One week later, Pragya was on her way to Dadi’s room.
She stood in the open doorway and then knocked on the door.
“You wanted to see me, Dadi?” Pragya asked.
“Yeah Beta, come in.” Dadi said and patted a spot next to her on the bed, gesturing for Pragya to sit. As Pragya sat down, Dadi turned slightly to face her.
“Beta, I called you here for a very important reason” she said.
“What is it, Dadi?” Pragya asked.
“You know Karwa Chauth takes place in two weeks.”
Pragya nodded. “Every year so far, your Taiji and Mitali Bhabhi have kept fasts.” Dadi said. “You are a married woman now. It is important for you to take part in this festival.”
“Yes Dadi” Pragya replied.
“You have to fast and pray for the long life and well-being of your husband.” she said. “It increases the love and respect you have for each other.” She stressed a little more on the importance of this fast and the strength of a wife.
She then narrates the story of Savitri, whose love and determination brought her husband back from the clutches of Yamraj, the God of Death. “There are many more stories like this one, which I will tell you at another time.” Dadi said. Pragya nods her head and says “I will surely keep this fast for him, Dadi.”
“No, you won’t” Abhi said from the doorway.
Dadi and Pragya turned to face him.
“Why not?” Pragya asks.
“Because I don’t believe in all this.” Abhi said.
“This is our culture, Beta and the age-old tradition of many married women.”
“Still, Fuggi won’t fast.” he said stubbornly.
Pragya looked at Abhi’s expression and then said. “Okay”
“Okay what?” he asked.
“Okay, I won’t fast.” she said.
“But Beta, you —” Dadi started to say, but Pragya interrupted.
“Dadi, if he doesn’t want me to keep this fast for him, then I won’t.” she replied.
Abhi looked from Pragya to Dadi and then said, “Ok good” and then left the room.
Abhi went to his room and sat on the bed.
He was happy that Fuggi wanted to keep this fast for him, but he couldn’t let her do that.
No food or water for an entire day?
She had never done this type of fast before.
What if she fainted, or worse got sick?
He couldn’t take the risk.
The fact that she wanted to do it in the first place was enough for him.
He didn’t need more than that….
“This Abhi na. Since when he doesn’t believe in all these rituals?” Dadi asked.
Pragya got up, went over to the door and closed it.
She turns and goes back to sit next to Dadi.
“Since I’m the one who’s fasting .” Pragya said. “Abhi’s worried about me and that’s why he doesn’t want me to do it.” “Oh” Dadi said, disappointed. “I was so excited about your first Karwa Chauth.”
“You can still be excited, Dadi, as I will be celebrating it.” Pragya said, happily.
“What? But what about Abhi?” Dadi asked.
“We won’t tell him” Pragya said.
“What if he finds out?” Dadi asked.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he doesn’t find out…and by the time he does get to know, it will be too late to do anything.” Pragya said naughtily. “You sure about this, Beta?” Dadi asked.
She nods. “If he knows, he would just try to dissuade me from doing it.” Dadi takes Pragya’s chin in her hand and looks at her.
“Why do you want to do this so badly, that you are willing to hide it?” Dadi asked.
Pragya lowered her gaze.
“Because I love him, Dadi.” she admitted.
And before she knew it, she was enveloped in a big hug. “Oh Beta, you have made me so happy by saying this.” Dadi exclaimed. She let go of Pragya and asked, “Have you told him?”
“No, Dadi and please keep this a secret between us. He is still getting over Tanu and I don’t want to burden him with my feelings.” she said. “And this is the only way I can show my love for him…well, atleast for now.” “Ok Beta, I understand.” Dadi said. “Come on, let’s go have dinner.”
And then they went downstairs.
Two weeks later, Pragya awoke before dawn, just as Dadi had instructed.
She looked over at the bed and saw that Abhi was still asleep.
She quietly arose from the sofa, trying her best not to make a sound and tip-toed into the bathroom to get ready. She got dressed and proceeded downstairs, quietly passing Abhi once again on her way out.
After offering their prayers, the married Mehra ladies sat down to their last meal before their fast began. Afterward, Pragya was gifted a necklace for her first Karwa Chauth by Dadi.
“Beta, usually these rituals are done by your mother-in-law but..” her voice trailed off.
