The Day The State Split Asunder - 54
The Day The State Split Asunder - 5415 mins 268 15 mins 268
Dressed in Black jeans with a red T-shirt, Sanjana crossed the street hastily, exploiting a brief lull in the thick morning traffic. Between the automobiles, rickshaws, bicycles, pedestrians, and stray animals, it was a wonder there wasn't at least one traffic accident in her neighbourhood every hour. On the way to the bus stop, she stopped briefly to study the giant poster planted outside the theatre; it advertised the movie of her favorite tollywood hero 'Mahesh Babu'.
In the next instant, raised voices startled Sanjana out of her fanciful thoughts. She turned her attention back to the road. As she resumed walking down the footpath, she saw a pack of men rushing towards her. Two men were running in the front followed by a mob of five. It appeared as if they were rushing to attack her. One of the two in the frontline had his white shirt hanging open, his skinny chest and belly exposed with bruises on his face. As they were nearing her she let out a loud scream closing her eyes.
'Move aside you lady!' Shouted a man from the crowd in Telugu.
The mob whooshed past her, almost nearly knocking her down. The handbag fell down from her hand and the unexpectedness of it made Sanjana freeze in her tracks. She then realized that the two men in the front were being chased by five men running behind them.
'Who are they and why are they fighting like that?' She thought and picked her handbag. It took her confused mind a moment to recognize it. Another Andhra-Telangana clash. The two regional factions were constantly warring with each other. The Andhra settlers in Hyderabad started protesting against the central government's decision and clashes like these became prevalent.
The chasers finally caught up with the two men and surrounded them like a swarm of killer bees, spilling into the street. They were no more than a hundred feet away from where she stood. She continued to watch in horror and felt empathy for the two men being beaten by a mob of five. Despite being an ardent supporter of Telangana separation she abhorred the usage of violence.
Although she couldn't see through the thick circle of irate men, she clearly heard the sounds of violence; the dull thuds and thwacks. Screams of agony emerged from the centre of the circle, making her cringe. Those two men were being beaten mercilessly.
A minute later, the police vehicle arrived. Five policemen stepped down from their vehicle, pulled out their lathis and dispersed the crowd.
'Thank God! Had the police not arrived, they would have been dead by now,' She felt relieved and began walking towards the bus stop. Minutes later she climbed into the bus and sank in her seat.
With her head leaning against the window, she watched the buildings and office rolling past. Someone's phone is ringing, a melodious romantic tune. The romantic tune remembered her last meeting with Karthik and the conversations of that day began playing in her mind.
'What can I tell him? I just don't have any feelings for him? How can I convey him? What if I say I don't like him? Will he accept that?' She started getting worried. 'God, what kind of a situation you have put me into. I don't understand what to do?'
Karthik promised Sanjana that he wouldn't disturb her for fifteen days and today it's the thirteenth day. So far he has been true with his words. If he strictly follows that it also means he will definitely ask for her decision on fifteenth day which she hadn't finalized so far.
Right from the day he proposed to her, she struggled to stop thinking about him which was never an easy thing to do. No matter how much she struggled to prevent her mind from wandering away towards him, the more she tried to stop the more she found it difficult to forget.
The bus stopped at her destination. She got down and took the lane next to the bus stop, walked into her office and opened her laptop. Through sleep-deprived eyes, she tried her best to concentrate on preparing the campaigning report document requested by Roshni. Her fingers were hurting from typing the keys for almost two hours now.
Shutting the screen down for a second, she flexed her hand to get the stiffness out, and quickly surveyed the office around and her eyes paused at Karthik's desk.
'Why is Karthik not coming to the office since the beginning of this year? Anyways, why am I thinking about him? I can't let that man interfere with my life,' she thought and then opened her laptop and got busy with her work.
'Sanjana, did you complete the document?' Roshni asked.
'Yes Roshni. It's almost done. Give me ten minutes and I will mail you,' returned Sanjana.
'Do it fast we were supposed to send it yesterday. The client already mailed me twice.'
'I am so sorry. Please spare me for another ten minutes.'
