Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kuch Mere Dil Ne Kaha Part 9


Ram woke up to the smell of fumes burning and the sound of Kush balling frighteningly at the top of his lungs... Rushing to his feet he ran to Priya's bedroom where he saw that Kush and her were entrapped in a web of flames. "Mr. Kapoor!!" she screamed upon making out his figure past the scorching fire that grew rapidly in size. In a panic Ram stuttered out some words of reassurance looking around for something to help him get into the room, "Priya..H-hold on... I am coming...Just hold on..." Taking off his suit jacket, he shielded himself with it before pushing through the flames and into the room... Priya handed a screaming and protesting Kush to Ram, ordering him to take him to safety... She turned to go towards the closet but Ram demanded that she leave with them... "Where the hell are you going Priya?" He screamed covering Kush with his jacket for protection...
"Mr. Kapoor I have to get something... Take Kush please...Make sure nothing happens to him..."  She screamed back at him, trying to span out an opening to the closet with her eyes... Ram grabbed her arm and pulled her along with them... "Come on Priya, I'm not leaving you..."
"Mr. Kapoor leave me..." She repeatedly screamed angrily at him but he was rightfully so in no mood to heed her ridiculous orders. Instead he dragged her out of the room, grasping firmly on to her wrist. She squirmed to free herself, glancing back at the closet door, burning to ashes along with patches of her already broken identity. Riding on a thin line of luck Ram managed to get Priya and Kush out of the house. They were breathing heavy when Sudhir and Shipra pulled up in their mid-sized two-door car, struck by horror at the sight. Ram handed Kush to Shipra who soothed him with gentle rubs on his back. In that split second, Priya was set free from Ram's grip and apparently that was all it took for her to run back into the unstable house...Ram wouldn't have noticed her leave if Sudhir hadn't called out to Priya... When he turned around, she had already entered the house that was gorged in flames and he knew exactly where she was headed to but not sure why...  "Sir just stay here... I know where she is... it's not safe for you to go in there." As much as Sudhir hated to admit it, Ram was right... He stood outside with baited breaths praying for Priya to be safe...Ram called out to Priya fighting over the crackling flames that seemed to be competing with his voice, screaming to drown him out. Taking brave defined steps, he walked further into what could have very well turned into his coffin at the rate that the fire was engulfing his surroundings.
Obedience, is it a taught trait or inherent to selective individuals? Priya was obedient for as long as she could remember being on this earth but she was by no means subservient and her stubborn tantrums were proof of that statement. That's why when Ram asked her with a subtle brush of his lips against her soft cheeks to go upstairs and wait for him, she held her own, remaining fixed where she stood. Someone had knocked on the door, whoever he/she was Priya's curiosity got the best of her. She needed to know the more he tried to keep it a secret.
"Priya, I said go upstairs, na."
"And I said I won't"
Kissing his teeth Ram sighed and than asked, "Why not yaar... C'mon it's a surprise..."
"Surprise?" Pulling her hair into a messy bun, she added. "What kind of surprise comes knocking at someone's door at 1 in the morning?"
"If I tell you than it wouldn't be a surprise, now would it?" he followed her hopelessly to the living room, when they heard the knock again forcing him to pace his persuasion. "Priya... fine... atleast go upstairs and put something on... I don't think you'd fancy being seen by anyone else other than myself in your makeshift dress."
Not the least bit keen of the smirk plastered on his lips, she followed his gaze to her attire and than it hit her. "Shit!" she uttered her reaction. All this while she was insisting that she would be the one to open the door but it had completely escaped her mind that she had his shirt on and a thin panty with nothing else underneath. Now that it was brought to her attention she felt naked to his eyes and the shade of blush on her cheeks clued him in on her feelings. Tugging at the ends of the dress shirt she tired to pull it down even more before she attempted a mad dash up the stairs. But to her misery Ram held her arm, right above her elbow, she glanced up shyly taking in a snapshot of the side of his face making out the faint sketch of a smile that he was actively trying to suppress. In this moment of heat she noticed every detail and movement of his body before he spoke, "Don't change... I love this outfit on you the best...And plus, the night is young."  Finally the smile she had keyed in on earlier erupted in all it's beauty and sin as he glanced sideways with a naughty glare in his eyes, shielded when he winked; she scrimmaged out of his hold, but truthfully he let her loose easier than he would otherwise...Watching her speed walk up the stairs until she was swallowed by the darkness leading up to their bedroom Ram shook his head, mesmerized by her innocence before he finally opened the door.
There was no answer when he screamed out for her and at first he cursed her for her silence, thinking that she was hell-bent on having him killed. It wasn't until he reached her bedroom that he realized the reason for her silence. A piece of the crumbling ceiling had her pinned by the shoulder to the ground. Somewhere in the struggle to get up from underneath the wooden debris she must have lost her consciousness. There was nothing in her room that could have been salvaged at that point; the fire had consumed mostly everything and whatever was left stood directly in it's destructive path. Ram picked Priya up off the floor carrying her limp body out in his arms. Thankfully Karthik had just returned, and along with Shipra and Kush, Ram used his car to drive Priya to a nearby hospital.
Officer: (tapped Ram's shoulder with his baton) Oye... If this drama is over now, I would like to get a statement from Ms. Sharma...
Sheena: (injecting her venom in an already poisonous situation) Officer, What will she tell you... She's a bloody liar... (Priya flashed Sheena a look that could kill)
Officer: (thoroughly frustrated with her antics) M'aam if you don't shut up and sit down, I will charge you with interfering in an investigation.
Ram: (ignoring both the officer and Sheena, he took both Priya's hands in his) look at me Priya and answer me dammit! Why the hell did you go back in? Do you have any idea what would have happened to me if you... (he paused) gosh I can't even say it, let alone imagine... But you... You don't care... do you?
Officer: (enraged he pulled Ram back and away from Priya) Enough! I don't have all night here to listen to this nonsense.
Priya: (grabbed a hold of Ram's hand) Officer please... (the officer let go of Ram and turned his focus to Priya) Mr. Kapoor didn't do anything... It's true he came to my house but he not to do all this...
Officer: (scoffs) well than who did it?
Sheena: (seeing her plan unraveling, she stood up) Isn't it obvious? This was all a trap...
Officer: (slams his baton in frustration against the wall) That's it!!! Constable, arrest her... (Pointing to Sheena with his baton)
Sheena: (watching the constable approach her, she pleaded) Wait. R-Ram... Do something...
Priya: (spoke up against her desire) Please officer don't arrest her... I want her to hear this... Actually we both...
She glanced at Ram who went and stood beside her, hand in hand they walked up to Sheena and than smiled shyly at each other before Ram said, "Bhabhi, we are in love... The moment we realized that our hate for each other was just a disguise for our love, we wanted to tell you..." VIkram looked on, appalled and Sheena's jaw dropped, her lips quivered to say something but before she could find the words, Priya continued. "Officer, Mr. Kapoor couldn't have done this...We love each other (she sighed in a state of bliss and than looked up at Ram) a lot... we love each other a lot... 
Officer: (annoyed) okay, if you say that Ram is innocent than I guess I have no choice but to let him go... But do you have any idea who did this?
Priya: I am not 100% sure right now... (she looked at Sheena, acknowledging her with a fake smile)
Officer: Well, if you remember anything than just give me a call (he handed Priya his card). Until than you are all free to go... 
"Who could it be? What's taking him so long?" These thoughts raced on a looped course in her mind. Not knowing was driving her insane but she trusted that he knew what he was doing and this offered her heart a momentary solace. Somewhere in the clouds the gods must have been getting bored and so to spice up the night they whipped their lighting rod with such vigour that left both lovers blanketed in the darkness, alone. Priya screamed, "Ram!!" and instinctively fisted the surrounding bed sheets. The moment the lights wiped out, Ram stopped what he was doing and made his way up the stairs, using the walls and the distressed sound of her voice to guide him. "PRIYA!!" He screamed back... "DON'T WORRY PRIYA, I AM COMING..." She never told him directly but call it lovers sense Ram knew she was mortified of the dark. The sky lit up in an instant allowing Ram to get a glimpse of Priya. His heart suddenly got warm as it quivered like a bowl of jelly hearing her sob in utter fear. "Shh...Priya, I am here..." Ram whispered, his knees digging into the mattress as he crawled towards her.  "I am here." As soon as she felt the heat of his body next to her she hurled herself in his arms and sobbed some more. "Ram I was so scared..."
