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"Oi! I don't care who you are or who you think you are. Get your hands off choti Malkin!" Ram Singh snapped. His voice broke the daze Madhu and RK were in and he carefully set her down. Madhu fussed with her hair in order to avoid the intense gaze boring into her.
Malkin?" RK repeated softly. Madhu gathered her courage and looked at him
again, tamping down on her reactions. "Do you own the land?"
"My family does…my brother actually." She answered coolly. RK looked at her critically, then surveyed the tree she had fallen from. "And is climbing like monkey's also something your family does?" He asked jauntily. Ram Singh opened his mouth to berate the superstar, but Madhu waved him into compliance. RK waited, looking at her regal manner and contrasting it with her plain clothing in fascination.
"Luckily we do not answer to those from the city." Madhu replied. "What is it that you wished to speak with my brother about?"
"Since the matter is about the land owned by your brother, it makes sense to talk to your brother." RK answered, grinning at her frown. Unlike other women, the anger did not mar her beauty, but enhanced it. RK felt that he could look at her all day and never be bored.
"Very well then." Madhu glared. "You may come and see him tomorrow." Turning, she motioned for Ram Singh to follow her as she walked away.
directions?" Bittuji called after her.
"Well, city people are so smart, na? Figure it out…great RK." Madhu yelled back sarcastically. RK just watched after her, feeling alive for the first time in a long time.
"I look forward to our next meeting, ….Madhubala…Aha."
"What do you mean that he can't provide the grain?" Yuvraj thundered. At his side Dadima frowned at her defiant granddaughter.
"Why are you so filthy Madhu?" She asked flatly, crossing her arms and waiting for a response. Madhu mirrored her grandmother ignoring her and frowning at her irate brother.
"The man can't give us the allotted grain Yuvraj, because he doesn't have it." She explained for the third time. "Will he make it come out of thin air? You know the harvest was bad this year. I told you that you should have multiple investments for this reason only, but you…"
"Enough, Madhu!" Yuvraj yelled. Watching at the side, Padmini cringed as her son advanced on her daughter. Trishna smiled meanly, hoping that the perfect princess would feel Yuvraj's disdain for once. The man stood a few feet away from his sister, glaring at her. Madhu matched him glare for glare, until Yuvraj laughed, dissipating the tension.
"Only you can get away with talking to me like that, little sister." He said fondly. "But what are we to do now? We need the money that the grain would have gotten us."
"If you had let me finish I would have answered your question. After we left Kaka, we met this man who looks to be a big shot from the city…he wants to talk to you about the land at the edge of our property."
Yuvraj furrowed his brows. "Did you catch his name? What did he want to talk about? We're not selling the property."
Madhu shrugged. "The man wouldn't tell me. Said his business was with the owner of the property, so I told him to come meet you tomorrow. He said his name was RK."
Trishna shrieked suddenly, getting the attention of both siblings. "RK?!" She yelled, excited, "Oh Madhu, he is such a big star…he's even bigger than Shah Rukh Khan! And he wants to talk to us? Yuvraj, please you have to let me…!"
"Shut up, Trishna!" Yuvraj yelled. "Can't you behave like a Thakur for once? Look at Madhu- do you see her going to pieces over some film star? No because she knows her worth! You…you are a disgrace to our name!"
Subdued, Trishna turned away, but not before shooting a helpless Madhu a glare of loathing. Padmini hesitated, then followed, leaving the three in the room alone.
Yuvraj took a deep breath, turning to his now silent sister. "Madhu, you help Ma prepare for tomorrow. I won't let this city boy look down at us." Madhu nodded, not saying anything.
"Did you meet him like that?" Dadima interjected into the conversation suddenly. Madhu looked at herself. Her time in the tree and subsequent fall had made her dress quite dirty, but she shrugged in reply.
"Meeting him was sudden, Dadi. There was no time to really be presentable."
