Raglak: Sakhi Saiyaan (Chapter: 1)

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Bela is back again with the first episode of Sakhi Saiyaan. I kind of experienced a writer’s block initially but once I started typing, it just came out. I have a test on 17th, Monday so expect an update of Cocktail on 19th, Wednesday. Sorry, I know it is late but I need to prepare. So here you all go……………………….

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I stared at my reflection in the mirror. What have I become? I used to be such a nice girl, Dadi Ma’s princess, the prettiest girl, the ideal daughter and granddaughter. When did I change into this…………..monster? I did look like a witch right now, with kajal smudged around my eyes, hair a complete mess, traces of tears on my dirty face and lips swollen due to bleeding from a cut I suffered when I fell from the car. My expensive pink sari was ripped at some places and bloodstained. What a princess! Even Vikram aur Betaal’s Betaal looked better than me. Thinking about it, tears pooled my eyes again. A lone tear escaped and I winced as it came into contact with a wound near my lips and stung me.

“Laado, are you fine?” my Dadi’s clear gentle voice reached my ears. Wiping off the tears from my face quickly, I turned towards her. She came forward and gently wiped my face with a wet cloth, cleaning the scratches and putting Dettol on it. Whenever it stung, she would blow gently. She loves me too much. So much that it is dangerous. Somehow, I believe, my love for Lakshya is similar to my Dadi Ma’s love for me. She just can’t let me go away from her sight. Maybe this is why she always interfered in my married life. She doesn’t want to let me go. Just like how I don’t want to let Lakshya go.

I was reminded of the divorce papers I had signed an hour ago. I need to tell her about them. I was about to start speaking but she beat me to it.

“What that Lakshya did with you is preposterous! What kind of a man is he? He took an oath during the pheras that he would protect you, when did kidnapping and attempting to kill become protecting? I will not spare him. I will not spare this entire family! Khatu Shyaam Ji ki saugandh, I will make this wretched family eat dirt for how they treated my poor baby. Listen laado, you need not worry. I have a plan. In fact, I have already put it into action!” Dadi Ma whispered with a smirk.

Somehow, the expression on her face, combined with my knowledge of what all she was capable of doing, made my heart race with fear. One thing was clear. It didn’t bode well for the Maheshwari family.

“You know how that useless Lakshya got released from jail so easily? I took my complaint back. And in return, I demanded that Durgaprasad Ji transfer all the property in your name. And he did. It was so amusing to see him sob and plead in front of me. Thandak pad gayi maare dil KO!” Dadi Ma cackled in glee.

I gasped in shock. Oh my God! She did that? I couldn’t believe it! Sensing my disbelief, she opened her bag and produced a bunch of papers which looked legal to me. She gave them to me with a smile. I took them with trembling hands and scanned my eyes over them. With each word, my heart sunk. They were indeed property papers signed by Papa Ji, which clearly stated that the Maheshwari property belonged to me now.

“I HATE YOU! Even if you were the last woman on this planet, I would never love you!”

“It seems that it has become your habit to copy me and take away what was mine. First Baba, then Lakshya…………”

“I am ashamed to call you my daughter!”

“I have no idea what Swara did to get a sister like you Ragini. I thought you were my frieand, my duppate waali dost, but you can never be anyone’s well wisher.”

“You are a devil in disguise!”

“I curse you Ragini, you would never remain happy in your marriage with Lakshya!”

I closed my eyes as the words of my loved ones echoed in my head. Words of anger, pain, disappointment, disgust, disdain, abhorrence. Words that prickled my heart every time I thought of them. I deserved them and I am able to finally understand it now as I am repenting. And it was going fine until now. I won’t tolerate this………………cheap trick that Dadi Ma is playing, making me a pawn. I will not repeat my mistakes. In fact, I would try and mend my broken relationship with my sister. My Swara.

With a huge amount of determination, I stood up from the bed and ignoring the questions made by Dadi, I went out in search of Papa Ji. I could hear her footsteps behind me and her frantic voice calling out my name, but I quickened my pace and went up to Papa Ji’s room, where I found him sitting with his head in his hands.

I gently knocked his door. “May I come in?” I asked softly. He looked up and his face hardened. My heart clenched further. He must hate me more now, even though this time, I did not do anything. But I was here to set right a wrong which I was unknowingly and unwillingly a part of. And I won’t back down.

He nodded briskly and looked at me. “What do you want NOW, Ragini? I have given you everything I had. If it is about Lakshya, then let me tell you, I cannot do anything about it, he isn’t in my control…………..” he said fast. I sat down at his feet and he stopped to look at me.

“You gave me everything you had but did I ask for it? My Dadi did, but did I ask for it? I didn’t. I have never wanted your money or name or power Papa Ji. I just wanted Lakshya, your son, and my love. I wanted to be his wife, not your daughter in law. So,” I said with a finality in my tone, “I have no need for this.” I said, indicating the papers. I tore them to pieces and heard a shriek behind me. I turned around, knowing already who it belonged to and sure enough, found Dadi Ma standing there, hands on her head, eyes wide in despair and mouth hung open. She looked rather funny and an unwanted giggle escaped my lips. I saw Papa Ji looking at me in confusion.

“Oh My Khaatu Shyaam Ji! What have you done Laado? Have you lost your mind? Why……….why did you tear those papers?” Dadi Maa asked me as she snatched the pieces from my hand and tried to put them together as if she was a child and they were parts of a jigsaw puzzle. She would never be able to join them, she didn’t know how to read English. I smirked in my mind.

“Because I don’t want property!” I replied simply. I looked at Papa Ji, who was still staring at us in confusion. I felt an unexplainable urge to pat his bald head soothingly but I laughed it off.

Dadi Ma looked at me with rage in her eyes but I was not to be scared now. I am not a child whose every decision needs to be taken by her elders. I would take my own decisions, without anyone’s influence on me. I would do what my heart wants. I would do what my mind says. And I knew what they both wanted.

“Laado, have you gone mad? This property was worth crores. DO YOU HEAR ME? CRORES! And you let it all go for whom? That boy Lakshya?” Dadi Ma spat at me. I took a deep breath.

