Joined: 05 July 2007
Here's the next part as promised. Hope you enjoy!!
Jai sat down to catch up on the last bit of work Bani had refused him doing after their office dinner date. His eyes were red from having stared at the laptop for hours on end. He looked at the time. It was almost two in the morning and he had all this work still left to do. One thing was sure and Bani was right, there were never enough hours in the day to finish up work. He really had to think more seriously about delegating some of the responsibilities on him. He stretched his long frame more like a wild cat and in the process his long legs collided with his half open brief case which tipped over and spilled its contents. Cursing lightly, he leaned over to pick up the same.
He picked up the brown envelope from earlier this evening. He weighed the options of whether he wanted to see the contents or not. This envelope could take him back years and he wasn't sure whether or not with the happiness he had now found with Bani, he wanted to toy with any of it. He tossed the envelope on the table and sat back, still weighing the pros and cons of opening it up. It held the reasons for the rifts in the family. Rifts that he now regretted having acted in haste and having not cared about how the situation would affect everyone else involved. But how was he to know that the explosion would reveal an even bigger secret? A slow anger began to build on his insides. It was always the resultant reaction.
Deciding, he picked up the envelope and ripped it open, pouring the contents out into his hands. First he picked up the pictures they were always the ones that told the entire story. There they were. They had tried to disappear once again but he had found them. Yes he had sworn that they would rue the day they entered his life and he was nothing if not a man of his word. He saw them...both of them. The house they now lived in was only two steps above what a chawl looked like. They were somewhere in Chandigar. It was a middle-class neighbourhood and they lived with another couple. There was a small shop in the pictures. Apparently they owned it. They couldn't make much from it anyway. He had made sure they were bankrupted and unsuccessful in all they ever chose to put their hands to. Yes, initially each victory had meant something. Now it was just.....he didn't feel the initial joy of reducing his enemies to the streets. There was just no joy anymore.
He sat back and rubbed his eyes. He didn't even feel like going through the rest of the information that had been gathered. Their bank statements, who they had been calling in the last few months, who had lent them any kind of assistance, he just didn't wanna know. He put everything back in the envelope and shut down his laptop. He took the envelop and put it in his safe along with all the other envelops that contain various bits of the same information he had received in the last few years. Perhaps it was time he left them alone. He's done enough. And they had suffered enough. Or maybe it was because after a long time he was happy again. He had found everything he thought he had been cheated out of in the most unlikely woman. American-born Bani Dixit with her different and complicated bloodlines and family stories. It had taken him quite a while to understand the whole story but that didn't change the fact that he did not like her friend or brother as she called him...what was his name...Michael. They seemed a little too close for comfort. She had laughed but what was he to do? He protected his own and as far as he was concerned, she was his and no one else's.
He made his way up to his room. He walked past the room that used to belong to Natchiket. On a whim he pushed open the door and stared at the room covered in white. His mother had kept it the very same way it was when Natchiket had left. Not a thing out of place.
He turned to see his mother standing in the doorway, "You should be asleep Ma."
"So should you. I'm not the one who has to go to work tomorrow," she said, coming to stand beside him.
"You think he'll come home?"
She sighed tiredly, "I didn't think he had it in him to stay away from us for so long but...." she sighed again, "I pray he does."
After a brief pause, "Should I speak with..."
"No," Kirshna cut him off, "Neither one of you knows how to control his temper, and the last time was a disaster."
Jai grunted in acknowledgment. It had turned into a brawl right there in the house with both men sporting black eyes and busted lips to work the following day. No one dared ask any questions but there were interested glances nonetheless. But he had to try again. In part he blamed himself for the incident but now the way forward was what they were looking for. Damn it why did he have to have the Walia stubborn streak? But then he had it too........he smiled.
"Let's go to bed Ma. Tomorrow will take care of itself."
He saw her off other room before going into his. He changed into his PJ bottoms which was all he usually slept in and slipped between the cool sheets. His train of thoughts made him a little uneasy and he picked up his mobile. He pressed the speed dial button. The phone was picked up on the sixth ring.
"What?" came the sleepy growl from the other end.
He smiled, "How's my darling doing?"
"Are you serious?" disbelief coloured her voice, "You called me at two in the morning to ask how I am?"
"I needed to hear your voice," he said sheepishly.
"And you couldn't wait till morning? Jai I have work tomorrow," she groaned.
"So have I," he said with a little indignation, "But that didn't stop me from calling..."
"Disturbing," she cut in.
"...my darling girlfriend in the middle of the night. Some would call that romantic."
"Jai," she said firmly, "Goodnight."
