The darkness was thick and the rain tumbled down heavily, the tears from heaven pouring out to relish a long overdue agony suppressed for years. The effect of the growing night did no help to Ranveer in falling asleep, and nor did the fact that they had almost lost the pending case of their land in the village. He’d never felt so helpless before when it came to his parents and their future, the uncertainties more prominent now when they stood at the brink of losing the only remaining asset he’d been holding onto. He could promise his father a lavishness they knew was hard to attain. Hard. Not impossible, he told himself a hundredth time that night. He had survived in this strange city for much longer than he had assumed at his arrival fifteen years ago, and all was ridiculously strange today. Hadn’t he survived already to see this day? But he had his life beside him to get past the painful ironies of life. Ishaani. What now, but? He couldn’t burden her with his miseries all the time even though she’d be dearly willing to help him. But he couldn’t do this, no.
It would only be a few more days… another hearing and his pretentiously innocent family — uncles and cousins, who’d had nothing to do with his family otherwise — would win the case, leaving them homeless unless for the Parekh Mansion. But how was that supposed to be a comfort, either? This place was his home, true. The only place that sheltered him from not just the harsh rains, but also from the coldness of the ruthless world around him. His Mota Babuji was the man in whom he found a father figure who trusted him the most, made him feel worthwhile, and gave him the life he cherished today. And then there was Ishaani who remained the cause he lived to see the next day, struggling with the wilting shadows of pain and loneliness as the misery soared high in this strange place. But despite all, it didn’t feel right imagine living here for the rest of their lives. He would have to move out some day.
Ranveer couldn’t tell what was the cause that the wounds of the whip did not hurt anymore; it had been just one day since the incident. All of a sudden they stopped hurting. Either because of the news he received later tonight when his mother informed him of the obvious, or maybe because his thoughts didn’t yet leave Ishaani. Her scent still lingered there long after she was gone and the air seemed to carry her spirit on its invisible wings woven together, something gave him hope and courage when the hopeless hours like this arrived.
The touch of the cold shower spraying over him unintelligibly jolted Ranveer out of his thoughts. Scowling, he got up. Even in the hot weather of July, rains didn’t stop being clingy even if they gave the much-needed relief from the day’s heat all the time. Ranveer shut the windows, eliminating all the possibilities of the water intruding in his room and returned to the comfortable bed and settled himself amidst the cushions. His thoughts once again wandered to the conversation he and his mother had had a few moments ago. She had cried and cried, apologizing for being unable to save the little they had left of his grandfather; and he had made best attempts to console her, but failing miserably.
Lakshmi Masi was willing to help them but they couldn’t take her help. She and her husband had been their only support through the trial. Parul, his cousin, had even invited him to live with his family in their own town in Gujarat. But Ranveer was far too afraid to leave the Parekh Mansion and walk away from Ishaani just like that.
“Things happen for a reason, Ma. This is what you always say, don’t you?” he’d told his mother in a failed attempt to console her. Maybe there was something good behind the loss?
It didn’t work.
“I’d hoped we’d get our house back… and you wouldn’t have to… stay there in the Mansion anymore.” She wept, her words incoherent. It wasn’t a new fact that his mother didn’t want them to live in Mumbai and she had expressed her displeasure at his suggestion to return to the Parekh Mansion as well.
“I can’t come back there, Ranveer! That place’s worse than a house haunted with the most hostile of the ghosts.”
Ranveer couldn’t blame her, and he didn’t. He pondered how the incident was going to change their lives from the moment.
“Ranveer!” Ishaani’s voice froze him in his place and he turned to her, smiling. Her face gleamed with a smile as bright as the sun on the horizon. “Gauri di! She’s coming home today.”
“That’s great!” he answered, noticing the worry hidden behind her excitement. “Ishaani, you’re still worried about her, aren’t you?”
She nodded. “I am. She won’t be able to say anything when Baa’s around.” Ishaani looked up to him and took a deep breath. “I wonder if we’ll have some time to talk to her? She has to leave in the evening today itself.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll manage everything.”
“Of course we will!” Devarsh jumped in between, chewing an apple in his hand. “Ishaani, we can see you’ve been quite worried about Gauri di and all, but we’ll help her get to you, alright?”
“Yes, yes.” Pratiek followed too, his hands full of chocolate bars, part of it immersing around his lips. Devarsh rolled his eyes.
“Motu, you do know it’s not good for health torturing poor chocolates so much, is it?”
