To Jignasha, with love

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A quiet silence surrounded Madhumati as she sat at her dining table, gazing unseeingly at the bottles of achars kept there. A gentle early morning breeze fluttered by as it meandered lazily through the open windows and doors of her house in Laxminagar. Occasionally teasing the ends of the red bandana tied tightly around her head. Bringing with it whiffs of the slowly awakening outside world. The sun had only just begun to tinge the edges of the late monsoon clouds which hovered over the city. Ready to stamp its superiority over them, even as it played an indulgent game of peek a boo with them.

 

A sudden burst of a motorcycle being revved rent the silence, startling  Madhumati. It must be that Mooa Bedi, was the first thought that crossed her mind. She was convinced he’d made it his mission in life to ruin her peace, one way or another. Forever turning up at her doorstep with random requests and offers of assistance. Even going as far as roping in his assistant, Happy Singh, to do the honours when he himself was out and about. All her threats falling on deaf ears, his benign smile never seeming to slip an inch.

 

All of which had been a source of great mirth for her niece, Khushi, who had spent many an hour chortling away at imagined scenarios of her Buaji and Bediji whizzing around the streets of Delhi on his scooter. Her steeped in Bollywood, khurafati mind had never been short of ideas, and years of marriage had done nothing to change that.

 

A soft smile made its way to Madhumati’s face as she thought of her niece. She epitomised her name. Spreading happiness wherever she went. Racking her brains, she tried to remember the parody Khushi used to keep teasing her with…  Ah, yes!

 

Wah, wah  Ramji

Jodi kya banayi

Buaji aur Bediji ko

Badhai hai Badhai

 

Not to mention chirping to that blushing idiot each time she saw him near the house,

 

Mere saamne wali khidki mein 

Ek chand ka tukda rehta hai

Afsos ye hai ki woh Bediji se

Kuch ukhda ukhda rehta hai

 

When she well knew ki main ukhad na loon uss Bedi mooe ko if he steps out of line! None of my remonstrations ever had any effect on her though. Sanka devi that she was. Is, even now. As irrepressible as ever.

 

Madhumati remembered how the younger Khushi used to flit about the haveli in Lucknow chattering away non-stop with the quiet Payal in tow. Forever planning new pranks and giggling away wickedly. One of her favourite ones used to be to steal her parandis (plaits) and use them as reins of imaginary horses. Neighing and going clippity clop around the house as she swung them wildly. Sometimes she used to cut them up and plait her doll’s hair with them. Hiding behind her father when her mother tried to whack her. And her indulgent father always took her side, pacifying his sister with, “Jiji, bachhi hai, let her play. I’ll bring you more tomorrow.”

 

At that, Khushi used to sidle up to Madhumati and give her a bear hug from behind.

 

Acchi Buaji, Pyaari Buaji

Rusa Rusi chhod de

Jaldi se ek hansi de de

Tu gussa gussi chhod de

 

Eliciting a reluctant smile from the adults around her. It had been impossible to stay cross with her for any length of time.

 

Khushi often reminded Madhumati of her own younger self. Maybe that’s why she had been stricter with her growing up. Her innocence, her selflessness often scared Madhumati. Life is not all roses and jalebis, and who knew that better than her. After her husband’s untimely death, everything had changed in a heartbeat. He had been a quiet man who had adored his larger than life wife. The quiet sparrow to her preening macaw. Content to spend evenings out on their verandah listening to old songs on his transistor radio, with half an ear on his wife’s ramblings.

 

He had been her rock solid shield against the taunts of their family about her childlessness. Initially they used to affect her, but as time wore on she became inured to them. Especially after her husband had insisted on moving out of the family home to their own small rented place in Laxminagar. It was he who had encouraged her to start her chikan kari sari business, to channel her free time usefully. Teaching her how to manage her finances, “Life doesn’t come with guarantees, Madhu”, he used to say when she complained that that was his department. They had been happy together in their own little world. Until it all came to an end with his sudden demise. Shashi babua had been a pillar of support, had wanted her to come live with them in Lucknow. But, Madhumati had refused, not wanting to be a burden on anyone. Her self respect hadn’t allowed her to do that. She had somehow made ends meet with the moral support of empathetic neighbours, and the understanding landlord, Shukla.