"I am here now...You don't have to be scared anymore." Ram's hand caressed her hair lovingly, holding her head securely against his chest.  She held him tighter, breathing heavily against him.
"Ram... Darkness always takes something away from me... I don't know whether I am more afraid of the dark or the light." she sniffled and added, "Because until I open my eyes everything is fine."
"I'll fight the dark for you Priya, even if I have to stay up all night for the rest of my life. Just know that as long as I am here, no one can take anything from you..."
"What if it takes you away from me... Just like it did my parents" 
Ram loosened his hold on Priya, she clinged on tighter in protest but he had to break his embrace, scared that she might hear his heart break. Still assuring her with closeness Ram rested his forehead against hers, their breaths simmering tastefully. The erratic pattern of his breathing gave Ram away. "Are you crying Ram?" Before he could make an excuse, her hands travelled up his body feeling his moist cheeks. He cleared his throat in panic and chuckled, "No, umm.. Something just got in my eyes..." She had heard this excuse too many times to even consider it an option.  Priya felt blessed, certain that Ram was handpicked for her, the rarest of his kind. The reality is that there are very few men like him in this world, the ones who hate with mere words but love with all their heart. Not allowing him to continue she kissed him out of impulse, as if she needed to feel that he wasn't just a fiction of her mind. What she started as a brush of their lips escalated quickly into a passionate ordeal. They were maddened by a new need that possessed them both equally. If he had invaded his tongue into her mouth first while unbuttoning his shirt off of her squirming body, she had begun her search for the button to rid him of his pants. But something obstructed her, a cloth of some sort. He noticed her pause, the passion reaching a sharp halt at the peak of no return.
"What happened??" he asked trying not to sound impatient in his desperate need.
" What are you wearing?" she answered with a question running her hand up his chest.
"Ahh.. That ... I threw on an apron." he said and immediately began caressing her waistline hoping to pick up from they had left off.
"Wait? An apron but... What could you possibly cook..? I searched..."
"Priya!" he whined and than kissed his teeth. "I ordered food. Chinese... They deliver...that'd who was at the door. The delivery man... With the surprise... You said you were hungry... And I knew my kitchen was empty." Ram spoke quickly not bothering to compete his sentences. His mind had travelled to deep into the land of his desires to be pulled back and Priya had come to understand this paralyzing state of his far to well. Ram cradled her petite hands in his, guiding it's soft texture to his back in the process of fusing their bodies together for an intimate embrace. In the absence of sight, his lips mapped out the different regions of her body as it touched, nipped and bit her skin. By now his shirt was off her back and immediately replaced with the caress of his hands. Priya had also reached the pinnacle of her desire, laughing in the face of her shyness as she stripped him bare. It was definitely a deed to be marveled, undressing a man while he made you writher in complete intoxication, overdosing on his love. Backing her down onto the mattress, his lips pressed impatiently against hers, he sucked her into the world of his fantasies, writing his desires slightly different with each touch of their lips.
Ram and Priya waved goodbye to Sheena who rejected their gesture by rolling up the tinted windows in her black sedan. Vikram exhaled deeply turning to face Ram, he shook his head like, "What the hell just happened in there?"
Ram: (in response to Vikram's unspoken question) I know what you're thinking? But don't worry, this is all part of the plan. (he gave Vikram a brief overview of how he met Sid and how he came to realize Sheena's truth even though at first he refused to believe it.)
Vikram: (in shock he took a step back, stabilizing himself to the momentum of the truth) oh my god Ram.. Sid is alive...And Sheena...I mean I always knew something was off about her but I would have never assumed that she was this evil... (he paused when a light bulb switched on in his head) wait! Do you think she did this too? The whole fire...
Ram: (spoke his assumption like it was a fact) I am sure of it...It has to be her or her boyfriend... Once I get my hands on him, I swear...
Vikram: (his gaze spread equally on Ram and Priya) So what will we do now? Priya why didn't you tell the officer...
Priya: I have no proof...
Ram: (sounding unintentionally conceited)I can't believe it yaar. The woman I respected so much almost had me killed tonight...
Priya: (spoke up defensively, sensing the hint of arrogance that the delivery of Ram's words projected) Excuse me?! It wasn't just you that she nearly killed... She probably didn't even know that you were there... Kush and I were her main target. But you couldn't be bothered with anyone but yourself...
That was ample attitude to provoke a volatile character like Ram. He took a hastened step towards her to return the favour...
Ram: (spoke in his most egotistic way) I (he emphasized) I couldn't be bothered?? Who the hell do you think saved your ass, not once but twice? You should be thanking me a millions times... If it weren't for me... you wouldn't be standing here right now with your ungrateful self.
Priya: (angrily) Wow! thank you??? Even if someone put a gun to my head, I wouldn't thank you for shit... Because of you I lost the most important thing in my life... Who told you that I needed to be rescued?
Vikram: (nervously) ummm guys... stop it... let's not fight outside the police station. Ram...Stop!
Ram: (enraged he stared dangerously at Priya; if only looks could kill) Ek second Vikram...  What was so important huh Priya? Did you think about Kush even once?  
Priya: (recognized the situation spiraling out of control, she decided to cease) Never mind...  There's no point in talking to you... a heartless man like you will never understand. (she turned to leave but he grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him)
Ram: (getting uncomfortably close to her as if he wanted to stab her with his words itself) I am not finished yet... NOBODY walks away until I am done talking. (she grimaced when his grip tightened) What did you think? I saved you because I have a vested interest in seeing your face? (he pulled at her arm and she winced, the wound on her shoulder being stretched by his unrelenting tugs)
Vikram read Priya's expression like a book and knew that Ram was too blinded in his rage to quit so soon. Being the voice of reason, he immediately stepped in between Ram and Priya right after he broke Ram's grip of her arm.
Vikram: (sternly) What the hell is wrong with you Ram? Can't you see that you're hurting her?
Ram hadn't really noticed until it was pointed out to him. It was only than that he recalled that she was injured. But of course his pride refused to bring to his lips the remorse that dwelled in his eyes as he watched teardrops teetering along the border of her bottom eyelids.
Vikram: In front of Sheena you two were pretending to be in love but now... (he shook his head overwhelmed)  Ram what is this new act?
Ram: Woh.. actually...When I hugged Priya in the police station, I told her quickly in her ears to pretend that we were in love.
Vikram: But why?
Ram:I know Sheena did this... And I think I am beginning to understand why. She was always suspicious about Kush's father. And now the suspense is over for her because she must know that Kush is Sid and Ayesha's son.
Everything Priya felt, the pain, the hurt, the anger dissolved upon hearing Ram's alleged truth.
Priya: (concerned) What are you talking about? How? Unless you told her, there is no way that she could have found out that Kush is not my son...
Ram: Why would I tell her? You have to believe me.
Priya: On what basis should I trust you?
Ram knew he was beating his drum to a deaf audience; there was no way that she would listen to him...
Priya: I don't have time for this... My family needs me...
Ram:(sighs in defeat) I'll drop you home... Wherever you all are staying now...
Priya: No... I'll manage...
Ram:Don't be stubborn... I said I'll drop you...
Priya turned around and kept walking despite his offer that sounded more like a command.
Vikram:(put his hand on Ram's shoulder to stop him from stalking Priya) Ram... leave her... Chal...let's go home...
Ram:(trying to hide his concern) but how can she go alone at this hour and in her condition?
Vikram: Why do you care?
Ram: (scoffs) I- I don't care... If it were anyone else I would have felt the same way... (vikram squinted his eyes, analyzing him for a hidden meaning) Don't give me that look... Yaar why don't you drop her in your car...She will agree to your offer...
Vikram: uhh... Not if you're with me, she won't ...
Ram:So? I can get my driver to pick me up... besides I am not going straight to the mansion just yet... (Vikram looked at him puzzled) Don't worry I just have to tie some loose ends.
