Calming the Sherni
Pihu is very withdrawn and pensive after Ayesha threatened Kush and her. She misses Priya very much but is unable to tell that to Ram because she doesn't want him to feel sad. Soumya tries her best to cheer her up but nothing seems to work. Soumya offers to read to her but she declines the offer and says she is very sleepy and goes to bed after brushing her teeth and changing. Soumya stays in her room for a while and when she thinks that Pihu has fallen asleep, she puts on the night lamp and goes to her room.
Ram comes back late that night all tired and disappointed. Priya and his plan to get Vikram and Neha to sort out their differences turned out to be a disaster. He was hoping to spend some time with Priya but that didn't work out too because of Rehan and Rahul. He goes to Pihu's room to see if she is alright and sees her in bed and like the others thinks she is asleep and leaves to retire for the night.
The next morning Pihu wakes up early and gets ready by herself. By the time Ram comes to her room, she is done packing her school bag and is all ready.
Ram: Good morning Rockstar! Wow you are all ready to go to school and I was hoping you would wake me up. I wanted to get you ready for school.
Pihu doesn't make eye contact with Ram: Good morning Papa. She just walks up to him and gives him a hug.
Ram is a bit surprised as the hug seemed very impersonal. He sits down by her side and puts his arm around her: Is everything alright Pihu?
Pihu: Papa, when are we going to school? Can we go and see Mamma before we go to school?
Ram presumes that she is missing Priya: Pihu, papa has some urgent work so I don't think I can take you to see Mamma in the morning. I promise you that both Mamma and I will come to pick you up from school and then we can all go out for lunch. What do you say?
Pihu: Can Kush also come with us?
Ram: Of course Rockstar! Kush will also definitely come with us.
Ram notices that Pihu is very quiet at the breakfast table, but thinks it is because she is missing Priya. He feels very bad for her but is helpless. He decides that he will call and talk to Priya later in the morning.
Ram sends Pihu and Kush in the car and he leaves for work. A couple of hours later, he gets a call from Pihu's principal asking both him and Priya to come and meet her in the office before they pick up Pihu as she has to discuss something important with them. He is about to call Priya when his phone rings and he sees Priya's number.
Ram: Haan Priya, tell me.
Priya: Mr. Kapoor, I just received a call from the principal at Pihu's school, she wants us both to meet her before we pick her up. Do you have any idea why she wants to see us?
Ram: I don't know Priya. I just got off the phone with her and was going to call you about the same thing.
Priya: Mr. Kapoor I am near your office, so can I come and see you now if you are not busy?
Ram: I have just finished with my meeting so am free now. Why don't you come here so we can both go to the school together?
Priya: Ok Mr. Kapoor, see you in a bit.
In a few minutes Priya comes into Ram's office. Ram asks her to come in and offers her a seat. She is looking very worried and he can see that she has been crying. Seeing her in that condition, he also looks very sad.
Ram: I have been trying my best to spend as much time as possible with Pihu and I think she is getting used to me doing things for her. It feels so nice when I and spending time with her. She is an extremely intelligent child and contrary to what everyone thinks I think she is a lot like you Priya.
Priya: I am sure you are taking very good care of our angel Mr. Kapoor. She means the world to you, I can tell and I am sure you mean the world to her as well. Did something happen at home that might have upset her Mr. Kapoor? Pihu is very sensitive and withdraws into a shell when something unpleasant happens around her. She will not talk about it to anyone and usually when I notice signs of withdrawal I cajole her and get it out of her. Unless you keep asking her, she will not talk about it and will just be very pensive and quiet.
Ram remembers her from the morning when she was very quiet and did not talk much.
Ram: This morning she was very quiet and I attributed it to her missing you. She wanted to see you before she went to school but, I had to go for an important meeting so I promised that both of us would go and pick her up from school this afternoon. I was supposed to call you and finalize the program with you. In the meantime, her principal called.
Priya is looking very worried and tears flow out of her eyes: Mr. Kapoor, I know you are doing your best for her, but I think she needs to spend more time with you. She is still not used to everyone at home, so she will not be comfortable around them. I don't want to say this, but I hope no one is threatening her or saying something to hurt her.
Ram gets up from his chair and comes close to Priya: Please don't be upset Priya. We have to leave for school in a few minutes, so please compose yourself. I know both of us want the best for Pihu and I am sure we will find out what is bothering her and I just hope she is not in any kind of trouble at school. Do you want to use my wash room and freshen up before we leave for school?
