Arshi - Reawakening

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Jun 21

Arshi - Reawakening (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 56 times)

Dear friends,


Here is as promised, my second story on Arshi - Reawakening.

Please note, few of the scenes will be very similar to the show. This will be in the first few chapters, they the story will surely, slowly take a twist..


Thanks to all who supported my first story Devi Maiyyas Wish.  

Hope I get all your kind support to carry this lovely saga of Arshi forward.





Reawakening - Prologue..


“You have the habit of leaving your things here and there. Just like you had left your payal (anklet) near the pool. Your payal was with me, don’t give a different meaning to it, don’t think a rich man was holding it to his heart. It does not mean anything to me”




Holding the banister with one hand, heartbroken, tears pooling in the eyes, Khushi repeated in a whisper, looking deep into his eyes “does not mean anything....”




Snarling at her, “May be for you it does, as of me, you or that thing (referring to the encounter by the pool a few hours ago) does not have any importance, no importance at all”



Not able to see the dam of tears break, he turned away and strode to his car, leaving behind Khushi, weeping silently when the whole world around her revelled. 


Revelled it was diwali. Revelled Khushi had broken all his self imposed barriers, revelled that Arnav Singh Raizada had in spite of realising his love for Khushi, accepted Lavanya.



Non acceptance - her greatest Diwali gift for the year. Non acceptance of her love. Love as pure as ever, which did not look into his ruthlessness, arrogance, status or money.




Just once glance he thought, but probably should have discarded that thought, for what he saw broke his heart into millions of pieces. Khushi stood holding the rails blankly staring into space, with pearls of tears streaming down uncontrollably.



*********************************************

She had none to blame. “Khushi, you knew they were always going to get married, it is a disgrace you have let your emotions run without reigns. How could you allow it to happen? What took over you? If that phone call had not come, what a disaster it would have been for you. You would have proved to Arnav Singh Raizada his beliefs about middle class girls were correct.  Giving your heart to a monster! What is your aukat (status). Wake up Khushi, wake up to reality!!” 



“See how she is roaming around the town at this time of the day. She will bring disgrace to the family one day. Mark my words Garima. We have butter in our hands and looking for ghee everywhere. what will be of this girl, Hai re nandkis****” wailed buaji..



 “Hey Devi maiyya, why are you testing me today? Is this the last one or have you got any more for me?  I cannot see my family's agony. I cannot bear Buaji’s pressure anymore. What do you want me to do?”. 



“Ok, Buaji if it will make you all happy, I am ready” finally conceding  Khushi went to her Babuji’s room, who was suffering , dying every minute. Holding his hand she cried. Cried for her broken heart, cried for her existence, cried for loosing her mind in an instant and letting her Babuji down.




“How could she feel happy for me? How dare she congratulate me? How can she bear this with a smile when I am dying inside? How dare, how dare!!” roared the angry young man throwing away the glass  of water held in his hand...



**********************************************





Jun 21

Part 1 - Bruised ............... hearts (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 60 times)

Dear all thanks for all your thank yous and comments... 

Here is the first part of the story... Well some of it is from the show, but slowly the story will drift into its own path.

Hope you all enjoy...



Part 1 - Bruised -Hearts

Morning brought joyous moments to both houses, Gupta house and Raizada mansion, even though more hearts were filled with sorrow.


Buaji all geared up the house for the upcoming engagement ceremony cried,



“Aye Sanka Devi, do you have to go on your engagement today also, it’s already 2pm. You know the next good date available is in 6 months time. “ Khushi heard her Buaji shout at the top of her voice.



“Buaji, I know I know, don’t you worry. I was going to go tomorrow anyway to say my final goodbye, but Anjali ji wants me to go there today itself. I will be back soon” Khushi was already halfway near the gate of her house...



“Eat something and go..” Payal shouted, but the next she heard was the Auto Rikshaw starting, and Khushi waving bye.. “this girl will never look after herself. She did not eat her breakfast properly, now she has left without eating anything..” Payal grumbled to her mum..

*********************************

“Khushi ji what was the need for all this” exclaimed Anjali looking at all the beautiful gifts Khushi had got. There came Mami with an air of superiority to inspect the gifts, which in deed, she did want to appreciate, but alas her status would go down.




“Anjali ji, nothing as expensive as all your sarees, just a very simple saree with Lucknowee work. Payal and I are always into these things when we are free. Hope you like it.” Khushi very humbly replied.


“Khushi bitiya why only for Anjali and Lavanya, what about us old people” Nani joked, indicating Mami and herself. Greatly offended, Mami chided, “Arrey Sasauma, old peoples, I am not! I am only.. and by the way, all these are old fashioned..” and cat walked her way to her room.

********************************************



All her way to the temple she cursed herself. “Why did you have to bother to give him the key? If he does not want it, so be it. Why do you impose your ideas and thinking in his life?. Hey Devi maiyya, why are you making me go through this? Save me please save me Devi maiyya... what did he say, does not want to see my face. Does not want to talk to me, As if


I am too keen!! As if, No, I am not keen either, No I don’t want to see his face either,..” She forced herself to believe by repeating again and again.



Devi maiyya sat on her tiger and smiled. Smiled because her ardent devotee came to see her, and of course she had received a great many kilos of jilebis from her, even though the offerings had dwindled in the last few days. Smiled because she had just seen another couple fight, again trying to deny their feelings for each other.. Oh what could she do?


Smile of course she did.. to see Khushi grumbling and telling her off...



“Hey Devi maiyya, don’t you, I warn you, don’t you ever bring him in front of me, or take me in front of that khadoos (grumpy), arrogant rakshas (demon). Do you understand anything at all or are you simply going to sit and smile.”

Flashback start


Holding her tight so as to support her from not falling into the pool, he snarled, “Don’t you understand? How many times should I tell you I don’t want to see your face? “



Looking at him with a shocked but hurt expression she whispered, “Arnav Ji, I came to give your key.” Her eyes started to fill and anytime soon it would break open.



“What nonsense, you need some excuse don’t you? Go away.”



That was how he was shouting when Lavanya came to call Khushi to see her wedding plans. Watching their intense fight, she stood numb thinking. “Why this strong hatred towards her? He never behaves like this with anybody else, why her all the time? How can anybody bear such treatment. But why did she have to go to him? What’s with them two... oh God”



As much as she wanted to console Khushi and take her away she could not open her mouth and before she could decide what to say, she saw Khushi silently, clumsily picking the broken pieces of glass from the floor in a hurry. Khushi had not seen the glass of water in her tear filled eyes.


“Khushi, leave it, I will call HariPrakash”, Lavanya came forward, but her heart broke when Khushi gave her one painful look, before rushing out of the house. Looking at Arnav who was reading the file held opposite, Lavanya nodded her head negatively not understanding his behaviour “I don’t know what he has in his mind? Oh God, what’s happening here?“




Lavanya turned around to make her way to her room when she heard Arnav say “Khushi..” she turned back to see him stuffing something into his pocket and running out. She watched as he ran down to ask, “Di, where’s Khushi gone?”

“Chote she went home, was saying there’s something important today and wanted her Devi Maiyya’s blessings” Anjali told him but saw him rushing out immediately.



Anjali is confused. He has agreed for the marriage, but any talk of it raises his temper to such an extent, they are too scared to talk about it. Let the idea settle in his mind, suggests wise Mama, he will soon come round. But they can see it is only getting worse!!!

Flashback end



After her complaints and grievances Khushi remarked,



“Hey Devi maiyya, I wish you would make me smile like that all the time and take away everybody’s pain and sorrow. I wish I could get my Babuji to talk to me. At least he would tell me what is in his mind. I hate to see him disabled so..”



She stood in front of her all powerful deity, , “Yes Devi Maiyya, I will not cry. Not for him anymore, I know I should have held my feelings, but i don’t know myself when I started feeling for him so much. Anyway, thanks Devi maiyya for showing me his real face.. “



Calmed and collected after her lengthy conversation with her silent friend, remembering she was late for the evening ceremony, she rushed out. “Only 5 minutes for the ceremony to begin, Buaji will kill me today” muttering to herself, she came out, did one big namaskar to her dear friend and turned, only to collide into his hard chest.



“What the”



Stunned, she stood not ready to believe he was real. Finally she lifts her head to see. In deed he was real, all flesh and bone, remembering there was  no heart, she made a start to not get into any of his insults, but only to be stopped by, “Khushi, wait, I want to see your hand”.



Confused what he was referring to, she looked into her hands, only to see it was in fact stained with blood marks. That’s when she realised it must have cut while clearing the glass. She quickly tried to move away, but he held her arms saying,

“Khushi let me look into it.” His voice held so much concern, she could not move.



Was it just a few minutes ago he had said “you need an excuse to come to me?”. Was it just a few seconds ago she asked her Devi maiyya not to put her in front of him. Hands of Destiny - they found themselves in front of each other.



Khushi was surprised he had come prepared. He unwound the gauze bandage and slowly starts to wrap it round her ring finger. He wound the white bandage of pure love, over and over to mark her as his.



The auspicious moment had arrived with the stars and planets aligning for the perfect union, temple bells chimed, priests chanted, the divine sounds of the conch heard, the thread was tied, strengthening their love, to endure hurdles that was to arise in future.


Khushi stood still, scanning his face with astonishment. They looked into each others eyes. What followed was serene tranquillity which filled the air with divinity. Overwhelmed, she stood without saying anything, without resisting, going along with the flow.


Slowly taking her hands after surrendering herself to him, confusedly looking at him, she asked, “What is it that you want Arnav ji?” leaving him speechless.


This time the priest came to his rescue from giving her an answer, which if at all he knew. Glad with the interference, he did what was expected surprising Khushi further more. Satisfied with the work done, without a word he walks away.

Khushi looked at her Devi Maiyya. Her devi maiyya adorning the same smile but looking more beautiful with the rays of setting sun illuminating her face . Did she see her hands raised, as if to bless her??

**************************



Finishing the evening prayers Nani had only just sat to read her holy books when the phone rang.

“Namaste Devyani ji, it’s me, Khushis Buaji, Madhumathi speaking, Look at this girl, today is her engagement, she has still not turned up and she is not answering her phone as well.”



In walked ASR, who, strangely calm, probably the effect of accomplishing the destined job, to hear his Nani reply, “Namaste Madhumathi ji, That is really good news you have given, Khushi’s engagement. She never told us. She left saying she will visit the temple and go home, so give her some time she will be home soon. “



Arnav stood still. Shocked. Khushi’s engagement.



