Sunday, 20 October 2013

Whispers of Spring....Chapter 8

Chapter 8

“Are you OK, Naina?”
“Sure, why wouldn’t I be?” Naina smiled and averted her eyes, the smile not reaching her eyes. And then she bent toward Tanu and held out her hand, “Hey sweetie! Ready to go for a movie?” Tanu grinned and nodded, “Will Adi bhaiya also come?” Both of them walked out chatting. Raj frowned as he stared at Naina’s back and then turned toward Nancy who was coming out of the room, “May I have a word with you Miss Peters?”
“Yes Sir.”
“Will you take the reporter’s number and pass onto me when he calls next? Actually, I don’t want any media person venturing inside the estate without my grandmother’s or my consent.”
“Of course, Sir!”
“And do me a favor; please don’t let Mrs Bhatia know. She already has enough on her platter. I don’t want her or anyone being pestered by a nosey journo who only wants a story about my family.”
“You can count on me, Sir. I had no idea that reporters were pursuing you. Aha! Now I get it…He wants to speak to Ma’am because of Tanusri.”
“Right Miss Peters. Thank you. Good evening!”

Raj came out to find Tanu sitting on the front seat of the jeep, with Naina leaning against it…both of them having a serious conversation. He felt moisture prickle his eyes as he witnessed his daughter moving her hands and speaking animatedly, looking very excited. A couple of months ago he would never have thought he would ever see her this way…so happy, so chirpy, so talkative, so normal. He finally felt his legs move when he saw them do a high-five and giggle.
“What’s all the excitement about?”
They both looked at him and then at each other. Naina winked. Tanu giggled. Naina cleared her throat. Tanu tried to copy and ended up squeaking.
Raj crossed his arms, “Well!!!”
Naina said, “Girl secrets, Raj.”
“Yes, girl secrets, papa. Boys not allowed. Not even Adi bhaiya.”

Raj rolled his eyes and went to pick up Tanu, “C’mon Little Girl, we have a movie to go to after we have gone home, changed, and eaten something.” He looked back at Naina, “And you (pause) Big Girl, we’ll meet up in front of the hall in an hour. OK?”
“Touche!” Naina smirked as she sat in the jeep and waved to Tanu.
“Hardly…just outganged.” He laughed full-throttle…a deep rumbling sound that resonated in the air. Naina stilled and stared at him as she felt an ache of warm pleasure ripple through her on seeing his beautiful face lit with laughter. A strange, unexpected completeness consumed her being. The very next moment her eyes clouded as the fears that she rode on her shoulders all the time slipped inside and tightened her chest in warning: She had cut a piece of universe for herself, built her own walls brick by brick, and was secure in it. She would never be able to step out of it. She passed him a tight smile and drove away.

Naina went home and freshened up. She changed into a T shirt and jeans and bunched up her hair in a messy bun. She put on eye liner and a light lip gloss and looked at the clock. There was still some time left. She took out her phone and dialed Baldev Kalra’s number.
“Hello, Naina Ma’am. Good evening.”
“Good evening Baldevji. I called you regarding a very urgent matter. I need your help.”
“For you, anything Ma’am. You just have to name it.”
“Thank you Baldevji. I’ll come and meet you soon, probably on Sunday. Keep the Asha Deep files of 2007 with you. This is personal and very important. I cannot say what the matter is on phone, but please keep this to yourself. I’ll let you know when we meet.”
“Of course Ma’am! No one will know. You have my word.”

Naina pocketed the phone and stared at the only photograph she had of her parents and baby sister kept on the study table. It was a picture of her holding four-year-old Mili, cheek to cheek, and laughing, their parents standing behind them looking into each other’s eyes and grinning. Her father’s friend had clicked the picture on the terrace of their home exactly a month before she lost them, and subsequently the course of her entire life changed. She was only eighteen. Naina brushed her fingers on the frame, her eyes glistening before she turned and walked away. Memories only weaken you. And she couldn’t be weak now. Adi had to be made safe before they found her.

