Raunak Singh was very happy today. He had finally married. And what a woman he was married to! Lajwanti was a goddess! It was only after meeting her that the prospect of marriage had seemed so irresistible that he had succumbed to it. And tonight he was going to consummate that marriage! Just the thought of what was going to happen gave Raunak goosebumps. As he waited for the time to go to his bedroom, where, for the first time somebody else would be waiting for him, he felt a churn in his stomach and cajoled himself to keep his cool and not get over excited.
But you can’t blame Raunak Singh for his excitement. Having tasted success in his garments business, and having finally bought a new house (in Mumbai!), the only thing that lacked in Raunak’s life was a wife. He had waited twenty nine years for her! And so when he had finally got her, you can’t blame him for his enthusiasm. No sir!
Raunak Singh was the proud owner of Raunak Garments. He had manufactured and sold many pieces of garments, and over the years, had made a reputation for himself in the garment markets of Mumbai. The past one year had been a particularly successful one, and Raunak Garments was finally making profits. And with the increased flow of money in the household Raunak’s parents decided that it was high time that their only son got married. Within a month of their decision they had zeroed in on Lajwanti from the many options available. Raunak had decided that she was the only one for him, the moment he had seen her photograph. So without much ado, the marriage date was also fixed, all the preparations done on a war footing and after many restless days and sleepless nights Raunak was finally married today.
At twelve thirty in the night he finally got a chance to enter his bedroom. And what a sight it was in front of his eyes! His Lajjo (he has decided he would call her Lajjo. Lajwanti was too formal for him) was sitting on the bed covered from head to toe in her flaming red wedding sari, her wrists full of golden bangles, her feet and palms covered in henna patterns.
Raunak went nearer. He tried to lift Lajjo’s ghoonghat. But Lajjo went back. Raunak went even nearer and again tried to lift her ghoonghat. Same reaction from Lajjo.
Raunak sat on the bedside chair. His mind was working overtime trying to understand why Lajjo was behaving like that. That too on their first night. Is something wrong? Did he do anything wrong?
“Lajjo ji, why are you moving away from me?” Raunak finally spoke, unable to control his curiosity. “Are you not happy with this marriage? Don’t you want me to see your face?”
Silence. Unearthly, disturbing silence. The only audible thing in the room was the throbbing sound of Raunak’s heart.
“Lajjo ji, is there any problem?” he prodded further, in the hope of getting a reply. “Have I done anything wrong?”
Further silence. Even more unearthly, even more disturbing, resulting in even faster beating of Raunak’s heart! Raunak decided to give one last try.
“Lajjo Ji, do you want anything?”
“Yes!” promptly came the reply.
Oh what a relief! Raunak’s heart was rescued from an almost-sinking stage. The word “yes” had never before sounded so sweet, so relieving! She said yes! She spoke!
“What do you want?” Raunak asked with renewed enthusiasm.
“I want a niiiiice, biiiiiiiig car!”
“Car!?” Half of Raunak’s new found enthusiasm was immediately dissipated. His mind started processing the implications of the demand just made.
Even though Raunak had now enough money to buy a good car, he had still not bought it. No, don’t get him wrong! Raunak wasn’t expecting a car as dowry from his prospective father-in-law. In fact Raunak, while choosing Lajjo as his future wife, had proudly proclaimed that he was an exemplary, law abiding citizen and will not accept any dowry, in accordance to the law of the land. He had requested his father-in-law to spend all his money in making the wedding arrangements “as grand as possible.”
No, the reasons for the loss of enthusiasm were the two phobias of Raunak. First, the phobia of having an accident while driving a car. That is precisely the reason why Raunak had never learnt driving, till now. Not even a two wheeler. The second was the phobia of unknown people. The most difficult thing for Raunak was to trust a new person. So he had never even thought of keeping a driver to drive his car, in case he buys one. The combined effect of both these phobias had prevented Raunak from buying a car till now.
Every man, sooner or later, comes at the crossroads of life. Raunak, at this very moment was standing on one. What was he to choose? The love and affection of his Lajjo, or the comfort of not having to face his phobias. A tough choice indeed!
Raunak looked closely at Lajjo. Right now, she looked like a distant dream, beyond his reach, unless he makes a sacrifice.
“Tell me.” Lajjo asked, after an uncomfortable stretch of silence. “Will you get me a car?”
“Yes, I will.” Raunak’s will power gave in to the demand of his Lajjo. He had chosen his path. He had moved ahead of the crossroad. “And I will hire a driver to drive us around, if you want.”
Raunak got the first reward of his choice within seconds. Off went Lajjo’s ghoonghat in a jiffy, she jumped up in Raunak’s arms! And Raunak was left wondering what hit him!
“Yes, we will need a driver to drive the car,” whispered Lajjo in his ear, “and that car has to be a mercedes!”
Raunak’s eyes flashed in a twinkle and a smile appeared on his face from nowhere.
Well…let’s take a break at this stage. We will be back when Raunak and Lajjo move on to acquisition of their new mercedes. And their trysts with the drivers!