It is around 6 o'clock in the evening, all quiet except for the annoying and creepy creaking sound of window swinging in the wind, as if it wants to company me.
Cool wind is blowing, giving me chills as it passes through the window. But today my aai is not with me to close those widows for me.
Tring... tring.. my landline rings, well whoever it is...I don't want to receive,so I let it ring, feel quite cheerful when it stops..
But my happiness doesn't last more than a minute cause it rings again, so I put my paint brush aside and get up annoyingly mumbling angrily, "who is it now?"
As I put the receiver to my ear, I hear a course informal voice of a woman speaking somewhat hurriedly, "hello.. I am speaking from the city hospital..."
I answer with somewhat fear, "yes.." but she adds quickly, "okay... so you need to come to the hospital.. it's urgent.." I ask with worry, "what happened? Is my aai alright? "
That woman annoyingly replies,"I am sorry I can't explain you everything on phone.. so please come as early as possible.. " she hangs up the phone.
I take a sit on a near by chair, holding my head in my hands, thinking what can be that emergency? And another devastating thing is.. I have to step out of this mansion to go and meet her...
Yeah... I live in the palace, which has been built on 2 acres of land.. it is like we are living all alone in a three storey house, surrounded by green lawns, flowering plants and very big cascading fountains...
I was annoyed, when my aai brought me here cause why on earth we need this much big place for rent?, but my aai told me with smile, "you deserve this..." I was observing her with wide eyes.
Thinking who is this person?, in this house we have maids for each and every work, they are present twenty four hours, infact they are living at the backyard of this house.
The question is, who is gonna pay them? But my aai answered, "new chapter of your life has been started, just enjoy.."
I rolled my eyes saying, "you are really mysterious..aai.." but she smiled at me, heaving a sigh of relief.
Yeah my aai, to the world she is my care taker, but to me, she is my whole world, I haven't seen my parents, according to other people they are dead... but my aai has never told me anything, whenever I asked, she used to ask me back, "why do you need your parents, am I not enough for you..?"
Well she was right too, she has done everything for me, she has given me perfect life.
We used to live in a very small village with population of only 1500 people.
Village was small, but their people were big hearted and loving. Me and my aai used to live in a farm, its landlord was abroad so we three families, who worked there, lived together.
I have been raised like a village girl should be, From an early age I have played in the field with my other friends, we altogether have done all the farm work too like ploughing, sowing, watering, weeding harvesting etc... I used to fetch water from well too.
I have had my education from that village too, I must admit I was not interested in studies so I have completed my graduation with very difficulty.
Besides studies, I have had a special self defence training, our village's tough man and my best friend Abhimanyu has trained me, well I can say I am not that strong physically but those techniques can help me to defend myself.
Besides Abhi, I have two other besties Simran and Mrunal, their families worked with us and lived with us in the same farm.
My life was simple but perfect and carefree, Bird watching, swinging from banyan tree vines, running race on farm trails, riding the bicycle were the activities I was interested the most.
Village's weekly bazaar was our shopping centre, I didn't care to go outside of our village until the day, suddenly my aai got fainted.. and next day my aai decided to move here... leaving all the things I loved behind.
Here in this mansion, there is each and every facilities, but no one to talk to in neighbourhood, I have decided that after my aai's treatment we will move to my village. I can't live in here.
Oh my aai, I get up with jolt, hurriedly wind up the colours and paint brushes, shut the door of my art room, as I reach to the corridor, I glance at the setting sun and it moist my eyes remembering how me with my aai used to watch it until it disappears below the horizon.
With heavy legs I reach to the stairs and step it down thinking about past few months.
I don't know nothing about my past, what has happened to my parents, why am I living with my aai? But sometimes I have really felt that there is something that bothers my aai. Like I was free like a bird in my village but if by any means I went out of the village, she has always sent Abhimanyu with me, she used to insist stubbornly that I cover my whole face with stall and don't talk unnecessarily to strangers.
Sometimes I had a doubt that everyone around me knows something about me but they never mentioned it to me. I was okay with it as far as they loved me like their own daughter, it was their love that I didn't feel even once that I am living without my parents.
When they found out that I am interested in drawing and painting, then they all had tried hard to convince my aai to let me go to a nearby city for the classes.. well should I say my aai was convinced on her conditions...
