Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Sparsh ---- Prologue & Chapter 1-3


                     Touch is memory.
                                 ~~~~~~John Keats


"Why are you doing this?"
"What? What am I doing? And where were you?"
"I asked first…so I deserve an answer first."
"Stubborn…aren't you?"
"I am waiting!!!"
"I won't let anyone else touch me." That caused her lips to lift up in a slight smile….He could be such a brat.
"Now who is being stubborn? Listen to what you are saying…. You have already put the Hospital staff in a lot of trouble with your obstinacy. (sigh) Look, she is your nurse…she will have to give you a sponge bath if I am not there. In any case I am just a volunteer here…and not part of the staff."
"The modalities are not any concern of mine….I meant what I said. None of those...those...those giggly females comes near me. So remember that the next time you go missing, I'll…."
"You'll what?"          
"Uhh…is that a challenge I hear in that sweet voice?"
And then he heard what he wanted to since she came in, what he was missing for the past two days…that musical laughter. His heart did an involuntary flip.
"You are incorrigible you know….” Still laughing, she helped him sit up and took off his shirt for the sponging “Hmm! These cuts are healing fast. You are doing great!! You will be as good as new when your family comes….let's see…next week, right?"
"Yes…I don't want my mother to see me like this. She herself has had such a big operation…and…"
"And that is the main reason you didn't let them know about the accident….Are you always like this?"
"Like what?"
"Protective…keeping things to yourself….not sharing your problems….not letting anyone in all the way."
She bent over the shoulder, careful not to brush against the wound there. He turned his head slightly and breathed in her fragrance….He lived with these stolen moments till the next day.
"How do you do that?"
"Do what, Sir?"
(Know me…know who I am…In just a few days you have broken through all my defences.…What is it about you that makes me feel in a way I have never felt before? Makes me want to share myself…talk about myself just so I can hear you….)
"(Aloud) Be so perceptive…and don't call me Sir, I've told you so many times. Do you always get to know so deeply everyone you tend to here?" That thought suddenly made him feel uncomfortable…He accepted what he knew in his heart that he didn't want to share her with anyone. She was his…and he will soon let her know what he felt for her.
"No, no…it's not that. Gosh, did I offend you? I am so sorry…It's just that you have such a loving family….I have heard you speak with them and know how attached you are to them….Also families are for sharing…right? Especially when one is in trouble." (A soft sigh…not gone unheard by him.)
"Why do you sound so sad suddenly?"
Her hand stilled over his heart…and then started to move toward the shoulder. He stopped her by holding her wrist.
"What is it, Mishti? You can tell me. Maybe I can help."
(No, Yashji….nobody can. The sooner your family comes, the sooner I can go away….I have already let myself drown deeply, and I know I won't ever resurface from this…and I won't ever want to also. At least I can go away forever, so that you never see me. It's for the best.)
"Now you are overreacting…nothing is the matter. Please let go of my hand…so that I can get you dressed. The doctor must be on his way."
"I can sense something is wrong…and if you don't tell me by tomorrow…before my bandages are taken off….I'll find out myself. I have my ways….And don't even think of going missing…."
"They come off tomorrow? But the doctor had said…."
"That was before you vanished….Yesterday he did a complete checkup and gave me the good news. Do you realize what this means, Mishti?"
"Yes…I do. It's wonderful….I am so happy. I…Yashji, I…I have to…."
(Long pause)
"I am waiting!!"
"Ok…Tell me, suppose during the bandage opening I am not here and I have to urgently go somewhere and not be able to come back in time….and then we meet someplace else, some other time…maybe years later… will you recognize me?"
His whole being tensed up.
"What are you saying?"
"Please…let's just assume if this happens…I am so curious to know how you…."
"Your voice….I can recognize it from miles away."
"And if I don't speak, then…."
He reached for her hands…and covered them in his.
"These hands have saved me, given me a new life, taken care of me….They talk to my heart. To answer your question, your sparsh….I would know this touch as long as I live!!"

