Hey guys, Bela at your service with part 1…………..???
I hope everyone realised that Ruhaan is an extrovert while Ranveer is an introvert. And Ruhaan loves to talk?
Sorry to all of you. I was busy due to my upcoming exams and was unable to reply to your comments on the epilogue of TKJPM and the intro of TMRP. But I wanted you all to know that I read each and every comment and I want to thank you all so much for your response. But don’t stop commenting!???
They give me the strength to continue writing.
“We haven’t been able to trace them yet. Seems like they are lost really deep in the jungle.” The police officer said.
I massaged my temples. Great, what was to be known about this? Wasn’t it kind of obvious that they are lost deep in the jungle? They have been missing for more than 14 HOURS now. You think that they are both standing on the border of the jungle, waiting for you to come after which they would jump out and shout, ‘Bakra banaya!’
Beside me, Ruhaan stifled a giggle. Great, I forgot to switch off my telepathic communication as well. I looked at him and saw him smiling retardly at me. I rolled my eyes and turned back to massaging my temples.
“Ab hum kya karenge?” The officer looked at his senior. “Hawan karenge, Hawan Karenge, Hawan Karenge!” Ruhaan’s voice echoed in my head. I snorted in amusement and that caused everyone to look at me. I pretended that something got inside my nose. I fake sneezed. Everyone looked on sympathetically and I smiled insincerely at them.
“We need to look for them.”The senior replied intelligently.
“You don’t say?” I muttered under my breath. Mausi caught it and gave me an amused smirk. I rolled my eyes again. What I don’t understand is that even after rolling my eyes so much, why do I still have these big spectacles on?
“Because you nullify the effect of that exercise with the reading and computers!” Ruhaan’s voice came again. I switched off my telepathy and focussed ahead.
Ruhaan kicked me under the table. I glared at him menacingly and switched on my telepathy again. “These dunderheads will take centuries to move their lazy butts out and find Mom and Dad! Let us do something ourselves.” His voice came.
“What?” I asked him, already knowing what that dimwit is planning.
“Let’s go there on our own!”
I woke up to the sun rays hitting me on my face. I blinked my eyes and looked around confusedly. Then, the previous day’s events came rushing to me and I stood up with a jerk. I looked around. No one was there. I started searching for Ragini again.
Ragini. My……ex wife. The mother of my children. My one and only love. Where is she? Why did she go? Couldn’t she call me when those men came? I came upon a lake. I washed my face and drank some water. I looked at my reflection. I saw the face that was once her favourite. It still is. The only difference is that now, it is because of our sons. My mind drifted back to the time when it all started.
I was walking towards the police van, slowly. I could hear my Maa crying, and could feel everyone’s disappointed stares on me. I looked up and found Ragini with tears in her eyes. For a moment, I felt sorry. Just a tiny moment.
I was in lockup for almost the whole day. Just as I was mentally preparing myself to stay inside the jail for the night, the constable came and told me that I had been given a bail as the complaint against me had been withdrawn. I was shocked. Dadi took her complaint back? That witch……..angel took her case back? Amazing!
I came out and found Papa along with Sanskaar Bhai waiting for me. I smiled at them slowly, unsure of how to react. Papa glared at me and went outside while Sanskaar sighed. “Badi Maa has had a heart attack!” He whispered slowly. And these words sounded like a thunderclap to me.
Maa. My mother. She had a heart attack! I rushed outside and jumped inside the car. There, I saw the one person who I had no wish to see ever again in my life. Ragini.
She was looking away from me. It suited me perfectly. I looked ahead and as soon as Sanskaar got in, we drove to the hospital.
I rushed in to meet my mother who was stable but critical. I held her hand. Tears poured from my eyes. She looked so lost and weak and vulnerable that I felt like killing myself for throwing her in this condition. Because it is obvious why she is here. It is because of me. I am responsible for my mother’s condition. And I would do anything to make her fine again.
“Lakshya!” Maa whispered in a croak. I held her hand tighter and replied, “Yes Maa. I am here. I am fine.”
