It is me again.
I have finally got my sorry ass into gear and managed to update. Sorry that it has taken so long
I will try and be a little more organised. In this aim I have put an index on the first page but for some reason the links have not worked.
You can copy and paste if you wish to refresh your memories. I know mine needed a good slapping
Mota Bhabi's joy knew no bounds as she sat and watched Ahem and Gopi have breakfast. Ahem was a revelation to her. The once staid and stiff Ahem had evolved into a loving and caring husband. She watched as he reached out and picked up one serving dish after another and served food onto Gopi's plate, urging her to eat and Gopi's hesitancy to start until he had served himself and began to eat. She caught Kokila's eye and smiled broadly. There was such love there and it warmed the bottom of her heart.
Akaash for his part lay in his bouncer nearby, gurgling away happily until he realised that no one was paying attention to him and then changed his tone from "I am happy to where have you all gone?"
"Look at him." Baa indicated in Akaash's direction. Gopi stood up. "No Gopi vahu. You sit and eat. He is calling for me. I will play with him for a while." With Parag's help she got up, walked to where the baby was and sat down. Parag lifted Akaash out of the bouncer and placed him in Baa's lap. As soon as he was placed in her lap, happy gurgles ensued once again. Baa laughed. "You see? My great grandson knows in whose lap he is happy in." She beamed. Parag leant forward and stroked the baby's cheek.
"Who could think that one this small could enchant us so," he murmured. Baa nodded.
"He is anmol." She agreed.
Kokila brought up the subject of the namkaran. Before she had a chance to start the doorbell rang. Kokila looked irritated.
"Meethi. Get the door." Meethi rushed to answer the door and welcomed Rashi and Urmila into the house. They walked up to the breakfast table and greeted the party. Jigar looked up with a hint of annoyance.
"Rashi. If you were going to be out of the house for the night you could have at least called and let us know. I do worry for you." Rashi laughed off his concerns.
"Jigarji. There is no need to worry about me. I was with mummy." Jigar got up and picked up his tea cup.
"That is exactly why I worry." He muttered and walked away. Urmila's eyes rested on Gopi and they narrowed with distaste after which she put on her fake face.
"Gopi dikra. You are here? I am so happy to see you. How long are you here for? I hope you are not stopping long." Ahem looked on gob smacked. "How vile was this woman?" He thought to himself and glanced round the table. He was not able to believe that she was allowed so much freedom.
Urmila had grown bold in during the past two years. Seeing the breakup of Kokila's little family, Koki's subsequent despair and listlessness, she played on that and had groomed Rashi to forcefully claim her right as the only daughter-in-law of the Modi household and with that she leeched on everything that Rashi did and bought for herself. If Rashi got a new sari, she got a new sari. If Rashi went on holiday, she too went. Yes. Urmila had done well out of this was milking it for what it was worth and she was not going to let Gopi stay longer than was necessary. Her mind raced with ideas of how to get rid of her quickly.
"Urmilaben!" The very words made her jump. She gulped and looked at Kokila, who stood near her. Afraid that she had spoken her many thoughts out loud she put on her saccharine smile.
"Vejanji. How are you this morning? Resting well, I hope?" Kokila was not having any of Urmila's chit chat. Her eyes blazed with anger on behalf of her daughter-in-law. This had gone far enough and too much had been ignored for some time.
The tigress was back. Urmila feared that she would soon feel those claws if she was not as cunning and realised that she would have to be careful.
"Your own niece is here after a long time and already you are asking her when she is moving on. You have no care for her that you want to get rid of her? What kind of a person are you?"
"No, no Vevanji. It is not that. I mean you know as well as I do that when you are a new mother how you need your own comforts and have familiar things to hand." She quickly thought on her feet and her eyes darted between Kokila and Mota Bhabi, who had joined her. "After all, Gopi lives elsewhere, she is no longer part of this household." She cringed inwardly as she realised what she said. "Anyway. It is good to see Gopi." She sat down at the table and started dishing out breakfast for herself. "Now that I am here I may as well have breakfast. I don't know about you Rashi, but I am starving. Pass the dhokla." Kokila started to say something but then thought better of it. She would allow Urmila to have breakfast at MM this once.
Ahem was appalled. In the time that he was away from the house so much had changed. He looked about the house and noticed the little things had been neglected. As he looked around the sound of Akaash's gurgles caressed his ears and drove away the little things he was concerned about.
"Gopi. Finish your breakfast and don't forget to drink milk. I have seen you try and hide it from me but it is good for you." Gopi nodded. Ahem got up.
"Ahem where are you going?" Kokila stood up. "I want to discuss the namkaaran. Panditji has advised that the day after tomorrow is auspicious. We should hold it then." Ahem walked over to Baa, bent and stroked his son's cheek.
"That is perfect Mom. I will get the new clothing for Gopi and Akaash if that is alright?" At first Kokila wanted to stop him but the look from Baa made her hold back. Baa smiled and turned to him.
"Ahem Dikra. That is perfect. I am sure that you will find something beautiful for mother and child. Hetal vahu, Kokila vahu. Make the arrangements. I want to welcome my great grandson and have him know his name with the grandest of ceremonies. Chirag, Parag. Don't forget the gifts for both mother and child."
"Baa don't you fret." Parag chuckled. "We will get the grandest jewellery for them."
Urmila choked on her dhokla. Gasping for air she grabbed Gopi's glass of milk and downed it, spilling it down her chin and onto the pallu of her sari. Still she choked and was getting redder by the minute. Jigar was by her side in minutes.
"Mummyji don't worry." He came up behind her and gave her two well-aimed slaps to her back and continued to do so until she stopped coughing and started to complain about the intensity of the slaps.
"Jigarji did you have to be so harsh?" Rashi chided him. "Mummy has gone all red." Jigar glared at Rashi.
"What would you rather I do?" Jigar growled back. "Let her choke?" He squared up to Rashi. Urmila got between them.
"Nai, nai. Why are you fighting? Look at me. I have ruined my sari." She turned to Kokila with a plastered smiled. "Vevanji if it is alright with you I will go up and put on a fresh sari. I love that orange sari that you wear. I shall wear that. Rashi come with me and help me." That said she climbed the stairs with a protesting Rashi in tow before Kokila had a chance to protest. Ahem by now was perplexed. He exchanged a worried look with Gopi and then at Kokila.
"What had happened to this house?" He thought to himself.
Kokila gathered her pallu, took a deep breath and moved in the direction of the stairs.