DOOM TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON

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Jun 23

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 64 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.



CHAPTER - 10



PILANI



Arnav was checking the electrical wiring in the cow shed and was thinking about the call he had received from his friend from Bombay. "You are right Arnav, old man Mallik is sick and not very far to go. He had a meeting with a private detective named Shyam Manohar Jha. And I found out about that guy was well. He is the most unscrupulous guy ever. Wouldn't think twice about selling his own mother if he sniffs good money. And that guy is already on his job. Searching for old birth records. Is it anything to do with the girl and the kid you asked me information about?"

"No...no...nothing like that."he avoided answering him. They talked for some time then wished goodbye. So Lavanya was right. Her father is after the kid. Arnav had no time left now. He had to make the moves.



He connected the wires to the switches  and screwed the nails tight closing the switch box and testing the switches again. He wanted to provide extra lighting to the whole  area. He loved his horses and not knowing  if it was for a brief stay or for permanent in this Godforsaken place, he didn't want to leave them in another person's care. He was planning to shift them here and keep them near to him. All the while his ears were glued to the sounds across the fence, when he thought he heard a soft whining near him. He stopped, listening hard to make sure he was right. There...he heard it again. This time louder and somewhere near him. He kept the tools down and began to inspect. He walked around the house, checking the overgrown bushes. Nothing. He gave up and was about to walk back to the shed when he heard a soft bark. He turned and walked back peering under the stone shelves, behind the huge May flower tree. And finally under the small gap between the wall and the staircase that went up to the terrace, he saw a dog peering up at him. It was an old mutt and shrunk further back when Arnav peered closer. The dog bared his teeth and growled.

"Hi old fellow! How come I've missed you all these days? Come out let me feed you."he moved nearer. The dog covered further inside and growled. 

He saw the water bowl and another plate with dried and left over scattered morsels around it. Somebody was feeding him. He looked around and then eyed the gap in the fence between this house and his neighbour's. He smiled. The boy must be taking care of him after the old man's death. "Hmmmm...so you have a friend across the fence. Will I be that lucky?" When he heard Kushi's car pull up. "Let us find out."

He straightened, went back to the shed and while arranging the tools in his tool box, he mentally prepared for the phase two of their acquaintance.

He went in had a quick wash changed his clothes to jeans and T-shirt and went out.



Kushi  was lost in her thoughts about Anish and his nightmares while arranging the groceries she had just purchased. It was Sunday. She wanted to call Payal and tell her about these strange feelings Anish started to experience. She wanted to discuss with Payal before he returned from cricket practice. She was working in the Secretariat in Mumbai. She came in contact with people from all departments. Probably she could help find Anish's birth records and his parents. If Payal could find out about his father   Kushi can be ready for him she thought. She had been calling since morning and Payal did not pick the phone. She left a message in whatsup and turned her attention towards her cooking. She didn't hear the jeep stopping in front of her gates. 

Why now after all these years this dream about his father should come? She was always scared that he would somehow find out that she was not his mother, with all his intuitive powers and all, but surprisingly he accepted that his father was dead and he never doubted her. Now she was terrified to even think how he would react if he finds out that his biological parents were living somewhere in Mumbai. He would sure leave her and go in search of them. Tears welled up in her eyes. She can't live without him. He is her life. And he is worried that there was going to be real danger. Danger from whom? Suddenly she thought about the guy who changed the car tyre the other day. "Paagal!"she hit her forehead with her palm. "Come on Kushi....you are thinking of that guy in between all this?"she chided herself. But the rugged hands as he worked the tyre, his slight smile his piercing chocolate brown eyes...stop it..she told herself shaking her head as if to get rid of him from his mind.

And when the doorbell rang she was startled and her heart beat a thousand times and her eyes automatically looked up at the clock on the wall. "Anish? So soon? Devi mayya is he in trouble again... Please! No." She prayed and rushed to the door and opened it.

She blinked her eyes hard, when she saw through the mesh door, the guy standing at her doorstep.

"What...why..you??here?" She asked. Arnav looked at her almond eyes go wide, then next instant it was filled with doubt and distrust. 

"So....you are my neighbour...what a coincidence!"he said in surprise.

"Neighbour. I...don't understand.."she still didn't open the door.

"I'm sorry to barge on you like this....I just moved over there..."he pointed his hand towards the Rat****'s.  Kushi who was still standing on the other side of the mesh door, was even more surprised. "You have moved in there?"she asked still not opening the door. 

"Yeah...it's been a week ....and I've been quite busy ...."

"You didn't tell me the other day that you've moved here." her voice sounded sceptical.

"Look...I'm surprised as much as you are...I didn't know you lived here...I need a favour." He looked embarrassed and helpless, as he combed his thick wavy hair and half turned away from her as if not knowing what to do. Kushi still found it hard to believe that the very same guy who has been occupying her thoughts for some time was there right in front of her.

"Wait a minute."she told him, as she closed the door and walked quickly to the kitchen, switched off the stove, opened the draw and took out a sharp knife and placed it on the kitchen counter. She took the canister of chilli powder and another knife and walked to the dining area and placed it on the dining table. "Why is this guy here? Could he be the father? You are getting paranoid Kushi! Shake it off Kushi! This guy looks and talks like a Punjabi. He even has a Punjabi accent and he looks like he has been working in the farms all his lifetime. He doesn't seem to be in any way connected to the metropolitan Mumbai life. She walked back. He was leaning casually on the pillar of her veranda, facing outside.

She slowly opened the door and stepped outside. 

"Sorry...I didn't know somebody was there in that house...how can I help you?"she asked.

He turned around, his hands in his pockets, a disarming smile on his face that turned her legs to jelly. "My phone is not yet activated.  Actually it should have been activated yesterday...so I just need to make a call."

"Oh! "Kushi stood confused, whether to invite him inside or make him stand outside. 

"May I make a call from your phone? I'll call this guy now.."he said.

She nodded and went in closing the door carefully behind her. She returned after few seconds. He was still leaning on the pillar looking amused at her cautiousness. "Here you go...Mr...?"

"Arnav Singh Raizada. "

"Kushi Kumari Gupta..."

"Hello..I'm really sorry to have disturbed you."

"It is okay. I was just surprised that the news about somebody  occupying that house never reached me."

"Not many know about this.." He began to punch the numbers. "you....alone?" he asked casually.

Immediately she stiffened as if on guard, "Haan...?"

"Just asked if there is anyone else in your home.."

"My son...he has gone to school.."she said looking at her watch. She became worried. Its time for him to come home. He wanted this guy to leave before he came.

The call was kept on hold. He looks at her helplessly. "This is so irritating... I would rather talk to a human than these machines." Finally after minutes of boring instructions to press one button after another, he was finally connected to a human.

"Haan...hello...this is Arnav Singh Raizada..."he walked few feet away from her and began to talk about his phone connection. After a couple of minutes he turned towards her. She heard him saying, "Please... I need you to do something about it...okay..in three hours...okay good!" He cut the call and gave the phone back to her.

"Thank you! That's a big relief. You see I have to keep in touch with the people in my village who are looking after my fields."

"Oh..you have fields?"she asked surprised. 

"He nodded, "Yes...I look after my fields in a village near Pathankot. I have five acres...mostly, corn and mustard. Cows, buffalos and horses."

"Horses?"she asked still not believing  him completely. 

"Yeah...I breed horses...I love them..."

She kept looking at the road. Devi  mayya.... Now suddenly she wanted him to leave. She didn't want Anish to find him there. She kept looking at her watch. Arnav pretended not to notice it. "You see...my friend is an estate agent in Jaipur he came to know about this estate and asked if I would be interested. It did sound quite challenging. So...I moved in to take a look at it. Called the owners and two year lease on the land was finalised." Arnav lied. Kushi kept nodding her head, her eyes on the main road, hardly following what he was talking. A sauntering  white uniform came in her  view. She sighed. Anish was walking quickly towards her, cricket bat swinging in one arm while adjusting the sports kit with the other, "Amma....do you know what happened today.."he said with a wide smile  on his face and the instant his eyes fell on the stranger standing a little away from his mother, he stopped dead on his tracks, "Who are you? What do you want?"he asked his face filled with suspicion, just like his mother's.

"I'm Arnav Singh Raizada... Hi.." Arnav stretched out his hand. Anish moved back away from his father's outstretched hand , slowly moving towards his mother, his eyes still on Arnav. Arnav took one look at his son and knew Lavanya was telling the truth.



Jun 29

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 51 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.



CHAPTER - 11



PILANI



Anish Kis**** Gupta, had the features of the Malliks. Nobody could miss it. He stood tall couple of inches less than six feet. Sharp nose, thin lips, wide grin, with small bristles that had sprouted around his cheeks and chin and on the upper lip. But his eyes that spoke volumes  were just like Arnav's. The boy's eyes were still regarding him with suspicion, and that punched his gut somehow. 

Arnav took back his outstretched hand, smiling. "Anish?"reprimanded Kushi, for forgetting his manners. 

"Who are you?"he asked again. "And what is he doing here?" He asked Kushi.

"Anish,  this is Mr.Arnav Singh Raizada....he has taken a lease and will be taking care of the Rat****'s estates. He has shifted to that house." Kushi said, then turning to Arnav said, "this is my son, Anish."

"I'm your neighbour and I just came to ask a favour from your mother." 

"Oh!" Anish eyed Kushi. Kushi nodded, "He came to call the phone company, they haven't yet given the connection."

"So....you are the one who's been feeding the old dog? That guy has been growling the whole day and wouldn't let me near him. I don't want my hands bitten off...." Arnav eyed him. 

