Joined: 27 April 2014
Joined: 28 March 2015
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Joined: 27 April 2014
The following 1 member(s) liked the above post:
Joined: 27 April 2014
Ranveer made several attempts to separate himself from Ishani but in vain, given her arms tightly clung onto him as if her entire life depended on it and she was unaware of it. He felt his head ache, the weariness eventually taking its toll over him as he rubbed his temple in hope to stay awake for a more while but the room about him, against his wishes, only spun rapidly, making him slowly groan in pain. Gradually, he leaned back and pushed Ishani upto him as her head now rested on his chest, but he dared not waking her.
Long time passed and he remained seated on his place, Ishani sleeping peacefully in his arms, her warm breath sending shiver down his spine. He closed his eyes, and slowly stroked her hair, and it was then when Ishani stirred.
"Ishani?" he said, but she had again fallen asleep. But to Ranveer's relief, her right arm this time hung down and slowly pulled it up, taking her in his arms, and settled her on the bed. He covered her in the blanket and stood up, walking towards the couch that sat comfortably on a distance, and settled himself on it. His eyes followed the peacefully sleeping Ishani and the memories of her last visit few weeks ago flicked in his mind. She was such a child back then! He smiled. "Read me this book, Ranveer!" she had said in her usual childlike tone, and at his confused look, she had only giggled adorably, making him smile as well. That's what she always did. Always made him smile when the pain clung onto him interminably, and he was thankful to God for that.
But few things were meant to exist in the thoughts and dreams only. Fairy tales never came true, did they? But only if their fragile hearts could understand.
He shifted his gaze to another side, the stirring curtains revealing a heavenly view to the garden as he walked towards the window and drew them aside. The trees stirred slowly, gently swaying at the rhythm of the wind and their wet leaves glistening in the white and golden radiance of the lamps that dimly radiated the light through their dim abodes. Sleep that had threatened him until a while ago left him as well as he leaned his head on the icy windowpane, feeling the breeze hit his face coldly. It might rain again, he thought, as the clouds grumbled once more darkly in the sky, and soon enough, the downpour came gently plunging down and wetted him in a while.
"God, it's..." he said, and closed the window hurriedly, drawing the curtains back into their place. "Ishani was right."
He returned to sofa and sank down upon it, lost in thoughts, and in a while amid the pitter-patter of the falling rain, he fell asleep peacefully.
The rain still continued to fall but the dawn was close, yet the dark had not gone completely. Ishani opened her eyes as a pleasant dream passed her over and then faded into the mists of another one of which she had no inkling as the memory of the reality crossed her mind and she blushed.
At the oddity of the room, she could have shouted aloud but in the room she was right now, literally suppressed any feeling of shock that she could feel. Her eyes sleepily traced the room and she realized she hadn't left the place she had supposedly fallen asleep in. She remembered being with Ranveer... but if she was on his bed, where was he? She quickly got up and rubbed her eyes, and in a few seconds her eyes fell upon Ranveer who, rather uncomfortably, remained stuck on the couch. She shook her head. What was wrong with him?
Descending from the bed, she walked upto the sofa and sat beside him on the floor, thanking God that no one was yet awake; otherwise things would not have been so pleasant as they were.
As she looked at him, a small chuckle left her lips and she traced her fingers upon his face, his skin so warm. She found herself rather selfish... or maybe too needy, but she wanted him to wake up right away and take her in his arms once again, and engulf every part of hers in his being completely so that the new morning ascended with a promise of their love being free of the clutches of pain, fate and any other element keeping them apart. So that the new morning gave them a reason to go on and continue fighting.
Her eyes again followed him and she realized how weak he now looked. But now when he was back, she would make sure to take away all his pain, sufferings and misery, and fulfill all her promises that she had made to herself for his sake. Even destiny had to give up its cruelty upon them now.
The night passed, Ishani falling asleep by Ranveer's side. She couldn't leave him for the rest of the hours until dawn followed the night and the sun mounted the crimson horizon, leaving all the miseries behind in the pits of the darkness.
