Monday, 8 December 2014

Summer Showers.......Chapter 1

Chapter 1

One month later.......

“You want to look for leaves?”
“Yes, Miss Sinha.”
“For what?”
“For my Science project. You asked me to pick up a topic from Botany.”
“And you decided to pick leaves? That’s too convenient.”
“Not just any leaves, Miss Sinha, but four-leaf clovers.”
“Because they are so rare. Normally, we see only three-leaf clovers.”
“And...err...because they bring us luck.”
“Where did you get that nonsense from?’
“From a poem by Ella Higginson.”
Miss Sinha sighed, “Literature again. Problem with you is you read too many of those books from the library. How many times have I told you that those books are for older people?”
Pari looked down, drawing circle on the floor with the toe of her sandal, her hands behind her back, with fingers crossed for luck. She needed all the luck to pull this through.
“Please Miss Sinha. Let me do this.”
“And what do you plan to do with them after you have collected them?”
“I’ll make a scrap book. And then I’ll press a few to study the discoloration. I’ll put some in a jar of water, and when they start to grow roots, I’ll take them out and re-plant them, and then when they....”
“OK! OK! I get the idea.” Miss Sinha groaned, visibly showing her discomfiture at the very idea of an afternoon excursion around the estate. “Where do you want to go for this?”
“There.” Pari pointed out of the kitchen window, at the general direction of the vast kitchen garden. “There are some patches of clover beyond the kitchen garden, behind those bamboo grasses, near those trees.”
“Oh, alright! Fifteen minutes. That’s all. After that I need my tea. Let’s go.”
Pari looked up in horror as Miss Sinha shifted her bulky frame from the couch in a bid to get up, muttering unholy things under her breath, “Damn! Can’t she just sit in her usual place and study...she has been pattering about for the past if a bloody bug has suddenly bit her....she can’t seem to sit still....running here and there...all the unlike her....Damn!
“Errm! Miss Sinha.”
Pari started and took a step back at the angry snarl. “I...I was s..saying, you don’t have to come. You haven’t been well. Leela dai was saying that your gout has been bothering you again. Pl..please Mrs Sinha, I don’t want you to vex yourself for me. I am a big girl now. I can do the collection work myself. I’ll go and come back in one hour. Promise.”
“Oh yeah? And how would I know you are fine? If anything happens to you, your father....”
“I’ll be OK, Miss Sinha. I’ll wave to you every ten minutes with my red scarf, so that you know I am fine.” She saw a look of relief cross her tutor’s features and pressed home the advantage, “Please Miss Sinha. I really want to impress you with my project and want to do this on my own. It’s just a matter of one hour. No one will know. I won’t tell anyone. Please...please.”
“My God, how much you talk these days, Praneeta? I don’t remember ever hearing you string so many words together. Wait a minute. I need to think.” Miss Sinha stared out of the window...debating over the risk in her mind. One hour. One hour of complete relaxation...sounded blissful. What can happen in one hour? Nothing. After all, the girl would be inside the estate walls. It’s perfectly safe. In any case, the little mouse is too scared of the outside world to even think any adventurous thought. Most importantly, the Devil and his male spawn were out of town again on business. The man scared her, and his son was a chip of the old block...same blood...same traits...same regressive thinking...same evilry. Whoever heard of home tutoring in today’s times? If it were not for the generous salary, she would have never taken this job. Of course, there was also that other matter regarding the tuition scandal she was involved in, which cost her her school job and took away her teacher’s licence, and from which Mr Jayswal had extricated
“Miss Sinha?”
“Huh!” She came out from her reverie to the present. The girl awaited her permission. Why not? She sat back and nodded her assent, holding up her right index finger and saying in her most firm, no-nonsense voice, “One Hour! Not a second more.”

