Posted: 04 February 2012 at 3:14pm
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Here is the latest bit of indulgence from me hope you enjoy it. Sorry for any errors, duplication, long windedness or typos. X xx
http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=2764935&TPN=5 Part 2 Page 5
http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=2764935&TPN=7 Part 3 Page 7
http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=2764935&TPN=13 Part 4 Page 13
Ahem sat in the chair in the delivery room and held his new born son, of not even and hour old, and looked down at him in wonderment. He brushed the back of his fingers lightly on the baby's head and smiled as the baby squirmed and squeaked.
"Mom," would have loved you." He said sadly.
It was almost two years ago, when he had walked out of MM and vowed never to return. Such was the deterioration in his relationship with his mom. But at this moment he missed her, missed the others.
He was due to have a meeting at home with a client but had decided at the last minute to go and pick up the bangles from the jewellers for his mum and surprise her himself. He entered the house and quickly sought her out. He looked at the box and stroked it lovingly. "She will be pleased with this," he said to himself.
"Mom?" he called to her. She had her back to him. She turned round and he saw at once that there was fire in her eyes. Nevertheless, he went up to her and handed her the box with a smile.
"What do you think you are doing?" she shouted at him angrily. Before he had a chance to explain himself, she carried on. "I don't know what it is with you. You were never like this. Such an important meeting and you go missing. For what?" she took the box from him and waved it in front of him. "For this." She threw it back at him and stomped off. Ahem was stunned. His mother had always been strict but never this out of control.
He took the box and went up the stairs to his room. Gopi was already there, which was unusual. She was staring out of the window and did not notice him come in. He threw the jewellery box onto the table causing her to turn around. He saw tears in her eyes.
"What's wrong?" he asked. Gopi shook her head.
"It's nothing," she replied. Although he had never been attentive to her before he couldn't ignore the fact that she was upset. As she was unwilling to divulge exactly what had happened he let it go and instead tried to work out what was wrong with his mom. The more he thought about it the more he was puzzled. When Gopi called him for dinner, he went down with some trepidation.
His gut instinct was right. Kokila chose to ignore him at the dining table and did not let an opportunity pass to order Gopi about. To the point that by the time Gopi sat down to eat the food had gone cold. He stayed with her in the kitchen while she reheated her food and sat down to eat. She had noticed that he had only picked at his food and passed over a plate for him. As they sat he spoke.
"You were crying earlier on," he accused her. "Was it because of mom?" Gopi shook her head, trying to smooth things over. "Don't lie to me." He said. "I know that Mom is in a bad mood. If she is taking it out on you I need to know."
"Ahemji, I don't want to cause any problems between you and maaji." Ahem moved his chair back.
"There are already problems between me and mom." He said. "If anything she is angry with me. Are you finished?" he asked her. She nodded. "Let's go up then."
"I'll just clear these away," she said and took up the plates.
He had watched over the coming weeks and noticed with growing anger that Kokila was getting more and more unbearable. He felt sorry for Gopi. She had to bear the brunt of her anger. It was alright for him. He could go out to work early and come home late, but that was not doing any favours to Gopi. Not that he escaped her wrath. When he was home she taunted him continuously, just like his father. He felt sorry for him.
On Valentine's Day he'd woken up as any other day. It was only when Gopi asked him the significance of it that he realised. He explained to Gopi how it was a day to declare love for a loved one. She beamed and said that she would make his favourite food, making him smile.
"Better still," he had said. "Why don't you be ready for seven tonight. We shall go out." He had seen the worried look on Gopi's face and was quick to reassure her, "I'll clear it with Mom."
Downstairs he came across his grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle. This would be a better time than any. He took a deep breath and spoke.
"Mom? Gopi and I are going out tonight." He didn't ask and saw his mother take a deep breath. Ready to reply. Baa spoke up.
"Ahem, that is a wonderful idea," and she winked at him "and today of all days. You are making me proud. You may go with my blessing." Chirag looked at Hetal and smiled.
"We should go out as well," he said to Hetal and she blushed
"You!" she laughed. "Let the children go, it is their time."
