Bela is back with the third part of Sakhi Saiyaan. Sorry, I know I was supposed to update on Monday but I had a unique problem……….I lost my plot. Meaning, I couldn’t remember what I had planned on showing in this update. Finally compiling my thoughts, I have made this up. Hope you all forget and forgive. And like 😀
Let us start our third part:
I looked at the moon above, shining in the sky, spreading its pristine white light on the earth. It was night now, the celebrations were over and everyone was asleep. Perfect, for me. I hardly get sleep at night since it all started.
I was sitting at the window of my room in the Baadi, knees close to my chest, dressed up in a simple grey kurta and white salwar. I recalled tonight’s events and pondered over them.
Everyone was feasting themselves on the Marwari delicacies Pari Bhabhi and I had prepared. Sanskaar grinned as he stuffed a kachori in his mouth. “Hmmm………delicious kachori!” he said as he reached out to take another one.
“Ragini made it.” Swara said proudly as she smiled at me. I gently smiled back.
Sanskaar looked up from where he was dipping it into his aloo curry. He looked up at me and raised an eyebrow. “What? I don’t believe this. Ragini, you must have bought this from that new shop! Didn’t you?” Sanskaar asked as he took a spoonful of the kachori-sabzi and gulped it down.
“No. I made it myself.”
“Don’t lie. Today, I saw you standing outside that shop. In the afternoon.”
Umm. Well, he must have seen me when I had been out with Swara. And he must not have seen Swara beause she was shovelling down chholey bhature inside!
“Afternoon? But Ragini was with me at that time. Haan…..I ate chholey bhature there! So tasty they were Sanskaar! What a taste! Two bhature with one bowl of chholey and onions and chutney. And you know, an extra serving of chholey is free!” Swara said happily as her eyes assumed a faraway expression.
“Hain? Par chhori, you said that you were starved when you came back and then ate two plates of dal-chawal!” Chachi ji said. Swara smiled uneasily as Sanskaar started shaking in silent laughter. Unexpectedly, Lakshya snorted.
“Chachi, the drive from there to our house must have been a long and digestive-inducing one. Maybe that is why she fell hungry again!” He said as he ate the puri I served to him.
Swara glared at him so fiercely that I was worried she would topple the dal over his head. He smirked in reply and continued eating.
After the dinner, I went upstairs to fetch my bag. I looked around, a heavy feeling settling in my chest as I saw the room. I was brought up being told that a woman’s true house is her husband’s house. And I had accepted this place as my house. But still, going away wasn’t bothering me anymore. The feeling in my chest was because of him. Lakshya.
Everyday I fight a battle with myself. Every morning I wake up and steel myself. I make up my mind that I would move on. And I am mostly successful. But there are those moments, every day, which melt my resolve. When I feel bitter and sad. When I recall how I used to be earlier and how much I really deserved to be treated better. And then I recall everything I did and how Lakshya’s life was ruined. This battle happens every day. And it is I, who ends up getting hurt.
I took a deep breath and turned around. And saw Sanskaar standing outside the door with a sad smile on his face.
He walked inside and sat down on the bed, facing me. “So………this is the end? Of your deeds, your dreams, and your time as Lucky’s wife?” he asked. I nodded. He sighed in reply.
“I am………… sorry Ragini. For everything I did with you. I have always taken part responsibility of what happened for it was I who………..”
“You didn’t do anything. Why don’t we just cut the crap? We are not like others Sanskaar, who blame anyone but ourselves for our faults. We have always been clear on this. Your involvement ended the night before the wedding. I played solo since then. Simple.”
“Some things are such that even though you may not have done them yourself, yet, they were the consequences of your actions.”
