Pragya and Aliya stood near the kitchen counter preparing to bake a cake to surprise Dadi. After hearing about their plan to throw a party, Dadi readily declined, saying she was in no mood for another one anytime soon, after the fiasco that was last year.
Her heart couldn’t take it.
She just wanted a simple dinner with family and close friends…that’s it!
She had made that very clear.
They gave in to her wishes, but still wanted to surprise her.
So for the first time ever, Pragya and Aliya Mehra were going to bake a cake.
Two grown girls baking a cake for the first time?
Baking was something they never really had any interest in trying…until now. All cakes/pastries etc. were usually ordered from outside or when Mitali Bhabhi felt like baking. Taiji was not much of a baker, but she tried her best…and the boys were hopeless when it came to kitchen duties. Atleast Pragya knew how to cook, Aliya… not so much.
After googling the recipe for “Coconut Cream and Fruit-Topped Vanilla Cake”, and ascertaining whether it would be a healthy choice for their Dadi, Pragya and Aliya decided that they could more than handle the task, and set out to put theory into action. They gathered the ingredients they would need and laid them on the counter.
“Wait.” Pragya said. “Something is missing.”
“What’s that, Bhabhi?” Aliya asked.
“We forgot the flour.” she said. “And that’s like the main thing!”
“Oh. I’ll get it” Aliya offered. “Umm, where is it?”
“It’s on the top shelf in the cupboard.” Pragya replied.
Aliya looked around.
Which side? She wondered.
Pragya saw the confused look on her face.
“Don’t worry I’ll get it.” she replied.
Pragya went over to the cupboard and opened the door looking for the flour.
She spotted it, and stretched up a little to reach it, but couldn’t.
Usually it was near the end where she could easily get it, but someone shifted the container a bit inside. Aliya turned and saw her struggling and went over to help, but it was too late. Pragya had already made a slight jump to reach for the container, but she ended up grasping the edge and pulling it down instead. The lid came off easily and now both girls were covered in flour.
“Uh oh” Pragya said looking at Aliya and then both girls burst into laughter.
Abhi walked in at that precise moment.
“Fuggi, I need to —” He started to say but stopped when he saw them. Both Pragya and Aliya looked at him. “Girls, I know this is your first attempt at baking…” he chuckled. “but even a kid would know that the flour is supposed to go in the bowl.” “Look who’s giving us tips on cooking, Aliya….the guy who can’t even make a cup of coffee!” Pragya laughed and gave a hi-five to Aliya. “Yeah Bhabhi.” Aliya agreed. “Poor Bhai can’t even boil water.”
“Oye, I can boil water, ok.” Abhi said defensively. “And you shouldn’t be insulting anyone about their cooking skills, Alu. You can’t even turn on the stove with getting help.”
Aliya got irked by his remark and stuck her tongue out at him.
Deciding that it wasn’t enough, she then took a handful of flour and tossed it at him. “Take that!” she shouted.
“What th-?” Abhi said as the flour took aim at his face and hair.
Aliya and Pragya laughed.
“Not so funny now, eh Mehra?” Pragya asked before turning back to the mess, while Aliya turned to head out of the kitchen. But before she could, he reached out and grabbed both of them, grasping them by the shoulders.
“Now what were you both saying?” he asked.
“Ummm… nothing.” Both girls replied together.
Securing them a little tighter in his hold, he then reached for the flour that lay on the counter and then proceeded to whiten their faces…Aliya first. And while he concentrated on Pragya, Aliya pinched him, effectively loosening his grip on her and she ran out of the kitchen.
Pragya, however, was not so lucky. Abhi still held her in his grasp.
He finally let her go only to hear her say, “I’m going to tell Dadi on you!”
“You really are Dadi’s pet!” he teased her, but she didn’t respond.
Her head was bent and she was rubbing her eyes.
“Fuggi…you ok?” he asked, but she still didn’t respond, her concentration still on rubbing her eyes. Abhi walked closer to her.
“Here, let me see.” he said.
