Hi guys, as promised.
While everyone was celebrating, Nidhi, went to Anjis room and called Rohan. "So, where are you, yaar? I have been waiting for you, do you know how late you are? Anji, is going to kill you! I promised her you were going to be coming". Rohan, smiled hearing his friends voice, same old Nidhi, hundred questions a minute with no pause,"Nidhi, if you'll give me a minute I'll tell you everything". When Nidhi stopped talking, he continued,"Nidhi, I have already talked to Anji this evening and apologized to her, for my absence. I am stuck here at the hospital. You know PR work, specially in a crises, can entail long hours. I am sorry, but I will come to your house as soon as I get done here, which should be in roughly , and hour or so, and then we can have that late night and movie marathon, noddle and chatathon, like we discussed yesterday. Okay"? Nidhi, pouted, and then smiled,"okay, but hurry, cause we are almost done here. I'll go home and get everything ready. By the way you know that Armanji, is staying with us again, it's so much fun having him back, and now with you there, it's gonna be like old times, even better, because we also have Dr. Rangnath as a part of our group as well. It'll be so much fun, I'll ask Armanji to pick up some Gol Gappe and some latest movies on his way home. I can't wait I am so excited. By the way, Rohan, I really missed you today, I wished you could have been here as well, it wasn't the same without you". Meanwhile, Ashutosh, on not seeing Nidhi, in the room, wondered where she went. When he asked Anji, she told him that she had seen Nidhi going to her room, and directed him there, Ashutosh, had been about to enter, when he heard her talking to Rohan. He didn't know, what had made him stop and listen to her conversation. No could find fault in anything she said, but for some reason, he was jealous. There was so much affection in her voice for Rohan, and he did not like that. He had always known that Rohan held a very special place in her heart, but he had not thought that he would ever have any issues over her friendship with him. He had not known that he could be so possessive. During her whole conversation with rohan, Nidhi had not mentioned Ashu once, and even though it was unreasonable on his part, he felt hurt by her omition. Ashu, felt very ashamed of himself. He needed to really get over these ridiculous feelings of jealousy. Nidhi had never done or said anything that would justify even a remote doubt about her feelings for him. Okay, he resolved, this was just absurd and it had to stop now, before it caused problems between them, he had hurt her enough for a life time, already.
As soon as they had said goodbyes, and got in the car, Ashu, pulled Nidhi, closer and put his arm around her shoulders, Nidhi, though surprised, was happy to acquiesce, she scooted even closer and laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes. Her husbands open displays of affection, were a constant source of delight and surprise to her, she has never thought that he could be like this. It seemed that her tall dark and handsome hunk of a husband of hers, was also a masterful closet romantic. Well, the way she looked at it, she might as well take advantage of the situation. She slid her hand from around his waist to his shoulders and then to his chest, there, her fingers got busy and she managed to open 3-4 of the top buttons of his shirt, and then she slid her hands in and started to gently caress him , in a way she knew drove him crazy. This wife of his was going to be the death of him. She did the most impossibly crazy things, at the most inopportune times. Ashu, reached up and caught her hand, and held it there, still inside his shirt, he could not bring himself to pull it out. It felt right, her touching him, it gave him a sense of peace he had never felt before in his life. Somehow, the things he had never even thought he could ever approve of, much less could have ever even thought of doing in his wildest dreams, seemed just so right with her. With her everything was, Perfect, and Right.
When, they got home, he reluctantly took her hand out and redid his buttons, and when he happened to look at her, he found her grinning devilishly at him. He leaned close and whispered in her ear,"just you wait my darling, I'll have the last laugh". They went in and found that Arman was already home. And as soon as they entered, he pulled nidhi down on the couch and started showing her the selection of movies he had brought, for their evening. And also informed her that he had also brought the Gol Gappas and that they were in the kitchen. Nidhi, had a happy excitied look on her face, like a child who was about to be let loose in a candy store. To, look the the both of them , you could never guess that there was a generation gap, between them, or that they had not even known each other till a few months ago. Just observing them you could see the closeness and bond between them, one would think that they had known each other all their lives. And he had already found out the hard way just how protective Arman was about her. If you didn't know better, you would think that they really were brother and sister.
Just then Nidhi, looked up that the clock and exclaimed,"Oh my god, Rohan , Anji and Dr. Rangnath will be here soon and I'm not even ready yet. Armanji, let me go change and then I'll meet you in the kitchen and we will get set up for this evening". Arman grinned at her,"Okay, Nidhi, go ahead I'll wait for you, but be quick". As soon as Nidhi had left, Ashu, sat down next to Arman, and asked him," Arman, how's my gift coming along. And are the arrangements made". Arman-"Don't worry, meri jaan, everything will be ready on time. I know tomorrows your anniversary, and you'll have everything and all the arrangements will be in place by then. It'll be perfect, just as you wanted. So relax. And you will be joining us tonight won't you, or are you going to be a party pooper like its to your habit to be"? Ashu-"I'll will join you guys, let me go and change , and then I'll also help setting up everything. And thanks yaar, for seeing to everything for me. I really want tomorrow to be perfect for her. But I want it to be a surprise, so I am not going to say anything and I'm going to pretend that I've forgotten the date again, like last time". Saying that, Ashu went to his room to get ready for the madness that he knew was going to ensue.
