I am stunned by his words.. it's not possible that he have had eavesdropped me and Abhimanyu talking, so how on earth he knows? As I am about to watch recording, he smiles as if he can see me, "don't try to search them in recordings, they are smart enough..."
Next moment I snap open the gate, cross my hands on my chest, narrow my eyes to him saying, "explain.." but he is not that easy.
He asks smiling deceitfully, "may I come in?"
I scratch my head in annoyance but give up and let him in.
He happily enters uttering, "thanks.. " and he behaves like this is his home.. he directly enters in my hall and comfortably sits on a couch..
I with wide eyes follow him, sit opposite to him, look at him with anger in my eyes and sigh, "okay.. I think we need proper introduction.. so as you know everything about me. May I know something more..about you?"
He naughtily grins uttering, "gladly.. " then he clears his throat, "my self Viansh Ahuja.. son of Mehul Ahuja.. I am senior manager at Arora group of companies, its owner is like brother to me and as I take care of legal and illegal issues of the company.." I furrow at him, he rolls his eyes, "I will explain that part later.. now where was I..? yeah.. illegal issues so.. I know some bad people too, and one of them I have seen around your home today, so I am doubtful.."
I can tell from his eyes that he is telling me the truth so I ask, "what about those bad men?"
He answers thinking deeply, " when I was returning back to my place.. I saw two men are heading towards your place.. I recognised one of them.. so I turned back to follow them as they shouldn't be here in this area.. and guess what?? they stopped in front of your gate..
I ask with wide eyes, "then?" He folds his hands on his chest, "then they looked around, then scanned your whole place for two - three times then called to someone."
And then went away, I wanted to tell you at that time but then I saw them coming back so I left before they can recognise me.
Though I wanted to check whether you are okay or not so I called you but I have messed it up but now you know the truth." He adds with smile.
Oh gosh my dad was right about everything, I am really scared now, who can be those men?, why were they looking for me? My heart is hammering inside my ribcage.
So I look at Viansh and ask, "and?"
To that he simply answers with a smile, "and you are beautiful.."
I am like, "what?" He answers, "seriously.. I mean this is not a three hours film.. I told you what I saw, now what? He shrugs in annoyance.
But I am shocked and scared from inside, that what is my dad concealing from me? Well I pretend to be strong, but I am broken from inside since the day I have lost my mom.. I have lost my everything.
Now I have to face my invisible enemies alone.. Viansh is observing me like he wants to read whatever is going through in my mind.
Then he gets up saying, "okay.. I have warned you.. so just be careful and now I have to leave as I have to take my lunch.. so bye."
But I try to restrain him, "wait.. just take your cellphone back, I already have one..so.. and I take the phone out and put in his hands." He shrugs, "hey you can keep it.. so that we can talk.." he winks naughtily. I grin, "no.. thanks..."
Then I ask him hesitantly, "hey.. Viansh.. can I ask you for a favour?" He nods with a big smile on his lips, "of course.. anytime."
So I add in a low voice, "ummm.. as you have said you know the man who was at my place, can you ask him what was he doing here and for whom?"
Well I am scared from inside, I don't know this Viansh either but at least he knows that I am in danger so I have to trust him and he has said that he has contacts with these people then I have a chance to unveil my past and I know that I am not able to do that by myself.
My dad is not here with me, my friends are away from me.. I don't know anyone here.. I just can't trust my maids.. I don't think they know much about us..
Viansh twitches his lips saying, "you know what? you don't have to ask me for that.. I have already told my men to follow him.. so you will have your answers within a day or two."
I don't know why but a smile appears on my lips, I thank him gladly. He is just looking at me with I can say admiration in his eyes.
Which made me nervous so I lower my eyes, glance at the floor thinking what is happening to me? He clears his throat and utters, "okay.. so may I take your leave now.. I am so hungry."
I nod in agreement, but as he is about to step out I stop him saying, "hey.. Viansh.. you know what?.. I can cook for you.. if you wish so.."
He turns his head astonished, "really???"
