Monday, June 20, 2016
Everyone in the room watched on with mixed emotions as Sudhir made his way towards Priya, a look of genuine guilt smothered on his face. He stood in front of Priya with his head hung awaiting a judgment from the only judge whose opinion mattered. “Please, Priya, forgive me beta… I’m so sorry that you had to find out this way. I was only trying to protect you.”
Taken aback by all that which had unfolded before her Priya couldn’t help but respond in a merciless tone “Trying to protect me?” Her voice, although broken, echoed off the walls in the not so tiny living room. The thing that couldn’t have gone unnoticed when she looked up however was the uncertainty in her moist eyes. Was she going to forgive him? Or was this the end of the only father-daughter relationship she had ever known?
“All those years, you lied to me. I trusted you. I gave you the place of my father…” Priya took a few steps back appearing unsteady on her feet. Almost instinctively Sudhir moved forward in an attempt to offer support. “Beta,” He uttered in concern.
“No, please don’t…” Priya immediately halted his kind gesture increasing the physical gap between them. “All these years you kept me in the dark. To protect me?” Sudhir’s subtle nod didn’t go unnoticed by Priya. “I’m just so confused right now.” Priya stated, throwing her hands up in the air. “I can’t forgive you for what has happened? However, you know all too well that I can’t be mad at you either.” In a sudden change of heart, Priya took hesitant steps towards Sudhir. With tears in her eyes, glistening, she grabbed hold of his hand. Her touch startled him, as he looked in her eyes the hurt still dominant. “I hate you.” She saw the effects of her words in his expression as a tear slid down his cheek. The real shock for him and everyone in the room was when Priya softly brushed the tear aside with her hand. “I hate you. That’s what you probably think I would say after hearing all this, hain na Papa?” Sudhir looked on in anticipation. Hope cautiously resurfacing in his heart. “But Papa, I don’t hate you. I would hate myself if I hated you for something that you had no control over. I would hate myself if I hated the man who shrugged aside a luxurious lifestyle to ensure that I was safe. You had it all and you threw it all away for me. I watched you struggle to fit in to the middle class life but you did it with a smile on your face, never once making me feel guilt over the decision that you willingly made for my safety.” Sudhir smiled listening to her words with teary eyes. Dadi and Dada-ji had similar reactions. On the other hand Ram appeared angry. He couldn’t believe his ears. How can someone be so forgiving? Although Sudhir didn’t pull the trigger, his inaction and disregard was the root cause for her father’s death. And instead of punishing him, Priya forgave him? It was beyond him to understand her behavior.
“Beta,” Sudhir spoke with newfound hope in his voice. “You have lifted such a big weight off my heart. How can I ever thank you?”
“Papa, please don’t say that. After all that you have done for me…” Priya stated just as she walked into his fatherly embrace.
Suddenly, it became clear why Priya couldn’t leave her father. How could she just up and leave when her family was struggling financially, literally at the brink of bankruptcy? Recalling their earlier argument Ram recalled his intentionally harsh accusations. It made his heart quiver with remorse. But in his defense, he didn’t know the entire truth. In fact, he had no idea. She had kept him in the dark. “Why didn’t she tell me about all this?” That was the burning question. But in order to get an answer, Ram needed to reach Priya before her flight took off. He cursed, glancing up at the clock, which hung witness to his turmoil. The flight was scheduled to take off in fifteen minutes. He knew this because he was supposed to be onboard sitting next to Priya in first class. Grabbing his jacket Ram rushed down the stairs to the garage, nearly missing a step as he did. “Please god, delay the flight.” He prayed, scurrying through his pockets in search of his keys.
After all was said and done everyone sat in the living room chatting in bliss. Everyone except for Ram who had his eyes fixed on Priya waiting for a chance to speak to her. To tell her how he felt about her ridiculous conclusion. To tell her that she betrayed her own father by letting Sudhir off the hook so easily. If it were up to him Ram would have severed all ties with that man.
He was so mad but couldn’t understand why it bothered him so much?
Priya could feel his gaze on her. It was intense. Something that couldn’t be ignored no matter the effort. “I’ll just be back.” She excused herself innocently, knowing he would follow. And that’s exactly what he did a minute after she left the room.
Ram rushed past the automatic sliding doors, tossing his keys to the valet on his way in to the smaller than average airport. Ahead of him in the makeshift line was a blanket of anxious people surrounding the service counter like savages screaming and shouting all at once. It was a sight that certainly peaked his curiosity but given the fact that he was 45 minutes late, Ram didn’t bother to think much of it, until the point he heard a man holler amidst the chaos, “My wife and child were on that flight! What do you mean the plane disappeared? We need answers!!!” He quickly glanced at the flight status screen hovering above him hoping for some clarity. Suddenly, each breath that he took seemed to overlap while his heart pounded anxiously in his chest. Once he realized the full scope of what was presumed to have happened he pushed through the crowd forcing his way to the counter.
“I need to know if my wife was on that plane… Priya… Priya Kapoor… That’s her name!” Ram’s throat was as dry as desert sand but still he managed to grab the attention of one of the ten clerks lined up behind the counter with identical exasperated expressions on their pale faces.
“Yes sir, it appears she had boarded the plane.” A skinny, timid clerk with thick black-rimmed glasses responded after clicking on a few keys on the keyboard in front of him. His tone lacked even the simplest of confidence being the bearer of bad news.
“It appears?” Ram reiterated the clerk’s flimsy statement hoping to disprove it on the basis of inexperience. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? Do you even know what you’re doing? Check the bloody computer again!” Somewhere in his heart he believed strongly that Priya would not have boarded the plane without him. But given the current situation it was hard to distinguish between a belief and a defense mechanism triggered by his body in an attempt to keep him sane.
