Precap - Ram stood up, surprised. Someone switched on the table lamp
and before him stood his life, his Priya! Even before he could react, she takes
the tablet strip from his hand, throws them in the dustbin and stands before
him with teary eyes. He is just about to open his mouth when she throws herself
on his chest with "I love you Ram!" and cries her heart out.
Ram is surprised by this sudden development. He stood rooted at the spot, with Priya hugging him tightly. She had flunked her arms around his neck and was crying inconsolably. Ram's arms instantly gathered her in a tight embrace, securing her close to his heart. He was too stunned to find her back in the room. He had lost all the hopes of seeing her back here, ever again. Hence, this came as a surprise to him. His right hand, involuntarily, patted Priya's back while his left hand was on her head, making her calm down. They both stood like that for a very long time.
Slowly, Priya calmed down and loosened her grip on Ram. Ram also let go of her and took a step back. She was still in tears and looked in pieces. Her eyes were swollen and red, giving away her condition. It looked like she had been crying the whole day. Ram couldn't bear to see her like this. She was looking at him with pleading eyes. Those eyes, which spoke a lot and whose language was easily understood by Ram, were saying too many things to him. They told him what Priya was going through; they revealed to him her pain and agony; they conveyed her helplessness but most of all, they told him her regret. They reflected every single emotion swirling in Priya's mind but Ram was looking for something else. He could see everything but repentance.
He saw a pleading in those eyes and took a step forward towards her but then everything came back to him, in an instant. All those things which she had said this morning made their way into his mind, poisoning his senses. He again felt a stab of gloom which quickly turned into anger, on remembering the hurting things Priya hurled at him.
"Maine jo apne husband ke bare mein socha tha, aap waise nahin hain."
"Hamara rishta normal husband-wife jaisa nahin hai."
"Main aapse 'Love' wala love nahi karti."
He froze in his tracks and gazed at her. Priya saw him taking a step towards her and a speck of happiness fleeted through her heart which soon crashed down on seeing him halted. She looked at him questioningly, with a perplexed expression.
Ram kept on looking at her, unable to decide what to do next. Priya sees him thinking and decides to initiate the conversation. Moreover, his continuous gaze made her very uneasy, almost as if declaring her guilty. She took a deep breath and sighed. She then took a step forward, towards him.
"Mr. Kapoor.. mera matlab, Ram''"
He watched her intently.
This was agonizing. She could feel his anger building up in his eyes. They had started flickering with embers. He was trying hard to cloak the hardness, but she could make it out from his stern eyes.
"Ram' I am..." She gulped a bit. "I am sorry." She looked at him uncertainly.
None of them spoke anything. Dying with anticipation, Priya took a hesitating step forwards towards him when Ram raised his left hand, signaling to halt. She froze in her steps, with her heart thumping hard, threatening to leap out of her mouth. How is he going to react, she thought.
"Bahut raat ho chuki hai. Humein ab so jana chaahiye. Mujhe kal office jaldi jana hai, first half mein meeting hai."
He tried to keep anger away from his voice with a huge effort. Priya was too stunned to reciprocate anything. Of all the things she had anticipated, this was certainly not one of them.
Ram turned towards the bed, collected a pillow and comforter from there and handed it to a puzzled Priya.
Saying this, he went to the washroom to change. Priya was stunned to the core. What was this? Is this for real? She hadn't thought that Ram would react in such a way. She knew that he would rage on her badly, questioning her and demanding answers to them all. She knew he would be in a very foul mood and it would take lot of efforts to placate him. But, she was confident that she would be able to mollify him and make him understand the reason behind her silence. She was sure that he would listen to her and forgive her. She was sure that he would lend a listening ear to her side of the story.
Priya was badly shaken up by Ram's outburst, earlier that day. She knew he was hurt, but didn't know the extent to which all the drama caused him pain.
"What do you think of me? Am I a machine jise tum jab chaho, jaise chaho program kar sakti ho?"
"Mazaak bana diya hai tumne mera aur mere pyaar ka."
