Hey all!! How are you?! I’m back!! Missed you all like hell…. I do… I hate the exams…. Keep writing.. Writing writing writing… It’s k..
Please do bear with my typos and grammatical errors….
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Ankush finished his work in the shop and came back home for lunch. He had to go back again. Dilip had planned to open a new branch in both Mumbai and Bangalore. He had been to Bangalore regarding the issue. Ankush sat in the dining room and waited for Mala and Dada ji to come. Mala came out from the kitchen after a while and placed the dishes on the table. Just then Riddhima entered with seven month old baby Ahana in her arms. Mala was worried seeing a tensed Ankush who was lost in his thoughts. Riddhima too got worried seeing her brother like this. He was this person who’d do things perfectly using his wits in his way. Riddhima thought of shaking him up as he wasn’t responding to Mala’s repeated calls. Dada ji too came out and saw him lost. He asked them all to calm down, gesturing them to not worry and nodded his head in an assuring manner, asking them to sit. They smiled as they knew that Dada ji can do anything. And yes, time. It can heal anything. They waited for Ankush to open up. If he needed help. They were always there for him. If not them, Arjun, Radhika, Neil and Sam too.
There was a thousand wat glow on Ahana’s face as she saw Ankush. She was so happy to see her maamu. She squealed in joy and happiness. So much excitement huh? She got of her mom’s hold and Riddhima too happily let go if her daughter. Dada ji put his hands out to her asking her to come to him, but our baby is so smart. She nodded in negative and gave him her ever charming toothless smile. A sight to watch!! Dada ji just laughed at her and sat down, putting a smile on Mala and Riddhima’s faces.
Ahana started to crawl fast and reached Ankush in no time. She caught hold of his pant and shook his legs hard. Ankush after repeated shakes broke out of his thoughts and looked at everyone’s faces that were continuously eyeing him. He then felt something below him shaking. He looked down and saw hais cute little baby niece on her knees shaking him to grab his attention. Her eyes started to fill as she didn’t get her maamu’s immediate attention. She was looking so cute. It hurt him to see her like that. He picked her up in his arms instantly and hugged her to his chest gently.
She sobbed holding his shirt in her tiny hands “maamuuuu…”
He said in hushed voices, caressing her head “ssshh.. My princess. No. Maamu is right here. My pataka kudi doesn’t cry.”
Ahana’s mood changed instantly and she threw her tiny arms around his neck and squealed in excitement and happiness jumping on his thighs as she hugged him at the same time. Ankush laughed at her actions and pulled her closer to him showering all the love and protectively. Everyone else smiled.
He pulled away and looked at her and studied her features. She had his sister’s nose alright. Fair skinned, forehead and eyes like her father. Smile, excitement and her actions just like Radhika. She got her right this time. It was like seeing Radhika as a baby. How she was during her childhood. How was he going to handle this energy packet? She was a handful. One pataka kudi… That’s how Ankush called her, which Riddhima hated. Riddhima would always roll her eyes whenever he called her daughter that. But the little princess loved it. Ahana would never be on her toes. Always running around. She’d hide her big Dada’s walking stick and clap her hands in happiness when he couldn’t find it. When in Ankush’s place, Ahana had to be in Mala’s arms. If she ends up sleeping in their house she had to wake up in Dilip’s arms. She had to listen to Dada ji’s stories. Her excitement when he described things situations and etc. she’d go all crazy clapping her hands. If these were not done, it’ll be very hard to handle to her. She had to get what she wanted. In her house, her pappa had to dress her up, Riddhima had to only feed her, her grandma had to make sure she got all the things she wanted. She was scared of her grandpa as he had big glasses on. He would just smile at her antics. Ahana had to get what she wanted. And she did. She was the spoilt princess of the Mishras and Joshis. She was their everything. Their princess. Their source of laughter, fun and one of the most important reason to live. Their work stress and mood offs would vanish watching the pure little soul play and her smile!! That cute toothless smile of hers was more than enough for them all.
She’d talk to Radhika over the phone and go all crazy. She’d squeal even more when she heard Arjun’s voice. Radhika would put the phone on speaker so that Neil and Sam too could listen to her. At times Piyali and Samrat would be there too. They’d laugh at her innocence and her beautiful angelic voice. Heavenly. She would pronounce Arjun as aajuuuu, Radhika as raaddhiii, Neil as eeellll, Sam as Sam (short and sweet, no mistakes), Piyali as nani and Samrat as nana. Both of them love her like their own granddaughter. The last time they met her was at Radhika and Arjun’s wedding, that was two months back. They’d have the time of their lives listening to her. Though she couldn’t talk much, whenever she tried to convey something, all they’d say is “yes baby”, “ OK baby” , “wow!!” and other things.
