Twentieth – 1.3

Recap: Destiny makes Kunal and Nandita meet face to face. Over a cup of coffee, they talk about their past life which revolved around their spouses. Both of them exchange phone numbers and bid bye. Hearing a Bollywood song takes them down the memory lane. 

3 weeks later…

Nandita saw the small light beaming on her phone after coming back from the washroom. She put the napkin on the chair and picked her phone.

“*1 Missed call from Kairav’s Father Kunal*” She spoke to herself with surprise. She called him back.

Kunal: “Hello”

Nandita: “Hi, I am Nandita.”

Kunal: “Hi Nandita. How are you?”

Nandita: “I am very well. How about you?”

Kunal: “I am doing great. And I called you up to invite you and your family for Kairav’s birthday on 18th this month.”

Nandita: “Oh that’s nice.”

Kunal: “I shall be sending you the venue and time details on Whatsapp, if it is okay…?”

Nandita: “Yeah that’s perfect!”

Kunal: “Great! So I look forward to meet Myra and your family on Kairav’s birthday.”

Nandita: “Yeah… we’ll definitely be there.”

Kunal: “Okay. Good night!”

Nandita: “Good night!”

Both cut the call. Nandita checked calendar in phone. 18th was Sunday.

In an hour’s time, she received a text from Kunal about the birthday party details.

“Myra, there is a birthday party invitation for you.” Nandita cheerfully told little Myra whose eyes were glued into the cartoon show.

“Yay! Yay! Yayy! I want to go to the birthday party.” Myra started jumping on the couch.

“Mom, I want to wear my white fairy dress. Please dress me up” Myra’s eyes beamed with happiness.

“There’s time baby! You have to wait for some days.” Nandita laughed on little one’s eagerness.

“Noooo…. I want to go today.” Myra insisted and ran towards her grandma’s room.

“B Mom, I want to go to the birthday party right now.” Myra told her grandmother and Nandita could hear her loud voice. She laughed again on her baby’s innocence.

“What’s the matter? Why is she insisting on going for a birthday party?” Nandita’s mother in law entered the room with Myra standing on her right foot and dragging her hand with full force.

“Maa, she didn’t let me complete the sentence and wants to go to that birthday party 17 days before its actual date.” Nandita said and they both laughed.

“There is Dora on the TV” Myra heard the title song and released B Mom from her grip and started dancing on the couch.

“Thank you for being our rescuer Dora” B Mom touched below her neck and expressed a sigh of relief. Nandita laughed on this and they both left little Myra in the living room and went to the kitchen.

“He is an acquaintance from Shimla neighborhood. His wife and I knew each other through our kids.” Nandita spoke and placed the dishes on the dining table.

“I met him near office a few days ago and we exchanged numbers. Therefore he called up for his son’s birthday celebration.”

“That’s nice.” B Mom said. “Myra and you must go.” She smiled.

“Well, all of us are invited Maa.” Nandita said.

“I’ll go if your papa is ready to go.” B Mom clearly hinted that it is a tough job to convince him for parties.

“Myra is good for that job” Nandita replied and both of them giggled.


 

On 18th, Nandita dressed up Myra in a beautiful purple maxi dress and silver sandals that Myra chose to wear.

“Those shoes might bite you again Myra.” Nandita reminded Myra.

“They won’t because I like them a lot.” Myra replied adoring her favorite sandals.

“Fine! Here is your hairbrush and clips. Get the final thingy done by B Mom… Go!” Nandita kissed on Myra’s cheek and she ran to B Mom’s room.

Nandita took out one Saree from her closet and draped it and started with light makeup. Just when she picked up a matching lipstick she heard “Saree!?” It was B Mom who was wearing a pretty Salwar Kameez. “I thought we are going to a kid’s birthday party.” She said with a clear sarcasm.

“What’s wrong in a Saree Maa? It’s been a long time I haven’t worn a saree.” Nandita tried to clarify.

“You must wear sarees because they look good on you.” B Mom said and smiled looking at Nandita’s reflection in the mirror.

“But not today…!” she insisted and opened Nandita’s closet. She moved her eyes through a few apparels here and there and finally took out a beautiful pink colored spaghetti neck Kurti and Churidar bottom which was kept deep inside the last shelf.

