After finishing setting the dining table at lunch time, Ragini is in the kitchen preparing a plate a wide smile on her lips. She hears her mother in law calling her from the dining room.
Hurrying there to serve everyone, she sees Ram coming down alone, Annapurna asks him worried:
“- where is Sujatta? Is she still refusing to eat?”
He replies annoyed while taking a sit:
“- don’t worry for her, she’ll eat when she’ll feel hungry… In fact, I’m sure she’s eating secretly!”
Everyone smiles sirf the old woman, who feels really sad that on such happy circumstances, their home keeps plunging in sorrow, Ragini reassures her, smiling:
“- ma, don’t worry, I’ve already served her in her room”
Durga Prasad stops eating wondering:
“- Ragini beta? You said that Swara was coming for lunch..”
Uttara mumbles her mouth full of food:
“- Sure bade papa, dekho… Ragini babhi has made her favorite dishes today, hai na babhi”
Ragini smiles wider looking up to discover swara standing upstairs, she was listening to their conversation… Before anyone could ask her, she goes to her room without a word.
At the family enquiries, Ragini smiles shaking her head, reassuring them she says :
“- I’ll serve her in her room too…”
In the kitchen, Sujatta is standing next to the fridge her back to the door, looking to the plate prepared by Ragini for her sister, a small bottle in her hands, she hesitates feeling about having a heart attack afraid to be caught, she recalls the last night events about Swara’s pregnancy… Her sister’s in law words in the morning and whispers:
“- forgive me jiji… May be you all can believe that choree on Adarsh’s words but it’s impossible for me… And even if it’s true, what would say people about us? who will believe that my bahu who was publicly separated from her husband for almost the last year is having my grand son… This baby will bring shame to this house and family… For all of us… for himself… He will live with that shame for his whole life tarnishing my poor Sanskar’s memory!”
She looks up whispering a prayer her hands joined then adds:
“- Forgive me god, but I have to do it…”
Checking behind her to be sure that no one is looking to her, she pours the bottle’s contain on the soup she’s sure Swara will have and escapes by the window, before anyone could see her.
Just then, Ragini comes back to take her sister’s plate.
Somewhere out of the town’s center…
Sitting at the back of a car, Adarsh is talking to someone on his phone:
“- ha, of course I’ll be there at time, I’m waiting for that moment for so long time”
He hangs off ordering his driver:
“- drive faster, Aman! I can’t make him wait for me”
“- ji… sir!”
The driver presses on the accelerator smirking…
Sanskar a pair of solar glasses hiding his shaped with kohl eyes, and a small fashioned beard eating most of his face, was also eager to attend the appointment place…
Today more than never before, it’s vital for him to finish that work he started a month ago… the last step started just yesterday, when Adarsh has been freed from jail.
*** Flashback ***
Adarsh gets out of the detention’s center after half of his sentence. As promised, a car is waiting for him, he opens the door, takes an envelope and a phone from the driver seat and installs himself. He dials the unique registered number looking inside the envelope:
“- hallo, ha… all is here, thank you so much… See you tomorrow as planned… Thank you again”
He hangs off and takes the amount of money from the envelop smiling.
Suddenly, he’s attacked by three goons dragging him out of the car and trying to pick his money, he tries to fight with them but they are just too stronger and he’s about giving up when a passing man comes to rescue him.
Despite not being so much stronger, he’s able to fight with all of them alone fiercely, making them run away…
Adarsh stays at the ground astonished until that stranger’s hand is extended to him, helping him to stand up…
Rubbing his badly hurt shoulder, the guy asks:
“- everything OK sir?”
A bit feeling numb, Adarsh nods silently looking to him, seeing him about going, he says :
“- thank you so much”
The unknown guy wave his hand saying it’s OK and goes from there still pressing his shoulder, his face and arms are covered with bruises, Adarsh runs after him giving him money:
“- hey! Take that… You may need a doctor!”
Sanskar looks to his worried eyes remembering those times when his elder brother would feel his presence without seeing him, it aches his heart how their lives has turned to that awful drama!
