Now on to the next chapter
"Aham Bhai, that was the best we could have asked for, don't you think?" Jigar was closeted in the office with Aham. "Jigar I am glad too. But calm down. Sameer will be here and we can once for all end this chapter."
Sameer had found their mole. It was their new peon who seemed to have found an ingenious way to pass on their quotes on deals. Usually there was always a second copy of the quotes
printed and stored as a backup. The file was discarded just hours before the team presenting the tender left. The mole had used the discarded copy to pass on the information.
When Aham had taken up his role as MD and Jigar joined him recently, they had brought about changes to their security systems at MI. But as the saying goes "Security is as weak as the
weakest link". It was usually the human link that turned out the weakest just as in this case.
"Jigar, we will take appropraite action but I think we should not let the talk of the investigation out to the staff." "Ji Bhai, not good for the morale. I thought of that." Aham smiled at Jigar again marveling at how in tuned his brother was becoming in all office matters. It would be a huge weight off his shoulders when Jigar completely took over a part of the business like he had from his Kaka.
"Both of them are old enough to be father's themselves but they still act like children." Aham and Jigar sat facing Kokila and Hetal shamefacedly as Koki voiced her displeasure.
"So right Kakiji. Especially Jigar" Deepu's straight faced support of her Kaki earned a smile from Hetal and a pleading look from Jigar.
"At least Jigar is the younger one. Ahem, I did not expect this from you. You know you get sick if you get in the rain. What was the need to come home all wet?" Aham looked down embarrassed. "Woh Mom.. We kind of.." "Kokila, what is done is done. Now let them go rest."
"Maaji, I brought some hot water." Gopi cut shot Kokila's angry rant by coming in with hot water for the brothers. Aham looked up and gave a smile that said "Thank you". Deepika kept smiling at what was to come to Jigar..
"Aham Bhai, what a relief. This calls for a treat. We will throw a party. Maybe go out to dinner? Or wait.. Lets go shopping.." Aham smiled as Jigar excitedly talked on their way home from work. The deal they had worked so hard for had come to bear fruit.
Modi Industries had made its mark and they had the deal papers signed and approved. The
brothers were returning home after the meeting.
Chirag had come back from vacation and was now in semi-retirment coming in to office only on
a need to basis. Hetal and Kokila had been proud at the way the DILs had managed the house and supported their husbands when the need arose. The house was back to normal and things
were sailing smoothly.
"Jigar.. We will be home in thirty minutes and can decide then.." Aham did not finish his sentence when the car came to a grinding halt in the middle of the road. Aham frowned and Jigar and shrugged. He restarted the engine again and found the engine just would not even give a sound.. It was completely dead.
"There Jigar, goes your great plans. Alright, let me call home. Maybe they can send another car and a mechanic for this one." Ahem got down and walked to Jigar's side of the door. "Bhai, stop." Ahem looked surprised as Jigar took the phone away from Ahem. "Bhai, don't call home. See how beautiful the evening is. Let us walk home from here." Ahem shook his head thinking his brother was mad.
"Jigar, come on buddy.. We are in our suits and office just got over. We can do this after reaching home." "Bhai, don't tell me you want Bhabhi's green tea already. Let us walk home and I have another reason for saying so."
Ahem raised his eyebrows asking what.. Jigar indicated to a broken rubber ball on the side of the road.
"Ahh.. No Jigar.. Do you know how old we are now?" "Bhai, come on. When is there a age limit for a small game of roadside football. Come on Bhai, it has been so long ago." A small twinkle in his eyes, Ahem remembered back to the days the brothers used to play football using a bottle cap or a piece of bundled paper. It was one of the most amusing games they had ever played. Jigar grinned as Ahem nodded.
Both locked the car doors securely as they left it parked near a shop. Fortunately the engine had died just near a place they could park the car overnight. Thus started the game of broken ball.
"GOAL.." "Bhai, that is not a goal. It was just outside the ditch." "Jigar, the ball has fallen right into the ditch. It is a goal. 3-2. Come on, get the move on it."
The broken ball broke further as the brothers took turn kicking it this way and that making their way towards home. All business matters and the signed deals were forgotten. They went
back to being Ahem and Jigar.
