CHAPTER 62: Hidden pain
(Three months after Pankhuri’s arrest)
“Shanti, yeh paratha ache se pack karke rakh dena, Jiju jab jayenge toh unhe dene hai” (Shanti, pack these parathas properly, when Jiju will leave he’ll take it with him)
Disha ordered the maid to pack the tiffin according to everybody’s choices…. The maid nodded and left to the work she was told to do….
Disha sighed and resumed doing her work…. Being the only daughter-in-law of the family, it was her responsibility to look after everyone in the family…. And like all other days, today also she missed her Pragya Di…. How life would have been different if she would have been here…. How the two of them would have worked together and how the family would have been complete…. Her chain of thoughts broke as Gauri entered the kitchen….
“Maa, where my breakfast, already I am getting late and you all are not helping at all”
Gauri entered the kitchen getting irritated for not receiving her breakfast on time…. Punctuality was a word that topped her dictionary and she hated it to be late…. She looked at the maid surprised as today yet again she was packing those same parathas…. Gauri had been observing this since years, every week her Bade papa would take these with himself…. She was surprised with the fact as no one in the family liked them yet they would be made every week…. She had asked Disha and Abhi several times but she never got a definite answer and she was growing suspicious of their behavior….
Disha: Your breakfast is ready, go and take your place at the table. I’ll get it for you.
Gauri nodded and walked out of the kitchen…. Today she decided to get answers to her questions…. There were many things in her family she was not aware of and it was time she got to know them….
“Are breakfast toh karke jaa, itni bhi kya jaldi hai” (What is the hurry, at least have your breakfast)
“Nahi maa, I am already very late, aaj nahi kha paungi” (No Maa, I am already very late, I cannot have this now)
Prachi was running around the room collecting her things…. She was already late and now her mother was behind her walking with a food plate to make her eat the breakfast…. Pragya was determined to not let her daughter set foot outside the house without having her breakfast…. The mother daughter continued with their banter when the doorbell rang…. The two looked at each other and smiled….
Pragya: Lo aa gaya tera personal driver, lagta hai tere bina uski gadi chalti hi nahi hai. (Looks like your personal driver came, sometimes I wonder whether his car works without you or not)
Pragya teased her daughter and started laughing…. Prachi looked at her mother in disbelief…. Not a single day had passed in the past weeks when she had not teased her….
Prachi walked out of the room not wanting to hear anymore of her mother’s teasing…. She opened the door and Ranbir entered with a bouquet of white lilies and a bright smile on his face…. The smile that brightened Prachi’s world….
Ranbir: Good morning….
Prachi: Good morning….
He handed over the bouquet to her and she looked at him surprised…. He would come to pick her up every day but he had never brought flowers for her…. She took the bouquet from him and was about to say something….
Pragya: Good morning Ranbir
Prachi and Ranbir turned to look at Pragya…. Ranbir took blessings from her as he greeted her…. Pragya smiled looking at his gestures…. Every day he would come to pick up Prachi and would never forget to take her blessings, slowly it had become a ritual for their mornings….
Pragya: Acha hua you came Ranbir, now you only explain her and make her have her breakfast, yeh ladki meri toh sunanti hi nahi hai. (Good Ranbir you came, now you only explain her and make her have her breakfast, this girls does not listen to me)
Pragya handed the plate to Ranbir and walked back to the kitchen to get his favorite coffee for him…. Prachi looked at Pragya annoyed as whenever she did not listen to her, Pragya would make Ranbir do it for her and then Ranbir would not let Prachi stay at peace until and unless he fulfilled Pragya’s wish…. In a short span of month of their togetherness, their relations had changed a lot…. Ranbir had become Pragya’s favorite from the day he had met her and Prachi wondered that Pragya loved him more than her….
Knowing that Prachi had no say when the mother-son duo was together, she sat down on the chair…. Ranbir smiled at her act and sat beside her…. He took a morsel in his hand and forwarded it towards her…. She quietly ate as he fed her….
Life had changed so much in the past months…. After the case was over, neither Prachi nor Ranbir had thought that they would end up together…. Ranbir knew he loved her but thought that he would never get to say it to her…. Prachi also knew that she liked him but she was not sure if it was love that was growing between them…. The two talked to each other once in a few days and could sense the growing feelings within themselves; however they were not sure of how to express themselves…. Only when a month before when Ranbir finally confessed his love for her, they believed in their love for each other and decided to give their relationship a chance…. Prachi and Ranbir both informed this to Pragya as they needed her agreement, Pragya was more than happy to have someone like Ranbir in her daughter’s life…. And since that day, he would come to pick her up, have breakfast with them, drop her at her office, they would spend time with each other and Pragya on weekends…. Their little family that had formed gave them the much needed peace in their lives….
