SWASAN – MR MAHESHWARI AND I
Heyy, It’s Anjali back with the next chapter!!!
Thnxx for comments and to my silent readers….
THIS IS A SUPER LONG CHAPTER!!!! HAVE FUN!!!
Darjeeling! Swasan in the flower gardens
Maybe the time was right to kiss Swara Gadodia again, here in the perfect beauty of Venus Park’s gardens, with the flowers grazing their legs and the smell of lilac hanging in the air.
Or maybe not!
Sanskaar was just about to plan the best way to grab her and kiss her senseless.
When he heard the unwelcome voice of his brother….He turned around to see Laksh waving at him.
Laksh (shouting) : Sanskaar! Finally! I’ve been searching all over for you.
Sanskaar (in an undertone) : I seriously have to kill you one of these days.
Swara : Did you say something, Mr Maheshwari?
Sanskaar ignored her, which was probably best. since not ignoring her tended to leave him rather desperately lusting after her, which was, as he well knew, a short, straight road to utter disaster.
In all truth, he probably should have thanked Laksh for his untimely interruption. A few more seconds, and he would have kissed Swara Gadodia, which would have been the greatest mistake of his life.
One kiss with her could probably be excused, especially considering how far she’d provoked him the other night in his study. But two… well, two would have required any decent man to withdraw his courtship of her sister.
He couldn’t believe how close he’d come to tossing aside his plan to marry Ragini. What was he thinking? She was the perfect bride for his purposes. It was only when her meddlesome sister was around that his brain grew confused.
Laksh finally joined them.
Laksh : Sanskaar! And Miss Gadodia? (he added curiously, as he knew that the two didn’t like each other)
Swara (explaining) : I came here to admire these wonderful gardens and coincidentally met him here.
Sanskaar : Why were you looking for me?
Laksh : Oh Yeah! I forgot! Uttara has come back. And guess who she came back with…
Sanskaar : Who?
Laksh : Aarav and Antara.
Sanskaar : What? Aarav? He is back in India?
Laksh ( smiling) : Yeah! Aarav came 2 days ago apparently. He ran into her at the airport. When he heard we were here, He offered to drop her and meet us here.
Swara stood silently listening to the 2 brothers talk, confused. She did not know this Aarav and was really curious to know why Sanskaar was so happy to know he was back.
Sanskaar looking at Swara’s confused look, through the corner of his eye, turned to her.
Sanskaar : Aarav Malik is my one of my business client and my best friend. He is the owner of the Malik Industries. He is like my brother. Antara is his wife and my distant cousin. Though we are very close now.
Swara smiled and nodded.
Laksh : Anyways, Since he is here, He was asking if we could play The Ball Game. What do you think? We haven’t played in so long! And maybe, If we extend it long enough, We can escape today’s party and those drama queens.
Laksh : I didn’t mean you, Of course, Miss Gadodia! No one would dare call you a drama queen.
Swara (cheekily) : Was that a compliment?
Laksh : Of Course.
Swara (nodding graciously) : Then I will accept it with good favour.
Sanskaar : Have you played The Ball Game?
Laksh : We call it that Sanskaar. She won’t know obviously.
Laksh (turning to Swara) : We set out wickets on a course, then hit wooden balls through them with mallets.
Swara : That sounds simple enough.
Sanskaar : Not when you’re playing with us. The Maheshwaris and the Maliks always compete to finsh first. So we lay out a huge course spanning the entire estate. We put the wickets under boughs of trees, over roots…..
Laksh : Basically, It is one hell of a game.
Swara : Do you think I might also join?
She didn’t particularly want to spend the day with Sanskaar Maheshwari, But the game sounded so fun that, Damn it, She wanted to play.
Laksh : Sure.
Sanskaar (triumphantly smug) : And we will invite your sister as well!
Swara ( choking) : Ragini?
She’d been doing her best to keep the two of them apart, and now she’d practically arranged an afternoon out. There was no way she could exclude Ragini after all but inviting herself into the game.