Buaji complained, “Don’t know what to do with this girl. Told her to be on time for the auspicious hour but she has to have her own way. Let her come today, I will take my belan (Rolling pin) out. If this time elapses, next one is no way near, probably 6 months away. As it is, Shyam babua has been very patient with this girl.”



Nani tried to console saying, “Madhumati ji, when it has to happen it will happen, see now how my chote has agreed as well, so don’t worry. You tell me about the boy. I know his name is Shyam, but what does he do, where is he from? I am sure he will be good, because our Khushi bitiya deserves the best.”



Flattered Buaji spoke at length about the good qualities of her paying guest. “We will not find another boy like that Devyani ji, Since we have come to Delhi he has been a constant help. He is a lawyer and works in Delhi itself, so our Sanka Devi will be in front of our eyes only”



Nani was pleased, “Madhumathi ji, that’s great news, you know our damad ji (son in law) is also a lawyer, Sure they must know each other, what did you say his full name was?”



Nani sat. Stunned.


Arnav sat. Shocked.


****************************



Hey guys, how was it? Please let me know..

By the way who do you think the other couple is fighting in front of devi maiyya?






Jun 25

Part 2 – New Resolution (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 65 times)



Hello all


Thanks for all your comments....

here is the next part hope you all enjoy reading....



Part 2 – New Resolution



The days events had taken a toll on the poor soul. Lack of food, plenty of stress, and with an abundance of insults and heartbreak, Khushi walked in trembling with fear and fever. Past the auspicious hour, past the auspicious minute, past the auspicious moment for the engagement ceremony. 

Tempers raised, all had stood waiting at the door. In no time, Khushi heard abuses, “Look, maharani of our house has given her darshan (shown herself). Welcome her. Payaliya get the arti plate, let us welcome her. Look what time she has come.” Going over to Shashi, while walking up and down the small, crowded lounge, she questioned, “all this is your love and pampering. She has no respect for what we say. Did she not know she had to be here by 6, did she not know it is an important day in her life? How often do we get boys like this for our daughters.  Now god knows where he also disappeared. Of course, how long will he wait. This girl is a disgrace to our family. She was the reason for Payaliyas marriage and now even she is not getting married. If something happens to us, who will look after them?” and so it went on.....



Giving Devi Maiyyas prasaad to her Babuji, Khushi apologised, “Babuji, trust me, I swear on Devi Maiyya, I did leave early to reach on time. I was delayed at the temple. Unfortunately none of the autos stopped today and I walked halfway trying to get one. Sorry Babuji, I really tried..” and she cried laying her head on his lap..



Garima and Payal were immediately taken in, feeling for the little ones tears and her condition. Mention of Payal’s broken marriage never was pleasant, and now the least, making all the parties present upset, they would rather nobody talked about it. Payal, though happy how she was, single, was fed up of the whole marriage issue. On one hand the younger Raizada had literally started to stalk her, irrespective of denying any amorous feelings towards the same, on the other, tension at home seem to be building exponentially. Whom could she tell, and what would she say? 



Mentally thanking his Devi maiyya, happy she had stopped his daughter, Shashi slowly, very slowly, for the first time, crawled his hand towards her head, while the family watched with all eagerness. Feeling his hands, Khushi slowly opened her eyes surprised and for the second time Khushi felt blessed today. She could fight anything, anyone if her Babuji’s blessings was there. She did not care if her Buaji was unhappy, or she had been insulted, she felt at peace.



Watching the scene, Payal and Garima ran to them ecstatic, not bothering to hear anymore of Buajis ramblings, who also seemed to have stopped looking at her brother. Putting her hand on her husbands, Garima also blessed Khushi wholeheartedly and said, “Bitiya, look, look, your Babuji has put his hand on your head.. look at him, he is trying to say something..” she pointed to Shashi, who was lifting his head up to thank Devi maiyya. Praying to the almighty, Garima spoke “Hey Devi maiyya, thousand thanks for making him well. Jiji (adressing buaji), if he has excused, leave her, whatever will happen will happen.”



As if sudden life came into her,  Khushi hugged her mum saying, “Yes amma, see he is getting better, I will make him better. Please let me try, don’t force me for anything now, please please”. Payal soon ran in for the family hug to second the opinion, “Yes amma, we will now concentrate on getting our Babuji well. Please stop all these talks about marriage. Lets concentrate on our Babuji ”



Surprisingly enough, taking a firm decision for the first time, Garima told Buaji, “Jiji, let us think it is Devi Maiyyas wish for the engagement not to happen. As it is there were no suitable dates for the near future, let us concentrate on other things now. When things will happen it will. How much can we do?”



*********************************************

Evening sun had set and gloom had descended over Raizada mansion. Nani sat in her room, taking comfort in the blanket of darkness surrounded. Her thoughts had by now settled into a cyclic pattern. “There could be hundreds of Shyam, but hundreds of SMJ’s? Exactly the same name and all the description provided by her Buaji matches the very person. Orphan from Lucknow with no immediate or distant family whatsoever, working as a lawyer in Delhi, keeps travelling on client visits.” Much as she tried to think of incidents when both Khushi and her Shyam were in RM at the same time, there were none in her memory.



While one soul was in deep thoughts thinking of the upcoming storm, another storm was brewing at the other end of the house. Pacing the length and breadth of his spacious room, he felt a pang of remorse. He felt he was being stood where Khushi was just a day before, Diwali night. Loss, a hollow feeling, unbearable pain, loss of his right on her which he had exercised without any guilt or reservation and now she was snatched away from him. She would be somebody’s .. oh he could not fathom to think about it. This loss, soon turned into extreme jealousy, possessiveness and strong craving for her burning inside.



“How could it be? How is it possible for her to be engaged? How dare she never told anybody....“



*************************************

This was the second time. Akash Singh Raizada did seem to be as stubborn as his brother. Though not very impulsive or hasty, he was trying his best. Even though it was Khushi’s engagement, she could not refuse his pleas “Please Payal, just come this once, I will not bother you again”.



(Please dears, common, I want to drop this ji, am fed up of it, especially with these two),



Supressing all her emotions, she had blatantly refused his approach. “Akash, you need to face reality. Your world and my world are very very different. It is not easy to fight all your loved ones for a mere middle class girl. Did your brother never teach you this? He has always made sure we have been shown our status or stand in the society. “



“Payal if you are worried about my brother, then you are mistaken. He is not as stone hearted as he shows himself to be. I know my mum would not agree, but she too will finally give in” Akash pleaded.



“Why do you want to take all the trouble of displeasing everyone. All your love will not be the same when after a few years you realise we are not of equal status in the society. You will not be happy if I am not able to adjust to your high flying life.” Payal tried to explain.



“If you can’t fill the place of being my wife nobody will and I know that. If my family does not want to accept that, and respect my love and emotions, they will have to accept the fact that I will forever by unhappy” 

Payal could not see this man pleading. She felt sorry, but what could she do. Finally, “Akash, I need to go early today. Khushi is getting engaged. So please stop this and get on with your life”





*************************************

A new dawn, shone upon the Gupta household. Even though Buaji was very unhappy, her brothers progress was enough to cheer her. And she knew there was nothing to be done for another 6 months. With Shyam having disappeared peace reigned. The negativity in the house was removed well at least for a few days.


The whole morning passed with Khushi venturing out. Khushi had already booked an appointment with Manju (Catering staff at AR if you can all remember) to discuss various options for employment, who in turn had very generously spoken to few of her acquaintances.


“Khushi, it was a good thing you called me yesterday. My friend has had to take a few months off and her company is looking for a temporary staff. It is only temporary and just a few hours to begin with. So if you are interested, I could arrange with their canteen manager” 


Khushi eagerly agreed, “Oh definitely, When I don’t have anything, I can’t be choosing. Beggars can’t be choosers. Where is this place?”



“You know where Priya used to work, the software company, Murthy systems, not too far, just five minutes from AR” 

After taking all the details from Manju, Khushi made her way home since she was to help Happy ji in his garage, but Naniji’s phone call changed her route...



Khushi stood in the entrance, praying, “Hey Devi maiyya, please let that Laad governor be away”, but soon her heart beats rose, the wind blew and everything stood still. She knew.

“Khushi” Whispered Arnav, and her head rose as if she had heard his whisper from his room.



“Hello hai bye bye, Did we not do bye bye yesterdays itself, then why hello hai todays? Have you come to give your old ishtyle sarees??” Scorned Mami bringing her back to reality.


“Manorama, quite please” Nani shouted, “Khushi bitiya, you please come to my room” 



By now, Lavanya, Anjali, Arnav and Akash had made their way down. Seeing his lady love’s sister Akash, getting excited, wished Khushi, “Congratulations Khushi ji”. Of course he had not given up any hope. 


“Akash??” Anjali looked at him questioningly,



“Di, yesterday was her engagement” Akash confirmed, to see a raised eyebrow from La, Mami and Anjali who questioned, “How on earth did you know, even we did not know”


But before he could say anything further, Anjali squealed in excitement, hugging Khushi “Khushi ji, this is such a good news”


Lavanya came forward, holding Khushi’s hand, “Chamkeeli, what is this, BIG surprise. Who is this lucky person, tell me tell me about your Raj kumar. Since when do you know him? Was it Love at first sight? Atleast show me your engagement ring” she lifted Khushi’s hand.


Nani spoke seriously, “Ms. Kashyap, if you have finished your enquiries, I want to talk to Khushi. By the way, Anjali bitiya, Yesterday her Buaji told me it was her engagement. Come bitiya to my room”




All looked on at the disappearing figures. While one pair of chocolate brown eyes was laced with green, and was soon turning red with anger, trying to get hold of her attention. However, seeing her raised hand with the bandage tied to the ring finger, was there a tinge of pride hidden in that smirk??


*******************************************

How was it dearies....



Jun 26

Part 3 – It matters.. Does it? (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 58 times)



Part 3 – It matters.. Does it?


Each one were in their own thoughts as to what could Nani and Khushi have to discuss. Mami had disappeared into her room with La, while Anjali went to finish her daily c****s. ASR had to vent out his frustration and soon was heard talking to Aman.



Nani listened very attentively to Khushi. All the facts stated by Buaji and Khushi matched, which also matched with the facts shyam had given when they had first met. She also learnt how he had expressed his desire to marry Khushi and

Buaji had only got too eager with each passing day. With her father having a sudden stroke, things had to be hurried, so she had finally consented on Diwali. 



