Chapter 38, Weekend Spl
(Two weeks later on the day of the opening of the races)
The roads leading to one of India's oldest and richest race courses were decorated with balloons and festoon lights, lending a festive and joyous air to the atmosphere. The season's first races were to be held today and the whole of Patilwadi was done up in carnival style, with people thronging out on the streets dressed up in varying style, traditional, modern, wild and sober. There were also the inevitable, jugglers displaying their tricks, vendors selling tidbits, singers holding impromptu singing concerts, bands playing their latest. It was the biggest event of the erstwhile Patilwadi Estate, and the locals still prided on a sense of tradition….
The owners of different banners in their vintage cars mostly, once again decorated in the variety of styles rolled through the streets, waving at the crowds, the first car was Raja Saab's dressed in the colours of his banner, with a top hat sitting relaxed at the back seat of a 1920 Rolls Royce convertible. Ayi Sahib was besides him in a sari in the Patilwadi colours, her pallu covering her head and looking happy for the first time, waving excitedly at the crowd very unlike her demure and quiet self…
Yes, the whole of Patilwadi could see the change in her, her eyes no longer lifeless and dull, her smile no longer stiff, but rather a sparkle which lit up her face. It was a first for her as well as she was partaking in the grand celebrations for the first time in years looking very much an integral part of the show…..And, the people of Patilwadi also knew the reason for which Ayi Sahib had, truly, become a part of their lives and joys in the way she radiated a sense of belonging. So much had had happened in two weeks and life seemed to be running a course that none of the occupants of Patil Mansion would have ever dreamt of and she beamed at herself when she reminisced about the turn of events.
(The morning following that night)
Nakusha opened her eyes in the morning, looking up the ceiling to find her bearings in a room which seemed strange for a few seconds. She then saw the curved back of Dutta next to her and, hurriedly, for a pulled up the sheet to cover herself. Dutta turned next to her, putting his arm around her, making himself comfortable…..
Naku looked at him and felt a rush of colour while trying to free herself from his grip gently without waking him up….
Dutta opened his eyes to see Naku wriggling to free herself from his grip, he tightened it more….
Kya kar rahe ho, chhoro mujhe….
Itna subah kaha ja rahi hai?
I have to go and get ready for duty….
You don't have to go for duty anymore….Dutta whispered ….
Just because I killed Bolt…..Naku went stiff.
Dutta sat up, and held her face in both hands. "You did not kill Bolt, flush that thought from your mind…."
Toh mera idhar se chhuti, what do I do sitting here….?
"From today onwards", Dutta started: "You have a much more important mission to complete, the one that will, hopefully, secure the release of your aunt . Advocate Sen is already here…you will take him to your aunt, my office has lined up an appointment with the jailor….
Aaj hi a gaye, he said he would come ….
Haan idhar koi aur kam se aye the, so he asked if he could meet Kalpana Rao too as he was, already, in this part of the world…..Nakusha stared at him bemused that this man who until a few days back was the perfect stranger had managed to touch the inner chords of a life that still connected her to her family that she missed every day but still had to carry on
Dutta stepped out of the bed, without bothering to pickup his clothes he went towards bathroom…He smiled inwardy as he thought of how natural Naku's presence felt in this room. "This is the life I have always yearned for, to wake up every day set my eyes on the one person I will cherish for life. Naku grabbed this opportunity to dive out of the bed and started picking up her clothes. She dressed up quickly and tried to tidy the bed when Dutta came out tying his bath robe….
What are you doing….
Making the bed….Naku replied, the bed was real big, mattress too thick for her to tuck…
Chhor de Kanta bana degi….he picked up the intercom to order breakfast for two….
Two? Naku squeaked…why did you ask for two?
Tu nehi khayegi? You hardly had anything yesterday?
Mai…idhar…I am leaving this room now….
And going where?
To my room….Naku, finally, managed to cover the bed with the bedcover and ran towards the door
She stopped right in her tacks when Dutta, quietly said: "Kala Tai is not an early riser and Gaurav is definitely not….
He is here? Naku stopped
Dutta did not reply, instead made himself comfortable on the sofa, and mentally smiled "most probably not but I am not going to tell Naku…."
Aja baithja…breakfast karle mere saath …
What do I tell Ayi Sahib...Naku was now looking, visibly, uncomfortable as the last nights' event sunk with each passing minute…. a sense of trepidation creeping up in her mind as to how her nominated benefactor as chosen by Kalpana Auntie would react.
The same thing you told me yesterday in my ears
Dutta leaned forward pulling her down next to him, dekh Naku, I never have hidden my affairs from anyone but then you know your position and I will feel very hurt if you try to hide it….Naku lowered her eyes, he lifted her chin and gazed into her unblinkingly….
Lekin Raja Saab….I mean he……
Dutta stated very firmly, don't worry Nakusha just trust me and for heaven sake stop trying to run away…..
Wearing his red jacket over his white trousers, Bajirao waited at the portico next to his trademark jeep which was decorated with red and white balloons. The clicking of heels caught his attention, he straightened. Roopvati, came out wearing a red and white polka dotted dress, red high heels with a very fancy red hat…..and burst into a smile when they saw each other, Roops extended her hand to Bajirao who kissed it like a gentleman and, gallantly, led her towards the other side of the jeep, ensuring that she comfortably seated. He came back to start the jeep and drove out of the Haveli to join the carvinal outside to the road leading to the race course….
Dutta watched his car driving out with Nakusha, she will pickup Adovocate Sen from the hotel on her way to the jail, from the window Naku gave him her nervous look…Dutta smiled, giving her a flying kiss….God, this girl who was behaving like a tigress a couple of days back has suddenly has become a pack of nerves, effect of love?
He turned to walk towards the Haveli to see his mother coming. She had seen the interaction for she was giving him a big smile…with a mischievous glint of approval in her eyes. Dutta scratched the back of his neck and returned the smile a wee bit shyly….but faintly reassured that somehow, his mother seemed happy. Ayi Sahib went to sit with the villagers….
Dutta walked into the Haveli to hear the voices of Raja Saab, Tai Sahib, Kareena and Jagat…they were laughing over some joke, he walked towards the smaller dining hall where an elaborate menu was laid out, Raja Saab sitting at the head of the table looking very happy and pleased to be surrounded by his own people….Leela was, personally, attending the breakfast service.
Dutta come and join us…Jagat called out. He, reluctantly, walked towards them but, first kissed Kareena on her cheeks and then his aunt putting his arms around her neck…..Oh my baby, Gauri Devi, gave him a good squeeze, just like old times….she kissed his cheeks ….Dutta straightened….
Err I will have a cup of coffee only, just had my breakfast with Nakusha….Dutta added as a matter of fact…..
Nakusha? Jagat asked….
Hmmm my fiance, the girl who agreed to marry me finally….The second that ensued seemed like an eternity before Raja Saab burst out. ….
(Friends, as you know AIW will be celebrating its 1st birthday on 21st Feb, hence trying to manage my time, hence a short update, I hope you will bear with me and join the celebrations like always ;) Love Tin )