"Nidhi, tum kha nahi rahi ho..properly..its worrisome"said a tense dr ashutosh as nidhi fiddled with the dosa at a south indian joint that he had searched for her in paris..as they sat in the brilliant sunshine, a rarity for europe and nishu played on the swings n seesaws in the lawn of the restaurant"la naivedyum"!! They had just returned from their fabulous cruise on the siene and nidhi had enjoyed it thoroughly ..mesmerised as dr ashutosh had described the buildings to her...but even while carrying nishu in his lap..showing him around, ashutosh had not failed to observe that nidhi arched her back alittle...and he was tense about the days to come..."kahaan kho gaye aap"??nidhi slapped him lightly on the wrist..as ashutosh looked at her...n said"just thinking...i just hope utni taqleef na ho tumhe jitni nishu ke time..." nidhi smiled"kal ki chinta mei aaj ki khushiyaan kyun khoyein...aur waise...shaayad itna sukh paane ke liye thoda dukh jhelna hi padega...pichli baar...when everything seemed a breeze,..to ant mei..."her voice trailed off...thinking about the miscarriage...but then she brightened up..as she gazed at her distinct baby bump..n looked at ashutosh teasingly"afterall...no pleasure without pain"!!!
and dr ashutosh smiled and sighed at the same time...just when nishu came running..."papa...paani"!!and ashu laughed"the most difficult thing to get in france..red wine white wine...sab milegi...pataa nahi paani peete bhi hain yahaan"!!n then laughing away he went to get a mineral water for nishu,.
"Uff i am tired shopping"!!it was lil nishu as he slumped to the sofa as they entered into the suite, having completed the shopping..a mahogany n ivory chess set, n a lovely jacket, a set of western classical music for baba..n tees ,perfumes for armaan...also crockery for solankis n dadi bua...and nishu was right...it had been long indeed!!!nidhi pouted:"chup badmaash,..papa ka chamcha...ab tere liye kuch nahi loongi"!!!and ashu gave a surprised look"matlab abhi aur shopping ka iraada hai..aapka"??n nidhi laughed away...as ashutosh settled nishu..."aaraam kar lo baby thodi der..phir we will go on the night tour of paris..."!! And then as he almost pulled nidhi into bed, caressing her hair..he said"ab bus kal kent ...i have booked a cottage ..zaffar bhi aayega kuch saamaan leke..nishu ko bhi dekhega...tum sirf rest karogi.."n nidhi ..pulled at his tee..."sirf rest...aur kuch"...? N ashutosh pulled her head to his chest.."so jaao thodi der...phir shaam ko eiffel tower...you d just love it at night..."and as he looked at nidhi, he smiled to see she was fast asleep..as he bent to kiss her forehead before closing his eyes...
As they got down from the taxi, ashutosh put a hand on nidhi's eyes ..as nishu had closed his obediently...and then as the eiffel tower turned to glittering diamond lights,he removed his hand and said"dekho ab..."and nishu clapped his lil hands while nidhi was speechless...for once..s the diamond lady glittered at 12 in the night...and then turned golden as nidhi finally said"its just..just..bus kya kahoon"!!!and dr ashutosh held her...his eyes reflecting her joy..amd then nidhi tugged at his arm..."i want to buy those effiel mementos..."amd as nishu said"ohho..phir shopping"!! Ashutosh shook his head..before yielding to nidhi...it was really difficult to refuse her anything...after all she had given him all that he had everdesired..his home, his family..his children...what else could he have desired for...?? As nidhi came back carrying all stuff that ashutosh would call "junk" but seeing the joy in her eyes..he smiled and said"ab chalein...suubah train hai.."??nidhi smiled ...as nishu rubbed his eyes in sleep...as they took the cab to the hotel...nidhi turning her head back to have one last look at the eiffel tower...dr ashtosh smiled...truly happy that he had got her to europe...her long standing desire had been fulfilled and it was sheer chance that it was in europe that they had realised that their most precious dream was going to turn true...yes ..ashu held nishu closer to his chest...as he looked at his other arm..imaigning holding the fat pink baby girl...he saw in his dreams!!...yes his hands would truly be full!!...n yes nidhi...nidhi was always there...he pivot of his life...he was deeply happy to see her childlike pranks n euphoria come back...something that she had lost after the terrible loss...as nidhi put her head on dr ashutosh's shoulder...n ashutosh closed his eyes for a moment...his heart resonating his thoughts...it had been the strangest feel..to realise that nidhi who was so aprehensive of motherhood once, had then embraced it with open arms...and what a wonderful mother she was proving to be...it was just perfect...their happy ecstatic world...as ashutosh hummed..nidhi's favourite song..that he had begun to like..listening it repeatedly on the fm..he smiled as he hummed
MAIN RANG SHARBATON KA
TU METHE GHAAT KA PAANI..
