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!!!
Sanskaar dances with Swara…..Swara sees many different shades of him and wonders if her original opinion of him was right
Later that night, After all the guests had gossipped as much as they could, After Mr Maheshwari had assured everyone that everything was fine, After he had danced with Ragini and Rashi, After he had sought her out to ask if she was fine….
After everyone had finally turned in to go to bed…
Swara couldn’t sleep.
Clearly, It was going to be one of those nights where she would have to count sheep in her head and force herself to sleep.
Except for the fact that, Whenever she closed her eyes, She could see only him. Sanskaar holding her waist during their first dance a fortnight ago, His face during the lake fiasco, The kiss they shared, The conversation in the garden, The game and his question that if she still hated him, their dance where she could feel his every heartbeat, his every emotion.
And finally his anger when he saw that guy molesting the girl.
Swara paced about her room, unable to get his images out of her head. She couldn’t stop thinking about that girl’s expression when Mr Maheshwari had swooped in to her rescue. Her own expression, Swara was sure, must have been somewhat similar—a bit stunned, a little delighted, and a lot as if she were about to melt onto the floor at that very minute.
He had been that magnificent
Swara had spent the entire day either watching or interacting with the Maheshwaris. And one thing had become clear: Everything that had been said about Sanskaar and his devotion to his family—it was all true.
And while she wasn’t quite ready to relinquish her opinion that he was a flirt and a rogue, she was starting to realize that he might be all that and something else as well.
Something that, if she were trying to be utterly objective about the matter, which she admitted was difficult to do, really ought not disqualify him as a potential husband for Ragini.
Swara (looking at the mirror) : Aargh!! Why do you have to confuse me? why why why did you have to go and be nice? Why couldn’t you have just stayed the suave but arrogant tycoon of whose reputation it had been so easy to believe in? Now, you are someone else completely. Who are you, Mr Maheshwari? Why do you make it so hard to hate you? Why do you make it seem like I might actually care for you?
Swara stopped. What the hell was she thinking? She might care for the man? Oh God! She had to stop thinking about Mr Maheshwari. She certainly wouldn’t get sleep otherwise.
Just then she saw it. A bright, completely unexpected flash of lightning illuminated her room. Swara froze. Soon, A slight clap of thunder was heard and she flinched.
Swara : Swara Gadodia! You have to get rid of this fear! Nothing will happen to you. Come, You go to the library and start reading a book. Then you will soon forget about the rain.
She switched on the light to find her slippers. But, Another flash of lightning appeared and the lights went out. Swara waited for the inverter or the generator to switch on, but nothing happened.
She flinched again at the sound of thunder. She found a candle and matchsticks in a drawer and ran as fast as she could. She entered the library and sank down in relief. Maybe here, She wouldn’t hear the storm and could stop thinking about it.
The entire room exploded with a dull boom of thunder.
And then it was dark again, leaving Swara shaking, her fingers gripping the table so hard that her joints locked. She hated this. Oh, how she hated this. She hated the noise and the streaks of light, and the crackling tension in the air, but most of all she hated what it made her feel.
So terrified that eventually she couldn’t feel anything at all.
It had been this way all her life, or at least as long as she could remember. When she’d been small, her father or Ma had comforted her whenever it had stormed. Swara had many memories of one of them sitting on the edge of her bed, holding her hand and whispering soothing words as thunder and lightning crashed around her. But as she grew older, she managed to convince people that she was over her affliction. Oh, everyone knew that she still hated storms. But she’d managed to keep the extent of her terror to herself. She had no idea how to free herself from this irrational fear and she hated to admit it.
It seemed the worst sort of weakness—one with no apparent cause, and unfortunately, one with no clear cure.
She didn’t hear any rain against the windows; maybe the storm wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe it had started far away and was moving even farther. Maybe it was—
Another flash illuminated the room, squeezing out a scream from Swara’s lungs. And this time the thunder had arrived loud and confident indicating a huge storm.
Swara felt herself sink to the floor.