“- take it… You’re like my little brother and if you didn’t came to save me, I don’t know what would happened”
Sanskar looks down feeling his eyes wetting, how it was so simple for his bhaiya to mock that brotherhood… He’s even able to talk about a little brother when he is thinking that one of them is dead and the other has been banned from his family for the past months and all by his fault…
“- kya hua? Don’t feel shy, I’m really thankful for what you did for me…”
Sanskar looks up to him smiling:
“- helping someone in distress isn’t a job worth for money… It’s just help…”
“- why not…”
At the end of their conversation, Sanskar is satisfied that his plan has worked perfectly… The Aman he’s acting to be became Adarsh’s guard and driver.
Ragini enters her sister’s room asking for her, the launch plate in her hands, Swara comes out of the washroom drying her hands, she gives the food a disgusted look making her sister rolls her eyes dramatically.
She puts the plate on the dressing table and makes her sit beside her on the bed, then putting the plate on her lap, she takes a small piece of bread pludges it in the soup and brings it to Swara’s lips.
But Swara puts her hand on hers refusing it softly before turning her face away.
“- Swara, this is not fair… I passed the whole morning making all your loved kinds of food and then what? You just refuse like that…”
Swara looks back to her, smiling at her fake hurt pout, she says sadly:
“- Mum is still mad at me, Ragini…”
“- So what? I’m mad at you too na!”
Swara is startled, he looks at her sister’s serious expression for a while frowning, Ragini puts back the piece of food on the plate and adds on a stern tone:
“- haa! I’m mad at you because you kept that secret from your unique sister… poor me!!! I was so freaking afraid that Laksh death’s news would break you marriage while you and tumhara lovely Sanskar were…”
Swara stops her hitting on her shoulder and blushing scarlet red, she looks down ashamed and whispers:
“- s… so.. sorry Ragini… it’s… it was… eh… just…”
Ragini burst out laughing at her so confused expression astonishing her, she couldn’t stop seeing her shocked expression, breathing heavily trying to catch air again, she says:
“- God Swara! Look at yourself… it’s ok, stop blushing like that… and i was just teasing you, i’m not mad at you at all… nothing to be ashamed about! You were married!”
At the past tense she used, she sees her sister look away sadder, she adds to lighten her mood:
“- Swara… why are you blushing so much… I’m Ragini, Parineetha babhi nahi… I didn’t see anything!”
Her bold words shock Swara who hits her shoulder again admonishing her, she says:
“- don’t remind me that!”
But she couldn’t look at her sister’s eyes, she keeps looking down until Ragini’s hand pulls on her chin up making her look at her, she shakes her head smiling honestly. Swara breaks the silence saying:
“- I’m really sorry Ragini, you were going throw so much pain when I… he… it was just so… ”
She couldn’t end her sentence overwhelmed by shyness, Ragini has a small laugh replying:
“- it’s ok Swara! I know what you talk about… I’m married to a Maheshwari son too you know, it seems like dramatic situation have an aphrodisiac effect on them…”
Swara smiles at her words, both blushing harder, Ragini continues :
“- you really think that Laksh’ and me are fasting since…”
She stops abruptly feeling awkward bringing that topic in the middle, it was her turn to look down. But Swara smiles fondly at her confused look and puts a hand on hers saying:
“- I’m hungry now… let me taste your magic fingers work”
A hangar entry…
“- stay here, Aman!”
Adarsh orders him going out of the car, he walks to the big hangar’s entry, greeted by the guards, they open the doors locking them behind him.
Sanskar takes a small recorder turning it on, putting a puce in his ear, he could hear his brother’s steps inside. The place was spacious and full of stored boxes.
Adarsh is guided to a corner where there was a desk and computer, a man in black suit was standing there a cigar between his lips, he takes a deep breath from it throwing its smoke away when he approaches him.
He bends to his feet touching the ground then his chest in respect, the old man give him blessing a hand on his head.
“- let me see you, beta!”
Adarsh stands up looking to him before hugging him tightly, the old man laughs happily caressing his hair playfully before breaking their embrace asking:
“- how are things at home?”