I twitch my lips, shrugging, "to thank you for everything." And he hurriedly comes back saying, "I would love to dine with you."
I know I might sound stupid but he is the only person I have had known in this city, I can say he has helped me since the day I've met him, so I think atleast I can cook for him to return the favour.
If I want to survive here, then I must trust people around me.. and as much as I know about people, he looks good man with manners. So I am ready to trust him anyway.
I ask, "so what would you like to eat?" He answers thinking, "ummm.. whatever you are best at.. but please it doesn't mean instant noodles.. ugh.. I don't like them now."
I chuckle, "okay.." and move to the kitchen, he follows me saying, "hey.. you know what? I am great at cutting vegetables so let me help you with that." I shrug, "I have my maids for that.. so you just relax and watch TV.."
But now I know he is so stubborn so he follows me to the kitchen.
As I open the fridge I spot the bag of frozen paneer so I decide to make 'paneer butter masala' with chapatti.
During cooking I came to know that Viansh's family lives in a village taking care of his big farm, he is only son, he lives in this city for more than ten years, including years of his education of course. But one thing I noticed, whenever he got the chance he never misses to mention his chief.. for whom he is working.
He explains that he has to resort rogue people to recover the withheld payment for the company..
He is most talkative person I have met, he is chatting with my maids as if he knows them for years.. but he is quite a cheerful fellow!!!
"So lunch is ready.." I say wiping my forehead and set the table, arrange the dishes, he sits opposite to me, the way my mom used to sit.. it makes my lips smile...
When I come back to my senses I see Viansh is waiting for me to start, as he puts one bite in his mouth he just bounces with pleasure, "unbelievable.. you are really a good cook.. Tulika"
It feels so good when someone happily eats the food you've cooked, his satisfaction was the only reason that I have eaten to my heart's content after almost eight months.
When he got to know about my dad, his only question was, "who on earth leaves his daughter alone? He must be insane.." but I assure him that he has to deal with his business and he will join me in a very short time. I have told about him my mom and my village and friends.. he is listening to me with bewilderment, "you know Tulika, your life is like a movie..." I nod, "the difference is movies have an end but I don't see end of my misery." He chuckles changing the topic, "hey.. I want to see your art work.."
I happily lead him to my art room, he is astonished, he suggests me to open drawing classes, I must say it's good idea, but I have to ask to my dad.
As he is about to leave he extends his hand and ask, "so.. friends..?" I swallow a lump in my throat and hesitantly grab his hand to shake, "yeah.. friends..."
As he reaches at my gate, he turns around with jerk, "hey.. actually I will need your number to contact you, you know to inform you about those men...." I roll my eyes, "okay.. save it..." as he leaves, I first time stand in front of mirror, perceive myself recalling his words "you are beautiful " Really am I? My face is blushing.
My whole day passes cheerfully except for the thought of being watched, at evening I am busy with my drawings that my cellphone rings, "oh wow it's my dad"
As I receive my dad calmly asks, "who was that boy who spent almost half of the day at our house?"
I am stunned and out of words at the same time, how on earth my dad knows? and what to tell him?
But to my surprise my dad utters, "Tuli.. I am sorry for interrupting in your privacy but I am worried about you?"
After a while he clears his throat and clarifies, "Tulika.. I know what are you going through right now? It is not easy to live alone and believe me I am trying my best to come to you but until then, I have kept some men to watch over you.. though you should take care, I am not denying you to meet anyone but don't trust everyone, and don't tell them anything about your life.. not even mention your mom.. okay..?"
I ask, "so.. those men were sent by you? Omg dad I was so scared" He asks with surprise, "do you know about them?" I nod in reply and then explain everything about my accident and Viansh...and the new scooter too.
Obviously my dad didn't like that I have accepted the scooter and told me to return him back but I told him what Viansh had told me, so he agreed unwillingly though..
But about Viansh... to my surprise he is behaving cooler than I expected. if it has been my mom then she might have given me thousands of advices... but my dad doesn't even utter a word..