Even if the fairy tales did not exist for real and never came true, they could write a story of their own. Who knew fate would ultimately give up its unnecessary fights! Perhaps destiny truly had to work really hard to achieve its ultimate goals?
The morning was rather calm as Ishani came down in the dining room and realized that everyone, including Sharman and Pratiek, was already present there, and to her pleasant surprise, Amba smiled a little more and showed no apprehension at the attendance of the guests. The sounds of the laughter coming from the hall made her heart feel lighter as she climbed down the stairs. However, as she came down, Ishani found her own eyes searching for Ranveer urgently who remained silent at the table, as Pratiek spoke and others joined him in his laughter. Emily, at sighting Ishani, dragged her and made her sit next to Ranveer. Ishani felt her heart skip as her eyes met Ranveer's, and she smiled nervously.
"Come, Ishani," Pratiek said, rudely jerking her out of her reverie, and handed her over a tray of sandwiches and a glass of apple juice. Ishani looked at the sandwiches and smiled, as an old memory crossed her head when she had taken an hour to prepare a couple of sandwiches and had ended up making them the victim of her extraordinary talent that did not really go well with herself and Ranveer. She looked at Ranveer who smiled a little too. Surely, he was thinking of the same event. Despite the smile, she missed that twinkle in his eyes that had made him look so adorable that day in her house. But he was smiling at least and right now, she could not ask for more.
How great it feels to be the reason of smile of someone you love! And that made her happier.
"They're brilliant," Ranveer said, rather loudly, looking at Emily, as she nodded and smiled back. Ishani understood his tone was meant to tease her and nudged him by her elbow while he frowned at her.
"One more word and I won't spare you, Ranveer! I will make you eat all the sandwiches that I make, and without any other aid!" Ishani whispered, but too bad her voice was not low enough not to be heard by others in the room. By the time she looked up, all the eyes were turned to her and mischievously observing her.
"What?" she asked and everyone else burst into the fits of laughter while Ishani only shook her head, baffled by the event.
"We all know, Ishani, you can't even prepare a single sandwich," Sharman spoke, laughing, while Ishani shot an irritated glance at him.
"You remember, Ishani, that day at home..." Pratiek started, joining in with his brother, "when I asked you to prepare them for me and all you had done was burn the poor souls! No one could recognize what those things truly were."
Ishani fumed, but knew it was a real incident, but why they had to recall all of them now? To her sheer annoyance, both Sharman and Pratiek recounted all the stories of her bad cooking as if they were in a competition to do so and would have been awarded with a prestigious award, if won. They continued with their tales until their rants were brought to an end by Ranveer's soft voice.
"Well, I think she's not that bad either..." he spoke in between, looking at everyone and all fell silent, as they all looked at him. "Not much, but she's a brilliant cook."
"Well?" Sharman raised his eyebrows, and Pratiek imitated him, too.
Ranveer gave a sigh, and looked at Ishani. "The mushrooms you made were delicious!" he whispered and Sharman and Pratiek gasped.
"You?" they both said in unison while Ishani smiled. "I don't believe it!"
Ishani and Ranveer laughed at the timing of both the cousins as the two still looked at her, surprised. Ishani shrugged her shoulders.
"All right now," Amba interposed. "I hope we do not have to wait for the breakfast to get finished until lunch, alright? Come on, kids, finish it right away!" She left the table and walked to her room.
Ishani smiled at Ranveer as he looked at her, and she couldn't deny she wanted to hug him right away but resisted the temptation as everyone now looked at them, smiling, and Ishani whispered a "thank you" to Ranveer.
"After so many days we have even laughed," Kailash said, and sighed. "Our bad days have finally come to an end, and it couldn't be any better."
"Ishani, if you ever need us, do let me know, we're always with you, alright?" Sharman said as he packed his bag and looked at her while her eyes glistened with tears.
"Take care of yourself, bhaiya. Of Maa, Baa... and everyone," she said.
"And you too, Ishani, don't stress yourself and look after yourself and Ranveer," Sharman said as they hugged the last time and came out into the hall where Pratiek, Amba, Kailash already waited. Pratiek hugged Ishani and took the blessings from Amba and Kailash, and turned to look back at her.
