Arshi - Reawakening

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Jan 21

Part 30 - Confused confessions (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 63 times)



Part 30  - Confused confessions 



The door was slightly ajar. She knocked the door. She could hear him speak loudly in a hurried manner.

"OK ok ok Aman, its all sorted, I need to go now” he was indeed in a rush to meet the ‘visitors’. Getting irritated with Aman’s persistent questions, “You know what to do, don’t you. Now, you deal with it and call me only if they there is a problem. Only emergency.."  finishing his orders, he cut the phone, relieved at finally being free.





Slightly pushing the door, she inched towards his voice, as if she was scared to meet him. Her heart was beating so loud,  she clutched her heart lest he hear it.



 "Arnav ji...." she whispered.



He knew she was here. He could feel it, he could hear her anklets, hear her heartbeats, he just knew and he slowly turned. On its own volition a smile crept up his lips. Seeing her after a month, his heart felt light, happy.



"Khushi" he  whispered back



Both stood taking in each others presence. Nothing moved, still, quiet, no words spoken, all they could hear was their own raised heartbeats. 



She had played for too long, she had tried her best to not see him, yet there was longing in her heart. Overwhelmed at just the sight of him, her emotions running astray, she swayed slightly, held her head and the next moment he was next to her, holding her shoulders, supporting her. 

Overcome with concern, looking into her eyes, he asked hurriedly, “Khushi what happened are you ok?” 

She swayed again, and immediately he swept her off her feet,  and took her to his bed nearby. Flashes of putting her on her bed in Lakshmi nagar, when she had fallen in his hands in the guest house played in his mind. 

 

 Putting her so very gently on his bed, he asked, “Khushi khushi, are you ok,.. ..” 

She looked tired and pale. Sudden flashes of his mum came to his mind when she was in her last moments. Trying to ward them out of his mind, he asked her again, 

 “Khushi, can you hear me. Are you ok? Please hear me Khushi. Khushi. Listen ”

She was in a delirium, she opened her eyes, but again her eyes looked pale and almost closed. She was trying hard to stay awake, keep her conscious.  Once again he had glimpses of gun shot, his mums eyes shut, his smiling sister in her wedding attire. 

Holding  both her hands, rubbing them slightly, he spoke desperately,  “Khushi Khushi, please don’t do this,. Wake-up please, please don’t leave me and go like ma. Please Khushi.. wake up.. ” 

He felt suffocated, hard to breath. His Di’s words came to his mind. 

“Don’t talk harsh Chote, we don’t know if we are seeing them for the last time ”

‘You wont be able to breath chote.’

For a moment, she was back with conscious, Khushi opened her eyes.  

“Khushi, Khushi, please forgive me. I have been terrible with you. My harsh words, actions. I never meant all those. Don’t leave me Khushi, my heart will stop beating, I won’t be able to breath. See can you feel it. “ he spoke holding her hand to his heart, 

Immersing herself in his eyes,  giving a gentle stroke on his cheeks, while he still held her hands.. all she could muster was a weak whisper “Arnav” and once again slept even before the ji... His concerned, glistened eyes in her mind and heart.



"Khushiiiiii " he shouted...



He shook her head to wake her, 

"Khushi khushi khushi... wake up... please... khushi. Khushi... don't do this, please..." Arnav shouted, but little could she hear.

The first thing that came to his mind was to test her breathing! He breathed a sigh of relief when he felt her warm breathing on his fingers. However, he wasn’t left alone for long.



Very soon there were loud cries of "what happened" 

"Khushi bitiya,"

"Aye parameshwari...'

And Arnav saw his room flooded with his family along with Payal and Buaji, all firing questions one after the other.



 Anjali shrieked "chote what have you done? I just sent her to bring you down"

concerned Anjali looked at her brother with Payal, Akash giving him an accused look.



"Di" he said looking concerned "I was on the phone and when I turned back and saw, she started swaying near the door, so I got her here... pass me the water Di. " he said pointing to the jug at the other end of the bed. 