"This is why I tell Yuvraj not to let you run around." The woman glared at her grandson who rolled his eyes at her concern. "No one will want to marry you Madhu if you go around looking like a wild cat."
"We've already have four marriage offers." Yuvraj refuted, bored of the talk. "I'm looking at two of them. I'll let you know if either of them is good enough Madhu."
Madhu clenched her teeth but held her tongue. She knew that she had to pick her battles, and on this topic she would never win.
"Of course, Yuvraj. Whatever you say." She answered obediently, not missing the triumphant look her brother shot their grandmother.
house." RK drawled, looking at the majestic haveli.
"It still needs a little something to make it worthy of RK though, right Bittuji?"
"Right, Chief." Bittuji agreed. "According to our sources this haveli has been in the family for a long time, with each successive generation adding a little something to it."
"Maybe this particular time it's been decorated by a very beautiful set of hands…hmm?" RK asked, surveying the exterior of the house and the bodyguards who were guarding the entrance.
"Never mind, Bittuji." RK waved off his puzzled personal manager. "Lets grace the master with our presence, ok?" He added, seeing the man from yesterday make his way towards them.
"Namaste, Sirs." The servant greeted them. "Please come this way. Thakur Sahib is waiting for you."
"No one else?" RK asked with interest. The servant paused, looking at him with wary eyes. "The ladies of the house will be present as well." He answered cautiously.
"Excellent." RK said smiling. "It's always nice to meet ladies different from the city, right Bittuji?"
"Yes, Chief." Bittuji replied, not understanding his employer's meaning.
"Like a breath of fresh air." RK continued, grinning as the servant looked at him suspiciously.
"Welcome, Mr…RK?" The young man said standing in front of the group of people gathered to meet the superstar said.
"Just RK." He replied, eyes scanning the women clustered at the back for the girl who had been plaguing his thoughts since yesterday. Madhubala. He found her standing next to an older woman, looking fresh scrubbed and clean. It only added to her beauty. He smirked as she glowered at him. The old woman looked at her sharply and Madhu moved her gaze.
"RK, then." The young man, clearly her brother, they shared some of the same features agreed. "I am Thakur Yuvraj Chaudhary, the landowner you wanted to meet yesterday."
"Yes." RK tore his eyes away from a steadily flustered Madhu. "I wanted to talk to you about the land at the edge of your property."
Yuvraj held up his hand to halt the conversation. "It is our custom to partake in a meal before we begin negotiations, in order to start on a good note. You won't mind indulging us, will you?" Despite the tone, it was clear by Yuvraj's eyes that it was not a question. RK shrugged. It would be a pleasure to put this young pup in his place. But the pleasure of the game was that you did not pounce too soon. RK had plenty of time to school Yuvraj on proper manners. Besides, nothing the boy had said had been offensive. In truth, RK was in too good a mood after seeing Madhu. He could indulge her foolish brother a bit.
"I look forward to sampling all your…delicacies." He replied, cutting his gaze to Madhubala again.
"We have some really good ones." Yuvraj said, oblivious to the undercurrents of the conversation as RK kept staring at Madhu. Daima shifted closer to her, moving her charge subtly behind her. RK grinned.
"I know you do." He said softly. "I know you do."
Between lunch and negotiations and good portion of the day has passed by the time RK and Yuvraj had finished their agreement.
"Sign here and here." RK's lawyer intoned, handing a pen to the superstar. Bored, RK signed on the dotted line, glad the tedium was over. Yuvraj had not allowed the women to enter the room while "the men are working." Since Madhu was half the reason RK was here, not seeing her for a good portion of the day had put him in a bad mood.
doing business with you, RK."Yuvraj drawled. "It's always nice to meet like-minded
RK rolled his eyes subtly at the Thakur. Yuvraj Chaudhary had a self-inflated sense of self and RK hated people like that. He had only meet Madhubala Chudhary for a few minutes and yet could tell she was nothing like her brother. She radiated humbleness and a quiet strength that intrigued RK. What a waste that she was living in this village.
