Hello again……….Bela the extreme Vela is back! A big thank you to all those readers who read my looooong updates and comment so lovingly on them. I read each comment but due to a slow WiFi, shortage of time, and a snooping father and younger brother, I am unable to reply. But I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.
When I said we are nearing the end, I meant we are nearing the end of the mysteries. The only major mystery to be solved is who is behind this sham. Pari is definitely involved. But who is that man?
Recap: Bohot kuchh hua, khud jaakar dekh lo????
And ab, aagey…………………
I watched on, fascinated. Ragini was visible on the screen. She was holding Lakshya’s hand and moving ahead. Tears came to my eyes. She looked so weak. So pale. Her sari was also torn off at some places. Even Lakshya looked injured. But both looked very happy.
I turned to look at the person who made this possible. Ranveer Gadodia. My nephew. He was smiling by looking at the screen. While the police had given up, he had found his parents within nine days. I touched his cheek fondly as he looked at me and smiled. Ragini would be proud of him.
Beside me, Sanskaar was talking to the police on the phone. Ranveer had requested that this detail should not be told to the rest of the family. I had an idea why.
“Yes Inspector. Yes. I can see them. By my nephew’s estimation, they are going to come out from the north. Yes. Yes, sure. And please make it a secret operation. They are still in danger. Thank you.” Sanskaar said as he cut the call. He turned around and gave a wide smile to the kids.
“Excellent work Children! I am proud of you. It is brilliant Ranveer. You should have told us though. But it is okay. Very good.” He said as he patted each kid on the head who were paying no attention to him. Their eyes were glued to the screen, glazed with tears as they saw Ragini and Lakshya walking. Sanskaar shook his head and smiled at me. I smiled back.
“Boss, I am sure they are dead! It has been nine days and they are really deep in the forest. An animal must have eaten them. Or they must have starved to death. Our men are still inside the forest and they have been searching but they couldn’t find them.” Hira, my henchman said to me. I nodded.
Even I believe that Lakshya and Ragini are no more. Good. Makes work easy for me. I looked at the board in front of me and with a red pen, crossed out their smiling faces. I looked around and spotted his picture. He was next in my line. He would soon join his parents in heaven…………………
“Make preparations to see him off as well!” I said to Hira as I nodded towards Ranveer’s picture. Hira grinned.
“Boss, why only that Chashmish? That other one is also a firecracker! And they both stick together. Why not finish them both? Maybe run them down by a truck? To make it look like an accident?” Hira asked. I smirked. Good idea. I could kill two birds with one stone.
I nodded to him. He smiled and took the bundle of money that I handed to him. “The work should be done by tonight. Ranveer and Ruhaan Gadodia should not see tomorrow’s sun.” I said. Hira bowed and went out.
I looked at the pictures on the board and smiled. Poor kids! Lakshya’s entire line would be wiped out in less than twelve hours. And then…………
I sat on the balcony with my Business Studies book. But my mind was far away from my studies. I was thinking about Mom and Dad. My mind was repeating the memories that I had of them together. One such memory was that of the day of the pooja.
“It is very important to oil your hair. Very important. You know, all these actors and actresses, they also put oil. That is why their hair is so long and black and thick. Juhi Chawla puts Kesh King and Deepika and Anushka put Parachute Coconut oil. Coconut is very good. Even Amla and olive oil. Your hair is so good because I have been oiling it since you both were infants. I have used all types of oil.” Mom was saying as she rubbed the oil on my head. Ranveer loves them and I like the massage but I just hate the smell. And this oil was smelling really bad.
“Which oil is this Mom?” Ranveer asked from where he was standing a few metres away from us. Mom smiled at him. “Ohho, it is a jadibooti ka oil. Your hair was so thick and black but I think Kolkata’s water isn’t suiting you. See na, your skin has become dry and your hair is so rough now. It is even falling! So it needs deep nutritioning.”
Yuck! Jadibooti ka oil? No wonder it was smelling so bad. I made a disgusted face and glared at Ranveer who was laughing. Tomorrow is the pooja. I was wondering if I could get away with throwing him in the fire……………….
“Who is Jadi?” a voice came. I looked at the door and found Dad leaning against it, looking like a walking fashionista. A navy blue sweatshirt with white trousers and a silver watch, hair falling in front of his eyes, he looked ready to pose for a magazine cover.
Ranveer went and hugged him while he smiled and hugged him back. I looked up and found Mom looking at Dad weirdly.
“What do you mean by who is Jadi? I don’t know any Jadi. Must be one of your many girlfriends…………..”
I smirked as I looked at Ranveer who had a similar expression on his face. Mom was very bad at hiding her jealousy……….
“Arrey……you only said right now that it was Jadi-Booty ka oil. So who is this Jadi and why is my son being subjected to her Booty ka oil?” Dad asked with a stupid grin. I started laughing hard while Ranveer fell to the floor, laughing and clutching his stomach.
