Edited by -Suganthi- - 2015-06-05T09:45:53Z
"Jeeja, both of them left their glasses in the aangan and disappeared," Shatabdi complained as she brought empty glasses to the kitchen. Maithili smiled and commented that she was just glad that Dhruv and Koel finished their milk without a fuss unlike some people. Paro frowned, "Jeeja, milk makes me queasy. You know this." Maithili gave her a shoulder hug and explained that she was just kidding. Both women continued to clear the kitchen. "Shatabdi, who are you making coffee for?" Paro asked. She replied that Dilsher had a headache and this would provide some relief. "Thausa has a headache? Hey Bholenath! I'm sure these kids are pestering him for stories. I'll take the coffee Shatabdi. You help Paro," she instructed before leaving. Shatabdi started to keep the left overs in the refrigerator. Paro continued to wash the dishes.
After sometime Shatabdi asked softly, "Paro, can I ask something? Did Rudra bhaisa really beat up a hundred goons to rescue you in the desert all those years ago?" Paro's eyes widened with surprise but didn't ask her where did she hot this idea from. Dhruv must have bragged to Koel. In his eyes, his father was a dashing hero and privately she agreed. Bapusa and his brother loved telling stories from his eventful life making him larger than life. "No, Shatabdi there were three men who tried to take advantage in a chadda. Dhruv must have embellished," she explained with a sad smile. It was nearly 11 pm, her husband wasn't back. "Maybe he is staying over at the BSD headquarters. Why don't you call him? The work here is almost done," Shatabdi suggested guessing her distress. Paro nodded and went to her room.
The curtains were flying in the wind. It brought a smile to her face. Her fingers caressed the [/I]jali[/I] pattern of the partition. This were she stood when her husband smiled at her for the first time when she said bye. That made her want to dance all over again. She wanted to laugh all over again as she stood at the spot where her then Major saab pulled her down and drenched with blue dye. He is now a Lieutenant Colonel now, she thought proudly.
She loved this haveli and was thankful to Kakisa for pressurising Bapusa to move back. Once Shantanu was killed, there was no reason to stay away from their ancestral home. Chandangarh was home. They moved back within a month of Koel's birth.
She crossed the fountain and blushed, this was her favorite spot for two reasons. One, this is where he first told her that her love was all he needed. She knew at that point that she was his strength. And two where he cheered her up with his awful singing, unintentional though it was. He wasn't much of a singer. And tries to avoid it. Even if Dhruv pesters him for a lullabye. "Go to your mother. She sings like a nightingale," he says.
She opened the door to their room. There were so many changes here. The exercise machine was replaced by a empty cot for Dhruv. She straightened his pillow fondly. He was in his Maasi's room with Koel listening to stories or lullabies. Jeeja loved the affection poured on her by the children. She no longer felt bad that she couldn't conceive. Koel usually ends up sleeping through. But Dhruv always returns to their room when his father was away. He had promised to watch him for her.
On the desk was his school bag, ready for the next day. He also insisted that his uniform to hang right next to his Papa's. She smiled at the picture on the desk. It was a photograph of Maasa holding one year old Dhruv. Shortly after that Thakursa resurfaced and Maasa had turned approver. She provided evidence against her husband. That was the point when her son whole heartedly forgave her. But Thakursa couldn't handle loosing her to her son. He aimed to shoot her husband but ended up killing his own wife. That moment he gave up. He had nothing more to live for. His wife, his wealth and his prestige was all gone. His surrender earned Aman bhaisa a promotion. He was now Major Amandeep Singh. And her Major Saab had become Lieutenant Colonel Rudra Pratap Ranavat. So she had to change his petname to something he treasured more than his badge, Dhruv ke Papa.
She sat down on the bed and picked up the phone. The dial tone was heard as she picked up the photoframe of them dancing from the nightstand. She smiled how he always knew what exactly she would like as a gift. She wondered what he planned for the next day. The person you trying to reach is not reachable at the moment. Please try again later. She kept the receiver down and glanced on the clock. 11:45 pm where was he. She was so tired but didn't want to doze off not yet. Dhruv and Rudra always set an alarm for midnight. So that they were the first to wish her. But she couldn't even get her husband on the phone for some reason.
Paro moved to the diwan. Out of habit her fingers grazed her sewing box. She usually spent stiching while her son did his homework. Koel and her mother prefer the bed while she studies. Kakisa scolds her for whiling away the time as Shatabdi makes sure both kids do well in school. But she likes watching her son study. All other chores can wait. She wonders if he will become a soldier like his Bapusa or a businessman like his Kakosa. Kakisa wanted the former. He is the only male heir of the Ranavat name. He should learn how to handle the responsibilities that come along with the fortune. She smiled thinking how the older woman slowly and steadily warmed up to her and Rudra.
