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Thousand stars all exploded together once again. The shudder came once again. The flame danced happily in the sky; thoroughly satiated yet wanting more and more. She had lost count of how many times the shudders had come and exploded within her.
It had happened in all places... be it bed,be it the recliner, be it the shower... New sensitivities were discovered! Then, exploited completely for higher and higher pleasure! Undiscovered positions were explored! Higher and higher pinnacles were reached.
What all had he not done! He had claimed her in Spider-Man position against the wall with her legs entwined around him...He took her to a new summit with him in Titanic pose little modified for access and pleasure...He satiated her in Aashiqui position enwrapped within the curtains.
There was total satiation in their draining out together!
Yet, the sun kept arousing her desire to meet him again. She felt his strong pull towards him. Yes! He was her sun, her guiding protecting light, the eternal fire!
The flame responded to the call immediately. It was so tiny, so fragile against the sun's fire; yet it felt safe and confident. The sun caressed, crumpled the flame at each atom of hers.
In return, the flame fired up the sun to the limit of explosion. When both could not stay apart any more, they unified.
The flame sensed... loved... wanted the movements of the sun within her. The sun relished the flame's engulfing him completely.
Then, they smiled! The smile held a challenge for the other one. It said, you first! The whole thing became a happy game of coaxing... teasing...exciting!
The sun attacked the roof first, then the sides. Flame caught such fire that she would explode any minute now. She whimpered and moaned but those were absorbed completely within his mouth before escaping her mouth. The sun put his full force... attacked deep inside...again and again, harder and harder... a frantic need to win the game ...but all the more, a desire to please her... to possess her...to mark her as his and his only!
He was on the verge himself. At one point, her body shuddered violently. He allowed the shudder to consume him and then he lost control. He was aflame!
With a victorious smile, the flame shuddered real now... Exploding completely herself. Complete with a screeching moan, the explosion was the wildest one!
He was taken by surprise. In spite of all his force and tactics, she had managed to trick him. But while tricking, the flame had gone higher than the sun in her explosion. Both had perhaps won the game!
Oblivious to the earth outside, both lingered in the moment... soaked in the pleasure...both had exhausted all their energies on one another...neither was there energy left to separate nor the desire!... both just held on to the moment longer...and longer... not wanting to return to earth!
But the earth was very much there in its own place and ticking in time. Pooja and Naani restlessly waited for the loving couple to come out. Both were worried as Chandni was an early riser; but there was no sign of her today. After yesterday's incident, there was no news, no clue on how she was now.
"I feel so guilty about this, Naani. I shouldn't have insisted on Adi playing near pool. It all happened because of me and him, perhaps. God knows how she is now!"
"No Beta! It's not your fault. Stop blaming yourself. Those were just the circumstances. Somehow, this child got succumbed to them. I am worried about her."
"Yes Naani, Me too! Jaane kaisi hai voh ab? Theek hai bhi yaa nahi?"(God knows how she is feeling now? Whether she is ok or not?)
"No Pooja, I am not worried about now. She is with Chiku. I trust him completely. He will never ever allow anything to happen to her. I am worried about this trauma she gets out of mundane incidents. There's something in her past that gets triggered. Last time it was press, this time our pool.
We want to protect her, help her but unless we know what all triggers her trauma, how are we going to keep such incidents away?"
Having walked in there, Shikha's brow creased hearing the two. Should I tell these good souls what has happened in Jiji's past? No maybe, Miku can explain them better. She silently withdrew her steps.
Nani continued, "I have been so happy in my youth but lately life is not being kind to me. Both my daughters were happily married.
But Sudha faced that tragic death with her husband and the family was shattered leaving behind two burning pieces, Chiku with us and Miku unknown to us.
Leela lost her husband soon and became bitter about life overall. She truly loved Sudha and had grown up happily with her since childhood.
In spite of all austerities, it was Leela's love for Sudha that gave her strength to raise both Chiku and you as her own children. It's not wrong that she hates Vasishth family from her guts.
We got you married and expected life to give us some happiness. But, that marriage turned out to be your worst nightmare in life. It is thanks to Chiku that you are safe and happy. Adi is growing under the love and protection of Chiku.
Now Chiku could have seen happiness himself with his childhood sweetheart Chandu; instead these traumas are troubling the poor girl, hampering their life. J
aane mujh boodhi ki pariksha aur kitani lega Bhagwan! "
(Who knows how many more trials will God put me through)
Though there was no energy and none whatsoever desire to separate; separation was inevitable. Dev kissed his thank you on Chandu's cheek, his trademark nowadays before the final separation. He stepped on the ground and his face flinched when a shooting pain ran in his left leg up his thighs. The multi-session had been tiring for him, too. Yet,there was sweet happy smile on his face. Life felt good!
Chandni was seeing just stars exploding.There was just light everywhere. She could hardly lift herself up. She tried and suddenly realised she felt very light in her head making her feel giddy.Her hand in a reflex went to her forehead and she was about to fall back in bed;when his strong arms came around her supporting her. His brow creased with immediate worry.
