Bihan gently tugged at Thapki’s hand. She looked up at Bihan’s smiling face questioningly.
“Bas yahi dekhte rahoge…Chalo” He pulled her along as he walked into a small shop in the corner of the alley way. Thapki looked at him questioningly. Bihan winked at her grinning. The shop barely had any space for more than three people to stand inside it. The rest of the space was in complete chaos. There were racks of glittering clothes on one side and a lot more on the floor. The other side of the shop was filled with ornaments of all kinds and various other handcrafted articles. Beautiful multicolored bangles were arranged neatly alongside the rack of ear rings. Thapki’s eyes fell upon the expertly crafted sculptures standing in the corner of the shop and in the midst of all this sat an aged man arranging them. Bihan gently tapped on the door with a smile which lit up his face.
“Dadasa…”Bihan called out. The aged man dropped the box he was holding hearing the voice and looked up in surprise. “Bihan babu….”
“Aapko yaad hai…hume laga aap hume phool gaye hoge.” Bihan delightedly dragged a puzzled Thapki towards Dadasa.
“Aapko koi kaise phool sakta hai bhala?” The man said laughingly getting up and hugging Bihan. Bihan grinned and beamed at Thapki who was also smiling. The man noticed Thapki as he got out of the hug.
“Arrey Bihan babu …yeh kaun hai aapke sath?” He smiled pleasantly at her and Thapki smiled.
“Ji NNNamaste. Mera naam Thapki. Bbihan ki patni.” Bihan was startled by her words but regained his composure as Dadasa let out a laugh.
“Bihan babu …aap shaddi bhi kar li. Matlab yeh hai aapki raajkumari.” Bihan and Thapki blushed listening to dadasa’s words.
“Who kya hai nah Thapki beta jab bihan babu chota tha roz bazaar aata tha apne bauji ke saath aur humse bolta tha ki who ek din apni rajkumari ko lekar humari dukkan ayenge.” Dadasa laughed looking at Bihan’s bright red face. Thapki was embarrassed but she was amused hearing about Bihan’s princess and the fact that he brought her here made her mind wander into places she was afraid to visit. Bihan cleared his throat loudly and introduced Dadasa to Thapki. Thapki listened with a smile as he went on with the various days he spent in Dadasa’s shop while he was a child in Noida.
“Aur phir ek din hum chandni chowk aaye aur hume aaj bhi yaad hai ki aap humse naraz the kyunki hum jaa rahe the.” Dadasa concluded looking fondly at Bihan. “Khair …ab aap jis kaam keliye Thapki beta ko lekar aaya hai who kare.” He asked teasingly. Bihan looked at Thapki embarrassed but made up his mind and dragged her to the Bangle racks “Dadasa aapke dukkan ki B for beautiful aur B for best choodiyan dikha dijiye na.” He asked Dadasa trying to keep a straight face. Dadasa went inside the shop smiling at Bihan’s words. Thapki started gazing at Bihan fondly as he browsed through the various bangles trying to find the best ones for Thapki. He felt her intense gaze on him but held himself back from looking back at her in the fear of answering her yet unuttered questions. Thapki tore her eyes away from Bihan and began looking at the bangles. Her eyes found a set of simple yet elegant bangles and were about to pick them up when Bihan’s hands found them. Thapki was left speechless as she saw him smiling satisfactorily as he picked up and inspected the bangles she was admiring.
“Dadasa mil gaya…aapke dukkan mei humesha B for Best cheeze hote hai.” Dadasa laughed.
”Ab apne biwi ke haath me pehnalo yeh kangan..” Bihan looked at Thapki bewildered by Dadasa’s words. His mind reeled with the memories of another time he made her wear bangles. The day of the party, Thapki’s bruised hand, the tormented face of his brother, the pain and anger of his wife, everything flashed in front of his eyes. Thapki saw the familiar agony in his eyes which was a myriad of emotions. Her heart constricted as she realized the cause of his pain. She had to make him realize that it didn’t matter anymore, that it was behind them. She slowly removed the bangles she was wearing and raised her hands towards Bihan. His eyes widened as he realized what she wanted and when she looked into Bihan’s eyes again as he slid the bangles on to her hand, it wasn’t the pain she saw and what she saw she would cherish forever.
They chatted with Dadasa as they picked out presents for everyone back home. Finally it was time for goodbye and dadasa blessed both of them. It was sundown when they left the shop, Bihan again grabbed Thapki’s hand as they walked through the brightly lit crowded alleys of the chowk. They reached the parking spot hand in hand in a blissful silence.
“Jhooti…” Bihan said with a grin as he got on the bike.
“Kkya ?” Thapki asked annoyed.
“Tum j phor jhooti ho. Tumne kaha tha ki tum dilli bilkul nahi jaanti ho par tumhe achi tarah sab jagah jaanti hai. Humne dekha tum kiss tarah se har jagah jaa rahe the” Bihan grinned at Thapki as she fumbled for words twisting her pallu.
“hhhaan…toh…wwwoh mei…tumhare saath dilli nahi dekhi meine…haan…bas issiliye.”
“Haan haan madam …ab chalo…jhooti.” He added the last word smugly, delighted by Thapki’s words. Thapki cursed under her breath and silently sat down on the bike. Bihan smiled as her hands involuntarily found his shoulders. They rode in silence as their minds fondly reminisced those moments of pure bliss they shared.
PS- after the nxt update…my updates will be late..I have to write the rest of the story lol