~Chapter 1~
’Tis the human touch
in this world that counts,
The touch of your hand and mine,
Which means far more
to the fainting heart
Than shelter and bread and wine.
For shelter is gone
when the night is o’er,
And bread lasts only a day.
But the touch of the hand
And the sound of the voice
Sing on in the soul always.
Spencer Michael

“There you are, Mishti….I have been waiting for you since hours. Babuji too is not here…he has gone to his friend’s place.” Aarti heaved a huge sigh of relief as she spotted her sister walk in through the gates. “Now hold your precious nephew while I go get a nap. He has been troubling me the whole day. If I don’t get my beauty sleep, what’ll Aman say when he sees me tomorrow? That his beautiful Aarti has turned into a haggard hag after giving birth.”
“Oh, Di…you are such a Drama Queen!! You know very well Jiju only sees moon and the stars when he looks at you. I am more worried about my little Anshu here…The new papa might forget his new sonny when his eyes fall on the beautiful wifey he hasn’t seen in three months….Hai na Anshu…hai na…Bad mumma, Bad papa, Good maasi…only she loves you, only she can tickle you with her nosy like this…aha… you like that…ha, ha...you like that, don’t you my prince?”
“Oho…cheeky, aren’t we? Wait till Mr Yash Scindia’s bandages are off and he finally gets to look at his own personal nurse, someone will have to remind him to blink…Aha got you there!!! I can already hear wedding bells and see you leaving us in your fineries…tra…la.”
Having had the last word…Aarti turned to walk away with an affectionate smile, leaving her two babies to take care of each other. However, a long habit made her look back after reaching the end of the lawn. …She was horrified to see the look on her Mishti’s face….She was clutching Ansh to her and her eyes were glistening with tears. She could hear the baby’s protesting whimpers. She almost ran back and took Ansh from her. She then called out for the maid who had just walked in for the evening chores and requested her to take care of Ansh for awhile. Mishti needed her…and nothing else mattered to Aarti at that moment…not even her own child. She held her little sister close, letting her cry it out, waiting for her to calm down and come out with what was torturing her, just like she always had….Her thoughts flew back all those years, to the day when she met her own little angel for the first time………
She was eleven. That day she had come back late from school and found all the dormitory girls surrounding the cot at the far corner. Amid the din they were creating, she could hear soft sobs. Being the dorm captain, she knew that a new girl was admitted the previous evening to the primary section…and that she was to come in today. She tossed her bag on her cot and hurried toward the corner. “She is lying,” “How can her own father…,” “Aartidi will be very angry,” and the mumblings carried on till she asked firmly, “What’s going on here?” On hearing her voice, the girls scattered, one of them speaking out, “Aartidi, this new girl is a liar, she says…” “I am not a liar.” Aarti’s attention was drawn by the small voice, whose owner looked at her now with red eyes that pleaded to be saved. One look and a wave of memories washed over her.…“Mishti!!” she whispered. “Not Mishti, Aartidi…she says her name is Aarti Sharma. How can that be? Your name is Aarti Sharma. She also says her father left her here….How can a father leave her daughter here…in the orphanage? Only those who have no father/mother come here…hai na Aartidi?” She had silenced the girls with a firm look and had then knelt before the chubby five-year-old with Angel eyes and had asked softly, “Is your name really Aarti Sharma?” And at the vigorous nod that followed, she said, “Umm…Do you know even I am Aarti Sharma? Now let’s see, this might cause some problems….If someone calls you, I might go running…and the matron might give my punishment to you or your share of kheer to me or....” She had the full attention of the little girl now, “OK…so why don’t we make this simple and call you Mishti…because you are so sweet.” That brought a smile on the little girl’s face. “I like Mishti.” “So that’s settled…now can we shake hands and be friends...OK?” She held out her hand to Mishti, who immediately placed her little one in hers, and that touch of faith turned into a life-long bonding. Aarti took upon herself to be Mishti’s parent in every which way. She never told anyone that Mishti was actually her little sister’s name who along with her parents had died in a temple stampede; she had survived and was later sent here by her uncles. Little Aarti resembled her sister. She learnt later that Mishti’s stepfather had left her here after bribing the orphanage officials, as he wanted to remarry after her mother had died and didn’t want any burden in his new life. Aarti had met Aman while in college and married him soon after. He was in Merchant Navy so was away at sea for longer periods. Aman’s father lived with them. As per her wish, babuji had officially adopted eighteen-year-old Mishti; she was now Aarti Dubey, and had moved in with them six months back. She was doing her graduation in fine arts and did voluntary service in the City Hospital. 