Kushi looked surprised.  Anish was very close to the old Rat****. He saw a grandfather figure in him. And she also knew he missed the old man very much.Her son would go missing for couple of hours and he had told her he had just gone  for a walk. Looks like he has lot of things that he is not telling her these days."Anish! Was that the one that was hurt.  On the road....I told you not to bring that dog ...it's ferocious..."

"And let that dog die just like that? How could you ma? Anyways..Dada said he'll take care of it...he took it to a vet....and he is okay now...we've been looking after it all these years." Anish said. 

"But I told you not to go that place. No one's there. You can't be wandering alone in that area...you can't.."

"It is okay..."Arnav intervened.

"But amma..I only went there to feed Rascal..."

"Rascal?" Kushi blinked. Arnav smiled.

"That's what dada and I named him."

"You better come down to feed the old guy and put in a good word about me to him..."Arnav laughed. 

"I can do that?"

"I guess so. I can't let the dog die of hunger and I don't want him tearing off my guts as well..."

"Cool!"said Anish excited. Kushi looked worried. This man is still a stranger. She can't let Anish go there, with all his strange premonitions. Everything was happening too fast. "No..no..no..Anish...you can't.."

"It is okay...he just has to feed the dog that's all."Arnav felt the ice slowly melting. 

"And you have  left some of your things there...I guess...don't you need them? I've kept them carefully aside. I am cleaning up the whole place , I've kept them...in case you want them back."

Anish's face paled. He quickly looked at his mother. Then looked down, his face becoming pink. Kushi looked shocked. Anish has some stuff in Rat****'s house. "Better check his room for drugs and other stuff..."she heard Mrs. Ahuja's voice reverberating in her head. "Hey Devi Mayya! What else has he been hiding from me?"

"What stuff Anish?"she looked worried. "You never told me you had things there...what have you been doing..."

"It's nothing mom...I ..."

"Oh... just some comic books and old balls and a bat...a pen knife and stuff like that...nothing serious..."Arnav casually intervened smiling. Anish was starring at him confused, wondering why this man is telling lies to protect him.

"Oh..."said Kushi, relieved. Arnav realised that instant that she cared for the kid and was worried about him just like any natural mother would. But still she had taken the boy under her care illegally and for money.

"Okay...let me take your leave...we'll meet some other time. Thanks for your help." He said. 

"Anytime Mr. Raizada...glad somebody has occupied that place. There will be some activity now...otherwise it looked so deserted...eerie at times."Kushi said smiling. 

"So...better come over and take care of that dog...Rascal...isn't it?" Arnav said to Anish who was still starring at him. 

"Bye Mr. Raizada! I'll do that."Anish said stretching his palm to shake his hand. Arnav smiled and gripped his. Anish looked at him for a minute, not letting go of his hand, then jerked it away as if it stung him. He moved back alarmed. Then asked him, his voice barely a whisper, "Who are you?"

"I told you..I'm... Arnav.."

"I know what you told me. Tell me...who are you?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Arnav asked confused. Kushi looked alarmed. "Anish..."she went closer to him.

"You.....you've killed someone....someone close to you..."he quickly moved to Kushi's side. Kushi was equally shocked and instinctively, grabbed Anish's hand and pulled him aside.

Arnav was shocked. "What? What are you saying?"

"You were involved in a fight....you beat up someone and that person died...." Anish narrowed his eyes and started blinking, as he often did when he couldn't see the picture clearly. Kushi felt his hand shivering in fear.

"Anish...calm down....let's go inside."she said.

"Now ...wait a minute...it is true I was involved in a nasty fight with my cousin. By the way...how did you know all this?" Arnav asked....realisation slowly dawning on him.

"I don't know...I just...know..." Anish stammered. Arnav was stunned. The boy knew, just like that? He shouldn't have shaken his hand. 

"Anish has got some intuitive powers.... He sees things..he has these premonitions." Kushi said slowly, "I'm sorry....you better leave Mr. Raizada." She stood in front of her son as if protecting him from an evil man. He saw the fear, distrust and hate in her eyes. He understood the mother and son were very close. But he had to get to the mother to get to the son. He must somehow make her trust him. He can't lie to them.

"I did have a fight...but I did not kill anyone..even the authorities knew I didn't do it. And all that happened long time ago."

Then he turned to his son. His son. He had no doubt now that he was his son. The curious trait of the Raizadas passed on for generations. Some of his ancestors he had heard his mother say were lynched and  killed because people thought they were evil powers.  Sometimes generations skipped without these powers . In fact he himself had to control his thoughts and reactions because he was able to know what other people were thinking. That's why he became a loner, never allowing anybody to get close to him. And now, he genuinely wished he had never set eyes on Lavanya. What would he tell his son, that he was an illegitimate child of  two teen agers in their drunken stupor  who had illegal relationship. Oh God! The torture of being born to stinking rich father, but being discarded to wallow in poverty, the torture of tempting the teen aged boy with all things nice that money could buy, but only to be yanked it away, like a carrot on a stick before a donkey, was consuming him. How would he convince his son that his grandfather was about to take him away from his mother to a completely different world?

He looked at the young boy standing tall behind his mother, with new feelings that he had not felt for years, surging and overflowing , filling his entire body and soul. His son. His own flesh and blood. What should I do now? Now that I know....what must I do? 

"Bye! See you later." He smiled and climbed down the steps and walked to his jeep. He climbed onto his seat, turned and looked at the boy. "You can come over any time to collect your things and don't forget to feed that dog."

"And thank you Mrs. Gupta."

Anish quickly came and stood before his mother as if protecting her from him. It was so obvious that he loved his mother so dearly. Arnav realised then that this picture of the mother and son was going to be etched in his memory for long long time. The mother and son standing alone to face the world all by themselves, just like he and his mother stood to face the world alone. He felt sad about that, because , the only son he was ever going to have in his life and all he could see in his son's eyes were hate, revulsion and distrust. He started his jeep, reversed it, turned and waved and drove away, wondering if he would ever be able to remove that hate from his son's eyes. 

Jul 4

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 51 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.

CHAPTER - 12

PILANI

Arnav drove straight to the local bar and  jumped out from the jeep and walked inside. He ordered his drink and sat down at a table. Furious at himself. Furious at the world around him. Furious at the  destiny that was playing a cruel game. The drink came and he downed it in one shot and ordered for another. His mind how much ever he tried to control would not let him forget those horrible days, it kept coming back to haunt him.

MUMBAI- 1983-2001

A six year old Arnav, was sitting on the bench outside the office of  Sacred Heart's School. His mother, Simran, had gone to meet Mother superior. He was to join the new school that day and for the first time in his life he heard the word, 'bas.tard'. Through the crack in the door he was able to hear what was being said inside the room.

The secretary walked in with some papers in her hand and showed it to Sister Susan who was typing furiously in her computer. "Sister, this lady has not filled up the father's name of this boy....who is he......haan...Arnav Singh Raizada."

Sister Susan looked up at her. "Kusum....it is okay... Mother Superior knows that...he is ...he is...his mother doesn't want the father name to be mentioned...we have to enter only the details given in that form."

"But...there is only one contact number...what if something happens and I'm not able to contact her..."

"She has given her neighbour's number...here it is..."

"How come this kid...a bas.tard is given admission here? You know what kind of woman she is?"

Sister Susan whispered, "He is the son of Manohar Panickar...we can't say anything, because the Malliks have donated half the cost of the new auditorium we are building...a devil's child...that's what he is."

Arnav saw the two of them walk out of the door, "A devil's child..."she said again, starring at him. Arnav clutched his small bag tightly, in fear. He realised then that they were talking about him.

The secretary walked away and the nun said "Come with me." Arnav slowly walked behind her. She entered the Superior's office. He was relieved when he saw his mother.

"So this is the boy. Ms. Raizada...classes had already started a month ago...so he had to really cope up with all the lessons he had missed."

"I'm sorry about coming here late...Mother...we had been out of station for few weeks..."Simran stammered and everyone there knew what a poor excuse it was. "I'll see to that he is up to date with his work."she said.

Sister Susan intervened and said, "I'll take him to his class...you please complete the formalities."

His mother got up and came to him and said, "Be good Arnav...you are going to study  in one of the best schools... I'm really proud of you."

Arnav simply nodded. Sister Susan, took his arm and walked outside.

She took him to another building. Arnav looked around and he could see children busy in their classes. Finally, after what he thought that they were walking to the ends of the Earth, they entered a classroom. 

"Ms. Annie, this is your new student, Arnav Singh Raizada." Then turning to Arnav she said, "Now be good boy, we don't want any trouble from you." Arnav nodded. And after giving him an icy glare, she walked away.

Ms.Annie smiled at him, "Welcome my boy!"she said sweetly, "Class, say hello to Arnav here."she said.

The kids who were till then curiously starring at him shouted in a sing song voice, "Hello ...Aaarrr..nav."

"Now where will I make you sit..."she looked around and saw the last bench vacant.

"Okay, Siraj..move aside give place for Arnav...there ....go and sit there...we'll find a proper place later."

Arnav went and sat next to the fat boy and looked at him warily. The other boy starred at him as if he was an alien. Arnav didn't like him. The teacher turned to the board. "Now let me see who can read this word." She wrote some alphabets and Arnav blinked. Immediately a hand shot up. "I can tell...I can tell miss."

"Okay Aradya, tell us ...." 

The girl jumped up and said, "Mother." Aradya looked proudly around the class and sat down. 

"Good...now who can tell me this word." Again Aradya raised her hand and looked around the class as if challenging others to beat her to the answer. Arnav hated her. 

He turned and looked at Siraj. He was busy taking out his new box and then out came his new sharpener and began to meticulously sharpen the pencil, so that the pencil shavings came in one spiral roll. Siraj smiled  and began to arrange the shavings in the shape of a flower and then looked at Arnav triumphantly. Arnav smiled back. He was not that bad, he thought. He began to like him. 

