Shanaya, This plot is really exciting, can't wait to see how it unfolds...update soon
hi Nandini... It's me your new friend, Keka..
Rahul had to chuckle at Tia's dumbstruck face as the taxi passed through the quiet yet clean roads of Coonoor. Being born and brought up in London, it was actually difficult for her to even comprehend that indian cities could be as quiet or clean as his home was.
"Having a moment?" He asked keeping away his book aside, amused.
"Hell Yeah! What is this place? Are you sure we're going the correct way?" Tia blinked at him, unsure.
Even Arjun who was sitting in the front seat had to chuckle at her question.
"Believe it or not, Conoor is quite a cosy, neat little place away from the din of the city.
Lesser population, greenery, fewer shops and some not so fancy spots." Arjun replied, removing one of his head phone.
"Wait till you get home. You'll feel as if you're living amongst the clouds!" Rahul added, getting back to his book.
"Can't Wait!" Tia clapped in excitement as Rahul shook his head at her antics.
The taxi drove into a meadow and took a turn to stop at a beautiful wooden house with french windows. Out front was a beautiful garden with season's blossoms in full bloom, and the clouds hung low on the rooftop in soft swirls.
"Rahul Kapoor! You have a beautiful house!" Tia exclaimed as her best friend took out their luggage from the boot space.
"There's much more Missy!" Rahul winked at her as three of them walked towards the door and one could already hear a happy *woof!* from inside.
Their mother, Sunita a beautiful woman stood at the doorway already to welcome them. Tia admired the elegant yet classy style of hers in a pair of denims, a pretty yellow kurta and a soft warm oversized shrug.
Her short yet straight hair had generous strands of grey which were clipped neatly at the back.
A wave of nostalgia swept away Rahul as he looked at his mother and little tears sprang up in his mocha eyes. She was smiling but Rahul could see the pain behind that smile, the pain which she always kept hidden from the world in the confines of her heart and it wasn't difficult for him. Why would it be? Weren't they the closest, the best of friends more than mother and son?
As she hugged Arjun to welcome him, Rahul's mocha eyes studied her, taking notice of every little thing that had changed about her. Be it be more greys in her hairs or those wrinkles which had started to show up. If there was something Rahul had grown up to love the most about his mother had to be the hope that used to shine bright in her eyes. He never saw it shimmer, not even in the toughest times of their lives. But now, despair and longing had replaced that lively spark and it killed him.
When their eyes met for the first time since his arrival, the hollowness of her eyes stabbed right on his heart. She was so lonely without him, so lonely. Smiling, Sunita held out her hands for Rahul and he took those delicate wrinkled hands in his big strong ones before bringing them to his lips. He held them right there for a moment or two, letting her soft yet unique fragrance seep in.
Three years.. He wasn't there for her whole damn three years. How could he just left her behind like that? Just how?
She was about to say something when, "Bhai !!!!" The 17-year old young gentleman came running down the lane with his cricket equipment kit hanging on his one shoulder and an English Willow cricket bat in his other hand. He had his tournament practice sessions going on in full swing.
Dropping everything in the lawn itself, Neerav ran into Arjun's arms and latter ruffled his hairs fondly. Had it been any other time, Arjun would've minded how sweaty Neerav was, but it somehow didn't mattered right now. He was meeting the youngest Kapoor, his little brother after so many years, after all.
Neerav went ahead to welcome the eldest Kapoor with a hug as well who smiled and hugged his youngest brother, wondering how much he has grown up in all these years.
Tia, standing in a corner was watching the emotional family reunion with a wide smile. Being there, witnessing that beautiful moment from Rahul's life somehow made her feel special. She wasn't meant to be there. Still, Rahul chose to make her a part of this personal moment of his life and family and she couldn't help but feel overwhelmed.
She never thought he was so close to his family, to his mother, to his brothers. How would she ever know? He never visited them in holidays or festivals, rarely mentioned them in any conversation.
It was Neerav who took notice of Tia first and looked up at Rahul intrigued, "Is she with you Bhai?"
Dumbass! Rahul smacked his forehead at his own stupidity. He had completely forgotten about Tia.
"Umm.. Maa, she's Tia. Tia Mallik." Rahul spoke up, feeling rather dumb as he looked at Tia apologetically.
"They live together, Maa." Arjun quipped in, mischievously earning a smack from Rahul.
"She's my flatmate and we're good friends." Rahul clarified, "She really wanted to meet my family. So, I brought her along for the holidays." He added, looking at Sunita nervously.
"Oh, are you nervous, Rahul "Perfectionist" Kapoor? You aren't introducing your girlfriend to Maa, relax." Arjun teased him, enjoying the daggers Rahul was shooting at him.
"Tere ko maar pade bahout saal ho gaye naa?" Rahul looked at him, folding his sleeves up to his elbow.
"Main darr gaya. Happy?" Arjun replied with an animated scared face.
"Stop it you two, you're embarrassing the poor girl." Sunita chided her sons gently and turned to Tia with a smile, who made her way front.
"Namaste." The London born and brought up tried to do the traditional greeting by folding her hands making Arjun and Rahul chuckle at that accent as Sunita glared at them but smiled warmly at Tia keeping a loving hand on her forehead.
"Insaan ko kabhi apne sanskar, apni roots bhulne nahi chahiye." The Kapoor mother added softly and welcomed all of them in only to be greeted by the loudest *woof!* of Geishu, their dog as he leaped on Rahul licking him all over making Tia giggle.
After showering his love on the eldest Kapoor, Geishu leaped on Arjun, licking Neerav in between too.
Then he came to her, sniffing and circling around, only to finally sit down and wag his tail adorably.
