Chhoti Bahu - Sawar Ke Rang Rachi

   

True Love.FF.Completed!. Prt 83-86+Epilogue.Pg 137 (Page 137)

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Posted: 29 September 2011 at 2:24pm | IP Logged

Part 83

It was a pleasant morning. Birds chirped outside in the garden happily while the early winter breeze was muffled under the mild sunrays that started spreading across.
Dev stood in front of the mirror, only in his trousers, checking something very seriously in his mobile.
 
Radhika, who was arranging the bed, caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror and her attention got immersed in to him entirely. It was almost 7 years to their marriage but even now, her husband's mere image had the capacity to stir her heart – as if she was still the girl who first fell in love with this man. A small smile curved her lips unknowingly as she let her gaze waft across him lovingly. She noticed that he'd changed in all these years. The lean, boyish look had given way to the mature manly look; his hairs were cropped short, face was sharp and angular as always but again it looked more mature and handsome, he had gained some weight albeit he didn't have a single ounce of fat in his body, rather he seemed to have become slightly bulky in terms of muscles.
 
Dev sent the message to his manager and shifted his gaze back to the mirror when his eyes caught Radhika staring at him. His eyes narrowed for a small instance and then lips curved in the corners impishly. He arched his eyebrows, asking 'what was she gazing at'.
 
She didn't shift her gaze, just let her smile deepen, and walked towards him picking his shirt that lay on the chair beside.
 
"Kya baat hai……aaj subah subah……hume iss tarah dekh rahi ho? Irade to theek hai na?" he asked impishly, looking at her through the mirror
 
A grin spread across her face, hearing his naughty tone – this was something that didn't change at all in all these years.
 
"Irade to bilkul nek hi hain…….." saying, she slid the shirt sleeves through his arms.
 
"Acha? Lag to nahi raha tha" he replied with a chuckle.
 
She came forward to face him and began adjusting his shirt. "Waise aapse kuch kahoon?"
 
He grinned. "Kaho na……hum to yahan aapki baatein sun ne ke liye hi khade hain. Aur waise bhi…….2 hafton (weeks) tak aapki yeh baatein kaha sun ne ko mili?"
 
Glancing up, she smiled. "Kyun…..roz to phone pe baatein karte the"
 
"Phone pe baat karne main……..aur iss tarah tumhare kareeb khade hokar baatein karne main kitna fark hai……jaanti ho tum" he replied, wrapping his arms around her gently.
 
This made her cheeks feel warm and she started buttoning his shirt.
 
"Waise tum kehne kya waali thi?"
 
"mm….hmm….kuch nahi" she replied, fastening another button.
 
Inserting his finger under her chin, he nudged her face up. "Bolo na……"
 
She smiled shyly and lowered her gaze to his chest…….when she saw something stuck on his chest. Inching closer, she brushed it away with her fingers and then placed a small kiss on his bare skin. He loved that and the smile increased on his face.
 
"Aapko dekhkar…..koi kahega nahi…….ke aap 5 saal ke bache ke pita hain" she mumbled slowly and began buttoning his shirt again.
 
He couldn't help a grin hearing his wife's manner of praising him – he absolutely loved hearing praises from his wife even after so many years.
 
Suddenly he got a mischevious idea and his grin turned impish.
 
"Areeh……Radhika tum jaanti ho……..who Miss. Saxena bhi mujhse yahi keh rahi thi……" he said, glancing down, with his impish smile.
 
The moment Radhika heard the name Miss. Saxena her fingers froze and brows frowned in reflex.
 
"Who keh rahi this mujhse ke agar main use party ke din use nahi batata ke……mera ek 5 saal ka beta hai……to use to kabhi pata bhi nahi chalta. Infact she didn't believe me back then. Use to yeh lag raha tha ke meri shaadi bhi nahi huwi hai……" saying, he gave out a chuckle. "Aur aaj tum bhi keh rahi ho……….I guess I still look like a bachelor, don't I?" he asked, running a hand through his hairs, while gazing sneakily at her.
 
Radhika's fingers tightened around his button fiercely while her gaze, stuck on his shirt, turned sharp. "Acha?" she said acidly.
 
Dev noticed her movements and the tone of her sound, and laughed inwardly. He was expecting such a reaction from her and knew the precise reason for this as well. "kya huwa Radhika?" he asked with an innocent tone.
 
Giving out a sharp exhale, she began buttoning his shirt again while her memory flashed back to the party she'd attended with Dev, around a month back. It was a business party thrown by Miss. Nandita Saxena, who happened to be a prestigious client of Purohit Ind. She vividly remembered how Nandita had come over to greet Dev when he stepped inside the hall with Radhika……and from that moment she hated Nandita!
 
"Hello Dev………." Nandita came near to give a nice, tight hug to Dev, who in return wrapped his arms around her just as a formality.
 
Radhika didn't like it a wee bit. Although she was accustomed now to see people greeting each other with a hug in social circles, Nandita's hug seemed too long for comfort and on top of it, she kissed Dev's cheek! 
 
Radhika tried controlling her anger. She didn't want people to notice her discomfort.
 
"Dev you're late" Nandita said in her sultry, velvety voice.
 
Dev gave her a quick smile. "Chief guests come in late……don't they?"
 
Nandita's beautiful round eyes twinkled and she gave her best smile. "Ah! Dev I just love this humor in you!" she said in her usual husky tone wrapping her silky arms around his one arm.
 
Radhika didn't fail to notice the gleam in her eyes when she came near Dev. Nor did Radhika fail to notice the figure hugging, skin colored, expensive, long evening gown that she wore. The noodle strapped gown was exposing her cleavage to dangerously low levels. It took Radhika much effort to keep herself in check.
 
Dev again smiled at Nandita and answered with his usual charm "I know……."
 
Turning his face to Radhika, he wrapped his one arm around her tightly – a little more tightly than needed erasing the distance between them. "Meet Radhika, my wife" he introduced warmly.
 
Dev's tight possessive hold somehow cooled down all her anger – probably it was his way of showing who mattered the most in his life. She managed to smile at Nandita.
 
Nandita released Dev's arm and gave a quick, formal smile to her. "Hi Radhika……..nice meeting you" saying, she turned her attention back to Dev. "Come inside both of you…….."
 
Dev gave a quick smiling glance to Radhika and they both entered inside. As soon as they stepped in, Nandita took Dev away to meet some foreign delegates. Radhika was left alone and she ambled across to sit lonely in the counter that served juice.
 
"Some juice Ma'm" the attender asked.
 
"Yes, one glass of orange juice" Radhika said and the attender gave her immediately.
 
Sipping the juice, she scanned the room and found Dev standing in the other corner discussing something very seriously with some foreigners. Nandita stood right next to him. Radhika felt annoyed seeing this and wondered why Dev didn't do anything to keep her off him! It infuriated her even more because Nandita was a very sexy, young woman with a great figure and lovely looks. Her long, thick, richly colored dark brown hairs seemed extra soft and were curled down at the end. Her face was angelic with sharp features, full lips and beautiful green eyes. Her voice was deep, womanly and sexy. She noticed that every other man in this hall was stealing a glance at her, unable to control themselves!
 
Taking a deep breath, she looked away and sipped her juice……when suddenly someone blew warm air in to her ear making her jump. She turned her head in a jerk only to find Dev standing next to her with a smile.
 
"Meri Radhika kahi bor to nahi ho gayi?" he asked, seating himself next to her.
 
Her anger seemed to have vanished. "nahi……" she replied with a smile.
 
"Lo! To yahan akele kyun baithi ho?" he asked
 
"Aap busy hai na……."
 
Just then Nandita came there. "Dev. Here you are. Come lets meets Mr and Mrs. Saunders. They are eager to meet you" she took hold of his arm shamelessly.
 
Radhika took a deep breath and looked away.
 
"Radhika……tum bhi chalo na" Dev said.
 
Before Radhika could say anything, Nandita replied. "Dev whats your wife gonna do there? She will enjoy herself here with so many other women…….you're needed there" she gave a sweet smile at Radhika.
 
Hearing this, Radhika's anger only increased some more.
 
"Umm…….actually Radhika's getting bored sitting here alone. So I guess she can join us. Come" Dev said to Radhika.
 
A small smile spread on her face, feeling happy, and she bobbed her head. "Jee"
 
Nandita shrugged with a small smile. "As you wish darling………."
 
Radhika too managed a smile, although Nandita calling him a 'darling' made her fume inside.
 
From that moment, Dev didn't release her at all. He kept her close to him throughout the party.
 
 
 
"Radhika? Kya huwa?" Dev asked, when she didn't move.
 
His voice startled her and she glanced up to shake her head. "Nahi. Kuch nahi"
 
That made his lips twitch naughtily, knowing that she would be feeling jealous by now – he loved doing this to her.
 
"Who Nandita ne aapse yeh sab kab kaha?" Radhika asked.
 
"Hum jab U.S main the na…….tab kaha usne" he replied casually.
 
Radhika scowled. "Nandita. U.S aayi thi? Par aapne to kaha ki who nahi aa paayegi isiliye uska manager aayega"
 
"erm……haan…….woh Manager hi aane wala tha…….lekin phir she decided to come herself" he replied regaining his composure.
 
She gave out a sharp exhale. "mujhe pata hai usne last moment main kyun khud aana chaha hoga!" she muttered under her breath, feeling vexed.
 
"Did you say something?" Dev asked, leaning down.
 
Glancing up, she began quickly adjusting his colar. "Nahi! Main kya kahungi!" her tone clearly indicated how angry she felt.
 
Dev had to try hard from bursting out.
 
"Waise aapne mujhse kaha hi nahi ke Nandita bhi aayi hai wahan U.S main? Aur bahut baatein bhi hoti hain kya aap dono ke beech? Mera matlab hai……….professional baaton ke alawa?" Radhika's brows arched slightly.
 
He didn't release her, kept his arms around her. "Areeh maine bataya nahi….shayad  who batane ka mauka hi nahi mila. Aur who to usi Hotel main ruki thi jahan main ruka tha……..bas ……office meetings ke baad……. We used to meet during Dinner…….and then sometimes we used to sit in the park behind the hotel for relaxing…….there we used to chat a lot" replying, he smiled casually, never revealing his prank.
 
Hearing this, Radhika's temper shot up like anything! Why did that woman hover around her husband?! Didn't she get anyone else?
 
"Areh kya huwa? Kahan kho gayi?" he asked.
 
"Kuch nahi……..kya jaroorat thi aapko uske saath bahar jaakar baatein karne ki?" she asked, looking at him.
 
He shrugged. "Kyun? Usmain kya huwa? Usne poocha……I agreed"
 
She looked away, mumbling away in anger. "Mana nahi kar sake? Usne poocha and he agreed!"
 
"Kyun mujhe nahi jaana chahiye tha kya?" he asked, his lips twitching in the corners impishly.
 
Glancing up, she gave a sarcastic smile. "Nahi. Nahi…..…jaaiye na. Sabke saath jaaiye……. Uske saath jaakar baatein karne main bahut maza aata hai na aapko?"
 
Now it was impossible for him to control his laughter and he broke out laughing hard.
 
Startled, she gazed at him with curiosity.
 
Controlling his laughter, he cupped her cheek and pressed a cute kiss on her forehead. "Radhika …….tum kitni pyaari ho!"
 
She scowled in confusion.
 
"Humari shaadi ko itne saal ho gaye…….tum ab bhi nahi samajti ke main kab mazak kar raha hoon……aur kab sach keh raha hoon?"
 
Her lips parted in shock – he was joking? "Mazak!?"
 
"Aur nahi to kya? Nandita to wahan aayi bhi nahi thi. Uska manager hi aaya tha!" he laughed.
 
She hit his chest with her fist. "Mazak kar rahe the aap?"
 
He laughed some more.
 
Thinning her lips in anger, she folded her hands across her chest and looked away. "aap bhi na jab dekho mazak!"
 
"Kyun…….you felt jealous?"
 
"Haan mujhe jalan huwi! Nahi acha lagta mujhe jab who Glue ki tarah aapse aake chipakti hai! Duniya main use mera hi pati milta hai chipakne ke liye! Kitne aur log hain……unse jaakar kyun flirt nahi karti……..?" she vented out her anger.
 
He grinned. "Comeon Radhika……who aisi hi hai. Ab who mere paas aati hai…….shayad kyunki main sabse handsome hoon" he replied smugly, just to tease her.
 
"Aap jaise bhi hain……..mere hain! Uske nahi!" she replied tersely. "Aur aage se aisa mazak kiya na……….to dekh leejyega…….!" She showed him a finger.
 
Holding her finger, he kissed the tip. She just pulled her finger away.
 
"Are baba……..itna serious kyun hoti ho? Admit it……you got fooled by me again?!" he laughed a bit.
 
"Aap aisa mazak kyun karte hain? Aapko pata hai na……main aisa mazak kabhi nahi bardasht kar sakti!" she mumbled.
 
He framed a cheek of her's, lovingly. "areeh baba……its been weeks together that I haven't had a chance to play a prank on you……….aisa mauka chodta thodi na main?"
 
She made an angry, cute face.
 
"Tumhe mujhpar bharosa nahi hai kya?" he asked lovingly, gazing in to her eyes deeply.
 
Her anger melted down instantly at this. "Hai. Par uspar nahi hai" she replied cutely.
 
"Oho! Use chodo na. You trust me right! To phir kyun apne man ko jalati ho?"
 
She smiled. "Aap sahi keh rahe hain…….." mumbling, she hugged him tight, basking in his warmth.
 
He too tightened his arms lovingly.
 
"Waise……aaj office se chutti le loon kya?"
 
"Hmm? Kyun?" she inched back to look at him.
 
"Kyun kya? Tum mere itne kareeb aayi ho……..to……." he began coming closer for a kiss.
 
She quickly placed her palm on his lips. "abhi nahi……"
 
"Kyun abhi kya huwa? Radhika…….tumhe yaad bhi hai…….ke humne pichle baar kiss kab kiya tha? Jabse yeh naya project liya hai……tumhare saath baithke kuch baat karne ka chance nahi milta…….tumhare kareeb aana to dur ki baat! Its been weeks together that we haven't……..!" he trailed his voice that left her blushing.
 
"Nothing doing……..I want a kiss right now! Main aur control nahi kar sakta!" mumbling, he came closer again.
 
She inched back. "Shee! Ek Bache ke pita hokar aisi baatein?"
 
He exhaled. "Agar yeh sab nahi karta…….to kya humara beta…..aasman se tapakta?"
 
His blatancy made her blush and she tapped his cheek. "Kabhi to sharam keejye"
 
"Tumse kaisi sharam? Aur tumse kiss nahi mangunga to kis se mangunga?" saying, he tightened his arms around her, making it impossible for her to move back.
 
"Erm……kya kar rahe hain? Chodiye na. Aapko der ho jaayegi"
 
He got frustrated now. "Do minute main koi der ver nahi hone waali mujhe! Chalo now give me what I want……or else I am not going to release you…… and why are you struggling so much? Stay put in my arms and………." Mumbling sternly, he came closer to her lips.
 
She stopped struggling as she knew there was no point in doing so. Better to give him what he or rather they wanted. Her cheeks felt warm as she felt him coming closer with every moment and her heart rate accelerated. It had been almost more than a month that they hadn't come closer and now she too seemed to be yearning for it.
 
He brushed his lips very softly with her's making her heart jump up and down; his heart too experienced something similar. And then slowly took her upper lip in to his lips……..
 
 
"PAPA!!!!" a voice interrupted the silence in the room suddenly. Small knocks on the door followed. "Papa!!!"
 
Dev and Radhika froze in their actions and their gazes shifted towards the door.
 
"Papa!! Darwaza kholo na!! Mummy!!!!"
 
It was Dhruv banging their door urgently with howmuchever strength his small fists had.
 
"Dhruv……" Radhika mumbled. Her lips were still touching his.
 
Dev sighed deep, gritting his teeth. The child made it seem as if dooms day was waiting outside! What was the urgency for which he was knocking so hard??
 
"Papa!! Mujhe der ho rahi hai!!!" Dhruv shouted in his cute childish voice. "Jaldi chalo na!!!!!"
 
Dev released her much reluctantly, hearing his kid's urgent tone.  Well, he cannot ignore his child for his own happiness.
 
Radhika smiled at him, hiding her disappointment. "Baad main……."
 
Dev just gazed at her somberly as she rushed to open the door.
 
As soon as she opened the door, little Dhruv came in adjusting his school bag over his shoulders. "Kya mummy……kya kar rahe thi tum? Kitni der kyun lagayi?" he grumbled cutely.
 
Dev and Radhika shared a small glance and then she turned to the kid. "Who main aapke papa ko tayar kar rahi thi"
 
"hehe…..Papa khud tayar nahi hote kya?" Dhruv asked teasingly.
 
Dev just exhaled once – whom was he supposed to feel angry on…….. and shifted his attention to comb his hairs. "Par tum itna chilla kyun rahe the bahar?"
 
Dhruv hit his forehead. "Main to bhul hi gaya….chalo no jaldi papa……"
 
"Areeh par tumhare school main to abhi time hai na……ruk jaa na…….mujhe apne saari cheezein to lene de" he said.
 
"Leejye……" Radhika came behind to slide the coat sleeves up his hands.
 
Dev let her do and Dhruv's frustration grew.
 
"Jaldi Jaldi karo na Mummy!!!" Dhruv jumped up and down.
 
"Dhruv beta……ruk jaa na…..do minute hmm……" she quickly came forward to adjust Dev's collar.
 
"Papa ko itna samay kyun lagta hai tayar hone main……main to kitni jaldi tayar ho gaya" Dhruv added with a tone of smugness.
 
Dev smiled at him. "Who tum chote ho na…..to kam time lagta hai…….main bada hoon to jyaada samay lagta hai……."
 
Dhruv's face turned confused. "aisa hota hai kya? Bade logon ko to jaldi tayar hona chahiye na? Size pe hota hai kya sab kuch?"
 
Hearing his cute questions, which never seemed to cease, Radhika just shook her head and Dev grinned.
 
"Bolo na Papa……" saying, Dhruv was about to climb up on the sofa when Radhika caught his arm in time.
 
"Dhruv! Nahi…….Shoes pehenkar sofe pe nahi chadte hain……kitni baar kaha hai tumse!" she scolded, stopping him from jumping up.
 
"Mummy who……"
 
"Pehle to shoes pehenkar pure ghar main ghumte ho……..aur phir sofe pe bhi chadte ho! Buri baat……don't step up on the sofa……..or you will get one from me!" she rebuked, gesturing her hand as if to slap him.
 
Dhruv's face went low. "Papa itneee lambe hain……main sofe pe nahi chadunga to mera neck dukta hai unse baat karte huwe……." He craned his neck up cutely to explain his point using a solemn tone.
 
Dev couldn't help a grin, hearing his son's cute way of explaining and quickly pulled up Dhruv in to his arms. "Ab theek hai…..ab to aap apne Papa se aaram se baatein kar sakte ho na"
 
Dhruv gave a huge smile and kissed Dev's cheek. This made Dev smile, erasing all his frustration.
 
"Radhika……mera laptop bag le aao na……" saying Dev turned his attention to Dhruv. "Par yeh to batao……ke tumhe itni jaldi kyun hai aaj school jaane ki?" Dev asked.
 
"Oh! Main phir bhul gaya……….chalo na jaldi papa…..aaj mera Maths a test hai……teacher ne 10 mins jaldi aane ko kaha hai…….please jaldi chalo na…….bahut der ho jaayegi" Dhruv whined.
 
"Oh! To aaj aapka Maths ka test hai……..puri tayari ho gayi?" Dev asked.
 
Radhika came to give his laptop and mobile. "Haan kal puri raat baithkar iske saath test ki tayari kar rahi thi……" she said.
 
Dev gave another kiss to his son "Good Boy! Ache marks laana samjha…….aur rahi baat jaldi pahunchne ki……..then just watch it, you will reach in sharp 5 mins from now!" he snapped his fingers
 
Dhruv rubbed his cheeks and Dev mock frowned as he hanged the laptop bag on his other shoulder. "kya huwa?"
 
"Chubta hai……."
 
"Kya?" Dev asked smiling.
 
"Aapki daadi (stubble)" Dhruv mumbled cutely, stroking the short stubble with his index finger.  Dev's stubble pricked his soft skin.
 
Dev laughed a bit. "Acha?"
 
Radhika just shook her head, giving Dev his wallet.
 
"Papa meri daadi kab aayegi……aapke jaisi?" Dhruv asked stroking his father's cheek in wonder.
 
Radhika's brows shot up on hearing his words.
 
"Kyun? Tumhe to acha nahi lagta hai na? Chubti hai na" Dev said, smiling.
 
"Lekin iss ghar main…….sabki daadi (stubble) hai……..sirf meri nahi" Dhruv countered.
 
Hearing this, Dev shifted his gaze to Radhika with mock curiosity. "Mummy ki to nahi hai"
 
Radhika's lips parted and she hit his arm lightly, which made Dev burst out laughing.
 
"Oho mera matlab hai…….saare boys ki daadi hai na iss ghar main" Dhruv corrected himself. "aap, dadu, kaka, abhi Nandu Bhaiyya ki bhi choti choti daadi hai……"
 
Radhika came closer and adjusted Dhruv's school badge. "Usmain abhi samay hai"
 
"Kitna?" Dhruv asked instantly.
 
"Jab tum Nandu Bhaiyaa jitney bade ho jaaoge" Dev replied.
 
Dhruv pondered for a second. "Lekin usmain to kiiitnaaa samay lag jaayega…….main jaldi bada nahi ho sakta…….mujhe bhi daadi chahiye…….kaise aayega. Koi shortcut nahi hai kya?"
 
"Jaldi chahiye to…….hormone injection lagana padega……" Dev replied naughtily.
 
Listening this, Radhika was astound. What sort of a conversation were this father- son duo having!
 
Meanwhile Dhruv's eyes grew scared. "Injection?? Nahi……injection nahi"
 
"Kyun? You want to grow big quick right?" Dev answered swiftly.
 
"Haan……lekin injection aur medicines ke bina" Dhruv replied sweetly. "Aur yeh hormone kya hota hai? Kaunsa hormone hota hai jis se daadi aati hai? Who hormone ice cream main mila ke nahi kha sakte?"  he asked with his cute innocence.
 
Dev couldn't help a laugh on hearing this.
 
While Radhika was fed up, listening to this unnecessary conversation. "Dhruv! Tujhe der nahi ho rahi? Badi jaldi hai bada hone ki……aaj agar der se pahuncha na…….to teacher maregi……."
 
Dhruv made a sad face.
 
"Areeh kuch nahi hoga……mera bacha 1st aayega……..hai na?" Dev smiled, cuddling his son.
 
"Dhruv……tumhara pencil box rakha na?" Radhika asked, while handing Dev his other stuffs.
 
"Haan Mummy who bed ke peeche mila tha……."
 
"Roz cheezein idhar udhar rak deta hai yeh shaitan!" she smiled, stroking his hairs lovingly.
 
"Acha ab chalein……kitna time waste karte ho aap dono??" Dhruv asked urgently.
 
"Haan haan……Hormone ka discussion to mujhe karna tha na?" Dev quipped and smiled. "Chalo…….Main chalta hoon……" he said to Radhika
 
"Jee….." Radhika smiled.
 
Dev turned towards the door but then paused suddenly to turn back at Radhika. "aree who lena to bhul hi gaya…….."
 
"Kya?" Radhika stepped closer.
 
"Who……please laa do na." He pointed his finger to the corner and Radhika's gaze followed his finger.
 
Suddenly he pressed a quick kiss on her cheek, leaving her startled.
 
"Mil gaya……." He mumbled joyously.
 
Radhika turned her gaze in astonishment.
 
Dhruv began giggling. "Papa ne mummy ko kissie diya!" he clapped.
 
This made her blush profusely and she shot a cute glare at Dev with 'what-was-the-need-for-doing-this-in-front-of-Dhruv' expression
 
He just winked and turned towards the door. Dhruv kept giggling repeating his words as they ambled out of the room.
 
"Papa ne mummy ko kiss kiya……..kiss kiya"
 
Radhika's cheeks went cherry red.  However Dev managed to silence Dhruv's teasings as they walked down the corridor. She smiled and touched her cheek lovingly. "Dono baap aur beta ek jaise hi hain…….bilkul shaitan……." Grinning, she went on to arrange the bed spreads.
 
 
 
 
Once in the car, Dhruv began jumping in the seat. "Papa Jaldi……."
 
"Haan beta…….promise aap 10 minute main school main honge……."
 
"No! itna time nahi hai……..5 minutes"
 
"Okay 5 minutes……." Saying he started the engine. "acha until we reach the school……. comeon jo kuch bhi seekha hai…….tell me……revision is utmost necessary!"
 
"Umm……aaj teacher humse 1 to 100 ka numbers bulwane waali hai…….phir 100 to 1……. oral test hai papa….."
 
"To comeon……start" Dev said, taking a turn.
 
Dhruv started. "1…..2….3…4…5……6…….7……8…..9……..11….12……."
 
Dev frowned, gazing at the road ahead. "Stop……….9 ke baad 11 aata hai?"
 
Dhruv smiled. "Nahi 10 aata hai……."
 
Dev glanced at his kid. "To aapne 9 ke baad 10 kyun nahi bola? Why did you eat it up?" he arched his brows.
 
"Who to main dekh raha tha ke aapko numbers aate hain ya nahi" Dhruv replied in his cute voice.
 
"Mujhe numbers aate hai ya nahi……..mera test lega tu??" saying, Dev began tickling him with his one hand, while the other was handling the steering wheel.
 
"hehehehe……..papa………sorry sorry."
 
"Huh? Mera test lega?" he pinched his cheek cutely.
 
"oww! Sorry na papa……."
 
"Acha chal ab seriously bol…….warna teacher aise nahi samjahyegi tujhe……ruler se phatke padenge!" Dev warned.
 
Dhruv began mumbling the numbers seriously. By the time, he was done mumbling '100' and back to '1' Dev stopped the car in front of his school.
 
"Lo pahunch gaye…….."
 
"Wow! Papa……itni jaldi?"
 
Dev smiled. "maine kaha tha na……ab jaa aur ache se test dena…..okay……Jis tarah mere saamne bola na……….teacher ke saamne bhi aise hi bolna hai……….All the best" saying, he opened the car for the kid.
 
Dhruv jumped out of the car. "Bye Papa……." Waving his hand, he turned and ambled inside the school gate.
 
Dev waited till Dhruv went inside the school building and then drove off.
 
 
 
 
Later that evening as Dev returned back from office, Dhruv stormed inside the room hyper-excitedly.
 
"Papa!!!"
 
Dev who was leaning on the couch tiredly, sat up straight and pulled the boy on his lap. "So how was your test today?"
 
"Bahut bahut acha tha! Teacher mujhse khush thi……..aapko pata hai pure class main sirf 3 students ne bola ache se……main bhi un main ek tha" Dhruv declared proudly.
 
Dev grinned, feeling proud for his little kid's little achievement and kissed him. "Areeh! Wah!!"
 
Radhika sauntered inside with tea and snacks……..only to find Dhruv already in Dev's lap.
 
"Dhruv……..papa abhi office se aaye hain na beta…….aate hi pareshan kar rahe ho……." She rebuked him gently, placing the tea and snacks on the coffee table.
 
"Koi baat nahi…….mere bte ko pura haq hai mujhe pareshan karne ka" Dev said, smiling.
 
This made Dhruv grin joyously.
 
Radhika just shook her head. "Haan haan…….aur badhava deejye ise…….phir baad main aapko hi gussa aayega…….jab iski masti had se jyaada bad jaayegi" Mumbling, she was about to turn towards the closet, when she felt his hand tugging her wrist. She paused and looked at him.
 
"Do minute baitho to sahi…….kya jab dekho kaam karti rehti ho?" he grumbled.
 
She smiled and sat beside him. "Ek shart par……."
 
"Kya?"
 
"Dhruv ko yahan deejye……aur aap chai peejye…….kitne thake huwe lag rahe hain……. Dhruv……..yahan aao" she stretched her arms and pulled Dhruv in to her lap.
 
Dev smiled and took his tea. The magical taste again relieved him of all his stress as always. "Ah! Beta aapko pata hai aapki mummy ke haathon main na jadu hai"
 
Listening this, Radhika smiled with a tinge of blush coloring her cheeks.
 
"Pata hai. Aap roz hi kehte ho yeh" Dhruv answered dryly.
 
Dev's smile vanished and he twitched his lips in the corner.
 
"Lekin roz kyun kehte ho?" Dhruv asked after a moment.
 
"Beta……aapki mummy ke haathon se bani har cheez itni tasty hoti hai na…….ke main chahoon to bhi taarif kiye bina reh nahi paata……." Dev answered, gazing at his lovely wife.
 
Radhika lowered her gaze, smiling happily.
 
"Aur phir roz mummy sharmake neeche dekhti hai……..kyun?" Dhruv asked quickly.
 
"Kyunki unhe mere muh se taarif sun na acha lagta hai" Dev answered patiently, biting his snacks.
 
"Oh!!!" Dhruv's tone had a teasing glint. "Accchhhaaa…….mummy ko mere muh se taarif sun na acha nahi lagega?"
 
Radhika framed his cute face. "Kyun nahi lagega……..mummy ko aapse taarif sun na bhi bahut acha lagega"
 
Suddenly Dhruv went in to thinking mode. "Waise papa……..aaj maine test itne ache se diya….. aap mujhse khush nahi ho….?"
 
"Ofcourse hoon beta…….."
 
"To meri taarif nahi karenge…….? Mujhe kuch nahi denge?" he asked cutely.
 
"Bolo kya chahiye tumhe?" Dev smiled, sipping his tea.
 
Dhruv's eyes brightened up. "Chaliye na phir dinner ke pehle ice cream kha ke aate hain….."
 
"Dhruv!!" Radhika's stern voice followed even before the kid could finish his words.
 
The kid looked up with pleading eyes. "Mummy pleeaaase na……..maine test itne ache se diya……."
 
"Dhruv maine kaha na……..No! Tum dinner ke pehle ice cream khaoge to dinner nahi karoge…..and on top it, tumhe kal bhukar ho jaayega! Tumhe pata hai na raat ko ice cream khane se tumhari tabiyat kharab hoti hai!" she scolded him.
 
Dhruv made a sad face and glanced at Dev hopefully.
 
However, Dev couldn't help him either. "Dekho beta……aapki mummy theek keh rahi hai…..ice cream raat ko khaane se you fall sick…….better don't have it" he smiled.
 
Listening this, Dhruv looked down somberly. "okay……" he deliberately made a extra-sad face.
 
"Dhruv! Yeh sab tricks mummy ke saath nahi chalengi…….chalo……homework baaki hai na? Poori dophar tumne khelne main barbad kardi…..chalo apne room main…….go…….i am coming" saying, she placed him on the floor.
 
Dhruv turned and gave his somber expressions to Dev, in a hope to get his way.
 
Dev felt bad; his heart melted. "Radhika……..ek din ice cream kha lega to…….."
 
Radhika interrupted him. "Aap bhi! Bigad jaayega iss tarah agar iski har baat manenge to! And Dhruv……agar baat nahi maani……to Badi Ma ko keh dungi……..phir wahi sambhalengi tumhe!"
 
Hearing this, Dhruv turned and walked out of the room somberly.
 
"Mrinalini bhabhi ka naam sunte hi dar jaata hai" Dev laughed a bit.
 
"Haan who itni strict jo hai" she smiled and got up to pick his clothes from the closet.  "Main kapde nila deti hoon…….Aap kapde badal leejye…….aur thodi der aaram kar lena"
 
As she pulled out a fresh set of clothes for him, suddenly she felt his arms wrapping around her. This brought a smile on her face. "Kya huwa?"
 
"Dhruv ka kaafi saara homework baaki hai kya?" he whispered huskily.
 
"Kyun?" she asked, smiling.
 
"Bas bolo na……….bahut homework hai kya?" he asked, letting his breaths fall on her exposed neck.
 
Her skin felt warm as she felt his breaths falling over. "Umm…..haan thoda sa to hai…….kyun?"
 
Taking a deep breath, he pressed a small kiss on the side of her nape. "Aaj dinner ke baad thoda jaldi upar aa sakti ho?" he requested lovingly.
 
This made her cheeks glow red, comprehending him totally.
 
"Bolo na…….aaogi na jaldi?"
 
She blushed profusely. "Hmm…..aa jaungi……."
 
He beamed in happiness. "Pakka!?"
 
Smiling, she turned to face him. "Pakka……." Promising, she quickly tipped up to press a kiss on his lips.
 
His face brightened up at this and he leaned down automatically for a longer version……..
 
But she swiftly placed her palm on his lips. "Abhi nahi……raat ko!" mumbling with a smile, she thrust his clothes in to his hands and rushed out.
 
The jingling sound of her anklets filled the room and Dev beamed to himself!
 
 
 
 
The dinner was as usual filled with lots of chattering and bickering.
 
"Mrinalini aaj tum coaching classes gayi thi kya?" Vaishali asked, pouring the curry.
 
"Haan Mamma……..and I think it's the best!" Mrinalini replied, satisfied.
 
"Coaching classes? Bhabhi……aapko kabse coaching ki jaroorat pad gayi?" Dev asked, curiously
 
"Mujhe nahi Dev……iss janab ko" Mrinalini pointed towards Nandu. "Next year he is stepping in to 10th standard…….and I don't want anything less for him"
 
"Abhi se? I mean abhi to iske 9th ke finals bhi nahi huwe?" Dev asked.
 
Radhika agreed with Mrinalini. "Haan bhabhi sahi keh rahi hai…….abhi se jaayenge to hi ache coaching classes main admission milta hai……..aur jahan Bhabhi gayi hai………wahan ka track record bahut acha hai……."
 
