Joined: 05 June 2012
My readers..Each and every single one of you..who have been with me in this journey..thank you so very much. Thank you for you trust in me and my writing. It truly means a lot..and means more now because this story was not a new one. You knew what it was about and how the ending is going to be. Yet, you read every single chapter and delighted in every single scene and encouraged me at every single step. Reminds of something I read a long time ago..
Family isn't always about blood. Its the people in your life who want you in theirs.
So my forum family, here is the Epilogue of Kashmakash Season 2.
Five years later: Residence of Dr Nidhi Ashutosh Mathur:
Aasha: Baba, baba, please..woh Raja Titli wala kahaani sunao na baba.
Ashu: Abhi? Aasha, its getting late for your school. Aap ki mamma hum dono ko daatengi. (Then his heart melts at the pleading pouting expression on his daughter's face. He picks her up from the bed high up into his arms making her squeal in delight. She clings to his neck and gives him a smacking kiss.) Achcha ok. chalo, I will tell you the story while giving you the bath. Teek hain? (Aasha nods happily.) Ek Raja tha. Woh hamesha apne kile mein band rehta tha. Kissi se milta nahi tha. Muskuraata bhi nahi tha. Phir ek din jab woh apne khidki ke paas khada tha tab ek titli udkar uske kande par bait gayi. Raja ne kaha: Chale jao.Mujhe baat nahi karni hain kisi se bhi. Titli ne kaha: Nahi. Mein nahi jaongi. Mujhe aap bahut pasand ho. Chaahe aap jo kaho karo mein aap hi ke saath rahoongi. Phir Raja ne Titli se baat karna band kardiya. Uski taraf teek se dekhta bhi nahi tha. Aur kuch din keliye apna kila chodke kahi door chalagaya. Lekin titli himmat nahi haari. Usi khidki par baitke woh Raja ke lautne ka intezaar karti rahi. Aur Raja bhi usse bhula nahi paaya. Aakhir woh waapas titli ke paas aagaya. Titli uske kandhe par aakar baitgayi aur Raja ke saath rehne lagi. Raja ko bhi usne muskuraana sikhaadiya. Jeena sikhaadiya. Raja itna khush hogaya ki..
Nidhi's voice reaches them from the dining area: Aasha taiyaar hue ki nahi? Der horahi hain! (Two identical guilty grins look at each other.) 5 minutes. Aasha, get ready and come down for breakfast. I have ironed her uniform and put it on her bed. So please..hurry. You have a surgery scheduled today morning.
Ashu also raises his voice from Aasha's room: Haan haan we are almost done. Hum log buss abhi aate hain. Aasha, no more masti. Ok? (Then both dad and daughter look at each other and dissolve into giggles and chuckles. Nidhi, who is in the kitchen, lifts her hands in a "I give up!" expression and goes back to packing the lunch boxes.)
BB: Nidhi, nashta ready hain beta? Aasha kahan hain?
Nidhi: Woh Aasha ko ready kar rahe hain baba. They will be down soon. You start.
HK: Yeh sab mein dekhloonga bahu..tum bhi jaake apna naashta shuru kardo. Mein ek aur glass dood laata hoon tere liye.
Ashu comes down with Aasha in tow: And here we are! Dekha, 5 minutes mein ready! (Nidhi looks at Aasha's neatly dressed form, fresh clean face and haphazard pigtails, then back at Ashu with a yeah right kind of look) Hey I tried, didn't I?
Aasha scowls at her mom: Haan mamma, baba tried na. And I like them like this. Its kinda cool! (Nidhi bites her lip to stop her smile and sets about adjusting the pig tails properly.)
BB laughs out loud and Ashu rolls his eyes: We can always tell after she has a conversation with Armaan.
Ashu: Don't remind me baba. Armaan is hell..sorry..determined to corrupt my daughter. He wants to turn her into a model!
BB: And wants you to be a clean shave.
Aasha looks at BB and Ashu with horrified eyes and immediately covers her baba's beard roughened cheeks: Meri daadi! NO baba! No shave! (Ashu's stunned gaze meets that of his wife's equally bemused one before throwing back his head and laughing out loud. Nidhi raises her eyebrow at him as if to say "See even she agrees with me." Once her hair is in proper order, Aasha turns and gives a smacking kiss to Nidhi's now huge tummy: Good morning baby! (She turns to her baba) Baba..aapne baby ko good morning bola?