“Khushi bitiya, do you not have any pictures at all?” she could see how uneasy Khushi displayed with every mention of Shyam and how very disinterested she was.


 “No Nani ji, I don’t. “



“Khushi bitiya, you don’t look very well, is there a problem?”



Seeing the concern and love in Nani’s eyes, Khushi opened up, “Nani ji, I was never interested in this proposal.  There are a few things I need to sort out. I wanted my jiji to marry first, especially after it was broken because of me. Then my Babuji is not well. With all this, do you think it was easy for me to agree? And actually, it was guilt not love. I don’t even feel anything for him, but you know, my amma said, it will all be ok after the marriage a few years down the lime.”



Khushi tried to brush away Nani’s questions on how Payal’s marriage was broken, but Nani insisted on getting all the information today. She had to know what the history was behind.  Khushi, who had long forgiven the man who made her go through hell was very hesitant to recount the incidents, since she knew how Nani would feel. But there was no escape today, Nani had to get to the bottom of all the problems.



It was nearly tea time with the rest of the family wondering what they had to discuss for such a long time. Arnav was seething in anger, his call to Aman only made his frustration worse. For the first time Nani was utterly displeased with her Chote’s behaviour. She was always proud of him, but today  forced to put her head down. She was ashamed he had brought such doom to Khushi’s family, which in turn lead Shyam to enter into their lives.





When the whole story was learnt, Nani heaved a sigh of relief with the engagement being put off for the time being. 

But first things first. She still had to confirm Shyam’s identity, and was not sure how to go about it.



“Khushi, where is your PG now? “ 



“Don’t know Nani ji, we could never guess when he would be home or away. He keeps going away on client visits. “



“I think you are doing very well by concentrating on getting your Babuji well. I don’t like girls to get married very young now a days, in our days it was different.“



******************************************* 

Akash was pleased he had picked up the phone, “Yes Payal, she is here. She is with Nani and I will ask her to call you when she is out.“



“Thanks Akash, she called to say she was coming to your place, but I did not think it would take this long”



Akash spoke very quietly, “Payal, my sister Anjali wants to talk to you. Now please, before you refuse, just give it one chance, I know you will not change your decision, but there is no harm in talking to her as a friend. Please..“ 



It was so difficult to refuse his pleas, yet she was conscious not to encourage him. She only managed “Akash, lets give it a break. Just let things be as they are. You don’t know anything, anything at all about me.”



“What breakup, don’t give me a heartbreak. Nothing has started Payal. Then isn’t this the best opportunity to know each other? Just meet her once please”  he tried,



“Akash, we will see about that..”  that was enough of a yes for him, he was happy. His efforts to try and keep her talking failed since Payal was very curt and precise, but he managed to say, “Payal please meet at the temple tomorrow morning, thanks” and cut the phone before she could refuse!! He was already in Anjali’s room discussing plans. Oh no he would not receive any more calls..



“Akash” Payal was heard shouting on the dead receiver, while the other members Buaji, Garima and Babuji watched on. How could our docile little Payaliya be so rude and loud!!



*********************************************

Khushi finally came out and made her way to the door, but was not allowed to go home before tea of course. 

“So Khushi ji, tell me, how come all of a sudden, you did not tell any of us?”



Khushi only started to speak, “Well, Anjali ji, it talks had been going on for a while now, but I only agreed days ago, but” she stopped to see Arnav had come down for tea. Deciding to go, she told Anjali,



“Anjali ji, I think I should go now, it is already late”



“Aw... This is not fair. I will let you off now, but we have loads to talk Khushi ji, please can you come and help us with the preparations as well?” Anjali pouted and Khushi could not refuse. 



“Anjali ji, yes let me know what work.” Khushi did not want to mention her new job, with everyone present. She could always make some excuse when and if she was called.



She was out of the front door, running down the steps when she stopped hearing, “Khushi”



Surprised to see Arnav coming behind, she stood with her eyebrows raised, question on her face as if to indicate, I am not interested in you now. He felt taunted, “Sorry I am engaged” He felt defeated.



He did not know what to talk and at these times only did what he knew best. Shout at her. “How many times should I tell you not to show your face?” 



For a moment, Khushi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry? Did he come running all the way behind her to say this? She was fed up. Fed up of his insults. Ever since her Babuji had blessed, she was a different girl. She felt the incredible feeling of freedom within her and she didn’t want this man to crush her again. Moreover, she no longer worked for them, she replied with equal fervour.



“Arnav ji, did you really come out to tell me this? You said the same thing the other day and it was you who came to the temple, not me. Remember this” she raised her hand pointing to her finger. She paused to look at his face which had turned sheepish, he just realised how childish he had been, then she continued ”Ok, fine, I’m sorry for showing up my face, but can you please tell your house members to not call me? I had no plans of coming here if your Nani had not called me. Now that your Nani has accepted Lavanya, even Anjali ji can’t force me to come. And nobody can force me for anything now”, immediately bit her tongue realising she had probably said a bit too much.




“Force” He came forward to hold her hand, but she moved back swiftly. Again he felt she was teasing as if to say “No you can’t touch me” 



“Khushi? Are you being forced? Why didn’t you tell me dammit? I knew it. This is what only you would do. Why didn’t anyone know about it?” he spoke soft for the first time with all concern.




Angry at being tossed around like a ball, “Why? Whom should I tell? Why should you or anyone in your family be bothered about me? Why does it matter to you? Why should it matter if I am engaged, or married or dea..” but he stopped before she could finish, saying



“KHUSHI don’t talk. And don’t talk to me like that?” he snarled and held her hand.

But Khushi immediately snatched her hand and walked out saying “Sorry I need to go now” and was already out on the roads in no time. She had noticed from the corner of her eyes. She did not know since when she stood or what she had heard. 




Lavanya, who was surprised to see ASR go out without saying anything had followed him to check, but had stopped intrigued, when he had called out for Khushi. Even though she was never the person to eavesdrop or do things in hiding, she stood rooted unable to talk or move, listening to them. Was it her sixth sense warning her of the impeding heart break? She was uneasy and uncomfortable, and this was not the first time she was getting this feeling. When Khushi had left, she went inside deep in thoughts. It cannot always be a coincidence for them to keep meeting being on logger heads all the time, some how it seemed they both went seeking the other. She remembered now, way long back, while Khushi had just joined the office, when she had mentioned, “ASR don’t you think you are giving her too much importance?” 




Arnav soon walked behind her, Khushi’s questio ringing in his mind constantly, “Why does it matter to you?”



***************************************************




Voting: (Total Votes: 32)


Is it confusing switching dialogues between different scenes?
Vote
Jun 27

Part 4 - Yearning (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 52 times)




Part 4 – Yearning



“Yes Krishna, I want to know everything. You will still have your contacts, so just get all the information.” Nani did not take long to get in touch with her old contacts.



“Madam ji, you know I am old now, I am not as good as I used to be. Not sure if I will be able to carry out your work well” Krishna replied very docile.



“You had served as a driver to my husband, now your son Mohan is with us. With you I don’t have to worry, I know you will do your best. And the first person I could think of was you. Like I mentioned earlier, I have my doubts about this, but I don’t want to stir the still waters until I know the truth.” Nani spoke to her retired driver Krishna. 



“Madamji, why not ask your Chote?”



“Chote, don’t take his name. It is probably because of him all this is happening. I don’t want him to know anything. Always taking decisions in haste. It might work in his business where he has all his intuitions, but does not work in relationships. Akash is better, but right now I want this to be to yourself.”  Nani spoke rather crossly at the mention of her grandson..



“OK madam, I will go there tomorrow morning see if I can speak to local people and keep an eye on the house.. Lakshmi nagar should not be a problem, I have been there a few times when Anjali bitiya wanted to go to Shiv mandir. A busy place, so I should be ok” Krishna was making his plans while he spoke.



***************************************************

“The audacity of this chit of a girl. How dare she say ‘ask you family members not to call.’ And why did she say even Di can’t force her? Dammit, this girl will not let me live peacefully.  Try to help her and she thinks she can handle everything. She is being forced into this, why can’t she understand this? why did she have to agree?” Not able to think clearly, frustrated, he paced up and down, when he heard a knock. 


Lavanya walked in slowly, holding her breath lest he shouts at her. She knew he was angry, to cool him down, “ASR, anything bothering you? Can I be of any help?“



Not bothering to look at her, he grumbled, “She is being forced into this. She will never disobey her family. She will never be happy”



When he looked up he saw a question on Lavanya’s face. Realised what position he had put her in. Somewhere he felt a tinge of guilt. What had he lead her into? Dismissing her, “No Lavanya, nothing, I just want to be left alone” Lavanya was relieved, at least he did not shout at her, but she was more worried than when she had walked in. “Oh God, I want a break. A break to think about all that is going on.”



***********************************



Anjali was all set to go with Akash for executing their next plan, when in walked Lavanya. 

“Di, are you going out, can I have a word?”, looking at the encouraging face of Anjali, she continued while Anjali was till dressing up,  “Di, it has been a long time now, I was just thinking of, aaa you know,.. ok, would you mind if I went to my parents flat for a few days, may be 2 or 3 days.”


Seeing the downcast face of Lavanya, Anjali was very upset, coming close to her, gently stroking her chin, “Lavanya, what happened? Are you upset? Did anybody say anything? Did Chote..”


But Lavanya cut her short and cheerfully told, “No Di, nobody spoke anything. They dare not ha!! I am missing my own home, so I want to go. Please”



Seeing Anjali was getting late Lavanya proposed, “Di, we can discuss later if you want,” 


But Anjali would not have it, “No Lavanya, I am worried, you know of all the time you want to go now. You know chote has agreed, and we are looking for dates and other preparations are going on as well, so why now? And who knows there might be another wedding coming along soon...” saying so, she blinked..




“What di? “ Lavanya was all excited.. “who else..”

Though Anjali did not want to disclose, she knew Lavanya would do no harm, “You know our little brother, Akash is in love...” 


“What really” squealed Lavanya.. “who?”


“Oh yes, he definitely is, but his madam is not ready at all” pouted Anjali,  “That’s why I am being made the mediator!! That’s why I was asking do you have to go now...”



“Common di, you know, of late, ASR is acting quite weird. His anger shoots up even at the mention of engagement. So let him cool down as well for 2 days, I too can start preparation from the other side, you know talk to my friends.. Please di” Lavanya pleaded.


Though hesitant, Anjali finally agreed.. 



But Lavanya was heartbroken. Everybody (yes she included even the prakash brothers whom she was now fond of) had asked her not to go and they would miss her, but ASR. No sooner had she mentioned about going for a few days, in fact even before she had completed, he had approved, “Sure Lavanya, I think you should go, chill out and relax” 



There were no second thoughts in her mind. She had to go. She knew there was some missing piece that she not comprehend and perhaps she needed some time. Go away, think in an environment she was familiar with, away from all the influences. She realised how the past few months had changed her life so drastically. Is this what she had thought of when she first committed to staying here? Now when she thought about it, so so many things had changed. In many ways her perspective of life had changed too, yet she was not aloof to the other world she had come from, she saw that world with a new light.



**********************************************



“Thank you Payal for all the gifts you and Khushi made. They were very beautiful. You must teach me how to do them” Anjali tried to slowly make Payal comfortable, both sitting outside, on the cool stone benches of the temple. The sun was still low and the cool morning breeze was pleasant.



Payal squirmed hesitantly in her seat looking at Akash. She knew very soon talks would lead to the dreaded subject but she had come prepared, well at least she thought, and soon enough it did pop up.



“Payal, you know.. “ Anjali hesitated, which Payal thought was very similar to Akash, then sitting straight to get all the courage, started again, “Payal, I know my little brother has been troubling you from the past few days, so let me know if is a jerk, I know how to fix him!”



Seeing Payal smile and relax, she continued now serious, “but he also tells me it is not just a passing fancy and he is quite serious. Tell me dear, would you consider if we took the matter forward?”



Payal grew serious, yet she spoke politely, “Anjali ji, I respect you and your whole family. This is what I have been telling your brother. Our worlds are completely different. This is no match. Both of you seem to think everything will be smooth. Just consider, if you were to suggest such a thing at your dining table what would the reaction of the family members be. I have only been to your house, may be once or twice, but I can still guess the reactions, well at least of some people”

Anjali and Akash did imagine the scene and anyone could read their expression, with both trying to swallow hard even thinking about it.



Payal gazed into empty space as she continued, “Our family has been through a lot of problems. If you must know, one of the problems is my first marriage broke, I was left at the alter. We were forced to move to Delhi,.. “ she paused, then shaking herself out of her reverie and giving a beautiful smile, “anyway, lets leave all this. Actually all marriage talks have been banned in our house for now. We need to concentrate on my Babuji, so we are working hard towards those issues. Please ask your brother to move on as well”



Anjali interrupted, “But Khushi ji’s wedding ?”



Payal looked on surprisingly, obviously she had thought Khushi would have told them yesterday, “No Anjali ji, didn’t Khushi talk to you yesterday? Engagement could not happen due to various reasons.” When she saw Anjali disappointed, “its ok Anjali ji, Khushi was never interested in it from the beginning. It was only because of our Buaji she had agreed. Anyway now, Khushi will work part time in this company then soon we will think of something else.. actually she has gone there today.”

  

Another shock for Anjali and Akash. One, Khushi was not engaged and two, she was going to be working somewhere else. She remembered she could hardly speak to her the day before making her wonder what Nani and Khushi were up to.



Akash made thorough enquiries about Khushi’s work place. Soon, Anjali spoke, “Thank you Payal for meeting me. Let us not make this the last. We can be friends, can’t we?” and she put forward her hand. 

Payal hesitantly shook her hands looking at Akash. By now Anjali had pulled her for a hug. She was sure, Payal would keep Akash happy. And they had a long way to go in making this stubborn girl accept... 



Though nothing much had progressed, the siblings felt contended with the meeting.. Payal, though sad that she had to decline his offer repeatedly, went away quietly feeling brave to have made the decision. “How can I accept you Akash? We may both be serious, but ultimately, it will our families decisions. I as a girl have no hand in any decisions. “



*******************************

Lavanya had slowly but steadily made a place in everyone’s heart, except of course where she was supposed to. All missed her, the house did look and feel empty. And so the conversation turned to the missing member, snakewa.. 



“Di Where is jijaji now a days? Been a long time” asked Akash, who though quiet, did not like it if the house was so glum. Nani immediately raised her head to assess Anjali. Did Anjali have any clue at all? Nani knew since how many days he was away and where he was, but Anjali seemed to be oblivious to all his philanderers ways and in a world of her own. She felt a pang of guilt, probably she should have raised her to be more independent.




“Haa Anjali bitiya, even my friend was asking today, you know, Mrs.Aggarwal. As usual she gave me a big lecture on why they should be in their own house blah blah blah. If our damaad ji is always away how can our daughter stay alone, she does not understand.” Without giving any consideration to Anjali’s feelings Mami blurted.




On any other occasion, Nani would have scorned at Mami, but now, she saw there was some truth behind. Perhaps they had molly cuddled Anjali a way bit too much and she now refused to face reality. 




**************************************************

With her Devi Maiyyas blessings, Khushi loved her new work. New company, new people? But was she happy? She longed to see those chocolate brown eyes. No sooner had she begun to miss him, she remembered his sharp tongue and shuddered. “Buaji is right Khushi, you know he will trash you if he sees you, and still you want to see him. Again Buaji is right, he has done come jaadu thona,, (Black magic). Hey Devi maiyya. Save me save me save me from this raakshas”




No amount of coaxing Buaji worked and the snakewa was getting irritated. With all efforts of the family turned into healing their Babuji, he could not get even a moments time with the old man to screw him err.. to death. Frustrated, he had called his faithful wife that he would be returning soon in order to replenish his pocket and think of a scheme. May be showing a bit of indifference to Buaji might do the trick, he thought, and especially now, wish Khushi out of RM he was also free to go and flatter the inmates further, not the wise old lady this time. 






It was not an easy place to be either, with Anjali cooing and pampering getting on his nerves. Nani watched with keen eyes how he had put a facade all these years and they had no clue about his double standards. Krishna had given a scrutinised report of the same. Of when he came to Lakshmi nagar, who all he spoke to. Who were his close aids.. He had also visited the court to get back hand information of his dealings, which appeared to be very few dodgy cases. 

Nani knew for any more further information she would have to deal with legally or with the help of an intelligent confidant, but she wasn’t sure of whom to contact.




Though she was very outspoken and forward thinking not always to her liking, Nani knew she had a heart of gold though she was modern. How she missed her, now when she needed her the most. And so, after thinking really hard, Nani was heard on the phone, “You forgot us so soon bitiya. When can I expect you?”  



***************************************************





Jun 29

Part 5 - Next Plans (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 51 times)

Part 5 – Next plans


“Arnav ji” Khushi whispered in the middle of packing her bag to go home. She had just finished her shift for the day and packing when she felt a breeze which soothed her nerves. Closing her eyes, she stood still hand on her chest dwelling in the moment, the calm peaceful feeling (just before the storm of course).



Through out the day he was relaxed, with one meeting successfully finished, the other meeting cancelled did not bother him. And so, he offered to join Akash to Murthy systems for discussing the new fashion designing system they were to deploy at AR. No sooner had he stepped in, he stood still feeling a cool breeze and on his own volition he whispered, “Khushi”.



Coming back to her senses, “Hey Devi maiyya, I am dreaming of this laad governor even during day time.. Save me save me..please...” and she ran to get out of the place as soon as possible, but alas, only to collide with the very person she was dreaming about.


“What the “.


“Ow”


Both held on to each other, to stop themselves from falling, with his hand firm on her waist, and Khushi securely holding his blazer. Seeing each other after so many days, they couldn’t satisfy their eyes enough, so they stood gazing into each others eyes, while Akash was picking up the fallen file and Khushi’s bag. Gaining some brownie points??


When they realised the surroundings, Khushi moved back with a meek “Arnav ji” while Arnav whispered “Khushi you? Here?”. So sincerely relieved were they, seeing each other, both forgot to fight!!



“Khushi ji, have you settled in your new job? I was hoping to meet you today” Akash enquired bringing her fully back to current situation. Raising her eyebrows to show her surprise, she nodded, “Yes Akash ji, I am enjoying it, thanks. I just finished and I was leaving.. how did you know” 


“Er... well... Payal had told”


“Payal?”


Arnav kept gaping at their normal exchange of conversation. But before Akash spoke, the company manager Mr.Murthy was there to welcome the guests.


She gave once last look at Arnav and said, “please give my regards to Anjali ji, Lavanya, Nani and everyone at home”



********************************************

“I can’t believe all this is happening behind Nani ji. Look at this report from the investigators. How is it possible.” Both Nani and Lavanya sat thinking hard. ” But Nani ji why did you not tell Khushi about it, or her Buaji when she first told you? See how dangerous he is, I hope he has not done anything”


Lavanya had to cut short her stay at her parents flat and get back to RM. (La’s parents are not in Delhi, they are in London and they just have a flat in Delhi which La uses while she is in India )


After Nani had confided in Lavanya, both had given it a thorough thought and with Lavanya’s help, approached an independent investigator. “Nani ji, I am surprised you have confided in me and no other. I respect you for that” and giving her a tight hug, “love you too” embarrassing Nani.



To Lanvanya’s question, “Bitiya, true I was not happy with you in the beginning, but one thing was for sure even then, you never shied away from your opinions and you did not do anything in hiding. And if you were not intelligent, you would not be in the position you are at AR. Chote would never compromise when it comes to work. You may not have learnt our traditions and culture, but definitely, you have the knowledge of how the corporate world and how all the modern world works. See I did know about private investigators, but they existed only in movies, so I would not know how to go looking for them. At this age, whom could I ask?”


“Why not any family members, like Akash, Mama ji?” Lavanya wanted to know


“Because when it is a matter of our family, we don’t always think logically. We have seen them from as little as a child to grown up as adults, so we cannot think straight when we see some harm is being done to them”

Lavanya soon cut her off saying, “Nani you are the wisest here. You have managed to deal with this issue all alone”


“Now the trouble is how to tell the rest.”


Lavanya felt disheartened thinking of how the sweetest and most lovable person Anjali would go through all this.

“Nani you did not answer why you did not tell Khushi or anyone from their family to alert them?”

Nani replied calmly


“Beti, I have only spoken to Khushi once about this of which I told you. At that time, I wanted to assess the situation. We only know Khushi from a few months, other than that we have seen her Buaji and sister once. But I must say, she was carrying a huge burden on her. A burden of guilt, her helplessness to offer anything better to the family who have raised her as their own. You must have seen the peace and calmness on her face when she said every talk of marriage has been postponed after the engagement was cancelled. She was really relieved talking that day, getting everything off her chest.”



“I am worried how ASR will react..”


“Leave Chote alone, I am still not happy with him. He has been very inconsiderate and illogical in treating that poor soul” the calm Nani had turned quite cross even thinking of all the atrocities he had caused.



This was something new Lavanya learnt which threw a lot of light on what she has been lately pondering. What was it between these two?



So this was the history she had missed, how they met, how they fought, how unreasonable ASR had been ever since. He worked hard to keep her away, to such an extent she was surprised how much he had gone about planning to bring her down. Why? For the first time she saw someone challenge him, reason him, spoke to him without caring for his status, provoked him, and in all this, Khushi had won every time. How many times Khushi had managed to make him do things that even Anjali couldn’t. Even if he scorned, he was upset, he was still motivated by her, and enthusiastic to take on her next challenge. There was a gleam in his eyes. Was this a different kind of courtship they were playing with each other? It surely looked, but only time would say.


***********************************************


Khushi and Payal both sat looking at all the printouts Khushi had got from work.

“Jiji, look I told you na, we happened to be talking in the canteen when I was telling about by Babuji’s conditions, Ansh, one worker, no sorry, developer working there gave me these. One of his relatives had gone to this centre and he is doing quite well I believe now. “



“Yes Khushi I am seeing they have this centre for whatever it is called near Lucknow, so does that mean..” Though Payal liked Lucknow, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to leave Delhi. Did it have anything to do with a certain gentleman? But she knew that was no reason for her to stay when she had given up.



“Jiji these words are so confusing, I have been practising all the way. Cardiac rehabilitation, a centre for people who have suffered heart attack. There will be some exercises Yes Jiji, near Lucknow. Probably we should now think of moving, there. We can start Babuji’s business there, life is not as expensive as Delhi at least..” Khushi spoke, who was also in a similar situation as her sister. She closed her eyes. There was her man, holding her securely so she would not fall. She could drown in those deep dark brown eyes..... forever



The rest of the family had shown enough enthusiasm after they had listened to their ideas which was a good sign.

Buaji made sure to say, “we must tell this to Shyam babua and ask his opinion, he has been there all the time we have had to visit the doctors, getting medicines,.. It has been such a long time since he has gone now. Wonder where he is held up.” but soon everybody’s attention turned to Shashi who had gone violent nodding his head negatively. Khushi and Payal ran to him. Holding him, hugging him securely, when he was relaxed, they told “Babuji, dont worry, we will go there, you will become alright.”



Payal spoke firmly, “Buaji we will not wait for anybody. Khushi get all the details. You can stay here with Buaji, I will go with Amma and Babuji”



But Khushi would not have it, “Jiji, you are not going anywhere without me. Anyway my job is not permanent or fixed there. It is only temporary. We will all go there, I will also come. I will speak to the canteen manager and see what can be done, because I have just started..”



Both sisters lying on the bed, deep in their own thoughts on how to leave Delhi, were however determined to carry out the next plans.



"Jiji, I met Akash ji today. He knew I was working there?"

"Khushi I am sleepy, lets sleep"

******************************************

“Nani, here are the dates the pandit ji gave today” Anjali was eagerly going through the dates with Nani, Mami and Lavanya. Mami was all excited and obviously chose the nearest date which was three weeks away.

Seeing Nani and Lavanya silent, Anjali asked, “Why Lavanya are you not excited? Nani what do you say, which one would you choose”



“Anjali, you are forgetting one important person in all this.. “ she did not have to be reminded who it was since in walked the man in all glory, surprisingly in a better mood today, all cheerful. Wonder what the matter was??!! An accidental collision!!!



Thinking it was best to strike, Anjali called him to join with Akash for tea and a chit chat.


When she was sure he was in deed happy, Anjali told, “Chote, look, only today we got some dates. Took yours and Lavanya’s horoscopes. Don’t know why the pandit ji needed so much time,.. anyway see what date you want??“



That hit him. Hard. Reality. In an instant, all turned sour, “Di, I don’t believe in all this, and I don’t want to discuss anything.. don’t you people have anything else other this?” and he was off...

**********************************************************





Jul 3

Part 6 - Gone (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 62 times)

Thank you all .... here is the next part...


Part 6 – Gone



“You hate me right? You hate my middle class status right? Good, be happy, I am going away from your sight. I am going to Lucknow, forever... forever)





“Tum aise nahin jaa saktin Khushi,... KHUSHI”

(You can’t go like this Khushi... KHUSHI..)


He woke up with a start, sat upright, sweating all over. He saw his surroundings, wasn’t yet sure where he was.


He can’t get away from those words she spoke long back.


He could still see her fading figure going away, with her words still ringing in his ears 



“hate me right?....”



“Out of your sight ... “



“forever..”



“Lucknow..”



With each passing moment and each of her remarks ringing constantly in his ears, he came back to his senses, relief writ on his face. It was only a dream.



Busy preparing and helping in the kitchen for breakfast, Anjali, Nani, Lavanya and Mami all looked at one another’s face puzzled .. Did they all just hear ASR shout? The happy and jovial environment suddenly turned dense, each giving their own reasons. Though not very sure, Lavanya somehow felt everybody’s gaze was on her, until,



“Hello hai, Bye bye, Whys Arnav bitwa shoutings? Has this phati saari disturbed out Arnav bitwa agains in the mornings to shout at her like THAT? Have we not done bye byes to her, then who is he shouting at?” mami was animatedly speaking, looking at everyones expression, she continued cackling ”He can only get angry on phati saari, is she troublings in dreamwa too? .. hello hai bye bye.”



However none were too keen to laugh at her joke. How to bring the Shyam fiasco out was nagging Nani, Anjali worried after his outburst two days ago along with Shyam having gone again, and Mami’s joke only fuelled Lavanya into thinking worse..


The tense mood continued even at breakfast, except of course for Mami who was unaffected



“Arnav Bitwa? Did yous hab (have) any dreamswa? Anybody troubles you? You did not do joggings today? Did you knows, some peoples say, early mornings dreamwa comes true??” 



He choked on his toast, and every one stared at him, while Anjali passed a glass of water. He kicked himself for shouting out loud. 



When Mami did not receive any reply from anybody what so ever, she tried to change the topic, well at least she thought. “Anjali bitiya, phati saari has not come. One day she comes and says its her engagement, now what, is the wedding also over or will she directly comes with a childwa?? Ho ho ho”, she found it so funny she would not stop laughing, while Nani rolled her eyes and was going to inform about the cancelled engagement, Mami stopped her cackle seeing Arnav had started to now cough without breath. 



Anjali went over to him, stroking his back, offering  water, while Lavanya watched with mixed emotions. Things were getting more and more clearer, however she did not still want to give in to her doubts without solid proof. Or did she not want to accept or let go? However, from another angle she wondered, “why was it, she was never the caring type, why did she not run to stroke his back or give water. It never occurred to her. Or did she not care.. oh this is so confusing” 


“Manoroma, I think you should stop your jokes now” Nani spoke sternly, turning to Lavanya, “By the way Miss. Kashyap, I think you should call Khushi bitiya, it has been a while now, you seem to have forgotten. Anjali told me she has started working part time in a canteen. Ask her to see me after work if she can.”



Lavanya nodded, she knew Nani was really trying hard. Shyam had disappeared again, but they knew he was not in Lakshmi nagar and they also knew exactly where he was. They had to think fast to bring this snake out soon before he becomes dangerous, but it had to be done cleverly without putting anything or anybody at risk. She was waiting for her dearest son to return from his business meeting.



***************************************************



The early morning train journey had tired all the ladies and Shashi. Yet they all looked relaxed and contented. The warm Lucknow air made them feel safe and secure again in their perfect little world. The whole family, ready to face any challenges that lay beyond.



 “Jiji I am so happy to be back to our house. Hope all our problems will be solved. The girls coming over to Delhi, Khushi’s problems with her job, his medical condition getting worse. I hope Devi maiyya will make everything alright” Garima was talking to Buaji while the two younger girls were busy discussing something serious.



“Aye Garima, why do you worry. Our sanka devi is sanki, but she also has an ukkal (brain). See how well she has planned everything. Both Payaliya and parameshwari have sat together and organised this. See, even now they are up to

something. They have spoken to the people here, (those renting Gomti sadan, Gupta house in Lucknow) as well and arranged our stay. Now let the treatment begin, slowly Nandkis**** will look after everything....” 


Discussions over, phone calls over, Garima wondered when her little daughter had grown. Single handed, she had managed to plan all this. With the head of the family crippled since few months, hardly any work had been happening, with only Khushi fulfilling all the needs of the family . She was surprised to see the docile Payal actively engage with Khushi and eagerly help wherever possible. After all Khushi and Buaji were to return after a few days once the treatment begins and Payal would have to shoulder the responsibility. 



The rehabilitation centre, an NGO near the small village just outside Lucknow, at the banks of river Gomti, was a perfect place for Shashi. Run by local people with the help from visiting doctors from home and abroad, it had gained popularity by the simple yet effective treatment provided, using both yoga for Physio and modern medical treatment where needed.



“Amma, evening we will say hello to all the chachas and  chachis (Uncles and aunties), remember we need to leave early tomorrow morning. I can’t go back to Delhi in peace until I see everything and settle you guys there” Khushi was trying to update the family with their plans for the nth time and was always met with the same response,



“Do you have to go back beta? Can you not look for something here in Lucknow?”, not too happy to part with her daughter,  Garima questioned.



“Amma, you know I have just joined there and I am lucky that they allowed me to go for few days now. Like I said, I will speak to some people here about getting a job, then if something comes up, I can be here. Also amma, until we visit that place how will we know it is right for Babuji? What if we need to return back to Delhi?” Khushi told them as a matter of fact.



A more understanding Buaji told, “Garima, why do you worry? I will be with her. And moreover, how much can we keep borrowing? This time Happy ji has given, who will keep giving us? And you know most of the jewel’s are already pawned.”



“Amma, I am there with you, don’t you have confidence in me? Everything will be alright, you see soon Khushi will get some job in Lucknow, with the experience she has had in Delhi... then the centre is not far from Lucknow” Payal hugged her mum rolling her eyes listening to the same conversation again and again.

*****************************************************


It was nearly evening when Lavanya finally got the line to Khushi. Having tea with the rest of the family, she had just tried` one last time and it connected. For the first time ever, there was an odd feeling, either the feeling of inferiority or jealousy, Lavanya did not comprehend. She consoled herself into thinking Khushi may be totally unaware of his emotions and it may be just one sided. Anyhow, she did not let it reflect in her conversation and Lavanya spoke in her usual manner  “Where are you chamkeeli, I have been trying your number since morning."


"Lavanya ji.. .. I am in Lucknow, we were travelling and may be there was no signal. How are you?”


 “Lucknow?” 



All faces turned to Lavanya. Arnavs face went pale, felt a tumble at the pit of his stomach, and he whispered,

“Lucknow..” 


So it was true.. She had left him. Gone to Lucknow forever... Away from his sight..


Akash was disappointed. Even before anything could begun, she had gone. How will he proceed? 



Finishing the chat briefly due to poor signal, Lavanya cut the call and she did not wait for any questions. Looking their enquiring faces, she filled in with the details. Though out of his senses, he listened to every detail with utmost attention. 



Nani exclaimed, “Good, those girls are showing courage and have taken the responsibility of the family. Hope Devi maiyya will not disappoint them. Her cancelled engagement was a blessing”



“Cancelled?” Arnav turned around sharp.


“Yes Bhai, it did not happen at all” Akash spoke in a sad tone, but immediately bit his tongue for intruding and looked at Anjali, he was  now aware of his mums James Bond gaze on him with a questioning look “How do yous knows bitwa??”

But he was in no mood to answer anyone, he left ..



This was a sudden unexpected twist putting Nani into deeper thoughts. She wanted Khushi’s family, her son to be present... This matter was unnecessarily getting postponed, she had to think of an alternative soon.. 



“But she only joined the new place a few days ago” Anjali spoke sense for the first time as if she knew her brother had the same question in mind..


“Di she did not give me the details, the line wasn’t very clear either. I will try tomorrow and find out” Lavanaya was still half way through when she saw Arnav walk away dejected and defeated for the first time...


His mouth went dry, his legs shaky, he walked slowly to his room, with Khushi in his thoughts, so finally she had gone, rather he had succeeded in throwing her out of his life.  


“You hate me right? You hate my middle class status right? Good, be happy” her words were piercing his heart..

“No No Khushi you can’t” he whispered.. 







He could picturise her face stood holding the banister with one hand to support herself, heartbroken, tears pooling in her eyes, yet piercing his heart when she repeated



“does not mean anything...”





Jul 3

Part 7 - Seeds of Doubt (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 64 times)

Part 7 – Seeds of doubt..



With winter approaching, it was relatively less busy. Surrounded by beautiful scenery the Guptas were in awe. What with  comparing their busy life in Delhi, this seemed heaven. With just the family they never felt more united, more at peace. 

There were no boundaries for her now. Khushi was not bound to anybody. She felt like a little girl. She thanked Devi Maiyya for the umpteenth time for the cancelled engagement. Engage to a man she would never be able to love.  

She was mentally relaxed too. Perhaps for the first time after the sheesh Mahal incident. One event which had the domino effect of a series of events that followed, changing her, and their life forever. Somewhere she did not still regret anything when she recalled those chocolate brown eyes that had looked at her invoking an unknown emotion from her that sat at the bottom of her heart..



The Gupta’s saw many patients with similar conditions being treated by various assistants, family members and doctors. Seeing other patients some of whose conditions were worse than Shashi’s, their hopes rose. 



Dr.Kiran, an elderly doctor took a keen interest in the case, curtesy, Payal. She reminded him of his deceased daughter who had recently passed away in an accident in Europe. Taking history and making preliminary notes for the patient, the first question asked was, “Where are his medicines for the heart problem?” 



The ladies looked at one another blank faced. They had given him all they had. Taking the tablets from the doctor, Khushi explained, “These were the only medicines we have been giving him.”



Concerned, Payal asked, “What’s the matter doc, should there have been other medicines too?”



“Well beta, these are no tablets for his condition at all, they are just cheap vitamins, that you and I can take, but I have never come across these, thank god no harm has been done. Who gave you the prescription?” He told them point blank without any hesitation.



Buaji came forward, “We have a paying guest who has, until now looked after all his needs. I made sure we bring all that he has been taking, just check once more doctor..”, given a choice she would have taken the opportunity to praise the snake, but seeing the situation, she shut...



Garima came forward and said wisely, “Dr ji, please can you first see what needs to be done, give my daughters the list, they will try and get them from the nearest place”



“This place is meant for heart patients, so we stock up on these medicines. In any case, I will give you a list for you to keep.” So saying, he proceeded to do further checks along with a qualified male nurse for assistance. 

“Khushi, Payaliya, are you sure you have got all the medicine?” Garima questioned.



“Amma, I have been giving him regularly and I these are the only ones, I would have known if anything was missing. I have not seen their names, but I do know them by their different shapes and colours, their dose, and time...” Payal replied, “and when Khushi told me to take all the medicines, I emptied the whole drawer, because we don’t know how long it would take”



Once done, all retired to the single room accommodation Khushi had booked considering the costs involved. Tough times called for tough measures. They had seen worse, they would endure anything if Shashi could get well soon.



More than these thoughts, something was nagging their minds.. Missing Medicines. ... however the next two days they could already see a different Shashi, who looked more content and definitely motivated than the old lifeless man they had seen last few months. Little did they know that the absence of a certain someone was in itself enough. 

*********************************************************



Morning brought fresh bouts of pain and sorrow. Arnav Singh Raizada was utterly devastated. Arnav had come out of the shell he had build around ASR. He recalled his remorseful actions since Sheesh Mahal, realising how tougher Khushi was than him to endure his painful inflictions. He felt himself growing soft towards her.  



“Saanse rukh jaayegi (You will stop breathing)” He had laughed at his Di standing near the pool. He could no longer deny his feelings. She had seeped into his being breaking his armour and there was no way he could get her out. She was in his every breath. He made himself believe he didn’t care for her, tried giving all the reasons he could find. In spite of her low status, class, she had finally managed to silently break him and go away.



Along with this acceptance came the repentance of unnecessarily dragging Lavanya into his baseless plans of keeping Khushi away. He was ashamed. Arnav Singh Raizada was in deed ashamed of his actions. To mask his weakness towards Khushi, Lavanya was made the scapegoat. Despite his regrets, there was one question that nagged him, “Did Lavanya enter into this based on love? Does she feel the same way towards me like how I feel towards Khushi? ” he wasn’t convinced it was love.



Yet, dejected because of his own actions, he went about his business successfully avoiding the family especially Lavanya for the next  two days with the constant thought nagging him, “I have to tell her the truth, can’t insult her more, what do I tell her? How do I tell her??.. oh maaaa please help me..”



**************************************************

“Nani, you must visit that new temple near Karol bagh. Beautiful. What do you think Shyam ji? We should all plan to go there. Chote, no excuses, you have to come too. Mama, Akash I mean all of us” super excited Anjali was telling her family her visit with her husband at the dinner table. The snake had only returned late lunch and offered to show Anjali the new temple. The table was full tonight with everyone present.



Nani sat thinking all that had happened...



When Anjali had suggested going with the snake, Nani and Lavanya had looked at each other and made plans in their head to stop Anjali from going. Soon Mami had come to their rescue with “Oh Anjali bitiya, I will also come. Mrs.Agarwal, Mrs.Sharma have already seen and only I have been left behind in our group. If your mama comes early, we will drag him too.” 



But of course Mama only came after they had left and Nani had plenty of time to unload all the worries and tension slowly eating her away. Mama was quiet, but deep down he was crying for his Anjali. He had seen his sister go through the same ordeal and now his niece. After composing himself, he had told his mum, “Such a big issue, you should have called me right away. What can me more important than my family?” 


Again he continued “But like you said he was not here as well, but now we should make sure Anjali bitiya is with someone ALL the time. It is quite late for the time of the day today to do anything, tomorrow I will make some calls and we will sort this out. Amma make sure Anjali is with one of you.. “  


She got back to the present hearing the snake address. She was all ears, very alert. 



 “Yes yes why not Rani sahiba, we will go next week. I am a bit busy this week. We will ask the pandit ji there to arrange special pooja for our family. Why Nani ji..” He surely knew how to flatter the Raizadas, but not anymore, and definitely not Nani. 



“Oh yes you will be busy from tomorrow, no doubt...” thought Mama who had already made consultation with some of the officials..



Nani remarked, “Yes yes. We all need special pooja for this house. Anjali bitiya, we should also make a journey to Lucknow soon. I want to go to the dargah“



Arnav looked up immediately, as though he was woken from his sleep. His thoughts drifted  back in time. The same dargah, the key. The same key she had tried to return only  a  few days ago, only to be insulted again. Her injury, the temple, the ringing of bells with continuous murmur of chants, tying the gauze on her finger, she could still feel the softness of her delicate hands, which fit inside his so perfectly..  he closed his eyes



Suddenly opening his eyes, “hey wait a minute, she left the key here that day and since then I have not seen it...” 



He was out of his thoughts when he heard Lavanya  speaking with all vigour, “Yes di, then we can give a surprise to Khushi in Lucknow” but stopped when the snake choked and Anjali was all over him again..  (oooof)



Both Nani and Lavanya shared an understanding look.. “So this has come as a surprise to him!” 



All efforts were made to keep Anjali away from him for the night. With Nani feigning head acne and asking Anjali for a massage, the snake was more than accommodative, “Rani  sahiba, you should be with her tonight. We need to look after her well...” with Mami escaping lest she be called. 


***************************************************

“I can’t ignore them any more., all my plans are going awry.. what are they up to in Lucknow, what is this new game!! I thought if I am indifferent it would teach them a lesson, but no, this girl does not lack any adventures” grumbling, Shyam called Khushi...


“What are you all doing in Lucknow Khushi ji?” he snarled


“Shyam ji, we have come here for Babuji’s .... wait Buaji wants to speak to you..”  Khushi thrust the phone into Buaji’s hand, not liking the way he demanded to know.


“Haan, Namaste Buaji, you did not tell me you were going? What is this, why have you all gone to Lucknow” He again spoke accusingly, 


“But Babua I tried your number so many times, but you did not answer, you did not call either. It all came up so suddenly, we had to come for Shashi’s treatment” Buaji tried to explain


“TREATMENT?” he started to fidget with shock. “What treatment, where?”


“I don’t know this place, Khushi has got us” before he could ask to speak to Khushi or Buaji could say anything more, the line got cut and wouldn’t connect..


Shyam sat down, headache... he exclaimed “I should have killed that bugger in the hospital itself.. if that fatso Madhumati hadn’t come, Shashi Gupta would have been history”


...................................



That’s it for now... hope you all enjoy reading...

Precap....

Revealing the Shyam sham?????



Jul 6

Part 8 - Stage set (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 55 times)

Thanks to all the 'Thank yous' Hope you all enjoy the next part..


Special thanks to KhushiChaudhari, Londoner, arshigeet, Noordina, Nupur, Arch1885, kPoonam, Lily30, anjanaa, Sillylisa, Avnika..


I have also written a few OS, which I will post soon!! Happy Arshi ... ing



Part 8 – Stage set


Early morning saw Raizada mansion bustling with various activities. All getting about their business for the day. Nani casually mentioned at the breakfast table, ”Anjali bitiya, Keep your evening free, I want to discuss about the property in your mums name in Lucknow that your nana had left. It is quite a big piece of land, so I need to discuss. Manohar, Chote, Akash, I want all of you to be here as well... “  



Nani definitely knew how to keep the snake at home. Just as she knew, he did not budge out of the house the whole day. She did not want to wait anymore, not after what they had got to hear early in the morning....



In the privacy of her room, Lavanya was talking, “Nani ji, there is some good news. You know I have been trying since 2 days, finally, I just spoke to Khushi. She and her buaji is back in Delhi, she had to return to work today”

“Lavanya bitiya, Manohar has already made plans for today. I will talk to him... whether to call her or not..“



The stage was being set,... 

Very few times in his life Manohar took charge of the situation. And this was one crucial issue. On reaching the office,...

“Akash, Arnav, cancel all your meetings for today, I want to have a meeting with you two” 

Both the brothers looked at each other questioningly seeing how serious he was.. “Pa, is everything ok?”

“Mama?” husked ASR.. 

Manohar just patted both of them on the shoulder and moved to his room.



While the Raizada men were busy in the office, back in Raizada Mansion, Nani asked Anjali, “I want to go to the temple can you come with me..”

No surprises, Anjali  was excited initially, but thinking her husband is at home she suggested, “Nani I will ask him as well to come...”



“Bitiya, it will be quick, we will be back soon, why do you want to disturb him..“

Thankfully she was supported by the snake himself, who wanted to be left alone to do his planning for the property division, “Rani sahiba, listen to your Nani. She is correct, like all the time, I have some work, I need to make phone calls and I have to get some papers ready on the computer,.. you go ahead...” seeing her worried face, he assured “I will not go anywhere today!!”

He thought, “I need to sort that old Shashi soon, but I cant go to Lucknow, not today of course, will call Khushi and find out”



Back at the office in Manohar’s cabin, both brothers sat numb, dumfounded.  Unable to believe a single word Manohar told them. Though ASR trusted his uncle, there was some doubt, may be there was a mistake... Manohar was prepared for this, knowing this would be the case.. 



Meanwhile, back at the temple under the devine sanctity of Devi maiyya, Anjali sat numb, dumbfounded. She was sure there was some mistake. “Nani, Lavanya, are you both joking? Both of you are sitting in a temple and saying all these?” 

Lavanya squeezed her hand while side hugging with the other. “Di. I know it is a lot to take in. May be we should have prepared you or given you hints. First of all, we ourselves wanted to be cent percent sure. That’s why I hired the best investigators. Then mamaji was not here and you know he is Nani’s right hand man. Somehow she was not too keen on letting Akash and ASR know about this, especially how unreasonable he can be when he is angry and imagine when it comes to your matter, he would go ballistic...” 



No sooner had she said those words, along came the entire Raizada men to the temple. Both Akash and Arnav ran to hug her, comfort her. She wept. Wept like a child. Still some part of her didn’t believe what was happening. It was too sudden. 



“What am I hearing Chote? How can you believe it. You tell me Chote, all this is a lie. Akash tell them they are all mistaken.“



Still weeping, “I somehow cant believe it Chote, there is some mistake I feel” 



Mama went to Anjali, held her hand tight and spoke, “Please forgive your mama beti... I have failed.. I don’t know how to apologise to you.. I feel miserable”



All were surprised seeing his stance. Anjali looked at him confused. Mama continued, “Being the elder in the family, I should have made thorough checks on him. Now when we come to think of it, it was all too fairy tale like and we were all too engulfed in our own bubble, that we refused to open our eyes and see what was happening. He had indeed cast a spell on all of us.” 



He continued while the rest sat silent listening to him. “Arnav had reached his peak in the business, he became famous instantly, though nobody saw the hard work behind his recognition. Akash had just finished and joined the company, newly learning the ways of the business. This fame and money, was too much for us, never thought people would take advantage of us. Yet I had made some simple checks at the court, but just like how he has cast a spell on us, he has sweet talked everyone. How could we simply believe, someone coming as an orphan, no relation from any side and slowly become part of the family. At least we should have suspected when he started disappearing every so often, which lawyer goes on client visits like this?? What about money bitiya, was he taking any from you? Of course I don’t know how you are dealing with these matters.”



Anjali suddenly looked up and exclaimed though crying with hiccups, “There was so much money, Chote transferred every month to both my account and joint account without fail. He has sometimes asked me to transfer into joint account, when he had to deal with some poor clients. I never asked him anything and he has always had free access to my cards and accounts. But every month there used to be the minimum amount left, because I would sometimes check that account when I was doing the salary transfers for the Prakash family and the rest of the helpers at home...”



Again, going into a trans, she spoke, “Mami had seen this coming maybe, she once even mentioned when we were watching a show on TV and he had gone for a few days at a stretch .. “



By now, there were no doubts in the minds of everyone except of course Anjali still lingering with the thought there may be a mistake. Akash put forward the issue of confronting him with “Di do you want to do this today? Should we ask him showing the proofs and evidences before he gets a clue..”



“Isn’t that the plan Akash” Anjali looked accusing, as if to say, “Everything has been done, I have no say”



But Mama spoke, “No beti, nothing will happen if you don’t want to. Yes we are prepared for everything, if we need to do it today, but if you want time to think over it, then we respect your opinions and we will do exactly how you want to proceed, all we need to make sure is you are safe. We know people’s lives have been put in danger, that is our only concern”



Arnav spoke for the first time. “Di, your safety is of upmost concern for all of us. Unknowingly we have put you in great danger but not anymore. And if he gets a clue that we are aware of his cheating then we know you will be in danger.” Looking at her swollen face, red eyes, “Di, I did not believe it in the beginning. But when mama showed me all the reports, the photos, call evidence and the investigators they have used. But after listening to Lavanyas phone, I could not doubt it anymore, there is something going on.. ”



Anjali looked at him thinking, then turning to Nani, she spoke, “Nani, did he not say in the morning, listen to your nani, she is always right. So, go ahead with your plans. My life has always been like this Nani.. it all just changes instantly.. everything happens suddenly.. we are never prepared for it. But how can you prepare anybody for these things? My marriage broke, my parents left me. Just in an instant. One moment they were all there, enjoying, partying, and the next moment, all gone. Now, when I thought everything was going fine, I get to hear this. Honestly, my mind is blank. I can’t think? I have been with him for nearly 3 years now and not once, not once has there been any discord, any argument, any disagreement.... “ pondering while pausing to wipe her tears, “or do you say that should have been the primary cause of concern?”

Finally Anjali asked, “But have you ever thought, I dread to think, if it is a mistake, what will be consequences be? Just imagine falsely accusing”

Nani spoke “I can understand the seriousness of what you are saying beti, that was one of my concerns why it has taken this long as well.. only when I was sure, I put all my faith on Devi maiyya and started all this, without Ms.Kashyap I could not have done this.” She lovingly took Lavanyas hand, mentally thanking her.



Nodding at his Nani, Arnav addressed Lavanya, “Lavanya, I don’t know how we can thank you, you have used the best out there to get the information, otherwise I might not have believed in what I saw.. thank you..”



“You don’t need to thank her so much Chote, she will be..” before she could continue to get anything across, Arnav hurried them saying, “Nani I think we should get back first. Di, I think you should come to office and relax there for a while, think about it then we can decide..”



On the way, Akash asked “Nani you didn’t think it necessary to tell us? “ 



Gently stroking his cheek, she consoled him, “Sorry Akash, I would have told you definitely if Lavanya was not around. Also I could not tell you and leave chote..  and chote you know, he would not think rationally when it comes to Anjali.“

Akash left the issue turning his face away, though not satisfied. He exclaimed “Dadi, I myself need time  for this issue to settle in my head, just think how much Di will be feeling..”



Pressing his hand tight, Nani replied “correct bitwa, but some problems are so severe and so hard to accept, they should be shot and fired like a bullet and the matter should be finished then and there itself, all in one go. We cannot sit and mull over it.. lest our lives be in danger”



************************************************

Sorry guys, no Khushi at all in this chapter,...

Precap...

How will Khushi be involved in the matter...

What will Arnav’s reaction be.. and Khushi’s to Arnav..



Jul 8

Part 9 - The Sham (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 76 times)

Part 9 – The sham



The Raizada clan returned home by late afternoon. Though surprised his nagging wife had not returned, the snake however, thought it best to eat well and relax while the whole house was left to him, well almost. Little did he know the lamb was being fed before the sacrifice.. 



Mami hugged Anjali when she came in. Her heart bled to see the girl in pain. How painful it was to even hear, when her husband had recounted all that he knew. These children had to go through this again. History being repeated, similar situation for her sister-in-law. But she knew Anjali was not weak like her mum, she would rise from the ashes... a little bit of time..



Lavanya was pacing up and down the guest room while Nani was trying to calm her down. She complained  “It is already tea time Naniji, I had asked them be here early so that I could update them. Now there is not much time for anything. I also told her that there is a surprise and she is not to come through the main door and call me as soon as she reaches..“ 



A distressed Arnav walked in to get an update when he saw both his Nani and Lavanya tensed. 


“What’s the matter.. all ok?” he asked concerned.. but no sooner had he asked, he turned around and whispered

“Khushi...”


Oblivious to Nani and Lavanya looking at him puzzled, he was transported to his own world. He could feel the light soothing breeze and knew she was here.. He closed his eyes for a moment, when Lavanya’s phone rang..



“Its her..” saying so, but still looking at ASR with her mouth open in wonder, she went out answering the call. She had to make sure they were escorted without being noticed.. a mammoth task considering Buaji ... ahem....



In spite of the extreme anxiety, sorrow pain he was in, he wanted to catch a glimpse of her.. Khushi, who had devoured his thoughts day and night. Khushi, who had taken away his life when he came to know she had gone to Lucknow forever.. Just one glimpse..  he stood grounded unable to move. When Lavanya ushered both the guests in, both were puzzled. Khushi felt his gaze upon her as soon as she entered,  stopped for a moment, looked deep into his eyes and proceeded when Buaji pulled her in. Though she was not aware of the reason, she felt sadness engulf her. She knew he was in pain. 



Nani spoke very briefly, “Madhumati ji there is something very serious that you should know.. it is our family issue, but you are all involved in this”



Buaji was more puzzled, nudging Khushi, “Hey Sanka devi, what have you done now? Hai re nand kis****” 



Khushi pouted and opened her mouth wide to clarify, when Nani ji shushed her, “No no, she has not done anything at all..” 



Khushi smiled as if to say, “See I told you I am not involved..”  



Small smile rose on Arnav looking the cute exchange taking place and was surprised and angry at the same time, how he could smile when such a serious matter was being discussed. Seeing her after a long time, his senses were running wild. Corner of his hear, he was happy to see her again, and he was relieved she was safe..



Lavanya was very observant through out the process, she was pretty much sure what would happen between the two, and she was half prepared, though she still did not like to accept. Arnav hurried Nani off leaving Lavanya to brief Khushi and Buaji about the issue, who could only tell them to watch what was to take place... 



After a good long nap, the snake came about ready for evening tea, surprised his wife was still absent. Mami, once again did the honours of feeding. Anjali walked in escorted by Akash, sat blank faced. Arnav and Akash sat next to her each holding her hand. Making sure the family was all there to support Anjali, Mama addressed the snake, while Lavanya got Khushi and Buaji to watch the show from behind Shyam..



“We have been seeing that you are very busy last few months, any problem?” Mama started..



“Oh Mamaji, what do I  say, work has been such, needs my constant attention..” he sweet talked once again. Looking at  Anjali tried to change the subject, with “Rani sahiba, you have been out whole day.. was there any special pooja? What took you so long. You look tired”


Khushi and Buaji looked at each other recognising the voice. Arnav was fuming with anger and wanted to rip his skin bare. Nani literally had to hold him so as to deal with the matter sensibly and not blow it out of control.



Mama interrupted, “We have not been looking after you properly, tell us we can also help in“



Getting squirmy, the snake replied “Oh, no nothing that I cannot handle, just a few issues, most of it is sorted now...”



Coming straight to the point, “One of my friends saw you somewhere in Lakshmi nagar I believe.. “



 Shyam jerked up with a cough and looked at Mama. 



“So damad ji, is this issue in Lakshimi nagar?”



Taking some deep breaths, to think of a quick answer, “Oh, yes I have been there lately because I have a very troublesome client there.”  Thinking it is best to give a good explanation and stop the interrogation, he told, “You see Mama ji, I met this middle aged lady, Madhumati, at court at few months ago, who has been fighting her pension case since last few years. Nobody was ready to help that poor soul so I took the case and I have been trying hard to get that case resolved” 



When he saw all were still looking at him, he continued, “That lady is a pest, hence nobody was taking the case. It would have all been done by Diwali, but few obstacles came up, now I reckon, it might take another few months”.  Thinking that much of information of ample, he stood up to leave saying, “Rani sahiba, I must make some phone calls..”



He’d had enough now. Freeing himself from his Nani’s grip, ASR stood up, strode towards Shyam, holding his collar, snarled. “Did you try to get engaged to Khushi?”



Alarmed, Shyam staggered back. Immediately getting defensive, angrily replied “Rani sahiba what is this nonsense going on? “ 


All waited and looked at Anjali who was sitting with tears streaming down. Seeing that Anjali was quiet, he tried to get free from his hold, “Ask your chote to back out, what is he talking about?”



Tightening his grip further more, “Did you or not?”



Realising he has been caught, and knowing the ASR would not leave until he answers, “I told you I had to deal with the case, that’s all.”



ASR jerked him, to which he tried to play emotional blackmail, “Saale saab, do you even have any idea what you are talking. I am your sisters suhaag (husband)” 



Now he shouted, “DID YOU OR NOT?” scaring the pants out of Shyam and even scaring the rest of the people in the house.



Squirming under his grip, Shyam tried to weave a story “I told you that lady, I met at the court, she is her Buaji. Mad lady I must say. She has been trying to get rid of her orphan niece and hence pestering me. Of course I would not do that to my rani sahiba. In spite of me telling her I cannot, she would not listen. She is evil. Her brother is not well and she thinks he will get better if I marry her niece, she is trying to take advantage of my kind nature” 



Knowing ASR hated Khushi, “And you know that Khushi, she is no less. Ready to do anything for money. She was behind you isn’t it saale saab, but when she realised she could never get you, she agreed to her Buaji to settle with me. Rani Sahiba told me how she still keeps coming here. Saale saab, you hate her so you are safe, but Akash you need to be careful with these girls. That is why I said this was all muddled up, so I had to settle all this..” 





“So you need to stay in their house as paying guest to settle this?”.. ASR hissed, shaking him violently, punched him on the face and loosened his grip. Akash ran to Arnav before he would hit him more. Shyam fell back, but got his control and stood tall, but then again,


SLAP.....


Shyam stood stunned. More by her presence than the slap. Stood in front of him was none but Buaji, who had heard enough. “How dare you? I trusted you, because you saved Khushi from the goondas. Our family was and will always be grateful for that act of yours. But what makes you think I will give my nieces hand to a married man? Chi. We don’t share a blood relation, but there is a better relation above all, that of the heart. I will never put my sanka devi into any trouble.


How much she resisted, but it was me who forced her, if only I had know what a creep you were!! ” 


Turning to nani, she declared, “Deviyani ji,  I swear on my nand kis****, We did not know any of this. We met this scumbag in Lucknow, then again accidentally in Delhi, and he sneakily got into our house saying he was an orphan and did not have a place to live. Yes, we were in need of money, we had an extra room, so we offered. Now after seeing and hearing so much, this has been planned by this scoundrel. You have saved my pameshwari from this dirt. What a sin, what a sin, Hai re Nandkis**** .”



This was getting out of his control  now. Shyam had to get away, What would he say now? Not bothering with anyone, he turned to his soft spot, 



 “Rani Sahiba, they are all accusing me and you are sat there like a stone not saying anything. My love for you is exceptional, they are doing a mistake. All this is a set up to get more money from you. Don’t trust these middle class people” while pulling some emotional chords he highlighted ASR’s hatred towards Khushi. But the plates had changed. Being away all the time, he was not aware of the change in both their feeling for each other.





Khushi ran to Anjali. “Anjali ji, trust me, I had no clue he was your husband. Ask your nani, she knows everything, I met him in Lucknow. You know don’t you, Anjali ji, I would  never do this. Please Anjali ji trust me. I swear on my devi maiyya. You can ask me to swear on anybody you want, we are innocent.” Anjali still did not move, but was continuously crying. 



Mamaji came forward, put his hand on Shyam’s shoulder, asked him to sit. Taking out the one envelope, put it under his nose. 



Arnav was fuming. “Mamaji, just call the police and chuck him out right now, then you can show him everything.” Manohar looked at Arnav and nodded his head to calm down.



Shyam opened to see a detailed report of his calls, his visits and stay in Lakshmi nagar, eye witness evidences of locals. 



He was sweating profusely by now. Turning to Anjali, 



“No no no, Rani sahiba, there has been some mistake. I am not whom they are making out to be. Listen to me.” Shyam pleaded. Anjali though, was numb.



Putting forward Lavanyas phone, Mama ji played the voice recording. Though the voice was distorted in the beginning, it only got clearer as it progressed. It was the conversation Shyam had on phone to Khushi after he came to know they had gone to Lucknow. 


Khushi and Buaji came forward to listen carefully when she heard her name. 



Recording start.............. (This took place in part 7)


 “What are you all doing in Lucknow Khushi ji?” he snarled


(“Shyam ji, we have come here for Babuji’s .... wait Buaji wants to speak to you..”  Khushi thrust the phone into Buaji’s hand, not liking the way he demanded to know.) on the other end


“Haan, Namaste Buaji, you did not tell me you were going? What is this, why have you all gone to Lucknow” He again spoke accusingly, 


(“But Babua I tried your number so many times, but you did not answer, you did not call either. It all came up so suddenly, we had to come for Shashi’s treatment” Buaji tried to explain ) - other end


“TREATMENT?” he started to fidget with shock. “What treatment, where?”


(“I don’t know this place, Khushi has got us” before he could ask to speak to Khushi or Buaji could say anything more, the line got cut and wouldn’t connect..)  - Other end


Shyam sat down, headache... he exclaimed “I should have killed that bugger in the hospital itself.. if that fatso Madhumati hadn’t come, Shashi Gupta would have been history”

Recording end


Shyam went red. He looked here and there, but he had run out of all the excuses. 


Buaji drew in her breath sharply. She looked at Khushi who had gone blank. Of course she remembered the conversation she had had when she had handed the phone to Buaji.. 



Khushi was mumbling repeatedly. “He tried to kill my babuji. He tried to kill my babuji”. Covering her face with both hands she finally broke down. Arnav came running to Khushi concerned, but before he could speak to her, Buaji and Lavanya came forward and sat her on the sofa to comfort her. 



Shyam tried going towards Anjali, but  again, Mama put forward another envelope...



He was startled, stupefied and felt defeated, looking at the contents of the envelope. All the doors seemed to be closing one by one. Now, there was NO WAY OUT,.... All looked at him for his reaction. Khushi and Buaji wondered what is more in store!!


Still he did not want to give up. 



“Don’t believe anything going on Rani sahiba. All this is a lie. Come let us go away from here, I don’t want to stay here any more. I want to go away with my wife to our own house. Come Rani Sahiba...” 

*********************************************************************************************



Phew That’s all 

Next part........

What’s in the other envelope...



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