Arshi - Reawakening

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Oct 17

Part 20 (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 52 times)

Part 20 – New relations??

Way back home was disturbing. Khushi was surprised at her behaviour. Mentally cursed herself, “What happened to you Khushi kumari Gupta. Where did your self control go? What were you blabbering all the while.. Have you forgotten everything?”

Payal, though had her own worries. She was to be shown to a prospective groom. Would she be able to love anybody when her heart longed to belong to the tall spectacled man? But what could she do? Her thoughts went to Sheesh mahal when she was surprised by his mum’s visit. “Why was his mum here? Other than the mocking comment she made early on, she was in fact quite hospitable to the sisters”

Payal came out of her thoughts when she heard, “Not again. No Devi Maiyya, please..” Khushi’s behaviour had slowly started to worry her. “What has happened to Khushi? Why this sudden change? Again she is saying ‘not again..’ Is she disturbed by the fall again?” Payals thoughts went to the constant telecast of the TV footage when Khushi fell for the first time.

Khushi though, was still having flashes of previous images playing in her mind... 

“Get out” she was stranded in the middle of the road late night,

“It does not matter to me if you exist or not. Don’t think Arnav Singh Raizada will be affected by a middle class girl ”

“Don’t think your life is settled because a rich man had kept your payal (anklets) ”

“It does not mean anything”

 “It means nothing to me”

Khushi looked confused when Payal shook her and the rickshaw driver asked “Madam how can it not mean anything. It IS 80rs “

Paying the auto fellow Payal dragged Khushi home to be greeted by a loud 

“Hai re nandkis****, look what time the girls have come? Is this is the time to come? Don’t you know you both had to be here early and get ready ? Now what are you both looking at me? Go and get ready”

Knowing their Buaji’s restlessness, both girls did not bother to waste any time in recounting their day at Sheesh Mahal, it could wait.. 


Anjali and Nani were amused by Arnav praising. “Di, Payal and Khushi are really good at dealing things. Do you know, how much I tried to lure them to accept, but they were quite stubborn, or rather thought of the  business before jumping in it looking at their benefits”

However, seeing all the dull faces at the dining table, Arnav enquired, “What happened Di, you were ok, why are you all down?”

Nani spoke “Someone is coming to see Payal today. That’s why they had to hurry”

“Oh is it? ” was all he could say and mentally prepared to mention the same to Akash and hurry himself, if he was really serious.

“I spoke to Madhumati ji. The boy has come from London for a few days and his parents want him to get married. So if things go well, they might get them married before he goes back. Seeing Payal, I don’t think it will be a problem”

Nani saw how mami was squirming in her seat, who was in a dilemma? What will happen to my Akash if this happens? What if he never marries? Oh my God... I need to think..

Arnav was seeing Mami’s face to gauge her reactions, but what he heard next put him off completely,

Looking intently at Arnav, Nani continued, “Oh and Madhumati also told me the Boys cousin may also accompany them since they are also seeking for a  girl. She joked saying how Khushi and Payal would always wanted to marry two brothers.. and it might become true..”

“What the..? why marriage for Khushi? Did they not see what happened by hurrying? They have still not learnt their lessons” he almost raged.

Nani replied calmly, “Chote, not only them every parent from our generation has that mentality. And she told this time they will do thorough checking before agreeing. And what do you mean why marriage? How long will the girls sit, they too will have aspirations to have a family of their own, raise children.. ”

Getting angry at all of them, he walked away angrily leaving them all wondering, why does it bother him?


Sitting uneasily in the cane chair the next evening and drinking tea, Manorama scrutinised the small comfy house the Gupta sisters had in fact literally been running on their own. Despite, not accepting their credibility, she could not find loop holes to reject however hard she tried. The only fact that they were poor was no longer accepted by any.

“Bitiya, we are very happy you have come” Garima came with a plate laden with sweets speaking to Anjali.

“Actually aunty, because Mami has come we were going around Lucknow showing her around and since we were close by, we thought we could visit you. We wanted to see how uncle is feeling back at home. Moreover, chote wanted to discuss the deal with Khushi. Where are they, both are not to be seen?” Anjali explained.

Anjali stopped Garima when she offered the sweets to Arnav, but Buaji proudly told everyone, “It is fine he can have it. Now our Khushi bitiya has become in expert in doing sugarless sweets. With the help of the doctors in the centre, she learnt about shakkar ki bimaari (diabetes) and now she has one section with sugarless sweets. ” With that, Buaji did not leave Arnav until he has tried some.

Anjali watched her brother change his expression. What was that? And what is going on? Does Khushi ji too have feeling for her brother?

“Payal has gone out to get some stuff for the house, and Khushi is busy in the garage preparing for tomorrow.” Garima told them but was immediately surprised when Arnav got up suddenly.

“I will go meet Khushi there” and he was off in no time at all. Only when he stepped out of the door did he realise, he had no clue where she was. 

Garima, who had followed him showed the garage which had been converted into a kitchen for their catering services. 


After sending the two helpers with Payal, Khushi sat with all the books to finish the accounts before retiring for the day. Having spent the evening at Sheesh mahal the day before, she had some backlog of work pending. But could she get any thing right when her heart was beating so erratically? Is Arnavji here she wondered and her doubts were soon cleared when she saw him at the door with his arms crossed across his chest and looking intently at her.

Once again, her first reaction was “Hey Devi maiyya.. it is him” 

But today she was back in her senses. She could deal with him. Though not expecting him, she was prepared. Last nights sleepless thoughts would not go wasted...

“Arnav ji YOU ... HERE?”  she stopped. She did not know what to ask him. She had not expected to see him. Well, in not so posh area of Lucknow. 

Without blinking, walking towards her, Arnav asked, “Why am I not allowed here?”

“No, nothing of that sort, but ... “ she trailed off as her throat went dry with every step he neared her. Then gathering some courage Khushi tried to get up with, “Everybody is inside, come I will show you..”

Stopping her midway from getting up, Arnav was quick by her side.  “I know Khushi, I came to talk to you. Do you even know what you are doing? What are you doing?” 

Little did she think that he was referring to last night’s bride ‘seeing’ ceremony. Clueless and confused about the question, she looked in the book trying to check if Arnav ji had found some mistake in her accounts.

Scratching her head in confusion, showing her book “Why what’s wrong with this?”

“Don’t try to act Khushi, you know very well what I am referring to” His voice started to show his anger.. 