But thanks to her that today I am a big name on internet, as I have my own website to showcase and sell my artwork.. I am doing online business by my aai's name.. as it was one of her conditions..
As I reach at the ground floor, I call out my maids and inform them. I enter inside my room, tie my long wavy black hairs in a bun without combing them, I don't feel a need to change my long pink kurti and black legging. I grab cellphone, purse and helmet and walk towards our yard, where my second hand scooter is parked.
Yeah, as we moved here, my aai has gifted me scooter saying, "bicycle won't work here...actually I want to buy you a car but you need to learn driving first cause I am not ready to trust any man to keep as a driver so. ..."
I rolled my eyes replying, "no... aai we don't need a car, and one thing I really wanna know that have you won any lottery or what?" My aai asked me back, "no.. dear.. why are you asking me that.." I answered naughtily, "cause you are talking like we have won the one.." to that my aai mysteriously smiled at me and said, "yeah.. you can say so but one day I will buy you a car... I promise you that." I spoke inhaling deeply, "no aai... I like this scooter..."
So I used to practice with it in my yard, well today I am little scared cause I am going to drive this thing on a road.. not just a road but road with full of traffic.. omg.. traffic signals too, I don't know how they work? then I console my self thinking.. when everyone will stop, I will stop too.. so there won't be any problem.
But I really wish that this scooter has a petrol in its tank and it gets started.. as I am about to get on it, I remember very important thing that I don't know the way to the hospital so again I take out my cellphone, search for the map to the hospital and as I am very good at mugging things up, I mug up the whole map, especially the points where I have to take turns.
I put my cellphone back in to the purse, keep it at the leg space then get on to it.. as I push the self switch, after making screeching noise..chrrr... chrrr...chrrr.. for a while, finally it gets started.. I drive it out of my house with butterflies in my stomach...
Of course the day we entered in this city, my aai became unusually very strict, she never let me go outside of this place, not even in the near by garden.. so in this city the only thing I know is the big mansion I live in..
And that's why I am tensed today cause what can be reason that she wants to see me in the hospital? otherwise she never let me do that, she has strictly refused to it, she has taken one of our maids with her but didn't allow me to go with her..
Really my life has been mystery to myself, cause my aai was not ready to tell me a word, I have tried thousand of times but not succeeded even once, then I gave up thinking one day I will know...
And for me my aai was not less than my mom, like a mother she has taken care of me every way possible, I have never seen my mom, but I am sure she must have been as loving as my aai, sometimes I asked her too that can I call you mom? but she refused to it smiling with pain her in eyes.
I am sure she was in pain too but she has never mentioned it and covered it beneath her beautiful smile, and taught the same thing to me.. she used to tell me, "never show your weak side to the world, they don't care but they will enjoy your suffering so always wear the strong smile no matter whether you are dying from inside.."
Beep.. beep.. beep.. sound of blowing horns wake me up from my deep thoughts as my scooter gets on main road, I slow down my speed and drive at the side of the road.
My wrist watch is showing 7 o'clock, darkness is descending on the ground, there is a flash of cold in the atmosphere.
I am trying to concentrate in driving but my past is hovering over me, today I am god damn frightened that what will happen to me if my aai......, oh no.. I don't want to think about it, my aai will be alright...
Suddenly a loud horn tearing my eardrums is heard, waking me up from my thoughts as I come back to my senses, I see that I am in the middle of the road and a speeding black Mercedes car is approaching me..
Oh god what will I do?, it's like time has stopped, I ain't able to think anything, the only thing comes to my mind is to save my self and for that without delay I jump from the scooter and thank god I have done that cause next moment all I hear is a loud noise of clashing, At the same time that car pulls up with loud screeching noise, the wheels literally rub along with the roads in a way that it creates small cloud of dust around and it makes me cough.
I am not able to think anything properly cause as I have jumped my legs hurt badly, I feel a sharp pain that my head starts spinning, I feel that I am gonna faint so with trembling hands I remove my helmet and try to breathe deeply but because of pain my breathing turns to sobs.
I try to clear the dust with a wave of my hand that car's front door opens and a man in black suit comes out of it. He is hurriedly approaching me I have to squint cause with all the haziness I am not able to look at his face clearly and my heart starts beating fast cause a stranger is coming towards me and suddenly I get conscious about my self, that my face is not covered, crowd of people has gathered around me. They are mumbling something..
oh no..what if my aai will know, she will make sure to put a lock on my door next time.. and never ever let me out of that house, if I have been always this careless.
