Joined: 17 January 2007
17 C~~ Baat Pakki!
Shaan woke up next morning to realize that he had fallen asleep in the rocking chair in Megha's room. He was still in his work clothes and his body ached all over. He saw that Megha was not in her bed and the bedside clock read 9 am. He got up to stretch and suddenly became anxious with worry for today his Dad was going to make him aware of his decision. He walked over to the window and looked out to see the sun was already well into its journey across the sky. Another beautiful day, and he hoped that it would bring him good luck.
Chaachu!! Wake up!
Shaan turned around to see Megha all dressed up for school.
What is it honey!
Everybody is downstairs waiting for you. Mama asked me to call you right now!
I, I am coming in a couple of minutes.
As Megha skipped away, Shaan hurried into the bathroom and closed the door. His pulse was racing and his hands sweaty. He didn't feel quite as bold as he had in front of his father yesterday. He opened the tap and splashed his face with cold water, and examined himself in the mirror. There seemed to be doubt and hesitation in his eyes, his forehead was furrowed, and he really looked like a loser with a day old stubble on his jaw. He shook his head, took a deep breath and stood up tall, holding his head high, a determined set to his mouth.
Come what may, I will keep my side of the bargain. What's there to be afraid of? I've done nothing wrong. I've just been honest and straight up. I deserve to be happy, don't I? Shantanu Khandelwal can be trusted Khanak, you can bet on it. He nodded assertively and went downstairs.
Madhavi who had been so excited that her fingers felt like spaghetti on the mobile keypad, screamed loudly as soon as she saw Shaan coming down the stairs. She ran to hug him her face beaming,
OMG!! My bacchu, akkal ka kacchu! Why did you hide it from your own Mama that you had fallen for that petite Doc and wanted to get hooked up with her? Afraid that I won't approve? She asked, an amused smile on her face.
When Shaan smiled looking somewhat embarrassed and confused, she pinched his cheeks and said, Sweetheart, remember Mama is always on your side, no matter what anyone says! You can always depend on your Mama! Looking pointedly at Sunil who was sitting on the sofa trying to look nonchalant.
Haan bro! Am I proud of you or what? Jo kaha woh kar dikhaya!! Akshay said admiringly clapping him on his shoulder.
Shaan closed his eyes and mouthed a thank you to heaven, as Dadi ma, and Khushboo came up to congratulate him. Megha screamed joyfully and ran into his arms and as he hugged her he couldn't resist walking up to Sunil and asking him,
Don't you want to congratulate me Dad? Your bachelor son is going to get married!
Congratulations my son, you've made a great choice! Sunil said shaking his hand while smiling reluctantly.
Thanks Dad! You won't be disappointed!
So when are we going to meet our new bahu? I just can't wait to meet her and her family! Dadi Ma had tears in her eyes.
Yes! When are we going to Doctor Auntie's house, I mean Chaachi? Megha couldn't contain herself.
Khanak smiled sympathetically at Mrs. Mohini Sharma, who had been her patient ever since she had started her practice and she had seen her dwindle in front of her very eyes, in such a short span of time. Though Mrs. Sharma refused to admit it, she was showing all the signs and symptoms of depression, perhaps her relations with her husband were the culprit.
Your headaches are not migraines; they are tension headaches and are linked to stress and too much dependence on pain pills!
But I get up with one every morning and I can't move without taking an Anacin or Crocin.
Exactly! These pills are making your headaches worse. How often were you getting them say 1 month ago?
Maybe once a week. She shrugged.
So after you started taking these pills for even the slightest pain regularly, you began getting them every day. Am I right?
Mrs. Sharma nodded, understanding dawning on her.
So you see, you need to use some other method now to treat the discomfort, like massage, yoga, etc. Go for a brisk walk after dinner, get some fresh air, and see the difference.
I don't think it'll work, but I will try. Don't you think I need a scan of my head, to look for a tumor or something?
No! You are'.
Khanak was interrupted by a beep announcing an SMS on her mobile. Absently she picked it up to look at it, but as soon as she saw that it was from Shantanu, a flush instantly colored her cheeks and she desperately tried to hide it from Mrs. Sharma's prying eyes, by pretending to fan herself.
It's really hot in here, don't you think?
No beta, the AC is rather too cool I think. What is wrong? She asked curiously.
She glanced quickly at the message and smiled.
Nothing! Really, sometimes I guess I dress too warm (laughing,) what was I saying?
About my needing a head scan? I really think I should have one.
