Skip to main content

New beginning

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 46; the forty-sixth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


April 12th

The sound of the empty office was haunting. Pankaj sat there, in front of his laptop staring at the screen wallpaper. He had finished his work as usual at the normal office ending hours. But he was still there 3 hours later just staring at his laptop. He didn’t want to go home. Or to the place he had once called home.

He remembered those days when he couldn’t stay a minute more than necessary in the office. The days where he lied to go early or to take a leave, just so he could spend time in his home.

His happy, laughing home.

Now neither there were any laughs nor any happiness left.

Pankaj whirled around in his chair to stare out of the window. Guilt overlapped his every emotion and ate him alive every minute. He felt like he is the one who leeched out the happiness out of his home.

A tear unknowingly rolled down his cheek dropping down unheeded. Tears didn’t bother him anymore.

He let out a big sigh and checked his watch, it was fifteen past nine.

He checked his cell phone and saw no missed calls or messages. Of course he willed himself every day to not expect them, but his heart was an optimist.
He chuckled to himself thinking “Optimist??!! After all that has happened??”
He didn’t want to dwell on that subject again. He walked to the washroom, passing by empty cubicles. He felt like he was walking by his life.

Everyday was a trial for him, but today was especially painful.

He freshened up and had a good long look at himself in the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot, hair still messy, the day old beard mocking and the constant frown still laughing at him. He closed his eyes again and hoped for some control.

Pankaj locked up his office and walked towards his car. All the while the past kept catching up with him.

As he eased his car out of the driving lot and started driving towards his ‘home’, the events of last 7 months rolled out of his mind.

It was on September 20th last year. He would never forget the date of that rueful day. 




Avni.... Avni....” shouted Pankaj tying his reluctant tie but got no response. He came out of the room, looked around and found her nowhere. Panic had started to grip his heart. He called again softly

“Avni...?”

Avni came in from the back door wiping her hands with a big smile on her face and question in her eyes. Only then did Pankaj let out a sigh of relief and then he chided Avni.

“You scared me for a minute there. Where were you?? I was calling for you from last five minutes.”

“Pankaj, breathe. I was just out in the back, watering the plants”

Pankaj shrugged with disbelief and said to his lovely wife “Avni, you really are crazy. I didn’t believe you when you said it. But you are crazy. You are supposed to leave in half an hour and you are still watering plants??!!..... totally crazy” as he walked towards their room to finish tying his tie.

Avni laughed at Pankaj’s feeble attempt to scold her and walked behind him towards the room. Avni turned Pankaj towards her and said in a soft voice while tying his tie “My dear hubby, you do know that you fell in love with my craziness. So don’t crib, no going back now. So why don’t you just suck up and smile” and then she smiled her smile. That radiant-melt-your-heart-smile.

Pankaj held his petite 5.2 feet wife with talking eyes and smiling lips in his arms and gazed at her. Her grace was mesmerizing and every time she spoke in that soft voice, his heart tripped and beat faster. He gathered her much closer and placed a warm kiss on her forehead. Her fragrance was luring him to hold her much longer, when she winced a bit.

He immediately loosened his grip and asked with concern “Did I hurt you??”

Seeing his expression Avni laughed out loud and said in a mocking tone “Gotcha”

Pankaj let go of his wife and said “Not funny”

“Ok, ok not funny. But I am safe, you don’t have to jump in panic for every wince and cringe”

Pankaj just humphed and walked out of the room while he said “get ready fast or else you will get stuck in traffic”

Half an hour later Avni walked towards him in her pink salwar with the same heartwarming smile on her lips. That smile was her trademark. Pankaj couldn’t imagine a time when she didn’t smile like that at him.



Pankaj stopped his car at the red signal. He was so lost in his thoughts, that he wondered how he reached here. He shook his head and ran his hand in his hair while he thought “She doesn’t smile like that anymore. In fact she doesn’t smile at all”

As the signal turned green, his thoughts also got a go signal.