MAI EK MUSAAFIR HOON
TU EK RAAH ANJAANI...
and nidhi looked up..wrinkling her nose , she said"aap to aaj ke songs gaane lage...wow..."ashutosh mocked seriousness n said"item songs nahi gaaoonga...never"!!!and nidhi exclaimed"ufff!!aapka kya karoon main"??and dr shutosh looked at her...with a naughty glint in his eyes..."yeh sawaal to mera hai...khair jawaab wahi hai...pyaar aur kya"!!and nidhi blushed...
"Nidhi...sona naho hai kya"??asked dr ashutosh coming from nishu's room..having settled him..n not surprised on finding nidhi awake..nidhi looked at him...n then pouted n threw the pillow at him.."nahi sna mujhe..bus" dr ashutosh sat next to her...putting a finger under her chin he asked "to kya karna hai"?? Nidhi was agitated"aap achchi tarah jaante hain...kyu sataa rahe hain..."??n ashutosh smiled..as looked at a pouting nidhi...n then took her pout in his lips with so much desire...n hunger that it left nidhi gasping!!"aao..come here"and he removed the curtains..and stood there looking thru the glass wall of their 21 floor room...as the lights of paris glimmered...nidhi came to him...n he hugged her from the back...as both stood there for a long time ...looking at the lovely nigt,...till dr ashutosh's large hands moved up to remove her gown...n expose her in the deep crimson nightie...the bodice of which just barely held her enlarging breasts...and as dr ashutosh's gaze travelled lower...nidhi couldnt bear to look at him...and ashutosh smiled..as he lowered the strap of her nightie...to stroke her breasts...his stubble rough against her soft skin..and as he pushed the garments away...gazing at her in a way that burned her skin...with a throbbing desire...dr ashutosh covered her bosom by putting an arm across and began to tickle her arm...just as he had done on a diwali nght...when he defeated her at the game of cards...much before nishu...n the tickling had led to her pulling away...and his pulling her ...exposingvher impatiently...and making love over n over again...dr ashutosh's delicate bite on her earlobe brought her into the present...and his fingers travelled lower...grazing the baby bump...pressing her navel...but v softly...as nidhi moaned...and felt his fingers exploring her...it seemed a journey across tulip fields...across miles of rain dripping hills...across blue oceans...just she n him...and then as his body demanded more...she seemed unable to stand ..her knees seemed jelly ...and dr ashutosh scooped her in his strong arms ..laying her on their bed...his hands feeling hr need...of him..and his eyes told her to turn...and as she did...he claimed her...careful not to put his weight on her...but his breathing changed n she knew he desired her badly...was almost aching for her...and as she whispered 'dr ashutosh..."he began...seeming to take her thru a mindblowing turbulence...thru the sizzling hot geysers...making her experience the lucid moist softness,..n then the steely hardness ...as a strong boat ripping the ocean...over n over ...again till they both lay gasping...after their blissful journey across the universe...and as dr ashutosh collected nidhi in his arms...he experienced the bliss of fatigue...he had not known till he made love to nidhi...that tiredness could also bring a smile to the lips...
"Hello zaffar..great to see you again"!!it was dr ashutosh shaking hands with his valet in the lovely cottage at cornwall, kent..as zaffar put the luggage, nidhi came with a cup of hot tea n snacks and shouted to nishu"dekho nishu...chacha..."and before nidhi could complete ..nishu came running"chaachaaa..."and stopped in his tracks...looking for armaan...as ashutosh looked at nidhi...n she bit her lip..as ashutosh corrected"dekho zaffar chacha..."n nishusmiled...as zaffar went up to hug him...and nidhi smiled...as she n ashu looked at each other..realising that their son missed armaan terribly...n baba too, perhaps it was too long an outing for him..."chalo ghoomne chalte hain nishu..."said zaffar..as nishu looked at his mother..n as she nodded ,he clapped ..but then wrinkled his nose at the rider"jacket first...chalo"!!!
Dr ashutosh n nidhi walked on the long highland ,overlooking the sea..as nishu was trying to fly a kite with zaffar...and as nidhi felt panting..she said"i want to sit..."they came to a huge round rock..on which nidhi sat...as ashutosh stood behind her...the sea breeze blowing her hair awry..and almost on dr ashutosh's face...she moved..inviting him to share the seat...he did..putting his arm around her..holding her secure..,as they watched the sea waves...breaking themselves at the rocks on the coast...and then retreating only to return...with greater force...it seemed so much like life...as nidhi seemed lost..dr ashutosh asked"kya soch rahi ho..."??nidhi smiled as she leaned on him..and put his hand on her bump..."in lehron me zindagi dekh rahi hoon..."ashutosh pulled her hair softly back...as she contd."samundar kee lahrein kaise baar baar aati hain...chattano pe toot jaati hain..lekin phir laut ke aati hain..."dr ashutosh held her closer n completed her thoughts,"jaise sapne chot khaa ke toote hain...per hum phir naye khwaab dekhte hain..."and their gaze travelled to ashutosh holding the bump...as nidhi gently covered his hand with hers..."bus iss baar lehron ko kinaara mil jaaye...koi chattan humaare sapne na tod de..."
