Joined: 18 October 2007
What would you do for love? Would you fight for it, sacrifice for it, die for it? I did, die for love I mean. I never thought I would, I mean I was never the overly romantic kind, in the 24 yrs I was on this earth, I had never felt my heart beat for anyone other than myself, never once found my eyes instinctively search for a special person, never dreamed…No, that was a lie and I won't lie, not here at least. So I'll admit I dreamed, and dreamed hard, every single night. And every night I saw him, my love, and every day my soul searched for him in the crowd; but I never found him and I continued to be alone, lonely, so lonely that sometimes I would wish that I could just curl up and die. And one day I did, I died…for love. But unlike most people, that wasn't the end of my story. NO, it was the beginning…
The girl sat at the table staring at the small packet of white powder before her. It looked so innocent, like talc, but talc didn't kill, not like cocaine. Her hand reached for the deadly particles before drawing back in fear. She didn't really want to die did she? She was too young, too beautiful. Yes, she was beautiful; she had always been that, it was one of her most potent weapons. Her lips curled back in a smile that should have been attractive but somehow failed to be, perhaps because of the hard glint in her eyes. But she stopped smiling abruptly as she remembered recent events. For the first time in her life, her beauty had failed her. He had left her, her. Thinking about it, her anger rose in a burning flame. She'll show him, she'll show them all; but first…she took her cell phone and the small packet as deadly and as deceptive as the basket of figs that had given a beautiful queen welcome release long ago in Egypt.
She lay on the floor, her body spasming and jerking as seizures racked it. She could almost feel the poison race though her veins, causing her to feel as though she's on fire as her blood clotted dangerously within her and her heart raced in a vain desperate attempt to keep alive. She vaguely heard the sound of a door being broken down, and then strong hands were lifting her up, carrying her. She wanted to tell whoever it was to stop the pain; she didn't know pain like this existed. She couldn't handle it. She wanted scream "make it stop" but nothing came out of her mouth. She sank into welcome oblivion.
She could vaguely sense voices around her,
"God, these rich brats, the only thing wrong with them is a lack of real problems."
"Get her to emergency NOW" barked another voice.
She could feel her muscles jerk as another burst of pain ripped through her.
"We're losing her!"
"Get me 10 ccs of…"
The voices gradually faded, "No!" she wanted to scream, "don't leave me, please don't leave me. I don't want to die. I didn't, it was…" everything faded once again as pain once again washed over her.
Suddenly she felt tubes being inserted in to her nostrils and struggled involuntarily. Familiar hands gripped her then, the same hands that had brought her here.
"Fight damn it, for once in your life fight for something"
She couldn't, she wanted to reply. She wasn't a fighter, never had been. All her life she had manipulated and schemed her way out of things and when things got too hard, she ran. She had always run away from problems and now when the time came to fight, she didn't know how. She was scared, scared of the pain, scared of life. It was better to give in, give in to the abyss. This time when that dark chasm yawned in front of her she fell willingly, without protest. And she died.
*******Some place else*******
"Ooh, call the morality police, someone's about to have an orgy"
"Shut up, not all of us can see the point in jumping around madly in a small room packed with similar maniacs while a perfect stranger tries to simultaneously disorient you with weird flashing lights and drive you deaf."
"Wow, only you could come up with that definition for clubbing, at least tell me that this picnic is with a guy"
"Nope, the guest list includes just me, a good book, and some serious junk food."
"Girl, you really need to get a life"
"Bye, drive carefully, the roads are slippery after the rains"
"You do know that my car is a second-hand wreck that has never gone over 60 in its entire history, don't you?"
"Yeah, yeah, but still, drive carefully will you?"
