I know.. I am very very late
I do not offer any excuse.. was very lazy..that is all
"Deepu.. You look gorgeous" Kinjal ran and hugged Deepika. "You are not so bad yourself. How was Dhawal Bhai able to leave you here?" Kinjal blushed and laughed while she playfully hit Deepika on the arm. "Shut up Deepu. I told him that he has no work here. He has gone to join the Ahem and Jigar Bhai." Deepu laughed at Kinjal and then hugged her again.
"Ok. Don't turn more red. You look like a beet root already." Both girls continued their banter as they walked towards Gopi's room.
"How is Gopi Bhabhi?" "Oh she is great.. She looked beautiful when I last went to see her. I can still not believe it. Two more months and we will have a baby in the house." Deepika said in awe and Kinjal nodded. "Time flies doesn't it? It feels like it is only yesterday when we had Gopi Bhabhi making all those Theeka dishes so lovingly and now we are at her Godh Bharai."
Deepu agreed and they discussed more on Gopi's preganancy as they walked along.
"Bhabhi cooked today. She is in the mood." Deepika explained as all the Modis sat around the dining table. Kinjal stood beside her. She was visiting Rajkot with Dhawal who had a couple of deals to finalize with his clients.
"Ah.. Gopi's behen's food. How I missed it." "I understand Dhawalji. What with Kinjal cooking, you must be starved." Jigar's teasing earned a smile from all and a hurried protest from Kinjal.
Gopi walked in just then followed by Meethi with the dishes she had prepared. "Lunch is ready." The entire family dug in to enjoy her labor. Gopi had these sudden urges to make dishes and both KOkila and Hetal let her have her way. They humored her just like Baa had suggested with Deepu playing second fiddle to take care that nothing untoward happened.
Silence reigned on the table as Gopi stood smiling at the bent heads. "How is it?" She questioned. "Fab..ulous Bhabhi." Kinjal was the first one to answer and she gave a smile at Gopi whose face brightened.
"Thanks Kinjal ben."
"It is really good Gopi beta." "Yeah Gopi vahu.." appreciation from all ends and Gopi was glowing with pleasure. In between all this Ahem stood up drinking a glass of water.
"Gopi, did you take your medicine?" "I thin..k so Ahemji.." Gopi replied, a little unsure. Ahem caught the hesitation and immediately urshered her away to their room. Just as he neared the stairs he turned around, made a face at those sitting in the dining table and took Gopi upstairs giving them a thumbs up behind her back.
"Phew.. This dish is so Theeka.. Brrr..." Parag said laying his spoon down as soon as Gopi was out of sight. Kokila shook her head while Deepu laughed. "Sorry Kakaji. I tried telling Bhabhi but she kept telling me that the dish needed to be a little more theeka and enjoyed the preparation so much that I did not have the heart to stop her. She likes it too."
Hetal nodded and turned to Kokila. "Looks like she is having the same kind of cravings as you did Kokila. Remember Parag Bhai? We survived on Theeka chat and Theeki subzi for a week" Parag laughed as Koki tried to look stern but failed. She laughed and nodded.
"Ok. Here are the dishes we prepared as backup. Eat before Bhabhi comes back. She worked so hard on hers.. She should have no clue." Deepu informed as she replaced the plates with new ones. As she went near Jigar he stopped her.
"What are you talking about? This is the best dish I have taken in years now. Get me some more." All looked at Jigar who started to furiously dig in again with relish. Deepu stood, her mouth open.
"Looks like Gopi Bhabhi is not the only pregnant person in our house." Kinjal whispered loudly and the entire group had their fun at Jigar's expense.
"He is still the same. He eats like a pregnant woman. And to top it, Gopi bhabhi will hear nothing against him." Deepika complained to Kinjal as they entered Gopi's room.
They looked straight to find Gopi standing facing the wall with a card in her hand. Both girls hurried to meet their Bhabhi and include her in their fun.
Hetal watched Kinjal and Deepu chatter and go into Gopi's room. For a minute second that the door was opened she could see Gopi standing at the end of the room, her face all glowing. Hetal felt an immense sense of comfort as she watched the girls join her and the doors closed. Ahem had kept his promise to her. She was satisfied.
"Ahem, can I talk to you beta?" She saw Ahem relax whsen she smiled and come towards her with his office bag. It was around 1 'o clock in the night and the house was silent.
"You are up so late Kaki?" She just smiled in reply. "Meeting Ahem? Did you have dinner?" He nodded no and she urshered him to the dining table. As he sat eating the food she served him, Hetal looked at the boy she had loved the minute she had taken him in her hands. She decided that she would get no better time to ask him what she had in mind.
"Ahem, will you listen to your Kaki if I requested something." That got his attention. He has always been obedient and respectful. He would never be as free in showing his love as Jigar but she always felt Ahem's love for her in his respect.
"Ji Kaki. What is it?" She had taken one look at the concerned face and decided that he would never fail her in any way.
