" I know you're
very much disappointed today,
I haven't met your eyes right?!!....
In that crowd
I want nobody to notice
our secret exchange of feelings..
- A girl's secret love note 💝
"oh mommy come quickly.... it's already getting late.. the car has come...." Adhira calling her mother by knocking the bedroom door.
"Ready.. ready baby... come let's go... Ramya opened the door and came out of it. She was ready, Then they both came out of the house, Ramya locked the house, while adhira getting inside the car in which the door was opened by the driver for them to get inside. After Ramya got inside, the driver started the car.
A month has been over after their hill station trip. Now they are going to karthik's house, to celebrate his birthday. Karthik invited them for the morning breakfast itself. When Ramya trying to avoid, once again it's Adhira who compelled her to accept this. Karthik also said, "there's a surprise waiting in my house, so you must come". This is the first time they are going to his house.
The size of the entrance gate itself revealed that the size of the house is big enough more than what Ramya imagined already. The lawn drive way is even lengthier than the hill station guesthouse lawn. A well maintained garden which extended from the front to the back almost surrounding the house. A small artificial fountain was also seen in the middle of the lawn. Once again it's Adhira's turn to look at everything with open mouth.
When the car came to a halt in front of the house, both adhira and Ramya were shocked because they are not standing in front of a simple house but it's a palace. The entrance staircase for front porch itself is so large having some 10, 15 steps , with two big elephant statues guarding both sides. Then the gigantic pillers which were holding the high roofing. Everything was marble and granite carved with beautiful designs.
Ramya thought earlier, his house maybe a bungalow type one. But she didn't really expect this much richness. He always looked like a simple man, down to earth and behaved like a man in next door. He never showed attitude by any chance that he is a guy from a high class society.
When both were looking at the big marble steps in front with embarrassment and not moving an inch, "hey Ramya!!!! " a surprised voice called her from the top of the stairs.
Ramya looked up and got cheered at once, " chitra sis..." She didn't expect her here at all. She climbed the stairs quickly and ran towards her and hugged her. Tears appeared in both of their eyes, and they enquired about well beings of each other and family. Adhira got confused looking at them, who's this new lady in karthik sir's house, talking cheerfully with mom.
Then Ramya told adhira that, she is Karthik sir's cousin sister and the details of their story. Chitra took adhira in her hands saying, " so much grown up now you are" and planted a kiss on her cheek. Adhira also kissed her back. "Hey, doing the same thing like your childhood days.." chitra laughed happily. By the time all got inside the house and settled on the big cushions found in one side of the hall. Such a huge hall with a big staircase going up in the center, after some height, it parted into two, one going right side and one going left side leading to the first floor. A servant maid came along and provided juice to the newcomers.
Ramya said to chitra, "sorry sis, it's such a big mistake, I am feeling much ashamed...without a word I left you, afterwards I felt like talking to you most of the times, but my mistake tied my mouth from reaching you" with a much worried voice.
"Leave the past Ramya, let's think about the future, come I will show you another surprise", said chitra, with a smiling face she got up from her place, started walking by dragging Ramya along with her, adhira also followed them. Chitra entered inside a room, There a 3 years old toddler was sleeping quietly on the bed. "Is it your baby?! Ramya asked, her voice full of happiness, chitra nodded agreeingly. Ramya came near the baby, looking at him caringly, gently caressing his head and cheeks. Adhira looked expectantly at chitra in seeking for permission to touch the baby. Chitra gestured her approval and Adhira carefully touched the baby's pink, soft foot. "Mom see... how soft like satin!!" she exclaimed in a low voice not disturbing the sleeping baby. She's so excited, after all she got a new friend to spend time with her. And she's eagerly waiting for that small boy to get up and looking after to play with him.
Chitra said, "it's a test tube baby, at last God answered my prayers, all the praise goes to Vijay, he is the one who suggested the IVF Technic, took all the efforts and necessary steps for the treatment after joining medicine course. Now I am having the 'meaning of my life' in my hands", she finished proudly.
