RagLak Few Shots: Bawara Mann – Shot 1
Heya Guys, I took a little long and neither did I update my FF. Sorry about that; Let me not brief out how much college sucks. Anyway, here’s the first shot for you all to read.
Link to Prologue:
I plunked down on the chair. This was from where we’d initially started the NGO, SwaRagini Dreams Foundation. Forgetting about the past and moving on without anyone to guide hadn’t been easy, but together, we knew we could do it. A garage. Hadn’t it been for the NGO, we’d have never understood how much a small place could mean to us. Amidst all the busyness of the city, we’d taken an initiative which we knew wouldn’t be easy, but we’d to do it. For us, for Maa. There on the blue wall hung Maa’s smiling face.
Pressing my fingers over her face lightly, I smiled. How happy would she have been if she was alive today with us? Today, after all the years, when I’d the time to pay back, I won’t let myself think of backing off for the slightest of second. For everything Maa had done for me, I could never do anything except for being grateful to her. In spite of knowing how devilish Papa and Dadi were, she made me love them, so that I’d a family, someone who could love me. How much ever Dadi and Papa despised Swara, they’d loved me, but may be it was all fake. May be they acted for all the years they brought me up. I whimpered at thought, but who knew the truth? May be, if they’d accepted Maa and Shona that day, we’d have been together as a family.
I turned around at the voice and there was Maa’s worried face. Even after all these years, she was worried for both her daughters. She still loved them dearly and was always there to guide us. Engulfing me in her motherly embrace, she let me cry and sucked in all my worries. She fondled my hair slowly while shushing me. She hugged me tighter as I cried harder soothing me.
“Ragini, what happened? Why are you crying?”
Wasn’t that Swara’s voice? I looked beside me and there was the angelic face I’d dreamt all about. Today, the 1st of May, was the day when I’d express my gratitude towards her and Maa. I’d save Shona from the devil, whom she thought to be one amongst her best friends.
“Ragini . .”
Wiping the tears with the back of my palm, I said, “Nothing Shona. I dreamt about Maa.”
She smiled as I saw relief wash over her face, over Maa’s face. She bent down and placed a soppy kiss over my forehead. I frowned and quickly wiped her saliva from my forehead. My reaction made her laugh and she again bent down, but I ran over to the couch in the room. “Okay, I’m not doing anything. You freshen up quickly.” She made her way outside the room and closing the door, I stood in front of Maa’s picture. Relief surged through me seeing her smiling face. She looked beautiful. This face of hers had always encouraged me to gain the courage and strength. Today I’d the strength to fight against Lakshya only because she’d inculcated the sense and grit. If it hadn’t been for her, I’d never thought of meeting Lakshya the previous evening, let alone agreeing to the deal.
Lakshya Maheshwari. He thought he’d fool me and I wouldn’t find out. I won’t let him harm my Shona at any cost. I remember the words we both had come across in Maa’s diary and we’d promised ourselves we’d never disappoint her on it. ‘SwaRagini would never fall apart’ and I would do anything to make it come true. Shona was all I’d in my life whom I could fondle with, love and share my life with. I’d no one and may be, I never would, but even if I did, I’d never let anything happen to her. Lakshya Maheshwari thought he’d trick me, but my dear, there’s way more coming for YOU.
Today, was the beginning of the storm. The storm that’d initially seem to shatter everyone’s lives, but it’d give a fruitful outcome at the end. Ragini Gadodia, How innocent can you be? Never, even in your wildest dreams were you able to think of my plans? Wasn’t it easy? Wasn’t my love for your sister openly laid in front of your eyes, yet you thought that I’d wish to marry you? If, I hadn’t been in love with your sister, I’d have surely fallen for you. The witticism, the innocence, the beauty, everything had awestruck me, but what could I do? Swara had caught my eye even before you could, even before I could see you, but that, my dear, doesn’t make me regret of my choice, for the slightest of second.
I’ve always wondered Ragini, how would’ve life been if we’d met before. Probably, it’d just have been the same, with interchangeable roles between you and Swara. But for now, I’m contend with all I’ve my life. The only thing I now need is your sister Shona. Her glistening eyes, her joyful face and those plump kissable lips of her. My heart wanted to claim each and every inch of her body. Everything she possesses should scream of me and no one else’s, not even Sanskaar Kapoor’s.
