Joined: 03 October 2010
"Zindagi gawakar bhi jo zindagi mile,
Har khushi gawakar bhi jo ek khushi mile
Tu manglo, Tere Liye" ' Kishore Kher
Translation: if I had to sacrifice a life for a life, if I had to give up all my happiness, for one moment of smile'It would be for you.
The sun dawned in the peaks of Himalayas as darkness evaded the twilight. The warm song of nature reached the ears of a 23 year old girl standing at the 'mandir.' Soon two songs intertwined as the melodious voice of Taani joined the nature's. It was time for her afternoon prayers and as usual she was singing 'aarti'. When she was finished, she guided the light illuminated on her tray of flowers around her house, hoping to wade of evil.
"Taani! Taani!" the high pitched voice of her ' Bhabhi' caused her head to turn towards the source. the bangles and anklets that adorned her small hands and feet made a chan noise that alerted the arriver of her presence. Her feet led her to a elder lady holding her 7 year old son's hand while the other attempted to hold numerous shopping bags. Putting her tray down, Taani ran towards Bhabhi to help her. Rushing didn't seem to disturb her elegance as her flowing salwar shaped her body adorned with perfection. After placing all bags on the table, her Bhabhi plopped down on the coach, smiling with relief. Seeing her glorious smile, Taani produced a shy smile and started to walk towards the kitchen to finish her work.
"Taani! Listen, we have wedding today, so be ready at 5 ok?
"Bhabhi'I'" Taani started but was soon interrupted by her bhabhi.
"No excuse today, you're going!"With hesitation, Taani nodded and with smile, she proceeded. Taani hated going to such functions. Firstly, everyone looked at her with searching eyes which had questions in them. However, it also reminded her of her own wedding. Not that it was a bad memory. It was nice, sweet and maybe the happiest moment of her short lived life. But it bought pain and the realization of distance. She missed him. Taani was married to Prem when they were just 14. It vaguely reminded her of Romeo and Juliet but it was the opposite situation. Taani's only support, her Baba had brain tumor and wanted his responsibility, Taani, to be handled properly after him. Prem and Taani were childhood friends and so were their parents. The deep connection between the two families had often astonished the two, while their friendship astonished their families. When Prem's father came to know about his friend's failing health, he immediately offered a promise that his daughter, Taani, would be loved and treated just the same in his house. However Taani's Baba was a self respected being. Taani's future as a daughter wasn't the only worry accompanying Baba's disturbing conscious. It was Taani's marriage that concerned him. In this conservative Indian society, who would marry Taani? Who would accept an orphan as their daughter-in- law? And then there was the growing friendship between Taani and Prem. He completely trusted his daughter, but the society wouldn't think twice before raising a finger on her purity. Who would marry his daughter?
After days of worry and sleepless nights, Taani's Baba, conscious of his weakening body, informed Prem's dad of his worries. The inevitable, yet unimaginable was to happen. Prem's dad's decision had surprised both families and shocked Prem and Taani. Prem and Taani were to get married. Upon hearing of this alliance, Taani had downright opposed, however her Baba's weak and faltering lips had reasoned it all out. He had promised that her life would be the same and that this was the only way he could die in peace.
However nothing had remained the same. Life had changed so much that her childhood now seemed like a beautiful dream. Prem was sent to USA to study, leaving Taani to bear the pain of her father's death alone. She had then moved in with her in-laws and each day passed waiting for Prem. While attending school the pain seemed to be less but when she had finished her studies and stayed home, the house forcefully reminded her of him. His room still dispatched his essence and the walls still spoke his thoughts, his memories. Taani hadn't changed anything. The posters with cars, the play station cupboard was still there and his cupboard was still stuffed with his clothes. Taani had opted for a different room but she spent most of her leisure time in his room, recollecting all the memories of their childhood.
As years passed, depriving the Indian soil of Prem's visits, Taani's days became a blur, just like how colors of the sunset blend together, leaving the viewer with a mystery. Taani had settled in her married house and without being a wife, had taken up the responsibilities, and rights, of a daughter-in-law. The family absolutely loved her and life without Taani soon became unimaginable.
Eons passed, leading Taani to realize how important this marriage was to her. It had become her whole life. Love had somehow made a nest in her lonely heart. While her friends were busy drooling over the supposed ' hot' celebrities, Taani was left dreaming about his first glance after so many years of waiting.
