Sample Chapters

PROLOGUE

Why do people write a book?

Do they want to talk about the characters in their head? Do they get the urge to elaborate on the idea that has been gestating in their mind? Or is it because they want a story to be told?

Well, my reasons for writing are not any of the above.

Who is qualified to write a book?

Anyone with a story idea, who has written a lot before, or probably holding a literature degree… Or something similar. A book is usually written by someone who has dabbled in writing previously.

So what am I doing here?

I am Riddhi, a doctor.

Why is a doctor writing a book? What is she going to say? What is her purpose?

I am writing a book as a gift to my soul sister. This is just a few chapters from the long life of Adhira, my best friend since God knows when, and one of the women I admire and love more than myself. My purpose, you ask? I want to tell this story – her life story, and she would never do it, considering it narcissistic. But it is too good to not be told. So for some time, a doctor has become a writer.

In these pages, you can travel with me as I share my life experiences, talking about my guardian angel, Adhira and how I am who I am, because of her presence in my life. Read on to know the story of how a girl who had everything lacked the most important thing in life and how she lost and found love, when it mattered.

A book is not enough for me to write about Adhira, because I could take ages to describe her divine looks and ethereal presence, or her large heart that accommodated all of her friends, working to make their dreams come true. I could talk about how selfless she always was, putting others before herself and always thinking of how she could make everyone around her happy.

I could talk about how her beauty made heads turn and hearts beat faster and how she made everyone tongue tied by her mere presence. Or I could tell you about how she was the epitome of human character. If ever there was a guidebook for humans, Adhira would be the role model.

But since I cannot contain all that in a few pages, I relish the thought of being lucky enough to have her in my life, and instead, talk about the time when I almost lost her, and saw the strong woman crumble and rise back like the phoenix she was, losing the love where she most needed it and still managed to grit her teeth through all that because she didn’t want to hurt others.

Her journey was always an inspiration to me, every step of every day. But since I wanted her life to touch you like it had mine, I am talking about how she surmounted all the horrific odds and is still fighting when most of us would have broken down. This book is more a gift to myself than her, because I got to talk about how she influenced the lives around her for the better and there can be no better joy than that.

If this story makes any of you realise the truth about the Adhira you might be lucky enough to have in your life, hold on to them, cherish them for they are rare, almost one in a billion. If this story inspires any of you to become someone’s Adhira, my happiness would know no bounds.

They Met Again – ‘Accidentally’

It was 7:30 in the evening. The clouds gathered in the dusky sky and the weather became extremely pleasant. Adhira was leaving for Gurgaon after completing her work in Meerut. She and Riddhi would meet in Delhi in between and she would continue to head towards her home in Gurgaon. Riddhi was worried about her so she called to know where Adhira was.

The phone rang.

“Hey Riddhi!” Adhira’s chirpy voice sounded over the phone.

“Hi! You were supposed to be here by this time. Where are you? Why haven’t you reached? Is everything alright?” Riddhi asked tersely.

“Are you done? Or are there some more questions you need to fire? By the way, I am on my way to Delhi.”

Adhira always insisted that Riddhi asked too many questions for everything and she had to think and decide about which to answer first.

“Adhira, it’s 7:30 PM already and the weather is not good either. And look at you… you are still there! Wait a minute, where exactly are you?”

“Relax! It’s not the first time I am travelling alone. I’ll reach safely.”

“Gosh! Sometimes you are so hard to handle,” Riddhi said.

“Calm down! Now let me drive. Ok bye.”

“Take care and drive safe.” Riddhi said softly.

Adhira cut the call and increased the volume on her car stereo. Her soul loved music and she could not survive without it. She liked music in any form but Bollywood music topped her list of favourites. She loved the songs of the hit duo Vishal & Shekhar and was their crazy fan, having memorised not only their song’s lyrics but also other details about them.

In spite of being in the same field, she never had a chance to meet them. But she was not trying too hard for it. She felt that meeting them would diminish the craze she had because human psychology works in weird ways. We are only crazy about something until we have it. Once we get our wish fulfilled, we really start losing interest. Adhira never wanted that to happen.

