The Guy Next Door
Episode 1 – Two Men, Two Lives
Rich and famous, her husband was and that was what made her miserable.
She had never spoken a word more than necessary; yet her husband was never satisfied with whatever she did. She never wanted to spend her life with such a person but, her dad chose him because he was at a good position in a bank and his family was rich and famous. Even her mom couldn’t convince her dad to allow Diya to at least reject or approve of a person. Her dad was an orthodox who took all the decisions and the ladies were to silently obey.
Most days were mute for her, as she would dare not speak a word unless her husband asked. A banker by profession but a dictator by personality, he never allowed her to take decisions of her life. He refused to even give consideration to her wish to take up a job. He doubted if his parents would approve as it was against his family tradition. But that was just an excuse. For real, he was just like her father – mean, orthodox, and dominating.
Her dad had so conveniently chosen this husband for her without even asking her. The man worked in a bank. That was enough for him but not for her. He was from an affluent family. That was enough for him but nor for her again.
She didn’t even want to marry. She was pursuing her studies in Computer Science when the offer came and her father simply accepted it, denying her plea to let her continue with her career plans. Her mom could convince him to allow her to study engineering and she made the best use of the opportunity by becoming the topper of Computer Technology in the entire state. The day when she had received her marksheet, her friends had congratulated her and given her a special treat. But when she had come home and told her father, all he had said was, “Good, but remember, don’t push me for a job. You know women in our society do not go out for work. Otherwise, how will you get married?”
“I don’t want to marry Dad” She had said in her nervous and stuttered voice to which her father responded with a harsh glare and she understood that no matter what she would say, she was not allowed to do the job. And still, she did not lose hope and appeared for interviews at the campus and she got through, got selected, hoping that the news would change her father’s mind. He would be proud. She wanted to surprise him by telling him that she got a job already and before anyone else in the college. When she told this to mother, she was super happy and hugged her daughter hard but when Dad came…
She could never forget that dreadful day, when she had cried her heart out after her father refused to budge when she pleaded him for mercy, for freedom and for a chance to live. His only response was, “Your marriage is arranged and if you want to do a job, I leave it to your husband. If he approves of it, then go ahead with your plans”. While she wanted to surprise him with the news of her job, he gave her a shock by declaring her marriage.
“And if he doesn’t?” She had asked.
“After marriage, the husband is the king of the house. Now, it is up to you how you convince him.”
It had been almost 2 years since marriage but she could still not convince her husband just like she could never do with dad. In fact, he was even worse than her dad. He never agreed to anything she wanted except the children part and that was because she just refused to budge; saying she was not prepared for the child. He insisted her to have kids almost every day but she didn’t want to have them till she was comfortable enough. He would taunt her and at times threaten her of societal and parental pressures, and expressed concerns of reputation. But he could never force her to give away her one right – to decide if she wanted or not wanted to have children.
Her daily routine included cooking breakfast for her hubby and preparing tiffin for him. Doing the home chores all day and when he would come back, she would prepare evening breakfast and then dinner. She was busy all day working in her house. She did everything from making food, cleaning stuff, to washing clothes.
Karan, her hubby was of the opinion that a girl should know everything and do everything on her own. Because she was not working, she did not need a maid. Her work also included buying vegetables, paying electricity and telephone bills. On the other side, husband would just go to office, come back home, have dinner and sleep with her. She often thought how privileged it was to be a man and how boring it was to be a wife. She was unaware of the outer world, where women were stronger and had more control over their lives. For her, life was only about taking care of her husband and his parents.
She had never approved of the marriage but in her family, girls did not take decisions. And after marriage, she had no choice but to approve of her misery because that is what women do.
She was busy in the kitchen whole day. In fact, she was going to be busy in the same work for all the following days. Her in-laws had finally decided to stay with their son and were coming next week. She already had many restrictions and responsibilities and now after they would come, it was going to be worse. Worse meant, she could not go out; she could not talk to her friends for a long time and could not even study newspaper. All was going to do was prepare food for the family, clean the house, utensils and take orders. In her two years of marriage, she never saw a moment of happiness. Her husband never believed in talking to his wife for anything, neither did he feel any need to take her opinion while making decisions.
“Hello! Yeah… Yeah… I will come right away.” said Karan over the phone.
This meant she could have some free time for herself and a smile graced her face. Karan got ready, tucked himself a tie which she handed him over, and rushed out, telling her that he would be late. As soon as he was out, she got ready too, took her cell phone and went to the garden at the back of the building. She used to enjoy such rare moments when he was not home and she could feel the fresh breath of air outside. She entered the elevator, excited. She wanted to make the best use of this time because soon her in-laws were going to destroy her happiness forever and then, even these rare moments would evaporate. She loved the garden, those pretty flowers, and the little butterflies that hovered over them. She could watch them for hours sitting alone on the garden bench. But today, the bench was not empty.
He was sitting there on a bench, with a laptop and looked busy so he didn’t notice her. She always saw him in the elevator, when she went for taking vegetables or to her friend’s place. He used to look at her and smile at times. He had a very soothing smile which made her feel at home. Though they both didn’t know each other and never spoke a word but still she always felt safe with him. He was tall, a bit whiteish in complexion and had big eyes on his face making him look bold. Strong muscles were visible through his T-shirt and the expensive watch that he always wore on his wrist suggested that he was rich. And the best part about him was that he had the style of a man who respected women and that is why she had kind of started to like him a lot even without ever having spoken to him. She often thought about him in her imagination, talking to her and walking with her. She even dreamt of him coming and hitting her husband when he misbehaved and then, taking her to a faraway place. Though she knew her dream would never come true but if there was a chance for God to listen to her heart, she wanted him in her life. Ad maybe this was the moment, she wondered. Or maybe, she was being stupid, she felt bad for her own desperate soul.
“Hi.” His voice was very bold that matched his countenance.
“Hi.” Her heart started to beat. This was first time that her dream man spoke to her. His voice was manly and it struck her hard. She always liked people with bold and mature voices.
“What’s your name?” His head moved towards her.
“You work?” She didn’t like the way he asked her such a straight question and as he must have already known that she was a house wife, why even ask.
“No, but I have done engineering in Computer Science and I wanted to work but…” She suddenly stopped; there was no need to tell him her story especially when he had not asked anything. She was sounding like someone waiting to speak to him. Although, it wasn’t untrue but why show him?
“Then why don’t you work?”
“My family is kind of…” She wanted to say orthodox but kept herself from using a negative word “I mean, they don’t approve of ladies working in the family. My husband is in a good position and we can sustain in his salary.”
“It is not just about salary but also about what you want to do. Don’t you want to work?”
“Of course, I do. But I cannot fight with my family. After all, family comes first.” She had already fought a lot with no tangible results except for unanticipated beatings and she was tired of it because she knew nothing was ever going to change in her life.
“I don’t believe this. Family matters a lot but you come first and then your family because, until and unless you can keep yourself happy, you will never be able to keep your family happy.” He spoke casually, “ I am so sorry, it is none of my business. I don’t know why I even said all that. I was actually, I was reading this article on women liberation, something that I need to do for my client so I just wondered…”
Her phone rang; it was Smita, her best friend. She didn’t want to receive it and wanted to speak to him for some more time. But she excused herself from him because she did not wish to make him feel how important he was to her and also, to show that her life after all, was not so useless and she had friends to talk to. She was still in the garden, talking on call, a little far from him so he could not listen but she had her back facing him.
“Hey, do you remember, I told you about that guy I see in the lift often?”
Smita on the other line wanted to know more. She was one person who Diya could tell everything, even her fantasies.
“He spoke to me today”
And when she told her friend that she was indeed in the garden with him, Smita suggested her to keep the phone down and enjoy the moment. But when she did that and turned to him, he was gone. Her happiness was so short-lived or did he feel bad because she did not listen to him and instead went to attend the call? Did he not like her? she wondered. Then why did he speak to her?
“Gosh! I am so stupid. Why would he ever think about me?” she put her phone back into her purse and walked right back with a broken heart, with a tired gait.
When she reached home, she did what she usually did – waited for her husband to come for the dinner and watched a movie on the television. This was the only time when she could watch it and she loved movies. She didn’t realize when she slept off on the sofa, waiting for him and the television was on. It was 9 past 11 but he had not come. Though she always felt a sense of relief when he wasn’t home but as a good wife, she was supposed to be worried for her husband if he was late. So, she called him.
“Hello… but why?” He told her that he was not going to come home for the night. He had planned for some night out with his friends.
“How dare you ask me that? You are just my wife so behave like one.” He kept the phone down. Of course, she was not supposed to ask questions, being the powerless lady in the house.
She was angry for he had shouted at her in front of his friends but in her family, she was never given a right to be angry. She sat on her bed lonely thinking about her past days when she was unmarried and happy, at least comparatively, if not completely. She loved to go to college and loved to study. There was a boy in her college who was her friend and she used to like him very much. But she could never gather the courage to give him any hint. She never got to know what that guy thought about her. Nothing moved between them and the same thing was going to happen again with the guy next door. But what if she tried? A thought came to her mind.
She got up and took out her best suit from her preen cupboard. She didn’t know why she was doing it but she wore it, put a little makeup and was ready to leave. She couldn’t control herself and just felt like going to the guy next door.
The next moment, she found herself standing with two bowls in her hand at his door and he opened the door.
“My husband is not coming home. I have made some dishes which I don’t want to eat alone. I thought maybe if you too haven’t had your dinner then I could offer you some.” She thought she was doing something silly by going to a stranger’s house at 11 P.M. at night with the dishes she made but she didn’t bother much as she desperately needed his company and after he had spoken to her, it became a little easier for her to approach him.
He smiled “Come in.” He was a little surprised but didn’t show it when he saw her lonely and hopeful eyes that revealed her story of desperation. He was used to women behaving like that with him. While he hardly showed any interest in women lately, women were always up for his grab.
“Make yourself comfortable.” He offered her the arm chair to sit.
She kept the bowl on the table in front of her and settled herself on the chair slowly. Initially, she felt a bit nervous for the chair was not stable but soon she adjusted herself.
He came with a glass of water and gave it to her. She tried to stand but he asked her to sit and relax.
She took the glass and said, “Sorry. I forgot to ask your name.” Ouch! That was so silly for her to say, she thought to herself. She is coming to meet this guy at this hour and declaring that she doesn’t know his name.
“Rohan” He extended his hand towards her. She shook hands with him. While he was holding her hand, she felt a strange feeling of weakness as if she was attracted to him. His hands were hard and sturdy, like that of a man who worked hard in the gym. Surely, she was excited and attracted, but she did not have the right to think about him that way. Though she was just 22, an age at which youngsters could easily feel seductive but she was married and she did not have the right to think about any man other than her husband. But she did not know why she could just not stop thinking about him, even when he was in front of him, her fantasies won’t stop. Instead, they were growing in size. How different he was from her husband. She wondered if it was not Karan but Rohan who was her mate. She could have lived a different life with him, much cooler, happier, and perhaps, romantic.
He was looking at her with a strange expression which gave her a hint that he was surprised since she came so late at night. Maybe she was not supposed to come to him and maybe he was also one of those orthodox men who thought wives did not have rights. But the way he spoke to her in the evening suggested a different picture of him, a picture which gave her the courage to come to him so late at night. But even then, what she was doing was way out of the line and despite knowing that, she did it because she wanted to and she could not help.
“My husband is not coming home tonight and I was alone. I didn’t want to have dinner alone. I mean…”
“Did I ask you anything about why you came here?” He said, softening his voice.
“It’s ok, just relax. You must be hungry. Even I am. I was going to order something just now. My maid didn’t come tonight. Thank God you just came. I will get the plates ready.”
“No it’s ok. I will…” She jumped from the chair but he stopped her.
“Sit and relax. This is not your house and you are my guest, so give me the privilege to serve my guest.”
She smiled. He used a language which she had never heard in her family. At her place, she was treated more like a slave than a family member. He picked the bowls from the table and went inside.
While he was making arrangements for the dinner, she scanned the living room. It looked somewhat messy but was full of creative things. The walls were full of colorful posters. There was a white board kept near his arm chair on which he had scribbled some of his plans for the coming days. His papers and several other things were all tucked in one corner of the sofa with a towel covering half of them, making it look like a spider web.
