Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 12: Picking up the pieces

Driving away from the temple with Di weaving in and out of consciousness, Arnav called Aman and curtly instructed him to follow instructions he had left with him that morning. He would have to deal with Shyam but before that Di needed attention.

As they turned into the gates of Raizada Mansion, Aman stood waiting with a lawyer and a team of security guards. Getting off the car, Arnav carried Di to her room where the doctor had arrived and administered an injection.

“Let her rest awhile. The medication will calm her down and then you can talk to her.” He reassured his Di would be OK and left.

Before he dealt with Shyam, he needed Di to be able to face what had happened. Knowing how his Di idolized Shyam ji, he wanted nothing left to chance. Shyam sat sullen faced in the study, security guards on either side of him. Nani ji and the rest of the family faced him.

“Damaad ji, we held you in high respect. How could you do this to us? We treated you as a son and today you have broken the trust and belief of our child.” Nani broke away unable to continue.

Mami had no qualms. She swiftly told him what she thought of him and minced no words in calling him what he was.

Mama ji looked at him reproachfully. No words could repair the damage that was done.

Akash looked at his Jijaji straight in his eyes. Neither blinking or turning away.


Di recovered enough to see her Chottey by her side. He held her as she rocked back and forth coming to terms with what she had seen. Arnav gently turned her towards him.

“Di, Remember how you tie Rakhi each year and I promise to protect you for ever? Today I have to make good on that promise.”

Anjali looked at him, grief raw in her eyes.


Arnav wordlessly placed the file that had shaken him that morning. He left nothing out. When he got to the part where Shyam had tried to get engaged to Khushi, a look of recognition swept through Anjali’s face.

Brother and sister held each other for a long time recognizing that the only other relation that had Anjali moored to happiness was slipping away. Stepping away from his Di, Arnav asked if she was ready to face Jijaji.

Anjali looked uncertain. “Give me a few minutes Chottey. I need some time alone to process what has happened. I will join you down in a little bit.”

With Chottey leaving her reluctantly, she walked up and latched the door. Sitting on her bed, she fingered the papers in the file that lay threadbare the sham that her life had been. Memories of her falling in love, being courted and serenaded brought a fresh wave of tears. Then random images intruded. The constant travelling. The call from Motilal jewellers about a ring that Shyam ji had purchased. The jalebi making. The insistence on Khushi ji not coming to Raizada Mansion.

The dots connected to complete the niggling thoughts that had felt alien a few days back. The thoughts she had felt ashamed feeling. She needed to face him. To look into his eyes and see the truth for herself. Steeling herself, she walked to the door. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door to find Chottey waiting for her.

Brother and sister walked down to face their future.

Payal and Khushi sat at the temple for what seemed ages till they spied Buaji and Amma coming towards them with murderous expressions on their faces. Khushi cowered while Payal intercepted them.

“Buaji, Amma. Please listen. I know I should have called to let you know but…”

Payal did not get to complete her sentence before Buaji’s firm hand had her by her ears. She all but dragged her away before Khushi came to her senses and physically restrained Buaji.

“Buaji, this is about Shyam ji. You are not going to like it.”

The mention of Shyam ji stopped Buaji. She looked at Khushi as if urging her to go on and finish what she was saying.

Between Payal and Khushi, they brought Amma and Buaji to date on what had happened that evening. Even as they wrapped up, Akash ji arrived. He breathlessly announced that Di had practically expelled Shyam ji from her life. He said Arnav would take care of legal proceedings but for now, Di was handling it better than they had thought she would. He looked at Payal with gratitude. Payal looked away conscious of Khushi’s eyes boring into her.

He held Buaji’s hands and looked at her.

“Buaji. I know you have all suffered at the hands of Jijaji. Bhai is handling things at our end but I wanted to apologize for whatever happened. I hope nothing untoward happened with Jijaji in the house. Please do not let him in if he attempts to come back. I will stop by the house and collect any things he may have left in there.”

Buaji nodded. The whole story sounded so improbable that she would have had trouble if it were anyone but Akash ji telling her that. Her hands trembling, she now turned her gaze to Khushi.

“Sanka Devi, Will you forgive me? To think I was ready to spoil your life without understanding what could have happened. I dread to think of it.”

With that, she fell silent.

Akash ji drove them silently to their home as all of them digested the enormity of what had happened.

The storm had passed but it would be a while before they picked up the pieces and started rebuilding their lives.