Joined: 29 March 2012
The door opened and Arnav immediately rushed towards the man in the white coat, the man who held Arnav Singh Raizada's lifeline in his hands. Arnav had never felt so helpless, ever since that fateful day thirteen years ago, when his life had spiraled far beyond his control. He had never allowed himself to be at the mercy of another person again, but in that moment, as he waited for the man in the white coat to speak, Arnav knew that man would decide his fate.
Dr. Verma looked around at the family surrounding him, waiting with bated breath for him to speak. The man who had refused to let the young woman out of his arms earlier looked so apprehensive Dr. Verma was afraid he would have another patient on his hands. The man, whom he assumed to be the woman's husband, looked about ready to fall at his feet. The doctor inwardly smiled. Young love was always a beautiful thing to see.
"Doctor? Doctor! How is she?"
"Is Khushi betiya alright?"
"Please doctor! Is my sister ok?"
As one anxious voice after another pelted him with questions, the doctor began speaking, choosing his words carefully.
"She lost quite a bit of blood due to the injuries on her wrist. We've injected blood into her and stitched up--"
He was cut off by an angry voice. "I don't care what the operating procedures were. Tell me how she is dammit!"
It was confirmed. This man was definitely her husband. The intense worry, the love shining out of his eyes were all the evidence he needed. But the guilt.. the remorse emanating from the man did not fit the picture. There was much more to this story. But that was not his business. And so Dr. Verma merely responded, rather than seeking the answers he was curious for.
"Her condition is stable. Due to the loss of blood, she's still unconscious but she will be fine. She will be very weak when she wakes up however so you must all take proper care of her. Do not put any stress on her; she cannot handle it."
Anjali finally let loose the tears she had been holding in ever since she had seen the horrific sight of Khushi's motionless body in her brother's trembling arms. She had not allowed herself to cry; she did not deserve to weep away the grief. But upon hearing the doctor's pronouncement, Anjali granted herself a small respite and the tears silently poured down her face. The guilt was still there, but it had lessened somewhat. She did not have an innocent girl's death on her hands, which were already stained with her blood.
"Doctor, I need you to promise me that news of this.. accident.. will stay private."
"Of course, there is no need to tell me that. All information regarding a patient is strictly confidential."
"No Doctor, you don't understand. The woman you just treated is Khushi.. Khushi Kumari Gupta, my bhabi. And I am Akash Singh Raizada."
It did not take long for Dr. Verma to understand the implication behind Akash's statement. He looked back at the man sitting on the bench. There was an expression of absolute relief adorning his handsome face and he looked nothing like the formidable business tycoon constantly featured in the media. His clothing was rumpled, stained with his wife's blood, in stark contrast to his normally impeccable suits.
He turned back to Akash. "Of course, Mr. Raizada. You have my word."
Akash thanked the doctor, mulling over his own choice of words. He had not been able to add the Singh Raizada to Khushi's name, as she had proudly done in the earlier days, before his brother had trampled over her dreams. She was not a Raizada, not truly. His Bhai had never accepted her as his wife and Akash had been unable to perpetuate the lie. But she was still his sister and the relationship she had forged with him could never be broken. He was indebted to her and always would be, and he had failed her, in so many accounts. But as he looked through the window at Khushi's still form, Akash made a vow. I will protect you Khushiji.
As the fear slowly subsided, Arnav's other priorities surfaced in his mind. Di. The panic once again hit him with alarming alacrity. He had forgotten about his sister in his terror over Khushi's state, but Khushi was safe now and Di.. He shot to his feet and scanned the corridor but his sister was nowhere in sight. He quickly walked over to his grandmother and aunt.
"Nani? Mami? Where's Di?"
"Anjali Betiya? She went to rest in the room around the corner," Nani answered distractedly.
As Arnav immediately turned in the direction his grandmother had pointed, Manorama came in between. Arnav stopped, irritated, and the frustration must have shown on his face for his aunt hastened to explain herself.
"Arnav Bitwa, it's about Anjali Betiya. She seems really upset. Please talk to her."
"That's exactly what I was planning on doing Mami. Now if you would please excuse me.."
Without waiting for a reply, Arnav walked around his aunt, who stood there with her mouth agape, as though he had said something incredibly shocking. Shaking his head in exasperation, Arnav continued on towards his sister.
He paused with his hand on the door handle. He would have to handle this with great delicacy. His sister was hopelessly in love with her husband but there was no way he was going to let that bas***d anywhere near his precious sister. She was innocent, a delicate flower. She would be crushed when she found out the truth. But it was a truth that would have to be told.
Arnav took a deep breath and pushed open the door. Anjali was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, gazing out the window, as though searching for answers out there.
"Chotte! Khushi, is she ok? Did something happen!?"
"Khushi is fine Di. But there's something I do need to tell you."
"What is it Chotte?"
"Di, please don't get upset. Just remember, we are all here for you. You don't have to face this alone. We love you Di. And we can't bear it if you're hurt.."
"Chotte, I know that. What's going on? Just tell me."
"Di.. I don't know how to say this. But what happened to Khushi was not an accident. She was driven to such an extreme by a certain person. And Di.. that person'. that person is your husband. Shyam did this to Khushi."
Arnav looked at Anjali then, bracing himself for the tears, for the pain he could not tolerate in his sister's eyes. He had expected shock, disbelief, or even fury to be on her expressive face but what he saw there instead left him reeling. She wore a look of resignation, of grim acceptance and that was when Arnav knew. His sister was not the gullible, unsuspecting woman he had believed her to be. She had known the truth, perhaps longer than he had. She had known all along and she had chosen to keep silent.
*THIS IS ENTIRELY OF MY OWN CREATION. PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE.*
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