"Jee baba, kal chal rahe hain, delhi se lucknow ki flight hai 4 baje shaam ki..parson 6 baje tak ghar aa jayenge..leejiye nishu baat karega"n nishu kissed the cell, saying"baba..hum aa rahe hain ghar...baba..maine 100 tak count karna seekh liya..."and baba laughed...saying "armaan baahar gaya hai..shaam ko aayega..busy hai bahut aajkal"as ashutosh had a faint frown...as he added"baba, koi problem hai kya..."baba replied"na..business shaayad expand ker raha hai...nothing to worry...aur maxi lagi hui hai tum logon ki wing ready hai...bus ab jaldi aa jaao..."
As the family sat for dinner,nidhi got up to help mrs hudson..but the house keeper stopped her"no niddi..today eat what i have cooked"and to their surprise mrs hudson brought in arhar daal, mattar paneer n rice!!"so doc..see your wife has trained me to an indian cook...now i will certainly have a restaurant..."a naughty zaffar added"what about rotis ..mrs hudson"??n the haughtiness returned as she showed him the ladle n said"i will emply an assistant...you zaffar...naughty fellow"!!
That night as nidhi n ashutosh stood at the window ,peeping at the london streets...ashutosh asked"so..enjoy kiya..."??nidhi nodded"jee...it has been beautiful...per..ab ghar yaad aa raha hai...chaahe kitni bhi bheed bhaad ho..shor ho..per..hazrat ganj ke golguppe...london ko peeche bahut peeche chod dete hain...aur baba...kaka..dadi bua...armaanji...aapke chess partner..sab yyaad aa rahe hain..."ashutosh held her as he added"aur humaara ghar...woh to khaali hoga hi humaare bina..per hum bhi adhoore se hain..ghar ke bina..."nidhi turned in his arms and said"jee...aur humaara ghar intezaar kar raha hai humaara...aur...humaare sapno ka..."ashutosh made her sit in his lap as he caressed her hair...n continued"jaise hum ghar ke khwaab dekhte hain...ghar bhi hummare..usme rehnewaalon ke..usse aabaad karne waalon ke khwaab dekhta hai...aah dekhta hai...hur ghar yeh chaahta hai..ki koi usse chaahe...kitni bhi oonchi udaan ho...lekin ghonsle mei lautne ka sukh kuch aur hi hota hai..."and nidhi kissed him on the forehead...in approval...echoing his thoughts...
*************************"hi, i have been trying to get in touch with miss mukherjee for days...afterall,if she wants to sell her warehouse, she needs to meet..."it was an exasperated armaan trying to talk to the owner of global fashions...the p.a. answered "sir...she has fixed the meeting tomorrow 5 p.m"armaan snarled"i am busy tomorrow...it has to be today ..or never"armaan thumped the table where the pretty p.a sat...n she got up.."give me a moment sir..."returning after a few mins ,"sir..mam will meet you..now"
Armaan opened the buttons of his coat as he entered the plush cabin...n the revloving chair turned to show..miss mala mukherjee...the 30 odd owner of the fashion chain...n ALMOST A MIRROR IMAGE OF NAINA...ARMAAN GULPED...AS MALA EXTENDED HER HAND..."HULLO MR ARMAAN..."
Dr shutosh gave the last suitcase to zaffar, and then all three came to say the final bye to mrs hudson...as dr ashutosh shook hands, mrs hudson looked at him n said..."i have looked after so many people...but you are a real gem doc..."n then looking at nidhi,n nishu ,she added"n you have the most wonderful family...do inform me when the baby arrives..."nidhi held her hand n said"mrs hudson..plz come n visit india,..stay with us...you are family..."n mrs hudson..nodded adding"i will go now...we britishers dont cry in front of anyone...never"and she went in as nishu said"bye aunty...see you"!!
At the airport...as the family got down, nidhi patted zaffar...n he was moved to tears...he touched nishu's hair n said..."is chacha ko bhi yaad rakhna..."and then looked at the family..."aap ko dekh ker pehli baar waapas hindustaan jaane ka mann hua..."n dr ashutosh hugged him...bye byes were always tough for him...as they turned , nidhi held his hand...entwining fingers...a silent reaffirmation of her presence...
As they boarded the flight, they were led to the business class where two special seats had been joined for nidhi to create a kind of bed...the airhostess came n said"anything we can do to make ur flight comfortable,..plz let us know,.."
Nishu settled like a vetran..n told ashutosh "papa put your seat belt...like this..."
The plane began to move on the runway...as dr ashutosh put his right arm around nidhi..covering her ears...but as the plane took off, nidhi felt a severe jab of pain in her back...as she bit her lip...n a tear fell from her eyes...ashutosh ..held her tight...his arm securing her...n his heart saying a fervent prayer...as they flew into the skies...to their home...n hopefully to the fulfillment of their dreams...