Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Whispers of Spring.....Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Raj shuffled across the kitchen island and walked over to where Naina was standing near the back door, “Your Baldevji.”
“He is not my Baldevji,” She crossed her arms and scowled at him, “And why would you call him a puppy? It’s absurd.”
Raj walked casually past her with his hands in his jeans pockets and went and leaned against the door, crossing his legs, “It’s the way he looks at you…oh so adoringly, so reverently. The man has a crush on you.” His mouth twitched at the corners when he saw her expression. She was staring as if he had grown horns on his head.
“You are being completely ridiculous. He is a nice man. Now please move. I have to go. I need to come back by 11. I have promised the kids I’ll take them to the zoo.” She made to turn the door knob, but he refused to move. “Raj please…I am going to get late.”
“Naina, you are supposed to be resting. But if you really have to go, then I am coming with you. You are not driving.” His face was impassive and his tone reflected finality, making Naina exclaim in frustration, “Raj, I am fine. You are just being a fusspot. You have to understand that I am used to taking care of things by myself. I don’t need any mollycoddling.”
He straightened then, “I know you are strong and sensible and independent, and I respect that. But you fainted in my house Naina…under my watch…because of the things I said to you. You scared the hell out of me last night” She started to interrupt but he raised his hand, his tone softening further. “No, hear me out. Please. I upset you and got you sick. I am responsible for your health till you recover. If you insist on making this trip, then I want to come along. I promise I won’t say or do anything to upset you.”
“But you are supposed to be going to Dharamshala…to meet someone. You said so yesterday.”
“Yeah, my coursemate from army. He is on a two-day official visit there. But, not to worry, I’ll look him up tomorrow. Not letting you go alone is more important to me at the moment.”
He waited for her to argue, but after a long pause she only asked, “Why?”
He smiled gently, “For my peace of mind. Let me do this Naina. Let me accompany you. You meet up with Kalra, and I’ll take care of a small matter I have in the market there. OK?”
Naina regarded him dubiously and finally nodded. And then Raj saw it….the merest trace of relief across her eyes, which was gone before he registered it. But it was there. It gave him hope. Eyeing her shimmering beauty, he paused a moment to take in her soft skin, the slight pout of her perfect lips that complemented the slightly knitted brows as she contemplated what he would say or do next, and the most striking features of her face…her soulful eyes, so innocent and yet which hid in their depths a lurking, unknown fear. He wished for the hundredth time he could erase whatever was plaguing her heart. But he knew he couldn’t force her. If he did, she would withdraw more.
An errant lock had come loose from her ponytail to tickle her cheeks, tempting him to brush it behind her ears, but half way through he curled his fingers and resisted the urge, letting his hand fall. Instead he locked her gaze with his, “Naina, if I ask you something, will you answer me honestly?”
Her breath hitched as she looked into his probing eyes…his face close to hers. She felt stripped and vulnerable in front of him. No one had ever looked at her like that…as if he could see within the core of her soul. She wanted to run…escape, but she couldn’t…not when she felt this safe. An eddy of contradictory emotions consumed her. Oh God! Not good …not good at all.
“Yes.” She managed to choke out.
She felt him take her right hand, saw him raise it to his chest level, and hold it there…and yet she didn’t move, “Do you trust me, Naina? Really trust me?”
Through the fog of conflicting emotions a sliver of clarity cut through, and she nodded decisively, “Yes, I do.” She knew without doubt that she could trust this man with hers and Adi’s life. But could she pull him into the murky waters that had found their way from her past and were flowing toward her threshold? No…too many people depended on him. She could not drag him into the danger that might not be far away.
“Then believe that I have yours and Adi’s back. I won’t let any harm come to you.”
“There’s nothing to worry Raj. I am sorry I lost my cool in such a manner yesterday. Probably got you rattled. You are unnecessarily reading too much into…”
“Shshh!!” She was startled as he placed a finger on her lips and silenced her, “Don’t. You and I both know that is not true. I am a soldier Naina…I can smell the fear in you. But I won’t ask what is it that is troubling you. I’ll wait for you to tell me. If you trust me…as you say you do, and if you take me to be your friend, you will let me in. But don’t leave it for too late….”

