Thursday, November 29, 2012

Can't love you more :)


Can’t love you more

Author: Renu Sethi
                                                                                                        
Author Introduction: Just celebrated my 4 months of writing. I hardly qualify to be called an author. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Cheers

Story: 



Can’t love you more

Author: Renu Sethi
                                                                                                        
Author Introduction: Just celebrated my 4 months of writing. I hardly qualify to be called an author. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Cheers

Story: 

"Every morning you look even more beautiful. I love you, Sandhya," Deepak whispers, as he lies beside me. I can feel the rise and fall of his chest. I smile and I murmur "I love you too". Every morning we say that to each other. Every morning we make love and lie in each other's arms. I just don't want to leave the warm comforts of his arms. But I have to, it’s time for breakfast.

 I get up from our bed... and I see a Greek God...6ft tall. Face to die for... Harvard graduate...is lying on bed looking breath taking. I thank my stars and God for giving me Deepak as my husband. I feel no less than Cinderella but unlike her I have no fear of clock striking midnight.




                                                               ***********************************

I hate it when Sandhya leaves the bed to go to the kitchen. I could lie with her on this bed forever, staring in her big brown eyes.

 I too get up from my bed and as I wrap a towel around me, I look out of my window. I wish I was free enough to enjoy a lazy morning with Sandhya, talk to her and just look at her.

I go to the bathroom and as I brush my teeth. I can't help thinking my life has changed so much in last two years all my plans have flopped. I know one thing for sure you should never plan anything, because every time you do, God has better plans for you. I can't help smiling at the thought of that.

I dress up and go to the kitchen. Sandhya is making tea. In spite of having an army of servants she insisted on cooking herself. I go inside the kitchen and hug her from behind. She smiles her warm smile and ruffles my hair with her free hand. I can see Lata bai blushing as we behave like newlyweds. We have been married for more than a year already. I can’t really believe how time flies

                                   ***********************************

Deepak sits on his usual seat, even with his hair standing in all direction and a little stubble he still looks amazing. I blush like a teenager. We drink tea in comfortable silence, which is broken by the shrill ringtone of his phone. Now I know the day has finally begun.

Deepak looks at me with disappointment, picks his phone and says “Hello" rudely. Deepak is altogether a different person to the world. He's no nonsense... straight talker... like a man on a mission, unlike his dad. I knew his dad very well. But I don't want to think about him. His son is thankfully different. He, leaves the kitchen to talk.
                               
I finish my tea and proceed to pack lunch for him. I like to cook for him. I just don't really trust people around him with his food. He's the only friend and family I have, I don't want to lose him. 

I still have trouble believing I’m married to a Politician. A politician whose heart is in the right place... this trait makes him susceptible to trouble.
                                     
                                   **********************************

"Stop patronizing me....frankly I don't care who's putting in money and in what. The land you are talking about is a farmland. Farmers need that land. We don't need malls" I tried to say that calmly... but inside I wanted to rip that man apart. That sucker wanted to give the lands allocated to farmers to a MNC. I really wish these idiots understand Malls are no benchmark of development. Bringing Adidas or other brands will do them no good, if half of the pockets are empty.

 I never thought I'd have to handle assholes like these. 18th January 2008, that date changed my life. My dad died in a plane crash. He was a MP from Alwar . My father was neck deep in corruption. There were no roads, no infrastructure, and no electricity. There was poverty all around.

Everybody thought I had come to take my dad's place. In spite of telling the people again and again that I had no such plans..... They just refused to believe me. My great grandparents were the rulers of Alwar. It was never a democracy here but a dynasty rule. I know even if I stood for elections and did nothing for the district I would still win.

It was then I met Sandhya for the first time. It was soon after my dad passed away. I was still unsure if I really wanted to join politics. Ramesh uncle, my dad's secretary forced me to visit Nimrana, a small district not very far away from Alwar. He took me to a place which was a terrible excuse of a hospital. There was a bad stink all over the place.  A pale looking girl lied unconscious on a very dirty bed. She had burn marks on her hands and body. I asked uncle why he brought me there. He said “You have to stay here for her and for every woman, who wants to learn and whoever wants to bring change in Alwar. You have to join politics and you have to undo all the wrongs your father and other power holders have done to this great place."

I later came to know Sandhya Singh, BITS Pilani graduate...used to teach women and children. Her school was burnt and her dad killed because they even started teaching Lower castes along with others and my dad and his men were behind it. Somehow i started feeling responsible for her.  

