Here is chapter 19.. Hope you enjoy it.. It is one of my bigger updates. Just making up for lost time.
Gopi's heart burst with unknown feelings and she quickly turned around freeing herself and
ran straight into Kokila who was coming into their room. "Gopi vahu. Careful. Watch where
you are going. You will be hurt." Kokila said. "Maaji.. I am sorry. I.. did not see.. Maaji, I am going to make tea.." Kokila looked at the stammering Gopi. "But Gopi vahu, tea is made.." before she completed, Gopi had rushed downstairs. Kokila shook her head and walked into her son's room. She knew something was up when she saw Aham trying to hide his smile.
"So it is all your doing, beta.." she thought to herself. "Jai shree Krishna mom. You need me?" Aham asked trying to control his laughter. The kiss had been totally impulsive on his side. He had just wanted to get closer to Gopi and had used the bracelet as his excuse. But when he saw her smile and blush, he had been unable to hold himself. Her nearness was making him do crazy things.
"Aham, I am looking for this book but was unable to get it. Gopi vahu told me that you ordered some books online.. Books that were out of print now. Can you see if you get these too? I wanted them early next week." Kokila handed a small piece of paper with the names of books in it. "Sure mom." Aham took the paper from her hands and looked down at the books.
"These are books on philisophy and poems." Aham looked up surprised. "Yes Aham. These are for your father. A gift on his birthday. Its coming up next week." Kokila replied. Aham looked on with a mixture of surprise and happiness.
When Aham came back from his exile, he had been quick to notice the change in his parent's
relationship. He had actually had an inkling about it when he found his mother mention his dad more during the calls to home. She had even passed the phone to his dad some times and
Aham had talked to his dad. But when he came home, he was surprised to see the extent their
relation had improved.
Aham loved his parents. But he loved his mother more. She had always made sure that he had the best in everything. His father had never been close and unconsciously he had taken his mother's attitude towards his dad. But it always saddened him when his parents fought. He empathized with his mother because he was like her in nature. But as he grew up he also could not bring himself to blame his father totally. But their relationship was always uneasy.
But when he came home he had been happily surprised to see his parents being more open with each other. Slowly as days rolled by Aham could see his mom and dad care more for each
other. And this gift was another surprise.
"Yes mom. I think I can get it. I will order it and make sure it is delivered to you." He said. "Thanks beta. I knew I can depend on you." Kokila replied and Aham felt the same feeling of pride he got everytime his mother praised him. Kokila turned to go and then turned back. "Aham I've always been proud of you. You have exceeded my every expectation. But this time you have gone beyond that. For some time though, I felt you were wrong.. But now I am proud of the way you are handling your relationship with my Gopi vahu. I can see the happiness reflect on her face everyday and I see how much you have changed positively. I am proud dikra.." She said.
Aham was touched. He knew his mom forgave him for the mistakes. But it felt really nice to hear her say all that. "I love you mom and thanks for bringing Gopi into my life." he said sincerely. "God bless dikra. Now I need to start. I have a lot of work." Kokila buzzled out leaving Aham.
"Deepu beta.. Are you ok? See the pan is getting hotter. You need to put oil in it.." Hetal touched Deepu's shoulder and brought her out of her day dream. Deepika was still remembering back the previous night and how Jigar had bid her good night. She remembered how he had grinned and held on to her hands a little more than necessary. And most of all she remembered how he had ran after her as she neared her room and asked breathlessly if she would come out with him that evening. "A real date Deepu. This time, I promise not to leave you unattended." He had said with a sheepish smile. She had eagerly accepted.
"Oh. Yes Maaji. Got it. I was just thinking.. Maaji, can I go out today?" She asked Hetal. "Sure beta. Do you need the car. I will inform the driver.." "No Maaji. I mean, Jigar told me he will take me out today evening. I mean take me out for.." Deepika stammered. Hetal looked at her puzzled but then a slow smile crept on her face. "Go on Deepu. Anyways we were not planning to do anything special today. Enjoy." Hetal said. Hetal wanted to share the news with Kokila. Something was certainly up by the looks of the blushes Deepu had on her cheeks. Hetal turned around when she ran into Gopi..
