All heads turned to see where the scarf came from. MaSaheb let out an audible gasp when she saw it was none other than Vikram who had thrown the scarf that now covered Sugni's head, thus making her HIS bedni. "Vikram?"
The crowd parted to make way for Vikram as he moved up to the front. "Yes ma," he said when he reached right up to his mother.
"Wha..what have you done?..Why have you done this? Don't you know that she is for your brother?" she asked him.
"What in the world is going on here?" Sugni wondered to herself. Last she knew, the ritual where her thakur would cover her head was about to take place. In fact, her head was covered so that meant she was someone's bedni. But what was going on now? And what was this about her being for HIS brother? Whose brother? Oh lord what was taking place? Should she remove the scarf and find out?..Yes..that is what she would do, she was about to lift the scarf when she heard Ma Saheb speaking again and she quickly dropped her hands.
"Vikram, this is not a joke!! Just take your scarf and go home," Ma Saheb raised her hand to remove the scarf..
"Vikram? Who is Vikram and why was his scarf covering her head?"
Vikram held back Ma Saheb's hand before she could remove the scarf and announced loud and clear, "Don't Ma. It's too late. She is mine."
"Congratulations Thakur Vikram. You have got yourself a very special girl there," Bamsukhiya inserted loud and clear. He was a bit nervous about what was happening. He couldn't allow his commission to go down the drain. "You get to have her in your guest house for as long as you want...right Thakurain ma'am?" He looked over to MaSaheb.
The crowd, made up of mostly bednis, starting clapping, heralding the end of the sardakai ceremony. The bednis and even some thakurains had come to see what the bedni, who would be living in Godavari Thakurain's guesthouse, looked like. Ma Saheb could not make a scene about it now and so had no choice but to accept things as they were.
"Yes Bamsukhiya. She will stay in my guest house as I stated before." She signaled to a servant to hand over the money to Bamsukhiya. Then she gave a nasty look to Vikram before heading to her car with a stunned looking Bhushan following her.
Gulabiya, who had seen the happenings in a shocked state went over to Bamsukhiya. "What's going on Bams?"
"Gulabiya there's nothing to worry about. There was just a mix up about..uh..." Bams didn't know how to explain to her what had taken place when he himself was not exactly sure about what had happened.
By this time Sugni who had removed her scarf, found herself staring at the most handsome man she ever seen. He had straight black hair, long lashed brown eyes and was handsome in a very clean cut, outdoorsy way. He was definitely not the curled-end mustached, chubby looking uncle of a thakur she had imagined!!
"What Bams what? One thakur was doing the rituals and then another just comes from nowhere to complete the ceremony? Am I supposed to accept this for my daughter?" Gulabiya was getting more worried when she realised that Bamsukhiya was at a loss for words.
"Say something Bums!!" she screamed at him forcing everyone to look at them. Then she clutched her chest and fell unconscious to the ground.
"Ma!!" Sugni screamed out and ran to her mother's side. Vikram who was looking at his mother's car driving away and wondering what the next step was, turned at Sugni's scream and then followed her to the woman lying on the ground.
"Gulabiya?" Bamsukhiya was trying to wake her up but to no avail.
"Ma? ma please open your eyes..what's wrong with you ma? please" Sugni was crying and frantically trying to rouse her mother.
"Move aside everyone. She needs to go to the hospital. Bring her to my jeep Bamsukhiya," Vikram stated in a authorative voice, forcing everyone to quietly follow his orders.
Bamsukhiya lifted Gulabiya in his arms and followed Vikram to his jeep. He placed her in the back and hopped in beside her while Vikram started the jeep. He looked over to Sugni who was looking helpless and said "Aren't you coming with your mother?"
Sugni blinked out of whatever trance she was in and went to sit beside Vikram in the jeep so they could speed off to the hospital.
"Well her EKG came back normal," the doctor told them after some time. Vikram and Sugni were sitting opposite the doctor in his office and Bamsukhiya was standing in a corner. "I am relieved to say that it was not a heart attack" the doctor continued as he slipped the machine read-out into a file bearing Gulabiya's name, "But there is a reason for the pain she was having. She will need to do some more tests before we can determine the cause."
Sugni was relieved to hear that her mother did not have a heart attack. "Can I see her doctor?"
"Yes you may but only for a short time. Please follow me."
"Ma..how are you?" Sugni whispered to her.
"I am ok Sugni. Tell me what is going on with you?"
"Doctor?" Vikram pulled the doctor aside while Sugni and Bamsukhiya was speaking to Gulabiya.
"Uh..will the woman..uh Gulabiya ji, will she be ok?"
"Yes for now she is fine. We need to run those other tests though. Um thakur sir..I feel a bit uncomfortable saying this but the hospital has rules we need to follow. I didn't want to say it before as the girl was tensed. But will you also be paying for the additional tests as well?"
"Yes doctor. I will pay for it. Just do what you have to!!" Vikram was just a bit irritated that money would be discussed at a time like this.
"Gulabiya, there is nothing to worry about. Sugni will be fine," Bamsukhiya assured her. "You just need to rest."
"But I can't stay here. I am not sure how much money will be left over after we pay our pending expenses," Gulabiya was saying. "In fact, I am not sure I want Sugni going with that thakur. What is going on? Is something wrong with him? Is that why they tricked us about which thakur was going to do her sardakai? Bams please don't let him harm my child..."
"Don't worry about that ma. You need to stay here and not worry about a thing. I am here." Sugni told her holding her hands.
"Gulabiya ji please don't worry about the cost for your hospital stay and the tests you need. I will pay for everything. And don't worry about your daughter. She is safe with me," Vikram, who
had heard the last part of their conversation, assured her. "Now the doctor has said that we can't stay long, so we will leave now and your daughter will be back in the morning to see you."
"Are you sure thakur malak?" Gulabiya suddenly found that she wanted to believe him. She was starting to feel sleepy from the medication but wanted some reassurance first.
"Yes Gulabiya ji. I promise you that your daughter is safe with me," Vikram stated and Gulabiya fell asleep.
"Let's go," Vikram said to Sugni and Bamsukhiya.
"Ah no no thakur. You too go ahead. I will stay a few minutes longer with Gulabiya and then I will inform Gulabiya's family about everything."
"Bams, please take care of ma and I will come in the morning," Sugni said and went to sit in the jeep...
Edited by JulieD - 19 June 2013 at 9:04pm