Sandhya fought a bitter battle against the orthodox conservative people to bring education to everybody irrespective of caste or religion. Ramesh uncle once said “Look at this girl, she comes from a middle class family, still she's trying to make a difference. You are the rulers of the state, much more well-equipped and well-placed to change the place for better. People of Alwar deserve it, my child"

I snap out of my thought...as Sandhya calls me for breakfast.          

                                                 ******************************

I was working in the kitchen. When Deepak came and stood beside the counter looking at me....hands folded and his patented half smile. He doesn't even look like a politician. You could take him for a model or an actor with chiseled features and strong jaw. His royal lineage showed with the way he talked, walked and behaved.

"A penny for your thoughts." Deepak looked closely.

“Mr. America-returned.....let’s say a Re for my thoughts." I just can't stop giggling in his company

"OK Re for your thoughts...tell me what are you thinking" Deepak insisted

I stopped working...turned to him...  moving closer...removing a stray hair...I looked into his black eyes and said "you are too pretty to be a politician......"

He holds me closer to him and bends to kiss me and his phone starts ringing. I am disappointed as his hold slackens... but then he looks at me and kisses me. With his phone ringing continuously he ends his kiss abruptly. He snaps on the phone "What? And it better be important. "

He again leaves the kitchen. I prepare the table for the breakfast. I can hear him screaming. I don't know what’s troubling him. I wish I could help. He's making too many enemies with his straight-forward attitude.  Oh, God!!! What if something happens to him? I'll die.

                                                   *******************************

The MLA of Alwar Urban called. I know the exact reason why he has bothered to call. The Mall is his son in law's idea. I even know Subhash Chowdhary, the MLA's son in law is leader of Rajasthan’s biggest Land Mafia.

The voice on the other end said "Sir let us make this mall; it will not only be in the best interest of the district but also for us..." That ‘US’ was stressed. I feel immediate disgust and contempt for that man.

I try to be civilized but I fail to hide the disgust ....I warn him “Today you have said that...if you ever...I mean ever talk to me that ways again.... I won't take it"

The man paused and then he said viciously “Your father started like you. But then he too became one of us. I will wait, till you too decide to cut the drama and act practically"

"As long as I am alive, that’s not happening." I said in retaliation

"So be it." and he hung up.

The last line hung in the air for a long time.

                                             ***************

Deepak enters the room, grim line set on his face. All the humor gone...softness in his eyes replaced with something cold and distant. He looked angry very angry.

He sat on his chair. I serve him his corn flakes, hoping he would say something. He did not, but he stared at the table. Than he looked up and said "You are not leaving this house without a body guard"

"But why? What happened?" I enquired

"Nothing till now.... and I don't want anything to happen in the future too" He said and he left the table.

"What about your breakfast? I ask following him into the room

"I will have lunch, I am not really hungry” he said in his no nonsense tone

I hold his hands make him turn to me...search his eyes and ask "What’s troubling you. Tell me?"

"Nothing, you just take care of yourself. I love you" He kisses my forehead and he leaves.
I just wish I could tell him... more than me,I was worried about him.

 I look at our small home. Deepak being a royal by blood.... had no airs of a royal. He was a simple man and hated all pomposity that came with his surname. We never lived in the royal mansion. Soon after our wedding we shifted to this cozy three bedroom bungalow. I too liked it that way. The mansion was cold and very museum like.


 I was in the middle of the thought when the doorbell rings. Lata bai comes in my room with an envelope. It had Deepak's name but no stamp or from where it came from. Curiosity gets better of me, so I open the envelope. There is a picture and a letter. I can't believe my eyes. It’s a picture of Deepak. He's wearing a green colored beach shorts, hanging loosely in the waist. He looks so HAPPY, I’ve never seen him looking this relaxed and happy, and a blonde girl is standing in his arms. wearing a bikini, the girl kissing his cheeks. Both of them pointing their beer bottles towards the camera. I can't seem to take my eyes of that picture.

Deepak happy face kept flashing in front of my eyes. I have never seen him looking this carefree and relaxed. The realization started to dawn on me ... May be I am not good enough...maybe he's not happy with me. I always knew I was never equal to him....be it with looks, with brain or with money. Even as a person he was better. Chill ran down my spine... "WHAT IF SOMEDAY HE LOSES INTEREST IN ME? AND HE DECIDES TO LEAVE??????”


                                       ****************************

I have to ask Sandhya if she could go to her aunt’s place for a while. I will not be able to bear, if anything happened to her. Ramesh uncle, who's sitting beside me, asked "Son is everything all right." I just nod my head, not knowing what to say.

