"Bani, is Jai coming tomorrow?" Kiran
asked, as Bani played around with her food. It was breakfast at the Dixit's
house and Bani was the least interested in eating. Like always, she was lost in
But one word in that question caught her
attention. She cursed herself for reacting to that name; he was a traitor. Why
did she have to love him so much? Why couldn't she forget him?
"Why?" She asked, trying to keep her
heart in one piece
"Its Karva Chauth tomorrow," Kiran
Of course. Bani marked the day, wanting
to fast for him. But when the day
"I am not fasting Ma," Bani said,
carefully avoiding her mother's eye.
"But its your first one," Kiran
interjected. When Bani didn't reply, she continued. "I know something serious
is going between you both. But it's a marriage' you have to compromise."
Compromise? Bani thought her mother was
asking for the impossible. Only if she knew what he did, she wouldn't be
talking like this.
"But I don't feel like it. There is
always next year to do the vrath." Saying that Bani ended the conversation and
Kiran sighed as she watched her only
daughter disappear into her room. She knew something was wrong, or why else
would her Bani, married for a year, return to her maayka and insist on staying for a few weeks?
Krishna doesn't know what is up between these two,
Kiran thought to herself as she busied herself in the morning tasks. We have to do something'
Bani took her usual spot at the window
and stared out the outskirts of Mumbai. Her heart and head were once again in a
struggle, this time about the upcoming vrath. Every time she managed to
convince herself of her duties as a wife, despite being tied to a man she
hated, she would only remember the letter'. The letter that changed her life.
By afternoon, she was literally split in
too. Life sucks, she thought to
herself. Why do I have to make a choice
where on neither side there is a happy ending?
It was past midnight, when her decision
was made. This time her love won over her hatred. She awoke promptly before
sunrise and made her way downstairs to find her mom eating her meal for the
day. But her eyes fell on a large tray in the middle of the dining table.
"Yeh kya hai?" Bani asked her mom.
"Sargi," Kiran answered. "You really
didn't think Krishna would let it go, did you?"
Bani narrowed her eyes at her Mother's
innocence. "What ever you are trying," she said, pulling the plate towards her.
"It won't work."
"I am trying to teach
my-too-stubborn-of-a-daughter the right way," Kiran said, before getting up.
"Are you sure you don't want to come?"
Kiran was off to one of those all-day
events with her friends, where she wouldn't feel the pain of fasting.
Bani shook her head in denial and
continued to force down food. If it was her wish, she would have fasted without
the meal before sunrise, but unfortunately, she had to eat the food sent by her
mother-in-law. It was auspicious.
The day passed by in silence as Bani
locked herself up in her room. She tried to keep him from her thoughts, but it proved to be very difficult.
Everywhere she looked she saw him. Everything she thought about reminded her of
him. Frustration started to bubble inside her as she angrily picked up a pencil
and begain sketching on the paper in front. She let her hands work for
themselves as she stubbornly told her brain to stop thinking. But all was in
vain, when her fingers finally stopped and the paper reflected the image of the
very man she tried to forget.
Walia' even the name brought a smile of pleasure on
her lips, which was quickly replaced by anger. Anger for all the love and
passion they shared in their one year of marriage. Anger for his betrayal.
Anger for the fact that despite all of the things he had done, she still craved
for him. Anger for the truth that she still loved him very, very much.
A tear slipped through Bani's eyes as
she turned away from her drawing. Living without him was impossible, but
forgiving him wasn't an option either. She closed her eyes in desperation and
let her thoughts travel to him.
Jai, tall and handsome business tycoon, would
probably be laughing at her tormented face. Baat
ko itna kyun baada rahi ho Bani? He would ask in his husky voice, that
brought gitters to her tummy. Seriously,
you will have grey hair before you turn 30!
Ofcourse, his laughter and care-free
face would be fake. Inside, he would be worried for her. In his head, he would
be figuring out a thousand ways to help her, his Bani, out of the dilemma she was put in. But on the outside, he
would be trying his best to distract her and she would be distracted watching
A pang of pain hit Bani as she wrentched
herself back to reality. She finally understood what she has been missing. What
has been snatched from her'her smile, her happiness, her life' It has been a
month since that fateful day, when she read her sister's last letter.
From that time, she controlled herself
not to think about him or his betrayal. But when she finally let herself think
about him, she realized what she was doing'she was killing herself. Jai was the
reason behind her every breath'behind her every heartbeat' by not thinking
about him, she stopped living.
Bani wiped away the tears that now
freely fell from her eyes. The moon finally appeared out of the clouds and she dutifully
picked up her pooja tray. As she stood
on the terrace, her dilemma picked up once again. What was she suppose to look
at? The person she was doing it for was not even here.
Giving up, she turned around to end her
vrath, when she found herself face to face with the man who haunted her for the
past month' Jai. She stared at him in shock. Was he real or was she
hallucinating?The Jai in front of
her was weak'there were dark circles under his eyes and he looked like he aged
a 100 years since the last time she saw him. I am not dreaming, she confirmed to herself.If it was her hallucination, he would have been fit and happy'
like how she liked him. But nevertheless, Jai wore a big smile on his face.
Bani didn't know if she should finish
the pooja now that he was here. But decided against it.Afterall, she was still
angry. She began to walk inside, when she heard his voice. Her heart skipped a
beat. How long has it been since she heard him?
"You have been waiting the whole day,"
he said. "why don't you just get it over with?"
"I haven't been waiting for anything!"
"Don't show your anger on yourself
Bani," he said calmly.
"I am not showing anger on anything,"
she replied. "But I would like you to leave Mr.
