Posted: 02 May 2016 at 3:10pm | IP Logged
Aarti was sitting on the bathroom floor. She was couldn't believe how out of control and bizarre her life had gotten. Wasn't it just her rotten luck. Things could not possibly get any worse than this. She was forced into marriage, given her husband her virginity, he threw it back in her face. They didn't even really make love and now on top of everything she was pregnant. She sat staring at the 3 pregnancy tests that were all positive. It was her own fault. She should have known better. She knew what kind of person he was and she freely gave in to him. She was not a teenager, she should have known unprotected sex could lead to pregnancy. And now the worst has happened. How was she going to tell him about this? He was probably going to get angry with her again. She knew he didn't want her, he married her but he didn't really want a committed relationship. She remembered the part of the conversation that she overheard when his friend Aaman visited earlier that day. She had already suspected that she was pregnant.
"So my friend, have you done what you set out to do?'
"Have you conquered you beautiful wife"
"In a manner of speaking"
"Come on, you have or you haven't "
"It's complicated. You don't know my wife"
"If you didn't see her first, I wouldn't have minded to know her better."
"Aaman, that's my wife you're talking about." Yash said angrily.
"Relax bud. So does that mean that there had been progress in your conquest?"
"I see, what happens when you have conquered her completely?"
"We are married so I don't have an option but to keep her"
She was just outside the office, bringing the tea. She heart sank, but she held strong and went inside and pretended that she didn't hear anything.
They really hadn't seen much of each other after that disastrous night. She kept her normal working hours, but instead of going back to the bedroom to sleep, she would just sleep on the couch in her office. They normally only saw each other at dinner time. And the tension between them was clear for all to see. They barely looked at each other and only spoke when it was absolutely necessary. Her mother in law clearly relished this new development and she never missed an opportunity to rub salt into her wounds. Were it not for Pari, she would have let that woman have it.
"So bahu, it seems I was right about your relationship with my son. It seems the honeymoon is over. Didn't I tell you this marriage wasn't going to last. I don't know why he just doesn't send you packing."
"You should suggest it to him. That would make most of us in this house happy."
"It won't be long now."
"For the first time, Maji, we agree on something."
She walked away.
She would have to think long and hard about how she would handle this. She would have to contact her mom. She didn't have much time to make decisions. She was well into her 2nd month of pregnancy.
He had come home from work and she wasn't there. Normally she would be helping Vidhi and Pari in the kitchen. She still could not cook, but at least she tried to help with cutting and cleaning the vegetables. He wasn't sure why she made the effort when he made it clear that it was not expected of her. He wondered where she was this late. Maybe she had a meeting with a client. He knew nothing of her whereabouts since that night that he walked out of their room after that fiasco. He had been angry at her. But after a contemplating, he realised that he really had no reason to be. He had made assumptions based on the facts that she had been in a long term relationship and was a modern woman. He had known she was passionate and she was so eager for him. How was he supposed to know that she was still innocent? He would not have done things the way he did. He would not have married her. If there was anything he did not have time for it was emotional entanglements. And he felt a little betrayed, not so much by her as the situation. A situation that he had created.
He had expected her to be weepy and emotional afterwards. He had avoided her at first but soon realised that she was doing the same. She worked all night and didn't come to their bed anymore. When he did see her, she was aloof. They didn't talk, not even about what had happened. He sometimes felt that they should clear the air. But she made it clear that she had nothing to say to him. He should be glad that she didn't force emotional entanglements on him. But it disturbed him that she ignored him. He had only seen her emotional once since the incident. It was the day that Aaman came to visit. After Aaman left he found her in their room crying. She quickly wiped her tears when she saw him.
"Aarti, what's wrong?"
"You were crying. Is it ma?"
"It can't be nothing"
"Well, let's just say it's nothing that concerns you." she said and walked past him.
He would often catch her playing with the kids or playing around with Prateek or having a laugh with Vidhi and Paridhi, but the moment she noticed him near, she would stop and leave the vicinity. He felt strangely disappointed whenever that happened. He wished that he could take back that moment that created their new situation. She was his wife after all. He was entitled to make love to her. He should be proud that he was her first. But all his life he was groomed to be whom he was today. And besides that he was driven, he wanted to be the best, he wanted to take Sindiya Industries to the top. He couldn't even blame anyone for the way he was. It was what he wanted. The business was his life. There had never been room for anything else. For the first time he had felt that he was losing grip on his reality. That she was occupying a huge part of his thoughts. And that was not good for his business. He could not afford to lose focus. And she was making him lose focus. He had to end it. But it was easier said than done.
He was still deep in thought when she entered the house. She looked pale. She walked to the dining room table and sat down. She put her bag down on the table but it fell. She looked like she was in pain but she bent to pick it up. He instinctively rushed to pick up her bag.
