Mauli Abheek - Book 1

BOOK 1 PROLOGUE

 

The little girl lay awake in bed, way past her bedtime. She was waiting for her father to come back home. She wanted to show her report card to her father. She had topped the class and had been felicitated by the Principal's office, for her consistent performance throughout the year. She was sure, this time her father would be proud of her. She imagined, he would be so proud, that he would hug her close to his heart. Just as he hugged her sister.

 

But along with the anticipation of winning over her father's love, was a fear. The little girl shuddered at the thought. What if? No, she would not think about it today. She was determined to conquer her fears that day. Nothing could stop her from showing her dad, how hard she had worked to make him love her.  Everything would be ok. She sat up in her bed, her report card clutched to heart. She could hear the thunder outside. She looked to her right and found her little sister, fast asleep in her crib. She sat waiting.

 

Srinivas Raju, entered Krishnam Raju Nilayam, in his usual inebriated condition. He refused to ring the calling bell installed. Instead, he choose to bang hard on the teakwood doors, screaming Brahmanna's name. Brahmanna, the care taker cum cook of the house came running. Srinivas Raju walked in, scowling at Brahmanna, using the choicest of abuses at him. He was barely able to stand, and when Brahmanna tried to hold him for support, Srinivas pushed him, lost his balance and toppled a vase set on a side table.

 

The little girl startled as she heard a loud thud. She had dozed off, as she waited for her father. Wide awake now, she stepped out of bed slowly and came out of her room. She could hear her father shouting loudly. She could not make out what he was saying. The little girl got scared. For a second, she had second thoughts, but she shook off her fears and walked down the flight of stairs.

 

Srinivas was shouting at Brahmanna, for pushing him and breaking the vase. "You'll have to work without salary for the rest of your life and even then you won't be able to buy that vase, you idiot," he continued screaming.

 

The little girl's heart was pounding hard with fear. Maybe, she was making a mistake. Still, she dint want to turn back.  She went down the flight of stairs and approached her father from behind. "Daddy, my report card," she said, fearfully looking at her father. Srinivas turned around and saw the little girl. The sight of the girl, sent his temper soaring. He hated her from the bottom of his heart. She reminded him of what an utter failure his life had been. His eyes bloodshot, he screamed at her," I have lost all my money and you ….." he slapped the little girl hard. He slapped her so brutally, that she reeled back and fell on the ground. The little girl started wailing.

 

"Run to your room, go fast now," Brahmanna urged the little girl, trying to save her. But it was too late. Srinivas had already reached her. He was dragging her by her hand. Brahmanna pleaded with Srinivas, "Sir, please let her go, she is innocent, please, hit me if you like, and let her go".  Srinivas did not heed Brahmanna's pleas. He was in a frenzy. He wanted to skin the little girl alive. He pushed Brahmanna aside and yanked the girl into the store room.  The girl was crying in pain, "Sorry Daddy, please daddy, let me go…. Let me go" Srinivas, unbuckled his belt and the house echoed with cries of pain…………

 

Mangalamba was late from work that day. As she stepped in, Brahmanna came running to her, "save her…. he is hitting her like a mad man, he is not human." Mangalamba heard a cry for help and ran without a second thought, her mind filled with terror. As she entered the storeroom, what she saw, drove her to the edge of sanity. She gripped her husband's hand and slapped him hard.  Srinivas coiled back but came charging back at her.

 

"How dare you, slap your husband?" he shouted at her. She snatched the belt from his hand, and threw it away, "If you touch my daughter, once again, I'll kill you. Of out of my sight. GET OUT!" she screamed, half crying and half mad. She looked at the limp body of the child. The back of her dress was soaked in blood. "Brahmanna," she screamed crying, clutching her baby close to her, looking around helplessly.

 

The next day, as the little girl lay in the ICU, Mangalamba reached a decision. With each passing day, Srinivas's loathing for her daughter seemed to multiply.  She was no longer safe in her own house. And if she reported him to the police, he would destroy her. She had no choice. Mauli had to be sent away……………..

 

THE CONFRONTATION

Everyone was seated in the giant conference hall, all the board members, deep in discussion. Heading the meeting, Mauli Pasupati Raju, dressed in her pinstripes and her hair knotted in a French bun was listening intently to the speaker. For this particular board meeting, her father and Urvashi, her sister were also present.