Dev nodded. "Par bhabhi…….ise coaching ki kya jaroorat hai…….he is anyways brilliant and plus we are all there to teach him"
 
Vivek answered. "Nahi Dev…….we all won't be able to give him so much time. Mrinalini is right. He needs good coaching at this point"
 
Dev agreed. "You're right bhaiiya……..hum sab kaafi busy rehte hain…..and its his important year" he added, glancing at Nandu. "So champ! All the best!" he said to Nandu.
 
"Thanks Chachu" Nandu replied, in his now-growing gruffy voice, an indication of him stepping in to adolescent stage.
 
"Mummy……..10th standard main jaane se kya hota hai?" Dhruv chirped in with his question.
 
Radhika, who was feeding the kid, smiled at him. "Beta…….10th standard…….humare education life ka ek bahut important step hota hai……hume ismain bahut carefully chalna hota hai……..jab aap bade ho jaaoge…….aur aap 10th standard main aaoge……..to aapko samaj main aayega……"
 
 "Oh…….all the best Nandu Bhaiiya!" Dhruv said cutely.
 
"Dhruv! Its Rahul……and not Nandu!" Nandu retorted sharply, feeling irritated. He always got annoyed when someone called him by his nick-name and preferred using his actual name. The nickname looked too country type for him.
 
"Hehe……..Nannnddduuu Bhaiiya" Dhruv teased deliberately.
 
The teenager got angry. "Mamma! Aap samjho na! Kyun mujhe yeh baar baar Nandu kehta hai"
 
"Don't get worked up son!" Mrinalini rebuked him for disturbing the decorum of dinning table. "Who chota hai na……let it be!"
 
"Why don't you ever tell him anything!" Nandu retorted back.
 
Dadima intervened. "Beta chodo na…….jaane do"
 
Dev quickly spoke in "Haan Nandu…..erm……Rahul………..dekho bhai…….aaj ke baad koi bhi humare Nandu ko Nandu nahi kahega……warna humare Nandu ko bahut gussa aajayega aur Nandu sabse naaraz ho jaayega……..isiliye humare Nandu ko aajke baad sab……….sirf Rahul kahenge aur agar kisine Nandu kaha na……..to Nandu ke chachu se bura koi nahi hoga…… samaj gaye na sab……..Nandu ko sirf Rahul kehna hai…….."
 
"Chachu!!!" Rahul interrupted his declaration, deciphering Dev's trick.
 
Dev's lips twitched in the corners naughtily. "Kya? Main to………."
 
"Chachi samjho na chachu ko……….why does he keep pulling my leg!?"
 
Dev imitated Nandu mockingly. "Chachi……..samjhao na…….what are you a girl!? Kya ro raha hai chachi ke paas jaakar? No wonder everyone calls you Nandu!!" saying, he began laughing. Dhruv joined his father.
 
"Dev! Chup! Aur apne is chote Dev se bhi keh de ke chup ho jaaye!" Dadima reparimanded.
 
Dev controlled his laughter only to find Radhika glowering at him. "Are tum aise kyun dekh rahi ho mujhe……."
 
"Aap dono apna mazak band karenge……….woh keh raha hai na …….to maan kyun nahi lete hain!" Radhika scolded Dev and Dhruv.
 
"Thanks Chachi!"
 
"Kya thanks Chachi! Itna bada ho gaya hai…….lekin ab bhi ladkiyon ki tarah jaake apni mummy aur chachi ko complain karta hai!" Dev pulled Nandu's slightly stubbled cheek.
 
"Oww!" Nandu brushed away his hand.
 
"bas keejye aap………..parso uska important exam hai……..use tang mat keejye……." Radhika warned Dev.
 
"Exactly Dev! Stop teasing around and grow up!" Mrinalini said.
 
Radhika smiled at Nandu. "Erm…..beta…….aap jao…….dinner ke baad main aapke kamre main dhood rak doongi……okay Nand……." She bit her lips hastily to avoid calling him by the name.
 
This made Dev burst out in to a loud gufaaw. "HHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!"
 
Nandu sighed.
 
Mrinalini hit Dev hard. "Just shut up, you moron! Mere Nand……" even she gritted her teeth for repeating the same mistake.
 
Dev couldn't stop himself now. Dhruv and Vivek joined in.
 
Nandu felt bad.
 
Seeing this, Dadima pulled Dev's ear.
 
"Oww!!! Dadi!!!!"
 
"Chup karo badmashon!" Dadima scolded seriously.
 
They all fell silent and Dadima turned her attention to nandu. "Dekho beta……hum sabko tujhe bachpan se isi naam se bulane ki adat hai……isiliye hum tujhe Nandu kehte hain. Jaante ho humne tumhara naam Nandu kyun rakha? Kyunki tu humare ghar ka Nandlal hai……."
 
Radhika smiled. "Haan…….Aur Nandlal…….shri Krishna ka naam hai…….tu bhi to humare ghar ka natkhat gopal hai……."
 
"Tujhe abhi iss naam se shayad sharm aati hogi…….par hume tujhe iss naam se bulane main koi sharm nahi aati. Humara pyaar jhalakta hai usmain……..samjha" Vivek added in lovingly.
 
"Samjha mere Nandu!" Dev patted his shoulder. "Tu duniya ke liye aur apne girlfriends' ke like Rahul Purohit hoga…….humare liye nahi!"
 
Hearing this, Nandu smiled finally………and this made Dhruv clap in joy.
 
 
 
Following dinner, Radhika asked Nandu to go in for studying and that she would soon bring in milk. Nandu grumbled saying that he doesn't wish to drink milk. But Mrinalini's warning glare made him fall silent. Meanwhile Vivek and Mr. Purohit started discussing business as soon as they got up from the dinner table. Dadima and Vaishali began talking about next day's programs. Amidst all this, as Dev was turning towards the stairs, he glanced at Radhika furtively and gestured her to come quick. She smiled shyly and blinked once.
 
 
Radhika gave milk to both Nandu and Dhruv, put the little kid to sleep and asked the bigger kid to sleep quickly after finishing his studies, and then sauntered back towards her room. A small smile kept lingering on her face, unable to hide her joy – joy of being able to spend a cosy night with her husband after a long time. From around 7-8 weeks, Dev's work pressure had mounted up heavily, leaving him with hardly any time to be with her; they hardly spent any night together and neither did he get any time to talk to her or love her. He would be in a rush every morning and would come home very late in the night…….and following dinner he would just crash on the bed due to extreme tiredness. She understood his problems and never said anything to him, hid all her disappointment and put a mask of happiness. However, she knew that he wasn't unaware of all this but he couldn't help it either.
 
After his return from U.S, two days earlier, he had been busy with office work so that he can save some time for her. And today she was extremely happy now because her naughty, romantic Dev was back again – her man who couldn't just keep himself off from her, was back!
Her cheeks felt warm as these thoughts circled her brain and she smiled, while her hands pushed open the door.
 
And what she saw made her eyes gleam with delight.
 
The room looked magically beautiful under the candle lights with the subtle scent of the aromatic candles spreading all over, while a soft music was being played in the background. Reflexively, a smile came across her face and she stood in trance.
 
Suddenly she felt warm air being blown on her ear that made her jump and she jerked her head to the left………only to find Dev standing there with a charming smile on his face; she felt her heart skipping a beat.
 
Winking at her, he blew some air again and she lowered her gaze shyly and found his bare chest.
 
He gently tucked some strands of her hairs behind her ear. "To aapne apna vaada nibhaya…… good" he murmured huskily.
 
She blushed silently unable to stop the smile from growing on her lips.
 
"Very good…….." he whispered near her ears and then, moving a little, closed the door and bolted it.
 
As she heard the sound of bolting, she glanced over her shoulder, blushing harder while her heartbeats pounded inside.
 
Turning, he circled his arms around her and came closer to her face. "Aaj ki yeh khubsurat raat sirf meri patni ke naam…….." he mumbled and pressed a hot kiss on her temple. Her eyelids drooped down on feeling this.
 
"Sirf aapkne naam…….." he repeated, kissing her cheek this time
 
Her body was already set aflame!
 
However she controlled her desires for the time being and looked at him sideways. "Do minute…..mujhe fresh hona hai……." She mumbled back.
 
He grinned and released her. "Okay. Sirf do minute…….."
 
She nodded and sauntered towards the closet, blushing hard. Opening the door, she began rummaging to pull her towel and a nice nightie……when his hands came across her again.
 
This made her cheeks turn crimson red. "Erm…..do minute……." She murmured, wondering if he can't keep himself in check for even 2 minutes; that did make her happy though.
 
"Jaanta hoon……….par tum yeh mat pehno" he kept the nightie she'd pulled out, back inside the shelf.
 
"Hmm?"
 
"Yeh pehno……." He pulled out another nightie set.
 
Radhika looked at the filmsy, noodle strapped, baby pink nightie that was too small for her; it would hardly cover her thighs properly and it was hardly opaque to cover anything. She used to wear this set during their honeymoon and the initial years of marriage.
 
"aapko yeh kahan se mila?" she asked, wondering where did he get this from. She hadn't used it since long.
 
"Bas mil gaya……aaj main chahta hoon ke……tum waise hi lago jaise humare honeymoon main dikhti thi……." He murmured.
 
His husky murmurs, the soft almost inaudible music in the room and the romantic aura created by the candles were making her heart thump continuously in anticipation of what was to come ahead. And she totally wanted to brace it.
 
"Do minute hai……jaldi fresh up ho jaao………" he murmured naughtily.
 
"Aap chodiye to sahi……" she replied back sweetly.
 
He beamed. "Man nahi kar raha"
 
"Do minute ki to baat hai na……." saying, she pushed his hands down and glanced at him sweetly. "Bas yun gayi……..aur yun aayi…….."
 
Turning, she ambled towards the washroom while he walked towards the window, in order to control his desires until she came out. It seemed too difficult for him. He couldn't help a grin at that thought………so many years to their marriage and yet he didn't get enough of his wife……. It seemed like they were just married. He chuckled and shook his head.
 
 
Inside the washroom, Radhika took a quick shower and changed in to the filmsy nightie and then wore the comparatively thicker silken robe over it. Tying the stashes of the robe loosely, she unfastened the bolt of the door to step out; as if in reflex her heart beat accelerated and cheeks went redder. But she didn't want her feet to stop, she was eager to step out. Taking a deep breath, she came out of the washroom and glanced around the room…….but didn't find him anywhere to her surprise. Her brows frowned in puzzlement.
 
However, her puzzlement didn't last long when she felt his hands holding her arms, from behind. A smile came across her face brushing away all traces of confusion from her mind.
 
"Kahan chale gaye the?" she asked in a soft voice, glancing over her shoulder.
 
He leaned his face down to plant a small kiss on her ear and she tilted her head slightly, feeling a tingling sensation. "Tumhare khayalon main jo aagaya tha…….."
 
This made her blush further.
 
Slowly his hands caressed across the length of her arm, letting fire spurt inside her body in small amounts. Circling his arms around her waist, he mumbled. "Aaj iski jaroorat to nahi thi……." And he tugged open the sash of the robe, leaving it open.
 
She felt her heart rate jumping up a notch higher, but didn't stop him.
 
His fingers then slowly began peeling the robe away from her body, letting his fingertips tease her skin gently all the way. She closed her eyes, sensing the indefinable feel of pleasure spurting across every inch of her skin. As the robe fell down near her feet in to a soft puddle, he planted a small kiss on her now exposed shoulder. Her heart skipped a beat and she opened her eyes, blushing red.
 
Cocking his head, he nibbled her earlobe letting shivers run through her body. He smiled inwardly feeling pleased by her reaction……...and began turning her around gently. Her body just moved according to his wish for her limbs felt numb already. As their gazes met each other, it seemed as if the world had reduced down to the area in which they stood.
 
Slowly his gaze moved away from her's to explore her beautiful figure – to explore every inch and every curve of her lovely body through his gaze. As always, his heart just began jumping impatiently after watching the delectable sight in front of him.
 
She kept gazing, noticing his gaze roaming across her body and felt joyous as her husband seemed to have got completely enamoured by her. Her cheeks and every inch of her skin felt warm, as joy and pleasure gushed through her veins.
 
Finally after some long moments, he glanced up and she looked away smiling. Sliding his fingers teasingly through the length of her one jaw, he framed her cheek to turn her face to him. She felt her skin turning in to flames while her pulse pounded hard. It seemed like the first time…….as if he was touching her for the first time…...!
 
"Bilkul waisi hi lag rahi ho……..jaise humare suhaagraat ke samay lag rahi thi" he mumbled, inching closer.
 
Her already warm cheeks reddened further and she glanced down shyly.
 
He smiled. "Tum subah mujhse keh rahi thi na……ke mujhe dekhkar kaun kahega ke main ek 5 saal ke bte ka pita hoon…….waise tumhe dekh ke koi nahi kahega ke tumhara ek 5 saal ka beta hai……."
 
She looked up, still smiling shyly.
 
"Kahenge ke…….shayad abhi tak shadi bhi nahi huwi hai" he murmured.
 
"Kuch bhi……." She blushed cherry red.
 
"Sach……dekho chaho to uss aaine se pooch lo……..tum itne saalon baad bhi waisi ho……" he mumbled passionately.
 
She smiled sweetly, hearing him praise her so lovingly while her heart continued beating rampantly. He just winked at her cutely and she grinned before moving in to hug him tight.
 
Instantly, she felt herself being drowned in a heavenly pleasurable feel – it was just an ineffable moment when she felt herself being wrapped inside his warm body, pressed against his naked skin while his strong protective arms were around her. It seemed like she'd missed this feel since so many ages…….that now she wanted to absorb it entirely in to her.
 
He too wrapped his arms around her body, covering her inside him. This was the one precious moment he'd been aching to relive since so many days and weeks together. It felt wonderful when she hugged him so tight and let her hands stroke against his bare back, when he got to circle her body inside him entirely and feel his wife so intimately. He felt ecstatic to be able to feel his wife, so close to him again.
 
A few minutes just flew away.
 
"Iss pal ke liye kitne dino se tadap raha tha main" he mumbled.
 
She smiled, unmoving from her comfy position. "Main bhi"
 
"Tumhe iss tarah apne bahon main samaye…….itne kareeb se mehsoos karne ke liye……tadas raha tha main……." He continued in his loving voice, while his eyes remained close as he swimmed in the sea of contentment.
 
Inching back, she gazed in to his eyes deeply. "Main bhi aapki bahon main samane ke liye…… tadap rahi thi. Raatein jaise kat thi nahi thi…….jab aap mere paas nahi hote...jab aapki yeh bahen mujhe apne andar nahi samati thi…….." her voice went somber.
 
Hearing this he felt bad and guilty for having ignored her over work. "Bahut bura hoon na main……tumhe itna tadpaya….."
 
She quickly brought a smile on her face – not wanting him to feel guilty over something he didn't have control. "are nahi……aap kaam main vyast the……..isme aapki kya galti. Kaam bhi to jaroori hai"
 
However, he didn't feel assured. "Par tumhe 24 ghanton main kuch pal to de hi sakta tha na……."
 
"Aap bhi na……aaj main aapki bahon main hoon…….mere liye yahi bahut hai" she said lovingly and hugged him back.
 
His lips curved in to a smile but he still felt repentant. "But still I am sorry……..I promise aage se aisa nahi hoga……..yeh project itna bada tha aur……"
 
She quickly inched back interrupting him. "Oho! Acha aapko guilty hi feel karna hai na…….to feel keejye……..lekin kab tak yeh sochte rahenge? Hmm?"
 
He just grinned, but the smile didn't reach his eyes. "Main kya karun…..meri Radhika……meri zindagi hai…….lekin maine use hi takleef di. I know, I wasn't able to give you time…….i could hardly speak to you. Poora din main office main rehta, der se ghar aata……par tumse do baatein bhi nahi kar paata…….Tumhare chehre ki udaasi……tum sabse chupa sakti ho, mujhse nahi. Main jaanta tha meri Radhika mujhse baatein karna chahti hai…….mujhse pyaar karna chahti hai…….chahti ke main us se pyaar ke kuch shabd kahoon. Lekin yeh bhi jaanta tha…..ke meri Radhika kabhi yeh sab apne muh se kahegi nahi. Apna saara dard aur takleef, apni iss pyaari si muskurahat ke peeche chupa legi…….I am sorry" He mumbled solemnly.
 
Radhika felt over whelmed that he was feeling guilty for such reasons. But she didn't let tears well up her eyes and decided to lighten the atmosphere.
 
"Acha……. You want to be freed of this unnecessary guilt right? Let's play a game then" she said, changing her tone in to a playful one.
 
Dev stared at her in puzzlement, wondering about her sudden cheerful tone. "Game? Abhi?"
 
"Haan Game…….simple sa game hai"
 
His thoughts wondered what game was she talking at this moment and all his brain could conure was only one thing. "To aap aaj…….puri raat game khelna chahti hain?" he asked mischeviously.
 
Her eyes grew wide at this. "Oho! Who nahi…….Game kuch aur hai…….."
 
His brows frowned "Kya?"
 
"Agar aapne mujhe pakad liya…….to aaj puri raat main aapki bahon main rahungi……." She whispered the trailing words seductively.
 
He flashed a charming smile. "Aur agar haar gaya to?"
 
She thinned her lips mischeviously. "erm…..to…….aaj aap mere kareeb nahi aa payenge"
 
This made him beam victoriously. "Phir to main jeet gaya already……..tum meri bahon main to ho" he said, tightening his arms around her.
 
She giggled. "Aise nahi…….."
 
His smile vanished. "To kaise?"
 
"Aise……" replying like a cute girl, she pushed his hands away and began running.
 
He was a little startled by her quick movements but didn't spare time in following her. "Hey Radhika………wait"
 
"Catch me if you can" saying, she ran around the room like a butterfly.
 
However it didn't take long for him to catch her by waist and stop her running spree.
 
"aah!" a quick moan escaped her throat when she felt his arms circling around her waist and lifting her feet above the ground.
 
"Mrs. Radhika Dev Purohit…………I won!" he declared in a husky voice and placed her down, before turning her to him.
 
Panting hard, she smiled at him.
 
He pulled her close and caged her inside his arms. "Hmm……what sort of a game was this?"
 
"You only wanted to get rid of your guilt right? Was this game that bad?" she asked sweetly.
 
Deciphering that she was just trying to lighten up his mood, he grinned and came closer. "It was very bad…….."
 
She just giggled. "par maza aaya na?"
 
"Khaak maza aaya…….." he frowned suddenly.
 
"Are kya huwa?"
 
He framed her cheek. "Radhika……tum jaanti ho ke…..aaj hum dono ke liye yeh raat itni khaas kyun hai…….to tum mujhe bhaga kyun rahi thi? Kyun apne aapko mujhse dur rakh rahi thi! Abhi abhi to tumne kaha……ke meri bahon mai rehna tumhe acha lagta hai…….phir dur kyun gayi?" he mumbled with a fake complaining tone.
 
She knew he was just faking his anger. "Bas 2 minute main aapne mujhe pakad liya…….aur wapas……" she snuggled closer to him "mujhse apni bahon main le aaye……."
 
Hearing this, he beamed. "Lekin jo kiya hai tumne who galat hai aur uski saza to milegi……." He mumbled huskily.
 
This made her blush crimson – she precisely knew what her punishment would be…….and she wanted him to punish her soon.
 
Inching back to gaze in to his eyes, she murmured "Mujhe yeh saza manzoor hai…….." and closed her eyes.
 
His heart flickered underneath as he saw her standing with closed eyes, as if waiting for him to punish her. He began inching closer to her lips that seemed to be begging for his attention; his own lips felt dry and wanted to just take her lips.
 
But then suddenly he thought of a prank and he stopped just away from her lips.
 
"To tumhari saza yeh hai ki…….." he murmured letting his breaths fall on her lips.
 
Her lips stretched in to a smile knowing entirely what the punishment would be. Why was he wasting time in speaking it out, she wondered.
 
"Ke aaj puri raat……." He paused to blow some warm air on her lips.
 
Gulping, she parted her lips for her. He saw this and grinned to himself – he loved seeing her go weak in her knees for him.
 
"Aaj puri raat……..tum mujhse dur rahogi" he added in a stern voice and inched back away from her.
 
She couldn't believe what her ears heard and her eyes flung open in shock. "Kya?" the words flew out in astonishment.
 
He laughed inwardly. "Hmm. Yahi aapki saza hai……"
 
Her expressions went grim, pained wondering what was making him do so. "L….Lekin main to sirf mazak kar rahi thi"
 
"Mazak ka samay tha yeh? Main yahan tadap raha hoon tumhare paas aane ke liye aur tumhe mazak sujh raha tha!?" he asked sternly. "Par yahan mazak nahi kar raha hoon!" mumbling, he released her coldly.
 
This left her shocked. Her unprotected body now felt a pricking sensation all over.
 
"Go and sleep. Its too late now!"  saying in a terse tone, he turned and began walking across to the bed.
 
Her eyes grew wide in shock wondering what made him go serious suddenly. He was never the one to take all these games seriously; he would always be a sport. Then why was he behaving so tough now?
 
Stretching her arms, she was about to stop him when the answer to her mental question flickered across in her brain.
 
What if he is joking again?
 
Her eyes grew again, as comprehension seeped in. Obviously he is joking. She knew him very well. Sighing, she shook her head, feeling relieved.
 
But if he is joking, why can't she too take a part? Why should she let him make a fool of her again? No, she won't.
 
"Mazak karna hai…….keejye. Main bhi janti hoon…..aaj aap mujhse dur nahi reh paayenge. Puri raat to dur……2 minute main apna mazak khol denge aur mere paas wapas aajayenge" she wondered to herself and smiled jubilantly.
 
Meanwhile Dev was laughing to himself as he walked towards the bed.
 
"Mujhe pata hai, abhi rokegi mujhe……phir sorry kehte huwe mere paas aayegi. Aur uska phirse ullu ban jaayega……..kyunki mujhse dur nahi reh paayegi aaj……..main bhi nahi reh paaunga……par kya karun Radhika tumhare saath aisa mazak karna mujhe bahut acha lagta hai…….." he thought to himself.
 
"Theek hai……..so jaate hain………waise bhi mujhe bahut neend aa rahi hai" said Radhika and began walking towards the bed quickly.
 
Dev's feet froze and he wondered if he'd heard correctly. She was fine with sleeping tonight??!
 
"Kya huwa? Sona nahi hai kya?" she asked, seating on the bed.
 
Frowning, he nodded. "H….haan……sona hai"
 
"To chaliye kaafi raat ho chuki hai" saying, she turned and pressed her lips hard from smiling. His confused face was a treat for her eyes.
 
"Main bhi dekhti hoon kitni der tak dur reh paayenge mujhse!"
 
Dev scowled at her back, wondering what had happened to his wife, who was yearning to be with him a few moments ago! Suddenly a thought flashed across his mind……..was she trying to reverse his game on him?
 
His frown erased out and lips twitched in the corners.
 
"Acha? Dev par uska mazak ulta karna chahti ho? Theek hai! Main bhi dekhta hoon kitni der tak dur reh paayegi mujhse!!" he said to himself and decided to play along.
 
"Fine. Good night" saying, he lay down in the bed swiftly.
 
Radhika quickly glanced over her shoulder, scowling and found him already lying down, with his back to her.
 
"Acha? Main bhi dekhti hoon kab tak sambhelenge apne aapko!" Wondering she turned and lay down again with her back to him. "Bas do minute main apna mazak wazak chod mere paas aajayenge" she giggled silently.
 
"I don't think she can resist for more then 2 minutes" he thought to himself jubilantly and grinned, waiting for her too call him out and apologize. "Bas jaise hi who bulayegi…..main uske paas chala jaunga……."
 
One minute passed.
 
Two minute passed.
 
Dev and Radhika's gazes stuck to the clocks – Dev gaze stuck on the wall clock while Radhika had her eyes set on the small alarm clock beside her bed.
 
They both began getting restless wondering why the other person wasn't responding. Nevertheless, they didn't wish to give up and decided waiting for few more moments.
 
Three minutes passed.
 
Four minutes passed.
 
"Kya huwa? Sach much to who……..so nahi gaye na?"Radhika wondered to herself.
 
"are itna bhi kya? Ek baar nahi aasakti mere paas?" Dev thought.
 
Five minutes passed.
 
"Bas! Ab aur nahi! Jyaada se jyaada kya hoga? Mujhe maafi maang loonga……par aur nahi reh sakta dur us se………." Dev gave up
 
"Main aur dur nahi reh sakti…….phirse ullu banugi……..chalega……par aaj unke bina yeh Radhika adhuri hi reh jaayegi…….bas ho gaya yeh khel whel" She too gave up because she'd waited so much for this night, that staying apart from him was impossible.
 
They both decided to give up and turned around………and to their astonishment, they both had turned around in the same time. Silently, they stared at one another for a small moment………. and then burst out giggling like kids.
 
Dev quickly came closer and leaned atop her. "So? Hogaya mazak?"
 
"Aap kahiye…….mazak to aap bhi kar rahe the na?" she retorted cutely.
 
"Par tumse dur nahi reh sakta" he mumbled lovingly.
 
"Main bhi……" she smiled.
 
"Isiliye to aagaya"
 
"Lekin aapne 5 minute waste kar diye……" she said.
 
His lips twitched in the corners. "Ab 1 minute bhi waste nahi karunga……." Mumbling, he began inching closer to her lips and she smiled joyously.
 
At that moment, his phone beeped startling them both.
 
"Iss samay aapko kaun message kar raha hai?" she asked in wonder.
 
"Dunno" replying, he stretched his arm out to pick the phone and opened his inbox. His expressions soon turned serious – as if irritated, and then he closed his inbox.
 
"Kaun tha?" Radhika asked quickly, noticing his expressions turn grim.
 
"No one" saying, he was about to keep the phone back when she snatched the phone from him and began opening his inbox.
 
"Radhika? Whats this?"
 
She glanced up in to his eyes. "Kyun aapke messages padne ka haq nahi hai mujhe?" she asked.
 
"Hai baba……."
 
"To mujhe kyun rok rahe hain?" asking, she looked down at the phone…….only to find Nandita's message in his inbox, much to her vexation. She quickly opened the message and found some random joke in it.
 
"Yeh kya hai? Yeh Nandita aapko aise messages bhejti hai?" she asked, looking up.
 
"Nahi. Shayad sabke saath mujhe bhi bhej diya ho" he replied casually, shrugging.
 
"Yeh kabse chal raha hai…….raat ko messages and all? Huh?" she asked.
 
"What? Who mujhe roz raat ko koi message nahi bhejti! You can check my inbox if you want to" he replied quickly.
 
"Kya pata aap delete kar dete ho!" she snapped back.
 
"You're doubting on me?" he asked, flustered.
 
She sighed. "Main aap par kabhi shak karti hoon kya? Who to maine isiliye poocha kyunki……. Aap shayad saare messages delete kar dete hon take mujhe bura na lage"
 
This calmed him down. "Nahi baba……who mujhe roz roz messages nahi bhejti. Haan kabhi kabhi kuch official reasons se bhejti hai" he replied.
 
"Oh! Who aap kaafi irritate ho gaye the…….uske message padke" she smiled.
 
"Tumhe acha laga? Isiliye muskura rahi ho?" he asked.
 
She giggled. "Nahi……."
 
He just shook his head and was about to take his phone back when she stopped him. "What?"
 
"Ek minute" saying, she switched off the phone.
 
This brought this grin back. "Good"
 
She gave him the phone. "here you go……."
 
Taking the phone, he stretched to keep it aside on the bedside table and came back to her.
 
"erm…….waise who Nandita aisi hi hai kya?" Radhika asked, stroking Dev's stubbled chin.
 
Dev's brows arched."kaisi?"
 
The word she wanted to utter was shameless, but she didn't. "Umm…..woh……does she behave like this with all men…….or are you someone special?" she couldn't hide her jealously, howmuchever she tried to.
 
And Dev noticed it. "Feeling jealous still?" he asked with a naughty glint in his eyes.
 
She thinned her lips and shook her head. "Nahi to……"
 
"Main jaanta hoon tumhe bahut bura lagta hai jab Nandita jaise Sexy ladki mujhe itni importance bhav deti hai….."he said, faking a smug smile.
 
Her brows frowned when she heard him calling 'sexy'. "Sexy?Hmph…….kuch bhi!"mumbling, she turned her face away in anger and partly disgust.
 
This made him burst in to a loud laugh.
 
She looked at him, narrowing her eyes. "Haan chubta hai………to? Subah hi maine kaha na….. mere saath aisa mazak mat karna? Phir shuru ho gaye aap?
 
"Lo…..humare bedroom main uss nandita ki baatein tumne shuru ki hai iss samay"
 
She gave out a sharp exhale and looked away, twitching her lips in anger.
 
Seeing this, he couldn't help a smile and he came closer. "Who Sexy hogi………but you are the most sexiest woman for me" he whispered huskily and winked at her.
 
She felt nice hearing that.
 
"Sach keh rahe hain kya aap?" she asked cutely, without looking at him.
 
"Kyun? Tumhe shak hai mere baaton par?"
 
She shook her head. "Nahi…..humari shaadi ko itne saal ho chuke hain…..kya ab bhi aapko aise hi lagta hai……ke……main……" she trailed off her words.
 
He gave out a deep sigh hearing this and came closer to nuzzle her ear. "Radhika……jab tum 80 saal ki buddhi ho jaogi na…….tab bhi iss duniya ki sabse sexy woman rahogi mere liye"
 
Her cheeks went red and her lips couldn't manage to hide a smile.
 
"Then I will call you……my sexy budhiya……" he joked, turning his face to look at her.
 
This made her look at him instantly with a grin, and she tapped his cheek. "Shee!"
 
"Dekh lena tum……main to tumhe aise hi bulaunga"
 
"Mujhe Budhiya kahenge?" she asked, narrowing her eyes in fake anger.
 
"mm….hmm……meri Sexy Budhiya kahunga……" he joked and gave out a small laugh, before pressing a small peck on her lips.
 
She blushed profusely. "Theek hai…..to main bhi aapko…..mera handsome budha kahungi……" she replied cutely.
 
"Hmm…..yeh huwi na baat……!"
 
"Waise aapko nahi lagta ke……..abhi samay hume budhe hone main? Abhi se kyun soche?" she mumbled, stroking his cheeks.
 
"Sahi keh rahi ho…….abhi se kyun soche nahi?...Abhi karne ke liye itna sab kuch jo hai……. Jaise……." His eyes turned impish and her cheeks blushed cherry red.
 
"Jaise……"she asked intentionally.
 
"Bol ke bataun ya……demonstrate karun?" he asked; his eyes were already colored with passion.
 
"Umm…….demonstrate karke bataiye……." She uttered cutely.
 
"Jo hukum Madam…….." mumbling, he came closer to kiss her soft lips that seemed to be beseeching for his lips.
 
 
Some minutes later, their clothes were strewn across while their naked bodies were intertwined intimately on the bed. Dev's lips were busy attending to her body while her hands were stroking his back passionately, urging him to kiss more; her torso was arching up with every touch and caress of him. Passionate moans were muffling the sounds of the soft music in the room while heat that was blazing between their bodies was questioning the presence of the air conditioner in the room; their bodies seem to have been drowned in the sea of molten fire. She clutched his thick hairs tight and she felt her nerves coiling hard and tight as he continued pleasuring her skin with his expert mouth and hand, while every muscle in his body seemed to have turned steel as he loved his wife so intimately.
 
A few passionate moments flew away...Dev came back to kiss her lips passionately and she pressed his head eagerly. His legs locked her soft ones underneath his legs, while her body seemed to be trembling hard underneath every single caress of his fingers as he explored her body uninhibitedly.
 
As their lips parted, they both breathed heavily trying to take in air inside their lungs quickly, lest their lungs went parched. He grinned at her while his passion laden gaze continued absorbing her innocent beauty.
 
"Mera bas karta to……to aaj subah hi tumse aise hi pyaar karta……" he rasped coarsely, reeling under the effect of passion they were sharing.
 
Still breathing hard, Radhika smiled at him. "Aur office?"
 
"Thodi der se chala jaata to kaun mujhe kha jaata wahan pe! Main hi jaanta hoon maine kaise roka apne aapko raat tak" he whispered, breathlessly.
 
She giggled sweetly. This stirred his heart and he came down to kiss her fervently again.
 
When their lips parted, Dev moved on to kiss her cheeks. "Lekin subah kahan aapaya tumhare paas……." He whispered huskily. "All thanks to Mr. Dhruv Purohit" he came to gaze in to her eyes.
 
Radhika's eyes were feeling heavy as she grinned. "Acha huwa na……humara beta aagaya"
 
"Kabab main haddi banker? Acha huwa?" he asked.
 
"Tabhi to aapko office jaane ko mila na time par" she answered, breathing hard.
 
"Not sure, If I was happy with that……..par jo bhi hai……atleast raat ko to hum bina kisi rukawat ke pyaar kar sakte hain na" he mumbled, winking.
 
"Jaroori nahi hai" she replied, adjusting her face.
 
"Kyun?"
 
"Aapko yaad hai who raat…….jab Dhruv humare kamre ke bahar khada tha aur…….."
 
Dev's brows frowned, instantly reminiscing the night – how can he forget it?
 
A few months back, during the night, when Dev and Radhika were similarly soaring high in passion when Dhruv's urgent knocks had made them step down reluctantly. On opening the door, they had found a crying Dhruv rushing inside to wrap his tiny arms around Dev's legs.
 