" Kya hua Chandu? What happened? Is it the trauma attack again?" His voice soaked in extreme anxiety.
She looked at him with surprise... Her typical swag mood on,
"What trauma? This is just being in heavens for too long. Who in this world would want to return back from heavens?"
She smiled her Swag smile, trademark of happy Chandu.
He smiled with her reply. "Relax for five mins. I'll bring you water. You'll feel better then."
"Mujhe tumse baat karani hai, Dev? need to speak to you!" Chandni's tone was very assertive.
Shikha knocked on Miku's door. No response... she knocked again ... and then again. A sleepy eyed Miku,rubbing his eyes, opened the door.
"Jaane bahaar, gule guljaar, tum aa gayee? You have come? I always knew you could not stay away from me."
"Why so long to open the door? You were sleeping till now? Have you seen the time?" Shikha blasting him off as usual.
"I was sleepy; so I slept. I don't resist either my sleep or my fiancee ever. Come ...Come in my arms."
"Khabardaar! Chhooa to maar maar ke mera prashaad kya hai dikha doongi. Get aside, let me come in." (Don't you dare touch me! Even if you think about it, I'll smash you in a pulp with my punch)
She pushed him in from the entrance and stepped in herself. Then she closed the door behind her.
"I knew it! I knew it! Ek hindustaani ladki jab na kahati hai to uska matlab haan hota hai."( When an Indian girl says no; she means yes)
"A big misunderstanding on all you men's part. A no is truly a NO! I want to talk to you."
"Marriage talk?... I told you already I want you to finish studies first." Miku was still in his filmy chirpy mood.
"My foot! Marriage talk! I came to tell you about Jiji."
"What happened to her? Is she alright?"Suddenly Miku was very concerned.
"She and Jiju have not come out yet. Naani and Pooja are genuinely worried. I was thinking that we should perhaps tell them about Jiji's kidnap."
"No Shikha! We will not tell them. It's not for us, but for Bhabhi and Bhai to disclose the truth the way they want to.It's their privilege... It should be their choice." Miku was sharp and firm.
"But Naani and Pooja are so worried?"
"To banda kis din kaam aayega? Why fear when I am here! You go ahead;I'll freshen up fast n come."
Shikha was back in corridors. Pooja was speaking to Nani.
"It's so important that Bhaiyya gets some happiness in life after the burning trauma of all these years. For that to happen, Bhabhi should become happy first. But this trauma of hers...somehow keeps on surfacing again and again... how to stop it from happening? Truly, it's our trial!"
"Well said, Deedi! It is our trial! So what are we waiting for? Let us do everything possible for Bhabhi to make her happy. Come let's start!" Miku was determined.
"Par use hua kya hai? What has happened to her?" Pooja refused to let go of her worry.
"Jindagi har kisi ko kuchh gahare dard de jaati hai, Didi!
Life gives everybody some deep pain. Eventually, it's life which helps the person to learn to deal with it! Why should we insist on knowing what happened in Bhabhi's past? Instead, let us make her present and future happy. That is surely in our hands." Miku was very wise.
"That's true! "Smiling, Pooja and nani spoke at once.
Chandni was looking intently at Dev. He knew from her look that everything was not alright. "What happened, Chandu? Did I hurt you?" He asked genuinely.
"You know you could not let me get hurt even when you hated me. Now when so much in love, how will you hurt me? Stop fishing for compliments as to how expert you were!" smilingly she assured him.
Then with a serious tone, she asked, "Yeh kya tha Dev? Mujhe nahi bataaoge?" (What was this Dev? Won't you tell me?)
"Kya kya tha? Kis baare mein baat karrahi ho? (what was what? WHat are you talking about?
I just wanted to make love to you, that's all. Seeing you, my desire gets kindled every time."
"It was great, no doubts! But why am I getting this feeling that it was something different for you. ... something like a battle...what was it that you were trying to achieve?"
He knew that she could read him in and out. There wasn't any point denying.
"Chandu, you love me so much, you can read me in and out. Don't you gauge what it is?"
"At the moment, No Dev... I am unable to understand. When we have achieved each other's love, complete understanding...what is it that you are battling against now? What's left to achieve?"
"Conquering over your fears, Chandu!That's what I am battling against. When you got the trauma attack in front of the press, I took you out to make your heart relax and trust me. I so much believed that my love would help you conquer over your fears.
I had asked you to remember our moment every time you got scared. And I strongly believed that moment was sufficient.Then, yesterday your trauma returned...challenging me, ridiculing my love.
Tum jaanati ho, Chandu, Advay singh Raizada kabhi nahi haar sakata...
(You know, Chandu, ASR cannot ever lose!)
This time, my battle is not against any person... It's against an emotion stressed in your brain somewhere... If it was my mind, I would control it.
But it's your mind! So the battle is all the more challenging. I want your mind to not be able to remember anything else except my love. I want to wipe all images, all memories, all feelings except that of our lovemaking and my love for you."
He was caressing her face slowly, making her listen intently to him. He cupped her face. His eyes had moistened with emotion,
"Tum mera saath dogi na, Chandu? Tum meri shakti banogi na?"