She smiled remembering the conversation. Life was good; she was young, attractive, with a good career, and wonderful friends. What else did a girl need? Well a flawless figure, perfect hair and a metabolism that would wipe out the need for exercise would be welcome of course but in the meantime, she would stick to achievable dreams. Her thoughts went to her love life or rather the lack of it. She had been thinking about it more and more these days, especially now that every one around her seemed to be pairing up right and left. Except for her that is. It was as though she was waiting for someone, or maybe she was just fated to be alone. She gave a brisk shake of her head to dismiss the gloomy thoughts and concentrated on the road.
Suddenly it happened. A young woman seemed to appear out of no where in the middle of the road. She gave an instinctive desperate twist to the steering as she slammed on the brakes. The wheels skidded on the wet road and the car fish-tailed before slamming into a tree with a sickening crunch. Her last thought before losing consciousness was - so much for a perfect life.
She could hear voices around her as harsh fluorescent lighting washed over her. She seemed to be moving on a…stretcher?
"Relax, you had an accident"
"Wait…girl…jumped in front of the car…she….alright?
"No ma'am there was no one else there, you're car skidded on the turn, that's all"
"But…the girl…was there"
"Ma'am please, relax!"
Suddenly she could feel a roaring in her ears.
"Oh god, there seems to be heavy internal bleeding, nurse get the OT ready"
"What's happening? What happened to her? Why don't you tell me anything?"
"Ma'am please, we're doing our best to save your friend, please wait outside"
"But how did it…"
"Ma'am please, let us do our jobs!"
She wanted to reassure her, Tina was the type to panic easily, she wanted to hold her and tell her that she was going to be fine. That she wasn't ready to die yet. By god, she wasn't ready to die. She had plans, dreams, a life to live. She wouldn't give in, not like this.
"We're losing her"
"NO! I WON'T!I WANT TO LIVE DAMMIT!!!!"
Suddenly she was in a bright light, it felt like she was standing in a supernova. She died…
I blinked, totally disoriented…One minute I was apparently dying; next, there was a bright light and now suddenly I find myself in a long hall, which looked of all things like an old-fashioned court of law. A fussy looking guy in a pin-striped three-piece suit was waiting anxiously at one end holding a thick old-fashioned cardboard binder. As soon as he saw me, he hurried over with a relieved expression. As he came closer, I realized that the suit was misleading. The guy was in fact built like one of those bodybuilders I used to see on one of my rare visits to the gym…no, that description didn't really fit, somehow he seemed more, like one of those medieval knights. Moreover, I could have sworn that I had seen a picture of him somewhere.
"Miss Sharma? Miss Anushka Sharma?"
"Umm…yeah, could you tell me what I'm doing here?
"All in good time young lady, first I need to verify certain details…follow me please."
"Yeah sure, er listen, did I just die?
"Well technically, you are currently DU"
"DU, Data Unavailable"
"But how can the data be unavailable? I mean I'm here right? Wherever here is! But anyway I'm not in my body and by all accounts that means I'm dead right?"
"Well of course, before marking your soul as present, we need to first verify you are who you claim you are and for that we need to ask you certain questions, take an aurograph, compare it with the one on record, fulfill sundry other formalities and there you go!"
"Where do I go? What is an aurograph? And most importantly, WHERE the hell am I?"
By this time, we had reached a smaller hall lined with old fashioned desks with chairs on either side. I saw that my outburst had drawn winces and frowns from the surrounding well 'officials' I suppose for want for a better term. They certainly didn't look like the angels of my imagination. Somehow, I kept expecting wings and halos.
"First of all Miss Sharma, please don't use the H-word here for, well, obvious reasons and secondly we are currently on level PD1 or purgatory (divine) 1. As you probably know, the afterlife has been traditionally divided into heaven, purgatory and well…
"Yes precisely" my guide replied with a wince, "anyway, with the growth in human population and resulting administrative problems, purgatory was divided into purgatory (divine) and purgatory (inferno) which was subsequently divided into…"
"I get the picture" I hastily cut in before he could launch into what promised to be a long not to mention boring speech.
