Joined: 05 June 2012
Joined: 05 June 2012
Here is thread 9 and chapter 17. Enjoy!! Comments and / or like button clicks welcome.
Ashutosh gets up swiftly and steps back as Nidhi closes her mouth with her palms in stunned surprise before hiccupping a whispery soft "Baba" and stumbles a little while getting up. Ashu instinctively supports her and looks at her with a smile and gestures her to go. Her walk is slow with small measured steps as if she is afraid to make any fast movements and make this whole thing disappear. Finally she is infront of CV and DB and her gaze alternates between them before she smiles, grins and then the tears start rolling down her cheeks. She holds the door for support as the dam bursts open and she sinks to her knees at the entrance of the house. CV immediately sits in front of her and pulls her into his arms and his own emotional state is no better than his daughter's. He runs a trembling hand through her hair as he mouths softly: Nidhi..! Meri achchi waali beti.
Nidhi closes her eyes tightly and hugs her father back: Baba!
DB also sits beside her and pulls her into her arms: Buss..buss..meri bachchi..ro mat. Shaanth hojaa. Aisi haalat mein rona teek nahi hain. Yog! Tum bhi na! (She glares at CV with tear blurry eyes before hastily wiping them away with her pallu.) Nidhi..do you know, your baba came home last night and when I gave him the news, he wanted to come right away. But it was past 10 so we waited till morning. Subah ke 5 baje se taiyaar hoke baita tha ye toh..(Nidhi gives a tremoulous laugh and looks at her baba with all the love in her eyes.)
BB: Aap teeno ko wahi baitkar baaten karni hain? Nahi..mera matlab hain, ghar mein kursiya bhi hain aur sofe bhi.
That breaks the tension and with a husky laugh CV gets up and helps Nidhi also get up. Nidhi holds CV's hand in hers, puts her free arm around DB's shoulders and pulls them inside: Aaiye baba..DB..andar aayiye.
Ashu comes forward with a hesitant smile: Welcome sir. Namaste Sarojji.
CV leaves Nidhi and comes towards Ashu: Galti aapki bhi nahi thi Ashutosh. At least not completely. And even if you WERE wrong, I should have let you go once I started realizing how happy my daughter is with you. But its not always easy to let go of one's ego, is it? I should have known my daughter's choice would be an excellent one and she is not the one to take a step unless she is really sure about it.
Nidhi exchanges a joyful relieved look with DB, who hugs her once again before getting up and joining CV: Damaad babu..(Nidhi exclaims softly before smothering it by covering her mouth with her palm) Beeti baaten sab bhoolke aaj se ek nayo shuruvaad karte hain. Kyon? (Ashu gives a wry smile and nods.)
BB: Fantastic! Isibaatpe toh ek party honi chahiye.
CV: Zaroor samdhiji..(CV goes to BB and both men hug) We want to invite you all for lunch today, at our house. Kya kehte hain Ashutosh?
Ashu: Ji..koi formality nahi hain sir, but we would be glad to come. (His eyes take in the radiant smile of his wife and his own lips stretch into a smile of shared understanding as he is sure that she is barely managing to control herself from jumping up and hugging him.)
That taken care of, DB turns her attention to Nidhi and kisses her cheek: Meri bachchi..kaisi tabiyat hain ab? Doctor checkup sab hogaya?
Nidhi nods: Ji. Sab teek hain. Ulti shuru hogayi DB. (CV exchanges a happy smile with BB before going and sitting beside his daughter.)
DB's face is wreathed in smiles: I will make some nice achaar for you. And you feel like eating anything else, tell me. Ok?
HK walks into the house with a bag full of vegetables with Anji right behind him with another bag: Mathur saab raaste mein Anji bitiyane..(He comes to a sudden halt at the tableau in the hall. He gives a surprised look to BB who nods.) Arre..yeh sab..