Khanak reassuringly shook her head, I don't think so, none of your symptoms suggest anything serious, and there is a risk of radiation with those scans too! Try what I suggested and I will see you next week! Theek hai? And can you please thank Mr. Sharma for me, he has done so much for our new hospital! Khanak said in a hurry.
Okay beta! I know that you know what you are doing. Will try my best to follow your advice, but Mr. Sharma always says that I should get my head examined, that's why'
Khanak suppressed a giggle and thought that Mr. Sharma was causing most of his wife's problems, just like Shaan'
Call me within 5 minutes or I'll mess up your schedule!
She waited for her plump patient to leave, before heaving a nervous sigh. She called her secretary to hold her next patient for another 15 minutes before sitting down to nervously dial Shaan's number. Why did he always affect her such?
Good am sweetheart! In a hurry to hear my voice again, Huh?
You are impossible! You know just how to press my buttons don't you?
He laughed. There! I'd always thought that we had a connection of some sort, now I have no doubt about it! Girl, you can't escape from me now.
(I don't want to.) She thought.
Hey! Will you not make me happy by complaining about why I didn't bug you these three days? ( Pretending to whine.)
Well I just didn't. You don't really know your Khanak that well, Mr. Shantanu Khandelwal! It was her turn to smile.
What?! Come again!
I said that you didn't really know your Khanak (abrupt pause.)
There! I like that! Your Khanak, hmmm! Now I know that you really missed me, Ms. Not so Direct!
Stop teasing and come to the point! What did your father say about us!
Wow! Assertive are we? I am sweating now! Phew! Alright, we are going to start the long and tiring process of Dilwale Dulhania Le jayenge today by dropping by your place! Be there at 6 or else..
(A stunned long Pause,)
Khanak? Love..? Phone par bhi sharmana? Uff I hope you don't kill me with all this sweetness before our wedding! Okay looks like I'll have to pick you up!
Nooo!! Don't! I'll be there!
And so will I, can't wait to see my bride's beautiful face again! He whispered in a deliberate drawl.
By the time Khanak reached home it was close to 6:30 pm and her Mama had called her a dozen times already in the last 1 hour;
Shaan beta aur uski saari family aa chuki hai aur tera hi sab intezaar kar rahe hain! Aur kitni der karogi? Itne acche log hain isliye kuch complaint nahin kar rahe hain, nahin to rishta banne ke pehle hi bigad gaya hota! Kya apni shaadi ke liye bhi tumhein specially invite karna padega?
Mama, Please! Traffic! Mein bas aa gayi samjho! Aur Shaan ko shadi ki jaldi padi hai, mujhe nahin!
Hamein bhi jaldi padi hai! Kab tak tum dono aise ghoomte rahoge? Us din Mrs. Chatopadhyay ne bhi kaha tha ki..
Kya kaha, mein bhi to sunoon!
Kuch nahin, bas ki tumhein kisi smart ladke ke saath dekha aur who bhi haath mein haath. Meine hi kah diya ki woh Shantanu tha, tera hone wala mangetar. Ab jaldi se aaja, jyada bheja mat kha! Kab tak hum unhein yahan sambhalenge?
Khanak was pulled into her room as soon as she entered the house by Sunita, who had already set aside an old but gorgeous sky blue silk sari with a dark blue zari border out for her along with some of her own jewelry. When Khanak protested, she replied saying that she had always dreamed of her eldest daughter wearing her own engagement sari and the jewelry was what she had set aside as a gift for her.
Pehnogi na meri bacchi? She asked lifting her chin gently to which Khanak smiled in agreement.
Khanak could understand the reason why she had chosen that sari when she sat down in front of the mirror and looked at her reflection in the mirror. The lovely blue fabric added a wonderful glow to her skin and the small yet ornate pieces of jewelry made her look and feel beautiful and quietly sophisticated.
Deeeds! I bet there is not going a more beautiful bride in the whole world! Palak blurted out admiringly after being unusually quiet all this while.
Khanak smiled and kissed her on the forehead which made her burst in to tears.
Palak? Beta didi ko rulaane ka iraada hai kya? Sunita quietly chided her.
No Mama! I just can't imagine us here without '(sobbing)
Palak? Mama? ( Khanak became suddenly anxious.) I don't want to get married! I will tell Shantanu, he will understand.
Buddhu! (putting her fingers on Khanaks lips.)Yeh sab to natural hai, aur tu door kahaan ja rahi hai, yahin isi sheher mein to rahegi! Beta Shantanu jaisa var keval khush kismet ladkiyon ko hi milta hai. Aisa mauka haath se nahin jana chahiye!
Aur mein? Mein kya koi sadhaaran ladki hoon? Khanak pouted.
