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Episode 21: Precious
ANIKAâS POINT OF VIEW
I donât know what had come over Pinky aunty! She was behaving in a weird way. I knew she liked me, everyone in Oberoi Mansion did, but this evening was something else for them. Although they were busy telling everyone that the marriage had been called off, the hype about Billuji actually falling for someone was not subdued. Especially for Pinky aunty. Her change in behavior towards me made me uncomfortable in a way. She treated me like her daughter, although I had said no; not that she was ill-mannered with me ever before. It was like she believed I would come around to love him back in some time. And this was the case when he hadnât even said that he loved me. And now he was nowhere to be seen!
I hoped I looked normal from outside, because I was burning up in embarrassment from within. Dadi had hugged me with such happiness as soon as she saw me that I couldnât help but smile back at her. I donât know why I was being given the credit of Billuji âfalling head over heels in loveâ! Even Tej uncle and Shakti uncle smiled generously at me today. I had a feeling that this night was only going to get weirder for me.
Suddenly there was a commotion outside, and finally Billuji descended downstairs, although in a hurry. As he reached near the gate, with the younger gang close enough, we heard Tia shouting, âUniverse wants us to meet. How dare you stop me?â She stumbled into view wearing a black one piece with a bottle of wine in hand. I noticed Billujiâs knuckles go tense and I knew she was in trouble. I walked closer to Billuji while Tia was going on about how much she wanted to get married to him! âDo you know Shivaay baby? All my friends and followers were waiting for our marriage! And now, they are insulting me so much. Who made you change your mind, baby?â She looked at me suddenly and barely managed to walk towards me in her stilettos. âYou! What the hell are you doing here? Iâm firing you right now. Go away!â she screeched at me. I scoffed at her and she raised her hands to slap me, but before I did anything to prevent that, her hand was stopped in midair.
Billuji twisted her hand behind her, and with a cold stare he said, âLeave, before I ruin your pathetic world.â He motioned the guards to take her away, and turned to me. His eyes had turned into ice, but it started melting again as he saw me. He looked around the place once, and with a final glance at me, left again. Everyone settled back to their seats and began chatting again. Om came and sat beside me, while Rudra was perched on the armrest.
I sat thinking, âWhy did he fall for me of all people?â I absorbed my surroundings to the full of my heart, and sadly thought of bidding farewell to these wonderful people. But before I opened my mouth, there was another ruckus outside.
OMâS POINT OF VIEW
I glanced around the room. Everyone was together and happy for once. This was both, a rare sight and a dream for me. Anika had not only changed Shivaay for the better, she had brought the family together too. This was a debt I would like to repay her, but for now she seemed very sad about something. The gloom formed a kind of mist around her, and she seemed to be about to say something, when there was some disturbance outside.
She danced into view. Only the dance was a unique one. She jumped up holding someoneâs shoulders for support while hitting another with her feet. Then she ducked to avoid a punch from another guard. She ran ahead with so many people chasing her. The high ponytail swished with each of her movement and she was smiling and making sounds as she turned, ducked and hit again.
âLike the wind she danced ahead,
Hanging overhead was moonâ¦
Like the river she laughed,
Strength and grace as oneâ¦â
The verse came to me on its own. I realized a little late that she was an intruder. Why did every girl entering the Oberoi Mansion have to create mayhem?
I noticed Anika trying to get her away from the guards, but they protected her instead and she was made to stand aside behind two guys. Shivaay came and tried to handle her, positioning himself between us and her. A few of the guards were even holding out their guns, but she didnât seem fazed at all! âIshu! Ishu!â I heard Anika shout as if from far away. But whoever it was that she was calling apparently didnât listen to her.
She began dancing again, this time with Shivaay as her partner. They dodged each other, trying to gain the upper hand. She didnât hit him, but all through the duet she was smiling. I could see that this annoyed Shivaay more, especially since he was already angry after Tia had come. Anika was finally able to get through the guards and called out, âShivaay! Ishu!â They stopped and looked at her, while clearly being on their guard.
âYou know her?â Shivaay was visibly astonished. Anika swiftly nodded in reply and walked towards the girl. They hi-fived and holding each otherâs hand, bumped their shoulders.
âWhat happened to âno troubleâ?â she asked trying to be strict, but obviously failing. The girl shrugged her slim shoulders giving her a sweet smile. âWhereâs the fun in that?â she asked in a clear ringing voice. It didnât go with the ripped blue jeans, black tee or brown boots. Somehow she seemed oddly familiar.
Rudy, who had come forward to stand beside me, asked in a whisper, âWhat is Ishana doing here? And how does she know Anika didi?â Thatâs when it hit me. She was Ishana! The con girl who tried to trap me for money. The girl who had lied to both me and Riddhima by becoming Bela and Mala. Anger surged through me like a volcano about to erupt. But something stopped me.
