LANGAR

Most of us have visited Gurudwara. What have we noticed about Gurudwara the most. For me, first is to cover all my hairs properly when inside the Gurudwara premises and other is Langar (also known as community kitchen). Fortunately, I have been to Golden Temple, Amritsar last month. I was very much keen langar zarur chakhna. I had that community meal with my family. It was really a great experience. It was not just a meal, it provoked my mind to think about it. What are the hidden teachings from this community meal?… Is it only for needy?…. Where did it start in Sikhism?…..Is it limited to only Sikhism ?…. Whats the real idea behind Langar or community meal?….. What I can teach my kids on this, so that my kids do gain some important knowledge that help in their development ? …and many more such questions did arise in my mind.

Langar is a punjabi term and is used in Sikhism for the community kitchen in Gurudwaras for free meals to all those who visit Gurudwara. It is offered to all irrespective of their religious belief, caste, ethnicity, gender, age, economic and social status. But the way of feeding is not like buffet services. The people sit together on floor on mats and then they are served the food which also includes sweets. In a way, its a complete meal for anyone and the services run throughout the day. Isn’t this amazing. So much dedication, determination and devotion on the parts of devotees who serve in Gurudwaras. And believe me, the work is so much coordinated that there is no mess created, every thing runs so smoothly. After every batch, there is cleaning of the floor, before next group.

While I was sitting with my family, my kids, I was very particular that they take food in quantity that they can finish. I know their capacity, so I took extra care. I myself took very little prasad, because I was aware that my kids will leave something , that I will have to finish. And it really happened. One of them left dal and roti and one of them left jalebi and kheer. Later we took our plates and then there was a way out from the hall. When I sat in Langar, my mind was on work. Many questions did arise.

First, Is it only a free meal? No, actually its not only a free meal, but its much more than it. When you sit together with people, whom you don’t even know, for a meal….Its of great significance. You sit with unknown and feed the same thing that they are eating. It signifies that you are no different from them. Your origin, caste, education, ethnicity, social and economic status does not matter. We are all one. We have same basic need of food and that when food does not discriminate among us, why should we? What I could understand was that the basic idea of Langar is to bring people together. It gives a message that when we all people can sit together for a meal, why we discriminate us on the basis of Religion, caste, socioeconomic status. These discrimination prevailing in society are baseless.

Going back in history, these charitable or voluntary run community kitchen are mentioned in Indian history at different places. Community kitchen is mentioned in Buddhism as well as Hindu religion also. The basic concept was same. The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim I Ching (7th-century ) wrote about monasteries with such volunteer run kitchens. Similarly, Hindu temples of the Gupta Empire era had attached kitchen and almshouse called Dharma-shala or Dharma-sattra to feed the travelers and poor for free, or whatever donation they may leave. Dharamshalas are now also present in almost all cities in India. But this culture of community kitchen is now not well preserved. It is very meticulously and with dedication continued and developed in Sikhism. This idea needs appreciation. This idea in Sikhism originated with the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. When he used to spread the message to his followers, his wife Mata Sulakhani used to cook meal for all those who are coming to hear her husbands teachings. When I think , I really appreciate her , as being a woman, I know how difficult it is to cook meal for so many people, that too single handedly in those times, when there was no electricity or appliances like we have now a days. She was really a great lady and her idea of bringing people close to each other through this community meal is undoubtedly appreciable.

I taught my kids that they should never discriminate among people when they grow up and this sense needs to be inculcated when they are developing. Always take the opportunity to help the needy. We are all humans, some are more privileged, some are less. Its our duty to help those who need it and that too in time. The privileged section of society should always take care of the weaker section, as a mother takes more care of her child who is weak in any respect. For example, I take care of my child more when my child is ill. As a doctor, I give more attention to the patient who needs more care. Similarly we all are children of God and we also must ensure that the needy is taken care of. What ever work we are engaged as a person in society, during our duties also we should ensure that our services are reaching to the person who need them the most.

Golden Temple Langar is the world’s largest community kitchen. It serves approximately 50,000 people a day! on holidays, and on special days the number goes upto 1,00,000 a day!! There are two floors with two halls for smooth functioning.Whats more amazing is that 90% of working team members are volunteers and called as sewadars. Some people vounteer for hours some for days. The kitchen receives donation too. Just imagine the amount of raw material used for cooking this much amount of meal daily. One devotee from Lebanon also donated a Roti making machine, which can make around 25,000 rotis an hour. Almost 7 quintals of milk is used daily.

Hygiene is of utmost importance. The used plates are handed over to another set of volunteers, who wash them. Do you know how? The used utensils are washed 5 times before next use. I was awstruk to know this. Then I realised why, uptill now, we never came across any news that some one got ill after taking a community meal there. Its just an out standing example of management.

The Sikh community kitchens not only provide free meals to all in their premises, but they also extend their services to disaster hit areas, be it Nepal earthquake, be it Kerala floods. They not only send food packets for the needy, but also send the volunterrs, who reach the affected areas and serve meals to the needy freshly cooked.

According to Guru Nanak Dev Ji , the founder of the Sikh religion, sharing one’s time and wealth with those in need is the best possible action. Please note, that before sharing one’s wealth, sharing one’s time is mentioned. Understanding this basic idea of Guru Nanak Dev Ji we can understand why Sikhs volunteer as Sewadars in community Kitchen. How important is this, that wealth can not do more than one’s own involvement to the service of mankind and wealth can only be utilised at its best only when people come forward and donate their valuable time for the needy.

The vision behind much of this food relief lies in the spirit of selfless service. The offering of food to all as a central tenet of the Sikh tradition has meant that Sikhs are often the go-to community for food relief. Indeed Sikhs are able to use langar as a practical demonstration of the values promoted by the Sikh gurus rather than simply talking about their beliefs. Whenever there is a natural calamity, Sikhs extend their help in the form of meals and we all know, that food is a basic requirement and they try to meet this basic requirement of people irrespective of their religion or origin in the worst of time they are facing. I thanked God that I got the opportunity to be present in this world’s largest community Kitchen , which also made me think all this and thats why I tried to share with you all.

Lets all of us get united in all our working fields that we will not discriminate and provide our services with same devotion and responsibility to each and every section of the society.

Festivals Euphoria :Bhaiya Duj

Bhai Dooj, Bhaibeej, Bhai Teeka is a festival celebrated on 2nd lunar day of shukla paksha of Kartik month. In other words, which are easy to remember, on 2nd day after Diwali. It is celebrated to strengthen the brother sister bond. Rakshabandhan is also a festival celebrated for same. But there is a difference , Rakshabandhan is celebrated by unmarried girls too, but BHAI DOOJ gains importance only after sister is married, as per customs in western Uttar Pradesh, it may differ in other parts of nation. Another difference you will read in the later part of blog.

This festival is of immense significance in life of a woman as she prays for long life of her brother. But this is not glamorized in Bollywood because it does not involve the romantic bond of a couple as Karwachauth holds. It is also not marketed and popularized like Rakshabandhan, because there is no accessory used in it like Rakhi. Its very simple, on this day the brother visits his sister’s house. The sister keeps a fast till she does Tika of her brother. This fast is only to make her brother realize that his sister has not taken anything by mouth and is waiting for you. So, he leaves early in the morning for his sisters house. Brother takes kothli for his sister, which can be anything from Rs 100 to what ever he wants to give with love. Sister does Tika of her brother and handover dry coconut , gola, to him. She also gives anything in return, like gift or sweets or money which are meant for the children of her brother.

Mythology:

According to Hindu mythology, Bhai Duj is celebrated because of the significance of the slaying of Narkasur demon. It is said that Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who welcomed him and applied Tika on his forehead. People say from that time celebrating this festival came into existence.

There is another story which says that this day is celebrated for the legend Lord Yama. The God of Death visited his sister Yami and she did put tika on his forehead. This mark signifies that her brother will always be there to protect her and his sister will always be there to pray for him. It is also said that Yama promised that anyone who has Tika on his forehead on this day will not be harmed by him. So in other words, a woman performs this for long life of her brother.

Now a days, this festival is also being materialized. Many people find it a status symbol regarding what gifts are being exchanged. When the price tag of gifts are more significant, then the real idea behind this festival loses its significance. We should introspect ourselves and be focused to only strengthen the brother sister bond. In olden days, it was a way that brother visits the sister’s in laws place to have a look that his sister is fine there. Those days, there were no telephones and postal system was also not well developed, so visiting her on festivals was the only way to know her wellness.

We can assume that Rakshabandhan is for protection of sister by brother and Bhai duj is for prayer of a sister for long life of her brother. The thing that surprises me is that, why ONLY a woman have to pray and keep fast for her brother, or husband or children. May be because in olden times, she was dependent on these three relations in her life. Or may be women are more emotionally attached and that’s why they always cared for those whom she loved. I feel the first one as the main reason , their dependency issue.

Now, another issue is that most women are earning so they want to give gifts in return for their niece and nephews, just as a token of respect that she has towards her parents who supported them since childhood and helped them to achieve their goals. This is sometimes also not acceptable by some families, making the woman feel that she belongs to no where. Her parents too refuse gifts from her, as if she is no body to them after she is married.

Another thing that surprises is, a woman will keeping fast and praying for long life of her brother and children are not glamorized in Bollywood. But the bond of husband wife and the efforts made by a wife for long life of husband is highlighted more in the society. May be because husband wife relation is considered to be a responsibility by many. So whatever efforts they make are highlighted from both sides. Its like ‘see I am fasting for your long life…I am doing something special for you’ . But blood relations like brother sister or mother children, every effort is actually effortless.

I really wonder why it is so, that a blood bond is swift, there is inbuilt trust and respect. But many a times its not so with legal bond. In fact, in a legal bond you come closer , there is intimacy too , a woman is leaving her birth place to live with another person, whom she doesn’t know even, as in arranged marriages, but it lacks trust and respect. It takes a lot of time to gain that trust and respect, sometimes even the whole life. This feeling of dissociation is actually bilateral, but as woman is new in the environment, its more stressful for her. Let us raise our kids in a way that they accept the legal bond in same spirit as blood bond. It will make their lives easier and happier. Let us not glamorize any relation or ritual attached with it. Lets keep the idea behind all festivals alive in modern society too. Happy festivals to all.

