Two kids stood by the door of the kitchen, quietly watching the woman making jalebis and muttering to herself. They looked at each other, their expressions identical and grinned at each other, “Looks like Mum is again thinking about us and has stressed herself.”
It was just yesterday when the playschool where both the kids went to had called Khushi. The kids were too naughty, they said. Obviously Khushi being Khushi had shouted them down and told them in no uncertain terms that her sons were angels personified. They couldn’t ever hurt anyone’s feelings. The playschool teacher had warned her that if the kids would continue to be naughty, especially to girls, they would have to be punished.
Both Aarush and Ayush were well aware that the teacher would be doing nothing of the kind. They were their father’s children in that way. One smile and one look from them, a small request made politely worked wonders with the teacher-always! But their mother, Khushi Singh Raizada was unaware of her sons’ abilities.
For once, Khushi was not stressing herself out by thinking about her sons. She stood by the stove, dipping the jalebis into sugar and muttering to herself, “I should have never opened that damn box. I should have simply forgotten what day it was today instead of going into the attic, opening the box and crying my eyes out remembering him. I need to be sensible about everything. Past is in the past and my future—“her eyes misted again as she thought of her sons “-my future lies with bringing up my sons and making them capable and smart—like their father.”
“She remembered the PTA meeting from yesterday and despite herself grinned. Her sons were sure hell to manage but she wouldn’t have them any other way. Charmers and absolutely brilliant. She admitted to herself that she may have behaved a little hot headedly with the teacher but then, which mother could hear her sons being called naughty monsters? She knew they were naughty but they were like-pixies. Naughty and yet possessed a good heart.
She took out the last of jalebis from the pan and turned off the stove. Suspicion had crowded her mind. The house was just too quiet considering the fact that both her sons were at home. Fearing the worst for her work room and the study, she moved out of the kitchen and at first, peeped into the work room. To her relief, everything seemed to be fine. Now for the study where Khushi kept most of her books, her cherished memories of Amma and Babuji as well as Payal and Akash. They were the last of the photos she had of them. The children knew of course who they were, with the exception of their father- a photo she kept hidden from them at all times, in her study table drawer.
Not finding them in the study either, Khushi was intrigued. It was unlike the boys to be so quiet. Could they be in their room perhaps or had they-heaven forbid! Despite her warnings gone out of the house with their dog Sandy. She hurried up to their room and let out a breath of surprise as they found them on their respective tables, studying!
She looked at them lovingly from outside the door. Aarush and Ayush both were four years now and so much like their father in looks and manners, only they had their mother’s smile and her eyes. At the noisy breath she exhaled, both the kids turned to look at her with smiles on their faces.
She felt an ache in her heart to again realize that Arnav would never know that he had sired two sons-so much like him. They were just as uppity when someone challenged them or hurt them, they never showed off their intelligence but used it when required and possessed a great sense of understanding. They both loved humour and good music. They preferred English music to Hindi and -Khushi sighed soundlessly. They sometimes made fun of the songs she liked-just like their father used to. Oh Arnav! If only things were different, we’d be with you right now.
“Hi Mommy! We’re ready for the walk with Sandy.”
Khushi entered their room cautiously, knowing they always winded her up. Parents do when they know their kids loved a laugh. She was a grown woman and yet her sons were as smart as their father in winding her up by their arguments and their pranks.
“We’ll leave in some minutes. What are you two up to?”
“Oh we just thought we’d finish the homework this evening so that we can enjoy the weekend.” Aarush replied sunnily, his smile bringing an instant reply from Khushi.
“This weekend is the zoo and picnic weekend. Of course!” Then she added briskly as she opened their wardrobes, “All right. When you’re done with your homework, come down and we shall go for a walk. Make sure you wear the sweaters I’m laying out for you right now when you’re down. It’s almost winter and it’s starting to get chilly.”
“Yes Mommy.” Came two replies. Khushi ruffled their hair and gave them a kiss each on the top of their head and left them to go downstairs.
“So you deliberately left me with a note stating the obvious – that you were leaving me, no reasons given and decided to raise our sons by yourself.” Arnav’s statement, said in a deceptively soft voice belied the seething rage he was in. He looked at Khushi.
Khushi quaked with fear inside but put up a brave front. She gave him a calm look and her voice was just as controlled and quiet as she said, “I thought it was for the best. You already have a son so you definitely don’t need mine. I thought the divorce papers would have made things easier for you; easier to marry your long lost lover and adopt your son. I thought-“
“You thought wrong.” His voice was icy as if he was near the edge of a precipice. He spoke through gritted teeth, his anger evident,” You took four years of my sons’ lives from me and you shall pay for it Khushi Singh Raizada; starting now.”
Before Khushi could make a coherent reply or even guess what he would do, he caught her in his arms and kissed her. When he let her go after a few moments, Khushi could barely stand. He held her as he said, “Make arrangements. Quit your job, you and our sons are coming home with me.”
t is that time of the year again when I’m bogged down with too much housework. The season of festivals is here and complete cleaning of the house is needed, sparkling before Diwali.
