14. PAST…

One man in his 30s is walking to and fro with a nervous look in front of an operation theater where his wife is shouting inside because of pain. 

Boy:- ( crying ) dad, why is Mommy crying inside? 

The man who is walking sometimes back turns around and looks at the boy with a soft expression. 

Man:- because your sister is troubling your mother. She is not ready to come to us. 

Boy:- ( innocently ) Why? Doesn’t she want to meet her brother? 

Man:- nothing like that Arjun, it’s just that your sister is so naughty. She wants us to wait more for her. 

Arjun:- don’t worry dad. I will wait a lifetime for her because I am a good boy. Right? 

Ajay:- ( while ruffling his hair out of affection ) right! 

Soon they heard the baby’s cries. Listening to the sound everyone jumped on their seats and gathered around the OT. 

Avantika:- congratulations Bhai…… aap phir se papa ban gaye. ( Congratulations brother……. You became a father once again. ) 

Prakash:- ( to his daughter who is standing beside him ) Innaya….. look you got one more sibling to play with. 

Avantika:- ( excitedly ) I am sure….. It’s a boy. 

Arjun:- ( angrily ) no…. I want a sister. 

Ajay:- yup! Avantu…. I also want a daughter.

Listening to him,  Avantika’s facial expressions changed. Breaking their little argument, the nurse comes out from the OT with a little baby wrapped in plain white cloth. 

Nurse:- congratulations MR. DIXIT…… IT’S A GIRL. 

Listening to this everyone cried in happiness and why not! A girl took birth in their family after almost 60-70 years. Yup! It’s true. 

Avantika is not Dixit’s real daughter. She is the daughter of their very old and loyal servant who died due to a fire accident that happened at their farmhouse. Since then they took her responsibility and treated her as their daughter. But the pain in their heart for not having their girl child is still there. 

Now, their happiness has no end. They are dancing and squealing like a kid in the hospital.

Kiran:- ( while joining both hands to pray ) bahut …..bahut …… dhanyawad sache badshah. ( thank you….. thank you so much….. Waheguru [god] ) 

Among all of them, Arjun is the one who is happier than anyone. He is excited to meet his newborn sister but is nervous too and being a shy boy he hides behind his father.

There is one soul who is burning from inside and undoubtedly she is none other than AVANTIKA RAHEJA. 

Nurse:- Sir, please maintain silence. This is a hospital and holds your girl. 

An over-excited Ajay comes forward to take his daughter in his hands for the first time. He holds her petite figure in his big hands with very careful steps and looks at the sleeping baby. 

Ajay:- How is my wife, Nurse? 

Nurse:- she is fine. For now, she is unconscious because of weakness but don’t worry. You can meet her after half an hour when we shift her to a different ward. 

Saying this she went from there. 

Ajay:- ( while looking at the beautiful doll in his hands ) maa, see how beautiful she is.

Kiran too comes forward to see her granddaughter who is sleeping without caring for anyone. 

Kiran:- aww….. she is so cute just like me. 

Manish palmed his face hearing his wife but soon his gaze fell on Arjun who was hiding from everyone. 

Manish:- Why are you hiding, Arjun?  

Everyone’s gaze moves towards Arjun who is still hiding. With one hand Ajay pulls him out from his hiding place and asks Lovingly. 

Ajay:- What happened, Arjun? Don’t you want to meet your sister? You are the one who is more excited among us to see the baby. Now, what happened to you? 

Arjun:- ( innocently ) dad, what if she doesn’t like me and wouldn’t play with me? 

Everyone smiles at his cute innocent question. 

Kiran:- she is a baby, Arjun. She won’t dislike anyone. I am sure she will play with you and won’t let you go to school leaving her alone. 

Arjun:- ( smiles like a fool ) then, I am ready to take a leave from school only for her. ( To his dad ) Dad, give her to me. I want to see her. 

Ajay:- no….. you will not be able to handle her.

Arjun pouts sadly. Seeing him upset Manish says. 

Manish:- don’t make him upset, Ajay. He is a big brother now and I am sure he will handle his sister carefully. 

On this Arjun gives his grandfather a toothy smile and sits down on the nearby bench while extending his hands to take the baby girl. 

Arjun:- Dad, now give her to me. I will not let anything happen to her. 

For him, this is a little statement but for others, this comes as a shock. They are shocked to say anything but Ajay places the baby girl in his arms. 

Arjun looks at his little sister with wide eyes and a beautiful broad smile. He caresses her little hands with his big ones. 

Arjun:- Dad, she is so soft like a feather. ( Excitedly ) Dad looks at her. She is so cute and white like a fairy. SHE IS A FAIRY…… MY FAIRY….. MY ANGEL. 