( You'll stay with me, right? You'll be my power, right?)
There was thick curtain of tears in her eyes,
"Vakratunda ... you have a tedha smile,
Mahaakay...you are much bigger than me,towering over my frame...
Surykoti Samaprabha... being one with you is like being one with sun
Yaad Hai Dev, tumne kaha tha... Log to baat karate hain Taare tod laane ki, main tumhare liye asal taare tod laaya hoon...
(Remember Dev, you had said......people just talk about bringing stars down, I have really picked and brought stars for you)
Aaj main kahati hoon... Log to sirf baat karate hain ki main tumhara patidev hoon ; par aap mere liye sach mein Dev ban gaye ho! Us uparwale Vighnharta ke saath saath, Aap bhi mere vighnahartaa ho! "
(Today I say, people just talk that they are gods for their wives; but for me, you are truly my god! There's Vighnharta (the remover of obstacles in heaven and you are the obstacle remover for me!)
She leaned forth and kissed softly on his forehead... and then slowly she moved onto one lid of his... then further she slowly softly kissed the scar on his left lid allowing her lips to linger on the scar... It was her promise to him, her concurrence to his plan.
She had always known that it's far more difficult fighting your inner demons than outside enemies. Yet, she resolved to join hands with Dev in the battle against her trauma.
"Mujhe to bahot bhook lagi hai,breakfast kuchh bana ke nahi?" Chirpily Miku asked the gang. ( I am damn hungry, is there any breakfast prepared?)
"Breakfast is ready; but Bhaiyya and Chandni?"Pooja looked in their room's direction.
"They must not be feeling any hunger, any thirst at the moment. Don't worry about them, Di. Bhaiyya will take full care of Bhabhi."
"He is right, Pooja. Let us eat. They can eat when they come out. They need time with each other after last evening."Nani consoled worried Pooja.
Breakfast was fun and frolic but Adi was not his usual self. Miku noticed it,
"Adi... my buddy... what are plans for today? Give your ideas to make Bhabhi happy."
"Will she be angry with me?" Adi's rare quietness showed his anxiety.
Miku went over to his seat and lovingly hugged the child, "Buddy, learn to trust , child! She is your sweet CM and my cute Bhabhi. She will not be angry. Don't worry yourself over it."
He kissed Adi on his forehead, "And you should join hands with me with all your ideas. Naani, aap bhi ideas laga do. Put your mind to it as well! We'll make Bhabhi forget last evening." Miku's voice pumped zest in everybody around.
He was unable to fathom the exact feelings in his heart. He felt at top of the world with happiness... he felt charged with sense of responsibility... He felt tranquil with a sense of relief.
"How are you feeling now? Little better?Lemme help you get dressed. You have had your bath already. Will my princess care to share mine?" There was a laugh in his voice.
"Dhattt!" Blushing she beat his chest with her fist... Then, there was a twinkle in her eyes.
"Tomorrow? ...For rituals sake! You and I both care for the rituals, right? The wife is supposed to bathe the husband."
Advay threw his head back and laughed heartily at the naughtiness in her voice. She was truly his Katto Gilheri!
Having bathed and dressed himself, he took out a red sari from wardrobe and brought to her. She had been resting and on seeing his choice, she smiled, "You love red colour on me, don't you?"
"Yes! It gives me the feel of you being Mrs. Advay Singh Raizada. The day you dressed up in red with red bangles and red sindoor...
Chhap gaya hai voh pal meri aankhon mein...mere sapne us lamhe se jud gaye hain!"
(The moment is impressed in my eyes..... my dreams are attached to it)
She leaned on him all the time for support while she dressed. He holding her felt so secure that for a moment she allowed herself to completely lean on him and close her eyes.
In a moment, he sensed her need and hugged her tighter. Whatever had been the water trauma, he would protect her,safeguard her against it. She was his wife, his responsibility.
The red also looked damn sexy on her. He felt a stirring again but he completely controlled himself. She wouldn't last another session in her present state. He just patted her forehead with love, kissing her silky top with care... transferring his strength to her.
Preparations were in full swing outside.Everyone was doing their bit.
The rangoli in corridors were redone by Pooja and Shikha. Masi had tastefully arranged flowers decorations everywhere. Naani was busy making phone calls with help from Murli. Shilpa was cleaning any mess anywhere around from last evening.
Shikha was now lighting up the chandelier with special bulbs as liked by Chandni. She was looking great in her white ensemble dressed up for Diwali. From across the room, Veer working with Adi in tow, watched her beauty and his face lighted up with love.
Pooja saw him and felt so happy for both her brothers having found the happiness of their lives.
"You know Didi, Jiji would insist on chandeliers being twelve feet above ground in Allahabad. And so finicky about it! As if eleven feet would make any difference." Shikha chuckled.
"It would, Shikha! Because Bhaiyya had taught her in childhood about it. He is insistent on that himself always."
"Surprising isn't it, to remember everything a person said and did sixteen years back. I mean it's such a long time to remember such small things. I cannot understand Jiji at times."
"It's all about love, Shikha! Bhaiyya hasn't forgotten anything either."
