“Gauri?” Omkara called out in search of his wife as he looked for her in the garden- the place where he usually found her in when he got back from office. Even after 2 years of marriage, he wanted to see her first when he came home and everyone usually teased the couple about their ever growing love for eachother.
Finally, he decided to check their room realizing that she wasn’t anywhere else.
As he turned the door knob and entered their room, he found it was filled with darkness. He looked around and found a silhouette by the window. Why is Gauri standing in this darkness? He wondered as he switched on the lights.
“Gauri?” He softly called out to her but got no reply. He slowly walked towards her as worry started to build in him.
Slowly and very carefully he kept his hand on her shoulder as if she was a fragile thing that would break at his touch. Feeling a hand on her shoulder, she turned around to face him. The view shocked him- her eyes were filled with tears and her whole face was red like she had been crying for a long time.
“Gauri,” He called to her in concern and cupped her face to wipe away the fresh tears. “What happened? Why are you crying? Did someone say something?”
On getting no reply from her, the worry in his heart increased. “Gauri answer me please. What happened?” Seeing tears on her eyes, filled his eyes as well, it was one thing he couldn’t bear- her pain pained him more than everything.
She kept looking at him as she let the tears flow down her cheeks only for Omkara to wipe it away.
“Gauri, tell me what’s wrong. You know I can’t watch you cry right?” He asked in panic. Why was she crying!? “Did I do something? Gauri, you know how stupid I am right? I may have done something unintentionally, you know I won’t hurt you right? And-”
“I didn’t get my periods yet…” She replied while Omkara blinked at her in confusion.
“So?” He asked not understanding why she was making it such a big fuss. Then as if realising something he said, “Oh, I get it. You’re just scared it hasn’t come yet. Why are you worrying about it? Don’t you usually have irregular periods? And it’s okay Gauri, maybe there’s some nutrition issue, we’ll see a doctor tomorrow ok? There wouldn’t be any problem. Why are you crying for that? God Gauri you scared -”
He kept on talking and Gauri realising he wasn’t going to stop, blurted out, “Omkara, aap Papa banne wale hain.” She breathed out as a smile adorned her face.
Omkara stood frozen as he let her words settle down. Was he hearing things?
“Kya?” He asked unable to believe his ears. “What did you just say?”
Her hands made its way to his hands that were on her face. She held them tightly and declared, “Aap Papa banne wale hain, Om. Aur main Ma! When my periods became late, I thought to take a pregnancy test. And it came positive! But I thought of confirming it with a doctor before telling you.”
Omkara stood there rooted to his ground at the revelation. The happy tears escaped his eyes and he let them flow down. He was going to be a Papa!
“Gauri…” He whispered out her name unable to understand what to say. “When did all this happen…?”
“And you didn’t tell me?”
“I wanted to make sure it was real, I didn’t want to give you any hopes and then break -”
“God Gauri, you’re not going to change, are you? You should’ve told me.”
“I’m telling you now, I’m pregnant.” She stated, as she smiled through her tears.
“Main Papa banne wala hoon? Hum pregnant hain?” He asked through his tears. She nodded at him happily. “Oh God, Gauri! I can’t believe it! We’re going to become parents! I’m so happy!” He exclaimed as he picked her up and twirled her around.
“Omkara!” She exclaimed in surprise.
“Thank you so much Gauri for giving me this happiness!” He said as he kept her down and hugged her. “You have no idea how happy I am!”
Then as if realising something, his smile dropped and he asked, “Gauri, kahin aisa toh nahi ki tumhe dar hain…” He asked in dread, unsure of whether he should continue ot not. Was she scared they would become bad parents? Was that the reason for her tears? “Is that why you were crying…?”
“Omkara!” She exclaimed in surprise. “Dar tha Omkara, bohut pehle. Ab nahi.” She said shaking her head. “Kyunki aap mere saath hain. Mujhe pata hain ki hum kabhi mere parents ki tarah nahi banege. Kyunki, agar main ladkada bhi loon, mujhe pata hain ki aap mere saath honge, mujhe sahara dene, mujhe thamne. Aapke hote hue mujhe koi dar nahi hain.” She said with tears filled in her eyes.
He hugged her again, overwhelmed by her words. “Gauri, you’ll be a great mother!” He said with a smile.
“And you’ll be a great father.” She said, as they looked at eachother with tear filled eyes.
