Khushi sat on her bed, as she stared into the empty space forth her.
She had been doing this for a week now. Look at nothing in particular, and think about nothing specific. Her mind was numb, and nothing occurred to her.
Mother Claudia had found her at the Delhi Railway Station, late night, all alone. Her crestfallen demeanour, and abominable silence had made it clear to her that she needed her help. So, as the warden of the WORKING WOMEN'S HOSTEL, GOA, she had brought her along with herself.
This institute helped damaged and lonely women to heal, and Mother Claudia was sure, that this innocent looking, yet sad child could regain her lost vigour, given enough time to heal.
A knock sounded on Khushi's door, and Mother Claudia came in.
"My child, there are a few girls here who want to learn how to stitch, will you teach them?"
Khushi looked at the motherly figure forth her, and nodded slowly.
Arnav paced his room in frustration. There was absolutely no news of Khushi.
The detective he had set after Shyam had informed him that Shyam had not contacted Khushi at all. Which meant that she had gone away on her own. How he wished he had set a detective after Khushi as well, so he would've never lost track of her.
Yes, he had behaved abominably with her. But he did not have the strength, or the heart to show any kind of compassion towards her.
"Damn it!", he said as he banged his fist on the bedside table. That was when he noticed that an envelope had been tucked under his laptop that he hadn't touched ever since Khushi had left.
He pulled out the sheet of paper that had been encased in it, and unfolded it. And in it he found something that quenched his heart.
It was a letter.
Khushi had been living at the hostel for two months now. On Mother Claudia's insistence she had started stiching classes, and a boutique of her own, while resumed her college education.
Since she had no life and nobody to go back to now, she had decided to only look forward then on. Not thinking about the past was probably the best way to heal the wounds she had experienced.
Goa was a nice , warm place, with fun loving people. No stress of money, family, responsibilities. No one to judge you, misunderstand you. No one to put biased allegations on you.
It was a quiet life, and living amongst so many women who were trying to make a place for themselves in this world gave Khushi the strength to move forward.
It was a new beginning of her life.
Hum itne samay mein aapko jitna jaan paaye hain, usse humne yehi jaana hai, ki aap dil ke acche insaan hain. Lekin aapki insaniyat, humdardi, acchai, sab Anjali Ji se judi hui hai. Agar unki zindagi mein sab theek hai, to aap khush hain, warna nahi.
Aapne humse shaadi ki, taaki Shyam Ji ke liye Anjali Ji ko dhoka dene ka koi zariya hi na bache. Aur aap kaamyaab bhi hue, kyunki us din jab hum Anjali Ji ke kehne pe Shyam Ji ke saath bahar gaye, to unhone humari taraf aankh utha kar bhi nahi dekha. Woh aapse darte hain, aur hume nahin lagta ki ab kabhi woh is tarah ki harkat dobara karenge.
Lekin jab tak hum wahan hain, tab tak aapko yehi dar laga rahega ki kahin kuch gadbad na ho jaaye. Aap kabhi bhi shak aur darr ko apne man se nahin nikal paaenge.
Humaare is rishte ka bhi koi bhavishya nahin hai Arnav Ji. Aap humen kabhi apna nahi paaenge. Kyunki na hi hum kabhi aapki duniya ki barabari kar paaenge, aur na hi aap kabhi bhi hume aapki behen ke saath jo hone jaa raha tha uske liye begunah maan paenge.
Isliye behter yehi rahega, ki hum chale jaaen. Is tarah hum mein se kisi ko taqleef nahi hogi. Aapka har waqt ka dar bhi door ho jaaega. Aap ko humaare saath bura vyehwaar bhi nahi karna padega. Aur hume bhi pal pal marke nahin jeena padega.
Isliye hum jaa rahe hain. Humne kisi se kuch nahin kaha hai. Hum jaante hain ki sab bahaut pareshan honge, aur humen dhoondhne ki koshish bhi karenge, lekin aap unhe samjha dijiyega.
Waqt ke saath sab log sab kuch bhool jaaenge.
Apna khyaal rakhiyega
ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF KHUSHI'S LETTER
For as long as I've known you, I've recognised you as a good and kind hearted man. But the truth remains that your humanity, goodness and kindness are all deeply connected with Anjali Ji. Only if she's happy, can you too remain happy. Not otherwise.
You married me to pull me out of Shyam Ji's league, so that I'd become completely unapproachable for him, and he wouldn't be able to cheat on Anjai Ji anymore. And you've been successful in your agenda. `Cause the day I had to go out with Shyam Ji on Anjali Ji's insistence, he didn't even dare look at me. He's afraid of you Arnav Ji, and would never dare pull such a stunt again.
But as long as I'll be around, you'll always be insecure about Anjali Ji's married life. You'll never have peace.
We have no future together Arnav Ji. Our relationship is headed no where. I'll never be able to fit into your high class society, nor satisfy your posh tastes. And neither will you ever be able to hold me innocent of what transpired in your sister's married life.
So, I think that it's best for everybody that I left. This way you'll no more have to live with that kind of fear and insecurity that you've been living with all this while. And neither will you have to put up with me. And I too wouldn't have to die this slow death that the toll of this relationship is leading me to.
Hence, I'm leaving. I haven't informed anybody. I know that everybody will be very worried, and will try to look for me. But I'm sure that things will go back to normal with time.
...Arnav read Khushi's letter for the umpteenth time ever since he had found it almost two months back.
Pain gripped his heart as he remembered his behaviour towards her that night. It hadn't been her fault, and yet she had been subjected to such humiliation.
But she was right. Nothing could ever happen between them.
It was probably the best for everyone that she was gone.
Arnav tilted the envelope lightly, and a mangalsutra slipped out of it into his palm. It was the mangalsutra he had tied around her neck when he had vowed to protect her for as long as he lived. The vows that he had never heeded, and probably never could.