Chupanke Ki Saaza
The Game Starts Again
Bani sighed as she
entered her room in the Walia Mansion. Everything was the way it used to be
before she got married - neat and clean. Jai hated messy rooms and she loved
them and yet, they got along.
She stood beside the
window and flipped through the paintings that hung on the stand. They all
reminded her of her old life. She took up the hobby to paint to distract
herself from her unwanted arranged marriage. But she learned to love it and
now, she was being forced to forget it.
Yelled a voice as a girl in her twenties flung her arms around her.
Lakshmi," Bani said. "No one is dying here."
Lakshmi let go of
her. "You are. Look at you... dark circles, dry hair and skinny like hell.
Have you been eating?"
Bani rolled her eyes.
"Yeah yeah... how come you are here?"
Lakshmi made a sad
face. "Kya main apni dost ko dekh bhi nahi
karna band kar," Bani said, sitting on the bed. "Kya mera wapas aana
saab ko pata chal gaya?"
"Yup... thats the gossip in Mumbai right now." She then imitated the
voice of a news reporter and said "Bani Walia makes a sudden return to the
Walia House after one month of unexplained absense. If sources are to be believed,
she is preparing for a divorce with the famous tycoon Jai Walia. Not too long
ago, both of them tied the knot, claiming it was an act of will, when it is
well know that Mr. Walia was in fact engaged to the older sister Pia
Bani said cutting her off. She didn't want to think about Pia. It would make
her want to run out of this house. "But seriously, does everyone
much got it," Lakshmi said. That was the best thing about Lakshmi, she was
always honest and blunt, unlike Rano, who would prefer to lie to make one feel
better. "The press reporters are going high, but they are always like
that. As for us, then, yes, we pretty much think the same."
Bani sighed and
thought it was for the best.
"So, what have
you been upto?" Lakshmi asked casually, but her curiosity was very evident
in the question.
Bani didn't know what
to say. "Nothing..."
Lakshmi said. And without thinking she blurted, "Do you have an
"Then why else
did you leave for a month?" Lakshmi said defensively. "I mean Jai is
devastated, as if he is going to loose you, so I figured..."
Lakshmi," Rano said, walking in and sitting on the bed. "Bani can
never do that."
Bani smiled, happy
that atleast someone believed her innocence. She couldn't even imagine herself
cheating on Jai. It was impossible.
Bani," Rano said. "What happened?"
"Didn't Jai tell
you?" Bani asked.
Lakshmi replied. "No one, well maybe Krishna Aunty, but no one knows whats
up with you two. The suspense is killing me... literally."
Bani rolled her eyes.
"There is no suspense. We had a fight... and needed a break."
month?" Rano said. "Yeah right. Waise, how did Jai convince you to
come back? Last time I checked, you were as adamant as ever!"
Bani was confused.
Didn't they know about the divorce? "What do you mean convince? Don't you
Bani didn't know what
to do. From their faces, it was obvious that they didn't know about the divorce
and Lakshmi was evidenly joking few minutes ago. And if she told them, not only
would they be heart broken, but would go out of their way to try and save it.
nahi," Bani said, deciding not to ruin the peace of the moment. "He
didn't tell me anything. But my Mom almost threatened me... so, I decided not
to push her patience any further."
"Moms are like that. Meri waali bhi aise hi karthi hai."
* * *
hoon Maa," Bani said, as Krishna served the table for dinner.
nahi," Krishna replied with a smile. "Khud ko dekha hai aaine mein? You NEED to eat!"
"Mujhe bhook nahi hai."
nahi hai? Saab kuch tumhara pasanad ka khana hai!" Krishan said.
"Jaane do na
Maa," Jai said, speaking for the first time the entire evening.
"Shayad woh diet kar rahi hai."
Bani chose to ignore
the comment, but Lakshmi became outraged. "Bani kyun diet karegi?"
needs to. Have you seen her?"
Tarun warned. "Dhyaan se. Warna yeh log tumhe chodenge nahi!"
