Note : The bold part in the end is a memory.
It was during one such day that he had a major realization of sorts.
alone in a quaint little cafe located close to Sanjeevani, he relished
the much needed 'alone-time' he was getting after so long
either work or keeping himself away from Shilpa or staring in confusion
at Riddhima...he was going to go crazy, he was sure of it.
"Is this seat available?" Riddhima.
He raised his head to look at her and then glanced around and noticed that there were quite a few vacant tables...
He nodded his head, very slightly, even though he truly wanted to be alone right now.
She smiled brightly at him and seated herself in the opposite chair.
felt uncomfortable...her constantly increasing presence in his life was
bringing back that feeling of uncertainty and insecurity that had
always plagued him when they had been married.
"So Sid...how was your day?"
simply looked at her, her pretty face focused on unwrapping her
sandwich, her bewitching eyes, that he had loved gazing into all the
time, were looking at him anticipating an answer to her question...and
all of a sudden he was struck hard.
Riddhima wasnt the one holding
him back...him being scared of the intensity he felt for Shilpa had
nothing to do with Riddhima...even though that is what he had initially
The ripples of confusion cleared from his mind and the answer stared back at him in stark clarity.It was him...his own self.
Looking back at Riddhima, he decided it was time to confront her.
"Is everything okay? You look a little zoned out."
"No Riddhima...things are not okay."
At the firmness in his tone, she paused midway in eating her sandwich and looked up at him.
"What are you trying to do?"
"I dont understand Sid..."
"Yes you do...you understand very well what I am saying. Why are you behaving as if the last six years dont exist?
She put her sandwich down.
"They do exist Sid...you think I dont realize that?"
"From the way you are behaving...no. Do you think its so easy to forget everything and just become friends again?"
"No it isnt easy...but we can try cant we?"
eyes narrowed at her, his mind so focused at their conversation that he
didnt see the woman who had just entered the cafe and headed straight
to the counter.
"And why should we?"
Look Sid...I know what I have
done. I know I have betrayed you in the worst way possible...there
hasnt been a day when I havent cursed myself for it."
"So?...its a little too late to apologize for it, dont you think?"
she started crushing the ends of her dupatta with her fingers. She had
been hoping this conversation would not happen but as always she never
got what she hoped for.
"Sid...I know I cant do anything to make up for what I have done to you...but you dont know how deeply I regret it."
"Oh really?", she flinched at the disbelieving look in his face.
you regret it that day, only a month after our divorce, when you had
proclaimed your love for your boyfriend in front of the whole hospital
or when you sang songs for him in the basket ball court??"
He watched as the colour drained from her face.
"How...how did you know that?...You had already left by then..."
"I saw it with my own eyes", his eyes looked accusingly at her making her squirm in her seat.
month after our divorce I had come back to Mumbai because it was
killing me to be away from you...I wanted to see you just once, to make
sure you were alright. Nine months Riddhima...I spent every second of
those nine months taking care of you and to be so cut out of your life
was driving me crazy.So I came back..."
He took a shaky breath and Riddhima could see the torment in his eyes as he recollected that day.
soon as I reached Sanjeevani, I noticed that it seemed unusually
empty...I asked a nurse about your whereabouts and she told me to hurry
to the basket ball court as I would find you there", he paused not
wanting to talk about what he had seen but he couldnt stop either. She
had to know..."I reached the basket ball court and looked around but all
I could see was darkness."
Riddhima wanted to tear her gaze away,she
didnt want to listen to all this because she knew what he had seen...
but the brutal pain blazing in his eyes rooted her to the spot.
a spotlight appeared right in the middle of the court and I turned to
see you there standing there with a smile on your face...I was seeing
you after so long that at the moment you were the most beautiful thing I
had ever seen."
For a brief moment, a hint of a smile appeared on
his face and a faraway look came into his eyes. Her breath hitched in
her chest and she found it difficult to breathe.
"And then you
started to sing...there were unshed tears in your eyes and yet you still
looked so happy...at first I couldnt understand what was
happening...for one foolish second I even assumed that you knew I was
there, I was stupid enough to even assume that you were doing it for
me", his voice wavered.
"But then I realized that you couldnt have
seen me as I was standing in complete darkness...as I always did in our
Guilt and shame wracked her entire being.
"I turned and looked in the direction you were walking...where the other spotlight was...and I saw him
...the one who those tears were for, the one who was the reason for that happiness on your face."
