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Ch32: The Belief
Nakkusha Dutta Patil was stubborn unreasonable woman, Dutta decided. For two days they had been arguing on the same thing, yet he was no where near making her understand his opposition to the silly idea she had had. If the little girl needed money to stay in this hospital to continue her treatment then they should give it to them,she thought. "Akhir bhagwan ka diya sab to hai humare paas!" she sighed reverntly. "Oye madam, hello! Bhagwan-wagwaan ka dia nahi hai..aapke one and only husband ke zindagi bhar ki kamai hai…aur humare future ke liye hai." Dutta glared at her. Nakkusha looked at him with sad eyes,"par us bacchi ke future ke baare mein to socho. Uska kya hoga?" Dutta shook his head,"No! Nakkusha, this is going far enough. Main tumhe us bacchi se waise bhi door rakhna chahta tha..issi karan. Tum attachment bana leti ho aur phir bekaar hi apne aapko chot pahucha leti ho. Uske chances abhi bahut kum hai theek hone ke…agar aaj main treatment ka paisa de bhi doon aur kal kuch ho jaye to...tujhe kitna dard hoga mujhe pata hai. so hum aisa kuch nahi karenge…parso tu ghar jaa rahi hai aur wo bacchi government care mein. That's it."
"That's it? Aisa kaisa that's it? Aap ne bol diya to ho gaya aisa thode hi hai…aap agar itni kanjoosi kroge..to..to?" she stumbled for a moment and then lit up,"haan to aap…hmmm..aap mujhe mera hissa de do mere future fund se."
"Kya?""haan! aapne kaha na humare future ka paisa hai to mere future wala paisa dedo…aur haan main apne business ka paise bhi nikal ke de dungi..haan nai to! Aisa mat samjho ki nakku aisa nahi kar sakti akele akele…huh!bade aye!" Dutta brought his face close to hers and narrowed her eyes,"phir se bol!" Nakkusha swallowed at the dangerous glint in his eyes and then broke out in hurried speech,"aapne humari shaadi pe agni ke phere lete waqt wada kiya hai, meri zimedari li thi. Aur maine wo bacchi ki zimedari li hai..to wo bhi aapki zimedari hai. hai na?" Dutta shook his head,"nahi maine tere bhale ki zimedari li thi teri pagalpan ki nahi." He handed her the medicine with water,"aur main apni zimedari janta hoon."
Dutta looked at the surprised face of the dean and hid a grimace. Dean looked at the paper infront of him,"Dr. Patil are you sure about this. It's quiet a big amount." Dutta nodded,"I know the amount. I wrote the check,didn't I?"
Dean pushed the check at him,"I am sorry we can't take this check, I appreciate the thought though."Dutta looked surprised,"Why? The hospital can only continue with that girl's treatment if there is money..here is the money. What's the catch?" The man looked at him with nervous eyes,"because government has already taken custody of the child. Ab hum na ye paise le sakte hai na usse yahan rakh sakte hai. wo ab sarkari adhikar mein hai. kal tak wo usse le jayenge. Hum chahe bhi to kuch nahi kar sakte." Dutta pressed a hand to his face,"but..I..promised..I…kya main kissi se baat karoon to…I mean koi officer ya koi jisse baat karke kuch kiya ja sakta hai usse yahan rakhne ke liye…anything?" The man looked with kind eyes at the younger man,"Patil, main samajh sakta hoon ki tum us bacchi ke liye kuch achcha karna chahte ho. With all that happened with you and her mother, main samajh sakta hoon ki might feel responsible for her. Par main tumhe as a doctor and a colleague ek salah deta hoon. Leave your work at your desk. Aur pateints bas humara kaam hai…inke prati humari zimedaari bas is hospital tak hoti hai. isliye jab tak ye bacchi humari zimedari thi humne sab kiya…ab wo bas ek discharged patient hai. tumhare experience ke baad bhi mujhe aisa kehna pard raha ki aapne patients se duri banaye rakho to hi tumhare patients ke liye accha hai. Don't get involved."