The clock struck 12 o' clock. The door opened and Dhruv stepped in. He gave her a hug and said, "Happy birthday, Maasa." He handed over a role of paper. She smiled as she opened it. It was a crayon drawing of their little family standing around a birthday cake. He had coloured each of them in their favorite colours. He hadn't even forgotten her mamisa who was holding at her just like she used as a child. Janamdin mubarak the words spelt out in little speech bubbles from all of them. Her hand caressed her husband's military green shirt. He had made a family potrait during his childhood too. "Papa will come back soon, Maasa. I know it," her son reassured her. She smiled and guided him towards his bed. But he shook his head, "Today I will tuck you in and sing a lullaby," he insisted. He fluffed his father's pillow knowing how she used it when he was away and helped her settle into bed. As he pulled her blanket over her he sang, "Heli Mare..." She drifted to pleasant slumber as the soft melody hummed in her ears.
Crash! "Father is a big storm and the son is a mini one," she woke up the next morning to loud noise and the sound of Kakisa's weather report. She looked about the room. She observed that Dhruv's bed was a mess, his chair on the floor and his father's uniform hanger was off its nail. Her eyes then went to the clock. 7:00 am. No wonder Kakisa had come to her room looking for her. "I didn't mean to oversleep. I'll quickly make breakfast. Where's Dhruv? He has school," she hurried. "Dhuakumari, don't worry. Your ladla just rushed out in a cloud of smoke. He wanted to cook your breakfast. But I managed to catch him before he burns down the house. Maithili is getting him ready for school now. Shatabdi is preparing the food," she explained. Paro thought for a minute. Cooking wasn't her sister's finer skills. "I should go help," she offered. Kakisa raised an eyebrow and said, "We'll manage her fare for one day. I want you to get ready soon to go to the temple." She knew very well how the young woman would want to start her special day thanking Bholenath for the year gone by.
"Maasa, Rudra is running late. He told us to carry on without him," Samrat told her as soon as she was out of Paro's room. This delay would disappoint their birthday girl. "Tell Maithili not to send the kids for school," she instructed. Her son smiled. She would miss Rudra less if Dhruv and Koel are around to keep her spirits high.
"Paro Bhabhisa!" Sumer shouted from the other side. She opened the door to find a shopping bag thrust to her face. "Shatabdi insists that you wear this," he said. She took it from him and thanked him. She asked where Shatabdi was. The couple usually wished her together for every occasion. "She is struggling in the kitchen," he replied. She felt guilty and offered to go immediately to her aid. "No, I sorted it out now. She was trying to make paneer parathas as it is your favourite. But I told to make her toast instead. That's all she can make. I'd appreciate it if you cover for her when Maasa is served her meal," he requested. She nodded and went inside. "Happy birthday bhabhisa!" he yelled as an after thought. She smiled. Sumer always forgot to wish until he heard someone else do it.
She took the blue and off white lehenga saree. Shatabdi couldn't cook but she certainly knew how to shop. The pink border had her rushing to the almirah. She climbed on it just like she did when she was hiding from rats. She pulled out an ornate box. Her face glowed as she inspected the treasure inside. The red daga which was her first mangalsutr, the silver butterfly earrings her first Karvachauth gift and the one she was looking for her pink bangles. Ab Mafi de! his voice cried out from the past. She looked sternly at his photograph, "Dhruv ke Papa, you are very late. You will have to get something even better for my forgiveness this time."
She placed the matching bangles next to her saree when she heard another knock. "Janamdin ki der sare subhkamnaye Paro," Maithili jeeja hugged her as soon as the door was opened. Samrat patted her head affectionately and wished her. They gave her a small box. When she opened it, she gasped. A sapphire and pearl bangle was nestled in velvet. "Jeeja, this is..." her words were shushed by her sister's palm. She pushed her hand aside, "This is too much." Maithili asked her if she liked it. She nodded. "Then like a good little sister, say thank you and wear it," she gently chided. Samrat told her that it was a gift from her Jeeja and her Jetanisa. "Besides, you have already given me the best gift of all when you shared Dhruv with me," his wife added with tears in her eyes.