The first week went without any problems, except for some troubles like some boys tripping his leg while walking to his seat, not allowing him to play ball during PT class. But he wanted to reiterate his stand in the class, that he wasn't someone who would easily be bullied. He got into a fight with a bull of a boy during one of the PT classes and though the Mother Superior called his mother to register a complaint, he made it a point to his classmates that he cannot be messed with. His mother rebuked him and said his father had really helped him to get him admitted in a good school and he should be grateful for that instead of bringing bad name to him. That was the first time he said to his mother, "That mother Superior and Sister Susan, do not like me amma..."

"Don't say that...of course they like you..."

"No amma....I can read their thoughts....they are thinking very bad things about me."said Arnav defiantly. 

Simran gave one tight slap on his cheek and said angrily, "Don't you ever....ever mention this to anybody....or tell anyone this...."she said.

Arnav cried the whole evening and in his sleep as well. That was the last time he mentioned about his ability to know something's that others did not. He began to suppress those thoughts and over the years he never paid any attention to such feelings and he thought he had lost that ability.

A week later another boy Mihr joined their bench. He was a queer fellow, thin and small with glasses and he had six fingers. Two thumbs. And now the whole class really starred at him as an alien and kept away from him. But couple of days later he became the boys favourite because he seemed to know all the answers to all the questions asked by all the teachers. At first his classmates didn't like him because all the teachers were so impressed with his answers, but soon that changed because he was the only source of irritation to Aradya. Arnav soon adjusted to the school. School was no problem but coming home in the evening, knowing  that, that man his father would also come during the nights became a nightmare to him.

He would always know when Manohar will be coming to his home. His mother would ask him to finish off all his homework soon and will serve dinner very early. She would wear her best salwar kameez, not that she had many, leave her hair free and flowing and apply colour on her lips. Arnav hated when she applied red colour on her lips. She never did all this even when went to the Temple. Why was she doing all this when that man came? And she was always excited and cheerful until he arrived. She was a tailor in a garments export factory and worked from morning till evening , for six days a week. On Sundays she would be stitching dresses for neighborhood women. Those days when his father never showed his face she would stitch till late in the night.   

And the nights when he was to come she would ask him to go to her neighbour Aunty's house to sleep or sleep outside on the plastic wired settee. He didn't like to sleep on the settee because it was so hard and the cut wires always poked his skin. 

It was one of those nights when he was sleeping on the settee that he woke up in the middle of the night. It was so dark. And he heard his mother 's voice. It seemed as if she was in pain. Was she crying? He got so scared. He slowly walked to the door and called out, "Amma....amma...are you there? Ma...?"

Then he heard a growl, "That bas.tard...doesn't he know that he can't come calling like this....that pain in my ass...I'll... I'll teach him a lesson ...so hard that he'll think twice before knocking on that door..."

"No....no...Mano...please...I'll talk to him...Arnie baby...amma is fine...you go and sleep baby.."she said.

"Amma...open the door I want to see you...amma..." His mother was sure crying. What was that man doing to her. "That good for nothing bas.tard...I'll show him how to obey."he heard a growl. Then he heard the jingling of his belt. 

"No...no...Mano...please...he's only a child. Leave him. I'll take care of him."his mother was begging him. Arnav kept knocking the door.

"See...he just wouldn't listen....and let us be in peace... I'm going to kill him one day...

"Mano...he is your son...don't..."

"And for God's sake don't call him baby...he is a boy...don't make him into a queer."

"Arnav...listen to me..amma is fine..go back to the settee and sleep."

Arnav sat outside the door quietly, scared that that man might come out to kill him. 

"See...he is gone."he heard his mother whisper. "I know exactly how to calm you down..."

"Ahhh...that's it...that's it...this is why I come to you...."his father was growling.

He sat there bewildered, listening to his mother crying and whimpering and that man moaning and groaning as if he was  happy and in pain at the same time.

Jul 9

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 56 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.

CHAPTER - 13

MUMBAI _ 1993-2001

Later when the sounds had subsided inside the room, Arnav lay curled outside the door and went off to sleep. It was still dark when he got up, but dawn was breaking in. He slowly walked back to the settee, covered himself with a blanket and closed his eyes, worried what had happened to his mother. Then he heard his mother coming out go to the bathroom and come out ten minutes later. She went straight to the kitchen and began to prepare tea and breakfast. Arnav still pretended to sleep because from the way his mother was moving around he knew that man was still in the house. He was not wrong, soon he heard him come out. He went to the kitchen and began talking with his mother. Arnav slowly opened his eyes and saw them through the hole in the plastic weave in the settee. 

"Look...Simi....I'm... I didn't really  mean all that I said about that boy last night ...you know...the way he stares at me, his eyes look like a devil's.."

"He is your son Mano....don't talk like that."

"So you say."

"Of course he is and you know that..."she protested softly.

"Okay okay..."he came near her and Arnav cringed and closed his eyes shut in disgust as his thick bulky hands came around her to hug her from behind.

"Why don't you care for him....talk to him with love..." She asked him.

"I don't know about all that....I don't even care for my other children also..."he said running his hands over her body. "All I care is I get what I want from you...."

"I bet you say the same thing to your wife as well?"she asked pouting and trying to move away from him. He pulled her tighter to him and began to kiss her. "No...I hardly go to her...she is one frigid bi.tch...all I want is you."

"Then why don't you leave her and marry me...we can be together always ...instead sneaking in and out in the dark."

"Marry you? You know I can't do that...I'm already married."he said.

"Then divorce her...she doesn't love you... I love you Mano...don't you love me?"

"What has love got to do with marriage? You know I can't leave her. Her two brothers will bulldoze me and bury me under the earth." he said.

"You don't get any happiness there...and look at those kids ....so puny ...and unhealthy...look at Arnav...he looks better than the Mallik kids..intelligent, handsome...you can't compare my boy to them."

Manohar was wary that the topic was encroaching a uncomfortable terrain so he quickly had his tea and left before daylight broke. He had left his car two streets away on the main road. So he was in a hurry to leave. Arnav thanked the Gods that he didn't have to confront his father again.

In couple of years Arnav realised what was actually happening inside the room. He was angry with his mother to allow that man to do things to her. "Why is she doing this?" He used to show his anger by not talking to her for couple of days. It then struck him that she was doing all this for him. Many times he had asked her why she worked so hard and never spent the money she earned on anything else. Her only answer always had been, "I'm doing all this for you Arnav. I want you to go to a good college, and later get a good job, work in an office....not like all these men around you here...work as labourers...all this for you Arnav."

"Why do you allow that man to come here amma...I don't like him...."

"He is your father Arnav...don't talk like that....he has done so much for us...he has got us this house,  this job for me....admission in a good school for you...we must be really really be grateful...Arnav." Arnav then realised that she adored him and nothing would change her mind.

So he left the house to avoid his father and began to wander the streets. After a couple of months he found his favourite joint. While wandering through the slums he got interested in the street carom board bar. That is the youngsters in that area had placed three or four carom boards and played till late into the night. Matches were played and people lay bets for small amounts. A guy who played well sometimes ended up winning two hundred or three hundred rupees a night. 

Arnav and two other street kids Amit and Sohail, became friends. Amit had a broken board in his shanty and they practiced during weekends. Slowly Arnav began to master the game and sometimes won five  to ten rupees. His mother never knew anything about his night outs. 

Every time she talked about the Mallik kids and how he was so much better than them, his curiosity to know about them increased. He used to hide behind cars and trees and watch them enter the school or go to temples or shops.

When he saw them for the first time his jaw dropped. But slowly he began to notice the little things like how they pretended to be all prim and proper, hardly speaking  in front of their parents and behind them they were ruffians. He saw Manorama get out from the car one day all stiff, head held high, holding her two children, Anjali and Akash, who looked straight and walked and Arnav wondered if they even forgot to blink their eyes. Then there was that Mayank who always followed his cousin Praneeth and Sheetal who stayed away from her brothers and cousins as if she had nothing to do with them. Then there was Lavanya who was a bit more cheerful and Praneeth who had a constant smirk on his face as if he was the leader of the pack.

A bunch of snobbish little animals. He hated the whole family from the moment he set eyes on them. But still he kept track of them because he couldn't control his childhood urge to know what it was to live like prince and princesses and in spite of his feeling for them a small corner in his heart always yearned for their acceptance, to be one of them. Left on his own he matured soon and came to understand the ways of the world. He also learnt that if half of the people of Mumbai made their living by working throughout the day there were equal number of people who made their living from their nocturnal activities. He carefully avoided those streets where kids were vulnerable and soon began to know about the people who lived on the wrong side of the law.

If childhood days were problematic then his teenage days were a nightmare. 

He and his friends soon began to notice the differences in the  physique  of the girls in the school, who they grew up with. They began to whisper amongst themselves and had their favourites and not so favourites. Arnav even at the age of fourteen stood a class apart from others, he was nearly six foot tall, and all the walking and working gave him a mean body and a rugged look that girls began to notice and secretly smile at him. Just like any other teenager he began to enjoy all the attention he got inside the school and outside in the gullies. 

It so happened one day he was asked to stay back and arrange all the equipments in the PT room. His friends stayed with him and  helped him for some time and then left in the school bus. Arnav always walked back home, for his mother found the fees for school bus too costly. He was almost done and was counting the basket balls, made the entry and was arranging them on the racks  at the corner of the storeroom when he heard the door open. He stopped, wondering who could be staying so late after school. He heard footsteps near him and he peered around the rack to see who it was. He gaped at the tall lean figure standing in front of him smiling. "Samantha? What are you doing here?"