"It was amazing to be with you all, Ishani," he said. "We'll be there for you all the time. After all, you are our favorite sister... the only one who has the heart in our family."
"Where's Ranveer?" Sharman asked, and soon enough he popped out of his room and got down.
He did not express anything, but Ishani could guess he wished Sharman and Pratiek could stay there for a more while. But he knew their family needed them more and they couldn't stay there with them anymore. Ranveer had talked to Sharman about it who had given his own reasons and Ranveer had to grudgingly let them go.
Partings are always painful and this was no different. Sharman and Devarsh turned to look at Amba and Kailash last time as the two smiled at them softly. How had Amba come to grow fond of her cousins was a mystery to Ishani, but most of all she was glad that things were not as bitter between them as they had been few weeks ago and that most of all comforted her. Love indeed changed things for better.
"We do not deserve any forgiveness," Sharman said to Amba and Kailash, "but if any day, you do think we're worthy of it, please reconsider it, and we will always be there for all of you, Kaka. What you did for us, we cannot repay, but..."
"We do not live in the past, Sharman," Kailash said. "What is gone, is gone. Let us not think of that... Mota Bhai will be proud to have you as his successors, I'm sure. Now, come, time is flying too fast. Better you do not waste your time here already."
Amba smiled as well as they left, waving their goodbyes and sharing affectionate glances at each other. Ranveer and Ishani went to drop them to the airport and Ishani felt herself choking with tears, her heart heavy until she felt Ranveer hold her hand and squeeze it gently. She hugged him tightly and wept with her head fallen limply on his shoulder, while he let her cry, caressing her head and whispering that everything would be alright. By the time Ishani felt her tears stop, she heard Ranveer's voice, telling her that they had come home.
He helped her come out of the car and led her to her room. Amba and Kailash were not seen as Ishani climbed the stairs, her feet tired.
"Ranveer, it's wrong..." she said suddenly and turned to him. "Why are you walking on like this? You are supposed to be taking rest! Come." She took his hand in hers and led him to his room.
"Ishani, what happened?" he asked, following her quickening pace as fast as he could.
"You need rest. You have already spoiled half the routine of yours and now you better take care from now on not to."
Ranveer looked confused. She was upset until few minutes ago, what happened now? "Are you alright?"
Ishani nodded. "I'm alright, but you should be taking care of yourself."
"I'm all fine," he protested, "and already I'm getting bored all day sitting here doing nothing."
"I have its remedy too," Ishani said, and rushed to her room, returning in 5 minutes. "Take it. It's of your type." She handed him a copy of Childhood's End as Ranveer looked at the book curiously.
"What is this book about?"
She shook her head, amused. "Find out yourself," she smiled. "I'm sure you're going to love it!" She smiled and left, leaving Ranveer confused and contemplating.
2 weeks passed since Sharman and Pratiek had left, but for Ishani and Ranveer things did not change except Ranveer was now more open to her, talking to her better but more than that, hiding from her. She had decided to stay back at RV Mansion and manage the things from there as Kailash and Amba insisted her to and most of all Ranveer had needed her the most that time. His condition improved gradually, medication and checkups still going on; although with the time passing, it had become harder to keep him quiet and from going to the office or doing anything abnormally harmful. The main precaution they had to take was to keep him from taking any mental stress, but without working that was precisely what he was going through.
And one day, when he could not take the thought of not being able to work anymore, he had exploded and everyone in the house had to endure the wrath of his injured anger. What more? Ishani had gone to him, though afraid like everyone else, and come out of the room 20 minutes later and by then Ranveer was silent. Finally, he had been allowed to look after his business, though from home only, and Ishani had taken upto going back to working again. No matter how busy, she always returned back home. Oh, how this house felt like home...
As she had expected, apart from Sharman, Pratiek and now Devarsh and Gauri, no one else had bothered even with a phone call to know about her or Ranveer, and nor did she think over it. Unsure what would she really say or tell them, she had only tried calling her mother who had not received her phone and it had been 4 days since the incident, but no call was returned. Anxiously, at times she wanted to talk to Ranveer but knew very well what his answers would be. No, she couldn't forgive her family so easily!
