Raglak : Love me Like you do : Chapter 9
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So let’s begin our journey
Recap : Ragini’s talk with the researchers, Laksh’s talk with mom and Raglak moments
(Laksh’s POV) – I had been lazy the entire day at my apartment as soon as the clock struck 5 in the evening I decided to charge myself and get ready for the Family Dinner at Dad’s house. I slowly got ready in a black tuxedo and left for my Dad’s House. Apart from Manik and I, all others stay together. Dadaji will also not be present at the family dinner because he has gone to our hometown where my Dadaji had started.
The door was opened by the butler. “Master Laksh”
(Laksh) “Hello Joseph. Where are the others?” Giving him my coat.
(Butler) “In the drawing room, Sir.”
(Laksh) “Thanks.” I went past the study where I saw mom standing.
(Laksh) “Hello Mom”
(Sarla) “Laksh! My dear boy! How are you?” She hugged me. For the huge frame I am, Mom was small, hair upto her shoulders and looked young, full of energy, prim and precisely
dressed. For the attitude my Dad is, she is miles away from his personality.
(Laksh) “I am good. On the other hand, you have put on weight! I thought only pregnant women put weight.” I grinned at her.
(Sarla) “Such a rude son!” She playfully patted me.
(Laksh) “What can I say! You are the one who brought me up to be rude. Always saying, if you have something to tell to your dad when you are angry,”
(Sarla continued) “Just tell me. And it has gone beyond the point of just your dad, hasn’t it?” She smirked. Sometimes I didn’t know if she was serious or saying it just like that.
(Laksh from nowhere asked) “Is being like Dad so hateful?” I took her hands and kissed them. To hear her say that I am becoming more like my Dad, to whom I have barely spoken is a novel’s length in my whole life, felt strange.
(Sarla) “No. It is tormenting to see you like this. If only you choose to have someone much closer to you” Again. No matter how many times she tells me, I don’t think I will ever understand the feeling of need to stay with someone my whole life.
(Laksh) “I know, I know. Just like how you are to Dad. Lets just leave it at that. I am happy the way I am now.”
(Sarla) “I am not.” Mom pouted.
(Laksh) “I know that too. I just don’t feel the need as of yet.”
(Sarla) “What will I do with you, Laksh! You have seen your brothers?”
(Laksh) “Not yet. I saw you before I went to the drawing room. Kavya didn’t come?”
(Sarla) “No. She is busy with her life caught up in meetings like you brothers. She called and talked with Nandini; gave Manik some advice on how to look after Nandini.”
(Laksh’s Pov) Kavya, my only sister, older than me by three years, accepted a business-like marriage but she is happy with her life now. It was a nightmare when she got married. We were so sure it would end up in divorce.
(Laksh spoke) “Why am I not surprised!” Kavya is a feminist but she is not all about equality in gender. She would say, girls will be those jobs girls can do, rest are guy’s job. Equity she says. No one can argue with her about anything.
(Sarla) “Where is your fiancée?”
(Laksh) “Car has gone to pick her up. Dad was not there in today’s meeting. Any problems?”
(Sarla) “He was not there? Are you sure?”
(Laksh) “I headed today’s meeting. He didn’t tell you where he went?”
(Sarla doubted and spoke) “No. He said he was going to the company.” Very strange. Dad never hides anything from mom.
(Laksh) “Well, don’t worry about it. He will tell you soon enough.”
(Sarla) “Also Laksh, don’t tell anyone yet. I got this news from your dadaji, Swara is also pregnant.”
(Laksh on cloud 9) “Really? My god! I would have gone and visited her today then! Why didn’t you tell me sooner!”
(Sarla) “You know that your Dad is angry with her! When I was about to tell him this, I just mentioned her and he went bursting like a cracker. I really don’t know what happened between both of them. It is most likely that she would be reducing her work. What is wrong with that? Don’t know what is going on in his mind!” Well, it is not exactly that. It is just knowledge versus experience in their case.
(Sarla) “In any case, lets not keep chatting. I got a call to make. Go see your brothers. I will be right behind you.”
