Joined: 05 June 2006
Joined: 05 June 2006
PART 32: a long part
TWO YEARS LATER:
It's been two years since Prithvi and Kripa were divorced.
Two years since Angad had his first live concert in Nainital.
Two years since Angad proposed to Kripa……
AB MERI PEHCHAN KYA HAI?
The last two years have changed my life completely. The changes started almost three years ago, when Prithvi's first wife, Kripa walked out of this house. Log kehte hain jo hota hai achche ke liye hota hai. I remember how heartbroken we all were when Prithvi and Kripa's marriage broke down, but today, I am glad that Kripa is no longer a member of our household. No, don't get me wrong. Personally, I have nothing against her; she is a sweet and caring girl, but by losing her, I have gained the most precious gift of my life- my son- Angad! Yes, Angad, my illegitimate, now my favorite son is with us. Gayatri has also forgiven me for my mistake committed years ago- my family is now complete. What else could I ask for? I am a satisfied man. My doctors have been pleased with the progress in my health- they say my heart is like a race horse now- could go on till I am 90! I am my own master. I run two businesses simultaneously- Sharma Telecom and Angad's musical career. Angad, the son of a successful business man, has no clue of business or the business world. Not only have I managed to bring new contracts for him, but my management skills have helped him become a more successful singer than he would have been on his own. In exchange, the producers have been generous and even let me sing a few numbers with my talented son. Meri paanchon ungliyan ab ghee mein hain! I have my sons, my loving wife, my successful career and my hobby- singing- yeh sab meri pehchan hain ab.
At one point in my life, I thought I would never be able to forgive my husband for his one night stand with Angad's mother, but time and circumstances change everyone. Damini's son, Angad came into our lives almost 3 years ago, and changed my perception about his mother, my husband's mistake and my inability to forgive. Angad is now my fourth son- I see no difference between him, Kartik, Prithvi or Rahul. Even though, he is not my flesh and blood, I feel a stronger connection with him than I do with the other three. I am proud of my husband that he convinced Angad to come home. It was only two years ago, when a disconsolate Angad was found by Suryabhan, roaming the streets of Mumbai aimlessly. His career had just taken a nose dive after his first live concert. We were all shocked to find that Kripa had left him heartbroken, just a day after her divorce was finalized. Angad has never told us the details of their break up, but I know he still hurts. Any mention of her name in the house reflects his heartache on his face. A few days after Kripa walked out on him, his mama, Dilip suffered a severe brain hemorrhage from his brain tumor (which was a shock to all of us.) Fortunately, Dilip was able to reunite with his long lost friend, Suryabhan on the last few days of his life. If it were not for Dilip, Angad and Suryabhan would still be estranged. I still remember the day Dilip was cremated, how Angad cried on Suryabhan's shoulder like a little boy. It reminded me of Kripa's parent's death. Angad was always there for her. Why did she leave him like this? I know she loved him, tho phir kya hua? Even though, everyone blames Kripa for disappearing from our lives, I still have a soft corner for her. Shayad main bhi uski jagah hoti, tho yahi karti. Aakhir jis ghar aur rishton ne usey itna dukha diya, wo unse naata kyun rakhe?
Lekin Angad ko dhokha kyun diya? Was it really a betrayal or did she have some reason to walk out? Sigh! I hope I can meet her again and clarify my doubts. I still miss her. Aaliya is not Kripa, but Aaliya is Prithvi's choice, his second wife and he is happy with her- that's what matters.
Ab meri pehchan hai chaar beton ki maa, Muskaan, Aaliya aur Mishti ki saas, Suryabhan ki patni aur…..aur…aur ……shayad yahi meri pehchan hai ab.
They say one event can change your life forever. My life changed when I almost lost my wife and son in the horrendous fire because of my callousness. The fire not only brought me back to my senses but also introduced me to my brother and the most generous man on this earth, Angad. Although, younger than me, he has inspired me to be me. If it were not for him, I would still be sulking with a handicapped wife, trying to please her and keep harmony between her and my family. I am a teetotaler now; owner of a fantastic restaurant, proud father of my eight year old third grader, Kavya and husband to a loving, but still in control wife, Mishti. I don't mind being controlled by her- after all kisi na kisi ko tho joru ka ghulam hona padhega and I admit I am Joru ka ghulam number 1!
