Posted: 20 February 2006 at 4:45pm
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Angad Khanna sat in the back seat of Suryaban's Sharma's car, looking out the window. The heat, the dust, the crappy roads were already starting to get on his nerves, and he had only been in the country for less than two hours. He took one final glance at the peculiarly serene forestry around him before turning his attention back to his future father-in-law who was sharing a hearty laugh with Angad's father. He diverted his attention to his mother who was busily chatting away with Kripa's mom. "They're so happy" he thought. "I've never seen them so relaxed, so calm. Maybe coming here wasn't such a bad idea afterall" He pushed away the thought away as a curvy driveway came into view, and beyond it lay a humble, but welcoming home.
"Kripa! Mishty! Josh! Kahan marr gaye sab ke sab?! Woh log aa bhi gaye" Maya Sharma yelled at the top of her lungs. Maya was Kripa's aunt, widower of Suryaban's older brother, Kaushal. Josh was Maya's son, and Mishty was his wife. They had a two year old son named Aditya, who was Kripa's pride and joy. Adi, as he was affectionately called, spent more time with Kripa than his own parents.
Mishty and Josh showed up at the door, with Adi in Josh's arms, and a puja thali in Mishty's hands. They were all anxiously awaiting Kripa's to-be husband. Kripa, however, was nowhere to be seen. As the doorbell rang, Maya got more nervous. Where in the world was this girl?
Kripa ran through up and through the hills of Nainital; she was late and she knew she would be in major trouble if she didn't hurry up. She rushed up another small hilltop that led to the back of their house. "Thank god Bua didn't move the ladder" she thought. She hurriedly started to climb up the ladder, but her foot slipped off a step. Now she was clinging onto the sides of the ladder, holding onto dear life.
Angad entered the Sharma house and was welcomed by six or seven people at the door. He was a bit taken aback by this gesture; he wasn't expecting so many people awaiting his arrival. He looked around to see if he remembered anyone, specifically he looked around to see if he could identify Kripa. He looked at each person's face carefully, as Bua put tika on his forehead. He saw a young woman, pretty woman smiling at him. At first glance he thought it might be Kripa, but then he noticed the mangalsutra around her neck. He then noticed the man beside her, tall and handsome, and holding onto a child. He put the child down, and moved forward to shake Angad's hand. "Hi, I'm Josh, Josh Sharma…Kripa's brother" Angad shook his hand and nodded, smiling slightly. Josh turned to the woman by him and put and arm around her. "my wife, Mishty" Angad reached out to shake her hand as well, but Mishty smiled and put her hands together in form of "namaste". Angad, slightly embarrassed, did the same.
Just as they all entered, Suryaban asked Maya where Kripa was. Before she could answer, however, they all heard a shrill scream. "HELPP! Papa! Josh bhaiya! Somebody! Mein Gir Jaungi!!" Everyone, including Angad and his parents, ran towards the voice. Finally, they reached Kripa's room and saw the window open. Josh and Angad rushed to the window and saw Kripa hanging onto the side of the ladder. Josh started laughing, as he was used to Kripa's foolishness, but Angad was a bit confused. As if on reflex, he reached down and grabbed Kripa's arms. Startled, she screamed right in his face.
"SHHH!" he hissed at her. "Grab onto my shoulders and let go of the ladder" he instructed. She looked at him, dumbfounded. "Hurry!" he said, urgently. She reluctantly placed her hands on his shoulders. Her warm touch surprised Angad, but he ignored it, and pulled Kripa up and towards him. He lifted her through the window, but lost his balance and fell backward, with Kripa on top of him. She has her eyes shut tightly, and only opened them when she heard Suryaban's stern voice. "Kripa, get off Angad!" She cringed, boy was she in trouble. Quickly she got up and weakly smiled at everyone.
She scanned the room and saw three new faces. After an awkward moment, she looked at Angad and held out her hand. "Hi, I am Kripa" After introductions, and some re-introductions, Kripa touched Naina and Dilip's feet. This made them very happy. Finally, they thought, a sanskari girl in our house.
Soon after, lunch began. Everyone enjoyed a hearty meal and good conversation. Naina, Dilip, Gayatri, Suryaban and Maya caught up on old times. Adi entertained everyone else. Angad and Kripa didn't talk much to each other, as there was still an air awkwardness between them.
Angad sat in the room he was staying in, and thought about the day's events. He never contemplated rescuing Kripa on their initial meeting. He smirked slightly as he remembered her panicked face when he grabbed her, her cringe when her father yelled at her, and then her handshake with him. She was nowhere near the timid, quiet girl he was imagining she was. Laying on the bed, he closed his eyes. Kripa's smiling face and twinkling image was the last thing he saw before drifting off into a peaceful slumber.
Comming Up: A small get-together, more pranks by Kripa and Adi, Prithvi's entry.