“Sorry for the mess. Actually, I did not get time today to clean all this. I had to finish a project today so I was kind of busy.” He said, his hands occupied with plates.
“Oh! Am I disturbing you?”
“No, not at all. I have just finished my work. You have the perfect timing”
He gave her the plates with some sweets added to the stuff she had brought. She looked at him and he smiled. She found his smile very mature and soothing.
“I am really sorry. Actually, tonight I was…”
“Please, don’t. I told you, you don’t need to give me any reasons. Just have the food and enjoy. Would you mind if I switch on the Television?”
“No of course not, please go ahead. After all, it is your house and your TV” She said and he smiled. When he switched the device on, it played songs on a music channel. It was rate to watch the television at night as she was always busy with her daily chores and if her husband slept then, she could not make a noise. Even the flash of the TV would irritate Karan. It was only in the day time when her husband was not at home that she managed to see television in between her cooking and other household work.
She was now feeling very sad for what had happened to her life. She had so many dreams when she was in college, all were shattered. She had never imagined that her life would become restricted to only working for her husband at home. She had never thought about the day when she would not even have the right to enjoy TV shows and now that her in-laws were coming, her future was going to be way worse. She felt like running away but she couldn’t even do that. And now, she had become so desperate for air that she was sitting in a stranger’s house at this hour of night when her husband was not at home. How naïve, unethical, and creepy it sounded. She was feeling so ashamed that it had come to this state. She gave Rohan a full glance and was almost in tears. She was not able to gulp the food though she was trying to. She wanted to tell this man everything and wanted to ask a favor to set her free but she knew she had to keep quiet. She was nobody to him. How could she even think of doing that? She wasn’t some damsel princess in distress that a prince charming would come to save.
“Any problem? I mean you are not eating anything. Is everything all right?”
“Yes, I am fine” She had to lie.
He could understand her plight as her coming late at night, that too when they had spoken only once, was kind of unusual and suggested that she was upset. He didn’t want to embarrass her more which is why he didn’t ask her about her reasons.
“So, what do you like?” He wanted to change her mood.
“Like in what sense?”
“In the sense, what are your hobbies?”
“I don’t have any hobbies”
“How is it possible? Everyone has a hobby or you don’t want to tell me. Maybe you don’t trust strangers.” He smiled sheepishly, trying to give her confidence.
“No, it’s nothing like that I just don’t…” She wanted to say she had no right to have hobbies but kept quiet.
“Ok then let’s become friends and then you will feel comfortable talking to me. Friends?” He extended his hand towards her.
“Friends” She needed a friend desperately. A friend who could protect her, sooth her and give her company in her lonely world. She felt more confident and happier now that she had a friend just next door and she could talk to him anytime. She was looking at him with hope in her eyes. He saw a strange sadness in her eyes. On one side, there was hope and at the same time there was hopelessness. He gave her a short smile. He wanted to subdue her pain but didn’t know what to do. After all he didn’t know anything about her. Until yesterday, she was a complete stranger to him except that they had passed smiles when they shared the space.
“What do you do for a living?” She tried to change the mood.
“I am a web-designer and I have a small company of my own but it is still under the process of registration.”
“Wow! your own company. That’s amazing.”
He smiled again.
“So you do programming also?”
“Yes, a bit, specially web programming. You know about programming?”
“Yes, I have done graduation in computer engineering and I loved programming.”
“Really! Then why don’t you do that now?”
“I told you, my family doesn’t approve.”
“Try speaking to your husband, he should understand. Was your marriage arranged?”
“Yes, it was arranged.” She gave a sigh.
“Oh! If you don’t mind, I can speak to him and give you an option to join me in my company as a programmer maybe. You don’t even have to go far since I can make arrangements at home. I am planning to have an office here only as you can see my house is big. I have merged 2 apartments for that same reason. What do you say?” She heard him very patiently as if he was talking about a dream and wanted to help her explore that. But when he asked her for an answer she just said “No.”
“Why? You said you love programming.”
“Yes, I do but not my family. If they come to know that I want to do a job, they will kill me.”
“You mean seriously or are you just exaggerating?”
“I am serious. They are very orthodox and if I say a word about doing a job, they will kill me.” She looked at him in horror as if she had been dealing with monsters and waiting for him to save her from them. “Yes, if you really want to help me, maybe I can join you but I won’t tell my parents and I can do your work at night. You can give me assignments in a pen drive when…” she continued.
“NO…” She suddenly shouted. “No. I was thinking too much. Even that is not possible. I do not have any access to machine. We have only one laptop at home and it is always with my husband. He won’t ever give it to me for anything. Let’s just forget about this work thing.” She looked sad; more now for she could see that, something she always wanted was just a step away but she could not take that step.
He felt pity for her. “Can I help you in any way?” He asked, in a sympathetic voice, as if he could see her pain and genuinely wanted to help.
“Take me away from here.” His heart stopped for a minute as her words came out. He looked at her not understanding or maybe understanding, but unable to convince himself of what she just said. What did she mean by take me away? Was she planning to run away? Was she a tortured wife to whom her in-laws were trying to kill like in a typical Hindi movie? Or did she like him? He could not understand.
Episode 3 – Death after the Walk in the Garden
“I mean, can we go down for a walk? It’s the breeze. I mean… I… I…”
“Sure.” He agreed before she had to explain anything. He cleaned the table and went inside.
She scolded herself for what she had just said. How could she do that? If she would have told him about how desperate she was, she would lose a friend also, and then there wouldn’t be any hope, not even in the future. She pinched herself for the blunder she was just about make or did she already make it? What would he be thinking? When he came out, she smiled nervously and he responded naturally as if nothing strange had happened.
He was very understanding; always admired by his friends for that and they often came to him for solutions. He was never rude to anyone, and always polite, helping like a genuine person. He could never see anyone in pain and was always up for help. This time, she was in pain and he was kind enough to help her even when he didn’t know anything about her or her family. He was a gentleman by nature.
They went to the same garden but this time, they were not sitting but walking on the grass. she didn’t say a word but her head was spinning with thousand dreams – the dreams of the same garden she was walking in but with the two hands holding each other.
He tried a couple of times to speak to her but she only nodded and smiled every time for she was nervous as well as upset to respond. She wanted to enjoy the moment which was never going to come again but she was not able to. She tried to hold her emotions and not let them flow like crazy but only until she was almost in tears.
Then she spoke, “I think we are late, maybe we should go now.” She didn’t want him to know that she was in pain. She knew she was walking on a dream path and knew that it was never going to be the same again. At least not in the near future but then she had to be cautious before she starts to have expectations. For her, this 2-minute walk itself was a huge thing.
She wanted him to say ‘let’s stay for some more time.’ for she wanted to stay with him.
“Ok.” But, he agreed to her words and did not understand her heart. Her heart escaped a beat and felt hopeless because her dream was such short-lived.
In the next five minutes, she was back home. She looked at her house. It was clean and tidy. She didn’t like this tidiness but she liked the messy house that she had seen just a few minutes back. She opened the fridge to take the cold-water bottle. She drank like a person thirsty for days. And then smiled.
She was happy that she got to see some life at least for a few minutes which was unimaginable till the previous day. The guy next door was so nice that he made her his friend and now she could speak to him in the coming days whenever she got a chance.
She had to spend the rest of her week preparing various dishes for her in-laws as ordered by Karan. He believed that his parents deserve everything cooked by his wife and didn’t want to buy sweets from the shop. She was a good cook by nature so that was an added advantage that she didn’t have to put in efforts figuring out the recipes. Her mom was a brilliant cook and had taught her almost everything that was ever made in her community.
This was their first day at this house, at least after the couple settled. Early morning, at 5 am, they would wake up and need tea. She would bring the tea, touch their feet, and serve them tea and wafers.
“What are you wearing Diya? Don’t you know our tradition?” She was wearing a very decent pink-colored Salwar Kurta with white Chunni on the head. She didn’t think that there was anything wrong with her attire.
“You are supposed to wear a Sari in front of your parents. Go and change your clothes.” She had already fought with her husband a few nights before for the same. She had told him that she was not going to wear Sari but maybe he didn’t speak to his parents regarding that and just assumed that she would obey by default. She looked at him in anger.
“Wait.” Her mother-in-law took out a Sari from her suitcase and gave it to her. The color of the Sari was pale yellow and she didn’t like it but still took it because she had no choice.
She looked at Karan and gave him an indication to come inside while she went to change. She waited for him to come but he didn’t. She didn’t have a choice but to switch to Sari now.
The whole summer went by working in the kitchen while her in-laws ordered for things to eat almost every hour. And then they called all their relatives who were in Delhi and decided to have some dinner programs at home. While she was serving them, she heard they were 5 in total and the dinner was fixed for 5 days. Now there were tough times ahead of her as all these relatives had big families which meant lots of food and lots of work. And there was nobody to help her.
For almost two weeks she could not even take a peek out of kitchen except when she either had to serve dinner or get introduced to new members of the families. Neither of them spoke to her except when they wanted her to make tea or wanted something like chapaati. They used to come in the evening at around 4 every day and would go back only after dinner and dessert. She was nothing more than a beautiful machine for them which they saw, admired and then the machine started working again.
It felt like ages but at last, the series of relative gatherings was over and she could relax for some time at least for making food. She decided to speak to Karan regarding the Sari issue at night but he never came to her except when his parents were asleep and then, he would tell her that he was too tired and went to sleep. It was her who worked hard too but that did not matter but his tiredness was still important. The sari episode was not going to last only for a few days. It was going to be forever if she did not speak so one day, she decided that she would speak to him, no matter what.
He came home a bit late and then she took the chance to speak to him but when he gave his usual excuse, she said,
“Am I not tired? What do you think I do the whole day? Take massage?”
“What? What did you just say? I am your husband. Don’t forget that.”
“Husband! What kind of a husband you are that you are never bothered about your wife’s suffering and when your wife wants to speak to you, you don’t even bother to come to her… Ah!” He slapped her hard on her face. She stumbled and fell down on the floor. He removed his shirt, jumped on the bed and went to sleep as if nothing worth noting happened.
She cried the whole night but there was no one to listen to her grief.
That night, she decided to prepare herself for the worst and for the first time gathered the courage to stand against her family.
Next morning, she prepared breakfast for them as usual and went to serve them but she did not wear a sari this time.
“What are you wearing? I had already…” Her father-in-law asked.
“I am not wearing a Sari.” She replied bluntly. “I am not going to live on your terms.” She herself couldn’t understand how she had the nerve to say what she had never said before.
“What did you say?” Karan came and slapped her hard on face. She fell down on the floor but this time she didn’t cry.
“I said, I am not going to live on your terms.”
“Oh! So now you got words. Wait, I will show you.” He took her by the hand and pulled her inside the kitchen. He lighted the gas and heated the pan. And she suddenly knew what he was up to.
“No, no please don’t do this to me please don’t.” she pleaded. But he didn’t listen and turned the heated pan on her hand. She cried in pain. He threw her on the floor “Go and change.” He instructed.
She ran inside, tears flowing, and slapped the door behind. She pushed herself to the bed and cried. She looked at her burnt hand. It was red and was full of pain. She wrapped it with her dupatta and sat on the bed for a while. She was silent. She looked at the sari that she had picked up in the morning but had kept it aside thinking of rebelling and now she had to pick it up again and wear it. She was crying in pain but silently while changing because there was no one to pay heed. This was his extreme face which Karan had never shown her before but today he did something she had never imagined. Maybe it was because of his parents that he was suddenly acting more orthodox. Now she understood that she cannot take any action against him but has to keep quiet.
For the following 4 days, she was quietly doing what was asked. She didn’t speak to his parents nor did she complain to him. But this was not all. There was more torture waiting for her.
It was 9 O’ clock on a Sunday morning and she needed some vegetables for cooking.
“I am going to bring vegetables from the market” She told Karan who was changing the clothes after taking shower.
“You are not going anywhere. I will bring the vegetables. Just tell me what you need.”
“Please let me go and bring it myself.”
“I said no. From now onwards you will never be allowed to go out of this house.”
