An aching heart
Simmi sat by herself in her room. She knew that neither mom nor Abhay really had a head-ache. She could tell that they had lied to her. Why? What had she done that was so wrong that everyone found the need to avoid her completely? Yes, she may have been a little rude to Swadheenta, but that girl had tried to destroy her family and her happiness. She had trusted Swadheenta, and Swadheenta had back-stabbed her. What was she to do? Why didn't Abhay and the others see that?
She realized that a part of her restlessness and frustration stemmed from the fact that she herself felt bad about what she had done. She couldn't tell why, but she liked Swadheenta. And not just Adarsh bhaiya, everyone else at home also liked her a lot. Simmi had been a part of this house for over 7 months now, but she knew that Swadheenta had made a better place for herself than her in this family. People cared more for Swadheenta than they did for her, and she knew that. That thought hurt her, it pained. She felt tears filling up in her eyes, and got upset with herself for feeling so low and rejected.
She missed her mother. Like the many times that she had felt this way in the past, she hoped she had her around so she could share her feelings with her. She had lost her mother a long time ago. It had been so long that she could only remember her in pictures now. Her father had been a very busy man during her growing up years. No, she had no complaints. He had ensured she had everything, but he could only give her everything that money could buy. Even as a little girl she understood that. Unfortunately for her, it wasn't what she wanted. But she had never voiced this to him. He was the only family she had, and she would cherish him, however he was. To her, he was perfect.
With her mother gone, and her father busy always, Simmi was forced to grow up much faster than her age. Her dad treated her like a little girl even today, as did Abhay, but she understood things. She knew that her father wasn't a saint. She knew that he paid bribes and used some illegal ways to get things done. He was an uneducated man whose family hadn't been very supportive of him. He had to use any available method to grow and make a life for himself and his family. As much as she hated illegal ways, she had accepted the fact that this was the only way her father could cope with the circumstances presented to him in his life. And she loved him.
Knowing have father's feelings for law and its ways, Simmi had grown with a sense of insecurity and uncertainly. She had lost her mother and could not lose her father. Unknowingly, she had taken it upon herself to protect him always and had become very defensive of him. She would defend him to death in front of anyone, even if in her heart she realized that he must be wrong. She thought back to that day when Swadheenta had come home to talk to her about the case. She remembered the admiration everyone had for Swadheenta. Everyone had given credit to Swadheenta for making Simmi see sense. Even Simmi appreciated Swadheenta's efforts. But the reason she had relented was not just Swadheenta's words. It was the fact that she knew her father was capable of such ways, and she truly did not want those poor people losing their land had her father been in the wrong. Simmi believed in her heart that her mother must have been a very noble and just woman, for although she had seen so many wrong things happen around her during her growing up years, she knew in her bones that those were wrong, and on her own she always tried to do what was morally right.
In fact, that had been one of the reasons why she had fallen in love with Abhay, his need and want to do the right thing. She remembered their first meeting very well. Simmi was getting late for her college as her car had broken down. She thought of getting a taxi, but her father had insisted that Pradeep drop her to college. Pradeep was her father's friends' son and worked with her father. She knew that her father intended for her to marry him, and although she had no interest in him, she did not oppose her father. On their way, Pradeep had been trying to talk to her and gain her attention, and in his absentmindedness had hit a child that was crossing the road. The child was badly hurt, and her mother had come running to her aid as had some other people who were present around. Pradeep had acted as if it wasn't even his fault, and had almost tried to drive away from there without trying to help. Simmi had been furious at him, and had forced him to stop and ran out to help. It was then that she had met Abhay. A cop who happened to be in the neighborhood on some work, he immediately jumped in to help. He had seen Pradeep hit the child and knew that he was at fault, but instead of focusing his attention on having Pradeep punished, he had carried the child in his own arms and driven her and her parents to the hospital. He had left one of his subordinates to take down details of Pradeep, so he could deal with him later. Simmi had been so impressed with his sense of duty and commitment, but what impressed her more was that when it came to morals, he had looked beyond these things. She had followed him to the hospital, and once the child was safe, she reported the incident at the nearest police station to ensure Pradeep paid his dues. In the course of these things, they had met several times, and had fallen in love. Or at-least she had. Did Abhay really love her? If he did, why didn't he want her to be a part of anything related to this family?
As bad and lonely as she felt, she knew that the answer lay with her father. From overhearing the conversation between mom, Abhay and the others that night, she knew that it had something to do with her father. When she had overheard their conversation that night, her instinctive reaction was to protect and defend her father. She had felt like the whole world was conspiring against her father, and that she had to protect him. Now, sitting by herself, when she evaluated her own actions of the last few hours, she was not so sure. As much as she knew and loved her father, she knew Abhay to be one of the most righteous men, as was Adarsh bhaiya. Adarsh bhaiya could kill for his family, and she knew that. Adarsh bhaiya was one of the first people to accept her as part of this family, and he always treated her well. Abhay, Adarsh bhaiya, Jai bhaiya, mom were all extremely intelligent and well read people who held professional commitments that demanded highest levels of integrity and responsibility. Unlike her father, they believed in the legal system and the administrative system of the country. Why would they go against her father without reason? She had been experiencing these nagging thoughts at the back of her mind for the last few days, and the fact that she couldn't come up with a justifiable answer was making her feel very nervous. Had she been wrong? Had she hurt Swadheenta unnecessarily? Was that why everyone was upset with her? Would Abhay leave her? Did he not love her anymore?