Nidhi, had just come out of the shower, her hair was damp, and she was in the process of tying the strings on the neck of her churidar suit, she seemed to be having some trouble, Ashutosh went up to her,"Here let me help u with that." Ashu, put his hands around her from the back, and started nuzzling her neck, and placing, a series of small kisses, from her shoulder to her ear, "I thought you were going to help me tie my strings". Ashu-"I am, iam still trying to figure these things out. Why do you women wear such complicated stuff", all the while he was teasing her with little kisses and nuzzling her neck. Nidhi-"but you haven't even looked at them yet," She was fast losing control. Ashu, turned her around in his arms, and took the strings on the back of her dress and started fiddling with them, he lowered his head and kissed her. Nidhi-"but...". Ashutosh-"But, what"? At that point Nidhi gave up the pretense, and put her arms around him and kissed him back. They were so lost in each other they never even heard the doorbell. Then there was a loud knock on their door. It was Anji, "Nidhi, Nidhi, can I come in"? Ashutosh and Nidhi sprang apart guiltily, she motioned for him to hurry up and go into the bathroom,"just a minute Anji", she waited till the bathroom door closed, and then went o open the open the for for Anji. Anji came in and Nidhi, immediately tried to look like she was busy getting ready and tying the strings of her shirt. Anji, walked up to her and took the strings from Nidhi's hands and tied them for her. Nidhi looked up in the mirror at Anji and smiled and said thank you, Anji, wiggled her eyes brows and grinned knowingly. Nidhi, knew her act was up and grinned back at her, she had never been able to hide anything from her childhood friend, she knew her too well. Anji,"So, what took you so long to open the door, Jeejaji, is in the bathroom, right, what were you doing"? Nidhi, blushed to the roots of her hair,"Besharam, chal, let's go everyone's waiting". Anji, caught her arm, "pehle I need to know, what took you so long to answer the door". Nidhi grinned,"Fine, I'll ask you the same thing when, I come your house and you take a while to answer the door". Both friends looked at each other and burst out laughing, and hugged each other, then hand in hand walked out to the living room.
Rohan, had not arrived yet. Rangnath, saw her looking and said,"Rohan will be here shortly, he said to let you know, hes just tying up a few loose ends". She was a little disappointed, she had really missed her friend and wanted to spend some time with him. Oh, there was another thing that she needed to do before she relaxed for the evening. She had to talk to Armanji . She made a loud sound, clearing her throat, to get his attention, and everyone other than him, looked up at her questioningly. Okay, that didn't work, she thought. Well there was only one way, she called out to him, "Armanji, I need to ask you something could you come to the kitchen with me please. He looked up and smiled, and followed her. In the kitchen she turned to him,"Well how's it going, are they doing it right. They're not missing any details are they"? Arman laughed and gave her a grin,"relax will you, everything is going according to plan. Don't worry. Hey now smile, you'll have everything on time. Let's go join the others. Oh, the doorbell, looks like Rohan's arrived. I haven't seen him for months. I'm gonna go say hello". Nidhi smiled, "yes you go, I am just going to finish up in the kitchen, and I'll follow you in a minute." but Arman left before she could finish the sentence. She smiled and thought about the two of them, they were the reason that she and Ashutosh were together. They would never have had the courage to even admit their love for each other, if not for Arman and Rohan forcing them into a situation, where they had been left with no other choice. She was so happy, so many relationships had been formed as a byproduct of their love. Rohan and Arman , Arman and her, Anji, and Ashutosh, Ashutosh and her DB and her father and in a way even Anji and Dr. Rangnath. So many, close bonds had been forged. It had been a tense beginning, but now everything had settled down and her family, all of them were one big happy unit. It made her so happy. This what she had always wanted, to be surrounded by her family and to have a husband who adored her, and now she had both.
Nidhi, started taking the food and drinks out of the fridge and also got plates, glasses and spoons, she put everything on a couple of trays, and was thinking if she had missed anything, she didn't want anyone to have to get up during the movie, when Rohan, walked into the kitchen, and scooped her up into a big bear hug, Nidhi laughed and hugged him back. He helped get everything onto the trays, but would not let her carry anything. With Anjis help, Nidhi, set everything up on the dining table.
When, Ashu came out and he saw everything, and everyone, he just grinned. Everyone was talking at once, and they were all eating, it looked like someone had bombed his dining table. There was so much stuff on if it was difficult to make out what was there. Although, no one other then him seemed to be having trouble finding what they wanted, so who was he to complain. He searched for Nidhi, and saw that she was sitting, at the head of the table and Rohan and Anji were standing on either side of her. Anji seemed to be in some sort of an argument with Rangnath, and on the other side of the table Baba and Arman seemed to be in a deep discussion about something. And in the middle Nidhi was laughing at something Rohan was saying. It seemed everyone was busy, and having a good time. He also noticed that Rohan was eating Gol Gappe with Nidhi, and making sure that Nidhi did not have to get upto get anything. He was glad that Nidhi was sitting, he knew she must be really tired, she had been working since last night, and it had been merely a couple of weeks since had been in The hospital. She should be resting, on the bed and getting some sleep. But she was enjoying herself too much for him to burst her bubble. And if he admitted to himself, he really didn't like Rohan doing all the things for her that he should be doing, that is feeding her with his hands and making sure she was sitting and not exerting herself. Ashu was feeling left out, his wife did not even notice his absence. Then Arman and Baba looked up from their discussions and saw him standing there, observing all of them. Arman came to him and said,"why are you standing there, come join the fun, everyone is enjoying the chat I brought, and then we are going to watch movies". Ashu-"Arman you know I don't eat Chaat, it's not good for you, you can get sick. And specially Nidhi, she can't afford to get right now, she is still recovering". Ashu called out to Nidhi,"Nidhi, you know you shouldn't be eating all this stuff! What's gonna happen if you get sick." Nidhi laughed, and Arman answered for her,"Come on yaar Ashu chill, I got this chat made specially from a restaurant of a good friend of mine. So everything is clean and absolutely fine to eat. Do you really think I could bring anything home that might harm Nidhi. Relax yaar we all love her too, you know. You're not the only one that is concerned about her". Nidhi looked at Ashu and said,"That's ok Armanji, you how he is, boring, Inko sari fun cheezon se problem hoti hai. Agar inka bas chalta to hum sari jagah, gahr ka khana aur ghar ka boiled Pani saath lekar chalte. It's ok I've learnt not to take him too seriously. Waise, kabhi kabhi when he forgets to be stuffy, toh he can be fun also, is liye I've decided to keep him nahin to main kab ki bhag jaati ". Everyone looked at him and laughed. Ashu knew that, Nidhi was teasing him,but for some reason her joking bothered him a lot today. He felt even a little hurt, almost like she had made fun of him, even though he knew she hadn't. She held out her hand to him, on the side where Anji was, Anji smiled and moved to the next chair to make room for him next to Nidhi, he smiled and went to her and took her hand and sat down next to her. For the next half an hour everyone ate chat and laughed and talked, ashu enjoyed himself too, but couldn't help but noticing that even though she held on to his had, Nidhi was talking more to Rohan, with barely a word or two here and there with him. Soon afterthat everyone decided that it was time to start the movie, so they got up from the table and made their way towards the TV. Ashutosh, too got up and started following everyone, when he noticed that Nidhi had stayed behind to clear the table, and put everything away, and Rohan had stayed with her to help. Ashu chided himself, why hadn't he stayed also, then went to Nidhi and started to help, but Rohan stopped him telling him not to bother and that everything was under control. And that he would help Nidhi put everything to rights, to which Nidhi also answered"Han , aap kyon bother kar rahein hain, Rohan mere saath hai na, hum dono sab kar lenge. Aap ja kar baithiye, main abhi 2minute mein aati hoon".