Festival Euphoria

We all love festivals. They make life colourful. Add charm to our living. When I was a kid, I was very much inclined towards festivals because of the delicious food, the holiday attached to it, and also various celebrations that are peculiar to different festivals. Like lights and diya decorations and crackers in Diwali. Playing with water and colours in Holi. Rakhi in Rakshabandhan… And so on.

Associated holiday from school was also one of the reason. But when I was doing my post graduation in obstetrics and Gynaecology, we had duties irrespective of Sunday, or any holiday, be it Diwali, Holi or Republic day or Independence day. That was the time, Festivals startet loosing their charm in my life. Work became more priority.

I used to miss being with family on these days. But because of responsibility, I had no other choice but to be at hospital and provide my services. That was the time, how big a responsibility of being a doctor. Illness does not see the time. I also realised how all those people use to feel, who are in emergency services like Army, Police etc.

Now, that euphoria of festivals developed again, only because of my kids.. Because they are in stage, when I used to enjoy all festivals with full enthusiasm. When I see them, waiting for Diwali or any other festival. They count days to go… And on that particular day, they wake up by themselves and first thing to do is wish me the festive day.

Euphoria began again… As soon as Diwali is gone, they start thinking about Holi and so on. Whenever I see a Men or Women in uniform, specially on a holiday performing their duties, my respect for the profession is multiplied. Emergency service providers should get respect and special treatment at the hands of general public. They work when we enjoy with our family.

Always discuss about the festival, the story related to it. Tell the kids about their base. Teach them the hidden message every festival brings with it, not just celebrations, but also teachings that will help them evolve as good and responsible adults and future citizens. Citizens who want to perform their duties, before claiming their Rights.

Like on Diwali, tell them about the character of Lord Ram. How great administrator he was!! How he respected his parents and was a symbol of brotherhood!! How he never discriminated among people!! How great a warrior he was, that too with principles!! There are so many other qualities too… Tell them to adopt these qualities. Tell them the importance of being a good person first.

The associated Euphoria with the festivals will never end, but we must teach our kids about the real message these festivals bring in our life, again and again, year after year.

#14 Madhumita: Conclusion With A Beginning

Madhumita called her mother ‘ hi mummy’

‘hi Madhu, how are the preparations going on’

‘fine. Mummy when are you people going to panditji’

‘today beta’

‘mummy what if kundli doesn’t match’

‘we will search for another one’

‘what if it matches’

‘your father will go and meet his parents for further decision. Why are you asking all this?’

‘Mummy what if I want to marry him irrespective of all odds’

‘your father will go with your decision’

‘Mummy what if I want to marry a man of another community but earning more than me? ‘

‘Do you love someone?…. You should have told us before’

‘no, just asking’

‘Earlier it would have been a problem, but now, your father will stand with you in all your decisions’

‘are you sure mummy?’

‘yes… He will not be that happy, but he will allow you for your happiness’

‘ok mummy. Bye’

‘atleast tell me what happened’

‘nothing’ Madhu disconnected the call.

After disconnecting the call, her argument with self started. ‘so you are thinking about marrying Mohit?’

‘I just asked mummy… Nothing else’

‘you even giving thought to Aarav’s proposal’

‘what’s wrong in thinking about all possibilities’

‘Are you mad?… Aarav was never an option’

‘I am just thinking about everything…..Actually I am really confused… I mean never felt this much screwed before…. What do I want…. Even I don’t know…. And please let me think and don’t disturb me….’

Madhumita got ready for work from home. She kept herself locked in the room during day while working.

After having evening tea, she went with Natasha to give measurements for stitching her blouses. On the way, Natasha asked “you could not sleep the whole night”

“No… Nothing such” replied Madhu

“your eyes are telling”

“ohh… Actually yes… I was restless and my mind was wandering…” She replied with a smile and covered her eyes with shades from her bag.

“Why are you so confused?”

“Even I don’t know” smiled back Madhu. She continued “Natasha, what is love actually?”

“I just know that love is an attraction which is stronger that your ego and compells you for commitment”

“Stronger than ego…. Hmm” Madhu was impressed by Natasha’s reply that made her think again.

10 pm

Natasha entered room and Madhu was busy again on mobile, but this time she was on video call. She introduced Natasha and Mohit over call. Then she disconnected the call.

Aarav tried to come closer to Madhu during following days. Madhu was behaving as if there is nothing wrong between she and Aarav. She was friendly in her attitude and many times all of three used to have quality time together discussing their college days, their struggle and success stories as well.

Aarav was becoming very apprehensive as he wanted to know what’s in the mind of Madhumita. Did she forgive him? Will she be back in his life? Will Madhumita accept his love and marry him? But Madhumita was in no mood to talk about these issues. Neither with Aarav, nor with Natasha.

It was Saturday, sangeet ceremony. Everyone was busy for the celebrations. Natasha and Madhumita went to parlour for getting ready. When they were leaving back from parlour, a cab arrived for Madhu.

“Why did you call cab Madhu?” asked Natasha.

“Actually I have some important work, I will leave now and will be there in 2 hours” replied Madhu.

“What?.. Where are you going?” Natasha asked looking and pointing at her “You are dressed in lehanga and all your makeup will be disturbed” she looked worried.

“Don’t worry. I will be there soon. Its really important. Please understand. I can’t tell you now. It will be a surprise for you also” Madhu got seated in cab and left. Natasha kept looking at her for some time and then she also left for the venue.

When Natasha reached the venue alone, Aarav asked “Where is Madhu”

“I don’t know” replied Natasha.

“what, you both went together” asked puzzled Aarav.

“I don’t know. She left from parlour. She said she will come soon” replied Natasha and went inside.

The program started as scheduled. All guests of both sides did arrive. Aarav was trying Madhumita’s mobile, but she was not responding. Aarav was restless amid the fabulous surroundings. Everyone was seen in laughing and enjoying mood except Aarav. He went to Natasha and Vishal and said “she is not responding to my calls, please try her number from your mobile”.

Natasha replied “I am not carrying my mobile and she must be fine, you just calm down.”

Meanwhile Madhu entered the hall, smile prevailed on Aarav’s face but it was only momentary. She was followed by a tall, handsome man wearing white kurta with lucknowi embroidary work and pajama. She moved directly towards stage where Natasha and Vishal were seated. While on her way through the hall, she did hold the hand of that man with her lips taken to corners out of joy.

Madhumita introduced the man to Natasha and Vishal. “Natasha , Vishal…he is Mohit… my friend from Mumbai. He is leaving for Singapore tomorrow midnight. It was a very warm greeting and Madhumita’s face was glowing out of joy. The cheerful Madhumita made Aarav envy. He was looking from other end of hall. As soon as Madhumita left Natasha and Vishal, Aarav came to them. He asked with anger on his face “Who was he?”

“Who?” asked Vishal.

“He is asking about Mohit” interrupted Natasha as she understood Aarav’s interest.

“ohh!!.. Mohit…friend of Madhumita” replied Vishal with smile on his face.

“What friend of Madhu ? ..I mean Boy friend?” Aarav stunned both of them with another question.

“No… She said friend” Vishal replied looking towards Natasha.

“If he is only friend, Why is he here then? ” Aarav was furious.

“She invited him in my wedding” replied Natasha.

“Why did she invite him in your wedding? Ask him to leave immediately” Aarav was now behaving kiddish.

“Are you mad? Why will I ask him to leave. He is my guest as well if he is Madhu’s guest”

“But you dont know who he is? This is a closed family and friends gathering…Ask him to leave immediately” Aarav kept his point.

“No…I know him. I talked to him on video call earlier. He is a reputed doctor, Madhu’s friend. She wanted to give me a surprise thats why she did not tell me earlier that she went to pick him up from airport. In no case I am asking him to leave.” Natasha made herself clear to Aarav.

“Then I will leave your party now..” Aarav was furious.

“Its your wish. I cannot force you to be here. You are mature enough to take your own decisions. ” Natasha now showed her anger and continued “Please do not ruin my mood today. Its a very special occasion of my lifetime… may be it has no significance to you.. but to me and Vishal, its a day to cheer…. Do what ever you want, You are not a kid anymore.”

“Hold on Natasha.. calm down darling..” Vishal held Natasha’s hands and looked in her eyes “You just calm down..let me handle this” . Vishal then looked towards Aarav and put his hand on his left shoulder “Look bro… We will talk about it later. You just enjoy the sangeet ceremony. You have prepared a wonderful dance for us. I will talk to Madhu later…” Aarav realised that he is spoiling the event and nodded and left them saying “sorry Natasha”

“hmm” replied Natasha and after he left the couple , Natsaha said to Vishal “When will he grow up?…. Why he is so impulsive?… Madhu will never say yes to him…” she completed with a sigh.

Vishal said “Leave everything on time”.

Aarav did not leave the function but he remained present halfheartedly . He looked devastated. Aarav did not even perform his dance which he did prepare. He remained seated in a corner and consumed repeated rounds of 100 Pipers. Soon, he was drowsy and Vishal noticed. He made arrangements to shift him to a room in the hotel.

Madhu arranged room in hotel for Mohit. After seeing him off, she left for Natasha’s home. Next day morning , Madhu’s parents reached Natasha’s home. Madhu introduced them to Natasha’s parents. They had breakfast together. Mohit too joined them. Madhu’s parents were happy to meet Mohit, as it was their first meeting. Her mother understood that Madhu has something in her mind, which she wants to tell and thats why she called them and Mohit here. She felt delighted for her daughter because she felt that Mohit is perfect match for her daughter.

At around 11 am Madhu had to leave for some urgent work regarding dress alteration along with Natasha. Soon after they left, Aarav reached home with hangover. In hall, Natasha’s mother introduced him to Madhumita’s parents. Mohit was also sitting there. Aarav went near to Madhu’s parents and touched their feet saying “Aashirwad dijiye mummy and papa“. Madhu’s parents felt awkward hearing mummy and papa from Aarav. Mohit also felt strange. Aarav could recognise their feeling by seeing their faces. He continued “Ohh, you seem surprised. Madhu did not tell you about me?” . Hearing this, Madhu’s mother looked at her father and then towards Mohit. All three were having a big question in their eyes. Aarav continued ” I am Madhu’s boyfriend….since we were in college. We were not just emotionally attached but physically too… I mean we were like two bodies and one soul. I thought that Madhu must have told you about me.” Aarav looked at Mohit after saying all this. But Mohit was now looking in the news paper as is he is very indifferent towards what Aarav is saying.