Ramya thought, karthik is always being the reason for pleasure of people around him. It's something special about him, which makes him lovable by all. Automatically her thinking started spinning around him and then only she realized, they haven't seen him since they came here, her eyes searching for him in eager..by the time they came out of the room.
"hey Vijay.. come.. come... your guests arrived already, now we are waiting for you only..." When Chitra called out him by his first name, the words reached Ramya's ears, she felt like a big bottle of honey was poured directly on her. She was gone to those days back in Chennai where all of them were together and spent time happily.
She looked up quickly following chitra's gaze, there karthik was getting down through the big staircase by buttoning his shirt on the wrist. A big attractive smile appeared on his face when he looked at Ramya. Adhira also came in front looking at him cheerfully, he turned his attention towards her, after he came down, he lifted her up in his hands, saying 'welcome baby' while nodding his head to ramya welcomingly.
He came and sat on the dining table, placed adhira on nearby chair. He asked, " what chitu all your stories over?!" Chitra held Ramya's hand brought her to the table and made her sit on a chair next to adhira. She answered him " no way, it's just now started, I think this whole day won't be enough for us..." She winked at Ramya while placing the plates in front of them. Ramya smiled respondingly, her heart feels full, she doesn't feel a bit of appetite as she met her long term friend and found her happy with her son and not the least she happened to see the handsome Karthik getting down the staircase stylishly with his trademark radiant smile, that cute scene is enough to make her feel full at her heart.
Since it's karthik's birthday, selvam ( their cook) made many dishes. Karthik served himself only two idlies while serving Adhira starting from the sweet, idly, dosa, chutney, sambar, pongal, poori...everything.
Adhira handed him a small gift box and said, ' Happy birthday my dear KS ( Karthik sir). He placed the box on the table saying, " hey, what's all this?!! He also said, " sorry baby, I didn't come to pick you up people". Ramya quickly mumbled, " it's alright, the journey was quite comfortable and happy birthday to you". He smiled in response, she quickly turned her gaze to avoid gawking at him and She noticed a Rolex glittering on his wrist, she bought only a Titan watch as a gift within her budget.
She doesn't know why, but felt somewhat frightened by the wealthyness seen all around here. Only the presence of chitra made her a bit comfortable and she able to combat with the awkward feeling. While she's thinking, chitra already filled her plate with most of the dishes. " Oh..it's enough sis, you also come and sit with us, we'll eat together", Ramya said. "Yeah...sure " said chitra while trying to serve pongal to her brother. " Chitu...it's enough, I am already getting late, I told you know, I have to go to airport to receive him", Karthik opposed her.
"What's this Vijay, always saying, work..duty.. work..., Not even having enough time to eat properly, not sleeping good enough and also not spending time with family on occasions like this..you won't listen to me, your wife has to come to screw you up in all these things.." chitra started playing her part casually, her purpose of arrival here. Karthik laughed at her comment. Ramya heard all this, but she didn't notice the exchange of looks between the brother sister duo.
Karthik got up quickly, he finished only those two idlies, he encouraged adhira to eat slow and complete her plate, at the same time his phone started ringing, with a nod to both Ramya and chitra, he started walking fast towards the entrance and he was gone. Ramya felt much disappointed, she lowered her head trying not to show it in the face and she's just placing her hand on the plate not eating a bit.
Chitra noticed everything, she thought, " it seems my work today will be easy", with a smile on her face. "What Ramya you don't feel hungry?!! Eat properly girl, you look too lean for your age, maintain your health, you have to look after adhira know...by the way how is adhi's injury?! Vijay told everything, is she ok now?! She started her usual chatting to change Ramya's mood.
After finishing their breakfast, Ramya tried to leave for her work but chitra compelled her to stay for lunch and put leave for office, she said, " I have come here all the way from Chennai to talk with you only, so today there's no way escaping you, you are staying with me" strictly.