“Please, I want to go.” At this, he thrashed her again. It was not like another routine for him, added to brushing and washing.
“What kind of a husband are you? You can’t keep me chained inside. You burnt me and you asked me to wear this sari. I did it and did not complaint but…”
“Oh! so you are doing a favor by keeping quiet. Come with me I think you need some more lessons.” He pulled her and threw her on the bed. She tried to get up but he pushed her down and forced her to do what she was not ready for. He pulled her blouse, revealing her soft breasts and squeezed them hard. She cried asking him to stop but he would not and instead, he pulled her by hair and pushed his mouth on hers. He gave her a passionate and wild smooch. His hands moved over her breasts and quickly came down on her, releasing the knot of her sari and then of her petticoat. She tried to stop him again but he would not. Instead he pulled her again and gave her a bit on the neck. She kept trying to stop him but he was too heavy, strong, and hard on her who would not stop at anything and just like an animal, he consumed her and pushed himself inside with force. The pain that smothered her heart and tears that wetted her cheeks were all ignored.
After raping her to his satisfaction, he stood up, wore his shirt and left her alone, sobbing, with her clothes all scattered. She was lying down naked on the bed while others were enjoying the breakfast made by her. What could she do now other than gathering her broken pieces and standing up again to live up to the torture? She got up and wore her sari, slowly as her skin bruised by his nails hurt her. She slowly walked and came to the dining room where the family was sitting. She could see their shameless faces who did not feel the need to stop their son who exploited her like an animal. She was crying loudly but still, there was no response from the parents.
She went and stopped in front of her husband.
“Look here.” She said. When he looked at her, she did not see human eyes but those of a monster who had just killed her soul. She slapped him straight without bothering about the consequences as she had already seen enough. She actually wanted him to kill her for she could not take it anymore.
“You bastard!” He shouted, on the top of his voice, and pulled her with her hair. “How dare you?” He threw her on ground. She didn’t cry this time but looked at him again. He took out a lighter from his pocket. Before she could stand up or think of another response, he pulled one corner of her sari and burned it with the flame.
“No!” she cried. She took off her sari which was of nylon and she could not wait even for a second otherwise she could have burned. She threw the burning sari on him which he struggled to save himself from, trying to put off the fire. Parents came to help him and pulled the sari away, throwing it on the ground and rub it with their slippers to blow off the fire. She ran to the drawing-room. She managed to open the front door before he could come to stop her. She got out and closed the door from outside. She was confused and did not know what to do at the moment. She could not run far as Karan was banging the door so hard that she was afraid the door could break anytime. Also, she did not have her sari on and she felt so exposed and dilapidated. She wanted to cry but now, even that would not help.
At this point, she could think of only one person who could help. She rushed to the house opposite to hers and started banging Rohan’s door. When he opened the door, he had a paper in his hand which he was engrossed in and didn’t look at her for a few seconds. She felt exposed and didn’t want him to see her but she did not have an option. She kept quiet and, in a few seconds, he looked up. He stared at her in shock, kept the paper aside, and said in a worried tone “What happened!?” Her face was red and wet with tears, hair was open and tangled. She had some scratches on her face and her body was full of painful impacts which suggested that she was being badly beaten.
“Come in.” He took her in, closed the door behind and gently made her sit on the sofa while he went inside to bring water for her. She was quiet, still in shock and pretty scared.
Episode 4 – Escape from the Hell
“Have some water.” She took the glass from him and drank it like a person thirsty for days. She made herself comfortable on the sofa. He wrapped a shawl around her and sat beside. After a few minutes, she felt safer and started crying. He kept silent and did not touch her.
Suddenly, a bell rang and she jumped with fear.
“No, please don’t tell them I am here. They will kill me.” She pleaded but in a low voice.
“Don’t worry” He assured her.
He went to open the door. He took some clothes from the man on the door and closed the door.
“Don’t worry; it was just my laundry boy.” She was standing at the corner of the room shocked and in fear.
He went to her and held her hand “Come.” He took her to his bedroom and made her sit on the bed.
“Calm down. You are safe now. Tell me what happened.” He asked.
She didn’t say a word after that but only cried.
“Stop crying. Look at me. I am here, I am here with you. You are safe and nothing will happen to you. Just stop crying and tell me what happened. Please look at me Diya. Please stop crying.” He tried to console her. She looked at him and said “I… I… my hu… hu…”
“Yes, tell me what happened. Don’t be afraid, nothing will happen to you. Tell me.”
“They… they tried to… He… he…” She was not able to explain what had happened to her. She started crying again, wiping her tears that were not ready to stop. He pulled her close and hugged her. After a long time, someone had hugged her other than her mom who used to do it every day but after her marriage, they could hardly meet and she missed the comfortable arms of her mother. She closed her eyes and surrendered herself to him.
She calmed down after some time.
“Relax” He said and got up. He opened his almirah and took out a loose white T-shirt along with a long plain blue trouser.
“I can only give you these” He gave her the clothes to change and went out of the room.
She knew after this incidence Karan was not going to leave her alone. She was expecting that he would find her and try to get her back. Now she had only one hope and the hope been Rohan who could help her out. He did not have any reason to be a part of her fight but if he refused to help then there was no way out for her. Even Smita had told her that she was going to leave Delhi next week and she didn’t know anyone else who could help her. If she told her Dad, he would never agree to keep her though her mom would support her decisions never mattered in the family. She didn’t want to become a burden on a stranger but she was not able to find any other option. She assured herself that she would find a way out soon. She changed her clothes, wrapped the ones she had discarded and kept them on one side of the bed. She lied down on the bed to relax. She did not want to think anymore and was feeling safe as if it was the end of the torture. She thanked God and thanked herself for she did what she did otherwise, there was no way she could be out of that hellhole.
She was almost asleep when she suddenly shaken with the sound of a bell; she looked up to see that Rohan was standing on the Bedroom door looking at her with care in his eyes. He turned to leave.
“Where are you going? What was that sound? Is someone at the door? Please don’t tell them that I am here. I…”
“Relax. I will take care” he said, showing his hand to make her stop from getting into a panic.
When Rohan opened the door, he was surprised to see her husband.
“Did you see my wife by any chance?”
“Your wife? No. I don’t even know her. Why would I?”
He had been searching for her desperately. He had asked the guard who told that he had not seen her. He thought maybe this would be an easiest place to hide. But he was very skeptical about her going to a total stranger for help and yet he asked just for assurance.
When Rohan came inside, she was sitting at one corner of bed with her legs folded like that of a scared child and she was holding them with both her hands. She looked at him with horror on her face.
“It was your husband asking for you.”
At this, she stood up and started looking all over in confusion. She walked to and fro nervously as if was going to collapse. She held her head with both of her hands and started pulling her hair with tears almost running down her eyes. The fear was drowning her face. Rohan went close to her, pulled her hands away, and made her sit on the bed.
“Relax. I told him that you are not here and he agreed easily. You are safe here. Don’t worry. Nothing will happen to you. I am with you. But you have to tell me what happened otherwise how will I help?”
She told him everything he did to her, keeping the details of her rape but only brushing it slightly. The way she was describing her story, he could see the pain she was feeling, the helplessness in her eyes touched his heart deeply. He had heard about such incidences with women but had never seen it happening for real.
He pulled away from her and sat with both his palms locked together on his face. She was silent too for a while.
“Do you want me to call the police?” he said, giving her a side glance.
“Police! No please don’t. I… I…” She was not able give him any reason for her denial but in her heart, she knew the reason was her fear. She was afraid that if he called the police, she would have to leave his house and police may hand over her custody to her dad. She was afraid to go to her dad who she knew would never support her. He may allow her to live in his house again but he would never forgive her for handing over her husband to the police even if the reasons were genuine. Her dad was more concerned about his reputation than her life.
“Do you want me to call your parents?”
“No please don’t tell my parents.” She was indirectly demanding support from him. If she was not ready to talk to the police and she was not ready to go home, he had to offer her help.
“Do you have a friend over here who can…”
“Please give me some time, I will find someplace.”
“No, I didn’t mean that. You can stay here for as long as you want to. It is just that you may need some moral support, so I thought maybe you would like to meet your parents or friends.”
“It is not as simple as you are thinking. I don’t have a friend over here who can help me and my parents will never accept me if I go home.”
“Even if you tell them what happened?”
“Yes even if I tell them the truth.”
“Some questions do not have an answer. I have to live my life alone and I can. Just give me some time.”
“But where will you go? This place itself is not very safe, especially for women living alone.” He said, waited for her reply but when she did not respond, he continued with another suggestion, “If you are comfortable then you stay here with me.”
She looked at him in surprise. Why did he want her to stay with him?
“I mean if it’s okay with you. And whenever you find a suitable place for yourself, you can go. Just make yourself comfortable here till you find a place to stay. You will be safer here”.
At last, he agreed to help her without she even demanding it. How could any man be so helping and so simple, she could not imagine or believe?
Episode 5 – On the Job
“A… you.. I mean, yesterday you asked me to join you. If you were serious about it then may I…” She was standing near the sofa on which Rohan sat and was working on his laptop.
“Just give me 10 minutes. Okay?”
She nodded in affirmation and went to the bedroom. She thought maybe she was a disturbance to him in his work. But he came back to her after exactly 10 minutes as he told, “Yes, tell me what were you saying?”
“I want to work. I want to learn. Can I start doing something for you?”
“Hmm… First tell me what languages do you know?”
“Do you mean web programming?”
“Yes, that would be beneficial to me.”
“I know ASP, PHP, Java script, AJAX, DHTML…”
“Fine if I give you a small problem, will you be able to write some program?”
He showed her his machine and gave her small lessons on how to run a program on PHP and handed over the laptop to her. She immediately got herself engaged in typing. 2 years was not long. Just two years back, she used to be the best programmer of the college and she believed she still had it in her.
He went inside understanding that she would take time as she had not been in touch with the subject for long. He came back after 7 minutes with a newspaper in his hand and sat down on the other side of the sofa to read it.
“Rohan” She called him by his name for the first time.
“Just check if the program is okay.”
She saw him watch in surprise as he was not expecting her to finish the work so soon. It takes an experienced programmer to finish the task he had given her so quickly. He scanned through her codes in the hope of finding a mistake but he was surprised when he found none and instead the program was terse and used the codes optimally to create a very clean program. He wondered how she could do that especially when she couldn’t access the computer for two years. He looked at her in astonishment.
“You said you hadn’t done anything in past two years.”
“Yes, I could not practice it but I had my books and notes, which I used to refer often to keep myself updated.”
“That’s amazing. You are very good. I can see that you are really serious about your studies and career but you never got an opportunity to bank upon your talents.”
“Yes in fact, I used to be the most famous programmer in my college, in fact in the entire state. I had even won a competition. I even wrote a program for EDS, a company that is into office automation. For past two years, I could do nothing and missed my programming but now I can do that. I love programming and I love computers. I am feeling so good that I got a chance to touch a machine after so long.”
He felt very sad listening to the way she expressed her craving for something she was so good at, but could not do anything just because her family didn’t approve of it. She looked at him with excitement in her eyes. This made him respect her. She had been going through the worst times but still, she had a spark of hope in her eyes which was very difficult and rare.
He promised to engage her in his work but before that he wanted her to read some books and practice it. As he was always busy with his work so he couldn’t give her his system. So, he thought of buying a new one for her but he didn’t tell her about the new system, wondering if she would hesitate. He told her that he had one more system kept in the storeroom and that he will give her the next day for practice. He was impressed by her short performance. He had an eye to recognize talent and now, he knew that she could be a great asset for any company like his.
Suddenly, for Diya, all misery was gone as her love for computers was rekindled. She spoke for hours and told him about her dreams when she was in college and about her friends. She hardly spoke of her family except for mother.
Rohan also told her a great deal about his life. She discovered that was from a very rich family but a few years back, he lost his entire family in an accident and the only person alive from the family was him. He had his parents and a younger sister whom he loved very much and after they were gone, he engrossed himself in his work so that he wouldn’t have to miss them so much. They both shared one thing and that was loneliness and they shared the pain of losing their family. The only difference was that her family was alive but she still couldn’t meet them.