Mom made a disgusted face. “Mind out of the gutter! Jadibooti ka oil……..meaning Herbal oil made up of roots! Stupid man! Shameless! Awara! Thinking about ladies’ derriere at this age!” Mom screeched and went away after giving a glare in Dad’s direction. Dad chuckled as she left.
“Thanks Dad. For saving me from that horrible smelling oil.” I said to him. He smiled.
“She used to oil my hair too. When we were married. She used to say ki ‘Lakshya…fragrant oil is very bad. Use normal oil’. And then she oiled my hair at night and made me wash it off in the morning. I used to have a good sleep after that massage. And she always used olive or Coconut oil. My hair improved so much under her care.” he said as he touched his hair gently.
Dad had a smile on his face and was staring into space as he recalled this. I looked at Ranveer who rolled his eyes.
“You are so particular about your haircare regime. You allowed her to oil your hair?” Ranveer asked him.
“Arrey, she was very persuasive. She used to say ki, ‘Lakshya…..if you do not oil your hair na, then all your hair will vanish just like your father’s. And you would also become a takla!’ Naturally, I was scared, so I complied with her request. And anyways, it was not possible for me to refuse her anything……………” Dad trailed off. I smiled at him. He stood up.
“All set for tomorrow’s pooja? You need to look well, photographers are coming. Tell me once again, which clothes did you pick up from my collection?”
Dad, being the fashion icon and a fashion designer, had ordered everyone to wear only the clothes from his latest traditional ‘Desi Looks’ collection. He had personally given Mom a baby pink sari with silver Chanderi work on it (saying that she would look ‘less bad’ in it) and had given Mausi a dirty brown plain sari (saying that anything more was not required for her.) Naturally, both the women took offence. However Mom had not seen the hopeful look in his shining eyes which I had caught when she was handed that sari. I don’t understand why Dad doesn’t admit his feelings to her. He thinks about her so much. He had given a beautiful sari to HER, not his fiancée or his mother. And well, he had given Mausi a sari to insult her but let us forget that. No one else got this special treatment.
“Ranveer is wearing a light blue embroidered kurta with white salwar while I am wearing the same design kurta in a lilac colour. The design no. 25.” I replied to his question. Dad nodded in understanding.
“Good choice. But then, you both are my sons. I wouldn’t expect anything else. Chalo, it is late. Go to sleep or else you both will keep sleeping during the pooja and fall in that fire! Goodnight children. Sweet dreams. ‘Angelic’ dreams!” He said to me sneakily with a smirk. He went away with his hands in his pockets, smiling to himself. Ranveer sighed.
“Dad really needs to go up to Mom, hold her hand, and tell her that ‘Hey lady, I love you. Marry me and wear my latest collection’s clothes all your life. For free!’ He should do that. I think Mom would agree, if only for the clothes. They are quite exclusive and expensive!” Ranveer said. I chuckled.
I imagined Dad doing that and I saw Mom slapping him and washing her hands with Dettol soap to rid herself of his germs. I shook my head. I am going crazy.
When I walk up the path,
This is what I see.
Everybody stops and staring at me,
I got a fashion in my pants
And I ain’t afraid to show it, show it, show it.
I am s*xy and I know it.
I’m s*xy and I know it.
I opened my eyes and saw Dad rotating his hips, dancing to my alarm ringtone. Ranveer came out of the bathroom and said, “Abe ab to uth jaa………..” And stopped abruptly when he saw Dad. Dad was smiling like a Cheshire cat and shaking his ‘Jadi-Booty’ and was pumping his fists in the air. Ranveer gave me his exclusive ‘What the eff is wrong with him?’ look and I shrugged sleepily. Finally, the tune stopped and Dad huffed contently.
“Very good alarm tone. I like it. I will put this as mine too. Now wake up and get your bootiyas down to the hawan. Or else, the ladies will roast me on the fire.” Dad said.
Dad was wearing a cream coloured Pathani kurta and salwar with a baby pink Nehru jacket. And we had no doubt regarding who he wanted to match with. Majnu………………..
Dad pulled his hair up and smiled at us. We smiled back sardonically. He didn’t catch it and went away, humming ‘I’m s*xy and I know it’.
“He is unbelievable!” Ranveer whispered. I nodded in agreement.
Downstairs, there was chaos. The entire hall was decorated with flowers and there were stacks of sweet boxes in a corner. The furniture had been moved to allow some space for the pooja. After the hawan, we had a party to celebrate Ranveer and my homecoming. And Dad’s upcoming marriage to Nivedita the Lawyer Chudail.
