Five years later.
“Aai… aai… no white curry for me for me… I want red one…like baba…” little Vaani asserted her lassie rights on the dinner table even as Avanti and Keshav chuckled watching the four-year-old replica of Keshav frown. Vaani acted like a fourteen-year-old with the hormonal surge and objected to everything her mother gave her. She wanted things just like her father had. Whether it was choice of clothes or food. Keshav who ruled the corporate world with an iron fist was a mere putty in her little hands. He literally danced to her tunes and melodious tunes they were… that was one area she had taken after her mother perfectly to Keshav’s utmost delight.
Avanti let out an exasperating sigh. Today was an exhausting day. She had a full class in her music school where she worked part time and Rahul who was a partner covered the other classes in the evenings along with some old friend from her old school. Rahul worked a day job at Vedshastra where he had been elevated as finance head after Mr. Mukherjee was asked to retire. She didn’t want to press charges against the already broken man and he was now in an old age home. Rahul had returned three years ago after a bad break up with Anuj and Avanti and Keshav had stood behind him encouraging him to get back to his career and preventing him from spiralling into depression. Avanti hoped he would meet a life partner someday and start smiling like he did years ago…
The path breaking formula had changed the world perspective towards degenerative diseases and the treatments. There were other drugs made in similar fashions but Vedshastra-Novo-Supremo group had been the pioneers. Their patent was highly in demand and could have fetched them crores in the international market. Especially after the successful clinical trial on the other patients. In case of Keshav there was no change in the status at all and even as he repeated his MRI once a year there had been no progression as expected. He felt it was because of the drug. The other patients too showed halted progression or extremely slow progress of the shrivelling of grey matter or shrinking of brain parenchyma. Avanti decided to gift the patent to government of India. This was what her father would have wanted. Her mother and Arpita too gave their consent. She was felicitated by the union health minister on behalf of her father. In fact, they had now converted the drug to a generic medium and retained the name Ved Adbhut in memory of her father.
Kamya and Sahil had been married immediately after the clinical trials had ended. They spent a lot of time in Mumbai whenever Keshav was admitted during the two long years of the trial. The Kulsreshtras were a huge pillar of support and rallied behind them even though Avanti’s mother was there with her, Rama aunty going the extra mile during Avanti’s tough pregnancy needing bedrest from the second trimester till her C-section. Keshav had buried the hachet with the Kulsreshtra much before his trials. The D’Souzas too were very supportive during the two taxing years when Avanti juggled between hospital, home, and little Vani who got cranky whenever her father left for days together. Mrs. D’Souza had passed a couple of years ago and Avanti made it a point to visit Mr. D’Souza daily accompanied by Vani. Keshav and she also ensured the senior man didn’t have anything to worry about. Kamya and Sahil were married in Delhi and Kaamya looked radiant surrounded by her complete family. They recently had a bonny boy Vikrant and Keshav and Avanti were all set to travel to Delhi next month to introduce Vani to her cousin!
Rohini was in Hissar for last three years now. She had been there for Avanti and even recently for Kaamya during her delivery in Delhi. She had converted the old Haveli into a tourist resort with the initial seed capital from Keshav. Though she had vehemently declined Keshav had insisted she not spend her corpus. Now she had held her fort and for the past few months had started to rake in profits as well. Avanti had never seen the woman with such a sparkle in her eyes.
