The Enchanting Midnight

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The Enchanting Midnight of Realization

CHAPTER 24

The Enchanting Midnight of Realization

It is 6 A.M. and quite a similar December morning as I had seen eight years back, when I had seen her for the first time. I wonder whether it is because of her presence in Bhopal that the winter acknowledges the one who can find beauty in it. I get up, determined to make everything alright for the girl who believed in miracles and deserves them even now.

There is a flash of events in my mind, starting from that bust stop to the station where I had missed the train. So much has changed since then. I am no longer the same Sidhharth. She is no longer the same Mishti. The sad part being that we do not know anything about each other anymore, yet there is something which still binds us, and I will not give up that trust of the girl for whom I was her amazing friend.

“Siddharth, are you going to the hospital alone?”, Avantika is awake, aware of my plight. She looks at me, trying to read my thoughts. She has always understood what I’ve ever thought.

I remain silent. She remains silent too.

“If you don’t mind, I would like to see her too. I know you will have a lot to talk to her, but I won’t take much time. In fact even mom and dad want to see her, and…”, she pauses and adds, “ Mishti will love to meet her too”, she looks up at me. I nod in agreement, smiling at her. She smiles back and moves out of the room to inform everybody. I doubt if anybody has slept over last night.

None of us speak much on the way. My parents are in the same state as mine. We want to see her again, talk to her, be with Mishti Sengupta, the girl who changed our lives with her smile and innocence. It is only Mishti, my daughter, who breaks the silence.

“Where are we going Daddy?”, she asks me with her innocent smile, that proves her name very well.

Avantika replies, “We are going to meet a very special friend of ours, and she is your friend too”.

“My friend mommy? What is her name?”

“Mishti…Sengupta.”

“Wow! She has the same name as mine. I want to meet her”, she smiles at the coincidence and enjoys the breeze from the window. She loves winter season very much. Coincidences have never left me, and Mishti Mukherjee is not much different from Mishti Sengupta.

We enter our hospital, a renowned one now. I had joined it four years back, after completing my M.S. I have made my parents feel proud of me in these years, being a known surgeon as they had wanted. I have got everything I always wished for. I still believe in miracles, ever since the day they came to me through her.

I signal everybody to wait outside for a minute, before entering the private emergency ward in which Mishti lies on the bed. The junior doctor inside sees me. I gesture her to come out.

“How is she now?”, I ask her. I had instructed her to take extra care of the patient, whom she does not know.

“She is in a stable condition sir. She slept well. The injuries are not major. She will be alright in a day or two, to be discharged from here. In fact, if she is awake, you all can meet her.”

I enter inside. She still looks the same, the same innocent face with a mysterious look, but seems to have become weak. I have mysteries to be found out. She is calmly asleep and I check her pulse rate. It is normal, and so is her breathing. I gesture others to come inside. A curious look remains on all the faces.

As if waking up from her dream, she opens her eyes. Finding it a little strange to be in a hospital, she looks around, at my parents, at Avantika and Mishti, and her eyes stop at me. She looks at me in disbelief and turns her head to the other side. I know what she is thinking, but I have made up my mind. No matter what, this time I will not listen to her.

“I told you doctor I’ll never be able to face you”, she says in a feeble voice, that scares me. Her voice does not have that charm. I feel as if someone has drained happiness out of my soul, the happiness of seeing her again.

“But I have to face you now. We have to talk Mishti. I cannot agree with you now”. She looks at my determined face with that same helpless look which I had seen that night when I had talked to her last. I add with a smile, “In fact everybody here wants to meet you”.

She looks around, finding known and unknown faces. She looks at my parents, recognizes them. She is no longer able to stop her tears. They roll down from the corner of her eyes to her cheeks. My mother wipes them off, “We missed you so much Mishti. How are you?”

“I am sorry aunty. I left you all that way”, and she looks at me again. This time she looks behin my shoulders and finds two strangers. She wonders for a while and then smiles at me, “Your wife is very beautiful doctor, and so is your little daughter”.