Pratiek scowled but fell silent as Ishaani took no interest in the bickering of her cousins. “Ishaani,” Devarsh said again, now solemnly. “Don’t worry. You want to talk to Gauri di, right? We’ll definitely get her to you. We even made a plan!”
Sighing, Ishaani nodded. Ever since the incident of Gauri eloping, Baa had restricted Ishaani’s meetings with Gauri, somewhere dubious of Ishaani’s contribution in the matter. Ranveer knew Baa wasn’t the one to be fooled so easily when her eyes knew to scrutinize the souls of her prey, special cases being he and Ishaani most of the times. However, Ranveer hoped she would spare Ishaani at least now when the matter was silenced by the showdown the previous day. Ouch! The memory of the whisks stung all of a sudden.
“It’ll be alright.” He looked at Ishaani and her head lowered. Ranveer gently placed his hand on Ishaani’s shoulder for assurance and she smiled.
And as a matter of fact, Baa did not apologize. Ranveer didn’t expect her to and he didn’t care about it either.
It was in the afternoon when Gauri arrived with her husband, and Ranveer noticed a slight blush on her cheeks— something he had never seen before in the timidity caused by perhaps the terror of Baa. Freedom changed people so much. Or was it marriage which did it? Did this mean what people said about getting married and changing people was true? And did this mean… Ishaani would change as well once she…? No, no. His mind abandoned the thoughts of Ishaani ever changing. She would never change. He knew her. They had spent fifteen years together, laughing, crying, and were the best friends. Friends. Something which still had not changed and he knew she would never either. She was different.
The cousins surrounded Gauri when she arrived, presenting the gifts they had brought for her though he could see Ishaani still appeared lost. Ranveer had promised to get the two sisters to talk at the right time and as Ranveer escorted Gauri to his room, hiding from Baa and other family members, he could only hope they were not caught before the right time. Though the plan was fool-proof with Baa having gone to the Ganesha temple she was invited as the chief-guest for a function and others were busy in their own lives, the fear always lurked.
“Ranveer, is everything alright?” Gauri asked and Ranveer smiled in return.
“Yes. It’s Ishaani. She wants to talk to you. The entire arrangement is made for that only.” Ranveer’s eyes gleamed with a mischievous spark and he chuckled.
“What kind of arrangement?”
Ranveer narrated the entire tale of Ishaani’s worries and how the cousins had planned to send Baa and Falguni Ma to their interested destinations, conveniently excluding the whipping part because that wasn’t important to the matter. “So, since Baa wouldn’t let you two meet, and other family members being terrified of Baa wouldn’t help either, I had to get you two to talk here. And why Ishaani wouldn’t talk to you in the house is a matter of mystery to me as well.”
“Maybe she’s comfortable in your company, that’s why?” Gauri said.
Ranveer shrugged his shoulders.
“And Baba? He isn’t home?”
“He’s out with Mota Babuji,” Ranveer answered, pleased with the respect Gauri gave his father. This was one of the reasons he and Ishaani loved her so much.
As Ranveer finished, they reached his room and before he could knock at it, the wooden door opened on its own will with a soft creak.
“Gauri di!” Ishaani loped from within and hugged her, tears flowing from her eyes uncontrollably at Gauri’s sight.
“Ishaani, what’s wrong? Look, I’m fine,” Gauri consoled her sister who still refused to stop. “Look, even Ranveer will have a better reason to annoy you now,” she after a while when Ishaani did not move.
Ishaani separated herself away, and wiped the tears from her face. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I- I just missed you so much. Didn’t know how you were. You didn’t even answer my phone!”
Gauri smiled. “I’m sorry, Ishaani. We were busy with the rituals… I’m really sorry.”
“Girls, can you two please get inside and continue with the conversation there? I’ll leave you two here and see if anything’s needed. Just in case you do need something, call me over, Ishaani. Alright?”
Ranveer began to walk when Ishaani held his wrist. “Ranveer, you don’t have o leave. There’s nothing I can’t talk with you around.”
“But what will I do here?” He frowned.
“You are my best friend, Ranveer, and know everything about me. We have no secrets, do we? This one isn’t going to be either. Please stay.”
Ranveer glanced at Gauri who nodded her head.
“I know what you two want to talk to me about,” Gauri began as they all sat down on the assigned chairs for them. “It’s the same thing that if I’m happy about my marriage or not, right?”
Ishaani and Ranveer nodded their heads and Gauri continued. “I’ve given up, Ishaani.” The broken words were not encouraging, Ranveer assumed. Not at all. Although he understood what she meant. “When Baa’s men caught Parnav and I, I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do. How to save our love and him. The only way seemed giving up… I don’t know how he is today or where’s he gone, but at least I’m happy that he no longer has to live with a fear of being hunted down and being beaten to death.”