“See, Dadi Ma, sorry but I am just fed up. I am fed up of being engulfed in hate and giving it. And I am fed up of this drama. I don’t want something which belongs to another, I have already done that once and I really wish I hadn’t. Lakshya was not mine, he was Swara’s, yet I snatched him and see my condition now! This property, wealth, business and empire belongs to Papa Ji and the Maheshwari family and I am NOT going to snatch it away from them. Especially now, that I am no more a part of it.” I said in one go.

Looking at the two elders in front of me, I joined my hands. “I am really sorry Papa Ji, for all that I have done. I know a sorry isn’t enough but I have nothing other than my shame, guilt and desperation to prove that I regret everything. I was not brought up this way and I think that my obsession blinded me to my loved ones’ feelings. I cannot say that the old Ragini is back, she will never be back. She was a pure soul who had no stain on her and who was incapable of negative emotions like hate, anger, jealousy and malice. I will never be able to wash the stains on my character in my entire life now, even if I do repent. Because however hard I try to move on, it will never change the fact that I tried to kill my sister, I defamed her, I accused my former best friend and brother in law of molestation, I tried to malign the character of my sister and my husband and that I acted like I lost my memory just get back in this house. These things will remain written in my past. And I will pay for my sins one day, surely I would. And I would remain bitter about my failed love story. But I now want to ensure that these are the only sins to my name. I will try and remain good and happy throughout my life, and I will never hurt anyone for my selfish motives. I have learnt my lesson.” I said, tears rolling down my cheeks. I recalled all those times when I hurt Swara and yet her belief that I would reform. I recalled my misdeeds. I would be forgiven but these sins would never be forgotten. I had made a big blunder and karma would bite me back.

Papa Ji placed his hand on my head and spoke, “I am glad that you have reformed Ragini. It is true, everything you said. But I think you are wrong when you say that the old Ragini can never be back. Old Ragini doesn’t mean we want you as the shy, naive and innocent girl. It means we want you back with your former kindness, benevolence and positivity. You were a strong and large hearted girl who accepted your father’s lover as your mother and his love child as your sister. You gave them love and respect till this whole fiasco occured. Believe me, whatever happened was necessary for your character growth and personality development. Now, you are more capable of differentiating between what is wrong and what is right. You have grown up truly now, as a human, as a woman and as a mind and soul. Everyone makes mistakes but only those who can recognize their mistakes, own it and repent come out stronger and victorious. You, my dear girl, are a strong lady and your guilt and willingness to repent is a major proof of it. Your new resolve will always give you strength to keep moving forward and never look behind.”

I smiled up at him as I looked at him. He smiled back and patted my head again. He straightened up his shirt and then in his usual authoritative voice, said, “I will go now to meet Annapurna. She may get discharged today.” Opening his watch, he looked at the time and muttered, “It is the right mahurat!”. Then, he walked away. I shook my head. Some things would never change!

I looked behind me and saw Dadi Ma gaping at me. Before I could say anything, she blurted out, “When did you become so sensible?” I narrowed my eyes and replied sweetly, “A few seconds ago.” Dadi smiled a little and hugged me tightly.

“I am happy laado. You have prevented both of us from bringing another disaster upon ourselves and the families. You have truly grown up and I am the proudest.” She said as she kissed my forehead. I smiled at her and bid her goodbye.

I walked up to the terrace and sat looking at the sunset. The sky was like a painter’s canvas, with its red and yellow and blue and orange hues. A light breeze was blowing and I smiled as I felt it on my face. A lot of things about me have changed in these many months. I have learnt and mastered the art of sarcasm and irony. I have learnt to hide my emotions from showing on my face or eyes. I have learnt cynicism. I eat less, I hardly get sleep at night and I barely feel emotions strongly now. It is as if I have become immune to the world and its many traps. The only thing, or rather, the only person who was an exception to these cases was Lakshya. But after what happened, I think I have lost my zeal to fight for him anymore. I will divorce him, leave him and lead my life in one corner of this world, far away, from where even my shadow won’t bother him. A tear escaped my eye again. I will close my heart now. I will be a good wife to Mr. Lakshya Maheshwari till the time we are legally married. But I will go away once it all ceases.

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I sat on the sofa, looking at my mother. I know that she was the only reason my father even bothered to bail me out. She was lying on the bed, breathing deeply in her induced slumber. She is beautiful. Her clear and fair skin was pale right now, but in her better days, she glows like an angel. Her black hair is long and reaches to her waist. As a child, I used to sit in her room, watching her comb her mane in fascination. She hardly kept her hair open all her life and moreover, kept her head covered, which was a real pity. My mother is beautiful and just oozes a sense of motherliness no one else does. Yet, somehow, I feel not so connected to her. I mean, I love her, she loves me, I can do anything for her but still, she is not the most important person in my life. No one is. I think I am weird. Must be Ragini’s effect, that woman is a sure weirdo!

An image of Ragini came to my mind. She was smiling sweetly at me, with my shirt in her hand. I shook my head to clear my head. Why was I thinking of her? She is a snake! She has spread so much poison amongst us that I almost became a murderer. I fought with Sanskaar, insulted Swara, conspired, kidnapped and attempted to kill her. I was never like this. She made me do this. I would never forgive her.

And now, this divorce. Her Dadi would try to stop it, I know. And I won’t let it happen. I need to get people to my side and support me. Even though Ragini wants divorce too, she is too impressionable. She could easily come in her manipulative grandmother’s words.

I stood up to leave. The doctors had advised to let Maa spend the night at the hospital. She would be discharged tomorrow. I would come tomorrow to pick her up.

As I drove back home, I replayed the entire sequence of events. I admit that I was wrong. But even she wasn’t right. Nor was she showing signs of redemption or regrets earlier. I guess my actions gave her a shock. And she needed it. Damn her, I lost my love because of her. I lost my dreams, my chance at happiness and my peace of mind. Serves her right if she is heartbroken!

Yet, the alacrity with which she agreed to sign the papers made me pause. She wasn’t up to something again, was she? I mean, how did she agree so easily to leave me, when initially, she couldn’t even think of it? It was fishy, to be sure. I would have to keep an eye on her.

