The Caged Bird – Chapter 10

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The next day, as the sun rises, Ashwini is seen watering the plants, Ranbir and Mohit are asleep in the bar, the girls are sleeping on the floor in the room, Pranjali is walking around rubbing her eyes, and all the other family members are running from here to there preparing for the rituals. (Basically they are panicking)
Devi is arguing with her dad to skip the school who strictly asked her to get ready and go to school.
Virat is sitting on his bed with his hands folded supporting his chin. He heard a knock on his door and found his little niece standing on the door still half asleep.
“Good morning princess.” She came inside and he made her sit on his lap.
“Where is Sachi?”
“I don’t know where she is. You woke up this early just to meet her?”
“Did Sachi go away? I wanted to show her my toys.” She said almost crying jumping off his lap.
“She might be with your mumma”
“Then where is mumma? She didn’t come to me last night and even rada didn’t come last night. Did the magician came and made them all disappear?”
“The magician did come last night to trouble them, but your Veer chachu came and failed the magician’s plans. So, everyone got tired and are probably sleeping. Why don’t you go to aadi and ask her to make you ready?”
************************************
Ranbir and Mohit who were still sleeping in the bar received a whack on their head. Both hurriedly woke up and looked towards each other before looking behind them. On turning they found Vikram Chavan standing in his usual suit with a smirk on his face.
“D…d…d…dad?” Ranbir said holding his head
“Yes! D…d…d…dad! What are you both doing here when everyone else is working? (Barkhudaar, aap dono yaha kya kar rahe hai jab ghar ke baaki saare log kaam kar rahe hai?)”
“Ahhh!!! I have a terrible hangover” Mohit said rubbing his eyes
“Who asked you to drink this much?” Both received another whack from Vikram. “Go call your wives, we have to begin with the rituals”
“”Wives?? Okay” Both said in unison and ran away
“Ahhhh!! I’m feeling as if someone is repeatedly hitting my head with a hammer” Ranbir said walking on the corridor with Mohit.
“Same bro” Mohit replied holding his head
They reached the room where the girls were sleeping and finding it locked started knocking!
“Prachi…Prachi”
“Karishma…Sayi bhabhi…Prachi bhabhi”
Prachi suddenly wakes up hearing the noise and hurriedly runs to open the door.
“Why are you guys still sleeping? Weren’t you supposed to be ready by now?” Ranbir asked peeking inside
Prachi checks her mobile for time “It’s 9 already? We just have 45 minutes in hand, Ranbir what to do?”
“Bhabhi why don’t you send Sayi bhabhi first and then get ready” Mohit suggested
“Good idea, but then I and Karishma will have to face the taunts as always”
“You don’t worry about that, we will manage, just send Sayi for now” Ranbir assured
“Why are you holding your head? Did you guys…..”
“Yes! And now we both have a terrible hangover, nevermind just get Sayi ready and send her down, I’ll ask someone to get me hangover soup.”
“Ranbir…. (Ranbir comes back to her) where is Pranjali?”
“She might be sleeping or somewhere in the house, I’ll look for her, now please stop inquiring and wake them up! You are already late”
Prachi hurriedly woke them both up and helped Sayi putting back the jewelry
“Thank god we didn’t ask her to change the lehnga, else it would have taken another hour for her to get ready” karishma kept mumbling something while helping Sayi put makeup “I can’t believe Sayi bhabhi that you never learnt to apply makeup”
“Karishma, we don’t have much time, please speak less and work more”
“Sayi bhabhi, why did you had to put so many jewelries? Doesn’t it…”
“Karishma….”
Prachi and Karishma moved their hands as fast as they could.
“Sayi…” They all turned towards the door
“Ashwini kaku” Karishma and Prachi said in unison
“Waaah….my sonbai is looking really pretty!”
“Kaku we just have to apply this eyeliner, then you can take her down”
Ashwini moved aside and Prachi applied the eyeliner to Sayi
“Everything aside…why are you both not ready yet? Don’t you know your MILs?”
“Actually kaku…Actually kaku” Karishma stuttered
“Actually kaku ke aage bhi kucch bologi?? (Will you speak after actually kaku?)”