I am so glad that Angad lives with us now. He is a gentleman in the true sense and an inspiration for all of us. Jo ghar Kripa ke jaane ke baad bikhar gaya tha, Angad ke aane se phir simat gaya hai. I am happy with Angad's success in the music industry. His songs are pretty much there on most popular albums. His live concerts are a rage. Thanks to dad and Prithvi, his career has really sky rocketed to success. There is one thing that does bother me about him. I feel, even though Angad has everything he dreamt of, he still seems lonely. I know he really loved- or still loves Kripa. I don't know what transpired between them, but I sincerely hope they can be together once again…I miss her….she is the most caring person in the world. Aaliya is right for Prithvi, but she is just not Kripa. Angad Kripa ke bina adhoora lagta hai…kaash main kuch madad kar sakta…
The last three years have changed me to a more mature and patient person. Instead of bickering and complaining, I have channelized my energy into managing Kartik's restaurant and taking care of my family. I am not as nosey about my in laws, brother in laws or sister in laws. Aaliya, Prithvi's second wife is not Kripa, but she is right for him. She is a Psychiatrist by profession and for the most part, keeps to herself. I am thankful that even mummyji has changed. Instead of comparing her bahus, she spends more time with her husband and listening to Angad's music. Yes, she is very close to her step son, but I don't care. Angad is a great role model for Kavya, and that's what matters to me. I have learnt to see the positive in everyone and ignore everything else. Do I miss Kripa? I am not sure, but I do respect her more than I ever did. She had the guts to do what very few women have- she left her husband, wealth and status for what? As far as I know, she never demanded alimony or her fair share of the Sharma wealth. I am not sure where she is. I don't know if she ever loved Angad. I wonder if she used him to get away from her ex husband. Well…as I said I am not nosey any more, par phir bhi, kya hua tha un dono ke beech mein?
I am a busy woman…excuse me, I need to take this call…"Hello, yes this is Mrs. Sharma!"
Mujhey apni pehchan us din mili jab Angad ne beech sadak par meri jaan bachai thi. That incident made me realize who I really was. If it were me in his place, I am sure I would have walked off gleefully, but his selfless act humbled my arrogance and defiance. Losing Kripa was the biggest the biggest loss of my life- of course my arrogance would never admit to it at that time. I had completely lost it when she left me and our home. Instead of reflecting inwards or feeling guilty about my mistakes, I turned to alcohol, more women, gambling and other vices. Whenever I saw Angad and Kripa together, I seared myself with jealousy and instead of trying to woo my wife back, I made life more miserable for her. Now I know why she chose Angad over me.
Kripa and I were never meant to be together. Our marriage was not based on love and trust- it was an alliance set by others. After my near fatal accident, I am happy I met Aaliya during my counseling sessions. She is a head strong woman and for reasons still unknown to me, she fell in love with me. We have been married for a year now. I can't even think of being unfaithful again- even though I am tempted many times. Beautiful women are still my weakness, but the memories of my painful separation, humiliation by my family, loss of my status at work and the society are still etched in my mind- I never want to go through that hell again.
Angad and I are still not the best of friends- we are step brothers but cordial with each other. On dad's insistence, Angad reluctantly agreed to give me charge of some of his business issues. I try not to bring our past grudges between our working relationships. I think he has started trusting me with his money, but he still seems wary about me in other matters. As they say, time is the best healer and I hope one day, Angad and I would have the same brotherly affection for each other as Kartik and Rahul do.
I don't know what happened between him and Kripa but in a way, I am glad, Kripa is out of our lives. Even though, I have changed, I don't think I would be able to tolerate my ex wife married to my step brother- that could have tilted my mental balance once again. Aaliya has just gotten me off my psychiatry pills and I have no plans of taking those mind altering medications again!
