Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 20: Cupid finds his mark

on May 16, 2013

rishtapakka

“Jiji, if Akash ji asked you to marry him, would you say yes?”

Khushi looked at her sister as she asked this question. It was bedtime. Payal lay twirling her long tresses. Her eyes looked distant and she seemed lost in thought.

payalkhushi2

Khushi’s question pierced her thoughts and she jerked her head up. Her eyes narrowed.

“Khushi! I thought we had agreed not to talk about that.”

“No jiji! I am just asking. What if he did? Would you agree?”

Payal looked at her suspiciously.

“Did anyone say anything when you went to the Raizada house today?”

Khushi shook her head, her eyes looking innocent and a smile threatening to burst out of her face.

“Actually Akash ji asked me today.”

For a moment Khushi did not believe what she heard. Her eyes widened.

“He did?? What did YOU say???”

Buaji peeked her head in hearing Khushi’s excited scream.

Managing to convince Bua nothing was the matter, Khushi dragged her sister outside.

“Say that again jiji. Akash ji asked you? What did you say?”

Payal remained silent.

Unable to tolerate the silence, Khushi held her hand.

“Jiji are you OK? You know you can tell me right? I will stand with you no matter what you decide.”

Payal looked at her sister and felt relieved she did not have to carry it inside her for much longer.

“I am OK Khushi. I was caught unawares. I mean I knew I liked him. I knew he liked me but marriage seems too much too soon. We hardly know each other.”

“I asked him what he knew of me. Of our family.”

“Was he sure his family would accept me? His mother?”

“Akash ji listened to everything silently. He held my hands in his and said just one thing.”

“He says he loves me. As is. With all of my past. He says he is sure he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. He says he will talk to his Dadi and his parents. He wanted me to answer his question.”

“Did I like him enough to marry him?”

“I don’t know Khushi. I am so confused. I told him I did like him. I did not know enough about him to say I will marry him. I asked him to talk to his family and if he was serious enough and if his family agreed, to talk to Bua and Amma and Babuji.”

Khushi listened with widening eyes. Wasn’t it just the day before that she and Anjali ji had talked about it? They were talking marriage already? She did not know whether to be excited or scared. Her jiji would move away?

“Jiji. I love you. You know that right? I think you did the right thing. Don’t worry too much. Everything will work out well. Do you plan to tell Amma/Babuji now or are you planning to wait?”

Khushi felt as confused and scared as her sister. It was one thing to tease her but to actually wait to hear from the Raizadas was nerve-racking. Should she call Anjali ji? Would it seem too forward of her?

Akash paced up and down in his room.

“What was taking Di so long to come? He needed to talk to her before he spoke to his Dadi and Ma.”

As if Di heard his thoughts, she opened his door and let herself in.

“So my bhai, did you talk to Payal ji? What did she say? Tell me she said yes. Please. Pretty please!”

Akash looked at his Di. Her earnestness at securing his happiness made him feel warm all over.

“I spoke to her Di. She said she liked me. She said she could not say yes to getting married till I spoke to our family and everybody were OK. She seemed to think I was rushing about getting married. She said if every body agreed to talk to her Bua and her parents.”

“I don’t know Di. Each time I talk to her, I feel convinced she is the best person for me. She balances me out. I can’t imagine living with any of the girls Ma keeps pestering me to get married to.

Akash looked at his Di, his eyes pleading “Please make this happen Di.”

Anjali felt like a woman on a mission. Her Akash would get his Payal. She would see to that. Chewing over what Akash had said, she asked him to keep it to himself till she had had a chance to talk to Chottey and Nani. She felt sure they would back Akash up. They would have to tackle Mami as a family.

Arnav looked at his phone. A cryptic text message blinked. “Meet me by the poolside”

Di never sent text messages. Least of all when they were both home. Wondering if it were a prank, he had half a mind to march up to her room and find out what she was up to. Whatever it was he would find out soon enough. He spied Di walking to the poolside. He got up, curiosity getting the better of him.

Di looked like child who had a secret that was threatening to burst out of her.

“What is it Di? I have never seen you this excited before.”

Anjali looked around to make sure no one was listening to them. Leaning in closer to Arnav, she whispered “Akash is in love.”