"Ahem, You know, you remind me of your Kaka so much. The same dedication and respect to your work.." Ahem listened closely waiting for his Kaki to tell him why her smile had disappeared as she talked.
"I remember him telling me that you remind him of himself 30 years ago. But Ahem, there is something you need to keep in mind especially now that you are going to become a father." Hetal looked at Ahem giving her his full attention and smiled softly.
"It is a wonderful feeling beta when a woman falls pregnant. She carries a child and she becomes one herself. At this time the one thing she wants the most is love from all around her, especially her husband. His presence will make her feel secure.Our Gopi is no different." Ahem nodded but Hetal knew she had to make him understand a little more.
"When I was pregnant with Jigar, your Kaka was trying to expand the family business. If it had not been Koki, I would.." Hetal's eyes filled as a warm hand covered hers. She looked at her child and found his understanding glance.
"Jigar's father was the perfect husband and father most times but I missed him the most during the days I was pregnant.This phase in life does not happen everyday." Ahem nodded.
"Thanks Kaki. I understand. I promise you that I will be there for Gopi always, especially now." Hetal nodded and placed her hand on his cheek. "I know you will.. Eat now. The food is getting cold."
He had been true to his promise, Hetal thought to herself. Not a single day had he missed coming home on time. He had taken Gopi on walks, to the doctor and had spoiled her in all ways he could. Gopi had blossomed more and more under his attention.
She also remembered her husband praising Ahem on his commitment and the teamwork with Jigar as the brothers worked hard on the business. Both had worked in tandem to make sure that Gopi had the happiness she deserved. Hetal was proud of her sons.
Gopi looked at the mirror and smiled. She ran a hand lovingly through her stomach. She was ready to go down and her Kakiji had asked her to wait till Deepu or Kinjal ben got her. She had waited and then her eyes fell on the bed side table with picture frames and a card with a rose Ahem had given her that morning.
Gopi walked to the table and picked up the photo frame kept there. Ahem stood sulking while Jigar was laughing in the shot. Gopi smiled as she thought back to the months that seemed to pass in a flash.
"Working again Mrs. Modi." Gopi almost dropped the ironed clothes hearing her husband's voice in the room. "Ahemji, You are here.. So soon?" Gopi could not hide the excitement his sudden presence had caused.
Gopi found herself enclosed in Ahem's hands. "I missed both of you." She had smiled and blushed as he had kissed her hand and then had placed it lovingly on their baby. Placing the clothes on the table, he then proceeded to take her hands in his and continued, "Are you ready Gopi?" Her look of puzzlement was answered by a teasing smile.
"I know you usually walk in the garden at this time with Mom. I told her that I will take care of that duty from now on. Come on Gopi.. Let us go." Ahem took her hands in his as they walked towards the garden.
"PINK... Gopi you got me a pink shirt?" Gopi looked hurt and she pouted back at her husband. She was going through a phase of colors.. Pink was her favorite now.
"What is wrong with it Ahemji? I love it." She looked at the shirt admiring its silken softness and the shine. Ahem schooled his distaste as he swallowed in apprehension.
"Gopi dear... Look.. I will use this for a very special occasion. Lets keep it in the cupboard shall we?" Ahem hurried to take the shirt out of his sight. He prayed that Gopi's pregnant harmones would move to the next phase quickly.
"Devarji says you have a party tonight. You can wear this then." Gopi said excitedly, her five month baby bump showing.
Ahem wanted to kill Jigar. His usually color conscious wife had grown to love out of the way colors in bright shades and in silk. He still had nightmares about the shirt with red flowers she had got him the previous week. Today was a bright pink one that shined. He was afraid it may even feel like velvet. Ahem sighed and tried to reason with Gopi someway only to see Jigar walk in grinning from ear to ear.
"Ahh.. What an awesome shirt." "Then you have it" Ahem muttered under his breath as Jigar continued. "Will suit Bhai to the T. Superb choice Bhabhi." Jigar winked at Ahem's gesture that he is dead and then made his way out laughing.
"See Ahemji.." Ahem decided to forget the shirt and concentrate on his wife. She looked beautiful, to hell with shirts..
Gopi laughed looking at the picture again. Jigar had a field day she knew. But it was still something she cherished. Her Ahemji had worn it because she wanted him to. Nothing else had mattered.
"Day dreaming about Bhai again, Bhabhi?" Gopi blushed and hurriedly replaced the picture back as her nanad and Devrani walked in.
"Kaka, We need to be there. I know what I want to gift Gopi today and we need to be there for that." Ahem said softly and looked around to his brother who stood by his side and nodded.
"Yes Papa. Please say yes." Jigar entreated while Dhawal also looked eagerly at Chirag.
"Come on Chirag Bhai, be a sport. Remember the time when Mota Bhabhi had her Godh Bharai." Chirag's eyes widened while the younger Modis caught on and went towards the elder brothers eagerly.