A few minutes later Paro was seated with Kakisa and Koel in the car. Mohini admired the sapphire necklace set around Paro's neck which dazzled in the mid morning light. Kaki did you like the necklace? Bade Dadusa took Dhruv and me along when he picked us from school. I only selected this one. Dhruv just said it has to be blue because Rudra kakasa likes blue and you will too. He doesn't know anything else. I had to explain everything to him," she chatted happily. Kakisa laughed and said that boys are never interested in jewellery. Paro pushed Dhruv's hair off his forehead. It bounced back stubbornly just like his father's and just as soft. She wondered what was keeping him occupied. "Dadisa, boys are so boring. They just want to play stupid games all the time," she complained. "Maasa, I like to play cricket and it is not a stupid game," he admitted. "Besides it's more fun than those pretend games with her dolls all the time," he added. "What about playing with that army tanker? He always insists that only the BSD can rescue princesses and make them a queen" she countered as Dhruv struck out his tongue at her. It was true in his mother's case. Mohini revealed that a brave king and his lovely queen will be visiting then tonight. Paro smiled, she guessed it was part of the evening's entertainment. Kakisa was always trying a little hard to make for the way she had acted when they first met. For her as long as her king and little prince were by her side, that's all she needed.
She knew her guess was right when she saw their haveli bedecked with flowers. Some men where on the roof fixing some twinkle lights. They were all in blue. Rukmaniwala blue. Just like the decorations Rudra had planned when he threatened to marry her if she didn't sign those stupid papers. It was funny how she proposed marriage for real when she came to know the truth. Once the car was parked the door was opened by a BSD constable. She smiled but didn't receive one in return. Maithili came running with the phone in her hand, "Sunheri wants to..." She stopped looking at the expression on the soldier's face.
The young soldier was hestitant. He knew the message that was supposed to deliver would hurt. But he had his orders.He took a deep breathe but still ended up mumbling, "Ma'am, there was an sand storm... gravely injured." Sand storm! Gravely injured! Rudra! That's why he hadn't reached home yet. Her heart skipped a beat. Her form swayed. Maithili held her tight. "Be clear. What happened to Rudra banna?" Danveer spoke up pulling the soldier away from both Paro and his brother. But they stuck close enough to hear the words. "Rudra Sir was heading back on his motor bike the sand storm... It looked really bad and he..." Paro had yanked him back to the jeep before he finished his account. "Babloo, this is why I want him to quit his BSD. Yesterday was his day off yet he left because he thought he was needed at work and today he isn't by Parvati's side," Dilsher argued with his brother. His nephews tried to calm him down. "Take me to him," came the clear voice of Parvati Rudra Pratap Ranavat. The soldier faltered. His orders were just to inform not bring her along. Not yet anyway. "We'll all go. Sumer, Shatabdi keep the kids here. I'll call soon," Danveer instructed.
Maithili held on to Paro tightly as she sat next to her in the BSD jeep. Kakosa kept looking from the front seat at the young woman who was muttering prayers under her breathe. He wanted more information but didn't want to upset her. His son was following them in another car with his brother. Mohini was with them. He hoped they don't kill each other. But they had to act like the adults they were supposed to be. The younger generation needed their support.
Shatabdi let the children inside but felt so bad after seeing their long faces. They were so excited in the morning and now they looked so dejected. They didn't even know what was happening. She tried to tempt them with sweet treats and sherbet. It didn't help one bit. Koel and Dhruv just sat holding each other. Sumer was too eager, he couldn't wait for his father to call back. As soon as the others left he dialed Aman's number. He smiled when he understood what was happening.
Paro noticed that they were entering Birpur. She wanted to ask the soldier why they were brought here. Her eyes landed on her husband's bike. It was intact. So he must be too. Was it her Mamisa then who was in peril? There were too many people ahead the jeep was moving too slowly. She wanted to run. But the royal blue peep toe sandles she wore prevented it. They were a gift from Sunheri, Meri pyari bhabhisa, you need dressy shoes when you go out with Rudra Bhaisa. She wasn't sure what possessed her to wear it today. She quickly took them off and jumped out of the jeep. Paro! her sister called out but her feet won't stop. She pushed the front door open with all her might. "Mamisa!" she shouted.
Everything looked fine. The house was neat and tidy. From the kitchen the smell of freshly cooked dal and rice filled her senses. What was happening, she wondered. A familiar tune was heard played on a mouth organ. It was the Happy birthday song they sang for Dhruv on his birthday. It was coming from her room. On her old sewing machine a helmet was placed. A leather jacket carelessly thrown on a chair. And on the bed lay a perfectly relaxed with one leg over the other. He turned to her with a calm smile and got up. "I was practising. What do you think?" he asked casually. His musical talent had gotten better over the years. He still couldn't sing but he had learnt to play the mouth organ quite well.