Rohan came out of the kitchen , with coffee for everyone and told them that Nidhi would be right out, that she was getting adrak ki chai for Ashu, because he did not like coffee. Everyone looked and Ashu, and he smiled. Nidhi came and gave Ashu his chai, but went and sat down with Rohan. He just looked at Nidhi, he couldn't believe that she had just done that. Throughout the movie, Nidhi, was totally oblivious to him, she did not even look his way. She was totally engrossed in the movie. During the intermission everyone got up and went to get a drink, and Baba announced that he was too tired and that he was going to retire for the night. When Nidhi, protested that he hadn't even seen the whole movie, baba said , that he could not follow it anyway and at his age he needed his sleep more. Sayings this he wished everyone a good night and went to bed.
N-"I feel like like eating something, I'll be right back". As she as about to get up, Rohan walked in, with a steaming bowl of noodles,"Rohan, wow yaar, what would I do without you? How did you know that I wanted noodles", she smiled and then said,"although why am I surprised, you've always had the knack of knowing what I want and what I need even before I do". She started eating, when Rohan plopped down beside her and produced a fork,"Nidhi, you can't be greedy, these aren't all for you, I'm going to have some too." They both looked at each other and laughed, just like old times nidhi said, and proceeded to hold the bowl between them and share. They resumed the movie, and once again Nidhi was engrossed in something other than him and Once again Jealousy seared through him, I've gotta get out of here before I say or do something i am going to regret. So he got up and announced that he was tired, and was also going to bed. Everyone said goodnight, Nidhi also looked up for a second, and smiled at him and bid him goodnight and said that she would come when the movie finished. Ashu looked at her once again strangely and started for their room.
Arman , looked at Ashu, and shook his head and smiled to himself. He called out to Ashu to wait, as he had something to tell him. While Ashu waited at the door of his room, Arman told everyone to continue with the movie and that he'd be back in a minute. Arman, went to Ashu and pulled him into his study, and closed the door. Arman-"Ashu, yaar ye kya kar raha hai tu". Ashu-" Kya, what am I doing? I have no idea what I are talking about. I was just on my way to bed". Arman-" Ashu, don't pretend and act stupid in front of me. I know you better than you know yourself. Mai, tumhe shyam se dekh raha hoon. Abhi samay hai sambhal jao mere dost, other wise you might commit what has the potential to be a bigger blunder, than you committed during this whole Mallika fiasco". Ashu looked at Arman and sighed, he had known why Arman had stopped him, he should have known better than to try and hide anything from his friend. Arman was right, he did know Ashu very well,"I know I am being ridiculous, but yaar, I can't seem to help myself. I now these feelings are baseless, Lekin mai kya karoon. Every time Nidhi looks at him or smiles at him, I think no she's mine and that look and those smiles have to be for me only. I never knew I could feel this way before, and now even more so, since I read Rohan's letter and found out about his feelings. (ashu had shared the details of the letter and his conversation with nidhi with arman, a little while ago)Arman , you need to help me. I don't know what to do. I know that she loves only me, and she has proved and shown that to me in a million different ways. It's just when I see them together, I see how good they look together and how much in common they have, and most of all they age. Rohan would have been a much better choice for her. And I can't get over the fact that she chose me over him. And I have this fear that maybe one day she will realize that she made a mistake in marrying me and she'll leave me. I don't know what I'd do Arman, I don't think that mentally, physically or emotionally I'd be able to survive if I lost her. I can't live without her Arman, and that scares the life out of me". Arman laughed softly and patted Ashu's shoulder,"Oh my friend, you really have it bad. And also you are the worlds biggest fool alive, if you can't see what's right in front of your face, cause you are the one that said it. She chose you over Rohan. You know that, then why all these insecurities. Ashu, if you want to be happy and keep nidhi happy, you need to stop this foolishness. Cause the more you hang on to these kind of feelings they can only fester and grow. Nidhi, stood by your side, and trusted you implicitly during mallikas whole act, she doubted Mallika but she never for a second doubted you. She knew that Mallika was in love with you too. So, so what if Rohan is in love with nidhi or not, the bigger thing is that nidhi loves you and not him. And also another major difference between Rohan and Mallika is that Rohan cares only for nidhis happiness whereas Mallika only cared for hers, if she had cared about yous , she would never have done what she did. She would have realized that your happiness lay with Nidhi, and would have been happy for you, Like Rohan is for Nidhi. So, ab apna yeh pagalpan chod, and forget all this nonsense. She's yours and always will be. Now why don't you get ready for tomorrow's big plans". Ashu smiled sheepishly and agreed, that he was being silly, and promised Arman that he not be so stupid again.
And once again talked to him about tomorrows plans. Arman, sighed in relief, danger averted he thought and smiled , and gave himself a pat on the back for a job well done. He didn't know how Ashu survived without him, he is such a Bachcha. Well now he just had to make sure that tomorrow's plans worked out perfectly. Both of them had come to him for help. He was having the hardest time keeping quiet. Today he almost let the cat outed the bag, concerning Nidhis gift, in front of Ashu. He just hoped that he could hold out until tomorrow. He did not know any other two people who loved each other more. He just wished that Ashu was as secure in Nidhis feelings for him, as Nidhi was in Ashu's feelings for her. Hopefully tomorrow, would help towards that.
