So, to the delight of Dilip and Suryabhan, Prithvi and Kripa get married. Angad helped with all the arrangements for the wedding. Angad could not take his eyes of the new bride all evening. She looked like a princess in her red lehnga and bridal make-up and jewelry.
After the wedding ceremonies were over, Angad brought the decorated car to drive the newly weds home. Kripa cried a lot during the "vidaai," She had a small family-her dad, a few distant cousins, aunts and uncles. Most of her mother's family was back in Rajasthan and were not present at the wedding. Since Gayatri's demise, Kripa had not been in touch with her mother's side of the family as much as her dad's side.
Prithvi and Kripa sat in the backseat, as Angad pulled over during the vidaai. As he drove off, he noticed in his rear view mirror that Kripa could not stop sobbing. Prithvi felt a little uncomfortable and tried to comfort her. Angad could not hold himself, "Arre Kripa, aise ro rahi ho jaise kisi ajnabee ke yahan ja rahi ho….hum logon ke yahan hi tho jaa rahi ho….waise bhi tumharey papa ka ghar 15 minute ki doori par hi hai…jab chaho jaa sakti ho…."
Kripa was in no mood to joke around; she gave him a sharp look with her sore eyes, "Angad…..tum ek aurat nahin ho…..tum kya uska dard samjhoge! Aur jahan tak ajnabee hone ka sawal hai, kabhi kabhi ajnabee bhi apney se lagte hain….aur kabhi apney bhi ajnabee ho jatey hain
….." Angad understood the sarcasm in her comment and from there on drove quietly. Prithvi was surprised at the way Kripa spoke to Angad- she must be really sad to leave her home
, he thought.
Angad and Dilip were reading the morning paper and having their morning tea in the porch, when they saw Kripa come downstairs. She was wearing a saree, but her red and swollen eyes told them that she had not slept all night. Angad felt a pang of jealousy at the thought of Kripa being up all night with someone else! He shook his head- "main aisa kaise soch sakta hoon…..after all she is married to someone else now…."
"Aao beti…." Dilip blessed Kripa as she touched his feet.
"Kripa…chai peeogi?" Angad asked politely
"Nahin main chai nahin peeti….." she said coldly
"Angad….yeh Kripa Kripa kya laga rakha hai…..ab tho tumhari bhabhi hai yeh…" Dilip said
Angad was stunned at that comment but composed himself, "Arre chachaji…bhabhi is too old fashioned…..you know I am a man of the 21 st century…main tho Kripa hi boloonga…..waise bhi mujhsey umar mein choti hai….bhabhi sounds like she is a old woman," Angad laughed.
Dilip laughed back, "Angad…tumsey koyi nahin jeet sakta…."
Kripa looked at Angad and smiled sarcastically. She sat next to Dilip, "papa…aap nashtey mein kya pasand kartey hain….."
"Oh beta…meri chinta mat karo…..inn ladkon sey poonch lo….kisi aurat ke haath ka bana khana inhoney kab sey nahin khaya…..yahan tak hamara naukar bhi ladka hi hai…..kitna achcha lagta hai jab ek aurat ghar mein aa jati hai tho….kyon Angad?"
Kripa looked at Angad to see his response, and then got up to bring some vegetables from the kitchen.
"Yeh baat tho theek hai chachaji…..ek ladki ki shobha alag hi hoti hai,"he smiled at Kripa as she came back with a bowl, vegetables and a knife to cut them. Angad noticed that Kripa had the knife pointing at him; he knew she would make him a target of her sharp tongue just like the knife, over the coming days.
"Beta…main apni morning walk ke liye jaa raha hoon….Kripa beti kuch bhi chahiye ho tho Angad sey poonch lena…ghar ki har cheez isko zyada pata hai….Prithvi tho late uthta hai waise bhi…."
Angad and Kripa sat quietly in the porch for a while, the only noise being the knife hitting the cutting board and the squeaking noise from the swing on which Angad was sitting and sipping his tea.
"Can I help?" Angad finally asked Kripa
"NO thanks…mujhey aadat hai….apney ghar mein bhi main hi kaam karti thi…."she replied coldly.
"Kripa…." Angad paused
"Kyon? Bhabhi kehney sey dartey ho? Papa ko tho kisi tarah pataa liya ki tum bahut modern ho…..yeh kyon nahin kehtey ki tum mujhey bhabhi ke roop mein kabhi dekh hi nahin saktey!"