So it was decided. Vikram dropped Priya to the hotel where her family had booked another room for them to stay and Ram went to his office making an urgent call to his lawyer. Nobody really slept that night, they just closed their eyes and waited impatiently for the break of dawn. Finally, Kush, who was constantly waking up every 5 minutes crying, had fallen prey to his dreams. Priya put him down on the mattress that she shared with her mother, while Sudhir and Karthik slept in a separate room. It was a pretty crappy arrangement but crap was the only thing in their price range. They would have shared a hotel room with Sid and Ayesha but that too was minimalistic with only one bedroom and Ayesha's condition, it would have been pushing at the seams. Priya returned from the bathroom, about to place her phone on the night table and crawl into bed next to Kush. But before she could, her phone vibrated in her hand prompting her to look at the display...
"Mr. Kapoor?" she thought..."What could he want at this hour?"
Priya rejected the first few times but than his persistence and her curiosity changed the course of her actions. She answered and immediately whispered "hold on...". Propping a pillow securely next to Kush she grabbed the hotel room key and stepped outside into the hallway, not wanting to wake anyone up. Closing the door behind her slowly, she turned around sharply and as soon as she did she opened her mouth to scream but the palm of his hand muted her voice...  "I am dead... I dodged a bullet running through a land mine... I am dead for sure..." she thought to herself, praying that this was just one of those twisted nightmares she used to have as a kid.

Kuch Mere Dil Ne Kaha Part 8

Part 8

Ram: What? You think I did this?
Officer: Well'could you explain what you were doing at Ms. Sharma's house?
Ram swallowed hard thinking about his true intentions when he knocked less and banged more on the Sharma household door. Disgusted with the fool that he was made out to be by none other than his lovely Bhabhi, he set out to play the blame game and Priya was the only worthy opponent. Dangling on a single thread with no lifeline in his possession he had to give it his best shot if he wanted to win against her and with an ego as big as his, losing just wasn't an option. That's the reason why he barged into her home when Priya opened the door without checking first, probably assuming that it was her parents. If he had known that the lines of his fate would be taking a full 360 turn to chaos that night, he would have definitely treaded with subtleness and patience. But of course he was only half minded in his intellect, consumed for the most part by the idiotic drive of alcohol. Hurling his fist, he made a painful impact with the old wooden desk that bordered between him and the officer, prior to narrating what he remembered of the unfaithful night, starting with after he barged into Priya's home.  
Guided by his nose, the first thing that caught his attention was the strong scent of baby powder that filled the living room and he thought even in that moment of destruction that Priya must have just changed Kush, maybe showered him as well. His ears picked up a mingled sound of banging and rattling that lead his eyes to confirm the theory made by his previous sense. Kush had been changed into a pair of blue pajamas with tiny cars, or was it trucks'No' no' it was definitely miniature motorcycles, imprinted throughout his outfit in an unsymmetrical pattern. Not that it mattered but Ram had a tendency to be distracted by teeny details that never really mattered in the long run'Unless Kush had a mug shot of the man that placed Ram in this unfavorable situation it made no difference whether it was a car or a truck, it could have been a train for all anybody could care. Priya tamed his wandering senses when she asked him with a glint of worry in her voice that she tried without much luck to conceal, "Mr. Kapoor? What are you doing here?" Acquainting his woozy mind to the fresh surrounding, he realized that he was already in the living room gripping onto the top of the couch trying to maintain his footing on the imbalanced floor that was perfectly balanced for everyone else in the room, including little Kush who sat contently snug in his baby jumper banging away at the whirly rattle attached to it. "COULD YOU MAKE HIM BLOODY STOP THAT!" Ram shouted holding his head and wanting to rip off the rattle that Kush had been banging on without a second of rest.
"He's just a baby Mr. Kapoor' Your nephew'" not in the mood to hear anything more in Kush's defense Ram interrupted in an agitated tone, "I don't give a damn' I have to talk to you' Right now!!"  Kush's lips began to twist, about to voice in his own way the displeasure he received from the sudden shouting. Priya's blood boiled at the sight of his discomfort and before she rushed to hold Kush in her arms she laid down some general rules for the drunken man who disturbed the peace of her baby.
"Listen Mr. Kapoor'This is my house'not your office, where you can scream and shout as you please'"
Ram's lips parted to make a sound in protest but she shushed him by continuing in an overpowering attitude that she wasn't accustomed to. "I am not done talking so you better shut up and listen'" Taking an unexpected blow Ram was silenced but her disrespectful words had lit a fire under his ego sending his anger level through the roof.  "Unless you're here to apologize for that day in the hotel room, you have no right to be here. And that too, like this'" Giving him a pat down from top to bottom with her eyes she added,  "completely drunk' I suggest you leave'" she pointed to the door. "Whatever you want to talk about, we'll talk about it tomorrow in the office." It was glorious, her ego was beaming with pride seeing the push over Priya molding into a brave woman and it was an evolution that was past due, but better late than never, she still got a standing ovation from the back of her mind. Kush began whimpering, the warning before the tantrum. Priya took one step towards him with much concern in her eyes but Ram gripped her arm and leaning against the couch he stood, pulling her in towards him. Owing to the alcohol, the white pool surrounding Ram's pupil highlighted in a pinkish hue that his anger intensified to a lighter shade of red. He remained glaring into Priya's frightened eyes with an unspoken promise of harm, the awful stench of booze forcing her to scrunch her nose while he spoke gritting his teeth, "No one speaks to me like that' No one ever dares'Than how can you even think for a second that I would just let you get away with the shit you just said to me?"
"Leave me'" she squirmed and squinted in pain but his grip only got tighter; for a drunk man who could barely stand on his own two feet, his upper body strength seemed unaffected. "Or what? You'll scream' Given the fact that no one has come to your rescue'I am sure we are home alone'Priya, I don't think you realize that I can destroy everything that you and your family claim to stand for right now'self-respect, pride, honour all of that bullshit'" She turned her face sideways, not so much to avoid the awkwardness warranted by their closeness but in an attempt to not be in direct contact with his booze bathed breath. However, he took a stab at the fact that she was a woman, mistaking it for a vulnerability and she was not about to fancy his faux sense of dominance just because he was a 'man'' Now the gloves had come off and it was time to play dirty, win at any cost, no holds barred. Their face just inches apart when she turned to look dead in his eyes, letting him know that she had nothing to lose and for that his threats were as meaningless as his attempts to argue with her'"Am I supposed to be scared? Huh? 'Cause you're a man and I am nothing more than a helpless woman? That's such a cheap thought even for someone as sickening as you' I thought I had you figured out' Although, you chose the wrong person to support, you still honoured Sheena, a woman' Tirelessly you upheld her name and position in the mansion, not allowing any passerby to take aim at her character. You took time out of your busy schedule to take your mom to the hospital for routine check ups. Hell, you even sat through learning sessions with her doctor so that you could better care for her'.It must've all been a decoy, 'cause in reality you are not only ruthless but repulsive as well'" His grip loosened and she easily slipped out but not away; Kush remained calm hearing the common voice of Priya and only whimpered in intervals, in and out of his distractions with the rattle. "Why did everyone keep Sheena's identity away from me? You could have told me' Why didn't you?" Ram complained like a child, the hurt from rejection painted with lively colours in his dull eyes. "So what? Get over yourself Mr. Ram Kapoor' Papa told me that when Sid mentioned Mr. Mittal you immediately objected' If you couldn't stomach the thought of a corrupt Sheena hearing it from your own brother than what makes you think that you would've believed me? I am the villain in your eyes' You want to hurt me because you can't hurt Ayesha and Ayesha was made out to be the root of all evil, the home wrecker but look at where she is now? She's as good as dead' and it's all because of Sheena'"
Ram exhaled slowly and than made his way around the couch. Priya watched him slump down on the couch sitting with a defeated look on his exhausted face that unknowingly created a pang of sympathy in her heart for this guy. The man who trusted few probably because he paid the price for trusting many, ended up in the same place where he started, which is wondering who to trust in future.