 

She had had enough of the farce. After she had met Aunt Ruth, she decided that she would get, Urvashi and Abheek married and spend the rest of her life in the dance school. She would teach dance to students there, spend the rest of the time meditating. Her thoughts drifted for a moment, to the sun deck, where she could sit and withdraw all her senses into herself. What a liberating feeling that was. She could feel the energy flow inside her, trying to span out of her physical body. One day when her body became obsolete, all that would be left was the real her, the pure energy. No more attachments.

 

She had had enough of the farce. After she had met Aunt Ruth, she decided that she would get, Urvashi and Abheek married and spend the rest of her life in the dance school. She would teach dance to students there, spend the rest of the time meditating. Her thoughts drifted for a moment, to the sun deck, where she could sit and withdraw all her senses into herself. What a liberating feeling that was. She could feel the energy flow inside her, trying to span out of her physical body. One day when her body became obsolete, all that would be left was the real her, the pure energy. No more attachments.

 

The thought of attachments brought the picture of Abheek to her mind, his sharp features, those hawkish eyes, like he could look into her soul. The one man who did not feel intimidated by her success. Abheek never treated her like the other men. She knew, the respect he felt for her, but Abheek was far too proud to let that affect him. She knew right in those initial days that he had felt that spark of attraction too. Almost like an unseen thread joining them.

 

Mauli quickly brought herself back to the present focusing on the goings on in the room. She looked at her sister, she seemed content. Soon, she and Abheek were going to be married. After the meeting, she would go to meet Abheek personally. But Mauli could not be sure what was bothering her. There was a nagging sense of foreboding. Like everything she had carefully built, was going to explode. She was rocking in her chair gently, as if bracing for the explosion.

 

Urvashi, looked at Mauli from the corner of her eyes. She seemed nervous today, Urvashi thought. That was unusual. She had never seen Mauli like that before. As the seconds ticked, Mauli was unable to control her nerve, not knowing why she was feeling that way. She took her pen and started fiddling with the tip.

 

And then it happened.

 

 

 

There was a huge crash at the door and Abheek charged in like a man possessed. He was trembling in anger. The room fell silent all of a sudden, everyone was in shock. Abheek's thick brows were knotted, he had a rough stubble like he had not shaved in the past few days. Mauli stood in her place, and glaring at Abheek, demanded "What is going on Abheek?" But Abheek was glaring at Urvashi as if she was the only person in the room,

 

"How dare you?" he growled. He made no effort to conceal his disgust at Urvashi. Mauli looked at Urvashi, who was merely looking at her well-manicured nails. "How dare you frame me like this. If you think I am going to get scared at your tactics and fall at your feet, you are grossly mistaken. You have no clue what you are playing with ….." Abheek was screaming at Urvashi.

 

Mauli had no clue what was going on "Abheek," Mauli screamed, how you can talk to your future wife like that, and that too in my presence," "What the hell is going on," She demanded.

 

Abheek looked at Mauli incredulously. He stomped over to Mauli, held her by her hands, shook her hard and glared at her. Barely controlling his temper "Is that what this bitch told you……you fool. Did she tell you that we were getting married? Did she also tell you that I love her…." he demanded of Mauli.

 

Urvashi was panicking now. She had to get things under control. "Abheek, don't panic darling….. My lawyers will get you out in minutes, you just think about our marriage," she cooed with a nervous giggle.

 

"Marry you……? "Abheek taunted Urvashi. He was openly insulting her.

 

Mauli turned Abheek toward her. Even in such a terrible situation, Mauli's touch calmed him down. Looking into Abheek's eyes, searching for answers, in a calm, even tone, she asked " Talk to me Abheek, what is going on in here," Abheek started to say something, when Urvashi interrupted... "Didi it's just a lovers tiff". Both Mauli and Abheek glared at Urvashi.

 

Abheek exploded, "Shut up Urvashi, one more word from you and I will forget that you are a woman. You….," he pointed at all the board members, this meeting is over, get out," he spat out the words. He was seething with rage so powerful that Mauli could feel his rage pass through his body.

 

"Get out everyone," she snapped. His anger was making her more restless.

