Joined: 21 September 2010
Ch 13: Understanding You
Nakkusha stood on the chair placed on top of Debu's study table. She hitched the end if her salwar a little up and tied the duppatta around her waist. She peeped down a sideways gauging the height and closed her eyes. Hey Kanha! She hated this part of her job of cleaning house, to reach the high ends of the ceiling and cupboards. Her parents wedding Elmira was high and she has postponed the cleaning of its top as long as possible. She hated small heights even the height of top berth in trains. She resolutely avoided looking down and reached out the broom to clean the cobwebs gathered on the top. After quick dusting she extended her hand further. The broom struck something at the back. She pushed. It fell with a resounding crash to the floor. She screamed as the odd heavy weight spiraled down disbanlancing herself a little. She held on to the edge of the door of the Elmira and steadied herself. She cursed herself and thanked her Kanhaji and slowly went down to pick up the cloth covered heavy object. It was the size of a pocket calculator but quite heavy, squarish in shaped wrapped in her mother's old cloth. She unbound the object and her eyes went round as she touched the old antiquated transistor. She shook it to see if anything was broken. She looked around and found the silly laser torch that debu had bought last week laying on the window sill forgotten. She got the cells out of the toy and working the mechanism of the transistor placed the cells inside. She turned the knob on and waited. Nothing!. She flicked a few more switches. Nothing! She turned all the buttons, all in vain. Dejected she kept the thing on the bed and pushed the furniture in place. As she swept the floor and went about putting things to order her eyes kept going back to the old transistor as if it was beckoning her to try again. She remembered the old thing vaguely. Her mother used to play it all the time while working in the kitchen singing along with the songs. A longing smile tugged at her lips. After her mother took to bed she had never seen this thing and had forgotten about it too. Nothing seemed wrong with it, she mused, it should work. Phir Kya hua! She pushed the thoughts away and went to stir the vegetables on the stove. She walked back in the room and adjusted the already smooth bedsheets. Straightened the curtains, stealing glances at the thing winking at her from the bed. She gave up and picked it up again. Taking it towards the open window she turned it slowly to check its working. Aha! So this is it. The base of it was loose because of the fall if it was held tight it might work. She went to sonu's craft material and got out the cello tape. After a casing of tape she tried again.
"Aur is Gaaney ki farmaish ki hai asansol se rita, merat se sunita ne. Raju, pappu,neha,sunny,binny,kamal ne agra se. Ladak se subedar balwant singh aur unke saathiyo ne. lucknow ke dhawal singh, sheik ahmed aur unki patni zeenat ne. Sanget hai baapi lahri ka bol hai anjaan ke..madhur awaj se is gaane ko sajaya hai asha bhosle ji ne,fim hai namak halaal" Nakkusha clasped a hand on her mirthful mouth as the strings of music surrounded her. "Jawani janeman haseen dilruba..mille to dil jawan nisaar ho gaya…Shikari khud yahan shikar ho gaya..". With her new toy in hand she hummed the song with asha and went to finish her cores of the day.
A week had passed by since the day of their shopping trip to Raipur. A week since that moron had come to see her. A week since every night he had been plagued by the weird dreams at night. He couldn't understand what was wrong with him. he felt uneasy talking to her now. The comfort had vanished on his part. He waited for her every morning, every night . yet when she came to him he was assailed by a need to run away. Meghna had called him twice in the week to know if he had changed his mind about getting back together. He was almost tempted to accede to meet again but had found himself politely refusing. On the outside he looked the same to all but inside he was jumbled up. Maybe he should start preparing himself to go back. The vacation was not relaxing anymore. Even she noticed the tension in him, had asked him if all was alright last night in her unassuming sweetly innocent manner. He had lost his patience and screamed at her, ordering her to leave. The moment the words were out he had seen the hurt doe-eyed expressions which were quickly hidden behind her hissing cat faade as she had twisted her lips at him and left abruptly before he could apologize. Thinking about it made Dutta smile as he looked out from his window. She was so elusive, a puzzle at times. Did no one see her the way he did? She had a lot of courage yet she was afraid to show it to the world. He had seen her curl up in a ball of embarrassed scare in front of the people who knew her since birth and yet she came out with her claws flying towards him. His smile grew into full chuckle as he thought of Nakku sending his medical books and journal for a swim in his bathtub. He shook his head and stopped looking intently at the sight outside. Was it? Yes, it was! Damn, what was she doing twirling around and dancing about on the terrace for.