"Ye dard tumne mujhe diya hai ' mujhpe trust nahi kar ke, mera dil dukha ke, humaare rishte ka mazaak uda ke. Aur iske liye main tumhein kabhi maaf nahi karoonga."
"You take my love for granted Priya. Kahin aisa na ho ki jab tak tum wapas aao, bahut der ho jaaye aur main sach mein tumse bahut door chala jaaoon."
"Wo meri Priya hai hi nahi jo mujhe is taqleef mein dekhte hue bhi apni zid se hat nahi rahi hai."
"tumne us Priya ke wapas aane ki saari gunjayish khatam kar di hai!"
His agony laden voice was still ringing in her ears. She realized that she had gone too far with her playact and wounded him deeply. And without any further delay, she had decided to rectify her mistake. She had spoken to Vikram and Neha about Ram's reaction later that day and told them to pull down the curtains soon. She could not see Ram in this pain anymore, after realizing the hell he was going through.
After a few minutes, Ram came back into the room, bringing Priya out of her thoughts. He saw her standing just like he had left her before going out. She was still holding the pillow and comforter in her hands, with tear brimming eyes. He averted his gaze from her face, lest it melts him and breaks him down. He walks past her without even sparing a glance towards her and sits down on his side of the bed. He then opens the side drawer and takes out a pain relief tablet bottle. Priya flinches on seeing the bottle in his hands and takes a few steps forward. He takes out two tablets and is about to pop them in when he raises his head up and fixes his gaze on Priya. She stops midway, scared of those eyes. Ram looks at her for almost half-a-minute, his eyes betraying the fury bottling inside him. He then keeps those tablets back in the bottle and lies down on the bed.
Priya heaves a sigh of relief, her eyes conveying gratitude.
"Ram.. pls meri baat toh.."
To this, he switches off the light and pulls on the second comforter he had brought with him from the changing room.
Priya was left standing in the dark, alone with her tears and her pain, battling her fears. Ram was going far away from her, distancing himself every second. It seemed like initial days of their marriage.
The hurt is not going to go away so easily, she thought.
"Tumne mujhe bahut hurt kiya hai Priya. Main janta hoon ki tum mujhse behad pyaar karti ho aur isi liye wapas aa yi ho. Main nahi janta ki tumhara kya plan hai, bas ye janta hoon ki jab tak ye khatam nahi hota tab tak tum mujhe kuchh nahi bataogi. Priya, mujhe ise digest karne mein kitna time lagega. Bas yeh janta hoon ki tumne mujhe chot pahunchaayi hai lekin ye bhi janta hoon ki is par marham bhi sirf tum hi laga sakti ho. Kitni ajeeb baat hai na Priya, ki tumhi ne dard diya hai par tum hi wo insaan ho jo iski dawa kar sakti ho," Ram said to himself.
"Main janti hoon Ram, ki maine aapko bahut hurt kiya hai. Aur ab yeh bhi jaan gayi hoon ki aapko isse baahar aane mein waqt lagega. Main janti hoon ki maine aapko chot pahunchaayi hai par sath hi sath ye bhi janti hoon ki main hi is par marham laga sakti hoon. Maine hi aapko dard diya hai aur ab main hi iski dawa bhi karungi," Priya thought. She looked at Ram's outline which turned blurry because of sudden tears and whispered, "I am sorry Ram. I really am. I love you. I love you very much. Pls mujhe maaf kar dijiye."
Next day morning.
Priya wakes up to find Ram coming out of the changing room, dressed for office. She sits up quickly on the couch. "Good morning Ram," she says with a smile.
Ram ignores her wish and goes to the dressing table. He combs his hair and sprays some cologne. Priya looks at him longingly. He was wearing a black suit with white shirt and red tie. She had never told him this but she found him irresistible in this attire. The red tie around his neck was lethal to her senses. She got up from the couch and walked towards him.
