Joined: 01 September 2010
The shot came to a abrupt halt as the director shouted.
"Shantanu Khandelwal!! Yaar, wats wrong with you"
Shan came out of his thoughts as the director's hoarse and strong voice came to his ears. He turned around to see his director and the producer
"dekho yaar, I know tumhare ghar mein kuch problems hai, par uske liye don't make it affect my movie..waise hi I have spend too much money and upar se tum jaise debutante ko lekar risk le raha hoon."
"Nahi sir, I am sorry…"
Shan was trying to say something when some1 interrupted, giving him his cellphone. It was Ashi on the other side, asking him to drop her at Neerav's place as she had to meet Neerav.
At the Vohras' entrance
"Shan! Chalo, come inside"
"umm..No, Ashi, tum jao, I will …I have to go"
Ashka was trying to convince Shan to accompany her inside Neerav's house, who was rather too reluctant to come, when….
"Kya Shantanu Khandelwal aab itna busy ho gaya hai ki uske paas apne dadaji ke liye bhi time nahi hai"
Shan turns around to see a 70 something old man, dressed in white, in a whilechair..It was Shambhai Vohra…A man who was not related to the Khandelwals by blood, but was like a patriarch to them..He was infact a Godfather to Girish Khandelwal and was among the few persons who had a very positive and convincing influence on Shan.
Shan goes near the man, touches the man's feet, taking his blessings.
Inside, after a few formal talks abt Shan's marriage..
"toh kaise hai thari lugai?" (so, how is your wife)
"ji, dadaji , filhaal toh she is not well…woh actually.."
"kyun?..us hadse ka bada asar pada hai ke?"
Shan is startled- "dadaji Aap…aap ko kaise pata ?"
"Ashka ne bataya"
Shan looks to see Ashka and Neerav coming out of the room. Suddenly, he feels a sense of anger for Neerav.
"gehra asar pada hai dadaji..uske family pe jiski death ho gayi and uspe jiske aankhon ke samne us hadse ko dekha, par shayad uspe nahi jiske wajeh se…."
"Asar uspe bhi hua hai beta"
Shan looks at the old man, then at Neerav, he could see Neerav's pale face.
"Shan, jabse woh accident hua hai, tabse Neerav ki toh jaise zindagi hi badal gayi"
Neerav's father says about hi s son's plight, while his mother continues- "haan, mere bte ne toh guilt ke mare khud ko ghar mein band hi kar diya hai.."
"I know but, hadsa toh hadsa hai na..and..jiski galti hai , he will definitely get punished"
"right..saza galti ki milegi, gunah ki na..Neeru ne toh laparwahi ki galti ki, kisi ko marne ki gunah na ki hai aur tu toh khud keh raha hai, yeh hadsa tha..toh hadse toh jaanbooj ke na hove hai beta!"
As always the man was successful in convincing Shan.
"aa..dadaji, uncle aur aunty..aaplog chinta mat kijiye, Neerav will be safe and I will see to it ki he doesn't gets punished for something he hasn't done"
Shan gets up – "Ashi, shayad, we need to go now, its already too late.
"toh beta, main yeh samjhu ki, insab se na tumhare aur Neerav ke dosti pe kuch asar hua hai na Neerav aur Ashi ke rishte pe?"
Neerav's father's question gets a positive answer from Shan, who after taking d elders' blessings, goes and gives a hug to Neerav.
Both Shan and Ashi bid goodbye to d Vohras.
"phew!! Thank u grandpa…2day u saved me….common gimme a hug.."
Neerav is about to give a hug to the old man, when to his shock, he gets a slap instead!!
After dropping Ashka at home, on his way home, Shan looks at his watch, its already 7 in the evening. By now, Khanak must have come back home. (He had dropped Khanak at Meghna's home because he din wanted her to stay alone as he went to work).
The phone rings, ' honey' flashes on the screen
"hmm" A smile forms on his face
"Meghna!! Is everything alright?..Khanak…" The smile changed to a serious frown as his heart filled with anxiety.
"umm..not exactly Shan..abhi toh Khanak is allright, but few hours back, she was not. Actually, she was okay in the morning, when u dropped her at my home. Phir, at arnd 1, instead of having lunch, she insisted on going back home, I tried a lot, but pata nahi kyun, she was adamant and finally I had to give up. .."