I feel like crying out loudly at those words. I manage to smile. Avantika understands it. She moves closer to Mishti, “You can call me Avantika, Mishti. I am so happy that I have met you finally”.

“Avantika Siddharth Mukherjee. Such a lovely name and you are the perfect one for doctor I know”, Mishti smiles at her.

“We have a lovelier name in our family”, Avantika looks at our daughter, “Meet her”.

“She is as beautiful as you. What Is your lovely name little angel?”, Mishti smiles at her.

“Mishti Mukherjee”, she replies looking at her mother.

Mishti Sengupta, the girl whose name she has, looks at her mother in disbelief, then at me, then at everybody and starts crying.

“Thank you! It is so nice to know that you all remember me”, she speaks through her tears.

“Nobody ever forgot you Mishti”, my mother speaks breaking the silence among us.

Little Mishti holds the hands of this woman on bed, “Aunty, daddy told me that you play basketball very well. I want to be like you”.

“Your daddy is a better player you know”, she smiles through her tears, “And I am sure you’ll be a wonderful player like him”, she looks at me. I turn to the other side, hiding my moist eyes.

“But mommy told me you won against him”, little Mishti says.

“That was by luck”, she speaks giving her a wink,” You can win against me too someday”, and smiles.

There is silence for a few minutes and then I hear Avantika’s voice, “ I think we should let your Mishti aunty take rest so that she can come home to play basketball with you”, she tells her daughter and looks at me. We all exchange silent glances and everybody leaves Mishti and me with a smile and an assurance to come back.

None of us speak for a few seconds, until I hear her voice, “So how are you doctor? How was it all this time?”

I want to say, ‘Staying away? It was a turmoil through which I lived somehow. You left me without even giving me a chance to wish you luck, to stand by you when you needed me. I needed you too. I lived you every moment. I still have your presence everywhere. How could you think that you were not the one? And see I am still fine somehow, but see yourself, what have you done to you?’

But my mouth utters only a few words,” Some things never leave us, and so do some people. Their presence remains everywhere, isn’t it?”

I look at her. She knows what I mean. She nods her head, “I felt the same all this time”, and smiles, “I am very happy that you found someone equally amazing. Avantika is such a darling, and little Mishti is just a copy of hers”.

I nod in agreement,” Little Mishti behaves like you a lot and shares the same birthday as yours”.

She smiles again. I wonder what that smile denotes exactly and then remember that I have questions. I look at her again. She understands the events to come.

“Doctor..”

“No Mishti. I have questions and I want answers. Don’t worry I will not ask you anything that you can’t answer. Don’t tell me why you left if you don’t want to. Don’t tell me why you didn’t try to come back if you don’t want to…”

“I can tell you that also”, she interrupts and I stop.

“Yes I can doctor. I had told you why I left you. It was required; the same reason why I never tried to come back. I did not want to lose my amazing friend. I did not think you had to be put into this, and yes I felt I was not the one. I was just your amazing friend. I feared losing you..and I am glad I did that, or you would’ve been in my place today, and I would’ve never met your beautiful better half and your little angel”.

I am speechless. I know this is not justified, but this is the truth now. I try not to think more about what could’ve been, and come to the most troublesome question.

“I won’t say anything about it. But now Mishti please tell me everything. I want to know. Now I have done everything you wanted me to do, let me stand by you. I can’t leave my amazing friend this way. Tell me, how are you? How have you come here? What happened after you left? And…….”, I pause and add, “…Where is he?”

Tears flow out of her eyes. She sighs and looks at me.