Adhira placed music as one of the primary elements needed for survival, right along with food, air and shelter. She had her reasons for letting music engulf her life though. She had music around her from morning till late evening and the last several years of her life had been dedicated to music and it had become her lifeline.

By profession, Adhira is a Music Arranger. She had her own studio called ‘Rhythms’ and had created it for people who had a passion for singing but lacked a platform for exposure of their talent. She gave priority to the newcomers like college students who could not afford the big corporate banner recordings and didn’t know how to approach the music directors in the industry. She believed that the best of talent came from that pool and wanted to give them the wings to fly.

Her good intentions and God’s kindness that followed those with good motives made her studio one of the most successful and famous studios in the whole Delhi NCR area. Artists from in and around Delhi would come to Rhythms for musical assistance. Some music directors who were her friends and acquaintances would also come there. She never thought her studio would become such a big hit when she founded it. She was still a bit dubious about it but her friends and family were proud of her nevertheless.

Adhira was driving along slowly when she saw a car idling on the roadside. It seemed familiar so she stopped her car. And she was right. She saw her ex colleagues, once good friends but now just mere acquaintances because of their busy schedules. She approached them to enquire whether they had a problem and they were shocked to see her there.

“Mrs. Bhargav! You here?” Nikhil asked with a feeling of surprise.

It felt strange to be addressed by an ex colleague and old friend as Mrs. Bhargav instead of her first name. It was weirder than you would imagine it would be to be addressed by a surname prefixed with a Mrs., especially if it said by an old friend.

It might be strange, but Adhira could not deny the reality in it.

“Hi! I was just passing by and saw your car. What happened? Is there a problem?” Adhira enquired.

“We think so,” he replied.

“Can I have a look at your car?” Adhira asked again.

Nikhil and Priya looked at her, surprised.

Adhira smiled, “Why are you so surprised? I may not be a good mechanic but I know a little bit from my own car repairing experience!”

They looked at her as if she were an alien or was speaking Chinese.

After checking the car for a few minutes, Adhira found the engine choked. He had probably not serviced his car properly. She realised it wouldn’t start without the help of a real mechanic. She straightened up from the bonnet and asked, “Where are you guys heading to?”

“To the airport. Priya has a flight for Mumbai.” Nikhil explained.

With a grin on her face Adhira said, “Not possible in this car. Its engine is dead.”

Priya started crying, “I have to go to Mumbai. It’s very urgent and I won’t even get a bus to the airport from here.”

Adhira looked at her, “If you have no issues, you can come with me. I am also going in the same direction.”

“No, no! We will manage something from here. Don’t worry,” Nikhil responded suddenly.

Adhira sensed his hesitation and that he did not want to bother her unnecessarily. She offered again, ”I don’t have any problem. In fact, I am going in the same direction. And all of us know I could drop you there much faster than any public transport!”

It might have been the repeated offer or the seriousness of the situation, they took up Adhira’s offer for help.

“Ok. But my car?” He asked instantly.

Adhira pointed towards the mechanic’s garage, which was few meters ahead.

He was surprised, “Oh! I didn’t see it before.”

“It happens,” Adhira said with a smile.

They pushed the car to the garage and returned to Adhira’s car.

It was very awkward for Adhira to meet her old friends like a stranger. It would have been fine with most others but not with Nikhil. Giving them a lift had been her idea so she tried not to over think about it and behave normally. It was perhaps the only option left with her. Adhira felt good after so many months. The last three months had been very hectic for her, having travelled back and forth between her studio and Meerut on a regular basis

She spent her spare time teaching singing and keyboard lessons to NGO kids, which she had funded since the past several years. She also gave management training to new employees from her former office where she had worked before starting her own studio.

Adhira valued her relationships a lot. Even after resigning from her old job, she helped her ex colleagues for the sake of friendship. Thankfully it was her last class for the group and she would not be going there for some time. She raised her chin against the wind to feel the fresh breeze on her face. She felt her stress ebb away and noticed the magic in the air that day.