"Bachapan mein bane rishte bhale kachche dhaagese bandhe ho, bahot gahare hote hain."Maasi was lost in thoughts.
(The connections made in young age; even when they are tender, they are still deep)
"Duniya mein har kisi ke paas aisa ek rishta ho." (May every person in the world have one such relation)
Shikha looked dreamy eyed at Miku. Miku stared back at her with love.
"Tota Maina ki Kahani to Purani; purani ho gayee", Smiling Shilpa sang to tease Shikha. (The tale of lovebirds is gone old now)
"Matar ka dana, Itna nahi samjhati ki aisi kahaaniyaan kabhi puraani nahi hoti!", (Don't you understand that such sagas never get old)
Murli made a face at Shilpa and got one back in return.
"Shall we try and go out, Chandu? Will you be alright?" There was so much love, so much encouragement in his voice that she immediately felt confident and nodded. But only her heart was ready while her feet wobbled under her. He supported her immediately. Just then there were knocks on the door and both looked at it.
It was the earth's call for them to leave their own personal beautiful world. He looked at her quizzically and she assured him with her smile.
As soon as he opened the door, Miku, Shikha and Pooja marched in,
" Bhabhi Good Morning! Actually it's almost noon now but I'll say good morning." Miku teased as usual with full confidence in his cool relationship with Bhabhi.
"Jiji, we have all been waiting for you.Nothing feels right without your touch. You must come fast."
"Chandni, chalo jaldi. It's already late now and being Diwali day, there's so much to do. Look! Both you and me in red. We both look great, don't we?" Pooja was very chirpy to make Chandni forget previous evening.
" Bhaiyya, why don't you wear a radiant colour like us? " She tugged at Chandni's elbow to pull her ahead.
"Pooja" came the soft callout whisper.
Chandni had moved a little ahead and was talking to Shikha admiring her ear-piece. "Jiji, aapne to hi laaya tha mere liye."(Sis, you had yourself brought it for me)
"Pooja, I know tum karogi hi. Par kahe bagair mera dil nahi manta. (I know you'll do it even without telling. But my heart will not rest until I tell you)
Take full care of her." Advay's tone was soft but his concern was clear in his voice.
"Of course, Bhaiyya! Don't worry."
Miku smiled hearing his big bro. He truly loved her, didn't he?
Chandni heard Advay, too. She thought with a smile,He will always care for me like this. He is my Dev.'
She came to the hallway with Pooja and was astounded with the whole changeover look and the crowd gathered.
"Steps,Chandni, careful!" A smiling Pooja reminded Chandni.
Everything looked so perfect, so radiant! Chandni's mood elated immediately. There was no trace of last evening having happened. These are my family members who love me so very much in spite of my being here hardly for some days. They are doing so much for me. The house is decorated. The ladies have been invited for the Sanskrit session. Why should I let the past bother me at all? I will look forward from now on.
The ladies dressed up grand for Diwali greeted her,
"Good morning Mrs. Raizada! Aapki pahali Diwali aapko Mubarak ho." (Wishes to you on your first Diwali)
Another one chirped, "Today you narrate something special in Sanskrit related to Diwali..."
Few came close to her and pulled her to the couches. "You know,Mrs. Raizada, when you speak, it feels so divine that we all go in trance and then when we go home, we know it in our heart; but we cannot narrate the same to family members... "
"Maybe because; we listen on empty stomach. We must eat the sweets prepared first and then listen to her." A fat woman commented and Chandni laughed at her innocence.
"Why don't you all proceed to the refreshments first and then I will start my session. Shilpa, please take them there." Chandni invited all with a smile.
Then she immediately looked around for Adi. Quiet, desolate and lonely bundled up in a corner...he was not yet out from yesterday's after effects.
"Aaadiii" She lovingly called out to him, but he refused to come out of his cocoon.
Pooja came near Adi, "Adi, Mami is calling you. Go and say sorry to her."
" Na Didi, don't say that. We are best friends, you know! Dosti mein no sorry, no thank you!
Aur Adi sorry kyon bole? Why should he say sorry? It's nowhere related to him. He was only playing with me. I just wanted to check whether I had forgotten to swim, so I jumped in the pool. Looks like I have really forgotten. Now I'll have to learn from Adi how to swim.
Adi, tu sikhayega na mujhe? Will you teach me?"
Her chirpy talk made Adi beam up with smile. He tentatively looked at her searching for any signs of blame but there was none. Hesitantly, he walked towards her.
"Adi, if you agree to teach me swimming, I'll sing a song I made especially for you, my diwali gift to you."
Adi genuinely cheered up now, "Deal?" with a smile, he put his hand forward.
She shook her hand with him, "Pakka deal!"
"Diwali is now. So you sing the song now. I'll teach you swimming immediately after Diwali, Chalega?"
" Chalo Sweet CM, sansani macha dete hain!"
He ran to call the whole family there. He was so proud that Mami had dedicated a song for him.
Chandni sang happily, total contrast to her otherwise quiet ways!
