As days passed, Naina and Sameer's bond grew stronger. Phone calls became a regular affair for them. Bounded by several restrictions, they missed no chance to talk to each other. Every night Naina would sneakily get the cordless to her room and spend hours in her balcony talking to Sameer. And for Sameer, visiting PCOs at night became a ritual. With the increasing frequency of phone calls, the danger of being caught also increased. To evade the prying eyes of their elders, they developed a 'two ring' signal for their secret endeavors. With time, they had started sharing personal details about each other's lives. Naina told him how she had been tagged a bad omen by her taiji after her mother died while giving birth to her. She also told him about her father's virtual abandonment of hers and her Chachaji and Chachiji's undying love and trust on her. In turn, Sameer had shared about his Nanaji's constant support and his lonely years in the hostel. Their comfort level was increasing with each passing day and so was the trust they had on each other.
It was a lazy Sunday morning for the Agarwals. The sun was well up in the sky but Preeti and Naina were still in their bed with Bela sitting beside fanning herself and both of them with an old handheld fan to beat the heat and the irritation caused by the frequent electricity cuts. The three ladies were busy cursing the 'bijli board' and the 'government' when they heard Anand shouting asking them to come to the living room. Confused, the three of them left the bed in a hurry and entered the living room where they saw Anand's face beaming with happiness which further added to their confusion.
Bela, Bela, Bela, hamari Naina ne entrance exam me top kiya hai, exclaimed Anand twirling his wife around in happiness.
Sachi? Bhagwan jhooth na bulae, mujhe to pehle se hi pata tha ki Naina hume kabhi niraash nahi kregi, said Bela wiping happy tears from her eyes.
Preeti hugged Naina tightly who was still not sure that her ears had indeed heard the right things and she was not dreaming. She knew she would definitely clearly the exam but clearing the exam with first position was no less than a shock for her.
Anand came forward and cupped her face, ab meri beti Dilli jaegi, desh ke itne acche college me pdhegi aur apne chachaji ka naam roshan karegi. Karegi na?
Before Naina could reply, Taiji's sharp words pierced through her ears.
O bai, ab ldki ko pdhne ke liye Dilli bhejoge? Akal ghaas charne gayi hai, Anand babu? Taiji almost shouted as she removed her slippers and put them in the shoe rack placed near the door.
Aur ye kya? Itna bda faisla akele le liye? Is ghar ke bade abhi zinda hai, Taiji continued while settling on the swing.
Aisa nahi hai bhabhi ji. Hum to bas abhi aapas me baat hi kr rahe the aur aapko bina batae koi faisla kaise le skte hain, replied Anand in a calm tone.
Ne vaah, ab smjh aya tmhare bhaisahab aur mujhe achanak se gaanv bhejna tmhari sochi smjhi saajish thi taaki is ldki ko exam diwane dilli bhej sako. Kyu Anand babu, sahi bol rahi hun na mai ? Taiji scowled as she put two and two together.
Bhabhiji ye aap kaisi baatein kr rhi hain, Naina ka exam dene dilli jana aapse chupa nahi hai. Aap gaanv gyi thi islie aapko aane ke baad bataya aur ab aap baat ka batangad bna rahi hain, replied Bela irritatedly.
Bela tu chup kr, Taiji scolded her and turned her attention towards Anand again. Dekho Anand, ye bin maa ki beti hai, kya pata kya gul khilaegi Dilli ja kar, kaun lega iski zimmedari itne bade sheher me? Nahi, akeli ldki ko hum Dilli nhi bhejenge.
Bhabhiji aap kaisi baatein kr rhi hain, Naina bohat samajhdar bacchi hai, vo aisa kuch nahi kregi jisse uske ghrwalo ko neecha dekhna pde, aur mai kaam ke silsile se dilli ata jata to rehta hun, Naina se milta rhunga, replied Anand as he was beginning to lose his calm.