Instantly the emotions of parents in them took over, setting aside the desires of man and woman in a corner.Dev picked up a scared Dhruv in his arms and tried comforting him.
 
On being asked the reason, Dhruv had answered that Nandu had left him alone in the room for studying in the study room because of which he was too scared.
 
"Lekin beta Nandu bhaiyya aapko akela kyun chodenge? Unhe to pata hai na ke aapko andhere se kitna darr lagta hai?" Radhika asked patting his shoulder lovingly.
 
Dhruv hung his head down. "Who maine……Nandu bhaiiya ko na bahut sataya…….unhe pareshan kar raha tha. Kal unka exam hai na…..isiliye who study main chale gaye……gussa hokar"
 
Dev sighed. "Kya jaroorat thi use satane ki?"
 
"Sorry Papa……" Dhruv mumbled and then hugged him tight. "Lekin mujhe wahan akele nahi sona hai……wahan windows ke bahar shadows dikh rahe hain……mujhe bahut dar lag raha hai………"
 
Dev stroked his back lovingly. "Beta bas……darte nahi hai aise"
 
"Papa please mujhe aapke aur mummy ke saath sona hai aaj…….please papa" Dhruv pleaded cutely.
 
This left Dev in a quandary! What was he supposed to do? Either he had to suppress the roaring desires of the man inside him and let his son sleep here………or else he had to somehow cajole the kid to return to his room. But how can he make love to his wife when he knew that his son was crying in fear in some other room?
 
 
The father inside him won single-handedly and he had to suppress the now-aching desires of his manhood. He slowly looked at Radhika and found her gaze stating the same.
 
He smiled at Dhruv. "Theek hai……aaj aap humare saath soyenge"
 
Dhruv smiled.
 
 
Dev snapped the memory out and glanced at her. "Radhika please…….aisa sochna bhi mat. Dekho aaj main tumse dur rehne ke baare main soch bhi nahi sakta!"
 
Radhika smiled naughtily. "Nahi…..woh parso Nandu ka exam hai na……..isili……."
 
But he placed his palm over her lips to stop her from uttering anything more. "Please Radhika stop it! Aur Kanha se pray karo ke humara bacha aaj aaram se so jaaye……." He pleaded.
 
She giggled.
 
"You find this funny?" he asked, frowning.
 
Smiling, she replied "Nahi……." And let her hands caress the length of his back – from his nape to his spine.
 
Goose pimples arose liberally across his skin and he came down to her. "Mera rom rom……aaj sirf tumhare liye tadap raha hai……aur agar aaj tumse dur rehna pada to main jee bhi nahi paunga…….." he mumbled and pressed a hot peck on her lips, before setting hot kisses down her jaw.
 
She blushed hard and mumbled with much difficulty. "I have put him to sleep before coming here"
 
He paused to turn his gaze to her and smiled. "I have a smart wife, don't i?"
 
"Hmm?" her brows arched.
 
"Hmm!" he mumbled and pushed his face down her neck, making her torso arch up as his stubble scratched across her sensitive skin gently…………
 
The passionate moments continued between them as they escalated the soaring passion together during the night.
 

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Posted: 29 September 2011 at 2:27pm | IP Logged

Part 84 
 
Around a few months later………..
 
Dev returned back from his office and was about to got straight to his room when he noticed all the family members, except Radhika, seated in the main seating area, smiling and chattering happily.
 
He wondered what the matter was.
 
The next moment as the members saw him they hid their smiles with much difficulty and asked him to get freshened up. He nodded vaguely and ambled towards his room, puzzled by their behavior.
 
"Kya ho gaya hai sab logon ko?" mumbling, he entered his room…….only to find Radhika already in the room, standing beside the window.
 
A quick smile came across his face and keeping aside his laptop and files, he approached her. Pausing behind her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and planted a kiss on her shoulder.
 
She just smiled joyously and glanced down at his hand that seemed to be resting casually over her tummy. It felt so good.
 
"Kya baat hai…..aaj tum pehle se yahan? Chai pehle hi lekar aagayi kya?" he asked cutely.
 
"mm….hmm. Nahi……" she mumbled, placing her hand atop his, that rested over her tummy.
 
"Waise aaj kya baat hai, neeche sab gharwale milke itna has rahe the……par mere aate hi chup ho gaye? Kya huwa? Kuch huwa kya? Is there anything special that I am unaware of?" he asked casually, brushing his cheek against her hair.
 
Her lips stretched in to a sweet grin "Haan….." and her hands pressed his hand over her tummy softly.
 
However, he didn't notice that much. "Kya?"
 
"Koi aanewaala hai……" she mumbled very softly in a shy tone.
 
She spoke in such a low volume that it was too hard for him to hear it. "Kaun aanewala hai?"
 
"Koi khaas" she smiled and glanced down at his hand over her tummy. "Bahut khaas mehmaan"
 
"Khaas? Babuji aane waale hain vrindavan se?"
 
This erased the smile from her face, wondering why he wasn't deciphering her real intention.
 
"babuji mehmaan thodi na hai" she replied.
 
He bit his tongue. "Oh. Haan I am sorry…….to kaun aanewaala hai"
 
Her smile returned. "Koi nanha sa mehmaan aane waala hai" she gave another hint.
 
Unable to comprehend anything, he frowned. "Nanha sa mehmaan?"
 
Was it so difficult to decipher? Radhika wondered to herself for she'd given such a potent clue and yet he wasn't making sense of it. Nevertheless, she decided to give another hint that would surely make him understand.
 
"Hmm……bahut jald……Dhruv ke saath khelne ke liye…….koi nanha sa mehmaan aane waala hai……." She mumbled shyly and beamed in joy.
 
He grinned. "Oh! Acha…….nahna sa mehmaan…….Dhruv ko koi dost aa raha hai ghar pe….. lekin ismain sab itna khush kyun hai?"
 
Her joyous grin vanished in a moment after hearing this. Wasn't he still able to decipher that she was pregnant! Is it that difficult? Were her clues so hard to decode? Nonetheless, she decided to try again.
 
"Wahi to……Dhruv ka dost aayega to sab itne khush kyun honge…….." she said
 
"Exactly"
 
"To koi khaas nanha sa mehmaan aane wala hai……" she said, pressing his hand deliberately over her tummy with a smile on her face, hoping that he would understand atleast now.
 
Dev sighed, feeling too tired to play this riddle game with her and loosened his arms around her.
 
"Are…….Radhika yaar mujhse yeh game nahi ho raha hai khelne ko. I am too tired to play this riddle with you! Come straight to the point na…….who's gonna come?" he asked, frowning a little in impatience. "Jaldi batao aur chai leke aao mere liye"
 
Radhika exhaled, feeling angry now. She gave so many hints and yet he didn't unravel it. Better to come straight to the point then!
 
Turning, she looked at him with a straight face. "Aapko papa kehne ke liye phirse koi jaldi hi aane waala hai……..main aapke liye chai leke aati hoon!" replying in a single breath, irritatedly, she moved away towards the door.
 
"Oh" He nodded casually at first because she had spoken too quickly but soon her words rang in his brain loud and clear.
 
Aapko papa kehne ke liye phirse koi jaldi hi aane waala hai
A quick gleam filled his face and he turned to hold her hand before she moved too far.
 
She paused but didn't turn to look at him
 
Slowly he came over to face her, with a slow smile beginning to fill his lips. "Kya kaha tumne?" he asked
 
Pulling her hand away, "Main aapke liye chai leke aati hoon" she replied angrily and was about to move away.
 
However he held her arms to stop her. "yeh nahi…….iske pehle jo kaha…….woh phirse kaho"
 
She just crossed her arms and looked away in anger.
 
Seeing her being so angry, he realized that he had upset her. Slowly all her clues began coming back to him. Nanha khaas memhmaan….who would play with Dhruv.  Who else could be it?
 
He inched closer and slid his fingers underneath her jaw to turn her face to him. "Acha Sorry baba……"
 
She just twitched her lips in anger. Sighing, he held his ears. "I am sorry……."
 
Glancing at him from the corner of her eyes, she looked away quickly. Deep inside she felt bad now.
 
He framed her jaw again. "Sorry baba…….main bahut thaka huwa tha…..isiliye tumhare yeh clues and hints samaj nahi paaya……please……." He apologized sweetly.
 
Her heart melted in one moment and a smile began coming across her lips.
 
"Kya mujhe yeh khsuhkhabari aapke muh se phir sun ne ko nahi milegi?" he asked lovingly in a tender voice.
 
Unable to control herself anymore, she looked at him and felt her cheeks going warm again. "Aapko papa kehne ke liye phirse koi aane waala hai" she repeated her words, albeit sweetly and lowered her gaze.
 
He couldn't help a beaming smile to burst on his face and he cupped her cheeks lovingly. "Sachi?"
 
She nodded cutely with a joyous yet shy smile.
 
Grinning from ear to ear in joy, he pulled her for a tight hug and pressed a kiss on her head. "Love you Radhika…….."
 
She just basked in his warmth happily.
 
"Kab pata chala tumhe yeh?" he asked.
 
"Dopahar ko. Who meri tabiyat kuch theek nahi lag rahi thi…….to main aur bhabhi doctor ke paas gaye the……..tabhi pata chala" she replied sweetly.
 
He pressed another kiss on her head, smiling. "Par tumne dopahar ko hi mujhe phone kyun nahi kiya? Itni badi khushkhabri mujhse itne ghante chupi rahi? Kyun?"
 
"Maine aapko phone kiya tha…….par who aap meeting main busy the…….phir maine socha ke phone pe batane se acha hai……..main aapko ghar main aane ke baad khud apne munh se bataun" she mumbled.
 
Another grin flashed across his face, unable to suppress his happiness. "Acha kiya"
 
She inched back "Hmm. Lekin ek bache ke pita hone ke baad bhi aap itne saare clue samaj nahi paaye" and hit his arm lightly.
 
"Are sorry kaha na. Main itna thaka huwa tha……itni bhuk lag rahi thi…….aur usmain tum……..kkhaas mehmaan kiye jaa rahi ho……dimaag main nahi gaya kuch" he replied sweetly.
 
Smiling at his cuteness, she just shook her head. "aap bhi na"
 
"Waise kitne mahine huwe hain?" he asked eagerly.
 
"one and a half" she said
 
"Aur koi problem to nahi hai na…..mera matlab hai everything is fine na?" he asked tenderly.
 
"Haan. Lekin doctor ne do din baad ek test karne ko kaha hai"
 
"Theek hai. Main chalunga tumhare saath okay"
 
"Okay" she grinned joyously.
 
"Waise gharwalon ko pata hai?" he asked.
 
"Who muskura kyun rahe the?" she asked smiling.
 
He beamed along, cupping her face in to his palms and pressed a cute kiss on her forehead. "Thanks a lot Radhika……..mujhe itni pyaari khabar dene ke liye'
 
"Acha aapko bhul lagi hai na. Aap fresh ho jaaiye……main abhi jaakar aapke liye chai naashta le aati hoon" she said, snapping her fingers cutely.
 
However, he stopped her. "Hello? Kahan?"
 
"Kya huwa?"
 
"Tum kahi nahi jaa rahi ho" he said, bringing a serious face.
 
Her brows arched. "Kyun? Aapke liye chai laani hai"
 
"Koi jaroorat nahi hai"
 
She frowned wondering what the matter was. "Aapko bhuk lagi hai na……..to chai aur nashta……."
 
"Radhika! Maine kaha na tum kahi nahi jaa rahi ho. Areeh……you're pregnant aur tumhe bahut jyaada khayal rakhne ki jaroorat hai and you're not going to do anything……not a single work from now onwards" he ordered sternly.
 
Sighing, she hit her forehead lightly. "Phir shuru ho gaye aap? Aapko chai aur naashta deneke baad hi yeh khabar sunani chahiye thi! Yeh meri doosri pregnancy hai. Experience hai mujhe first pregnancy ka. Aap itni fikr karna shuru mat kar deejye" saying, she moved.
 
But he stopped her again. "Tum mujhe seriously nahi le rahi ho? You think I am joking over here?"
 
"Yes. I am. Because you're over-reacting. I know I need rest. But I don't need rest all the time!" she replied firmly.
 
"Ofcourse you need! From now onwards, you're not gonna do any work in this house and are gonna take maximum rest!" he ordered her again in a no-nonsense tone.
 
She felt a little irked seeing him fussing over her rest. "Yeh ajeeb zidd hai. Areeh chai aur nashta to leke aana hai. Usmain kya kaam hai?"
 
"Stress nahi logi tum?"
 
"Stress? Kya?"
 
"You have to climb down the steps, make tea and snacks……….and then come back again! Don't you think climbing the steps repeatedly will give you stress" he reasoned.
 
"Hey bhagwan main kya karun aapka? Yeh sab mujhe pata hai. Lekin main bhi jaanti hoon ke mujhe is main koi stress mehssoos nahi hota. Stress to ab ho raha hai mujhe…..aapse behas karte huwe!" she retorted.
 
His face calmed down quickly and he asked her to sit down in the couch. "Come sit here. Don't stress yourself……"
 
Seeing this, her heart felt touched – afterall he was fussing for the sake of her health. "Dekhiye main theek hoon……aap bhuke hain…….mujhe bura lag raha hai. Aapko kuch nashte main nahi chahiye kya? Neeche itne saare log hain…..neeche jaake upar aane main mujhe kuch nahi hone waala"
 
"Exactly. Neeche itne log hain. Aur main Ma se keh doonga mujhe chai dene ke liye" he explained.
 
"To kya aaj ke baad main iss kamre se bahar nahi jaa sakti?" she asked.
 
He pondered over it. "Nahi…….acha main bhi chalunga. Tum akele nahi jaogi"
 
She didn't understand the point behind it, but agreed nevertheless. "Theek hai…..aap fresh ho jaaiye…….tab tak main aapke liye kapde nikal deti hoon. Fine?"
 
He smiled and tapped her cheek. "Fine. Par tum akele nahi jaogi okay"
 
"Haan baba……nahi jaungi……aap to jaiye bathroom main!"
 
 
 
Some minutes later, Dev and Radhika came downstairs…….and the family rushed to congratulate Dev. They both took the blessing from elders.
 
"Papa…..papa…….kya mummy jald hi bacha lane waali hai?" Little Dhruv came in asking eagerly, amidst the elders.
 
Dev and Radhika looked down at the kid and smiled; Radhika had her cheeks feeling warm with joy.
 
"Haan Dhruv……..chachi humare liye baby laayegi" Nandu informed.
 
Dhruv jumped and clapped in joy. "Yeee!! Kab laugi mummy…….baby ko?"
 
Dev pulled the excited boy in his arms. "Umm…….usmain abhi time hai"
 
"Kitna?" Dhruv's next question was ready.
 
"Around……7 mahine……" Dadima answered, beaming in joy.
 
Dhruv's eyes got bigger. "7 mahine…….7 weeks main nahi ho sakta?" he asked innocently.
 
Everyone laughed at it and Dhruv looked around wondering what joke had he cracked.
 
Kissing his kid, Dev grinned. "Nahi. Babies to duniya main aane ke liye 9 months lagte hain. Samjhe"
 
Dhruv was a little disappointed to hear this. "Oh……waise……..woh boy hoga ke girl?" he quickly asked his next query.
 
Dev and Radhika glanced at each other.
 
"Ab…….woh to abhi nahi bata sakte beta" Dev replied, chuckling.
 
"Kyun?" Dhruv asked.
 
"Beta……jab who baby bahar aayega…….tab pata chal jaayega……" Dev answered.
 
"Baby…….bahar aayega? Kahan se bahar aayega?" Dhruv asked his next question.
 
Dev realized his fault in forming the words. "erm…….woh……to….." he looked at Radhika and then Dadima.
 
"Bol na………bache kahan se aate hain?" Dadima prodded that made Dev glower at her cutely.
 
"Bol na Dev" Vaishali too prodded naughtily, enjoying his helplessness.
 
Dev gulped, realizing that he only had to answer this query of his naughty son because everyone else was busy making fun of him.
 
"Beta aapne dekha hoga…….mummies ke pet bade hote hain?" he tried
 
"Haan"
 
Dev grinned. "Haan bas babies wahi hote hain"
 
"Pet main? Who baby hota hai usmain?"
 
Dev felt a little tongue tied and glanced at others, who were trying hard from bursting out.
 
"Umm……almost……" he somehow gave the answer and felt relieved.
 
But not for long as Dhruv's next question followed. "Par pet main baby aate kaise hain?"
 
This left him zapped! Now how was he supposed to answer this question to his 5 year old son?
 
He gulped, feeling trapped and glanced at everyone beseeching for help. Radhika just blushed and lowered her gaze, while others were pressing their palms to their lips, laughing secretly.
 
Feeling annoyed, he glanced at his son helplessly.
 
"Bolo na Papa……..Baby mummy ke pet main kaise aaya? Aapne kuch kiya kya?" Dhruv asked innocently.
 
This broke everyone's resistance and they all burst out laughing. Dev was left blushing and so was Radhika.
 
Dhruv glanced over wondering why everyone was laughing so much.
 
"Sab has kyun rahe hain?" he asked, turning to his father.
 
"Pagal ho gaye sab ke sab!" he mumbled in anger.
 
"Maine kuch joke maara?" Dhruv asked innocently.
 
Dhruv's innocent face erased all his anger and he pressed a kiss on his forehead.
 
"Maine kuch galat poocha?" the child was a little wary.
 
"Nahi to"
 
"Dev bata na…….kaise aate hain babies?" Vivek said, controlling his laghter.
 
"Haan mere bte ko main hi bataunga……..woh bhi in detail……." He added glancing at Radhika.
 
Instantly Radhika's eyes grew large. Was he actually intending to? No, No he obviously can't! Dhruv is too small!
 
"Aap pooch rahe the na……mummy ke pet main baby kaise aaya……..main batata hoon"
 
Radhika nudged his arm, gesturing him to stop and others fell silent.
 
"Areeh kya huwa? Ise batana to padega na? Nahi to future main kaam kaise aayega" he said to Radhika.
 
"Aap hosh main to hain!" Radhika said,  gritting her teeth.
 
"Haan"
 
"Papa bolo na" Dhruv urged.
 
Dev looked at him. "Who kya hai na beta……..maine aapki mummy ko dher saara pyaar kiya ……to Kanhajee ne…….khush hokar hume yeh tofha diya" he smiled.
 
Everyone sighed in relief.
 
"Oh" Dhruv nodded.
 
"Isiliye Kanha ne pehle aapko humare paas bheja……..phir abhi aane waale ko bhej rahe hain" he smiled
 
Dhruv smiled, feeling contended. "To Kanhajee ne mummy ke pet main baby rakha?"
 
"Hmm" Dev nodded.
 
Dadima grinned and stroked Dev's hair. "Bilkul sahi kaha isne"
 
"Waise aapko kya chahiye…….boy ya girl, Dhruv?" Mrinalini asked.
 
"Mujhe sister chahiye" Dhruv said.
 
"Mujhe bhi!" Nandu added. "yeh ek bhai kaafi hai mere liye. Abhi to mujhe bilkul chachi ke jaise pyaari si behen chahiye"
 
Radhika grinned and kissed Nandu's head.
 
"Exactly! Yeh Dev ka replica ek kam hai kya! Ek aur ko hum bardasht nahi kar paayenge" she said pulling Dhruv's cheek.
 
Dhruv stuggled and Dev pushed Mrinalini's arms. "mere bte ke chehre ko kharab mat karo aap!"
 
"Sirf tumhara beta hai kya?" she snapped back
 
"Kyun? Abhi questions pooch raha tha……..tab sirf mera bacha tha na?" he said acidly.
 
"Are bas bhi karo tum sab!" Vaishali intervened. "shuru ho gaye!"
 
"Oho Mamma…….humara to chalta rehta hai" Mrinalini shrugged.
 
"Waise baat to sabki sahi hai…….main bhi beti hi chahta hoon" Dev said, looking at Radhika, who blushed some more at this.
 
Smiling, he continued. "Bilkul meri Radhika jaisi…….ekdum sweet aur pyaari"
 
Radhika elbowed him feeling shy and others started teasing him.
 
"Haan haan…….ek dum Radhika jaisi!" Dadima teased.
 
"Kyun na ho. Humari bachi…….bilkul usipe jaayegi na" Dev shrugged.
 
Radhika couldn't just stand these teasings and decided to run away. "Areeh in sab main bhul gayi…….aapko naashta dena tha…….." she said turning to Dev. "Main bas abhi laayi……."
 
"Par jyaada kaam nahi" he warned.
 
She sighed. "haan baba…….."
 
As she walked towards the kitchen, Vaishali too accompanied her. The bickering and chattering continued behind them.
 
With the news of Radhika being pregnant again, the house was filled with excitement and joy all over again!


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Posted: 29 September 2011 at 2:29pm | IP Logged
 
Part 85

Around 2 months later……..
 
It was nighttime. Dev and Radhika were on the bed.
 
"Radhika why don't you understand? Why are you being so stubborn?" Dev asked, feeling annoyed.
 
"I am not stubborn. You are" she countered.
 
"Radhika tum ache se jaanti ho…….as to why am I being stubborn! There Dhruv was jumping up and down, asking me to take him to Vrindavan…….You should be making Dhruv understand, but here you yourself are behaving like a kid! If I am saying you will not be going……….you wont be going!" he said in a firm tone.
 
"Kyun nahi jaa sakti main Vrindavan?" Radhika asked.
 
"Main thak gaya hoon tumhe samjhate samjhate! You're 4 months pregnant……and you want to travel so long!? Why?"
 
"Kyunki mera man hai wahan jaane ka! Aur Dhruv ko isiliye nahi samjha rahi hoon kyunki main bhi wahan jaan chahti hoon. Bahut man kar raha hai mera Vrindavan jaane ko! Har saal jaate hai na hum? Aur Dhruv ko wahan jaana kitna acha lagta hai" she reasoned
 
Dev ran hand through his hairs, feeling frustrated now.
 
"Har saal ki baat alag hai Radhika. This time I won't be able to join you……I have urgent meetings lines up all through the month…...and plus you're pregnant" he said, gazing in to her eyes with concern.
 
She calmed down and framed his cheek. "Main jaanti hoon ke aapko meri bahut fikr hai. Lekin main apna khayal rakhungi na…….aur main aapse aane ke liye nahi keh rahi hoon. Jaanti hoon ke aapko bahut kaam hai…….aur phir 1 hafte ki to baat hai………Please"
 
He sighed. "I can't. I can't leave you alone during this time. I know you won't take care of yourself. Tum kaam karti rahogi…….aur apna dhyaan bilkul nahi rakhogi! Yahan tumhara khayal rakhne ke liye itne saare log hain…….wahan kaun hai?"
 
"Ma Babuji hai na" she replied.
 
"Hai……..lekin tum unhe mana logi…..aur kaam karne lagogi" he retorted.
 
"Acha baba…….main nahi karungi na kaam…….please" she pleaded.
 
This left him helpless. He couldn't see her so sad, beseeching to him.
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Nannnuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!" Little Dhruv jumped out of the car and ran towards Shatrijee who was standing near the door, with outstretched arms to greet the kid.
 
Dev and Radhika stepped down, smiling at Dhruv's excitement, and began sauntering towards the home.
 
As soon as Dhhruv reached him, Shastrijee pulled up the kid in to his arms "Aree wah!!" and kissed his forehead. "Kaisa hai mera bacha!!"
 
"Ekdum fine nanu!" Dhruv replied excitedly and kissed his cheek. "Aur aap?"
 
"Main bhi ekdum fine" Shastrijee replied with a kid-like excitement. He adored Dhruv a lot and would wait every year for Dev-Radhika and Dhruv to show up. His house would be suddenly bursting with energy whenever Dhruv came over.
 
"Naani ke paas nahi aaoge Dhruv?" Devki asked lovingly.
 
Smiling, he stretched his body out, wanting to jump directly from Shastrijee's arm to her's.
 
"Are sambhal ke beta……." Shastrijee handed the kid carefully to his wife.
 
Devki cuddled him and stroked his hairs. "Areeh waah mera raja beta…….to aur bada ho gaya. Nani ka haath dukta hai aapko uthate huwe" she joked.
 
Dhruv giggled.
 
Dev and Radhika came up and took their blessings.
 
Shastrijee then hugged both of them together.
 
"Kaisi hai meri bachi?" he asked to Radhika, circling his arms around her.
 
"Main bilkul theek hoon Babuji" she replied joyously.
 
"Who to dikh raha hai……aur ab to ek aur naya mehmaam aayega……mujhe nanu kehne ke liye" Shastrijee said cheerfully.
 
Radhika blushed sweetly and shared a small glance with Dev.
 
"Nanu……..mujhe behen chahiye" Dhruv inserted quickly.
 
"Ohohoo! Theek hai…….mujhe Nanu kehne waali aayegi……bas"
 
Radhika just smiled.
 
Shastrijee framed Dev's cheek. "Aur beta aap kaise hain?"
 
"Jaisa dikh raha hoon…….Bilkul theek……aur phir jabse aapki beti ne……..yaani meri patni ne ……..khushkabhri di hai…….tab se kuch jyaada hi khush hoon" he grinned.
 
"Saari baatein yahi karne waale hain? Andar chalne ko nahi kahenge?" Devki asked.
 
"are haan haan chaliye" Shastrijee asked them to come inside.
 
"main jara saaman lekar aata hoon" Dev said and turned to the car.
 
 
 
 
 
"are par beta……ek din to ruk jaate" Devki insisted after learning that Dev would be leaving in sometime.
 
"Nahi Ma……bahut important meeting hai. Actually maine jo naya project liya hai……..uski wajah se main iss baar garmi ki chutiyon (summer holidays) main Vrindavan nahi aane waala tha……..lekin Radhika aur Dhruv zidd karne lage…….isiliye mujhe inhe chodne aana pada. Radhika ma ban ne waali hai……..aur aisi halat main uska itni dur akele travel karna…….. mujhe kuch theek nahi laga……"
 
Shastrijee nodded, agreeing. "Radhika tujhe is saal nahi aana chahiye tha. Dev beta bilkul sahi keh rahe hain. Areeh agle saal aajati humse milne"
 
"Babuji yahi baat ise samjhakar thak gaya……par yeh mane tab na! Upar se Dhruv bhi zidd karne laga" Dev sighed.
 
"Babuji main kya bachi hoon? Mujhe apna khayal rakhna aata hai!" she said.
 
"Correction needed please. Tumhe sirf doosron ka khayal rakhna aata hai!" Dev snapped.
 
Radhika looked down, sulking.
 
"aabhi kya udaas ho rahi ho? Le to aaya tumhare Babuji ke ghar" Dev said.
 
"Waise Dev beta aap bilkul chinta na karen…….main ise koi kaam nahi karne doonga…..aap bhi samaj leejye Devkijee" Shastrijee assured Dev.
 
Radhika sighed. "Aap bhi ab Babuji"
 
"Haan kyunki hum sabko aapki fikr hai" Dev inserted quickly.
 
"Haan beta….." Devki agreed.
 
"Acha Babuji, Radhika aur Dhruv ko lene main aajaunga 1 hafte baad…….."
 
"Yahi acha rahega beta" Shastrijee approved.
 
"Dev beta…….aap kuch naashta to lenge na?" Devki asked.
 
"Nahi Ma…….bahut der ho jaayegi……..Thodi der main flight hai"
 
"Beta naashta ban chukka hai…….kuch to kha ke jaaiye…….jamaai ko aise hi bhej doon?" she asked.
 
Dev gave in. "Theek hai……par thoda jaldi Ma"
 
"Ma main bhi aati hoon" Radhika quickly decided to help her.
 
But Dev's stern glare made her sit down again.
 
"Na baba na…….beta tu baithi hi reh. Warna Dev beta mujhse naaraz ho jaayega" Devki said.
 
"Haan Ma" Dev said firmly, gazing at Radhika.
 
"Tum dono yahi baitho main naashta laati hoon……." Saying, Devki went inside.
 
Dhruv who'd been playing around the house, quickly followed her. "Nanniii mujhe pakode chahiye" his requests started.
 
"Dhruv!! Nani ko jyaada pareshan mat karo" Dev called out but Dhruv anyways went inside the kitchen.
 
 
 
 
After the snacks, Dev was ready to leave. "Acha Babuji……main chalta hoon"
 
"Theek hai beta…….sambhal ke jaaiyega"
 
Dev smiled and glanced around but didn't find Radhika anywhere. He found Dhruv coming out of the work area.
 
"Dhruv mummy kahan hai?" he asked.
 
"apne kamre main" Dhruv answered
 
"Radhika" Dev called out.
 
However there was no reply.
 
"Babuji main jara dekh kar aata hoon" Dev said and sauntered towards her room.
 
Meanwhile Dhruv started playing with Shastrijee.
 
Dev went inside her room and found Radhika standing behind the door. He closed the door a bit and came to face her.
 
"Maine awaaz lagayi bahar kyun nahi aayi? Main nikal raha hoon" he said softly.
 
She just moved to hug him tight.
 
He hugged her back lovingly. "Radhika? Kya huwa?"
 
"Mujhe bhi apne saath le jaaiye na" she mumbled.
 
Astound, he inched her back. "Kya? Tumhare insistence pe tumhe yahan leke aaya hoon…… aur ab?"
 
"Hmm. Par aapse dur rehne ka man nahi kar raha" she answered like a cute kid.
 
He couldn't help a smile. "To phir itni zidd karke……yahan aayi hi kyun?"
 
"Babuji se milne ka bahut man kar raha tha……par ab aapse dur rehna padega yeh sochkar bahhut takleef ho rahi hai……."
 
"Now this is a sticky situation. I can't stay back here……you want to stay back here. Karun to karun kya main?"
 
"Mujhe bhi apne saath le jaaiye" she answered somberly.
 
"Kya?? Aur Babuji kya sochenge? Ke unki beti shaadi ke itne saalon baad bhi apne pati se 1 hafte dur nahi reh sakti?"
 
"Nahi" she mumbled and hugged him back. "Mujhse nahi hota hai…..aap business trips pe jaate hain……to main hi jaanti hoon ke……kaise mere din beet the hain"
 
"Yeh to tumhe pehle sochna chahiye tha na? yahan aane se pehle?" he chided sweetly, stroking her hairs.
 
"Ab kya karun?"
 
Loosening his arms, he made her face him "Meri baat maano……stay here for 1 week. Main aa jaunga tumhe 1 hafte baad……okay" and kissed her forehead.
 
"1 week"
 
"Haan baba……us se jyaada to main bhi tumse dur nahi reh sakta" he smiled.
 
She managed a smile as well.
 
"Yeh huwi na baat. Tum jab muskurati nahi…..main jaa hi nahi paata. Acha suno……main roz raat ko phone karunga okay……thoda jaldi karunga…..hmm" he mumbled lovingly.
 
"Hmm……..lekin aap jyaada stress mat lena…….aur samay pe khana kha lena" she said
 
"Main? Tum samay pe khana kha lena samjhi!" he ordered lovingly.
 
She chuckled and shook her head, assertively.
 
"Samay pe khana khana……..and have ample rest, don't take any stress and sleep properly" he instructed her lovingly. "Apna bhi khayal rakhna aur…….iska bhi" he touched her tummy lovingly.
 
 
All these orders that used to irritate her until a few hours ago, because he fussed a lot, now seemed so loving. She suddenly wanted him to keep ordering her like this. Her throat choked and she hugged him tightly again.
 
"Aapse kuch kahoon……."
 
"Kaho na" he said caressing her back.
 
"Mujhe aapke yeh orders na……..bahut ache lagte hain" she mumbled, trying to gulp the lump in her throat.
 
He sensed it anyways. "Acha? Par tum to kehti ho……….i fuss a lot"
 
"You do. But I like you fussing around me for such simple things" she mumbled like a kid.
 
"Radhika……nahi…….dekho agar tum rovogi to main jaa nahi paunga" he said.
 
She blinked, letting her welled up eyes clear wondering how he knew her eyes had already got filled up. Some tear drops trickled down her cheeks.
 
"Radhika mat ro please…….i cant go then" he requested.
 
Sniffling once, she brushed away her tears.
 
"Promise me, you won't cry"
 
She didn't say anything.
 
"Radhika! Mere do bachon ki amma hokar khud roti ho! Shee shee! Dekho agar tum iss rovogi, to tumhare pet main jo humari beti hai na……who bhi bilkul tumhare jaise cry-baby banegi"
 
This brought a smile on her face and she inched back to glance at him.
 
"Yeh huwi na baat!" he brushed away the tear traces from her face.
 
"Pata nahi kya ho gaya mujhe…….bahut ajeeb sa lag raha hai. Shayad pregnancy main kabhi aapse dur nahi rahi na isiliye" she mumbled, gulping.
 
"Main jaldi aajaunga hmm…….." he smiled.
 
"Hmm"
 
"Ab chaloon?"
 
"Itne din mujhse dur rehne waale hain……mujhe tofha bhi nahi denge?" she asked cutely with a mischevious glint in her eyes.
 
He grinned "Isiliye to aaya hoon……" and began inching closer to her lips.
 
However she stopped him. "Koi bhi aajayega"
 
He quickly slid behind the nearest cupboard, pulling her along and found her smooth lips for a quick, passionate kiss.
 
 
 
 
 
"Acha Babuji main chalta hoon" Dev took Shastrijee and Devki's blessings.
 
"Papa…..jaldi aana okay" Dhruv said in his cute voice.
 
Dev pulled him up and stroked his hairs. "Okay. But promise me, you will behave nicely aur mummy ko jyaada pareshan mat karna okay! Unka khayal rakhna hai tumhe. Abhi Papa yahan nahi hai………to mummy ka care kaun rakhega?"
 
"Dhruv" Dhruv answered.
 