"Kaakiji. Sorry. I did not see you." Gopi was breathless. "You are always running downstairs Gopi beta.. You need to be slower.." Hetal laughed when she noticed Gopi's expression. Gopi was blushing pink.. "Well.. Well.. It seems to be a day of pink.." Hetal thought as she thanked her Kanhaji for her children's happiness. Definitely something to talk to Kokila about she thought.
"Jigar... JIGAR.. Where are you? I am asking about the party." Chirag called to Jigar who was seated opposite to him on the dining table. "Chirag Bhai. Jigar seems to be in a dream."
Parag laughed. He saw through Jigar's expression of discomfort. Parag could see Jigar face
"No Dad.. I was just thinking about yesterday. The party was nice and I had a good talk with Mr. Sharma. He was pleased.." Jigar replied back. He was indeed speaking the truth. He was thinking about yesterday except his thoughts were on the girl standing in the kitchen with his mom. Her laughter made him smile. Deepu had agreed to go on a date with him and he was
excited. "I need to make sure of we go to someplace special. Should I book a table at.." Jigar's thoughts were interrupted by Aham's voice.
"Kaka.. Jigar.. I may leave a little early today from office. I promised to take Gopi to the temple." Aham declared. The entire table became silent. Aham had never been open like that before.. "Good. Go on Aham. Jigar and me will manage.." Chirag chipped in. "But dad." Jigar started but then thought the better of it..
"Chirag Bhai. Can you send Jigar home early too? I need his help in getting some information." Parag suddenly spoke up. "Sure Parag. And anyway there is not anything urgent that needs either Aham or Jigar. Both of them can leave early." Chirag concluded and started out for office.
"Kaka. When do you need me to be here?" Jigar asked. He was worried about telling Deepu on
the change of plans. "Well Jigar, you can come back at the time you had planned. I just told Chirag Bhai to get you off the hook for today." Parag smiled softly at Jigar. "Oh" Jigar
looked at his Kaka surprised and then hugged him. "Thanks Kaka. Jai Shree Krishna" He said
as he left for office with excitement
"Ahamji are we going to the temple? Are we not going to shambhunath temple? This is not the
route.. Kanhaji temple then?" Gopi kept questioning Aham. Both of them were racing towards what Gopi considered was a trip to the temple. "You should be a guide Gopi. How do you know
the route to all these different temples?" Aham questioned. He had been astonished by the amount of knowledge she had on the various routes. Gopi had not missed one temple on the
"Ji.. Maaji, Kakiji and me used to visit one temple everyday when you were away. I got used
to the route and I remember places after visiting them once." Gopi replied as a matter of fact. "Why doesn't that surprise me? Gopi you are indeed unique. You know every small temple
from home to here but you get lost in a small mall.. "Aham could not help teasing.
"Ji. That was my first time and you found me.." Gopi replied softly. She was embarassed by how she had lost herself in the big crowd. She had not known that she was lost.. But then..
"Gopi, what do you think will be best. I still think a shirt or kurta. Dad can use it for the next poet meeting he goes to.." "Ahemji, He already bought kurtas, just last week. We need to get something else." "Ok. Then you pick. Mom is getting him books." "Ji.. I thought.. we could.." "Hmm. Go on.." "Ji, that pen you showed me on your laptop that day.. Can we get something like that for him?" "A vintage pen for the poet? hmm.. That is good. Seems to be a winner. Lets go get him one Gopi." Ahem agreed. He was glad Gopi had an idea. His ideas for gifts for his dad were rather running out. "Ji. I will go get you some tea. "Gopi started leaving the room. She was going to let Ahem do the ordering while she finished her work downstairs.
"Now where are you going?" Ahem pulled her by her hand and she came crashing down on his
chest. "Ji.. Tea.." "Not so quickly Gopiji. Who will help me shop? Get ready we need to leave soon.." "Ji.." "Hmm.." "I.." "Hmm.." Ahem was busy playing with her pallu and kissing her on her face and neck.."Ji.. Pen.. Shop.." Gopi was trying to get a coherent sentence out of her mouth. She was getting distracted and was again floating.. It seemed to happen every time Ahem kissed.