Naina wanted to pick up something from home and needed to change as well. At home she took a quick shower and changed into jeans and a peach-colored top. When she came down after thirty minutes, she was carrying a file. Raj was flicking through a magazine. She paused on the penultimate step to surreptitiously look at the man who touched her senses as no one ever had. When he was around her, she felt her entire body betray her and react to his sound, his scent, his movements. She had to constantly discipline herself…force herself not lose focus. As if on cue, he looked up, his eyes piercing through her as if owning her. All her nerve endings tingled to life…as if all the answers of the universe lay in those eyes. Stop Naina! Stop!!
“You look lovely.” Raj smiled as a deep pink touched her cheeks, before she schooled her expression to a casual indifference, “Thanks. Err…Shall I pack something for breakfast?”
He tossed down the magazine he was reading and stood up, “Don’t bother. We’ll grab a bite in one of the midway dhabas.”
He stopped her a little away from the car and went and opened the back door to take out a small bunch of slightly wilted assorted variety of flowers and three red-, yellow-, and green-colored balloons. Sheepishly he extended them to her, sneaking a glance as she gaped at him before taking the flowers and staring up at the balloons, “Th…Thanks. I..(gulp) Whoa! I don’t know what to say. I...err…why? I mean when did you get them?”
He swiftly turned, fumbling with the keys to unlock the doors, but not before she glimpsed his reddened ears, “When you were gone for your bath, I went to the florist in the next lane.”
“But Raj, he would have been closed at this hour? Then how did you….” She raised her brows when he looked back to gesture her to take her seat, still not quite meeting her eyes. Naina smiled inwardly at his shyness. “Don’t tell me he had a dream that you were coming and was waiting for you?” She teased.
He grimaced. He should have known she wouldn’t let go, “I woke him up…OK. He is a damn florist; he should be open 24x7. I mean people need flowers all the time for …for…,” he made a sweeping gesture, “…for whatever reasons. In any case, he didn’t have any fresh flowers, let alone roses that I wanted. Those were the freshest of the lot.”
“Thanks Raj. They are beautiful.” She smiled amusedly as she held the flowers close to her heart and reached back to keep the balloons on the back seat. He was so flustered that if she was not so sensitive she would have laughed out aloud at his discomfiture.
His little lost boy look was quickly replaced by a devastating grin at her words, “Really? You like them?”
“Yup. I love them.”
“And…err…the Happy Holi balloons also.” This time she laughed…which turned into a fit of giggles at his goofy expression. “What the….” He turned to look at the balloons and groaned, “The rascal…I told him I wanted “Get Well Soon” balloons. I should have realized he was conning me when he insisted on keeping them in the car himself.”
Naina smothered her mouth in a bid to control the giggles, “Sorry Raj. Seriously, that’s a sweet gesture. But I told you I am fine…Where was the urgent need?”
“There was.” He said fiercely as he got the car on the road. “I hurt you last night.”
“All right…thanks all the same. I have always loved balloons.”
“Good. Did you notice the colors?”
“The colors?”
“Yes. They are my regimental colors.” He nodded proudly at her. “Shall I tell you how they came about?”
She could only stare at this amazing man as he narrated the story behind the colors. He had gone out of his comfort zone to get her gifts to ensure that her day begins with a smile. His clumsy gesture made her wonder whether he ever gave his wife any flowers. He looked so cutely embarrassed. Ten seconds back he was an endearing friend…and now he was the proud soldier. So many facets to a single man…and all pointing to genuine goodness. How can a man be so good? Out of nowhere her mother’s words floated in her mind….words she had told her during one of their boy talks before she entered college: “The eyes Naina…look into their eyes. Eyes are truly the mirrors of one’s soul. When they look at you, you will know whether they hold, love, attraction, possessiveness, admiration, or just lust.”
For the first time in her life Naina felt an uncontrollable urge to hug a man after her father…and that scared the life out of her. She had no right to indulge in wistful thoughts of such nature. She had no right to allow her heart to weaken. Especially now… not after the phone call she got from the Palampur police station the previous evening, just as she was getting ready to go to the mahal. The call that all but confirmed that her cover was going to be blown.
“Good evening madamji! This is SI Kisan Chaubey here. Actually I got a call from Balrampur police station. They wanted to know whether you have a teacher called Nayantara Mehta or Nayantara Dhariwal in your school?”
The phone had almost slipped away from her hands but somehow she had kept her composure and answered, “No inspector. I don’t. Never heard of that name. What is this about?”
“Something about a missing person, madamji. Obviously it’s a misinformation. Sorry to bother you. I’ll let them know that their information was wrong.”

