Hey guys…….Bela is back! Thank you all for your great response. The pace had quickened from the previous part. Quite a lot of truths would be revealed in this chappy. And you would love me after that?????
Recap: Genius chooze ne kiya declare that the khat was wrong, Byomkesh Bakshi Jr. Ko Mila ek kagaz jisne Kar Diya Chooza Gang ko Hakka bakka. Pari ke chooze ko mili free ki tuition by Genius Chooza aur Byomkesh Bakshi Jr. ne churaya ID(bilkul Maa par gayi hai apni!) Ragini aur Saiyan ne kari apni misunderstandings solve aur ho gaye aur bhi zyada confused. Ek hai Villain jisne kaati Nivedita aur uske papaji ki upar ki ticket. Shak ke daayre mein DP the Ganju.
I had no idea how to proceed. Ruhaan, by the power of telepathy, knew what I suspected and we both were in a fix. Should we tell Swara Mausi? Obviously, we had to. But the question was, how? We couldn’t just walk up to her and say, ‘Hey, we suspect that Badi Maa stole your child. Kindly confirm.’ That isn’t how we deal with such situations, that is what Ruhaan says.
Ruhaan has taken the responsibility of speaking to Mausi about it. He has assured me that he would explain everything to her with as much delicacy as was possible for him. Still, the worry nagged me. Suhani had reacted very badly to this piece of news. She was still in denial. I was worried that Mausi wouldn’t believe it too.
We were on the right track. Literally and figuratively. We now knew that someone had been trying desperately to separate us. And we were walking in the right direction as well as I could recognise some places.
Ragini was walking beside me, hand entwined with mine. Seeing her, I smiled. This was how we were always supposed to be. Together. Happy. Content. Instead, we had lived lonely lives devoid of love and companionship. I had lost all faith on love. And Ragini too. She had lost all her faith in love and marriage. Yet today, we were together and happy. I was determined to get out of this place, kick some serious butt of the culprit and remarry Ragini and live the rest of my life with her, having conversations with Ranveer and teaching Ruhaan dance.
About Nivedita, I would see later. She was marrying me for money. I knew that the day I had met her first. Papa had been insistent that I meet her and I had gone out of sheer frustration. I knew the instant that I met her, that she was interested in the money. Yet, I agreed because my parents wanted me to marry her and because I could see no future with Ragini.
I recalled that night when Ragini warned me that Nivedita was marrying me for her gain.
A week is left. And then, I would be stuck with Nivedita Basu as my wife. I don’t know why I am feeling uneasy.
I was driving my car and going home when I spotted Ragini, walking on the road. She was looking really pretty in a yellow full sleeved kurta and white palazzo’s, her long hair curled slightly and flowing down her back. And………..was she carrying the exclusive Lakshya bag? My heart started doing Kaala Chashma. However, I frowned as I noticed that she was surrounded by some men who were leering at her.
They were talking to her and she had a disgusted expression on her face. One of them came closer to her and tried to touch her but she stepped back. Shit! They were misbehaving with her! My blood began boiling as I stepped out of my car and banged the door shut.
Hearing the sound, the men and Ragini turned to look at me. Ragini heaved a sigh of relief as I covered her. The men looked at me angrily.
“Get aside, we were talking to that beauty.” One man said in irritation and I glared at him.
“Stay away from her!” I warned him. He sneered at me.
“Who are you? Did we ask you to interrupt?” Another man spoke up. There were four of them. I could easily beat the shit out of them. But I didn’t want to hurt Ragini even by mistake.
“Chhodiye Lakshya. Let us leave. I have to tell something important to you.” Ragini said to me as she pulled my arm to escort me to the car. However, a guy tried to block her way.
That’s it. I lost my cool. I punched him hard and he fell to the ground, clutching his bleeding nose. Another guy came and I kicked him in his chest and he went back flying. The third one tried to attack me but I ducked his blow, held his arm above my head and punched him on his gut. He crumpled to the ground in pain. I turned around and saw the fourth one trying to pull Ragini to him but before I could do anything, to my amazement, Ragini kicked that guy on his groin. He doubled over in pain and as he fell to his knees, Ragini back slapped him. He fell to the ground.
