Thursday, September 12, 2013

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�

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