'LOCK AND KEY'
Again another morning, and again it was Archana rushing through the busy chores of cooking, cleaning, dressing up Punni, and handing Varsha and Vaishu their little things. Nothing different on the exterior.
However, things had changed. The previous night, Archana had walked straight to her mother, put her head in her mother's lap and cried her heart out. She had thanked her whole family for being so supportive and had assured them that at least for their sake, she would put the whole incident behind as a bad dream. Everyone had been so stirred up. They had all promised each other that they would never discuss this thing again. The chapter would close.
Archana looked out of the kitchen window. It seems there was some commotion in the garage across the street. The shutters had not yet been pulled up. A number of men had gathered and were breaking the lock.
That reminded her. Before the chapter closed, there was an important thing to be done.
Manav turned behind to see Sulochana standing with Archana. He immediately left the lock and came to talk to them.
"Kaku.. you and here.. you could have called me..."
Sulochana smiled and handed him a large bunch of keys. "Lost the keys?"
Manav gave a sheepish look. "Yes, I've become a bit careless it seems. Don't know where me mind is nowadays.." Momentarily his eyes went to Archana's face... but he controlled himself from staring at her. "Thanks a lot, I hope one of these fits.. otherwise will have to break the lock... Girishji is also not there."
"It should be us who should be thanking you. We are overdue anyway. You have done a lot for us beta..."
Manav glanced at the crowd. Everyobody was busy with the lock. He lowered his voice. "It is nothing so big or special Kaku... anyone in my place would have done it. I had told you na, Bappa doesn't hurt good people. This time he sent me to prevent things from going wrong..." He bit his tongue when he realised things had already gone wrong.. "I mean... things could have been worse, right Kaku."
Sulochana gave a weak smile. "You are right. But we have decided to put back the past now and move ahead. Just pray to Bappa to give us strength..." she could not complete her sentence. "We will leave now."
She turned and started walking away with Archana.
Manav looked back at the garage. Most of the crowd had dissipated, apparently the initial excitement of lock-breaking had waned away. He gave a sigh, walked back and started trying the bunch of keys that Sulochana had given him.
"Still at it, bro?"
Manav was hot and frustrated. "Don't you have any other work other than fooling around here all day?"
Tarun laughed. "Of course, I have work. Squandering my Dad's wealth, hanging out with my girlfriends, giving you love tips and.."
He stopped short. Manav looked at where he was staring. Archana had come out to buy veggies from the vendor.
"Hey what happened after that?"
"You know very well. Her marriage broke."
"I know that... but did that incident change your equation with her or her family."
"Not really, her Aai came this morning and said she was very grateful and stuff.. and that they were ready to move ahead..."
Tarun frowned. "Sweet way of saying, 'Hey guy, thanks for all you did, but don't dream of being family.'" He was going to say more, when he suddenly saw Archana coming over to them. He shook Manav's arm and made him stand up.
"Ji.. you and here?" said Manav, feeling embarassed at his sweaty condition and greasy hands. Sulochana was not with her!!!
"Not broken till now.."
"Good quality lock... I bought it so no thief could break it, now I can't break it." Tarun giggled.. Manav gave him a 'Don't embarass me please' look. "Uh.. I'll get tea for us Manav," he said and ran away. Leave the potential love birds alone , he thought. Manav felt uncomfortable.
"This is for you..." she said handing him a hair pin. "Simple and convenient."
Manav smiled as he took it. Chalo, yeh bhi try kar liya jaye.. "Thanks... umm... can I ask you something... uh.. does your Aai know about last night..."
Archana shrugged.. "No, and I don't want her to know... ever."
Manav nodded. "It will stay between us... forever."
Archana looked into his eyes. Somehow his words always had a lot more meaning than he intended. She did not know what to say and turned away. Manav kept looking at her as he picked at the lock with the hair pin.
"Khyalon mein... khyalon mein..." Tarun teased returning with tea.
"Not now, Tarun, I'm trying to think."
Manav was utterly frustrated now. "Yes, about her."
"Well, what about her."
"I will have to do something to make her move on in life."
Tarun gulped the hot tea in one go. "Wait a moment. Why will you do something? She has her family. Why should you get into all this... oh okay...'move on in life'... fair enough, give her your shoulder to cry.. I see much potential..."
Manav got angry. "I knew you wouldn't understand. That is why I didn't want to tell you. This is not some Mills and Boons romanic story, nor is this some Bollywood flick that you see romantic potential in everything. I am saying i have to help her move on.. bcoz.."
Tarun raised a brow.
"...bcoz her parents don't know that she was on the verge of committing suicide last night. That she's broken down and depressed. Her mother might have said that they have decided to put things back and move on, but how? By fixing another match for her? By making her face more rejections? They don't know that she is not upse bcoz her marriage broke, she is upset bcoz she feels that with all the humiliation, she has become a burden on her parents. Nothing will happen, with each rejection, only her guilt will increase.. that she is a burden on her family etc etc."
:"You see things now, Tarun. Indirectly, the responsibility comes upon me to see that this girl does not do anything foolhardy since she hasn't told her parents and I can't go and tell them directly. If tomorrow she does something bad, I won't be able to forgive myself that I had an idea that things were bad, but still didn't do anything."
Tarun was sombre now. "Yaar... I always used to tease you... but now I fear you are getting a little too seriously involved. Leave her.. her parents will take care. Who knows what they will do if they come to know that you have been trying to get close to her, even if for her sake."
"I won't get close to her Tarun, not at all... I only want that there should be an inlet for her happiness and an outlet for her depression. It shouldn't build inside. The inlet is in the form of her family, I don't need to do anything or get close to her. I have to think about the outlet."
"So have you thought of anything as yet..."
Manav thoughtfully picked at the lock with the hairclip. "Will have to speak to Shravani... she is the only one who can help me here."
Tarun was aghast... "Dude.. I am NOT gonna let you do that.. are you crazy.?"
Manav wasn't listening. He kept thinking... this is the key to the whole problem.
Click... the lock opened.
Edited by nikitagmc - 03 April 2010 at 4:56pm