It was too loud. Too loud, and too bright, and too—
Swara found a table and huddled under it, her legs folded up, her arms about her knees, waiting in terror for the next round. She closed her eyes.
And then the storm began in earnest.
Sanskaar sat in his study looking over some of his office files. He had been horribly neglecting them this past week. All because of Swara Gadodia!
She surely had to be the bane of his existence. And the object of his desires. All at once.
He couldn’t deny it anymore. He was hooked onto her like a magnet, He didn’t know why. He was trying to win her sister’s hand and instead he couldn’t stop thinking about Swara.
Swara, who, much as she infuriated him, couldn’t help but command his respect. How could he not admire one who clung so steadfastly to her convictions? And Sanskaar had to admit that the crux of her convictions—devotion to family—was the one principle he held above all else.
He got up, deciding to continue the work tomorrow. He had started thinking about Miss Gadodia again. He knew he could get no work done now.
He looked outside, listening to the rain beating against his windows.
He loved thunderstorms. Hard to tell why. Maybe it was just the proof of nature’s power over man. Maybe it was the sheer energy of the light and sound that pounded around him. Whatever the case, it made him feel alive.
The power suddenly went out. He waited for the generator to get switched on, But nothing happened.
Sanskaar : Odd! Why isn’t the generator on yet? Chalo, Koi baat nahi! I’ll go and check myself.
Anthony picked up a candle and headed out into the empty hall. There was something peaceful and intriguing about a quiet house. Even with the rain beating against the walls, he could hear every sound of his footsteps. And except for when the lightning streaked through the sky, his candle provided the only illumination in the hall. He rather enjoyed waving the flame this way and that, watching the play of shadows against the walls and furniture. It was a rather odd feeling of control, but—
He noticed that the library door was slightly open. He peered in and saw the faint glimmer of a candle on the table.
Sanskaar (disgustedly) : Who was so bl**dy foolish to keep a candle here? What if it had fallen, this entire place would have been a raging flame.
He entered the room. One entire wall of the library was taken up by tall windows, so the sound of the rain was much louder here than it had been in the hall. A crack of thunder shook the floor, then, practically on top of that, a flash of lightning split the night.
The electricity of the moment made him grin, and he crossed over to where the offending candle had been left burning. He leaned over, blew it out, and then…
He heard it.
It was the sound of breath. Panicked, labored, with the slightest touch of a whimper.
Sanskaar glanced around the room but saw no one.
Sanskaar : Is there someone here?
He heard the whimper again. It seemed to be coming from….
Under the table?
He bent down and peered under the table.
Sanskaar : SWARA!
His breath was sucked right out of his body.
Swara was lying in a fetal position, curled up into a ball, her arms wrapped around her bent legs so tightly it looked as if she were about to shatter.
Her head was bent down, her eye sockets resting on her knees, and her entire body was shaking with fast, intense tremors.
Sanskaar was absolutely gobsmacked and he turned cold. He had never seen anyone shake like that.
Sanskaar (gently, Going under the table holding the candle) : Swara? Can you hear me?
He couldn’t tell if she could hear him. She seemed to have retreated into herself, desperate to escape something. Was it the storm? She’d said she hated the rain, but this went far deeper. Sanskaar knew that most people didn’t thrive on storms as he did, but he’d never heard of someone being reduced to this.
She looked as if she’d break into a million brittle pieces if he so much as touched her.
Thunder shook the room, and her body flinched with such torment that Sanskaar felt it in his bones.
Sanskaar was broken hearted to see her like this. He gently placed his hand on her arm and held her tighly.
Sanskaar (softly) : Swara! Don’t worry! I’m here….Nothing will happen. Don’t worry!
Another flash of lightning tore through the room and Swara tried to curl herself into an even tighter ball, if that was possible. She was trying to keep her eyes shielded from the light.
He moved closer and took one of her hands in his. Her skin was like ice, her fingers stiff from terror. It was difficult to pry her arm from around her legs, but eventually he was able to bring her hand to his mouth, and he pressed his lips against her skin, trying to warm her.