While, Ashu, waited for Nidhi, he thought about Arman's advice,and knew that he was right. So from now on he would not think these ridiculous things. Nidhi would never leave him he knew that, and Rohan was just a friend like Mallika w...no just like Arman was. And he fell into a peaceful sleep with those thoughts in mind.
After the movie was over and everyone said goodnight and left. Nidhi went to their room and saw her husband asleep with a really beautiful tiny little smile on his face. She bent down to kiss him and stopped. No she didn't want to disturb him, poor guy with one thing or the other had not gotten a proper nights sleep ever since Mallika had slashed her wrist. So she went to the bathroom and brushed her teeth and changed her clothes and lay down beside her husband. She was restless, and kept turning this way and that, after a while she gave up and scooted close to him and put her head on his shoulders, and relaxed, and closed her eyes.
Ashu, had woken up the minute she lay down on the bed, and was waiting for her to come to him. He heard her tossing and turning, and was almost tempted to just reach across and pull her to him and encase her in his arms, he knew that was the only way she would relax and sleep. They had both gotten so used to each other, specially ashu, he didn't think that he could sleep with holding her close. And now he saw that it was the same way with her. That made him smile, and yet he still did nothing, he lay still as if asleep, he wanted to see how long it would take her to come to him. He didn't have to wait long, about five minutes later, he felt her slide across their bed and, than she laid her head on his chest, and relaxed. There was only one problem with that, while she was relaxed, he was not. He had been waiting the whole evening to have her to himself, and as tired as he knew she was, he was afraid he could not let her sleep just yet.
Nidhi, also knew he was awake the moment she lay her head on his chest, she heard his heart was hammering underneath her ears. she had been counting the minutes ever since this evening, for some time alone with her husband and she knew that he was waiting for her also.She wished she could have postponed tonights little party, but she was the one who had made the plans and had invited everyone, there was no way she could have backed out. Although, she loved all of her friends and family, no could take her husbands place, and she had enjoyed herself tonight, but still the evening had stretched on unendingly. Now she was here at last, where she belonged.
When Ashu turned to her, she was waiting. There were no words of love, no gentle caresses, Ashu, was practically devouring her, his hands and his lips, had and an urgency, a desperation a need that she had not seen before, she didint mind but she needed needed to find out what was driving him, to be this way. Gently but with firmness, she freed herself, and got of bed and went to the window, and looked out into the night. it was so beautiful outside with all the bright stars, and the most beautiful full moon, she had ever seen. The moonlight bathed her and gave her an ethreal glow. Ashu walked to Nidhi and turned her around to face him, a question in his eyes,"what happened sweetheart, did I do anything wrong"? Nidhi, gently reached out and cupped his cheek with her hand and said,"don't you know by now that, nothing you do, or nothing we do together is wrong. But I want to know what's troubling you", when would have protested she put her fingers on his lips and said,"no please don't even think of trying to evade my question, or lying to me. Don't you think I know you? I know when something is troubling you, without even without being in the same room as you. So do you want to tell me or should I guess". Ashu just looked at her, and didn't say anything, he didn't think he could say a word even he had wanted to. When the silence between stretched a couple of minutes, she sighed and turned away from him to face the night once more. "Ashutosh, I know what's bothering you, even when my attention is elsewhere I am aware of you". Then she turned back and put her arms around him and joined her lips to his, and kissed him with all the passion and love inside her. "I love you, you and only you, now and forever, and even beyond. I think I loved you even when I had no idea what love was, I loved you when I was discovering love, then when I knew what love was, I was waiting for you, even without knowing who you were and where you were I loved you. And all I knew was that you were out there somewhere, and you were also, waiting for me. And I was content to wait till we found each other. Ashutosh, you know, before we met, I used to look at the moon every night, and imagined you were looking at it too. And it made me feel closer to you, it made me feel like you were near, and it gave me solace, and the assurance that we would meet someday, and that the incompleteness I felt within me, would some day go away, the moment I met you. And that is exactly what happened, the moment I saw you, it was as though I had found the missing piece to my puzzle. My darling, I love you, not Rohan. He is a good friend, but that's all. Please don't doubt me, or my love for you". Ashu, looked at her in amazement, she had known, all along she had known everything he had been feeling and thinking. He looked at his wife with a new respect in his eyes, she was far more perceptive than he had ever given her credit for, and her insight into his feelings showed him that she had a maturity that was far beyond her age. "I am sorry Nidhi, I didn't doubt you, it was me, I still cant believe that someone like you can love someone like me so much. I am scared you'll wake up one day and regret being married to me. It just scares the hell out of me, to even think that I could lose you. I am sorry. I just can't seem to get past these insecurities". Nidhi said,"well Dr. Ashutosh, you won't get rid of me so easily, I'm afraid that you are stuck with me. And now I hope I have put your demons to rest, and if I have, I'd like to take up where we left off, I've been waiting for my husband