“Riya, I am back darling! Where are you?” Rishi called for his wife.
“Oh there you are, what happened sweetie? Why aren’t you talking to me, love? I know I’m a little late today, but please don’t be mad at me, it’s our anniversary today so let’s cut the cake now and have dinner”.
He gave her a red rose bouquet and placed the chocolate cake on the table.
“Happy Anniversary wifey. It’s our third anniversary today and see how fast time flies. It seems that we became one just a few days back!”
Rishi was sitting on the dining table with the most beautiful person in his life, the one who meant the world to him and a cake placed in front of him. He started remembering their college days when love had just started blooming in their hearts.
Their story started twenty five years back when they were just kids. They were neighbors and went to the same school and then college. They were best friends first and fell for each other eventually. Their families also happily accepted their relationship and they finally got married three years back. They were madly in love with each other.
Since college days they were the hottest couple. Be it a competition or exams they always stood by each other’s side.
Rishi was a decent, soft spoken and humble person whereas Riya was bold and out spoken. Their life was going very smoothly until a mishap happened and life took a strange turn that shook them inside out.
A few months after their wedding, Riya had to travel to Delhi for some official work with two of her colleagues and their immediate boss.
When she returned from the trip, her behavior had changed. She seemed depressed and avoided going to office.
“What happened darling?” Rishi asked worriedly.
“You are not going to work and just seem lost in your own world; you are not even talking to me. Is everything all right? You know you can always tell me, I am always there for you sweetheart.”
Riya sat with her head bowed down and did not reply to the questions. He got upset and left for office soon after. This went on for a few days and there was no change in her behavior; instead she became more and more depressed.
Once when Rishi had left for his office, Riya took one of her dupattas and tried hanging herself from the fan. Thankfully at the exact time he entered the room searching for an important file that he had forgotten to take.
“What do you think you are doing?” he caught hold of her legs, got up the bed and opened the knot. He took her down and holding her in his arms, ran to his car and drove to the hospital.
“How is she doctor?”
“Sir, she is out of danger now, but mentally she is not fine. Being your family doctor I can tell you this much that something has happened to her that instigated her to take such a step.”
Rishi knew something was wrong, but was shaken by such a gruesome step.
Riya was discharged after two days of observation.
After returning from the hospital, Riya’s mental health kept deteriorating with each passing day. Rishi started to work from home. He made sure to take care of her food, medicine and all other needs.
“Baby, today I will make your favorite pasta for dinner.”
She did not react. That is when he decided to consult a psychologist. Next day he took a well-known therapist’s appointment as referred by their family doctor.
“Good Morning Dr. Saxena. I’m Rishi Malhotra and she is my wife Riya Malhotra.”
“Yes, Mr. Malhotra I have read your wife’s report sent to me by Dr. Sen, who I presume is your family doctor.”
The doctor asked a few questions about her likes and dislikes but she did not utter a single word. He then called for a nurse and asked her to take Riya to another room for a few basic tests.
“Mr. Malhotra she is going through a mental trauma, but don’t worry she will be fine soon with your love and care, and my counseling and medicine. Meanwhile please try to find out what happened during her tour. This will make our work a little faster and easier. I will have two sittings every week with her and try to make her talk.”
The counseling went on for two months.
“Dear, when you went to Delhi where did you stay? Which hotel?”
As soon as she heard this, she started crying like a baby. “What happened? Why are you crying? Tell me baby, you know I’m always there for you, trust me.”
Listening to his reassuring words she started telling him all about her stay there.
“We stayed in a hotel which was booked by my boss. We had a meeting with the client around eleven, so we had our breakfast and went for the meeting. In the evening, after returning from the meeting, I went to my room to freshen up. We then had a group discussion scheduled which was to be followed by dinner. Everything was going well, but then I got an mms from an unknown number “, she stopped and then couldn’t speak a word and started crying. Rishi hugged her tightly until she calmed down.
“Somebody had taken my video while I was taking a shower. I was shocked. My phone rang and the person on the other side blackmailed me. He wanted me to sleep with him for the night else he said he would upload my video on the internet. I fainted listening to this and was unconscious for over an hour. I was back to my senses only when there was a loud bang on my door. My colleagues had come to call me for the group discussion and dinner. I went with them but wasnt listening to what they were discussing and later returned to my room. My mobile phone rang again. My hands were shaking and my heart was pounding. I answered the call, it was the blackmailer again; he wanted my answer. I just disconnected the call and switched off my phone.” she started crying again after having managed to finally speak it all loud. Rishi was in tears, he could not utter a word. They both just sat there, hugging each other tightly.
