Early morning mist began to clear, sun rises casting orange and pinkish hue onto a thin layer of clouds, while chirping of birds give a pleasant sound to listeners.
As the sun rose, its rays entered through the window of room and fell on the beautiful form of Khushi, who was securely wrapped in the arms of her husband. As soon as the rays fell on her glowing face, she shield her eyes from it before fluttering them open.
Khushi opened her eyes to the enchanting sight of her husband sleeping peacefully beside her, his face nuzzled in the crook of her neck, mouth partly opened looking ever so innocent. She rub her thump pad on his parted lips and then pecked them and then tried to remove his hands from her waist so that she can get out of the bed but as soon as she tried so, his grip on her waist tightened.
Khushi looked at him only to find him staring back at her with his passion filled gaze.
“Arnav… Leave me…”
“No…. I want you now,” he said making round pattern on her bare waist.
“Ugh! Wasn’t night enough,” she asked placing her hands on his to stop him from seducing her to make love again.
“With you beside me… nothing can be enough my lady,” he said huskily with his bedroom eyes but Khushi pushed him standing up and said “We are not alone. Everybody must be waiting for us so freshen-up,” and saying this she left towards the bathroom not before taking her clothes from the cupboard while Arnav just sighed knowing well that she is right.
Arnav and Khushi together descended downstairs to find everyone already seated on dining table, waiting for them.
“Ugh! I am sorry for being late,” said Khushi nervously knowing well maybe her late arrival will not be regarded as a good conduct of daughter-in-law.
“Not a problem dear. I understand that you are not quiet used to all this being living alone,” said Narmada with a sweet smile which to Khushi feels more like a taunt but for now she shrugged it off and take her seat along with Arnav and quietly they start having their breakfast while talking about random things.
After having the breakfast Khushi along with Roshni starts doing the dishes not wanting to disappoint them and make them think of her as a lazy girl who just wants to rest.
After doing the dishes Khushi remembers about that locked door and thought to ask Roshni the same so she turn towards her after wiping her hands from napkin and asked “Roshni, can I ask you something?”
“Of course bhabhi you can. No need to take permission after all we are family. Right?” she asked smiling slightly.
“Yes, we are. Actually Roshni I was thinking about the room whose door was closed. I have asked kaka too but he didn’t answer me.”
“Bhabhi please never talk about that again,” said Roshni a bit scared.
“But why so?” asked Khushi confused upon seeing her getting scared.
“It would be better if we left the topic untouched bhabhi. You can ask me anything else other than this and I promise that I will answer you.”
“Ugh! Oh! Okay. Let it be,” she said giving a hesitant smile and then they start talking about each-other. But somewhere the question about the closed room is still lurking in the back of her head and now the weird behaviour first of Lakhan and now of Roshni have just increased the curiosity to unravel it all the more.
Khushi and Roshni come out from kitchen only to find everyone else sitting in the lounge area discussing about the business, both of them also got seated and that makes them to look towards the duo.
“So what have you planned dear?” asked Rudra but upon seeing her confused looks he added “I mean that I have heard from Arnav that you are interested in historical monuments, heritage and all. So now that you have come here what have you planned to visit?”
“Oh! Well chachaji as of now I will be visiting this village first as I want to know about this place because it is our ancestral place.”
At this everyone’s face paled for a fleeting moment before gaining the smile back except Arnav and Khushi which was noticed by Khushi and this just adds into her confusion some more.
“Oh! That’s good dear. So Lakhan will give you guys a tour,” said Narmada looking towards Lakhan who immediately nodded his head in affirmative.
“That’s not required daadiji. Actually I think this place is not too big and me and Arnav can our own go and have a look of this place on our own, so why to disturb kaka,” said Khushi.
“Don’t worry choti malkin. I don’t have any problem with this,” said Lakhan.
“Yes Khushi bahu… This way we too will be tension free,” added Narmada.
“Aree! Daadiji don’t worry we will be okay.” Said Khushi and then looking towards Arnav she asked “Right Arnav?”
“Of course daadi. No need for kaka to go with us. And don’t worry about us.”
Arnav and Khushi left from there while everyone else in the lounge area gives a worried look to each other.
Arnav and Khushi were roaming in the village which looks anything but a village, when they find an old lady with grey hairs wearing a pale yellow cotton sari whose hairs were plated backward in a tight bun, trying to manage walking while carrying a big brown bag stuffed with home items.
Khushi immediately move towards the elderly lady and said “Aunty what are you doing carrying such a heavy bag in this age? Isn’t your son or daughter at home?”
The lady look towards Khushi for few minutes, but then without replying she again started moving.
At this Khushi firs look towards Arnav who shrugged his shoulder and then move towards the lady, stopping her she again asked “Aunty you didn’t reply me?”
But this time too without replying anything the lady starts moving in her direction.
Not getting any reply Khushi this time took the bad from her hand while the lady glared at her giving ‘What-are-you-doing look’ and tried to take the bag back but before she can Khushi backed up so that she would not be able to take the bag.
“Khushi what are you doing? If she doesn’t wishes to talk then let it be,” said Arnav coming there not understanding what hi dear wife trying to do.
At this Khushi handover the bag to him and then look back at the lady who was already staring at Khushi and said “See, I understand you doesn’t wish to talk to us and I respect your wish. But I can’t see you carrying all this in your age so tell us the direction and we would drop your bag wherever you wants to go.”
“Unbelievable!” muttered Arnav under his breath but upon seeing her glaring at him, he gives a sheepish smile to her.
While the lady after looking towards them for good few minutes starts moving in the direction she was earlier going without uttering a single word and they both follow her.
After about fifteen minutes they saw her entering in a house with a wrought-iron arch, painted pale-green at the entrance looking quite retro and they also enters inside.
As soon as they enter inside they saw an old man almost of same age sitting on the wheelchair who looks at them and asked “Who are you guys?”
Khushi smiles that at least if not the lady then at least this elderly man is willing to speak.
“Ugh! Actually we saw her carrying this heavy bag, so just thought to help her and nothing much. But don’t mind uncle aunty is a bit weird. She doesn’t said a single word apart from staring at us.”
“Oh! That’s sweet of you dear. No dear I will not mind. It’s neither your fault nor her. Just that she can’t speak. By the way have never seen you here. Are you new here?” asked the old man.
“Yes uncle, have come here just yesterday and thought to visit this village as I have never seen one,” said Khushi smilingly.
“Oh! So any relative?” he asked.
“Yes, Narmada Devi is my grandmother,” said Arnav.
But as soon as the words come out of Arnav’s mouth, the face of the old man turns pale as if he has seen some ghost which didn’t go unnoticed by both Arnav and Khushi.
“Uncle… Uncle are you alright?” asked Khushi panicking at which the man look towards them and then soon composing himself said “Nothing… Nothing dear.”
“Are you sure uncle?” asked Arnav.
“Oh! Okay! Then we should leave,” he said at which the elderly man nodded in affirmative.
As soon as both came outside the small house, they look at each other with a confused expression.
“Haven’t you felt a bit weird Khushi with the way that man behave as soon as we told him about granny,” asked Arnav.
“I am feeling weird from the moment I stepped inside that hose Arnav,” she said at which Arnav raised his one eyebrow giving ‘What- do- you-mean’ look while she just shrugged her shoulder.
“Khushi be clear honey. What do you mean by the words you which uttered less than a minute back,” asked Arnav while both starts moving in the direction from where they had come back some minutes ago.
“Umm! Arnav I don’t know why but I feel like your family is hiding something from us,” she said a bit apprehensive.
“First of all it’s not MINE but OUR family. Secondly, I don’t understand why you feel so?” he asked confused not understanding why his wife is saying so.
“Well you see, yesterday when I had asked kaka about that room which was closed then he said me to ask daadi about the same as he can’t answer it. And today I asked the same too Roshni di and she told me to never talk about the same ever. Now I am not able to understand that why they are not taking about it. And to add up-to my curiosity, the way this elderly man behave just hearing about daadi ji is not setting right with me. I mean have you seen his face Arnav? It was as if he had seen some ghost as soon as he heard you.”
“Well I too find his behaviour a bit out of place. But just with this we can’t point out at our own people. Right?”
“Maybe Arnav but then what about Kaka and Roshni’s behaviour? What would you say about it?” asked Khushi.
“Khushi it’s simple dear. Maybe it’s related to daadi. I mean that room may have something related to her like old memories and all. And that’s why that room is kept closed. And no one knows what’s in there. So don’t worry,” he said assuring her.
“Shhh!” he said placing his finger on her plump lips and then looking straight in her eyes said “If you still wants to know about it then we will ask daadi about the same tonight. Okay,” he asked and after getting a positive nod they again moved to have a tour of the village.
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