I had left that night, equally tormented as you were. I felt weak because I was going away from my miraculously amazing friend, and I hadn’t even seen you for the last time before I left. I knew I wouldn’t have been able to leave then. I had taken my decision regarding my dilemma of course, but I knew it shouldn’t have been that way, because you had said so the other night, and though I was following my heart, I knew some things had to be paid back from my side. I knew it would have been a turmoil for you. Believe me, I tried to punish myself every moment for that, for hurting my amazing friend. But I knew this was good for you in the long run. It hurt me too, the same way you know.

I knew your presence would never leave me. I missed you too, and it was difficult I confess. Yes, I felt it too every moment, through everything that I lived. Never was it away from me, be it the breeze, the winter, the chill, the midnights, basketball, walks, the lovely places, never did your presence leave me. It was a miracle always that I lived in my solitude. How could I stop living the blessing which God had sent to me. I knew when I was travelling to Hyderabad, what I had done and what it will lead to.

When I reached there, I had my expected friend, Ratna, waiting for me. I felt another stream of emotions running through me when I saw her, because I knew why I was there. I stepped back into the city, and its every corner seemed like making me relive all that I had thought of leaving behind. Not just my sorrows, but those years of joy as well, which I knew were waiting to come back. But at the back of my mind, I knew why I was there. I was not there to find the long lost joys from my past, but to find out the remains of my miseries.

The initial days in Hyderabad were not very good. I stayed with Ratna, trying to figure out the unknown aspects of the disconnected links in my case. I had too many points to wonder about. Meeting the police, studying the case in which Ramamurthy had been proved guilty, meeting people from all circles whom I felt, might be able to help me, my life was just centered around that for all that time when I had been in Hyderabad.

It hurt a lot doctor. People asked me unavoidable questions, some felt sorry for me, some mocked at me and there I was trying to find out who made me lose my parents, I was confronting myself with things I did not want to face, I was living with the guilt of hurting you, and I was living with the dilemma of facing Aryan again, and I had to.

One fine day, I was told by Ratna, that he wanted to talk to me since he was in the city for some time. I really wasn’t thinking about it at that time. But nobody there could understand that like you would’ve done. I had left that thought far behind me. I had some different things to be found out. But then, I thought I had to give him a chance and myself too. I knew I had made my choice while going there.

I met him. He still looked that way; those soft black eyes, which seemed to shine again on seeing me. That smile of his for which I used to do anything. The same Aryan Sharma, the one whom I loved was there, waiting for me. For a moment, I forgot everything. I wondered what you had said…’if you still love him…’. Yes, it seemed as if I was back in Golconda, just me and him with that innocence, that night when we had performed in the play, those two beautiful years, it was all back again.

He felt the same. I could see those tears in his eyes. He wanted me back. I had always wished for that sometime in the past. I remember he had held my hands in his, and with those tears, which seemed genuine to me, he had said, “Mishti, I want to apologize. Let me speak. I love you. I had always loved you”.

“You took so long to realize that Aryan! And where were you when your Mishti needed you? When she was alone? When she begged to God, praying silently that you stop mocking at her and realize that the way you behaved hurt her? Where were you when her world was destroyed? Hadn’t you known it all? Tell me Mr. Aryan Sharma. Why did you do it to me?”

“You have all the right Mishti. Curse me for leaving you alone, for never being there when you needed me, for behaving that way. I was a coward. I loved you, but I thought my family would never accept you. I realized that when I left from here. You would’ve got hurt later. I felt it was better to leave earlier. At least you would have got time to move on. I know I did it knowingly. I was indifferent to you. I never tried to look into your heart. I know I deserve to be punished, but I love you.”

“And why do you think all that isn’t valid anymore? How do you want me back now?”

“Because I can’t leave you this way Mishti! You need me. And I need you too. I know I can’t stay away from you. Believe me. I had come after you were in trouble, but I did not know how to face you. Ask Ratna, she will tell you. I had wanted you back since then. I know you have punished yourself a lot, but not anymore.”

“I see”, I had replied.