He wanted to lodge a complaint but she was too scared and didn’t want him to involve the police, or anyone for that matter. She feared that if the investigation started, the blackmailer would come to know about it and he would make her video viral. She was not convinced with his idea.
Next morning Rishi went to the police station alone without her knowledge. One of their classmates was a Senior Inspector. He directly went to him for his advice.
“Hey, how come you are here today? Anything wrong?”
“Hi mate, I’m grateful that you took out some time for me”
“It’s alright. We are friends, and both you and Riya have been very helpful throughout. How can I say no to you”
“By the way, how is Riya, I heard that you two got married?”
“Yes we got married and she isn’t fine. It is because of her only that I have come to you.”
“What happened, tell me clearly.”
Rishi told everything about the incident that had shattered them both.
“Brother, this is a cyber crime case. It’s entirely a different department. But you don’t worry at all I will take care of this case personally.”
“But Shiv, my Ruya didn’t want to complain, she is so shattered and scared.”
“Don’t worry, nobody will know about the investigation, we have expert officers in our department who will handle the case and solve it in no time. We face these kind of cases very often, so you go home and relax.”
He was satisfied with the courage and confidence that the inspector gave him.
The police started their investigation and he used to regularly take updates from his friend. This went on for around a month. Meanwhile, there was no sign of improvement in Riya- she was still silent and lost in her own world. She had no clue after all.
Few days later there was a breakthrough in the investigation. The police had gotten to know about the culprit and Rishi was summoned to the police station.
“Hi, you asked me to come urgently, did you catch the blackmailer?”
“Yes, our team has identified the person who did this, he is in our custody.”
“Who is he?”
“A waiter of that hotel admitted that he did this. But we doubt that he did not do it himself, but somebody else paid him a hefty sum of money for doing that.”
“What makes you think that?”
“We interviewed the entire hotel staff, even the owner of that hotel. Everyone had one thing in common- that the waiter had joined there a few months back and there was no such incident before, this was the first time.”
“Who is that person, and why did he do this?”
“We are still investigating that. The waiter will soon open his mouth.”
“Thank you for your help. I’ll take your leave now. Riya is all alone at home, bye.”
Rishi on his way back home kept thinking about the person- who would have done this kind of nuisance, and why. A lot of things were going on in his mind. Just then something struck him and he turned his car around and returned to the police station. He ran inside shouting for Shiv. The inspector came out of his cabin immediately.
“What’s the matter?”
“I want to tell you something about the culprit.”
They both went inside the cabin.
“I have a doubt about the person who must have done this.”
“Riya’s colleague, Preeti. She is always jealous of Riya and her work. Ever since she joined the office, her work and projects are being approved and not Preeti’s. Riya even got the promotion which Preeti was expecting.”
“Thank you for this information, I’ll update you about the case.”
They both shook hands and Rishi went home.
After two days he was asked to come to the police station.
“Did the waiter name the person?”
“Yes, you were right. This was all planned by the colleague.”
“Why, what did she want from Riya?”
“She just wanted to scare her, make her a less confident person and basically leave the job, so that she gets Riya’s position in the office. She is in our custody, and is being investigated.”
Rishi was taken aback. “All this for a mere job position?” he thought.
“Just to get the promotion she planned out such a heinous crime against Riya because of which she tried to commit suicide. I would have lost her that day! My Riya had to go through so much pain just because of a promotion and position at job.” he gasped.
He could not stop his tears from bursting out- this was pain that he had suppressed for so long but now he could not hold it any further.
He went home and told everything to Riya. She hugged her loving husband and cried like a baby in his arms. They both cried their hearts out that day.
Preeti was found guilty in court and was punished.
Riya was recovering slowly but Rishi didn’t lose hope. Soon he started going to work as Riya started doing household chores herself.
Rishi’s thoughts drift back to the present where he was sitting in front of his beautiful wife with a cake on the table and a rose bouquet in Riya’s hand. She had a sweet smile on her lips after years. He was in tears, but he controlled himself as he didn’t want to spoil their special day.
She recovered soon with the help of her husband’s love and care and the counseling. It helped her regain her confidence and overcome the fear. Soon after a few months she joined her office too.
Their life again went on smoothly and after a year they were blessed with a baby girl. Their little angel, that marked the eternal love.
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