Samajhdar vamajhdar kuch nahi hota aur vaise kharcha kaun uthaega iska? Mere paas paise nahi hain iski pdhai pr kharch krne ke liye, Rakesh shouted standing on the door.
The commotion caused by Taiji's constant shouting was an open invitation for Rakesh, Tauji and Arjun to join in the conversation. Everyone except Anand and Bela were against sending Naina to Delhi. They both tried very hard to persuade everyone but none of them was ready to listen.
Tired of the accusations being hurled at Naina, Anand's patience broke and he shouted;
Dekhiye, maine socha tha ki aap log bade hain aur aapse bina puche koi kaam nahi krna chahie lekin shayad meri ye soch galat thi. Meri beti ko mjhe kahan padhana hai aur kahan nahi iska faisla aap log nahi krenge. Naina dilli zarur jaegi. Agar aap me se kisi ko bhi koi dikkat hai to mai kuch nahi kr skta. Ab aap log ja skte hain. Anand folded his hands and began to head towards his room when he turned back and said ' aur haan jab tak Naina ka chacha zinda hai, use paiso ke liye kisi ke aage haath failane ki zarurt nahi hai , apne khud ke pita ke aage bhi nahi'
Theek hai jab bado ki koi izzat hi nahi hai to hume bhi kya matlab. Shauk se Bhejo Dilli aur jab kuch galat ho jae to hamare paas mat ana. Aur aaj se hum me se koi bhi tmhare ghar nahi aaega, Tauji shouted angrily and left the room with taiji and Rakesh following him.
Naina who was listeing to all this silently couldn't control anymore and ran to her room. Preeti went after her and tried to cajole her but she knew very well that nobody could lessen Naina's pain at that moment.
Naina's VO: Kya galti thi meri? Yahi ki mere kuch sapne the aur mere chachaji mere sapno me rang bharna chahte the? Kya ladki hona itna bda gunaah hota hai? Maine socha tha jab papa ko pata chalega ki maine top kiya hai to vo khushi se jhoom uthenge lekin us din mai fir galat saabit hui. Kaise bhool gayi thi mai ki papa ke liye to mai hmesha se ek bojh hi thi. Jab unhone meri kisi kamyaabi pr khushi nahi jatai to us din kya alag tha? Jo din meri zindagi ka sbse khusnuma din hona chahie tha use taiji aur papa ki baaton ne berang bana diya tha.
Sameer was tossing around on his bed trying hard to sleep but a wave of uneasyness was engulfing him. Naina had not picked up his call that night. He knew she might be busy or there might be some one around her, afterall it was not the first time. There were days when Naina would talk only for few minutes or some other days when she would not talk at all but something was different that day. His heart was restless. He couldn't fathom the reason but he knew there was something wrong and he had to hear her voice to calm down his negative thoughts. Making up his mind, Sameer came out of his room and descended the stairs quietly to get the cordless phone. As he reached near it, the phone rang and to his surprise it rang twice. A smile appeared on his face rejoicing over the fact that Naina had finally called him. Picking up the phone,he went back to his room making sure of not disturbing anyone's sleep.
He lied down on his bed and quickly dialed her number;
Naina tumhe pata hai kitna pareshan ho raha tha mai, kahan thi tum? Aaj mjhe itne bure bure khyal aa rahe the ki pucho mat, Sameer started as soon as Naina picked up the phone.
Hearing no response from the other side, Sameer's tension increased, Naina? Tum kuch bol kyu nahi rahi ho? Sab theek hai na? Fearing that someone might have come, Sameer was about to cut the call when he heard her sobbing.
Naina, tum ro rhi ho? Naina kya hua? Sameer asked worriedly.
Sameer muu... muujjjhe... de.. de.. delhi.. nahi jana. Mai Mai bohat buri hun, Naina managed to say in between her hiccups.
