This is my first ever OS or anything in fiction. I hope you guys like it. I have tried to stick to the character of Ahem that I have in my head. Most of it is from his point of view. I just watched today's episode and am kind of glad that my shot is in a completely different direction from the show, you know so you guys don't find anything repetitive. Please reply with any criticism, I would love to know what you guys think.
Chapter 1. Somehow the pain wasn't there anymore :- Page 1
Chapter 2. So near yet so far :- Page 5
Chapter 3. My Pleasure :- Page 8
Chapter 1: Somehow the pain wasn't there anymore
The English translation is on Page 3 of this thread.
Ahem sat in his cabin, the laptop infront of him and a file in his hand. To anyone else this was a regular sight, the usual strict boss, working like a machine. The meeting to be held tomorrow was important and Ahem Modi was known for his perfection. All in all, a usual day at the office.
But no one knew that behind that facade, there was a storm brewing. An internal struggle of sorts to set his head straight.
It had been weeks now. But yet the same images tormented him...Gopi running amid the falling debris, <running away from him>, the false ceiling actually falling on her infront of his very eyes, their hands separating as they wheeled her into the ICU, he begging her to get up...all the time dreading that she never will. The anger at seeing her lying there helpless. It was beyond his ken to see her like that. It was unacceptable to him. Try as he might he couldn't get those images out of his head.
He shook his head for the umpteenth time and tried to focus on the report he was holding. Looks alright. Maybe I will need some more fine tuning here..."She looked tired today after the walk. Maybe she is sleeping, ofcourse she is sleeping..I told her to take rest, didn't I? But what if she is awake? What if her legs hurt after the walk? Well, I could go home and check. One peek and it would be enough. But how? After being told off by mom yesterday, how can I go home early? I don't have any excuse today. Damn. But mom is right. She will take care of her. I need not worry about her. She is at home, nothing can happen to her there, right? Right?"...Ahem heaved a sigh, this was not helping him in any way whatsoever.
He tried to give the report infront of him another shot. He stared at the file for a few seconds. "Gopi utho...Bhai aap Bhabhi ko stretcher par leta deejiye...Nahi yeh yahin theek hai. Seriously Jigar why does she need the stretcher. Nothing has happened to her, she will get up now you just see." Ahem closed his eyes hoping that would make those memories go away. It was like living in a nightmare. "Gopi utho...Tum meri baat bhi nahi manogi?"
"What the hell!" Ahem muttered in frustration. "I have to know. I will call home. Yeah that's casual. Innocent. Safe". Ahem picks the receiver of his office landline.
The phone rings a few times before someone picks up. Its Meethi, the new maid. "Wierd, Mom hardly lets servants pick up the phone." "Meethi mein Ahem bol raha hoon, Mom ko phone do."
Meethi is breathless. "Kya hua, tum haaf kyun rahi ho?" "Woh Ahem bhai mein ... mein doctor ko phone karne aa rahi thi"...Ahem froze..." Woh Gopi bhabhi gir gayi hain". Ahem gets up unaware of the glass of water and the files perched on the edge of the table. The glass shatters to the floor. Before Ahem can think of saying anything..he hears his mom shouting in the background, asking Meethi to disconnect the call and to call the doctor. Ahem shouts into the phone "Kya!???! kahan se?? Kaise?? "Aap bas jaldi se aajaye" and the call disconnects. Ahem dropped the receiver and ran out of the door.
He was driving like crazy. "Son of a Bitch. She fell? From where...the bed, the wheelchair, the stairs?!!!? ...Holy shit! How?...We are all there to take care of her, my foot! Two hours..Two hours its been since I left and Gopi has fallen down...How?"
His mind had distinctly registered the panic in Kokika's voice. His mom's "scared to death" voice. Shit! Shit! She already has two fractures...What if they have worsened. What if she has hurt her good hand, the left leg. God! There better be an explanation. Hell! there can't be an explanation. How did she even move in the absence of someone.
Ahem didn't realise how he reached home, where he parked the car, leaving the keys in the ignition...He bolted towards the main door. Rang the bell repeatedly. Ahem didn't even care to look at who opened the door. He ran upstairs...to his room and then suddenly stopped dead in his tracks.
There she was..Tears of acute pain and fear running down her cheeks. She was surrounded by people, yet she looked scared and lonely. "Lonely? She is in her own house, in her own room, why the hell does she look lonely?" She was getting the hiccups from crying. Again like a baby.