She could not think anymore and decided that she had to talk to her father to find out what role he had to play in all of this. She had never questioned her father or his actions ever in her life. But today she figured that she would have to talk to him before things got any worse than they had. Her father and her new family were worried about her medical condition. She knew that her vulnerable health was often a cause of concern for everyone. But the distance and pain of not knowing the truth was making her feel more weak and devastated. At this moment she felt like she rather knew the truth and died, than die a little everyday without knowing the truth. She had to know, and she would find out.
Having made her decision, Simmi got up and walked out of the room with her car keys. She willed to find out the answers to her questions, and she willed to do it now!
When she reached her father's house, she was surprised to see Abhay's car parked outside. She wondered why Abhay was visiting her father without informing her about it. She could sense a knot forming in her stomach, and intuitively knew that something was wrong. Tentatively, she walked inside. As soon as she stepped into the lounge area that led to the living room, she could hear voices. She stayed in the lounge area, trying to hear what was being discussed
Paapa, mein aapse pooch nahi raha. Mujhe pata hai ki isme aapa haat tha!
Yeh tumse uss ladki ne kaha?
Nahi paapa, Pradeep ne kaha
Kya? Woh aise kyon kahega tumse? Maine toh usse kuch nahi kawvaya tha.
Jhoot mat boliye paapa. Abhay had raised his voice when he spoke. Simmi sensed that he must have realized it too, for she could hear him taking deep breaths to calm himself down. Then, in a more steady voice he said Paapa, mein Simmi se bahut pyaar karta hu. Uska bahut khayal hai mujhe. And usse jhoot bolna mujhe bilkul bhi acha nahi lagta. Aapke saare harkaton ke baare mein mein jaanta hu. Uss case ko leke aap pareshaan the, aur Swadheenta ka accident aapne karwaya, yeh mujhe pata hai.
Simmi gasped. She could not believe what she was hearing. She knew that she had to stop Abhay from speaking such nonsense, but she was so shocked that she could not even move.
Yeh sab mein Simmi se chupa tha phir raha hu. Uski aankon mein dhek ke baat nahi kar sakta mein. Na sirf, mein, mere ghar mein saare Simmi ko leke pareshaan hai. Sabse zyada toh Swadheenta aur Adarsh bhai pareshaan hai usko leke. Mein ek aise parivaar ko belong karta hu paapa jis mein hum saare ek dusre se pyaar karte hai. Simmi ko bahut khush rakhna chahta hu.
Paapa, aap Simmi ke dad hai. Jis din maine Simmi ho apnaya, usi din maine aapko bhi apnaya. Aapke bete hone ki haq se keh raha hu aapse. Swadheenta meri hone waali bhabhi hai. Maine usko behan maana hai. Adarsh bhai ka pyaar hai woh. Ghar mein hum sab chahte hai ki Swadheenta aur Adarsh bhai ki shaadi ho jaaye. Isi liye aakri baar request kar raha hu aapse. Please, yeh case bhi chod deejiye, unn kisaanon ko unki zameen wapas kar deejiye aur Swadheenta ka peecha chod deejiye. Uske saath kuch bhi bura hone mein nahi doonga. Please paapa, chod deejiye yeh sab.
Without waiting for paapa to answer, Abhay started walking towards the lounge area. She didn't know why, but Simmi hid herself behind the door. Abhay would notice her car outside, she knew that, but she wanted to see her father's reaction to Abhay's accusations. The minute Abhay had walked out, Simmi walked out from behind the door and peeped in to the living room to watch her father. He was facing away from her. She could not see his face, but she didn't miss the fury in his voice as he said loudly
Main bhi thujse aur Simmi se bahut pyaar karta hu puttar, aur tumhare ghar waalon se mujhe koi problem nahi hai. Agar uss ladki ne mere kaam mein dhakal nahi diya hota, toh woh khush hi rehti. Lekin ab mein usko chod nahi sakta. Swadheenta maregi, mere hi haaton mein maregi.
Simmi closed her eyes to contain the hurt that she felt at that minute. She had misunderstood everyone and created so many problems for everyone all for a man who was willing to take someones life for his gain? Was this her father? Was her father this kind of a man all along? She now understood mom's anxiety at Abhay marrying her. She understood Swadheenta's anguish at the insults she hurled at her, she understood all the secrecy of these last few days, she understood how wrong she had been about everyone at home and how much they all loved her. She stood still, unable to do anything. She was brought out of her stupor when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned back to see Abhay's concerned eyes.
Before he could say another word, she hugged him, hugged him like her life depended on it. Her life truly depended on it!
Edited by Soapoperasrfun - 13 August 2016 at 4:35pm