Sanskaar : Do you have any other sister? (she scowled) Excellent.. Laksh you go and start setting the course with this Miss Gadodia…I will bring the other Miss Gadodia here.
Laksh : Goody! We will be evenly matched. Sanskaar, Aarav and me as the men and the two Gadodias and Antara for the women. Uttara and Adarsh are going out.
Swara : Do we play on teams?
Laksh : No! I just like it when it’s even.
Sanskaar : So! It is settled. You both go. I will bring your sister.
Swara opened her mouth to protest the arrangements that would leave Ragini alone in the tycoon’s company, even for so short a time as a walk down to the field, but in the end she remained silent. There was no reasonable excuse she could give to prevent it, and she knew it.
Laksh : Great! We will see you later then.
Laksh and Swara walked about a quarter of a mile from the house to a somewhat uneven clearing bordered on one side by a lake.
Laksh : Once when we all were playing, Sanskaar put his red ball right in the lake. We have not been able to find it since then. We had a set of 8, but now only 7. We threw the red bat as well into the water.
Swara laughed. She trailed after him, tapping her hand idly against her thigh.
Swara : Do you know what time it is?
Laksh ( checking his watch) : It is 3:20.
Swara calculating in her head figures that Sanskaar and Ragini would be here by 3:30 at the latest.
Laksh entered a broken old shed and took out a box filled with 7 different coloured mallets and balls.
Laksh : Here you go! Why don’t you choose your colour first?
Swara thanked him and chose black.
Laksh : Wow! We always call that the mallet of death.
Swara : Why?
Laksh : Because Sanskaar always choooses black and wins. You’re actually a lot like him, you know?
Swara (gasping) : Me? Like him? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Laksh : Why would I kid you? You are like him. Overburdened with the resposibility of your family, the happiness of your siblings. Maybe it’s because you are the eldest. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.
Swara : What do you mean?
Laksh : Look at him! Every deal he signs, Every commitment he makes, he has to do thinking of Ma and Chachi. He thinks of Uttara before anything he does to see how this would affect her. Even thoug we are bl**dy rich, He seldom spends money so that in case, If we need that money, We would have it. He’d rather go without anything for himself than ask any of us to cut back. He takes care of all our properties, both in India and abroad. Maheshwari MNC is completely his responsibilty. So, When I saw I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes, I meant it. It’s a massive responsibility to have on one’s shoulders alone.
Swara didn’t want to listen to how good a son and brother Sanskaar was, but she couldn’t help be impressed by Laksh’s words. She didn’t want to change her opinion of him, but she had to admit that the man was sincere in his responsibilities.
Laksh : Anyways, You have chosen the infamous mallet of death. This ball set is a bit musty, but not worse for the wear.
Swara (smiling) : Except for the loss of the red ball.
Laksh : I blame that on Antara! She is my best friend, But I blame everything on her. It makes my life easier.
Just then, A voice is heard from behind.
Antara : I heard that Laksh!
Swara and Laksh turned around to see a very attractive couple walking towards them.
Swara (thinking) : Is there some special in the Maheshwari genes? Everyone’s drop dead gorgeous..
Laksh : Antara!
He hugs her tightly, then hugs Aarav as well.
Laksh : Antara! You’re right on time. Help us lay out the wickets.
Antara : Offo Laksh! You always make me do your dirty laundry. (turning to Swara) Since the idiot can’t do anything, I’ll introduce myself. I’m Antara Malik, previously Antara Khanna, cousin to the Maheshwaris and unfortunately, this idiot’s best friend. And this is my husband, Aarav Malik, Sanskaar’s best friend.
Laksh : This is Miss Gadodia!
Aarav (confused) : Miss Gadodia? But we met Sanskaar on the way, and he said that he was going to bring Miss Gadodia.
Swara : He is going to bring my younger sister Ragini! I am Swara.
Antara draws Swara into a hug.
