Joined: 18 March 2012
Two lost souls,
searching for answers
Riding the winds,
desperate to change.
As they glide through the air,
they see each other,
recognizing each other's pain.
For a lingering moment,
they touch slowly.
Taking the time to feel again.
Slowly the winds stop blowing them
in different directions.
Their bodies collide with gentle perfection.
"This is the most beautiful gift ever, Palak. What can I give you as return gift?"
Palak's answer was prompt as she smiled innocently.
"Please be my mumma, Aunty."
Everyone in the room was shocked to silence….only Palak and Ansh were smiling hopefully….suppressed excitement writ large on their angelic faces. Mishti's heart sank as she recalled Yashji's words…"She wants a mumma…she has already decided who her mumma is and is planning to propose to her." Did he know then? Why didn't he tell her? She closed her eyes and looked down for a moment….and knew he was around her here…somewhere. She looked up and around and saw everyone looking at her expectantly, and not correcting Palak, as should have been the case. Now that was strange!! But the two cherubs standing before her demanded her attention more…and more than that their eyes demanded an answer. It was clear to her that Anshu too was in on this. Mishti looked at both of them with an affectionate smile.
"Hmmm…..so this is my Big birthday surprise…a proposal from the beautiful little princess of this magnificent castle to be her Queen mother."
"Hee…hee…hee…Yes.…(Palak grinned back, nodding her head vigorously)…. Papa has bought a ring for you and he will also props to you."
"Mumma," Ansh came and whispered aloud in her ear, "Say yes…please."
Mishti wound one hand around Ansh's waist and with the other pulled Palak closer to her and whispered softly, conspirationally.
"Hush Ansh…not so loud…. Princess, I would love to say Yes now only, but there's a teeny-weeny problem."
"What problem, Aunty?" She whispered back.
Mishti looked at others with pleading eyes and they moved away, realizing the awkwardness of her situation. Still kneeling, she stood both of them in front of her. Then she took Palak's small hands in hers and continued whispering, with Ansh leaning in so as not to miss anything.
"Well…you see…I have a confession to make. When God gave me Ansh, I learnt how to be mumma to only a prince (looking at Ansh, who smiled)…I didn't know a princess will one day ask me to be her mumma, so I never learnt how to be mumma to one (sounding very sad)…And now if I say Yes and become your mumma, God will punish me."
"Oh no, Aunty? So, what should we do now?"
"Hmm...let me think (tapping her temple and furrowing her brows in concentration as the kids waited eagerly)…I got it!...I'll first learn to be mumma of a princess for one month…and after one month you will have your mumma."
"I promise, beta…your mumma will be with you after a month, and your papa too can give the ring then only….but in return you two have to promise me something….(as they waited) you have to promise that you will not say anything about this to anyone. This will be our little secret. Everyday I'll tell you what I learnt. So, whatsay? Promise?"
As Mishti extended her hand, the duo looked at each other, smiled, and then kept their hands in Mishti's who then covered their hands with the other hand and winked at them. They both kept their free hand on their mouth and giggled. Mishti then got up with a smile, Palak and Ansh holding her hand on her either side.
"Ahem…Don't I get to cut this beautiful cake. I am dying to taste it."
As everyone gathered around the table, Yash slipped away from behind the pillar of the far corner from where he had witnessed the entire interaction. She had done it again….managed to stay away, and at the same time ensuring Palak stays smiling. Yash knew he could not delay this any longer…She would never let up. He had one call to make before he….Something made him stop and glance toward the group…Mishti was looking at him. He just had time to register deep hurt and complain in those eyes….and then she turned away, laughing at something Pari said. Mishti blew the candles and cut the cake and then passed the piece around for everyone to take a bite. She was about to keep the remnant of the piece down on the plate when her wrist was held from behind and she was twirled around.
"My share, I believe." Yash looked into her eyes as he brought her hand to his mouth and ate the piece. Her eyes widened at his brazenness and she reddened inadvertently. She fought for control as Gupta uncle spoke.
"Where were you, Yash? You told me you would be here before us."
"I am sorry, baba…I got held up. Prateek, did you check on the rooms?"
"I did bhaiya…everything is perfect."
At Yash's nod Prateek guided everyone out, except Mishti who was stuck as Palak held her hand. Palak's happiness had doubled at the prospect of this night out.
"Are we going to stay here, papa?"
"Yes my love (getting down on one knee)…we'll have a grand picnic around a bonfire and have lots of fun and then spend the night here. This is celebration time….After all this is Aartiji's birthday as also that the Princess of this castle has stepped into it (he looked up at Mishti who had her back to him and whispered)…finally!!"…(He heard that sharp intake of breath as she clenched her fingers into a fist.)
"C'mon Princess, Ansh…let's go and…"
Yash looked at her. She kept her eyes averted as she spoke with a tremor.