"No, I won't hear a word, Hetal. You be ready. Ahem, what are you up to so far?"
"Kaka. The Malhotra and Dasani contract are all agreed. I shall get them signed today and then I'll need to start negotiations for the new project on the disused prison site."
"OK. If you are ready to leave now I shall come with you." He stood up. "Hetal be ready and '" he looked at Ahem "at the same time make sure that Gopi is ready." Hetal blushed and nodded.
"Will do." She replied seeing off both her husband and nephew. She turned to see Kokila grab her pallu and flounce off. Mother and daughter in law both looked at each other.
His eyes sought her out as soon as he reached home expecting her to still be in the kitchen. His mother greeted him and made it known that she is displeased with his arrangements for the evening. Mentally he shrugged his shoulders, took in what she was ranting about and then made his excuses and went to his room.
As he walked through the door he saw Gopi standing at the mirror. She was dressed in sapphire blue and looked a dream. Minimum make up, hair loose. He looked at the bed and saw that she had put out a fresh set of clothes for him. He greeted her and took his clothes and went to freshen up and change. On coming out from the bathroom he noticed that Gopi had placed the pallu on her head.
"Gopi. Leave this." He said removing it from her head.
"But maaji," she protested. "No. There is no need to do this in front of me. I do not require it of you. OK?" She nodded.
Once ready they made their way down. Baa was there as was his mother and she was saying to Kokila that why is she such a sour puss. "They are young. Let them spend some time together." And then at the same time, she turned to Chirag and asked if they would drop her off at a friend's house?
Chirag burst out laughing.
"Alright then Baa. I will drop you off. Is it the same friend again? The one who keeps the birds?" he teased. Baa hit him playfully.
"Beta," she teased back, "I am old, not dead. Besides, I enjoy myself. Let's go."
So the two couples left Modi Bhavan in separate cars. Chirag and Hetal with Baa in one and Gopi and Ahem in another leaving thunder face Kokila alone in the house with only Rashi and Meethi for company.
As they drove, Gopi glanced at Ahem.
"Where are we going?"
"I have somewhere nice in mind. Just sit back and enjoy the drive." He drove to the outskirts of the city until he came to the place. He knew what he liked but was unsure what Gopi would like. He led her up a pathway, which had little lights twinkling alongside it until he reached the little restaurant at the top of the little hill. He had racked his brain for the best part of today and was almost about to give up until Mr Dasai had told him of this place in the middle of a park. Secluded but not solitary and served up the best paani puri there ever was.
The best thing, he concluded later that he was able to spend time alone with Gopi, without any interruptions. After they had eaten, they sat side by side on the bench in the gardens of the restaurant looked down at the twinkling lights of Mumbai below them. He moved nearer to Gopi and put his arm around her shoulders. And she froze.
"Gopi? Why are you so afraid of me?" He asked her softly.
"I'. I'. I don't know. I just feel so nervous when I am this close to you. Like I am not allowed to enjoy being near you." He smiled.
"Does that mean that you like being this close to me?" Gopi nodded shyly. He pulled her closer to him and held her right hand in his. "Actually," he whispered in her ear, "I like being this close to you." She turned to face him, astounded that he could even like someone like her. "Sapphire looks so lovely on you." He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it. "All colours do" and he pulled her closer still, turned and faced the lights below. She with her head on his shoulder and he drawing her tightly to him in an embrace.
It was much later when they entered Modi Bhavan but the sight that awaited them wiped the smiles off their faces. Kokila was in a thunderous mood. As soon as they crossed over the threshold she started up.
"Ahem. Where have you been? Do you know how late it is? And what about work? You are neglecting all that I have taught you? Do you have any consideration of your career?" Ahem began to grow irritated. He had spent a lovely evening and now it was beginning to get ruined. Then she rounded on Gopi and started ranting at her. As soon as he saw her shoulders droop and her head go down he saw red.
"Mom! What is your problem?" he shouted back. "For weeks now you have either shouted at me or at Gopi. I fail to see what we did wrong other than to help Jigar and Rashi come together. Was that such a bad thing?"
