Posted: 22 November 2012 at 1:23pm | IP Logged
AnSh n J - A Summer Night
Shiv and Anandi had just returned from Kesarbagh to find Circuit House flooded. Heavy rains had blown off bits of the roof and other bits were old and leaky. Since barely any rooms were hospitable, Shiv reluctantly agreed to stay for a few nights with the Singhs while the roof got redone. He could not very well ask Anandi to room with Bheem Singh in his small quarters though he contemplated it and/or residing for a few days in Jaitsar's still under construction hotel. But, ultimately he could not say no to Daadiji.
Jagya returned home from jail after getting bail their first night at the Singhs. He was staying a few doors down the hall from Anandi's old room where Shiv and Anandi were situated. Jagya was genuinely happy for Anandi and even Shiv, but his lose and regret remained acute - like tezaab on an open cut.
The happy couple were on the swing pouring over their wedding album which had just come back from the printers when he walked in after a walk. Shiv's arm behind Anandi's back, their heads bent together, Anandi pointing at a picture and Shiv tucking back a strand of her hair. Freedom ALONE - it was a bitter medicine he had to practice swallowing. At least in jail, the loneliness had not been as visual!
Disappointed in himself and his own inability to fully embrace Shiv-n-Anandi's rishta... Jagiya silently stalked upstairs. Dinner was even more trying. Shiv unknowingly but rightly sat in "his" seat with Anandi right beside him. That itself was jarring...but, from everyone else's reaction it was the norm around Shiv. Even Sumitra reluctantly sat down beside Jagiya when DS signalled her to do just that. As the meal progressed Anandi babbled like a brook to everyone's amusement. Describing KesarBagh and all the post-wedding rituals...Shiv pipping in here and there, smiling indulgently at her all the while. When Makhankaka served desert, Anandi heaped several serving spoonfuls of Halwa into a bowl and set it onto Shiv's plate... Shiv meanwhile broke a strip of jalebis into small bite site pieces and placed them on Anandi's plate. They did it almost subconsciously... like the way Shiv had passed the theeka achar to Anandi without her asking and she had handed Shiv extra salt before he reached for it. Their happiness was palpable... and his reaction too visceral, so mumbling some excuse he left while everyone awaiting the aam Shiv and Anandi had brought back. His last image...Anandi nudging Shiv in the ribs and pointing to his collar with a giggle and Shiv tweaking her nose in mock anger!
Jagya spent sometime on the roof trying some meditation techniques he had learnt in jail before returning to his room to read some medical books. It was well past midnite when he finally felt hungry and realized that in his pre-occupations, he had actually had very little at dinner. Not wanting to trouble anyone this late... he decided to go down and make himself some milk.
Surprisingly the light was on in the kitchen when he entered. A pajama clad Shiv was rummaging through the cupboards looking for something.
"Kya dhoondhe rahe ho?" Jagiya asked from the doorway.
"Woh dhoodh garam karne ke liye kuch" Shiv replied slightly embarrassed. Jagiya found him a saucepan and shifted awkwardly from foot foot while Shiv poured some milk into the pan for both. He helped Shiv again when he had a hard time lighting the gas.
"Wah - mujhe lagtah tumko khana banana aata hai" Shiv stated as Jagya got the stove lite in one try.
"Haan - woh Anandi aur Ga... se seekha tha maine!" Jagiya admitted with a shrug...somewhere proud he knew something Shiv clearly found challenging.
"Anandise ya taisa ya maasa se doodhe ke liye tumne kyun nahi poocha?" Jagya queried Shiv as he got some glasses and haldi.
"Woh - yeh Anandi ke liye...usse thora dawa lenni thi...isliye mein volunteer kiya! Socha khud hi jaise-taise manage karlugi...mein college mein coffee kaffi aachaa bannata tha" Shiv replied as he watched Jagya spoon haldi into both glasses.
"Yeh kyun? Haldi? Anandi toh sirf doodh peeta hai aaj kal" Shiv stated, halting Jagiya before he could spoon more haldi into the second glass.
"Anandi haldi doodh pasand karti thi...sorry" Jagiya said mentally cringing both at his faux paux and for once more forgetting their "reality"...he was not Anandi's beendh, Shiv was and as much as he wanted to deny it...Shiv knew today's Anandi...maybe even better then Jagiya had known Chuhiya.
A glass of milk in both their hands, the two men companionably climbed up the stairs each lost in their own thoughts. They parted ways at Anandi's door. Shiv lifting the glass in thanks before shutting the door behind him ...Anandi approaching from the bathroom still towelling her hair.
Jagiya held onto his own milk glass -his hands gripping it like a lifeline... tears filling his eyes as forced himself to move one foot at a time too his empty room.
Edited by AnjanaYYZ - 22 November 2012 at 1:43pm