Feelings are complicated, cause they can't let you be practical.. I have always thought that Nomaan is not my type of guy, and we are not supposed to end up together but today my heart is saying me to rethink everything about him as it is totally melted by Nomaan's venture.
And if today situation would have been in my favour then my only intense desire is to squeeze him tightly in my arms, closing my eyes just to feel his warmness, to say the things I have never said to him before, to get lost in his embrace forgetting all my pains and worries.
But alas! Still something is there which is holding me back to do so. And suppressing all my impulses all I can utter is, "thanks..." but he chuckles, "thanks...? Why....? For me family comes first.. and any conference can't be more important than dad so don't say thanks.. ever.. huh?"
My heart explodes by his solicitude, how caring he is!! How responsible he is!! How on earth I have had a totally wrong impression of a person having this beautiful heart??!!
His face is gleaming looking into my eyes. but today I am more mesmorized by his inner charm than his captivating outer self.
And the door opens, we dash to the doctor, he looks relieved, "it was just pacemaker malfunction.. your dad will be totally fine.."
I heave a sigh of relief, still we have to wait to see my dad, cause doctor wants to change the pacemaker, obviously there is gonna be surgery but atleast my dad will be alright.
As we sit in a waiting area, Nomaan hands me water bottle, I drink down half of it in one sip. Nomaan gets busy informing at home about my dad and I can't stop myself from looking at him astonished.
As he sits beside me I ask in a low voice, "Nomaan..what about your project..??" he grabs my hand gently as he speaks, "don't worry about it, I think they will understand the situation and if not then it's okay I am not interested to do business with them.. but I don't think that situation will come as I am sure Viansh will manage it.. so you just chill okay...you know na...? I don't like it when my wifey gets tensed...." and chuckles joyously.
I look down to hide my blushing cheeks and ask, "so you trust Viansh so much. Right..!!?" His face gleams with proud, "more than myself.."
They share a great bond and I am happy for it.
Within half an hour dad and gran join us, dad scolds Nomaan for not informing him earlier. Thank god at the same time doctor informs about my dad's successful surgery and we all dash to see him.
My dad got discharged at the evening, Nomaan insists Rishi dad and gran to go back home, as he is accompanying me at my place.
I am amazed by his behaviour as he is completely taking care of my dad even his food and medicines and at night he decides to sleep with my dad.
As I throw myself on my bed, my mind is totally occupied by Nomaan despite my dad's health.. Is it bad? Am I bad?
'No.. it is not bad as you are in love..' I hear my inner voice. My heart starts pounding just thinking about the thing 'LOVE'. Is it possible between us?
I grab my cell phone and enter the question in browser, 'what happens to you when you fall in love?' And my eyes got widened with the answer I have got.. cause it displayed euphoria, attachment and security, constant thoughts, willingness to sacrifice, less stress... oh my goodness..!! these are the things I am feeling right now.. I stupidly smile to myself that I hear, " haven't you slept yet?"
Is it possible that Nomaan is in the same state cause... yeah it's him standing at the door, looking at me with questioning eyes. I scratch my head in embarrassment saying, "no.. I am just.." but he joins me on bed, meeting my eyes, "don't worry.. dad's gonna be fine.. okay?"
Oh god how to ask him, what about me? He studies my face, perhaps he is confused too. And before he comes up to any conclusions I clear my throat, "you should take some rest now.. " He nods with smile, "hmm.." he gets up still gazing down at me with an expression that raises waves of excitement and pleasure in my body, I swiftly look away.
"Good night Nomaan" I greet him with sinking heart, as I don't want him to leave. "Good night.." he wishes me back and leaves.
Next day morning doctor visits us to check my dad, he is satisfied the way my dad is recovering though Nomaan wants me to stay here for some days with him, as dad refused to come at our place.
and I am glad for that cause I want to take care of my dad for whatever time I have got. But it's only after two days my dad states, "Tuli.. you should go to your home now. I am fine and as Brijesh has returned he can take care of me, though if anything will happen then I will call you."
I try to argue with him, "but dad.." my dad interrupts, "Tuli.. you have your in-laws to take care of and I am good now... you know that right?" And he stubbornly insists me to call Nomaan.
