A strange sense of thrill infused Diya and Rishaan on their visit to Goa that day. There had been an agreement between them at dinner time when Diya had announced her decision to ring her marriage bells in front of the God in the ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa at the time of deep-Aradhana.
"If Kate can solemnize her marriage in ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa, so can I," she had argued passionately.
Rishaan has griped in upset voices, "Kate is the daughter of an IAS officer. She can have that luxury and resources."
Kate was the best friend of Diya and used to come every day and both used to bolt themselves in the room of Diya for hours.
"Besides," she added, provoking him deliberately, "In the eyes of God, we all are equal, IAS or no IAS." She was not rather sure whether he had listened to this bit, for he had already turned away in antipathy. But after dinner, she caught him again.
"That horrid Mission school she attended to" which meant he had heard…."She was a spoilt child," she caught him murmuring.
She was convinced that he had not taken her seriously. That was the trouble with men: they always presumed that women are not sharp enough in such matters and if they would accept their intelligence and ability unquestionably, their manliness will be dimmed.
But women have to endure such inadequacy without complaint. Even back home she had to come back before the evening flurry of lamp-lighting started. But boys at home were free of this burden.
Diya cried a lot. She did not know how time passed by. She was not emotionally strong.
Rishaan approached her and touched her shoulder. She shrugged and started crying inconsolably.
"Why are you crying?" He asked.
"Sit down and listen to me carefully." She said.
She then showed him an old photograph of her and Rishaan sitting in a temple.
That photograph took him to their past days spent together. A past full of sweet memories.
She was his sweet love; his angel. His everything. Everything of her's will be his'.
His heart was melted. Love became victorious.
She wept as she held his hand.
She bolted the door so that he might not leave the room.
"Don't say no to ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa. I love you," were her passionate words.
She kept on repeating her wish but Rishaan was hesitant to go to ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa, to solemnize their marriage.
Not everything in life had a reason, to say yes. He lost out to her emotions. He ultimately surrendered and said ‘Yes.'
She inspired him in every possible way. She became a motivational force. He started dreaming. She gave his life a motto. A dream. A dream to be lived and conquered.
They booked tickets to Goa by Tata Airlines.
The great day came. They were very excited. At the right time, they reached the airport and boarded the plane. They were very happy. But all hell broke.
In the same flight, Rishaan met his old friend Kiarra and her seat was also with them. After initial introductory formalities, Kiara became very informal with Rishaan. They had drinks together too but Diya did not like all this at all. After dinner, all slept.
In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat. And with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the seating arrangement changed. With 20 minutes still remaining for the flight to land, a sleep-starved Kiara took another power nap, this time holding Rishaan's right hand more firmly. Richman's other hand, though, nervously moved to touch Diya's. Her heart skipped a beat. Diya pulled her hand away. But a defiant Rishaan held her wrist again, this time firmly and more reassuringly. The changing behavioural dynamics between the three perhaps gave out a foreboding of what was to come in Goa.
When the flight landed at the Dabolim Airport, Rishaan felt uncanny..his excitement seemed replaced by an unknown fear that he found very difficult to decipher.
They reached the hotel Sea View.
Rishaan was in a dilemma, for the storm brewing in the hearts of all. He was trying to recollect the past of his life but was shocked that he couldn't recollect even a thing. His mind was not working. Initially, he thought, he was yet to awake from his deep slumber. But that was not the case. He realized that he did not know who he was. His mind became blank. In the brightness of the day in Goa, he was feeling the darkness of night.
The clock struck four and Kiara could see the sunrise. Bringing with it the pink rays of the dawn and pushing the dark night and stars out. She had spent hours introspecting about herself and was still hovering in dark about hers and Rishaan relationship.
Her mind went numb and cold. During the tense hours of the night, only Scotch gave her much needed solace. She quickly gulped the alcohol, from the bottle directly. She could feel the Scotch running through her veins to the brain. The alcohol opened her mental faculties and it dawned on her she was going to break a relationship and two hearts.