The women were frolicking around, shouting orders to the staff while the men were scratching their heads and wondering what to do. In the midst of them all was Dad, happily eating a banana and watching Mom try to adorn a pillar by standing on a stool. As we watched, Mom’s foot slipped and she tumbled down. Before we could process anything, I saw a flash of cream and pink before my eyes and we saw Dad catching Mom in his arms as she fell down.
The basket of flowers in her hand went up flying in the air and the rose petals were falling on them both as they stayed in that position, Mom in Dad’s arms and both of them looking at each other. It was a beautiful scene. Behind me, I heard a click and saw Ranveer smiling, looking at the screen of his iPhone. “I captured a pic. It is amazing.” He said and gave the phone to me. I smiled when I saw the picture. It was certainly very beautiful.
“LAKSHYA! Put Ragini down!” Swara Mausi screamed from the stairs. She was wearing the plain brown sari that Dad had given her but had worn a big gold necklace and jhumkas with it. Her arms were adorned with gold bangles too. She was looking really good. But not prettier than Mom though. No one is prettier than my Mom.
Mom and Dad came out of their reverie and snapped back to life. Mom blushed while Dad threw a dark look at Mausi. He put Mom down and stepped back. Good timing, because just a second later, his fiancee came with her father.
Nivedita Basu, the ‘Poori Bangalan’, was wearing a silver and white designer sari which reminded everyone of Priyanka Chopra in Desi Girl song. Ranveer raised his eyebrows as he looked at her.
He looked at me and his voice came to my mind. ‘Has she come painfully early for the party? Cause that attire is fit for an evening party, not a Greh Shanti pooja.’ I shrugged.
“Lakshya, how nice you look! Which brand?” Nivedita asked Dad who gave her the ‘Ranveer look’. Ranveer smirked and I slapped my forehead. How did she become a lawyer?
“He bought it from a cheap roadside market in Kolkata’s Sunday Bazaar.” Mausi said to her. Nivedita widened her eyes.
“It is my own creation.” Dad clipped a reply. Nivedita gave a sigh of relief and smiled. She turned to us and smiled. “And you both are looking really handsome too! Perfect!” She said sweetly and Ranveer, being the gentleman he is, bowed and thanked her eloquently on our behalf. I saw Mom narrowing her eyes at me. I hurriedly complimented Nivedita on her look and saw Mom giving us a nod and a smile of approval.
The pooja started soon. After all the couples, Dad was asked to sit in the pooja with his ‘family’. Ranveer and I sat with him.
“Your wife has to sit too. The mother of your children.” The pandit said to Dad. And everyone looked at him.
Dad was in a fix. He was engaged to Nivedita while the mother of his children was Mom. He had to choose between them. Only one woman could sit. Everyone sat with bated breath, waiting for Dad to make a decision. Dad looked at Nivedita who was smiling and looking bashful. His eyes went to Mom who was sitting there serenely. She gave him an encouraging smile. Dad looked at everyone and then closed his eyes for a few seconds. He then opened them with determination.
“Ragini, would you sit with me please?” Dad asked Mom. Ranveer and I smiled widely and our faces mirrored the family’s. Everyone was happy that Dad had chosen Mom. Nivedita looked like a rotten raddish while her father looked at Dad angrily. Mom smiled and sat next to Dad. Dad seemed to be blushing. Or was it the fire…………………..I didn’t know. What I knew was that my family was finally complete as the four of us sat around the fire.
***End of Flashback***
I smiled as I thought about those moments. We got to know Dad and saw a new side of Mom. And saw the love which we had only just heard about.
Ranveer came out and saw me sitting. He put his hand on my shoulder.
“Tomorrow, by this time, Mom and Dad would be back. And I swear, I would make them confess their love to each other, if they haven’t done it already!” He said. I smiled and nodded.
We would be a happy family again.
I walked along with Lakshya, following the drone closely. It stopped at some distance. Ranveer had explained that it would get discharged at night. Good. Because I was having trouble seeing it in the dark. And Lakshya, useless as he is, is blind even in daylight. So his help was nil.
Lakshya and I settled under a tree and laid down next to each other, facing the sky. Lakshya’s little finger was entwined with mine and within a few minutes, I could hear his soft snoring. I smiled as a memory came to my mind. Lakshya hadn’t confessed his love by then. But the memory was still precious.
I scrunched up my eyebrows in confusion as the sounds repeated. What was this strange noise and where was it coming from?
I turned to Lakshya’s side and the mystery was solved instantly. Lakshya was snoring!
I giggled as I saw my husband curled up in a fetal position, thumb near his mouth which was open a little and snoring blissfully. It was a very cute sight.
The snores stopped and Lakshya stirred in his sleep. His eyes opened a little and saw me. He blinked in confusion.
“Ragini? Why aren’t you asleep by now? It is so late.”
“You were snoring. The noise disturbed me.”
“Haw……..liar! I don’t snore.”