"Good Boy" he kissed the boy and placed him down. "And haan……nanu aur nani ko jyaada pareshan mat karna!" he warned.
 
"Okay Papa"
 
Dev smiled at him once and looked at Radhika. "Apna khayal rakhna……" he said, framing her cheek lovingly.
 
She smiled sweetly. "Jee. Wahan pahunchte hi phone kar deejyega"
 
"Kar dunga……..ab nikloon"
 
"Jee"
 
Dev smiled and turned towards the car.
 
"Bye Papa!" Dhruv jumped waving as Dev waved to him after sitting in the car.
 
As the car moved, Shastrijee asked Radhika to come inside.
 
"Mummy main thoda bahar jaaun" Dhruv asked.
 
"Dhruv! Papa bhi nahi hai yahan pe……..kahi bahar nahi jaaoge! Iske pair kahi rukte hi nahi! Vrindavan aate hi masti shuru! Kahi bhi jaakar ghum ho jaate ho!" she scolded and holding his arm, pulled him inside.
 
"Jab dekho daanti rehti hai mummy" he complained to Shastrijee.
 
"babuji jab tak ise daant na do na…..samaj nahi aata hai ise"
 
"beta tu pareshan mat ho…….main hoon na" Shasttrijee calmed her down. "Aur Dhruv main tujhe shaam ko dikhaoonga na Vrindavan"
 
"Sachi!!" Dhruv jumped in joy.
 
"Bilkul"
 
Radhika just smiled.
 
 
 
 
Amidst this excited environment, Amma lay in her room unmoving, listening to the sudden burst of energy in the house. Usually the house would be drowned in silence with the usual clatter of vessels when Devki would make food, or usual sounds of her washing clothes or cleaning the house…….when someone rang the bell or the telephone rings. But other than the simple humdrum sounds, the house would be painfully quiet. It pinched her ears, because she hated this quietness.
 
It has been 7 years since she'd been lying on this bed, unmoving like a vegetable……and over all these years, her health hasn't improved a wee bit, it has only worsened drastically.
 
She still remembered that fateful day when she met with this accident – it was Radhika's wedding day when she'd tried to pour hot milk on Radhika so as to stop her wedding, but the milk accidentially spilled over her. It was meant to be a serious burn injury, however over the months she realized that it wasn't just burn injuries. There was something else, which couldn't be deciphered by doctors or the village vaids. How else could one explain her limbs going non-functional after a serious burn injury……and how come such advanced medical technologies couldn't find the reason for her limbs getting numb suddenly.
 
What was she suffering from? She couldn't move her limbs, her torso……..and even if she was lying still, her limbs ached, hurt her…….her skin across entire body felt a regular burning sensation and itched her. Her throat felt dry most of the times, as if someone was pushing acid down her throat. With all these pains, her inability to speak out made things only worse.
 
 
 
It was frustrating……exasperatingly painful for her to bear all this and she couldn't even cry out or speak out aloud!!! She wanted to scream so many times in pain…….she wanted to yell out to vent her frustration……but she couldn't, because she cannot speak!
 
If all this wasn't enough, Shastrijee and Devki had stopped talking to her a few months later this accident, especially after Vishaka's wedding. She couldn't comprehend as to why her darling son suddenly stopped talking to her. He hardly came to her room or asked about her whereabouts. The only time he would come to her room would be when the village vaid(doctor) used to come and check her; it seemed like her son was doing this just for the sake of formality or out of duty. On the other hand, although Devki would regularly, every day come in for giving her food, medicines and for cleaning her……but her approach didn't have any warmth, rather it was cold, just like Shastrijee. She never spoke anything, would just do her work and leave the room.
 
Amma felt like she was some furniture whom her son and daughter in law were taking care of……but didn't feel the necessity to speak or show concern. Was it because of her illness? Was it because she'd become a burden on her son? The thought stabbed her badly and she would cry for nights and days together, but there was no one who would come to brush away her tears.
 
Why? Why was she being punished so badly? This was a mental question she used to ask the Lord every moment during the initial years of this suffering, unable to bear this! She wanted to walk like others, wanted to be independent while doing things, wanted to speak, shout, wanted to cry out loud……..wanted to share her happiness and sadness with her son…….but she couldn't! It was better if she died, than breathing in such a manner. However, the Lord seemed to be merciless on her as the death didn't call her, not yet.
 
And she was still here, lying on the same bed beside the window with only the chirping birds to her company. Those were only living beings who talked to her uninhibitedly. She would keep staring at the birds, who were nesting on the tree adjacent to her room, continuously for the entire day; it didn't soothe her bruised heart, but did calm her down to a certain extent because these sounds somewhat drowned the frustrating silence of the house with their excited chirping.
 
However, it seemed different today. There were sounds, voices all over the house……..and these human voices were drowning the chirping sounds of the birds as well. 
 
"Naannnuuu!!!!!!" a cute far away voice reached her ears and some steel tumbler was dropped lazily.
 
"Dhruv…….mera bacha…….lagi to nahi? Aaja tujhe chocolate dilaun?" Shastrijee's voice asked.
 
"Nahi babuji……koi jaroorat hai. Abhi aate samay hi iske papa ne ise 2 bade chocolate ka bar laake diya tha"
 
 
Amma knew whose voices these were. Every year, during the mid-summer when the sun would be shining brightly above on the sky while the birds chirped joyously and the flowers swayed in the balmy breeze of spring……….the Shastri house would be bursting with infectious energy as well.……….for this was the time when Radhika used to come down with her Son, Dhruv and Husband, Dev.
 
Radhika – the name and the person didn't quite irritate her quite now, as it used to do before. During the initial months after her accident, she used to detest the sight of Radhika….…used to feel even more annoyed on seeing Radhika……...held her responsible for such state of her's and cursed her every moment. However, after all these years of suffering and loneliness, she didn't feel the same hatred for Radhika anymore; probably because the pain that she was feeling was much worse than the hatred she used to have for Radhika or maybe because her grief, distress had made her so weak that she didn't have the energy inside to hate anyone anymore. Now, she was fine when Radhika came here because the house would be filled with so much excitement and energy. People would talk in louder tones and that kid of her's would be jumping day in and day out with his toys.
 
She never thought she would ever think like this……but she actually liked the kid a lot. Dhruv was too innocent and playful; he had inherited his eyes and naughtiness from his father while his smile somewhat resembled Radhika. He would come in to greet her every morning and then would run off to play…… as if it didn't matter to him that she was an ill person. She loved that fact very much that the child didn't discriminate her like everyone else did – perhaps even her son and daughter in law.
 
Around 2 years after her accident she'd come to know how people of Vrindavan were talking about her – that probably she is a human punished by the Lord……is probably a black shadow or an ill-fated woman and hence is suffering from such deadly, unknown disease. This pinched her a lot; these kinds of talks hurt her more than her physical pain. But what broke her completely was the mishap that happened with Vishaka……and the villagers had heartlessly accused her for this!
 
Painful tears rolled down Amma's eyes as she reminisced that day when Vishaka had come over to see them.
 
After her marriage, Vishaka had got really busy and would barely get time to come down……but that visit of her's had been real special because she was pregnant with her first child. The whole house was filled with joy and exuberance. Amma, herself had been the most happiest for her grandchild, Vishaka; and although she'd been against Keshav and Vishaka's marriage but now that her child was happy and in comfort, she too was content. She wanted to congratulate her, bless her with all the happiness in this world and hug her tight. Unfortunately she couldn't do any of these and felt completely miserable!
 
Nonetheless, Vishaka came to meet her and launched on her chatter-patter as usual. It was the happiest day in her life because it was after a long time that someone – especially Vishaka, was talking to her again…………..and it was the worst day of her life because it was the same day when Vishaka lost her baby!
 
Amma clearly remembered that evening when after chatting with her, Vishaka had gone out to prepare some tea.  No one was at home since Shastrijee and Devki had gone to a nearby house for a small function; Vishaka had insisted that she can take care of herself because it was just a matter of an hour and thus Shastrijee let her be. However that decision proved completely wrong!
 
It had been only a few minutes that Vishaka had gone out of the room, when Amma heard a loud thudding noise and instinctively she turned and craned her neck as much as she can to see what happened outside the room……..only to find Vishaka to have tripped down from the long stool on her stomache, on the ground!!!!!
 
"Maaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Vishaka had screamed in pain holding her tummy.
 
Amma's eyes grew wide with horror. Her child was pregnant and she fell on her stomache!!!! She tried moving her limbs in reflex so as to reach to her child quick
 
But, she couldn't!
 
She glanced down at her limbs, trying hard to move them with whatever energy she had…….but her limbs didn't move an inch…….she couldn't move even a bit. Helplessly, she turned her neck back to Vishaka and found her curled on the ground, shouting for help.
 
"Ammma!!!!!!!" Vishaka screamed!
 
However, Amma couldn't move at all! Howmuchever she tried to, wanted to…….she couldn't move her vegetable kind of body even a little bit; she felt angry, frustrated at herself – felt miserable that she couldn't help her child at this moment!!!!! She felt so enraged for being so handicapped.
 
Turning her teary gaze to the picture of Lord Krishna in her room, she pleaded mentally to cure her for atleast for that moment.
 
"Thakurjee moko bas kuch der ke liye theek keejyo………phir puri jindagi moko apahij bane rehne do……par abhi moko jaane do…….mor bachi wahan dard se tadap rahi hai…….Oo pet se hai thakurjee!!!!" she screamed mentally as tears of agony streamed down her cheeks while Vishaka's painful screams filled her ears.
 
However, nothing happened and she gritted her teeth in anger. Jerking her neck, she looked at Vishaka who was still curled on the ground……..
 
"Hum kachu……hum ka kare!!!!" she beseeched to Lord for some solution
 
It was at that moment when she noted blood oozing out of Vishaka's body! Amma's face went pale with horror.
 
"Mor…..Vishaka…..ka…….bacha…….."she thought'
 
In the next instant, she heard faint voices of Shastrijee and Devki coming in to help Vishaka. Her eyes went hazy realizing that Vishaka had lost her baby……..all because of her? Because she couldn't help her darling child in time? She could have surely done something to prevent this had she been alright……….but??
 
The guilt swamped her entirely and she detested herself for being like this!!!!
 
However this was not all; her agonies didn't seem to cease.
 
A day or two after, Keshav, his parents and some close relatives had come in to fetch Vishaka back. Vishaka's in-laws and relatives had pointedly told Shastrijee that Vishaka won't come here from now, atleast not until she had another baby…….and if possible never, ever!
 
"Aap aisa kyun keh rahi hain sambhdanjee?" Shastrijee asked, standing in the main hall. Amma could listen their voices faintly.
 
"Kyun keh rahe hain?" the woman who was a relative of Keshav's parents asked in astonishment. "aap nahi jaante? Aap ke ghar main ek kaala saaya hai! Aur usi ke wajah se aaj humari bahu ki yeh dasha hai" she replied acidicly.
 
Amma's heart tore in to thousand pieces and she closed her eyes in pain, letting tears of anguish roll down. Was she responsible? Yes, she was in a way because she couldn't help her screaming child.
 
"Dekhiye Shastijee…….hume aapse ya aapki beti se koi shikayat nahi. Yeh ek haadsa ho sakta hai……par agar saare Vrindavan vaasi keh rahe hain ke……Amma ko khud Thakurjee ki saza mili hai to usmain koi to baat hogi na?" Keshav's mother countered
 
Their relatives agreed. "Bilkul. Warna achanak se yeh hadsa kaise ho gaya?"
 
"Ma hadsa hi to tha na" Keshav intervened. "Ismain Amma ki kya galti ho sakti hai? Yeh sab sirf andhvishwas hai"
 
"Dekh beta…….hum yeh to nahi jaante ke Amma ki galti thi ya nahi. Shayad teri baat sahi hai. Sirf andhvishwas ho sakta hai…….lekin jo bhi hai…..hum nahi chahte ke Vishaka yahan wapas aaye……tu yeh samaj le ke tere mata pita andhvishwasi hai…….ya phir yeh samaj le…….ke hum savdhaani barat rahe hain……." Saying to Keshav, his mother then spoke to Shastrijee. "Dekhiye humne Vishaka ko apni bachi ke jaise maana hai…..uska bhala bura hum bhi sochte hain aapke jaise……..meri bas ek hi vinti hai…….ke jab tak Vishaka ki god phirse na bhar jaaye…….woh yahan waapas na aaye…….aur uske baad bhi……main yahi chahungi ke mere pote ya poti…….par Amma ka saaya na pade……mujhe maaf keejye Shastrijee agar meri baat aapko buri lagi ho to………..par hum vivash hai……..hume bhi samajne ki koshish keejye!"
 
"Haan Shastrijee….aap chahe to apni beti ko aakar kabhi bhi mil sakte hain……chahe to wahan humare saath aakar reh len……..par Vishaka ko yahan bhejna ab hum uchit nahi samjhenge! Hum sab iss bache ko lekar bahut khush the…….par……." Keshav's father trailed his words somberly. "Aap krupa karke humari vyatha samjhen…….hum sirf apne bhale ke liye nahi…….balki humari bachi Vishaka ke bhale ke liye keh rahe hain"
 
Shastrijee couldn't say anything more. "Jaise aap theek samjhe…….." he replied in a thick, grim voice.
 
Amma shattered that night wondering if she was really that ill-fated……..so unfortunate that she didn't even spare her own grandchild? The same grandchild who is the apple of her eye? Probably yes! She was ill-fated!!
 
 
 
"BOOOM!!!!!!" a loud sound from a toy, snapped Amma back to reality with a small shudder.
 
"Dhruv beta tujhe pakode chahiye na? To shaanti se baith jaa……." Devki requested the kid..
 
"Nahi! Mujhe khelna hai………." Saying, he kid again started firing his toy gun on everything possible.
 
"Ma……" Suddenly Radhika's voice came in.
 
"Haan Beta?"
 
"Ma who Amma se abhi mil sakte hain kya? Kya who ab bhi so rahi hongi?" Radhika asked warmly.
 
"Beta tune to dekh liya na Amma ko…….subah aate aate hi tune dekha to tha……." Devki answered; her voice seemed wary.
 
"Haan Ma……….par tab to Amma jaagi nahi thi…….to isiliye"
 
"Nahi beta…….woh ab bhi so rahi hongi. Tu jaa main tere liye…….doodh laati hoon" Devki replied, distracting the topic sweetly.
 
"Jee……." Radhika said.
 
Amma sighed and closed her eyes, letting tears flow down unrestrainedly.
 
 
 
 
Later that night, Radhika rolled on the right side and tried sleeping – this was the umpteenth time she was rolling over on the bed. However, sleep decided to remain away and she lay straight, gazing at the ceiling sadly. A few minutes back she had talked with Dev on the phone and hoped that she would be able to sleep. However she was wrong. The bed was too rough and hard. She hated to admit it, but the truth was…….that over the years she was so accustomed to the soft, cushiony bed in her bedroom……..her old bed in Shastri house seemed very much uncomfortable for her to sleep. Yet, she didn't accept it and rather tried making herself understand that how could it be possible? She'd spent so many years of her life in this house, sleeping in this very bed!
 
Perhaps she was right. The problem was not the bed's hardness…….but the absence of her Dev's loving, warm and comfortable arms. Had he been here to wrap his arms around her, she would have happily slept on the floor as well! But he wasn't here and she was missing him very badly!
 
Why did she ever insist on staying back here without him!? She wondered solemnly and closed her eyes, trying to imagine his presence. It hardly worked though!
 
 
 
Two days later……..
 
It was a hot summer noon. Radhika was sitting in her room, reading some book as Devki didn't let her do any chore in the house. Shastrijee had gone out for performing a puja and wasn't expected until night.
 
Devki was in the backyard, hanging the wet clothes on the rope.
 
"Bas abhi jaakar Radhika aur Dhruv ke liye khana laga deti hoon…….." she mumbled, as she put across the last piece of cloth in the bucket.
 
Picking the bucket in one hand, while her other hand pulled the saree helm a little above her ankle……she turned back to the door……..when her feet slipped on the wet ground and she fell down.
 
"Aaah!!!"
 
Radhika felt startled on hearing Devki's noise and putting aside the book, she rushed to backyard. On reaching there she found Devki on the ground and her eyes grew in shock "Maa…….!"
 
"Sambhal ke beta……..bahut paani hai" Devki warned automatically while her face was contorted in pain.
 
Radhika walked across gingerly to help Devki. Dhruv too came in to help her. They both took her inside and made her sit on the couch.
 
"Aaah!" Devki moaned in pain, as Radhika touched her feet.
 
"Ma. Lagta hai pair main moch aagayi hai……….main davayi leke aati hoon" Radhika got up quickly to find some medicine in the drawer.
 
Devki couldn't move her leg at all, as it pained her immensely.
 
Radhika came back quick and started applying the medicine. "Maa……is se aapko jaldi hi aaram milega"
 
"Mummy main bhi lagaun?" Dhruv asked.
 
"Nahi beta rehne de……." Devki said.
 
"Haan Dhruv tum mat karo……" Radhika agreed while applying the ointment.
 
After applying the medicine, Radhika washed her hand and came back. "Ma aap baithye main aapke liye khana le aati hoon"
 
Hearing this, "Nahi beta……." Devki tried getting up but Radhika stopped her.
 
"Ma? Aapko lagi hai"
 
"Beta main le aati hoon" she said, frowning in pain.
 
"Aapko bahut dard ho raha hai Ma……aur rasoi se sirf khana hi to laana hai……" she smiled. "Dhruv beta tere liye khana le aati hoon" saying, Radhika sauntered towards the kitchen.
 
Dhruv came closer to Devki. "Nanni aap tension mat lo………jaldi theek ho jaaoge"
 
Devki smiled at the kid's innocence and cupped his cheeks lovingly.
 
Radhika brought food for both of them.
 
"Ma……waise Amma ne khana kha liya nahi na?" Radhika asked, feeding Dhruv a morsel.
 
Devki's face turned wary. "Nahi. Main unhe khila doongi"
 
"Aap kyun main hoo na……..main khila doongi…….unke liye to alag khana banta hai na……bina jyaada mirchi ka?" Radhika asked.
 
However Devki wasn't too happy with this. "Beta main keh rahi hoon na main khila doongi"
 
"Ma aapki tabiyat itni kharab hai……pair main moch aayi hai…….aapko aaram karna chahiye naaki kaam……." Radhika argued softly.
 
"par beta……..tujhe bhi itna kaam nahi karna chahiye. Tu jaanti hai na Dev ne kya kaha hai?"
 
"Oho Ma! Ab main Dhruv ko bhi to khana khilati hoon……..to kya yeh koi kaam hai? To Amma ko kyun nahi? Usmain kaunsa mujhe stress hoga. Aap fikr mat keejye…….main khana khila doongi"
 
"Beta tu zidd kyun kar rahi hai. Main khila doongi na" Devki insisted.
 
"Khila dena lekin kal. Aaj main khilaungi…….aur ismain koi behas nahi…….please Ma……. Aap apna khayal bilkul nahi rakhti…….Ab aap sirf aaram karengi……" Radhika fake-ordered cutely.
 
Devki sighed, giving in. However her face was easily showing her fear and wariness. "Theek hai…..par pehle tu khana kha lena……."
 
"Jee…….."
 
 
Radhika helped Devki to lie down on the bed and then went to have her own lunch. Following which, she took food for Amma.
 
Slowly pushing the door, she stepped inside Amma's room……..and found Amma staring lazily at the tree.
 
Hearing the door being opened, Amma turned her head to find Radhika coming inside and she blinked once.
 
Radhika tried bringing a smile. "A…..Amma……..woh aapke liye khana layi hoon. Who kya hai na……Ma abhi thodi der pehle gir gayi aur pairon main moch aagayi…….isiliye main khana laayi hoon……." She said softly in a wary tone, wondering if Amma would even have food from her hand.
 
Amma didn't say anything, just glanced down.
 
Gulping, Radhika came closer, sat beside her and kept the bowl on the nearby stool before taking a spoonful and bringing near Amma's mouth.
 
"Amma…….leejye na……" she said warily.
 
Amma looked up and looked at Radhika for a small moment, before parting her lips.
 
Radhika sighed in relief inwardly as she saw Amma parting her lips, which meant Amma was ready to have food from her hand. A small smile came in her lips and she slowly fed her the liquid morsel.
 
Amma gulped in down with much difficulty.
 
Radhika noticed a small drop coming out from her mouth and quickly brushed it away with a soft towel gingerly.
 
 Amma glanced up and Radhika tried bringing a smile on her lips again, but Amma just looked away.
 
Radhika didn't fail to notice the somberness in Amma's face and wondered how can she help in reducing her sadness? What should she say so that Amma can feel slightly happier?
 
Blinking once, she was about to take another spoonful when she noticed Amma's gaze stuck on the sparrows and birds, chirping outside on the tree. A quick smile flashed on Radhika's face.
 
"Amma……"
 
Amma turned to take another morsel from the spoon.
 
"Waise yeh bahar jo chidiya hai kitni pyaari hai na? Dekhiye na……man karta hai ise bas niharte hi jaayen……." Radhika began speaking sweetly.
 
Amma just kept staring at her as she kept speaking gently about the birds, the climate, about the temples. She was so lost in hearing these stories, that she didn't know when the food was done with.
 
"Leejye Amma paani peejye" Radhika came closer to lift Amma's head and made her drink the water.
 
Amma gulped it down with much difficulty.
 
"Amma…….Main bas aapki davayi lekar aati hoon" smiling, Radhika sauntered out with the bowl and glass.
 
Amma couldn't deny but admit that she indeed liked the way Radhika took care of her. After so many years, almost ages it seemed, someone had talked to her at this length... someone had talked so sweetly, warmly to her……..had shown concern for her making her feel human all over again.
 
"Leejye Amma davayi……." Radhika fed the medicines and gave water to her.
 
"Abhi aap aaram keejye…….main bahar waale kamre main hoon……" saying, Radhika ambled out. She wanted to sit beside Amma and take care of her, but she was wary wondering if Amma would like it; she didn't want to irk Amma anymore.
 
On the other hand Amma wanted Radhika to stay back; she wanted to hear more of her voice. It seemed very strange for her because Radhika was the same girl whom she used to hate a few years ago to such a level that her mere presence would make Amma's blood boil. However, things seemed to have turned completely now……and she didn't comprehend the reason. Perhaps because Radhika was the only human who treated her so nicely…….even though Radhika never got treated nicely from her hand.
 
Guilt punched her badly in the gut!
 
 
 
Later that evening, Radhika came in with a paste in her hand to Amma's room.
 
"Amma……main aapko na yeh lep laga deti hoon. Ayurvedic hai…….aapko aaram milega" Radhika said sweetly, seating beside Amma. After the afternoon's peaceful lunch, Radhika felt confident that Amma won't mind Radhika applying this paste to her.
 
Strangely Amma again felt happy on seeing Radhika and wanted the girl to stay for sometime.
 
Radhika slowly pulled the quilt away from Amma's body……..and to her horror found, Amma's skin peeling away in some place, while in other places boils had covered the body entirely. She had to try very hard to keep away any wrong expression coming on her face.
 
However, Amma did notice the expression of sympathy and disgust – at the kind of wounds, flickering for a small second on Radhika's face.
 
Gulping, she looked up at Amma. "Amma mujhe lagta hai……iss lep se aapko thandak milegi aur yeh aapke badan main jo ghaanv hain who…….bhar jaayenge" she forced a smile because underneath her heart was paining to see Amma's such serious wounds.
 
She strengthened her heart and began applying the paste slowly on the wounds.
 
Amma found it very strange when her throat choked at Radhika's soft, caring touch – she was never the woman to melt at this girl's tricks……but today it didn't seem like the girl was doing any trick, it seemed like a genuine effort. Atleast someone considered her a human and not a lifeless furniture.
 
"Amma main iss lep ka mishran, Ma ko de doongi…….to who aapko yeh zoz lagayegi……aur muhje poora bharosa hai ke aap jald hi theek ho jaayengi. Ismain kayi saare ayurvedic jadibootiyon (herbs) ke gun hain" she continued, smilingly as her hands applied the paste. She saw how Amma was feeling relaxed.
 
"Acha hai ke Amma ko thoda sukoon mil raha hai"
 
On the other hand, Amma was feeling very nice and peaceful. The medicine that Radhika was applying seemed very effective for it was cooling her skin and reducing the itchy, dry feeling. Blinking, Amma turned her head again towards the birds outside and let her lips curve in to a small smile – she loved this moment a lot.
 
Some moments passed when the doorbell rang asking Radhika's attention; she turned her head once and then back to Amma. "Main……" she let the words be on finding Amma's eyes to be closed. "Lagta hai Amma so gayi……" she muttered to herself with a content smile.
 
The doorbell rang again and Radhika rushed to open the door.
 
"Are Shanti Maasi aap?" Radhika greeted inside Devki's cousin sister with a smile. "Radhe Radhe……" saying, she bent down to take blessings.
 
Her aunt stopped her from bending and hugged her instead. "Jeeti reh…….kaisi hai Radhika?"
 
"Main bilkul theek hoon maasi" Radhika said sweetly.
 
"Who to tere iss khilte huwe chehre se pata chal raha hai moko. Devki ne bataya…..ke tu phir khushkhabri sunane waali hai" she said cheerfully in a loving tone.
 
Radhika just blushed, and looked down smilingly.
 
"Bas tere chehre pe yeh muskurahat aise hi bani rahe…….." she blessed, stroking her hairs.
 
Just then Devki's voice reached them. "Jeeji? Aap?"
 
Shanti and Radhika turned their heads and found Devki standing outside her room, holding the door frame for support.
 
Radhika quickly went to her, so did Shanti.
 
"Ma……aap bahar kyun aayi?"
 
"Aree Devki ka huwa hai toko? Kahe aisen khadi hai?" Shanti asked with concern.
 
"Maasi who aaj subah kaam karte karte Ma ka pair phisal gaya aur moch aagayi………" Radhika informed.
 
"Tsk Tsk Tsk……." Shanti's face crumpled in to a concerned frown. "Jyaada to na lagi?"
 
"Nahi Jeeji……bas jara si moch thi……ab to itna dard bhi nahi ho raha hai" Devki replied; she wasn't feeling much pain indeed.
 
"Ma main aapki ek nahi sun ne waali…….chaliye jaake aaram keejye" Radhika was about to take her inside, when Devki protested.
 
"Beta……main yahan sofe pe baith jaati hoon na……kitna aaram karungi……." She said softly and then noticed the paste in Radhika's hand. "Yeh kya laga hai tere haath main?"
 
Radhika glanced down at her hand and remembered. "Oh! Main to bhul hi gayi. Who darasal main Amma ko lep laga rahi thi……..tabhi darwaze ki ghanti bhaji to chali aayi kholne……main haath dhoke aati hoon……..maasi tab tak aap Ma ko sofe pe bitha deejye na" Radhika requested to Shanti.
 
Shanti, who's expressions had turned half-surprised and half annoyed on hearing that Radhika had been treating Amma, hid those expressions and smiled at her. "Haan beta……"
 
Radhika turned towards the washarea and Shanti helped Devki to seat down; Shanti's wary expressions were back.
 
"Eei sab ka ho raha hai Devki" she asked.
 
"Kya jeeji?" Devki asked.
 
"Devki tu ka andhi hai? Toko kachu dikh na raha hai ka?? Aree tori Radhika tori uss…..saasuma ke saath thi!" Shanti said with a tinge of disgust in her tone.
 
Devki too wasn't much happy with Radhika's decision of helping Amma, but she was helpless.
 
"Umm…….haan who meri tabiyat theek nahi thi to…….shayad who Amma ki dekhbhaal main lag gayi" Devki replied.
 
Shanti's big eyes grew bigger in surprise. "Toko samaj main aa raho hai ke tu ka keh rahi hai? Moko to lag raho tho ke tune bhale hi Radhika ko apne kok se janam na diya……par humesha use apni beti maanti rahi…….par ab kahe……kis waste us se dushmani nikal rahi ho?" she asked in a sharp tone, but her volume was deliberately kept low so that Radhika doesn't hear it.
 
"Aap aise kyun keh rahi hain Jeeji?" Devki asked in confusion.
 
"To aur kaa kahun? Dekh Devki tori sabse badi behen hoon main…….aur tore parivaar ka bhala hi socho hai maine humesha…….par iss samay Radhika jo kar rahi hai na…….usmain koi bhala na hai……..aur yeh tu ache se jaanat hai na!" Shanti stressed her point.
 
Devki looked away, unable to answer her. She too was wary about Radhika going to Amma's room for helping her……but
 
"Ka soch rahi hai? Toko pata hai na…….ke Radhika garbvati hai…….aur aise halat main…… manhoos logon ke saamne nahi jaate hain! Itna bhi samjha na sakti bachi ko?" she asked in a low volume.
 
"Maine samjhaya use jeeji ke aisi halat main use jyaada kaam nahi karna chahiye……par aap to jaanti hai na Radhika ko……." Devki said
 
"Radhika to bachi hai. Use ka pata? Tu to Ma hai na uski? Tora farz banta hai na use samjhana?" Shanti tried making her understand.
 
Just then Radhika came back, drying her hands. "Maasi aapke liye ek kadak masale waali chai le aaun?"
 
Shanit brought a quick smile on her face. "Are na na betiya…….chai ki kaunu jaroorat na hai…. Tu bas eiihan aake baith jaa more paas……."
 
"Maasi waise bhi chai ka samay ho chukka hai…….main sabke liye bana deti hoon" Radhika insisted.
 
Shanti got up from her seat to reach Radhika. "Betiya……..tori Maasi itne saalon baad mil rahi hai tose……kuch der baithke baatein to karle! Chai to hoti rahegi……."
 
"Acha main aapke liye paani le aati hoon……baatein karenge aur phir chai bana laungi" Radhika smiled.
 
"Theek hai betiya" Shanti smiled and let Radhika get water. She came back to her seat and murmured to Devki. "Ab tu ruk……….moko samjhane de use…….Radhika ko samjhana bahut jaroori ho gayo hai"
 
"Rehne do na Jeeji" Devki said, knowing that probably Radhika won't appreciate Shanti's words.
 
"Kaahe? Tu chup hi reh!" Shanti chided.
 
"Kya baatein ho rahi hai dono behenon ke beech?" Radhika asked coming out with a glass of water.
 
Shanti grinned. "Wahi jo tori aur Vishaka ke beech hovat rehti hai humesha" saying, she burst in to a small, loud giggle.
 
Radhika sat down in the adjacent couch and Shanti turned her gaze to adore her niece.
 
"Kitni sundar lag rahi hai na Radhika? Are waah…..eei kaan ki baali to bahut hi sundar dikh rahi hai" Shanti said, appraising Radhika's jewellery.
 
A small smile came on Radhika's face.
 
"Dev babu ne dilwaya hoga na? Tori chehre ki muskurahat bata rahi hai moko" Shanti asked teasingly.
 
Radhika just nodded, blushing slightly.
 
"Are eei bata……..Dhruv beta kahan hai? Aur Dev Babu kab laut rahe hain?"
 
"Maasi…….Dhruv to andar so raha hai…….aur uske Papa to agle ravivar (Sunday) ko aayenge" Radhika replied.
 
"Acha……"
 
"Maasi main utha doon Dhruv ko?"
 
"Are na na……rehne do……..jab uth jaayega to mil loongi……bacha hai…….khel khud ke thak gaya hoga na" Shanti said; she didn't want Dhruv to be present at this point when she wanted to discuss something serious.
 
"Theek hai………."
 
Shanti sipped her water, sharing a wary glance with Devki. "Radhika…….tose kuch kehna hai moko"
 
"Kya?"
 
Turning, Shanti kept the glass on table. The clinking sound when the glass touched the table, awoke Amma from her short nap. Blinking a few times, Amma turned her head wondering who was outside, when she heard some sounds coming from the main room…...
 
Back in hall, Shanti smiled hesitantly "Dekh beta…..moko galat na samaj…….maine humesha took apni beti ki tarah maano hai aur tora bhala hi chahoongi…….hai na" she started building up.
 
"Haan Maasi……main jaanti hoon"
 
Shanti smiled. "Maasi matlab Ma jaisi hove hain…….to mori baatein shanti se sun……aur jo hum keh rahi hai na……who kar samjhi"
 
"Jee Maasi bilkul………."
 
"Betiya tu eiihan kuch din apne maayke main…..aaram karne ke liye aayi hai……to kahe eei sab kaamon main apne aap ko takleef de rahi hai?"
 
Hearing this, Radhika sighed. "Aap bhi shuru ho gayi? Maine aisa kya kaam kar diya aaj waise bhi?"
 
Shanti  pursed her lips. "Beta yeh…….Amma ko lep lagana……khana khilana……eei sab to tu rehne de……hmm……toko to iss halat main aaram karna chahiye"
 
Radhika smiled. "Acha……..bas itni si baat. Leejye……..Amma ko lep lagane main aur khana khilane main……..kaunsi thakawat hoti haio mujhe? Hmm" she chuckled, shaking her head seeing so much concern from Shanti.
 
However, Shanti exhaled in worry wondering how to make this girl understand. "Na betiya tu mori baat samaj na rahi hai……"
 
Radhika's expressions turned serious as well, wondering what Shanti was trying to say.
 
"Dekh beta…….tora…..iss tarah Amma ka khayal rakhna…..unke paas jaakar unhe choona…… acha na hai" Shanti said, coming straight to her point.
 
"Kyun?" Radhika asked, frowning slightly in puzzle.
 
"Kyunki beta…….erm……dekh……tu chahe mane ya na maane……par Vrindavan main sab eeihai kehte hain ke Amma…….par manhoosiyat ka saaya pad chukka hai!" Shanti said, showing her palm out.
 
