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Radhika was already awake and was recollecting the places that she visited the day before. She thought how can people make such beautiful creations with nature. More than anything the cleanliness and the people's behavior exclaimed her, she didn't see anyone misbehaving even when they waited for the transport or on the way or at any public places they visited, they all waited for their turns to come.
"what are you thinking so hard?" Dev's husky sleepy voice brought her back into reality.
Radhika snuggled into his arm. "aap uth gaye?"
Dev in his sleepy voice: that is not what I asked
Radhika trying to look at his half open sleepy eyes, with a smile: I was thinking about the places we visited yesterday and the people's behavior in general.
Dev tightening his hand on her upper arm: see I did fail na.
Dev: um, it is not morning yet, and you are still laying in my hold , but you are thinking about the places that we visited. with a tinge of sadness to his tone
Radhika: that because I was simply.
Dev interrupted: no simply Radhika, that is the truth na. we just got married, and we hardly got some time together back in India, and here, we spend just one day and you already started flying away with your thoughts.
Radhika moving her head up: so you think like that.
Dev: that's the truth na.
Dev: prove it.
Radhika: what proof ?
Dev: that you were missing me over these place thoguhts.
Radhika thought for a moment
Dev: see, now you need to think. That's what I said, I failed.
Radhika releasing herself from his arms, sat at the head end on the bed. She pulled the sheet to cover her legs and adjusted on her gown to sit properly; which he insisted her to wear before bed.
Dev: ab kya huva.
Radhika: I was thinking..
Radhika: today are we going only to visit Rema deedi 's place, or are we going somewhere else too.
Dev widening his eyes: Radhikaaa.
Radhika in a normal tone : kya?
Dev: you are still thinking about the places, I thought you will say something about me, and our love.
Radhika: what is there to say now? We got married na
Dev sat back: what?!!
Radhika: ha, see now you are mine and I am yours, let's talk about today's plan.
Dev with a childish tone: today we are not going anywhere, I am feeling sleepy, so goodnight. Ok. Saying that he slide down and pulled on the sheet and covered his head with it.
Radhika: can we go to the Temple.
She looked at Dev with a teasy smile but didn't get any response. She leaned over to his head, she tried to pull on the sheet to see his face, but he held it tight. She smiled and feeling his ear she said: I was just joking.
She didn't get any response back.
Radhika moved closer to his ear and said: I think these places are looking beautiful because you are near me, because you are showing these to me, because you dreamed to show me these places, then trailing off her voice with a self thought ,because I am seeing your lonely time in these places.. ' saying that she lay on her back and continued her talk looking at the ceiling: yes, I love to see all these places, all those people who you interacted alone, I miss all those moment with you, being away from you, but now I am trying to live in those moment, I want you to feel my presence everywhere along with you, I know I may sound mad, but I am literally living in those separation time of ours now, where you were alone, I know it was painful for you as it was so painful for me , each minute that I spend without you. I tried to fill it with so many things, but the nature that I loved most, became so dull without your presence,
Radhika continued in trance unaware of DEv's eyes looking at her....All those became colorful, voiceful, and filled my heart again when I heard about your return, when I heard you are coming to take me away with you. Everything became back into life for me. I may sound so mad, but I lived in those moment that.........
"you always surprise me Radhika" his voice mumbled near her ear, as his fingers nibbled on her right earlobe, playing with her earrings.
She kept her silence, trying to come back to normalcy.
Dev keeping his head down with his lips near her left ear, continued to mumble: ha Radhika, you surprised me when I saw you first time, you totally changed the image of a village girl inside me. Then raising his head above her cheek , looking at her face, he asked: when did you start loving me Radhika?
Radhika cornered her eyes to look at him, surprisingly.
Dev : bethavona Radhika, when you really started loving me?
Radhika: patha nahi
Dev propping his head on his arm and looking curiously into her eyes: kyum?
Radhika with a smile: do you know?
Radhika: when you started loving me?
Dev with a thinking: ummmm. Maybe when I rescued you from the river.
