you have an appointment?"
no. But I need to see him urgently… I'm Jai Walia's wife."
receptionist looked at Bani, debating no doubt whether to send her in or not.
Finally, after what felt like eons, she nodded and gave her instructions to
hurried through the glass doors, butterflies flooding through her stomach. As
soon as she left the hospital, she went home for a quick shower and was then
found racing to the only man who could help her now. Yes, she finally picked a
side… it was Jai's.
her decision was expected, she finally seemed to have come in terms with her
sister's death. She learned to let go, because the no matter how much anger and
grief she went through, there was no way of getting her back. Moreover, as she repeatedly
learned in that last month, the pain of loosing Pia, was nothing compared to
the pain she would have, if she lost Jai. It was actually a very simple
equation. So what Jai did and what Pia did, didn't matter anymore. She had to be
selfish, if she wanted to save herself a lonely life!
so, she rushed to Tarun to cancel the divorce. It was more than a month since
she came back to Jai's life and she was worried that it was too late to change
in," came Tarun's voice, when she knocked on the door to his office.
entered the room in hesitation. Even though she heard endless things about
Tarun from Lakshmi, she never talked to him alone; it was very nerve-wrecking.
As she slowly entered the office, she couldn't help but notice that like Jai,
even Tarun liked his office spotless. Everything was neatly ordered and
organized. Not even a single piece of paper was amiss.
Tarun said, surprised. She was last person he expected to see.
Tarun," she said timidly. "I needed to talk to you about something…"
he replied, nodding to the chair infront of him. "Take a seat. I was just
leaving for the hospital… How is the baby?"
was the only word there was to describe her. "She is really one of a kind."
smiled. "Thank god! Lakshmi was freaking out… We went to visit my parents and
only managed to come back this morning."
She had no idea what to say.
he said, adopting a business-like tone. It was like she was a client coming for
a consulation. "What can I do for you?"
Bani said, taking a deep breath. "I want you to cancel the divorce."
duo stared at eachother for a moment, before Tarun cleared his throat and said,
"The divorce… you know…" When he
continued to have a blank look on his face, she asked "you are Jai's lawyer, right?"
he replied slowly, not understanding where the conversation was heading. "But
he never talked to me about a divorce."
was confused. Never talked… then how did
Jai file a divorce? "He never mentioned anything about me and him?"
shook his head in denial.
Maybe… it was
She thought seeking for alternatives. But she was running out of time. It was
already two weeks past the deadline Jai set for her. What if the court already
approved the divorce?
Don't be stupid, her mind told
her. Things don't work like that… even if
it is approved, its not like you
can't get married again. It's just a piece of paper after all!
Tarun called, cutting through her thoughts. "Is everything alright?"
you sure you are Jai's lawyer?" she
asked again. "I mean do you take care of all his legal issues?"
I do. But-"
if he hired another lawyer," she continued. "Then-"
I will know about it. Nothing slips past me. Now, can you please tell me whats
So… so, does
that mean there is no divorce?! Her mind whirled as she tried to
process the new piece of information. If
Jai never filed a divorce from any lawyer…
then, all this time…
Tarun said. "You are scaring me now. Are you
and Jai getting divorced? Is this what its all about?"
shook her head in disbelief. All this time, she thought she was leaving Jai…
that they were on a deadline, but there isn't even a divorce?
have a question," she said, not noticing Tarun's panic-striken face. "So, if
two people want to get divorced, then is it a requirement that they have to
live together for a year?"
he answered automatically. "If both the parties are in agreement with the
divorce, then the court allows them to sign the papers almost the same day. But
why are you asking me all this?"
didn't reply. So he lied to me! There is
no divorce… we didn't have to live together. It was all a lie…
… to make me
her mind finished. Bani began to recollect the show down she had with Jai when
he cancelled her passpirt. And suddenly, she could see the lie behind his cool
and calm posture, which at that point irritated her. While his remarks hurt,
his eyes clearly showed the care he had for her. She was just too angry to
calling Lakshmi," Tarun said finally. He was seriously worried.