And here Saral, who had no clue of what was going in the families was going mad in jail. He was being kept in Delhi. He never knew that he had a beautiful little seven month old niece. Didn’t know of Arjun and Radhika’s re-marriage and of how happy everyone were. How things had fallen in the right place and everything was smooth and perfect. Without him. His own parents had disowned him after what he had done to Radhika. To him it was right. He wanted to claim her as his. His forever. For eternity. His obsession for her just grew bigger day by day. He was given life imprisonment and he went mad or you can say psychic when he heard it. He thought that his parents would save this one time, one last time. But no, they didn’t. They were ashamed of him. He always got what he had wanted. That was their biggest mistake. They gave him whatever he wanted without hesitation. He was a spoilt brat. They should have listened to Ankush and Karthik. Of what had happened seven years ago. Which led to spilt up of the three best friends. Ankush and Karthik together and Saral together. Ankush had no other go, had to get along with Saral as Riddhima was getting married to his elder brother. They were in good terms to an extent. Ankush regretted suggesting his hand for Radhika. He told it the night he was handed over to the police. To befriend him again. This got Saral even more angry.
Saral has gone mad literally. He was mentally unstable. Was not in his senses. All he knew was Radhika. Radhika Radhika Radhika. He had her sketch drawn in his cell. He’d talk to her sketch everyday. He swore revenge on the Joshis and Mishras. He was been counselled and given shock treatment once. He’d look at the counsellor with lust. It was none other than Niti. She to an extent tried to make him understand and convince him. She spoke to him like a kid. It was of no use. He stood at the same place over and again. He wanted Radhika.
He remembered the conversation between him and Nithika.
Nithika asked “so Mr. Joshi how is it going?”
Saral said seductively “now that you’re here, it’ll be alright.”
Nithika said “ok this is not the way things are supposed to be going.”
Saral said “but I’m loving it.”
Nithika said “Mr. Joshi. Limits.”
Saral said “ok. Get me my Radhika.”
Nithika said “Mr. Joshi it’s wrong to eye a married woman.”
Saral bit out “she’s divorced. Single.”
Nithika said “she could have gone back too. You know the court grants six months to the couple. In case they want to rectify things and reconcile. Give their marriage a chance. Six months is a long time. Very long time. Now it’s five months. A lot could have happened.”
Saral banged his balled fists on the table, making Niti flinch. His eyes were red with anger. Anguish. Niti was a bit frightened when he came close to her and smirked at her reaction. He came even more close.
He bit out in hushed voices “Radhu is mine. No one can separate me from her. I love her.”
Nithika stammered with heavy pants at his proximity “it’s not love. It’s your obsession.”
He pulled away and asked “what?!” and acted as if nothing had happened. He was as cool as a cucumber.
The nerve of him. That son of a biscuit!! ??
She bit out “it’s your obsession. You never loved Radhika.”
Nithika understood where this was going to end. She had to be calm. She shouldn’t lose her cool. She composed herself and looked at him straight in the eye.
She said calmly “see Mr. Joshi it’s not right to eye a married woman. Even if she’s divorced.”
He said “how many times do I have to tell you? Call me Saral. Stop being so formal. Is it because I’m too handsome? You fear falling for me?”
She felt disgusted. This guy didn’t even look like he is mentally unstable. He is all fine. Is he playing along. That is never possible with Nithika Rajput (Malhotra).
She said “ok Saral. Please understand. Whatever you’re doing is wrong. Change yourself and turn into a good man. You have a life ahead of you. If your changes are visible and enough to convince the jailers and court, you’ll be released soon. You can live your life. A happy life. Just get rid of this obsession and revenge that you’ve been talking about. Please.”
He rolled his eyes at her. He asked “aren’t you tired of saying the same thing again and again?”
She said “it’s my duty till i make you understand.”
He said “all I want is Radhika. Give her to me. I’ll be happy.”
She screamed losing her cool “Saral she’s a human. Not a thing. Or a piece of meat. To be given and to be happy with. She too has feelings. You can’t make people do things against their will.”
He asked calmly, folding his arms to his chest with his left eyebrow raised “what are you doing?”
Niti asked with a confused expression “me? What me?”
He asked “aren’t you trying to make me do things against my will?”
Nithika said “Saral what you’re doing is very wrong. And I’m trying to correct you. I’m trying to bring you to the right track. What I’m doing is not wrong. I’m not obsessed with someone. I didn’t attempt to abuse him s*xually. Didn’t force myself upon him. Do you see the difference?”