Dev again with a thinking: I think so, or maybe before that when granny joined our hand, or may be when I saw you first time, standing on that river side, all wet, covering your half face, and I did see your beautiful eyes, looking at me, but I didn't recognize that till my last visit. And you?
Radhika: maybe me too, same like you in a normal tone
Dev laying on his back , holding onto her hand: you know what, I never thought anyone will come this close to my heart, and especially you.
Radhika tightened her forehead: why?
Dev: simply, because you never behaved like a girl.
Radhika: oh really, so what was your expectation of a girl
Dev: ummmm... not really, I never had any expectation.
Dev: ha, maybe I had, I loved it when I saw the blushing on your cheek, when you were near me; I loved it seeing you playing around me; I felt being at the highest point, when you danced for me; I loved it when your eyes searched for me; I loved it when you sounded cared about me. Giving a kiss on her finger, he continued: I loved it when you acted angry with me. So maybe that was my imagination of a girl.
Radhika lifting her head up and coming closer to his face: so then how come you didn't see those girls, who were behind you with all these changes.
Dev: really, did I miss anyone. Few lines appeared over his forehead as it was a surprise news for him.
Dev: I never noticed anyone like that, then very curiously so really there was anyone was behind me who was cuter than you?
Radhika's face changed color and she took her hand out from his grip and grabbed a small pillow, and did hit him on his upper torso: you are very mean
Dev blocking on that pillow: tell me the truth Radhika, actually I didn't notice anyone, so only showing all his white teeth out with an ear to ear smile.
Radhika started hitting him more and more: even if somebody comes on your way na, I will shoo them off..
Dev: really! , trying to take breaths with blocking the hits
Radhika throw the pillow to the side and lay on her back and then turned to the other side facing away from him.
Dev controlled his laugh and then taking few breaths, he looked at his Radhika , and found her laying facing her back towards him.
He pulled on her shoulder.
But she pulled it back strongly, he did again and then with really forceful, and found her wet eyes.
She didn't say anything
Dev: kya huva, I was just joking. In fact I was feeling jealous.
Radhika looked at him surprisingly:
Dev: Ha Radhika, , I felt jealous , being not near you.
Dev: kuch nahi, I thought somebody else is the hero who you may like.
Radhika: what? Who?
Dev bringing a childish face: what else I do, you only called me a villain, remember,
Radhika: when did I call you villain?
Dev: remember, because of me you had to leave chandenpur
Radhika as if recollecting it : ha, now because of you, I had to leave whole India, to be near you, so I think you are really the villain. She cornered her eyes to look at him
Dev: Ok then take it that way, but now this vllain is really feeling villonish (me invented this word , if you never heard it before)
Dev : soon it will be bright outside.
He just forced on her upper back and she landed on his chest. His arms wrapped around her and her face dig down his neck space'
Radhika was drying her hair with a soft towel as Dev was sliding down his tee standing behind her. Taking the towel from her he started drying the length of it.
Dev: Radhika, how long it took for this hair to grow this long.
Dev: tell me na, I never seen anybody with such long hairs, it is really difficult to manage na
Radhika: nahi tho, I used to it. Ha , at home, mom or daadi used to massage my hair with special oil once in a week, while I read a book or something and then after sitting for hours, you don't know how relaxing it is, sometimes i sleep too, looking at the book. I used to rinse it with the shampoo that mom made.
Radhika with a smile: I never used this branded ones, in fact brought some from home, mom made it and dried it, and told to soak it before applying to my hair.
Dev: you really brought that also with you!.
Radhika: hum, you didn't see.
Dev: not really, thank God, nobody caught us at the airport
Radhika with an innocent voice: caught for what?
Dev: nothing, anyway we got escaped this time na, next time I will be careful.
Radhika smiled taking the towel back from him. Seeing her smile, he wrapped his arms around her and resting his chin on her shoulder , looking at the mirror he said: ok, today let's go to temple first, and then to a store to buy some chocolates and toys for Pranav and then go to Rema deedi's place, ok.
Dev looked ta her surprisingly: what?
Rahdika: ha Suchi mom packed it , saying it is for Pranav; that she brought a nice sherwani for Pranav and also a nice saree for Rema deedi and sweets for them too.