"Had the storm really ceased," Priya wondered, it was hard to know for sure because of the volatile and unpredictable nature of Ram. "I'll get you some lemon water, it'll help with the drunkenness". This time when she turned to leave, Ram grabbed her wrist, looked up at her, remaining seated and said with sincerity, "I am sorry Priya'For'For everything'"
"It's okay," she said, with no truth in her statement. It was going to take a lot more than a drunken apology to make up for the things that Ram said to her but atleast it was a starting point. That same apology would mean something if the drunk sorry is quickly followed up with a sober sorry the next day. Not getting her hopes too high though Priya added, "let me get you that water'" Ram nodded, setting her free. On her way back from the kitchen, Priya heard a sound that reminded her of the likes of a motor. It revved, hissed and stopped'revved, hissed and than once again stopped. She glanced at Kush, who looked at her with equal confusion but who was slightly more startled, freezing his battle with the rattle, his tiny body stiffening up each time he heard the sound. Checking outside with no luck, she shut the door, locked it and than headed back to the couch debating whether to ask Ram if he heard the noise too'  However, the mystery behind the source of the ruckus was revealed when she reached the couch. Not being able to hold back a smile although she was still recovering from the rage that spoiled her mood, she couldn't help but chuckle silently, placing the glass with lemon water on the coffee table, picking Kush up in her arms. "kya hua my baby? daar gaya?" Kissing Kush on his soft cheeks she continued with a smirk, "Don't worry' I also got scared for a minute' Woh kya hain na? This is the first time I'm also hearing a dinosaur snore'"
Pinching Kush's cheeks lightly between her thumb and index finger, Priya glanced at her timepiece. "Baby, it's nearly 6pm, nana aur nani kahan hain?" Shifting Kush up more in her arms, he rested his head on her chest, sticking his butt slightly out above her bent forearm and sucking his thumb drowsily. Seeing his fatigued condition, Priya concluded that he might have missed his naptime earlier in the day. This meant that she would be up in the middle of night trying to put him back to sleep. "Oh well." she thought, since Ram, her boss, was sprawled out in complete blissful slumber on her couch, she doubted he would give her shit if she arrived a little late to work the next day. And anyways, she would wager all her nights sleep at the drop of a hat if she had to for Kush's sake, because it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that he was the only one who genuinely appreciated her existence. And this really wasn't a statement from a bitter, ungrateful heart but a truth that was proven time and time again and the fact that she was alone this evening after a hard day at the office was evidence that further strengthened her point. Adding insult to injury Shipra called Priya, telling her not to wait up, they were having dinner with old friends that they bumped into on their way home from the doctor's office. She didn't even get a chance to narrate that Ram had come over and that he had fallen asleep on the couch in a drunken state. After hanging up the call, she had tried to convince herself that she couldn't possibly eat with Ram's irritating snores echoing in the confines of the joint kitchen and living room walls. Despite her best efforts she knew that it was a lie because truthfully all she wanted was a bit of company, someone to ask her how her day went. Maybe it was selfish but doesn't an otherwise selfless person have the right to one greedy request?
Kush fell asleep easily in her arms and she transferred him to the bed with two pillows measuring the length of his posture, securing him in place, while she went into the living room to check up on Ram. Now the adrenaline was a matter of the past, with that behind her, she saw Ram clearly. The man had definitely endured a lot; the exhaustion was outlined in each fine muscle of his face making him look like a beggar dressed in an expensive Armani suit. On the basis of humanity she would have covered him with the spare blanket that she had in her room but the beads of sweat jumping to their death off his forehead advised her otherwise. Continuing with her analysis, her sight stumbled upon a shard of what appeared to be glass impaled at the base of his left hand. At first, she thought to leave it as it was; not in any mood to disrupt his sleep and once again become the object of his annoyance.
"Leave it Priya'Do you want to endure round 2 of his anger? No way'I am not crazy'" she took one step away, stopped and than fixed back on the glass piercing his skin'"I mean it's not my fault that he can't control his anger' And I didn't punch his fist into something to damage it'" A twinge of reassurance allowed her to take another step that her guilt quickly reprimanded. She sighed, fully aware that she would ultimately give in to her sympathy. " Let me just'Wake him up' Yes. That's the best option' I will wake him up and than let him fix his own problem'" she smiled nervously and built up some courage at first to call out to him before she nudged his arm slightly' But he was in too deep of a sleep to be bothered. "yeh Mr. Kapoor bhi na? Who the hell told him to drink so much'He's not waking up'What do I do?" Fixed on the shard of glass in his flesh she bit her nails and pondered' The better side of her advised her to take it out but that thought was in direct combat with an opposition that screamed, "Leave it' And mind your own business. He deserves this for the hell he put you through'" And as always the side that she chose was easy to arrive at although at times it didn't make sense. Very carefully she pulled the shard out from his hand, applying pressure to the site before wrapping it up in one of her old dupattas. He was as steady as a rock, it was good for a change'Actually it was very good. The fact that he didn't move a smidgen allowed her to do her work much faster and the fact that he didn't complain, well she kind of felt the absence having formed a habit uncertain of whether it was good or bad, of arguing with him, even if, by chance, he was right'
Ram caressed the yellow, cotton dupatta on his hand, thinking about all the injustice that Priya had to endure at the expense of his anger' And now that he wanted to truly apologize to her, he couldn't' She was hurt and in the hospital and he was the prime suspect. Even with gallons of liquor in his veins, there was no way that he could have done to Priya what he was conveniently being accused of doing. Sure he threatened to hurt her but he knew himself well enough to bet all his wealth that he hadn't tried to kill her'
Officer: (chewing a wad of bubble gum irritatingly) Mr. Ram Kapoor' Just admit it' Everything that happened tonight falls into place perfectly'You threatened Priya, she fought back' I know your type'You don't like to be spoken back too and that too in such a harsh tone as Priya must have argued with you in' (he spat out the wasted gum in his mouth and reached into his pocket pulling out another packet) Look' You're rich'Just admit to what you've done so that we can close this case'You can get a lawyer and be free on all charges in two days at the latest'
Vikram: (spoke up promptly in Ram's defense) Are you out of your mind officer' My friend could never do anything like this' I know it'(turning to Ram) Don't worry Ram' We will get you out of this' He'(referring to the indifferent police officer) he has no viable case against you' (Ram sat unearthed, his mind as numb as his body)
Officer: (offended) excuse me' I have a fool proof case against your buddy'With all the evidence added up, it leads to one person and we all know who that is (setting his sights on a flustered Ram)' He went to Ms. Priya Sharma's house, drunk'When he found out that she was alone, he tried to take advantage of her'But she flat out rejected him'That was enough insult to unleash his kind of rich, arrogant ego on a destructive path' Isn't that right Mr. Ram Kapoor? You're not used to rejections'(he probed annoyingly, hoping to set off a spark in Ram's conscience; a guilt that didn't exist)
Vikram: Ram, why are you quiet' (Squinting his eyes, Ram massaged in between his eyebrows with the pads of his forefingers) Tell him that everything he is saying is baseless'  (Vikram nudged Ram's shoulder but he remained immersed in self-pity, immune to his surroundings)
Officer: (offered the final verbal shove hoping to send Ram tumbling over the edge of sanity) Someone tampered with the wiring system in the house'It was you, wasn't it? Or was it someone you hired? Either way the house was set ablaze and you came out without a single scratch'
Vikram tried to say something when a voice came scorching through from behind them. "You have no proof beyond theories officer'"
Ram: (stood up, his glare reddened with fury) What are you doing here?
Sheena: (placing a hand on Ram's shoulder as a supportive gesture that immediately fostered a repulsive gleam in his eyes) Don't worry Ram, I am here now'No one can do anything to harm you'
Ram: (maintaining his cool, which was becoming a daunting task as the seconds passed to minutes) How did you know I was here?
Sheena: (caught off guard) The driver' He told me that you went to Priya's house and I suspected that something must have been wrong. And I was right' They framed you' But don't worry, I know that you have nothing to do with Priya and Kush's death'
Priya: (appalled but not as appalled as Sheena was when she laid eyes on her, following the sound of Priya's voice to the entrance of the officer's cabin) What?