“I am feeling very sleepy now. I will take a small nap; if you want you can sleep or watch TV, whatever you want to do.” For the first time, Diya was free to choose her actions.
“Can I have some books? I will study.” He smiled and gave her a programming book which he treated as a bible for his reference and then, left.
20 minutes after he fell asleep, the bell rang. And as expected, Diya panicked again. She ran inside where he was sleeping. He was fast asleep when she came to him. It seemed he did not hear the bell. She touched his hand gently. He woke up with a startle.
“What happened?” He asked.
“Someone is at the door.” She whispered.
“Oh Diya, you sit here, I will go and see who’s there.” He dragged himself up from the bed and walked to the living room while Diya settled at the corner of his bed, waiting for him to assure her again that it is not her husband.
Episode 6 – New Friends
It was Aakash, his best friend and the partner in his venture.
“Huh” He went and sat on the armchair and sighed. His face was low as if he was waiting to tell him about some tragedy.
“What happened?” Rohan asked in a serious tone. He was expecting some positive news about his business till then but when he saw his friend’s face, he got a little worried.
“Guess what? Our loan got sanctioned.”
“Really? Wow that’s great.” They both hugged and patted each other in excitement. This was the moment they had been waiting for since a long time. They needed some funds for their startup. Though Rohan was rich enough to use his family treasure, he didn’t want to. He believed in doing something on his own. He couldn’t waste his hard-earned family income for his ambitions. Though he didn’t have anyone left in his family but he still felt they were there and he would never do anything which would not make them proud. His dad always expected that his son would make him honored and he wanted to show him that even if he was not here to support him, he could still be proud of his son from heaven. He always felt very lonely after he lost his family but he had a group of friends who always took good care of him and never left him alone. And, Aakash was especially the one who was always with him.
Aakash was so close to him that they shared everything and when he came home, he always took it as his house, never bothered about interference but felt every right on his best friend.
“Dude, I am feeling a little tired.” Before Rohan could stop him, he went inside in the bedroom where she was waiting for Rohan.
“Who is she?” He looked at her in surprise. He was shocked to see something he had never expected from Rohan. Rohan had always been a guy who never believed in love affairs and was always busy with his friends or his career. Though there were many girls that liked him seriously but he thought Rohan never bothered.
“Actually, she is our first employee. I mean, for the company.”
“What? Dude, I am your partner. You hired an employee and didn’t even tell me.” He looked angry now.
“Hey… come with me. I will tell you everything.” Rohan took him to the drawing-room and asked him to sit on the sofa.
He told Akash her entire story after which the anger turned into sympathy.
“God this is horrible. She is so young; looks so sweet and decent. How could anyone do something like that to her?”
“Yeah, I know and that is why I am helping her. Would you like to have something?”
“Definitely. I want to have something nice and spicy.”
“Nice and spicy… Help yourself, you already know the way to my kitchen.”
“Kitchen! Hey come on, order something yaar.” he lied down on the sofa.
“No, I am not ordering anything.” He took the newspaper and started reading it.
“No but why?”
“Just like that.”
While they were still talking, she came out with a tray on which were kept 2 glasses of water. Rohan kept the newspaper aside and his friend, who was half-drowned on the sofa straightened up to sit.
“Hey you don’t need to do this. Come on. No need of any formalities.” he took the tray from her and kept it on the center table. “Please sit.” Rohan offered her a seat beside him.
Both friends were looking at each other not knowing what to say. For about a minute they all were quiet and didn’t say a word but only smiled at each other.
“Would you like to have something? Tea, coffee or cold drink?” She said, looking at Aakash
“No nothing it’s okay. Just relax. I will take it if I need something.” Said Aakash nervously.
“Why, you wanted to eat something spicy right? Shall we order something? Diya would you mind if we order some non…”
“No, it’s okay I don’t need anything.”
“I will make something for you.” She said politely.
“No, no please no need really. We can…”
“It’s okay, just give me some time, I will cook something nice for you.” She got up, smiling.
“No… Hey Rohan why are you not stopping her? Come on, tell her not to take pains”
Rohan didn’t say anything but only smiled.
She went to the kitchen.
“She is cute yaar. In fact, very cute. She looks so so… I don’t have words but she is pretty.” commented Aakash.
“Yes, she is pretty.” He looked towards the kitchen.
They started discussing about their business plan which they needed to execute as they had received the sanction for funds now.
“So initially we will make the office here only. I think we will only be four people working so…”
“Five, right. But will she be able to cope?” He pointed at the kitchen.
“She is good. Believe me”
“Okay I trust you on that. By the way, what about Mr. Mehta’s project? Is it over?”
“Almost done. Just some testing required. Why don’t you check it once if it is okay?” He pushed the laptop towards Aakash.
Aakash started scanning through the website he had just made. “Good yaar I think you have taken care of every detail.” He said.
By the time, they were done with their discussion, she came out with a tray filled with plates and chaat. She kept it on table with two plates for them. She started serving but Aakash stopped her.
“It’s okay, we will take it. Really… Are you are not going to having it?”
“No I just…”
“No excuses, come sit here.” Rohan pulled her down and got up. He bought another plate from inside and gave it to her while he served the dish to all.
“Hmm wow it’s so tasty. Really amazing. I have never eaten such a delicious chaat in my life.” commented Aakash as he filled his mouth with a big piece. She gave a very lively and cute smile at his appreciation. Rohan loved this smile.
Aakash wanted to see her laugh so would on and off make silly remarks. She took time but she could still open up a bit with them and felt the comfort of friendship in not more than an hour.
She had come from a family where she was never given any importance and only the men in the family were given priority. After they would finish the food, only the leftovers were shared by women. But today, she was in a different place. Though she was just a hands distance away from the hell she belonged to but, she felt safer with her new friends.
She thought what her husband would be doing. He definitely would not leave her like that. He was going to try everything to find her. What if he found her? She would have to leave and then her life would be worse than ever. She didn’t want to leave but if he found her, she could be risking her new friends who were so generous to her. She would pray to God everyday so that Karan could never find her whereabouts. But she knew well that this life was only a temporary thing since Karan would find her any day and she had to be prepared for that.
Episode 7 – Beautiful Rain
It was a new morning with the first rain touching the city. She loved rains and when she was young, it was her favorite season. She used to play in the rain with her friends Arti and Shabnam in school. While her parents were worried when she got late, she used to enjoy the way to her home. She used to stop at a garden where other children played. Sometimes she even talked to them and played with them without bothering about getting late. Every time she came late, she got scolding from her dad but she still did it every now and then and was forgiven every time because mom would save her. And now after so many years, she was experiencing the same rain but she was bound to one room and couldn’t move.
She watched the morning ray penetrating through the rain with sparkles appearing, which made her happy. She smiled. She pushed her left hand out of the window to capture the raindrops. She opened the window fully to see the road outside which looked wet and the drops were falling to make a beautiful sound. She felt like playing in the rain. She opened the door of the balcony which was just a step away from the window and got out. Then she stretched both her hands to the sky and closed her eyes.
“You like the rain?” came a voice from behind
“Yes, I love it.”
He felt sad for he couldn’t take her out for her own safety.
“Hey, would you like some pakodas?” She asked, looking at him.
“I will just come.” And she went inside.
She started preparation for the pakodas. Took out some flour, potato and onion.
“I can help you slice these” He said smiling and took the vegetables from her. While he worked on the potato, he also watched her making a mixture of maida and some masalas that he could not recognize just by the looks. She picked the onion, took out a knife and started slicing it. She was fast. While Rohan was still working on his second potato, she quickly sliced three onions.
“How come I did not get tears when you cut onion?” He asked
“When you keep water aside with top covers of the onion immersed and slice it fast enough, you won’t realize”
“Wow! you like cooking also?”
“That was the only thing I had been doing until now.”
He didn’t have any words to say. She used to take everything so simply. In spite of all odds, she still smiled naturally. It appeared that she had become so habitual to the pain that her life was giving her that she no more felt it.
The bell rang again and she stopped for a second.
“Don’t worry I will check.”
“What if it’s him? Please don’t tell him I am here.”
“Of course, I will not do that. Don’t you trust me?” He smiled and left.
He opened the door. The face looked familiar. He was of heavy built and a big mustache added to his horrifying beauty. He was taller than Rohan.
“Have you seen this girl anywhere around?” He was carrying Diya’s picture.
“No, I have never seen this girl.”
“She is my wife. She is missing. If you come to know about her please call me on this number.” He gave a visiting card which said, ‘Regional Head’ and had a number written.
“Are you sure you have not seen her?”
“What kind of a question is that? I already told you.”
“Okay, thanks anyway.” And he left.
One thing Rohan understood that it wouldn’t be that easy to hide her from this guy. He was adamant and would go to any length to find her.
He came inside. She looked at him with a question on her face. He did not want to trouble her more so he kept the secret to himself.
“It was a salesman.”
Now she looked relaxed and smiled.
A week went without any trouble but they both didn’t know until when they could sustain without any information going out. He had taken care of everything to ensure nobody comes to know about her, including his maid. While maid was in the house, he would hide her inside the storeroom that used to remain closed and was cleaned only once a month. The room was full of cartons, books, and other old stuff. He cleaned it himself for her so that the maid doesn’t get any inkling. He kept one small table and a tiny chair inside so that she could accommodate herself whenever anyone came to the house. The only person who knew that she was staying with him was his best friend and he could definitely be trusted.
They were living peacefully but they didn’t know that big trouble was waiting for them.
One fine day when the weather was very good, Rohan had to go out for some client visit so Diya was going to be alone. He could not just leave the house unlocked because it could create trouble for her. So, he locked the door while she was inside.
She started her day with her daily chores and cooked his favorite paneer curry for lunch. He had told her that he was going to be back at around 2 O’ clock. So, she waited for him. She sat on the sofa and started reading one book. She didn’t realize when she fell asleep.
She suddenly woke up with a sound. It was the house phone ringing. She definitely could not receive it because then it could raise doubts. But she thought what if it was Rohan only, wanting to tell her something. But why would he call, she thought. What if he is in trouble?
She, in a jiffy, wanted to attend the call but could not. She was too afraid to get noticed.
Thoughts of her husband started troubling her. She didn’t want to think about him so she went out in the balcony which she was not supposed to do, especially when Rohan was not home but she just wanted some air so she went ahead.
She stood in the balcony for a long time. It was 3 O’clock now and Rohan had still not arrived. She got worried about him. Maybe it was him only who had called to tell her that he was going to be late or maybe he needed her. The thoughts were troubling her. She didn’t know what to do. She thought that she couldn’t make a call but she could definitely call him. But when she picked up the receiver, she realized she did not have his number. She thought she should rather wait for him and not worry because she was helpless anyways.
The phone rang again. She didn’t receive it. It rang again.
“It must be him only. Who else will call?” She told herself.
And after four rings, she picked the call.
Episode 8 – The Call for the Fall
“Hello!” The voice that came from the other side sounded familiar.
When she recognized the voice, she was dumbstruck. She put the receiver down immediately. She went into bedroom and sat there. She was too frightened to even react. She wanted to cry but she didn’t.
“Why did I receive the call?” She scolded herself.
She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t even call Rohan as she didn’t have his number. She couldn’t even run because the door was closed. Why did he call Rohan? He must have come to know that she was hiding in this house. He would do anything to get a hold of her if what she was thinking, was right.
The phone rang again but this time, she didn’t receive. She closed her ears with the pillow. The phone stopped ringing after some time. If it was him, he would keep on calling until he was sure that it wasn’t her. The phone rang again and this time she panicked. She pulled the plug and disconnected the phone.
She stood still, not making any sound or movement. She heard the sound again, but this time it was the door. Someone was trying to open the door. She picked a curtain rod which was kept in the storeroom and came to the drawing room. The door opened and a guy entered inside. Without giving it another thought, she jumped on the man with the rod. She closed her eyes and hit him 3 times.
“What are you doing? Stop it. It’s me, Rohan.”
She stopped “I am sorry. I am really sorry. I am so sorry”
“Ouch” She had hit his head.
“I am sorry, I thought it was him, please forgive me. I am very sorry.” She started crying and was losing her calm
He pulled her, held her in his arms and said “Relax, just relax.” He was close and looking right into her eyes. She was panting her breathe and her heart was beating hard. For a few seconds, the world stopped for her as she looked in his eyes.
