A cheeky chuckle escaped Anandi's lips as she watched her
virile husband sucking onto his mango like an innocent two-year old, totally
oblivious to his white shirt smudged with pulp stains.
"Shiv teri shaadi ho gayi hai ab...ab to aam theek se khana
seekh le..apni shirt ki halat dekhi hai...Anandi kya sochegi" Ira chided, forcing
a naughty grin tuck the corners of Anandi's lips. Stifling her inclination to
laugh, she handed him a towel and with a mischievous smirk slipping her lips,
she spilled, "Waise ma aap meri chinta mat keejiye...mujhe to pehle se hi pata
hai ki collector sahab aise aam khate hain" Surprised by the unexpected
revelation he bit his own lounge in embarrassment and looked down blushing.
"Kya! Anandi iss ne
tumhare ghar pe bhi aise hi...?"Ira was flagger basted. Anandi nodded giggling as
Ira wiggled her eyebrows in her son's direction.
"Shiv!!...Anandi ke ghar pe sab ne kya socha hoga?". Ira
almost scolded making Anandi chortle under her breathe as she saw her husband
listening to his mom's scolding with puppy eyes.
"Nahi nahi ma aisa kuch bhi nahin hai.Balki dadisa ko to
bahut achcha laga ki Collector sahab bilkul desi tareeke se aam khaate hain.
Han bas main aur taisa apni hansi rok nahin paye..." Anandi teased leaving
everyone across the table in giggles and her husband in a cute pout
"Anandi this is not fair..." he sulked crossing his arms on
"Arey kyun its not fair? Zara humein bhi to pata chale
CollectorSahab apne parivar ka kitna naam roshan kar rahe hain.Kya sochengi
kalyani jee ki Prem Kishore Shekhar ne apne pote ko theek se khana bhi nahin
sikhaya" Dadu reprimanded now making Shiv annoyed and Anandi enjoy his adorable
puckered face act
"Dadu ye to kuch bhi nahin...aap woh Sanchi ki psychology
professor Ms Kavita wali baat bhool gaye" Mahi winked to Dadu enticing a stern
glare from the expected direction.
"Mahi agar tune uss din
ke bare mein kuch bhi kaha na to teri khair nahin" Shiv's threatening almost
amused Anandi, soaring her curiosities about the incident.
"Mahi bhaiya bataiye na,,,,aisa kaunsa raaz hai jiske khulne ke
darr se Collector Sahab itna ghabra rahe hain?"
"Actually woh kya hai na Anandi
"Mahi NOO!!" Shiv glared.
"Shiv bhaiya chinta mat keejiye Anandi bhabhi apko bilkul
nahin dantengi" Mahi joked hi-5ing dadu as everyone else across the table tried
not to laugh. Shiv couldn't believe how his family was so badly after him that
too in front of his wifey.
"To suniye Anandi bhabhi...ye aaj
se 8 mahine pehle ki baat hai. Actually badi mom ne Sanchi ki psychology professor
ko lunch pe invite kiya tha. Aur humare pyaare Shiv bhaiya ne apne mango eating
habit se uss bechari Ms sophisticated Kavita Sinha ko itna embarrass kar diya
ki usne Sanchi ko apne bhaiya ke liye table etiquette classes suggest kar di" Mahi
slopped the raita oops broth leaving the entire Shekhar clan except Shiv in mighty
giggles "Aur ye to kuch bhi nahin hai
Anandi...uske baad jo Sanchi ne Shiv ko daant lagayi thi...Shiv ki shakal dekhne
layak thi" Ira kidded putting salt on Shiv's wounds
"And And And Anandi bhabhi...Sanchi
Shiv bhaiya pe itna kyun bhadki thi...iska raaz to Shiv bhaiya khud bhi nahin
"Mahi ab bas bahut ho gaya...chup
chaap khana kha" Choti ma gestured Mahi to keep quiet.
