''Mujhe chalna chahiye'' Nachiket said after coming back from outside soaked from the rain.
Ragini threw a please-don't-go-look at him. She had actually hoped and thought that he would stay for a bit longer and maybe even till the next morning since nobody was home ''Matlab, tum aaj raat yahan nahin rukhne wale ho?''
Nachiket looked surprised and walked towards her. He rested his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eye. ''Tum chahti ho ke aaj raat mein yahan...''
She looked with hopeful eyes at him. Please ruk jao Nachiket, is what her eyes spoke out. He understood what she wanted but Nachiket could not and did not want to take advantage of the situation, especially not when she was in this vulnerable state. He held her face and looked lovingly at her.
''Ragini, mein samaj sakta hoon. Mein bhi yahan rukhna chahta hoon lekin this is not the right time. Pehle hum sab ko bata denge ke hum phir se ek saath rehna chahte hai phir mein promise karta hoon that I will never ever leave your side again'' Her eyes turned moist and before she could let her tears flow, he gently put his arms around her and pulled her into a hug. There were many reasons why she loves this man so much and the way he understood her now was one of them.
''You should take some rest, Ragini'' Nachiket sensed that she started to doze off and was not willing to leave him. Whenever she would feel very tired and sleepy, she would always stay in his arms for much longer than actually needed; an old habit of hers which he loved though.
Together they walked into her bedroom and Nachiket gently put her in bed. He adjusted the pillow and put the comforter over her. He sat beside her and cupped her hand between his hands.
''Tumhare liye kal ek surprise hai. Tum bas apna samaan ready rakwana''
''Surprise, kaisa surprise?
''Kuch khaas nahin, bas hum dono kal yahan se bhaag jayenge'' He replied sarcastically.
This made her giggle. He planted a kiss on her forehead and stood up to leave but Ragini wouldn't leave his hand. ''Have patience, sabr ke pal meetha hota hai'' He winked at her and left the room. Before walking out of the door, he turned and took one last glance at her. 'Will pick you up at 9 in the morning, wait for me'' Nachiket gave her a sweet smile and mouthed a good night.
Ragini felt on top of the world having Nachiket back in her life. Tonight she didn't shy away to make it clear that she wanted him to stay for the night, which was very unlike her but today it felt good and she didn't regret anything. She turned around, opened her bedside drawer and took out his picture. She had it framed ever since they got divorced and had kept it there for the longest time. Now she could finally put it on the place where it deserved to be; next to her bed.
It was a picture of Nachiket in a black shirt looking handsome as ever. She smiled and remembered their romantic moments of today in the rain. It made her blush like always, this man was too good to be true. With his thoughts and her crimson red cheeks, Ragini fell asleep ready to be awakened by the man of her dreams...
Next morning - Khanna residence
Nachiket woke up from a very good sleep. He smiled and got up from bed to get ready for Ragini's surprise.
''Is everyone ready'' Nachiket walked in the room and asked the kids if they were all set to go.
Agham, Suhaani, Karan and Dimpy were already waiting with a huge smile on their face. However, they were two people who were not in the mood for this at all. Pam like always didn't want to come along and Ranbir didn't want to spend any time around Aarav and Ragini.
''Yes Dad, all set and ready to go!'' Both kids beamed with joy. He looked up and saw the not so happy faces of Pam and Ranbir. ''Why aren't you guys ready yet?'' He asked both of them.'Mera mood nahin hai Nachiket. Achanak se yeh trip...'' Pam said irritated.
''Koi baat nahin, mein RK se keh doonga not to make any special arrangements'' He said in a serious tone.
Hearing the name of RK, Pam became a bit conscious and gave her decision a second thought.
Nachiket looked at Pam's changed expressions; he knew that mentioning RK would make her want to go with them. He stood now in front of Ranbir. ''Aur tum? Why aren't you ready yet?''
''Mein bas jaana nahin chahta Dad. Especially jab woh aurat...'' Nachiket cut him off.
''Zubaan sambhalke baat karo Ranbir. Ragini mere liye kya hai yeh tum acche tarah se jaante ho aur who tumhari Maa bhi hai. Iss liye, I won't tolerate any disrespect towards her. You get that''
He said in a very strict and serious voice. ''Okay let's go everyone. Ranbir tum bhi''
And with that Nachiket walked away. Nachiket has never been a strict father, in fact he truly believes in letting his kids live the life they want but when it comes to elders, and especially Ragini, he wouldn't tolerate any disrespect whatsoever.
