“Everything! My life, my love! My Sanskar!”
A moment of silence prevailed, until Ragini spoke,
“May.. I.. Once again?”
“Yeah.. Here! Go ahead!”
Ragini again dialled the number and it once more was unreachable. She sighed and as she was about to hand over the phone to Laksh, the phone rang. The screen flashed ‘Kavita calling’. The name on the screen made Laksh restless. Instantly, he took the phone and kept it on silence.
“You may.. Answer it! It’s..”
“No, it’s not so important!”
“None of your business!” Laksh snapped at Ragini and went out.
“This Future Maheshwari is so confusing, man! Just a moment ago he was so kind, so friendly, so considerate! And now, such a pighead! Rude! Huh!” Ragini mumbled.
A day or two went the same way. Ragini would try Sanskar’s number daily, only to find it unreachable. Laksh and Ragini still fought like kids, and Ariba bi was tired of their bickerings. Whenever they used to fight, she would go to do her work. Only when the situation went out of control did she fearingly come between them as a referee. A scared and frightened referee! Ragini had formed a loving bond with Ariba bi and Dinesh mamu. Also, Laksh and Ragini observed some few little things about each other. Laksh would often spot ger crying and Ragini would often find him tensed. Nights became friendly. Both would come to the terrace and have light conversations.
Laksh was bothered about something. Well, he had always hated to be a Maheshwari. And being labelled as the ‘Future of Maheshwaris’ was the most terrible thing to him. He often used to roam at the terrace, thinking about his life. He wasn’t a deep-sleeping panda anymore! Something was bothering him. And that’s what Ragini had noticed.
“Mr. Future! Why don’t you make this terrace as your bedroom?”
“You spend your nights more here than in your bedroom!” Ragini giggled.
“Whatever!” Laksh rolled his eyes.
“You can.. Uhm.. Share it with me!”
“I can handle my problems on my own!”
“I was talking about the chocolate!” She pointed towards the chocolate in his hand.
“I very well know what you were talking about! Anyway, you can have this whole..”
“Thanks!” Ragini giggled as she snatched it from his hands, while Laksh stared at her in disbelief, adding more to her giggles. Ragini looked at him and broke the bar into two. She gave one to him and kept the other one to herself.
“I.. I don’t want it. You can..”
“When Ragini offers you something to eat, you better take it instantly! I don’t offer food to people much! You’re very lucky that I’m sharing this with you!”
“Drama-queen!” Laksh smiled as he took the bar. As soon as he uttered these words, Ragini’s smile vanished. Instead, a tear escaped her eyes which was noticed by Laksh. He cleared his throat as he spoke,
“Ms. Runaway, may I ask you something?”
“Hm? Go ahead.” Ragini quickly wiped off her tears as she replied.
“Why did you elope from your marriage?”
“Because I didn’t want to marry that joker!”
“Don’t you think your parents might be worried about you? You didn’t contact them even once. Think about your mother atleast!”
“You’re asking me to think about someone who’s already dead?” Ragini smiled sadly.
“Uh.. No.. I mean.. I’m sorry. I.. I didn’t know..”
“It’s okay!” Both remained silent until Ragini spoke. “My mother died when I was 9.”
“I’m sorry. Your father?”
“Hm. My father died when my mother was pregnant. My mother remarried when I was 6. Mr Satyendra Sharma. Papaji. Though he’s my stepfather, he’s cared for me like a real one. He gave me everything I desired. He doesn’t have a child. It’s not like he loved me like my real father would have, but he made sure that I got whatever I wanted! He’s good at heart. But..”
“Everybody has a weakness! Papaji’s weakness is his name, respect and his ambition! Ambition to be a politician someday! And that stupid Chaddha is taking its advantage!”
“I’m not getting you..”
“Chaddha is a politician. He offered papaji a ticket for the next elections if I get married to him. So, my marriage was fixed!”
“Oh-kay! And this.. I mean.. About Sanskar?”
Ragini smiled at Sanskar’s name.
“Sanskar! What about him? He’s in US. MBA, you see? It’s his final year! Hope he fares well!”