He finally looked back at her, his eyes burning into hers.
saw everything after that ", he said and Riddhima knew he was talking
about the moment where she and Armaan had hugged and kissed each other
for a long time, exhilarated that they had finally found each other
Sid's eyes turned malicious and she felt like running away..."And then Riddhima
", she gasped lightly at the bitterness emanating from him, "I had the misfortune of hearing your touching
confession.Do you remember the words you uttered that day? Those words
that ripped my soul into pieces...do you remember them Riddhima?"
For a few seconds her mind didnt work...she was too disconcerted to think about anything ...but then she remembered.
Her mouth opened in shock."I
am so sorry Armaan" she held his forehead to her own, his tears mixing
with her own. "I am so sorry for putting you through so much torture...I
know I have been unfair to you but you have to understand I was simply
fulfilling my responsibility."
She took a deep breath.
Armaan...I have never ever ignored my duties...you know that. No matter
what I have always stood by them. And I was doing exactly that by
pushing you away from me and telling you to move on. I had a duty
towards my marriage...towards Sid. He had done so much for me and I...I
simply had to fulfill my duties towards him."
"But you...you have
always been mine...my Armaan. If there is anyone in this world whom I
have a right over, it is you. Do you understand me?"
He nodded and she wiped away his tears.
dont want to see any more tears in those eyes", and saying so, she bent
down on one knee and looked up at him lovingly.
"Armaan Malik", her
heart filled with affection as she saw his eyes widen,"Will you be mine?
Will you support me in my good and bad times? Will you promise to be my
side everyday , every second of my life?"
And suddenly he pulled her
up and engulfed her in his arms, kissing her all over her face and she
lost herself within him unable to believe that their wait had finally
Her eyes shot open. He had heard all that...he had seen all of that.
But how could she explain to him that those words didnt hold true for her any longer?
She looked back at him to find him watching her.
", she started to speak her voice low and heavy with tears. "I cannot
undo whatever I have done but please...please believe me that things
have changed now."
"That's what you told me again and again when we
were married and, like an idiot, I always believed you. And look where
we are now..."
Riddhima looked away from his penetrating gaze.
sad ...you were never truthful to me then so what makes you think I
will trust you now? Things are over between us Riddhima."
"No! ", she said fiercely, "things can never be over between us!"
He was taken aback at the fury in her eyes.
"I want to be your friend again Sid...I want to be a part of your life again."
"And Armaan?", he asked with his brow raised.
"What about him?", she questioned with a deep frown.
"You think he will approve of this? After all the promises you took from him that day, will you not be hurting him?"
And that was when her anger suddenly deflated, her eyes wide, uncertainty on her face.
He leaned back against the chair, folding his arms across his chest, a cold smile playing on his lips.
"See there", he pointed at her, "there's the Riddhima Gupta that I know."
The girl at the counter turned and walked back to the exit with a warm, styrofoam coffee cup between her hands.
Sid was about to tell Riddhima something else when his attention was pulled towards that girl as if by a magnetic force.
A long flowy white skirt, a peach full sleeved top, her white coat hanging casually over her arm and her signature white bag.Shilpa
was halfway through opening the door of the cafe when she paused. As if
sensing his eyes on her, she turned and looked straight at him.
The corner of her lips had started to turn up into a smile when her gaze slid over to the person sitting in front of him.
Her lovely features froze as she looked back at him with shock and something else that punched him sharply in the gut.
Technically he hadnt done anything wrong.
He had been sitting at his table, minding his own business.
It was Riddhima who had come to him...
So then why, looking at the hurt written over Shilpa's face, why did he feel as if he had committed a big mistake?Damn
Why did it suddenly feel as if he had been caught doing something wrong?
Seconds passed as they stared at each other, a million unspoken words passing between them.
totally forgot about the woman sitting there witnessing the silent
exchange between them...Riddhima finally experienced what Sid must have
felt... that isolated feeling he must have experienced in the early days
of their marriage when Armaan had returned, that feeling of being
sidelined whenever he had caught staring wistfully at each other.Payback...
Then, after what seemed like ages, even though it was just a few seconds, Shilpa turned slowly and walked out of the cafe.
him even realizing it, he had almost gotten up to go after her when he
stopped himself. That move didnt agree with his plan.
What did he
think he was going to tell Shilpa anyway...what explanation was he going
to offer?...more importantly did he need to explain himself?
And wasnt he trying to keep himself away from her?
RIddhima couldnt help but feel satisfied...she hated herself for it but she couldnt deny it.
She noticed that he was still staring at the closed door.
