SWASAN – MR MAHESHWARI AND I
Heyy, It’s Anjali back with the next chapter!!!
Thnxx for comments and to my silent readers….
THIS IS A SUPER LONG CHAPTER!!!! HAVE FUN!!!
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Sanskaar’s surprise for Swara
THE NEXT MORNING
Sanskaar had woken up early. Really early, in fact. It was barely 4:30 and it was really cold, but he couldn’t let mere nature come between him and victory. After all, it was the game today.
Ragini, Karan, Sakshi and Adarsh were coming here for the day to join the game and along with Saanvi and Laksh, it would be a full play game. Sanskaar smiled. It had been ages since he had played a full game and he was itching to do so. He loved playing the ball game.
Swara had changed the name the day before. He smiled as he remembered her words now.
Swara : Calling it the ball game is just stupid. At the very least it’s unimaginative. We should change it. I shall think of a name and then tell you.
He went to the shed where the mallets, the balls and the hoops were kept for the game. It was important to get the black mallet, THE MALLET OF DEATH before Swara did. There may be ages for them to start playing, but the war had begun.
The rules of the game were very simple.
There were 6 hoops set into the ground at different places. All one had to do was push their balls through the hoops using the respective coloured mallet and it was done. This was the actual game. But being of a competitive nature, Sanskaar had complicated the game. He had made the entire woods the playing field with each hoop being placed as far apart as possible.
But when Swara entered, the game took on a very different meaning. The black mallet was the main object in their game. The one who had it was considered the winner. And so, Sanskaar had woken up early to make sure he had it safely before Swara could play her games.
Sanskaar (muttering) : Ab dekh Swara! The mallet will be mine and so will the challenge. This is my game and will always be mine.
He smirked and opened the shed where the mallets and balls were kept. He checked all the colours, then frowned. No, It had to be here. He checked all the mallets once again.
Where the hell was black? He looked around and found a note sitting on a nearby desk. He opened it.
NOTE : AWW!! BABY, YOU’LL NEVER FIND IT :* – SSM
Sanskaar shook his head. Damn it, His wife had got the better of him and had stolen it before he did.
He ran into the house shouting loudly.
Sanskaar : SWARA! SWARA! WAKE UP… Devil of a woman! SWARA!
He stormed up the stairs shouting her name. Finally, A demure Swara appeared in a white nightgown looking innocent. She opened her mouth to speak, but it was not her voice Sanskaar heard. Instead, it was a very irate male voice.
Laksh : BHAI! Just what do you mean by waking us up at 4:45am?
Sanskaar (scowling) : Stay out of this. YOU! (glaring at his wife) Where is it?
Swara (mildly) : Where is what?
Sanskaar gave a look that could kill but it didn’t faze Swara.
Saanvi (entering the hallway rubbing her eyes) : What’s going on?
Everyone turned towards he as she unconsciously stood near Laksh.
Laksh (looking at Sanskaar with disgust) : These two have gone mad. I told you they love challenging each other right? So, To win, they’ll go to any heights including keeping us all awake at this unearthly hour.
Saanvi (chuckling) : I think they’re cute.
Laksh turned the disgusted expression on her.
Laksh : You think this is cute? God save me from these people.
Sanskaar : Laksh! Shut up. Swara! Where is the bl**dy black mallet?
Swara (looking worried) : Oh dear! Is it missing? Did you look properly Sanskaar? I’m sure you’re half asleep. You must not have looked properly.
Sanskaar gave a frustrated sound. He was just about to kill anyone. His menace of a wife who was acting innocent, his brother who was shooting him disgusted looks. Even Saanvi, who seemed to be enjoying the whole damn show.
Sanskaar (in a deep voice) : Swara Maheshwari!
Swara (in the same tone) : Sanskaar Maheshwari…
Laksh groaned again.
Laksh : You pagal Maheshwaris! Get out or wait, I’ll get out. At least this way, I can be free from you folks. Waking up at 4:30. bl**dy useless people. Come on Saanvi! Let’s go for chai in the market place.