But Naina knew those monsters…she knew they won’t give up so easily…she knew that her countdown had begun. She had to secure Adi first…and visiting Baldev Kalra was her first step.

To be continued..........

NOTE: I realize it's a short chapter. Please bear with me this time. Also, I haven't proofread it, so pardon the errors.  :) 


  1. Superb update as always Indu. I love the effort that Raj is putting in to make Naina feel more comfortable around him and his refusal to let her go on her own. His gesture of flowers and balloons were sweet along with him opening up himself to her by speaking of his experiences. I loved the fact that he chose not to force her into revealing what is bothering her but instead made it clear that since she trusted him he would wait for her to tell her whenever she was ready, what is actually bothering her so much. Fab job as always and can't wait to see what is in store next for these two.

    1. In many ways this is first for Raj. He never really courted a girl, so even though he goes out of the way to keep Naina smiling with the flowers and balloons, he is pretty awkward with the whole stuff.

      Raj cannot force Naina to tell him anything...that is, not till the danger is right in front and there is no other choice. He knows that if Naina didn't share the gory details with beeji, then she wouldn't with him till she feels so. So he is doing what he could do best under the circumstances: letting her know that she has a friend she can trust and that he will not let any harm befall them. He is giving her the assurance that Naina doesn't realize she needs badly as she is alone in all this.

  2. Aww just a beautiful and frightening update, Pal <3

    So Raj woke up that poor florist just to get flowers and balloons for Naina to wish her a speedy recovery and the way he was eagerly awaiting to hear what she thought about the gifts in that moment he was like a kid and the excitement and joy he felt when she said that she loved them wow that was pure magic :-):-)

    Naina as well is trying to come out of her shell but she is to afraid to bring Raj into her dark past so she holds back when all she wants to do is pull him closer to her ;-) Her heart is telling her one thing and her mind another IMO this trip is gonna bring them much more closer and I can't wait :D

    Another fabulous job my Dear....Keep doing your thing, u ROCK!!! *muuaahhh*

    1. Thanks love. Bear hugs back to you.

      Well, Raj is Raj. Give him a gun and he will be most comfortable while handling it, but flowers and balloons make him clumsy and shy and uncomfortable...yet he steps out of his comfort zone just so he can get a smile out of Naina. He may have been married before...but he was never in love before, and he certainly never courted anyone before.

      And, Naina is Naina. If beeji couldn't extract the entire story out of her, Raj has no chance....not at the moment. Raj is aware of that, so is focusing on letting her know that she is not alone.

    2. Anytime Love! and thankuu for the hugs they were much needed *muuaahhh*

      Exactly Raj never had to woo anyone before despite being married and yes the man is in love and he doesn't even know it yet but he does love the feeling he gets when he's with Naina ;-) <3

      That's true as well Naina has locked that part of her life up so tightly that she doesn't want to let anything escape but other forces are trying to breakdown the door to unlock those memories and she is fighting with all her might to keep them under lock an key....Raj will be there for her and she will come to him when she feels it's the right moment :)

      Awaiting for the next installment <3 BTW lovely pic, u look beautiful pal xox

    3. Thanks my friend. Yup, that's how I look. You look at me through a loving friend's eyes...and I love you for that. Mishtu revamped the whole blog, including adding the picture when I was away from home. Didn't have the heart to upset her by removing it, so I am letting it be for awhile. :)

  3. Indu, Raj is indeed an interesting character and makes a real effort to be with Naina .
    waiting for Naina's fear to be removed and step into a soulful relationship

    1. Raj is a typical fauji in many ways. He equates all the life's happenings with his life from army. He has already mentioned that he is the person that he he is because of his years in army. He doesn't know how to impress girls, but just follows his instincts. His sincerity is what is touching Naina.