RAHUL AND MUSKAAN SHARMA:
We are a happily married couple and live in Bangalore now. We both have wonderful jobs, enjoy each other's company, visit our families in Mumbai at regular intervals and are now seriously planning to start a family. We, especially me (Muskaan) misses her friend Kripa. Kripa never contacted us after she left Mumbai. She must have a reason for leaving all of us- I wish she would at least call us one day. I (Muskaan) and Keerti even filed a report with the police about our missing friend, but as efficient as our police department is, I doubt they will ever find her amongst a billion of us in this country. We both love Angad, and are happy for his success. Even though, he is a good actor and performer, we know that he still hurts on the inside. I (Muskaan) know that he has still saved all the outfits he had purchased for Kripa. I stumbled upon them once when I accidently opened his suitcase in the attic. I (Muskaan) have never seen a man love another woman like Angad did- or still does. I hope one day, Kripa will realize what she's left behind. They are meant to be together- I know that-it's my gut feeling.
ARADHANA & SHAILENDRA:
We are still in Dehradun. Our lives continue in status quo. Kripa sent us a letter a year ago, stating that she is happy in Ranikhet. I (Aradhana) have visited her a few times since then. Kripa has changed a lot. She is no longer the hesitant or confused innocent girl that she used to be. She is sure of herself, loves her work, but I (Aradhana) know that she misses Angad a lot. I have offered to talk to Angad and bridge their differences, but she has sworn me to not interfere.
"Agar usey aana hoga tho khud aa jaayega." Is all she says, "please didi….don't interfere in my life anymore…ek baar aap logon ke kehne par shaadi kar chuki hoon…uska anjaam aap jaanti hain."
"Excuse me madam….aapke liye coffee laayi hoon." Gauri, my new assistant placed a cup on my desk.
"Sorry…main coffee nahin peeti….please take this cup back," I push the cup away, "Gauri…I know you are new, but there are few things you need to know about me," I sit up, shut my laptop and look at the young 20 something employee, "I don't drink coffee…..and I don't like to be disturbed when I am working…..now you may leave," I force a smile as the young girl, feeling apologetic retreats from my office," sorry ma'am….ab yeh galti nahin hogi phir se."
"That's ok," I smile genuinely this time, "galtiyan sab se hoti hain….that's how we learn, don't we?"
She returned my smile and dashed out with the untouched cup of coffee.
Coffee! Yes, I used to love drinking coffee. I used to look forward to my visits to the local coffee shops in Mumbai. It was not coffee that I looked forward to-coffee was a reason to meet Angad. I recall how we both craved for those thirty minutes at the coffee shop- crammed between our busy schedules- my cafeteria shifts and his music academy. To us, coffee was symbolic of our love and yearning for each other. We savored that cup more than any beverage in our lives. The hot steaming cup between our lips would often fuel our imaginations and inspire Angad's mischievous remarks. After a hard day, he knew how to make me laugh with his wise cracks or go weak in the knees with his seductive glances.
Coffee, our symbol of love became our nemesis on that fateful night in Nainital
The events of that night run like a movie in my head ever since……The most beautiful night of my life had been shattered into tiny pieces just like those beautiful china cups. My night of liberation and celebration soon turned into the most horrendous night of my life.
He nodded tearfully and then on an impulse, fell on his knees, drenched in the coffee, glass pieces hurting his shins, "Kripa….will you marry me?"
Kripa was stunned by the unexpected question, at an unexpected time, in an unexpected manner. She was rendered speechless. She sat frozen to the ground, the glass pieces falling from her hands one by one, crashing on the ground into tiny splinters………
"Yes Kripa," he came forward and held her hand, "I've been dreaming of this day for ages. I know it's a mere formality, but I want to propose to the most beautiful woman in the way she deserves it. I want to see that smile on your face which has eluded you forever."
"I-I am sorry Angad," she pulled her hand away, "sh-aadi? Why the hurry?"
"Hurry?" Angad's face fell, his knees soaked in coffee and blood, he slumped to the ground completely, "of course Kripa….I AM in a hurry….jald se jald tumhein apna banana chaahta hoon."
