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Radhika sat on the bench staring out into the garden. Two more weeks and it would be her fourth wedding anniversary. She reflected back on the past four years of her life. Things had completely changed for her. She was at the top of her career today. Her family owned the biggest company in India. She actually had a family. The family that she had always dreamed of having.
The next morning she woke up to discover that she was still in her bridal clothes and her husband had never entered the room last night. A little relieved, she got up and opened the closet to find the biggest selection of the nicest clothes that she had ever seen. She chose a nice sari that was simple yet elegant and hopped in the shower. Dressed she left the room and made her way downstairs to see the whole family sitting at the table. It seemed to her that they looked a little depressed. Baba had raised her with values, so she went around and touched the feet of all the elders starting with dadi and ending with Bhabhi. All blessed her, but she had a feeling that something was wrong. Should she mention something about her husband? Right when she was about to say something, Mahi started to speak.
Mahi: Dadi aaj bhabhi ka pehla din hai ghar mein aarti wohi karegi na?
Dadi: haan cholo sab mandir mein. Aarti ka waqt hogaya hain. Choti Bahu tumhe aarti aati hain na?
Radhika stood silent. She didn't know who Dadi was talking to, but seeing everyone look at her she realized it was her.
R: ji aati hai.
"Choti Bahu" she would have to get used to that. All assembled in the pooja room. Radhika was surprised that no one asked her about her husband or mentioned anything about him. After the aarti was done Radhika went around with the pooja thali to all the family members. A hush fell over everyone as they made their way to the living room while breakfast was being det up at the table.
Raj: Radhika beta, we have some news for you.
He took a deep breath not knowing how to break the news to the girl who had just arrived at their house. She probably had dreams of her own. Dreams about a family, children, dreams that included a husband. How could he tell her that the promise he made to her Baba had been broken only a few hours after it had been made.
Seeing his father struggle with his words Vivek spoke up.
Vivek: Mahi why don't you take your new bhabhi to the kitchen so she can do the ritual where every new bahu to the family has to make something sweet.
Receiving the hint her brother was giving her Mahi quickly took Radhika into the kitchen. Radhika was still puzzled, and she had figured that whatever was going on was related to him in some way.
After Radhika and Mahi had left Vivek asked his father: Papa do you think that we should tell her?
Raj: haan Vivek beta. Meri zid ke vaje se yeh saab hua hain. Uss bachi ki zindagi karab hogayi hai. Kaam se kaam mujhe use sachi tho batani chahiye. After we tell her the truth the decision is up to her. I would like her to stay here as a daughter of this family. What I did was wrong.
Vaishali: aap khud ko doshi maat kehiye. Maybe this was God's wish
Raj: if he had just said something to me, I wouldn't have gotten them married. At least Radhika's life wouldn't have been ruined. God will never forgive me for what I have done.
Dadi and Vaishali both had tears in their eyes, wondering why god had done this to them.
Mrinalini: Papa aise baatein nahi karte. Chaliye I think the sooner this news comes out in the open the better it is. Radhika seems like a strong girl to me, and we are all here to support her.
The family made their way to the dining room as Radhika and Mahi were coming out of the kitchen. Radhika had tears tricking down her cheeks as she approached the family.
Radhika: Aap mujhe maaf kar dijiye. Meri karan woh aap ko chor ke chalege.
Raj looked up at Mahi.
Mahi: Voh papa, I told bhabhi what happened.
Radhika: mujhe aab yahan rehna nehi chahiye. Mein yahan se chali jati hoon.
Dadi: agar tum chathi ho ki hum tumhe maaf karde tho tumhe humari shaart maanye paregi.
Dadi: haan tumhe yehi rehna paarega.
Radhika: lekin main kaise?
Vaishali: humara beta tho humein chor ke chalagaya hain, aab tumhe yahaan humari beti baanke rehna paarega.
Radhika looked at the people standing in front of her with disbelief. How could these people be so kind hearted? They barely knew her yet they were being so nice to her. She had always been treated with cruelty and had accepted it as her fate. Now she was being bestowed with such kindness, she didn't know what she had done to receive it. Smiling through her tears she accepted. She was now the daughter of an extremely generous family. She took their blessings and was ready to begin her life afresh.
She enrolled into college taking business courses. Due to her dedication and hard work she received her degree in just two years. Papa offered her a job at their company and she worked her way up to the top. Raj retired when Radhika was just twenty-one leaving the responsibilities of the office to Radhika and Vivek. Together they helped Purohit Industries expand to become the biggest business in India.
Radhika bonded closely with each family member. Vivek became an older brother to her and he helped guide her when she needed help. Mrinalini bhabhi was like an older sister and she made sure that Radhika didn't overdue it in her work. Mahi was a younger sister to her. Mahi, Radhika, and Mrinalini shared everything with each other. She had found a mother and a father, and they treated her like their own child. Ma would make sure she ate and would scold her if she found out she hadn't. Radhika became Dadi's ladli. Radhika developed the most special bond with the youngest member of the family. Sonu had been only one when she had entered the Purohit Family. Radhika had a very strong bond with him. Radhika, Vivek, and Mahi spoiled him rotten while Mrinalini tried to object. They would sneak him chocolate and buy him anything he wanted. Mrinalini got tired of objecting and soon joined them.
Dadi's voice brought Radhika out of her thoughts.
Radhika: Dadi aap yahan is waqt.
Dadi: Btea yeh sawaal tho mujhe tumse poochna chahiye.
Radhika: Woh dadi neend nehi aa rahi thi. Maine shocha kuch der yahaan behtke waqt guzarloon.
Dadi looked at Radhika and sighed. Her daughter didn't deserve this. She had no part in what had happened so why was she being punished. Even four years later she could see some sadness in Radhika's eyes.
Radhika: Andar chalien Dadi.
Dadi: haan raat bohut ho chichi hain aur tujhe subha jaldi bhi utna hai.
Together they made their way inside. Radhika dropped Dadi off at her room before making her way upstairs to hers.
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