"What?!! Tu kya kehna chahta hai
Mahi?? Choti ma aap logon ne kya baat chupayi hai mujhse??"
Hearing Shiv's innocent question
now Ira, Alok, Dadu, Sanchi and Mahi looked at each other seriously and broke
into a prance giggling like mad people.
"Woh kya hai na Shiv bhaiya aap
na bahut bhole hain"
"Mahi bakwas mat kar aur mujhe
bata kya chupaya tha sab ne mujhse"
"Oho Shiv bhaiya aap abhi bhi
nahin samjhe! Ms Kavita yahan lunch par yuhin nahin aayi thi...woh to aapko
dekhne aayi thi.I mean shaadi ke liye.Aur aapne unpar itna ahcha impression
choda ki bechari dinner chodke hi bhaag gayi" Sanchi mocked Shiv as he gaped at
his family members like a bemused ape. And in all this while Anandi had a blast
at the expense of her rib-tickling family and her innocent husband
"I can't believe this...dadu papa
mom...aap logon ne mujhe bina bataye...oh god this is so embarrassing!!" super-annoyed
shiv walked out with a hefty steps.
"Papajee this is not fair...itna
bhi koi kisiko satata hai kya...bechare ko kitna bura lag raha hoga Anandi ke
saamne ye sab sun ne mein"
"Mom aapne bilkul sahi word uss
kiya...bechare Shiv bhaiya"Mahi was rolling on ground now.
"Bas Mahi bahut ho gaya!!"
"Choti ma...aap chinta mat keejiye
main dekhti hoon"Anandi reassured with a smile.
A sweet smile tucked the corner
of Anandi's lips as she saw her husband huffing to himself angrily in their bedroom. His puffed
cheeks tickled an uncontrollable urge within her to pull them tightly but she gave away
the thought trying to concentrate on her work. Seeing her enter the room Shiv faced
her with his back and tried to act aloof.
"Waise mujhe nahin pata tha ki
Collector Sahab ko itna gussa aata hai...hmm ab to lagta hai mujhe thoda extra
careful hokar rehna padega"
"Anandi pls aap jaiye yahan se
mujhe kisis se baat nahin karni..mera mood kharab hai"
"Kyun kyunki Ms Kavita ne aapko
reject kar diya" Anandi needled deliberately to annoy him more
"Urmm...aisa kuch bhi nahin hai...aap
jaiye na Anandi...mujhe abhi kisi se baat nahin karni" covering his face with
blanket he acted to sleep.
"Achcha baat nahin karni to aam
to kha leejiye"
"Anandi aaj aap mujhse nahin bachengi..."
"Arey maine kya kaha?Aur agar
mujhse narazgi hai to iss aam ko kyun saza de rahe hain aap. Balki aapko to iss
aam ka thanku kahna chahiye!" "Aam ka thanku?Aur who kyun?"
"Arey issi aam ki wajah se to aap
mujhse mil paye...agar Ms Kavita aapko uss din aam khate hue na dekhti to who ofcourse
rishte ke liye han kar deti"
"Par aap itna sure kaise ho sakti
hain ki Ms Kavita mujhe pasand kar hi leti"
"Ofcourse main sure ho sakti hoon...kyunki
main aapki patni..."Anandi froze to her place realizing what she had said. Her
relapsing talkativeness had been a constant reason of concern for her in the
recent past. A huge grin spread across Shiv's face as he sprang into upright
position hearing her words.
"To sarpanchjee aap ye kehna
chahti hain ki koi bhi ladki mujhse bahut asaani se impress ho sakti hai" Shiv
teased jerking her slightly on the shoulder. A rosy blush stained her cheeks as
she felt his sturdy shoulders brushing against her tender ones, sending an
undercurrent down her spine. Trying to change the topic she looked away and
looked around for something to start the conversation with.