"Main tho tumhari kab se hoon Angad…..koi formality ki baat nahin hai."
"Kripa? What are you saying jaan? We just crossed the ultimate barrier in our relationship….ab is naye rishtey ko shaadi ka naam dena zaroori hai Kripa." He was visibly shaken up.
"Angad….yeh tho hamara pyaar tha….isey shaadi mein baandhne ki kya zaroorat hai?"
"Baandhne? Kya tumhein shaadi ek bandhan lagta hai?"
"Yes Angad….I..I don't want to be bound again…..I want to be free."
"Free? How can you say that Kripa? Agar tumhein shaadi nahin karni thi tho yeh hadh kyun paar kar di aaj raat?" He stood up, shaking in anger.
"Angad," she stood up behind him, "yeh koi plan nahin tha Angad….it was bound to happen at some point in our lives….aakhir hum ek doosre se pyaar karte hain….shayad aaj raat apni pichli zindagi ko hamesha bhoolne ki koshish kar rahi thi…..your touch has finally liberated me from my past Angad….it was a beautiful moment for us…a new beginning for my new life."
"Yes, it's a new beginning Kripa," he turned to face her, "that's why we need to get married ….I know a good pandit at the local temple…we can get married tonight."
"NO!" She stepped back, "I can't do that!"
"Kripa….tumhara dimaag kharaab tho nahin ho gaya hai? I don't want my kids to grow up as illegitimate kids….you have no idea the stigma my mom and I have faced all our lives."
"Kids? Who is planning to have kids right now?" She was taken aback.
"Don't be nave Kripa. After what happened tonight, how can you think that way? After all, wasn't it your dream to be a mother one day?"
"Yes, it was…but not that soon….abhi mujhey zindagi mein bahut kuch karna hai….shaadi aur bachchon ke bandhan mein nahin padhna chaahti!"
"BANDHAN? IS THAT WHAT THIS IS FOR YOU?" He was beside himself. Kripa had seen him incensed before, but never to this intensity.
"YES! I DON'T WANT TO BE BOUND TO ANY NEW RELATIONSHIPS RIGHT NOW! I WANT TO ENJOY MY FREEDOM. I WANT TO BE ME. I WANT TO DO THINGS I HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE!"
"Theek hai….agar tumhein is bandhan mein nahin rehna…tho main tumhein is bandhan se mukt karta hoon Kripa….you are free…..leave me alone….get out of my life!"
Kripa was shocked, "A-Angad…yeh kya keh rahe ho?" Her voice choked as she tried to hold him.
"I SAID LEAVE!" He jerked his arm away.
"Tum tho kehte the ki tum mera zindagi bhar intezaar karoge?" She asked tearfully.
"Haan main kehta tha!" He clenched his jaws, "lekin log badal jaate hain Kripa…..waise hi jaise tum badal gayi ho."
"Angad….maine kabhie tumse shaadi ka vaada nahin kiya tha….pyaar kiya hai tumse….bas… I am still the same woman you fell in love with."
"I am sorry Kripa….main is pyaar ko yahin khatam kar dena chaahta hoon….I don't think I can continue to have any relationship with you….maine tumhein pehchan ne mein galti ki…..jo ladki mujhey aur mere dard ko nahin samajh sakti, uska meri zindagi se koi lena dena nahin hai! LEAVE KRIPA! I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!"
"ANGAD!" She tried to reach out again, but he turned his face away from her.
"Theek hai Angad….abhi tum naaraaz ho….jab gussa thanda ho jaaye…tab baat karte hain," she picked her bag and quietly walked out of the house at 3 am in the morning. She knew Angad was too tender hearted and would melt as fast as he had lost his temper. It had happened in the past- they would kiss and make up soon. After cooling down, he would understand her point of view. She had just come out of a broken marriage and was not ready for another one that soon. He knew she was committed to him- so why the rush? Why was he over reacting? His mother's case was different- she was in love with a married man who could never leave his wife. Kripa was not Damini, and Angad was not Suryabhan.