Clicking at the keyboard with his thin, long fingers the clerk repeated what he regretted saying the first time around, “Sir, she did get on the plane.”
“Nonsense! I don’t believe it. Where’s the manager? What kind of people do they have working for this airline?” Ram gulped, his throat aching with a burn refusing to accept what was being said to him. Despite being a billionaire, a man with an abundance of wealth, losing Priya was something he couldn’t possibly afford.
The clerk was on the brinks of a meltdown when a man dressed in a scuffled black suit with a grey tie made his way promptly towards them.
“Are you the manager?” Ram questioned loudly pointing to the disgruntled man approaching the counter.
“Yes sir, I am.” The manager spoke in a tired tone.
“My wife couldn’t have boarded this plane. And how does a plane just disappear into thin air? Never mind that.” He shook off his earlier question remaining insistent on his initial statement. “She wouldn’t board without me. This bloody imbecile keeps telling me that she did. I want you to check and tell me that she missed this flight. Her name is Priya Kapoor. P-R-I-Y-A K-A-P-O-O-R.” Ram caressed each letter as it passed his lips while still gripping the edge of the counter.
With another few clicks of the worn keyboard the manager expanded on the clerks earlier statement, “ Sorry sir, the system states that the passenger named Priya Kapoor did check into the flight. According to our records she boarded the plane at the scheduled time. I know it’s not what you want to hear but that’s the unfortunate truth. I wish I could tell you otherwise. However, air support team is still actively searching for the plane. Please be patient Mr. Kapoor. As soon as we hear any word of an update we will keep you posted. I’m sorry there isn’t much I can do for you right now.” Bearing the weight of enraged family members complaints on his shoulders the manager spoke in an assertive tone, knowing there was no easy way to answer any question at this point in time.
“Sorry?” Ram slurred with a vengeance. “Do you have any idea who I am? I'm Ram Kapoor. I swear to god if anything happens to my wife I will make it my mission to shut this airline down. Then you can be sorry.” Slamming his fist down on the counter Ram added the last punch to an already conclusive statement. The manager was no stranger to Ram’s identity. After all, when a VIP books a flight with your airline it doesn’t just happen on the hush. Ram was a man of financial calibre and any threat uttered by him was one to watch closely.
“Mr.Kapoor, please go home. We have your number on file. As soon as we get more information about the flight your wife was on we will surely let you know.” The manager dug deep within himself, finding something to say that was professional at its roots with an undertone of genuine sympathy.
“How could you?” He cornered her near the kitchen, grabbing the opportunity that she gave him. “You must think you’re so grand, forgiving the man, who in essence, killed your father. But I think you’re just a coward. You are so afraid of losing the only family you have that you think it’s okay to let this slide.” His eyes red like blood spewing the venom in his heart. Ram always spoke his feelings no matter how harsh and this time was no different.
“Are you finished?” She questioned nonchalantly, penetrating the rage in his eyes with her indifference. “I don’t need to explain myself to you.” She stated as firmly as possible before walking away.
Grabbing her hand, he halted her escape. “What is it about you that I cant figure out? You never leave an opportunity to irk me. But when it comes to Sudhir you let him off the hook. He is responsible for the death of your parents. Don’t you get that?”
“Maybe you’re right.” She began by jerking her hand out of his hold. “Maybe I’m just a coward, afraid of losing the only family I have. You wouldn’t understand. And I don’t expect you to get it. You are so lucky to have a family that loves you. In the short time I’ve known you, I have seen your family crave for your attention. Yet you eat alone in your room. Stay out late into the night. Your father messed up but you still punish him. I’m sure his guilt is plenty without your constant hatred. You know what, Mr Kapoor. You wouldn’t understand the reasoning behind my decision no matter how well I explain it because you, Mr. Kapoor, are filled with hatred. You don’t know the value of family. For someone who grew up without one, it’s invaluable.” Relentless, that’s what she was in arguments with him. Ram watched as she left him unable to find a suitable comeback even though he remained enraged. He just couldn’t wrap his head around her. It drove Ram crazy that he couldn’t control her. He controls everything and everyone but not her. And although that bugged him, he couldn’t deny his fascination with her relentless nature. It brought him closer to her without his knowledge. There is definitely something about her. And quite frankly he had begun questioning whether it truly was a bad thing, after all.
Raindrops splattered on the hood of his car as he drove back to an empty beach house he once called home. At a distance thunder continued to crackle chasing through a field of dark clouds playing hide and seek with flashes of lightening. But all that Ram could see was her innocent face teasing him while her nectar sweet voice spun in his ears like his favourite tune.
“I love you Ram!”
“Baby, I love you too. Promise you’ll never leave me Priya!”
“Promise!” She confirmed cutely before dropping a delicate kiss on his lips for him to safeguard. The only way I'll ever leave is if you let me go.”
Ram broke down in tears failing to harness the overbearing sense of despair in his heart. The last three hours of his life was spent seated on a cold steel bench in an overcrowded airport praying for the well being of his wife. It was no secret to those close to him; Ram was not a man of faith. In his own words, his success stemmed from hard work and that determination alone was what sculpted his life, not a blessing from above. However, Ram was ready to wager every penny in his possession and any scepticism in his mind regarding the highly popular almighty if that’s what it took to bring Priya back to him. Unfortunately, God was not as forgiving towards him. “Sorry sir,” The manager’s voice sounded muddled, echoing off the vague numbness in his ears. “We just received an update on the plane your wife was on from emergency search crews in the area. There were no survivors from the crash.”