all day". Ashutosh looked at his beautiful wife, and wondered how he had gotten so lucky. He took his wife into his arms, and looked lovingly into her eyes, "Nidhi, can I ask you for somthing". N-" you have to ask, after all I've said, you still need to ask me, sweetheart, I've just spent the last so many minutes telling you in different ways, that I'm yours, you don't have to ask me for anything, you just have to tell me what you want, everything that I have and everything that I am is yours, if is in my power, I'll give you anything. So what can I do for you, Patidevji, I am yours to command", she said with mischief and laughter. Ashu," Nidhi, I want to see you, here in the moonlight". Nidhi, looked at him puzzled,"I don't understand, I am standing right here, in front of you. Can't you see me? There is plenty of light". Ashutosh shook his head, his face still intense," No, you misunderstood me, I said I want to see You, here in the moonlight, just for me"! Nidhi, understood at last, and blushed, and buried her face in his neck. Ashu-"it's ok, you don't have too, it was a silly request anyway, come on let's go back to bed". Nidhi pulled away from him and and stepped back, and she looked into his eyes and smiled, then reached up and pulled open the knots that held her night gown in place. Ashu, was totally, mesmerized by the beauty of his wife, standing in the moonlight before him. nidhi held out her hand to him and said, "I told you, I am yours, body and soul, all you have to do is tell me what you want...". Ashu -"Nidhi, you are beautiful, even the gods in heaven looking down on us, will be jealous of my good fortune, I doubt that even they have anything as beautiful as you, up there". Ashu could not bring himself to move, he just stood there staring at Nidhi. Bathed in the silver coloured moonlight, like some goddess, she was breathtaking. Slowly he stretched out his hand and traced her face and body with his finger tips. It was a touch filled with desire and reverence, and admiration, like that of a sculptor, or an artist appreciating a master piece or beautiful work of art. He took her outstretched arms and led her to their bed, and what followed was too beautiful for words. (all that means is that I lost my nerve to write anything else)
Nidhi, woke up the next morning, happy and excited, today was their 2nd month anniversary, and she wanted it to be perfect. The last one had left a bitter taste in her mouth, which she wanted to erase with the memories they would make today. She got out of bed and got ready. Ashu was still asleep, so she bent and kissed him gently, and left the room. Baba as always was sitting out in the lawn reading his morning paper, and Arman was also there with him, they looked up at her approach and smiled. Nidhi placed the breakfast tray on the table and bent to touch Baba's feet. And said good morning to them both. She noticed that both of them had a tense look on their face. "what's the matter. Why are you both looking so stressed. Oh my god, Armanji, did anything go wrong with my gift, or the arrangements for tonight"? Arman smiled at that and said, "No, Nidhi, calm down ,everything is all set for tonight, and all the arrangements are good to go, I'll be going to pick up your present for Ashu in a little bit. Do you want to take a look at it do you want to me to get it wrapped have it all ready for you to give to Ashu". Nidhi-"no it's ok, please just get it ready, I don't know if we will have time to get it wrapped later. So now that we know that that is not the problem , I want to know what's going on, what are you and Baba so stressed about. And I am not going to leave it alone, so you might as well tell me". Ashu, walked in at the tail end of this statement, and after wishing everyone a good morning, sat down and said," ok I heard that, what's going on, I agree with Nidhi, you need to tell us,". Baba and Arman looked at each other with resigned looks, and then Baba closed his eyes , sighed and nodded to Arman. After a brief hesitation, Arman said,"we did not want to tell you this but, Baba got a call from your real estate lawyer, this morning, apparently Mallika is refusing to sign the final,papers on the house with out meeting with you first, and stipulated that you have to come today, and you know why". He looked at the both of them sympathetically,"Sorry guys but I have to say this. You know that she remembers what today is, and she wants to ruin today again for the both of you, like last time. Ashu, I don't think that you should give in to her, let this whole thing go. Just give the money to her brother, and tell him to keep it In a trust for her. But please I don't want you to go visit her, today of all days". Before Ashu could say a word Nidhi spoke up,"No Armanji, you're wrong, today is the perfect day to pay a visit to the esteemed Doctor. And contrary to her belief, nothing she has to say to us can ruin today, this is just a ploy of hers to show me that she can still pull Ashutosh's strings even from prison. And I will not let her to do that to us. So we will BOTH go, and see her". Ashu, looked at his wife with respect and pride,"that's my girl, let's go get her tiger, but promise me you'll keep your claws sheathed, I don't want to have to bail you out of jail on assault charges on our anniversary. Okay".
Arman insisted on going with them, so the three of them arrived at the prison, and we're met by an associate of Ashu's friend Prashant. Inspector Vikas Gupta, met them at the entrance and. Introduced himself. He escorted them inside and helped them clear all the security checkpoints, without delays, and assured them that he would be accompanying them throughout the course of their visit. When they got to mallikas cell block, they saw that their respective lawyers and Mallikas brother were already there. All of them were led by the jail attendants to the meeting room, where Mallika sat waiting. She looked up at their entrance, there was a smile on her face, but when she saw Nidhi, it faltered. Mallika quickly regained her composure and smirked at all of them. Nidhi was pleased that her presence had rattled Mallika.
