The story starts off from three months into their 6 month verdict. Three months since Indu and Sanchi have been living under the Mathur roof and grown accustomed to the other's annoying ways.
I lost you, but you found me Part 1
True, there never was a night she didn't thank her stars ever since the Tiwaris had been forced out of her home. However, their young nephew who'd stayed behind was beginning to prove himself no less either! True, her parents' life and routines showed some semblance of normalcy now - since only SHE was the prime target of his ongoing schemes. However, she was growing tired soon enough too. Three months since the judge's ridiculous verdict and his tantrums showed no signs of abating. The remaining three months could not fly by fast enough!
Having fixed her hair, she fumes in anger as she swings the jhola on her shoulders.
She was not even bothered by the everyday fights for the bathroom and the balcony any more! However, there were some other things she just couldn't let go. Only 4 weeks back had she given him an ultimatum to tidy up after his good-for-nothing friends' daily visits - but to no avail. Instead, it was still something she had to bite the bullet and do, lest her already troubled mother had a nervous breakdown sighting the beer bottles and chicken 65 packets. Additionally frustrating; he'd taken up a new passion of reading the local daily - but never learnt to put them away later! Not to mention, she'd been putting up with his constant taunts and mockery! Worst of all, his loud music at untimely hours interfered with her exam preparations. In the rare occasion that the pair did enjoy a few sane conversations or a day of mutual tolerance - it was invariably compensated by ensuing instances of heated outbursts and blame-shifting.
Enough was enough, she justifies herself! Tying the watch on her wrist, Sanchi reflects on the incidents that had unfolded a few hours ago and a small issue begins tugging at her conscience - had she gone too far this time?
The previous evening, Indu had organized an exceptionally boisterous party in his room - not allowing her to concentrate on her chapters even for a bit.
So, this morning she'd decided to confront him about it. When he was getting ready to step out for his 'supposed business,' she'd stepped into his room and made sure her displeasure was more than evident 'Indu Singh...how many times do I have to beg you to at least tone it down? How would you feel if you were being harassed in this manner...I cannot concentrate at all...'
Styling his partially wet hair, Indu patiently listened to what she had to say 'The mess you boys make...you don't ...tidy...up...how irresponsible of you...'
Adjusting his kurta in the mirror, the young man had a wry smile on his face, as she vented out for a few seconds more 'Immature and careless...whiling away your time...don't want to achieve anything...what happened to the challenge you'd taken up...'
After a few minutes of listening to her vehement complaints, Indu was growing increasingly tired of playing the role of silent spectator. Eventually able to take it no more, he'd picked his watch from his armoire and then closed his ears with his fingers. Giving in to his mischievous temptation, he'd started singing loudly - over the pitch of her voice
'The torture is getting over in the next 3 months, thank God...'
Who could put up with this for a lifetime, if not?'
With her scoldings literally falling on deaf ears, Sanchi had found her tolerance being fiercely challenged. In a frenzied rage to shut him up that very instant, she'd plunged forth, snatched the watch from his hand, dropped it on the ground and stomped on it - cracking its glass.
Not surprisingly, she had received a very intimidating glare from him. However, just as he was about to retaliate, she'd fled the scene and locked herself in her bathroom. She'd won that round!
Yes! She knew how much that watch meant to him, but so did he her peace and sanity to her. So what if he was civil to her parents -he was living off them! So what if he'd helped her family fix the occasional short circuit - he was doing it for his own selfish reasons! So what if he'd stepped out one midnight to purchase some medicines for her, well...she'd asked her mother to prepare some soup for him when he'd been down with a cold too! Trying to squash any signs of empathy she felt for her enemy, the girl adjusts her dupatta and steps out.
The tired lady drops her heavy grocery-filled bags on the ground and turns around to survey the crowded streets of the bazaar. She didn't need more than a few seconds to spot him as the towering young man approached her through the packed streets with his characteristic brazen style.
'Good morning... namaste sasuma...what are you doing here?' he asks her after folding his palms as a mark of respect.
'Just some shopping' the flustered lady replies half heartedly and then looks away
Indu spots the rickshaw parked aside, waiting to take its passenger. Nonchalantly, he instructs the impatient driver 'Now that I am here, I'll take sasuma along...you may leave!'
