Joined: 24 July 2012
Joined: 09 October 2012
|| PART 18 ||
Life is so strange - the humdrum of our daily lives seems so irrelevant on that particular day, while it is happening. When I was growing up, everything was assumed to go through in a specific way. Like for example, my dad always picked up the newspaper and milk packets from the front gate early every morning. My mom always made breakfast and gave us coffee. It is such a simple task and I assumed that it is always going to be like that in my life.
I love my dad and mom to bits, but what if sometime in the near future they aren't with me anymore - How would my life be? How come we don't think about these things, which we know for a fact are bound to crop up, for sure, at some point in our lives? How much will I miss those simple things they do for me? Seeing my dad go so close to death reinforced the value of what I already have with me. Life is so strange. It is so uncertain, yet we live in denial of this simple fact. And on the other hand, this denial is what makes our life blissful. Right? Life is so strange.
Not too long ago, if someone would have told me that I would be married to my sister's husband and be madly in love with him, I would have laughed at them. Yet, it happened. Again, when I married Virat, it was a sure thing for anyone to think that we would all come face-to-face one day - me, dad, mom, simmi, virat. But, somehow, I never ever really thought of how it would be like between the five of us at that point. We were a closely knit, loving family at one point of time. We still are, but so much has changed and Simmi had kind of drifted apart - voluntarily, from us. I had never envisioned it would be a mundane thing that I would be sitting in front of Simmi with Virat, as his wife and Simmi would be with a different guy. And that this would be a normal daily scenario? Life is so strange.
"Mannu..." Virat breaks my train of thoughts. I glance back and smile. He had come back from work. He looked tired and beaten down - everybody is. It had been a week since my dad was admitted in the hospital. He is doing really well now and they said we can all go home really soon.
Virat comes and pecks me on my cheek. These days, I have this overwhelming feeling that when he is not with me, I am somehow not complete. Does this happen with everyone? I don't know. I keep craving for his company so much. Even when I am surrounded with ten other people, if he isn't with me, a part of me is alone. I look at him and smile some more. He folds his hands around me and hugs me.
"Umm, give me a second, baby. I had a really long, exhausting day." He tightens his embrace and lets out a deep sigh.
Aw! Heaven. I close my eyes and hug him back. Will I ever get used to this? I love this man so much! When he finally releases me, he is still clutching my shoulders and looking at me, examining me.
"Somebody has their thinking face on.." he comments and puts his laptop bag on the couch I was sitting on.
"Did he eat?" he asked looking at papa sleeping peacefully on the bed beside me.
"Yeah. He ate and then he wanted me to read the newspaper. He said I am not reading it right and it made him sleepy, so he slept."
"Well, you said he is still on the pain-killers. They must make him drowsy right?"
"Right Dr.Vadhera." I tease.
"How was your day?" I ask.
"You should really get your mom home. She has fallen asleep in the lounge again." he collapses on the couch in front of me and closes his eyes with his palm.
"You didn't answer me."
"Later, I don't want to talk about it right now."
Oh shit, something is really wrong. I know that his deal was not signed and there were making a big fuss about Virat leaving abruptly in between the talks. I feel so guilty. He is just climbing back up and I don't want any hurdles in his work and I definitely do not want to be ONE of those hurdles.
"Did you upgrade? You have a brooding face now. Mannu, everything is fine, a minor hitch at work, I will deal with it. Let us deal one thing at a time, please? Right now, I want to talk to the doctor about discharge."
I nod, agreeing. I miss home. Mom and Dad do too. It has been a week since I haven't been home. Mom does not want to leave dad at the hospital and I cannot leave mom alone. So, we both have been literally camping in here.
He raises and frowns looking at me. "Hey, where is that crazy chulbuli Mannu? We need her right now. We don't need this over-thinking, over-analyzing old lady - god, what have I done to you?"
"You messed me up!" I told him with my hands on my hips.
"Yeah? How?" he smirks.
I frown. He just smiles and leads me out, holding my hand.
"We are still not talking about your sister?" he asks.
I look at him surprised. Simmi had been at the hospital on and off and Virat just refuses to acknowledge her presence. It is sometimes very, very uncomfortable for me. Especially Virat isn't like how he was before in front of everyone. Even though we have been married for some time now, we weren't really husband and wife in the true sense; but now, he is very expressive. Some of the things he does, just through me off balance. They shouldn't, because they are very much expected in between a couple - I am used to seeing my parents like that; even Priya and Rahul. But, somehow, I am inhibited and I think Virat noticed it and he is not happy about it.
Like if he is sitting beside me, he invariably holds my hands and when he comes back to me from work, he has to hug me. These and other small display of emotions, or intimacy, so to speak - well on one level, make me susceptible to a whole lot of teasing from bhabhi and mom and Rahul - I can even deal with that, they are happy for us. But, when he does this in front of Simmi, I feel guilty somehow and Virat is cool and indifferent to it. I don't know what that small prick in my heart is about? I guess it is the way she looks at us. Or it is just in my head - years of watching them both together is making me feel like a third person, an intruder? And to think about how I was' a very socially expressive person before, adds a lot more to the confusion. I just am so lost - I feel so changed and lost in sync with my old self - I think' so much these days and I am not used to this much of thinking. Usually, it is just what I feel like doing. But, these internal inhibitions and feelings are making me a completely different person.
"Oh, she is my sister now? Not your ex?" I quip sarcastically.
"Well, she is here as your sister, not as my ex." He retorts.
"She is here as a daughter." I point out.
"Well, whatever Manvi. I am just concerned about you. You seem different. I don't know if it your father or if it her hanging around here. I don't want anything bothering you."
It is her and the way she acts with you like nothing has changed between you both. She does not acknowledge the fact that I am your wife now. And she talks to everybody but me - it is like I do not exist.
