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Joined: 01 September 2010
It din took much time for Shan to get the news, who rushed to the hospital as soon as he heard abt the whole thing from some fellow. Shan parked his car in the parking lot and hurried inside the hospital. After checking at the reception, he made his way to the second floor.
As he reached there, he could see around 10-15 people gathered there, mostly gents . There seemed to be some commotion, but he was least bothered abt that, all he was concerned was for one person. His eyes were searching, but in vain. Atlast, his eyes fell upon that person, sitting on a bench, in the corner, head down. He lead out a sigh of relief. He was glad he finally could locate her. He went near her, called her name- 'Khanak'. She din responded. He touched her hand, it was as cold as ice. He raised her chin slowly with his finger, her eyes were red, her face expressionless. She was just staring at him, with no emotions, no words from her mouth. Shan was shocked, he moved back. He wanted to shake her, wanted to hug her tightly and cry out loud. Nothing in the world made him sad, other than such a condition of his beloved. He just stood there looking at her for few seconds, not knowing what to do. Suddenly he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. He turned around to see a hefty man, he looked like someone
The policeman observes Shan from top to bottom. Shan notices this. The guy signals towards Khanak
"jee woh meri biwi hai"
" gungi hai?"
"jee" A confused expression
" bhai! Kal raat se kuch bhi na bol rahi hai…pata hai na accident ki witness hai!"
Shan turned to look at his wife. She was sitting expressionless. He knew wat she was going through inside her mind, her heart.
He looked at the policeman
"sir, kya main apni biwi ko leja sakta hoon..she needs rest"
The policeman gives to khanak , then looks at Shan, places a hand on his shoulder
"yaar, teri shakkal jani pehchani lag rahi hai"
" jee main actor hoon..i am Shantanu Khandelwal"
"acha! Wahi na, jo ek saal pehle koi tv mein tha"
"jee…kya main khanak ko le jaoon" Shan says with a irritated tone
The policeman again looks at khanak
"yeh bhi thin a tere sath us natak mein"
"haan..par if u don't mind, main use lekar jaaon yaahan se" Shan starts getting restless.
The policeman places a hand on his shoulder and says
" badi achi Jodi hai tumdono ki..mere gharwali aur beti bade fan the tere…tu toh film actor ban gaya, isne kyun chod diya?"
Shan reaches the extreme point of frustration
"kya main leke jaaon?"
"Na karu toh"
Both of them give a stern glance to each other. Shan takes out a piece of paper from his pocket, and shows it to the man. Its a permission letter from the commissner.
The man steps aside, Shan takes khanak away with him, leaving the man staring at them
"amir baap ka bigda hua beta!!"
Khanak turns around to look at the environment around her. Some were crying, mourning, some were busy consoling the grieving ones. Her feet stopped for a moment. She turned to face Shan, he gave her a assuring smile, placed a hand around her shoulder and escorted her away from the hospital, to the exit gate and then inside their car, as she kept on turning back looking at her nightmare.
During the journey, Shan was driving , but his attention was mostly on Khanak. He could see her just staring at the window screen, without any expression nor any emotion on her face. He knew what she was going through inside. He doesn't speaks a word, just places his arm around her shoulder, and brings her closer to him, as she places her head on his shoulder and closes her eyes.
Khanak's world of fantasy
She is sitting on the swing, enjoying the serene beauty of the nature, when suddenly feels a strong force from behind. She turns around to see a 10 yr old child giggling and laughing.
"Gunnu! Yeh kya mazak hai!"
She speaks with mock anger.
The child comes forward, holds her hands, doesn't says a word, turns his head around as if showing something to her. She gazes above him to see what he was trying to show, but can't see a thing.
He pulls her hands, she tries to resist, he doesn't says a word. She is about to fall down, when something comes to her rescue, a strong pair of hands. She closed her hands as she finds comfort and solace in the embrace of the strong muscular body.