The meeting began, and the lawyers took out the settlement papers and explained that a sum of Rupees, Three corores was being paid to Mallika in return for the house that she had gifted and put in Ashu's name. Mallika looked at Ashu and said,"Ashutosh, we have been friends for a long time, and I gave that house to you in the name of friendship. But you have let this wife of yours come between that friendship and destroy it. But I still consider you my friend and I will not accept money in return for my gift. Consider it as a last remembrance of a friend whose friendship you betrayed". Mallika finished with a smirk of self satisfaction . Ashu-"first of all Mallika, let me clear up one thing, you have never been anyone's friend but your own, and our so called friendship ended the day you put Nidhis father in the hospital, only I didn't know it at that time. For me my friend died that day, I have no idea who you are. And the house was never a gift. It was never yours, to begin with, so how could you gift it. You stole it from nidhi, and your own brother has testified to that. So cut the melodramatic crap and sign these papers, I don't want to be beholden to you for even a cent". Mallika-"Ashutosh, how dare you talk to me like that, and that for some girl you just met yesterday, I stood beside you for 12 years, and this is the thanks I get, what does she have that I don't have, all she is is some two bit w...e. who just happens to be younger then me." Ashu would have said something when nidhi caught his hand, and squeezed it. She then smiled at Mallika, and scooted close to her husband and took his arm and put it around her shoulders and leaned into him, as she expected, that little gesture, did not escape Mallika's notice, and her eyes narrowed, and her face became a picture of restrained fury, and Nidhi continued. ". What I am Dr. Mallika, is his wife. Dr. Nidhi Ashutosh Mathur, and you would do well to remember that, before you start flinging your vile insults. Ashutosh never loved you, but you could have had his friendship, but in your greed to get the whole package not only did you loose your friend, but also your reputation and your freedom. And you are not doing us any favors by not accepting the money, the house is ours anyway, you made sure of that. So we have nothing to loose. You in the other hand have plenty to loose, have you ever thought of what you will do, if and when you are released, with no money and no friends, you can't even be a doctor anymore. The money will come in handy then, to help you in your Old Age. But, if you still don't want it we will give it to your brother, after all you owe him, it was because of you that he lost his job and had to relocate to another country with his wife and child, I am sure that he would appreciate it. So your choice, you want the money or not". Mallika looked at Nidhi with helpless anger"I don't want your stupid money, give it to anyone you please or throw it away, I don't care.". Nidhi-"okay, as you wish. Wakil Sahab can I have the papers please, I'll sign them now and I'll also give you the check, written out in Mr. Trehan's name. Please give it to him when all the formalities are completed". Nidhi was about to sign the papers, when Mallika shouted, "That's illegal, the house is under Ashutosh's name, how can you sign. Plus you don't have that kind of money, I bankrupted your father, there's no way he could have earned so much so quickly." Nidhi-" Oh, I'm sorry, didn't your lawyer tell you"? Mallika-"tell me what". Nidhi-" the house is mine, Dr. Ashutosh, transferred it to my name last week. So it's mine and my signatures are the only ones that are valid. Oh and the money, you see, I just told you not to forget who I am, as his wife I am a joint owner in all of Ashutoshs properties and estates and bank accounts, so I do have the money, my husband has made me a very rich women, so I could probably give you twice that amount without blinking an eye. You seeDr. Mallika, in this scenario, you are the loser not I. I pity you Dr. Mallika". Ashutosh and Arman both had their mouths open with amazement throughout this exchange. They could never have even imagined this Nidhi. Wow! The whole time Mallika was shouting and getting agitated, but nidhi never lost her calm once. Each and every word was meant to be a blow, and each blow had found its mark. Nidhi had indeed kept her promise, and kept her claws sheathed, but at the same time had managed to kick, Mallika's SCRAWNY BUTT, all the way to hell and back. Wow Arman thought she is absolutely magnificent, what a tigress, incredibly beautiful and absolutely lethal. Every man should have one of these(nidhi) in his house. They were all rudely pulled back to reality when Mallika suddenly stood up and screamed in anger and frustration, and picked up her chair and ran towards nidhi, fully intending to hit her with it. But before she even got close, Ashutosh, Arman, and Mallikas brother Aditya, stepped in front of Nidhi, acting as a shield. Ashu, looked at Aditya with surprise, but had no time to say anything. Ashu caught, Mallika in mid stride, he took the chair from her and threw it, he then gave her two hard slaps, which had her reeling and falling hard onto the floor, and, before she could react to this, the women jail attendants had come and caught Mallika and were dragging her away, Mallika started shouting,"Ashutosh, you and your precious wife will pay for this. If its the last thing I do, I will make you both regret the day you were born. And Aditya you ingrate, just see what I'll do to you". She was still screaming blue murder whilst they dragged her away.
Ashu turned towards his wife,"Nidhi, sweetheart, you're ok aren't you, she didn't hurt you did she"? Nidhi smiled, " how could she, I had my very own knights in shining armor here to protect me". Her smile of thanks encompassed Aditya also. The smile held her forgiveness for his past crimes against her and her family. Aditya smiled apologetically and greatfully, then said thank you and left, with his lawyer.
Back in the car, on their way home, Arman applauded Nidhi and smiled," Nidhi, aaj se to tu meri hero ban gayi hai. Wah yaar, movies mein toh aise scene bahut dekha, Lekin real life mein to pehle bar dekhne ko Mila hai. You didn't need Ashu or me there with you, yaar tu toh ek akeli hi 100 ke barabar hai. I will take you with me next time if I am in trouble. Wow yaar amazing things do come in small packages. Mai toh Tera pakka fan ban Gaya hoon". Nidhi, blushed. And Ashu, said" I am so lucky Arman, I have my very own one women anti terrorist squad, what more could a man want"? And he gave her a hug. Arman smiled and said"Indeed my friend you are a very lucky man".
Since, that cat was already out of the bag, about the anniversary. Nidhi, decided to tell Ashutosh that she had made plans and that they needed to get ready quickly and leave. Nidhi wanted to do today what she had planned for last month, but never got to do. Ashu pretended to go along with her plan, although, little did she realize he thought, that this time he had plans of his own, and that was what was going to be followed today. But first... "Nidhi, I have something for you to wear for today. I bought it specially with our anniversary in mind I hope you like it". and he handed her the box and then went to the guest room to get ready.
Nidhi, had no idea where Ashutosh was taking her. He had been very vague about the whole thing, all he had told her was that, it was some sort of an important event that they had to attend before they could go on to the celebrations she had planned. And the sari that he had bought for her to wear, for today, was out of this world, beautiful. Boy, she would have given a million bucks to have been a fly on the wall of the sari emporium, just so she could have seen her famous Brain Surgeon husband, Dr. Ashutosh Mathur, choosing a sari for his wife. She didn't even know how he had known where to go. Anyway she had to hand it to him, this was probably the most beautiful sari she had ever seen in her life. It was a dual colored blue and black crepe, and when you draped the sari, the pleats were the most beautiful navy blue with silver beads and light golden stonework. The the body of the sari was black with gold beads and White stone work. The Pallu was the same color as the pleats only with heavier designing, and the border of the whole sari was a black and blue silk, with zaree and gold and silver beads and stone. The blouse had black 3/4 lenght sleeves and was blue on the chest and back and it had the same bead and stone design around the neck the waist and the sleeves. She had worn the same colored bangles (black, blue silver and gold) and in her ears had sapphire chandeliers, and of course her mangalsutra, and a small blue bindi, with light pink lipstick.