Dutta's mouth tightened in a thin line,"Ye mere sawal ka jawab nahi tha sir." Dean leaned back in his chair,"Dr. Patil, we have been very considerate these past few weeks because of your 'family' situation but I hope aapko ab tak yaad agaya hoga ki aap yahan ek senior doctor hai. Ek resident hai. I hope ki aap aapne cases jald se jald handle karna shuru kar denge as the situation has passed. I have a board meeting at 10. Thank you." Dutta stood up his emotion masked behind a cool faade. On his way out Dean voice stopped him,"aur aapke sawal ka jawab hai ki nahi there is no one you can talk to except social services and child custodian. Kanoon ke hisab se sirf us bacchi ka koi relative hi usse claim kar sakta hai ya wo jo usse legally adopt kana chahte ho. As far as I heard, there is queue for that."
Dutta's jaw dropped as he looked at him in confusion while dean smiled a tight smile,"don't you see! That kid is celebrity kid thanks to the media circus. Kai so-called-loving-generous couples us bacchi ko ghar dena chahte hai."
Nakkusha's disappointment was palpable at not being able to see the child again. But she couldn't complain, as she knew that Dutta had tried. If sometimes at night she woke up worring about that unnamed little girl wondering what was happening with her, if she was copping well with new faces, nakkusha kept it to herself. The days after she came back from hospital rolled slowly to the quiet normalacy which was broken with a surprising news from unexpected quarter.
Sonali came one morning after nakkusha's discharge with shy smile and told her about her decision to marry Ravi soon. Nakkusha was ecstatic hearing shonali's explaination,"maine tumhari baation ke baare mein bahut socha espcially jab tum hospital mein thi. And I realized that nothing else mattered as long as Ravi was with me and baby. Aur agar humare saath rehne ke liye samaj ke niyam maanene ho to..i can do it..I will do it for my baby." Nakkusha held her hand,"mujhe khushi hai ki aap dono ab hamesha saath honge..bina kissi ke sawal ke. Kab hai shaadi?""agle hi haafte..Chandigarh mein..wo actually ravi ko agle mahine hi US jaana hai to mujhe dependent visa ke liye apply karna hai is liye. Aur ravi ki family chahte hai ki shaadi unke parivar ke gurudware mein ho. Surprisingly mere 100% brahmin mom-dad bhi maan gaye hai..I guess,najayaz naati se ek Punjabi damad millna unhe saste ka sauda lagta hai…" She looked down sadly at her engagement ring turning it a bit,"Itne dinno tak socha hi nahi tha ki maine unhe kitna miss kiya hai. jaise bhi ho…they are my parents, right?" Nakkusha stopped her nervous hands with gentle pressure,"unhone bhi aapko miss kiya hoga. bahut bahut badhai. Main kanhaji se aap dono ki kushal jeevan ki dua karungi."
After Shonali left Nakkusha stood at the balcony staring out at the setting sun. With the cacophony of traffic the screams and screeches of the kids playing the park drifted to her. The sound of her cellphone broke deep into her thoughts.
"Hello? Haan nikal gaye hospital se aap? Maine saari packing kar li hai..Subah 7 baje ki train hai na?" "Nahin actually, maine ye batane ke liye phone kiya tha ki I will be late. Ek emergency aagayi hai. please khana kha lena time se..and don't forget the meds..I probably be there to pickyou and see you to the station,Ok?" Nakkusha tried to mask her disappointment" Aap nahi aa paoge? Achha!" She licked her lips "Aap bhi please kuch kha ke OT mein jayega..warna pata nahi kitne ghanto tak aise hi rehna hoga…aur khane se matlab hai kuch accha sa…ek cigerette aur chai nahi, Hmm?"