Pragya got up from her seat and went over to the back of Dadi’s chair and and gave her a hug. “You pamper me like a grandmother, scold me like a mother-in-law…and you have given more love to me than any mother can possibly give to her child.” Pragya said. “You brought me up as your own, taught me right from wrong and supported me in all my endeavors. You have never made me miss any of these relationships as I have found all of them in you. Love you, Dadi and I couldn’t have found a better mom, mother-in-law or Dadi than you.”
“Love you too, Beta. Now go back to your seat before you make me cry.” Dadi scolded lovingly.
Pragya nodded and went back to her chair.
After they were finished with the morning rituals, Pragya went back to the room to wake Abhi. She sat next to him and smiled looking down at his sleeping face.
As much as she would love to let him sleep, she knew if she didn’t wake him, he would definitely be late for the office. “Abhi” she called quietly, slightly tapping his shoulder. No response.
“Abhi” she called again, this time a little louder, still tapping his shoulder.
He turned towards her in his sleep, wrapping both his arms around her waist.
Pragya tried to remove his hands, but he tightened them.
“Abhi!” she said even louder.
Still no response.
This Abhi really sleeps like a log! she thought. She opened his eyes with her fingers, but they willingly closed on their own.
What to do? she wondered.
She should I splash water on him…or crank up the music system?
Then Pragya got an idea…
She took Abhi’s phone from the beside table and putting the phone close to him, she turned on one of the loudest tracks on the playlist. Abhi’s eyes instantly opened.
“What the hell!” he said
His eyes opened wider and he saw Fuggi sitting next to him on the bed, his arms around her waist. “Fuggi?” he said. “Are you trying to kill me?!”
“Yes” she replied. “I have been trying to wake you for so long!”
“Is that anyway to wake someone up?!”
“Would you have preferred it if I splashed a bucket of water on you?” she asked.
“No” he answered quietly.
“I didn’t think so. Now, get up, else your gonna be late.” she said. “I’ll send Robin with your coffee.” She then untangled his arms from her waist and left.
Half hour later, Abhi got dressed and came downstairs, ready to leave for the office.
“Abhi!” Dadi called, just as he was about to head outside.
Abhi turned to face her.
“Yes Dadi?” he replied.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“To meet Purab at the office, Dadi ” he answered. “We have a couple of meetings and work that needs to be finished before my next concert.” “Ok Beta” she said, “But try to reach home before the evening Puja, ok.” “Ok Dadi” he said and left.
Pragya thought as she sat there in the hall with her hands outstretched, waiting for her mehndi to dry. The rest of the ladies were applying henna and Dadi was busy making preparations for the evening’s puja, which was still a few hours away. Mitali Bhabhi had complained about five times already about how hungry she was and it wasn’t even noon yet! But Pragya didn’t share her sentiments, as her stomach was instantly filled with butterflies every time she thought of Abhi. She was really starting to miss him…
To decrease her boredom, she decided to go look for Aliya, heading towards her room. The door was closed and she couldn’t knock on it with her hands or feet…so she used her elbow. Ow! Pragya thought as her elbow made contact with the door. That hurt!
The door immediately opened. “Hi Babhi!” Aliya said. “I was just coming downstairs.”
“I was tired of sitting here doing nothing so I thought to bother you.”
“Come in.” she said. “We can chat or listen to music to pass the time till your henna dries.” “Sounds like a good idea.” Pragya replied and went inside.
Precap: All await the arrival of the moon…
Before you start pelting me with all kinds of things, let me just say I’m really really sorry for not updating on Friday.
Actually some last minute family stuff came up so I was a little occupied with that.
Was going to wait till Tuesday to update, but then I thought you all must be waiting patiently, so that’s why i am hurriedly trying to upload now…sorry for any mistakes.
Priyanka, Lucky, Vigan, Varsha, Reshma, Aliza, Savita, Rosy, Saranya, Aishwarya, Myna,
Di, Abhigyash. Achu, Suhani, Sugan, Lotus, Haritha, Minu, Yogi, Mukund & Maahi.
Hi Silent Readers!
To my Super Writers…will catch up on your stories soon!
Heading out now…Love you guys… Chat with you soon…Bye!