Antara : Anyone ready tho play this game with the Maliks and Maheshwaris is a friend. Are you ready Swara?
Swara (nodding) : MR Maheshwari! What is the time?
Laksh is amused, but checks his watch.
Swara (muttering) :Where are they? What the hell is causing this delay?
She starts and turns around to pay attention to what Antara was saying.
Antara : ……..We absolutely have to make sure that Sanskaar loses his ball in the lake. He always beats us na? Today we will make him lose.
Swara : Isn’t that technically unfair? Spoiling someone else’s game?
Aarav : When you play THE BALL GAME, There are no rules or sportsmanship. You fight for your own.
Swara : Ohh..
Swara (thinking) : Poora parivaar pagal hai! But the game sounds fun!!
Swara : Mr Maheshwari!
Antara, Aarav and Laksh : Time please?
Swara looks down sheepishly.
Laksh : Chill! They’ll be down shortly. Meanwhile, you chose your colour, but we didn’t. I’ll take yellow.
Antara : Orange for me. And Aarav, Dear! For you, It’s green.
Aarav : Whatever you say, Baby!
Swara smiled. She could see the obvious love between the two of them.
Swara : Ok! So we try to dump the balls in the lake. But once all the balls are in the lake, Then what will happen?
Antara : That is the scenario, isn’t it? Probably we’ll get another set… Because Truly, this game is less about winning than making sure the other players lose. Especially when they are your brothers.
Swara tried not to laugh, but failed.
Laksh : Look at the 3 mallets that are left. Blue, Pink and Pale lavender.
Swara : Blue for Ragini! She loves blue.
Laksh ( smiling wickedly) : Done. That means…Pink or Lavender for Sanskaar. Both girly. Perfect. Let him come.
Swara looked at the horizon again. She didn’t think the tycoon was compromising Ragini, but he was probably doing his very best to charm her silly. And that was dangerous in and of itself.
Swara pondered the mallet in her hand and tried to figure out how she might bring it down upon Sanskaar’s head and make it look like an accident.
The mallet of death, indeed.
Sanskaar was in fact, pacing about the hall, waiting for Ragini. HE checked the time. 3:45.
God, Would she ever show up.
Suddenly, he grinned. Normally he was a stickler for punctuality, but when tardiness resulted in the torture of Swara, he didn’t much mind a late arrival. And she was surely writhing in agony by now, horrified at the thought of her precious younger sister in his evil clutches.
It was a highly entertaining image.
Not, of course, that this was even his fault. He would have left right on time if he hadn’t had to wait for Ragini. She’d sent word down with the maid that she would join him in ten minutes. That was twenty minutes ago. He couldn’t help it if she was late.
Sanskaar had a sudden image of the rest of his life— waiting for Ragini. Was she the sort who was chronically late? That might grow tiring after a while.
As if on cue, he heard the patter of footsteps in the hall, and when he looked up, Ragini’s exquisite form was framed by the doorway.
She was, he thought dispassionately, a vision. Utterly lovely in every way. Her face was perfection, her posture the epitome of grace.
Sanskaar waited for some sort of reaction to rise up within him. Surely no man could be immune to her beauty.
Nothing. Not even the slightest urge to kiss her. It almost seemed a crime against nature.
But maybe this was a good thing. After all, he didn’t want a wife with whom he’d fall in love. Desire would have been nice, but desire could be dangerous. Desire certainly had a greater chance of sliding into love than did disinterest.
Ragini : Sorry to make you wait. Shall we go now?
Sanskaar nodded. They walked slowly together. He remarked on the weather. She remarked on the weather. He remarked on the previous day’s weather. She agreed with whatever he’d said (he couldn’t even remember, one minute later).
After exhausting all possible weather-related topics, they fell into silence, and then finally, after a full three minutes of neither of them having anything to say,
Ragini (blurted out) : Do you like to read?
Sanskaar (surprised) : A bit, I suppose.
Ragini (unusually impatient) : What do you mean by a bit?