Gasping for air Ram stepped out of his car walking mindlessly up a set of steps paving the pathway to his front door. Visions of his love occupied his heavy heart. He cringed at the reality of her permanent absence from his life, refusing to accept it. Turning the key in the lock mechanically, Ram entered the beach house being swept immediately by a wave of emptiness. But then there was a flicker of hope when he saw a figure approach the corridor. Ram hesitantly walked towards her. His steps slow and unsteady. If this was just a figment of his imagination, he wanted to make it last. He feared getting too close, afraid that if he touched her she would disappear. They stood mere inches apart, eyes fixed, not a care in the world. “Priya?” He uttered in a soft and feeble tone.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
I am not sure how many people are following me on this blog. Following this story...
But to those who are I would like to say that I am so sorry it took me this long to get back. Sorry for making you all wait for an update. It was cruel injustice, I am aware.
All I can say as justification for my extended tardiness is that I had a LOT going on in my life. A lot of things that my conscience would not allow me to ignore, regardless of my passion for writing. Let's just say I wandered to deep into emotions that I ended up lost. If that makes any sense.
Having said all that, I am back now with no intention of leaving until we reach the end of this story.
If you would like to follow me on this journey once again I sincerely request that you skim through the previous updates so we can carry forward. It's been so long I may need to do so myself.
Look forward to an update early next week.
Friends, let's finish what we started.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
"Priya!" He hollered her name alerting her of his entry into bedroom. Quickly wiping her moist cheeks dry with the ends of his sleeves, Priya stood up straight, feigning strength while she crumbled silently inside. Their eyes clashed like magnets, inseparable once attached. His rage was not forgotten; it remained within him, slithering like a serpent, stealthy and lethal. However, he was no stranger to her pain reading the light shade of pink in her glistening eyes, which told its story all too clearly. "She had been crying. But why?" He thought to himself only for a moment, knowing it would drive him crazy if he were to ponder for any longer.
"Priya. I can't carry on like this anymore." Cutting to the chase Ram blurted out. “I don’t understand why you don’t want your father to know about us. Don’t you trust me?” He grasped her hands hastily waiting for her to answer but there was no response. She simply stared at the floor, averting her gaze. “Look at me Priya.” He ordered feeling slightly insulted. “Answer my question. Don’t you trust me?” He repeated when she finally gathered up the courage to look him square in his eyes.
“I trust you Ram” This time she answered, pausing briefly before adding the final dreaded remark. “But I can’t leave my family for you. I just can’t.” Ram’s heart sank like an anchor as her harsh words echoed in his ears. It was something he never wanted to hear and something she never wanted to say out loud. But Ram had provoked her. She was perfectly fine carrying on like they had been, at least for a little while longer.
Frustrated, Ram ran his trembling hands through his hair staring at Priya in disbelief, as though he had just seen a ghost. “So easily…” He had only realized how dry his mouth was when he started to speak. “You were able to say that with such ease.”
“No!” His index finger rose with his voice. “Don’t say a word more.” Walking over to his discarded pants, which lay on the cold floor, Ram stepped into it, pulling it up and securing it around his waist. She watched on, disheartened as he made his way back to where she stood blank like a statue. “I’m partly surprised Priya. I didn’t take you to be one of those women who throw their bodies out there with no intention of ever actually staying. Am I your first or…?” He recited the words of his broken heart not truly meaning any of it.
“Just shut up Ram!” She shouted. “I know you’re hurt and I am also but that does not mean you can just say anything that comes to your mind.”
“Are you really hurt?” He pestered carrying on with his overly annoying demeanor. “Damn baby you’re really good at hiding your emotions. I can hardly tell…” His justification for his rude remarks was that she deserved it for abandoning him. He loved her with all his heart and all he got in return was her betrayal.
“Ram please, don’t do this to us. We can still have a good relationship. Don’t say anything in your anger today that you might regret tomorrow.” Although she knew that Ram was speaking out of hurt, his words still managed to eat at her heart. Each syllable weighed her down in her guilt of not telling him why she couldn’t leave her family for him.
“Regret?” He carried on mercilessly with his pain driven verbal slaughter. “ The only thing I regret at this point is that very same relationship that you’re talking about salvaging. It’s suffocating me. And quite frankly I am done with it. Your love was a lie. Everything you ever said was a lie. You’re just like every woman who throws herself at me. Only thing is they all do it for my money. What did you get out of the countless nights that you spent in my arms Priya? Was it just for the pleasure ride?”
“ENOUGH RAM!” She shouted pushing him back and out of her attack zone. He had really managed to cross a boundary. She recalled the earlier days at the start of their fake relationship where he had accused her of the very same characterless claims. Yes, she was keeping him in the dark about why she chose her family over him. But if she was putting their love on the line in doing so, she must have had some compelling reason in support of her decision.
There was silence amongst them as they glared angrily at each other. No words were spoken but so much was said in that one moment. Having heard his accusations Priya did not find it necessary to justify her actions. “Let him believe whatever he wants.” She thought, “If that’s what satisfies his anger then so be it.”
“I’m leaving.” She announced, picking up her clothes, which were scattered on the floor.
“Fine,” He responded bitterly, “Just get lost…” Adding one last punch Ram threw in the towel giving up on their relationship with a stone on his heart. “If she is not willing to try then why the hell should I?” He thought while his heart throbbed in sorrow watching as she made her way to the closet presumably to pack her things.
Priya scrunched her eyelids, slowing starting to regain consciousness.
“Dada-ji she is waking up.” An elated voice announced boisterously shattering through the once silent room. Priya felt the sofa sink near her feet as someone took a seat close to her. Opening her eyes, she was briefly relieved to see the familiar face of her Papa, forgetting what had happened for a quick moment. Glancing at her surroundings she felt the bitterness resurface as memories of not too long ago flooded her distraught mind. “Are you okay beta?” He asked genuinely concerned.