Gopi looked in his direction and their eyes met...Pain written in hers and Anxiety in his. But an immediate ease came on her face when she saw him... Like an unconsious sense of relief that he was standing infront of her. "Thats it! I am never leaving her again." Ahem saw a hand brush her head and followed it to see Rashi, standing right next to her, trying to keep her calm as the doctor attended to her. "Dont worry jiju I will take care of her" "Yeah right, you will" He walked to her side and pushed Rashi away firmly but politely. He sat down next to her and noticed his mom on the other side. He suddenly felt anger rise inside him and was suprised by it.
But that's not important right now. "Where is she hurt?" The doctor was speaking to him now. "She has hurt her head, banged it against the side dresser. Her left hand is also bleeding, it got cut on the glass that broke when she fell. I might need to change the head bandage..." the doctor went on as he dressed Gopi's hand. Gopi was trying to stifle her gasps of pain. Ahem flinched at the very sight. Curses were flying in his head. He could easily break something right now. How many times had he seen that hand bleed. And again his mind filled with images from the past...the accident..how much blood she had lost, the dandiya..how she had been hit on an already injured hand causing her to bleed afresh, the day of the exam when she got that injury in the first place. He remembered the day he had entered home and Gopi had been this close to cutting her fingers...Hell! if he hadn't stopped her that day...But yet, here she was again...blood oozing out of her hand. Hadn't she lost enough blood already. How difficult it had been to find that blood...How difficult it was to make her whole again. How precious her blood was. Her life was. Didnt anyone else realise that?
The doctor was still talking and Ahem was nodding along at his instructions. The doctor was ready to leave after some time, telling the Modi family that he will be conducting checkups more often now. Ahem heard his mom say, "Ahem Jaao Doctor saab ko bahar tak chod aao". "What and leave her alone with the people who apparently care for her as much as I do. No mom, I think Rashi or you can do that." But Ahem didn't say anything. Before he could think of a polite way to phrase himeself, The doctor said "Dont worry, main khud chala jaaonga...Anyways Gopiji needs her husband right now." "See the doctor understands, but no one else does and neither do you Mom."
As soon as the doctor left the room, Ahem spoke out in a controlled yet authoritative voice. "Aap sab ab Gopi ko aaram karne deejiye" Ahem didn't look at anyone when he said that. Kokila was about to say something but Hetal silenced her with a hand on her shoulder. It was better they all left Gopi alone for sometime. They all left slowly. Kokila with a slight frown on her face. Ahem asked Meethi, who was the last to leave, to shut the door.
Gopi was slowly drifting...the affect of the pain killers...Ahem just sat there, concentrating on her breathing, waiting for it to even out so he knew she was asleep.
Ahem was in half a mind to go downstairs and annihilate the family. He needed answers, not excuses...answers as to how exactly they all thought they could be so careless with Gopi and think they could get away with it. But the rest of his existence didn't have the will to move an inch from her side. A few hours passed..Ahem couldn't take his eyes off her. The soft innocence as she slept had become to be the only calming influence in his life for quite some time now.
He heard a soft knock on the door. He turned his head to see his mom, carrying a tray of food in her hand. He didn't have the heart to look at her, not now atleast, he slowly returned his gaze to Gopi. Kokila saw that Gopi was asleep and kept the tray on the table. "Ahem dikra...jab woh uthe, Gopi vau ko khaana khiladena" Ahem nodded. She placed a hand on his shoulder. Ahem suppressed the storm in his head. "Ahem dikra, tum bhi chalo khaana khalo. Subah nashta bhi nahi kiya tumne." Ahem simply looked at her and said, "Mom, aap jaeye. Chinta mat kariye. Mein Gopi ko khaana khila doonga, Aur rahi meri baat, mein ne office mein nashta kar liya tha, toh mujhse abhi khaaya nahi jaayega" Something in Ahem's voice slashed at Kokila's heart. She knew she had let her son down. She had seen him, completely distraught, as he stood at the door of the ICU. She had noticed how he flinched as Gopi gasped in pain today.