So I hesitantly call him, he receives enthusiastically, "oh.. hi.. good morning gorgeous..."
"hi.. Nomaan.. umm dad wants you to pick me up tonight.." I hesitantly informed suppressing my excitement.
He chuckles, "so.. dad wants that.. but not you?" I annoyingly roll my eyes. That he adds, "how is he now?" I reply, "he is good.." "okay then meet you in a while..bye..." he hangs up.
At night, after dinner we get up to leave, my dad assures me that he is fine though I am worried, I really think that this is the age when people need their partners as an emotional supporter. It's a tragedy that my parents couldn't live happily together. It's killing me that dad is all alone.
I am in my deep thoughts that Nomaan utters, "don't worry about dad, he is a strong man.." I just nod, trying to fighting back my tears, "hmmm.. but if mom would have been here then dad wouldn't been so alone.." I pause then add with a sigh, " I miss my mom.."
"Hey you don't know much about this city..do you?" He asks to change the topic. I shake my head, still in my miserable thoughts.
Then he takes his car to another road, I am not in a mood to ask him, so I sit silently until he pulls up his car near a small hillside garden.
He opens the door for me, grabs my hand and accompanies me to the garden chair on top.
As we sit there, my eyes got widened with amazement as I can see the whole city dazzling with lights.
He smiles, "like it.. ?..feeling relaxed right?" I answer, "it's beautiful..." he states, "I used to come here whenever I miss my mom..." I turn my head with jolt. He adds, "yeah.. I miss her too.." I utter sadly, "I am sorry.."
He adds, "You know Tulika, life and death are not in our hands, yeah, their space can't be filled but it doesn't mean that we have to stuck at their memories, we have to cherish whatever time we have. Feel mom's presence in your heart, you will find her there smiling at you.. just close your eyes and breathe..."
As I close my eyes the peacefulness quietness of the place along with Nomaan's words calm me down. Though I sit quietly staring at the starry sky, I observe Nomaan with a side glance and his eyes are on me. It's just me and Nomaan in this romantic solitude. Is he thinking about me? I wish, I can read his mind.
And tring.. tring.. his cellphone rings..
He annoyingly receives, "hey..dad...we are on our way.."
As we get up, he again grabs my hand to that I ask with smile, "why do you like to hold my hand that much?"
He chuckles merrily, "there are two main reasons; first it has been always fascinating for me cause I have gotten very less chance to hold someone's hand.. and second thing is, it shows to the world that you are mine..." he winks naughtily.
And to his last word my heart skips a beat that I belong to him, and my heart gives me signal that he too is falling for me like I do!!!
At the same time I felt sorry for him that he might have been feeling lonely from inside.
As we get inside his car, I didn't even know when we got home cause we talk about our dads and their habits well some of them are weird too, oh god after so many days I have talked these much and that to with Nomaan.
At home I greet dad and Gran. Gran makes me sit besides her, she lovingly smiles and instructs, "Tulika tomorrow will be karwa chauth, you know about that right?"
I nod my head, "yeah.. somewhat.." gran chuckles, "hmm.. married women observe fast for safety and longetivity of their husbands. At morning before sunrise you can eat 'sargi' but after sunrise you are not supposed to eat or even drink water until moonrise, that too after seeing Nomaan"
Nomaan interrupts, "oh c'mon gran, I don't want Tulika to keep fast for me...you know my schedule.." but gran strictly informs, "change the schedule.. afterall you are married man, be responsible for your wife too...right Tuli?" she smiles at me.
I nod with smile, "yeah.. gran. It sounds cool.. I am ready..." gran pats my shoulder, "that's my girl, now go and get some rest..." Nomaan and dad are just watching us with dumb face..!!
But as we enter inside our room Nomaan is mad at me, "c'mon Tulika this is 21st century, you don't have to keep fast and all.. that too without even drinking water."
I reply, "but why are you mad, it's me, who will observe fast, you will be able to eat na..? I like to be part of our tradition and culture..as I have always been fascinated by it.."
He rolls his eyes, "you are not getting it, I don't like it...... when..." he pauses then speaks changing the topic, "you are not keeping fast...that's an order..."
I reply, "I will do it, whether you like it or not... now good night." And after getting refreshed I lie down on bed. He too angrily jumps on a bed besides me.
