"Hello?" said Brigadier Vikram Rathod.
“How are you Vikram?” said a soft voice. Vikram was shocked to hear the voice.
He just said, “Sandhya, is it you? Oh! My God…..is it you really?”
Sandhya said, “Yes, it’s me, Sandhya. It's nice to know that you recognized my voice even after 22 years."
Vikram could not contain his anger now. In a very taunting manner, he said, "How can I not recognize your voice? I loved you from the bottom of my heart. I still do. You were the one who betrayed me. You could not even wait for me for six months. Anyway, there is no need to discuss all these things now.”
“I guess girls find it easier to move on from such things quickly.”
Sandhya’s voice was soft as she said, “You have every right to get angry with me Vikram. I was not even aware that you were alive. I thought you were dead. Your body was not found anywhere after that war. I came to know about you just 2 days ago. I somehow managed to get your contact number and called you up immediately."
Vikram’s voice was terse now. He said, "If you had loved me, you would have waited for me instead of getting married."
“I had been missing only for a couple of months you know. Didn’t you try to find me?”
“I guess you were more interested in living your own life in a good way. So it must have been easy for you to forget me so quickly.”
Vikram just wanted to vent out his feelings now. He said, "We had been in love for 5 years when I went missing. After I returned, I went to your house. Your parents said that you were married now and were pregnant. They told me to stay away from you because you were now living a happy married life. I was not convinced by their words. I managed to get your address. I even came to your house to see you.”
“I actually saw that you were happy with your husband. It was a festive day and you were both enjoying it. I could not believe my eyes that day. I wondered how you could be so happy without me. I was heartbroken that day.”
Sandhya could sense the sadness in Vikram’s voice. She knew that Vikram was reliving the old painful times when he was speaking to her. She said, “My parents never told me about you. If they had, then our lives would have been very different today. I can’t even complain to them now because both of them passed away quite a while back.”
Vikram’s voice was trite when he said, “Oh… I was not aware of that. Sorry.”
Sandhya hesitated for a while and then said, “I wanted to wait for you. I was ready to wait for you till I died. But I could not.”
“The day I came to know I was pregnant; I got to know that you were missing. I was shattered.”
Vikram was shocked again. He said, “WHAT….??”
Sandhya’s voice was tremulous. She said, “Yes, I was pregnant with your baby. When my parents came to know about this, they asked me to abort the child because I was not married. They were ashamed of what I had done. They started looking out for a match for me. They took me to a hospital so that I could go in for an abortion. But I told the doctor that I did not want to abort my child. I convinced her about it and begged her to tell my parents that an abortion was not possible in my case.”
“Yet, I did not know how I would go about living my life after that. One day, I was sitting in a temple and was crying my heart out. That is when Anoop came to talk to me. I was so nervous about the whole thing that I blurted out my entire story to him. We met in the temple again the next day.”
“He asked me if I would marry him. His wife had died in a road accident recently and she had been pregnant at that time. He just wanted to save this child and give it his name. I thought God had sent him to help me.”
“So eventually I agreed to marry him. My parents too gave their consent to our match. That's how we got married. Even until I got married, there was no news about you."
Sandhya now stopped to take a deep breath.
Vikram’s voice had a strange note of excitement in it. He said, “I have a son. I am a father. I don’t know if I should be happy or sad. I have a son and I have lived alone for the past 22 years. How did you come to know about me now?”
Sandhya said, "I'm sorry. If I had known about you, I would have definitely told you. I came to know about you from my son. He worships you. You are his mentor. He too has joined the army and is currently under you."
Vikram was shocked again. He said, “WHAT…???”
Sandhya said, "Yes, he was keen to join the army ever since he was a child. I was not interested in it at all. But he was so focussed on it that he convinced me and joined the army. Patriotism is in his blood. He is just like you. He came home on his holidays just two days back. He showed me some pictures. I recognized you immediately and asked about you. He was praising you so much."
Vikram’s voice was broken. He softly said, “Damn it Sandhya. Just tell me his name. Is his name Avinash Mehta?”
Sandhya said, “Yes it is. How did you recognize him?”
Vikram’s voice was joyous now. He said, “He joined us just a while ago. But I have always felt some kind of connection with him. I would see myself in him. Oh my God – he is my son! I can’t imagine it. Destiny really brought us together again.”
Sandhya said, “I just wanted to tell you about your son. I too wanted you to be proud of him. Yes, God has his own beautiful plans. He made you meet your son so beautifully.”
Vikram’s voice was full of pride now. He seemed overjoyed now. He said, “Yes, I will train my own son now. Suddenly so much has changed in my life now. I have a son. I have someone to call as family. I am not alone.”
Sandhya said, “Yes, I will tell Avinash about you before he reports to you again. I want him to know about you.”
Vikram’s voice was full of concern and respect now. He said, “What about your husband? Is he willing to do so too? I’m sure he loves him as his own son now.”
Sandhya said, “Yes. He loves Avinash a lot. I have talked to him about this. He is OK with revealing the truth to Avinash.”
Vikram was full of gratitude now. He said, “That’s great. Sandhya, you have made my life colourful again. Thank you. I am eager to meet him now.”
Sandhya said, “It is your right to know about your son. I am sorry I could not tell you about it earlier. I will try to meet you again someday. For now, I’m happy that you will see your son soon. Bye.”
Vikram said, “Yes. I look forward to meeting you someday. And I can't wait to meet my son now. Bye Sandhya.”