Twentieth – 1.4

Recap: Nandita meets Purvi in Kairav’s birthday party. She and her family enjoy the party but Myra loses one shoe and becomes cranky. Kunal later tells Nandita that Myra’s shoe is kept with him and she can collect it from him anytime. B Mom suggests to invite Kunal and his family for lunch.

Finally Saturday arrived. By 11.30, B Mom had prepared the cuisines and was cleaning up the kitchen. Nandita did the house cleaning and dusting part and readied Myra. At 12.30, Nandita received a text from an unknown number.

“Hey, this is Purvi.  Please text me your home location. We are just starting off.”

Nandita immediately sent her the same and their wait started.

After half an hour, the door bell rang and everybody got in position to welcome the guests. Nandita opened the door and got surprised to see only 2 people – Purvi and Kairav. They came inside and everyone greeted each other formally. B Mom, B Papa and Nandita had the same question on their face and Purvi without wasting any time explained “Well, Kunal will join us a bit later. He had some urgent work come up from office.” She said and Kairav looked at her and before he could say anything, Purvi hushed him and whispered something in his ear. He quickly took out two chocolates from his pocket and stepped forward to Myra. Myra, who was behaving shy upon having guests at home till now, became super happy receiving chocolates.

Soon, the kids were indulged in playing with toys and elders were talking.

“Kairav is a very calm kid.” B Mom said and served juice to everyone.

“Yeah… He has become calm now. Earlier he was extremely naughty”. Purvi replied.

“I remember him doing all the naughty stunts like jumping from a height, running very fast and sliding with his head downwards in the park. Tanvi used to panic. He would always keep her on toes.” Nandita told.

“Yeah…”Purvi replied and looked at her. “He has become matured after she has gone like he understands her absence, and her importance.” Purvi said and everybody paused for a minute.

“Myra, Kairav… your juice is waiting!” B Mom called the kids to break the silence and the emotional moment turned back to normal with the kids.

After little more of conversation, B Mom asked Purvi “What time will Kunal reach here?”

“I have no idea…! And he told me that we should not wait for him so there is no such formality.” Purvi tried to cover up.

“No Problem! Work comes first!” B Papa said and all of them decided to have lunch.

“Wow! Puran Poli… I love it” Purvi said with joy looking at her plate.

“She loves cooking..” B Papa pointed at B Mom. “Though we are not Maharashtrians by caste, but because we have lived here for more than 3 decades now, plus her love for cooking has got her learn most of the maharashtrian dishes.”

“Awesome.” Purvi said. “Kunal loves Puran Poli too. I think I’ll text him to come here asap.” She said excitedly and picked her phone.

Nandita was silently serving the food. She had mixed feelings about Kunal’s absence today. She was relaxed somewhere because of his absence but on the other hand, she felt that he insulted her family by not showing up. Therefore, she remained silent every time Kunal’s name was popped up. All of them sat together for lunch and Purvi and Kairav relished each bite of their food.

The kids were tired after heavy game of chasing each other therefore both of them slept immediately after eating.

“Well, I think I should not lie to you..!” Purvi said to Nandita who was tucking in the kids into the bed.

“Lie… about what?” Nandita picked up remote and switched on the AC.

“Ummm… it is not work due to which Kunal did not come but a cricket match.” Purvi said and waited for Nandita’s reaction.

“Cricket… really!?” Nandita said with a hint of sarcasm.

“I know you didn’t like it that he did not come and…”

“No No that’s okay” Nandita interrupted Purvi to hide her displeasure.

 “I could read your annoyance on your face. I understand it doesn’t feel good when you invite someone and they don’t show up.” Purvi explained.

“The bad part is they don’t inform.” Nandita again interrupted.

“Yeah… I know… but when it comes to cricket, you know how Indian men are..! They would reach any length to watch the sport.”

Nandita remained silent on this. Purvi decided to continue.

“There is some tri-series going on in another continent and India is playing finals which is a very “crucial match”… this is what he told me.  So he’ll come when India wins” Purvi completed her statement.

“India wins? Is that a condition?” Nandita asked with sarcasm again.

Purvi laughed on this and said “Wait, I’ll text him.”

“No No… it’s okay! Let it be” Nandita stopped her.


 

After the kids, it was B Papa who went to his room for a nap. So the three ladies were talking in the living room. Purvi insisted B Mom twice if she also wants to take some rest but B Mom denied.

“I take rest only after dinner.” B Mom said and they all started talking again.

Around 3.30, the door bell rang. Nandita opened the door and her mind said “*Yellow*”

It was Kunal on the door wearing a yellow polo tee. In the first place, Nandita was surprised to see him at the door and the colour of his shirt disturbed her more.

“Hi!” he pleasantly said.

“Hi!” she replied with a fake smile.

He came inside and touched B Mom’s feet and said “I am really sorry but some unexpected work had come up and I had to finish it on a high priority basis.”

“Oh it’s perfectly fine. We are glad that you came.” B Mom said and asked him to sit while Purvi and Nandita looked at each other.

“So what will you have? Juice, tea or coffee?” B Mom asked.

“Puran Poli?” Kunal instantly replied.

“Purvi texted me that she is eating delicious Puran Poli here and I wrapped up my work as fast as possible.” Another lie from Kunal came and Purvi hid her smile behind her palms. Nandita tried to be blank faced and stood up to serve him Puran Poli but B Mom stopped her and said “I’ll serve him the food, you go and sit there” and before she could say anything, B Mom entered the kitchen.