At morning when I open my eyes, I find his side of bed is empty, I think Nomaan might be in bathroom but it is empty too, I shrug thinking he might have gone for jogging, I get busy to complete my routine.
As per gran's instructions I am gonna wear red banarasi silk saree today, so I call out Vidita to help me, I must admit I am not good at wearing saree by myself.
Vidita hurriedly enters with smile, she helps me in saree and in hairstyle too as she is doing course in beautician. She is too much of a talker, always eager to tell me everything.
She tells me about other maids, that they all adore me so much. They are curious to know me.
To that I say, "I will talk to gran for our get together.. so that you will know about me and vice a versa."
I look at the clock and annoyingly mumble to myself, "where is this Nomaan now..?" But Vidita informs, "you don't know..? Nomaan sir left early in the morning.. well he was wearing a suit so I think he has gone to his office.."
I twitch my lips, "what..? office at 6:30am, I can't believe that.." I want to call him, that gran calls out my name so me and Vidita leave our room, gran regards me without blinking and utters, "bless you my child.."
Some maids too join us as we are heading to a temple as this is my first karwa chauth, gran wants it to be perfect.
At temple I pray for our families' well being then Panditji tells us a story of Karwa chauth, listening to the story all I think about is, Nomaan. I miss him.
After completing the 'pooja', as I step down the temple stairs, gran with other maids start walking towards the exit gate and I get busy looking wonderful art workmanship of the temple with bewilderment.
Suddenly I hear, "hi..." as I lift my eyes, my jaw drops to the ground in aghast cause it is the boy I met last week, of course I can't forget his face because of that filthy smile he gave me last time... but what is he doing here?, is he following me? I furrow my brows and gulp my saliva down to my throat.
But I try to act normal "yes.." he chuckles, "don't you remember me?" I shake my head, "No.. have we met before?" Of course I am scared to death but I can't let him know that.
He shrugs, "you should have remembered my face..." but before I can ask him, "who are you?" I hear gran's voice, "Tulika.. what took you so long?" I turn around to look at her, "yeah.. I am coming...."
And as I turn my head to look for that boy, 'poof' he is vanished.. nowhere to be seen.
Now I really think that I should inform someone about him, I try to recall his face. So that I can draw it and show it to Nomaan. I think I should inform my dad but thinking about his health, I drop that idea.
We get back to our place, I try to call Nomaan but his phone is switched off, of course I am somewhat scared but at the same time Isha calls me and cheers my mood up with her silly chats.
Gran spends whole day with us, she arranges a small get together. We play funny games too. At evening she takes care that we get busy in making rangoli, preparing flower garlands, decorating our terrace.
I am enjoying every bit of it, then my cellphone rings.. it's Nomaan, I receive it somewhat excited and somewhat annoyed, "hey.. why did you leave early in the morning? What kind of work are you doing?"
he answers, "sorry dear.. It was important VC.. actually it was with Japanese company so I have to work according to their time zone na..?" he chuckles then he adds, "actually I have called to inform you that I have to go to Mumbai today, it's kinda urgent, I will be back tomorrow.."
"What??.. but then what about my 'vrat'..?" I ask annoyingly. He sighs, "I have told you not to keep it.. now it's your fault.." I hang up the phone with disappointment.
My whole mood of fast is gone, he is so careless. Gran reads my face, "what happened to you, why does my moon gets eclipsed..?" I chuckle to her comment then tell her about the call.
gran smiles, "oh.. dear.. it's totally fine.. you know, in exception cases you can use your husband's photo and break the fast.. so don't worry, I am sure it must be really urgent so we can't stop him na..?."
Well I am not convinced but I fake a smile, "okay.. gran..." I try to occupy my mind in each and every preparations but I am feeling low thinking Nomaan won't be here with me..
At night we all gather on terrace to look for moon, as the moon appears all our maids worship it and their husbands help them to break the fast offering water, I am just sitting their, I have decided I will break my fast tomorrow. When he will be back.
As they all leave, gran approaches me but I refuse, "no gran.. I don't want to use his photo, this is my first karwa chauth, how could he do this to me?I hate him.. I hate him so much.."