“Actually kaku… we overslept” Karishma mumbled
“That’s it? And here I was thinking something big happened! You both worked hard during the functions, so it is obvious to get tired! Don’t worry, I’ll manage downstairs, but come soon.” She helped Sayi get up and turned back as they reached the entrance “And Prachi don’t worry about Pranjali, I made her ready and she is enjoying downstairs with your cousins”
“Thank you so much kaku, I love you”
***********************************
Ashwini brought Sayi downstairs and made her sit opposite to Virat.
“Ranbir, where is your wife? How can she be late at such a time? How irresponsible.”
“Mom, the thing is, I got a little drunk last night, and hid her saree somewhere and now I can’t recall where did I put it, so, she had a hard time searching for it.”
“Ranbir when will you stop defending your wife? And at lease you could have given a better excuse, who would buy such a lame excuse?”
“Mohit, where is your wife? Did you also, hide her saree?” Sonali barked
“uh….yes!” Mohit said without thinking!
“I don’t know what magic have your wives done on you that you have become such. There is a limit to everything.” Pallavi continued
“Rada, I want to dance dance dance”
“Okay my princess, we will dance, but you will have to bring dida to dance with you!”
“Can I also bring Sachi?”
“No baby, your Sachi will have to sit there for some time more” Pallavi said picking her up. “Now, come let’s dance”
“Mom still hasn’t accepted Prachi, but I’m glad at least she doesn’t hate our daughter and loves her immensly. What I could never have done, my daughter did and managed to buy some time for her mother. ” Ranbir thought to himself.
******************
Ranbir rushes upstairs to his room and finds Prachi struggling with her blouse again. He moves forward and taking the strings from her hands, pulls her closer.
“R…Ranbir”
“What”
“I..think…I..think.we..we…are…getting…l…late” Prachi stuttered
“No we are not” he whispered in a husky voice
“But still…..”
“If looks could kill…I would have been dead by now!”
“Ranbir…”
“Prachi…you know what? I love hearing my name from you. I like my name a little more everytime you say it. I can keep listening to you calling my name on loop without getting tired” (I imagined Ranbir saying this to Prachi and literally had goosebumps)
Ranbir tied the knot of her blouse and kissed her back. Prachi felt jolt and quickly moved forward.
“I must say, I picked a gorgeous wife for myself” Ranbir said patting his back.
It was now time for the rituals.
Prachi brought a tray with a ring in it while Karishma brought a bowl filled with milk and rose petals. Ashwini picked the ring and threw it inside the bowl.
“You will get 3 chances to find the ring. It is said, the one who wins, dominates the relationship. We’ll do best of 3, so the one who will manage to win at least twice.” Ashwini said
“And, we have also added a twist to this ritual.” Devi announced! “The one who will lose will have to fulfill any 2 demands of the winner and if the winner has no demand, then those 2 wishes will be a loan and winner can demand for it anytime they want. Now begin!”
The whole family was divided into team Sayi and team Virat. Both seemed to be least bothered about the rituals and were lost in their own world. Their hands suddenly met inside the bowl and they both looked towards each other awkwardly.
The first round was won by Virat.
“What is this Sayi, you have to win this. I didn’t let Ranbir win even once”
“Because I lost deliberately. You looked so happy after winning.”
“Stop giving excuses, I can still beat you”
“Prachi-Ranbir stop it you both! You both can perform this ritual after them” Ashwini interrupted.
The ring was put back again, Virat found the ring and handed it over to Sayi.
“Sayi bhabhi won this round and it’s a tie now!” Devi commented “This is the last round and the deciding one. Let’s see who will be the dominating one?”
This time both picked the ring together. “…And it’s a draw. Does it mean no one will dominate?”
Ashwini put her hand on their heads. “They both will walk together in every step and will consult each other every time.”
Both again looked towards each other.
* Pranjali’s dictionary (It will keep expanding over time )
Sachi – Sayi Chachi
Kachi – Karishma Chachi
Samar Chachu – Samrat Chachu
Rada – Dad/dadda
Aadi – Ashwini Dadi
Nidu – Ninad Dadu
Veer Chachu – Virat Chachu
Mo chachu – Mohit Chachu
Dida- Pallavi
Dodo – Vikram
Omi Dadu – Omkar
Sona Dida – Sonali
I’m really sorry for the delay! I shifted back to the hostel as they said that our exams will be offline and we’ll have to attend the lectures physically. It’s actually thrilling to get back to the college, but my room was a complete mess and it literally took me whole 3 days to set it, now we have to quarantine ourselves for 14 days!
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