 

When, years later, Shashi babua had sent Payal and Khushi to stay with her in Delhi, her house had once again felt alive, despite the circumstances under which they had to come. The two girls had eased into her home so easily, filling it with sound and colour and activity.

 

But, it had also brought into her life Shyam. Shyam Manohar Jha. The lying, cheating, scoundrel. Madhumati’s thoughts faltered as memories of the past flooded in. How easily had that man ingratiated himself into their life and made a gullible fool of her. With his constant, “Buaji, let me make you some tea… buaji, let me look at your pension case for you… buaji, I have no one here and your home feels like a home away from home… buaji… buaji.” And she had basked in his phony flattery and concern. Lapping it up unquestioningly.

 

Not a day went by when she didn’t thank Devi Maiya for pulling her family back from the brink of devastation. She shuddered thinking about what could have happened, and of her own part in nearly ruining her niece’s life. How could she ever begin to forgive herself for that. Not that Khushi had ever by word or gesture made her feel guilty. It was her own conscience that clawed away at her.

 

“Buaji!”

 

And just like that the melancholia dissipated. Flooding the house with sunshine once again. Khushi bounded inside the house and hugged Madhumati tightly from behind.

 

“How are you Buaji? What thoughts were you lost in? Why have you left the door open? And you used to complain about me being forgetful! Hmph!”

 

“Let me breathe and you take a deep breath as well!” A delighted Madhumati heaved her ample self up from the table to turn around in her niece’s embrace.

 

“Where is my aloo puri? And my jalebis? You’ve forgotten what today is, haven’t you?” A miffed Khushi pouted looking at the dining table.

 

“You think I could ever forget this special day, parmeshwari?! Janamdin mubarak ho bitiya. Hamesha khush raho.” She kissed her niece’s forehead tenderly, framing her face in her hands.

 

“Your aloo puri and jalebis are waiting for you in the kitchen. Hamesha ki tarah. Don’t forget to offer them to Devi Maiya first.” she shouted to Khushi’s back, shaking her head at her eagerness. No one looking at her would guess she was a mother of three children. But, for Madhumati, she would always be that child who would rush to hug her on her visits to Lucknow, despite getting scolded for her naughtiness. As loving and large hearted as ever.

 

Moments later an adorable 8 yr old boy, Ishaan, rushed in. Followed by his harried father shepherding in five year old twins. A boy and a girl, Aryan and Ariya, who were a charming replica of their father.

 

“Where’s Amma?” the children chorused, looking around curiously.

 

“In the kitchen, I’m guessing.” their father replied wryly as he bent to take Madhumati’s blessings.

 

“Jeeyat raho, babua.” Madhumati stroked his head lovingly. Arnav was the apple of her eye. Her favourite of all the Raizadas. She still recalled how he had stunned her by asking her to tie the raksha dhaga to him on his engagement. When he does something, he does it wholeheartedly. She admired how his young shoulders carried his responsibilities effortlessly and without any fanfare. Quietly making the Guptas part of his own family. Above all, she loved the love he had for her Khushi. As she had once said, “He too was a sanki, and just what her maha sanka devi needed!”

 

He understood what Khushi meant to her Buaji and made sure that each year her birthday celebrations started here in Laxminagar. With Buaji’s aashirwaad. Arnav and Khushi had made sure that the children were well acquainted with their Nani bua. Bringing them over at least once a week to spend time with her. Giving her the most precious commodity of all. Time and love.

 

As Madhumati bustled about setting the table for breakfast, Ishaan kept up a steady chatter as he rushed around after her. Regaling her with blow by blow details of his many three pointers in the previous day’s basketball game, before going on to update her on his latest level reached in his favourite Fortnite, and the new game his father had bought him, some K something. Her incomprehension no bar to either of them.

