Evening. 6 pm.
Ram returns home from office.
Ram : Hi
Priya is completing some work for her coaching class. Hi
Ram : List ready hai?
Priya : Nahin
Ram : Kyon?
Priya : Time nahin mila'aur samajh bhi nahin aaya' saat din mein kya kya karu
Ram turns, as if to go out : Thik hai phir, main sab ko bataa deta hoon ki'
Priya runs after him and stops him : Please Mr.Kapoor. Aap blackmail kyon karte hain? Mujhe help toh kar sakte hai na. I really cannot understand ki list mein kya likhoo.
Ram : Accha. Baitho. Ab batao. There must be something on your mind.
Priya : I cannot decide. Aap bataiye na aapke list mein kya tha?
Ram : Tum mere list se kya karogi?
Priya : Bataiye na. Maybe I will get some ideas from there.
Ram, smiles : My first wish was to learn to make alu parathas so that I would never be dependent on anyone for them. Par ab toh tumne mera paratha khana hi bandh kara diya toh..
Priya : Haan. Next?
Ram : I wanted to travel. For pleasure. Par ab woh wish bhi almost khatam ho gaya hai. I've travelled so much for work kii..
Priya interrupts : Chale?
Ram : Matlab ?
Priya : Please Mr.Kapoor' mujhe bhi ghoomne ka bahut shouk hai but I never had the opportunity. I had so many responsibilities that I never got the time. Australia was the first place I went to but'.
Both Ram & Priya are silent for a minute, remembering the circumstances under which they'd returned.
Ram : Par abhi kahan jayenge?
Priya : Aas paas, koi hill station..
Ram : But if the doctor wants to contact us or..
Priya : Saat din ke baad. Now why will they need to contact us? Please Mr.Kapoor, only for 4 days.
Ram thinks for a while and suddenly gets into the mood : Ok, chalo. We'll leave in 15 minutes.
Priya : Kya? Abhi? Aaj? Aise kaise jayenge? Kahan jayenge?
Ram : Ok, I'll give you 15 minutes more. You get ready and sit in the car in half an hour. Nahin toh, trip cancelled.
Priya : Woh toh main dus minute mein bhi tayyar ho sakti hoon. Aur ghar mein kya bolenge?
Ram : Hmmm' I'll handle it. I'll inform Daadi. Tum bas ready ho jaayo.
They're both like small kids, happy at this unexpected and unscheduled trip.
Excatly 30 minutes later.
RaYa start off in the car.
Priya : Hum kahan jaa rahe hai?
Ram : Ek jagah hai.. around 5 hours drive from here, a small hill station. We should be there around midnight. Actually a colleague of mine has a small cottage there on top of a hill. I've seen the snaps and he's asked me to visit the place many times. There's an old servant there and no one else. It's surrounded by trees and' its beautiful Priya. I've wanted to go there so many times but never made it. And there was no one with whom I could have gone also. Maine ek baar Vikram ko bola tha.. but since there's nothing to do there, he said that the kids would go mad. We can stay there for 3 days.
Priya : Accha. Par aapko rasta pata hai na?
Ram : Haan, maine directions le liya hai.
They drive on, talking to each other, listening to music and enjoying each other's company.
After around 2 hours.
Priya : Mujhe abhi yaad aaya, humne toh kuch khaya nahin? Aapko toh bhuk lagi hogi..
Ram : Haan, aur tumhe toh bhuk lagti nahin ! Don't worry, maine sandwiches pack kara liya. Dekho, woh red wala bag mein hai. Nikalo.
Priya takes out the food and hands over one sandwich to Ram. Het tries to eat it with one hand while driving but finds it difficult as he's driving at high speed.
Priya : Main khila du?
Ram, smiles : Nahin, madam, koi zaroorat nahin hai. Tum iss pe bhi ration karogi. I'll stop the car here for a few minutes.
They finish their dinner and drive on.
After some time, Priya dozes off. Ram shakes her lightly : Utho, we've reached.
They get out of the car. It's a secluded cottage and in the darkness, there seems to be a dense forest all around. The caretaker comes out and switches on the light.