Anji screams: NIDHI..! (Both friends shout and hug and do a small twirl with DB giving a look of aghast.) Congratulations Nidhi. I could not come yesterday so came today early. Raaste mein kaka milgaye toh I gave him a lift. (She goes to Ashu and extends her hand) Congratulations Jeej! (He shakes her hand and gives her a one armed hug.)
BB laughs at DB's expression and declares proudly: Aise kya dekhrahe hain samdhanji? Humaare ghar mein ek nahi do do betiyan hain.
Anji nods happily from her place beside Ashu: Jeejaji is the best.
HK brings tea for everyone. Nidhi rolls her eyes at Anji: Tu thakti nahi hain kya yeh jeejaji ka pankha chalaate chaalte?
Anji pokes out her tongue: Jeeju ko koi problem nahi hain toh tereko kya problem hain? Kyon jeejaji?
CV turns towards Nidhi: We used to get all the news from Anji par mujhe patanahi tha ki woh iss ghar mein itni ghulmilgayi hain.
BB smiles: Nidhi ka parivaar, humaara parivaar Vermaji.
After having tea, Nidhi takes CV and DB to show the whole house around. DB breathes a sigh of relief at seeing the tidy homely place which even holds a small puja mandir. CV observes the bright study room which now holds two work tables and separate bookracks and laptops along with an easy chair and a diwaan in one corner. His eyes brim over when he sees his and Nandini's picture in a photoframe on one of the tables. Nandini..humaari beti ma bannewaali hain. (His mind goes back to the day when both of them had laughed and joked about becoming grandparents one day and what the child would call them. He smiles in fond rememberance.) Takla nana kehke pukaarne waala jaldi hi aanewala hain. I wish you were here. Phir tumhe bhi woh sundar naani kehta. Aur aaj meine dekha humaari beti apne jeevan mein kitna khush hain. Sach mein Nandini..Ashutosh takes real good care of her. I felt I was encroaching on a infinitely private moment when I saw them both singing, with Ashutosh literally on his knees in front of her. Tum teek hi kehti thi Nandini..when we tell her to make her own decisions, we should also be willing to trust those decisions.
Nidhi's voice reaches him from behind: Baba?
CV towards his daughter with a smile: I like this room Nidhi.
Nidhi walks into the room and grins: Kehnekeliye toh do tables hain baba..but half the time we sit on that diwaan because he ends having to explain something or the other to me. And these days, he uses his tab more because I keep snatching off his laptop. (She winks a little playfully)
CV nods: He is a nice person Nidhi. I am glad to see you both so happy with each other. (A slight pause) Lekin mein darr gaya tha beta..ki kahi apne pyaar ki aandhi mein behkar meri beti apne zindagi ki sabse badi galati na karbaite.
Nidhi comes and hugs him: Baba..I never misunderstood you. Never. And I was equally confident that you would forgive me one day because you will understand. My baba is the best. (She looks up to him) Haina?
CV nods: Apna dhyaan rakhrahi ho na? Next doctor appointment kab hain?
Nidhi: I am taking care of myself. Next appointment 2 weeks ke baad hain baba. Ultrasound bhi hain.
CV pats her cheek: Jaldi ghar aajaana, teek hain?