Angad stood up, "KRIPA! Tum please….ab tum shaadi shuda ho…..aise nahin bolna chahiye….."
Kripa stood up after cutting all her veggies, "Angad….sach kadwa laga na?…..kya karoon mujhey ghuma phira ke bolna bilkul pasand nahin hai…..hamesha sey hi seedha seedha bolney ki aadat rahi hai……itni jaldi aadat change karna mushkil hai…."
Angad knew Kripa would not be an easy person to live with; unfortunately whatever she had said so far was all true, and he had no answers.
"Good morning Angad…good morning Kripa!" Prithvi walked in bleary eyed.
Prithvi poured himself a cup of tea from the kettle, 'arre Kripa tum aatey hi kitchen mein lag gayi…."
Angad teased Prithvi, "Hmm…..bahut chinta hai tho jaa tu bhi help kar de…."
"Yaar…main aur kitchen?….You are better at that….KRIPA DO YOU NEED ANY HELP? ANGAD IS SAYING HE WILL HELP!" Prithvi teased Angad back
Kripa replied back, "I AM FINE….I DON'T NEED ANY HELP!…and that too from Angad.." she whispered the last part to herself clenching her teeth.
Angad tried to change the topic, "Hmm Prithvi lagta hai raat bhar soya nahin…..tho suhaag raat kaisi rahi?"he patted his back
Prithvi lowered his eyes shyly, "Angad…yaar chhod…..tu bhi na…."
Kripa came back after putting the vegetables to cook in the pressure cooker, "Angad….tumhey kya lagta hai log suhaag raat mein kya kartey hain?"
Angad was shocked at her question, 'Wo…wo….wohi kartey hai…jo sab kartey hain…"
"Tho phir poonch kyo rahey ho?"
Kripa gave him a sharp look. Angad looked away and was about to leave when Dilip came back from his walk.
"Good morning Prithvi beta….achcha hua tum uth gaye….main tum logon ki honeymoon ke baare mein soch hi raha tha…..yeh rahi 3 tickets Mt Abu ke liye…."
"Theen?" Angad intervened
"Haan theen-Prithvi, Kripa aur tum!" Dilip said authoritatively
"Chachaji main…..main kya karoonga kabab mein hadhi ban kar…."
"Angad…main kuch nahin sun naa chahta….you will have to come with us" Prithvi spoke up
"Beta…tum bhi wahan ghoom lena…after all that is how all of you met…..Prithvi aur Kripa apney aap time paas kar lengey…tum kuch aur kar lena….but have fun all three of you" Dilip refused to hear a 'no'
Angad looked at Kripa, who was trying to suppress her smile and look away.
"OK chachaji main jaaney ko tayyar hoon par mere saath meri dost Mishti bhi chalegi…."
"Mishti?…are you serious about her?" Prithvi asked
"Never been more serious…" Angad looked down and turned around, he knew he could not look at Kripa in the eye as he said that.
"Kya karti hai wo?" Prithvi asked
"Wo…wo…ek advertising firm mein marketing department mein hai" Angad lied again
"OK…beta…I will make 1 more reservation" Dilip said
The 4 of them checked into a beautiful hotel.
"Prithvi…tum logon ka kamraa 8th floor par hai…aur hamara 6th floor par" Angad handed over the keys to Prithvi and put his arm around Mishti and walked towards the elevator.
Kripa's temper flared up whenever she saw Mishti-there was something about her which made her uncomfortable-why did she care? Was Kripa jealous of her? Or did she still care for Angad, as she thought Mishti was not the right girl for him?
When they reached the 6th floor, Angad handed over separate keys to Mishti-"tumhara kamraa 605 hai aur mera 608….par kisi ko pata nahin chalna chahiye….samjhi…"
"Theek hai baba…..main apney kamrey mein jaati…..aap ko jab zaroorat ho mera, mujhey phone milana…..main aa jaayegi…" Mishti winked at him and left. Angad cringed at her friendly gesture but just nodded and walked into his room.
After lunch, they all decided to go biking on the mountains.
"That is a great idea Angad…..batao kab chalna hai.." Prithvi was excited and squeezed Kripa's hand. Kripa just smiled but did not seem very receptive to Prithvi's intimacy.
Angad managed to find a place a few miles away from their hotel to rent the bikes. He got 2 tandem bikes. Prithvi and Kripa rode in one; Angad and Mishti on the other one. It was a beautiful day and they did not realize how far they had come on their bikes.