She had decided what she was going to do. She was still in contact with Prashant no matter what he said. She needed a friend, someone to talk to, and he was it. He didn't judge her. He was a really good friend and when he suggested that she join him in South-Africa, she thought it might be a good idea. She had started making plans. Winding down her contracts and she had just come from the traveling agency when she started feeling ill. She felt pain in her abdomen and she was nauseous. She made it to the dining room table and sat down. The contents of her bag spilled on the floor. Everything including, her travel documents. She saw Yash picking up her things and she saw the realisation of what he was holding, dawning on him.
"Aarti, what is this?"
She didn't answer.
"I asked you a question. What is this? Are you going to him? Answer me."
He grabbed her from the chair and dragged her behind him, making his way to their bedroom.
"Yash-bhaiya, stop" Paridhi shouted. "Please stop, look at her. Something's wrong."
He stopped. Paridhi ran and just as she came to a stop in front of Aarti she collapsed in her arms.
"Aarti!' Yash shouted.
"Didi, what's wrong?'
She heard them but she could not answer. Yash picked her up and took her to their room.
"Paridhi, call the doctor" he said.
Finally she spoke weakly.
"Pari, call Ma. I need Ma."
"But Didi ..."
"Please Pari, I need Ma, she will know what to do?'
"Didi, are you ... "
"Call Ma" she said before she lost consciousness.
She was in and out of consciousness. She woke up and he was sitting next to her.
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Because I can look after myself and my baby. Just because I am your wife doesn't mean you have to keep me, you don't have to keep us."
He looked at her shocked, remembering his conversation with Aaman and how he had found her crying that day.
When she woke up again her mother was there.
"Beta, why didn't you come to me before?"
"Ma, the baby. Is it ok?"
"You have to be admitted to hospital. We have to check everything there. The ambulance will be here in a couple of minutes."
Yash was standing in the corner of the room. He wasn't quite sure how to process all this. It seemed that his wife was pregnant and that there was a problem. He knew that it was not impossible that she could be pregnant from their very brief encounter but he didn't think it would happen. And she didn't even tell him. It was clear that she knew, that is why she asked for her mother. And she was planning on leaving the country with his child. He was so angry when he saw the travel documents he didn't even see her condition. And now he was scared. Scared of losing her and losing their baby. He was helpless. There was nothing he could do, no one he could call to fix this. He was one of the most powerful men in India, even the world but he couldn't do anything for his wife.
He chose not to accompany them in the ambulance, letting Pari and her mother go with her. He wanted some time to compose himself. He then drove to the hospital on his own. Pari had let him know which ward she was in. When he opened the door he knew there was something dreadfully wrong. She was lying on the bed, her eyes were closed. He mother and Paridhi were being held by her father.
"This the worst day of my entire career, Satya. The absolute worst. I am supposed to be one of the most renowned OBGYN's in the country. How do I tell my own daughter that I couldn't save her baby? How do I tell her that she might never be able to have another baby." she said sobbing.
"At least she will be ok"
"I don't know about that. You know Aarti. I don't know if she will recover from this. Before we gave her the anaesthetic, she begged me to save her baby. I am so scared about what's going to happen when she wakes up."
He had never felt the way he felt after hearing those words. His baby died. The baby that he didn't even know about till today died. How is it that in a matter of hours you could grow to love something that wasn't even there yet? He felt like something in him had died to too. He felt like he was being punished. Punished for the way he had treated her. For not taking care of her when she was carrying their baby inside of her. For letting her work till all hours and sleeping on a couch. For disrespecting her when she gave him a most precious gift. For forcing her to marry him. He should have left her. He should have let her stay with Prashant. And now because of him, she might never even have any more children. He couldn't face her. He couldn't face any of them. Her family never even saw him there. He just turned around and left.
She was discharged after 3 days. He had never come to see her. She was glad for that. She saw the pity in every one's eyes. She wouldn't be able to bear his pity. He mother had explained that she was capable of conceiving but she has a rare condition that does not allow her to carry the baby, so even if she did fall pregnant again the same thing would happen. She was absolutely distraught. Her heart was in a million pieces, for the baby she lost and for the ones she would never have. She didn't end up going to South-Africa. She decided to stay in the country. Her reasons for leaving were not there anymore. She went home after she was discharged. To her home, not his. She had Pari bring her things back home. He never tried to contact her and she did the same. She continued with her life as if he was never part of it. She never went back to SM. She met Vidhi, Pari and Prateek when they visited her at home or at a coffee shop or something. They never spoke about him, she wouldn't allow it.