Kokila decided it was better to leave him alone today. The entire episode of the accident and Gopi vau's condition had obviously been very stressful for her son. She left the room without another word, but not before giving Ahem's shoulder a gentle squeeze of reassurance. Ahem shook his head as his mom left the room and he noticed the bell alarm on the bedside. He glanced at Gopi and wondered who got it for her. He picked up the buzzer and instinctively pressed it, a second later realising the it could wake Gopi up. But it didn't ring. He pressed it again. Automatically he checked the battery and saw that it had been installed incorrectly. His anger came back to seething point and he threw the buzzer sideways and it landed noiselessly on the sofa he slept on. He closed his eyes to calm himself down.
Ahem returned to looking at her. It was the only thing that would work.And as it did, everytime he saw her, that angelic expression surpised him. The peace was back on her face. Her soft features relaxed. It amazed Ahem...How did she do this?...Go through so much physical and emotional pain and yet sleep like this? He had never seen her angry, not once. Never frustrated, not even an iota of how he felt if things didn't go the way he planned. A baby at heart wasn't she? Ludo..of all games. Ahem couldn't help but smile at the memory. And again snapshots from before filled his mind, the same ones that had been in his head for weeks now, she waving him goodbye when he dropped her at school...and the mood shifted...the ceiling was falling on her and there was nothing he could do to stop it...Then she was standing in the hall, smiling on taking the gift from him... Blushing at the compliments she got for the saree he gifted her...And then suddenly he was in the ambulance...the same Gopi..lifeless..Broken...Only some time back she had been removing some things from inside the bed...how close he had pulled her to himself..A blushing hesitant Gopi and the very next minute she was on the stretcher and he had to let her go.
How was she so fragile and yet so strong. Hell! today morning she was trying to walk on her own, she failed but still she tried. And now here she was bandages on both hands, another wound on her head. Why her? Everytime? Everything had to happen to her?
"Ahemji" a weak voice called out to him. He hadn't realised he was asleep. Well, how would he..Awake or asleep the same collage of scenes haunted him. The very irony of it all. Ahem knew he wasn't gonna be in peace again, not until she regains her strength, her color, her blush, that twinkle in her eyes.."Gopi utho, ankhein kholo Gopi"...Ahem woke up suddenly and sat upright...This time fully awake...He looked over at Gopi, to find her next to him. He had drifted off and was now on the floor, leaning against the bed.
"Ahemji" the weak voice again. She was awake. The pain back in her eyes. He got up quickly and sat down next to her. "Dard abhi bhi ho raha hai?" "Halka sa, aap thak gaye honge, please Ahemji aap aaram kar lee jiye" "Typical response...does she always have to do this? She is the one with multiple wounds on her frail body and she is asking me to take rest" "Halka sa huh?" Ahem said, unable to stop himself. Gopi looked at him confused, worried. Ahem shook his head and closed his eyes. " I Can't see her in pain anymore...I think I have had enough of her tears, her blood. No more." "Mein theek hoon. Tum aaram karo" She drifted off again. She was under a lot of medication.
He looked at his watch, it was just 4:30 am. "Well, Time for you to sleep and me to plan."
Ahem began his work, with full concentration. This had to be the first time in weeks. He was back to doing what he was good at. Planning and execution. He knew what he had to do. First, he would need to install a mini office in this room. No ringing phones ofcourse, he made a mental note. All immediate meetings would now have to be handled by Jigar and Solanki, the important ones maybe by Kaka. And as he went on, clear instructions were forming in his head. He was simultaneously making mental notes for himself..."Will have to work quitely, though, can't disturb her." Instructions to be given to the secretary to tranfer important calls to his cell. He will have to formulate strict insturtions on what should be wired back to him. Have to to brief everyone about the meetings..Mostly will need to add some more details to the reports, to make it easy for them , so they dont distrub me unnecessarily with doubts. Ahem was already feeling better. Finally work was making some sense to him. Ahem continued with the task at hand, every now and then looking over at Gopi.
Its 8.30 am.
Kokila knocked on the door, she was here to call Ahem for breakfast. When she didn't get an answer, she knocked harder. Ahem who was asleep on the couch, got up silently so as to not wake Gopi and opened the door. Kokila entered and then noticed that Ahem had just woken up. "Ahem! Tum tayyar nahi hue ab tak?" "Mom, mein ne decide kiya hai ke aaj se mein office nahi jaaonga. Ghar se hi kaam sambhaloonga" Kokila's temper rises a little. "Ahem dikra, yeh sab kya hai. Tumhein yeh karne ki kya zaroorat hai? Yahan sab theek hai. Kal jo hua usmein kiski galti thi yeh jaane bina tum bol rahe ho. Rashi ne bell ki batteries ko...