"What happened? Come on Kaka, you cannot hide now. Tell us what you did.." Jigar cajoled as Ahem too watched surprised. "It was nothing." It was Chirag who answered. A small smile played on his lips.
"When your mother was pregnant with you and had her Godh Bharai, we were curious to know what happened" "Actually Mota Bhai wanted to see Mota Bhabhi and was missing her that badly." Parag offered information as Chirag playfully hit him. "It was not that." None noticed as Ahem's eyes travelled to Gopi's photo on his table and he looked at it and smiled.
It is red Ahemji. Maaji got me a red one. It is lovely isn't it?
Her words now him miss her more.
"Hear that Mr and Mrs. Modi. That is your baby. It seems to be pretty excited to meet you guys today." The doctor smiled and moved the scanning equipment showing Ahem and Gopi the baby's heartbeat and scanned image of their child.
Ahem and Gopi held their hands tightly relishing the moment as both looked awed at their child, its heart beating rhythmically in tune with theirs.
"And so this goes here.. And this one here." Ahem slid in the photos of a 6 month pregnant Gopi into the appropriate slots while Gopi sat ironing his clothes.
"If you take anymore photos Ahemji, you will have to get another album" Gopi said as she walked towards the dressing table. "I have already. I need photos of my wife and child now, don't I" Ahem smiled and lovingly looked at the last of the photographs with Gopi and the entire family.
"I am so fat..." Ahem looked up to see Gopi standing in front of the mirror, looking at herself and frowning.
"Of course not. You look beautiful, very beautiful."Ahem came up behind her and hugged her placing his hands on her tummy and then kissed her on her cheek. He could see Gopi's cheeks blush as she smiled happily.
Ahem turned startled as he felt someone shake him. "You alright Bhai?" It was Jigar. Ahem nodded and smiled at him assuring Jigar that he was alright.
"Thinking about Bhabhi already huh?" Jigar teased Ahem and Ahem hit him playfully. But he could not say no to that statement. He had indeed be thinking of Gopi and that too about this morning precisely.
"Shh.. That is a huge kick. You will wake your mom up." Ahem whispered moving his hands lovingly over Gopi's bulging stomach. He could feel his child move in answer. It never failed to amaze him that there was life within Gopi.
"There now baby.. Let your mom sleep. She looked tired last night." His intent to admonish turned into a loving entreaty to the life that grew. He loved it even before he could see his child. He felt connected to the baby completely. Ahem still got goosebumps thinking of the first day Gopi had felt their child move and had asked him to feel the same.
He would never forget that feeling.
Gopi controlled her smile as she heard Ahem try to admonish their unborn child but his words came out more as an endearment than anything else. "Junior, you should not be so naughty. Not so early in the morning. You mom is sleeping. She woke up thrice last night already. Come on junior. You are a good baby." Gopi felt Ahem pat her stomach softly trying to sooth the child awake in her. She could actually feel their child become less restless.
Gopi smiled while her eyes remained close. She always enjoyed Ahem talking to their baby. His love for the child had been very hard to miss.
"That's my child. You are just like me junior.You take after me but that will be our little secret. Gopi need not know.." Ahem said confidentially and Gopi opened her eyes not able to control her widening grin anymore. "I thought he was going to take after me." she whispered and found Ahem look at her sheepishly and then grin. Husband and wife stared at each and then both started laughing.
"Gopi, you are awake." The pleasure in his voice was hard to miss and Gopi nodded. "I was just talking to Junior here." Ahem added just as and explanation. Gopi nodded and proceeded to try getting up.
"Hold on to me." Ahem gave her a quick kiss and helped her up. "Ahemji, did you see the sari Maaji gave me for the Godh Bharai today? It is red Ahemji. Maaji got me a red one. It is lovely isn't it?"
Ahem smiled as Gopi excitedly told him. "It is just so sad that you cannot come Ahemji."
Ahem looked at Gopi surprised hearing the disappointment in her voice. "You want me there Gopi?" He asked teasingly. She just shook her head no and went in to freshen up but he could see her yes in her eyes. She wanted him to be with her on this big day..
I will make all her wishes come true. I promise mom. She will want nothing. Ahem remembered his promise and smiled to himself. He would not just surprise Gopi but he had decided he would also make her feel the happiest person on this wonderful day.
"Ahem Bhai, Should we start now?" Ahem turned to see Dhawal questioning him.
"Yes Dhawalji. Can you take Papa and Kaka with you. I will take Jigar with me and meet you all at Modi house." Dhawal nodded and left while Ahem and Jigar watched them go.
"Kinjal, Deepu.. Let them in"
Kokila's voice rang through the garden making Deepu and Kinjal jump. "But Kakiji.." "Shh.. Now move.." Jigar pushed forward and then winked at Deepika as he passed her. Deepu fumed.
"Kakiji,.. This is.." "There is a reason. Now please listen to me." Both Kinjal and Deepika looked at Koki's face and immediately calmed down waiting for her explanation