Chupanke Ki Saaza
Mrs. Jai Walia
"Kitni achi lag rahi hai
said, watching the graceful figure of Bani approaching them.
"Haan! Aur saab sirf usko dekh rahe hai!" Rano
"And did you see Jai's face?"
nodded, ecstatic. "But I thought he would come and talk to her though… magar
woh hai ki abhi bhi usske boring clients se baath kar raha hai!"
worry," Lakhmi assured. "Just give it some time! You can tell he is dying to talk to her!"
who was listening to conversation silently decided to step in. "You guys are
purposefully doing this?"
what?" Lakshmi fired right away. "Giving him a taste of his own medicine?"
look at him," Ranveer said, nodding to an anxious Jai glancing constantly in
Bani's direction, who now appeared to be in a conversation with Neil. "Don't
you think he had enough to deal with without adding this as well?"
me," Lakshmi answered. "Jai was the one who started it! We are just playing our
Rano," Ranveer said, turning to his wife. He found putting any sense into Lakshmi was pointless! There was only one man who
could that (her husband, if you are wondering!) and right now he was no where
to help him! "Tum khud kehthi ho na Jai kitna tadap tha hai, toh phir yeh saab
karne ki kya zaroorat hai?"
took Ranveer's hand and patted it. "Veer, hum saab jaanthe hai Jai Bani ko kitna pyaar kartha hai. This is just
to spice things up!"
bhi," Lakshmi added. "When Jai could make Bani jealous with that stupid Annie,
toh Bani ka bhi pura haaq bantha hai yeh saab karne ke liye. And it WORKED!"
"Toh aap dono mere bhai ko taang karna nahi
rolled her eyes. "Stop it Veer! Tumhara bhai Bani ko bahut rula chuka hai. Aab uski
just sighed and walked away, not at all wanting to get involved. He was very glad he was past the 'jealousy'
stage in his love story.
sighed as she watched him go. "I thought, after being in love with you for soo
long, he would finally understand,
"But he is just as straightforward as ever,"
Rano finished. "
laughed as she saw Rano shake her head hopelessly. "Well atleast you know he loves you!"
Rano said fondly. "Magar aab meri dumbo devar ki bhaari! He better confess to Bani today!"
Just look at him," Lakshmi answered, nodding in Jai's direction. "Ever since
that guy started talking to Bani, Jai is only looking at her!"
seemed to catch on. "I think that's Neil… Veer keh raha tha ki woh aur Bani
bahut ache dost hai."
vicious smile spread across Lakshmi's face. "Is that so?" she said, as if she
hit a jackpot!
don't like that look," Rano commented with a grin.
just you wait!" Lakshmi said, beckoning a waiter.
* * *
are you looking at me like that?" Bani asked for the umpteenth time in the last
Neil, shook his head, again.
I look bad?" Bani said, fixing her curls.
look anything but bad…"
caught the double meaning. "Oh ho! Kya baath hai? Aaj Mr. Desai flirt kar rahe
coloured upon hearing the word 'flirt', making Bani laugh. Sometimes Neil acted
like a twelve year old!
are you laughing?" he asked.
before Bani could answer, a waiter bumped into her, making her stumble and grab
onto Neil for support.
you okay?" he asked, catching her waist, while she found balance.
thanks," she answered, turning around to bash the waiter, only to find him
gone. "Where did he go?"
don't know. He didn't even say sorry…"
know! And I told them to be on their best behaviour today!" Bani sighed.
"Anyway, are you having fun?"
Neil said. "Good job on the planning… its really nice."
took a bow. "Thank you!"
smiled nervously as he continued looking at Bani, wishing he could just say the
words that formed in his mouth alright, but refused to come out. "Umm… Bani?"
shakily held out his hand. "May I h-have…"
are you getting so nervous?" Bani asked, noting his pale colour. "Just spit it
I have this dance with y-you?"
was a bit surprised to see Neil. Being shy in nature, she could tell he was
super nervous about asking her. But she couldn't help but be touched by his
gentlemen behaviour! However, before she could answer, Jai joined the
conversation out of no where.
he said in a booming voice. "How are you?"
quickly withdrew his hand. "Im good Mr. Walia," he said politely. "And you?"