"I heard your friends talking that you were here.....alone...so I thought I'd give you company..."she came near him. Arnav began to sweat and wished he wasn't so scared. He had heard boys whisper about Samantha and also knew she was the hottest girl and all the senior boys were behind her.

"I ...I..."he stammered, trying to laugh, the sound caught in his throat, "finished....I'm leaving..."

"You want to leave ....when I'm here..."she was standing very close to him and he plastered himself to the rack. "Samantha..."his voice came out in a hoarse whisper , "Sam..."she corrected as she took his hands and placed his palms on the sides of her waist. He drew in a sharp breath. "I wanted to get to you...even before other girls got you or you turned your attention towards others..."

"What?" What is she talking about? "Look I don't want to any trouble with Ronan.."

"Oh forget Ronan...he is a sissy compared to you..."

His jaw dropped, Ronan...a sissy...he was the best fast bowler in the school and was hoping to be soon selected in the district team.

She bent her head forward and whispered near his lips, "I've been eyeing you for months..and I thought I wouldn't miss this opportunity to be with you."and she kissed him. Arnav's whole body tensed, and soon felt butterflies in his stomach. The pain was beginning in his groin, as she began to guide him to kiss her back. He felt as if his pants were going to burst and he wanted to move away from her before he embarrassed himself, but at the same time wanted more and more of that ecstasy that was building up within him. She began to move on him and Arnav felt the courage to slowly move his hands from her waist and moved them up towards her chest. She gave a moan as if she loved what he was doing. That encouraged him further. Her tucked in shirt was out from her skirt and one hand was on her thigh when they heard footsteps outside. They froze and hovered further near the wall. 

"Is anybody here?" Came the peon's  voice. They drew apart and Samantha quickly adjusted her shirt. He must have heard the rustle for he walked straight towards the sound. "Who is here? Come out. I'm going to lock the room." And stopped right in front of them. "What are you two doing here?"came his shocked question. Then realisation dawned on him, he began to turn and walk out shouting, "Sister Susan!..sister Susan!"

Arnav quickly followed the guy and caught and slammed him on the wall, his hand on his neck. The peon who was a size smaller than Arnav blinked, gasping for breath, "If you even utter a word of what you saw hear....you don't know what I'll do."

Samantha came to her sense after the initial shock and realised there was only one way to come out that situation clean. Arnav felt a sting on his cheek and looked up at Samantha confused. She came for him again with her palm raised. 

"What...are..?"Arnav asked confused.

"Bhaiyya...thank God you came here at the right time...he lied to me and brought me here and and..."she began to cry. Or rather pretended to. Arnav stood aghast.

An hour later he was caned,  locked up in a room in the school, a rosary given to him and was asked to say loudly, "Oh Father thou art in Heaven..." A hundred times, his mother was called and the nuns were waiting in the office. The girl was allowed to go to her home.

"What else did you expect from this child?  Born to a mother who had robbed another woman's husband. Surely a spawn of Satan!" Sister Susan was talking in another room. 

Arnav slowly slid down and sat on the ground. The fire seething within him. His only thoughts were for all the punishments he got he wished he had really gone the full length with that girl.

Jul 13

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 50 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.



CHAPTER - 14



MUMBAI _ 1993-2001



After that incident, Arnav began to be noticed by each and everyone in the school. The bold girls looked openly at him and smiled. Because of his mother they were all intrigued and now they admired his open defiance and boldness. While the good girls were afraid to even meet his eyes, the very goody goody girls totally avoided  him and walked away from him afraid  that even his shadow might bring disrepute to them. He didn't mind any of their reactions. Samantha to salvage her reputation it seemed was extra careful to cross his path so she avoided him totally. But it was the boys who began to see him as their hero. Some rich boys were jealous that he could lay his hand on the hottest girl in school, when all their costly gifts failed. His classmates began to seek his company, hoping to get the juicy details, and the younger boys adored him.  It was his teachers who were worried. He knew what they were thinking. "Well...what else could one expect from him? He's a gone case. Sister Susan and Mother Superior, always looked at him with considerable care, with smiling eyes, but he knew what they  were thinking. "Poor boy...he can't control himself...a bad seed.. His mother sleeping with another woman's husband..." "A devil's mind ...." He just didn't care. They sent him to Father Ebenezer, a Pastor at the CSI church for counselling. He told his mother that he was going the wrong way, and they made him do some odd jobs in the church, pray for better sense and repent for his actions. Arnav did everything but repent.

The next three years in the school went without any problems. He learnt more outside the school hours and on the streets than what the school taught him. He began to make money winning games and placing bets. His friends sneaked in cigarettes, beer and adult movies. He became aware of the flesh trade openly taking place on the busy streets of Mumbai. And by the time he finished school he knew how to satisfy a girl or a woman. He also saw his friend Sohail's brother Afran deal with drugs, later got hooked to it and was caught by the police beaten up and lying limbo in a jail. He had a first hand experience of the horrors of drug abuse. Afran was admitted in the rehabilitation center for months and he went with Sohail to see his brother. An experience he could never forget in his lifetime. They were not allowed inside the room but just saw through a glass window. He was tied to the bed, to prevent him from choking himself to death. He was twisting and turning and beating his legs all the while screaming in pain. That image stayed in his mind for days and he made up his mind then and there  that though there was lot of easy money that could be had in hands, he would not get involved with the druggies. 

Arnav finished his higher secondary exams and he started working in a garage during the holidays. His mother began to complain that he was hardly coming home and that he was moving away from her. 

"Ask that man to stop coming here, then I'll stay at home."he replied, as he wore his shoes and opened the door to get out before his father came there.

He often thought his mother as weird, when she  tried very hard to convince him that his father was a good man. He wanted nothing to do with a woman who allowed a man to beat her, abuse her,  a man who refused to acknowledge the presence of his son, and came to their house for only one purpose, to satisfy his physical needs but still in her eyes was generous and good man. 

"He got me this job, this house, and surely he would help you get admission in a good college, he cares for us Arnav."

"If he is a good man he wouldn't be happy to see you slave day in and day out in that dark dingy godown bent over a machine and stitch clothes for meagre sum, he wouldn't shy away from owning his responsibility, hate his own son and wish him dead." He would say angrily. "If he really cared for you, he wouldn't allow us to wallow in poverty, while he is living in luxury with his other family. I hate him amma....I hate him...and I'll beat the living daylights out of him next time I see him come here and lay his hands on you. Pray to God that I should never get the chance to meet him...." Though silently he wished he would and could beat the sh..it out of him, and pray that hate doesn't turn towards you as well." he walked out, leaving his mother in tears. Little did he know then that all he uttered would really happen and come back to haunt him in future.



Arnav was concentrating on the black coin, unmindful of the cheers and hooting around him, when suddenly silence sliced the air around him. His mind immediately warned him of some impending danger. He slowly raised his head, and heard the hiss of breath of some middle aged men around him as they parted to give way to the figure that was walking towards them, "Now look at th..is...."

Lavanya. In her micro mini shorts revealing her mile long shapely, velvety legs, and spaghetti strapped top, just covering her bare essentials was walking casually towards the crowd and stopped in front of him.  Her minimum clothing it was obvious to him, reeked  of money, her looks confirmed her blue blood. His opponent, who got up to have a good look at her forgot to close his mouth. Some teens began to whistle, some inhaled her scent in the air and some were openly ogling at her. Arnav turned back to the board and began to gauge the angles to hit the coins. His spit ran dry in his mouth. Why is she here now? He thought.

"So you are Arnav Singh Raizada?" Arnav nodded. "Yeah!"

"I'm Lavanya... Friends call me Lav."

"I know."said Arnav, showing little interest, but stomach clenching in knots.

"We are family...cousins...actually."

"Not really...I don't have any family."he said still looking at the board.

"If you continue this attitude... You'll end up having very few."

"What do you want?"he asked still disinterested.

"I want to talk to you, Arnav." "Ooooohhhhh...."his friends chorused.

"So...talk..."he said, not lifting his head.

"Not here....somewhere alone..."she said smiling. "Oooooohhhhh..."

"I am ready baby.. I can come somewhere alone..."said one guy.

"I'm not interested in you grandpa...just him..."she said. There were loud cackles all around.

"I want to talk to you Arnav....it will just take few minutes..."

"Just few minutes Aaarrrnaaaav...."his friend cooed. Most of the crowd, there knew who Arnav was and who that girl was. "I don't care!" he thought, "Sh..it...I do care a lot."

Just then Amit came running to him breathless, "Arnav.... You should see that car at the main street...what a...beau....ttt..yyyy..."his voice trailed off as he eyed Lavanya. His eye narrowed, as he moved closer to Arnav.

"Go away...I don't want to talk to you..." Arnav hit the coins and pocketed two. The crowd whistled.

"No I will not go....unless you come with me..."said Lavanya smiling.

"Don't miss this opportunity my boy...."one man suggested.

"Don't care....I can't come...I have this game going and I have bet on this..."he said placing his striker in position to strike again. "Is this your only entertainment?"she pursed her lips in disgust looking around. "I've planned for something more interesting."she said amidst whistles and cackles.

"How much?"

"What?"

"How much ...I'll pay...."she said.

Arnav didn't look up. He knew he'll only degrade himself in her eyes further if he said he played for a meagre sum of two hundred rupees. He kept quiet.

"You heard him...he can't come he is busy."said his friend. 

"Look...what is it you want to talk about?"

"Family matters..."

"We can do that right here."he said.

"Somewhere private..." "Ohhhhwowwww..."came the cheers around.

"This is all the private I could get"

With her tongue in her cheek she said, "That is not what I've heard about you?"

"You've heard it wrong...I bet..."

"Ooohhhhhh"came the cheers again.