Pankaj was asking again and again “Are you sure Avni??!! Are you sure you can drive on your own. I know you are capable to drive, but in this situation....... May be I should have arranged for a driver........”

Avni stopped him in his monologue and said “Pankaj, relax and breathe. You know am not comfortable with some unknown driver. If you could come, that was a different matter. Don’t worry, am quite capable of driving to mom’s house alone. Please don’t fret so much. I will be fine.”

Pankaj said himself to relax and hugged her tightly once, placed a soft kiss on her lips like a whisper and let her go.

Avni got in her car and drove away; he waved till her car disappeared around the road bend.



Pankaj’s eyes welled up on its own as he thought “That was the last time I saw her happy”

He was in front of his home. Other than the light in the bedroom the whole house was dark. He checked his watch, it was showing 10.30. He was late than usual.

He parked his car in the garage and as he closed the gate the porch light switched on.

He unlocked the door with his key and walked in. The light in the dining room was on, the covered dishes on the table. He glanced towards his room, the lights was off.

He sighed and walked towards the bathroom. He freshened up and sat down to eat his dinner- alone.

His mind rolled back to its past again.

After he bid her goodbye, day seemed to get back to normal. Until he got that call, after that all he remembered was panic. That phone call, the news of the accident, seeing Avni in the hospital with numerous pipes surrounding her and then the blow on the wound. Later all that was left was...............

The loss.

The silence.

The tears........ and

The place where time stood still.

Pankaj drank water and took few deep breathes to ease the grip on his heart. He had lost everything that day, talking eyes, smiling lips, his home and most of all his future, his shadow, his child.

He berated himself yet again for letting her drive alone that day. He was supposed to be the protector and he couldn’t protect the most important person of his life and he paid very dearly for that carelessness. He closed his eyes for a minute and said to himself “I deserve it..”

Pankaj washed his hands, put everything in the kitchen and checked every door and window. And sat down to watch T.V. He knew he was just stalling time while all his attention was riveted on his room.

After 2-3 hours of wasting time, he finally walked into his room. Avni was sleeping facing away from him, as she did every night now.

He walked towards her side, smoothed the hair off her forehead and placed a warm kiss, straightened her blanket and walked back to sleep on his side of the bed.

The last thought on his mind as he was falling asleep was “I won’t give up on us yet Avni.”

Avni knew exactly when Pankaj fell asleep, she listened intently for his breathing to slow down and deepen. As soon as she was sure he was fully asleep she turned towards him.

Her tall-dark-handsome-love-of-her-life was sprawled on the bed beside her. Yet all she could feel was tears welling up in her eyes.

She willed herself not to make a sound and shifted an inch towards him. She placed her hand near his hand with just a whisper of space between. His warmth radiated towards her and she sighed. She longed to touch him, hold him, console him and let him console her. But she knew that everything had changed between them on that day.

Pankaj stirred and Avni immediately snatched her hand back. After he settled down again in deep slumber, Avni stretched her hand to hold the edge of his blanket and tried to sleep, but the she knew she couldn’t. She had not slept peacefully again after that day.

And today it was impossible to sleep. She still could hear the voice of her gynecologist smiling at her while she said “Congratulations. You are pregnant and according to my calculation your due date should be April 12th................”

And if everything had gone as planned, her child was supposed to be born today. Today was supposed to be the happiest day of her life.

She knew today was not hard only on her; it was especially hard on him too. But she just couldn’t reach out to him. Even though he slept just inches away, she knew he was eons away from her.

She couldn’t forget that day or that drive ever in her life. It was imprinted as the last sane memory.

That day, when Avni had started from the house, everything was right in this world. But then by the time she covered the first half of her journey, the skies had opened up and stormed.

Avni ruefully admitted to herself, she should have stopped somewhere. But she was already on the highway and there was no place to stand. And all she thought was if she just pushed forward she will reach mom’s place then everything will be ok.

But she didn’t anticipate the tires skidding, the brakes not applying and she had just twirled and tipped of the edge. And with that tipping her life had tipped off to the abyss she lived now.