 

The twins were busy helping their Amma carry the food from the kitchen to the dining table. Keeping up a constant flow of questions as their young minds jumped from one topic to another. Wanting to know from their Nani bua about all the goings on in the neighbourhood since their last visit. Aryan sneaking in two jalebi from the platter for his sister and him, much to Madhumati’s amusement. Haye re Nandkishore! Like mother, like children!

 

As Madhumati looked around her full table, her heart felt full to bursting with overwhelming love. Families don’t always have to be borne of you to be yours.

 

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Note:

 

Madhumati’s character has been an interesting one. She tended to rush headlong into situations with her heart leading the way. Shades of Khushi I felt. Her larger than life persona was fierce in the protection of her loved ones. I loved the bond of mutual respect she shared with Arnav. So, I thought I’d try and look into her life a little. 

 

I wrote this OS as a birthday present for my dear friend, Jignasha. Do join me in wishing her on her special day. 

 

My dear Jignasha, 

 

You are so much more than a friend for me. You are family. Our Arnav said it best with his wish for Khushi, “I wish ki tumko duniya ki saari khushiyan milein.” And my wish for you is just as heartfelt <3, though sadly not in his uber sexy, husky voice 😉 May all your wishes and dreams always come true. May you live life to its fullest, in all its myriad hues, with each hue imbued with joy and laughter and the love of your near and dear ones.

 

Love always,

Ruchi

 

207 thoughts on “To Jignasha, with love

  1. What a way to kick off my birthday!!!! ❤ As much as I like the day being low key, I’ll happily go through the motions once a week, if it means you writing, what say? Don’t shake your head, I mean it. 😉 Oh also, I think this is the longest one you have written so far, see I noticed, and see you can do it.

    Now to the beautifully written piece that has your signature all over it. My heart melted over and over again with the amount of awes coming forth. Buaji was one of those characters that you wanted to shake at times (I know that’s what you want to do to me often LOL), but at the same time you wanted to squeeze her for the unconditional love she had for her family (hum, I now see the inspiration). Family was everything to her, especially her nieces. And and and, I so agree with you that she was so much like Khushi, sanka Devi’s! The moments you penned were memorable, touching and reminded me of the flow of what are conversations tend to be… yup, me whipping out a song as a word hits! Our sweet babies are there, including our little guy, K. I can’t wait to tell him that he was in a story. Maybe that might make him read, yeah right who am I trying to convince. 😜

    Damn my rambling, but I can’t help it! One of the best presents I will receive for my birthday, one that I will forever cherish ❤ Now please, let's not wait for next year, can we get another one sooner???

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a significant presence in my life, that saying, what would I do without you , couldn't be any truer.

    I love you to chanda mama and back, hamesha my dearest, Ruchi! 😘😘😘

    Liked by 23 people

  2. Happy birthday my baby my Darling my sweetie pie. I hope that you’ve gotten all that your heart desires and all that you wished for. May your special day bring you loads of love, happiness and prosperity. May God continue to bless you and I wish you many more to come. Love you loads❤❤❤❤❤😘😘😘😘😘🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗.

    Liked by 10 people

  3. Happy Birthday Jigs
    Wishing you all the joy, laughter, happiness, all your heart desires and more blessings than you can count on your birthday and for the years to come.
    Have a wonderful day ahead

    Amazing and Beautiful OS Ruchi
    Loved and Enjoyed reading the equation Buaji had with her niece and her Arnav babua.
    Looking forward to reading many more from you Ruchi.

    Thanks
    Chinnulu

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Dost ho toh jigs & ruchiji jaise🥰… Happy birthday🎂🎁🎉👑 dear jigsji..
    Aap muskurate raho sada iss tarah
    Khushiyaan milti rahe sada iss tarah
    Ho aapke har aarmaan poore hamesha ki tarah
    Aap jiyo hazaaron saal, bas yahi hai kamna har dua main, har baar..
    Dammit we love u😘

    Ruchiji tussi lajawaab ho apne shabdo ke saath..buaji is one of all time fav from that chhoti si duniya..haye re nandakishor, unka aur arnav babua ka rishta bada hi pyara tha.. I loved how arshi has 3 munchkins 😍..keep writing more..

