Part 4Ram: I never saw her again but I continued to look out the window every time I heard an angry mob of protesters lining up in front of the company' But as fate would have it, she wasn't amongst them. A month passed by in this passive search, which ended on that dreadful day when I stopped yearning for her and once again, entered the vicious cycle of hate.
Vikram: That's when Kapoor Industries was on the edge of bankruptcy right?
Ram: yeah and it was all because of Priya.. The international companies which were the bulk of our investments refused to renew their contacts with us.. They said that Priya Sharma raised a very valid point; if we didn't treat our employees well than what value would we give to them as partners? Gosh Vikram in that moment I fell to pieces but I was determined that if I was going down, then I was taking Priya down with me. I cursed myself for protecting her image that morning after we made love and not going through with the original plan of defaming her. I was certain that if I had ruined her image that day, than she would have never had any power to ruin mine. So I used every ounce of power I had left in me to search for her, to find her and give her a piece of my mind. It's turns out she had stopped being a part of the political scene and instead she settled into a teaching role, offering TOEFL classes at a local school. That day when I went to plummet her with my rage over what she had caused, I was faced with the unexpected . . . (he paused and gulped) That's when she told me that she was pregnant with my child, a result of the mistake that happened that night in Singapore.
Vikram: Okay. I get that you might have been shocked about the pregnancy because you had dedicated most of your life to this company and to have the one who nearly ruined it tell you that she is carrying your child is hard to digest. But Ram it is so unlike you to take advantage of that situation just so you can ruin her in return. You became a different person when acting out of rage. Otherwise how could Ram, the same Ram who loves and respects his dadi, Mom and Sister with all his heart, take advantage of a woman's vulnerability. She is also someones sister Ram... Why did you marry her and put on a charade of love? Why didn't you just ditch her at that time instead of playing a game with her feelings? For an influential woman to be unmarried and pregnant is the greatest revenge of all. But what you did surpassed all boundaries of cruelty and quite frankly it left me disgusted calling you my friend. You never loved her but in the 6 months prior to her finding out about your scheme, you made her feel like a queen' Why Ram?
Ram: Paagal tha main' I am even disgusted with myself, thinking back to what I did. I was so blinded by revenge I felt that if I married her and made her fall in love with me I could attack her when she was most vulnerable. So i convinced her that I wanted to marry her for the sake of our child. I convinced her that what we call a mistake might have been fates plan all along. We were meant to be together and that is why we unknowingly slept with each other that night. I even went as far as telling her that her families nose will be cut in shame if they found out that she got pregnant before marriage. Even if they forgive you, people in this world will keep talking and they won't let them forget. Our child will be labeled and punished because of our mistake. Therfore the best thing that we can do for our child and our family is to get married and than one month later, tell everyone that you are pregnant. After sleeping on my proposal that night, Priya gave in and fell hard into my perfectly planned trap. Vikram I was so angry... I had preserved the unprofessed love for my father in this company; it was so precious to me and she nearly wrecked it to pieces. So I wanted to make her feel that same bitter and helpless feeling of losing something that she loved.
Vikram: so you took away her child.
Ram: WHAT?? (he angrily roared and slammed his closed fist on the table) THAT HAPPENED UNEXPECTEDLY. That baby was my child too and she was innocent. That night when Priya met with an accident I was going to come clean about everything from our encounter in Singapore and my Scheme in Mumbai' But this was my destiny, I was meant to pine for Priya and my daughter as my punishment. She found out about everything that I had done to her before I got a chance to tell her' This led to the miscarriage followed by her justified rage against me'
I sat next to Priya, holding on to her limp hand as she lay unconsciously on the hospital bed. Kissing the back of her hand several times, I begged her to wake up. But there was a fear in my heart that refused to settle, thinking about how exactly I will tell her that our baby is no more. Priya loved this child, and I loved watching Priya caressing her belly and talking lovingly to our little angel before she went to sleep every night. Those days were scattered with many emotions, some good and some bad, but either way I grew to respect Priya for her ability to cope in any situation. Man, she was as hard as a rock and I felt like a stupid fool who set out to break the unbreakable. They say to keep your friends close but your enemies closer; but the closer you get to your enemy the more you grow to love them, seeing past your hatred towards them. I don't know when in the 6 months I started loving her. Was it the time when she promised my Dadi that she would make everything right in her late son's nearly bankrupt company, keeping his memories alive, so long as she kept smiling? Or was it the time when she actually followed through with that promise and saved my dad's company from the brinks of bankruptcy and back up the ladder to a familiar, wealthy status? Or maybe it was when Priya brought a smile to my mother's lips; the same smile that disappeared when my dad cheated on her? I don't know when it happened but it did' In 6 months Priya did 6 years of fixing, rescuing my family from the faade happiness that our bitter past forced us into. More shockingly everything about her melted the icy cold resentment that I had built up inside of me and revealed a healthy beating heart that she taught how to love.