One car had Nachiket, Agham and Suhani and the other one had Ranbir, Pam, Karan and Dimpy.
''I am so excited for this trip, Dad. Can't wait to spend a few days with Mom'' said Suhaani.
''Haan mein bhi, aur humein finally Dad aur Mom ko ek saath dekhenge'' Agham said while looking at his Dad. ''Tum dono itne khush kyun hai? Matlab, tum dono aisa kya dekhna chahte ho?'' Nachiket said playfully to his kids. ''Such a change, wow Dad...kya jadoo kiya hai Mom ne aap par'' Agham joked. Nachiket gave a stern look at him but from inside he was laughing too.
Ragini had woken up quite early and waited for Nachiket to pick her up. She still had no idea what his surprise could be. The only thing she knew was to pack her stuff for a few days, so obviously they were going somewhere but everything else was a mystery. She smiled at the silliness of her curiosity. Actually she didn't even care where he would take her to; as long as he was with her everything seemed perfect.
The doorbell rang and made her jump out of her thoughts. She opened the door and there he was, the man of her dreams and her reality. ''Hi...'' he said in a husky voice and checked her out from top to bottom. ''Hi...'' She replied with a beautiful smile and saw him looking at her.
''Kya hua Nachiket, tum aise...tum aise kyun dekh rahe ho mujhe...'' The shyness in her took over.
Nachiket eyed her ''Agar mujhe pehle se pata hota ke tum aaj itni khoobsurat lagoge toh phir mein poori family saath lekar nahin aata tha...''
Ragini blushed and was left without words. They just stood there at the entrance and kept staring at each other for the longest time. It was only after a minute that the car honk from downstairs brought them back to reality.
''Sab neeche wait kar rahe hain...'' Nachiket suggested leaving. ''Where is your bag?''
''Kaamre mein'' Ragini turned around to get her stuff but Nachiket held her hand. 'I will get it''
Ragini wasn't sure if she had heard it right. Was everyone waiting outside? Matlab bacche bhi? That means they would go on a family trip. This idea of Nachiket made her genuinely happy.
Just when Nachiket stepped out carrying Ragini's bag he saw Badi Nani approaching them.
''Arre Nachiket beta, kaha jaa rahe hai tum log?'' Nachiket touched her feet out of respect.
''Nani, hum ek trip pe jaa rahe hain. Ragini kuch dino ke liye lekar jaa raha hoon, uske dil halka ho jayega'' And he winked at her. She glanced at him with big eyes and blushed.
''Mujhe bhi saath le chalo'' Badi Nani insisted like a little girl which made Nachiket smile in return.
Before Nachiket could reply Ragini interrupted ''Ji Nani, ab log toh shaam Aman Sir ke saath aane waale hai''
''Kis ke saath?!'' Nahin mein sirf apne Nachiket ke saath jaaongi'' She said with a sulking face.
Nachiket placed his hand on Badi Nani's lap and made her understand that it is better for her to come with Dr. Aman, Sunny Tai and Maa. Ragini looked at Nachiket's efforts to make Badi Nani understand. Both were so fond each other, even Nachiket would behave like a child whenever he was around her. Sometimes Ragini felt jealous of the kind of love Badi Nani showered upon him, but she knows that he holds a special place in Badi Nani's heart, just like she had in Dadaji's heart.
They said their goodbyes and went downstairs where everyone was waiting for them. Agham and Suhaani jumped out of the car and ran to give a tight hug to their mother.
''Oh Mom, I am so so so happy'' Agham beamed with joy. Ragini grinned and looked with questionable eyes to Nachiket, asking if he had already told them? Nachiket signaled no and to let it go otherwise questions will arise in their minds.
''Hey Aarav, come you sit with us'' Agham took his hand. They passed Karan's car and Aarav saw Ranbir sitting in the passenger's seat. Both gave each other rather deadly looks.
Nachiket and Ragini noticed the cold vibes and wanted to sort it out between them the soonest.
After a few minutes, Nachiket started the car and a new adventure in their lives was about to begin...
After a three-hour drive, they had finally arrived at their destination: RK's farmhouse. It was located outside of Mumbai, far away from the pollution, traffic jams and the hectic life of the citizens. This place was special for Nachiket and Ragini because they would visit the farmhouse whenever they needed a long break from their hectic schedule. It was a nice, peaceful place to unwind and spend time together.