Placing a tender kiss on her picture, I smiled, just like she always did. Never in the past five years had I seen her sorrowful and worried. Her lips always lengthened in a smile and her face glowed with joy amidst all her worries and sorrows. Everything of hers spoke of joy, happiness except her eyes. Her eyes screamed insecurity. She was insecure, and how I wished I could cure her, make her feel secured, but that Sanskaar Kapoor destroyed all my plans. Her eyes, which talked only insecurity once, now had a warm feeling. She was secured, secured with Sanskaar, and not with me. But soon, it’d be I and Swara, and Sanskaar Kapoor would be forgotten soon enough.
In the last twenty years, this might’ve been the first day, first event which Shona is completely unaware of. I haven’t let her known anything because if I do, I know she’d put herself into a bunch of problems which I won’t let her. She would try to save me, but letting her do so would land her amidst problems.
Smoothening the creases on the saree, I walked out of the room cautiously. Had Shona seen me, she’d have surely questioned me about the outfit. Indian outfit. Breathing out a sigh, I slipped my feet inside the heels when Shona said, “Ragini, are you going somewhere? And why this saree?”
Bhagwaan, why can’t you be a little lenient towards me? Plastering a nervous smile, I said, “I’m going to meet a new client for the NGO.” Swara won’t comply. If I’d been in her place, even I wouldn’t have. After all, both of us know all about the clients and to add more to it, we go together to meet the new clients. Always.
I fiddled with my fingers as I saw the suspicious look on her face. Arched brows, narrowed eyes, a little worry clouding over her face and the small creases on her forehead. “I received a call an hour back when you left me alone in the room, and I decided to meet them while you prepare yourself for the day. Is that okay with you Meri Shona?”
The suspicion on her face didn’t fade, but she slowly nodded her head and stepped towards our . . HER room. As she stood at the doorstep, the words she spoke shattered my heart. I hadn’t expected such an adieu, at least today. Embracing her in a tight hug, I wanted to confess everything, but that would land her in a problematic situation.
“I hope the ‘SwaRagini’ bond won’t ever break Ragini.”
I could hear her whimper, and I wanted to soothe her, but I didn’t have an option, did I? Saving her was the best I could do. I hated men, but somewhere in Sanskaar’s eyes I’d seen the tint of love, care and respect he had for Swara and I didn’t want her to entangle herself in a bunch of problems. Telling her everything might land her in a PREDICAMENT. And I won’t let that happen, at any cost.
“Never Shona. Never. Acha chalo, bye! We’ll talk later?” She nodded her head and muttering a ‘Bye’, she walked inside the door, slamming the door. I stared into blank space, specifically where her petite figure had been standing a minute ago. I’d hurt her, but there wasn’t anything else I could do. I couldn’t let her tackle the problems alone. Inhaling a long breath, I walked out of the house, striving to come back after a while. “Bye Shona!”
Driving through the familiar streets of the city, I stopped at the destination with Sanskaar by my side. Why were we called here? It was, after all, nothing related to any of our businesses. We haven’t been informed about any fuss with our companies, Kapoor Pvt Ltd Companies and neither about SwaRagini Dreams Foundation. I stared at the building, blankly. This invitation, the call, the place had an uncertainty. Uncertainty of the future, and the past. Neither Sanskaar nor me knew why both of us had been cordially invited here to show our presence, yet we were here. Unwarily, we walked towards the building, interlacing our fingers together and striving to stay with each other. Looking at each other’s faces, we could comprehend the worry, but yet, we had to proceed. To see why we’d been asked to bless the host with our presence.
As we entered inside, I found the most familiar figure in front of me. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. It all felt surreal. “Ragini, is that you?” As she turned around, I couldn’t believe it. She was Ragini, my Ragini. Everything around me seemed to fade away. Till date, there hadn’t been anything that she’d hidden from me, and today she couldn’t tell me she was getting married? That too, to my best friend? Was the SwaRagini bond really breaking? Was Maa’s fear turning into reality?
I stepped back. She wasn’t my Ragini. She couldn’t be. She lied to me, she hid her marriage from me. Would’ve I broken her marriage? Placing her palm on my cheek, she wiped the tears and said, “Shona, I’m sorry. Believe me, I wanted to tell you every single thing, but I couldn’t. Everything happened so quickly that I couldn’t manage to tell you.”
I placed my hand on top of hers and smiled lightly. After all that happened, I should’ve been mad at her, but somewhere in her eyes, I could see her helplessness. She wasn’t marrying Lakshya by her own choice, but she was forced to. “Ragini, you’re coming back home with me. I don’t want to listen anything.”