'What? No thanks...' the unmoved lady replies and then points to the folders in his hand 'You finish your work and carry on...I know how to take care of myself'
'My work? I've finished all my work for now...bought the stationary and repaired my broken watch too' he shows off the now-repaired watch on his wrist
Glancing at his wrist, Veena surmises scornfully'Must have broken it in some brawl'
'Anyway sasuma...' Indu requests her with an impish grin 'I'm returning home too...so come along with me...I'll take you...'
Watching her hesitation, the man puts up a modest act 'Sasuma...here you have such a handsome son-in-law standing in front of you...ready to serve you...ready to give you a free ride home...and you're preferring this tatty rickshaw to my speedy stylish bike...' Not minding the rickshaw driver's irked stares, he concludes light-heartedly 'Sasuma, please don't offend your son-in-law in this fashion'
The lady didn't know if he was being sarcastic or helpful, but the truth was that he was being a bit of both!
Veena falters for a few moments, not knowing how to react - It was a hot morning. She was tired and Indu could help her carry the bags to the kitchen. Besides, the motorbike would be much quicker and free too! Additionally, her husband and daughter would not be at home - so she'd have none to answer if she took up Indu's offer.
Eventually deciding to relent, Veena sends the upset rickshaw driver away. Following this, she hands over the heavy bags indifferently and follows her victorious son-in-law to his black motorbike parked a short distance away.
While Indu deftly sits on the seat and kick-starts his bike, Veena finds hopping on it no easy task. Nearly forced to wonder if she'd done the right thing, the lady eventually gets there and the duo head home.
Outside the Mathur home
How stupid of her to have forgotten her mobile phone that morning! She had to rush back all the way to fetch it - compelling her to miss a lecture. Nevertheless; being the president of the student union, functioning without a phone was also quite a task. Now ensuring it was safely housed in her bag, Sanchi hangs her jhola on the handle of her cycle. Just as she is about to climb the bicycle, she hears the fading revs of Indu's motorbike behind her and turns around. A startled Sanchi finds her anxious mother alighting from his bike, while Indu was helping her with the grocery bags.
Since when did her mother start bonding with her arch adversary? Was it a regular occurrence? Was this another ploy of Indu's? Riled, Sanchi momentarily glares at Indu and then watches her mother with distressed frowns. Intimidated by her daughter's disappointed glances, Veena fidgets nervously.
Studying the reactions of the mother and daughter, the playful Indu removes his cooling glasses and advices the lady softly 'Sasuma...don't mind her...she either gives angry glares, or gives really long lectures...and trust me angry glares are far better!'
He then effortlessly picks up the bulky bags and traipses into the house. Though irritated, Sanchi decides to let go of the matter for then.
That evening, Indu casually makes his way into the kitchen as he did every now and again. Walking up to the lady-of-the-house who was engrossed in her chores, the young man humbly puts forth his request for a cup of tea. Yes, they were not yet cordial enough to share a jovial conversation over a cup of tea. However, they had reached a point where he could request for a hot beverage and be provided one without facing irate scowls.
Once she prepares his cup and hands it over to him, the authoritative mother in her subconsciously takes over 'When you return to your room upstairs, please keep this calculator in Sanchi's room' She hands him the box
Shrugging his shoulders affirmatively, he takes the calculator and leaves 'Thanking you sasuma for the tea...thanking you!'
It was only when she observed the young man walk away, did she snap back into her senses 'What am I doing? This rowdy is not going to be a part of our family...he never will... I better stop beginning to treat him like one...'
He enters the mystical room that was his wife's - a place he was rarely allowed to trespass! As instructed, he places the calculator on the dressing table and is about to walk out when his curiosity gets the better of him. With some time to kill till his friends joined him, Indu vacillates for a moment or two - well it was a rare and tempting opportunity. Overcoming any scepticism he had, Indu proceeds to open a drawer of her dressing table. He takes a brief peek inside - it was filled with stationery. Shutting it, he then opens the drawer below it - it was full of her personal belongings - jewellery, hair bands, accessories and the sort. Some of those he recognized instantly - ornaments he'd seen her in at university, things she'd worn when they enjoyed a less hostile relationship. Swiftly extinguishing any emotion that was letting him sway, Indu is about to close the drawer when an object inside suddenly catches his eye.
