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Sorry for making you guys wait so long. Writer's block is a horrid thing, is all I can tell you guys!!
Saying nothing more, See you at the end of this part!
Our story starts with a tired Aham who walks in to his home, wanting nothing more than to relax. But as soon as he steps in, his son, two year old Krishna, has other plans for his daddy. Wanting to play with Aham, the little tyke pounces on his father. After putting their son to sleep, Gopi and Aham spend a private moment when they are rudely and loudly interrupted by the arrival of Savita ben!! When Savita's grandson Jatin gets hurt, Gopi offers to help, only to be taunted rudely by Savita, who says she wouldn't let her grandson anywhere near Gopi as she is incapable as taking care of her own child.
Completely broken by that statement, Gopi locks herself in their room, and cries over an old photo album. She doesn't look at the photos because everything in there is etched clearly in her heart, soul and mind. Wanting to put a stop to her guilt, Aham offers to look through the photos with her, and together they embark to travel down the last 3 years of their life again.
As they start, we learn that they were expecting twins, and in Gopi's godbharai, when Savita taunts Gopi that since she has no mother, there is no point going to her peehar, Gopi responds by saying that she won't be leaving her saasra because her mother lives there!
"My mother lives here, Savita Aunty"
Eyes glistening with proud tears, Maaji had placed her hand on her head in blessing.
Aham was watching Gopi closely, she lifted her eyes up from the photo, and the corners of her mouth lifted up in a hint of a smile.
Tears shone in her eyes, but he was hugely relieved to note they were so different from the ones that occupied them a few minutes ago. He knew that these tears were those of gratitude, and happiness, if he could call it that.
He knew that these tears were because Gopi was thinking about his mother and what she meant to her.
"Thank you for giving me a mother, Aham Ji" she said softly, confirming his thoughts.
He did not say anything. He did not need to. He smiled at Gopi, turned around to place a light kiss on her temple, and wrapped his hand around her shoulder.
Gopi dropped her head on Aham's shoulder, thanking Kanha Ji one more time for her Maa Ji, and her Aham Ji.
She knew why Aham Ji was doing this with her - he did not want her to suffer alone, and that meant so much to her. Much more than words could ever express.
Sniffing, she tenderly turned the page.
For a second Aham was surprised - Gopi knew what was coming next, and yet, she had turned the page. And in that second Aham knew that he was on the right track, he knew that his Gopi would start healing by the time they got to the last photo tonight.
And that knowledge brought with it the exhilaration that overshadowed the hesitation as both of them looked down at the photo - together.
Aham was coming down the stairs, his face etched with worry, and fear. He held a very pregnant Gopi in his arms. Her eyes were closed, and her face wrought with pain. She tightly gripped Aham's kurta with one hand, her other hand lying on her stomach.
"JIGAR!" Aham bellowed, "I swear to god, you do that one more time, I am going to break that goddamn camera!" he said through clenched teeth.
Nothing much could be said about his patience levels usually. But now, he had absolutely zero tolerance for anything.
"Come on, Bhai" Jigar muttered, safely tucking the camera away, "these pictures will be great to look at years later. good - "
"memories, yeah I know" Aham muttered, looking down at Gopi in his arms, "But all I want to see right now is my wife safe and sound in the hospital " he grunted as his knees swayed with Gopi's weight.
"Sorry Bhai, I'll get the car"
He nodded, watching Jigar walk out briskly. His eyes travelled the empty house once, his heart thumping loudly against his ribs.
Ever since Gopi had woken him at 3:15 A.M this morning, he had been a wreck of nerves. But he also knew that he needed to stay strong for Gopi.
Where was this mother when he needed her?
Don't be stupid. He scolded himself. Nani was seriously ill and mom had to go see her. His mother did not want to leave Gopi when she was so close to her date, but he had been the one to assure Mom that he could take care of Gopi for a day. Besides, Gopi was not due for 10 more days, he had told her confidently.
Yeah well, the little ones apparently couldn't wait that long!
Shaking his head, he placed Gopi softly in the back seat of the car, and got in. Lifting her head, he placed it on his lap, and motioned for Jigar to drive.
" Ah-am Ji" Gopi yelped in pain. He looked down to see tears trailing out of her eyes.
Ignoring his frantically beating heart, he bent down and placed a kiss on her forehead, "we'll be there soon, Gopi. It'll be fine" he was very proud that his voice didn't break, neither did it show what a wreck he was.
That seemed to soothe Gopi a little, as she relaxed in his lap, and extended her hand to entwine her fingers around his.
Aham turned his eyes from the photo to the woman next to him. He noticed that she gulped several times, her adams apple bobbing up and down. Her fingers trailed over his face in the photograph, and a light smile graced her lips.