Sanskaar : I like buisness or economy related articles or stories. Sometimes, A good mystery novel.
Ragini : Ohh! I love to read.
Sanskaar (surprised) : You? What do you like to read?
Ragini : Anything I suppose. Philosophy if I’m in the mood for self-improvement.
Sanskaar (grimacing) : Philosophy? Such namby pamby stuff…Can’t bear the thing.
Ragini (laughing) : Swara is the same way. She is forever telling me that she knows perfectly well how to live her life and doesn’t need a dead man to give her instructions.
Sanskaar : I have to agree with her this time.
Ragini ( her eyes round) : Agree with Swara? Oh my god! Has the world tilted on its axis?
Sanskaar : You are really more cheeky than everyone knows right?
Ragini : True! But not as much as Swara!
Sanskaar : That was never in doubt.
He heard Ragini let out a little giggle, and when he looked over at her, she appeared to be trying her hardest to maintain a straight face. They rounded the final corner to the field, and as they came over the rise, they saw the rest of the party waiting for them, idly swinging their mallets to and fro as they waited.
Sanskaar (seeing Swara with her mallet) : bl**dy Hell! Damn it! Your sister took my mallet. She has the mallet of death.
Laksh : How long will you take? Here, we’re ready to go. Ragini, you’re blue. (He handed her a mallet) Sanskaar, you’re pink.
Sanskaar (incredulously) : I am pink? But she gets the mallet of death?
Laksh (shrugging) : I gave her first choice. She is our guest. And you can’t take blue. It is Miss Gadodia’s favourite colour.
Ragini : Oh! That’s no issue….
Sanskaar : Never mind. I will be bl**dy pink. And I will still win.
Laksh : Let’s see. Now look, There are 6 wickets spread over these 10 acres. We have to whack the balls through the wickets chronologicallly. You follow the ball wherever it goes. And remember this is a cliffy area, So there are lots of ups and downs….So be careful. Now let’s start.
Aarav went first and hit the ball far. Sanskaar went next and hit his ball. It probably would have passed Aarav’s ball, But an unnoticable tree root sent it rolling over to the left. He cursed aloud. Laksh went next and gave a shot. Then came Swara. She hit the ball, and landed directly diagonal to Sanskaar’s ball. She was glad that she hit the ball so far, but when she saw the pitying looks on Aarav, Antara and Laksh’s faces, she grew suspicious. Especially when Sanskaar looked extremely happy.
Antara : Poor girl! You’ll see soon enough! Don’t ask why now.
Then she went and at last Ragini had her turn. The round began again. Aarav went and soon it was Sanskaar’s turn. He smiled deviously.
Swara came towards him.
Swara : What are you doing?
Sanskaar : You really should be more polite to me, you know!
Swara : After you delayed by half an hour with Ragini? I should stick a knife into your heart this very minute…
Sanskaar (coming near Swara and leaning down to whisper) : Bloodthirsty female! You will eventually learn this game. But for now, (he straightened himself and let his ball fly)…..
The ridiculous pink ball struck her black one, which went rolling down a narrow path.
Antara (unnecesarily) : That’s why I said poor girl!
Swara (with her mouth open) : You….I’m going to KILL YOU!
Sanskaar : All’s fair in love and war, My dear!
Swara : Urghhh! You will pay for this, MR SANSKAAR MAHESHWARI!
She stomped her way down.
Swara : I am going to stab that man. No, I am going to burn him alive. No wait, I’ll give him an electric shock. OR…..What about tying him to a tree and letting a bull charge towards him.
Sanskaar (amused) : Are you plotting my demise?
Swara : bl**dy hell! Why are you here again ?
Sanskaar : I came to tell you that it’s your turn. But your plans sound more interesting. Care to continue?
Swara hit his shoulder with her mallet and came to where the ball was.
Swara : If I can get the angle, I can probably make that shot. Then I won’t be behind anymore.
She angled herself to the right position and began to make her move.
Swara : One, Two…..