"Okay....I'm not going to call you again.....I'll wait in the car....if you change your mind...you have  five more minutes...."she walked away leaving a cloud of her perfume.

All the heads turned to eye her back. Arnav released the striker, "Sh..it..."he cursed.

"You missed the queen..." The men around him jeered. 

His opponent reluctantly sat down, leaned forward and whispered to him, "Arnav... Really....for this bet? I'll consider myself lost....why do you want to miss this opportunity?"

Amit caught hold of his hand as if preventing him from getting up. Arnav sat still starring at the board. Two sides of his mind was tearing him apart. One side surely knew the moment he saw her that there was going to be trouble. But his other mind consoled him. 'What trouble is there going to be?' Was he afraid of trouble? What if she really want to talk to you? What if his cousins and half brother and sister are willing to accept him? Isn't it what he yearned for? To be accepted. Here is a chance for him to see how the mighty Malliks lived. What if he gets a chance to be part of them? Would he want to miss it?' 

Arnav scowled, pushing his chair back, threw two hundred rupee notes on the board and walked away. His opponent came running behind him. Inserted the notes in his pocket and said, "Keep it bro, god knows you might need it."he winked at him. 

Lavanya went to the big shiny Mercedes car , and opened the door and sat inside.

Praneeth who was on the driver's side leaned forward checking to see if there was anybody behind her. "Your ideas always sucks..Lav....I have to think of some other...."

"He'll come.."she began to put her belt and leaned back.

Exactly four minutes later, seeing Arnav walking towards the car,  they looked at each other and smiled. "There...I knew he'd come."she said.

A slight drizzle had started, Arnav his hands in his pockets, head bent walked towards the big black shiny car, thinking why though he had tried hard couldn't read her mind. Whatever her plan was, he knew he had made the single worst decision in his life , that was going to change his life forever.

Jul 18

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 37 times)



DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.



CHAPTER - 15



MUMBAI _ 1993-2001



Arnav walked towards the black shiny Mercedes and stood next to it. The passenger door was open, and he could hear the soft music waft through. "Get in!" He heard Lavanya's voice and hesitated for a second, thinking if he should reconsider his decision to go with her. But his hand opened the door and he seated himself on the plush soft leather inside of the car. He closed the door and found that Lavanya was not alone. "Sh..it...". Her brother Praneeth was there too. The heir apparent to the Mallik empire. He was older than Lavanya, in his early twenties, very handsome, his dark hair... cut short, clean shaven, a tie thrown at the back of his seat and was wearing a fine smooth dark blue jacket. Arnav felt uncomfortable in his old T-shirt and jeans.

Praneeth turned, looked at Arnav and said, " Hello! My dear cousin...I'm Praneeth Mallik."

"Arnav..." Arnav said.

"So finally we meet...."Praneeth said and started the car. The car lurched forward and began to sail so smoothly, as if slicing through the drizzle which was getting heavier.

"You must be curious to know why we called you..." Said Praneeth, half turning his head to look at him. "Don't you want to know why?"

"I thought about that."

"Well....I was fed up of hearing behind closed doors about this illegitimate... bas..hahmm...cousin of ours...so we..that is Lav and I decided it is high time you meet our family." So both had planned this together, Arnav thought. Praneeth  looked through the rearview mirror though there was a smile on the face he saw a bit of evil in them. 

"I may not be interested to meet them." 

The car screeched to a halt. Horns blared around them, some drivers openly  shouted some choice words of abuse as they passed by, Arnav was thrown forward, from his seat. "What the...?"shouted Lavanya.

Praneeth turned to look at Arnav and said in the same boring tone, "You can get down and walk away now....if you don't want to meet the family..."

"No...don't..."said Lavanya. "And you...are you crazy? Don't drive like a maniac, you'll  get us all killed."she said to her brother and to Arnav she said, "It is going to be lots of real fun..."  Arnav knew then that he shouldn't have come with them. 'Fool! Why did you even think of listening to her....'

 "Fun?"he asked.

"Oh yeah!" Drawled Praneeth. "Akash and Anjali will be there." Arnav froze. His half brother and sister, with whom his mother often compared to. Pale , sickly kids like their mother,she used to say.

"We decided that it is time for you also to meet all your cousins Mayank and Sheetal and  your half brother and sister."  Praneeth said meeting him through the mirror.

"What? Are you man enough to meet your brother and sister and other cousins?"

Arnav remained seated, he was not going to back out. He never backed out of a dare. What if they really wanted to accept him?

 "Where are we going?"he asked.

"To my dad's house near the beach." Praneeth said smiling as he started the car. He drove with such ease with just one hand on the steering, the other on the arm rest, with his fingers slightly drumming in rhythm to the music beat. It looked as if the car was moving at his sheer will power. He turned and nodded his head at Lavanya. She opened the glove compartment took out a lighter and a cigarette box. She took one out, kept it between her lips lighted it, dragged a lungful and passed it on to Praneeth. He caught his eye once again through the rearview mirror and said, "We are having a party."

"A party?" Arnav asked alarmed. He didn't like this. 

"Just us...only family...a small gathering..."said Praneeth.

Arnav's throat dried. But he put up a brave front. "It is okay as long as I don't meet my father."

"Uncle Mano?" Praneeth said as if he was disgusted to even mention his name. "No...he is not invited...this is only on invitation... He did not make it to our list..."smirked Praneeth.

"And I made it?" Arnav asked, still talking through the mirror.

"Oh....of course you did...you are special!" 

"Oh God!" Said Lavanya in an exasperated tone. "Praneeth? Do we really have to do this? I wish we dropped this idea."

"Oh come on Lav...it was your idea..."

"I was just joking..." She said. 

"But it was a brilliant idea, my darling sis." he chuckled, but Arnav saw his eyes gleaming with evil.

Arnav didn't like one bit where the conversation was going. Already Lavanya was regretting what they had planned. He tried very hard to read Praneeth's mind, but could not. It was just as solid and sealed as a fortress. He understood only one thing, whatever sport he had planned, Arnav was going to be the main player. He wished Praneeth would pass the cigarette to him as well. 

"Get out Arnav...now get out...before it is too late.."his mind was screaming within. He was passing through the posh residential locations, and from Devle road , he took the Military road and slowed down in front of the massive gates of Pristine Beach Apartments. Arnav's jaw dropped, as the gates opened to the massive construction in front of him. The breath taking view of the huge lawns bordered by neatly maintained, flower bushes, a tennis court, swimming pool and a park for kids all glowing under the bright florescent lamps, were too good for his imagination. A massive twenty storey building was looming in front of him. Lights twinkling in some apartments.

Praneeth waved to the security as he smoothly entered the underground parking area and came to a halt. They got down and Lavanya once again asked her brother nervously, "Praneeth... Really? Can't we just drop this whole idea?"

"Oh just chill sis...."he told her off handedly and then turned to Arnav, " let's go.."he said. They walked towards the elevator, got in and waited till it deposited them on the twenty first floor. 

The door opened and they stepped outside to what looked like a corridor. The trio walked and Praneeth stood near the door at the end of it and bowing dramatically   said, "Show time..."

"Oh please....come on Praneeth..."said Lavanya.

Praneeth opened the door and said to Arnav with a flair, "Welcome ...cousin!" 

Arnav's stomach was in knots, not knowing what to expect inside. Lavanya caught his arm, "Arnav...if at any time you feel, uncomfortable... Or you want to leave..please tell me...I'll take you back."she said.

Arnav just pulled off his arm from her's and said, "I can take care of myself." He  knew it was not going to be good, his guts tightened but damned if he was going to allow a girl to come to his rescue. As he walked towards the door Arnav felt an invisible noose around his neck, waiting to tighten on every move he made.

They stepped inside the most beautiful drawing room he had ever set his eyes upon. The rich Italian marble floor was glistening, with a beautiful carpet with intricate designs on the center. He had only seen such plush sofas and chairs and large tea tables and art pieces and vases in movies. The walls were adorned with paintings that made no sense...the looked more like a kids scribblings. Soft lights that adorned the ceiling were so pleasing to the senses. "

So ....this is how the Malliks lived?" Arnav thought. "While his mother slaved in a garment factory day in and day out." He was disgusted. He remembered how tired she would be at the end of the day, massaging her hands and knuckles as she waited near the phone for that man to call.

Praneeth led them towards another room where they heard voices. They stopped outside and listened.

"Why has Praneeth called us here today?"came an agitated girl's voice. Anjali's Arnav thought. 

"Relax di.....surely he would have planned something, seeing all these elaborate arrangements." came another consoling voice, Arnav recognized it as Akash. He had heard him sometimes, a pale , thin , wimp of a guy according to his mother.

" Oh Praneeth can be a bore sometimes! He and his ideas!" Came another annoyed voice. Must be Sheetal.

"Well...if it weren't for Praneeth.... We wouldn't have had any fun in our lives." Came Mayank's voice.

Praneeth opened the door, and all three stepped in. 

"Ohhh...sh...it."said Mayank, as all the other three stood up in shock when they saw them walking inside.



Jul 22

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 44 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.



CHAPTER - 16



MUMBAI _ 1993-2001



Arnav stepped inside the huge room, and for the first time came face to face with his half brother and sister. All four of them were huddled near a piano, with serious looks on their faces. Arnav thought that for him it was his personal vision of hell. 

"What's the meaning of this, Praneeth?" Asked Sheetal angrily, her eyes as cold as Arctic ice.

"He's.."  Anjali started to say to her.

"Of course we know who he is!"she shouted.

"Why is he here bhai?"asked Akash meekly. 

"You said we are having a party..."

"Of course we are...a private party..." Praneeth said smugly pouring himself a drink from an array of shining bottles. He was  very calm, as Sheetal was seething in fury. "I thought it's time we all got to know each other."