I hurriedly try to wear a helmet but I think, I will look like a fool so I just leave that idea... at the same time that man reaches to me, asking me in a very humble voice, "miss are you alright?" Well It is first time in a while I am listening to a male voice, so I am just overwhelmed that someone is talking to me. In reply all I can do is nod my head to say 'yes..'
He offers me a water bottle, to that I nod my head to say no.. then he utters worried, "I am sorry about your scooter.." still the crowd around me is mumbling something, like, "poor girl..." "is she alright..?"...
And with a shock I shout loudly, "what about my scooter..? By listening to my voice people around me move aside to show me my scooter, poor thing.... lying broken on the road like a dead man, with scattered parts around..
Oh god I forget my pain for a moment and unwillingly words come out from my mouth, "no.. this was the only vehicle I have had.." to my surprise that man replies humbly, "don't worry I'll replace with a new one.."
To his kind words my head got lifted unexpectedly to look at him precisely.. he is a good looking man with a kind smile on his lips.. like a hero in the movies.. he kneels down to my level, extends his hand to help me getting up, but I can't hold his hand so I utter, "I'll try myself.. thanks.." and he smiles saying, "okay.." but at the next moment my body pain comes back and I feel the spots where I got injured.. so I, with the support of my hands try to get up.. there is a killing pain in my knees and ankles but I suppress it by biting my lower lip..
And that man inform the crowd that I am fine so the crowd scatters, I feel a fresh air on my body as the people go away.. and that man slowly comes very much closer to check on me but before he can speak anything...
Again the back door of his car gets open and another man in navy suit steps out.. he stands resting his hand on a car door, I observe, his face is not looking as kind as the first one's, he looks annoyed and angry, he has a bluetooth in his ear. He is sharply looking at the first man.. "what are you doing?. Come on get inside.. " He lashes out at this kind man.
To that the first man turns his head with somewhat annoyance in his eyes, "but she is hurt.. and.." but that second man interrupts him angrily, "oh c'mon.. just give her some money.. she is doing this for money only.. quickly get rid of her.. you know I don't have a time for these silly things...." and he waits there for the reply, I am observing at that piece of shit with anger in my eyes.
His words hurt me.. I mean what on earth he knows about me..? nothing then how can he judge me that easily.? If it would have been my village then I would have showed him that who am I?
But this is a new place for me so still I am afraid to raise my voice against strangers and I want to see my aai so I annoyingly say to the first man, "hey. It's okay.. I don't need your help okay...you just go.. I am fine.. really!!"
And that man observes me twitching his lips then goes to the another man... and I take a glance to my scooter, my eyes get moist as it was my aai's gift for me.. what a tragedy her gift leaves me the day, I needed it the most..
I gently caress my palm to the spots where I feel pain and I come to know that some of them are bleeding but I have to go to the hospital too, what will I do?
I forgot the way again..and where is my cellphone..? It was in my purse.. oh god where is my purse? I have had kept it in my scooter so I walk as fast as I can with my limp legs to my scooter to search for my purse and I see it is there but crushed under my scooter.
As I am about to lift it that again that first man hurriedly approaches me and before I can say anything, I see that the black Mercedes passes quickly near by us. Oh so that arrogant bossy man has left this person here.
And the first man drags my attention to him by saying, "you just leave your scooter here.. I'll take care of that and tell me where do you want to go.. I'll drop you there."
He is really nice or he is just being nice but why? Does he know me? What if he has a bad intentions.. I remind myself my aai's words, "no one in this world is good without their selfishness,...so trust no one.."
So I instantly reply, "no.. I'll take care of that.. and I'll go by myself..so thank you so much and you can go now.."
To that he surprisingly utters, "really.. I think you are hurt.. so let me help you..!"
And after keenly observing my body language he again adds slowly, "you don't need to be afraid of me okay.." and without waiting for my answer he calls to someone then and he lifts my scooter or I can say scrape of it and with the help of other men he drags it to the side of the road and I see my purse, I hurriedly take it to look for my phone but alas it is broken too.
Time is passing by and at this time there is no any taxi around, how will I reach to the hospital?