“No! Go away!” she replied to him.
“Come on, don’t be stubborn.” he scolded. “Move your hand, let me see it.”
She didn’t listen and continued to rub her eye.
“Fuggi, don’t rub your eyes.” he warned. “That will only make it worse.”
She still didn’t listen.
So he removed her hand himself and held it at her side.
Abhi then held her chin between his thumb and index finger and looked down at her closed lids.
He gently lifted her eyelid and blew a soft breath.
She lifted her other hand to her eye and started rubbing it again. “Don’t do that.” He reprimanded her, but she couldn’t stop. “Fuggi, stop it. You will damage your eyes. Just wait, ok?” He then blew into her eyes again…and again….until her eyes felt a bit cooled. “All better?” he asked softly as she slowly opened her eyes and realized she did actually feel better. Only now, she had a different problem…her heart.
Abhi was leaning over her with her chin still between his fingers, looking directly into her eyes.
Her heart rate sped up… and those damn butterflies were always around at the worst moments! Weren’t there already more than enough people out there that love could bother?
Why was it always her that had to go through these awkward feelings?
“Umm…I..uh..” she babbled, trying to remember what he had asked her. This rotten, wretched love had turned her into a tongue-tied idiot whenever Abhi came this close to her! His breath warm on her face and she just felt like sinking into him.
Abhi’s hand moved from her chin to her cheek in a caressing manner.
You’re not helping, Mehra! She shouted in her mind.
Abhi was aware that his hand had moved from her chin to her cheek, but he couldn’t help it! They had a will of their own. He also knew that he was staring.
That was another thing he couldn’t help.
Her eyes were like magic magnets just pulling him in, commanding him to keep looking into them. The effect was so great that he moved in closer to her and before he knew it his head started to lower…
“So this is where you are!” A loud voice came from the doorway, making them spring apart. Neel Thakur looked from Abhi to Pragya and noticed a little awkwardness in the air.
“Ooops…did i just interrupt a little husband/wife romance? I could come back a little later if you like.” he teased. “Don’t be silly” Pragya replied. “You didn’t interupt anything.”
Neel then noticed their appearance. “What happened to you guys?” He asked. “Did you bathe in flour?”
“Something like that.” Pragya replied. “You’re here early for the party.”
“Actually, I’m here on official business.” he said, looking toward Abhi.
Neel was their lawyer and close family friend.
Abhi’s dad and Neel’s father were colleagues in the legal profession.
Both were lawyers.
Neel followed in his father’s footsteps while Abhi, as you know, chose a different path. When Abhi’s parents passed, the Thakur and Mehra family somehow managed to stay in touch. “Are the contract papers ready so soon?” Abhi asked.
“Yeah” he replied. “I just need you to look over and sign them.”
The sooner those papers were dealt with, the faster they could get to work. “Is this year’s party going to be anything like last year?” Neel teased.
“No!” Pragya replied. “It’s going to be a simple dinner with family and friends.”
“Events in the Mehra household are rarely that simple.” he remarked and Abhi and Pragya couldn’t disagree with him. They had a knack for making their events “a little extra”. “But that won’t happen this time.” Pragya assured him. “Dadi wants a simple dinner party and that’s what she will get… I hope.” Neel chuckled.
“In the meantime, Abhi, I’ll let you get cleaned up while I go meet Dadi.” he said and went out of the kitchen.
Abhi turned to Pragya, who was trying to avoid looking at him.
“Umm…I should clear this up.”she said.
“I’ll help you.” he replied.
“No!” she said and then immediately regretted speaking too fast as she saw the look on Abhi’s face. “Um..I mean…no, you should get cleaned up. Neel is waiting for you to sign those contracts, remember?” “Neel can wait.” he said looking directly at her. “Besides, he’s busy visiting Dadi.”
Why is he so stubborn? Pragya wondered. Can’t he see that I need a little time to re-group from that little moment earlier? “Yes, but —” She started to say. ‘
“But what?” Abhi cut across her. “I’m back!” Aliya said, as she walked into the kitchen all cleaned up. “And I brought cleaning tools!” Alu, you are a life-saver!