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I looked at the Moon as I sat on the swing. Sanskaar had asked me to give a try to our marriage. And yet again, I was unable to give him a reply. He had once again just smiled sadly at my lack of response and said that he understood and that I could take any amount of time I wanted and the answer could be a No too. He is too sweet, that sometimes, I feel like a monster who is playing with his emotions. Ragini is responsible for putting me in this mess. Had she not done what she did, I would have been happily married to Lakshya today. Instead, I was in a confusing marriage to his brother while Ragini was in an unhappy one with him. What did she get? Was this her dream? Now, because of her recklessness, six lives were destroyed. Sanskaar, Lakshya, Ragini, Ma, Baba and I, all were suffering.

I saw her passing by in front of me, a jug of water in hand. Whatever happened, she was still my baby sister. I could never hate her. I stood up and followed her. I guess she sensed my presence, for she stopped in her tracks and turned around. Her face was pale, except for some redness in some parts due to the scratches she suffered. It was blank and I could not detect a single emotion.

We looked at each other, eyes locked in a battle of unspoken words. She had been horrible and cruel to me, but even I had been really harsh on her with words. I couldn’t help it then. I was so frustrated with her and her ways that I wasn’t thinking straight. When did Ragini become such a negative influence on others? It seemed that people tended to do wrong whenever she was around. She raised an eyebrow at me and sensing that I would have to say something to stop her, I asked, “Are you fine now?”

She looked at me hard for a few seconds then nodded briskly. Even from where I stood, a few feet away, there was no denying that Ragini was a very beautiful woman. Her features were sharp, her height towered over mine by a few inches, her figure was shapely and womanly while her complexion was clear and smooth, her skin, a beautiful shade of toffee brown and always glowing. Her bow shaped pout was peony pink naturally. Her long thick hair was of mixed shades of brown and black, cascading down her slim waist. Looking at her, no one could even think that she was as ruthless as she had proven herself to be. Her light brown eyes were almost hazel and were still tinted with a warmth, far in contrast to her actions. She is my sister, however mysterious she is. I stepped forward.

“I…….I am sorry for what all I did Swara.” Ragini’s words made me stop and look at her in shock. Did she just utter those words I had been longing to hear? Words of regret, repent, guilt and shame? I looked into those beautiful doe shaped eyes again and found them a bit blank, but nonetheless, a bit warm. I noticed Ragini’s pale face again and realised what a tough time this was for her, even it had been brought upon her by herself. She looked so tired. Reaching out, I placed my palm on her cheek and lightly stroked the milky skin. And just like old times, I pinched and pulled her cheek a little and then stepping back, giggled in mirth as her cheek jiggled with the force. Her face was just like a baby’s, especially her cheeks. She looked at me, eyes huge as saucers, with a shocked expression on her face.

“S……Swar……Swara?” she whispered in shock and my laughter ebbed slowly. She was still uncomfortable, I could see. Uncomfortable, but not unfeeling. Her eyes were suspiciously glassy and I found my own cheek moist with a stray tear. And then, it broke. I engulfed her in a bone crushing hug, sobbing on her shoulder, passing my hand through her luscious brown curly locks. Her left arm came around my waist while her right palm pressed to my back. I broke down, completely and unashamedly, savouring the feel of my beloved sister in my arms once again, just like old times.

“Is everything okay Swara? I know I am the last person on this Earth you should be trusting, but I swear, I am repenting. I will help you out, no matter what. If someone is troubling you, you can always tell me, I will scold them.” Ragini said in her baby like voice. I chuckled through my tears and pulled back. She wiped my tears away and kissed my forehead gently, but hesitatingly. I grinned and gave her a sloppy kiss on her forehead in return to which she made a face as she wiped off my saliva from her face.

“I just washed my face and now you are smearing your thook on it!” Ragini whined. I couldn’t help it. I laughed like a Maniac, till tears of joy and peace rolled down my cheeks. I had my Ragu back. I had my sister back!

We were alone in that floor and so, we sat down on the ground itself, facing each other with our backs pressed to opposite walls. Ragini drew her knees to her chest and smiled at me.

“I am really happy you have forgiven me Swara. You were the one person who ACTUALLY had the right reason to hate me but you didn’t. And today, if you and I are now together like this, it is because I was inspired by your kindness.” Ragini said to me. I smiled softly.

“I could never hate you, just the way you could never hate me. I know that you never hated me Ragu. It was not really difficult to see genuine happiness on your face when I returned alive after your marriage. Nor was it a Herculean task to spot genuine desperation and hurt at my condition sometimes. I have admitted to myself that all of us, including you yourself, had a role to play in what you did. It seems disgusting now, the realisation that I was about to marry a guy I myself had warned you against and someone who I knew you loved dearly. I guess I was foolish to think that I was in love with him. It was a childish infatuation. I would have turned unhappy later on. You saved me from that fate.” I said to her. She smiled coyly.

“How do you know that it was a mere infatuation and not love? Unless……………….you have now experienced love yourself to compare it with!” she said.

My heart stopped beating for a second. She was right. How was I SO sure that I still wasn’t in love with Lakshya? My only reason to deny him a second chance was not just because he was my sister’s husband, it was because I was convinced that we never truly loved each other, let alone trust each other. How did this realisation happen?

“Sanskaar!” Ragini whispered softly, watching my face closely. I looked up at her and she gave me a half smile.

“Sanskaar has made you realise Swara, what true love is. I have made you realise the power of true love. How love affects a person. But I think that majorly, it was him. He really loves you and even your overanalyzing mind cannot deny that!” Ragini said to me.

Imitating her, I pulled my knees to my chest too and hugged them. “Sanskaar asked for a chance for this marriage today. I didn’t give him an answer.” I said to her in a blank voice. Somehow, my heart knew that it would ultimately be HER, who would show me my way. My sister, the woman who truly knew and understood people.

“Why?” she asked me. I shrugged. I had no idea why I couldn’t answer. I heard a sigh.

“Maybe because I didn’t plan my life this way. I never imagined I would be in a marriage based on compromise. I didn’t marry Sanskaar for love and neither was it arranged. It was a contract which was forcefully turned true. I never wanted such a life. This isn’t my dream!” I said in a rush. Yes. This was right. I had a valid reason.

I looked up and saw Ragini laughing at me. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. “Swara, do you REALLY think that what you want in life is always the best thing for you? You may not have seen this dream but can you deny that with Sanskaar’s love for you and your own growing fondness and respect for him, your marriage can actually work?” she asked me. She wasn’t wrong. I did like Sanskaar more than a friend. I had admitted it to him too, adding that it didn’t mean that I would accept him. I cringed at that memory. How could I be so insensitive? Why couldn’t I accept him? What was stopping me?