Roshni sighed and walked into her cubicle. Ten minutes later Sanjana completed the document and mailed it to Roshni. The moment she sent the email, her colleague Prashanth approached her desk.
'Sanjana, I completed the presentation. Can you please review it?' Prashanth said.
'Sure,' Sanjana followed Prashanth to his desk.
Prashanth ran the presentation containing ten slides. Sanjana started going through the slides one after the other scrutinizing the entire content dumped onto the slide.
'Wonderful Karthik!' She said after reviewing all the slides.
'My name is Prashanth not Karthik,' Prashanth smiled at her.
'Oh! I am sorry Prashanth!' She rose from her seat and retired to her desk.
'Sanjana can you once come to the discussion room?' Roshni asked, crossing her arms on her chest.
Roshni and Sanjana walked into the discussion room. Roshni turned the laptop screen towards Sanjana and questioned - 'What is this?'
'The campaigning report that you asked me to prepare.'
'Sanjana, I don't understand what happened to you. Did you verify before sending the document?'
'What happened? Is there anything wrong?'
Roshni launched the find window and typed in the name 'Karthik'. It highlighted fifteen occurrences in the document. 'You have written Karthik's name randomly fifteen times in the document. Sanjana, you have never made any mistakes like these. Luckily today I got the thought of reviewing the document. Had we sent this document to the customer. What would have happened?'
Sanjana clasped her hand to her mouth, feeling embarrassed. 'I am so sorry Roshni. I didn't know how it had happened?'
'What happened Sanjana? Are you feeling good?' Roshni softened the sharpness of her words with a smile, but Sanjana was chagrined.
'Just be careful Sanjana and Adarsh has called you into his cabin. Don't be afraid, it's not about this document. We have a guest visiting our office this Saturday and he wants to discuss it with you.'
'I will go and meet him,' Sanjana said and walked into Adarsh's cabin. Roshni followed her.
As they stepped in they saw Adarsh yelling at someone on mobile.
'I just want it to be completed by the end of the day,' Adarsh said in a strict tone.
Roshni and Sanjana glanced at each other's faces.
'Nowadays he is getting angry very easily. I don't know what is happening with him?' Roshni thought.
Adarsh cut the call and turned his attention towards Roshni and Sanjana. 'Please be seated, I have a very important thing to discuss.'
Sanjana and Roshni sat on their chairs.
'Sanjana, the founder of Godavari Capital Advisers Dhyaneshwar will be coming to visit our company this Saturday. I want you to be presenting the work flow related to the marketing department. Is it clear?' Adarsh said.
'Yes sir!' Sanjana replied, showing no signs of emotions.
'Do you know who Dhyaneshwar is?' Adarsh purposefully asked this question to know her response to find out if Karthik might have told anything about Dhyaneshwar.
'I never listened to this name before.'
'Anyways, we hardly have any time left. Just be prepared.'
'Sure Arnold sir!'
A slight grin surfaced on Adarsh's face. Apart from Karthik no one else called him by the name Arnold.
'Sanjana, from when you started calling Adarsh with the name "Arnold"?' Roshni questioned, stressing on the last word.
'Oomph!' Sanjana exclaimed in surprise. 'I am sorry. It just came out like that.'
'I know what's going on in your mind Sanjana,' Adarsh thought.
'Sanjana, review the document for one more time and then mail it to me. We need to send it to our client at any cost today by the end of the day,' Roshni changed the topic, sensing the embarrassment on Sanjana's face. She felt pity for her.
'Roshni, I will correct the document and will mail you in fifteen minutes,' Sanjana went back to her desk.
'Adarsh now tell me what's going on?' Roshni asked Adarsh.
'What means? I already told you this Saturday the founder of Godavari Capital Advisers will be visiting our company.'
'Not that. I have been seeing you for the past few days. You are shouting on people even for the silly mistakes. I haven't seen you behaving anything like this before and also where is Karthik? What happened to him? I wanted to ask you about this. Tell me exactly what's the issue?'