“Does he know you’ve eloped..”
“No?” Laksh asked, shocked.
“Actually, I haven’t been in touch with him for past two months. So I couldn’t inform him about this marriage! Forget about my elopement!”
“Are you mad?? I mean! You eloped for him and he has no idea about it! Wow!”
Ragini looked at the other side, unaffected.
“I really wonder how can Sanskar fall for you! I mean, what did he see in you?”
“You know, I fell for him first. After much pleadings, papaji allowed me to go to Delhi for further studies. I got admission in Hindu, Delhi University. I still remember when I saw him for the first time. I went to the Stephen’s for their fest. Though Hindu and Stephen’s are rivals, but this rivalry adds up to the fun. I saw him. White kurta and jeans. A red stroller tied at his waist. He looked so handsome! He was in their.. This.. Drama society. He was preparing for his performance. I was in first year, and he was in second. It was love at first sight for me! But he didn’t notice me at all. All through the semester, I used to stalk him. Find out everything about him. I was mad about him! I used to stare at him from far. He never noticed me.”
“I got to know that he was enrolling himself at Barry John’s theatre workshop. Though I never had any interest in drama, I too enrolled myself. Just to be around him. Just to see him. Even then he was unaware of my existence!”
“Then one day, we were paired with each other for one session. And you know what? My character had to wear a burqa in that! Only my eyes were visible to others! God! I was so angry! But, I was happy that I was with him. That day I forgot my dialogues! I was just looking at him. For the first time I was so close to him! Then gradually, we became friends. Not great friends, just.. Good friends. Acquaintance perhaps. But then, that day came!” Ragini blushed a little as she spoke.
“We were given this assignment at the workshop. We were divided in groups. Every group had to prepare their own skit. Me and Sanskar were in different groups. I was so disappointed. But then, after a week, when every group had to perform, I was shocked! You know, Sanskar and his group enacted us! I mean, me and Sanskar! From our first performance, that burqa one, till now. Everything! And in the end, he.. He proposed me!”
“Ms. Ragini Sharma, I fell for you when I saw your eyes in our first performance. I never had the courage to confess it to you. But now. I can’t hold it any longer. I love you Ragini! Will you please honor me by becoming my girlfriend?”
Ragini was more than shocked at his proposal. Tears of happiness flowed down her cheeks. She got up and walked towards him with a straight face. She raised her hand in a way that it seemed like she was about to slap him, but instead, she cupped his face lovingly and spoke,
“I love you too, Sanskar! I’ve always loved you! I.. I’m so happy! I love you!” She hugged him tightly.
“My best day! But then, he went to US.. MBA.. He didn’t want to go. But I convinced him somehow! And now.. He’s out there and here I am!”
“Hm. Quite a romantic story!” Laksh remarked, to which Ragini only giggled. “By the way, did you inform your father about him?”
“When he fixed my marriage with that joker, I protested so much! I pleaded so hard that I love someone else. In vain! Nobody listened to me! I even enacted to commit suicide, which only added to my miseries! I was thereafter kept under strict vigilance! Not for a single moment was I left alone!”
“Then how did you escape? And.. You were talking about some.. Monu?”
“Monu aka Maninder Singh! The most selfish person alive! He wants his sister to marry that joker Chaddha! He came to kidnap me but was caught. I somehow gestured him to meet me afterwards. I explained to him that I don’t want to marry Veeru. So he gave me his number. And I stole Jassi’s phone and planned everything with him. He told me that he’ll send one of his trucks near the window of my bathroom. He told me it would be a truck full of flowers. But that idiot! Ek ladki ko nahi bhaga sakta! I jumped into a truck and the next I was conscious, I was here!”
“Coool! So, what’s your next plan?”
“I just want to contact Sanskar anyhow and go to him!”
“Hm. If you need any help..”
“No! Contact Ariba bi! I’m very busy!”
“Ofcourse! You are the ‘Future of Maheshwaris’!” Ragini laughed, but Laksh just smiled a little.
“Mr. Future, now that I’ve told you everything about me, atleast answer my one question.”
“Who is Kavita?”