“Is it Prashant, Mishti? Is he again troubling you?”
She somehow knew the answer before she felt the nod against her neck…This was not good. She couldn’t involve babuji, and Aman was still a day away. Aarti hoped against hope that they had time.
“Calm down, Mithu…Here, have some water. Now, tell me all about it. I have been watching you for some days…You’ve been tense, and this has more to do with Yash’s injuries and your worry for him. In fact you are keeping some things from me ever since the accident…you have not told me much about it. I didn’t ask because I thought talking about it would upset you. Out with it, Mishti…now…before it is too late.”
“It is already too late, Di.” She spoke finally…and with a finality that caused Aarti to shiver.
Prashant was Aman’s cousin, his chachaji’s son, and bad news. He was after the family house and property and constantly harassed babuji for the same, especially when Aman would be away. On top of that, ever since he had seen Mishti, he was smitten and wanted her. Aman had given him dire warning and threatened police action if he did not stay away from Mishti, before he left for his ship. Obviously the threat had been taken with a pinch of salt.
“No time for riddles, Mithu. I want you to tell me everything.”
Mishti took a deep breath and started speaking.
“You remember that day, Di? It was bhaiya’s birthday, and I had gone to the dargah to offer prayers.”
“Yes, you were supposed to get back by noon and take Ansh for his second-month vaccination as I was unwell.”
“You know, in the dargah, while I was praying, a baba came and told me that I’d meet my humsafar on the road that day. I was thinking about this strange prophecy while coming back when my scooty broke down. I was wondering what to do when I saw an overspeeding truck hit Yashji’s car going toward the dargah and drive away. The car rammed into a tree and the tree fell on the car. Yashji was conscious then but bleeding profusely all over. He told me he could smell fuel so I should step back...The tree had jammed the door, and it took me sometime to remove it. I kept telling him I am going to get him out, and he kept asking me to move away. Maybe pir baba’s blessings were with me that day, so I could open the door; I stretched my hand for him. He couldn’t make out where my hand was, and then I realized he couldn’t see…blood covered his eyes and temples. I just reached in and grabbed his hand and pulled him out. He was unconscious by the time I got him completely out and somehow dragged him away to a safer distance. Not a single vehicle drove by till then. Two cars went by after some time, without stopping. I was so scared for Yashji. The third car was Prashant’s.
“What? Prashant?”
She nodded.
“He told me he had followed me to the dargah and tampered with the scooty, so that he could pick me up when it stopped. He got delayed in following me because of someone he met there. I requested him to help take Yashji to the hospital. That’s when he laid the condition.”
“Oh no!…Dear God…What did he want?”
“He wanted me to agree to marry him if I wanted to save this man. I had no option, Di….I had to say yes for Yashji.”
“And you kept all this to yourself. Why?”
“Because he threatened to hurt you and Ansh. He left us at the hospital and went away after he got a call. For more than a month I didn’t hear from him. I got a call from him the other day. He wanted to meet me. I had to go, Di. He said I had to marry him before bhaiya came. When I said I cannot do that, he showed me the property papers. He has everything in his name. He tricked babuji, Di….Do you remember that day when he came all repentant after bhaiya went? He said sorry to babuji and requested him to sign some bank loan papers as babuji was the only family he had. He said he wanted to start some business. Those were property papers. Yesterday I went all the way to the Estate offices and they confirmed the changeover. He said if I marry him, he will transfer everything back to babuji. And If I don’t marry him tomorrow morning, he will leave babuji with nothing. I can’t let him do that, Di.”
“So you are going to be all sacrificing and get married to that lowlife? Right, Mishti?”
“I have given it a lot of thought, Di. What option do I have?”
“Yes, we do have options …we just have to think about them. I have not taught you to give up easily. Tomorrow you will go to the hospital; Yash needs you, Mishti. He will want to see you first when the bandages are taken off from his eyes. He may not have said in so many words, but I can feel the love he has for you. He is the one, Mishti…he is the one the baba directed you to. He is your destiny. Don’t ever give up on him. I will go and look up Commissioner uncle before going to the Airport to pick up Aman. I am sure Commissioner uncle will put a stop to Prashant’s ill-motives. OK? Now give me a smile. There…that’s more like my Mishti. I’ll go and get Ansh. Babuji will be back any moment.”
Mishti felt a lot lighter after her talk with Aarti. She should have done this earlier. Di had always sorted things out for her. Everything will be fine now. Tomorrow Yashji will see her…and then she will wait for his decision. At that moment, the phone rang….She knew it was him…He never failed the Goodnight call.
“Mishti, you OK?”
“Ummm…maybe…maybe not…it depends.”
“On what?”
“Oho…on a certain someone’s temper tantrums and his demands and his…his….”
“His what, Mishti?....Mishti?
“Well…ah…not now….I’ll tell you tomorrow…and that too only if….”
“If what? Mishti stop being naughty…and tell me.”
“What? What did I say…or not say? Are you angry, Sir?
She broke into laughter, which made him smile and then grin. His Mishti was back…for the time being…he could make out from the change in her tone. He had been so worried for her. Tomorrow he will ask her what was troubling her after he had seen her beautiful face. Till then he’ll play along….because he was certain that whatever was causing her to worry was still there. He knew his Mishti too well…At times he felt he had known her all his life!!
“Sorry, sorry…Yashji. (And then more softly) Yashji?”
“No, Mishti…no ifs, no buts….Tomorrow you will come. Tomorrow I will take this fear away from you, I promise. Just trust me. You trust me, don’t you?
“Yes, I do…more than myself.”
“Then let that trust touch the belief in your heart…and we will be fine…just fine. Goodnight, my Mishti!! I’ll wait for you.”
“Goodnight, Yashji!”