After that all she could remember was pain, blinding pain and loss.

Avni’s hand rested on her stomach on its own. Like she was searching for any remnants of the lost soul.

All her dreams, hopes and wishes had flowed away with that blood that day. Not only had she lost her child, she had lost the ability to have anymore.

The intensity of her regret, the pain of her loss had not dimmed with time.

Till today she couldn’t forgive herself for her carelessness. Avni thought the same words which she said to herself every day, again with more hurt than ever “I was not supposed to live after this. I ruined our life by one careless mistake Pankaj. Maybe you can forgive me. But I can’t. I just can’t”

Avni let go of Pankaj’s blanket and got up. She walked up to the balcony and let the wind nip at her. And then she let go, she couldn’t hold back her tears anymore. It felt like the sobs were being pulled out of her.

And for the thousandth time she thought “Why doesn’t he just leave me?? I have destroyed all the happiness in his life. Why doesn’t he just go and find happiness somewhere else. He still has a chance to live his life happily. Not bound by a barren wife and dead child.”

But today was not like every day, she knew today she has to decide something. Anvi dried her tears and thought with conviction “I have to do it. Tomorrow I will do it. I will go away. I won’t burden him anymore with my presence. If ever he can forgive me that is more than enough for me”
With that decision made, she walked back to the bed and laid down. At wee hours of the morning, she finally fell asleep fitfully and her hand held the edge of his blanket.

Next morning after breakfast was prepared. She checked to see if Pankaj was showering. When she was confirmed of that fact, Avni called her mom. As soon as her mom picked up the call Avni said without any adieu...

“Mom, am coming home.”

“Avni...... are you saying what I am thinking??!!”

“Yes mom, I have decided. Its time I did something, I can’t let him live like this”

“Avni don’t.......... I mean not today. I am going out of station for a few days. So just wait for 2 more days and then you can come”

Avni thought this very unusual, but she agreed and said “Ok mom, but don’t say anything to anybody yet. Dad and brother might tell Pankaj this and he will stop me from leaving”

“Okay” replied her mom with a sigh.

Avni cut the call and thought again that her mom’s request was quite unusual, but she shrugged off the uncomfortable feeling and went back to her work.

It was around 12 noon that day, when she heard the door-bell.

Avni opened the door and was shocked to see her mom standing at her doorstep. She stared at her mom in surprise. Her mom didn’t wait for Avni to recover and voice the questions in her eyes, she just barged in. She was holding Aryan, her 1 year old grandson and carrying a huge bag.

Avni recovered enough to close the door. She walked towards her mom and asked in surprise “Mom, what are you doing here?? I thought you are going out somewhere. And why is only Aryan with you, where is Shilpa??”

Her mom transferred Aryan into Avni’s hands; she took him as if the transfer was quite normal and started bouncing him in the age old rhythm of consoling a child in new hands.

Avni’s mom looked at her only daughter with open concern and love, while she said “Well the thing is Shilpa is not well. And I have work here in your city. So I had no choice but to bring Aryan with me.”

Before Avni could react, her mom continued “Now before you ask me more questions or ask me to sit down, I have to leave now. I can’t take Aryan with me, so be a doll and look after him. He has been fed and he will fall asleep after an hour. After he gets up, just feed him the milk in the bottle. I have put all his favorite toys in this bag and he is at that stage where he puts everything in his mouth so be careful...................”

Avni’s mother’s instructions were just flying around while she walked out of the house and before Avni could realize that her mom had let a year old baby in her care, her mom was already out of sight.

Avni didn’t know what to do, how to do, when to do. She held Aryan in her arms and was still wondering when the door-bell rang again.

Avni balanced Aryan in her arms and opened the door to find Pankaj standing there with panic in his eyes.

He looked at her once over and asked in a struggled voice “Avni, are you alright??”

Avni just looked at him in surprise and when he questioned again, she recovered and said “Am fine, but why are you home at this hour Pankaj??!!”
Pankaj looked at her again to make sure she looked alright. He didn’t dare to hold her and ask her again. So he just walked in and said “Your mom called me today at office and said Avni needs you. So I just came as soon as possible.”

