Joined: 15 August 2011
Joined: 05 August 2011
Joined: 04 June 2006
Joined: 04 March 2011
Joined: 15 August 2011
'Uff' sone do, jiji,' Khushi muttered, feeling as if she had only just shut her eyes. The room was still dark and she sensed Anjali's deep breathing beside her, who had been mildly sedated by the doctor, Khushi recalled groggily. She focused on jiji bending over her as her eyes adjusted to the darkness.
'Chalo Khushi ... utho,' Jiji shook her shoulder softly, trying not to wake up Anjali. 'Puja nahi karni Karva Chauth ki''
Khushi sat up in bed, looking apprehensively at Anjali, her heart going out to her. She had always been the first to fast and perform all the rituals and festivals for her husband, and what did she get ... today she was unaware of that husband's ... no Khushi stopped herself from speaking ill of the departed. He was gone now, and there was no need to say anything about him. After all Anjali was still here and most important to all of them. Khushi, prayed silently to devi mayyiya for Anjali and jumped out of bed silently to change and follow jiji outside into the dining room.
Seeing the lovely spread of food and sweets instantly cheered up the still sleepy and grumbling Khushi, as she dove into the food with her customary gusto, unmindful of the time or place. Since they were not going to let her eat or drink anything, she might as well stock up for the whole day, she thought, her mouth full of the delicious hot aloo parantha. Finally gulping down jalebis, with a glass of milk, she sat back, satisfied, a happy smile on her face. This 'sargi' idea was a good one, she thought, eyeing the plate of jalebi and wondering if she could manage just another one.
Since it was also customary that the fasting wife's, not do any housework, she happily went back to bed to knowing that she would not be required to help with the breakfast etc. later.
When Arnav came down for breakfast he found just nani sitting at the table with Aakash and mamaji. His eyes searched for Khushi and he missed the knowing smiles exchanged between the rest at the table.
'Ka dhoond rahe hain bitua'' Nani asked innocently a naughty smile on her lips.
'Kuch nahi, nani,' he mumbled, sitting down abruptly, 'wo Jaiprakash coffee nahi laya abhi tak' er ... where are the rest' he tried to sound nonchalant.
Nani set about explaining the ritual of Karva Chauth to him, ending with giving him orders to return home on time to break Khushi's fast.
Arnav's hand stopped midair holding the coffee cup near his lips ... Khushi and fast ... all day ... no food and no water, he thought incredulously. He recalled her stuffing herself with food on that fateful trip to Nainital ... no, Khushi without food was just not possible. He turned angrily towards nani, his first instinct to get her out of this situation.
'You know I do not like these rituals and ceremonies, nani.' He muttered angrily. 'As my wife, she has to follow what I believe in.''
'As a Raizada dauthter-in-law she has to follow the customs of this household, Arnav,' nani shut him mid sentence coldly.
'But she is supposed to do this for me, right?' he questioned slyly, 'so am I not the one to decided if I want someone to do it or not' I have no say in this matter?'
'You have taken enough decisions for your self, which have resulted in us being mocked in society,' she made a pointed reference towards his bringing Lavanya into the house.
'Fine...' he slammed his cup down on the table and collecting his coat, left the table muttering '...then don't expect me to be part of this madness, in that case.'
It was possibly the longest day of Khushi's life, as she entered her room in the afternoon to get ready for the puja. She was absolutely dying of hunger and thirst, so much that she could have easily slipped into the bathroom and drank the tap water there. 'I'm going to die of thirst Mr Arnav Singh Raizada, and all because of you,' she cursed loudly as she pulled out the red brocade lehnga from its tissue wrappings. Jiji had also kept a strict eye on her all day, knowing Khushi and her tendency to quietly slip something into her mouth.
'What the ...' Khushi muttered, smiling suddenly ... 'when will this day end, devi mayyiya?'
She suddenly thought of Anjaliji, who had woken up around lunchtime when a tray had been taken up to her. Thankfully Dr. Oberoi had been with her to calm her down, when she realized that she had missed Karva Chauth. Khushi had watched gratefully, as he had calmly reasoned with Anjali about her ill health and convinced her that she should not have kept the fast this year.
There was a small knock on the door, and the object of her thoughts walked into the room looking pale herself.
'You need any help Khushi,' she asked softly. Khushi instinctively realized her wanting to a part of the ceremonies in some way or the other, and welcomed her into the room, continuing to grumble about being hungry and thirsty.
Anjali helped Khushi dress in the lehnga, admiring her beauty affectionately now and then. 'Chote, will see his real bride today,' she teased Khushi as she placed the sheer net dupatta on her head framing her innocent simple beauty that needed no adornment. Nani had purposely chosen this bridal lehnga for Khushi, knowing full well that she had been deprived this pleasure during her own wedding.
Khushi fumed at the mere mention of his name, the pangs of hunger gnawing her stomach. Pursing her lips she looked at the clock on her bedside, which regretfully showed that it was at least five hours before she would be allowed to even touch food or water. She had to look at the moon before she ate, and god only knows when the moon will rise, she thought, holding back her tears.
The puja was performed in the mandir downstairs with all the ladies seated in a circle passing their decorated plates around and chanting the prayers. Khushi sat next to jiji, now feeling faint, under the weight of the dupatta and lehnga and the heavy jewellery that Anjali had insisted she wear.
Jiji looked so much more comfortable and poised, thought Khushi enviously, in her brocade sari and simple gold jewellery. The thought that she had been made to dress us as his bride made Khushi angrier, as she felt another swoon coming upon her. It was when she got a soft nudge form jiji that she realized that she had not taken the thaali from the person next to her, so lost was she in her thoughts.
Nani and Anjali watched indulgently as the ladies performed the Karva Chauth puja, offering food and sweets to the goddess. One bite would not hurt anyone, Khushi eyed the halwa in front of her longingly.
'Khushi...' jiji's knowing whisper again got her back to the rituals being performed.
After the puja, when all the good byes and thank you's were said and everyone had left, Anjali suggested that the girls rest in their rooms for a while, and then gather on the roof to complete the rituals. She hurried into the kitchen to help prepare the special dinner.
Alone in her room Khushi paced the floor, lehnga held aloft in her hands, wondering why the hands on the clock were not moving. What was jiji doing ... Akash jiju had come in early from office, so would probably be with her now, Khushi thought fondly, a sudden small smile coming on her face.
Arnav looked at his watch, turning his face away from his laptop. He looked out towards the glass walls of this cabin and saw the scant smattering of staff, most of them packing up to leave for the day. Much to his annoyance, some of the girls had requested for half day off for this Karva Chauth.
His mind went once again to Khushi, and how she would be coping with this fast, that had been thrust upon her. Traditions and customs, he muttered angrily, not believing in either. It was bad enough that Di had been totally involved in them, to the brink of obsession he thought, only to be cheated and lied to in the end. He slammed the lid of his laptop in anger, recalling his wily brother-in-law and his cunning craft ways. She deserved better, his sister, he fumed, his fist clenching at his own inability to keep her secure and safe.
Packing his laptop away, he stood suddenly, feeling a rush of giddiness come over him. Now regretting his own spontaneous decision this morning to not eat or drink anything to give his wife company, he stood still for a while, letting the feeling pass, before picking up his stuff and heading home. Hopefully the tamasha would be over by the time he got back.
Joined: 15 August 2011
Joined: 26 July 2006
Joined: 09 June 2009
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