Bani shrieked, coming back to earth. A smile was beginning to appear on her
face as she finally understood what her husband was trying to tell her all
along. "Don't call her… everything is fine."
will you care to explain?!"
how was she supposed explain the accident, the letter and most importantly the
fake divorce? Taking a deep breath, she said. "Its just a misunderstanding. I
got confused… that's it. But thank you so much Tarun."
stood up to leave, almost jumping with joy. She couldn't wait to rush home,
back into Jai's arms, this time with no inhibitons whatsoever.
he said, his tone once again serious. "I have to talk to you."
stopped in her tracks, wondering what the city's biggest lawyer wanted to talk
to her about. Slowly, she resumed her seat.
am going to be honest with you," he said frankly. "You and Jai are going
through a tough time these past few days…"
Tell me about it, she thought.
I wanted to know what went wrong. I have known Jai for a while now, of course
not as well as Ranveer, but still. And I couldn't help but think why he was
trying to ruin his own marriage, while we all know for a fact that he can't
live without you. So, I went digging and there are some things I found which I
think you, especially, need to know."
had no idea what Tarun was saying. "What do you mean?"
know what happened to Pia," he said simply. "It wasn't an accident."
froze, as her thoughts buzzed with Pia's last letter, which was still a secret
to the world. She was sure it was a subject Jai never wanted to be associated
with, and she intended it to keep it that way. But she didn't like to even
think about what would happen if Tarun got a whiff of that incident. He wasn't
the biggest lawyer of Mumbai for no reason.
don't know how much you know about Pia," he continued.
know everything," Bani interrupted. She wanted to steer away from this topic as
soon as possible!
do you know there was someone, a guy, who was obsessed with her during
nodded, expecting her reaction. "Yes… he used to follow her everyday. Pia
thought he was just a regular guy flirting, so she ignored him, until she saw
him beating up a boy, who gave her a rose for Valentines. You could say he was
Bani said scrunching her eyebrows. "That can't be true… Di would have told me
if there was such a guy."
were in Canada at that time."
she fired back. "We used to talk everyday."
obviously Pia didn't seem to think it was important enough to tell you."
was stumped at his answer. How could she explain the bond she shared with her
sister? The promises they made to eachother? The Pia who used to tell her the
smallest things like getting a paper cut, would hide being stalked by a
psychotic guy? It just didn't make
sense. Deciding it was fruitless to even attempt explaining, she asked, not
caring for the answer, "How long did it go on for?"
years," he answered. "However, once Pia started realizing how possessive he got
of her, she tried avoiding him. She even lodged a police complaint against
did he stop?"
really," Tarun said, matter-of-factly. "He was in jail for two months, during
which Pia graduated and started modeling. But once he was out, he began
stalking her again. Annoyed and somewhat scared, she finally asked him what he
did he want?"
proposed to her," he said. "He said he wanted to marry her. Pia obviously said
no, but it didn't end there. He continued to follow her… sent her flowers and
gifts and what not. Eventually, she and Jai got engaged."
don't get it. Why are you telling all this? What does this have to do with
stood up from his chair. "Well… think about. There was a guy, a psycho, who was
obsessively in love with your sister. What would he have done as soon as he
heard she got engaged to someone else?"
gasped. "Jai… did he try to… kill…?"
shook his head. "Jai is almost always surrounded by security… even if he tried,
it would have been unsuccessful. But my point is this: Is it really a random
chance that the bride has an accident on the day of the wedding with a psycho,
who previously has been proven to be violent, obsessed with her?"
stared at Tarun, the words slowly sinking in. But the answer was already at her
not," he agreed.
why are you telling all this?" she asked, trying to keep her heart from falling
apart. She vaguely wondered for how much longer she was going to react like
this to Pia's death, for each time the topic was brought up, she only felt more
deeply of her loss. "Regardless of how, the accident did happen… s-she is gone."
that's why its important for you to know," he said. "Do you know what the cause
of the accident was?"
blinked, trying to remember the reason the police offered when they arrived at
the mandap of Jai and Pia's wedding. "Didn't she hit a tree? And the car caught
fire because of some engine problem?"
are right," he said, with a nod. "Except, the body's post mortem report says it
was a male. Not a female."
