SWASAN – MR MAHESHWARI AND I
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Swasan early morning nok-jhok.. Swara gets ready for her first day at work
Annapurna : Swara, Pay close attention! Be careful! Do your work diligently and properly.
Uttara (rolling her eyes) : Badi Ma! Do you think Swara is a 6 year old child? She can handle herself.
Sujata : Uttara! That’s true. But we are mothers and we will always think of you like young children.
Swara chuckled and hugged her mothers.
Swara : Don’t worry Badi Ma! Mom! I will follow all the advice you gave. I’ll certainly do my best.
Sanskaar (descending the stairs) : Swara! Are you ready? Shall we go? I’ll drop you and then go to office.
Swara : Haan Sanskaar! Chalo..
Sujata : Just one minute.
Perplexed, Swara and Sanskaar waited as Sujata went into the kitchen. She returned with a small cup of curds and sugar.
Annapurna : Eat a spoonful of this, Beta before you leave. Good luck to you, Swara!
Swara took a spoonful of the curds, then bent down to get the blessings of the mothers.
Sanskaar : Ma, Badi Ma! Shall we go now? She’ll be late otherwise.
Annapurna : Yes! Go on now. Don’t worry about anything Swara. Just go confidently.
Swara : Ji Badi Ma!
Sanskaar took Swara’s hand and they got into the car. He took the wheel and they set off.
Sanskaar (after 10 minutes) : Are you scared, Swara?
Swara, who had been staring out the window, turned and looked at Sanskaar. She smiled.
Swara : Not scared… Perhaps a bit nervous? It’s been so long since I felt so out of place anywhere. Don’t you remember the first day you joined the company?
Sanskaar smiled and nodded.
Sanskaar : I was so nervous that I wanted to run back home. I almost tried it too.
Swara : But you didn’t. And now you are the best businessman in Kolkata.
Sanskaar shrugged, a bit embarrased. He looked at her confidently.
Sanskaar : Don’t worry. I know you’ll be a star there.
Swara grinned and nodded.
Sanskaar : I had got something for you yesterday.
Swara (astonished) : You had? What is it? You didn’t give it to me yesterday.
Sanskaar : Well, First your present had me transfixed and then… Later, we were busy if you recall.
Swara blushed and looked away.
Swara : So when will I get my present?
Sanskaar smiled, reached for his waistcoat pocket and took out a box.
Sanskaar : You get it right now. (giving the box to her) Here you go, My Shona!
Swara took the box and opened it.
Swara (gasping) : Sanskaar! It’s so beautiful.
She took out the silver analog watch and exclaimed in delight.
Swara : I love it!
Sanskaar : Turn the watch and look. It might be hard to spot, though. Sorry!
She turned to see an engraving at the back. The inscription was quite long in miniscule writing. Swara squinted to get a good look at it.
FOREVER IS A LONG TIME, BUT I DON’T KNOW IF MY LOVE FOR YOU WILL BE ABLE TO LAST ONLY THAT LONG. ONE FOREVER WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH FOR ME. S AND S FOREVER!
Swara (slowly tearing up) : San..s…kaar! This is….
Sanskaar (squeezing her hand) : I know! You don’t have to put it in words. I always know what you feel.
Swara nodded, then reached and kissed Sanskaar on the cheek.
Sanskaar : Haaye! Now that made my day.
They chuckled and Sanskaar pulled over in front of Swara’s office. She got down and gulped. She turned around to find Sanskaar looking at her reassuringly.
Sanskaar : Go on! You can do it.
Swara smiled confidently and nodded.
Swara : I can! I will meet you in the evening at home. Be prepared to hear how awesome it was.
Sanskaar clapped and waved good-bye before starting for his office.
Swara : BADI MA!!!
She burst in from the doorway, running and odoorway.
Swara : Ma! Ragini! Sakshi! Guess what! I love my work…
She virtually flew towards them and hugged them all. As everyone sat down comfortably, Swara told them the events of the day.
Sujata : I’m so happy you love it beta!
Sumi : Haan Shona! I’m really pleased that you are so happy.
The rest of them continued talking while Swara attended a call.
Swara (happily) : Draamebaaz!
Laksh : Kya hua Swara? You seem really happy?
Swara : Laksh! I should really shout at you, but I’m too happy. Today was my first day at work.