"Yes well, anyway we would like you to fill up a few forms, get an aurograph…"
"It's like a photo, of your aura, which we'll compare with the one we have on file using state of the art aura identification technology I might add" he replied
"Um, fantastic…I guess"
"Excellent, here are the forms; the aurograph booth is just round the corner. I'll be back within 10 minutes and in case of any doubts just ask the people at the help desk." Saying this he practically vanished leaving me with a sheaf of papers an inch thick. I slowly walked to a desk. It figured that purgatory would be full of bureaucracy. I looked at the forms, yellow, pink, and white. The questions ranged from my religious beliefs to whether I liked peppermint of all things. The last was an application for reincarnation!
I was standing there staring blankly at the form, random thoughts flitting through my mind, when my guide suddenly reappeared as quickly as he had disappeared earlier. For some weird reason he reminded me of the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
"Ah Miss Sharma, I assume you have finished filling up the forms?" he asked me in his clipped British accent (like something out of an old Wodehouse series I thought idly).
"Um…almost, except for this application for reincarnation?" I ended in a querying tone.
"Let me see that…no, no, this is not necessary in your case."
"So I'm not being reincarnated?"
"No, yours is a case of soul transference, much rarer not to mention complicated and we really have to rush. You're already late for your orientation you know."
"No time for ifs and buts…come along now, rush, rush, rush!"
And so we rushed…
"Right Miss Sharma, welcome to soul transference orientation; since we're working on a bit of a tight schedule time always being an issue in such cases, I'll get right down to it…you weren't supposed to die…there was a bit of a well, how shall I put it? A glitch in the system and you were called before your time. Our sincere regrets of course!"
"Your sincere regrets?You're telling methat my death, the final act of my life was an accident, a bloody glitch and all you can say is Oops?!!! I mean with heaven being run this way I'm only surprised our lives aren't even more messed up than they already are. God! If people only knew!"
"Please Miss Sharma, I can understand your point of view and believe me I do sympathize, but we really don't have time for this. And we are doing our best to fix the situation believe me."
I took a deep calming breath, there was really no point in yelling was there? The ways of god were ever mysterious, everyone said so, besides I might be in heaven but this was bureaucracy I was dealing with, that was the same everywhere, and god knows this was not the way to deal with it. If 5 yrs of university life had taught me anything, it had taught me that. *Calm down Anushka* I told myself, *the worst that can happen already has, stop being a tragedy queen and deal with this like you've dealt with everything else in your life*. I took another calming breath and focused on my guide, who gave me an encouraging smile, obviously seeming to understand that the no hysterical attack was immediately forthcoming.
"Please understand Mr…um you didn't tell me your name"
"Michael, Archon Michael D'Angelus" he replied with a quiet smile.
"Archon Angelus – archangel, Michael…Jesus, you're the archangel Michael!"
"Yes Miss Sharma, but I do wish you wouldn't take the name of the Lord in vain, especially in front of me. You can understand my feelings about the matter."
"Yes of course", I replied in a dazed voice still unable to process the fact that the Archangel Michael was sitting in front of me in a pin-striped suit of all things. But wasn't he supposed to be the Commander of the Forces of Light? I mean I would have expected him to be battling the forces of darkness somewhere, clad in shining armor and wielding his flaming sword. And I just had to ask him about that.
"Who said I wasn't Miss Sharma?"
"I don't understand…"
"Neither the forces we battle nor the battlegrounds themselves are as obvious or simple as many humans believe them to be. If they were, things would have been much easier, believe me…but to get back to the issue at hand, let me tell you a bit about the arrangements we've made for you."
"Yes, the arrangements", I murmured, still not completely sure that all this wasn't just attempts by my sub-conscious to make sense of things while I lay in a coma in some hospital.
"Now as you know, we will be initiating a process of soul transference, something that is done very rarely as we don't really like to encourage the business. It creates all sorts of problems for the administrative department besides the obvious problem of finding a suitable host. Now the body you'll be transferring into is a 21 yr old female. Materially speaking, I suppose the transfer can be considered extremely profitable, the shell in question being young, physically attractive and well off, now there are some terms and conditions involved…."