Sunita smiled shaking her head, Meri Khanak to ek khubsoorat pari hai jo bhagwan ne mere ghar bheja hai, aur ab mein use ek raj kumar ke hawale karne waali hoon. Khandelwal khaadaan nahin jaante ke woh log kitne lucky hain. She said while putting her hands on her shoulders and looking at her proudly in the mirror. She was having a tough time controlling her emotions.
Then as a final touch Sunita draped the palloo of Khanak's sari over her head and put a small black nazar ka tika behind her ear.
Palak who had gone to the kitchen hurried back with a tray of freshly made chai and handed it over to Khanak who was getting nervous again.
Mama yeh sab dikhaave ki kya zaroorat hai? Besides I didn't even make this tea.
It's alright beta! I know ke Shantanu beta aur uski family ne already tumhein pasand karliya hai, magar thoda tradition bhi follow kar sakte hain na?
Besides, this was Shaan jiju's idea, he badly wanted to see you looking shy and flustered, so he requested mama to ask you to bring in the tea like a traditional bride to be! Mama adores him for it Deeds!! Palak said laughing.
Kabhi apna muh band bhi karegi ya nahin? Sunita glared at her and smiled at Khanak.
Shantanu thoda badmaash hai magar bahut pyaara hai, bilkul mere bte jaisa behave karta hai! Aur uski request bhi bahut simple si thi, refuse kaise karti?
Magar ma! Khanak protested as Sunita hurried her out of the door.
Ab jaldi kar nahin to chai thandi ho jayegi.
Khanak legs turned to jelly and her hands started to shake as she made her way to the living room. She tried hard to focus on the centre cup on the tray and wondered why men didn't have to do this? She took a deep breath as the chatter came to a sudden stop and could almost feel the intensity of at least a dozen eyes on her. The silence was broken by a low admiring whistle. She glanced up and saw that it had emanated from Akshay who was watching her with a look of wonder on his face while Boo tried to nudge him, smiling in embarrassment as she struggled to control Megha who obviously wanted to run to her.
Khanak smiled as her eyes searched for Shaan and found him sitting next to her father, dressed to kill in a tan sports jacket, a off white shirt and dark blue jeans. He looked directly at her, winked and mouthed a silent WOW which made her drop her eyes in embarrassment.
Doctor Khanak! I mean Khanak! She looks like an Indian Princess, doesn't she Sunil? Madhavi said rushing towards her.
More like an Angel bahu! Dadi ma said, as she took her tea cup from the tray.
God bless you, Dr Agarwal, I mean Khanak! Sunil said, a smile lighting up his face.
Don't worry Khanak, we will serve ourselves! Boo said kindly.
Not me Bhabhi! I have been waiting so long for my future wife to serve me! Shaan smiled mischievously obviously enjoying Khanak's discomfort as he indicated her to hand him the tea and invariably brushed her fingers with his, making her shiver. She was glad to sit down finally but was asked to take a seat besides Shaan who spread his legs further apart trying to brush against her as she squeezed herself in to one corner. Megha finally broke away from Boo and rushed to sit on Khanak's lap and silently gazed at her wide eyed. Khanak smiled and hugged her, thankful for the distraction and spent the next few minutes talking to her not really paying attention to the discussion around her.
So everything's settled then, I can't say how lucky we are to have acquired such a wonderful and accomplished daughter in law! Madhavi gushed while Sunil nodded in approval.
And so are we, Shantanu is almost like a son to us! Khanak's Dad said beaming with joy.
Accha, now to seal the pact you have to feed each other a laddoo! C'mon Shaan I know you have been waiting impatiently to do so! Dadi said teasing.
Shaan dodged as Khanak extended the laddoo toward his mouth. She succeeded finally but not before he took the opportunity to grab her wrist in his hand pretending to steady it and reluctantly let it go as she tried to pull away. He fed her in return and managed to brush the corner of her mouth with his fingers, making her close her eyes with pleasure. It was not clear if these not so subtle exchanges were lost upon the rest; but this little act sealed the deal and Sunil announced that he would arrange a formal engagement party and will let them know of the date and venue soon. As the rest of the Khandelwal clan prepared to take their leave, Shan continued to sit in his place hesitating.
But uncle! Don't they need to talk a little in private, like they do in movies? Palak quipped, smartly figuring out what was in Shaan's mind.
Oh yes! They already know each other but tradition is tradition, what do you think Mrs. Agarwal? Madhavi said winking at Shaan who could have hugged her.
After some debate they decided on the terrace. Shaan heaved a sigh of relief when they got into the elevator.