Ashu, looked at his wife, she looked absolutely stunning, and radiant, he could not remember when he had seen her looking more beautiful then she was today, except of course when he had seen her walking into the wedding hall, a bride, for the Jaimala, then, she had looked like a goddess. Ashu knew that Nidhi was confused about their destination, he had not told her anything, he wanted it to be a surprise. Ashu, had also given the driver an alternate route, as he knew that Nidhi would know exactly where they were going if they had gone the normal way. He was glad that she was clueless, about everything, he knew that she would be surprised, but he was also a little hurt that she had forgotten to give him anything, last time she had woken him up with a kiss and had given him a beautiful bouquet of roses, and this time, although, she had still planned an outing, she had taken no other troubles. She had been so excited last month, today, there no evidence of any excitement, there was happiness, but no excitement. To be perfectly honest, even after everything she had said last night, he was feeling a little neglected due to the amount of time she had spent talking to Rohan, which was probably why she had not had enough time to get him anything, or plan anything elaborate. He now had an idea, as to how Nidhi might have felt seeing him with Mallika. The next minute, he shook off these ridiculous feelings of jealousy. Nidhi loved him, he was the center of her universe, he knew that, and she had proved it in a million ways since their marriage. But he was very possessive about her, he wanted to be her universe, he wanted all her attention. But of course, he was behaving and thinking like a child, of course there were other people in her life, her family and friends, and Rohan, he knew what place he held in his wife's life and heart. One thing, Ashu reminded himself, Rohan was not Mallika and Nidhi was not Ashutosh. He knew that Rohan had left Nidhi, so she could be happy with Ashu, for the sake of his friends happiness, whereas, Mallika had come back and tried to separate her friend from his love, not caring what it would do to him to be separated from Nidhi. And Nidhi, had put him, Ashutosh, before her friendship with Rohan, whereas he had (at least until he realized the truth)had given preference to Mallika, and his friendship with her, uncaring of his wife's feelings. Seeing the contrast between the two relationships, made Ashutosh realize just how superficial and meaningless his friendship to Mallika had been. Anyway, today was not for regrets, it was for a celebration. And he could not wait to see Nidhi's reaction.
He had planned today's evening in two parts, the first part was just for Nidhi and him. And the second part of the evening was for their whole family, for that was what his marriage to Nidhi had given him, a family. So how could they celebrate their marriage, without also celebrating, everything their marriage stood for and all the wonderful things that it brought along with it.
The driver stopped the car,"Sahab, we're here".
Ashu, opened the car door, and helped Nidhi out,"Ashutosh, where are we"? Ashu, had, had the driver park near the side entrance, which was not normally open to the public, but he had gotten special permission, he knew somebody with the historical society. Ashutosh looked at his wife and asked her to close her eyes, she was about to say something, but stopped, maybe she had seen something in his face, so she smiled and closed her eyes. He took her by the shoulders and led her inside, carefully guiding her steps so she would not get hurt. One he had her inside he asked her to open her eyes. Nidhi, opened her eyes and looked around her, they were at Shehzadi Saluba's Baradari. And everywhere she looked she saw Kandeels hanging off the branches of trees, little ones, big ones all different shapes and sizes, and all with their names, Ashutosh & Nidhi, written on them. Nidhi was overwhelmed, today , with this show of his love, he owned her, totally, body and soul, not only for this life but for all eternity. She thought she had loved him before, but it was nothing compared to the feelings that were overflowing her heart today. She turned to look at him,"I ...I..."She wanted to say so much, but had no words. "till yesterday, I loved you, but from today onwards I worship you". Ashu knew exactly how she felt, and no words were necessary, their relationship had transcended the need for any words. He gently pulled her into his arms and held her close to him, and that simple embrace, conveyed what was in his heart and what words could not even begin to. They pulled apart gently, reluctantly, and smiled at each other. Ashu, walked towards a table that still had and an unlit lantern sitting on it. He picked it up and brought it over, and handed it to Nidhi. She saw that it was put together from some of their left over wedding cards. The whole lantern had their names all over it, again her husband managed to surprise her. A-"I saved the best one for both of us to light and hang up together. After all we should thank the spirit that resides here, and has stayed here over countless centuries, to bless couples in love, and to grant them success in their relationship". They both lit the lamp and hung it on a near by limb. As Nidhi turned to leave Ashu asked her to wait, and made a phone call, a couple of minutes later the driver came carrying 2bags, he came and put the bags on the table that had, had the lantern on it, smiled at them both and left. Ashu looked at both the bags with surprise, "I know that one of the bags is my gift for you, for today, but what's the second bag for"? Nidhi went up to him and put one hand on his cheek and turned him towards her and went up on tiptoes to kiss his cheek,"the other bag is my gift for you. How could you think that I had forgotten to get you anything today? The driver probably figured if you were going to give me my gift, that I would also want to give you your gift at the same time. Ashutosh, I could forget everything in this world, even myself, but I could never forget you or the day we got married. Happy Second Month Anniversary, husband". Ashu looked and her and chided himself, he should have known Nidhi couldn't forget. No matter what, he somehow always doubted her. He leaned down to place a gentle kiss on her lips,"Happy Second Month Anniversary, wife, I love you. And I am going to give you your gift first. Nidhi, you know I don't know too much about this sort of thing, but, one thing I do know is my wife, and I know that she does not place value in monetary things, and neither do I, and I figured that if you wanted jewelry and clothes and such you could always get them yourself, or we could go together, but what I wanted to give you today, was a piece of my heart. So here it is". He handed Nidhi the bag, she took out the beautiful blue and gold velvet box that was inside and opened it, she was stunned, there, on a bed of velvet encased in glass and beautifully preserved for all time , we're two red roses in a small crystal glass (just like the one from the tea vendor, where they had had their first cup of adrak ki chai) and underneath it beautifully embossed in gold lettering was written:
" Tum Toh Meri Ruh Ka Daana Paani Ho,
Main Uske Badle Mein Tumhe Kya De Sakta Hoon
Siva Apne Pyar Ke"
Ashu-"these are the very first two flowers you gave me. I could not make myself throw them and, I could never understand what made me hang on to them. The first one was when you came to my house, the first time I was sick, and made me adrak ki chai, during a blackout, and the second one was when you made the hare chane ki kari with Methi muthiya. I am so glad now that I kept them, and could give them back to you like this, as a symbol of my love. Even then my soul had recognized its other half, even though my heart and head refused to acknowledge that fact".