"What was her name?"
"The other girl who died, what was her name?"
"Riddhima, Riddhima Gupta."
"How did she die?"
"Supposedly suicide through drug overdose" he replied, shuffling the papers in front of him in an attempt to avoid meeting my eyes.
"You want to transfer me to the body of a suicidal drug addict?!" I yelled.
"Supposed suicide", he made haste to remind me, "I really can't give you all the details, policy being what it is, but let's just say that there is more to it than meets the eye. That's for you to find out; as for the drugs in her body, they'll be completely flushed out. It'll be like a miracle", he added, smiling at his own joke. "Besides Miss Sharma, you have to remember that the former Miss Gupta's soul has already departed her body. For all intents except the name and the physical appearance, it'll be you there, not Riddhima."
"I don't believe this, you're going to put me in the middle of something out of a third rate supernatural thriller."
"Please Miss Sharma; believe me when I say I truly believe you can handle this. Besides, there may be more waiting for you than you know." His words somehow calmed me. Or perhaps it was the way he said my name. But for the first time I started looking at this like an adventure. After all how many people got a second chance at life.
Something struck me, "this girl who died, Riddhima, doesn't she want to go back?" I asked.
"No, unlike you, she had no will to live, she was content to give up rather than fight for her life."
I digested this and then asked, "Will I remember any of this once I go back?"
"I'm sorry Miss Sharma, but that's one of the conditions, that you'll remember nothing of what went before. Though you might remember parts of your past life, bits of information, tastes, food preferences etc." The archangel sounded genuinely regretful and I gave him a smile to show that I understood.
"I guess that just makes it even more exciting, don't worry Archon, I'll be fine and thanks for everything"
"Goodbye Miss Sharma and may I say how much I admire the way you're handling this difficult situation. And you might just find this adventure of yours' more rewarding than you've ever thought possible."
"I hope so, Well, wish me luck!" I squared my shoulders and walked back into the light.
"Did you tell her?"
"But Michael, don't you think she needs to know?"
"She'll be fine Gabriel, she's a fighter"
"I hope so Michael, I really hope so…"
The two archangels stood there looking at the retreating soul…
The room was one of a set tucked away in a quiet corner of the busy hospital. Unlike the rest of the building, a sense of quiet despair and barely defeated failure hung like a miasma in the air. The staff tended to avoid the place unless they had duty there. They were healers after all, warriors in a constant battle against the grim reaper and this was almost part of his realm. This was where the coma patients lay, their physical bodies fettered by the instruments they were dependent on, while their unconscious soared on winds unknown. The staff nurse on duty went on her rounds, one more day and her rotation here would be finished. It was just so depressing. Her musings were cut short by a sudden beeping from the adjacent room. The too quiet corner of the hospital came alive as the medical team threw themselves into denying death a victim one more time.
"It's a miracle, that's all I can say"
I gained consciousness hearing the words and reflected wryly that the Archon Michael was certainly a good judge of humans. This was followed by a massive wave of confusion as I tried to figure out what I meant. And an even bigger wave of pure panic as I realized in sheer horror that forget about some Michael, I couldn't remember who I was.
I must have made some sound or movement of distress because the next thing I knew there was a bright light shining into my eyes. The perpetrator turned out to be a doctor and not a medieval torturer who had wandered into my room by mistake as I had first thought.
