“No ways Dadi… I didn’t travel all way long from London to India just to get married… and your fake drama is not going to stop me.”
Dadima’s eyes welled up…she had seen a beautiful girl for him and this is the nth time maan was refusing. She wasn’t feeling well for the past few days and maan’s stubbornness was just making it worse. She felt a sharp pain hit her chest and she fell down, scaring the hell out of him. he rushed to her and took her in his arms, “dadima..please wake up.. dadima..”
He called for the ambulance and they rushed to the hospital. He was scared…he couldn’t afford to lose his dadima. Annie was away for a week to some trip with her friends and he didn’t want to call her and disturb her. the doctor did a thorough check up and informed that it was just a minor heart attack and that she will be fine soon enough. He sat beside dadima the whole time, holding her hands, waiting for the time she’d wake up.
It was late evening when she finally opened her eyes and looked at maan who seemed to relax seeing her fine. He kissed her hand, “dadima.. please don’t stress yourself. Please.. I was so scared…”
Dadima smiled and caressed his face, “I don’t think I have too much time left beta…”
Maan gasped hearing her say so, “no dadima.. aapko kuch nahin hoga..”
[no dadima.. nothing will happen to you…]
Dadima smiled, “I know you wont let anything happen to us.. but please… for my sake.. I want you to get married…”
Maan felt exasperated, “dadima not again please…not here at least…”
“we don’t trust our heart…we have seen a very beautiful girl for you…and we want you to get married to her…she will be just perfect for you…”
He rolled his eyes…no ways he was going to get married to some random girl without even knowing a thing about her. he had been quite independent and he expected his wife to be the same..dynamic and someone who could match up to his standards.
“lets talk about this when we get home…”
“we have already given them word maan… we are going to hoshiyarpur day after tomorrow. We wanted your engagement to happen today itself… just a small affair but our health doesn’t permit us perhaps…”
Her eyes welled up as she looked away to hold back her tears. No ways he was going to buy tears in dadima’s eyes. She had been pleading so much to him…he just didn’t know what to do next. They went back home late evening. Maan wanted her to stay in hospital for a day more but dadima was stubborn. He gave up and took her home.
As they entered the hall, he saw a few men sitting on the couch, waiting for them. one of them ran to her and touched her feet. Dadima smiled and caressed his head.
“maaji..aap theek tho hain. Hume pata chala aapki tabiyat theek nahin.. hum logon se raha nahin gaya…”
[maaji.. are you alright? We got to hear that you are not well so we couldn’t stay back there…]
Dadima smiled as maan helped her sit on the couch, “hum theek hain mohinder beta… humari bahu rani kaisi hain? Aaj tho sagai honi thi.. par sab humari wajah se…”, her voice broke.
[we are alright beta.. hows our daughter in law? It was supposed to be their engagement today..but all because of us…]
Mohinder held her hands and assured her, “nahin aisa mat sochiye.. such things happen.. we can wait until you are fine…koi jaldi nahin hain…”
[no don’t think like that… such things happen. We can wait until you are fine… theres no hurry]
But dadima was worried about the girl who had perhaps woven a dream with her husband. She couldn’t let her heart sink. She thought for a while and spoke up, “whatever happened cannot be undone..but we can’t let our bahu raani suffer because of us. We want to give her the ring today itself. If you are okay with it, we want you to take this and give it to her…”
Darji was overwhelmed with such a gesture. He folded his hands respectfully, “hum aapka shuriya ada kaise karein samajh mein nahin aa raha..“
[we don’t how how to thank you today…]
Dadima smiled and gestured nakul to get the ring box and the shagun, “theres no need to feel so… we want her in our house as soon as possible..thats it..”
Maan was just a mute spectator at this. He watched dadima’s smile and that satisfaction on her face and sighed…this was getting complicated.
Darji spoke up suddenly, “hum bhi maan bte ke liye shagun lekar aaye the… actually socha ke agar yahan sab theek hoga tho we can do the ceremony here itself…”
[we also got shagun for maan beta… actually we thought if everything will be alright then we can do the ceremony here itself…]
Dadima was definitely delighted, “arrey wah… ye tho badhiyan hain…we cant wait..”
