A/N: This update is for Tangamji, for all the honest feedback she has given me right from the beginning.
January the second, 2012
The page I am writing on is now lit up by the first rays of dawn.
Sleep has deserted Shantivan tonight, and the new morning will change nothing inside this house,which has been tainted forever .
Again, I question my uncharacteristic urge to pen my thoughts down in a journal more than once tonight. I have to do this,though. It's the only way to clear them from my mind ,and create a calm space where I can think.
Some would call me crazy for sitting here like this, apparently calm while writing a journal entry even as every other member of this family has been shaken by the events of today.
But I don't care what anyone else thinks. I never have.
All I know is that my turmoil will not let me rest, or function normally.
But was this the only way to deal with this ?
What I really want to do is tell all this to someone else, but there is no one.
No one would understand , except her.
And yet, I cannot talk to her.
About this, or anything else.
How do you face the person whose life you have just ruined?
Looking into her tormented eyes would destroy me, and my destruction will serve no purpose here.
I have to stay, and fight.
Until tonight,I have fought against her.
I fought her when she threatened my barren existence , bringing life and light into my world when I thought I didn't need them.
I fought her for making me feel, when I had been perfectly happy in an emotionless vacuum.
And finally, I fought against her when I thought she had committed the ultimate sin by betraying me.
But this time, I will fight for her.
I will fight to avenge the heinous crime committed against her.
I will fight to bring life back into those deadened eyes.
Her eyes weren't always like this.
They are my first memory of her, wide, terrified hazel orbs that stared back at me when she fell off that ramp into my arms.
They sparkled with mischief when she called me Laad Governor.
They glinted with tears when she looked at the stars.
Absolute love shone out of them when she spoke to her parents. A dreamy haze clouded them when we danced together.
They widened in shock when I kissed her on the cheek. And pure,unbridled joy lit up those hazel depths when she saw her favorite jalebis.
And lately, I had seen another emotion in that expressive gaze. An unknown, unnamed emotion , that echoed in my heart as well.
I saw this when she wore the bangles I had gifted her. I even saw it when I placed that Bindi on the mirror earlier today.
But I see none of those emotions when I looked at her earlier.
There was no emotion at all.
There was nothing there.
I realize that I would prefer seeing her the way she was earlier tonight . At least her eyes had some emotion in them, even if it was the pain I had inflicted on her myself..
I just read my last two lines and I cannot believe how selfish I am, even at this moment. Why am I only concerned with my feelings and my preferences? This is not the time to think about what I want.
I have to focus on helping her.
And to do that, I have to get this out of my system first .
I have to write about what happened earlier tonight.
I had been sitting there in my room, when I realized that I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't look at her shivering figure, crouched down by the poolside where I had thrown her. I was afraid that I would give in, and bring her back inside.
To get away from that temptation, I fled.
As I had done many times before, I went on a drive,but I soon realized that no matter how far I went, I couldn't escape.
The image of that pain-filled, questioning gaze was still seared across my vision, blinding me to everything else.
It suddenly hit me that I hadn't even told her why I had married her, even though she had asked me that question. I hadn't told her what I had seen on the terrace.
I hadn't told her about Shyam's confession, about how she had an illicit relationship with him.
And now I wanted her to know exactly what she was being punished for.
And so I turned back towards Shantivan.
I had barely stepped inside when I felt it. That eerie stillness that is never a good sign.
Without knowing why, I hurried up the stairs towards my room,my heart pounding with an unknown foreboding.
I refused to acknowledge that it was fear for her safety that drove me up those steps.
This was my house, after all. What could possibly happen to her here?
As I pushed open the door , I knew I had been wrong.
Horribly, horrendously wrong.
Because evil had found its way inside my refuge.
I had let it in myself.
But there was no time for guilt, or repentance.
As I rushed towards the glass sliding door that separated my room from the poolside, I saw the full extent of that evil.
And for a moment, it paralyzed me.
