Anandi stopped suddenly. Tears springing in her eyes.
Asha said looking shocked “what happened after that Anandi?’
“Something which should have happened long ago”.. Realization. Realization that I was living in a fool’s paradise. I was following my heart instead of head. I was asking for it asha. I got into this relationship by my free will. He never forced me. He led me on and I followed him blindly. I didn’t even realize what started off as a harmless flirting turned into an addiction. I gave my mind, Body, Soul everything”I didn’t even realize when or how.
But I have decided to redeem myself. I have obliterated him from my life…Thrown away all his memories…resigned my job and came to Delhi. I have stopped reading anything about him. I want to forget anything related to him.”
“Do your parents know?”
She shook her head “No”
“He will know now…that’s why I think this wedding may not happen”.
“What do u mean Anandi ?”
“For a long time I thought I will not say anything about this to Jagadish…when I agreed for this marriage I just told him that I broke up with Shiv. Swati convinced me to keep this a secret but my conscious was killing me. I have mailed him everything today…He might not marry me after knowing the truth…its better that way. This marriage is just a compromise for me. I gave in to my Mom’s pressure. I should have done this earlier”.
Asha said “You have been through so much Anandi…I’m so sorry I was not there for you. But why are you telling me all this now ?”
Anandi said ” Because I need your help in consoling my parents when this marriage is cancelled. I can’t face them myself. I have broken their trust. Swati is not here else I would not have burdened you with this. If possible tell them the truth that their daughter is at fault”.
Asha said “Sure Anandi …one question ? You have any idea what happened to Shiv. Did he ever try to contact you again”.
“I don’t know Asha…I read about Saanchi’s marriage. Probably he is happily married. He doesn’t exist for me anymore.
Someone came in their room and their conversation was interrupted.
“Anandi didi Jagadish Jiju has come to meet you’A younger cousin of her came hopping in giving a teasing smile”.
She heard her mother’s voice talking to him “But Beta its apshakun to meet just before marriage”.
“Please Auntiji it’s really important’.”
All the teasing cousins giggled’..He remained serious. Finally Bhagoo relented and allowed him to meet Anandi.
He came in her room with same pale expressions.
Asha left to let them talk in privacy.
He said “Anandi I’I am so sorry to know’Why you didn’t tell this earlier. I could have helped you”.
Anandi said “It was of no use Jagadish’it’s not too late Jagadish. You can still opt out from this wedding. I will understand”.
“Why would I opt out ? Your past doesn’t matter Anandi even I have a past. I was living with Gauri but’.So there’s no question of backing out’..It’s just that I am feeling bad being your friend I couldn’t do anything to help you”.
Anandi took a deep breath “There’s something else which you should know’You might reconsider you decision then.”
Six months back’..
Anandi was drifting in and out of consciousness’.She vaguely remembered voices and blurred faces …Swati calling “Anandi wake up !!! Oh My God !!! Shit !!”
All she could feel was pain’.sharp twisting pain then blackness.
She opened her eyes she was in a white room’..She tried to sit and again felt sharp pain though in less intensity.
“Careful Anandi” Swati said.
“Where am I? What happened?”
“In hospital Anandi you fainted and”I will call the doctor”.
She came in with the doctor while Anandi pondered over what she read in newspaper that morning.
The doctor did the normal checkup and said “It’s better now’We will keep her one day under observation. She can be discharged after that”.
“What happened to me doctor ?” Anandi asked .
“Extremely low BP..Nervous breakdown and stress”I am sorry we couldn’t save the baby”.
Anandi looked aghast “What !! Baby ??”
The doctor looked surprised ” You were 8 weeks pregnant Anandi. Did you ever go for checkup before?”
She shook her head.
“Did you know you were pregnant ?”
“No’I never realized”
“Well in some cases there are no pregnancy symptoms initially and usually inexperienced girls don’t realize it. Did u miss your periods? did you have nausea or dizziness? “
Anandi said “It’s irregular so I didn’t pay attention I didnt have nausea”.
“Oh’I will give you some medications to regularize it. But first your body needs to recover from the miscarriage. Fortunately the fetus was in initial weeks so there were no complications you will be fit and fine in few weeks and it won’t affect your future pregnancies”.