One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith,
And one is for love, you know;
But God put another in for luck--
If you search, you will find where they grow.
But you must have hope, and you must have faith;
You must love and be strong; and so,
If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
Where the four-leaf clovers grow

“That was beautiful, Pari.”
“Isn’t it? I remembered the poem when you gave me the idea about the project.”
“You love reading and drawing, don’t you?”
“That’s all I have, Samar. For most of my life I have stayed within the mansion. I have no idea what the outside world is like in real life. I have never seen it...till today.”
“Not even in television?”
“I have never seen a television.” At his raised brow, she amended, “I mean I have seen Dharam bhaiya’s room, but I’ve never watched anything on it. I am allowed to read. So I read a lot. I don’t even remember when books became my closest friends. When I wanted to speak, I read aloud. When I wanted to do something, I picked up an activity from a book.”
“Like what?”
Pari turned to give him a shy smile, “Like origami. And sketching. I am learning to draw from a book. You know, we have a huge library in the same wing where my room is. It’s my grandfather’s collection. Some of the books were added later by my mother. Reading is like an adventure for me. Within a book’s pages I can visit places and meet people and learn about the world.”
“One day I’ll take you to all the places you want to visit.”
“I don’t know, Samar. Please don’t make me wish for things I can’t have. I dream, but I don’t indulge in pipe dreams. I may be only twelve, but I know my reality.”
“That’s a cynical thought, little Pari.”
“Pari, we dream and then we set goals based on that dream. They become pipe dreams only if you don’t go after them.” He shifted and threw an arm around her shoulder. She tensed and then relaxed as an unexpected warmth spread through her. He made her feel so protected. His voice feathered over her head, the movement of his lips brushing against her hair, as he asked gently, “Let’s hear about one dream that you want to become your reality.”
She kept quiet and picked on the grass, not looking at him. He squeezed her shoulder, “C’mon, it can’t be that difficult. One dream.”
She thought for awhile and then looked up, “You said you will take me to any place I want to go when I grow up.”
“Yes. You have my word.”
“Will you take me to Bikaner?”
“Sure, I will. Promise.” Then a beat later, “Any specific reason?” One elbow on a bent-up knee, he had his forefinger pressed against his temple and the thumb on his cheek and was looking at her thoughtfully...she had come to recognize it as a very Samar-like gesture when he was thinking.

She stared at him. Should she tell him? It was her secret. If she told him, will he get angry like babuji, or, worse, will he laugh at her? No, he would never do that to her. Samar was always nice to her. He was always trying to make her wishes come true...trying to make her smile. She blinked and looked in front, at the waterfall, at its white mist hovering over the narrow valley. So far she had only seen pictures of such places, but nature was far more beautiful in real. This was paradise. Ah! Just to breathe in this open air. Samar had given her this gift, by bringing her here, giving her a feel of the real existence. He made her feel a real person, and not someone who has to be tolerated because she was unfortunate to have been born.

She could never deny him anything. She would never deny him anything. It’s a promise her little heart made to her soul.
She took a deep breath and spoke, “I think I’ll find my mother there.”
“In Bikaner?”

Okay? Just like that? He didn’t even question her. He just believed her. She had this sudden urge to put her arms around him, a feeling that by itself was strange because no one had ever hugged her and she had never hugged anyone. The only time her father and brother ever touched her was when they beat her. But this boy, a stranger till a month back, incurred all sorts of unusual feelings in her. She curbed the need to touch him and instead gave him her warmest smile, which brought a peculiar look on his face...a look that confused Pari whenever it crossed his features.

Samar flicked the tip of her nose affectionately and got up to bring the picnic hamper from the bike. As she watched him amble away, Pari’s thoughts wandered back to the day one year back. It was the first and the last time she had mentioned her mother to her father when she asked him about her, fully knowing the punishment that awaited if she so much as breathed her name. But she had to dig deep inside and find some courage to at least try to do something that would help her give some information. Sure enough, the moment she mentioned her mother, her father flew into a madman’s rage. She was slapped and beaten and put into the basement for two days without food, for crossing the forbidden line. Yet, all that the entire incident did was to strengthen her resolve to know more about the woman who gave her birth and then left soon after.

She remembered that day clearly. Miss Sinha was down with flu, so was on leave. Having got an unexpected day to herself, she had decided to do something that she had wanted to do for a long teach herself to draw properly, methodically. So, she went to the library and started looking through the shelves containing books on art. She came across an art book behind two rows of books in the last shelf. When she opened it, her eyes fell on the words written below the Preface, causing her to gasp: Congratulations to Meera Bhati, Class XI, Birla Girls High School, Bikaner. Winner, Shankar’s Art Competition. 5 Sept 1980.