"Mom" interrupted Ahem, he was controlling his voice the best he could, "Dekhiye, Aap aur Kaki ghar ke kaam mein busy rehte ho. That bell didn't work, The batteries were reversed..." Kokila mutters in anger "Rashi!" "Mom, I don't care whose fault it is." his voice rising, " The blood and injury was Gopi's and I can't take anymore of that...If she can't install the batteries and a simple bell alarm. If you can't supervise the people around Gopi, then its ok. I am here and its my responsibility anyway. Aap fikar mat kariye."
Kokila can't believe what she is hearing."Ahem yeh tum kaisi baatein kar rahe ho? Mein samjhti hoon ki tumhein yeh laaparvahi achchi nahi lagti, par iska matlab yeh toh nahi ke tum sab par is tarah ilsaam lagao. Bhoolo mat ke yeh meri Gopi vau hai. Apni jaan se zyaada pyaar karti hoom mein apni Gopi vau se. Tum ne soch bhi kaise liya ke Gopi vau meri zimmedaari nahi? Aur woh sirf tumhari zimmedaari hai?" Ahem started to lose his cool, "Mom, agar aisa hai toh aap ko dhyaan rakhna chahiye tha...aap ne nahi rakha, koi baat nahi. Ab se mein Gopi ka dhyaan rakhoonga." Kokila is taken aback at the backlash. Ahem senses he has gone too far. "Kya matlab Ahem?" Ahem regains his composure, he knows he has to do this right. "Mom, mera matlab yeh nahi hai ki aap Gopi ka khayal nahi rakhti..Mein toh bas yeh keh raho hoon ki Gopi ko thode zyaada dhyaan ki zaroorat hai." "Ahem tumhein yeh ho kya gaya hai...Tum mujhe samjhaoge ke Gopi vau ka dhyaan kaise rakhna hai.." "Mom, Gopi meri patni hai..aur mujhse zyaade meri patni ka khayal koi nahi rakhta sakta hai. Kyunki usse mujhse zyaada koi nahi samjhta." This is like the final straw for Kokila. "Ahem!! Tum jaante bhi ho ki tumne kya keh daala hai. Meri Gopi vau ko tum mujhse zyaada samjhte ho?" Ahem again kicks himself mentally. "This ain't how this was supposed to go, what the hell am I saying...well its all true but still I can't talk like this with Mom"
Gopi is now wide awake. The mother-son duo haven't noticed that she is awake and listening to everything passing between them. She is hurt and scared. Her heart drowning in guilt. She is the reason for this..Ahemji arguing with Maaji. She has to stop this.
"Ahemji, Maaji" They both turn to look at her. Both are shocked.."How much did she hear" They both are aware that Gopi being Gopi would blame herself for everything. Ahem looks at her and tries to silently warn her to stay out of this. Kokila simply returns her gaze to Ahem, mentally trying to calm herself down.
Gopi knows she has to say something.."Ahemji meri galti thi." Ahem takes in a sharp breath and closes his eyes. "I won't scold her. I won't scold her. She is hurt and brittle, I will not hurt her" Ahem reminded himself. He tried his best and replied in a calm voice "Gopi mein jaanta hoon mein kya keh raha hoon." "Par Ahemji ..." "Tumhein aur baaki logong ko Meri baat na manane ki aadat ho gayi hai shayad." It slipped out of his mouth and both Gopi and Kokila were taken aback. Gopi by her usual fear. Kokila by surprise. Ahem knew he had said too much. He had taken a dig at the entire family at once. "That can't be good" Ahem took another shot at being polite. "Mom, please aapko yaad hai Gopi ke birthday ke din, aap ne hi kaha tha ki mein kabhi Gopi ke saath kuch galat nahi hone doonga. Then mujhpe vishwaas kariye. Mein sab sambhal loonga. Aur mein apne kaam par koi asar nahi aane doonga Mom. Mene sab kuch plan kar liye hai..Aap khud dekhengi ki sab theek chal raha hai. Promise Mom , Just Trust me".