Ashu looks up at Nidhi's face..eyes that are brimming with mischief despite the blush staining her cheeks: Yes beta. I already wished good morning to the baby.
BB watches as Nidhi stuffs a parata piece into his mouth before turning to take care of her daughther. His thoughts go back to the day about an year ago when Aasha had climbed into Ashu's lap one evening and said, "Baba, meri friend Naina ko baby sister aagayi hain. Mujhe bhi ek baby sister chahiye..baby brother bhi chalega." And his son had a thoughtful look on his face for about half a minute before cuddling his daughter closer and kissing her hair. "You know what beta? I think you are right. Let your mom come back from the hospital and I will talk to her about this, ok?"
Ashu: You are looking tired today. Sab teek Nidhi? (BB blinks and comes back to the present.)
Nidhi grimaces and rubs her back: Backache hain. Braxton Hicks at work.
Ashu frowns and gets up. He comes closer to her: You sure they are false? Its only a week to your due date. Yaad hain Aasha ke time pe bhi you were early.
Nidhi leans into him a little: Yeah..I think so. I had them last evening too then after a while they subsided.
Ashu puts an arm around her: Take rest and put your feet up. I will drop Aasha and pick her up. Ok?
Nidhi's nod and Ashu's "Now relax" gets drowned by Aasha's "yippie!" scream. Nidhi had joined as a Paediatrician at City Centre Hospital once Aasha was 6 months old and right now is on maternity leave for the next 3 months. Other than a few minor hurdles here and there, their life was smooth. Nidhi usually drops her daughter, Ashu picks her up, then her nana and nani bua take her to the play area and dada feeds her dinner. All in all, in the last 5 years, Aasha had become the centre of attention to everyone in the family and now everyone is eagerly waiting for the new one's arrival. Both Ashu and Nidhi know that its going to be a boy this time around but they have kept the news to themselves wanting it to be a surprise for the rest of the family, especially, Aasha, who is leaning more and more towards having a chota bhai.
Ashu: Good Morning Ranganath!
Ranga: Good Morning sir.
Ashu: You seem a little upset Ranganath, whats the matter? The patient in the ICU is ok right?
Ranga: Yes sir. He is recovering and his vital signs are also good.
Ashu stops walking: Anji is fine right? I spoke to her on my way to KGH, she seemed fine.
Ranga nods: Yes sir. She is fine. Her morning sickness and mood swings are..(He grimaces.)
Ashu puts a hand on Ranga's shoulder: Kids are a joy Ranganath. Don't think so much. A kid will bring you and Anji closer than ever before. They are a huge responsibility. There is no denying that. But they are the light of our lives too. Take care of Anji..thats all you need to do.
Ranga looks at his boss..his wife's Jeeja and brother put together and his friend in an odd sort of way for the past couple of years: Experience speaks, sir?
Ashu's smile, which is never far away from his lips these days, appears: Yes. Experience speaks. Good Luck! Try salt crackers.
Ranga nods: Thank you sir.
That evening: At Aasha's school:
Ashu is leaning against the car and looking at the hoards of children piling out of the school gate, looking for his daughter.
Aasha: BABA! BABA! BABA! (She sees him and runs towards him with her arms outstretched and a huge smile on her dirt smeared face.)
Ashu's face lights up and he opens his arms to receive her and lift her up in the air: Hi sweetheart! How was school today?
Aasha settles herself comfortably in his arms: It was good. I played football today.
Ashu: wow. That's good.
Aasha looks down at her muddy dress, shoes and equally muddy arms and legs: Baba..mamma daantegi mujhe aise dekhke..(She gives him a small sideways naughty look) But I had a great time. Meine goal bhi kiya.
Ashu slings her school bag over his shoulder and starts walking: Mamma nahi daantegi. Mein kehdoonga.
Aasha hugs him once before pulling back: Baba, woh meri friend hain na, Naina..
Ashu: Haan..kya kahan usne?
Aasha looks at him in disbelief: Usse squash game kya hota hain pata bhi nahi hain. I told her I will take her along with us the next time I come to watch you play. Can I baba? Please please pretty please?
Ashu: Ok. I will talk to her dad and we'll see what we can do. (Aasha does a happy jig in his arms and smacks his cheek with a resounding kiss. He automatically tightens his arms around her and closes his eyes for a second in pure delight and joy.)
