Guys I know you all are getting bugged with my lack of regular updates...but I really cant help it. This has been a busy month with so many weddings and last week I was busy with my daughter's birthday celebrations. I am free for a few days now so will try to update as much as I can.
I apologise again.
He lay on his bed, his eyes wide open, not a hint of sleep in them.Dont lose the one thing in your life that has taught you to live again.
Those words echoed over and over again in his mind.Why did Yuvi say that? What did he mean?
As far as Sid knew, he took utmost care in never letting his feelings show...especially not in front of his friends.
Then why had Yuvi thrown such mystifying words towards him?
Whatever he felt for Shilpa...it was supposed to be a secret forever..it was supposed to buried within him forever...
But now he wasnt so sure...
If Yuvi was aware of something, then Naina would know about it too.
"Knowing you Yuvi, I am surprised you were so frank with Sid ", Naina stated in disbelief.
She rolled her eyes, "Hmph! And then you always complain about me being too obvious..."
"Well", Yuvi said," this time Sid needed someone to dangle the obvious facts in front of his eyes. I am honestly tired of watching them play this cat and mouse game. Has Shilpa told you anything? What happened between them?"
"Shilpa hasnt told me anything...which reminds me. I need to apologise to her dont I ?"
"Yes you do", Yuvi answered with his brows raised.
"Honestly though", Naina said deep in thought, "I wonder why Armaan has come to her after all these years? I cant even imagine how Shilpa must have felt..."
Sid knew exactly how she must have felt. Hadnt he been going through the same phase with Riddhima?
He understood how helpless Shilpa must have felt...
Wanting to push your past away but unable to do so...it was like closing a broken door.
No matter how tightly you shut it, a part of it would always remain open.
No matter how you hard you tried to put things behind you, some of them would always escape through the cracks.
Didnt he know how it felt?
Yuvi shook his head tiredly.
"What I want to know is why Sid remained quiet. This was a such a huge thing for Shilpa. Normally he cant even handle a tear in her eye and today he had simply ignored the distress written clearly on her face."
All these years, somewhere down the line, unknowingly he had started tagging Shilpa as his
His confidante...His Shilpa...
Could anyone blame him for that? She was always there...always within reach when he needed her...even when he thought he didnt need her.
He had always seen care and concern in her eyes for him...or rather, he had always seen himself
in her eyes.
But today those very eyes were troubled for someone else...someone who she had loved dearly in the past...someone who really didnt deserve it.
It was true that he hadnt liked the fact that she had taken Armaan to her home ...it was also true that his body had thrummed with jealousy when he had seen her so worried about the man who had ruthlessly betrayed both of them.
But none of that compared to the concern he had felt when he had seen how disturbed she was.
He had nearly lost his temper when Yuvi had accused him of treating Shilpa like a stranger.
Sid sat up on his bed and rested his back against the wall.
What did they all think? That he hadnt seen how distressed she was? That he hadnt felt her discomfort when she had talked about Armaan?
He had seen the anxiety in her eyes the moment she had walked in the cafeteria.
Even though he hadnt looked directly looked at her, even though he hadnt spoken a word to her, he had sensed how troubled she was just by her mere presence beside him.
All he had wanted to was hold her hand in his when she had quietly talked about Armaan.
But he had restrained himself...he had to.
Talking to her would mean getting involved in her again...he couldnt let that happen.
The magnitude of his feelings towards her, the amount of possessiveness he felt for her was scaring him very much.
He knew he didnt the ability to control himself around her anymore...so he had to stay away.
Even if it meant hurting her...and himself...in the process.
She had a peaceful life...a settled
life...and he couldnt ruin that by letting his rampant feelings for her run free.
Naina sighed and slumped down on the sofa next to her husband who eyes were fixed on his TV screen.
"How long is this going to go on? I think by the time they even admit their feelings to each other, we will be old with a dozen grandchildren around us."
Yuvi chuckled. "Dont worry Naina...you didnt see what I saw in Sid's eyes today. He is not going to be able to hold in his emotions for long...very soon they are going to break free."
It was a classy little hotel that Shilpa was seated in right now.