Seeing how closely he held her sister, Payal moved towards Khushi 

"I will give her the water Arnav ji" she asked hesitant.



Annoyed at snatching away his right, he let Payal take control. Taking his phone out, he said, " I will call the doctor" but he saw Shashi slowly making way to his room. 



One  look on  Shashi’s face was enough to put this tough businessman in place. Though he did not say it,  there was a look of  accusation,  "what have you done to my daughter"

Helping Shashi to settle, Arnav defended without being sasked, "Don’t know how it happened uncle, she fainted as soon as she came to the room. I will call the doctor " and  walked away full of concern, with Shashi looking at his back. Thinking.



Seeing her grandson this unsettled and upset, Nani spoke, “I think we should not crowd her, let her get some air. Akash bitwa, open the pool door and let some fresh air.”

“Let us leave her, and wake her when the doctor is here.”



It took the tired Khushi about half an hour to wake up. Payal was by her sister all the time, moving only when the doctor came at around the same time. All the while Buajis complaints did not stop.



 "Hai re Nand kis****, I have been telling her constantly. She does not eat properly, does not sleep, work work work. See how she has become. I just hope she is ok.” 

A worried Garima sadly blamed herself with, “so many things happening, I have not paid any attention to her.”

Giving them a sad look, Anjali added, “No aunty, how much can you do? I am sure she is fine. You watch our Khushi ji. In just an hour she will spring up , bouncing up and down.. you won’t even know...”

Without missing any of the conversation,  Arnav paced up and down the pool, concerned, worry writ on his face. Aman’s emergency call was answered with a curt reply “Aman, just sort out whatever it is. And don't call me.”



All sat awaiting the doctors verdict. “Mr.Raizada, your patient,.” The doctor started.

Arnav  interrupted him with “Khushi”

Doctor continued, “Ah, yes, your Khushi is quite anaemic. Nothing much we can do really, but the basic rules of food and nutrition, I can prescribe some vitamins tablets to boost the food, it will help in quick recovery of her iron levels.”

Feeling odd how the doctor addressed Arnav when her whole family stood waiting as well, Arnav mumbled . It was fair on the doctors part since Arnav had called him. Arnav nodded a “Yes please“ and then gave a reluctant look at Shashi, who just nodded. After the first look they shared, Arnav realised this was the only man whom he was afraid  or rather, a man who can make him go completely uneasy.    





“Yes doctor please prescribe ” Arnav replied meekly once again and asked, “What about rest?”

“Yes, that too, not to stress too much..” saying so the doctor scribbled on his pad.



When all was clear, Anjali said, “I think it is now time to feed Khushi” and she winked at Khushi , who sat with her eyes wide open in surprise and embarrassment. Needless to say, whole family agreed.  

“Khushi, look what happened,  how many times we told you to look after, but where do you listen?” Payal scolded her younger sister, while supporting her to get up.  Arnav, still upset, everyone had taken over his room when he could have easily helped Khushi out, paced up and down the pool.

“Payal, I will bring Khushi safely down, I am sure Akash is waiting for a moment with you.” Anjali whispered into Payal’s ears and giggled seeing her go red, but did go out  following Akash. 

After seeing every one had gone down, Anjali took out her phone, and calling “Chote, can you help Khushi down, I have to take this call and I will set the table ready for dinner”

Ever too glad, waiting for the opportunity, he was already next to Khushi even before Anjali could finish the sentence. With a quick “Sure Di”, loud and a big “Thanks di”, of course his mind he set out for the task!!



Khushi, little aware of the change over in her care taking, once again felt dizzy looking at him!!!! All his words, though clear, seemed quite mumbled now. Putting all thoughts out of mind  “Khushi you must have dreamt all that!!” , feeling energised after the sugary drink, she tried her best to be independent.  

“Are you ok now? How do you feel?” he asked forwarding his hand. 



Slowly, hesitantly giving her hand, she looked in his eyes. Same concern, same anxiety . “I’m fine now Arnav ji, I was a bit dizzy, but now I’m fine.” She whispered quietly.

