The days seemed to drag on…Anandi flipped through her useless magazine…Shiv had been away for almost a month…His frequency to mumbai had increased…He looked eternally lost…
Wen she asked him he simply said he is tensed about Saanchi’s marriage. His dad’s health…His business responsibilities etc…
She could feel something was troubling him…he was super busy and barely gave time to her.
Jagadish was better now and he was almost back to his jovial self.
Swati was going to US in few months’.Anandi was unsure after Swati left how she would cope up alone in Pune.
Her mom’s pestering to get married had also increased. She avoided the marriage topic as much as possible.
Shiv and herself were very serious but it was not the best time to discuss marriage with him.
He was very serious about her she knew but was he serious enough to marry her ???
Wat if he was commitment phobic ?
Wat if he wasn’t that into her’thts impossible !! She thought”.He loves me‘.She brushed aside the thought.
She saw her phone beeping and with a sigh she took her mom’s call.
“Yes Mom she said”
Bhaago said in an excited voice “Anandi I hav got such good news for u tht u will dance in happiness”.
“I will be happy with anything except marriage proposals”.
Bhago said “U listen first’Jagadish’s parents came to meet us today morning and they hav sent a formal marriage proposal for both of u’isn’t tht a great news ?”
Anandi was shocked “What !!! Does Jagadish know abt it ?? Wat did u say??”
“I agreed of course’I know u like Jagya and we hav always dreamt of u two getting married’.”
Anandi interrupted her “Mom NO !!! I don’t love Jagadish’I like him but not enough to marry him’..Why didn’t u ask me before saying yes’it ridiculous !!”
Bhagoo said “I don’t understand kids nowdays..wats wrong in marrying Jagya’u don’t love him fine !! but u know him well n u like him too ‘u will fall in love eventually thts how arrange marriage works”.
Anandi rolled her eyes “Mom ur arranging my marriage with my best friend !!! u know how ridiculous tht sounds !!”
She argued with Bhago for a min she thought of informing them about Shiv but thought otherwise’First she shld clear things up with Shiv.
She called Jagadish after her convo with Bhago.
He laughed wen she told him about their marriage alliance.
“So wats the harm in getting married’Ur free and I am available lets get hitched”.
“Don’t joke Jagadish’I know u we r not exactly in love and its ridiculous”
“Hmmm as far as I know u were quite interested in me few years back”
“Yes but things change”
“Are u in love with someone else Anandi?” He asked
She took a deep breath and said “Yes'”
“And u are telling me now ?? Who is he ??”
She said “I will tell u everything about him’.Infact its time tht everyone shld know. He is little busy nowdays’.I hav to sort out few things first”.
Jagadish said “I am happy for u Anandi’I always had my conscious nagging in my head that I broke ur heart’.I am so relived now. I will talk to our parents to stop this marriage thing “.
Anandi said “Thanks Jagadish’.”
She sighed with relief everything was sorted now she had to talk to Shiv if she could get hold of him’.She called him a few times only to get his voicemail’.She randomly looked at the calander and realized “Shiv’s birthday is next week !!!”
She felt elated “I must do something special for his birthday. He has been so disturbed last few months’..must get swati. She is the best event planner for these things”.
Fortunately next day she got Shiv’s call. He said he would be back in Pune next week which was a day before his birthday.
“Perfect” Anandi thought. Everything was according to her plan’..
The Birthday plan was ready’.They had planned a surprise party with their close friends in an upscale restaurant’.Then She wld bring him back to her house for further surprise’.She blushed at the thought.
The day before his birthday she called him’
“Hey sweetheart” She called
“Hi Anandi” He said in a clipped voice’
“U know how much I missed you”.
“Missing you has become part of my life Anandi’I better get used to it” He said
“What ??” She asked puzzled
“Nothing’So wats has been my babydoll doing these days?” He asked
She said “Nothing much other than missing u .we r meeting tomm right”.
“I especially came for that purpose Anandi We need to talk” He said
“About us who else ” He said ‘For a min she cld feel his old self back in him.
“Ok then pick me up at 7 I hav a surprise for u” She tease him
He said in a serious voice “I hav a surorise for u as well”.
“Great lets see whose surprise is better” She laughed and cut the call.
Next day she carefully dressed in maroon chiffon sari’So far Shiv had never seen her in a saari’
“I bet this will drive him nuts” She giggled adjusting her backless halter neck choli’She had tied her hair in a knot which left her back exposed’few tendrils of hairs hung around teasing her cheeks and neck’.She looked ethereal and very bridal’.She blushed “I hope he gets the hint”
Her doorbell rang sharp at 7’happily she opened the door’Shiv looked dashing as always’He was staring blankly at her as if turned to stone’.
She shook him “Shiv !”
He seemed to wake up “Anandi’I’You..your looking beautiful anandi’God !! this is not gonna be easy”
She said “Wat shld be easy?”
A slow smile spread across his face ” Staying sober with u’can we cancel the party and'”
She said “NO’.we r going’Swati n the rest are already there’.Btw Happy Birthday dear”
She reached up n kissed his cheeks’
He grinned and offered her his arm’She told him that they were going for dinner with friends then later on they would finish off his birthday with unwrapping of his present. They reached the restaurant an celebrated with food and drinks’Anandi was happy. Shiv was finally back with her. Every once in a while he gave an assuring smile’.At moments she found him staring at her mesmerised’..Something was still missing’.his smile didn’t reach his eyes. And he had a wistful look. She thought “I must talk to him tonight”.