Nandita sat on the couch opposite to Kunal but tried to not look at him as much as possible. The yellow colour was bothering her.

Kunal had finished his food halfway, when B Papa entered. And both of them started talking. This was the opportunity for Nandita to leave from there. She went in her room and was about to close it when B Mom called her from the kitchen.

“Will you make tea for all of us?” B Mom asked while washing her hands under the dishwashing basin tap.

“Sure Maa.” Nandita replied reluctantly and took out the saucepan.

“So who else is there in your family and where are they based?” B Papa asked Kunal.

“My Parents live with my elder brother in USA.” Kunal replied while wiping dry his hands with his handkerchief.

“My mom is half paralytic. Left side of her body can’t function so my brother, who is settled in Washington, has taken both of them because the facilities there are better.” Kunal said.

“I am really sorry to hear that.” B Papa said.

“Kairav and I visit them every year.” Kunal further told.

Nandita was listening to the conversation from the kitchen and hearing about Kunal’s mother’s condition saddened her.

“And where do you belong to Nandita?” Purvi asked Nandita who was pouring milk in the boiled tea water.

After one second she replied from the kitchen “My family was based in Solan.”

There was a shock filled silence across the room. Her words “family was” and “Solan” shivered Purvi and Kunal in their heart. While B Mom and B Papa bowed down their head in agony, Purvi repented raising that question and Kunal was looking at Purvi as to how this silence should be covered now.

“She lost everyone in that earthquake.” B Mom whispered and sighed.

“Solan is only 40 kms away from Shimla if you know… and everything was destroyed there.” B Mom said and looked at Nandita in grief. Nandita pretended to be busy in making tea. She could understand the silence and knew what the whispers were about. A small tear rolled down her left eye but she kept control on her emotions.

She came in the room with tea and sat with everyone.

“I have got Kairav’s birthday pictures in my pen drive, if all of you would like to see.” Kunal deliberately changed the topic and everyone agreed. He took out a pen drive from his pocket and inserted it in the TV USB slot.

Kunal’s idea worked well as there were beautiful pictures of Myra playing along with kids and this made Nandita, B Mom and B Papa overjoyed while looking at Myra’s cheerful smile. In their group photo, Purvi pointed at Nandita and said “Nandita, you were looking gorgeous that day.”

“Yeah, but she isn’t smiling in that photo… and that serious face doesn’t match up with her pretty look.” Kunal’s quick interruption spread an awkward silence in the room for a moment once again. Nandita hid her anger behind a blank expression.

“She never smiles in any of the photographs. God knows why she fears the camera.” B Mom explained to break the silence.


 

Kids woke up one by one and it was time for Kunal and his family to leave. Myra started crying when she realized that Kairav will be leaving. She insisted on playing with him and Nandita tried to make her understand.

“I have one surprise for you princess..!” Kunal told Myra. “But to see it, you have to come downstairs because it is kept in my car.” Myra looked puzzled on this but she insisted Nandita to take her downstairs.

B Mom told Nandita that she must go downstairs to see off them. Nandita and Myra came along with Kunal’s family in the parking area and Kunal took out a packet from the back seat of his car and presented it to Myra. Myra quickly opened it and felt on cloud nine finding her lost shoe inside it. Her cheerful face made everyone smile.

“See you.” Kunal shook hands with Nandita and sat in the car.

“Bye Myra.” Said Kairav and Myra waved her hand to him.

“It was a real pleasure to meet you all once again. Really!” Purvi said and hugged Nandita. “I had a fantastic time with all of you.” She smiled and Nandita smiled back and said “Pleasure is ours. Come anytime when you wish to see us again.”

Kunal and his family left.

“Now I know where and why she had disappeared on twentieth.” Kunal stopped on a red light signal and said. Purvi gave him a questioning look.

“I had met Nandita on twentieth… We had looked for shelter together and after finding one, I made her and Myra sit there and left to assist the rescue team in finding Tanvi and Vishal. After coming back after a couple of hours, I didn’t find her anywhere… Now I know the answer… She had gone to Solan to check on her parents…. And after that day, I have met her directly here in Mumbai.” Kunal completed his sentence and moved his car on the green light.

“Her experience is so devastating…. I mean I can’t even imagine losing all my loved ones at the same time…” Purvi expressed grief.

Kunal took a deep sigh and remained silent. Kairav on the backseat was lost in his own world playing games on Purvi’s phone.

“But you know what…. her in laws are leaving no gap in loving and pampering her and Myra…. their deep and strong bonding is quite visible.” Purvi sounded very positive and looked at Kunal for his reaction.

“Yeah… her family is really nice.” Kunal smiled after saying that and their topic changed.


 

“Nice people.” B Mom said when Myra and Nandita reached home.

“Yea… very well mannered and polite people.” B Papa said.

Nandita heard them and responded with a brief smile and went to her room.

Her mind was perturbed with Kunal’s comment on her photos “Who the hell is he to tell me how should I pose for a photo?” she spoke to herself while tying a ponytail.

“May be I m thinking too much.” She thought while making Myra sleep in the night. “It is just that we wanted to have Myra’s shoe back and since they had invited us for Kairav’s birthday party, as a courtesy, we invited them for lunch. We don’t have to keep a lifelong relation with them. I will not call him or text him any more… he may not either” she thought. “So things will be shelved soon.” Much soon, she slept.


 

to be continued…

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