Coming back from the wedding, Taani slowly walked towards her room, knowing that everyone was way too tired to talk. Just then the silence was cruelly disturbed by the phone's continuous rings.
"Who's calling at this time?" her bhabhi reached to pick up the phone and the ringing sound stopped. Taani looked up to read her bhabhi's face, hear her words , in attempt to discover who it was that was calling at this time. Bhabhi's face turned from happiness to surprise to overwhelming joy. She was speechless. Taani had never seen such a scene where her Bhabhi was out of words. Thinking that she looked up at her bhabhi realizing that she was looking at her and crying while on the phone.
Taani, restless at heart, yet patiently waited for the call to end. Putting the phone down, Bhabhi spoke those three words that made her day, no made her year.
"Prem is coming!" These three words were so mere to the speaker, yet it was related to the core of her existence. Prem was coming! After nine years of waiting, he was coming! After listening to all the details, Taani rushed to her room. She closed the door, breathless and used her door as a support. Sliding down to the floor, her awakened eyes dispatched tears. Tears of happiness.
She was eccentric and her family members quietly smiled at her panic mode in the morning of his arrival. She dressed in a simple red sari with simple jewelry. She remembered that Prem preferred simple. Putting her last bangle in place, she heard a thud of a car door closing. Her big, dark and anxious eyes looked up and her body involuntarily stood up from the end of her bed that she was perched on. Her heart had started to beat at an abnormal rate and her breathing had fastened. She felt her body overworking as she tried to calm herself down. Her feet took a few steps and then stopped. Turning back, she looked at herself in the mirror. Her hand ran through her hair as she smoothened her already set hair. Satisfied with her look, she slowly, yet gracefully walked towards the stairs. Knowing she was within eyesight of people downstairs, her eyelids lowered with shyness. Her life, her existence, her husband was just a few feet away. Husband. Sounded so weird calling Prem her husband. But if she called him Prem then, what would outsiders say. A wife was never supposed to say her husband's name. Even though she had unfaltering faith on her love, she didn't want to jinx it by calling Prem her husband.
"Prem, here comes Taani!" Her bhabhi announced her arrival almost instantly. Excitement was dripping from her voice. The announcement followed a silence, then a husky voice responded with "oh!" and without notice her body was engulfed in his arms. All the ladies in the room blushed while a few outsiders gave a disapproving look but Taani didn't care. Prem was here. Her husband was here and the outside world didn't require her attention.
"Taani'" his husky voice was tainted with a smile. She felt complete after nine years as her palms placed themselves on his back after a few moments of hesitation. His face then slowly moved to see her. His cheek brushed her already red cheek, releasing a new set of redness. His hands untangled itself from her hair and her body. Her eyelids lifted to see his godly face. She couldn't possibly describe the tan skin, square jaw, almond eyes with vision obscured by the graceful strands of hair. She slowly detached her brown eyes from his and glanced over to her family smiling. Her lips formed a small smile as she moved to look at him again.
"Taani'Oh God you have grown so much! Mum! Dad! I have a surprise and its great that Taani's here too hear it!" His lips formed those words so perfectly in one breath.
"Mum. Dad. Meet Richa, my fianc!" Shock seized her as she stood frozen at her spot. Her brain couldn't comprehend what he had just said. As soon as she had regained control over at least the cerebrum part of her brain, she turned around to avoid looking at all the shocked faces that belonged to her so called in-laws. At that moment, a tear escaped her big brown eye and slowly made its journey down her face. All she could manage to say was "Prem".
" Tujhe har khushi de di
Labon ki hansi de di
Zulfon ki ghata lehraayee
Paigaam wafa ke laayee
Tune acchhi preet nibhayee
Kisi se ab kya kehna
Tujhe yaad na meri aayee
Kisi se ab kya kehna "
Translation: I bestowed all my happiness, all my smiles on you, where silky hair dancing with the wind brought my messages of loyalty- so this is what you have in store for me instead?- what can I say now. U didn't even have the time to think of me.