Priya walked in past the doorway, staggering in her step, in apparent pain'Ram's frown drifted into a soft expression of bliss seeing her conscious and in front of him'He went to the hospital with her, she was unconscious as he carried her to the car'But while waiting for the doctors to check up on her, Officer Patel arrested him in connection with the assault and brought him against his will to the police station demanding his accounts for the night. Allowed one phone call on the way to the station, Ram called Vikram who met him here. Sheena's entry was to be expected since she was the only one who probably, actually had something to do with the fire. Her presence worked against her, she clearly didn't plot her plan properly in her mind before she showed up at the station; it didn't help either that she was uncertain in her explanation of how she knew that Ram had been arrested in connection with a fire in which Priya and Kush were supposed to have died.
Putting all that aside, Ram rushed over to where Priya stood as an impulse, a sheer expression of his relief; to blinded by his own happiness to recognize the hurt in her eyes he clasped his arms around her, tightening his hold when she hissed in pain and pushed him away as a defense mechanism. Forced to relinquish his excitement, he took a step backward and analyzed her for injuries from top to bottom before he recalled an image of her on the floor by her bedroom with a wooden sledge that had fallen from the debris off the blazing ceiling, pinning her shoulder down.
Ram: (in a concerned and mildly angry tone) Why did you go back? I brought you out with me but you went back into the house' Why Priya?

Kuch Mere Dil Ne Kaha Part 7

Part 7
Pulling on the tall, stainless steel refrigerator doors, Priya stared disappointingly into the empty spaces, which seemed to be a common theme consistent within the cavities of each cabinet that hung throughout the modern, sleek designed kitchen. Cold steam radiating from the barren fridge weaved teasingly around her exposed legs causing Goosebumps to rise in protest. "I can't believe this' What's the point of having such a big kitchen if you don't stock it with food?" she growled as she began closing the refrigerator door and mentally devising some other alternative for a meal.
"What am I going to do with this man?" she thought out loud.
"You can love him to bits and pieces'" a voice came out from nowhere making Priya jump in her spot' It was only when the doors finally slammed shut, freeing itself from her grip when she realized that he had been leaning against the edge of the counter near the sink conveniently hidden from her sight.
"You scared me," she gasped, planting her palm on her chest over his shirt to slow down her rapid breaths. He laughed nervously and scratched his head. Pushing off the balls of his feet he regained an upright stance, pausing only for a brief second before inching towards her. Her index finger promptly sprang up to object his crystal clear intentions. "Don't you dare..." With a devilish grin, he moistened his lips by quickly swirling his tongue against it whilst continuing in her direction' "I'm serious Ra-." She stopped mid-sentence, glancing sideways at the wall that obstructed her backwards path. Gulping deeply, she stared into his determined eyes, her cheeks automatically flushed with a pink tinge seeing exactly what was on his mind. He planted his left hand on the wall before she could side-step her way to freedom. She threw in the towels, realizing wisely that she was completely cornered and disarmed by his gaze; the same gaze that had the potency to instantly turn her kneecaps into blocks of Jell-O. This man knew what he wanted, just as well as he knew how to reach the target in his mind and right now his only aim was figuring out the reason behind Priya's alleged anger. He traced his fingers along her jawline anchoring her chin to make her look up at him. Touching his lips to hers, he ignited a subtle passion and than whispered, "You're shivering'" She closed her eyes and whispered back, "It's you're fault for being so close to me." Slightly caressing her cheeks with the faint touch of his lips he replied, "Are you going to tell me what I did wrong?" Her hands felt its way up his bare chest; she could feel his heart skip a beat. "If I tell you what you did wrong, than how will you ever learn?" He crisscrossed kisses down her neck whispering in between her sighs of pleasure, "I already know what it is that's bothering you." Her hands ran through his thick hair, the ends of her fingers gently scraping his scalp while her mind went blank, void of any smart remarks. "It's because you can't get over how I treated you in the past and that's why you can't enjoy this night to the fullest'" he sighed throwing a lowball excuse before he forced himself to back off of her when he was convinced that she had been completely drunk on his love. Continuing with the most innocent and sad tone in his voice, he said, "I'm sorry, it's just that'" Speaking up as fast as she could recover some sense from beyond the depths of her nostalgic state of mind she disagreed, not wanting to further mislead him, "No Ram, it's not that at all' I have no complaints about what happened or how it happened, everything was perfect'I'm not mad at you at all, I was just teasing y--." The minute she snapped back to reality from her pleasure trip and saw the mischievous grin on his face, she slapped his arm, realizing how blindly she walked into his scam... "Ram you are such a jerk'I hate you'Let me go'" She twisted and turned to get away but it was to no avail, he quickly grabbed her arms tightly pulling her intimately close to himself.
"C'mon Ms. Priya Ram Kapoor, you started this teasing game' Now don't be a spoilsport"
"Leave me Ram'" she insisted'
"Never'" he said staring deep into her eyes to show her that he meant it.
"ouch, ahh' You're hurting me.." Digging up her sleeves, this was the best trick that she found.
"nice try'but I've held you tighter than this tonight and I'm not an expert or anything but I don't think the sounds you were making was because you were in pain." She blushed with a coy glare in her eyes. Seizing the moment, he curled his index finger under her chin, tilting it up to easily capture her lips for no other reason than to kiss her so deep that he could reach her soul. But his plans crashed before it even took flight' Just as he was about to devour her, the sound of the obnoxious doorbell ripped every shred of romance until it was scattered like colourless, confetti pieces in the longing atmosphere that surrounded them.  

A futile week passed by since Ram had seen his brother alive. He was tempted to the core each day to inform his grieving bhabhi that her husband was live and well. Each time he came close to saying something he remembered the nightmare he had when he came home that day after meeting Sid. In this convoluted conception of his mind, he relived the entire day up until the point where he was brought into the bedroom where in place of Ayehsa laid his brother Siddhant. He woke up in a pool of his own sweat and it didn't help that he had a tendency to normally perspire a lot. Images of his brother connected to machines for basic functions like breathing made Ram fear the thought of shutting his eyes for even a second. So Johnny Walker was his self prescribed sedation that allowed his mind and body a chance to recharge forgetting who and where he was until he would wake up in the same cycle of hell that he called life. Priya, Vikram and Ram worked closely on a couple of deals but truthfully the majority of work was split evenly between Vikram and Priya. Ram, who ran to Vikram to unload details of his every little problem, now fumbled with a truth that was feasting on his flesh from the inside out. Sid didn't know who set out to kill him and he had explicitly asked Ram to keep his secret a secret. Although, Ram could bet his life that Vikram had no involvement in the tragedies of the past, he was not comfortable enough to wager his brothers well being on a strong assumption. Vikram, however knew something was bothering Ram not because of any particular suspicion but solely on the fact that he actually treated Priya like a human being talking to her strictly when it was related to business and avoiding her otherwise.
 The thing with lying on any level for any reason is that if you don't want to get caught than you probably shouldn't lie in the first place. Yet the most cynical liars who have gotten away with years of fables find new ways to dodge the bullet named truth. How? The secret is experience. But experience can only take us so far before we face something new that leaves us dumbfounded. Sheena wisely constructed a false sense of reality that Ram never thought to question because it was coming from her. However, when truth and lies finally collide the doubt created becomes the lethal poison that finds a way to destroy everyone involved. The life expectancy of a lie is extended when the person who told it is the only person who knows. For an expert, Sheena made a novice mistake that ended up costing her the trust and respect that she had garnered from Ram over the years. One afternoon Ram had left early from work to question Sheena about the couple million-dollar cheques that Siddhant did indeed sign out in her name before his planned death. When he reached her room, he stopped right outside the door, peeking in uncharacteristically through the crack that was left from the open angle. She was on the phone with someone and judging by the enthusiasm with which she spoke it was someone that she knew very well. At first Ram thought it was Mr. Mittal and decided to leave her with some privacy to carry out a conversation with her father. But as soon as he turned to leave he heard her utter a name that compelled him to eavesdrop.
Sheena: Raj, I miss  you'When are you coming to Mumbai? (she paused, presumably to hear the response on the other end of the line) Yes I remember what I have to do next and I am focused but everyone needs a little incentive. (a brief pause later she continued joyfully) Thank god I have you'If it weren't for you I would have been foolishly bribed with gold, leaving behind a gold mine like this mansion. And you know what? Each member in this family is stupider than the last. I thought Sid was easy to manipulate but Ram ' (she laughed) Arey Yaar, don't worry' No one can hear me' (she looked back at the small crack provided by the open door and as she came near to close it,  Ram ducked to the side.)