My only last hope is the person talking to someone on the phone, with heavy legs I move towards him saying in a very much gentle tone, "excuse me.. actually I am in a hurry, my phone is broken so can you please call a cab for me.."
He is looking at me with naughty smirk on his lips.. like I am an alien, "you must be new in the city.. but you know what, I have already called a cab for you so.."
And he points towards the approaching cab, I slowly say, "thank you so much.." I am about to turn that he instantly asks, "by the way..what's your good name and where are you living.. actually I am gonna need your address to deliver the scooter.."
I observe him with wide eyes cause why on earth he wants to buy me a scooter, fault was mine though I slowly say, "no need to do that.. I don't need a scooter anyway so.. and tell that friend of yours that I ain't doing it for money..." and without listening to him I get in the cab, inform the driver to take me to the city hospital.
As the cab starts, I last time glance at the scrape of my scooter with heavy heart. But I quickly look away as I found that the man is observing me.
Around half an hour later I step out of the cab, look at the big building in front of my eyes, with hammering heart I step inside, I literally don't have any idea where to go, of course this is the first time I am visiting the hospital.
As I enter in a big lobby, I see, at this time too, there is so much hustling and bustling.
I found some people are in white apron, some are in pink and some are in blue apron, in addition to that visitors like me too.
After around five minutes looking here and there I see reception area, so I move my legs towards it to ask the girl sitting there, she is busy in phone, as she ends the call I ask, "I want to meet my aai.." she looks at me, then again dial to someone saying, "the girl.. she is here.." and informs me to wait, pointing towards the chairs.
As I try to sit, my knees hurt again reminding me of that accident, I am busy thinking about it that a nurse in pink lab coat approaches me saying, "come along"
I slowly get up and follow her to the lift, she presses no 7. As the door gets closed she keenly observes me and I get busy in thinking, ingoring her stare, until the 'ting' noise of the lift wakes me up. As the door opens, nurse steps out followed by me.
It is a long silent corridor, so quiet that I can hear my own footsteps.. after walking long way from the lift, finally we reach to the last room where my aai lies.
But what surprised me the most is, two men are standing outside the door, they are in black suits, with sunglasses on and bluetooth in their ears.
Who on earth wear sunglasses at night? They seem suspicious, but why do doctors allow these kind of people inside the hospital? what are they doing at my aai's room?
I am busy sharply observing them, that the nurse pushes the door, I just dash inside to look at my aai.
But as I get in, I see my aai is sitting on a bed, and besides the bed, a man is sitting on a chair, I don't know him as I have never seen him before.
Glancing at me, my aai utters enthusiastically well in a weak voice, "oh.. please come dear..." I try to keep a smile on my lips and go to her, she hugs me affectionately that my eyes get moist. I ask, "how have you been aai?"
My aai is busy looking at that man, that man speaks with admiration, "she is just like you..." I observe that man, he looks like he is in his late forties, still with a handsome face, slim and fit body. He is wearing glasses but his eyes looks sad as if he was crying before I have entered. I notice that he is observing me with admiration.
My aai clears her throat and slowly speaks, "look.. I know whatever I am gonna say to you is not appropriate for today, but I don't have much time left now.. " I wanted to interrupt her but she nod her head so I let her speak, " dear.. I hope that you will forgive him, forgive me for whatever we had done to you, but believe me there was no other way.."
I ask, "what did you do aai?" My aai closes her eyes, inhale deeply and answers with the closed eyes, "dear.. meet your dad.. Vishesh and me .. I am your mom.. Grishma.."
Well I am looking at her, standing still, but my mind is busy thinking what has she just said? She opens her eyes and addresses to that man, "Vishesh from today onwards I give our daughter in your hands...."
For a moment we three are looking at each other, everyone is busy in their thoughts, it is so silent that we can hear our heartbeats in our ears.
After a short pause that man utters, "Tulika... l missed you so much my dear..."
Yeah.. it's me.. Tulika.. this is gonna be my story.....
So.. hi my lovelies.. how have you been all.?
I literally don't have any idea about your expectations from me but believe me I am trying my best to give you something different.. well I don't know how will you react to it..? but I am really hoping that you will like this story...🤞🤞
'¤¤¤¤¤¤' is to distinguish between present and past
You are free to give me your feedbacks as it will help me to bring the best out of me...🤗