Total Pageviews

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Arhi FF: 'Tangent Worlds' ch-4, Wrong-Right Right-Wrong Choices

                           TANGENT WORLDS
                         Part: 4
                 Wrong-Right Right-wrong Choices

‘The fateful day was here at last.’ Garima thought with a wistful sigh. Standing still at the door, her eyes penetrated the darkness looking in the direction where her distraught daughter had disappeared not too long ago.

How many nights Garima, the mother had spent praying her Devi Maiya to never let her daughters face the question that had haunted her existence, since she developed that wretched faculty called brains.

“Amma, isn’t Jiji family?” Khushi’s voice resonated in her mind once again. Though wrapped in a new voice, the question wasn’t exactly new to her, she had lived her entire life… denying it… fighting it… accepting it… all her life… with it. ‘Her daughters had finally inherited her demons, and that was all she had to pass on to them.’ she thought with a wry smile, how very delusional of her to ever think that Khushi and Payal had any chance at escaping it… how very delusional. 

She didn’t know how long she had been standing at the door of her room and finally as a sigh of resignation escaped her lips, she turned back moving towards her bed, her legs felt heavy as she dragged them across the room. But the next moment she halted in her tracks as hauntingly beautiful musical notes cut through the dense air around her. Her feet gave up and she sank at the foot of the bed. She was playing again… after months and Garima didn’t know how to feel about it, relieved or apprehensive… content or miserable… as a whirlwind of long suppressed emotions erupted within her, once again, threatening to engulf everything… and she knew she was… scared.

In a dark corner of that weather beaten and time scarred house was a small room, unoccupied generally, but at the moment Madhumati stood aghast at its door. Khushi’s hair flew wildly around her face crowning her with a majestic dark halo, her hands moved in frenzy on the keys of the piano as she created unbridled passions that promised pure destruction. Thunderous storms brew both in and out. And as the hysterical roars of the wilderness in nature met with the frenzied notes of her piano, the wilderness within her… the earth, the sky and all that lay amidst witnessed in awe the destruction, for old things had to be destroyed, old structures demolished to give way to new ones… yesterdays have to end today, so tomorrow can make way. What that tomorrow will hold… no one knew but her Devi Maiya and she was as mum as always.

Sleep was one of the few things that lay beyond the regime of Arnav Singh Raizada’s dictatorship and tonight it seemed like she had decided to evade him entirely. And so a tall, lean figure could be seen standing near the French windows that opened towards the pool area in Shantivan. As the flashes of lightening speared through the winds at irregular intervals a pair of dark and dangerously stormy eyes could be seen, and through those windows, the storm that raged within.

Arnav felt a sense of camaraderie with the storm, a unique empathy, as if it understood him. He was glad for the thunder, for it was in moments like these that the constant roar inside him was numbed for a while… that he could escape the agonizing screams of his mother even if for a little while. Storms and thunders brought numbness for him… a numbness that gave an impression of forgotten pains and healed wounds… false impressions indeed. But tonight as he stood there,  leaning against the door frame, his face a mask of strange calmness, his eyes closed as slight drizzle caressed his face in an attempt to soothe his pain, faint musical harmony reached his ear. He thought he was dreaming but then he opened his eyes and the melody was still there, the agitated harmony surrounded him. Try as he might but he couldn’t locate its source but neither could he deny its reality, it was surreal as if the winds and the rains brought the harmony along with them… a gift for him. And then realization stuck him. ‘But… but it was so long ago… so long ago that even his memories seemed slightly faded now. How could it be?’ and with that thought madness took over and he ran from his room, down the stairs, out of the main door and towards the out house. His breathing labored, his eyes blood-shot, his form drenched, his heart racing, as he took slow steps towards the out-house. And a little flutter of hope that he had felt inside him after ages died before it could even breathe as he came face to face with the closed door. He let out a sigh of resignation and leaned against the door closing his eyes once again. Not a tear escaped the confines his eyes, his misery had crossed the point where tears could express it… he had traveled long and far with his best-friend and his arch-nemesis, Despair… there was no looking back now. He still didn’t have the courage to open those closed doors for he knew if he ever did, he would lose the comfortable blanket of numbness and this frozenness was the best he could hope for… and so with one last pained look at the closed door he returned back to his room.