Naina phle rona band kro, please, Sameer got up from the bed and continued, Naina, roti rhogi to mujhe pata kaise chalega ki hua kya hai?
Sameer aaj meri vajah se ghar me bohat jhgda hua. Naina narrated him the entire incident and concluded by saying that she could not let her chachaji suffer because of her.
Sameer left a deep sigh thinking how could a father be so cruel to a daughter like Naina. Her tears were evoking anger and sadness in him; anger at the people who made her cry and sadess at the fact that he was sitting miles away from her unable to do anything.
Naina mai samajh sakta hun tumhe kaisa lag raha hoga, mere sath bhi to yahi hota aa raha hai hmesha se. Lekin Naina tumhare paas tmhare chacha ji hain. Tumhi ne to kaha tha na ki vo tmhe ek kamyaab insaan bante hue dekhna chahte hai to kya tum apne chacha ji ka ye sapna pura nahi krogi? Tum piche kaise hat skti ho Naina? Sameer tried to put some sense in her mind.
Par Sameer unko financially bhi to kitni problem hogi. Aur tauji ne to ye tak keh diya ki vo kabhi unse baat hi nahi krenge. Mai itni selfish nahi ho skti Sameer, Naina countered back.
Accha, ek baat maanogi? Sameer asked thinking of something.
Haan bolo, replied Naina.
Phone rkho aur abhi ja kr chachaji se ye sari baatein keh do, fir vo jaisa bolen vaisa krna, sameer told her very calmly.
Lekin Sameer, Naina tried to argue but Sameer cut her in between, Lekin vekin kuch nahi. Tum hamesha khti ho ki jab bhi tum kisi dorahe pr hoti ho chachaji tumhe sahi raasta dikhate hain to aaj bhi vahi tmhari madad krenge. Aur mai na nahi sununga Naina, ye baat tum jaanti ho.
Theek hai, Naina understood she had no other option but to confide in Chachaji as she was not in a condition to argue with Sameer and somewhere deep down she also knew that he was right.
Acha suno, kuch kehna tha, Sameer stopped her before she could cut the call.
Han bolo, came a reply from Naina.
Ruko, abhi aya main, Naina could hear him putting down the phone somewhere. 10 minutes passed since he had put her on hold and Naina started to get irritated when she heard some guitar strumming. She could hear him trying to fix the guitar strings but couldn't understand what was he exactly trying to do. After a few moments, she heard a music, a music which caused her heart to flutter. He was playing the 'Pehla nasha pehla khumar' music which she had requested him during their train journey. Naina couldn't help but smile at the fact that he remembered her favourite song and their train conversation. The guy who once laughed at her choice of song was playing the exact same song to make her feel better. She lied down on the swing and closed her eyes gently relishing the moment and wondering how easily he chased away the sadness that was bothering her since morning. Her face lit up in happiness thinking how effortlessly he had brightened up her gloomy day. The thoughts which were disturbing her started disappearing and she felt a sense of peace prevailing over her. In a span of few days, he had started to know her so well, thought Naina and blushed hard.
Kaisa laga? Sameer kept the guitar aside and picked up the phone again.
Thank you Sameer, that was all Naina could manage to say.
O hello, dosti ka ek usool hai madam, dosti me no sorry no thankyou. Naina laughed at his filmy dialogue while he continued, Chalo jao ab so jao aur subah uthte hi sbse pehle chachaji se baat krna, Sameer said in am authoritative tone.
Suno Sameer; Sameer's heartbeat raced as he felt something was different the way Naina took his name that day.
Mujhe to pata hi nahi tha tum meri baaton ko itne dhyaan se sunte ho. Aur mera mood theek krne ke liye tumne ye bhi nhi socha ki ghar me koi jaag gya to tumhe daant pd skti hai. Tum is duniya ke sabse acche dost ho, mere best friend ho and without waiting for his reply Naina put the phone down because she knew she wouldn't be able to face his questions now. She understood she had started harbouring feelings for him, feelings which were more than friendship and if she talked any further he would have read her mind like he always did.
