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Those Ten Minutes

Short Story by Geetika Sodhi Lohan


Siddhi had survived a major child abuse in the hands of her uncle. Such exploitation without anyone to save her or support her had left her broken. Despite all the privileges, she lead a life confined to herself with neither too many friends nor an interest in chasing a partner. All this changed when Raghav entered her life and filled the broken pieces with love care and above all respect. He became the happiness she had never felt before. Although a womanizer and a drunkard, Raghav changed himself in no time and soon after became protective towards Siddhi. He completed her and rendered all the warmth she ever wanted.

Her courtship with Raghav was a bloom of the spring and indeed the most celebrated time of their lives. They craved to live this time together and decided to get married. Raghav (though liberal himself) belonged to an orthodox family which had expectations which he clearly decided to adhere to soon after he took up responsibility as a married man. As years passed by Raghav got torn between his family expectations from him and more so from the daughter in law, which became a fence of row between Raghav and Siddhi thus leaving both of them divided by an invisible line of disagreement.

Siddhi surrounded her life around her daughter Samaira and exposed her self to the heat of pressures trying to manage her work, child and life without leaving anytime to think about Raghav who by now had shifted away from the dream land they had made together. Though their love, warmth and support for each other had never quivered, the glitters of love had all vanished. A woman of very strong character and principles Siddhi stood by her man through thick and thin, with or without any appreciation. 

*Sometimes I feel like disappearing and never returning back*  

Vidyut posted on his timeline. Vidyut was one of Siddhi's Facebook friends and one of the only two strangers to be in her friend list. The similarity in their ideas, perspectives and observations had kept them connected. They had never interacted but that status by Vidyut looked sad and disturbing. Sidhi knew Vidyut was younger to her and wondered if she could guide him through something.

*Hi Vidyut. Sorry to do a personal message. But your status looked disturbing. Let me know if I can atleast try to understand.*

Vidyut was online, disturbed, and broken. This message from Sidhi was such a relief but he didn't reply for many hours till he started feeling worse. 

*Thanks for asking Sidhi. I don't know what to talk about. I am...* 

Vidyut wrote everything he felt in the moment without a second thought. Siddhi proved much better than what he expected. She was kind, supportive and above all understanding, like a sunshine in the dark, and helped Vidyut emerge from the sudden depression of nothingness in life. 

The chat continued and as time passed it became an addiction for both of them. From formal to candid, the discussions turned hilarious and their forced smiles turned to genuinely heartfelt laughters. This friendship filled the cracks of abandonment created by their own people. Six months passed and Siddhi became the point Vidyut returned back to at the end of the day. Anything good, bad, worth confession, or needing consent or denial, became all about Siddhi. The nights which Siddhi earlier spent crying found solace in smiles Vidyut spread around for her. 

*How is she?"

One of the days Vidyut sent the photograph of the girl he wanted to marry. Siddhi felt happier than ever by looking at it. She gave her consent and also encouraged Vidyut to propose her. The next day she spent nervous and prayed that Pragya agreed to marry Vidyut. 

*Hi*

*What did Pragya Say?"

Siddhi couldn't take it any more and messaged Vidyut. Their teenage-like friendship had given them rights to be purely what they wanted to be with each other, without fearing judgement. 

*Its a Yes and I am fucking nervous*.

Vidyut responded with a smile on screen and a grin on his face. 

 "YES!".

Sidhi forgot it was 1.00 in the night and the "yes" almost woke up her husband and daughter. But she was happy. 

Their chats decreased as Vidyut got busier with his marriage preparations and Sidhi didn't mind it for she already had a busy life to worry much about the chats that weren't taking place. 

*You have to come to my wedding and I am not taking NO for an answer*.

Vidyut sent her a card and ensured she came. Siddhi finally agreed and next morning informed Raghav whom she had told about Vidyut from day one. Since the wedding was on a weekend Raghav agreed and they both reached the destination on the given date. 

Vidyut noticed Siddhi entering and they both greeted each other with warm smiles. However in that moment beneath the happiness of seeing each other for the first time emerged a strange uneasiness that made them anxious. Vidyut wanted to see Siddhi and be able to at least talk to her that they were meeting for the first time but all this seemed impossible since he was in the limelight. 

Formalities were done and it was time for Siddhi and Raghav to leave. She excused herself for the restroom and in the passage itself found Vidyut trying to pin his Brooch in the mirror just next to the open door, in one of the rooms that were allotted to them.

"May I help?" Siddhi stopped.

Vidyut realised he hadn't felt this happier in days and he kept his hand on his heart out of affection that he felt gushing in on the mere look of his best friend.

"Of course you will help. Who else will. Every time I am stuck Siddhi has to be there." They both laughed as Siddhi solved the problem with his pin. 

"What are you doing here? Where is Raghav"?. 

"Restroom". 

"Use the one here only. This is my room.".

The Short Story continues here...