Ram turned around from the mirror only to bump in her. She was about to lose her balance when he held her from the waist and makes her stand properly. Priya had grabbed his coat collar in a scurry and closed her eyes, waiting to hit the floor. But then she felt a pair of strong hands supporting her waist and making her stand straight. She opened her eyes to find herself just inches apart from Ram. He was still holding her at the waist and Priya's heart leapt at his touch. She closed her eyes and cherished this closeness, breathing the familiar smell of cologne. It was his fragrance. The cologne made her senses go haywire. She was in a blissful state, enjoying every iota of this stolen moment.
Priya opened her eyes to look directly into those handsome brown eyes. They were gazing back at her, betraying a similar longing she was feeling. This made her all the more restless. She longed to lose herself in his broad chest and spend her entire life breathing in that heavenly fragrance. She was busy losing herself in Ram's eyes when she felt his hands grabbing her's and yanking them away from his collar. This made Priya come crashing down to her senses. She took a step back reflexively and looked at him anxiously. Ram straightened his collar and said "Mujhe office ke liye der ho rahi hai."
With this, he moves away from her, towards the door, leaving her hurt and crestfallen.
"Ram, pls ek baar meri baat sun lijiye. Aapko meri kasam."
Ram stops midway and turns towards her with an indifferent expression. Priya walks towards him.
"Ram, main janti hoon ki maine aapko bahut hurt kiya hai. I am very sory. Pls mujhe maaf kar dijiye'"
"Priya, I am getting late for office. Kaam ki baat kaho," he interrupts her rudely.
Priya feels a stab at heart. His indifferent attitude was making a hole in her heart. She sighed and came closer to him.
"Ram, kal raat ko wo tablets na khaane ke liye Thank you. Main janti thi ki aap meri baat zaroor manenge kyunki.."
"Kyunki main tumhari tarah nahi hoon Priya."
She was stunned to hear these words, laced with contempt. He continued.
"Kyunki main tumhari tarah nahi sochta. Main kuchh haasil karne ke liye kabhi tumhein dukh nahi dunga." And with this, he left the room.
She was moved to tears by Ram's words. How true they were!! Yes, he was right. He would have never done anything to cause her pain, not even unintentionally. This was what made him dear to her. And this was what made her love him even more, in that instant.
"Haan Ram. Aap sahi keh rahe hain. Aap meri tarah nahin hain. Aap chaahkar bhi mujhe dukh nahi de sakte, chaahe aapki koi bhi majboori ho.. tab bhi nahi. Aap sabse alag hain Ram aur isiliye main aapse bahut, bahut, bahut zyada pyaar karti hoon," Priya thinks aloud.
She was still musing over Ram lovingly when she heard Dadi's ear-splitting "Priya puttar!" She rushed down in her night gown, only to find Dadi and Ram standing near the staircase.
"Priya puttar, ye kya? Tu abhi tak taiyyaar nahi hui? Arey, aaj Kapoor Industry ki anniversary party hai. Tu bhool gayi kya? Chal, jaldi se taiyaar ho ja. Hum sab abhi nikal rahe hain. Ram ko office mein kuchh kaam hai. Wo khatam kar ke Golu tujhe lene aa jayega. Tu uske sath hi kothi pahuch jana. Samjhi?"
Saying this, Dadi leaves the place.
Priya looks at Ram furtively. He turns towards her.
"Abhi abhi yaad aya mujhe. Maine tumse kaha tha na ki mujhe apni shakal mat dikhana? Toh phir tum yahan kya kar rahi ho? Mere ghar mein, infact mere room mein?"
Priya didn't know what to say. She had started preparing herself for Ram's indifference since last night, still, it hurt like anything. She was at a loss of words. She opened her mouth to say something but nothing appropriate struck her.
"Waise ek tarah se achchha hi hai." Ram mused aloud, "aaj party mein sab tumse aakhiri baar mil sakenge as Mrs. Priya RAM KAPOOR."
He stressed at the last two words deliberately.
"Thank God, aaj KM mein tumhara last day kaafi eventful hoga toh tumhein mere sath rehna boring bhi nahi lagega. Aur phir aaj sham tak toh Divorce papers aur alimony papers taiyyaar ho hi jaayenge. Kal se tum aazaad ho jaogi. Hope you are happy now?"
