It was early in the morning. As meri saanso main tu muskuraaye began to play and Arnav smiled. He hadn’t slept peacefully in days. But his mothers song and the voice, somehow seemed to set everything right for him. But his smile turned into a frown as he realised his mother had run away during his chachi’s wedding. Arnav tossed and turned, and woke up in a startle.
After his mother had left the house on that fateful night they had been told their father who had left the house in humiliation to deal with it on his own for a few days had died in a land slide in the Himalayas. Arnav’s chachi Sunita, who was during whose wedding all this had happened was the one caretaker .
Sunita was a sweet natured lady, and many people said, Anjali was a replica of her chachi. She looked more like her daughter than Pramila’s. Sunita had grown up in the Raizada house, with her older sister and had fallen in love with a painter.
Little did she know that her husband was not a good natured man. He and his evil intentions had come out only after they had tied the knot and she had been as shocked and betrayed. After marrying Arnavs chachi, he had gotten so greedy seeing the riches around him, he wanted all of it.
At first he had tried to be nice with Arnav and Anjali. But very soon, he had started to blame them for every little thing. He would criticise them for not being brought up well, and how they were pampered, and how they didn’t know about the ways of the world. He would taunt them saying the silver spoon they were brought up with, was not going to fetch them anything.
Then one day, when chacha tried to raise his hand on Anjali, for something she hadn’t done the issue went so much out of hand that he had ended up pushing her from the first floor of the Sheesh Mahal thus injuring her badly. Arnav who had witnessed all of this was so angry, that he had flung a flower vase at his chacha, in the process injuring him.
That was the final blow and also the opportunity the monster was perhaps looking for, cos this now when he without caring and thinking, took this as the best opportunity to throw the kids out of the house. Chachi’s repeated requests and begging met deaf ears. On the contrary he chose to strike her as well. Though very young Arnav had learnt and realised, he would have to take care of his sister from now on, and protect from all the evils in this world, even if it meant it were his own family.
Sunita made sure that the kids were safely sent off to her mother in Delhi where they would be taken care of away from the eyes of husband. She felt this would be the best for all. This whole experience had had such a bad effect on Anjali who had otherwise grown up in a closed pampered environment that, Arnav had no other option but to grow up faster than his age would demand and protective towards his sister, especially after learning, she would carry a limp from her fatal fall all her life.
He would see her wince in pain and cry all the time, struggling to walk, walking up in the middle of the night restless remembering,calling out and missing her mother, father and their life in Sheesh Mahal. Arnavs Nani came from a middle class household and was totally principled and strict. She had been a school teacher. She had never been for Pramila’s marriage in the first place since she knew there would be a clash of classes. But her daughter had been so adamant; Savithri had no choice but to agree. What’s worse, no sooner had she gotten married, Pramila had taken her sister away too saying she would bring her up there. Savithri was left with her good for nothing son Rajesh.
Rajesh had made matters worse for Savithri by falling in love with a lady who had come to work has their domestic help and cook. Savithri hadn’t approved of this either, but she had been so dejected after how she had lost both her children, she thought she wouldn’t be able to afford losing her son as well and had readily accepted her uncouth, loud mouthed daughter in law.
At first it was really difficult for the children to adjust with their grand-mother and their small house. They had been so used to being pampered, and getting everything they had wanted, it was almost like a new world. But Anjali had adjusted. They would walk to school and Arnav would see Anjali staring at a toy wanting it and then turning away since she perhaps knew she would not be able to get.
Her grandmother had taught her, that god never disappointed a true devotee and that she could pour out to the almighty and wait for good things to happen to her. According to nani, umeed kabhi nahi chorna chahiye kyunki oopar waaley ke ghar main der hai andher nahi.
Arnav however had lost total faith in god by then. He had learnt early in life, if he needed to fulfil his sisters wishes and also get what they want, he would have to do this bit. He was always driven by strong thoughts and passion. By the time he was 13, Arnav had already befriended Mahendar Dada, a local goon. Mahendar was a supari killer and Arnav had saved him one day from the police. When Mahendar had asked Arnav, what he wanted in return, Arnav saw a bundle of notes popping out of his pocket and said, he wanted those.
When Mahendar pulled out the stack to readily give it to him, Arnav tactfully said, I don’t want all of it now, but a little every month, in return of work.
Precap: Did Arnav go the wrong way to make quick bucks?