They got into the car and Adhira got behind the wheel. Nikhil took the shotgun seat and surprised Adhira. Many times during the journey, they came face to face but looked away, never bringing themselves to talk. Adhira actually detested people who sat brooding in the car and made everyone else silent too. She felt upset to realise that they would not be talking this time either. The silence was too deep to be broken.

There used to be a lot between them but then silence took over. She watched him furtively. He had changed a lot. His languished face did not hold a smile any longer. It had been three years since the last time Adhira had seen him in his office, when she had gone there for some work.

Since then so much had changed in him. His face had been so bright and full of life. Adhira wanted to ask about him. But she kept quiet because she really did not have any rights to do so. She knew him well, their lives had passed by very close to each other. But that did not hold good then.

Adhira snapped out of her thoughts when her phone buzzed. The name ‘Neeti’ flashing on her screen dragged her attention to it.

Neeti was her shadow at work and now a very quintessential part of her life, for she represented Adhira in her absence. She was Adhira’s manager, secretary and everything in between. Adhira relied on her completely where her studio was concerned and Neeti became a companion she could trust blindly.

Adhira attended the call and it automatically connected through her car’s stereo via Bluetooth.

“There’s a problem,” Neeti said in a panicked voice.

When Neeti was serious, she did not bother with the pleasantries.

“Neeti, relax! Take a deep breath and tell me everything.” Adhira suggested in a soothing voice.

“Adhira, there is a major problem in our main DAW.” Neeti informed tersely.

“And what’s that?” Adhira asked.

“I guess some software related issue.”

“Ok! So call the tech guys, Neeti. Why are you calling me?” Adhira said, grinning.

“I know what to do, but the thing is that the repair guy will come only tomorrow and we have a major recording today in about an hour.” Neeti almost hyperventilated.

“Oh! What sort of recording?” Adhira asked, wracking her brains.

“Shekhar sir is coming for recording.”

“Shekhar is recording in our studio! Why? Why is he not recording in his own?” Adhira was surprised and shocked, some of the panic setting in.

“Please, I don’t know anything about this. Tell me some solution; I am totally blank at this time.” Neeti whispered tersely.

“Ok, tell him to use my workstation.” Adhira suggested.

“Are you sure?” Neeti asked.

Though surprised, Neeti had no other option. She knew Adhira was making a huge concession by giving permission to use her workstation. She never allowed anybody near it. So she was not really surprised to hear the next words.

“Yes, but only him and nobody else.” Adhira warned her.

“Yes Ma’am. I know very well. But what shall I say if he asks about this change?” Neeti asked carefully.

“I’ll talk to him about that. You don’t worry. He will not mind it. And if any other recording is scheduled, arrange it in one of the other rooms. I will come tomorrow to see what we can do. Ok then, bye.” Adhira disconnected the call.

She was just about to dial Shekhar when she saw his incoming call. He had beat her to it.

“Hey, I was about to dial your number,” Adhira greeted him.

“I hope I didn’t dial a wrong number?” Shekhar joked.

“Hahaha, don’t get confused. You got it right.” Adhira smirked.

“Why were you calling me?” he asked directly.

“No, first you tell!” she replied.

“Nothing specific, I just wanted to know whether you were in the studio or not?” Shekhar asked casually.

“No, I am on my way to the airport.” Adhira informed him.

“Escaping somewhere?” he asked, mostly teasing

“Not yet… Just going to drop my friend.” She replied.

“Oh! Actually I’m here in Delhi and about to go to your studio.” Shekhar informed.

“I know.”

“Is there anything you don’t know about?” He wondered.

“Incidentally everything related to Rhythms.” She replied, grief coloring her tone.

“And why is that so? Are you in a mood to switch your profession?” he asked consciously.

“No, it’s because Neeti handles everything and I just follow her.” Adhira replied, mostly as an excuse.

“You are depending completely on her. Aren’t you?” he pointed out.