He asked calmly “care to explain?”
He knew that he was getting on her nerves. Annoying her. It was a treat to him. She was so cute. He gave her a smirk. That signature evil smirk if his.
She asked “what?”
He was really getting on her nerves now. But she had to be calm. Listen to him and guide him. It was her duty.
He said “care to explain what love and obsession is. And the difference between them.”
She let out a sigh, closing her eyes. Saral smirked. Her patience was withering off. She then opened her eyes and looked at him and cocked up her eyebrow and gave a smirk. Saral’s eyes popped out. She was something indescribable. She was definitely upto something.
She said “tell me. You see this beautiful fish in a pond. You’ve never seen it. It’s one of the most beautiful thing that you would have seen. What will you do?”
He said instantly without a blink “I’d take it with me and keep it forever by my side.”
She asked “what if it doesn’t adjust to the surroundings?”
He said “I’ll do anything to keep it with me. Mine.”
She said “see. This is obsession.”
He asked “and love?”
She said “if you love it, you’ll leave it in the pond. Where it’s happy. All that will matter to you is its happiness. You’ll be ready to do anything for it. Take care if it. Feed it well. Clean up the pond so that it’ll not be harmed or affected. You’ll never think of taking it with you. Away from its home. The place where it belongs. You’ll never force it against it’s will.
Love never dies Saral. It’s evergreen. Their slightest happiness, the smallest of the smile of theirs will put you on cloud nine. The satisfaction you have is like you can never say how it is. The immense pleasure. You can never imagine it. Love is all about being selfless and trust. No lust. And love is not just about having s*x or ok fine, call it making love or showering them with gifts and attention. Or being overprotective or possessive. These two are the biggest factors that spoil a beautiful relationship.
And when it comes to obsession, you only want that for yourself. Don’t care of what that person thinks. You just force yourself upon them. Which is so wrong. They too have their own freedom. Right to speech. They have all the rights to express themselves. We are no one to force them. We need to respect their words and decisions.
You said that you attacked Radhika. Tried to molest her. Which person does that to the person they love? You can never hurt the person you love. It’s not just obsession Saral. It’s madness. Heights this is. Gone way beyond repair.”
He let out a sigh and laughed out loud which left Niti confused and speechless. She was angry too. He then stopped laughing, wiped his tears and looked at her.
He said “looks like you’ve done law. Freedom of speech. Equality. Hmmmm. Not bad. And your philosophy. Waah waah. I must say you do know how to play with words. Just like Radhu.”
She said calmly “you asked me to explain so I did.”
Saral just said “i think I like you.”
She said “and I think our session is over. It’s time for me to leave.”
She then left without turning back. Saral just looked at her vanishing form and smirked.
He loved her attitude. The way she faced him every time they met. She was calm. But never smiled. He always wondered why. She was like a lifeless person. A lifeless flower who lacked sunshine. A single ray of sunshine could make her shine and expose her true self. Her inner self. She was beautiful. Only if she could smile. Any guy could go on their knees for her. He wondered why he didn’t meet her before Radhika. If he would have, she would have been his by now. She was perfection. Creation of God. A treat to have and watch.
It had been weeks since she had appeared. Saral hated it. Though he insulted or annoyed her, he wanted to look at her. Just watch her. He had never told her about Arjun or nesam. All He had told her that he wanted revenge. People who were responsible for his present condition will have to pay. A heavy price. He didn’t care even if it was his parents or his own brother. Niti would tried to explain, but would fail miserably. But she never gave up. This is what he loved in her. Though she fell hard, she got up wiping the dust and made a strive to mark her place. He never payed attention to her advice, but their last session kept playing in his head. How she had explained him. Her cute example of the fish in the pond. He smiled at it. He then saw Radhika’s sketch on the wall and smirked.
He said to her portrait “just wait and watch. You insulted Saral Joshi. Rejected me. Git my parents on your side. Made them against me. I ruin you Radhu.”
He let out a deep breath and said looking up the dull gray ceiling of his cell “where are you philosopher? I miss you and your theories. And your cute annoyed face.”
Ankush was waiting for Dilip to arrive. He had to talk to him. It was decided. Even if Dilip was against his idea of leaving business and following his passion, he was going to do it. He wanted to do what he wanted. Work in a law firm. Or at least be a legal advisor of a good company. He didn’t want to stay back in Rishikesh. He wanted to go out. Somewhere like Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai. He had got his marks cards, CV and required documents ready.
Just as he sunk himself down the sofa exhausted, Mala came to him with a cup of tea and sat opposite to him. He had his eyes closed and was in deep thoughts. Anyone could see it. Mala’s voice broke his thoughts.