She tried getting up quickly but was unable to find the strength within herself to do so. Forced to take her time, Priya sat up massaging her forehead with the cold tips of her fingers. Ram scanned her from a distance noticing the subtle quiver of her bottom lip. Realizing that she might have been cold, he immediately took off his jacket and tried placing it loosely over her delicate shoulders. His attempt at a kind gesture was denied as she shrugged his hands aside. "No," She declared without so much as a glance in his direction. Priya was staring only at Sudhir with curiosity brimming in her tired eyes.
"Beta," Ram's dadi approached her disheartened grandson from behind placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "It's okay. Let us all go from here and give Sudhir and Priya some time to talk." Although he was unwilling at first, Ram finally agreed to leave. But before he could, Sudhir spoke up and intervened, "Nahi Aunty-ji no one has to leave. I have kept this secret in my heart for too long. I want everyone to know what I have done." Ram was puzzled by his objection while Priya remained distraught.
"Priya beta," Sudhir began, unraveling his sins at last with a confession. He met her eyes with much difficulty but nonetheless he held her gaze. He knew he owed her that respect and so he delivered the same. "Your father was a great man. He joined the company as a junior accountant and instantly we became friends. Jeet was a humble man. Caring, kind, courageous definitely a gem of a man like no other."
Priya's eyes watered thinking about her father whom she only remembered from pictures. And after the fire in their old house she had lost that connection with him also. If Ram hadn't forced her out of the burning house that day she would still have those memories to cherish. Now all she had to remember her parents by were fragmented pieces of her already sparse memories of them. *Referring to fire in Part 8*
She glared angrily at Ram whose eyes were fixed only on her. "Is she still mad at me? No, no… I’m sure it’s not like that. She is just overwhelmed by all this." Ram assumed, grossly misinterpreting her enraged glare.
Sudhir hesitantly touched Priya's hand, sheltering it in his own. But she pulled back and asked coldly, "What did you do?"
"Beta, it's not what I did but what I didn't do." Squinting her eyes she watched on puzzled, "Kapoor industries was beginning to lose a lot of money. Our investors were all backing out with the exception of Mr. Mithal. He was our only hope and so we approached him for financial assistance in exchange for 25% shares in the company. But Mithal wanted more than that. He wanted 51% ownership of the company, promising that once his money was returned to him he would be happy with 25%. With 51% shares in his favour Mithal would be the one making all the calls. Our hands were tied. It was Amarnath who agreed to the deal. Signing away 51% of the company behind everyone’s back. That 51% belonged to his father. He had tricked his father into resigning from the company. This company was Amarnath’s baby. Maybe that’s why he acted so foolishly to save it.”
Ram gritted his teeth and clenched his fist. This wasn’t the first time he had heard of his father’s deception but the anger was all too real. Over the years his hatred for his father grew to a point where it was impossible for him to simply bury the hatchet. Even before he was sent to boarding school Ram had no attachment to his father. It’s not that he didn’t try to get close to him but each time he did his father would push him away. Dejected, little Ram stopped trying all together hoping his father would notice. But between the lengthy business calls and late night meetings, Amarnath failed to find the time for his three kids.
Sudhir exhaled audibly before carrying on, knowing that he was nearing the climax of his biggest mistake. “Uncle-ji had a huge fight with Amarnath the night he found out that his son had cheated him out of his own company, which he had built from the ground up. But it was too late. Amarnath had already transferred his father’s 51% ownership to Mr. Mithal. It was a done deal and no amount of bickering could change that. Since uncle-ji was evicted from Kapoor Industries, I decided that I would quit too. But uncle ji advised me to stay for the sake of his ungrateful son. Parents have a heart of gold. Even after his son had betrayed him Uncle ji feared for his safety. He knew men like Mr. Mithal and Amarnath, in his youthfulness, had no idea that he had just signed a deal with the devil. Soon the company started making money. It was unbelievable; the profits were doubled since Mr. Mithal became the majority owner. Uncle ji suspected foul play. He approached Amarnath about the very same issue but once again he was insulted. Amarnath had lost his mind in the piles of money. Mr. Mithal was a miracle worker in his eyes, an ideal business partner. When Mr. Mithal heard about uncle’s suspicion, he threatened to leave the company and take all his money with him if Amarnath did not have his father thrown out of the Kapoor Mansion. Driven by greed Amarnath did as he was told. I always wondered whether he ever regretted that day. Each day at the office I looked into his eyes and searched for a hint of guilt but the greed shone so bright it was always too hard to see.”
Dadi-ji sobbed recalling that unfaithful day. Those tears ripped Ram’s heart to pieces each time they flowed down his dadi’s chubby cheeks. There was no solution to it either. He knew because he had tried everything under the sun to extract those bitter memories from her heart. It was then that he realized he had to rip the source of her sorrows from its roots. But in order to do that, he needed Priya. It was imperative for his sanity, this plan had to be successful. But he couldn’t do it without her.
Never in his wildest dreams did Ram ever think that he would fall so hard for Priya. But the day when they suddenly fell in love came unannounced and in full swing. Undoubtedly the greatest feeling ever felt in his once bitter heart was the love that he cherished for Priya. But look at them now. The love had been swept under a rug so effortlessly with a few harsh words and some deep seeded secrets. She had left for the airport without so much as a goodbye while he sat with a stiff drink swirling in a clear stubby glass secured in his grip. Bringing the rim of the glass up to his lips he tilted his head back chugging the liquid heat down to the last drop before pouring himself another. Just as he slammed the bottle down on the bar counter he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Annoyed, he pulled his phone out, slightly squinting his eyes as he glanced at the screen. His heart pounded in his chest, hoping, secretly praying that it was Priya. But there was no such luck. “Bank of India?” He mumbled, “What do they want?” In no mood to entertain Ram declined the call. Placing the phone on the counter he brought the glass up to his lips once more. But before he was able to drench his throat the phone vibrated for the 2nd time. It was the same caller who got the same response. Downing his drink Ram became slightly curious as to what the problem might have been. And when the phone rang for the third time Ram’s concerns were heightened. They usually don't pester people with promotional calls. At least not by simultaneously calling like they were now.