  4. Love the way Raj goes out of the way to reassure Naina that he'll always take care of her back.....she'll definitely realise that he'll give her a shoulder to cry and lean on!!! Love the story, Indu.....

    1. Thanks Bharathi.

      Well, Naina is not letting him in. Raj thinks she doesn't trust him enough, so he let's her kow that he will protect her and Adi. But her problem is different: she does not want him getting embroiled with the dangers that may have found her again. She is protecting him

  5. Great update di
    Thanks for pm :)

  6. Indu, this was one beautiful chapter. Raj is going all way out to make sure Naina is secure and tried bringing smile to her face. Both Raj and Naina are feeling attraction to one another like never before. Hope Naina finds it in herself to trust him someday and tell him about her bitter past.

    Lovely Indu. Its okay..don't worry how short the chapter was though you know I always want to continue reading yours updates till forever. LOL.

    Take care!

    1. Thanks Abie. You give me such sweet compliments. :)

      At the moment, both Raj and Naina are shielding each other in a covert manner. Raj has all but accepted his feelings, but Naina still fights them. Falling in love was never in her life's plan...it still isn't.

  7. Small but beautiful update. Loved Raj's way of showing his affection towards Naina.
    Blushing Raj!!! Hai!

    So the danger is at the door step. Hope raj will be there in her hour of need.

    1. Thanks pal. Yeah, Raj is rather cute. He is much more confident when he is fighting or arguing with her, but flower/shflower gifting leaves him all out of depth...yet he does it...for Naina.

  8. Love Raj-Naina interactions. The bond between them grows with each passing word or gesture between them and you are shaping up their relationship so beautifully. Hats off.

    -- Deepti1808

    1. Hi Deepti. Always a pleasure to have you here. You know how much I value your opinion.

      Thank you for the sweet words of encouragement. Much appreciated.

  9. this is truly a wonderful part where we got to see the blossoming friendship b/n naina and raj..............
    i can sense raj was more serious abt naina and i m sure that he will not let go of her friendship for any reason........and he will protect her from that evil souls
    and for naina a lot was changed after meeting raj but she could not voice out nor could not dare to think over it coz of fear of her past may harm raj too,...........so trying her best to keep raj away from this.......

    and the flowers and balloons that was again a cute gesture from raj..........i just loved his embarassment di......hehe........

    omg who was that persons who r behind naina after these long years and why???
    waiting for the mystery to unfold.......
    another awesome part di

    get well sonn di
    my best wishes r with u
    take care


    1. Thanks Rosey. I am fine now.

      Raj and Naina have a struck a friendship that is so unique to any that they have ever had before....They understand each other and trust each other, and these are the needs that were never fulfilled by anyone before.

      There's a reason that Naina cannot involve anyone.

  10. Like two atoms having the same affinity for electrons and neither is willing to donate them, Raj and Naina are gradually sharing electrons in order to achieve octet configuration and become more stable in their relationship. Raj is using his cuddle hormones to pamper Niana like a Siamese cat thus creating a covalent bond where they’ll eventually finish each other sentences and make those around them gag with their lovey- dovey antics. My throat is extremely parched! Quench my thirst with some burgeoning romance! Absolutely fantastic and thought, provoking as usual!

