I had some free time today and could write some more, hence posting sooner. Thanks for your comments in the intro part.
Ragini woke up in the morning, taking in her new room, as she stretched. She could see that her husband, Sanskar, was still sleep on his side of the bed, lying on his stomach. It was still early, barely 6:30 in the morning, but she knew that morning aarti was likely to be the norm in the house, just as in hers and she didnt want to create a bad impression in front of her in-law, more because of how it would reflect on her family.
She started at her bags that were still lying by the wardrobe. She hoped she could get some time to unpack that day. She walked towards the wardrobe and opened it up to realise that it was still filled with his clothes. There was no space there for hers. Not wanting to create a ruckus just then, she decided to bring it up with him at a later time. They were both stuck in this apparently, there was no reason not to keep this civil.
She quickly bathed and changed into a saree, not the easiest task for her not being used to wearing one. That was part of the reason for waking up earlier that what she normally would have. By the time she stepped out, she saw that he had woken up and much like the night before, he swiftly went to the washroom without a word to her. Not that she minded it. She quickly got ready, but by the end of it, she could hear the gentle bells rung in the temple. She rushed downstairs finding only her mothers-in-law Sujata and Annapurna, there. She touched their feet.
“Sorry I am late, aunty” she said, almost as she had been addressing them during the functions.
“We didnt say anything before this, but now that you are married, you shouldn’t be calling us aunty” Annapurna told her gently. Seeing Ragini’s questioning look, she added “Sanskar calls me Badi Maa or Maa and calls Sujata Mom. You can call us the same way” Ragini nodded
“Ragini, where is your sindoor?” Sujata asked her as she bent down to take her blessings
Ragini’s eyes widened in surprise and she touched her head, to check “I was rushing downstairs after hearing the temple bells. I didnt realise I hadnt put it in. I am really sorry” she looked at the temple seeing a small box filled with sindoor she went to the temple “I will put it on just now”
“how could you forget something so important” Sujata commented
“It is all new to her still Sujata. She will remember from tomorrow” Annapurna said kindly
“I am really sorry Mom. I will remember. I promise” Ragini assured her
As Ragini was about to put the sindoor, Annapurna called out “Sanskar”
Ragini saw Sanskar walking down the stairs. He walked towards them
“Yes Maa?” He asked warmly. After the display that she had seen yesterday, she had taken him as a bit of rude angry man, this facet of him was surprising.
“Put sindoor in Ragini’s maang. She forgot to today” Annapurna told him
“I will put it myself Badi Maa.” Ragini countered
“Go ahead Sanskar’ Annapurna told him again
“No need Badi Maa” Ragini countered again but by then Sanskar angrily snatched the box from her hand and swiftly put the sindoor on her forehead looking quite cross at her. He moved forward, making Ragini take a few steps back, as he put the box back in its place near the temple.
He touched the feet of Annapurna and then his own mother even as Annapurna spoke with a teasing smile “Sujata do you know what it means when some of the sindoor falls on the nose will putting it on the forehead” She gently touched Ragini’s nose wiping the sindoor off but not before showing her finger to everyone.
“What jiji?” Sujata asked with a twinkle in her own eye
“It means that the husband really loves his wife very much” Annapurna added with a giggle
Ragini’s eyes widened even as she saw Sanskar clench his fists and his jaw “Mom, I am hungry. Can I get some breakfast?” he said firmly before walking away towards the dinning table.
Annapurna and Sujata giggled before walkings towards the kitchen, Ragini following them even as she asked “What can I help with?” she asked
“Don’t worry about anything today. Just relax. We will do the rasoi rasam tomorrow. Once that is done, you and Parineeta can take over the kitchen duties and we can relax. Right, Sujata?”
“Of course jiji. There has to be some benefit of being the mother-in-law”
They went in leaving Ragini there awkward and unsure about where to go since Sanskar seemed to be sitting at the dinning table in his own off mood and she didnt want to encounter that this early in the day.
About half an hour later, everyone was gathered for breakfast.
“I spoke with Deendayalji a few minutes back. They are expecting us for the pag-phera rasam in a couple of hours time” Durga Prasad said.
Durga Prasad was the head of the Maheshwari family. He along with his young brother Ram Prasad were big names in the business world and for those who were in the know-how of the reality, also big names in the underworld. For years, there had been rivalry on both sides of the world between the Maheshwaris and the Gadodias. Ragini, while not complete unaware of the reality of her family and their background, had been kept away from it. But when some dealings did happen at the house, it was impossible not to feel wary and apprehensive about the world despite being so closely linked to it, through the family. Women, in this world, especially needed to be more resilient more so if the husband was an active part of the world.
Her first introduction to the Maheshwaries had been during the function. Had an outside ventured into the functions it would have been difficult for them to gauge whether it was any different from a normal business wedding, albeit with some added security. Her first impression of the family had been that they had been warm towards her. Yes Durga Prasad was more restricted person, not quite unlike how her dadaji was with those that weren’t family, but other than that, they had all been nice to her. At least the ones she had had to interact with.
Durga Prasad’s eldest son Adarsh had joined his father’s footsteps and joined both worlds. Ragini guessed that he would be the heir to the business, much like her elder brother Ranveer was for theirs. Adarsh’s wife parineeta seemed nice to her. She hoped she would turn out like her Aditi bhabhi, but only time would reveal that.
Sanskar had a younger sister Uttara who had been friendly to her. She was aware of another brother, the youngest son of Laksh. His name had been mentioned by her brother on few occasions as he explained the family structure to her, but she had never met him.
As the entire family sat together for breakfast, he was missing from the table
“Where is Laksh?” Durga Prasad’s voice boomed across the table
“He is not up yet. He was out last night” Annapurna said tentatively
“Was he out with the same boy again?” he asked
Annapurna gave him a helpless look.
“This boy….” Durga Prasad began
“Not now ji” Annapurna pleaded with him.
There was look that seemed to be flowing across the elders on the table and Adarsh. One that she couldn’t quite discern, but it was clear that there was more that was going on than just late night boy parties here. She wondered if they had been guarded because of her presence, she had after all been new to the family and the bonds of rivalry while muted with the newly formed relation and truce, probably would take some time to calm down.
She decided not to think much about it just then. She had bigger problems to think about, like how would Sanskar react during the bag-phere rasam when he was around her family. The last thing she wanted was for them to get a sense of the understanding reached between them – which was anyway more a declaration by him then anything involving mutual discussions – not that it changed anything.
She hoped and prayed that the rasam would go well.
Links to previous part of the story:
Credit to: Azure