Thursday, 11 July 2013

मैं उसे जानता हूँ, फिर भी मैं उसे नहीं जानता....III

The previous parts are here.


"You do know who and where he is, don't you?"

"Yes."
****


She drove recklessly through dense rain cascading the windshield. The cooled interiors of the car crashed against wet screen and fogged her vision. Smirking, she changed the setting to relieve of the fog. She felt like the glass which was clouded to see clearly at what was because of a dishonest family history and her own stupid judgement. For a moment she wished she hadn't touched Walda's diary. For a moment she wished she hadn't gotten herself into this mess. But she would have been unfair to herself and her father had she chosen to flout the affair. And she was right on the track to know he truth. For her father's sake, and more than that, her sake.
****

"Maya, ya ullah, you have to throw this stupid idea at once out of your mind, child. If it has shaken you so much, imagine what would happen the the old chap with his granddaughter suddenly showing up one day. The man could die of heart attack."
"I don't care about that man. What I care about right now is the truth and reasons. By God, you have to trust me on this. I'm not immature."
Wazir glared astonished at Maya, thinking what a storm he'd raised. He'd never realised that she would be so strong to stand the blow of all this and even initiate to deal with it. 
"Am I going to get any answers from you now or not?", Maya demanded.
Wazir deep breathed for a few seconds and explained, "Farida, Ajay and I worked in the same place. Ajay was our boss, and like every other man in the office, in love with Farida. Or so everyone thought." Wazir smirked, reliving the past, "You're quite like her, in a lot more ways than you can imagine. She was like a thunder, and you Maya, are no less than a cyclone. There was nobody who wasn't touched by her liveliness. And things had gone too far between Ajay and Farida, without considering that they would never be able to marry. The social differences were one issue," he paused, moistening his dry lips, "but you see, Ajay was already engaged to be married."
He paused and looked up at Maya, and took in her gaping, open-mouthed expression and continued, "Of course, she had to take the blow and stay strong. I was the next best option. Of course, her marriage to me infuriated him. I lost a good friend. It was only a wife that I gained."
Maya had thousand things running in her mind, but no words blurted out. She coughed and hesitatingly asked, "Why didn't you have a child of your own then?"
He merely smiled, "It was only me who loved in this marriage, meri bachchi. Farida never loved me. She only cared."
****

26/135. Standing outside the tastelessly painted house, she shivered as she turned the rusted iron gate around. Walking through the brick driveway, she could find similarities in the choice flowers in the garden. She was sure Walda and this man would have had a lot in common. She stood in front of the netted, grilled door, and knocked using the extravagant door handle. 
"Coming.", came the reply from a crisp, deep voice. She took an instant liking to the sound. Another similarity of her with her grandmother. 
When the door opened, her breath caught in her throat. It was like looking at her father at a much elder state in life. His hair, mouth, height, and his eyes. It was like looking right back in her eyes.

Those eyes, Ajay thought. He knew who she was. He'd known this time would come, only that he'd expected for his child rather than his grandchild. 

"Would you like some tea?", he could hardly think of putting up with a polite conversation.
"No, thanks.", Maya smiled, trying to return his politeness, refraining from hitting right in his face.
That smile, Ajay thought, he knew that smile. It was the smile he'd fell in love with ages ago. 
He sat down in his rocking chair, lighting his pipe asked, "So what do you want to know?"
She gave him a deadly stare that he very well recognised.
"I want to know about your ball-less nature. About how you could betray Walda's infinite trust in you, and even play with it? And how could you turn your back towards your own blood? And how did you destroy her enough to not make her love again?"
He could hear the blunt brazenness of Farida in her every word.
He sighed, "We both knew from the very beginning that we would never be able to marry. But we were blinded so much in love that we willingly chose not to bother about the consequences. And it did come back in a form of punishment. I was married, and then later she broke the news of her pregnancy. I told her to abort the child. I even suggested that I pay for everything..."
"You what?", Maya shouted pulling a stunned face.
"I...it was the only solution. It's not like I didn't care. I always came to see your father. His school, college. Yours too."
She interrupted him by her hand. 
"Mr. Ajay. I can never be more regretful of the fact that I read through Walda's diary. And I can never be more shameful of the fact that it's your blood that ran through my father's. I'm sure you might have had your own charms, but I can't believe that a dignitary like my Walda  fell in love with a morally bankrupt guy like yourself." He could hear the self-esteem in her emphasis of my Walda. 
"Listen, Maya, if there's anything I can do to make up to..."
"Just one question, Mr. Ajay. Did you have any children from your marriage?"
"Yes. Three, why?"
"And why were you angry when Baba married her?"
"Because it was me she loved, not him. He had his eyes on her since first day."
"You loved her, too, didn't you? She didn't break any ties because you married another woman. She kindled them. You should have trusted your friend enough to be able to take care of a pregnant, helpless woman you were apparently in love with.", she backfired. 
She smiled mockingly towards him. He almost felt like she was laughing on him. 
"You know what? I'm glad you didn't marry her. It wasn't concern, but guilt which made you constantly check on us. Thank you for your time."
He felt like he'd been slapped. 
She got out in the heavy rain, not for once objecting the wetness.
****

She drove to Marine and strolled there for endless hours. The rain kept cooling her burning skin, red hot from anger. All that echoed in her head was her Baba's voice.
"It was only me who loved in this marriage, meri bachchi. Farida never loved me. She only cared."
"Then why did you put up with her for all these years? Why go through the torture of a loveless marriage, just because you loved her?"
"Because, my love which she couldn't revert, she channelled it to her son, and you. It wasn't important for me to be loved. She cared, and appreciated whatever I did. Who says we didn't have fun? We did go for dates like in the early days, we bought each other gifts. You see, Maya, when you emotionally can't suffice one's need, you look for materialistic ways instead. And that's exactly what she did. I was more than happy that she didn't neglect your father thinking he's Ajay's blood. She instead made me feel and love them both like he was a child from our marriage. What she couldn't give me, she substituted it by teaching a lot better to your father, in making him human. I might not have had a loving wife, meri bachchi, but I had a best friend for my companion."

Maya pulled out her phone, her hands shaking as she dialled him.
"Hello?", his voice never failed to make her smile.
"Baba, can you cook ghosht for tonight. I'm really hungry, and I'm coming home."

Hopeful,
Ak.

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