"Well Miss Gupta you've certainly had a lucky, I should say miraculous recovery, no young lady, don't move your head. I realize the light must be hurting your eyes but I need to check them you know"
I waited till he relaxed his grip on my head before turning away in irritation and found myself staring into the most riveting pair of grey eyes I had ever seen…
My eyes drifted open slowly, a side effect no doubt of my long hospital stay. It's been two weeks since I regained consciousness and high time I was discharged in my opinion. I was in a foul mood, no doubt the result of the barrage of tests I was subjected to since I awoke. A small voice at the back of my mind whispered that it was less the tests and more the fact that I never got to meet the owner of those fascinating grey eyes that had so captured my attention. I had soon lost consciousness again after that near miraculous awakening and by the time I regained consciousness a second time, the man was gone, and I never got to find out who he was. I couldn't help but notice I was getting rather obsessed with my stranger, but it did help take my mind away from such disturbing details as the fact that I couldn't remember anything about my life before I died or even why I died. Or the fact that I didn't seem to have any family to speak of. My thoughts drifted to one of my first sessions with Atul one of the psychiatrists on staff…
"Good morning, I'm Dr. Atul Joshi, the resident shrink and I would like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind?"
Looking at the fresh-faced doctor with the twinkle in his eyes, I could feel my own lips curve into an answering smile. "Certainly doctor."
"Call me Atul, and may I call you Riddhima" he ended the statement on a questioning note.
"I guess Riddhima is as good a name as any…"
"You don't like it?"
"It's not that I don't like it, it's that I don't recognize it. In case you don't know Atul, I seem to be suffering from rather large not to mention disturbing case of amnesia."
"Yes, Dr. Malhotra told me about that…why do you think that is?"
"Well Dr.Atul, I was hoping you could tell me that and help cure it incidentally."
He smiled at that and replied, "I'll certainly do my best Riddhima, but what I meant was that while you were in a coma for a long time, nearly 3 months, your injuries were mostly physical. While partial disorientation could be expected, this near total memory loss is certainly unusual. Which makes me believe that it could be an attempt on part of your brain to suppress unpleasant memories." He paused for a while and then staring straight into my eyes he said, "you tried to commit suicide Riddhima …by overdosing on cocaine…did you know that?"
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before nodding quietly, "yeah, I heard two of the nurses gossiping couple of days back. They were rather disapproving about the whole thing…guess they didn't like the fact that a drug addict survived while more 'deserving' cases died" I ended on a shaky laugh. I hadn't realized how much the silent disapproval of those around me mattered until I mentioned it to Atul. Especially since there was a small part of me that kept telling me that that was not how it happened. However, since this was the same part that also insisted my name was actually Anushka and that I had seen the archangel Michael in a 3-piece suit, I kept that bit of info to myself.
I felt someone pat my hand and opened my eyes to see Atul smile at me sympathetically. "I can empathize Riddhima…especially since you no doubt feel you're being blamed unfairly as you don't remember anything of what happen before. But you are here because of the choices you made in life…and your future will depend on the choices you make from now on. Well I think I inflicted my company on you long enough. I'll go and torture someone else. Meanwhile, think about what I said and hopefully I'll see you the day after."
Atul continued to visit me every second day and over time, I came to look forward to his visits and even learn things about myself. He was big on self-discovery, so he never came out with outright bits of info about me. But he somehow made me more aware of myself and my surroundings and by observing these and analyzing our convos I realized that I love reading, that I preferred mysteries to romances, and books to TV, ballads and soft oldies to loud music and peppermint to chocolate. That I was rather particular about cleanliness and preferred pastels tones for my rooms but liked bright jewel colors for the rest. Not much, you might say, but to me they were like manna from heaven. Sometimes I got the impression that my answers confused and later on…intrigued him, but he never told me what was so interesting about them…and I never asked. I was saving up for a bigger confrontation and had finally decided today was to be the day.
I was brought out of my reverie by a knock on the door, which was almost immediately followed by the cheerfully round face of Sister Lovely. She was one of the nurses assigned to this ward and somehow despite her outgoing, sometimes bull-dozing nature and her initial disapproval of me, we managed to get along really well. In fact, the deep disapproval with which I was viewed by most of the staff had vanished in the last few weeks and I suspected Atul of having something to do with it. However, when I asked him, he told me it was all my doing, adding something incomprehensible about getting back what one puts out…trust a psychiatrist to answer in riddles.
"Hello Sister Lovely, how are you today?"
