Guys I cannot express how sorry I am for not updating...things have been too hectic, firstly I had a terrible ache in my left arm for many days because of which I couldnt even lift my arm properly, then my little one wasnt keeping well and on top of that our maid has decided to trouble us during Ramadan only leaving me no time for anything.
Thank you guys for being so patient
...loved reading all your replies...will reply to them individually tomorrow.
Anyways here is the update and I am not really happy with it
But this is also kind of a filler chapter so hopefully the next one will be better.
Mistakes and Repentance
He stood quietly outside her cabin, his eyes randomly reading her nameplate over and over again, his hand ready to knock on the door.He should have informed her earlier...
There were only a few hours left for his flight and he knew very well that informing her now would hurt her all over again.
Try as he might, he somehow just couldn't stop doing that...hurting her.
That's all he had ever done to the women in his life.
Which was why it was good he was leaving for a few days now...at least that was what he was convincing himself with.
Knocking on her door, he waited to hear her voice from inside but it never came.
Slowly he opened the door and peeked inside.
The lights were switched off...the room was empty.
He frowned.Had she taken a leave today?
He toyed with the idea of going to her house but one glance at his watch told him that there wasnt much time for that.
He only had time to head over to his home, take a shower, collect his already packed luggage and leave.
With a heaviness in his heart at not being able to see her once before he left, he headed towards Shashank's cabin.
He entered the room to find the older man waiting for him eagerly.
"All set to go, Dr Modi?", Shashank smiled widely.
Sid nodded with a small smile. "Yes Sir...it would have been great if you could come too."
"Ah yes I know but somebody has to stay back here and look after the hospitals."
"Is anyone else from our hospital attending the conference, Sir?"
Shashank's gaze flickered away for a few seconds before coming back to him. "Yes actually there are a few people who will be accompanying you..."
"Who all Sir?",
Shashank looked at his watch.
"My, my! Look at the time Sid!...you better hurry. You will meet your colleagues anyway at the airport...so dont waste time now."
Shashank walked him to the door and gave him a quick warm hug before ushering him outside.
"All the best for everything Sid...I hope everything goes well. Do Sanjeevani proud."
"Yes Sir", Sid smiled and bid him goodbye.
As Sid stepped out of the hospital, he had an odd feeling that Shashank was hiding something from him.
Or maybe it was just him.
He shrugged carelessly and got into his car.
Naina and Yuvi had taken the responsibility of dropping Sid off to the airport. Since the time they had picked up him from his house , Sid had been extremely silent.
Yuvi glanced at him from the rear-view mirror to find him staring melancholily out the window , his eyes looking as if they were searching for something.
"Sid..you are going to London...for a conference that you have waiting since years to attend...and yet you look like you are going to some old district here in Mumbai."
Sid smiled slightly and shook his head. "I'm just tired Yuvi."
Naina turned behind to look at him. "Lighten up! This has been your dream since such a long time. I am so happy for you!"
Sid smiled affectionately at her and she smiled back.
"Have you...have you guys seen Shilpa today?", he finally asked.
Naina turned back to the front and putting on a serious voice, she said, "Uh no Sid. I havent...why?"
Sid's spirits sank even lower. "I wanted to meet her once before I left but..."
"Dont worry about it Sid. We'll let her know about it", Yuvi assured and Sid nodded unsurely.
He returned to staring out the window, completely missing the cheeky smirks that passed between Naina and Yuvi.
----------------------------------------------------Two Hours later...
Sid stepped into the phone booth, again, and dialled her number.
"This number is temporarily unavailable."Dammit
Twenty calls within the last hour but he still hadnt been able to reach her.
His flight was delayed by an hour which had increased his restlessness...if he could just hear her voice once, it would be enough.Had she disappeared again?
No that wasnt possible.
Trying again for the last time, he grimly stepped out of the phone booth.
He should have informed her earlier...knowing he had left without even calling her once would truly hurt her.Stupid
!, he cursed himself.
So what if she loved him...so what if the very thought of anyone loving scared the hell out of him? That still didnt erase the deep and silent bond between him and Shilpa.
Resigning himself to his fate, he headed over to gate No. 15 that would lead to his flight.
A long que of passengers was ahead of him and he gauged that it would easily take fifteen minutes till the line decreased.