Arnav wasn’t sure if Di was joking. Why would she joke about something like this? Keeping his face serious, he held Di by her shoulders.

“Di, stop giggling and tell me what is the matter. Akash is in love with whom?”

“Payal ji.”

“Payal?”

“Haan. Khushi’s jiji. Remember Akash’s sudden affection towards the garage in Laxmi Nagar?”

A light bulb went off in Arnav’s head. Akash did seem to offer to get the vehicles serviced every so often. But Payal? He would have to talk to Akash.

“Did Akash talk to Payal? Is she open to getting married to him?” His tone was all businesslike.

“Yes. He did. She wants Akash to talk to us and if we all agree to ask her parents. She says she likes him but feels he is rushing to marriage too quickly.”

Arnav’s opinion of Payal went up a notch. At least she did not seem to be in a hurry. He stood in thought for a moment. Nani ji would approve. Mama ji would have no objections if this is what Akash wanted. Mami ji? She would throw a fit.

He knew how to get through to her. But first he needed to talk to Akash.

“Di, where is Akash now?”

“Give me a minute Chottey.” Di’s head was bent typing something on her phone.

Less than a minute later, Akash sauntered in to the poolside as if it was the most natural thing for all three of them to be huddled there.

Arnav looked at his cousin critically. He did look lost in thought.

“Akash, Di tells me you love Payal and want to marry her?”

“Yes Bhai. I really like her. It’s convincing mom that am scared about.”

“Just answer this. Are you really sure you want to marry her. Are you sure you will not regret your decision?”

Akash looked at Arnav wondering if he would have to walk on coals next to prove his love.

“Yes Bhai. I love her. I want to marry her. I am very sure about how I feel about her.”

Arnav nodded as if making a decision.

“Done deal. I will talk to your mom. Di will talk to Nani and Mama. We will have this wrapped up today.”

Akash looked at his brother not sure if he was discussing his future or a business deal. In any case, he was not complaining.

Arnav headed straight to Mami’s room and knocked. “Who is it?” sang Manorama mami as she walked up to the door. Opening, she blinked twice noticing Arnav at the door. It was not often he deigned to grace their quarter with his presence. Perhaps he decided to get married and was here to tell her that Akash’s path was clear? She was sure he brought good tidings.

“Arnav bitwa, come in please” she pulled him in with authority.

Arnav looked around. Mama seemed to have stepped out. He cleared his throat and came straight to the point.

“Mami ji, Akash wants to get married to Payal. Khushi’s sister. I am hoping you and Mama ji will agree. He is sure this is what he wants.”

Mami’s eyes grew round as saucers. She spluttered “What? My Akash bitwa? I have lined up girls from rich families and he wants to marry that Payal?”

“Never.” she thundered and paced up and down. “if he goes against my wish and marries her, either she will stay here or I will.”

She raged for a few minutes and turned to look at Arnav who had taken a seat and was waiting for her to be done. “You have my answer. You may leave.” she said and walked to open the door.

Arnav stepped in front of the door and said in a low firm tone.

ArnavMami

“Mami ji, this marriage will happen with or without your approval. If you accept and permit the marriage happen without incident, you have control over your son. You gain the upper hand. If you do not, your daughter in law will still be a bahu here and usurp your place. The choice is yours. You can choose to have the upper hand by dictating how the wedding happens and what powers Payal will have. The choice is yours. Think with your brain and not your heart.”

He kept his eyes level with her and watched her brows crease with consternation. Her brain appeared to be working over time. She seemed to weigh all the possibilities and finally said a simple “I agree to this marriage but nothing else.”

Arnav walked out a happy man.

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2 responses to “Chapter 20: Cupid finds his mark

  1. mami is such a bi**h and loved the siblings bonding well done

  2. fijiankudi says:

    Look at Akash bitwa ! His way ahead than anyone thought , asking Payal to marry him. Our bitwa is not only sensitive, sensible, intelligent and A brace heart! Unlike our other Bitwa who dithers and hides behind family tragedy, so he won’t have to make a decision.
    Arnav has slipped Mami up the proverbial banana tree. Boy if Mami really tortures Payal like all those bad saas do then what ? afterall Arnav has given her permission.

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