Taken aback, Indu slowly picks it up and starts rotating it within his fingers joyously. Still glistening like it had when he'd worn it last, his original kadaa (bracelet) was something he'd totally forgotten about for a while. It brought back memories aplenty - Swetha's kidnapping fiasco, how he'd lost his kadaa, how he'd purchased a new one in time to save his skin from the inspector, his confrontation with Sanchi outside his den and how she'd questioned him about his bracelet!
Nevertheless; now, the biggest mystery of it all seemed to be his inability to understand why Sanchi was still holding on to it!
'C...could she be t...treasuring it' he pauses 'No...why would she...' he smacks the back of his head, chiding himself. Despite their ugly history, here he was yet again - letting his longing for her recognition override rational judgement.
'What are you doing here in my room?' His thoughts are forcefully brought to a halt
He turns around. The tiring day at university having taken its toll on her, a fatigued Sanchi looks down upon him with disdain 'Why are you snooping around in my room? Is this what you do when I'm off to college?'
'No...no...' he mutters with an embarrassed smile and then points to the calculator 'Sasuma had sent me here to keep this in your room'
She is not impressed. He gazes at her with an abashed grin and begins speaking up 'Actually good that you're here...I've been wanting to know what you have to say about something I came across this morning...' he pays her an earnest compliment 'Sanchi ji...I need your wise words of reassurance...'
While he pauses for her response, Sanchi observes the open drawers of her dressing table and then the fact that he was hiding something behind him 'What are you hiding Indu Singh?'
Diverted from his topic, Indu realizes she was asking him about the ornament in his hand. He hesitates and then holds it up for her to see, his manner gentle 'By the way, is there a particular reason you were keeping this all along?'
Misreading his playful interrogation and bashful smiles, Sanchi seethes in frustration. How silly of him to think she'd be wilfully cherishing his kadaa 'Can't you think clearly for once... because of your dishonesty with the inspector during the Swetha case, I ended up being stuck with your kadaa...since its a religious artefact, I couldn't even throw it...if not, its nothing more than junk to me'
Needless to say, the emotional man is pained by her bitterness - not only did she disappoint him time and again with her harsh approach, but she also insulted his mother's gift to him.
Tucking a stray hair behind her ear, Sanchi points a finger at him and continues relentlessly 'You were a liar then...you are a liar AND a cheater now...snooping around in my room, when I'm not around...I'd challenged you to find something useful to do with your time a month ago... but no...you're still whiling away your life - reading newspapers, entertaining friends and eating off an old pensioner's money...all this, despite being perfectly capable of finding your own job...'
When she'd begun accusing him, he'd thought of defending himself, but eventually decided against it. Removing the kadaa he had on his wrist, Indu furiously slaps it on the dressing table and slips on the original one instead.
Just as the offended man is about to storm out of the room, he lets her in on a fact 'Sanchi ji... has anyone told you that you're quite prejudiced...you tend to assume and raise a storm without bothering to find out the actual truth!'
Not waiting for her response, he walks out. Quite taken aback, Sanchi studies his diminishing figure - what did hell did he mean?
A fresh morning; a fresh start to the day - Riding her bicycle beside her trusted friend's scooter, the two girls make their way through the busy lanes. Embroiled in chatter and their plans for the day, Sanchi and Mehek ultimately approach the streets that led to the university. It was from here that begun a power struggle they'd been braving everyday - something that only seemed to grow in magnitude over time.
Whistles and hoots welcomed the two girls as they rushed through the lanes now infested with three or four smallish groups of deviant eve-teasers.
Sanchi had tried everything in her power to tackle the issue ever since it reared its ugly head in the last month or so - she'd spoken to professors, increased the security at the gates, had held meetings with students to address safety issues etc. However, since the ongoings were OUTSIDE the campus; nothing concrete could be done to help the female students in their increasingly unsafe trek to the college grounds!