Clearing his throat Ram addressed the caller. “Hello…”
“Hi. This is Saumya calling from Bank of India. I would like to speak to Ms. Priya regarding her application for a loan.” The lady on the other end of line spoke hurriedly getting right to the point.
“Excuse me?” Ram was puzzled by the sound of her name. And loan? Why would she need a loan? Moreover why were they calling him?
“I'm sorry I think I may have the wrong number. Is this 647-123-4567?” The lady questioned hoping she hadn't committed a blunder.
Ram sat up straight in his seat. That number was indeed Priyas. He vaguely remembered dialling that number enough times for it to be inscribed permanently in his mind. After their fight he must have grabbed her phone instead of his own. It was easy to make that mistake because their phones were identical. But it must have been fate for him to receive this call. Perhaps this had something to do with why she couldn’t leave her father. Anything would be an easier pill for him to swallow then to think that she truly didn’t love him like she had alleged in their earlier argument. But realistically what else was she to say. He had practically fed her those words as the most accurate reasoning behind her decision to leave him.
“Yes… Yeah I'm her husband. What were you saying about the loan?” Ram questioned snappily, regaining a hold on reality.
Assuming there was no harm in telling the applicants husband details about a personal loan the bank rep divulged everything that Ram was anxiously awaiting to hear. “Ms. Priya came in with her father a few weeks ago to submit an application for a loan in the amount of 5lakhs. I am just calling to inform Ms. Priya that her application has unfortunately been denied.”
“But why does she need that kind of money?”
“I’m not sure about the details sir but it seems that Ms. Priya’s brother was receiving money from investors to complete a project for them overseas. However, the investors were not pleased with the final results and they are demanding their money back with interest. According to Ms. Priya’s father he has already signed out a loan on their house but they need 5lakhs more to pay the investors back in full. Usually, when we approve a loan we look at assets and of course financial standing of the applicant. There are not enough assets in the applicants name and she does not make enough money for us to be guaranteed that we would get our money back within an early time frame. For that reason the loan application has been denied. Could you please pass my message along to your wife?”
“Yeah, Yeah sure.” He confirmed as he hurriedly ended the call. Suddenly, it became clear why Priya couldn’t leave her father. How could she just up and leave when her family was struggling financially, literally at the brink of bankruptcy? Recalling their earlier argument Ram recalled his intentionally harsh accusations. It made his heart quiver with remorse. But in his defense, he didn’t know the entire truth. In fact, he had no idea. She had kept him in the dark. “Why didn’t she tell me about all this?” That was the burning question. But in order to get an answer, Ram needed to reach Priya before her flight took off. He cursed, glancing up at the clock, which hung witness to his turmoil, on the wall. The flight was scheduled to take off in fifteen minutes. He knew this because he was supposed to be onboard sitting next to Priya in first class. Grabbing his jacket Ram rushed down the stairs to the garage, nearly missing a step as he did. “Please god, delay the flight.” He prayed, scurrying through his pockets in search of his keys.
“You always asked me why I trusted Priya so much for this plan.”
Ram nodded, glancing at Priya who kept her head down and eyes shut, gripping the cushion on either side of her body while bracing herself for the ultimate truth.
“She’s Jeet’s daughter, that’s why I can trust her without an ounce of doubt. You can’t teach integrity it’s innate. If today I’m sitting here in this room with you all, it’s because of Priya’s father. When my own son kicked me out of my mansion and business, it was Jeet who helped me. Sudhir insisted that we live with him in his mansion but Jeet was adamant that we were safer with him in his small home. He was right. Some goons came looking for me around Sudhir’s property within that same week, failing in their search. Jeet and Sudhir continued going to the office as usual to distract any suspicion. They had vowed to expose Mr. Mithal. I told them not too. It was not worth the sacrifice. But both Jeet and Sudhir remained persistent.”
“I should have attended that meeting. Maybe Jeet would still be here.” Priya turned to face the man whom she had placed on a pedestal all these years. This time he averted his gaze, warning her of a tragic conclusion. “A couple months had passed by since Mr. Mithal had taken over the Kapoor Industries. I was on my way to an urgent meeting with a client in the conference room when Jeet came to me with a red file tucked securely under his right arm. He said he had found what we were looking for. To avoid any suspicion I told him to meet me in the underground parking garage in half an hour. I figured I’d finish the meeting as the client was already waiting. I don’t know what I was thinking. Thirty minutes passed by in the blink of an eye. Or was it 40? I keep replaying the same scenario in my mind. Concluding the meeting I rushed to the spot where I told Jeet to wait for me. But when I got downstairs, he was nowhere to be seen. I took out my phone from my pocket and was about to dial Jeet’s number when I received a call from home. I answered. It was the gardener. Shipra had suddenly fallen ill and was being transported to the hospital. Forgetting everything I rushed to her side. She had a severe infection and doctors weren’t certain if she was going to make it. I panicked and I forgot all about Jeet until late in the night when uncle ji called me. Jeet hadn’t returned home from work. His phone had been switched off. We notified the police immediately. And the search began. They found your fathers body discarded near an abandoned road. A bullet hole through his heart, he stood no chance at survival." Sudhir voice choked trying to work up the courage to speak further. "Your mom went into a state of shock when she heard the news. That depression consumed her from within leading her down a deadly path of self-destruction. No matter how much we all tried she had already made up her mind that she wasn't going to live without Jeet in this world. They said she committed suicide but in truth the same man who pulled the trigger on her husband murdered her sanity as well. I was not there for Jeet that day but I promised him that I would always protect his baby girl. I was going to keep you safe and so I had to leave Kapoor Industries so Mr. Mithal would not consider me a threat. Selling my shares and my mansion I pursued the life of a common man working hard for my family. Priya, please forgive me for lying to you all these years. I wanted to tell you the truth so badly but the trauma would have been too much for a child. When Shipra told you that you were adopted I had no choice but to lie. You were only 10 years old at the time. How could I tell you that your parents were…?” Sudhir continued in one breath, frantic as he was hurled in those heart-wrenching moments again. “I made up the story about the accident to protect you from what actually happened. No ten-year-old child would be able to go through that kind of trauma. I’m so sorry Beta.”