“Why did it happen doctor?” Anandi asked
“There are several reasons for it. 95% of abortion in first trimester is due to Chromosomal abnormalities. The fetus might be having genetic defects other than that poor mental and physical health of the mother or some physical accident can also cause miscarriage. Where’s your husband Miss Anandi? I must talk to him too”.
Anandi simply stayed quite tears rolling down her face.
The doctor look sympathetic’.”When will you girls ever learn I get at least 2-3 such cases every week”.
The doctor left and Anandi hid her face in her palms and cried bitterly.
Swati looked perplexed “Anandi’please don’t cry you are still very weak.’..
“Will there be end for my stupidity ever??’.I have lost everything today'”
Swati hugged her “I know Anandi I read the news’that bas***d’.I wish I could get my hands on him”.
Anandi said “What have I done swati’This is not a mistake it’s a sin. I lost Shiv and I lost our baby too”.
Swati said “Its not your fault’U didn’t even know abt it’..God even I had no idea. Why are u blaming yourself?? Remember doctor said that miscarriages occur due to genetic problems it was meant to happen Anandi. I think we should hunt for Shiv he should know what he has done”.
“I was so sure about us Swati’..even in my dreams I never imagined that he would betray me’.Why does my heart keep on saying he is not wrong ? That he is under some pressure ? That he will be back ? “
“Stop following your heart Anandi’..you are so emotional and innocent he took advantage of that’He is just not worth your love and devotion..”
Anandi just said “How could I let this happen’..”
“Anandi its not worth it’.he dosent deserve your tears. will you be able to forgive him?? What if he knew you were pregnant? Would he accept you?? No Anandi he would have still run off like a coward’..”.
Anandi just hugged Swati and cried”
She was back home next day. He physical wounds had healed but her soul was shattered.It was raining outside while she sat on her bed looking out hugging a pillow’.Suddenly her life had become colorless like the weather outside’
“Atleast he could have given me an explanation” She thought
Swati came in with a steaming cup of coffee “Anandi will stop being morose now’I want my old bubby Anandi back’.forget everything like a bad dream”.
She wiped her tears and said “You are right Swati’.It’s not worth it’what’s done is done. I don’t want him in my life anymore. In way it’s good I lost the baby. I am not sure if can bear anything of Shiv in me”.
Swati gasped in horror “OMG Anandi”
Anandi closed her eyes as if regretting her words “I seem cruel isn’t it. I got a very important lesson. Never follow your heart. It will entangle you in its affairs and by the time you realize it your life will be in knots”.
Swati said “God Anandi I swear I will kill him I so hate him now”.
She replied “Hate is a very strong emotion Swati. I don’t feel anything for him now. His love died along with our baby. Promise me Swati if Shiv ever comes back you will never let him know about this”.
Swati said reluctantly “I promise not just him no one will know a word of this”.
“Do you still want to marry me?” She asked Jagadish
Jagadish stood pale faced his face frozen in shock “God!! Anandi I swear I might kill that bas***d! How could he do that to you”
He came near her and held her mehendi clad hands’.”You went through so much’why didn’t you punish him Anandi ?”
She said “Why should I Jagadish ?? And for what ?? leaving me ?? whats the point in holding someone back if they don’t want to stay…As for the miscarriage that was equally my fault. It was bound to happen’perhaps it was necessary to break my final bond with Shiv”.
He said “Anandi I would still want to marry you”.
“I am devoid of any feelings or emotions now. I will never be able to love you. Will you be able to spend your whole life with someone who will never reciprocate your love? Someone who is marrying as a compromise?”
He replied “Anandi honestly speaking I have never loved anyone after Gauri. Not sure if I ever will. In spite of whatever happened between us I still have a soft corner for her. I agreed for this marriage because I thought if I can’t get my love at least I will still have my best friend”.
Anandi said “But Jagadish is this correct? We are both marrying out of compulsion. Our hearts are not into it. Will you be happy with me?”
He replied “I have stopped listening to my heart. Logically we make a good pair. We are good friends. We are compatible. That is enough for me. And as I said before your past doesn’t matter. We both have a past which we want to leave behind. So why not with support of your friend. Is that fine with you?”
Anandi said “You will always have my friendship as for love I am not sure about it?”
He said “I can live with that”
To be continued.