Hi guys, Bela is back!!!!!
Guys, thank you so much for your lovely comments and constant support. It means a lot to me. This is the last time I will be saying this…… Keep reading 😛 . And don’t forget to comment. 😀
I wanted to remind you that it is supposed to be a short ff. So you will find the pace fast. But I will try and keep the updates long.
Links to the previous episodes:
Coming to the story, let’s begin Raglak’s heart to heart conversations.
It had been more than a month since our movie date. I had been happy except for the Omi incident. Surprisingly, even Lakshya had a wonderful time. So much so, that he insisted that we go out once every week to any place alone and hang out. He had looked cute while saying this. He had stuttered, dropped his gaze, and then scratched his head and looked at me with a bit of uncertainty. As if I could ever refuse to go out with him!
I had been over the moon with this request and agreed(not immediately, lest he finds me desperate!)
So it was now. After a busy week full of work and decisions, Mr. and Mrs. Lakshya Maheshwari would go out on Saturdays. We had been to orphanages, parks, museums ( I had to drag Lakshya to those) and even to Eden Gardens to watch a cricket match. That had been special. It was fun watching Lakshya cry when Kolkata Knight Riders had lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad. He was so adorable………..!
These were the times I lived for. It was these moments which reminded me why I had fallen for him. He was charming, funny, sweet and kind(when he was not being selfish). It made me fall for him all over again. I didn’t mind my helplessness, I didn’t mind Swara’s efforts to bring out the truth, I did not mind Shomi Ma’s disappointment with me. I just lived the way I had always dreamed of.
Needless to say, both of us had been coming closer to each other. I liked to believe that Lakshya liked my company since he looked forward to these Saturday trips more than I did. Saturdays were reserved for me in his diary. No clubs, no parties, no get-togethers with friends. It was just him and I. Ragini and Lakshya. Raglak.
“RAGINI!” I heard my husband scream. With a sigh, I turned to him. Although I loved him, the only shortcoming of being his close friend was the dependence he had on me. Being of a lazy disposition, Lakshya had this annoying habit of not doing ANYTHING on his own and making me slog and do his chores as well. And unfortunately, a few days back, he had sprained his ankle while he had been dancing in the bathroom. He was bedridden for two weeks and that meant that I had to entertain him 24X7. He was working from home and his laziness had reached a new level altogether.
This time, it was the laptop charger. The laptop was becoming discharged and since the charger was in the cupboard next to him, he deemed it necessary that I come inside the room from the balcony and give it to him.
I started a lecture on independence and self dependence as I handed him the charger. As I turned, I watched Lakshya staring at the screen. He looked…..sad.
Concern filled me and I started apologising to him. With a rueful smile, he asked, “Ragini, are you fed up with me?”
I was shocked. This was unexpected. I had never, I repeat, NEVER felt fed up with him. I told him so angrily and he again gave his sad smile.
“Well, this is why I like spending my time with you. At least someone exists who has no complaints with me.” he said.
I immediately softened. In the two months since our marriage, I had been shocked to realise that Lakshya had serious self esteem issues. He thought that no one liked him for who he was. Unfortunately, the poor guy had no idea that in front of him stood a woman absolutely CRAZY about him. Madly in love with him and his flaws.
I sat down next to him on the bed. He had teary eyes. I made him look at me and said, “Listen Lakshya. Stop this nonsense. You are a great guy. Everybody loves you. You are amazing and you know it. They don’t show but they love you. Stop feeling like this. You are unnecessarily hurting yourself.”
Tears flew down his eyes. He replied through his tears, “If I am so good, why did Swara leave me? If I also good then why is Papa never happy because of me? If I am so good, then why was Sanskaar plotting against me? I am not enough for anyone Ragini. See, even you are crying because of me.”
I touched my cheeks and found the traitorous tear which had sent my husband off to another round of tears. I held his hand and asked, “What happened? Why are you so sad? Did someone say something to you? Papaji……..?”
Lakshya gave a bitter smile, “It happens everyday. Papa is never happy with me. However hard I try, he is never satisfied. He has never been proud of me. Everyday in the office, he would find one way or the other to taunt me about my lack of interest in his business. Seriously Ragini, I am just fed up. I just want to quit. It is so hard. I try my best but I am not Sanskaar. I do not have that business acumen. I am not made up for this.”