Aasha: My baba is the bestest baba in the whole world! (Ashu laughs out loud at that and with her squeeling and sqeaking, playfully throws her over his shoulder and takes her to the car. Soon both of them reach home.)
Nidhi, who is walking slowly in the hall turns. Her small smile of welcome freezes as her gaze turns horrified: Yeh sab kya hain? Aasha? Yeh kya haalat banaliya hain apni? Jeez..sometimes I wonder..
Ashu: Kuch nahi..they had a football match in the school..Aasha, go upstairs and I will help you freshen up. (Aasha runs inside with her school bag and Ashu comes to Nidhi with a lopsided smile) Don't look like that. She takes after her mother.
Nidhi glares: Me? No sir. Most definitely NOT. Aaphi ne usse apne laadpyaar se sar par chada rakha hain. (She starts pacing again only to have him stop her.)
Ashu raises his eyebrow: Achcha? (She nods. Wordlessly, he takes out his wallet and pulls out the snap that he had taken from the album in her house all those years ago and shows it to her.) Toh phir yeh kaun hainji? Gaurse dekhiye..meri beti bilkul aise hi dikhrahi thi abhi abhi..
Nidhi tries to pull the snap away from him only to have him raise his hand up and over her so that she can't reach: Yeh kahaa se mila aapko? Kabse aapke wallet mein hain?
Ashu puts his other hand also up and inserts the snap back into its place before closing it. She tries to reach it but he puts the wallet back in his pocket and kisses her lightly on the lips: Yeh toh bahut saalon se mere paas hain Dr Nidhi Mathur. Our daughter might LOOK like me but she is all you on the inside. (Nidhi pouts but soon groans and stumbles back a step.) Hey, you ok? Kya hua?
Nidhi: Contractions. I have been having them since this afternoon.
Ashu glares: Why didn't you tell me sooner? Did you tell ANYONE? (She shakes her head making him swear and raise his voice) BABA! BABA! (BB comes from his room) I am taking Nidhi to the hospital. Her contractions have started. Aasha apne kamre mein hain. Please clean her up and all of you can come together. (BB nods and HK also goes behind BB. Within minutes, Ashu reaches KGH with Nidhi and since he had already called Ranga and Dr K enroute, the staff are ready at the emergency entrance with the wheelchair and Nidhi is taken into the labour room. Ashu makes a quick visit inside before Dr K enters. He kisses Nidhi's forehead and pushes her hair away from her face.) Don't worry. Ok? Mein yahi hoon. Baahar. (He then kisses her palm.) I will be waiting for you and our son.
Nidhi nods and squeezes his hand as a contraction ripples through her. She bites back a scream and huffs out: I love you Chweetu. (Ashu leans forward and kisses her lips gently before giving her a thumbs up sign and backing out. By now, everyone has reached the labour room corridor including CV, DB and Anji.)
Aasha runs from BB to her baba: Baba..baby abhi aayega?
Ashu nods: Yes beta. Buss thodi der mein aajayega.
Aasha: Lekin woh toh mamma ke tummy mein hain. Baahar kaise aayega? (She looks ready to weep) Mamma ke tummy mein cutty cutty karenge?
Ashu looks helplessly at Anji: Anji..
Anji suppresses her burst of laughter and decides to take pity on her jeeju: Aasha..idhar aajao. Hum Ranga mausa ke cabin mein chalenge. He has something there for you. Aajao aajao.
Aasha goes to her maasi and both go to Ranganath's cabin. Ranganath gets her some cookies and a soft drink to go with it. In between bites, she continues to yap: Maasi, mamma said you also have a baby in your tummy.
Anji: Haan..lekin usko aane mein thoda aur time lagega.
Aasha nods: I know. Your tummy should become like this. (Saying that she stretches her arms in front of her making the couple laugh and agree. She directs her next question to Ranga.) Aap maasi ke saath doctor ke paas gaye?
Aasha frowns: Kyonki woh rule hain. Baba told me that. He goes with mamma every month to the doctor and makes sure the baby in the tummy is ok.
Anji hugs Aasha: Aapke baba bahut hi sweet hain Aasha. (She glares at her husband.)
Ranga stumbles: Arre..I said I won't be late the next time, right?
Aasha busily munches on her next cookie: Aur baad mein tests bhi hote hain. (She thinks for a bit) Scan. Baba used to go for scan too. Are you going to go with maasi to the scan too? (Ranga nods obediently.) Maasi..aapko pata hain..mein aur baba baby se baaten karte hain. (She laughs) And whenever baba places his hand on mamma's tummy and talks to the baby, the baby kicks. Mujhe bhi kick karta hain. Mamma says it means the baby loves me and baba so so much.
