BONDED FOR THE WOMB
Nani ji was arranging her almirah when suddenly her eyes fell on a particular box. A single tear rolled down her cheeks as she caught hold of the box. She brushed the sticky dirt with her pallu and traced her finger over the gold plated embossed name. "Aarti Raizada". She felt a tug remembering her daughter. Her death was a pathetic incident which each and every member in their family suffered. Aarti was traveling to delhi to meet her. That time Raizadas used to live in Mumbai. It was the first time her daughter Aarti was traveling alone leaving behind her 3 year old boy.
Aarti has a big problem in conceiving Aranv and she suffered a lot during her pregnancy. And to top it all there was a lot of complications during arnav's birth. The cord coiled around his neck three times making it so complicated that the entire doctors team raised their hand and said the child is never going to make it, but Arnav was a miracle baby. He survived after such a complicated normal delivery. And that was the reason Aarti never left Aranv away from her sight.
(this is a true incident. My dad was born like this. My grandmother had to go though a terrible labour pain and during her time the delivery used to happen at home when the help of mif-wife).
From that day onwards Arnav was always held very close under her mother's care until his mother's death.
The aircraft on which she was traveling had gone missing from the raider as soon as it took off. After further investigation the craft was retrieved from a jungle. The accident killed each and every passenger including crew members. Arnav was too small to remember anything. But as a child he missed his mother. His father was a one woman man, so he never married any other woman. He did his best raising up Arnav and never let him away from his sight. But the death of his mother left a big impact on him and he started become obstinate and unruly. Anjali was always on her so, and she never really took care of him. His father asked Nani to come and stay with them so that Arnav atleast have a mother figure in his life. Though no one could take his mother's place, but a grand mother was better than a step mother for sire. Since childhood Anjali had a compition with her little brother in every single thing. But Arnav was an intelligent child, which made him excel in whatever he decided to do leaving behind Anjali in all respect. Nani tired to provide him motherly care, but as it is said no one can ever take a mother's place in a child's life, Arnav became extremely quiet and slowly he went inside a shell. A shell that was unbreakable. A shell inside which, he slowly created his own, dark world. Lack of communication made him tough against all woman he was associated with.
After his high school, he dedicated his entire life with his dad learning business. But the time he got with his dad was also short. He again got a big blow during his dad's dismissal. He was hust learning business and his dad died when he was in his first year of collage. He was loosing all hopes and business when Khushi's dad, Arnav's father's business partner became his mentor and filled up that hollow.
Naniji unlocked the box and viewed her daughter's precious jewelleries. It wasnot precious because those were worth few millions, it was precious because all the jewelleries were giving by her beloved husband, arnav's dad. He loved his wife very much and used to treat her like a princess. Her death had been one of the worst phase in his life. But only seeing his children he made himself strong.
Now it was time to give away those precious jewelleries to whom it belonged, Arnav's wife Khushi. She was the true inheritor of those jewelleries. Naniji did not want to give them to Khushi on her wedding day because she hated gazal gupta and anybody related to her. She knew each and everything about that monster GG and Arnav. But after seeing Khushi and her innocence, Naniji's was more than sure about her grand-daughter-in-law. She has seen love in those doe eyes and an unknown strength of detemination in her body language. She knew it very well, if someone can truly change the senario it will be Khushi. No one else. Seeing Arnav changed so much after his marriage was a proof. Poor Kid, she thought. Nani unconsciously picked up the mangalsutra in her hand and brushed through the intricate work.
Raizadas did not have any compulsion on bahus wearing mangalsutra and sindoor, hence Khushi was never forced to wear that. but this mangalsutra held a lot of emotions. It belonged to a woman who died before her husband, which was treated as an auspicious thing in hindu customs. And nani immediately knew that there is no one who can wear that mangalsutra other than Khushi.
She kept aside the mangalsutra and looked through the other jewels when suddenly Anjali came in and took the box from nani's hand.
"Omg! Nani, these are so beautiful, mamma ki hai, hai na?" (these are my mother's right?)
Nani half heartely nodded.
