Part 9The nights that followed the shocking revelation selfishly consumed the days robbing rays of hopes from the lives of those affected. New lovers ached, suffering from the after effects of the mistakes created by their siblings who practically raised them. Ayesha and Sid suffocated helplessly in the present circumstance. Their young love prematurely stained by the past wrongdoings, which neither one of them had control over. Either way the decision was made for both of them without considering how they felt. Priya said it best that night, "Ayesha, listen to me. How can you marry Sid? If his older brother can marry me for revenge than what would stop him from doing the same?" This imposed verdict was a bit troubling for Sudhir to swallow. Everyone with the exception of Natasha, whose opinion Shipra felt was too biased to even consider, rejected Sudhir's calm and collective objection. What is a father to do when the happiness of his one daughter depends on the sadness of the other? Resting their certainty on unqualified assumptions seemed like the most reasonable option in the heat of the moment. However, they realized, sooner than they would have liked, that love cannot be born nor killed overnight. And if it's true love than no matter how much torture that you put it through, there is always a part of it that survives it all inevitably multiplying back to it's original strength. No one knew this fact better than Priya. Even with her most genuine attempts Ram's love somehow always managed to make a home in her thoughts after he became the sole owner of her heart a long time ago. She could never evict him although she knew very well that Ram did not love her.
But he had told the person that he loved on the phone that night that he didn't love her�She wouldn't have believed it if she hadn't heard it with her own ears. The deafening sound of her tiny world that she had decorated with the simplest of happiness shattered to pieces right before her eyes. Losing everything at a drop of dime she was stripped naked at the hands of her love. She still remembered that night when she came home from her TOEFL classes. With a thrilled intent to surprise Ram she tip toed quietly up to their master bedroom standing by the corner of the door, which was invitingly open. Tucking the package behind her back she smiled biting down gently on her lower lip before she extended her right feet forward to enter the room. But before it could land on target, she immediately pulled it back when she heard his voice in conversation with someone on the phone.
Ram: I don't love her babe I only love you. She was a mistake but you and I we were meant to be. Remember growing up, we had promised each other that we would get married when we finished university but than my dad�(he paused) you know I don't really like to get into that but that night I don't know why I exposed myself entirely to Priya. First of all I tipped the waiter to get her drunk, praised her falsely but in my mind I was fuming. I thought why not strip the honour of the woman who tried to strip the honour of my company, the last thing I have in memory of my dad. But Babe trust me I never meant to actually sleep with her it just happened. Her support was comforting that night and one thing lead to another and the next thing you know she's pregnant with my child. I don't want this child but what can I do. It would be so easy for me to ditch Priya and ruin her reputation but now that a baby is in the picture it's so difficult. Not a day goes by in which I don't think about my stupid mistake that night. I tipped the media to come to my room in the morning so that they could see Priya leaving. But than the pity for a woman clouded my judgment and I distracted the media so that she could leave my room with her honuour intact. What can I say Babe I am not ready for a child that too with a woman that I will never fall in love with.
Priya had heard enough. Every muscle in her body gave up its desire to work. The package slipped out of her grip falling softly on the ground. She stepped over it and left. "Why stay in a place where you are not wanted? Why wedge yourself in between two lovers?" She thought to herself, as she walked lifelessly through the streets not sure where to go. Cars swerved past her, honking and shouting but she kept on walking and thinking. "How could I have not seen it? All the signs told me that he loves me the same way that I love him. But�" Ram's words echoed in her mind, "I don't love her Babe I love you. She was a mistake but you and I we were meant to be. I tipped the waiter to get her drunk, praised her falsely but in my mind I was fuming. . I thought why not strip the honour of the woman who tried to strip the honour of my company, the last thing I have in memory of my dad." The volume elevated to a torturous level playing in a loop making her beg for it to stop. "I am not ready for a child that too with a woman that I will never fall in love with." The last line echoed in her ears, the begging stopped, and god answered. Everything stopped around her just as she had wanted. The last thing she remembered was the sharp pain in her abdomen that accompanied her rolling on the paved road. She came to a bright hazy halt clutching her stomach helplessly before the darkness overshadowed her eyelids, which slowly enclosed her pain stricken eyes.