"Bhai, there.. Goal.." "Not until it hits the pavement and it will not." Ahem ran to defend the ball from hitting the pavement keeping his lead when.. "Oh no.." Jigar, about to hit the ball looked at the expression on Ahem's face. Then he realized why when he felt the first drops of rain hit him.
"Bhai, it is starting to drizzle." "Not drizzle Jigar. It is going to pour. And there is not a shelter in sight" As Ahem talked it started raining harder. Both brothers looked at each other for a minute with utmost surprise and burst out laughing.
"Ok.. Now what?" "We continue the game and reach home. We are wet already. It doesn't matter." Ahem shrugged hearing Jigar's casual reply and both continued playing as they reached MB, soaking wet.
"Where are they Mota Bhabhi? It is pouring out and there is no sign of either. Day by day Ahem and Jigar are getting more and more irresponsible." Hetal smiled at Gopi as looked worriedly at the door.
"Ji kakiji. Ahem Bhai has also joined Jigar these days. All Jigar's doing i should say. He is making Ahem Bhai just like him" Deepika added fuel to the fire and smiled cheekily and winked at Hetal. Hetal just smiled back shaking her head. She knew that Deepika was getting back at Jigar for teasing her that morning. It was a well known fact that Deepika never took anything lying down. Jigar, Hetal knew was going to be in big trouble with her DIL.
The doorbell rang and Gopi ran to get the door. She gasped taking in the sight of the brothers, soaked all wet laughing and standing at the door.
"Hi Gopi. Acchu.." Gopi looked alarmed as the rest of the women came forward to look at who
sneezed. Kokila brizzled. Hetal looked on smiling while Deepika gasped as they each took in
the sight of the highly dishevelled brothers standing in the doorway.
"Ahamji, Devarji come in.. Come in. I will get some towels" Gopi broke the spell as she ran to get the towels for them both.
"What is the meaning of this. Ahem, Jigar? Why are you both soaking wet?" Kokila's voice brought the brothers back from their play world and both looked like deer caught in the headlight.
"Yes Yes Jigar.. What is this? And Why did you drag Ahem Bhai with you? I am pretty sure this is all your idea." Jigar looked at his dear wife smiling at him. He could swear he saw two red horns on top of her head as she sided his Kaki..
"Now Now Deepika. Slow down.. You will give me a headache" Jigar caught Deepu's hands as she dried his hair vigorously with the towel. "Now keep quiet. I have to get your hair dry and
Kaki is waiting downstairs for an explanation"
"Deepu darling, come on.. I will hold my ears.. Just let Kaki know that I am sleeping." "No chance hubby. You have to come down, darling" Deepika smiled as she imagined Jigar's face under the towel.. She was enjoying this lapse from the brothers a lot.
"Gopi.. Acchu.." Ahem smiled as he saw his wife getting alarmed again and look at him with concern. "Ahemji, why did you not call? See you will get a cold now." Ahem enjoyed the feeling of her dainty little hands dry his hair as she tried to get him dried quickly.
"Now if I had not got wet then will you be helping me now?" Gopi frowned and then stopped to look at Ahem. "That is not an excuse Ahemji. You could become sick" She said in what she considered was her most complaining voice. All it got her was a hug around her waist as Ahem pulled her towards him and closed his eyes laying his head on her stomach. "Hmm..Hmmm.. keep going Gopiji.. I love your anger."
Gopi just went on trying to dry Ahem's hair quickly, praying he did not fall sick and also smiling at his childishness.
"Gopi, get Ahem to take steam so that he does not get any more sicker and you Deepu.." Deepika turned immediately to Kokila. "Get that Kaada here from the kitchen. Jigar, drink the Kaada now and sleep. You will get sick otherwise."
Hetal walked away to her room knowing that Jigar could now not say no to drinking the kaada prepared. He would always find an excuse if she tried. Kokila, he would never dare say no.
"But Kaki.." "Yes Jigar." "Nothing Kaki." Jigar swallowed and nodded. His wife gave him what looked like the tallest glass in the kitchen full of Kaada to drink. He was doomed.