'There's nothing like that,' Adarsh said with a frustrated sigh.
'Really? From when did you start keeping secrets to yourself? Looks like you are not interested in me anymore?' She was firm in her assertion.
'It's not like that Roshni. I love you more than I can say.'
'Then why don't you tell me what is bothering you? We can find a solution together.'
'You misunderstood me. I am absolutely fine.'
'No! You are hiding something but you are not telling me. You know how stubborn I am. I am not going to leave you unless you tell me the truth.'
Adarsh knew about her stubbornness and there's no way left out for him except to tell her the truth.
'Roshni, Karthik left the company.'
'What? But Why?'
Adarsh then revealed everything about his altercation with Karthik and also told her the truth about Dhyaneshwar that Karthik said.
'I have never seen coincidences like these in my life,' Roshni said, shocked and confused and hysterical all at the same time. 'You shouldn't have talked to Karthik like that. Mistake is on both sides. You both should apologize to each other.'
'I am ready to do it. I got angry because he compared me with Aarti. I shouldn't have talked to him like that. But I swear I have been trying to reach him since ten days to say sorry. But he switched off his mobile.'
'Looks like he was deeply hurt with your words.'
'See once this Saturday is passed. I will go to his home and apologize. I miss him so much. I never treated him like a friend. I always treated him as my younger brother.'
'Has Dhyaneshwar killed Sanjana's father?'
'I don't know the truth about it. Karthik told me and you know very well about him. He will blindly believe in everyone and also please don't share this with Sanjana. I promised him that I will not share this with anyone, but I broke it for you.'
'So sweet of you! And also so sorry dear. Because of me you had to break your promise.'
'Please don't say sorry Sweety!' he clutched her hands into his. 'I love you!'
'Well this is not the place to have a romance!' she blushed.
'Then what is the correct place?' he asked, kissing on her wrist.
'At home? Tonight why don't we cook dinner together?'
'We can cook only under one condition.'
'What is that?'
'We have to cook only non-vegetarian items today.'
'Granted,' she smiled. 'And also this Sanjana has not performed well since ten days. Looks like she is also disturbed and you know what? I asked her to prepare a document and she had written Karthik's name fifteen times.'
'I think Karthik might have proposed to her. Only you and I know that he loves Sanjana but don't let her know that we know it.'
'Why will I say?'
'It's because of Yudhishthira's curse.'
'What kind of a curse?'
'According to Mahabharatha, after Yudhistira learned that Karna was his elder brother, he cursed all women with not being able to hide any secrets. Had Yudhishthira's mother Kunti not kept that fact a secret, the war might have been averted, with millions spared.'
'Don't worry that curse is only for women of Dwapara yuga, not for Kaliyuga,' Roshni smiled. 'I promise, I will not tell her anything.'
'I know you will, that's why I love you.'
'Love you too!'
Adarsh got a notification on his messenger. 'Hey I have a lunch meeting with Mr.Verma at RedFox. I need to make a move now. In case if I am late I will come directly to your home and we can cook dinner together,' he packed his laptop.
'I will be waiting for you,' she got up and kissed him on his cheek and Adarsh returned her with a kiss.
Sanjana on the other hand corrected all the errors in the document and mailed it to Roshni. As she rubbed her forehead she noticed her palms become sweaty. Today she has been experiencing rapid changes in her mood. Unknowingly she thought of Karthik many times today and everytime she thought about him her heart started beating faster.
What is happening with me today? Grief started filling her mind. Why am I unable to take him out of my mind? She ran into the washroom.
She examined her reflection in the mirror and was struggling to control the tears that were ready to erupt. She didn't understand why she wanted to cry and this further exacerbated her suffering. What was she getting into? And yet, each time she thought of withdrawing from the madness, she balked. Unable to suppress her emotions anymore she pounded twice on the granite sink and shed a few drops of tears. She turned on the tap and splashed the cold water on her face for ten times.
'How can I tell him that I don't love him? Whatever will happen let it happen I will tell him I don't love him,' she then untied her hair and locked it tightly with her hairband.