Hearing this, Radhika's scowled in part-astonishment and part-disgust.
 
"Maasi yeh aap kya keh rahi hain? Amma ke baare main aise…….kaise keh sakti hain aap?"
 
"Areeh! Eei hum na keh rahi hain! Sagra Vrindavan……aur aaju baaju ke gaanv main log kehte hain!" her voice got a bit louder. "Tu hi soch na betiya……kahe itne saal Amma leti hai? Ka huwa hai unka? Are kahe ilaaj na ho paa raha hai unka? Kahe sagre dactor or Vaidjee kah rahe hain ke……..Amma ka kachu na hovega? Kahe? Soch na Betiya? Isiliye kyunki unhe ishwar ka shrap (curse) milo hai……..aur aisen log paapi hovat hai…….paapi……manhoos kehlaate hain!" Shanti's words were sharp and tone was cold.
 
Radhika was taken aback by these sharp words. How could anyone think like this? What was Amma fault in all this? She was just sick, but these villagers were making a mountain out a molehill and were presuming illogical things just to satisfy their own curiousness.
 
"Maasi! Yeh aap kaisi baatein kar rahi hain? Amma bas beemar hai. Koi shrap nahi mila hai unhe" Radhika replied.
 
Shanti sighed and shared a glance with Devki. "Kaahe itne saalon se beemar hai? Pooch apni Ma se…….ka nahi kiya tore Babuji ne unhe theek karne ke liye…….are aise ajeeb zakhm (wounds) bina kisi ke wajah ke aagaye? Kahe? Aur ka poora Vrindavan sathiya (mad) gaya hai? Na betiya…….."
 
Radhika looked away in disgust, feeling bad that even relatives were thinking like this. "Maasi yeh sab sirf andhvishwas hai……..aur kuch nahi"
 
Coming closer, Shanti held her hand. "Dekh beta……toko shayad mori baaton par…….gaanv waalon ki baat pe yakeen na ho……kya hai na…….tu to ab shehar main rehti hai……..aur wahan ke logon ko eei sab baatein nahi samaj main aati……..unhe lagta hai ke hum gaanvwaale andhvishwasi hain…….par aisa nahi hota hai beta…….hum bhale hi aap shehari logon ke jaise padhe-likhe na ho…….par humne bhi duniya dekhi hai…….jise tu andhvishwas kehkar taal rahi hai na………Thakurjee na kare…….wahi buri bala toko mudkar kaatne aajaye!"
 
"Maasi! Bas keejye aap………..mujhe yeh sab nahi sun na hai! Aap badi hain. Aap ko to sabko samjhane chahiye………..par aap khud hi?"
 
"Betiya moko ka hai? Tu kuch bhi kar? Mora to kachu na bigdega? Par toko bahut pyaar diyo hai bachpan se……..eeihai ke waaste keh rahi hoon" saying, she cupped Radhika's cheek. "Bachpan se jaana hai toko betiya….bahut ache man ki hai tu…….par sagre log ache na hovat hai. Tore man main koi paap na hai…….par sab ka man shud na hota hai tore jaise……aur khaaskar Amma ka to bilkul nahi!"
 
Radhika just stared wondering why was Shanti suddenly against her going to Amma's room.
 
She continued after a second's pause. "Aur tu kaahe……mor baaton andhvishwas keh rahi hai? Eei agar sirf mora bhram……mora andhvishwas hota…….to Vishaka ke saath Oo sab na hota jo huwa…….."
 
"Vishaka ke saath?" Radhika asked.
 
"Haan Vishaka ke saath! Tu bhul gayi………ke tori behen ka pehla bacha…….eeihai wajah se iss duniya main na aa paaya! Are mar gaya uska bacha!" Shanti said, heartlessly.
 
"Jeeji!!" Devki's stern voice followed.
 
Shanti turned to her.
 
Coming near Radhika, Devki spoke "Jeeji aap kaisi baatein kar rahi hain is samay? Radhika garb se hai…….aur aap unn purani baaton ko dohra rahi hai? Aisi halat main meri bachi ko yeh sab baatein nahi sun ni chahiye"
 
Shanti sighed, feeling bad for having spoken so harshly. "Moko maaf karde beta…..mora iraada toko chot pahunchane ka……ya darane ka nahi tha. Lekin savdhaan karne ka tha"
 
Turning her gaze to Devki, she continued. "Aur hum jo keh rahi hain…..usmain ka galat hai? Are Vishaka ke saath jab Oo hadsa huwa tab to hum sab kachu na kar sake…….par who sab wapas na ho……..iss baat ki to savdhani rak sake hain na hum sab"
 
Radhika, who was astound by the level of myth Shanti was living in, glanced at her "Sahi kaha aapne Maasi……who ek haadsa tha……usmain Amma ki kya galti?"
 
"Are betiya……who haadsa kahe huwa? Jab tak oo apne sasural ma thi……tab tak to kachu na huwa! Jab eiihan Vrindavan aayi…….tabhi yeh haadsa huwa? Kahe?"
 
"Kyunki yeh haadsa tha……..bas……wahan kyun nahi huwa…….aur yahan kyun huwa…… iska koi jawab nahi hai" Radhika argued.
 
"More paas hai jawaab………aur wajah hai Amma ki manhoosiyat! Amma ka kaala saaya pad gaya mor Vishaka betiya par……..aur uska bacha…….." she trailed her voice, sadly.
 
Radhika shook her head helplessly wondering how to make Shanti understand.
 
Amdist all this, Amma who'd been hearing all these conversations closed her eyes letting the tear drops roll down her wounded cheeks; the salty tears hurt her wounds, but it nothing in comparison to the pain that Shanti's words were giving her – however was the lady wrong, her mind questioned? Perhaps not!
 
"Dekh Radhika…….tore liye eeihai acha hoga agar tu Amma se jitna ho sake utna dur rahegi…… abhi to eeihan Dev babu bhi na hai…..kachu galat ho gaya to hum ka jawaab denge Purohit parivaar waalon ko?" Pausing, she came to frame Radhika's jaw "Iss samay toko sabse jyaada khayal apne aane waale bache ka hona chahiye……naaki Amma ka. Tu bhale hi mori baaton ko andhviwshas kahe…….Lekin ek Ma hone ke naate……apne bache ki fikr to hogi na toko…….to bas uss khatir hi sahi mor baaton ko maanle…..aur dur reh Amma se…….savdhani baratne main kachu burai na hai…..hum sabka man bhi halka rahego…….aur tore man main bhi sab acha acha rahego. Eei Beemar Amma ke paas rahegi……..to Thakurjee na kare tore bache ko bhi kachu ho jaaye" she said, touching on either side of her chin; wishing that her words should never come true – that Radhika's baby should be fine.
 
She continued in a sweet voice. "Kehte hain……ke garbvati sthree ko sab acha acha sochna chahiye….. acha acha dekhna chahiye…….tabhi uska bacha bhi khush rahega andar. Lekin agar tu Amma ke aas paas rahegi……to kaise acha soch paavegi…….unka Oo beemar chehra tore aankhon ke saamne rahega to tore andar jo nanhi jaan pal rahi hai…….uspar bhi asar hovego"
 
Radhika understood Shanti's concern and was happy for that. "Main samajti hoon Maasi…….ke aapko meri bahut fikr hai……"
 
Shanti smiled. "Are Betiya…..tu bhi to mor apni bachi jaisi hai……aur ek Ma apne bache ko na samjhavegi to kaun samjhavega? Tu to abhi eei sab baaton ko na samjhegi……to ka hum toko nadaani karne devenge? Nahi betiya. Aur phir Amma ka khayal rakhne ke liye ghar main aur log hai na………tu bas…….Amma ke saamne na ja…..aur Dhruv ko bhi na jaane dena……bechara bacha dar jaavego!" she mumbled, adjusting the pallu on her head.
 
A smile came on Radhika's face as well. "Maasi……..mujhe apne bache ki bahut fikr hai……jaise aap meri fikr karti hai waise hi mujhe bhi hai…….lekin……..lekin Amma ke paas rehne se mere bache ko kuch nahi hoga yeh mera vishwas hai. Kyunki mere Kanha mere bache ko kuch nahi hone denge" she added confidently, touching her tummy.
 
Hearing this, Shanti exhaled in disappointment and anger. "Kaahe mahaan ban na chahti hai tu chori? Kaahe? Eei jaan le betiya……tore iss mahanta se kisiko kachu na milego! Jab Kanha ne khud Amma ko saza diyo hai……….jise Thakurjee ka shrap milo hai………ooke paas agar tu jaavegi to ka tore Kanha naaraz na hovenge? Areeeh! Jab Thakurjee hi uss insaan ko pasand na karte hain…….to agar tu unke paas jaayegi to kanha tose bhi naaraz ho jaavenge! Haanhh!" she said.
"Maasi…….Kanha sabse prem karte hain……kisi se naaraz nahi hote. Apne hi banaye huwe insaanon se kaise nafrat kar sakte hain Kanha? Jaise Mata-Pita apne bachon se naaraz nahi hote….unhe kabhi shrap nahi dete……waise hi hum sab jo Kanha ke banaye huwe insaan hain…….unse Kanha nafrat kaise kar sakte hain?" Radhika countered politely.
 
Shanti sighed and turned to Devki. "Aree kaise samjhaun tori chori ko? Kaahe mori baat na maan rahi hai? Uske bhale ke liye keh rahi hoon na?"
 
"Maasi……aap mere bhale ke liye keh rahi hain…….yeh main jaanti hoon……lekin main itni swaarthi nahi hoon ke apne bache ke kushalta ke liye…….apni beemar Dadima ka khayal na rakhun" Radhika replied firmly.
 
Amma's teary eyes widened slightly, feeling amazed……touched.
 
lekin main itni swaarthi nahi hoon ke apne bache ke kushalta ke liye…….apni beemar Dadima ka khayal na rakhun
 
Radhika's words cirled around her mind repeatedly
 
 
Shanti touched her own cheek in amazement. "Dadima?? Kaun Dadima? Oo Amma? OO kabse tori Dadima ho gayi? Areeh……bachpan se lekar aajtak unhone sirf Vishaka ko apni poti maana hai……..aur tujhe to humesha ek parayi ladki samjha hai……aur eeihai nahi…….zindagi bhar toko manhoos aur abshaguni hone ka taana diya hai!! Aaj aisi aurat ke liye, jisne tose kabhi prem na kiya…….jisne toko taano ke alawa aur kachu na diya use apni Dadima maan rahi ho??
 
She paused to look towards Amma's room. "Areeh shayad isi baat ka paap chada hoga Amma ko……..ke jeevan bhar ek nanhi si bachi ko manhoos aur abshaguni kehti rahi…….aur isilye aaj sab unhi ko iss naam se bula rahe hain! Jaisi karni……waisi bharni! Hmph"
 
Radhika felt sad as those old memories flashed across her mind. "Amma ne jo bhi kiya……..woh beeti baatein hain……..aaj ka sach yeh hai……ke who beemar hai aur unhe humari jaroraat hai. Itne saalon se main unke paas jaane se hichkichati (hesitate) thi……kyunki mujhe laga ke unhe mera paas aana acha na lage…….aur unki iss halat main……mera unhe aur takleef dene ka man nahi karta. Par aaj…..jab maine unhe khana khilaya…….to yeh mehsoos huwa jaise……ab Amma mujhse nafrat nahi karti hain…….jaise ab unke man main who kadvahat nahi hai. Who ab badal chuki hain. To jab who badal chuki hain…….to hum purani baaton ko yaad rakh ke kyun unhe kisi baat ki saza de?" she asked.
 
"Hmm! Dekh Betiya toko samjhana mora faraz tha……lekin sun na ya na sunna tore hi haath main hai. Mose aur na hovego…….toko mahaan banna hai……banti rahiyo! Mora ka hai! Bas hum to Thakurjee eihai prathna karenge ke toko sadbudhhi de……..aur tore aane waale bache pe koi asar na ho………." Saying she turned to Devki.
 
"Main Chalti hoon Devki……." Saying, Shanti began sauntering back towards the main door.
 
Radhika inched closer to Shanti. "Maasi meri baaton ka bura mat maaniye……..main aapko……."
 
Shanti interrupted. "Bura to moko laga hai beta…..ke tune aaj apni Maasi ki jagah uss Amma ko jyaada mahatva diya! Areeh…….tu Devki ki jani na hai…..phir bhi maine kabhi toko parayi na samjha! Jis din Devki toko apni bachi maana……maine bhi toko apni bachi maan liya! Tu yeh ache se jaanti hai na? Lekin aaj uss Amma ke liye……tune mori baat kaat di!"
 
Radhika shook her head. "Na…"

"Rehne de……more man main tore liye koi khataas na hai. Tore liye agar more man se kachu niklega……to who sirf ashish (blessings) hovego……..bas yahi vinti hai Kanha se…….ke tora khayal rakhe……..chalti hoon…….Dhruv ko mora asish dena……….Radhe Radhe!" saying, she turned and moved out of the door.
 
 
Turning to Devki, "Ma…….aapne Maasi se kuch kaha kyun nahi? Who itna sab kuch keh rahi thi?" Radhika asked.
 
Devki looked away warily. "Kya kehti beta unse? Main bhi unki baaton se sehmat hoon"
 
Radhika scolwed in shock. "Ma??"
 
Coming closer, Devki held her hand lovingly. "Haan beta…….dekh Jeeji ne jo kaha who puri tarah se galat to nahi ho sakta na? Sab log kehte hain…..ke Amma par manhoosiyat……" she couldn't utter anything more.
 
"Ma……jo kehte huwe bhi aapko itni takleef ho rahi hai……use……."
 
Devki interrupted her. "Par beta…….main nahi chahti ke tere hone waale bache ko kuch ho…… main nahi chahti ke Vishaka ke saath jo huwa…….woh tere saath ho…….." tears streamed down her cheeks.
 
"Ma……Vishaka ke saath ek haadsa huwa tha……..par ab dekhiye……uski god main do nanhe bache khel rahe hain" Radhika tried bringing some optimism
 
"Who isiliye kyunki uss hadse ke baad Vishaka yahan kabhi nahi aayi!" Devki answered firmly.
 
"Ma…….aap kyun nahi samaj rahi hain…….woh sirf haadsa tha……."
 
"Jo bhi hai……….Mera andhvishwas……..darr……..ya phir haadsa…….par savdaani baratne main to koi harz nahi hai na?" Devki said and cupped her cheek. "Dekh beta……..agar tere hone waale bache ko ya tujhe kuch ho gaya na…….to hum Dev Babu aur Purohit parivaar waalon ko munh nahi dikha paayenge…….sharminda ho jaayenge unke saamne" she said somberly
 
Radhika shook her head wishing Devki didn't think all this.
 
Brushing her tears, Devki cupped Radhika's face lovingly. "Radhika beta meri baat maan le…… ab thode dino main Dev bte tujhe lene aajayenge……aur tu apne sansar main laut jaayegi……. Sirf thode dino ki to baat hai na beta……..tu yahan se chali jaa"
 
A frown filled Radhika's face in puzzle. "Jee"
 
"Haan……Purohit parivaar ka itna bada ghar hai Vrindavan main………tu wahi jaakr rehna…… wahan itne naukar hai……….tujhe bahut aaram milega…….aur main aur tere Babuji aayenge na tujhse milne………..Jab tak tu yahan hai hum tujhse  milne aaya karenge. Par tu yahan mat aa betiya…….chali jaa yahan se……." Devki pleaded with joined palms.
 
Radhika was stunned to hear this and she held her hands. "Ma aisa mat kaho………mujhe kuch nahi hoga…….log to bas yunhi……"
 
However, Devki pulled her hands away sharply interrupting Radhika. "Par kuch to sach hoga na logon ke baaton main!!!!" her voice rose by an octave in frustration – because Radhika did not understand the point!
 
Radhika fell silent and looked at her mother's suddenly angry form.
 
Turning back, Devki held her arms and shook her. "Kuch to sahi hoga na!! Meri Vishaka ke saath jo huwa…….woh main nahi rok paayi! Par main tere saath aisa nahi hone de sakti!! Ek Ma ki vyatha bhi to samaj na betiya tu!! Kyun itni mahaan ban rahi hai!! Aaj tak maine tujhe kabhi Amma se jyaada milne nahi diya……..par aaj iss halat main tu unke saamne chali gayi……tune unhe chua……..are agar…….." her words trailed off, as she felt too scared to let the consequent words out. "Tu kyun nahi samaj rahi hai…….Amma ko Thakurjee ka shrap mila hai! Shrapit hain who!! Paapin (sinner) hain!!" she shook Radhika again.
 
Radhika looked at her in bewilderment. "M…..Ma……yeh aap keh rahi hain?" she asked in astonishment.
 
Devki left her arms and turned her face away. "Haan ek Ma keh rahi hai! Tujhe agar mujhe bura samajna hai……to samaj le…….par meri baat maan le!"
 
Gulping her lump, Radhika came to face her slowly. "Ma…….nahi……aap Ma hain meri. Aap buri kaise ho sakti hain? Lekin tajub ho raha hai Ma……ke aap aise soch rahi hain? Aap? Jisne humesha mujhse kaha ke……….Bhagwan ne har insaan ko ek jaisa banaya hai…….woh to samaaj hai…….jo logon ko manhoos, abshaguni jaise naam deta hai……aap hi ne mujhe samjhaya tha Ma bachpan main. Aur aaj aap hi yeh sab keh rahi hain?" she asked, still in shock.
 
Devki glanced down. "Tab baat alag thi beta"
 
"Alag kaise thi Ma? Kaise? Nahi…..aaj bhi kisi insaan ke saath wahi ho raha hai…….jo kabhi mere saath huwa tha" Radhika turned her gaze to nothing. "Kabhi log mujhe bhi manhoos kaha karte the…….kyunki mere paida hote hi meri sagi Ma chal basi thi…….log kehte the ke maine apni ko Ma kha liya……uss umar main mujhe koste the……..jab mujhe yeh tak nahi pata tha ke manhoos shabd ka matlab kya hai. Mujhe apna bachpaan jyaada to yaad nahi……lekin uss choti si umar main…….mujhe log manhoos kehte the…….yeh baat main kabhi bhul nahi paayi…… yeh baat samay ki dhul chupa nahi paayi……..woh dard samay ka ghanv nahi bhar saka hai……" she mumbled through her thick throat while tears trickled down her eyes.
 
Devki looked at her.
 
"Ma agar us samay aapne aur Babuji ne mujhe nahi sambhala hota……to shayad main ghut ghutkar mar jaati……iss ghutan main……ke main ek abshaguni hoon…….jisne apni Ma ko maar diya" she couldn't speak anymore.
 
Quickly coming closer, Devki brushed away her tears.
 
Radhika held her hand. "Ma main jaanti hoon……ke kitna chubta hai…….jab aapko koi manhoos kehta hai…….kitna dard hota hai…….jab aapki koi galti na hote huwe bhi…… har cheez ke liye aapko zimmedar samjha jaata hai……kyunki aap ke upar manhoos hone ka naam hota hai!" she sobbed. "Who dard……asahniya (unbearable) hota hai……jab baar baar har galat cheez ke liye aap par ungli uth thi hai…….."
 
Devki shook her head and brushed away Radhika's tears but fresh tears came down nonetheless.
 
Sniffling, "Ma uss samay aapka pyaar…….Babuji ki himmat na hoti…….to shayad main uss dard se kabhi ubhar na paati……..main bikhar jaati Ma……tooth jaati" she mumbled, crying.
 
"Nahi beta……."
 
"Ma……aur aaj aap hi mujhse keh rahi hain…….ke main kisi aur insaan ke saath aisa bartav karun jaise un logon ne mere saath kiya? Agar maine aisa kiya……to mujhmain aur un logon main kya fark reh jaayega? Main to ek pal chain se bhi jee nahi paungi agar maine aisa socha bhi ke Amma…….ke wajah se mujhe ya mere bache ko kuch ho sakta hai…..kyunki Amma man…." She froze the word and gulped the lump.
 
"Ma…..main to aapke, Babuji, Dev aur unke Parivaar ke wajah se iss dard se upar uth gayi…….lekin Amma? Agar hum gharwale hi unhe iss tarah dhutkarenge……to unhe kaisa lagega? Who tooth jaayengi. Pehle hi who iss dard se guzar rahi hain……..aur ab inn baaton ko maankar……agar hum apne aapko unse dur kar denge……to unpar kya beetegi…….woh nahi seh paayengi……..nahi sahi paayengi Ma"
 
Devki closed her eyes, wondering why was Radhika so good in nature – why did she want to help the same woman who had caused her so much pain in life.
 
"Ma unhone bhale hi mujhe kabhi apni poti na maana ho…….mujhe apshabd kahe ho…..mujhe kosa ho……..lekin who hain to meri Dadima……aur logon ki baaton se unpar jo asar hoga……uss dard ka abhaas hai mujhe……..to kaise main unhe iss halat main uss dard se guzarne doon? Waise hi unke poore sharer main unhe dard hota hai………ab ab man ka dard bhi who sahe? Kyun? Nahi Ma…….main nahi dekh sakti unhe iss halat main!"
 
Devki didn't know what to say…….how to put sense in to Radhika.
 
"Ma aap hi kehti thin a bachpan main mujhse ke……..yeh manhoos, abshaguni yeh sab to ashishikta  (illiteracy) ka prabhav hai……..ke yeh sab to sirf andhvishwas hai…….Kanha sabko ek jaisa banate hain? Bola na tha Ma…….to phir aaj aap apni batayi huwi seekh mat bhulo na Ma……mujhe mat roko. Aaj kayi dino baad maine Amma ke ankhon main apne liye who nafrat nahi dekhi…….main unke liye kuch karna chahti hoon Ma…….unki seva karna chahti hoon……..unhe theek hote huwe dekhna chahti hoon……mujhe mat roko Ma" Radhika pleaded.
 
Closing her eyes, Devki shook her head wondering what she was supposed to say.
 
"Ma meri bache ki chinta mat karo……….Kanha hai na……who meri aur mere bache ki raksha karenge…….mujhe kuch nahi hoga Ma……"
 
Devki just hugged her daughter lovingly and Radhika smiled, thinking that Devki had agreed.
 
"Thakurjee…….main kaise samjhaun meri bachi ko ke……yeh mera andhvishwas nahi hai. Amma ne iske liye kabhi acha nahi socha……humesha bura sochti aayi hai….Vishaka ke saath to haadsa huwa……..par kahi Radhika ke upar Amma ka gussa……..aur use kuch……nahi Thakurjee…….meri Bachi ki raksha karna…….woh bahut achi hai…….nadaan hai….usko sambhal lena…….."Devki prayed to Lord sincerely.
 
 
 
 
 
 
In Amma's room………
 
Tears streamed down Amma's wounded cheeks as guilt stabbed hard in her gut repeatedly when Radhika's words circled through her brain.
 
"Sahi kaha aapne Maasi……who ek haadsa tha……usmain Amma ki kya galti?"
 
She couldn't believe Radhika defended her so fiercely. When everyone, including her own son and daughter –in law had given her the tag of being an ill-fated person…….this girl whom she'd always considered as an outsider……stood up for her!!
 
Blinking once, Amma let more tears wash through her face as she rewinded the entire conversation in her brain, still in disbelief.
 
"Kyunki beta…….erm……dekh……tu chahe mane ya na maane……par Vrindavan main sab eeihai kehte hain ke Amma…….par manhoosiyat ka saaya pad chukka hai!"
 
Shanti had indeed kept valid points in front Radhika – that Amma was an ill-fated woman for she was facing the wrath of the Lord and hence people were staying away from her, fearing that the Lord would punish them as well. People had labeled her as an unfortunate, wretched person and were wary in coming close to her, lest bad fortune befalls them!
 
But Radhika didn't believe her and had repeatedly vouched that all this was just superstitions
 
"Maasi yeh sab sirf andhvishwas hai……..aur kuch nahi"
 
Radhika's words however hadn't quite amazed – was she trying to be a great soul as always, Amma wondered………but why would she? Nevertheless, Shanti's following words splintered Amma's already wounded heart and she was sure, if Radhika was just faking concern then she would surely step back and become wary of being with an ill-fated person like her!
 
 
Aur tu kaahe……mor baaton andhvishwas keh rahi hai? Eei agar sirf mora bhram……mora andhvishwas hota…….to Vishaka ke saath Oo sab na hota jo huwa……..
 
Tu bhul gayi………ke tori behen ka pehla bacha…….eeihai wajah se iss duniya main na aa paaya! Are mar gaya uska bacha!
 
"More paas hai jawaab………aur wajah hai Amma ki manhoosiyat! Amma ka kaala saaya pad gaya mor Vishaka betiya par……..aur uska bacha…….." Shanti's voice trailed sadly.
 
 
Had Radhika accepted Shanti's theory and stayed away, would she be wrong? Amma wondered. No, she won't be. Afterall Radhika was pregnant and any mother wouldn't want her unborn child to be harmed. Amma was half, almost expecting Radhika to accept this logic. That would be so natural. She had never loved Radhika ever in her life…….has always taunted her, abused her……and now if Radhika had to choose between Amma and her own children, Radihka would obviously choose the safety of her kids first!
 
Shanti's truthful words that should have surely changed Radhika's mind, floated across her brain
 
"Iss samay toko sabse jyaada khayal apne aane waale bache ka hona chahiye……naaki Amma ka. Tu bhale hi mori baaton ko andhviwshas kahe…….Lekin ek Ma hone ke naate……apne bache ki fikr to hogi na toko…….to bas uss khatir hi sahi mor baaton ko maanle…..aur dur reh Amma se…….savdhani baratne main kachu burai na hai…..hum sabka man bhi halka rahego…….aur tore man main bhi sab acha acha rahego. Eei Beemar Amma ke paas rahegi……..to Thakurjee na kare tore bache ko bhi kachu ho jaaye"
 
 After all this, Radhika had no reason to stand strong for Amma and against Shanti, who was perhaps correct. Why would that girl stand for her? Amma wondered. Radhika or anyone else for the matter would never try to become a 'mahaan' by risking her own child's life.
 
But Radhika didn't move from her stand, defended Amma fiercely and her words touched Amma for the first time in her life……..!
 
lekin main itni swaarthi nahi hoon ke apne bache ke kushalta ke liye…….apni beemar Dadima ka khayal na rakhun
 
Amma's throat choked up in wonder. Did this girl actually consider her, her Dadima? Did Radhika really love her to such an extent that she was ready to risk her baby? Was her love towards Amma so strong that, she was brushing away all superstitions without once thinking that if can affect her baby?? It can affect her life? How can she? How can Radhika love her so much? Amma wondered to herself. She clearly remembered Shanti's words
 
"Dadima?? Kaun Dadima? Oo Amma? OO kabse tori Dadima ho gayi? Areeh……bachpan se lekar aajtak unhone sirf Vishaka ko apni poti maana hai……..aur tujhe to humesha ek parayi ladki samjha hai……aur eeihai nahi…….zindagi bhar toko manhoos aur abshaguni hone ka taana diya hai!! Aaj aisi aurat ke liye, jisne tose kabhi prem na kiya…….jisne toko taano ke alawa aur kachu na diya use apni Dadima maan rahi ho??
 
"Areeh shayad isi baat ka paap chada hoga Amma ko……..ke jeevan bhar ek nanhi si bachi ko
manhoos aur abshaguni kehti rahi…….aur isilye aaj sab unhi ko iss naam se bula rahe hain! Jaisi karni……waisi bharni! Hmph"
 
And Radhika's following answer to it…………
 
"Amma ne jo bhi kiya……..woh beeti baatein hain……..aaj ka sach yeh hai……ke who beemar hai aur unhe humari jaroraat hai. Itne saalon se main unke paas jaane se hichkichati (hesitate) thi……kyunki mujhe laga ke unhe mera paas aana acha na lage…….aur unki iss halat main……mera unhe aur takleef dene ka man nahi karta. Par aaj…..jab maine unhe khana khilaya…….to yeh mehsoos huwa jaise……ab Amma mujhse nafrat nahi karti hain…….jaise ab unke man main who kadvahat nahi hai. Who ab badal chuki hain. To jab who badal chuki hain…….to hum purani baaton ko yaad rakh ke kyun unhe kisi baat ki saza de?"
 
Was Radhika really so large hearted? Was Radhika really a good soul as her Son, Devki and Vishaka believed her to be? Amma wondered in amazement.
 
 She slowly shifted her teary gaze to the picture of Lord Krishna hanging in her room and kept staring at the blurry image in front of her eyes……..
 
"Areeh shayad isi baat ka paap chada hoga Amma ko……..ke jeevan bhar ek nanhi si bachi ko
manhoos aur abshaguni kehti rahi…….aur isilye aaj sab unhi ko iss naam se bula rahe hain! Jaisi karni……waisi bharni! Hmph"
 
Shanti's words flashed in her brain again…….and then kept repeatedly ringing in her brain
 
 
 
"Areeh shayad isi baat ka paap chada hoga Amma ko……..ke jeevan bhar ek nanhi si bachi ko
manhoos aur abshaguni kehti rahi…….aur isilye aaj sab unhi ko iss naam se bula rahe hain……
 
Amma's heart wrenched……..and more tears gushed down her eyes…….Shanti's words rang in her ears continuously pinching every cell of her's.
 
"Areeh shayad isi baat ka paap chada hoga Amma ko……..ke jeevan bhar ek nanhi si bachi ko
manhoos aur abshaguni kehti rahi…….aur isilye aaj sab unhi ko iss naam se bula rahe hain!
 
She heard Radhika's following words clearly again………..
 
"Kabhi log mujhe bhi manhoos kaha karte the…….kyunki mere paida hote hi meri sagi Ma chal basi thi…….log kehte the ke maine apni ko Ma kha liya……uss umar main mujhe kost the……..jab mujhe yeh tak nahi pata tha ke manhoos shabd ka matlab kya hai. Mujhe apna bachpaan jyaada to yaad nahi……lekin uss choti si umar main…….mujhe log manhoos kehte the…….yeh baat main kabhi bhul nahi paayi…… yeh baat samay ki dhul chupa nahi paayi……..woh dard samay ka ghanv nahi bhar saka hai……" she mumbled through her thick throat while tears trickled down her eyes.
 
"Ma main jaanti hoon……ke kitna chubta hai…….jab aapko koi manhoos kehta hai…….kitna dard hota hai…….jab aapki koi galti na hote huwe bhi…… har cheez ke liye aapko zimmedar samjha jaata hai……kyunki aap ke upar manhoos hone ka naam hota hai!" "Who dard……asahniya (unbearable) hota hai……jab baar baar har galat cheez ke liye aap par ungli uth thi hai…….."
 
"Ma unhone bhale hi mujhe kabhi apni poti na maana ho…….mujhe apshabd kahe ho…..mujhe kosa ho……..lekin who hain to meri Dadima……aur logon ki baaton se unpar jo asar hoga……uss dard ka abhaas hai mujhe……..to kaise main unhe iss halat main uss dard se guzarne doon? Waise hi unke poore sharer main unhe dard hota hai………ab woh man ka dard bhi who sahe? Kyun? Nahi Ma…….main nahi dekh sakti unhe iss halat main!"
 
 
Amma closed her eyes unable to bear this pain – the huge remorse that was suddenly stabbing her gut from inside was excruciating! As the words kept ringing around her brain, the guilt was filling her, drowning her and she didn't know how to free herself from this feeling that was punching her deep, although she desperately wanted to get out.
 
Had she always misunderstood Radhika and treated her badly? She mentally questioned herself
 
Yes! Her conscience now answered.
 
Was she wrong in judging Radhika for all these years? She questioned herself again. As an answer, Radhika's words automatically began ringing in her ears.
 
"Ma unhone bhale hi mujhe kabhi apni poti na maana ho…….mujhe apshabd kahe ho…..mujhe kosa ho……..lekin who hain to meri Dadima……aur logon ki baaton se unpar jo asar hoga……uss dard ka abhaas hai mujhe……..to kaise main unhe iss halat main uss dard se guzarne doon? Waise hi unke poore sharer main unhe dard hota hai………ab woh man ka dard bhi who sahe? Kyun? Nahi Ma…….main nahi dekh sakti unhe iss halat main!"
 
Amma's face crumpled in to a painful frown as a chaos spread inside her. Years of suffering hadn't pained her so much……. but this moment of guilt was excruciatingly agonizing!!
 
"Ma main jaanti hoon……ke kitna chubta hai…….jab aapko koi manhoos kehta hai…….kitna dard hota hai…….jab aapki koi galti na hote huwe bhi…… har cheez ke liye aapko zimmedar samjha jaata hai……kyunki aap ke upar manhoos hone ka naam hota hai!" "Who dard……asahniya (unbearable) hota hai……jab baar baar har galat cheez ke liye aap par ungli uth thi hai…….."
 
Radhika's words repeatedly rang in her ears, making her writhe in pain…….she wanted to scream aloud……..she wanted to close her ears to the voices that were ringing aloud and making her aware of the huge sin, she'd been commiting for so many years!!!!
 
She turned her face from one side to another, squirming in pain – not physical but the pain inside her which she couldn't define! But the pain didn't subside…..it only twinged increasingly. Her breathing went hard as she struggled, wriggled under the anguish after realization dawned upon her.
 
How wrong she'd been for all these years to consider Radhika an outsider!  Had Radhika really been an outsider, would she have done all this for Amma today? In all these bid ridden years of hers, Radhika had always behaved nicely with her……….when she could have easily thought that Amma was getting a bitter taste of her own medicine! But she didn't!!!!
 
Radhika goodness was pricking, twinging her now, because it made her feel so bad…….it made her look so cruel and selfish in her own eyes!!
 