“Please sit” He made her sit on the sofa and went inside.
He changed his clothes and came back to her after a while. She was still sitting on sofa, idle, not reacting but only looking at the floor continuously.
“Do you welcome guests with a rod in your house?” He asked.
She looked at him seeming worried. He laughed a bit and she felt relaxed, smiled.
He sat on the sofa “What happened? Tell me.”
She told him about the call and told him that the person on the other side had same voice as that of Karan’s.
“Are you sure?”
She jumped with a shocking sound. It was the doorbell which rang again. The sound was scratchy and loud as if someone pressed the button very hard. She ran inside. He looked at her feeling pity that she was so scared and had to run to hide every time someone rang the bell.
He opened the door. It was the police who were on the door.
“Are you Mr. Rohan?”
“Yes, what is the matter?”
“We got the information that you have kidnapped this man’s wife.” Karan was standing with him. She was right. It was him only. But how did he come to know that she was here?
“What rubbish! I don’t even know his wife.”
“Really? Without knowing her, how did she enter your house? Don’t try to make a fool of me. I saw her standing in the balcony.” He said.
“Mr. Rohan, please allow us to check.” The policeman pushed Rohan aside and they entered the room.
He did not know what to do now. He was worried about her. If the policeman found her then she would be in deep trouble. The policemen and Karan started searching for the whole house. They started with the drawing room and then went to the kitchen. While Karan was standing in the balcony and other policemen were scattered in the whole house, he somehow escaped to the storeroom and as expected, she was inside.
“Diya” He called her, whispering.
“I am locking the door. You hide yourself somehow, he is searching for you.” He warned her and locked the door. He slipped the keys inside the table drawer.
The policemen came inside the bedroom. They searched the room and checked the place below the bed.
“Is there a balcony here?”
“Yes” He said.
They entered the balcony but she was not there.
“I told you Inspector; I don’t even know her. This man is mad. He is lying.”
“What is inside this room?” Karan removed the curtain from the unseen door where she was hiding.
“That door is always locked. I have not opened it since a long time.”
“Open it.” The Inspector ordered.
Now he had no choice but to take the risk. He opened the drawer, took out the keys. But before he could take any further action, Karan snatched the keys from him.
He opened the door. Rohan wished she hid somewhere they could not see. But the place was not gargantuan, she could be easily found with police searching in their ways.
Episode 10 – Hidden
The room was a bit dirty and looked like it hadn’t been opened since days. There was an old desktop lying on a table with no other accessories but only the CPU.
The place was piled up with lots of books and files There was rarely any place where they could search and if the girl was there, she could definitely be found in seconds.
The policemen scattered into the room but she was not there.
There was an almirah which looked very old and was covered by the pile of clothes.
“There is no one inside.” One inspector said.
“I told you. This man is lying.”
“I am sorry Mr. Karan; I can understand your trouble but please understand it was only our duty. I am sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
“But inspector…” interfered Karan
Inspector stopped him from speaking and they had to leave. Karan was very confused because he had seen her in the balcony. He tried to check the balcony again but she was not there.
After locking the main door Rohan went inside the store to look for her. He had no idea how did she suddenly disappeared from the room when there was no place.
When he entered the room, she jumped from the top and fell over him.
He looked up confused as she was lying on him with dust all over her.
“I was sitting on the loft and hid myself with cartons kept there. I could adjust myself with so much difficulty that I could fall from there anytime but thank God I didn’t fall when they came.”
He laughed and she joined him in laughter. For a few seconds, he looked at her very close and she also went silent. She felt like kissing him but of course, she could not do that. She was not sure if he felt the same way and she did not have enough courage plus she would not want to spoil what was already between them. But she did not know that it was the first time when the feelings were reciprocated in him too and he wanted to hold her close. But he refrained himself from getting carried away and got up nervously, also helping her get up.
“Wow! But how did you manage to go up?” He said, dusting off the dirt from her clothes and pulled a string of thread from her hair.
“I don’t know. It was a do or die situation for me.”
He was happy for now, since she was saved but the danger was still there because the monster of her life would not leave her so easily. He knew he had to make a plan. He had to make some arrangements for her outside so that he couldn’t harm her because now Karan knew that she was living with Rohan.
He thought of taking her to a friend who lived in a rented apartment which was not very far from his place. She was a very close friend who stayed in an apartment with another girl. She would never say no to Rohan for anything.
He called Deepshikha without wasting any time. He told her the entire story and she was convinced to help her. But now the problem was how he would shift her without drawing Karan’s attention. He had to think of a safe way because if he made even a slight mistake it could ruin her life and maybe then it would be very difficult for him to help her. He had an understanding by now that the man he was playing with was dangerous and could do anything to get his girl back.
He asked Deepshikha to come to his house the next day so that they could plan for her escape.
“I will not be staying here anymore?” Diya heard their conversation, at least one side of it.
He was surprised by her innocence. She sounded like she wanted to stay with him.
“See, it’s dangerous for you here. He can find you anytime. He knows that you are here”
She was upset for she had to leave this place. She had started trusting the man.
“What about my job?”
“Don’t worry I will get you another job.”
She didn’t want to work anywhere else but with him only but now she had no choice.
Her mind was in some other confusion which Rohan did not understand. Why she wanted to be with him was not only for her safety but more because she really liked him and in these few days, her liking had grown. She wanted to talk to him and wanted to convince him that he allowed her to stay back but she didn’t have the courage so she kept quiet.
“Deep is a very good friend of mine. You can trust her. She will come here tomorrow and then; we will make an escape plan for you. Don’t worry, we will not let that husband of yours find you. Just for tonight, trust me and try to relax, Ok?” He said, putting is hand on her.
She nodded and smiled hinting that she was ok but she was not.
Episode 13 – Time for Separation
She sat on the bed silently with a glass of juice in the hand. She was looking at Deep who was continuously talking to Rohan. She looked nice, helping and genuine. She wore a tattoo on her right arm and had swirly hair but short in length. She wore glasses with a purple frame that fit her face well. She looked very confident and someone very bold. She was wearing a smoothly flowing sleeveless T-shirt and rags as bottoms with a few fashionable tears.
They were discussing the escape plan for Diya.
“We have to change her looks” said Deep, flipping Diya’s hair on side.
Diya didn’t speak but only nodded at everything that Deep suggested. She didn’t want to leave Rohan. She looked at Rohan several times in the hopes of seeing the same feeling on his face but he seemed very stable and was sure about his decision. She did not know why she felt so bad to leave him but she had started trusting him, liked him, and felt safe with him. They had become friends and she liked to talk to him. She was also worried about the job because as a novice he handled her queries very nicely but if she joined someone new to her then maybe it would be very difficult for her to adjust. Though difficulties were the part of her life now and then she thought she should not impose herself on him so she agreed on everything. After all, it was all her mistake. Why did she have to go to the balcony?
The plan was to take her with Deep the day after. Now she had only one more day to stay there and after that she had to leave. Deep left after around an hour and then, Diya and Rohan were left alone again.
She didn’t speak much that day. He sensed her worries. After having dinner, she left from the table and went to the kitchen. He used to help her in the kitchen for every work and he did it then also. She used to speak a lot when he was there with him but today, she was really silent.
“What happened? Are you alright?”
“Yes” She said but was still looking down.
He held her hand and pulled her towards him.
“Tell me what is it that is troubling you?”
“I don’t want to go.”
“See even I don’t want you to go but your stay here is very risky. You have to go. Don’t worry I will keep coming to your place. We will meet. And she is a very nice girl I am sure she will take care of you. Believe me you will never get bored.”
He hugged her gently knowing somehow that she wanted it. This was the first time that he was willingly so close to her. She felt strange but she liked it. She wanted the moment to last forever and didn’t want to leave him. So, she too wrapped her arms around him and hugged him. She closed her eyes and hugged him tighter. He did not say anything, did not move but just stayed with her for a while.
“Don’t worry. Everything is gonna be fine” he said, pulling away from her. She didn’t want to leave him but she could not even make him stop for long. He turned towards the fridge, opened the door, and took out a bottle from inside. He then left with the bottle still in his hand. Diya turned to the basin and continued her cleaning. Her hands were washing the dishes but her head was still with him. She could still feel the hug that just made her feel on the top of the world. She wished so hard that this could last forever but like earlier, her dreams always keep shattering and it was happening again. He had said that he would come to meet her but what if he did not? What if he got too busy with his work? She felt sad.
She could not sleep the whole night and at 4 am morning, she got up from her and went straight to his room where he was still sleeping. She sat beside him. He looked very innocent. She wished he could give her the company while working. She liked to work with him. He was not only a good person but also a good employer and a good boss. He explained everything with patience.
She was continuously looking at him feeling the pain of losing him. It was a very short time since they met but still, she had developed a strange rapport with him and she liked him a lot. But she could not disclose her feelings to him because firstly, she was married and was still not more than a stranger to him. Even she did not know much about him except that he had lost his family in a car accident and that he was her neighbor. Still, she could trust him and was very grateful for whatever he was doing for her. But if she tried to push him too much, she could end up losing him forever.
He opened his eyes while she was still thinking and was shocked to see her sitting on his bed. She got up with a startle and left the room in hurry.
He understood what was in her mind and he was happy for he also felt the same way for her. He went to look for her.
She was sitting in the drawing-room looking outside the window.
He switched on the light and also played the home theatre. A soft and romantic music played with a soothing tune which drew her attention to him.
He came to her and said “One dance?”
She delightfully agreed and gave him her hand.
Episode 13 – One Last Dance
It was the first time after her marriage that she danced without any fear from within. She swayed freely in his arms while he held her strongly. But she looked a bit nervous and tense not because it was her first dance with him, but because she was in pain; the pain of separation from him. Maybe she would never get this opportunity again.
Though it was their first dance together each step was in rhythm as if they knew each other for ages and had been dancing together always. Though they had to separate soon this moment was heavenly and the world didn’t matter to them.
They danced for a long time without any worries. She wanted the moment to last forever but happy moments don’t last long. Their dreams were interrupted by the doorbell.
He stopped for a moment looking at her, not allowing her to go. He watched her closely ignoring the sound.
“Someone is at the door.”
He took off his hand from her waist gently and looked from the peephole to find who was on the door. It was Deep.
“Hi” She entered inside like a tornado with lots of bags in her hands. There was one more girl assisting her and she also had a few poly-bags in her hand. She was Kanika, Deep’s roommate, and very well known to him. Kanika was wearing a dress that ended slightly above the knees. Her hair was neatly folded above in style while a strand flowing on one side, a typical high-class girl hairstyle. She wore pink goggles that matched with the color of her dress.
She threw the bags on the sofa.
“Oh God! I am so tired. You know we worked so hard to find these things for her. But now we are ready and in no time I will make her look exactly like Kan”
The expressions on the faces of Rohan and Diya changed and they were not good. They were shocked looking at her. Rohan couldn’t believe that she could make her look like the typical model that Kanika was. Diya was doubtful about wearing such a short dress but she knew she had no choice.
“But what if he sees her?”
“Don’t worry, just leave it to me. I will do such a magic on her that even if he looks into her eyes, he won’t recognize her. Now let’s not waste time. Firstly, you make some nice coffee for all of us and then we will start the operation” Hearing this, the cook inside Diya got activated but Deep said, “not you my dear.” She pulled her.
“And I don’t want you to disturb me for at least an hour. We are taking her to the bedroom.”
Deep made Diya sit on the chair that she had pulled from the table and kept it opposite the mirror attached to the almirah.
“Now, for the next one hour, surrender yourself to me”.
She first took out a flashy red comb from her pocket and started combing her hair. She flipped her hair right-left, on sides, at times, holding them between fingers and slashing its pieces with a sharp scissor. Diya did not move or speak but Deep was continuously talking and mostly talking about Rohan. She told him how they met in college, became friends and how long has been their friendship. It was a gang of four in the college, Rohan, Deep, Aakash and there was one more girl, Arpita but she had left for USA after college as she got into MS in Texas University. She was very close to all of them so it was sad parting but then she went far and never came back. Diya wondered if a similar story would also be of her and Rohan. What if they parted ways forever? She would never want that.