" Dama dam mast kalandar,
Adi da pahala number
Dama dam mast kalandar,
Adi da pahala number
With the cheerful chirpy song, everybody started clapping happily. Miku held Adi's hands and did Mary-go-round with him. Chandani was bolder now and sang all the more freely.
"Oh laal mere, oh laal mere...
Oh laal meri pat rakhiyo bhala Adi laalan!
Mumbai da Sehvan Da sakhi shah baz kalandar
Dama dam mast kalandar
Adi dam dam de andar...
Advay had walked down to the hallway and witnessed this happy gathering. Chandu singing away freely with a happy smile on her lips... his family happily rejoicing with claps. Nowhere any trace of any remorse, any fear...
His heart swelled with love n pride for his Chandu and his family... all together bringing happiness to one another... Events might have been wrong but reactions weren't!
He was surely not alone in his battle anymore!
"Hey everybody! See Bhaiyya; matching with me and Chandu with a red dupatta and all!
Kya baat hai, bhaiyya? Sherwani pe laal dupatta! Jach rahe ho tusi!" Pooja chirped!
(You look great in this traditional attire of red and white)
Chandani's eyes turned to him. She had seen him in this before. Yet, the change of his angry face into a loving one made him look devastatingly beautiful in the traditional dressing. Tall dark handsome knight in shining armour! He was her hubby!
She blushed at the thought and colour rose in her cheeks. He noticed it and smiled at her.
" Pooja beta, tota maina to tota mainahi rahenge! Bade miyan, Chhote miyan... dono ek jaise!" (Love birds will always be love birds.... the elder ones and the the younger ones!)
Nani was smiling happily. Everybody laughed. Happiness lighted up the environment.
"Today is Laxmi Pooja so let us discuss about Mata Laxmi." After lunch, Chandni started her session with the gathered ladies.
"Haan Haan! Please do tell. May MataLaxmi bless us with a lot of money!
"Yes! Money is one aspect of Laxmi; but please do understand that Mata Laxmi has been known since ancient times; when the concept of money had not entered human culture. "Karagre vasate Laxmi" was written long before money was introduced in society.
Birth, Life and Death are three principles manifested in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Laxmi is consort of Vishnu because wealth and happiness are needed in your lifetime, not for your birth neither at death.
While Vishnu symbolises life, Laxmi gives stability to life.
'Aadya laxmi ', the great goddess, was manifesting herself even from before the time human beings came into form. She was 'Ramaa' the pleasure giver coming from 'ramate' in sanskrit or to please . She provided the sense of happiness to plants and animals, the entire living world. A bird building his nest and rearing his little ones was blessed by Aadya Laxmi.
If you think from a deeper perspective, when the nomadic man found a cave for himself and started possessing it as his home, that was his "Aishwarya... his wealth. Mata Laxmi manifested there as Aishwarya Laxmi.
As humanity progressed into society and agriculture, human life became stabilised and secure in terms of its food need. Till date after millions of ears, the mother earth satisfies human needs for food. Our stores remain full with food grains. That is blessing of DhanyaLaxmi.
When man domesticated animals, the animals became his wealth with the blessing of Gajalaxmi.
Your children are your best wealth. They bring you happiness. A person having very good children doesn't need wealth to make him happy. It's the blessing of Santan Laxmi.
When a person faces a calamity, he needs courage to battle against it. Veerata or Dhairya is his wealth in the battle as Veer Laxmi.
We all know that Knowledge is wealth by itself. That's Vidya Laxmi. Every single victory that a person achieves against enemies, against calamities adds to his status through the blessing of Vijaya Laxmi.
These are the Ashta Lakshmi! The eight forms of the Goddess! So next time when we all pray to Laxmimata, let us pray her all encompassing forms."
Everybody listened awestruck. Even a far standing Advay, quietly watching over her for assurance of her well being, was captivated by her lecture.
Whether it was her looks, whether it was her persona ...everything had the power to mesmerise him. As a successful businessman, he had lots of respect in society. Through her sheer knowledge, Chandani was earning her own share of respect in her own small world of Ladies friends. I was right in our first meeting.
Har baar iska ek naya rang dikhaayee padata hai. Every time I see a new colour of hers.
God! I love this woman. He thought with pride.
This woman is so rich in her thoughts,so serene in her talk... why does a trauma make her absolutely helpless and timid? This has to change! I will change it, he resolved.
Hurriedly, he left from there and called up Dr. Mehta, city's best psychiatrist. They were into deep discussion for quite some time. After that, Advay was busy making many other business calls. Engrossed in his laptop, he did not realise that it was evening already.
Chandni came to the room with a Nashta tray and a glass of juice. She kept them on side table and lovingly put her arms around him from behind. He was busy typing away on his laptop. "Chaliye na! Come, Have something."
"One sec, Chandu. Lemme finish this mail."
She sat on the recliner and admired her hubby.
'Bhagwan ne isse badi fursad mein banaaya hoga.(God must have taken his own time creating him)
Even his asymmetries make him look gorgeous. What is it that I love more? His perfect body or his loving heart. I'll take both.' She chuckled to herself. He looked up.