Laksh : Oh shit! Swara! I’m so sorry. I forgot.
Swara : That’s okay. Just listen, It was such an amazing day. The people there are so friendly. The work is really worth doing…
Ragini : Who are you talking to, Swara?
Laksh (his voice different) : Was that Ragini?
Swara : Ragini, I’m talking to Laksh. Wait a minute. Laksh… Laksh?
Laksh (in a low voice) : I’m here.
Swara (her voice sympathetic) : Draamebaaz… I…
Laksh (sounding forcedly cheerful) : Swara! I’m glad you’re enjoying the work. How’s everyone at home?
Swara : Everyone’s fine here. How is your novel coming along? You do realise, that everyone’s expecting a novel from you?
Laksh (groaning) : I would.. If someone just left me alone..
Swara : Huh? What do you mean?
Laksh began to tell, but a voice interrupted him on the other side. He cursed.
Laksh : I can’t believe she has come again. Swara, I’ll talk to you later! I have to take care of something first.
Swara : But…
She stopped talking as Laksh had already cut the call.
Swara (murmuring to herself) : I wonder which girl Laksh was talking about!
She walked back to where the others were sitting.
Swara : Mom! Where is Uttara? She wanted to talk to me from this morning.
Sujata : She told she was going out with friends. She’ll be coming late. Vaise, Swara! Sanskaar called and told he’ll be late as well. Did he tell you?
Swara (nodding) : Yeah! He did. I spoke to him before coming home.
Sujata : Alright then!
Adarsh (entering the room) : Sakshi!
Everyone turned as he came, his eyes only for Sakshi. They began talking until Ragini’s voice stopped them.
Ragini : Adarsh! Won’t you tell hello to Ma and me?
Adarsh turned around sheepishly.
Adarsh : Sorry Ragini! Hello Mishti Aunty!
Sumi : Hello beta! Now tell me, How long are you going to call me aunty?
Swara : Ma?
Sumi : Yes Swara! I came here to talk to both Adarsh and Sakshi about their wedding! Annapurna Ji, Sujata Ji, What do you think? It’s been two weeks since Swara’s wedding. Do you think it’s too soon to talk about their wedding?
Annapurna : To tell the truth, I’ve been thinking about this as well. What do you think, Adarsh? Sakshi beta?
Sakshi : Aunty, I thought we could have a double wedding with Ragini.
Sumi (putting on a thoughtful face) : Karan is away and won’t be back for atleast 2 and a half months. Isn’t that right, Ragini?
Ragini nodded, looking a bit dim.
Swara (softly) : Missing him, Are you?
Ragini (blushing) : A lot.
Swara snickered and they focused again on the conversation at hand.
Sujata : If Karan is not going to be here for a while, Why don’t we think of having the wedding three months from now? We can have the engagement two days before the wedding.
Sumi : That sounds delightful. I’ll talk to Karan’s mother as well and we can probably confirm the dates.
Swara (thinking) : I just hope Laksh will be okay when he hears about this. I shall have to talk to him. I also think I need to tell Sanskaar about this.
LATER THAT NIGHT, REALLY LATE
Sanskaar entered the house tired, but happy. He had been quite busy today and now he was finally home. Swara had told him all about her day. She had sounded so excited.
Sanskaar (thinking) : Swara is really happy with her job. I couldn’t come early though. I hope she’s still awake.
He entered their bedroom but the lights were off.
Sanskaar (switching on the lights) : Swara? Huh? Where is she?
He went out of the room again and searched down the corridor.
Sanskaar : Where is she? Maybe… In the studio?
He went inside the studio and saw Swara sitting on a chair, her head resting on a desk in front of her, fast asleep.
Sanskaar (chuckling) : Guess she was too impatient to start her work.. But forgot about how tired she was.
Sanskaar (going beside her) : Swara sweetheart!
Swara (sleepily) : Sanskaar! You’re home? Did you have dinner yet?
She got up groggily, but Sanskaar could see she was really tired.
Sanskaar : I had dinner. Don’t worry. Why don’t we go to bed?
Swara (yawning) : Good idea! Come on.
Sanskaar tucked Swara in and watched her as she fell asleep immediately after murmuring a soft I love you, Sanskaar! He beamed and went inside the washroom to freshen himself. He changed into his night clothes and came out.