Radhika: where you were when we packed all that.
Dev: I was near only, but I didn't hear mom saying anything.
Radhika giggled seeing his surprise look. Dev 's lips came near to her cheek and he tried to turn her towards him.
Radhika: not now, we are going to Temple right.
Dev: ha, but for you, I am the God, Ok
Radhika smiled and pushing on his chest she said: ha you are, and we are having good time togetherr na.
Dev with his passionate tease voice: so you loved our bath?
Radhka with a blushing cheek: move away, so now it is time to thank the God for letting us to be together this soon.
Dev: He only separated us earlier , right?
Radhika: but now He brought us together forever na
Dev smiled: ha that's right
Radhika: ok then, let's get ready quick
Radhika with a smile followed him. She was wearing a nice saffron color churidar with stone and bead work with a cream color bottom with saffron ankle border, and her duppatta was a mix of these two colors which was freely laying over her chest, down from her neck lane towards the back. Her hair was clipped behind. Dev walked closer to her keeping his goggles back in his shirt's pocket, he was wearing a cream color short sleeve shirt with black jeans.
They entered the shoe room and placed the footwear in one empty slot and after washing hands, they climbed the stairs to the main Idol place.
Dev brought the slip for archana , and handed the packet in Radhika's hand who was still looking around with a smile on her lips seeing it all. She was seeing her Dev, trying to tie that Rakhi in his wrist while Pranav running around, she saw few more pranav around her along with giggly sounds of girls. She saw girls with stylish hair , standing quiet near their mom's side, looking very innocent. She imagined herself back in chandenpur, she never behaved this well, never stayed so calm near her mom's side, she was running around along with Rahul or other kids and speaking loud to reach her instructions into their ears. Even now also after seeing all these Indian colors around her, she felt like flying above, but the quietness and calm behavior of grown up girls surprised her.
But then a little one just brushed on her side and was started running towards the other end. Radhika holding onto her sliding duppatta, looked at that side with concern, saw the little girl in a nice shiny silk long blouse and skirt, running on that marbled floor, and two other little ones following her. She smield ear to ear seeing their happiness, that attracted her more.
Dev: kaha khoyi ho, chalo
Radhika smiled at him, showing the little girls in that cute dress.
Dev smiled at them too and then guided her to the inner Idols' place.
Suddenly a couple came and sat near , leaving little space from them. Radhika looked at them as the voice of a tiny one caught her attention. She saw the mother taking the baby out from a small child seat and trying to pacify him by making him to lay on her lap and with the milk bottle into his mouth. The baby's lips just tried to latch onto it very hard , but then twitching his lips wide , he cried out spitting out little drops out, His mother was trying hard to make him to swallow it but the baby's voice started attracting other little ones around too. The mom was trying hard to show the baby to looks at these little brothers and sisters , saying how cute their dress is, listening to their giggles, but nothing seems to be working. Finally she looked at her husband's face with her defeat. He sat near and said something and soon they grabbed their stuff and walked away.
Radhika saw the little kids rallying the couple to outside, giggling behind trying to comfort the baby, the baby's wet eyes looked at the kids with a surprise face and with silent throat as the moment on his dad's upper chest gave him more comfort to look at them down.
Radhika: he will be ok na
Dev's eyes following the couple: um
Radhika: so cute na
Radhika's eyes still followed them.
But they walk out, she saw another little one, laying with his closed eyes, sucking onto that bottle comfortably and drifting into deep sleep.
She felt a relief seeing that and she held his upper arm for support as her eyes checked on the dressings of kids and the people around and their talk .
Raadhika picked the gift in her hand as they were walking towards Rema's house.
Radhika: big house!. Looking at the house
Dev smiled and said: what you think, they are here for long, and I think they recently moved to here, before that they were living in a townhome.
Radhika: townhome? Where is that?
Dev with a smile: that is own house only, but smaller than this. and you own only the house, the surrounding land won't count.
Radhika looked at him puzzled
Dev: don't worry about understanding that now, when we move on with next step in our life , you will understand it. Ok
Radhika again smiled as Dev pressed on that door bell. Radhika looked around and smiled at the nice garden of rose bushes and few other unfamiliar flowers.