Naina stopped the jeep in front of the gate of the multiplex. She saw Raj standing with Tanu near the doors of the hall. She turned back to Adi and Bobby, “Adi, you two go and stand with Raj uncle. I’ll park the jeep and come.” The parking was in the basement. By the time she took the lift up, the crowd of parents and kids had swelled. She took a couple of steps and stopped. Adi was holding Tanu’s hand and telling her something. As always she had a wondrous look on her face when she listened to Adi. Bobby tried to intervene but Adi shushed him. Apparently, he held the monopoly where educating Tanu was concerned. Within a few days, Adi had become very protective and possessive about Tanu. She could sometimes see her father in him. She only had to close her eyes and hear him tell her mother, “Geeta, the pleasure of treating my girls with ice-cream is only mine. I don’t want Dheeraj doing that again. Got it?” It didn’t matter that Dheeraj uncle was his best friend.

Naina smiled as she looked at the kids now. The smile froze as she saw Raj talking to a woman. She was gorgeous…tall, slim, flawless features with milky fair complexion, beautifully made-up face, and a Jennifer Aniston haircut. She was wearing a lemon-colored chiffon saree with sleeveless, low-cut blouse…all her curves and assets clearly visible through the sheerness of the fabric. A hand was on Raj’s arm as she leaned in to say something. Raj smiled and nodded. The woman reached up to flick back the lock of hair that always played hooky on his forehead. Naina’s hands balled by her sides as her feet moved forward.

As if he sensed her, Raj turned and looked at her smiling, which quickly turned into a frown at seeing her expression. “Hello Naina! Is everything OK?”
“Yes…everything is just perfect.” She stared at the stunning man-eater with narrowed eyes. Man-eater? Now where did that come from? Naina blinked and smiled sweetly, very conscious of her casual look, “Won’t you introduce us, Colonel?”
“Oh yes! Naina this is Vimi, a friend. Vimi, this is Naina.”
“Hi Naina! Nice to meet you.” She looked at Raj and smiled seductively, “C’mon Raj. I am not just a friend.” She looked at Naina, “Actually Raj was my first boy friend. He was the first boy who kissed me. He was here on his annual vacation and we attended a summer camp together. Remember Raj?” She batted her false eyelashes at him.
“We were kids then, so….” Raj was clearly uncomfortable.
“Hello Mrs Vimi! It’s a pleasure. Is your husband also here?” Naina tried her damndest to sound polite, but her tone came out all wrong…almost catty.
“I am divorced. I have come back to my home town…,” she stared at Raj, “….permanently.”
Raj could have sworn he heard a “Harrumph!” sound from Naina. He looked at her, but her eyes were focused on Vimi…her expressions betraying nothing. He tried to ease the undercurrents, “Naina is the principal of the school where Tanu goes.”
“Really?” The femme fatale crooned, “How wonderful? I have high regards for academics. Raj, it was sweet of you to have invited Tanu’s principal for a movie. It’s always nice to be in the good books of your child’s teachers. Right?”
Raj looked at Naina’s widened eyes and bit his cheek to hold back the smile. She looked like an angry teenager in her attire…rather cute. “Actually Vimi, it’s Naina who invited us.”
“Oh dear! My bad. Oho! I get it. You must be in need for grants. Raj’s family is so generous.”

What the…? Was she real?

Naina had had enough, “Excuse me Miss Vimi! Do you always jump into conclusions? If I needed grants for the school, I’d have called on your friend…sorry, ex-boy friend…in his office and not beg in front of a movie hall. Now if you will excuse me, I’ll take the kids inside. It was nice meeting you.” She looked at Raj, “You can join us after you have caught up with your…err…friend.”
“Sure…see you in a few.” As she passed him, he leant sideways and whispered, “Touche!”

She glared at him and joined the kids. Tanu leapt in her arms, telling her excitedly about the characters of the movie about whom she had just learnt from Adi. She was ushering the kids toward their seats when she felt Raj behind her. She looked back to see him holding two large tubs of popcorn and grinning at her, “What was that Naina?”
“What?” Naina tried to be nonchalant as she grabbed the tubs from his hands and adjusted them between the kids. She then passed on their Cokes.
“Well…it’s a long shot, but…by any chance, were you jealous?”