Then we talk about many things and it's amazing cause I didn't talk to my dad this way before, today I am literally on top of the world thinking how much he cares for me?
At night I go to bed with big smile on my face..
Next day is nothing special. Then my two best friends join me for a week. I travel all over the city with them, we do shopping, eat lots of street food, watch movies, But should I say as per my dad's instructions I always have to cover my face with stall. But I am habituated this way now, so it doesn't bother me much.
The whole week was a fun, that's the reason today I am feeling all alone, well both of them are studying so I can't insist them to stay longer. Again I get busy in my bubble. That my cellphone rings..
A small smile appears on my lips as I read the name on screen.. it's Viansh.. he greets, "thank you... so.. much.." I roll my eyes, "oh.. you don't have to thank me for receiving your call.."
He laughs cheerfully, "hey.. it's not the reason.. actually it's my birthday today.."
"Then I must say happy birthday....!!" I wish him chuckling. He adds, "I have called you to invite you at my party today evening."
"Party... hey Viansh.. I am not party person and it's my dad's order that I can't go to any party so I am really sorry.." I explain him with my heart rate getting faster. he hangs up the phone saying, "okay.."
I heave a sigh of relief.. but within twenty minutes he is at my doorstep.. insisting strongly, "hey you can't say no to me.. there will be all my friends there and I bet no one will ask you anything so just chill okay.."
"And afterall it's my birthday yaar.. can't you fulfil my birthday wish..." he adds pouting.
I should admit.. I am an introvert and meeting unknown people make me panic. But I don't want to make him upset so I agree to go.
As he leaves I call my dad... but he doesn't receive.. I try after every half an hour, but no answer, it makes me worried, I call Abhimanyu and ask him, but he consoles me, "he is a business man, must have been busy in meetings so don't worry okay.."
As the day passes I start panicking thinking about the party, First question is what to wear? As I have never been to party before.. in my village my mom used to cook delicacies on my birthday, we four friends used to enjoy it together.
Oh mom... I miss you so much..!! I call out my maid, "I need to go to saloon..can you help me?"
She enthusiastically nods 'yes'. Returning back almost after two hours, I get busy to get ready.
Well I don't know how much money my mom have had but I am raised like a middle class girl, with limited dresses, limited accessories and limited shoes.
So I select one of my new maroon coloured long tapeta silk O-neck ball gown, tie my long black wavy hairs in textured braided ponytail, accessorised myself with black gem drop earrings, cuff bracelet with black stones, finish my look with black embellished ballet flats.
It's 7:30pm when Viansh calls me doubting, "hey why are you not here?" "Sorry yaar.. I will be there just in fifteen minutes.." I reply walking towards my yard.
As I open my gate, to my astonishment Viansh is waiting for me in his car, he thoroughly observes me greeting, "you know Tulika.. world needs beauty like you.. you look so pure.."
I have heard people admiring my beauty but Viansh is way too forward in complementing... his words literally made me blush.
I sit beside him with my heart hammering inside my rib cage. I try to be confident, "hey.. thank you.. by the way happy birthday.." I give him a perfume I have bought for him..of course I don't wanna give him in front of his other friends."
He starts his car accepting my gift. He looks so happy today. He is wearing black party suit with trousers, looking damn handsome.
He tries to tease me, "hey.. Tulika... I think you forgot your stall to cover your face.." (well now he knows that I don't step out without covering my face.) then laughs merrily. I roll my eyes.
I am nervous right now, cause I don't know any of his friends.. only I can wish that please god.. they all are friendly and good just like Viansh.
We reach at his place just in ten minutes cause he is living two streets away from my place.. Of course his house is very large and beautiful
But I think he is just like me, living in a big house, all alone. He parks his car in garage and directly leads me to the party hall, at the back yard of his house.
As we enter inside the hall, the walls are beautifully decorated with gold and black balloons Garland arch, and golden fringe curtain with happy birthday stickers on it.. One big table is decorated in black, with big cake and many chocolates and pastries on it.
I see that all his friends are there.. well he has so many friends I think. Cause all I am seeing is around 50 people, and all are of our age.