“Yeah, you are right. But I have no choice. I have to manage other things as well. Like right now I am coming from somewhere.” She explained.

“I can understand. By the way, why were you calling me?” he asked.

“Oh, that… Actually there’s a little problem in the main workstation. You have to use mine for today. I hope you don’t mind.” She requested.

“Are you sure?! Look, I don’t have any problem using your workstation but I thought you didn’t like anyone near your workstation. So, how can I?” he voiced his obvious surprise.

“Don’t embarrass me. So… Tell me something, what are you up to? Why are you recording here?” She inquired.

“We are working on my next personal album. You forgot?” He chided her gently.

“Yes…yes… I almost forgot. Sorry!” She said apologetically.

“I have to catch my flight at 10 in the morning. I wanted to record something before leaving for the US for my concert. Please re-arrange the songs and make it good for my listeners before I come back.” Shekhar replied.

“Ok, I got it. Will make it happen,” Adhira assured him.

“Will you come to the studio now?”

“I don’t think I can make it. But I’ll try anyway.” Adhira tried to excuse herself.

“See ya then. Bye.” Shekhar bid a goodbye and disconnected the call.

Adhira turned to look at Nikhil’s and Priya’s faces. They were full of questions and doubts. Priya was the first one to begin actually asking them, though.

“How do you know him?”

Adhira was seeing Priya after a very long time but nothing had changed in her. She was still the same as always, impatient and curious. She had never been able to hold back the urge to ask a question that was in her mind and that nature had not changed over the years.

Adhira knew Priya from the days they had worked together in the same company. But something unforeseen intervened and they had to part ways completely. The two so called best friends were forced to choose different life paths and had not been in contact since then. Until today. But Nikhil and Priya were always connected with each other, even after Priya’s dismissal.

In fact, everything was still the same except the equation between Nikhil and Adhira who had an unfortunate and unforgivable past together. It was a past Adhira had forgotten but Nikhil had not yet let go of his guilt. He did not like the fact that he was left to live with shame and guilt and could not accept the fact that Adhira had managed to forget him so easily and move on.  He did not have the guts to face her but masked it by not talking to her.

Adhira had forgiven Nikhil the day she saw that he was happy with his girlfriend. She put his happiness first and was happy with his joys. But that did not absolve Nikhil of his shame and guilt, which he held like a burden to this day.

“How do you know him?” Priya asked again, bringing Adhira back to the present.

Adhira told her that she and Shekhar had been friends since their college days. But that information did not satisfy Priya, who was ready with her next question.

“What do you do nowadays? And how are the things like studio, recording, editing and workstations related to you?” Priya asked in a single breath.

She was obviously curious and wanted all answers. Adhira patiently dealt with her questions one by one. Nikhil was not as excited as Priya because Priya belonged to the age group of fans who enjoyed Shekhar’s songs the most. Shekhar usually had a large fan following consisting mostly of females because of the romantic numbers he had composed and sung.

Adhira enjoyed answering Priya’s unending questions because there would be no one talking in the car otherwise. At least Priya was making an effort at conversation. Adhira could live alone with music but only listening to music and not talking with anyone, especially when travelling in the same vehicle was not a nice gesture. They seemed to have a lot to discuss about Priya’s COA (Centre of Attraction) Shekhar.

“How is Varun?” A gruff voice suddenly muted both of them. They stopped their conversation and looked at Nikhil’s face.

“How is Varun?” the voice asked again. It came from Adhira’s left side.

This time it was Nikhil and not Priya who had surprised Adhira. She had thought Nikhil would never speak to her. Even today, he hadn’t spoken a word since the time he climbed into the car and now he was asking a question. And that question was about Varun, Adhira’s husband, who has been living in the US for the last three years.

“He is good. He’s in the US since three years.” Adhira gently replied.

“Then why are you here?” Priya asked.

“My studio is here! I can’t leave that.”

Adhira did not like giving a detailed explanation to anyone except her close friends and these people did not fall under that category. They were merely ‘acquaintances’, a politically correct way of calling friends who had become strangers. That was the reason she stopped with that single sentence.