I looked at her, impressed, as she dusted off her kurta airily. She ran her hand through her hair and looked at me. We smiled at each other and sat in the car.
Throughout the ride, Ragini was silent, deep in thought. In an effort to break the ice, I said to her lightly, “That was an impressive blow!”
Ragini smirked at me. “He would remember for life that he should never mess with a Delhi woman.”
I smiled at her. She has grown very independent and self sufficient. And even our sons had inherited that trait. I was proud of the three of them.
I noticed that a few metres away, police barricades were set up and each car was being stopped. All the cars were coming back. Our car was stopped too. I rolled down the window and a policeman came.
“You will have to return from here. We can’t allow you to go further. There have been riots in Jangsahar a few kilometres away. Curfew has been imposed.”
“But we have to go home. And this is the only route.”
“Sorry, we can’t help you. This is an overnight curfew. I would suggest that you check into a hotel with your wife and stay the night there.”
But the policeman had already passed to the vehicle behind ours. I looked at Ragini who looked worried. What to do?
“I guess we wouldn’t be able to go back home tonight. We should call somebody and inform them.” Ragini advised. I nodded. It was a sensible idea.
After informing an elated Ruhaan about our condition, who gave us a vulgar ‘Ohho………One night at the hotel!’ bullshit, we reached a hotel. Thankfully, there was a room left. And that was rather unfortunate. There was only one room. We had checked many hotels but none had a room as they were overflowing with the people who couldn’t drive further like us. This was the last hotel which had its last room. I booked the room and paid for it.
Fortunately, this room was the presidential suite and so, large. It had a drawing room with an in-built kitchenette, a large bathroom, a large bedroom, and extra bedding.
Ragini went to freshen up while I ordered tea for both of us. She came out and I freshened up too. By the time I came out, Ragini had started serving the tea.
This was rather awkward. Ragini was scheduled to shift to a guesthouse within a day or two because she didn’t want to be a burden while the family was busy preparing for my wedding. She had already helped with the drapes and stuff, and had to return to Delhi a day before my wedding. I didn’t want her to go. And I was too proud to admit it.
“Umm………..you said that you wanted to talk to me. Before we started beating up those men.” I said to her. She looked up and nodded.
I sat across her on the couch as she handed me my cup. Ragini looked at me nervously.
“Woh………actually, I went to my guesthouse today. To check for any issues. On my way back, I stopped at a cafe to have a cup of coffee. I………..” Ragini trailed off, seemingly unsure of whether she should say it or not.
I nodded at her encouragingly. She took a deep breath. “I saw Nivedita there. With a man in a hoodie. They were………….holding hands and hugging each other. I thought that it was you, so I went up to their table to give you the receipt of your sherwani, which I had sent for drycleaning.”
Okay. So she went to their table. Thinking it was me. But it wasn’t me. Hoodies are so sporty. And I don’t wear sporty unless I am working out. I prefer my cool style, from my latest collection, which I had designed and modelled on that young actor……………………..
“Lakshya….are you even listening to me?”
I looked at her. Large brown eyes, cute little nose, full pink lips, a beautiful heart shaped face with brown hair. She was looking at me with uncertainty. Of course, I was listening to her. I nodded.
“So as I was saying, I went up to their table and I heard………….something. Which troubled me a lot.”
“What was it?” I asked, genuinely interested.
“She……..she was saying that she couldn’t wait to get married to you. She was already counting the money she would have power over once she becomes your wife.”
Oh. Umm. Okay. The poor woman was worried that I was getting trapped by a gold digger. She had no idea that I already knew that. It had been quite obvious, with the questions she had asked when we first met. And I was okay with it. My Maa wanted me to get married and since Ragini showed no inclination of wanting to marry me, Papa had brought this alliance. Nivedita was educated, a professional, beautiful (not certainly as beautiful as Ragini though), and I could certainly introduce her as my wife in my circles. Of course, she wasn’t Ragini. But then, who was?
I was okay with the idea of marrying her because I had no expectations. It wasn’t as if I was fiercely romantic, who had dreams of a great love life with his wife. I knew that I couldn’t fall in love again. Ragini had ruined other women for me. I just wanted a………… trophy wife. And if Nivedita was getting what she wanted, then it was a fair bargain.