“What about you?” Ishaani asked suddenly and Gauri’s eyes welled up. Something she’d suppressed had begun to explode gradually. She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly and stared at her henna covered hands which carried the vivid proof of her marriage with Romil.
“I can’t feel anything,” Gauri said at length when silence became too awkward and unbearable. “This wasn’t a life I had planned for myself. This wasn’t a future I hoped to have. I thought life was a beautiful experience, Ishaani, until it showed its truest colors.” Her last words were harsh and cruel, bleeding with the agony of her utterly crushed soul. “I don’t know if I’ll ever love Romil. All I know is I can’t feel anything.”
Ranveer and Ishaani looked at each other, silently watching their fears coming true. Neither dared to break the string of Gauri’s narrative as she continued. “And I’m worried about Romil too, Ishaani. He’s a good man who deserves much better than someone like me.” She shook her head despairingly as the torrential bondage of tears ripped apart. “How would I ever love him back? Baa says people can love after marriage, too… I don’t know how to live. I never knew love could hurt you so bad.” And now, her quivering voice lowered to dreamy whisper. “Pranav and I had dreamt so much for future. A life which wasn’t as lavish Ma wanted me to have, but it would be a happy one. But I was a coward!”
“Gauri di, no…” Ishaani wiped her tears and took her in her arms. “You are no coward. You’re much braver than you can see it right now. Trust me. You know, Papa says letting the person you love go for their happiness is the bravest thing one can do, and you’ve done just that.”
Ranveer looked at Ishaani and nodded, not saying anything else.
“But it doesn’t matter anymore now,” Gauri said, separating away from Ishaani. “Pranav is gone. I don’t know where he is…or how he is now. And I can’t thank you both enough for all that you did for me, Ishaani and Ranveer. You both went against Baa for my love. You know, Ma tells no one has ever had the courage to do this. No one except Harshad Kaka.”
“Gauri, we couldn’t stop this from happening to you,” Ranveer said at last and Ishaani and Gauri looked at him. “But whenever you need us, we’ll always be there for you. Trust me.”
“He’s right, di. We’ll both be there for you always,” Ishaani whispered, taking Gauri’s hand in hers.
The conversation then drifted to the life in Parekh Mansion, Ranveer and Ishaani narrating their own shares of the stories and how life had been ever since she left, the common factor being how they missed the unbiased referee’ for their fights.
“You’re both grownups now. Stop fighting,” Gauri said.
“Ask your sister, Gauri.” Ranveer pointed towards Ishaani who scowled back at him. “She can’t live without sucking my blood with those straws!”
Ishaani threw a pillow at his face and Ranveer missed in the nick of time. “See?”
“No, you make me do this all the time! Gauri di, he’s lying!” Ishaani stood up and prepared another pillow to throw but Gauri stopped her. “Di, you always take his side! It’s unfair!”
“Anything’s fair in love and war and this is a war!” Ranveer said, showing his teeth.
Ishaani glared at him, but for the sake of Gauri repressed her anger, muttering something under her breath. Ranveer chuckled.
“It’s tough for the girls to adjust in another family, isn’t it?” Ranveer asked, changing the topic suddenly, much to Ishaani’s annoyance.
“It certainly is, but we have no choice.” Gauri shrugged her shoulders.
“I think it’d be fun if grooms have to change the house instead of the bride. What say?”
“Well?” Ishaani looked at him and Ranveer chuckled, amused at evoking a response from her once again.
“No, I mean you were just complaining yesterday how girls have to leave their homes and it’s hard to adjust in a new family and all, I’m thinking of asking Mota Babuji to find someone who will do this for you. Also, you want to take me as your dowry with you, so I’ll get spared from being your puppet as well.” Ranveer clasped his hands together and looked at Ishaani, raising his eyebrows.
“Ranveer!” A pillow harshly met his face once again, this time reeling him off the chair.
Ishaani stood there, fuming, and both of her hands full of the pillows she could get her hands on. “You love to mock me so much, don’t you?” She threw another one, Ranveer catching a hold of it.
“What happened?” He swiveled around the chair as Ishaani advanced towards him, her merciless glares doing more damage to him than the cushion could do. For a moment both of them seemed to forget the existence of the third person in the room as both the sides took hold of the matter on their own.