The phone rang to bring both Gopi and Ahem from their world. "Dammit.. Need to switch that phone off at home." Ahem muttered as he looked at the phone to see who had called. It was
his secretary. Gopi immediately saw her opening and escaped Ahem's hold. She ran to the door
and looked back. She saw Ahem scowl but talk into the phone. She gave him a brilliant smile
and ran out.
Ahem was true to his word and was ready by the time Gopi came back. He said they needed to
shop and then he would drop her off to go back to office again. His client had wanted a meeting late in the evening. So they had gone to a mall nearby. Ahem took her through a number of shops that dazzled Gopi. She was looking around with wonder at the various dresses and wares displayed. Suddenly Gopi saw a suit displayed on the window of the shop. It was black and Gopi could not take her eyes off it. She stopped to admire the suit imagining it on Ahem.
"Gopi. Thank God you are here.. I thought I lost you in this crowd. Never let go of my hand"
Gopi turned around to see Ahem clutch her hand and bring it to his chest. He was out of breath. "Ji.. I was just seeing.." "I was searching for you. Come on now.. We need to get the pen. The shop will close in ten minutes." Ahem dragged Gopi to the shop. Gopi went through the display of pens to chose one she thought her papaji would like the most. Ahem just nodded.
When it was time to pay, Ahem kept something on Gopi's hand. "Go ahead. Make the payment.",
He said. "Ji?" She looked at Ahem and then at the card in her hand. "Maam, here. We will swipe that for you.", Came a voce from the other side of the counter. Gopi mechanically handed the card over and turned towards Ahem with a questioning look. Ahem just smiled at her and he seemed to say 'Patience'.
Both collected the gift and the card and walked out. Gopi handed the card back to Ahem. "It is yours. You keep it." Ahem said as he pushed her hand towards the purse she was holding. "But what is it for Ahemji? I do not need.." "Yes you do Gopi. I want you to have your own independence where money is concerned. You do not have to ask me everytime for your small needs. And anyway, what is mine is yours. So I just got a card to our joint account. Now you can get whatever you want." Ahem replied. Gopi felt herself look at Ahem with pride in her
eyes. "Thank you Ahemji. Will you teach me to use the card?" She asked softly. Ahem nodded
and then proceeded to take her to the nearest ATM.
"You never asked me for money before except during Mom's anniversary. How ever did you manage?" Ahem asked casually. He realized that Gopi never asked him for money because of his behaviour before. He had thrown money at her face at the beginning of their marriage.. He
had been a fool. "Oh.. When will I ever get over that?" Ahem thought.
"Ji, Maaji told me that whatever is left from our grocery shopping, I could use it for myself. There was always some money left after the monthly shopping for groceries. Anyway I have everything I want. And if I needed something I used to ask Maaji or Kakiji." Gopi replied back. "But you never asked for a thing to me?" "I never needed anything. You and Maaji made sure I have everything." Gopi retorted. Ahem felt a tide of love towards Gopi and pride. She was so very simple in her needs. He grinned and planted a kiss on her forehead. "Let me drop you home and be careful to hide the gift." He said as they raced back home..
"We are not going to Kanhaji Mandir either.. Ji.. Where are we going?" Gopi asked as she saw the route to the next temple being passed over by Ahem. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Sir. I am sorry. But I see no reservation for a Jigar Modi today. Maybe you got the wrong date?" the head waiter would not let them in. Jigar looked at him frustrated. He had made the reservation for his date through his assistant and it seemed somebody had goofed up. "Maybe there is some mistake. Can you please check if the reservation is for somebody from the Modi inductries?" Jigar asked again. He turned around and smiled at Deepu. "Hopefully it looked reassuring" he thought. Deepu just looked back at him and smiled. She was flattered by Jigar's care for their date. He had come home on time with a bunch of flowers and had met her in her room. They had quickly left and Jigar had been a gentleman all along the way. He had excitedly explained how he had booked a table in the most prestigious restaurant and she had listened as he explained how the ambiance and food was in it. But there seemed to be a problem. It was already an hour into their date and they still did not have a table.