Pragya turned to Abhi.
“I guess you can get cleaned up now.” She said to him.”Aliya’s here to help.”
“Ok fine, you win.” he said. “I’ll go.”
“What was that all about?” Aliya asked as soon as Abhi left the kitchen area. “Nothing” Pragya replied and then went back to cleaning.
Dadi sat at the head of the table surrounded by her closest family and friends…just the way she wanted. No horses, no bouncy castles and certainly no clowns! Dinner was almost over and Dadi had just finished cutting her cake and was now enjoying a piece. “Pragya and Aliya, you girls have outdone yourselves! This cake was absolutely delicious.” Dadi praised both girls. “Thank you, Dadi!” they beamed.
“Yeah it’s really awesome.” Abhi said and Pragya smiled.
“See Bhai, I told you Bhabhi would pull through.” Akash said. “We didn’t need to get that other cak-.” Akash stopped as he saw Abhi staring at him and he realised what he had let slip.
Shit! Abhi thought. Why couldn’t Akash ever keep his big mouth shut!
Pragya turned to Akash.
“What?” she asked a little confused.
“What?” he repeated, pretending not to understand.
“What did you just say?” she asked.
“Nothing” he replied.
“What other cake?” She asked.
“Other cake?” he asked dumbly.
“I heard you say something about another cake.” she said. “Fuggi, I think you misheard.” Abhi intervened. “He said this was better than any other cake, right Akash?” “Right!” Akash agreed as Abhi’s eyes met his.
“Oh, ok” Pragya said a little confused. “Thank you, Akash.”
“Welcome Bhabhi” Akash replied and breathe a sigh of relief.
“Mehra?” she called a while later when they both were getting ready for bed. “Yeah, Fuggi?” Abhi replied.
“How dumb do you think I am?” she asked sweetly.
“What?” he asked, a little taken aback by her question.
“You heard me.” She said, but still repeated it for him. “How dumb do you think I am?” “What kind of question is that, Fuggi?” he asked seriously.
“Answer it.” she requested.
“I don’t think you’re dumb, Fuggi.” he answered.
“Really?” she asked.
Where was she headed with this? Abhi wondered.
“What’s the matter with you, Fuggi?” he asked. “Of course I don’t think you’re dumb!”
“Then why the hell did you lie to me today in front of everyone and think I wouldn’t notice!” She threw at him.
Abhi was silent.
She knew he was lying to her…
“I heard what Akash said.” She revealed. “I know you got another cake.”
“Fuggi, that’s–” he tried to say.
“Are you going to deny it?” She cut in. “You thought Aliya and I would mess up so you got a back up just in case. Didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out, Mehra.”
“Fuggi, I….” He started to say.
“It’s ok” she said as she realized he might try to apologize.
“No, it’s not.” he said looking at her. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
Pragya didn’t reply.
”You’re mad at me.” He stated.
It wasn’t question. It was a fact.
All the years spent with this girl had given him insight and experience into how her temper worked. “You think I’m petty enough to be mad at you just because you had no faith in me or Aaliya and was just waiting for us to screw up?” she asked. Yep! She’s definitely mad!
“Ummm…” Abhi muttered, knowing it would not be wise to answer her at this point in time. “You have five seconds to start speaking, or else I’m going to sleep.” she said. Should he wait for to calm down… or apologize to her now?
He looked at her angry face and decided it would be better to with till tomorrow when she was calm. Pragya saw him debating whether to speak or not.
She would make this easy for him.
“Time’s up!” she said. “I’m going to bed.”
She then headed over to the sofa and left him standing there.
I know…I’m late again! It has become my style now lol.
Mythili, Vigan, Di, Mokshi,Saranya, Suhani,
Tajh, Reshma, Chitti, Anjali and Abhigya… love you all!
How was the episode? Let know what you all think.
Till next time…take care!