The conversation carried on but in mumbles that Ram was unable to comprehend. In a trance, Ram walked away from her bedroom and up a flight of stairs to his personal bar. He definitely needed a drink to take the edge off the stabbing pain in his chest. Two people that he trusted blindly had taken advantage of him in the same week. The first person that broke his trust was Siddhant and like the first cut that wound was undoubtedly the deepest. As one drink turned to two shots and two shots to half a bottle Ram was convinced that Sid knew about Sheena's deceitful ways, he knew more than he made Ram aware of' Everyone knew more than him and they had collectively kept him in the dark. He didn't know why he was so enraged; it was not like if they had told him about Sheena, he would have believed them. But still his ego threw a massive tantrum and the only person he could think of to blame was Priya. She had been with him the whole week but yet she didn't care to tell him, despite seeing him in such grief, that Sheena was the missing piece to the puzzle, which he was so desperate to complete for his brother. Slamming his fist hard on the bar table he wobbled to a standing position with its assistance. In and out of consciousness he somehow made his way to the garage, hurling himself in the back seat of the first car that his blurred vision made out.
"Take me to Priya's house'" he ordered the fearful driver who could smell the stench of booze on him.
Meanwhile, Priya had just returned home from work, exhausted to say the least. Kicking off her sandals, she ran her fingers through her hair pushing it back and tying it into a loose ponytail. Slumping down on the couch she exhaled deeply, shutting her eyes briefly before examining the empty house. "Ma? Papa?" she called out, too lazy to get up and actually search for them. Hearing her voice, Karthik walked into the living room holding Kush in his arms.
Karthik: Di, you're home' How was your day?
The moment Kush laid eyes on Priya he had began stretching his tiny arms towards her, rambling something in excitement probably saying how badly he missed her the whole day. The pure joy in his action gave Priya ample strength to get up and take Kush from Karthik, placing a kiss on his forehead saying, "Aww my baby, I missed you too'" Karthik smiled in peace witnessing a bond like no other he had ever seen.
Karthik: Di, have a seat' I'll get you something to drink'
Priya: (speaking over Kush's excited squeals) No Karthik, I am fine' Ma, Papa kahan hain?
Karthik: (sadly) Di, you haven't forgiven me yet right? I am sorry di for the things I said,
Priya: Karthik, what are you talking about? I was never mad at you to begin with'
Karthik: Than sit down di' let me get you something to drink'
She shook her head and smiled'
Priya: okay baba!
Karthik: (walking to the kitchen he hollered) Papa had his doctor's appointment today and Ma went with him also. (he brought back a glass of ice cold water for Priya, handing it over to her he said) Here you go Di' No one works harder than you'
Kush watched with his eyebrows knotted as Priya took a much-needed gulp of the ice-cold water.
Karthik: (handing Kush lukewarm water in his bottle) Here you are Champ' I haven't forgotten about you'
Taking the bottle from Karthik hesitantly, Kush glared at it and than at Priya's glass and than back at his bottle before he chucked it on the floor'
Priya: (trying to speak with some strictness but not quite being able to pull it off) Kush ye kya kiya apne?  (Kush reached for her glass, starting to whimper when she pulled it back) Aacha so ye baat hain' Kush wants to drink like a big boy in the glass. (She brought the glass of water to his mouth and he nibbled at the top of the cup with his gums maintaining a confused look on his face. Karthik and Priya laughed but he was not bothered as he continued to explore the mystery of how to get the water from the glass and into his little mouth; it was definitely harder than it looked)
Karthik: Di, is it okay if I go? I have to meet a friend.
Priya: Yeah sure Karthik' Why are you asking me? Go right ahead'
Karthik: umm' If you want I can wait until Ma and Papa come home? I feel bad leaving you all alone like this'
Priya: (she insisted) Don't worry Karthik' I will be fine' Waise bhi, I have this naughty boy to keep me company. (she smiled watching Kush continue on his quest for water)
Karthik: Thanks di' You are the best' (he kissed her forehead and said goodbye)
When Karthik left, Priya walked over to the sink and spilled out her water, filling her cup back up with something lukewarm so that Kush could actually drink' She made him sit on the countertop, supporting him in place with her arm around him and than she helped him drink with tiny tilts of the cup. He spat out more than he drank, scrunching his face with every little sip and making a mess on his t-shirt. Priya watched him dip his hand into the glass, sucking the water from his fingers, clearly not pleased with the results. Being with Kush gave her a refreshing blast of happiness but for some reason there was uneasiness in her heart, which was constantly restricting her ability to enjoy freely. It started when she left the office and now it reached a point where she couldn't ignore the feeling; no matter how hard she tried.

Kuch Mere Dil Ne Kaha Part 6

Time came to a staggering stop, freezing on the banks of a reality that was too overwhelming to swallow in one gulp. Priya glanced occasionally at Ram, who stood at a safe distance from everyone else in the room. From the moment that he had laid eyes on Sid, there was a frown on his face, which selfishly refused to give way to the expression of any happiness that might have been present in his heart, knowing that his role model was in fact alive. There was never any doubt when it came to the love that he had for his elder brother but like a double-edged sword, the trust that accompanied his affection made him more vulnerable to the deep wound of deception. The only person who could pack the open slit on his heart was the same person who inflicted it. But unfortunately, Siddhant's guilt of his mother's unconscious condition left him emotionally incapacitated. With nothing more than a prayer he watched helplessly as the doctor unravelled the blood pressure cuff off her arm. Dangling his stethoscope loosely against the back of his neck like a scarf, the doctor got up and addressed the anxious crowd of Sharma's and Kapoor's behind him.
Doc: (clearing his throat) Mrs. Kapoor had mildly elevated blood pressure that might have been brought on by some stress�
Sid: (the shock of the news shattered his silence) What are you talking about Doctor? My mom has never had any issues with blood pressure�
Doc: (stating calmly) No, that's untrue. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure about a year ago and ever since than she's been my patient.
Ram: (sighing from the depth of his lungs) Doctor, is my mom going to be okay?
Doc: Yes, Mr. Kapoor her blood pressure is coming down nicely with the injection that I just administered. But it should never have to come to the point where I have to be called in. Next time, make sure that she is kept away from any and all forms of stress. We have already discussed the serious repercussions that elevated blood pressure can have on a woman of her age. So be careful�
Ram: (nodding his head) Yes doctor, I know� I will be more mindful in future.
Doc: Good� I am going to get going now�Mrs. Kapoor should be awake in a few minutes� But she will need some rest to recover from the stress that was brought on to her body by this attack.
Sid: (speaking out of impulse) Yes doctor, we will take good care of her. (Ram tightened his left hand into a fist)
Doc: I know you will Siddhant... (picked up his briefcase) There is no doubt in my mind that you won't take good care of your mother. After all, you took care of Ms. Ayesha so well that I am confident she will wake up from that coma soon� Anyone else in your position would have given up�(he smiled) but you are not anyone else� (he patted Sid's back encouragingly and than he left the room with it's untreated, suffocating silence)
Siddhant walked over to the sofa, bending forward to gently run his palm caressingly over his mother's forehead. But before he could execute his kind gesture for some shred of solitude Ram stated firmly, emphasizing seriousness in every word� "Don't touch her!"
Sid: (he froze, straightened his body and than turned around with a perplexed gaze that quickly dissolved to love the moment that he caught a clear, focused glimpse of his rightfully angry little brother) Ram�
Sid took long strides towards Ram with his arms open wide, setting the foundation for a much needed hug. But instead of reciprocating the affection Ram pronounced his stance by propping his hand up like a border between him and his brother. Every nerve in Ram's body bunched together in an effort to let his thoughts spill through to his childhood hero, whom in this moment had reached the lowest spot possible on his respect scale. Seizing the opportunity before Sid could voice his recognition and false understanding of his crumbled feelings, Ram spoke up at his own accord.
