to be based on your responsibilities as a father. I wanted it to be based on our love and your love to our daughter.
Naksh: I really wish now that I listened to you instead of being a jerk. I wish that you didn’t have to go through your pregnancy alone. For 11 months, I was hating you and trying to keep myself busy, and you was in Delhi, struggling to make ends meet and I didn’t even know that there was a daughter in the picture. I’m sorry Tara, I’m really sorry. Can we make things better again?
Tara: it’s fine Naksh but I don’t know if we can make things better again. Do you even want a kid? Do you even want me? If I get back with you then can we bring back the old spark between us? Is there even still a spark left? How can you make things better all of a sudden when…when you spent 11 months hating me?
Naksh didn’t speak. He knew that Tara was saying the truth.
Tara: I don’t know if we can ever go back to how it used to be but for some reason I want my daughter to know her father so I can give you my number and you can visit our daughter anytime you want if you want to be a father. If you don’t I understand.
Naksh: give me your number.
He gave her his phone and she typed in her number.
Tara: I have to go bye.
Naksh: one minute.
He looked at Titli and said: can I hold her?
Tara: are your hands clean?
Naksh got hand sanitiser which he kept in his car and kept some in his hand then rubbed his hands.
Naksh: now they are.
Tara nodded and kept Titli in his arms.
Tara: make sure to support the neck and head. Also please make sure not to press the soft spots of her head.
Naksh nodded. He did as Tara told him to do. Titli looked up at her father and tried to give a smile. Seeing her trying to give him a smile, Naksh smiled. Up till now he didn’t even know that he had made Tara pregnant leading her to give birth to their daughter. Holding his daughter for the first time made him feel this tingly feeling in his body. Holding his daughter felt like heaven, it felt like the universe created this small moment in this story called life. She was simply perfection, just perfection.
A little while later, Tara took Titli from Naksh and said: sorry, I just got a text message from my friend. She is wondering when I am coming so I have to go. Bye.
Naksh: bye and sorry.
Tara just gave a small smile as she got out of the car with Titli. The moment they left, Naksh felt empty. When Tara and Titli were in the car with him, the empty feeling wasn’t there but now it was.
If only he didn’t mess up that day, if only he had listened to Tara that day, maybe they would have been happy, celebrate their daughter coming together, be madly in love but he messed up. If only he didn’t.