Phone kaat diya bina bye bole. Aur best friend ahaan, Mr Maheshwari mubarak ho aaj aapne ek kadam aur aage bdha liya, said sameer to himself as he ruffled his hair blushing and thinking about Naina's words.
The next morning, Naina went straight to her chachaji's room as soon as he woke up.
Chachaji mai Delhi nahi jaungi, Anand saw his little niece standing in front of him with her eyes glued to the floor. He smiled as he was sure that Naina would certainly come to him and his daughter hadn't proved him wrong. He asked her to sit beside him on the bed and explain what was bothering her.
Aap itna krte ho mere liye bachpan se, ab mai aap pr aur bojh nahi ban skti. Mai nahi chahti aap meri vajah se kabhi Preeti ke liye koi kami chodho. Aap mjhe yahi hi kisi college me admission dilwa do, Naina hugged him.
Anand's eyes started to well up seeing his daughter's innocence. But at the same time her words hurt him and he vowed to get those thoughts out of her mind.
Naina tujhe pata hai beta, jab tu is duniya me ayi thi, tab sabne tere bare me na jane kya kya kaha tha, us samay Bela ne tujhe apni god me uthaya aur sbse ekdum gusse me boli, ki aaj se Naina meri bacchi hai aur agar kisi ne kabhi bhi us par koi ungli uthai to mai bardasht nahi krungi, he laughed as he imitated Bela and continued,
Kabhi dekha hai tune apni Bela chachi ko is lehze me kisi se baat krte hue? Nahi na? Lekin usne kri. Kyunki vo us ek din ki bacchi ki aankhon me aansun bardasht nahi kr payi thi aur ab agar vo tujhe aise rote hue dekhegi to kaisa lagega use? Kaisa lagega use jab vo ye sunegi ki Naina khud ko hmari beti nahi balki khud ko hum par ek bojh maanti hai?
Par chachaji, Naina spoke but Anand signalled her to keep quiet.
Naina beta, tujhe kis baat ki chinta hai? Tujhe kya lagta hai tere chacha ji ke paas paise nahi hain ya unhe apni beti ki kabiliyat pr vishwas nahi hai? Asked Anand.
Aisa kuch nahi hai chachaji. Mjhe pata hai aap mjh par mjhse bhi jyada vishwas krte ho, Naina replied, sobbing.
To fir? Beta, tera kaam sirf pdhna hai. Mai apna farz pura krunga meri beti ki sari zarurato ka khyal rkh kr aur tu khoob lagan se pdhai kr ke apna farz pura krna. Taaki jab tu apni graduation complete kr ke, kamyab ho kr vapas aae tab meri aur Bela ki parvarish pr koi ungli na utha pae. Aur rahi baat Preeti ki, maine kabhi tujhme aur usme koi fark nahi kiya islie aaj ke bad aisi baat apne man me lana bhi nahi aur ab ek bhi aur aansoon nahi chahie mjhe; Smjhi? Anand wiped her tears and saw Bela lovingly looking at them standing by the door. The couple exchanged looks assuring each other that they would always be there for their daughters.
July 19, 1992.
After completing the admission formalities and helping Naina settle down in the hostel room, Anand had returned to Ahmedabad. Her classes were to begin after two days and Naina had spent those two days acclimatizing herself with Delhi's surroundings.
On the first day of the college, Naina got up early, went to the hostel temple to seek blessings from the almighty and began her walk towards the campus. She entered the college premises with new hopes and aspirations. As she walked across the corridor , a completely new world greeted her eyes. Girls and boys were openly talking to each other and they were all dressed in fashionable clothes. The people, the surrounding were all new to her. For a moment she felt out of place but she brushed away all negative thoughts and began to search for her classroom. On reaching the classroom, she found an empty bench in the third row by the window side. She silently sat on the bench and looked outside the window where big trees with large green canopies greeted her tranquilizing her senses.