Turning quickly, he hurried towards the phone booth again to try her number one last time. The man in charge of the booth gave Sid a weird look as he began to dial the number.
"This number is temporarily unavailable."What the...!
Sid had almost slammed the phone back but he restrained himself.
This was completely his fault...if only he hadnt been so hell bent on avoiding her.
She had disregarded all the tension between them when he had fallen sick and stayed by his side and he didnt even bother to inform her that he was leaving.
What kind of man was he?The idiotic kind
, his mind answered.
Drawing in a shaky breath, he headed once again towards the gates, where the number of people had dwindled. A few passengers ahead of him, he saw a woman in blue fitted denims, a white top and a black jacket over it. Her back was facing him but he was suddenly filled with a strong conviction that he knew her.
That long, black shiny hair, currently pulled into a high ponytail, could belong to only one person.
But no...it cant be her.
She was nowhere in the list, that he had gone through, of doctors who were attending this conference.
And yet he couldnt shake the strong intuition that he knew her.
She seemed to be conversing with a man standing next to her and Sid noticed the appreciative gaze in that man's eyes as he looked at her.
No that definitely cant be her.
The officer at the gate let them pass after checking their tickets and Sid watched them walk away, realizing that he had been hoping that she was indeed Shilpa.
Holding his little, black travel bag, he glanced at his ticket. Raising his head, he walked ahead through the narrow aisle searching for his seat. A little way ahead he spotted his seat number but there were quite a few passengers ahead who still stashing their bags in the over head compartments.
So he waited patiently.
Once his way was clear, he headed straight towards his seat but his feet slowed down in shock as he spotted the person sitting right behind his seat, looking out the little window.Shilpa...
So, he had not been wrong...it was
But how was she here on his flight to London?
Or was he imagining her somehow?
Just then she turned to look at him feeling his eyes on her.
The words froze in his throat as he was assaulted hard by the look in her eyes.
His heart thudded painfully against his ribcage.
He was definitely not hallucinating.
Just by one look, he could feel the raw hurt he had caused her as she stared back at him with her large, glassy eyes which seemed incomprehensible all of a sudden.
It felt as if a huge, brick wall had been erected between them which made it impossible for him to read her.
He had already guessed she would be hurt but he hadnt expected it would disturb him
He was about to talk to her when suddenly a man, the same one he had seen her conversing with before, came and sat next to her with a flirty grin on his face.
Shilpa turned her attention towards the stranger and suddenly Sid felt invisible.
Someone tapped him from behind and he broke of out of his daze.
He moved out of their way and settled himself on his seat, his mind still reeling from the feeling of being dismissed by her.
She had been invited to the conference too...and he didnt know.
And here he had been squirming in guilt about not informing her about his departure.
Anger rose in a swift wave within him.
She had ignored him...completely
...as if he didnt even exist.
The sound of a laugh reached his ears from behind.
He gritted his teeth.
Sid walked into the Dubai airport where he had a halt of almost seven hours.
A splitting headache had attacked him due to the loud volume he had blasted in his ears to cut off the sounds from behind him.
He had heard Shilpa laughing softly at some lame joke made by whats-his -face and had covered his ears with his headphones, barely paying any attention to the in-flight entertainment.
But even through the headphones, he had been able to hear her musical laughter.
A sudden urge to punch the guy behind him had gripped him...but, of course, it wouldnt do well to get in a brawl in a flight.
So he had turned the volume even higher.
He had stared blankly at the screen his mind more focused on trying to imagine the picture behind his seat rather than the picture in front of him.
Between that and dozing off quite a few times, he didnt even realize how time flew before the flight had reached Dubai.
He had woken up to find his head aching miserably.
Walking towards the immigration counters, he spotted Shilpa standing at the end of small que...alone.
Without wasting any time, he briskly made his way towards that counter.
Standing quietly behind her for a few seconds, staring her hair, he collected his words all the while trying to ignore the smell of lilies that wafted towards him.
Suddenly she stiffened and he knew that she had sensed him behind her.
"You could have mentioned it to me", he said quietly.
"I thought you already knew", she replied without turning back, her tone blank.
"What? How would I know?"
"Is it important Sid...me informing you?"
"What kind of a mundane question is that?", he frowned.
"You didnt inform me either..."
"What? You knew since a long time about me being invited to this conference..."