"Ma main jaanti hoon……ke kitna chubta hai…….jab aapko koi manhoos kehta hai…….kitna dard hota hai…….jab aapki koi galti na hote huwe bhi…… har cheez ke liye aapko zimmedar samjha jaata hai……kyunki aap ke upar manhoos hone ka naam hota hai!" "Who dard…… asahniya (unbearable) hota hai……jab baar baar har galat cheez ke liye aap par ungli uth thi hai…….."
 
Amma cried in pain mutely, reminiscing these words…….and then all those moments when she'd abused Radhika came in front of her. How heartlessly she had hit the small girl whom her son had brought in……..how she had behaved coldly when the girl came in thinking that she would love her as a grandmother…….how unkindly she had abused the little girl with words like 'manhoos' 'abshaguni' 'kalankini' and drove the little girl to tears. How she had locked the small innocent girl inside rooms for simple mistakes……how mercilessly she had slapped and smacked the young girl for every single wrong thing that happened in the house………how ruthelessly she had wanted to snatch the biggest happiness from the girl's life…….how she had used every trick in the book to stop the girl's wedding……..how she'd tried to spoil her entire life!!!!!!!
 
Her conscience berated her, despised her…….scorned her for being such a bad human!  Yes, indeed she had been very cruel to a small girl……she was indeed very bad.
 
Clenching her jaws, Amma sobbed for having committed such a sin……only because of her arrogance!
 
Just then………Little Radhika's smiling face floated in front of her teary eyes. She was beautiful, had a sweet smile and a cute nose, her eyes were sparkling blue and skin was rose. Little Radhika ran around in the house like a butterfly spreading happiness and joy everywhere……..chirping and singing.
 
Why didn't she ever notice that the girl had such innocent eyes? Amma wondered. Why didn't she ever see that the girl was so nave and lovely? Why??
 
As she kept questioning herself repeatedly, tears streamed down her cheeks.
 
At that moment, an instance from the past came flashed in her brain…….
 
"Amma……main aapke pair daba doon……aapko aaram milega" little Radhika said in her sweet, childish voice.
 
Amma looked at her in despise. "Kahe!! Tu kahe mora pair dabavegi!!? Tori to icha hogi na ke tu mora gala daba de! Taake main mar jaaun!" she shouted
 
Little Radhika was reduced to tears. "A….a….ap aisa k…k…yun kehti hain Amma………"
 
Holding her little arms, "Areeh! Manhoos……toko kisne kaha eeihan aane ko!! Sagri museebat ki jad tu hi to hai na abshaguni……..jab se iss ghar main aayi hai……..sagra kaam bigad diyo hai janamjali ne…….." Amma pushed little Radhika out of the room.
 
"Ab jaa eeihan se……..aur dobara mor kamre main aayi na……..to taange tod doongi tori!!" Amma warned coldly.
 
Little Radhika sobbed with tears flowing from eyes uncontrollably.
 
 
Amma's heart wrenched in pain as she reminisced the moment. How brutal she'd been then to the little girl!
 
 
"More paas hai jawaab………aur wajah hai Amma ki manhoosiyat! Amma ka kaala saaya pad gaya mor Vishaka betiya par……..aur uska bacha…….." Shanti's voice trailed sadly.
 
Tu bhul gayi………ke tori behen ka pehla bacha…….eeihai wajah se iss duniya main na aa paaya! Are mar gaya uska bacha!
 
Shanti's scornful words again flashed across her mind and stung her heart badly. How painful it was for her to hear that she was assumed the reason behind Vishaka's miscarriage? Would she ever want that her Vishaka should suffer? Never, ever!
 
But then if it is so hurting for her to hear everyone calling her such names, and pointing her to be a reason for every bad thing……..how would have the little Radhika felt when she'd called her such names? Amma wondered solemnly. How much the little girl would have felt bad, how much it would have hurt her? If it was so unbearable for her…….how the little girl would have suffered and coped up with all those years of abuses???
 
Amma's heart ripped in to several pieces as she now understood the agony that Radhika must have gone throughout her life…….only because of Amma! How the little girl must have cried, and struggled to come to terms with Amma calling her such names and pushing her to corner!
 
"Areeh shayad isi baat ka paap chada hoga Amma ko……..ke jeevan bhar ek nanhi si bachi ko
manhoos aur abshaguni kehti rahi…….aur isilye aaj sab unhi ko iss naam se bula rahe hain! Jaisi karni……waisi bharni! Hmph"
 
Shanti's disdainful remark was true, Amma realized. Probably she was suffering all these years as a punishment…….for behaving so cruelly with an innocent small girl……for abusing a girl and trying to snatch her happiness in the name of being wise when all she had was arrogance and selfishness!
 
Turning her gaze to Kanha's picture, she pleaded forgiveness through her gaze. "Moko Maaf kardeejyo Thakurjee…….moko apni galati ka ehsaas ho gayo hai…….mose bahut badi bhul ho gayi Thakurjee……..uss bachi ko samajne main…….bahut badi galti ho gayi Thakurjee!!!!!" she cried mutely.
 
"Humne apne ahankar (false pride) main use itna kuch kaha zindagi bhar……apne ahankar main dubkar…….uss bachi ko bina kisi wajah kosti rahi……..par aaj…….aaj Oohi bachi……sagre jag ke saamne…….more liye khadi huwi Thakurjee. Aaj sab sab log moko manhoos samaj rahe hain………to wahi bachi…….mora saath de rahi hai Thakurjee……..wahi bachi mora saath de rahi hai"
 
Sniffling, she shook her head in distress feeling miserable that it took her so long to understand Radhika.
 
"Hum humesha sochti rahi ke Oo chori……iss ghar ka bura chahti rahi…..humesha sochat rahi ke OO chori more parivaar ki khushiyan cheena chahti thi……par us bachi ne to humesha more parivaar ka…….mor apno ka bhala socha tha…….eei sab moko na dikha Thakurjee!! Na dikha moko!! Aaj jab mujh jaise log……aakar taana kas rahe……to wahi chori more waste khadi ho gayi……..kaise Thakurjee…….kaisen galat samaj liyo humne uss chori ko…….itni bhali bachi ko kaisen hum na samaj paaye?? Kaisen?" she sobbed.
 
 
"Moko samaj main aa gaya Thakurjee ke kaahe hum itne saalon se iss bistar pe pade reh rahe hain!! Oo aapki sachi bhakt thi Thakurjee…….par humne uski bhakti poar humesha shak kiyo……lekin aaj aapne moko dikha diyo……..ke Oo chori aapki sachi bhakt hai…….aur hum……..hum to sirf ek paapin (sinner) hain! Moko samaj main aa gayo ke kaahe aapne moko itni badi saza di……..kyunki humne uss bachi par jeevan bhar zulm kiye……Ooka vivah rukwayeke khatir uski zindagi barbad karni chaahi…….eeihai ke waste na Thakurjee moko aapne saza di?? Eeihai ke waste na……….hum samaj gaye…….moko maaf kar deejyo……mujh paapin ko maaf kardeejyo Thakurjee…….!!!!!" Amma cried, pleading forgiveness for misunderstanding Kaha's devotee
 
"Moko maaf kardeejyo Thakurjee!!" repeating mentally, she closed her eyes and kept mumbling the words in her mind again and again and again!
 
A moment or so later………
 
"Sirf Thakurjee se maafi maange se kya hoga?" a voice that closely resembled her's, asked.
 
Amma opened her eyes and to her amazement saw her own reflection in front of her. The reflection had normal skin and face, and it looked exactly like she'd been years before.
 
"Sirf Thakurjee se maangi maangna hai ka toko?" the reflection asked, smiling.
 
Amma blinked in confusion.
 
"Radhika se na maangno hai maafi?" the reflection asked.
 
Amma pondered at this.
 
"Ka soch rahi ho? Jiske saath tune itne baras anyay kiya…….us se maafi nahi maangni toko? Areeh jab tak oo bachi toko maaf na kar deti…….bhagwan bhi toko maaf na karenge…….." saying, the reflection disappeared……..leaving Amma stumped.
 
Where did she go, Amma wondered in haze.
 
But then the reflection's words circled in her mind.
 
"Ka soch rahi ho? Jiske saath tune itne baras anyay kiya…….us se maafi nahi maangni toko?
 
Yes, she had to beg forgiveness from Radhika……..she had to. She cannot live with the burden of this guilt! She had to……..somehow she had to!
 
But how can she ask for forgiveness when her entire body was inactive and she cant speak. How was she supposed to ask forgiveness?
 
Turning her face to Kanha's picture, she beseeched the Lord to cure her for some moments, so that she can ask for forgiveness from Radhika…..so that she can get rid of this guilt from her mind.
 
"Moko bas thodi der ke liye theek kar deejyo………ooke baad…….agar maut bhi aa gayi….. tum hum kachu na kahenge Thakurjee….." She begged, crying………….
 
 
 
 
 
Time began flying quick. Radhika's visits to Amma increased – she would come in to feed her, apply the ayurvedic medicines, to give her usual medicine…….and all this would only make Amma feel more remorseful.
 
Amma would feel pathetic on seeing Radhika taking so much care of her……despite her having treated the girl so badly. It was as if, Radhika had no qualms of the past and was happy in serving her. Everytime Amma thought of Radhika's goodness, guilt stabbed badly in her gut and the pain spread through her veins making her want to scream out aloud. But she couldn't!
 
Amma's eyes unknowingly began adoring Radhika whenever she would come in……and would talk so uninhibitedly while feeding or tending to her wounds. Amma would rarely feel the pain, as all her eyes noticed was……the beautiful, innocent girl in Radhika.
 
However with every passing moment, she became desperate to ask forgiveness from her. She tried hard……….harder but nothing happened. She couldn't even move a limb or utter a single word……..and she would end up imploring the Lord to cure her just for some moments!
 
Radhika did notice Amma's struggle to speak or move when she was close by and felt happy that Amma was trying. But at the same time, she couldn't understand what Amma was trying to say so desperately……
 
"Amma……aap chinta mat keejye…….thode dino main bilkul theek ho jaayengi" Radhika would mumble to infuse confidence in Amma.
 
But Amma would still keep struggling hard, much to Radhika's puzzlement. 
 
 
Sometimes Dhruv also joined Radhika and would launch in to his cute, childish stories for entertaining Amma. Although Radhika disapproved this at first, fearing that Amma might not like it and would feel stressed……….but when Dhruv gleefully pointed that Amma was smiling to his talks……this changed Radhika's mind and she let Dhruv amuse Amma with his childish innocence; anything for a small smile from Amma.
 
Shastrijee and Devki were wary of this closeness and they kept an eye on them always for caution. Radhika, meanwhile, told Dev everything about how Amma was happy and didn't have the scornful look in her eyes anymore. Dev was happy because his Radhika was happy there and he wished that Amma would soon realize how nice a person Radhika was!
 
 
4 days passed swiftly and soon Sunday came up. Radhika got freshened up quickly for going to the temple…….but before leaving, she decided to call Dev and ask him as to when is he coming?
 
"Haan main bas abhi Mumbai airport ke liye jaa raha hoon……..I will reach there in 4 hours" he informed.
 
Radhika smiled. "Jee……main aapka intezaar karungi……."
 
Dev too smiled. "Hmm……..lekin mujhse to intezaar bhi nahi ho raha hai…….apni patni ko itne dino se dekha jo nahi!"
 
"Ab to milenge na……chaliye…….aap phone rakhiye……aur jaldi aajaiyie……."
 
"Uddke aajaun tumhare paas……..2 minute main?"  he asked sweetly..
 
Radhika giggled, letting her hands brush the small flowers in the backyard. "Hmm…..theek hai udd ke aajaiye mere paas…….sirf 2 minute main……."
 
Dev laughed. "Chalo…….main rakhta hoon……."
 
"Jee dhyaan se aaiyega…….." mumbling, she hung the phone and smiled, unable to control herself. It had been an entire week……and she was aching to meet him now.
 
"2 minute main aayenge…….." she chuckled to herself, shaking her head. However, deep inside she wished he could come in 2 minutes because waiting for 4 hours seemed too long! Yet, she knew it can't happen!
 
 
Suddenly a pair of strong arms came around her, caging her tightly.
 
Radhika gasped in shock, her heart jumped in to throat……and she was about to shout when she realized that the touch wasn't new…….rather familiar the touch was of someone whom she loved the most!
 
She glanced down at the hands wrapping her tummy and a huge smile flashed on her face, as her doubts were confirmed entirely. Quickly spinning, she found Dev's loving, handsome face in front of her eyes……..and her eyes gleamed in joy.
 
"Aap!!!?" she asked in surprise.
 
"Hmm. Good Morning Surprise……." He said lovingly.
 
She giggled sweetly and then hugged him tight. "Aap itni jaldi?"
 
"Tumne kaha na……2 minute main aajao…….to main aagaya" he said.
 
Inching back, she twitched her lips. "Sach boliye na…..aap itne subah subah yahan kaise?"
 
He grinned. "Areeh main to kal hi late night flight se Delhi aagaya tha……..lekin jab tak Vrindavan pahuncha  bahut raat ho gayi thi…….isiliye tum sabko disturb nahi karna chahta tha……aur phir socha ke subah subah apni pyaari patni ko jaakar surprise de doon"
 
Radhika smiled and hugged him again.
 
He wrapped his hands around her waist lovingly. "Mujhse to ek pal bhi nahi raha jaa raha tha. Kal Office ke baad sabse pehli flight pakadke aagaya……."
 
"To iska matlab aap puri raat soye nahi?" she asked somberly, feeling bad that he didn't sleep.
 
"Are neend kise aa rahi thi. Aur waise bhi…….pichle ek hafte se aapke bina wahan mujhe neend hi nahi aa rahi thi……." He said solemnly.
 
She looked at him with the same glum expression. "Mujhe bhi…….ab main aapse kabhi nahi kahungi ke mujhe yahan akela chod aap chale jaayen……aap yahan rukenge to hi main bhi rukoongi"
 
Grinning, he framed her cheek "Hmm….." and kissed her forehead.
 
She smiled as the blush colored her cheek again after a long time.
 
"Waise……maine ek aur cheez bahut jyaada miss kiya"
 
"Kya?"
 
"Good Morning kiss" he replied naughtily.
 
She blushed harder and looked away.
 
"Chalo na…….yahan koi nahi hai……mujhe kiss do……."
 
Her eyes grew wide in shock. "yahan? Koi bhi aa sakta hai!"
 
"Are 1 minute ko to baat hai" he began inching closer
 
But she moved back. "no way! Abhi nahi"
 
"Radhika its been 1 week! Please….."
 
Radhika remained firm. "No means No!"
 
"Ek chota sa? Please?" he pleaded cutely.
 
"Erm…….par….." she didn't know how to make him understand
 
He placed his index finger on her lips "Shh…….." and then his lips covered her's.
 
Momentarily they forgot everything and let themselves be absorbed in the sweet kiss.
 
Dev released her in few seconds and she looked down blushing.
 
"Baaki ka……..Mumbai jaake……" he mumbled
 
She hit his arm lightly.
 
"Radhika!!!!" Shastrijee's voice floated to them, stumping them……and they quickly stepped back from each other's arms.
 
"Radh……" Shastrijee's voice froze on finding Dev standing in the backyard along with a visibly blushing Radhika. "are…….Dev beta aap? Aap kab aaye?" he asked, surprised
 
Dev smiled and went to touch his feet. "Bas abhi abhi aaya Babuji……"
 
Shastrijee smiled and looked at Radhika, who was still trying to hide her blush. He smiled inwardly…….for his daughter was being so happy in her world.
 
"Lekin beta itni subah subah?"
 
"Batata hoon Babuji…..aap mandir jaa rahe honge na…….main bhi chalta hoon…..chalte chalet batata hoon" Dev suggested.
 
Shastrijee smiled. "Theek hai……..Chal Radhika……"
 
They all sauntered towards the gate…………
 
 
The day passed quickly with fun, chatter and enjoyment……and soon it was time for Dev, Radhika and Dhruv to leave.
 
"Acha Amma main chalti hoon" Radhika came in to take Amma's blessings.
 
Hearing this Amma was stunned – she didn't know Radhika would leave so soon! Her apology was still remaining.
 
Dhruv and Dev too took her blessings.
 
"Acha Amma main chalta hoon………agle saal aaunga aur aapse phir dher saari baatein karunga" Dhruv said cutely.
 
This brought a smile on Amma's face automatically…….and she inwardly wished they could stay back some more time.
 
"Apna dhyaan rakhiyega Amma" Dev said and turned to Radhika. "Chale?"
 
"Jee?" Radhika smiled and looked at Amma with the same sweet smile.
 
Amma's heart wrenched. No, she had to stop Radhika and apologize. But how can she do so because he body was chained up! How?
 
She knew Radhika comes here every year……..but with the pain in her body becoming unbearable with every passing second, she wasn't sure if she would survive until the next year!
 
And she didn't want to die before apologizing for her sins to Radhika…….if she didn't her soul would never rest in peace. She had to beg for forgiveness.
 
Radhika and others sauntered out of the room and paused near the door, discussing something.
 
Amma tried moving her vegetable like body but she couldn't. She struggled hard…….harder to move her limbs or to utter something…….yet she couldn't.
 
Radhika smiled and moved a step away…….and Amma's eyes beseeched her to stop. But since none of them were facing her, they couldn't see her struggling hard.
 
Amma shook her head, pleading Radhika to stop. "Ruk jaa Radhika……..Ruk jaa!!!"
 
Her face crumpled in a frown as her struggle for movements was making her wounded body, hurt a lot – yet she didn't mind because the burden of remaining with guilt would be too painful to her. If she couldn't apologize to her today, she won't be able to breathe in peace as the remorse would keep stabbing her hard every moment!! She had to apologize to Radhika today…..at this moment!!!! Strenghtening her mind, she kept trying to call out Radhika's name……but everything was going in vain.
 
She saw Dev, Radhika and others were laughing at some joke of Dhruv. Shastrijee was gifting Dhruv some chocolate and Devki was smiling at this.
 
Tears of excruciating pain rolled down Amma's cheek…….as she tried hard to get some voice out of her throat – her throat was hurting bad. With open mouth, she kept trying to utter something……however nothing happened……no one even looked at her.
 
Breathing hard, she turned her teary gaze to the picture of Lord. "Kanha…….moko aaj usse maafi maangni hai Thakurjee…….use rok lo…….Uss chori ne moko itna prem diyo hai Thakurjee……uss prem par mora koi adhikar na hai…...hum uske layak na hai…… phir bhi uss bachi ne moko prem diyo, mora khayal rakha Thakurjee……moko us se maafi maangni hai…… apne apradhon ka prayschit karna hai bhagwan…….warna hum jeete jee mar jaavengi uss apradhbod (guilt) ke neeche…….moko us se maafi maangni hai bhagwan……..moko bas thodi der ke liye theek kar do…….woh chali na jaaye……..uske baad moko apne paas bhi bula loge to moko koi dukh na hovego…….par moko bas kuch kshan ke liye theek kar do bhagwan…….."
 
 
Radhika and others started walking towards the main door.
 
"Hmm…..agle saal Dhruv ko jyaada din rukna hoga" Shastrijee said.
 
Dhruv agreed instantly. "Okay Nanuu!!"
 
Amma jerked her head on hearing their voices and found them walking away. She began trying harder to move, to speak something. Her irises began dilating and the images of everyone started blurring, her dry throat choked up……while her breaths seemed to have stuck, making her feel suffocated. Yet she didn't give up trying.
 
Others almost reached the main door.
 
"Acha Babuji hum chalte hain……" Dev said.
 
Hearing this Amma began trying harder……the body didn't have any energy but still she kept trying……fighting with every ounce of strength she had in herself……….
 
But none of her efforts seemed to be working.
 
She didn't give up because she had to apologize to Radhika, or else she won't be able to forgive her own self. Reminding this herself repeatedly, Amma fought harder, struggled desperately. She felt choked up…..as if she was almost dying……but she didn't give up……kept trying…….. trying harder…….
 
"R…..RADHHH…….." a sound came out and Amma's body thudded on the floor.
 
Hearing this sudden noise from Amma's room, everyone shared a worried glance and they all rushed inside to her room.
 
On reaching her room, they found Amma lying on the ground mumbling something.
 
"Amma!!!" Radhika rushed in first, followed by Dev and others. Devki kept the kid outside.
 
Amma heard Radhika's voice and tried craning her neck up. She saw Radhika rushing closer and paused near her head.
 
Radhika was about to kneel down, but before she could Amma's hand held her feet…..leaving Radhika stumped!
 
"M……..mo……mo……..moko……..mm……maaa…………maaf……..ka…….kar…….de……Rad…….hi…ka" Amma said with much effort and pressed her head to Radhika's feet.
 
Hearing this, Radhika came out of her temporary shock and her hands flew to her mouth. "Amma……? Yeh?" She was shocked to see Amma pressing her head on her feet, holding them.
 
"Ma…..maf" Amma mumbled, pressing her head over 
 
Radhika shook her head gesturing that Amma should not touch her feet and bent down to release her feet. "nahi……..Amma……yeh kya aap kya kar rahi hain?" she asked, unable to make sense of her words.
 
Amma craned her neck up, crying. "Mo…..ko……maaf……..k….kar…..de……"
 
Kneeling down, Radhika shook her head. "N….nahi Amma……aap mere pair mat chuiye…….."
 
Dev shared a glance with Shastrijee and they both helped Amma to get back on the bed again.
 
As she was laid back on the bed, Amma's gaze searched for Radhika again. "Maa…..f…… kar….de"
 
Radhika sat beside, distressed. "Amma yeh sab aap kya keh rahi hain……kyun tak……" suddenly her voice paused as she realized Amma was actually talking! Her eyes grew in joy. "Amma! Aap bol salti hain! Aapne haath bhi hilaya………." She quickly turned to others. "Babuji Amma bol sakti hain……."
 
Shastrijee couldn't help a smile coming on his face – howmuchever he despised her actions, yet he couldn't ignore that Amma was his mother!
 
Radhika turned and repeated the words joyously to Dev, who inturn nodded and grinned along with her.
 
"Amma……mujhe poora bharosa tha ke kanha aapko jaldi theek kardenge…….." Radhika said, happily joining her palms in reverence.
 
Amma was feeling little suffocated and on noticing this Radhika quickly gave her some water. "Aaram se Amma……lekin aap yeh sab keh rahi thi……aur aap neeche kaise gir gayi?"
 
Taking some deep breaths, Amma tried speaking again but her throat was burning like anything.
 
"M….mo…..moko…….ma……maafi……." Amma managed somehow.
 
Comprehending her words finally, "Amma kya ho gaya hai aapko……..aap kyun maafi mang rahi hain?" Radhika said, caressing her forehead softly.
 
"M…..moko……maaf……karde…….."
 
Radhika shook her head. "Bas Amma aapko jyaada baat nahi karna chahiye. Aapko takleef hogi"
 
"Maa…..fi…." Amma said with much difficulty.
 
"Kis ke liye maafi maang rahi hai aap Amma?" Radhika asked.
 
Amma's tears kept trickling down her bruised cheeks. "T….to….re……saath……jo…… jeevan …..b…..bhar…….kasht diyo…….ooke……liye" she mumbled.
 
Radhika's brows puckered wondering why was Amma apologizing suddenly? "Amma lekin……"
 
"Mo……ko……pata hai…..ke hum……humari galtiyan……maa……fi ke…..laayk nahi…… hai……..phir bhi…….jab tak…..hum……..tose……maa…..fi nahi maangte….. moko…..chain ……na…….avego……."
 
Shastrijee and Devki shared a glance.
 
Radhika felt sad seeing Amma trying so hard; she didn't need any apology from Amma for past events….."Amma aap beeti baaton ko rehne deejye……aaj aap theek ho rahi hain……mere liye itna hi kaafi hai……..mujhe aapse koi shikayat nahi hai"
 
Dev kept looking at Radhika as she said those words; indeed his Radhika had a very big heart to have pardoned a person like Amma, who'd tortured her throughout her life, so easily.
 
"Na…..moko……bhagwan…..se……eeihai waste……..saza mili…….eei beemari…..kyunki….. humne toko……..zindagi……..bhr……..kosa…….toko samaj nahi paaye…….toko……bura….. bhala…….kehte rahe……."
 
Radhika smiled. "Nahi Amma…..mere Kanha itne nirday (heartless) nahi hai ke who aapko iss kism ki saza denge…….aap to ab theek ho rahi hain……..yeh bhi to Kanha ki hi kripa hai. Main nahi samajti Amma ke aapki galatiyan……aisi saza ke layak hain……."
 
Amma's throat choked on hearing this; even after all the atrocities done by her, this girl was ready to forgive her in a minute.
 
"Na…..na……moko……to……ise…..bhi badi saza…….milweka chahiye. Mose bahut…… bade……apradha huwo hai……maine toko……bachpan ke uss…….choti umar….main kosa…. Toko maara……tori khus……khushi cheen….na chahti thi……"
 
Radhika just shook her head, gesturing that no apologies were needed.
 
"Yahan tak ke……..to……tora vivah rokne ke liye……toko maarne ki…….koshish ki……."
 
This left Radhika stumped and Dev aghast!
 
"Oo ubalta……huwa dhood…….tope……phek……tori shaadi…….rukwana…….chahti thi…. Toko…..jalana chahti……..rahi…….." Amma managed.
 
Radhika was horrified to hear this, so was Dev. His teeth gritted while fists clenched in anger! Amma had tried to burn Radhika!?? She had tried to kill Radhika…….merely to stop their wedding!!!!
 
Aghast, he glanced up at Shastrijee and Devki. But to his astonishment found them, hanging their heads low, as if in shame. His eyes grew wide wondering if they already knew it. Probably they did!!
 
"moo……ko………maafi………" Amma gulped, but it scratched her throat.
 
Radhika didn't know how to react after learning that Amma had tried to kill her…..had tried to burn her. She was shocked, too horrified.
 
"Maaf…..na…..kar…..paavegi………tu……moko…..pata hai…...hum…..maafi……layak nahi…..moko…….maaf mat……..karna……..moko…….bas…….tose…….maafi maangni thi…….ab……..tu chali……jaa……..more paas…….mat  aana kabhi……..hum……..ko…… bhagwan……..ka shrap milo hai……….topar……atchyachar…….karne ke liye…….tujh…… jaise……paavan……..ladki…….ka…….more……paas……..rehn…….theek……na hai" she mumbled, crying.
 
Seeing Amma's condition, Radhika heart melted and she took a deep breath. "Amma……uss samay jo huwa so huwa……..tab Kanha ne meri raksha kar li. Main yeh samajti hoon ke….. Kahna ne aapke haathon ek bahut bada apradh hone se rok diya……."
 
Dev just looked on.
 
Radhika brushed away her tears and looked at Amma. "aur Amma……jab insaan sache man se prayschit karta hai……..jab sache prayschit main insaan ke aankhon se aansu aate hain…..tab to Bhagwan ka man bhi pigal jaata hai……bhagwan bhi sache man se prayshit karne waale ko maaf dete hain……..main to keval ek insaan hoon……."
 
Amma stared at Radhika in wonderment……thinking how big her heart was to forgive Amma even after knowing all the truths.
 
"Jo baatein beet gayi…….woh beet gayi. Aapko apni galatiyon ka ehsaas ho gaya mere liye wahi kaafi hai. Itne saal Kanha ne aapko iss tarah……lekin abhi ab bol paa rahi hain…….aapke sharer main harkat ho rahi hai……..aur iska matlab yahi hai……ke shayad ab Kanha bhi aapko maaf karna chahte hain…….to jab Kanha ne aapko maaf kardiya…….main kyun aapse naaraz rahungi?" Radhika said tenderly.
 
Amma couldn't help a smile on hearing all this.
 
"Radhia…….abhagan tu na……hum thi…….jo……..itne…….saal……toko samaj…..naa paayi……….tore dard……ko samaj na…….paayi…….par…….ab……..jab……mopar……oo sab…….beeti……….to moko……..samaj main……..aayo……..lekin……..mopar………jab ……ungli……..uthi………tune mora saath……..diya………abhagan tu na……hum hai……. Jo tore jaise………..heere…….ko pathar samajt rahi………." Mumbling she glanced at Shastrijee "tu sahi……..kehta hai…….lallan…….mose…….glati huwi…….eei bachi…..to heera hai…… eeika dil………bahut……..bada hai……..abhagan hum hai……..jo eeiko…….poti ka……prem …….na de……..paave…….."
 
Shastrijee closed his eyes and sighed, letting tears roll down his eyes – finally Amma realized her mistake.
 
"Haan Amma……..Radhika to humesha heera thi…….aapne hi ise samajne main bhul ki. Aur shayad isiliye aapko saza bhi mili…….." he said.
 
Amma nodded. "Moko pata hai………ab……lekin……hum……..sukoon……..se mar…… pavengi……"
 
"Aap aisa kyun keh rahi hain? Aap kuch nahi hoga" Radhika said hurriedly.
 
"Bas……mori ek…….aur icha…….hai……..Radhik" Amma mumbled with much effort.
 
"Kya?" Radhika asked warmly.
 
"Ek…….ek……baar……..moko…….tere muh…….se………moko…….Dadima……kehte huwe…….sun na hai…………bas ek baar" Amma pleaded.
 
Radhika's eyes filled with tears of joy while her throat felt choked. She had never thought that someday Amma would finally accept her as granddaughter. But today she did!
 
"Ek…..baar…….betiya……."
 
Dev's anger melted on seeing Radhika's tears of joy and he didn't wish to interrupt this moment.
 
"D…….Da…..Dadima……." Radhika mumbled, as tears gushed down her cheeks. "Dadima……."
 
"ek aur baar……." Amma requested.
 
A teary smile came on Radhika's face as she finally got a grandmother in Amma. "Dadima……. Dadima"
 

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Posted: 29 September 2011 at 2:32pm | IP Logged

Part 86 
 
6 months later…………….
 
Dev and Radhika were getting ready for the naming ceremony of their one month old baby girl. He was done wearing his dhoti properly and was about to pick his kurta lying on the bed, when he saw Radhima struggling to hook the necklace. Letting the kurta be, he He came closer and paused behind Radhika.
 
She glanced up in the mirror, pausing in her struggle, and arched her brows.
 
He grinned, adoring her beautiful face.
 
"Kya huwa?"
 
"Kuch bhi to nahi" he answered, still gazing at her lovingly.
 
"Tayar nahi hona hai kya aapko?" she asked, shifting her attention back to the hook.
 
He didn't answer just touched his fingers to her's that were busy in trying to fasten the hook.
 
She glanced up in the mirror again.
 
"Main karta hoon….." he said sweetly..
 
Smiling, she let him do it and eased her fingers away. "Pata nahi kyun yeh hook lag hi nahi raha"
 
He leaned his head closer and began fastening the hook. "Shayad isiliye kyunki yeh necklace chahta hai ke main tumhe ise pehnaun…….."
 
This brought a smile on her face.
 
"Lo ho gaya……." He said and pressed a small kiss on her earlobe that made her shiver lightly.
 
"Kya kar rahe hain"
 
"Pyaar……" he murmured on her ear and pressed another kiss underneath her lobe.
 
She drew a tight breath and inched away reluctantly. "abhi nahi…….."
 
He held her arms. "Kyun?"
 
Just then some cute moaning noises came in…….and Radhika giggled. "Suna aapne kyun?"
 
He sighed and turned around towards the bed, where his little daughter was pushing her tiny hands and legs aimlessly, staring towards them.
 
"Jaaiye…….bula rahi hai aapko…….ab to aapki zindagi main sabse pyaari wahi hogi na" Radhika muttered slowly..
 
"Kisne kaha?" he looked at her. "Sabse pyaari to tum hi rahogi……." He touched her chin. "Agar meri Radhika itni pyaari nahi hoti…….to meri choti Radhika……itni pyaari kaise hoti?"
 
"Bas bas……..bahut romance ho gaya……bachi kya sochegi…….aur waise bhi hume der ho rahi hai……isiliye jaaiye……..aur kurta peheniye……." Saying, she pushed him away.
 
He came back cutely, but she pushed him away again. "jaaiye na please!!"
 
"Okay okay baba……." Saying, he sauntered back towards the bed and bent down to pick his kurta.
 
When he bent down his sacred thread (janeyu) hung loosely across his chest………and his little angel, fascinatedly cluctched on to it quick.
 
Seeing this, Dev held the little one's tiny hand and kissed it. The baby smiled at him cutely and he leaned down to press a kiss on her face.
 
"Kya huwa? Papa ko tayar nahi hone dogi?" he asked cutely to the kid.
 
His little girl smiled and held his sacred thread with both hands and began playing; she was completely absorbed in to it.
 
Seating on the bed, he picked the baby in his arms and pressed another kiss on her cheek which made the baby moan a little as his stubbled tickled her.
 
"Chubta hai na……." he asked cutely and again pressed a kiss on her teeny nose.
 
The baby girl now flashed a very cute smile at him.
 
"Papa ko kissie? Hmm?" saying, he brought the baby's lips to his cheek. "Haanh……..Good Girl…….Papa ki good girl" he rocked along with the baby.
 
Radhika turned around, fastening her earing and found Dev to have again immersed himself in playing with his daughter – this was a usual scenario because Dev was too much fond of their newborn and never kept a track of time when he was with the baby.
 
She began walking to them. "Kya aap bachi ke saath khelne lag gaye? Chaliye uthiye tayar hoiye…….baal bhi nahi banaye aapne ab tak!"
 
"Are dekho na…….yahi rok rahi hai mujhe…….baar baar……." He said pointing towards the baby's hands that were still clutching his sacred thread.
 