“I will tell you something Swara. What you dream of is not always what you get and sometimes even the opposite is true, what you get is not what you dreamt of. Look at me, I wanted to get married to Lakshya and I did, but I dreamt of a happy life with him, not what I am living right now. I have learnt now that it doesn’t matter whether you have what you desired for. It matters if you are going to be happy with what you have or not. I have what I wanted and desired but I am not happy. Whereas, you have something you never wanted while I am sure, you are much happier than you had ever hoped you would be, if you leave alone your worries regarding me.” she said.

I realized that every word which came out of her mouth was absolutely correct. I was much happier than before with Sanskaar. In all these months, apart from Ragini, I had been really well content. If I tried more, I could be the happiest person alive. And this was just because I had Sanskaar beside me. He was my companion, my friend, my advisor, my mentor, my savior and my…………..husband. He had selflessly helped me out, expecting nothing but a chance and if I couldn’t even give him that, then it was extremely shameful and stupid.

“I know you know what is right Swara. You just need encouragement to walk down that path. So listen here. You are no me who will play with the life of the man you have feelings for and Sanskaar is definitely not Lakshya, who will not trust his love and will try to harm his wife. You know Sanskaar better than me now, it is you who has spent time with him all these months. If you can recall one reason not to give him a chance, don’t give it to him. Although, if you can give me so many, I don’t think there should be any problem with him.” Ragini said.

I closed my eyes and an image of Sanskaar, smiling at me, came to my mind. I knew, then and there, what I had to do. I stood up, hugged Ragini once again, whispered a thanks and quickly ran back to my room, where I knew he would be.

I didn’t really look back. If I had, I would have seen my sister cry her heart out, for her own lost love.

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I sat in my vanity, applying my lotion, when he came back. He looked very happy. My heart ached a little. He looked as happy as I had once dreamt he would be with me. What an irony, that this amount of happiness was not at the prospect of being with me rather, it was at the prospect of NOT BEING with me. I smirked at the turn of my fate as I stood up.

“What planning are you doing now?” Lakshya asked me. I turned to look at him. He was standing there with his arms crossed in front of him. I raised my eyebrows in confusion.

“Don’t make such innocent faces at me! I know exactly who and what you are! What are you planning now and who are you plotting against? Get one thing straight Ragini. I have called everyone from the two families tomorrow when Maa gets discharged. I would be telling about our divorce then. Pack your bags and just leave tomorrow​ with your family. And don’t you dare look back or try to trouble anyone. Because the next time, Swara won’t be there to save you!” he spat at me. Giving me a last look, he went to the washroom.

I stared in shock at the spot where he had been. What was that? Was this what he felt about me? Was this the extent of his understanding of me? Was this the only credit he could give me? I felt sick and disgusted to the core. Tears, those treacherous tears, came out of my eyes again. The fire in my heart, which I had kept burning solely for him was on the verge of being extinguished and for the first time in these many months since I came to know him, I didn’t do anything about it. I had tried putting out that fire when I learnt about Swara and him but I was unable to do anything. Today, of its own accord, my heart was trying to bleed out his name, and I didn’t want to stop it. If he didn’t love me, it would still have been tolerable. He HATED me. And that was not fine. I had truly lost my love. And the final realisation of this was now making my tears fall endlessly, even though I had come to believe that I was incapable of experiencing such strong emotions.

I decided that enough was enough. Wiping my tears again, I opened my cupboard. From it, I took out a familiar, well worn wooden box whose contents had been my only true companion in this house. What I was about to do would end up hurting me but it was now necessary. My pent up frustrations were becoming poisonous and were slowly killing me. But I wanted to live and live I shall.

Taking the box with me, I went down to the garden, where generally, a bonfire was lit every night to ward off mosquitoes and give warmth to the guards. I went there, arranged the logs and the wood, added camphor and then lit a matchstick to light them up. As I saw the tiny amber sparks slowly gain momentum and spread, I took the box in my hand and opened it. It’s contents made my eyes water.

I first took out a worn yellow parchment paper. It was a letter I had written for Lakshya, a love letter which I had written a day before our second engagement​. I had intended to give it to him after the engagement but I never got the opportunity. Reading it once again, a laugh, devoid of humor, escaped my lips. I was so naive back then. So foolish to think that I could be easily loved. That my life would become amazing. My gaze went to the smudged corners of the letter, an indication of the many tears I had wasted on these words since. There would be no more proofs of my heartbreak now. I held the paper and let it catch fire. As the black words of the paper turned to ashes, my heart felt lighter.

Next, came another piece of paper and I gave an amused smile when I saw a sketch of Lakshya’s face. I had drawn it by my own memory of his face, with no help. I had since, spent many nights, sketching similar portraits, all of which I would quickly throw in the waste paper basket to avoid getting caught. This one, however, was my first and so, very important and symbolic. Not anymore. I crumpled up the handsome pencilled face and threw the paper into the fire, taking great pleasure as the red flames engulfed it, never to let it go again.

My hand picked up a doll next, one, dressed up like how Lakshya was on our first engagement. My eyes narrowed as I looked at it and I recalled the time when Swara used dolls to give me strength. I snorted in disgust as I realised how extremely idiotic I was and grabbing the male doll which I had once adorned with love, I threw it into the fire. A bunch of sparks rose up high as a crackling sound reached my ears. I knew there was another doll, dressed up like me, and I didn’t waste a second before shoving it at the fire too.