Priya nods her head and goes to freshen up. Ram puts one hand on his hip and rubs his forehead with the other. He is thinking about how subdued and withdrawn Pihu was this morning and remembers what Priya said she did when she was upset.
Priya comes out and Ram gives her a feeble smile and both of them walk out of the office. Mamaji sees them walking out and calls Ayesha.
Mamaji: Hello Ayesha, guess who is going for a date with Ram this morning?
Ayesha: Oh Mamaji, I am not in a mood for riddles. Just tell me what you have to. I will deal with it.
Mamaji: I just saw Ram and Priya leave from the office and overheard Ram tell Jenny that he will be back only after lunch , so she will have to cancel meetings for the afternoon. Looks like this is going to be a long lunch date.
Ayesha: Oh okay, thanks for the information Mamaji. I think I need to go and have a word with my dear sister. She needs to take her darling daughter and leave the country. I really don't know why she came here in the first place.
She disconnects the phone and is pacing up and down her room. She is deep in thought about what to do to get over this problem.
In the mean time, Ram and Priya reach the school and are escorted into the principals office.
Principal: Good morning Mrs and Mr Kapoor. How are you this morning?
Ram and Priya: Good morning Ma'am. We are doing fine thank you.
Principal: I wanted to talk to both of you about Pihu. We all know how intelligent and smart she is. She is one of the most popular children in her class and is always happy and cheerful. However lately we have noticed that she has become a little quiet and has not been herself. This morning she had a small accident and soiled her clothes. She has a change of clothes in her bag so we took care of it. She might be a little embarrassed when you pick her up, so I suggest you don't comment about her little accident. She has been very withdrawn and pre occupied today. Drawing is her favorite subject and I want to show you the picture she drew this morning. All these are signs that all is not well in her little mind and that she is troubled about something. I have never seen this side of her, so I wanted to discuss this with you and see if we can help her deal with whatever is bothering her.
Ram and Priya look at each other. Both of them are very concerned and have no idea what is going on in her mind.
Priya: Ma'am, we appreciate you for bringing all this to our notice. I know Pihu is very sensitive and we promise that we will find out from her what is worrying her and try and work it out with her. I know our talks with you are highly confidential, so I do hope it remains that way for our comfort as well as for the child. We have a very open relationship with her and when she is upset she needs a little coaxing to spill the beans. Thank you very much for meeting with us to discuss Pihu.
Both Ram and Priya come out of the office and wait in the lounge for the school to be over so they can take pick up Pihu and Kush.
Priya: Mr. Kapoor, will it be alright if you send Kush home with the driver? That way we can talk to Pihu in privacy, because she will not open up if there are others listening to her. That way she will be able to share her feelings without fear.
As she is talking, tears well up in her eyes and words are not coming out of her mouth very easily. She is choking with tears.
Ram nods his head and puts his hand on Priya's shoulder: You have to be strong for Pihu. Please don't cry now, I am sure everything will be fine.
She turns to look at Ram and he uses his other hand to wipe her tears. She gives him a weak smile and turns towards the classroom gate as the children are coming out from their class- some with their parents and some by themselves. Kush comes out and sees Ram and Priya.
Kush: Hi Papa. Hi Pihu's mamma. Did you come to pick us up from school today? Are we going out for lunch today?
Priya: Hi Kush, how was your day at school?
Ram: Actually Kush, I told you that we would go out for lunch, but something important came up, so can we go for dinner instead? Tomorrow is Saturday and you don't have school, so we could go out for dinner and maybe stay up late? How does that sound?
Kush: Great Papa. Does Pihu also know?
Ram: No Champ, we will tell her when she comes out. I will take you to the car and ask the driver to take you home. Please finish your lunch and be a good boy. I will be back with Pihu soon.
Ram walks Kush to the car and is walking back to the lounge. In the meanwhile, Pihu comes out of the gate dragging her feet and looking at the ground. She is walking very slowly and has a very sad and disturbed look on her face. She sees Priya and comes running to hug her and hides her face in Priyas tummy.
Ram looks at Priya asking her what is the matter through signs. Priya shuts her eyes and nods her head, saying she will ask her. She bends down and gives Pihu a big hug.
Priya: What is the matter Baby? Are you alright?
Pihu is still silent and holding on to Priya.
Priya: Are you unwell? Did someone say something to you? You know Mamma and Papa love you very much and will listen to anything you want to tell us. Please tell us why you are so sad. Shall we go and sit on the bench so you can talk to us?
