Hello Guys, Bela is back again, with Fitoor despite working on Banjaare Ko Ghar( Idk how this happens all the time.) I am simply amazed by the response I got to this on-the-spur-of-the-moment story and I respect all your opinions yet I hold on to my own.
I feel it was okay to hide her familial status till she was fine. And yet, he should not have lied. He could have told her what all they did with her, excluding what all she had done herself, making them look bad. Outright lies serve nothing but create a wrong foundation to their otherwise lovely and perfect relationship. The fear of being caught will always make him insecure and it will affect his relationship with Ragini. Plus, she had a right to know, it was HER family.
However, to each his/her own. I am grateful that you all have spent your time reading this story and liked it as well. Hope to have your support in the future as well. So let us make you all fall for Lakshya by presenting you with Fitoor- Junoon Ishq Ka…….
All of us, save Lakshya and Ragini, were now sitting in the hall, wondering what to do. Lakshya’s story had shook us to the core.
“Maa, I think we shouldn’t react now.” Adarsh said as he pressed my shoulder comfortingly.
“What do you mean Adarsh? My son is living with that witch Ragini and you are telling me to calm down?”
“I never thought I would see the day when Lakshya’s stupid decisions would have such an impact.” Sanskaar said as he pressed his temples.
“We always have to bow down our heads in shame because of his antics. Pooja’s family was so disappointed.” Lakshya’s Papa said. I held his hand.
“But Bhaisaab, you had been harping on in front of the Vyas family how Lakshya’s success has made your head high….” Sujata said. Lakshya’s Papa stiffened and I glared at the irritating female Ram called his wife.
“He never divorced Ragini. He has been living with her away from the house for almost an year, right under our noses. We never suspected anything was amiss.” Ram said.
“Exactly Ramprasad Ji! He is such a manipulative man that he managed to fool everyone around him effortlessly!” Shekhar Ji said. My blood boiled in anger.
“All because of your blood! I don’t know what black magic that witch has done on my beloved son that he lied to us for her. Your daughter stole my son from me!” I shrieked.
“Please Annapurna Ji, don’t tell me that your son is a pure soul. Everyone knows how wild be has been, it doesn’t take a fool to realise that all that has happened has been crafted by your son alone. Ragini is clueless. She didn’t even recognise Swara.” Parvati Ji said.
“Ragini may be clueless now but she isn’t blameless. All that is happening now is a result of her evil deeds. I wonder how God can let this injustice happen with us while that villain lives on happily in her bubble.” Sujata said. I agreed, nodding at her.
“Sujata Ji, no offence, but your own son helped Ragini reach to the point of no return. I remember the speedy forgiveness you all gave to him. We still threw Laado out of the house. Isn’t it hypocritical?” Deendayal Ji said. I harrumphed.
“Sanskaar is our son, he was just mistaken. He isn’t like that…..”
“Yes, and Ragini was famous for her evil ways and dangerous attitude…….”
“He at least reformed……..”
“And apparently, so has Ragini now. And yet you continue referring to her as a witch.”
“Listen, everyone! Stop fighting please. We need to stand united now. What all do we want?” Swara asked.
“I want my son with me, without Ragini. I will make him marry a pure and sanskaari girl!” I sniffed.
“I want our Laado back with us in the Baadi.” Parvati Ji said.
“Great. Everyone stands for one thing, Lakshya to be at his home and Ragini to be at hers. We want them to separate. Now that won’t happen till Ragini regains her memory and realises the web of lies Lakshya has created around her. As soon as she does, she will hate him and leave him. However, if we try to force her to remember, she may lose her life and it won’t serve the purpose for Lakshya will go deranged as well. So we need a plan to separate them without harming anyone.” Sanskaar said.
“Which is why I don’t want anyone to react.” said Adarsh. “To keep Lakshya and Ragini in front of our eyes, we need to keep them here in this mansion. We have to convince him to stay here with us for some days. Maa, Papa, you have to act as if you have resigned yourselves to his choice of a wife and now just want to reconnect with Ragini.”
“I hate that vile…..”
“Annapurna Ji, enough! Your son is no less….”
“Stop it please!” Parineeta begged.