Dutta grinned,"Ok! Aur..Nakku?" "Hmm? Bolo." Dutta looked at the envelop infront of him,"I am sorry ki tumhe akele rajnandgaon jana pard raha hai. But pichle kuch dinno se…main abhi chutti nahi le sakta tha…Isliye…but I promise ki next time I will take you there myself." Nakkusha twisted the bangles on her hand smiling a bit," Main jaanti hoon aapka kaam jaruri nahi hota to aap bhi aahi jaate…par ab aap mahine bhar ki chutti thodi le sakte hai." Dutta sat up on his chair,"mahina bhar matlab…tu to agle hafte wapas aa rahi hai na?" Nakkusha bit her lip rubbing her toe nervously on the floor,"wo jijaji ne kaha ke wo mere wapasi ki ticket postpone karwaenge…sonu bhi chutiyon mein ghar aayi hai aur debu ki summer vaccation hai..babuji ne kaha ki mahina bhar ruk jaun…main aapke aatey hi kehna chahti thi…par ab emergency…" Dutta growled,"What rubbish! Wo log ke bolne se kya hota hai…koi ticket cancel nahi hogi..tu agle hafte aa rahi hai…arey majak hai kya ek mahine waha rahegi…main..e…main yaha kya karunga phir! Aur main tera pati hoon..tu mujhese puche bina maan kaise gayi?" Nakkusha pouted at the phone,"aapne to kaha tha shaadi se pahele ki mujhe kabhi aur pation ki tarah maike jaane se nahi rokenge…do saal mein bas ek baar hi gayi thi main rajnandgaon wo bhi bas 3 din ke liye. Kaha tha na shaadi se pahele? Bolo?" Dutta lossened his tie annoyed,"shaadi se pahele pyar mein pagal aadmi hone waali biwi ko khush karne ke liye bahut kuch bolta hai, samjhi?" Nakkusha gasped,"hey kanha! Jhoot bola tha mujhse…jaise cigerette chordne waali baat jhooti thi?" Dutta signaled the nurse to place the file in front of him and relaxed a bit as hse left,"arey maine koshish to ki thi nakku! yaad hai wo niccotine gums and strips..jinpe tu hasti thi." Nakkusha snorted in the most unladylike manner delighting her husband,"ye acha hai ek buri aadaat palo phir adaat ko chordne ke liye usse bhi mahenge chochle karo." Dutta laid his head back on the chair and half rotated his chair in a leisurely manner,"yaar main chain smoker thodi na hoon…bas ek do hi peeta hoon din mein." Nakkusha shook her head forgetting that he couldn't see her,"aap doctor hai aapko to pata hona chahiye…smoking sirf aapke liye nahi aas-paas ke logon ke liye bacchon ke liye bhi theek nahi…maine kal ek article pardha tha ki miscariage ka karan ye bhi ho sakta hai." Dutta stopped narrowing his eyes,"Aye nakku, phir wahi maine kaha na tera case aisa nahi tha…phir..""Haan haan main jaanti hoon kai daafa kaha hai aapne par main ab agli baar ke liye koi risk nahi lena chahti…app agle baar jab main..matlab hum…aap tab smoking nahi karenge." Dutta straigthened in his chair,"nakkusha tu jaanti hai na…I don't respond to orders. Mujhe kya karna hai ya nahi ye main decide karunga…duniya main smokers ke bhi bacche hote hai…main jaanta hoon ki meri kiss aadat se meri family ko faida hai kisse nuksaan. Phone rak raha hoon 6 baje nikalna hoga 7.15 am ki train hai. bye."
He angrily threw the cell on the desk and opened the file. The patient was few weeks old kid from the nearby government hospital. Dutta read the file with a detached air but as he realized who the patient was, his irritration and anger vanished abruptly. It was the same child brought back as she had developed an internal artery bleed due to prolonged ventelator usage. Dutta went cold as he studied her condition in detail.
"Koi Delhi ke billionaire family isse adopt karne waali hai" Roshni told him as they both walked towards the waiting lounge to talk to the gaurdians and social worker."they wanted the best care for her and insisted she be brought here. I don't think they realize what her chances are." Dutta shrugged,"So we tell them. Unhe pata hona chahiye ki what they are facing."
He shook hands with the couple. The man looked about to be in late forties with kind eyes. The lady joined her hands moving closer to her husband. "Namastey! Jee mera naam Riwick Bhattacharya hai, aur ye meri patni Kumodini. Hum log iss bacchi ko ghar dena chahte hai. humne dekha TV pe iske baare main…kai dinno se koshish kar rahe hai ek bacchi dattak…matlab godh lene ke liye. Aap kissi cheez ki chinta mat kijiye…bas bacchi theek ho jaye. Please!"