She asked “is it necessary that you need to leave?”
Ankush let out a breath and said “yes maa. I wanna do something. For me. That satisfies me. I wanna follow my passion. I know it’s too late, I just wanna do it.”
She asked “what about your father’s business? Who’ll help him?”
Just then a voice from behind said “we will.”
They turned around to see Riddhima’s husband and his father standing at the door.
Riddhima’s husband said as he walked in “let him follow his passion mom. Dad has merged the companies. So, no need to worry. Ankush too knows it. We’ll take care.”
Mala asked “when did this happen?”
Dada ji said “a month back.”
Mala asked “why didnt you tell me?”
Riddhima said “because of this. So that you don’t stop Ankush.”
Mala said “ok. Convincing Dilip is the only thing that is left.”
Riddhima said “yes maa.”
Mala asked “but why didn’t Dilip tell me?”
Riddhima said shrugging her shoulders “I donno.”
Just then a voice echoed in their ears “hello everyone!”
All of them turned around to Dilip at the doorstep. Mala kept an angry face, which confused him. Rest all were trying hard to control their laughter. They all Dilip was in deep trouble. Mala was not going to leave him tonight .
Dilip asked “where is my little angel?”
Riddhima said “with her grandma. Watching the fireflies.”
Dilip said “ aah I see. Then I will not disturb her.”
Ankush said “Papa we need to talk.”
He said smiling “yes Ankush. Anything. Why are you tensed? Any problem? Girlfriend?”
Ankush was embarrassed. He said annoyed “Papa.”
Dilip spoke again after having a hearty laugh “ok then what else?”
He said “Papa I want to quit business and practice law again.”
Dilip was shocked. He just fell on the couch without breaking the eyelock. He didn’t expect this from Ankush. That too suddenly. All the while he kept thinking of reasons for him to think of why Ankush wanted to quit. But none of them made sense.
Dilip stammered “why Ankush? Did someone say something?”
Ankush said “Papa I wanna follow my dreams. I joined business because you asked me to. I’ts enough. I want to do something for me. Which will satisfy me. I know I sound like Choti now. But yeah it makes sense.”
Dilip smiled and said “I’m glad that you took this decision.”
Ankush didn’t expect this. He thought that he’d have to try hard to convince him. But no. He was happy with his decision. Ankush ran to him and took his hands in his as he knelt down. He was so happy. No boundaries to tears as they kept rolling down. Everyone were happy.
Dilip asked “will you be ok out there?”
Ankush caught hold of his father’s hands tightly in an assuring and promising manner said “yes Papa I will.”
Dilip cupped his face, which made him chuckle. He put his head in his father’s lap relieved. Just then Mala cleared her throat, which made everyone turn around. Dilip saw her and couldn’t understand why she was so annoying. Ok you can call it angry. He saw Ankush who was smiling and trying hard to control the laugh that was suppressed in him. He saw the others too. They too were in the same state.
Dilip asked “what’s wrong Mala?”
All she did ws kept staring at him. He couldn’t understand what it was that got her angry. He didn’t know what to do. And here everyone were standing rooted in their places watching the entertainment.
He asked “Mala tell me what it is.”
She said “didn’t even bother to tell me that the companies are merged.”
Dilip stammered “Mala I……”
She cut him off “a month back!! You kidding me?! Everyone knows except for me.”
Dilip answered “Mala I’m sorry. I just donno how it happened. I thought Ankush would have told you.”
She said “ok fine leave all that. Tell me. Did you drink this time?”
Dilip asked “what sort of a question is this Mala?”
She raised her voice “answer me.”
He said “for all the five days.”
She asked “how much?”
He said “two rounds of scotch.”
As her stare got intense, he feared and said “maybe 3-4 rounds.”
She asked “how can you do this? You promised me that you wouldn’t drink. And you tell Ankush not to drink.”
He said “Mala you know that it’s only during business trips and meetings I drink. Who told you Ankush doesn’t drink? We both have together.”
Mala stared at Ankush. He just gave her a sheepish grin. Mala rolled her eyes and her eyes were back to Dilip.
She said “ok. That’s cool. I’m done.”
She then screamed “aarrrrgggghhhhh” gritting her teeth with eyes closed, throwing her hands up in the air.
All the others started to laugh. Omg it was like watching kids.
Just then Dilip said “Mala I have something for you.”
She said with her back to him “I don’t have time for it.”
He said “ok fine. If you say so. I’ll give this Mysore silk sari to Riddhima. It’s two for her.”
