For a moment everything stopped and then began spinning madly. Rajani fell down in a dead faint.
“Rani, Rani, Rani,” her mother kept calling her on the phone but Rajani was quite oblivious to it as she lay senseless on the floor. She moaned as she recovered consciousness – her head throbbed where she had cracked it. What was she doing on the floor? Why did her head hurt? Had she been in an accident? Memory came rushing back. Harsha!
“Rani! Where did you vanish?”
“What happened to Harsha Mamma? Is he okay?” Hey Bhagwan! It was all her fault. All those prayers… but she didn’t mean for Harsha to die, “Mamma…”
“Yes, he seems to be okay. He is injured and has fractured his leg but otherwise he is okay. You better call up and enquire.”
“Now?” Rajani looked at her watch. It was 11 pm.
“Yes. We are all at the hospital. You can call up Rekha or your mother-in-law. You should have also been here. But for you studies are more important.”
“Don’t blame me Mamma!” Rajani flared up. “The way you said ‘accident’ gave me a heart attack and now you say he’s okay but I should give up my studies. Why doesn’t he give up the idea of marrying me? Why don’t you all give up the idea of our marriage? Didn’t the Punditji warn that it wasn’t going to be good for him? Didn’t one of them say the marriage was bound to be fraught with difficulties? Why why why?” Rajani was near hysteria.
“Relax Rani,” it was Suryakant, “everything will be fine,” he soothed. “Why the hell did you have to tell Rani? Did I not tell you not to call her?” he blasted Nisha before turning back to calm and console Rajani.
Nisha stood there seething with indignation. Just a little while ago Suryakant had blasted her in front of Harsha’s parents for having pampered Rani too much. She should have been here by the side of Harsha not in Bengaluru playing foolish games with numbers. Call her and tell her that her place is by the side of her to-be husband.
“You relax beta. Harsha will be fine. Don’t worry. I know you are worried and would like to come here but we are all hopeful he will recover fully and soon. You relax. Sleep it off. Things will be better in the morning. You know how your mother is. How she likes to exaggerate things and make them worse than they are. Everything is fine. Just relax. Good night beta. I will talk to you in the morning.”
“Poor thing is hysterical,” Suryakant turned to the others, “she was adamant about coming over. I put her off by saying we would take a decision in the morning. How can she take a flight in the middle of the night, there are tickets to be arranged…” he trailed off. His eye fell on his wife. “It’s all your fault. Is this any way to break bad news to anyone? No wonder she panicked. And you know what a soft-heart she has? When will you learn to think before you speak?”
“Never mind Uncle,” Rekha spoke up, “it happens. We are all stressed out. But we all need to keep calm and collected.”
Nisha pressed her lips and held her tongue.
“Yes, Bhaisahab,” Harsha’s mother wiped her tears, “this is not the time to fall apart or blame each other. We need to be strong and draw strength from each other. Poor Rajani, I do feel for her, all alone with her dreadful thoughts. Let me talk to her.”
“Hello Rajani beta, this is your Mummy speaking,” Sunaina said, “how are you beta?”
Rajani could barely say ‘hello’ for her tears. Guilt ravaged her. Was it because of her prayers for an escape route that this accident happened? Was she such an evil person that she could be reason for the death of another? No! She shuddered with self-repugnance, was there any way to run away from one self?
And now Harsha’s mother was calling her up, speaking to her with, love warmth and understanding. She would be justified in laying the blame at her door, insulting her, humiliating her, after all it was the fault of her stars that, “Rani beta?” Sunaina interrupted the morbid train of thought, “May I call you that? Rajani is too formal and you are just like my daughter,” Rajani’s sobs intensified, “come on beta, stop crying. Everything will be fine, with your good wishes, prayers and love, nothing, not even Yamraj can touch my son. Come on now dry your tears, otherwise even I will…” her voice broke.
Rajani made a Herculean effort to bring her overflowing emotions under control, “I am sorry Aunty,” she whispered through a raw throat.
“Why Aunty? Call me Mummy, like Harsha does. Don’t worry dear, Harsha is just fine, here talk to him if you don’t believe me.”
Rajani eyes began watering once again. “H…how a…are you,” she managed to say.
“I am fine Rajani, just a bit bruised and some pain because of the fracture. Nothing that won’t heal with time, the doctor has assured me. Now please stop crying and making a scene. It’s embarrassing.”
“Embarrassing?” Rajani went from relief to anger in an instant at his castigating tone. “Here I have been worried stiff about you and you are embarrassed? Should I have been dancing?”
“I don’t know why you are insisting on going ahead with this wedding. Didn’t the punditji warn about this accident? Didn’t he say if we got married, it would be risky for you?”
“Rani,” Suryakant had taken the phone from Harsha, “Is this any way to talk to your to be husband particularly one who is injured and in hospital?” Suryakant was furious but he made sure to move away from the others before he lashed out at his daughter.
“What did I say wrong Papa? Is it right that we should get married in these circumstances? I couldn’t bear it that I am unlucky for him. What if it had been a serious accident? No…”
“That’s not your lookout Rani,” Surykant firmly quelled his daughter’s rising hysteria, “We adults are there to take that decision and do what is best for both of you. Trust us.” He softened his tone. “There are many things you don’t understand. Plus, you are so far away, it’s not possible to keep you abreast of all developments but rest assured everything is proceeding after mutual agreement and consultation with the pundit. So don’t blame yourself…”
“Rani beta,” Sunaina took the phone from Suryakant, “it’s not your fault! Don’t you dare think like that. In fact, the punditji said, the accident could have been fatal if it weren’t for your karma. So it is because of you that Harsha got off lightly. Thank you beta. Rekha and I will be coming down to Bengaluru soon for the Godhbharai function and make you officially ours.”
“Yes A…Mummyji. Thank you M…Mummyji.” There wasn’t much more for Rajani to say.
Here’s Calvin to cheer you up – have a super weekend
Click here for Chapter 125: Handover Issues