"But who am I?" Wondered Kiara. Her brain was flooded with millions of questions about her relationships with Rishaan. "Was I simple friend, or ‘X', or an ordinary acquaintance…..Who was I?" She knew, even Rishaan or Diya in the hotel room would not be able to answer her puzzle. She was in a muddle. There was no one else, except those three. That reality added to her distress as her question was to remain unanswered. She felt claustrophobic in the room and rushed out of the room in the dark night.
The fresh morning breeze brought about some peace and comfort to her mind. She felt silly that it did not strike her to ask Rishaan and Diya about their relationship and future plan. They would have ridiculed her for asking such a ridiculous question. She was broken, but she was not the one to give up so easily.
Kiara gathered the courage to ask this question to Rishaan. He was her only hope and that was to be a clue about her future. Suddenly Rishaan also can out of the room. When Kiara saw Rishaan, her eyes filled with tears and she hugged him saying, "Rishaan, I know, you have got Diya in your life!" Her statement came as a shock, yet she gave comfort to Rishaan that she had admitted the reality.
She asked him, "How am I related to you?"
He replied very coldly, "You are my ex-girlfriend."
Out came another question from her, "Since when were you dating Diya?"
He answered, "Since more than a year."
Then she probed him about their future.
That was the stupidest mistake Rishaan made since he revealed his relationship with Diya, because, after that, she started blabbering.
Rishaan had no option, but to listen to her. It was crucial to listen to his ex-girlfriend. Her voice was very sad. Rishaan got lost in his past days spent with Kiarra.
She almost shouted, "Are you listening to me?"
"Yes, dear," Rishaan muttered.
In a high voice, she posed like a school teacher, "OK, now tell me, what you heard?"
Initially, he faltered, but regaining his confidence, he started talking.
She became very emotional and said, "You don't have to be worried Rishaan. You enjoy. Calm down, please.
Then she opened her mouth full of pain, "You have cheated me." She said.
Gathering courage, Rishaan said, "No one was at fault. It was destiny."
"Yes for men, it was easy to blame destiny and go away." She replied.
"Please enlighten me, how did I cheat you?" Asked Rishaan.
Rishaan was shattered when he heard her say that he enjoyed physical relations with her.
Again he was stunned and scared. His hands started shaking. She said how she gave you a blowjob and he removed all her clothes.
"What nonsense! It was your consent too." He said in utter astonishment and bewilderment.
"Yes, yes, but now you are dating a new girl," she retorted.
"What next? Please tell me? How I cheated you and played with your body?" He shouted angrily.
"Wasn't this enough?" She asked angrily.
He said," Please tell me everything; I have forgotten everything, my dear?"
She sniggered and said, "Ok, listen, but calm down, you need to mentally prepare yourself for this. Again I will repeat my lovemaking to remind you, how you cheated me and played with me?"
Rishaan was shocked and stunned. He could not speak nor could stay there. Rishaan tried to run inside the room.
Suddenly she said, "Listen, all that was a joke."
Rishaan heaved a sigh of relief.
She said, "You were always very nice and decent with me."
That gave her a sense of pleasure. "I told her you were exceptionally mischievous in lovemaking."
She gave him a naughty smile and said, "You were generic."
He felt that his mind was blocked because of that ‘Scotch' he had last night with her.\
Rishaan felt heavy. She came close to him, petted on his cheek and said, "Listen carefully, I always thwarted the idea of falling for you, but my heart always pulled me towards you. I could not resist your charm."
Shocked on these revelations, he sat on the bench and listened more carefully to her.
"I was mesmerized by your charm. Sometimes you became cranky. But I made you happy by my foreplay. But I always saw a gap in you." She told.
"You never talked about your love for Diya whenever I asked you about your any affair. You always looked at my breast cleave," saying this she revealed her breast cleave.
Rishaan was puzzled by her behaviour, he asked, "What is this?"
She shouted at Rishaan, "Get out of your stupidity. It is time to come out of your innocence and understand things."
