“GAURIIIIIII!!!!” Omkara screamed at the top of his lungs as he caught her from falling. It felt like the ground under him had been swept away from under his feet or like his whole world was struck by an earthquake.
“Mr. Oberoi!” The middle aged man beside him, Mr Mehra exclaimed seeing the sight infront of him.
Omkara sat down on the ground, holding her close to his chest and patted her cheek as if trying to wake her up. For Omkara, the whole world had stopped, only Gauri mattered right now. “Gauri.. please open your eyes..Gauri..” he pleaded helplessly.
Gauri was shot. Someone had shot her. A shot meant for him, that she had taken upon herself.
He helplessly tried to wake her up as her blood started to drench his pants. And then as if realising the existence of the world around him, he looked around frantically. Some looked at him in shock, some were busy murmuring something while some tried to call someone on the phone.
“Someone please call an ambulance!” Omkara screamed feeling angry at the whole world around him.
“Sir, please come. I’ve arranged the car.” His driver replied running towards him.
A lady- probably one of the staffs- ran to them with some band aids and tissues to cover and try stop the blood flow. After draping it around the wound, Omkara carried Gauri in his arms, and this time she did not hug his neck like everytime, instead she lay almost lifeless in his arms.
With all his strength, he went towards the car as fast as possible. And then gently placing her inside, he got in.
Placing her head on his lap, he slowly caressed her hair praying to the dear Gods that she be fine. It broke his heart to see her so lifeless almost on the verge of death, fighting for life. And all because of him!
The killer would be dealt with once Gauri was safe. Omkara thought as he asked the driver to speed up. But he couldn’t help but wonder who could do such a thing. Why would someone want to kill him?
Tears streamed down his eyes and it fell on Gauri’s face.
Clutching onto her hand he mumbled, “Please don’t leave me Gauri…I love you…please stay.”
On reaching the hospital, Gauri was taken away from him in an instant. He looked through the window of the ICU only to find doctors frantically trying to do things to stop the blood flow, to keep her alive.
And then in an instant the whole day’s events played in his mind.
How he had tried to sneak in and romance her, how she had prepared his favourite poha for breakfast today, how he had pestered her to join him for the party, how she had asked him his opinion of which dress to wear, how she asked him to keep his hair open for the party and how he had teased her for that and she blushed, how when she was tying up her hair, he had let her hair fall loose and told her she looked more beautiful with open hair, how he had flirted with her, their dance at the party, Gauri stealing glances at him, how she came running towards him, hugged him, confessed her love again and then fell almost lifeless in his arms.
He couldn’t help but blame himself for Gauri’s condition- Only if he hadn’t asked her to join him, she would’ve been safe, at home! Far away from all this! It should’ve been him and not her!
All his life he wanted her to say the three magical words, and when finally things were falling into place in their life, everything had come crashing down. He could feel his heart shrink and burn at the thought of having to live without her-no he couldn’t. Without her he couldn’t survive. Didn’t they have the right to stay happy? All his life, he wished for her to love him and when she finally did, this was what their fate had planned.
Omkara frantically ran his hands through his hair and his face, as the voices in his head grew louder, eating him up. He just wanted to run away and turn everything back into when everything was fine. Today morning. Anytime before the party.
“Excuse me sir, please fill this form.” A nurse said, handing over a patient details form to him. He took it in his hands but he did not miss how his hands shivered as he held the paper. Composing himself, he quickly filled it and watched her through the window for sometime as the doctors worked on her.
And then rang his phone. Taking it from his pocket, he looked at the caller id.
His first instinct was to cut it but then he realised, he should inform both the families about the incident and even Shivaay had the right to know about it. Staying alone there was making him go insane, he needed someone by his side and there couldn’t be anyone better than Shivaay, so he picked the call.
