Friday, 9 March 2018

part 3 : Aradhana - Anmol Bandhan

Satyavati Devi took care of her niece, Misthy and nephews Arman and Atul when their parents died in three years apart. Arman was 20, Atul was 18 and Misthy was 15 when they were completely taken into Satyavati Devi's care.  She was a spinster and ran an orphanage in Pune.

Anjali and Rahul were batch mates and Arman was two years senior when they both met in Sanjeevani, in Mumbai suburb. Arman was always a tough subordinate to Dr.Shashank Gupta who always had differences of opinion in each and every matter. Arman warned Rahul from the beginning to stay away from Anjali when he noticed his interest in Anjali who was arrogant, aggressive, pride, and irrespective to subordinates like her father. Rahul was blindly fallen in love with Anjali. He never took her callous behavior towards him was her arrogance but self-confidence.

When Atul and Anjali were in the middle of residency they confessed their love to each other. Dr.Shashank tried to restrict Anjali from meeting Atul but she was as adamant as her father when it came to her own self. Atul officially hid his love affair from Misthy and bua. Though Arman already knew the feelings between them, he didn't expect them to marry in the middle of the academic year.

 Suddenly one day Atul declared his marriage with Anjali. Anjali insisted not to go for lavish wedding but a lavish honeymoon in Switzerland and other European countries for ten days. 'Tumhara dimaak kharab huva hai kya? When did you marry her? Humsey kehney ki aur humey bataney ki koyi jaroorat nahin samjha?' Arman was shocked to hear sudden decision of Atul about his marriage with Anjali.

Satyavati Devi shocked on Atul's decision to settle in Gupta's house after marriage 'ghar jamai? Yeh kaisa bhut sawar huva tumhara sur pur? Kya yahan humara saat rehney ki Anjali ne mana kardiya? Kabhi Misthy ki barein mein kuch socha?'

'Usey Misthy ki khayal rakhney ki koyi jaroorat nahin hai, Bua! Let him live like parasite in his sasur's house. Yeh uska layak hi hai. Main kuch mithaiya leker aata hoon iska 'vidaii' ka bandobast bhi kardena.' Arman sarcastically taunted Atul.

Atul was silent throughout their taunts. Misthy walked to Atul 'bhai! Yeh shadi se humey koyi problem nahin hai. We wish you and Anjali happy married life. Magar honeymoon ke baad aap donon yahin pur reh sakte hai na? Tum wahan jaaney ki kya jaroorat thi?' Misthy couldn't believe Atul agreed for staying in in-laws house along with Anjali.

After couple of hours of taunts, warnings, curses Atul left home with his belongings. Bua sighed and left Pune after two days when Arman and Misthy resumed normal life.

Dr.Shashank threw lavish party on return of Anjali and Atul from honeymoon.

'Arman! Tum donon aur bua reception pur jaroor ayiyega. It's my humble request. Maanta hoon main tumhey bina bataye shadi karliya. Please mujhey maaf kardo. Mera darr tha ki main kahin Anjali ko kho doon. You know Dr.Shashank kiss tarah ka aadmi hai. But Anjali bhi mujhse utna hi pyar karti hai jitna main uss sey karta hoon.' Atul formally invited his family for reception.

Arman twisted his eyebrows, 'tumhara shadi humara  bagair hi hogaya tha. Abb reception bhi tuhi sambhalo. Why do you need us? Tumhara sasur ka toh itna tameez bhi nahin hai ki tumhara pariwar ko personally invite karney ki. It proves how much respect you are getting in that house.'

Atul faintly smiled 'aisi baat nahin hai, Arman! After all he is our boss. Kuch toh ego hoga na.' He tried to defend his father-in-law.

Arman shook his head unbelievingly and Misthy convinced Arman to attend the reception for Atul. She didn't want Atul to be left alone in the reception.

Arman wore black formal suit on Misthy's demand. Misthy wore green Punjabi suit with matching jewelry and Satyavati Devi wore her usual white Bengali tussar with handprint on it.  Three of them went a few minutes earlier to the reception time. 'Yeh kya hai, Arman! Yahan koyi nazar nahin aaraha hai. Hum sahi jagah sahi waqt per toh aye thay na?' Misthy and Satyavati Devi expressed their doubts.

Arman shook his head and checked all over for Atul and others. No one was there to appreciate their dress-up nor warmly received them. They walked over to the reception hall through corridor as the waiters guided them to.

'OHho Naani! Jaldi karo na. Sab log aachukey hai. I'm not yet ready to receive anyone.'

Arman turned as the sweet voice caressed his ears when his body was caressed by scented chunni and ran away within a blink of eye. Her sweet fragrance tickled him and ran a sweet tremble through spine as he got goosebumps all over the body.