“So, is your work more important than your marriage?” Nikhil asked sarcastically.

Adhira only smiled at his question because she understood the real intentions behind it.

In this patriarchal society, no matter how successful a woman became, her real worth was measured based on how successful she was in handling her marriage, children, husband and other relationships. These were supposed to be her real degrees. As if getting married and having children were sole reasons for her existence in the world. The society did not allow girls to leave their footprints in the annals of the world that easily.

This was not the first time Adhira had faced that question from a man. This had become a commonplace question since she had stepped out into the professional world. It was one of the most annoying questions, according to her. But thankfully, Varun did not mind these things. He was different. He supported her at her every step. Adhira was Varun’s choice. Theirs had been a love marriage. Though Varun’s family did not like Adhira much, they had to adjust with his choice because he was their only son.

His parents treated her with a cold formality and they were both aware of that. But they chose not to complain about it to each other because they had a very strong mutual understanding. Their marriage was always a perfect marriage and her friends always felt that Adhira loved Varun more than he loved her because she was the one who always compromised. Adhira denied this. According to her Varun was far more caring and loving than she was. That was probably the reason why she never questioned Varun.

Adhira was not much of a family person. She loved to be alone; maybe it was because she had always lived alone. Her friends were her only family besides her nanny who lived with her. She belonged to an army family; her father was always being transferred from one place to another. But she lived in Dehradun with her Nanny for the sake of her studies as her mother had to be with her father wherever he went. According to Adhira, only Riddhi understood her completely. Riddhi knew all her secrets. But it was not true. The way she handled and cared for her relations – Riddhi could never do that. In-fact, nobody else could do that.

While talking to Priya, Adhira remembered that she hadn’t told Riddhi about her sudden change of plan. She called her but her number was busy, so she kept the phone on the car dashboard and was again lost in her songs. She pumped up the volume of her stereo, which was playing one of her favourite songs, Zehnaseeb, from the movie HTP. She loved that song, a song which compelled her to re-live her old golden memories of her courtship with Varun. A song which was magical enough to let her forget all her worries and took her to another world of magic called love.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost!” – Kahlil Gibran

Most Awaited News

It’s true that sometimes the words left unspoken are the most important ones that should have been said much earlier to avoid the consequences of the destiny. If we love a person and care for them we should always let them know before it is too late. Confessions of this kind are far better than repentance.

Adhira had just crossed few miles, when Riddhi called her to give the most awaited news of her life. She picked it up on the second ring and even before Riddhi could speak, Adhira understood from her exhilarated tone that she was about to tell her something amazing.

“What happened, Riddhi?” She asked.

Riddhi took a long, deep breath and said, “I said ‘yes’ to him.”

“’yes’ to whom?” She asked, surprised.

“Today… Actually, just now! He proposed to me and I finally accepted!” Riddhi rushed through her sentences in her excitement.

Hearing this Adhira jumped on the car seat with joy.

“OMG! You said yes to Siddharth? Did you? You must be joking!” She asked, sounding really happy and amused.

“No, I am damn serious. I accepted his proposal.” Riddhi solemnly assured.

Riddhi was really surprised by the reaction she got from her. “What are you saying, girl?” Adhira asked, her tone not able to mask the obvious shock and surprise. “Over the phone?” she asked, making sure.

“No, he came to my house with the proposal,” Riddhi replied.

Now, that was the most impudent news for Adhira.

“What! Siddharth visited you without informing me? He was supposed to come here day after tomorrow. That’s strange! I mean, wait, I… I am confused. What am I saying! Well, congrats darling and give me just 5 minutes. Let me first talk to Siddharth,” Adhira said and disconnected the call.

Adhira’s reaction was to be expected. After all, Siddharth was like a brother to her. She was his world. They were not related by blood but they were bound by destiny. They had one of the purest relationships anyone had ever seen, having a strong, deep emotional connection that transcended petty idiosyncrasies.

As far as, Siddharth had never done anything without informing Adhira. But this time, he had returned without her knowledge and this hurt and worried her. She called him immediately.