“I don’t agree………”
“Okay fine, I will tell you a story to prove my point. Once, there was a man who needed money desperately. He was so desperate that he decided to steal the money. At night, he and his friend stole into a house and ran away with jewels. Though it was a one time thing for the man, his friend found it very thrilling as well as profitable. Unbeknownst to the man, that friend continued to steal. Soon, he was caught and jailed. Consequently, his family broke apart and and found it difficult to face the society. His children grew up hating their father and living in poverty, fatherless. His wife went into depression. But the question is, that was it his own fault entirely? What or rather, WHO introduced him to stealing? That man. So isn’t he guilty, indirectly, of his friend’s family’s state? Not totally, but partially, yes. And that is exactly us. I am partly responsible for all this mess.”
I looked at him for some time, trying to read his expressive eyes. Finally, I sat beside him, as he scooted a bit away to give me space. We sat in silence, although not an uncomfortable one.
“I am not feeling particularly sad. I am just……… wishing that things hadn’t been the way they are.”
“You can cry, you know? It isn’t bad. And it is the most cliched thing ever that only weaklings cry. Humans cry. And we are all humans, aren’t we?”
That was it. I needed someone to say that to me, sincerely, and as soon as the words escaped his mouth, I burst out crying. I clutched the sleeve of his shirt as I covered my mouth with my other hand, tears rolling down. I was sobbing nerve-wrackingly as I let out my emotions. Sanskaar put his arms around me as I sobbed into his chest noisily. I was choking in no time. Sanskaar quickly stood up to get me water. After I had taken a few sips, I calmed down slightly.
“I am. Thanks.”
“No problem. Although I don’t want to see you going back, but it has to be done. I still think that no one can love Lakshya as unconditionally as you do. And he can never find someone like you. But you both have made up your minds. So come on, old girl, pick up that bag and strut out of this place like a queen. You owned it throughout your stay, with everyone wondering what you would do next. Everyone always thought of you. You came, stayed and conquered!”
I smiled as I stood up and straightened my spine. I gripped the handle of the bag as I moved out confidently, after wiping my face with a wet towel. Sanskaar casually walked behind me.
I reached the top of the stairs which led down to the hall. Everyone was there, probably waiting for me. I stood rooted to the spot as I saw everyone. I was going back to the Baadi but did they want me there? Dadi, obviously, had no issue but do Papa, Sumi Maa and Dada Ji want me?
“Ragini beta? Why are you up there? Come down.” Maa, sorry Annapurna Aunty, said. I would have to learn to stop calling them as if they were my family.
“Actually, she doesn’t want to come down. What is the point? Anyways, she would be leaving soon and if she comes down, she would have to climb up the stairs again to go out. Why work so hard? After all, we shouldn’t forget that she is Swara’s sister!” Sanskaar replied from behind me. Swara gasped in outrage as she stood there with her hands on her waist.
“I am very hard working! I work so hard to…………”
“Finish all the ration of one month in two weeks!”
I looked at Sanskaar and he immediately fell silent, winking at me. “Keep her happy, please. She deserves it.” I said to him with a smile. He nodded and smiled softly. “Stay happy, please. YOU deserve it!” he replied. I smiled in return and walked downstairs. I touched everyone’s feet, took their blessings and went out. Lakshya had been silent all this while.
As everyone talked between themselves, he took me aside. “Umm……..I guess this is the end of the road for us.” he said as he looked down behind me. I nodded. “The end of our life together. I hope you remember that we cannot remain friends. Not after what all has happened.” I replied.
“It is sort of……….strange, actually. I always imagined this day but now that it is here, it is nothing like my imagination. I am not really as excited as I thought I would be.”
“Happens. Even I am not as upset as I thought I would be. I thought I would be broken and suicidal, but on the contrary, I am actually thinking of what bhajan to sing tomorrow at aarti and what to cook for breakfast.”
“Really? You aren’t sad at all?”
“I didn’t say that. I am sad. But not as if my life has ended. I am getting very positive vibes.”
