“Your mom hated your wife and hence I don’t want her in your mom’s last rites!”, Akshat’s dad gave his verdict to him.
“But dad! What’s wrong in it? Jennie respected mom as her own mother!”, Akshat couldn’t argue in such a condition so made a request to his dad.
“I don’t want to discuss much son! My decision is final! If you want to attend the last rites of your mother then ask than christian woman to leave! Choice is yours!”, said Akshat’s dad and walked out of the room.
Akshat knew that there was no point in arguing with his dad because his decisions were final and irreversible. He needs to ask Jennie to leave the house. He stood up and started walking towards the living room where Jennie was sitting. His steps felt heavy, his eyes were lowered in guilt and embarrassment to ask Jennie to take a leave that too when she was here only for him.
“Jennie! I need to talk to you! Please come to the garden!”, he called her.
Jennie walked behind him like a faithful wife without asking a single question.
“Baby! I need to tell you something!”, Akshat held her by shoulder and turned his face slightly away from her eyes in remorse.
“Say sweety!”, Jennie lifted his face lovingly.
“Jennie! I don’t how to say this but…………………………………..”, he stopped in between as if the guilt has frozen his tongue.
“Say honey whatever you want to! I am listening!”, she again tried to cheer him up.
“Jennie! Dad! Dad has ordered that you shouldn’t stay up for mom’s last rites!”, Akshat finally gathered up the courage and conveyed what his dad had asked him to.
“But Akshu! I wanted to……..!!!”, Jennie’s eyes were also in tears, she wanted to stay back and attend her mother-in-law’s last rites. This was insulting as well as pain staking for her.
“I know I am being ruthless on you! I should have taken a stand for you Jennie but I am too helpless today! I want to bid good-bye to mom for the last time. That’s why I need to send you back!”, Akshat’s self esteem was hurt today, asking his wife to leave was like leaving half of his life somewhere else and moving out incomplete.
“Its ok Akshu! I understand! I am leaving, you stay up here! Your family needs you!”, she said and kissed his cheeks. Her own eyes were in tears but she controlled her grief for the love of her husband and walked away to her home.
Akshat and his entire family wept as his mother’s last journey began. His sister and brother Nischal kept receiving people who came for condolence of the grief stricken family.
“How has this happened Akshu?”, asked a worried aunty from him.
“I don’t know aunty, I got a call that mom is ill and I came running to the hospital just to discover that she is taking her last breathes.”, Akshat replied staring at the ongoing rites blankly.
“Where were you? Dont you stay with your parents?”, She again pinched him with a question.
“Aunty, I have married Jennie! And yes I don’t stay with my parents anymore! Do you have any other question now?”, Akshat gave a disgusted look to the woman! Such questions were surely not meant for such occasions.
“Huh… I have seen your choice kid, your wife is such a ‘Lakshmi’ that she ate away her own mother-in-law’s life as soon as she became a daughter in law of your house!”, murmured that woman into someone else’s ears.
Akshat understood that there is no point in arguing with these superstitious women! He loved Jennie and she was his lucky charm no matter what the world enforced.
The family was heading to Haridwar for the ‘asthi visarjan’, Akshat took a leave for few hours from his family and went to see Jennie. He knew he couldn’t be with her in all these days. He reached home but saw it locked. He took the keys from the neighbours and opened the door lock. There was a note kept on the centre table of the drawing room,
I got a call from office, so I need to leave. Your lunch is prepared! Do have it! And eat properly, you haven’t had enough in last few days, I will be back by five.
Akshat smiled at the note and thanked god for such a loving and caring wife. He went to his room, packed his essentials and then went for a shower. He came back and saw few missed calls from his home on phone.
He called back on Nischal’s number,
“Akshu hurry up brother, we are leaving in next 10 minutes, I will be picking you from your place only!”, Nischal said.
“Alright I am ready and waiting for you!”, Akshat replied. He forgot everything about the lunch and got ready to leave with his brother.
He left a short text message on Jennie’s phone,
I didn’t get time to have lunch, sorry! But thanks for preparing it with so much of love!
Nischal gave a honk to call Akshat out! He stepped out and locked his door and gave the keys to neighbours.
“Akshat how have you been?”, Nischal asked him.
Akshat didn’t understood what Nischal was trying to say. “What do you mean brother?”, he asked him with a bewildered look.
“How is Jennie? Is she alright?”, he asked him again in the same style.
“Yes brother! She is fine and is at office!”, Akshat replied still not getting what Nischal was trying to imply.
“Akshu! You know what?”, Nischal gave a serious look to Akshat.
“Mom’s death was not some accident, it was a murder; a cold blooded murder and the way she has been killed the police officials say that the killer is not some ordinary one! He/she has a deep and dark grudge with our mother!”, Nischal stopped the car as his own thoughts had made him numb.
Akshat was himself desensitized after hearing Nischal’s words. He couldn’t think of a reason as to why anyone would kill his mom. His mother was strict yet a simple woman at heart who would never as hell did any such thing which would provoke anyone to kill her. He kept staring at the car’s window wondering what the world was trying to do to him and his family!
TO BE CONTINUED…………………………………………………………
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