Priya tossed and turned in bed unable to sleep. She did not know whether the atmosphere in the room was awkward due to Ram sleeping on the sofa or due to the lack of snoring. This calm and quiet environment that she was deprived of from the moment that she married Ram was something that she was craving for a long time. And now that it is offered to her on a silver platter she is feeling so restless. She turned in bed to face Ram who was lying on the sofa facing her. The way he slept with his mouth slightly open reminded her of Pihu. A smiled shaped her lips and instantly vanished as she thought about how Pihu did not even put up the slightest fight to sleep with her. She had cleverly accepted to sleep in this room because she was certain that Pihu would not be able to sleep without her and as a result, Ram would have no choice but to send her to Pihu’s room. But to her disappointment no such thing happened. She kicked her legs under the cover angrily and pouted.
Priya (saying to herself): argh, why can’t I sleep? (she looked at Ram enviously) Must be nice sleeping so peacefully… and why won’t you after all you got what you wanted. I have no choice but to stay here. (she sighs) This is not done, I can’t just keep tossing and turning in bed. (she sits up, her eyes wandering the room, which is dimly lit by the bright numbers of the digital clock on the night stand. Her gaze fell upon the bookshelf and she snaps her fingers excitedly) Aha I will read a book…
She gets off the bed slowly and turns on one of the lamps on the night table… she looks at Ram to check if he was still sleeping and once she saw that he was she tip toed to the book shelf. Caressing the edge of each of the paperback books with her fingers she stopped at “Bade Acche Lagte Hain”. The bittersweet memories that she had associated with this book came rushing to her all at once. She flipped through the withered pages of the book stumbling upon her picture that was tucked neatly between the pages at the end of the book.
Ram: it’s the same one I gave you.
She jumped and turned around quickly, startled by his voice. He stood there in his white kurta PJ’s with his arms folded across his broad chest. Desperately trying to savour the moment, he continued before she could spew venom at him.
Ram: I found it at the site of the accident and since than it has become my most prized possession. I have read it many times but every time the ending brings tears to my eyes.
Priya (holds up the picture): and this?
Ram: that picture is the solution to my tears. I remember you said that our love story won’t be like this and that the next time we meet we will never be separated. So the thought of meeting you again one day always made me smile. At that time I thought you had passed away in that accident so this picture was a temporary solution until we truly met again. My tears did not go in vain, you are here and now nothing else matters. I used to beg death to come face to face with me so that I could ask him why he took you away from me but today I can’t face death. What will I say when he says to me, “when I gave her back to you where was your love?” So now I want to give you all my love for the rest of my life so that when I die death cannot ask me anything.
His words sent a wave of warmth through her body making her heart come close to melting. She resisted her urge to fling herself into his arms using her sleep as an excuse. Not making eye contact with him due to the fear that his darting looks might be able to see right through her, she put the book away and walked towards the bed chanting quietly to herself, “please don’t stop me, please don’t stop me”. It worked. She reached the bed and sat down. He left the room and she took that opportunity to recollect her scattered emotions. But his re-entry into the room messed everything up again. He walked in with Pihu in his arms and rested her on the bed next to Priya. Pihu, who was still sleeping, readjusted herself on the mattress clutching on to Ram’s hand.
Ram: I know it’s hard for you to sleep without Pihu since you have been sleeping with her for the past five years. For the past five years I have been trying to sleep without you, but now that you are here there is no way that I can sleep without you. So this way we both win! (He winks at her, she quickly looks away, blushing slightly)
Priya watched as he gently loosened Pihu’s grip on his hand and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
Ram: Good night my darling. (he looked at Priya). Good night Priya…
Priya just looked away without saying anything. From the corner of her eyes she saw Ram stare longingly at her before he shut his eyes in frustration and than got up to go back to the sofa.
Priya: Good… good night Ram.
He looked back at her with the biggest smile on his face. Evidently elated as if he had just achieved the impossible, he laid down on the sofa looking at her. She turned away from him to face Pihu and bit her bottom lip thinking, “ Kya ho kya gaya hain apko Priya? Is this how you will stay angry with him?” she is stroking Pihu’s head lost in her thoughts when she heard Ram snoring and turned to look at him shaking her head when she heard Pihu snoring as well. She smiled thinking, “Ab Khush? Kharate Olympics has started…” She slowly drifted off to sleep amidst the commotion . . .