He took a nice long look at his lovely wife. She didn't look a day older than the day they were married. Her porcelain skin and lustrous dark hair hid her true form. She was no ordinary beauty but a diamond who had faced the every pressure and heat that fate threw at her and come out shining. In her eyes was anger swirled along with relief. Anger that she was tricked. Relief that he was alright. Her lips were parted and tiny droplets of pespiration covered her nose. This part made him curious. He had sent the new recruit only to make sure she is brought here without any hassles. But she looked like she had run a mile. His eyes then lazily perused her body. He loves it when she is rattled up. It brings out the fiesty side of her. He wanted to draw her close and kiss her lips. He wondered if she would let him.
Paro knew what was going on his mind. She remembered her last birthday. A rose gently trailed the lines of her face. She smiled as she slept on. His fingers then took the place of the soft petals. She leaned into his touch and sighed. Emboldened by her reaction his feet pushed her ghagra higher under the sheets and he started to pepper her face with kisses. "Rudra!" she shouted as she realised what he was doing when their young son was close by. "He is making you a special breakfast. Ranavat special - Jale hue aloo and Nazar tikka roti" he explained. She laughed. He frowned at her, "I'm serious, he is trying to make you happy. Try to act like you like it. You remember how you ate it without a fuss the first time I cooked it for you? Just like that." She bit her lip trying to control the laughter that was bubbling through her. She could appreciate her son's efforts. So she quietly nodded. "Good, now we have 15 minutes before he comes back," he said as he rolled over her.
He guessed from her flushed cheeks that she was reliving a memory. If it was up to him, he could recreate any one of their memories. He heard Mamisa's voice, "Please come in, I just went out for a minute. Kuwarsa is inside." Paro remembered that the rest of the family were waiting outside. "Rudra! Rudra!" Dilsher burst inside. He checked his son for injuries then hit him with his crutch. "Pagal ladka! do you think this is a joke? You are not by yourself anymore. You have a wife and a family. Did you think how they would feel?" he ranted and Rudra knew what went unsaid. Did he think how Bapusa would feel? He was the always center of his world. Maybe he should have confided the surprise to him alone. "Last year Paro was so happy just thinking of her birthdays here in Birpur. How Mamisa decorated the house with flowers and made all her favorite food. She even used to order her favorite sweets from the local mithaiwala for her little friends. I just wanted to give her that," he explained. That's when Paro noticed the house was indeed decorated and that's why the food smelt so inviting. She turned to her aunt, "Mamisa, you did all this for me." Her aunt nodded. Paro was the only family she had left. She would leave no stone unturned to make her feel loved. She hugged her niece with tears in her eyes.
A few minutes later, Paro stepped out to take a good look at the village she grew up in. She was noting the changes when the constable walked up to her with a bonquet of flowers. "Happy birthday ma'am," he said sheepishly. She thanked and asked him why he lied to her and caused them all to worry. "Ma'am, technically I didn't lie. There were casualties due to the sandstorm. Nobody was patient enough to listen completely," he said with a twinkle in his eye. Paro knew this was his BSD training talking. These men knew what to say and what to hide. She was married to the most efficient manipulator after all. "Listen closely, next time I want you to remember that when it comes to Lieutant Colonel Ranavat I'm your boss not BSD. You report to me without leaving any detail out," she told the young recruit sternly. He was taken aback by her words not expecting it from a demure lady. He didn't know how to respond when his senior caught his eye and nodded. "Yes, Ma'am," he conceded and let out a short breathe as Rudra walked up to them. "Paro, he is just a kid. Don't scare him so much," he told his wife good naturedly. She replied that he is a kid that's why she is taking the trouble of correcting him. "Come lets go. Everyone else are already inside," he said gently dragging her by the wrist. The young soldier looked in awestruck. All the stories he had heard about the ruthless and uncaring BSD officer who changed completely once he met a gentle, dove-like maiden were true. Here was a man who cared, very deeply about the one who ruled his heart.
"Thank you, Aman Bhaisa," she said receiving a small gift from him. She opened it with a smile. "Maasa liked my gift better," he claimed. Aman smiled at the boy and explained, "You always wondered how Dhruv will look in a BSD uniform. So I clicked this when he was dressed up in Sir's clothes." She fondly caressed the photograph of her little boy. He looked more like his father each passing day. He came over to see the picture and started to chat with his Aman Mamusa, as he had come to call him. "Of all her presents, I like the one Jeeja got. Such a pretty bangle," Shatabdi commented. Maithili smiled at her and told her that her choice of saree was good too. "I think Rudra's gift best. A day with her Mamisa," Samrat offered. "That's it. Such a simple gift Rudra banna?" Sumer teased. Dilsher defended his son saying that for Parvati such gestures mean more than the most expensive present. The young woman looked at her aunt. The lunch that was made specially for her made her feel like a little girl again. If Rukhmini fluttered in just now, she would probably take off after her without a thought. "Bhaisa, why do you underestimate your Rudradev? He won't be satisfied unless he showers her with presents all day long," Mohini supplied and everyone burst into laughter. Rudra always went a little overboard when it came to Paro.