Nidhi nods and a little while later, CV and DB leave after DB pulling Nidhi aside to enquire about Ashu's favourite dishes. That afternoon, everyone reach Verma residence around 11.30 and Shyama gives a traditional welcome to Ashu and Nidhi by doing aarti and tilak. And for the first time, they take the blessings from CV, DB and Solanki and Shyama, as a couple. Both CV and DB bless them with huge smiles on their faces and CV hugs Ashu before patting his shoulder in a typical fatherly gesture. Lunch turns into festive affair with Anji and Ranga also in attendance and any awkward moments get quickly smoothened out by Anji, Shyama and DB, who are determined to make the occasion a tension free and happy one. DB coaxes and tempts Ashu with all his favourite dishes tagging a "damaad babu" at the beginning and at the ending of almost every sentence. Its as if she is making up for all the lost time in one day. The first couple of times, Ashu doesn't even respond thinking DB is talking to someone else. Nidhi elbows him and tells him in a sotto voice that HE is the damaad babu hence he better respond. Kahi DB yeh na samjhle ki unke damaad babu ko sunne mein thodi taqleef hoti hain. The get together gets extended till the evening tea time. Ashu, for his part, spends most of the time letting the conversation flow around him and going through Nidhi's childhood albums. One snap of Nidhi, when she was about 3 years old, with mud smeared on her face and two small cute pigtails hanging on either side, makes him laugh out aloud. Making sure that no one is watching, he quickly takes the picture and puts it in his wallet. He looks up to see that Anji has caught him and now is gazing at him with a dreamy expression on her face. He shakes his head gesturing her to keep quiet for which she just blinks and her look turns even more adoring before she glares angrily at Ranganath. Its almost 6 in the evening when everyone makes it back to their respective homes groaning at the heavy lunch and a heavy snack during the tea time.
Ashu peeps into the study room to see Nidhi sitting on the deewan, fiddling with her pen and reading the book on Child health and nutrition. His eyes tenderly taken in her intent expression on her face before sliding down to observe her hand resting protectively against her tummy..as if she is subconsciously making sure the child inside is ok and safe. Wordlessly, he backs off, closes the door before making his way to the balcony and taking his phone out to speed dial his one friend: Hey Armaan!
Armaan: Haan Ashu bol. Kaisa hain? Nidhi kaisi hain?
Ashu: We are fine. Uh..Nidhi ke baba aaye the aaj. We went to their house for lunch and stayed on till evening.
Armaan: Oh wow! That's great. Toh sab kuch teek hohigaya aakhir! Good going boss. Nidhi must be so happy na.
Ashu: Haan..Armaan..Armaan, Nidhi is pregnant.
A few moments of silence and then: REALLY? WOHOO! CONGRATS BUDDY! KEEPT IT UP! Pun intended..hehehe! Hey Maansi..Maansi kahaa ho?
It finally sinks into Armaan then: Ashu..Ashu mere dost..you are NOT your father yaar. Everything from the person you are today to the profession you have chosen to be in states and proves that you are not your father. Vishwaas rakh mere bhai.
Ashu sighs: I don't know anything any more Armaan. There is one Dr Rishab here, who specializes in these cases..
Armaan fairly leaps: And you are consulting him for counselling? Really?
Ashu: Yeah. Nidhi took me there. What do you think Armaan? Would this really help me in any way?
Armaan: Ashu, there is no doubt that you are a great guy and would make a wonderful father. All you need is to believe that fact. And I think it's the best way to go about it. Arre..ruko Maansi..Ashu..Ashu Maansi is pulling the phone away..
Maansi: Bhaiya..Nidhi kaisi hain? Kaunsa mahina? Morning sickness shuru hogaya?
A faint smile graces his lips: A little over 6 weeks Maansi. Yes, morning sickness has started.
Maansi: Dhyaan rakhiye bhaiya. I used to feel giddy during that period. Tell her to take lots of fluids like juice and milk. And make sure she eats. Has she started having cravings?
Maansi: Haan. When I was pregnant with Anju, I used to feel like eating bhindi all the time. Waise toh I can't stand that vegetable otherwise. Armaan..behave yourself.
Armaan: Achcha madam..what about when you were snatching the phone? Haan..Ashu..there is a new range of maternity wear in our fashion house. Take Nidhi there and get her whatever she wants.
For the first time since this whole thing started, Ashu chuckles: Abe moron..she is 6 weeks pregnant..not 6 months. Chal rakhta hoon. And yes, I will take her there some time soon. Bye.
Armaan: Apna khayaal rakhna aur Nidhi ka bhi. Bye.