I held his hand in mine. “You can’t just give up Lakshya. Cowards quit. You are not a coward. And papaji loves you. He wants you to succeed. This is why he keeps on advising you”. I tried to pacify him. But I knew it wouldn’t work.
“No Ragini. He doesn’t love me. He never did. He loves Adarsh Bhaiya because he always listens to him. He loves Sanskaar because he is as sharp as Papa is. But not me. I am just a waste of space. Even when I was in school, he never attended any of my sports days. He never sat there like other dads and cheered for me. He never pat my head when I showed him my trophies. I had been a naughty child but not so much as others. You know what Ragini, I am the only child of the house who has been slapped numerously by Papa for some reason or the other. I am the only one who has received a beating. He is always disappointed with me. He doesn’t love me.” Lakshya said tearfully.
I knew I had to try another way to make him understand. So I decided to reveal a bit about my childhood to him. I had never spoken about it even to Swara. But now was the time.
“Listen to me. I want to tell you about something. I have never told about this to anyone. I had been four years old when I had realised that I didn’t have a mother like everyone else. Up till then, I had led a very protected life. It was when I entered school for the first time and saw other children’s mothers coming to pick them did I realise that I didn’t have one. So I went to my Dadi and asked her about my mother. Dadi had been busy and so, to put me off, she told me that my mother was in God’s house and she would return only if I was a good girl. If I obeyed my elders, never question them, listened to them and wear traditional clothes and be quiet, my mother would return to me.”
Lakshya gave a gasp. I knew that he had guessed what was coming next. “What happened then Ragini?”
I took a deep breath. “I changed overnight Lakshya. I had been a curious girl who wanted to know reasons for things but I stopped questioning. I changed my wardrobe from frocks to suits and salwaars. I woke up early, prayed to God to keep my mother safe and happy and ask her to return to me. I helped Dadi in all the housework, went to school, ate everything that was served and became an obedient and quiet child. And every night, I stood at the gate of the Baadi and waited for my mother to come back. I waited for hours for any sign of her but she never returned. And every night, I cried myself to sleep, thinking that I must have done something bad which induced my mother to not come back.”
I had been crying while narrating this. Lakshya squeezed my hand sympathetically. I drew up the courage to continue.
“Slowly, I lost all my brightness. I became reserved and people termed me ‘shy’. I blindly followed what my Dadi told me yet my mother never returned. I was convinced that I was doing something wrong everyday and so, I further started closing myself. Later, I became mature and got to know about death and stuff and realised I was never getting my Mom back. Years later, now, I have a mother Lakshya. I love her and I know that all those years, I may have done something good that my wish came true. Yet, I can’t he’ll but hope that my Janki Maa comes back.”
“Is that why you were in the balcony tonight? Or you are awake late every night, standing in the balcony alone? Waiting for your mother to come?” Lakshya asked me with a croak in his voice. He was sympathetic and his eyes were red.
I gave him a winsome smile. “Maybe Lakshya. I have learnt my lesson though. Never make promises that you can’t keep. Because it hurts. My dadi’s fake promise ruined my dreams and my childhood. This is why I tell you Lakshya. Never make promises that you can’t keep.”
Lakshya gave me a sad smile. I smiled back at him through my tears. For a few minutes, there was complete silence between us as I controlled my sobbing and he was lost in his thoughts.
Suddenly, he said, “Ragini……I wanted to tell you something. Promise me you won’t tell about this to anyone and you won’t laugh at me.’
I assured him that I would listen to him and not laugh.
“I have always been good at drawing and painting. I had an interest to pursue it but Dad forced me to go to London to study business after my college.There, I was informed that there was a special provision that allowed any student doing a Majors course to take up a Minors course as well. I was studying Majors in business studies and so, I decided to take a Minors in interior designing. I really liked it and pursued and completed the 2 year course and topped it. So I basically hold a valid degree in interior designing. I never told Papa about it and as soon as I came back, I was asked to join the family business and I had to leave my passion for designing.”