The lady placed a hand on her husband's as they shared a look of deep understanding,"Humein doctor Roshni ne kaha ki uski halat bahut najuk hai? humne sunna hai ki aapne uske garbh mein hotey waqt hi uska operation kiya tha…jiske karan uski jaan bacchi thi…aap dubara ye chamatkar kar dijiye." Dutta opened his mouth to tell her about the baby's condition but Kumodini's words stopped him,"hum padhe likhe log hai. Doctor bhagwan hota hai..masiha hota hai..ye sab andhvishwas nahi maante.par hum sadharan insaan hai doctorsaab. Jab koi situation humare samaj ya haathon ke bahar chali jaati hai tab hum log bhagwaan ka sahara lete hai…ya usse hi bhagwan ka darza de dete hai jisse umeed ho. Is waqt aap hamari umeed ho. Please save her."
"Mrs. Bhattacharya, Sir. Please, aap meri baat suniye. Normally jab patients aatey hai to hum unke gaurdian,family parents se seedhe ye baat karte hai. the way of treatment operation sab kuch taki wo log decide kar sake ki kya karna hai. is case mein ye aur bhi jayada important hai kyunki aap ab tak uske gaurdian ya parents nahi hai. but beneficier hai. You have the right to know how bad it is. Treatments ke fail hone ke maximum chances hai aur ilaaz bahut expensive hai. kahi aap logon ko ye mehsoos na ho ki…""Humare paise barbaad huye,Dr. Patil" Mr.Bhattacharya said shaking his head."what is a few pieces of gold for golden chance at life? Mere english ke teacher kehte the. Uska matlab samajhne mein 40 saal lag gaye. Par hum aapki puri baat sunna chahtey hai, isliye nahi ki hum ye soch sake ki humein ye karna hai ya nahi balki ye jaanne key liye ki humein aagey uski dekhbhaal kaise karni hai. taki koi galati na ho. Tai na kumod?" He lturned to his wife who nodded confidently.
They took seats in Dutta's cabin. Dutta talked to the social worker completeing some formalities then turned with a smile to the couple who were trying to hide their nervouness. If he hadn't known better he would have took them for any other anxious parents waiting for their child's reports.
"Mr.bhattacharya. wo bacchi..er..well, koi naam socha hai aapne uske liye?""abhi aise to nahi do din pahele hi mille hai hum usse. Hum log mein…bengaliyon mein bacchon ka naam ek hafta hone ke baad rakhte hai…koi ceremony nahi hota par niyam hai." Kumodini added,"aur kissi ne humse ye pucha bhi nahi to humne kaha bhi nahi…par amader modey..i mean hum log apas mein usse 'mamon' bolte hai.""It mean 'maa', in bangla…sab aapni betiyon ko mamon hi bolte hai."her husband said proudly,"taaki insaan aapne ghar ki betiyon ko hamesha 'Maa' samjhe..utna hi sneha kare, adaar saman kare ..utna hi puja kare jitna aapni janani maa ka ya Maa Durga ki karta hai."
Dutta was speechless for a second. He cleared his throat and beganin a kind voice explaining the procedure which will make him cut their Mamon's heart out. After he finished answering all their questions he continued in calm voice,"we are talking about years of medical attention. agar sab theek tak ho bhi gaya to bhi kai saal lagenge usse apne umar ke baccho se catch up karne mein. Bahut saare neral disorders, respiratory disorders aur sharirik aur mansik tanav sehna hoga usse bhi aur aap dono ko bhi."
They nodded. Mr.Bhattacharya took out his diary and handed it to dutta,"aap ismein Delhi ke hospitals aur doctors ke naam aur address likh dijiyega..wo wahan bhi ye sab treatment karwani hogi..aapko accha pata hoga na?"
"Phisio ka bhi contact de dijiyga please..itne chotte bacche ko to specialist lagbe..tai na?"Kumod looked at her husband for confirmation.
Dutta stood up feeling suddenly very small and burdened,"I will prepare for the surgery then?" They couple held each other's hands and nodded bracingly. Dutta stopped at the door and turned back,"I am sorry its personal question but aap ke agar bacche nahi hai and you are adopting then why not a healthy child?" Kumodini looked at him surprised,"aap se kiss ne kaha humare bacche nahi hai. Humare dono bete aapni behen ka intezar kar rahe hai aapni nani ke paas delhi mein. Aur bhagwaan na kare aapki patni ya kiisi ke saath aisa ho to kya wo aapni bacchi chord denge aise hi marne ke liye?" Dutta shook his head,"nahi meri patni aapne kya parayon ko bhi is halat mein nahi chotri…par you know, meri patni…well, she is a special..her beliefs are special. Mujhe lagta tha wo ek hi hai is tarah ki but now I know it different. I will try my best to save your Mamon. I promise."