~Chapter 2~
Whenever the cool breeze passes through my ear, it sounds like your voice……
whenever rain droplets touch my body, it feels like your touch, but
whenever I turn back to look for you I find only emptiness...

"Your face is what I want to see when I open my eyes….so don't go missing on me. And don't make me wait, Mishti."
"I won't…I'll come…I won't fail you…not in this life."
For quite some time now, she was woken up by his voice message. She would call or message back depending on how late she was for her morning college. Today she just messaged back as Di had called her down urgently before she left for the commissioner's office on her way to the airport.
"Di, you wanted to talk to me?"
"Yes, Mishti…..Sit down. I wanted you to know that I told babuji everything. He knows about Yash and about Prashant as well.…. No, don't look at me like that. I had to….You are his daughter now. He has a right to know. Prashant went too far this time. Babuji too wants to meet Commissioner uncle. It's 8:00 now. Aman's flight is at 10:00. We'll leave in a few minutes. It's almost 40 minutes drive from the Police Headquarters to the airport. Ansh will need his feed, so after the meeting, I'll leave babuji and Ansh at Chandan uncle's house before going to the Airport. Ansh will be comfortable with auntyji. What about you? What time is Dr Sahay expected to come for Yash?"
"Around 11: 30, Di. Yashji has to undergo some tests in the morning before the doctor comes. I told him I have to work so will be there around 11:00. I have a presentation tomorrow in Poster Design class….need to give it the final touches, so will work in my room for a couple of hours. Then I'll go to the hospital."
(Just then her phone rang.…It was Prashant. Aarti took the call.)
"Mishti, I am waiting for you in the Shiv Mandir. You better be here in fifteen minutes, or else I…"
"You can wait a whole lifetime for all we care, Prashant. Mishti won't marry you…not today, not ever. In any case she is engaged to a wonderful man; in fact we are going to have a formal ceremony this weekend.….No, you listen to me, you rascal…..Mishti has left for the airport to pick up her brother. I knew you'd call and trouble her, so I have her phone. Aman will be here in a few hours; he will see that you are taught a lesson for cheating babuji and blackmailing Mishti. The police already know…(short pause) What? You….How dare you? You can't touch a hair on her head as long as I am alive… Go to hell, Prashant." (She cut off the phone.)
"What happened, Di? Why did you lie to him about my going to the airport and about the police?"
"He threatened to….Never mind. Look Mithu, now he'll not trouble you when we are gone. He thinks you are on your way to the airport. I'll instruct watchman bhaiya to say the same if someone inquires. You stay inside now and be very careful on your way to the hospital, OK? Don't take Prashant's calls or from any unknown number. Now come and give me a hug. Don't you worry…I promise all will be fine….Your di and jiju will not let any harm come to you, I promise that. Oh, here comes babuji…."
"Mishti beta, Prashant was harassing you so much….and you didn't tell me!! I am your father…am I not? (and at her gentle nod)….Then promise me, henceforth you'll let me help you, make decisions for you…..hmm!!!"
"Sorry babuji…I will. I promise."
"Aarti beta, I just got a call from Prashant. He wanted to know whether Mishty is marrying someone else. I told him she is…He cut the phone on me."
"He was confirming what I told him, babuji. Let's go….before he thinks of causing more harm. Bye Mishti. Love you always. Take care."
"Love you always too, Di. Pranam, Babuji. Bye-bye, my prince….Go and get papa home!!!"
The meeting went well. Commissioner Roy promised he would see to it that Prashant was warned, but till he really committed a crime, they wouldn't really be able to do anything. Aarti told him that Prashant had threatened to kill Mishti if she even thinks of someone else. She admitted that they hadn't realized the extent of Prashant's obsession. She conveyed to him about the ruse she had concocted to deviate Prashant away from Mishti that morning…"Uncle, he doesn't know it's not Mishti but I who is going to pick up Aman." Roy promised to send a police vehicle to keep an eye on Mishti till she gets back home after her hospital visit and the family is back. Relieved, Aarti left Babuji and Ansh at Chandan uncle's place and proceeded to the airport. Aman's flight was on time. It was 10:20 by the time he collected his baggage and walked out into his wife's waiting arms.
They stopped at a somewhat lonely traffic signal, almost at the same time that Mishti left for hospital. Everything happened so fast after that…that years would pass by and Mishti would still feel the impact as if it was moments ago. Two calls were made almost at the same time…..
"It's done….both wasted."
"Babuji, please save Mishti….."
A half hour later, Mishti was almost at the gates of the hospital when she got a call from babuji.
"Babuji, I am fine…I…Babuji, are you crying? What's wrong?"
"Mishti, it's all over…I…."
She heard Ansh crying.There was a shuffling sound…and the commissioner's voice came over.
"Mishti…this is Commissioner Roy here…..listen to what I say carefully."
"Uncle? Oh my God…Di…jiju…what's wrong? Tell me please."
Six years later