Radhika sighed and leaned down to uncurl the baby's tiny fingers around his thread. The baby moaned, feeling unhappy that her thing of fascination was being pulled away.
 
Seeing this, "Radhika rehne do na……khelne do……." Dev said quickly.
 
"Aur aap tayar kaise honge……." She asked, and pulled the baby in to her arms.
 
"Are par…….use acha nahi lagega…….." he came up and caressed his daughter's small head, filled with tiny brown smooth hairs
 
"Aap uski fikr na karen……..main hoon na………aap jaaiye aur tayar hoiye……" she ordered cutely.
 
Meanwhile the baby found Radhika's necklace to play with and was happy in her world. Dev saw this and kissed her head.
 
"Mummy ke paas gayi……..to Papa ko bhul gayi? Dekh lunga tujhe main" muttering sweetly, he went across to pick his kurta.
 
Just then there was a knock on the door.
 
"Radhika dekho kaun hai" Dev said, pushing the kurta down his neck.
 
"jee……" Radhika ambled across to the door and opened it.
 
It was Mrinalini. "Ready?" she asked.
 
"Haan Bhabhi bas……yeh tayar ho jaayen phir chalte hain"
 
Mrinalini's brows arched. "What! Tum tayar ho aur Dev nahi? Usually girls ko taunt karte the na……ke hum jaldi tayar nahi hote?"
 
"Bhabhi……main apni bachi ke saath khel raha tha……isiliye der ho gayi mujhe. Aapke jaise nahi……mirror ke saamne ghanto baitha rehta……….." Dev snapped back from his place, combing his hairs.
 
"Whatever!" Mrinalini shrugged and then glanced at the baby in Radhika's hand. "Awww! Meri pyaari gudiya……..to tayar ho gayi…….pink pink dress main…….."
 
The baby smiled at her.
 
Mrinalini came closer and nuzzled her cheek and the baby felt ticklish.
 
At that moment, Vaishali came there. "tayr ho gaye? Aur Mrinalini Dadima kabse bula rahi hai tumhe……..woh puja ki samagri ke baare main pooch rahi hai!"
 
Mrinalini hit her head remembering. "Oh haan…….main abhi gayi……." Saying she rushed.
 
Vaishali shook her head, smiling and turned her attention to Radhika. "Acha tum dono jaldi tayar hoke aajao……….Panditjee bas aane hi waale hain" saying, she tapped the baby's cheek once and then walked towards the stairs.
 
Radhika turned towards Dev. "Tayo ho gaye?"
 
"Haan……chalen neeche?"
 
"Jee……" she smiled.
 
"Are ek minute ruko……."
 
"Kya huwa?" she stopped.
 
Coming closer, he circled the pallu around her head.
 
"Oh. Main to bhul hi gayi……."
 
"Par main nahi bhula" he said patting her cheek cutely.  "Ab chalo…….."
 
"Haan….."
 
Dev put an arm around her and let her out of the room.
 
As they walked across the hallway towards the stairs, they noticed the teeming crowd, the family members going from one place to another for arraging things, children running and playing making loud noises…….the aroma of the flowers that spread across the house, the beautiful decorations that were adorning every single wall.
 
"Hmm……bas mujhse aur raha nahi jaa raha hai……main apni bachi ko uss naam se bulane ke liye tadap raha hoon……." Dev mumbled, leaning down.
 
'To bula leejye……kisne roka hai? Dhruv bhi tadap raha hai waise. Lekin mujhe ek baat samaj main nahi aayi…….aap baap – bte ne ek hi naam kaise soch liya?" she asked, still amazed.
 
"Ab mera beta hai……mere jaise hi sochega na?" he winked.
 
She just smiled.
 
Just then Dadima called them to hurry down……….
 
"Dev……..Radhika dekho to Shastrijee aur unka parivaar aa gaya hai……"
 
Hearing this instantly Radhika's gaze flitted up to find the Shastri's coming in. She shared a joyous glance with Dev and they walked quickly to Shastri's.
 
Shastri's smiled at them as they saw their girl so happily walking to them.
 
Coming closer, Dev and Radhika took Shastrijee and Devki's blessings.
 
Shastrijee quickly hugged Radhika and kissed her forehead. "meri bachi aaj kitni khush lag rahi hai"
 
Devki also agreed. "Haan jee…….Thakurjee kare……tu isi tarah khil khilake muskurati rahe……."
 
"Devkijee yeh bhi koi kehne waali baat hai……..Itna acha parivaar jo mila hai humari beti ko" Shastrijee glanced at the Purohit members who had come to greet them.
 
Radhika smiled and then noticed Amma to be standing silently with a smile on her face. She moved closer to her didn't touch her feet, feeling wary.
 
"Ka huwa? Mora aashirwaad na levegi?" Amma asked smiling.
 
Radhika grinned and shared a quick glance with Dev before bending down to touch her feet. Dev too did the same.
 
"Jeete raho………bhagwan tum dono ki Jodi sada banaye rakhe…….." Amma blessed.
 
Purohits smiled happily upon hearing this. 6months earlier, when Radhika and Dev had come back from Vrindavan, they had told everything them about Amma's change of mind and how she'd apologized. Purohits were happy that finally Radhika was getting her share of love from Amma.
 
"Kaisen hai mor bachi?" Amma asked sweetly to Radhika, who was a little confused to answer. She had never received such love from Amma.
 
"main theek hoon Amma………..aur aap?"
 
"Moko dekh…….peechle 6 mahino main poori tarah theek ho gayi hoon. Vrindavan waasi to kehte hain ke chamatkar ho gayo………itne jaldi more haath-pair bhi chalne lago…..aur zubaan bhi. Areeh……….jin jin logon ne moko kosa tha na……..ab dar ke chup jaate hain ghar main!" she said laughing.
 
Others also laughed along.
 
Amma's gaze turned tender as she noticed a smiling Radhika. "Par moko pata hai……eeei sab tori bhakti ke kaaran huwa hai…….tore Kanha ne moko isiliye saza di thi take moko mor galtiyon par pachtawa ho…….taake moko pata chale ke tora asli roop ka hai…….tu to itni achi hai….par maine…. Toko samajhne main bahut der kardi………..acha huwa jo tore Kanha ne moko saza di aur mori aankhein khol di…….." Amma smiled.
 
Dev and Radhika shared a sweet glance.
 
Just then Amma's gaze fell on the little baby in Radhika's hand and her gaze gleamed with joy. "Lalla…...dekh to jara……eei hai Oo nanhi si gudiya…….jo hum sabkko eeihan bula laayi hai……..bachi ki aankhein to bilkul Radhika pe gayi hain…….."
 
Shastrijee smiled at Amma's comment. After Amma's apology, the relations between Amma, Shastrijee and Devki had returned back to normal because Radhika had insisted them to forgive Amma's sins as well. They gave in for their daughter's happiness and accepted back Amma.
 
 
"Radhika…….mujhe de to sahi…….main apni naati se miloon to sahi" Shastirjee requested for the baby and Radhika handed him carefully.
 
"Aaan……..main tumhara Nanu hoon……" Shastrijee said lovingly but the baby began crying, feeling uncomfortable with a stranger.
 
Dev quickly came closer and kissed the baby's head. "Areeh…….meri gudiya……rote nahi………nanu hain tere…….."
 
"Lalla……toko kachu na aata hai……..moko de…….." Amma demanded the baby and he gave her.
 
Radhika smiled at this.
 
Taking the baby girl in her hand, Amma smiled. "Ka huwa……ka tukur tukur dekh rahi hai moko? Hum tori Ma ki Dadima hain………samjhi nanhi si gudiya"
 
Strangely the baby didn't cry rather kept staring at her and then smiled.
 
"Areeh waah…….Gudiya to bilkul nahi royi Amma ke haathon main" Devki commented.
 
"bahuriya…….tore pati ko bhi na apne god main khila chuki hai yeh Amma! Bachon ko sambhalna mose acha koi na jaanat hai……." Amma replied proudly.
 
Devki and others smiled at this.
 
"Le beta…..le ise……jyaada der Ma ki god se dur rahegi to bachi ro devegi……" Amma gave the child back to Radhika.
 
"Acha laga…..hmm……Amma ke paas jaake?" Radhika asked the baby, who smiled again.
 
"Vaishalijee iski to muskurahat bhi bilkul Radhika pe gayi hai nahi?" Shastrijee said.
 
"Bilkul Babuji…….meri bachi ki smile bhi meri Radhika ke jaisi hai…….ekdum pyaara aur masum……" Dev commented which left Radhika blushing slightly.
 
"Haan Haan Deverjee…….Radhika ki hasi to world ki best smile hai na?" Mrinalini came in with her usual jest.
 
"Ofcourse……Radhika ki smile sabse best hai….."he wrapped an arm around Radhika "Aur uske baad meri bachi ki……aapka number to mere list main hai bhi nahi!"
 
Mrinalini huffed. "Huh! Who cares!"
 
"Exactly Bhabhi…….aapko to mere taste ke baare main pata hi nahi hai……to….."
 
"Bas karo tum dono! Do do bachon ke baap ho chuke ho…….phir bhi masti?" Dadima chided Dev.
 
Just then Vishaka came running from inside. "Ammaaa!!!!! Babuji!!!"
 
Shastri's grinned, seeing the other daughter rushing to them so excitedly – Vishaka was still the same even after becoming a mother of two kids! Her smile had been snatched away years back when she lost her baby, but now she was back to her cheerful self. Keshav was following her quietly behind.
 
"Amma!" Vishaka hugged her.
 
"kaisen hai mori poti?"
 
"Bilkul fit Amma! Aur aap? Areeh waah aapke chehre ke daag bhi kam hone lage hain?" Vishaka remarked joyously.
 
"Eei sab to Radhika ke haathon ka jadu hai. Usne jo jadibuthiyon ka mishran bataya tha na…… us se moko bahut jaldi rahaat mil gayi. Eei dactar se kachu na hovat hai. Jab more ghar main Radhika jaise honaar bachi hai moko dactar ke paas jaane ki kachu jaroorat hi mehsoos na hoti!"
 
"Ofcourse Amma!! Radhika hai itni achi" Vishaka said in glee.
 
"Aur tu bhi…….." Amma said, kissing her forehead lovingly.
 
"Who to main hoon hi……." Vishaka said cutely.
 
Radhika kept gazing at both of them sweetly. Amma noticed this and came closer to Radhika.
 
"Radhika toko bachpan se yeh gam tha na……ke humne sirf Vishaka ko prem kiyo hai……tose nahi?"
 
Radhika blinked once.
 
Smiling, Amma framed her cheek and pressed a warm kiss on her forehead, that left Radhika stunned. Amma actually kissed her, loved her? Her throat choked as she was unable to bear this happiness inside her and tears welled up her eyes.
 
Dev grinned, knowing how much Radhika would be feeling happy at this moment. She had always been thirsty for Amma's love……..and finally she was getting it. And just for the sake of his wife's happiness, he was ready to forgive Amma's thousand sins!
 
As Amma inched away, she saw tears in Radhika's eyes and brushed them away. "Na betiya……ab se tore aankhon main kabhi aansu na hona chahiye…….sirf muskurahat honi chahiye tore hothon par……..itne aansu to tune baha liya beta…….ab sirf khushiyon ki baari hai"
 
To lighten up the mood, Vishaka chirped in. "Waise Amma…….meri bhi ek icha hai jo aapne bachpan se poori nahi ki hai"
 
"Humne tori icha poori na ki? Na chori aisa to ho hi na sakta!" Amma replied.
 
"Hai Amaa….."
 
"ka?"
 
"Yahi………ke aap mujhe aur Radhika ko ek saath gale lagaye" Vishaka smiled.
 
Amma too smiled. "Ismain ka hai……..abhi poora kar dete hain" saying she hugged Vishaka with one arm……and then looked at Radhika "eeihan aa na betiya"
 
Radhika's throat tighetened up again but her feet didn't move, feeling too overwhelmed.
 
Dadima, who stood next to Radhika, took the baby from her and gestured her to go to Amma. Radhika nodded once and inched closer to hug Amma.
 
Amma wrapped her each hand over the girls and hugged them tight. Vishaka too felt her throat choking up at this moment – this was something she'd been wishing since childhood and finally she got it!
 
Meanwhile, Radhika couldn't just stop the tears in that moment and they just gushed down for Amma accepted her publicly…….was loving her so much. She hugged Amma tight, feeling her every single wish coming true.
 
"Radhika……?" Amma sensed her tears and loosened her arms.
 
However, Radhika didn't face her, rather quickly moved out of her arms and hid her face in Dev's chest.
 
Smiling, Dev circled his hands around her. "Radhika……" he muttered, cocking his face to see her and then kissed her forehead.
 
Others just looked on as Radhika let herself absorb this happiness – the overwhelming happiness was too huge to sink in quickly.
 
"Babuji aapko pata hai meri patni ki problem kya hai? Chahe khushi ho ya gham…….ye bucket bhar bhar ke roti hai……" he joked to ease Radhika down.
 
This made everyone burst in laughter and Radhika hit him lightly, without moving her face.
 
Dev laughed, but deep inside he knew how much Radhika was overwhelmed……and he wanted to ease up the moment.
 
"Infact main to kehta rehta hoon ke ise……..woh Mumbai ki galiyon main jahan paani ka problem hota hai na…….wahan jaake khada kar dena chahiye……..fountain ki tarah iski aankhon se paani barista hi rahega!" he laughed again.
 
Radhika quickly inched back and frowned at him. "Fountain?"
 
"Oh sorry sorry…….fountain nahi………..waterfall. Fountain ko to control kar sakte hain……. Lekin tumhare aansu to uncontrollable hain……….waterfall ki tarah" Dev beamed naughtily.
 
Hearing this Radhika twitched her lips while others began laughing aloud.
 
"You will be blessed by those people who don't get water to consume daily……." Dev remarked.
 
Radhika hit his chest. "Bas bhi keejye na! Kitni taang keechenge meri!"
 
"Jab tak tumhari taang lambi nahi ho jaati" Dev replied quickly which made others to burst in to another round of laughter.
 
Sighing, Radhika glared at Dev………inturn Dev just winked at her and mouthed 'I love you' silently. This melted Radhika's anger and she looked down blushing.
 
As the laughter slowed down, Amma came to Radhika and framed her cheek. "Bas beta……ab to jab tak more sharer main jeevan hai……hum Thakurjee se yahi prathna karengi ke toko duniya ki har khushi de. Tore kaaran……..moko ek naya jeevan milo…..topar itne atyachar karne ke bawjood…….tune ek kshan main moko maaf kardiyo. Sab aisen na kar sakat hai. Tora dil bahut bado hai…….aur hum Thakurjee se eeihai vinti karenge ke…….agle janam main toko more kok se paida kare…….." Amma said sweetly.
 
Radhika's ears couldn't believe this – Amma wished that in her next birth, Radhika should be her daughter??!! Her lips grew in to a shivering smile.
 
Turning her gaze to Dev, Amma folded her hands for apology. "Dev babu……humne aapke saath bahut anyay kiyo hai…….hum aapse maafi maangna chahti hain"
 
Dev quickly held her hand. "nahi Amma……..theek hai. Radhika ne aapko maaf kar diya……. Aur aapne Radhika ko itni badi khushi de di…….use apnakar…….mujhe aur kuch nahi chahiye. Aur jahan tak baat hai meri maafi ki to……..Amma aap mujhse badi hain……aapke haath mere saamne jude nahi……..balki mere sar par hona chahiye…….mujhe aashirwaad dene ke liye" he said humbly.
 
Hearing this, Amma stroked his head lovingly. "jeete rahiye beta……..bahut bhagyavaan hai mor Radhika jise aapke jaisa pati milo hai……..bas usko isi tarah khushiyan dete rehna"
 
She then turned to apologize to Purohit members. "Aap log bhi moko maaf kar deejye……. Maine anjaane main……..apne ahankar main dub kar najaane aaplogon ko ka ka keh diya"
 
Vaishali smiled. "Nahi Amma. Aapko apni galtiyon ka ehsaas ho gaya…….Radhika ne aapko maaf kardiya……..aur who khush hai…….to hume aur kya chahiye"
 
Dadima agreed. "Haan sambhdanjee……beeti baaton ko chodiye……chaliye ab ek naye sire se apne rishton ki shuruwaat karte hain. Khataas ki bhavnaon ko bhulkar…….apne rishton main meethas (sweetness) gholen" she smiled.
 
Amma too grinned, feeling relieved that she was forgiven so easily. "Sach much……bahut bada dil hai aap logon ka…….mujh jaisi paapin ko itni jaldi maaf kar diya sabne……moko Thakurjee se ab aur kachu na chahiye…….."
 
"Ammajee…….aap bhi to ab humare parivaar ka hissa hain……kitne dinon taka apse naaraz rahenge" Mrinalini said sweetly.
 
Amma smiled at her and turned her gaze Keshav. "Maafi to moko aapse bhi maangni chahiye Keshav beta………kayi saalon pehle humne…….aapke aur Vishaka ke rishte ko lekar……" she let her voice trail off feeling disgusted at herself.
 
Keshav came closer and held her hand. "Amma…….bhool jaaiye unn baaton ko……aaj humare liye yahi kaafi hai ke aapko yeh ehsaas huwa……ke aap galat thi. Aur aapne humare rishte ko apna liya" he said, glancing at Vishaka once.
 
Amma framed his and Vishaka's cheek. "Aapne mor Vishaka ko itni khushiyan di…….kaise na apnati aapke rishte ko…….aapka bahut bahut dhanywaad ke itna sab kuch hone ke baad aapne mor Vishaka ko apnaya"
 
"Vishaka se sacha prem kiya hai maine Amma……to aise kaise use chod deta" he smiled. "Waise maafi to mujhe bhi aapse maangni chahiye………jab unhone Vishaka ke haadse ke baad aapko……."
 
Amma stopped him. "Na na beta…..unki koi galti na thi. Who sab to Kanha ka raasta tha moko apni galti ka ehsaas dilaane ke liye……"
 
"Sambhdanjee……….Subah ka bhul jab shaam ko ghar laut aaye……..to use bhula nahi kehte" Dadima said. "Aap purani baaton ko chodiye……….aur aaj ki khushiyon main shaamil ho jaaiye"
 
"Haan Ammajee……..aaiye" Mr. Purohit invited them to have a seat.
 
Just then Susheel came out. "Are Shastrijee!!! Aagaye aap?? Radhe Radhe!!" he came spreading his arms out.
 
Shastrijee smiled wide "Radhe Radhe Susheeljee" and hugged him.
 
"Kaise hain aap? Kitne din ho gaye" Susheel said.
 
"Din? Saal kahiye Susheel Babu. Aap to Deepika beti ke god bharne ke baad itne vyast ho gaye ke Vrindavan aane ka samay hi nahi mila" shastrijee fake complained.
 
Susheel laughed. "Kya karun? Pote ne saara samay le liya mera"
 
"Waise Satish beta hai kahan? Aur Arjun aur Deepika?"
 
"Deepika bahu to andar hai……..Aur Arjun pata nahi kahan chala gaya?" Susheel said, glancing around.
 
"Chachu! Who Vivek ke saath kuch business matters discuss karne baith gaye honge!" Mrinalini replied.
 
"Lo bhai……Business ka naam sunte hi badi bahu ka gussa saatve aasman ko chune lagta hai" Dadima joked and others laughed.
 
"Very Funny! Lekin aise mauke pe business ko lekar baithne ki kya jaroorat hai!"
 
Just then a throng of kids charged towards them, all demanding to carry the little baby girl.
 
"Nahi Dhruv! Abhi nahi……….Rasm ke baad dekh lena apni behen ko" Dadima said firmly.
 
"Dadi please…….Mummy kaho na…….Maine to ek baar bhi nahi dekha Baby ko" Nupur, Vishaka's little girl said.
 
On this Dev pulled up the girl swiftly in his arms. "Acha?? Nahi dekha aapne? To thodi der pehle aap humare kamre main jo kar rahe the who kya thaa?? Hmm?" he kissed the girl.
 
Nupur and her twin sister Payal bit their tongue.
 
"Oh! To tum girls ne dekh liya…….lekin Radhika Chachi…….maine to sachi main nahi dekha!" Satish, Arjun's son, grumbled.
 
"Oho Uncle aapne kyun bola!" Nupur grumbled, shaking her head.
 
Dev couldn't help a smile as the little girl's pony tail went from one side to another. He pressed another kiss on her head. "Kyunki main hoon hi aisa……"
 
"kaise?" Payal asked.
 
"Jo sabka kaam bigaadte hain!" Vishaka inserted quickly to tease Dev.
 
Dev glared at her. "Vishaka…….saali!"
 
"Jeeju? Gaali kya dete ho?"
 
"Kahan? Tu saali hi to hai na meri!" Dev said and laughed aloud.
 
Vishaka sighed and crossed her arms, huffing.
 
"Areeh areeh……..Vishaka ko koi naaraz na karo…….." Keshav said sweetly, putting an arm around his wife.
 
"Samjhaiye na inhe Keshav" She grumbled like a kid.
 
Keshav looked at others. "Kyunki agar yeh naaraz ho gayi……….to mujhe inhe manana padega ……… jo duniya ka sabse difficult kaam hota hai!!!"
 
Hearing this Vishaka nudged in his chest and he cried out, pretending to be hurt. Others began laughing.
 
Menawhile the little baby in Dadima's hand was looking at everyone curiously.
 
"Radhika le……..dekh teri beti kaise sabko tukur tukur dekh rahi hai……" she kissed the baby and handed it to Radhika.
 
"Meri Beti hai na……..sab kuch observe kar rahi hai……bilkul apne papa pe jaayegi……ek dum smart…….." Dev said smugly, softly pinching his baby's cheek.
 
"Kyun Radhika pe bhi to jaa sakti hai………..ya mujhpar" Vishaka said, grinning.
 
"Please!! Please Vishaka aisa kehna bhi mat……..Radhika pe jaayegi…….to din bhar bas rote rahegi meri bachi………..aur agar tumpar gayi…….phir to pakka main behra ho jaaunga!!"
 
Hearing this Radhika elbowed him and Vishaka hit him on the arm. Others burst out laughing seeing this scene…………….
 
Just then Vivek called out that the priest has come up and everyone moved towards the puja area.
 
After chanting the mantras, the priest asked Dev to utter the name that has been chosen for the little girl.
 
Dev nodded once and said. "Pari……."
 
The priest began chanting some more mantras in the name of 'Pari'
 
Hushed murmurs began doing the rounds amidst the family members, approving the name.
 
"Sach much kitna acha naam hai nahi" Dhruv said to everyone in a slow tone.
 
"Hmm……" Amma said. "Who to hai……tori behen ka naam bahut khubsurat hai"
 
"Maine jo rakha hai" Dhruv said smugly.
 
Amma smiled and cupped his cheek. "Are waah…….mor bacha to bahut samajdaar hai"
 
"Aakhir naati (grandson) kiska hai?" Shastrijee said smugly
 
Amma chuckled at this.
 
Dadima touched Shastrijee's arm. "Jee nahi……par pota (greatgrandson) kiska hai" she said smugly.
 
Vaishali couldn't helo a giggle. "Kya maaji aap bhi…….."
 
 
Meanwhile Radhika smiled at the baby in her lap and called her out. "Pari……Pari……aap Pari hain……"
 
Little Pari smiled at her parents cutely……………………………
 
 
 

 
Later………..
 
The sky had turned dark and stars came out to shimmer beautifully across the velvety blanket. Night's cool breeze was circling around in glee. The entire house had drowned in to slumber.
 
Radhika stood near the window silently gazing at the shimmering sky as the cool breeze touched her soft skin and turned away. Pari was sleeping comfortably in her cradle and the room was completely silent.
 
Dev came out of the washroom wearing a fresh kurta set, after freshening up. He was a little tired after the entire day and was hoping to catch some good sleep. As he walked across, he noticed Radhika standing near the window and sauntered towards her.
 
"Radhika……" he called, touching her arm.
 
She jerked slightly, feeling surprised by his voice as she was lost in some other world.
 
"Kya huwa? Yahan kyun khadi ho iss tarah? Don't want to sleep?"
 
She smiled and nodded. "Hmm……" then turned her attention back to the sky
 
Inching closer, he held her arms. "Kya huwa? Meri patni kahan khoyi huwi hai?" he asked lovingly wondering what was making her smile?
 
Taking a deep breath, Radhika kept staring at the sky. "Kayi saalon ki baat hai…….tab main aur Vishaka college main padte the…….ek din Vishaka…….isi tarah aasman ko dekhte huwe chup chap khadi thi……aur muskura rahi thi…….."
 
Dev blinked silently, letting her speak.
 
She took another deep breath, still staring at the stars. "Maine us se poocha to kehne lagi ke…….apne aane waale kal ke sapne dekh rahi hai…….ke kaise uske zindagi main ek Rajkumar aayega…….aur use ek sapno ki nagari main le jaayega. Ek aisi duniya main le jaayega……. jahan koi gham na ho………koi dukh na ho…….ho to sirf khushiyan. Aur yeh sab isiliye mumkin hoga kyunki uska who Rajkumar…….har pal uske saath hoga…….use bahut pyaar karega……." She paused, reminiscing the moment again.
 
"Phir?" he asked.
 
"Phir? Main yeh sab sunkar has padi…….aur kehne lagi ke…….yeh sab to kitaabi baatein hain…….pariyon ki kahani………safed ghode pe Rajkumar……..sirf kahaniyon main hote hain……asal zindagi main nahi……." She replied, gazing at the sky.
"Tab Vishaka mujhse poochne lagi……..ke main kya sochti hoon……apne aane waale kal ke baare main" she paused again and smiled.
 
"Maine kaha ke………chahe jo bhi ho…….main aise Rajkumar aur sapno ke nagari ke baare mein to nahi sochti" She giggled. "Vishaka ko laga ke main uska mazak uda rahi hoon………" her gaze went somber. "Lekin who mazak nahi tha……..sach tha. Uss samay main janti thi…… ke mere jeevan main kabhi koi aisa Rajkumar nahi aayega…….mujhe lekar kisi sapno ki nagari main nahi jaayega. Main aisa sapna hi nahi dekhti kyunki………mere saath aisa kabhi kuch nahi hota………" she paused again and now turned her gaze to Dev.
 
"Lekin main galat thi. Pariyon ki kahaniyon ka to pata nahi…….lekin mere jeevan main……ek Raajkumar aaya…….aur mujhe ek pariyon ki nagari main le aaya……jahan usne mujhe har dukh, har takleef se dur kardiya……..apne prem main mujhe kaid kar, mujhe har dard se dur kar diya" she smiled, gazing at him lovingly and then framed his cheek. "Maine to kabhi na chaha…… na socha ke mere jeevan main aisa koi aaye……….lekin shayad mere Kanha ko kuch aur hi manzoor tha……..unhone to mere Raajkumar ko pehle se hi mere paas bhejna ka faisla kar liya tha…….." she said tenderly and grinned. "Main kanha ka jitna bhi dhanywaad karun…… who kam hoga……..kyunki aapka saath to mere liye anmol hai…….."
 
He grinned after hearing everything and cupped her face. "Hmm….aur tumhara saath mere liye anmol hai. Tum ho……to meri zindagi main bahar hai…….tumne mere jeevan ko khushiyon se bhar diya…….." pausing, he looked at Dhruv's picture and his Pari, who was sleeping soundly in her cradle……..and then back to Radhika. "Tumhare prem ne mujhe humesha shakti di……. Bure se bure samay main bhi…….main haara nahi……kyunki tumhara pyaar mere saath tha…."
 
"Aaj meri zindagi ka sabse haseen din hai…….kyunki aaj mujhe sab kuch mil gaya…….Amma ka aashirwaad bhi……." She smiled.
 
He nodded.
 
Turning her head, she glanced at the Kanha's idol in her room "Ab bas Kanha se yahi prathna hai……..ke mera jeevan isi tarah sukh mayee beete……aapke saath…….yahi prathna hai…… ke apni aakri saans tak main aapke saath rahun" and shifted her gaze to him. "Aur Kanha se ek vinti bhi hai………ke har janam main…….woh mujhe aap hi ki patni banaye……."
 
"Haan……." Mumbling, he too looked at the Kanha's idol and smiled. "Main bhi Kanha se yahi mangoonga……..ke har janam main……..tum hi meri jeevan sathi bano……..aur agar who aisa na kar sake……..to mujhe who zindagi chahiye hi nahi…….." pausing, he looked at her tenderly "kyun Dev kabhi bhi Radhika ke bina pura nahi ho sakta………..Radhika, Dev ko pura karti hai………." Saying, he hugged her.
 
She snuggled closer and rested her face against his warm chest………..feeling the happiest being in her paradise.
 
Kanha, who stood in his altar smiled……..showering all his blessings on his couple and agreeing for their wish…………………….

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Posted: 29 September 2011 at 2:33pm | IP Logged


Before moving to the next part...which happens to be the Epilogue of this Story, Please meet two special characters of the Epilogue...Big smile

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Edited by sia_lovely - 29 September 2011 at 2:33pm

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Posted: 29 September 2011 at 2:38pm | IP Logged
 
Epilogue
 
 
True Love never ends……….it keeps burning like a bright flame forever…….for True love can never be dimished nor can it be destroyed……..True Love is Eternal…….and  is always there.
 
Though it may change forms……….and come back again……..in some different forms……but its always present in the Universe……………
 
 
 
Dev and Radhika sat in the ghat, cocooned in each other's arms, gazing at the beautiful green water that shone in the golden light of Sun.
 
"Aaj kitne saalon baad……..hum aaj ke din yahan aa paaye na" Radhika asked to Dev.
 
Dev nodded, tighetening his arm around her. "Aaj se 12 saal pehle……isis Vrindavan ki ek shaam main…….mandir main meri ek ladki se mulakat huwi thi……." He smiled, remisnicing the moment.
 
 
The stairs ended, he removed his chappals and stepped inside the temple. A song filled the air in the temple.
 
"Govind Gopal radhe radhe, Govind Gopal radhe radhe,
Keshav Madhav radhe radhe, Keshav Madhav radhe radhe..."
 
His gaze fell on a group of people... a bhajan group who continuously sang the song.
 
He shifted his gaze away from those people and looked up to Lord Krishna.
 
The crowd was divided in to two rows on either side leaving a small line of space in the middle...not interrupting the view to Lord.
 
The idol of Lord Krishna was...beautifully decorated with the pearl studded mukut with peacock feather adorning the mukut, pearl studded chains adorning Lords neck, beautiful garlands adding the right colour etc. In all it was a beautiful sight. Dev smiled on seeing this.
 
He folds his hands to seek blessings from The Lord and closed his eyes.
 
After a moment he opened his eyes and saw the Lord once again. He raised his one hand to touch the clapper of the temple bell so as to ring it.
 
But as he touched the clapper, he felt a soft hand beneath him.
 
He frowned for a second confused... and then turned his head.
 
He saw a girl standing with her hand on the clapper, who turned her head as well, when he accidentally kept his hand on hers.
 
His eyes met hers...she was looking at him with her innocent, wide eyes. And he couldn't shift his gaze away from hers and neither could he think anything.
 
He stared at her continuously and felt as if her eyes had some magic which held his gaze on to hers, which made him loose his sense to think.
 
The song being sung in the temple filled his ears but he could hardly concentrate on anything other than the beautiful girl standing in front of him.
 
She stared at him as well.
 
And their eyes remained transfixed for a few moments.
 
 
 
At present………
 
A 10 year old Dhruv quickly climbed up the temple steps, holding a basket full of colorful flowers in his hands.
 
Pausing in front of the altar, he opened the curtains and smiled at the beautiful Radha-Krishna idol. "Kanhajee…….aaj main aaya hoon aapko sajane……" he said in glee.
 
Dhruv had taken permission from Shastrijee to decorate the temple. Shastrijee allowed since Dhruv was aware of the roads and the temple was quite near.
 
"Who bhi thodi der main aajayenge……..lekin unke aane se pehle…..mujhe pura mandir sajana hai. Aap meri madat karoge na? Mujhe bilkul Mummy ki tarah temple sajana hai" Dhruv said, smiling. "Chaliye ab main shuru karta hoon…….."
 
He kneeled down and looked at the flowers. "Pehle to…..mandir ko clean karna hoga na. Mummy waise hi karti hai…….." mumbling he got up to take a towel.
 
"Dhruv?" a voice called him.
 
Dhruv's brows puckered, hearing the unfamiliar voice and he turned…….to find a girl standing near the temple stairs.
 
"Tum Dhruv ho na?" she asked, coming closer.
 
"Haan…….lekin tum kaun ho?" Dhruv asked, wondering how she knew his name.
 
"Hi. I Am Nandini Vashisht" the girl introduced with a sweet, chirpy smile.
 
"Nandini? Who are you? Do I know you?" he asked.
 
"Umm…….I don't know. Lekin main tumhe jaanti hoon. Tum Mumbai main rehte ho na?" she said assertively.
 
"Haan. Lekin tumhe kaise pata? Tum ho kaun?"
 
Nandini's eyes twinkled with mischief. "Main. Main ek jaadugar hoon"
 
"Jaadugar?" Dhruv frowned.
 
"Haan. Main to yeh bhi jaanti hoon ke tum Holy Cross International School main padte ho. Hai na?" she said confidently, crossing her arms.
 
Dhruv blinked, wondering how did she know so much about him?
 
"How do you know!" Dhruv asked, mystified.
 
"Tum 5th standard main padte ho………..aur B division main ho" Nandini said, turning. She wanted to burst out laughing but held back herself.
 
Giving a sharp exhale, Dhruv went to face her. "Areeh par tumhe itna sab kaise pata mere baare main. Aur tum yahan kaise aayi?"
 