Looking at him blankly she asked, “Arnav ji please be clear”

“Don’t you understand damn it? You are getting married? What is the hurry? After all that has happened? What is the hurry? You have proved yourself again. I thought it would take time for you to get over all that has happened, but here you are already planning... ” he was inches in front of her face.

Thoroughly upset with his outburst, Khushi finally understood what he was on about. She watched him get more angry when she moved a few steps behind to maintain her distance, but she was equally angry at him,

“Because I am not like you to go around bossing everyone in the family. One day you tell them you will get married, next day you say no, they all listen to you. You don’t know realise how hurt they feel every time you speak bitterly. Do you know how much my family has suffered because of all that has happened? First my Jiji’s wedding got cancelled, then mine was another disaster. Still they don’t want to show us they are upset, and life does not end if one person says no. They strongly believe a good life awaits us out there. And I will do anything to make them happy.” 

Looking at him closely again, she repeated, “anything.. but I don’t know why I’m explaining all this to you. You will not understand and moreover why do you care what happens to us? What does it matter to you whether I marry or not?”

“It matters damn it.” He rushed towards again, but if not for Payal who had come near the door looking for the very man, rage at being talked to in such a manner Arnav was about to grab her hands, he moved back immediately. Looking at both their faces, Payal did not fail to notice the dense air between the two as soon as she entered. Coming straight to business

“Arnav ji, did you want to discuss about catering?” she asked.

Still upset with their argument, “ah.. yes, no, I will call back later” and he went out to fetch his family.. cursing himself.. “This girl is going to kill me one day. Why are they in such a hurry. How could I not concentrate on my business.” But soon his thoughts went back to previous day imagining Khushi in red saree bringing tea for the prospective grooms “How can she do this” he fisted his palm.


“Oh thank God the Ladke waale (Boys) did not come to see the girls.” Mimed Mami as they entered the Mahal after their visit to the Gupta’s.

“What the? Did they not come? Why did you not tell me?” Arnav looked at both his Di and Nani.

Anjali and Nani gave a look at each other not knowing what to say. Nani took the reins in her hand and said, “I want to get this sorted. Chote, we did not think YOU would be interested in knowing about it. It has nothing to do with your business. And Manorama, what difference does it make to you if the boys came to see Payal or not?”

Seeing Arnav mumble, Anjali came forward with “Chote, if you want to know then let me tell you, there has been some change of travel plans for the boys and their mediator, the temple priest, only told them yesterday.” 

Anjali  was getting all excited, “You know what, they have asked for photo, I told them to send Khushi ji’s calendar shoot photo. That will be good isn’t it? You should..”

Before she could continue, Arnav stopped her with a loud “Di, NO ” 

Everyone stopped and gave him strange looks. Realising what was happening, “a a I mean that photo belongs to AR and I did not publish them, so they can’t use it.” Saying so he stormed off with “You people have nothing else to do”

Having seen enough, Nani turned her attention to her daughter in law, “ Manorama, why are you happy? Don’t you want them to marry into a good family?” 

Mami was in a fix. How can she put forward her acceptance? She could not sleep the whole of last night thinking her son would remain a bachelor or he would never be completely happy in his family if he did marry any other girl. 

Her husbands words were still echoing in her ears, “Mano, why are you so stubborn? See if you don’t agree he will not go against you, but do you think his life will be happy with someone else when he has given his heart to somebody else? You imagine his family!!“

Giving it a thorough thought, she finally said,.. “aaa aaa why should they not? Aaa I mean, they are nice girls and where can they get a better family than ours? Aaa well I mean if Akash is ready,... then we can say hello hi to the girls..” she did not want to stand there anymore embarrassed. But Anjali would not leave it there...

She limped to her all excited, gave her a tight hug “Mami.................. really? Does that mean... you have..” 

Did she need anything more to bring tears of joy!


How was it???? Please comment...

Oct 23

Part 21 - Envy (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 54 times)

Thank you all for your wonderful support...

Hope you like this update... Please comment

Part 21 – Envy..

No sooner had Mami accepted, Anjali saw herself going excitedly to her brother’s room, only to find him agitated and pacing round his room... really upset “Nobody ever bothers to tell me anything. And Khushi? Talk to her and she goes on with a big lecture!!”

“Chote... chote.. have you heard” he frowned with the disturbance.

“Di, if you don’t tell me, how will I know?” Even the excited face of his Di did not bring any joy to the irritated man..

“Congratulations... Mami has agreed” 

Well this did bring a smile on his face. It was in deed a good news. Seeing his brothers sullen mood last few months was depressing for the whole family, and to Arnav who did everything to keep his family happy did not like it when he was unable fix it with anything....

“Di, for once your excitement is justified. ” he very heartily hugged his sister 

“Congratulations Di, we must inform Akash and ask him to come over immediately.” Both sat down discussing the news when he suddenly came with, “Di, you know what, knowing their Buaji, it is better we go there ASAP and get this deal, otherwise, you know how she is.”

“Chote, you will not leave your habit. What did you think? This is some kind of a business? But like you said, we should speak to the elders and get their word. I just hope they wont have any problems.” Anjali corrected her brother.

“Problem? Really Di, what problem will they have, I’m sure they will be glad and immediately agree? They will never find anybody better for Payal” Arnav did not fail to show his arrogance to his sister.

“You still don’t understand them Chote. They value relations of the heart more than your money or status. If they wanted to, they could have done so many things... anyway leave it” she was sad with her brother’s attitude, but stopped when they saw their Nani too had come to the room now. 

Nani however had come there for a reason. To see what his reaction would be.. “Chote, you must make sure this marriage happens without any problems.” Looking at Anjali she continued, “You know Anjali, I am a bit disappointed though. Madhumati was planning on getting the sisters married in the same family. Now, we don’t have anybody in our family, so they might just give Khushi bitiya’s hand to the other family itself..”

Arnav stared at his Nani,  while Anjali took the cue and said “Well Nani we could have got Khushi also into out family if only” and both Anjali and Nani at Arnav

“What, why do you look at me like that?” He tried to stay cool, but Anjali said, “No no, we did not mean you,” to which Nani gave huge nods. But Anjali suddenly changed her tone, “Chote I do know how much you dislike Khushi. I know how you have reacted every time I tried to call her home, you were furious when I  first called her to train Lavanya, and in fact Khushi ji also did not want to be there when you were home. I still remember the harsh words you spoke when we tried to bring back Khushi to help for your engagement.. How much you hated.... ”

The painful memories and Khushi’s tearful eyes made his heart ache. “Di” he whispered softly to stop her narrating his despicable behaviour.