“I can’t believe you have become so irresponsible!” Adhira scolded him directly.

“Hello Di, I know you must be very angry with me. But believe me! This was not planned at all. It happened so suddenly. I just forgot to inform you at the moment. I am really sorry Di…” Siddharth said apologetically, trying to calm down. He knew she would be angry for what he had done.

“It is okay this time, Siddharth! But don’t ever repeat your mistake!” She warned him.

“I am sorry once again, Di. I am so happy that I can’t even express myself properly. I was just trying my luck. But she accepted and surprised me completely. She said ‘yes’, Di. She said yes!!” Siddharth said, his excitement palpable

“I know, she told me already.” Adhira replied softly.

“Di, is she sure about her decision?” Siddharth asked, suddenly hesitant.

“If she was not sure, she would not have accepted your proposal.” Adhira convinced him.

“I am still jittery.” Siddharth confessed.

“You don’t have to be. She’ll never leave you alone. I won’t let that happen.” Adhira promised him.

“I can’t believe my lucky destiny! Is this really true?”

“Don’t overreact,” Adhira admonished him.

“Di, I want everything to unfold soon. I have to go to the US after two months and I want to take Riddhi with me.”

“Siddharth, have some patience, dear. How can all this be possible in such a short span of time?” Adhira asked, nonplussed.

“Oh no, Di. Riddhi wants the same, too! Wait. I will put her on conference call. You can ask her directly!”

“He is right! I want everything to happen soon, too!” Riddhi reiterated what Siddharth had said.

“Are you guys mad or what? You are both talking about marriage as if it is some kind of a joke!” Adhira seemed exasperated.

“I know how odd it must sound to you. But trust me when I say I have never been as sure about any decision as I am about this. I don’t want to over think, get confused and have second thoughts. Let’s make it happen. I don’t even care about anyone else. Except you.” Riddhi’s voice sounded desperate and pleading.

Siddharth seconded what she had said, adding a few pleading words on his own. Adhira was silent for a moment before she spoke next.

“Shut up, you two! Ok, I’ll do it. Let me talk with your dad.”

Siddharth and Riddhi heaved a sigh of relief. They had successfully convinced Adhira.

“I’ll talk to Dad. He will call you.” Riddhi told her.

“Have you guys decided on any place or anything? I mean what kind of wedding do you have in mind?” Adhira asked.

“It will be simple and only our friends will be allowed. No relatives. No melodrama. And I was wondering if we could do it at our farmhouse? Let’s call all our friends there. We haven’t met in so long. We can spend some quality time together. It’ll be fun. What say, Adhira?” Riddhi asked.

“It’s a great idea. I’ll arrange everything. Wait, I’ll just connect the others to this call.” Adhira agreed and started connecting everyone on call. As time passed, she grew more and more excited and thrilled with the idea. They had never seen her getting so excited about anything so far.

She called up Gunjan who in turn connected Mohit, Ritu, and Mayank. Riddhi connected Abhimanyu, Nikita, and Varun. They all have been friends for long and they were more like a family to each other. Some of them were friends since early days and some joined later. Adhira, Siddharth, Abhimanyu and Riddhi were together since the time they were not sure what friendship meant.

The others came into their life during college days. When they had grown a bit and started realising the value of friendship, love and care. They met Gunjan, Mohit, Ritu, Mayank and Shekhar and their friendship grew. They have a strong group, their relationships built on trust, loyalty and honestly that matured with time. But even amongst this group, Abhimanyu and Adhira had the strongest bond. Their soul-mate like bonding could easily make the world understand their friendship. They mirrored each other in personalities. They were the best companions, competitors, admirers and what not!

They are poles apart but together, they created a great example for others. A perfect Taurus – Scorpio bonding, they were the opposites that attracted each other.

Their friendship has seen many seasons, they have been through many rough, dull and bright phases of life but nothing could break their trust towards each other. They have been together since childhood and will probably be together till eternity. Abhimanyu believes that their bond is strong and unbreakable because of the constant efforts made by Adhira in their friendship. He respected and admired her in every possible way. Somewhere, he is true. Adhira binds each and everyone together in a single thread called friendship, she captured all of them in a single frame.