She straightened up and looked at him incredulously, “Oh…my…God!! With all that inflated ego filling up this hall, I wonder how the rest of us managed a few teensy-weensy seats to sit on.”
Raj chuckled as he settled down, “May I have a bit of that popcorn?”
“I have to give that a serious thinking now.”
“What for? It’s just popcorn.”
“What if you accuse me of being jealous of the little pops because they were making you drool.” Naina hit back, feeling a little giddy with a sense of being off-kilter. She knew she was treading on dangerous grounds…but somehow it was leaving her feeling exhilarated…and not scared. What the hell was happening?

Raj threw back his head and laughed aloud…as many heads turned toward them, “I guess I deserved that.”
“What’s the joke Raj uncle?” Adi pushed Naina and came over.
“Nothing son. I was just teasing your mother, and she got angry.”
“Mumma hardly ever gets angry.” Adi looked toward his mother with a frown. He tugged at her shirt and, when she looked down, tiptoed up and kissed her, before sitting down next to Raj. Naina ruffled his hair and passed on to her seat. Tanu immediately came and flopped down next to Adi. Bobby sat next, with Naina completing the row. She started chatting with Bobby, stopping when the commercials came on. She stole a glance at Raj and found him looking at her with a penetrating look. As their gazes locked, she felt something shift in his expressions, making her catch her breath. He smiled then and lifted his Coke in a gesture of truce. There was so much tenderness in that single smile that Naina was sure something happened there between them…but wasn’t sure what.

That night Adi came to her room with his pillow. She was sitting on bed, working on her laptop. She looked up to see him hovering near the door.
“Mumma, may I sleep with you tonight?”
“Of course sweetheart!” She patted the bed, “Hop in. Just give me a minute. I’ll save this work and close the laptop.”

She kept the laptop on the study table and went to the washroom. When she came out, she found Adi standing near the table holding the picture frame in his hand. She went to him and hugged him from behind, putting her chin on his head, “What is it Adi? Is something troubling you?”
“No mumma. I was just wondering….”
“Wondering what?”
“That Tanu looks so much like Milli maasi. See.” Saying he thrust the frame in front of her.
“I know Adi. I noticed that the first time I saw her.” She had always avoided this…this journeying back into the forbidden zone….where happy memories lay untouched, unremembered, unmourned. She didn’t want those memories to cloud her vision and lose her focus. But try as she might, she couldn’t escape the clutches of even the happy past. Tanu was a stark reminder of her baby sister and that’s why she was so drawn to her. She was fourteen when Mili was born. Her parents hated to term her conception as an accident and would take offence if their friends alluded to Mili as thus.
“Tell me about her mumma. About Mili maasi.”
“But I have told you about her earlier also, sweetheart.”
“Again mumma…One more time. Please.”
She picked him up and adjusted him on her lap on the bed. “You are right. She was like Tanu in many ways…like a little doll…my little doll. She was quiet but a very happy child. She would be waiting for me when I’d come back from school. She would run to me and wouldn’t leave me till your nanima took her away forcefully so that I could take a bath and change. When I held her, when I sniffed her baby smell, when I rubbed my nose against her and heard her giggle, I would forget all the problems I may have faced that day. I never had any friends those days. I didn’t need any. She and I were inseparable.”
“Just like you and I are mumma.”
“Absolutely. In many ways I was her mumma. I also learnt many things from her.”
“Like what mumma?”
“Hmm….like even when people think you were not supposed to be born, you change their opinion by being happy and spreading happiness. She was like this ray of sunshine God sent just for us. Mili could always bring a smile on everyone’s face.”
“Just like Tanu does.”
“Yes. You really like her, don’t you Adi?”
“Yes mumma. If I had a papa, I would have asked you for a little sister just like her. She is so cute.”
Naina closed her eyes as a stab of pain pierced her heart. Adi was silent for awhile. Just when she thought he had drifted off to sleep, he sprang up, “Mumma, I have an idea. If you marry Raj uncle, he will become my papa, and Tanu will become my baby sister…just like Milli maasi was to you.”