Pragya came out of the kitchen and saw Ranbir feeding Prachi…. She smiled looking at the two of them…. Tears collected in her eyes as they reminded her of her old times, times when Abhi would feed her like this…. Times when she also had someone who loved her the way Ranbir loved her daughter…. Times when she had Abhi by her side always…. It had been years since they had been separated but still she missed her husband the same every day…. Pragya only wished that Prachi and Ranbir stayed together like this always unlike Abhi and her…. Only Pragya knew how much of her pain she had kept hidden inside her…. She never let her pain overshadow Prachi’s happiness and made sure that Prachi was happy always….
Ranbir and Prachi were waiting at the traffic signal when Prachi was reminded of the flowers he had brought for her….
Prachi: Aaj kuch special hai kya? (Is there something special today?)
Ranbir: Nahi toh, why are you asking?
Prachi: So the flowers, you never bring flowers in the morning, jaroor koi baat hai.
Ranbir: You know what I am never going to be able to hide anything from you, your lawyer brain works a lot.
Prachi: Matlab, aaj kuch toh jaroor hai. What is it?
Ranbir: Kuch hai toh, but I won’t tell you now.
Prachi: That is so unfair.
Ranbir: Well, everything is fair in love and war.
Ranbir: No Prachi, please don’t make such faces, I’ll not tell you anything now, you have to wait till the evening.
Prachi: Okay then, don’t talk to me till then.
And before Ranbir could say anything, she got down from the car and started walking away…. Ranbir was surprised by her behavior as Prachi had never behaved like this…. The signal turned green and he drove the car towards one side of the road and got down…. Prachi was walking ahead when he quickly caught up with her pace and held her hand to stop her….
Ranbir: Prachi, what is this behavior, come with me, chalo….
Prachi: I don’t want to come with you, don’t you understand?
Ranbir: Look Prachi….
Prachi: No, I don’t want to hear anything from you, let me go, I’ll not come with you.
Ranbir was about to say something when he saw a hand holding his hand…. Both Prachi and Ranbir looked at the man standing there, the man pulled out Prachi’s hand out of Ranbir’s grip…. Prachi was shocked seeing him while Ranbir was confused and annoyed seeing the man interfering in their matter….
Man: When she is saying she doesn’t want to come with you, then why are you forcing her?
Ranbir: And who do you think you are to interfere in our matter, and leave her hand.
Ranbir pulled Prachi’s hand away from the man’s hold and pulled her towards him, he kept his hand on her waist and pulled her closer to him, showing the man that she belongs to him…. Prachi wanted to say something but before she could the man started speaking….
Man: Hmm, kafi possessive ho ise lekar. (Looks like you are very possessive for her)
Ranbir: Ha hu, but lagta hai aapko kisine sikhaya nahi hai ki dusre ke personal matters mein nahi bolna chahiye. (Yes I am, but looks like no one has taught you not to speak in other people’s personal matters)
The man smiled hearing Ranbir’s words while Ranbir looked at him confused seeing his smile….
Ranbir: Why are you smiling?
Man: Personal matters mein bol nahi sakta, lekin ab kya smile bhi nahi kar sakta. (I cannot speak in personal matters, but now I cannot smile also)
Ranbir was getting irritated seeing the man’s behavior….
Man: Kyu kya hua, tum toh kafi irritated lag rahe ho? (What has happened, you look irritated?)
Ranbir: Dekhiye aap…. (Look you….)
Prachi: Okay enough stop it both of you.
Ranbir became quiet hearing Prachi’s loud voice while the man started laughing…. Ranbir looked at the man confused; the man was definitely mad thought Ranbir….
Prachi: Papa, enough now stop laughing, none of this is funny.
Hearing Prachi, the man stopped laughing and smiled, while Ranbir was shocked….
Ranbir looked at Prachi and the man, still processing what he had heard…. Prachi had called the man standing in front of him as her father…. From whatever he had known about Prachi’s father from both Prachi and Pragya, he had known that it had been more than twenty years to their separation and with whatever Pragya had told him, she had not met her husband in all those years…. But now looking at the way Prachi had called him Papa and the way he had smiled, it was clear that they knew each other very well…. So, had Prachi been in touch with her father all these years, then why was she hiding it from her mother…. It was very clear from Pragya’s talks that she definitely was not aware of Prachi meeting her father….
