"Your father drives me Mad!" a frustrated Nikki who was standing in front of the dresser mirror, hollers at her daughter. The cherubic faced doll was sitting on the bed with few pillows propped at her back and sides, babbling and banging her toys that were lying near her.
Realising her mother was speaking to her, she looks up and puts a finger on her lip, as if she was trying to figure out what her mother was saying.
"Even on a Saturday he can't be home early! And then makes big promises "Promise we'll have dinner tonight Sweetheart" eyes flashing with annoyance Nikki mockingly immitates her husband.
"Brshshh" herdaughter puffs, waving her fists happily at her mother. Nikki grins and going to her, tenderly brushes her nose against hers.
"Way to go! We both need to teach him a good lesson!" Nikki winks at her daughter and rains kisses on her fists. An elated Aahana happily blows raspberries showering her mother's face with few a spash of her drooling. Laughing heartily, she wipes the spit from her face.
She can't help ogle at her daughter who is now whole of six months and is looking even more beautiful, her cheeks have gone chubbier, her eyes round and dark like hers and she had the most charming smile like her father. She was able to to sit up and has started lifting her bottoms in an attempt to crawl.
The past six months were joyously heavenly as they began to discover a new world with their daughter. Every little action of hers would bring tears of pride in their eyes. As Aahana settled into a nightly rhythm , she was shifted to her own little room, which was an extension of their own room, partitioned by a sliding door. Both of them took turns to go to her whenever she would wake up in the night.
When Nikki resumed work after four months, the first few weeks were trying times with Aahaana who was gripped with separation anxiety from her mother. Slowly she understood that her parents would be away for most part of the day and she would be in company with her grandmother and nanny.
Both, Abhi and Nikki spent a good amount of quality time in the morning, playing with her, feeding her, getting her into a routine and a happy frame of mind, when they left for work.
Aahana grudgingly accepted the routine and began to enjoy the company of her grandmothers and nanny. However, if she woke up in the middle of the night, she was not ready to accept any other person, but, her mother or father.
She had one fiery temper and most of the time her father had to face her wrath especially if he was not home by her sleep time. On such nights, she would insist he play with her for a while, no matter what part of the night and then snuggle against him and sleep.
A giggle breaks from Nikki as she looks at the sweet, innocence on her daughter's face. No one would believe such an angel could drive everyone up the wall!
Between their work at the hospital and the attention needed to be given to their daughter, Nikki looked forward to those times, when Abhi and she, would try to steal every few precious moments they could manage and immerse themselves into each other. And then, there would also be those times when he would annoy her by committing to her and then backing out due to some emergency or the other. Inspite of understanding him, Nikki couldn't help rue their lost moment of togetherness and be upset with him. She hoped today wasn't going to be one of those bad days!
Her daughter taps her with her favourite rattle bringing her out of her thoughts. Nikki smiles tenderly at her and kisses her hand. Then sliding out of the bed she stands up.
"Okay tell me Sweetheart. How do I look? Tantanan Tan" she does a little twirl on her heels and comes in front of the bed, her daughter looking completely perplexed at her.
Happy to be back to her original figure, she was dressed in a midnight blue , strappy V necklined, chiffon dress. Its skirt was fitting at her slim waist and flowed down delicately just below her knees. An amused smile erupts on her face as as she looks at her daughter whose round dark eyes told her she was completely at loss with her mother's antics.
Mischief playing on her mind, she puts her hand on her waist and haughtily throwing her nose upwards, she turns her right side towards her daughter, lifting her shoulders slightly up. Narrowing her eyes smokily, she asks seductively "Do I look pretty?" Then turning her left side in, she questions, "Do I look sexy?" and then once again facing her daughter wholly, with eyes dancing, she asks, "Do I look beautiful for my Princely husband?"
Her daughter gapes at her, blinking hard a couple of times, reminding her of Abhi whenever she seduced him into silence. Nikki couldn't help the peals of laughter that burst forth from within her
When she was able to control her laughter, she looks at her watch and seeing it was 7pm her face turns glum. Abhi was supposed to be home a hour ago.
"Abhi" she whispers sadly "Please aaja" she calls out desperately.
She then noticed her daughter was beginning to look sad. She recognized that look as it would appear, whenever she sensed her mother was upset. Flashing a wide smile and babbling at her, Nikki tries to assure her everything was fine, but her daughter still looked agitated. Nikki knew she had do something. Draping her black stole that was lying on the edge of the bed, over her shoulder, she decides to amuse her daughter doing a little jig and singing,
Aaja chayi Bahaar
Dil hai Bekarar O Mere Rajkumar
Tere Bin Raha na jaye
Delighted, her daughter breaks into babbling and loud happy squeals, excitedly thumping her hand on the bed. Little did Nikki know, that the squeals were not only for her mother's performance, but, also for her father who had entered just as she had started singing the song. A wide amused grin on his face Abhi stealthily approaches his wife, startling her as he suddenly grabs her around the waist singing
Aasmaan se aaaya Farishta Pyar ka sabak Shiklane
Dil mein hai tasveer yaar ki laaya hoon who diklane,
When she was able to get her breath back, Nikki tries to wriggle out from his grip, but he turns her around to face him and continues with the song
Kaho Pyar hai humse,
Nikki replies Ja Ja
Oh Jaana, kaho pyar hai tumse.