Phew! At last! The moment I was waiting for all day!
He looked at Khanak amused while she determinedly fixed her gaze on the floor, not believing that they were really going to get married.
I have to agree, Indian women look sexiest in a sari!
Women?!! Khanak kohl rimmed eyes blazed.
Oh lord! Itna gussa? Sehat ke liye accha nahin hai memsaab! Shaan laughed and then sidled as close as possible without touching her. How can I think of any other woman when I have my Khanak, Hmmm?
She blushed and looked away, while he continued to gaze at her in silence till the elevator stopped at their destination, thankful that no one else came to share their ride.
Shantanu and Khanak walked out on the terrace hand in hand toward the west side. They could see the Arabian Ocean glimmering in the distance and the setting Sun had set the sky ablaze with brilliant shades of orange and reds.
Shantanu slipped his arms around Khanak and nuzzled her neck, and she shuddered in the still warm evening and felt Goosebumps rising all over her skin. She didn't pull away though; they were after all almost official.
Hmmm! He sighed deep with satisfaction, Happy? Sniffing her skin, familiarizing himself with her scent.
Uh huh! Very! She whispered.
I am so happy, I just can't express it! It feels like I have reached a major milestone in my life. For after today I'll have you to share in my joys and sorrows and you will have me to share in yours. I feel like a real man now! He said with relief.
A man? She laughed; I thought that you were way past your puberty! Raising her eyebrows, teasing.
Aww C' mon! It's just a figure of speech! I am 100% Man, want a demo? He winked, seductively playful.
She blushed beet red, and shook her head. She couldn't control her reactions any better now than she had been when they had first met.
He sat her down on the on the narrow parapet and took her hands gently in his, tracing the delicate veins gently with his fingers, and looked her in the eye.
Tell me Khanak, do you think I rushed you in to it? If so, I'm willing to wait for awhile, but not too long!
She smiled and shook her head looking out toward the ocean. Her Sun kissed skin luminescent, naturally blemish less, her long eyelashes casting delicate shadows on her cheeks, her full lips a shade of dark pink, making him want to kiss her right then and there.
No, you don't have to. It's just that things have moved so fast, that I'm still dizzy with the effort of trying to get my bearings! It was just like yesterday when I was plain simple Dr Khanak Agarwal and now I'm on the way to getting engaged and married!
She closed her eyes and pinched herself in the forearm, and nodded;
Yes it's true! She said smiling at him.
You are so funny! Shaking his head, you are still Dr Khanak Agarwal, the only difference is that soon this man (pointing to himself,) is going to make a honest wife out of you! So enjoy your single status for it's not going to last long! His face wore a fairly innocent expression but his eyes spoke a lot more as his fingers massaged her palms.
She snatched her hands from his grasp and turned away not willing to understand with a shy smile, her heart thumping in her chest. He smiled with delight and moved closer;
What, afraid of the inevitable? Aren't you supposed to know everything? He said in a low voice.
She shook her head in the negative, not trusting her voice.
Oh man! My future wife, an innocent seductress! I'll have fun teaching her a thing or two! He chuckled amused.
Shut Up!! Can you always think of only one thing?
I can think of many things! Do you want me to spell them out individually my dear? Getting restless? Can't wait? He said while tracing the line of her collar bone with his forefinger, making her jump.
They both turned, suddenly knocked out from their reverie to see Mrs. Bak Bak staring at them with her hand on her mouth. Khanak became confused, scared as if caught playing truant from school, not knowing how to react, when Shaan came to her rescue. He caught her hand in his and held on to it tight as he turned toward the intruder.
We meet again Mrs. Chatopadhyay! I didn't have a chance to properly introduce myself last time, I am Shantanu Khandelwal! He smiled extending his hand.
Khanak was amazed at the sudden transformation in his demeanor, from the ardent lover to a suave and charming businessman, who instantly had Mrs. C eating out of his hands.
She smiled, falling under his spell, her gaze now switching to their clasped hands'
Khanak and you..uhhh
Yes, Khanak has made me the happiest man on earth by agreeing to be my wife. In fact I am here with my family today for that very purpose. We should be getting married soon and I hope that you and your family will honor us by your presence at the wedding!
Congratulations! You make a lovely couple! She said, thinking that the Agarwals had made a great catch.
After she had left, Shaan gently took Khanak in his arms and embraced her.
Do you trust me now? Is there anything else I can do to express my love for you?
She shook her head and smiled as he kissed her gently on the forehead.
Words don't come easy to me
How can I find a way
To make you see I love you
Words don't come easy..
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