Jigar finally came towards Deepika with a sheepish smile. He could not get a table and his reservation had vanished into thin air. "Deepu.. They don't have a table and the wait is another 45 minutes. Do you think we could eat elsewhere?" Jigar asked. "Come on Jigar. Lets get moving. I don't have a preference of restaurants. And I know the perfect place we can go too.." Deepu dragged Jigar by his hand outside to their parked car.
That was half an hour ago and now both Jigar and Deepu were sitting on a rock near the stream running their hands through the water. Deepu had a packet of hot Samosas with her and she was munching it. Jigar was holding a cup of tea and smiling at Deepu.
"I never imagined." He started. "What?" "..that we would be her on our first big day together. But it is rather poetic.. This is where we first met remember.." "Yeah.. And you pushed me into the water that day.." "It was an accident.." "So is this.." Deepu pushed Jigar from the edge into the flowing water below.
"Deepu.. That's not fair.. I wasn't even looking. Give me your hand. I need to get out.." Jigar struggled in the flowing water half angry and half amused. Deepu laughed and held out her hand to him. Jigar caught her hand and pulled. "Well that will not work dear Jigar. You do realize that I am holding on to the rock with my other hand.. Come on out or you will catch a cold."
Jigar grudgingly came up. He knew he could not win.. "You are heartless Deepu and I am
freezing. brr..." Jigar shook his head at her sending droplets everywhere."Now see what you have done." Deepu was getting wet by his actions and she concentrated on wiping the water off her pant and tea shirt.. SPLASH.. It was Deepika's turn in the water as Jigar stood laughing his head off..
"You beast. Wait till I get out. I will get you for this.." Jigar took off towards the car as he saw Deepika climb out of the water and take after him.
"This place is beautiful. I love it.." Ahem grinned as he saw Gopi run through the trees. He had brought her to a small grove, a plantation that his friend owned. He loved the place just like Gopi had. "I love this place too.. Actually I used to insist we have picnics only here when I was young." Ahem continued. He found a place near a large mango tree and set up a picnic basket. "But I thought we were going to the temple?" Gopi turned back questioning Ahem. "We will go, after sometime. Why don't to want to spend some time her?" "No. I mean yes Ahemji. This place is so nice. I love how the sunlight dances along with the shade. It is so.." "Beautiful and serene. Yes I know. I used to come here just to watch the shadows dance. But then the others were not very interested and soon work took over. I hardly come here now." Ahem was musing again. "We will come here as many times as you want. Ok Ahemji?"
Ahem looked on as Gopi seated herself next to him leaning on the tree. Her words immediately brought a smile and he turned to lay down with his head on her thighs. Gopi looked at the trees, the wind and started to hum a slow tune.Ahem listened on as she soon lost herself to the music. He was mesmerized. He closed his eyes to let himself drown in her love. Gopi had started to methodically run her fingers through his hand and he was feeling drowsy by the minute..
"Ahemji.. wake up. It is getting dark." Ahem awoke from a deep sleep and starred at his wife's anxious face. "Hmm.. No. I want to sleep more.." He turned sideways to hug Gopi by her waist and hid his face in her pallu. "Ahemji, Maaji will be worried. It is getting late now.. Let us start." He heard Gopi try again.
"Hmm. Ok. But on the promise that you will lull me to sleep the same way at home too. Ok? And by the way Gopi, you will make a very good mother to our children" "Ok Ahemji. Now let
us go..." Gopi started and then blushed. She looked down immediately.
Ahem had surprised himself with the comment. But then he grinned from ear to ear. "Of course she will make a great mother. Hmm. I need to work on that next.." He thought cheekily as he saw Gopi busily trying to collect the picnic things avoiding his eyes. He saw her smiling quietly.
"I will gather the things and follow you to the car in a minute." Gopi started putting the things back into the basket still unable to meet Ahem's eyes. "I will help you. Oh Shoot.. that basket cover just flew off.." Ahem was about to go after it when he heard Gopi tell him that she would get it.