“It was a snorefest Lakshya. Grr……..phussssssss……grr……phussssssss”
Lakshya threw a pillow at me and I caught it easily. He scowled while I gave a peal of laughter. However, soon enough, the laugh turned into a shriek as I felt Lakshya pinning me down under him. He started tickling me mercilessly and I was laughing so hard that tears came to my eyes. He stopped after a few minutes and my laugh died down slowly. My breath hitched.
We were just inches apart, both of us. The moonlight cast a silver glow on his dark, rough face and his black eyes shined. I felt myself drowning in them. I wanted to pull out, knowing it was wrong. I had promised myself that I would not impose my love on him. I would give him time to cope with this situation and would move a step ahead only when he was fully ready. But this close proximity, his hot breath on my face, and his intoxicating eyes were wreaking havoc on my mind. I had taken leave of my senses. There was a battle between my mind and my heart where my mind was warning me to back off while my treacherous heart was asking me to give in and succumb to my desires……………………..
“You have a tiny mole under your chin.” Lakshya murmured softly. I looked at him confusedly.
Lakshya traced his finger over my chin and then came to the beauty spot under it. He moved his finger in circles on that mole. I gasped softly.
“I like it. It is tiny and black and soft. And beautiful…..” Lakshya said. I could feel my cheeks heating up as his husky voice sent shivers down my spine.
I heard a knock on my door and frowned. Who was knocking at this hour?
“Ragini…….are you awake? Open the door. I want to sleep with you.” Swara’s voice came. Lakshya glared at the door. “Aa gayi aafat!” He whispered angrily.
I wriggled out from under him and went to the door and opened it to find a mightily upset Swara standing there with her pillow. She entered the room and gave a dark look to Lakshya.
“Move out and go sleep with your useless brother. I am not going to sleep with him.” She commanded. Lakshya propped himself up on his elbow.
“Why should I move out of my own room when it was you and Bhai who fought? You can’t just order me around. You disturbed us grossly. Get out.” Lakshya replied. Swara threw her pillow at him in anger and he dodged it and stood up, blazing with rage.
In an effort to calm them down, I came in between them. I looked at Swara. “Are the matters so bad?” I asked her, hoping she would cool down and go back to her room. However, she crossed her arms in front of her chest and nodded. I sighed and turned to Lakshya.
“Lakshya, can you please go and sleep with Sanskaar tonight?” I asked him. He crossed his arms and looked away, shaking his head stubbornly. Swara opened her mouth to say something but I shook my head at her. She closed her mouth.
“Lakshya……..please? Only for tonight.” I asked him gently. Lakshya refused to budge.
“Swara, can Sanskaar come and sleep here?” I asked her. She gave a sniff and replied in the negative. She said that Sanskaar was already asleep after the fight. I sighed with resignation.
“Come then. You and I will sleep in one of the guestrooms.” I said to her and she smiled and nodded. I picked up her pillow and held her hand. We were about to go out when Lakshya called from behind, “Ragini…..this is unfair!”
I turned to him and replied, “It isn’t. She is my sister and I can’t let her sleep alone in a guestroom. She needs me and I will be there for her.” Swara smirked at Lakshya.
There was a battle of eyes between us. Lakshya’s were pleading while mine were resigned. As much as I wanted to be with him, Swara needed me. And I would not repeat the mistake of choosing Lakshya over her again. Ever.
Finally, Lakshya’s shoulders slumped. He picked up his pillow. “You both stay here. I will go and sleep with Bhai.” he said.
As he passed us, he stopped next to me and looked at me. I turned to look at him too. I don’t know what it was but there was something in his eyes. Something I couldn’t place. I gave him a small smile while he shook his head and moved out. I turned to the bed and saw Swara sprawled across it, grinning ear to ear. She patted the little space on her right and indicated for me to come. I gave her an indulgent smile and went. Soon, we were b*t*hing about our husbands and our lives. However, Lakshya was still at the back of my mind.
***END OF FLASHBACK***
It had been sadness. That look in Lakshya’s eyes. It was quite later when I found out that Lakshya had realised that I had chosen Swara over him. And the thought that he had been replaced by her as my first priority made him sad and full of grief. It is always hard, to choose. Between Lakshya and Swara. One is my sister while one is my love. One is my supporter while one is my support. One is my strength while the other is my weakness. I needed them both. I decided to mend their relations as soon as we returned. Swara and Lakshya would be what they had been initially. Shona and Lucky. Best friends.
I moved the rice on my plate carelessly, not feeling hungry for the first time in my life. My mind was occupied with my parents. We would be having dinner together tomorrow. The thought made me smile.
Ranveer’s voice came to my mind, ‘Control yourself. Stop grinning like a fool! Apart from Mausi, Mausaji and Suhani, no one knows that Mom and Dad have been found. We are still supposed to look like upset children of missing parents.’ I masked my features into a platonic one.