followed his revelation as Bani stared in disbelief. When she finally found her
voice, she asked, "But… but how can that be? I saw the reports… I…"
never saw them," he said confidently. "A copy was never sent your house, and
your parents were too much in grief to ask for it."
she replied, but still not accepting his
point. She just couldn't believe what she was hearing! "They didn't ask for it,
but the police… they would obviously
notice such a big mistake…"
shook his head. "It was not a mistake… I personally talked to the doctor who
did the report, and he was sure. Obviously, to him it doesn't matter if the
body in the car was male or female. And to the officer in charge, it was much
more easier to close the case than investigate what happened."
a big thing like that?" Bani asked unconvinced. "They can't close the case with something like that…"
almost smiled at her innocence, but he was used to the ignorance most people
had regarding these issues. Of course, he was well aware; it was an unofficial
requirement of his job. "If someone offered you ten lakhs to not investigate an accident case, which
was both a waste of time and has absolutely no significance to you, what would
you have done?"
you even know what you are saying Tarun?" she said, putting together the bits
of info he was dropping on her. "Someone bribed the police to not look into the
accident of my sister! Why would anyone
you think of someone?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.
then it fell into place… all of it. The lines on Bani's forehead cleared as she
understood what he was trying to tell her. "You mean that guy… the psycho… he made it look like an accident?"
head spun as she tried to process the information. A psycho stalked my sister… on the day of the wedding, he staged an
accident to make it look like she died… he bribed the police to close the case…
more she thought about it the more unreal it seemed. Why didn't Di never tell about him? If she even complained against him…
why is that I don't know? Maybe she told Maa? So, if it was all staged where
did the letter come from?
suddenly, Bani relaxed. There was no way the accident was fake, when Pia had
written her letter of suicide. Tarun was definetly mistaken!
she said out loud. "That doesn't add up. Di committed suicide… there has been
raised an eyebrow. "What? Why would Pia commit suicide?"
a sigh, Bani pulled out her sister's last letter from her purse, which she kept
with her at all times as token of her memory and began to explain everything
from the beginning. She couldn't hide it any longer.
shook his head she finished her story. "But I already knew all that…"
looked at the security footage of the Walia Industries," he said
absent-mindedly, as if it was very normal thing to do. "I knew Pia came to
visit Jai right before the accident, but that has nothing to do with anything
you are saying!"
handed him the letter. "She committed suicide," she repeated. "Because Jai never
quickly read the letter, his mind working away at the new piece of information.
"But this doesn't prove anything," he said a minute later.
do you mean?" she asked, baffled at his words. "It says clearly that she is…"
he argued. "Show me where it says she is going to kill herself?"
stared wide-eyed, failing to understand why he couldn't grasp what she was
he continued. "To me it just looks like she is saying goodbye… afterall, I
don't think she planned to ever meet Jai again, especially when he so bluntly
told her he didn't want to marry her."
was now completely perplexed. "But… she meant…"
sighed. "Bani… I think you
the accident happened because she
it was a coincidence. You found the letter after
the accident, so its natural for you to think like that. But if the accident
didn't happen, would you have read that letter and think Pia went to commit
looked at the floor as she began to see reason through his words. Her mother's
words, uttered long ago, suddenly came to her.
Tum khud soocho, Kiran's voice
said, from the stairs of the temple they once sat on. First of all, Pia never explicitly said that she was… killing herself.
Maybe it was really just an accident.
was once again caught in a whirlwind of thoughts she recollected the events
leading up to that terrible accident. And with each tick of the clock, one
thing became very clear; Jai was innocent. If what Tarun was saying was
correct, and as she thought about it now, it very much seemed so, she blamed
Jai all these days with no fault of his!
was quiet in the room, as Tarun gave her time to reel from the onslaught of
information. He sat down, and patiently waited for her to catch up. He knew it
wouldn't take her long to connect the dots and sure enough-
Bani said suddenly, sitting up higher in her chair. "If you are saying that the
accident was fake… then, doesn't that mean Di is alive?!"
took pity on her, as he saw the hope engulfing her eyes. He wished he wasn't
the one delievering this news to her. "Yes… it adds up to that."
where is she?" Bani asked, her voice rising with each word. It was as if she
was seeing the sun after months of imprisonment!