Ashu stuffs the phone back in his pocket and walks back into the bedroom. He finds Nidhi already there, changed into her usual night shirt and pyjama, lost deep in thought: Kya sochrahi ho?
Nidhi gives him a serious frowning look: Mammals. I am thinking about mammals.
Ashu gives her a confused look, not completely sure he wants to hear the answer, yet unable to resist. By now, he has got used to her random, quirky and ribald thoughts and comments: What about mammals?
Nidhi gestures him with her hand to come closer to her and waits until both of them have settled down on the bed with her head resting on his shoulder and his arm wrapped around her: I find the humans strange. (Another seemingly random statement. He patiently waits for her to continue.) Do you realize that humans are the only ones who mate facing each other? I mean, with the exception of snails, whose genitalia is on their necks..even squirrels do it facing away from each other. Why do you think that is?
By now, the naughty glint in her eyes is too obvious and he smothers her erupting giggles with his own grinning lips. A soft laugh escapes him nevertheless: You couldn't have said it directly instead of this weird discussion about mating squirrels and snails?
Nidhi acts shocked: Yeh aap kaisi baat kar rahe hain? How can a shy girl like me preposition you so directly? Chi..mujhe sharam aati hain ji! (She hides her face in his neck.)
He starts unbuttoning her shirt one button a time: You? Shy? (She nods) Achcha? Dekhoo toh meri patni sharmaate hue dikhti hain..kabhi dekhahi nahi! (He wraps her hair around his wrist and pulls her until she is biting her lip and looking at him once again.) I will tell you why it is that we do facing each other. (He moves over her slowly and arranges her limbs, spreading them to receive him. A gasp escapes her as she feels his hips settle on hers..his thick pressure fitting against her intimately. Bracing most of his weight on his arms, he looks down at her passion drugged eyes) This way..(he gives a slight nudge of his hips) is usually more pleasing. (The gentle movement sends a jolt of pleasure thought her and her senses fill with him as her hips catch in a helpless arch. Her hands glide over the powerful surface of his chest and trail down to his washboard stomach with rippling muscles. He murmurs her name, kissing along her throat while his fingers spread her shirt open. He bends his head a little and caresses her with his mouth and tongue. His teeth graze lightly over her sensitive nerves, all the while, that relentless, rhythmic stimulation below continues, as he rides her and owns her..driving them both to an impossible pitch. He pulls his mouth away with a soft gasp) Front to front..I could kiss you the entire time and the shape of you would cushion me so sweetly..(another nudge of his hips) like this. But if you want something else, I am ok with that too. I am quite enthusiastic about it actually.
In response, she just tightens her arms and legs around him and pulls him back to her. His hands cradle her head as he kisses her again, open mouthed and deep, as if he is trying ti draw the soul from her body. She answers eagerly, holding nothing back and together they surrender to their own private magic with hope riding high in his heart.
About a week later:
Nidhi picks up the lunch box from the dining table: Suniye..please wait karenge. I will also come along with you. (Ashu looks at his watch and nods.) I'll just get my back and be right back, ok? Just 2 minutes. (She runs up to the study room with HK and Ashu's shout of "Careful" and comes back down at the same speed almost tripping on the last step. With a hoarse exclamation, Ashu catches and steadies her before pushing her away roughly: HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND NIDHI? I keep telling you to slow down lekin nahi..madam toh super woman hain. Girvir gayi toh? Haalat yaad bhi hain tumhe apni? (He catches her shoulders and shakes her once) Do you know how dangerous it is? What if I hadn't been able to catch you? Haan?
BB comes out of his room with a frown: Ashu..kyon chillaraha hain? Kya hua?
Nidhi looks at BB with a radiant smile: Kuch nahi baba..I slipped on the last step and he panicked.
BB: Sambhalke chalna beti. Ab tere daud bhaagne ke din gaye. Slow down. Ok? (Nidhi nods and BB turns to Ashu) Aur tu? Kyon itnisi baat par bahu par chillaraha hain? Aise gussa nahi karte apni biwi par. Aur khaas karke aise waqt mein.