The door opened in front of them and Balaji's voice reached along with that: Dev, come come. Radhika, come on.
Dev: hello sir in a normal smiley tone
Bakaji: come on buddy he just welcomed them inside very casually.
Soon Pranav showed up holding onto his dad's legs, looked at the strangers, but then a recognizable smile came on his lips as his eyes met Dev's face.
Dev: hi Pranav as he walked in with Radhika
Pranav with another smile ran inside and then climbed onto the steps upstairs.
Radhika felt strange seeing him running away like that, especially after seeing the gifts in her hand.
Balaji closing the door behind: he will be back soon, and might have felt little shy.
Balaji invited them to sit on the sofa. Radhika looked around
Balaji: Rema will be coming. Then looking at Dev: you know her na, from morning she was circling around that kitchen area. Then in a very secretly way I hope she made something tasty this time.
Rahdika looked at Balaji's talk strangely while Dev laughed light at his statement.
"what are you saying so secretly there" soon Rema's voice came into their space. Radhika looked up to see her face and slwoly raised from the sofa along with Dev, at the same time Balaji rolled his eyes towards Dev. He smiled again
Rema coming with two glass of water in her hand for the guest, , wearing a nice cotton churidar with the duppatta tied to the side, as if she is coming from some a physically labored workplace: Hi Dev, now don't tell me any excuses for not calling me after coming here , ok.
Dev: vo mei
Rema: I told you na, not to find any reason she showed her unhappy face
Balaji: what is this Rema, see Radhika seeing you first time and you already started
Rema looking at Radhika smiled and asked her sit back, she came and sat near balaji.
"so this Radhika, um, Padmaja told me that she met you at restaurant' saying that her eyes measured Radhika from head to toe within a glance.
Rema looking at Dev: why you took so long?. I thought we can sit and talk for sometime while cooking.
Dev: we went to Temple.
Balaji clapping his hands once loudly : I told you na, see this is only the beginning, now you will go frequenly
Rema: aap bhi na. there is nothing like that dev, he is just joking
Radhika smiled seeing their interaction.
Rema: Radhika, why you are sitting so silent. Did you like the Temple?
Radhika nodded her head in agreement with a smile on her face.
Suddenly as if remembering something, she extended her hand with the gift,
Rema looking at Dev: what is the need for all these Dev? You know us well na, why you need to behave so formally.
Radhika with a little chuckle: vo, mom send this for you , from delhi
Within fraction of second Rema grabbed the gift from Radhika's hand repeating : from Delhi!!!!
Balaji: see how her color changed when she heard Delhi.
Radhika smiled again. Rema's eyes looked into the gift , as if a little one without having any patience to see what is inside that wrap.
Dev: I think it is some sweets
Rema's eyes widened: sweets, from delhi!!!
Within seconds the gift got opened and her eyes widened seeing a nice sherwani for Pranav: OMG! Look at this very cute
Placing that on Balaji's lap , her hand picked up the saree, she looked at Balaji's reaction with her corner look and then just rubbed on it ,as she was unable to open that in front of the men, thinking of Balaji's comment.
Balaji: Radhika, now your deedi, will cook everyday nice meals for you, so don't worry, you got in her good book. Unwillingly she placed that saree to the side and then picked the sweets
Rema: that is not fair, there is more than one, you need to share.
They heard a the door bell ringing Rema coming back to reality: that should be Padmaja, I called her too.
Balaji got up and went to open the door.
Rema placed everything back in order and got up, Padmaja came in with a tray and acknowledging their presence she went in directly towards the kitchen area.
Balaji: did you see now, this is her hospitality,. she invited you two, and then asked Padamaja to cook . see
Padmaja coming back: she didn' t ask me too, but I only volunteered to do it, it is just some sweets.
Balaji: see on time, there is sweets from Delhi, that Dev and Radhika brought
Rema: where is Dheeraj and Vikrom
Padmaja: they are coming. I think still playing around the new video thing.