“- no one is talking to me yet, but don’t worry… I’ll win their trust back soon, baba”
“- I’m sure of that, Maheshwaris are like that, hai na? … they’re able to jail their son but never let him down”
Adarsh smiles evilly. The old man was in his sixties, tall and strong, classy and almost good looking if there wasn’t a scar marking his right cheek, he caresses it constantly like a vicious habit.
Making some steps to go and seat on his king sized chair, he asks gesturing him to sit on the other chair:
“- talk me about her… the adorable smart Swara!”
Hearing her name in that man’s mouth, Sanskar hits on the wheel angrily… he takes his phone and calls someone:
“- he’s back… we got him!”
The other person on the phone was Nikhil who was at bade, in Dida’s house who smiles happily joining her hands in a thankful prayer… Shekar smiles too at the news.
Nikhil says on the phone:
“- don’t take any risk, Sanskar… remember that man is very dangerous… Police is searching him for the last twenty years!”
Swara knocks softly on Sujatta’s opened door, her plate in hands, she has convinced her sister to let her handle her mother in law’s anger and go eat down with the family…
Sujatta looks to her then turns her head to the opposite direction angrily, Swara enters even not been invited. She puts her plate on the bedside table an sits beside her, Sujatta moves further making her smile at her childish behavior. She notices that her plate was on her bed on the other side, still untouched.
“- mum… I know you’re angry that choree your son has given you as bahu, but why are you punishing yourself not eating, you should punish her, hai na?”
Sujatta looks back to her, her eyes fuming with rage at her sight, she replies:
“- Destiny is punishing me for not knowing how to bring up my son so he gave me such…”
Swara stops her, a finger on her lips and says shaking her head as a “no”:
“- don’t mum… please, don’t say something we’ll both regret later…”
Sujatta was startled, Swara calm voice and soft smile don’t give her the opportunity to shout at her face. She frowns looking away again, but Swara takes her both hands in hers and says:
“- I know mum, that deep inside, you don’t mean all what you said, because you’re mere mum hai… Sanskar’s ma who gave him life… which gave me life…”
Putting her hands on her belly shocking her, she continuous seeing her look to her back:
“- which is giving THIS life… hai na?”
Suddenly, she takes one of her hands off and puts it on her head, pressing the other on her belly yet, she says looking in her eyes:
“- I swear on my own life and my child’s life that Sanskar, has always been, IS and will always be the only man in my life… may I never…”
Sujatta takes her hands off shivering, Swara smiles seeing her struggle insidely looking away, she lays in her lap surprising her and says:
“- I know ma, I know that you have such a big heart to forgive my past errors… I gave you pain and made your son suffer… I’m living with that guilt until my last breath, but believe me ma… all I wanted then was that everything returns back to normal, when I lost my baby …”
Sujatta looks down to her tears filling her eyes feeling Swara’s tears wetting her lap, she tightens her fists holding herself from caressing her hair, Swara continuous:
“- all I wanted was to erase all the bad things we lived, going out from here, bade papa illness, bade ma and bade papa imprisoned in their own houses, the family broken ties, Sanskar and Laksh fights… Laksh disappearance… baby’s lost… everything… I just wanted our family to be the same again, happy … was it too much?”
Sujatta was crying too at those memories, she looks to her son’s photo then to her, raises her hand about caressing her hair but then Swara gets up wiping her face and smiling again, she retires her hand instantly.
Swara looks to Sanskar’s photo too smiling sadly, then she takes the plate from the bedside table and says:
“- you can stay angry with me as much as you want, but please eat a bit, you’ll fall ill if you continue…”
Sujatta doesn’t reply… she pleads:
“- not for me, ma… for Sanskar…”
The old woman looks away again…
“- ok, if you’re not hungry, I’m not hungry too…”
She gives her the empty spoon saying childishly:
“- but your grand son is hungry… won’t you feed him, ma?”
Facing her mother in law’s silence, Swara shrugs undefeated and takes some soup…
TO BE CONTINUED…
Sanskar faces Adarsh in Maheshwari Mansion…
Swara meets the man with the scar at Badi!