Delicious food, pleasant ambiance and good company...
If only she could appreciate it all properly.
She stabbed the pasta sitting on her plate viciously as if that mere act would cool down her temper.Sid...
The names reverberated in her mind and persistently tortured her with their images flying about in her head.
She had hoped that Sid would say something...anything
today regarding Armaan ...but he didnt.
Had things changed so much between them that he wouldnt even talk to her about something as serious as this?Or did he just not care now that Riddhima was back in his life?
She tried to clear her head of all the bitter thoughts and looked up at the man sitting opposite her.Vivek.
He was absent mindedly pushing his food around his plate with a faraway look in his eyes.
She sighed softly.What were they doing?
He broke out of his daze and looked at her.
"Yes...did you say something?...I am so sorry Shilpa, I wasnt paying attention..."
She gave him a small smile.
"Its okay Vivek. I didnt say anything...how about we take a walk?"
"Sure you go ahead and I'll just clear the bill."
She headed towards the back of the hotel which led her straight to the beach.
Stepping outside, she immediately felt a rush of peace flood her senses as a cool breeze kissed her cheeks.
Walking ahead a little further, she closed her eyes and simply let the surrounding atmosphere soothe the turmoil within her.
Feeling a presence beside her, she turned and looked at Vivek who was staring ahead...he seemed to be having a battle of his own.
She took this chance to simply observe him...keeping aside his exceedingly handsome looks, there was a certain kindness that radiated from him...something that had instantly put her at ease when she had first met him even though she had been doubtful of every suitor that her aunt and Sid had presented before her.
But that hadnt been the case with Vivek...she had instantly warmed up to him in their first meeting...he was one of the most honest man she had ever met.
Sid really had found the perfect man for her...except for one thing...Vivek was not Sid.
"How are things going with Priya?", she asked in a soft voice.
Eyebrows raised, he looked at her.
He seemed to fumble with his words for a moment and then heaved a deep sigh.
"How do you seem to know exactly what's troubling me Shilpa?"
"Didnt I tell you before...I am the best.", she answered with a mock arrogant face, raising her chin in the air.
He smiled softly. "That you are."
Focusing back on her question, seriousness took over his face again.
"I ...I dont know really...its not been easy...every time I see her I just...whenever we see each other, we act as if everything is fine but...", he heaved a sigh,"I truly dont know Shilpa."
And in that confusing jumble of words, Shilpa found her answer.
She wasnt surprised.
She wasnt even hurt.
She turned fully towards him. It was time to do what she had been considering for quite some time now...they were sailing in the same boat, only he didnt know that she was in that boat too...she didnt like being dishonest with him.
It wasnt fair to Vivek that the was engaged to him but her heart lay somewhere else.
But she couldnt tell him that...she couldnt confide in him about Sid as freely as he did about Priya.
She didnt want to talk about something that didnt have a future...something that was anyway meant to be kept in the dark.
But she wouldnt let Vivek hold himself back because of her.
She took his hands in hers.
"Vivek...you are the most amazing man I could have ever found...more importantly you are an amazing friend. We connect well. We understand each other ...there is no doubt that we will have a happy married life."
He squeezed her hands and gave her an affectionate smile.
"But we both know things are not so simple", she took a deep breath,"you still love her Vivek."
He shook his head and was about to say something but she stopped him.
"No Vivek...its okay. Its completely alright. I am not angry with you. You were honest with me and that means so much to me...more than you'll ever know. I wont let you hold yourself back just because of me. You love her...I can see that in your eyes. And you need to follow your heart."
"But Shilpa...I dont even know if she still feels the same way about me..."
"Then go and find out. Look Vivek...everyone falls in love but very few people are blessed with the chance of spending their life with that special person. And if you are getting that chance, then you should not throw it away."
"But what about Maasi? This will come as a huge blow to her...and what about you?"
"Dont worry about that Vivek...I will handle it."
He stared at her for a long time and suddenly shook his head. "No Shilpa...I cannot do this...I am not going to leave you alone."
"Vivek you are not leaving me alone...we will always be friends."
"No...I made a commitment to you and I am not going back on my word."