Nakkusha looked at the silent man driving beside her. It was barely five in the morning. She has taken one look at his face when he had arrived around four at home and asked her to get dressed without question. She had obeyed without a word thinking maybe he was still upset about her comment on the phone. Or maybe something that had happened at the hospital. It couldn't be anything else, she thought. Tai log sab theek hai, she told herself as she had talked to leela tai after dinner and kala didi in the morning. Leela tai will come back by next week so it was not something at home.
"Hum kahan jaa rahe hai?" She asked tentatively. He looked at her in the front mirror and reached for glove compartment. He lit a cigerete and lowered the glass to breathe out the smoke.
'Lo ye to bin aag tava garam ho rahe hai.' She muttered to herself annoyingly. "aap kuch kahiye to."
"Kahene ki baat nahi hai..tujhe dikhane ki baat hai. do minute muh ko tala maar."
"accha mujhe aap subah ke 4 baje need se jagaoge itne thand mein aise najane kahan le jaogey aur main kuch kahoon bhi nahi. Ye kya baat huyi?"
"bak bak bak bak! Jab se tujhse milla hoon teri baatein sun sun ke mera dimag kharab ho gaya hai..achi khaasi zindagio thi meri, without guilt without any thought of right wrong any regret. Phir tu aayi teri baatein…tu chup bhi rahe to teri moti moti aankhon se itna bolti hai ki behare ko phir behra kar de…aur sab badal gaya."Dutta glared at her.
Nakkusha looked away in hurt,"to mat sunno meri baat..aise bhi sun ke ansunna kar dete ho…aisa keh rahe ho jaise mujhe pyar karna koi bhul hai…maine kaha tha mujhe pyar karo…main to chup thi na…aur chup rehti bhi..kabhi kuch nahi bolti." "Aur aise hi ghut ghut ke jeeti..hai na..aapno ke beech bhi aapne aap ko akele karke." Dutta turned to look at her,"aur dheere dheere wo nakku jo sirf mere samne aati thi…jiske aankhon mein chamak aur harkat mein sharat thi wo chup ho jaati kho jaati hai na.!"
She looked at him surprised as he turned back to the road. After a few minutes he braked his car. "chal bahar. Kuch dikhana hai.""kya?" He didn'st answer till she was out of the car. The streetlamps were still glowing even as the sky was turning lighter. She felt before she saw the sea. The quietness of the waves breaking on the shore. The cold breeze brought salt on the lips. He pointed towards a side. She turned and her mouth fell open,"ye kya hai?"
Dutta brougth his hand down,"meri haar. I am a bad loser nakku. yaad nahi tujhse na harne keliye maine kya kya harkat ki thi rajnangaon mein. Kawaon ko dal khilayi thi, pardey jalaye the, namak ke seshi mein cockroach chorde the. Itne asaani e meri zindagi ki sabse bardi har kaise maan jaon." Nakkusha turned to him,"matlab?" Dutta closed his eyes briefly,"tune kaha tha na…jis din mujhe tere Kanha ke hone ka ehsaas ho jaye us din main tujhe sab kaam chorde sea link ghumane le aaon. Aaj tu wo shart bhi jeet gayi."
Nakkusha looked at him astounded as he continued,"aaj mujhe yakeen ho gaya ki duniya ka astitva isliye hai kyunki aaj bhi kai insaano ke dil mein acchai hai…sachai hai. ek gunah ek galati ko mitane kai log pyar se haath bardhate hai. aur jahan insan mein sachai hai waha science aur logic se alag kuch hai…conscience…wahi jo tujhe Nakkusha banati hai…sabse khaas sabse se saaf…agar yahi bhagwaan ke hone ka sign hai to theek hai."
He placed his hands on her shoulders,"now ye mat expect karna ki main tere sath mandir, mandir ghumunga vrat bhajan karunga. Kyunki mere saalon ki scepticism khatam nahi huyi….bas tere viswaas pe yakeen hua hai."
Nakkusha nodded,"par aisa kya hua ki aap…mera matlab kaise?"