He grinned at the lost smile on her face as she piqued on a toe on her terrace holding her face up to the sky. This was a too good opportunity to tease the little cat. He forgot his troubles of a few minutes ago and tuned jauntily grabbing his white kurta pulling it over his head running down the stairs towards Shukla house.
"Tumse milke aisa laga..Tumse milke armaan hue poore dil ke.. Ae meri jaane wafa..Teri meri meri teri ek jaan hai" Nakkusha sang in time with Suresh Wadekar in total off key note and took another turn almost losing her balance and tripping down. She caught the clothes line for support and steadied herself. She smiled and continued singing. This was one of her most favorite song which always made her cheer up. Parinda was also the last movie she had seen with her parents in the cinema hall.
"Mere sanam, teri kasam chhodenge ab na yeh haath.." She was grabbed from behind by a pair of strong hands and slammed into a hard wall like chest. She gasped as his deep voice sang in her ears the words in a slightly better time to tune. He twirled her around to face him and holding her hand waltzed her in a daring circle. She had decided last night that she was angry with him. he churlish behavior of past week was too much to bear. She had resolved no talking to the grumpy overgrown kid. But as he winked at her lecherously singing and dancing away, she couldn't hold back her laughter." Yeh zindagi.." She obliged him,"Lalala" He smiled and pulled her to step on his feet as he turned in aswift motion "gujaregi ab" She threw her head back,"Lalala" He held her close to his chest and smoothed the crul falling on her face. They froze at once with the smile struck to their lips as he trailed a finger down her cheeks pushing blowing off the tendril with his breath as the song went on, on the transistor she had placed on the edge of the water tank. "Hamdam tumhaare hi saath.." She turned her back to his front as he held her at the waist slightly moving in tune to the song. "Apna yeh vaada raha, tumse na honge judaa"
Nakkusha looked up at him apologetically from under her lashes and removed his hands. He watched her quietly as she walked towards the clothes line and started folding the dried washed clothes without meeting his eyes yet humming a little, pretending to nothing untoward had happened. Dutta squashed the urge to drag her back to him and folded his hands to his chest looking at her from hooded lids. Nakkusha smiled at him,"maa ka hai. safai karte huye milla..accha baajta hai naa? Itne dinno ke baad bhi?"
Dutta gave a lopsided grin,"Haan…atleast ladke aur ladki ki awaaz mein farak to kar saktey hai."
Sonu and debu came bounding up the stairs,"Didi, gaana kahan baaj raha hai?..Ohh!" they stood stockstill as they saw the old transistor, Sonu gave a cry of joy,"Yeh mill gaya? Wah.."
She ran to dutta and held his arm jumping in joy. While debu went to his didi,"Didi, iss mein cricket commentary hogi kya?" Dutta and nakkusha shared a twinkling smile as they twirled the younger kids around in time of the song singing along. The younger kids though mystified by their insane act joined in with their innocent laughter.
Dutta had seen the familiar red swift come to a halt in front of Nakkusha's house while he was sipping the far too sweet tea which was Sonu's first attempt at tea making apparently, especially for him and ate the pakoras to go with it. After their dance and song session, the four had been ravenous with hunger and had decided that the occasion called for a celebration of garam chai aur pyaaz ke pakorey. Nakkusha had gotten up to get the things ready but Dutta and kids had decided to pitch in. So sonu raised her hand to make tea while dutta and debu had cried a bucket chopping the onions while nakku laughed at their efforts. Her small kitchen had felt even more crowded and shrunken with so many chefs in it. She kept stepping on dutta's feet or losing her balance bumping at the counter edge. With two kids around the place, house was never quiet but today the chaos in the kitchen was too dear to her. And it was a revelation to Dutta. He had never entered his own kitchen except while getting it decorated at his condo forget cooking. All his life being the only son in house of four elder sisters had ensured that he got even his water at hands reach. But he couldn't remember ever having so much fun in his life doing such menial work.
HE craned his neck to see who stepped out of the car. As his hand stopped midway to his mouth he saw Uday locking the car's door and looking around to catch a glimpse of someone. Debu saw him too and hissed to Dutta- Bhau, ye namuna phir aa gaya? Kya bakwaas hai? roz roz kya lene aata hai..seedhey shadi ke din aane ka didi ko leke jaane ka..faltu roz chala aata hai muh uttah ke!