They filled everyone in with the latest news. The happiness and excitement in the air were infectious. This was turning out to be the most awaited news for their group. Siddharth had already proposed four times in the past few years but Riddhi had rejected every time. So this came as a pleasant surprise for everyone. A few minutes later, Varun took his leave from the call as he had a flight to board. The others left one by one. Only Siddharth, Abhimanyu, Adhira, and Riddhi remained on the call.

Five years back, something happened between these two friends that compelled them to stay apart. Although it did not make a big difference in their hearts, it hurt their egos so badly that it was preventing their patch-up.

In the last five years, Abhimanyu and Adhira had never once spoken. They had not even spoken over phone. Riddhi was sure Adhira was cursing her for connecting them in a conference call. But she really could not think of another way to get them together.

In the present, now that it was just the four of them, Abhimanyu asked, “Riddhi, is there anyone else who wants to talk to me?”

It was directed at Adhira but she deftly sidestepped him and said, “Riddhi, I have a call in waiting. I will talk to you later.”

“Guys! Please stop fighting, at least for our sake. It has been so long already. How much longer do you think you can be without talking to each other?”

“Why are you blaming me Riddhi? What do I do if someone else’s ego is hurt?” Adhira snapped at Riddhi.

“Adhira, come on! You were best buddies once!” Riddhi tried to make her realize their importance in each other’s life. But the whole thing turned ugly.

“Some best buddies we were! He hasn’t called me ONCE in the last five years.” She blurted, letting out a strangled sob.

“Neither did you.” Abhimanyu said, directly to her.

As if that was her undoing, Adhira started talking to him.

“Why should I? It’s your mistake. You started shouting at me without understanding the situation. I was just listening to you. You should apologize.” She accused angrily.

“Oh, really? You were wasting your time and emotions over a stupid person who did not give you the respect you deserved, but you were so deluded by him. What else was I supposed to do?” Abhimanyu demanded hotly.

“I was not after him. I wasn’t even interested to talk about him even back then. It was YOU who started the conversation. I was simply sharing my views with you!” She explained, exasperatedly.

Tears rolled down Adhira’s face. She was usually a very strong person but sometimes, in front of her loved ones, she broke down, unable to explain and prove herself. They were both discussing their last conversation that had ended in a verbal fight. Last time they had both spoken, Abhimanyu had found out that Adhira was still connected to Nikhil and nurtured feelings for him somewhere deep inside her heart. Yes, it was the same Nikhil who was sitting beside Adhira at that moment.

She was unable to remove him from her life. It was mostly a one-sided affair from Nikhil’s side because Adhira kept her feelings hidden. Still, it wasn’t good according to Abhimanyu. He had just been showing his concern for her but uttered certain things he shouldn’t have. She always knew what was good for her and did not need much of and advice. She had already distanced herself from Nikhil at that point but had simply been sharing her feeling.

“I tried calling you after that but your phone was switched off for hours!” Adhira said firmly.

“Yes, my phone battery had died.” He said as an excuse

“And how is that my fault? You should carry your charger with you always if your phone has such a short short battery life.” She snapped.

“That was funny,” Abhimanyu smirked.

“So are you.” She shot back.

They continued fighting in that vein for almost half an hour. But slowly Abhimanyu realised that Siddharth and Riddhi were also on the same call and were perhaps frustrated with their bickering. But they didn’t have much of a choice than to listen to their Mahabharata.

“Okay… Leave the others out of this. Call me separately and we will continue.” Abhimanyu said.

“Why should I? You call me! Damn your ego, Abhimanyu!” Adhira retorted, her ego preventing her from conceding.

They ended the hour long con-call. And then Abhimanyu called Adhira. He was talking to his best friend after 5 years and a half hour call would not be enough. Though they were fighting like cats and dogs, Riddhi knew they would patch up soon.