"I cannot stay here….I mean I am very grateful to you for going to all the trouble to get this party arranged…but it was not required (she looked at him now, trying to get the message across)…my decision will not change. I mean I cannot be here because I am needed elsewhere."
"No, no Aunty…you have to stay. Please…please. I can then sleep with you…and you can tell us a story…right Ansh?"
"Yes mumma…please stay. We have holidays also."
"Yes…but what about dadu, Ansh…you know he…"
"Supriya is here, Aartiji. Babuji's room has been arranged to his comfort. Now, will you stay…please?"
With no excuses left, Mishti had to agree. The kids danced around them, chattering, as they walked out toward the place where a big bonfire burnt. The next couple of hours were an ordeal for Mishti, as she tried her best to stay cheerful for the sake of the kids and everyone else and to avoid Yash totally by staying away from him. Now she sat across him with the fire in between. She was not unmindful of his frequent glances…but willed herself not to look his way. She smiled at seeing Pari and Neema having a blast at Prateek's expense…Those three had struck a chord of their own. Her eyes moistened as she saw babuji laugh and regale everyone with stories of a life left behind. He looked genuinely happy…yet she could not ignore the deep sorrow he hid in him and never let her see, lest she gets upset. Because of her…because of that vile man's obsession for her…babuji had lost everything he had…his son and bahu, his house, his town, his life. Because of her a happy family went out of existence. Suddenly she felt stifled and a sense of deep loneliness engulfed her. Yash was watching the play of emotions on her expressive face as the shadows from the flames danced across it. It killed him to see the sadness reflected in her eyes. He saw her get up quietly and leave. He gestured Prateek to take care of the kids, as he got up to follow her. He had an idea where she would have gone.
He knew he would find her there. She was sitting on the stone bench in front of the tower, looking up at the glass room…her room. There was a lost look in her face, which was as mesmerizing as it was heartbreaking.
"So you are running away from me again."
She turned her head toward him. Somehow she was not surprised that he was there…as if his presence was just an extension of her thoughts.
"I don't know what you are saying. I am not doing any such thing. I came away because I…..I…I have an urgent call to make. Excuse me…"
He knew that she was just about ready to pass this over again. And he knew he couldn't take it anymore. Yash grabbed her hand as she tried to walk past him and pulled her toward the tower….She tried to break free. No…no…no…She couldn't go up there…just couldn't…she knew she would be lost if she went there. He held tight, and on reaching the tower pressed her against the wall, snatching the phone from her trembling fingers. He then caught her hand…entwining her fingers in his…and held it against his heart…just like he used to do all those years ago. She looked wildly for an escape…but there was no escaping him…not this time.
"Look at me, Mishti."
"Yashji…I am not…"
He put the index finger of the other hand on her lips.
"Don't," he quietly said, and then turned abruptly and pulled her into the lift of the tower and pushed the button without once leaving her hand. Mishti was speechless, part of it due to his closeness to her and the other part due to the sudden seriousness of his demeanor.
The lift door opened into paradise…there was no other word to describe the ambiance she stepped into. Starry skies surrounded her as the moonbeams danced around the room from the glass dome that extended till the floor. Wherever she looked, she saw twinkling space. Hands clasped to her bosom, she twirled around on her toes, enthralled at the sight of a long-forgotten dream coming alive. Her feet felt as if she was floating on air. She looked down to see rose petals scattered all over, as concealed lights lit the floor dimly. A round bed at the center was the only piece of furniture. She stood silent looking out…..Why…Oh God, Why? Why did he have to love her so? She hated herself for what she had to do now. She took a deep breath and turned to find him standing with his back to the lift door, legs crossed, hands in pocket, staring at her with so much love that she found her breath caught in her throat. Time stood still as they gazed at each other beneath the stars. In dream she saw him straighten himself and take a step toward her.
"Mishti." His whisper was a cry that reached the core of her heart as she closed her eyes…and then opened them with a determination, speaking haltingly.
"I am not Mishti, Yashji!….Oh, by the way this is a beautiful room. You really are an architectural genius. Who would have thought of building something like this?"
"Mishti!!" he repeated and took another step forward, without breaking the eyelock.
"Yashji, I am not Mishti!!" She tried again.
"Yes, you are. Mishti, how long are you going to do this?" He reached her, his eyes looking into hers. Mishti took a step back from him, but immediately Yash took a step forward, his hands grabbing her shoulders to keep her still. "How long, Mishti, before we can finally talk about it?"
Mishti nervously swallowed, shaking her head and doing her best to avoid his eyes. She knew she would drown if she did. She needed to stay afloat…for Ansh…for babuji. Her heart began racing and she felt herself being pulled toward him. Her entire being was betraying her. In a last-ditch effort, she decided to play dumb.
