Link to previous update : Episode 2
Sanskar opened the door to his room and moved aside so that Swara could enter first. Swara removed the flower garland off her neck as she entered inside. Her eyes got misty at the sight of black, gray and red colored walls instead of white. Swara had imagined that she would be with Laksh in their room the day after her marriage.
But now, she was with Sanskar in his room, not hers, not theirs. The classic decor of the room, the regal look was so much different than the down to earth, funky yet cool look of Laksh’s room. Being in Sanskar’s room was like a painful reminder of the ugly game the fate had played with her.
Sanskar followed Swara inside, watching her as she took in the interiors of his room. Her teary eyes told him of the thoughts she was having. Sanskar dropped his flower garland on the couch, wanting to make her smile, Sanskar took out the transparent jar that he keeps hidden in his closet.
On the other hand Swara was thinking about how her life changed. She was supposed to be Laksh’s wife but she became Sanskar’s wife instead. She didn’t want this, didn’t want to do so but when Sanskar came at baadi in morning with a plan, Swara couldn’t help but agree, Ragini needed to be exposed.
“Sanskar?” Swara pinned Sanskar with a questioning glare and Sanskar bolted the lock of the room.
“I am here to talk about something important.” Sanskar replied with seriousness evident on his face and in the tone of his voice.
“What do you want to talk about? My broken marriage? My shattered heart? My damaged soul? What is left to talk about?” Swara cried as she pushed Sanskar away.
“I know Swara that you are bearing the burden of that crime you never committed. Its because if me that you and Ragini are at this point of life.” Sanskar told. Though he appeared to be calm and composed but in reality he was nervous like hell.
“What do you mean?” Swara’s tone turned questioning tinted with accusation.
Sanskar sighted and started speaking, “Ragini alone isn’t at fault….” Swara moved a step back, “It was me all along. Ragini had accepted your relationship with Laksh, she was heartbroken at first but yes she was okay with yours and Laksh’s marriage, it was me who manipulated her into getting Laksh back to herself. I was the one who planned and plotted everything we could to stop yours and Laksh’s marriage….” before Sanskar could utter one more word Swara slapped him hard.
“You came here to tell me this! How dare you come here after what you did!?” Swara yelled then pushed Sanskar hard.
Sanskar stumbled a step back but moved forward and held Swara’s shoulder tight, “Swara listen….”
“You are the one behind my sister’s betrayal..”
“You both destroyed my life! What did I do wrong?” Swara was frantic, so Sanskar shook her hard, “Swara listen to me damnit!”
When Swara called down a bit Sanskar loosened his hold and softly removed the tendrils off her face, “I know what I did was extremely wrong and nothing could justify it but I want to rectify it.”
“What do you want from me now?” Swara asked.
“We need to expose Ragini. We need to bring the truth out and for that we need to get married.” told Sanskar.
“What? Are you out of your mind?” Swara was appalled.
“I am not talking about a real marriage, we will just act as if we are married. Se in order to reveal Ragini’s reality you need to be there in Maheshwari house. Trust me I have it ask planned, just tell me that you are with me in this.” Sanskar explained.
Swara contemplated about it hard and after much persuasion from Sanskar, Swara finally agreed to the plan.
* Flashback ends*
Swara was so immersed in her thoughts that she didn’t notice Sanskar sitting beside her. “I know this is not what you had imagined your life to be.” Sanskar said softly.
Swara wiped the tears of her face and liked at Sanskar, “I am fine.”
Sanskar smiled, opened the lid of the jar and hell led it in front of Swara, “Have these.” he said.
Swara looked at the jar in his hands, inside the jar were different types of candies. She coughed out a chuckle, “Candies?”
Sanskar took out a sour skittle and put it in her mouth. Swara slurped as the sourness of the candy teased her taste buds, “These are so sour!” She squinted her eyes and let out a yelp.
Sanskar laughed seeing Swara’s reaction. “Good lord Sanskar! Why did you give me a sour candy?” Swara asked.
Sanskar smiled and popped a candy in his mouth as well, “In order to forget the bitterness of your life you need to eat these sour candies. It really helps in uplifting your mood, that’s why I have kept a stock of these babies, just like Anokhi used to.” Swara laughed as Sanskar are another piece of candy.
“Really?! Who told you this? Baba Sanskar?” Swara spoke as she chuckled.
“Nah! That’s all Anokhi. She used to say that instead of chocolates and ice creams you should eat sour candies to uplift your mood. Said that the sourness of the candy makes you forget about the bitterness in your life. Anokhi is crazy like that.” Sanskar made a funny face.