“Always doing this to me! Always!” Ishaani followed him, ignoring Gauri’s pleas to stop as the showers of pillows and cushions from both sides filled the room.
“Ishaani, Ranveer!” Gauri at last stood up, shielding them from each other as she stood between them, her eyes glaring at both of them angrily. “You’re grownups now! Ishaani, look what you’ve made of yourself!”
She placed Ishaani in front of the mirror to reveal her messed hair that forgot to remain in their places, Ishaani’s mouth wide open at her own appearance. After this Gauri turned to Ranveer.
Ranveer murmured a sorry.
“Ishaani! Ranveer! Baa’s here!” Devarsh’s face peeked into the room, panic dripping from his eyes. “Gauri di, come! You’ve got to get back to your room before Baa sees you out of your room.”
Ishaani helped Gauri out of the room and Devarsh led her away, leaving behind Ishaani and Ranveer who still remained stuck with the idea of either taking the revenge on each other or to letting the matter go.
The decision, however, was made. ”I’ll see you soon,” Ranveer said and Ishaani scowled. Ranveer made his face at her.
“Let’s see.” She breathed. “For now, I need to get going too. Otherwise Baa’s going to cut my throat.”
The house was surprisingly silent, Ranveer noticed, as he tiptoed into the noiseless hall. Baa sat on her throne, scanning the entire view before her closely, her menacing gaze sickening to those who dared to withhold it. To the relief of the others, however, her eyes softened and she eyed each and everyone present in the hall. Devarsh, Disha and Gauri stood together on Baa’s left side, while Pratiek and Romil on another. The rest of the family occupied the spaces beside their children, watching silently what the old woman was up to. Ranveer’s eyes searched for Ishaani and found her standing by the pillar, half-hidden behind the heavy curtain. Falguni Ma stood barely away from her, her eyes fixed on Baa.
Realizing it wasn’t his business right now, Ranveer began walking away but stopped dead in the tracks at Baa’s words.
“You! Stay there.” She then turned her face to where her family members stood and produced a packet from her bag. “As we all know I was invited as the chief guest at the Ganesh Temple for the inauguration of the new NGO working for the orphaned children.” Everyone in the hall nodded and Ranveer could see Falguni looked completely uninterested as she yawned — or pretended to — to mask the boredom she was used to during Baa’s speeches. From the corner of his eyes he saw Ishaani smile- could he assume expectantly? “Well, I have brought these silver coins for all my grandchildren, as a relic to the deeds done by their elders. Once I’m gone, you’ll at least remember me for these things, isn’t it?” She laughed at her own words, and a few smiling faces returned her gag. Chaitali kaki was loud enough. Baa ignored her and continued. “And here is it… for my kids. My honor. This first one I’m keeping safe for Sharman. Once he returns home, I’ll give him myself.”
Baa then stood up from her seat and advanced towards Pratiek first. “Take this and value all that you have had, my child,” she said, smiling. She turned to Romil.
“You hold the honor of my family, my boy. The daughters’ husbands are kept in high regard in my family. You deserve this.” Ranveer couldn’t see what special was about the coin she handed over to Romil, but didn’t pay anymore attention to it.
Baa then looked back where Gauri, Devarsh and Disha stood in a row, and handed each of them over the coins from her trove, and at last she halted in front of Ishaani.
For some reasons Ranveer wished he could take Ishaani away from there and hide her away from the look Baa gave her. It wasn’t hatred or disgust, he noticed. It was indifference. As if Ishaani didn’t exist.
“Oh, you’re here too?” she suddenly chided. Ranveer clenched his fist, his feet unable to remain on their place anymore as he caught hold of something hard… he couldn’t tell what. Falguni Ma suddenly took interest in the situation, her expressions pained at her daughter’s plight. Ishaani remained silent. “I’m sorry. I forgot to get you one from there.” The old woman barely sounded sorry and Ranveer eyed Ishaani, unable to control the rage that erupted within him in that moment. Baa sighed, refusing to give anymore explanation and turned away. “Chanchal, I’m going back to my room. Make sure to get my evening tea quick!”
Chanchal, Baa’s foremost minion (this was what you could call that woman anyway), rushed quickly, as if hit by a thunderbolt and retreated towards the kitchen, rest of the family darting away immediately. As the bustle of the situation silenced eventually, Ranveer walked towards Ishaani, knowing the incidents like this did no good to her. But before he could take a step closer, Falguni appeared by Ishaani’s side, her face grim.
“Ma… actually…” Ishaani stammered, her eyes willing to look away from her mother’s but failing. She gulped.