“Maa?” Nandita raised her eyebrows in surprise.

“This will look much prettier on you.” B Mom smiled. “Get ready fast now.” She said and left.

“Maa, Saree is better believe me.” Nandita shouted from her back but failed to get any response on it.

Nandita looked at the dress and then looked at herself in the mirror. She wore the dress and matching earrings and lipstick and looked at herself again. “I was smiling throughout the time when I had worn it first time.” She spoke to herself. “First and the last time.” She sighed. The dress was Vishal’s gift to her on her first Karwachauth.

Nandita’s Kurti was very chic with silver embroidery on the neck line and the bottom area with a shimmering Churidar. She wore a dual shade dupatta with it which made her look very elegant and beautiful. Though she didn’t seem too happy wearing it, the attire did glam up her outer beauty perfectly.

On the way to the party venue, Nandita started feeling clumsy inside thinking that she barely knows Kunal and her whole family is showing up on his invitation request. She wasn’t sure as to how much time she and her family will be able to spend there. In between these thoughts, they reached.

“We’ll leave soon if you get bored.” Nandita told B Papa.

“Oh don’t worry. You guys can have much fun while I’ll just grab one corner and sit quietly there.” He answered and held Myra’s hand but his answer didn’t make Nandita feel any better.

Kunal saw Nandita and her family arriving at the entry point and reached them. He greeted them all very politely. While Kunal was looking around for Purvi and Kairav to introduce them with Nandita’s family, Nandita glanced at Kunal who looked very dapper in a blue summer coat with a well fitted t-shirt inside and blue jeans with boat shoes.

“Kairav, come here.” Kunal called and Kairav came running. Nandita looked at Kairav and felt so happy seeing him grown up.

She bent down, looked into Kairav’s eyes affectionately and told him “You were her age when I saw you last.” she pointed at Myra. Kairav didn’t understand what Nandita said therefore he simply looked at Myra and said “Hello!” Nandita smiled and all of them wished him ‘Happy Birthday’. B Mom handed over the gifts to Kairav and all this while Myra was shying and looking down at the floor.

“Do you want to come to the play zone?” Kairav asked Myra and she was euphoric hearing the word ‘playzone’. She nodded in a yes and Kairav held Myra’s hand to take her to kids’ play area.

“Please be careful kids” Kunal told Kairav and Myra.

“Please make yourself comfortable.” Kunal pointed at the seating area where all the guests were enjoying starters and drinks.

Pretty soon, Kunal came to them with a lady.

“Purvi, meet Nandita.” Kunal introduced them.

“Nandita, this is my sister cum sister in law Purvi.” And they shook hands. Nandita was astonished to look at Purvi. She was a first copy of her sister Tanvi. Though Tanvi always used to dress up in Indian wear, her sister Purvi had a contrast choice. She was wearing a short dress in red color and looked beautiful.

“You completely resemble Tanvi.” Nandita said.

“Yeah…. Except one that I m more on the plum side.” She said and laughed.

“No No… You look just perfect.” Nandita replied and they talked for a while.

“I’ll see you in some time Nandita.” Purvi said as she saw her friends arriving.

“Yeah.. sure!” Nandita said and Purvi left to greet her friends.

Myra was enjoying thoroughly in the kids play area. She was jumping and dancing and chasing other kids or playing hide and seek. And in between the enjoyment, the little one removed her biting sandal so that it doesn’t refrain her from playing.

After the cake cutting ceremony, everyone headed to the dining area. After making B Papa and B Mom sit for lunch, Nandita started searching Myra. It was a tough task to bring her back from her game but somehow Nandita managed to feed her.

“Lovely party! I must thank Kunal for inviting us.” Nandita thought while having her lunch.


 

Two unfortunate things happened when Nandita and her family were leaving. One, Myra lost the sandal that she herself didn’t remember where and when she had taken out. Plus she was crying so loud that it was irritable for people around her. Two, Nandita could not find Kunal to thank him for inviting them so she bid bye to Purvi and Kairav only.

