Aarush and Radhika hadn’t talked about Koel’s sudden come-back. Neither Radhika wanted to discuss it, nor Aarush wanted Radhika to again break-down at the name of Koel. Two weeks had passed and today, Aarush was getting discharged from the hospital. Radhika had agreed to Love’s advice to ‘pretend’ about being fine and normal about everything, until she gets some ‘alone’ time to talk to Aarush about everything. So, Radhika decorated the home with balloons and flowers for his welcome. Aarush’s parents were informed who had also arrived to see their son. His parents had no idea about Radhika being his live-in partner, so she had to rent out a place for few days, till his parents were here, living in his house. They had no idea about Koel either!
Love and Sahil entered along with Aarush. Aarush’s mother stood at the main-door with a ‘Pooja-thaali’ welcoming her son with her blessings.
‘May the bad elements stay away from you and may God bless you with good-health. What else would a mother’s heart want for her son?’ Aarush’s mother said as she wiped off a tear from the corner of her eye. Mothers always get emotional!
‘Mom…’ Aarush touched her feet and hugged her. His father was standing behind with Radhika and watching the emotional scene quietly.
‘It’s all your fault. You guys…’ Aarush’s father put the blame on Love and Sahil.
‘Uncle?’ Love couldn’t understand.
‘Of course. You have opened your company now and Aarush barely gets time to call home. Thanks to this girl who informed us about this accident, otherwise he never even calls to ask how we are back home! How would we know about his accident had Radhika not called?’
Love and Sahil were clueless on what to say. They chose to be silent and let Aarush make the first move. He walked up to his father and touched his feet as well.
‘I’m fine papa, see. I can walk too! And company work is like that only. This is not a job that you only have to work 9 to 5 and then come back, but this is your damn thing, so you have to work as much as possible. Even 25 hours out of 24, if that kind of shit is possible!’
‘Stop thinking about work now and recover first. I will stay here with your mother till you are completely okay. We are here for at least a month.’
Listening to that Aarush had a heart-attack!
‘A month?’ Aarush was shocked. He looked at Radhika who was smiling with her lips pressed. She was aware that all sexual escapades of Aarush would have to rest for a month and he couldn’t afford that at any cost!
‘I will be fine by tomorrow morning dad. I just need a good night’s sleep in my own bed. That’s it!’ Aarush said, without sounding rude.
‘So now, this boy has a problem with his parents living with him for just a month! We raised you up for 18 years before you joined your college. And don’t force me to tell this in front of your friends that even in twelfth standard you used to sleep between me and your mother in a single bed!’
Radhika burst into laughter.
‘Dad!’ Aarush quietened his father who was sharing his ‘never-to-be-discussed’ secrets.
‘What dad? Every child has some childhood memories that he might be embarrassed to share with his friends, right? So what if you have more memories than other children?’
‘Oh, stop it you both!’ Aarush’s mother intervened, ‘Let your son eat something first and then rest for some time. He’s had a terrible accident!’ his mother took him inside and served everyone food that she made herself.
‘Oh wow! I’m eating this kind of food after years I think.’ Aarush plunged into the bowl of ‘rajma-chawal’ which were his favourite.
‘You should learn how to make delicious food from mom…’ Aarush pointed at Radhika, who was sitting quietly, trying to make a lasting impression on his parents.
‘Oh dad…mom…have I introduced you to Radhika?’ Aarush said.
‘No…’ his mom was suspicious of the girl since the day she called them to inform about Aarush’s accident.
‘This is Radhika Jain, my girlfriend…’ Aarush smiled.
The spoon fell from his mother’s hand and his father gaped at the girl with his rice-filled mouth, ‘Jain?’ both said unanimously.
‘Oh please! Don’t start with your caste-shit again. I was about to propose to her, but didn’t. Because I wanted to ask you guys first…’ Aarush changed the scenario completely in his parents’ favour. Radhika was laughing inside.
‘Yeah right, like that is some sort of debt on us!’ his father said.
‘Dad, just try to understand…’
‘I don’t want to understand anything. Radhika, do your parents know about him?’ he shifted his sight to the girl who was listening to everything with her head down.
‘And will they approve of Aarush once they find out that we are Rajputs?’
‘Uncle, they don’t have a problem with my choice until the guy is well-educated and well settled. And we both are equal partners in the company as well. Marrying each other will lead to half-ownership of the company, which is appreciable in both the cases…’ Radhika put forward a more economical point of view.
Aarush’s father had nothing more to say.
‘See dad? This is what parents are like. Not like you guys who are just after castes and social status!’ Aarush couldn’t be more straightforward.
‘Well, if your parents have no problem, and if you guys have no problem, then who are we to complain? After all, you people have to live here in Mumbai. We will go back to our city or village, once your wedding happens.’
‘Uncle, why do you say that? I was discussing this thing with Aarush before his accident, that if we will marry, we will bring you both to Mumbai to stay with us and we will invest in a bigger apartment too. I am not a girl who would like to stay with her husband all alone, but I’m of the type, who would love to have a family along, especially parents…’
Aarush’s mother and father, both were impressed by Radhika’s thought. His mother even imagined her in a bright red bridal outfit!