Everybody stepped out of the car and the kids loved it. ''Wow, such a beautiful place Dad'' Suhaani said happily. Ragini smiled at the sight of seeing Suhaani so happy and lively, followed by Agham and Aarav. They took out the bags from the trunk and opened the gate. All this while, Pam was surprisingly rather quiet. Nachiket did notice her silence but chose not to say anything. Her eyes were searching here and there, not knowing exactly for what or who but she was definitely waiting for something...or someone.
All of them stood in front of the entrance; it had a sign on it which said 'Door is open''
Nachiket pushed it open and to everyone's surprise the entire hall and living room was decorated with balloons. Ragini loved the decoration. ''Oh my God Nachiket, this is so nice. Thank you so much'' She held his upper arm and expressed her happiness. Nachiket looked with confusion. ''Hmmm sorry to disappoint you Ragini, lekin yeh sab meine nahin kiya hai. In fact, mein khud surprised hoon'' Ragini let go of his arm and felt somehow embarrassed about thinking that Nachiket had done this...for her. Nachiket saw how she tried to avoid his eyes and chuckled inside.
''Yeh kaam toh sirf ek insaan kar sakta hai...'' Before Nachiket could finish what he wanted to say, music came out of the from some corner of the room.
'Bachna ae haseeno...lo mein aa gaya...'
Everyone was looking here and there, when they saw RK coming from that same corner. He started to dance on the tunes of the song and made everyone laugh with his not-so-great dance moves. After a few minutes of pure entertainment, the man welcomed everyone to his farmhouse. ''Aap sab log ka bahot swaghat hai, hope you have a wonderful stay at my farmhouse. Mein aapke khitmat ke liye hazir hoon'' And he looked at Pam while saying that last line. She looked away not wanting to make it obvious to everyone.
Everyone was impressed with the warm welcome. Nachiket walked up to him and gave him a tight hug ''Thanks RK for all this. You will never change''
''My pleasure buddy. Tum aur Ragini ke liye jaan bhi hazir hain'' The truth was that Nachiket had informed RK about them visiting the farmhouse. And also about how this should be special for Ragini, since it will be their first family trip after giving their love a second chance. RK being Nachiket's best buddy was more than happy and had tried his best to make this as memorable as possible. ''Accha chalo, tum sab apne room mein jao aur fresh ho jao'' RK instructed everyone to go and freshen up.
''Tum kaha jaa rahi ho?'' RK held Pam by her arm which made her turn around. She was taken aback with this sudden touch. ''Kya kar rahe ho RK? Let me go...''
''Arre aise kaise, humne abhi theek se hi' bhi nahin bola'' He smiled sweetly at her. It would have been a lie if that sweet smile wouldn't affect her, but Pam being someone who wouldn't show her true feelings that easy, played hard to get. ''Hi...ab mein jao?'' She replied sarcastically. RK let go of her arm and she walked away. ''Kab tak khud ko mujhse door rakoogi, Pam...''
Upstairs - 1st floor
''Mein Mom ke saath room share karoongi!'' Suhaani said loud.
Nachiket looked not very pleased with that idea and stared at Ragini, his eyes asking her to say something. But the poor woman wasn't able to say anything. How could she argue that when nobody knew what exactly was going on between her and Nachiket. ''This is not fair Suhaani, mein Mom ke saath room share karna chahta tha'' Agham sulked. ''I am the only girl here, iss liye mera poora haq hai'' Suhaani said as a matter of fact. She did have a point. ''Okay...toh phir Aarav aur mein ek room mein honge. Okay Aarav?''
'Ya cool'' He replied happily.
This is not really the way Nachiket wanted this, he had to do something otherwise he would never get a chance to spend some time alone with Ragini without disturbance. ''Suhaani, tumne apni Mom se ek baar toh pooch lo ke woh tumhare saath room share karna chahti hai ya nahin...?''
Ragini stared with big eyes at him. This man...sabke saamne... Nachiket understood that glare but didn't pay any heed to it.
''Kyun? Kyun Mom ko koi aitraaz hai? Aap mere saath ek room mein nahin rehna chahte hai?'' Suhaani asked her Mom with a sad face and puppy face. Being a mother, Ragini's heart melted, hence she couldn't say no. 'Of course...''
''Of course Ragini ko koi aitraaz nahin hai, lekin mujhe hai'' RK interrupted their discussion.
Everyone's head turned around in confusion. ''Okay let me explain. Who kya hai nai, ke Neil aur Ragini ka kamra ground floor mein hai''
''WHAT?!'' Everyone said together. Ragini gave a stern look at RK. Yeh kya bol raha hai.
''Don't get so shocked. Mera matlab hai ke, yahan pe log zyada hai aur rooms kam. So iss liye, do log neeche rahenge, ground floor'' RK explained to them.