“The Coffee is ready” came Rohan’s voice and a smile touched Diya’s lips. She wanted to get up but Deep stopped her.
“What’s wrong with you. In seconds, you sprang up to action as if every serving is your duty. Relax, I will get the coffee” She said and headed towards the door while Diya sat where she was, waiting for her new friend to bring coffee.
“You are almost done but you will have to wait till I am finished with you so till that time, you cannot have a coffee,” said Deep, keeping the thermos and cuts on the table. Kan took out her share of the coffee and started drinking while the other two were still busy with the makeover stuff.
“Hey, by the way, what if she got caught by her husband, what will he do? Keep her locked inside what?”
“Shut up Kan” said Deep, “Don’t listen to her. She is just blabbering, she is a loudmouth, doesn’t think before saying anything.” She continued looking at Diya, “Drink your coffee and keep your mouth shut” she said, looking at Kan again.
Diya had a new haircut and a new shade by the time Deep was finished.
“Hey, give one” she told Kan who took out a cup and handed over to Deep. And then, she took some more coffee and looked at Diya.
“Wow! She is looking so pretty yaar. She is naturally so beautiful”
“Don’t spoil her with your make-up. Only do enough to hide her obvious features, Ok”
“Don’t worry, I will turn her into even bigger a beauty” She said, keeping the cup on side and flipped on her makeup kit
“wait dear, let her have some coffee first”
“Oh ya! Sorry” She picked up the cup again and handed it over to Diya.
While having coffee, Deep explained Diya their plan again. Her looks would be changed and after that, she would take her to her room and that she was going to stay with them from then on. Kanika would stay behind and would leave the house after an hour after Diya and Deep have gone to the safer side to ensure that Karan doesn’t create trouble.
“I think before we do her makeup and dressing, we have to make her mushy”
“Mushy” asked Kan with a surprised face.
“I mean, wax her”
Diya looked very nervous as she could never wax herself after marriage. She closed her eyes when Deep took out the strip for the mission. Kanika took out a mirror from one of her bags and arranged it properly on the table.
“Are you doing it for the first time?”
“No, but it’s been long time since…”
“Ok don’t worry it will not hurt too much, just close your eyes and listen to the music.” She plugged the earphones of her handset and put them into Diya’s ears.
That hour was very exhaustive for Diya. While both the girls were playing around with her skin, her hair, her brows, and her face, she was not even allowed to move.
While working on her they talked about their office, their affairs and everything on earth just like typical girls. She felt the pain that now she was only listening to the girly gossip which she used to be a part of with her friends when she was in college.
They sounded very happy and looked like they enjoyed their life. She was now a bit hopeful that after staying with them she might gain back her confidence.
Exactly in an hour as she had told, the shabby looking housewife was turned in to a princess. They asked her to remove her clothes and wear what Kanika had brought.
She took the clothes and rushed to the bathroom but Deep stopped her.
“Here?” asked Diya nervously.
“Oh come on don’t be shy, we are all girls and we all have common things inside. So, hurry up.”
Her bluntness was embarrassing for Diya but she somehow managed to change before them.
“Wow. Isn’t she looking pretty? Hey! you are beautiful.” Said Deep turning Diya towards the mirror.
Diya looked at herself in the mirror and she felt like she was meeting another girl who was definitely not her but some person who belonged to Deep’s society. Her hair was little curled at the ends unlike before and her face was clean-shaven with gentle makeup which hid any scars or blemishes on her face. She looked brighter now. Her hands and legs were all clean and soft. Deep removed her gold earrings which she had been wearing for a very long time. Diya resisted a bit but Deep stopped her. She made her wear long pink danglers.
“Now, she is ready,” said Deep and exchanged a high five with Kan.
She opened the door and looked at Diya, “Come on, go,” she said pushing her a little.
“Surprise him with your ravishing beauty.” she whispered in Diya’s ear.
Diya walked anxiously looking for him in the living room. He was sleeping on the sofa and the TV was on.
She looked back. Both the girls were watching her go from the corridor.
“Come on wake him up.” She whispered again but loudly.
Diya went to him. She was not feeling like waking him up but the girls were continuously shouting, jumping and waving at her so she touched his hand gently and he opened his eyes slowly.
Episode 14 – Beauty and the Beast
When he opened his eyes, he saw a young lady in pink looking at him so strangely as if she had many unanswered questions in her mind. Her eyes had an innocence which was rarely seen. Her eyes were a synonym of beauty and reminded him of the depth of an ocean. He thought he was still dreaming but when he realized that he was back to his senses, he got up with a startle.
“Diya, wow you look amazing. Even I didn’t recognize you at first sight.” He looked at Deep and thanked her silently.
“I told you. Its Deep’s magic. It never fails,” said Deep coming towards them
“I Hope he does not recognize her, ” added Kan
“Not after she wears this.” Said Deep putting a goggle on her eyes which too big for her face to be clearly visible.
“So, are you ready to join us?” Deep asked Diya. She nodded but didn’t say anything. They were thinking that she had to leave the next day but looking at Deep’s arrangements it was clear that she had to leave that day itself. She looked at Rohan with the same innocence.
“Before we leave…” Deep took out a high heel gravy pink shiny sandal and put it before Diya.
“This is too high. I can’t wear this. I will fall,” said Diya
“Don’t worry; it’s just for a few minutes. My car is downstairs. Just try it. It will be OK. I am with you dear. Come on”
She never wore high heels in her life as she belonged to a very simple family and such styles were never supported. But once she had tried one of her friend’s sandals and had slipped very badly. Her sole was almost fractured and she was unable to walk properly for next 2 weeks. That was a horrible incident for her. She couldn’t even dare to tell her parents the truth and told a lie that she slipped from the school stairs.
She looked at Rohan, the only person present in the room, who could understand her difficulty. She could feel the mixed sensation of fear, freedom, and sadness.
“Deep don’t you think we should first prepare her in case the guy sees her, she should not be nervous. We can’t take even a slight risk otherwise… you know.”
“Yes you are right, she looks very nervous.” said Kan.
“Are you nervous?” asked Deep
“A lot,” said Diya.
“See you can’t afford to be nervous. I did everything I could. You just relax. He won’t even recognize you but only if you are confident.”
Both the girls tried to convince her to throw out the fear from inside and that she would be perfectly fine but even after an hour of discussion she still didn’t look very confident.
“Deep I think we should all go together,” Kan said
“But we can’t we have to leave Kan here because the guy has seen her.”
“He saw you coming here?” asked Rohan
“Yes, he did.”
“Shit! That means he is following her.” He paused for some time. “I have to go with her. Kan you stay here, I will lock the door.”
“But what will I do here alone?”
“Do anything but don’t make any sound, I mean no TV, no radio, no talking on the phone till I come back.”
“But can’t you stay? I mean Deep can take care of her” Kan was one of the most impatient girls and always kept herself busy with things. Talking on phone was her favorite time pass and she loved watching TV. The thing she hated most was loneliness and the next was silence.
“No Kan, that guy is dangerous. I can’t leave her just like that and especially when he knows that she is staying with me.”
“What? He knows that she is staying with you?” said Deep in disbelief.
Diya had gained slight confidence by now but after looking at everyone’s reactions, even that was lost. Rohan looked at Diya and said, “He saw you standing in the balcony.”
She stepped back a little “I am not going anywhere. I am not going.” She ran inside.
“Diya, Diya! Stop.” Said Deep, “What the fuck!”
“Shit! What do we do now?” said Kan
“I don’t know but we have to engage him in something so that he doesn’t see us leaving and we all have to leave together, ” Deep agreed with Kan’s idea.
“But how?” Rohan threw himself on the sofa and others followed him. They all now looked confused and clueless.
Episode 16 – The Battle of Life
“Hello?” said Rohan
“Whom are you calling?” asked Deep.
“I need help from you” He continued, ignoring the question.
He explained the whole situation to Aakash and told him that he had to come here to keep the crazy family busy so that she could escape safely from the house. It was Karan’s office time and he was not expected in the house. But their family detectives who were after the innocent girl had to be taken care of.
They waited for him to come while the girls tried to convince Diya that she would be safe and nothing will go wrong.
But she was still afraid and she said, “I don’t know you are right but I am having a feeling that something bad is going to happen. I don’t know why but…”
“Come on Diya these are just your fears. It happens when you are in tension. Don’t worry everything will be alright.”
After about an hour, Rohan got a call from Aakash who told him to leave in 5 minutes.
When they got out of the house, they saw a man wearing a big black hat was standing in front of the Karan’s door. The man was carrying a big painting in his hand which hid almost the whole door while they were not able to see what was going on inside. But they could see some people making noises.
The man in black gave a thumbs-up gesture to Rohan.
“Let’s go,” said Rohan but Diya refused to move.
“Oh come on don’t worry it’s our setting. He is Aakash.” Deep whispered in her ears. But still did not move. Despite the pushes from both girls, Diya was standing like frozen and was just not moving. It was getting difficult for Aakash to handle the situation. He continuously argued with the old couple trying to convince them that the flowers he was holding were ordered by their son but they were not agreeing, of course, and wanted him to leave.
“Come on girls, we have to make it fast”
“But she is not moving, what do we do?” said Kan
Rohan looked at Diya who was looking very scared and was almost shivering with it. He pulled Diya close, pushed his hands down and pulled her up, taking her in his arms and they all rushed to the elevator.
Deep opened the gate and in no time, all were inside. The lift moved fast and soon they were out of the sight of the old couple. Aakash finally said, “Ok Ok Ok sir, you actually wasted my time and all my efforts. You did not even take my flowers. Have some mercy. You old people, are heartless people. I will never ever deliver flowers to this house” He said and left the door.
“Thank goodness! At last we escaped,” Kan said with a sigh of relief.
When they reached the ground floor, Kan opened the grill. Diya was a bit relaxed now and was looking at Rohan peacefully. But before was standing the man she feared most and when she looked at him, her heart started to pound hard again. She started shivering with fear. Though she couldn’t be recognized so easily in her appearance if he sensed her nervousness, Karan was intelligent enough to get the hint.
Rohan held her hand tight so that she doesn’t shiver and the friends moved out. Karan realized something unusual but since he didn’t recognize his wife, he ignored them and went inside the elevator. He was still doubtful about Rohan and kept looking at him.
As he was closing the grill, the looked at the girl in Rohan’s arms and saw her legs. Something was fishy but he could not point a finger on it so he ignored them again. But when the door closed and the lift started moving up, he recognized his wife. He saw a scar on her left leg. The elevator reached the third floor where Aakash was waiting for it to arrive but before he could open it, Karan pressed the ground button again with the full force and stopped Aakash from opening the gate.
“That bitch, she thinks I can’t recognize her.” By the time, he was down, the gang had already left for the car which was parked outside. He ran towards the gate. All friends were settled in the car except Rohan who had just opened the door and was going to enter. Karan saw a big rod lying on the floor. He picked it up and hit Rohan with it.
They all got scared for Rohan was really hurt and fell flat on the floor.
Karan opened the door with a bang and started pulling Diya from inside.
“You bitch; you think I am a fool!” Kan went to see Rohan while Deep struggled to get her friend out from the clutches of Karan but he was too strong for her to fight with.
He gave Diya a strong push and she slipped. She struggled to get up again but her senses did not act fast enough. He managed to pull Diya out of the car and started dragging her and Diya cried for escape. Karan was a huge man by built, so hefty that it was very difficult for any girl to stand against this man.
Deep somehow managed to get up and ran after him. She saw the gatekeeper standing on the gate watching the incidence happening but not moving. She yelled at him.
“You idiot! Help her. Stop that man.” The gatekeeper ran towards him but passing him, he got to Deep instead.
“What are you doing? Are you a fool? Leave me.” But he did not leave her till Karan threw her inside his own car which was parked nearby and drove away.
After he was gone, the gatekeeper left Deep. She turned towards him and slapped him hard without a thought, “You bastard.”
She ran towards Rohan, who just came back to his senses and was now trying to figure out what had happened.
As soon as he opened his eyes, he said “Where is Diya?”
“I am sorry.” said Deep.