Ahem listened to her footsteps as she rushed to get the lid. He finished arranging the basket and looked up. Still no Gopi. Ahem looked in the direction she ran and called out for her. There was no answer. A slow panicky feeling was rising up his stomach. He called out again, this time a little louder and waited with bated breath to hear her voice back. Ahem was completely panicking now. He ran forward in the direction he saw Gopi run. He passed a few trees and kept calling out
her name when he suddenly came to a standstill.
His wife was lying sprawled near a tree. It looked as though she was unconcious.
"Deepu.. Come on.. " Jigar was trying to appease Deepika. Both were sitting on a bench in a nearby park trying to dry themselves a little before starting back home.
"My new shirt Jigar and you ruined it.." Deepu thundered. "I said I am sorry. And you did start it first..." Jigar was mumbling.. "Oh Jigar.. Don't try that sad face with me again.. You are an idiot.. But it was fun wasn't it?" Deepu asked as she laughed. She had enjoyed the evening with Jigar.
"Yup. Although I got wet and all.. But yeah.. it was good. Do you know, it has been months since I came here. I love it here.." "I know.. Me too.. Hey can we get something to eat? Maybe the old restraunt is still there.. I am hungry and you still need to feed me on our date.." Deepu teased.
Both walked towards the reatraunt and to their surprise and happiness it was still up and
running. "One pav bhajji please and spicy." Deepu said. "One for me and 2 teas." Jigar added to the order and both sat watching the crowd go in and out of the restaurant.
"Just like old times... Hmm... this is delicious." Jigar saw Deepu enjoy the simple food with relish and he felt an unknown sense of happiness. He had thought that the date was going to be disastrous after the cancelled reservation. But being with Deepika had made him happier than he had been in months. She brought back his sense of mischievousness. He wanted to be with her more now just to see her smile and see himself smile along with her..
"Hey don't stare or I'll eat you food too... And now listen to me.. We need to plan a surprise for Bhai and Bhabhi. Poor guy was wanting to talk to her this morning and nobody let him.. So do you think we should..." Deepika explained the plan as Jigar watched her talk. "There is never going to be a dull day with her" were Jigar's last thoughts as he saw Deepu fire out ideas to get his Ahem Bhai and Bhabhi together.
"Sir the bill." Jigar looked at Deepika go to the washroom and nodded at the waiter. He put his hand in his pocket to take out the purse when.. "Damn. I forgot my purse in the jacket. It is in the car. Oh God.." Jigar looked at the server who was waiting for him to pay the bill.. "Err.. Can you just hold on for a minute. I left my purse in the car. I will just be back in a minute.." " No sir. Do you not have the money? I cannot let you leave without paying the bill... Manager sir.. This man says he does not have money for the bill.", the waiter turned around to call his manager. The whole restaurant looked on and Jigar was red faced in shame.
"Stop it. Who do you think you are to talk to him like that? Did he say he will not pay. He just does not have his purse with him right now. Say how much is the bill. 40 rupees. Here take this and apologize now." Deepika was fuming. She handed over a 50 Rupee note to the waiter and stared at him accusingly, The waiter shriveled under his glare. "Sorry Sir, Madam.." He stammered.
"Lets go Jigar." Deepika pulled Jigar along with her to the car. "Deeps I think.. Hey what happened? Why are you crying? I will pay that 50 rupees back.." Jigar tried joking, but he
was frigtened when he saw Deepika cry suddenly.
"I am really sorry Jigar.", Deepika hiccupped. "Here have your purse. I just took it with me for fun. I did not know that the waiter would create a scene.. I am very sorry.. Jigar.. Jigar.." Deepika was crying and talking as Jigar watched her. He found a tide of protectiveness come over him as he saw her tears but then decided to play a little.
"Deepu, how could you? I never expected this. DO you know how humiliated I was?.." Jigar said in mock anger. Deepika's eyes grew wide and more tears started down her face. "I am sorry. I was just playing. Stupid me.. I never know the limits.. Jigar.. Please.. What? why are you laughing? Jigar are you alright?" Deepika was puzzled and worried at Jigar's reaction.