"O ji, I have to be the one asking you that na? After all, patient to aap hai"
"Koi baat nahin Lovelyji, kal se aap pooch lena, now tell me, isn't Dr. Atul coming to see me today?"
"Lo ji, jo baat batanein aayi thi wahi bhool gayi…actually wo kya hai na ji, Dr. Atul ne kaha aaj mausam itna accha hai to woh aapse garden mein milenge"
"Haanji, we have a small garden here on Sanjeevani grounds and Dr. Atul often meets his patients there. If you don't mind that is…"
"I don't mind at all"
I had to admit the Sanjeevani grounds resembled some resort more than any hospital I ever saw, but perhaps an amnesiac isn't the best judge of these things…or anything for that matter. We traversed beautiful gravel paths and finally reached a secluded gazebo set on a hillside with an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. Dr. Atul or Atul as I had come to think of him was waiting for me there and came forward with his trademark cheerful smile.
"Well, well, well…how is my favorite patient today?"
"Good, and that compliment would have no doubt sounded better if I didn't know that I was your only patient"
"Lies, all lies put about to demean my status"
The formalities thus out of the way, we got down to the session proper. After a while, I thought it was time to introduce the subject that was preying on my mind for so long.
"I wanted to ask you something Atul…"
"Don't I…aren't I close to my family? I mean I know I have a family, at least I have a dad, it's there on one of the hospital forms. But he doesn't seem to have come to see me and I was wondering, you know, if there was something wrong" I finished in a rush.
Atul who had been patiently listening to my rather incoherent speech now smiled, "you have been quite the detective, haven't you…and yes, your father was here, throughout the time you were in a coma he used to visit you with Ar…with others and he is really concerned about you. We have had sessions you know, as part of your treatment and I feel that part of the reason that he hasn't come to see you yet is because he feels guilty…he's a noted entrepreneur and I gather he wanted you to follow in his footsteps. Your failure to do so created some tension, though I believe you didn't really have a happy relationship with him from the time of your mother's death in your pre-teens."
I sat there after Atul had gone in, trying to digest this new set of facts on my life. My mother was dead and my father was a benefactor of the very chain of hospitals I was being treated in…Shashank Gupta. That meant my mom was Smriti Gupta 'in loving memory of whom this branch of Sanjeevani had been built' according to a brochure I found on one of my later exploratory trips around the hospital. On the same trip, I had accessed the net to research him (surreptitiously, as it felt weird to search for info on your own dad) but found little by way of facts which said a lot in its own way, after all only the truly rich and powerful can protect their privacy like that in this age. A handsome man, my dad…there was of course very little info on his daughter a.k.a me though according to one site I had finished my education in some finishing school or other before doing my bachelor's in English lit. Not a very impressive academic record and I had to fight again against the part of my mind I had privately named Anushka, which scoffed at them. Another name on one of the pages had jumped out at me from the screen…Armaan Malik. For some reason, I had felt curious about its owner and had learnt that he was a young corporate prodigy; considered the heir apparent to my dad. The information had created a bias in my mind against him. I felt (unfairly perhaps, since I had no recollection of my relations with my dad) that he had appropriated my place at dad's side and I was already all set to put him in his place should the opportunity arise to do so. But first, I wanted to meet my dad and if I was lucky, my grey-eyed stranger as well…
I was sitting in the gazebo, now one of my favorite places in Sanjeevani; trying to ignore the butterflies in my stomach…today, I was finally going to meet my dad. In all this time since I had regained consciousness, he hadn't visited me even once…a fact that angered me on one level and hurt me on a much deeper one. But right now I was more worried about facing him today, talking to him… silly I guess, but then again, he was my father…a father I didn't remember at all…a father who apparently didn't want to see me…
Something brought me out of my thoughts and I saw two people walking towards me. One of them was Atul and the other was Shashank Gupta, the head of one of India's most prestigious chains of hospitals…and my father. A small sound of nervousness escaped my lips as I looked at him. He was certainly distinguished looking. Dressed in a well-cut, storm-grey suit he had patrician features and was cloaked in a subtle air of authority…a man who could get things done without raising his voice. As he closer though, I focused more and more on other things…a mouth that hinted at a smile that was made for chasing away midnight nightmares and telling bedtime stories, eyes that seemed to twinkle and draw out confidences…and I felt a wave of sorrow wash over me for whatever had gone wrong b/w us. This was a good man and a wonderful father, I knew with a bone-deep certainty and I felt a sudden wrenching need to be a little girl again, back in the safety of those arms…arms that looked like they were perfect for scooping up a daughter and hugging her close.