Khanak is on the terrace, viewing the millions of stars on the sky, arms folded across her chest, when suddenly something strikes her. She turns around to see a ball. She bends down to pick the ball, when she feels someone standing in front of her. She looks up to see a lad. The child too bends down and picks up the ball.
She gets up, smiles and says- " Beta! Itni andhere mein yahan kyun khel rahe ho..jao ghar jao"
The child doesn't says a word, just smiles. He point his finger towards the sky, holds her hands, pulls her to the parapet of the terrace. He points towards the road, and then towards the sky. She is amused, looks at him. Everything seems blurry to her, she is not able to grasp what he wanted to say. She feels dizzy, as if everything around her is spinning around. She is about to fall,when again the same pair of strong pair of hands hold her, and she closed her eyes , feeling the soft embrace
The world of reality
Two days have been passed since Gunnu's death. Everything seemed to be normal in the apartment, everyone were back to their normal life, except two families. One was the Batras and the other was Shantanu Khandelwal and his wife.
It was evening, Shan was in the kitchen preparing something for dinner, when the bell rings. He opens the door to see Mr. Batra at the door.
He welcome him inside. The man doesn't says much, hands him the keys of his flat saying
"Shan, yeh keys rakh lo, rent lene wale ayenge toh zara ghar dikha dena"
He is about to go.
Shan sees the man, he looks pale and tired. He offers him something to eat. The man refuses politely. Shan hold his hand
"Mr. Batra, I know u have lost the most precious thing in ur life, but iska yeh matlab toh nahi hai na, ki aaplog jeena chor do"
The man gives a faint smile, places a hand on Shan's head - " Tumhare Papa bahut lucky honge, kabhi unka sath mat chorna. Bache hi toh Ma Baap ke budhape ka sahara hote hai…par, mere toh…."
Mr. Batra is not able to complete his sentence and breaks down, seeing which even Shan could not control his tears from flowing. He makes the man sit on the sofa and goes inside to bring a glass of water.
Inside Khanak's room, Khanak is sitting on the bed, a pencil and a paper in her hands, drawing something. She closes her eyes to get an imagination, but when she opens her eyes, she finds the paper missing, rather she finds it in the tiny hands of a child.
"Gunnu! Chalo, wapas karo paper ko..complete toh karne do"
The child nods his head in disapproval. He moves away from the bed, moves back, as Khanak gets from the bed, following him to the living room.
She sees Mr. Batra sitting silently on the sofa, head down. She looks at her side to find the child standing near the window smiling at her.
"Ruko, is ladke ki complain karti hoon..papa datenge toh pata chalega"
She says to herself, goes near the man and says - " Mr. Batra , acha hua aap yahan pe aye hai..yeh Gunnu, yeh toh kitna shaitan hai, kitna pareshan karta hai sabko "
Mr. Batra looks at her, tears in his eyes. He says softly- "aab who kisi ko nahi satayega"
She looks at him innocently – "Kyun? Aap ne use daanta kya"
" aab toh daantna toh door, baat bhi nahi kar sakta tha main use..meri awaaz bhi nahi jayegi us tak."
Khanak is stunned at the man's tone. She sits near him- "Mr. Batra, aap use kahin door bhejne ka decision le rahe hai. No, aisa mat kijiye. Mana ki who bahut shaitan hai.par, bahut pyara bhi hai."
The man looks at her in shock. Here was the girl, who was the only witness to his child's accident, who saw him dying in front of her eyes, and here she was being as if nothing has happened. He understands she is in shock. He gently places a hand on her head.
Word just escape his mouth- " Who hum sab se door chalagaya hai…Bhagwan ke paas"
She is shocked, gets up – "yeh..yeh kya keh rahe hai aap..nahi..yeh"
"haan ..mera beta mar chukka hai"
Mr. Batra keeps on narrating about his child's death, the conditions at his home as she steps back, nodding her head in disapproval, finally colliding with something strong. She turns around, its Shan.
