Chupanke Ki Saaza
Bani entered her bedroom, trying to clear the doubts buzzing in her
mind. It was a quiet drive from Tarun's office, in which the more she thought
about it, the more it became obvious what a fool she made of herself. What the
city's top most lawyer put forth in front of her were just proofs that she
chose to overlook in her love for her sister. But what that evidence added up
to was something she was still trying to comprehend.
The Walia Mansion was empty, save
for its usual servants; everyone was busy with the new baby. Bani wished
she was part of the celebrations too, but she felt distant. She couldn't even
get herself to feel the envy she had a couple of hours ago at Rano. And so, it
was not really a surprise that she didn't notice the quiet figure in the room
waiting for her.
She turned around to see Jai sitting in one of the armchairs, a file in
his hand. Her face split into a smile at the sight of him. It was truly a
Jai scrunched his eyebrows in bewilderment - as a rule of thumb,
Bani never smiled when she saw him. "Whats wrong?" he asked
Bani didn't answer, debating how to reveal the new turn of events. She
quietly walked to the dresser, re-arranging the items on it absent-mindedly.
She could feel his gaze on her back, but it was with great difficultly that she
resisted the urge to turn around.
Jai on the other hand knew better than to ask. With a sigh, he went back
to studying his file, when he heard her quiet voice.
"When is the divorce?"
Jai froze. "Wh-what do you mean?"
"I mean, its over a month. We lived together... under the same
roof, in the same room. So shouldn't the court have approved our divorce
Jai watched her intently, trying to assess her tone. No doubt, it would
have been much easier if he could see her face. Either way the issue at hand
was not that he couldn't understand her heart, but what he did in order to keep
her with him. How she would react upon knowing that there was no divorce, that
he lied all along was something he couldn't get himself to think about.
"So you made your decision then?" he asked, hoping to somehow
get her away from the topic.
"Didn't I decide a month ago what I wanted?"
Jai was quiet.
"What happened?" she said, looking at his downcast face from
the mirror. "Why aren't you saying anything?"
Jai took a deep breath. "What should I say?"
"How about telling me why I didn't recieve any notification from
the court yet?"
He looked back down at the file, though his eyes didin't register the
words on the page, and said in an emotionless voice, "Because I didn't
file our divorce... yet."
Bani couldn't help but grin. She finally turned around and made her way
to where he was seated. "Why didn't you?"
"Because..." Jai stopped. What was the point of telling her
how much he loved her? She decided to leave anyway.
"Because," she said, tugging the file out of his hands.
"You love me."
Jai's head jerked up at that comment and was surprised to see the smirk
plastered on her face. He stood up slowly, completely confused with her behaviour.
"And you know what?" she continued. "I love you
And thats all he needed to feel as if he was waking up from a nightmare,
to the relief reality offered. To finally be able to shrug off all the pain he
endured from the day the terrible accident happened. It was as if someone
picked him up from hell and placed him in the middle of paradise. Speechless,
he stood there in a reverie.
Understanding the relief on his face, for she too felt the same, Bani
began to stroke his face. He slowly took her hand and pressed it to his lips.
He closed his eyes, never wanting to let go.
"I am not going anywhere," she said with a laugh.
"Because I am not going to let you."
"Itna pyar karthe ho mujhse?"
He didn't answer and she didn't need one either. She saw enough to know
that come what may, she would never be alone in her life. And no matter what
she did, no matter how much she returned the sentiment, she couldn't pay him
back. But she could try.
"I am sorry Jai," she said, suddenly.
Jai opened his eyes. "Sorry kyun?"
Bani hesitated. She didn't know where to begin.
"Bani?" he said. "What happened?"
"I went to see Tarun," she began and slowly, she told him everything
from the divorce to all the evidence Tarun found.
Jai listened to every word, watching her face and listening to the
things she didn't utter. Finally, long after she finished and the two were
standing in silence, he said, "We don't know much…"
"No," she agreed. "But we know enough."
Jai paused, trying to find the right words. "You can't blame Pia for
Bani fired up right away. "Kyun?" she asked harshly. "Why can't blame
her? It is her fault."
"What is her fault?"
"Everything!" She said, louder than she intended to. "She is the
reason I stayed away from you… she is the reason I was mad at you… she is the
reason my life went up in flames!"
Jai sighed. He was expecting this reaction. "But maybe she doesn't know
we thought her letter was a suicide note… maybe-"
"Maybe," Bani stressed, cutting him off mid sentence. "It's a BIG
Jai began to object, but she didn't want to listen. "Fine," she said.
"Fine… she doesn't know we thought it was suicide. But what about me?
Didn't she even pause to think how much pain I was going through thinking she
was dead? Didn't she realize how much her little sister needed her?"