“Yeah right. Do you know how you were?” not saying anymore, she walked along slowly, but, she was careful enough to take her hand when they neared the dining table, where all were sat. The timing was perfect with Payal and Akash also just joining them, and Payal took charge of helping Khushi. 

Having run over the sequence of events in his mind for a hundredth time, still analysing what and how he had spoken all those words which he never thought he would, Arnav was surprised he didn’t feel any awkwardness. Instead he still feared the thoughts he had when he had spoken those words. Somewhere a dark cloud was lurking behind and he was scared it would take over their lives. For one he was probably glad for getting it out of his chest.  



It was now two couples stealing glances at each other.  Shashi observed everything and knew there was something about Arnav,  but couldn't point it to anything,  hence decided to leave things as they are for it to take its own course of time, obviously he couldn't initiate a talk from his side. 



Nani too was not blind to the scenes going on. She knew she would have to take the lead sometime soon, because her grandson, though intelligent, lagged way behind in these matters.

“So, Akash, are you excited?  Only 6 weeks now and Payal will be here. So much to prepare.. what Khushi??” as usual Anjali tried to raise the excitement level.



“Of course Anjali ji, everything will be so fun.” Khushi, back to her normal self supported her.



“Hai re nand kis****, hey sanka devi, this time I will not let you do anything if you don’t listen to me. I don’t want you to be ill at her wedding.  It is the couple’s siblings who should be participating in all the rituals,  so you should be hale and healthy.  ” Realising she meant Arnav as well,  she gave a sheepish laugh looking at Arnav.



“Perfect. You have said the right thing Madhumatiji, Chote, listen, you and Khushi should be actively doing all the preparations and make sure it all happens smoothly” Nani started, but seeing the uneasy Shashi, to lighten the scene, she added, ”Anjali, you are not excused,  you will be with them as well to make sure it is done properly, otherwise our Chote here, does not know any of our rituals.. ” 

Without any hesitation Anjali gladly agreed, with all kind of thoughts running in her mind. “Nani, you are indeed a genius”, she said to herself, now you will see how genius I am!

“Nani, dont forget, we will have one more in our team soon..” Anjali added, getting the attention of all. “soon you will all know.” She did not spill out any more, leaving Arnav and Akash thinking who it would be..



 “Khushi, I was going to start our preparations from today, but after seeing you today, we will start after a few days, until then take plenty of rest and boost up all your energy.” Anjali spoke to which Arnav supported with “Khushi, you can take off for a few days ”

Khushi instantly looked at him and replied  ”I think I am fine now. I am sure I will be able to come”

Garima and Buaji spoke “Yes Khushi, take a few days off ”

“No amma, I can’t sit at home and eat all the time..” going nearer to her Buaji, she whispered “You will get fed up of me in one hour and start asking when will you go back to work.... you still want me to stay?”



Shashi spoke “I think she will be fine if she says so, thanks for the offer. Khushi, you don’t want to  trouble anyone by fainting once again. This time there was Arnav, what if you were out , you know, may be shops or street....”



 Khushi murmured under her breath, “he is the reason why  it all happened!!!” 

Before anyone could ask her what she uttered, HP came along with a parcel to Arnav,

“Arnav bhaiyya, your parcel. “ and made his way to kitchen, before getting told off for nothing. 

9Handing over the parcel, “Khushi, here it is, you can start from today  “ getting surprised looks from the Gupta family, while Anjali and Nani only looked to say “this is what we had expected of you Chote ”



Khushi was embarrassed. “Arnav ji, why did you?”

“Khushi, I get my medicines from them all the time, so I just sent the photo of the prescription to them. No big deal ” he said without much airs, but Khushi was still uneasy to accept it. 

“Khushi, you should not think of all this now, like Payal you are also part of our family now. Don't feel offended” Nani reassured. Khushi looked at her Babuji who just nodded and that’s when Khushi took.