“Thank God, I met Ratna when she was working with the NGO about that case. She told me about where you were. She told me that you will be coming here. I know you have come here for me too. I am so glad that you went to Bhopal and lived away from this place. I am glad that you found a great friend. I am so happy that you are fine now. I am so thankful to your friend back there…”

“You need not talk about my friend. Yes I have come back….”

“I knew that Mishti”, he held me closer, “ I knew you have come back for me..”

“Let me complete Aryan”, I pushed him away.

He looked confused, “Mishti, was your friend very special to you?”

“Will you shut up Mr. Aryan Sharma!!! Let me speak. First things first. Do not comment about my friend. You do not have the right to do so. You are nowhere near about like him. This is clear from what you just asked me. Only a cheap person like you can think so. And let me tell you I have not come here for you. I have to find out the reality behind the night when I had lost everything; the reason why I am still alive. I had made my decision while leaving Bhopal that I do not want you back anymore, even before you asked me this cheap question. I knew I do not love you and I can feel that so clearly now when you beg me to come back. I do not know if you are saying the truth, but I cannot forget the promises which you broke after making them to me. I cannot forget how indifferently you kicked me out of your life when you wanted to. I cannot forget the turmoil I went through, the nights which I spent trying to curse myself, the humiliation which you gave me, the pain, the suffering, the agony which my family lived with me. I cannot forget that I gave up myself for you, the one who never turned up when I needed him. I cannot forget that I was alone in this world for some time. I cannot forget anything even if I forgive you. You will never be worthy enough to know about me or the miracles I experienced. Never! You do not deserve that. You do not deserve me. I do not love you Aryan, I don’t”.

He looked startled. “I love you Mishti….”

“But I don’t. Now I tell you to leave from my life, but I have the dignity to explain the reasons. I do not need you Aryan. I do not need anybody. Mishti Sengupta is no longer the girl you left, she is a girl of strengths”, I paused, “ I do not have anything else to speak to you”.

He wondered if it was me, the girl who had loved him once. He remained silent.

“Goodbye Aryan. I would love it if we never meet again. There is nothing more left to speak. I don’t love you nor do I hate you. I am far ahead of there, totally neutral towards you”, I left.

I knew I had done the right thing. I had followed my heart. It could never be wrong. I had listened to the surroundings and got my answers. I knew I did not need him. I knew I did not love him, and it was justified. Yes, when I returned from there back to tell Ratna about it, the breeze, the night seemed so peaceful in Hyderabad. I knew I had removed everything about him from my heart, even the remorse, and I slept well that night, and after that. I was happy to have resolved one thing in life, something that should’ve been done earlier.

But things that still mattered were not going in the right direction for me. I kept searching for the disconnected link in our theory of a planned explosion, with the help of various people as well as authorities, but could not succeed. We could not make out who it was. I couldn’t recognize any of the supposed culprits as known ones. I had never seen them before. Miracles never worked without my amazing friend with me, but I knew I didn’t have to face him.

Thankfully, Ramamurthy was sentenced to thirteen years of imprisonment for several allegations including corruption and illegal business of currency. He is still behind the bars, and that gave justice to many people, but not to me. My story still remained incomplete. I knew that the person responsible for destroying my world was not Ramamurthy alone. But I couldn’t prove that it was Ramamurthy because I could never find that person who had done that. So I still needed to prove Ramamurthy and somebody else guilty for my case.

I stayed in Hyderabad. I had nothing else to do. I visited the remains of my house to find something unnoticed by everybody else which I could find out. It was a trauma to go there and look for the remains, when I was reminded of the memories over there, my parents and their smiles, Timothy, and all that Mishti Sengupta was before it happened. But I remembered ‘It was all natural to remember”, so I did.

I remained over there till now, working with Ratna in the NGO and as a senior reporter in TOI, owing to my internship, also trying to find out something about my search. I came to know that Aryan was now a part of Ramamurthy’s party, probably taking his place, but it did not matter to me anymore. Life had taken a different turn, though, I was living Journalism as I had always thought I would, and that made me feel contented at the back of my mind. One night I read a line in Gitanjali, ‘The truth lies in the remains of what is sought”. I wondered a lot and believed that it was an indication. After so long, I had felt that miraculous blessing. I remembered my amazing friend. He would have believed this.