The first in line of festivals is NAVRATRI or plainly translated NINE NIGHTS. These are nine nights and days of prayers where we worship Goddess Durga and her 9 divine forms. In my side of the country, it is celebrated with great pomp and fare including playing “GARBA AND DANDIYA RAAS”; a form of folk dance from Gujarat. Of course, living in the South of India means no Garba playing for me. 😦 But I guess.. I can always dance in my own house and I do too! 😀
This festival is also celebrated with great dedication by the North of India; where my husband is from. I’ve dressed up the Goddess and decorated the temple part of my house. Here’s a pic of how the Goddess looks right now all decked up. These 9 days are also days of fasting where I eat one piece of fruit every day after prayers. Surprisingly, I feel great and not hungry at all! Must be the darling Goddess granting me some of her survival blessings.
I wish you all a very Happy Navratri and pray that the good goddess grants patience, courage and wisdom to overcome the adversities of life along with granting you health and happiness.
Next in line of festivals is going to be “KARVA CHAUTH” and then Diwali of course. Karva Chauth is all about women praying for the long life of her husband, fasting the entire day. Not even a drop of water goes past your lips on this day until the moon rises and you break your fast. This will be my second Karva Chauth. I had a hell of a time finding women to pray along with the last year since I was new to the entire event. This time, thankfully I have company of women who are well acknowledged in what needs to be done during the puja. 🙂 I’m sure it’ll be fun.
After much thinking and consideration, I’ve decided that the story has indeed ended and it is time for a new plot of come forth. So I give you the epilogue. Hope you enjoy the new story coming soon! In the meanwhile, don’t forget to read “LOVE CONQUERS” on the other blog: http://amateurstorywriter.wordpress.com/
The ordinary girl’s extraordinary affair turned into a full-fledged wedding affair soon afterwards. Khushi acquiesced to his request and accepted his proposal of marriage after about six months of him formally courting her, with the permission of her father and her grandmother. During these six months, Arnav went to London every month for a weekend to oversee his business interests that were being handled efficiently by his team there.
Once such weekend, he brought along Anjali and Dean who were overjoyed to see the happiness that surrounded Arnav and Khushi. Khushi urged Anjali to stay back for a bit and help her out with the house they were furnishing in Nainital. Anjali, happy to be included in her brother’s life welcomed the request and stayed back for a week. Khushi hired her long-time gardener friend in Nainital to landscape her garden and was very happy with the result. Her garden was now exactly like her life was- green and blooming.
During these six months, she also went to London twice with Arnav; once to help Anjali shop for her trousseau and the second time to attend Anjali and Dean’s wedding. Khushi was welcomed by Arnav’s friends in London very warmly. She stayed at his house and declared that she loved it as much as their house in Nainital.
After much thinking, they finally decided to stay put in London after the wedding, where Arnav’s current base was, with bi-yearly visits to Nainital. It was only once this decision was made that Arnav went ahead to officially ask for Khushi’s hand from her father.
During all the traditional customs that had to be followed before the wedding ceremony itself, he had had a hard time keeping his hands off Khushi. He had been able to meet her and touch her during the Roka ceremony, the Shanti Hawan ceremony, the Sangeet and Mehandi ceremony as well as the Haldi ceremony. Hell, they’d even been able to steal some private time together and some kisses with the help of his cousins.
It had been complete torture when he had been ordered to not meet Khushi or talk to her for 24 hours before the wedding, after the Haldi ceremony. He had been annoyed at all these customs that had to be followed but as his family had tried to explain it to him; it was something Khushi wished for. So – despite his frustration, Arnav patiently waited it out.
They had a grand wedding in New Delhi where Arnav and Khushi got married in the traditional Indian style. Khushi wore a lehanga in red, her figure showing to the advantage and Arnav all but fell at her feet then. She was a radiant bride, with joy of her love shining on her face. When she joined him at the wedding mandap, their love was in their eyes for everyone to see. He wondered how in the world she’d called herself ordinary and how had he ever thought he’d be able to live without her. She was one of the most extraordinary people he’d ever known- in fact she was the only one who mattered to him in his life from now on.
Now that the wedding was over and he was officially her husband, he wanted nothing more than to carry his bride away from everyone and make love to her. But there were still some more customs to be followed. He sighed, he must be yet be patient.
He looked around with satisfaction as their family and friends laughed and chatted away while attending the wedding reception. Anjali and Dean were on the top of the world; not just because Arnav had finally settled down but also because after coming to Nainital, they had discovered that Anjali was about to have a baby. They were both happy and Arnav couldn’t have asked for anything better to happen to his beloved big sister.
Aakash and Payal were enjoying themselves now that all the problems were solved and Aakash was able to take time off business. Arnav suspected another baby in the making there. Mrs and Mrs Gupta along with their mother, senior Mrs. Gupta were joyous that both their daughters were happily married and had loving husbands. Senior Mrs Gupta gifted Arnav and Khushi her Nainital estate as their wedding gift. Khushi had been overwhelmed at this gesture and invited Mrs Gupta to visit them soon in London.
Arnav Singh Raizada was still full of arrogance but he knew the boundaries that limited his arrogance. Smirking at the thought of beautifully decked Khushi waiting for him in the bedroom, he thanked the guests as they took their leave. Arnav who thought he couldn’t ever be bothered to fall in love looked up at the stars and thanked the mighty powers for bringing him such happiness. Then he proceeded to the room where his newly wedded bride awaited him.