'Ridhima! Ek minute ruk jao. Yeh juice toh peekar jao. Subah se kuch bhi khaya nahin. Aatey hi kaam per lagi huva hai.' one old lady pampered the beautiful lady from behind and gave a warm smile to these three strangers as passed over by them.

'Nahin, Naani! I'm already late. Papa gussa hongey. Anjali bhi naraz hojayegi.' Ridhima turned back and smiled at Naani and disappeared into the reception hall.

Arman tried to correlate the relationship between Ridhima, Naani and Shashank Gupta as he never came across of these two women. 'Is she another daughter of Dr. Shashank Gupta? Anjali's friend? Koyi ho mujhey kya lagti hai? I need to worry about Atul and his wife now.'

Misthy and Satyavati interrupted his thoughts and took him into the reception hall.

Atul and Anjali were just taken to the podium when few important guests already gathered into the center hall. Atul's face lit up when he saw his family entered the hall. He walked forward to warmly receive them. All of sudden Dr.Shashank came from nowhere to take away Atul with him to introduce to someone more important to him. Anjali smiled at Arman as they walked to her to greet. She smiled and showed their other colleagues in a corner of the hall. Arman took Misthy and Satyavati Devi there and introduced to everyone. Everyone was congratulated them for the marriage and blamed Arman for not informing them before marriage. Dr.Shashank treated Arman, Misthy and Satyavati Devi as his other guests and didn't bother about introducing to his near relatives. He pretended busy with his close friends and relatives. Couple of times Atul tried to reach his family but Dr. Shashank took him away on purpose to meet his friends and family. Arman wanted to go back home immediately but Misthy insisted to stay for sake of Atul's prestige. 'Prestige! My foot! Yeh koyi tareeka hai shadi karney ka?  Humey yahan insult karney ke liye bulaya gaya hai.'Arman sulked for the ignorance from Atul's in-laws. He couldn't even enjoy the beautiful lady who caressed his feelings in the corridor.

All the three finished their dinner and left the reception without informing anyone there. Atul kept distance from home as afraid of Arman's anger on him about his marriage. Misthy and Arman occasionally visited Satyavati after they had moved to this new apartment in Chembore west, Mumbai.

Arman remembered the beautiful girl for few days and buried her image as his daily routine took over his thoughts. Ridhima's sudden appearance caressed back the past memories but confirmed only when Misthy talked about Ridhima and her naani at the dinner table.


'Mama! Are you sure, maama ji humey aadar karengey?' Dilip asked nth time about Ram Narayan Sarma's reception.  Devyani took her son and daughter-in-law for the first time to her village after 25years since she left the house with her husband.

All of them headed to the village in a taxi from nearby town after an overnight train journey from Hyderabad. She was also not sure about her brother's reception and hoping everything fruitful. She got an invitation card from her maternal uncle, her brother's father-in-law and Nalini Devi's father for Surya's 5 day traditional wedding and Nalini Devi's auspicious puja 'Laksha Vottula Nomu' (one lakh deep Jyoti's Puja supposed to be three day long puja with fasting for both couple, continuous lit of lamps). He wanted to build the bridge between two siblings before his last stages of life.

'Mama! Agar maamaji humey aadar karey na karey mujhey toh yeh gaon bahut pyara lag raha hai. I loved this atmosphere.' Naina became a little girl in admiring the early mist of that rainy day in the village. Dilip laughed and affectionately turned his head at her from front seat, 'lagta hai tumhara aaney wala bacha iss gaon se lagaon rakhney wala hai.'

Devyani's heart skipped at his words and plotted her dreams in binding relations with her brother's family in future 'khaash aisa hi ho!!'.

'Mujhey bhi iss gaon se pyar hai' 5year old Kartik yelled from window seat as admired at the village atmosphere. 'Yoooooh! Yuck!! Dadi! Look!' Kartik was wondered to see cow dung everywhere, other small animals freely roaming on the road, some elders and small children defecating on the side of roads.  Devyani laughed and pinched his cheeks and explained about the village life.

Kartik and Naina enjoyed the journey despite of their tiresome journey for two days from Mumbai through the village. Devyani navigated the driver to her brother's house. Many of the villagers ran along with the car before Khannas hauled in front of Sarma's house. Naina was surprised at their curiosity about the strangers as if they never saw a car entered the village before.

Kartik and Naina wondered at the wedding decorations of the house. 'Mom! Yeh Surya maama ki shadi hai na?' Naina nodded and admired at the beauty and royalty of the house. It was a big brick roof ranch house with big round pillars and vast ground in front of the house. Thatch spread as shamiyana with mango and flower garlands hung around the ceilings of thatch shamiyana. Some women workers were working on rangolis over ground, while men workers were spreading thatch carpet on other side.

