Fogged by steam
With blinded reflection
The fog cleanses the mirror
Reflecting brighter images
Poonam Srivastava---A Moment for the Mind
It was not her voice, calling out "Major saab!" that stopped him. He would not have heard her over the thunder of his jeep's engine, and in any case her voice was like her--soft, gentle and calm. It was the glint of her beaded cream choli, reflected in his rear-view mirror. Blinded for a split second, he had paused in shifting gears, and in that moment, her soft call had reached him.
Rudra stopped the jeep and turned to see her racing up the road, her cream ghagra held up in one slender hand, a mirror-work jhola in the other. He knew what was in that jhola, and inwardly, he groaned. On the outside, Major Rudra Pratap Ranawat looked expressionless and stern as he watched Paro come up to his side of the jeep, panting a little. She gasped for breath, holding her hands to her chest, and his eyes followed her hands, to rest greedily on her lovely bosom, heaving with the exertion of her run.
Seeing the direction of his burning gaze,
Paro blushed, and dropping her hands, she playfully shook her jhola in his
implacable face. "Aap phir se bhul gaye. Aaj bhi
chala aya iss ke bina. Yeh nahi chalega Major Saab. Aap yeh li jiye!"
(Eng: You forgot this again! You left the house without taking this with you--this wont do, Major, here, take this!")
Rudra didn't reply, as usual, and giving him a puzzled look, she turned to place the jhola carefully in the back-seat. She bent forward, and Rudra got an entrancing glimpse of a slender waist and flat stomach, around which hung a thin waist-band, hung with polished discs of silver. The sunlight caught the discs, and their reflection dazzled his eyes. Rudra found himself staring at the waist so generously---if innocently--- displayed, and immediately looked away.
This waist band had given Rudra far more sleepless nights than any criminal had ever managed to do. Under enemy interrogation, he knew he would have been able to describe every single design, disc and detail on it. As if it was cursed by the way his eyes fixated on it, Paro turned and caught her waistband in the door handle of the jeep. It tore, fortunately without hurting her. The silver chain fell to the ground, and Paro's gasp of dismay cut Rudra through to the heart.
"Yeh bakwas cheez tor dala. Accha kiya. Din bhar bahut awaaz karti thi" said Rudra, as Paro ruefully picked up her torn jewellery.
(Eng: "You tore this stupid thing, did you? Good. Its loud jingling has been driving me crazy all day")
The owner of this
offending piece of ruined jewellery now caused the Major's blood pressure more
stress by apparently needing to stretch her arms above her head, fixing her
hair. Paro, unaware of what her actions were doing to him, scolded
the Major gently, while trying to get something out of her long, open locks.
"Iss jhola mein aapke dawai hai, Major Saab, aap abhi bhi puri tarah se thik nahi hui. Aapka zakhm nahi bhara. Aap kyu yeh bar bar ghar par chor jate hai?...Yeh lo...!" Having finally removed an ornate silver hairclip from her silky locks, Paro turned, and put the clip into the jhola as well.
"Aman bai-sa ko bol dena ke who aap ko dawai sahi waqt pe de." The sweet smile that accompanied her request made Rudra's senses swim. He scowled at her, trying, vainly, to intimidate the fairy-creature into leaving him alone, and going away. She smiled at him again, and asked him to excuse the mirrored jhola--she had not been able to find a proper bag for his medicine in her rush to get to him before he drove away to BSD Headquarters. "Yeh meri jhola hai" she shyly explained.
(Eng:"This bag contains your medicine, Major. You havent fully recovered yet, you know. Your wounds are still healing. Why do you keep forgetting to take this along with you? Take it! Please tell Aman Bhaiya to give you the medicine on time. And please bring the bag back for me. Its my own bag")
"Kyu? Mera bhi ho sakta hai. Mei iss tarah ka jhola collect jo karta hu!" answered Rudra, seeking refuge in rudeness. "Aur teri hairclip jo tune iss me dala? Wo kis liye? Mera uska bhi zaroorat hai kya? General ke sath meeting hai. Uss waqt wo pehn lu? Style statement hai?"
(Eng: " Why? This could be my bag too. After all, I make a habit of collecting these mirrored bags, right? And what about your hairclip, that you just put in there? What is that for? Do I need that as well? I have a meeting with the General today. Maybe you'd like me to wear that to the meeting? Its a style statement, yeah?")
Tinkling laughter greeted these words. Rudra watched mesmerized as Paro threw her head back and somewhere inside him, joy blossomed-- joy at having made this entrancing creature laugh. "Nahi, Major saab. Aapki uniform ko yeh clip match nahi karta. Aman Bai-sa bola wo menne Rakhi ke din gift dena chahte hai. Hairclip dekhne ko chaha. Iss tarah kuch kharid lenge. Mene mana kiya, lekhin zid pakar li usne. Sastha hai" she hastened to explain... "Parr mennu pasand ki hai. Aap yeh wapas leh ayenge na? Ek lothi clip hai, iss ko manne nahi khona ..."
(Eng:"No, Major, the hairclip doesn't match your uniform at all. Aman Bhai told me that he wanted to buy me a gift for Rakhi. He wanted to see what kind of hair clips I use, he'll take a look at this and buy me one just like it. I told him not to bother, but he's been insisting. Its cheap, but it is my favorite. Will you please remember to bring it back for me? Its the only one I have,I really don't want to lose it...")
Anxious eyes looked at Rudra, afraid that she might be scolded, mocked, or even punished, for daring to use him to send Aman baisa something.