Bani looked at the floor as angry tears began to cloud her eyes. "How
could she be so selfish? I… the… the sister I idolized beyond
anything, the sister for who I was ready to give up my entire life, only cared
about herself… her life… her happiness…"
"Shhh…" Jai said, pulling her into his arms.
But Bani refused to be consoled. "But you know what?" she said, looking up
at him. "I hate her... I hate Pia Dixit!"
"You don't mean that," he said quietly.
"I do," she said stubbornly. "I hate her for walking away. Do you know
for how many days Maa locked herself up because she thought her older daughter
died? Even now, she feels her loss…"
"But you don't know that," Jai interjected. "Maybe she is forced to stay
"Another maybe," she said, her voice dipped in sarcasm.
"Maybe she really is no more…"
"Then where is the body?" she demanded. When Jai didn't have an answer
she continued, "Dekha? There are more questions than answers!"
"These are only speculations Bani," he replied. "What Tarun meant-"
"What Tarun meant was correct," she interrupted. "The woman I called
sister was someone who I didn't know. All these years, I was under the illusion
that come what may, she would be with me. That despite everything, she would
support me. And yet, she decided to leave, happy to shed the blame on someone
"She didn't want to blame me,"
he said. "I am sure-"
"Of course she did!" Bani answered. "Pia Dixit only thinks about
"I don't understand why you are getting so angry," he said. "So what if Pia thought about herself?
Everyone does... its human nature. I was selfish enough to lie, so that you
could stay with me!"
"But were you selfish enough to pretend you died so that you didn't have
to face the consequences?" she asked rhetorically. "No, you faced your
problems. You didn't run away and hide. And more that you didn't make fake
promises Jai. You always told me the truth!"
"What promises didn't Pia keep?"
"Of staying with me! She promised she would be with me..."
"And why does she have to follow that?"
"Because... because..." she spluttered, trying to explain her anguish.
"because thats what sisters are supposed
"Bani," Jai said exasperated. "You are just shocked Pia is not dead. Its
a big news to take in. But that doesn't mean you start hating her."
Bani began to protest, but he cut her off. "Don't you think you are
expecting too much from her? She is human afterall. She is bound to think about
her pain, before yours. Did you ever
think that maybe she didn't come back because she knows it will cause problems between you and me? Its not exacty a
secret she loves me..."
Bani already considered that, but it didn't explain any of the other
questions. "Okay," she answered. "Lets say thats why she left. What about the
psycho? For two whole years he was stalking her and she didn't even mention it
to me?! And don't tell me she didn't
get the chance to!"
"Maybe she didn't want to worry you?" he suggested.
"And what about the wedding?" she continued. "The evening before I was
right there, asking her if she loved you. But even then she didn't think it was important to tell me that she was
calling off the marriage and leaving forever?"
"Didn't I deserve some truth? Is that too much to ask?"
Jai looked at Bani, perfectly understanding the torment in her eyes.
"What you are feeling is natural," he said finally. "And I understand the pain
you are feeling... but I can't believe that the sister who you loved so much, would walk away like that. There must be some reason..."
"There is no reason," she
said, her voice bitter. "There is no reason good enough for me to forget what I
have been through in the past year! She may be majboor... but I don't buy it. All I know is she betrayed me. And I
will never forgive her for that!"
"Why don't you think," he said. "That if it wasn't for her, we would
never get marriage? If she didn't walk away, we would not be together."
Bani shook her head in denial. "Love doesn't need help. We would have
found eachother, with or without her. It's in our fate!"
Jai smiled. "Then in the same way, don't you think what you went through
had nothing to do with Pia? That it was just fate doing its work?"
Bani was stopped short as Jai's words hung in the air. She looked at the
floor in response.
Jai watched her in anticipation, expecting her to argue with his
reasoning. Only, she didn't. Silence spread quickly across the room, as both
waited for the other to speak. Finally, Jai said, "We will find her."
She looked up into his eyes, trying to see what he was trying to tell
"Yes," he continued. "We will find Pia. No matter what I believe, or
what Tarun believes, she owes you an
explanation. But whether it is a good or bad reason she left, I don't know."
"You would do that for me?"
He shook his head and said, "for us.
I can't let Pia haunt you forever!"
Bani nodded, anger still bubbling inside her. But she understood his
promise too. They would find her... and when they did, she would ask her
everything. Why she lied, why she left and most importantly why she pretended
to love her.
However, until then there was nothing to do. Letting out a sigh, Bani
placed her head against his chest.
"Life is so complicated," she grumbled.
"Let me simplify it," he replied, the smile returning in his voice. He gently
cupped her face and pressed his lips to hers.
Of course he was right as always; Loving him was the biggest and
simplest truth of her life. And that's all she needed to forget that she had a
sister named Pia Dixit and until two hours ago, was supposed to be divorcing
her husband. Her life couldn't have been more straightforward!