Everyone in the room observed with mixed emotions as Sudhir got up and stood in front of Priya begging for forgiveness. “Please, Priya, forgive me beta… I’m so sorry that you had to find out this way. I was only trying to protect you.”
“Trying to protect me?” She interrupted standing toe to toe with Sudhir. Her voice, although broken, echoed off the walls in the not so tiny living room. The thing that couldn’t have gone unnoticed when she looked up however was the uncertainty in her moist eyes. Was she going to forgive him? Or was this the end of the only father-daughter relationship she had ever known?
Saturday, July 25, 2015
PART 20 RECAP :
Ram and Priya sharing some sweet moments before they go their separate paths.
Ram apologizes to Priya for everything that he has done after realizing that Priya was the reason that his dada-ji is still alive today. It's obvious he loves his dada-ji a lot. Sudhir overhears Ram's apology and is now aware of how Ram has been treating Priya. She had initially lied to him and said that she willingly married Ram. Sudhir is infuriated. But before he could do anything Ram's dadi and dada-ji intervene. Dada-ji health is still not at its best so Ram and Sudhir both assist him to the living room forcing him to rest.
She couldn't agree more with his words. He was right for a change. Nothing was nearly as beautiful or magical like each time they came together. Now! This moment and each second it contained was a definition of bliss, a euphoric sea of pleasure. Curling her bottom lip Priya tugged it shyly observing Ram's unfocused gaze wandering the length of her body in search of a place to begin. Sensing the desire in her changed expression, Ram whispered against the arch up the side of her neck. " This time... Let's try something different." The warmth of his breath was tantalizing causing her grip on reality to nearly slip through her delicate fingers. She whimpered softly being stripped of the heat from his body as he got up suddenly. Priya opened her eyes and scanned the room for Ram who was nowhere in sight. She sat up in bed brushing aside a strand of hair from her face. Her eyebrows bunched in curiosity watching Ram as he marched out of the closet with a tie in each hand and a naughty grin outlined on his delectable lips. Putting two and two together Priya quickly guessed his intentions. Her jaw hung in shock as a strangely tempting thought bounced anxiously in her mind. "Is Ram going to use that...No, no, no... He wouldn't... He doesn't have it in him... Does he?" Priya gulped nervously as he approached her with his trappings in hand. She sat there frozen, hypnotized by his intent. The spell that he had cast on her without an ounce of effort could only be shattered by his touch alone. Holding her right hand Ram wrapped a blue tie around her petit wrist tying a loose knot to secure it in place. "Ram you can't be serious." She finally piped up, sounding not the least bit convincing in her attempt at an objection. Staring deep into the depths of her dark brown eyes Ram stated in his firm, I mean business' tone. "I have never been anything but serious. You of all people should know this very well." His voice was so manly; it possessed an insanely intense and erotic effect on its own. A rush of pleasure cascaded down the pit of her stomach in feverish anticipation of his next move. As Ram finished knotting the second tie around her left wrist he seized her lips in a frantic kiss coaxing her tongue into a dance of passion with much ease. Ram was surprised by her sense of urgency. An intense rush of warmth surged through his body. She felt the outline of his stiff presence between her legs; mind numbingly hot and extremely hard.
Tugging the loose ends of each tie Ram pulled Priya to her feet. The desire to be within her grew as quickly as he did. Therefore, there wasn't much technique in the way Ram undressed Priya. It was simply an urgent weave of his fingers through the layers of her saree working down to his ultimate prize, her bare body.
"Lie down." He ordered in complete control.
Having no other option with Ram guiding her backwards, Priya did as she was told. Sliding his palms up the side of her arms Ram knotted the loose ends of each tie to the brass columns of the rustic headboard. "Now the fun begins," He whispered against the raised skin on her neck before planting a trail of wet kisses down the length of her arm. Caressing every inch of her face sporadically with his soft, warm lips Ram continued on his downward path. Priya arched her back off the mattress unraveling beneath him as he nuzzled her neck. "Ram." She uttered in a moan, which lacked the composure of her otherwise boisterous tone. She wriggled beneath him in an attempt to contain the overflow of sensations evoked by the circular play of his tongue on her perked buds. Intrinsically, Priya tried to move her hands towards his head so that her fingers could run freely through his lush dark hair. Not getting very far in her attempt Priya met resistance recalling her bonded state.
"Ram, untie me please." Her pleading was music to his ears.
"Not a chance." He stated before slowly tracing a vertical line down the length of her stomach with the tip of his hot, wet tongue. Any speck of composure had been shrugged aside the moment his warm breath kissed the heated flesh between her legs. And the reigns of reality, which she had so carefully contained in her possession suddenly, ceased to exist all together.
Sudhir stood with his back to the living room, arms crossed and eyes fixed on Ram. Having assisted his Dada-ji to sit with his feet up in the recliner sofa chair, Ram immediately made his way out to the back patio. With one hand in his pocket and the other pressing his phone to his ear, Ram marched on the hot mosaic cut cement floor of the deck, focused on his conversation with the MD.
"What's running through your mind Sudhir?" Dada-ji questioned, shattering the silence in the room.
"How can the apple fall so far from the tree?" Sudhir replied, turning to face the elderly man whom he respected.
"Come sit." Dada-ji invited.