"Sid...is everything alright?"
He looked back at Riddhima blankly.No Riddhima
, he thought, nothing is alright...everything is spectacularly messed up.
His car had been sent for some repairs so he had no choice but to walk back home.
Pulling his black woollen jacket tighter around himself, he walked at a slow pace.
The sky above him darkened in sync with the cruel memories that swirled within him.
Swirling... swirling...like a thick black cloud.
tried but couldnt stop himself from revisiting that moment...that
moment had which destroyed his faith, his trust in everything he had
ever believed in...The knife twisted deeper and deeper into his gut with every word she uttered.
he watched, his body numb, his heart almost still, how they embraced
each other like two people who had been parched with thirst for so long.
He had worked so hard, tried everything to see that contentment that was visible in her eyes right now...what had he not done?
But it hadnt been enough...whatever he did.
All of a sudden the court was bathed in bright lights but they seemed oblivious to it as they held on to each other tightly.
Suddenly out of nowhere a crowd of people flooded the court, whistling, cheering and clapping for the united couple.
Was everyone so ecstatic about the fact that he was out of Riddhima and Armaan's lives??
Had he been such a big hindrance in their happiness??
he noticed that his so called friends, JP and Jiggy, were a part of
that crowd too, congratulating Armaan and Riddhima.
Somewhere deep within him , something was emptying itself...he realized that his heart was being stripped of all emotions.
gaze was pulled towards her as she looked at Armaan shyly and whispered
something him...he didnt have to hear her to understand her words.
The three words he had always yearned to hear from her lips...at least once... for him...I love you.
turned away not having the strength to watch them anymore. His feet as
heavy as lead, he walked out of the hospital in a dazed stupor.
As if they wanted to mourn for him too , the skies opened up, drenching him with their tears.
to the bone in his wet clothes, his body as cold as ice, he walked
randomly on the streets unaware of the car honking at him to move out of
He had been just a duty for her...every moment she had spent with him, every time time she had smiled at him, every time she responded to his touch...it had all been just a duty to her.
And he...he had believed that...how could he have been so blind?
missing being trampled by a huge truck, he somehow found himself on a
bench...the same bench where Shilpa had found him a month ago.
hadnt he heeded her warnings? She had tried to stop him but he hadnt
listened to her...the urge to see Riddhima had been so intensely heavy
on his mind that he had not paid any heed to Shilpa's pleas.
looked down to see his fingers trembling with the chill that had seeped
into them...there was no one nearby, not a single person, not a single
He was truly all alone...
All he could see ahead of him were thick sheets of rain...and then suddenly, she came.
Stepping through the cascading rain, Shilpa appeared in front of him, her eyes wrought with panic.
stood up slowly unable to believe that she was actually here...that she
had found him again as she had that night...that meant she had followed
him all the way from Panchgani.
"Sid!! Where the hell have you
been?!", she almost screamed in worry. "You didnt call me even once, you
are not even picking up your phone! Do you have any idea how worried I
was? Why didnt you..." she stopped talking and looked at him closely.
Blank eyes and an eerily dead expression on his pale, almost white face.
"Sid", she started slowly," Are you...is everything okay?"
He tried to take a step toward her but his legs finally gave away and he crumpled to the floor.
"Sid! ", she dropped to her knees before him and was disturbed to see that he still had no expression on his face.
She took hold of his face and turned him towards her making him look at her.
He looked at her for a few seconds and then slowly, a little life came back into his hollow eyes.
tried to speak but words just wouldnt come to him...his hands tightened
on her arms and all he wanted to do was scream because something kept
building over and over inside him and it just wouldnt stop.
Looking at his state, her own eyes welled up even though she had no idea what had happened.
Instinctively, she leaned forward and pressed her lips against the spot between his eyes which remained unfocused.
Slowly she broke the contact and spoke in a soft murmur, "It is going to be fine Sid...I am here now...everything will be fine."
She was going to speak again when she realized that words would be useless to him right now. So she embraced him.
Since he couldnt move, she wrapped her arms around him.
He was shaking...his eyes closed only for a moment but they shot open again as something danced behind his eyelids....an image of his ex-wife united with her lover.
Without realizing it, he gripped the back of Shilpa's shirt tightly in his fists...he had been so stupid, so blind.
Finally when the grief did hit him, it was as relentless as the pouring rain.
please let me know if I have done justice in depicting Sid's
pain...because sometimes I think words are not enough to describe what
he must have gone through...
Edited by sidsk - 08 May 2011 at 11:09pm