My lips get stretched to give a sarcastic smile, "missed me...??? Who are you..??? Or should I ask, what are you doing here now.. Mr...???"
That man lowers his head, heaving sigh of sorrow and pain. I can observe regret all over his face.
Yeah I am furious and burning with rage.. panting heavily... it is my anger that makes me feel that all my pain which I have got from accident has gone..
That my aai speaks, "Tuli.. behave yourself. This is not the way you talk to your dad.."
I again smile sarcastically, "oh c'mon aai.. please tell me this is some kind of joke.. I know my parents are not alive, infact for me you are both my mom and dad...aai, I don't need this unknown person as my dad.. we were fine alone.. we will be fine in future too.. please tell me this is a lie.. aai.."
I narrow my eyes to scrutinize my aai's face... I don't want to believe her. I am in a great shock, all my life, what I have been hearing from the people, starts swirling in my mind, "poor girl.. doesn't have parents" "I pity her", "how can be a god so cruel", "what can be this girl's mistake?" "What an unlucky girl!!" "What a bad luck for a beautiful girl like her..!!!"
My aai wakes me up uttering with stern face, tears rolling down her face, "mom.. I am your mom..."
No...this can't be true... I hold my temples to calm my mind, both of them are looking at me, perhaps waiting for me to digest whatever my aai has told me.
My aai slowly utters, "Tuli..." I close my eyes in annoyance, as I speak with somewhat anger, "no..no.. aai.. please tell me you are kidding, I have accepted my fate aai, please I am fine with you, I don't need anyone else.."
With this I look at the person, to my surprise he is still observing me with same admiration.
I quickly move my eyes to my aai. She tries to explain annoyingly, "Tuli.. you are not getting it." "What am I not getting aai?" I ask back.
My frustration is taking form of anger, I am feeling like my whole life is a lie.. there was a time when I was dying to know about my parents, I was asking to her repeatedly about them then she shushed me and now at this critical moment she is telling me that she is non other than my mom and a person whom I have never seen before, he is my dad..
I start panicking, I know it's not a right time but the feelings I had suppressed so far, now coming out, and I can't handle it.
That person gets up and as he tries to approach me, I lash out, "don't try to come to me, I don't know you, keep yourself away okay.." he gets back aghast, well I don't care.. !!
My aai slowly approaches me, gently strokes my shoulder and utters, "I can understand your frustration Tuli.. but believe me it was for you my dear, to protect you.. and if circumstances were in my favour then I would have chosen another day to introduce you to ourselves but I don't have much time left my daughter.."
At her last words, I turn around with jerk, hug her tightly saying, "please don't say like that, I won't let you happen anything aai.. " I start crying. I can't think of myself without my aai.
But she whispers in my ear, "please call me 'mom' just for once.." I purse my lips to stop myself sobbing. I say slowly, "I love you..... 'MOM'.." with tears spilling through my eyes. and to that she starts crying too saying, "I love you too my daughter, more than anything.."
I argue, "what would have happened, if you've had told me earlier, you don't know mom. How much I wanted to utter this word.." to that she heaves a sigh, "I know dear.. but I've had my reasons..."
As she releases me, She glances at the man, who is still standing near the bed, she again studies my face as she speaks, "Tuli..will you fulfil my last wish.." I glance at her with horrified face.. she adds, "The person standing there is your dad.., Tuli..he has been through a lot just for us, so...please accept him, he needs you like you need him..." I cast him a sideways glance, notice that his eyes are fixed upon me.
I answer lowering my head, "I'll try mom.."
Of course I have said so.. cause I am worried about my mom right now, I don't want to make her upset.
She satisfactorily smiles saying, "thank you.. now come here my daughter..." Then she rests her head on my shoulder mumbling, "I am sorry my dear, I didn't tell you about your dad earlier, but I was afraid.... afraid that you will insist on meeting him.." I caress her back closing my eyes.., "don't be sorry mom.."
I suddenly feel that she stops moving so I call her out, "mom.. mom..aai.." but she doesn't answer.
Unwillingly I look at that person with worried face, he hurriedly press the bell to call the doctor out, He helps me to put my aai to the bed.
As doctor arrives he announces, "I need to examine her." Two nurses enter with stretcher, and they take her to another room.
We sit in a waiting area, tears are coursing down my cheeks, praying to god that please make my mom okay.
All these years she was with me and I was craving for my mom.. her love, her care, her advises.. oh god how can I be so fool..? that I didn't suspect her for even once that she is the one....
I angrily lean my head on a chair, tears of pain and regret are rolling down my cheeks, suddenly that man approaches me with glass of water, I hesitantly grab it, and take a sip from it.
He starts, "your mom is dying.." I look at him aghast, the glass falls from my hand, he holds my hand saying, "have a courage my girl.."
I snatch back my hand and notice him for a moment, he, without any word, lifts the glass and goes away from me, well I can say, somewhat hurt.
For my mom, atleast she was with me all the time to love me, to care for me, but this person, today out of nowhere, he claims to be my dad, I don't trust him whether he is my dad or not.
