Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 11: For whom the bells toll

on May 13, 2013


Khushi stood by the steps popping the channe in her hand one by one in her mouth. Rs 10,000. There had to be a way. Shyam ji would help but why did she feel so uneasy? It was a good thing he would be away for a few days. It would give her time to think. Time to meet Shukla ji and Desai ji and find a way. Devi Maiyya will show her the way. She always did. With a renewed resolve she climbed the stairs.

Anjali stood in front of Devi Maiyya. Her Devi Maiyya. Hadn’t she met Shyam ji here at this very altar? She had a lot to be thankful for. Her Shyam ji. Her Chottey. The two men who’s lives she was the center of.

Payal walked slowly in thought. What did Akash ji mean when he said he had good news? How could anything be good when Anjali ji was going to be hurt? Or did he mean that Shyam ji would move out and Anjali ji would be none the wiser? This was getting to be more complex than she could handle. She needed to talk to Khushi. Where was this girl when she needed her? Sanka Devi!

Akash and Arnav parked the SUV and walked with quick steps. They had to apprise Payal and make sure Shyam did not realize his game was up. Most of all, Arnav wanted to apologize. Needed to. For everything that had gone wrong with Payal’s wedding. He was never good with apologies.

Shyam looked around. The temple looked peaceful. Today, Khushi ji would see how much Shyam wanted her to be happy.

Spying Khushi ji with her trademark cloth bag by the side of the temple looking at the view of the city down, he walked quickly to her side. Sensing someone next to her, Khushi jumped a little to give herself some space and take in what was happening.

“Shyam ji!” “Aap yahan?”

Two voices said in unison.

Khushi and Anjali looked at Shyam and at each other in consternation.

“You know him?” Anjali asked Khushi ji, seeing the familiarity with which they were standing.

Before Shyam could say anything, Khushi nodded and said “Shyam ji lives in our house. He is a paying guest. But how do you know him?”

Shyam looked at the two women before him and realizing his life was unravelling went over to stand by Anjali.

Arnav heard his Di’s voice and turned to see a strange sight in front of him. Di eyes glazed. Shyam looking like he was ready to run and Khushi looking from Shyam to Di and back.

Rushing to hold Di, he held her by the elbow and helped her sit while Akash held Shyam’s hand in a vice like grip. Khushi and Payal held each other as they took stock of what was happening in front of them.

“Di, are you alright?” Arnav’s face swam in front of Anjali’s eyes. She felt weak. Her Shyam ji a paying guest at Khushi ji’s house? What were Chottey and Akash doing here at the temple? Why was Khushi ji meeting Shyam ji here? And Payal ji? She needed to rest. She was probably hallucinating.

Arnav sprinkled water on Anjali’s face. “Di. Di…” The voice was insistent. Why was Shyam ji not sitting by her? Why did Akash look so grave?

She felt herself being lifted and lost consciousness.

Khushi looked and felt disconnected. What was happening? How did Anjali ji know Shyam ji? Why did she faint? What were Arnav ji and Akash ji doing with Payal? Her jiji must know something she did not.

She turned to look at her jiji. Akash ji had left herding Shyam ji into their SUV and Arnav ji had carried Di to the car. Akash ji had muttered a quick “stay here till I come back” before he left.

“Jiji, what just happened? I know you know.”

Payal looked at her sister. There was nothing left to hide. Taking a deep breath, Payal brought her sister up to date. Khushi could not believe what she was hearing. Shyam ji was Anjali ji’s husband. Anjali ji who prayed so much for her husband’s well-being? Anjali ji whose face lit up at the mention of her husband? And Shyam ji a married man? Images of a brave Shyam rescuing her from attackers, of finding her a job, of moving in their home flashed past her. Shyam ji was stalking her?

An unknown fear stabbed her heart. What if he had been successful? What if she had agreed to get engaged to him? Was that what her father was trying to tell her? Every time Shyam ji was in the room, her father was excitable.

Even as the dots connected in her mind, a strange worry entered her head. Would Arnav ji think she had accepted Shyam ji’s advances. Would he think she had something to do with his precious Di’s marriage breaking up?

An icy cold fear staked its claim on her heart. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

Temple bells tolled and it was time for aarthi. Devi Maiyya looked on.

2 responses to “Chapter 11: For whom the bells toll

  1. anajli faints at the drop of a hat wow she really needs to get a back bone and snake is cornered

  2. fijiankudi says:

    The benevolence of God fell on every one except Shaam. Its the 2 faced sword for poor Anjali, the benevolence and curse of God. going to next chapter.

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