 

Abheek looked squarely at Mauli, her eyes confused yet calm. How she did it, he thought to himself. He could tell his anger was making her restless. Without taking his eyes off Mauli, he pointed at Urvashi, "This …..This…." Mauli could see the disgust in his eyes for Urvashi "sister of yours, told me you had pledged yourself to bachelorhood, in order to take care of the business and that you wanted me to marry her. When I refused, she got me framed. She came to meet me, in prison, yesterday. Her condition for helping me get out was that I marry HER" as he spoke these words, Mauli brows knotted.

 

Abheek knew that very moment that Mauli was unaware of the whole situation. His relief was palpable. He knew he was not wrong about Mauli. "You have no clue about this right? Under your nose, your sister is trying to manipulate you into getting me married to her, despite the knowledge that it is you I love," he completed the sentence.

 

She stood transfixed at his words….what was he saying. He …loves me..??????? Her mind replayed the day Urvashi came running….. "Didi he loves me ….he proposed to me didi," she replayed how she was shattered that day. Abheek shook her again…… "And now I barely have a job left, she has destroyed my career," he was growling.

 

The knowledge that Mauli, was unaware of his love for her was making his temper rage like an inferno. "What are you? Blind?" he screamed at Mauli… "How did you think I loved that…… b…?" he dint complete the cuss word. " You fool, you emotional fool, she was manipulating you all the while, from the moment I set my eyes on you ,I have wanted you……as I got to know you, I have fallen in love with you, and don't you dare say you don't love me, because I know you feel the same…."

 

He was cut off by Urvashi's loud scream

 

"Abheek!!" she screamed, "how dare you try to sabotage my relation with my sister…?" she screamed. She charged at them. She knew she was exposed badly that day. "Mauli…don't listen to him… he is lying. How the hell did you get out of prison… who the hell let you come in here," she was screaming.

 

Mauli had never seen Urvashi like that. For her Urvashi was always the little child, who hid behind her for security and comfort. Who was this women? Abheek was observing Mauli closely. He realized she was seeing a side to Urvashi, she did not know existed. He knew what he had to do.

 

He turned towards Urvashi and screamed back at her, pushing her to reveal her true colors.  "You can dream on all you like, but I will never love a woman like you and you know that. A woman like you is unfit for marriage. Men are like toys for you isn't it," he leered at her "and the word for women like you is bitch," he finished off. "ABHEEK," screamed Urvashi.

 

Mauli was a silent spectator to this whole scene. At that moment, the usually beautiful and confident face of her sister looked so ugly. It was as if a haze was lifting off and she could see things more clearly. After recovering from the shock of Abheek's statements, Urvashi decided she would finish the whole story that day. She went for the kill. She looked at Srinivas, who was seated in his chair…he nodded his consent. Urvashi looked back at Abheek with a sinister smile at the corner of her lips "Bitch… and I?" she was talking to him as if they were lovers. "You are talking about the wrong girl my love," she said. Then taking Abheek's hand, she rested it lightly on Mauli's throat. "This is the bitch for you," she said, venom spewing from her eyes.

 

Abheek and Mauli could only stare in shock. Mauli was still calm... "Urvashi…" she started to say something, but Urvashi cut her off "OH please," she said oozing impatience and total nonchalance. "We tolerated you all these years because, nani made sure everything was in her name, till she was alive. Now that she has kicked the bucket, we don't need you anymore. Also, when you were born it was predicted that you would take the family name to new heights. So dad and I decided to wait for the opportune time to tell you exactly who you are and what you mean to us. "

 

Mauli felt a sharp pain run through her heart, as if her heart would stop. She knew instantly, there was something Urvashi knew about her, that she dint. She dint have to wait much longer to find out, exactly what that was. "You and I only share the same mother. You were born out of an extra marital affair that mother had, you bitch," she trailed off.

 

The minute Urvashi had uttered the word, Abheek's hand slammed into her facing sending her coiling back into a chair behind her, a small stream of blood coming from the corner of her mouth. But the smile on Urvashi's face had not died down. She looked like the embodiment of evil at that point of time. As Abheek's slap landed on Urvashi's face, Srinivas stood up and in his faint and girl like voice, screamed Abheek's name. "How dare you hit my daughter, haven't you seen our power already. As of now, you don't have a job, if I so wish, you will not have a job for the rest of your life. I can buy people like you dime a dozen. What was one of the charges they levelled against you? Why don't you tell your lover that," Srinivas was shrieking.

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hyderabad-india

2018