(Laksh’s POV) She smiled widely at me but she cannot fool me. She is worried about Dad who didn’t come to office today. If only I knew, I wouldn’t have told her about it. Others were there in the drawing room. We exchanged formalities, talked about business and how life was going and Dad came in the meantime. What is keeping Ragini so long? I just hope that she doesn’t embarrass herself. The best thing for her to do here would be to keep quiet.
Finally, she came a few minutes before dinner. She wore an elegant evening gown, looking gorgeous in red. Swara must have told her to dress formal. Mom was thrilled when she saw her. She eyed at me saying that we had to talk and helped Ragini settle in. Dad didn’t like the fact that Ragini was here same as I, but like me, he couldn’t go against mom. He is the leader of the group while she is the leader of the house. The evening went without much trouble. Nandini couldn’t eat anything and was embarrassed. Ragini fit in naturally. I couldn’t do it no matter who the other party would be. She should be a natural socialite. I already her told about my family members. Starting with Kavya, then me, next Manik younger to me by three years, Abhishek younger by Five years and at last, Romi younger by Seven.
When Ragini was ready to leave, I started with her. Mom pestered me to stay but I clearly told her that I will talk to her later and we left.
(Ragini) “You know, you didn’t have to come with me. I could have caught a cab.”
(Laksh’s POV) I really don’t like staying in that house. Not that I hate my family or anything, I just couldn’t stay in the same house as Dad.
(Laksh in monologue) “I don’t live there anymore.”
(Ragini) “I see.” She didn’t ask anything further about my accommodations.
(Laksh) “I got my own apartment here. It is easier to stay there.” She just nodded.
(Ragini) “I wonder how it would look. Your apartment. Anyway, your mom is very sweet. She told me to come again for sure.” Did she just make a pass at me or genuinely wondered aloud?
(Laksh) “Why not? Go visit her whenever you please.” Mom seems to like her a lot. Its Mom’s wish as to whom she wants to talk to and not.
(Ragini softly) “Your mom looks young.” I looked at her puzzled. Seeing my reaction, she instantly spoke fast, almost in panic. “I mean, you have an elder sister. Thinking about it, your mom must have married young. You seem very close to her.” I was shocked to see her notice so much.
(Laksh) “Really? So am I a mama’s boy?” I didn’t think it was evident that I cared about mom.
(Ragini) “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that you adore her, love her and she loves you. You show it clearly in your actions. You are closer; even more than I am with my mom is what I feel.” How did she pick it up within the two–three hours she was here? Though I wanted to ask her, my pride stopped me.
(Laksh) “Is that a compliment?”
(Ragini) “Of course! And what is the meaning of the glance she gave you when I entered?” She saw that. I chuckled.
(Laksh smiling wickedly) “A secret!”
(Ragini) “Come on! It is something about me, isn’t it?”
(Ragini) “Cheater!” She pouted playfully. When I am with her, I don’t have to keep my guards up. I can be myself since she knows that I am not really a polite person and she doesn’t expect otherwise.
(Laksh suddenly in his low voice spoke) “She is not my birth Mom, you know.” I didn’t believe what I said. Why did I tell her that?
(Ragini) “What?” She looked shocked. Just when I felt I could relax, I had to blurt it out. The air got tense.
(Laksh continued) “My Mom died giving birth to me. Kavya was three. Dad married mom in a politically arranged marriage.”
(Ragini)“I don’t know what to tell.” Looking at her be so nervous, fidgeting, I couldn’t help but laugh.
(Laksh) “Ha ha. You don’t have to be so anxious. We didn’t endure any step Mom treatment. Infact, she loved us. She didn’t want a child till Kavya said that I was not cute and pestered her saying that she wanted a baby sister. Mom still laughs about it saying how pressurized she was by Kavya’s expectations and how she never got her sister.”
She giggled but by force. Sigh, I really don’t mind teasing her and almost making her cry because of it but I wouldn’t like it if she treated me differently after hearing this. Seriously, why did I start to talk about this?