When Jai didn't respond, she turned
around. Bani saw him waiting for her. Both of them stood there, staring at the
other. Finally, giving up her stubbornness, Bani slowly walked back to him.
She did all the rituals, while Jai stood
there, watching her with intent eyes. Whenever their eyes met, Bani averted
them, not wanting him to see the love she held for him. When she was done, she
marched back inside, not even bothering to invite him.
Bani went down to the dinner table and sat
down to eat. Her butler came along offering his service, but she dismissed him
for the day. Then Jai came and sat down beside her.
"What are you doing here?" She asked,
not caring whether she was rude.
"Having dinner," he replied lightly.
"I didn't invite you, so LEAVE!" She
said in a loud voice.
Jai's smile dropped. He hoped this one
day, Bani would forget everything. But alas, it was too much to ask for after
everything that happened. He got up and left the room, leaving an extremely
guilty Bani. Knowing full well that he didn't eat anything all day (because she
was fasting), she hurriedly got a plate of food and followed him.
"Jai," she called, and his hand froze on
the door handle. He turned around and looked at her. "Come and have food."
"Its okay. I am just making it harder
for you," he said sincerely. Bani felt even worse.
"No," she interjected. "I am fine. You
didn't eat anything the whole day, you must be starving."
Jai looked up in surprise. So she knew
he kept the fast as well. An involuntary smile found its way across his face,
as he walked forward and took a seat on the sofa. After taking a bite of the
delicious food, Jai realized that Bani was not eating.
"You are not eating?" he asked. Bani
nodded and stood up to fetch her plate. But he caught her hand and made her sit
down again. He took a spoonful of rice and waited for her to open her mouth.
Bani just stared at it.
"Kab se mera joota khane se tumhe
problem hai?" he asked.
Accepting defeat, she opened her mouth
and gladly ate the food.
"Waise," Jai said after a while. "Have
you been dieting? Because you look a lot more thinner!"
Bani looked at the floor. The reason
behind her sudden weight loss was her lack of appetite. She ate once a day and
that too half a meal. She just didn't feel like eating. And even without
meeting her eyes, Jai knew the reason.
"You have to eat Bani," he said quietly.
"You can't starve yourself."
"I am not starving myself," she said
defending herself. "I am not hungry."
are you not hungry?" he asked. Bani
didn't reply, but Jai understood all the same.
"Listen," he said seriously. "I don't
want to be the reason why you don't eat! I can't even bear the fact that you
are starving yourself everyday because of me."
"Why," she asked, tears forming in her
eyes. "Why do you care? Afterall, if you did care, I wouldn't be here today!"
"Because I love you," he whispered.
Bani started to sob. "But I hate you Jai
Walia. I hate you so much." Everything that she held back for a month poured
out of her eyes. Her anger, her love, her hatred, her anguish'everything. Since
the day of her anniversary, she refused to let out a single tear. But now, she
was crying worse than a little child.
Jai put the plate way on the table and
pulled Bani to his chest. He hugged her tight, comforting her. She tried to
push him off, but only ended up hugging him back. His concern was all it took
for Bani to let out everything she stubbornly kept inside'something even her
mother couldn't do.
They both sat still, long after her
tears dried up. Bani lost in her thoughts, oblivious to the fact that she was
in Jai's embrace.
"You should go to bed Bani," he said
finally. Bani jerked out of her thoughts and realized her state. She let go of
him instantly and sat up straight, her eyes red from the recent breakdown. Not
wanting to face him, she got up with her head bowed down.
How could she face him, after everything
that happened. She cursed herself, for crying infront of him, out of all the
people in the world.
"Go home Jai," she said in hoarse voice,
when she heard him get up to follow her. She held up her hand, when he started
"Enough," she said, half-angry,
half-hurt. "You have done enough damage to me. I don't want to face anything,
any more. Thanks for coming here and finishing my so called 'vrath'. I was
stupid to do it in the first place. Afterall, who are you to me?"
Jai made sure the pain her words caused
didn't show on his face. "We are still married Bani."
Bani let out a sarcastic laugh.
"Married? I don't think so Mr. Walia. As far as I know, you betrayed me! And a
man who snatched away my family's happiness is not my husband."
It was silent for a while. "All that we
shared doesn't mean anything to you?" Jai asked in a emotionless voice.
"What did we share?" she asked, looking
up at him. "Everything that you did was out of guilt. You wanted to make up for
what you did to me and my family. And I was a fool, loving you to the core,
thinking you felt the same. If everything was one sided, from my side' where did the 'we' come in?"
Her words pierced Jai into a million
pieces. Everything he felt for her was out of guilt? Could that even be possible?
"I didn't think you would say this Bani," he replied in a cold and tormented voice.
"I thought you of all people will not stoop to that. But I guess I was wrong.
But I am not mad at you."
Bani looked at the floor, not being able
to look at the hurt her words caused him. But how could she forget everything
and run into his arms?
"I came here today to take you back," he
said in a sad voice. "Its hell not seeing your face. The photo doesn't do
justice to you at all." Jai paused, waiting for her to smile. But she didn't.
So he continued "I know even the sight
of my face hurts you-"
Bani wanted to yell out how wrong he
"- but I also know that you love me more
than how much I love you. No matter how much you run away, your life is with me
and mine with yours. I know how much hurt you are to know the truth, but it
hurts me ten times more to see you in pain. You may say that I acted from
guilt, but ask yourself - Is that even possible?"
Jai watched her face, but Bani refused
to look up. One glance at him and she would break down once again.
"Main tumse sirf ek cheez chatha hoon,"
he said softly. "Apna khayal rakna. Kyunki tumari khushi ke saath, ek aur
insaan ki khushi judi hui hai.Yeh khabhi math bhool na."
Saying that he left. Bani fell to the