“What do you mean by sorry?”
“Karan took her but I saw the number of his car we can follow her.”
“Let’s go” He got up without worrying about his injury and hurried towards the car.
“But Rohan you are hurt, you need to go to the hospital.” said Kan.
“No, not until I get her back.” He looked very tense, scared and annoyed.
His friend Aakash had also come down by now and was shocked to see the plight of his friend. The blood was dripping from his head.
“Guys what happened?”
“I will tell you on the way. Come get inside.” said Kan and they all left in the car to look for her.
Episode 16 – Finding Love
But when they came out of the gate, they could not see his car. Rohan could not leave her so there was only one option left – keep asking people on the roads to find her whereabouts.
He drove very fast without worrying about the scratches on the car – something he was usually very cautious about. He drove as if he was racing on the tracks but on rough and damaged roads which made the car bounce and others felt like they were taking a roller coaster.
He asked many people on roads, some just ignored him and some responded but with no interest thus sending a wave of irritation through his already boiling blood. But some of the shopkeepers told him about the car and at last he found it, lurking through the sideways on the highway. He followed Karan for a very long distance.
But suddenly a big truck came in between them, and at the same time, Karan took a sharp turn to the left, a road which would directly take them out of the main city and towards the inter-city highway.
Despite much struggle, Rohan somehow managed to capture the track again and got back the car. Then came the turnpike road and he had to stop between the booths until the toll was paid and by that time Karan who had an intercity travel pass being a banker who travelled outside often for work, he had covered a long distance.
“Where is he?”
“I think he went left.”
Rohan turned the car towards left to follow him, but at just a few inches distance was a lane on right and just a few more inches – there was another lane on the right.
“Which way to go?” He said nervously.
Everyone was quiet. They had to decide fast and keeping in mind the risk which was big. If they took the wrong path, they could lose her forever.
Rohan held his hands in prayer to God, “Please God! Help”– He did something that was not expected out of him. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and others also prayed.
“Right or left?” he asked.
“Right,” said Deep unsure herself.
He turned right without giving it another thought. They traveled for quite a long distance but could not see any car. But Rohan was still hopeful; something from his heart was telling him that he was going the right way so he continued his journey towards this unknown path in search of his love.
But to their shock the road ended on a hill. And the hill was covered with lots of trees, trees so dense that they could hardly see anything. There was a small lane which was cutting through the trees.
“He may have taken that lane,” said Kan
“or maybe he did not” said Deep.
Rohan stopped the car and looked at his friends with hope but they all looked like dumbs without any clue.
“Now even if he went back and took the other lane, we may not able to find her,” Aakash added another concern.
“The lane is too small for a car to go inside without getting scratches”, said Kan
“Why will he use this route? This looks so dangerous” said Deep.
“But if he came this way then he would not have any choice but to take this road only.” said Aakash.
“And maybe this road opens up somewhere at the highway.” Rohan agreed “OK let’s do one thing, you guys go back and search for her and I will stay here and look for her.”
“Are you stupid Rohan? This place is dangerous.”
“I know but we can’t take a chance otherwise I will lose her.”
“Come on Rohan, it’s not that, we tried to help her in every way but if her fate is bad then what can we do?,” said Kan
“I don’t believe in fate.” He shouted at the top of his voice.
Everyone else looked at each other.
He got down from the car and said “Aakash do as I said and I am not discussing this again.”
“Ok dude as you say.”
“But Aakash…” said Deep
“Leave it Deep, you cannot argue with a man in love because love is blind.”
“What do you mean?” Rohan frowned at his friends’ comment.
“I think I was very clear.” Said Aakash
“It’s nothing like that.”
“If it is not then what are we doing here? I think we should to the police and let them handle the situation.”
Rohan did not have an answer to his question. Maybe his friend was right but Rohan himself was not sure of the fact. He did not know what it was but he definitely felt something for her. But his mind was not ready to accept it because firstly, she was married and secondly, they had spent very little time together.
His friends left, leaving him alone in the dense forest.
He sat down on a big rock on the entrance of the lane, not knowing what he was doing. He could not catch a car running but he had to try some way. He was blank and did not know what to do. He looked at the lane which now looked even smaller and maybe he had taken a stupid decision by staying here, he thought. He closed his eyes in hopes of getting a hope.
“Rohan” a voice came. He opened his eyes with a spark of hope that it may be her.
“I can’t leave you alone; you are my best friend even when you are stupid.” She sat beside him. They sat there for a few seconds without speaking.
“Let’s go” Deep broke the silence.
“Through the lane, where else? Do you think we are going to get a pizza Hut in this jungle?”
He smiled and hugged her.
They followed the lane. They walked a long distance but there was no person, no vehicle, no light and the place was very silent.
“Are you sure, there are no lions here?” asked Deep
He didn’t comment.
They walked and walked and walked.
“Rohan I am hungry.”
“Should I get you a pizza?”
She laughed and hit him on the head.
He was silent suddenly, not looking at her.
“Hey, what happened?” She could sense his discomposure.
“Don’t worry we will find her…” She hugged her friend whom she cared for, a lot. He was a very emotional person and he had lost a lot in his life. She moved her fingers over his hair to soothe him. A tear fell through his eyes on her shoulder.
“Rohan?” She pushed him away slightly. She saw the pain in his eyes, pain of losing someone again. She felt very bad but could not do anything to help him.
Episode 17 – United!
“Let’s go” She heaved a sigh.
“Where?” He asked.
“Why? You don’t want to look for her?”
He smiled. They took up the petite lane which had a rough, not so visible road. It was not big but a car could at least manage to pass but only when one had no choice. Any person would normally not try the way. She was hopeless of finding her nearby, but she followed his friend just to accompany her best buddy.
They strolled through the lane looking everywhere for the clue but even after 20 minutes passed, they could not find anything. They both now started to feel there was little hope.
“Dude why are you so sure that she is here?”
“I am not sure.” He looked at her with dismay. His looks told her that she hurt him by asking this question. She thought how stupid she was to ask this even after knowing her friend very well.
He looked at her and then turned back.
“Hey what’s wrong?” asked Deep
“We are going back.” Said Rohan
He didn’t reply but strode through the lane looking feeble.
This time the track looked more cumbersome for walking. He didn’t want to go back. He wanted to ensure first that she was not there.
At last they were out of the lane.
“Should I check with Aakash?”
“No.” He pushed her hands down.
He looked back for a few seconds for any hope.
“Rohan, what do you want to do?”
“Let’s go” He finally decided to quit and turned back. They were standing in the middle of the road in a hope that some vehicle passes by and they could ask for help but they both knew that no one was stupid enough to come to this mysterious place except the lovers for whom it could be a very romantic “no disturbance” spot far away from the city.
Rohan walked to the other side of the road and kept walking and walking.
“What are you doing? There is no road there, it’s the dead end”
Rohan ignored her questions and kept walking.
“Rohan!” Suddenly they heard a dim voice. The girl shouted again but this time the voice became louder.
“Diya!” He ran towards her, she was there, standing helpless and tired. He got some relief from the pain of losing her but that was only temporary – before he could reach her a giant man grabbed her from behind. It was obviously Karan who could only dare to do that.
He pushed her hard towards the hilltop. The hillside ended on a huge trench. The valley was beautiful but did not appear so at this time when Karan was trying to push Diya into it. If she slipped, there was no escape from death.
“You bitch, I am your husband and you are loitering with this bastard” He pressed her cheek so hard that she screamed with pain.
“Don’t hurt her” Rohan shouted.
“You moron! I am her husband and I can treat her like shit if I want.”
“I am warning you if…”
“If what? What will you do? What will you do, you scoundrel! Call the police? Call them, send me to jail. I am ready to go to jail but for a good reason. I will throw this bitch into this trench and then you call the police.”
He pushed her towards the trench but she held him with both her hands to keep herself from falling.
“No, please don’t do this, please stop.” Rohan couldn’t do anything at this moment because the place was too dangerous to take a risk.
“Then let me go with her. Give me your car keys.”
“I don’t have a car.”
“Oh really you don’t have car! So you came running or maybe flying. You will not understand this way.” He pushed her again and this time he was very hard on her.
“But you also had a car. Where did that go?”
“That stupid car stopped in the middle of the road, my petrol was over”
“Oh ok! So, we can get you petrol but don’t push her. What will you get from it? If she dies, you will also go to jail. Leave her please and we can talk.”
“No talking after I saw you bastard carrying this bitch” and one last time, he pushed Diya so hard that she slipped into the trench but she reached to take a grip of her hands on his legs and held on to her life.
Without wasting any time, Rohan jumped on him. Karan pushed his legs hard trying to loosen her grip but before Diya lost it completely, Rohan pulled her up immediately and saved her from falling. A drop of blood came dripping down from his head and fell on her face as she looked up to Rohan. Karan was set loose now and tried to hit Rohan but Deep came in between to help her friend. But Karan pushed Deep so hard that she fell down on the rock, hurting her head.
Karan thumped Rohan on his thigh hard and his body jumped and he moved aback a bit to save himself from falling with Diya. The small stones made scratches on him. It was getting harder for him to keep his hold tight on Diya as Karan did not stop pushing him. He pressed Rohan’s hands with his legs and tried crushing them, but Rohan did not move and kept holding her tight. Karan was hard on both of them and Rohan was unable to think of a way out. He was scared. Deep was hurt and yet managed to pulled herself back and was ready to fight back. She pulled one stone and threw it on Karan. It hit directly on his head. Deep was very good at shots since she loved playing darts. She never missed her shots.
While Karan was trying to get hold of himself, Rohan pulled Diya with full force and finally, managed to get her and soon, she was on her knees in front of him, safe and calm. She was no more afraid but only grateful. She hugged him hard with tears falling from her eyes. He could feel the heaven in her arms that were embracing him, feeling the soft touch of her moiré fabric. They were almost lost in their own world of love until a voice interrupted them.
“Guys…Some help”, said Deep, holding a wooden branch trying to stop Karan from hurting her. Karan was sitting on the floor, still attending to his head that was aching and the blood was dripping down from it.
The duo drifted away from each other.
“What do we do with him?” Deep asked.
“Leave the bastard.” He said.
“What if he dies?”
“I will be the happiest person” said Rohan, “But anyway, that was not a bomb but a small stone. He won’t die of course”, he said giving a look of disgust.
As the three walked away from the site, Karan got up on his knees holding his head in pain. He opened his eyes with much effort only to see them going. He lifted the stone which was thrashed upon him a few minutes back and moved towards them without making a sound. Soon he reached Rohan’s head and threw the stone at it, Rohan screamed with pain. Deep pulled Diya and asked her to run.
“Don’t worry about him, Aakash will reach here anytime, I have informed him. But I have to save you.”
They both ran towards the empty road while Rohan was still struggling with Karan, trying to hold him back so that he doesn’t hurt his love, but Karan managed to escape from his clutches and ran towards the girls, who were trying to reach to a safer place. A few moments back Diya was in his arms, without worries, but suddenly things changed and now, she looked concerned and helpless. She didn’t want to leave Rohan in trouble but was left with no option. They tried to run as fast as possible but Diya hit a bad spot, slipped over a stone and fell down on her knees. Deep tried to pick her up but her toe was hurt badly and she was unable to move. She gathered all the courage she had and got up but she couldn’t go far enough and Karan caught hold of her.
He pulled her by her hand, dragged her towards the trees on the side of the road.
“Leave her you bastard” Deep slapped him on his face.
He got agitated and left Diya to catch Deep. He pulled her from her hair which was a few moments back looking clean and beautiful but now disheveled and tortured. Deep hated that, “You moron, you spoiled my hair” She punched him hard on his face but he kept his grip on her hair. she felt that he was not going to leave her till she became bald.
She struggled hard but with no fruitful result. Diya wanted to help her but was too afraid to even interfere. She stood like a statue in front of them, watching him hurting her friend. Suddenly her attention was taken by sound of a car which was not very far and appeared to be coming towards them. He left Deep and reached for Diya, pulled her, threw her over his shoulders and started walking towards the trees.
Deep was confused whether to help her or to stop the coming car. She waited for the car at the same time keeping eye on them, so that she doesn’t lose their sight. She was much relieved when she found familiar faces inside the car. Aakash had come. He got out of the car.