Ashu's face, by now, is carved out of stone as his mind replays his own screaming words of anger at his wife. Wordlessly, he leaves the house and Nidhi follows him with a happy wave at BB and HK. The ride to KGH is done is silence with Nidhi on cloud nine because Ashu's concern and care for the child had come out so obviously that morning and Ashu, comparing his anger to that of his father. After getting two reminders from Nidhi about Dr Rishab's appointment, he finally gives in and drives down to the clinic.
Dr Rishab gives him a warm welcoming smile: Hello Dr Ashutosh. How are you? How was your weekend?
Ashu shakes his hand, sits down and comes straight to the point: I don't think there is any point to all of this Dr Rishab.
Dr R: Why do you think that?
Ashu sighs and runs a distracted hand through his hair: I can already see myself turning into my father. Today she was about to fall and I shouted at her for being careless. Not just today..when she told me about being pregnant, I threw things around in the room and accused her of deliberately planning and deceiving me. The violence has already begun.
Dr R smiles: You threw things? (Ashu nods) What things?
Ashu: Some papers that were on the table. I scattered them to the floor with a swipe of my hand.
Dr R removes his eye glasses and starts wiping them: I have a 20 year old daughter Dr Ashutosh. On Saturday, she took our car out and came home after midnight. I grounded her in our house for the rest of the weekend and she is not allowed to touch the car any more. We are normal human beings, not saints. And anger is a part of being a normal human being. You are SUPPOSED to get angry. What did YOU do after you scattered those papers?
Ashu: I went and played squash.
Dr R: And?
Ashu: That usually helps me think..and kind of relax.
Dr R: Did it?
Ashu: Yes. It did.
Dr R: What do you think your father would have done in the same situation?
Ashu closes his eyes: He would have hit my mother. Or..or..(He looks away unable to voice the next statement)
Dr R: But you didn't, did you? I don't think the thought even entered your head to raise a finger at your wife.
Ashu: I hit someone once. When I was in 9th standard. One of my classmates kept on teasing my friend Armaan about his weight. One day I saw Armaan almost in tears and went and punched that guy and threatened him that if he ever came near my friend or even looked in his direction, he would regret it. And recently, there was a guy in KGH, an abusive father..I almost hit him but Nidhi stopped me.
Dr R: Anything else in between? (Ashu shakes his head) Ashutosh, that itself proves that you are not like your father. If you indeed were like him, there is no way that you would NOT have repeated the same thing. And the very fact that you are scared of hurting someone is enough proof that you are not a violent person. (Seeing the thoughtful look on Ashu's face, Dr R continues) Do you think your father thought of all that before hitting you or even AFTER hitting you? Did he ever show any remorse after beating you? (Ashu shakes his head) And yet, here you are expressing regret and pain over something that you did over three decades ago. Kids in that age fight. Its normal. Call it teenage harmones or whatever. You know all that, right? And in the recent events that you just told me about, your anger stemmed out of concern. (His wise kind eyes look at Ashu) Ashutosh, getting angry is not the issue. How or where that anger is directed at is what matters. What you do with that anger is what matters. (Dr R smiles at the bright glitter in Ashu's eyes. Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.)
That night: A little after dinner:
Ashu comes down in search of his wife and finds her in the kitchen busily opening and closing the cupboards: Kya hua? Phirse bhooklagi hain kya?
Nidhi glares at him: Nahi. But I want to have hot chocolate.
Nidhi stomps her foot: Yes. Now. Sochke hi muh mein paani aaraha hain. (She slurps making him grin) I am trying to see if there is any cocoa powder or chocolate in here.
Has she started having cravings? When I was pregnant with Anju, I used to feel like eating bhindi all the time. Waise toh I can't stand that vegetable otherwise. Ashu remembers Maansi's words. He pulls her away from the fridge: Tum ooper chalo mein tumhaara hot chocolate laata hoon.