(Laksh continued) “Maybe it was good in a way that my Mom died. She didn’t love my Dad and had the children of a man she hated. Though Kavya was less than three, she still remembers vividly how mom ignored her. I don’t understand how she could because I don’t remember when I was three years old but I guess some scars don’t vanish at all. Mom, Sarla, loves my dad with all her heart and his affection for her is obvious. Their compatibility is visible so easily. I am happy my Dad didn’t have a loveless marriage.” I wonder how both of us would have become if Dad never married again.
(Ragini) “Then, why are you staying alone?” The question she asked innocently, struck the core.
(Laksh) “Well, when I started working, it became hard for me and Dad to get on. We didn’t dwell on why there is that problem. Slowly, as my brothers reached college, they moved in with me and we spent time together living in my apartment. We are thick as thieves. Does this satisfy your curiosity about me?” She blushed beet red.
(Laksh) “Its just that you don’t look like someone………. who got along well with your family and………. seeing you together at ease with them…………. kind of made a different impression.” She struggled with words fidgeting with her fingers.
(Laksh on reaching Swasan’s house) “Here we are.”
(Ragini)“Thank you, Laksh. It was nice seeing your family.”
(Laksh) “Welcome. When are you likely to go back?”
(Ragini) “Why do you ask?”
(Laksh) “Well, I thought maybe we could go together. Not in car, of course. I will call my heli to drop us.”
(Ragini) “Well, aren’t you loaded?” Her sarcasm was evident.
(Laksh) “What can I say? I am blessed.” Her face turned from a surprised look to a caring one.
(Ragini very sweetly) “That you are. Bye and Good Night. Drive safe”
(Laksh’s POV) She smiled sweetly, sincerely, and left. Maybe, I shouldn’t have dropped her, instead taken her with me. When I got home to sleep, I remember her question. Why are you staying alone? Alone, uh? Somehow, for the first time I felt lonely in my apartment that I have lived in for more than ten years. Saturday, no meetings, no company, no new mails, no alerts, no, nothing. I have never had a free Saturday in years. Ah yes, mom said Swara is pregnant. I have to visit her. I drove up to Sanskar Maheshwari’s house unannounced. When I rang the bell, Ragini opened it. (Laksh and Swara are not own siblings but they treat each other as one.. they are very close to each other and they kind of understand each other. Laksh is very possessive about Swara)
(Ragini) “Laksh? What are you doing here?”
(Laksh ignoring Ragini’s question asked) “Is Swara home?”
(Ragini politely replied) “Yes, she is. Wait let me call her. Why don’t you come in?” The butler came rushing.
(Butler) “Ms. Ragini! Why did you open the door? You could have asked anyone of the maids to do it.”
(Ragini) “Come on, Bargeman, I can do something as simple as opening it. I was just by the door when it rang. Call Swara. She has a visitor.” The butler showed Laksh to the waiting room and Ragini went back to whatever she was doing. In a little while, Swara came in bursting with energy.
(Swara) “Laksh! What a pleasant surprise! So sweet of you to visit me!”
(Laksh) “You know why I am here?”
(Swara) “Of course! You think I am a fool or what?”
(Laksh) “Then little girl!” I carried her up, who was lighter than ever, “Congratulations! You little rascal! You didn’t even tell me during the trip!” She still feels like the fifteen year- old kid whom I took to amusement park.
(Swara) “You know, I wasn’t that sure. Now, I am banned from travelling.” She tried to sound sad but her face glowed with happiness.
(Laksh) “You better put on some weight. You are as light as a feather.”
(Swara) “If anyone as strong as you carries me, then I must be a feather.”
(Laksh) “Well, I am off today. So tell me where does my little sister Swara want to go? Today I will get you whatever you want.”
(Swara) “What did you get Nandini?” I didn’t get her anything. She is not as special as Swara to me.
(Laksh) “You jealous?”
(Swara) “Of course not! Though I am not a little child, but if you are getting me something or things,”
(Laksh) “You little mischief!!!”
(Swara) “Then I would feel bad if you don’t get anything for her.” She saw through me.