“Listen to me. He needs to be here with her. We will all be nice and friendly to them and ingratiate ourselves with Ragini. Lakshya knows what all we are up to and he isn’t exactly happy with how we practically kidnapped him to marry him off to Pooja. If we are able to curry favour with Ragini, it is possible she would convince Lakshya to stay here as well. He won’t be able to refuse her wish, that much I have gathered.” Sanskaar said.
“Exactly. And once they stay here, we can try to make her regain her memory. The Gadodia family can also come and help, who knows, she may get flashes. It will serve our purpose.” Adarsh said.
As much as the thought of staying under the same roof as that almost-murderer Ragini disgusted me, I had to admit that the plan had merit. I wanted her out of Lakshya’s life at any cost, he deserved a good girl. Looking at his Papa, I nodded as he nodded as well. We would follow that plan.
I rushed over to Ragini who was now awake. I smiled as I placed my hand on hers. “How are you feeling, my love?”
“I am so sorry I fainted. I was scared as they all were questioning me.”
“Don’t be silly. You don’t need to be sorry about fainting at all. I agree wholeheartedly that they all look scary!” I said deadpanned. Ragini giggled while I smiled.
“They….they hate me, don’t they?”
“Do you care?”
“Do you care?”
“Oye cheatercock, that’s my question! Answer me first.”
“I care as long as you care.”
“And I care as much as I shave.”
“You don’t shave. You just go for trims.”
Ragini looked at me, confused. Then, as the realisation dawned on her, she burst into fits of giggles. My heart did a weird sort of a flip-flop.
“Ragini, shall we leave?”
“I hope you haven’t forgotten that we have a beautiful home elsewhere in whose first floor bathroom you want new tiles.”
“I already replaced the tiles when you came here.”
“Wow, you are so fast! What colour?”
“Blue is my favourite!”
“That is why I put them. You seem to overeat and spend so much time in that washroom , I decided to be considerate……”
“I felt that burn.”
“It was meant to be felt.”
I laughed as I hugged the cheeky brat of a wife I had. Tickling her, I tackled her to the bed.
I whipped around to see Pari Bhabhi along with Swara and Maa standing at the door, having varied expressions on their faces. Maa looked disturbed, Swara looked pukish while Pari Bhabhi looked amused.
“Lakshya, Ragini. May we come in?”
No. Get lost please.
“Of course, please don’t ask. It is your house after all.” Ragini said in her honey-like voice. I wanted to smash her head. And mine. And die together and live in heaven peacefully.
Ragini and I adjusted ourselves and I groaned silently. That’s why I like my Newtown life. Nothing is ‘proper’ there. The staff has strict instructions not to trouble Ragini and I when we are together and if there is anything urgent, use the intercom first. And here…..there is zero privacy.
“Lakshya, son, you should have told us about your….. relationship with Ragini.”
“Maa, she is my wife. Surely, the entire world knows of our relationship.”
“You know what I mean. We would never have forced you to marry Pooja….”
“I did tell you that I was married. Now it doesn’t matter who my wife was, you should have stopped your machinations the moment I told you I had a wife.”
“I just wanted you here with me Lakshya. I am getting old…..”
“Actually that brings us here. Lakshya, Ragini, you both have come back home together after a long time. After almost an year, the family is complete. Let us forget the bitterness of the past and move forward together as a family.” Pari Bhabhi said as she looked at Ragini tenderly. More tenderly than she looked at Adarsh Bhai. Suspicion rose in my mind.
Ragini looked at me. I smiled uncomfortably. Damn, they knew what they were doing! I couldn’t just tell them I was leaving because that would make me look heartless in front of Myra.
“I don’t know what I did back then but it was never my intention to hurt anyone and break a family, I am sure. It hurts me to see the break in this family, all because of me. If I can do anything…..”
“You can leave….” Maa said. I flashed my deadliest glare at her and she gulped. “…..the past now Ragini. You are my youngest bahu, you are forgiven!” she continued.
“Excuse me, I need to talk to my wife privately. Excuse us.“ I said as I helped Ragini stand up and went out to the balcony.
“What are you doing Ragini? You want to be here? Don’t you remember what they were doing before you came? They were forcing me to marry someone else!”