“Papa, I have asked the inspector to use helicopters and all. To find Ragini and Lakshya. It has almost been ten days. We need to find them.” Bade Papa said. Ranveer stiffened.
Bade Dadu nodded. “It is a good thing that you spoke to the inspector. My son and Ragini have been missing for too long. We can’t just sit here and wait with folded hands.”
Badi Dadi sighed. “I have no idea what has happened to this house. The death of Nivedita has shocked me. The police recovered that note which said that she had killed her father for a property dispute and since she couldn’t live with the guilt, she comitted suicide by consuming poison. I had no idea that she was so vicious. Thank God she didn’t marry my son.”
Ranveer and I looked at each other. Even we had no idea that Nivedita was capable of such evilness. But then, we had no idea that Mom and Dad could have been so evil in the past too. I guess it depended on the situation. We had known that Nivedita and her father were involved in a property dispute with her uncle. Her father’s death could make Nivedita richer. The lack of funds was a major reason why she was after my Dad. And after Dad had ditched her at the altar, she needed money and so, killed her own father. And now she was dead. I wasn’t really unfeeling. I felt sorry for her and felt bad that she had to take such a drastic step. God rest her soul in peace.
Ranveer looked at me. ‘Abbey ye Bade Papa ab kaise jaag uthhe? How come he is out of his slumber now?’ I shrugged.
Alone in our room, we discussed the possibilities of finding Mom and Dad before noon. The chances were high. According to Ranveer’s map, they were both quite near the Northwest border of the forest. If they walked at a good and steady speed, they would come out easily within three hours. And it is an hour’s ride to the mansion. Everything would be okay.
About Kavya. Suhani and I had decided with Ranveer that we would confront her. A single hack into the City Registrar accounts by Ranveer disclosed that Kavya Malhotra worked in a small company. We had taken an appointment to meet her. Suhani had volunteered to take lead. She was ready to use coercion, blackmail, bribery and even force and violence to get the truth out. And we were thankful to her.
“Ranveer, you remember that party night?” I asked him as we laid on the bed. Ranveer smiled and nodded. “Who can forget that night? Mom and Dad were on fire! Like really, passionate as hell!” And we reminisced the time of the party after the pooja.
“Ye yahan baanda, this goes here, and done! My sons are ready to rock!” Dad clapped happily.
We were all wearing tuxedoes. The only way to distinguish between us was that Dad had gelled his hair backwards while mine were falling in front of my eyes. Ranveer had tousled his hair and was wearing his large black spectacles and was looking really cool.
“The entire female population of Kolkata would fall at our feet. All three of us are looking so wonderful. These tuxedoes are from my latest ‘Men In Suits’ collection. The one which I am wearing was worn by the showstopper. I got a standing ovation.” Dad chattered as we walked out of the room. I saw ahead and my mouth hung open wide. Ranveer was in a similar state. Dad noticed and looked in the direction we were looking. And his eyes widened.
Mom was walking gracefully towards us in a beautiful white and silver ball gown which had no sleeves and had an illusion neckline. Her curled hair was arranged beautifully up on her head and pinned with silver clips. With minimal makeup, except for the shimmer on her eyes and her lipstick, and her silver jewellery, Mom left us three far behind in the gorgeous department. We had seen Mom in western dresses before but never like this. She was looking truly breathtaking.
She spotted us and smiled softly. She reached out and tousled Ranveer’s hair even more and fiddled with my kerchief. She stepped back and clapped her hands in delight. “Oh, my sons are looking so handsome! Really gorgeous!”
Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Dad’s face fall as Mom didn’t compliment him. He tried valiantly to get her attention but it seemed that Mom was very happy that her sons were looking good. So happy that she was ignoring Dad.
“Of course, they are my sons! Would look like models. Just like me.” Dad said as he attempted to catch her attention for one last time. Mom turned to him and gave him a critical look. “Hmm……even you don’t look half bad. Good going.” Mom said and then linking her arms with Ranveer and me, went ahead. We gave Dad an apologetic smile as he stood there in shock.
Revenge is sweet. Dad tried to act cool before the pooja and Mom paid it back with interest before the party. My parents are so cool, no wonder I am so amazing!
The guests seemed to be bowled over by all four of us. I looked around and found Suhani and Sanya in matching fuschia gowns, looking really pretty. Ansh was sporting a black shirt with black trousers and a white waistcoat. The rest of the women were dressed in saris, save Mausi, who was wearing a purple gown. But hey, no one and no guest was looking as good as me. Or Ranveer. Or Dad. I sighed in frustration. It was sometimes a bane to have two lookalikes.