''Lekin RK Uncle, neeche room kahan hai?'' Agham asked with much curiosity.
RK put his arm around Agham and held him lightly. ''Beta, tumhe kya lagta hai ke mein apne farmhouse ko jaanta nahin? Mein iss jagah ka har kone se waaqif hoon. You don't worry, tumhara Mummy Papa aram se rehenge''
Nachiket knew what RK meant and a small joyful smile played on his lips.
''Aiye, mein tum dono ko apne room tak chod kar aata hoon'' And he gestured Nachiket and Ragini to follow him to the ground floor. Like two obedient kids they followed RK to their room.
Ranbir cared less about all this and went to his room. Karan and Dimpy had already freshened up. The other three kids stood there wondering what that was all about. ''Yeh kya tha?'' Aarav asked confused. ''Bhai, kuch na kuch toh garbar hai...'' Agham shook his head suspiciously.
''Dad, kaal raat late aaye teh. Aur the day before bhi gayab teh and now this... kuch toh hai, aur humein pata lagana hoga'' Suhaani said after analyzing Nachiket's behavior and connecting the dots.
''Tum log abhi bhi yahin pe ho?'' Pam saw them standing in the corridor. ''Aur Neil ka kaamra kahan hai, mujhe usse baat karni hai''
All three of them looked at each other on how to tell Pam about the room division.
''Pam, woh...woh...Dad aur Mom ka kaamra downstairs hai'' Aghaam said hesitantly.
''What?! Neil aur Ragini ka kaamre, matlab who dono ek saath rahenge?'' Pam was shocked and furious at the same time. ''Woh toh nahin pata lekin RK Uncle ne...''
''I knew it! Yeh RK bhi na!'' Pam said furiously. ''Anyways, baad mein dekh loongi usko. Mujhe thoda rest karna hai'' And with that, Pam went into her room to take a nice bath.
Ground floor - Nachiket and Ragini's room
''Yeh le jiye aapka room'' RK pointed to two rooms. At the backside of the farmhouse there was a small corridor which led to a spacious section which included one master bedroom with a balcony, a smaller bedroom and a terrace. This section of the farmhouse was not known to everyone, it was their little romantic getaway in the farmhouse. Ever since they got separated this was left unused but now the lovebirds where back together so RK had made all the effort to make it as pleasant as possible; he had renovated and redecorated the rooms and the terrace.
''This is looking so nice, RK. Lekin mein aur Nachiket...yahan...matlab...'' Ragini wasn't sure what to think of the idea to share a room with Nachiket. She wasn't totally against it though.
RK smiled, he stepped forward to stand between Nachiket and Ragini. He put one arm around Ragini and the other one around Nachiket.
''Ragini...apni pyaar ko doosri bar paane ke liye sirf kismat waalo ko milta hai. Yeh room, yeh farmhouse, yeh trip toh sirf uss naya safar ka pehla kadam hai. Itne dino baad tum aur Neil ek saath yahan pe aaye ho toh kyun na kuch yaadein tazaa ho jaye...'' And with that he turned his face to Nachiket and winked. His best friend understood the silent message.
After Ragini, it was only RK who could understand Nachiket better than himself. They had become best friends ever since their college days. RK had always understood the importance of Ragini in Nachiket's life and had seen him broken into pieces when they had got divorced. But seeing Nachiket and Ragini back together, made RK the happiest man in this world.
After RK had left, Nachiket saw Ragini's tensed face. ''Kya hua Ragini, tum itne worried kyun lag rahe ho?''
''Nachiket, how are we going to do this? Room, mein, tum...'' She replied with confusion.
He chuckled seeing how she has reacted to sharing a room with him. He came closer and held her by the shoulders. ''Ragini...we don't have to share the room if you don't want to. Waise bhi, that was not my idea. Matlab, yes I wanted to spend time with you here and told RK to make it as memorable as possible, lekin hum aisa kuch nahin karenge joh tumhe pasand na ho'' He saw the tension fade away from her face.
Ragini felt relieved. ''I am sorry Nachiket, lekin humne abhi tak kisi ko bata bhi nahin.. iss liye''
''I totally understand Ragini. Tension mat lo. Waise bhi, tension tumhare chehre pe suit nahin karti'' He reassured and joked with her to take her worry away.
She giggled and threw her arms around him. One hug from this man and all her worries would vanish; she felt so at peace here. He held her close and let her stay for a second. These impulsive hugs from Ragini could totally make his day. After a minute, she broke the hug and turned around to get her bag.