But I see him coming back towards me, so I look away angrily. He utters as he sits beside me, "I can understand your anger as I haven't been with you.. but believe me there wasn't a day, that I didn't miss you, I still remember the day you were born, it was happiest day of my life until today.
But Tulika... sometimes life gives you tough options to choose, for me that option was, either live alone or watch you and your mom die.. I choose the first one, in a hope that atleast I will see you one day, I will hug you one day, I will..."
I can't hear his words, as I feel a gulp in my throat and I start sobbing.
I have thousands of questions to ask, but I can't... as I am confused where to start...? he too lets me cry until I feel empty.
That door of examination room opens, we get up and wait for the doctor to come out, as we see the doctor, we both run towards him.
He addresses us, "I have given her necessary medications.."
That person(obviously I am not gonna call him dad..)asks, "can we see her?" But doctor answers tapping on his shoulder, "she is still unconscious so just wait for a while and please come with me I want to have a little discussion with you. "
He leaves glancing at me, I take a sit on a metal chair, wishing that this is my worst dream. I want my old life back. I close my eyes and think about this new turn in my life.
Suddenly that person sits beside me, surprisingly calm but sad. He utters as if he is chewing the words, "Tulika.. your... mom..." he looks away with heaving sigh... I ask..,"what..?
He closes his eyes and adds, "your mom is no more..." my heart skips a beat. I feel like I am dead, cause I am not feeling anything.. not even the surrounding voices. I feel only one thing sliding down and those are my tears.
My whole life passes in front of my eyes and there is only one person, who was always with me, my aai or my mom.. now she is gone, it feels as if your shadow has left you.
I am able to endure any suffering, but loosing the only important person in my life is like loosing a part of my body.. the pain I am feeling right now is thousands of times more than any pain in this world.
At this moment I've become a zero, like lost, as if my existence is meaningless, all I am feeling right now is stiffness in my body, my mind is blank...I don't want to live anymore.. !!
I feel someone vigorously shakes me, when I come back to my senses, I see, that person is screaming, "come back Tulika.... come back..."
For me his words are coming from miles away, hardly audible. I don't want to move, so I close my eyes and sit there blankly, still hoping that whenever I will open my eyes, I will see my mom again.
God, what have I done wrong? Again I feel that person's touch on my hand as he utters, "please my daughter.. have courage and be strong ..."
I remember my mom's beautiful smiling face, as more tears spill through my eyes.. that a nurse's voice interrupts, "both of you can see her"
I get up and run after her like a crazy, wishing that it is my mom's prank.
As I enter inside the room, I see.. she is lying as if she is in a deep sleep, I touch her ice cold hand saying, "hey mom.. please get up now.. mom... mom.." I raise my voice as I start sobbing.. I feel touch of warm hand on my shoulder, as I look back that person is behind me, I don't know what has happened to me that I grab his hand and cry like a small baby..
That person is saying to me something but I can't hear his words.. I just cry and.. cry and.. cry... until I get emotionally numb, then I sit besides my mom like a ghost.. I can sense, they all are discussing something but I ain't able to understand anything.
After a while they come to take my mom, I try to stop them.. screaming, shouting, whining, sobbing, snuffling... yeah I am behaving like a crazy.. stomping my feet in anger saying, "leave my mom.. give her to me.. how dare you to touch her like that.. at this time I am out of control.. being insane and panicking, two nurses are trying to hold me but I am dragging them along with me to go after my mom..
Suddenly I feel a pain of prick on my arm.. as I turn my head, I see that a stupid nurse is injecting something in my vein, but before I can react all I see is darkness in front of my eyes.. last word I can speak is.., "MOM..
When I snap open my eyes, my mind is in chaos, my head is aching. I scan the place with unsteady gaze, as I become aware of it, I get up with jolt to look for my mom.
But there is no sign of anyone, all I feel is dead silence. I don't know how much time I have been asleep, but the clock strikes 1:00am.
Suddenly the door of that room opens, I found Mr. Vishesh(my dad) standing there with red eyes, swollen eyelids, as if whole broken. He addresses me lovingly, "Tulika let's go to home.."
I have so many things to argue with him, but not now, I quietly follow him to the lift. Surprisingly I found those two men again following us.
As we step out of the hospital, Audi is there to pick us up. As I get in, I close my eyes and think about my mom, fighting back my tears.
As we reach at home.. my so called dad follows me hesitantly saying, " Tulika...."
At this time I don't want to discuss, if he can live with me or not.
So I interrupt him, "it's okay.. you can stay here, afterall I am all alone now.." tears course down my cheeks and my words turn to sobs.
I dash to my room, shut the door and cry my eyes out until sleep engulfs me in..
Next day.. my maid wakes me up knocking the door, "didi... your dad is waiting for you.."
I get up rolling my eyes, I have a severe headache and for that I really need a strong tea.
After completing my routine I sit on a dinning chair that Mr. Vishesh joins me, wishing me, "good morning" in a low voice. I just keep silence.
I observe him from corner of my eyes, he looks pale and weak, his eyes look heavy, for a moment I feel sorry for him.