The workers stared at the new guests and whispered among them 'yeh pundit ji ki behen hai; Devyani didi hai; Itni salon ke baad yahan wapas aayi hai?'

Devyani felt discomfort at their whispers and walked towards the entrance of the main house. A young man in his new silk dhoti and white cotton kurta walked towards them 'kaun? Aap'?' he hesitatingly stopped at Devyani. Devyani guessed he was Surya and smiled. The young man bent immediately and touched her feet 'BUA!! AAP! Mein Surya hoon. Mujhey yakien hi nahin horaha.'

Devyani lifted him by shoulders and hugged 'haan, mein bua hi hoon. Shadi ki Mubarak ho.'

Surya wiped his tears with one hand and Devyani's with other. 'Babuji toh aapki bahut yaad karta hai.'

A newlywed bride in her white with red border cotton sari in Maharastrian kacha style came towards them and bent to touch Devyani's feet. 'Yeh meri nayi dulhan, Gayatri hai, Bua! Humara Sastry Maama ki beti,' he introduced his newlywed wife as his distant relative. Devyani pleased to know the relation with the bride and blessed her.

Meanwhile Nalini Devi was informed about Devyani's arrival 'amma ji! Aap ki nanand ayi hai apni bachon ke saat.' Nalini was surprised for her sudden visit and ran towards them. Nalini Devi shocked to see Devyani in white sari without sindoor at forehead. She covered her mouth to suppress her pain 'Devyani! Tum yahan? Kya yeh such hai? Mein such much tumhey yahan dekh rahi hoon? Yeh kya hogaya hai tumhari saat?' she hugged her and sobbed at her widow ship. Devyani also cried out her suppressed pain since past years 'abb Raj nahin raha, Bhabhi! Dus saal pehla guzarchuka tha.' Nalini Devi composed herself immediately and welcomed them inside the house. She ordered her distant relative to bring kumkum water to take off 'disthi' for all the four.

Kartik watched everything with his widened eyes. Nalini Devi carried him and kissed his cheeks 'kya naam hai tumhara?' Kartik replied with shy. She congratulated Naina for her 6th month pregnancy. Devyani informed that she was expecting with a boy again.

Raj passed away when Dilip was in his high school. Devyani joined as a carnatic music teacher and Sanskrit tutor. She taught dance to kids in neighborhood. Dilip finished his graduation in Engineering and took up a job in renowned company at his 22years of age.  After two years, he married Naina who was his immediate boss' daughter.

While they were exchanging each other welfare and past, Ram Narayan Sarma entered the house. 'Amma! Babuji agaya hai.' Surya informed secretly to Nalini Devi. She was startled and alerted everyone to face her husband. Ram Narayan Sarma shocked to see Devyani as soon as he entered the house after washing his feet outside.

'Anna!' Devyani emotionally stepped towards him. Ram Narayan stopped her by lifting his right hand at her and looked seriously at Nalini, 'Yeh yahan kaise?' He asked with his heavy baritone. Nalini Devi lowered her head and stepped back the door by covering her shoulders with pallu respectfully. Surya exchanged looks at both siblings. Dilip and Naina exchanged looks with similar expressions. Devyani voice chocked, 'Anna!!'

An old man walked forward to break the silence 'mainey bulaya hai, Rama!'

Ram Narayan seriously looked at him 'mere anugya ke bagair issey bulaney ki anumati kisney diya hai, Maama!' He questioned his maternal uncle-cum-father-in-law.

Devyani lowered her head to stop her tears at the corners of eyes. Naina wondered at the question and looked at Dilip as many questions were popping in her mind. The old man tried to console Ram Narayan 'abb iss waqt aisi behas mut karo, Rama! Yeh apni khoon hai. Iss ghar ki lakshmi hai. Issey apmaan mut karo.'

Ram Narayan groaned in anger 'lakshmi? Yeh jab iss ghar chodiya tha tab hi humara lakshmi chali gayi thi, Maama! Abb Yeh Lakshmi nahin rahi. Dekha iski maang? Suna pada hai. Meri Aagna ki bagair shadi karkey chali gayi thi. Aur aaj kiss muh se yahan aayi thi. Aapney bulaliya aur yeh aisi chali aayi? Kiss muh se?' His each word hurt everyone there like thorns.

Devyani silently started sobbing as covered her mouth with her sari ends. Dilip and Naina put arms around her shoulders to console her.

