Ronit after I read your post in work, I wrote the part in green at work and I am dedicating it to you.
"Suman bhabhi, where is Bhushan?"
"He left for a meeting," she informed Vikram. "By the way, MaSaheb and Kuhu are accompanying my parents to Caura for my cousin's wedding. She has a cousin who I think will be a perfect match for Kuhu."
"Really? That's good. You aren't going as well?"
"No I want to stay here and finish the class. Spend some time with Bhushan as well. He has rekindled his friendship with Jwala and I just don't think I should leave him alone right now. He cannot fall back into his drinking habit or else I don't think I will be able to tolerate all this."
"You are right bhabhi. I will have a talk with him about that too."
"Thank you. And yes, that reminds me, MaSaheb wants to see you before she leaves."
"Ok. I will speak to her now."
Vikram knocked on MaSaheb's door. She opened the door and a look of relief crossed her face when she saw him. "Oh thank god it's you. I thought it was that Shalini!!"
"Ma? you sound annoyed?"
"No beta, but she is so pesty. Keeps bothering me all the time. I don't know how I will make out for that wedding. I swear if it wasn't for the possible proposal for Kuhu I would have made an excuse and stayed home!!"
Vikram chuckled at her words. Suman's mother could be a tad overbearing at times. But she lived in the city with no relatives close by so she enjoyed all the time spent here. For some unknown reason she had a special liking for MaSaheb and stuck to her all the time.
"So Vikram, sit down," she patted a spot on the bed next to her. "Tell me, how is your "married" life with that bedni going? Hmm?"
"Ma, Sugni is a very nice person, after all you chose her..."
"Oh don't remind me of all that. Vikram, from the moment this whole sardakai thing happened, we have not had a chance to talk. I was so mad whenyou did the sardakai...why did you anyway?"
"Ma, how could you have even thought about getting a bedni for Bhushan? Didn't you feel bad for Jiji at all?"
"Jiji? Good heavens Vikram!! What does she have to do with this?"
"Ma! After all that Jiji went through in her marriage, do you really have to ask that?"
"Vikram, you are getting far too emotional about this. We are Thakurs and this has been our tradition for years."
"But what makes it right? Because it was a tradition that was passed down? No ma, all this is not right. We forget the vows made to our wives nor is it right to treat the bednis in this way. They have feelings and rights also."
"Oh wow beta...you are living with that bedni a few days and suddenly you are speaking of rights for bednis? What trick has she used on you
hmmm..I knew these women were no good. Vikram do not be carried away by your manly desires.. These bednis know just how to entice men... it's
all they know to do..."
"STOP IT MOTHER!!!!! Sugni is not a bedni, she is my wife!!!!"
"Your wife? Please Vikram she is just a bedni. I paid Bamsukhiya for her myself!!!"
"Fine!! How much?"
"How much what?"
"How much did you pay for Sugni? I will give it back to you right now!!! Come on Tell me how much"
"Vikram? What are you saying? Are you upset with your mother over that bedni?"
"Sugni, mother, for the last time, her name is Sugni and she is my wife. I will not listen to you speak about her in that way. Show some respect, after all even you are a woman," Vikram raged at her before walking out. He knew that if he stayed there any longer, he would totally lose control and say something extremely rude.
"Vikram!! Vikram!!" MaSaheb called after him but he did not turn back. "Oh fine, let him cool off. Once I finalise this proposal for Kuhu, I will deal with him."
Sugni came back home after visiting her mother to find the house in total silence. She knew that everyone except for Suman bhabhi,
Thakur Bhushan, her thakur malack and herse...HER thakur malack?..Haye sita maiya, what was she thinking? She slapped herforehead and said, Vikram thakur and smiled... All the others had went with Shalini aunty to Caura for a wedding. She wondered where Vikram was and went to look for him. She stopped by his jeep and looked at it thoughtfully.