''Waise, tum kyun aise darr rahi ho room share karne mein? Kal raat toh tum kuch aur hi chahti thi...'' Nachiket teased her.
Ragini was caught off guard. She didn't expect him to bring up the turn of events of last night. ''Hmmm...nahin aisa kuch nahin. Kal raat baat kuch aur thi...'' She tried to step away but Nachiket pulled her by her hand.
''Toh kaisi baat thi...'' He asked her huskily.
''Nahin baatongi'' Ragini teased him back, pressed her hand on his chest and gave him a little push.
Before she entered her bedroom, she gave one final look at him. ''Aur haan, mein kisi se nahin darti. Tumse toh bilkul bhi nahin...''
Nachiket opened the door to his room, which was the smaller one, next to hers. He decided to test her fear...later at night.
Farmhouse - Kitchen
After everyone had unpacked and freshened up, all of them had gathered in the living room. RK had announced that they could do whatever they wanted but should be back before dinner and also because tonight would be game night.
Aarav, Agham and Suhani went into the huge backyard and kept themselves busy with outdoor activities. Ranbir stayed mostly in his room doing some work on his laptop. The rest would hang out together, however Ragini preferred to keep her distance from Pam since they still shared some cold vibes, at least from Pam's side. Hence, Nachiket and she took a stroll into the beautiful garden of the farmhouse. All of them were back in the evening because it was time to cook dinner.
As usual, it was Ragini who offered to make dinner since she loved to cook, especially for her family. She had tied up her hair in a bun and was busy with making the preparations, which is why she didn't notice, despite having an open kitchen, who would come in and out.
''Mmm, kya khushboo aa rahi hai!'' Agham entered the kitchen to check on his Mom.
''Arre, Agham beta tum'' Ragini smiled to see him smelling up the aroma of spices and herbs. 'Aap kya bana rahi hai?'' He asked curiously.
''Palak paneer, aloo gobi, rajma chawal aur...'' Before she could finish, she gave a light slap on his hand with which he wanted to taste some of the delicious food.
''Ouch!'' And he took his hand back quickly. ''Agar jaldi se dinner karna hai toh help karo, warna door kar rahe ho'' Ragini said in a rather strict voice. It was the first time Agham had seen this strict side of his Mom and he backed off immediately.
''Kya ho rahe hai yahan?'' Nachiket walked into the kitchen and saw Agham standing quietly in the corner. ''Tujhe kya hua hai? Chehre pe baja kyun bhaj raha hai?'' Nachiket asked Agham while he also stood in front of the stove to see what was cooking.
''Dad, woh Mom ne...mein...'' Agham tried to explain to his Dad what had happened but he saw Nachiket making the same mistake and before he could warn his Dad, Ragini had already noticed.
''Ouch!'' Nachiket rubbed his hand which was slapped by Ragini a second ago.
''Dono baap beta ek jaise hai'' She pointed a finger at them. ''You should have known Nachiket, now go and stand next to Agham'' With a sulked face, Nachiket stood beside Agham and gave him a look. ''Tumne bataya kyun nahin, ke Ragini ne tumhe punishment di hai''.
''Mein aapko batane waala tha lekin it was already too late. Aur Dad, like Mom said, aapko toh pata tha na ke Mom woh sab accha nahin lagta, toh phir aap...'' Agham raised his eyebrow.
''Kyunki mujhe Ragini ke naraz waali chehra bahot pasand, she looks very cute aur...'' Nachiket stopped and realized that he was giving away too much information. Agham was listening with so much affection to how his Dad talked lovingly about his Mom. ''Tu jaa yahan se, chalo...out out'' Nachiket pushed his son out of the kitchen. Now it was only him and Ragini.
Ragini was so focused on preparing the food that she didn't notice when Agham had left the kitchen and that she was left alone with Nachiket. He approached her from behind, tip toed like a thief who was not allowed to make any kind of noise. He sneaked his arms around her waist, hugged her and rested his chin on her shoulder.
''Nachiket! Kya kar rahi ho tum?!'' Ragini was startled since she didn't know he was still there. ''Mein tumhari naraazgi door kar raha hoon...''
''Chodo mujhe Nachiket, koi aa jayega'' She tried to free herself but all efforts went in vain.
''Let me be around you for a while..aur waise bhi yahan pe koi bhi nahin hai. Sab bahar gaye hain'' And he hugged her more tightly.