    1. Hey Surish...Loved what you wrote. Indeed there's a gradual sharing going on between Raj and Naina...Yet, even though Naina is not contributing much, there's a stability in their equation that is not dependent on the the quantity of what either has given or shared. The romance is in their every interaction pal...it's just that the unknown factor is influencing the interactions at the moment. :)

  11. Oh, WOW! Am surprised with the new background, loved it!
    Beautiful just like you! :D

    You know what, ur update was always in good timing (sorry, if i've said that before)
    Despite feeling so sad to what's happening in our country, reading ur story just made me smile even for awhile.

    Don't bother about the length, what's important is the happiness and satisfaction that it brings to us readers. And you are good in giving us such feelings..

    It was a fabulous update!
    Only focus to Raj and Naina.
    I love how Raj become protective with Naina.
    How he explain the reason why he does it and how let her not to go out without him. And the trust!

    The balloon and flower scene, love it too! I like the shy-type Raj.
    He was like a teenager who had his first love.First time to do it.
    Haha, Happy Holi, can't stop grinning.

    Am glad Naina sees that effort in him. But for sure she will still not allow him to enter with her dark past, not this time.
    Although Raj was sincere and very eager to help her come out with her fear. Slowly but surely tactics for him I guess.. Let's see.

    And those monsters, she's right! They will never give up easily!
    Looking forward on how the story will unfold..
    Keep updating dear!

    Btw, hope all is well with u now..
    Take Care always :)

  12. Hey Barbie....Thanks pal. This is all my daughter's doing. She hated the earlier look of the blog. Today she had a holiday so gave it a make-over. Glad you liked the look...of the blog that is. :)

    I loved your review as always. I am like a kid with a candy when I read the comments. Naina will resist Raj till the threat hangs on her like a sword. She knows Raj will go all out if he knows what happened...and she has promised herself that no one will get hurt because of her.

  13. Indu....sweet and short update. Raj assurance and his lovey dovey side was quite enjoyable....An assurance and acceptance from both side but still it lingers on fear of involvement.....hope Naina shares before it is too late...which am sure she won't.

    By the way Indu the background is beautiful and U too...if the pic that is displayed is urs. Take care..


  14. Thanks Chitra. The blog makeover is courtesy my daughter. She had been wanting to do this for awhile. I had gone out somewhere, and when I came back, I saw she had re-done it. And yes, that's me in the pic. I didn't have the heart to spoil her excitement by telling her that I never meant to post a pic. :)

  15. Fantastic update Indu
    Raj put so much effort to make Naina smile,,lovely
    Raj is not forcing her to share her past with him ,,,great
    Loved their convo
    Thanx for the pm ,,,rachna

    1. Thanks Rachna.

      Well, Raj is giing Naina time and space. At the same time he is constantly letting her know that he is there for her.

  16. Hello Indu di
    Hope all is well with u.
    Sorry for being late dear. My time here is really bad very busy. But want to let u know I have read d chapters that I have missed and enjoyed reading them. My comment will follow in next chapter. Btw notice the changes in the blog so nice :)
    Take care

    1. Thanks Billie.

      No worries my dear. As long as you read and smile awhile, I am happy.

  17. As ch 11 itself symbolizes 1 and 1 makes it 11 not 2 same goes with both charcters- strong individual personalities, fighters and stubborn independents
    One side raj is not let go of naina and she, her inhibition which i know will take its own sweet time and lot of care and persuasion from Raj.
    and that wat raj magical words and touch is doing hope she absorbs it soon
    aww its really sounds so boyish but yet so kind gesture from an army man raj is i loved it how you modulates di sometime so mature content that it really takes me hell lot of time to absorb and understand and sometimes its beyond comprehension and sometimes OMG its lovely and that swat amaze me so is naina with your Raj
    now naina reactions of last nyt is more clar due to the call she received will come next year with ch12 till then take care god bless
    and Happy New year 2014
    regards.. Riya

    1. Thanks Ria. You have a wonderful 2014 as well. May all your aspirations come true.

      Raj can't help being with Naina all the time. He wants to be with her and understand her and take care of her. In heart he has accepted what actually Naina is to him.

      Lots of hugs. :)