He took Saanvi’s hand who looked surprised and they walked out the door.
Swara (disapprovingly) : Now look what you did. You drove the poor dears out. Let’s go back to bed… Come on. Look at your face, Mr Maheshwari. You look ready to burst. This much anger is not good for anyone. (shaking her head) No, It’s not. Come on.
Sanskaar : Swara! Where is it?
Swara turned and began to walk to the bedroom.
Swara : That’s for me to know and you to find. You know, I shouldn’t really be bribing your servants. (shrugging) Oh well… It’s done now. If you’re going to be a sourpuss like that, You can sleep in the living room. Don’t come back here.
Sanskaar stared at the woman locked herself in. In THEIR bedroom. She had bribed one of the servants and got the mallet and now had locked him out.
Surely something was unjust in this? The universe couldn’t probably want her to win.
Sanskaar scowled. This battle was far from over.
LATER THAT MORNING
Swara (entering the dining hall) : Good morning baby. Slept well?
To her surprise, Sanskaar beamed. He got up, kissed her on the cheek and handed her a cup of tea.
Sanskaar : Good morning honey! The couch was very comfortable. You should try sleeping there sometime.
Swara (sitting down) : So, you actually slept? You didn’t go search for the mallet?
Sanskaar (smiling) : Of course I didn’t. I thought about bribing someone else to give it to me. Then decided against it… it’s no use giving money away a second time.
Swara opened her mouth, then closed it. This wasn’t normal Sanskaar. He wouldn’t just leave something like that. Suspicion rose in her mind. She excused herself and ran from the dining hall.
Minutes later, She entered fuming.
Swara (eyes flashing) : Where is IT?
Sanskaar (surprised) : What?
Swara : The mallet? What did you do with it?
Sanskaar looked at her blankly, then smiled.
Sanskaar : I didn’t do anything, but God surely favours me.
Swara : SANSKAAR MAHESHWARI!
She walked up to him, but Sanskaar escaped and went round the table.
Laksh (in a bored voice) : Are you going to chase each other everyday now?
The couple turned and rolled their eyes at him. Then Laksh walked inside holding the black mallet.
Swara (gasping) : Where did you get that?
Laksh (smirking) : I decided to bribe the servant as well. I didn’t want you two to kill each other, You see.
Swara : Give it! That’s mine.
Sanskaar (snorting) : In which world? It’s mine. Give it to me.
Laksh (turning around) : Sorry Bhaiyya! Sorry Bhabhi… But this devar is the winner! Not you guys.
He walked away leaving a flabbergasted Swara and an exasperated Sanskaar.
Sanskaar : Since when does he come between our fights?
Swara (sighing) : God knows. (brightening up) Just so you know, Black mallet or not, I’m going to thrash you.
Sanskaar grinned and went next to her. He bent down and whispered in her ear, a glint of determination in his eyes.
Sanskaar : In your mind maybe… But I have years of experience than you. If anyone wins, it’s me. Are you up for it, Mrs Maheshwari?
Swara (beaming) : Always.
THAT AFTERNOON 3pm
Swara was waiting on the outside porch for Ragini and the others. They were due any minute now and soon she could crush Sanskaar in the game. She loved the man but it would be amazing to trounce him at his own game. Laksh walked out, whistling.
Swara (shooting him a dirty look) : Dramebaaz! That was low.
Laksh (chuckling) : You mean bribing for the mallet? Chin up Swara! You should be happy that I have the mallet instead of him.
Swara (scowling) : I had the mallet. I had to pay Rs500 to get it. How much did YOU pay?
Laksh (making a tsk sound) : Just 500? Cho chaaaaad! (smirking) I paid Rs1200.
Swara (shrieking) : You what? Are you mad? Who pays so much for a stupid mallet?
Sakshi (confused) : Am I missing something?
The two of them turned to look at Adarsh, Sakshi, Karan and Ragini looking at them bemused.