It is the whole day's fast or I don't know what? but my eyes got moistened, it is not a big deal though it is hurting me the way he is ignoring me for his work.
"oh.. so whole day you kept a fast for me and now you hate me..." startled I turn my head, my heart explodes with joy cause it's Nomaan.. he approaches us and addresses to gran,"see..Gran, I have told you na.. this 'vrat' doesn't do anything..."
Gran rolls her eyes, "both of you have lost your minds.." she sighs, "these children...!!!... okay Tulika as your wish is granted, complete the 'pooja' and come down stairs, I am arranging dinner for both of you.."
As gran leaves, I punch him on his chest and 'ouch' scream comes out of my mouth cause it hurt my fingers badly, he chuckles, "don't tell anyone that you know self defence.."
"Oh.. so you remember..!!" I ask recalling that night. He answers, "never forgot.." I roll my eyes, pick the seive up, view the moon through it, praying for Nomaan then look at Nomaan's face, he looks tired.
He offers me water to drink, after all day's thirst, I chug down the whole glass. Then I ask, "why did you lie to me?" He answers,"I didn't lie.. I just delayed my flight because of you, the way you cut my call.."
I smile, "so.." he shrugs, "so I am leaving in two hours.." I lower my eyes, "I am sorry.."
He pouts, "oh.. my wifey.. by the way looking beautiful in red saree..." "thank you.." I say with embarrassment.
That I hear gran's voice, "Tuli.. have you done your 'pooja'..? are you not hungry?" We hurriedly step down the stairs. My eyes got widened looking at the dining table, so many delicacies.
They all leave the room, well, I think to give us privacy. First time I eat by Nomaan's hand, my heart is dancing inside my ribcage... after savouring every last piece of served delicacies, as I look up, I feel his piercing gaze upon me.
And suddenly I remember that boy so I try to tell him, "Nomaan actually there is something I want to tell you..." Nomaan raises his brows, "hmm.. what's that?"
And his phone rings, he glances at the screen, "it's Viansh.. he must be at our doorstep, I should get going..." "okay.." I say sipping water.., he receives, "hey Viansh you just wait I'll be there in five minutes.." he gets up, cups my face in his hands, "hey.. we'll talk tomorrow okay.. " I smile, "okay.. you just take care.." he waves bye and turn around, I steadily gaze at his back as long as I can, then get busy in cleaning the table.
Whole night I ain't able to sleep thinking, "who can be that guy?.. what does he want from me?"
THIRD PERSON'S POV
All the way to the air port, Nomaan's face is beaming with blushing smile, Viansh teases him, "I can feel blissful, love like vibes.." Nomaan chuckles thinking I am waiting for the day when her heart will beat for me just like mine. But only if he has sensed the danger impending on them...!!
Far away from Pune, in a hotel room, the boy is talking to his uncle on a phone, "I failed this time uncle.." the man on another side scolds him, "You are useless, I have raised you in vain, this is second time, I am listening about your failure, what are you afraid of? she is just a girl.. helpless.."
The boy is annoyed, "you want to kill her then why don't you shoot her? Why do you want me to bring her to you? I am tired of your silly games, I want to live my life and this is last time I am doing as you have said.. okay??"
But the person on another side trembles with anger and lashes out, "don't forget I have given you the life you are living today..!! And remember that I don't want to give her quick death, I want to see pain in her eyes, I want to listen to her whimpers.. so don't question my orders and bring her to me.. okay..?"
The boy utters annoyingly, "Every time she has been accompanied by her family members, and you don't want me to meddle with her family.. then what will I do?"
The man snarls with anger, "it's because of her husband... yeah.. I doubt he is powerful man, we have to move him away from her, that bloody Vishesh has played very smart game,.. you do one thing, Search everything about her husband.. focus on that man, if he is gone then the pigeon will be in our cage.. ha ha ha..."
that man's laughter sends chills down that boy's spine as he shivers with fears. After hanging up, he dials to someone, "do one thing.. forget the girl, our next target is her husband, I want every detail about him.. got it..? every detail.. and that too quickly.."
Then he jumps on a bed mumbling, "I have to work with some strategies that, uncle will proudly hug me saying, "now.. I can die in peace as you have taken my revenge.." then he smiles deceitfully to himself....!!