With no other go, Ramya accepted. Chitra said, I asked selvam to do all the non veg recipes as today's special for lunch.
Ramya became silent for a minute then asked, "why Vijay alone is vegetarian in your family?! in a sad tone. Her face showed pain remorcing the past event.
"Because of his affection towards animals, he avoided NV since childhood itself. Why are you asking this, why your face looks sad? What happened?" Chitra asked casually.
Ramya told the whole event then, " in your house you people would be taking know, that's why I haven't rethink about my choice of food on that day, but it turned out to be a total mess", her voice full of regret.
Chitra laughed about the event and said with concern, "Oh...come on Ramya, it's not at all a problem, don't worry a lot for small issues like this..."
" But today me and adhira won't eat, we both stopped taking NV food after that", Ramya said in calm and quiet manner.
Chitra asked, "but why?!"....for which she got only a soft smile as reply from Ramya. Chitra looked at her with gapped mouth.
Then they started talking, the boy Vikki ( Vignesh ) also woke up, chitra fed him up with idli and milk, while adhira was playing with him. Then both kids went inside the play house where they found so many toys almost filling the room. They started playing, without their disturbance, both adults were indulged in chatting world.
When chitra showed the entire house, what hit Ramya first was the class and luxury. Each and every place of the house executing the richness. The big chandeliers, lovely curtains, wall hangings, beautiful paintings, teakwood furnitures, traditional antiques.... everything is maintained carefully and neatly with modern touch then and there. Ramya felt like, she had entered into a different world. Chitra told, since it's a family property, uncle maintaining it as a rememberance of family heirarchy and pride.
While climbing up in the big staircase, the red carpet felt soft and velvet smooth. Ramya was caught by a big portrait which was hanging in the central landing area of the staircase from where the stairs starts dividing into right and left. Actually there are series of old portraits drawn by artists combining with recent photographs. Ramya assumed all were karthik's forefathers who lived in this palace. The recent four photos, two of them were old man and woman, two of them were younger persons. Chitra told old people were karthik's grandma and grandpa. The younger ones were his father and mother.
The portrait which caught attention of Ramya's was his mother. The beauty of the face made her jaw dropped. It was too lovely, now she understood karthik's handsomeness from where it would have come from. What she immediately felt by looking at the soft and caring eyes was, his mother looked like goddess Mahalakshmi and chitra told the name is also the same.
"Because of her beauty, vijay's father fell in love with her, even though she's from a middle class background, he was so adamant to convince our grandfather, and finally grandpa accepted. After their marriage, the family business got rising up at all levels, the growth and progress was at rocket speed. Everybody started praising that it's because of the new daughter in law's arrival and her luck which brought this much success and prosperity to the family and all of them believed that.
Vijay's maternal uncle, that is his mother's brother who doesn't want to leave her alone in this huge family, so he came along with her at the time of marriage itself. His unrestrained bonding for his sister made him stay with her here forever. Everybody accepted him as a member of this family, Vijay's father became his best friend and he asked him to join the family business, both of them worked hard together which brought success in each and every business they started new. Vijay's uncle after that never get married, he sacrificed his life to his sister and brother in law and this family.
Everything was going smooth and happy in this family until vijay's father died in an accident soon after Vijay's birth. Then all went upside down, the total happiness of this house was lost. Maha aunty, Vijay's mother shattered into pieces inside, our mother used to say it's only vijay's presence made her to continue her life. Vijay also was totally depended on his mother, she was the world to him. She nourished him with each and every step of his life in such a way that he haven't even realised that he didn't have father.
Then the fate showed it's worst face again, he lost his mother at the age of 6. We all were kids at the time, we haven't realized how much impact it gives to one's life, losing mother at this tender age. Somehow we understood he was missing his mom badly, but inside He was totally lost in his mind. He haven't come out of his room for nearly a year. We tried our best to make him eat and sleep, but we failed in most of our attempts, it was gone to an extent he was even admitted in hospital for better nourishment.
