Sunday, March 29, 2009

Denial, Acceptance and Healing - Part 3


The third and final part of my story coming up people! Finally... Let me assume that quite a lot of people were eagerly waiting for it (for the sake of inspiration for me to write more) and their wait is now over. Thanks a lot for being patient enough to wait for the final part of the story. Happy Reading :-)

Denial, Acceptance and Healing...
(Continued from Part II...)
One afternoon, as Naina was sitting on the chair by the window where Ruhi usually played, she couldn’t control her tears. It was the worst feeling when Ruhi came up to her and asked, “Ma! What happened? Why are you crying?” and Naina had no answers. What could she tell her three year old? How could she explain the hurt to her? How could she tell Ruhi that she didn’t know if her father was going to be with them forever when she didn’t know it herself?








She had asked that question too many times and every time it remained unanswered. Even today, as she lay next to her sleeping baby, wondering how on earth she would be able to live without Rakesh.



Part III
She didn't remember how long she lay awake that afternoon, thinking about the past two months and planning a future that may or may not have Rakesh in it. It felt weird to even think about it that way, but she had come to terms with it. Although she prayed and hoped every single day that it would all turn out to be one big lie; she wasn’t in denial anymore.


That evening, Rakesh called to say that he would be home early. It was the first time in about a year or so that Rakesh would be home in time to have dinner. Of late, he had been coming home close to midnight and by then Ruhi would be fast asleep, whereas Naina would be up and waiting to heat the food and serve it to him on days when he said he would be eating at home. Ordinarily, this would be an occasion for Naina to have Rakesh at home for dinner. But the way she was feeling she didn’t want to celebrate, and she couldn’t tell that to Rakesh!


When she told Ruhi that Papa would be at home for dinner, Ruhi jumped with pleasure. She began to give Naina ideas, asking her to make this and that and that because Papa liked it. Mechanically, Naina prepared dinner that day with Ruhi constantly by her side to guide her about Papa’s favorites.


Rakesh calling during the day to check on her and Ruhi had become a rare phenomenon over the last few months; so his call to say that he’d be coming home early came as a surprise. Naina didn’t read too much into it. She continued to make dinner and wondered what the conversation at the dinner table would be like as it had been a really long time since she had had a conversation with him.


Rakesh came home unusually early in a grumpy mood and flung his bag into one corner as soon as he entered his room. Ruhi insisted that she would bring Rakesh water and Naina let her. Rakesh took the glass of water and managed to smile at Ruhi for a moment forgetting his anger, whatever it was about and gulped the water down.


Naina entered the room after Rakesh had handed the empty glass back to Ruhi which she put into the sink before she ran off to watch the cartoon that was on. He was sitting with his back towards her and staring outside the window into the dark blue sky. She wondered what was wrong with him and decided to sneak a chance to have a conversation with him. Although it was difficult for her to start a conversation, she managed to ask him, “Is something wrong? You look worried and angry?”


He turned and glanced at her and said, “Nothing. It’s been a long three weeks and a few things went wrong at work today; nothing significant for you to worry about, really. It’s taken care of.” He paused for a while and then continued, “How are you feeling? Any trouble with the baby?”


“No. Not yet,” she answered. She wanted to continue talking to him but it was as if they had both forgotten how to have a conversation. She stood there for a few moments before she turned to get back to getting dinner ready when Rakesh called, “Naina.”


“Yes Rakesh,” she replied and before Rakesh could continue further his cell phone started to ring.


“Never mind. Listen, I have to get this. There’s till some time for dinner right?” he asked her and answered the phone when she nodded.


He shut the door to the bedroom moments after Naina left the room. Naina was in the dining room, giving final touches to the food and setting the table when she realized that Rakesh was having an argument over the phone. She tried not to overhear but as his voice grew louder she couldn’t help but overhear.


The TV was on and loud since Ruhi enjoyed the sound effects of cartoons and sang and danced along at the title songs of her favorite cartoons. Naina walked up to the bedroom door and stood outside. Rakesh was so caught up in the argument that he did not realize that he was loud and it seemed as if he had forgotten that he was at home and he needed to be discreet about this.


“You know what? I’ve had enough. Haven’t I compromised enough?” she heard him say and then fall silent for a few moments before he retorted with, “You think it’s easy to juggle between two separate identities? I feel like I’m living two different lives. I’m having the hardest time here just making sure that my family does not get affected and you wanted me to... What kind of a person are you that can’t even understand this?”


She knew at once who was on the other line. For the first time in the last two months, had Naina actually seen him talk to her over the phone and when she did, it was as if he was accepting his mistake and proving it to her, Yes Naina. What you thought all this while was true and here I am having a fight with her. He could have almost added that he was going to be with this other woman and that he didn’t care about Naina and their children.


He paused once again and Naina waited with bated breath to hear more. She didn’t know what the other person was saying but what she heard next in his now raised angry voice was, “Now you listen and listen well. I can’t do this anymore. It might be a game for you but for me a lot is at stake; and by lot I mean everything. I’ve spent five years building this marriage and I’m not going to let that go to waste because of one stupid thing that I did, do you get that? My family means everything to me and nothing anyone says is going to change that; ever! You may have lured me into believing that I owed you something, that I had a responsibility towards you, but guess what? I’ve now realized that I don’t, not even a little bit.