She smiled that beautiful smile of hers. “Beta, why did you do this? Why did you do such a horrible thing? Kidnapping and attempting to………………..murder your own wife! Why? Is this my teaching?” She asked in a broken voice. Hearing her, a pang of guilt stabbed me.
“I wasn’t thinking straight Maa. I am sorry. I promise I will try and solve everything.” I replied.
“Then forgive her. Forgive Ragini and try to make a new start with her! She is a lovely girl Lakshya. She has made mistakes but then, everyone does. The real thing is that she has realised her mistakes and is willing to do prayarshchit. Which is why she took the complaint back. She loves you.” Maa said.
So SHE took the complaint back? Hmm, maybe that is why she was there when I was released. But wait, what? Maa wants me to accept her? I cannot do such a thing. I love Swara and Swara loves me too. Ragini is just a hurdle between us. How can I accept that hurdle and move on with her? I turned to Maa to tell her so but I found her eyes shining with unshed tears. It seemed as though her life and happiness depended on my saying Yes. And I didn’t want to disappoint her by saying No. So unwillingly, I agreed to give Ragini a second chance. She smiled so happily at me that I couldn’t resent her for forcing me to do something I didn’t want to do.
I came out and saw everyone looking at me expectantly. ‘Main Maa banne waala hoon, muh meetha karo!” I wanted to comment sarcastically but stopped on seeing my father. I nodded to him briskly and went off to find the bane of my existence. My wife Ragini.
I reached the Baadi. I sat in the car outside, not moving at all. My mind drifted through the recent past. All my memories with Swara and Ragini flew by. I want Swara. Ragini snatched her away from me. And now, she was again doing it, albeit unknowingly.
And then it struck me! A way to get rid of her. By making HER leave me! Or, getting her thrown out of the house again by Maa herself. I would do something so that she gets kicked out or leaves me on her own. Then I would play the victim card and cry on Swara’s shoulder and bring her closer to me. And then, Swara would accept me and we would live happily ever after!
I smirked to myself and patted myself on my back. I got out of the car and went inside.
I met Shomi Maa outside. She gave me a disgusted look. I tried to mask my face into a sorry expression. It won’t do to make a wrong impression on her. I guess I was successful as I detected her eyes getting soft. I doubled my efforts to look guilty. I folded my hands and said, “I am so sorry Maa. Please forgive me.” She looked at me sympathetically. “I have realised my mistake. I have come to take Ragini back with me. We would start afresh.” I said to her.
She smiled approvingly and took me inside. Papa and Dadi had obviously been discussing about us and stopped abruptly on seeing me. I smiled awkwardly.
“Ab ke karne aaya hai tu chhora?” Dadi glared at me as she spoke. I looked at her apologetically.
“Dadi, please forgive me. I was blinded in my obsession. I forgot what is wrong and what is right. I have already been punished for my sin in the worst way possible. My Maa had an attack and is in the hospital. I have realised my mistake and I wish to correct it. With your blessings, I have come to take Ragini back with me.” I blurted out my speech which I had written and memorised in the car.
“Really? You are willing to accept Laado and forget Swara?” Papa asked me. I nodded and gave my best fake sincere smile. He nodded at me. “She is sleeping inside her room. You can go and talk to her.”
Great, after ruining my night’ sleep, that cheat is having a great time sleeping! But don’t worry Ragini darling, I will make sure that I settle my scores with you. I, Lakshya Maheshwari, promise you that YOU would leave me yourself!
***End of Flashback***
I laughed bitterly. I had kept my promise. Ragini did leave me herself. And I was responsible for it. Imagine that! I was responsible for my own agony and pain.
I continued my search. I didn’t know where I was going and how I planned to locate Ragini. I would just do it. Somehow.
“Don’t you start it again. I swear, I am going to knock you off!” Ranveer screamed at me.
I was pissed off. Why wasn’t he understanding my point? We HAVE to search for them. The police wasn’t doing enough. We need to go and search for them ourselves.