He glances down at the table as he gulps, "Tulika... I want to perform all mourning rituals for your mom... but there is something I am afraid of here so in my opinion we should go to Ahire*(the village I used to live with my mom) "
I bite my lower lip to stop my tears falling, I just can't accept it that my mom is no more.. and in this situation I don't want to spoil my mind arguing with the man I don't know.
My mom trusted him, she was far more smarter than me so I must do as she had said.
Though I argue, "can you please make it clear, cause I am fed up running from that invisible enemy of yours.. And second thing is in Ahire, we don't have our own house, we used to live in our landlord's house.."
He observes me carefully, "see Tulika.. I want to tell you everything but today the important thing is we should leave as early as possible and about the house in Ahire... it belongs to us.. to you actually.. cause I am that landlord..." his lips twitch but sorrow covers his handsome but tired face.
I just observe him with bewilderment, not able to speak anything. I pack my essentials in one bag and at noon we are ready to leave this house. I have decided that I won't come back to this place.. never.
In my village.. he performs all the rituals with teary eyes, of course whole village is in shock.. for me, I don't find even one reason to live, but it is true that when we beg for death, death gives us life to live.
I have passed many days just crying at each and every memory of my mom, thank god my friends and their families are here with me to hold me..
To my surprise they all were aware of the fact about my dad and my mom!!! I think I am the dumbo
Life goes on.... whether we want it to or not...!!!
Slowly slowly I am recovering from the grief of losing my mom, my life is getting back on a track with my dad and my friends.
Yeah... I've accepted him as my dad cause on the day of 'ashes immersion ceremony' of my mom, we both cried a lot hugging each other, as we are all we have now!!!
Then he told me about his time with my mom, their love story, about their marriage, then finally I called him 'dad', then he hugged me happily, "Oh.. Tulika, I missed you so much..."
But he spent very less time with me, as he has his business in Oman and he wants to move it here, but still he has his enemies behind him...
He didn't tell me much about them, just told me, "it is case of fierce rivalry.. but when I'll be back I'll make sure that they won't bother us.... never..." I saw hatred and disgust in his eyes.
I am in my deep sleep that I hear Abhimanyu is calling out my name, knocking my door. I get up with jolt and open the door, asking with sleepy eyes, "what happened?"
He explains panting heavily, "you have to leave this village... they are here"
I roll my eyes, "oh.. c'mon.. Abhi...who is here..?" He explains, "Tuli.. I can't tell you anything right now.. just get in the car.. my mom will send your luggage.. you just leave..." and almost drags me grabbing my hand.
I am still arguing with Abhi that his parents insist me to leave, so I grab my purse and get in the car, Abhi is driving, I keep asking the same question again and again.. but he is not ready to unveil the truth. I annoyingly close my eyes. Thinking about my house in Pune...
The day when my dad was ready to leave, he handed me some papers, it was my mom's will.. only then I found out that the mansion was not rented.. it belongs to my mom, now she gave it to me..
It is the place, where we are heading right now... it is around 5 in the morning when Abhi drops me at my doorstep saying.. Simran and Mrunal will join me just in two to three days, I have to live 2-3 days alone.. of course with maids. He leaves in a hurry, inhaling deeply with worried face.
As I enter in my house, I promise to myself that whoever they are, I will find out about them... I close my eyes and try to get some sleep, as if sleep is my maid, present upon calling.
After struggling for two hours for sleep, I get up defeated, freshen myself, my maids are happy that I am here again.
After tea and breakfast I make myself busy to arrange kitchen..
My maids are busy cleaning the whole house.. as it has been closed for almost eight months. So I told them to start cleaning from the first floor...
I am listing out the things which I have to buy.. that my door bell rings.. my heart beat gets faster cause who on earth can be here at this early morning? Abhi's words swirl back in my mind.." they are searching for you...."
I get up to peek through the spyhole.. and I remember that we have cctv installed, so I sprint to main hall to check my computer screen and to my surprise it's Abhimanyu's car again.
So I almost run to open the door, thinking he might have come here to take me back. As I open it.. he greets me warmly and tell me to open the whole gate so that he can take his car inside.. and I do so..
Inside he explains, "I bought you these... and he opens the back door of his car, the back seat is filled with all the groceries, snacks packets, some spices, vegetables, fruits and so many things..
I am looking at him with wide eyes thinking what would have I done without him..? so I am not alone in this world after all..
He helps my maids to put all the things into my kitchen, I hug him and heartily thank him. He drinks tea and after a while he takes my leave.
I get busy myself to arrange everything Abhi bought.. thinking about my parents.
I wish they have always been with me, I wish ours would have been a normal family, I don't care for money I need my parents but I have lost my mom forever and now I miss my dad....
It is around 10am in the morning when I got free.., my maids again get busy upstairs, as I have washed my hairs so I have kept them open, I sit on a swing with a book of art illustrations, glancing at my gate in between as I am waiting for the milkman... and the door bell rings...
I keep a book aside and open the door without thinking anything.. but my eyes get widened as it is not the milkman... but someone I didn't expected to meet!!!
A/N : 'Ahire' is a real name but other informations regarding that village is imaginary in this story...