I shrugged my shoulders. “Doesn’t matter. Even if she is after my money, doesn’t matter. I have enough of it to spend on her anyways.”
Ragini looked at me in shock. I felt rather uncomfortable. Ranveer and Ruhaan had acted similarly when they had expressed their disapproval of Nivedita and I had brushed their concern off aside. They were all judging me. And I didn’t like it.
“But Lakshya……..you are getting married to her! She would be your companion for the rest of your life. She was warming up to another man and talking about using you! How can you allow this?”
To be honest, I don’t care who she ‘warms up’ to. All I care about is my business. And my children. And Ragini. Just a tiny bit.
“It is a marriage of convenience Ragini. It is her wish, how she wants to live her life. We have a deal. She won’t interfere in my matters and I won’t interfere in hers. She is marrying me for social security and as you just said, money while I am marrying her because Maa wants me to.”
“But that is wrong! Marriage isn’t a joke. What kind of an example are you setting up for our children? Do you know how disappointed they would be with you? One day, they would realise what you did and believe me, they would be disgusted.”
Something inside me snapped. Who is she to lecture me that marriage isn’t a joke? Why does she have to bring our children in between?
“Look Ragini. Don’t you think you are being a hypocrite? Don’t tell me that Marriage isn’t a joke. Not when it was you, who made it into one when you took my signatures on the divorce papers without my knowledge. And then left. And don’t you dare bring my sons in between this. They know well that I have no choice. My mother wishes for me to get married and I know for sure that had they been in my position, they would have done what THEIR mother wanted!” I snapped at her.
Tears pooled Ragini’s eyes. I felt rather bad for treating her like that but hey, she couldn’t just lecture me! I am 40 and more than capable of taking decisions for myself. And I didn’t need her concern, thank you very much, after what she had done to me sixteen years ago.
“Fine. I just…………wanted to caution you. You need to know. However, if it does not bother you, I don’t have anything else to say. Sorry for wasting your time. Goodnight.”
With this, she went inside the bedroom and came out a few minutes later, carrying the extra bedding. I raised my eyebrow at her.
“You sleep on the bed inside. I will sleep here. It is very late, and I am not particularly hungry.” She said sadly as she started rolling down the bedding.
I don’t know why, but I felt bad. Even if I was marrying Nivedita, Ragini would always remain my first wife. My love. The mother of my children. I knew that after tonight, we would hardly ever be in contact. I was allowed to visit my children but soon, they would be in college and then, adults. I wouldn’t require her permission to meet them. So, there wouldn’t really be any contact. Somehow, that thought made me really upset.
As soon as Ragini had spread the bedding on the floor, I plopped down on it and laid across it. She looked at me in shock. “Lakshya……..this is my bed! Get up!”
I smirked at her. “No. You go sleep on that boring bed. I will sleep here, where I can easily go to the kitchenette and grab a bite whenever I want to!” I replied. Her nostrils flared.
“I am anyways feeling very hungry,all of a sudden. So I am going to make something for myself. I will take it to the room and eat it. Thanks.” She said and stalked off to the kitchen. Soon, a delicious aroma wafted through the room and my stomach rumbled in response.
Ragini came out, carrying what looked like Instant noodles and went to her room. I couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped up and followed her. As soon as I entered, Ragini rushed out and fell onto the bedding. I widened my eyes as I registered her betrayal.
I looked at Ragini who was feigning sleep. And then I looked at the bowl of steaming Ching’s Hot Garlic noodles kept on the table with a note which read, ‘Bakra Banaya’. I narrowed my eyes and picked up the bowl and went to Ragini.
Childishly, I passed the bowl over her nose, hoping she would open her gorgeous eyes due to the overpowering smell, so that I could eat the noodles right in front of her. But she didn’t. So I started eating and made slurping noises. Still no effect. Finally, out of frustration, I pushed her aside a bit and sat down next to her lying body and started eating. It worked. Ragini sat up and glared at me. “Will you let me sleep? I made you your dinner, for God’s sake.”
I smirked at her darkly as I continued eating. Finally, Ragini groaned (cutely, in my opinion), and snatched the fork out of my hand. She ate three bites and gave the fork back to me and went to sleep. I finished the noodles and laid down next to her, not wanting to give up. She would sleep on the bed. Okay?