 “Khushi, you still need your Babuji’s permission. This is just like how when you offer a sweet to a child and they ask their parents!!! ” teased Anjali

Cracking her knuckles on the sides of her head (it’s a common action to ward off evil eyes) Buaji commented, “she is one sanka devi, ready to do anything for her Babuji. Isn’t it true that she agreed for marriage only after he convinced her. But unfortunately it didn’t work,. ” taking a deep breath and sighing, “Nand kis**** knows where her sanka dev is. He should also be equally sanki isn’t it? Because he should be able to bear this parameshwari.”

Khushi sat wriggling like a worm uneasy, while Buaji just would not stop.

Unknown to her, Buaji was referring to the very man sitting right in front of her and referring him also as sanki.

Nani commented wisely, “you never know Madhumati, it can be very soon...  who knows both daughters will be married of together??” this comment raising the eyebrows of all the elders.



Back in his room after every one had left, Arnav felt himself lying on that side of the bed where Khushi lay and drank in her jasmine scent. He touched his cheek when scenes of Khushi stroking his cheek ran through his mind. His lips curled into a smile thinking about how the tradition of holding his shirt collar had continued. She had once again held his collar when he was putting her on the bed.

“But why did ma come into my thoughts? Is she going to leave me?? Her Babuji.. why was he giving me that look of ‘stay off from my daughter’  who should I talk to?” 

Still holding the pillow in his hands he drifted away in slumber.

Back in the flat, Khushi was made to go straight to bed. Sleep was completely out with thoughts of Arnav’s words running in her mind. “what did he mean by  ‘don't leave me and go like ma‘, ‘I can't breath’. ” 

“Was he having a nightmare? Or was I dreaming? Hey devi maiyya, why is this all so confusing. Why couldn’t I be properly awake when he aid all that? I couldn't have simple imagined all that.”

It was more harder to answer Payals questions. She had strong doubts about Arnav, after seeing his actions and concern for Khushi.  But from Khushi’s side she was yet to see, or rather the girl kept herself so busy, there was no time to show any of her emotions. 

 “what did Arnav ji say that you fainted?”

“What did you do? Why was he saying ‘don’t do that to me?’”

“Do you remember anything at all ? About what we were talking, doctor coming over,..”

“I might have to ask Akash to ask Arnav ji what happened, you were fine and suddenly we hear a loud Khushi... do you know how scared we were. We all literally left everything and ran to his room”

“I must call Anjali ji and thank her,..”

Payal was probably just talking to herself, since Khushi had long drifted to another conversation she just had a few minutes ago,

As soon as she her put her head down phone rang. Thinking it must be Anjali to check if they reached safely, without looking at the caller she answered

“Yes Anjali ji, we reached safely. Thank you, thank you thank you very much for everything. Buaji, Babuji, Amma, Payal all of them were really happy. Thank you ”

When she did not hear anything, she immediately looked at the caller. “LG Arnav ji”

Then she heard, “What about you Khushi, are you not happy?”

Sticking her tongue out, “Arnav ji”

“And how many more thank yous to Di? Have you taken the medicines?” Khushi was annoyed by his command and did not answer.

“Khushi, are you ok?” His voice was now soft, almost whispering.

“Yes I have taken”

“Should I give all your thank yous to Di only and nobody else?”

“mmm”

There was a pause for a while, then he spoke quietly

“Khushi. You did not thank me?”

Khushi did not know what to say..



“Arnav ji. Sorry for troubling you. I don’t know how it happened, sorry” before she could bombard with more sorries,

“Khushi, Khushi stop. I don’t want your sorry. Its better you take off tomorrow. ” he again insisted, but she was quite adamant too. “I will see how I feel and decide” even though she had made up her mind to not miss work.



 There was an uneasy silence with both of them not knowing what to talk about, Khushi finally said, “Arnav ji, Thank you”



Jan 27

Part 31 More trouble (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 63 times)

Part 31 – More trouble

As it so happens, when you have just recovered, there is a tendency to become overly alert and active. Khushi being no exemption and Khushi being Khushi,  turned out to be more active than ever. After taking a few days of slow and mild work, Khushi was fed up. The following weekend she was everywhere. Waking up early, doing all the c****s in the kitchen, making breakfast, serving everyone at home, tidying up all the rooms, she was still looking around for work. Mumbling to herself, she left to her room, to sort out her wardrobe while listening to the CD player for some good dance hits. 