Nani abruptly interrupted with all excitement, “Anjali, I was thinking of NK. Khushi and NK’s jodi (couple) will be really good. Both of them are fun loving and full of life. It will be fabulous.. ”

Anjali now having caught on with the excitement again literally shouted “Nani you are a genius. Oh two weddings... I will message NK straight away and ask him to come early for Akash’s wedding..  so that he can get time to spend time with Khushi”


“What the, Why are you all behind Khushi. Leave her alone, how do you know she wants to get married?” Arnav spoke with rather resentment only to get odd stares. He tried to justify with, “I don’t think Khushi wants to get married. It’s just her family and now you both behind her.. ”

Going towards Arnav, gently stroking his cheeks, Nani told, “Chote, I always wanted a girl like Khushi for you, to bring some happiness into your dull life , which is nothing but your business. How can anybody not like her? She is beautiful, but more than that ahe has a heart of gold and a positive approach towards life. Every time they faced difficulty, they rise from the ashes, picking up all the pieces without losing their self respect. See how their life has improved. But of course, what can we do? You will not listen. If you just give me one hint, see I will speak to Shashi myself.” Nani tried to get something out of him, but would he agree?

Both Anjali and Nani looked at him eagerly, but all he spoke was, “Nani lets get Akash’s wedding fixed first....” 


Unaware of all the developments with regards to their future lives, life was still as normal as ever in the Gupta household. Both girls were busy with their catering services. Business doing well with words quickly spreading across.. ... 

“Jiji, I have this appointment with Mr.Sharma, he wants to discuss about the lunch box service we provide ” Khushi was discussing with Payal who was on her way for doing the purchasing..

“Mr.Sharma, oh that Lucknow cotton warehouse manager? Yeah I remember. Khushi, explain clearly, don’t get excited and agree to all their terms and conditions.. Remember, last time we met them they were asking for too much for too less. Does not matter if we don’t get the deal, tell them we will get back if you are doubtful... and listen, be careful... ”

No sooner had she stepped in, she knew..  Her heart beats rose, and there was a whiff of air which stilled the moment. “Hey devi maiyya? Is he here?” She wondered, while she took the seat the receptionist offered. And talking to the manager Mr.Sharma, was none other than the very man she was thinking about. He knew too, as soon as she had entered the premises, he stilled and whispered, “Khushi?”

In entered Mr.Sharma’s secretary, Ria, who went straight to her boss and whispered into his ears. Seeing he was still busy with ASR, she said, “Shall I ask Suraj to meet her and finalise the deal” and gave him a wink, which did not go unnoticed by ASR.

“Ria, you know I want to meet her. Just give me two minutes and I will be with her.” Sharma replied in an urgent tone..

Seeing the boss and secretary’s conversation and the wink she gave him, “What the? What’s happening?” Arnav wondered, but was soon cut off from his thoughts by Sharma discussing the project.

Finally, after two minutes,  “ASR, the fabric manager will show you around the different fabrics and designs, then I will meet you.” Sharma was trying to hurry the meeting.

Irritated by his behaviour, Arnav went out all angry only to exclaim, “You” when he saw  Khushi waiting outside Mr.Sharma’s cabin. The boss and secretary conversation came to his mind and he again said “you”. Sharma wanted to talk to Khushi.. He went green. How dare he...

Though not completely surprised to see him, she stood up with “Arnav ji?” 

Walking to straight to her, “Khushi I want to talk to you. Now..”

Knowing she has come for a meeting he spoke “Ok, I will drop you off after the meeting I will be waiting.”

Though reluctant Khushi nodded, but she knew there was no point in arguing with him just before the meeting.

Arnav being Arnav was impatient. More so when Khushi was concerned since his adrenalin went on an overdrive. After finishing the rest of his meeting, he sat waiting in his car, drumming the steering wheel when he saw Khushi come out with Sharma who was literally following her  like a...

Oh he could not see this anymore. His eyes wed red seeing Sharma smiling and listening to Khushi with all interest, while Khushi full of life explaining animatedly whatever it was.. Walking straight over to them, claiming Khushi’s hand from the air, he asked, “Mr.Sharma if you are done, Can I take Khushi now? I need to discuss something. Aa well personal..”

Sharma looked confused and gave a queer look at Khushi. Seeing it was ASR, prospective client, he said goodbye. Feeling rather uncomfortable and very angry, Khushi reluctantly walked over to the car. She did not like what transpired a few minutes ago, even though nothing much was said.

Sitting quietly inside, without her seatbelt, turning to him, all angry, she said, “How could you talk like that? What will they think? I did not want to create a scene and that’s the only reason I came. Now I am going. I don’t want a lift from you, I don’t want to discuss anything with you” She turned to open the door, but Arnav was too quick, he locked it.

She looked at him horrified. With eyes wide open, “Arnav ji?”

He calmly replied, “Khushi I said I want to discuss something”

Loosing all her temper, with raised voice, “Yes I know you want to discuss the business. You could have called me, or meet me at home, but not like this. And what is personal there? Why did you say that? What will they all think about me? There can never be anything personal” 

“Khushi put your belt on!” and he started the car.. Having no way out, she obliged.. but as was her problem, with him around, the seatbelt would not budge. Finally, Arnav had to intervene. Once done, with faces only nearly touching, Khushi tried to move back in her seat. Her face went red and she thought he can feel her cheeks burning. Looking into her eyes, he whispered, “Mami has agreed for Akash and Payal marriage”

Khushi could not think. How could she? With him so close, her heart was beating as if she had ran hundred mile an hour, her mind had gone completely blank. Poor Khushi repeated “aa, Akash, Payal, marriage” bringing out the famous one sided smile on Arnav’s face, making her go even red if it was possible.

Enjoying her confused state he told in his husky voice, “Khushi, We are going to be related now” only to hear her say “aaa related...”

Leaving her to digest his words, he started but  had to nearly apply the emergency break five minutes later when he heard.. “Whaaaaat? Mami ji agreed??” 

Lucknow being a small town, the ride wasn’t too long, and when they came home, both stood rooted to the door when they heard Buaji consoling Payal “Payaliya, don’t you worry, I will sort out every thing for you..”