I took a deep breath after my revealation. Surely, she would be angry at me now. Even laugh at me like Swara did when I had randomly mentioned to her once that I like designing. I had been hurt then. I had never talked to Swara about my dreams after that. I had never told anyone about my degree. And I had no plans to, until now.
Somehow, Ragini was different. She always soothed my nerves and made me forget my worries. After she had confided in me, I had felt like telling her about my deepest secret. She was my best friend, I felt that she deserved to know of it.
Breaking my chain of thoughts, I turned to Ragini, who was thinking something. I shook her and asked her about her thoughts.
Her reply surprised me. “Do you want to pursue designing still?” She asked me.
I replied in the affirmative. I was passionate about it. It was my true calling. But I was scared of Dad. I knew he wouldn’t support me.
Ragini took a deep breath. Her next words shocked me.
“Then why don’t you leave the business and join some firm which deals with interior designers?”
I gave her a look which asked if she had lost it. Ragini rolled her eyes at me and said, “Look Lakshya. I see you everyday returning from work upset. You obviously have no interest in working there yet, you go there everyday. Your work output is not satisfactory because your heart is in designing. Then why are you hurting yourself and others? Why are you giving pain to yourself? Make a career in interior designing. As it is your passion, I know that you will succeed.”
“But Ragini, it is going to be hard. There is no guarantee. I may have designs but there is no certainity that those who employ me would like it. I will have to intern with someone before I set up my own practice. And most importantly, papa won’t agree.”
Ragini gave a weird smile. I recognised it to be the one which she used when she had a brilliant plan in her mind.
“I have a plan. We can do one thing. Let us enrol you into an online internship programme. They will ask for designs via post so you won’t have to go to their office. Since you are already sitting at home, you have the whole day to make new designs for your work. After an internship of 2 months, they will issue you a certificate using which, you can easily do freelance designing and build a clientele. It will be good if you wish to open up your own business in future.”
The idea wasn’t bad. However there were many problems. I pointed them out to her:
A) What if it all doesn’t work out?
Her solution: Then go back to being a part of the family business.
B) What if it does work?
Her solution: Make a strong base and then reveal it to everyone. Since you already have an established career, no one can say anything.
C) Most important. WHO WILL DO MY OFFICE WORK WHILE I DESIGN?
Ragini thought for a while. My heart sank. I knew that while everything else could be handled, this was a major issue. My share of the office work had to be completed if I didn’t want anyone suspecting me. Who would do that?
The answer it seemed was ready.
“I will. I will do your work.” Ragini replied decisively.
I looked at her as if she had sprouted another head. How could she do the work? What did she know about our business……
Correctly interpreting my line of thought, she said in an offended tone, “Excuse me! Have you forgotten who I am? I am Ragini Shekhar Gad…..sorry, Ragini Lakshya Maheshwari. Graduate of Kolkata’s biggest business school and a university topper. I studied in the same college as Sanskaar. I was his junior and a topper. I know I can do it. I will take about two days to understand your business and then………Bang! I will do everything. Just trust me once. We can make it work Lakshya.”
“But how can we lie to others?” I asked helplessly. It had to be a wild dream. This can’t be ttrue! My deepest desire was coming true. This must be some dream.
“We aren’t lying. Just hiding things. And it is for the betterment of everyone. No one is going to be happy if all this continues. You still have time to pick up your passion. After some years, no one will give you a job in designing despite your degree. It is best if we try now. If this doesn’t work, we can revert back to our old lives and no one will need to know. Please Lakshya. Just try once. For my sake.”
I agreed to the scheme. It was decided that I would explain the work to her and complete my assignment and give her the job with a new assignment so that she starts from the beginning and doesn’t have to complete my work. Meanwhile, she would enrol me into the online programme and check the headquarters where I would submit my work. The plan was on.
As I slept on the bed, I looked over at Ragini who was on the couch. She really was a blessing. She was doing so much to keep me happy. Maybe this is what life partners do. They hold your hand all the time and never let go. I was really lucky to have her. I smiled and slept. Tomorrow was going to be a new start.
Up next: Understanding between Raglak. Feelings arise. Truth comes out.
Credit to: Bela