Lastly, I held the picture I had of him. This was what I had been given when Dada Ji told me that I was getting married. To me, today, this single picture was symbolic of my ruin and downfall. It was a reminder of my crushed hopes, shattered dreams, endless pain and eternal loneliness. How starry eyed I had been, dreaming of a Prince Charming who would whisk me off my feet and take me to a palace where we would live a life full of love and joy. Lakshya and Ragini Maheshwari. My red eyes, devoid of any emotion, stared at the 5X7″ photo of a smiling Lucky. How happy he looked. How carefree, laid back, arrogant. He blames me for ruining his life but hasn’t his entry ruined mine too? Isn’t he responsible for destroying my dreams and love? And sitting there, under a sky full of twinkling stars, with gentle night breeze around me and a fire in front, I , for the first time, experienced an unflinching disdain for my soon to be ex husband. I could have even said that it was hate, except, that I know it is practically impossible for me to hate him. But yes, I certainly held him responsible for ruining my life as much as he held me responsible for ruining his. I let the picture catch fire while I held its other corner, watching each part of his smiling face turn into ashes. Slowly, I let it go and then, I started crying. And this time, I didn’t stop or control myself. I cried with as much noise I could, draining all my pain and regret with the tears. I hugged my knees close to my chest and burying my face into my legs, I bawled my lungs out. I cried, knowing I had no one who would get my pain and what I had just done, to my memories and so, to myself. I had just set to fire my illusion of perfect love and happiness.

Unbeknownst to me, a pair of dark eyes had watched my actions with a lot of curiosity from a balcony, right above my head, wondering why I had done what I had just done. And he would never know, at least not for the next many months and would understand the significance much later, when he would be in a similar stage in life, ready to break his illusions.

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Can you guess who those dark eyes belonged to? Sorry for the relatively short chapter, as I said, my exam is approaching. Hope you guys understand.

Please tell me how you like Chapter one. Cocktail coming up next.

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79 Comments
  1. Shilpa-Saraj

    Amazing dear… loved it to the core…

    1. Bela

      Thanks Shilpa-Saraj 😘😘😘

  2. its awesome,all the best for ur exams

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot wild rose 😘😘😘

  3. superb…..All the best for ur exams

  4. Shazi.Rajpoot

    This was a phenomenal start! Already a fan of your fanfic πŸ™‚
    Hope to get next part soon I’ll be waiting πŸ˜€

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Shazi Di 😘😘

  5. Sreevijayan

    Amazing update bela..

    1. Bela

      Thanks Sreevijayan 😘😘😘

  6. All the best for ur xams have u taken commerce

    Interesting story
    Laksh eyes I think

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Aanchal😘😘😘
      I took Science with Economics actually 😊

    1. Bela

      Thanks Follybraverl😘😘😘

  7. Superb epi dear…..waiting for next…. all the best for ur exams….

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Lilly😘😘😘

  8. Interesting episode and loved it. Wish u all the very best for ur exams. Waiting for next episode and post soon

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Ammu 😘😘😘

  9. Superrrr

    1. Bela

      Thanks Avika😘😘😘

  10. Berdilla

    superb it may be laksh

    1. Bela

      Thanks Berdilla 😘😘
      I think it’s Lakshya tooπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  11. My god it’s tooo tooo good bela……in love with this ragini….how can a person tolerate this much hatred…..waiting for next dear

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Naz😘😘
      Ragini has had enough I guess 😊

  12. Lovely7

    Amazing sis
    All the best for your exams​

    1. Bela

      Thanks Lovely7 😘😘😘

  13. Awesome.All the best for ur exam

    1. Bela

      Thanks Ammy 😘😘😘

  14. superb

    1. Bela

      Thanks saranya 😘😘😘

  15. amazing update ….

    1. Bela

      Thanks sultana 😘😘😘

  16. Awesome

    1. Bela

      Thanks aleeza2 😘😘😘

  17. Ria

    Belaaaaaaaaaa,
    Omg, this was so well penned. Let me say, frankly, I’ve never such a piece. Actually, it wasn’t Ragini on her own, but even the circumstances forced her to be, what she was. I feel bad for her, actually. From such a simple and innocent girl, she’d turned into a devil. It wasn’t simply because she wasn’t good, rather it was because, she was unjustified.
    I loved how you penned Swara’s voice beautifully, too. Truly, she can’t hate Ragini even after all she did. Plus, I loved how Papa Ji soothed her. His words had been chosen so carefully and correctly, that I couldn’t keep wondering about how better Ragini would’ve felt.
    All in all, the chapter was a great one to start with. I’m looking forward to the rest of the story, but don’t hurry! Waiting for masterpieces as such shall be worth waiting. And good luck for your Eco! Go, rock them Bela! 😍

    – Ria

    1. Bela

      You know Ria, I always thought that Swara was a good character. The only wrong she did was that she became selfish and decided to marry Laksh, despite being knowledgeable of Ragini’s feelings. This one action started a chain if reactions which resulted in Ragini doing what she did.
      This is why I think that Swara turned out so Mahan in the rest of the serial. Maybe, because at the back if her mind, she knew she had been wrong just once and that ruined a lot of lives indirectly. Her selflessness maybe stems from that memory.

      Thanks a lot Ria😘😘😘

      1. Ria

        Aye, it’s not only about Swara. Tellywood deals only with β€˜Mahan-ness’ πŸ˜›

        P.S.: You know what! I’m getting various sorts of ideas for RagLak after reading your stories, again, but idk whether I can write them in my shitty writing skills with the schedule I have. *Cries vigorously, 12th is ugh, yuck*

  18. Asw

    Outstanding Bella poor ragu I think it’s laksh when would u update ur other ff like after kavya track ? All the best for the exam. Keep going

    1. Bela

      Thanks Asw….. 😘😘😘
      I meant to start the sequel to Koi Mujhko Yun Mila Hai Jaise Banjaare Ko Ghar but it is on hold till all my exams get over.
      About the Kavya track……..that will start once Cocktail ends πŸ™‚

