Tick- tock -Tick, the wall clock sounded, breaking the haunting silence in the plushly ornate room of Maheshwari Mansion in Jaunpur.Vroom-vroom the car’s engine screeched as Ratiya, the driver pressed the accelerator and drove away Diwan Sahib’s ambassador. Dayanand Maheshwari the proud owner of Maheshwari Mansion is lost in his own deep thoughts when the sound of “AUM” resonates. The divine vibrations engulf the mansion.” Time to go to Mandir Sarkaar”, Birju the house-help murmured.” Not now Dayanand signals by his hand. ”Call your Malkin,” he ordered in a gruff voice.
Birju hastens through the corridors and reaches the kitchen where Jamna Devi, the lady of the house is engrossed in the hiss-hiss of the pressure cooker. She is startled by Birju’s voice and upon learning the Sarkaar’s command marches to his room.
Dayanand commences the conversation. Diwan Sahib is adamant to follow the age-old tradition of his family and wishes to take “Palki” along.
Palki is the young and beautiful daughter of Maheshwari’s, a bubbly effervescent girl who has now turned stoic and quiet after the untimely demise of her husband Vikram (Diwan Sahib’s son). He seemed to have taken along Palki’s desire to live and also her sweet melodious voice. She has turned into a lifeless stone, just sitting and oggling.
“No, no we can’t send her, how will she bear all this? Can’t Diwan Sahib see her condition? Her grief and loss are too much for her to handle. I can’t let my child face any other blow. You should have rejected his demand outright,” Jamnabai mustered all courage to speak the above words, but the flickering desire to save her daughter burning bright in her.
“But Jamna, she is their Amaanat. She belongs to them. She has to go to Lucknow, with Diwan Sahib. We have to perform all the rituals and follow the customs. We can’t hide her from the society.”
Palki was staying with them for over a month now. Diwan Sahib had himself sent her to her parents, considering her mental state.
“You can’t be so rude, this is the only child I have and I am not going to sacrifice her. She is mere seventeen,” she fumes.
The door bangs with a thud and Jamna Devi makes a quick exit.
Dayanand sits with pearls shining bright in his eyes.
Two Weeks Later:
A white ambassador comes to a screeching halt in front of Maheshwari Mansion. Diwan Sahib descends. Dayanand greets him. Diwan Sahib asks for Palki’s luggage. Dayanand asks the tea to be served. He pleads to his Samdhi. ”Can this not be avoided?”
Look, Maheshwari Ji, destiny has snatched Vikram from us. We want his soul to be in peace, so Palki has to get rid of her hair and move to Vidhwa Ashram.
“Please spare her,” Jamna Devi wailed.
I can’t see my daughter like this. Palki who was listening to all this from behind the curtain, let out the loudest of scream and fainted.
Baba, her first word after an entire month. Save me!
She regained consciousness and sat up. You are not going anywhere my child I am there for you, even if I have to fight the entire world for you.
His inner call had taken the final call.
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