Strangers!! (kkb) – Part 12

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Hii all…. Haa its been a long time right? It feels like home seeing u all. Was staying in hostel so only this much gap sorry for that. Now no bak baks.. back to the story…

Part 9

Abhi’s bua, Mrs. Pratibha Sharma called her brother up one morning, “Bhaiyya, when are you holding Pragya’s Godh Bharai?”
“Godh Bharai?” asked back Baba distractedly as he was trying to read the morning newspaper while answering the phone.

“Yes, Godh Bharai, the ceremony performed for pregnant women on completion of seven months. Pragya must be at least seven and a half months now, wouldn’t she?”
Baba turned his full attention to his sister’s call and cursed himself under his breath. How can he forget it? Maybe because there was no woman in the house to remind him of these rituals. How he wished his wife was around to conduct this for her daughter-in-law but alas she left him and his son for heavenly abode more than twenty years ago. Putting aside the newspaper he asked her,
“It is a ladies function and there are no ladies here save Pragya. So will you come and conduct it for us?”

She agreed to come and the function date was fixed two days later. Baba then asked Abhi to invite the married lady staff members and the wives of his male staff members to attend the function.

Pragya’s Godh Bharai went off well. Abhi presented her a beautiful crimson silk saree. Baba presented her with his wife’s ruby set, unmindful of Pragya’s protests that she cannot accept it. He said that her mother-in-law’s jewelry belonged to her. Pragya couldn’t say anything further without wounding him. So she quietly accepted it. Decked in all her finery, she was made to sit in the center of the hall. The women came and blessed her and laid various gifts on her lap. Pratibha gave her a gold strapped wrist watch. Pragya felt more and more guilty that she would end up hurting so many people if she leaves. She hoped that she may never have to leave and break the hearts of the people she had grown to love. She turned around and looked at Abhi who stood at the head of the stairs. He couldn’t take his eyes off his beautiful wife. For the first time she noticed the desire in his eyes as he fixed his gaze on her. Was she imagining it or was Abhi really attracted to her? She tried to confirm it but got distracted by the women who wanted to feed her ghee rice and sweets as per the custom. In the meantime Abhi got a call from his office and had to excuse himself mid-way through the ceremony.

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That night when Abhi came home late from work, Pragya was already asleep, having been made to turn in early by Baba and Bua. He lovingly gazed at the sleeping face of his wife for a long time before sleep took over.

Bua stayed back with them under the insistence of Baba who said that her presence in the otherwise male dominated household would be useful, especially now that Pragya was in her third trimester. Mrs.Pratibha was widowed three years back and lived alone in her flat in Mumbai, as she had no children. Her husband, a retired civil servant had left behind three flats for his wife. The pension money and the rent from two of the flats took care of her needs. The woman was fiercely independent and refused to accept any help from anybody, including her own brother, preferring to live on her own. Now that the first grandchild of the family was on the way, she agreed to be of assistance.

The next six weeks flew by even as Abhi’s and Pragya’s unspoken love for each other strengthened. Even though they had not vocalized their feelings for each other, they subconsciously seemed to know that their spouses too reciprocated them. Pragya kept herself busy right up to the very end, knitting sweaters and booties for her baby and doing all the household work including sweeping and swabbing the house. Abhi tried to stop her from doing physically strenuous activities but Bua assured him that it would lend greater flexibility to her body which, in turn, would help in making her delivery easier when the time comes. He wasn’t satisfied with her explanations and checked with Pragya’s doctor during their next visit. The doctor too assured him those activities which required bending and squatting were good for pregnant women as long as long they did not have any complications in their pregnancies. As Pragya’s pregnancy was fairly smooth sailing there was no reason why she should not do these activities. It is only then did he let Pragya continue them.

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It was two weeks before the due date for the arrival of Pragya’s baby. Bua and Baba had wanted to go to the temple to offer prayers for Pragya’s safe delivery. Abhi volunteered to stay with Pragya till they return in an hour’s time as she was too close to the delivery date to be left alone. He had informed his office he would be coming in a little late. He sat next to Pragya on the sofa and watched her knit. As she was concentrating on the knitting she did not notice her husband’s admiring and unwavering gaze on her. A few tendrils of her shampooed freely flowing hair blew across her face in the gentle morning breeze. Abhi instinctively pushed the straying strands of hair behind her ears, prompting a startled Pragya to break her concentration on knitting and turn her attention to him.

Embarrassed that he was caught in the act of staring, Abhi quickly turned on the T.V. and was shocked to hear the breaking news. Some miscreants had desecrated the statue of Dr.Ambedkar, the father of Indian Constitution. This had led to caste clashes, violence and rioting. Shops were vandalized, buses were burnt and private vehicles were stone pelted. The police swiftly acted and a curfew was immediately clamped to prevent the precipitation of the crisis. Pragya feared for the safety of Baba and Bua who were still out and throwing aside her knitting needles, she clutched Abhi’s arm tightly and asked him to check on them. Just then he heard the phone ring. It was his father who informed him that at present they were safe in his friend Vijay’s house. He then told him how they ended up there.

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As they were coming out of the temple along with the rest of the devotees, the police had landed there in large numbers. They were told to take shelter in the nearby houses as the curfew was being imposed and no vehicle was being allowed to pass. As Vijay lives next to the temple, they went to his place. They assured him that they will return home as soon as the curfew gets lifted. Abhi heaved a sigh of relief and turned to Pragya.

Seeing her face contorted in pain he panicked and asked her if she was alright. Although she nodded, he could clearly see that she was not. She was being hit by spasms of pain as her contractions had started. The pain which began in the lower back, spread to her lower abdomen and radiated to her legs. She bit her lower lip to keep from screaming. Abhi who was worried for his fathers and Bua’s safety felt his world will end seeing his love facing the pain of death. He looked at Pragya worriedly not knowing what to do next.

Screen freezed between Abhi’s shocked face and Pragya’s painful face..

So this is it. How is the episode? Do tell me ur views… so sorry for the late. If u all want a double episode tomm? I am at leave for this weekend so will post episodes. Sorry guys lack of time so no thanking session in brief… so thank u Mythili dear, Chitti, Prathi, Rithu , Sakthi Sree Devi, Hanna ,Tianaa, saranya akka, Reshma dii, Tianaa- no dear I don’t post it in wattpad coz I don’t hv time sorry. Shafia, Abhigya dear, Chichi.

Thank u all again, express ur views on this episode. What did u like in this episode. Okieee its time to wrap up. Love u all stay blessed….. sayanora…

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