Shyam Jha stood over her trembling form, her dupatta clutched in his hands.
A demonic grin transformed his face , and the sight chilled my soul .
I realized he was speaking, and the few words I could hear through the glass chilled me further .
He was telling her in explicit detail how he was going to take the innocence that Arnav Singh Raizada apparently didn't want, since I had left her alone by the poolside on my wedding night.
He was so intent on her that he failed to see me on the other side of the glass, furiously trying to get the door open .
I suddenly realized that my efforts were in vain, the b*****d had locked the door from inside.
And he was still speaking, telling her now about how he would be satisfied by taking her body, since he knew quite well that her heart belonged to another.
I stilled at those words, their significance searing my soul even as I tried to think of ways in which I could break down the door.
In the end, I chose crude force, and slammed my body against the door again and again, hoping to break it down.
The resulting noise finally alerted him to my presence, and he looked up at me, the madness in his eyes apparent even at this distance.
And then he did something that terrified me.
He threw his head back and laughed.
I suddenly realized the one thing that should have been apparent immediately.
Shyam Jha had lost it completely.He had gone off the deep end.
And now I understood the full extent of the danger she was in.
I had placed her there.
Even as I thought those words, I saw him tilt his head as he looked from me to her, his hands twisting her dupatta around his wrist before suddenly flinging it into the poolside.
I saw his intent a moment before it actually happened.
He pulled her up from the floor roughly, and abruptly started tearing at her clothes.I continued pounding away at the door like a madman, until I noticed something that terrified me and gave me hope, all at the same time.
She was fighting back.
My slim, delicate-looking, fragile wife was kicking him, and trying to claw at his face.
She finally managed to hurt his eye , and he clutched the injured part , reflexively letting her go.
She ran away from him towards me, and crashed against the other side of the door in a panic-stricken frenzy.
I stilled again, and watched as she raised her hand, as if she was trying to touch me through the glass.
My heart soared, even as my mind tried to come up with a way to bring her out.
A word escaped her lips, and my heart stopped as I realized what she had just said.
It was so much more than just my name.
It was an acknowledgement and, a plea.
A prayer , and an order.
And I badly wanted to reply,and obey.
But even as my lips formed her name, I saw her eyes widen, and then drop downwards.
I followed her gaze to realize that the monster's hands were around her waist now, dragging her back towards the poolside .
But she was still resisting him, her eyes still holding onto mine in a final,desperate call for help.
I redoubled my efforts to break the door down, and looked around for something that could aid me in breaking the glass.The side table would have to do, and I picked it up, banging it against the glass in a frenzied attempt to get to her.
But I had barely struck the first blow when the strength suddenly went out of my arms as I saw the horrible sight through the glass.
He had overpowered her now, and had her down on the ground, his hands once again attempting to tear at her clothes .
And once again, she was fighting back .
She hit him on the face again and again with an object that I couldn't see,but it must have been sharp because it left vivid streaks of blood on his face.
I barely had time to register this when I suddenly heard a multitude of footsteps behind me.
The noise has brought my family into my room, and their questioning voices echoed around me.
And then, there was sudden, utter silence as they took in the nightmare being played out by the poolside.
I knew what they were seeing.
It was something I wouldn't forget as long as I lived.
Her efforts to injure him had enraged him further , and he had now pulled her hands up above her head.
He was telling her something, but I couldn't hear him above the dull roar in my ears.
And then he looked up at me, and the look in his eyes told me that something worse was about to happen.
And I was right.
Uncaring about the fact that the entire family stood behind me, a group that included his own pregnant wife, Shyam Jha ran one hand down her body, slowly trailing his fingers along her trembling form.And while he did this, he never once looked away from my eyes .
I understood his intent, just as clearly as if he had spoken it aloud.
He was going to prove that he had won.
He was going to show me that I had been defeated.
And he was going to do this by assaulting my wife in front of my eyes.
My heart screamed in anguish, even as I raised the table towards the glass again..