She knew her mother’s name was Meera....the only information she had of her. She always wanted to know more about her: What was she like? How did she look? She had tried asking Leela dai once but was given a brush-off along with a warning not to dare utter that woman’s name who brought infamy to this house. Leela dai was part of the household as long as she remembered. She looked after her basic needs but nothing beyond that, whereas she was completely devoted to Dharam bhaiya and babuji and was completely attuned to their needs. In turn, babuji had given her the reins of the household, which she ruled with an iron hand. Thus, there was no way Pari could get any information from anyone. Try as she might, all that she had by way of her mother’s memory was a soft voice and a floral smell. Pari harboured this secret wish of meeting her once, if only to ask her why she left her. Was she a bad child? Did she trouble her too much? Maybe, one day....

“Penny for your thoughts, little Pari.”
“Huh?” She started as her train of thoughts broke. Samar sat beside her, setting down a small food basket between them.
“I was just admiring this place. It’s so beautiful and so peaceful. I love it here.” Putting a lid on the painful part of her life, Pari turned to Samar, soft smile playing on her lips, her big eyes filled with gratitude and adoration directed straight at him, “Thank you for bringing me here.”
Samar reached over and cupped her face, “Your smile is my reward, Pari. Now eat. We have to get back in twenty minutes.”

They were sitting on a patch of grass on the top of a hill overlooking a waterfall. After a month of stealing conversations through the hole in the wall, Samar had decided it was time Pari tasted freedom and breathed in free and fresh mountain air. He had given her the idea of the four-leaf clovers when she mentioned the project to him. He had to spend three days in convincing her to take courage and do what he told her. The previous night he had sat with Karan and Kushal and planned Pari’s getaway. He had spent the morning collecting four-leaf clovers from the mountainside for Pari. Then, the three of them had painstakingly loosened four large stones in the wall beyond the vegetable garden, an area that was hidden from the mansion’s view because of the bamboo grass. The moment they saw Pari walking their way with a polybag, they had loosened the stones across. Karan had stepped inside the estate through the hole. He was assigned to fill the hole after Pari left with Samar and to wave the red scarf, periodically, for Miss Sinha’s benefit. Everything had gone like clockwork. Between Karan and Samar, they had sneaked Pari out.

Samar had asked Pari many times why she led a life of confinement. Why didn’t her father allow her to step out of the estate gates? Why didn’t they take her too when they went out of town? Why didn’t they let her go to a school? Why didn’t they let her meet anyone other than the mansion staff? For each query, Pari had only one answer, “My father says it’s for my own good. I have never questioned him.” He drew a blank wall every time he asked about her family, yet slowly and gradually she was unfurling herself to him.

During the initial days of their secret meetings across the wall, Samar had to conduct one-sided conversations. It never occurred to him to just let go. He felt restless the day he didn’t see her. Pari would either speak in monosyllables or express through her eyes or head movements, but her eager, smiling presence in front of the hole when he pulled the stone did something to his heart. Something beyond words. Something indescribable. She awoke deep-seated protective instincts in him. As if she called to a Samar who wanted to be better for her. In the beginning, this sensation, this strange sense of responsibility and ownership had made him timorous...made him feel out of control. And, if anything, he couldn’t afford to be out of control. His life had taught him that all-important lesson. Yet, one look from his little Pari was enough to melt him like a candle.

He had felt a strange sense of possessiveness rush through him when he had seen her the first time. As if it was his life’s mission to make this girl smile. He rescheduled his playtimes with Karan and Kushal, earning him a few catcalls and leg-pullings. But in the end, they gave Samar their full support. They were always good to him, so what if he was their housekeeper cum cook’s grandson. Ever since, he had come to stay with his grandmother, they had been the awesome-threesome.
“Tell me about yourself, Samar.”
Samar stopped a beat in his bite of the sandwich and then resumed. He chewed slowly, swallowed, and then said, “What do you want to know?”
“I don’t know. Anything. Whatever you want to tell me.”
Samar smiled. She looked so adorable in her pink pants and blue top as she sat cross-legged across him, munching a samosa.
He reached out and thumbed away a blob of ketchup from the corner of her lips before answering, “I have told you that I appeared in my Class 11 exams this year, right?”