  19. AimRagLak

    You know reading this epi I again got reminded that how much I hate everyone in this show.Laksh,swara,sanskar,shekhar,dadi,sumi&DP.Just these people were lucky to be loved back&got people’s acceptance & respect that doesn’t make them good.Everything that is popular is not good.
    Why Ragini said she was her Dadi Maya’s princess?When she always was her robot.She always made Ragini do everything she wanted.Rag was not allowed to feel or wish anything.Anytime Ragini failed to do Anything she wanted she bashed Ragini&made her cry.I have never seen her behaving nicely with Ragu when she was good.
    Shekhar will obviously be ashamed to call Ragini his daughter coz she was Janki’s child.Janki the woman he married in his senses no matter what the back story was & kept ignoring her coz of his lover Sumi.He always saw how dadi treats Ragini,how she crushed her every wish but never botherd to stop her & think about Ragini’s happiness coz he simply didn’t care.Dada was always same too.That is why Ragini always craved for her because deep down she knew no one loves her.She is just everyone’s pawn.She became good in shekhar’s eyes only when she supported him&swara for his & sumi’s marriage.She should not cared about what he thinks of her coz he never actually cared otherwise he would have never agreed for swa–Lak’s marriage.
    I don’t even want to talk about Laksh he is not even worth it.
    Never ever liked Ragini going back to devote swara.I always thought that Ragini will grow truly only when when she will break away from the forced sister bond she had with swara coz the truth is Swara was not only her step sister but her sautan and No one is that mahaan like swa to like their sautan.Not even Ragini.Her attachment&history with Laksh is so deep that she will never able to get over the pain & humiliation of getting rejected by Laksh coz of her if Ragini stays with her & will never be able to gain confidence coz People will treat Ragini as her shadow.
    Yeas punishment&redemption were really needed for Ragini to move on but that punishment was not By becoming swara’s bhakt again like they showd in that serial that if you love her & on her side then your every crime is forgiven but by getting actual punishment.I can ignore the drugging & defaming coz sanky was the mastermind & he got forgiven easily but trying to kill someone is a legally punishable crime.So it would have been the best that if she gave divorce to Laksh first & then confessed her crime to police & went to jail.And after coming out she could have stared her own life away from the maheshwaris & gadodias may be by going to Bikaner to her masi(if Urvashi was not evil.) & starting a new life.
    And swara is will dreaming of being happily married to Lakshya wow.She was dying to hear sorry from Ragini which is completely fair but did she ever think what killed he naive,big hearted&innocent Ragini back then?Was it Mainly Laksh & Sanky the barely known people of her life?May be it is the soul sister whom she thought so highly of that she was ready to fight with the society for her rights,breaking marriage with the guy she loves deeply & giving her beloved mother’s place to her mother?I know She never felt any guilt that she was marrying her sister’s love happily infront of her eyes.She blames Ragini she snatched her everything.Her baba,her Lakshya.I had a bitter laugh reading this.Seriously?Janki ws shekhar’s legalky wedded wife &Ragini was NOT his illicit daughter & Laksh was Ragini’s fiance.So where it came from?But see they presented the story in a way that people failed to notice who snatched whose happiness.Anyway Ragini is the eveil here coz she went against their beloved woman.Ragini is the worst person in this world she will have to apologise even from the drug guru himself coz he is now a saint.
    Seriously no one is more tragic in the story than the villain.Why they even become villain.Its a life of pain&loneliness.
    Anyway all the best for your exams πŸ‘πŸ‘ & sorry for the long comment but I couldn’t stop my self.I just hope now Ragini ll understand a extremely shallow & selfish person like was never a proof of her worth.She will only truely understand her beauty & her capabilities only when she will understand what kind of a person who actually is & will get out of the Shadow of swara&Dadi!

    1. Bela

      You know what, you are right to some extent. However, I would like to say one thing. NO ACTION IS A SINGLE REASON FOR A SITUATION. One action starts a chain of reactions which build up to form a situation.
      The POV was of Ragini and for Ragini, her Dadi Ma can never be wrong. I tried to write it from her perspective and let us admit it, all of us can see what Parvati Gadodia really was but for Ragini, she is her beloved grandmother who brought her up. So I tried to capture that feeling. If I have been brought up by someone, I will always have a love and a sense of responsibility and respect for him or her, same is with Ragini. You can say, that Dadi has brought up Ragini in such a way that even if Ragini knows that her granny is wrong, even then she won’t protest.

      Coming to Shekhar, I never really understood him. But I know one thing, and that was that he trusted Ragini. If what you say had been true, then when Ragini pushed Swara in the river and claimed that she ran away, Shekhar should have believed Sumi in thinking that Swara couldn’t be wrong. Shekhar TRUSTED his daughter Ragini that he was willing to believe that Swara, his own daughter, was wrong.
      Swara………now I think you are being totally unfair. That girl lived without her father for so long. Yes, even Ragini lived without a mother, but at least she had a mother figure in Parvati, even though the latter was Hitler incarnate. Swara had no father figure in her life and to top it all, she deserved to be in Ragini’s place too. She loved Ragini a lot and this is why, through the entire serial, she always forgave Ragini. Like, ALWAYS. I stand by what I said to Ria, that her only fault was that she dared to marry a man she knew her sister loved. She, along with everyone, suffered for it. And that made her the Mahaan Swara we all know. Swaragini was extremely partial towards Swara, for them, it was Swara first, Ragini later(as is evident by the name). In my FF, Ragini has already started on that path of self realisation, when she decided to burn those things. Understand the symbolism. HER IDENTITY IS NO MORE GOVERNED BY WHO SHE LOVES. Everyone connected Ragini to Lakshya, now she will make sure that everyone connects Lakshya to Ragini. She WIPO grow, she will prosper. She will give it back to the haters in her sweet swagger. Let us see how it unfolds. πŸ™‚