"I won't…I'll come…I won't fail you…not in this life."
Not a day went by when he didn't listen to her sweet voice as and when he wanted to…in office, while driving, when he was upset, when he was sitting with the family, sometimes in the middle of the night….She always managed to calm him down…..always, except this day every year. This day he spent in the Farm house, away from the family, in a dark room…where he couldn't see anything except hear her voice, her tinkling laughter full of mischief, and her promise. The last was the only recording that could be salvaged after he had thrown the phone across the room on receiving that fateful call and one of those nurses had accidentally deleted the rest while reassembling it. He had been furious with her father for calling and saying that about her: "Please believe me, Yash…I am her babuji….Mishti is no more. She is gone…forever. Her last thoughts were for you….she wanted you to go back home, to your family."
Now, here in darkness he felt closer to her...The darkness made her come alive…he could even feel her touch as he remembered!!! He still felt her, as if she was out there somewhere and will come in anytime and scold him with her fake anger….His thoughts flew back to that day…..
"Mishti….Where are you?"

~Chapter 3~
Your whispers are gentle echoes
that sway ardent winds of harmony
and in the symphony of life
each word is wrapped in rhapsody

"Mishti….Where are you? Why do I still sense your existence? Why am I unable to let you go?"
Yash closed his eyes and relived the day that was imprinted in his mind.


Six years back to this day, he had waited…oh, how he had waited. He had been looking forward to this moment for weeks now….when he could behold his angel…his Mishti. The person who not only gave him life but a meaning to it as well!!!
He had gained consciousness after two days of the accident to her touch, her soothing voice…keeping still just to hear the voice that had refused to abandon him in that wreck…and that he constantly heard in his unconscious state. And when the hospital nurse had somewhat roughly handled him, she had softly but firmly admonished her for hurting him…When the nurse had replied cheekily that if she had forgotten the patient was unconscious…"So! Does that mean you'll hurt him? He hurts here the most you know if you don't care enough,"…by saying that she had kept her hand on his heart. He somehow knew then that he had found the completeness his heart was subconsciously seeking. He had come to know later that she had not left his side in those two days…After that he hadn't let her go. They didn't even realize when their souls had merged and become one….She understood him instinctively and with a familiarity that amazed him at times….He sensed even the shifting waves in her breathing, so tuned was he to each sound coming from her being.
He hadn't let the doctor touch his bandages….Only when Dr Sahay told him firmly that if he didn't get to open his eyes and see, how would he find out what had happened, that he had calmed down and let him do the needful. He had requested the senior nurse to get Mishti's picture from the office if they had. But he was informed that the hospital didn't keep records of the volunteers, who came and went as per their volition. He cursed himself for not clicking her picture in his phone. Fact was when she was around or away, he never felt he couldn't see her…she was so alive for him all the time that all his other senses were completely in sync with her. When she was with him, he just breathed in her essence…and when she was away, he passed moments in anticipation.
He had opened his eyes to see the world again…the doctors, the nurses, the tree outside, the blue sky…all but the one person his eyes sought and would continue to seek thereafter. …He was taken back to his room…and the first thing he had tried to do was call her. The calls had gone unanswered. Something was wrong…he knew it…he felt it. Mishti would never break her promise if it were not something serious. He called his younger brother Prateek and asked him to come as soon as possible. His leg and hip injuries still kept him immobile, and he needed someone to look for Mishti. It was late evening when his phone had rang. It was Mishti's babuji, "Mr Yash, this is Satyendra Dubey, Mishti's father…I have bad news. It kills me to say these words….Our Mishti died today, Mr Yash…. She and her brother Aman were shot at while coming from the airport. I lost both my children today. Mishti was alive when they brought her in, and all she could think of was you, beta."….. "No!!!! (He had almost shouted in his fury.) That's not true. How can you say that of her?"….. "Please believe me, Yash…I am her babuji….Mishti is no more. She is gone…forever. Her last thoughts were for you….she wanted you to go back home, to your family. She knew how much you wanted to see her. Her last words were, 'Tell him, I reside in his heart…..his heart knows how I look, so he should not search for my picture. Tell him if he closes his eyes, he will always see me…sense me. Tell him he should go back home and be with his family.' She loved you, beta. She didn't want you to be here all aloneso do what she wanted…forget her…go home and honor her last wish."