He felt that she would cry or shout at him. So Rishaan prepared for her outburst.
"You never told me that you have another one in your life."
I asked, "What? Where is your frustration heading?"
"Do you think that I am stupid or a whore to quench your lust?" she retorted.
"No, no. We were both drunk and both young, so all the wrong thing was done." He replied very coolly.
This was followed by a volley of abuses for me. Her word started hitting his heart like a sharp javelin.
He gathered courage and apologized to her, "I'm sorry Kiara,"
"Only sorry? The man has got the license to plunder a woman and leave her. God bless you and Diya and protect you." She said in a loud voice and left him spellbound.
Kiara silently left the hotel room. She reached the ISKCON (Krishna) temple. She arrived at the abode of Lord Krishna. She saw the majestic door of the temple. She knew about the temple. The idol inside was infinitely more beautiful than the ones in other temples.
She circled the majestic temple slowly and slowly. Her mind was full of new and different ideas. Some were good and some were bad. Then she almost ran along the long, bright wall, inviting the curious attention of passers-by, but who could not keep up with her. The river of tears ran through her eyes.
The eastern frontage of the temple enchanted Kiara. She reached the holy water tank which has the collection of waters from different holy rivers. The jade green-clean water attracted her. In the enclosed area, reserved for women bathing, women were taking holy dips without any hesitation and shame, chanting holy hymns. They were thumping each other on body and back.
Pigeons whirled and cooed on the rooftop, the walls. The dawn and early, pink sunlight, their incredible mix of spiritualism and mysticism, inside the conical hall and inner sanctuary, clutched to her heart making her forget her past and her attachment to Rishaan. Quickly she moved through the temple. Standing in front of the majestic idol of Lord Krishna, she almost felt like lost in Him. She felt fabulously isolated there, floating breathtakingly between earth and sky. The bathers in the tank were just floating souls, the pigeons flying white-black-red in the sky, she felt like one with them.
But her feet were turning cool and heavy. The muhurta of deep-Aradhana was near. She stood up in front of the idol, hand folded, eyes closed. She touched the deep-pole three times for good-luck, moved swiftly, bowing her head in obeisance. She bowed a dutiful greeting to the majestic Lord Krishna, folded her hands and touched her eyes before the white, visible Krishna and swiftly moved towards the crowded main sanctuary. A memorable fragrance of deep oil and flowers welcomed her. All the devotees stood in front, their eyes closed, their lips moving in an ecstasy of mesmerizing hymns.
She saw big bell above. She leapt up, pushed the bell with one echoing sound and was down the steps before anybody understood what was happening. She sat on the steps of the temple. Love or relationship with Rishaan became inextricably mixed up with serious bonding for her own newly acquired spiritual salvation. She was unaware of the surroundings. She was feeling amazingly light-hearted, wonderfully contented. She decided to stay back in the temple.
She was in dire disgrace. She contacted the head priest Pundit Krishna Das. She took Diksha. Her tight-lipped silence was infinitely more expressively than speech. For the silence seemed filled with thousand voices singing within her. And she was quite and quite sure that the all-merciful Lord Krishna within the temple will protect her and bless her, in whose eyes all are equal, and He has accepted her with love. Now she was a sadhvi. Ma Radha to the world.
Kiara was singing and dancing with devotees. She reached near the main idol of Lord for darshan. In the main hall, in front of the idol head priest Pundit Krishna Das was reciting;
"Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye, Shive Sarvartha Sadhike,
Sharanye Trayambake Gauri Narayani Namo-stute".
And a young pair was taking pheres around Agni (Fire). Groom was in white dhoti-kurta and bride was in red sari. Both were knotted with a pink chunri. Pundit Ji further recited in loud voice;
Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha –
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa
At the completion of seven auspicious pheres all threw flower petals and auspicious yellow rice over the newlywed couple. Kiara, now sadhvi Ma Radha, in saffron attire, also threw flower petals and yellow rice, with eyes closed. When Kiara opened her eyes, she found in front of her, Rishaan and Diya as groom and bride.