Dutta felt immense satisfaction that someone else felt like him but still felt obliged to oppose Debu. He bit his lips swallowing his mirth and stuffed the pakora in debu's mouth indicating him to stay quiet. Sonu saw uday and called out,"arey aap? Aayeye na! hum sab upar party maana rahe hai." Dutta saw nakkusha's smile vanishing as her face took on her serious and uncomfortable stance. It irritated dutta even more as uday came up the stairs smiling broadly.
Uday gave a apologetic smile at dutta- areey wah! Party kiss khushi mein? Sonu- maa ka purana transistor mill gaya aur abhi tak baajta hai. She enthusiastically pointed at the old thing where another old hit was being played. Uday made a face- baap re ye to baba azam ke zamane ka hai…raddi mein bhi nahi bikega. He sat down far too close beside nakkusha lightly brushing his arm to hers making her skit further away on the cot. She tried to make herself a small as possible. Dutta frowned into his cup as the tea which had been too sweet a moment ago tasted like bitter pill now. He had not missed how the leech had tried to touch her. He tried not to growl at him. Nakku- main chai laati hoon. She hastily got up when uday held her palm and looked at her smiling,"please baithiye naa! Mujhe chai nahi chahiye." Debu coughed in his cup while dutta tapped his shoulder signaling him to be quiet. Nakkusha twisted her hand free ans sat down not meeting anyone's eyes. Sonu- main chai laun. Dutta bhau ko meri chai bahut pasand hai…didi ki chai se bhi jayada. She hopped away quickly. Debu- pakora lo na. he extended the ones which he had fried and had had burned in the process. Uday hesitated so debu quickly added-maine banaye hai. Under nakkusha's gaze he had no option so uday picked one and bit on it smiling at nakku- acchey hai. in spite of her unease nakku couldn't hide her smile at her naughty little brother's antiques. He had always been the lover of practical jokes which she always forbade him, yet today she loved it.
Dutta- kaise aana hua, is taraf? Long way from Bilaspur hai na! Uday gluped the charcoal fry down and answered- wo actually, main yahan ek kaam se aaya tha. Yahan Fatima road ke puri saab hai na! Debu –hongey! toh? Dutta put his arm around debu and squeezed. Uday smiled at debu- Wo mere client hai. ek flat liya hai Bilaspur mein to uski registry karane aaya tha. To socha nakku se..mera matlab sabse mill loon. Aapke babuji mille the dukaan mein. Unse kah ke aaya hoon. Nakku smiled tentatively as sonu came with the tea. Uday sipped the tea and grimaced at it. Sonu's face fell at his expression. She frowned at him and looked at dutta. Dutta sipped his tea and sighed contently making her smile again.
Uday looked at nakkusha- nakku..mera matlab nakkushaji..aap ko gaane sunane ka shauk hai? to aap ye purana sa transistor kyu use kar rahi hai. Rahene dena tha..aajkal itne saare new technology ke radio aur transistors miltey hai..Mp3 players wagerah wagerah…hai na dutta ji? Dutta- ji! Par I think..for the kids its more nostalgic than anything else. Mera matlab hai..purani yaadein etc etc. Uday- ohh..haan so to hai. Par aap kahein to..mera matlab agar aap bura naa mane to main aapko..Nakkusha shook her head rejecting his gift before he even uttered the words- Mujhe gaaney sunnaney ka shauk nahi hai. thank you. debu chirped in- haan didi ko band bajane ka shauk hai. Kyun bhau? He winked at dutta. Dutta tried his best to look straight faced. Uday fell into embarrassed silence. Nakkusha took pity on him and asked debu and sonu to go out to play. Debu- didi, abhi to udayji ko maine pakorey bhi nahi khilaye…aapke shauk bhi nahi bataye…roz roz to nahi aatey ye…baat to karne do. Nakkusha glared at him- Debu, koi baat nahi..main ushe pakorey bbhi khilla dungi…tu jaa viju aur dinesh ke sath khel..baad mein padai ke waqt khelne ki zidd ki to kaan khich ke lambey kar dungi.samjha? Debu got up and dragged his feet to the stairs with sonu. Sonu whispered loudly- Rude aadmi, kaise muh bana raha tha meri chai pe! Huh! Debu- Makhan baaz hai..jab dekho chala aata hai…jaise uska sasural ho!