Ram: (the unevenness in his voice highlighted his undefined emotion) Save it...Save your fake sympathy for someone who gives a damn.. (he inhaled sharply and than continued) Ma is like this because of you. Ever since the news came of your "death" she locked herself in her room drowning in a pool of her worries and guilt. Papa resorted to drinking to numb out the feeling of losing his pride and honour. And Bhabhi, she was broken when she found out that the man who she loved dearly had just died. What was her mistake? Loving you wholeheartedly? Is that a crime? But you... You were more interested in keeping your middle class, time pass, happy.
Sid: (stammering) it's not like that Ram! Let me explain...
Ram: (boisterously) Explain what??? What is left to be said? (he glared angrily at Priya and the Sharmas) They talked you into this right? I know my bhai is not capable of being such a coward. The only explainable reason for you hiding from your family is blackmail. What do they (pointing in the Sharma's direction) have against you? Whatever the reason may be, I will pay them out...But you need to come home now bhai, you need to make up the moments you have sacrificed with your family. (he rushed over to Priya to quickly to be stopped by Sid) Name your price...What will it take for you to give up this lottery ticket? How much is the payout? I will pay you double.. No triple what Siddhant is worth to you all. TELL ME! (he desperately demanded an answer, not wanting to accept that his brother might have left on his own free will.)
Priya: (teetering on the edge of sanity she roughly replied) Why don't you just let him explain instead of pointing fingers...
It was plain to see that they both knew the fastest route to get under each other's skin. And during arguments if Priya said one thing than Ram must say two, just in order to top her previous verbal jab. This time would not have been any different if Krishna had not intervened.
Krishna: (breathlessly) She's right Ram�
She stood up, against everyone's advice, walking with a limp from a sore muscle in her leg. Siddhant knew the look that was behind her mother's tear glazed eyes. He knew exactly what was coming his way and when her palm hurled towards his cheeks repeatedly he stood and took his punishment for unintentionally hurting his family. She couldn't have slapped him enough to lower the level of guilt that harboured in his heart knowing that he was the reason his mother's health deteriorated. Although he knew he was helpless he pondered on past situations where he could have made an effort to meet her, to atleast let her know that he was okay. Five slaps later, she stopped, panting in a fury, her eyes darting a wounded look.
Sid: (his tears carved streams down his heated cheeks but he was not bothered to wipe it) Why'd you stop Ma? Hit me some more� I deserve it� (his head hung low and he sobbed apologetically)
Krishna: (tilting his chin so that he faced her, she embraced him tightly; her anger falling prey to her motherly affection; they sobbed holding each other closely) Why did you do this? I can't explain the pain that I felt when I heard that you were gone.  (She loosened her hold on him still gripping his hands in hers) Didn't you miss your mother? Didn't you think of me once?
Sid: (his voice spoke past the shackles of his sorrow) I did Ma! I missed everyone� It hurt so much to know that you were so close yet I had to be so far away from you, even when I needed your love so badly Ma. When Kush was born, my son, (Ram glanced sideways at Priya, his eyes wandered as his mind received a shocking whiff of reality) I thought of how happy you would have been to hold him, to raise him, that was always your dream�You always asked me for a grandson and when Priya told me that you held him yesterday�I felt like somehow your love had reached me as well. And when I heard that Ram had taken over the business, I wanted to let him know how proud I was of him; I wanted to tell him that he would take Kapoor Industries farther than I ever had the potential to take it; there was no doubt in my mind�But even though I was so close, I had to hold back.
Ram: (interrupting) Why though? Why Bhai? Before when I was in America we would always find a way to keep in touch. Why didn't you call me?
Sid: (he gripped Ram's shoulder reassuringly) I will tell you everything� But Ram it's not Priya's fault or anyone else's for that matter. If I am alive today, than it's because of Priya�If Ayesha and Kush are alive today, it's because of Priya� (he tilted his head in the direction of the dining table, holding his mother's hand) Let's sit and talk� I'll explain everything�
Priya ordered tea for everyone, entertaining in the most awkward of situations. She scrunched her nose as a bitter taste danced on her tongue when she sipped on the green tea that was meant for Ram, which he rudely rejected unsure of where he stood in terms of trusting her.
Ram: (impatiently) Bhai, come on�Tell us what happened? How did you end up here and why were we all made to believe that you were dead?
Sid: (holding his mom's hand like a scared child afraid of being lost again) Ram� I need you to promise that no matter what I say, even if you believe it or not, you will let me finish before you make a final decision. You may not respect me the same as you used too but for the sake of the love that we shared and that I hope we will still share, please listen to my side of the story before you take sides�
Ram: (confused) What?
Sid: (his words came out like a cross between a plea and a demand) Just promise, please.
Ram: (still confused) Okay� Fine� I promise!
Just as Sid was about to speak, Priya's phone rang in her purse and she rushed to answer it. Hanging up the call she dangled her purse on her left shoulder and walked up to her father.
Priya: Papa I need to go home� Kush is awake and he's crying�You know he's not feeling well� He needs me�
Sudhir: Okay Beta� (to Karthik) Karthik, drop your sister home�
Priya: (karthik was just about to get up when Priya stopped him) No Karthik� You stay�I can take the bus; it's only a 15 minute ride from here. We came here because�(she paused and Karthik looked down, embarrassed) you needed to know�actually, you deserve to know the truth as well� (She bid adieu to Krishna catching a glimpse of Ram who glanced at her briefly, on and off, like he had something to say but didn't know how to say it)
As soon as Priya shut the door and left, Ram, Karthik and Krishna focused back on Sid waiting anxiously for an explanation.
Sid: I met Ayesha at the airport in Mumbai when I was returning home after completing my MBA. We bumped into each other, literally, and got into an argument over mannerisms. She said that I should've watched where I was going and I asked her what was wrong with her vision that she couldn't see me coming in the same direction. That night we vowed to never cross paths again but destiny had other plans for us. Actually, when we bumped into each other our luggage was accidentally swapped. And so that was god's clever ploy to get us to meet up, to engage in what we promised to never repeat. But this time when we met, it was a little different�It's not that we didn't fight, I mean we fought in a more civilized way, I guess� if that's even possible� (he smiled) As a means of thanking her, I treated her to dinner and that's when I realized that this woman was something else.
Ram: (hurtfully) Why didn't you ever tell me about her?
Sid: I wanted to tell you all about her�But I didn't want to jinx the special bond that was developing between us� I should have said something; atleast to someone; I realize that now. (he paused, his lips forming that unique smile that would only take shape when he spoke of her) Exactly a year after we met, I proposed to her and (he swallowed) she said yes� Honestly, the feeling of being accepted by the one you love is indescribable. They say love is god, I guess it's true because it works in mysterious ways. (He sighed) It seemed like the happily ever after to our love story was within our grasps. I mean it was so convincing that we took that little plunge, which was all that was needed to grab it. But instead of achieving what was promised, we fell into a deep ditch trying to reach the unreachable, prematurely.  I told dad about Ayesha and Ayesha told her dad about me. The irony was disgustingly amusing; I fell in love with the daughter of the man whom my father despised. Old friends turned new enemies. New friends took advantage of the same severed ties that once fuelled them. Kapoor industries was once run by Sudhir Sharma and Amarnath Kapoor, equal partners. They say twos company, threes a crowd. It's true, because Sheena's father Mr. Shankar Mittal was the newest addition to the partnership and things veered from friendship to enmity from then onwards�
Ram: (spoke up defensively) What does Bhabhi or her family have to do with all this?
Krishna: It's true Ram� I still don't know what happened that forced Sudhir ji and your dad apart. (she looked apologetically at Sudhir) Sudhir �ji I am sorry for whatever happened between you and Amarnath. I know he is sorry too because he can't hear any ill spoken of you 'til this day. He is not the same person that I married; he lost the biggest part of his life, his best friend�And�(Ram interrupts rudely)
Ram: Ma, don't apologize! The fault is not Papa's�I know he is not perfect and we don't share a healthy bond. But I know Papa can never be wrong when it comes to business�
Sid: (interrupts sadly) Yes Ram, you are right�Dad is such a great businessman�he makes amazing deals without any feelings, just as well as he deals feelings without any remorse.
Ram: Bhai what are you talking about?