"What's the matter? Badi hasi chhoot rahi hai." (You are smiling a lot!)
"Aapko kya farak padata hai? Since so long I am waiting here. Aapko koi parva hi nahi." (What difference it makes to you, you don't care at all)
Chandni feigned anger.
"Watch your tone, Chandu!"
His sharp retort got her scared. She came near him to kneel in front of him. She put her arms on his knees and begged,
"I am sorry. Please bura mat maniyega. Don't feel bad"
Her innocent remorseful eyes softened him immediately. He held her shoulders and rose with her hugging her close to his heart.
"You don't have to say sorry, Chandu. Just don't ever say that again. You know damn well mujhe farak padata hai, mujhe tumhari bahot parva hai."(It makes a difference to me, I care for you a lot!)
She raised her head from his chest and said ruefully, " Fir kha lijiye na."(Then why don't you eat?)
He smiled at her childlike demand.
He was just finishing his juice when she went near the window. "Come here, please."
She took the lantern kept near the window in her hand. Sixteen years! Sixteen long excruciating years of waiting for her Dev. Badi Lambi Judaai! A long separation! Her heart flinched in pain. How many times she had sent one in the skies and expected that he sees it. The wait was getting over today.
He thought of the night last time when he had burst her lantern in anger. How much hatred inside me! Total contrast to her soothing sweet innocence... Itne sitam dhaaye hai maine! How much I have tortured her.
His heart flinched in pain. I'll make it up to her in every way now. I'll light up her life with happiness.
Together they lighted up the lantern and sent it to the skies. With his arm around her shoulder, they watched their prayer for love reach the skies.
"Akele akele lantern jalaaye ja rahehain... Hummm!" ( Everything being done all alone in privacy)
Miku had come in unannounced. Both chandni and advay turned.
"Devarjee, Aaj kal knock karake aane kajamaana nahi raha."
(To knock before entering, those times not there anymore)
"Bhabhi, aaj kal darvaaje ko lock karaneka jamaana bhi nahi raha."
(The times are not there as well, to lock the door before doing something)
An easy friendship had developed between the two.
" Tu kabaab mein haddi banane kyun aaya?" Advay smirked.
(Why are you bone in kebab now? a weed in roses?)
" Bhai, aap aur bhabhi kabaab hote to ab tak mere pet mein hote." (Bro, if you and sis had been kebabs , you would be in my tummy by now)
" Miku, Mahant ka beta hokar kabab khaane ki baat karata hai tu?" Advay was teasing his bro; specially because Chandni was there. ( You are the son of a priest and you talk about kebab eating ?)
"Usme kya hai? Aapke Mahadev bhi to maas khaate hai. Devi maata ko maas ka bhog chadhata hai. Phir maine kya paap kiya? Bhai, hum kya khaate hain iss se koi farak nahi padata. Man changaa to sab bhala."
( So what? Big deal. Your Mahadev (Lord Shiva) also eats meat. The Goddess is offered meat. Then what sin have I committed? Bro, what we eat and what we don't doesn't make any difference. If your heart is pure, everything is good)
"Bato mein tu mujhe peechhe chhod deta hai!"
(You always leave me behind in talks)
"Na Bhai! Dialogues mein aapko koi maat nahi de sakata... Par haan, dekhana... ek din main aage jaroor jaaunga.
(Nobody can defeat you in dialogues. But just watch!... One day I'll go ahead of you)
I should also get a chance sometimes."
"Yes, Shesh naag of Vishnu asked for the same chance. So he became elder brother Balaram in Krishna avatar of Vishnu)" Chandni explained.
" I don't know whether I am Balaram or not looking at my frailness and Bhaiyya could not be Krishna, as he has only one wife, you!"
"Issi baat pe aap donoki ek photo ho jaaye. Lemme click a photo of you two. " Miku offered.
The sky was lighted with crackers. The couple was happy and was looking gorgeous.
"Ab to jaayega, Miku?" (Now at least you'll leave?) Advay raised his brows.
"Bhai main kyon jaau? Mera bhi to hak hai aap par."
(why should I go? Even I have right on you)
"Han haan devarjee, poora hak hai. Jitana chaahiye jataa lena. Mujhe kaam hai, main chali."
(Oh yes! You have the full right on your brother. Exercise it as much as you want. I have work so I'm going)
Chandni picked a dress change from wardrobe before leaving.
"Chandni, pool ke paas nahi, not near the pool... And yes, no crackers for you."Advay warned.
"Main Adi hoon kya? Ye nahi voh nahi kah rahe ho." (Am I aadi's age? YOU always keep saying, not this not that) Chandani made a face.
"Dimaag to tumhara adi se kuchh khaas badaa nahi."( Your brain is not much bigger than Aadi) Advay gave her back; his teasing now directed at his wife.
Miku was watching the nok jhok of his bhai bhabhi with a smile. Advay came near him.
"Chalo Bhai, chaay pite hain, kuchh waqt barbaad karate hain."
( Come Bro, let's have some tea. Let's do some time pass)
"Miku, maine bataaya hai na tumhe. Aadmi vakt ko nahi; vakt aadmi ko barbaad karata hai."