She walked out, every so often, glancing behind her, in the hope of seeing Angad running after her. He never came, never called. Soon, it started pouring cats and dogs. The drench and cool air had her chilled to the bone. As she ran in search of shelter, she clenched her phone close to her chest, hoping to hear his familiar ringtone- his first song- kaho ek din.
As she walked the lonely streets, shivering and intimidated by the unfamiliar surroundings, at one point she had half a mind to turn back and run into his arms. She had claimed she could do anything for him- so why couldn't she accept his proposal? It was not that easy, she thought. It wasn't about wearing a ring- it was a responsibility, a relationship that came with it's own baggage. Her bitter memories from her first marriage were still fresh in her mind; moreover, she had no desire to rekindle her relationship with the Sharmas that soon. Yes, Gayatri and Suryabhan were supportive, but by divorcing their son, she had snapped relations with his entire family. She needed time to become their 'bahu' again.
If Angad truly loved her, why couldn't he understand her point of view? Why was he being so adamant- so old fashioned?
To make matters worse, she heard some footsteps behind her. With the corner of her eyes, she glanced behind and was horrified to see two men approaching her. That was her worst nightmare- to be stranded in the middle of a story might with two strange looking men. With all her force, she kicked her sandals, and ran like a maniac, dropping her purse and cell phone in the process. The men hastened their chase, but her flight and fright response garnered enough energy to escape their clutches. It was then she was saved by an angel in disguise- a police officer on duty- Nishant Saxena. He was not able to help retrieve her purse or phone, but helped her find shelter at a local women's shelter.
Next day, she tried to contact Angad, but he had left for Mumbai and was not available on his phone. She needed money desperately; she had spent most of it on the tickets to Nainital and concert tickets- whatever was left, the thieves must have pocketed by now. She did not want to bother Dilip and Naina with her issues. Angad and she needed to sort out their problems; a third person could just make matters worse. Her pride barred her from contacting them or anyone else for assistance, "yeh meri zindagi hai…mera faisla hai….main hi zimmedar hoon apni zindagi ke faislon ke liye….I have survived before and I will do so now."
All she had on her were her dirty clothes and 'friendship & love' bracelet' on her wrist. Nishant introduced her to his bua, who was a director at an orphanage in Ranikhet, a small town 60 km from Nainital. She was in desperate need of help. Kripa took the offer and decided to earn some money before she could move back to Mumbai….
So, here I am, two years later, still at the same orphanage in Ranikhet- 'Aashirwad'- that's the name of this beautiful place, home to 150 or so kids, abandoned or parentless. I started working as part time help, but gradually got involved with all the kids and staff and was soon promoted to a full time staff member. I decided to stay back when I realized how much I was needed here. I love my job, love the kids and love this place.
Ab meri pehchan hai- 'Assistant Director of Aashirwaad'
I stand watching the kids playing in the playground- I live for these kids; in me they see an elder sister, a guide, a mentor, sometimes a mother. They have given me the identity that I have craved for all my life, but why do I still feel incomplete? I know the answer- it was my choice. I can't blame anyone, but myself. Lekin Angad ne bhi tho kabhie koshish nahin ki. Agar wo chaahta tho mujhey dhoondh sakta tha. If he could climb windows to meet me, why couldn't he enquire about my whereabouts at the Nainital police station? Was marriage more important to him than our love?
Angad, we understood each other like the back of our hands when were friends.
We argued, fought and always made up when we fell in love.
And then, we broke up forever after we consummated our relationship.
Are we really soul mates as we used to call ourselves? Are we really meant for each other or was that just an illusion?
In a distance, someone has an old Hindi song blaring on the radio. As I listen to it, tears roll down my eyes…..