The teasing and laughter brought Paro back to the present. "No kakisa, nothing like that. He doesn't have to shower me with presents," she said. "Really, okay then. Aman return the box in the jeep back to the shop. Your bhabhisa doesn't want more presents," he told his friend. Aman pretended to head outside when a voice stopped him. "One minute. You don't have to return it," Paro said. Rudra walked up to his wife and lifted her chin, "Paro, you don't have to accept it." Now she didn't know what to do next. Part of her loved the attention from him but she didn't want it to look like he was spoiling her. "I... don't... but... you... one more...," she fumbled. After nine years of marriage his proximity still made her tongue tied. He knew this well as he came closer and in a hushed whisper asked her to repeat herself. "Besharam!" Mohini muttered disapproving of their behaviour in front of the children. Danveer looked at her warningly but his brother just chuckled. He knew the kids were used to this and sometimes even used such situations to get away with a lot of mischief on their parts. Paro realised that the entire family was watching. So she pushed her husband away and demanded that he give her the remaining present. He sent their son out to get it immediately.
Dhruv came back with an envelope and a small box. She first tried to open the box. Watching her struggle, Maithili and Shatabdi went up to help. Shatabdi helped her tear out the box and took out a tiny pink shoe. "Aman bhaisa, your Sir is right. You will need to go back to the shop to get the right box," she said. Paro was confused. Her husband never makes mistakes. But the pink and blue pairs of baby shoes didn't make sense. But before she could ask him, her sister grabbed her in a bone crushing hug. "Jeeja, please don't cry. Is something wrong?" she asked worriedly. She remembered how she was sick the whole of last week and Rudra took her to a hospital in Jaipur. But what did these reports say. How did the tiny shoes fit in?
Rudra pried the letter from his bhabhisa's hands and reached out for his wife. "Paro, you remember how you always wanted two boys like Bholenath. You are getting your wish," he said placing the blue pair of shoes in her hand. Dilsher couldn't believe their luck. He checked the report once again.
Pregancy : positive.
They were all worried for nothing. Paro was fine. In fact she was better than fine. His bahu was pregnant for the second time. He broke into tears. This was far more than he ever hoped for when Rudra and he lived in Jaipur. This truly was an ocassion to celebrate. He hugged his grandson and wept, "You are going to have a little brother soon."
Later that night when festivities were over, Rudra returned to his room. "After the brave soldier defeated the villains. He took the maiden to her home and asked her aunt for her hand in marriage. They had a wonderful wedding and they lived happily ever after," Paro finished the bedtime story as Dhruv drifted to sleep. She pulled a blanket over him and headed over to the almirah to pull out her husband's kurta. "I don't remember asking your Mamisa for your hand," he pointed out. She smiled and replied that neither was it a wonderful wedding. He pulled her close by her hip chain which still adorned her dainty waist. "Then why are you lying to my son Shrimati Rudra Pratap Ranavat?" he asked remembering that fated day when he claimed her as his in brutal fashion. "What to do? I can't tell him, his father was such a Jallad," she said in a matter of fact tone. He frowned releasing his grip, "If I was such a Jallad why did you insist on marrying me?" She wrapped her arms around his neck and sweetly replied, "What to do? I fell in love with a Jallad. I couldn't possibly marry another." Pleased with her answer, he leaned in to kiss her. But she held her palm to his lips and asked "Tell me one thing, who is the pink baby shoes for?" He replied, "I'm hoping Bholenath is merciful and gives me another butterfly to fill my life with color." She thought for a minute if she really wanted a daughter. "Next time," she said as she let him finally kiss her.
OMG Welcome back Rithu darling ...Suddenly my sleep drifted and as usual wandered around IF and shocked to see you and your TS as a surprise...Maybe my telepathy told you are back...Hope your vacation were joyous like this story...a much needed rejuvenation after the tiring works.
The story is Rithu's patented writing style with whole of Ranawat family dressing up our Paro for a special occasion and their bonding is always a bliss to read..
I know you can't hurt Parud in your stories so am waiting what mischief our Majorsaab oops ColonelSaab is upto!!
Once again welcome back dear..this place and me missed your presence immensely
Topic started by -Disenchanted-
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