“See you are laughing now.” Sanskar commented and the next instant her laughter simmered down, “Swara I know you are not quite happy with this fake marriage drama but we have to continue this till we expose Ragini.” Sanskar said softly, he closed the jar and placed it back in his closet.
“I wish this ends soon.” Swara whispered to herself. “Who’s Anokhi by the way?” Swara asked with a smile.
“Anokhi?” Sanskar scrunched up his nose in confusion.
“Yeah, Anokhi. You just told me that you keep a stock of those candies because ‘Anokhi’ used to do that as well, and that the idea of cheering up your mood by eating sour candies was Anokhi’s.” Swara pointed out.
“Oh..” Sanskar fumbled a bit, “Anokhi is my friend, we met in college.”
“Just a friend? You don’t look sure about it.” Swara teased.
Sanskar felt uncomfortable for a moment but then realized that Swara was teasing him so he just rolled his eyes at her, “And blah blah…” making Swara laugh again.
Both of them laughed unaware that Ragini was listening to every bit of their conversation from outside. She smiled to herself as she eyed Swara and Sanskar through the glass panel of the door to Sanskar’s room.
Not wanting to give rise to suspicions Ragini went to her room. But the sight that greeted her wasn’t exactly welcoming. There in the middle of the room stood Laksh, his right hand bleeding profusely. “Laksh!” Ragini called out loudly as she walked towards him. It was then that she noticed broken pieces of glass item lying on the floor, some of the pieces had blood on them. Laksh’s blood.
Ragini hurried towards Laksh ignoring the crunch of the glass beneath her feet, good thing that she was wearing her beetle flats or else she would have been hurt too. Taking out the first aid kit from the closet, Ragini took Laksh’s left hand in hers and made him story on the bed.
She began trending to his wound and was scolding him for acting so childishly, “What will you get by harming yourself? Do you think that only you’re the one who’s paining, hurting?”
“Why are you punishing yourself? Think about Maa, Papa and other family members, would they be happy to see you hurt like this? What will you get by behaving like this?” Ragini finished cleaning his wound using antiseptic liquid and started tying bandage over his wound, “Why just stopped now? Go on hurt yourself some more. This much blood isn’t enough right!?” Ragini kept on murmuring as she dressed Laksh’s wound.
After tying the knot so that the bandage won’t open Ragini stood up and was about to walk away when Laksh held Ragini’s hand with his non injured hand to stop her from going away. A tear slipped out of Ragini’s eye, she placed the first aid kit aside and turned around to face Laksh.
Laksh was sitting on the bed, his head bowed down and his body was visibly shaking. He was crying. “Laksh..” Ragini murmured softly. She sat d down beside him again and s soon as she did that Laksh captured her in a bone crashing hug.
“Why did she do that? Was I really not the one she loved? After ask what happened, she got married to Sanskar? Why is she torturing me?” Laksh cried hard as he hugged Ragini tightly. Ragini wrapped her arms around his shaking body trying to provide him support but ended up crying herself.
She was aware that this was gonna happen, she was prepared to face anything that came in her way but it didn’t mean that everything was going to be happy and fine. Life isn’t perfect and can’t be made perfect. Along the times of happiness comes moments of grief, along the smooth laid out path comes some rough speed breakers too. But what Ragini wasn’t prepared of was the vulnerable situation she was now stuck in.
Ragini broke the hug and cupped Laksh’s face in her hands, “I know Laksh that this is very hard for you. Seeing the one you love with someone else hurts really bad. But you have to be strong, you can’t let this overpower you. Please Laksh stop crying.” Ragini wiped his tears and kissed his forehead. It was spontaneous, impulsive but innocent in its kind.
Laksh a little overwhelmed by all this was feeling awkward as well, “I want to be left alone for sometime.”
“I promise I won’t do something like this.” Laksh added as he noticed the worry in Ragini’s eyes.
Though she was hesitant but Ragini left Laksh alone in the room. She will get the room cleaned later, right now Laksh really needed some rest.
“Jiji I think we should postpone the muh-dikhayi rasam. After all what happened yesterday and today morning it isn’t a good idea to perform the ritual.” Sujata suggested to Annapurna who was arranging jewellery pieces that matches with the dress that she had chosen for Ragini to wear for the said ritual.
“Just because of that girl I won’t let my plans halt. This evening we will introduce Ragini as Laksh’s wife to the people of our society.”
“And Swara as my wife….” added Sanskar. He was standing just outside the room with his arms folded in front of his chest.
“Just because we have let her stay here it doesn’t means that we have accepted her as the daughter in law of this house.” Sujata remarked.