What both didn't know was that three pairs of young eyes were watching them from a distance. Agham had gone to Suhaani and Aarav, after he had left the kitchen. He told them about Nachiket's ''weird'' behavior and the way he spoke about Ragini. That is when the three of them decided to check upon them secretly and were now sitting on the stairs, watching what scene was going on between their parents.
''Nachiket chodo nah, warna...'' She tried to scare him with a warning but has this man ever been scared of anything and anyone?
''Warna kya?'' He said huskily in her ear. His breath tingled in her ear and for a mere second Ragini felt a shiver going down her spine. Nachiket noticed the change in her body language and kept his face close to her ear. He didn't make it easier for Ragini, but she couldn't give in...at least not here and not now. She tried to compose herself. 'Warna...no dessert for you'' She tried to sound strict but failed miserably only because of the proximity.
''That's not fair, Ragini'' Nachiket acted as if he was sad. ''Waise, dessert mein hai kya? Yeh haathon waali dessert'' And he caressed her hands slowly with his fingers ''Ya phir...yeh meethi waali dessert'' He kissed her feathery light on her left cheek and broke the hug.
Ragini was lost for words, all she could say was ''In dono se mein ek bhi nahin...''
''No problem, un dono se mein ek toh mein zaroor le loonga...dessert ke liye'' He winked at her and left the kitchen.
She stood there thinking about what just had happened. She still could feel the touch of his fingers on her hands. Slowly she moved her left hand to touch her cheek, exactly on the place where he had planted that kiss full of love and tease. She had lost her heart to this man 15 years ago and it was still with him... Angry with herself, she quickly shook off her thoughts and continued with making the food.
Nachiket was whistling and smiling but that smile faded away soon when he saw three teenagers sitting on the stairs; Aarav had covered his ears with his hands, Suhaani had covered her eyes with her hands and Agham had covered his mouth with his hands.
Nachiket was startled to see them sitting like this. ''Tum teeno yahan kya kar rahe ho? Aur aise kyun baithe ho?''
''Kuch nahin Papa, hum bas aise hi game khel rahe the...'' Aarav spoke on behalf of them.
''Yeh kaisa game hai aur...'' Nachiket looked sideways and noticed that the position they were sitting in, the kitchen could actually be seen. He feared the worst but decided to act as if he knew nothing; therefore he didn't bother to ask much. ''Accha, theek hai...Continue playing'' He replied awkwardly and ran up the stairs quickly.
''Oh by the way Dad...'' Suhaani's voice stopped him in his tracks. 'Mom, ne aaj dinner ke liye kya banai hai?'' She tried to sounds serious.
''Mein...mujhe kaisa pata hoga ke dinner me kya hai...'' Nachiket wondered why she suddenly asked him this question. ''Aap toh abhi abhi kitchen se aaye hai nah...aap Mom ke saath teh nah toh...'' Before Agham could finish, Nachiket was already gone.
All three of them turned their heads around but no sign of Nachiket. They laughed and gave each other a high five. Their mission almost got completed...they were now only waiting for the confirmation.
Dinner was appreciated and loved by everyone. Ragini had made sure to make veg and nog veg. All were having a great time. After dinner, RK announced that all of them will go outside to enjoy the night. Again, he had made sure that everything was taken care of; a nice bonfire, some drinks and a huge blanket on where everyone could sit on. Everyone took positions and was eager to know what game they would play. Before Nachiket could sit next to Ragini, Agham jumped in between and made it very clear that he would sit next to his Mom. Nachiket couldn't make his irritation obvious in front of everyone, so without creating a scene, he went quietly to sit on exactly opposite of her next to Suhaani.
The two kids looked briefly at each other with a naughty smile. It went unnoticed by Nachiket and Ragini since they were quite busy with exchanging glances.
''Accha, sab log ready hai?'' RK asked. ''YES!'' They all replied cheerfully.
''Okay, let me explain the game. Hum khelne jaa rahe hai, spin the bottle. Matlab, there will be one bottle in the middle, someone will spin it and to whomever the bottle points at, he or she has will be asked truth or dare''
''RK Uncle, kuch bhi chalega? Means we can ask for anything?'' Agham asked hopefully.
''Haan haan, anything''
''Can I start?'' Suhaani raised her finger to ask. ''Sure'' RK replied.
She came a bit forward and gave a good spin to the bottle. After a few second of spinning, the bottle stopped and pointed at Ragini.
''YES!'' Suhaani said out loud, perhaps a bit too loud since she saw everyone looking at with her confusion on their faces. They couldn't really understand why she was so extremely happy about the fact that it was pointed to Ragini. Only one other person knew exactly why...It was none other than Agham.