"Hey Riddhima, your father's here to see you…"
I was once again in a looking-glass world, walking along a path that seemed at once familiar and alien. The sense of wrongness was subtle yet overpowering; it was like looking at an artist's interpretation of a landscape as opposed to the actual thing. The colors were too intense, the whole feel of the thing just plain wrong….the path suddenly twisted and I found myself at the gazebo once again, unconsciously my steps quickened. Suddenly I found the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention as I became aware of being the target of an intense gaze.
Slowly turning around and looking at a small cluster of trees, I was suddenly aware of how alone I was out here. There was a growing awareness in the pit of my belly…not fear but something else, something almost sensual…it was as though the shadows within the thicket called to some dark part of my own soul. I stood there, and I watched as the man stepped out of the shadow…but then again he didn't, it was as though the shadows seemed to move forward with him, cloaking everything in a dreamy haze…the sudden swirling mist that had appeared from nowhere prevented me from seeing his face but there was no need for sight, it was as though every cell in my body had suddenly became hyperaware. I waited, body quivering, as he finally came close and took me in his arms…did he kiss me? I don't know…it was as though his proximity overloaded my senses to such an extent that they finally crashed and burnt. I was churning in a cauldron of sensation that had gone beyond pale descriptive expressions. Suddenly I felt a burning flame in my stomach and looked down to find the hilt of a knife sticking from my stomach. As the life force flowed away from my body along with my swiftly flowing blood, I reached up in desperation to see a pair of riveting grey eyes…
I sat up with a jerk, my hands instinctively going to my stomach to check for the gaping wound that I was sure would be there…but it wasn't, dream wounds seldom leave physical scars. As I sat there, my gaze wandered across the room. The mirror opposite the bed revealed a pale-faced girl sitting up among tangled sheets, her body trembling and covered in sweat.
I sat in bed and thought about the dream I had the last night. This wasn't the first time it was happening either…it had started right from the day I came back to this house with papa. It was as though something related to this house or maybe this room was triggering them. Maybe I should think of changing rooms…it was not as if this one had my approval. It was too juvenile not to mention overtly feminine which was not my style as all. Though the wardrobe seemed to contradict me…It was full of flirty, feminine tops, skirts, and dresses with innumerable accessories. I kept feeling as though I was in someone else's room every time I opened the thing…and don't even start me on my lingerie collection, it looked like a Victoria's Secret catalogue. And the shoes, god the shoes! All with heels like spikes and daggers and the itsy, bitsy straps…I can't imagine how I walked in them. In short in the two days since I've come back "home" I haven't felt even remotely connected to anything that was supposed to be mine.
This was the limit, I decided. Starting today there was going to be a change in tactics, rather than try to fit back into my old self, I would follow the dictates of my post-accident one and see where that gets me…any way it can do no harm, right? First step? Get out of this satin and lace negligee into some comfy pjs…actually, since it was past seven, I might as well get up, no matter Padma aunty told me it was my habit to sleep late…like I said today was all about new beginnings…
Filled with new resolve I jumped out of bed and took a quick shower before pulling on a pair of jeans and a simple white tee. Gathering my hair into a pony and slipping my feet into a pair of sandals, I went downstairs to find Padma aunty coming in from the side door.