So it was in January this year, when I met the authorities and asked them to go through anything that they had found in the remains. It was not important to them at all, but being a renowned senior reporter has its own advantages. I was shown all of the things that seemed to have been left, most of them just enough to remain visible, because of the explosion. I saw them again. They all belonged to my parents and me. I had seen them before. By then, I had learnt to keep my emotions at the back and think about the culprit.

And yes, this time, a miracle happened. I found a broken key ring. A metal key ring, black now, which was probably silver earlier, and was dropped in our premises by mistake that night when it was being planned. It has a different symbol, but I’d never seen it before. Moreover, some of its part is missing, so I couldn’t make out. But it was a hope for which I worked. I tried to remember, but I couldn’t. If only I got the remaining part of it, I could’ve recognized it. But probably somebody knew that I was getting closer to revealing the mystery, and I was run over by a truck in Hyderabad. But nothing happened to me. I had a hucn that somebody was following me.

I spent this year working on trying to find out about this broken key ring, along with my work. Nothing seemed to help me out. It was on this birthday that Ratna gifted me photographs of the Upper Lake and some more places to remind me of my Bhopal days. They were probably extracted from some website about the places to visit in Bhopal. The background of the picture had a symbol which resembled a part of the symbol on the broken key ring. When we studied it more carefully, we found that it was a symbol related to old buildings in Bhopal and it was exactly the same! And that was the reason why I have come to Bhopal. Though I hadn’t thought I would face you ever here. I wanted to find it all out, without letting you know that I needed your help, but my destiny brought me back to your door. I was told about a historical agency in New Market, for which I came over here. When I got down at this bus stop, I was busy looking around, it was my fault, I was just trying to notice how much it had changed, when that car ran over me and I lost consciousness. I don’t know if this accident was a planned one or not, though I still feel that I am being followed. And now here I am, before you.

“You needed me Mishti”, I say, “You should’ve told me. I thought you were with him. I thought you were happy. I thought everything had been worked out. You were alone Mishti”, I can’t stop my tears, “ You never even told me”.

“I am sorry doctor”, she has tears in her eyes too, “I wanted to keep my words. I knew our worlds would have been different by now. I thought I’ll be able to do it.”

“ May be that’s why you are here today with me. It was meant to be this way. I had promised myself long back to take you out of it. I wasn’t there with you for sometime, but now I will stand by you”. I see her opening her mouth to say something. I add, “Even if you don’t want. Promise me, that you will let me be there. I am still your amazing friend, isn’t it?”

She nods her head in agreement and wants to move.

“Want to say something?”, I ask.

“I was right when I did it to him, isn’t it?”

“You already know that. Why are you asking me?” I look to the other side. I hadn’t wanted to see her alone.

“Just trying to confirm”, she looks at me.

“You know that too.”

“I listened to my heart”, she smiles. I smile back at her.

“Eight years..”

“Eight years”, I reply, “But some things don’t change. You will be discharged from here tonight. And you are coming home, without any denial”.

She nods her head. I know she won’t deny now as we sit silently.

A lovely dinner on a winter night, she probably witnesses it after a long time. I can see that charming Mishti when she smiles and talks to little Mishti. Avantika and I smile at each other, knowing that this was just what had been missed. It is another beautiful winter night.

“You know little Mishti, when I am fine, I will go and visit a village near Darjeeling, where they say winter is the most beautiful season”, she tells her….

“Mishti do you have that evidence with you?”, I ask her, when little Mishti is asleep in her lap, in the courtyard.

“No doctor”.

I wonder how to look at it.

“Oh yes, but I can show you how it looks”, she says with that familiar light in her eyes, which sparkles my heart too.