He shrugged as he held out his hand for me to shake. I tentatively shook my hand with his, feeling giddish when our skins made contact. “The first hearing of our divorce is on the day after tomorrow. All the best!” he whispered as we walked back. Swara came up to me and excused us, taking me away from him.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to try and do something for you and him?” she asked as she eyed Lakshya disgustedly. I smiled and shook my head in a no. She sniffed in hurt. “Anyways, don’t worry. You are so beautiful and skilled, you can get a much more handsome husband than him. And this time Ragini, choose someone caring. And hot! Okay?” she said. I giggled and nodded.
I sat inside the taxi while Swara closed the door, her eyes suspiciously moist. I asked her to smile and she did, her lips breaking out into a beautiful smile. Behind her Sanskaar winked at me and I winked back. Just as the car was about to move ahead, I caught Lakshya’s eyes. He smiled slightly, waving a little. I nodded and turned ahead as the car sped through the road, taking me away from Maheshwari Mansion.
*End of Flashback*
I smiled as I recalled everything. I never assumed that it would be easy and sure, it wasn’t. Unwanted flashes of the time I spent in this room, dreaming of my life with Lakshya came to my mind and so, hurt me like shreds of glass piercing my heart. Yet, I was not ready to succumb to them. I will fight. Till the end.
It is our first hearing today. I don’t know why, but a strange nervous feeling has gripped me. I want this to end. I want to live my life, sans Ragini. I guess due to her, a lot of good things have happened. I am prioritized now, I am working to earn and more clear about what I should be doing. But with what she did, what I did, we have absolutely no future together, and I don’t want one. I do not want to spend my life with her. I cannot. Period.
No one is accompanying us today. We decided to quietly go, file for divorce by mutual consent citing irreconcilable differences as a reason and get it finalized. Ragini has refused any sort of support or alimony, so it is easier. She requested everyone in the Baadi and Swara not to be present while no one from my family wants to be there.
I parked the car and went inside and found her sitting on the bench, lost deep in thought. She was looking pretty today, with her plain white frock suit and a chiffon pink dupatta wrapped around her shoulders, hair slightly curled and left loose. It is a pity she had to stoop so low and do what she did. She had been so nice, she could have easily found a nice guy.
She looked up and our eyes met. She nodded to me, almost business-like, and looked away. I sat on the same bench, far away from her, close to the other corner. Silence. We didn’t talk, neither exchanged pleasantries. With that uncomfortable silence looming over us, we waited for our turn to come.
“Mr. and Mrs. Maheshwari?” a peon asked. I saw Ragini flinch slightly as she heard him. I stood up and nodded to him. Ragini stood up too and started following him while I followed her.
I looked at Lakshya as we sat inside his car, deciding our further actions.
We had been denied divorce. Our marriage hadn’t been long and so, the judge gave us six months cooling off time. If in the end of that time we still desired for divorce, we would be granted one. Till then, we had been ordered to stay together.
Needless to say, both of us were in disequilibrium right now. I don’t know about Lakshya but I can see my whole plan sinking. Just yesterday, I had planned on rejoining my music academy to start as a trainee teacher while I had discussed my future with everyone in the Baadi. I told Papa that I didn’t want to remarry soon, I wanted to get used to being without Lakshya and forget him before I commited to someone else. My life was planned. And now, ruined.
“I will come inside with you and explain the scene to everyone while you pack. Then we would leave. And knowing the amount of connectivity the two families share, I am sure that by the time we reach the Mansion, everyone there would know what happened as well!” Lakshya said to me as he removed his seatbelt. I smiled as I removed mine and joined him.
We sat in the car once again, this time, outside the Maheshwari Mansion. We sat silently, wondering what exactly to do. I saw the large house and the irony struck me. Less than 36 hours ago, I had left, never to return again. And yet here I was, right in front of this Mansion. Sometimes I wonder, is this my punishment? That now, when I was warming up to the idea of staying without him, far away, I was thrown back in his house, forced to live with him as his wife for another six months? Is He punishing me for my sins in this manner? By playing with my future and torturing me, making me go through heartbreak again and again, at the hands of the one man I ever loved? If this is my punishment, then it is a really cruel one, and perhaps, apt.