She found herself on her bed in her room when she woke up, she didn’t know how and when she came here, the last thing she remembered was her mother pleading with her to go along with her father’s decision, his decision to punish Jiji for no fault of hers while the one who ought to be punished enjoyed life and was probably stalking another beautiful soul to tear apart. Khushi Kumari Gupta wouldn’t let it happen, her decision was made and call her rigid, adamant, impractical, impulsive… well call her whatever you want but once the decision was made she followed it through the very end… Khushi Kumari Gupta made her own choices, crystal clear ones at that and saw them through the very end, never even considering a backup or a back out. And so her decision made, she sent a quick text, impatiently waiting for the reply and once it came, she quietly slipped out of the bed and her dupatta around her neck and her foot-wear in her hands, she very stealthily crept out of the house… unaware of a pair of eyes watching her. Well needless to say Khushi was missing from the breakfast table that morning and that sent Sashi’s mind in an overdrive…

 Arnav descended the stairs, his mind still lost in the happenings of last night. ‘Was it a figment of my imagination? Is my brain playing games with me? No it cannot be… but it seemed so real… the strings of music, the Piano. It was as if she was… No he couldn’t let himself fall back in that dark abyss again, No! His family needed him.’ and with his determination renewed and his mask back in place he strode towards the dining table… If only he knew that abyss he was scared of, lay within him, clinging to the numbness and thriving Despair it grew… a little every day.

Nani and Anjali were there and Aakash’s absence was nothing new so Arnav didn’t ask about it and no one bothered to explain… It was just easier to pretend that everything was fine.  They all took their respective seats, Nani at the head of the table and Arnav and Anjali on her either side… and they waited. Arnav hated this, every single day that man would deliberately come late for he knew it would infuriate him but more than that Arnav knew that he just wanted to assert his importance, his position in the family. Arnav looked at their waiting faces once and started with his breakfast, he wouldn’t force them to defy but that didn’t mean that he would obey… Never.

And finally, Aryan Singh Raizada decided to grace those at the table with his presence. He sat at the farther end occupying the seat of the head of the family and smiled at everyone, finally giving his eldest son a look of contempt which was met with a look of pure loathing and so without another word the Raizada family started their breakfast. Finally Aryan broke the silence and with it the faint impression of peace that surrounded them,
“So how is the search going Arnav, for Anjali’s husband… the Raizada ghar-jamai?” The sarcasm and scorn blatant in his voice and for a moment all activity around stopped, but then Arnav menacingly cut the omelet in his plate and resumed eating and the others followed his cue. Aryan was irate, but only for a moment, he was a man rarely deterred.  And hence Aryan continued,
“You could have looked through some of my suggestions. I had some really good ones lined up there. But you wouldn’t even take a look. I am…” he trailed off but again no one replied,
‘You haven’t ever given me a chance to trust you in my entire life and I am not going to start now.’ Arnav thought with a finality that was visible in his visage as he passed him a cold glare and got off his chair.
And as Aryan saw Arnav leaving the dining space, he played his master stroke,
“Anjali, I was wondering if you applied for that All India Seminar happening next month.” and it hit right at the point as Arnav stopped in his tracks, his back to the table he stood still. Aryan smirked in his direction and continued,
“I mean it shouldn’t be a big deal getting in for you, considering AR is its chief sponsor.” He then looked at Anjali’s shocked face and feigned ignorance, “Oh you didn’t know. Didn’t Arnav tell you? I wonder why?” and with a satisfied smile he left the table.