To be continued……………………


  1. Wow! Just came across to check for ur response nd I met this wonderful part :D me lucky before pm came lol!

    Amazing update indu di <3
    Bravo! Naina is a very good actress in hiding her pains nd worries but they don't go unnoticed by raj ;)
    Raj wants to know what d journalist wants glad he is planning to help her but secretly. :D
    Haha love d little hush hush girl secret between Naina nd Tanu
    Little and Big girl hehe Raj lol!
    Naina lost her family and she had a little sister milli :'(
    Naina also is up for some research
    Vimi is such a flirt haha, nd naina is. Little jealous lol it true hehe just like raj said.
    Love the theatre scene nice adi has never seen his momma angry :D
    Adi wants to sleep with Naina, first I thought maybe those night mare will come but now adi is calling the impossible, marry raj uncle, well I think that what every one around them is seeing even little adi except them.
    Looking forward to the next part dear
    Want to know naina's response :p
    Really enjoyed each part dear
    Great job *thumbs up* keep it up :D
    Take care *hugs*

    1. Thanks Billie.

      Well, Naina has gone through enough years to map her course of life, primarily not to let anyone in into her problems and fears....fears that she knows are so real that they can harm those who are close to her. Mainly, she worries for Adi...we'll soon know why. Raj has sensed her fears and is only trying to protect her. When he is with her, he keeps up the friendly cum light flirtations with her. But he is trying to keep trouble away from her without her noticing it.

  2. Fantastic update as always Indu. Loved every bit of it especially the change in interaction between Raj and Naina where he teases her more and she gets jealous her by asking Nancy to inform him if the reporter calls again. Adi and Tanu's seeing him with another woman. Also like that Raj is becoming more protective of closeness is really endearing as well. It makes him remember his mom's relationship with her sister and he in turn wants to share that same bond so he innocently voices it. Fab job as always and looking forward to what is in store next.

    1. Thanks Saf.
      Yeah...Raj and Naina are falling into an easy friendly relationship now. At this juncture Raj seems to be more involved, though he is not thinking about it, yet. Adi is protective of Tanu...He feels as close to her as he knows his mother was to his Milli maasi. He knows he cannot have a sister of his own because he does not have a father...but he is old enough to know that the only way Tanu can be his baby sis is if her papa and his mumma marry...hence the brainwave.

  3. Such a wonderful update, Pal <3

    Ooh I just loved how jealous Naina was when she saw Raj talking to his "err....friend" according to Naina ;-) and their banter inside the cinema was too cute. Naina is right something is changing between her and Raj and they don't see it but my goodness they are feeling it.

    Wow thank you for giving us a glimpse of Naina's childhood, so Tanu look like Milli that's really interesting...Can't wait to find out more about it. And can Adi be any more adorable?! :D But his request is what the elders want as well but first Raj and Naina have to get over lots of past demons and IMO they will do it once Raj gets to know about Naina's past and the reporter is gonna play a big part in her past coming out.

    I love how protective Raj is of Naina that reporter doesn't know what's gonna happen to him the next time he contacts Naina and I can't wait ;-P

    Another fantastic update my Dear friend...Keep rocking *Hugs* xo

    1. Thanks love. You are my rock...Always there..solidly. :)

      Raj and Naina's relationship is progressing without them doing anything to further it. They like each other's company, but jealousy is new to both of them. That's why it's leaving them confused and in denial when they come across that emotion.

      Milli was the reason that Naina hit it off instantly with Tanu. Millie was her friend and daughter all rolled into one....and Naina sees Millie in Tanu. Adi has grasped the import and likeness of the relationship vis-a-vis Tanu and is trying to resolve it in his own innocent way.