She bobbed her head, absorbing each word. A month had passed and she didn’t really know anything about him, except what class he was in and that Karan and Kushal were his best friends. He was always asking her about herself, and she always hesitated to ask him about his life...till today. Today, a wall had come down between them when Samar helped her go past the stone wall. Today she felt more confident of herself.

Samar took a sip from his coke and continued, “Pari, we have come here for six weeks only...for the summer vacations. We live in Chandigarh. The estate on the other side of your wall belongs to Mr DK Mehra, Karan and Kushal’s father. He is a very wealthy businessman. Because of his generous and philanthropic nature, he is a highly respected and much-awarded person of our country. He has properties and houses in many parts of the country as well as abroad. Every summer he sends Karan and Kushal to go and stay in one of his many houses, for their annual vacation. Mr Mehra bought this property last year, so this year they are here. And I am here because they are here.” He stopped and stared at her rapt face. She hadn’t blinked once. He knew she would after what he told her next. He would hate to see the disappointment on her face, but he couldn’t lie to her as to who he was, so he told her, “Pari, my nanima is housekeeper cum cook in Mr Mehra’s household. Even my mother worked for them, as a maid, before nanima got her married. Mr Mehra wishes nanima to be with Karan and Kushal wherever they go. They are very fond of her.”
He was studying her intently. Not a shadow had crossed her face, nor was there a change in her expression, so he prodded, “Pari!!”
“Don’t you have to say anything to that?”
She frowned and then said, “Say what?”
“For God’s sake, Pari. I just told you that I am a servant’s son.”
“So....doesn’t it matter to you?”

She thought for awhile, and in those few seconds, Samar had his heart in his throat. She shook her head and then looked at him with confusion, “I can’t think what you want me to say, Samar. All I know is that you are my friend and that ever since I met you I don’t feel alone any more...even when I am alone in the house, because now I have our memories to think about.” She beamed at him, and in that instant Samar lost his boy heart completely.

Samar knew he had his dark side, a side only his nani knew of. The dark past. He also knew that he would never expose his Pari to that side...ever...cause she was the sunshine he couldn’t afford to lose. She was all his tomorrows rolled into one tiny package of sweetness and innocence. Now, all he had to do was keep the package safe from all evil eyes till he was ready to claim it.