This time she made a firm resolution and got back to her work and got busy with her work. Whenever the thought of Karthik cropped up in her mind she subsided it by saying to herself 'I hate him'. From the late afternoon she got busy with team meetings and brainstorming sessions which allowed her to forget about Karthik for a brief period of time until late evening. At 07:30 PM she packed everything and started to go home.
After reaching home she removed her dress and wrapped a towel around her and took the shower. She then quickly made two roti's along with dal. Later, after finishing her dinner she took out the mobile from her handbag. Her uncle Rajendra called her three times but she couldn't listen to the sound as it was in silent mode.
Rajendra is the younger brother of Akella Raghavendra. After her father's death he took the responsibility of Sanjana. He treated Sanjana as his own daughter on par with his children.
'Why did Babai call me these many times?' In Telugu language a father's brother is called babai.
She immediately dialled the number.
'Hello Sanjana, did you reach home?'
'My mobile was on silent mode and that's why I didn't get to know your call. Is there anything important?'
'Actually dear, a match came up for you rather suddenly. The boy works in the US and his family wants to get him married in two months as they are all planning to shift to the US. He is from our village only and I know them very well.'
'Babai, in the matter of my marriage, your decision is final.'
'But,' He seemed to hesitate and she could sense it from his tone.
'What happened babai? Are they demanding any dowry?'
'No not that. The boy wants to meet and talk to you in person.'
'I have no problem uncle. I will come to Warangal this Sunday as Saturday. I have important work and it is unavoidable.'
'No not in Warangal. Right now he is in Hyderabad only and he wants to meet you there. In case if you are not comfortable let me know, I will inform him. But the boy is really a very nice person. I personally verified his background and I should say he is perfect for you.'
'If you had already verified then that's final. I agree with whatever you say. After dad passed away you only looked after me and you treated me like your own daughter. You know what is good for me?'
'Sanjana actually the boy wants to talk to you and I can't say directly that it's not possible. And don't worry it will just be like a normal meeting to get to know about each other better. If you are okay with it, meet him at Coffee Day in Madhapur tomorrow at 07:30 PM.'
'Ok, I will meet him tomorrow.'
'Then I will inform him and in case if you don't like him just tell me because this is your life.'
'Sure babai. I will meet him tomorrow.'
'I will call you tomorrow again then? Take care. I wish I was present there along with you on your birthday. And by the way did you purchase any new clothes for your birthday?'
'No babai, actually I am not interested.'
'Please don't be like that. Your dad will observe everything from above.'
Sanjana remained mute and didn't speak for a few seconds.
'Sanjana, are you there?' Her uncle asked for three times.
'Sorry babai, I just felt a bit emotional. I wish dad was alive today. I don't understand why God took him away so early.'
'Don't cry dear? Your dad may not be with you but his blessings are always with you. You may not see him but he will be seeing you every minute and second.'
'Honestly, you really took good care of me. I don't know how I can repay it.'
'Please don't talk like that Sanjana. Forget about me, think about tomorrow's meeting. I am sure you will like him.'
'What is his name?'
'His name is Ravi Prakash.'
'Just Ravi Prakash? No surname?'
'Ravi Prakash Madhavaram. I will email his photograph.'
The conversation went on for another fifteen minutes and later on she went into her bedroom and lied flat on her bed.
Confused emotions started plaguing her mind and heart once again and she is certain that she has to spend a sleepless night today. She is not excited about tomorrow meeting with Ravi.
I don't understand what to tell him? It's ok. I will say that my uncle found a match for me and I cannot go against him. Had he been in the office at least I can tell him directly. Else, I will call him now and inform him now itself that I don't like him. She took her mobile and dialled Karthik's number but everytime she tried contacting him it came back saying - "The number you are trying to reach is currently switched off."
Why is his mobile coming switched off? Looks like I can contact him only on fifteenth day. One more day for my birthday. Dad, I wish I had you today. I decided… She snatched air into her lungs. I will tell him directly that I don't love him. Now stop thinking about him and go to sleep.
To be continued...