“Raani Saheba..! Please don’t!” he pleaded persuading her not to give him the cheque. She looked at him with a hurt feeling.
“Are we different? Whatever is mine, is yours too!” she said hiding herself in his arms. He held her to his heart caressing her cheeks. She smiled contented.
“Raani Saheba.. Wish I could come with you now, to Delhi. But I promise, I will, as soon as I finish my work here.!” He said holding her at arm’s length. She smiled nodding. He looked at his innocent wife fondly and whispered in a husky voice.
“Raani Saheba… Come on, let us sneak out!” he placed his arm around her shoulder.
“What?” she looked surprised.
“I want to take you somewhere….Before saale saab comes here, let us move!” he had a tinge of mischief in his eyes. She gaped at her loving husband.
He raced away with her in the car.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked looking at him lovingly.
“To relive those magical moments…!” he said huskily. She blushed…
They were on the college road. The flocks of young boys and girls were moving everywhere, jeering and giggling. She looked around mesmerized.
“I went to this college…!” she said excited and then paused… “Only for few days…!” she said gravely remembering the humility she faced on that same road. She looked sad.
“Raani Saheba.. Forget this road.. look where we are going..!” He held her hand tightly. She looked around. They had crossed the busy roads and were heading towards secluded suburban roads.
“You remember? We used to meet here…!” he stopped the car and helped his wife come out. They walked on the road under the canopy of lush green trees on either side of the road. She looked at her husband passionately with moist eyes. He held her tightly putting his hand around her and supporting her.
“You know? That day, if you had not saved me, I would have died of shame and humiliation…!” she said shuddering with the memory of the turmoil.
“Shhh, Raani Saheba.. Don’t talk about it! Its over! The dark night is over…!” he whispered in her ears. She smiled nodding.
“We are one, Raani Saheba..! I found you in that darkness and you found me!” He said emotionally. She hugged him on the road without any inhibitions.
He took her hand and climbing the flight of stairs of Mandir. They sat there hand in hand reminiscing the old memories. They had come there after their marriage. She had tears in her eyes and he held her tightly reassuring her for his love and support.
“We should go back!” she said trying to get up after a while, wiping off her tears. He nodded and they got back to the hotel.
“Where were you Di?” her brother, Arnav was standing at the lounge, looking worried. Anjali sneaked a glance at her husband.
“Saale Saab, I was there with her!” He said trying to pacify his anger.
“How would I know?” he flared up.
“Why were you not picking up the phone, Di? I was worried!” he asked sternly.
“Sorry, baba! I forgot my cell in the room!” she said sheepishly. He turned his face closing his eyes.
“For god’s sake Di! Please carry your phone with you!” he said. She nodded.
“Where had you been?” he asked her. She blushed. He looked at smiling face of his Jijaji and understood. He turned his back on them satisfied and said.
“We are leaving in 10 minutes Di. The helicopter will arrive any time!” Anjali gaped at her younger brother. Sham kept gazing at her beautiful face.
********** *********** **********
“Tried and tested methods do work!” He said aloud gazing out from the window of his five star hotel room. His wife Anjali had left for Delhi and he had stayed back.
****** ********** *********
“Chote! Are you upset?” asked Anjali going back home in the car. He shook his head. “I am fine Di!” he said. The green eyes continued to haunt him. He dug his nails in his palms in frustration.
“You know? I am still thinking about the girl … Khushi! She seemed to be such a sweet girl. I don’t know what made her barge into your show!” Anjali said deep in thoughts. He winced.
“Don’t bother, Di! She got what she deserved!” he said curtly. Anjali shook her head hopelessly.
“Hope, she is alright!” she blurted thinking about her conversation with Khushi.
“Oh! Stop it Di!” his brother was clearly annoyed. Anjali shut her mouth up for the rest of her journey back home.
His phone rang. Lavanya had called. "He felt better listening to her familiar voice...!"
********* *********** ***********
Someone was banging on the door. Shashi, Khushi’s babuji opened the door to find bank officials at the door. They barged in.
“Vasuli…! We are from recovery department!” one of them said gravely.
“Yeah I know. But I had requested the manager…!” Shashi started off weakly joining his hands.
“Managers can’t do anything. Once you miss the monthly installment, we take over to recover…!” said a stern voice.
Shashi looked around helplessly. Another catastrophe was knocking the door. He felt doomed.
Buwaji came out looking confused.
“What happened?” she asked loudly looking at the strange people.
“Bank recovery…!” said Shashi hopelessly. Khushi had opened the door of her room.
“So.. payment?” asked the official.
“I am sorry! Please .. please give me a couple of days… I will personally come and pay..!” he requested. The officials looked at each other. Shashi, joining his hands, on the verge of collapsing, requested them again.
“Ok. Only two days. Third day, you will be out of this house!” warned one of them and they left. Shashi collapsed on the chair with a thud. Everyone gathered to enquire.
“Babuji.. what will we do now?” Payal asked in panic. “I don’t know…!” came a helpless answer. Khushi was pacing the room.
“This is all because of my marriage. Babuji, you mortgaged this house for my marriage.. and … and!” Payal started crying.
“Jiji..!” Khushi embraced her. She collapsed. Khushi did not know whom to console. The TV was on. The frequency of the breaking news of a girl in ASR’s arms had reduced but the glimpses were shown. Khushi stared at the TV unfocused and she saw him…!
“Babuji, dekhiye! Abhishek… see how he is looking at the girls..!” khushi’s rage went out of bound. Everyone looked at the screen.
“He had sent his parents here and see… what he is doing… shiiii! Scouldral…!” Khushi’s buwaji erupted in rage too.
“Devi mayya ka lakh lakh shukra hai..! She saved us from this marriage..!” Babuji blurted in relief.
“But what about this house? What about the expenses we incurred?” Payal asked panic struck. No one had any answer.
“What do we do now?” Amma sat on the chair. They had no answer to any of their own questions…! Everything was dark and there was no ray of hope!