It was as if she was never there. Every trace of her had been erased from their home. His mother had made sure that there was not even a wedding picture around. He didn't know if he preferred it that way. He was not surprised that she didn't come back to their home. She was never happy there anyway. He couldn't bring himself to go see her again. He hadn't even gone back home. For the first time in his life, he on a drinking binge. He stayed at one of his houses and just drank for days. Until Aaman and Pankaj found him. He was in a bad state. It had taken him days to recover. He could see the judgement in the eyes of Paridhi and Prateek. And he understood. He probably judged himself even more than they did. Prateek had tried to talk to him about her. He tried to convince him to get her back. But he didn't want to listen. How could he bring her back? How could she ever forgive him? Ever since she met him, her life was a downward spiral. She lost so much. He couldn't continue to force himself on her. He knew they still saw her, he sometimes overheard them talk about her. He always tried to hear what they had to say but once they saw near, they would stop talking.
They removed everything but they couldn't remove the memory of her from his mind. The spontaneous, independent, beautiful, passionate woman that was part of his life for the shortest time. She was a spitfire the one moment and childlike the next. He would have given anything to turn back the time before he made that stupid decision the make her his. He wanted her back so badly, but he knew she didn't want him. She probably hated him, he would leave her alone. He desperately hoped that he had not ruined her and that she would still find happiness. When he realised that he could lose her, he realised the depth of his feelings for her. He didn't merely want her, he loved her more than anything. And that was why he was letting her go.
After more than a year she was stepping back in SM. She didn't want to come but Pari had insisted. And she did it for her sister. She felt sorry for her baby sister. She had such a lot of guilt for things that were beyond her control. She felt that it was because of her that she met Yash and that since she met him, her life had gone pear shaped. She didn't even know how to tell her that she was pregnant. Eventually when she found out, Pari was almost apologetic.
"Pari, I am so happy for you. Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"Didi, I didn't want to upset you."
"How can I be upset when two of my favourite people have been blessed so much? I am happy or you. I am going to be the best aunt in the whole world."
This made Pari happy. But that night she cried herself to sleep again, remembering her loss.
Pari gave birth to a healthy baby boy 9 months later. Her mother had refused to be her doctor after what happened with Aarti, she referred her to a close friend and colleague but the pregnancy was healthy and so was little Ansh. He was the cutest thing that she had ever seen.
"Aaww, you are too gorgeous. You have already stolen my heart. Don't worry my angel, whenever you mom or dad says no. just come to your aunt, I will spoil you rotten." she said as she was holding the little one in her arms in the hospital. She looked back at Pari with a smile. But her smile faded as she saw Yash and Prateek at the door of Pari's hospital room. Her beat erratically but outwardly she had remained calm. She put the baby back in the cot.
"I have to go now, Pari. But I will see you soon." She walked past him and Prateek without greeting.
She was still as stunning as always. Her hair was still in a ponytail but it was not messy like it used to be. She was wearing her usual jeans but he top was smarter, not the t-shirt that she was used to wearing. He couldn't keep his eyes off her. She held that baby in her arms and his heart broke again for the baby that they lost. She would have made a great mother. But she immediately made excuses to leave when she saw him.
He followed her. He called her but she just kept on walking, pretending not to hear him. She had to stop when she got to her car.
"What do you want?"
"I ... I just wanted to ask you how you are?'
"It's a little too late for that now don't you think?"
"Don't worry about it. It's in the past. It's better if it remains there."
"Aarti, I ..."
"Good bye, Yash." she got in her car and drove off.
He stood looking in the direction that she drove, even long after her car had disappeared.
It was Ansh's naming ceremony that brought her back here. She was looking around to see where he was but she didn't see him, but she knew he would be there. She supposed that she would have to get used to it. She would see him from time to time because of the family situation. The children and Vidhi were also glad to see her.
It was time to bless the baby, and Pari wanted her to part take of the ritual but all hell broke loose as she wanted bless the baby.
"I don't want that woman near my grandson. She is a bad omen."
Aarti just closed her eyes. She was not surprised by this behaviour.
"Ma please, said Prateek."
"No, you all know what happened. She had a miscarriage and her own mother confirmed that she would never be able to have children. She came into this house, disrespected me and then she left again without a word. She is not welcome here and she will not be allowed to touch my grandson."
"G3ji, if my daughter is not welcome here, then neither are we. Come Satya, let's go." By now Pari was in a state.
"No ma, pappa. You have to stay. He is your grandson too. This is an important event. And Pari needs you here. You stay."
She went to where her sister was sitting.
"Don't cry Pari. This is a happy occasion. I am blessed to have shared in it, no matter how short. You can tell me all about it soon, ok."
"But Didi, I want you to stay."
"It's better if I go. I don't want there to be unpleasantness because of me. Everything will be fine. We will chat soon."
She walked out on shaky legs, everyone was staring at her.
He couldn't believe what he was seeing. What was his mother's need to humiliate her at every opportunity? Why did she hate her so much? She walked past him without even seeing him. He could see she was close to a meltdown. He gave his mother a warning glare and followed her.
She had just reached outside, and she couldn't hold herself together anymore. He legs couldn't carry her anymore, it was all too much, She was about to collapse. But he caught her. He picked her up and put her in his car and drove off.