"Yes...but I didnt know you were leaving today...you didnt think it was important to at least call me once before you left?"
She half turned towards him.
"Are you so put off with me that you didnt even deem it important to give me a call once before you left me?"
He cringed at the forlornness in her voice and he wanted nothing more than to engulf her within his arms...right there in front of everyone.
But of course he didnt.
He shook his head desperately. "About that Shilpa, I..."
She turned towards him fully.
"Leave it Sid. It isnt important. And why are you so concerned about me informing you? Didnt you say that you were going to stay away from me and my life? So it shouldnt really bother you if I didnt mention it you that I was invited to the conference too..."
Sid half glared at her. He then realized that they were bickering like an old married couple.
"Madam...your ticket please."
Before he could reply, Shilpa turned back and moved ahead to the counter.
What could he even say?
She was right.
The immigration officer gave Shilpa back her passport and Sid moved ahead, absent mindedly handing his passport to the officer, his eyes fixed on watching her walk away from the counter...away from him...once again.
Armaan looked around the living room he was seated in, revelling in the familiar and assured comfort of this place which had been his home for as long as he could remember.
Loneliness had never bothered him here.
But today strangely it felt empty...the silence seemed too loud.
There hadnt been a single moment since the past two weeks where he had had a moment of peace.
The guilt wouldnt leave him, it followed him everywhere like a terrifying stalker, it wouldnt let him rest, it wouldnt even let eat or sleep peacefully.
Everywhere he looked, everywhere he turned, all he could see was a slide show of the mistakes he had made in his life.
Whenever he found himself walking through a crowd, he would feel as if everyone was staring at him with accusations shining in their eyes.
Sid had gone though the exact same thing...he had suffered the exact same pain, the same feeling of loss that was biting his insides right now.
How had he and Riddhima been so selfish? How had they not seen how many lives they were destroying?
It was all his fault...he had ruined everyone's lives...even Riddhima's.
And he knew it was late...too late to rectify his mistake.
He folded his arms and tried to mould himself deeper into the couch.
The more he saw Riddhima, the more his guilt seemed to increase...so he had taken it upon himself to avoid coming in front of her.
He knew her timings well...he knew her schedule by heart...and so he always made it a point to stay away from her or the wards she visited.
If by mistake, he would spot her coming towards him in a hallway, he would quickly turn and walk away.
Because whenever he saw her face, an image of Shilpa's desolate face would swim behind his eyes reminding him of the way he had played with her emotions, reminding him of that night in the tent where he had committed the biggest mistake of his life...reminding of the despair on Sid's face when Riddhima had confessed about that night.
Suddenly his phone rang and he was startled out of his thoughts.
"H- Hello?", he answered in a feeble voice.
"Armaan!", his father's excited voice triggered off something in him,"How have you been beta? Its been ages since you called...how are things there? How is Riddhima? How is work going?"
"Let him answer will you?", he could hear his mother reprimand his father.
"Relax woman!", his father answered back.
He suddenly realized how much he missed his parents...how much he missed talking to them...how much he missed watching them fight over mundane little things.
"Dad...", he tried to stay calm but he couldnt stop his voice from cracking.
There was silence for a few seconds on the other line.
"Armaan?", the cheerfulness was gone from Billy Malik's voice to be replaced by a sudden concern."Are you alright son?"
Armaan took a deep breath and willed himself to calm down.
"I am fine Dad...just tired."
There was silence again and he could actually imagine his parents looking worriedly at each other.
"Armaan I am booking you a ticket right now to fly down here...no arguments. Its high time you took a break. We havent seen you since a long time."
Armaan didnt have the strength to argue , didnt have the strength to refuse...so he agreed to what his dad was saying.
He disconnected the line having no strength to even answer his father.
The phone dropped from his hands as something rose within him swiftly, furiously like a hot volcano.
It rose and rose till finally it reached his eyes. His shoulders started shaking as hot tears of regret and pain spilled forth from his eyes.
He clutched his head and cried...he cried for Riddhima, he cried for Sid , he cried for Shilpa and he cried for himself.
Loud, sobs racked his body for a long, long time. It seemed as if the tears would never stop...and when they finally did, he slipped into a sleep so deep that one couldnt tell if he was alive or dead.
Edited by sidsk - 10 August 2011 at 12:59pm