“She has a name Maa. Swara. Your acceptance hardly matters, Swara is my legally wedded wife and she has equal rights to be in this house, stay with me. I am not asking you to perform Swara muh-dikhayi rasam, I am telling you to do so.” Sanskar added.
Annapurna turned to face Sujata who had a horrified expression on her face, “See Sujata, what that girl has done to your son. He’s now her husband and not our son.”
Sujata was torn between her love for her son and her dislike towards Swara and SwaSan’s marriage. She looked at Annapurna with an apologetic expression on her face. “Jiji..”
Annapurna silenced her with a glare and then looked at Sanskar, “No matter what Badi Maa, Swara will come at the function.” he said and went away.
Annapurna huffed and picked up the dress and jewellery she had selected for Ragini and started walking towards Ragini and Laksh’s room followed by an apologetic Sujata.
#Laksh and Ragini’s room
Ragini herself had cleaned up the mess Laksh had made, she didn’t want to attract anybody’s attention towards what Laksh had done. She was just putting the last piece of glass in the dustbin when someone knocked at the door. She hurriedly threw the broomstick and the dust-tray in the balcony and dusted off her clothes.
She opened the door, it was Annapurna and Sujata. “Maa? You?” Ragini moved aside letting both the elder ladies come inside.
Annapurna looked at a sleeping Laksh and then at Ragini, “Actually Maa, he was tired so…”
Annapurna laid her hand on Ragini’s shoulder, “I understand dear, no need to explain. I came here to give you this.” she handed over the items to Ragini. “Today is your muh-dikhayi rasam I want you to wear this. I have been collecting all this stuff for my Laksh’s wife since Laksh was in his teens.” Annapurna chuckled, Sujata and Ragini smiled softly in return.
“You start getting ready, the function will start in 3 hours, okay.I want my daughter in law to look best.” Annapurna kissed her forehead and went out but Sujata stayed.
“Come Ragini, I will help you getting ready. You have the haldi-chandan paste ready?” Sujata asked as Ragini placed the items given by Annapurna on the dressing table seat.
“Ji Choti Maa.” Ragini replied.
“Come then I will help you with it. Come.” She held Ragini’s hand in hers and lead her to the washroom.
After few hours
“Sanskar do you think that this is a good idea? I mean your family is already angry due to the turn of events do you want to anger them more? Why?” Swara was pinning the dupatta of the dress on her left shoulder.
Sanskar chose to wear plain white shirt kurta with similar pajama bottoms and paired it with a sea green colored sleeveless jacket which had silver colored thread designs. His attire complimented that of Swara’s who was dressed in white colored lehnga and choli that had silver sequined work on it, she wrote a pink colored transparent kurti made of net over it and completed the ensemble with a sea green colored dupatta that had pink and people border and silver sequin designs on it.
“We have to do this Swara. Us going there as a couple, presenting you as Maheshwari’s elder daughter in law will be a reminder for Ragini that you are not backing off, that you will expose her one day. Before we start playing Ragini’s own games on her we need to hit her confidence and for that we need to do this.” Sanskar explained.
“I hope that it does just like you said.” Swara said softly.
Sanskar smiled and nodded in positive, “Now come on get ready fast, we have to make an entry down there.”
Ragini was sitting in front of the dressing table wearing jewellery. She was dressed in a navy blue colored lehnga, paired with a golden-copper colored anarkali style blouse. The blouse was made of velvet that covered the burst area and the rest of it was made of net which had beautiful roses threaded on it. The blouse had an long slit on the left that started from where the velvet part of the blouse ended. She had pinned the dupatta around her elbows in casual craft style.
Ragini gazed at Laksh’s reflection in the mirror. He was rolling the sleeves of his navy blue kurta. He looked nice in that kurta and white pajama bottoms. Ragini looked at him keenly trying to decipher his mood, he had woken up just when Ragini had come out of the bathroom after taking a relaxing bath. Since then he was avoiding looking at her, Ragini knew that he was hurt and was feeling awkward thinking about how he lost control over his emotions and cried in front of her.
Ragini sighed, men and their egos. She wore her mangalsutra and applied vermilion in her hair partition. She was just doing the last minute touch up when someone knocked at the door.
“Ragini, Laksh. Are you both ready?” It was Annapurna at the door.
Laksh opened the door, “Ji Maa, Ragini was just…” Annapurna ignored Laksh and went towards Ragini with the look of awe on her face while Laksh stood there confused.
“My daughter in law is looking beautiful, one in a million.” Annapurna took the kajal stick from the table and applied a little for of it behind Ragini’s ear. “This will save you from evil eyes.”
Annapurna kissed Ragini’s head and gazed at her reflection in the mirror lovingly, it was them she noticed something different. “Ragini, beta this is not the mangalsutra that Laksh tied around your neck at the wedding. This one’s different.”