"Oh.. No.. You.. idiot.. I am not angry." Jigar could not get the words out. He controlled himself. "Deeps dear.. You look so cute when you apologize.. I am not angry. Now here wipe your tears off.. With you there is never one dull moment Deeps.." Jigar said as he offered Deepika his kerchief to wipe off her tears. "That is why I am in love you.. Here.." Jigar saw Deepika extend her hand and then freeze at his words. For one second he was confused.
Then he realized.. "I am in love with her.. I am in love with Deeps.." Jigar felt no pain. He did not feel guilty either. All he felt was a small fountain of happiness from the depth of his heart. He looked at Deepika who seemed to be.. Jigar looked again. Deepika was embarrassed.. No.. She was shy. But she was smiling...
Jigar slowly leant forward to wipe her tears away.. "Now come on. Its been too much excitement today. Lets go home. Ok?" he asked to find Deepika nodding. He smirked to himself and started for home.
"GOPI.. Gopi wake up.." Ahem was immediately by Gopi's side and he shook her. His heart had
stopped for a moment when he saw her down on the floor.
"Ahemji.." Gopi came to her senses slowly. She clutched Ahem's shirt as she tried to get up. "I am alright Ahemji. See.. I am ok." Gopi saw Ahem's face as white as snow and she knew he
was worried sick. She wanted to re-assure him..
"Well. My foot. We are going to the doctor's now and no questions. Come on." Ahem lifted Gopi up in his arms and started towards the car. "Ji.. The picnic basket." Gopi started as she found Ahem glaring at her. She kept quiet.
Ahem buckled Gopi up and started the car. He drove towards the hospital wishing his car to
Gopi was frightened to look at Ahem. He seemed to be angry at something and was not talking. She closed her eyes and sighed. Her husband sometimes was very hard to read. But she knew he was worried for her. She missed seeing Ahem throwing her looks of concern as he drove to the hospital.
"Why did I not listen.. I should have taken the test when he told me.. What if?" Ahem was killing himself with doubts..
"Mr. Modi, I would still recommend testing to see if there is any residual haemorrage. Your wife's accident was pretty big and she did undergo a major operation. Please do consider it once more.." Ahem heard the doctor explain during Gopi's last checkup 4 months back. "Doctor. She is perfectly alright. She says she does not feel faint and does not display any symptoms you said. I think it will just add on to her worries. Plus she is frightened of needles. I do not want to make her go through that stress again." Ahem replied back.
Ahem was calling himself every bad name as he raced towards the hospital. "Fool. I just looked at the short term stress and overlooked the importance of the test. What if something is wrong. No.. No.. It will not be.. Oh God.. Please don't punish her for my mistake. Let Gopi be alright.." Ahem was praying.
"Doctor... Is she alright? What does the test say?" Ahem questioned the doctor as soon as he came out of the observation room. Gopi was getting dressed.
"Mr. Ahem Modi. Nothing seems to be wrong. But the test results will be back in another 2 hours. We can confirm then. Relax. It will turn out to be alright." Ahem just looked on worried and the doctor shook his head. He knew a gone case when he saw one. The minute Ahem had come into the hospital, he had taken up the hospital by storm demanding his wife be examined quickly. "Poor girl. She looked so embarrassed.", the doctor chuckled as he went to the room.
In his experience, he had seen quite a few besotted husbands. But Ahem ranked over all of them. Even after he had assured Ahem that this fainting incident could have nothing to do with her accident, Ahem had insisted on being assured by a test. The doctor was glad on one side. After Ahem explained about the accident, for a second he had been worried. But when he heard that the accident was quite a long time ago, he had gone over the hospital records to study Gopi's case. He had noted that Gopi had indeed been tested during the time of the accident and then her test had come out negative. But the family had declined to have a second test done 4 months before.. So he had decided to just confirm by doing the test again.
"Ahemji can we go home?" Gopi came out and looked at Ahem. He seemed too stunned to talk. He just nodded and took her hand as they made their way to the car.
Ahem turned towards Gopi in the car, held her hand in his and blurted out,"Gopi.. Promise me.. You will never ever leave me..Promise me now.."
Thank you all for your continued interest.. Comments and feedback please.. And a very happy New Year to you all!!!