"Bast.ard..."muttered Sheetal in anger.

"Not me..."smirked Praneeth. Arnav wanted to strangle him.

"Well... I don't know about you...but I'm fed up of people talking behind closed doors about him so I  thought its time he met our family."said Praneeth smiling.

"Oh please! Family?" Said Lavanya.

"Of course he is. He is our cousin...theirs as well..."pointing to Sheetal and Mayank,  "And he is their brother."

"He is not my brother."protested Anjali. "Di?" Said Akash. Arnav found Anjali starring at him as if he was an alien who had dropped in through their ceiling.

"He ..is not our family." Sheetal seethed. "And he is not our cousin....for God's sake. He is..."

"Well! He is Anjali's and Akash's half brother...so that makes him our cousin..."

"They..." She said pointing to Anjali and Akash, "are related to us...he is ...their daddy's wh.ore's son!"

" Enough!" Said Mayank to her. "He is in Uncle Manick's house...why?" Asked Mayank to Praneeth.

"Because it's time we all met and got to know each other and get it over with. Oh come on Akash...even you was curious to know about him." Praneeth then gazed back at Arnav and said, "And...You... always wanted to know us, didn't you? Hiding behind cars and trees watching us every time we went to the temple." Arnav nodded his head, realising that it was no use lying now that Praneeth had known all along that he had been watching them.

Arnav looked at the satisfied grin on Praneeth's face and realised that, it was not just Arnav who was in his game plan, he was targeting each and every one in that room. He understood that he got his kicks from manipulating everyone, making everyone uncomfortable.

"What..the..? This sneaky bast.ard has been watching us?" Sheetal bristled.

"At times even spitting on uncle Mano's car."smiled Praneeth wickedly.

"What? It was him...." Anjali's voice trailed away disgusted. Arnav looked straight at his half sister for the first time and said, "Yeah! And hello to you too!"

"You bloody....low life....you've been spying on us?" Said Sheetal.

Arnav had enough of her holier than thou attitude, he wanted to walk out.

"Enough ...Sheetal! " it was Mayank, dressed in a black polo necked t shirt and khaki pants , hair neatly combed back, looking very tall and handsome.

"Oh it was not a big deal! It was not as if he was watching you removing your bra and panties." Winked Praneeth. "Or seen you naked..."

"Oh God!"said Lavanya exasperated. "Praneeth!"

"Just stating the facts." He said.

" I'm not going to sit here  through this sh..it...even for a second. You are disgusting." she got up, red faced.

"That's why you like me.."said her cousin in the same irritating sing song voice and had the audacity to grin at her.

"I hate you."she seethed.

Anjali gasped, "Praneeth! What are you doing?"she said shocked. "You brought him here to uncle Manick's house?"

"Mom will skin us alive if she comes to know about this."said Akash.

"So...Arnav Singh Raizada....welcome to the family!  You'll never find a more hypocritical, self-centered, cut throats, cheats, warmongering family like Malliks anywhere in Mumbai." Said Praneeth.

"I will not listen to all this..."sad Sheetal...short of screaming, her nostrils flaring in anger.

"You have gone too far this time Praneeth....too far...you are sickening."

"Of course I am...isn't that why you all love me." Said Praneeth winking at her, Arnav's stomach revolted. Praneeth was playing with them all. He sent an unreadable glance at Mayank. Arnav then knew it was not just his personal humiliation that was going on but every ones feelings and emotions were also rattled as each and every one there had their own secrets. 

"I'm not going to sit here and shake hands with a son of a ...

"Stop it...don't you realise that this bickering is taking us no where..."

Lavanya laughed. Sheetal turned to look at her, "so this was your idea?"

"I was just joking..."she said in her defence

"And I thought it was a good idea for him to meet the family..."

"There is nothing wrong with the idea...he is right you know..."said Akash.

"Nothing wrong? Of course , you always say yes to all his ideas ....when will you ever start to think on your own Akash?"she said. "That guy there is not your brother, he is ...

"Can..it..."rebuked Lavanya, asking her to mind her words. Arnav felt the rope tighten around his neck.

"I know I'm always right...." Drawled, Praneeth with a show of arrogance.

"What is the point in all this?"

"The point is whether you like it or not, you are also a part of all this so just shut up and listen."said Praneeth angrily.

Arnav felt sick to his stomach. They were all talking as if he was not there. 

"How dare you!" 

"Just listen to him and sit down Sheetal!"ordered Mayank. 

"I will not." Said Sheetal defiantly with her hands crossed over her chest and lips thinned and chin taught.

"Do you realise that when you shout..you sound like those  living in slums .."he said imitating her.

"Like him?"she asked scathingly. Arnav felt the noose tightening further around his neck.

"Now let us get over it... who would like a drink?" He went near the bar. 

Akash and Mayank got up and went to him. "What about you?" Praneeth asked Arnav.

"Is it legal?"asked Anjali meekly. "I mean we are all too young to drink."

"Nothing is legal..." Praneeth again with an arrogant smirk, that he can do anything he wanted. Arnav found, Anjali was still looking at him confused as if she was peering at some strange specimen through her microscope.

"You are going to pour him a drink…?"asked Akash still shell shocked.

"I'll have one..." Lavanya

Arnav didn't want to touch anything. But the fear and anxiety had made his throat dry and all the gleaming bottles of different sizes and shapes tempted him. He wanted to know how the rich man's ware tasted like. He nodded. 

Praneeth poured him one and handed the glass. Arnav nodded, "Thanks." He said.

"Cheers! Welcome to the family!"he said smiling.

"Oh God!" Said Sheetal turning away. Arnav ran his hand over the smooth, antic side table and asked, "Whose house is this?"

"This penthouse belongs to my dad.."said Lavanya. "After him it will go to Praneeth."

"Not exactly, "said Mayank. "Our grandfather, had an elder brother, an army man, this belonged to him. But unfortunately he died during India Pak war in 1971. He was not married so this went to our grandfather, and since his," he pointed towards Praneeth, "father is first born, this house went to him."

"And since Praneeth is the first born, as is the tradition, everything will go to him." Said Akash.

"Unless of course if I die earlier, then it might go to Lav...or anybody else...not sure what grandfather had written in his will." Said Praneeth.

"Oh don't pretend! You very well know, where every dime of this empire is and to whom it goes. Just because you are the first born to the first born in this family, you get everything, it is not as if you earned it." Said Sheetal with disdain.

"I'm just lucky..."said Praneeth with arrogance.

Arnav realised that these were a bunch of snobbish, money minded, bickering kids looking for an evenings entertainment and wondered why he even thought for a second to be part of that family if one might call them. His curiosity satisfied he just wanted to be out of that place.

"He is now part of the family...whether we like it or not...I planned this get together, so we decide now what  are  we going to do about him? " said Praneeth.

The rope Arnav thought reached its maximum and just snapped in anger. 

"Nothing....you are going to do nothing..."he said angrily. He downed the drinking one gulp thinking that it will go down smooth, but on the contrary it burned his guts adding to the fire within  his  stomach. He placed the glass with a thud on the table.

"Just leave me alone....If you people want some cheap entertainment... Go watch some ****o flicks....or go torture some poor cat or a dog....just leave me ." he started towards the door.

Lavanya got up "Arnav don't go...stop."

"Just calm down...nobody's leaving." Said Praneeth anger slowly creeping in his voice.

Arnav turned, "Really? Just stop me." He retorted angrily and walked away as fast as he could. He thought he would suffocate and die if he even stayed a second in that spacious well furnished study along with his cousins and half brother and sister. He slammed the door shut and walked out.



Jul 25

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 35 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.



CHAPTER - 17



MUMBAI _ 1993-2001



Arnav cursed himself as he walked his way out of their study to the drawing room. 

"What was he thinking? What the hell had been thinking?" His mind was screaming. He smashed his hand on the low hung painting and brought it to the ground crashing, the glass splintering to pieces. He walked on. "Why did he ever think he could be part o this family? That he would be accepted in it. What a fool! To be brought here and humiliated and tossed around as if he was invisible. 

"Arnav please stop! Don't go!" Lavanya came running behind him. He didn't hear her, for his mind was screaming so loud that it was drowning away all the voices outside.

"Arnav!" She caught his hand. "Listen to me! I'm sorry!" Arnav came to his senses, jerked his hand away.

 "Forget it!"he said walking out of the main door towards the lift.

"Arnav I'm sorry!"she said again.

He turned suddenly colliding on her, held her wrists and slammed her on the wall, bringing down another framed picture. Lavanya winced. "I didn't think it would end up like this."she said.

"You set me up! You planned all this!"he growled, between his clenched teeth.

"No...I .." She stammered, knowing she was at wrong and felt sorry for him.

"Don't..."he hissed. "I don't want you to be concerned for me, I don't need your apologies, I don't need your excuses and least of all I don't want you to pity me." He snarled into her face. He let go off her suddenly. Lavanya lost her balance and almost fell, but she steadied herself.

"I shouldn't have come."he muttered.

"Then why did you?" Lavanya asked.

"Good question, but I don't know the answer myself."he said angrily. "Because I'm so stupid and must have lost my mind."

He heard footsteps. Great! Praneeth and his flock of memies  were coming to investigate the noise perhaps. He did not want to face them. In fact he never wanted to face them or do anything with them in his or their life time. He just turned and  walked to the lift. When he entered the underground parking lot he had half a mind to take away one of the shiny cars that were parked there. But his good sense prevailed over his anger. He didn't want to get into any trouble, especially with the police. He walked out, fuming and cursing, his mind nonstop on the rewind mode of what had happened that evening. He saw the rain drops falling on the pristine lawns. Shining, classy, just like the Malliks. But he knew they were not as perfect as all that they projected themselves in public. They were cheats, adulterers, liars and drunkards. He was just like a weed that popped out of nowhere, between the shining manicured grass. He was a nobody, an unwanted child, a mistake as far his father was concerned. And as far his cousins and his siblings, well not exactly siblings, he was just a blip on their perfectly planned and orchestrated life. How dare he even dream that he would be accepted as part of the Mallik family?

