Joined: 10 May 2014
Exams went on smoothly and Randhir had planned out the break along with Sanyukta. First two days they would be spending in their respective houses and later meet at Randhir's house for the preparation.
Randhir was busy cooking when Harsh returned from work.
"Hey son, how were your exams?" he asked
"As usual." He answered nonchalantly which caught Harsh's sight.
"Everything ok?" he enquired
"Yeah. Just freshen up so we can have dinner together." Said Randhir as he laid the food on the table. Harsh nodded and left, while he clicked pictures of the items he had cooked and sent it to Sanyukta.
"Yummy! Will you cook for me?" she replied and he instantly smiled and sent "Anytime"
"Which girl has taken my son's heart?" asked Harsh playfully.
"Sanyu" he replied spontaneously and bit his tongue while Harsh laughed out loud.
"It was about time you accepted." He said and started eating.
"What do you mean?" asked a bewildered Randhir.
"Eat, we'll talk." Ordered Harsh
"So this is what you wanted to talk about the other day when you came rushing from Jaipur?" asked Harsh and Randhir nodded his head.
"Randhir, there is something you need to know." Started Harsh
"What dad?" asked Randhir in a tensed voice.
"Anju and me were best friends in college." He said quietly
"You and Sanyukta's mom..." he left it incomplete.
"No interruptions. So, Anju, Kishor, your mom and me studied Engineering together. Initially I hated her guts, but later I realized that I had a closed mind. Which is what I keep telling you have an open mind. Renuka and Anju were room mates. The more time I spent with Anju, Renu was also there. So with time I fell in love with your mom. But,.." he stopped and had a sip of wine.
"Your wife didn't like your friendship with Anju aunty." He said with disgust in his face.
"You cant blame her either Randhir. I loved Renuka, but I loved Anju more. Of course it was pure friendship. So there were fights between them. Meanwhile, Anju's dad fixed up her marriage with Kishor. So once that news was revealed Renuka simmered and patched up with her. So we four were the "it" couples. Once college was over, we got married and started working. Initially, Anju and me worked in the same company, while Kishor worked somewhere else and Renuka didn't work. Anju got promoted after a year of work, while I didn't. Now she had to work with other men, which Kishor was completely against. So after a lot of begging and stuff, nothing worked out and eventually she left her job. She was pregnant with her first child then." Said Harsh with a pause as and when required.
"Later things turned a little ugly. Kishor's office was bankrupted and closed down. He took out the wrath on Anju. I was surprised how strong she was. Meanwhile, your mother started her rant about having no money." He continued in a low whisper and had sips of wine in between. Revisiting the past was not that easy.
"Four years later, I came across Anju in some shop and we caught up for a while. She was still with Kishor and he had changed. Or rather she had changed him. That's when I came to know that she had a daughter. They were a complete family and I didn't want to tell them about our problems then. But that was it. I never met her after that till date as I had given her a promise that I would never search for her. I don't know why she asked me to do so. Later at some point Renuka left me and you, so to fend for us I worked day and night and did what little I could for you." He said and Randhir was listening without interrupting his dad.
"At some point I came to know that Kishor and Anju were not together. I tried searching for her but it was all in vain, until you brought Sanyu home the other night. One look at her and I knew she was Anju's daughter. Doctor uncle was our common friend and that's how he knows about them as well." Finished Harsh.
"Dad, something happened because of which Sanyu hates her dad. She keeps getting nightmare. I tried talking but she does not trust me enough. I.." he started but ended up having a few tears roll down his cheek and landed on Harsh's palm.
"So finally my son is in love? Ruko, kuch mithayi lata hoon." He said and got up.
"Dad. That's not important at all now." Replied Randhir getting his voice back.