Next day it rained through the afternoon, so Miss Sinha held the classes indoors. After every few minutes, Pari would run to her first-floor bedroom to look out from the window at the Mehra estate grounds, just to see if the boys had come out. After her third so-called visit to the washroom, Miss Sinha put a halt to her escapades till she finished her Math problems. Pari was restless till she went to sleep. Her father and brother were due back after two days from their three-week US business trip. She had so little time with Samar who would be gone after a week. She didn’t want to lose any more days without seeing him.
Pari smiled as the whisper travelled to her through the layers of dream-induced fog. She mumbled, “Samar, with me....
“Oh, my little Pari! We shall fly together one day. But now, you need to wake up. Pari...PARI...PARI.”
Pari woke up with a jerk, “Wh...What?....SAMAR!!” she squealed when she saw him sitting on her bed, and then clamped a hand on her mouth, speaking from behind it, “What are you doing here? How did you get here?”
“Shshh! Quietly. I climbed the tree that’s out there, walked the parapet, and then came through the balcony.”
She jumped out of the bed and placed her fists on her hips, whispering as angrily as she could, “Are you crazy? What if you had fallen down?”
He grinned and tousled her already-tousled hair, “You look so cute. Like a little doll in pajamas.”
She shrugged his hand away, “Don’t change the topic. Why did you...”
“Cool down Pari.” He pulled her hand and made her sit on the bed beside him, “And stop fretting. I have loads of practice climbing trees and walking parapets. I had to see you.”
Pari squinted at the wall clock in the dim nightlight, “It’s 3 AM. You couldn’t wait till morning?”
He took her hands in his and nodded, “It’s because I won’t be here in the morning.”
She heard him speak the words but didn’t actually comprehend them. Did he actually say that he was leaving? That he won’t be here tomorrow, chatting with her, teasing her, laughing at her naivety through the hole in the wall. He saw the shock and disbelief in her eyes. Her thin shoulders sagged in dejection. He could barely hear her when she finally spoke, “You are leaving. But you said....”
He reached out to tuck a loose lock of hair behind her ears, “I know I said we are here for another week. But we got a call last night. Karan/Kushal’s grandfather suffered a heart attack. We have to leave early to catch the flight from Pune. That’s why I am here. I couldn’t go without seeing you. Also, I had to give you something.”
“What?” Pari whispered through clogged throat. She still couldn’t believe she won’t see him after a few hours. She’ll be alone again. She won’t see him...won’t hear his voice... won’t see him smile at her.
“This.” He took her palm and kept a cell phone on it.
She stared at it mutely.
Samar tilted her chin so that she had to look at him. “It’s a cell phone, Pari. I want you to keep it, so that we can talk to each other daily.”
“But I don’t know how to use it.”
“We have about two hours with us. I’ll teach you how to use it. You are a smart girl. You’ll learn fast. And yes, I’ll charge it from my end, so you don’t have to bother.”
“But Samar. What if someone sees it?”
“No one will know. You will keep it switched off and hidden through the day. You will switch it on and call me after you are sure everyone has retired for the night. Okay?”
She sniffed and nodded, “Okay.”
For the next hour or so, Samar taught her how to use the phone. He made her practice by making her call and talk with Karan. Once he was sure she was comfortable with the instrument, he sat with her on the bed and they talked till it was time to go.
Samar held her arms and bent to kiss her on the forehead, “Take care of yourself, little Pari. I don’t want anything happening to you. You are my reason to smile. And I like to smile. Hmm?”
She nodded and tightened her lips, lest the sob she had been holding for so long escaped. He wanted her to be brave and she wouldn’t fail him.
“Pari, I want to see you smile before I go.”
She took a deep breath and lifted her face and smiled.
“That’s my girl. Goodbye, little Pari. Be good. I’ll see you soon.”
“You won’t. You are going for a year.” This time the sob escaped so she pressed her fingers on her lips.
Samar released her fingers and smiled, although his eyes glistened with moisture, “Hey, one year will be up before you realize.”
Suddenly Pari threw her arms around him and sobbed quietly, “I’ll miss you.”
Samar held her tightly, ‘I’ll miss you too, my little Pari. Grow up soon, and I’ll take you from here.”
To be continued........................


  1. I have already started to fall in love with these two character. The innocence of Pari and Samar's care for Pari is so heart warming. In these few weeks Samar has given Pari hope and something to look forward in her dull and sad life. He is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Hope he comes back for her soon.

    1. Hey Bharathi...Love you for saying that. Thanks.
      Samar and Pari might have four plus years between them, but that didn't stop the connection they have from being getting itself known the moment they met. At the moment they have filled a vacuum that was there in their respective young lives. Life may not be so easy on them while they are growing up. Much will happen to them before they meet in the Present Day. :)

  2. Dear Indu,

    This was so magical...Oh my I loved it so much my eyes were nearly waiting to cry at the pure innocence and extreme affection between Samar and depicted by your brilliant use of words.

    You are such a fabulous writer Indu. I can read yours again and again.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Shanti...Nah! I know I am average and I know my limitations. But I couldn't stop this huge grin from spreading on my face when I read your sweet words. Thanks Love. You made my day. I am just glad that Samar and Pari have been able to touch you in Chapter 1 itself. That indeed satisfies me.

      Take care.

  3. Indu you officially have me hooked already. The update was so magical and the friendship even though it is new is so pure already. Loving the characters and how slowly they are getting accustomed to each other and giving each other little bits and pieces of themselves. Fantastic job as always and I can't wait to see what is in store next.

    1. My dear sweet Saf...Thanks and a tight hug for that. Glad Samar and Pari have connected with you. They are two lonely kids who have filled a huge gap in each other's lives au naturel. Life's not going to be so easy as they are visualizing at the moment.