“He is there.” Deep pointed towards the bushes where he had taken her. He followed them through the bushes where Karan dragged her while she wallowed behind him, striving for release.
Aakash scampered through the shrubs to ferret her out. He found her resting on her knees, pleading Karan to leave her but he had no inclination to do so. He pounced on Karan and signaled Diya to flee.
Deep helped her to slip the net and they went looking for Rohan. Rohan was already searching for them and they soon met.
“Are you OK?” asked Diya
“Yes, I am fine.” He said. “Diya” he looked at her with loving eyes who were craving for her sight till then.
“Rohan… Aakash.” Deep ranted.
Karan was a bastion who couldn’t be handled alone but Aakash managed to punch him hard enough on his already hurt head and thus, got a chance to escape further action.
Rohan, Diya and Deep hurried to settle on the back seat while Akash sat on the front seat and Kan who was waiting for them, drove them away.
They drove through the empty roads and reached the hospital in no time.
“Thank God, you are safe but this cannot continue like this. We have to do something to get rid of this guy. He has started to become big trouble for all of us. He is crazy. Diya, I think you have to take a bold step now. Just throw him out of your life. File a divorce case and tell the police that he tortured you”, said Kan
But she was silent.
“Diya, she is right. After his dressing we are going to police and you are going to file a complaint against him” Deep insisted.
“We will talk about this later” said Rohan
“Why are you so…?”
“Please Deep, later.” He said.
She nodded her head in disagreement “You are staying with Aakash from today.”
“I will be fine, I am not a child.” Said Rohan
“She is right dude; I think you should stay with me for a while. That man is dangerous and after all this drama, he is not going to keep quiet. He will definitely do something to harm you.” But Rohan did not seem to agree “Oh! Come on, at least till you are better,” insisted Aakash
“Oh I am fine.” He said.
“No you are not, we are your friends. We are not going to leave you like this, you live alone there and he stays just opposite your house and he is really a…” insisted Deep
“Aakash you too feel that I can’t take care of myself.”
“It’s not that Rohan, I saw that man. He is really dangerous and I don’t think you can handle him alone. We have to…”
“Oh! So, you mean I am weaker.”
“You are getting it wrong man; I am your friend and I just want you to be safe.”
“I am safe. I am not afraid of that bastard.”
“But I am” Her tone was firm. “I know him better than any of you. Rohan, please understand, you have to stay with him till I get to put him in jail.”
“Yes, jail for torturing me, trying to kill me, trying to kill you”
A slight faint smile passed through Deep’s lips. Deep felt respect for her now that she has shown strength to fight against her husband.
They all looked at Rohan. After a pause he said “Ok, I will stay with you.”
“Dude you are amazing. When we asked you refused but she said it just once and you agreed. This is called true…”
“Aakash…” Rohan glowered at him.
The girls were first dropped to their hostel. While she got down from car, Diya looked at Rohan, her eyes had a fear which was clearly visible. She was much worried now for the man whom she cared about and didn’t want to lose. She was grateful for whatever he did for her even when she was not expecting and was ready to conquer her fear in which she had spent years. And this was the only man she could rely on after she left Karan because her parents would never accept her if she sent her own husband to jail. This was just not acceptable in her culture.
Episode 18 – A New Life with Love
It wasn’t same anymore but a new day made her realize the beauty of life which was awaiting her. She knew that finally, she had decided to set herself free from unnecessary bonds, to overcome her fears and be with someone who really was worth giving love of the whole world. She couldn’t believe what had happened in the past just few days, and the way her life took a turn.
She got up from the bed and opened the window on her side of the bed. The sky was clear and the sun looked beautiful, her eyes gleamed with it and she sat on the window pane closing her eyes slowly. She took a deep breath, wanting to feel the freedom. She wanted to shout on top of her voice, she wanted to tell the world that she was no more in shackles and that she was very happy. She wanted to thank Rohan and wanted to tell him the little secret hidden inside her heart. She was falling in love and the feeling was beautiful. She wanted to smile and laugh and play. She made all the moments spent with him come alive in her mind. She wanted to fly, like a superman. A feeling that never touched her before was now engraved deep inside her heart now.
“Hey, heroin… what’s up? Enjoying morning?” A voice came from behind. Diya turned to see Deep carrying a sandwich in her hand.
“Hmm… take this. We need to go early today. Some work.” She took the sandwich and thanked her. She wanted to ask her if she would be left alone and about Rohan but she didn’t ask, not knowing why.
“I spoke to Rohan. He said, he will come here by 12. So don’t worry, you won’t be alone.” Deep patted her back and left.
A huge smile came on her face thinking she will be alone with Rohan again. She waited for Deep to leave the room and then got down from the windowpane. She went to bed and threw herself on it, pulled the pillow close to her heart and found herself blushing. She wanted to laugh but kept a check on her feelings. Every second that Deep and Kan spent talking and roaming was now hard on her. She could not wait for meeting Rohan.
Soon Deep and Kan left bidding her goodbye, “ We will be back by 5” were the only and last words she heard from them. As soon as they left, Diya went to the bedroom, climbed up the bed and started to jump, screaming in excitement, “Yes yes yes!”
There was a music system kept on a round brown table between the two beds. She turned it on.
“Nothing’s gonna change my love for you, you wanna know my love, how much I love you…”
The songs entered deep into her soul and she started to dance on the rhythm, her eyes closed, and her arms trying to feel his love with her. She was lost in herself and was enjoying every moment, her heart filled with love.
She opened a book kept on the table and started turning pages, her eyes were on the numbers flickering but her mind was with Rohan dancing on the music. She imagined him in a black suit and herself wearing a long skirt of her favorite design which she had seen an actress wearing in a movie long back. A blue skirt engraved with beautiful kashmiri design in white color and over it a red velvet top with silver flap at the bottom of it with a thin lace in combination of blue and silver ending in a boat pattern near her neck and a heavy patterned duppata flowing from one side on her shoulder.
She stopped suddenly at the book on a page where a sentence caught her eyes.
“He was standing right in front of me and I could not see anything else but only the slight wrinkles on his forehead which told me that he had waited for long and his fine skin which looked like it was ready to be touched by love, his hands were trying to catch me and I was speechless, wanting to hold him close, hold him tight, never to leave him but yet I couldn’t gather enough courage. My heart was crying for help, help from him as I couldn’t say a word but why didn’t he say anything? Maybe he was waiting for me to start and he was right also as the decision was mine but still, I waited and soon the wait became longer and longer and longer till he disappeared again in the crowd. I ran, ran faster and faster in hopes of getting to see him again but fell over my knees… I lost him… lost him once again…”
She didn’t like the way the passage ended but she could relate with it and fear gripped her heart as she suddenly started to feel as if it was her own future. Was she going to lose him too? Why did she feel so scared? What could she do to keep him with her forever? She had no idea why, but a tear fell down from her eyes. She looked up at the sky. It didn’t look so beautiful anymore but was too bright for her to see anything that lay ahead in future. She asked herself what she was doing and what was her future? He loved her and she loved him, yet there was something scary which told her it wouldn’t be that easy to be together.
Her mind was lost in thoughts but she got interrupted by the sound of the bell. She wiped her tears, smiled and went to seek the door.
Episode 19 – Meeting Love
He was standing in front of her, wearing a blue T-shirt over simple dark blue jeans. Simple, yet he looked very handsome with muscles peeping out from his half sleeves that made him look like a stud. His eyes were a little grey and had a strange piece of the sea inside them. When she looked at them, she almost got lost into them like a wave in the deep ocean. His forehead bore no resemblance of a human but had a Godly touch of an angel. She did not realize that it was for a few minutes after which his soft pink lips moved.
“Hi.” She smiled as if coming out of the trance suddenly “Come in.” She felt like kissing his lips but moved her eyes away from him and welcomed him inside. He came and sat on the blue couch while she was still standing trying to avoid his eyes, thinking he would come to know about her feelings for him.
“A… anything cold or teaaa?”
“Why are you being so formal?” He looked surprised and smiled at her.
She suddenly realized what she was doing. She had been living with this man till yesterday, she talked to him for hours, danced with him, he saved her life and in just one day, she felt like he came after years. She started to look here and there, not knowing how to react.
He realized her trauma as he was going through a similar feeling. He smiled and got up from the sofa, went to her, held her in his arms, her breaths became heavy and he could feel her heart pounding hard. He bent over her a little and kissed her lips gently. Her heart started to beat faster when he moved again and looked straight into her eyes. There was a silence which she didn’t want to break but wanted to feel the beauty of the kiss again. She wanted him to touch her lips and make her feel full with him.
“I love you.” A voice touched her ears and her breathlessness turned into a smile. She looked down; smiling, again and again, her cheeks turned pink and he felt she looked even more beautiful.
“You are blushing.” It was obvious but still, he said it.
“No, I am not.” She gave a huge smile and turned her back to him. He pulled her hand, turned her back and held her close again.
“Do you love me?” He looked straight into her eyes as if trying to unravel a secret, as if saying nothing was hidden from him and could not be hidden even if she tried a thousand times. She felt a little pressure in her heart. He wanted her to say what she was not ready to admit.
She got herself out of his clutches and moved back a little, started to look here and there, her face showed she was nervous. He went close to her and she backed a little, he moved closer and she went back again, he was coming close and she was moving back till she hit a wall. She couldn’t dare to pull up her face or say anything but was only breathing heavy under his collar as he had come close enough to feel her breaths. He moved his arms around her and hugged her. She closed her eyes and felt a relief and a strange feeling of a wonderland. She smiled, her eyes still closed and he tightened his grip around her. She didn’t know what was going to happen next but whatever he would do; she knew she would love it.
She circled her arms around him gently and held him too, her heart was now feeling the freedom and she was on the seventh heaven. They stood holding each other for a long time not caring about the world that surrounded them. They forgot everything that had happened and that could happen in the future but only felt each other so close, the love felt so pure and divine that they didn’t want to separate even for a second. Their eyes were closed and a little wet with the first swing of love dancing in their hearts. Till then they knew there was something binding them but this moment made them realize that the feeling could be named.
She forgot about her marriage, about her husband, about the worry that lingered in her head some time back, she forgot the time that gave her a fear of losing him. She no more felt she could ever lose him. She was ready to completely give her soul to him and was ready for a new journey of her life. He didn’t want to leave her again and wanted to keep her in his heart forever, where no one can harm her or touch her but only him. He pulled back a little and looked at her eyes.
He gently kissed her lips again and then again. He kept kissing her till his kiss grew passionate and he was now holding her close and tight. For the first time, she responded with a kiss from her and they both started to feel high on love with their kiss growing passionate and more passionate till they could stop no more. Rohan held her face with both hands and looked into her eyes once again, drawing back his breath a bit and then, he tilted his head a bit and kissed her cheek. She closed her eyes and he knew that it was a go-ahead for him to love her more so he moved down and kissed her neck. She felt a lovely shiver and took a deep breath. He moved his lips over her neck swiftly moving from one side to another, kissing her gently first and then growing in passion and as he grew more passionate, she drew her breath faster. He pulled her close with his arms still around her and he could feel her breasts crushing over his thick chest muscles. She had never felt a love so deep and never a man’s touch or intimacy gave her a high before.
“Na na na na na…na na…” The ring of the phone was trying to interrupt the budding love but he didn’t want to stop so he ignored the plea of the cell inside his pocket and continued making love to her. The ring stopped and he pulled her up, taking her into his arms and took her to bed. He gently put her to bed and she lied down smiling at him. He bent over her and kissed her lips passionately, slowly moving his legs up on the bed to bring his body close enough to spread over her till every part of him touching her.
“Na na na …na…” The cell rang again but this time, Rohan thought of not ignoring it because a second call could be urgent, “Just a minute, I will take this call. It’s Deep calling” he said and got up. Diya nodded and smiled. He smiled back and switched the receiver on.
“Dude, I forgot to tell you, plumber is going to come at 12:30. There is some work needed in the washroom, please get it done”
“OK, sure,” said Rohan, with an unhappy face because the time she told was just 2 minutes away which meant that they did not have enough time to make passionate love.