He sat on the sofa as Avni closed the door and then he noticed that Avni was holding Aryan, so he asked “So tell me Avni, what you need me for?? And why is Aryan here?? Is your mom here??”

Avni walked over to the sofa and sat down, adjusting Aryan to sit on her lap comfortably and for a moment she thought of saying “I didn’t need you” but she changed her words and said “I didn’t tell mom to call you, mom was here but she left leaving Aryan with me. Don’t ask me why, because even am not sure why he is here with me alone. Now that I think, I think I got my craziness from mom”. There was a ghost of the smile on her lips and Pankaj felt his own lips imitating them.

He asked again “You mean, your mom left Aryan with you and went somewhere??”

“Yes.. Can you believe her??”

“But why??”

“I seriously have no idea. All she said was that Shilpa is not well and mom has some important work. So she has no other choice than leaving Aryan with me. This has never happened before. This is crazy”

After a moment of silence, while Avni took the toy Aryan was chewing and wiped it. Pankaj said in a whisper “Avni, are you sure you can handle this...?”

Avni looked up to him and for a moment there, the time stood still. After a few moments she recovered and said “Yeah, I can handle everything here. You can go back to office”

Pankaj leaned back and said “Now that I am here. I don’t want to go back to office. And our hero Aryan is also here, I will have a grand time with him”

Avni saw Pankaj smile and something tugged in her heart.

Between all the cooing and booing, Aryan was getting tired and was almost asleep when Avni put him on her shoulder to soothe him to sleep. She started to hum a lullaby while she walked around.

Pankaj looked at the picture she was presenting. A happy content mother soothing her child to sleep. His heart was sighing with delight and distress at the same time. He thought to himself “how can it be possible that am happy and sad at the same time??”

When Aryan fell asleep, Avni carefully laid him down on the makeshift bed for him and walked out of the room towards where Pankaj was sitting. After plopping down on the sofa, she asked in a small voice “Coffee??”

Pankaj nodded with a smile. It seemed to him, like something fundamental had changed in their house, it felt like that it was almost the same place where happiness dwelled a mere few months back.

For the first time in so many months, time flew without struggling or strangling them.

By the time Avni’s mom stepped into the threshold of their house, it was transforming into the shadow of the home she once knew it to be.

She saw that both Avni and Pankaj were on the carpet playing earnestly with Aryan. They were smiling, talking and finally looking at each other.

She stood there for a few minutes, but neither of them noticed. Then it was Aryan who noticed her and beckoned her to pick him up.

She picked up the laughing child and looked at her own child smiling and smiled back.

After Aryan decided that he wanted to play or eat his toy truck, the rest decided for a much needed coffee break.

When for a moment, silence reined other than the sounds of Aryan’s delight at his truck. Avni’s mom looked up towards her daughter who was still a child to her and at her son-in-law who was her second son and said “There are other ways to have a child you know. Just think about it”

By the time she left Avni’s home, she knew she did the right thing by leaving Aryan here with Avni, even though she spent her whole day in a coffee shop. She looked back to see Avni and Pankaj waving her bye while they held each other’s hands.

A year later...................

“Avni.... Avni....” shouted Pankaj in-shirting his shirt. When Avni didn’t come even after a few minutes, he came out of their room and looked around to find her nowhere. Panic had started to grip his heart. He called again softly

“Avni....???”

Avni came in from the back door wiping her hands with a big smile on her face and question in her eyes. Only then did Pankaj let out a sigh of relief and then he chided Avni.

“You scared me for a minute there. Where were you?? I was calling for you from last five minutes.”

“Pankaj, breathe. I was just out in the back watering the plants”

Pankaj humphed and said “Get ready fast, we have to be at the adoption agency by 10, remember??”