Anjali picked up a solid gold neckless and placed around her neck.
"Wow, this looks so gorgeous nani, thank you so much nani, these must be worth few millions", anjali looked at those jewelleries with greedy eyes.
"Anjali beta...par yeh", nani tried to explain her.
"Oh nani, I am sure mom will be so happy to see these reach to the right person", anjali picked few of them clumsily in her hand.
"Anjali beta, these are for khu.., nani was not able to complete when anjali cut her off.
"Oh please nani, mumma would have been so heart broken if you gave these to Khushi. She would have never accepted her as Raizada bahu. We know her background. What do you expect from Gazal Gupta's daughter? I am sure she will be the first one to marry if my brother ever dies before her", anjali spatted out grinding her molars.
"Shut Up Anjali bitiya, kamse kamse apne bhai ke barein mein aise mat bolo. He is your brother".
As if anjali cared. She would he the first one to take away all the properties and throw Khushi out of the house if something like that happens.
Nani took the box from anjali's hands and kept it inside the cupboard.
Anjali saw the mangalsutra and picked up. Nani was about to turn to take the mangalsutra when she saw anjali almost tying aroung her neck.
"Kamse kam yeh to mei hi rakhungi...did you see the big diamonds in it?"
"Anjali bitiya don't, please.." nani pleaded. "I wanted to give this to Khushi in karwachaut".
"Get her a new one nani, uska pati kafi kamata hai" so he can afford anything in this world.
"This belongs to Khushi", they heard a hard and firm voice. "Aur mom ki har cheez pe sirf aur sirf meri biwi ka haq hai".
Both Nani and Anjali was stunned to see Arnav standing at the door, his eyes red in anger and his nostrils flaring. Anjali dropped the Mangalsutra on the floor being scared of her brother's rage.
Arnav's eyes traveled towards the mangalsutra which pooled near Anjali's foot and then traveling towards her pale face. He started walking towards them as if a hungry pradetor nearing his prey. Squoting a little he picked up the jewellary and clutched it in her palm. Then slowly he touched the locket on his closed eyelids and kissed to show respect to the gold as well as his mother.
"This is the reason you don't deserve any of my mother's things Di, because you don't know how to respect it and you are guilty enough to drop it on the floor. Agar aapki niyat thik hoti to aap kabhi isse nichey nahi girne dete. (if your consciences were clear you would nave never dropped it on the floor)", he said gritting his teeth.
"Arnav beta calm down, please. You trust me that's why you gave the box to me to keep it right? And I know what my daughter would have done with these. And trust me Arnav I will do the same. I am just waiting for the Karwachaut to arriave and I will give this entire box to your wife", nani panicked sensing Arnav's tension and she knew it very well no one can stand in front of Arnav when he becomes furious.
"Khushi, her name is Khushi nani. She has an identity unlike some people who loves to use someone else's identity. She is my wife there is no doubt about it, but she has a name, Khushi which I would like to remind everyone in this house. And she is Mr. Gupta's daughter. Mr Gupta without whom some people of this house wouldnot have led aysh or aaram ki zindegi".
Anjali greeted her teeth unable to take such insult and spatted out, "don't you forget Arnav she is Mrs Gazal Gupta's daughter. Who is your Mis..." Her words were cut off when Arnav placed his hand infront of her.
"BAS! Aaj apne yeh zinkar yahan kiya, galti se bhi yeh baat iss ghar mein dubara repeat nahi honi chahiye Mrs. Anjali Jha. Don't even compare Khushi with that..." Arnav was unable to even relate Khushi with Gazal Gupta. Shame, pain taking over his emotions.
With that he opened the cupboard and took the box and then touched nani's feet to take her blessings before he handed his mother's blessings to Khushi.
Khushi was arranging her her clothers inside her cupboard when she heard something slammed on the bed and Arnav was instantly turning her towards him pinning her against the cupboard.
Khushi got really scared looking at him like that. Something, some unwanted scene hazed her eyes and her form started shaking. Was he going to force her yet again? The very thought brought her heart in her hands. He was furious she noticed and she was unable to move and her words chocked inside her throat.
