Beautiful Lies - The End!!!

My dear readers, this is the final chapter of the Siddhant-Ishika story. Here are the links to the earlier episodes: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6. I would suggest that you go back, read the earlier chapters, if you haven’t already done it and then come back to find out what happened at the end.

In his endless pursuit of love with Ishika, Siddhant had laughed and he'd cried. And Ishika had been there with him, merely in spirit. Because it was clear that her heart wasn't available for love. But Siddhant persevered with an indomitable resilience, which was kind of pathetic actually. Siddhant was hungry for affection like so many of us are and in his hunger, he couldn't see that what he perceived as affection was just Ishika's 'altruism', for the lack of a better word. This was a house of cards and it was destined to tumble down. This is that story.

Ishika had been in his arms and in his soul and yet, for all intents and purpose, she was still a stranger for Siddhant. He didn't know what she'd been like before being afflicted of that crippling breed of love that was targeting Siddhant now. So when Ishika's best friend Shivi was visiting her, Siddhant expressed interest in knowing her. So Ishika introduced them to each other. Shivi was as full of life and energy as Ishika was enigmatic. She talked to Siddhant like she'd known him for ages and it took him by surprise. It was hard to look away when Shivi talked but when Ishika was around, Siddhant couldn't help looking at her. And Ishika would signal to Siddhant to concentrate on Shivi.

And that non verbal conversation wasn't lost on Shivi. She was unusually perceptive but even if she hadn't been, it was hard to miss the way Siddhant looked at Ishika. It was about as subtle as a brick. Siddhant wasn't one to shy away from an opportunity and he realized that Shivi was, in a way, one of the first connections he'd managed to make with Ishika's old life and an important one because Shivi and Ishika's bond seemed thicker than blood. Siddhant wondered if Shivi could help Siddhant break down Ishika's walls and get her to love him back.

What Siddhant didn't know was that like Ishika, Shivi too had taken it upon herself to "save" him, from himself. Siddhant often wondered what it was about him that made women want to save him. Shivi had seen how he looked at Ishika and she knew his feelings were unrequited. Shivi had known Ishika for a while and she knew it was very easy to fall in love with her. But Ishika was as closed off emotionally as she could be. And Siddhant wasn't the first guy Shivi had seen trying to give up everything for Ishika. She had that characteristic enigma that made men go crazy for her and Shivi saw Siddhant as yet another victim to that charm.

But something about him seemed different. It wasn't just how he looked at Ishika, it was also how she looked back at him. Shivi didn't quite know that look and it worried her. So she confronted Ishika about it. Ishika told her she was "worried" that what Siddhant felt might be real and he would end up broken and hapless. "If I could be with him, if I had even an iota of that feeling, I would. Because it hurts to see him suffer like that", Ishika said, pensively. Shivi thought for a moment and then offered to play sabotuer and get Siddhant to step back.

Ishika was curious to know what Shivi wanted to do. Because Ishika herself had tried everything to get Siddhant's mind off her and nothing had worked. She said, "Just make sure he doesn't end up hurt." Shivi was amused. "You think I'm a demon? The guy seems nice. I will just reason with him. And be friends with him", Shivi exclaimed. Ishika seemed visibly relaxed. Later the same evening, Ishika texted Siddhant and asked how he liked Shivi. He said she seemed nice. Ishika asked him if he'd want to date her because "she is single". Siddhant just sent a 'facepalm' emoji in response.

Shortly after, Shivi texted Siddhant asking him how he was. He made it clear to her that Ishika was trying to set them up. When Shivi said Ishika was being crazy and he should just ignore it, Siddhant was relieved and continued the conversation. They talked about each other's lives and Ishika wasn't a topic of discussion that night. Shivi's natural candour was matched and complimented by Siddhant's animated and upfront style of talking and conversation flourished. After this, they started to talk very frequently, over texts and calls.

