She could feel her heart rate ascending and her confidence plummeting as she walked into the oval shaped living room ,escorted by the men of the house, one on either side.Two glass like stairways rose from either side of the living room spiralling their way to the top floor of the house.Her feet felt iron clad as she dragged them inside forcibly . Idols of various Gods and Goddesses were placed at the centre of the flower decoration at the far end of the room. Various kinds of fruits, traditional sweets of every kind , florets of orange and yellow marigold flowers , incense sticks were arranged in a number of identical silver plates and placed symmetrically infront, along with an array of various other puja related materials.
" Here we go " Neil's exasperated sigh ,made her look up and follow his eyes to the top of the right staircase ,to see Shweta standing there with a silver plate in her hands and a stunned expression on her face.After remaining stagnant like a statue for a few passing seconds ,she flew down the stairs in a dramatic fashion ; the whole scene looked straight out of some magnus Bollywood movie ,the only thing missing being the emotional background music.
Shweta hugged Neil and he hugged her back smiling.Like the theatrical person that she was,Shweta took a step back and caressed her son's face with almost watery eyes.
" Mom ! I'm coming home after a week ,not after decades !! Stop being so melodramatic ! " muttered Neil ,quite visibly embarrassed.
" Han toh ? Ab kya main tujhe miss bhi nai kar sakti Tillu ? " Shweta retorted.
( So what? Now I can't even miss you Tillu?)
" Of course you can but ...."
" But what? You don't miss your mother anymore? " her tearless cries echoed in the hall.
" Mom ! I'm not a kid ." Neil's words were anything but consoling.
" Shweta ji ! " Prakash interrupted .In a matter of seconds he had moved next to Shweta." Look who else is here " placing his hands on her shoulders, he smoothly turned her to face Avni.The crying kid countenance changed to a rather happy one .
" Avni " Shweta hugged her tightly knocking the breath out of her. " I'm so happy to see you.You kept your words...you brought Neil here,...today" she spared Neil a glance and then turned to face Avni again " You are just perfect for my Neil and this family .God bless you " .Shweta caressed Avni's face lovingly as she bestowed blessings upon her.
" Kya chal rha hai ? " came a loud and intense voice from the top the stairs.The voice emanated from an equally strong personality.Avni could clearly make out that the lady of the hour was much older than Shweta and taking into account that there was only one other person in Neil's family , she concluded that the lady must be Neil's grandmother.
(What's going on ?)
" Bebe " Neil whispered in her ears and Avni nodded her head almost indistinctly .Bebe was elegance personified.Her style ,her simple yet classy saree and her personality enhancing jewellery , everything spoke elegance.She slowly descended down the flight of stairs,one step at a time .Unlike Shweta she took her time to get down and get to them.
" Arey koi mujhse bhi toh milwao " Bebe announced to her family.Before another word could be exchanged Neil pulled his fiery grandmother into a tight hug disbalancing her and just like that the stern headmistress melted into a fluffy teddy bear infront of Avni's eyes.
(Somebody introduce me too)
" Bebe isse miliye..." Shweta held Avni by her shoulder as she introduced her " ..yeh Avni."
( Bebe meet her.....she is Avni)