Another unusual thing was he was on his third drink now’.He rarely took alcohol and never more than 2.
She whispered to him “Shiv are u sure u can drive?? “
He gave her a lazy smile “Don’t worry Anandi I am fine”.
It was still fairly early when they left the restaurant’..He said to her “can we walk a little”
She nodded and they walked under the stars. It was a cool breezy night’
They walked in silence for sometime Then Anandi said “Something is bothering u Shiv?”
He replied “Nothing Anandi I had to take some unpleasent decisions ‘.So’Btw thank u so much’This was my best birthday ever’I am glad I celebrated it with you’I will never forget it'”
She grinned “ur birthday is still not over and ur yet to unwrap ur gift”.
He said ” You didnt do something for my birthday last year..
She laughed “Because that time we were just friends remember?”
He sighed “Yeah wat a waste of time…Ok so where’s my gift ?”
She said “come with me”
They drove back to her flat and she gestured him to come up’..She unlocked the door .His eyes lit up when he entered’entire flat was decorated with candles’..everything was covered in a dim golden glow. He looked at Anandi’she simply smiled “Swati”
He looked around’.Anandi said “she is spending the night with some friends”.
He felt chocked’he didn’t utter a word just looked shocked and mesmerized’.She offered him a small box “Happy Birthday Shiv”.
He looked down at it and tugged the red ribbon holding the wrapping’.it unraveled to reveal a box,He opened the box to find a watch’.he picked up the shinning black designer watch
“Wow !! thanks Anandi’.its lovely’I really dunno how to thank you”.
She said “turn it around”
He turned to read the engraving at the back’It read “Destined to be together’.Your Anandi”
He didn’t say a word simply stared at it’.Anandi said impatiently “Say something Shiv”
He looked at her his eyes full of emotions “I’I ‘.dont know wat to say’Its..lovely…Thanks for coming in my life Anandi…God !! I cant do this”
She said “wats wrong Shiv u can tell me”
For a fleeting moment a pained look crossed his face then he was back to normal “Nothing Anandi””
He held her hands and said “I love u Anandi’I want to forget everything for today’I want to savor each moment with you”.
She said “Then wats stopping u dear’you remember I told u hav a birthday surprise waiting”
He nodded’She came near and whispered in his ears “Me’now unwrap ur gift”
His eyes widened he looked at her sari clad body and the words sunk in. He brushed her face with his knuckles “dance with me Anandi” He suddenly said
She looked up surprised'”Please ‘” he said
She nodded and switched on the music system’.
As music wafted in the room he held her close and danced’Moving on the music
They swayed and moved on the music.Her eyes never leaving his…It was just like their first time…slow and sensous.
Somewhere along he unpinned her hairs which fell loose in a wavy waterfall…
“How do u manage to drive me crazy each time Anandi” He whispered.
She blushed “Same as u manage to drive me crazy”.
He laughed and twirled her around leaving her breathless…
” I wish this night to stay forever…”
She replied “Why so ? why not make every night as magical”
A fleeting sadness crossed his face…”I wish Anandi I so wish it”.
She parted her lips to ask but her question was buried in sudden swoop of his lips..It was slow and soft as he gently nibbled on her lips.Then his teasing grew in intensity his tongue exploring her mouth.
He held her tightly as if his life depended on it.
They stopped moving…she threw her arms around his neck tugging his hairs drawing him closer.His hand glided over her back…
He left her lips and placed small kisses down her throat…His hands roaming on her back.
She reached up to removed the stratagically placed pin on her pallu…the sheer material slipped down her shoulders.
He held her waist and kissed his way up her shoulders…He whispered “You are gorgeous Anandi…Will miss you”.
She started to say “Miss me ?…”
He placed a finger on her lips “shhh..No questions.I m yet unwrap my gift”.
She blushed and forgot all her apprehensions…He lifted her in one swoop and carried her into the bedroom.He saari pallu trailing behind.
After placing her on the bed he tenderly looked at her tiny frame…pale skin covered with maroon at strategic places…
“You are beautiful” He said.
Laying next to her he caressed her face with his knuckles.
He caught her lips again while his hands removed the folds of her saari and tugged free the doris of her choli.
She didnt realise wen her hands unbuttoned his shirt…gaining access to his hard muscles…As always he felt like velvety steel.Soon she was writhing under him her nails digging in his shoulders while he ravished her.
She was ridding a wave after wave this is what heaven must be like.
It was wee hours of morning when she lay limp and exhausted she didnt realize he was still staring at her face as if trying to imprint it in his memory.
She snuggled closer too drowsy to open her eyes…He lovlingly stroked her arms as she slept.
It was almost mid day when she woke up
She looked around feeling sore…Shiv was gone…she had expected tht he rarely stayed late at her place.
“I must call him we barely talked yesterday”.
Looking for her phone she spotted a note just like that new year…
Smiling she picked it up…As she read it her expressions changed she could feel her world collapsing around her.
To be continued…