They look around. It's a fenced property, small in size. The cottage is also small, with ivy growing on its walls. There are 3 small rooms, 2 of them exquisitely furnished. The caretaker asks if they want some tea or coffee but RaYa refuse. Neither of them have slept the previous night and both of them are very tired. The caretaker tells them that he's prepared one of the bedrooms for them and he sleeps in the unfurnished room. If they needed anything, they just had to call him. He brings in their baggage, shows them the room he's cleaned and arranged for them.
Ram : Yahan pe TV hai?
Caretaker : Jee Sahab, doosra room mein hai, par chalta nahin hai. Aapko gaana sunna hai sahab? Mere paas ek radio hai..
Ram declines and asks him to go and sleep, with a request for tea at 7 am the next morning. The caretaker leaves.
Priya : Main change karke aati hoon.
Ram : Haan, par'
Priya : Kya?
Ram : Yahan pe bhi koi couch nahin hai' aur bed bhi chhota hai'
Priya : Haan'
Ram : Adjust kar loge? Abhi toh tumhe mere kharato se pareshaani nahin hoti hai na?
Priya, smiles : Nahin.
The caretaker wakes up Ram with his tea. Ram looks around but Priya is not there.
Madam kahan hai?
The caretaker replies that she's sitting outside with her tea.
Ram requests the caretaker to take his tea also outside.
Priya is sitting on a garden chair. It's a beautiful morning, slightly cold. Priya shivers a bit. Ram is about to sit when he notices this and asks if she's brought her shawl.
Priya : Good Morning. Nahin, shawl nahin layee.
Ram : Tumhara packing bhi ! Tum meri tarah organized nahin ho sakte ho?
Priya : Excuse me ! Pichli baar, aapne aur kisi ki suitcase uthaya tha ! Aur mujhe kya pata tha ki yahan pe shawl ki zaroorat ho sakti hai?
Ram : Ruko'he goes in and brings his shawl and drapes it around her shoulder.
They finish their tea.
Ram : Priya, I'm very hungry. Tumne kuch bola hai breakfast ke liye?
Priya : Nahin. Aap baithiye, mein baat karke aati hoon.
She returns in some time.
Priya : Abhi toh sirf bread hai, sandwich ban sakta hai.
Ram : Nahin, mujhe aur sandwich nahin khana. Aur kuch nahin bana sakta?
Priya : Nahin, unhe market jaana padega. And he has no conveyance. The nearest market is 5 km away. If he goes out shopping, he will take at least two hours.
Ram : Priya, please mujhe sandwich nahin khana'
Priya : Toh hum chale? Hum sabzi aur baaki samaan saara leke aate hai?
Ram: Priya, tumhe kya ho gaya hai? Hum bhi 10 kms jayenge, toh hume bhi toh utna hi time lagega ! Aur mein utna door achcha khaana ke liye bhi nahin chal sakta'
Priya, smiles : Who is asking you to walk? We can go in the car..
Ram : Ohh.. Phir thik hai. You had frightened me.
Priya goes to ask the caretaker what provisions are required and also the way to the market.
It's a narrow winding road. There are very few people around and they reach the market without needing to ask anyone. Priya gets out of the car and starts to walk when she notices Ram still sitting inside.
Priya: Kya hua? Aap baithe kyun hai?
Ram : Priya, you want me to go the market?
Priya, puzzled : Matlab?
Ram : Tumhe pata hai main kyon hoon? Mr.Ram Kapoor sabzi lene jayenge?
Priya bursts into laughter and comes back and sits in the car.
Ram : Kya hua? Why are you laughing and why did you come back?
Priya : Sorry, I forgot. Main bhi kaise jayu? Kya Mrs. Ram Kapoor ko sabzi ka bag uthana shobha dega?
Ram : Priya, tum'.
Priya : Chaliye, jaldi chaliye..nahin toh wapas jaake sandwich khana.
Ram : Agar pata hota na, toh main bansi kaka ko saath mein le ke aata. Tum bahut blackmail karte ho Priya.
Grumbling, he gets out of the car.
Priya asks Ram which are his favourite vegetables. Ram makes a face saying he doesn't like any vegetable other than alu and that the rest all taste the same.
Priya smiles : Main aapko tarah tarah ki sabzi bana ke khilaungi..dekhna, aap phir apna non veg bhi bhool jayenge.
Ram : No chance.
They've almost completed their shopping when Priya asks for some dhaniya, for free !
Ram is amused and asks why women are so prone to bargaining.