Jai replied, confidently. "Do you like the party?"
Neil said. "Its arranged beautifully."
is," Jai agreed. "And all thanks to my wife!"
was stumped with Jai's answer. "W-wife?" he finally said after a few moments.
"But… but I thought B-Bani organized it."
Jai said, wrapping his arm protectively around Bani's waist. "Bani hi toh hai,
There weren't words to describe Neil's mortification. He glanced at Bani,
waiting for confirmation, waiting for her to deny the news, but she only looked
at Jai in what appeared to be surprise. And that's when Neil wished he could
disappear from the spot.
will you excuse us," Jai said, satisfied to see the look on Neil's face. "Enjoy
with that he steered Bani away and was quickly leading her to the dance floor.
the hell was that?" she fired as soon
as they were out of earshot.
pulled her close, and began swaying to the music. "I should be asking you that!"
"Me?!" she answered, her hands automatically
wrapping around his neck. "Why would you tell Neil? Poor guy! He looked like he
was about to kill himself!"
he should have thought about that before
appeared confused. "When did he touch…" she trailed off, remembering how Neil's
arms went for her waist when she lost balance.
was then that Bani realized where she was. They were in the middle of a crowded
dance floor, where they were both pressed right up against each other. She was
hit with a wave of dj vu, when she remembered this was exactly how they
shared their first kiss.
do you care?" she asked, looking up into his muddy brown eyes, trying to divert
her mind from that memory. "I thought we
weren't going to pretend to be
married in the office…"
don't like that Neil anywhere near you!"
she continued. "Jab tum Annie ke saath rehthe ho, usske saath flirt karthe ho,
tab main kuch nahi kehthi!"
you have no right to interfere with
me and Neil either!"
I am not as matured as you then!" he said simply. "Kyunki mujhe farak padtha
heart soared at finally hearing those words. A smile spread across her face as
she continued to watch him, enjoying every moment, savouring it like a child
eating chocolate! It was after a couple of minutes that she noticed Rano and
Lakshmi waving, beckoning her to join them. However, when she tried to go, the
arms around her waist tightened.
are you going?"
aur Lakshmi mujhe bula rahe hai!" she replied, nodding in their direction.
am not letting you out of my sight
Bani said, not seeing logic. "Let me go."
that Neil can have another chance?!"
rolled her eyes and tried to push his arms off. But he only ended up pulling
her closer (if that was possible!) and now, their faces were only inches apart.
looked deep into her eyes and somehow, that one stare seemed to blow all her
inhibitions away. She melted in his arms, letting him pull her to the tunes of
the music, which she no longer heard. It was just his face that occupied her,
would think after drawing my face so many times," he said quietly. "You would
stop watching me."
small blush crept up to her cheeks. "You went through my sketches?"
bit," he answered.
didn't know why, but she liked the
fact that he looked. The fact that he still held some interest in her hobbies
brought immense happiness. "Don't you want to know why?"
smiled. "I know why."
didn't press for an answer, and they once again fell into silence. Bani didn't
care if he knew the right reason or not, because she did. After lying awake for hours last night, she finally
accepted what her heart was trying to tell her for a long time; she didn't hate
it was not because he igorned her or because he made her jealous with his
secretary, but because he was the reason she still breathed. So, how can anyone hate the reason behind their
can't. And neither can she.
does that change anything? She didn't know, because the truth still remains
that he killed her sister, or atleast was a reason for her death.
for now, she just embraced the two truths of her life and decided to go with
the one that gave her the least pain, hoping that when the times comes for her
to choose, she would be able to. For now, she was content with being Mrs. Jai
Walia, because no matter how angry she was (for the emotion was still very much
there), nothing gave her more pleasure than being with him.