Suddenly, Prithvi and Kripa's bike hit a stone in the path and they both came crashing down. Angad and Mishti ran to help. Prithvi got up and brushed his clothes. Kripa's leg had struck a sharp metallic piece on the dirt road and had gashed her leg right below the knee.
"KHOON! KHOON!" Prithvi screamed, as he saw Kripa sitting in a pool of blood spurting out of her deep leg wound below her jeans. Angad rushed to Kripa and tore the lower part of her jeans to look at the wound, "PRITHVI…PLEASE GIVE ME A CLOTH OR SOMETHING….SHE WILL BLEED TO DEATH" Kripa was feeling dizzy and almost fainted but Angad put his arm around her neck and rested her head on his thigh.
"Yaar…Angad…I can't find anything…" Prithvi was turning pale himself, his fear at the sight of blood was very evident.
"Mishti….zara Prithvi ko sambhalo…let me take care of Kripa…" Angad removed his t-shirt and tied it around her gushing wound. That helped slow the blood flow, but she needed medical help soon. By now, she was semi conscious and limp in Angad's lap. Angad lifted her with both his arms and started walking, "Mishti…you and Prithvi meet us at the hotel with the bikes….I will find a doctor…"
Angad walked miles with Kripa in his arms. He did not remove his eyes from her beautiful, but pale face-he made sure she was still breathing; he prayed all through, "Please God don't let anything happen to her
A sweaty, bare chest Angad reached the hotel with a beautiful lady in his arms. The hotel manager rushed to them, 'Kya hua sir?"
"I need a doctor…she has a bad wound…."
"Yes sir….hotel doctor ko bhejta hoon main…aap inhey room mein le jaaiye…"
Angad took her to his room, as he did not have her room keys. She had regained consciousness by then. She was shocked to see herself in Angad's arms, his muscular chest close to her body, hair all wet from perspiration and sweat beads all over his face and chest. " Angad what are you doing?"
Kripa tried to free herself but the pain in her leg prevented her from doing so. Angad carried her to his bed and placed her down. Kripa winced in pain and tried to speak, " Angad, what the hell…are you….tumhari himmat kaise huyi mujhey yahan lane ki
"Shut up Kripa! Doctor aata hi hoga…"
"Doctor?" she looked at her blood soaked, torn jeans and Angad's t-shirt around her leg. Her anger at Angad melted away, "Angad….yeh kya hua?" she finally rested her head on the pillow and closed her eyes, as she recalled the accident.
Angad was on the phone, as he put on a clean shirt on, "Haan Mishti…Prithvi sey kehna bikes wapas kar de aur mere room mein hain hum…..doctor is on his way.."
The doctor arrived and advised stitches. He prepared her wound and started suturing right away. Angad could see the pain in Kripa's eyes, as the doctor injected her wound. He went and sat beside her and squeezed her hand, 'Kripa….sab theek ho jaayega….himmat sey kaam lo…"
Kripa closed her eyes and did not make any effort to free her hand; there was something so comforting about his touch that she forgot the needle piercing
her skin. She squeezed his hand tighter if she felt any discomfort. Angad was tempted to caress her face and stroke her hair; he almost touched her head when there was a knock on the door. He freed his hand and went to open the door. Kripa opened her eyes and saw Prithvi standing at the door.
Prithvi ran to Kripa, "kripa….are you all right?….main tho darr hi gaya tha.." he held her hand as the doctor completed his job. Strangely, Kripa could feel every stab of the needle after Prithvi held her hand…..what was so magical about Angad's touch?……why did she still crave for him?
…..she closed her eyes and Angad saw tears rolling from her eyes. He knew she was hurting but he was helpless.
"Doctor….yeh kitney din mein theek ho jaayega?" Angad tried to distract himself.
"Kareeb 1-2 hafte tho lag jaayenge….next 1 week someone will have to do her dressing everyday…..yeh rahey prescriptions….." the doctor left after shaking hands with Angad, "young man, you saved your wife's life today …."
Angad and Prithvi were stunned at the doctor's response, "Oh…sorry doctor…he is the husband….I was just helping….." Angad pointed towards Prithvi.
"OH….I am sorry….I was mistaken…..anyways good luck…call me if you have any concerns…."
Kripa heard what the doctor had said but she pretended she was not listening….why did the doctor's words sound like music to her……even when she knew Angad would never be hers……why did she feel she still belonged to him……and he belonged to her……why did she feel that it was his 'haq" to take care of her……
…..to be continued….
Edited by bheegi - 11 July 2007 at 5:59am