Priya smiles and explains : Yeh free ka dhaniya ka taste hi kuch aur hota hai.
Ram: Maine toh socha tha ki taste banane wale ke haath ke upar hai..?
Priya smiles and gives the shopping bags to Ram to hold and they walk back to the car.
After returning, Ram wants to go and sleep for some more time as he's tired carrying the heavy shopping bags for 2 minutes ! Priya promises to call him as soon as she finishes preparing breakfast.
They spend the whole day, talking and laughing; happy in absolute domesticity. Priya enjoys cooking for Ram and Ram in turn, enjoys Priya's cooking. There is no signal on his cell phone but even that does not disturb Ram. For the first time in his life, he feels free, as free as a bird. Free to do what he wants to, free to say what he wants to and most importantly to share all this with someone of his own. He begins to understand what Vikram used to explain and why marriage was so important.
It's evening and Priya gets up to go to the kitchen again. This time Ram stops her.
Ram : Tumne breakfast aur lunch dono banaya...dinner rehne do. Woh caretaker job hi banaiga, kha lenge. Mat jao abhi.
Priya : Haan, agar aapko mera cooking accha nahin lagta toh saaf saaf bata dijiye !
Ram : Priya tumhe pata hai tum achcha khana banate ho. Aur tumhe yeh bhi pata hai ki I love whatever you cook. But for my sake why do you have to spend so much time in the kitchen?
Priya : Mr. Kapoor, I love cooking. I love feeding people. Aur ghar mein koi mujhe kitchen mein enter bhi nahin karne dete.
Ram : Par maine toh abhi tak nahin dekha ya suna kisi aurat ko kitchen mein jaana pasand karna'?
Priya : Mujhe achcha lagta hai. Pata hai, hamare ghar mein, main aur Ma milke khana banate the..aur daily ek ke pasand ka khana banta tha. Kitna mazaa aata tha..
Ram is thinking about life at Kapoor Mansion'.and how different everything was.
Meanwhile, Priya goes to the kitchen and again Ram enjoys a special dinner.
They wake up the next day to the same routine again. After breakfast, they go for a long walk in the woods. They discuss their childhood and college life and friends and aspirations and dreams. Priya talks about Ashwin and Shruti also and Ram is angry to hear how the pair of them had misbehaved with Priya. He feels happy that at least he has taken some revenge for Priya by insulting Ashwin in front of so many people and slapping him and chucking him out of the job. However, Ram is careful to avoid any mention of Krishnaji and Apeksha and Priya also does not ask him anything on those lines. They are very comfortable with each other and Ram, to his surprise finds himself agreeing to a lot of Priya's ideas even though they are completely different from what or how he used to think earlier.
They sit down to rest on a bench on the side of the narrow winding mountain road.
Ram : Agar Daljit Kuljit yahan hote, toh abhi tak they would have clicked a 100 snaps.
Priya, smiles : Maine Australia ke snaps dekhe bhi nahin. Aapne dekha hai?
Ram : Haan, Daljit ne mujhe bheja tha. Mere laptop mein hai.
Priya : Wapas jaake dikhaenge?
Ram : Haan.
In the evening, Ram takes out his laptop. Priya is sitting in front of the dressing table and adjusting her bindi, when suddenly she has hiccups.
Ram : You were saying in the morning that no one loves you.. so who is remembering you?
Priya smiles into the mirror : Shayad ma yaad kar rahi hogi.
Ram also smiles : Accha idhar aayo, photos dekhna hai toh.
They spend a long time happily discussing and criticizing each snap.
Ram : Priya, ek baat hai' maine pehle nahin bola..
Priya : Kya?
Ram : Woh hotel mein, woh jis din Vidya Balan aayee thi, Priya, tumne itna accha dance kiya tha' !
Priya looks down, shy.
Ram : Sahii mein, main sirf tumhe hi dekhte reh gaya tha ! Maine toh Vidya ko dekha bhi nahin. Really !
Priya gets up and goes out of the room, still shy.
Priya calls from outside : Mein dinner ki tayyari karne jaa rahi hoon.
Another day ends.
Next morning, Ram has a suggestion.
Ram : Priya, mujhe bhi thoda bahut khana banana aata hai. Aaj tum baitho, I'll make breakfast for both of us.
