In Saraswatichandra, Danny is feeling bad (like a teenage girl) saying, “She hasn’t even called”. Kumud: “What she hasn’t even called to wish?!” A bit of exaggerated leg-pulling there because she and Saras have hatched an elaborate plan to smuggle Kusum over.
Gumaan hails Danny who dutifully scampers down to her. Mom gives chocolates, sports shoes and a limited edition watch. Saras and Kumud break into the moment and make an excuse of Danny being unwell and before he can react, they bring him to his room where Saras has sneaked Kusum in. Big hug between the two lovelorn birds in front of the approving brother and bhabhi. Kumud and Saras decide to give them space and leave saying they will take care of Gumaan and keep her on the lower floor…and find Gumaan taking medicine up for Danny. There is precious little they can do to stop her but are literally saved by the bell. It is the cake she has ordered for her son; who, at that moment is cutting the cake with his contraband wife (Kusum). In the moment when Gumaan happily says that Danny will definitely like the cake, you feel great sympathy for the mother. Surely a mom deserves better than everyone ganging up on her. Especially since she is so into her son.
Gumaan gets an anonymous call telling her that Kusum is alone in her son’s bedroom with him. The caller is Kalika exacting her revenge on Kusum. Gumaan flounces into Danny’s room to find Kusum and Danny embracing. This was an excellently conceptualised and executed scene. Gumaan wasn’t given any unnecessary dialogues. Just extreme speechless anger. She catches ahold of Kusum and takes her away. Kumud tries to talk to her but Gumaan just takes Kusum away.
At the Desais’, Kalika is quite beside herself with waiting for Gumaan to arrive with Kusum. Gumaan enters with: “Vidya Chatur Desai…yeh rahi aapki sanskaari beti…rakhye apne paas. Mujhe bataya jaa raha tha ki kitne hadd tak gir gayi hoon main…lekin tumhari batiyon ki toh koi hadd hi nahi. I caught her red-handed with my son alone in his room. Ask her what friendship she is sharing with him. I suspected earlier, but now I am sure that her husband left her here because of this. Which man will keep a wife who has affairs with other men? “
Dead silence and guilty looks greet her tirade. Danny mewls that she doesn’t know what she is saying. Gumaan tells him that he doesn’t know what he is entrapped in. She accuses the girls of the house of having ambitions of trapping rich husbands – and even if they marry commoners, they dream rich – and they have their eyes set on him because he is the son of a rich industrialist.
She obtusely means Kusum/Kumud’s paternal aunt who was abandoned by her husband and has been in the family home all her life. She was a close friend of Saraswati (Saraswatichandra’s mom), so this angers Saras who refuses to hear a single word against mai. Mai (played by an erstwhile big Gujarati actress, Ragini) tries to defend the girls and the sanskaar of the family. But Gumaan will have nothing of it. “Ma ke liye bête ka imaan bigad rehe hain. Mere bete ne kabhi mujhse jhoot nahin bola tha but now he has because your shadow has fallen on him… jhoote, dhokebaaz logon ki chaya.” Again, it is Gumaan and her utter faith in her son that reaches you here.
Saras shouts at her to stop. Tough looks are exchanged between the mother and stepson who says she has spoken enough and should go. Gumaan retorts that if it wasn’t for her son, she’d not spend a minute in that house. She demands answers – and gets it from Danny.
Gumaan: Kya lagti hai woh mere bete ki?
Danny (from behind her): Patni.
Gumaan just stares at him in shocked horror; tearing up.
This episode belonged to Gumaan entirely. Though she is cast as a conniving shrew, her belief in her son and the bond they have – which is being spectacularly belied – is heartbreakingly innocent. No one who has such trust in another person and their tie deserves this kind of deceit – no matter what their relationship is.
By Sujata Garimella
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