Nidhi jumps and literally climbs on top of him by wrapping her arms around his neck and legs around his waist: Sachchi? Oh thank you my chweetu? (She gives a smacking kiss on his cheek. A loud clearing of the throat and cough is heard and Nidhi lands on her feet softly before moving away from Ashu to face a grinning BB. It's a toss up as to whose face is redder..Ashu or Nidhi. Ashu adjusts his glasses and opens the fridge as if searching for something. Nidhi pushes her hair away from her face awkwardly) Ji..woh..baba..(Before giving up and making her escape.)
BB laughs and gets his water bottle from the kitchen table: Goodnight Ashu..good luck. Hot chocolate achche se banana.
Ashu slaps his forehead in mortification as soon as BB closes the door of his room for the night. He sighs. Ok. Hot chocolate. How is it made? He snaps his fingers. Google! Quickly, his tab is taken out and the recipe of hot chocolate gets downloaded and read thoroughly. Ok. Two methods. I will go with the simpler version. He grabs his keys and goes to the 11 to 11 super market that's close by and buys the cocoa powder along with a can of whipped cream. Just to be on the safe side, he adds a milk packet to his basket. Once back home, he rereads the instructions carefully and measures everything with surgeon's precision. Soon, the drink is ready and he carefully pours it into the coffee mug and adds the whipped cream over it.
Nidhi's eyes are closed as she sits in the rocking chair and listens to the old melodies from her ipod. They pop open when she feels the ear plugs being gently removed. Her smile turns into a huge joyful grin when it falls on the mug that Ashu is holding: Mera hot chocolate? (He nods and carefully hands over the mug to her making sure she is holding only the handle. She takes a cautious sip and closes her eyes as if experiencing something divinely ethereal.) Hmmm..(Another bigger sip with loud noise follows quickly followed by another. Ashu looks on with barely suppressed laughter both at her expression and also at the whipped cream which has formed a cute white mushtache over her upper lip. The mug is almost empty before she decides to open her eyes.) Hass kyon rahe hain? (Ashu shakes his head before leaning forward and gently licking away the cream from her lips. Her fingers sink into his beautiful vibrant hair, his scalp hot against her palm and turns it into a full open mouthed kiss that has them both gasping for air.) Thank you Chweetu. Its truly yummy.
Ashu runs his fingers over her smooth cheek: You are very welcome. Want some more? (She shakes her head) Then come, lets get some sleep. Long day ahead tomorrow.
Nidhi nods and gets up: Haan. (She hesitates a little) Chweetu..tomorrow is the first scan..around 4.30 pm.
His face pales a little but he nods his head in a composed manner: Ok. But I have surgeries post lunch. Don't know if I can make it on time. Don't wait for me. Ok?
Nidhi catches his wrist and stops him: You are ok, right? (He nods) You didn't tell me how the appointment with Dr R went.
Ashu shrugs: Better than the first one. Lets sleep Nidhi. Raat bahut hogayi. (That night, he backhugs her and with his face hidden in the perfumed fragrance of her hair, slides into sleep.)
Next day: KGH:
Nidhi looks at her wrist watch before her anxious eyes once again turn towards the door. The technician looks up from her chart: Ma'am, do you want to get the scan done now or shall we wait for some more time?
Nidhi: I am sorry. But can we wait for 5 more minutes? Please?
Technician smiles: No problem ma'am. May be sir is still in the OT. Aajayenge.
Nidhi nods and tries to smile. He came out of the OT 20 minutes back. I know. I checked. Will he come or won't he? Whats going to win? His love or his fear? God! Please! Don't let his fear win. Ma..do something ma. Another 10 minutes go by. Finally, Nidhi sighs and accepts defeat. She looks at the technician: May be he got held up somewhere. Lets get the scan done. I can always show him the pictures later.
The technician nods and quickly ashures her to the scan room.
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