Madhu’s mother reacted “No beta…. She did never tell us about you, what is your name?”

“Mummy, I am Aarav…. Actually, we had some misunderstanding, but now everything is solved. I am a fashion photographer…. I am among top Indian fashion photographers of India. May be she called you here to tell about me. ” Aarav went to his room upstairs after meeting every one in hall. Everyone dispersed after such a bold revelation by Aarav regarding his and Madhu’s intimate relations.

Madhu came around 2 pm with Natasha. She went to her parents room. Madhu’s father was fiery over her. He said “tell her to leave the room. Why did she call us here? Why she asked to get her horroscope match with Mohit? We always asked her whether she has any boyfriend or not… She called us here and Mohit only to be insulted in front of all”

Madhu could not understand the reason behind her father’s reaction. She looked at her mother… but her eyes were filled with tears and she was not in a state to speak. Madhu again went towards her father and said “baba, please tell me what happened”

“Why did you call Mohit here?” asked her father.

“He is leaving for his further studies tonight and I wanted him to meet you”

“What he will do meeting us? How we will face his parents now? Why you did all this Madhu… Why?”

“baba, what I did? Atleast let me now” Madhu folded her hands in front of him.

“Aarav told us everything”

“What everything?…. What did he say?” asked Madhu

“That he is your boy friend, that too since your graduation days” told her father.

“He is not my boyfriend and he never was. He was only my friend. ” replied Madhu.

“You slept with him Madhu. Now you saying he was only your friend.” Madhumita’s mother did speak with tears in her eyes flowing down her cheeks.

“what? Who told you this?” Now Madhu was loosing control.

“Aarav himself told us. Mohit was also there. Why he will lie to us? ” asked her father.

Madhu was mad out of anger and went directly to Aarav’s room. He was sitting in the chair with laptop. “How dare you?” shouted Madhu while entering the room.

“Hi baby… Come sit” Aarav made arrangements to make her sit and he was very calm.

“just tell me why did you tell my parents that you are my boyfriend” Madhumita’s face was red. “you even told them that we slept together”

“what’s false in it baby” Aarav took her hands in his.

Madhu slapped him. Now her anger crossed the limits. “Do you think I will marry you… Never”

Aarav now was annoyed by listening no from Madhumita’s mouth. He tried to overpower her and grabbed her face and locked his lips on Madhumita’s lips. Madhu pushed him and tried to move towards door. But Aarav came in front of her “If you will not marry me… No worries.. as Mohit will also not marry you after knowing about your past”

Madhu again slapped him. Now, Aarav slapped her back and took her to the bed. She was screaming. Aarav was out of control and was trying to undress her. She was resisting but Aarav was violent and took control over her. He removed her top and started kissing at her neck. Madhu was in tears. Soon Mohit opened the door and came to rescue her.

“Aarav leave her” shouted Mohit.

“You leave from here. She is my girlfriend” replied Aarav.

“No she is not” Mohit replied. Madhu escaped from Aarav and wore her top and went behind Mohit.

“She is mine” Aarav shouted out of rage.

“No. Look at her. She is not a thing which can belong to you. She is a human being. She has her emotions, choices and desires like you have or I have. No one can own her except one. That one person is neither you nor anyone else but she herself. ” replied Mohit.

“Ohh… So you are her latest target” laughed Aarav. Mohit looked with question on his face towards Aarav.

“Yes, her latest target. You don’t know? She is a slut. Do you think I am her only past?” Aarav laughed out of jealousy.

“No I don’t know. I don’t even have a desire to know such things” replied Mohit.

“Before me, Rohit was her target. Then me. When she was fed up with me, she broke up. She only want fu#k. For that she traps different boys. Just ask her what is your number in her queue. She had 2 in college. Do you have any idea, how many in MBA” Aarav looked at Madhu with his red fiery eyes. Madhu had no words to say. She was shaking with fear and her tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Your nonsense talk is not making me angry. In fact I pity on you.” Mohit held Madhumita’s shoulders and left the room. He took her to Natasha’s room. Natasha was unaware about all these. Mohit told her everything that happened in morning uptill now. “Madhu you please don’t cry” Mohit looked into her eyes and held her hands and continued “What others say does not matter to me. What matters to me is you. I trust you. Will always trust you. Everyone have past. But the most important thing in life is that you do not have to live in past. You live in present and move towards your future. I still love you. “

Madhu comforted by Mohit’s words. She felt better. She hugged him tight. Natasha was happy to see both of them together. Natasha interrupted them “Madhu we have to go to parlor in an hour.”

“hmm” replied Madhu. She continued “Mohit’s flight is at 1 am. I have some important work. One hour is sufficient for that. All three went to Madhumita’s parents room. Natasha tried to relieve their anger. Mohit helped Natasha. Madhu brought the kurta and pyjama sent that she bought earlier and gave it to her mother “Mummy please Mohit ko Shagun do

Madhu’s mother was confused. Madhu now handed a platinum ring to her father “papa sagai ki anguthi… Mohit ke liye”

Her parents could not understand what’s happening. Madhu said “I want to marry Mohit. We both love each other”

Madhu’s parents looked at Mohit. He smiled “yes, we both love each other and want to be together for the entire life. I have talked to my parents and they are with my decision”.

Mohit and Madhu exchanged the rings. Madhu’s parents talked to Mohit’s parents and extended warm greetings from either side for this new couple. Then Natasha and Madhumita left for parlour.

On her way to parlour, Madhumita was thinking that she is lucky to have Mohit in her life. She thought that whatever happens, happen for good only. There was a broad smile on her face and she was looking forward towards life…

#13 MADHUMITA: Confusion Or Being Selfish

Madhumita got ready for the meeting in evening. She dressed in bottle green kurta with a beige trouser, paired with beige block heels and pearl earrings. She left her hairs untied. She complimented her look with kajal and Mauve Bliss shade of lip primer.

She reached the venue on time. She looked all around. She did not see any guy who is single and waiting there. She took a table for two and instructed the attendant “I am waiting for someone”.

She took her seat facing away from entry. She was very much nervous regarding her meeting someone who is a stranger that too to decide about marriage ‘what I am doing. I don’t even know him and I am meeting to decide about marriage…Isn’t this bullshit’ She was convincing herself ‘bullshit was that you did in college. Even after knowing those men for months together, you fell prey to their malicious intentions. Now be calm, smile a bit and be ready for this meeting. Every thing will be fine’

She heard a voice “Madhumita”.

It was Mohit’s voice. She turned around and stood up in a jolt. “Hi…Mohit. What are you doing here?”

Mohit seemed confused and raised his shoulders asking ‘why, what happened’

Madhu hurried towards him “I am sorry, I should have told you this before. I am waiting here for someone and I think you should leave”

“What?” Mohit tried to hold her hands.

Madhu immediately withdrew her hands out of discomfort. Her eyes fixed at entry “Look, I am waiting here for a man….. advised by my parents….. for marriage… ” Her gaze down towards her feet. “He can come anytime. I am sorry, I can not go for love marriage” Her eyes moved again towards the entry and her face drenched with sweat. “Please you leave now, I will tell you every thing in detail later” she pleaded.

“Who is he” asked Mohit raising his left eyebrow.

“I don’t know. I don’t even care”

“His name?” Mohit asked again.

“I told na, I don’t know”

“You did not see his pic?”

“No. I don’t want to. My answer is already yes. Its just a formality”

“Why…you don’t want to know whom you are meeting” asked Mohit out of surprise. “How will you recognize him “

“He has my pic and details. He will recognize me, that is enough. He may come any time. Please go. I don’t want any complications. I will call you later, promise”

“Ok. Do call me. And at least have a look at the pic of that lucky guy”

“Ok. After you leave, I will “

Mohit left the restaurant. Madhu felt relieved and sighed and took her seat again. She opened her handbag. Wiped all the sweat from face and did apply some compact and looked in hand mirror. Her mobile rang “Madhu , did you reach” It was her mother.

“Yes mummy”

“Did he come”

“not yet”

“send me the pic how are you looking now”

“Mummy…”

“just send me your selfie and best of luck”

Madhu clicked a selfie and shared with her mother. She turned on her data connection. There were lot of notifications.

She checked her whatsapp. There were many notifications. She opened her fathers chat head. She was awestruck to look the details of boy and his pic. It was none other than Mohit. She stood up and looked back towards the entry. Mohit was not visible. She ran towards the entry to search him outside. Mohit was standing outside, probably waiting for her only. Mohit had a smile on his face. Madhu raised her mobile screen towards him showing his pic. She raised her other hand in air with a gesture of what and a peaceful face. She invited him to come and join her.

Present

Natasha asked “but you said you are single, then what happened”

Madhu smiled and replied “My love life is cursed I guess. May be that is the lacuna of my life”

“Did Mohit slept with you after this and then he denied for marriage?” asked Natasha

“no….He is a good guy. But this time issue was different”

“What else? You said you would marry anyone as per your parents wish. He was your parents selection…… His dad said that if both of you are ready, he is OK. Both of you were ready…. Ab kya ch#ti#apa hua fir” Natasha was looking tense.

Madhu burst into laughter ” He is no longer my parents choice”

“Why?” Natasha was confused.

“Actually his package is less than mine. Earlier my parents thought that he is a doctor. Then they got to know he is earning 1.5 lakh per month. So, according to them, if wife is earning more, marriage will not be successful and they are confused. So most probably, its 90 percent no from their side. Rest 10 percent depends on our horoscope matching. They will go to guruji next week to seek his advice on our horoscope. As far as I know my parents, they want a match earning more than me”

“Mohit knows this?”

“Yes.. he is aware of all the developments. Even his parents have the same concern. Husband should be earning more than wife, otherwise marriage is bound to be broken” sighed Madhu.

“what’s your say on it?” asked Natasha

“I have nothing to say. I am neutral” sighed again and took a cushion to hold.

“If that’s the case, then Aarav is a good option dear” suggested Natasha. She continued “He earns more than you”

“Natasha please” stared Madhu.

“To be honest, if there are so many ifs and buts, you will remain single darling. Because its not easy to find a man of your community…. earning more than you and…. not having a girlfriend ….and waiting for his parents to find you as his partner” laughed Natasha throwing a cushion on Madhu.

“I don’t care. Whenever my marriage is destined, it will happen” replied Madhumita with a sigh and they both went to sleep.

Next morning

Aarav came to their room with coffee for all three.

“Good morning lovely ladies, coffee for you” he greeted them.

“Good morning Aarav. Why did you bring coffee” asked Natasha.

“I wanted to have it with you two to make my morning special” replied Aarav with a smile. Natasha laughed “really, or its because of Madhu”. They had coffee together. They decided for their days plan. It was again a shopping day, apparels for Aarav, for which Vishal would also join. Then accessories for girls.

After breakfast, they got ready. Vishal came at around 11 am in morning to pick them up. Vishal and Natasha took the front seats. Madhu and Aarav had to take back seats.

They reached the Mall. They went first to Men’s Showroom. Vishal looked for Sherwani and all 3 helped him to select one. Now, Aarav was looking for his suit. Natasha said “You also go for Sherwani Aarav”. He looked confused. “No, It will be too heavy, what do you say Madhu”

“I think you should go for kurta types ” Madhu looked at the section having traditional attires .

“yaa, I also think so. Dhoti Kurta” Aarav was excited to hear that Madhu has an opinion for him.

They went to the section. On the way Madhu whispered in Natasha’s ears “I was saying for Kurta pyjama and jacket, not Dhoti Kurta”

Natasha replied “That means you care for him” and smiled. Madhu looked at Natasha with anger on her face “Don’t push everything in one direction”

Aarav tried some Dhoti Kurta sets , but no one approved. Then Natasha suggested “why don’t you try kurta with pyjama and jackets”

“really… Do you think so?” replied Aarav as he wanted to buy Dhoti Kurta considering it as choice of Madhu.

Natasha looked at Madhu “what do you suggest Madhu?”

“Yaa, he can give it a try” Madhu replied with an ignorant attitude.

“Ohh !! Sure why not?” Aarav now was focused on that section.

“Madhu why don’t you help him in selection ” suggested Natasha ” He is waiting to buy your choice” Natasha and Vishal laughed.

Madhu short listed few sets and Aarav tried them. Finally two sets were selected. One for sangeet and one for marriage ceremony. Madhu also bought one more set. It was Maroon colored silk kurta with Maroon Pyjama and Off White jacket. Aarav was happy as he thought that he is the one for whom Madhu did buy.

Vishal suggested “Its Sunday today, Natasha what about the last movie date before getting married”

Natasha “Yaa , sure. But I don’t want a group. It should look like a date” winked Natasha

“What do you mean” asked Aarav.

“You want Madhu as your life partner, but you are so dumb. I doubt she will say yes to you” Natasha whispered to Aarav.

“Did not you notice, she bought kurta set for me” Aarav did sound excited.

“you are really a dumb. Seriously you did not deserve her” Natasha replied “It was not for you”

“What do you mean? ….It was not of Vishal’s size. Yes I admit I am not as smart as she is. That’s why I want her…She will take care of me” Aarav shied.

Meanwhile, Vishal came with tickets. “Look Madhu, its our last movie date before marriage. I hope you understand. You have to bear with Aarav” Vishal requested.

“OK…No problem” replied Madhu “you people enjoy”.

“ohhh….Now I understood” Aarav looked with a smile at Natasha “we will not disturb you”

In theatre , Aarav could not resist and asked “For whom did you buy that kurta?”

“Why do you think I will tell you” replied Madhu sipping her cold coffee.

“We are on a movie date”

“A forced movie date”

Aarav tried to hold her left hand “Madhu , I really love you. What I did was my biggest mistake and..”

Madhu interrupted “Lets not waste our movie ” and withdrew her hand.

10 pm

Madhu was again chatting when Natasha entered the room. “Apne aashik ke sath lagi padi hai…. ek bechara tera aashik yaha tere piche hai” giggled Natasha.

“Shut up” Madhu laughed

“Chatting with Mohit?” asked Natasha

“Yes. Told him about today”

“What? your movie date with Aarav?” asked Natasha

“No ways. It was not a date. It was a forced date” Madhu replied.

“OK, tell him that you went on a forced movie date with your ex boy friend” Natasha looked at Madhu with a naughty smile.

“Are you mad. I did not tell him anything about my past, neither did I ask him about his past” Madhu replied

“Why?” asked Natasha. Madhu kept quiet. Natasha continued “Because you are worried that he may react adversely and may say you good bye like others did”

“No…. he is only my friend”

“Then, whats the problem with Aarav. He is suitable for you…..loves you… earns well…..What else you want?”

“Actually, I did not tell Mohit about my past because I have left it behind. I have moved on. So, if anything does not keep significance in my life, why should I keep on discussing it…Natasha, its more than 3 years now. Moreover i don’t know whether he is my future or not” replied Madhu.

“Madhu, may I suggest you one thing” Natasha asked.

“Hmm”

“You and Aarav had very good understanding and because of circumstances misunderstandings did happen. You also did not tell him about Rohit at that time. May be if you would have told him about Rohit, circumstances would have been different” Natasha kept her view.

“Hmm, may be”

“You were also wrong to hide details. You were in a relationship with him. Jealousy do happen. Aarav was also going through a tough phase due to his father” Natasha continued.

“Hmm”

“Why don’t you give him another chance. When he came to know the truth, even after so many years, he has the same feelings for you. He admitted he was wrong. That means , your love means more to him than his ego”

“Hmm. Its difficult Natasha”

“But Its not impossible”

“Actually, I have started liking Mohit. He is my present and may be we get married soon”

“you said, parents are not ready”

“Yaa, but he is trying. I wish he changes their minds. I mean such a stupid reason it is. He is a Doctor. Still our parents think that his earning less than mine will create problem later in life. He will also grow professionally with time”

“What efforts you are making to make this understand to your parents”

“Why will I take efforts…I mean… I will marry anyone they say”

“That means, if they say marry Aarav, you will?”

“Why will they say marry Aarav”

“Suppose they say”

“May be yes” Madhu replied after giving a thought.

“ok…. I will tell him to go and meet your parents” Natasha laughed.

“no..please… ” Madhu requested Natasha.

“You know what Madhu, you are confused. You still love Aarav, but now your ego is not allowing you to accept him. Your ego is also not allowing you to convince your parents for Mohit. Because you are confused”

“Good night. Let me sleep and you also take rest ” Madhu tried to escape the conversation.

Morning

Madhu got up early and had tea in dinning area. She got ready to work from home. She took her laptop and was seated in Natasha’s room. At around 11 am , Vishal’s family came to discuss about the arrangements. Vishal’s cousin came to Natasha’s room for relaxation. Madhu was getting disturbed due to their chit chats. Madhu asked Natasha “Is there some other room available, I am getting disturbed”

“Yaa, go upstairs then on left “

Madhu took her laptop and went to the said room. She started working there peacefully. After around 15 minutes, the door of bathroom opened and Aarav came into the room in his boxers. He was surprised to see Madhu “Hi….Madhu, ….you here”

“Oh!!….I am really sorry. Vishal’s cousin were in Natasha’s room and I am working from home today… So Natasha told me about this room. I was not aware that you are staying here…..I am really sorry…” She was shocked to see Aarav in only boxers and turned her gaze after having a look at him from head to toe.

“Its Ok you can work from here. I will not disturb you”

“You wear something …please” said Madhu

“I am already wearing Madhu….”

“Please wear shirt as well…”

“Ohh… Does it matter to you that I am not wearing anything. Madhu I work as fashion photographer. Models wear revealing and sensuous attires… I never feel anything for them….I once felt that fire within me to just fu#k only with one of my model…..” Aarav went close to Madhu taking his mouth near her left ear and completed his sentence “That was you,….do you remember…that rainy day” Aarav held her shoulders from behind.

Madhu could hear the sound of Aarav’s breath and the warmth of his body from behind. Her heart pleaded her to turn back and hug him. But her brain was very strict this time. She ignored all her feelings and did not reply to Aarav.She clenched her fists to divert her mind away. He moved his hands from her shoulders down towards her elbow and continued “Madhu, only you excites me. Your presence, even your thoughts make me hard. I have never felt this with any one else….I love you so much”

Madhu wanted to break from her minds cage to submit herself to Aarav. But her past experiences made her so strong that she did not even let her emotions escape from her face so that they could not be revealed to Aarav. She said “Aarav stop”

“Why Madhu, don’t you want me to love you. I know that you feel the same for me. Its only me who ignites that fire …that current in you”

“Aarav please stop…I am working” she said , but she did not try to get way from him.

“What if you were not working now….you would have hugged me. I know you still want to hug me and kiss me. You still love me…. that’s why even after so many years, there is no one in your life. You still cherish our moments of togetherness Madhu. You still live with them. Accept it that you love me. ” Aarav put his lips on her cheek holding at her arms tightly.

“It’s not so. You are my past and nothing else. I don’t feel anything for you” replied Madhu with very low volume.

“Then why did you ask me to wear shirt… because seeing me like this is making you horny down there Madhu” Aarav inhaled a deep breath near her neck. and put a kiss there “I still remember you fragrance Madhu”

“Aarav please stop” Madhu did say to stop but she did not move her body away from him.

“Let it happen Madhu. Please be mine…. You also want this… ” Aarav moved his hands from her arms towards her abdomen to hold her from behind and kissed her neck.

Madhu was about to surrender to her heart but she received a call from Mohit. She came to her senses and got relieved from the arms of Aarav to receive the call.

“Hi” Madhu took the call.

“”Hello Madhu, how are you” Mohit on other side.

“Me fine, you say”

“I got the call letter just now for fellowship in Singapore “

“Wow !! congratulations… “

“I will have to join next week”

“ohh! When are you leaving”

“This Sunday evening”

“hmm”

“Actually, after this fellowship, I will have good opportunities as I will be specialized in cosmetology”

“hmm”

“May be our parents will understand and we may get their approval”

“Its 1 year fellowship?”

“yes”

“I want to meet you before you leave….but I don’t know how” Madhu was happy to hear about his selection but was upset as it will be one years separation.

“Madhu I miss you a lot….”

“me too Mohit”

“I love you Madhu”

“hmm… ok call you later, I am little busy now, I am working from home this week. Miss you” She disconnected the call. Aarav heard everything what Madhu said, but he was unaware about the talks on receiver end. As soon as the call was disconnected, Aarav held the left wrist of Madhu tightly “who is this?”

Madhu stared at him “Who?”

“Who was on call?”

“Mohit” replied Madhu trying to loosen his grip, but in vain. Aarav pulled her towards him “Is he your boy friend”

“No” Madhu was feeling discomfort.

“Is he your fu#king partner, do you sleep with him ?” Aarav asked in rage and his face was red.

“Aarav, leave my hand. Please” She pulled her hand and went back to take her seat.

“You lied to me..You have boy friend” Aarav shouted at her.

“Keep your mouth shut Aarav. I am not answerable to you. Please leave me alone, I have a lot of work to do”

Aarav did wear his t shirt and left the room out of rage. Madhu was thankful to her brain not to let herself submit in Aarav’s arms in that weak moment. ‘look, I was telling you. He is still the same. You thought of giving him another chance, stupid girl’

‘Agree, I was wrong. I really felt weak when he was making love to me’

‘It was not love you stupid, it was pure lust’

‘But how would I differentiate between love and lust, I thought he did change and loves me’

‘just remember one thing Madhu, all men are same. Never ever be weak in front of them. They will Fu@k you and then allege that you are a slut’

Night

Natasha enetred the room. Madhu was chatting. “Always in your mobile. If he is so important let him be part of your life”

“He is going to Singapore this Sunday, for one year” Madhu sighed.

“Good, let Aarav come in your life”

“No ways. Do you know what he did to me today”

“What?”

“First he tried to fu#k me and then when I did not agree, he did hurt me” Madhu complained and told every thing that happened. Natasha replied “Look, let me make it clear. It was not that you did resist. You were also willing for same. And second, that Aarav did react out of jealous. He loves you and when he found that there is some other man in your life, it was his obvious reaction”

“He still don’t trust me”

“Why do you think, he will trust you. Are you committed to him. Did you accept your love for him. He did apologize , he is trying since 3 days. You are neither denying him nor accepting him”

“I did deny him”

“No, you did not. When he was trying to come close to you in room today, you should have got up and immediately would have said no. But you allowed him come close to you. Touch you, kiss you” Madhu was only listening. Natasha continued “You are also playing with emotions of Mohit. If you like him, your families are in contact with each other, you can convince your parents. But no, you are only enjoying the attention of two men that too simultaneously. You were not like this Madhu. If you ask me, Both Mohit and Aarav are good for you. Now you have to decide who will be your man”

Madhu kept listening. She kept mum. But she was having a battle in her mind with herself ‘look I was telling you, talk to mom and tell them that you want to marry Mohit’

‘no, you never wanted to marry him. I never stopped you from getting married to Mohit. I just warned you to keep distance from him before marriage’

‘Whatever happened in past with Aarav, somewhere it was my fault also’

‘Now Why are you looking in past. Today also I stopped you from getting close to him. Thanks to call of Mohit, otherwise you would have submitted yourself to him and later would have blamed me’

‘I don’t know what to do . Am I really selfish?… Am I really playing with the emotions of Aarav and Mohit?… I never felt so confused…. Yes I still love Aarav, he is in my mind. Now that its clear that it was misunderstanding… Why you don’t want me accept my love’

‘I am not allowing you.. What rubbish. I only stop you from going to bed with these men. If you really feel love, go ahead. Marry him’

‘I don’t know what to do…. He is too childish. He reacts to minor things. But I love him.. I like Mohit also. He is too gentle and really cares for me’

‘Now see… You are confused and blames me always. I never stop you from marrying a man… Its actually you who is enjoying the attention now which is satisfying your ego… Natasha is right’

‘shut up…. now I will never listen to you and will do what is right for me and will take the decision soon’

Madhumita did not sleep the whole night. She was thinking through out. Early morning, she did text to Mohit and also called her mother.

What did Madhu decide?….Was she really selfish at this phase of life?… Will she be able to decide who will be her life partner?… We will see in next chapter.. Till then, lets just think, in which phase of our life we were confused regarding what is right and wrong…. Being selfish is some times good as we think what’s good for us… Keeping ourselves at focus…. Keep thinking… Lots of wishes to my readers 😀

#12 MADHUMITA: Some More Truths

11 am:

After breakfast, Natasha and Madhumita were ready to leave for shopping. Vishal did send his car with driver for them. Madhumita is in white lucknowi chikankari kurta paired with white palazzo and white block heels. Her hairs were half tied in a white clutcher. She complimented her look with silver ear rings, nude shade of lip colour and brown eye liner. Natasha wore a long yellow kurta with red floral prints with red salwar and dupatta. She complimented with black platforms and golden ear rings. She did put Ruby Crush shade of lip colour from Lotus Naturals. When they were about to sit in car, Aarav came running..”Hey Natasha….wait”

Natasha looked back ” What Aarav?”

“Where are you going gorgeous” winked Aarav

“Well… I am going for shopping ” told Natasha with a smile and she raised her eye brows out of pleasure. Madhu was already seated in car. Natasha was facing away from Madhu.

“ohh… Great..I am also coming for shopping with you” Aarav did sound excited

“Ahh….actually, WE are going for shopping…” Natasha waved her hands towards Madhu sitting in car. She continued “You may not be comfortable with us”

“Oh…no..not at all… I am comfortable..provided she is” Aarav winked at Natasha “you ask her…”

Natasha looked at Madhu and asked “Hey Madhu, I hope you will be fine if he comes along?”

Madhu looked at Aarav and raised her shoulders out of ignorance and moved her neck away to look outside the window. Her face was blank. Natasha asked again “Tell Madhu, will you be ok?”

“Why would I have any problem Natasha, he is your guest” replied Madhu.

“Thanks yaar. Actually he also has a long shopping list. He came here directly from his shoot” Natasha tried to justify. Aarav took his seat in front . Madhu and Natasha were on back seat. Natasha sat behind Aarav, so that Madhu and Aarav can have a glance of each other.

“Where are we going dear” asked Aarav.

“Karol Bagh” replied Natasha “We will look for lehangas or may be sarees , not decided yet”

“Your wedding Lehanga” asked Aarav

“No, wedding lehanga will be from Vishal’s side. My mother in law did not say anything about it. So I will not be looking for wedding Lehanga. I will look for sangeet ceremony. And few formal sarees and few daily sarees, few suits… and a long list ” laughed Natasha. Madhu was indifferent to the talk.

“Only you have a shopping list?” asked Aarav looking at Madhu

“No… Madhu has a list too… She is confused what to wear…lets see at showroom” Natasha replied looking at Madhu and then at Aarav.

“May I suggest one thing” asked Aarav

“yaa, sure go on” Natasha replied

“I just want to say that Madhu should go for a Saree…She really looks gorgeous in Saree ” Aarav was looking at Madhu while saying, but Madhu was looking outside the window and was not interested to talk or reply.

“Hey Madhu” Natasha touched Madhu’s left hand with her right hand to involve her in talks. Madhu turned with a jolt “hmm..” looked with her eyes wide open towards Natasha.

“Aarav has a suggestion for you” said Natasha and continued “You should wear Saree on my wedding…”

“Thanks for the suggestion. I will think over it” Madhu replied.

“Thanks Madhu….for accepting my suggestion” intervened Aarav. Madhu stared at him and then turned her gaze towards window again. Madhu was not at all interested to talk to Aarav. But Aarav wanted to ignite the spark again.

In the showroom, they were looking for lehangas. First they finalised Natasha’s lehanga for sangeet. It was a combination of orange and green color with embroidery all over. Now they were looking for Madhu’s dress. Madhu liked a black colored lehanga with orange embroidery and orange blouse. Natasha also said ok for it. But Aarav said “You should go for a Saree”

“Not at all” replied Madhu

“Believe me..you look stunning in Saree”

“I very well know this. But in sangeet, it will be easy to dance in a lehanga rather than Saree” replied Madhu

“ohh…I did not give a thought this way” laughed Aarav

“Your ambit of thinking is very narrow Aarav” taunted Madhu “moreover it did not improve over so many years ” Madhu showed displeasure.

“I am sorry Madhu ” Aarav apologized.

“Oh! You learnt to say sorry at least. That is really a big improvement. I hope you will also learn one day to respect others” Madhu replied “well…you need not be sorry for this..You gave a suggestion ..I did not follow …Its simple “

“I want to say something to you Madhu ” Aarav was about to reveal his intentions but Natasha intervened ” Hey Aarav, now lets look for Saree, we are already short of time”

“ok” Aarav got her hint. All three got involved in selecting Saree. Natasha short listed few Saree. Now Madhu was trying to finalize a Saree for wedding night. She shortlisted 2 saree. One is red colored pure crepe Saree with black border . Another is turquoise pure chiffon Saree with silver work at border. She was confused which one to buy. Aarav suggested “Why don’t you buy both” . Natasha looked out of rage at him and said “will you please keep quiet for a while. Let her decide”

But Madhu was impressed by his idea “yaa… I can have both. I mean both the saree are awesome and why should I be bothered. I will wear both on different occasions. Thanks Aarav”

“Waah Aarav” Natasha whispered in his ears “going on right track” . Aarav smiled back.

They were done with their traditional shopping from showroom. “Aarav you did not buy anything?” asked Natasha out of curiosity.

“Ohh yes. We two were so much involved in our shopping that we did not even care he has to buy too. Let’s go to another showroom to buy things for him” said Madhu

“oh thanks. But first we should have lunch. Its 3 pm now” said Aarav out of joy.

All three went to the restaurant. “Lunch from my side for two beautiful ladies” said Aarav.

“ok” Natasha replied.

They took the seats. Madhu and Natasha were on same side of table. Aarav took his seat opposite Natasha.

“3 pints of Tuborg” ordered Aarav.

“no please. Not for me” Natasha said.

“ok, then 2 pints”

“Aarav its day time. We have to go for shopping also. Are you sure you want two” Natasha was concerned.

“oh… One for Madhu and one for me Natasha” smiled Aarav.

“I don’t take alcohol. Make it one pint only” said Madhu

“What?.. Since when?..I mean you used to enjoy it” Aarav was surprised “I thought you will like it”

“Time changes… Things do change… I did quit alcohol long way back” Madhu smiled. “In fact… Natasha also doesn’t take alcohol since long. You may not be aware”

“oh, then cancel Tuborg” smiled Aarav.