    2. Awww thanks Sweety...and you're very welcome, that's what family are for even a virtual one...Supporting each other no matter what :-)

      Exactly this new emotion is confusing them so they are not paying attention as to why they are feeling that way if they took the to think about it they would see that they care about each other very much :D

      Aww Adi is such a smart little man, he just wants all of them to be together forever...I love his views about things :-)

      Can't wait for more ;-)

    3. Have I mentioned lately how much I love you? I do....endlessly. Hold the smiles. :)

  4. Lovely update di
    Naina hiding her pain and raj noticed it...
    Loved Raj teasing naina when she got jealous of his friend vimi
    Adi and Tanu scene cute...
    Naina's childhood interesting...Tanu look like mili...So interesting
    Wow Ado want Raj and Naina together
    Waiting for naina reaction
    Continue soon
    Thanks for pm di

    1. Thanks Radha...Much appreciate the feedback.

      By the way, who is that in your DP pic?...The little girl resembles so much the Tanu I have in my mind. :)

  5. Wow! Fantastic update Indu. Naina is so good in bottling up her emotions to make those around her happy but Raj will always notice.
    Hehe, Naina was jealous lol! So love that part with Raj's teasing..they are getting more closer each time. Aww Tanu is similar to Milli which drawn Naina to her more.

    Adi's idea of their family was picture perfect!

    Another fantastic one. :-)

    1. Thanks Abie. :)

      Yes, Raj and Naina are getting closer and developing a great friendship. Moreover, they are making one another aware of emotions that they had never felt before.

  6. love this update Raj and Naina are becoming closer they are so possessive, and protective about each other. I enjoyed the scenes both outside and inside the cinema Naina's reaction to Vimi rocked Raj's world the kids are so cute and sweet, thanks for giving us an insight into Naina's childhood. Adi has a secret desire for a complete family and he found a solution Raj papa and cutie pie Tanu as baby sister.
    Now eagerly waiting for the elders reaction, what are Naina plans for hiding both her's and Adi's identity and whereabouts.
    Sharlene /sb1410

    1. Hey Sharlene...thanks pal.

      What child does not dream of a complete family. Adi is no different.With Raj and Tanu in his life he senses a completeness he had never felt before. That one wish of his proof enough how much he wants a family like his mother once had.

  7. Just landed here to greet a very special person close to my heart. Sorry dear, couldn't comment about the update at this time, coz am not feeling well. Promise to be back once I fully recovered..
    Nwei, let me just greet you a very Happy Birthday Indu or shall I say,
    Many many Happy Returns of the day!!
    Wishing you all the Best in Life! May GOD continue to shower you with more blessings and let you fulfill all the things that your heart desires...
    Take Care dear and SMILE always. Love you more than u know, muaahhz!
    Lots of hugs..


    1. Thank you so much my sweet Barbie. Yours is the first wish of the day...and that makes you ever so special. I am blessed to have friends as you in my life.

      Take care of yourself. Get well soon. a big tight hug to you.

  8. One of the most elastic, introspective, and entertaining form of literature that ever exist! I envisage Naina unmasking the muffled sound of fireworks which have been pervading her mind of her past to Raj who will thus give wings to her soul, sending her soaring from the obscure world to sheer jubilation, filling her with sublime ecstasy. Keep me utterly enthralled with your astounding pieces of literature dear!


    1. Thanks Surish...As always your words humble me.

      Raj is definitely on his way to give wings to Naina's soul, which has been trapped in the shackles of a vicious past.

  9. Awesome update Indu
    Naina hiding her pain which Raj noticed
    Loved Naina n tanu's girl talk
    Adi n Tanu bonding great
    Loved the reaction of jealous Naina ,,,when Raj was talking to his so called friend
    Adi wants Raj n Naina together ,,wow,,waiting for naina's reation
    Once again lovely update dear ,,enjoyed it,,thanx for the pm.....Rachna

    1. Thanks Rachna.

      You are right. Raj is very much in sync with Naina's changing moods even though she tries hard to shield her emotions. Sometimes one can't explain why it is that we are sensitive to even a change of breath in another's a connection like none other.

  10. Things are definetly changing and for the good. The interaction between Naina and Raj is changing. There is a hint of flirting in their conversation. Loved how Adi is possessive about Tanu. He sees himself as his mother and Tanu as Milli.