His grandfather and uncle were so much worried, they utterly didn't know what to do to console him. For our relief he then started slowly interacting with us by burriying deep his sadness, he started making friends as far as possible to combat his loneliness. Once he got old enough, he started going to orphanages to spend time together with children and started helping them on his own way. That's how his service oriented life developed. He is much like his mother, she always found happiness in helping people who were in need.
Even she is the one who suggested Vijay's father to help our father who was struggling to start a business and was suffering with a family having three girl children. Actually our's and Vijay's, both grandfathers were brothers. Our great grandfather was a zamindar ( landlord) lived in this palace who had been respected by the people even after government removed the system. Most of our properties were taken by government, the remaining was equally divided between both our grandfathers.
But unfortunately our grandfather was an alcoholic, who lost all his properties by misusing it. Vijay's grandfather was very much angry with him. So our family was struggling then, even to lead a middle class life, at the time it's only Vijay's mother who recommended Vijay's grandfather to help our father with some amount of money to start a new business. She's so attached with all three of us, since she didn't have a girl child, she taken care of us as her own children, we all three sisters grown up here along with Vijay. Even we couldn't able to accept her loss at the time, I can't even imagine how Vijay had crossed that period in his life," chitra let out a sigh. After a pause she said,
"Still inside, he's missing his mother, that's why he found his mother in you. Like his mother who suffered having a child at her hand, lost her husband in such an young age, you are also suffering with your baby. He had said once, even for her mother there was a family to support her, but for you nobody in this world, you are all alone fighting with this dreadly life, that's the reason which made him fell for you, I think.... "
When chitra was continuously talking, Ramya was stunned by the truth which is unveiled by her chitra sister on flow... She's speechless was actually an underestimating word to tell about her state of mind. Still chitra is continuing.... " You are our only hope to bring back the lost happiness in this house, in this family....at present only Vijay and his maternal uncle two of them living in this big building, of course along with the servants. It's all now in your hands to change this building as a house having a happy family living inside. Earlier we tried our level best to convince Vijay for his marriage, but he never accepted our request, always his answer was a big ' No'. But finally it's a surprise, he pointed you as his life partner, he called me at night time almost a month back after your return from hill station trip, he told me everything right back from Chennai. At the time, He returned from there hurriedly so as to Join the college here on Monday, but he started loving you from there itself and followed you in all these years, he said he never be able to forget you in his lifetime, for sure he wants you to be his wife and adhira as his daughter in his life.
Then he requested me to come here for convincing you for our proposal of marriage, because he somehow doubted, you might refuse this. Then only I planned my trip here on his birthday and here I am in front of you to know about your wish.....I am so happy for you Ramya, and as usual I am proud of my sweet little brother Vijay who has taken a big leap in his life courageously.....
Chitra was non stoppable, she is cheerfully talking continuously as finally his brother agreed for marriage which will lit up this palace's brightness once again.
Now she's expectantly looking Ramya's face for an answer. she's not sure regarding Ramya's expression, whether it was confused or worried, but for sure she would say, it was not happy. So chitra looked at Ramya's face with concern, cupped her face with both hands and said calmly, "you take your own time to decide on, it's not a compulsion, it's just a proposal.... but we look forward to your positive reply... please consider...." with a soothing smile.
Ramya was totally out of this world, she was completely lost in her thoughts, she couldn't even eat properly at the lunch time. Chitra noticed that but she didn't compell her.
After lunch both kids gone for afternoon nap, chitra said to Ramya, she has to meet an important person in this house, the head of the family, that is Vijay's uncle. He would come home for lunch and he planned to meet Ramya at that time. Her heart started beating fast on hearing the news. She's already nervous enough, in her life time she haven't met such big personalities, that too now she is in a state of dilemma, she is very much scared about what will he ask her and how is she going to answer for that?!!