If Sid hadnt been in her life , maybe she would have fallen in love with Vivek at that very moment.
"Fine... how about this...if things dont work out with Priya, you can always come back..."
"What?" he asked in a shocked tone.
"Yes", she said honestly, "I mean that."
"I ...I dont have words right now Shilpa...you dont know what you have done for me...and I wont be able to thank you enough for that."
He kissed her forehead and gave her a sad smile."You do know that you will always be my special girl...right?"
She nodded with a smile of her own.
"Now I need you to do something else for me Shilpa...you need to follow your heart too..."
She frowned.He couldnt possibly mean...
"You think I didnt know? I have always known Shilpa...probably even before you knew."
Her brown pools stared at him in complete shock. "How...how do you...?"
"I can see it your eyes, Shilpa," he repeated her earlier words.
"I...I'm sorry Vivek..."
He shook his head and held her by the shoulders. "No, no Shilpa...dont be sorry. It is not your fault."
He paused and collected his words.
"I know the dilemna you have to go through everyday...on one hand you have your Aunt who wants you to settle down as soon as you can and on the other your feelings for Sid."
"You and Sid share something really deep...its beyond my comprehension. I dont know what it is but I can see it in both of your eyes when you look at each other...how could you not fall in love with him? The way your face lights up when you talk about him, the way you look at him like no one else exists in the world but him, the way you worry over him, the way you yearn for his happiness not caring for your ownself..."
Hearing someone else describe her feelings for Sid, which she had tried so hard to hide, managed to break down her resolve.
Tears sparked within her eyes as she looked away from him.
"I know what Sid has gone through and I also know you think he will never love anyone else other than his ex-wife... but...I have seen the way he looks at you...and I dont think he even realizes it but you are there in his heart Shilpa...you matter to him a lot...more than he can probably ever express to you."
She absorbed Vivek's words and let them run over her mind...Could that be possible?
As an answer, a now familiar picture flashed in her mind.Sid and Riddhima in that cafe...
The tears she had been holding back for so long finally let themselves free and rolled down her cheeks.
The next thing she knew she was engulfed in Vivek's arms.
For the first time, she cried for herself , letting go of all the barriers and held on to him for a long time.
All that crying had a taken on a toll on her...her eyes burned with tiredness and she could barely keep them open.
She walked towards her inviting, warm bed and was about to flop down on it, when suddenly she heard the door bell ring.Who on earth would it be at this hour?
She ran down the stairs, to the door and peered through the peephole.Naina?
She quickly opened and looked wide eyed at her friend.
"Is everything okay Naina?! Why are you here so late? Is there an emrgency?"
Suddenly she was engulfed in a giant hug.
"I am sooo sorry Shilpa! I shouldnt have attacked you like that earlier today. Sorry! Please forgive me!!"
Shilpa rolled her eyes.
Smiling, she moved back,"Is that what you came to tell me at ", she glanced at the clock on the wall behind her, "two a.m in the morning."
Naina heaved a relieved sigh noticing that Shilpa really wasnt angry with her and smiled sheepishly at her.
"Of course! That's because we are each other's "two o'clock friends."
Shilpa shook her head and ushered Naina inside.
"So am I forgiven?"
Shilpa sat down on her couch, crossed her legs and looked at Naina with her eyebrows raised mockingly. "I need to think about it."
"Situation's that bad huh?", Naina joked but her face turned serious. "I really am sorry Shilpa...I shouldnt have reacted like that. I dont know what came over came me...I cant control my anger when it comes to that man. But later Yuvi made me realise that it must have been so much more difficult for you to deal with him. I cant imagine what I would have done if I had been in your place..."
Shilpa gave her an easy smile. "Its completely fine Naina...I wasnt angry with you at all.You are right in your place...its just that these last few days have been really trying for me...and on top of that Sid and I...", she stopped herself immediately from completing that sentence.
A knowing look appeared on Naina's face. "Sid and you?"
"Nothing", Shilpa muttered and looked away.Maybe now is a good time to confront her
, Naina thought.
"Shilpa you know you can talk to me about anything right?...anything that is troubling you..."
Shilpa decided that this was the right time to put her news forward.