* * *
walked up to Rano and pulled her into a hug.
hua Kaaki?" Rano said, with a smile. "Aap itni khush kyun hai?"
job beta," Krishna said, kissing her forhead. "Bani aaj bahut achi lag rahi hai!"
took a bow. "Thank you!" She then turned to Ranveer, who was grumpily standing
beside her and said, "Dekha? Aab toh mujhe appreciate karo!"
hua?" Krishna said, watching the duo.
nahi Kaaki," Rano explained. "Aapka beta mujhse gussa hai… kyunki maine isske
ladle bhai ko takleef dene ki jurat ki!"
laughed and patted Ranveer's shoulder. "Lekin woh saahi thi! Just look at them…
dono ek dusre ka saath nahi chood rehe hain!"
irritation vanished at that comment. He, like everyone of the Walia's, did not
fail to notice the happiness visible on Jai's face. But he also suspected
enough about Jai and Bani relationship, to know that it was going to be short-lived.
Despite not knowing what exactly went wrong between the couple, Ranveer still
supported his brother.
was the only one in the entire family, who knew that Jai didn't love Pia, back
when their marriage was arranged. Though he tried to convince Jai to call of
the loveless engagement, Jai would
always reply the same – "I can't hurt Dad." And from that day on, he trusted
his brother, because he knew whatever he did, there was a reason for it. So,
even today, when he was being accused of flirting with his P.A., he knew that
there was a motive behind it and did not approve of Rano and Lakshmi pouncing
Rano," Krishna said. "Lakshmi kahan hai? Yeh saab zaroor ussi ne kiya hoga!"
Kaaki," Rano replied. "She came up with the dress… I was aiming for a saari,
magar you know Lakshmi…"
Tarun," Ranveer commented. "I wonder how he puts up with her!"
Rano admonished, causing Krishna to laugh and leave the couple alone.
saach toh keh raha hoon," Ranveer defended. "Lakshmi has the weirdest and
craziest ideas ever!"
do I! So, tum bhi mere baare mein aisa hi sooch the ho?"
expression softened considerably. "Of course not!" he said, pulling her into a
giggled. Her ways to 'manaofy' her hubby never failed. He was the most
straightforward person ever!
Ranveer said, checking his watch. "its 10 o'clock. You should go to bed!"
jerked out of his arms. "What?!"
who was expecting this reaction, merely took her hand and said soothingly, "The
doctor told you not to exert yourself! You have been standing for three hours
I'm fine!" she protested. "Seriously!"
he said, not believeing a word of it. "Magar
tumhe aaram karna chahiye! You carrying eight kgs!"
rolled her eyes. "Jab mujhe problem nahi hai, toh-"
silenced her with a finger on her lips. "Magar mujhe hai," he said quietly. "I
can't see you in pain, of any kind."
didn't argue, understanding the expression in his eyes. She learned enough in
the last eight months to tell that Ranveer would put with any of her excuses,
no matter how lame, except for the ones with her pregnancy. So, she quietly let
him lead her out of the hall.
ice cream chahiye," she said, stopping at the foot of the stairs, which lead to
Rano said, with a grin. "Baby ko bhook lag rahi hai!"
rolled her eyes. "Agar tumhe chahiye
toh, saaf saaf kehdona, Gudiya par blame mat dalo!"
pretended to sniff. "Toh tumhe apni gudiya ki padi hai… meri nahi!"
teek hai meri maa," he answered, with a smile. "Chalo!"
ice cream yahan khud chal kar to nahi aa saktha na. Kitchen tak jaana padega!"
frowned. "So you are going to make me walk to the kitchen, carrying eight
stared incredulously at her. "You were fine till a minute ago!"
just shrugged in response.
with a sigh, Ranveer lifted her in his arms and began walking towards the
kitchen. "I swear," He said. "Sometimes I feel like you want to make my life difficult!"
grinned sheepishly. "Hormones baby… im eight months pregnant."
you are just being lazy!"