"Gopi.. I cannot breathe." "One minute Ahemji" Gopi moved from the bed and was stopped by Ahem holding her hand tightly. "Don't go.. I cannot breathe, Gopi.." "Ahemji, one minute, I will get the pain balm and some hot water. One minute" Gopi held his face and wiped his forehead with her pallu once before hurrying to get the pain balm she knew had helped him once.
By the time she came back, Ahem was trying to breathe and had three pillows to help support his back. She could see him struggle as he tried taking deep breaths.
"Hold on one second Ahemji." Gopi sat by his side and placed her hand on his forehead slowly
rubbing the balm. Ahem struggled to breathe for some more time. He shifted his head to her
shoulder and then soon he placed his head on her lap as she rubbed his forehead giving him
He felt his wind pipe clear a little and it was not as painful taking a breath as it was before.
Gopi slowly rubbed his forehead some more smiling softly as Ahem's frown changed to a calm
expression. He held on to her other hand and snuggled to a fetal position as he finally slept, his breathing almost back to normal.
Gopi rubbed his forehead once more and slowly placed his head on a couple of pillows satisfied that he slept well.
"Shh.. Careful now. Oh Jigar. Are you done?" Deepika looked concerned as Jigar puked in the bathroom, his face a ghostly white. She passed him some warm water as he rinsed his mouth
and walked slowly back to the room.
"I knew you were going to be this sick. What was the need to have so much fun without an after thought? Wait. I will get some medicines."
Jigar pulled Deepika back and nodded no. "I am much better now. I had to get that out of my system. But that made me feel a lot better Deepu. I just need to sleep." Deepika nodded and covered Jigar with the blanket combing his hair with her fingers.
She sat near him until he went back to sleep and walked to clean the bathroom. She knew he
would be ok. But she had been concerned for just one moment there.
"I just do not want Kitchidi." "Ahemji, you have a temperature. Now eat the kitchidi Ahemji. You have to take some medicines" "No No.. I do not want it and I am not sick."
"Says the man who could not breathe last night" Deepika walked in with Jigar. Ahem just glared at her. "Bhai, eat it. Just for today." Jigar looked at Ahem and smiled. He was almost back to
normal. He never stayed sick for long but he knew his brother was the right opposite.
"Jigar, don't join them. I do not want Kitchidi. Now get out all of you." Ahem thundered. He saw Deepu give him a scornful look and then she walked out smiling at Gopi, followed by Jigar. However Gopi stood her ground.
"Ahemji, just a few spoons. I will give it to you myself. Come on Ahemji" She coaxed. Ahem wanted to say yes but he did hate Kitchidi. "Ahemji, if you eat this now, you can take the
medicines and you will be better before your birthday tomorrow. Then there is nothing that
will stop you from taking your favorite dishes. I am making them all myself."
Ahem's face glowed at the mention of his favorites. "What are you preparing Gopi?" "Hmm.. Anything you want. But only if you take some Kitchidi now."
Ahem nodded as he accepted the first spoonful of kitchidi as Gopi told him what she would prepare for his birthday the next day.
"She spoils him rotten Mota Bhabhi." Hetal saw a small smile in Kokila's lips as both walked towards the terrace. They had watched silently as Gopi coaxed Ahem to take the medicine and
made him eat.
"He does the same Kokila. They are equally matched. Both understand each other so well."
"Mota Bhabhi, did you see Deepu threaten Jigar to get him to take Kaada again today. That girl really knows her job." Hetal laughed again. "Now that is another pair that is well matched. Jigar can wind me and you around his fingers but not Deepu. She will not let him do anything wrong."
Both woman acknowledged their DILs and walked to the terrace at peace for having being
blessed with the two.
"Many more happy returns Ahemji" Gopi smiled sleepily as she found Ahem looking down at her on their bed. "You are awake so early." "Hmm.. Just wanted to catch you and see you before
you had a chance to escape. It is my birthday after all"
Ahem kissed her on the cheek and rolled over taking her with him. "How are you Ahemji?" Gopi
placed her hand on her forehead and checked to see if he still had fever.
"I am perfectly alright now. See, I do not even have a throatache." Ahem caught her hand and
kissed her palm once. Gopi smiled and kissed him on the forehead.
"Good. Now sleep for another hour like a good boy. I will wake you up on time." She escaped
his grip and Ahem happily went back to sleep.