"Then what is?" asked Harsh impatiently
"About her, her nightmare and her stupid instinct." He said through his teeth controlling his anger
"What instinct?" asked Harsh confusedly
"A few days before exam, she had some sort of panic attack and she feels that something bad is going to happen to someone whom she is close with. And I've hired a detective agency... " He answered absent mindedly
"Son, a woman's instinct should never be brushed aside." Harsh answered seriously.
"That's what she told me as well." He said and stared somewhere
"Ha, bahu kiski hai." Said Harsh and winked at Randhir
"Dad. This.." he said in a frustrated tone.
"Alright alright. So is there a reason why you've arranged some detective?" asked Harsh curiously.
"For her and her family's safety. She, her mom, sister and brother." He answered
"Sister?" asked Harsh
"Yeah. Maya di. She's elder to her runs Aggarwal group of hotels." He said with a genuine smile.
"Looks like you are fascinated by her. But as far as I knew Anju only has Ankit and Sanyu. Who is this sister?" Harsh mumbled
"So Ankit is her brother's name eh?" Randhir asked raising his eyebrows.
"Hmm as long as my memory is right. So what plans now?" asked Harsh
"Nothing dad. We have a fest to attend as soon as college re-opens. She said she would talk about her nightmares after the fest." Said Randhir and picked up a beer can from the bar and sat on a stool beside the counter.
"Alright. Now lets get to some juicy stuff. Did you confess to her?" asked Harsh coming beside him.
"I've just realized. How do I tell her?" he exasperated
"Like this." Said Harsh and called Sanyukta from Randhir's cell.
"Dad. Wha.." he could not complete as Harsh started speaking.
"Hi, beta, kaise ho? Exams kaisa tha?" he asked in the fatherly tone.
"Very good bacha." He replied after a minute
"Mein bilkul teek hoon. Office bhi acha hai. Aur ek din jo tumne halwa bheja na, woh bahut acha tha." Said Harsh beaming and winking at Randhir.
"Halwa? Mujhe nahi mila." He pouted and flicked the phone from his dad.
"How dare you send Halwa for dad and not give me?" he asked her.
"Arey budhu, uncle ko sugar hai, isliye bina sugar ki halwa banayi ek din. Tum waise hi bahut kadva bolte ho, yeh dekkar aur khadva banau tumhe? She asked him giggling.
He was mesmerized in her voice. He came back to reality when his dad snatched the phone and put it on speaker.
"Par na, tumhe mein meri special wala halwa dungi. Anyway you like sheera more right. Kal bana rahi hoon. Will bring it when I come home." She said with a joyful tone.
"Sanyu..." came a voice from the other side.
"Ok Randhir I go to go now. Mumma bula rahi hai. Uncle ko kissi dedo. Bye." She said and cut the call.
Randhir also panicked seeing his dad go still when he heard the voice.
"Dad." He called out to him and all he said was "Anju" and he collapsed on the ground.
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Joined: 10 May 2014
"He's the only one I have now." Came a voice softly when Harsh regained his consciousness. He was still struggling to open his eyes, but his auditory senses were at its peak at the moment.
"Don't worry. Am there for you. We all are." Said another soft feminine voice which Harsh immediately recognized as his Bahu' and smiled. Finally he opened his eyes to see his son in a vulnerable clinging on to Sanyukta for life, while she was consoling him like a mother would do to her son when he wakes up in the night due to a nightmare.
Harsh adored the moment and smirked lightly. He wanted to tease his son and daughter in law to be for a while and so he coughed a little and closed his eyes instantly.
"Dad" came both the voices. Harsh was surprised to the extent that he immediately jerked and sat up straight.
"Yeh aap kya kar rahe ho. You are not supposed to do all this. You should take rest. You don't care about yourself. How could you allow Randhir to face such a situation alone. I warn you. Take proper rest. Lie down this instant." She ordered. "Mein khaane keliye kuch le aati hoon." She said and went out.
All this while Randhir and Harsh were looking at her silently with astonishment. "Did she just call me dad?" asked Harsh amusedly to Randhir while he nodded his head goofily.
