Karan had assured Madhu he would handle the matter. Later on his way back to hospital, he was pondering on the same. It was not in his nature to make idle promises to anyone and he meant to fulfil this one too. After rendering his duties at the hospital, he was back home, lying on his bed at night. Meanwhile his phone beeped.
Samiksha : Why, hello there.
Karan : Hey, what’s up.
Samiksha : Nothing. Only two more exams to go. And then outing, flirting, shopping, um . . .
Karan : Hmm. Concentrate on your exams right now. After their completion we will plan out your wishes alright baby.
Samiksha : Yes, my Lord.
Karan : Now that is a new honour you have bestowed on me today. Accordingly, my wish should be your command.
Samiksha : You have my word.
Karan was aware
of the phase Samiksha was going through as her graduation exams were going on. He decided to keep other matters under covers until the culmination of her exams.
Karan : Want to refresh for sometime?
Samiksha : Yes yes, please.
Karan : Namely I will say the lyrics of a song in English. Likewise you have to identify the Hindi song.
Samiksha : Sounds fun indeed. Go ahead.
Karan : While walking the paths, remember my songs always, never say good byes.
Samiksha : Chalte chalte, mere ye geet yaad rakhna, kabhie alvida na kehna.
Karan : I mean it.
Karan : Here is next one . . . You are my life, you are my happiness, my love, wish and affection.
Samiksha : Tu meri zindagi hai, tu meri har khushi hai, tu hi pyar tu hi chahat, tu hi aashiqui hai . . .
Karan : Certainly I know that.
His whisper made Samiksha shiver in the warm night. Accordingly, the lovers were declaring their feelings for each other in the disguise of sweet lyrics.
Samiksha : Um. Now me. I cannot live without you, my existence is meaningless without you.
Karan : Hum tere bin ab reh nahi sakte, tere bina kya wajood mera. I love you.
The last three words melted Samiksha.
Samiksha : The last three words were not in the lyrics I said.
Samiksha teased him.
Karan : Do you ?
Samiksha : Karan . . .
Karan : Tell me.
Samiksha : Love you too.
After a silence of a minute, they continued.
Karan : Now my turn. Um . . . When a situation turns wrong, when difficulties come along, you be at my side my beloved.
Samiksha : Hmm. Let me think.
Samiksha thought for a while, struggling for the translation.
Karan : Fast madam. You have to sleep now as you have to write your paper tomorrow.
Samiksha : Please wait. Let me think.
Karan : Sami, two minutes more.
Samiksha : I got it. Jab koi baat bigad jaaye, jab koi mushkil pad jaaye, tum dena saath mera o humnawab.
Karan : That is super cool. You got the meaning ha. But, do you mean the words too?
Samiksha : Hmm. So I get it now, you wanted some promises from me that is why this game. Not done doc.
Karan : Why not? We are future life partners. Is it wrong if I ask for a commitment or two?
Samiksha : No my darling. Don’t become serious now. I agree to each word, with my heart and I mean what I am saying.
Karan : Sure?
Samiksha : Now you are intimidating me.
Karan : Not at all baby. You trust me right?
Samiksha : With my heart and soul.
Karan : That is it. Now brush up tomorrow’s subject once and go to sleep like a good girl.
Samiksha : Copied that. Good night. Sleep well.
Karan : Good night. Love you.
A relaxed Samiksha revised her subject and went to sleep. However Karan was pondering over how Samiksha would react to the reality she was about to face in some time. Leaving the matter to God, reciting a silent prayer, Karan dozed off in his bed.
Madhu was seated
and Mahesh swayed restlessly in the living room.
“Madhu I have waited years to tell Samiksha about our relationship. You forbade me to do so out of the fear of her reaction. I agree she reacted strongly when you mentioned my remarriage to her in the past. But don’t you think she is grown up now. Certainly, she can understand situations in a more matured manner.”
“I agree to what you are saying Mahesh. But what if she reacts in a way opposite to as we are expecting? Have you thought about that?”
“May be. But I want to take this chance. And drop the stupid idea of abortion from your head forever. You are not going to do anything of this sort. I want this child Madhu. You alone cannot decide our future.”
Meanwhile Madhu walked slowly to him and rested her head on his shoulder.
“I don’t want Samiksha to feel that we have betrayed her.”