“And what if we get lost ourselves? Imagine, the police coming back home with Mom and Dad and finding out that the children are now missing! They would go bonkers, trying to find the entire family! And not to mention the punishment we would get for becoming Khatron ke Khiladi!” He continued.
I plopped down on the bed. What to do? He is right. We are new to this city. We can’t even find our way through the roads. How would we find them in a forest? No chance. He is right. Like always.
With a smile, I asked my brother, “Do you remember how we came here? And what all happened?”
He smiled back softly. We shared a fond look between us, remembering how we, typical ‘Dilli waale launde’, came to Kolkata.
Mom slammed the coffee mug on the table. “Umm…….” she faltered.
“Spit it out, Mom! I swear, I won’t bite. Nor will Ruhaan.” Ranveer pacified her with his usual poker face expression.
“I know this is rather sudden, but you see……..just for a month! I swear, only a month! You guys have reached class 12th and I know that you wish to study but in the summer holidays, can you all just……….go to Kolkata?” She stammered.
I spat out the juice I had been drinking while Ranveer raised an eyebrow at her. “Kolkata, you said? For a month? Are you okay? Ruhaan, bring a thermometer, FAST!” He mocked her.
Mom rolled her eyes. “There is no need to overreact. I want you to go and meet your…………..family in Kolkata. Know them. You both are mature and I trust that you both will enjoy meeting them. You can meet Swara and Sanskaar and their daughter Suhani. She is almost your age, a year or two younger perhaps…………..”
“And why this sudden interest in uniting us with our father’s family?” Ranveer asked. He spoke the word ‘father’ rather sarcastically.
“You want to know the truth?” Mom now came back in her element. Now we both knew that whatever she would say next would be the truth.
That is the beauty of our relationship. Children like us, like Ranveer and me, are called children from ‘broken homes’. But we never understood this concept. Because for us, right from the beginning, we three were the only home. Like other children, we never required a father. Maybe because we didn’t know what role a father plays in a child’s life. We had asked Mom once who he was, how he looked and where he was. Her replies had satisfied us. He was a designer. A famous one, hidden from the media but a rather well known personality in the business circles. We bought clothes from his store. Mom ensured that. As a mark of respect. According to Mom, we were his carbon copies. And he was in Mumbai. Done. We didn’t ask more. Because we were content the way we were.
After so many years of living together, we three have mastered the art of deciphering each other’s moods and act accordingly. And so, right now, we knew that Mom had her ‘No Nonsense, To the Point’ attitude on.
“Your grandmother, paternal, is a bit ill. And she came to know somehow that Swara has been in contact with me. She wishes to see her grandchildren once. Also, there is a family Pooja there which happens only when the family pandit announces the alignment of the stars which favours the family and is auspicious for them. And that date has come now after 20 years for the Maheshwari family. So, you both have been cordially invited to sit in the Pooja as the entire living family is supposed to be there for it.” She said.
Ranveer made a ‘Not Bad’ look. “So basically, our granny came to know that we exist and she wishes to see how we look. Send her a pic then! Why go all the way to the capital of the eastern part of the country? And miss our coaching? You know that I am taking coaching for engineering entrance while Ruhaan has his Accounts, Maths and Economics tuitions too. Shall we ruin our future prospects to go visit our past?” He made a good point.
Mom smiled at us fondly. “I want you to go. I have been………wrong in separating you from his family. He was wrong, they weren’t. And your grandmother is a very nice lady. You will love her. Yes Ruhaan, she is beautiful. You will go flat on her! Anyways, jokes apart, please children. Go. Just once. At least see what they are like. If you don’t like them, then don’t meet them again. But at least meet them once.”
“But Mom, what is the need? We live here in Delhi and they live in Kolkata. If everything goes right, which I hope it does, we will be continuing our studies here. So why do we need to meet them? And what if……HE is there?” I asked her.
Mom sat down. She held her head in her hands and for a minute or two, stayed still. Then she slowly looked up. “I am sorry.” she whispered.