''Suhaani...be nice to Mom, okay?'' Agham said from the other side of the circle to her. But the expressions on his face was telling a whole different story.
''Okay Mom...Truth or Dare?'' Was her first question to Ragini.
Ragini looked hesitantly here and there not knowing what to choose and to expect. ''Uhmm...Truth'' She said in small voice.
''Good...toh Mom, aap yeh bataiye ke...'' Suhaani deliberately dragged the question which increased the suspension, especially Ragini's.
''Ke...Dad aapko woh three magical words kab bola tha?'' Agham looked at her with big eyes. She actually dared to ask this question!
Ragini stared with shocking eyes to Suhaani and was perplexed by the question. ''Yeh kaisa sawaal hai? This is against the rules, matlab I am only supposed to say true or not'' She said in her own defense.
''No no Ragini, tumhe jawab dena hi hoga. Warna punishment, aur haan...it is not against the rules'' RK interfered, looked at Suhaani and both made a mental high five.
Even Nachiket hadn't expected this question. ''Suhaani tum bhi nah. Kya ajeeb ajeeb sawal poochti ho...''
''Neil, mera bhai, kya tum chahte ho ke Ragini ko hum punishment de? Nahin nah, iss liye let her answer the question'' RK gave him a friendly warning.
Poor Ragini was left with no choice, hence she had to answer. She glanced at Nachiket, took a deep sigh and started to tell how and when Nachiket said those three words to her.
''Shaadi se pehle, humne ek baar lunch karne ke liye bahar gaye teh. We had agreed on 1.30PM and I got there 5 minutes earlier...''
Nachiket looked with a confused look at her. Ragini yeh kya bolne jaa rahi hai. Kuch samaj mein nahin aa raha hai. She didn't look back at him but did sense that his eyes were fixed on her.
''Mein wahan wait kar rahi thi and no sign of Nachiket, ab tak toh he was already 15 minutes late. Baar baar, I tried to call him lekin he wouldn't pick up. Mein usually itni nahin wait karti, matlab I hate people who are late. Lekin, somehow mein wahan intezaar karti rahi. Phir, who ek dum se mere saamne aa gaya tha aur uske haath peeche the. I was so mad at him for being so late. He kneeled down and held a beautiful red rose in his hands for me...''
''Phir...'' Suhaani waited in anticipation. She loved this story, although the situation was pretty weird to her how her Dad had said those three magical words to her Mom. She had expected him to be a bit more romantic than that.
This time Ragini looked straight into Nachiket's eyes that still didn't quite get what she was saying.
''Phir usne kaha...I...AM SORRY'' And she giggled at her own silly story.
''KYA?!'' Suhaani could not believe what she heard and so couldn't the others. Nachiket was absolutely surprised by this story of Ragini. He looked at her shaking his head a bit.
''Mom, yeh cheating hai! Meri matlab yeh three words nahin the'' Suhaani protested.
''Haan toh, you didn't say ke tumne kaunse three words chahiye'' Ragini replied with a victorious attitude. 'Kyun RK...''
The truth was that this story was made up by Ragini, none of it was true. But she just couldn't share the actual story, it was not meant for everyone.
RK couldn't say anything to this. Ragini was actually right: Suhaani didn't make it clear which three words exactly hence this wouldn't be counted as cheating. He was very surprised by this move of Ragini. 'Mana padhega Ragini...very smart'' He showed her a thumbs up.
''Kya kehte ho janab...'' RK asked his friend. ''Akher patni kiski hai...'' Nachiket proudly said.
''Oh ho Dad...khullam khulla'' Agham whistled from the other side. ''Chup kar tu'' Nachiket warned him and Ragini gave him a light slap on the back of his head.
''Okay okay, it is my turn now. Mujhe bottle spin karna hai'' Agham quickly took the bottle before somebody else would take his turn. Within a few seconds the bottle stopped and pointed at Nachiket.
''Dad, ready ho jaye...'' Agham rolled up his sleeves. 'Baap hoon tera...bring it on'' Nachiket did the same and repositioned himself. ''Truth or Dare?'' Agham asked him.
Without giving it a second thought Nachiket replied Dare' with full confidence. Agham too didn't take much time to give him the dare. ''Theek hai...Mom ke liye ek gaana gaiye''
''KYA?!'' Both Nachiket and Ragini said in chorus. Again RK interfered and said ''Ragini, kya tum chahti ho ke hum Neil ko punish kare?''
