Next day Shiv was busy rather trying to keep himself busy in office. He was contemplating how to face Anandi.
His HR came in and said “Sir Ms. Anandi Singh has resigned. She has put in her papers today”.
He looked up shocked “what !! Did she give her reasons?”
“No sir she just said its due to some personal reason”
“Hmmmm.. could please tell her to meet me, and also tell her it’s an official meeting”.
The HR went. He crossed his hands and placed it under his chin looking thoughtful
“Damm it !!” He sweared.
After some time Anandi came in she had a blank expression and he could easily make out that she had a sleepless night too.
“Please sit down Anandi”
He checked to see that the cabin door was closed and then said “Anandi you don’t have to resign..”
She said in a monotonous tone “Sir I have resigned for some personal reason”.
He held his head in his hands and gave a withering look “Anandi please you don’t have to do this. I know I have been a jerk. In fact what I did yesterday is unpardonable but at least give me a chance to explain”.
“Shiv I can’t take it anymore. I am fed up of this. I am fed up of your persistence”.
“Anandi all I am asking for is forgiveness”.
“Ok I forgive you”
“I forgive you. Now u can clear your consciences and continue living your blessed and perfect little life. Let me live the way I have been doing so”.
“So is that all?”
“What else do you want?”
“Anandi ….I …” He shook his head in frustration “I am really sorry for what happened yesterday. I know I have hurt you and I owe you an explanation”.
“I don’t want any explanation Shiv…it’s pointless now. Whatever has to happen has happened”
“You really don’t want to know why I left.”
“What’s the need Shiv? You have moved on, you have a wife now. Talking about past will affect your present. It’s already doing that. We should stay away Shiv and never meet again”.
He narrowed his eyes “what did u just say ?? Wife ??”
“Yes Shiv your wife Amisha. I know why you left four year ago. You got engaged to Amisha. U have a famous family Shiv I saw the news. And now this…I don’t want to feel like the other woman”.
He winced at her words. His expression changed from disbelief, confusion, Shock and finally realization.
“You think I married Amisha?”
“Didn’t you? You did talk to her yesterday”
“Oh God Anandi” He got up and paced restlessly.
“All this while you thought I am married to Amisha ??”
“And yet I was per suing you and …and .. Kissed you”
She looked away in disgust.
He suddenly came near her and held both sides of her chair trapping her in it…..She looked at him startled. His expressions were sad.
“Anandi I didn’t marry Amisha or anybody else. I didn’t have anyone in my life after you”.
She looked at him shocked .Should she trust him?? What if he was lying again ? But his eyes seemed truthful.
“But that news ?”
“I did get engaged but I didn’t marry her. On the day of our supposed marriage I called it off. I couldn’t go through it but it I was still late Anandi….. I was too late”
She looked at his face as if searching for some iota of lie. She didn’t get any.
“What do you mean Shiv?”
“I mean exactly what I said. I am not married. Did u really think that I would touch you in spite of being married to someone else?”
She didn’t say anything.
“Anandi I know I have made many mistakes but I will never disrespect you like this. I understand what you must have been going through. God help me. Had I known that you have this misconception….”
“Why didn’t you tell me this Shiv?”
“You were not ready to listen”
“And that phone call yesterday ?”
He smiled “Amisha is my business partner. She is very smart and capable lady. She is single handedly managing her Dad’s business. Her Brother Vedanta is Saanchi’s husband. So we r kind of related too. Vedanta is not very much interested or rather I should say not very capable of managing his Dad’s empire. It was Amisha who stepped in and is now managing everything. In some ways she reminds me of you”
“And.. who is aditya?”
He chuckled “Oh he is Amisha’s 3 year old son. She is married to an American Mark”.
Anandi’s head was reeling from all this information. This was a new thing.
“shiv I….I am sorry…I misunderstood you”.
He sighed “Seeing my track record I am not too surprised”.
Suddenly she looked up and said “Why did you go away Shiv? What had happened four years ago?”
He said “I will tell you everything Anandi but not now…not here. Would you meet me for coffee today evening?”
“I promise I will behave and not be hormonally charged”
She laughed. After a long time he saw her carefree tingling laugh and he was mesmerized.