“What happened to your mascara?” Falguni asked, frowning.
Ishaani remained quiet, and Ranveer remembered her makeup getting spoiled when she and Gauri cried a while ago in his room.
“Didn’t I ask you to make yourself look perfect all the time all?”
“Ma, I’ll take care of it now,” Ishaani began walking away but Falguni grasped her hand.
“How many times do I have to tell you this? Women do not need anything but beauty in their hands! Their only weapon. People aren’t going to feed you happiness with spoons in your mouth. You’ll have to show them you’re worthy. And men don’t look for a good heart, Ishaani. Show them you’re pretty, and they’re after you.”
Ishaani still stayed silent, watching the floor downwards.
“Go, and make yourself look good.”
Ishaani walked away without another word and Ranveer realized now. Baa wanted him to witness the hurt Ishaani went through. That woman!
“I’ll make sure to free Ishaani from your clutches, Baa, when I become the big man!”
The last place Ishaani was likely to be found in was her secret den, and today it was empty. No one knew where she had been to and nobody cared either. Devarsh and Pratiek were out to hang out with a friend who had recently returned from abroad and Gauri had left in the evening with her husband, still as reluctant as the first time, but willing to give it a chance. And Ranveer could tell she was more composed now. However, the final destination of his quest to find Ishaani was still untouched as he clambered the stairs of the terrace. The cool breeze calmed the anxiety a little. And thankfully, there on the bench sat Ishaani, looking lost, her eyes scanning the glittering view before her eyes.
“Ishaani!” Ranveer said. “You just made me jog all the way from the servant quarters to the rooftop, you know that?”
Her stupor shattered and she turned to look at him, and Ranveer felt his heart skip a beat. “What are you doing here, Ranveer?” she said, and Ranveer noticed her voice was unusually low. Something which happened only when she was severely upset.
He didn't say anything and sat on the bench in front of her. After a while he spoke. “I have something for you.”
“Please go, Ranveer. I want to stay alone.”
“No, just have look at this, and it’ll cheer you up. I swear.”
“Alright. What is it?” Ishaani drawled, uninterested.
In a moment, Ranveer handed her a box. “Take this.” He smiled.
He saw Ishaani slowly open the box, her expressions suddenly alarmed as she picked up the DVDs from within, murmuring the names of the adult films on wrappers of which it contained. “What is this?” she shouted. “These… Sunny Leone movies! You’re so cheap, Ranveer!” She struggled to say more but gave up, disgusted, slamming her hands in the air. “Uggghhh!”
“See? It changed your mood! So far, you were upset, and now you’re angry. That’s why I always ask you to remain mad at people. It helps.” He sounded like a saint out on a mission to advise people to free them from their miseries.
“Ranveer!” Ishaani huffed, slapping his shoulder and moved away. “I’m going to tell Papa you’ve been showing me all this!” She stood up to leave but was dragged back by Ranveer.
“Sit here,” he said.
“What are you doing here, Ranveer?” Ishaani asked, hoping he’d leave, but knew she wasn’t lucky enough.
“What do you mean? It’s such a pleasant weather. I’m enjoying it.” Ranveer relaxed on the bench he sat.
“I want to stay alone, please!”
“Ishaani, listen to me,” Ranveer said, his tone now serious. Ishaani struggled a little but turned somber when she saw he was in no mood to humor her anymore. “What’s all this, Ishaani?”
Ranveer placed his finger on her lips and she stared in his eyes, no words forming anymore as he looked back, unblinking.
“Ishaani, look,” he said. “I’m a driver’s son and you’re Falguni Ma’s daughter… I mean like me, you’re not of this family either.” Ranveer moved away when she fell silent at his words. “So, for them we’re always going to be the outsiders in this family, no matter what. But we’re always there for each other, right?”
Ishaani remained silent, his words working on her as she listened to him carefully.
“You know, Ishaani, when I came into this house I came with my Baba and you came with your mother. And then, it was Mota Babuji who accepted us both. So, by this logic we both share a common connection, right?”
Ishaani smiled. “There’s one more connection that we share…” she whispered, and before Ranveer could question any further, she added: “Love.”
“Love?” Ranveer felt his breath caught in his chest at the way she uttered that word.
Ishaani replaced the DVD box sideways and moved to the bench on his side. “Yes, Ranveer, love,” she continued in the same dreamy tone, and he couldn’t help but relish the quiver of his heart. “The love we both have in our hearts. The love that defines us. I have felt it in your heart, Ranveer. The very same feeling I can see in your eyes. The same love which is in my eyes, too. In my heart. Everything you do, Ranveer, gives away that love… and the same goes with me. We both love so much!”