Nivedita jumped on Dad. She was wearing a royal blue off shoulder gown which had a slit to its side and showed a great amount of her leg. Her hair was arranged magnificently on the top of her head. She was looking good. Ranveer and I have her the necessary polite compliments and then ran off to where Suhani was quarrelling with a waiter.
“Arrey, what do you mean by Chilli potato is over? When will you restock?” She asked him angrily. He looked a bit scared. Suhani was looking beautiful in her pink gown and French braid with a dash of eyeliner and lip gloss but she was also the elder daughter of Swara Sanskaar Maheshwari who could scare the living daylights out of anyone. Suhani seemed to be walking in her footsteps. Hereditary shit.
“Arrey, look! Karan Jaiswal!” I said. Ranveer smirked. Karan Jaiswal is Suhani’s classmate who she has a ‘tiny’ crush on. Very tiny. I hope you get what I mean. Although my cousin is an amazing girl, her crush on him makes her look rather silly in front of him. So, she tries to avoid him.
My words had the desired effect. Suhani stiffened and walked away, without looking back. The waiter gave me a grateful look. But hey, I wasn’t going to let it go so easily.
“So where ARE the Chilli potatoes?”
I watched on distastefully as I saw several men approach my mother and try to flirt with her. Mom was bearing it all gracefully but I felt rather uncomfortable for her. I saw Ranveer approach her and ask her for a dance. She gave him a beaming smile and excused herself. He led her to the floor and they started the waltz. He whispered something in her ear and she giggled.
I admit, I was quite jealous. I know that Mom doesn’t differentiate between us but I wished I had danced with her too. I saw Ranveer nodding to me. ‘Keep her engaged. Dance with her as soon as I leave. We can’t leave her alone.’ his voice came to my mind. I nodded back in understanding and walked towards them. But before we could do anything, a man asked for Mom’s hand and being the polite lady she is, she couldn’t refuse. Soon, they were dancing together but Mom was clearly uncomfortable. The man was too close for anyone’s liking. Plus, he had this weird smile on his face…………………
And then, it happened. As he twirled her, she rotated and fell in Dad’s outstretched arms and Dad smiled tightly at the man and started dancing with Mom in his arms. I smiled widely. Dad to the rescue! The song changed and Mom and Dad occupied the centre stage and the other couples moved away.
Aaj ro len de ve jee bharke
Meri saanson se daga karke
Tu gaya mujhko fanaa karke
Mera zakhm-e-dil hara karde
Is gham ki ab dawa karde
Nazron ko bawafa karde
Dad passed his hands through Mom’s arms as his face nuzzled her hair. Mom closed her eyes tightly and allowed Dad access to her neck. He lifted her up, her back pressed to his chest.
Aadat hai teri
Ya tera nasha hai
Kaise bataun tujhko rehbara
Ve aaj ro len de ve jee bharke
Meri saanson se daga karke
Tu gaya mujhko fanaa karke ve jaaniya
Mom tried to move away but Dad pulled her back and spun her around, twirling her. She collided with his chest and he encircled his arms around her waist and they started swaying. Dad dipped Mom and as the next line started, brought her up with his hand cupping her cheek.
Saanson ko teri zaroorat
Kare kaise bayaan koi
Ankhon mein hai aisi rangat
Ke roshan ho jahan koi
Dil bimar ae mohabbat
Bas chahta thodi raahat hai
Dad held Mom’s hands and rotated her so that her back was pressed to his chest. His face nuzzled the skin below her ear and Mom closed her eyes.
Tera gham hi meri manzil hai
Tu na kyun mujhko haasil hai
Hoon main dariya Tu hi saahil hai
Ve aaj ro len de ve jee bharke
Meri saanson se daga karke
Tu gaya mujhko fanaa karke o jaaniya
Ve jaaniya.. O jaaniya
The single spotlight on them was loyally following them around as they spun and Mom danced in Dad’s arms. The steps weren’t complicated and to be honest, I was 100% sure that no one was focussing on the dance steps. All had eyes for Mom and Dad’s scorching chemistry.
Hmm.. Zinda hoon hai mujhko hairat
Main tere bin jiya kaise
Hmm.. saanson ne ki aisi zurrat
Zehar hans ke piya kaise
Tere dard se meri nisbat hain
Teri yaadon ki haseen sohbat hain
Dad and Mom swayed while Dad dipped Mom and glided her across the floor in that manner. She came up with a jerk and bowed a little before Dad picked her up and rotated her in his arms.
Ashqkon se dil ko tar kar de
Meri aahon mein asar bhar de
Meri nazron pe nazar kar de
Ve aaj ro len de ve jee bhar ke
Meri saanson se daga karke
Tu gaya mujhko fana karke
Dad picked up Mom in bridal style and rotated her for a last time and as the song ended, he put her down gently and dipped her on one arm for a final time. There was thunderous applause but my parents had no eyes and ears for anyone else. They were staring at each other.