    Liked by 8 people

  5. Happiest birthday jigsnaha 😘😘may you be blessed with all the happiness 🎂🥂
    Ruchiji see you can write longer ones !!!
    It was such a heart warmer …. Bball n our lil champ K featured 👍👍yaaay…. Can’t say how happy I am…

    Liked by 9 people

  6. Such a lovely OS💖 madhumati was indeed a nice character….. khushi toh khushi hain… 3 kids or 4…. she’ll remain a sanka devi😉 and arnav is always the silent and loving one…. u should write more often ruchi😊 i miss ur writings!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Loved the OS. Beautiful way of showing from Buaji perspective. Happy Birthday Jigs, may you live a life filled with happiness and health and also get what your heart desires.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Wish u a very happy birthday jigs 🎂🎉🎈 .gv vgg vggvvgvggv
    It’s really wonderful to read about Madhumati although she doesn’t have her own family bt she loved Khushi & Payal dearly.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Res!!

    ———
    Wishing you the best of the Bdays, Jigs! May you smile brighter, laugh harder and live every moment of your life the fullest this year. More and more love and joy to you ❤️ Can’t thank this SKD enough to introduce me to you in AD. 🤗

    PS: Can we celebrate your bdays weekly/monthly, if that means Ruchi will grace us with her writings? 😋💕

    Will be back with my comments on this ^

    Liked by 6 people

    • Ruchi, why won’t you accept that how wonderful a writer you’re naturally? Only a brilliant writer like yours can dissect each and every character’s emotions!
      You brought out the beautiful character of Buaji, who was all but a shadow, later in the show somehow.. she was indeed a strong woman, who all in her quirky habits, wanted good for her family. Her life kind of revolved around them and it’s so off—the-beat for you to write about her. I love that!

      I cant help but think how many such amazing thoughts your brain is probably overflowing with and waiting to create space for new ones! 😳

      Hope to read more from you soon.

      Love,

      V

      Liked by 2 people

      • It was the very quirkiness of Buaji that was so endearing. Especially during the Payash sangeet preparations. Also, the deftness with which she handled Mamiji’s taunts. Oh, and when Arnav and Khushi came to stay. That feeling in her ki main kya kya nahin karoon Arnav babua ke liye, to make him feel at home.

        Your lovely compliments make me feel so special, V. Thank you ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        • That woman was full of warmth from inside despite the tough facade she carried! ☺️ And I loved reading this flash fiction of her as the protagonist.

          Hope to see more post alerts on this blog for many such off beat stories. 🤞🏻

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy Birthday Jigs.wishing you love and happiness on this day and all year through,May you get what your heart wished for,a birthday wish from the bottom of my heart❤
    Ruchi dear nazar na lage toum dono ki dosti ko.would you believe me i was waiting for your gift to Jigs eagerly.u penned buaji thoughts so nicely,i love wah wah Ramji n acchi buaji pyari buaji parody.its almost like i can see khushi doing her antics and buaji hai re nandkishore echoing in gupta house.”He too was a sanki, and just what her maha sanka devi needed!” the phrase that describe our Arnav and Khushi love.N the stars of this OS,Ishaan Aryan and Ariya were simply too cute.love your writing Ruchi.Jignasha Ruchi stay blessed always💖💖💖

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Loads of love and best wishes Jigs.. Have a fantastic time with your loved ones.

    Thanks Ruchi fir this touching OS. Family bonds always overwhelms and with Madhumathi ji here it made a wonderful read
    Wish the suitor to bhaji will an appearance in future😉

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Today is the birthday of the person who is spreading joy and positivity all around💕
    Happy birthday 🎂 Jigs~ di 😃

    May your birthday and your life be as wonderful as you are 🥳🎈

    May each MOMENT of your Life is full of Immense Happiness, laugh’s , success & peace ❤️
    All your dreams come true soon….