Oct 26

Part 22 - Persuasion (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 68 times)

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. 

Hope you all enjoy reading the next part.. Couldn't stop myself from writing the next part..

Part 22 – Persuasion

Lucknow being a small town, the ride wasn’t too long, and when they came home, both stood rooted to the door when they heard Buaji consoling Payal “Payaliya, don’t you worry, I will sort out every thing for you..”

Buaji continued  “So what if they have all the money and status? We will not give our daughter if she cannot be happy there. Hai re Nandkis****. I don’t know why they are behind my girls, first my parameshwari was tortured, now...”

Knowing what might follow if Buaji is left to continue, Khushi was about to knock the door, when Arnav held her hand to stop. He gave her a pleaded look and very quietly whispered “please”. And they listened to the conversation.. 


Payal: “Buaji what are you talking about now? What happened?” (Though she could not see, Khushi could sense her sisters confusion)

Buaji: “We have got a rishta (alliance) for you. And you will not believe it, it is from the big Raizada”

Payal: “But Buaji, How is it possible Arnav ji ....”  (While Arnav stood with eyes wide open, he saw Khushi nodding her head negatively...)

Payal was was cut off by Garima

Garima: “Devyani, Anjali and Manorama came today to ask for your hands for Akash.”

Buaji: “It was a good thing you were not home, we got away telling them we will speak to you and get back. Otherwise it is hard to straight away refuse on their face.. Hey Nand kis****, please show us how to deal with this situation..”

Garima: “Bitiya, Our world and their world is completely different. You may have all the riches there, but we don’t want to put you in a golden cage. I will not like it if you are taunted for your money and status for the rest of your lives. You may find it hard to get adjusted to their standards. They are rich people. We have to carefully think and answer them. We did the right thing isn’t it? ” concerned she asked Payal.

Buaji: “Array, why do you ask her? How will she know? Payal, we may not be rich, but I will look for a family where you will be happy. See if those boys had come this would not have happened. We could have got both of you married into the same household. Bitiya I don’t have anything against the Raizada’s or Akash, they are very good people. But you know how that Manorama is? She weighs the value of everything with her eyes.  We cannot push you into fire, can we? Nothing to say about Deviyani and Anjali, but having a mother in law like that, our daughter will not be happy. I still cannot forget all the insults Khushi had to go through. Remember the police,..” 


With the conversation inside getting  too hot and equally embarrassing for Khushi with Arnav stood next to her, she knocked the door with all her courage, to stop their conversation. She looked hesitatingly at Arnav with a sorry face, But hey, what could she do? This is her family and she will stand by it..

Arnav stood there stupefied. He could not believe what he was hearing. “Was this even real? Were they trying to look for reasons to defer this marriage when far away there was Akash who had silently suffered to get his mom to agree” 

But Arnav had other thoughts running in his head already. He remembered his Nani’s words to get this marriage settled without any hurdles.. This was new territory to him. He could strike business deals very easily by just throwing money, but he had to give his thoughts a slight twist now.

Seeing Arnav and Khushi, the rest of the family gave reluctant smiles. Having mixed feelings, Payal was not sure how to react. She was happy with the recent developments, yet worried with what Buaji just mentioned. Asking Arnav to be seated, she took Khushi in to give a brief of the recent developments. Payal explained what Buaji mentioned but was  soon followed by Buaji and Garima. 

Arnav sat thinking... he had to come up with something, and that something need to be quick.. ... just money and status was not enough to lure the Guptas. Anjali’s words echoed in his ears, “they value relations of the heart“ 

He thought hard of what Buaji wanted. “Payal’s happiness, without Mami’s interference..” 

That’s it... “Remove Mami from the scene, they will not have a problem“ He knew now how to deal with it and he mentally praised himself for his quick thinking.

He had just rehearsed all he was to speak, when Khushi came out and gave him a queer look. Only she knew he had heard everything. 

It was overwhelming to see the whole family come out to talk to him. He had given presentations in front of national, international and many affluent people, but today, seeing them all, he felt small. If he could go to any extent to protect his family, they were no different. He reminded himself what he was here for. Somehow, seeing Khushi, he felt a bit possessive and he had to make this work. 

Addressing Shashi, he spoke politely, “I believe my family was here with the alliance of Akash for Payal.” And he looked at them anticipating a refusal, but nothing came. “No, I have not come to ask if you have made a decision, but I was planning on speaking about the catering for the fashion show event.”

However Arnav continued, “But I just wanted to confirm that Akash is very happy and I must say lucky to get your family. I am sure my Nani would have told we are not expecting anything material. All we want is Payal for Akash, who can look after him and also become a part of our family.” He saw Buaji fidgeting in her seat but he continued, “Also, I wanted to mention, with Akash being busy in this overseas project, both of them can go abroad after marriage and stay for a few months. It will give them privacy and they can get to know each other better without the family interfering too much.” 

Now this was hitting on bulls eye. He knew this would change their decision if both Akash and Payal were left alone without Mami to trouble them. He did not fail to notice Payal’s blush and Khushi’s raised eyebrows which seemed to say, “Not bad Arnav ji, you know how to deal with my family.” 

Shashi who had listened patiently finally spoke. “Beta we are fortunate to get your alliance. Actually Payal has just come. We are yet to tell her everything. So please give us some time”

“Sure uncle,  By the way, about the catering,.....”


No sooner had Arnav left the Gupta house, there was a knock, even before they could take a breath of relief. 

“Oh oh, what a surprise Akash ji, I did not know you were in town.” Khushi chirped seeing the happy face of Akash. It really was a surprise. 

Seeing the visitor, Buaji whispered to Garima, “Hai re nand kis****, will we have any respite from the Raizadas today. Will they let us talk to our girl,.. one after the other.. what is this sudden hurry. What is happening Garima?”

Buaji was a very agitated person today. Being the elder in the family, she took on herself to solve everyone’s issues.

Though she was happy a good proposal had come across, there was just one glitch. Manorama. How could she forget all the taunting remarks on their status, the nick names she had given her nieces, how she saw them like worms, who need not be given any attention to? This was the major factor that was driving her to fix everything.

Meanwhile Payal had come to the door to welcome the visitor, but was too scared and shy to go and meet or greet him. She was still under a daze, not able to digest the quick turn of events... The last two hours she felt she was being taken for a huge roller coaster. Try as much, she could still not stop her heart beats from rising or the smile reaching her ears involuntarily when she saw him. 