Caressing her hand in between my kisses a thought struck my mind that sent a shiver down the length of my spine, "How do I tell Priya what I have done? She will be so stressed out from the loss of our angel and now I will add another pressure on her plate by telling her that I pretended to love her all this time. But I have to tell her; I want to come clean so that we can start our journey of love on a path of truth. Oh no! But will she believe me when I tell her that I really do love her? No, No Ram she WILL believe you and if she doesn't believe your words than you have to show her that you do with your actions." On this reassuring note, I pouted my lips firmly to place another kiss on her hand but before I could, she pulled her hand back! I stood up enthusiastically, completely oblivious to the rage with which she had pulled her hand back.
"Priya" I stated smiling ear to ear. "MA, DADI, KARTHIK, NATASHA, VIKRAM, NEHA, PAPA, PRIYA IS AWAKE" I bellowed and turned back at Priya with relief painted in every cell of my face, which was quickly replaced with worry lines when it dawned on me that she is going to ask if our child was okay' I heard the squeaking of the door, almost instantly as everyone stampeded into the room. She looked at her dad, angrily looking away from me'
"Papa?" she questioned without even asking a question, there was a mutual understanding between her and everybody in the room, which made it clear what she was asking.
With tears in his eyes, Sudhir simply shook his head from left to right, answering the most grief-ridden question with one gesture. This one gesture sent her into a catastrophic emotional breakdown, she screamed as she cried tucking her face into her palms. Each stabbing sob struck my soul head on. I placed my hand on her shoulder just about to squeeze it reassuringly but that only made things worse.
"DON'T TOUCH ME!." She shrieked surprising everyone in the room. "I HATE YOU!"
Pulling my hand back in disbelief, my lips touched firmly together to sound out her name' "p-'"
She interrupted, "Why are you here? To see the fruit of your labour?"
Shipra was the first to intervene trying to dissolve the dark cloud of confusion above everyone's head, "Priya'Yeh kya hain beta'Ram is your husband, he's just as sad as you are about what happened'"
Priya refused to let her finish her sentence, "Nahi Ma, aaj mein baat karoongi! It's high-time you all know the truth about our relationship."
Ram: Her words sketched a painful picture; each syllable combining to explain everything that happened, how it happened and where it happened. But she left out one critical part that has left a blur in my recollection of the events that unfolded that night. How did she come to know about the truth?
Vikram: does it really matter? It doesn't make what you did any better'
Ram: I know that but still I wish that she had heard it from me.
Vikram: Dekh Ram, Neha and I consider you our best friend but Priya is like a little sister to me. And no big brother would allow their little sister to be with a man like you, especially after what you have done to her. So just leave her'Let's move o'(Ram interrupted anxiously as if something so precious was being stripped away from him, a feeling that he had come to understand far to well in the past 3 months.)
Ram: (he stood straight up, forcing the chair that he was sitting on to wheel back with the momentum.) NO VIKRAM!! I can't just leave her. I LOVE HER!
Vikram: (stood up as well and matched his anger with subsiding statements that left him stumped for a second) You love her? Dude, after what you did no one is going to believe that you love her. What proof do you have that you do?
Ram: I would rip my heart open if I have too. If that's what it'll take for the world to see that Ram's heartbeat is driven by Priya's name, than that's what I'll do.
Vikram: (chuckles as he walks towards a glass cabinet at the side of Ram's office, grabs a clear glass bottle and pours out two glasses of scotch.) Ram we are both businessmen and so it's obvious that the key to success in any business is simple, realism minus emotions. So (he walks towards Ram and hands one glass over to him before he continues speaking) how can you use this formula to crack this deal called Priya, which is apparently a big deal for you?