"Vivek and I arent engaged anymore."
Naina almost fell off the sofa. "What?!", she exclaimed not believing her ears. "I mean what did you say?...WHAT?!"
"No your ears are not deceiving you Naina...you heard me correctly."
Shilpa sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. She had never mentioned Vivek's past to anyone.
"I have never told anyone about this...it was supposed to be a secret", and with that she proceeded to tell her Naina everything.
Naina's eyes grew so wide with every word that after a point her head started aching.
"Wow", she said after Shilpa stopped talking, "that...that is just...I dont know what to say.So he still loves that girl..."
Shilpa nodded. "Promise me Naina that you will not mention a word about this to Sid."
"Fine but how long are you going to hide this from him?"
"I dont know ...and right now I dont even know when I will get around to informing him...he clearly has more important things to worry about."
Naina wondered why Shilpa's tone had suddenly gone so cold.
"Shilpa", she started softly,"Has something happened between you and Sid? I have never seen you two behave like this...so distant with each other...almost like strangers."
Silence reigned for a while as Shilpa debated with her words.
What could she say? Should she confide about her feelings for Sid? It would be so good to get at least some burden off her chest.
She knew Naina would understand...she knew that Naina would support her without a doubt.
But then secrets should remain secrets...and this one was not supposed to see the light of the day.
Naina watched the play of various emotions on her face...and knew with a certainty that Shilpa wouldnt tell her anything...not yet.
"No we didnt fight ",Shilpa finally spoke, "We are just so busy these days with work and everything that we dont get time to spend with each other."
"Are you sure?"
Naina knew she wouldnt be getting any more out of Shilpa on this topic.
"I know there's something going on Shilpa...something you both are avoiding right now."
Shilpa tried to look away but Naina held her gaze and took her hands in hers.
"I know you dont want to talk about it right now. But whatever it is , I am sure you both will sort it out soon. And anytime you need to let it all out, know that I am always here for you."
Shilpa was now positive that that Naina knew something and for the time being she was letting it go.
Shilpa gave her a grateful smile and hugged her. "You will be the first to know Naina...I promise."
Naina suddenly felt tears spring to her eyes as she held Shilpa and in that moment she prayed earnestly for her two friends to find their way to each other.
In the coming days, the days turned even more colder and Sid discovered that he didnt need to do much work to keep himself away from her.
She made that job easy for him.
Talking was a far thing...she never even crossed his paths.
Even if she did, she hardly looked his way.
She was angry with him...and he knew he deserved it.
He wouldnt deny that it hurt him...that a part of him had hoped she would still come to him, talk to him...even if it was just to confront him.
It felt as if he was sinking into an endless, dark abyss.
But it was for the better...it was better for her to be away from him.
And on the other hand, there was Riddhima...well lack of her actually.
Ever since their last meeting, she hadnt appeared even once before him...and to his surpise that brought him relief.
All these years, her absence in his life had slowly sucked out the life out of him...each day had seemed like a long, never ending trial...but...he had gotten used to it.
He had learned
to live with that absence.
That same absence seemed relieving now.
Had he come so far away from her?...so far that he truly didnt want to cover that distance between them?
He shook his head and tried to concentrate on the road ahead of of him.
He was currently headed to a place where he was going to encounter all the corners of the triangle that his life had shaped into...Shilpa, Riddhima and Armaan.
An impromptu party was being thrown by the board of directors of Sanjeevani to celebrate its ever increasing success rate.
Of course, he could have just stayed at home and avoided this headache altogether.
There was no pressure to attend...he knew Shashank would have understood.
Heck, he had really no plans of going even till the last hour.
He didnt know what changed his mind...the fact that his absence might seem a bit rude given he was the head of one of the branches of Sanjeevani or the uncertain probability that she
might be there...
He, of course, liked to presume it was the first option.
Sighing softly, he turned his car to the left and entered the gates of the Royal Meridian Hotel.
Parking his black Honda, he got out and headed towards the entrance,his polished black shoes making soft clicking sounds and schooled his face into a cool mask.
It was time to put on the act.
Edited by sidsk - 21 June 2011 at 7:28am