After having their meals. They ordered ice-cream in dessert. When they were waiting Natasha asked “Aarav… Are you single or have a girlfriend?”

“I am single Natasha”

“oh. You did not find anyone in London” winked Natasha.

“Actually, I had two relationships, but I always felt that something is missing and none of them worked for long”

“what was that something?” asked Natasha

“Love and affection” Aarav looked at Madhu. Their eyes met and Madhu changed her gaze. He continued “I always missed something all these years. Never felt contentment in any of my achievements. Even when I was receiving my first award… I was not cheerful. I could not understand what was that thing. But now, today, I realized what was that thing”

“oh, really. Tell us” Natasha asked with excitement

“Madhumita” said Aarav looking directly into her eyes. “I realized that I am incomplete without you”

Madhu was speechless. She felt furious “May be Mr Aarav has not got a partner in bed here. As he thinks I am a slut, may be he want me to be at his service. But I am sorry, I am not available” Her eyes were as red as hot iron, fist holding the table cloth tightly.

“Madhu calm down” Natasha put a hand on her shoulder.

“What calm down Natasha. You know everything. How dare he even think like that again” Madhumita’s voice had aggression.

“I am sorry Madhu. There were few misunderstandings in college” Aarav tried to explain “Actually, not few, but I was jealous. I felt that I am of no worth and all that ignited a fire in me. I had no courage to face that you will leave me. So out of madness, I myself pushed you away from my life. I did not want to face rejection at your hands at that time… “

“You did not push me away. You alleged that I am a slut. You told me in front of Rohit that.. Go and sleep with him… I can never forget that evening. Still I tried to contact you… Even after facing so much humiliation… I tried to contact you. I did leave a number of messages… But you did not reply even once. “

“Exactly… I was afraid that you would come and say.. ITS OVER.. so I tried to escape from that situation” Aarav has tears in his eyes.

Madhu took a deep breath and said “why am I even replying all this. Natasha you know everything. Please tell him to stop. I am not going with him in his bed at any cost. Please tell him that I am not a woman that he thinks”

“Madhu, I talked him in the morning. Believe me, there was misunderstanding and he still loves you. He really missed you all these years. He tried to hate you a lot. But his love did not allow. Today when I told him about Rohit… he felt so sorry for whatever he did to you. At least try to hear what he has to say” Natasha held Madhu tight at her shoulder.

“Love. He doesn’t know the meaning of word love. It requires affection, will to be together and most important TRUST. Today you told him about Rohit……. He believed you……… But he did not believe me, when I tried to explain…….. His ego was more important. If he can think at that time that I sleep with boys in want of money and their status… He can think same in future again………… You will always not be present between two of us to sort out the misunderstandings. He can anytime allege me of being slutty……. I have gone through a tough time Natasha, you know very well… I do not want to go through all that again”

“Madhu please forgive me” Aarav pleaded.

“If its about forgiving. I did forgive you already. But that doesn’t mean I love you”

“Thanks for forgiving Madhu. I hope I will be able to build trust among us again” Aarav wiped his tears.

10 pm:

After dinner Natasha entered room. Madhu was on mobile. “Hey Madhu. What’s up”

“Nothing much. Chatting with a friend. Told about todays shopping” smiled Madhu.

“boyfriend?” asked Natasha

“No dear. Not boyfriend. Told you already I am still single” Madhu came closer to Natasha

“ok… Friend who is a boy” Natasha laughed.

“yaa, exactly. Actually he did propose me, but I was not ready for any relationship. So we are friends” explained Madhu.

“only friends or did you sleep with him” Natasha was curious now.

“No. We did not. I mean once he did try to come close. Same night he did propose too. But I said no and he did respect my decision” Madhu smiled

“when?”

“almost 6 months back” Madhu looked at Natasha.

“Since then you are playing friends” Natasha laughed.

“What do you mean by playing. We are good friends”

“what he is?” asked Natasha

“He is a doctor”

“oh.. . He must be boring”

“no.. He is not boring. I enjoy being in his company”

“why did you say no to him”

“told you na.. I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR A RELATIONSHIP”

“May be you still love Aarav only, that’s why you are not ready” Natasha looked directly in Madhumita’s eyes and was waiting for an answer.

Madhu stood up. She took water. Sat on sofa and started “I met Mohit in a party. His dad is friend of my boss. Mohit was doing final year of MD in Dermatology at that time. He just cleared his exams and have joined a hospital as consultant. Presently he is planning for advanced course in Singapore in cosmetology. He is a sober guy.

8 months back:

Madhu went to the 25th marriage anniversary of her boss Rajiv. She was sitting with her colleagues at the party as she is new in office. Rajiv came to their table with Mohit. “Hey guys, meet Mohit. He is my friends son and alone in this party. Please don’t let him feel alone.”

Mohit joined their table. Everyone introduced themselves to Mohit. Mohit was impressed by Madhumita’s beauty. Madhu was also magnetised by him. On that table only Madhu and Mohit were single. So after short while only two of them were left on the table. Both of them interacted formally. Mohit asked “Where are you from”

“I am from Uttarakhand” replied Madhu

“Oh wow! I am also from Uttarakhand. ” excited Mohit replied.

Being from same place acted as a bonding factor between the two. They both exchanged their numbers. Started interaction over social media. Mohit was impressed by the multi talent of Madhu. He liked her photography. Over one month they both started meeting on dinner over weekends and for movies.

After around one month of dating, one saturday night after movie, Mohit came to drop Madhu at her society. It was raining heavily.

“Mohit its too heavy rain. You will get stuck in jam. If you are comfortable, you can stay at my flat. Tomorrow is Sunday and its your off too” Madhu offered Mohit considering the traffic situation in Mumbai in rains.

“Will you be comfortable if I stay at night at your place” Mohit confirmed raising his eye brows.

“Yaa, sure. There are two bedrooms” smiled Madhu.

They both went to Madhu’s flat. She showed him his room. Went in her room and brought towel. “Take this. There is bathroom attached. You can change there”

“Ok thanks” Mohit took the towel and moved towards bathroom.

“Coffee?” asked Madhu

“Yaa sure” replied Mohit

“I will make it after changing” Madhu flashed smile. She moved out of room.

After around 30 minutes, Madhu did enter Mohit’s room. He was sitting on sofa with towel around his waist. Madhu was holding two mugs of coffee. She felt awkward and said “Oh.. I am sorry, I should have knocked at the door”

“Its ok. Actually I had nothing to wear and clothes were wet” replied Mohit and tried to cover his chest with the cushion.

Madhu handed one mug of coffee to Mohit. She took another sofa to sit. “Its still raining outside heavily. Its better you stayed here” she smiled.

“Hmm. Thanks for letting me stay here. You have a good apartment”

“Thanks. I liked the society and the flat was fully furnished too”

“its 2 bhk”

“yaa. when I rented 2bhk was fully furnished. 3bhk was not furnished. So I did opt for this one”

“You stay alone. What you would have done with 3 bedrooms” laughed Mohit. He continued “We have single cubicles and toilets are shared in our hostel”

“Why don’t you look for a good accommodation outside” asked Madhu

“my stipend does not allow me” laughed Mohit.

“Its so disheartening. You are in your 29th year of life. Doing MD. Medical education is too difficult and challenging I must say. Moreover the facilities you get are so poor. There are so many hardships”

“Is there balcony in every room” asked Mohit pointing towards that room’s balcony “

“yaa. Come, let me show you my flat” Madhu offered Mohit. They both were done with the coffee. Mohit agreed. They both stood up.

At the end, Madhu and Mohit came to balcony of Madhumita’s room. “This is my favorite place. I sit here daily in morning after jogging. I really find peace being here” Madhu said and they both were standing in the balcony.

“I think I should shift here in your apartment” Mohit smiled

“I will take rent” giggled Madhu.

“Marry me” Mohit came closer to her.

Madhu burst into laughter “You want to marry to save rent”

“No. I am serious. I want to marry because I want to live with you. Be with you” Mohit took Madhumita’s left hand in his right.

“Please marry me. Be mine Madhu” he now held her at the shoulders.

Madhu looked into his eyes directly and after a while moved her face, making her left cheek closer to his lips. Mohit put his lips on her cheek. Madhu closed her eyes, held him at his forearms. Mohit went closer and tried to hold her neck in his palms. He moved his lips closer to her right ear and whispered “Madhu I love you, please marry me” and moved his tongue into her ear. Madhu was not able to control herself. She held Mohit at his waist by her hands and hugged him. She moved her head and kept on chest of Mohit.

Mohit held her face again and put his lips on her forehead. “Madhu I want to live my life with you”

“But… Hows that possible” Madhu tried to control her emotions of attraction towards him.

“why” asked Mohit.

“You are a doctor. Your parents will be looking for a doctor bride”

“No. They want a girl from our own community. Being doctor is not their criteria” Mohit smiled and hugged Madhu “You just agree. Rest I will manage. There will not be any issue”

“I have not thought about it. I am not prepared for marriage now” Madhu showed her inhibition.

“Its Ok. I will wait for your decision. Take your own time. Its a big decision….. Involves two families, two souls” Mohit looked into her eyes and moved a flick of hair from her face.

Madhu again hugged him and asked “What if my decision is negative”

“then we are friends. You can take free consultation for your skin and cosmetic issues and I will take your help in my financial issues” Mohit smiled and hugged her again. He continued “Madhu I like you a lot and want to spend my life with you, if you too agree. If you marry me, its easy to be with you always, otherwise I will love to be your friend and find my place in your list of good friends”

Both Madhu and Mohit remained silent for few moments and hugged each other. Then Mohit said “lets have coffee again”

Few months passed. Madhu and Mohit started meeting over weekends. Sometimes Mohit would come to Madhumita’s house on Saturday nights for dinner and stay. Madhu started liking his company. Many a times, she even thought of saying him yes for his marriage proposal, but her other self resisted her ‘are you mad?’

