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Joined: 17 February 2008
Kashish woke up next morning but wished immediately that she hadn't. Her head was splitting open and her eyes were hurting. Maybe she made some noise or movement coz the next moment a very angry Ridhima was breathing down her neck, shouting about, immaturity, irresponsibility, idiocy and something else too but Kashish was hardly able to listen the piercing noise much less make sense of it.
"Shhh… plsss…" Kashish moaned and gave up on attempts to open her stuck eyelids.
"Oh you want me to shut up do you? Do YOU? You are unbelievable, do you have any idea…." Ridhima scolded Kashish ass he made her get up, handed her a wet towel to wipe her face and gave her some painkiller and juice to drink.
"Thanks Ridhima." Kashish muttered when she was feeling more alive a few minutes later. Ridhima made a hmph noise and went out of the room for a while. Wisely Kashish used the time t get up and use the bathroom.
Some 20 minutes later as Kashish made her way out of her room she was Ridhima about to leave for her work.
"Ahem.. Ridhima?" Kashish said hoping that Ridhima wouldn't listen and leave.
"What is it?" Ridhima asked one hand on door.
"About last night.. I… I am really sorry.. I never thought that-" Kashish began to apologize but Ridhima cut her off coolly.
"No Kashish don't apologize are give me excuses. I have put up with you and your feelings which I don't understand. I even tried to help you do something I don't approve of at all. And yesterday when I specifically told you not to go, you didn't listen to me. Maybe coz you think I am an idiot, or coz you place too much faith in Akshay. Or maybe both, but I have had it. I don't want to spend another night worrying myself sick over you. He dumped you Kashish, get it over with. Stop being so clingy and pathetic. I can't take this anymore okay!" Ridhima said and stormed out before Kashish could say anymore to her.
Kashish hadn't wanted to make anyone worry or get into any sort of trouble.. Also it wasn't that she didn't know that she was well and truly dumped by Akshay and this behavior was indeed pathetic. Kashish knew it all, yet she had to do all this, yet…. Kashish slumped down on her bed and hid her face in her pillow. Yet…
Sujal found himself waiting outside the mall at 1.00 pm, feeling absolutely ridiculous, yet he waited. Ofcourse he knew that the fire breathing Ridhima wouldn't let Kashish out of her sight now, especially not to come and meet him, yet Sujal couldn't help being hopeful that Kashish may come. Besides he wanted to know how she was. Was she ok?.. Did she have any side effects in the morning? Did she remember any part of the ride home?
Sujal contemplated and got surprised by a light tap on his shoulder.
"What's that frown on your face about?" Kashish said smiling sunshine down upon him.
"I was thinking if you were ok.. If you were well enough to come today.." Sujal said making a note of Kashish's face, her slight puffy eyes.
"Oh.. I.. I am. Sujal I am really very sorry for last night. I should have been more careful and yes you are all right I shouldn't have gone there in the first place but.. I did and I am so sorry, I got you and Ridhima so worried and into so much trouble because of me. I… I am really sorry. I have even decided to stop this now." Kashish said looking determined yet sad. As if she had come to some disheartening decision.
"You mean you are not going to meet that slime again?" Sujal asked elated.
Kashish nodded, eyes downcast, she said, "I wanted Akshay.. But.. Now that price is too much. Lying to my parents was one thing, but I can't go on like this, while hurting you and Ridhima and making trouble for the people close to me. So.. I have decided to give up on Akshay. I am not going to run after him anymore. I am not even going to meet with him if he calls me. I am.. I am Done.." Kashish said wringing her hands all the while, swallowing hard between words.
Sujal maintained a long, understanding face for sake of her grief but seriously… he couldn't be happier. She was finally doing the right thing, now everything will work out just fine for her.
Controlling his wide grin Sujal said a few words of sympathy to her and then dragged her inside the mall.
There they shopped for long time often arguing over what he should buy. Sujal was going to buy the standard jewelry pendant for his mother and a tie for his father and other standard nic-nack for everyone else. It was the standard safe gift. Everyone liked them and used them. But apparently Kashish wouldn't agree. According to her, his gifts were impersonal.. Well he was buying them and giving them, how much more personal could it be?
"But c'mon… I mean wouldn't your mother be bored of all that jewelry and your father of all the ties.. Why not give them something else different.. You know… like… like what does your mother like? What are her hobbies? Interests?"