Ranbir: Prachi, what is all this? He is….
Abhi: Her father, Abhishek Prem Mehra.
Prachi: I know Ranbir, this is not the way you should have met Papa, and I know I should have told you all this earlier.
Ranbir: Prachi, does Maa know about all this?
Prachi: Ranbir, woh….
Ranbir: This is not right Prachi; you should not hide all this from her.
Abhi: And what do you think would have happened if Prachi would have told Pragya everything? Pragya would have never let her meet me again.
Ranbir: No, she would have understood, she would have not let a daughter be away from her father. I know Maa very well, she would have never stopped Prachi from meeting you, and Prachi just had to talk to her once.
Prachi: You don’t know Ranbir, if Maa had known; she would never let me meet Papa. She would have….
Ranbir: No Prachi, you cannot say this when you did not even try talking to her. This is not right.
Before Prachi could say anything, Ranbir walked away from there…. Prachi tried stopping him but he did not stop and drove away…. Tears collected in her eyes….
Abhi felt sad seeing the way Ranbir walked away and how it hurt Prachi…. He thought it was because of him that Prachi had to go through this…. Prachi looked at her father and hugged him tightly…. Abhi caressed her back and let her tears flow…. He had to talk to Pragya now…. It was time they met…. But for now, he had to handle Prachi…. He made her face him and wiped her tears….
Prachi: Papa, Ranbir is right, when Maa will know all this, she would be hurt. We should have not hidden this from her. She….
Abhi: Don’t worry Prachi, nothing wrong will happen. I am there with you, I’ll make everything right.
Abhi: Don’t think about all that now, come I’ll drop you at your office; we’ll talk about this later.
Prachi nodded and they both walked towards Abhi’s car…. Abhi dropped Prachi at her office and handed her the tiffin…. She smiled looking at the tiffin and gave a kiss on Abhi’s cheek…. He was indeed the best father she could have ever got…. Abhi feel happy seeing the smile on his daughter’s face…. Prachi waved him a bye and entered her office…. Abhi thought about something and drove away….
However both Prachi and Abhi were unaware of the fact that someone had seen them together and was beyond surprised….
It was late at night, Prachi was sitting near her room’s window looking at the night sky…. Ranbir had not talked to her the entire day, he did not receive her calls nor did he answer her messages…. She felt bad…. She shouldn’t have lied to him…. He, who was always truthful to her and told her even the smallest thing about his life, was very hurt knowing that she chose to keep such a big truth of her life hidden from him…. Tears collected in her eyes, she let them flow…. She wiped her tears immediately as there was a knock on the door of her room…. She composed herself and turned around…. She was surprised to see Ranbir there….
She did not get up from her place and only looked at him…. Ranbir walked in slowly and sat in front of her…. Prachi did not know what to say…. He looked at her and wiped the tears that were now flowing freely…. He took her hand in his and cupped her face with the other hand….
Ranbir: Sorry, I shouldn’t have left you like that; I am really sorry Prachi….
Prachi did not know what to say…. How could she be so lucky to have someone like Ranbir in her life…. How could he love her so much…. She just hugged him tightly and cried, letting go of all her pain…. Ranbir hugged her back….
Pragya saw this from a distance, she smiled and left the room…. She did not know what the reason for their argument was but she was happy that no matter what happened, Prachi and Ranbir would never leave each other….
After sometime, Ranbir broke the hug and wiped her remaining tears shaking his head in negative asking her not to cry more….
Prachi: I am sorry Ranbir, I shouldn’t have hid this from you….
Ranbir: It’s okay Prachi, I know you had a reason to do so, in fact I shouldn’t have reacted like this, I should have listened to you….
Prachi: No Ranbir, you were right in your place, if I was in your place, I too would have done the same.
Ranbir: Prachi, I promise you that from now, no matter what I won’t ever walk away from you.
Prachi: And I promise I’ll never give you a reason to walk away.
They smiled at each other and Ranbir kissed Prachi’s forehead….
Ranbir: I love you Prachi.
Prachi: I love you too Ranbir.
Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing well.
Here is the next chapter of the story, do share your views on the same.
What will happen when Pragya will know about Abhi-Prachi’s secret meetings? Will Gauri ever find that Prachi is her sister? Who can be the person who saw Abhi-Prachi together? Will the Mehra family reunite?
Next chapter will have Ishkara.
Keep reading and smiling!!!
Take care and stay safe!!!