She used to struggle with herself over this issue ‘Madhu you know very well, how these men are’

‘yaa, but Mohit is not like others’

‘how do you know’

‘I have spent a lot of time with him’

‘less than Rohit and Aarav’

‘yaa, but it was different time. We were students then’

‘time did change, but men doesn’t’

‘ohh… Mohit is not like Rohit and Aarav’

‘just because you yourself are attracted towards him. How can you forget, what you faced at the hands of men in past. What if you say yes to marriage. He will try to sleep with you. And later, he will allege you of being character less and the same drama will repeat’

‘I can not forget that, but…’

‘but what…., you kept distance from boys at Bengaluru, see the result, you are successful now. Do you want to ruin everything’

‘nothing is going to be ruined’

‘ok, go ahead, do whatever you want’

‘but I will marry someone, why not Mohit’

‘don’t forget, you promised your parents, that you will marry the man they say’

‘I know… but…’

‘do whatever you want. Always remember what you went through whenever you tried to be close to a boy. Don’t cry later’

‘ok, fine. We are friends and nothing more’

She always felt the same inhibition. So she was never ready for any relationship.

5 months passed:

It was sunday morning. Madhu received a call from her mother

“hello mummy”

“hello Madhu. Your uncle came yesterday with a proposal. He saw in our community magazine”

“ok”

“the boy lives in Mumbai”

“your father talked to his papa on phone yesterday. He shared your pic and details. His father said, let two of you meet each other. If both of you are ready, they will be happy for this marriage”

“mummy, what I will do by meeting him. You people see him. Meet his family and then decide. I will follow what you decide”

“When both of you are in Mumbai, meet each other. And let us know your views. Time has changed. Girls and boys decide by meeting each other”

“mummy please. Its ok from my side”

“but let the boy say ok as well after meeting you. His father called us in the morning. Boy wants to meet you at 5 pm at Pizza hut near your society”

“mummy I hate all this formality”

“shut up. Your father will send you his pic and details on your WhatsApp. Go through it and be there at time today evening”

“what else can I do now”

“hmm.. Go well dressed. Try to look best”

“ok” Madhu disconnected the call.

She was not interested. It was a formality for her. She thought, its better to avoid all this. She turned off her data connection of her mobile, so that she can not see the pic. ‘What am I going to do after seeing the pic. My answer has to be yes’.

What will happen next. Will she gather courage to accept her feelings for Mohit or she will agree for this arrange marriage proposal?….. Will Aarav be able to gain Madhu’s trust again?…. What is the fate of her relationship with Mohit?…Is Madhu’s fear right regarding men …. we will see in next chapter whats next in Madhumita’s journey of life.

Till then, lets have a look in our lives… Do past experiences really affect our decisions in present and future. Is it Ok to make mistakes repeatedly or should we act cautious in similar situation that have given pain in past. Should we be judgemental…….or open to new opportunities ignoring past experiences…….Keep thinking… lots of good wishes to my readers…

#11 MADHUMITA : Facts.. Truths… New Beginning

FRIDAY MORNING :

Natasha took the scheduled flight to Mumbai and landed. Sahil welcomed her at Airport with floral bouquet and they left for the venue. A room is booked in the same hotel for her. On reception, Sahil told Natasha that he will be waiting for her in restaurant for breakfast. Natasha went to her room and after keeping her belongings, she went downstairs towards restaurant. On her way, she called Madhumita “Hi Madhu, I am in hotel now, going towards restaurant, your HR manager is waiting for me”

“ok dear. We will be coming in a couple of hours. How was your flight” Madhu did inquire

“It was good. Vishal dropped me at airport in the morning”

“wow… It must be a romantic morning….” Madhu giggled

“shut up…. he just dropped me at Airport ” Natasha replied

“hmm, I am so excited to meet you Natasha, I can’t tell you in words”

“me too Madhu…. I came here just for you.. So that I get you by my side. I am feeling nervous since the marriage is fixed…”

“hmm…don’t worry. We will leave tonight…. I have so much to talk to you… Everything will be fine.. Have faith dear” Madhu replied

“yaa…. Ok… I did reach restaurant, your Sahil is waiting… Let me have a nice breakfast… Feeling hungry”

“ok… And he is not my Sahil…. He is our HR manager…” Madhu laughed and disconnected the call.

On the breakfast table, Sahil was being courteous to Natasha, offering her various items. Sahil initiated “Thanks Miss Natasha for accepting our invitation”

“Hmm… Actually I did accept only for Madhu” Natasha smiled

“congratulations ma’am for your wedding” Sahil wished Natasha

“thanks, but please don’t make this news public…. I mean, it will be a family function with only close guests”

“ok ma’am, sure” Sahil gave thumbs up to the idea…. “Madhumita is very close to you..? ” he tried to ask

“yaa… She is my best friend. We were room mates in college. It was the best time of our lives…. Infact I told her that I will not marry in her absence” She flashed a smile “that’s why I am here.. To take her along with me tonight” said Natasha.

“yaa of course ma’am. I will drop you tonight at Airport along with Madhu” Sahil said.

Madhu arrived with her team at lunch. She came with her luggage which she kept in Sahil’s car. Program followed lunch. It was a wonderful and interactive session which was followed by dinner and cocktails. Natasha denied for any cocktails and Madhu was also not interested. At the earliest after dinner, they headed for airport.

They did board their flight to New Delhi. They had seats in business class. Comfortably they were seated and now they had time to talk to each other. Madhu started “Now tell me, how it all started and when?”

“hmm.. Ok…. It all started after Asian Games. I felt being close with Vishal. He too was attracted towards me. We even belong to same community, so I thought that it will be easily accepted by our parents too… But when I told my mother about him… She was like… No.. It cannot happen ”

” why? ” Madhu was curious

” they wanted a very high profile match for me” Natasha replied

“high profile? Vishal sir is so famous, like you are. He is also silver medalist and olympian too.. What else they wanted”

“Madhu… He was silver medalist… I was gold medalist… He opened his sports academy… I joined government job.. DySP in Haryana Government…. So my parents wanted a secure man for me.. They wanted IAS or IPS or Judge… To be very clear and precise…not a private work person that too a sportsman….. Just imagine… How I would have felt… I practised with him…. I won… And my parents said that he is not a right match…” Natasha was trying to show her anger towards her parents thinking.

” Then…. What happened”

“What would have happened… I tried to ignore Vishal… My parents searched SUITABLE match for me… They contacted eligible IAS and IPS and judge candidates. Few said no on their own… Others denied after meeting me…” Natasha expressed relief

“What.. how can they say no to you.. you are a star Natasha” Madhu was curious

“God knows… Its better that they did say no… Actually being a sports star is different, but no man want a bride like me… I mean who is independent and star and that too sportsperson. Most of men want a tender, obedient wife… may be like you” Natasha laughed.

“ohhhh… then… What happened?” Madhu asked with a smile.

“What would have happened … After 3 years of their hardwork in roaming here and there.. To find a groom for me… My parents realised that no one is interested to marry me….”Natasha burst into laughter “they realised that being a star is different… I am a sportsperson and no ordinary man will marry me… I mean a person who is not involved in sports…”

“ok… But Still I can’t understand that why no one agreed” Madhu asked

“Its so simple Madhu… Sportsperson do get multiple endorsements but, marriage is still a different thing… A successful man mostly want a woman of his life to follow and obey him. Its a perception that Sportsperson are usually rough in relation and emotion ” Natasha tried to explain

” But it’s not so….. I am too close to 2 sports people.. Both are too gentle and full of emotions dear… ” Madhumita said

” I said.. Its a perception… What people are pre occupied in their minds”

“Then what happened?” Madhu asked

“after 3 years of hard work, my parents understood that its better to marry me to Vishal only” Natasha smiled

“ok..” Madhu reciprocated

“but the real problem started then only” Natasha continued

“means?”

“Even Vishal’s parents did not want a khiladi daughter in law” Natasha giggled with her mouth covered with her palm.

“OH MY GOD…. then”

“It was the real tough time we did face… Me and Vishal” Natasha expressed her state of mind.

“His parents almost fixed his marriage to a girl who is 21 years old, relative of the local MLA. She was beautiful as hell… And rich too…”

“Then…?” Madhu now was too much involved.

“Thanks to Vishal… he said that either he will marry me or no one else”

“ohh.. Thats good.. He supported you…. He loves you Natasha… I mean when your parents told you to stay away from him… You ignored him.. Right… But just imagine… He went against his parents to support you and to be with you…” Madhu was impressed by Vishal’s affection towards Natasha

” yes… I was timid… I could not disobey my parents. I really thank all those boys.. Who rejected my parents proposal… If anyone would have agreed… I would have no other option but to marry” Natasha sighed.

“Hmm…thats what I am saying… That he was clear and he dared to stand against his parents for you.. Always keep this in your mind… He loves you more than you” Madhu replied.

“Hmm… You are right… And that’s why I am too much nervous… Will I prove to be a good wife? ” Natasha told the reason of her concern

“Ok…. Thats the worry… Hmm.. Now I can understand…”

“yes… Since both parents agreed… I am too nervous.. that his parents agreed under pressure and my parents also agreed to our marriage as there was no other option… Will our marriage be successful… Definitely his mother will find some issues daily to blame me.. As I am not her choice….. will I be able to handle it? ” Natasha continued “love is between two persons but marriage is a link between two families and when both families come together under pressure…. Its obvious that marriage is under pressure….. Sometimes I really feel that its better that me and Vishal go for livein… Only me and him…. Away from both families…. No customs.. No obligations” Natasha’s face revealed all agony she is going through.

“Hmm… listen Natasha… I have many friends who are in various phases of life and marriage. Many of them discuss their domestic issues with me. They say I am a good listener and my advice works well. Out of my experience I want to give you a suggestion. Always keep this in mind. I want that my friend Natasha and Vishal’s marriage to be a success and happy one” Madhu looked at Natasha with her eyes firm.

“Hmm.. Please tell” Natasha fixed her gaze too

“Be a dumb daughter in law and a lively wife” Madhu said with mischievous look.

“what?… Means?” Natasha could not get the point.

“means very simple… In front of your in laws… Anyone.. Be it mother in law or brother in law or sister in law… You are as dumb as donkey… You know nothing… You hear nothing.. You say nothing. Just be physically present there. Never give your opinion. Never show your displeasure. Never ever show your feelings of anger. Never give your ear to what they say”

“hmm” Natasha tried to understand

“when you are with Vishal… Be what you are. Be naughty as monkey. Be a wife. Show your love and affection. Tease him with your acts of love and lust. Give your 100 percent ”

“hmm..but what if I win my in laws love as well” Natasha asked

“listen my dear darling… Don’t waste your energy to try to win their hearts. It will happen on its own with passing time. If you try.. You will expect their love and support. 90 percent you will not get it. Then you will feel that your efforts failed. It will give you more trauma. You will feel irritated and defeated. Your nature will turn into complaining one. You will share your thoughts with Vishal. It will irritate him. After all no one will see things from your vision. He will feel Offended that you are blaming HIS parents…. you understand? ” Madhu tried to explain.