Vikram was happy for the peace and quiet of the house, especially after the argument with his mother. Sometimes she could be so cruel
in her choice of words that it amazed him. It's true that Sugni was from the bedia tribe but she was not a bedni...she was his wife. He wished that his mother would try to see Sugni for the person she was and not where she came from. He wondered at the growing fondness he was developing for Sugni. Each day, he discovered something new that he liked about her. He didnt want to get too attached to her because eventually they would have to go their separate ways. In fact, he didn't want to become attached to anyone.. but he just could not allow his mother to ill-treat Sugni...Oh lord this was just becoming too complicated. He was just supposed to come here for a few days and stop Bhushan from acquiring a bedni and then get back to the city. He promised himself that he would try to keep some distance from her from now on because he just could not afford to become attached to another woman. He closed his eyes and tried to relax..but he could smell her perfume...He sighed...
Sugni found Vikram sitting in the back yard. His eyes were closed and she wondered if she should wait until later to talk to him. No,
this can't wait, she decided and a mischievous thought crept into her mind. She looked around and plucked a blade of grass. She snuck up behind him and tickled his ear with the grass. He scratched his ear. Then she tickled his ear again and he scratched once more. She tried hard not to laugh aloud. When she tickled his ear once more he opened his eyes and she stooped behind his chair quickly. As he looked down, he saw her shadow crouching behind his chair and realised what she was up to. He smiled and closed his eyes again. When Sugni thought he was asleep again, she tickled his ear with grass and he reached out quickly and grabbed her hand.
"Oh!" she exclaimed as he held on to her hand and stood up to face her.
She glanced down quickly and tried to hide her smile, "So you are awake then?"
He didn't reply and just kept looking at her while she tried to twist her hand free.
"Well..uh..actually thakur malack...I was looking..uh well" she began to say nervously when she realised he was not letting go. He took the blade of grass that she was still holding and began to trace the lines in the palm of her hand with it.
"Oh it tickles!!" she laughed and tried to twist her hand free once more.
Vikram looked at her laughing and decided that he liked the sound of her laughter and the look on her face. He dropped her hand abruptly at
that thought and sat back on the chair. He closed his eyes off to the sight of her pretty smile.
"Yes Sugni? You were saying?"
"Um yeah," she rubbed the palm of her hand where it still felt tingly and continued, "sorry. Well I um..I need to borrow your jeep."
"What?" he opened his eyes to look at her, "you want to borrow my JEEP? Is that what you said?"
"Yes thakur malack, you heard correctly. I need to use it."
"Can you drive Sugni?"
"No. But I've seen you do it and I am sure that I can too. You just put the keys in the space and turn it and put your foot on the thingy and off you go!!" she told and demonstrated with her hands.
Vikram could not help but laugh at her explanations. Oh lord what do I do with this girl? he wondered. "Sugni, for your own safety and my peace of mind, the answer is NO."
"No? Just like that?"
"Yes Sugni, just like that."
"But that's the way to drive isn't it? You turn the key and pput your foot on the thing and it moves right?"
"Sugni there is so much more to it and besides I can't let you hurt the chickens."
"Yes Sugni, chickens."
Sugni's excitement died down and her face looked so sullen that Vikram could not stop the words from coming out, "I could teach you."
And once more her face lit up with that million watt smile as she asked him, "Really?"
"Great let's go!"
"To the jeep of course"
"Sugni it's eight o'clock at night!"
"And everyone's asleep..."
"Including the chickens?" she asked him.
He laughed at that and went to get the keys as there was just no winning with her.
He explained everything to her and she listened intently to every word.
"This time remember to move your foot from the clutch right after shifting ok?" Vikram liked teaching Sugni to drive. He had thought she was just playing but soon realised that she was genuinely interested in learning to drive his jeep.
It wasn't until 2am that he decided she knew enough to drive with other vehicles on the road. They parked the jeep and headed for the house.
As Sugni bid him goodnight and went off to her room, he realised that he had totally enjoyed himself and had forgotten his resolve to maintain
some distance from her...oh well tomorrow is another day he thought and went off to bed.
Edited by JulieD - 09 September 2013 at 8:09pm