Joined: 02 November 2010
"What gives you the right to do this?"
Bhabi had taunted. Even Ma was against her keeping the fast. So here she was keeping to herself and away from other's while she waited for the moon to appear... But her fast would take longer time to be broken...
She caught her image reflected in the glass pane... This was her first Karva chauth ... but looking at her one would wonder about her married status... she touched her forehead... Untouched by the Sindoor, the mark of a Suhagan. She bit hard on her lower lip to stop it's trembling and caressed her mangal sutra in reassurance. The Mehandi in her palm caught her attention... she cupped her palm in front of her... her eyes drawn to the R in it... so beautiful... She caressed the mark with a fingertip, wondering if RK would have found it out easily. She was not going to find out anyways... He had gone out with instructions to Bittuji to keep her company... she had not asked when he would be back, if he would he be there to break her fast. The hands that fell to her sides missed the weight of the red bangles that should have adorned her arms on such auspicious days.
"Adoori shaadi..." bhabhi loved to mock.
It had not mattered to her... until now...
She had not thought or cared for that which was missing until now... had never thought she would wish for this right ... this need to keep the fast for him as her right... may be she wouldn't have done it if the times was like before...
Still it was not because the insult hurt...had she not suffered worst from RK in his attempts to humiliate her? Yet she had not let him win... She had suffered his attacks on her self-respect with dignity... she did not break down.. for she had known she was right in her decision... no one could accuse her...
Now even when he trusted her, even when there was no blemish in her loyalty, she felt herself wanting... with her idol, the foundation of her trust shattered she felt her identity lost. With it came the wish to belong...to lean on someone, to gain a little bit of strength from him to go on... for she felt so fragile...
But she wouldn't demand... wouldn't expect anything that was not freely given. She could sense his compassion, his wish to protect. She wouldn't read anything into his kindness than his need to repay her for tending to him... now he wished to take care of her when she was hurting.
She felt so drained that all she wanted to do when he was not around was to curl up and sleep... But sleep eluded with haunting memories and horrible possibilities, leaving her all the more exhausted. The burden of guilt that she was the reason behind he attacks on him ate at her. That in itself was enough for the heaviness in her heart ...even without the accusing glares, the taunting jibes or the distrust in the eyes of the person she loved like a mother.
She did not know what could be done to ease this guilt... each time she saw him in discomfort because of the wound, she felt the piercing pain of knowing this was done by her own.
"Bhabiji..." she wiped her face before turning to face Bittuji.
His eyes searched her face, noticing the tear stains but thankfully didn't mention it.
"Bhabiji, Chief called. Were you not able to contact him?"
"I ... I didn't wish to disturb him."
Madhu turned away from him to give the impression of being busy arranging the statues on the table. She knew what this was about. It was Bittuji, RK's deputy who had arranged for the mehandiwala.
"But if you don't tell him in advance, he might not notice the time. Shouldn't he be back before the moon..."
"He doesn't know," Madhu cut in turning a bit towards him so that he could see her proflie. "I didn't mention that I was keeping fast."
"But isn't chief supposed to break your fast?"
"If this was for real...yes." she clutched at the black beads at her throat, eyes closed to keep the emotions in. Yet it did not keep the tremor away from her voice. She took another moment to compose herself before turning back to face him.
"Don't worry, there are ways around it." Her eyes went to RK's image at the wall. She tried to reassure Bittuji with a smile, the person who was more family to RK than his real family. He was now assigned the added duty of watching out for her when RK was not around... her only loyal champion.
"You should have told Chief," Bittuji was not ready to give up. "Let me just call him..."
Madhu laid her hand over his as he tapped in the numbers on his mobile.
"NO..."she protested, "You know RK better than me... You know how he likes to make light of everything... make fun of customs and traditions." She paused remembering his smirk. "It wouldn't have mattered before...but I won't be able to take it if he ridicules ... not now," her voice lowered to a whisper "... please Bitttuji!"
He wanted to argue that RK did care about her. But the eyes that pleaded with his were pools of misery and he could only nod in acquiescence.
As he walked towards the door he wished there was something he could do to lighten her pain. He knew she was hurt by the distrust, the accusations especially Auntiji's. How could one who saw her devotion to Chief question her loyalty was beyond him.
He turned at the door in enquiry at the tentative call.
"RK said he would let me watch the rushes of Kayanath. Can you leave it with me tonight?"
Here i am with another OS.. hope you will make do with this, this weekend instead of my portraits... liked it? let me know...
and yeah tell me if you are interested in a follow up on this
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