(Laksh) “I got her a bracelet. Happy? Come, get ready. We will leave in fifteen minutes. Where is Sanskar?”
(Laksh) “On a Saturday?”
(Swara) “Don’t start. He is also like you but he is not as workaholic as you are.”
(Laksh) “Fine, lets come back before he gets home.”
(Swara)“How did you come?”
(Laksh) “Don’t worry. It is a comfortable car where you can even sleep at the back. I know that my sis will throw tantrums”
(Swara) “If so, then, can Ragini come too?” I was thinking of inviting her but had my doubts. After a night’s sleep, it felt like I finally sobered up. I shouldn’t get too personally involved. I really don’t know why I told her like an idiot about my family life! She is just a source of amusement to me. I shouldn’t think anymore than that and shouldn’t make anything more.
(Laksh) “Sigh. Fine. It’s your day. Whatever you ask for, you will get.” She rushed out, jumping.
(Laksh) “Hey! Careful!” It fell on deaf ears. It was clear that Ragini was unwilling, yet Swara dragged her with her. We went out together. Swara shopped like mad. She didn’t feel like
a pregnant woman at all except the fact that she refused to eat anything other than drink fresh juices. Ragini tagged along unwillingly and didn’t care to hide her annoyance. Forgetting about that sore thumb, I enjoyed pampering Swara the whole day. It has been very long since we spent time for anything other than work together. When we were returning, Swara slept at the back.
(Ragini spoke) “You know, today it felt like you are Swara’s husband, overjoyed.” Her voice felt bitter but didn’t look it.
(Laksh) “Of course, I would! She is not anybody; she is my little girl! I have been watching her grow since a kid; After her Dadaji’s death, she came and stayed with me and gramps. She is always special. I literally brought her up to be what she is. She is a close friend to Abhishek and Romi. Both of them are crazy protective of her, more than Sanskar or I could ever be. I am ESTATIC! My little sister is pregnant and I have the right to pamper her.”
(Ragini) “Sigh. And she didn’t hold back at all while shopping.” Somehow, she couldn’t dampen my mood.
(Laksh) “Why should she? If you ask her, she will tell you ‘he spends on unnecessary women, what is wrong with spending it on me! At least, I would be a better investment.’ When one of my ex girlfriends heard it, she went nuts and almost struck Swara. Swara avoided it and she embarrassingly fell down. Seeing me laugh out loud was the final straw. She walked out then and there. I think she would be the only girl on whom I didn’t spend any money for breaking up.” I still couldn’t control my laughter when I remember that incident. “I don’t know who to pity.” I didn’t feel like I had to gloat to her. She wouldn’t understand how I feel. “Anyway, you didn’t answer me yesterday, when are you going back?”
(Ragini) “You know, you don’t have to care. You are not needed there that often unlike me.”
(Laksh) “That is true. Since you came here all the way because of me, I think I should drop you back.”
(Ragini) “You don’t have to.”
(Swara) “Just accept it, Ragini! He doesn’t know what to do with all his money. The least he can do is spend it on fuel to drop you back.” Swara sure has a sharp tongue and a wonderful manner of talk. Don’t know if she is supporting me or criticising me.
(Lucky) “You finally got up.”
(Swara) “Yes. With you making so much noise, how would I not!” I didn’t realise that I was talking happily and loudly.
(Lucky) “Tomorrow morning, we will take the car. Heli is a bit busy right now.”
(Swara) “You just don’t want to get stranded there in the middle of nowhere. You want your escape vehicle. Say that.”
(Lucky) “It may be true. Well, have a great evening then. See you tomorrow.” I kissed Swara on her cheeks. “Take care, little girl.”
(Swara) “I will. You also take care of yourself. Life isn’t work alone.”
(Laksh) “Whatever you say.” I smiled back at her and left. I picked up Ragini the next day morning. We got back on Sunday evening and work resumed as usual on Monday.
Precap: Raglak moments and Laksh gets an insight on Ragini’s fear
Sorry from tomorrow till 17th no updates….. Please i am sorry…