Payal, Buaji, Garima  including Babuji, after getting fed up of telling her to relax, sat down exhausted just seeing her work.



Finally Payal asked, “Khushi, shall I ask if the other neighbouring flats has any work. You can go and help them too.” Buaji and Garima giggled, while Shashi simply sighed, knowing his daughter’s behaviour.



Grumbling once again, “Haan haan go ask the neighbours. Ask the other block (flats) as well. Making fun of me ha, wait, wait until Akash ji is here, then you will see. Now don’t disturb me, I have to finalise the songs for the sangeet, otherwise Anjali ji we be cross with me.” And she was lost in her songs and cleaning up...

Shashi called, “Khushi, come and meet...” he was left unfinished



Khushi who was turning away from the door, head deep in the wardrobe folding her all her clothes once again, thinking her Babuji is asking her to rest shouted,. 



“Babuji, I am almost finished now. By the way, I am fine now, see how much strength I have gained. ” turning around, showing her muscles, she asked, “Who wants to have an arm wrestle with Khushi Kumari Gupta?”

Still holding her hands up , she blinked. Then turning away towards the wardrobe, she murmured loud, “Khushi, Buaji is right, you are one big Sanki. You have started seeing Arnavji everywhere even during day time? May be he has not yet called to enquire today that’s why. Wasn’t all that acidity enough? ” she had got used to his calls everyday after the incident, just to enquire if she was ok.



She turned back to check if she was still imagining , but to her surprise, Arnav  stood leaning on the door, arms folded on his chest, sporting his famous one sided grin.

This time, he husked, “Hi” and moved closer, making her gasp and take a step back, but soon her back hit the wardrobe which shook slightly,..

He rushed to her saying “Khushi, watch out.”

“Arnav ji, you? When did you come? And here” showing the room around as if to say, how could you come into the room? How could they let him?

“Well, Payal and Akash are busy breaking their backs bending and taking everybodys blessings under the roof, your Babuji called you, but you did not hear I suppose” he said while eyeing the CD player which was playing almost at a full blast. “ So, I offered to call you, I was about to knock, but the door was wide open , so I thought why not have a wrestling match?” he raised his eyebrows looking into her eyes mischievously.



Khushi went red. She just didn't know where to hide her face. She might have probably melted under his gaze, if it wasn’t for Anjali’s loud shout they heard soon, “hellooooo...”



After stealing a shy glance from him, Khushi made her way out before he could come up with anything else.



Khushi was surprised to see the hall was crowded with people. Anjali introduced 

“Khushi, I was saying we are going to have one more in our team right? Meet my other brother, Nk bhai..”

NK was all over the place, admiring the art work of the house, jumping from one side to the other, but soon, he summoned himself in front of Khushi with a big bunch of yellow roses.

“Oh my Khushi, I have heard so much about you. Please be my friend....”

Feeling very awkward,  smiling sheepishly,  Khushi accepted the roses. “Thanks ah ah N” she hesitated not knowing how to address.

“My name is Nand Kis****” and rolled his eyes, and all Guptas eyes were on Buaji. NK continued, “but every one calls me NK, you can call me...”

Khushi heard a stern voice “Nanne, stop this drama and stop bugging her.”

Khushi looked at the women who had just spoken. Another version of Mami, but a bit  on the plump side. Anjali spoke, “that’s Mami’s sister. Manomani aunty, our NKs mum”

The green eyed monster had been woken and Arnav was looking at the drama unfold with his hands fisted and steam coming out of his ears. To make it worse, NK chose the same time to say “Nannav mere bhai, why are you standing and dhooring (ghooring - staring) come and meet my best friend Khushi. “



“NK just shut up. You don't even know her,. Don’t act like a ..”  Arnav didn’t want to insult NK in front of his mum, but how long could he bear. “whats all this to do with roses,..” Arnav glared, to which, NK replied gazing away at the flowers, gloomily “Aren’t they beautiful? See, yellow, colour of friendship, vibrant and bright like my friend Khushi...”