She holds his hand- "Shan..Shantanu.dekho na , yeh Mr.Batra ko kya ho gaya hai..kuch bhi bol rahe hai."
Shan places a hand on her cheek. He is surprised to see her in the living room- "khanak, tum yahan.andar jao aaram karo."
"Nahi! Tum..tum pehle inse kaho ki..Gunnu se mafi mange.. who wahin hai, window ke.."
He is stunned, there is no1 at that side.
"khanak! He is right, Gunnu is dead!"
She pushes him away, goes near Mr. Batra, as he gets up.
"Mr. Batra, dekhiye..mana ki aap uspe naraaz hai, par woh hai toh aapka beta na..main, main use samjhaongi. "
The man looks at Shan, he nods his head. The man understands, he doesn't says a word, says good bye to Shan and goes away.
Shan goes near Khanak as she stands there blabbering to herself. He makes her sit on the sofa, while he sits on the floor. He holds her hands and says softly-
"Shantanu..he is not dead..Do din se..i have met him, he..he was playing with me"
He gets up, sits on the sofa, near her, places his arm around her, brings her closer and says in a soft voice-
"U were ill since last two days, u were partly unconscious. U had fever. I was afraid, u might go into coma, but thanks to God, tumhe kabhi kabhi hosh aata tha, but that was mostly for few minutes."
She is shocked, looks at the window side, to find no1. It doesn't takes her long to realize, since the last two days, she has been living in a separate world. She has been dreaming.
The next day, its morning, Shan comes out of the shower, in his trousers and d towel on his neck. His eyes fall upon Khanak, who is still asleep. He goes near the bed, looks at her. A unknown tear escape his eyes as he recollects, she was the one who usually used to get up early in the morning, but since the few days, everything has changed. He sits on the bed near her, lifts her very delicately and makes her sleep on his lap. A small strand of hair falls on her face, making her look more cute. He slowly, very carefully removes that strand with this finger, carasses her forehead a bit and bends to kiss her forehead softly. She feels his touch, stirs in her sleep, wraps her hands around his waist and in her sleep, turns around, burying her face in his tummy. He bends down, touches his head wid hers and closes his eyes to savour the moment, when suddenly the phone rings. He carefully places Khanak on the bed , gets up to pick up the call.
There is no response except for a sob
There is still no response, after a few seconds, its someone else.
"Shan! Umm..woh..actually, there is a sad news!"
Its Ashi, she was strong enough to speak and hide her tears, but still her voice was trembling
"Whats wrong Ashi?"
He is worried
" Nee..Neerav ko police ne arrest kiya hai…on charge of some accident..i…I swear Shan, u know him na…it was..it was just an accident.he told me..even we tried telling the police.par…and papa and uncle are also not there.."
She din completed the sentence and broke down.
"hey hey! Don cry! Nothing will happen.. I will just now go to police station and get him bail, now!
He keeps the phone, gets ready, and leaves a message for khanak after giving a soft peck on her cheek, carefully without disturbing her sleep.
At the police station.
He completes the formalities for getting bail and after sometime, Neerav is released. The guy comes out of the cell, escorted by the police constable. Shan looks at him, he looked tired, hair ruffled, shirt half tucked out, face unshaven. Shan goes to him and gives him a friendly hug
"Thanks yaar..thank u so much"
Neerav says while hugging him back.
"Dude! Its okay! ..btw, just c to it, u don ever drive when drunk…I just don want to meet u like this.."
He breaks from the hug and says wid a mock anger tone, pointing at his condition. Neerav gives a fake smile.
After a while, Neerav leaves for his home, after his driver comes to fetch him. Shan is about to start his bike, when a hand comes on his shoulder. He is startled, turns around to see a guy in khadi uniform. It doesn't takes him long to understand this was the one, whom he had encountered at the hospital that day.
"Sub Inspector Sahni! I think, hum mile the us din..tum, wahi ho na..woh ..actor, kya naam hai..woh"
"Shantanu Khandelwal!" He speaks with a stern voice
"Haan! Wahi..kafi naam suna hai tumhara, who kuch din pehle tv pe tumhara ghar dikhaya tha na, meri beti badi khush ho gayi"
The man voice was sarcastic.