Eventually he managed to scoot himself under the table so that he was sitting beside her on the floor, with his arm around her trembling shoulders. She seemed to relax slightly at his touch, which left him with the oddest feeling—almost a sense of pride that he had been the one to be able to help her. That, and a bone-deep feeling of relief, because it was killing him to see her in such torment.
Sanskaar : Why is my strong Swara so afraid of thunderstorms? What happened in your past that it made you like this?
He whispered soothing words in her ear and softly caressed her shoulder, trying to comfort her with his mere presence. And slowly—very, slowly; he had no idea how many minutes he sat under that table with her—he could feel her muscles begin to unwind. Her skin lost that awful clammy feeling, and her breathing, while still rushed, no longer sounded quite so panicked.
Finally, When he felt that she was ready, He slowly lifted her face up to his. She had her eyes shut tightly.
Sanskaar (gently, but with quiet authority) : Swara! Look at me! I know you are scared, but I assure you that everything is alright. Open them for me Swara, Please. Open them for me!
After what seemed like ages, Swara’s eyes fluttered. She tried to open her eyes, but they were resisting. Sanskaar had little experience with this sort of terror, but it seemed to make sense to him that her eyes just wouldn’t want to open, that they simply wouldn’t want to see whatever it was that so frightened her.
After a long time of fluttering, Swara finally opened her eyes.
Sanskaar felt like had been punched in his heart.
If eyes were the window to one’s soul, It had shattered within Swara Gadodia that night. Her eyes looked red rimmed, Empty and bewildered. He had never seen her so broken and clueless.
It tore his heart that she was in such pain and he couldn’t remove it. He held her tight and quietly gave an almost paternal kiss on her forehead.
Swara ( her voice barely audible) : I don’t remember…..I don’t remember what happened.
Sanskaar : Do you remember coming to the library?
Swara nodded, almost imperciptibly.
Sanskaar : Did you come before the storm started?
Swara shook her head.
Swara : No! I came here thinking it won’t be as loud as it was in my room. I thought I could distract myself with a book. But I heard it and sank down. I don’t remember what happened after that.
There was another round of lightning and thunder, and Swara tried to curl herself again, But couldn’t due to Sanskaar. She hugged him tightly, afraid to let loose of him. She quietly sobbed against his chest.
Sanskaar froze. He didn’t know what to do. He slowly put his hands on Swara’s back and held her tightly. He closed his eyes and wished for all of her pain to disappear and she be the Swara he knew and fought with.
She finally looked up at him.
Swara (desperately) : I can’t……I don’t….
Sanskaar (wiping her tears) : Shhhhh! I understand. You don’t have to tell anything.
She visibly relaxed and settled down in his arms.
Swara (whispering) : Thank you!
Sanskaar : Shall I talk to you?
Swara shut her eyes, as if keeping them open required more energy than she possessed. She nodded.
Sanskaar : What shall I talk to you about?
He didn’t think that Swara would answer and was very surprised when he got one.
Swara : Could you tell me about this house?
Sanskaar : This house?
Sanskaar (absurdly pleased that Swara was interested in the place that meant so much to him) : I grew up here.
Swara : Your Badi Ma and mom told me.
Sanskaar (thinking) : Good! She is participating in the conversation. This will take her mind off the storm.
He felt so glad that he was the one who was calming her down.
Sanskaar : Shall I tell you some of Laksh’s pranks as a child?
Swara : No! I want to hear about you. What you feel for this house?
Sanskaar tried to ignore the vague, uncomfortable feeling that spread in his chest. It was so much easier to tell a tale of his siblings than to talk about himself.
Swara : Actually, Tell me about your father.
Sanskaar : My father?
Swara : Yes! He passed away few years back right?
Sanskaar : No! That was my Bade papa! (reminiscing and smiling) My own papa died when I was 7. Uttara was 3 that time.
Swara : Tell me about your Bade Papa then. He must have been more a father figure to you right?
Sanskaar’s throat began to feel very tight. He didn’t often talk about DP, not even with his family. He’d told himself that it was because it was so much water under the bridge; DP had been dead for over eight years. But the truth was that some things simply hurt too much.
