Joined: 22 June 2011
Joined: 07 December 2010
Several silent moments passed by unnoticed. Arohi' eyes conveyed fear and Arjun was lost.
"Arohi, Agar Arjun nahi utha to rehne de. Tu aja neechey" Pooja called from downstairs.
Her voice broke off Arjun's concentration on Arohi's eyes. It took Arohi a moment to stand up, pull her hand out of Arjun's grip and ran out of his room. She stopped at the top stair and stood there with her back resting against the wall. Her eyes closed, breathing rapid and her right hand clenched in a fist resting on top of her heart as if she was trying to sooth the beating. She was not happy with what hat just happened and hated her for not being able to get up and move away from him. Often when we hated ourselves for something, we ended up hating the reason behind it. Same was the situation with Arohi. It took her a moment to develop a negative feeling against Arjun, but the reason as unknown.
She was a strong girl and composed herself very quickly. She went downstairs and took up her chair on the breakfast table along with Bari Maan. Pooja took one look at Arohi and a concern touched her face. Arohi's face was flushed with hue of pink and her eyes, and she seemed lost.
"Arohi, kya hoa. Tu theek hai kya?" Pooja asked with concern visible in her tone.
Arohi realized Pooja had known her since she was a baby and knew her like a mom. It was only obvious that she would sense the change in her. To avoid answering her she quickly smiled at Pooja.
"Haan Bari Maan, sab theek hai. Bas Bhag kar gai aur ayi hoon na, isiliey zara" she tried to satisfy Pooja which seemed to work.
Pooja relaxed back in her chair but then remembered about Arjun.
"Oh, Arjun araya hai neechey k nahi?" Pooja asked Arohi.
Arohi's hand fumbled at hearing Arjun's name a quick expression passed on her face. She was wondering what she should say, because she didn't know if he was coming down or no. She didn't even speak to him. Arohi looked at Pooja and was forming words in her mind when she heard a deep male voice.
"I'm here maasi" Pooja and Arohi both turned around to see him walking in the room.
He was wearing his shorts but had thrown a clean white T-shirt on the top. Both of them looked at each other for a quick moment and Arohi turned her face back towards to her food. She felt an unknown pinch in her stomach and she could only associate it with the negative feelings she developed for hm. She could feel his gaze on her, but she was better off ignoring it.
"Aja puttar. Theek se neend ayi? Garmi to nahi lagi?" Pooja was worried about his sleep because she knew he was a pampered child and she dint' want to make him feel away from home.
Arjun came up to her maasi, and hugged her from behind by placing hands on her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. He had always treated elders with respect, especially his mom and her only maasi. Bent down he passed a quick glance at Arohi sitting beside Pooja. She was busy playing with the egg in the plate but wasn't eating a single bite. This girl intrigued him but nothing beyond that. He walked around and took his chair.
"Yes maasi, I slept well. Don't' worry" Arjun understood Hindi, but wasn't' able to speak it well. So he stuck to what he knew instead of trying new things.
He was happy to see Prathas, achar, scrambled eggs and lassi on the table. He had always loved desi nashta.
"Puttar eh nashta theek eh ya kuch aur chaey" Pooja asked him.
"No maasi, I love prathas, achar and lassi. This is good. Thank you" he said while placing a pratha in his plate and dipping into Achar.
Arohi wasn't hungry but she accompanied them because it was against manners to get off the table when everybody was sitting. Bari maan was about to put a bite in her mouth when she noticed Arohi playing with food and not eating. Her hand stopped close to her lips and came back down.
"Arohi, tu kha kion nahi rahi? Bhook nahi hai kya?" Pooja asked with a concerned tone.
Arjun also looked up at her while chewing on a bite in his mouth. There was something about this girl's eyes that said a lot. Her lips were silent, but her eyes were deep in thoughts.
"Nahi bari maan, main Amaan k saath subah ki roti kha kar ayi thi." Arohi gave her the reason why she wasn't eating.
"Oh haan, tumne mujse koi baat karni thi na. Bolo" Pooja remembered Arohi had come to ask her for some advice.
Arohi felt a little uncomfortable with Arjun there, and glanced at him and then back to bari maan. Pooja sensed her hesitation. She smiled to herself.
"Arey Arjun ki parwa na karo, tum bolo. Wo yahan par apna business set karna chahta hai, shayed wo tumhari help karde" Pooja said trying to involve both of them the conversation.
Pooja's comment caught Arjun's attention. He looked up at Arohi and Pooja in confusion. What did that girl have to do with his business? At a glance she seemed like she belonged to a poor family, probably farmers around here. How was that going to help him with his business? He was clearly confused so waited for Arohi to speak. He always believed in listening before speaking.
"Bari Maan, main is saal aalo ki fasal lagana chahti hoon. Mereko apki madad chaey" Arohi told Pooja her plan and waited for her reaction.
"Hain. Aalo ki fasal? Arohi tujhey pata hai uske liey kitna kaam karna parta hai?" Pooja was surprise at Arohi's thoughts.