Rain had turned to heavy drizzle and Arnav entered the deserted tennis court. Picked up a racket and a ball from the shelf and hammered it to the opposite side of the net. It was like a hard knock on his head. He picked up another ball. Slam! Another. Slam!

Why did he even think of becoming a part of that snobbish set of pathetic lives, who cared only about money and who got what?

He sat down tired , the rain pouring now, cooling him. His breathing became normal. He got up and walked out thinking that he never wanted to set eyes on this family again and he wanted to get far far away from them. For all he cared the entire Malliks, and their families can just rot in hell. He just didn't care. He hitch hiked half way, took a taxi half way and joined his friends much later in the night. For two months after his meeting with his cousins and siblings he did not meet them. He didn't even think about them. It was as if he never existed for them. It was better that way, back to the old ways.



But destiny did not let him be. Arnav did not want to proceed with his studies. He did not want to be at the mercy of his father. He didn't want his father's handouts. He was continuing his work at the garage. He was just waiting to turn eighteen. The garage owner's friend assured him of night duty job at his petrol bunk which came with a room upstairs the office for his stay. He did over time and did whatever the owner wanted him to. 

He was giving the car the final car wash, before rolling it over to the front parking lot when Tyagi, a middle aged engineer came to him and said, "There is someone waiting outside, says want to see you. Looks like you've got an admirer..."he winked at him smiling and walked away. 

Arnav laid the water hose down and went to see who was waiting for him. He sighed frustrated. Lavanya, leaning on her sleek , silver grey Porsche was looking at the office waiting for him to appear. Already curious men and guys were walking aimlessly here and there to take a glimpse of... he was not sure , her car or her. Irritated he turned to walk back to finish his work when he came face to face with Tyagi. "Man....what I would not do to get my hands on that car....I'd give my life to ride that one and that girl as well..."he said lustily. 

"Enough! "Arnav growled glaring at him, eyes narrowed to slits, not quite understanding why he was feeling the need to protect her. For Lavanya or any Mallik meant trouble. Tyagi quickly adjusted his collar and walked away. Arnav went back to the garage completed his work, then drove the car to the parking lot, went to the office deposited the keys, signed the register got his week's wages and walked out. He went and stood before her. Lavanya straightened.

"What do you want?"he asked in a condescending tone. 

"I want to see you."she said smiling.

"Why?"

"God only knows! I can't understand myself."she said, her eyebrows furrowed. "Probably I don't want you to think of us as horrible."she said.

"Aren't you?"

"I want to tell you that we are not like that...."she paused.

"Oh right? Do you want me to believe you?" He asked hands in his jeans pockets.

"I mean we are not always like that...I thought we could be..."

"We could be what? Friends? Stop kidding!"he shouted.

"Whether you like it or not we are family."

"Family? You know what? That man, your uncle...my father... has not spoken one word to me yet. He doesn't even acknowledge my presence. He doesn't care for my mother as well. If he really did then he wouldn't allow her to work in that dungeon, he would have seen that she had a promotion somewhere. He gives her money for monthly maintenance... And when he comes there I make sure that I leave that place before he comes so that I need not have to face him. And I have accepted the fact that he is ashamed of me...and that doesn't bother me a least bit because I'm also ashamed that he is my father." He said eyes narrowed to slits 

"Just leave me alone ...you are all no different from my father... …who thinks I'm a nuisance and treats me like a dirt on his shoe...I don't like you or any of your family members. All of you are shallow,selfish, greedy and snobbish.. And all you care about is money and which cricket match to sponsor and be part of which bollywood award function, which movie premiere to see and which part of the world to go for amu****t. If I have a choice I'd rather be related to deadly vipers than your family." He shouted near her face, fists clenching, wanting to hit something.

Lavanya just stood there unnerved by his outburst.

Jul 27

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 26 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON.

CHAPTER - 18

MUMBAI _ 1993-2001

Lavanya stood her ground unnerved by his attack.

"Uncle Mano...is a .."she swallowed the curse word. "We all know he is a good for nothing guy..."

"You are right!" He mocked.

"If it is of any relief  he doesn't talk to any of his other kids as well...he doesn't talk to us also ..but we are all not like that."

"Oh yeah...I know ....you are all God damn saints." He said with a smirk.

"The problem is I don't want anything to do with you or your cousins...just leave...don't waste your time here."

He turned and walked towards the gate leading to the main road. He heard her get inside the car, then the smooth rumbling of her car engine as it slowed down near him, "Can I give you a lift?"

"Yeah sure how about ...to Singapore!"he said walking.

"I'm serious Arnav."

"Me too."

"Singapore is an island..."

"I guess it is a no..."

"Arnav...please!"

"Look Lavanya...why don't you step on that accelerator and drive off."he said turning away.

"Arnav  why do you hate me?"

"Take a guess!"he scoffed.

"I said I'm sorry."

"Okay you are sorry...now go."

"What wrong did I do..."she true to justify her act.

"You set me up!"he said.

"I didn't mean to ....I was not part of that perverted plan of Praneeth to humiliate you."

"Oh yeah?"

"Look..I can understand you know...I'm always alone ...Praneeth.... Mayank and Akash always are together, Sheetal is a b.itch...Anjali always keeps to herself."

"Oh come on it is not that bad..." What was he doing? Why was he even holding this conversation? She is lying. The irony was that he was now trying to console her. Dammit! 

"I'm never part of them...you see."she said.

"Why don't you go and talk about it with Sheetal." He said. 

"We don't get along..."

"That's very bad."

He looked up and saw the pitiful, dilapidated buildings, that had never seen paint for decades and small tin sheet covered huts, the dirt and squalor around. God! What a sight they must look. He dirty and tired after his long hours of work and she impeccable in her shiny car. He touched his meagre salary and thought this will not be equal to even a day's allowance for her. Will she ever know the need for money,  what it was to live in poverty, to go to bed hungry? That , one would be ready to even sell one's soul for money?

During the partition, there were lots of Punjabis, Sindhis and Jats who had to leave their birth place and migrate to the other side of the border. The Malliks and Raizadas were a few amongst them who migrated to Bombay. While the Malliks, worked saved money , invested intelligently, started small businesses and grew into multi billion dollar empire, the  Raizadas could never break the chain of misery and poverty for generations. Many like his mother slaved night and day to make ends meet. He might also end up one day as a labourer, and end up being a drunkard and die alone like his grandfather. It was even wrong to think that he could break that chain of misery and become one amongst the affluent Malliks. That he would be accepted into the Mallik family. Probably Lavanya could help him tide over difficulties and reach the other side but he had to stoop low, sell his pride for that.

"All I want is talk to you."

"Why?"

"To know you better. What will you think of me if I said I want us to be friends. "

"A bored rich girl who is looking for cheep entertainment."

"You are really a ba..stard."she said shaking her head.

He felt a pang in his heart. "That's what people say about me."he said.

Lavanya carefully avoiding some stones and trash, looked at him, "Don't take it to heart. I like you and want us to be friends."

"Why do you care?"

"Because you are part of the family, a very interesting part."

"Look I don't even know you and I'm not interested to know you....I do not want to do anything with you or your brothers."

"Why do you despise me?"

Arnav said, "I do not..." then realised the mistake as soon as he uttered the words. Why did he even care what he thought about her. She was just trouble, putting on her feminine act just to convince him.

"Listen, we are not in the same wavelength, we cannot ever be friends.....not in this life time..."he said as he was about to turn into a narrow alley. 

"Believe it or not I'm beginning to like you."she said smiling still trying to keep pace with him.

"For God's sake Lavanya...stop kidding yourself, you just find me amusing." His voice came out like a bark. He wished he could punch some sense into her.

"May be...but getting to know you is okay for me now."she said, waved and drove off. "Getting to know me will be a great mistake..."Arnav said starring at the disappearing car, with a dreaded feeling that this was not the last of her he was going to see. She seem to be one stubborn girl who would not take no for an answer. He was sure she would come back. What the hell was he going to do with her?

Jul 27

DOOMED TO DIE THE MOTHER OF MY SON (By Raani82) (Thanked: 34 times)

DOOMED TO DIE- THE MOTHER OF MY SON

CHAPTER- 19

MUMBAI- 1983-2001

Arnav was not wrong. A week later when he had finished his work, he came out with a satisfied grin that he had got his salary more than he had expected as the manager was pleased with his work. His smile disappeared and became a frown when he saw her waiting on the opposite side of the road leaning on her sleek machine with huge tires. She was least bothered about the stares and wolf whistles from the neighbourhood boys.

Arnav stopped short, having second thoughts whether to proceed or talk to her. His friends passed him whistling and hooting. Tyagi came out, "Some guys have all the luck in the world. If you ever get tired of her, why don't you recommend my name..." Arnav gave an angry glare. "Okay...okay..."he said and walked away with a frustrated smile on his face. Arnav crossed the road and walked to her.

"Which part didn't you understand when I said I don't want any thing to do with you?"he asked angrily combing his thick locks with the palm of of his hand.

She smiled, "Came to talk to you."she said.

"Why?"he asked scowling.

"Don't know. Probably I'm a person who likes to be with people who don't like me."

"I never said  that..."he said hastily.

"Then Let's go out...for a coffee?"she asked. 

"I'm not falling for that this time."he said. 