Ranveer and I instantly went to her either side and sat down next to her. We starting consoling her.
‘Hota hai, chill!’
‘Kabhi kabhi screw hil jaata hai.’
‘You are forgiven.’
‘Not your fault, they must have persuaded you, you innocent soul!’
Mom shook her head. “No children. I am sorry for something else. I made you guys judge your own father because of my past problems with him. Don’t judge him based on my experiences with him. Meet him once and form your own opinions. What transpired between us was our issue, you both shouldn’t make a wrong impression of him in your minds. Meet him and see for yourself how he is. Know your father. See what he looks like.” She said the last part with a chuckle. “Please kids. It is a golden opportunity to form relationships. Who knows, you may like them and wish to stay in touch. Just once. Please. Go to Kolkata. ”
Ranveer rubbed the back of his head. “Will you go with us? Are you invited?” He asked.
“I have been invited. The mother of the heirs of the Maheshwari family has to sit in the pooja. But I will join you a day or two before the pooja itself. You know, JCT and all.” She replied.
Janki Central Tiffin Service or JST, is our mother’s venture. It is a successful tiffin service in Central and South Delhi. Mom is now planning to expand it to other parts of Delhi-NCR region as well. It is taking a lot of effort but Mom is happy as it gives a livelihood to many other women like her who are single mothers, working to support their children. Women from various Women homes and NGOs work in JCT and together, are a happy family. And my mother is mother to them as well.
Ranveer and I looked at each other. Time to pack our bags! Kolkata, here we come…………….
***End of Flashback***
We could never have refused Mom. If she wanted us to go, we would have gone. But we went not just because Mom told us to do so. But because we had developed a curiosity for what our ‘family’ was like.
I looked at Ranveer who was busy with his tools and working on a fan like structure. We both are so different. He has science, I have commerce. He wants to do computer engineering while I want to do Economics. His dream destination is IIT Delhi while mine is DU. And yet, we are so close. As close as two siblings can be. I am blessed really, to have a twin with whom I can share anything. A companion.
“I love you too Ruhaan!” Ranveer said to me softly, showing his emotional side which was only known to a selected few. I smiled at him and went to play my guitar to bust the stress on my mind.
I am hungry. I tried to look for some fruits on the trees. The scorching sun was making me sweat and combined with my empty stomach, was making it difficult for me to move ahead. I sat down under a tree to rest. I took short deep breaths to steady my breathing.
With fond remembrance, I recalled the food Ragini used to make for me. It is good that she decided to pursue that as a profession. She is a pro. Thinking about Ragini, the memories all flooded back to my mind.
I went inside Ragini’s room to wake her up. She was sleeping on the bed and her mouth was open a bit. Despite all that has happened, I had to admit that she was looking cute. I wanted to keep looking at her. Somehow, it calmed me down, looking at her sleeping.
She shifted in her sleep and broke my trance. I returned to earth and shook my head. I patted her lightly on her shoulder. “Ragini, wake up! Ragini, I have come to take you. Wake up.”
Ragini frowned in her sleep. “No. I won’t go with you. You will eat me! Ragini fry. Or tandoori Ragini. Don’t you know that I am vegetarian? I can’t eat non veg. And how can I eat myself? I won’t come with you. Take Swara. She eats non veg.” She muttered in her speech.
I started laughing hard. That was hilarious! And ridiculous. Hearing the sound of my laugh, she woke up. She looked at me confusedly. “Ji aap yahan?” She asked me.
“Umm……Ragini……..I am…….sorry. Sorry for what I did. Please forgive me.” I said, sobering up.
“It is okay Lakshya. I am sorry too. In fact, it has all been my fault. I was blinded in my love. I failed to see how much pain I was inflicting on everybody. I had become so selfish. Please forgive me for ruining your life.” She cried.
I felt sorry for her at that moment. To put so much at stake and then lose everything must be so hard. To lose everyone’s trust, good opinion and to lose yourself, all for a little bit of love, showed how pathetic Ragini’s condition had been. It still is. At least she had Swara then. Now, I doubt ANYONE would want to do anything with her.