The three of them walk to the empty bench that is in a secluded spot where there is no one else. Pihu looks at Ram and Priya and bends her head and is silent.
Priya picks her up and draws her close to her: Pihu, you know that you can tell Mamma all your problems. Unless you tell us, how will we be able to help you? You are my princess sweetheart. We love you very much and don't like it when you are so sad. Please tell us what is bothering you.
Ram looks at Priya and admires the way she is talking to Pihu in a very soft and calm tone, full of love and compassion. He puts his hand on Pihus back and gently rubs it.
Ram: Rockstar, if you want me to leave so you can talk to Mamma alone, I will go now. Its alright Pihu, we both love you very much and want the best for you.
Priya looks at Ram and smiles. She is grateful that he is understanding that Pihu might be uncomfortable sharing in his presence as she is still not completely comfortable with her Papa.
Ram tells Priya that he will wait for them outside and slowly walks away. Priya looks at Pihu: See, Papa is not sure if you want him to be here so he has also gone. Now tell me baby. Tell me what is bothering you.
Pihu flings herself into Priya and wraps her arms around her: Mamma, I miss you very much. I want to come back with you. I don't want to stay with all of them.
Priya: Pihu, remember what I told you, Papa loves you very much and you have to stay with him. You think he will be happy if he hears that you don't want to stay with him?
Pihu: Mamma I love Papa and want to stay with him, but I don't want to stay with the others.
Priya: What do you mean by others Pihu? They are all so loving and kind.
Pihu: Mamma do you know Kush was very sad and he was crying yesterday.
Priya: Why? What happened to him?
Pihu: His Mamma shouted at him so badly and even hit him. Do Mammas hit their children? She even said she would hit me if I played with Kush. I am scared of her Mamma. I don't want to stay in that house.
Now Priya understood what all this was about. She draws Pihu close to her and holds her to her bosom as tight as she can. She is trying her best not to breakdown in front of Pihu at this time. Pihu is going through a very vulnerable phase and she has to stay strong for her.
Priya: There are so many different kinds of people in the world. Some Mammas might hit their children, but not because she doesn't love them, but just because she cannot stop them from doing something wrong.
Pihu: But Mamma you never hit me ever and Kush did not do anything wrong. We were both playing in my room and he wanted to finish the candy land game that we started. She got very angry with him and told me not to play with him anymore and that if I did, she would beat me too.
Priya: I don't think she will beat you Pihu. I am sure she loves you and Kush. It is just that she must have tried to tell Kush and because he was not listening, she lost her patience. Anyway there is nothing for you to worry about now. Papa is with you and I am sure he will listen to you and will help you sort out your problems. Can I call Papa here now Pihu? Do you want to talk to him? Papa love you a lot more than I do princess. He will feel happy if you share your problems with him. I will also be here, so that you are comfortable. Is that alright.
Pihu slowly nods her head and Priya and she walk out of the lounge looking for Ram. They see him waiting under the tree near the car so they walk up to him. Priya looks pretty disturbed and Pihu is walking with her head bent down.
Ram looks at Priya and asks her with his eyes if Pihu is alright. Priya shakes her head from side to side and purses her lips tightly. The three of them sit under the tree.
Priya: Pihu, would you like to tell Papa why you are so sad?
Pihu looks at Priya and leaves her hand and wraps herself around Ram. He engulfs her in a big bear hug and just holds her as close to him as possible.
Pihu then goes on to tell him all that happened at home and about Ayesha's threats to her and Kush. Ram is furious and very agitated. Priya looks at him and puts her hand on his shoulder and signs to him to calm down. She moves closer to both Pihu and Ram and keeps rubbing Ram's back and shaking her head from side to side. She wants him to control his anger as she doesn't want Pihu to see him like that.
Priya: Mr. Kapoor, it is getting late, I am sure Pihu must be hungry. Let us go home now.
Pihu: Mamma can we go to your house and eat with you? Papa, I want to go to Mamma's house with you and Mamma.
Ram is visibly very upset, but covers up his anger and smiles at Pihu.
Ram: Anything you want Rockstar. I am sorry about what happened to you and Kush. We have to do something about it, but right now, Priya, is it alright for us to come over to your place for some nice hot Aloo Parathas?
Priya smiles: Of course Mr. Kapoor. You don't have to ask me. You are both welcome any time.