And I didn’t know when I fell asleep myself and ended up sharing a bedding with my ex wife.
Next morning, a loud noise of knocking woke me up. I woke up, confused about how I slept so well, despite not taking my sleeping pills. And then I registered it. Ragini was sleeping with me. Actually, beneath me. I was on top of her. I quickly checked for her vital signs, worried that she could have been crushed to death under my weight. When her slow and steady breathing became visible, I heaved a sigh of relief. I smiled as I looked at her innocent face. She was sleeping soundly, her chest moving up and down rhythmically, her lips slightly open. Her long eyelashes touched her cheeks and her face glowed under the sunlight. And produced a beautiful picture which was an enchantingly wonderful sight in the morning.
The door burst open and I looked up and saw the hotel staff along with Mr. Sen, Nivedita’s colleague and my recent lawyer. He smirked as he saw me in that position. The noise woke up Ragini who found herself in a decidedly compromising position with me. The staff quietly left the room. Mr. Sen looked at me.
“Aha Mr. Maheshwari……….having your bachelor’s party alone, I see. Great! Well, I had wanted to discuss some changes in your will and called up your house where I got to know that you were in this hotel. I came and knocked but since you weren’t opening the door, I had to call the staff to open the door. I was worried you know. There have been so many attacks on you, I thought…………never mind what I thought! Clearly, you had been spending the night very interestingly.”
I looked at Ragini who was clearly uncomfortable and ready to burst into tears. I felt for her. This Sen was being really vulgar.
“So, pretty lady. Your mistress?”
I glared at him. “Ragini, go inside please.” I said to her softly. She nodded and quickly went inside the bedroom and closed the door. I turned to him with a murderous expression.
“What I do and don’t is none of your concern! Mind your own business. You are my lawyer, not my mother. Stay in your limits!” I snarled at him. He looked taken aback. He had never seen me angry. Not really angry. And I admit, when it comes to Ragini, I can be a ferocious beast.
I gave him instructions to meet me later that day and sent him off coldly. I went and knocked softly on the bedroom door. “Ragini, you can open the door.” I called out gently. The door opened and I gasped. Ragini was red eyed and crying still, wiping her tears with the sleeve of her kurta.
She sobbed as her eyes met mine. Tears came to my own eyes. She had to hear such dirty words about herself, just because of me. I always manage to hurt her. Even when it was never my intention. No wonder she left me for someone else. I didn’t deserve her.
Standing across each other, with tears rolling down our eyes, I wanted to say a lot of things to her. I wanted to berate her for breaking my heart. I wanted to say sorry for breaking her heart. I wanted to scold her for lying to me about my children. I wanted to beg for forgiveness for cheating on her. I wanted to tell her that I hated her for leaving me for that Karthik, whoever he was. And I wanted to fall down on my knees, clutch her hand and tell her that I love her still. I will always do.
Yet, nothing came out of my mouth. Ragini controlled herself and came forward. She touched my cheek, smiled and said, “I hope you have a happy life. And by happy, I mean a life, which suits you. Which you want. The children love you. And trust me, whatever you say or do, they won’t hate you. Ever.”
With that, she stepped back and withdrew her hand. I closed my eyes in pain as I heard her walking away from me. It was the last time I saw her. After that, I heard about her kidnapping and met her in the forest.
***End of Flashback****
She was always so caring. She still is. I looked at her and smiled. We would get out. Together. And then, nobody would separate us. I wouldn’t allow it. Because truly, I have admitted it to myself that I need her. And that if she rejects me or leaves me for a second time, I would have no reason to live again.
I watched helplessly as Swara Mausi sobbed. The news had been very tough on her. She hadn’t believed me initially but when I showed her Ansh’s ID, which had his blood group, showed her the documents which showed Badi Maa and Bade Papa’s blood group and explained to her the concept of inheriting blood group, she had to admit that there was a possibility. And that had cemented into a sure possibility when I gave her the papers which clearly showed that Badi Maa was incapable of becoming a mother.
Mausi wiped her tears away. She looked up in determination and said in a clear voice, “I will investigate this issue myself. And if Ansh is really………my son, then Pari Bhabhi will have to pay. Dearly.”