"It won't." I simply tell him.
"Hmphh..." he gives me a long stare. "Let's get your dad discharged."
So, that day, we took my dad home. He hasn't been talking much and he is resting most of the time. Virat's work is a mess because of me, he is just too tired dealing with me and family and hospital and work. I am worried for him. I am worried for mom - the whole thing has shaken her up. Most importantly, I am very wary about Simmi being around. I feel like Virat is slipping away from me, even though he hasn't given me even a tiny iota of reason to feel this way.
The whole gang was at my parents place, including Simmi and her guy and it is these kind of gatherings that make me more wary. I am in the kitchen with Priya and we were just fixing some snacks. Dad was in the living room and everybody was sitting around just chatting.
"Hey!!" Priya screams in my ear and I turn to her bewildered.
"Why are you shouting?" I scream back.
"What happened to you? You are always in some other world? Did that bitch say something?"
"No. Can you keep it down a little?"
"Manvi, I am worried about you."
"Then don't. DO NOT worry about me. I am fine. Why does everyone keep worrying about me? Worry about dad, he is the one who is sick, not me. Just let me be, okay?" I snap at her.
"What's going on?" Virat comes in curiously. Great, as if she isn't inquisitive enough.
"Your wife is crazy. Please talk to her." Bhabhi mutters to Virat and leaves with the snacks.
Virat walks to me and stands in front of me. He doesn't say anything. He is just looking at me with that probing look of his.
God! Stop it!!!
I just hand him a glass of juice which he takes without turning his eyes of me.
"I think I will stay with mom for a few days." I told him.
He doesn't reply anything.
"STOP STARING AT ME LIKE THAT!"
"LIKE I AM A f**kING NUT CASE."
"Virat, please drink the juice and eat something. You haven't eaten anything since morning."
"Manvi..." he holds my hand, comes closer cups my face with his other hand. "I don't know what's going on in your head and know you won't tell me today. That's okay. Whatever is eating you, let me just tell you that it is all going to be fine. All these are just passing clouds and you are I will get through things. Your dad is doing so much better already and he is lucky to have a daughter like you. My work is going to be fine too. If things get out of hand, I will go back to calif for a couple of days and sort things out."
"When will you go?"
"I don't know. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't."
"When are you going to join the hospital? You were supposed to join on the first. It is the 4th today."
"Once, papa starts walking." I tell him.
He lifts my chin up and makes me look up into his eyes. "I love you a lot, you know that right?"
"You will be amazed, how much. And I miss your smile and I miss our little bubble." he tells me.
I smile and start blushing. He is gazing at me with a crooked smile. "I miss our bubble too."
"Ah, there you go - my beautiful, maniacal wife." He leans in and gently grazes my lips with his. Oh my god! I cannot believe how much I missed this. My lips respond immediately and I kiss him back, gently taking his lower lip and he smiles and crashes onto me - kissing me, deeply and passionately.
"Can I help you? SIMMI?" we hear Priya's voice and I break apart. I look at the door and Simmi was looking at us bewildered and Priya was standing behind her, hands folded and looking at her with a what-the-hell-do-you-want look. Simmi glares at me and I shudder.
"Yo! Don't you have something to do other than mindless glaring?" Priya snaps her finger in front of Simmi.
Simmi glares at her too. But Priya, she glares right back at her. That's so rude!
"I wanted to talk to Virat?"
"About?" Priya demanded. Why can't I be like that?
Because you still love Simmi, my conscious told me.
She looked cornered and Rahul also joins. Everyone is looking at Simmi for an answer. Simmi was looking at my hand that Virat was holding. I try to take it back but Virat does not let go. He clasps it more strongly.
"To ask if I could get some of my old clothes back. I had left a lot of them behind when I left...the house."
"I don't think Virat lives in a museum with historical artifacts'" Priya laughed.
Virat had a small smile on his face but he doesn't say anything. When Simmi looked to him. "I don't have any of your stuff Simmi." He tells her politely.
"You threw my stuff?" Simmi looked at him shocked.
It is this look that bothers me the most. The look, that connection they have..had ..I don't know. It is like she feels she still has some kind of a right on mu husband.
"I didn't have any space to spare and frankly, I didn't think you would come back for them after a certain point."
Simmi looked down and left silently. She looked shocked. Virat sat down at the table having his juice.
"What was all that about? Please take your ex-wife back to the crack house. She doesn't belong in the society normal people dwell." Priya comments coming in.
Virat just shrugged.
"That Sameer is getting on my nerves." She continued telling Virat while I was fixing a sandwich for him. He likes them with peanut jelly - yes, my husband secretly likes kiddish food.
"Just because he is won a f**king award, does not mean he he can comment on the way my boss took care of uncle. My boss is the best cardio surgeon the whole city. That Sameer insults him one more time and I am burying him alive."
"Wife, you are a doctor, you are supposed to save lives." Rahul quips cheerfully.
"Sameer is an exception to the oath I took to save lives. I can add you to the exceptions list too. Don't bug me, I am having quite a day." She started fighting with Rahul.
Clearly, Priya is in a very foul mood.
"PMSing much?" Rahul laughed.
"Rahul, you are a jerk." Virat joined in.
They started their banter.
Virat comes and puts his hand around me. "You okay?"
"Yo Romeo, Juliet - get a room."
"Yes, that's right. My wife doesn't romance and doesn't let others romance either." Rahul frowns at Priya.
"Romance? With you it is just flatulence."
Virat dies laughing.
Rahul opens his mouth in shock and runs to kill her. They are running around and Rahul says "Our marriage works best when you have night shifts. That way, I can sleep peacefully...tiger ki ammi"
Entertaining couple as always, they were.
"Mannu, Virat. Dad wants to talk to you guys." Mom comes in and tells us.
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