Arjun was forced to look at Arohi as well with a confused admiration in his eyes. She wants to plant potatoes? SHE FARMS? Arjun's amusement was justified. People, who didn't know Arohi, didn't believe that she farmed. She was a girl with a fragile petite frame. But the hard work was hardly dependant on a strong body; it came from the strength within, the strength to get something done and to make one's family happy. That was the fact that Arohi believed but most of the people failed to understand. When you have to worry about feeding a family, no task was hard enough and nothing was impossible. Just because she was a girl, doesn't mean she couldn't farm and was lesser than any man. In fact she understood how to care for plants better than most men did. Caring for something or someone was an innate quality in a girl.
"Bari Maan, main janti hoon k mushkil hai, isiliey to main tumse pooch rahi hoon kya karoon?" Arohi was now focused on Pooja and had neglected the silent Arjun.
"Hmmm… Zameen hai khali" Pooja asked Arohi, while thinking about something.
"Haan Bari Maan, 2 acre zemeen hai. Mere se jitna hota hai main utna karti hoo, par baki ki sari zameen aise hi khali pari hai." Arohi said.
Pooja was engulfed in her thoughts when her eyes caught Arjun eating. An idea struck her mind and her eye lit up. A smile beamed from her face and she focused her attention on him.
"Arjun, puttar tumne apna business karna than a yahan. Kuch socha hai k kya karna chahtey ho?" Pooja asked Arjun.
"Yes Maasi. I was interested in exporting fruits and vegetables. You guys produce so I was thinking I should buy from you and export it other countries." Arjun told her what his plan was.
"Perfect" Pooja exclaimed. She was happy that he had decided to do something that was related to their family business and also to what Arohi was thinking of doing.
"Puttar, Arohi ki family k paas kuch 2 ya dhai acre land hai. Arohi pichle 5 saalon se whan par sabzi ugati hai. Uske paas abhi buhat sara land khali para hai aur koi uski help kanre wala nahi hai. Tum invest karna chahtey ho. Mera khayal hai k tum dono aik dosrey k saath yeh business deal karlo" Pooja explained her thoughts.
Arohi's mouth fell open and her eyes wide opened went from Pooja to Arjun and then back to Pooja.
"Par Bari maan.." before she could speak, Pooja put her hand up and halted her speech.
"To Arjun, kya khayal hai tera puttar?" she asked Arjun who was immersed in thoughts.
The idea was not bad at all. He could invest on her land, and pay her 50% of the benefits. This way he will not have to worry too much about buying fresh produce from different dealers. Chaudhry Sahib's farm produced enough, but he was thinking about exporting Potatoes, Onions and Carrots too, which were not produced at Chaudhry Farms. This was a brilliant idea.
"Maasi that's an excellent idea." He said and told Pooja what he had thought.
Arohi was listening to both of them discuss things but kept silent. She dint know much about business but what she did know was that it was her land that was being discussed. Her presence there was needed.
"Par bari maan, Bauji and Amma se to poochna zaroori hai" Arohi reminded them that the decision was to be made by her parents and not her.
"Arey tu pareshan na ho Arohi, tere maan, bauji se main baat karlongi" Pooja told her and Arohi thought best to keep silent.
She was just thinking about the conversation when she heard a baby cry somewhere. Alarmed she looked up and saw Arjun getting up from the chair and running upstairs. With utter confusion in her eyes, she looked at Pooja who was also getting up from the chair to go behind Arjun. Silently she followed them upstairs as the baby was crying as if it was in pain. Baby! Where had that come from? Arohi couldn't help but think. She walked in Arjun's room, behind Pooja and the sight in front of her was enough to confuse her further.
Arjun was bent over a crib in the corner of the room, and was picking up a crying baby girl. She was hardly 8 months, and was wearing a pink sleeping suit and small stud earrings in her ear. She wore a black thread around her wrist and her small hands were clenched into fists like every baby. She had golden curly hair, and milky white skin. Her face and arms were turning red from crying. Pooja quickly went over to Arjun and took the baby from him and held her close to her chest. She rested her face on her shoulder and soothed her by running her hand over baby's back and rocking her arm. As soon as the baby felt the warmth of a female her sobs subdued down to hiccups. Her face was glistening with tears flowing on her cheeks and her eyes were still closed.
Pooja walked away from Arjun and went towards the curtains and moved them to let some day light in. Arjun quickly went to the closet and opened up a baby bag to bring out the baby bottle. He took the bottle in his hand and walked by Arohi to go downstairs, to get milk for the baby. Arohi stood in the door and watch everything with shock. She was unable to move and even speak. Finally Pooja realized Arohi was standing in the door and the look on her face spelled confusion, shock and questions. Pooja smiled and walked over to Arohi. Baby was now silent and was playing Pooja's earrings and was making noises. She smiled when ever the earring dangled and a dimple touched her cheeks and her dark green eyes lit up like emerald on fire. The baby was beyond beautiful and Arohi couldn't help but touch the dimple on her cheek.
"Bari maan, ye…yeh kaun hai?" Arohi finally managed to ask Pooja.
"This is Amvi. Arjun's daughter" Pooja told Arohi.
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