But a hand stopped me, and I turned towards the person who had been foolish enough to come between me and her.
It was my cousin, NK.
And he was yelling at me, his furious gestures pointing towards the pool going unnoticed by my panic stricken eyes.
All my attention was focused on her.Shyam was still looking at me, his filthy hand now retracing its path over her body.
At that moment, I knew only one thing.
If there had been no barrier between us, Shyam Jha would be a dead man.
I raised the table again, and once more NK stopped me, and my brother Akash joined him on my other side.
Pieces of what they were saying filtered through the red haze that obscured my vision.
They were saying something about my security team installing bulletproof glass..It made no sense to me.
NK probably realized this, because he caught me by the shoulders and shook me, turning me away from the poolside as he did so.
And what he was saying finally pierced through my clouded mind.
He was reminding me that there was another way to get to the poolside.
The stairs across the other side of the pool, how had I forgotten that?
I turned to run out of my room towards those stairs , hoping, praying that I wasn't too late.
I heard NK running behind me, and he was still saying something that I couldn't hear over the pounding of my heart.
More people were with him, but I didn't pause to check who it was.
I took the steps three at a time, praying to a God I didn't even believe in.
Please, let her be safe.
Please, let her be unharmed.
I even made foolish promises, and bargains, trying to strike a deal with the Almighty.
Let me suffer in her place.
Let her be safe..
I finally reached the poolside, and stopped abruptly as a shocking sight met my eyes.
NK was shouting now, and most of my family was, too.
But I couldn't hear them.
I couldn't see anything but her still form lying by the poolside, one arm trailing in the water.
I ran to her immediately, pulling her up into my arms and cradling her to my chest as I tried to push the hair out of her eyes..
Her skin felt cold and clammy, and I remember reaching for her wrist to feel for a pulse, my own pulse racing in terror at what I would find.
I remember feeling the most intense relief I had ever known when I felt the faint pulse under my fingers.
I remember clutching her to my heart, kissing her hair again and again, even as someone tried to pull me away..
What happened after that is a blur..
Fragments of the time after that are coming back to me now.
NK telling me that we should take her inside.
Bringing her into my room, placing her on the bridal bed..the flowers a cruel reminder of what should have been..
Akash calling the doctor..
Anjali Di fainting at that moment..
The doctor arriving in minutes, examining her first and then my Di..
Asking for both the women to be taken to the hospital for further tests..
The nightmarish wait in the hospital as I waited to hear the result of my own mistakes..
Being informed that she was fine, and had sustained only superficial injuries, but my Di would have to stay overnight for observation since she was pregnant..
I remember laughing like a lunatic at the word 'superficial'. How could that dreadful deed be described in that way? Did these doctors even know what they were talking about?
I remember the Guptas arriving, their tears and cries filling the corridor..
The argument about where we would take her, and finally deciding to bring her back to Shantivan for now since it was close by..
The doctor's advice to hire a nurse for her..
The ride back home, her sedated form stretched out in the backseat..
NK carrying her inside, and placing her on the bed in the guest-room.
Where I have kept a watch now for hours.
I realized that I would probably go mad with self-recrimination, and an all-consuming guilt if I kept looking at her pale, still face, and so I decided to stay outside the room.
And then I decided to chase my demons away by writing this.
As if it could ever be that easy.
Everyone keeps throwing me weird glances when they pass by, but no one has dared to approach me yet.
But I have no time to think about the startling piece of information that he has just given me, because I have just noticed something.
She is waking up.
And when she opens her eyes this time, she will see me here.
But will I be able to face her?
What will I say to her?
What can I possibly say to a woman whose name I haven't even been able to write down for the past few hours?
PS: I'm sure most of you have realized by now about my inspiration for this. It is my small tribute to the memory of someone who fought till the very end.
New readers, please send me a buddy request for PMs of updates.
Edited by EXPELLIARMUS - 03 January 2013 at 10:47pm