Avni started to walk towards their room and looked back towards her husband and then she smiled her smile. That radiant-melt-your-heart-smile. Relief flooded in his heart and he knew that a new chapter was about to begin in his life, that the page had finally turned. 
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 02

Comments

  1. That's a beautiful story. Totally loved reading it. The way Pankaj kept going in the past and coming back to present got me hooked on to read what next. Glad I landed on this post from IB. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for such lovely words... glad you landed here :)

      Delete
  2. Awesome narration NC...Loved it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Solution to the problem lies with in the problem...but need to come out and then look the problem from a good height..then the problem looks small... The mother small appearance brought a big difference in Pankaj & Avni struggling life. It is like both are trying to keep other happy..but that should not be the case..this they realised in a cameo appearance by the mother.

    Superb way to give twist, and nicely written to show their struggling past, present and future.

    Always a third eye required to know where the wrong is heading to..and how the wrong can be bring back to the right path..

    Super nivi...mother appearance is the Nivi Twist!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks sri :) as usual your comment is a huge encouragement :)

      Delete
  4. Very long story,the same can be said in half the words but I think it was required for such a story.

    The Page Will Turn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even i thought i was quite a bit long than i expected.. but then i didnt want to cut out anytihng also.... :D thanks for reading

      Delete
  5. This is lovely. The problem, the tackling of the situation, the solution to the problem. Well written. We need to accept the changes in our lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading :) appreciate your response

      Delete
  6. Pankaj over-reacted! A bit immatuer I think!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and presenting a different point of view :)

      Delete
  7. Finally the page had turned. Beautiful Narration and I liked the story. Keep writing for BAT!

    Someone is Special

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A humble plea to bullet riders - From a drooling onlooker

Till today I haven't encountered a person who is not impressed by Bullet. The "dug dug dug" sound like beat of a thunderous drums creates an amazing illusion of an impressive rider on the amazing beast.  Before I let you on to my plea let me tell you a bit about the beast you ride with pride. Way back in 1955 The Indian Government looked for a suitable motorcycle for its police and army for patrolling the country's border. The Royal Enfield Bullet was chosen as the most suitable bike for the job. 
You are riding a bike used in many military operations and even in WW II. So please hear a plea of a humble drooling onlooker before you ride on in your pride.
Every bullet rider might not be a bike enthusiast but every biker is a bullet enthusiast. And also every onlooker who gives you a look while you drive with that patented "potato potato" sound blasting through your bike. 
By a unconscious consensus there are certain etiquette you have to follow if you are riding…

IMHO - Blue mug epiphany

I have often heard, "our relationship is solid".. "Its so tight that it is impossible to break it" .. always made me wonder, "Really! solid? unbreakable???". And when I saw people being disappointed or hurt because something changed in the relationship, it made me question it. I know when we say solid, we relate it to strength and dependability of the relationship. Which makes us feel secure, safe. That this is one thing we can always count on. 
I accepted the premise and walked in the same road, but always wondered. You will ask why!.. because we human beings are dynamic, not static.. not stationary. Every moment of our life adds to the vast pool of experience which surely but subtly changes our state of mind, thinking and opinions. Oh there are some exceptions ofcourse, who never deviate from their beliefs, routines and opinions. But I think even they stay strong in their beliefs  or routines because every new knowledge is processed and discarded in favo…

Confessions 13 - Selfish

Did you ever imagine what happens when someone you love dies. When you realize that the warmth of their body will seep away before you held them one last time, the light in their eyes fade away before you saw them smiling for the last time, the beat of their heart will stop before you feel its vibration beneath your hand for that last time.
You knew it would happen someday, I knew it would happen someday .. But I never thought it will happen to us on that day, at that moment. Time being time was cruel enough to not let me even get a good bye before you left, but time being time was also kind enough to not let you suffer in pain.
It took me days to finally utter a word, months to finally breathe without pain, infinite time to spend a moment without a tear. All my energy was spent in convincing the kind offers of companionship that was not needed. After all am an independent person with a strong determined soul. I should be able to shoulder my own pain. Isn't it??!! Or so I thought…