Dutta pointed a bench on the footpath facing the sea. They sat watching the sunrise as Dutta told her about Bhattachayas. "She will make it. The baby, I mean. Matlab hum usse kuch din observe karenge but meri gut feel bol rahi hai she will make it. Uska support system agaya hai us husband wife ke roop main.. ab jo bhi problem hogi wo log usse face kra lenge, I feel."
Nakkusha was quiet, too quiet. He looked at her as she blinked a tear. "nakku? mujhe laga tu sun ke khush hogi. Klya hua?" nakkusha smiled through her tears,"main khush hoon ki wo theek ho jayegi..us ma-baap mill gaye.. ain kush hoon.""to ye asoon?"
Nakkusha leaned on his shoulder,"main bhi bas pagal hi hoon. Kuch din us bacchi ke saath kya rahi bas..main samajhne lagi ki mera haq hai usspe. Kahin se man mein khayal ne ghar kar liya ki us bachi ko hum le aaye…wo meri bacchi ho…humari beti." Dutta nodded,"main janta tha..jis raat paheli baar hum uske paas khade the us raat hi samaj gaya tha…aur kai baar mera bhi mann maan gaya tha..bahut mushkil se rok paya tha main aapne aap ko usse apnane se rokne ke liye..aur main iske against nahi hoon…par nakku, main ye bacchi ko godh nahi lena chahta tha kyunki ye is nakku haar hoti aur us nakku ki jeet. Us nakku ki jeet jo logon se chup kar jeeti hai jo hamesha second best se man behla leti hai ye soch ke wo wahi deserve karti hai…jo sochti hai ki usmein kaami hai ,feeki hai unconfident hai. aur ye nakku jo aapne baaton se ravi-shonali ya rasha-ned jaise logon ki soch badal deti hai..jiski saadgi aur rasoi ke liye uske passion ke karan aapne pairon pe khud khari huyi hai…jo ek aaj ki kamyab logon mein se hai. main is nakkusha ko aapni mamta second best baby ko deta nahi dekh sakta. " Nakkusha lefted her head to look at him in surprise. He continued,"" agar us misscariage ke immediate baad hum adopt karte to wo bacch zindagi bhar ke liye humre liye bas ek consolation prize ban jaata jo na wo deserve karti hai na hum. Bhale is baat mein sachai na ho par tu aur hum sab yahi sochte ki us misscariage ke wajah se humein wo milli hai..maine sunna tha tune kala tai se kaha tha ki tujhe darr hai agar tu kabhi maa na ban payi to? Bina koshish kiye baccha adopt karke main tujhe haar nahi maanane dunga.
Nakkusha smiled at him through her tears,"matlab aap.." Dutta nodded,"we are going to have a baby..our own baby..humari aapni mamon."
Nakkusha bit her lips and huigged him as he hugged her back. "mamon?" Dutta nodded still hugging her. She pushed back so he could see her pout,"aap na bahut chalak ho…accha tareka hai biwi ko maike jayada din na rehne dene ka…ab aap aise baatein karenge to mera mann wahan thodi na lagega?" Dutta gave a throaty laugh,"Good. Mere bina tera din kahin lagna bhi nahi chahiye. Ab tu yahi dekhna..yahan mumbai ki sadak ke beech itni subah hum ye stupid sa bridge dekhne aye hai..but still this moment.." he looked around and turned cup her face as the first rays of the sun feel on her face making her brown skin to glow like the gold. She looked like a fairy creature to him her huge eyes swimming with unshed tears and her lips wet with the sea-salt her hair ecaping the bun and blowing with the breeze. He sighed at the sight,"This one moment..nakku….its just so perfect. So Perfect!"
Damini looked around at the avid faces surrounding her,"haan nai to kya? maine sunna hai ki nakkusha jab paheli baar pet se thi tab wo seedhiyon se gir gayi thi...aur baccha kho diya tha...tab to wo log umeed kho baithe the." Mrs. singh gasped,"Phir?" She continued smirking inside as she looked around to spy if Kalawati was around, and whispered,"Ye to koi hospital se baccha godh bhi lene waale the..par phir…Bhagwan ne sun li..accha hi hai..waise bhi Nakku ka bhaag to aisa hi hai…bechaari."