Forget her? His Mishti? Did he really think that was possible?

Prateek had come the next morning. He had reached the hospital to find his brother angry and completely in denial, refuting what Mishti's father had said and instructing him to find out about her. The morning papers had covered the murders in front page. There were no pictures, but they clearly stated that "two hitmen in a mobike had opened fire at Aman Dubey and Aarti Sharma Dubey, children of Mr Satyendra Dubey, a very respected personality of the town. Aman had died instantly, but Aarti, better known as Mishti, breathed her last a few minutes after being brought to the hospital." He had silently shed tears for Mishti who had become his bhaiya's life…his reason to live. From the hospital staff he came to know about the kind of relationship his brother shared with Mishti. He understood now exactly why bhaiya had asked him not to inform about the accident to ma-babuji (who were abroad for ma's treatment), as he knew the moment babuji came to know, he'd have him evacuated to Bhopal, which had better medical facilities. And bhaiya didn't want to be separated from Mishti. Prateek himself didn't know about the accident till Yash had called about ten days back and commanded him not to skip his semester finals for him. All that while everyone knew Yash to be away on a project. He wanted Prateek to get the family after the bandages were removed from his eyes so that they can ask for Mishti's hand from her father. But all that had ended in nothing……
"The hospital, the police, and the crematorium authorities all confirmed the death of Aarti Sharma Dubey….I am sorry bhaiya, but it's her…."
(He was greeted with silence.)
(Very softly) Let's go home, bhaiya.


The phone was ringing….He rubbed his eyes and groped for it. It was Prateek.
"Bhaiya, I am sorry I had to call you…but it is urgent."
"It's OK, Chote…what is it? Is Palak troubling you?"
"Oh no, bhaiya…we just came back after a second round of ice-creams. She was asking for you though."
"Umm…tell her I'll be home within a couple of hours."
"Right…Oh, bhaiya…the reason I called. You remember Vinny Mehra…the wedding planner we met at Pari's place…MD of VM Event Management Ltd?"
"Yes, of course….Pari wants her for the wedding…right?"
"She is good, bhaiya…I made inquiries. She has a fantastic reputation for planning aesthetically designed weddings, which are managed in a very efficient and competent manner by her Head Designer cum Event Organizer, Mrs D. Errr, bhaiya…actually….what I was saying was…I mean what Pari wanted was…."
"(Sigh) Out with it, Chote…Now what does your Pari want?"
"Well…she wants the wedding venue to be…err…the Farm House. She says what she has in mind will be perfect there. She has already spoken with Mrs D and given her mine and your number. Mrs D wanted to visit the venue this weekend and since you have the Annual conference planned there during that time….I thought she better speak with you. She'll be calling you. Please do this for me, bhaiya….Pari is really putting her heart in for a perfect wedding."
"Alright…alright…I'll see to it that this wedding planner gets a conducted tour…But Chote, you don't have to listen to everything Pari says. Just because you love her doesn't mean you bow down to all her whims and fancies. Loving doesn't mean she has her way all the time. She…."
He stopped suddenly as past flashed before him….

"I asked first…so I deserve an answer first."
"Stubborn…aren't you?"
"I am waiting!!!"

"There's another call coming, Chote…Bye, I'll see you at dinner."
"Hello!!!…Yash Scindia here."
There was a gasp and a sharply indrawn breath followed by a short silence…and then the call was cut.
Yash stood still….


To be continued........

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