Nakkusha turned beet red at her siblings' behavior. She hoped that Uday had not heard any of it even when it was impossible not to hear it. Uday frowned thoughtfully- aapke bhai-bahen mujhe pasand nahi kartey.
Nakkusha was about to deny it when dutta sat up straight and said in a calm voice- aap sahi kah rahe hai. wo aapko pasand nahi kartey. Kyunki..kyunki aap unke zindagi ki sabse important cheez le jana chahtey hai. Unki maa. He looked at Nakkusha as she met his eyes surprised. Dutta continued- in a way, aap unki family phir se thodd ne waale hai. Jo wo accept nahi kar saktey. They are not normally like this. In fact , maine itne mature well-behaved bacchey nahi dekhey. Uday ji, ek pointer dunga aapko..nakku ko aapne parivaar ka hissa banana ki sochne se jayada..aap is parivar ka hissa banana ki koshish kijiye..Kyunki nakku aisi ladki hai jo logon ko aapna aasaani se bana leti hai..ussey pyar karna bahut aasaan hai..par jo log nakku se pyaar kartey hai..unkey liye kissi aur se utna hi pyaar karna bahut mushkil hai.
Nakkusha looked at him shell-shocked her soft lips opening in a silent 'O'. The brown doe-eyed look was back in her eyes making his heart slam hard to his rib-cage. Dutta frowned at his thoughts and looked at his empty cup. Uday cleared his voice uncomfortably- actually, shaadi ke baad to ladki hi ladke ke ghar jaati hai..so adjustments to ussey hi karne hotey hai. I am sure with time debu aur..aur. He looked lost. Ked Dutta edged in-Sonu. Uday checked himself triumphantly-haan, sonu..Sonu, with time accept kar lengey aapne didi ki shaadi ko. Kyun nakku..matlab nakkushaji?
Nakkusha was about to nod again when dutta spoke looking at him- aap seriously yahi maantey hai..ki shaadi mein aapki taraf se koi adjustments nahi lagenge..aap nakku ke liye koi sacrifice ya adjustment nahi karenge? Are you sure Udayji, you want a wife and not extra helping hand at home. Because I assure you, I think that would be cheaper and better. Uday- ji, aap kaisi baat kar rahey hai? maine aisa to kuch nahi kaha. Of course main nakkusha ka khyal rakhunga. Uski jarurat ka, uskey har maang ka khayal rakhunga. Main aapki tarah badey saher ka surgeon nahi hoon. Uday sneered at him and continued- par main aapni paatni ka khayl rakh sakta hoon. Main bhi kaafi kama leta hoon. Ki ussey zindagi bhar kissi cheez ki kaami na ho..aisey haazaar tohfey de sakta hoon..har shauk pura kar sakta hoon. Uday pointed at the old transistor.
Dutta kept his cup on the empty tray- aap ek baat bhul gaye..Nakku ki khushi…zarurat, need…in sab se alag ek cheez hoti hai..which doesn't cost a penny…Understanding and love..which gives happiness. Aap baar baar batane ke baad bhi ek baat nahi samjh sakey, Udayji. Nakkusha Ji chahey to aapne liye ek transistor khareed sakti hai..itne burey din nahi hai nishikant uncle ke..par aap kitne bhi transistors, mp3 players, Ipods de de..inkey liye..inkey bhai-baheno ke liye ye transistor anmol hai..priceless..even if it won't fetch a quarter…Kyunki, is purani cheez mein jisse aap antique kah rahe hai..utne hi important aur priceless yaadein chuppi huyi hai. agar aap itni si baat nahi samaj paye to..nakku ko kya samjhenge..kya khush rakhenge.
He got up and threw a look at nakkusha who was sitting with her head down swallowing a sob. She looked up at his retreating back and wished it was the man beside her who understood her so well, rather than him. After all the man sitting beside her was supposed to be her closest, her heart and partner…and he..he was supposed to be the stranger, the guest…a passing phase of her life.
How can a stranger understand her so well and the one who was supposed to hold her hand didn't read the panic in her eyes? Kanhaji….aap hi kuch bolo na!
They old transistor blared on ""Aur is Gaaney ki farmaish ki hai…."
………………….To be continued.
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