However, Jai didn't
stop. "Kya? Sahi toh keh raha hoon. Moti hogayi hai Bani."
Bani's mouth fell
open. Never in her life did Jai tell her to diet. For him,she was always
perfect the way she was. "Maa," she said, angry at Jai's comments.
"Mujhe paneer chahiye."
Jai supressed a
smile. "Kya kar rahi ho Bani? Paneer is really fatty."
Bani ignored him and
served herself extra quantities of 'Shahi Paneer', in which she knew for a
fact, Krishna added alots of butter and oil. She did not want to give Jai the
satisfaction that she abides by his wishes.
The table stared in
surprise as Bani ate her food calmly. It was not usually in Bani's nature to
sit quietly when anyone commented on her. THey waited for the impending doom of
Uday said, interrupting the unusual silence. "One of our managers retired
Bani nodded, not
understanding why her father-in-law was talking business with her.
want" he continued as everyone listened. "you to take on his
Bani opened her mouth
to refuse the offer, but Jai cut in. "Bani? Seriously?" he said, and
then started laughing.
Uday was confused.
"Kyun? Kya Hua?"
"Bani nahi kar
sakthi Dad," Jai said. "She graduated over a year ago. It will be
hard for her. The position is too challenging!"
Before Uday could
reply, Bani said. "Thanks Uncle. I will join from tomorrow."
Rano sighed. Jai and
Bani in office together would be a diaster, she thought to herself. They never
agree on anything!
* * *
The alarm went off
with a shrill as Jai woke up with a start. It was 8:30 am and Bani was nowhere
around. He scrambled out of bed, cursing his luck. He was really for office.
As he quickly
showered and came out, he noticed that all his shirts were dirty. His suits had
lost buttons and some of them were even torn.
"What the hell?"
He cursed. "All these suits were fine yesterday! TONY!" He called.
However, Bani walked
in, already dressed for office.
chilla rahe ho? Koi mar gaya kya?"
Jai rolled his eyes.
"Tum itni jaldi utt kaise gayi?" It was common knowledge that Bani
woke up near the afternoon.
frustration dekhne ke liye," she said cooly.
asked, confused. But as he looked at the suits, it hit him. "Matlab yeh
saab tumne kiya hai?"
"Kya kaha tumne? Main moti hoon? Looks like you are the one who is fat
Jai. Dekho na, tumhari sari shirts phat gaye!"
Jai refrained from
yelling out loud. "Tumhara dimak toh teek hai? Pagal ho gayi ho kya? I am
late for a meeting!"
"Sucks to be you
Jai! Magar agli baar dyaan rakhna," she warned. "You are not the only
one who has brains in this house!"
And with the she
walked away, leaving a very irritated Jai.
* * *
Bani smiled at Uday's
P.A. "Is Uncle in?" she asked.
Before the lady could
reply, Bani heard raised voices from Uday's cabin. She walked closer to the
door, to pick out the other voice.
"I said I'm
sorry Dad," Jai replied.
Uday yelled. "Do you have any idea, what would have happened if Ranveer
didn't cover for you today, just because you decided to sleep in? This is one
of our biggest deals ever!"
herself on the success of her plan.
Dad," Jai said, straining to keep his voice calm. "I am not
irresponsible. This won't happen again. I promise!"
"Lately I have
been thinking otherwise," Uday said, with sigh. "I agree your
personal life is mess, but that is not an excuse to not do work."
said, in a raised voice. "I know all that. And this will never happen
again. Now, if you will excuse me. I have to go for lunch with the
"Take Bani with
you," Uday said.
Jai sighed. "She
And before Bani could
hide, Jai came out of the room and froze seeing her.
yahan?" he asked.
"I work here
now," Bani replied sternly. "No need to be surprised."
listening at the door?"
said instinctively. "Well..."
"Its not manners
to listen to other people's conversations!"
"Well its not
manners to be fashionably late to a meeting Jai. Tsk tsk. Being very
irresponsible now a days?"
Jai rolled his eyes.
"very funny! But don't think you got away with this."
And he walked away,
leaving a very confused Bani.