And then it went to her stomach - she touched the picture gingerly, her fingers shivering. Aham knew what she was thinking - he was thinking the same thing.
What happened from then on till his mother rushed in to the hospital was still a blur to him. He remembered carrying her into the hospital, signing those damn forms, getting her admitted, pacing outside her room. He remembered that the nurses had to practically drag him away from her room at times.
Whenever he was with her, he held her hand, hoping to give her comfort. But in all honesty, it was the other way round. He was a wreck, and holding her hand seemed to calm him down. She would hold his hand, and smile at him. He would smile back, and they would talk - about everything, and nothing.
And for the time being, everything seemed fine.
Gopi was not sure she could do this anymore. She got up suddenly, causing the album to tumble to the floor. Not even looking at Ahamji, she walked to Krishna's crib rapidly and picked the sleeping child up.
Krish moved in his sleep, she patted him on his back and whispered softly in his ear. He snuggled closer to his mother and slept on.
" Ji, woh - I heard Krish waking up" she lied, her back to Aham Ji. Krish was a very sound sleeper. He hadn't made any noise. She just had to get away from that album.
Aham Ji was silent. He did not say anything.
She turned around now. He was looking at her, a number of emotions flickering across his face. Pain, fear, pride, concern and love.
His eyes flickered to Krish and back to her, "I know" he said. Gopi stared at him. He smiled at her, " I heard him too" he said, and bent down to pick up the album. Still not taking his eyes from hers, he went to close the album.
Gopi's heart sank.
Here was her husband who had been so supportive. He was looking at the photos with her, sharing her pain. He had seen her lie, and had accepted it as truth.
He was by her side, offering his strength. All she had to do was rely on it, rely on him.
" No. Aham Ji - don't" she called out.
He raised a brow. Gopi sighed and she walked to the bed, and sat down. She placed Krish behind her - he turned on his side and snuggled into the pillow.
Gopi smiled, and turned to her husband, "Don't close that, Aham Ji"
Aham felt like jumping in joy. When Gopi had shot up like that, his heart had plummeted all the way to his knees. He thought he had lost this today.
He had set out to help Gopi heal, he thought he had been doing well, when Gopi had smiled at the memories initially. He was elated when she had turned the page voluntarily to look at this photo. But all that came crashing down when she walked away from him, and the memories.
When she lied, without even turning to look at him, his throat constricted, and he decided that he could not give up. He knew it would not be easy, and if he had to goad her gently all night, he would do it. Heck, he would do it for as long as it took.
Anything to get his old Gopi back. Anything.
But he also knew that if he called out to her to come and join him again to see the photos, she would retreat further into her shell. So he played the reverse game, he accepted her lie, turned it into truth, and closed the album.
All the while screaming inside to God that please, please let this gamble pay off.
And thank god it did.
Gopi had stopped him. She had walked to him, and those memories again. Relief flowed through him, and a wide smile was begging to break out. He watched as Gopi put Krish to sleep in the bed behind them. He quickly re-arranged his features as she looked up at him again,
" Don't close that, Aham Ji" she said.
" Gopi, are you sure?" he asked. One side of him told him not to be a fool, and just take her request and go right ahead with the photos. But another side of him, the sensible side, told him that he had to make sure that this was entirely Gopi's choice. He wanted her to take that step forward, because she wanted to, and not by forcing her into this.
She nodded in reply. He looked into her eyes. He read hesitation.
Sighing, he put the album down, and placed both his arms on her shoulders. Bending his head slightly, so that they were head to head, he looked her directly in the eye, " Gopi, I want you to do this only if you are very sure, okay?"
She bit her lip, and nodded, " I - I'm sure, Aham ji" she whispered, closing her eyes.
She then did something that shocked him. She picked the album, placed it on her lap, and opened it to the page where they had left off. He was sure his mouth was hanging open, at the same time his heart was swelling with joy, and hope.
"Will you look at these photos with me, Aham Ji?"
1: Just a start up part after long, not sure if this is as good as the previous ones. My writing is quite rusty now. Tried to do maximum justice, as much as I could.
2: The healing starts now. Phew. Hopefully I am done with the difficult parts. Gopi seriously needs to stop crying. But I am not sure about it yet. Maybe she needs to shed more tears to heal fully. We will see. Based on what you guys think.
3: Well, sorry for this super long delay!! First the keyboard, then I was help up with official stuff, and then of course my good friend - Mr. Block!!! Will try my best to keep updating this regularly. Would like to finish this off soon.
4: Next part : The birth of the twins, and more about the child they lost.
5: R & R, please. As usual!
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SoniaGhafoor, dancydreamer, sunshine33, Jammona, kafa, Kiran_1, doc4ever, navyab, famzii05, Anhdara13, swasthi, NazmaJ,
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