"Hello beta, awake so soon? Go out onto the lawn, your father is having breakfast there."
"thanks aunty" giving her a quick hug which she returned after a surprised pause I went outside to see my dad sitting at the small breakfast table on the patio with a guy who had his back to me. Following my instincts, I gave papa a quick hug. For a moment I saw shock cross his face followed by a small hint of happiness almost too quick to miss.
"Morning Riddhima, hope you slept well, by the way, do you remember Armaan…"
As the guy turned around I found myself looking at the most riveting pair of grey eyes I had ever seen…I guess I finally found my mystery man…who would just love to stick a knife in me if my subconscious is to be believed!!!
I stood there looking at the man in front of me…the memory of my dream still so vivid in my mind that I had to exert every bit of self-control not to check for a wound. Some trace of my feelings must have been visible on my face because a puzzled frown briefly flitted across his face. However it was gone before I could make sure and a large, masculine hand was thrust towards me, "Good to see you back Riddhima, how are you feeling?"
Still have dazed, I extended my own hand, which was promptly enveloped in a firm, cool grip, totally arrogant and 100% male. As our hands touched, a shock of pure sensation went down my spine, startling me and my eyes leapt to his. In his eyes I thought I saw a hint of surprise as if he too had felt that bolt of sheer awareness, but I can't be sure. I suddenly realized that I was standing there staring into those gleaming eyes like an idiot and hastily muttered something or the other before dropping his hands like I'd been electrocuted.
I was blushing…I just knew it. For the past five minutes, I had been sitting with my head bowed in order to hide behind the curtain of my hair while I rushed through breakfast as quickly as I could. Things had only gone downhill after that since our initial hellos with me being totally incapable of taking a sensible part in the conversation. Not that I had been invited to, I thought with a hint of irritation, in fact after the initial greetings and polite chit-chat the men had gone back to their discussion, totally ignoring me. From their talks, it was clear that Armaan was indeed dad's protg but damn it, I'm not exactly brain dead here you know though I might occasionally give a very good imitation of it…when I see gorgeous men with riveting eyes *sigh*
"What do you say, beta…"
"Huh?" I quickly tuned back into the talk at the table to find both of them staring at me expectantly. Damn, sometime during the period I was sitting there grumbling the conversation must have veered to include me. *Shit* now what the hell had they been talking about? I frantically racked my brain to no avail. "You were saying dad…?"
"I was asking what you thought of Armaan's idea"
Of course, it would be his idea I thought in irritation as I looked at the man sitting opposite me, "Armaan's idea…?" (God, I sounded like a freaking parrot and did he have to look so amused by my confusion?
"I think sir that Riddhima is still a bit confused after her accident", No I'm not you arrogant bas***d, but I was finding it difficult to work up the necessary irritation, his deep rich voice flowing over me like thick dark chocolate soothing my raised hackles. The man oozed sex appeal, no doubt about that. "Actually Sir and I was talking about holding a small get together of close friends to help jolt your memory"
"I think it's a brilliant idea Armaan, and I'm sure Riddhima will agree as well, right beta?"
"Yeah…" Great, just what I needed! A party of all things, where I probably won't remember any of the people! Whoopee! I relapsed into incoherent mental muttering.
"Are you tensed about the get-together?" hearing his voice, my head shot up to find myself sitting alone with him, dad no where in sight…
Author's note: The plot revolves around a girl who died too soon and was sent back to earth for reasons that will become clear later on in the story. The protagonist of the story is Anushka Sharma a confident, independent young woman who lives life on her own terms. However, one day she dies and is sent back to earth only this time into the body of a spoilt young heiress named Riddhima Gupta who has also died recently. How Anushka (now Riddhima) deals with her second chance at life forms the body of the story. Her attempts to do so is complicated by the fact that following the soul exchange, her character, likes and opinions all remained the same and are totally different from the original Riddhima's which causes her and others no end of confusion. All they and she know is she is she acts like a totally different person following her awakening from the coma.
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