I stroked her back awkwardly as she kept crying by burying her head in her hands. I do not know how to comfort a crying Ragini. I can deal with any other crying woman(I have made several cry myself!) and I can deal with Ragini in any other situation but not a crying Ragini.
“Umm……it is okay. Uhh……I came here to fetch you. To take you back with me. You know……..start afresh.” I managed lamely.
Her head jerked up and her eyes flew to mine. They were bloodshot and her entire face was red. She sniffed and asked adorably, “Come back with you? As your wife? You accept me? Have you forgiven me?”
I nodded smilingly. Her face lit up like a child’s and she smiled widely. The transformation creeped me out and I looked at her. Her eyes shone with sheer joy and she hugged me tightly, sobbing on my shirt. I patted her head awkwardly again. How much will she cry? Can’t she stop?
“Maa kaisi hain?” she asked. I replied, “She is better now. She is eager to see you. ”
“Hum abhi bag pack kar dete hain. Then we shall leave together.” She hurried off to collect her belongings, leaving me in guilt of what I had in plan for her.
***End of Flashback***
Tears came to my eyes. I couldn’t see her cry then. I couldn’t see her cry even now. Where is she? Where are you Ragini? I need you. Please come back. I promise………………
My eyes fell on something shining brightly in the sun. I picked it up. It was a gold chain with an ‘R’ pendant. It was familiar. It belonged to Ragini! She was here somewhere! This gave me hope and I jumped to my feet and started running on the path where this chain had been dropped.
“I doubt they will be able to find them by tonight.” I told Sanskaar as I oiled his hair and massaged it.
He turned to me. “You know what? I think you are right. I don’t know why, though. It is a high profile case. It wasn’t when only Ragini had been missing. But since Lakshya has gone missing, this case has become a top priority. Even then, it is becoming difficult to find them. Maybe both of them are on the move.” He replied.
“Or something happened to them……………” I whispered brokenly. My heart didn’t agree though. My Ragini was alive. I just knew it. About that man……..I didn’t know. I didn’t even want to.
“Stay positive Swara. Don’t lose hope. You have been supporting the children. If you fall weak, what will happen?” Sanskaar pacified me.
I shook my head with a smile. “I am not providing them with the strength. They are Ragini’s children, they have it with them in abundance.” I said, gently massaging his temples.
Sanskaar smiled. “Ragini has done a fantastic job with them. They are both amazing. Funny, happy, smart, intelligent, mature and even kiddish. And they look just like Lakshya…….” He trailed.
My smile tightened. Voices of the past echoed in my head.
‘They are NOT my children!’
‘They can’t be my children! Whose are they?’
I shook my head to rid my head of these thoughts. The past has always been a touchy topic for me. My head starts paining just recalling all that happened.
I must have stopped the massage because Sanskaar was looking up at me with a curious expression. “What happened Shona? Everything okay?” He asked me with concern.
I looked at my husband in the eye. Sixteen years of togetherness. Of love, companionship and happiness. I am really lucky that I found Sanskaar. We have our differences but we love each other. He is so understanding, so supportive and so compassionate. Unlike his brother. I even shudder to think what would have become of me had I married Lakshya. In a way, Ragini saved me from a very bad fate. But ended up trapped herself. My heart bleeds for her. The situation she had to go through was the fruit of her own karma. But all she had wanted was love. She didn’t deserve all that she had to go through.
“Shona? Are you feeling fine? Shall I call the doctor?” Sanskaar looked at me with concern.
I would be forever grateful to Ragini for doing what she did. Because of her, I met and married Sanskaar. I owe my happiness to her. I kissed Sanskaar on his forehead.
“Everything is okay.”
1st chapter. Done. Ragini’s POV will not come till the later stage. Please do remember that she is currently missing. However if you want Ragini’s POVs as well, please tell me in your comments.
Up Next: Ruhaan and Ranveer remember their first encounter with the Maheshwaris, Lakshya recalls what happened when he brought Ragini home.