Ram: (without even thinking about an answer he instantly responds) Priya is not a DEAL, she is my LIFE, man' How can you compare her to a deal? That's so wrong. I will do anything to get my wife back' I am not going to try calling her anymore; I already know that she will not answer when she see's my number. But instead, I will go personally to meet her and talk to her and tell her that I love her and that I am sorry.
Vikram: (takes a sip of the rich flavoured scotch) Okay, I will be Priya (he places his glass on the desk)' and in response to your pathetic attempt to woo me I will ask you, "how can I trust you Ram?"
Ram: Mr. Kapoor! (he mumbled)
Vikram: (confused) what?
Ram: she calls me Mr. Kapoor'
Vikram: (picks his glass back up, irritated') you know what' forget it' I was right you don't love Priya' just leave this love thing and stick to business.
Ram: (puts his glass down and practically begs Vikram) No please yaar' you have to help me'
Vikram: What? Why should I?
Ram: Haaaw! What kind of friend are you? This is the first time that I have fallen in love with someone and you are not helping me' please my life depends on this'
Vikram: No! (He boldly denied) You never asked for my advice before you screwed up right? So now fix the mistake that you have created' on your own' (Ram's head drops in disappointment) Dekh Ram, if you really love Priya, your heart will give you the best solution to mollify her. You still have one month before the divorce is finalized' so think Ram THINK!!!
Ram: (is motivated by Vikram's words. He knows that if his love is true, which it is, she will be able to see it through the rage that is rightfully clouding her vision' He excitedly picks his glass up of the desk and extends his left arm towards Vikram for a toast) To Priya! Now my love will light my path back into your heart
Vikram: (shakes his head and clanks his glass with Ram's) Ram tu toh gaya kaam se'
Both pals chugs down their drinks in silence. Ram was physically present but mentally planning out how he would woo Priya with more than just his words. Meanwhile, Vikram prayed that Ram could succeed in his endeavors.
Vikram: (breaks the silence, snapping back into the reality of things) Okay Ram, let's go' Your mom must be worried and Sid also' Besides you have a lot of thinking to do' I want my bhabhi back and this is a request that only you can fulfill'
Ram: Thanks Buddy' But I just need some more time alone' I will leave to go home soon'
Vikram: Okay! But hurry up' If I have to come back here again, than I will be dragging you home, literally'
Ram: (smiled weakly and nodded) Thanks yaar, for everything'
Vikram: What are friends for? (he smirked) Okay Ram, I will see you tomorrow. Remember make your move fast. Time is of the essence.
Ram checked his phone, hoping that Natasha responded to his earlier text but he was not so lucky' "She is probably gone to sleep" he hypothesized, realizing that it was 5am. Guided by the sound of birds chirping, Ram walked towards the window and cracked it open. The newfound determination blazed through his heart like the rays of the awakening sun, spreading an orange blanket over the clouds. But every day for the past three months, these sunrays projected its beauty in an incomplete way because he found that these rays were more magically potent when it fell on Priya's face early in the morning, teasing her out of her sleep. He sighed at the thought of his sleeping beauty, "Today is the birth of Ram Kapoor. Not the business tycoon, the brother, the son or the grandson. Today a mature Ram Kapoor has awakened, Ram Kapoor, the husband, the father' I have made one mistake that will take me 7 lifetimes before I can make the appropriate amends. Today marks the first day of seven lifetimes, Priya." With that last statement, he walked out of his office and took the elevator down to the underground parking lot where he had parked his car. But before he drove home, he decided to go to Priya's apartment to see if she was okay.
The wind rattled its way in through the window, drying the fresh set of tears that flowed down Priya's pale cheeks. She was certain that this would be the last set of tears that would dare shed from her eyes because now she found a tethered solution to her problem. Opening up the blinds in her room, she allowed the light to re-enter her soul as she thought, "Today is the death of Priya Ram Kapoor and the re-birth of Priya Sharma. From now on I will live and love my family and no one and nothing else in this world. Destiny's game has changed and as long as I breathe, I have no choice but to be a piece in it this game and play along". She stroked her empty stomach. "I will never forget you my baby. From now onwards, I will live only to die and meet you in heaven, so I can hold you in my arms forever. But until that day comes, I will safeguard you in my heart placing you front row and center. Smile Priya Sharma, your family needs you."