Jayanta received a warm welcome from his family as he stepped in. The ladies of the house blew conches as his mother welcomed him. He touched her feet and hugged her. He greeted all other family members although he was a bit surprised to receive such a grand welcome.
"Dadu kothay? Is he in the hospital? Where is he admitted? Is he alright?", Jayanta questioned.
"He is doing fine. Although in the ICU but he is recovering. It has been so long since you came, Shona. Come, take a shower. Have lunch and relax for some time. Then we can go to visit your grandpa.", His mother answered.
Jayanta remembered the plan. He spoke, "No, I will visit him and then I shall return. Tell me the address. I..."
"Arre, wait Baba. I will be with you. We will go together.", His father interrupted.
"Oh no! That can't happen! Sonali is waiting." Jayanta told to himself. He explained his family that he had some urgent work to complete, so he would have to be there before visiting Dadu. But who would listen? His brothers and sisters almost pulled him inside the house and closed the door behind him. All his denials were in vain.
Sonali, cold as before, waited for Jayanta to return. He didn't know what she had unearthed by then. She couldn't hold herself for long. She opened the door and came outside the car. It was a grand bungalow. She opened the iron gates and entered the lawn. However, the security guard had seen her and came on her way.
"Kake chai? (Whom do you want to see?)"
Sonali had no answers. She had no other option than lying. She had to meet Jayanta. It was urgent. Security won't let her in until she had an appointment. So, she prayed to Heaven and lied for the first time.
"I am your boss's wife. Could you please tell him to be here? I want to meet him."
"What? Our boss has married you? Stop lying! Do you even know his age? He has a son of your age. Get out!"
As always, she messed it up. "I mean the son, Jayanta is my husband. He has kept me waiting for so long. I can't bear this heat anymore. Please tell him that I am calling him. Oh, yes don't tell him about me. Tell him that his friend is waiting outside."
"Oh, you...! Get out, just leave this place. Bhagwan jaane kaha kaha se chale aate hai! (God knows from where these pieces come from!)"
"Ay, Don't you know who am I? Just go and tell him to come here, right now!"
"It would be better for you to leave right now. Don't force me to push you outside."
Sonali held herself for long. She couldn't keep it. She freaked out again. She shouted, yelled at the guard as she blew his face with a punch and pushed him aside to get in. The guard immediately held her by the hand and began dragging her outside. She kept yelling at the guard to leave her and kept calling out Jayanta's name as loudly as her voice permitted. He had mistakenly left his phone at the car. So she couldn't call and tell him anything. She had no choice but to sneek into his house but the guards added fire to her problems. She flamed in rage and couldn't stay calm. After all, how long can anybody stay together in such situations!
When Jayanta was sitting and gossiping with his family, the noise of the quarrel between Sonali and the guard reached the ears of all those who were inside. The family opened the door and went out to see what was going on. Jayanta was white. He knew what had been going on outside. He heard his name being called by Sonali. He searched his pockets. God! He left his phone in the car. He knew what was going to happen. He rushed outside to control the growing dispute. He would be dead if his family would get to know about his mischief.
"Eki! E ke? (What's all this? Who is she?)", asked Jayanta's father. Jayanta had reached the spot by then. There stood Sonali dressed in golden kurta and leggings with an embroided half jacket. She had worn conch bangles and her head was red with the vermilion put by Jayanta to enact. Seeing him, Sonali shared some signs to him but he didn't get them.
"Made a mess as always", murmured Jayanta.
"Leave my hand you stupid fool. Jayanta, please help.", Sonali shouted again.
Jayanta could neither move forward nor could he see her being harrassed.
"Ki holo, what are you looking at? Tell them who am I? I have been waiting in this scorching heat for so long..."
"What's going here? Mr. Mukherjee, why is your security holding my daughter back?", somebody stormed from their back.
Jayanta was astonished to hear that. He turned back to see them. A middle-aged couple stood there. Sonali cried for help, "Baba, tell this man to leave me!"
Jayanta was even more amazed to hear that. With his jaw dropped to the ground, he looked back at his new friend. Sonali's parents rescued her and almost shooed the guard off. There stood the two families facing each other. The Hazras were furious, Mukherjees ashamed. Jayanta was going bonkers. He asked his parents, "Who are they? What are they doing here?"
"They have come to meet you, Dear Son. Meet Mr. and Mrs. Hazra. She is their daughter I guess..." replied Mr. Mukherjee with shame.
"Yes, she is my daughter, Sonali. Your parents and we have been business partners since last five years and we have now planned to strengthen our bonds into a familiar tie. But what was that, Mukherjee Babu?", Mr. Hazra spoke in a grumpy tone.
"We are very sorry Mr. Hazra. The guard didn't know that she was your daughter. Please forgive us."
Jayanta was completely puzzled. He couldn't stop himself from interrupting. "What do you mean? Familiar tie? What kind of?"
"Tomader biye (marriage of you two).", replied Jayanta's mother.
The sky cracked on Jayanta. Jayanta looked at Sonali with awe. Sonali looked back with guilty. Both seemed to have fallen in a quicksand and were almost into it. Jayanta had lost his patience. He rushed towards Sonali and confronted her.
"Did you know anything of this or you knew everything? Were you playing with me? Speak up!"
Sonali was trying to calm him down but he was unstoppable. His actions were making others suspicious. She observed the two families staring at them. She murmured, "Just stop it. I will explain everything to you. How would I know that it was you to whom I was being fixed?!"
"Just stop lying! You knew everything right? You fixed me up in this mess just to get married with me?! Shame on you, Sonali!", Jayanta yelled.
"What's all this Sonali? Do you two know each other? From when onwards have you started hiding things from me and why are you dressed like a married lady?"
Nobody had noticed her until Sonali's father blew the cover. All the eyes stared at her. Vermilion and bangles of a married bengali adorned her. Sonali was just trying her best to hide it when everything got uncovered. Jayanta came back to his senses but it was too late. The family had already misunderstood both of them. The two families were not only shocked but spellbound to learn that their children had just married each other. A complete misunderstanding had just seeped into the minds of all who witnessed the couple. Sonali slapped her forehead as she made out what had happened. Jayanta kept staring at her with a helpless and equally grumpy look. Sonali just gave her intelligent friend a frustrated expression as they stood at the lawn of the Mukherjees amidst sheer misconceptions.