"What are you talking about, Yashji? Why are you being like this?" She looked away…out in the space… her eyes trying to find a solution in the maze of the twinkling stars.
"Why are you being like this?" His grip on her shoulders tightened. He wanted so desperately to shake her out of her obstinacy and he would have too if he thought it would make any difference. But his Mishti was too stubborn. If she has a reason, she will fight him till the end….
"Look at me, Mishti….Answer me, for God's sake!!" he ordered. Mishti wanted to ignore it, but something about his voice made her realize that refusing to do what he said wasn't a choice any more. So she looked up, and her breath caught in her throat. Yash's eyes shone, and he looked as if he was in extreme pain. She felt an yearning to reach up and smoothen out the wrinkles that had etched themselves on his forehead. His gaze narrowed in on her and he stared with such intensity that she felt hypnotized.
"Wh…what do you mean? I am just being myself…..How can I make you believe that I am not Mishti? I told you that we had a lot of similarities because…."
"Yes…yes…I remember all that you told me…(his frustration knew no bounds at her tenacity)….You say your voice resembles…no, is exactly as…Mishti's….OK…agreed!!! Then tell me how is it then that each nuance, each lilt, each rhythm, each intake of breath that is registered in my soul and is in your speech is my Mishti's…How is it that your fragrances are same and also that like her you too are in a habit of chewing your lip?…(Mishti stared at him dumbfounded.)...You know how I take my coffee without ever meeting me before….what was that, a wild guess? Apart from names you even share your birthdays…You keep the roses I gave her and even took one from the bouquet I got the other day...Should I go on?…And even if I agree to your explanation of coincidental similarities to all of that…can you explain this Mrs Aarti Dubey: Why are you called Aarti Yash Dubey and not Aarti Aman Dubey? Can you?...(Stunned silence as Mishti stared at his face, which was drawn with pain)…..I'll tell you why? You removed yourself from me…far-far away, but you couldn't remove me away from you…..Isn't it so, Mishti? Isn't it?...Answer me…dammit!!!
"Please……please don't, Yashji….I can't take it any more…" Mishti had gone white and her lips refused to form the lies again.
She stuttered, her focus waning, the fight gone from her on the face of the tortuous onslaught and the pain she saw he was going through. A single tear escaping his eyes broke the final barrier in her. She closed her eyes in resignation and swayed toward him….and suddenly all she could think of was how safe she felt, how much she had missed him, how much she needed him, how her eyes always looked for him, how close he was, how his lips were mere inches away from her. Suddenly, his eyes dropped from looking into her eyes and down to her lips, as if he heard her thoughts.
"Mishti," he whispered and he leaned in. His lips lightly touched hers, but the slightest pressure along with the surprise of his move was enough to make her gasp. Her eyes flew open…and for once she didn't hold back and let herself drown into his gaze. Yash felt exhilarated at the sudden feel of liberation. The hands on her shoulders slowly dropped down and found themselves on her back, pushing her closer to him. Her body molded into his perfectly as he pressed her mouth open, kissing her deeply and then pulling apart to look at her wondrously and then covering her face with kisses till he found her lips again. Their souls had just made contact on another level and rejoiced at this union…erasing the years of loneliness and longing with that one touch.
She should have pushed him away, but she couldn't think. For that one moment, she gave herself to him…where she always belonged…All thoughts and fears flew out of her mind and all that registered was his sparsh and that was enough. Her whole being felt alive. Her eyes fluttered until they finally closed, and her hands slowly made their way around his neck, giving him and receiving the soul-stirring touch that had evaded them for six long years. Yash finally had his heaven in his arms and he was drowning deep into her essence…He gathered her to him tighter. Their cheeks were wet with each other's tears that could not stay back against the intensity of their love. It wasn't until he whispered against her mouth, Dear God Mishti, I love you…I won't ever let you go away from me again…that Mishti realized what she was doing. Reluctantly, her hands moved to his shoulders and she did her best to push him away.
"No," she muttered as his lips broke away from hers. "We can't do this."
"Why?" Yash asked, his arms still around her despite her hands trying to keep him at a distance. "Give me a good reason why."
"Because," Mishti said, trying to catch her breath. She tried to clear her mind and think coherently. "It wouldn't end well."
"How do you know that?" Yash cried, finally letting her go and stepping back from her, brushing his fingers through his hair in acute agitation. "How could you possibly know that when we have barely even found each other again? What's bothering you Mishti? Why have you pulled away from me? Tell me my love….tell me everything and we will sort this out together. Let me in, Darling….please."
Mishti felt tears prickling her eyes and flowing down. She looked away from him as her fingers unconsciously touched her lips.
"It's not about you and me any more….it never was. I won't insult her sacrifice."
To be continued……
Dear friends...Sparsh is continued in this second thread. Congratulations for making this happen!!
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