"Bata diya kya? Mein dada bhi ban raha hoon kya? Itna jaldi? Mera umar hi kya hai dada banne ki?" he wailed like an old TV serial actress.
Randhir blushed lightly and rolled his eyes. "Dad!! Hang on. I've not yet told her. Will tell her only when she trusts me enough to tell about her nightmare." Said Randhir seriously
"Par dad ?" he asked to which Randhir also shrugged.
"Kyun aapko problem hai?" she asked entering with a tray having toast and orange juice along with his medicines.
"Bilkul bhi nahi." Said Harsh beaming at her.
"Good. Aap yeh khatam karlo, tab tak mein Ramu kaka ko batati hoon ki lunch mein kya kya karna hai." She said and went away.
"Abhi se ghar ki khyal rakh rahi hai." Winked Harsh while Randhir nodded his head and followed her out.
Just as he entered kitchen he heard her talking to Ramu kaka "Onion and garlic sab dish mein chahiye kyunki its good for heart. Par no onion for Randhir's salad. He does not like it. Aur.. haan Jiggy aur Parth ko Chinese pasand hai. Toh kuch bhi chalega par sirf vegetarian, kyunki mein wohi khati hoon." She told him as she helped him cut a few vegetables. Randhir meanwhile leaned on the arch to the entrance for kitchen and admired her from a distance.
"Bhabhi ko dekh rahe ho?" someone whispered in his ear.
"Haan. Bas imagine kar raha hoon ki ek din she should wear green saree, open hair and water dripping from it." He murmered
"And?" asked another voice softly in his left ear.
"Her hands would be filled with flour that she will not be able to push away a strand of hair that falls in her face. Haina?" said the first voice.
"Haan." He replied imagining the situation
"So you will enter and tuck her hair behind her ear and slowly caress her face. Right?" said the second voice.
"Yes." He answered dreamily.
"Waise tum kya pehneoge?" came a third feminine voice.
"Arey woh toh tabhi nahake aayega na, in search of his wife. So he'll be bare body. Haina?" Said another voice.
"Aur nahi toh kya, biwi hi kapde nikaal kar degi na." voiced another person.
"Haan." He said still adoring his girl ordering something to Ramu kaka.
Suddenly there was a roar of laughter behind him which instantly pulled him out from his dream land.
"What?" he hissed at them.
"green saree, open hair" jiggy stated singing
"hands covered in flour and face in hair." Parth continued in the same tune. " I mean hair in face" he corrected "par rhyme nahi ho raha hai." He pouted and everyone laughed while Randhir scowled at them as well as turning a shade of pink.
"Bare body ko leke uske paas jaayega." Sang Vidushi
"Kaun bare body leke kahan jaayega?" asked Sanyu smiling at everyone and finally frowned "Dad, aap yahan kya kar rahe ho?" she asked Harsh.
"Dad?" asked others in unison while Sanyukta raised her eyebrows at them "Problem?" she asked
"N-no." said Jiggy.
"Beta woh woh..." fumbled Harsh
"Kya woh woh? Aapko rest karne ko bola doctor ne aur aap upar niche kar rahe ho. Aap se better Randhir hai." She huffed.
"I came to give this tray." He said like a kid who got caught while stealing a candy.
"Oh. Ok." Realization dawned in her and then she said "You could have called anyone of us. Intercom is there." She pouted.
"Will remember next time. Acha ek baat pochoon?" he asked her
"Yeah?" she said
"can I spend some time with you kids. I will feel better. Pakka promise kuch der baad aaram karunga." He said pinching his throat.
She laughed and said "Of course."
Everyone present were stunned to see this new avatar of Sanyukta. She was never this carefree even at her own house. But now she was acting like this was her house and Harsh was her dad. Moreover she calling him dad was even more surprising. They didn't care what happened as long as she was happy.
"So what plans for the day?" asked Harsh as he settled in his usual spot.