Rudra, about to leave, now stared at Paro's face. She shivered when one large hand gripped her face, but stood still as he, with exquisite care, wiped a corner of her eye with a fingertip. Rudra instinctively used the kajal he had removed to dot her under the chin in an oddly superstitious gesture, to ward off the evil eye. Paro, her mouth open and staring at him, seemed to make him realize the strangeness of this. The Major felt awkward enough by his action to immediately demand, rudely, why Paro was going around with back lines under her eyes like a fool.
"Maaf kar di-jiye" Paro gasped. The slight touch had unnerved her completely, and she was still feeling lightheaded from the sensation. "Menne iss subah bas u-hi kajal lagayi. Aap jhola Aman baisa ko de denge na?"
(Eng: "Forgive me! I put kajal on this morning without really looking at what I was doing. It got smudged. You'll give the bag to Aman, right?")
"De dungi. Tu ghar ja. Agli baar main-road pe bewakoof ki tarah race karke mat ana. Khatarnak hai."
(Eng: "I'll give it to him. You go on home. In the future, don't come running down the main road, like a fool. Its dangerous.")
Rudra replied, turning away and restarting his jeep.
At the BSD
Headquarters, after a long day of strategy meetings, Rudra finally found time to
check into his office. On the table was a packet of pills, a glass of water,
and a silver hair-clip. He took the medication, ruefully feeling the gashes on
his recently healed skin.
Aman had cheekily placed the mirrored jhola on his chair, so Rudra decided to assign several back-to-back night shifts to his oh-so-funny junior officer as punishment, and finally he was ready to go home. There was one stop...
The next morning, as Paro worked in the kitchen, she was surprised to find that whenever she turned, Rudra was somewhere nearby, in her line of sight. In a man less terrifying than the Major, she would have classified his behavior as hovering. But why would he be staying close to her, when normally he could barely tolerate the very sight of her in his Haveli? She knew she had overstayed her welcome. She had spent many hours trying to think of another refuge, but she truly had nowhere else to go. She tried to make herself useful, to take care of her hosts, but usually, all they wanted from her was a hot meal, and that she stay out of their way.
Sighing, she turned, and was ordered by Rudra, who was right behind her, to go get him his laptop from his bedroom. Paro obediently nodded, and, wiping her hands dry on a towel, she headed for his, well---their---bedroom.
Having grown up with very little in the way of material things, Paro had adjusted quite well in the bachelor household consisting of the Major and his Baba-sa. She had a few simple cotton ghagras and some personal things, bought from the time the Major's father had given her some cash and forced her to go get "aurat ki wo sab ajeeb sa samaan" she needed. Everything she owned was in a small trunk, kept in a corner of Rudra's room. She needed very little--soap, some hair oil, a few toiletries. Her cotton ghagras were serviceable, if plain, and she had a small mirror, unfortunately cracked, that had been in her jholi when she had been captured. It reminded her of Bindi, so she held onto it. It was enough.
Strangely enough, in a Haveli with so many empty rooms, she had never been offered another room to stay in. She had not dared to ask for her own bedroom, in case it made Rudra hate her even more than he already did. He mostly ignored her when she came to make her bed on the floor of his room at night, and she tidied things only after he left for the BSD Headquarters in the morning.
During the day, she rarely went into his room, and since today he had chosen not to go to work, she hadn't had time to do the usual daily cleaning of the space. She walked into the darkened room, looking around for his laptop, when a flashing in the corner made her turn.
There, on the far wall, hung the biggest, most magnificent mirror she had ever seen. It was without question an antique piece, ornately scrolled around with silver, heavy and imposing. The oval mirror was feminine and heavily carved, and looked like it was the property of a rich Thakurain or the prized possession of a Zamindar's pampered wife. In the spartan, nearly empty bedroom of an Indian Army major, it looked ridiculously out of place.
Paro, who had never in her life seen something so beautiful walked up to the mirror, touching its surface with reverence. The beautiful girl reflected in it stared back with large, awed eyes, and then, right behind that girl came into focus the dark, striking face of Major Rudra Pratap Ranawat.
Rudra's hand disappeared behind him, and as Paro watched him, fascinated, he brought out a silver waistband, the one she had broken. Now totally repaired. Rudra watched Paro's reflection in the mirror as he caressed her waist, his fingers making small circles against her flesh as he slowly tied the silver chain onto the mesmerized girl. His hand, so dark against the alabaster skin, paused as it completed its task, hovering above and then resting on the tiny waist. They stared at themselves in the mirror's silvery surface, eyes caught in the same gaze.
"Aman teri liye wo clips khareeda. Tujhe clips pehen ke liye mirror chahiye, saj-dhajne ke liye, kajal lagaane ke liye, vagera. To..mene yeh le aya. Tere liye. Iss kamre pe jhula diya, jahan tu rehte hai..."
(Eng: "Aman bought those clips for you, the ones you wanted. You'll wear those, you'll get all dressed up, put on your kajal, all that girly stuff, right? You'll need a mirror for all that? So I brought this one for you. Its yours. I put it up here, for you, in this room, where you live...")
The mirror glimmered as it reflected back to the both of them their combined reflection-- standing in an embrace, entwined, the slender girl leaning trustingly back as she was being circled and protected in the powerful man's loving arms.
Paro looked hard at the man in the mirror. It seemed like the fog that had obscured her vision for so many days was slowly gathering in drifts, and burning away in the heat of Rudra's gaze. She looked at the man in the mirror once again, and for the first time since she had met him, she saw Rudra's true reflection, his true image, as clear as day.
MY OTHER PARO / RUDRA ONE SHOTS:
Edited by napstermonster - 2014-03-28T13:47:27Z
Topic started by napstermonster
Last replied by Aisha1996