Mala turned around. Her eyes widened she saw Dilip taking out a beautiful yellow colour silk sari with golden work from his suitcase and give it to Riddhima. Before he could, Mala came and snatched it from him.
She asked “you bought this for me?”
He nodded in a yes. Mala squealed in happiness jumping like a kid, hugging the sari to herself. All of them burst out laughing again.
Mala said “Thank you so much!! You’re so sweet” and pulled his cheeks.
She then went to the kitchen to set dinner. Dilip heaved a sigh of relief.
Ankush said scratching his head “I never knew maa could be this crazy.”
Dilip asked “when are you leaving? And where?”
Ankush said “to Mumbai Papa. Tomorrow.”
He asked “did you tell Choti?”
Ankush said “no. Let it be a surprise.”
Dilip smiled and said “ok.”
They all had dinner and left for their homes. The others went to bed. Sleep was not the thing that was in Ankush’s mind now. He was so excited. Finally, he was going to fullfil his dreams. The next morning, he got up early with a huge smile on his face and got ready. He had breakfast and Mala fed him dahi shakar. He took blessings from all of them and went to Riddhima and hugged her. He took little Ahana in his arms and cuddled her up. It was the first time he was leaving her. He was going to stay away from his pataka kudi. The little angel wrapped her small arms around his neck.
Mala said “tell me if you find a girl. I’ll talk to her parents. Don’t worry.”
Ankush scowled at her, having baby Ahana in his arms.
He said “I will miss you baby” as tears filled his eyes.
The little angel wiped his tears off and said “maamu.”
He said “don’t trouble mamma ok. Or else I will not talk to you.”
The little angel smiled and nodded in agreement. He smiled at her and kissed her forehead. He gave her back to Riddhima and went to the car. He turned around and gave one look to all of them an sat in. It was painful. It felt like he was leaving them forever.
Meanwhile at Bird Song, Niti was going through some documents and it needed either Arjun’s or Neil’s signatures. She straight away went to Neil’s cabin, but found no one. She went to Sam’s cabin. It was empty too. She had no other choice. She had to go to Arjun’s cabin. She stopped in front of the door and let out a deep breath. She knocked the door. No response. She then opened the door slightly and peeked in. She saw both the couples in each other’s arms in their own world. Radhika was on Arjun’s lap. He kept caressing her cheek and she had her arms lopped around his neck. On the other side, Neil was whispering something in Sam’s ear that made her flush red. Omg!! Niti felt embarrassed.
Her voice bought them back to reality.
She said annoyed “geez people. Get a room” and stormed out of the cabin, throwing the file on the sofa.
Neil scowled at the sight of her disappearing from. Sam and Radhika got their respective husband’s laps and their cheeks turned red in embarrassment. Arjun stayed still. He went to the sofa and picked up the file. He checked it and signed the file and went back to her cabin to give the file. When he entered, he saw her humming to a tune as she had her earphones on, having her eyes closed.
She started singing
Kadhal cricket-u, vilundruchu wicket-u
Unnai naanum paartad ale anene duck out-u
(Love cricket, the wicket has fallen
I’ve been bowled out(duck out) , since the moment I saw you)
She got up humming and started to shake her legs. Arjun saw this and smiled. The others too arrived and saw her and smiled. She continued to sing and sawy her body, having her eyes closed. She opened her eyes and saw them at the door, Sam was recording. Radhika clicked a picture. Arjun smiled at her. Neil too in the end, ended up smiling. Niti flushed red in embarrassment and hid her face in her hair.
Arjun said “file” and handed it to her.
He said “I’ve checked it. It’ll be better if we think of cutting down some expenses .”
She said “I’ll make sure Mr. Mehra. Thank you.”
He said “you dance well.”
She scowled and said “Arjun!! Shut up.”
He said “ it’s true isn’t it guys?”
Sam and Radhika nodded their heads like kids. Neil rolled his eyes, nodding his head in annoyance.
Neil said “I’ll throw you out. Just wait and watch.”
Niti smiled suddenly. Donno where it came from. It just happened.
She said “challenge accepted Mr. Malhotra” stretching her hand out to him.
He took it and smirked, nodding his head in acceptance.
Ankush reached Mumbai and got out of the airport with a smile. He checked into a hotel and called up Mala and informed her about his arrival. He then feel on the bed as sleep hit him. He closed his eyes smiling, of how is future is going to be.
That’s all my peepliboos…. I’ll see you all with my next update…. Hope you all liked this one… Please do let me know…. Tata babye… Tc… Keep smiling…. Bear hugs to all of you ??
Up next: Chapter 21
Credit to: Shree