''Wah Bhai, emotional blackmail ko koi tumse seekhe'' Karan patted his brother's back.
''Lekin RK...'' Ragini tried to get out of this because she knew Nachiket would agree to the dare.
''Theek hai toh phir Neil ko punishment milega...'' Before RK could tell what the punishment would be, Nachiket already announced that he would accept the dare.
''Yeh huyi na baat!'' RK and Karan said at the same time.
Agham was happy that his Dad accepted the dare. This could get quite interesting.
Ragini looked nervously at Nachiket, asking him not to do this but Nachiket was not backing out of this. He cleared his throat and begun to sing.
'Aye meri zohra-jabeen, tujhe maalum nah...'
RK, Karan, Dimpy, Agham and Suhaani started to clap and whistle. Ragini was the center of attention now and felt very shy.
His eyes didn't leave hers once and Nachiket continued to sing.
'Tu abhi tak hai haseen aur main jawaan...
Tujhpe qurbaan meri jaan meri jaan'
''Woohoo Dad! Kya baat hai'' Aarav, Agham and Suhaani were enjoying this chupke chupke romance of their parents.
''Wah Neil, wah!'' Karan, Dimpy and RK were really surprised by this unexpected romance.
Ragini couldn't take it anymore so she stood up and walked away.
''Arre Ragini, kaha jaa rahi ho?!'' RK tried to stop. 'Mom, mom, mom...come back!'' Agham shouted.
''Lagta hai Ragini ko sharam aa gayi hai...'' Dimpy understood what Ragini must be going through since she knew Ragini didn't like this kind of attention in front of everyone.
''Kya Neil, darra diya nah Ragini ko'' RK joked. ''Excuse me everyone, mein dekh kar aata hoon'' Nachiket stood up and followed Ragini.
Yeh dono aap wapas nahin aane waale hain RK thought to himself.
Inside the farmhous
Nachiket looked around the house to see where Ragini went to. He checked upstairs, in the kitchen, some bedrooms but she was nowhere to be found. Eventually, he went to her bedroom and saw her standing at the balcony. He should have known that she was here...
He walked up to her and stood behind her, without touching her but close enough for her to feel that he was there. ''Gaana accha nahin laga kya?'' Nachiket joked.
It made here smile. ''Tumhara awaaz ko kya hoga hai Nachiket...It used to be quite nice to listen to you'' She chuckled inside.
''Accha...you are the first one to say ke mera awaaz kharab hai. Matlab, itne saalon se I have quite sang a lot for the ladies aur kisi ne bhi shikayat nahin ki...''
Ragini turned around and faced him with a raised eyebrow. ''Really, agar yeh baat ho toh jao un ladies ke paas...Yahan kya kar rahi hoon mere paas?''
Nachiket gave it a thought and agreed. 'Actually you are right...mein wapas chala jaata hoon...'' He wanted to take off but Ragini held him with both hands at his collar, their faces being just a few inches away from each other. Nachiket looked down at her hands and then back to her face, his eyes shifting from her eyes to her lips.
''Kyun kya hua...jealous ho rahi ho?'' He continued teasing her.
''Nahin...lekin jaane se pehle tumhe kuch dena chahti hoon...'' She whispered in his face. The movement of her pink lips made it not easy for Nachiket. What was this woman up to?
''Kya...'' He whispered back. ''Your dessert...'' She moved her face even closer and planted a very light kiss at the corner of his mouth.
She let him go and walked into the bathroom to change. Nachiket was left behind on the balcony, completely mesmerized by her kiss. It was not the first time she had kissed him, but very rarely Ragini would take a bold step like this and tease him. And after many years he had seen this side of hers again. He turned around and exited the room.
Ragini my dear, tumhe pata nahin ke who sirf dessert ka trailer tha...poora dessert toh abhi baaki hai.
In his room, he also went to the bathroom to take a shower and to put on his night suit. After he was done, he waited outside Ragini's room. After a few minutes, the door opened and Ragini went to the kitchen. She didn't notice Nachiket at all and that is exactly what he wanted. Quickly he sneaked in her room, switched off the lights and sat on her bed...waiting for her.
After some minutes, she came back but was surprised to see the lights off in her room.
Meine toh lights off nahin kiya tha
''Lights meine off kiya hai...'' She heard his voice and let out a small scream.
''Nachiket?! Tum kya kar rahi hoon yahan iss waqt?'' She was still standing at the door.
He got up and walked up to her. Ragini had no idea what he wanted from her.
'Hum tum ek kaamre mein bandh ho...' And he closed the door with his right hand...