Ever since the talks of proposal had started, Shashi was keenly observing his daughter. Though her attitude was neutral to all that was said until now, Akash’s visit however, did bring out what he wanted to see in his daughter. The glow in her face seeing him, blushed cheeks  and more over, she had suddenly started showing some of her sisters sanki behaviour being very clumsy and fidgety. The sudden involvement of Raizadas in their business, the turn of events which seemed to be going at rocket speed, he tried hard to connect the dots to get a clue. Somewhere he knew there must be more to what meets the eye.

Akash shyly accepted all the greetings. “Sorry to have come uninvited. I could not accompany my family.  I just came to meet you all..”

Situation was getting odd and uncomfortable for all present. Though he wanted to speak to Payal, Akash did not know how to ask. In the end after having some homemade sweets and refreshments, Akash settled to asking them general enquiries about the business, and made his way to meet his family, leaving the Guptas in a fix.


Back in Sheesh mahal, the ladies were busy discussing when Arnav entered with a sullen face. Though he had wanted to believe his Di, he had never expected anybody to reject the Raizada’s so blatantly.  On the one hand his thoughts were, “How dare they? They can never get anyone better than Akash” on the other, it had slowly turned to admiration with “Are there really such people? Can they really reject such a good offer” He still failed to think beyond his profit, loss business mind.

Mami was claiming “Hello hai bye bye,.. I will make sure my sons marriage will happen exactly like how I want it. After all I have only one son.”

Arnav spoke gravely, “They are still not sure weather to accept or not. They think there is lot of social difference and they are not sure if Payal will be able to manage and be happy..” he gave look at Mami, whose face had gone pale with thoughts similar to Arnav running in her mind.

Anjali immediately asked, “Chote, Did you go there to ask? Did they tell you?” ...

After listening to the entire story behind, Nani sighed, “I hope what you have told them will make them agree...”

“Not only that, even with the catering service, they have only agreed to supply sweets and not take the full offer. How can people be so relaxed and not work hard towards getting better deals.. They will never get better deals with this attitude”. Though he somewhere felt they might have taken this decision after the proposal was made. 

Nani explained, “The girls have too much in their hands with Shashi still recuperating. And probably they don’t want personal matters and business to get mixed up. Or may be  to maintain a distance from us?” Giving a huge sigh she ordered, “Let us not talk anything about the wedding until everything is finalised.”

With success knocking at his door on every step, he had forgotten how to lose, how it felt to get rejected. And when it did happen, his first reaction was to get angry, How dare they? Also, knowing the fact all his money could still not buy what they wanted made him further more frustrated. Back in his room, alone, he tried to work to get his mind off.  Though  he was busy opening with the files on his laptop, he raked his brain to look for some loopholes to make them agree. Unlike his business, he could not bind them in a contract. 

It was only when Anjali said “Chote this is exactly the photo I was talking about. Send it to me, I will need it..”, he realised he had opened Khushi’s photo from calendar shootout  and was completely immersed in it..... When he had opened the file? How long ago? He had no clue.. all he could remember was how ruthless he was, he clutched his hand when he thought of the flimsy dress he had given Khushi to wear on that day. For the first time how he was mesmerised seeing her in red. 

Nov 1

Part 23 Anticipation (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 57 times)

Thank you all for your lovely comments and Thank yous 

Please keep them coming, gives great encouragement to carry on..

Hope you will enjoy the next part

Part 23 – Anticipation

After the final visit from the Raizadas, the Gupta’s got the chance to discuss matters with their daughters. The turn of event were too sudden for all. None of the elderly Gupta’s had expected such a proposal. Having absolutely no clue, they were left in a bit of shock to digest. After Akash’s visit, Shashi was sure there is a prequel to all this.. Which is the reason he chose to go for a walk with his elder daughter. 

Buaji, though not completely convinced by Arnav’s assurance, was still on the look out for an excuse. 


Coming out of his reverie, Arnav spoke, still dreamily, “Di, you will not send it to anyone. And what is it? Have you still not gone to bed?”  

“Chote which world are you in? I thought you would come down when the bell rang. Akash is here” Anjali told him grumpily.

“What?” surprised he spoke loud. The day was slowly giving him shocks. How love can change everything. His brother who was brooding all this time, completely engrossed in his work, was here already!! 

“He has already come? I was expecting him tomorrow!!”  Arnav stood making his way to meet Akash.

Except Akash, all at Sheesh mahal were still worried about the proposal, but Akash knew he could make them agree. Once the coast was clear from his side, he knew one battle was won, and there was the other to be taken care of, yet he was happy. Well at least he had got to see his beaming lady love today. He was equally sure she was happy with the turn of events.

His happiness was not deterred even when Anjali had told him all the proceedings, with Arnav sitting and watching Akash, who was still smiling. Here he was worrying how to make them agree and this man seems to be smiling. His brother  has one virtue he thought which he lacks, ‘Patience’.

“Akash, this is serious. What if they don’t agree? How can you be so sure? As it is you know their Buaji is on the constant look out. We have to do something and get an answer from them ASAP” Arnav tried to argue,

But Akash just told, “I don’t think so bhai, some things, you just know. And I know they will come around, even if it will take some time. I think it has come as a shock to them. We have known them for a while and they had no clue about all this and a sudden proposal will obviously put them off guard. And knowing the history we share, I was worried about this part once ma agreed. But hey, let’s wait and see. Thanks Bhai for all the help. ” saying so, he yawned “I am really tired”

“Akash, you go ahead. I am not sleepy at all. I will make a cup of tea.. Chote, want some?” Anjali spoke while going towards the kitchen

“Sure Di, Good night Akash” Arnav spoke absent minded while checking messages  on his phone. 

Bringing two cups of tea, late in the night, Anjali sighed while sitting, “You know I had never know Akash was so stubborn or strong, or rather, there was never an opportunity to know. Silently he has made his mum turn around. Love can reduce anybody to anything. See how my brother has come running all the way just to see Payal? One day you”

“Di, ” he stared at her but she continued, “very soon you will realise.  Sometimes it is all there, and you are not even aware that person affects you. Give some attention to your emotions and express before you lose them.”

Images of Khushi came to his mind. She was sad, crying but saying bye to all of them and going away with some faceless unknown guy. This felt strange and as if real. But still he was not ready to accept. How does he tell? what should he say? That he is constantly thinking of Khushi, is that Love? When he does say, what will be the end result? Marriage? Was he ready?