'Na tum bewafa ho' from an old hindi movie (ek kali muskai)
naa tum bewafaa ho, naa hum bewafaa hain magar kyaa kare, apanee raahe judaa hai jahaa thhandee thhandee hawaa chal rahee haikisee kee mohabbat wahaa jal rahee haijamee aasamaan hum se dono khafa hai abhee kal talak to mohabbat jawaan theemilan hee milan thaa, judaayee kahaa theemagar aaj dono hee beaasaraa hai jamaanaa kahe meree raahon mein aa jaamohabbat kahe meree baahon mein aa jaawo samaze naa majabooreeyaan apanee kyaa hai
Did I ever go back to Mumbai?
Yes, I did. One year after Angad and I parted ways, I went back to Mumbai.
Wahan kya hua? Yeh kahani phir sahi.
Looks like a group of kids are knocking at my door. I need to go. I wipe my tears and open the door with my arms wide open. I am smothered by numerous tiny hugs and kisses….my fuel for the day, and perhaps my life now.
Two years. Yes, two years of roller coaster emotions. Heartbreak, more heartbreak, tragedy, desolation, melancholy, low motivation, anger, frustration, lots of tears, and then success, more success, family, brothers, mother, father, nephew. Yes, I have it all now- all I wanted from my move to India. My dad and I have buried all our differences and I am a household name in this country. I hear my songs and voice everywhere I go- parties, weddings, functions, stage shows, TV serials, jingles- you name it. I am there.
After Kripa left me in the middle of the night, I was a wreck. My dreams had come to shatters. The proposal had turned into a rejection- a rejection by the woman I had loved from the bottom of my heart. I had stood by her side through thick and thin- never questioned her, never expected anything in return. We could have remained friends or silent lovers forever, but why did she mislead me to believe that she wanted more from our relationship? By consummating our love, we had reached a point of no return- there was only one way- move forward. By spurning the proposal, she not only broke me but also my faith in her love and commitment. As some people have suggested, did Kripa really use me to set herself free from the shackles of her loveless marriage? Was I just a stepping stone in her life of freedom she ultimately desired?
If she truly loved me, why did she not come back after our argument? Why did she not contact me? I recall the number of times I had apologized to her, climbed windows for her- just to see her smile, but if she cared for me, shouldn't she have come back, or at least call me?
A few days after Kripa left, I received harsh news- my beloved Dilip mama had an incurable brain tumor. I would have drowned in a pool of despondency, had Mr. Suryabhan Sharma, my biological father not intervened. He found me roaming aimlessly one night. What followed was a series of surprising events. For the first time, he acted like a father to me. He brought me home, encouraged me to fight back, be there for my mama's last few days, forget the past and move on. Kartik, Rahul and to my pleasant surprise, Prithvi all supported me through this crisis. Gayatri aunty had always understood me but it was the men folk that really took me by surprise. Dad transferred Dilip mama's care to Mumbai and took full responsibility for his treatment. It was too late- too little but nevertheless made me appreciate the importance of family and loved ones at a tragic moment like this.
I haven't looked back since. People change, and so have the Sharmas. I am a part of their family now- a successful singer just like my mom wanted me to be. Dad proudly accompanies me to most recordings and my favorite song now is the one we sang together in my last album.
We don't talk about Kripa anymore. Prithvi is happily remarried to Aaliya and we never discuss his first marriage in front of his second wife.
Kripa's name always stirs up something inside me- is it anger or is it craving? Is it hatred or is it love?
I don't know. Bas itna jaanta hoon ki jab bhi koi ghar mein Kripa ke liye kuch bura bolta hai, mera dil she nahin paata. I know she left me in a lurch, heartlessly, but however hard I try, I can't forget her. She is the only woman I have ever loved, dreamt of or aspired for. She is still my inspiration for my most heartfelt songs. Recently, I was awarded the Filmfare award for the best song.
Kripa, if you have heard this song, you know who it's meant for……
'Tune jo na kaha' from "New York'
AK VM by KYPHangad
Ab meri pehchan kya hai? I am still Angad Khanna. Despite all the changes, I haven't changed my name- that's my identity, that's me and I can never change ME.
….to be contd…..
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hey di so heartbreaking part can't believe htis will happen not in my dreamall the time kripa and angad understand eachother so far that they didn't understand eachother at this point
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