“Exactly Lakshya! That is why I want to stay. See, your mother wants you here desperately and it is just because of me that you stay away. She would blame me for this. I don’t want you to leave your parents for me, when I am more than willing to stay together. Why not give this a try? I anyway don’t remember what happened in the past, so let’s just leave it to be.”
“If you feel even the slightest bit of discomfort, we will leave quickly. Done?”
“Done. I don’t think I will need it though, you will take care of me.” she said as she hugged me. I hugged her back, a feeling of foreboding seeping through me.
I served the rotis as the other women except Ragini served the food as well. Ragini was still not perfectly healthy from her faint a few hours back and Lakshya was beside her, caring for her like his life depended on it. It made me sick to think of them.
How could Lakshya do this? How could he forget me? There is something amiss. Surely, this cannot be. He loves only me. Ragini must have done something…….
I saw Lakshya carrying Ragini as he came downstairs. He made her sit on the chair and sat beside her.
“Lakshya, what is this? Why is Ragini sitting with us men?” Bade Papa asked. Lakshya looked up.
“Oh well, isn’t it dinner time? Why shouldn’t Ragini be on the dinner table as well?”
“You know why Lakshya. It is the rule of the house. The men eat first. Don’t be ridiculous!”
Ragini looked at him in fear and stood up shakily. However, Lakshya grasped her wrist and motioned her to stay put.
“Dad, there are three reasons I feel Ragini should be at this table. First, she is my wife and we have vowed to be together in whatever we do. Second, she is ill and has to take her medicines, it is necessary that she eat quickly. And third, I never take food without Ragini beside me. We eat together even in our office. So she will eat now.”
I looked on, shocked. This was clear defiance of Bade Papa’s rules and Lakshya had crossed his limits this time. Around me, everyone’s faces mirrored the same horror.
“You may do this at your own house. But this is my house! Your wife won’t die if she waits for fifteen more minutes…”
“Dad! Enough. Let me tell you that I am not dying to be here as well. This is your house, cool, keep it and let us go then. It is you all who have asked us to be here. And don’t talk about my wife like that. You may not care what happens to her but my life revolves around her health and happiness.”
“Lakshya please, understand….” Badi Maa pleaded.
“Lakshya, let it be. I will stand here with the other ladies.” Ragini said. Lakshya waved a hand at her.
“What nonsense! Why would you wait? You have to take medicines in fifteen minutes so you will have to eat now. And it isn’t an unreasonable request. Why should we men get the privilege of eating first when it is the women who have cooked the food? Granted, it is the men of this house who have earned the money for the food but then, cooking it and bringing it to the dinner table in its edible form is the result of the work of the women of this family. They deserve an equal share, if not more. The table is big enough for everyone to sit together as a family and there are enough servants to serve us if we wish for anything. In spite of this, the women wait. Do you know why? It is because it is the sick patriarchal mindset that women are inferior, when they aren’t. Men feel superiority over women when in fact, it is a woman who brings them to this world, going through unbearable pain. How can we claim to love and care for our wives, daughters, mothers and sisters if we can’t even let them have the basic freedom of having their meals at the same time as us? You know, I feed you the first bite of the food, that’s because I love you and it signifies that whatever is mine is yours, and whatever is yours is mine as well. We are equals. And why don’t we let the women eat with us? Is there something gross about how they eat? Is there something wrong with their mouths? No. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for you to not eat with us. All of you, in fact. Now, Papa, I rest my case. I don’t know if your years of thinking can change with my minute long speech but even if it doesn’t, I don’t care. Either they sit with us and eat or Ragini and I would like to have our food served to us upstairs in our room. If that service isn’t available, we will take the food ourselves. If the food isn’t available, then we will go out and eat.”
I felt a strange longing for Lakshya. This was the best speech I had ever heard a male of this house make. Every man, except for Bade Papa, looked ashamed of themselves as they looked at their wives/mothers/ daughters. The women’s eyes were misty as they looked at Lakshya with pride. At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to just fly into his arms and thank him for standing up for us.
“Alright. You are our son and you and Ragini are here together after a really long time. So let us all eat together. Annapurna, ask Ramu to serve us. And all of you sit beside your husbands.”