Ishaani shivered with the effect of the cold air as she continued to look at him, her innocence reflecting in her eyes like the Moon that shone upon the dewdrops as the night grew on. Ranveer was sure to have fallen in love with her more, for words froze in his mouth at her… confession. The thoughts spun and swirled in his head like a paintbrush coloring the most beautiful images for him, keeping them close and dear to his heart.
Before they shattered against the ruthless reality. He continued to listen to her rants, until the moment he realized what love she was talking about. His silly, silly heart. No, she didn’t mean the love she had for him, but the one they both had for her father.
He struggled with the words but could only stare at her, making his best attempts to not give away the painful agitation which became obvious with time.
“Isn’t it?” Ishaani said almost immediately, but it took him time to react.
“Exactly,” Ranveer answered halfheartedly, his breathing unsteady as he looked away to calm himself down. It hardly took a moment for him to realize the wide gap keeping them apart. He was after all, just a servant to her. How easy it was for her to express her feelings while he kept his within himself.
There was a long silence as Ranveer and Ishaani looked away, Ishaani lost in the silence and the wind that swept across the place, assuaging the day’s heat eventually.
“You know what, Ishaani?” Ranveer said at last and Ishaani looked at him, her lips curved in a smile. “You shouldn’t cry so much.”
“Why?” Ishaani pouted.
“Because, Pushpa, I hate tears rey.” Ranveer laughed aloud, managing to make Ishaani burst into the fits of laughter as well.
“You are insane, Ranveer!” she said as their hands met in high-five before she joined him along and they laughed uncontrollably for a long time, neither of them willing to stop.
What broke the sequence of their laughter was the enraged sound of rain falling on the tin roof under which they took the shelter.
“Ranveer, rain!” Ishaani squealed and jumped out of their secured abode and into the furiously boiling floor in front of them, now cramming with rain water. Rains had weird ways to shock people, didn’t it?
Knowing her mischievous obsession for Monsoon, Ranveer hurried after Ishaani and covered themselves with his shirt, enveloping them both under the fabric doing nothing to alleviate the welting of the rain on them. For a moment it felt he imagined something… something utterly impossible which sparked in her eyes for a fleeting moment, gaping back at him in wonder and surprise. Their eyes met and he held her gaze until the thoughts inflated, diverging rapidly to the inconsolable, uninhabited corners of his heart, gripping him tight from within like talons squashing a weakened body to death. The ephemeral daze shattered as the rain intensified, filtering through the veiling cloth which Ranveer realized still protected them.
“It is said, when it rains without any reason, God’s crying,” he said.
“Oh, please, Ranveer!”
“It’s true! And I can’t see anyone crying.”
“Offo, Ranveer! Take it off!” Ishaani said, pulling off his shirt that hung above them, but failing in doing so.
“Oi, you’ll get washed away in the rains!” Ranveer said prudently.
“Nope. I’m not that weak! I’m an outsider in this mansion, and can’t imprison myself in these walls.” She chuckled and twirled away out of his reach as Ranveer sighed, watching her go. She stretched her arms in the air and lifted her head upwards while the rain lapped down above her. Loud continuous pitter-patter. Drip. Drop. Drip. Drip. And it continued.
“Sorry, God. She’s dancing at your tears.” A silent prayer escaped his lips with a small smile.
Ishaani jumped up to the stairs and towards the railing, reveling in the tantalizing beauty of the rain as she felt the rain reach her soul.
Like a vassal of innocence and life she appeared as she danced, kicking her feet in the puddles, jumping like a child does after being set free after a long wait and enjoyed to her heart’s content. He watched her, now more awed than ever, realizing, she could for a moment, be oblivious to the pain that ran through her very soul just like blood rushes through the human veins. She didn’t care about the world, for from her dripped an enticing innocence just like the droplets of the rain lingering over them and dripping downwards. Pure. Innocent. Untouched by the miseries of the earth. Without any warning, Ishaani suddenly splattered the water on his face, taking him off guard while he remained too oblivious amidst the bustling rain and the thunders that rumbled overhead, watching Ishaani be the happiest. To his utter surprise, frowning or glares made sense, for his eyes only smiled at her happiness. As did his heart.
“Never, ever hurt her, God,” he whispered. “If ever the time comes, hurt me instead, but protect her please.”
Gods from the heavens smiled, for the rain fell harder. After all, his wish had been granted.