I get a call from home. Lata bai was on the other end she sounded freaked out. I couldn't understand a word all I could understand was "memsahib”. All of a sudden my hands felt numb. Cell phone seemed too heavy so did my heart and my head. I screamed at my driver to return back home. All kind of bad thoughts started to cross my mind. What if something happened to Sandhya? I'll kill every one of those bastards.

I didn't even wait for the car to stop; I jumped out of the car and ran towards my house. I could hear the buzz. Servants standing in front of the bedroom door ...I made way into my room...I saw Lata bai consoling Sandhya as I entered she gave me a weak smile. Sandhya sat in the corner of our wooden wardrobe...knees folded and crying.Room was a mess..... dressing table mirror was broken into pieces.......her saree had bloood stains. She was unaware that her saree had fallen from her shoulders. Just beside her feet lie a picture of Iris and me. She kept talking incoherently. I sat beside her. I lifted her face and made her look in to my eyes.Her Kajal smudged her beautiful face and she was trembling. She looked at me she muttered "I know you are going to leave me. I can never make you this happy." She was about to say more but then she fainted. While picking her up.... I saw bloood oozed out of her hands. 

The woman I love most ..even more than my own life... tried to kill herself. But Why? Is she not happy with me? My perfect world was on the brink of breaking.

I made her lie on the bed.....as I do so...Dr. Pradhan comes..... Ramesh uncle must have called him. Dr. Pradhan asks us to leave the room. I stand outside impatiently waiting for the door to open. From the corner of my eye I can see Ramesh uncle talking to all the servants and maids. Finally door opens and doctor calls me in.

Dr. Pradhan looks at me and says "She's fine.... at least for now"

"What??" I ask. What exactly does" at least for now" mean... I wonder.

Doctor Pradhan looks at me calmly "What triggered this, and tell me the truth"

"Well she saw a picture of me with my ex-girlfriend, and she thinks I might leave her" I say guiltily

"Hmm" Dr. Pradhan muttered.

"Does she have any relatives, because I know her parents are not around?" Doctor asks

"She's got an aunt... well she lives near-by...I can call her if you want." I tell him

There is a knock at the door. It’s her aunt. Ramesh uncle has already called her. I silently thank Ramesh uncle. He smiles...he looks again at Sandhya. He then turns to me and says "If you need me... I will be waiting outside." and then he leaves.

"What happened to her?" Her aunt asked.

Dr. Pradhan replied calmly "She had a nervous breakdown. Tell me did she ever have it before?"

Her aunt looked guiltily at me and she said "Yes, soon after her mum passed away. She became overly possessive about her dad, to the extent that her dad couldn't go anywhere alone. She tagged along everywhere he went.If he didn’t she would cry all day and wouldnot eat a bite till his father returned. Once she even tried to jump in the well. She even had a psychiatric treatment. After that she was fine."

She went to sit beside Sandhya. While the doctor said "I have a feeling she suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. Well all the symptoms points in that direction”.

We both sat in the drawing room. I finally asked him "What exactly are the symptoms of BPD?

"One is Fear of abandonment. She is afraid that u might leave her... or something would happen to you." Dr. said.

He continued "Second is severe lack of confidence. She tends to look down upon herself most of the time. Third is she might turn suicidal. In that case you should take proper care of her. Not leave her alone. Good news is it doesn't seem very bad. She's recovered before, she'll recover again. But only with your help.

"Yes doctor.... anything at all. I just want my wife back" I nearly pleaded him. I can't bear to see those tear stained face again.

Doctor smiles at me....I can easily imagine what is he thinking....the man who seemed so tough.... is emotional and extremely vulnerable when it comes to his wife. But this is how I am.

Doctor continues "Deepak this is the time she needs you the most. Try to get that confidence back in her that you would be around for her. And that you love her the most. Make her believe that for you, she’s the most beautiful woman in the world" He pauses and then he continues “You have to make sure that she rests a lot and has proper nutrition. Try to get her into some hobby...art...music anything."

The Doctor then looked at me.... placed his hand on my shoulder and said "It’s for later. Most important is making her trust you again." and he leaves.

For a long time, I looked at Sandhya. Why was her mental condition hidden from me? Why did she hide it? I couldn't think a thing. I needed a drink desperately.

I come out of the room. Ramesh uncle sitting on the bar stool. He got up as he saw me. I told him to sit and asked if he wanted a drink. He said yes. I poured Scotch for us. I gave his drink and silently sat on the other bar stool.

Ramesh uncle finally broke the silence. He asked "How's Sandhya?"

I nod my head... I am too tired to say anything.