Anji gives a tremulous smile and cuddles Aasha: Jaanti hoon. He is a wonderful father, isn't he?
Aasha nods: My bestest baba. He said once the baby comes out and grows up, sab milke football khelenge aur aur squash bhi. (Now that her tummy is full, she starts getting restless) Aur kitna time lagega? Mujhe mamma ke paas jaana hain.
Anji gets up along with Ranga: Chalo. Hum naani bua ke paas chalte hain. She will tell you some stories until your mamma comes. Ok?
For the next hour, each of them take turns trying to entertain Aasha and all through, even though Ashu talks to her, his attention remains fixed on the door of the labour room. Soon, Dr K comes out, still in her scrubs but with a huge grin on her face: Dr Ashutosh, congratulations! You have a son. 3.75 kg and with a healthy pair of lungs. Mom and child are fine.
Ashu almost staggers back in relief before his face splits into a huge grin: Thank you so much Dr K. Can I..? (He gestures towards the labour room and barely waits for the doctor's nod before barging inside. He sees his wife getting cleaned up by the staff and carefully holds her hand. Her eyes remain closed. He bends and places a kiss on her cheek.) Thank you Nidhi. Thank you so much.
Janki bai comes towards him: Sir..aapka beta. (He turns to look at his son, still not yet cleaned, face and body red and wrinkled. His vision blurs as he touches his sons's cheek with a finger.) I will get him back to you as soon as I clean him up sir.
He nods and goes out to give the news to everyone including his now ecstatic daughter before taking out his phone: Armaan..beta hua hain yaar.
Armaan's shout almost punctures his ear drum: Waaris milgaya! Mujhe mera waaris milgaya! Awesome!
Ashu shakes his head: Forget it Armaan just forget it. He is SO not going to take over your fashion house.
Armaan: Dekh mere bhai..you don't have a choice. My daughter wants to become a neurosurgeon like her mama. So your son will obviously take over my business na. (He sighs and calms down) You saw him?
Ashu nods and wipes his eyes surreptiously: Just now. (And laughs a little) He is completely bald buddy. Can't tell the head from the bums. (Armaan laughs out loud) Chal abhi rakhta hoon. When are you coming?
Armaan: Weekend pakka. Otherwise the women in my house might just kill me. Chal..Nidhi ko mera hi bolna. Ok? Bye.
Ashu cuts the call and goes into Nidhi's room. By now, Nidhi has already been shifted and everyone has crowded around the cradle. He sits beside her on the bed and smiles at her: Apne bete ko dekha? (Nidhi shakes her head. CV hands over the baby to his son in law, his own eyes brimming with tears of joy. Ashu adjusts the baby into the crook of his arm and turns so that Nidhi can get a good look her son.)
Aasha comes and sits on one of Ashu's leg in a possessive gesture as if to say that I have the first priority: Baba..takla nana ki tarah yeh bhi takla hain.
Everyone bursts out laughing including Ashu. Nidhi tries to laugh only to grimace and bite her lip. Ashu puts his other arm around his daughter to pull her closer and kisses her curls. Nidhi's lips tremble at the sight before her. Ma..dekho ma. He conquered all his demons. You saw, didn't you..how he took care of me and how was there with me every step of the way? My love won..OUR love won. Thank you ma. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you.
DB: Naam kuch socha hain damaad babu?
Ashu looks at his son and then back at his wife: Ansh.
Nidhi's smile widens: Ansh Ashutosh Mathur.
His vision and voice excludes the rest of the family: Happy?
Nidhi takes his hand and puts it on her cheek: Bahut.
Anji places her hand on Ashu's shoulder: Fantastic choice Jeeju.
Ashu nods and looks up from the baby to find Nidhi sliding off to sleep. He signals everyone to quiet down and once realizing that Nidhi is asleep, everyone silently pile out of the room with CV and DB coaxing Aasha along with them with the promise of new colouring book and special movie in cartoon network, leaving Ashu alone with the sleeping wife and son. He puts Ansh in the cradle and adjusts the blanket before pulling a chair to sit beside Nidhi's bed. Taking her hand in his, he softly kisses her palm and settles back in the chair and slides off into sleep..with her hand firmly in his.
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