Sujal scratched his head and shrugged his shoulder. His parents were busy, important people. What time did they have to pursue any leisure activity? And even if they did… Sujal was sure they wouldn't be doing it front of him, "I dunno.. I guess mom likes doing charity work and stuff. I mean either she is around dad, or she is doing some charity work or organizing some event."
"So does she travel a lot?"
"Yeah.. she is hardly ever home…"
"I am sure she misses being home." Kashish said looking sad for Sujal's mom.
But Sujal couldn't agree… If she really missed being home then why not just stay at home? Who told her to flit over the whole world.
"Didn't you say your mom was Indian? Why not buy her something Indian?" Kashish said perking up, coming up with list of things which seemed absurdly ridiculous to Sujal…
Finally we settled on buying some pickle from an Indian shop and some ethnic looking bangles which could go well with western outfits. Bizarre right?
But somehow Kashish coerced Sujal into buying equally bizarre and erratic gifts for everyone in the family.
After shopping for 7 hrs Sujal was thoroughly worn out. Even though he enjoyed Kashish's company and liked some of her choices. One thing was decided. He would never again go buy gifts with a female again. Too opinionated and flighty for him. Sujal thought warily as he drove Kashish back to her place.
"Hey thanks for all the help today.. Although I still have my doubts… but umm thanks." Sujal said .
"Trust me they are all going to love it" Kashish said enthusiastically, a satisfied smile on her lips. Sujal couldn't help but look at her and smile back. She made such a pretty picture. Something about being with Kashish always raised Sujal's mood.
"Well we'll see. What are you doing during Easter holidays?" Sujal asked.
"I don't know." Kashish said growing all sad in a second.
"You mean you don't have any plans, you don't have anyone to celebrate with? Why don't we get together? You met my friends we could all meet and go somewhere and Ridhima can come too. It will be-"
"No. I mean, I don't know what I am doing coz… I don't know.. I mean.. Maybe I'll be back in India by then and really I don't know what will happen back there so… Well you know my ticket is for next week. So I am going to enjoying this week to my fullest. This is my Easter holiday." Kashish said giving a wobbly smile and then turned her face away to look outside the window, but Sujal saw the hand raised to her misty eyes in the window reflection.
"You r.. Leaving?" Sujal too felt stunned, his hands a bit unsteady at the wheel.
"Well yes…. I came here for Akshay, didn't I? I mean my home is in India… I have to go…" Kashish said not looking at Sujal.
"But… but you have job here, don't you?!" Sujal said, finally stopping the car at the edge of the road. This was wrong. Kashish shouldn't leave.
"Girls in our house don't have jobs… I told everyone that this was just social work." Kashish said miserably.
Sujal could see it clearly that even she didn't want to go. So why did she have to?
"But.. can't you just stay and continue working? I mean… you can be the first girl from your house to work, start a new trend and I mean it's archaic that girls don't work. Just stay. Why should your life be dictated by some slime of a guy? Ridhima also lives here and works. Why can't you do the same?" Sujal said grasping at straws. For Kashish's sadness and finality of tone it was clear that she would leave, no matter what he argued.
"Ridhima is a far away relation form my mother's side. And it doesn't matter what she does anyway.. They want me to get married if not to Akshay then some other guy they will choose for me. Let's not think about it. You know I still have a week here. and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest. Agge ka sochne se kya faida?" Kashish said finally turning to look at Sujal.
"What did you say?" Sujal asked confused. Although he did have an Indian mother he had no grasp of Hindi whatsoever.
"I said it's no use worrying about the future." Kashish repeated and then beamed, "What are you doing day after tomorrow? Are you free? Let's go watch the movie which is going to be released."
"I can't believe that you are leaving." Sujal said shaking his head turning on the ignition and driving again, "Yeah sure lets go to the movie… We can have dinner then, I know a great place." Sujal said unenthusiastically unable come even with the fact that Kashish was leaving.
Kashish smiled enthusiastically and they made plans but both knew that the smiley happy front was just that, a front, a facade. As Sujal turned another corner, Kashish said, "Drop me at the next signal, I didn't tell Ridhima I was meeting you today."
Sujal nodded, he too had no wish to face the she-dragon.
As Sujal stopped the car at the red signal Kashish leaned forward suddenly and gave Sujal a half hug, "I'll miss you." And then jumped out of the car and left. The signal turned green and Sujal leaned down to look at Kashish's retreating figure out of the side window as he put the car in slow forward motion. And that was the last thing he saw before experiencing a crushing pain on his left side and blacking out.
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