      1. AimRagLak

        Sorry dear I don’t agree.Swara was extremely lucky to stay away from the gadodiyas while growing up.That is way the way she is.She was allowed to breath,to dream, to fulfill her wishesh,to think freely,to take her own decision & her family’s support always gave her the courage & confidence.Otherwise her condition would have been like Ragini but I don’t understand why people fail to see that?It was not swara stayed away frm shekhar so she had to face financial problems.She had education,house&everything she wanted which was provided by her family&everyone thought her father was the guy whom shomi got married to.Then she came back, got to know her father & got his name with the help of Ragini.Her mother also got her love coz of Ragini.She never had to feel suffocated like Ragini.Yes Dadi ma brought her up but she crushed her wishes,her hopes&her confidence.She actually became a robot of her Dadi & Ragini had no other choice but to LOVE her coz she knew she had no one to turn to.
        And Shekhar,like I said never cared about what Ragini wanted.If he actually cared about her then her condition would not have been like this&Like I said Earlier Ragini became important to him only when she fought with the society to unite him with shomi which was a great because they both were swara’s real mom dad.Shomi was no one to her.She should have hated her coz her father had an illicit relationship with this woman & her mother always craved for his love but she she gave her mother’s place to shomi and shared her place with Swara.Then shekhar understood his ths daughter has a very kind heart & that s why he thought highly of her.That is why he trusted Ragini not swara.
        And its about chain reactions but the truth is when you get betrayal from the person you trust most it totally breaks you.Swara was like a fairy to Ragini.She was her rock.She knew that if there is one person in this world who will never hurt her was her sister but when she also broke her trust she couldn’t take it anymore.It was the end of her patience.She craved for a mother always coz she was lonely,no one cared about her wishes&only gave her disappointment.She finally hoped that it will change now with Laksh&swara but she again became lonely.Then she decided enough of living for others.What she got from it?The people she loved only hurt her.Now she will go after what she wants & then things just got worse for her and she got tangled in her own web.After all she was the plain jain.How can she get anything she wants.Its always booked for the fairy.So she got the rejection,humiliation,pain,hate etc.
        Anyway It was really good that you made her understood here that he was never worth it.I know she was hurt by swara too that is why she wanted Revenge.Because frankly all these pagalpan more looked like anger&revenge to me.Not only love.She wanted to change her I’ll fate & punish everyone who hurt her by winning this game.So she should understand this also that swara was also never worth it that to punish her she ruined her self.She doesn’t need any soul sister or any prince charming to grow & to do better for herself.All she needs is herself.Everything is within her and she just needs to find it.No more crying or feeling bad coz she lost all the people who loved her.Look where their LOVE brought her.So no need to try to gain that LOVE back coz all she needed was Love for own self.Reject everyday that hurt you,cheated you,humiliated her.
        I hope she will understand there is no need her to be swara’s, shadow.She should be there to help her evertime she can to pay for the sins she did.But no more behnchara please.Its a rewuest. Ragini should feel guilty for every bad thing she did not for the bad things that actually happend to her just coz of the mahaanata logic that swa&her devootes can never do wrong.She needs to stop hating herself.
        Again sorry for the long commentπŸ˜›Forgive me but I can’t tell you how angry still I am about how this show treated Ragini.And I still feel its wrong & after reading your OS abt Ragini’s thoughts I thought I could talk to you & you writting extremely impressagain😜I hope you don’t mind.I won’t annoy you again😜Waiting for your next part✌

      2. Bela

        Totally understanding your point. Every Ragini’s fan is Ragini’s fan because they understand this point. And because Tejasswi is awesome. But whatever we say or do, we an never wipe away her sins. As they say, your good work ha everyone’s contribution but your sins are yours alone. We can play the blame game to eternity and yet, in the end, it was Ragini who did it. Others may have put kerosene but ultimately, it was Ragini who lit the matchstick and dropped it. Which is why I am going to make sure Ragini gives it back to those ‘self-righteous’ people back in her style.
        About Dadi-Ragini, I can only say that it is all about Ragini’s PoV. SHE can never think that she is her grandmother’s robot. But yes, in my FF, she will slowly realise what a third class life she had been leading, even if it was secure. As I said, even if Ragini knows her grandmother is wrong, even then she won’t protest. That’s the way she was brought up.
        And it isn’t lifestyle, every child needs a father’s name. Remember how Shekhar once slapped Swara and said ‘bin BAAP ki bachi’? This is the bitter truth of our society, a father’s name is required for a child and even. The security it provides. About mother, I totally agree that Sharmishtha was never Ragini’s. So yeah, we are on the same page at that.
        And I don’t mind long comme

  20. Dharani

    awesome bela the way u wrote it was just mind blowing i really loved it the way u scripted the emotions of ragini is just awesome and all the best for ur exam dear

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Dharani 😘😘😘

  21. Asra

    fabulous bela dear….dp ragini conversation superbbb dear….love that alot dear….ur such a great writer dear….u always rocks….and about pair of eyes…if don’t know…u r master to give a shock and twist to us….
    All the best for ur exam dear….tkcr dear….

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Asra😘😘😘
      Take care πŸ™‚

  22. IQRA222

    awesome it was mindblowing
    i was left speechless di
    waiting for the next part

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Iqu😘😘😘😘

  23. AWESOME

    1. Bela

      Thanks Arjuna 😘😘

  24. Awesome bela. I Loved the convo of sisters the way ragini made
    Swara realize is superb. Ragini and DP scene was nice. I feel so bad for ragini getting so much hatred from the person whom you love to the core may be that’s the hardest thing for any one to tolerate. I so wanted to see the strong ragini in the show who leaves her negativity behind and come back strong as an independent and self sufficient.. But that biased show didn’t even showed her proper redemption and growth. Thanks to your FF now i will get my favorite track.

    All the best for your exams and come back soon

    1. Bela

      I totally agree. No track. And any ‘Raglak’ track had the following elements in excess:
      A) Swara’s jasoosi
      B) Swara’s Mahanta
      C) Sanskaar saying ‘Swara!’
      D) Swara crying
      E) Sanskaar wiping her tears
      F) Swara helping someone.

      I was like, this girl is EVERYWHERE. She has seen more places than Priyanka Chopra!
      πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Thanks a lot Priya 😘😘

  25. Its amazing. As always.

    1. Bela

      Thanks a lot Mitra 😘😘

  26. superb

    1. Bela

      Thanks Sherin 😘😘

  27. Venky

    superb loved it

    1. Bela

      Thanks Venky 😘😘😘

  28. Aasthu

    It’s just amazing Bela….simply amazing….I really liked this Ragini….the changed Ragini….I loved Dp’s words…it was fun to see that she felt like fondling his bald head….her words to Swara was just perfect….I loved every action and word of hers…..I loved Swara’s thoughts…..it was so good to hear her call Ragini as her little sister in her mind…..her description of Ragini was very good…..Ragini certainly is very beautiful and cute…..I felt like I was present on the scene…..swaragini conversation was brilliant…..I felt very sad for Ragini in the last scene….everything was just perfect….I loved it so much that I don’t know how to convey my feelings after reading this…..it was Laksh who was watching her right??? I loved her words “set to fire my illusion of perfect love and happiness.”

    best of luck for your exam….

    1. Bela

      Right, it was Mr. Maheshwari! πŸ˜‚
      Thanks a lot Aasthu😘😘😘

      P.S. Shrenu fan?