All of them are looking so damn rich and beautiful, whole place is filled with smell of their branded perfumes..
But omg the girls and their dresses, no one.. I notice no one is wearing dress that covers their legs. Yeah.... all the girls are in knee length dresses, shimmer and glittery, mostly black and silver white. Boys are in a suit.
I stand rooted to the door cause I have strong feeling that I won't match with them. I don't belong here.
Viansh gently invites me with a smile.
As they see us coming, all of them gather around Viansh wishing him, hugging him. I am standing behind Viansh, nervous and scared.
But Viansh interrupts all of them and introduces, "hey friends I want you to meet my new neighbour and friend..Tulika.."
I can feel their sharp gaze upon me, I want to be invisible at this time, but I try to fake a smile, greeting, "hi..."
Viansh informs, "you chat with these girls... I will join you in a while. Okay..." and he gets busy in some preparations.
One of the girls asks regarding me from top to bottom, "so where are you from miss Tu...li...ka...?" "I am from Ahire" I reply.
She and some other girls smile satisfactorily, "oh.. Ahire.. I see.." I feel their stares are not friendly. So I excuse myself and sit on empty couch, far from all of them. I see the girls are gossiping looking at me then laugh loudly, but I ignore them.
Viansh starts the music player and dims the lights. All the boys and girls start dancing like there will be no tomorrow. It is like high profile party, with an only outsider yeah that's 'ME' !!
I am in my thoughts that attendant approaches me asking, "do you want anything ma'am..?" He appears so suddenly that he scares a hell out of me. I roll my eyes, "no.. thanks.." as I can smell strong alcohol in the glasses.
Viansh approaches me, sit besides me, He asks eying his friends, "do you wanna dance with me?"
I gently deny, "sorry I don't dance.." he laughs cheerfully, "forgive me.. some of my friends are a**hole.. actually they all are colleague friends.. I have only one best friend... but I don't know what took him so long? "
I nervously smile, as he gives me glass with drink in it saying, "a soft drink for you.." I doubtfully grab a glass and sip out of it.. well thanks to him it's really soft drink.
I notice from the corner of my eyes that Viansh is perceiving me but suddenly a loud cheer makes us to turn our head, I see someone enters hurriedly, I think of him as one of Viansh friends but I sense girls in the room starts hustling and bustling.
Viansh gets up mumbling cheerfully, "finally he has come. Excuse me yaar..." I sit there observing that new man. I can't see his face as the lights are low.
Viansh invites him, he hugs Viansh, then everyone stops dancing and gather around them, except for me.
I think I should leave this party and thank god at this right time, Abhimanyu calls me. As I receive I hear him saying, "I am at your place, where the hell are you..?" "Oh.. I am at my friend's birthday party.. you wait I'll be there just in ten minutes.." I reply hurriedly.
"It's okay.. you enjoy the party, I have work to do so I will finish that first" he states. "Okay..." I say getting up.
I start walking towards the crowd to inform Viansh, but as I am drawing nearer, I see face of a man, who has just arrived. He has a charming personality, he is laughing with Viansh, I observe his beautiful dimples, but the more I look at him, the stronger I feel that I've seen this guy somewhere. I try to recall when?
I am recalling my last eight months, still my eyes are on him, suddenly he moves his eyes to me, for a moment our eyes met. Yes I have seen those eyes before. I am in my deep thoughts, moving towards them.
That out of nowhere one attendant crosses my way to serve drinks to them, before I can stop myself, I hit his back, because of my push the tray falls on the floor and the glasses are broken with scattered drink all over the place..
I am busy looking the floor and repeatedly saying sorry to that attendant.. that suddenly I feel that everyone around me are staring at me with piercing gaze. Music stops, and there is a pin drop silent as if someone is dead.
So I lift my head and then I realise the situation, that I have done a terrible mistake cause that man whom I've recalled moment back as the angry man on the day of my accident, is standing with disgusted face, looking angry and annoyed as the drink spilled over his charcoal black suit!!!