“Then why were you crying?” Omkara asked as he wiped away his tears.
“I don’t know, pregnancy hormones maybe. I am feeling really emotional.” She replied as the tears continued.
“Om, Gauri-” Jhanvi called out as she walked in to their room but immediately stopped on her tracks seeing tears in Gauri’s eyes. The smile on her lips turned into a frown of worry and she asked, “What happened? Why are you crying, Gauri?”
When they turned to look at the intruder in their room, Jhanvi asked threateningly, “Om, did you say something to her that hurt her?” They looked at her in surprise while she continued, “I won’t spare you if you are the reason for her tears, Om! What did you do? Tell me.”
“Mom, he didn’t-” Gauri started but was immediately cut off by her mother in law while Omkara stared at his mother in disbelief.
“Tum toh rehne hi do, tum iske defense lawyer jo ho, humesha defend karne aajate ho!” She said keeping her hands on her hips. Then turning her attention back to her son, she continued, “Om, aren’t you ashamed to hurt her? Mere phool jaise bahu ko rula rehe ho aur ek woh hain, jo tera side le rahi hain! Tumhara main kya karoon? Kya kaha tumne usse, bata.”
Omkara tried to defend himself but each time he tried to speak his mother would shut him up with her non stop rant.
“What do I do with you Om? Even Rudra is better than you. Why are you so-”
“Mom, aap Dadi banne wale ho!” Gauri declared realising her mother in law wasn’t going to spare her husband today. Like mother, like son. Once they started to interrogate, there was no stopping. They should’ve joined the CBI instead of looking after the family business.
“Haan haan mujhe pata hain. Ab tum yahi kahogi ki ‘mom, Omkara ne kuch nahi-‘” Jhanvi stopped midsentence as Gauri’s words sank in. “What did you say?” She asked as her heart started beating fast.
“Aap Dadi banne wali hain. Aapki phool jaisi bahu pregnant hain!” Omkara replied sarcastically, keeping both his hands on her shoulder and rolling his eyes.
Jhanvi glanced between the couple, words long gone from her lips. Then finally composing herself she asks, “Sacchi?”
“Haan mom. Sacchi.” Gauri replied with a knowing smile.
“Oh God, this is such a big good news! Let me go inform everyone! Tej will be dancing around in happiness. And Rudy, he will be jumping in excitement that he can finally become a chachu! I can’t believe this! I’m going to be a grandmother! I’ll be such a dashing grandmother.” She exclaimed in happiness while Gauri and Omkara smiled at her antics.
Jhanvi immediately hugged Gauri and said, “Congratulations Gauri! Did you inform your parents?” On getting a no from Gauri she said, “Inform them quickly! They’ll be so happy!”
“I’ll go inform everyone here, Pinky would be so happy!” Jhanvi said as she went out in excitement. “And let me make something for you!”
“Mom bhi na!” Omkara said shaking his head at her retreating figure.
“Omkara thank you!” Gauri said making him turn around to look at her. “Thank you for giving me this happiness.”
“Thank you, Gauri!” He replied as he kissed her forehead. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if you weren’t in my life.”
“Omkara, what would you have done if I had never realised my love for you? How could you love me so much without expecting anything in return?” Gauri asked.
He looked at her a little amused by her question then with a soft smile he said, “That’s why love is unconditional, Gauri. Love knows only to heal, and not to break someone. And I definitely don’t know what I would’ve done had you not come back in my life.”
“I love you!” She exclaimed wrapping her hands around him, making herself at home in his arms.
“I love you too!” He replied with a soft chuckle at her actions and wrapped his arms securely around her.
A new journey was about to unfold in their lives, a journey which brought in more responsibilities, sleepless nights and some pains, but most importantly, a joy that no other feeling could ever replace, the joy of being a parent. Finally, the symbol of their love was going to step into this world.
They say, every end is a new beginning and while this is not the end of their life, this chapter marks the end of this book. Gauri and Omkara will be stepping into a new phase in life that will be quite challenging for them but as long as they have eachother with them, they are going to be just fine.
And don’t worry, very soon, I’ll be posting an epilogue as well.
Thank you to everyone single reader who has read this book. Thank you to all who commented on every chapter and to the ones who commented once in a while. And thank you so much for making this book a part of your life and giving it your time. The support and love you guys have given is really overwhelming to me. I don’t know how I can express my gratitude to you all, I have fallen short of words.
Thanks for reading!