Lakshya sighed as he made Ragini sit again and filled her plate. Her eyes were shining as she leaned towards him. I heard her whisper an ‘I love you’ to him while he smiled and blushed. He took a spoon of the rice and made her eat it while she did the same.
My heart shattered into a million pieces as I realised that this was what I had wanted for myself.
I smiled as I saw Ragini pout in her sleep as I stroked her hair. The truth has been out in front of the families for about two weeks now and we have been living here since then, except for a few times Ragini and I went for work to Newtown. I am sure they are trying something funny to separate us. My heart clenched at the thought. I will NOT allow anything to happen. I cannot live without my Myra, I will have to be on my guard. It is best that we leave for Newtown permanently as soon as we can, the farther we are from these people, the better.
Ragini turned in her sleep and I found a red stain on the white bedsheet. A look at the back of her pajamas confirmed my suspicions and I quickly went out to fetch a maid. Spotting one, I called to her.
“Fetch a new bedsheet for my room quickly.” I told her. She probably understood what I was implying and nodded her head in urgency and scampered off while I went to wake up my wife.
“Myra? Baby, wake up please?”
“Why? My alarm clock didn’t buzz.” she replied sleepily.
“Myra, it’s an emergency sweetheart. You are menstruating.”
She scrambled up and spotted the stain. She looked visibly embarrassed as I hugged her quickly, whispering soothing words in her ear.
“Go to the washroom and change, I have called a maid to change the bedsheet. And stop feeling ashamed about it, it is natural and it has happened once already. Come on babygirl!”
Ragini smiled as she went to the washroom. I knew what I had to do. I rushed downstairs to the kitchen. I knew everyone must be asleep and so, my work would be made easier. To my surprise, I found Swara there, preparing coffee.
She looked up and frowned at me. “Aren’t you asleep yet?”.
“Nope. I just came to collect something.” I replied as I set to work. I took out milk from the fridge and put some of it to boil, adding sugar and chocolate powder to it. Swara watched me keenly.
“You need help?”
“Yes. They keep marshmallows here, where are they kept?”
“Umm, top shelf.”
Thanking her, I climbed up and retrieved the marshmallows jar. I put a few in the milk and then stirred it.
“What are you making and who is it for?”
“Hot chocolate. For Ragini and myself.”
“Why would you guys want hot chocolate at 12:30 am?”
“Ragini got her period. I am making it to soothe the pain and discomfort and she won’t drink till I drink with her as well. She doesn’t like having anything without sharing.”
“You are making so many efforts because Ragini is on her period?”
“I am making so many efforts because my wife is bleeding and could possibly be in pain as well. And as her husband, I find it necessary to do anything I can to make it better.” What is this cow’s problem? Why is she always poking her nose in my affairs?
“No husband does that.”
“I do. It seems I made it a bit extra, do you want some?”
“Yeah, sure. Thanks.”
“Welcome. Add more marshmallows if you want to. Good night.”
I quickly ran my way up to our room where Ragini was now lying on the changed bedsheets. I smiled at her and handed her a cup of the hot chocolate I made. Her smile made me almost dance in pleasure.
“Thanks Lakshya. You didn’t need to do it though.”
“I distinctly remember having this discussion with you before as well Mrs. Maheshwari.”
“But it feels novel. Like, to be honest, I have heard endless tales of woes of menstruating women in the office but no woman can claim that her husband specially makes her a cup of hot chocolate just the way she likes when she is on her period.”
“I do. I like doing it. I like doing anything that makes you happy and comfortable.”
“No wonder I love you. Remember the first time it happened after my memory loss? Gosh, you freaked out!” she said with a laugh.
I smiled, recalling the memory. It had been the first time she menstruated after her memory loss and unfortunately, Sharmila Kaki had been away to meet her sister. I had gone demented as I jumped about, wondering what was happening. A second of rational thought made me realise what was really happening and after confirming it with a call to Sharmila Kaki, I had calmly gone to buy her sanitary napkins and helped her change into them with some help from the Internet.
“You know, I was actually worried that you would die and I would die from a broken heart!” I chuckled. Ragini giggled as she drew closer to me.
“Thank God we have enough sense now. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“I love you more.”
I pulled the cheeky lady and made her sit on my lap as I nuzzled her soft hair, smelling of exotic flowers.