He mentally screamed no no, and shook his shoulders. He tried to change the topic with 

“Di,  I will have to leave by lunch time day after. Aman has reached Lucknow along with some models. There will be a quick run of all the rehearsals, then Aman will take over with the arrangements. You are ok with it, isn’t it. Akash is anyway here, so he can help you in case you need anything..”

Sad that her brother would be leaving, “Chote can you not finish the show and then go?” she pouted.

“With Aman and Akash here, I cant  leave the office. Even Mama is out, so I will have to go.” He told her as a matter of fact to which she of course had no answer.


The following two days were busy in Sheesh mahal. No message received from the Guptas yet.   With all the arrangements for the show in full swing, the models, artists, and all the workers were busy. As previously arranged, when Khushi reached to discuss the catering work for the event, she was surprised to see all the beautiful models and their attire, work men busy with arranging the setting. Glimpses of her night at Sheesh mahal came to her mind, but it did not matter much to her now. 

She stood watching them go about their work until she saw none other than Lisa. The same lady who had shown such disrespect to her. The same person for whom she had become a coat hanger, later who had thrown a tantrum over a stain. She dreaded to think how on earth she had gone through all that.

That fateful day, she stood watching the shootout, while the model was making all kinds of demands,.. How Lavanya insulted her, How ASR had made her to do the shootout in a flimsy blue dress.. She shuddered. It was the day she wore the beautiful red saree and ended up doing the photoshoot. She wondered how for the first time, she had felt a different emotion towards him when he came down the stairs. While he stood gazing at her, she could not take her eyes off him as well. .. what was that, she wondered now, did it all start then?...

She would have probably been dreaming if not for the loud “YOU”.... 

Looking down upon her as if she was talking to dirt, Lisa spoke a smirk, “Honestly, wasn’t it enough that day, you are still working for ASR. Wasn’t all those insults and comments enough? Or does he even know you are here? Wait till he comes, I really want to know how he will be shocked.” And she cackled...

But unfortunately for her, the very man was stood at the door. Knowing Khushi had come to meet him, he made his way with Aman and Anjali to the studio’s only to witness this. His eyes went red with anger and if looks could burn, Lisa would have fallen down into ashes. But he was ashamed at what had happened as well. He regretted now. Very much.

“Lisa, How dare you? If she is here it is because I want her here. This is the final warning. And if you think you can bully others and be rude, then please, there’s the door. We will manage.” ASR gave her a stern look showing her the door, which left Lisa squirming where she stood, Aman watching blankly not to show any expression and Anjali’s face was full of questions.

Trying to calm the situation, Anjali spoke, “Khushi ji, come we will discuss the details.” With Khushi following gladly, she heard Arnav, “Khushi, once you are finished with Di, I want to discuss a few other things.. please wait.” Making her eyes widen hearing the  “Please”

Seeing the interactions, surprised at just been given a warning, Lisa had long gone back to her room to get on with her rehearsal, while Khushi tried to not to make a big deal of it. If this were to happen a few months ago, tears would have been flowing down her cheeks, but not now, she wasn’t bothered, she had too much on her plate. She felt proud for not being too emotional and toughened up  about the whole issue.

She met Akash on the way to meet Arnav after meeting Anjali. Khushi felt the warmth of belonging and gave him her best smile. He had in deed not only won her sisters heart, but had quietly been making way into the hearts of the other members of her family. She wondered what transpired between Payal and her Babuji, because how after the walk with Payal, her Babuji had been all praises to the Raizada family, their respect in the society, and as far as she could remember she even heard praises about Mami ji, about how she had looked after her sister in laws kids without differentiating between her son and them. 

This happiness however was short lived. As soon as she entered Arnav’s make do office for the show, which did not actually have any doors but just a desk in the corner of a hall, she saw the new event manager, Simran actively flirting, while he was busy  engrossed in the arrangements that had been made. 

Logic flew out of the nearby window, reason went down the trash bin, Khushi came barging, anger writ on her face. Pronouncing very word crisp and clear rather on the rude side... “Arnav ji, you wanted to talk to me? What is it?”

Taken aback by such impoliteness from Khushi, both Arnav and Simran looked at her. 

Khushi looked at him again, and repeated, “Well I have finished discussing all the requirements with Anjali ji. If there is nothing more, I can go and you can carry on” she snapped eyeing the papers in his hands and giving the event manager a glare.

Ignoring her sudden rash behaviour, and not even getting angry at Khushi for literally barging in when he was busy, Arnav replied coolly, “Khushi I will be leaving after lunch,  just wanted an update on ,... aaa ” and he hesitated. Looking at Simran,  “If you can leave all the files here, I will give it a quick look.”

Quietly murmuring “Ok ASR” Simran made her way out, surprised at how The ASR did not tell that girl off and how cool he could get at the audacity of that chit of a girl. First time she had witnessed this ASR.

Looking back at Khushi, pointing to the seat for her to take a seat and calm down, ASR seemed to be extra patient today. His brothers influence had rubbed off a bit. “Khushi, I wanted to know what is happening with this Akash deal?”

More irritated by his choice of words, “Arnav ji, my Babu ji is not interested in doing any kind of business deals with his daughters. If you think so, then it is definitely a ‘no deal’ from him..” 

Anjali who had entered when they had just started their conversation, interrupted banging her head with her hands, “Chote, for you every new venture is a deal. Leave it to Akash, I will he will sort it out. Khushi ji, I wanted to talk to you about it as well.”

Arrival of Anjali had calmed Khushi yet she did not fail to mention sarcastically looking at Arnav, “Arnav ji you can go and discuss your deal with that lady..” pointing to the door making both brother and sister to get a shock looking at this side of Khushi. 

Arnav stood aloof, thinking what the matter was. Being The ASR, comes with its perks. He immediately realised Khushi must be angry thinking he was flirting. Slowly getting up from his chair, pulling another for his sister to sit, he sat back on his chair, giving them both a generous sweet smile.

While the two ladies watched in astonishment, taking all the time in the world, he said, “Well Ms. Khushi Kumari Gupta, my would be sister in laws sister, tell me all about it. I will discuss that deal later with, aaa “ not able to remember the event managers name, he asked, ”aa Di, whats her name, the event manager? “ looking back at Khushi still the smile lingering on his face, “but first, I want to hear from you”

Anjali was stumped. For the first time in history, she saw her brother smiling, teasing and for her standards, his actions could pass off as somewhat flirting. Khushi on the other hand lost her senses seeing his smile and if she could go any further shy, she would melt into the floor.. 