Sanskaar stared out the window as he saw the beginning of a fierce storm. He looked at it delighted. He loved the power of a storm. Suddenly his eyes widened and he looked at Swara worried.
She was scared of the rain and storms.
She was sleeping soundly but he ran over and cradled her in his arms.
He tried to nudge the covers up over her exposed ear so that she would not hear the drops beating against the windows, but Swara was as energetic, asleep, like when she was awake and she soon shrugged off the blankets.
Swara was growing a little more restless at his side, and he made shhhhing sounds as he smoothed her hair with his hand. The storm hadn’t woken her up, but it had definitely intruded upon her slumber. She had begun to mumble in her sleep, tossing and turning until she was curled on her opposite side, facing him.
Sanskaar (hugging her tightly, whispering) : My poor Shona! Why do you hate the rains so much?
Suddenly, Swara began to struggle in his arms. Sanskaar saw that the curtain was open and the light from the lightning bolts was coming inside. He tried to get away, but she grabbed his arm, her fingers pressing frantically into his muscles.
Sanskaar (soothing voice) : Swara! I’m only trying to close the curtains. I’ll be here immediately. Don’t worry.
But she did not let go, and the whimper that escaped her lips when a clap of thunder shook the night nearly broke his heart.
Sanskaar wanted to switch on the light and reassure her, but he couldn’t move. A beam of moonlight lit the room and Sanskaar could see the tense and nervous lines on Swara’s face. She was still sleeping, but not peacefully. She’d curled into a semi-fetal position and her breathing was labored. The lightning didn’t seem to bother her much, but every time the room shook with thunder she flinched.
He took her hand and smoothed her hair, and for several minutes he simply lay with her, trying to soothe her as she slept.
But the storm was increasing in intensity, with the thunder and lightning practically coming on top of each other. Swara was growing more restless by the second, and then, as a particularly loud clap of thunder exploded in the air, her eyes flew open, her face a mask of utter panic.
Sanskaar : Swara!
Swara was taut and moved back until she was leaning against the headboard. She looked like a statue of terror, her body stiff and frozen into place. Her eyes were still open, barely blinking, and though she did not move her head, they flicked frantically back and forth, scanning the entire room, but not seeing anything.
Sanskaar (whispering) : Swara!
He had known she was really scared, but this was far worse than what had happened in Venus Park. He could feel the force of her pain slicing right through his heart.
No one should feel terror like this. And especially not his wife.
Moving slowly, so as not to startle her, he made his way to her side, then carefully laid an arm over her shoulders. She was shaking, but she did not push him away.
Sanskaar : Will you remember this in the morning?
She didn’t answer. Instead she began to murmur.
Swara (frantically) : No.. No..
She buried her face in the crook of his neck and began to tremble. Sanskaar held her tightly but Swara didn’t seem to recognise him. She seemed like she was looking for something.
A huge bout of thunder clapped across the room at that moment and Swara got down from the bed in terror and gave out a shrill scream.
Swara : No… no… This shouldn’t happen.
Sanskaar was out of the bed in an instant.
Sanskaar (choking down the terror in his throat) : No.. Swara! Nothing has happened. Swara!
But her words had melted away, and all that was left was the low sound of a weeping that came from deep in her soul. She stopped suddenly and sagged down, asleep. Sanskaar caught her before she fell down and set her gently on the bed.
She was sleeping quite normally now, in a deep stupor. Which, he noticed ironically, was right about the time the last of the thunder and lightning split the room.
He heard a knock and went to open the door. Annapurna and Sujata entered, shocked to see Sanskaar’s face full of fear!
Annapurna : Sanskaar beta! What happened here? We thought we heard Swara scream.
Sanskaar (dazed) : She….
Sujata : Sanskaar! Sanskaar? Kya hua.. Tell us.
Sanskaar briefly outlined the events of the previous half hour. The mothers looked at Swara worried.
Sujata : Poor girl! I wonder what happened to her to fear the rain.
Sanskaar (thinking) : I can’t let my love suffer so much every time it rains. I shall have to find out why Swara hates the rain.
He locked the room after the mothers left and sat down next to Swara.
Sanskaar : I will not allow you to suffer anymore. Tomorrow we find out what happened to you. That’s a promise.
So, why is Swara afraid of the rain?
I’m back people ? ?
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