Strangers!! (kkb) – Part 18

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Abhi hit the bar that night to drown his sorrows. Asking for a stiff glass of vodka, he downed it in one gulp. Despite his valiant efforts to blink back the tears that threatened to overflow, a large drop escaped and made its way past his lower eyelid, down his cheek, staining his moustache and well trimmed beard before dropping to his knee. He hadn’t cried since the death of his mother when he was merely an eight-year old. Whatever be the challenge or pain, he always faced them boldly. To him, tears were a sign of weakness- one he can well do without. But now a wisp of a girl and her tiny work of creation broke this giant down and literally reduced him to tears.

Pragya’s words kept resounding in his ears. How could she say that Isha was another man’s child? Does lending a sperm alone make a man a father? Does his love and care for her count for nothing? He had watched her grow from a little tadpole in her mother’s womb to a fully grown beautiful baby. Dammit, he even helped to bring the little angel into this world. He spent every waking minute he could with her. Did he not deserve to be her father? She meant the world to him. She has become so much a part of his life. She had him wrapped around her little finger. How could Pragya even imagine that he can live a single minute without his daughter? His pain and anguish at losing his daughter soon turned into anger against Pragya. How could she play with his feelings? How could she lead him on? How could she deprive her daughter of her father? How could she plunge her daughter in the same ignominy that she faced as an ‘illegimate’ child? Does his Isha not deserve better?

When he brought Pragya home a year ago all he thought about was to give an identity to the unborn baby she was carrying. He did not know who she was or where she came from but for some incomprehensible reason he could not let her baby go nameless. He never figured out why he felt so strongly for her baby back then. He cannot say he was altogether altruistic. The situation that presented itself seemed to provide him an escape route from marriage in the real sense. He thought he can ward off all marriage proposals by keeping a fake wife by his side. Even after being forced into a real wedding, he thought their marriage did not mean anything more than a piece of paper – a paper that can be torn at will. He never bargained for the emotional exhilaration of falling in love with the woman he married and the baby she begot. Neither did he anticipate this emotional trauma of losing them both. His impulsive streak always got him into problems but he also managed to get out of them relatively unscathed. This time though he has been badly burnt. The full import of living life dangerously had hit home hard. The risk he took has knocked his breath away, leaving him an emotional wreck.

What upset him more? Was it the fact that she could not love him as much as he did or that their baby will be deprived of a name? While he realized both hurt him equally, the latter was unacceptable to him. She may leave him because she does not love him but he cannot sit back and let her raise her child fatherless. He cannot let all his efforts to keep the tag of illegitimacy from being tied to that sweet little angel go waste. The baby has to have a father. It was then that the significance of his meeting with Neev that afternoon hit him. Was this destiny’s answer to this quagmire? It seemed so now. He suddenly started seeing things more clearly.

He could not blame Pragya for not loving him. Yes, he did his best to make her fall in love with him as he did with her, but then love cannot be forced, can it? Maybe in the deep recesses of her heart she still harbored feelings for Neev. It was clear that Neev still loved her although he presumed her dead for a year now. By uniting them he will not only get together two lost souls but also give a real home for his daughter. After all she does need a father in her life and what can be better than having the biological one? The mere thought of another man raising his daughter wrenched his heart but he had no choice. He cannot even think of anyone other than him to be Isha’s first love, raising her, listening her first word, hear her say ‘papa’ for the first time, cannot see her first walk, help her to learn riding a cycle, be proud of his daughter, seeing her growing, to see her going for her school for the first time, to see her graduation, to marry her to the best groom in the world, he cannot do this ever in his lifetime. If he remained silent now and let Neev leave tomorrow, Pragya and Isha would have lost forever their chance to have a complete family. He loved them both far too much to be that selfish. But will Neev accept Pragya after he finds out that she has lived as another man’s wife for nearly a year even though the marriage was not consummated? He would never know the answer to that unless he tells him the truth.

Making up his mind, he called up Neev. A sleep slurred voice answered the phone.
“Mr.Shergill. This is Abhi,” he identified himself.
“Abhi? Abhi, who?” asked back a confused Neev, still not fully out of his slumber.
“Abhishek Mehra. We met outside the ATM machine this afternoon and later had coffee together?” he tried jogging Neev’s memory.
“Oh, Abhi. Yes, I remember now. What is this late night call about?” he enquired in a puzzled tone.
“Neev… Can I call you Neev?”
“Yes, you may.”
“Neev, what if I were to tell you that your Pragya is alive?” he asked hesitatingly.
“Pragya is alive?!!!” yelled out Neev in disbelief, by now fully awake.
“Yes, she is,” Abhi reaffirmed, his heart already sinking.
Over the next half hour he narrated all the events in his life since the fateful meeting with Prachi a year ago.
“I am sorry Neev. I should have told you all this when we met this afternoon but you were highly emotionally strung. I did not want to load you with all this lest you snap. Your girlfriend may be my wife to the world but believe me I have not laid a finger on her. All I wanted to do was to provide her a house till she delivered her baby. She needs you now, don’t forsake her. Destiny may have separated you but the very same destiny is giving you an opportunity to mend what it has broken.”
Neev could not believe his luck. His Pragya was alive. Not only that, he also had a daughter. Suddenly his life did not seem as bleak as it did before.
“Tell me Abhi. How does my daughter look?” he asked excitedly.
“As beautiful as an angel,” said Abhi with a large lump in his throat.
Neev took down Pragya’s cell number and promised to call her the next morning.
As he disconnected the call, he realized the magnitude of what he had just done. There was no retrieval now. He has opened up the dam and should prepare himself to be drowned in the deluge. He turned to the counter and asked for another drink. Soon he gulped down glasses after glasses of hard liquor, losing count of how many pegs he had. However much he drank, the pain just wouldn’t numb. He felt like being pierced by a thousand swords all at once and left to be bled to death.

Hey all, thank u so so much for the love u all showed me in the last episode. I know all are so excited about Abhigyas union and are ready to kill me if I show it late. But folks see their never ending love in vaishu’s twist in their life. Dont kill me but wait for it. The next update will be soon within u think of it. Many of them will be angry on Abhi for calling Neev and telling him everything but as I said in first, Abhi is the one who does things first and face the problem of the grt work he has done so let him face this live or die prob in his life.. let us all see what he is gng to do..
Thank u Prabhi, dilsh, Ammu ( this uupdate will not be enough to reply u sweety love u so so much thank u for ur constant support which is my boost), nannu milly, abhipra, saranya akka, Abhigya, sakthi, reshma dii, moksha. Thank u guys thank u so so much I don’t have words just love for u all. Bye all hope u guys like this episode. Do tell me ur views aur haan stay calm and composed abhigya will unite surely and that’s my promise. Sayanora..,

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