Walking outside he caught a glimpse of the girl as she was talking with some of her brothers men. He changed directions, gesturing for Bittuji to get the car. Madhu turned as he came near her, her bodyguards shifting forward. She waved them away and faced RK.
"You really are the village princess aren't you?" He asked amused at the flat stares he got from the men.
"Things are very different here than they are in Mumbai." Madhu answered back quietly, keeping the distance between them. "Respect and honor are the only things that matter, especially for the Thakur's. Our conversation…if Yuvraj was more orthodox it would never have happened."
RK raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "Are you saying your brother is a modern example of the Thakurs?"
"You are lucky not to meet my father. He was…very set in his ways." Madhu's voice was flat, eyes seeing something else. RK did not like that her attention was not on him anymore, and snapped his fingers in front of her to get her back to the conversation.
"Well, luckily I am dealing with your brother. And I look forward to meeting you more in the upcoming months….Madhubala. Aaha."
Madhu opened her mouth to reply but was interrupted by Daima.
"Madhu, come in, right now! There are matters to be discussed!"
RK smiled, moving out of her way as she hurried into the house.
"You should stay away from Choti Malkin." One of the watching men ventured.
The glare he got in response made him quail. "RK takes no orders from even God. Who are you to tell him what to do?" With that announcement he got into the car Bittuji had bought and drove away.
"So with this deal, we have more than enough money for the year ahead." Yuvraj announced, looking satisfied. Dadima nodded, gesturing for the servants to fill her tea cup.
"Then we can discuss your sisters marriage." She announced.
"I already told you I am looking at offers for Madhu…" Yuvraj started, irritated, but Dadima silenced him with a look.
"I am talking about you elder sister. Trishna is getting older. She must be married soon. People are already starting to talk."
Trishna blushed, looking down at her hands in shame. Padmini enfolded her step-daughters hands in hers, giving her an encouraging smile.
Yuvraj scoffed. "You speak as if it is an easy thing to find a husband for Trishna, Dadima."
"You haven't really tried, Raj." Padimi said, looking at her younger daughter, who was staring at her teacup, hesitantly. "You've been focused on Madhu…"
"Mother!" Yuvraj snapped. "You should focus more on your actual children, instead of giving all your love to our step-sister!" Padmini flinched, but tightened her fingers on Trishna's hand, facing her son with quiet strength and dignity.
"Trishna is my daughter as much as Madhubala is. I may not have given birth to her Yuvraj, but she is my child. Have some respect for your elder sibling."
"She may be your daughter, Ma, but she is not my real sister. Madhu is. So what is wrong if I focus on her? She and I are father's true heirs. Trishna is just bad luck." Yuvraj said, repeating what his father had told him throughout his childhood.
"Yuvraj!" Padmini snapped as Trishna flinched. Madhu shot her unrepentant brother an angry glare. Dadima interrupted the squabble.
"Trishna is a member of our family." She said. "As such, she must be wedded with all prominence and respect. You may not like it Yuvraj, but these are our traditions and customs. You will obey them."
Yuvraj glowered, but nodded in obedience. "Yes, Dadima. I'll find a husband for Trishna as soon as possible."
Madhu sighed in relief, but stiffened when her brother stood up to come to her.
"Don't worry." He told her, paying no attention to his mother or step-sister on the other side of the room. "Trishna will not take away the spotlight from you, Madhu. I promise, your wedding will be huge, and your bridegroom will be one of a kind. Only the best for my little sister."
Madhu remembered the intensity of RK's gaze, the laser focus he had had on her.
Yuvraj, she wanted to tell her brother. I feel as if I am already lost.
What is happening to me?
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RM#23 Loved u once & still,always have,always will
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My perspective, would like to know yours!
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My favorite RISHBALA scene,and yours???
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| Make me Yours | RishBala SS.
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