He smiled at his mobile as she disconnected the line. Always the feisty one. However for some reason he just had to make sure that he was as much on his mind as she was on his. Needed to know he would never have to worry about her leaving....the thought caused a deep fear to grip him, causing his heart rate to pick up significantly. He couldn't lose her. She had brought more than a breath of fresh air. More like a tornado of it and he really hadn't realized how far away from life he had gotten. Well then no time for regrets. How would she react if he asked his mother to speak to Kiran on his behalf?
A slow smile curved his lips. At least that would ensure her place in his life...for somewhere he knew she would always have his heart. With thoughts of Bani becoming his wife floating around in his head, he finally drifted up to sleep.
Natchiket had taken Purva to a stage performance of some sort. In the last few months she had been working nonstop since the opening of their new venture. Her In-laws couldn't be more proud of all she had accomplished though she was always quick to deny her genius. He put his arm around her as they exited the large hall through the VIP exit. She smiled up at him as he ushered her into the hallway. She always made his heart melt and then beat a little faster. When they fought, which was not very often, it didn't matter who was right. He just wanted her to not be so upset. It was funny cos at times they were like two high school kids in love for the first time. He'd chase her and apologize, then she would apologize and then it would be rounds and rounds of trying to outdo each other in the apology department. It had already been decided that they would wed in a few months. Truth be told he couldn't wait.
They was on his way out of the when he stopped cold in his tracks. Purva sensing his tension turned to look at him, concerned.
"Nattu, kya hua?" she asked, and then noticing the direction of his eyes to see what he was looking at.
She wouldn't have spotted who he was looking at save for the fearful expression on a petit woman standing a few feet away from them, wringing the fabric of her pallu in consternation. She sent a confused look at Natchiket whom she sensed had gone from shocked to angry, and then back to a hesitant weariness.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
Purva heard a tightness in his voice that for a split second scared her. She turned to the woman looked just about ready to bolt from the hallway where she stood.
"Answer me," he said, his voice deceptively soft but ice cold.
Purva looked absolutely confused and not a little scared at the chill he sent down her spine. She turned to the woman who looked ready to cry. What surprised her a little was the fact that the woman was pregnant. Heavily so. So what was the deal here? Why was he so mad?
Deciding whatever this was could not be made public gossip, she took his hand, "Nattu, not here. Come, we'll go in and talk."
"I have nothing to say to her," he said, making to go away but the woman's frightened whimper stopped them both.
Purva looked at the woman, unsure what to do. She didn't know the story behind all this, but of one thing she was sure. This woman whatever the case will not be here unless she was positively desperate.
"Nathciket," she said softly, "People are beginning to stare. Let's go back into the private booth."
She walked over to the woman who looked at her gratefully, and gripped her hand in gratitude as she shepherded her away from prying eyes. It didn't help that she could feel Natchiket's tension and disapproval of her action. However the woman looked very afraid and like she needed someone in her corner so the best she could do was offer her help. She guided the woman into the booth they had just exited, indicating a still and very tense Natchiket to follow them.
a few seconds he followed her in, a certain dread gripping him. This could not
be good. This could not be good at all.............For the second time in the last few years, Natchiket was sweating rivers at this deja vu moment.
Okay I gotta stop here. This is for you Janam. Hope you enjoy.
Next up, our very own SICILIAN!!!!Yay!!!
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Joined: 22 August 2006
You updated!!!!! Can't wait for the secrets to come out...all very mysterious. Jai and his photos, Nattu and his temper and now a pregnant woman???
Joined: 10 May 2008
Joined: 30 June 2005
Joined: 03 October 2009
Joined: 05 July 2007
As promised Cupid,here is the next installment.And for all my avid readers, thanks for the encouraging remarks.It helped spur me on.This starts to bring to light what the big secret is so happy reading!!!!!!
Natchiket watched the little woman with hawk eyes as she spoke haltingly as to why she was there. He didn't want to be involved in this anymore that he had been the last time. I mean why did all these things just find a way to always try to destroy the happiness he found? He had been happy with the family....his family. And with the entrance of this woman in their lives he had had his whole sense of family destroyed in one go. He hadn't asked for this...no one had but dammit! He would not be dragged into this mess again. Not if he could help it.
"If there was something I could do, I wouldn't be here but I beg you," the woman was saying, "We need help."
She looked at him with all the pleading that should melt any man's heart but he was so not in the mood. He looked at Purva who like any woman was clearly moved by the story. Damn.
"Look Meera. This has nothing to do with me. The last time I came between you and him it broke my family. I am not about to get involved again. Purva..."