"arey thanks nahi bhai..apne ghar le chalo, hume bhi dikhao apna ghar"
Shan is confused
"kyun ka kya matlab, woh kya kehte hai…haan, phanka..haan phan hoon main bhi..zara ghar dekhoonga, bhabhiji ke hath ka chai bhi peeni hai"
The man sounded as if he was speaking something else, but his intention was different and he was sounding authorative. Shan didn't wanted to get in trouble with the policeman, he although reluctant, yet agreed to take the SI to his house.
They reach the flat. The house is interlocked. He opens the door using the key , he has, not before earning a strange glare from the SI.
Khanak is in the living room, taking a small nap, when d door opens. She gets up, her face lightens when she sees Shan.
He greets her with a smile.
She is about to go and hug him when she spots someone behind him.
"Namaste bhabhi ji!"
The SI comes forward. She is surprised to find him there, looks at her husband, asking him wid her eyes. Shan introduces the man.
"Aap baitheye, main chai banake lata hoon"
Shan is about to go, but the man stops him
"arey! Yeh kya baat hui bhai, itni door se aaya hoon bhabhi ji ke hath ka chai peene"
Shan is irritated, - "dekhiye, khanak ki.."
Khanak holds his hand , indicating him to stop and gives a smile of reassurance. She goes to kitchen to make tea, leaving behind a angry Shan, who helplessly glares at the SI, as the later wanders in his living room as if searching for something, until his eyes fall on something on the centre table. It's a paper wid something drawn on it.
The man picks up the paper, sits on the sofa, and watches it keenfully.
Shan looks at him in amusement, and is about to say something, when khanak arrives from the kitchen with a tray with two cups of tea. One she gives to Shan and the other to the man.
He looks up at her, gives a smile and offers her seat, she politely refuses and goes and sits on the other chair.
Shan and Khanak look at the man for some time as he is busy engrossed in the paper. After sometime the man looks up and asks – "yeh..kisne banaya hai?"
Shan – "ji khanak ne"
The man gets up, hands over the paper to khanak and says- "yeh tasveer adhoori kyun hai"
Khanak is confused. She looks at him perplexed.
"nahi..jiska accident hua, who hai, jisne accident dekha who bhi hai..phir who kahan hai jisne accident kiya?"
"jee..yeh toh bas khanak ki imagination hai"
"naa..yeh haqiqat hai"
Khanak gets confused. The man gets up, goes near her, shows her the pic, points to the lady in the pic- yeh aap hai.. yeh ladka aapka padosi hai- Gunpreet ( pointing to the boy lying in the pic)..lekin yeh gaddi mein kaun hai."
Before Khanak could say nething, the man took out a pic of a guy from his pocket – "kahin yeh admi yeh toh nahi.."
Khanak starts shivering as she looks at the pic, her hands trembling, as d man goes on and on. Shan senses her discomfort and before the man could say anything further, he interrupts-
"Excuse me mujhe Khanak ko check up ke liye lekar jana hai…toh I think u can visit us on some other day and waise bhi..u don't have any search warrant.."
Shan says these, while getting up from his seat. The inspector guesses his intention, he too gets up and before he could say nething, Shan again interrupts, shakes his hand with the man and says – "Thanks for the visit..c u later, Commisionar might call you."
The man is confused and to his shock, his cell actually rings. After a couple of minutes, he takes leave, making Shan heave a sigh of relief. Shan closes the door, goes near Khanak, who is now sitting on the sofa, head down, touching her knees, the pic in her hand, almost scrambled. He places a hand on her shoulder and says – "Khanak…yeh, yeh sach nahi hai.."
"This is reality Shantanu.."
Her voice was trembling .
He carasses her hair, bringing her closer to him as she slowly leans on him, her eyes still on d pic in her hand.
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