VO: Dilwalon ki Dilli, aisa hi to khte the Sab. Vo mere college ka pehla din tha, meri zindagi ke naye padaav ki shuruat. Mai itni nervous thi ki maine class me kisi ko aankh utha kar dekha tak nahi. College ke phle din ki nervousness, chacha chachi se kiye vaade pure krne ka utsah, preeti se alag rehne ki udaasi sab tha Lekin sath hi sath mai gussa bhi thi. Ji haan, Sameer ne mjhe vaada kiya tha ki vo mjhse college ke phle din milne aaega lekin uska to koi ata pata hi nahi tha. Mai hostel se classroom tak pohnch gayi lekin meri nazre bas use hi dhundh rhi thi. Kaisi pagal thi na mai?
Naina was lost in her thoughts when she heard someone tap on the bench. "tap tap" . The double tap startled her but she chose to ignore the sound thinking it to be one of her weird imaginations. "Tap tap", the sound again caught her ears. She turned around and froze seeing Sameer standing in front of her flashing his trademark smile.
Excuse me, kya mai yaha baith sakta hun, Sameer asked Naina with a smirk on his face.
Ji, Naina shifted towards left giving him space to sit but her eyes were fixed on him unable to come to terms with the fact that sameer was sitting right beside her.
Ahem ahem, aise ghoorti rahogi to pyaar ho jaega mujhse, Sameer winked at her.
Naina's cheeks turned red on hearing his words but Before she could reply, the lecturer came and asked the students to settle down. After completing the formalities of giving his introduction, asking students about their performance in the 12th std exams, giving necessary instructions, he began to teach. Throughout the class, both Sameer and Naina were busy stealing glances at each other. They were happy seeing each other after so long and the happiness could be seen clearly on their faces. As soon as the class ended, they ran out hoping to get some alone time together.
Kitne bade nautanki ho tum. Us din train me mera khoob mazak udaya entrance ka naam sun kar aur khud vohi entrance dene ja rhe the, huh, Naina asked angrily.
Are are tumne mjhse pucha hi kab jo mai tmhe batata, Sameer put up his defence.
Pucha nahi to kya hua, tmhe khud btana chahie tha. Aur to aur itne din me ek bar bhi zikr nhi kiya; Naina said not satisfied with his explanation.
Surprise dena chahta tha tumhe, Sameer turned around and started walking facing her.
Surprise, jao na, jhuthe ho tum, bolte ho ki pdhna pasand nahi aur itne acche college me admission le kr baithe ho, Naina replied sarcastically.
Oh madam, maine koi jhuth nhi bola. Pdhai me mjhe sach me intetest nhi hai, haan pr theek thaak number le aata hun aur baki sb mere sports qutoa ka kamaal hai. Samjhi? Sameer retorted.
Oh aisa, Naina smiled but soon her smile vanished and her eyes widened in shock. She tried to signal him something through her eyes but Before Sameer could understand what was happening he collided with someone causing both of them to fall down.
So so sor sorry sir, sameer apologised while helping the prinicpal to get up.
First year student? The prinicpal asked in an angry tone. Sameer nodded not able to meet his eyes. Aage se aise galti nahi honi chahie, prinicpal said and angrily glanced at the students who had crowded up the corridor and were trying hard to control their laugh and walked away His one glance was powerful enough to disperse off the students.
Tumne btaya kyu nhi Naina? Phle din hi kaand kr diya maine. Sameer asked in a sad tone.
Ishara kiya to tha, Naina replied supressing her laughter.
Ise tum ishara kehti ho? Bhagwan bachae tmhare aise isharo se Sameer imitated her and both burst out laughing.
Their laughter echoed in the corridor thus marking the starting of the new phase of their journey together.
Topic started by AaishaM
Last replied by Shanti456