He turned to look at her as he attempted to extricate himself from the whole situation, and stopped cold. She was looking at him like he had suddenly grown two heads and a tail and was brandishing a trident like a mad! O shit, he thought, here we go.
She got up and grabbing his hand much to Meera's shock and pulled him out of the booth, shutting the door softly behind her.
"What the hell is going on Nattu?" she asked as soon as the door was closed.
He sighed tiredly, knowing since she didn't know the full story it was always natural to jump to conclusions, "Listen Purva. This is a story going back several years. I don't expect you to understand but I can only ask you to trust me on this. She's bad news all around."
"Then make me understand Nattu, because all I see is a woman who is scared out of her mind but yet braved all to come here and face you...."
"Of course she had to come in an avatar that would inspire pity. Let herself get really pregnant, and then show up her with a sob story. It's nothing new Purva. I am not going to be fooled twice."
She was shaking her head in disbelief, "How can you be so cold? Jai that woman looks like she can barely afford to take care of herself and you stand here to accuse her of pulling a fast one. I don't care what she did in the past Nattu. What matters is that she is a broken woman who is at her wits end. You need to help."
"I will do no such thing!" Natchiket bellowed, looking like a wounded animal at that point, a pain she didn't understand clouding his eyes which had suddenly looked drained of energy.
She was so taken aback by his violent reaction that she took a surprised step back in wide-eyed fright. A few seconds later she turned to notice the inquisitive stares of bystanders. She swallowed a few times and then turned resolute to which Natchiket released an inner groan. He knew when she got like that there was no telling her to do otherwise.
"Okay Nattu. I am your woman, and I respect the fact that you refuse to help her. But since I am not involved in whatever this is, I would respectfully ask you to let me take her some place where she can get cleaned up and have a proper meal."
"Purva, I do not approve," he said with an angry set of his jaw as she turned to walk back into the room.
She turned "Your disapproval is noted. But I cannot in good conscience walk away."
"So you will take in every stray you come across?" he asked bitingly.
She paused thoughtfully, "No. Just the ones you actually know and refuse to help whom I think do not deserve to be treated like lepers."
So saying she turned and opened the door to stare at a frightened Meera on the other end, positively sobbing now, seeing a glaring Natchiket standing behind Purva. She walked up to her and took her hand in a gentle grip.
"Listen to me Meera. I don't know what happened between you and my fianc, but if you would let me, I'd like to offer you a place to lay your head at least for the night so you can gather your wits around you. Would you let me?"
Meera turned wide eyes to look at Natchiket who looked ready to smack her to hell and back and back to Purva doubtfully.
"It's okay. You won't be staying at his. Would you like to come with me?"
"B...but...my husband...." she stammered.
"Your husband?" Purva asked in surprise, "He's here? Then why didn't he come in?"
Seemingly thrown into a fresh bout of despair, she burst into tears all over again, confusing both Natchiket and Purva. Purva looked at Natchiket to see if he would have any information as to why she was crying again.
"Well don't look at me," he said gruffly "How would I know what new story she's about to cook up?"
Now Purva was mad. Taking Meera by the hand she tugged at her as she walked, "Come."
So saying, a panic stricken Meera who swallowed her sob at the force of Purva's pull and practically skipped on her feet to keep up with a determined Purva as she pulled her from the room and started a dignified walk down the corridor past the few curiously nosy bystanders without so much as a backward glance. She didn't care if Natchiket was coming behind her, but take her where she wanted to go, he most definitely would. She thought she might as well take her to their hotel and pay for her stay. But wait. She did mention a husband. Where was he right now?
When they got to the foyer of the building, Purva signalled the driver whom Natchiket had called when they were initially about to exit the building. He pulled up in front of them and Purva signalled Meera to get in the back with her.
"But...." she began to protest.
"Will you just get in already?" she snapped.
Meera blinked in shock, and obediently got in the car next to her. She looked very scared and like she was about to burst into tears all over again.
"Where's your husband?" Purva asked, giving her a more sympathetic glance this time.
Obviously relieved that the one person who was in her corner was not mad at her, "Woh...Mountain View hospital mein hai."
"Where did you say?" Purva was definitely surprised to hear that one. Why would he stay at the hospital and leave his wife to come deal with a very angry Natchiket? What self-respecting man did that to his wife? Was it that serious, whatever was wrong with him? Instead she asked, "Is he alright?"
Her eyes turned sorrowful, but before she could reply, a severe looking Natchiket opened the passenger's door and got in without a word. Purva looked at him for a few seconds before instructing the driver to take her to the hospital Meera had mentioned. She saw the tightening of Natchiket's profile but she was definitely relieved when he said nothing and let the driver drive.
The ride was definitely torture. The evening has started so beautifully and now this was the end she was seeing. However a greater good needed to be served here. The hospital in question was not a major one but dealt with cases that were not so severe and mostly referred patients with severe cases to bigger hospitals. Come to think of it, she knew one of the doctors there. She fished out her phone from her ultra slim purse and after scrolling through, dialled a number. She waited patiently for the doctor to pick up.
"Hello Doctor Simran, this is Purva."
"Why good evening Purva, how are you doing today?"
"I'm fine Doctor. How was your day?"
"Well you know the life of a doctor. Hardly any rest. But I'm sure that's not why you called me this late."
Doctor Simran who was known as a no-nonsense doctor was one who went straight to the point, never mincing words. Purva smiled, appreciating her directness. She was not unaware of Natchiket's perked up ears.
"I am on my way to your hospital right now in respect of a patient whom I've just learned is on admission there. Are you still at the hospital?"
"As a matter of fact I am. A few more hours and I will be able to leave. How far out are you?"
"I should be at the hospital in a few minutes," Purva assured her.
"Great. I'll see you when you get here."
"Thank you Doctor."
She disconnected and turned to look at Meera whom to her mild surprise had fallen asleep, holding on to the door handle. She looked really drained. She was a beautiful woman. But it seemed the strain of whatever brought her here had worn her out and dimmed her beauty a little. She looked like she had been tired for a long time.
True to her words however, they did arrive at the hospital about ten minutes later. She gently began to shake Meera awake.
"Meera, wake up," she said gently, "We're here."
The woman opened groggy eyes to look at her, momentarily confused, and then her eyes flew open and she sat up with a start, suddenly taking cognisance of her surroundings.
"Shall we go in?" she asked gently.
Timidly, Meera nodded her head, and exited the car. Purva waited until she had shut the door before turning to Natchiket. "I'm sorry if I'm offending you. But....I feel I just have to help her. Please don't be so mad."
He turned to look at her, seeing the worry in her eyes. Not so much for what she was was doing, but more for whatever he must be feeling right now. She had disregarded his desire- though not out of spite, but all the same- and she needed to know that he understood where she was coming from. This was not an open challenge to his authority. He touched her hand that was resting reassuringly on his shoulder, squeezing it for good measure.
"Do what you have to," he said simply.
She studied him closely to make sure he wasn't just saying that, then with a small smile, she exited to join a nervous Meera who was standing at the entrance to the hospital. They headed in and she asked to see Dr. Simran to which she was directed to the woman's office.
Meera stretched on the luxurious sheets of the bed that indeed felt like heaven. It had been too long since she had slept in the lap of luxury this way. There was no feeling like it in the world. Well...except waking up next to a love that you were sure would make every day worth waking up. Looking at the intricate designs on the ceiling, she smiled. A full bodied smile. This morning, she had no worries. Not about the leaking roof, or the constant drone of cars passing by as their house was next to the road, no worries about creditors who hadn't paid their bills and expected you to understand....she had no worries.
She thought about her husband who was now in Krishna Memorial Hospital. Two nights ago had been quite a scare as he had had one of his worst seizures yet, right in front of the hospital. She had almost lost it thinking this was it. The one he would not recover from. She had to be sedated to keep her from going into premature labour. All in all, she could not have hoped to meet a better angel than Purva. That woman had done more for her than anyone else in the last few years. And the last few years had been tough., but if only for this morning, she had nothing to worry about.
Yes, Natchiket had seen for himself how dire a situation they were in and she had finally witnessed the thawing of a man she barely recognized from almost 4 years ago. She might have been in a drug-haze but she had heard him assure her that everything would be alright. Purva had asked her to be patient. Purva had basically asked her to take whatever she needed, but to make sure not to stress herself as her blood pressure was unusually high. No surprise there. With the weight of Ranveer's bills and the coming baby on her mind, whose blood pressure wouldn't rise?
Getting up, she went to the window and threw open the blinds. The view that greeted her this morning took her breath away. The city was spread out before her and it felt just for a moment that she could conquer the world, seated up on this magnificent perch. Yes, she had two final obstacles. The first one being the hardest of them all.........
Jai stared at Natchiket as he related the incidents of last night to him, sitting across from him in his office. His face was that unreadable mask that Natchiket hated, but what could he do? His brother had perfected the art of making a poker face. Not that he cared much, but right this moment it made him down right uncomfortable.
"It's bad Jai. If he doesn't get the operation, that's it. He's not going to make it," Natchiket said.
"Then I hope he gets it," Jai said softly, and turned back to his computer screen.
