“You should really be more selfish.”
When the family steps outside, they are brought to the sight of Akash and Bihaan talking. Akash is smirking, while Bihaan is looking unsettled. While the family goes the other way, Thapki sneaks up behind the couch to eavesdrop.”So, you failed third grade?” Thapki eyes widened at Akash’s question. Bihaan squirms
uncomfortably.”Apparently.” Akash laughs.”Apparently? What does that mean? Oh yeah. You’re so illiterate you don’t even know your past.”
Bihaan’s anger starts showing. “No. Because I’ve suffered memory loss. Being illiterate is NOT something to make fun of.” Thapki smiled at Bihaan’s comeback.”Oh, sorry you took it the wrong way. Me and my to be wife are very well educated, unlike yourself. Anyway, do you know English?” Bihaan coughed, awkwardly. “Angrezi? No, I’m not very good at it. I know some words, I feel like someone from my past taught me.” I did, Bihaan! Thapki thinks. “Oh my god. You village fool shave no sense. Your family must be full of animals.”
Akash says in English. Bihaan smiles, tears on the verge of leaking, not able to understand what he said. Thapki aches seeing Bihaan in pain. She decides she won’t let Bihaan get belittled like that. She moves back and gets up, so that they won’t know she was eavesdropping. She walks over to Bihaan’s side. “Excuse me. Do you have any manners to be talking to people like that?” Akash stands up. “No, Thapki, I-” Thapki puts her hand out to silence him. She grabs Bihaan’s hand. “This is a person who may be illiterate, but has a heart of gold. His mind is pure, like a temple. Unlike your dirty mind and mouth.” Akash scoffs. “How do you know this? Is he a old lover?” Thapki sighs. How would you know? So much history….. He was the only one who supported me in everything and vice versa. How would anyone understand what we had? “How do I know? I heard your conversation. And the replies he gave were all what a sanskari person would say.
His responses told me enough about his character. Your questions told me enough about you too. I’m sorry I didn’t get the time to get to know who you really are before I said yes to the marriage. I said yes not on my own will, but to save the respect of my loving family. I’m a widow about to become a wife again. My husband was never like you! He was like him.” She points to Bihaan .Bihaan looks at her, thankful. Thapki’s lips turn slightly upwards, but she frowns as she faces Akash.”I won’t say anything of this to my family, but if you pull anything like this again, you know what I have against you.” Thapki scolds. Akash nods, and raises his eyebrows. He walks away silently. Thapki sighs, and sits down next to Bihaan. “You gave such a big lecture without stammering?” He asks, in wonder.”Yeah. I don’t s-s-stammer when I get mad. You know who t-t-taught me that?” She asks. Bihaan raises his eyebrows. “My husband.” Silence falls. “Acha, suno. Thank hu. For defending me.” Thapki smiles at his way of saying thanks. Same as before. “No problem. I hope we become c-c-close friends.” Thapki almost scoffs at her own statement. I hope we become something more. Bihaan smiles, and looks down. “Yeah… there’s something about you that gives me a weird feeling. Like you were important or something. Anyways…. Akash is your to be husband. Right?” Thapki’s smile fades.
“Yeah. Don’t even bring him up. If I had known he was such a jerk…”He laughs. “That’s why I don’t approve of arranged marriages. The thought of marrying a stranger, ugh!”He shivers. “I know, I know. But, it’s just that I have no choice. After my husband, died-” Thapki pauses. She knows he’s not dead. So she changes her sentence midway. “A-A-After my husband left, I sort of zoned out. I used to sleep every night in his room, c-c-clutching his jacket. The scent of him, it was just, relieving, you know? I-I-I loved him like crazy. I-I-I never let go of him….” At this sentence, she broke out into tears. Bihaan hugs her, with her hand still clutching onto his this whole time. I’ll never let go. “Thapki? Are you okay?” He asks.
Thapki nods into his shirt. She lifts her head up. “Sorry. I got your shirt wet.” Bihaan waves it off, as it were nothing. “Anything for a friend.” Thapki couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed, but she realized that it was progress. “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but how did he die?” “He was shot.” Thapki replies. Bihaan sighs. “Oh. Sorry.” Thapki smiles. “It’s fine. Anyway, my family was sort of in a really bad state. Dhruv had left Noida for Delhi, after Bihaan was shot.” Thapki stops, panicking. “I-I-I meant Raja. Not Bihaan. Sorry, I got mixed up.” “It’s fine. Continue.” Bihaan dismisses it. “Okay. So, with both s-s-sons gone, the pillars of the family, it stated breaking. Our family was a mess. Both m-m-me and Shraddha were transformed from the royal bahus of the house to the vidwas of the f-f-family. It was depressing to see my family falling. So, when this proposal came, I had no choice but to say y-y-yes.” Bihaan sighs, after hearing the story.”You should really be more selfish.” Thapki laughs hearing his tip. “I’m sure you w-w-would have done the same.” Bihaan smiles. “Yeah, I would.” He nods. You would, Bihaan. I know you would.