Unknown to him, his voice turned rougher than before and because of that, the little girl started crying. Listening to her cries, Arjun gets scared. 

Arjun:- see…. I told you na …… she won’t like me. She is crying because of me. 

His eyes become watery. 

Kiran:- nothing like that, Arjun. Just rock her slowly and she will stop crying. 

He rocks her slowly yet carefully and places a kiss on her forehead lightly. In reflex, the baby stops her cries and opens her almond-like eyes. 

Arjun squeals slowly and looks at his sister who is busy looking around. 

Arjun:- dadi…….. looks at her. Her eyes are so big but she looks cute with that. She is the world’s most beautiful girl. 

On the other hand, a girl burns with jealousy seeing everyone loving the new girl and forgetting about her. 

Innaya:- ( with a tinge of jealousy ) Mumma, ( to her mother, Avantika ) I am more beautiful than her. 

Avantika:- yup! My baby has no competition with anyone because she is rare. 

Innaya:- ( smiles sadly ) Mumma, now they will love this baby naa….. and will forget about me. Now, will they ignore me? 

Avantika:- no…baby…no one can ignore my baby. You are and will always be the one. 

She spoke while looking at the love that the Dixit’s showers on the newborn baby. She is burning in anger because she doesn’t want to replace the position that Innaya holds in their house. She wants to make her daughter the Princess of the Dixit and for that, she would do anything. 

Inaya shooks her mother to make her come out of her zone. Because of the sudden movements, Avantika came out from the past. 

Innaya:- mom, where have you been lost? 

Avantika:- ( while cupping her face ) don’t worry Innaya. I will not let anyone snatch your love. I won’t let anyone share the love which you deserve. 

Innaya happily hugs her mother. On the other hand, the situation is completely different. In California Sidharth and Shehnaaz both are ready to go. 

Sidharth:- ( irritatingly ) Shehnaaz, what have you been doing in the kitchen for so long? Don’t forget that you have your interview today itself. 

Shehnaaz:- ( while coming from the kitchen with fast steps ) I know……. I know. Why are you getting hyper? 

Sidharth:- ( ignoring her question ) What is this? ( Pointing to the bowl that Shehnaaz is holding ) 

Shehnaaz:- you forgot na….. that…… today is also an important day for you and this is dahi-shakkar ( curd-sugar ) for wishing you good luck. 

Sidharth:- but it’s nothing important. 

Shehnaaz:- don’t say like that MR. MALHOTRA. You are going to finalize your office design. 

Sidharth:- ( interrupting her ) OUR’S OFFICE DESIGN. 

Shehnaaz:- ok…. Sorry. OUR’S……. Happy? Now, open your mouth. 

Sidharth obeys her order while looking at her lovingly and Shehnaaz feeds him one spoon of dahi-shakkar ( curd-sugar ) while saying. 

Shehnaaz:- may Waheguru ( god ) fulfill all your dreams and will always shower blessings on you. 

Before she could take her hand back Sidharth held it and placed a chaste kiss on her palm making her blush. 

Sidharth:- don’t blush because now I don’t have time to cherish it. 

Saying this he took the bowl from her hand and fed her as well while imitating her. 

Sidharth:- may Waheguru ( god ) fulfill all your dreams and always showers blessings. 

Shehnaaz giggles cutely and imitates him too while kissing his palm making him grin.

Cabir:- oh…. Romeo Juliet, don’t you guys get late? Your cab has been waiting outside for the last 5 minutes. ( To Shehnaaz ) All the best, Shehnaaz. Give your best and make me proud. And do follow my instructions. 

Without giving any reply to him, Sidharth dragged Shehnaaz out and huskily whispered in her ear. 

Sidharth:- don’t you dare to follow his instructions. He is stupid. 

Shehnaaz:- Sidharth, don’t say that. He gave me some valuable instructions. 

Sidharth:- ( while sitting down in the car ) Cabir and valuable instructions? Not possible. 

Shehnaaz:- ( nervously ) Sidharth, I am getting nervous. 

Sidharth:- ( cupping her both cheeks )  uff…. My baby girl. Don’t be nervous. I know you will rock the interview. ( Place an assuring kiss on her forehead ) just calm down. I am going to be around you. 

Shehnaaz:- ( confusingly ) around me? 

Sidharth:- yup! I shifted my meeting to the cafe which is just in front of your college. 

Shehnaaz:- ( wide eyes ) When? 

Sidharth:- when I got to know that you are going for an interview in that college. So, I will wait for you there. Just come to me as soon as you finish your work. 

Shehnaaz:- hmm….. and you also focus on your meeting rather than getting nervous for me. 

Sidharth:- ( giggles ) I will try. 

Shehnaaz:- ( with a bad face ) uff…. 

To be continued…

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