He smirked at Priya and left for office. She stood rooted at the spotted with tears stinging her face and an iron nail drilling in her heart.
"Ram, aaj party mein sara sach aapke saamne aa jaayega. Phir main aapko bataoongi ki main zindagi bhar ke liye Mrs. Priya Ram Kapoor ban ke rahoongi aapke sath, Mr. Ram Kapoor ke sath."
Priya goes to her room and gets ready for the party. She then phoned Vikram and Neha to ensure everything was set according to the plan. She was feeling excited as well as apprehensive. She prayed hard to God to let things go according to her plan. Her future with Ram, her relation with him depended on the success of her plan. And she could not afford to take any chance with it. She had to pull it off successfully for saving her marriage, for saving her love and for saving Ram.
Within 2 hrs, she received Jenny's call to inform that Mr. Kapoor had sent a car for her to reach Lalji Di Kothi.
"But Mr. Kapoor toh khud mujhe pick up karne wale they?"
"Sorry ma'am, he asked me to send the car for you saying that he will see you at the venue itself."
Priya felt her heart break hundredth time since last night. She was about to leave in the car when Vikram called her. She told him how Ram hadn't come to pick her up. Vikram then thought of a plan to bridge the increasing gap between Ram and Priya. He called up Ram and asked him to bring along an important file to the Kothi.
Vikram on phone ' "Ram, main meeting se seedhe Kothi pahunch raha hoon. Wahan Mr. Lohia ko kal ke presentation ki file deni hai jo tu kal ghar le gaya tha. Pls tu ja ke wo file le aa aur seedhe kothi pahunch."
Ram ' "arey yaar, main nahi ja raha ghar. Tu khud ja ke le aa ya office se kisi ko bhej de."
Vikram ' "Ram, office mein sab busy hain aur wo file confidential hai. Achcha Priya toh abhi ghar pe hi hogi na? Tu use bolde, wo apne saath leti aayegi. Chal ab main rakhta hoon. See you soon."
Ram thinks about two instances when he had asked Priya to look for his files. The first time was just after their marriage when they were strangers to each other. He clearly remembered the embarrassment he had to face when he got to know that while searching for his USB drive, Priya had unknowingly had a peep into his 'Private' drawer.
The second time was when he had gone to the USA after Priya's breast cancer scare and had missed her like anything. He had called her up to go to his office and find a file, just so that he could give her a surprise. At that time, they had come a long way from their initial stage of married life. He had finally comprehended that he loved Priya.
Thinking about those instances made Ram nostalgic. He chuckled to himself remembering them but soon it turned into a grim when he thought about the present situation. They had indeed come a long way - turned friends from strangers, then lovers from friends and now they are going to become an estranged couple.
He shoved these thoughts away and decided to go home and find the file himself. He didn't want to involve Priya with any of his matters anymore.
Priya was waiting for Ram as Vikram had phoned her and told her about his master stroke. Priya thanked him profusely as this was the best opportunity to placate Ram ' in an empty house, with no interference.
Ram came to his room and went straight ahead to his chest-of-drawers. At this point, Priya came and stood near the bed. She had taken special care to dress up for him. Ram turned towards the bedside table and had just bent down when he caught Priya's reflection in the mirror. She was looking mesmerizing. He couldn't control himself and turned around to look at her. He was rooted transfixed by the sight. She hadn't looked more beautiful ever before. But something marred the whole look. There was something in her eyes which didn't suite her. What was it? Was it her guilt? Her regret? Or maybe her repentance?
As soon as these thoughts hit him, Ram snapped out of his thoughts and started towards the door. He had found the file. But Priya was too quick to let him go out. She stood at the door with her arms stretched out, blocking the door.
"Jaane do mujhe." Ram was getting impatient.
"Ram, pls ek baar meri baat sun lijiye."
"Mujhe kuchh nahi sun na hai. Pls let me go."
"Nahin Ram, aaj main aapko kahin nahi jaane dungi. Tab tak nahi jab tak aap meri poori baat nahi sun lete."
Ram gave her a blistering look. But Priya remained unperturbed. She had to do this.