If it was some other day before Khushi had faced such a drastic situation, Arnav would have taken her roughly against the cupboard and only he know how he was going to control it. But her princess made the impossible possible.
Khushi shakily pulled her cold hands up and cupped his cheeks. "Arnav ji?" she whispered out of fear.
That was it, Arnav just lost all his control and claimed her rosy petals slowly. It was a feather touch and Khushi melted like a butter heated in a bowl. She closed her eyes and felt his lips tremble against hers like a boy kissing his girlfriend for the first time. Gathering courage she snaked her arms around his neck and pressed herself totally on him so that there was no space left between both. His arousal proudly hitting her on her belly and Khushi couldnot help but to blush.
After few seconds Arnav pulled back and looked at her flushed face, her whole face which has turned red. It was just a mere touch but the connection both felt cannot be described in words.
Khushi slowly met her gaze with him and again cupped his cheeks. "aap pareshaan lag rahe ho, kya huya Arnav ji?" (you are looking stressed out Arnav ji what happened?)
Arnav took her hand politely and guided her towards the bed and made her sit.
He took the box and gave it to her.
"Yeh, yeh kya hai? The box looks like as if it belonged to a Queen", she excitedly remarked unable to hide her admiration.
"this belonged to my mom", Arnav said in a low voice and instantly Khushi eyes snapped up and searched her husband's face.
Arnav was unable to look at Khushi, infact he deliberately kept his gaze lower so that Khushi doensot see his vulnerability.
Khushi unlached the box and saw beautiful jewelleries inside it. She touched each one of them and instantly she could feel the warmth of the person who was the owner of it. The jewels as if started sparking even more with Khushi's touch. As if his mother already accepted her as her bahu, her chotey's wife, her second daughter Khushi.
Khushi's eyes became wet thinking how tough it must have been for Arnav. She could instantly feel that Arnav was close to his mother in all sense. The way he gave that box to her said a lot.
"It's beautiful Arnav ji. They are beautiful, just like your mother", she cupped Arnav's face and made him look at her. Initially he blocked his emotions entirely but when she asked "Can I call her ma?" Arnav dropped his armour and his eyes spill out the overwhelming expression. He wanted to pull her into a hug and never let her go. He wanted to thank her for being his only friend who showed such politness even after what he had done to her.
"Khu...khushi..." he chocked his words and was about to brush his palm on her cheeks when Khushi saw a black beaded sting spilling out in between his clutch.
Arnav looked at it and then opened his palm in front of Khushi exposing his mother's mangalsutra.
Khushi was in aw, looking at the most beautiful piece she had ever laid her eyes on.
"Yeh?" Khushi was about to ask him whether it was his mother's when he himself said...
"Meri maa ki hai, kya tum pehnogi isse Khushi?" Arnav asked her nervously.
It was the first time Khushi heard vulnerability in her husband's voice, uncertainty and fear of rejection. This was clearly not the Aranv she had known. It was the boy, mumma's boy who loves, and respects his mother with all his heart and Khushi could clearly see it thought his eyes. She can easily recognize it as she herself felt the same way with her father.
Khushi slowly brushed her tiny soft finger against the diamonds and then asked, "kya aap mujhe yeh pehnaoge Arnav ji? Kyunki agar aap mujhe pehnayoge yeh to hi mujhe lagega ki ma ne mujhe accept kiya hai apni bahu ke roop mein". (will you make me wear this Arnav ji? Because if you make me wear it then only I will believe that your mother has accepted me as her daughter-in-law).
Arnav just started at Khushi's eyes, emotions after emotions kept on rushing through his heart.
He picked it up and started tieing around her neck and at that moment, maybe god also wanted the same, the house pandit started Aarti chanting mantras.
Khushi lowered her eyes holding arnav's hand and Arnav finally locked the mangalsutra securely around her neck.
Khushi touched the locket and looked at her husband with teary eyes. "I love you Arnav ji. I love you so much" she busted out in tears leaving a hell-shocked Arnav holding her tightly in his arms.