“Why will I feel that? who has betrayed whom?”
Samiksha’s words pierced
their ears in the silence. Madhu backed off from Mahesh and stared at Samiksha. However Mahesh was maintaining his calm and looked at Samiksha straight into the eye.
“What is going on dad? What has happened?”
Immediately holding her, Mahesh made her sit on the sofa.
“There is something you should know Samiksha.”
“Mahesh please don’t. Finally at the end, I will lose . . . everything.”
Madhu’s tears had blurred her vision and she could barely speak.
“Madhu let me speak. And please don’t get excited. Certainly its not good for our baby.”
“Baby? Which baby are you talking about dad? Mum, what is all this?”
“I will tell you. First, promise that you will listen with an open mind Samiksha and second, its a matter of four lives. So please don’t react impulsively.”
“Dad you are scaring the hell out of me now. What is it? Please tell me fast.”
“Samiksha, I and Madhu love each other. We wished to tell you this sooner, but were unsure of how you would respond. We also tried to . . . “
“Since how long?”
Subsequently Samiksha interrupted Mahesh with a question laden with cold bitterness. But it was enough to send shivers down Madhu’s spine.
“Since twelve years.”
Samiksha paused for a second, trying to compile the information she just recieved from her dad. For her it was not just a revelation, but a shocking disclosure.
“I got it. So you both have been betraying me since twelve years. On the other hand, I didn’t get a slightest clue of this thing. How stupid I am. And whose baby you were talking about dad?”
“Ours. Mine and Madhu’s.”
“Sami . . . “, Madhu’s words were stopped by Samiksha’s scream.
“Don’t take my name. I don’t want to talk to you. I get it now why you opted to stay here, under the wrap of being my caretaker. You have no character. You are nothing but . . . “
“Samiksha stop it. You will not speak to Madhu like that. Now or ever again.”
Clapping her hands in dismay while wiping the falling tears, Samiksha blurted out,
“I am sure you are happy to hear all this. You have turned my dad against me, cheated my mom and me and . . . “
“Not a word more Samiksha. I mean it.”
“Of course not dad. And you will be glad you won’t hear anything from me now onwards because I am leaving this house.”
Somehow Madhu got up, balancing herself from the aftermath of this situation.
“Mahesh please. Stop all this.”
“Nevertheless you can do what ever you wish with my dad after I leave. Moreover this is what you wanted right?”
“Samiksha . . . “, Mahesh’s shout punched Samiksha in the heart and she started moving from there.
Madhu caught her wrist
and stopped her.
“Certainly the guest has to leave, not the owner. I was a guest in your home for so many days. Becoming a guardian of yours was my choice, which I don’t regret. You gave me the priceless memories of your innocent blabbering as a child, the sweet persuasions for preparing your favourite dishes, caring for me when I was unwell and above all making me a mother, when I was not one.”
Inspite of Mahesh’s attempts to interrupt, Madhu gestured him to refrain and continued.
“You need to stay at your home to look after your dad. He needs you. Certainly I can understand your angst. Even though I had no intention of even thinking of hurting my sister’s memories, I am sorry I failed.”
“Madhu all this is not needed.”
“Mahesh I will harm myself if you say anything more. Please let me set this right. My chi . . .
Madhu swallowed the word ‘child’.
“Samiksha take care of yourself and, and please don’t overeat. Remember that you are a sports person. Exercise regularly. Go to bed on time. And . . . “, Finally Madhu was lost at words.
“Take care of her Mahesh . . . and yourself.”
“Where are you going Madhu?”
“Don’t worry about me. I will take care of myself, will certainly have to. I promise you that.”
“Madhu . . . “
“Indeed you have my word Mahesh. If you try to stop me or follow me, I will harm myself. Take care of Samiksha.”
Finally, without turning back, Madhu left the house . . . her home.
Samiksha’s back was turned and she did not bother to see Madhu leaving the threshold of of her home. . . now merely a house.
Karan’s phone rang when he was about to leave from the hospital after rendering his duties.
“Madhu. How is everything?”
“Karan I am feeling uneasy and . . . “
“Where are you? Is no one around?”
“No. I am alone. Can you please come here?”
Madhu instructed Karan her whereabouts and sat on a public bench nearby. Soon Karan arrived there and saw Madhu seated on the bench, broken and alone.