Nidhi did not know, how much more she could stand, she put her gift down gently, and walked to her husband, with tears pouring down her cheeks put her arms around his neck and kissed him, it was not a passionate kiss, yet is was full of passion, it was not a kiss of need , yet it was filled with a yearning and need that touched his soul . It was a kiss of love, and it left him fulfilled. And she hugged him as if she would never let him go.
Ashu, drew back and kissed her eyes , and said," And now it's my turn. My gift please." and held out his hands. Nidhi went to the table and got the bag with gift and handed it to him. In the process of taking the bag, Ashu happened to glance at Nidhi. She once again had THE look in her eyes and THE expression on her face, 'Oh Lord Here we go Again. What am I in for now', he thought to himself. He was beginning to know his wife very well, and with some trepidation reached inside the bag. Nidhi-" I have two gifts for you, one from last month and one for today. I couldn't give you your gift last time... But I wanted you to have them both today". Ashulled had taken one of the gifts out, when nidhi said,"Hey you pulled out today's gift first"! And just as he was about to put it back, she exclaimed," No, no, no, don't put it back , go ahead open it"! She seemed to be more excited than he about his presents. He adored this aspect of his wife, her childish enthusiasm. The gift was flat and had some ridges , it looks like it could be a photograph. He unwrapped it, and stared at it stunned for a few seconds, and burst out laughing," Oh lord Nidhi, you're one of a kind, I sure am glad you belong to me, I don't anyone else has a strong enough constitution". It was one of their wedding photographs digitally altered. It was one where they were sitting during their pheras, after the sindoor and mangalsutra part had been done. In this picture all the guests and the havan kund and the pandit ji had been erased, it was just the two of them smiling and all around them were babies. Ashu was holding six, two on his shoulder. One in each arm and one on each leg. And Nidhi was holding four, one in each arm and one one each leg. And underneath was written,
"Hum Do, Hamare Dus. "
He looked at his wife , with a leer and said, "Wow, you certainly don't do anything on a small scale do you? Thats a tall order, and one thats going to take a long time to fill. And if I am going to fulfill this wish of yours, we don't have any time to waste, we need to start immediately, in fact I think we need to act tonight, after all I'm not getting any younger". He laughed at her as she smiled and blushed. Then he took out the second gift, he could see that the corners were scuffed, as if it had been handled multiple times, this one was last month's. It looked like there were two objects stuck together, the first one was again small and flat, like a book. After unwrapping, he saw that it was! And, what left him speechless was the fact that it was the same book that he had taken her to see at his primary school in Kanpur. He opened it and found the haiku that he had written inside the cover, when he had been fourteen or fifteen years old. It must have taken considerable effort on her part to acquire it, for him. She had just given him back one of the best parts of his childhood and he wondered if she even recognized what she had done. This beautiful gesture of hers touched him beyond words. He said nothing whilst he proceeded to open the second part of the gift. Once again the thought behind this gift of hers, floored him. Like his gift to her, this one was also a glass keepsake. This one held a little Machan exactly like the one they had spent their first night on, complete with a lanterns and wind chimes, all round, hanging from the rafters. All around were trees and wildlife, little monkeys and deer. But one tree in particular was more prominent than others, it stood a bit apart, and there carved on it was a heart with their names, Nidhi & Ashutosh Forever. The detailing of the scene was truly awesome. Then he realized, that this was a custom ordered item, she had to had have been involved with it, throughout its making. And, since this would have taken a while to get ready, she probably had ordered this right around the time Mallika had reentered their lives. And, inspite of everything and his behavior, she had made sure that the gift had been ready for their first month anniversary. The generosity of her spirit, and her unconditional love and concern for the people who mattered to her, never ceased to amaze him. He wished that she had had the chance to give it to him last month but...
He, once again, took her into his arms, and held her close to his heart, then, he drew back gently, and held her face in both his hands, and wiped her tears. He smiled and said"Now, doc, we need to be on our way, we are going to be late for the next part of this evenings agenda." N-" Where are we going". A-"Well, I guess, I can tell you this part, the rest of the evening we are going to be spending with our family. After all a marriage is not just between two people, but between , two families, and how can we celebrate our marriage without their presence. So let's go they are all waiting for us at your Baba's house".
When they got there everyone was waiting for them. The back lawn of CV's house was decorated with lights candles and flowers, there was a soft music playing in the back ground. Everybody hugged and wished them a happy second month anniversary, then everything went dark and a spot light shone on Nidhi, then she heard Ashu, call out to her she looked over and saw her husband come towards her a rose in hand, there was silence, everyone was waiting to hear what he had to say to nidhi. Ashu-"first of all I know that our elders are here too, and normally, I would not have the courage to do or say any of the things that I am about to do and say in from of them. So please forgive me and bear with me, But I think that my wife deserves this from me today. I wish that I could actually get the moon and stars for her, but all I can offer her is my undying love and devotion. And this..". Saying this ashu, got down on one knee (the uninjured one)and took Nidhis hands and said,"Nidhi, I should have done this the first time around, but you have showed me that it is never too late for anything, so here goes. Nidhi, here in front of our parents and friends and family, I vow to you that I will love you always, and I will cherish you, and stay by your side and help you and support you through all of life's ups and downs. I ask you Nidhi, will you be my wife, now, in this life and in all our lives to come, will you be my soul mate." he took out a little velvet box and opened it, in it sat the most beautiful, heart shaped, saphire and diamond ring she had ever seen. Ashu took the ring out and slipped it right next to the ring he had put on her finger on their engagement day. Nidhi bent and helped him get up, she was crying, tears running down from those beautiful eyes of hers. Ashu, opened his arms and she went into them gladly and laid her head next to his heart, and then Nidhi's favorite song came on , HOW DO I LIVE WITHOUT YOU (sung by Trisha Yearwood)he had remembered,she thought, he had remembered everything.
Meanwhile, their family and friends all clapped and showered them with blessings and good wishes for a happy life.