(Miku, I had told you, right? Man doesn't waste time, time has man wasted)
"Bhai, aap to vaise bhi Bhabhi ke ishque mein barbaad ho."
(Bro, you are as such wasted in love for sis in law)
"Main uske pyaar mein barbaad nahi, aabaad hoon. Bahot baatein karata hai. Chal, chaay pite hain. Aaj mere haatho ki pilata hoon tujhe."
( I am not wasted in her love, rather I am flourished. You talk too much! Come, let's have tea. Today, I'll give you my special tea)
"Bhai Chaliye, Main Baatein nahi karata, aap kijiye...I won't talk instead you do..... Tell me everything you remember about Baba. What all he said to you, what kind of a person was he? Just everything!"
Advay surprisingly looked at Miku. There was sincerity and curiosity in his eyes. Advay smiled at his younger bro. Both walked together towards kitchen.
Chandni had lighted up the diwali lamps everywhere around. Today was Amaavas. But with thousand lamps lit all over, one made the darkness disappear completely. The lights all around made one experience
"Tamaso maa Jyotirgamayaa."
( Take me towards light from darkness, towards knowledge from ignorance)
Would she someday be able to come away from the darkness of her fears and see the light of love, she wondered in her thoughts.
She had created a beautiful design of diyas in front of the door. However, somehow she had forgotten that amongst arrangement of Diyas, she had herself been stuck outside the main door.
She looked confused and scared to venture over the diyas now. She needed to get inside and put the main diya in front of mata Laxmi in the Mandir. How would she manage it, now? Not another accident, please God, not today. Today is special. She was genuinely concerned for the family's peace of mind.
Suddenly, holding the lamp in her hand, she got lifted into strong arms known so well to her now. She was worried that someone would see them and make them target for teasing again. " Kya kar rahehain , jee?"( what are you doing, dear?)
" Pati hoon tumhara! Jo kar raha hoon, usme galat kya hai?( I am your hubby! What's wrong in whatever I am doing?)
Have done this before also, remember?"
Of course, she remembered. Her heart flinched with the memory of the pain she had given him that day with the nails. The pain had to be undone somehow. This was perhaps the start moment of that undoing part.
She relaxed in his arms and returned all the love she saw in his gaze for her. Both walked with locked eyes oblivious of the onlookers.
No words were necessary between them.Their eyes could do all the talking.
"You look beautiful."
"I belong to you."
"You trust me, right?"
"More than my own self."
"I could carry you like this my whole life."
"I would stay in your arms like this for my lifetime."
How both wished for the times to freeze and whole life to pass in this moment! He took her to the Mandir at home and pointed with his eyes to the lamp in her hand.
Same as last time, while still held in his arms, she put the lamp next to Mata Laxmi. Both jointly prayed to Mata. For both, their wealth was their love for each other.
The family soon joined and they had a grand Laxmi Poojan. Laxmi Maha aarti was done.The Laxmi ashtak was sung. Everybody together enjoyed cracker bursting. Love bloomed in all couples... Devni, VeerKha and MurShi.
Pooja played a lot with Adi enjoying herself thoroughly and making him believe that she alone was sufficient as parental love for him. Advay, Miku and Adi burst crackers all together making the skies all lit in beautiful fireworks. Murli became Nani's Sanjay and narrated all happenings to her. Everybody enjoyed the great site.
The family had a lavish four course dinner complete with fun and laughter.
"Good night everybody! Sleep well. Come Chandani!"Advay bade his goodnight to all and signalled Chandni to come with him.
"Just need to check with Adi. Please go ahead. I shall join you."
Adi, Pooja and Chandani were doing Diwali project of Adi. There was lots to do and it took them some time.
Advay came again to call Chandani, "Adi, don't you have to go to sleep? Close this all now! Chandani, come with me."
Chandani was just getting up when Pooja kept her hand on Chandni's hand.
"A little while more Bhaiyya, please!" She winked stealthily at Adi.
"CM, I am not sleepy yet. I need to submit this or teacher will give me remark. Why don't you go and sleep?"
"Chandni, how much more time? Make it fast." Advay was exasperated.
Time passed. Chandani had not come to the room. Advay came back to call her.
"Chandni, come now! This very moment."He was angry now.
"Little while more. Just last part left. Please."She feigned innocence.
"If I start work, I'll work whole night.Then you sleep alone." He threatened angrily.
"Aap jaao na, CM! Please go! You are disturbing our work." Adi was complaining now.
Advay left stomping his feet. The minute he left, all three jumped and hugged. They had managed to ruffle his feathers. It was fun to tease the forever serious Mama this way once in a while. Chandni gestured to Adi to go after Advay.
Adi went to the study looking for CM. CM was angrily typing away on his laptop. The air felt tense in the study.
Hesitantly, Adi ventured to step in the room.
"Adi, please no disturbance now. As such you and your Mami are spending time together, so just go away. You complete the project, I'll complete my work." Advay scowled.
Adi returned back to Pooja and Chandani.