When nobody spoke anything, Anjali finally asked, “aaa Khushi ji you were saying..” 

And Khushi ended up giving them a thorough recount of the happenings at their house. By now she was back to her original self regaining her lost senses, even though her heart beat had refused to slow down. However, looking confused, she asked, “Anjali ji, this Payal is quite confusing, aaaaa you see, what I mean is, she is so cold. I don’t know if she has any feelings for Akash ji. Every time I want to discuss, she goes numb. Er well almost literally.”

Anjali explained, “Khushi ji, it happens. She is afraid to accept it herself, just in case things don’t work out.  In a way it is a good way to show to the world that she was not attached, and can move forward easily, but she does not realise, in her heart she will still feel the same pain. What you must also see is, she has always disagreed because of the our money and status, but never has she said she does not want to marry him. Even when I spoke to her, it was all about, ‘It is something that can never happen, we are worlds apart.’ ”

Anjali would have probably loved to discuss this further, if not for the call she received, leaving Arnav and Khushi to their selves. Feeling rather shy after the embarrassing teasing from Arnav, Khushi managed to say, “Arnav ji, I will leave now” and stood up.

Equally feeling uncomfortable with his own behaviour, he called out, “Khushi...” When she turned, “Akash will be here. Please help him if he needs anything. She has enough help, but give Di some company.. you know I am leaving in a few hours.. ”

Suddenly remembering he smirked “aa yes of course after finishing my deal with the event manager”

He gave her another smile seeing her go completely red. Khushi fled. With her heart anyway racing, she thought it nearly fell... leaving Arnav to enjoy the scene

Nov 16

Part 24 New start (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 43 times)

Hello dear friends,

Sorry for the delay in publishing this part. My keyboard is acting crazy and I have had to use this touchscreen to the typing. Honestly, it is so cumbersome and horrible my whole mood to write flies away. I need to get this thing sorted soon...

Here is the  next update. Hope you all enjoy reading. Please comment..

Part 24 – New Start 

Ride back home was turbulent, with her heart doing a somersault every time she reminisced his smile, his husky voice and his presence overall. Slowly going over the events she realised she was jealous of the other girl. She couldn't believe how rude she spoke and how she had snapped at him. She also realised that he had probably guessed her jealousy and hence repeatedly mentioned dealing with the event manager. She cursed herself,  “Oh, what a shame, and what more? He does not even know her name and I thought he was flirting. So what, why does it or should it bother me?”

She was suddenly reminded of the time when he had gone to pick Lavanya after she had patched up their fight. She had felt a tinge of jealousy then too. Perhaps it was the start  of the journey she could not get back from, and finally she had given in on Diwali day, only to get her heart crushed. Yet she had braced her heart and picked herself after returning back to Lucknow. What was happening now? Am I once again heading in the same direction.. No she did not want to think of it and break down again . She wondered why the pain grew only worse every time and why could she not get over it.

“now now Khushi, stay away, don’t fall for it again. Please for your own sake. See how jiji has played safe. Don’t get swayed into this again.” She alerted herself.


“Sasuma (mother min law), how can anybody not care about their daughter? Hello hai bye bye, It has been about 10 days now. If it was anybody else, they would have agreed instantly and probably the marriage also would have been over by now!!! ” Mami was busy serving breakfast  before the show could begin.

“Manorama, they love their daughter more than your money. That’s why they have not replied.” Nani replied. Giving a reassuring smile to Akash, “Shashi had called and told they would need some time, especially with his health and other things ”

Still not impressed by the attitude, Mami replied “huh, they will not get such an alliance.”

Arnav, though was previously  on his Mami’s side, now seemed to be in double mind. “Mami, yesterday I had called Shashi uncle if  I could send the car to bring them for the show,  they refused to come”

“Arnav bitwa, they have never in their life had this opportunity, still they seem to be showing off. ” Mami replied getting angry stares from her son and husband.

“Manorama, that is probably the reason they want their daughter to be safe from all these taunts of yours. At this rate of yours, I hope they agree to it. We might have to speak to them again.” Nani openly told her off, leaving behind a sour Mami to whine. She was unable to understand how anyone could decline ‘their’ offer!!! Looking at Arnav, Nani replied, “Arnav bitwa, if we had not made the proposal, would you have offered this service?”

Now when he gave it a thought, he understood, why they had refused,.

Not too keen to dwell on these issues at this time, Anjali reminded “Chote, check with Aman if the journalists and reporters have been briefed in advance so as to not cause a big hustle and bustle. I want the show to run smoothly”

“Di, have to told Khushi what to do or do you want me to speak to her?” he was looking for an excuse. But Anjali would not have it. “No chote, I have told both Payal and Khushi, you don’t need to worry about it.”


Show over, all guests away, still no sign of Khushi. All through the show, he was eagerly awaiting and frequently looking at the door to check  for ,.. er....

Hearing all the praises for deliveries made by Gupta sisters,  he had finally come to the state of irritation for not keeping him ninformed, “Di where IS Khushi? What is happening? Who did the delivery?”

Cool and calm, Anjali reassured, “Chote why are you concerned when I am looking into it. See, everything went as smoothly as ever.” getting excited,  and all smiles, she whispered “I left Akash in charge of that department . Oops on second thoughts may be I should not have. Wonder how they both managed to work taking eyes off each other.” She winked, hurrying herself to the door, “I must be off Chote,”


Even her brother shouting behind her did not stop her. She literally ran to her room. 

Not understanding these ladies, he turned around to go, when he felt it. He stood rooted to the spot, feeling the cool breeze and aware of the warm, caring emotions that brought out in him. He knew she was here. He went down on his own volition. 

There she was, all smiles and cheerful when he has been waiting since since,... 

He watched her talking to Akash, who had only stopped to exchange courtesies on  his way out. 

“Khushi you did not come for the show. Is everything ok?” he asked all beaming at his future sister in law..

“No problems Akash ji, since jiji came here for the deliveries, I had to go to Mr.Sharmas office, since one of the delivery boys,,...” and she stopped. She could sense him approaching as her heart beats grew faster and faster.

Akash, no longer  interested in the delivery boys, told, “Khushi I was just going out. Please sit down. Di will be here soon, she knows isn’t it?”

