Chapter Sixty Five - Vaidehi

Vaidehi had come to Mumbai a few days after she had learned that Rohan had fled from home town. But, she was aware that he had spent days sleeping at railway stations, on the street, in parks, on benches, constantly being shooed away by police in patrol cars. He had spent days with an empty stomach, almost reaching the stage of begging or borrowing. That’s when she had decided to play ‘God’ in his life.

She called one of her friends and asked him to find a way to help Rohan find accommodation; and while at it, also find a way to get him a job – a phony one even. She had plans, which she told her friend over the phone. Her friend could not refuse to help because he owed her a favour. She had done him a huge favour when she had not reported him to cops or most importantly to his old man when he had tried to get physical with her. 
They had kissed on a few occasions but that night he had been too drunk and had groped her breast and had tried to climb on top of her, right there on the couch, in one of the parties they attended together. She had calmly asked him to stop, he felt terrorised by that calm voice and he knew then, he would always be afraid of her.

Therefore, when Vaidehi called asking him to find a way to help Rohan he had to do it. He called one of his friends in Mumbai who contacted one of his friends and the stage was set. This friend was supposed to be robbed by a pick-pocketer when Rohan was around, knowing fully well that Rohan would step in and save the day. That friend would then pretend to be a con-man and ask Rohan to be his apprentice. Vaidehi had said that she would manage the expenses. Everything had happened according to the plan; the only problem was Rohan had refused to help. 

The least that could be done was Rohan was given a place to stay. Vaidehi had been upset when she had learned that he stayed in a chawl. But, she could not complain. Asking for a better accommodation was too much to ask from her friend in exchange of saving his ass that night. 

She asked for one last favour – buy a cab, give it to Rohan to drive. Now, she owed it to her friend. But, she knew her friend would not dare to ask for a return favour. She had seen the terror in his eyes that night – the man feared her. 
When Vaidehi finally got into the plane, she opened the envelope her private investigator had given her at last moment. She knew something was wrong, because the man had apologised to her for something.

The first thing she pulled out of the envelope was the visiting card of another private investigator recommended by hers. Next, she took out a note and stared at it wide-eyed. The investigator had failed to find out earlier that Rohan was, in fact, in a sexual relationship with some woman and he had fled home town to avoid commitment. 

Vaidehi closed her eyes and wondered whether she would have gone to such lengths to help Rohan or to be with him had she known this little detail. She put the note inside the envelope and put the envelope back in her purse. She looked out of the window, watched the clouds float by and finally decided to give Rohan a chance and see where her prompt decision led her.

On reaching Mumbai, she hailed a cab to go to the bungalow her father owned in the city. She did not un-pack. She freshened up and got into a cab to reach the chawl Rohan was staying in. She made a call and bought a room in chawl; from where she could keep tabs on his movements.

Vaidehi had found it difficult to stay in the chawl for first few days; the mosquitoes did not let her sleep. Therefore, she sneaked out of the chawl at nights to sleep in the bungalow. However, over a period, she adjusted to the change in her life. She knew that she had to be around if she had to come face to face with Rohan. She found a way to be around him, giving him enough chances to notice her and he did. It was not immediately, but finally they became friends, Vaidehi made sure of that. 
Everyone who knew Vaidehi, knew that she managed to accomplish what she set out to do. She did not know then, that things were going to be slightly different. 

While being around Rohan, Vaidehi started to notice his interest in a woman who stayed in the room next to Rohan. That moment she regretted not being next to his room. She had no choice, the room was already taken. 
She watched as Rohan and the girl exchanged glances. She found out the girl’s name and started keeping tabs on her. Mansi, it seemed, was attracted towards Rohan but at the same time seemed to dislike him. Vaidehi could not find out why but she did not care. If this continued, she was happy.

Unfortunately, it did not. Vaidehi watched as Rohan and Mansi started spending time together. She watched as Rohan brought Mansi to the chawl in his cab. She decided that she needed extra set of eyes, so she contacted the private investigator in Mumbai to keep tabs on Mansi. She found out where Mansi worked. 

She found out that the old dude who owned the office had special interest in Mansi. She decided to make use of that information. She sent the investigator on the old dude’s trail and found out that Mansi was in fact his bastard daughter. She paid the investigator hefty amount to find out about the old dude’s legitimate family and made up her mind to play a little game to bring on a little chaos in the girl’s life.

Despite her ongoing attempts to ruin Mansi’s life she could not keep her away from Rohan, who started to enjoy Mansi’s company. Vaidehi had been the one to help him fix roots in this city and he had friend-zoned her. She still had the file on Rohan, knew about his dark past and if she wanted she could put it out in the open, when the time came. 