It's Karthik who dropped Ramya and adhira at their house in his car during his lunch break. Chitra sis told, today some special surgeon from Germany has arrived in his hospital for some workshop regarding a new surgical Technic, that's why he went early to receive him in airport, and also lunch break delayed, it's nearly 4 pm when he dropped them, at that time also he didn't eat at home, he said he will have something in canteen, no time to sit and eat, he has come only to drop them. He doesn't ask Ramya anything, but she could feel his piercing gaze at her face, she didn't look up or look at him, she just kept her head down in whole trip.
Time was night nine'o clock, adhira was already in bed, whereas Ramya just now came, she lay down near her daughter. She couldn't sleep quietly because of her inner battle, she's continuously turning side to side. After some time she decided to go to backyard, so she got up, adhira asked her mother, " what mom, today also forgot to switch off the cylinder right?!
"Whh.. what baby....?!! Stuttered Ramya, turned to look at adhira.
"Now a days you are forgetting the cylinder more...." Adhira said once again with a chuckle inside.
"ya , it's my fault", she answered in same stuttering voice. "was it appeared teasing, adhi's voice?! Debating inside, she reached the stone which she used to sit there alone, almost every night after she met with Karthik.
The whole day started to replay in her mind including till the end, that is her meeting with karthik's uncle. Even now she felt palpitation of her heart while thinking about that. After chitra introduced her to him, he said he wanted a word alone with her. So chitra gone out of the room which looks more like an office. He gestured her to sit down, she sat nervously at the edge of that single seater.
With his judging look, Ramya started shivering, she gripped the hand rest firmly. Sweating appeared on her forehead like Pearl drops.
"Well, what do you say, I mean regarding this marriage proposal?" He straight away came to the point without wasting time, proving as the best business man. His gaze was still on her face to study her expression trying to read from that, what's running in her mind.
Ramya didn't answer quickly, she took some time to control herself, even though the answer was decided already by her. After a deep breath, she said, " I will talk to him, I will make him to change his decision about me, and I will ask him to marry someone else" her words came out sternly, but the pain inside her heart was unbearable, it was shown by spontaneously pooled tears in her eyes. She drop down her head and fluttered her eyelashes many times to erase the sign of tears inside the eyes.
But before that it's clearly noticed by the experienced man who Is sitting opposite to her, 'she seemed innocent' he thought. Actually he somewhat surprised by her answer, because he already knew the whole story behind and that she's also loving him. But now her refusal.... oh... that's why Vijay called chitra here.. he thought. Anyway it's up to them to decide, but one thing is clear she is not behind him for his money, he thought looking at her still lowered head. His brows furrowed.....
Then he said finally "I would appreciate your effort, God bless you my daughter" he gave a hint, but Ramya was not in a state to recognize that hint. He knew, like his father Vijay would never let her go, but this poor girl..... unnecessary suffering' he thought.
Ramya after coming out of the room, she literally ran to the wash room as her tears rolling down her cheeks uncontrolled. She needs some time before she could face chitra sister, by God's grace she is not around, she is inside the kitchen with the two kids arranging some snacks for them. Ramya washed her face many times by flashing water forcefully over her face, that stopped her tears and wrecked mind from stupid thinking. Then she wiped her face thoroughly, and tried as far as possible to keep her face non chalant like nothing has happened. She thought she successfully concealed it. But both chitra and karthik observed it clearly as they know Ramya in and out. They both acted as they noticed nothing.
She felt the same tearing pain once again now when she thought about that incident. She's such a fool, who missed the chance and dropped willingly her life line which came at her hand without re thinking once. Tears started flowing from her eyes, she was silently weeping, sitting alone in the darkness.
To be continued.....
Because of lack of time I wrote this episode at a stretch in a whole night, I didn't have time for editing since it's crossed it's due date. Please forgive me for any flaws.....