Sometimes, you faked anger towards your loved ones for some time but once they start talking, every strand of anger melts away. As in the case of Adhira and Abhimanyu, their anger melted away in the emotions that surfaced. The small misunderstanding seemed insignificant in front of their long lasting friendship.

“Is your ego gone, Abhimanyu? How did you call me now?” Adhira asked without preamble.

“Look, I am really sorry. I should have understood your situation, especially when I knew you don’t have anyone else to share your feelings with. But I could not. A lot of things were happening in my life too and I could not handle them all…” Abhimanyu said apologetically.

“Don’t give any explanations or clarifications. I know you, your problems and your self-centred ego. Couldn’t you call me just once? I got to know from some other sources and was heartbroken. Only very late did I know that these things had happened. When you got new friends, you forgot your old ones. But you forgot that old friends are like antiques. Difficult to get, hard to find and too precious to lose!”

“Okay, enough talking about the mistakes. Tell me the solution now!”

“What kind of solution. You are the problem. How can I say?” Adhira said, smirking.

“Listen. I really want to sort it out.” Abhimanyu requested.

“Me, too! But the problem is, you have committed so many mistakes that it is hard to understand which one to forget first. Tell me something. Have you ever made an effort to talk to us? Did you ask about how things are going here? How is Siddharth? What he wants to do with his life? His future plans and ambitions? Have you ever asked about my studio? About how I am managing it all alone? You have never asked me any of these so far. Don’t start now. I have outgrown your support and don’t need it anymore.

“But your brother needs you; he always felt your absence. I tried to fill in for every relation in his life, but I could not fill your absence. What do you know about Siddharth, Abhimanyu? Do you know his habits, his strength and weakness, his dreams and goals or his love and his desires? No, you don’t know. In fact, you never wanted to know. But I do. I know all these and more. Today he respects you for sure because he loves you, but you gave him a thousand reasons to hate you. Where were you Mr. Abhimanyu Malhotra when Beeji died? We called you so many times. Did you not get any messages? You didn’t reply to even a single one. What made you so busy that you couldn’t even come during her final moments? You gave me so – so many reasons, Abhimanyu. Countless!”

Adhira was so angry with Abhimanyu that she did not even care about the people sitting in her car.

“I know I gave you thousands of reasons to hate me. I hurt everyone, especially you. But please, give me one last chance to explain myself too.” Abhimanyu said after a long pause.

“How many chances should I give you?” She asked, irritated.

“Last one. I swear I’ll never let you down.” He assured.

“No, this time you need to be punished.” Adhira put a condition for their patch-up.

“I agree. Accepted.” He said in haste.

“Without knowing, you might have to pay a big price for this.” She warned him again.

“Anything to make you happy.” He pacified her.

“I’ll see to it. Now put the phone down. You can’t compensate 5 years of absence in a single phone call.” She said.

“There were so many moments in the last five years, the magnitude of which this call cannot fill in.” He said emphatically.

“True.”

“I guess, it’s time to say a temporary goodbye now. We’ll talk again later. Bye and take care of yourself.” Abhimanyu signed off in haste. It surprised Adhira too, but she didn’t stew over it, mostly because she knew Abhimanyu had always been impulsive and was used to it.

She ended the conversation and turned up the volume of music in her car. Nikhil and Priya had been silent for the entire time. They had a lot of queries but could not ask anything. Nikhil, especially, had a lot to ask because his name was mentioned in the conversation but he had lost the rights to ask anything of Adhira, who was currently preoccupied with other thoughts.

She was thinking about Siddharth and Riddhi. She was very happy by their decision to get married. She had always wanted it, especially after Riddhi’s traumatic past that still haunted her. She always wanted to find someone who could love Riddhi more than anyone in this world. And thankfully Siddharth is the one. Adhira always believed that Siddharth is the one who would never break Riddhi’s heart. She believed that he is the one who will hold her hand till eternity. Riddhi completely relied on her beliefs and instincts. Deep inside her heart Riddhi also believed that Siddharth was the one whom God had chosen for her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *