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'I'm so glad you're awake. And you know my name! I knew you always listened, no matter what anybody said. And thank you so much Zaib for saving my life!' Kripa chirped still hanging on to her savior.
'Kripa, I can't breathe,' he laughed.
'Oh, sorry. I was just very excited,' she gave him a sheepish smile and let go of him. 'Are you OK, Zaib?'
'Kripa,' he said framing her face with his hands, 'I'm fine. The question is, are you OK?
She squeezed his hands and gave him a small smile, 'I'm perfectly fine, thanks to you. OK, go get ready and I'll make breakfast for you. Oh, do you need help? Do you have enough strength?'
'I'll be great. Don't worry about it. I'll see you in a little bit.'
Kripa went to the kitchen and started preparing vegetable soup. She wasn't sure what to feed him since he had just woken up after three years. She knew that it had to be liquid since his body wasn't used to solid food. One can never go wrong with soup, she thought.
She hummed while making the soup, and in no time Zaib came to the kitchen looking clean and fresh. He looked at the boiling pot with greedy eyes, 'Is that soup? Yummm, I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. I haven't eaten in three years!' he exclaimed.
'Here you go,' she ladled a bowl with the steaming soup and warmed some milk. She watched him gulping down the soup and smiled. She refilled his bowl and sat down with him.
'Wow, you weren't kidding when you said you're hungry,' she laughed. 'So, how do you feel Zaib?' she asked him when he was done with breakfast.
'Zaib; it was so funny the way you came up with the name; from Aurangzeb to Zaib. Very original I must say, but only you can think of things like that, Kripa,' he laughed looking at her.
'So Mr. Zaib, what is your name? It better be more exciting than what I came up with!' she punched his arm softly.
'Will you be able to call me by any other name than Zaib? I don't know if it is as exciting as yours but here goes: Angad, Angad Khanna. So, what do you think?'
'Angad, it's going to take some getting used to but it's a very nice name. Very manly, but I doubt you're ever going to forget Zaib, since that's what you were called for three years!'
Angad laughed, 'That's for sure. I'm not going to forget that at all. I should probably change my name to Angad Zaib Khanna. What say?'
'Yup, you should totally do that. In fact, I don't think I can call you Angad; for me, you'll always be Zaib. So Mr. Angad Zaib Khanna, what's your story? Tell me all about yourself. I'm all ears,' Kripa leaned forward to demonstrate that.
He got a far-away look and he started reciting his basic information as if it was waiting on the tip of his tongue all along. 'Well, I am from Delhi and I am 25 years old. No, wait. I was 25 three years ago. I am 28. I graduated from Western International University in New Delhi ages ago. I was a bright student,' he sent her an amused look when she snorted.
'Ya, brag about yourself. Go ahead, knock yourself out,' Kripa laughed.
'For your kind information, I was one of the brightest students in WIU. I graduated from there when I was 19. And now she is surprised,' he said looking at her expressions.
'I thought you were just bragging for the sake of bragging. OK, it's official, I am very impressed. Sorry, go on, no more interruptions from me.'
'I don't mind. If you have any questions, just interrupt me. I guess I had to mature very quickly because my parents died in a plane crash when I was 16. I know, I was devastated,' he said when he heard her intake of breath from sympathy, 'all the responsibilities fell on my shoulders for business.'
'My life was full of laughter and fun when my parents were alive. They were the best parents ever. They gave me so much, emotionally. Although they were very busy, they never made me feel lonely. They were always there for me at the end of the day.' He laughed suddenly. 'I used to think that they had no choice. But after they passed away, I realized how hard they tried to keep us all happy.'
'After they died, life lost its luster. I started living for the sake of living. I finished university quickly, and was not social at all. It was just another hurdle I had to cross. I became completely immersed in business. I was very lonely though. Then I met Sonia and we got engaged.' He stared outside the window.
'She was a great person and finally someone was able to make me laugh. Until the day came when we were going to a trip, then things changed. I was driving and we were talking. All of a sudden, the car started to sputter. I went outside to check it and my whole world came crashing down.'
'She grabbed the wheel and tried to run me over. She had a wild look in her eyes as if she was determined to kill me. When she stopped for a few minutes, I asked her why she was trying to kill me. She just started laughing like a maniac. 'Do you think that I really wanted to marry you? Were you actually stupid enough to believe that I loved you? You are absolutely mad! All I wanted was your property and your money. I couldn't care less about you. By the way, I made a new will and forged your signatures. After you're dead, everything is mine!' she laughed hysterically again and this time, she was successful at running me over. After that you came into my life, but I had lost all will to live.'
'Kripa, you see, you are the one who actually saved my life. If it wasn't for that Manek trying to do his dirty deed, I would probably never have woken up. It's your friendship that saved me.' He was looking earnestly in her eyes and Kripa realized that she had been crying all along.
She moved slowly towards him and hugged him while tears were streaming down her face. Angad shut his eyes and just held her.
'I'm so sorry that happened to you. I am so sorry, Zaib,' she cried clinging to him.
He broke apart and looked at her. 'There's nothing to be sorry for, Kripa. I'm glad all this happened or else how would I have gotten you in my life? How would I have such an amazing friend who took such good care of me when she didn't even know me? I will forever be indebted to you, Kripa.' He wiped her tears and smiled.
Kripa smiled as well, 'No, Zaib. You are not indebted to me. We are friends, right? Friends don't talk about debt.'
She cleared the table, turned and asked, 'Did you love her?'
'I don't know,' he curled his fingers on his face, 'I don't think so. It was just that she had made me laugh after so long. It had felt so good. It was just for that reason I decided I wanted to marry her. I guess I should have had her checked out first.'
'No, you wouldn't have done that. You trusted her and she broke your trust. So time to go to the cops, huh?' she asked.
'No, not yet. They might believe that she forged my signatures but they will never take my word that she tried to kill me. I have to have proof first.'
Kripa fell silent. All of a sudden she exclaimed, 'Zaib, the way she tried to kill you was so filmy! Doesn't it remind you of the movie Karz? If you would have watched that, this might never have happened!'
Angad laughed at her statement and Kripa joined in.- Nisha
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