The next morning, all eyes were fixed on Priya who walked elegantly down the stairs in her red and black saree that Dadi had picked out for her to wear. The well-rested glow on her face added to her overall beauty that put her designer saree to shame. Ram stood at the base of the stairs looking like a king in his gold sherwani with the openings for his neck and arms accentuated with a red border. His lips shaped out the word, “wow” which did not go unnoticed by Priya. They were about to sit down so that the pooja could begin but Dadi angrily objected.
Dadi: Ruk jao Priya!
Everyone stared at Dadi equally confused with her protest. Priya looked at Ram who was as clueless as she was.
Dadi: this pooja is for Kapoor Kandhan’s Bahu and you don’t look like my bahu from any angle.
Ram: Dadi yeh saab…
Dadi: (interrupting Ram) Tu Chup Kar … why didn’t you decorate your wife’s maang with sindoor and where is her mangalsutra? Ram all these are very important in our culture for identifying a married woman and Priya has none.
Ram (heaved a sigh of relief and walked up to his dadi and held on to her hands): You are right Dadi… But don’t be mad, all is not lost… And isme Priya ke fault nahi hain. In the past five years her mangalsutra was with me so how could she wear it?
Ram ran up to his room and brought the mangalsutra. Standing in front of Priya he said,
Ram: these belong to you! May I? (her bold expression weakened as tears began to roll down her cheeks. Ram got worried) only if it’s okay with you…
Priya wiped her tears and nodded, “yes”… His heart overfilled with joy by her one action… He confidently dressed Priya’s maang with sindoor, tied the mangalsutra around her neck and as a bonus he slipped her wedding ring on her ring finger. Still holding on to her hand, he stared at her desirously, completely drowned in the splendor of his wife. She pulled her hand back gently, interrupting his contemplation and springing him back to reality. He followed her as she walked over to Dadi and apologized for hurting her. They both bent over and touched her feet for blessing before they sat in the pooja. Throughout the pooja he was distracted by her beauty, he looked at her with a smile on his face as she closed her eyes and was lost in the pooja.
Ram (thinking): Mein toh sirf naam se Ram hoon agar mein Kaam se Ram hota toh I would make your prayers my priority. (he looked forward closed his eyes, kissed his palms together and prayed) Bhagwan everything that I could have ever wished for is right here with me. I only pray that you give me strength so that I can keep Priya happy and make all her wishes come true…
Once the pooja had finished Vikram took Ram to the office and Neha insisted that Priya spent the day with her since they had a lot of catching up to do. Krishna ordered Priya to go with Neha and get some fresh air; she understood how hard it must have been for Priya to be stuck in her room all day. Soumaya and Rishab said that they would take care of Pihu who also wanted to spend time with her cool ChaCha and ChaChi.
From the moment that Priya had left with Neha, Ram returned home to help in the execution of his well-orchestrated plan. The Kapoor Mansion was turned upside down and inside out in joyous preparation of a party for Priya in celebration of her return. Neha took Priya to the beauty parlor in the name of relaxation to get Priya dressed for her surprise. Ram left no stone unturned to make this event the most grandeur event that ever took place in the Kapoor Mansion. He wiped the sweat off his forehead for what seemed like the millionth time as he ordered the workers to check all the arrangements one last time. His excitement to see the look on Priya’s face made his extreme fatigue a minor infringement of his mind.
Pihu: Papa!! Mumma is coming…
He looked back at his arrangements one last time before the lights were turned off. The approaching footsteps made his heart beat in sync with its rhythm and pace.
Neha: Priya I have missed you so much. Today was so much fun we should do it more often.
Priya: yeah I must say that after a long time I have had this much fun… Neha you are the prodigy of good times I swear…
Neha: That I am! (she said proudly, they both laughed) Waise Priya you are looking FAB yaar… aaj to Ram gaya Kaam se…
Priya blushed slightly as she pushed open the door, looking back at Neha…
Priya: Neha you will never change…
The lights turn on and Priya is standing there shocked. She does not know what to say or what to think, her mind turned into a blank slate, which slowly began to fill up with exclamation and question marks.
Ram (stood frozen at the sight of her; thinking): Neha ne sahi kaha… Aaj toh mein gaya Kaam se. Baap re Baap how can anyone be so beautiful? You’ve really shot yourself in the leg with this move Ram. Now how will you resist the temptation to touch her when that’s all you can think about in this moment? Ajeeb Musibaat hain yaar…