And there were some wounds that didn’t heal, not in five, not in eight, not even in ten years.
Sanskaar (softly) : Yes! My Bade Papa was always my father. I loved him very much. He was a great man.
Swara looked up at him.
Swara : Your Badi Ma and Ma spoke so fondly of him. That is why I asked.
Sanskaar : Haan! Both my moms loved their husbands a lot. When papa died, Everyone thought mom’ll break down and fall apart. But my mom never broke down. She made her kids and family her life. Because she knew that Papa would have wanted that. And Badi Ma…… Everyone loved Bade Papa! (looking at the chair, but not really focussing on it. He was lost in memories) He was the finest uncle and father one could have ever asked for!
Swara : When did he die?
Sanskaar : About 8 years ago! I was 20 and in Boston studying.
Swara : That seems like a hard time to lose your father. Or someone like your father.
Sanskaar (sharply) : Anytime’s a hard time to lose one’s father.
Swara (surprised) : Of course! I too have lost my father. I know how hard it is. But a boy’s father—well, he has to teach his son how to be a man. And to lose a father at twenty, when you’re just learning what all that means……(letting out a long exhale) It’s probably presumptuous for me even to discuss it, as I’m not a man and therefore couldn’t possibly put myself in your shoes, but I think …Well, I just think it would be very difficult.
Sanskaar marvelled at how perceptive she was. Even when she was scared and worried, Her brains and heart was so real and natural. She could empathise with others.
They sat silently for some time. The storm had stopped, but it was still raining. Swara and Sanskaar suddenly realised they were still hugging each other. They moved away from each other and sat looking at each other awkwardly.
Sanskaar : Are you okay now?
Swara : I feel better now. But if you don’t mind, Can we wait until the rain stops as well?
Sanskaar : Of course Swara!
Swara listened to his voice speaking her name and felt a thrill when he pronounced the s with a deep, yet rich baritone. She stared at him.
Sanskaar : What happened?
Swara : Nothing! Anyways, To continue our conversation, Do you remember your father?
Sanskaar (thoughtfully) : I have some memories of him. I remember him taking us brothers to the park and for ice-cream and stuff like that. I doubt Uttara remembers him though. She was too small that time.
Swara (smiling wistfully) : I don’t remember my mother, either! I have very faint memories of her. It’s an odd thing.
Sanskaar : How old were you then?
Swara : I was three. It was apparently a very windy and rainy night. Much like today, I guess. My parents were divorced, But still maintained a cordial relationship with each other. He took me with him when Mom died. And I got my Ma!
Sanskaar (curious) : How did she pass away?
Swara : I think it was some sort of viral fever and influenza. It could have been any sort of lung fever.
She heard thunder once again. She flinched but managed to keep her eyes open. She looked straight ahead and waited for her heart to calm down. She felt someone holding her hand. She looked and saw Sanskaar looking at her reassuringly. She looked at his face and calmed down.
Swara (continued) : Anyways, I am told that she died very quickly. My father said I fell ill as well, although mine was a mild case.
Sanskaar thought about how he would never be there for the son he hoped he would have.
Sanskaar (whispering) : Do you miss a parent you never knew?
Swara considered his question for some time. His voice had held a hoarse urgency that told her there was something critical about her reply. Why, she couldn’t imagine, but something about her childhood clearly rang a chord within his heart.
Swara : Yes! I think so! You can’t really miss that person, because you didn’t know them, but there’s still a hole in your life—a big empty spot, and you know who was supposed to fit there, but you can’t remember him/her, and you don’t know what he/she was like, and so you don’t know how she would have filled that hole. (smiling sadly) Does this make sense?
Sanskaar nodded thoughtfully.
Sanskaar : It makes a great deal of sense. At least to me.
Swara : You know, It is harder if you lose someone you’ve known for a longer time. Because you love them. I know this because I’ve lost both.
Sanskaar (quietly) : I’m sorry!