Balaji: oh, I thought of looking into that, Dev come, lets look at it, I am also thinking of fitting one in our van too, otherwise it is difficult to travel with Pranav, he easily get bored. Come Dev
Dev just followed Balaji looking at Radhika ensuring he is around and went out, with Balaji.
Rema taking a deep breath: Padamaj a, you don't believe, Dev's mom send me a Saree too. I was just waiting for him to disappear from my sight. Come will go inside and look at it.
Rema: Pranav, come here
He hide back behind the curtain.
Padmaja went and grabbed him in her hand: did you see Vikrom, he is here too. Come I will show you.
Pranav with a happy smile , looked out to spot his friend.
Radhika looked back at Rema
Radhika smiled listening to her.
"Yesterday we were also telling about your hair, this is natural , right" Padamja voice came near as she walked in.
Rema: ha Padmaja, I also was looking at that. You are right, beautiful na. Mine also was longer but not this thick at all. Rema started picking on plates and vessels
Rema arranging the plates on the table: ha, also Radhika, the water also is different na, so you may loose some hair, but who knows, yours look so healthy so.
Radhika nodded her head.
Rema: me too came the same way, then few years of rest and then the process will change somehow these men will find you a working visa.
Radhika: Deedi, you work too
Rema: I was, till Pranav was 1yr old, our parents were here, but then when I send him to day care and all, he was getting frequent ear infection and all, so instead of calling child sick all the time, I changed my status to house wife. When he will start going to school, I will also look for another job.
Rema looking at Radhika: but Vikrom, does really fine with day care routine. And then looking at Padmaja: may be these doctor's have some secret medicine that they are not sharing.
Rema: Radhika you also take na
Radhika: no deedi I am fine.
"oh ho, so you are finishing everything"balaji's voice caught their attention
Padmaja: how can we do that. We were just tasting it.
Balaji looking at Dheeraj: see, just tasting, and then looking at the box" oh my God, look at them, this was full, now only few left, if you taste it this way, what about when you really eat?'
Rema: see everything is ready, was waiting for you guys
Balaji: ha, now you can easily blame on us.,
Padmaja: why not, when you guys see some electronic product, looks like a small kid who got fascinated by new toy and within minutes you people will start dig on manufacturer, prize, best shop, use of it, and to its each and every parts.
Vikrom tapped on his hand giving the cheer back
Dheeraj smiled at Radhika saying: oh ya, and welcome to U.S.
Rema coming near with the sweet box: yes, with the sweet
Dheeraj took the whole box in his hand: thanks Dev and Radhika, for your happiness, saying that he gulped a big piece.
Balaji: share with me too yaar
Rema: ok now food is ready, let's all sit together.
Radhika looked at Pranav and Vikrom as the time was passing by. She munched onto the food listening to more of her story, in between small talk of her own town and her home.
BalajI; ha, nice company, I think now you two fit better with them.
They shared the laugher and smile and jokes till evening.
Padmaja: so which store you are going to
Dev: just the near one. We were managing with the left overs, so need to purchase something to cook on from tomorrow.
Rema giving the packed food bag in Radhika's hand: anyway you don't have to worry about tonight.
Dev: that is true.
They thanked both families. Radhika tapped on Pranav's and Vikrom's cheek with a smile and they gave her high fives and walked along with Dev towards the car. Radhika saw the Tulsi plant in a big pot, that was grown upto a big mother plant now.
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RaDev interactions were the best so far---very cute and loving and loved the conversation and the explanations...I really liked the way Radhika was explaining her feelings about Chandenpur without Dev and her reason why she enjoyed her tour with him..and loved Dev's teasing and nakhares and then making up----
You are doing great with these light moments--needed to set the stage for the next phase'You are very effectively using the conversations to give a feel for the life in US....
when one is new, we meet people who take us under their wings and help us--stuff our husbands couldn't help us with; and in your FF--you have brought in Balaji and Rema and Padmaja...that part was well done, especially getting the gifts for Pranav and Rema from Delhi'very touching moment
There are many parts in this
FF, I feel, reflects my experiences too'I am sure there are others who feel the
same'and the end--nice touch with Tulsi plant; that was how Dev became friends
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