Grasping tightly at her wrist, I tugged her asking her to move, but she stood rooted to her place, as if she was a statue. I turned around to look at her and found tears slowly rolling down her cheeks. I wiped her tears and as if on a cue, she held my palm between hers and looked straight in the eye. Her masked expression seemed to fade away slowly, but as I stared at her briefly, looking deeper into her soul, she lowered her vision, looking at our hands.
“Shona, I’m sorry for not telling you, but everything was really quick and I couldn’t cope up to the reality. But whatever it is Shona, I can’t go back to OUR house anymore. I’ll make sure that I visit you, but right now, I’ve to go to my new house, Lakshya’s house.”
She was right. Even if I want, even if I could comprehend, I couldn’t take Ragini with me anymore. She has to go along with Lakshya. When I looked at him, he softly smiled at me and said, “Swara, sorry we couldn’t inform you earlier. We really wanted to, but amidst all of the happenings, it just slipped out of our mind. We’re sorry about that!”
I smiled at him and kissing Ragini’s forehead, tenderly, we watched both Ragini and Lakshya get inside the car and driving away. Leaning against Sanskaar’s shoulder, I silently prayed for Ragini’s well being. Sanskaar pressed his lips on my hair, softly and we both drove back home, contentedly.
Guiding her to her room, I walked over to my room. Unfortunately, things hadn’t happened the way I’d expected them to. The Gadodia sisters trusted each other incomprehensibly. How could Swara forgive her sister in spite of not knowing about her marriage? “SwaRagini share everything; Never ever would they not share and when they don’t, their bond will be on the verge of extinction.” Swara’s words still stung to my ears, and today I felt disgusted. Even though Ragini had kept secrets today, SwaRagini didn’t fall apart. They were still with each other, believing in one another and caring for each other.
I held a fistful of my hair and pulled my head back. This was frustrating. Ragini Gadodia, in spite of knowing nothing, had defeated me. I couldn’t let her win. If, by chance I did, Sanskaar would claim Swara his own which I don’t want to happen, and I won’t. I’ve to claim her as mine no matter what happens. Inhaling strongly, I tapped my finger on the table and thought about my next move. Tricking Ragini Gadodia wouldn’t be that difficult, but I’d to have a masterplan, after all, which couldn’t be failed by any chance. SwaRagini had to be separated, by hook or crook.
Grabbing a piece of paper, I scribbled a word, which I hated to.
‘ • Failed. ’
‘ • Fooled. ’
Scribbling the single word, I felt immense joy pulsate through me. Mr. Lakshya Maheshwari; Oops, My Dear Husband, I’m sorry I Fooled you, but what to do, you thought you’d trick Ragini Gadodia and SwaRagini, but what happened? You failed in the first move itself? But never mind, you’d be given many more chances to win, or should I say, lose?
I smirked wickedly; just like my ‘Pati – Parmeshwar’ does. Somehow, with his brown dishevelled hair falling slightly on his forehead and his black eyes boring deeply into one’s soul, he looked handsome. In fact, he was handsome, but a devil. Just like he’d striven to claim Swara his own, even I’d striven to make him lose, in every single move of his. As stubborn as he was, he won’t back out and neither would I. It would be an interesting clash to watch after all.
As I walked around the room, small raindrops clattered against the window. The city had been witnessing scorching heat and everyone had been waiting for the first downpour. I walked outside to the patio and let myself drench in the rain. Had Swara been here, we’d have had ice-cream once the rain stopped, but alas, today she wasn’t there. The first downpour of the year and we weren’t together. Spinning around in the rain, I saw a familiar figure walk out to the adjacent patio.
He stared at the downpour for a little too long and slowly, walked under the dark, cloudy sky. His apparels seemed familiar and as they stung to his body, drenched in the water, I could see his well-sculpted figure. He, in fact, looked a Greek God descending down the heaven to drench in the water. His head spun to my side, probably feeling my constant gaze on him, and there was he. The devil! Lakshya Maheshwari.
Although wary of each other’s presence, we stared at each other, directly in the eye, as if reading one another’s soul. His black eyes seemed to wander all around my body as mine traced his perfect built. He looked . .
The thunderstruck brought us out of our . . . Fantasy? and as the downpour clattered harshly to the tiled floor, both of us ran inside, into our ‘Own’ rooms. Shutting the door, I leaned against the door and my breath quickened. Lakshya Maheshwari, after all, was a gorgeously handsome man. As I tried to regain my breath, the sudden knock on the door quickened my breath again and immediately a horrifying, yet surreal thought swarmed my mind.
What if it wasn’t the maid and Mr. L . . . ?
First shot. Done. Ab chalo, comment phataphat se to let me know how it was. Please?