Vedshastra was now managed by a board of directors completely and they had appointed a CEO recently to oversee the corporate affairs. The guy in his mid thirties, Aman, as Keshav called him, came highly recommended from Keshav’s corporate circles and apparently had been an ex-serviceman. Keshav had great respect for the kind because of their discipline. The man had been a native of Pune and had recently got back. He also was provided a house close to the Khopoli office just in case he needed to save travel time. So, he stayed there during the weekdays and often visited his home during the weekends. The man was eloquent and intelligent and though he wasn’t educationally from the pharmaceutical background, his knowledge about the field was par excellence. Avanti had met the charismatic man a few times and had been mighty impressed by his future goals and optimism. He had a neutral face full of old scars and she wondered what stories those scars had hidden in them. Aman always lighted up whenever she took Vaani with her to Vedshastra. She observed his smile didn’t reach his eyes… eyes filled with some kind of a fury hidden in its silent embers. She knew one because she had witnessed that in Keshav before they were married. She hoped the man would find his peace some day given that he was proving to be an asset to the company. She wished her baba could witness the upward growth of his third baby…. Novo-Supremo continued to have their ties with Vedshatra intact
Everything had fallen into place after numerous tumulus initial hiccups. But as she lay in bed after putting Vani to sleep, she snuggled into Keshav’s warm body as he held her closer snoring lightly and she chuckled into his chest. He had been working too hard preparing for the launch of their new prototype a drug utilising the floral extracts as the chief component. He himself had grown the hybrid variety of flowers in his terrace garden and he hoped the drug cold be used for the regular TB and MDR (Multi-Drug Resistant) TB cases who couldn’t tolerate heavy anti biotics and often gave up the treatment mid-way. They were to stay in Delhi for a week and he had to hand over the work to his in charge.
She only worried about the twins, especially Nirvi. Naman was always in his flamboyant self and visited them very often whenever he dropped into Mumbai. He was a pro football player and his club travelled almost throughout the year. He was also studying business management via correspondence and Keshav hoped that he would someday be interested in joining the company after he stopped playing pro. Nirvi however had turned a recluse. Especially in the last two years or so… Avanti couldn’t pinpoint the exact time or cause. Whenever she visited them which was a seldom in the last two years, Nirvi put up a happy front but Avanti knew something troubled the young woman. Now into the final six months of her internship she was just short of a few months from being a doctor. Avanti also knew she dabbled in fashion on the sly not known to her brothers or Kamya or even Rohini. She had only shared it with Avanti after she had seen some designs in her bag during one of her rare visits. Avanti knew Nirvi was worked up because of her tough schedule and barely found time to talk or eat. Keshav had seen Kaamya go through the phase so he didn’t read much into it… but Avanti was dead sure. Nirvi’s eyes were a total give away…
As sleep won the battle that night Avanti made a decision to speak with Keshav about Nirvi once they got back form Delhi.
Nirvi rushed into her hostel room and banged the door shut the reverberation of the sound in the quiet room not helping to settle her nerves. She wiped the sweat from her brows even as she panted hard, her breathing laboured not only from running for the past few minutes but also because of the strange kind of apprehension. She stood against the door leaning her head behind on the hard door, trying to get her racing heart to slow down. Was that him…? really him…? was he back in Pune…? After two goddamn years…? Two years where she had not wanted to wake up…
She shut her eyes as tears gathered behind the closed lids and a vision of beautiful eyes with stormy green tinge… the eyes which had captivated her right at first sight that evening two years ago. She had seen him today at the mall, outside her favorite store…the store which housed some of her creations. The store that he had recommended to her saying her designs deserved to be brought alive… she had been alive too… those months. He had been staring at a green sequined pattern on black satin…party wear… her creation as if he recognized it was her’s…of course it was a design she had made after ages and dedicated to him…his aquamarines that shone with passion when he kissed her senseless…
No…no she couldn’t think about him like that… How could her heart still flutter for him…? She had known he was there even before she had seen him today. How could he dominate her thoughts and race her heart even after he had ruthlessly stomped over it and crushed it with his bare hands, the pain of which lingered even today… Seeing him had ripped off that band-aid she had put over her hurt. God knows she had tried her level best and immersed herself in her studies. Though, he haunted her dreams almost every night, its intensity not reduced by the time she managed to compose herself. Just six more months of internship after which she would move to Mumbai for good, away form all the past memories. Avanti bhabhi would welcome her with open arms. She wiped away her traitorous tears even as the dusky darkness permeated the room spreading its orangish tinge around bringing down the visibility a tad lower. She was glad her roommate wasn’t staying there anymore. Solitude was what she desired most, the kind of train wreck she was.
She almost called Avanti Bhabhi… she wanted her family desperately and not an asshole ex… the ruggedly handsome Amandeep Singh Sehgal…
Thank you for reading and liking 'The Accidental Husband... the sequel to this is already begun on my blog www.fictionvilla.in. Its titled "the bet: a saga of betrayal and darkness". Its being posted as an episodic story and once done it will be posted here as well... Till then if interested, you ,may catch it up on my blog.
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