“You know that I love Naina and no one can ever take her place. I don’t care if she finds out because I know I was tricked into this. In fact after this conversation I am going to tell her about this myself. I’ve had enough of you blackmailing me about telling her and I’ve just got my solution. I know that I have done nothing wrong and that no blame attaches to me. I just got fooled by something you said I did.


“I was never happy with this Rhea, never,” he said with his voice now lowered, “I went along because I thought you were my responsibility which I’ve now realized that you’re not and you never were. I’ve never known such a conniving and selfish person as you. It’s all over. It’s only wise that you forget about this and lead your life without me; live in peace and let me and my family, be happy as well. That’s all I have to say. And don’t bother to be in touch, it is not going to work.”


Naina didn’t realize that tears were flowing freely down her cheeks now. She was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall and crying with confusion and relief. A part of the conversation had given her the reassurance that she badly needed; that he had loved only her all along, that he wasn’t leaving their family; but the parts of what she overheard had also confirmed her doubts. The minute she realized that she had lost control of herself and was sitting on the floor, she got up and wiped her cheeks with table cloth that she was holding, not caring that it was damp already.


“I know that I have Naina by my side,” he continued, “and even though knowing about this is going to make her really unhappy and maybe she will never trust me again, I have to tell her this. I am prepared to face the consequences of my mistakes and will not let you manipulate me. I can’t hide this from her anymore. You can do what you like Rhea, I don’t care. Bye,” he said and he hung up.


Naina knew that the conversation was over and that Rakesh was going to want to talk about this to her. She quickly went into the kitchen and washed her tear-streaked face and tried to look normal. A few minutes passed and Rakesh had still not come out of the bedroom.


“Ruhi…,” Naina called, “Go call Papa. Tell him dinner is ready.”


“Ok Ma!” and she went to call her father for dinner.


Dinner was a quiet affair that night. Rakesh was so distracted and upset that he didn’t even make an attempt to talk to Ruhi and that upset Ruhi a little bit. Naina told Ruhi that Papa was tired and that’s why he wasn’t talking much.


After dinner, Naina tucked Ruhi into bed while Rakesh was taking a shower. Naina was dreading this. She knew that the minute Ruhi was asleep Rakesh would want to talk to her. She didn’t want to know what it was that he had with her, for how long or why he didn’t tell her this in the first place. She was just glad that it was over and that he wanted to tell Naina about it and that he didn’t intend to hide it from her.


Once Ruhi was asleep, Naina started to clear the dining table; her hands shivering as she picked up each plate, glass and serving bowl. She heard Rakesh open the bedroom door and enter the dining room. He came and stood there for a minute looking at her. She looked up to see him standing there with bloodshot eyes and a pained look on his face, full of guilt and pathos. She stood still as he walked up to her and sat on the chair closest to where Naina was standing.


She tried not to look at him and continued clearing the plates, when he caught her hand. She turned and looked at him and heard him say, “There’s something you need to know.”


Naina had anticipated this moment for a long time now. Only before when she thought about this in her head it was always followed by, I don’t think I can pretend any longer or I don’t think this is working out. But now, she knew what was going to follow. She didn’t want to put them both through hell by making him tell her what she had already known for a long time.


So when he said, “There’s something you need to know,” she looked at him with tears starting to fill her eyes just as they had already filled his and said, “I know.”


Click here for the Epilogue.
- Nikita.

7 comments:

  1. Hey Niki

    A great story....
    As usual very well worded...

    Loved the end... "I know"... everything communicated without saying much.. That's the beauty of a true relation.... You say nothing but you say everything....


    Love
    Gaurav

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  2. Whoa Nikki! This was a beautiful story! So full of emotion.. The last "I know" almost brought tears to my eyes. You are a very compelling writer and I think you should publish this story somewhere!
    Cheers!
    Rasika

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  3. Beautifully worded, u make sure every emotion comes out! There could not have been a better debut for ur writing career.... which i hope will be here to stay! I can't wait for more 'SHORT' stories, if u know what i mean!!! :D

    P.S. Couldn't resist pulling ur leg!!!

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  4. Sweet Ending... initially when the guy didn't come out of the bedroom after his conversaton with the mistress, I thought he might have killed himself! That would make a tragic ending.

    Good diction Nikki... Post more Stories; I'll look forward to reading them

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  5. i cant wait 4 ur next story!!!!........................this story was "OFF THE HOOK".....CHUCK THE CA FINAL!!!!!!.............be a writer!!


    from drama queen(kritika)

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  6. Nice story! But I feel Naina let go of this thing too easily.... U know how the story wudve ended had I written it :-P
    Crouching Tiger part 2
    :-P :-P
    But the story was good..as a writer u did a good job..N NOW STOP STARING AT ME!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. That's a great story indeed. The climax is one of the most natural and a touching one, I've read so far. Good imagination and good narration.

    Ekanthapadhikan (http://jstgibberish.blogspot.com/) 

    ReplyDelete