She turns to Pihu: Well, my Princess, I notice that you have lost a tooth. I hope you saved the tooth for the tooth fairy? Remember the tooth fairy will give you some money for every tooth that you put under your pillow. Don't forget to put that under your pillow tonight. She looks at Ram as he gives her a shy smile.
Both of them remember the tooth in Ram's secret box that he showed Priya, and they smile at each other.
Ram tells the driver to give him the car keys and go home. Ram opens the back door and Pihu gets in. Priya gets into the front seat beside Ram and they drive to Priya's apartment. She makes hot Aloo Parathas and both Dad and Daughter enjoy their lunch. After lunch she tells Pihu that she should take a nap as she didn't sleep very well at night. She tucks her into bed and smiles at her. She comes out into the living room and Ram is pacing up and down. She signs to him to sit down and sits down beside him.
Priya: Mr. Kapoor, I will talk to Ayesha about this.
Ram: No Priya, this time she has crossed all limits. She needs to be put in her place.
Priya: I know Mr. Kapoor, I can take any amount of nonsense from anyone, but when it comes to hurting my family I will not keep quiet. Ayesha needs to know what she did is wrong and for that I need to talk to her and knock some sense into her head. Let me handle her.
Ram: I am really sorry that Pihu had to go through all this. It is all my fault. I should not have left her alone with Ayesha. What was I thinking? I have failed as a father.
Priya cuts him short: No Mr. Kapoor, it is not your fault. Please don't blame yourself. You are a wonderful Papa for Pihu and she loves you very much. I cherish those moments when I see you bonding with Pihu and when you are both laughing together. It makes me so happy and this is the reason why I accepted my mistake and decided to bring Pihu back to be with her father. She needs both her father and her mother Mr. Kapoor. Both are very important and I am sure everything will sort itself out soon. I don't want you to get angry and Pihu might get upset again.
Ram: I have an important meeting this afternoon. Can I leave Pihu here for a couple of hours? I will come and pick her up after my meeting is over.
Priya: I would love to keep her here. Once you come and get her, I will call and talk to Ayesha. I want to get to the bottom of this without wasting any time, because I cannot afford to have Pihu withdraw and be upset. She has to enjoy being with her Papa, unafraid and free.
Ram leaves and comes back in a few hours. He picks up Pihu and leaves. Priya makes him promise that he will not say anything to Ayesha till she is done talking to her.
After they leave Priya calls Ayesha: Hello, Ayesha this is Priya. I need to talk to you so please tell me where we can meet up.
Ayesha: Haan Priya, I need to talk to you as well and I want to get this over fast. I can come and meet you in your one bedroom flat if you want. Give me a good time, as I don't like wasting my time there.
Priya is shocked that her little sister has changed so much in the past five years: That is fine Ayesha. I am free now and will wait for you. I have all the time in the world, so you tell me when you want to come here. If you are coming now, you can even have tea with me.
Ayesha: Oh no Priya, lets just cut the crap and come down to business. I am very health conscious and will not eat anything and everything anywhere and everywhere.
Priya just rolls her eyes: Okay then I will wait for you to come here.
She disconnects the phone and paces up and down the living room. She has one hand folded around her waist and the other bent with her cellphone in it. She is shaking her head from side to side as she is pacing the room. She stops and closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She looks at the photograph of Pihu and picks it up. She holds it close to her chest and kisses the picture, puts it back on the coffee table and looks at her wrist watch and then at the front door. She walks around the room picking up the cushions and putting them back, spreading the sheet over the diwan and is pacing up and down the room again. Finally she hears what she has been waiting so impatiently for all this time ' the doorbell. She takes a deep breath and goes to the door to open it.
Ayesha is on the other side of the door and Priya smiles at her: Hi Ayesha, please come in.
Ayesha walks in and looks around the room with a very disinterested look.
Priya: Have a seat Ayesha. Can I get you some water to drink?
Ayesha: Lets get to the point and be done with it now. I have no time to waste. Anyway just for your information, I drink only mineral water so don't bother.
Priya smiles again: I have mineral water if you are interested, the offer is still open. Anyway, I would also like to come to the point and not waste your precious time. Pihu's principal called us to talk about her this afternoon and what she said disturbed me a lot. Pihu is a very bubbly child and seeing her so sad and quiet made me upset. On talking to her I came to know about what happened at KM. That is the reason why I wanted to talk to you. Can you tell me what is going on?
Ayesha rolled her eyes: I have never seen a more badly brought up kid than yours. I know you had her late in life, but that doesn't warrant indulging her so much. If she is going to live in my house, I have to set her right and she needs discipline.