    Keep Smiling , Keep Slaying Jigs ~ di 😎 😘 🤗 ❤️

    This is something I made for you , with my own hands 🙈
    Hope you like it 👇

    Liked by 7 people

  13. Happy happy birthday, dearest Jigs! Khoob maze kariyega. Wishing you loads of love and best wishes for years to come. 😍 🤗

    Love,
    Vini.

    Ruchi – only you can write this beautiful piece of dedication. 🙏

    Liked by 9 people

  14. Happy Birthday Jignasha 💕🤗
    Have a wonderful day and a great year ahead !

    Ruchi, what a sweet OS.

    Jigs is like Khushi isn’t it, spreading joy and love through her amazing stories.
    While reading it, I was only imagining Jigs whenever Khushi was mentioned.
    God bless both of you friends, Jigs and Ruchi.

    Liked by 9 people

  15. Happy birthday dear Jignasha❤️🎊
    Wishing you loads of happiness and love forever. Enjoy your day😘😘

    Dear Ruchi, this is a masterpiece! Buaji was always an interesting character. She was very lovable, yet there were times especially during the Shyam saga when you just wanted to hate her! You have captured her essence perfectly. I wish you would write more 🤗

    Liked by 7 people

  16. Wishing you a very happy wala birthday Jigs!! Hope you have a great day and year ahead!!

    Ruchi what a sweet and wonderful OS!! Could imagine Khushi running towards buaji to hug her!!Loved the OS and of course our Arnav babua😉

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Happy Birthday Jigs! Hope you have an amazing day!! ❤

    Ruchi, this was truly magical. You have effortlessly given an immense life to this OS, I can hear the ruckus around the house, with Khushi and the children, filling Madhumati and every reader's heart for that matter. Madhumati was indeed a character, which warranted attention and awe. And this OS has done her full justice.

    As I always say, I cannot wait to read a story of yours. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Happy Birthday Jigs.
    God Bless you abundantly with good health, wisdom and happiness always.

    May you continue to write for us, spreading joy 😍💕 .

    Ruchi…. The OS was beautiful. Brought back fond memories of the Gupta / Raizada family along with Buaji.
    As always… Luv your writing ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Happy Birthday once again Jigs!

    Ruchi, what a delightful piece. You know buaji and mami are favorites of mine. And they are so alike aren’t they, buaji and her sanka devi. I feel there is a child like quality in both of them. I was just thinking even after so many years, we still find things to talk about IPK. And the way they wasted all that potential makes me want to weep.
    You really need to write a longer story, please do consider it.

    Liked by 8 people

  20. Ruchi di is like The
    “Chupaa Khazana” ❤️
    One when opens , it dazzle’s everyone with it’s glimmering Shine ✨✨
    How so Beautifully you Write Di , Your Take on Buaji is so so Heartouching. I want to hug you for Penning down Buaji’s POV , her Dil ki baat so Beautifully ❤️
    ROUGH & TOUGH FROM OUTSIDE ,
    SOFT & SENSITIVE FROM INSIDES 🤧❤️

    You have perfectly Captured the Essence of Buaji’s persona & the importance of Realtionships in life,
    Demonstrating This so subtly , Beautifully that :
    Blood Doesn’t Ties or makes a Bond , a 𝙍𝙞𝙨𝙝𝙩𝙖 Stronger ,
    It’s the LOVE, & understanding that we hold for the other person makes a 𝙍𝙞𝙨𝙝𝙩𝙖 Stronger & Lovable 💕
    LOVE is about Everything !

    That 𝙈𝙤𝙤𝙖 word reminds me of my Maa , she use this word often whenever she is Frustrated from someone ,, so relatable 😁🤭

    This OS is such an pleasant, delightful to read , one that overwhelms with so much of 𝒀𝒂𝒂𝒅𝒆𝒊𝒏 & 𝑭𝒆𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈’𝒔 💕

    Such a perfect gift 🎁 for your Yaara , Ruchi di . May LONG LIVE you both Ruchi di & Jigs di ❤️
    & Long live your this Lovely FRIENDSHIP , this DOSTI of Yours 🤗🤗

    Keep Smiling , Keep Slaying you Gorgeous ladies , with 𝑺𝑯𝑨𝑨𝑻𝑰𝑹 𝑫𝒊𝒎𝒂𝒈’𝒔 😎❤️

    Liked by 6 people

  21. Happy birthday Jignasha!! Hope you have a wonderful year ahead! Hope you continue writing many more wonderful stories 😛. Though I barely have time to read anything these days there is no harm in wishing for good things right😉?