"I'd rather stand." Sudhir declined.
Dada-ji couldn't help but chuckle at the irony. Sudhir was just as stubborn as Ram.
"The apple has fallen right where it belongs." Dada-ji mumbled a tickling fact.
"What?" Sudhir asked appearing genuinely confused.
"Nothing." Feeling relaxed in the rare presence of his loved ones Dada-ji stretched out more comfortably in his seat. "Sudhir, I told Ram to do what he has done. It was my plan. I wanted Jeet's daughter to finish what he had started. There was no one else I could trust. But I had no idea that Ram would behave the way that he did towards Priya. Don't worry Sudhir. I will talk to him and I ensure you that he will listen."
"I'm afraid that that's not going to cut it. Ram is reckless and arrogant. Even if he had come to me and asked for permission, I would have never agreed with this plan. Priya is way to innocent and a man like him knows exactly how to take advantage of that."
"Sudhir, my son. Remember how this all happened? How we got here? Whom we're doing this all for?"
Sudhir turned his back to the living room once more. Only this time he did it to save face and to shelter his guilt. "How can I forget? I always felt responsible for Jeet's death. Even until this day I haven't found the courage to look Priya in the eyes and confess to what I have done. It's a curse to carry this burden and a blessing to have a daughter like Priya. Uncle I am so afraid of losing her. But when she finds out, I can't stop her from hating me."
"What is it Papa?" Priya's voice rose from behind him, catapulting him off his track. Sudhir gulped and slowly turned to face his daughter, knowing the time had come to do what he dreaded doing for years. Priya had been in the kitchen with Ram's Dadi helping her make tea and snacks. Sudhir should have really been more careful but perhaps it was time Priya found out. Placing the tray she was holding, on the coffee table in front of her Priya walked towards her Papa. She was so anxious for an answer that she seemed oblivious to the loud slam of the back door as Ram came into the house. "What is the big secret? Why is everyone hiding things from me? Why do I have to figure out the truth in bits and pieces? Everyone knows, everyone but me. Don't I have the right to know what's really going on?"
Ram was her warrior of love, an expert one at that. Perhaps that's why Priya always found it hard to refuse him. He moved back up the path of kisses, which he had created, a grin of satisfaction curled on his glistening lips, evidence of her desire for him. His knees dug into the mattress on either side of her hips, continuing the theme of entrapment. Tugging his tie Ram threw it to the floor. She watched enviously as he began unbuttoning, working slowly down his shirt until it was off his back. "Not fair." She voiced her displeasure.
"Is there a problem?" He questioned mischievously even though he knew exactly what she wanted.
"That's my job." She blurted out in a soft whine.
"I notice that you're a bit tied up" Ram teased concealing his grin. "So I thought I'd give you a hand."
Priya pouted expressing her annoyance. "Raaammm!"
In response, he leaned down for a kiss and devoured her frowning lips. Distracted by the twirl of his tongue in her mouth, Priya's complaint was quickly lost in the sounds of her pleasure, an appreciation of his actions. Gasping for air in between the play of their lips Priya heard a faint sound as Ram unzipped his pants. Kicking off the last shred of his clothes, she felt him between her, no barrier, just heated flesh craving to come together. Unable to hold back any longer, Ram sheathed himself within her. Priya was caught off guard by his roughness, his pace, his desperation. Although her body screamed in satisfaction, there was still that unfulfilled desire to touch him, an ache of sorts within her for which Ram was the only remedy. Freeing her lips, Ram slid his mouth down the arch of her neck, nibbling and sucking gently at her flesh, teasing her with the subtle sting.
"Ram... Please...untie...me..." She asked, finding the words amidst her airy sighs. "Why?" Slowing down his pace to a sensual grind, Ram questioned in a whisper against her ears, dropping a kiss as he finished, craving to hear her intentions. "I want to wrap my arms around you. Feel your heartbeat as it kisses my palms through your chest. I want to run my fingers through your hair, down the length of your back, feel you as you move within me." Priya spoke in desperation aching to feel him inside and out. "Enough of this torture baby, I want to feel you love me." She groaned as he took her lips captive in a rough tug of war, a battle to hold the throne in the realm of passion. He felt her lips curl into a smile, as he finally obliged, setting her hands loose from the bind of his tie. Now they were on even playing grounds. It was now her turn to return his favours. Pinning her hands to the mattress he regained control, drinking in the passion that was pooled in her eyes. Gasping for air there was no hiding their exhaustion but there was no time to address it because in this moment that they had held captive, fulfilling the need for one another was the only thing of any importance. They rode the waves of passion as high as it took them before crashing into a sea of ecstasy, an overflow of emotions. The laughter, the tears, the teasing all lead to one conclusion, Ram and Priya were soul mates. Destiny was what brought them together making them cross paths so they could stumble on a crazy, addictive kind of love. One that mimed the likes of lust but was so much more than anything that anyone could ever imagine.
Priya listened quietly with a dagger on her heart. She was desperate for the truth knowing very well that its bitterness could eliminate any sweetness in her life and forbid it from ever entering again. Her identity, the very source of her being, could be slaughtered in one swing of that same dagger, but she needed to know.
"Priya, beta. I don't know how to tell you this." Sudhir cradled both her hands in his as if to lighten the blow.
"Just tell me Papa." She demanded anxiously. "I can handle it." That statement was consolation for her own ears, more than anyone else's in the room.
Clearing his throat Sudhir slowly began revealing the truth, which he had safeguarded in a dark corner of his heart, rusting for many years. "Your parents weren't killed an accident beta. They were..." He paused... "They were murdered. And it's all my fault."
Shattering into a million pieces he finally said it. An undeserving lightness prevailed in his heart as the burden was finally lifted off of it. Ram was just as shocked as Priya. When she had told him that her parents had passed away in a car accident, Ram didn't bother probing any further. He was stunned with an overwhelming sense of sadness, a sense of guilt for the way that he had treated her.