* * *
Lakhmi said. "Chalo dance karthe hai."
nahi," he replied, continuing to type away on his phone.
grumbled something incoherent, causing Tarun to smile and finally look at his
party mein mere liye aaye ho ya tumhare phone ke liye?"
wrapped his arm around her and answered, "Tum
party mein Bani ke liye aayi ho ya phir mere liye?"
narrowed her eyes. "Don't act smart with me mister!"
merely grinned. "Waise Bani hai kahan… with all that hungama yesterday, I
thought she would be a bit more noticeable!"
is noticeable," Lakshmi said, turning
towards Jai and Bani's direction. "Just look at her… the hair, the dress…"
Tarun said, seriously, not taking his eyes of his wife. "But next to you she blends right in!"
teek hai," he said, turning to get a look at Bani. "Not bad… but I thought
tumhara favourite colour white tha!"
was going to get white," she answered. "But Bani wouldn't listen… she kept
saying she wanted pink and she didn't even tell me why!"
shook his head. "Zaroor Jai ka favourite hoga… waise how did he react? Im sure
he must have flipped seeing the back!"
grinned. "Issi liye toh, woh teen gaante se usse chod nahi raha
shook his head. "Jai bhi na… bilkul ek bewakoof hai!"
its so obvious that Bani is trying to make him jealous and he fell right for
narrowed her eyes. "Really? What would you
would have continued flirting with that girl… kya naam hai uska? Oh, Annie!"
heard enough of the girls' conversation the night before, where a somewhat
depressed Bani arrived and almost broke down crying, to catch up on the
scenario. The rest of the night passed with Lakshmi abusing Jai and Rano
consoling Bani. Tarun wouldn't have cared, if their voices weren't so loud,
keeping him far from sleep!
mouth dropped open. "I cannot believe
you… you are supporting your best friend in all this!"
just saying it was a smarter thing to do," he answered. "Now, all you three
girls will bug him about this for the rest of his life!"
like a true lawyer!"
laughed. "Can't help it… waise bhi, Jai hai toh tumhara hi bhai na. Why do you
want trouble him?"
he is just being stupid this time," she explained. "Waise bhi, Im glad. I was
honestly starting to forget how good they look together!"
are they back together?"
didn't have an answer to that. "Pata nahi… But I hope so. I don't even know what went wrong in the first place. "
must be something really big, because Jai would never have let her go for that one month."
sighed. "Whatever it was, I hope its gone. There is no denying how much they love each other!"
weren't this confident last night, when you were telling Bani to fight for her
husband, etcetera etcetera!"
grinned sheepishly. "You know I just
said that to make her do something! If not, she would just sit there and cry…
pata nahi, woh Jai ke samna kyun blank ho jati hai! Pehle toh aise nahi thi…"
seemed to put Tarun in deep thought. Being a lawyer by profession, it was his
second nature to dig into the facts and right now, listening to his wife, he
was beginning to suspect something big in his best friend's life, that he was
hiding from everyone. If not, why else would Jai, who loved Bani more than
possible, let her leave for a month? And moreover, the same Jai who would never
take a second glance at another woman, except his wife, start flirting with his
the most intriguing was Bani, who T never had shared a close bond with, but
still admired for her daring attitude. He still remembered her a year ago, when
she first walked into the Walia Mansion, taking what was her sister's place. He
never, in his wildest dreams, expected her to make a place in Jai's heart, who
was very difficult at times, but she
did. So, how did the girl who threatened the mighty Jai Walia once and barged
into his ordered life without permission, succumb to tears upon being ignored
by the man she loves?
was very worrisome for Tarun. It wasn't normal to see one of this favourite
couples to be fighting like two kids.
Lakshmi said, waving a hand. "Where are you lost?"
jerked out of his thoughts, making a note to figure out this puzzle, which
everyone was conveniently ignoring.
nahi," he replied. Telling his wife would mean a public announcement of his
intentions. "Chalo, lets dance!"
Phew! That was ten pages on word!
I know, I know, there wasn't a lot of Jai and Bani, but the story has to move on and I enjoy writing about things that happen outside the JB bubble: