As Arnav left to go to work with a declaration that they must talk soon, Khushi stomach knotted itself. She so didn’t want to talk to him about the past! She also knew the other things that would crop up during the talks. He had tried talking to her about them last night, and then again early in the morning after they had had the shower, but she had closed her eyes and ears to his speech about security for the boys and herself, and asked him to not spoil the moment.
She knew it would not be long before he would bring up the topic again.
“Khushiji?” Anjali called.
“Yes Di?” Khushi replied automatically, her mind still stuck on Arnav as she finished her plateful of Puri with Potato subzi. She had been overjoyed to see her favourite breakfast made for her by OPji.
OPji had gruffly welcomed her in the kitchen earlier. A man not accustomed to comment on his employers and ever loyal, he had been a source of comfort during tough days five years back. He did suitably frown upon her though, by shooing her out of the kitchen when she’d tried to help, haughtily informing her that she was his mistress, and he was there to serve her. He had also mumbled that it was to be hoped she wouldn’t run away this time. Chastened by the long time servant of the house, Khushi had gotten out of the kitchen then.
Now when he came to collect the dishes, Khushi smiled at him and thanked him for remembering her taste. He cracked what resembled a smile and left her.
“Khushiji?” Anjali called again and Khushi looked around.
Anjali sat with Naniji on the sofa in the living room. Payal seemed to be knitting and all three kids seemed to be talking under their breath about something. Khushi’s brow furrowed as she looked at them. They seemed to be conspiring something! Was it not just a day that they’d met? How could they be so pally? Not that she wasn’t delighted with this development, but — She mused as she went to join the others.
She smiled as she sat down opposite Anjali, who seemed to be browsing a magazine now. Anjali looked up at Khushi and said, “Khushiji, we must prepare for the party. Chhote says he plans to give the party next week, on Tuesday.”
Khushi’s eyes widened, “But Di, that’s too early! I thought it’d be another month or so before he’d throw one.”
Anjali laughed, “Have you forgotten what he’s like? Once an idea gets stuck in his head, he’d not rest until he’s executed his idea.”
Sighing Khushi nodded, “I was foolish to think he’d have changed.” Looking at Anjali’s frowning face, she smiled and said, “Not to worry Di. I’ll ensure he changes his mind.”
Nani ji shook her head sadly, “I don’t think you will be able to change his mind darling. He is quite determined to put an end to all those rumours and saga that began five years back with Aparna’s entry.”
Khushi’s head snapped right at Vishal who was busy with his younger brothers and looked back at Naniji. Mrs. Raizada senior smiled sadly and said, “Yes, Vishal was acknowledged by Arnav long back as his adopted son, but now you must acknowledge his acceptance in front of the society. You have to show people that you accept him as well. Only then will this family be able to live in peace, and Vishal bitwa will get his place in the society. Much as it pains to say it, he still feels left out. ”
Khushi frowned, “Arnav accepted him as adopted son? But naniji he is.. Vishal is Aparna and-“the words stuck in her throat but she carried on bravely, swallowing their poison, “ Aparna and Arnav’s ji son. Why was he not acknowledged accordingly? And I have another question about where Aparna is as well.”
Naniji raised her hand to stop her, and said in a firm voice, “I’m afraid I can’t answer any of your questions regarding that woman’s whereabouts. However I can tell you this- Vishal is not her son. Vishal has been officially adopted from the orphanage where he spent his childhood after his parents died.”
Seeing the bewildering expression on Khushi’s face, Naniji explained with an earnest expression, “Aparna had conspired against Arnav, and forced the child’s hand, Khushi. Granted, during their University days, they had dated but that’s all that had happened. Arnav is no fool to not realize he could have slipped and a child could’ve been born. He had his suspicions earlier on, but it was only after you left that things came into light. He investigated the whole story and found out the truth.”
A huge hole opened up under Khushi’s feet at this news. Trying to refute it, she shook her head vigorously, saying, “No. This is—how can it be possible? I saw the proof myself. I know the truth.”
Her eyes filled with tears as she saw Naniji and Anjali looking at her with a tragic expression. The world blurred into nothing as Khushi went back into her past and remembered the day DNA test results had come in. She had seen the reports, where Arnav and Vishal’s DNA had been claimed as a match.
“Aparna was a cunning woman. She played on our good nature, especially yours and gained entry in the house. It was only after you left and Chhote became inconsolable with your absence, that she started showing her true colours. Khushi ji, let Chhote be the man to tell you how things came out.”
“We spent all these years apart because I believed a lie?” Khushi’s mind boggled at the picture that was emerging.
Anjali squeezed Khushi’s shoulder in sympathy. “We all did believe her, didn’t we? It wasn’t just you. Had it not been for the near tragedy, we’d never have found out.”
Khushi’s hackles rose at the meaning behind Anjali’s words. Almost scared to ask, yet curious, she said, “What near tragedy Di?”
When Anjali looked reluctant to continue, Khushi pressed, “Please Di, you have to tell me. Nahi toh hum abhi Arnav ji ke office jaa kar unse puchenge.”
But Anjali shook her head, tears ever present in her eyes. She looked away, took a deep breath and faced Khushi, “It is best that Chhote tells you about it Khushiji. Come Nani, Mami, Payalji we must prepare lunch.”
All of them rose together, giving Khushi a pitying glance and left for the kitchen, leaving behind a very troubled Khushi.
It was Vishal who roused Khushi from her troublesome thoughts. He laid his head on her lap and closed his eyes.
“Yes my son?” said Khushi, putting one hand lovingly on his head. Aarush and Ayush came to sit beside her and she took them in her arms too.
“Let the past remain where it is; far behind us. I don’t want you and Dad fighting at any time. I hated it when you did that before you left. If you leave this time, I will come with you and my brothers.”
Tears nearly flooded Khushi’s eyes at his words. She bent down and kissed his forehead, saying, “I promise we won’t fight. I will not go away anywhere, son. But I must speak to him. I must know.”
Khushi was impatient to get to their room tonight, Arnav observed with some amusesment. He had already been warned by both Akash and Payal about the conversation that had taken place in the afternoon. Khushi had put on a calm face, but those who knew better were aware that she was in an agitated state. No one had tried to console her or ask her to calm down, he was told, because they all knew it was only Arnav who could do it.
With the boys in bed since long, and dinner with family done, they all sat around eating dessert of gulab jamuns. Arnav was eating his share of sugar free gulab jamuns and finalizing the details about the party with Akash. They had all given their inputs, including Khushi who insisted that food should be Indian- be it Indian or Non-vegetarian. Arnav had seen the happy smile on her face when everyone had agreed, and he’d added that he’d make sure there were panipuri, lassi and jalebi stands.
After a while, Khushi yawned, stood up and said, “Well, I’m tired. I’m not used to keeping late nights anymore.” Looking at Naniji, she said, “We used to sleep at about 9 every night; the kids and I, already close to midnight is half the night of sleep gone for me.”
Payal laughed at this and said, “Khushi, you always did have a penchant for finding ways to sneak off to bed and snore your head off.”
“Jiji!” Khushi sounded offended but smiled at her sister, saying, “I know that I was like that before, but it’s just that—well, after putting a long day at work, I used to be tired and sleep is sweet when there’s dreams waiting.”
“No need to go to sleep and dream about a white knight anymore Khushiji. Just order Arnav and he’ll get your dreams fulfilled.” Anjali winked at Khushi.
Khushi looked up at Arnav and found the lusty fire of his eyes burning her up. She looked down, nervous, “Maybe I can stay up a little longer.”
“Nope. We go to bed now. Good night everyone.” Arnav stood up with that decision, wishing everyone good night, winking at Anjali and Akash as he took Khushi by the arm before she could open her mouth.
Arnav wore a black silk shirt and looked like sex on wheels. Khushi met his eyes and looked away as usual. She couldn’t deny that he looked handsome and that he did something make her heart do somersaults but she was damned if she’d admit it. So she raised her chin and looked at him again, defiance plain in her eyes. Arnav simply bowed his head very slightly, not for all to see but only for her as if acknowledging her defiance. When her gaze moved from him, she saw a lovely woman standing next to him, looking at him with a smile of joy and wonder on her face and then looking at her. Her smile radiated warmth and Khushi automatically smiled back at her even though her mind buzzed with hundred questions. Who was she and what was she to him? Her face though, remained clear of her thoughts.
Mrs. Raizada’s loud voice boomed in her ears, making her flinch. “Ah! Arnav, Anjali beta.. come come. We were just waiting for you.” She looked Khushi and said, “Payal, Khushi; beta meet my darling niece Anjali. She is Arnav’s sister and she too loves candles like Payal does.”
After hands were shaken and embracing done, Anjali sat down next to Khushi and Payal. She engaged Payal in small talk while Khushi wondered about her. So this was Arnav’s sister. She was so different from him! Like chalk and cheese this brother-sister pair were; with one being so mean and cruel while the other being extremely warm and sweet. Anjali was beautiful, thought Khushi. In that area of course, both brother and sister had been generously blessed by the Almighty.
“Useless to compare; she’s the sweet side of me.” Amused voice broke into her thoughts.
“I beg your pardon?” Khushi feigned ignorance.
“Anjali is my half-sister and thus perhaps missed the mean streak that I inherited.” Arnav said, “I know what you were thinking.”
Khushi fluttered her lashes at him and gave him a very obvious fake smile, “I had no idea you were a psychic. And are you telling me there actually is a sweet side to you? Wow.”
The statement was meant to insult him and it sure did. For a moment, his eyes caught fire and his jaw tensed but then, control took over. He visibly relaxed and smiled, “Oh yeah, I tried to show you my sweet side the other day but you ran away.”
“I didn’t run away!” Khushi protested, her glare deadly enough to kill a man or two. Then as if she realized she had just acquiesced with his statement in a way, she said, “I walked away like any female with sense in her head would. And if that was the sweeter side of you, god help us all when you -”
Aware that she was again putting her foot in her mouth, she shut up. Amber eyes bored into her, challenging her to continue. “when I what- Khushi? Scared to put your thoughts into words, are you?”
“Nonsense! Anyway, I don’t think sharks have a sweet side to them.” Khushi declared, avoiding his eyes. As if she couldn’t bear to sit there with his eyes looking at her, she stood up and immediately felt flustered as all eyes looked at her. Smiling hesitantly, she said, “I think I’ll take a look at all those candles and lights by the poolside.” Looking at Anjali, she smiled genuinely, complimenting her, “They look beautiful.”
Anjali smiled back at her, affirming her opinion that here sat a lovely woman who was an absolute antithesis of her brother.
Khushi reached the poolside and took a deep breath. She really needed to calm down when that man was around! She had no idea why he affected her so much but she couldn’t ignore the fact that he did. May be this was the first time she actually understood what it was like to feel attracted to a man. She had been the centre of attention for many guys in the last couple of years but she had been easily able to dismiss their attention, their stares. Nothing had ever affected her the way his eyes did. It troubled her that she had no control over her reactions to him. Why was she not able to control her heart beats around him? Why did she left him affect her so?
“Thinking about me?” A voice spoke softly in her ear. Deep in thoughts, Khushi took the voice to be a part of her thinking and simply muttered, “Great, now I hear him in my thoughts! Why is he affecting me like this? Not that I give a damn but-”
A chuckle broke into her thoughts and Khushi realized with horror that the voice had not been a part of her thoughts. Arnav was actually standing next to her. She moved away quickly and tried to mask her reactions. Acting nonchalant, she asked, “What are you doing here?”
“Helping you think more about me, obviously.” He tantalizingly replied. Khushi put all the scorn she could muster in her gaze while she looked up at him, “You give yourself too much credit. I was not thinking about you.”
“No?” He asked disbelief plain on his face.
Khushi moved further away from him, to the other side of the pool, where potted flowers lay on one side of the wall. “Of course not! I was thinking about- well, not about you for sure. And it’s none of your business who or what I was thinking about.”
“What if I want to make it my business?” Before Khushi knew what was happening, he had trapped her between himself and the wall.
“You- you-” Words failed her and Khushi tried to find a way to get out of the trap. Arnav came closer still until she could feel his breath on her face.
“I-what Khushi?” Arnav whispered, bending a bit so that he could whisper in her ear, “If you want to know, you’ve been in my thoughts too. Unwanted and unexpected but you’ve been there… in my unholy thoughts. Does that help you?”
“No.” Khushi could only whisper back an honest reply.
“What should we do about it then?” Arnav whispered, coming closer, his eyes resting on her lips that trembled when he touched them gently. “I know of a cure.”
“You do?” Khushi’s breathing had gone ragged by now, with his fingers working magic on her lips. She wanted to lick them, to take them one by one in her mouth and suck on them. Never in her life had she felt such sensations rocking her body before. She stared into his eyes that beckoned her to travel with him to places unknown. She felt as if she was losing herself in those deep pools of amber fire that burned with desire. It gave her a heady feeling of power to know that she could ignite such fire in his eyes. His next words almost undid her.
“Sure I do. Let me show you how to cure it.” Arnav said to her. Before she could guess his intentions, he took her in his arms, slowly placed one hand on the nape of her neck and bent down- to touch his lips to hers. At first his lips were gentle and soft but soon they turned demanding and coaxed a response out of her, devouring her.
Khushi had heard of powerful physical attraction but never felt it before. She was stunned for a second or two when his lips stroked hers. Then she forgot everything- who she was, who he was and simply melted in his arms. All the anger since the time they’d first laid eyes on each other went puff and the only thing that seemed to have remained was this attraction that they felt for each other. She wound her arms around his neck and opened her mouth in response, inviting him in to taste her deeply. Arnav groaned softly when he felt her mouth open under his and deepened the kiss. He caressed her back, moulding her body to his as if they wanted to be one.
God, what was she doing to him? He’d never felt this raging fire pulsing in his veins before. It felt as if he’d die if he let go of her lips. Their breaths mingled and tongues touched, making him want to explore more of her- all of her. At this moment he couldn’t remember his name, let alone the fact that they were by the poolside and anyone could see them if they walked by. He could feel her inexperience in that kiss and for some reason that excited him all the more.
Exerting immense control over his body, Arnav slowly removed his lips from hers and stepped back so that he wouldn’t grab her again. He had to control himself because he knew in his gut that if he held her again, they wouldn’t let each other go. He was now sure that until they had sated each other’s hunger, this fire wouldn’t burn out. But for the moment, he would have to gain control. His good intentions almost flew out of the window when he saw the expression on her face. Khushi still had her eyes closed. As his lips left hers, she slowly licked them clean of his taste and took a deep breath. He groaned out loud.
“For heaven’s sake, take pity on me darling. Right now, if we don’t stop I will simply lay you down and take you right here, right now.”
That seemed to have an instant effect- her eyes snapped open as she looked at him dazedly first and then with growing horror on her face.
Khushi opened her eyes slowly, her senses still under the spell of the kiss. What a kiss that was! It felt as if she had only just come to life with that kiss. She licked her lips and she could taste him. She didn’t know what she craved for, only that he do it again and again until she felt completely replete.
A groan broke into her thoughts, and then she heard the words, softly spoken. Her eyes snapped open, growing wide with horror, her breathing wild. She looked at Arnav and her hands came up to cup her mouth. Devi Maiyya! Oh my goodness! What had she done! What had HE done to her! She had been almost ready to make love to him by the poolside, in view of anyone who cared to walk by! She was completely confused about her feelings at this time but she surely was better than this! How could she have done this? He made her do it!
Disgust and rage took hold of her senses, the cloud of desire completely lifted now. “How dare you! You can’ go around kissing anyone you feel like. Just because you’re rich and I’ll grant you- good looking, doesn’t mean you can come on to me!” She raged, her voice hoarse from the emotions she was going through. She lifted her hand as if slap him but at his quiet, “Be careful Khushi. If you slap me, you may go through another round of roller coaster of emotions you’re not ready to face yet. You gave as much as you got out of that kiss.”
Khushi turned away from him, her anger evident by the trembling of her body, “Forget that this ever happened! It’s just the kind of thing I should have expected from you. I’ve heard about you Arnav Singh Raizada. You’re a playboy out there in London, with many notches out on your belt. Don’t you even think that I’ll be one of them! You are disgusting!”
“You didn’t find me so disgusting a few seconds back when you were kissing me back. Had I not stopped, I could have -”
Khushi motioned him to stop with her hand out in protest, her eyes spitting fire now. “I didn’t know what I was doing, naïve that I am in these matters but you did. And you were out to take advantage of that fact. I know all about men like you. You don’t respect anyone or anything apart from being selfish and take all that you want, by any means.”
Aranv looked at her as if he would throttle her. His body was still on fire; only years of tightly reined in self-control was helping him keep away from her. However, his anger was swiftly replacing desire by her hot and cold attitude. He took a step in her direction. He was tempted to call her bluff off. He knew very well that he was not going to forget her and he sure as hell was not going to let her forget him.
A part of Khushi quailed at his look, but she kept up her brave girl façade, standing her ground and warning him, “Don’t you ever come near me,Raizada! If you do, I swear I’ll scream the house down and then your “good” repute can say bye bye.”
Arnav looked at her, incredulity plain on his face. Was she serious? She was brainwashing herself and laying all the blame at his door when she was just as responsible for what had happened between them! What was her game?
A part of him that always hastened to caution him; a part of him that always carried bitterness inside from his past came up quickly feeding on this doubt, taking over his brain. He forgot all about his feelings, his intentions towards her as his mind started whirring in a completely different direction. She was probably one of those girls who felt the need to trap a man in her clutches and feed on him like a parasite for the rest of her life. She was probably just like his mother. Something seemed to harden in him at that thought.
“I don’t think you’re naïve Khushi, quite the contrary in fact. Any girl who can kiss the way you do already knows the score. In our case, I am honest with my feelings and can tell you that I want you. You however, wish to play games.”
“Why you-” Khushi spluttered but didn’t get a chance to go any further as with a look full of cold contempt etched on his face he said, “ I don’t play games Khushi Kumari Gupta. Especially not with your kind; who think they can trap a man into marriage by seducing them with their big eyes and fake innocence. I am not Aakash who falls for the wiles of a woman.” He deliberately turned his next statement into a gauntlet, “I’d rather have you in my bed for free than be trapped for my entire life. If you wish to take me up on my proposition, do let me know.”
Saying this, he walked away leaving Khushi to come to terms with what he’d said. He wasn’t sure why but he looked back once — and saw her struggling with her tears. She was standing exactly where he’d left her. As if feeling his eyes on herself, she looked up and met his gaze. Slowly a tear fell from her eye. Soon a steady stream of tears began. Hastily Khushi turned away from him and walked to the other side of the pool side where stairs would lead her upstairs into the prayer room.
Khushi closed her eyes as that memory took her over and tears rained down her cheeks and on to the pillow. That first kiss held bitter sweet memories for her. She hadn’t understood then why he’d been brutal with her but as the time had passed and they had come closer, she had found out all about the reason behind his cruelty that evening. She had then realized that Arnav was not a bad person by nature. He was just a man who struggled and fought every day against his past memories. Sometimes he lost and sometimes he won. That evening was the time when he had lost.
A week after the entire incident saw Khushi in a completely different mode. She was deeply immersed in a conversation with some friends. They were sitting in the canteen, planning and making arrangements for the camp. Khushi was an active member of an association that participated in social service activities. Summer was the time of the year when one could see all types of activities happening in and around Nainital for various social causes. Khushi attended the blind kids summer camp every year as a volunteer although very few of her Delhi friends knew that. She acted as mentor to the new volunteers and guided them on how to help children who came to the camp for mental, physical and spiritual enjoyment. It seemed as if the planning was coming to a close as they all got up and shook hands with each other.
Khushi smiled at one of the guys and said, “I’m sure you’ll be very happy when we’re back and feel as if you’ve done something constructive this holiday. As you have already heard from others, it will be our job to ensure that the kids learn about their hidden, undeveloped talents and try to develop it. It is our job to actively help them develop self-confidence. Some of them are weak physically because they don’t get out much. We have to develop their physical vigour. You being a certified fitness teacher, I’m sure you’ll do a great job towards the last one.”
The guy smiled at her, a kind smile though sadness lurked in his eyes, “I hope to God I am able to be of help. I wish I had known of this earlier. I may have been able to help-“
“There is no point in looking back George. “What if” and “if only” don’t help us move on further in our lives. You’ve made the right choice by joining the summer camp this year as a volunteer. You’ll be amazed by how brave and smart these kids are. I’ll see you the day after tomorrow in the morning with 10 children. Be ready!” Khushi put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it lightly. She smiled and started walking. The guy who was standing within the circle, talking to another guy moved forward to walk along with her.
“So Khushi didi, as usual, Sat tal is the final destination, right? I should speak to Hari and make arrangements for the tents and he stay?”
“Yes Sayahm, please do. Tell Hari I’m looking forward to seeing him again. If you have any questions, call me at home, okay? I’m off home.” Khushi informed him and waved every one goodbye.
Arnav thought about Khushi while he sat in his office in New Delhi. Things had not gone as well as he’d expected during his visit to Nainital. Of course, he should’ve known that Khushi being the stubborn creature she was wouldn’t forgive him easily but he was ready to do anything to get back in her good books. He knew he would have to work hard towards gaining her trust but first, he would have to work out a plan so that he could spend more time with her.
He thrust a hand in his gelled hair, making it untidy as he sighed, loosened his tie and opened the first two buttons of his vest. He was restless and the only thing he wished for was to get back to Nainital; to get back to Khushi. His eyes were blood shot as if he hadn’t slept well in the last couple of days, which truthfully he had not.
Every time he tried to sleep, there were memories that kept coming back. Memories of how he had first fallen in love with Khushi, the time they had spent together and of the days before and after the engagement. Nightmares of Shyam molesting Khushi while he had stood aside blaming her haunted him. His remorse made his moods black every time he thought about it. How cruel he had been to her and how he had stupidly and carelessly thrown away the only thing in life that he had ever achieved for himself — Khushi and her love for him. He gritted his teeth and banged his hand on the table.
He had come back to Delhi the day after Mallika’s engagement due to work and meetings pressure. Now that he’d cleared his diary for the next fortnight, he had instructed his PA to hold back all the important decision making projects that would need his presence or signature by a month and delegated the semi-important projects to Aakash and the rest of his management team. He was now free to woo his love-Khushi.
A smile started at one corner of his mouth and slowly widened when he thought about his plans to stay in Nainital for a month. She wouldn’t be able to resist him, no she won’t. If he closed his eyes, he could still smell her hair, he could still taste her lips and – he opened his eyes and flinched. He could still see her eyes and the tears in them, the hurt that he had put there, the distrust. Pain stabbed at his heart. He had put that distrust, that pain and those tears in her eyes. He could still see the shock and hurt she felt the day he had told her he didn’t really love her. Of course, she should have seen it for the lie it was, but then they were riding on emotions that evening. He could forgive her for thinking ill of him when he had behaved like an absolute bastard that he was.
He shook his head to dispel these thoughts away. He would win her back; he would win her love back. In fact he was sure she loved him still, just as much as he loved her. Beneath all the hatred and fights, there was love that bloomed like rose in their hearts. He spoke regularly with Mrs Gupta senior and Payal to get information on how Khushi was faring in the last week. He had already found out that Khushi was going to be away camping for a week. It had come as a surprise to him that in the 9 months that he had known Khushi, he had not known of the volunteer work she carried out for several charities, including the one in Nainital. His Khushi certainly had a heart of gold.
The phone’s insistent ringing broke his thoughts. He picked it up and barked, “Yes?”
“Sir, your sister in on the line and insists she must speak to you immediately.” His PA informed him.
“Put her through.” Arnav smiled as he thought about his Anjali di. She was another gem of a woman that shone like a beacon of love in his life. Anjali was a double major in English and history and currently engaged to her long-time boyfriend Dean. They both worked together in Royal Holloway, University of London as professors. Anjali taught history while Dean worked with the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures.
“Chhotte!?” Anjali’s calm voice penetrated Arnav’s surroundings while he put it on speaker. A smile lit his face at hearing the voice of his beloved sister.
“Hi Di. How’s it going?”
“All is well here Chhotte. How are you? You sound exhausted.”
“Di, I’m fine. Had a lot of work to finish before I –“
“Did you meet Khushi Chhotte? You told me the last time we spoke that you knew of her whereabouts now and planned to meet her.”
Arnav sighed over the phone, “Yeah Di, I did. I met her.”
“And- Do I have to extract it out of you? What happened? Did she speak to you? Did you try to explain your side of the story? Not that she’d forgive you that easily but –“
“How you do love your pound of flesh!”
“Arnav Singh Raizada, mind your manners!”
“Sorry di, but yes, you’re right. She says she can’t forgive and forget what happened. She refuses to see me anymore or speak to me anymore Di.”
“Chhotte. I’m sorry to hear that. Really. But you’re not going to quit persuading her, are you? You – you love her Chhotte?”
Arnav closed his eyes as he placed his head gently on the table. He couldn’t seem to hide his feelings for Khushi from Anjali. “Yes Di. I feel very strongly for her. I am not going to let her go.”
Anjali smiled at the other end. “Sacche pyaar ki raah hamesha se mushkil rahi hain Arnav. Uspar chalna sabke bas ki baat nahi hain. (The path to true love is not easy Arnav. Not everyone can walk this path.) You have be willing to leave your ego aside and do whatever it is that your love wants you to do. Are you ready to go through it?”
Arnav rolled his eyes. Anjali di and her dramatic dialogues! “I don’t know about all that Di. All I know is that I am not going to let her go. I was a fool to ever have doubted her and I’m going to do everything it takes to make things right between us.”
“My blessings are with you my brother. Dean wants to talk to you. Hang on.”
A man’s voice came over the phone. His voice sounded deep and husky as he spoke over the phone to Arnav, “Hi Arnie, how are things shaping up up in yoga land? Anjali tells me you’re trying to convince Khushi to forgive you. Is that right?”
Dean Winchester was probably the only man on this planet that Arnav was comfortable with. Dean was older to Arnav by five years but they shared an amazing rapport. With Dean he joked, laughed and had even shared some fun times as a playboy. Though Dean was into academics, he was gorgeous and totally fun, not like the stuck up prigs geeks normally were. They were long –time friends and when Dean fell in love with Anjali, Arnav was only too happy to accept Dean into his family. Dean could hear the smile in Arnav’s voice when he said, “Yeah, if she’ll have me back again.”
Dean laughed, “I owe you the biggest “I told you so” dude.”
Arnav laughed too. “Too right but I’m going to make sure she falls for my charm this time around again. I’m not going to lose her Dean. I can’t.” He picked up the bottle of water kept on his desk and took a gulp.
“I sure hope you’re telling me the truth. I mean if she ever doubts your word, tell her I sent her a message. Tell her I said, “He’s really sorry sweetheart and means it when he says sorry. He’s got more conscience any day than I did before Anjali. I mean as a young punk, he felt guilty searching the Internet for porn.”
“Dude!” Arnav choked on water, only to hear Dean laugh and say, “Here’s Anjali again. You take care. Cheers!”
Anjali came back on the phone. “What’s he laughing about? Anyway, we are planning to go out this evening so I need to get ready. You take care, okay? Eat on time and don’t moon around.” Anjali said while a man’s voice in the background asked her to hurry up.
“Say Hi to Dean from me di. You guys enjoy the evening. I’ll take care of myself. Tomorrow am going to Nainital for a fortnight. Hopefully I’ll have something good to tell you the next time. ”
Arnav hung up after exchanging good byes, a smile stuck on his face. He felt refreshed after talking to Dean and his di. He was ready to get, set and go.
The evening before Khushi was supposed to leave for the camp in the morning saw her walking Sophie in the garden. The weather had turned especially chilly this evening and Khushi kept on rubbing her hands over her arms to warm herself. She was simply loitering with no agenda of the next morning in her mind. Instead her mind was occupied with the only man who – well, the only man who had ever made a place in her thoughts was Arnav. Much as she hated to admit to herself, she couldn’t help but remember him. His kiss had brought back memories of their time together, the day when she accidentally bumped into him at the National Gallery of Modern Art on Dr. Zakhir Hussain Road in New Delhi.
My original intention had been to include flashback history of Arnav-Khushi and the summer camp happenings, however when I started writing the chapter, things changed.
Due to the fact that I needed to give Anjali her space in the storyline, this chapter has been kept short. Couldn’t help but add one of my other favourite characters of the TV world. 😛 Trust you enjoyed this part of the story. Chapter 11 comes tomorrow with sole focus on Khushi and Arnav.
Just finished watching yesterday’s episode. I’m no analyst but a simple viewer and this is my POV:
I know I’d thought I wouldn’t see all of it but then, sleep induced state made me forget my resolve. From what I’ve seen now, I think at this rate, Khushi will also be in line for repentance big time if she continues with her mindless antics. ASR is a complex person. He can’t be played around without him backfiring after a while. Khushi is horribly wrong with what she’s doing and these actions? They can’t be justified by saying that she’s merely 19, not mature enough and has been recently roughly handled. She loves him and yes she was forcibly married but she married her heart had already chosen in the end, didn’t she? At least she didn’t have to marry Shyam and go through the horrors of another kind. She could’ve refused to marry him and proved OTT and selfish but then abhi jo kar rahi hain wo kaunsa Khushi ka character hain!
From ASR’s part- yes he will repent and suffer for his mistakes definitely but isn’t it justified that Khushi also suffers then for her mistakes? Maybe the way they got married was wrong and the marriage has to end (which we’ll see if it does) is terribly wrong on ASR’s part but we’re already expecting his suffering.
What I see is that he trusts her and she dupes him. There are only so many times you can cry wolf Khushi darling. This is going to backfire soon when he will not trust you even when you speak the truth. We saw that too in the end, didn’t we though? He thinks she’s hidden the spare parts of his car to trouble him and doesn’t believe that she’s innocent.
Remember Newton’s rule- every action has an equal and opposite reaction. ASR has yet to go through equal and opposite reaction for his action. Bechara aiwai pehlese suffer karna shuru kar diya hain. Khushi is just as mean as ASR is, with the difference being ASR’s past still justifies his actions. Khushi.. sudhar jaao darling.. varna bahot jaldi humiliation ki baari tumhaari hogi.
The best part was GH women and at the breakfast table. Ah! Garima may have said harsh words to Khushi in the past and even been angry and unfeeling but look at how Buaji and Garima acted when the food delivery came in. Wow.. I felt like going there and hugging them. After a few minutes the same feelings overwhelmed me for them again when they ate the pasta and though they didn’t like it, didn’t insult their damaad and praised it to the heavens.
Ye hain India ki womenfolk; they are independent, strong, sensitive, caring, understanding, motherly and forgiving. Babuji seems to be judging his SIL and is quite happy with what his Khushi bitiya has gained in such a husband. (Sun le Khushi, tere babuji ko aadmi ki pehchaan hain.)
Loved Arnie’s expressions. So childlike he was when he asked them if they liked the food and even when he stood with his hands folded on his chest, waiting for the spare parts to be returned. Sweet! J Sanayaji.. yaad hain na, acting kar rahe ho, expressions dene padenge? Where are her correct expressions? They have been missing for sure. Maybe the poor darling is bored with what she’s doing. I’m she’s a smart woman she knows this way of Khushi’s will never lead to happy ending.
Shyam babua.. finally you got the key made but phir pakde gaye beta. 😀 Do you guys also feel that Mamaji is perhaps this “jasoos” that Anjali keeps on talking about? I think Mamaji has a very strong role to play later as witness to all that has happened. Maybe he was also the one who had heard Khushi confessing her state to DM. Kya pata..