"But you told me the car accident. And. And. Promising my father to take care of me... What was all that? It just doesn't make sense." Her mind was in a haze. She felt many things in that disheartening moment with confusion and betrayal being at the top of the list of emotions.
"Priya, beta come lets have a seat and I will explain everything." Sudhir tried to guide her to the sofa but she pulled her hands back and out of reach.
"Why did you say it was all your fault?" Her questions were just as scattered as the thoughts chasing around in her head. She didn't want to cry but without warning a stream of tears pooled in her eyes, muddling her gaze. How was she to react if Sudhir had a hand in her parents demise? She gave him the place of her father. He lied to her about the accident, all those years. Does she even know this man she has been calling Papa? A plethora of thoughts flooded her mind enticing her sanity to snap. Daring her to lose it. She felt weak in her knees and the silence wasn't making the situation any better. "I need answers, dammit." She shrieked feeling the heat of her rage engulf her in its flames. Sudhir's head hung low in shame. He seemed unable to muster up even an ounce of courage to speak. This was his worst nightmare and it was playing right in front of his eyes. This time there was no waking up from it.
Noticing Priya's staggering gait, Ram rushed to her side just in time for her to fall back on him. "Priya!" He called her name aloud forcing Sudhir to finally look up. Clutching her head Priya continued mumbling, "I need answers. I want to know. I need..." as Ram carried her in his arms to the couch. Laying her down delicately he sat on the floor on his knees, slouching over her limp body and splashing drops of water on her face with his fingertips. "Priya, wake up. Please, Priya. Utho na." There was an intense urge in his heart to protect her. He had never wanted to do so much for someone like he did in that moment for Priya. It was a strange feeling like no other but he definitely felt it for her, for the first time, in that moment. It wasn't pity, it was something stronger then that. However, there was no time to dissect it or even to make sense of it. Right now he needed to know that she was going to be okay.
Ram woke up in a panic from his nap. "What time is it?" He sat up in bed and mumbled to himself. Scouring the dimly lit room in search of his phone his gaze froze as it landed on his sleeping beauty. Ram couldn't help but grin to himself thinking about how lucky he was to have found a soulmate like Priya. Her eyebrows were scrunched slightly, it seemed as though his sudden movement had annoyed her. Smirking mischievously Ram decided to tease her further. Cuddling up beside her Ram pecked her forehead and then her eyes, her nose and finally her lush, warm lips. "Wake up my darling," He whispered against her ear, kissing down the side of her neck, slowly, taking his time.
"Sone do na Ram. I'm tired." She stated drowsily.
"But I'm not."
"Please..." She pleaded frowning cutely, "5 more minutes, that's all."
Kissing her body sporadically Ram whispered, "Priya?"
"hmmm." She answered softly with a smile, enjoying the tickle of his lips against her skin.
"Why don't we make this a permanent thing? I can talk to your father. We can work something out. Legally we're already married. Why not tell our parents how we feel for each other? How we happened to fall in love?"
Ram watched as the smile disappeared from her lips immediately. Opening her eyes Priya examined the desperation on his face. "We've been through this Ram. It's not possible."
Ram sat up and Priya followed. "Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to stay away from you? Two weeks here and there is just not enough."
"It's hard for me too Ram." She replied sharply, pulling the bedsheets over her breasts.
"Really because it doesn't seem like you're bothered by it. You're not even willing to try."
"I told you Ram. My father doesn't like you one bit. You know this already. He has a thing against rich people. He says they're all spoiled. As far as he's concerned this marriage was just part of a plan and now that sheena is in jail there is nothing between us."
"I can show him like I showed you that I am not like that. I used to be that spoiled brat. But I'm not anymore. You bring out the best in me Priya." He watched her anxiously as she got up and grabbed his shirt off the floor, her go-to clothing after they have made love.
"Please Ram try and understand." Buttoning up his shirt she attempted to change the topic like she always did whenever he presented her with this issue. "Why don't we go out and enjoy the rest of the day? We still have plenty of time together. I don't want to waste it fighting over little things." Any other day he would have let the issue pass but this time he was not only hurt by her lack of effort but more so by her complete disregard for the future of their relationship.
"This isn't a little thing dammit." He got up and walked towards her, dressed solely in his boxers. Pressing her for an explanation he reiterated his question, "Why can't we try Priya? I want to spend every day for the rest of my life with you. Why aren't you even giving this option a second thought? I know you're just as crazy for me as I am for you. So why not Priya? Why not give us a chance?"
"Because I don't want to have to choose between my father and you? I love you both. Why don't you just understand that?" She shouted.
There was a moment of painful silence between them before Ram gathered his courage and asked, "And if you had to choose who would it be?"
"Ram..." She shook her head. "Why are you doing this? Please... Just give it a rest."
"Because I need to know. And you know what Priya? You finally answered my question."
With the last nail in the coffin, Ram walked past her with his heart in a million pieces scattered all over the creamy beige marble floor. Slumping down on the bed Priya fisted the bedsheets and shut her eyes tightly. He had left her stuck between a rock and a hard place. "I choose you Ram... Always... in a heartbeat...But how ungrateful would I be if I abandoned my family at a time when they need me the most?" She sobbed in silence while he stood in the bathroom, leaning over the sink, enraged and unsure of what to make of her resistance. "Does she not love me... Of course she does... Then what is all this? Why is she doing this?" He paused slamming his fist down hard against the sink in frustration. "Enough, Priya! This time you have to choose! If you don't want your father to know about us, then you have to choose." He charged out of the bathroom and towards her, aiming to put his foot down on this matter once and for all. Even if her decision would kill him, he needed her to choose.