[thats great..we can’t wait..]
Maan sighed as he was made to sit in between while darji did tilak and presented him with the shagun and the ring while dadima gave them theirs. They chit chatted for a while until dadima asked them for dinner. Maan excused himself and went back to his room… still wondering at the fact that he was getting married!! Gosh… this was seriously getting complicated. But then he looked at the shagun and the ring box. He sighed and opened the box only to see a beautiful gold ring with a big red ruby stone studded in between. It was heavy, costly and just looked out of this world. He sighed and fell on the bed, admiring that piece of ornament… he didn’t even know the girl’s name and here he was getting married. What if she doesn’t stand up to his expectations? A sudden wave of uncertainty washed over him… he wont be able to bear her sight if she doesn’t even match up to his expectations and standards. But then..looking at the ring a thought crossed his mind.. dadima has selected the girl for him and definitely dadima will not choose any random person for him. she knew well of his choices and expectations an he had complete trust on dadima that she’d never let him down. May be it was not that bad after all. He smiled and kept the ring back in the box…Maan Singh Khurana could do anything to please his dadima…even an arranged marriage! But then dadima would never let him down…he was sure of that. so the bargain didn’t seem bad either. He was ready to go for it for dadima’s happiness. The girl will definitely reach upto his standards…well thats what was his trust on dadima and thats what he assumed.
She sat by the window, looking at the beautiful ring that came from her in-laws’ place.. a gold ring with leaves carved around the band and small diamonds studded spirally to make an intricate design. She was getting married in just two days… she was said that dadima was not well and that the marriage shall be kept to just family members..she was okay with it. she couldn’t stop blushing recalling the time when dadima had come to see her and said yes immediately meeting her. she had kisses her so lovingly while giving her maan’s pic!! Ohh god.. this was so thrilling… she was going to get married to Maan…Maan Singh Khurana.. she couldn’t stop herself from turning red and redder… her husband’s name itself was so mesmerising…she wondered what will happen to her when she will actually meet him. she looked around and stealthily took out the picture of maan that dadima had secretly given her the day she had visited.
The shimmering moonlight made her vision clearer as she dared to look at that alluring face that had rendered her sleepless. She almost stopped breathing seeing his image… so beautiful a man that she had ever seen… so carved into perfection… her stomach twisted and turned and millions of butterflies zoomed around making her swoon in anticipation. Shyly, she brought the ring closer to the pic and admired them under the moonlight… she was going to be his forever..he will have all his rights on her… he will be her husband’! her lashes dropped out of extreme shyness… she would perhaps die out of anxiety itself.
She could have still stood like that niharofying her husband when rajji came and snatched away the pic from her hands, startling her. rajji looked at the pic and looked at her naughtily, “kyun Geet didi.. abhi se jeeju ke deedar ho rahe hain… aur intezaar nahin hota na…”
[why Geet didi… you are already niharofying him this much… you can’t wait anymore right…]
Geet faked anger, trying to hide her blush, “rajji…waapis de… waise kuch nahin hain jaise tu soch rahi hain…”
[rajji… give it back… its nothing like what you are thinking..]
Rajji eyes her naughtily and ran around as Geet chased her, “meine tho waise’ kuch bhi nahin socha didi… aap hi bahut kuch soch rahi hain…”, she stressed on that waise’ part, making Geet even redder.
[I never thought something like that’ didi.. its you who is thinking so much like that’]
“rajji…tu pitegi mujhse…waapis de..”, Geet tried to get angry. She was in no way going to let rajji go away with this. She was younger but she was the naughtiest.
[rajji… you’ll be beaten up…give it back..]
Rajji showed her tongue and ran out, holding the pic while Geet ran after her shouting at her to give it back. The whole handa mansion was busy in preparation of the marriage. Rajji saw rano and hid behind her, “maa dekho na Geet didi mujhe maar rahi hain…”, she faked a cry.
[maa see na…geet didi is hitting me..]