"Ishani?" She heard his voice and turned back from the window. "It's about Falguni Maa... she wanted to talk to you," he said hesitantly.
"She called you?" Ishani frowned.
Ranveer nodded and Ishani gave a frustrated sigh.
"Really, Ranveer? How can Maa do this?"
"Don't take it too far, Ishani. She is sorry, and wants things to make better between you two," Ranveer explained while Ishani felt having hard time in keeping the threatening tears away.
"I don' know what will I tell her after all she has done... she knew what happened to you... she was lying to me already! Maa never understood me. Never!" Ishani retorted while she saw Ranveer's features stiffen, and his eyes turning dark.
"Ishani," he said, sternly placing his hands on her shoulder, "look at me." She did. "She was just trying to protect you. Any parent will do that. Just her way of doing it was wrong... but why will she ever want anything wrong happening to you? She loves you."
"But she did not realize what she was doing to her daughter in her pride... It was not her love, Ranveer, it was her pride! Her ego and her inability to see beyond what she always perceived was true."
"She has seen worse, Ishani. She was abandoned by the man she truly loved once. Her daughters had to endure what she never wanted them to go through, and her husband, who made her feel loved and protected, passed away when she was so vulnerable... after so wrong had happened to her."
"It's life," Ranveer answered calmly. "When you have seen through so much, and the world is so cruel on you, you do become like her... It's natural, Ishani. You have to see."
Ishani looked at him, and sighed. Why didn't he see what she felt? Why she had to compromise all the time with life?
"And by not forgiving her, you are hurting yourself so much..." he said, and a sad smile passed through his lips. "Let it go, Ishani... she is coming here tomorrow to meet you. Go and see her. Talk to her, and make things better, alright?"
Ishani turned her face away. "I don't have the heart like you. I can't forgive..."
"Here we're talking about your mother, Ishani," he interrupted sternly. "You have to see her tomorrow!"
Ishani closed her eyes resignedly, as her last encounter with her mother hit her intensely and her palms tightly clenched into fists.
"It will be alright!" his voice splintered through her thoughts softly, and before she could open her eyes, she felt her head hitting his chest and his arms around her while her own ones wrapped around him tightly. "Don't cry." He wiped her tears.
Ishani separated from him and wiped the remaining traces of tears from her face. "I don't like it when you cry, Ishani." She heard him say, and she smiled.
But it was not until when Ranveer had left did Ishani realize what he had just said. Was her mother coming here? She was coming to see her? Another hysteric spell of panic broke over her as she, despite her continuous attempts to keep herself calm, found her feet hitting the floor and her senses descending into painful numbness until only some failed efforts to get up and walk back to her bed were left.
Falguni did not want to come to the RV Mansion and thus requested Ishani to return back to her house for a while after she was free from her work. Reluctantly, and at Ranveer's continuous insistence, she left in the evening and smiled slightly as the familiar sight of her house welcomed her, now standing tall in the solitude of the town, the lights inside glowing radiantly.
The car halted in front of the gates and she got down, nervously picking her pace to the house. And as she entered the hall, and her senses recovered from the blinding light of the room, her eyes fell upon her mother who sat there on the sofa in silence, intently staring out of the window. Ishani quietly entered the room. At the sound of her footsteps Falguni looked up as her eyes filled with tears. Ishani felt her own heart shatter as the old woman approached her and took her in her arms gently. The old strong woman she had seen the last time they had met had disappeared and all that was left behind was a weak, fragile creature torn and worn out by the circumstances, a woman whose lips seemed to have forgotten to smile at the sight of a dear one. The woman who carried dark circles underneath her eyes as a sign of weakness and lack of sleep. The woman whose eyes now looked less dreamy and more guilty.
Who could tell she was the wife of the renowned Harshad Parekh and the mother of Ishani Parekh? She looked so broken!
"Maa," Ishani shrieked as she sprung into her mother's arms, "what have you made of yourself? What happened?"
Falguni kept quiet as Ishani wiped her tears and hugged her again tightly.
"Maa, please say something... please!" she pleaded, shaking her mother by her shoulder. "Why didn't you talk to me when I called you last time? You should've said something... anything, Maa. Why?"