“And I love you the most. More than I love the gym.”
“Well, well. I can surely never do anything to compete with that amount of love Mr. Maheshwari.”
I looked around the room and the images of our past incidents revolved in my mind. I recalled what all she did to become my wife. I was glad Ragini didn’t hear me murmur, “You did that a long time ago, my love.”
I stared at the glass of hot chocolate in front of me. Lakshya had actually made a whole cup of this for Ragini just because she was going through a very natural biological process that many feel ashamed to talk about. I gave a humourless laugh as I realised that this glass in my hand was the leftover of what Lakshya had made for Ragini. Not for the first time, it stung me that I was having Ragini’s leftovers as far as everything in my life was concerned.
I received my father’s, grandfather’s and grandmother’s love after Ragini had received it, I got this family’s support and approval after she had received it, I received the respect of the servants after she had received it. Everything I had was after she had already had it. I had been satisfied in knowing that the one thing I wanted the most though, Lakshya’s love had been given to me first and it was Ragini who received the leftovers. Today’s incident shook my confidence as I realised how very deeply Lakshya was in love with Ragini. I realised yet again how close the couple was to each other- physically, mentally, and emotionally. There was nothing Ragini didn’t know about Lakshya, some things which even his own mother never knew about. Similarly, Lakshya knew Ragini like the back of his hand. They had formed a very close bond right under all of our noses and were now inseparable, all thanks to Lakshya’s efforts alone. He had single handedly destroyed my every hope and his parents’ every wish. It made me want him more and more.
I knew I couldn’t play the modern and beautiful card anymore, Ragini was now more modern than I have ever been and was obviously very beautiful as well. I had to make him recall his former feelings for me. And while the chances were dim, there is always a yes unless there is an expressed no.
As I was returning from the kitchen after putting the cups in the sink to wash, I felt a hand on my arm.
“Lakshya, how can you do this?”
I turned around and saw Mrs. Swara Sanskaar Maheshwari standing in front of me, in all her glory. I mentally cringed as I saw her pouting at me. Damn, Ragini’s pout is so heavenly. How could I have even looked at this creature, let alone wanted to marry her? I must be high on charas, I concluded decisively.
“Ji Bhabhi Ma.”
“What has happened to you Lakshya? Why are you acting in this manner?”
“Why are you pretending to care for Ragini?”
“Bro listen, I ain’t like you who acts to be in love with a man while eyeing his brother. I am in love with Myra and I will love her and love her and love her till I stop breathing this highly polluted air around me.”
“Stop calling her that sickening name!”
“Just because Sanskaar refuses to call you Shona or Sugarplum doesn’t mean I can’t call my wife whatever I want. She is MY wife and WHAT I call her is MY concern. Geddit?”
“Listen Lakshya, if you think you can make me jealous by this sick joke and I will come running to you………”
“Haaye Dahiya, kya bol Rahi hain aap Bhabhi Ma? Why will you come running to me? Wait, you can run? Wow. Anyway, my marriage ain’t a sick joke, I think you are getting confused between yours and mine. I am perfectly happy with Myra and she is perfectly happy with me and we will live even more happily if you stop following me around. Ragini may have lost her memory, but her basic tendency of being possessive about me hasn’t changed at all. She once threw her chappal at a random female in a mall who was staring at me. I shudder to think of what she would do with you.”
“Lakshya, you love me…….”
“Arrey zabardasti? I wasted precious time I could have had with my beautiful wife as well as my energy in telling you all my fantastic love story and you don’t seem to have understood it. Understandable, such a nest you have on top of your head in the name of your hair!”
“Lakshya please, don’t be so stupid.”
My left eyebrow twitched. Had Ragini been awake, she would have quickly sent Swara away because she knew that this twitch was the tell-tale sign of my coming dangerous mood.
“I am not stupid. You are. I wish someone shows you a mirror and you see what you have done to yourself. In a month, it is going to be an year to your marriage and you have yet to take the next step. You have utterly ruined Sanskaar’s life and you have ruined your own as well, running after what you can get if you commit to one man. I know exactly what sort of a person you are because I am the same. You want all the attention on you and similarly I want all the attention on myself as well, except that I want that coming only from my wife’s quarter. Let me tell you, Ragini cares shit about what you want and I don’t even care shit about what you want. So kindly leave us in peace.”