Nandini giggled. "Kyunki main bhi Holy Cross International main padthi hoon……aur tumhe maine peechle saal "Best Student ka Award" lete samay dekha tha" she informed, finally revealing her prank.
 
Dhruv hit his forehead. "Acha!"
 
She giggled again. "hehehe……..tumhe kya laga main sachmuch jadugar hoon!"
 
Dhruv pursed his lips sternly. "Nahi. Main kyun sochunga? Lekin tum yahan mere mandir main kar kya rahi ho?"
 
"Tumhara mandir?" she asked, keeping her hands on waist in disbelief. "Yeh mandir kabse ho gaya"
 
"Yeh mandir mere nanu ka hai……..to mera bhi huwa na" Dhruv said proudly. "Par tum yahan kya kar rahi ho?"
 
Nandini came close. "Sach. Yeh mandir tumhare nanu ka hai?" she asked, in amazement.
 
"Haan"
 
"Wow!"
 
"Lekin tum yahan kya kar rahi ho?"
 
"Main? Main to bas yahan aise hi aayi thi…….tum yahan kyun aaye?"
 
"Mera mandir hai…….main jab chahe aaun. Aur waise bhi since you're standing on my temple, tumhe jawaab dena padega mujhe……..samjhi"
 
"Yeh kya mere mandir? Mera mandir? Mandir bhagwan ka hota hai……..mera ya tumhara nahi. Aur mandir main aane ke liye…….kisiko jawaab nahi dena padta……..samjhe" Nandini said.
 
"Acha Acha theek hai……..lekin maine to tumhe kabhi apne School main nahi dekha" Dhruv said.
 
"Haan. Shayad tumhara dhyaan na gaya ho. Waise main 4th std main padti hoon. A division" she informed.
 
"Areeh……usi division main mera ek dost bhi padta hai……..uska naam……..Shreejit hai"
 
"Shreejit Nair?" she asked quickly.
 
"haan…….tum jaanti ho use?" he asked.
 
"Haan. Main aur who kayi baar ek bench share kar chuke hain" she informed.
 
"Oh acha……." Dhruv smiled.
 
Just then Nandini's gaze fell on the flowers. "Tum yahan Mandir sajane aaye ho?" she asked excitedly.
 
"Haan"
 
"Kya main bhi tumhari madad kar sakti hoon?" she asked. "Mujhe mandir sajana bahut acha lagta hai……..lekin aise hi aakar to main yahan mandir nahi saja sakti…….par yeh mandir to tumhare Nanu ka hai na…….to agar tum kaho…….to main yahan mandir saja sakti hoon" Nandini requested.
 
Dhruv tried acting smart. "I don't need your help……."
 
Nandini's face went low. "Aise kya karte ho? Itni so to cheez maangi hai. Itna kya bhaav khaate ho!" she retorted, twitching her lips.
 
"Bhaav? Maine kaha bhaav khaaya?"  he snapped back and then after a moment of thinking…… "theek hai…….tum itni request kar rahi ho……to kar lo madad" he agreed.
 
Nandini's eyes twinkled again. "Thanks"
 
"You're welcome" Dhruv said.
 
"Waise tum kya karne waale the?" she asked, walking around the temple.
 
"Main yahan saaf safai karne waala tha" Dhruv answered showing the duster in his hand.
 
"Oh, aur yeh phool? Do you know how to make garlands" she asked cutely.
 
Dhruv shook his head sheepishly. "Nahi. Main Nanu se ziss karke yahan aa to gaya…….lekin garland banana to mujhe nahi aata…….ek kaam karta hoon…….ek readymade garland le aata hoon…….." saying he shoved his hands in to pocket. "Oh no…….paise to khatm ho gaye. Koi baat nahi……..main phool waali didi se kahunga ke kal le lena paise………."
 
"Are are ruko" Nandini interrupted him.
 
"Kya?"
 
"Mujhe pata hai ke garlands kaise banate hain……main banaungi na. Mujhe bahut acha lagta hai. Readymade le aane ki jaroorat nahi hai. Tum saaf safai karo……..tab tak main garlands bana doongi…….aur diye bhi saja dungi" Nandini said.
 
"Are you serious. Tumhe sach much banana aata hai na Garlands. Nahi to Nanu mujhe daatnege agar shaam ki aarti ke liye…….sab kuch theek na raha to"
 
"Don't worry. Main hoon na. Mujhe ache se banana aata hai garlands" Nandini assured.
 
Dhruv smiled. "Theek hai to chalo lag jaate hain kaam pe"
 
"Okay" Nandini smiled and sat down quick for making the garlands
 
Meanwhile Dhruv began cleaning the dried flowers, incense ashes and other materials from the Lord's feet and altar.
 
"Waise Dhruv………tum har saal yahan aate ho?" Nandini asked, as she began tying the flowers beautifully.
 
"Haan…….main hal saal summer vacation main aata hoon. Aur tum?"
 
She glanced up in surprise. "Kya baat kar rahe ho? Main bhi har saal summer vacation main aati hoon"
 
He turned to her. "Acha? Iss mandir main aati ho?"
 
"Haan. Har saal…….jab bhi main yahan aati hoon……iss mandir main roz aati hoon" she answered.
 
Dhruv frowned in confusion. "Phir hum kabhi pehle mile kyun nahi?"
 
Nandini pondered for a moment. "Tum kab aate ho? Which month"
 
"April"
 
"Oh. Tabhi. I come during May every year. Papa ko tabhi chutti milti hai" she informed, smiling. "Mere Papa…….ke ghar yahi tha pehle"
 
Dhruv also smiled. "Acha. So its your native place. Meri bhi mummy yahi ki hai. Tum janmashtami ke liye bhi har saal aati ho?" he asked, returning back to his work.
 
Nandini too got back to her work. "Nahi. Yeh pehli baar aa rahi hoon Janmashtami ke samay. Who iss baar…….three days ki chutti mili na……Friday……Saturday and Sunday……..to papa ne socha ke iss baar mujhe Vrindavan ki Janmashtami dikhayenge. Papa kehte hain……yahan ki janmashtami ki baat ki kuch aur hoti hai"
 
Dhruv turned to her again. "Haan. Its special over here. Main ek baar ayaa tha……par bahut chota tha. Phir uske baad papa ka office, mera school…….isiliye nahi aa paaya. Iss baar long weekend tha……to mummy ne suggest kiya ke iss baar ka utsav hum yahan manaya"
 
"Acha kiya. Hum dono iss saal special janmashtami dekh paayenge" saying, he turned back to his work.
 
"Sahi kaha tumne" Nandini agreed. "TUmhe pata hai……mere yahan pe koi dost nahi hai. Kitna bor hota hai kabhi kabhi………." She grumbled, weaving the flowers.
 
"Tsk. Mere bhi yaha koi dost nahi hai, Saare friends to Mumbai main hi hai" Dhruv agreed.
 
"Lekin iss saal bahut maza aayega…….tum jo rahoge mere saath" Nandini said excitedly.
 

"Haan. Iss baar koi to mila jiske saath main yahan khel sakunga……waise uske pehle…….we should become friends………." He came close.  "dekho naa…….hum ek hi school main padte hain……we also share the same native place………"
 
"Haan aur hum dono interests bhi to same hai……..Kanhajee ka mandir sajana" Nandini giggled sweetly.
 
"Hmm. I think Kanhajee wants us to befriend each other" Dhruv stretched his hand out.
 
Nandini held his hand and they both shaked their hand tight. "Friends"
 
"Friends"
 
"Good…….lekin hum yeh friendship sirf Vrindavan main nahi rakhenge…….Mumbai jaake bhi dost hi rahenge" she said.
 
"Ofcourse. Ab to mujhe yeh bhi pata chal gaya ke tum kaunse class main ho. Mera dost bhi wahi padta hai……..we can have fun together" Dhruv said excitedly.
 
"Haan" They both hi-fied each other.
 
"Acha main ab yeh waste throw karke aata hoon…….tab tak tum garlands bana lo" Dhruv said and went on to collect the waste and then climbed down the stairs to throw it in dustbin.
 
When he came back, he heard Nandini humming a very familiar song and sat beside her. "Nandini……..tumhe yeh bhajan aata hai?" he asked, amazed.
 
"haan" she smiled, glacing briefly at him
 
"Poora?" he asked, amazed.
 
"Hmm"
 
"yeh to kitna difficult hai. Meri mummy bhi gaati hai" he said and then added proudly. "My mummy is best singer in world………jab who gaana gati hai…….aisa lagta hai jaise hum kisi aur hi duniya main ho"
 
"Acha? Itna jadu hai tumhari mummy ki awaaz main" she asked sweetly, glancing up.
 
"Haan. Meri mummy Kanhajee ki bahut badi devotee hai……aur jab who kanhajee ke bhajan gaati hai na……..to sab log……sab kuch bhulkar unka bhajan sunte hain" Dhruv said sweetly.
 
Nandini's attention shifted to him entirely as the topic touched upn Lord Krishna. "Sachi? Main bhi Kanhajee ko bahut maanti hoon. Main unki bhakt kam……..unki dost jyaada hoon……apni saari baatein unse kehti hoon. Roz raat ko sone se pehle main unse dher saari baatein karti. I feel so light after talking to him…….jaise who mere saare dukh dur kar dete hain……apne aap" she smiled.
 
"You won't believe…….mere papa kehte hain……..meri mummy bhi aise hi karti thi. Who bhi Kanhajee ko apna dost maanti hai…….."
 
"Really? Mujhe tumhari Mummy se milwaoge. Who agar itna acha gaati hai…….to mujhe bhi sun na hai………..aur who to Kanhajee ko friend bhi maanti hai na"
 
"Mil lena. Shaam ki aarti wahi karengi aaj yahan pe"
 
"Wow! Phir to maza aayega" she smiled.
 
Just then Dhruv's gaze fell on the flower basket and found the garlands to have been already made. "Gosh! You already made the garland?"
 
"What did I say then?" Nandini smiled smugly. "Here…..tie the ends and put it on the Lord……" saying, she gave a completed string on Garland to him.
 
Taking it from her, Dhruv did as she asked and put it around the Lord.
 
The kids sweeped the temple brusquely, put fresh clothes over the altar, arranged the flowers and lit the diyas……….all the while they kept talking about random things from school to teachers to homeworks to their favorite subjects.
 
"Hehehe……sahi kaha Mrs. Bringanza ki badi badi aankhein dekh kar to koi bhi dar jaata hai" Nandini grew her eyes big and giggled.
 
Dhruv pretended to have got scared. "Abhi to mujhe tumhari aankhon se dar lag raha hai. Kanhajee bachao……"
 
Nandini glowered at this. "Dhruv!"
 
Dhruv showed her a tongue.
 
Seeing this Nandini was about to hit him, but he ran and she followed him. He stopped to show her a thumb. Nandini got even more flustered up and kept following him.
 
Finally after some moments, both the kids stopped and laughed aloud, holding each other.
 
Their gazes fell on the Radha-Krishna idols and they moved closer.
 
"Kitne ache se saja diya na" Nandini said, feeling satisfied.
 
"Haan. Lekin tumhare bina mumkin nahi hota. Thanks" Dhruv said.
 
"Thanks to mujhe bhi tumhe kehna chahiye……..tumne meri itni madad jo ki……aur mujhe iss mandir ke kanha ko sajane ka mauka bhi diya…." Nandini replied, sweetly.
 
"Okay so no Thanks……because hisaab barabar" Dhruv said……and they both laughed out again cutely……letting their innocent giggles fill the pure environment of the temple.
 
 
 
Dev and Radhika were climbing up the temple. The sun was almost about to set and Radhika wanted to help Shastrijee in decorating the temple so she'd insisted they come a little early here.
 
However, as they began inching closer, they heard the cute laughing sound of kids and they glanced at each other in wonderment.
 
"Dhruv?" Dev mumbled.
 
"Dekhte hain……." Radhika said and they quickly climbed the remaining steps to enter inside.
 
And on reaching, they found Dhruv giggling and playing with a little girl, who looked be around of his same age. Dev and Radhika shared a smiling glance and began inching towards the kids who were lost in their own world.

"Kitna maza aaya…….aur temple kaise saj gaya pata bhi nahi chala" Nandini said, gleefully.
 
"Haan…….kitna jaldi jaldi ho gaya…….aur kitna acha lag raha hai sab kuch" Dhruv remarked.
 
Hearing this, Dev and Radhika glanced up…………and to their surprise, the temple was already decorated and was decorated indeed very beautifully.
 
"Haan bahut ache lag rahe hain Kanhajee aur Radharani" Nandini agreed.
 
 
"Hmm……..Sach much bahut acha lag raha hai……." Dev's voice reached them and Dhruv quickly whirled his head around.
 
"papa?"
 
Nandini too turned around and found two adults standing in front of her. She understood them to be Dhruv's parents. 
 
"Dhruv? Tum yahan kya kar rahe ho?" Radhika asked in puzzle.
 
"Who Mummy main na yahan pe mandir sajane aaya tha"
 
"Akele aaye tum!?" Radhika's stern voice was back.
 
"Ofo! Mummy…….main Nanu se permission leke aaya……aur Mandir dur thodi na hai jo main ghum jaunga……..aur main akele kahan hoon…….yeh hai na mere saath" Dhruv pointed towards Nandini.
 
Dev and Radhika's attention shifted towards the little girl.
 
"Introduce nahi karwaoge hume?" Dev asked, smiling at the girl.
 
"Oh. Sorry. Papa yeh Nandini hai………"
 
"Namaste Uncle……Namaste Aunty……" Nandini said, joining her palms in respect.
 
Dev and Radhika were impressed. Radhika kneeled down to the girl. "Namaste beta……waise mandir to aap dono ne bahut acha sajaya hai" she approved.
 
"Hai na Mummy……..bahut acha sajaya hai na?" Dhruv asked.
 
Dev stroked his hairs cutely. "Waise Nandini beta……aap akele? Aapke mummy papa kahan hai?"
 
"nahi uncle………who to ghar main hai. Aarti ke liye aayenge. Who humara ghar paas main hi hai na……….to Dadima ne mujhe yahan akele aane ki permission de di. Main yahan  humesha aati hoon……isliye mujhe raaste pata hai" Nandini replied sweetly.
 
Dev smiled, hearing the girl's cute, clear reply. "Good……"
 
"Lekin aap dono ek doosre ko kaise jaante ho?" Radhika asked.
 
Dhruv launched in to a quick story and briefly told them about how they met and came to know about each other.
 
"Acha? Aap bhi Mumbai main rehte ho……..yeh to bahut acha huwa" Radhika said.
 
"par dekho na mummy………hum mile Vrindavan main……Strange na Nandini" Dhruv said.
 
"Haan who to hai…….Waise Aunty……maine suna hai ke aap bhi Kanhajee ki bahut badi devotee ho……"
 
Radhika tapped her cheek. "Hmm…….."
 
"Mummy. She is also a great devotee……aur use to kanha ke bhajan bhi aate hain……..yeh garlands bhi usi ne banaye hain" Dhruv said.
 
"Are wah beta……..aapko bahut kuch aata hai……" Dev said.
 
"Thank you uncle. Mummy aur Dadima ne seekhaya hai" Nandini said humbly.
 
Radhika smiled. "Bahu acha kiya"
 
Just then Shastrijee entered and found the entire temple to have been decorated very nicely. He was very impressed with Dhruv and nandini and promised to give them one chocolate bar each.
 
Soon the crowd started filling in and Radhika began the aarti, while singing her bhajan. As always the entire crowd was mesmerized. So was Nandini.
 
 
After the aarti and Prasad distribution, Nandini brought her parents to Dev and Radhika.
 
"Aunty…….yeh mere mummy papa hai" she introduced.
 
"Radhe Radhe" Dev and Radhika greeted them sweetly.
 
"Radhika Purohit? Tum ho Dhruv ki mummy?" Nandini's father asked.
 
Radhika shared a glance with Dev. "Aap mujhe jaante hain?" she asked him.
 
"Radhika shayad tumne dhyaan na diya ho…….lekin hum dono ek hi college main padte the. Aur tumhare sangeet ke baare main……….sirf humare college main hi nahi…….poore Vrindavan main charche hote hain……aaj bhi" he smiled.
 
Radhika smiled humbly.
 
"Yeh baat to aapne bilkul sahi kahi………bhai inke awaaz sunke to humara dil hi aagaya inpar" Dev said, circling an arm around Radhika, who just blushed.
 
"I am Mohan Vashisht………and she is my wife Suhasini"
 
"Hi……Dev Purohit"
 
"Mr. Purohit aapko kaun nahi jaanta……." Mohan said smiling.
 
Dev just smiled humbly.
 
"Papa……aap logon ke yeh baatein khatm ho gayi hon……..to main apni baat karun" Nandini chirped in sweetly.
 
"Areeh haan haan……humari Gudiya ko to bahut important baat karni thi na……Radhika aunty se" Mohan said teasingly.
 
"Oho Papa…….aap bhi na" Nandini twitched her lips and then came closer to Radhika. "Aunty aapse ek request hai…….aap meri request poori karoge"
 
Radhika smiled. "Aap itne pyaar se request karengi……to main mana kaise kar sakti hoon?"
 
Nandini's eyes gleamed. "Aunty aap bahut acha gaati ho. Dhruv was right. Aap ka gaana sunkar na…….hum kahi kho se jaate hain"
 
Dev and Radhika grinned.
 
"Aunty mujhe bhi singing ka bahut shok hai……To aunty aap mujhe please singing ke lessons doge?" Nandini requested.
 
"Erm…….beta main kaise? Maine singing main koi formal education nahi liya hai" she said to the girl's parents.
 
"Aunty yeh kya baat huwi. Abhi abhi to aapne kaha ke aap meri request manoge……..aur abhi?" Nandini made a sad face, and crossed her arms across her chest.
 
"Are beta……..samajhne ki koshish karo" Radhika tried.
 
"Radhikajee…….please maan jaaiye na" Suhasini requested.
 
"Erm…..dekhiye aap galat mat samjhiye. Lekin koi formal education ke bina……main kisi bache ko kaise sangeet sikha sakti hoon"
 
"Please Mummy. Nandini sings well…….." Dhruv urged.
 
However Radhika was apprehensive.
 
"Maan jao na Radhika……" Dev also prodded.
 
"Lekin……"
 
"Are baba…….tum itna acha gaati ho………I am sure she can learn something from you" Dev assured.
 
Radhika smiled and cupped the girl's face. "Okay"
 
Nandini's face brighetened up in an instant. "Yeee!!" she jumped in joy. "To aunty aap mujhe bata do……main aapke ghar aajaungi. Waise bhi main aapke ghar ke bahut paas rehti hoon"
 
"Haan Mummy. She lives in the next lane. Who Raheja Towers hai na……wahan" Dhruv informed.
 
"Are waah beta…….tujhe to bahut pata chal gaya?" Dev asked, teasingly.
 
"To Gudiya? Khush?" Mohan asked his daughter.
 
"Haan Papa" she smiled.
 
Hearing the name 'Gudiya' Dev and Radhika glanced at each other.
 
"Gudiya?"
 
"Haan ghar main ise hum Gudiya kehke bulate hain. Ek lauti hai na" Suhasini answered.
 
Just then Dhruv remembered something. "Are main to kuch bhul hi gaya. Chal na Nandini….."
 
"par kahan?" she asked.
 
"Main yahan tumhe bulaane aaya tha……lekin baaton main bhul gaya……mujhe kuch dikhana tha……chal na" he held her hand and they both rushed off down.
 
"Dhruv! Be careful!!" Dev warned.
 
"Okay papa!!" Dhruv replied behind.
 
"yeh ladka bhi na…….iske pair kahi bhi nahi rukte!" Radhika shook her head.
 
 
 
Sometime later when the elders were coming down, searching for the kids, Dhruv and Nandini rushed to them excitedly.
 
"Are kya huwa? Why are you both so happy" Mohan asked.
 
"Papa chaliye na……..aap sab chaliye" saying both the kids took their parents to a lady.
 
The lady informed them that Dhruv and Nandini have been choosen for performing in the Janmashtami festival as Lord Krishna and Radharani.
 
"Aap logon ko koi problem to nahi hai na" she asked.
 
Dev and Radhika smiled at each other. "Nahi…….we are fine"
 
Mohan and Suhasini too agreed.
 
This made the kids jump in glee. "Yeee!!!"
 
"To theek hai kal aap dono bacho ko mandir ke peeche waale mutt main le aaye. Hum wahi unke performance ki practice karwayenge" the lady informed.
 
"Jee……"
 
"So bachon…….be on time……." The lady said to the excited kids and then took her leave.
 
"Wow!! Nandini……ab hum Radha- Krishn banenge…….." Dhruv said excitedly.
 
"Lekin ab ghar chalenge…….." Suhasini said.
 
"Mummy thodi der aur rukte hain na……" Nandini requested. "Kitna maza aa raha hai"
 
"Beta…..kal practice main miloge na aap dono…….abhi ghar chalkar dinner nahi karna hai?" Radhika asked. "Kal mil lena"
 
"Okay……" Dhruv agreed and both the kids bid good byes to each other.
 
 
Next day, the whole Vrindavan was immersed in Janmashtami preparations……Dev and Radhika were helping to decorate the temple as well.
 
It was early evening when Dev and Radhika went in to see the dance practice of Dhruv and Nandini…….and found them enjoying a lot.
 
"Kitni masti karte hain na dono" Radhika commented standing afar from the place where kids were praticiing. Dev too stood beside her, leaning on the wall.
 
"Haan. Sach much………waise tumne ek baat notice ki. Yeh dono ek hi school main padte hain……but they never met there……..woh mandir main mile…….aur sabse coincidence waali baat yeh hai…….ke who kal ke din mile…….jis din hum mile the pehli baar"
 
Radhika smiled. "Haan. Yeh itefaaq to hai"
 
He turned his gaze back to the kids and smiled looking at Nandini. "Ek baat kahun"
 
"Kya?"
 
He looked at her and inched closer. "Mujhe Nandini main tumhari parchayi dikhti hai"
 
She shifted her gaze to him. "Jee?"
 
"Hmm. Who bilkul waisi hi dikhti hai…….jaise tum bachpan main dikhti thi…….wahi hasi…… wahi masumiyat…...wahi natkhatpana" he touched her nose.
 
She smiled at that and looked at Nandini again. "Acha?"
 
"Hmm. Infact uska to pet name bhi Gudiya hi hai……..just like yours" he said.
 
"Are haan…….." Radhika realized.
"Isiliye mujhe yeh bachi itni pyaari lagti hai" he said.
 
"Hmm. Ek aur baat notice ki aapne……."
 
"Kya?"
 
"Dhruv ki aur uski dosti kitni gehri ho gayi hai na? I mean kal hi to mile the……..aur aise lagta hai…….najane kabse ek doosre ke dost hon" Radhika said, gazing at the kids lovingly.
 
"Yeh baat to bilkul sahi hai. Itne saalon se nahi mile…….aur jab kanha ke mandir main pehli baar mile……they hit it off instantly…….kitne ache dost ban gaye……..kitne kam samay main…….jaise Kanha ne hi inki dosti karwani chahi ho"
 
He paused for a second and continued again. "Bilkul humare jaise……."
 
"Humare jaise?" she asked gazing in to his eyes.
 
"Hum bhi kitne saalon baad ek doosre se mile…….aur jab pehli baar kanha ke mandir main mile……...to bas pehli baar main hi pyaar ho gaya" he mumbled cutely.
 
She couldn't help a blush.
 
"Waise hi yeh dono bhi usi mandir main……..usi tareekh main mile…….aur milte hi itni gehri dosti ho gayi…….jaise ismain Kanha ki marzi chupi thi……." He chuckled.
 
Her gaze went distant on hearing this – was it like that truly?
 
"Kahi Kanha hume koi ishara to nahi karna chahte?" she asked.
 
He shrugged. "Pata nahi. Jab samay aayega……..to ishara bhi samaj aajayega" he smiled.
 
Hearing this, she nodded and turned her gaze back to the kids again who were in their own worlds……playing the Kanha and Radha……………………………
 
 
The janmashtami night went quite nicely with pomp and joy. Entire Vrindavan was glittering with lights and flowers. Radhika wished entire Purohit Family could be here, but since Dadima wasn't feeling well others decided to stay back. But she was happy atleast Dhruv and pari were able to see all this.
 
The next evening was Dhruv and Nandini's performance.
 
Dev and Radhika came in the tent that doubled up as a green room for the kids to get ready. Dev was holding little pari in his arms, who was enchanted by the shimmering lights and the fair outside.
 
"Dhruv?" Radhika called.
 
The boy turned, looking every bit like a cute Krishna……with dark blue paint all over his body; he was wearing ornaments and a silk readymade dhoti kind of clothing.
 
"Areeh waah…….mera beta to sach much Kanha lag raha hai" Radhika said, kneeling down.
 
"Sachi Mummy?" he asked happily, although he was feeling a little uncomfortable in this dress and makeup…..but Radhika's smile made it up for everything.
 
"Bilkul……." She took some kaajal from her eyes and applied on the back of his head. "Dekhiye na…….mera beta Kanha kitna khoobsurat lag raha hai"
 
Dev grinned, nodding. "Haan who to hai……..ek kami hai…….bansuri kii" saying, he took the flute from the table beside and gave it to his son.
 
"Haan ab theek lag raha hai" she approved.
 
Just then Nandini came in, all dressed up as Radharani, and began giggling on seeing Dhruv. "hehehehe……..yeh kya?"
 
"Kya huwa?" Dhruv asked, checking himself.
 
"Aaj to Radharani ke saamne……..Kishan Kanhaiya kuch nahi lagenge…….main to kitni sundar lag rahi hoon……..aur tum…….hehehe" she replied, giggling.
 
"Excuse me? Humesha Kanha sabse ache lagte hain……..Radha se bhi ache……..hain na papa" Dhruv asked, looking up at his father.
 
Little pari, who finally tore her eyes from the shimmering lights, looked at her brother and couldn't help a laugh
 
"hehe…….bhaiyaa aise kyun lag rahe hain Papa?" the three year old asked in cute voice.
 
"Dekha ab to tumhari behen bhi nahi rok paayi apni hasi……..aise jo lag rahe ho" nandini teased further.
 
"Papa! Kya main acha nahi lag raha?" Dhruv asked.
 
"Nahi beta…….aap to bahut ache lag rahe ho…….Kanha to sabse sundar hote hain" Dev replied.
 
"Nahi Uncle. Sabse sundar to Radha rani hoti hai" Nandini chirped. "hain na Aunty?"
 
Radhika smiled and patted her cheeks "haan…..woh to hai"
 
"Kya Mummy? You should take my side" Dhruv complained.
 
"Dhruv jo sach hai wahi aunty ne kaha na" Nandini said, giggling.
 
"Hmm" Radihka smiled, just to tease Dhruv a little.
 
Dev disagreed. "Aisa kuch nahi hai…….sabse sundar to Kanhajee hi hai……..tabhi to Vrindavan ki saree gopiyan unke peeche diwani banke ghumti thi"
 
"Jee nahi" Radhika got up. "Balke Radha Rani itni khoobsurat hai……ke sabka man mohne waale……..Kanha bhi……unke prem ke diwane ho gaye……kanha ka dil to apni Radha rani ke liye hi dhadakta hai…….."
 
Dev smiled – ofcourse if Radhika was his Radharani, he won't mind accepting it.
 
"Nahi Radhika……..balke……..Radharani unki diwani thi……..itni diwaani ke unke bansuri ke dhun pe……….sab kuch bhul unke peeche bhagti thi……." He replied.
 
Radhika smiled – ofcourse she would always yearn for her husband's love and would forget everything when he loved her………..
 
They both got lost in each other's eyes.
 
Meanwhile, Dhruv and Nandini began quarelling on who was better – Kanha or Radha.
 
"Radharani jyaada sundar hai……." Nandini said, placing her hands on waist.
 
"Kanha!" Dhruv snapped.
 
"Radharani!"
 
Their noises brought Dev and Radhika back.
 
"Chup karo tum dono. Na Radharani jyaada hai……..na Kanha kam. Dono ek hain…….tabhi to unka naam humesha ek saath liya jaata hai………Radha Krishna…….hai na?" Radhika smiled.
 
Dhruv and Nandini also smiled.
 
"Acha……ab tum donno meri baat dhyaan se suno…….performance ke baad hume jaldi ghar jaana hoga. Dinner karke raat ki flight bhi pakadni hai…..Delhi jaana hai yaad hai na?" she told both the kids.
 
Nandini touched her forehead, remembering. "Flight to humara bhi hai Aunty"
 
Radhika patted her cheek. "Pata hai aapki Mummy ne abhi bataya. Isiliye performance ke baad seedhe ghar chalna hai……..no masti……..kal school bhi jaana hai na" she reminded
 
Hearing school's name, Dhruv made a face and Radhika tapped his cheek.
 
"School ka  naam sunte hi kaise shakl banata hai yeh ladka…….kal subah koi natak nahi. Jaldi uthkar school jaana hai okay" Radhika warned.
 
"Aunty aap fikr mat karo……….hum dono ne na ek pact kiya hai" Nandini informed.
 
"Pact?" Dev asked in curiousness.
 
"Haan Uncle. Pact. Who main to aapke ghar ke paas hi rehti hoon na……..to kal se main aur Dhruv saath main school jaayenge. Aur agar yeh kal school ke liye jaldi na uthe na…….don't worry aunty…….main aakar ispar jug bhar ke paani dalkar utha dungi ise…….." Nandini assured cutely.
 
Hearing this, Dev and Radhika couldn't help laughing. Radhika held Nandini's cheek and pressed a kiss on her head. "theek hai……aise hi karna"
 
Just then pari started moving a little and Dev patted on her bum cutely. "Kya? Bahar jaana hai? Lighting dekhni hai?" he asked.
 
Little Pari nodded cutely.
 
"Chalo Nandini hume bhi der ho rahi hai………Performance ke liye. Ma'm ne kaha tha stage ke peeche aake khade hone ke liye"
 
"All the best" Dev and Radhika said.
 
"Thank you" Both the kids shouted in chorus.
 
"Chal Nandini" Dhruv held her hand and both ran off.
 
Radhika kept staring at her son who was taking Nandini along with him in a hurry until they disappeared and then smiled to herself.
 
"Kya huwa?" Dev asked.
 
"Kitni pyaari hai na Nandini"
 
"Hmm……chale" he asked.
 
"Jee….."
 
They sauntered out towards the stage.
 
Kanha's idol placed in the corner of the tent, smiled sweetly…………

Everyone gathered outside near the stage and performance began.
 
Please ignore the CB2 cast or assume them to be people of Vrindavan hehe Wink}
 


Edited by sia_lovely - 29 September 2011 at 2:40pm

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sia_lovely

IF-Rockerz

sia_lovely

Joined: 04 July 2006

Posts: 5049

Posted: 29 September 2011 at 3:00pm | IP Logged

Hey Everyone,

Firstly THANKS A BUNCH to everyone who liked the previous parts so much. Thanks to everyone who commented and Thanks to everyone who pressed the like button Big smile 

So the FF...True Love...which started exactly 2 years from today, has been finished. Smile 

Yes, RaDev's beautiful journey in this TRUE LOVE has begun...begun, did i say? But i just said...the FF finished! Because True Love stories never end Big smile The FF might be finished, but with all problems in RaDev's life being removed, they are still going ahead in their journey Big smile

When I had started the FF, i had been really apprehensive wondering if the FF will get accepted. Will people love my slightly twisted story? Will i be able to convince people of my story. Confused Nevertheless i started writing...and i didn't get disappointed at all! Infact was and am still overwhelmed by the enormous support i got in this Forum!! Big smile

During this 2 years, I got so many appreciation...that i became confident of my writing. I wasn't earlier, but due to everyone's immense support I started giving more time...and could see tremendous improvement. And all because of you people.Hug It was because of this, i could even realize of this skill in me. Smile 

I know i stretched the FF a lot!! LOL Made you wait endlessly for many weeks and sometimes even months together LOL But I AM REALLY SORRY for all that. I never did it on purpose, but because of work and other issues i had to delay the updates most often. However, I am glad to have such lovely readers in you all who stood through and waited patiently for me to update. Never mistook my unresponsiveness and always very understanding! Hug  Hug  Hug 

This FF has become really close to my heart...I have given 2 yrs of my life to this FF, spent so many moments thinking about the scenes, scenarios...and what not. Big smile But I loved the journey with you all. Your support made me re-think harder...didn't let me compromise of the quality... made me think more and more so that i can bring something good for you all to read Big smile Every single PM, every single comment of every single reader had contributed in making this FF!!


So...THANKS A TON TO YOU ALLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you too enjoyed this journey with me a lot...Thanks guys for everything. Smile 

Well, it does feel bad to depart from this FF...didn't feel that bad while posting the parts, didn't feel bad while writing this post...but now when this post has come to an end...it does feel bad Cry Nevertheless, it goes on Smile

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Devika.

IF-Dazzler

Devika.

Joined: 23 December 2009

Posts: 3940

Posted: 29 September 2011 at 4:15pm | IP Logged
Sia,
This is the best surprise for me today when i opened my post..  The initial part of true love made me go crazy, more than CB i prayed for you to give  updates,ans always read with a smile on my face... it was indeed that beautiful. As you know my impatience during the initaial stage of this story, still i cherish it the most.
 
Your literacy  skill is high, so hope you will come out with the best in your life in future and  bring all those smiles in everyone's face.
Really appreciate all your time and effort.
 
want to share that one of the responses (by Priya -radev) in my FF said she loves your FF so much and she always consider you as number 1Star .  I hope you will continue to hold that in your readers mind.Thumbs Up
Good luck and Best wishes..
Take care
Devika
 
 

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