"Ahem jiju, Many more Happy returns." "Thank you Panna." Ahem smiled at her as he buttoned
"This is for you Jiju." Ahem looked surprised and took the small gift wrapped box. He opened
it to find a tie pin in it. "I got it from the prize money I got in the essay competition.
Do you like it Jiju?" Ahem looked at the love the little girl had for him and lost his voice.
"He loves it Panna. And will wear it today." Gopi came in and answered Ahem as he nodded and
patted Panna's head. "Hm.. I love it. Thanks Panna." Panna nodded and ran out.
Gopi watched Ahem lovingly take the tie pin out.
"Just one, One Laddoo more please." Jigar these laddoos are for Aham Bhai. If you eat so many, he will have none left. Deepika chided as Jigar dived in to take another Laddoo. "Jigar.. What is that I hear? Are you stealing my laddoos, again?" Ahem grinned as he walked to the dining table and sat for his breakfast.
The aarti had just concluded. Like every year since Gopi had married him, she had decorated
the mandir and the house with her own hands beautifully. After Aarti, Ahem had taken the
blessings from the elders, his parents, Kaka nad Kaki and Baa. Now he was ready to go to the
temple as his mother told him to.
"No Bhai.. Just the fifth one.." Jigar smiled as he sat opposite Ahem and chewed on the Laddoo he had in hand. Panna followed him with 2 more in hers. "Well well.. Everybody except
my Ahem gets a Laddoo huh?" Hetal playfully asked as she got one from the aarti plate kept
She fed it to Ahem herself and mentally blessed him. Ahem smiled at her and thanked her. "Now go Ahem. Gopi is waiting for you to take her to the temple." Ahem nodded, took his
leave and walked to the car.
"What are you praying for?" Ahem whispered to Gopi as they stood waiting for the pandit to finish the pooja. "Nothing." Gopi smiled and waited for the panditji to give her back the prasad. Both Ahem and Gopi were at the temple.
"You can tell me now. It is after all my birthday." Ahem pouted as they made their way down the temple steps slowly. They had a nice dharshan. Gopi had specially requested for the pooja and once down he had taken her the the river that ran behind the temple. Both had spent some time feeding fish and talking. Ahem felt blissfully happy.
Gopi just smiled. "You do not share your prayers Ahemji. They never come true if you do." Ahem raised his eyebrows at her challenging her but she just nodded no as both walked back. She would have prayed for him he knew.. It was fun riling her a little. She was his queen after all.
"It is so beautiful. Thank you." Ahem turned around his eyes full and watched the family nod
their heads. He cared naught if someone saw his tears. They were his family and he had just
been given the best gift on his birthday.
Ahem turned back to admire the collage again. The family had worked on a large 50 inch collage, making it up with pictures right from his childhood to Jigar's marriage. He could see the ones he was as a new born in his baa's hands, one with his Dadaji, the one where his Kaki was puttin his tie on for school, the tennis photo with Jigar. It was his life in pictures and at the center was their family photo. His entire family.
The entire piece was mounted on the wall facing the door. He would be able to see it everytime he walked into the room and he loved it.
"Thank you." He voiced again and held on to Gopi's hands. She was the person behind the collage he knew. It seemed the family had worked for 2 weeks getting it all together. It was the best present ever.
"Well I do not want just your thank you Ahem." Baa whispered. "See that small gap near the center. That is for my great grand son. I expect you to have his photo there before your next birthday." Ahem blushed and smiled as his Baa winked at him leaving him with Gopi as the family trudged out.
"Great grand son huh? How did Baa read my mind?" He hugged Gopi from the back and whispered. Gopi blushed and smiled. "She has hinted that a lot of times already." "Did you tell her we are working on it?" "Ahemji.." Gopi blushed a deeper red. "Hmm.. Now what did I say." Ahem feigned innocence as he turned to kiss his wife. It always did not hurt to get a bonus gift on your birthday.
"Don't forget" Ahem smiled at Gopi's SMS. How can I forget? He thought to himself and
touched the bag once.
Done.. Hope you all like it.. Thanks for the wonderful support till now.. Just hang in there for me for a few more updates.. I am almost finished with the story