remains to be the mystery," he replied, a little sadly. "Because if she is
alive, then why didn't she come home?"
struggled to answer, as horrible thoughts quickly impanted themselves in her
mind. "Maybe the psycho locked her up… maybe he is torturing her…"
Tarun said, as she began to trail away with endless possibilities. "But there
is no proof. And I recently found out that the police discovered a body, which
matched with him."
he is dead?!"
nodded. "Yes, there was a riot in a village not far from here, where they found
the body. Unfortunately he doesn't have any family, so no one can identify him,
but I think it is him."
where is my Di?" she demanded, not wanting to believe that they were indeed
clueless. "If he is dead, then she should be free right? Then why didn't she
could be two reasons," he said, pressing his fingers to his forhead. Bani could
tell he worked a lot on this issue for the past few days. "Either she is no
more… or she doesn't want to come back. But there is no report of a body, so
its mostly likely the second reason."
Bani said, her voice higher than she intended. Her head tried to find an anchor
of reason she could hold on it. What Tarun was implying couldn't be true. The sister she mourned for, for more than a year
now, was faking her death all this time? That just wasn't possible!
"Di would definely
come home…" she reasoned. "Maybe she is in some trouble. Maybe she is
why haven't the kidnappers called yet?" he challenged. "There is only one
doesn't make sense that Di doesn't
want to come back! Why would she run away?!"
wouldn't she? The man she is in love with is married to her younger sister."
gaped at Tarun as the truth hung in the air like a whiplash. It was the very
thing she dreaded of from the first day of her marriage… the fear that she took
her sister's place, and finding out how she died just confirmed that she came
in between two people. And just as she was finally about to move on, from this
baggage she carried on her shoulder every single second of the day, it is once
again dropped on her like a bombshell.
suddenly felt exhausted. The more she tried to run away from this mess, the
harder fate pushed her back. Would she ever be able to walk away from the scars
of her sister's death? Mustering all the strength she had left, she began to
reason once again. "But she wouldn't know-"
wedding wasn't really a private affair. It was all over the news Bani."
head began to throb as she realized that Tarun was correct about his theory…
again. She looked at him, trying to understand from where he gathered so much
confidence. The Pia she knew would never
stay away for this long… she promised
to always stay with her, take care of her… she would never break the mutual vow
every sisters swear on… to stand with each other, come what may.
yet, she couldn't ignore what was put infront of her either. All the facts
added to up it.
She never told
you about the psycho,
her mind whispered slowly. She never told
you about loving Jai… she never told you she was breaking off the marriage and
you were right there with her… maybe, the Di you know doesn't exist…
put yourself in her shoes," Tarun said quietly, watching her dilemma "Would you come back?"
she answered truthfully. "I wouldn't. But this is Di we are talking about it. She was always understanding and-"
what?" he asked, when she suddenly paused. Somehow, she didn't believe that Pia
was honest anymore. Something broke within her at that moment and she doubted,
she will ever be able to love her sister as much.
suddenly wished she never heard any of this. It was much, much easier thinking Jai was at fault for her sister's death, than
knowing that the same sister deserted her when she needed her the most. That
she was selfish enough to only think about herself. She was selfish enough to
put them all through the pain of losing her so that she could remain happy.
there is no proof of all this," she said finally in a hollow voice. There
appeared to be a void inside her, which seemed to be eating her away.
sighed gravely."No… we only know she wasn't in that car when it caught fire."
that was enough. It was enough for her to somehow stand up again and begin
now she only cared about owing an apology to her husband, who also happened to
be the only one who could understand the anguish filling inside her. What her
'maybe-dead-sister' did or did not do, was not of importance. And even if it
was, there was nothing left that she could do about it.
can you do me a favour?" she said, pausing at the door. "Please don't-"
won't tell anyone," he assured. "Its not my place to anyway. I just told you
because I thought you deserved some truth. Hopefully, now you won't feel that
you barged into Jai's life without permission. Because you belong there Bani…
we all know it, and have seen it too. Pia, Annie, and however else there might
be... they can't replace you and that's a fact."
nodded, too overwhelmed to say anything and surprisingly, Tarun didn't need an
answer. And from that point onwards, both held an understanding that no one,
but they themselves understood.