She glanced up at her dad who was gripping a tray in his right hand, which held two cups of a hot liquid as evidenced by the steam radiating from the cups. The ginger flavour teased her nostrils, her favourite ginger tea with her favourite person, her dad. Pelting upwards from her seated position, she took the tray from her dad.
Priya: Papa? All this?
Sudhir sat down on the bed, hooking one cup from the tray and resting it gently on the base of his palm.
Sudhir: Sit beta. I made tea especially for you so we can sit and talk like the old days.
Priya: (took her cup also and placed the tray on her night table) Papa... It's good that you came. I really needed to talk.
Sudhir knew exactly what was running through her mind. His daughter may have been determinetal in her decision-making abilities of late but he knew that there was surely some rationality hidden beneath the surface of her overcharged emotions.
Sudhir: Haan Beta Bolo.
Priya: Papa did I make the wrong decision? Is it really fair to Ayesha if we assume that Sid's intentions match that of his brother?
Sudhir: Priya I think you already have the answers to those questions.
Priya: I don't know Papa. I just don't want Ayesha to feel the same pain that I felt. It hurts so much when someone you love (Sudhir looked at her intently, she chances the chose of her words)...loved... someone you loved not love you back the same way. I know that when we love we shouldn't hold that expectation that they should also love us back the same way. But Papa it is our natural reaction to assume that.
Sudhir: Priya beta I don't know if you will like hearing this or not. But I have to say it. For years I did exactly what my heart told me and I am confident in its capacity to lead me to the right path. (Priya listened, praying for a hint of direction in her mind from his words, while she sipped her tea continuously, unable to resist its deliciously calming effect) After listening to Ram on the news last week saying all those things in your defense, my heart is telling me that he meant whatever he said about you. (Priya opened her mouth to intervene) Please Priya let me finish. (she solaced her claim momentarily keeping it at the back of mind unable to ignore it) Everyone makes mistakes. Ram slipped up BIG TIME but he's begging for forgivness and from his actions it is clear that he loves you. Please give him one more chance.
Priya: Papa. I understand that you feel that way. But there is more to the story than you think. He loves someone else Papa I heard it with my own ears that same night when everything was ruined. He called what we had a mistake and he even regretted our unborn child because he didn't want to be associated with me.
Sudhir: (astonished that his heart mislead him for the first time. Still he did not want to believe Priya's words, his experience is screaming at him, "Ram is really sorry".) Are you sure?
Priya: (she exclaimed without a small speck of tear forming in her eyes. she was thoroughly desensitized to this fact, playing it out in her mind a million times weeping to her hearts satisfaction.) Yes Papa! I am sure of it. If I had heard it from anyone else I would have disregarded it. (noticing the distress on her dads face she stated) I know Papa, similar to your thinking, I also felt before that point that Mr. Kapoor really loved me. It's actually good though, that this happened. I learned to trust my mind over my heart. But papa my mind is mum about whether my decision to reject Sid and Ayesha's relationship was right.
Sudhir: What does your heart say?
Priya: (she hesitated) Seeing Ayesha's state is really hurting my heart. I can completely empathize with how she is feeling. That's why my heart is so vocal about this topic, it's telling me that I am selfish. But I only want the best for Ayesha. I just don't want to see her in any pain.
Sudhir: but your decision is causing her more pain than she had ever had to endure.
Priya: I know but I wonder if Sid is also as heartbroken as her?
Sudhir: Only Ram can tell you the answer to that question, but you have been avoiding his calls. Priya you have always made the right decisions and I know that even now you know what the right decision is, call him back.
Priya: (paused momentarily) Okay Papa... But Ma and Karthik will be mad if they find out that I am reconsidering the possibility of their marriage?
Sudhir: Priya you don't worry about that, Natasha and I will handle them. But call Ram and ask him to meet up somewhere to sort out this dilemma.
Priya: Yes Papa. You are right...
She picked up her phone and dialed his number. It was imprinted in her mind and the fact that he called her a million times in the past week, made it even harder to forget.