Falguni wiped her tears and looked at Ishani, observing her face closely, and keeping silent as if forming proper words in her mind to speak. "I didn't think you will come, Ishani," she said at last as more tears escaped her eyes.
"Maa," Ishani said as she held onto her mother, and led her back to the couch. She knelt beside her. "Maa, what happened?"
Falguni caressed her cheeks and smiled through her tears, and then lowered her head. "I'm sorry," she whispered in a nearly inaudible voice. "I have been a horrible wife, a horrible daughter-in-law and worst of all a horrible mother. All the time my children needed me, I was stuck in my grudges, not knowing I too once belonged to the same world I was disrespecting... I would have been nothing had it not been for your Papa. And you were right, Ishani. Ranveer is just like your father... he too loves you the way your Papa loved me. Unconditionally. I'm sorry, Ishani. I'm sorry." She wept and hid her face in her hands, howling uncontrollably as Ishani felt her own heart break at her mother's wilted sight. What had she made of herself!
"Maa, no..." Ishani made Falguni look into her eyes. "Please don't say that... after Papa you were the cause our family remained stuck together. Baa might not value anything you do, but trust me, everyone else does and we all know it as well. Papa would be proud of you for being who you are."
Falguni remained silent and stared at Ishani. "It's strange when children behave as the grownups and we lose all our senses in our ego..." Falguni said in a calm voice, while Ishani wiped her teary face.
"Maa, let the past go. Life is too short to remember the hurtful things," she whispered. "And most of all, I'm glad that my Maa is back. I missed you so much all this time." Ishani hugged her mother again.
Falguni sniffed and smiled lightly. "Ishani," she said. "It's late and you should go back now."
"But, Maa, you..."
"Don't worry about me. I have my flight tomorrow back to India, and will be leaving in the afternoon."
"And Ranveer... he would want to meet you, Maa..."
"That won't be needed."
"Why?" she asked, while Falguni looked at her suggestively, and suddenly it dawned at Ishani as she stared at her mother. "You were here since yesterday, right? You didn't arrive just today."
Falguni shook her head. "I came here yesterday and met Ranveer the first. I was surprised he held no grudge or hatred for me... or anyone from our family. You were right, Ishani. You were right."
And as she said so, she took out a sheet of paper from her bag and placed it in front of Ishani.
"What is this?" Ishani asked, confused.
"Once I reached home, I found this in your Papa's files. Nobody had touched it, I'm surprised, and this was what gave me all my answers."
Ishani noticed the paper was rather simple, but unfolding it, it revealed another story to her as she looked at her mother who smiled feebly.
"Ishani," she began reading the letter as a drop of tear made its way down to her cheeks, "right now, I do not wish to give this letter to you because this is not the time. But as we know my time is drawing near, and nothing can be helped anymore, I must say this since I can take certain things to my grave. I have said this hundreds of times before and will repeat it again that you are my dearest child. My little angel. My pride and my hope in the darkest of the hour. You have only made me proud by being who you are. And, I want to apologize for any inconvenience I had caused you and will be going to, but whenever you need your Papa, just look into your heart. I'll be right there with you all the time, looking at you, and smiling at what my Ishani is going to achieve in her future.
It's a miracle that Baa has not made a scene about my will and I cannot be more thankful for anything right now. I have bestowed this responsibility of my business to you because I know you can do it. I have seen you fight when others choose to give up. This is another reason I believe you will be my most trusted successor and will look after everything I hold dear to my heart.
Coming further, I have an important matter to discuss with you, and I do so hoping I am not making a wrong decision right now. My senses do not work the way they used to and nor does my swill. And as I write this letter to you, I feel my hands shake, not knowing how this particular portion is going to turn out.
You deserve to know the truth, even if it's after I'm no more to clarify the things. But you do deserve to know that your Papa has been wrong in his judgments and reading people. Ranveer. Yes, he is the right name that crosses your mind. 3 weeks ago I met him. He had come to my office in the afternoon. That boy is something... He is exactly what you can expect from someone like him to be. I have had my own share of mistakes and guilt, and our last meeting washed all of it away. I don't know what had happened to me when I handed him and his family to the police, but I'm glad that I will not die with the burden of having betrayed the trust of Kailash, Amba and Ranveer. They all had devoted themselves to us, following what their ideals were, but we failed. I could never apologize to them and I'm afraid I never will.