We reached home and to my surprise, I found everyone outside, Maa in the front with an Aarti thaal in her hands. She did our aarti, took us inside and together, we all prayed. I prayed to God to give me the strength to cope with whatever He has planned for me.
Little did I know that I was about to face a compelling situation which would change my entire course of life……………
“She is back! Yes! Sanskaaaaaaar! My Ragu is back.” Swara said happily as she stuffed more popcorn in her mouth to celebrate.
I clapped my hands sarcastically. “Now that you are happy and fed, can we go to the storeroom and look for my documents? I need them tomorrow for the Mehra deal!” I said to her with narrowed eyes. Swara pouted as she stood up and dusted her hands on her suit.
Swara and I have accepted each other as man and wife in the real sense, enjoying our marital life with all rights, even the conjugal ones. We have grown closer, almost understanding everything that the other wants to say, just by looking into each other’s eyes. It is a blissful time for me, the first time since Kavita’s death that I am so happy.
We walked inside the storeroom, and immediately, the lady behind me sneezed, due to the amount of dust inside. We went to the shelf which had the files and started searching.
I looked in the mirror, just as I had several other times, as I combed my long hair before going to sleep. There was a chaos in my mind as thoughts of all kind swarmed in it.
Have you ever felt like this? When you are thinking of too many things simultaneously and suddenly, your mind superimposes all those thoughts and leads you to think of one thought totally different from them but actually, really connected?
Let me explain to you. I was thinking of how I had left this house two days ago, believing that I would never return but now I was here. Another thought in my mind was how if I had been the ‘evil Ragini’, I would have been so happy, which I was not. Yet at the same time, my mind was processing the reactions of all the family members to this new development. Who was happy, who was upset, who was angry and who was indifferent. And all of them, swirling around in my mind, led me to think of what Lakshya must be feeling and how I would spend the next six months with a man who clearly didn’t want to keep this relationship.
This is getting me seriously worried. I had promised myself that I would complete all my duties of being a wife which now had extended to another six months. I could do it, but he couldn’t. How will I keep sane?
My chain of thoughts were broken by sounds of footsteps I immediately recognized as Lakshya’s. He walks that way, quick and agile, being a sportsman. He entered the room and stopped, seeing me sitting in front of the dressing table.
“Ragini, I just want to tell you one thing. This relationship……..”
“……is over. Nothing we do can salvage it.” I completed his sentence. He nodded. Seriously, am I small kid, that he keeps on repeating the same thing again and again?
“We have to live for six more months together, let us try and be civil and AS far from each other as possible. I…….I have a girlfriend. Her name is Kavya Malhotra.”
A familiar pang of pain and heartbreak shook my insides. This was the same feeling I had when I got to know that he loved Swara. History was repeating itself. But this time, I could act differently. I realised that I was being given another chance by God, to act well and repent for my sins.
“Kavya Malhotra, the actress and singer? Who works in Bengali TV?” I asked him in the most normal way. He looked surprised at my lack of a dramatic reply and nodded.
I smiled softly. “She is beautiful. And quite talented too. Isn’t she older than you though?” I asked.
Lakshya sat on the bed and looked ahead. “Five years. But love doesn’t see that. It doesn’t see age or culture or clothes or nature or beauty or wealth.”
‘Then what stopped you from falling in love with me, you fool? Didn’t you reject me since I was too traditional and wore traditional clothes?’ my mind venomously spat. I closed my eyes to control this sudden outburst of bitterness and anger.
“Hmm…..that is right. All the best. Does she know about me?”
“Yes. I met her two days ago at a club. She knows I am married but filing for divorce. I went to her to explain to her about our current situation. She has no problem, she is willing to wait.”
Two days ago? And he is already in love? History is seriously repeating itself! And why would that bint have a problem? It is me, who has to deal with an unwanted relationship with a man who has a mistress ready! But I couldn’t just say that, could I? Sigh!