"Main janti hoon ki aap mujhse naraz hain aur aapka naraz hona jaayaz bhi hai Ram. Maine aapko bahut hurt kiya hai. Main jaanti hoon ki meri wajah se aapko jo taqleef hui hai wo mere maafi maangne se bhi door nahi hogi but pls'"
"Jab janti hi ho toh kyun mera aur apna time waste kar rahi ho? Main pehle bhi keh chukaa hoon Priya, is baar mujhse koi ummeed mat rakhna. Is baar tumne saari hadhein paar kar di hain. Is sabse nikalna mere liye bahut mushkil hai. Pls, baar baar mere saamne aa ke meri mushkilein aur mat badhaao. Pls, let me be."
"Ram, pls' hum dono jaante hain ki hum ek doosre se bahut pyaar karte hain. Main janti hoon ki maine apna plan poora karne ke liye galat rasta chuna.. par yeh sab maine aapke liye hi kiya Ram. Toh aap kyun mujh par trust nahi kar sakte?
"Trust? Is shabd ka matlab bhi jaanti ho tum? Main nahi karta tum par trust? Haan manta hoon ki Kartik-Nuts ko lekar maine galti kardi thi. Par uske alawa kab trust nahi kiya tum par? Ashwin wale episode mein tum par trust kiya. Arey tab toh main tumhein theek se janta tak nahi tha, phir bhi aankh band kar ke tum par vishwas kiya, bina kisi sabot ke. Yahan tak ki apni health tak tumhare hawaale kar di.. itna trust kiya tum par. Aur tumne kya kiya? Main chillata raha ki pyaar karta hoon tumse.. mujh par bharosa karo, main hoon tumhare sath. Par nahi, tumne mujhe kabhi apne bharose ke laayak hi nahi samjha aur ab mujhse trust karne ko keh rahi ho? Sorry Priya, main tumhaari tarah mahaan nahi hoon.. ek normal insaan hoon. Mujhse nahi hoga ye sab."
Priya looked at him with teary eyes.
"Main neeche ja raha hoon. Jaldi aa jao. Party mein jana hai."
"Ab kya hua?"
Priya goes to the bedside table and removes Ram's photo from the frame. She then holds the photograph to her chest and goes to him.
"Ek minute, ab ye kya naya natak hai?"
Priya gives a dry smile through her tears. "Apne pati ko apne paas lane ki koshish kar rahi hoon. Bahut door chale gaye hain mujhse. Shayad kareeb se mere aansoo aur meri taqleef dekh kar ye mujhe maaf kar dein aur mujhe sunne ke liye taiyaar ho jaayein."
"Achchha? Mujhe laga ki divorce ke liye haan sunne ke baad tum ye natak band kar dogi. Par tum toh abhi tak chaalu ho. Madam, yaad kijiye.. maine aapko divorce dene ke liye haan kar di hai. Ab pls be normal. Kya hai na, mujhse ye sab drama wagerah bardaasht nahi hota."
He stabs her again and goes out.
She looks at him going down and then wipes her tears and follows him. Ram was waiting for her in the car. Priya opens the door and sits down silently. She waits for him to hit the accelerator.
"Seat belt," was all he said to her, looking straight ahead.
Priya struggles a bit with her seat belt but Ram remains seated at his place with impassive expressions. He then starts the car and drives silently. Priya stealthily glances at him time and again but Ram remains unperturbed, despite knowing all this. They stop at the traffic signal where a beggar woman with a kid in her arms knocks at Ram's window. He rolls down his window and places some money in her hand.
"Bhagwaan aap dono ki Jodi banaaye rakhe, sahab," she blessed them.
Ram smirked and spoke out aloud, "Kya yaar, dua bhi di toh kisi kaam ki nahi. Waise ismein iski kya galti, kisi ke chehre se thode hi pata chalta hai ki us ke dil ka kya haal hai."
Priya listens to this stinging remark and looks out of the window. He was hurting her again and again but she had to bear it all. This was her way of redemption.
They reach Lalaji Di Kothi in silence. This was the longest drive of Priya's life.