But, she did not have to. For reasons unknown, the girl had ruined things herself. It had been raining that night, Rohan had just returned to the chawl with Mansi in his cab. Vaidehi had been sitting on a bench under a shed. She watched, along with the others how Rohan had spent time with Mansi in the cab, running his fingers through her hair. Placing his hand over her chest and then bending over her seat, as if to give her a hug. Vaidehi had felt jealous at that moment, unaware what was about to happen few moments later. 

Rohan had climbed out of the cab and Vaidehi whistled and asked him to join her and the others under the shed. Vaidehi made a sarcastic comment about Rohan spending time with Mansi and her friends laughed. She joined them. Rohan reached them under the shed and told them how much Mansi meant to him. Vaidehi watched speechless, listening to him and seeing the emotions in his eyes. That moment, she thought she had lost Rohan forever. She knew it was not appropriate to make fun of him. She laughed out loud to hide her own emotions of hurt and looked towards the cab, thinking about how lucky Mansi was to have won the love of this man who meant a lot to her.

That moment, she saw Mansi waking up. Rohan had seen her, too. It had stopped drizzling, he started to walk towards the cab. Vaidehi saw Mansi stepping out of the cab and stumble, she watched helplessly as Rohan ran to support her and then, to her surprise, Mansi pushed Rohan away. Vaidehi did not know whether she was supposed to feel bad for Rohan or be happy about whatever misunderstanding Mansi had about Rohan. She watched as Mansi ran up the stairs and to her room. She turned to look at Rohan who stood rooted to the ground, crestfallen. 

Rohan looked at her and others for a moment before walking out of the chawl. Vaidehi could see that he was hurt. She wanted to run to him and embrace him. She followed Rohan out of the chawl but kept distance from him. She watched as he fell on his knees in the middle of the road. It started raining. Rohan was soaking wet by the time he realized it was raining and so was she, because she did not bother to take shelter. She felt his excruciating pain, she felt the warmth of her tears on her cheeks. She decided she would ruin the bitch who had made him cry. She had already set the wheels in motion. Mansi would not know what hit her. By the time she was done with her, Mansi would be alone and vulnerable, exactly the way she wanted Mansi to be. Vaidehi watched as Rohan got up and walked towards the pavement to stand under a shelter and then she returned to the chawl. 

She did not see Rohan for a few days after that. She wanted to go to his room but changed her mind and decided to give him some space. She knew that he was deeply hurt. She found out that Mansi had decided to leave the chawl. After a lot of conflicting thoughts, Vaidehi finally decided to knock on Rohan’s door. When Rohan opened the door, he smiled at her. It felt good. She knew that Rohan was sick because there was no way he would have taken a break from driving a cab simply because he was hurt by Mansi. She, too, had slight fever but she did not care.

She felt his forehead and said, “You still have high fever” and walked in towards the kitchen. She prepared cologne water and dipped Rohan’s kerchief in it.
“Lie down” she said as she walked back towards him. 
She sat on the bed next to him and kept the strip of kerchief on his forehead. She ran her fingers through his hair. She ran her fingers over his cheek.

“I tried not to come; but I could not stop myself, I had to come and see you. I had not seen you for a couple of days and it did not feel good.” She said and ran her hand over his chest and then she bent over him and kissed him on the mouth. At first, Rohan responded, kissing her back with passion but then he placed his hand over her shoulder and held her at a distance. Something was wrong. He looked at her again and then pushed her back and sat up straight in bed.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?” Rohan said, suddenly furious
“What’s wrong? You were kissing me a moment ago.” she said and then it dawned upon her, Rohan was confused. He had imagined it was Mansi who was sitting next to him on bed. She could not take it anymore. 
“Oh, so you thought I was someone else. You were thinking about that bitch while you kissed me!” she said bitterly and stepped further away.

“You are still thinking about that bitch who never cared about you. Who humiliated you, hurt you and left you alone. She is not coming back, she’s gone. She is going to give back the keys of her room and go and live with some rich old dude, as far as I know.” She said, every word full of hatred for Mansi; the woman her friend loved. He was such a fool.

“What does that bitch have that I do not have?” she asked feeling jealous. “I can give you more than what she has to offer.” She did not know what she was saying; the only thing she knew was she loved him, had always loved him. She had waited patiently, but this new bitch had stepped in and ruined her chances. She had almost given up on him, convincing herself that the only thing that mattered was that he was happy. But, he was not happy. She had seen him cry.

She moved closer and had almost pulled her t-shirt over her head when he yelled “Get out”
She took off the shirt, anyway. It was too late to stop her fluid motion. She wanted him to look at her; she believed that if he looked at her, maybe he would give in; forget the bitch and make love to her.

“Get Out” he yelled again and walked towards her. He held her by the arm and pushed her out of the room and closed the door on her face. She stood there at the door, staring blankly at it; her t-shirt in her hand and then she started crying.

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