“Good for you.”
“Don’t you feel anything about it?” he asked apprehensively. I snorted as I tied my hair in a braid.
“Of course, I do. But what I am feeling is not the core issue here, what I WANT is. I want these six months to end. While you aren’t emotionally attached to me and so, have easily found ‘love’ again, I am emotionally invested in you and this marriage and it would take a lot of effort to move on. And that can’t happen until you are out of my life. So I just want it to end, as soon and amicably as possible.” I replied as I lied on the sofa.
“You really want to leave, don’t you? But you said that you would complete all your duties as a wife.”
“And I am doing that. While you were nowhere to be found, I had your clothes sent for ironing, forbade Pari Bhabhi from making karela as you don’t like it and even changed the bedsheet.”
Unbeknownst to him, tears leaked out of my eyes for more than an hour after this exchange. I stood up and walked out of the room slowly, without letting him know.
My mind worked swiftly as I looked at the document in my hands. I had chanced upon it while looking for Sanskaar’s birth records, which he needed. Sanskaar was currently searching in the other shelf, a few metres away, oblivious to the dynamite I was holding. This was a shocking thing, something I would have never expected. I had no idea Lakshya……………………
I closed my eyes as images of my crying sister came to my mind.
I was sneaking my way upstairs as I held the chocolate in my hand. Sanskaar was still looking for the file while I had made an excuse to go to the washroom. No washroom, I was just hungry and wanted to finish off the chocolate before any servant steals it!
As I was going to turn towards the floor where the storeroom was, I saw Ragini walking slowly. I quickly went towards her.
“Raguuuu……. I am SO happy to see you back!” I said to my sister as I hugged her tightly, sniffing her signature rose scent with a content grin. She stood rigid, unresponsive. I slowly pulled back to see tears in her eyes.
“What happened my baby? Aren’t you happy? Did that duffer Lakshya say anything to you?” I asked as I wiped off the tears from her jiggly soft cheeks and gave her Sanskaar’s birthday chocolate. He didn’t eat it so I had planned on eating it alone. But she needed it.
Ragini quickly tore the wrapper and broke the chocolate into two pieces as she gave one to me. I made a show of denying though I was secretly very happy to see her care. After some insistence on her part, I grabbed the piece and thrusted it into my mouth happily.
“I……. I don’t know what to do!” she said in a broken voice as she nibbled on her bar. Mine was finished a long time back so I was getting irritated to see her still eating.
“Finish it quickly, otherwise it would become bad.” I said angrily.
“Even I want the same. I want it to get finished quickly otherwise it would be bad for me!” she sniffed as she nibbled some more.
“So put it into your mouth quickly na! Why are you nibbling?” I asked her.
She stopped and looked at me in confusion. Following my gaze, which was on her chocolate, she frowned and then suddenly burst out laughing.
“Swara……I am not talking about the chocolate! I am talking about my relationship with Lakshya.” she said as she giggled. I realised what had happened and giggled myself.
“What do you mean by that?” I asked her. She sighed painfully and turned to me.
“I…… I was planning on repenting Swara. I had chalked out my life plans and suddenly, this thing has ruined everything. I have lost my peace of mind!”
“Don’t you want to give your relationship another chance Ragu?”
“No. When he doesn’t want it, why should I waste my tears and energy on him? He has already found himself a girlfriend!”
“WHAT?! Who would want to date that stupid monkey?”
“Umm………people like you and me and that girl!”
“Shut up Ragu! I am now convinced that I was drunk the entire time! Otherwise, I have such big and beautiful eyes, I would have surely seen what a useless jerk he was! Anyways, so he is in a relationship? How can he do that? He is still married to you!”
“And not obliged to fulfill it. This relationship ceased to exist for him when my truth was exposed.”