  29. Aasthu

    Bela can I ask you a question? I have been wanting to ask it to someone….actually who is the real villain in swaragini??? Is it Ragini???? Ragini did terrible things but it was all because of Laksh right???? If he had told her on their first meeting that he didn’t love her, all this complications could have been avoided right???? I have only watched 2 or 3 episodes of swaragini. So I don’t know the entire story….did Laksh play with Ragini’s feelings and made he think that he too loved her????? I watched a video of raglak’s photos and I felt so…that is why I’m asking this question….

    1. Bela

      SwaRagini was a mess, actually. You are right, Ragini did everything evil as she wanted Lakshya. He could have averted the disaster if he had confessed everything. However, he was a fool and was afraid of his father. Meanwhile, she did a LOT OF EVIL THINGS and then even snatched the property. Lakshya, to get back the property and throw her out, faked love to her, consummated the marriage and then asked to remarry her with all rituals. She fell right into the trap, signed the papers, not knowing what they held and on the day of the marriage, he swapped brides and married the witch Kavya who was older than him and even more evil.
      Later Ragini reformed, helped Swara(Uff!) and the family in getting rid of Kavya(who was BTW giving drugs to Laksh to make him dance on her tunes) and then Lakshya SUDDENLY realised that he loves Ragini and then did a few heroic and romantic deeds and so they got remarried. That sums it up.πŸ˜‚

    2. Bela

      Oh, and Ragini pushed Swara into a river to get married to Laksh. And helping her till a day before was Swara’s true love and Lakshya’s true brother Sanskaar who was acting like if he was mad. And then Swasan teamed up to expose Ragini. Like, actually, a lot of shit happened. It was kinda mind boggling πŸ˜‘

      1. Aasthu

        Thanks for the reply…..I have one more question. Laksh never loved Ragini right? Then how come he suddenly sprout love for her???? After Ragini took the knife for Swara and helped Laksh come out, she fainted in his lap right?? I was kinda surprised seeing his sudden care and love for her at that moment. What she did is a good thing and it is all right if he felt thankful to her and regret for what he did to her. But LOVE??? That is not something spontaneous right??? It should come from heart. I don’t understand how he felt so much love for her that he was ready to take the risk of being seen by Shekar or dadi.

        Ya a lot of stupid drama make up SwaRagini serial and yet some say “SR was the best.” I would rather go for Manmarziyan which was aired in SP. A short but wonderful serial.

        Yes I’m a Shrenu fan. What about you??? Tejaswini????

      2. Bela

        Believe me, your question is exactly the question every Raglak fan was asking. It was a serious case of botched up track and they showed this utter nonsense to wrap it up.

        I like Shrenu, she is cool but ultimates areare Tejaswi, Jennifer, Divyanka, Drashti and of course, MOUNI ROY😍😍

      3. Ria

        I love Divyanka and Tejaswini too! Hi-fi! Jennifer also πŸ˜› But mostly, Jasmin Bhasin and Surbhi Chandna πŸ˜‰

      4. Bela

        Tejaswi baba! 😁
        Even I like Surbhi Chandana. There is something extremely genuine and simple about her 😊

      5. Aasthu

        So in your ff you’ll show every missed out element right?

        Will ur exams be over by 17th???

        I saw you comment in DBO page. Are you trying out any serials? If so I have a wonderful suggestion. Manmarziyan. You can give it a try when your exams are over.It is about friendship, love family etc. It ended on 29th August,2016. But you can watch it in hotstar. I can guarantee that every actor has been given equal screen share. It is a youth show. You’ll definitely love it. No dragging. No non sense. I’m watching all the episodes now.

      6. Bela

        Aasthu, I am already a big Arjun Mehra fan, I have watched Manmarziyaan, IPKKND and many more. I am just watching IB and DBO now 😊

      7. Aasthu

        wow! that’s so nice….so can I ask you something? If you have time to spare will you write an ff on mmz??? plzzzz?????

      8. Aasthu

        one more thing….which is ur fav couple???? ardhika or nesam??????

      9. Bela

        No favourites between them. Ardhika is magic while Nesam were fun. Ardhika were passionate while Nesam were comfortable. Like, both couples shared different sorts of love and both were absolutely brilliant in them. 😘

      10. Aasthu

        That’s true…My fav is ardhika…..If you have time to spare will you write something on both the couples???Plz????

      11. Bela

        Okay, I will try. Actually, I am already planning a Twinj OS and Shivika-Rumya-Rikara SS. God save me! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      12. Ria

        Twinj!!! Yipppeeeee!!!! I am on Cloud Nine Bela!

        P.S.: I was planning to write an OS with you to spoil your beautiful writing with my shitty one. πŸ˜› What say?

      13. Bela

        Done! And don’t call your work shitty, I am having trouble keeping myself patient for Baawra Mann πŸ˜€

      14. Ria

        Okay Guru Ji. I won’t be pessimistic! πŸ˜›
        You go, give your exam tomorrow and lemme attend my design class, then we could talk about it, may be! πŸ˜€πŸ’•

  30. A.xx

    amazing and have i said that u are a fabulous writer I love every single one of ur ff’s and i love how u write them ..i can’t believe u r only a few years older than me yet u have such an amazing skill ,,i love it and i feel u r so passionate about ur writing which makes u so good at it ,,u really motivate me as i always wanted to be good at something and after reading ur posts i feel like all i have to do is be passionate about something so much that i feel driven to be good at it,,anyways love how u conveyed the emotions and love how u showed that not everyone remains the same and can change xx

    1. Bela

      Thank you SO MUCH A.xx😘😘
      Seriously I am so honoured to read this comment. It is true, passion keeps alive your interest far longer than anything else does. I love cooking, a bit of fashion and reading and writing. Writing is improved automatically when you read stuff.
      It is great to know I was a motivation, it is a very other worldly feeling.😊😊😊
      What are your passions by the way? Go for them. If not full time, at least go for them as a part time or a hobby, these things act as your talent and stress buster.

      About the story, I have experienced first hand, how everything and everyone can change SO suddenly. I mean, I took a social media sabbatical for a year and I came back to find everyone so changed. People who I remembered as a bit dim were posting deep thoughts, people who I thought of as very no nonsense were owning fashion blogs while I, who was once so “cool” was now frankly a nobodyπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      So yes, change is the only constant. Along with Universal Gas Constant, R, k and other such Science stuff πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

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