Sid: I am taking about how conveniently he signed my life away to Mr. Mittal, knowing damn well that I loved Ayesha and only Ayesha� He was so arrogant that he wagered his own son, his happiness just to look good in the eyes of his business partner�I never wanted to marry Sheena and I made my position clear. But dad never listened. Ayesha thought that I played a game with her; she never wanted to see my face. Why? Because Mr. Amarnath Kapoor told her about how much I loved Sheena and how happy I was to marry her� I don't know where Ayesha went but before she left she told me that she hated me for everything that I was made out to be. And Ram, if you don't believe me than go and ask dad about the circumstances in which I was given no other choice but to marry Sheena. Heck, even ask Mom� (Ram watched his mother's head drop in shame) She begged dad to put aside his grudge against Ayesha's family for my sake atleast. BUT NO!
Ram: Ma, is this true?
Krishna nodded an embarrassed approval with her eyes closed tightly.
Ram: (overwhelmed with reality) How can�
Sid: (interrupted) hold on� just one second, Ram! (he ran to his room and returned with a folder) Sheena loves someone else as well. 3 months into our awkward marriage in which I made it clear that she hold no expectations in her mind about our relationship, I told her about Ayesha� And to my surprise, she told me about her college boyfriend, whom she had wanted to marry but who wasn't rich enough in her father's perspective. (Ram squinted his eyes trying to decipher this new image of her bhabhi that was being fed to him) We hatched a plan that same evening�She would help me get Ayesha back and I would help give her boyfriend a strong financial standing so that he could gain Mr. Mittals respect. Everything was going great� I never met her boyfriend but she told me that his name was Raj� I signed a couple cheques in Sheena's name, which collectively added to about 1.5 million dollars. And with this loan that I lent them, she told me that Raj was able to start up his own company.  Sheena became my friend but by no definition was she ever my lover. A few months later Sheena told me about a huge deal that Raj was in the process of closing with a big overseas client.  The only problem was that he didn't have much of a name and therefore he needed atleast a million dollars transferred to his bank account to show his investors that he had the ability to carry out future orders. It was the break that they both needed and it was my cue to set her free and spend the rest of my life, if I had to, finding the only woman who I ever loved, Ayesha. (taking out a moderate stack of stapled papers from the folder in his hand, he slid it across the table to Ram) These are the divorce papers that Sheena and I both signed when I transferred that money into her boyfriends account.
Ram: (scrimmaging through the divorces papers he placed it on the table with a soft rustle of a thud) This makes no sense�Bhabhi is madly in love with you, even 'til this day�
Sid: You have to believe me Ram� I never gave Sheena any indication that I loved her and she told me herself that she wanted to marry someone else.
Karthik: (adding to the plethora of questions being hurled at Sid) But, if you signed the divorce papers than how come you were still legally married before news of your death was reported? And how come after your 'so called' death she became the legal trustee to your share of the Kapoor Property? (Ram glared defensively at Karthik but secretly he wanted to know as well)
Sid: I never got a chance to file the divorce papers. The first thing I did the next morning was head out to meet my lawyer. I wanted to file the papers first before I told Mom and Dad about anything. It was a win-win situation for both Sheena and I because we were getting what we wanted, our true love. Halfway to the lawyer's office on the curvy hilltop road, the adrenaline to reach my ultimate goal had my foot putting a little more pressure on the gas pedal than I would normally apply. And as my bad luck would have it I realized only when I tried to stop that there was no response when I stomped on the brakes. It didn't occur to me at that time that somebody had tampered with the system in my car. That was the last thing on my mind. I never wanted to live so badly until I came face to face with death. Life is so valuable; there are so many things that we have to do that we take for granted when we have the chance to do it. Love is a man's greatest weakness, but it is also the greatest strength. I saw Ayesha's smiling face as the car swerved desperate for a halt and that's when I made the stubborn decision to live, I deserved another chance to be with person whom I love. I lay at the side of the road watching the blurry image of my car as it set ablaze tumbling through a thick patch of forestland before it fell over the cliff. That's all I remember� A week later when I woke up in the hospital, I thought I was dead because my angel was sitting by my bedside resting her head on my arm. It was only when I felt the sting of her tears seeping through the soft cotton bandage to the wound on my hand that I recognized this wasn't a dream and I was more alive than I had ever been my whole life. She called the doctor, screaming at the top of her lungs� "Doctor, he-he is waking up." I held her hand tightly, squeezing with a promise to never let go� She stood up with tears in her eyes; I followed its journey as it fell to its death landing on the unfamiliar hump of her stomach�  The passing seconds just got better; she remarked with a playful anger in her tone, realizing my fixation on her belly, "What are you looking at? This is our baby�I won't let you run away from his/her responsibility so easily�"  Ayesha was six months pregnant with Kush at that time� There was nothing that anyone could've done to me or said to me to wipe the big smile off my face. Maybe that is why when I found out that everyone had already considered me dead, I played along with it� Somebody had wanted me dead, I don't know who it was or why they did it� But Ram, Ma, Karthik, until I find out, I would like the fact that I am alive to be kept a secret.
Ram: (appalled) But Bhai� Bhabhi deserves to know atleast.
Sid: (he sighed like he was on the verge of giving up) Ram come with me� (Ram and Krishna followed aimlessly, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end at the sight that was offered to him) This is what happened the last time someone suspected that I was alive. (he pointed to a lifeless Ayesha who was lying on the bed hooked on to a machine) Ayesha has been in a coma for 6 months� Priya told me not to work, she warned me that someone, who it mattered too, would find out that I was alive, they would come back to finish what they started� Did you know that Priya was the one who found me on the road? She was the one who brought me to the hospital�She was the one who brought Ayesha to me� Sudhir-ji and his family refused to accept Ayesha and I at first, she was the one who emptied what she had in her savings to buy us a small apartment for us to live in� And it was because of her that eventually everyone forgave us�I felt like I should do something to help, so I went out in search for a cash only job to assist with the growing expenses. And this is the result� 1 week before Kush's delivery, I had gone out to get some last minute items for the special day. When I came back to the apartment, Ayesha was laying on the floor with an open gash on her forehead like she had been hit. The whole apartment was a mess, someone came looking for something and Ayesha just happened to be in the way� Kush was born prematurely but Ayesha slipped into a coma and she has been like this ever since. After the incident, Sudhir-ji sold his apartment, shifting into a less costly flat just so that we could afford a room in this hotel right across from the hospital� Priya pays for Ayesha's treatment and raises our son�I can't even look at Kush, I feel like I am responsible for everything. They say love is priceless yet it's the people in love who pay the greatest fine�Just like Ayesha did and now I am afraid that if I get to close to Kush, he might also have to pay for this cursed love.
Krishna: (she walked over to the bed where Ayesha lay, caressing her pale cheeks) If only we had gotten you married to Ayesha just like you wanted, than maybe we wouldn't have to see this day�
Sudhir: Whenever something like this happens we blame destiny�We say that maybe it wasn't meant to be� Or perhaps god had planned it to happen this way� But it's getting harder as the days pass for me to justify my ego the day that Ayesha told me about Sid. I put the fault on destiny, questioned god every night, but its time that I accept the failures of my past and correct it so that I can move forward salvaging the shattered pieces of my character.
Ram: (remorsefully) Bhai, is there anything that I can do to help?
Sid: yes Ram�(he turned to face him) Help me find who did to Ayesha� I want my life back, but I don't want a life without Ayesha and Kush� Find out who did this Ram�but make sure no one catches onto you�
Ram promised to do just as requested and than he headed home with his mother barely able to focus on anything after being faced with a reality so grand. When Karthik went to get the car, Sudhir sat on the bed opposite to Sid bidding adieu to his daughter with a gentle stroke of her hand.
Sudhir: Sid beta, why didn't you tell Ram that you suspect Sheena was responsible for both your accident and Ayesha's?
Sid: (looking at Ayesha) I wanted to Papa-ji but all I have on Sheena is hypothetical reasoning. It makes sense that she would do it� She was the only one who knew I was going to the lawyer's office that day� She had the most to gain from my death� But Ram won't listen to me until he has solid evidence against his beloved bhabhi� I know Ram, he will get to the bottom of this� And when he does, he will see her true colour. it's than only, that I can tell him the truth about Sheena