Arnav still stood immobile and Anjali stared at his back, while Nani passed her a sad but reassuring look. Arnav had had his own reasons to hide this from his younger sister. He wanted her to be self-sufficient and not dependent on his position for achieving anything in life, and he also knew that if Anjali asked for anything, he didn’t have it in him to deny it to her.

But it wasn’t a lost opportunity that bothered Anjali… it was the lost trust. ‘Did he really think that I would use his power and influence to get ahead in my life? Doesn’t he trust me? Doesn’t he know me?’ and with that thought she got-up and moved towards her room, attempting to nurse her hurt self respect.

Arnav let out a sigh of dejection, he knew exactly what she was thinking and he would admit for once… and at least to himself that he was wrong…

A group of school girls blushed and giggled looking at the tall, fair and handsome light-eyed man sitting on the park bench. What they probably missed though was the figure of the sad, dejected woman sitting by his side.
“Is it selfish of me to be happy to find that my sister is still alive… despite everyone’s pain and suffering, I can’t help but be a little happy that she is still somewhere, waiting for me. Am I a bad person Sumit?” her faint voice was a plea for reassurance and Sumit, her friend would give her just that. He cupped her face and turned her to face him,
“Khushi you love her and you are happy because your love for Payal is beyond and above everything else. Its pure, its unadulterated, its true. Its Khushi’s love after all, it got to be crazy.” and he was relieved to see her faint teary smile.
“Sumit I have to go to Delhi.”
“But how do you know that she is there?”
“I don’t, but I have to start from some where and she was last seen there, I might get some clue from there. I think I’ll leave tonight itself.”
“Khushi, are you crazy! We need to plan this through. If you leave tonight Sashi uncle will use all his sources to get you back, after all you are his last hope for a societal salvation and he wouldn’t give up on that easily.” seeing her worried expression, he caressed her face, soothing her frowns, “Khushi, don’t worry, we’ll be figure out something. Just give me some time, okay? And for now, you just go back and behave normally, okay? I’ll call you tomorrow. Don’t worry I’ll take care of everything.” And then as he looked in her eyes, he knew he wasn’t going to like what came next.
“I am sorry Sumit, but… but I… I can’t marry you.” and Khushi looked deep in the eyes of her best friend and what she saw scared her, ‘there was hurt and pain and was it… was it LOVE?’ she shut her eyes trying to un-see what she had seen. His hands still cupping her cheeks, he was lost in her ethereal beauty and Khushi for the first time felt something different in his touch… in her best-friend’s touch and she was scared to open her eyes… to look into his eyes and see a confirmation of what she had seen earlier… too scared to face it. But then his phone rang, breaking their trance, she straightened and got up and he answered it,
“Ji Sashi uncle, Khushi is with me. Yes, she was about to leave. okay I’ll tell her. Ji.” he cut off the phone and looked at her, her back faced him,
“Khushi, Shahi uncle called…”
“I know. I’ll head back home then and I’ll wait to hear from you again. Bye Sumit.” and with that she moved towards the exit of the park, not daring to turn back even once…
He had smiled then, a charming smile, he couldn’t help his charming smiles but this time it was accompanied by a hollowness in his eyes. He was never delusional enough to believe that she loved him, the way he did and yet it hurt, it hurt bad to see that terrified look in her eyes, terrified of never being able to reciprocate his love, ever. ‘How was she so sure of it?’ he wondered, but then reason and love haven’t really been best buddies, have they?
“I am sorry Sumit, but… but I… I can’t marry you.” he could hear her say and all he wished was she had just added ‘now’ at the end, but alas!

Take Care :)

 PS: Hey guys, so this was the fourth chapter of Tangent Worlds, okay I know it may seem a little hurried, coz it actually is, so I might do some editing some time in future, but I don't think any major changes would be made, so no worries. Well I hope you guys like it and please do let me know what u thought of it, your criticisms and compliments really inspire me. :)

No comments: