Thanks a lot for all the comments!! Will reply in detail soon... Oh, and lemme know if you want pms of the updates.. Thanks again!
'How can everything change so much, in just one day?' Damini thought, as she looked at the
setting sun. Had it just been yesterday when she was getting ready to marry Inder, ready to
leave home for a new one? She knew that she wasn't in love with Inder, but he was her best
friend and she loved him and she pretty darn sure they'd have a happy life together. And
then, suddenly, Chaitanya Sharma had stormed his way into her life and uprooted her secure
life. Damini wiped her tears, as she got up to empty her closet. She had never known that
her mother had a past, that she was previously married to a monster of a man who had made
her life miserable. She had never known that she herself was a product of that miserable
life. She wasn't a Gujral! No, she was Damini Sharma, and her father was not the very kind
and intelligent Mr. Gujral, but a drunkard, a criminal who was, frankly, a loser of the
first order. As memories of the man she thought was her father came back to her, Damini sat
down, suddenly unable to breathe. How could she survive this? What does a person do when
everything they've lived by turns out to be a lie? How could she ever face the world again?
"Everything will be fine aunty, please don't worry... Main Damini se baat karoonga", Inder
said, as he attempted to soothe a very agitated Ela. The events of the last evening had
shocked the entire household and Ela had worried herself into a fever. Inder closed his eyes
for a minute, recollecting how Chaitanya had crashed the party and revealed to the whole
world that Damini was, in fact, his daughter... The media frenzy following that statement
was unbelievable and it could be controlled only because Balraj Saxena had seen them
through. He had been a pillar of strength to Ela afterwards, consoling her as Damini
barricaded herself in her bedroom, refusing to speak to anybody. Inder opened his eyes, as
someone entered. It was Balraj, bringing Ela the news that press statements asking for
privacy had been issued. Ela sighed and laid back, sadness wrought on her regal face. Inder
attempted to console her again. And now, it was Inder's turn to help in these trying times.
As he looked"Don't worry, aunty. Everything will return to normal in a couple of days. You
are the Gujrals after all..." Ela cut in, "That's just it, Inder. We're not the Gujrals
anymore... Gujral Enterprises has been facing difficulties over the past five years... We
shall be filing for bankruptcy very soon. It is all over."
Head in a whirl, Inder went upstairs to see if Damini was ready to talk. Avni and Roshni
were huddled outside her door, whispering to each other. On catching sight of him, they
jumped up and hugged him. "Talk to di, Inder... She won't let us in", Avni whispered, in a
voice choked with tears. With an attempt at a smile, Inder sent them away. "Let me see what
I can do..."
Damini didn't know how long it had been since she'd locked herself in her room. She didn't
know what she felt, didn't know what she would do next. All she knew was that she couldn't
stay in this house any longer. As she finished packing a few belongings into a little bag,
she heard a knock at her door, followed by Inder's voice calling out gently. Bracing
herself, she opened the door, cringing a little at the pity evident in his face. "Why are
you here Inder?" she asked flatly, moving away as he tried to hug her. "Damini, don't do
this. This doesn't change anything and you know it... We all love you, I love you..." Inder
began, stopping suddenly as Damini held up her hand. "You're wrong Inder. This changes
everything. And both of us know that we don't love each other. You're my best friend and I'm
grateful that you haven't turned away from me, but you need to leave now. This is something
I have to deal with alone" she said, picking up her bag. Inder snatched the bag from her
hands. "Are you crazy? You want to leave? Your mother needs you, Damini... I didn't want to
tell you this, but Gujral Enterprises is gone. Your family needs you right now. You all need
to make a fresh beginning now... Don't make things worse than they are" he admonished.
Damini crumpled down into her sofa, fresh tears flooding her eyes. He reached out to her,
but she shook her head. "Please leave, Inder" she whispered, turning her head away. Inder
turned from her with a heavy heart. She didn't love him? He'd thought that they would have a
wonderful life together, but he'd never seen that she didn't actually love him. And he knew
she wasn't just saying it. If she'd loved him, she would've taken comfort from his presence,
would've shared her troubles with him instead of shutting herself from him... "You may not
love me Damini, but I do..." he whispered, as he walked away from the room.
"What shall I do now, Balraj ji?" Ela said, her voice fraught with worry and sadness. "My
business is gone, my family is breaking up... what shall I do now?" She looked at the man
who was more than a brother to her. "I don't know if I can provide my daughters anything at
all... what shall happen to their futures? When will Damini understand that I hid my past
from her for her own good?" she asked, in a voice choked with tears. Balraj shook his head
gently. "Now is not the time for weakness, Ela ji. Your daughters need you to be strong. You
must tide them through this." Ela sat up, "But how am I supposed to do that? I have nothing!
No business, no house, no wealth... nothing but my love for them" she burst out. "And that
is the most important thing... We shall find a way. Please stop worrying now and rest"
Balraj said, motioning Avni to give Ela her medicine on his way out.
"Bechari Ela ji! Unke saath bohot bura hua", Suman said, as her husband told her what had
transpired. Shaking her head as her sons began to speak, Suman continued, "Nahin ji, aap
yahaan ki chinta mat kijiye... Take care of Ela ji and her family for now. Aakhir hamara bhi
toh kuch farz bannta hai na... Main toh kehti hoon, unhe yahi par le aayiye do-chaar din ke
liye. Mann halka ho jayega... Accha ji, ab phone rakhti hoon." In response to her sons'
enquiring looks, Suman informed them of the state of affairs. "That is so terrible Ma",
Sameer said in an uncharacteristically sombre voice. "Par papa ko wahaan rehne ki kya
zaroorat hai? Woh toh sirf unke employee hain na?" Prithvi cut in "Unhone hamesha papa ko
employee se badkar mana hai. Aise waqt mein hamein unka saath toh dena chahiye" he said
firmly. Varun noddd his head in agreement as Suman said, "Haan beta, bilkul theek... We
should help them in any way possible..."
Balraj walked to Ela's room slowly, his wife's parting statement echoing in his mind. "Suman
theek kehti hai... Ela ji ko yeh shehar chodna toh chahiye. I must talk to her about this",
he said to himself, as he knocked on her door, before stepping in. Ela looked up from her
workdesk, where she was going through her papers. "Kya baat hai Balraj ji?" she asked, "Kuch
baat karni thi kya?" Balraj nodded. "Ji... woh aapko yaad hai dus saal pehle aapne mujhe
bataya tha ki aapka ek ancestral property hai kahin... Uske baare mein soch raha tha..." Ela
brightened up a little "Arey uske bare mein toh main bhool hi gayi thi... I still have the
papers somewhere. Ek minute," she said, as she ruffled through the pile of papers. "Yeh
lijiye, mil gaya. Parmar Lodge, Naggar ke paas. Mere nanaji ki thi... It must be ruined
now," she said. "Ela ji, iss property par toh koi problem nahin hai na... mera matlab hai,
yeh toh aapke naam par hai na?" Balraj asked her. Ela ruffled through the papers again. "Yes
it is in my name... Aap ko lagta hai mujhe wahaan chalna chahiye?" she said, catching on to
what he was trying to say. "Mujhe lagta hai aapko wahaan rehna chahiye, Ela ji. Itna kuch
hone ke baad aapko iss shehar se duur rehna chahiye, kuch dinon ke liye hi sahi..." Ela took
a deep breath. "Par Balraj ji, woh ghar shayad rehne ki haalat mein nahin hai... Bohot
purani hai na. Aur itne saalon mein uska kisine khayal nahin rakha..." Balraj interjected.
"Woh sab aap mujhpe chod dijiye.. Uss ghar ko main rehne layak banwadoonga..." he assured
her. "Nahin Balraj ji, aapko itni taqleef lene ki kya zaroorat hai?" Ela began. but he
interrupted. "Ismein taqleef kaise? Aapko toh pata hai ki meri family Manali mein rehti hai.
Bas aap pata bata dijiye aur main apne bete se keh doonga... No problem at all." Ela agreed
finally, unable to think of a reason to refuse. "Theek hai Balraj ji... Shayad aap theek keh
rahe hain... Hum sab wahaan chalenge..."
Prithvi had just come into the house, when the phone rang. He plonked down on the sofa as
his mother answered it. "Papa tumse baat karna chahte hain Prithvi", she said, handing over
the phone to him. Prithvi listened to what his father was saying intently, scribbling down
something onto a piece of paper. "Theek hai papa... I'll handle it", he said, putting the
phone down. "Kyun, Mr. Responsible, aap kis cheez ko handle kar rahe ho aap?", Sameer
teased, reaching for the piece of paper. "Parmar Lodge, 13 km from Manali... Oh bhaisaab,
yeh kya hai?" he asked. Prithvi snatched the paper from him. "Yeh Ela ji ka ghar hai... Isse
theek karna hai. We'll have to go there first thing tomorrow morning. Woh log agle hafte aa
rahe hain... "
And so it begins!!!! Next update will have PriDa in it... Stay tuned!
Edited by dee86 - 27 January 2011 at 10:46am