How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend…. Some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.
The waves of the sea touched the shore tenderly, and the evening sun floated towards the west to sink down in the endless line of the water casting its golden light on the earth. The birds circling in the orange sky were all set to return home.
Ishaani sat there on the sand watching the waves in the middle of the sea soaring high, and a newlywed couple passed by laughing, hands in hands. A sad smile crept over her face as an unpleasant memory crossed her head, but was it unpleasant? She did not know.
"Ishaani," a voice called her.
She looked upwards and saw Ranveer, her husband, sitting next to her.
"Don't cry," he said, wiping her tears gently. "I know what makes you sad."
"Ranveer!" she said in a surprised tone. "You…you're here?"
"I never left," said he.
"But you were…" she continued in a confused state.
Ranveer did not say anything but looked at her in his most charming smile.
Ishaani moved toward him to take him in a tight embrace, but as she came closer only a thin, faint air touched her hands: Ranveer was gone...and she was left alone. The reality was slapped on her face once again. The loneliness gnawed at her more and more but she continued to live on without any nag even after the accident four years ago that had left her heart and soul scathed. The night Ranveer, her friend, her husband, her soulmate, left her forever to burn in the fire of eternal guilt, reproach and shame. A cold dagger sliced her heart as she remembered the incidents of the past.
"Why, Ranveer?" she cried. "Why did you leave me?"
There was no answer. The silence was broken by only the hushed noise of the sea waves.
"Look! That is Ishaani…Ishaani Vaghela! The owner of RV Empire!" exclaimed a man, and coming towards her he extended his hand as a cue of handshake.
Ishaani who hadn't noticed him coming looked surprised as he with a young woman approached her. She noticed this was the same couple who had visited the place a while back. Ishaani nodded but did not elaborate. Little embarrassed he took his hand back.
"You're Ishaani Vaghela, right?" the man asked.
"It's so good to see you, Ma'am. The most successful businesswoman of the country! It's an honor to see you."
"Thank you," said Ishaani throwing a polite smile.
Honored to see me?
"What have I done to deserve any honor?" she thought to herself.
Ishaani was one of the most successful and rich businesspersons of the nation, yet she found herself being the most unworthy of any honor and richness.
People make mistakes and learn from them… there is always a second chance for everyone…life is about moving on… time heals all wounds.
She felt none of this was true for her. She made mistakes only to make others suffer and miserable. There was no second chance for her...or she did not want to move on…time did not heal her wounds.
Time passed on but she could not.
Ishaani remembered her first Karwachowth…and last too, when a mysterious man shot Ranveer. She remembered herself going to Chirag's house to find the evidences that were supposed to prove Ranveer killed her father.
A cold shiver ran down her spine.
How could I even think like that?
Chirag, who had fooled her for two years, told her the truth of his treachery and her foolery- how she rejected the love of the man who had revered her unconditionally throughout his life; how she mocked his love; blinded herself towards the pain he had been in for years: the bitterest of pain.
Having realized her true feelings after this, Ishaani went to confess them to Ranveer. For the first time her heart skipped with his thought...for the first time her eyes wanted to see him badly...and she knew it was love. She went back to home and saw him standing by the poolside. She looked at him adoringly and wanted to say something- that she was in love with him. His eyes too rested upon her as he headed towards her while talking to someone on phone. She looked in his eyes: they revealed unshakable trust, faith, affection and love. The love she had never noticed was so explicit today that she could even sense the unsaid, deep buried sadness in them. The love in his eyes eased the pain she had been feeling for perhaps eternity.
"Ranveer, I have something to tell you. A gift that you waited for your entire life," she said, blushing.
He looked confused.
"Don't worry, Ranveer. Everything is fine," she said. "It's just I want to say that…"
"I'm happy you're all right, Ishaani," said Ranveer with a concern in his eyes. "I thought…but thank God, you're alright."
Ishaani smiled sadly.
Before she could speak, Ranveer's phone beeped, and after looking at his phone he looked at Ishaani. This time his eyes showed a curious sadness.
She looked at him. "Ranveer?"
"On this day a wife prays for her husband's longer life, but you just killed me, Ishaani," Ranveer said in a broken voice.
His words pierced her heart although she did not understand what they meant.
"If I have loved you even for a day in these years, and if God really exists somewhere, He should not grant me long life but finish it off right away," Ranveer ended, his eyes twinkling in the moonlit evening.
"Ranveer, what are you saying?" Ishaani cried. "You are not supposed to utter anything like this."
He looked at her in those teary eyes. And suddenly Ishaani saw many a things happening:
A strange thundering sound burst out from behind her, a stream of blood trickled from the left side of Ranveer's chest, and the blood droplets were splashed on her face- someone had shot Ranveer.
He looked at her as if this was the only thing he desired at the moment.
And Ishaani saw him falling into the pool nearby…
"Ranveer!" she screamed with all her strength, not wanting him to go away...taken by death.
But he was gone. Everything around her went numb and meaningless: she did not notice others standing there, cursing her, asking her to stay away from Ranveer.
She jumped into pool and her brothers helped her to get Ranveer out as they headed to the hospital frantically. The doctor told the case was critical and there really was not much hope.
Ishaani kept praying believing God might listen to her and forgive her this final time. Alas! It was too late.
Ishaani remembered the doctor's morose face as she declared that her husband had passed away.
The night had grown cold and a handful of stars gleamed in the sky. The sea simmered scattering its genial sound in the environment.
Ishaani sobbed. That was the last day she saw Ranveer and knew would never see him again. Her heart still yearned and wept for him making her more vulnerable before herself. However, she believed she was punished for the mistakes that were neither forgiven nor forgotten.
Her days remained as empty as winter without snow, or night without stars. Her heart was not whole anymore: It was broken into pieces left only to be bled forever. Her soul was damaged as though the Dark Angels had captured it to torment it until it existed no more.
He had loved me… more than I deserved. He didn't leave me…
Ishaani could still feel him everywhere and understood not whether it increased her pain or healed it. She could still smile thinking of him- the smile he had loved.
In spite of the pain she lived with Ishaani did not give up on life. She remembered him say...
"I never left…"