I had confronted Disha and Baa after that night when you all had been to the exhibition and your mother to her friend's house. I couldn't believe what I had done, but my mother and daughter doing something as abominable as accusing 3 innocent people had left me with nothing to hope or live for. The death had seemed so close that day, Ishani. So close! But it was you who had returned and had informed the doctors and had looked after me. I wasn't sure how to tell you. Ranveer had made me promise not to tell you anything about him. Though all he had wanted before he left was that you must not hate him... that was his only wish. Thank God you didn't.
Every day I wanted to muster courage to say something, but then it was too late. You had a life and I hoped you would have better of it. I did not want to burden you with any guilt and nor did Ranveer. And that was why we both chose to hide the truth from you.
But above all, I always prayed you and Ranveer met sometime again before it would really be too late. By the time that happens (if at all), I will not be there to know, but I would always wish, hope and pray that you and Ranveer do meet again and the destiny stops playing its cruel games on both of you.
I'm afraid I must go now, for the time is coming close... and I cannot stay or write more to you. There are many things I would have loved to share with you, but life is always too short for one thing or another.
In the end, I will only say that I wish you all the happiness in life and will pray you achieve everything you deserve. I love you, Ishani. And don't forget, whatever happens, your Papa will always be there by your side, in your heart.
Ishani wiped the tears away as she stared at the letter for 5 minutes and felt them again burn into her eyes. Before she could say anything, she felt her mother come close and take her in a warm embrace.
Ishani wept openly for a long, long time as her head dropped to her mother's shoulder and her hands clutched the paper tightly. Why didn't he take her away with him, too? From all the miseries, pain and the battles she was tired to fight... why couldn't she be with her father?
"How did you find it, Maa?" she asked Falguni after sometime.
Falguni shrugged her shoulders. "Something didn't feel right when I left you... I went to your Papa's office and saw through his old files, and after a while found this letter. No wonder he had asked everyone not to touch it ever, and we never did. Until now."
Ishani nodded. Words were could not suffice to express what she felt or what was it she wanted to, if at all. Her father knew all along and had kept quiet due to a promise made to Ranveer. How could these men be the way they were? So perfect!
"Ishani, it's time you go back... Ranveer will be waiting for you," Falguni said, bringing Ishani out of her thoughts and caressing her head lovingly. Ishani nodded.
"Maa, I can stay here with you..."
"No, you are more needed there, and we will talk tomorrow, right? Go now, it's already late."
Ishani sighed. A part of her felt torn. She couldn't leave her mother when she was so vulnerable and shattered, but Ranveer needed her as well, and now more than ever.
"Will you be alright?" she asked her mother.
"I'm feeling much better, Ishani, and you should go back."
Reluctantly, Ishani stood up and hugged her mother last time as she left the house, and drove the car away.
Why did sometimes life have to be so hard on people?
As Ishani entered the hall of the RV Mansion, she found it to be unexpectedly silent. Not even the sound of the rustling leaves nearby could be heard. Why did this silence feel so frightening?
She quietly made her way to Ranveer's room to see if he were asleep, but before she could even take the first step, Amba's soft voice made her halt in her tracks.
"Ishani," she said, and Ishani turned back.
"Kaki," Ishani said, unsure how to start the conversation, "you were supposed to be asleep by now. Please take some rest."
"How was your meeting with your mother?" Amba stared at her vacantly, her expressions unreadable.
Ishani gasped while Amba's face glinted with a kind but sad smile. "Kaki... it was good," Ishani said, fidgeting her bracelet as if to keep herself into the present that so gracefully threatened to slip away any moment.
"I want to talk to you," Amba said. "It's urgent."
Ishani nodded, and followed Amba to her own room and sat as she indicated her to.
"Is everything alright?" she asked, while Amba's face glowed in the light radiance of the room.