“Yes Akash ji, I just called her and she knows...” Khushi sat down taking her phone, fully aware of the fact she was under the watchful eyes of her land governor.

She did not get to do much with her phone, since ASR was already there, demanding her to follow him. He had walked past even before she could protest, yet she followed him with “Arnav ji,..”.  Anjali, who had just entered to speak to Khushi saw Khushi hurriedly following her brother. 

Anjali and Akash knew she was not going to come for the show, yet like a fool he was looking towards the door  every few seconds. Now she is here to meet his sister, but did not even say hello to him.  And to top all this she went to meet the flirt Sharma? How can the ASR be thus disregarded?

Blood pressure raised, he was seething in anger. As soon as he entered his room, turning towards her, he snarled, “How dare you?”  

Khushi who was still walking,  bumped into him at his abrupt turn. And as was the custom, his presence, his aura, and perhaps now it was the contact, she went numb without understanding what he was talking.

Stepping behind, she looked at him ever more confused. Further angered by her distancing,  “I have been waiting through out the show, you did not turn up,. I give you the responsibility to look after things and this how you do it? You don’t even turn up?”

Khushi put her hand up, showed her palm to stop. Though she was very angry, she had learnt to control. Er well, a bit.  “Arnav ji, if you did not know, I had arranged for everything to be taken care off. Why what there any problem? Anjali ji told me everything went very well.”

Seeing that she was not showing any emotions he had expected,  he continued his blasting.

“How arrogant can you people be? Do you even know how much Akash has been through all these months? We are waiting and you are all taking your own sweet time. After all..” 

In barged Anjali who was just in time to stop his tirade of accusations, which was a make or do situation for Akash. “Arnav” she gasped with shock.. Going straight across to him, “Arnav. What has happened to you? Do you even know what you are talking?”

Surprised Anjali took his name, both Khushi and Arnav looked to her shocked. All colour drained out of Arnav. First time he felt his Di had spoken like his mum. Without another word, turning back, she went straight to Khushi, “Please come with me.” And before he could blink, both were gone.. leaving him to suffer in his own agony.

“Khushiji, I am really upset with you. How could you stand still like that and listen to all he was blabbering? You should have just walked out. If this is how he talks to you, you should never go to him again..” Back in her room, Anjali spoke to Khushi,  still angry with her brother. 

“Anjali ji, I want some water”.

Anjali was still scolding her brother, before  it took some time for Khushi to regain her senses and make light of the situation. “Leave it na Anjaliji, he is always like that. When he is angry he doesn’t know what he is doing or talking.” At the same time she was upset thinking, “This is how he has always spoken to me,.. perhaps even worse. Wish I could stop myself from going to him. Some how or the other, situation has made it that we are together,.. Hey Devi maiyya, why do you do this?”

Anjali immediately protested, “No, you will not talk to him. I will take  care that he apologises to you.”

Chill ran through her spine. Images of Lavanya’s party came to her mind. The big garden at the hotel where Lavanya partied while he was trying hard to apologise to her, and she had ended up telling him all about her parents death, her likes, dislikes,..

 “Anjali ji, I don’t want his apology again. Then he will do something else and apologise again, just like when” Khushi spoke, her mind still in the beautiful garden. But she stopped. She did not want to reveal much and moreover, she was not very keen on Anjali to interfere in their argument, even though what he was saying was utterly nonsense, completely  unforgivable.

“Chote and apologise again and again?” Anjali raised her eyebrows bringing Khushi back to the present.

Now Khushi was stuck. She did not want to recall all the apologies he had made. Changing the subject, “Anjali ji, you said you had loads of things to sort out after the show and called me. Also, you didn’t ask me what I was so excited about?”

Somewhere still annoyed with her brother, Anjali was off mood. Now, Anjali tried to look cheerful. Khushi continued, “I think Babu ji and everyone are planning to come here... heard ma and babuji talking that the Akash ji’s and Jijis horoscopes....”

This got Anjali all excited. 

 “What? When did they do all this? I think Nani is behind all this.” She pulled Khushi and in no time, both were sitting with Nani, ignoring Arnav, who had just walked in to Anjali’s room to  apologise to both his sister and Khushi. Like a faithful puppy, he followed them.

Happy with the turn of events, Nani explained, “Haan Anjali, Shashi called me to say that the horoscopes match and they want to meet us.”

“Oh my God, Nani, you never told? But everything was in Delhi...” Anjali complained though she wasn’t offended.

Nani calmly explained “Bitiya, you already had enough on your plates with the show preparations. When Shashi called to ask for the horoscope, a few days ago, I had told Manohar to bring it.” 

“Isn’t this wonderful Nani? I must tell this to Akash. He will be so happy.” Anjali spoke while she dialled Akash’s number. Meanwhile Arnav still stood near the Nani’s door, looking like a fool to have reacted in that manner to Khushi. The fact that Khushi did not show any reaction worsened his plight. Little did he know Khushi was in a dilemma of her own and his reactions did not make it any better.

After her conversation with Akash, Nani spoke, “Khushi bitiya, what time are they coming?”

“They were planning on going to the temple and coming here Naniji, since Anjali ji wanted me to come early I came, otherwise I was planning on coming with them.” Khushi told Nani

Anjali spoke in between, “Khushi ji, come lets finish what I wanted to, I wanted some help in sorting out a few accounts with regards to the show. Then I have a lot to discuss on the upcoming wedding too..” she squeezed Khushi’s hand in all excitement. ”common Khushi ji, lets try and finish asap...”  she hurried to her room with Khushi behind her.

On her way back, Anjali gave a sad look at Arnav once again. She knew he was guilty, but she did not want to forgive him so easily. However, the urge to apologise had taken over him. While Khushi was silently following Anjali, he pulled Khushi midway and closed her mouth so as to stop her from shouting and grabbing Anjalis attention.

Before Khushi could realise what was happening, he looked straight into her eyes, fully apologetic and whispered, “Sorry, I am really sorry Khushi”

Khushi stood stunned. On one hand his quick and agile actions  shocked her,  on the other, his closeness, the way he looked into her eyes, his apology. She melted. She just blinked twice, as if to indicate he is forgiven and looked into his hands to take them off her.

“Sorry” he said again for his acts, but Khushi had simply walked away giving him a sad look and without uttering a single word. “something was bothering her” he thought feeling all the more miserable .

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