Kokila was visibly upset. Ahem had outright gone against her decision. Argued with her. She looked at Gopi, who had tears in her eyes. She knew this argument was hurting Gopi more than she was ready to show. She looked at the bandages and realised that arguing with Ahem at this stage was of no use. Baa and Mota bhabhi were right, Ahem has inherited his stubborness from her. She instantly remembered a childhood incident when Kinjal had been hurt severely. Ahem wouldn't even let Hetal or Jigar come too close to her in the initial days when she was bedridden. She knew her son very well. She knew when that he was adamant this time. He couldn't see the person he loved in pain and...Wait a minute! Her eyes flashed back to Ahem. A totally different emotion in them now. Inquisitive, Curious, Excited...Tring to read her son's mind. The same possessiveness, the stubborness...the utter resolution to not leave her side...
Ahem was a little unsettled by the look on his mom's face. "This isn't anger or sadness or anything. Its what? curiosity? Yeah, she is checking something..Well, whatever it is. I am not leaving Gopi alone anymore..Not until she is back on her feet." Ahem maintained his stance. A composed face...his mind still trying to understand his mom's look.
Kokila suddenly takes in a deep breath and says "Theek hai, Ahem dikra. Jaisa tum theek samjho. Jab theek lage neeche nashte ke liye aa jaana. Gopi vau tumhare liye juice bhej rahi hoon le lena" She turns and leaves without another word. A hint of a smile on her lips, A sense of halfbaked victory in her heart.
Ahem heaved a sigh of relief and turned to her. She had tears in her eyes. "What the hell! What now...Is her hand hurting so much." He goes to her side and asks "Ab tak dard ho raha hai...kuch khalo...phir medicines lekar...so jaana"
"Ahemji mein theek hoon...aapko yeh sab karne ki zaroorat nahi hai."
Ahem got up and turned away from her..."Shit! Why is she making this so difficult."
"Yahan sab mera dhyaan rakhte hai..."
"Achca toh kal jo hua woh kya tha...Tum giri kaise. Mein ne kaha tha na aaram karo...phir bhi tum khud uthi kisiko bulaya bhi nahi."
"Mene woh bell bajayi, koi aaya nahi toh mene socha ke woh koi zaroori kaam mein vyast honge."
"Tum se zaroori kuch nahi hai Gopi. Par yeh baaki log nahi samajhte shayad...tum bhi nahi." Ahem blurted out, without thinking. He was shocked at his own self. "Did I just say that out loud? Infront of her?" But before he could recover...
"Ahemji mein theek hoon. Meri vahaj se...sab ko pareshaani ho rahi hai. Aap nahi jaante Maaji aur Kakiji ko kitna kaam dekhna padta hai. Rashi ben ne mujhe bataya ki aap nashta bhi nahi karte..."
"Toh mujhe achcha nahi lagta ke sab mere vajah se pareshaan ho...khaas karke aap...mujhe aadat nahi hai ke log mera khyaal rakhein..."
"Aadat nahi hai, toh aadat daal lo...Mein kahin nahi jaa raha tum hein akela chod kar...Samjhi tum."
They both stare at each other for a few seconds. Ahem angry, Gopi surprised at what she had just heard. Ahem's anger faded slowly as he registered the look on Gopi's face. He blinked. Suddenly the pain had vanished from her eyes, replaced by something different. A baby like joy colored by surprise almost as if she is seeing the sun for the first time. Not that she was smiling or anything. But it was in her eyes that he saw it...Plain surprise, Relief...Joy...?
"What did I say? I simply said what is so obvious, What's the big deal about it? Why act surprised? And why the hell am I not able to look away from her? Evil minx, half broken and she is still powerful enough to lock me in her gaze"
Meethi knocked at that instant, she had brought juice for Gopi. Thank God for her, for distracting him, saving him. He wasn't sure of what he would have done if he had to stare into those eyes for another second. But what he was sure of ,was that she needed him eventhough she denied it and he wasn't going anywhere.
"Haan le aao."
Ahem helped her get up, carefully avoiding looking at her. Feigning the same look of anger. She dare say anything more about him going to office and not worrying about her. God knows what he might end up saying next. Once she was seated Ahem took a few steps back to allow Meethi to give her the juice.
Gopi was still looking at him,..."Dekh kya rahi ho...Juice lo, tumhe davayi bhi khaani hai." he said with a hint of irritation. It was the only way to avoid her stare and make her agree, another mental note he made to himself.
Gopi lowered her gaze and sipped on the juice Meethi was giving her. Somehow, the pain she felt when she woke up, wasn't there anymore.
Edited by Aish3003 - 01 January 2012 at 6:40am