“No my doll… I’ll get you a new and more beautiful pair of shoes.” Nandita consoled little Myra but she wasn’t listening to her. On the exit, Nandita saw Kunal standing far away with a few people who seemed to be his close pals. Kunal was totally unaware that a pair of eyes who were watching him just passed by. He kept talking with his friends and Nandita left in her car. Myra was cranky for the remaining day for her lost shoe.

Much later in the night when Nandita made Myra sleep her phone’s  light blinked.

There was a message from Kunal on Whatsapp.

Kunal: Hi, thanks for coming over to Kairav’s party. It was a pleasure to have you all there today. And sorry I couldn’t see off you guys. Didn’t realise when did you leave?

Nandita: Hi, the party was really good. All of us enjoyed. Thanks for inviting. 🙂

Nandita: And it’s okay. I understand being a host you were busy. 

She thought of explaining that she had seen him at the exit but ignored that idea.

Kunal: I hope I have not disturbed you at this hour.

Nandita: No. That’s okay.

Kunal: I have a good news.

Nandita: Really! Tell me.

Kunal: Little Cindrella will get her lost sandal back very soon. 🙂

Kunal sent a photo of Myra’s left over shoe in his hand.

Nandita: Oh Thank God!

I mean thanks to you. Where did you find it?

Kunal: I did not. But one of the catering guys found it near the play area and handed over to me that the little girl was crying a lot for her sandal. Later Kairav told me that it was Myra. So I brought it back home with me. 🙂

Nandita: Thank you so much. It is Myra’s favorite pair. 🙂

Kunal: Her feet will be happy again. 🙂

Nandita:  Yeah 🙂

Kunal: Okay. You take rest and let me know when and where you want to collect the shoe from me. Good night.

Nandita: Sure. Good night and thanks once again.

Kunal: And hey, btw, what is the term B Mom and B Papa? 😉

Nandita: Haha.. B stands for Big… Big Mom & Big Papa… modernization of grandparents’ names u see 😉

Kunal: That’s so cool!

Kunal, tired, slept immediately and Nandita plugged in earphones and enjoyed some songs.

Next morning, Nandita broke the shoe news to B Mom and told her to keep it a secret until she brings it back because if Myra comes to know that the shoe is found, she will be restless to have it back. B Mom conceded on it.

A week passed but due to office workload, Nandita could not find time to meet Kunal for the shoe and therefore, she never messaged Kunal for any other reason. Kunal didn’t text either because he was waiting for Nandita’s initiative. Little Myra though kept missing her one shoe time and again.

“When are you going to collect it from him?” B Mom asked Nandita who was pouring hair oil in her palm.

“Myra keeps missing her one shoe.”

“Maa, I am not able to take out time… what to do?” Nandita said and started massaging B Mom’s hair.

After a good session of hair massage, B Mom had an idea popped up. “If you can’t find time then ask them to come over. Ask them to come over for lunch on Saturday or Sunday. Myra can also meet Kairav again and I will cook something of your Papa’s choice.” B Mom said and looked at B Papa who seemed interested in this idea.

“Today is Wednesday.” Nandita calculated.

Next day during the lunch time, Nandita texted Kunal for the same and Kunal replied that he will confirm it to her after asking Purvi tonight.

Kunal: Hi! Saturday is good. 🙂

Nandita: great. See you all then.”

and Nandita texted him address.

She felt something in her heart while lying down in her bed… Something she could not properly understand. Her destiny had brought her in front of a person she had never dreamt of meeting again. There was a past life behind her in which Kunal had a very tiny role. With a new lifestyle in Mumbai, she had moved on but every time she thought about Kunal she remembered a certain point in her past life that filled her with agony. She took turn on her left and opened the drawer of the bed side table. She took out a white photo frame and kept looking at it. Vishal, her deceased husband holding a few months old Myra and Nandita resting on his shoulder. All three of them were smiling in this picture. Nandita held the photo to her heart and rested her back on the bed and closed her eyes to feel some peace.

“Does he miss Tanvi?” “Is it right to meet him again and again?” Nandita thought while putting back the photo frame in its place.

“He always behaves in a very polished way like a true marketeer. We don’t have this closeness where I can ask him whether he misses his wife or not? Moreover, I should not be concerned about this… It is just a matter of this lunch thingy. After this, I am not going to contact him.” In between these thoughts, Nandita fell asleep.


 

to be continued…

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