Swara (happily) : Ragini! Sakshi! Guys… (hugging her sisters) Laksh was just being annoying as usual.
Sanskaar (coming out of the house) : Laksh may be annoying but you… My dear, are the spawn of the devil himself.
The others laughed but Sakshi looked at Sanskaar reproachfully.
Sakshi : That’s not nice.
Adarsh (putting an arm around her) : Minx! If you want to play the game today, You’l need to learn to have bad sportsmanship. It’s a requirement. The Maheshwaris will never concede a win to you.
Ragini : Swara wasn’t a Maheshwari until recently.
Laksh : She is a born Maheshwari. An aberration. She has no sportsmanship… At least when it comes to her husband. (chuckling)
Swara (demanding) : An aberration?
Karan (smiling) : I think Laksh means it as a compliment here.
Laksh smiled once, then stiffened. He had tried so hard not to look at Ragini. Yet, He couldn’t stop staring at her. Even in a simple tee and jeans, She looked breath-taking. And Karan was right next to her. It hurt to look. He turned away.
Suddenly there was a soft hand on his shoulder. Blinking the hurt out, He turned and saw a petite Saanvi standing next to him, her brown eyes holding a soft, understanding gaze. She smiled at him and nodded. He looked at her gratefully. He looked back at the others where Swara and Sanskaar were looking at him worried, but they relaxed when they saw Saanvi with him.
Laksh (looking at Saanvi) : That’s Ragini.
Saanvi ( looking at her) : I know. She is very beautiful.
Laksh : The man beside her is….
Saanvi : Karan. Her fiance?
Laksh nodded. Saanvi held his hand not saying anything. They stood there for a couple of minutes before Laksh smiled at her.
Laksh : Come on, Let’s introduce you to them.
Meanwhile, Sanskaar who was standing beside Swara bent down.
Sanskaar (speaking in her ear) : You know that even if we are playing against everyone else, the ultimate game is between us?
Swara (smirking) : Of course baby. It’s you and me.
20 minutes later
Laksh (demanding) : Why do you get to set the course everytime?
Sanskaar (smiling evilly) : Because I own the God-damn place, Brother!
Laksh grumbled about how unfair it was that he was the youngest and Saanvi giggled.
Sakshi (smiling at her) : So, You’re from Mumbai. You like it here?
Ragini (before Saanvi could answer) : Swara! I spoke to you yesterday. You never mentioned a word about her.
There was a hint of reproach in her voice. Saanvi couldn’t help but smile. She recalled Swara telling her that Ragini was the sweetest girl that she could find and Saanvi had to agree.
Though she didn’t hate her, she was a bit indignant on Laksh’s behalf. But that was silly, she realised. Ragini had fallen in love with Karan who clearly adored Ragini. How could she blame them? Also, Ragini had been so friendly with her,it was hard to hate the woman. She chuckled now.
Saanvi : I’m sure it just slipped out of Swara’s mind. After all, She has a match to win.
The ladies laughed while Sanskaar thundered over to them.
Sanskaar : What the hell are you doing? Come on, It’s time to play.
Swara : You mean, it’s time for you to lose.
Sanskaar scoffed. They continued to bicker as the rest of them shook their heads.
Adarsh : How in the world did those two fall in love?
Laksh (mischeviously) : Love potion? Blackmail?
Saanvi : Shh Laksh! Those two are so cute.
Sakshi : I agree.. Theirs is a match made in heaven.
Swara (shouting) : Are you all going to choose your colours or not?
Laksh (groaning) : Like I said, An aberration.
Sanskaar stared at the black mallet broodingly. Then brightened as he thought of the last time he had played this game.
The day he had fallen in love.
Not that he’d realized it at the time. Nor had Swara, he imagined, but he was certain that day was the day they were fated to be together.
She left him with the pink mallet. She had sent his ball into the lake.
Nostalgia filled him as he stared at his wife with love and pride. She was excellent.
Feeling the stares, She turned towards him and smiled. Even in the midst of all their challenges, Their love never diminished. They grew frustrated with each other to the point of murder but the next moment, They were the most lovely couple you saw.
Laksh : I still think it’s unfair that you set the course.
Sanskaar : Oh! Get over it. I bl**dy well own the place.
He held his hand up to shield his eyes from the sun as he inspected his work. He’d done a brilliant job this time, if he did say so himself. It was diabolical. Pure genius.
Karan : Swearing in front of ladies is very bad.
Sanskaar rolled his eyes as he knew that Karan was just trying to irritate him.
Sanskaar : I see no ladies here. I see my wife, My sisters by marriage and my lovely friend.
Karan : Ah! But my fiancee is a true lady.
Ragini looked amused as Adarsh agreed with Karan and Laksh defended Saanvi.
Sanskaar : I still don’t see it.
Karan turned to Swara who was watching the exchange quietly, tapping her purple mallet— Which she told was perfectly satisfactory, though Sanskaar knew better, against the grass.
Karan : How do you tolerate him?
Swara (smiling at her future brother-in-law) : It’s a talent few possess.
Laksh (showing off the black mallet proudly) : Shall we begin?
Adarsh (surprised) : The black mallet? You have it? I thought Sanskaar might. Or Swara… But…
Swara (grumbling) : He bribed the servant I bribed.
Everyone laughed at her annoyed expression. Seeing her dirty look, They decided that it would be better to choose the colours. Ragini chose blue, Sakshi pink, Saanvi orange while Karan chose yellow, Adarsh green and Sanskaar black.
Saanvi : Umm… How do we play?
Sanskaar (incredulously) : You don’t know?
Sakshi : I’m stumped too.
Sanskaar (exasperated) : What the hell were you two doing? You had the whole day to get ready. Sakshi, ask someone and learn. You too, Saanvi.
He walked over to the starting position and practised swinging the mallet. Ten minutes later, The rest of them followed.
Sakshi : So… in which order does it go?
Swara : Shall we say oldest to youngest? So the order will be as follows : Sanskaar, Adarsh, Laksh, Sakshi, Me, Karan, Saanvi and Ragini. Is that right?
Adarsh : Don’t you come before Sakshi?
Sakshi : Laksh, Swara, Karan and I are all 25. Laksh is Jan, Swara is June, Karan is September and I’m in April. The order is right baby.
Sanskaar : Let’s start then.
Everyone stood silent as he took a powerful swing and pushed his red ball near a clump of trees. Pleased, He stood back, but Swara shot him a pitying look.
Swara : Sorry honey!
Sanskaar (frowning as Adarsh took his shot) : What do you mean? It was a brilliant swing.
Swara : Yes. But…
Laksh (impatiently) : My turn now. Move over.
Sanskaar (narrowing his eyes) : What did you do?
Swara (widening her eyes) : Me? Nothing. Just there are few bunnyholes there.
Sanskaar : Bunnyholes.. In this weather? Woman, What did you do?
Swara : I was just trying to find treasure.
Sanskaar looked at his wife. His maddening, diabolical, and soon-to-be-locked-in-a-dungeon wife.
Sanskaar : Are we short of money?
Swara (shrugging) : Can’t hurt to look.
He took a step in her direction. She darted behind Saanvi.
Saanvi : What’s wrong?
Swara : My husband seems to want to kill me.
Laksh (Calling out) : Swara! Sakshi has played. It’s your turn.
Karan (quizzically) : How did you know to put the holes there?
Swara : Laksh told me that Sanskaar always puts the first course there. It was easy enough.
Sanskaar stretched out his fingers and measured her throat. She darted out from behind Saanvi and scooted toward the starting pole.
Swara (happily) : All’s fair, dear husband.
And then she bent forward, aimed, and sent the purple ball flying. Straight into one of the bunnyholes. Sanskaar sighed happily. There was justice in this world, after all.
PRECAP : Game to continue… Leap of three months
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!
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