Singing Ja Ja Ja Nikki shoves him away and goes to the bed sitting down beside her daughter.
Abhi follows her down on the bed, his stomach over her legs, he reaches for his daughter and nuzzles his face into her belly bringing loud happy squeals from her. She puts her tiny cherubic hands on his head and pats him happily. He looks up and smiles at her and then looks at his wife who sulkily pouts at him. Putting his thumb under her chin, he sings,
Humdum Mere Maan bhi jao
Kehna mere pyar ka
Are halka halka surk labhon pe
Rang toh hai ikraar ka'
Trying to hide her blushing, Nikki glares at him and grabbing his thumb, squeezes it tightly. She then digs her finger at his throat and sings.
Maar Diya jaaye, Ya Chod diya jaaye
Bol Tere saath ka sulak kiya jaaye
Bol Tere Saath ka sulak kiya jaaye
Abhi laughs and gently tugging at her long hair, sings
Khuli palak mein joota gussa
Band palak mein pyar
Jeena bhi muskhil, Marna bhi muskhil
Aankhon mein ikraar ki jalki
Honton mein inkaar
Jeena bhi muskhil, Marna bhi muskhil
Finding it difficult to stifle her laugh, Nikki slaps his hand away and stands up. Then with a sugary smile, she waves at him, singing
Main chali, main chali peeche peeche jaahan
yeh na pucho kidar
Yeh na pucho kahaan.
Main Chali Main Chali.
Abhi blocks her path with his legs. He then lunges forward and grabs on to her hand, pulling her back on to the bed. Tugging her gently making her fall over him, he looks deeply and seductively into her eyes, he sings,
Is Rang badalti duniya mein
Insaan ki neeyat teek nahin
Niklana na karo tum saj daj kar
Imaan ki neeyat teek nahin
Nikki drums her hands tenderly on his chest, trying to wriggle out of his grasp
"Right now your neeyat doesn't seem to be any good !" she tells him dryly.
"You are looking so ravishing, my neeyat is absolutely perfect, just how it should be!" he tells her, grinning wickedly " See for yourself. Look, look into my eyes and tell me what you see"
Little Aahana was enjoying the little wrestling between her parents. Besides that, her father's head was in between her tiny legs, one of them being folded and his hair felt ticklish against her soft skin. She kept cooing and gurgling joyously.
"Abhi leave me what are you doing? That too, in front of your daughter?"
"I don't think she has any objection? Do you sweetheart?" neck stretched, he looks up at her and was rewarded with a gummy smile.
"See she says she has no objection."
"Abhi you are mad!" Nikki tells him. "Leave me" everytime she would struggle, Aahana would squeal in delight, making Abhi grin wickedly.
"See! she is enjoying it! Now I won't leave you till you tell me what you see in my eyes."
After wrestling with him for few minutes, Nikki rolls her eyes and surrenders to his demand, mumbling "Uffo Baba!" She then looks into his eyes, an obvious mistake because she just kept drowning into their depths making her sing,
"Jadu hai nasha hai madhoshiyaan
Tujko bhulake ab jao kahan
Dekti jis tarah se teri nazre mujhe
Main khud chupa lo kahan
Jadu hai nasha madhosiyaan
Tujko Bhulake ab jao kaahan.
Suddenly there was silence in the room as they were completely lost into each other. As if in a trance Nikki lowers her face and places her lips on his. Clasping her tightly in his arms Abhi deepens the kiss.
Little Aahaana for her life couldn't fathom why her chirpy parents had suddenly gone all quiet. She tilts her head sideways, then up and down, trying to figure out what was going on in between the two bobs of head in front of her face. Few puzzling moments later, all her baby efforts gone in vain, she decides it was best to ask them.
"Hey Guys, What's going on?" she babbles happily, her flat palm patting her father's head and another at her mother's arm that was clinging on to his neck. Abhi and Nikki break their kiss and look at her, broad grins spread on their faces.
Throwing his head back on the bed, with Nikki still in his arms, Abhi blows fish kisses at his daughter. She leans forward and babbling happily, rains tender slaps on his face. Abhi begins to play with her by kissing her palm before it touched his face.
A giggle from Nikki makes her turn towards her mother. Finding her mother bending over her father, she thought perhaps this was some new game as her mother always teaches her different games. Imitating her mother, she too bends over him and opening her mouth, she tries to kiss him. However, she had her saliva driveling all over his face instead bringing a hearty laugh from Nikki she sees Abhi's face damp with their daughter's drooling. Also in splits, Abhi shuts his eyes tightly and moves his face around, trying his best to evade his daughter's drool, especially , it getting into his eyes.
Gently he releases Nikki from his hold. Picking up the box of the tissues from the bedstand, a giggling Nikki puts it on the bed. Laughing heartily, they both set about wiping the drool from his face. Oblivious to the impact of her action, little Aahana kept babbling and gurgling happily. Realising their daughter was not done with him and ready with a fresh set of drool, Nikki decides to rescue her husband from another attack and lifts her up.