Ishika would add Shivi into the call whenever Siddhant called and they'd both joke around with him, with Shivi taking over the call. Siddhant shared a different equation with Ishika than he did with Shivi, so when she'd be around, he would have trouble opening up to her. And he eventually felt like this was being done on purpose. So during one such call, he put his foot down and insisted he wanted to speak to Ishika. Ishika understood his expression of suppressed rage and asked Shivi to disconnect. And what pursued was another evening where Siddhant expressed how he felt making Ishika resent the fact that she couldn't do anything about it. He cried while he told her how hard he'd been trying not to feel for her the way he did, because "it has been hurting all the time". Ishika hated it when Siddhant cried. She hated being the reason for his tears. When he was all cried out, Siddhant went off to sleep.

That night, he dreamt about Ishika. Again. Like every night. At this point, it felt more like an affliction than love. He knew he was obsessing over Ishika and he was beginning to ask himself it was healthy. It was more of a rhetorical question. But man, did he feel happy in his dream, having her in his life, forever! Only Ishika could make him feel weak and strong all at the same time.  He woke up the following morning with a newfound enthusiasm and energy for his pursuit of happiness. Ishika on the other hand, woke up and grazed the tattoo over her arm, which was Vikrant's name in disguise. It was there to forever remind her of him. Her heart had no place for another and the sooner Siddhant understood it, the better it was for him. Wish love could be reasoned with.

The next day when Shivi talked to Siddhant, she asked him to tell her how he'd met Ishika. Ishika hadn't given her all the details and now Shivi was interested to know what had transpired that this guy was so crazy for Ishika. Siddhant told her, everything from day one. When he recounted the events of the night Ishika had spent at Siddhant's place, Shivi gave an informed nod, indicating that she understood his feelings better now. To this Siddhant told Shivi that the physical intimacy had no bearing over his feelings for Ishika, because he had blocked that out.

Shivi gave several probable reasons for his feelings and Siddhant shot them all down. He had tried to rationalize his feeling and had failed several times before. He had accepted that he was in love with Ishika, inexplicably, as if his soul had fallen for hers. It had no relation with how she looked or how she felt in bed. Shivi felt like he was reciting poetry with the lyrical choice of words Siddhant used to describe his feelings. This made what she was about to do that much difficult.

Shivi talked about all the guys that had pursued her and how she couldn't feel anything for any of them until she met that one guy. She said, "You will have to accept that you are not what she wants. You don't meet the criteria for a guy she wants to be with."

This changed the equation because up until now, Siddhant believed that the only reason she wasn't with him was because she couldn't love again. But what Shivi said suddenly opened his eyes to the possibility that maybe it was him, maybe he was what she didn't want. He did have some more questions. "Why does she care for me so much then?" Siddhant asked. Shivi told him that Ishika cared for all her friends like that and it didn't mean she had place in her heart for them. Suddenly, his perseverance felt dirty, like he'd been virtually forcing himself on her, like he'd molested her in spirit. And he knew he couldn't do it anymore.

He texted Ishika that he was sorry for everything. The text irritated her because it had no context. She texted back saying it he was so sorry, he should stop texting her altogether. He texted back an okay. "Is it that easy for you? I am happy that it is", her text read. And that's the last time he communicated with Ishika. Shivi kept in touch with him for a while after, mostly out of pity. But Siddhant didn't need any pity. He had never needed pity, not from Ishika and not from Shivi.

"Let this be the moment of truth", he told himself, "if she ever felt anything real for you, it's on her to realise it and reach out. If she doesn't, you are done."

Isn't life full of these beautiful lies we tell ourselves? Things we wish for and things that never happen. Aren't those just lies we were living in? As a writer, I often wonder if Siddhant ever had a chance of a happy ending? I thought his love would be strong enough to make her forget Vikrant but wasn't that another beautiful lie I was trying to write? I have always felt that we need these lies to distract us from the harsh realities that make up our lives. Or maybe reality itself is a beautiful lie and one of these days, we'd wake up in a burning pit of fire. Who knows!


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