The moment had stopped and refused to pass away. Each second, each millisecond passed like an eon. She could hear his heartbeats but could he hear hers. She could sense his excitement but could he sense her shock. Could he mentally feel her break down, crumble down to the ground' reach down and gather all the small pieces of her heart and bleed her eyes as tears came out instead of a smile. Yet as she went through all that, her body remained at that one position. It was just so hard to her to not fall to the ground and cry. Cry like her life was leaving. Cry like she'she had lost all meaning. She had lost. Her life had lost. Her love had lost. In that one moment, she had lost her identity, her life, her love, her existence and her Prem.
" Taani." He's voice was flooded with confusion yet she could sense a tinge of concern or was it her imagination. She slowly turned around, fighting the tears that were threatening to race over her cheeks where tears had long dried. She struggled to keep her posture as she turned to look at her life, expecting him to be standing there smiling with his arms around his fianc. Yet her heart wished that he was alone. That all this hadn't happened. Turning around she was shocked to see that he wasn't alone but was standing ahead of Richa and a step towards her. He looked at her with concern and his eyes cruelly questioned her about her behavior. It took a lot but finally Taani gathered her energy to put a smile on her face and say," I'm so happy for you." Right then she was engulfed again in a bear hug. "I knew it" echoed in her ears. This time she didn't notice the whispers or the disapproving eyes because she didn't know when he would hug her again. Look at her again or maybe this was the last time. Maybe this was the last time he was going to do this. Give me this butterfly feeling. A feeling of salvation ' of freedom and happiness.
As he met everyone, my eyes followed him. Noting every little thing. How he still retained respect and bend down to get blessing. How he looked at his family with adore. How he still stayed like her Prem yet his heart had changed and she was his love now not her. It hurt so much to think it, Taani couldn't possible imagine saying it and living through it.
Days passed, not relieving Taani of this pain but extending, spreading throughout her body, not only her heart but her brain had started to ache when she saw them. But what made her live through this hell was the moments they shared together. They little communication they managed before Richa dragged him away. The small smiles she got. The concern tinted eyes and the loving looks of respect and friendship. Her most precious relationship, her most significant moments were with him. It was comforting helping her get through the day as she would slid to the ground and cry every night. It was getting repetitive. Every night smilingly walking to her room and then breaking down in front the mirror that spoke her reality so clearly. Without love she was a withered flower, a stained moon, she wasn't missing just a piece of herself but what made her Taani. Days and weeks infact a month had passed before that event happened that set the change going. The change that changed not only her life but her existence. You know how they say that after sadness, comes happiness. Ki gam se guzar kar hi khushiya tumhare dhaar par dasdak dethi hai.(when passing through sadness is when happiness knocks on your door)
Richa walked in through the door of the kitchen where Taani was cooking lunch taking extra care that it was Prem's favorite. Just when Richa was about to open her mouth Ma walked in giving Richa a glare of hatred. Infact a lot of things had happened in the past month. As Richa stepped into the house everyone had suddenly avoided her, smiled when her and Prem were together and frowned when Prem and richa were together. Ofcourse they were being biased according to Taani but she didn't see what everyone else saw. They saw a relationship with respect and diligence whose foundation was care and respect when Taani and Prem stood together. With Prem and Richa they saw a relationship biased on mutuality and likeness which didn't have a foundation.
As the morning was adorned with Taani's morning prayers again the next morning, everyone rushed into the mandir astonished that Taani was performing her normal rituals. As she walked around with the aarti and allowing everyone to take it. She noticed a tall guy with a white kurta standing infront of her, infact it was an extra person. She lifted her eyelids to look at the person and instantly their eyes met. She was shocked, he saw in her eyes, but why? He was up so early and ready to take the aarti.
' So Taani hasn't changed one bit- still does the aarti early in the morning eh?' he asked cheekily looking at her . She blushed, dropping her eyelids again and then slowly looking past him. But Richa wasn't there. It was past noon and Richa was nowhere to be seen. Prem was gone to business with dad and naina bhabhi and ma were making lunch. Infact fua was also there to see Prem. Fua was strict and had certain expectations of her bahus. She had instantly criticized Taani when she came before for sitting down with dad and karan bhaiya but the whole family knew that fua liked Taani. As she looked around, she spoke to Taani
Taani, woh chamak chalu kaha hai? She was asking about Richa ofcourse.
Main dekthi hoon- Taani walked towards her roomPlease do comment and like if u like it i will really appreciate feedbck !
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