Ragini’s eyes went wide, she felt cornered, “Maa woh…” Ragini was afraid to tell the truth.
“Tell me beta, what happened to that mangalsutra?” Annapurna asked again, even Laksh was curious to know.
“It’s my fault, Jiji.” came Sujata’s voice from the door.
“Actually Jiji, I was helping Ragini with some haldi-chandan paste when accidently her mangalsutra thread got struck into my bangles and it just broke.” Sujata told.
“What?!” Annapurna was horrified. Breaking of mangalsutra is considered inauspicious.
“It was just an accident Jiji.” Sujata came rushing inside, “I had bought this mangalsutra so that I could wear it at Laksh’s wedding but never got a chance to, so I have this to Ragini. I think it was meant to be Ragini’s.” Sujata explained.
Annapurna looked disturbed, “I am sorry Maa.” Ragini whispered.
Annapurna looked at guilty faces of Ragini and Sujata, she sighed and said, “It’s okay but be careful with this okay. A mangalsutra is not only a thread that shows that your are married, it is worn for the long life of the husband and his well being.”
“Ji Maa.” Ragini smiled.
The hall of Maheshwari mansion was hustling and bustling. Ladies dressed in bright and expensive clothes were enjoying the snacks and drinks while some ladies were singing traditional Rajasthani music. The decorations were perfect to t, Annapurna and Sujata were getting the guests while the men had gathered on a little quieter side of the hall.
Even the Gadodia’s were present at the function, though Sharmishta knew about Swara and Sanskar but Dadi and Shekhar didn’t know about it that’s why Sharmishta was eyeing everything around nervously.
The hall quieted down as everybody’s gazed at the couple that was descending stairs looking gorgeous together, hand in hand. While Laksh looked classy in his simple attire, Ragini was looking like a princess. Shekhar smiled looking at his daughter , Dadi was kind of proud that her granddaughter was getting so many looks of appraisal and the fact that she was now a Maheshwari, made her ecstatic whereas previously nervous Sharmishta was now shouting angry glares towards Ragini.
While mostly there were murmurs of appraisal but there were some of confusion as well. Annapurna and Sujata looked at each other as the heard some ladies talking;
“Wasn’t Laksh supposed to marry that bangalan? What’s her name?” asked once woman.
“Swara. Yeah I heard about it to. I even heard that Laksh was in the love with that Swara.” said another woman.
“Oh you both didn’t attend the wedding right, that’s why you don’t know what happened. That chori, Swara, is of bad character, rumour says that she was with some other man even on her wedding day. Her parents got their other daughter, Ragini married to him.” told the this woman.
This started a chain of whispers, to say that Maheshwari’s and Gadodia’s were embarrassed would be an understatement. But the whispers quieted down when once again a couple walked down the stairs with their arms hooked. Sharmishta eyes both of them nervously while Shekhar and Dadi looked at them in horror, while the Maheshwari’s were looking at them angrily.
“Oh my dear God, this chori! What is she doing here with Sanskar?” Parvati whisper yelled to Shekhar.
Parvati then noticed that Swara was wearing mangalsutra and had vermilion in her hair partition, “She got married to Sanskar?!” Parvati Dadi was stunned.
Shekhar started to walk towards Swara but Sharmishta held his arm, “You knew about this?” he hissed at her.
“The one who was supposed to marry Laksh?”
“So the other man in her life was none other than Laksh’s own brother Sanskar?”
“I tell you this is Kalyug!”
By now Swara was on verge of treating apart, Sanskar was ready to punch someone while Ragini was feeling the complexities of emotions, she didn’t know what to do. Deciding that it was enough, Laksh took the matter in his own hands. Taking long strides he walked over to the temporarily set up stage and took the mic from the last who was earlier singing those traditional songs.
“I know you people must be surprised seeing me married to Ragini and her sister as my brother’s wife. This is the truth ladies and gentlemen, actually I have always wanted a life partner like my lovely wife Ragini whereas Swara was in love with my dear brother Sanskar. Me and Swara weren’t meant to be together, glad that it all came out in open before the marriage could happen. So finally I got to marry who I wanted to and Swara got the man she desired. I think its time, let’s conference with the function.” Laksh gave that lady the mic back, came and stood beside Ragini again.
Sujata was really feeling bad for Laksh, he wasn’t a bit aware of what was happening, Annapurna on the other hand was feeling kind of happy as her son was now not only married to the girl she liked but he was starting to accept her as well.
Precap : Sanskar and Swara collecting evidences against Ragini. Ragini’s accident.