“And please take back your resignation else I will have to find some loophole to retain you”.
“I will take it back shiv”.
He looked relieved. “I will pick you up tonight”.
She nodded and left his cabin. “Well that explains lot of things but will I be able to forgive the betrayal and hurt which he has caused me?? Whatever may be his excuse it didnt justify his actions. He could have told me his problems. Why did he run away?” She thought.
That evening Anandi left early and collected her thought. So he didn’t marry Amisha. Why ? For me ?? Then why didn’t he come back ? I waiting 6 months for him. At least he should have given me a proper closure” She thought.
As promised Shiv arrived sharp at 8. Dressed in casuals he looked dashing and for a min Anandi was lost again.
He looked visibly relaxed.
They proceeded towards a coffee shop.
They took their seats and then she realized that they had not spoken a word since they left her home.
“So u can tell now” She said
He said “Anandi if u remember right after that New Year…when we… I mean after we started our relationship I went to Mumbai and I had also told you about Saanchi’s marriage proposals”.
“Yes and you were quite busy after that”.
“Yes there were problems in my Dad’s business. Initially I was vary of him. I tolerated his taunting but didn’t join the family business I had my own company…I had you. I was happy.
I was anyways never interested in that. Slowly I came to know that he was in lot of debt and on verge of bankruptcy. My mom pleaded me for help. So I joined my dad. I had lot of problems working with him. He is totally old school but my ideas worked and the board of directors chose me as the President of the company. We had a big showdown that day. Anyways I sold off Pentagram. Got totally involved in the company but still a lot more efforts were required”
“Why didn’t u share your problems with me shiv?”
“I didn’t want to trouble you Anandi. You were my anchor my innocent anchor” He whispered.
He proceeded “To come out of the problem my dad made a deal with the Raisinghanias…A business come marriage deal. Saanchi ‘s marriage was fixed with Vedant and mine with Amisha. I refused…..there was a showdown but I was adamant. I had already talked to my mom about you. But she was scared to discuss it with dad because he would have refused. Not that it would have mattered anyways to me. There were problems Anandi… And I was ready face them but not at the cost of losing you”.
He was quite for a moment. Anandi touched his hand and gently squeezed it as if trying to encourage him.
“Because of this tension in my family our relationship suffered”.
Their coffee had arrived but they barely touched it. “ Slowly Even mom and Saanchi went against me. They are used to a certain lifestyle they couldn’t understand why I was refusing to marry a rich airess for a simple common girl”.
“The Raisinghainas were adamant that they wanted Amisha and my marriage along with Saanchi and verdant. You see getting their daughter married to me was a status symbol for them” He said wryly.
“ I was still adamant. Then the unthinkable happened. They broke Saanchi and Vedanta’s alliance and Saanchi…attempted suicide”.
Anandi looked at him shocked “Oh no !!”
“She slashed her wrists” He closed his eyes trying to dispel those memories.
“Everyone blamed me for that. They called me selfish for ignoring my sister’s happiness over mine. Thankfully she was saved. I didn’t have a choice after that Anandi. How could I let Saanchi die ? I agreed to marry Amisha….I am sorry Anandi.. I am very sorry” He looked crestfallen as If about to break down.
Anandi held his hands tighter “ God Shiv I am so sorry… why didn’t you tell me this before?? Why did you suffer all alone?”
“I didn’t want to leave you Anandi… I swear I didn’t”.
Anandi felt her heart melting. He suffered so much and he suffered alone. “Shiv I understand now Shiv. I forgive you”.
He looked up “what?”
“I forgive you Shiv…. Though I have been hurt but I can’t see you in pain. I can understand some decisions are unavoidable. If only you would have told me this I would have forgiven you long ago. Why didn’t you tell me this Shiv ? Why didn’t you simply broke up with me?”
“I am sorry Anandi. I came for that…. I wanted to do that. But you had planned my Birthday surprise I didn’t want to break your heart. And when I saw you in that sari. I….I just lost myself Anandi. You looked so beautiful…..I couldn’t resist. I didn’t have the courage to tell you everything. Instead I decided to make it the most memorable night for us”.
Anandi closed her eyes . It was indeed the most memorable night for them…..memorable with a very painful result.
To be continued……………………..