Anya was horrified and shocked; she was disgusted with herself for being so self-centered, “I…I am sorry, I wasn’t well myself so lost touch with her after she got married,” she attempted to assuage her guilty conscience, “How are they now?” she quavered.
“Its been over a month and a half now and I think the worst is over,” he said reassuringly; another fear rose and almost suffocated Anya, “Ho..how is Sherry?” she closed her eyes and held her breath almost afraid to hear the answer, God forbid if that was the reason he had also not tried to contact her (even Muniya called up regularly to ask her haal chaal), “Oh he is ok, terribly busy building his empire and shuttles between Delhi and Bangalore.”
‘Great’ she thought viciously, ‘that means I can have the pleasure of murdering him myself, worry instantly turning into a deep burning anger – yahan she almost died and he…he was busy building his empire! What the hell does he think of himself? She controlled herself, “And his mother,” she asked stiffly.
“Oh she is fine, I think she took a sabbatical and was with Sherry in Bangalore for a couple of months, but now she is back in Delhi while Sherry shuttles between Delhi and Bangalore as per work requirements.” He revealed helpfully.
“Oh thanks,” she said in a small voice, “Do you have any number to contact Aisha or her parents?”
Armed with the number, Anya called up Aisha’s father and he in turn made the two girls talk – there were tears and apologies galore though feeling that Aisha’s condition was more serious, desisted from sharing her ills (love-life related) and instead concentrated on cheering up Aisha, who seemed very low and in a lot of pain. Aisha who had been sorely feeling the absence of her friend soon cheered up and was talking nineteen to the dozen in no time. As her cousin had said, some six weeks ago while returning from a party thrown by some friends just before they were due to return to India, they had been involved in accident. There had been a head on collision with another car driving the wrong way and at high speed (an escaped convict on the run); all five occupants in their car had been seriously injured while the other car’s driver died on the spot for he wasn’t wearing a seat belt and flew out of his windshield and crashed into theirs.
Three of them, including Yatin had been discharged all with some broken bone or the other while two girls including Aisha were still hospitalized due to internal injuries apart from multiple fractures, “But don’t worry I will live,” she joked, “and dance at your wedding too, just don’t get married in a hurry will you?” she requested, “By the way has Sherry popped the question yet?” she teased.
Anya managed to mumble something like ‘that will be the day’ and hurriedly disconnected the phone – life was so unpredictable, here she was wallowing in self-pity and wahan Aisha was grievously injured and she hadn’t even known what kind of a friend was she? Aur kisine use bataya bhi nahi – how could anyone tell you anything, she jeered herself – did you maintain any contact with anyone? You even went so far as to avoid your own family and unko bhi kuch ho jaata toh you would have never known she castigated herself.
Bas bahut ho gaya Anya, she told herself firmly, Sherry is not the only the only person in your life, you cant spend your entire life pining and moaning about a man who doesn’t even care for you, close this chapter Anya and get on with your life she told herself. Life was too precious and short to be spent repenting on what could have been, she lectured herself sternly.
Armed with good intentions and buoyed by the return of good health, Anya went all out to be her usual chirpy self and began picking up the threads of her life, calling up old friends, joining some online classes busying herself – in a more positive and productive manner.
The days were happy enough, but her subconscious just wouldn’t let her be – she often woke up in the night drenched in sweat, still unable to come to terms with the ‘betrayal’ – true Sherry had never really promised anything but everything about him, his gestures, his attitude had told her more than words ever could that he did care deeply about her – then all of a sudden this turn around.
Silent sobs racked her slender frame – Sherry where are you Sherry, she pleaded, come back to me, please, tell me what’s wrong dammit.
Anjali woke with a start, “Anya!” she was shocked to see Anya crying; she hurriedly switched on the table lamp, “Kya hua? Not feeling well?”
“Oh Anjie!” the burden of her secret too much for her to bear and finally she accepted that she needed help, she needed a shoulder to cry on, somebody who would understand and help her move on, “Oh Anjie, I love Sherry but he doesn’t love me!” she cried luxurious tears of relief on Anjali’s shoulder. There! She had confessed, maybe the pain would ease now.
“What! What are you saying Anya? Shhh sweetheart, poora batao Anya,” Anjali attempted to console the distraught girl without losing her calm.
Slowly bit by bit, the whole story came out, Anjali listened mostly in silence, asking only a question here or there; finally when all was revealed Anjali was stunned and overwhelmed with guilt – so much had happened and she was unaware, tears slid down her cheeks as she hugged her baby close willing to soak up her pain wishing she could murder this Sherry, how dare he not love her baby? Uski himmat kaise hui dammit she gritted her teeth, her daughter didn’t need any Sherry verry – Anya deserved better and she would find someone who valued Anya more than this idiot ever could; she rocked her daughter and said fiercely, “Forget him, he is not worth your tears, nobody is.”