"The bad thing is that you hid things from me." She looked from him to Gopi. "You both did."
"So what is the problem with tonight? Why are you so angry? It's not like I went out behind your back. I told you that we were going out."
"You did not ask for my permission. You are beginning to act just like your father. As if you don't have any duties or responsibilities. Where do you think this will take you? You will end up being nothing better than him!" She shot back. "You just made your arrangements and went out on your own." That stunned Ahem for a moment. She was being totally irrational at the moment but by now he was totally rattled.
"Mom? I have always respected you and loved you as a son." He spoke evenly. "But I am nothing like my father and have always strived to make you happy and live according to your rules and teachings. But." He looked over at Gopi, "I am not just your son. I am Gopi's husband and I have responsibilities towards her. I am almost 28 years old. I need to live my life now how I see fit and I cannot remain tied to your pallu all the time."
"Oh. So you are a big man now! Do what you like. But remember this. You are nothing without me." That did it for Ahem. Something inside him snapped or was it the image that he saw of him at 40 still being tongue lashed by his mother.
"Enough!" he bellowed. Kokila stopped mid rant, speechless. "I have been nothing more than tolerant of the way you treat me and the way you treat Gopi. So you know what mom? I'm moving out as of now." He looked at Gopi, who had tears rolling down her face at the scene which was being played out before her. "And I am taking Gopi with me."
"Ahem dikra? What are you saying?" It was Hetal who stood by the door with Chirag, back from their evening out.
"I'm sorry Kaka, Kaki. But I cannot stay here any longer. We will pack our things and leave straight away." With that he turned grabbed Gopi by the hand and dragged her upstairs.
They surfaced half an hour later with bags packed. Hetal was pleading with Kokila to calm down and let things go. Upon seeing Ahem she ran up to him and tried to pacify him. But the damage had already been done and he explained to her gently that his decision had been made and moved for the door. Chirag stopped him and placed something in the chest pocket of Ahem's jacket.
"Don't worry," Chirag said, "we'll talk tomorrow."
"Don't think that you will be working for Modi," Kokila finally spoke up. "If you leave here you won't be welcome in the offices." This time Chirag saw red.
"Kokila! Please will you calm down and stop this behaviour. I have no intention of disinheriting Ahem from the business and you are in no position to make that demand." Gopi, through her tears bid farewell to Hetal and Chirag and took their blessings. She then went to Kokila and went to touch her feet but she walked away. Ahem walked to the door and waited momentarily.
"Gopi," he commanded and was inwardly relieved when she joined his side.
So that was just over two years ago. They had spent a bliss full time together. But it was hard in the beginning. Chirag had given him the keys to a flat which was owned by the consortium and they had made their home there. He continued to work with Modi Industries and thrived there. Gopi at first took some time to settle down and once she did she was in her element. He never wanted for a better partner as she shared his concerns and worries and strangely enough was able to give him guidance. He looked after her too, helped her with her correspondence course and reminisced how he had arranged her baby shower all by himself.
So it was when he was staring down at his son for the umpteenth time that the door opened. He looked up and saw his mother before him. A shadow of her former self but his mother no less.
"I have missed you so much, dikra," she said sadly. "I have been such a proud, stubborn, foolish woman. Will you forgive me?" Ahem stood and hugged Kokila giving her an answer making her smile. She looked at her grandson and put her arms out to hold him. Reluctantly he passed him over and looked over at Gopi who was sleeping.
"How is Gopi vahu?"
"She is fine. She went through all that for me. How did you know that we were here?"
"Hetal called me. She has been waiting outside since she got your call. I had to come. Ahem? Why don't you come home? We can all help you look after the little one. Be like a family again." Ahem couldn't answer straight away. He looked at Gopi's sleeping form. She had flourished since he had taken her away from Kokila. Become more independent and the wife that he wanted. Could he face her reverting back to how she was before if they moved back? Could he face his son having the same nightmare childhood as him?
Edited by Xarina - 08 April 2013 at 2:49pm
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