Casting disapproving glares at the repulsive gestures being indicated towards them, Sanchi and Mehek make haste into the campus. After parking their respective vehicles, the dejected friends frown upon the sorry state of the affairs outside the college and then proceed to their classroom. On entering their class, the two friends are alerted to a group of girls assembled around a classmate. The girl seated in the middle of the group was in a sorry state - she appeared profoundly shaken and tearful.
Concerned, Sanchi steps forward and enquires supportively 'What happened Neeta...why are you crying?'
'The audacity of these boys is only growing Sanchi' the girl breaks out into sobs 'One of them c...caught me...and p...pulled my d...dupatta away today!'
Sanchi is incensed!
A short while later; a group of students led by their fearless president were standing in front of the gang that had harassed Neeta. The students had been firing warnings and threats at the crazed group of perverts, but nothing seemed to have an effect on them. The uncaring mob only jeered and sneered in reprisal.
Exasperated, Sanchi finally yells at the men with all the intensity her petite self permitted 'Stop this now...we've warned you time and again in the past few weeks... consider this your last chance...'
Responding to her shouts, a worrying lull momentarily clouds the loud ruckus. A particularly boorish man steps forward from the vile group, possibly their leader. Nearly a foot taller than the dainty girl, the terrifying man stares into Sanchi's eyes 'Why, what would you do? We'll be very interested in listening to your plans...'
Mehek begins fearing for her friend's safety. However, trying not to appear intimidated, Sanchi grits her teeth 'If you boys don't put a halt to this behaviour of your's we'll lodge a complaint at the police station...we have recordings of your rackets on our mobile phones...'
'Tch tch...you really are a feisty girl, aren't you...' he ridicules her 'Why so angry...is it because we didn't snatch your dupatta away... fine...we'll fulfil this wish of your's too'
The man is about to lay his hand on the horrified girl, but stops midway. He then bursts out into a loud round of guffaws, his group joining him in making a mockery of Sanchi's defiance.
Profoundly outraged, Sanchi succumbs to the inciting moment. She uses all her might and slaps the man across his face to avenge her humiliation. Not surprising, her action brings an abrupt end to their absurdity. The attacked scoundrel surveys the girl with spite. Owing to the crowd surrounding her, he could do nothing to punish her immediately - but he was not going to take this insult lightly.
Rebelliously boring into his frightful eyes, the girl discloses her next vendetta 'Come on friends...lets go to the police station now...these rascals will never learn their lesson...'
While Sanchi walks away from the livid yet quietened group; a handful of eager students keep up with her to show their support, willingly accompanying her to the station. The crowd begins fizzling out and the group led by Sanchi and Mehek commence their route to the police station.
Just then, Sanchi overhears a few boys whispering amongst themselves as they returned to the campus 'When Indu bhaiyya was here all this was under more control, but now that he no longer comes to campus... these people are growing increasingly rowdy!'
'Yes, a throne without a tyrant on it, is always up for grabs! With neither Prabhal nor Indu bhaiyya here, this is bound to happen...'
Peeved by their passing remarks, Sanchi fumes under her breath 'How dare they! No...no way...rowdiness is not the means to fight immorality...I want to show everyone what Indu was doing is wrong...'
Precap - Next chapter
Sanchi admonishes the sulking Guddu and Yogi 'You boys blindly follow your leader...who does nothing useful...squanders time... wastes money...and resorts to violence when it suits him...'
'You Speak as though you are omnipresent bhabhi ji!' Guddu whines unhappily 'As though you know everything'
'What do you mean?' Mehek supports her friend 'There's nothing wrong in what she said'
Speaking up, Yogi discloses his grievances 'Sanchi ji...because you repeatedly labelled him a 'rowdy', bhaiyyaji has stopped coming to the campus...taking you up on your challenge, he has been scouring the papers for opportunities for a few weeks now... apparently, this morning he found something interesting and approached you to ask you for your advice, but you shunned him away'
Sanchi is taken aback - she didn't know what to say!
Guddu adds 'We agree his manner is rough...but he has changed a lot only for you...however, you never have any kind words for him bhabhiji...'
'He loves his mother the most, but even her words don't have as much an effect on him as your's does...' Yogi reminds her
Edited by lashy - 29 July 2012 at 8:02pm