Priya in a very calm tone: I am surprised to hear that from you Ayesha, because everyone says she is very well behaved wherever she goes. Anyway, that is your opinion and you are entitled to have one that is different from the rest of the world. That is not my problem. Apparently you hit Kush and also threatened Pihu. Ayesha, Pihu is my daughter and I don't think you have any right to threaten her. If you are having issues with her, please talk to Mr. Kapoor about it and ask him to help you resolve any problems. Pihu loves her father and will do anything to make him happy. Remember she is almost five years old and this is a very impressionable age.
Ayesha: As long as she is in my house, she has to live on my terms. If you are not happy with the way I treat her you are most welcome to take her back and bring her up in any way you want.
Priya is really angry at this point. She takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, then turns and faces Ayesha with a smile and talks to her in a very calm voice: Listen Ayesha, this is not what I wanted to do, but you are leaving me with no option. Your house, your upbringing, your rules, I hope you remember you got all that because of me. If I had fought the case when you falsely implicated me in the case, I would have won it and I would not have left KM and Ram's life. If it wasn't for me, you would have been an unwed mother on the streets, because your parents and own brother disowned you due to your bad behavior. Be thankful that you have a roof over your head and that is all thanks to Kush. All the luxuries that you are enjoying as "Mrs" Ayesha Ram Kapoor are because of Ram's hard work and reputation. If I went to court now and filed a bigamy case, where will you be? Of course both Ram and you will be in prison, but I can always bail out Ram and where will that leave you? Remember, you are living a false life where you are actually nothing on your own. If I am keeping quiet and letting you continue to live there inspite of everyone around you being unhappy with you, it is because of your son Kush and my magnanimity. You are nothing on your own Ayesha.
All I am doing is giving you a warning at this point. If you don't get your act together and take good care of the children, I will kick you out of the house ' my home that you have usurped! Just remember that and come down from your high horse. The image you are building for yourself as a "socialite" is all because of Ram and indirectly me letting you be his wife even though there is no relationship between the two of you. Also let me tell you one thing Ayesha, Kush is the only one who is yours and if you continue to ill treat him like you are doing now, you will lose him also and then, there will be no one poorer than you.
Ayesha gets rattled a bit but is trying to put up a front that she doesn't care: Priya, are you threatening me? You think I am going to be scared and shiver in my shoes just because you are giving me your two-bits? I am not afraid of you or anyone. KM is where I belong and that is where I will continue to be whether you like it or not. If you are not happy with the way Pihu is being treated, you can take her back from there. Anyway no one wants her there. She is just a pile-on.
Priya laughs after listening to Ayesha: Excuse me? You said my daughter is a pile on in her home? I know who is not wanted in that house and like I said, I am not threatening you. I will take you to court and get you out of KM and Ram's life in a jiffy. Don't instigate me to do it. Stay within your limits and I will be quiet. I can take any amount of crap on myself at any time, I am very tolerant if I want to be, but when someone hurts my family ' my husband or my daughter, I will not take it lightly. I can show you what Priya is all about. She is nowhere like your "Priyadi" used to be. Just bear that in mind. Now, I am done with what I had to say. You can leave now, because I know you are too uncomfortable in a small apartment like mine.
Ayesha fumes out of the flat and Priya is going to shut the door when someone stops her. She is surprised to see Ram standing by the door. He has a jubilant smile on his face. Priya makes way and invites him into the flat and shuts the door behind them.
Ram looks very amused: Wow! Some Sherni you are! I am impressed as well as scared now. You were just short of clawing her eyes out Priya. How did you even talk in such a calm voice? I was expecting to rush in and pull you away from her because I was sure you would attack her. He holds her hand and pulls her into his arms and holds her in a tight hug.
Priya was not expecting this at all. First she was surprised to see him waiting outside the door listening to all that was happening inside, secondly this close proximity to her life was getting dangerous. Captured in the arms of the one she loves after five long years, something that her heart yearned for but her mind is trying to resist. Her mind is slowly losing the battle of the heart. Should she fight him or just give in? Mind says "this is immoral, you cannot do this" heart says "you are finally where you belong, make the most of it". She stares into his eyes and all she can see is endless love for her. She eventually surrenders and rests her cheek on his heart listening to what was music to her ears and something that she was yearning to listen to.
Hope you like it. Do let me know what you think of the story.Edited by sangautam - 2013-01-04T14:08:36Z
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