Joined: 27 January 2012
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Richa was like a person possessed, running towards Sidhi to stab him. Her first stab missed and hit Sidhi on the side of her shoulder. It bruised, but had missed Richa's target by about 8 or 9 inches. As she raised her hand to stab again, Kunal stopped Richa and held her hand. In the ensuing struggle, Kunal ended up with a wound on his arm as well, but soon Gaurav and Vikram helped Kunal control Richa before more damage could be done.
Raveena: I will call the police.
Veena, who had been dumbfounded at the events of the last few minutes, went towards Richa, with anger in her eyes, and gave her another tight slap. She felt too disgusted to say anything.
BA and CA ran towards Sidhi, scared. As Gaurav and Vikram's grip loosened, Richa pushed them as well as shoved Veena and ran out of the house. Kunal held Veena and prevented her from falling, then ran outside after Richa
"Kunal" Sidhi shrieked. Blood was oozing out of Kunal's arm, but tears were oozing out of Sidhi's eyes even faster than that.
"Jaane dijiye. Ye khoon"
Sidhi was crying so bitterly, oblivious of everything else around her. She dragged Kunal inside and started trying to stop the bleeding and dressing the wound. "Kunal chaliye abhi doctor ke paas."
Kunal put a finger on Sidhi's lips.
Sidhi looked up.
Kunal wiped her tears. Sidhi suddenly grew quiet. She was suddenly aware of everyone else in the house around them. They were all rooted to their spot, staring dumbfounded, not knowing what to say or what to do. Each one was trying to process, in their own way, the implications of the truth they had fully learnt today.
Sidhi hesitated, then continued to close the dressing on Kunal's wound, not looking him in the eye again. Kunal looked closely at the woman who sat in front of him, crying for him, caring for him, unable to bear the pain caused by a mere physical wound. Could this woman, ever, willingly, give Kunal the amount of mental pain he'd endured? And if she did, what was the impact of that on her - on this woman who couldn't endure a small wound on Kunal and in tending to it, had forgotten that her own shoulder was gashed and bleeding.
Sidhi got up and started to turn away. She couldn't bear the scrutiny of people around her for another second. But Kunal held her hand and stopped her. She looked at him, with a questioning, protesting look in her eyes, but was astounded to see unadulterated love in her husband's eyes. Her Kunal, whose eyes had always melted Sidhi's heart, was telling her to stop with his eyes, and Sidhi could do nothing but comply. Sidhi's blouse was torn on her shoulder where Richa's knife had hit. Kunal picked up a cotton and tried to stop the blood, but hesitated in removing the shards of blouse to close the wound effectively. Seema, who had been watching everything with tears in her eyes, stepped forward and started to help. She stuttered, at a total loss for words. Her harsh words, her coldness towards Sidhi, and all the years she had spent cursing Sidhi came back to her.
Gaurav came and put her hand at Seema's shoulder. He understood the pain in his wife's eyes very well. He knew she had loved and cared for Sidhi as a sister once upon a time and had been deeply hurt by her betrayal. Now, she had learnt that much of it was not a betrayal but a sacrifice.
Gaurav spoke, "Both of you would need stitches. I have called the doctor here only - she should be here any minute."
Sidhi lowered her eyes. She did not have the courage to look into anyone's eyes. She did not have answers to their questions, or strength to bear more unexpected insults. She did not have the energy to blame them, or the will to forgive. Maybe she was being a coward. But years of pain and loneliness and months of physical and emotional torture had shut her into her shell and made her outwardly numb. She sat quietly as the doctor tended first to her - as her blood hadn't stopped yet - and then to Kunal, while their sons held their hands all the while.
No one else had the guts to say anything and quietly retreated to their rooms to sleep, each one trying to examine their own internal demons.
Seema lay troubled in her bed. Gaurav, well-aware of her anguish, reached out to her and held her. Seema broke down in Gaurav's arms.
Gaurav: I know you're feeling guilty, Seema. But you didn't know. What could you, or anyone else have done?
Seema: I know we didn't know. But my heart breaks when I think about what Sidhi went through for this family. For years, I saw Kunal bhaiya in pain and my heart broke. I cursed Sidhi with every ounce of will in my body. The same Sidhi who was like a sister to me. Who had stood by me when I was all alone...
Gaurav: I know. Sidhi was with you even when I wasn't. That is why it was harder for you to forgive her betrayal even more than it was for you to forgive mine.
Seema looked up at her husband. She had indeed forgiven him for all he'd done. she had paused to understand some of his complaints and point of view, saw some of her own faults and when she found Gaurav truly repentant for what he did, she decided to work at her marriage and give it one more shot. But Sidhi, she never stopped to examine or find out what made Sidhi change over night.
Seema: For nine years, Sidhi was alone in that prison. As a woman, and as a mother, I can't even imagine her pain, because she had herself distanced everyone who she loved from herself, to shield them. She gave up her newborn children - didn't even get a chance to hold them properly or hear anything about them for nine years. All because of that evil Richa. All because Sidhi wanted to keep Kunal bhaiya safe, and this family together. None of us ever went to even meet her. If I were in her place, I wouldn't have survived.
Gaurav: Shh. I don't think anyone of us has the courage to do what Sidhi did. We all hated her, but she must have been so helpless to do what she did, as a last resort. Too bad we cannot take time back, and we have lost her forever.
Seema, looked up, startled.
Seema: No we haven't lost her forever. We shouldn't. We have to make this right.
Gaurav: But Seema, she went and married Abhay Diwan. She chose him. And honestly, I can't even blame her for that anymore. With all the hatred she got from this family, from Kunal bhaiya - anyone could have broken down and given up. 9 years is a long time. None of us were there for her when she needed it. So it's not wrong if she chose her own happiness at last by marrying someone who cared for her and who could provide for her needs.
Seema: No, Sidhi can't do that. She is truly happy only with Kunal bhaiya. She can't love anyone but Kunal bhaiya.
Gaurav: Seema, you're living in the past. What normal human being, what love can survive such consistent, intense hated. Sidhi got nothing but pain in this home. Look at her, she'd been here for more than a month because of that court order. Has she ever looked happy to you? She is only here because of her sons, who she has never lived with.
Seema fell silent. Abhay was a decent man, and surely Sidhi deserved to be happy. Memories of the past, of the time when she saw Sidhi and Kunal fall for each other, came back to Seema. In her worldview, what was happening today was probably fair for Sidhi, but it still didn't feel right. There had to be a way to make this all right again, to undo what she and her family had done to the poor girl. There had to be a way to turn back the clock of time.
Sidhi lay awake, caressing CA who had fallen asleep in her arm. At some level, she was happy that her family understood why she had called Kunal a criminal in the court and divorced him. At another, she was scared because Richa was free and could do anything against Kunal or her kids. Her restlessness got the better of her and she got outside to go upto the terrace. She was startled to see Kunal there already, who'd turned to face her on hearing her footsteps.
Sidhi stopped in her tracks, as her eyes met with Kunal's. There was pain in both their eyes. Kunal's anguish was all over her face. Sidhi wanted to run into his arms, and took a step forward. But something stopped her. The memory of last time, when Kunal had refused to hug her, perhaps. The gap of time had taken Sidhi and Kunal so far apart that the four steps between seemed like a huge rift. Several times in the past, ever since she had come out of jail, Sidhi had put herself out there, honest and vulnerable to Kunal, and each time she had been spurned, or fate had mocked her. Now, Sidhi didn't have the courage any more to dare fate. Sidhi didn't have it in her to take any more rejection.
She turned to leave when she heard Kunal call her name.
Sidhi's diary lay open. The following words were inscribed on the last page.
Joined: 27 January 2012
Joined: 19 October 2012
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