Swara : It’s ok, Mr Maheshwari! Time heals all wounds.
He stared at her intently, and she could tell from his expression that he didn’t agree.
Swara : It is difficult when you’re older.you had the chance to know them, but the pain of the loss is more intense.
Sanskaar looked at her for a few minutes, listening to her words.
Sanskaar (in a low, pained voice) : I felt like I’d lost an arm when Bade Papa passed away.
She nodded soberly, somehow knowing that he hadn’t spoken of his sorrow to many people. She came and sat next to him. They comforted each other without talking.
A flash of lightning lit the room. Swara bit her lip, trying to force slow and even breaths through her nose. The thunder would come again, but she’d be ready for it, and—
The room shook with noise, and she was able to keep her eyes open for the second time.
She let out a long exhale and allowed herself a proud smile. That hadn’t been so difficult. It certainly hadn’t been fun, but it hadn’t been impossible. It might have been Sanskaar’s comforting presence next to her, or simply that the storm was moving away, but she’d made it through without her heart jumping through her skin.
Sanskaar : Are you all right?
She looked over at him, and something inside of her melted at the concerned look on his face. Whatever he’d done in the past, however they’d argued and fought, in this moment he truly cared about her.
Swara : Yes…..Yes, I think I am.
Sanskaar(giving her hand a squeeze) : How long have you been like this?
Swara :Tonight? Or in my life?
Sanskaar : Both.
Swara : Tonight…From the first time the lightning struck. As for in my life, I don’t think I’ve ever not been scared of storms. I get quite nervous when it begins to rain, but as long as there is no thunder and lightning, I’m all right. It’s not the rain, actually, which upsets me, but just the fear that it might grow into something more. I don’t know why…It is just a part of me. I know it seems stupid and weird…
Sanskaar (softly) : It’s not stupid or weird!
Swara : That’s very sweet of you. But there is nothing more stupid than being afraid of something without a reason.
Sanskaar : Sometimes there are reasons for our fears that we can’t quite explain. Sometimes it’s just something we feel in our bones, something we know to be true, but would sound foolish to anyone else.
Something about his voice made her turn and look at him. She could see from the expression in his face that he wasn’t talking about some random feeling, but rather his own personal fears. Some demons of his, which haunted him every minute of everyday.
Something she knew she did not have the right to ask him about. But she wished—oh, how she wished—that when he was ready to face his fears, she could be the one to help him.
But that wasn’t to be. He would marry someone else, maybe even Ragini, and only his wife would have the right to talk to him about such personal matters.
She suddenly felt like she couldn’t sit with him there. it was too hard to be in his presence, too painful to know that he would belong to someone else.
She saw that the rains had finally stopped.
Swara : Mr Maheshwari, I think we should go back to our rooms now. Thank you for staying with me. I guess you think I’m a ninny who gets scared for silly stuff..
Sanskaar (smiling softly) : No! You are many things, but not a ninny. I never doubted your intelligence, even when you were the single most annoying thing in my life.
Swara (frowned) : I just don’t know if I should feel complimented or insulted by that statement.
Sanskaar : Well, It is probably both….But let’s say it is a compliment, For friends’ sake.
Swara : So we are friends?
Sanskaar : Yes! I believe we are…
He stretched out his hand. Swara took it and shook it. They smile at each other….
PRECAP : NOT SURE YET!!
Guys, I managed to upload this somehow using hotspot…..I haven’t read this chapter properly….So I don’t know how it’ll turn out…Only hope you like it…..
Will try to upload next by tom….If not, Monday….
Also, This chapter was on my most favourite scenes in the book…..More than their chemistry or their romance, It showed their understanding of each other…So I tried to make as minimal change I could…
I think it’s almost the exact same thing as in the book….I’ve changed very few parts and a few words. So hopefully, It’s good…
If it is not as good as the other chapters, Please do tell me….I wouldn’t mind….And don’t worry…More intense SWASAN scenes to come….
Anyways, PLEASE DO COMMENT…
LOVE YOU ALL!!
Credit to: Anjali