"Tell me what’s troubling you, I have seen more of the world than you did so I am in a better position to help you, son" He said

"Did you know she had mental problems in the past?" I asked

"No I didn't, even if we did, would you change your decision about marrying her?" He asked. “Would you love her less...? I guess not. I have seen that madness in you, when you came to know that it was your father's men who burnt her school and killed her dad. I still remember how you brought each one of those men to justice and how you helped her to build that school again... your silly excuses to go to Neemrana to meet her. Touch your heart son, do you really think it would have mattered to you."

I mumble “No"

We both drink silently and after he leaves. I go back to my room.

                                      ************************* **

I couldn't help but hear Ramesh uncle's and Deepak’s conversation. I couldn't help but blush. So it was him all along. Well I liked him too. I used to look forward to his visits which was quite often.

I still remember the day he proposed to me. His party decided to give monetary gifts to all women and children who attended school. All of a sudden the school was flooded with women and children ready to study.After the function was over. He told me, he wanted to have a cup of coffee. We decided to go to the nearby small coffee shop. 


We kept talking about random things like favourite movie, actor, actress . He was more into Hollywood movies and I, into bollywood. All of a sudden, just out of the blue he popped the question "Will you marry me? If its a no, i'll understand".


I stared at him in the most unlady like manner."You okay?" he asked


I took a deep breath and murmured "Yes"


He continued looking at me. Finally I asked "Why do you want to marry me? Is it because of what you father did to me? If yes, don't worry. I don't hold you responsible.


"No, that would be a stupid reason to marry anybody. I want to marry you because everytime I see you, you make me want to be a better person. I love you.I haven't thought of anybody else since I have seen you. Moreover imagine what you and I could do to this place." He said


"So will you marry me?" he asked again


"Yeah just for Alwar, I will marry you."I replied


I couldn't help smiling as his deeply flushed face flashed in front of me eyes.   

 But the question is how long would the love stay. How long can i keep him interested in me. One day he's going to get bored of me. What then? With this I start feeling dizzy again. I decide to lie on bed.

After few minutes I hear the door open. Deepak enters the room looking tired. He smiles and sits beside me and he takes my hand in his and kisses my finger. He smiles again and says "That was some scare you gave us."

"I am sorry; I didn't mean to trouble you. I don't know what got over me. It’s just. I saw that....." I couldn't continue... the picture of happy Deepak with that beautiful woman flashed.

"I know what you saw" with that Deepak took out that picture. “This is Iris, my ex-girlfriend. We were going around in US since college. I thought I was in love with her. When my dad died, and I decided to shift to India. And she decided to finally tell me that she was cheating on me and she wanted to break-up. I was cool with it. "

"Then I met you, you wearing an off white kurta and red churidar with red dupatta, fiercely fighting for your people and for their rights. I knew you were the one I wanted in my life. You made me too want to do something about this place. You were the reason I stayed behind. I love you then; I love you even more now." he confessed as he continued to look earnestly in my eyes. 

He picked up my hand and turned kissed the place where I tried to cut. "I really thought you were happy with me." I can see that he was hurt.

"I am happy with you, very happy with you. I love you but I don't feel I am good enough for you" I couldn't look into his eyes and say that.

I hear him laugh and he says "I thought I was not good enough for you. Doesn't that make us a perfect couple?"

He paused, then slowly moving his thumb over my bandaged hand he said "I can't promise I can stop you from having problems. But I can promise you that you will never have to face them alone"

I couldn't help but smile as well as cry and hug him. We talked all night. Now I know he knows about my paranoia and still he loves me. That speaks a lot. I am lucky.

                                                     *************************

Deepak along with Rajasthan Police tracked down the culprits who had sent that envelop. Subhash Chowdhary was arrested . He’s out on bail.

The mall project was scrapped. The land was evenly distributed amongst farmers. 

Deepak and Sandhya are living happily. Sandhya is pregnant, but she still continues to teach women and children. Deepak is voted as the most promising Politician by two of the national magazines. Alwar now has roads, electricity and even water. There are lot of schools and colleges coming up.





This was my second writing exercise at the Indian Fiction Workshop. As per the exercise, I have written   my narration on the basis of a detailed plot given by Leo at the workshop blog.




8 comments:

  1. Bahut achcha likha hai, sab kuch barabar aur behatar. padhte huye maja aaya, khoob!

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  2. Wow...this story was written by you ? I read it a couple of days back on the workshop's website and thought to myself , "what a lovely heart touching story " ...a story written with a lot of heart :)

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  3. beautifully written... koi nhi kah skta tum 4 mahine se hi story likh rahi ho.. koi nhi kah sktaa..

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  4. kya Hehehe.. sachi kah raha hoon main..

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  5. very catchy..!!..loved the new style...makes it a sheer pleasure :)

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