A pair of hands stilled at the motion of removing the curtain at the door. Their grip tightened as the words pierced the heart. Dutta frowned down at the woman beside him, worry marked his forehead. "In auraton ko bhi..main dekhta hoon." Nakkusha left the curtain to grip his arm shaking his head,"Nahi, aaj aap meri ladai nahi ladenge, please." She pushed the curtain to walk towards the group of ladies bent low to whisper to each other.
The stratled and turned towards the voice. Guilty shamefilled eyes met the brown bold ones. Nakkusha smiled and turned to jingle the precious bundle in her arms,"Meri beti, Trishika…Aap ashirwad nahi denge…ayena cake kaantne hi waale hai."
She nodded and walked with her head held high towards the table where kala didi was lighting the candle shaped in numeric one in English. Dutta bend down lovingly to hold the tiny palm with his wife and posed for the picture as Debu clicked.
As the guests took their farewells, dutta walked slowly towards the kitchen and peeped in. "Nakku?"
"Haan boliye! Trishu uth gayi kya? Bahut thakk gayi thi uthna to nahi chahiye…par.."
"Nakku?" "Hmm..boliye na.."
"Ek cup chai chahiye."
She turned towards him,"abhi is waqt.."
He nodded, "Hmm…main chatt pe wait kar raha hoon."
As nakkusha carried the cup and saucer silently to the terrace she peeped in the room to check on her sleeping baby. Sighing thankfully she walked slowly towards the lone figure standing near the balustrade. "Aapki chai.Aap soye nahi?"
Dutta turned with soft eyes on her,"main aaj raat sona nahi chahta." Nakkusha looked at him with surprise,"Kyun?"
Dutta took the cup and diveded the tea in half on the saucer and extended it towards her,"kal hum wapas mumbai chale jayenge..Trishu ka pahela birthday bhi ho gaya aur kal sonu bhi Kolkata aapne dance college ke liye rawana ho jayegi."
Nakkusha nodded,"haan! to?" Dutta raised the saucer still in his hand pointing it to her,"to main aaj phir tere saath is chat par taaron ke neeche kai baatein kartey huye raat bitana chahta hoon…un taman raaton ko yaad karte huye un chai ki chukiyon ka swaad lete huye jinmein mujhe dheere dheere tujhse pyar ho gaya tha..aur mujhe pata tak nahi chala tha." Nakkusha sipped from her saucer and turned towards the Choupayi, "kitna kuch to badal gaya hai un dinno aur ab mein. Aap mein..humare soch..sab kuch."
Dutta puckered his lips in thought,"haan par main un dinno ko phir se jeena chahta hoon.Waise hi!"
Nakkusha giggled," tab aur ab main ek bada farak to hai." "Kya?" " Aap santrey ke baag ki tarah mehak nahi rahe…cigerette ki badboo jo nahi chupani pard rahi."
Dutta sat down beside her making her jingle on the cot,"haan. Adaat chut gayi to chipani ka kissa hi khatam.aakhir tune wada jo liya tha Trishika samay."
Nakkusha smiled shyly. Her eyes widened suddenly as she noticed something and tapped him,"aapki hi nahi uski bhi adat badal gayi hai dekho."
He followed her eyes and gave a shout of laughter as he read the billboard on which once he had seen the picture of the swadeshi "Murgachaap birdi". It today sang about the goodness of Amul products.
"sab badal gaya ho Nakku par ek cheez aaj bhi wahi hai…ussi jagah..ye taare. Chal inke neeche phir tujhse ek shart lagata hoon."
"Phir se shart! Pichli shart yaad hai..haar gaye the tillu ji."
"Yaad hai..par ye shart aisi hai ki harkar bhi jeet jaunga." He leaned closer to her and smiled into her eyes,"shart ye hai ki dekhte hai ki kaun kissey kitna zayada pyar kar payega..tu mujhse ya main tujhse." He placed a kiss on her eyes. "Kya bolti hai lagi shart."
Thank you all readers for staying with me on this journey. I may have been tardy with the updates but I have tried my best to make the story say it all.
This is not a story that might move you as the ultimate love story..it was never meant to be one..This is a story of very simple girl and her very simple life very ordinary and regular. Nakkusha and Dutta are like so many other couples who live around us whom we see and think at first sight "what is he doing with her..he can do better..' or "Couldn't she get a better guy?" Sometimes we do fail to see beyond the superficial imperfection and understand that they just might be perfect for each other.
Thank you and hope to hear from all of you on the last update.
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