She shows it to me on a local tourism website. I can’t see it clearly, when she picks out another clear image of the same. I try to look at it clearly, and my eyes seem to come out in amazement and horror. If this is true, it is surprising as well as confusing for me. I look at her. She seems confused.

“Do you know anything about it?”

“Are you sure it was this Mishti?”

“Yes I am, have you seen it before?”

“I see it every day Mishti! I can’t believe this.”

She is shocked but manages to ask me, “Where?”

“It is the symbol of the authorities at Hamidia Hospital Mishti and I visit it even now, to handle emergency cases. It is there since the building was erected years back. The prime authorities use it with their designation too. That is why it is so confusing!”

We sit in a shock for some time. It is hard for me to grasp too. How can a key ring with the symbol from somebody at Hamidia reach somebody unknown at Hyderabad on the night when she had lost everything.

I call Dr. Reddy. He is now the Deputy Dean of the hospital. I know he can help us.

“Dr. Siddharth here sir. I need an urgent help of yours”, I say.

He agrees to meet us the next day. I see a light of hope in Mishti’s eyes, the light which I used to see long back. It still makes me feel hopeful. As I try to wonder about my newly found evidence, I murmur, “I hope it helps….”

And I hear Avantika’s voice from the side, “It will. You are involved this time, and the girl who never gives up too”. I look at her, as she closes her eyes with a smile. Probably she is right.

Mishti and I are before Dr. Reddy. We have decided not to tell him about the actual thing. We think that it would not be safe to trust anybody when Mishti has a doubt that she is being followed.

“What did you both want to know?” Dr. Reddy asks us. He recognizes Mishti as well, with a smile.

“Sir, has any of the senior authorities in the hospital known anybody in Hyderabad?”

“How can I actually know if that is possible? I mean anybody can know anybody?”, he seems surprised at such a general question.

Mishti looks at me. Her look says that we should tell him more. I understand and try to explain him the seriousness of the situation. Thankfully, he understands it.

“Siddharth, it is very confusing for me too. Nowadays, we see almost everybody carrying it. But at the time when this incident had happened, such objects with the symbol were a possession of the Dean only. It was a symbol of pride for the heritage of the hospital. I think it would be better if you ask him the same question. He will surely help you.”

We proceed towards the hospital without wasting any more time. I know I do not need to ask the Dean before meeting him. As we enter the hospital, I show the symbol on the gate to her, and she finds it hopeful. I feel the same.

We enter the Dean’s room. Thankfully, it is morning and we find him there. He is surprised to see me with another visitor.

“Dr. Mukherjee. What a pleasure to see you here this morning. So what is the matter?”

I exlpain him everything, including the story behind it and its importance. As I finish speaking, I see the expressions on his face turning more thoughtful. I ask my question, “ Sir, did you possess any such key ring which by any chance had been with somebody else? Did you know anybody in Hyderabad?”

He remains silent. I asked the right thing I suppose. He is silent.

“Sir..”

“No! I do not know anybody over there”, he replies.

“Oh, thank you…”, but I am interrupted.

“He is a liar doctor”, I hear Mishti’s voice.

I am startled, “ Mishti! What do you mean?”

She responds with a photograph on his under the paperweight, an old photograph of him with a young boy. I am confused.

“The boy in the photograph is Aryan! Ask him. How does he know him? He was in Hyderabad. Ask him!”, she screams.

“Yes! He is my son. I know him. He is in Hyderabad. But I feel ashamed to call him my son. In fact I haven’t seen him for the last eight years”, he replies coldly.

We are shocked. Mishti wipes her tears off. “Tell me everything. I want to know!”