âKanji aankhen! Is that really him?â she exclaimed looking at Shivaay. She looked at a shocked and pleading Anika and I thought she winked. Anika tried to stop her but she walked up to Shivaay and asked, âAre you the famous SSO?â she held out her hand and Shivaay took it a little hesitantly. âWow! You look so handsome up close!â she remarked. Being the closest to them, Rudra and I could hear what she said exclusively to Anika. âQuite a catch!â she said with mischief clearly written on her face. Anika jerked away in surprise and flushed in awkwardness. Shivaay too was surprised by the turn of events.
I walked closer to them and Rudra followed me. Now that I noticed her closely, I could see there were many differences. For instance she had wider eyes, fuller lips, a little roundness in her cheeks compared to the sharp cheekbones of Ishana, a defiant chin which was out of place with the childlike innocence in her face. But Shivaay realized the likeliness just now.
âIshana?â he asked on the brink of getting angry again. I quickly corrected him. âNo, I donât think itâs her. But there are similarities. Who are you?â I turned to her. The elders were getting restless now, but none of us were going to tell them anything; at least not without knowing the whole matter ourselves. She, on the other hand, was confused. She turned to Anika for help and seeing her as clueless as herself, she turned to ask me directly. âWhoâs Ishana? Iâm Ishu. And you are?â The voice was different too. It wasnât the slightly husky and soft voice of Ishana.
Anika asked, âWhatâs wrong? Do you know her?â Shivaay gave her a questioning look and she answered his earlier question, âYes, Iâve known her all my life!â Shivaay looked at me and nodded once reassuringly. We shook our heads at them, while Shivaay moved closer to her.
Anika proceeded to introduce her to everyone as her friend, and she grinned sheepishly at Dadi and apologized for causing trouble to them. Rudy was won over by the new guest, and he asked me, âHow old do you think she is, O?â âI donât knowâ, I replied honestly.
SHIVAAYâS POINT OF VIEW
Although I wanted to stay close to Anika, wary of our new guest, she gave me suspicious looks! In the end, I gave up being protective. Moreover, the two of them seemed really close. I wondered how I had never heard Anika mention anything about her, whereas she would always go on about Sahil. They walked hand in hand, as if lovers meeting after a long time! It was already late, and they were still here. I guessed Prinku and Saumya must have convinced them to stay back. Tired from the recent events, I went down to the pool and sat beside it. Om too joined me after a while and he seemed a little disturbed. âEverything okay?â I asked, knowing that he wonât tell me without persuasion. As expected, he said, âAll good. What about you? Did the new entry trouble you?â
âNot as much as sheâs troubled youâ, I teased. âSheâs not Ishana though. She actually seemed like a pretty decent girl. So donât worry about it. Okay?â I assured him. âDecent? I wonât worry about her, but Rudy might!â Om laughed and seeing him laugh brought a smile to my face as well. We sat there for some time, talking about random things. Then he left to sleep early, and I was back to my thoughts.
That didnât last for long though, as Anika had come to sit by my side. We sat in comfortable silence for some time facing the opposite sides. I played with the water while she kept stealing glances at me. I pretended not to notice for some time, exulting in the warmth she radiated around her; though the warmth was a little damped down today. I didnât even want to think about it, but I knew that avoiding it wasnât the solution. âDo you really have to go?â
She looked surprised, probably wondering about how I knew. I would have wondered too, if I had not known how closely I notice everything about her! She was behaving just like the day before my emergency wedding with Tia. She was going to leave again, I was sure about it. Not that I would stalk her or anything, but she honestly couldnât think that Iâll let her leave this time, right?
âWhat is it? Should I find out myself?â I asked, unable to decide what exactly was going through her head. She sat there for some time, contemplating something and I held my impatience in.
âYou donât even know about my past! I want to tell youâ, she said a little sadly.
âAbout time!â I commented and smiled slightly at her. She smiled in return and I waited for her to begin her story.
For all the Ishkara fans out there! Did you guys like the surprises? How was Omâs point of view? And how was Ishuâs entry?
Special note for readers: almost all the poetry or special quotes by Om are my original creations. So, if you guys like or dislike something, please do let me know.
Sorry guys, I know itâs not even what was promised in the precap, but youâll get the rest of the story soon enough. And sorry for posting it so late. Emergency. Plus, I made todayâs extra-long as compensation. So I hope you guys wonât be mad at me.
Speaking of being mad, I really didnât like the new promo. What the hell is Shivaay doing?! What are your thoughts on this, guys? Comment soon ð
Till then, bye bye and take care ð