Geet’s jaws dropped down making an o’, “hawww dekha ma.. mujhe khud pareshaan kar rahi hain aur saara ilzaam mere upar laga diya…”
[haw did you see that maa… she is irritating me but blamed me for it..]
“tho mein kya karti..jab se jeeju ki pic mili hain tab se madam unhe hi dekhe jaa rahi hain humara tho khayal hi nahin unhe…”
[then what could have I done… since the moment she has got her hands on jeeju’s pic, she is only lost in him… she doesn’t even care about us now..]
Geet tried to get angry but her blush gave away her emotions. Rano couldn’t help but smile seeing her daughter all red and pink. She caressed her face when Geet leapt towards rajji and snatched away the pic, showing her tongue. Just then chayiji came and snapped at them, “ye kya bachpana hain… yakeen hi nahi ho raha ki iss ladki shaadi ho rahi hain aur ye hain ki..bas uchal kood macha rahi hain..rano..kuch seekha apni beti ko… sasural jaane wali hain do dino mein…kitni taiyyariyan baaki hain aur ye hain ki.. uff…”, She shot a glare at Geet and walked off.
[whats this childishness… can’t believe this girl is getting married and look at her.. jumping around. Rano…teach your daughter something… she is going to her in-laws in the next two days… so much is there to prepare and this girl…uff…]
Geet looked down, getting scared.. more of her heart sinking with chayiji’s words. She was always this strict with her.. and now she can’t even enjoy those left over days with her family. Rano sighed and cupped Geet’s face, “rote nahin bacha… koi gal ni.. abhi tu ja maze kar sab kaam mein sambhal lungi.. ja apne kamre mein ja..”
[don’t cry bacha.. its okay.. now you go and have fun. I will handle all work… go to your room..]
Geet hugged her mom, feeling emotional. She will be leaving her mom and going away..chayiji was right!! she has to learn to accept the change that was coming in the next two days. Rajji also felt sad but then she wouldn’t let her sister be sad now. She twisted her lips and snatched away the pic again and ran towards their room, “maan jeeju mere hain… agar chahiye tho mujhe pakadna padega…”
[maan jeeju is mine.. if you want him then catch me..]
Geet smiled through her tears and ran after rajji to give her back nicely. She had a few days left.. the next day was going to witness a small sangeet function…followed by mehendi and the next day, marriage. She felt dizzy just with the thought of being his… forever and ever!
Maan and dadima got ready to leave for hoshiyarpur. Dadima tried to call annie but she was in shimla and didn’t even pick up the call. She sighed and let her enjoy with her friends. she came to see maan who was getting ready. Maan smiled weakly as she helped him put on his shwerwani.
“waise.. we wont be helping you anymore from tomorrow…”, she teased, caressing the wrinkle on the dress.
“come on dadima… it will be all fine…”
Dadima laughed as she kissed his forehead, “but am so happy beta that you agreed for this.. I can guarantee you that she will keep you very happy… she is just the best for you.”
“ummm…”, was what he replied and got busy with his stuffs. He saw dadima bring out a packet and forward it to him.
“ye kya hain dadima?”
[whats this dadima?]
“humari bahu ke liye shaadi ka joda.. zara dekh kar bataiye tho kaisa hain…”
[it s the marriage gown for our daughter in law.. just see and tell us hows it..]
Maan rolled his eyes as he brushed his hair, “kya dadima..aapne select kiya hain.. acha hi hoga… I know you will choose the best…tho mujhe dekhne ki kya zarurat hain…”
[what dadima… you only selected na.. it must be good only. I know you will choose the best.. then why do I even need to see?]
Dadima sighed, “maan.. we tell you… you are the most unromantic person in this whole world.. your wife is going to have a tough time with you…”
She walked away smiling… things are changing for good. she just couldn’t wait to see Geet dressed in this beautiful gown…and come home with maan. Maan drove alone and let dadima come with some of his relatives… actually ladies..aunts and cousins, letting them discuss things to hell. he would rather go alone than listen to all their baseless talks about anything to everything.