I smiled at her in encouragement and she smiled back and mouthed a Thank you. I covered my hand with hers and she pulled me in for a hug. I hugged her back and patted her on her back soothingly.
Mausi pulled back and stood up. “I will see from here. First of all, I would go to the hospital and get a DNA done. I will take Ansh with me on the pretext of a routine checkup.”
I followed her out and we met Ansh on our way. Mausi looked at him tearily. She controlled herself and walked up to him.
“Ansh, have you had your routine checkup done? You were complaining of a stomach ache a few days ago.”
He shook his head. “Maa was busy. No one could take me.” He replied sadly. Mausi teared up. I held her shoulder and she looked at me and nodded.
“I am going for my own checkup. If you want, you can accompany me.” Ansh brightened up and nodded. He came down after five minutes and giving me a last look, Mausi went away with him.
I prayed fervently that just for Mausi’s sake, Ansh does turn out to be her son.
We walked on. We were quite right on our track. Just a few steps more. I was sure we would come to the place where we had beaten up the goons.
Lakshya was not leaving my hand. At all. It was night and I was sure he was getting tired. I proposed to rest for tonight and he agreed.
We leaned against a trunk and I put my head on his lap. He stroked my hair lovingly. I smiled up at him.
“Kya romantic mood hai! You and me in a jungle………..alone! Just think of what all could happen!” He said with a wink. I smiled sweetly at him.
“Yes. I can think of a lot of things that could happen. Like, we could get eaten by a wild animal!” I replied and Lakshya scrunched up his face in horror.
“Yes Ragini. You are right. But I don’t want to die so young! And so many of my designs are still unreleased. The Summer Fashion collection is still pending. And that consignment from Sri Lanka, our children’s Boards, and my marriage with you……..”
My heart stopped beating. Did he just say what I heard? Marriage? I looked up at him and found him looking at me. I raised my eyebrows.
“Umm……..it is true. Actually, I was hoping you would marry me when we manage to get out of here. I would never repeat what I did. I swear!” He said nervously.
The last time. His actions the last time were horrible. Thinking about them, tears came to my eyes.
“Swara….you just see. Today, Lakshya would have to believe me. I don’t know why he is behaving so strangely, but today, he would have to admit that he is being very bad to me. These children are his.” I said as I arranged my hair the way Lakshya liked it.
After a week long business trip, Lakshya was coming back from Bhopal today. And today was our first wedding anniversary. Lately, Lakshya had been behaving strangely. He avoided me and even accused me of having an affair and claimed that these children weren’t his. But I think that he is just insecure. Today, I would set everything right.
After hours of waiting, Lakshya didn’t turn up. I was disappointed and in tears. Everybody was trying to console me. Suddenly, Swara came running.
“I got a call from a man. He is saying that Lakshya checked into a hotel. He is the manager of that hotel. I think something is fishy. We need to check once.” Swara said.
All of us rushed to that hotel and after throwing a big tantrum and threatening them with police, went to the room which the receptionist confirmed as Lakshya’s room. We knocked the door and waited.
The door was opened by a young woman dressed skimpily in a sheer nightgown. My eyes widened. What was Lakshya doing with her?
Swara pushed her back and entered the room forcefully. We followed. And what we saw inside broke my heart into a million pieces.
Lakshya was sleeping on the bed, naked and drunk. The woman screeched at us. Swara gave her a tight slap and the woman screamed, “Lucky Baby! See, someone has entered our room forcefully. Wake up na baby. See.”
I felt myself shattering as I heard her. No, how could he do this? Not today. No. Please. Tears rolled down my eyes. Swara asked the woman who she was and that lady proudly announced herself as Kavya, Lakshya’s ex girlfriend.
Papaji shouted on the top of his lungs at Lakshya and he woke up groggily. He looked around and saw the scene. His eyes widened and he looked at me. But I wasn’t looking at him anymore. My eyes were fixed on the love bites on his chest.
I started feeling faint. I felt someone grip me and heard my name being called. And then, darkness followed.
***End of Flashback***
“Why were you so sure that the children in my womb weren’t yours?” I asked him in a choked voice.