" toh..toh kya Khanak hasn't reach home…" He was filling up with anxiety n tension.
"No, Shan, around 5, I got a call from Adil dat Khanak is at his place. And strange thing was , when I rushed to the place, I found her sitting on the bench , in 4nt of Adil's flat and since an hour, Adil was convincing her and Shan, u won't believe, woh mujhe bhi pehchan nahi rahi thi..she was murmerring something and almost in sub conscious state…"
"hmm..Khanak kaisi hai abhi?" His voice was low, choking, eyes almost with tears.
"Shan, woh theek hai abhi, I brought her to ur home, she is inside d bedroom..maine dinner bana diya hai, and I have to leave now, my in laws r waiting for me…I hope u r coming home now n u have d keys?"
"hmm..yaa, m on my way and Meghna, thanks a lot for everything.."
"Its okay Shan, Khanak is like my own sister..don't say thanks..chalo I m going, apna and Khanak ka khayal rakhna"
She hungs up. Shan places the cell inside his pocket. He reaches home, unlocks d door, goes inside d bedroom. She is sitting quietly on d sofa, drawing something. He goes near her, gently carasses her hair, she looks up, gives him a smile, in return of his smile and then gets back to her work. He tries saying something, but she remains oblivious of his presence, like in her own world.
He finally gives up, goes to the washroom to freshen himself, then goes to the kitchen to serve food on d plate, while his heartbeat keeps on rising, tension brewing on his mind, thinking of d worst possibility of his love not recognizing him.
He goes inside the room, places the plate slowly on the table, switches on the tv. She looks up, its their marriage video playing. She finds Shan , standing in d room, hands folded. Suddenly she feels some rush inside her, gets up , goes near him, hugs him tightly, burying her face in his chest. He is taken aback for a 2nd, but immediately reciprocates back, holding her much tighter, a tear dropping from his eye.
"Shantanu!" She looks up as she feels a drop on her shoulder.
"tum..tumhe pata hai, today I got back my answers and …."
She seemed excited abt something, more like a eager child.
He gently carasses her cheeks- "Khanak, lunch nahi kiya na..dinner kare"
"Nahi..tum..tum pehle meri baat suno..aaj I got to know abt Gunnu's real murder..Shantanu, woh wahi hai jisne uska accident kiya..woh.."
She was going on and on, while he calmly took d plate in his hand, caressed her hair gently
"Khanak! Pehle khana kha lo, then I will listen to everything okay."
"Nahi..nahi..u listen now, Shantanu..its Neerav only..he came back after hitting Gunnu..I came to know abt it today, wahin pe jake…jahan us bache ki death hui."
He is lost in words, cng her eagerness, her zest to tell him something, which was actually impossible. He still regains his composure.
"chalo theek hai, we will punish Neerav, but first u shld have ur dinner theek hai.."
She looks at him puzzled – "do u think I m speaking rubbish or are u trying to joke wid me?"
"Nahi Khanak..dekho, leave everything n chalo khana kha lo.."
Takes a bite and is is abt to feed her, she pushes her hand away.
"No, u have to listen now..believe me, mera yakin karo na..Shan.."
Her eyes are now filled up, he could c pain and fatigue in them.
"Khanak..dinner karke phir bed pe araam se I will listen, okay.."
She pushes him away
"Damn It!! Stop treating me as a patient ! Y r u guys treating me as a lunatic?Pagal Nahi hoon main!!"
He stands still, completely shocked as she throws away the plate in his hands.
She keeps on blabbering as he calmly collects d thrown food and the broken plate pieces, picks dem up and dusts d floor wid d broom, throws away d waste in the dustbin, goes to the washroom, washes his hands. He comes out, to find her sitting quietely in one corner of d room. He goes near her, she is sobbing. He gently takes her right palm in his hand, carasses it and carefully applies the ointment on her bruised hand. She looks up, tears flowing from her eyes, lips parting to say something.
He places a finger on her lips, gently bends 4ward , kisses her trembling lips. After some time, she slowly leans on him, arms across his neck, holding him tightly, murmering something, while he just carasses her hair.
He gently picks her up, places her on the bed, switching off d lights on the other side of the bed, while she cuddles to him, like a baby.
His mind couldn't register that a accident would have a drastic effect on his love. But he knew its time for him to be her guardian, her support.
...to be continued...
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