Posted: 03 August 2009 at 4:06pm
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Keshav checked out of his room and got into the car with Vishaka and Maji. "Maji, let me assure you, you will wish me gone tomorrow morning when you hear me croak in the name of riyaz. Are you sure you can handle it?"
"Haan, beta. It would be a delight to hear you sing. I understand from Vishaka that you are a great musician. We do not watch any film or television in our home. Maybe you can sing the morning Arti?"
"It will be my great saubhagya, Maji," replied Keshav. Turning around further, looking into the back seat from the front, he asked, "So, tell me Vishaka, how is married life?"
Vishaka did not know how to answer him. "Fine, I guess. I am still getting used to the fact that I am in a large establishment where everyone knows what is expected of them and I feel like I am on stage and have forgotten my lines."
"Tut, tut. Vish, you need to get involved in your new life. Accha, tell me, how is your riyaz going? Say what, I usually do my practice at 6 in the morning. Why don't we do it together as we used to with Masterji?"
Vishaka glanced at Maji uncomfortably but Maji immediately smiled and replied, "Haan beta. Certainly. We are yet to hear Vishaka sing. I am sure she sings very well. When we decided that she will be our Bahu, everyone in Vrindavan told us just how beautifully she sang."
Soon they arrived home and Maji asked a servant to bring in Keshav's luggage and put it in the guest room with the terrace overlooking the backyard. Keshav thanked her once more for her graciousness and was introduced to Dadi and Deepika.
"And this is Deepika, our laadli beti. She is spoilt being the youngest and the only girl in 3 generations," Maji continued.
One look into the bright sparkly eyes of Deepika, Keshav lost his heart. He could almost hear that film song "Ik Ladki ko dekha to aisa laga" play in the background. Deepika was thrilled to meet Keshav.
"You are THE Keshav, Keshav Chaube of Bhabhi bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi fame? I loved every track especially the one called "Bhabhi Bhabhi tum bhi na". I can't believe it! Vishaka bhabhi please pinch me- I am not dreaming, am I? Gosh, just wait till I tell my friends in college tomorrow just who we have for a house guest. They will be green with envy," Deepika rattled on.
Keshav could not but be bedazzled by her innocence and youthful exuberance. Who would have thought that he, Keshav Chaube, reigning star of the playback world would fall so hard for a young college girl? He had met many fans and women who wanted to be more than intimate with him these past few years, but he kept busy with his work and practice and never glanced at any woman.
He had no bad habits like drinking alcohol or even going for too many late night parties as it took a toll on his voice. He kept a strict regime as his Masterji had taught him and he knew it was that discipline that had brought him such name and fame in such a short time. He had to do his Masterji proud. He knew he would last only if he kept that strict discipline.
Vishaka turned to Deepika, " Dear, please do not bother Keshav. He needs his peace to practice. I am sure he will let you sit in during his riyaz. Wouldn't you like that?"
" Really, may I? Wow. Keshav ji, is this true? Can I actually watch you do your practice? Kanha, aap ne meri sapna saakar kiye! Thank you Takurji. I owe you an extra special pranam at tomorrow's Arti." She continued to shower Keshav with her dazzling smile little knowing what effect it had on him.
Keshav continued to stare back at Deepika and could barely hear himself nod and say, "Sure. You are welcome to hear me croak first thing in the morning." And he winked at her. And she winked right back at him.
Vishaka was amused by this instant friendship between Keshav and Deepika and was glad for the extra support. She hoped that he would forget all about asking her to practice with him tomorrow and began to walk towards the kitchen. Keshav stopped her by reminding her that he will wait for her too in the morning for riyaz.
She nodded and discussed dinner menu with the cook and ensured all was set for the evening meal and then, proceeded to her room. She changed out of her fancy sari and wore a comfortable cotton one. She returned to the living room to check on Dadi making sure she had no requirements and awaited Dev's arrival from work.
She reflected on this new turn of events. She had not seen Keshav in so many years. Not since the time he had left Vrindavan to seek his fortunes in the dicey world of Bollywood. Not only had he gotten a break, he had also achieved great fame and money in the process. What amazed her even more was that he seemed so unaffected by it all. In spite of being such a super star, he was so down to earth and willing to share his time and talent with others. For a moment a streak of envy shot through her only to be acknowledged and smiled at. All her dreams of wanting to be a playback singer, were shattered beyond repair. Maybe, the morning riyaz may help shake her out of the blues.
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