Adi: "Voh to rootha hai."(he is angry)
Chandani: "Mana Lenge."(We'll appease him)
Adi:"Voh to Bigada hai"( he is broken)
Pooja: "Bana lenge"(We'll mend him)
Adi: Phir Bhi na mane toh ( If he doesn't agree then?)
Chandani worried: Phir bhi na mane toh
Pooja: Toh? toh toh toh deke 'maami'behala lenge! ( Then, we shall give Aunty and get him engaged)
Pooja laughed heartily and the rest two joined her.
"Chandani, your marriage attire had come laundered long time back;but times were not good then between you and Bhaiyya. So it has been lying in my cupboard.
Today, suddenly Bhaiyya asked me about it. I got the feeling that perhaps he wants you to wear it. So why don't you change into that and go to your room. I'll send him there. Hamase hi rootha hai, Mana bhi hum hi lenge! After all he is angry with us, then we only shall appease him)"
After Adi's venture into study, now it was Pooja. "Bhaiyya, What are you doing?
"But today is Diwali day."
"I know that!"
"Then why don't you go to your room and spend time with your lovely wife."
"Wanted to do the same, right? That's why I called her so many times. But she wants to spend the time with you. So fine! I am OK. I'll do my work. I can do it whole night. You know that!" Advay was rueful.
Pooja laughed heartily, "Sometimes you act like Adi. Go now. And yes, please change your regular office attire. She is waiting for you. And she will surprise you..."
Let's see who surprises whom. Advay smilingly thought in his heart.
Chandni stepped in the room and was knocked for six with the whole changeover of the room.
Under her feet was arose petals path. There were candles lit everywhere. Their bed was also decorated. A red and white theme matching her red and white marriage attire.
He had made it very similar to their first night when he had made her stand whole night. She remembered, later he had told her that he would make it very special for her, same as first night, replete with rose petals and all.
She blushed when she remembered his remark that he would not let her sleep whole night and would keep her in lying down position. But he had come home extremely sick. Perhaps,he was making up for the lost night then.
Hadn't life taken a total about turn from what it was earlier. At the time of marriage, she didn't know he was Dev. When she came to know, he didn't believe in her truth. And now? Everything had changed.
She had never ever...not even in her beautiful dreams...imagined him to be so romantic, so very sweet and so genuine at heart as he was now. He was taking so much pain to make her life happy.
He entered just then. He was looking devastatingly handsome as always. Perhaps he was still little angry on her prank to keep him waiting. She had to make it up to him now.
My wife! The most beautiful creature on this earth! Her pure heart adds to her beauty further. She deserves every happiness in this world. What did I do to her?
On our marriage night when such decorations were made by family, I made her stand there whole night. Did not allow her to wink even! Can I ever undo my cruelty?
If I have made her stand on her feet the whole night, I won't let her put her feet down on ground tonight.
She smiled at him with tears in her eyes and began humming,
Ek Din Aap Yun Humko Mil Jaaenge
Phool Hi Phool Rahon Men Khil Jaaenge
Maine Sochaa Na Tha
Ek Din Zindagii Itani Hogi Hasin
Jhumega Aasaman Gaegii Ye Zamin
Maine Sochaa Na Thaa
One day, you'll come to me like this, I never imagined
There would be so many flowers on my path, I never imagined
One day, life will be so beautiful,
The skies will dance and the earth would sing, I never imagined
Tears rolled down her eyes. There was gratitude, there was love, there was devotion.
He came forward and cupped her face.With his thumb he wiped her tears slowly. His lips lingered on her forehead.Then he walked up to the music player and put it on. The duo stood looking intently at each other while the soft music filled up the room.
Jaane kyun, khwaabon ka mausam hai, aur main hoon
Mausam hai, aur main hoon
Jaane kyun, yaadon ki shabnam hai, aur main hoon
Shabnam hai, aur main hoon
Yaadein, laayi hain, khushiyaan bhi, aansoo bhi
Jaane kyun, ik aisa sangam hai, aur main hoon
Sangam hai, aur main hoon
Barse jo rang itne saare, rangeen huwe sab nazaare
Lekin mera dil kahin bhi, lagta nahin bin tumhaare
Tumko, bas tumko, dil dhhoondhhe dil maange
Jaane kyun, har lamha ye sitam hai, aur main hoon
Ye sitam hai, aur main hoon
Jaane kyun, khwaabon ka mausam hai, aur main hoon
Mausam hai, aur main hoon..
(Don't know why, its the season of dreams and I am there
Don't know why, there is glimpses of memories, and I am there
Memories bring back, tears and joy both .......
Don't know why there's a union like this and I am there)
"Happy Diwali, Chandu." He handed her a greeting card.
Tears of joy rolled down Chandani's cheeks unrestrained. How can he be so very loving, so caring...My Dev...My Hubby!
"Yeh Sab? All this?" She pointed around her and at the card.
"Advay Singh Raizadaapne vaade kabhi nahi bhoolata! ASR always keeps his promises. I'll make tonight very special for you." He lifted her up in his arms.
The famous chirpy song kawwali made famous by Runa Laila
The happy song sung by Chandni
The emotional song of Advay