"Aap jaldi se apni shirt utar
deejiye..." Shiv's face dropped as he heard Anandi mumble in a trance. It was
strange she didn't realize what she said. As she turned around to see his
jaw-dropped face, her own words sank in, this time realizing the double
meaning, forcing her cheeks to evince a scarlet red hue. "Aaa..mera matlab hai ki agar
abhi saaf nahin ki to daag rah jayenge...aap isse saaf kar leejiye" mortified
with her own stupidity she ran to the washroom as Shiv followed her with baby
steps still trying to recover from the mini heart-attack
Her heart fluttered hard beneath
her chest as she watched the shirt strip off her husband's masculine physique.
For a moment she wished to run her fingers on those curvy biceps and feel the strength
they manifested but immediately gave away the thought feeling embarrassed at
herself. As he took off his shirt and handed it over to her, she dropped it on
the floor out of nervousness. She tried hard to look away but her eyes were
glued to him making him feel unguarded and shy. A passionate silence fell over
as their foreheads clasped and eyes met over the bend down. Something melted
within her as she looked down his deep eyes. Something had surely changed since
she last saw him in an almost similar situation. He was no longer the same. Nether
Trying to break the eye-contact
she looked away and picked up the shirt with an impulse.
"Shiv aap chaliye main abhi shirt
saaf kar deti hoon" she fumbled trying to look away. But as soon as he was
about to walk away she called him from the back.
"Shiv woh..."she gestured towards
his chest..."Woh actually aapke..mera matlab hai ki..."
"Kya hua Anandi...??"
"Woh actually aam..." fumbling she closed her
eyes and heaving a deep sigh she stepped closer to him. Her breathing was heavy
and shallow. Treading her hand upwards she gently rubbed off the mango pulp
that was stuck to his chest. Her movement was so slow as if she tried to commit
every inch of him to her memory. A thick lump formed in his throat as he felt
her fingers linger beneath his under-shirt and caress his heart softly, invoking
a massive hormonal rush in his veins. Gathering himself into composure he let
out a deep sigh and whispered, "Anandi baki sab to theek hai but mujhe thodi si
gudgudi ho rahi hai"
Shocked by his words she immediately
pulled her hand away hurting his chest by her nail.
"OUCH" he winced as her sharp weapon
bruised his innocent torso.
"Ohh god I am really sorry Shiv...woh
maine ekdum se haath jhatak diya. I am soo sorry ...aapko zyaada to nahin lagi na..."
"Relax Anandi its nothing...zara si
"Aaap aaiye main dawa laga deti hoon"
"Relax Anandi...choti si chot hain...apne aap theel ho jayegi"
"Shiv chup abb...main kuch nahin sun ne wali. Apne aap kaise theek ho jayegi...aap
rukiye main abhi aayi" she scolded in her typical teacherjee mode.
Soaking cotton into his
after-shave she carefully dabbed it on his wound while blowing it continuously.
A heavy sigh escaped her mouth as she felt his chest muscles flex coz of the sting.
"Bahut jal raha hai kya?" she
asked with concern etched across her face.
"Hmm..bahut" Shiv mumbled forcing
her to roll her eyes above. A look into his eyes and her heart skipped a beat. Her
mind almost went numb and throat tight as she saw an array of questions flooding
his eyes. The questions that made her self-doubtful. She knew he didn't want
her to restrain her emotions so mercilessly. He wanted her to speak up...to
express...to surrender. But she couldn't and she didn't know why. At one moment
she wished to melt in the warmth of his arms but at the other she feared to let
him close. And the contrasting emotions didn't let her live in peace. His
proximity inflicted a surge within her she was neither able to surpass nor
withstand. Baffled by her own contradicting emotions...she strode away from Shiv
and ran downstairs.
A faint yet painful smile touched his lips as he saw his
tormented wife run away. He could feel her breaking but he knew it was
necessary for her to gain the confidence on herself. Determined to bring her at
peace while keeping her introspection intact, he pulled on her favorite blue
shirt and walked downstairs <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<