The next morning started with Radhika and her mother working in the kitchen for Aarush and his family. Though her mother kept asking her not to work, as she had married hardly two days ago, but Radhika could not see her mother working all alone for so many people.
‘Good morning, maa!’ Radhika touched feet of her mother-in-law who entered kitchen.
‘Radhika? What are you doing? It’s not allowed in our home for the brides to start working immediately after marriage. We don’t allow it for forty five days! Go back to your room, I will handle things here.’
‘No maa, it’s okay, I am fine.’
‘I know you are fine, but I am not. And if Aarush’s father will know this, he will question me.’
‘Radhika, she’s your mother now. Listen to her!’ Radhika’s mother asked her to obey the mother-in-law.
‘Fine.’ Radhika left kitchen and entered her bedroom, where Aarush was still asleep.
‘Good morning wife!’ he yawned and grabbed her in his arms, ‘Where is my morning…kiss?’
‘Aarush, please! This is my house.’
‘So? This is my wife.’ he pinched her back tightly.
‘Ouch! Someone will come and we will be in a trouble.’
‘You’re not a teenager anymore, but a married woman, and a married woman has a right to please her husband the way she wants to! So, please me my married woman!’ Aarush bit her cheek.
‘What is wrong with you? Are you some animal?’ Radhika pushed him aside and got up from top of him, ‘Come on, take a bath and get ready, we have a lot to do today.’
‘Not going to happen!’
‘What? Why?’ Radhika folded her arms.
‘Because, I haven’t got my kiss yet.’
‘Don’t be a child, Aarush!’
‘You’re being a child.’
‘What’s going on? Aren’t you going to get ready?’ Aarush’s mother knocked at their door which was split open and Radhika was standing while Aarush was yawning in the bed.
‘Yeah, maa. Just coming. Aarush needs something actually.’ Radhika winked at Aarush, who was making faces at her.
‘What do you need son?’ his mother entered the room and Aarush got up in a nano-second.
‘Nothing, nothing at all. I just need towels. I need to take a bath.’
‘Radhika brought the towels just now.’
‘Where are they?’ Aarush looked around, he spotted the towels on the chair, ‘Here, I got them. Okay. Let me bathe, bye!’ he rushed to the bathroom.
His mother left and Radhika started laughing. Listening to her laugh, Aarush came out with just a towel around his waist, hugged her and started kissing her lips.
‘If you do anything like this ever again, I will tell you what I can do!’ he picked her up and took her to the bathroom, where he rotated the knob and the stood under shower, hugging Radhika.
‘Aarush, you will spoil my entire Saree. I need to wear this today, Aarush!!’ her pleadings fell on deaf ears, Aarush was busy kissing her neck and shoulders.
After five minutes, Radhika somehow managed to come out of the bathroom, all wet and dripping. Her saree was ruined, and she needed to change. Her mother-in-law was passing from her corridor that she spotted her wet.
‘Radhika? What happened?’
‘Maa…’ Radhika was puzzled and shit-scared, ‘Nothing, actually, I slipped in the bathroom.’
‘Slipped in the bathroom or a swimming pool? Look at what you have done. Come with me, I have another saree for you.’
Embarrassed and red-faced, Radhika followed her mother-in-law to her room, where even her father-in-law spotted her dripping and all wet from head to toe. From Radhika’s eyes he judged that Aarush must be responsible for her condition, so without uttering a word, he walked out of the room quietly.
‘Here, you can wear this.’
‘But maa, this is your saree…’
‘So what? You are also my daughter, aren’t you?’ This was the first time Aarush’s mother had shown her affection and love. Maybe because she was staying at their home? Who knew? But Radhika loved it!
‘Radhika!’ Aarush was screaming.
‘Coming…’ Radhika had changed into a new saree and she rushed into her room.
‘Breakfast! I am starving. Where is it?’
‘Downstairs, come. Even I haven’t eaten anything since morning!’ Radhika accompanied him and they all had breakfast at an old, chipped dining table. Aarush loved the rustic look of her house.
‘I am sorry, the house might not be up to the mark. It needs a lot of renovation actually, and we couldn’t get any time.’
‘Oh papa, it’s awesome the way it is. Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of the world, and you want to renovate the house? Keep it like this, I love it!’
‘Really?’ listening to praises of his house from his own son-in-law, made Radhika’s father proud of her daughter’s choice.
‘If you like it, we won’t touch it. After all, it’s yours to handle after we are gone…’
‘Papa, it was yours, and it will always be yours. You are going nowhere!’ Radhika didn’t like any of the emotional discussions.
‘Okay, okay! This girl will always interrupt me the moment I start talking some logical stuff.’
‘More tea?’ Radhika diverted the topic yet again, and her father shut-up!
‘So, what’s the plan?’ Aarush asked.
‘We will go to some old temples in the city first, you need to have blessings from the Gods for your new life, right?’ Radhika’s mother was gleaming with happiness, ‘And after that in the evening, we will go to Ganga-ghats, for the majestic aarti, you can’t miss it if you are here in Varanasi!’
‘Sure, sounds good. So let’s call the annoying people as well?’ Aarush talked about his relatives. His mother stared at him and said, ‘They are the people who love you, that’s why they are with you here!’
‘Yes of course Mrs. Choudhury, let’s call them at home first, and we will start the journey from here together.’ Radhika’s father smiled.
‘Alright, let me make some calls then, Mr Jain.’ Aarush’s father got up and started calling his relatives and informing them about the plan.
In another hour, all the relatives reached Radhika’s house, and from there they hired a mini-bus and boarded it together. They visited all the temples in the day-time, and witnessed Ganga-aarti in the evening. At night they all went to a nearby dhaba to have dinner, after which they returned home and Aarush’s relatives went to their hotel.
‘Wake up early tomorrow, we are to leave for Gurdaspur, you remember Aarush, right?’ his mother reminded him of their long journey ahead.
‘Yeah, yeah! I do remember.’ Saying this, Aarush wrapped his arm around Radhika and walked her in her room.
‘Aarush…’ she stared at him as both their parents were watching them with wide-eyes.
‘What? They’ve done all of this in their time, don’t worry!’
‘You are such a shameless person, I tell you.’ Radhika whispered in his ear.
‘You don’t know me yet, let me show you the real shameless person, come into bedroom, my married woman!’ he winked and Radhika laughed at him. He left no chance at teasing her and making her go red with reticence.
‘Good night, Mr Aarush Choudhury. I am very tired tonight, and we have a long journey to cover tomorrow.’
‘Good night, Mrs Aarush Choudhury…’ he kissed her lips and bit the lower one.
‘You can’t stop yourself, can you?’
‘If the wife is so beautiful? Nah!’ he kissed her again, and in a moment, slept on top of her.
‘Get off me, Aarush…’ somehow she managed to push him on the other side of the bed and slept on his shoulder. No matter how annoyed Radhika was with him, his shoulder was her favourite pillow.