Priya : Ok, chaliye, main aapko help karti hoon.
Ram : Nahin, ab tum aaram karo, par breakfast ke baad tumhe bhi ek kaam karna padege. Promise karo, mana nahin karoge.
Priya : Kya?
Ram : Pehle promise karo.
Priya, smiles: Ok.
Ram : Tel maalish. Outside on the lawn. For one hour.
Priya : Thik hai.
After some time time, the caretaker serves them the breakfast Ram had prepared. To her surprise, Priya finds that its really good.
Priya : Maine socha nahin tha ki aapko sahii mein khana banana aata hai aur woh bhi itna achcha !
Ram : Maine college mein bas ek baar yeh banaya tha aur itne saal kabhi man nahin kara. Aaj pehli baar, I felt like making something for you.
The caretaker comes to clean the table : Saab, ek baat karna tha.
Ram : Haan, kahiye?
Caretaker : Saab, aaplog aaj raat ko rukenge na?
Ram looks at Priya : Waise toh hume aaj shyam ko hi wapas jaana tha par' Priya, aaj raat ko bhi ruk jaaye? Kal subah chale jayenge.
Priya nods, happy.
Caretaker : Toh aaj raat ke liye mujhe chutti denge? Mujhe aaj raat ko kisi ke ghar jaana hai. Aap log nahin rehte toh mein ghar khaali chod ke nahin ja sakta tha par agar aap ijaazat de toh..
Ram : Haan, aap jayiye par kal subah hume jaldi nikalna hai.
Caretaker : Haan saab, main subah saat baje aa jayoonga. Aur mein memsaab ko sab kuch dikha deta hoon.
Priya gets up.
Caretaker : Memsaab, abhi nahin. Main shyam ko jayunga. Abhi aap baithiye.
He goes inside.
Priya also goes in and gets the oil. Ram enjoys a hot oil massage for a long time and he drifts off to sleep on the grass, leaning against Priya who is sitting on the chair. Priya also does not disturb him and she picks up her book and reads.
After lunch, they go out for a long walk again. Ram is able to walk for a longer time and he does not complain. When they return, tea is ready and the caretaker has also completed the basic preparations for dinner. He leaves, thanking them again and promising to return before 7 am the next morning.
RaYa are sitting and talking and don't notice that it's getting dark. It's almost 8 pm when Priya sees the time and gets up to go the kitchen. However, before she can complete, suddenly, electricity goes off. It's totally dark all around. Priya gets frightened and starts calling Mr. Kapoor. Ram does not answer. The caretaker had not shown her any candles and she wonders what to do. After waiting or a few minutes, Priya calls again. Even then when there's no answer, Priya thinks that Mr. Kapoor has probably fallen asleep and tries to find her way in the dark to waken him.
She makes her way through the darkness to their room when suddenly she hears a weird noise. She stands absolutely still when that noise comes again. She is really scared then and starts sobbing. She calls again'Ram..Ram' and starts running''straight into Ram's arms !
Ram holds her close for a brief moment and then releases her: Sorry Priya, main tumhe dara raha tha' but I didn't want to make you cry.
Priya is still crying and doesn't look up.
Ram : Dekho, yeh mera cell se awaaz aa raha tha .. and he plays that again.
Priya is angry and moves back.
Ram smiles and apologises again: Please.. gussa mat karo. Chalo, candle dhoondte hai.
They go to the kitchen and Ram looks around with the help of the dim light from his cell and finally finds 1 candle. He fixes it on the kitchen shelf.
Ram : Tum aapna kaam khatam kar lo aur phir isse bahaar table pe laga deta hoon. Daro mat,I'll stand here. I'm not going anywhere.
Priya continues with her work. Ram stands leaning against the kitchen door and looks at his wife. He suddenly feels contented'and realizes that this is what he wants in his life'.. Priya running to him for comfort and safety and ...? Ram does not admit the rest of it, even to himself. But he knows in his heart, that nothing will happen to Priya. He would take care of her. The report did not worry him any more. They were together and they would fight it together. That's all that mattered.
When Priya finishes, he helps her to lay the table and fixes the candle on the table. The candle is now much smaller and would probably last for just half an hour more.
They sit down to their last dinner of that trip.
Topic started by LalitaLahiri
Last replied by jaya_5