"Nothing great. We were supposed to meet up tomorrow and spend rest of the break preparing for the fest." Said Kastuki
"Same fest?" he asked Randhir while he nodded at his dad.
"That's nice. So lets have some impromptu plan for the day then." He said excitedly.
"Aap involve nahi honge dad. You have to take rest." Said Sanyukta strictly.
"Yes mam." He saluted at her but with a smile to which she smiled at him sweetly thus taking Randhir's breath away. Of course this was noticed by the others and they gave knowing smiles to him.
"Toh plan?" asked Parth
"Oh yeah. Small party?" asked Harsh
"Party? What reason?" asked Sanyukta
"Arey mere bte ko heart attack diya na meine." He said and winked at her
"Not at all nice dad. Do you know how scared he was?" Sanyukta scolded Harsh.
"Kya tum jabse aayi ho mujhe daant rahi ho. Randhir isse batao mujhe mat daanto." He ordered his son.
"Sanyu..." He started to only close his mouth and gulped at her glare.
"Wah. Kya zamana aaya. Kisi ladki ko bolne nahi deta tha, aur aaj ek ladki ki nazar se bolti band?" Commented Harsh to which both Randhir and Sanyukta blushed while Kastuki squeezed Jiggy's hands and Vidushi crushed Parth's waist in happiness.
"So, no party. We'll all just talk. And when you rest we will start our work." Said Randhir finally getting his voice and everyone agreed.
After a while Harsh retired to take rest while the rest went to Randhir's study room to prepare for the fest. Once they started there was nothing to stop them. Both lunch and dinner was served in their rooms. They would take turns to keep a check on Harsh.
Everyone were so tired that they slept in study itself. Makeshift beds were arranged. At some point of time in the night, Sanyukta got her nightmares which woke everyone up but as usual it was Randhir who was able to calm her down by taking her in his arms. All were concerned for her and they slept thinking how to help her out.
As the early morning rays graced the study room, Rnadhir blinked open his eyes. He was initially disoriented with the place, then realized what happened last night. When he tried getting up, he was pushed down with some weight on his chest. That was when he realized that Sanyukta was sleeping soundly on his chest with her mouth slightly open. Her hands were wound around his waist and in short he was chained to her. It was the one of the beautiful mornings he had had so far. He kissed her hair softly and removed her hands from his waist and made her lie on the pillow without waking her up. He covered her properly with the duvet and rushed out before he lost control over his hormones anymore.
This was their routine for the next few days throughout their break - breakfast at dining table with everyone, chat with Harsh for a while till mid noon, then they would start their work. Everyone practiced their field of expertise accordingly. They had devised various plans for their team project and also for their double and single projects. At nights sometimes Sanyukta would be the last to sleep but everyday she woke up only beside Randhir which she knew why. Over these few days, she had realized that it was something more than friendship with Randhir but as usual she was scared. She was glad that there were only two more days left before the college re-opened and she planned to ignore Randhir till then.
However, as always, nothing goes as planned. She had to spend time with him and every second of those two days seemed like a year for her. She was so sure that he would not reciprocate her feelings and so she should only bury them deep inside her. This change was noticed by everyone including Ramu kaka who had grown very fond of Sanyukta in the last few days.
It was the night before college re-opened and Harsh called Sanyukta to his room.
"Ji dad?" she asked
"Beto na. tumse kuch baat karni hai." He said and patted beside him.
"Yeah tell me." She said sitting beside him.
He put his hands around her shoulder and asked "Kya hua?"
"Kuch nahi." She said and looked at her palms.
"Apne dad ko bhi nahi batogi?" he asked using his trump card and that's all it took for her to break down. Seeing her cry made harsh feel terrible. Randhir who was also passing by Harsh's room also stopped and was about to enter but Harsh simple nodded his head thus stopping him at the entrance.
"I was in class 4..." she started in a very low voice.
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