“Lakshya, I am not happy with Sanskaar.”
“Then leave him. Leave him, go out, see the world and look for the man who suits you. Look for someone you are sure you can love and who can love you. Be happy and let Sanskaar be happy as well.”
“The only man who could make me as happy as I wish to be is standing right before me.”
“You should have done something when you had the chance Swara. You never expressed your affection for me then. I craved for some attention and love, I braved the harsh words of my parents just to marry you. And you didn’t care. You didn’t care at all.”
“I was mistaken then. I wasn’t sure then.”
“But I am now. I am very sure Swara. You and I were not meant for each other. Everyone has a phase in their lives when they fancy themselves in love and this phase exists to show them what true love really is. Not every romantic experience is true undying love. Ours was just a romantic experience but I am convinced now that we would have been miserable with each other. Part of your attraction towards me now stems from my new personality, that is of a powerful, rich and loving man. And if you remember, I was none before. I have become like this, all because of Ragini and her unflinching support and love. She didn’t remember anything Swara, yet she told me that she was sure that she probably loved me. She was so scared and yet, she was comfortable with me. All of this…..it made me realise that true love wasn’t what I felt for you or even what Sanskaar felt for you. It was what Ragini felt for me. Her mind was wiped clean but her heart…..it recognised me. That’s the connection. I have craved for a true love experience all my life, maybe that’s why I was quick to name my physical attraction for you as love. Now, after knowing what it is and experiencing it with Ragini….I laugh at myself and feel ashamed of myself.”
“What does she make you feel that I didn’t?”
“Everything. She makes me want to live everyday, with a smile on my face. She makes me crave for excellence, so that I can stay happy and keep her happy as well. She makes me feel responsible, mature and loved unconditionally. She is an example for me. Despite remembering nothing, she tried her best to stand up on her own feet. She made a point not to wallow in self pity when I told her that she had been thrown out by my parents. She fought hard and fast, with a determination that made me question my own tardiness in things I was passionate about. I realised how important zeal was. And you look in her eyes, all you find is love. And all of that is for me. I am addicted, badly. I want to love her more than she loves me because frankly, I don’t think I did anything good with her when she fell in love with me first. I didn’t deserve that love, it is just a stroke of luck that she fell for me so hard. She fought for me, making me feel desired and worthy. She deserves back all the love she showers on me and I love her. Why wouldn’t I love her?”
“What does she have that I don’t?”
“She is no different from any other normal woman but for me, she is everything. She is my angel. Simply put, she is herself. She is Ragini Lakshya Maheshwari. And that isn’t who you are.”
Swara was on the verge of tears, I could see. Once, they had affected me. Now, it was only a possible reaction to my words. I couldn’t care less. All I knew was that Ragini had shed similar tears when we all had been selfish in our wants. Ragini had probably cried when I rejected her. She had probably cried when Swara decided to marry me. I knew she had cried. And I wanted to atone for those tears. I wanted to make sure she never cried again. And that couldn’t be achieved by standing here and lecturing Swara. I needed to go back to my wife.
All attempts at breaking apart Lakshya and Ragini are failing miserably. He seems to falls more in love with her everyday. It irritates me to see them fawn over each other. They are happy and while I want my son to be happy, I don’t want him to be happy with Ragini. Ragini doesn’t deserve him.
My son is my Raja Beta. He deserves the best. Ragini is just an upstart from a middle class family who I brought so that Lakshya could have an obedient wife. What he chose to do outside his marriage wasn’t my concern. Yet, the tables seem to have turned. They share their load. I have often found Lakshya cleaning the room while Ragini works on the laptop. This is scandalous. He stands up for her. And she does everything as he likes, daily she cooks something which is his favourite and I know all this is a way to create distance between him and me. I won’t let this sly witch take away my son from me.
Enough is enough. I don’t care what happens to Ragini. There is no broken heart of a man that cannot be healed by a new beautiful girl in his arms. I will separate Ragini and Lakshya now. Even his Papa is with me on this.
Phew. Weird woman, this Annapurna. Isko toh iska Raja Beta hi handle karega. Do comment and tell me about your opinion.