  4. OMG what a beautiful and bittersweet chapter.....You left me in tears, Indu dear.....Samar and Praneeta have come to depend on each other and now they have to say goodbye :( *sobbing*......I love how in their heart and soul they are already one.....I can't wait to see what comes next :)

    You never cease to amaze me with ur brilliance, Hun.....Keep rocking and stay blessed always! XOXO

    1. Hey sweetie...Thanks for the boost-up. You are such a darling. According to you, Indu can do no wrong. :)

      Samar and Pari will face a few hiccups before they really come together many years later. I am still in the process of figuring out those life-changing events. :)

      Love you back.

    2. hehehe You know that I'm biased when it comes to you....I find no fault in your writing on the contrary I still wonder why you haven't writing a novel YET?! ;)

      Aww whatever those life-changing events are, I know that you will do them justice :)

      Season's Greetings to you and your loved ones......Sending loads of LOVE & HUGS......muuaaahhh...!!

  5. brilliant di........which left me speechless.......
    its like i felt their lifetime in this single chapter .....and u already said the driving factors of pari s life ........hope faith love and with all this she will be the ever luckiest person......and samar will be with her make her smile always which inturn makes him smile ....

    amazing through out .........
    waiting to witness what happens next ..........

    rosey (sushma)
    take care di......

    1. Hi Sushma....Believe me, you guys are the ones who leave me speechless when you show the same love to the characters that I feel for them. Thanks a ton for the nice words.

      Samar and Pari were destined to meet through a hole wherein the whole world narrowed down to just them. It's how it's going to be in their lives as well....Though the whole world will be in their periphery, it's how they see each other through that hole, without any outside influence, will decide the fate they decide for each other.

      Take care.

  6. Awesome, love this youthful friendship so pure. Two beautiful souls that destiny have brought together in a bond of friendship, eagerly waiting to find out what the future holds for them.


    1. Hi Sharlene....Loved what you wrote. Indeed, rules of friendship are different for each such relationship. What attracts you to be friends with one particular person out of many who surround you is a mystery. One can be friendly with everyone, but it's only few who are friends for real. Given the kind of upbringing Pari has had, she should have run back to the house the moment she saw Samar, yet she didn't. Likewise, Samar may have met many girls in his life, but for some unfathomable reason he was hooked the moment he saw the pretty little girl.

  7. Thankyou very much for the pm. Like always the lead characters are just being the title 'summer showers' in each others life. Pari is so sweet and innocent, Samar-Already started loving this hero who is all eager to claim his lady.-scorpiodreams

    1. Hi pal...Thanks for the sweet words.

      As you said, Samar is old enough to understand love of the forever kind, so he has understood what Pari has come to mean to him, even though she was so young. On the other hand, Pari doesn't understand that kind of love yet, but she is already emotionally dependent on Samar.

  8. My sincere apologies for not responding expeditiously Indu. Had a very busy work schedule last week.
    Poignant, heartrending, moving, touching, emotional, captivating, intense, tragic, wistful, enthralling, impassioned, sentimental, stirring, inspiring, monumental, unforgettable…. There aren’t sufficient stars or descriptive comments than can sum up this chapter and its perfection. I felt so immersed and everything about it grabbed all of my emotions. Every single character had their place and purpose, the writing was flawless and the dialogue was enchanting. The entire chapter was highlight-worthy and addictive. It has crawled into my soul and decided to take up permanent residency there.

  9. Hi Surish..... You have my heart, do you know that? You are so so so very good for my morale. At one level ( the practical one) I know fully well what my limitations are, yet at another level, my heart swells when I realize that I can give someone so much happiness, even if for a little while.

    As for the characters, I can only say two things: One, that I was always an observer...since my childhood....and, second, that I have been on this earth for awhile now and so have met a few people along the journey called life. :)

    Thanks for giving me such breathtaking reviews each time. Love you.

  10. hi indu.... just waiting for another update.... the beautiful honest relation this is becoming into. just like ours.. where are expectations lie hidden from the person you want to fulfil.... but make sure to tell them with our actions what we want them to do....samar is going to have a tough time though......whats in store for pari.... is still not known. she is so young and she only knows samar's views of right and wrong.... yet she is so stronggg. i loved the cell phone part indu..... the covering up of pari impromptu.... am waiting......u are just awsome.. its true.. this story.. not all have easy n rosy may seem but its not. jaans