"Go get ready!" she tells him. "I'll take her to her room and put her to sleep. We need to be back in a couple of hours before she wakes up again."
"Okay and then we can also ''" he winks at her, his eyes glinting wickedly.
"Will you shut up and go," Nikki tells him, colour creeping in her face. "Or I'll cancel dinner too!"
"Okay, Okay I am going! Don't yell," his hands were raised up in surrender. "It will just take me five minutes."
Standing abruptly, he strolls towards the bathroom. His daughter did not like his behavior at all. After all the attention she showered on him, he casually walks off, without saying a word to her. Deeply upset she wails out loudly startling both of them. As Nikki begins to rock her, Abhi rushes towards them.
"Oh My God Abhi she is upset with you. You didn't speak to her before going." Abhi rolls his eyes in despair. "Good God!" he groans. Apologetically, he touches his daughter's hand, but she shirks it away and wails even more loudly, burying her face into Nikki's chest for comfort.
"Now there is no chance of any escape for you Abhi!" Nikki shakes her head in exasperation. "You dared to go without telling her? There goes our dinner plans too!"
"That's because I was concentrating on you! God! Both of you drive me nuts!" Abhi begins to shudder. He knew how fiery his daughter's temper could be if provoked.
In midst of trying to calm her daughter, Nikki also felt laughter bubbling inside her as she takes in Abhi's face, completely, flushed with anxiety. "Who would have imagined, the fiery Dr. Abhimanyu Modi could be so pertrified by a tiny tot who couldn't even talk or walk properly!"
"You really enjoy it na?" Abhi retorts irritatedly, noticing the glimpses of amusement in her eyes. Shaking his head, he leans over his daughter and proceeds to rain kisses all over her, muttering "I am sorry sweetheart!"
At first he was greeted with stiff resistance. Then her crying slowly subsided to soft whimpers with a throw of suspicious glances at him on and off. Snuggled protectively in her mother's arms, she continued to look askance at him for quiet some time. After a while, Abhi braves an attempt and darting a charming smile at her, he puts his finger in between her palm. She closes her fingers tightly over it, bringing happy smiles from Abhi and Nikki. Nervously, Abhi takes her from Nikki, both looking anxiously at each other, hoping she doesn't start another bout of crying, also knowing, if he didn't do it, she would be sulking badly. Gently he puts her against his chest and she snuggles sleepily into it. Abhi rolls over and lying on his back, rests his head on Nikki's lap. He gently puts his palm on Aahaana ears and soothingly hissing 'Shhh Shhh" softly, he tries to put her to sleep.
She would keep opening and shutting her eyes. Every time she opened her eyes, she would stare at her parents' face, one above the other and shut it again. She kept doing it for sometime as sleep slowly started creeping into her. Looking down at the two precious people on her lap, Nikki is deeply overwhelmed. Gently she puts on hand on her daughter's head who now seemed to have finally fallen asleep and the other she places on her husband's forehead, running her fingers gently into his hair.
There was a peaceful and happy silence in the room. When they were assured their daughter was in deep sleep, they go to her little room. Abhi puts her gently down in the crib, while Nikki pulls the blanket over her.
They stand back and watch her tenderly, Nikki resting her back against Abhi as he held her in his arms.
"Phew!" Abhi sighs in relief. "Looks like I'll be spending all my life mollifying the two of you!" he whispers. Nikki giggles.
"You finished with your daughter right? Now if you don't want to spend the entire night mollifying your wife, you better hurry up for dinner." She hisses, careful not wake up their daughter
"Fine I'll do the dinner, but you promise you'll provide the dessert," he teases, bringing his lips closer to hers, which Nikki stops by clamping her hand over them.
"Not now!" she mutters under her breath
"Because then you don't stop!"
"I promise to be good!" he blinks at her but Nikki knew he was faking it.
"Go" she glares at him "or else you'll be giving company to your daughter and getting baby cereal as dinner for the next one month."
Abhi puckers his nose, making Nikki bite her lower lip as she tries to stifle her giggle. Catching her off guard, he suddenly sweeps down and places a firm kiss on her lips. "This is just to keep me going till dessert time," he winks walking towards the door. Nikki flings a soft cushion at his back which had no impact on him.
"This man always drives me mad!" she grits, rolling her eyes in exasperation.
Then looking down tenderly at her sleeping daughter she smiles. A few minutes ago she had her father quivering with worry and now she looks so angelic in her sleep.
"We both know how to twist him around our fingers, Don't we Sweetheart?" she whispers grinning mischievously. Blowing a tender kiss at her daughter, she walks towards their room.
Its time to to give some attention to her darling husband and demand lots and lots of attention from him. Her cheeks were flushed with an impish blush.
1) This epilogue is on special request from Fahi. Fahi, I hope I did not let you down
2) I have used old hindi movie songs, because I thought the lyrics went well with the scenes. Since I am sure a lot many of you may have not heard the songs, I hv also provided youtube links, just to understand the tunes.......