Joined: 09 December 2006
(twenty-two years ago)
It was the quiet before the storm. For the briefest of moments, even the gentle humming of the wind seemed to cease on this moonless night. The darkness was suffocating and the silence deafening. A second later, a lightning bolt sliced the night sky, and at the same precise instant, an unexpected sound echoed through the forest: the cry of a baby.
With bloodshot eyes and hair clinging to her sweaty face, Namrata Kapoor finally rested her head onto her pillow. As extreme fatigue pervaded her body, a feeling of relief washed over her mind. Tilting her head, she glanced at Sakshi, watching her as she tenderly washed the newborn.
"Maalkin, aap ki beti bilkul aap pe gayi hai," Sakshi told her with a grin.
Namrata managed a weak smile and closed her eyes. As the quiet patter of rain on the window gradually grew to a pound, she listened to the pounding of her own heart, which conversely slowed to a normal beat. After all she had been through during the past nine months, Namrata was amazed that there were no complications in her delivery. Her prayers had been answered, and God had granted her a healthy daughter.
"Yeh lijiye aap ki amanat," she heard Sakshi say. Opening her eyes, Namrata pulled herself into a sitting position and took her child into her arms. There couldn't be a more beautiful baby. Round pink cheeks, light brown eyes, and a small button nose; just like a porcelain doll. Her tiny fingers gripped the pink blanket she was wrapped in as she blinked her swollen eyes, observing the new world around her.
Sakshi smiled to herself as she witnessed this wonderful moment, but she couldn't help thinking that something was missing. "Agar Maalik bhi yahaan aa jaayen to kitna achcha ho," she wondered aloud.
"Arre haan," Namrata responded, surprised that she had forgotten about her husband. "Chalo, kam se kam un ko phone par khush khabri to de sakte hain. Zara un ka number mila dena."
Sakshi dialed the number and gave the phone to Namrata, leaving the room to give her some privacy. The moment her husband answered the call, Namrata excitedly informed him of the good news. "Shekhar, humaari beti huwi hai. Pari jitni khoobsurat aur gudiya jaisi masoom."
The joy and relief was evident in Shekhar's voice as he replied. "Main bata nahin sakta, Namrata, ke mujhe yeh sun kar kitni khushi ho rahi hai. Kaash main wahaan aa sakta."
"Aisa mat kariyega. Itni toofani raat mein aap ko yeh makaan mil hi nahin paayega. Aur kahin woh log aap ko na dhoond len."
"Jaanta hoon. Abhi kuch din aur hum dono ko aise hi chhup ke rehna hoga. Phir hum yahaan se humesha humesha ke liye door chale jaayenge. SPC ko aur un ki saari harkaton ko bhool ke ek nayi zindagi shuru karenge."
Namrata glanced down with adoration at her newborn daughter. "Is ke janam ne humein itni himmat di hai ke hum apne ateet se peechha chhuda saken," she told her husband. "Humko azaadi mil gayi, mukti mil gayi. Isi liye main is ka naam Mukti rakhna chaahti hoon."
At that moment, Sakshi frantically rushed into the room. "Maalkin, kuch log is makaan ki taraf aa rahe hain. Lagta hai unhone humein dhoond liya hai."
The phone fell from Namrata's hands as she realized the significance of Sakshi's words. But within seconds, she understood what she had to do.
Holding Mukti up towards Sakshi, Namrata spoke with firm resolve. "Ise leke peechhe ke raaste se nikal jaao. Ab sab tumhaare haath mein hai, Sakshi. Meri Mukti ko bachaalo."
"Mujh mein abhi bhaagne ki taaqat nahin hai," Namrata explained. "Meri fikr mat karo. Jaldi se nikal jaao. Tumhen meri qasam!"
Sakshi held the baby to her chest as she rushed towards the back door. Opening it, she realized that the storm had intensified. Fearful for the newborn's safety, she grabbed the first thing she could find, the lid of a large plastic container, to protect her from the rain.
Leaving the cabin, she ran as fast as her legs could carry her, fighting through tree branches and avoiding puddles. Within minutes, Sakshi was drenched from head to toe, but she had ensured that not a drop was allowed to fall on Mukti's delicate skin. Aimlessly, she continued running for what seemed like hours, hoping that her intuition would lead her in the right direction.
Chapter 2 Promo
Prem slung his gym bag over his shoulder. "Phir milenge, sweetheart. Waise agar aap thoda muskura den, to aap ka kya jaayega?" He gave her a smile and a wink before turning and heading out of the gym.
Mukti rolled her eyes as she lowered the speed on her treadmill. "Jaane kya samajhta hai apne aap ko!" she thought, irately. Hoping she would never meet the strange man again, she continued with her workout. Little did she know that in just a few hours, Prem would be her only reason for being alive.
Joined: 09 October 2007
Joined: 26 May 2006
Joined: 12 July 2006
Joined: 09 December 2006
Thanks dear! Will continue in a few days.
Thank you for the lovely comments Sana! It'll probably take a while before the mystery about what happened to Namrata and Shekhar will be revealed. Hope I can do justice to the suspense!
Thank you! Will do for sure.
Joined: 29 October 2006
Joined: 01 May 2006
Joined: 09 December 2006
Thanks Sabrinaa...aww, why aren't you active anymore? Anyway, hope you like the next chapter. It'll be posted in a couple days.
Thanks Mandy! I appreciate your lovely comments. If this story turns out the way I hope, there will be suspense galore! Will update in a few days.
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