Joined: 07 December 2010
Joined: 03 June 2006
Gopi followed Ahem into his bedroom. She tightly gripped one end of her sari border, unsure of what to do.
Had Ahemji meant it when he said he didn't want her head to be covered? But what did that mean? Was he okay with seeing her face?
Lot in her thoughts, Gopi didn't notice that Ahemji had abruptly stopped walking and turned around. She walked right into his chest.
She looked up at his face in surprise. He's so tall.
He, however was looking down at her in anger.
Gopi quickly backed up a few steps, and call it instinct or habit, started to pull her pallu on her head. Ahem reached forward and grabbed her wrist, stopping her mid-way.
"You don't have to do that anymore Gopi."
She hesitated moment. She never knew what it would take to tip his temperament the wrong way. "Lekin Ahemji." His eyes snapped to hers and they held the same angry disbelief they did every time she dared to question him. "Maine vaada kiya tha, I wouldn't show you my face."
This damn girl was so dense! How is it even possible?
He wanted to hold her shoulders and shake her.
He took a deep and calming breath. He had made a little progress today, and he didn't want it to become a 'one step forward, two steps back' deal.
He spoke in calm, level voice. "Gopi, to keep Nani happy, we have to appear as normal as possible. If she finds out about all this, she will be deeply hurt. I know you promised that you wouldn't show me your face, but for us to appear normal, you cannot keep covering your head and turning away. Okay?"
She nodded her head. "Ji."
"Saaru" (Good). Ahem heard his mother say from the door.
Ahem turned to look at her and saw that she was smirking at them both, holding a few boxes of jewellery.
"Both of you have impressed my mother today. I'm very happy that both of you kept your vachan." Ahem smiled at his mom, and she smiled happily back. Then her smile got brighter as she looked at Gopi.
This irked him a little.
Why was this girl the reason she smiled brighter?
"Gopi bahu, this is some of my jewellery. I'm storing some of your Nani's things in my closet and I don't have space, so I want you to take care of these for now."
Gopi held out her hands for the boxes. "Ji Maaji."
Ahem just stood there as he watched Gopi open every single one of the boxes and look intently at the jewellery. And then put the box away, and repeat with the next one.
He could feel his anger returning. His fists clenching. This was his mother's jewellery. How dare she open every single box and look inside? Whatever was inside was none of her business.
Gopi finished putting the boxes away, and he was just waiting for his mother to leave. She was really going to hear from him tonight. But then his mother did a surprising thing.
She handed Gopi another box. "This one too Gopi Bahu." Ahem was glad to see that girl not peer into this one. She just put it on top of all the others.
"Gopi Bahu!" His mother practically shouted, and Gopi jumped in surprise and fear. "Have you learned nothing?"
She looked down at the floor. "Maaji woh..."
"What did I teach you Gopi bahu, tell me." She just remained quiet and looked around nervously. "Tell me Gopi bahu, what have I taught you about jewellery boxes?"
"Maaji... woh ... you said to look inside of each one."
"Why Gopi bahu?"
"To make sure that the jewellery is actually in there."
"Well if you remember, then why did you put that last box in without looking?"
Gopi shook her head pleadingly.
"Now take that last box out, look inside of it carefully, and then put it in your closet, samji gaye?"
Gopi nodded and did as his mother asked.
While he, Ahem Modi, stood dumbfounded. So, she was just following instructions? He got a phone call from an employee and snapped immediately at them. He needed to let his frustration out on someone, and the poor employee was his target tonight.
He had been wrong.
Ahem was trying furiously at the keys of his laptop, as though he could get his frustration across into the e-mail he was typing.
He head the khan khan sound of bangles and payals and he knew She was approaching.
He saw a teacup being placed on the table beside his files. "Ji, aapki black tea." He looked up at her, but she had already turned and started to walk out of the room.
He remembered his vachan.
"Gopi." She stopped and turned to look at him, her eyes showing fear and apprehension. It was as though she expected him to shout at her for something. "Thanks for the tea."
Gopi smiled gently in return, turned back and continued on her way.
He had to admit, her smiles were endearing. She needed to smile more.
She would if you would just let her. A little voice inside of his head spoke up, but he quickly squashed it down.
He was glad that she didn't act love-struck, like she used to once upon a time. He didn't need a daily reminder that she liked him. It made him feel weird. This smile was normal. This he could handle.
It was when she started act like a shy wife that made him lose his temper.
But this, this he could handle.
Gopi had come to a realization. After thinking hard, it was like things had finally clicked.
She headed towards the mandir to sit at her Kanhaji's feet, so she could think things through.
Though Ahemji had been nice to her today, it was not only in front of Naniji, or Maaji. He had generally been nice to her today.
And she knew now, it was not because he had started liking her, it was because of his vachan.
She had spent all day thinking, and thinking and thinking.
When did Ahemji get upset at her the most?
When she did things a wife would do.
When she had gotten dressed up for him, when she had decorated his room for him. These moments had upset him.
She realised that he didn't want a wife.
No, right now, he was content. He didn't want a wife. And specifically, he didn't want her as his wife.
So, she would stop being his wife.
Gopi knew she could never do that. She has tried already. She renounced all her wedding vows, but could not stop herself wanting to take care of him.
One thing Ahemji needed was a friend in this house.
She realised that she needed to be that friend. And to be that friend, she had to stop being the timid wife. So she was going to stop being bashful around him, be as little in his presence as possible. She was going to stop making him uncomfortable by trying to secretly meet his eyes and giving him shy smiles. Now that she knew he was not interested.
She remembered the events of today, the things they did in front of Naniji. They had not spoken about them, and she suspected that they wouldn't either.
She was alright with that. She would act like a wife in front of Naniji, but with Ahemji, she was going to try to be a friend.
He needed a friend.
The next morning Kokila found herself sipping some tea with Hetal. Gopi was in the mandir and Ahem was just descending the stairs.
She heard her Mota Bhabhi exclaim her daughter's name in surprise. "Kinjal Dikra, tun?"
She looked up and felt a pang go through her heart.
Her daughter was married.
She looked lovely. But she looked unhappy.
Hetal got up and rushed towards the door, enveloping Kinjal in a tight hug. "Kakiji." Kinjal said, affectionately.
As they were hugging, Kinjal glanced once at herself and once at Ahem, but turned her eyes away. This made Kokila's heart hurt a little more. But she was the parent in this situation and had to appear strong and firm. Kinjal was just reaping what she had once sown.
She expected Kinjal to come greet her, and she would surprise her daughter by hugging her, but Kinjal just walked past her. Kokila then thought that maybe Kinjal will go greet her brother first. Ahem too looked bittersweet to see Kinjal. But Kinjal, ignoring him, walked right past him too.
She was confused and Ahem looked furious.
But Kinjal's eyes were shining. "Gopi bhabhi!"
Gopi turned around and a huge smile graced her face when she saw Kinjal. "Arrey Kinjal ben. Aap?"
Kinjal ran up and embraced Gopi tightly. Another pang ran through Kokila's heart.
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