Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 21: Match Fixing

on May 16, 2013

The phone rang at Gomti Nivas in Lucknow. Garima wondered who was calling. Jiji usually called only if there was anything important to share. The girls will be at work. Shashi Babu worked in the stall adjacent to the house.

“Hello!” said Garima tentatively.

“Namaste Garima ji” a warm, cultured voice sounded at the other end.

“My name is Devayani Raizada. I am calling to speak to you about a rishta for your daughter Payal.”

Garima was caught unawares. She swallowed not knowing what to say next. Where was her husband when she needed his support.

“Namaste Nani ji. Rishta for Payal bitiya?”

Nani realized that Payal and Khushi had not said anything to their parents so she smiled and started from the beginning.

“Garima ji. I would like to ask the hand of your daughter Payal in marriage for my grandson Akash. Akash bitwa works with Arnav and is a quiet, sensible man. He likes Payal and asked me to ask her hand in marriage.”

Garima felt a mix of happiness and apprehension flood her being. The Raizadas were high society. From what little Khushi had mentioned of her time working with them, Akash ji’s mother Manorama ji seemed to be very class conscious. Would Payal be happy being her bahu?”

Questions swirled through Garima’s head as she realized Nani waited for her answer.

“Nani ji. We are honored to know you consider Payal bitiya worthy of being a Raizada bahu. Let me talk to my daughter and her father before proceeding further.”

Nani smiled. She was a stickler for protocol and felt happy at the way things were shaping up.

“Thank you Garima ji. We will wait to hear from you.”

Garima stood with the phone in her ear long after Nani ji had hung up. Was this for real?

“Payal’s dad, are you listening?” she asked watching her husband’s face light up at the news of a rishta from the Raizadas for Payal.

Shashi babu nodded his head. Tears filled his eyes and spoke volumes where his voice could not. He indicated that they should speak to Payal and then proceed.

Bua heard the phone ring. Washing her hands and turning the stove down, she walked to the living room to pick the phone. Who would call at this hour?

“Jiji. We have a ristha for Payal from the Raizadas.”

It took a lot to stun Madhumathi ji. Today was one such occasion that she stood spellbound, words refusing to emerge from her mouth.

Evening saw Payal and Khushi on the phone with their mom and plenty of tears and excited shrieks later, Garima called Nani ji to give the green light.

happytimes

“We will come home with the shagun next Friday” Nani ji said as Akash, Anjali and the rest of the Raizada family stood around her.

Arnav slipped back to his room in the happy melee that followed. Closing the door, he stood by the window. Khushi had been on the periphery of his thoughts before, intruding when he least expected it. The past year had given him plenty of opportunities to revisit his every interaction with her and he realized there was a long walk to redemption ahead. With the two families being bound by a relationship he could not put if off any longer. He held a single pearl in his hand. Shameful memories of a torn dori and pearls scattering to the floor flashed before his eyes.

arnavpearl

Khushi.

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