“Arrey Om, I forgot to tell you something. I’m pretty sure she may have already told you, but just confirming if she has then great and if she hasn’t then well, I’ll tell you, she doesn’t like drinks… you know the intoxicating ones. It’s a big turn off for her, so make sure that neither of you have it…” Shivaay said without a pause. Omkara had called him up today to get advice from him for their secret date after the party. He had planned it as a surprise for her. Only that she wasn’t here anymore, she was lying there, attached to many tubes and wires as the doctors worked on her body.
“Om? Are you listening to me?” Shivaay asked getting a little worried because of the lack of response from the other side. For some reason, his heart felt uneasy.
Omkara tried to speak but he could only manage a muffled cry as he opened his mouth. Shivaay immediately sensed and asked him if anything was wrong. Finally mustering up all his courage, Omkara told him.
“Shivaay….I…Gauri….got shot….she took the bullet…meant…for me…she’s fighting for life and death…Shivaay..all because of me!” Omkara said as he broke down into cries.
“What..?” Shivaay breathed out in confusion as he tried to make sense of it all, his heart beats increasing rapidly. He could only make out random words from Omkara’s ramble- Gauri, shot, bullet, death. At first it made no sense, but then as the words replayed in his head, he couldn’t help but think the worst, Had something happened to Gauri? Who was shot and who was dead? And how did someone even shoot? Where did they get a gun from? And why did they shoot? Did they shoot Gauri? After a long pause he managed to ask, “Which hospital?”
Omkara after his talk with Shivaay, informed both the families with great effort.
“Omkara…” he heard someone call out and he looked up from his seat to find Shivaay running towards him.
“I couldn’t keep my promise…I….couldn’t protect your sister, Shivaay…” Omkara mumbled incoherently as the tears flowed from his eyes without any mercy. Anika had come by then.
Shivaay went up and looked over through the glass on the OT. The sight infront of him shocked him to the core- so he was right, it was Gauri was shot.
He could feel his heart break a little by little as situation started to make sense to him. But why did someone shoot Gauri? How did this happen?
“Omkara, what happened?” Anika asked in dread as her eyes filled up with tears not having the courage to go on and watch through the glass. Her heart beating a mile per second.
Omkara narrated the whole incident with great effort and added, “My Gauri is in this condition…because of me..Why? Why did she take that bullet for me…? She knows I can’t live without her…. One minute everything was perfect and next minute….”
“Shhh…” Shivaay just hugged Omkara, trying to somehow give him moral support and then shushed him as he patted him on the back. “I know my sister, she’s a fighter. Everything will be fine. Okay?”
Anika ran up to the ICU and looked through the round glass as tears trickled down her eyes. It hurt her to the core to see her best friend cum sister lie there attached to these machines fighting for her life. She knew her best friend was strong and that she was a fighter.
She couldn’t give up. Her heart assured her.
Or could she? Her mind questioned.
No she couldn’t. Her heart reassured her.
As if some movie sequence was happening, Anika’s mind flashed her memories with Gauri from their childhood making it even more harder for her to control her emotions. She looked around to find that the Oberoi family had arrived followed by the Sharmas.
“It’s not okay Shivaay!” Omkara replied a little furiously, unaware that the families had come. “If something happens to her I won’t be able to forgive myself… I can’t live without her Shivaay!” Omkara said looking into Shivaay’s eyes with his red tear brimmed eyes, “She’s in this condition because of me! Why did she take the bullet? Why Shivaay? I can’t live without my Gauri…I can’t…” he broke down on his knees crying while Shivaay somehow tried to console him.
“Omkara.” Vasundhra called out making Omkara realise the presence of the families.
He walked up to them guiltily, tears all over, his eyes bloodshot from all the crying. He fell to his knees infront of Gauri’s parents with his hands folded and said, “I couldn’t protect your daughter..she took the bullet meant for me…She’s fighting for her life because of me…I couldn’t even protect her…I..”
To be continued…
I don’t know if this arc was required in the story or not. But it was something I had written a long time back. Initially I had a plan of making Gauri confess her love when she got shot. But then I decided Omkara deserved a better confession. I know this could possibly come off like a filler chapter/arc but I just didn’t want to let it go after writing 2-3 chapter on this arc…
Thanks for reading!