"Jai....it's time to let go," Natchiket said tiredly, having barely gotten any sleep the night before, "We've all had our share of hurt. But we have got to move past it."
Jai gave him a measured but incredulous look, "I would like to think that's what I have been doing Natchiket. Whatever happens from here on out does not concern me. I'm over it."
Natchiket studied his brother who stared at him unblinkingly. Seeing that Jai was going to give no other answer than that, he said with resignation, "He wants to see you. Just in case he doesn't make it."
"Like hell he will!" Jai growled out, his mask slipping for a second or two. Composing himself, he said softly, "It's enough I am not going after them again. He should count his blessings and stop reaching for the stars."
"Hmmm," Natchiket said to himself, "And here I thought we were past it."
Jai pointedly refused to answer any further and Natchiket took that as his cue to leave. He had tried his best. Last, he took out the hospital card and placed it on Jai's desk, and exited the office without a backward glance. He understood Jai's hurt...even the fact that he was not big on forgiving Ranveer....but for the sake of a child that was not at fault, he hoped Jai would give the child it's father's life back. Enough was enough. Seeing him yesterday had sent Ranveer into a violent episode that had scared even him half to death. He had a brain tumour that caused him to hallucinate and even have epileptic seizures. That was enough to break even the strongest woman, but Meera had stayed. That was testament to what they both shared. It really was time to let go. Of everything.
"He didn't listen, Purva. I know him," Natchiket was on the phone to her during their lunch break. She had sent him lunch.
"Oh no," she sighed deeply, "What do we do now? He is refusing the operation without seeing Jai."
"I don't think there's anything we can do," Natchiket said.
"Maybe not us," Purva said, sounding pensive.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean he may not listen to either you or me, but he will definitely listen to Bani."
Natchiket paused for while as he mulled over it, "You may be right. But there is a down side to it."
"We might be forcing something on her that she doesn't have to be a part of. I mean...this is bringing Jai's past in front of her."
"Then if he is as 'over it' as he claims to be, there shouldn't be a problem," Purva rationalized, "My money is on the fact that only Bani can get him to that hospital."
"How do you propose to do that?"
"Leave it to me my darling. I'll sort this one out."
"Gladly. Once was enough."
She paused for a moment, "You still haven't told me what happened to cause such a big mess."
"I'll tell you my love. Just not today."
"Okay then. I'll speak with Bani tomorrow then. I want to give them a chance to relax."
"You're a good woman you know?" Natchiket said after a pause.
"And you're lucky to have me," she said with mock pride.
That had him chuckling lightly, "That I know."
"Speak to you later?"
"Definitely. I'll wait for your call. Take it easy now."
Later that evening as she prepared to curl up and watch a late night movie, her cell rang. She picked it up and stared at the screen, a smile breaking out on her face.
"Hi Purva," she said cheerily.
"Hello Bani, kaise ho?"
"Bilkul theek hoon. Aur aap?"
"Meh theek hoon," Purva answered, always tickled by the fact that Bani thought born and bred in the US, spoke hindi without an American accent. "Are you busy right now?"
"No not at all. What's up?"
"I was hoping we could get together tomorrow. There's something I want to discuss with you."
"Oh," Bani got pensive, for she suddenly heard the underlying tension in Purva's voice, "Is everything alright?"
"Absolutely," Purva chuckled to herself, "Don't worry, Natchiket is fine, and we are fine. But I wanted to speak with you about something that cannot be said over the phone."
"Purva you're scaring me now," Bani said, a silent dread creeping up on her.
"No need to be scared. It's actually something I need your help with. I'm a hundred percent sure we can only pull it off if you were involved. No pressure, but it is a question of grave immediacy."
Bani was silent for a few seconds. "Okay then. When and where?"
"How about we go over to my hotel say after work? Is that okay?"
"Sure. I'll call you tomorrow then."
"Sure thing. Thanks a lot Bani. I owe you one."
"Well not until I find out what it is," Bani joked, trying to lighten the mood, "Till tomorrow then?"
"Till tomorrow. Good night."
Bani stared at her phone in her hand for a while. Purva needed her help? She tried to think of all the reasons why she would need her. It couldn't be work related, for she had Natchiket as an adviser and Jai even chipped in once in a while if it was his area of expertise. She assured her it wasn't with Natchiket, so what could it be about? This was sure to spoil her night, as she hated being left hanging like this. Either way, tomorrow wasn't far away anymore. She settled into the couch again, to try and concentrate on the movie, which she knew was going to be a lost cause till she drifted off to sleep.
Just what did Purva need her help with?...........................................................
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