Lavanya just smiled and said, "You can drive..." 

Arnav licked his lips when he saw her dangling the keys in front of him. His fingers were itching to grab the keys."You are not serious?"he asked.

"Of course I am... Anywhere you want to go..."she said. He had driven all types of cars small and big that comes to garage. But nothing like this one.

His blood coursed through his body, adrenaline pumped so fast, his throat went dry, when he imagined his hands on the steering wheel, legs on the pedals, driving fast through the narrow lanes, but it stopped right there when he thought about his mother. He saw her in her old clothes, bent on the sewing machine stitching for hours, and painfully massaging her knuckles in the night. Malliks never gave anything without a price.

"What do you want Lavanya?"he asked.

"Just to know you."

"Oh hell!"he growled.

"I'm not lying."she pleaded.

He touched her for the first time. He grabbed her wrists, and tried to read her mind. But it was closed. He could not get an inkling of what she was thinking. But he knew one thing. She was planning something wild something against her rich daddy's rules. "This is trouble Arnav."his mind warned him.

Logic warned him to get out from there but heart refused to listen to logic. His eyes gleamed,  once again he licked his lips in anticipation. Desire took over. Lavanya smiled. She had him where she wanted. She saw the young boy in him, through the tough exterior he posed in front of them. 

He looked at his oil stained shirt and pants. "That's okay... my car has seen worse and there are methods to remove all stains... Don't worry."she handed him the keys.

He sat inside, ran his hand over the smooth wheel, adjusted the seat, checked the dials and the throttle and smiled. "Where to?"he asked.

She shrugged. "Wherever you take me."she said. "I'm just along for a ride."

MALLIK MANSION. TWO MONTHS LATER.

"You are making a fool of yourself...Lav..."said Praneeth, as he skirted on his toes from side to side warding off her punches. They were boxing in the gym, on the top floor of their eleven floor mansion. The gym had all the equipments and as children they had played around here. It had basket ball hoops, a TT table, a pool table and a boxing ring.

"What else is new?"she asked trying to ward off his blow. Damn! He was good. Good at everything. Always a natural athlete. He excelled in sports academics, popularity, leadership, debate...everything. Several years older than her and with testosterone added to his advantage, he always made Lavanya feel inferior. She tried very hard to excel him no matter what the contest was. Just like this stupid boxing match which he wanted. And she was losing.

"You going out of the way to be friendly with that Raizada boy."

"What?"

"Oh I saw you couple of times with that boy. In a coffee shop, in an obscure part of the city." He gave one jab on her jaw. "Careful!"he warned.

"What??? you are watching me?"she asked. She thought she had been sneaky and that no one knew.

"Oh I have my own ways of knowing about everything that is happening around us...especially about my sister..."

"I feel sorry for him..."she said.

"But he is only trouble ...and think what Akash might think about you..."he said and she could see his wicked grin behind his head and chin guard.

"Akash..."she said surprised, pausing for a moment.

"Aaan...haaan..."he gave one upper cut below her jaw and one on her right side of her face. "Never allow your opponent to destroy your concentration.."he said. Lavanya, stumbled and fell on the ropes and steadied herself.

"Sorry dear...you lose again."he said, removing his gears. Lavanya straightened and pulled out her boxing gloves, as he came near her and removed the straps of her chest guard. "As for Arnav leave him alone. He is trouble."

"I don't think so. Besides it is nothing...we are just friends, went couple of times out for coffee that's all."she said. "He doesn't even notice me."she lied. She had gathered all her nerves to meet him the second time and Arnav was as cold as arctic ice at first but couple of times later he melted. Insisting every time that he pay for the coffee. She saw his true self the boy beneath the tough act and it was so refreshing.  Did Akash know? Has Praneeth told him? She was starring out of the glass windows down the busy street below. City slowly coming to life as the rays of the rising sun began to shine through the branches of the trees.

"Oh I'm sure he notices you and also aware of how much you are worth. He may not be that educated but he is not stupid. In fact we should be the ones who shouldn't even be noticing him."he said, moving his neck to remove the chinks  from his neck. "Change of heart? For you were the one..."she started.

"Oh come on Lavanya I don't want you to get involved with him."he said.

"I'm not ... I am not leading him on...if that is what you are suggesting... I feel he has got a raw deal...and..."she tried to convince him.

"Lav...you are lying and you are very bad at that."he said as he towelled his hair and flattened his thick, ever so well maintained hair with his hand. 

"Anyways I've seen you with him a couple of times and so has Akash and he is not pleased..."

"What?"she asked. She didn't want Akash to know.

"He is annoyed and thinks that Arnav is a  low life trying to find out how a rich girl feels and drive cars which he can't even dream to own in his life time."

"What?" Lavanya was speechless.

"He hates that guy ...thinks that he might take over as the first born of his father..."Praneeth laughed. "That's so silly...just like uncle Mano."

"You started all this...by bringing him..."Lavanya intervened tersely.

"Yeah yeah...and  I have no regrets....hell did I enjoy that....did you look at all our cousins' expressions.....that was soooo funny...I thought Sheetal was going to s.hit in her pants and Akash was epileptic..."he stopped lifting and began to laugh.

"And Arnav? What about his feelings?"she asked.

"His feelings? Who cares? And when did you start caring for his feelings. Oh....I forgot...you do care...You are playing Mother Teresa....a fighter for the oppressed, do gooder, righting all the wrongs...." He arranged all their things in order on the shelves.

"Not really..."

"That's what you like us all to think isn't it? You want us to think you are so noble...when we know you are a fake." He looked straight into her eyes, and she felt as if he was reading her inner mind.

"I feel sorry for him."she said her words genuine. 

"Why?" He asked.

"Why? He is poor."

"But free."

"What?" She asked confused.

"He is free to do what he wants. Keep his own time. He is free to go anywhere, play carroms be with anyone, no undue restrictions like on Malliks on whom to be associated with, whether they are of equal status. That's freedom, something which you and I would never feel...."

"But he doesn't have any money..."

"Maybe he doesn't need it...maybe money is a trap that keeps us imprisoned."

"But you've always said wealth is freedom."

"I hate to admit it but I was wrong.... Freedom is more important than money....I envy that guy...he can take decisions on his own...needn't listen to his father on what to study...what to do in future....he has freedom..."said Praneeth with a lost look in his eyes. "Just for a week I want to be my own person, make my own decisions....dirt poor but free to do what I like...

"That's true.."said Lavanya softly.

"I just want one chance ....to turn around and look at dad and say...**** off....just once..."he laughed moving towards the bench press. 

"I just wanted to know him. If I remember right you also wanted to know him...that's why you arranged to bring him to the penthouse."

He lay and began to lift weights. "But you have a point there...I like to know him of course...just to know what really ticks him...what was it that kept uncle Mano to keep his mother all these years but totally ignore his son. Why our aunt is quiet about that? Why didn't she force him to give up that wh..ore... Why didn't she divorce him? Can you add some weights? A five maybe."he said and she immediately obliged. She did as she was told. Damn! She always did what he told her to do. "Pride?"

"I'd say stupidity."

"Probably she has got affairs of her own.."said Lavanya.

"Oh! Aunt Manorama....? Can you imagine her with some other guy?  I wonder how she even managed two kids..." He laughed, placing the weights on the hooks and getting up. 

They did their work outs together most of the times, for that was the only place they were free to express without the interference of their parents or the working staff. They shared their deepest of secrets here. Did he know that she had a soft corner for Akash? Damn him! She wished she could escape his prying eyes.

"Praneeth...stop it!"said Lavanya red faced, unable to hide her smile. "You have a perverted mind.."

"Not as perverted as you are...or the rest of us..."

"Don't turn it on me."

"Akash is our cousin and you have feelings for him. It is close to being incestuous, now you are after his half brother."

"No I am not."she protested vehemently. 

"You cannot have him...you are just fascinated with him because he is like the forbidden fruit....that Eve had..."

"And where do you fit in?"

"I'm the snake ...of course..."he said smiling.

"Arnav the apple?"

"And Akash...is Adam?"

"Don't be silly..."she said her face turning red.

"If you say so...but be wary of Arnav ..."

"I just talk to him as a friend. And don't you have better things to do than watch me. Or are afraid that I might spoil your good name?"

"No I'm not afraid of that! If anyone can spoil my name that could only be me....and I decide when and how I do it....no one else..."he said with arrogance that Lavanya hated. He opened the door and both began to climb down the stairs.

"Why do you keep pushing me away from him?"she asked.

"Because you are getting too involved with him...you have been meeting him for months... You are not being practical ...you are thinking him as family...Arnav will start getting ideas."

"It is nothing.."

"Oh sure!"he said cynically. He stopped at the end of the stairs and turned to look at her. "Arnav is dangerous....It is smart of you to keep away from him."he said in a warning tone.

"And it is smart of  you to mind your own business and stop spying on me."she said angrily.

His eyes glared at her in anger. "Careful sis....you are playing with fire."

"So what if I'm playing with fire....I will do what I want and you Praneeth can do nothing about it."she shouted.

Praneeth's eyebrows rose upwards as he clucked his tongue.

"Are you throwing a challenge on my face..Lav? Haven't you learned anything...anything at all about me...."he bent forward close to her face and peered right into her eyes. Lavanya felt as if his eyes were piercing her soul. 

"I NEVER LOSE."He said softly.

Dear Readers.

I've given back to back updates because I'm taking a break here. I'm going on a pilgrimage. Will be back after three weeks. 

Some may feel that this flash back is going way too long but I assure you every chapter is important part of the story. So please bear with me. 

Thank you all for the wonderful support you've all given me so far. 

Will not disappoint you after I return.

Thank you once again. God bless!

Rani.

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