“My son, Aryan Sharma, the gem in our house. He always made us proud. We sent him to Hyderabad because he wanted to study Journalism. He was ambitious. I was proud of him. But I got to know that out of his ambitiousness, he had got involved in illegal activities with a local MLA. He wasn’t sorry about it. He wanted to continue with it. I tried to bring him back, but he was up to something else. He reduced contacts with me. After his graduation, he came to visit me from Delhi, but he wasn’t clear about why he was going back to Hyderabad. After some days, I got to know that he was involved in some corruption with the politicians there. He still wasn’t sorry about this. I knew I had lost him. His ambitiousness could lead him anywhere….”, he sighs, “This was a gift that I gave him on every birthday, the last one before he left for there. But after all that, he never tried to come back. It hurt to see my son, being away, but I did not want to be ashamed of myself. I do not know him any more”, he replies with tears.

Mishti is in a state of shock.

“I know why I don’t love him anymore doctor. I know. He was always wrong. He hadn’t come back for me. He has been following me doctor I know. It was him always who turned my world upside down….”, she closes her eyes with tears.

I hold her back, “No Mishti! You have to get him punished. You have found out who it was. Yo have to do it. The reason why you are there. And this time I am coming with you, no matter what”.

She smiles at me. I know she won’t deny.

“That is why it never felt right doctor, isn’t it? “, Mishti asks me as we get ready to leave for Hyderabad. I nod my head. We wave back to my parents, Avantika and little Mishti.

“Mommy, where is Daddy going?”, she asks.

“For a task left to be done with Mishti aunty”, she replies with a smile.

It is the day of conviction at the court. From Dr. Sharma’s statement and the evidences which followed, Aryan has been proved guilty along with Ramamurthy for planning the explosion which killed Lt. Col. Sengupta and his family, leaving Mishti alone in this world, for hiding the facts and for trying to kill her.

Mishti sits silently, watching him and Ramamurthy get sentenced to lifelong imprisonment. I know she has a flood inside her and I intend to make her take it out.

“Mishti”, I speak in a whisper, as we come out of the trial room.

There is a commotion behind us. We turn back. Aryan is being led by the authorities. He waits before her, “ I see your amazing friend Mishti”, he speaks like an obsessed person, “But you can help me. I didn’t do anything to you Mishti. I loved you. Your father had come to know a lot about us in that NGO issue and about Ratna’s father. He suspected me too. But I wanted you to be safe. I planned it all, keeping you out of it. We had to be safe Mishti. Try and understand. It is life. We have to move on. It is over now. I was trapped into it. It has been a long time, isn’t it? We can be together, forgetting everything. I love you…”

“Get lost from here, you coward, worthless human being!”, she screams with tears. I have never seen her that way before! “Do not say the word ‘love’ again. Do you even know what it means? The guy who never cared for his own father’s happiness, the guy who gave up everything for his ambitions, the guy who betrays the people who treat him like their own son! Do you remember how many times you visited us and lived like a family?? Do you remember my father who thought you were a gentleman, my mother who cooked for you, my family which thought you belonged to them? I, who loved you madly, forgetting myself, losing my family, Ratna who found a best friend in you. Do you know the meaning of love, friendship and those emotions. And you say you loved me. What did you get by keeping me safe. I would have been happier to die with them, than see this side of yours. Never in my worst dreams had I imagined that. I am glad that I don’t love you anymore. And even you didn’t. You hadn’t come back to me for love, you had wanted to be safe once I was trapped. And who knows, you would have easily killed me too any time. You had been following me! I hate you Aryan Sharma. Do not face me ever. I hope you can get confronted with mom and dad the day you die. Just get lost!”, and she bursts into tears.

I sit silently beside her, not stopping her from venting everything out. It is needed. The girl of strengths has won. She needs to be a pure soul now, without any remorse.

It is evening by now. I pat gently on her shoulder. She looks up at me through her moist, swollen red eyes and her pink face. Some things never change.

“I have lost everything doctor”, she says.

I hold her hand, “No Mishti, now you have won everything”.

She looks at me, as if trying to judge my words, and then replies with a smile, “I believe you”.

“Let’s go home”, I smile back at her.

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