” hmm.. Little bit” Natasha was hearing

“Its better that you focus only on being Vishal’s wife. Give him what a man wants… You understand” Madhu asked

“yaa…. A man wants only one thing” Natasha winked

“yes…. Be a wife. Never ever complain about your in laws. In fact never talk about your or his parents. Avoid discussing them” Madhu looked at Natasha

“hmm…”

“if you will never discuss them, it will strengthen your bonding. Never ever complain that your mother said this.. Said that… Bla bla… In fact talk about your work… And about what he likes or what you liked and how you can further improve the acts”… Madhu completed.

“hmm.. You are right. But what if his parents try to provoke me… Its difficult to keep mum then” Natasha asked

“thats what I am saying… be a donkey. Ignore everything. When you know that you are being provoked, and you react….. You are the weakest person” explained Madhu

“hmm…” Natasha nodded

“in front of inlaws, do what they say. Never waste energy to convince them that you are a good daughter in law. If you are a good wife… With time, they will accept you as good daughter in law. When you will have children, it will make you permanent in that house. But never ever ignore Vishal. Keep him at your priority list ” Madhu explained

” hmm” Natasha was listening as an obedient fellow

“I have noticed that girls try to gain their in laws trust and love. They ignore their husband’s need. All these efforts make their life hell. Because its difficult to win in laws hearts and moreover you lose husband’s affection”

“ok…” Natasha looked at Madhu

“so…. Focus your energy and efforts on one person.. Your husband and keep him at the top of your priority list……always” Madhu instructed

“hmm” Natasha nodded

“one more golden advice” Madhu winked

“go on… I am listening” Natasha with smile on her face.

“Never praise your family in front of them” Madhu raised her eyebrows.

“ok… Noted madam”

“always give most of your time.. Valuable time to Vishal. Remember that men’s emotions flow from….” Both of them laughed.

“I understood Madhu mataji… All your golden words made permanent impact on my mind. I will definitely go with your advice” Natasha smiled

“always remember that you are in that house because you are wife of Vishal. He should be the priority. If he is happy, everything will fall in place itself with time.” Madhu compiled her advice “never complain”

“hmm”

“moreover, it will not be difficult for you. You have your job commitment to focus upon. Your two focus points, Vishal and your job. Even children should come after Vishal in your priority”

“Thanks dear.. I am feeling far better and relaxed. I will continue to bother you after marriage also” Natasha smiled

“of course Natasha. I am always with you, anytime” Madhu put her left hand on Natasha’s right shoulder.

“What about you… Who rules your heart now” Natasha asked

“hmmmm… No one actually” Madhu moved her gaze towards the window and after a while looke back at Natasha with a smile.

“hmm.. Really.. Are you still single” Natasha was curious

“yaa… At IIM, I focused on studies only. You know that what happend in past… I didn’t want to distract and you can now see the result.”

“but now you are what you wanted… Last one year.. Koi ni mila yaa tumne aane ni diya kisiko” Natsaha asked

“means?” Madhumita could not get the point

“means.. Is it still Aarav in your heart”

“no way… Actually now I have started to look for options. Aarav stands no where.” Madhu again looked at the window and said “I have come far from him and his memories”

“why are you looking in the window, its almost midnight and its dark outside. Look at me and say that he is nothing”

MADHUMITA looked directly into Natasha’s eyes and said “I am single and Aarav have no influence on me” Madhu was firm in her voice.

There was an announcement giving information about landing of flight. It also instructed to fasten the seat belts.

“Vishal will be coming to receive us” asked Madhu

“No… he will be going to receive his friend. My brother will be there at Airport to receive us”

“hmm.. I have nothing to wear anything for your wedding. I will be shopping with you” Madhu told

“yaa tomorrow we will go for shopping”

“your leaves sanctioned?” Madhu asked

“yaa.. Monday onwards”

Next morning when Madhu woke up and came out in dining area, holding her hairs to tie in a bun, she was shocked to see Aarav sitting on dining table, sipping tea. Aarav was shocked too. They both looked at each other. Faces blank, out of expression. Madhu was taken aback 4 years ago when she faced humiliation at Aarav’s hands. Even though she said that she has moved on, but it wasn’t that easy to face him when she didn’t expect. She could not react.

Madhu took her morning tea and went back to her room. Natasha came out of washroom. Madhu immediately frowned at Natasha “why you did not tell me that he is also here”

“who?”

“Aarav… He is sitting on dining table outside”

” ohh… I thought that you have moved on… His presence or absence does not matter to you” Natasha raised her shoulder while sitting on her bed.

“yaa… it doesn’t matter, but still to face him like this… It was really awkward” Madhu tried to explain her reaction.

“He came yesterday night, Vishal went to receive him only. I did not tell you then, as you are not comfortable talking about him. Will it be ok for you to be with him in this house, or I ask him to move him to Vishal’s house.” Natasha asked

“no… Its ok… I was not able to handle his presence out of sudden encounter. Now its ok. You better ask this question to him. May be he is not comfortable…. You know how he reacted in canteen that day” Madhu said

“which day? ”

“last day of our exam, when her mother passed away”

ohh… You still remember that…. I thought you moved on” taunted Natasha

“yaa.. I did move on… But there are some moments that you can never forget”

“do you cherish other moments spent with him” Natasha giggled

“No… I only remember those moments that he humiliated me in presence of Rohit and that he did not allow me to explain anything” Madhu had tears in her eyes, but she managed to wipe them off before Natasha could note.

“hmm… You sure you are comfortable”

“yaa of course. I am” Madhu was stern.

“So.. Cheer up dear. Its my wedding, we have to do a lot of preparation” Natasha was excited and so was Madhu.

Aarav is now a renowned fashion photographer. He was the recipient of The Best Debut Fashion Photographer of The Year Award. His work is appreciated worldwide. He is the most promising upcoming photographer who won many hearts in the first year of his individual career. He has many national as well as international projects in hand. Recently he finished his shoot for the beauty pageant.

Natasha went to dining area to meet Aarav after so long. Both exchanged warm greetings and Natasha thanked him “Thanks Aarav for coming at short notice. I know how busy you are now”

“It’s your wedding Natasha that too with Vishal sir, I can not give a miss to this…. but you should have told me that she will also be here”

“who” Natasha did pretend as she is unaware

“That bitch” Aarav in very low voice coming close to Natasha “Madhumita”

“Aarav, she is my best friend. Please mind it. She is a gentle lady and she topped her college as well and now she is well placed” Natasha showed her anger over Aarav ‘s reaction.

“you don’t know her… She must have slept with the examiner to top the college” Aarav crossed the limits this time.

“Aarav… Please… Mind your words for her. She is my guest. I will not allow you to demean her” Natasha was furious

“ohh… You actually don’t know her well. I loved her so much. But she started dating Rohit. She ignored my love for her. When Rohit did better than me in marathon, she started flirting with him. When I objected, she said that there is a reason behind it. Later I realised that the reason was that he was rich, smarter than me. I was good for nothing. She thought that he is better option to sleep with..”

Natasha interrupted Aarav “enough Aarav. Do you have any idea what you are talking about. If I tell you the truth, you will feel ashamed of yourself and your thinking”

Natasha narrated about what did happen between Rohit and Madhumita. How he did cheat her. How much trauma she went through. Madhu did flirt with Rohit, just because he tried to outshine Aarav. So she decided to give back Rohit in his own way, where it will hurt him the most. She was afraid to tell all this to Aarav because he was too impulsive. She loved Aarav. How she was agonised by Aarav’s allegations . Moreover he did not allow her to explain anything. Infact Madhu thinks that Aarav never loved her and used her the same way as did Rohit.

Natasha narrated everything to Aarav. All her journey and success uptil now. How Madhu transformed to what she is now. All her struggle with Rohit, Aarav, her parents.

Aarav could not believe. He was ashamed of her behaviour and all these years. “Natasha, is it true?”

“yes. Every word of it. You were so close to her, but you never tried to understand her. I know everything about her. She is my best friend because she is worthy. You could not see her devotion.”

“Oh My God. What I did. Natasha I am really ashamed. I could not trust her. She tried to contact me repeatedly, but I ignored her. I was preoccupied by the thought that she just want to sleep with boys.” Aarav grabbed his head with his hands. He continued “I lost my mom and lost my true love also”

“Aarav.. You will not believe how much she was hurt. It was not easy for her to lose you. Moreover her parents wanted her to marry after graduation. She worked hard, cleared CAT. Now she is well placed, but her journey was not easy”

“Natasha I love her. I want her back in my life” Aarav pleaded.

“Aarav are you mad!…. Just now you were raising questions on her character… Now you saying you love her…”

“Yes, I love her. I will just go and tell her”

“do you think she will accept you”

“why not… We loved each other Natasha”

“exactly… She loved you once. But now, she has moved in her life”

“is there someone else in her life”

“I don’t think so. But she has no feelings for you as well”

“I will apologise for whatever I did”

“I don’t think that will help. She is a totally different girl now with her vision very clear”

“Natasha help me please. I want her back in my life”

“do you think she is an object. What do you mean by you want her back in your life. She is a human being. She has her choices. What do you want is not the only thing that matters. Its her wish that matters too”

“Natasha please help me”

“you can try to express your emotions, but carefully. Let her decide what she wants”

“I am going right now”

“no… Wait for the right moment. Don’t be impulsive. Please grow up. You have given her a lot of pain for more than 3 years. Which eventually she did overcome. Do you think she will hug you out of love, if you go and apologise”

” I don’t know.. May be yes….. May be no”

“Its definitely no. Be tactical. Try to ignite her past feelings, but gently”

“Hmm…”

Aarav and Natasha are hopeful about igniting Madhumita’s lost feelings. Will they succeed. Will Aarav get back his love. Will Madhu forgive him and accept him for whatever he did to her?.. We will know in next chapter. Till then lets have a look in our lives… Do misunderstanding really ruin relationships. Do we allow others to explain or are we preoccupied by what we think…. Will it change our life, if keep our vision open…. Till then wish to you all.. lots of positive thinking…