Amba took a deep breath and slowly began. "I have been waiting for all day to talk to you about this, Ishani."
"Do you love Ranveer?"
"Of course!" she said, louder and more fiercely than she had intended to. "I do, Kaki. But why...?"
"If I say marry him, will you?"
Ishani looked at Amba, agape, her eyes wide and her mouth opened, and the spoken words hitting her appallingly.
"Kaki, what... why? He needs to get better first... are you alright?"
"Will you marry him or not?" Amba repeated again, as if Ishani had not spoken at all.
"Or the thought that he once worked for you still has a space in your heart?" Amba said, her voice resigned.
"No, not at all!" Ishani shrieked. How could she ever think of Ranveer like that? "I love him, and as soon as he gets better, we will marry... Trust me, Kaki."
"Ishani, you know, you are the only one that can keep him alive when he doesn't want to, right?" Amba's voice grew more desperate and urgent.
Ishani nodded her head. "I know, but are you alright? Kaki?"
Amba smiled. A soft relieved smile that crossed her lips. But what was wrong with her?
And before Ishani could think of anything else, Amba took out a pair of bangles and slipped them in her wrists.
"I had saved them for my daughter in law," she said. "But never knew that you will be the one receiving them... they are not as expensive--"
"They're perfect, Kaki," Ishani interposed. "They are perfect."
"I cannot thank you enough," Amba said as she stood up.
"You don't have to..."
"It's late, Ishani," Amba said. "Go and take some res."
"Kaki," Ishani called and Amba turned back. "I have never seen Ranveer the way the world did. And I never will."
Amba came to Ishani and hugged her tightly. "He is acting stupid these days, and only you know how to make things better."
Ishani remained vacant as Amba left her room, and then she collapsed on the bed, her eyes staring at the ceiling above vacuously, and hundreds of restless thoughts running through her mind. She turned over, too tired to keep her eyes open when suddenly her mind rushed back to Ranveer.
He must be asleep by now, but she could atleast see him from a distance.
Ishani walked into Ranveer's room, medical equipments that were not there when she had left in the morning, arranged in the room, as her eyes fell on his sleeping form. She came closer and sat beside him, taking his hand in hers and kissed it. Silence of the house still stung her.
She immediately regretted doing so as his face turned towards her, and an involuntary gasp left her lips. "Ranveer?" she managed to say, as a small, weak smile crossed his face. It was no good. How could he become so weak all of a sudden? He was fine until a few hours ago! "What happened?" She caressed his face as he closed his eyes at her touch.
"You were supposed to be asleep right now."
"So were you," she answered. "What's wrong, Ranveer?"
He turned his face away.
"Ishani, can you do me a favor?" his voice was too weak for her to remain sane.
"If it makes you happy, yes," she said urgently. Was this why Her Kaki was so upset right now?
He smiled resignedly and Ishani felt her own heart sink in despair. "It will be the biggest thing you can do for my happiness," he whispered. "I want to see you happy, you know that?"
Ishani's lips quivered as she struggled to form more words. Why was he talking so strange now? "I know," she whispered, unable to look at him as a tear left her eye.
"And I will never do anything that's not good for you, you do know that, right?"
Ishani nodded her head again, and he smiled.
"You trust me, right?"
"I do!" Ishani said impatiently, restlessness now taking over her diminishing senses. "What's wrong with you, Ranveer? Why, instead of taking your care, you are talking this rubbish?" She did not mean to be reprimanding, but with the look in his eyes, she did not mind doing so.
Ranveer gulped slowly and Ishani felt he was having hard time in doing that. She held his hand tightly, but kept quiet. After few minutes, Ranveer spoke again.
"Please do me a favor, Ishani..." he pleaded as Ishani nodded her head. "Please leave me. Forever. Go back to India... to Falguni Maa... and get settled there... You will do this for me, Ishani? I trust you..." his voice faltered and she saw him gently close his eyes.
Ishani stared at him, as she felt her heart shatter again, its beats painfully irregular as if once again it was crushed against the ponderous weight of the torture when all it wanted was to blow apart with each favor he had asked for her to do.
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