A sudden wave of humongous guilt washed over me. I had been so reckless and single minded about my mission to bring her truth out that I failed to see what it could lead to. And now, my beloved sister was dealing with an unhappy marriage because of me.
“It is my fault Ragu…..”
“Sanskaar and you are perfect for each other. He is convinced that it is all because of him while you are convinced that it is your fault. Give me a break. I am not a child who you are trying to shield. I am the one facing these issues and ultimately, I would be dealing with them myself.”
“I…..feel sorry for you. How did you get to know that he has a girlfriend?”
“He told me himself.”
“WHAT?! That infinite jerk! Is this a thing you discuss with your wife? Imagine Sanskaar coming up to me and saying, ‘Swara, sorry to tell you, but I have a girlfriend!’ So insensitive! I would remove my shoes and hit him with them! Did you throw your chappals at him?”
“Ragini, fight for your rights!”
“I have reached this point in the first place because I wanted to ‘fight for my rights’ as you are saying!
“Yep. True. But tell me, which dimwitted woman would fall for him?”
“Three words. Swara, Ragini and Kavya.”
“Hey! I am not dimwitted. So aren’t you. We were just momentarily blinded and the moment is exceeding for you due to lack of suitable options! So, Kavya?”
“Kavya Malhotra. That famous Bengali TV actress and singer. The one whose songs Dida used to hate!”
“Kya?! That budiya? She is what……..38?”
“Five years older than Lakshya. So, 30.”
“Haan….same thing. She is in her thirties na! Why would she want to date Lakshya? Wasn’t she having an affair with her co-star from that flop movie she recently did?”
“I don’t know. Lakshya is in love with her.”
“Lakshya loves anyone who wears jeans and skirts! Even if a man comes in front of him wearing a skirt and having long hair, he would fall in love with him too! He is that stupid. Waise bhi he deserves a buddhi only!”
Suddenly, Ragini burst out crying. I immediately hugged her as she sobbed in my shirt while I cursed her useless husband in my mind with the most colourful gaalis I knew.
“Sw….Swa…….Swara, I, I don’t want to live here anymore. I c… can’t do it now. How….how will I…….live with him?” she asked as she sobbed. I patted her back soothingly.
“Don’t worry Ragini. God never does so much injustice with one person. I promise you, I would make everything right. You would get whatever you have always wanted.”
I calmed her as she promised to not cry. She smiled and went back to her room to sleep while I decided that I would do anything to free my sister from that Lakshya’s clutches.
*End Of Flashback*
What I held in my hand could instantly solve her problems. She would easily get a divorce based on this and then, she would get her peace. I smirked as I thanked Maa Kaali for this unexpected piece of luck.
“Swara, I have found the file! See my birth records! Hey wait! I was named Shivaprasad Maheshwari earlier! Ewww. That sounds like someone who could be the brother of Papa and Bade-Papa! Thank God I was named Sanskaar!” Sanskaar said as he closed the file and looked at me.
“Shall we leave?” he asked as he came down the ladder. I smirked deeply as I tore off the pages from the file I was holding and folded them. As he came towards me, I quickly stuffed the papers inside my suit. Turning to him, I gave the bright smile I am famous for.
“Yes. Let us leave. I have a lot of work to do in the morning!”
How was it? Come on, go to that comment box and tell me what you think could be this secret bomb that has found its way to Khurafati Swara’s hands. I know most of you would guess right!
Meanwhile, I have an announcement to make. No, I am not expecting, but you can expect a surprise. 😛
I had a dream of creating an OS series which was a collection of OS on Raglak’s life following the events of Koi Mujhko Yun Mila Hai, Jaise Banjaare Ko Ghar. Yes peeps, it is a sequel! And it ain’t an SS or Few Shots, they are just random OS, more like spinoffs, which would tell a story of any event following the story of Banjaare Ko Ghar. I have already written half of the first shot and I expect to release it within this week. Look out for it, all the shots would have different names but will have a prefix ‘KMYMH Jaise Banjaare Ko Ghar’!