Anya raised her tear-streaked face and hiccuped, “Oh b…bu…but Anjie, I…I think he is the m…mo…most handsome guy,” she wailed unhappily.
Anjali didn’t know whether to laugh or cry; she did both and then soothed the not so big girl back to sleep. However, there was no sleep for Anjie that night, everything was clear now, why Anya fell ill, why she was too busy to talk, Anjali sighed and bit her lip, sab meri galati hai, I should have never listened to Kshitij and given in to his strictures about giving Anya space and scope to grow. Dekh liya na kya haal bana diya apna meri bachchi ne!
Nani sahi kehti hai, for parents, children never grow up and they always need their parents.
Confession is good for the soul Anya realized, and she felt much lighter and clear headed, she could look at her heartbreak in a more detached manner – the time to accept what was dished out to her was over.
She resolved to go one step further.
One day, she called up Sherry’s residence in Delhi and confirmed that Sunita was indeed back home. She put her plan into motion, she begged Anjali to lend her the car for she wanted to visit her ‘friend’. Relieved to Anya fresh and bright, she happily agreed, it would be good for the girl to go out and socialize she thought.
Not willing to take any chances, Anya timed her arrival at Sherry’s residence to just before Sunita usually came back from school; nodding familiarly at the guard, she let herself in to the little garden and sat quietly on the garden chair, fanning herself with her duppatta; it was hot and sultry, rain and thunderstorm seemed imminent.
Khushi came back to RM to find Anya had out; she was instantly worried and called up Anjali, “Di, Anya kahan gayi, sab theek hai na?”
“Haan Khushi,” Anjali reassured her, “She asked me for the car, she wanted to go visit some friends,” Di said.
“What friends?” Khushi was suspicious; Anjali had shared Anya’s ‘Sherryfied’ state and they had spent hours counseling Anya but mostly consoling her.
Even though Anya did seem chirpier and Anjali may have been lulled into a state of security that all was well, Khushi wasn’t too convinced – besides, she had begun to think like ASR aur usko bhi toh jawab dena padega ki nahi?
Dammit kuch aur kichdi paka rahi thi toh?
“Di, middle of the week, middle of the day, kuanse friends? And wouldn’t it be too taxing on her health, abhi bhi she is so weak, couldn’t her friends come over to RM, I don’t like this at all,” said Khushi with deep foreboding.
There was silence as Anjali accepted Khushi’s arguments; she realized she had been to hasty in allowing Anya to once again do her manmani, who knew where she was going, what if she had fixed up a meeting with this Sherry character, what if he rejected her again, what if – the list was endless and fear gripped Anjali, “Yeh toh humne socha hi nahi, I was just so happy and relieved that she seemed to be getting back on track,” she trailed off.
“Nahi Di,” Khushi was adamant, “you are too trusting, aapko use aise akele jaane nahi dena chahiye tha, aur Arnav ko pata chalega na, toh there will be hell to pay,” she predicted presciently.
“Arnav ko kya pata chalega?” Talk of the devil and he was right there where he was not wanted or expected.
“Aa…aap, yaahan aur is time?” she squeaked in alarm, guilt written all over her face.
“Haan main,” he said grimly as he advanced decisively as if going in for the kill; Khushi paled and tried to cover up, “Kya hum Di se kuch private baat nahi kar sakte?” she protested even as she quailed at his expression.
“Not when you take my name,” he decreed, “Now out with it aur mera time mat waste karo, as it is I can’t find my Singhania file and had to drop by just to check if it here,” he grimaced angrily.
“Oh file!” Khushi happily fished it out, “Yeh raha, aap bhi na,” she smiled brightly at him, “You should have called me, I would have sent it over, why bother coming home?”
Arnav flicked the file from her hand, “theek hai theek hai, now tell me what were you talking about with Di?” his voice brooked no argument.
Khushi sighed and slowly under Arnav’s intense glare and penetrating questions, the entire Anya-Sherry saga came tumbling out – in a sort of a Chinese whisper (oho the game where people sit in a circle and one person whispers a sentence into the ear of the person sitting on his or her right and it goes on like that till the last person in the circle repeats aloud what has been said – and there is usually much hilarity because the message that is finally received is entirely different from the original sentence). So in effect Anya may have confessed everything truthfully (or perhaps what she believed to be the truth) to Anjali – of course Anjali in turn had reinterpreted and added her own masala while narrating it to Khushi and then of course Khushi added her two bit worth interpretation as well.
And as well all know, Arnav is more than capable of putting together two and two and coming up with err well five or even six ( 😀 ) so bechara Sherry was painted as the world’s worst villain who had taken advantage of Anya’s innocence and defiled her purity etc etc.
“Uski himmat kaise hui,” Arnav roared as he shot to his feet, “Who the hell is this guy? Main uska khoon pi jaaoonga (well no err he didn’t exactly say that but to be honest he did look as if he was rather bloodthirsty)
Click here for Chapter 328