Sanskaar (suddenly in Swara’s ear) : EEEEEE
Swara was so startled that she fumbled the shot. The black ball went rolling and rolling until it stopped and fell into a ditch.
Sanskaar burst out laughing.
Swara : What the hell? What did you just do?
Sanskaar : As I said, All’s fair in love and war!!!
Swara : You….
She started chasing him…He began laughing.
Sanskaar : C’mon Miss Gadodia! Can’t you keep up with me?
Swara : Today I will show you….Fool! Spoil my game, Will you?
She puts on a final burst of speed and caught him with such force that they tumble and fall down, Swara on top of Sanskaar.
They have an eyelock.
Sanskaar : Aakhir, you caught me?
Swara (seeing her advantage, sits up and starts beating him with her mallet) : Spoil my game, will you? How dare you? Swara Gadodia has never been defeated by anyone. I will show you today. I will still win.
Sanskaar : Bas! Bas! C’mon…….Leave me….
She stops and they began laughing. She rests on his legs which he raised to provide back support for her.
Laksh : Sanskaar! Uttho! It’s your turn now.
Sanskaar and Swara realise their position and get up, feeling awkward. But the others thought nothing of this.
Sanskaar went to his ball and took his aim. At the last minute however, HE looked at Swara watching him. His arms fell weak and he gave such a clumsy shot that the ball landed right next to Swara’s ball, in the ditch.
Sanskaar : What the hell? How did that happen?
Swara (beaming) : Sad, Mr Maheshwari! Let’s see now, who wins? And as you said, twice in fact, ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR!
She took her turn. As the others watched, She took careful aim and began to strike the ball.
Sanskaar : Why are you aiming this way for? The wicket is that way…
Swara : Shhhh..
Sanskaar finally realised.
Sanskaar : You can’t do this, Miss Gadodia!
Swara : Try me!
Sanskaar (warning) : You really don’t want to do this! You really, really don’t!
Swara (with great feeling) : I do. I really, really do.
And then, with quite the most evil grin her lips had ever formed, she drew back her mallet and smacked her ball with every ounce of every single emotion within her. It knocked into his with stunning force, sending it hurtling even farther down the hill.
Right into the lake.
Swara whooped with delight while Sanskaar looked ready to pounce on her.
Swara : Now what do you say, Mr Maheshwari? I win!
Sanskaar (grumpily) : No, you don’t! You didn’t reach the final wicket.
Antara and Laksh came running towards them.
Antara : Awesome! I knew you were worthy of the mallet of death.
Laksh : Brilliant! Truly brilliant! You managed to defeat Sanskaar.
Sanskaar : She didn’t defeat me. I was on the fourth wicket. And she, only the first.
Laksh : Yes, But she sent yours to the lake. A rather stunning conclusion to the game. It would make anything else anticlimatic now. So Miss Swara Gadodia, You win!
Everyone except Swara and Sanskaar turned to go back. Swara went to Sanskaar.
Swara : Aadha credit aap ke liye! After all, If you hadn’t fumbled that shot, I might never have defeated you!
Sanskaar : Not fair, Miss Gadodia!
Swara (smiling) : Remember the rules of this game : There are to be no rules and no sportsmanship!
He was left speechless.
She looked at him smug and turned, when he caught her arm. She turned back to look at him staring at her with a hungry intensity in his eyes….
They couldn’t take their eyes off each other!
PRECAP : Party time…And a night with the rain!!!
Guys, I’m really sorry for taking so long to post a chapter….I am just really busy with coll…Please be patient….
Or if you would rather have smaller chapters, I may be able to update more often…But the chapter may not feel complete…
I am doing my best to ensure I post asap…But if it is delayed, Please wait patiently…I am as eager to see your response as you are to read the chapters…..
ONE LAST THING!!!
Aarav and Antara have no importance in the ff….Only for this chapter!!! So don’t worry about them!
THNXX FOR YOUR LOVE!!
Credit to: Anjali