    Thank you Ruchi for letting us share your delightful present to the birthday girl!! You are an awesome writer!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Jigs, my love, happiest of birthdays to you. May you always be loved and cherished. May you always smile and be joyful. May you have an amazing year and a wonderful long healthy life ahead.

    Thanks, Ruchi darling for this beautiful piece ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  23. It was in its own way quite beaituful. I kept wondering about it a long time after I read it. It was poignant and funny in equal measures. I could remember the buaji from the serial all the time. Then I thought about how our elders feel lonely on their old age and how we can all make them happy by giving them our time and love. How making our kids spend time with their grandparents helps then to understand each other and inculcate family values in young minds.
    It was totally a good piece to read.
    Love
    Shveta.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Love the story! What a really awesome & special birthday present for Jigs! 😘👍🏼👍🏼 Really love your thought for this. ❤️

    To Jigs, I wish you a very Happy Belated Birthday and lots of many happy returns of the day for your birthday. 🎂🎁🥳 And whatever you had wished for on your birthday, I hope they will come true. 🙏🏼🙂 Warmest wishes & hugs to you from the land of tulips🌷🌷🌷😘😘😘

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Dear Jignasha,
    Hope you had a wonderful and love filled birthday! Wishing you all the the happiness 🤗😘

    Ruchi,

    Ab kya bolun mein?!
    Every word you write is so heart warming and gives that warm fuzzy feeling….It happens when when they are written straight from the heart. A heart so beautiful! 😍😘

    Ye lafzon ki khoobsurti hai
    Ya dil ki mohabbat hai
    Jo chuti toh dil ko hain
    Par aankhon se chhalakti hai….

    Loved it Ruchi,
    Dher saara pyaar 😘😘
    ❤️❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  26. That was such a sweet take on Buaji and her relationship with Titaliya and Bitwa. Khushi probably knew that Buaji’s stern exterior was just a facade to keep her in check. So she never took offence to her words and fed off Buaji’s warm intentions instead. I loved reading your thoughts about Khushi’s Fufaji – “The quiet sparrow to her preening macaw” What an adorable way to describe the relation 🙂

    You know, Buaji reminiscing about Arnav reminded me of the scene where he is trying to mollify Buaji when he “forgets” Khushi’s birthday. “Buaji, Khushi ko toh main mana hi loonga. Par aap kyun aise behave kar rahi hain?” LOL bitwa was trying so hard to pacify Buaji when he should have been spending all his energy to manao his wife, whom he couldn’t even wish a simple “Happy Birthday”. But he knew that the way to Khushi’s heart is via her Buaji. And not just that, he seemed genuinely upset that Buaji is upset at him. I guess they both had mutual respect for each other, and I loved how you expressed it in this OS.

    You should write more, Ruchi. Why don’t you?

    Liked by 4 people

  27. Just found this delightful story, Ruchi. It is lovely to read about Madubua, Khushi and Arnav’s interaction and of course not forgetting the Kids.
    I have wished Jignasha earlier but Happy Birthday Jignasha once again. (belated) It is a lovely sunny day today in the UK. I believe it is a lovely day in New York too. Have a great Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Belated birthday wishes to jignasha
    Felt Arnav could get the warmth,innocence & whole hearted ness of madhu bua & garima when he stayed in GH
    He did many errands for the two lovely simpletons
    He was more like a son Maddie never had
    In her words she calls him sanki a perfect match to her Sankadevi , while an overwhelmed Arnavji overhears kh agreeing to madhu s bohot pyaar karta hai na unhe?
    at GH doorstep
    Kh s twins are exactly like kh while Ishaan is like ASR , superb OS 👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

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