Ranveer whispered to me sarcastically, “Do something! At this rate, Dad’s marriage would break off! Look at Nivedita, she looks ready to murder! Dad would be left alone and his heart would break with the loss of his Chudail fiancée!” I sniggered in response.
Everybody congratulated them on their mind blowing performance and Ranveer and I finally realised why everybody thought that Mom and Dad made a good pair. And got a hint of how we both came to this world. But let’s not dwell on that……………….
“Dad, that was amazing! Very good. Even I want to dance so well.” I said to him when he joined us later. He gave us a goofy grin. Mom was in a corner with Mausi and seemed rather upset. Judging by Mausi’s expression, I knew instantly that she was reprimanding Mom for her dance with Dad. All three of us knew what was happening there. The smile on Dad’s face vanished. I think I even saw his eyes watering a bit. He excused himself and went to the washroom while Ranveer and I were left alone, wondering what to do.
***End of Flashback***
“Dad was such a stud, wasn’t he?” I asked Ranveer. He smiled.
“Dad was a stud who was afraid of telling Mom that she meant the world to him.” He replied. But we would correct it. I was determined to have my family back together.
The door knocked. Ranveer opened it and found Ramu Kaka. “Bade Maalik is calling you Ranveer Beta.” He said. Ranveer looked at me in confusion and then went with him.
I don’t know why, but I was feeling uncertain. As if something very wrong was going to happen.
“Ji Bade Dadu. I will go with Ruhaan. Yes, not alone.” I said to him. Bade Dadu nodded.
At 10 pm, he wanted his medicines which he realised were over. Since I was the only one awake, along with Ruhaan, and knew about his medicines too, Bade Dadu asked me to bring them from the only shop which would be open even at this hour. And that place was five kilometres away from here.
I was walking to my room to call Ruhaan and take my bike keys( I could drive but I was still a minor) when I met Ansh in the corridor. He looked worried.
“Ansh? What are you doing up so late at night?” I asked him. He looked at me as if I had caught him. I smiled at him comfortingly and he relaxed.
“I am…….I don’t know. I just couldn’t sleep. I am feeling restless. I think it is about my reports. Swara Chachi had looked a little worried. I wonder if it is all okay…………….”
I felt bad for him. If my suspicions were proved correct, his whole life would turn upside down in less than twelve hours. I decided to try and lighten up his mood.
“I am going to bring Bade Dadu’s medicines. Will you come with me? The air would do you good and we will even eat an ice cream each. What say?” I asked him. He brightened up and nodded. I asked him to meet me in the lawn in five minutes and went to fetch my keys.
Ruhaan was particularly shifty. He was darn worried about my safety. I assured him that I would take care of myself and after three minutes of my hard work, he finally relented. I jogged my way to the lawn and found Ansh waiting for me. Together, we went out.
The ride was a fun one since Ansh is definitely lighter than Ruhaan. We bought Dadu’s medicines and an ice cream for both of us. We sat in a park to enjoy them. We talked a lot and had a lot of fun but somehow, there was a prickling sensation behind my neck. And that usually happens when I am being watched………………….
“Boss, Ranveer is accompanied by Ansh. Not Ruhaan. What do I do?”
The plan was to wipe out the notorious twins. But the problem was that instead of that mischievous Ruhaan, the son of Adarsh Maheshwari was accompanying Ranveer.
“WHAT? But I had asked for Ranveer and Ruhaan to go! Where did that Ansh come in between from?”
There was a short pause. Boss seemed to be pondering. Finally, he spoke.
“It is okay. Ansh was anyways next on my list. Kill them both. And do not call me again, I am in the midst of something important.”
I smirked. Boss was with another woman tonight. Of course I wouldn’t disturb him. How hard was it to kill a sixteen year old and a thirteen year old? Very easy.
I watched as the two of the three Maheshwari heirs mounted the bike and drove ahead. One hit. And both would be over. I sped up my car and drove at a high speed. I sensed Ranveer trying to go towards the side but I knew it would happen. Just as he moved aside to allow me to go, I moved behind him and pressing the accelerator, collided with the back of their bike. The two boys went flying in the air and hit the ground and rolled downwards towards the jungle. I smirked. Mission successful. Game over for Ranveer and Ansh. Two less people in the world.
I paced the length of the room as I waited for my twin and cousin to come back. What did Bade Dadu mean by sending those two alone so late at night? I was anyways feeling rather bad about this situation. There was a strange sense of foreboding in me. The one similar when Ranveer had told me that Mom was missing.
My thoughts went to a particular incident that happened when we were both just seven. I had a lisp problem. I smiled sadly as I remembered.
“Bhai, mele ko gun dede.” I said as I stretched my arm towards Ranveer who was inspecting my toy gun and trying to open it. He looked up and frowned.