Lakshya sighed. “For some months before our wedding anniversary, I had been getting letters twice a week. It contained photos. Photos of you and a man. A note always accompanied which said that the man was Karthik, a boy you knew from your music academy. I ignored it initially but then even I started becoming insecure. And then, I met this man. You remember that day, when you asked me to bring Rasgullas but I told you that I didn’t have time? I did go to a sweet shop later. And I saw that same man, ordering your favourite Rasgullas, saying that the mother of his children loves them. I thought it to be a coincidence but when I reached home, I found out that you had eaten those Rasgullas already. The same ones. I started suspecting. And to be honest Ragini, I didn’t want to confront you. I was scared that you would leave me.”
“Pari Bhabhi bought me those Rasgullas. She said that she had sent a servant from the house as she had heard my conversation with you.”
Lakshya slumped his shoulders. I was quite angry at him. Had he been more trusting and had the guts to confront me, we could have solved the misunderstanding altogether. But he didn’t do it. Instead, he went around behind my back and cheated on me.
“Ragini, I am really sorry. I won’t repeat it, I swear! I have already lost you once and I know how I have lived for these sixteen years, like a cold hearted zombie. Please forgive me and give one chance. Just one chance.” He said as he started crying.
And seeing him so, I knew that he was not lying. His actions were just a retaliation of what he felt I had done to him. And he was drunk. God knows how stupid things people do when they are drunk. Plus, that woman was shady. I don’t know why, but I didn’t trust her. I have lived alone far too long. If I was getting a chance at my happiness again, I wouldn’t be a spoilsport. I didn’t shift to the guesthouse because I thought I was becoming a burden. I did it because I couldn’t see Lakshya becoming someone else’s. Not when I was alive.
“I want to wear the lehenga which you see me wearing in your dreams. The pink one. At our wedding.” I told him. Lakshya gave me a sad look. Then, as his mind registered what I had said, his face broke into a grin. He hugged me tightly. I sat up and leaned closer to him.
The day I saw you first, I knew I wouldn’t remain the same.
It was your eyes, or was it your smile,
Which made my heart carve your name.
Lakshya touched my cheek as he leaned closer. I smiled.
I am deeply flawed, I am a wild child
The man who never realised his heart
But today as the sun sets upon us,
I know that it was always yours.
Our lips met in a contrast to our feelings. While fireworks were exploding inside me, while my heart was beating erratically, while my mind had become a whirlwind of thoughts, the kiss was serene, peaceful, calm and sweet. It felt like……….home. I was where I had always belonged to. Lakshya’s arms.
We drew apart as I smiled at him. He grinned at me. “I just got myself a girlfriend after eighteen years!”
I frowned. He explained. “Arrey Baba. For almost a year before we met, I had not had a girlfriend. And then, even Swara wasn’t really my girlfriend. Nor were you. And there has been no one after you. With Nivedita, it was nothing. I just kissed you. You kissed me back. Lovers or married couples do that. We are neither married nor engaged, as of now. So you are my girlfriend only.”
I felt really happy. At the age of 38, I had made my first boyfriend. Who was also my ex-husband. Yippee! Dadi ma would be scandalised. But who cares?
“Ruhaan would be impressed.” Lakshya said happily. I shook my head.
“Ruhaan would be horrified. At the age of 16, he is currently single while his father, at 40, has a girlfriend. He wouldn’t like it. His ego would protest.”
Lakshya sniffed. “He would have to suck it up. I am his baap.”
I smiled at him. I looked up at the sky happily and frowned. A strange device was lurking above us. It looked like a……………..drone?
I smiled indulgently at Sanya who was happily digging into her ice cream. This girl was a cute little thing. Absolutely gorgeous. Just like me!
We were sitting in an ice cream parlour. Sanya had seen a favourite cartoon character having a flavor which she had never had. She insisted that I treat her to it as she had been a good Abhijit. I had to take her out. Not that I regretted it. Pretty little munchkin!
“And Bhai, then she said to Dhruv, ‘Tum hamesha mere dost rahoge.’ I was so happy. Jia likes Dhruv. A lot.” She said as she took out another scoop and devoured it. I smirked. What are the kids of this generation watching?
I looked around and froze. Was that………….Badi Maa?
She was sitting with a woman, deep in conversation. I watched on as she produced a packet from her bag and gave it to the woman. I quickly made a video. Sanya noticed my actions and looked in Badi Maa’s direction.