Tia gave him a loving pat, dogs have always been her favorite.
"I'll show you, your room and boys gather up your stuff in your rooms. Shoes baahar, iss ghar ke rules badle nahi hai abhi tak!" Sunita ordered them before showing Tia the way.
And she was back to being the mother, they had grown up loving and respecting, Rahul thought with a smile.
"Bhai, main bataa nahi sakta ki main kitna khush hoon! Aapko pataa hai mera tournament start hone wala hai, aap dono aaoge naa mere matches dekhne?!" Neerav bubbled over excitedly as he picked up his cricket kit.
"Of course. Apna Champ itna bada gaya hai." Rahul smiled at his little brother, engulfing him in another hug.
"Par yeh bataa, kitni girlfriends hai teri?" Arjun naughtily ruffled his slightly curly hair.
"Bhaiya!" Neerav rolled his eyes at his brother but then grinned.
"Ek hai, Kavya. She says, that she's optimistic that I'll make it to the U-19 Indian cricket team." He confessed sheepishly.
"Oye Hoye Hoye!" Rahul whistled naughtily. "Aur?"
"Aur, she says that she loves the color of my eyes!" Neerav smiled scratching his head cutely as both brothers hooted and gave him a hi-5.
Rahul's mind smiled as he entered his room. It was same as he had left years back. Clean, Organized.
His books were neatly stacked in the shelf, Posters of his favorite rock bands were still intact on the wall. Keeping his luggage down, he walked over to the chest of drawers where he used to efficiently hide his cigarettes as a teenager without Sunita getting to know about it.
And there they were, as safe as he had kept them. Rahul smiled before he pulled a stick out and smelled the old tobacco.
He then remembered that hidden shelf in the wall where he kept his po*n stack including magazines he had borrowed from his brother, Rahul had to chuckle as he pulled out the old magazines.
The old teak door creaked softly telling him that he had a visitor and he didn't had to turn to know who it was.
"Extra Towels." Sunita smiled at her son as she walked into the bathroom to keep them.
"Maa, baithein naa." Rahul patted at the space beside him, smiling and she took s seat.
"Aap kaisi hain?" He asked softly, holding her hands. They gave him a strange comfort and warmth.
"Theek Hoon. Have been a lot busy lately." She replied smiling and Rahul could sense that tiredness in her eyes.
He could spot those dark circles around her eyes, telling him of her sleepless nights and she definitely looked thinner than the last time he saw her.
She would just shake it off as work stress if he asked her and true, her baking business has been keeping her busy.
"I'm so happy that your business has taken off, I really am." He smiled, kissing her hands to which she just gave him a warm smile.
"I missed you." Rahul finally confessed as some unshed tears lined his mocha eyes.
"I missed you so much in these last three years, Maa."
"I missed you too." She replied, running her fingers through his hairs and the comfort it gave him was inexplicable. Mumma's Magic, he would say.
"And I'm glad you're back. Everything will be fine now." She added, as a couple of tears fell down her eyes too.
Rahul wiped them away before kissing her hands again, "I'm happy to be back too."
"Dadu jag gaye?" He asked Sunita, smiling a little.
"Not yet but soon. He was missing you both dearly." She replied smiling too, "Abb tum thoda rest karo. Main dinner ki preparations kar leti hu."
Rahul nodded as Sunita got up, patting his cheek.
As she was about to leave, "Maa?" Rahul called out for her.
"Bhindi bana dengi please?" He asked her cutely, with a boyish look. Didn't Sunita knew?
"Sure baccha." She replied, smiling fondly.
Rahul let out a deep sigh, rubbing the corner of his eye. He was happy, after a long time perhaps. He was back with his mother, with his family, with everyone he loved dearly.
Deciding to take a stroll around, he walked out to the beautiful backyard of their house. Everything was just the way he had left behind. Vintage fences, white wood chairs and a small round table with a breathtaking view of majestic mountain peaks, coniferous forest and clouds rising up like fumes. He closed his eyes and let the nature sink in, the melodious chirping of birds, sound of waterfall from far away and... wait, is that ghungru?
Rahul never realized when his steps began to follow that mellifluous sound. It was as if some spell had been casted on him. It lead him through the valleys of summer blossoms to a lush green field and what he saw made a smile spread across his face. There was a group of little girls in cute kurta salwars with ghungroos in their tiny feet, doing adorably clumsy kathak.
But what caught his attention was the girl in a gorgeous pristine white anarkali. Her hairs had been tied in a loose bun and some hairs wisps framed her oval face. When she smiled at something one of the girls said, he was sure his heart skipped a few beats. Jingling of her silver bangles was perhaps the sweetest sound he had heard in his whole life.
She wasn't fair, rather dusky but her strong features gave her beauty a uniqueness.
Mohey Rang Do Laal,
Mohey Rang Do Laal, Nand Ke Laal,
Laal, Chhedo Naahi Bas Rang Do Laal,
Mohey Rang Do Laal...
Dekhun Dekhun Tujhko Main Hoke Nihaal..
Dekhun Dekhun Tujhko Main Hoke Nihaal..
Chuu Lo Kora Mora Kaanch Sa Tann,
Nain Bhar Kya Rahe Nihaar..?
Mohey Rang Do Laal..
Her big expressive eyes, that elegance with which she twirled, her anarkali spreading in full glory, and those rhythmic beats of ghungru had him transfixed as he watched her without batting an eyelid. There was a strange familiarity about her face when he was damn sure, he has never met her before. It felt as if he had known her for years which was baffling.
Her body moved rhythmically melodiously to the beat of tablas and ghungroos. That soft feminine grace with which her expressions, her face and hands moved emphasizing on the lyrics of the song was mesmerizing.
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