“Why? Can’t you see, I am busy with it? You go and play with Adi and his friends. They like you, not me.” he replied and continued his inspection.
Ranveer had this wrong notion that everybody wanted to play with me and not him. Well, nobody wanted to play with him but he was wrong in thinking that they wanted to play with me. Aditya and his gang called me to play because they liked making fun of me, my lisp and the fact that I didn’t have a father.
I went away and sat down on the swing in the park. Ranveer and I are really close. Sometimes I think he has noticed that I don’t like playing with Adi. But he still sends me to play. But I don’t want to play with anyone else. I just want to play with him.
“Arrey, totla! See, Ruhaan baby!” Adi shouted as he came with his friends. My eyes watered when I heard him. They all teased me a lot. Called me a totla and anaath. Said that my brother was boring which is why I wanted to play with them. I hated them.
Adi and his friends came near me. A boy from the group pulled my hair. I screamed in pain. They all started laughing.
“Momma’s boy started crying? Fattu! Your boring brother has no friends and even you have none. Both of you are losers!” Adi said viciously. I stood up in anger.
“Mele Bhai ke baale mein kuch mat bolo! Woh toppel hai! Uske malks tumse bettel Hain!” I shouted at them. They started roaring with laughter.
I was about to start crying when I felt a small hand on my shoulder. I turned to find Ranveer standing behind me, his small blue plastic spectacles sliding down his nose. He pushed them up and looked at Adi critically.
“Big bully! Stupid boy! Doesn’t know the spelling of Spiderman! What are you laughing about? We should be laughing at you. Does your Mom know that you got zero out of fifty in Maths?” Ranveer asked him snootily. Adi glared at him.
“Shut up Chashmish! Marks, marks! Books! You have no friends! And look at your brother, with his nosey coming down his face!” Adi retorted.
Ranveer looked at me and gave me a sympathetic look as I sniffed and wiped the snot with my sleeve. Somehow, having him close to me was very comforting. We may be twins but Ranveer has always acted as the elder brother, protective and caring.
“Haan, toh? Not like you who did susu in his pants because he couldn’t control it.” Ranveer said sarcastically. Adi came forward to punch him but Ranveer whipped out his toy gun and aimed at him. Adi and his gang started laughing.
“You are brandishing your toy gun? It doesn’t work you fool!” Adi said. Ranveer gave him an evil smile. He pressed the trigger and a jet of water sprayed out of the gun and fell on each boy as Ranveer aimed at everyone. As all the boys looked in shock, Ranveer said proudly, “I fixed Ruhaan’s gun. And put susu in it. Now you all are drenched in my piss! Enjoy!”
Adi lunged forward to catch hold of Ranveer but he moved aside quickly and sprayed more of the piss on Adi who shouted out in disgust. Ranveer ran around the park shouting ‘Happy Holi’ and laughing. The boys left the park to clean themselves and Ranveer gave me a grin.
I looked at him in awe. Ranveer held out the gun for me to hold but I was sceptical. He shook his head as he laughed. “Arrey buddhu, it is not susu. It is just that water which Mom used to soak her dal in! And that smell is just of rotten vegetables which I had put in that water for a few minutes!” He said conspiratorially. I smiled a toothless grin at him.
Ranveer turned serious. “I had suspected that they were bullying you. And then I saw them teasing you with my own eyes. It is okay if they do it to me but I could not tolerate them making fun of you. So I looked up in the internet to find ways to fix your gun. And see, it worked!”
My eyes watered and I pulled my brother in a fierce hug. Ranveer patted my back as I thanked him. I whispered an ‘I love you’ to him and he replied that he loved me too. Then we held hands and went back to the house, with Ranveer explaining to me that I shouldn’t make friends who insult me and more importantly, don’t know the spelling of Spiderman.
***END OF FLASHBACK***
Ranveer is a born genius who showed his brilliance even at that age. And he was the best brother in the world. Living without him is the hardest thing I have tried. There is always a sense of emptiness. We share everything and he uses his aloofness as a shield to stop his true display of emotions. But that shield doesn’t exist for me. I am his brother. And I love him. And he loves me too. I was worried as hell for him. Where are you Ranveer?
Suddenly, a powerful sensation grabbed my head and I fell to the floor, clutching my head. I closed my eyes and saw blood and leaves all around me. The pain subsided and I opened my eyes in alarm.
That was the telepathy. Something had happened to Ranveer…………….
There. There. Ranveer and Ansh in danger. Will Ruhaan be able to save his brothers? And who is this enemy?
Keep reading Tera Mera Rishta Purana to know more. And please do comment and tell me what you feel.
Up Next: Ansh in the ICU, Ranveer missing. Raglak reach home. Ruhaan shattered and going crazy. Swara finds out about Ansh’s parentage. Suhani grills Kavya. And a lot more………………..