“Look Bhaiya, Badi Maa. And that Aunty. The one Maa doesn’t like. Why is Badi Maa with that Aunty? Maa says she is bad.” Sanya said. I looked at her. Did she know that woman?
I asked her gently if she knew who that woman was. Sanya nodded. “Once, Maa, Ansh Bhai and I were at school. Maa saw that Aunty and went red with anger. She said that the Aunty was bad.”
Mausi knew her? I asked Sanya if she remembered her name? Sanya shook her head. I smiled at her and let it be. On the pretext of washroom, I went close to their table and clicked a picture of that ‘Aunty’. Let us see who you are.
We watched, fascinated. Mom was lying on Dad’s lap and looking above, possibly at the drone. She said something to Dad and he looked up too. Both furrowed their eyebrows.
My heart was beating at an alarming rate. Beside me, Suhani was jumping up and down excitedly. I slowly drove the drone downwards. Suddenly Suhani asked me, “Par Bhai, how will they come to know that the drone is OURS?”
I had made arrangements for that too. I had guessed that there was a possibility that they would think that the drone was of the enemy’s. I signed Suhani to watch. As the drone descended, one of the wings opened and a chit fell out. Suhani watched in awe as I smirked.
We saw Mom picking up the chit and reading it. I had explained everything about the drone in that chit and asked them to follow it. I had used personal terms and even the handwriting had been my own. She would have to believe. I smiled as I saw her smiling and showing it to Dad who had a similar expression on his face as Suhani had. He looked at the camera and waved. I made the drone do a swing in response. He clapped happily and said something to Mom who nodded in reply.
Both of them stood up as I made the drone fly higher to map the way out of the forest. Using my upgraded software, I mapped the way out of the forest and then finding the shortest route, I moved the drone forward, watching out for Mom and Dad.
“Suhani, call up the police station. We have to pick up Mom and Dad tomorrow morning.”
I waited for them to come back home, excited beyond measure. We had decided that only Mausi and Mausaji would be briefed about us finding Mom and Dad. I have zero trust on Badi Maa and I can’t risk telling anyone else. I was waiting for Ansh and Mausi to come back home.
They entered. Ansh was happily munching on a burger. I narrowed my eyes at him. Lucky kid……………..
I raised my eyebrows at Mausi to enquire about the reports. She mouthed ‘Tomorrow’ to me. I nodded.
“Umm………Mausi? Actually, Suhani was looking for you. She must be in my room right now, with Ranveer. Can you check?” I asked her.
As soon as she went away, I walked up to Ansh. I sat beside him on the couch.
“So……..routine checkup? I hate them. They draw so much blood! My face loses all its glow!” I said to him. He rolled his eyes.
“Ranveer Bhai was right, after all. You are really very vain.”
I opened my mouth in shock. Ranveer said that? Huff. “I am not vain. I am just a little concerned about my appearance, okay?”
Ansh nodded sardonically. I smiled at him. “I really like Mausi. She is rather cool.” I said, hoping I could get an insight into his thoughts.
“She is really cool. And very kind. Maa doesn’t like her though. She says that Chachi is…….nosey.”
I nodded. “I won’t deny that she is. But then every human has faults. Mine is that I am not serious about most things. Ranveer’s is that he isn’t too sensitive. Dad too, has many faults and so has Mom. But that doesn’t make them incapable of being loved. In fact, we should accept other’s flaws and learn to compromise. Only then can we be happy. No one is perfect, and I am glad that this is how it is. Because a perfect person is too predictable and so, too boring.”
Ansh smiled at me with agreement. I took out my phone and showed him that woman’s photo. “Do you know who she is? She was asking about Swara Mausi to me today.”
Ansh looked at the picture carefully. “Arrey haan……….she is the one who Chachi got angry at in our school. Said that the woman broke her sister’s house. I think her name was something with K. Umm……….”
Goosebumps crawled on my skin. “Kavya?” I asked quietly. Ansh bobbed his head enthusiastically. “Yes. Kavya. Haan. Chachi said that she didn’t want to see her face again.”
Why was Badi Maa giving money to that Kavya, the one who Dad cheated on Mom with? Unless……………..she orchestrated it herself!
La! This Parineeta is so dodgy. Pata nahi what all she has done. Now, we near the end of our story.