    1. You got that right. Their is a mutual attraction that is manifesting in various ways now. From Adi's feelings for Tanu it is evident how the little kid misses a family. He is just so attuned with his mother's emotions that he makes no demands.

  11. am back!
    feeling better now, thanks for the wishes..

    It was another fantastic update!!
    I love every part of the story..

    First part, "touche"!
    Naina thought no one will ever notice the pain that she was hiding for long, little didn't she know that there was already someone who's been observing her, Raj!
    I like this secret investigation of him.

    I feel touched when Raj witness the improvement of Tanu being with Naina.
    And their interactions, haha, wonder what the girls secret was.

    Am quite intrigued with that Asha Deeps 2007 files that Naina ask, was it something related to Adi's real identity? Was he adopted by Naina or maybe using it to protect Adi? Sorry for jumping into conclusion. (am just curious about it)
    I may be wrong. But, what was there that Naina needs to see?

    Hmm, i love this jealous type Naina and how she interacts with that Raj's errr.. friend. And it didn't escape in his eyes. He can sense her!
    Love this connections between them! They are now very much aware of each other, no doubt about it.

    Oh, even Adi did noticed this changing mood of Naina, her little knight in shining armor!
    Adi is such a cutie, just want to hug him! He is Naina and Tanu's little protector.
    Aha, his gesture reminds Tanu of his dad, a very possessive one!

    oops, blast from the past!
    So interesting to know about Naina's childhood.
    Feel bad for her on loosing her loved ones. What was the reason,btw, did i missed it?
    Mili (her little princess) and Tanu have similarity! No wonder she was easily loved by Naina

    And the last part, love that Adi's surprise suggestion for Naina, lol!
    Well, who doesn't want to have a complete happy family, it's everyone's wish (at least for me)

    can't wait, want to see the next update..

    Do continue to amaze us Indu dear!
    Loving it more and more...

    ♥SMILE =)

    (sorry for the long post)

    1. Hey Barbie...Just loved your post. Thank you so much. Please write as much as you want. The longer it will be, the happier I will be. :)

      Sorry for the late reply. I was away for the weekend. Tight hugs to you. Love you.

  12. As usual Indu........another fantastic update. Loved the theatre part -- as we got to see jealousy, banter, possessive, protective and bonding....of Raj-Vimi- Naina and kids...a film itself...Enjoyed the part more when Raj lifted his coke in a gesture of truce...very sweet......Adi's idea of family was a wow ! Waiting to see the reaction from Naina and a lot more.....


    1. Thanks Chitra....

      My apologies for the late response. I was out of town for the weekend.

  13. di
    first of all i m really sorry for late reply...but i read the updates di
    the only word which i use frequently use for ur update is awesome di and this update is also awesome di..........

    lighthearted update so far .........raj-naina convo ...hehe.......naina is so green with jeolousy it was clearly seen..hehe but we know she is so adamant to admit it infront of him..loved the way raj-naina and tanu-adi bonded so welllike a family...i m loving it di......hope god bless their friendship and happiness forever.........
    and mili and why adi is finding the similarities with tanu is it just a coincidence or something else altogether.............

    ooh........adi s wish is have tanu as his sis .i m waiting to know what naina answer for this............

    awesome di

    1. Thanks Rosey. I really appreciate you taking time off for me and penning a few lines here. I love what you have written.

  14. Another date with kids n movie sounds cool to me but this reporter seems to highlight another tale related to Naina past
    So Raj made nancy believe Journo is after his family while we all know who is he contacting for n raj got a great way to find out
    Coming to tanu n naina relations its warm n beyond words which raj also fel the same
    Omg wats this Touche di?
    Hmmm vimi made Naina J n Raj is singing why thid Kolaveri do love this teasing
    Naina another past of her family...that’s sad hmm adi is she is more worried for n will do best to protect
    milli n tanu similarities n then another innocent adi which made your heart goess booom


    1. Hi Riya...So sorry for the late response. Please don't mind.

      I was thrilled to receive your familiar and so you. I just love reading them. Thank you so much.
      God bless you!

  15. its okay di I understand and I am so glad atleast my words are reaching to you and making you feel I want to