The old man tried to handle the situation, 'Rama! Wo jo bhi ho iss ghar ki beti hai. Apmaan karke iski aasoon yahan naahi bahaney do. Ye iss ghar ki bhalai ke liye acha nahin hoga. Mainey toh Nalini ki puja ki nyoonta diya tha. Wo puja tak yahin rukegi.'

Ram Narayan paused at his elderly authoritative decision. He glared at Nalini 'in logon ka rehney ka prabandh pados wali ghar mein karna.'

The old man stroked his moustache after Ram Narayan left with a victorious grin. 'Nalini! In logon ki rehney ki prabandh mein karta hoon tum apna pati ko sambhalo.' He ordered his daughter to take care of his adament son-in-law.

He took Devyani and her family to nearby house for their stay after Nalini and Surya apologies. Naina didn't like the hospitality paid by Ram Narayan Sarma though they all expected it. Dilip defended 'hum sabko maloom hai ki maama ji conservative hai. aur issi wajah se mama aaj tak iss gaon aur iss ghar ki tarah aankh utha kar bhi nahin dekhi thi. Aaj dada ji ki wajah se hum yahan aye they yeh soch ke ki sab theek hojayengey. We would have thought that the invitation didn't come from maama ji.'

Devyani was silent and left decision to her children about stay back. Surya and Gayatri came after couple of hours with plenty of gifts and food 'bua! Yeh sab aapke liye amma ne bheja hai. Aap inkar mut keejiye. Babuji ki taraf se hum sharminda hai. Aap humare liye aur amma ke liye babuji ko maaf kardijiye.'

Devyani offended 'aisa mut kaho, Surya! Galati toh meiney ki thi. Anna ki dil dhukaya mainey. Iski punishment toh mujhey bhugatna hi chahiye. Yahan tak aaney ki mauka toh mili hai, wahin mere liye bahut hai. Barson ke baad anna aur bhabhi dekhpaayi.'

Naina took Gayatri's hands and presented a gift 'yeh humara taraf se tumhari shadi ki gift. Humey maaf kardo agar hum iss kushi ki samay mein apke waqt barbaad kardiya.' Gayatri affectionately warned Naina 'nahin bhabhi! Aisi baat nahin hai. Aap aaye, Amma ko bahut kushi lagi. Wo bua ko kayi dinon se bahut yaad kar rahi thi. Aap puja antim tak ruk kar humey aashirwaad dijiye.'

Devyani, Dilip and Naina praised Surya and Gayatri as made for each other. They all got ready and left for lunch around noon. All village residents took seats in front of banana leaves in the front yard under thatch shamiyana. Surya took Devyani and others inside. They were about to take seats besides other relatives.

Ram Narayan came and yelled angrily at Nalini and Surya 'yeh log humare saat kaise bhojan kar sakte hai? Pata nahin hum brahmanon ke sung hi khana khate hai?'

Devyani was shocked at his anger and closed her eyes to stop the tears from rolling down. Naina and Dilip stood up from the seats as felt insulted. Ram Narayan's father-in-law again came in between to console Ram Narayan but he was adamant this time too. Dilip took Devyani, Naina and Kartik to the guest house where they were given accommodation without having lunch.

Surya ran behind them to stop them but Ram Narayan ordered him to stay at the place. Surya couldn't go against him. Nalini cried with folded hands to forgive Devyani 'wo iss ghar ki beti hai. Aise apmaan karkey mut bhejiye. Jo huva usse bhul maankar maaf kardijiye. Uski bahu peth se hai. Ussey apman karna paap hai. Iss puja ki samay ussey yeh dukh mut deejiyega.'

Ram Narayan Sarma was adamant on his decision 'jab wo iss ghar chodkar mere khilaf gayi thi tab apmaan kiska huva tha? Iss ghar ki maryada ki parwah ussey nahin hai toh hum kyon uski parwah karey?'

Gayatri's father sent food for Khannas and requested Khannas with apologies. Khannas left the place in couple of hours despite the secret messages from Surya and Nalini.

Since then Devyani never stepped into the village. Devyani's maama kept in touch with Devyani for one year though Dilip and Naina didn't encourage the contacts.

Within a year of this incident Devyani's maama died and Khannas lost touch with Sarmas. Nalini Devi died five years after Kripa was born. She craved reunion till her last breathe. Devyani was not informed about this death either. Ram Narayan lived for ten more years and passed away when Kripa was in high school. He missed his sister a lot in his last days but his ego didn't allowed him to admit it.

Fascination on city life and loss in agricultural produce made Surya to move to Hyderabad after disposing off all his property back in the village. Kripa's passion on studies strengthened his decision.

Next part: How Khanna children and Kripa react after knowing the past? Does Misthy get into action to bring AR together? who will help her?


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