Arnav looked at his sister and realised why both had not come in the same car. The duo had been out by themselves and had come to Guptas almost at the same time as Arnav, Akash and his aunt..



“Don’t  know how long I have to bear this monkey,” Arnav sat down  murmuring to himself.  



It was indeed a drama unfold in front of the Guptas. When all had finally sat down, nudging her aunt, Khushi whispered in her Buaji’s ears, “Buaji, finally al your prayers are answered.  Your Nand kis**** has listened to you . The very much awaited nand kis**** has descended into our house.”



Glaring at Khushi,  Buaji was about to pinch her, but Khushi got up saying, “I will make some  tea.” 

“Ginger tea please” shouted NK, “Wait Khushi, I will also help you.”  NK was already behind her. Khushi, though hesitant did not say anything and led him, however, just before turning, from the corner do her eyes, she saw it. Smoke. Eyes red, nostrils flaring, glaring at her was none but Arnav.

“What have I done now. I can never understand this man” she wondered and carried on.

Dropping off their Aunt at Shantivan, the 6 youngsters set off on a shopping spree for the upcoming wedding. Khushi didn’t dare to even look at Arnav after seeing his temper. 

As luck had it, Arnav managed to shield Khushi away from NK. When Payal and Akash had strayed away, and Anjali and NK were in a different section,  taking Khushi gently by her hand, he pulled her outside the shop, leaving Anjali and NK to chat around and shop.



“Khushi listen” he started, but she had pulled her hands away. Looking upset, she said, “Arnav ji, what are you doing?”

“Listen” he started again, but as usual, nothing gets off on a proper start with these two.



“Yeah yeah, I am listening, then why did you have to pull me out, what will di say?” she started

“Now will you stop all your nonsense and listen for once? That NK is pulling you here and there, what will Di say then...” it didn’t take long to wind him up.



“Yeah what I say is nonsense, but what you are doing is fine. I don't want to listen to you now” she started walking towards the store again. He pulled her by her shoulder and hissed,

“Ok, don't listen. Then don’t tell me I did not tell you about it. ” he snarled

Calming herself, she said, “Ok, what is it?”

“Hmm, that’s how I want it to be.” He smirked but seeing her go red again he started, “Ok ok, I am planning on having a surprise party for Akash. Just a few of his close friends. Has Payal got any friends here in Delhi?”

She was all ears now and moreover excited. If he wasn’t glaring at her, she would have probably jumped in excitement. “Really Arnav ji, This will be fun. When, where, tell me please.. ”. Seeing her change in mood, he was pleased.



“Well, I was just thinking somewhere outside, may be in a resort.”

She heard Anjali in the distance. Hurrying to get back to Anjali, she said. “Thank you Arnav ji. I will check out on that,  where her friends are and let you know. I know some of her friends, but I will make sure.. we can discuss later”

Giving him a genuine beautiful smile, knocking his senses for a moment, she left him there and went inside the shop. He stood  stunned at what he had just imagined. He had imagined himself giving her a quick kiss on her cheeks for that beautiful smile. It was worse when he imagined her reaction, her eyes wide, mouth wide, he now literally laughed imagining things to himself.  At the same moment, Payal and Akash managed to catch up to the others. Seeing Arnav standing outside the shop with a smile ahem Actually laughing on his own, Akash was indeed  very concerned, “Bhai everything ok”

Feeling silly he was smiling all the while, the obvious thing to do was  shout at Akash, “Akash go and control your Di and NK, I will go mad if am with them for even 10 more minutes.”

“Bhai, why don't you go home, I will bring them all.” 

Now now now, this is not what he was expecting. Not after seeing the over dreamy, lovelorn NK constantly hovering over his Khushi. 

“Its ok Akash, make it quick, I  can wait” 

“Bhai, you know how Di is even during normal shopping, now there is a wedding, you can’t steal that pleasure off her. You get going Bhai, I will manage.” Akash trird to convince him  to go.

Try what he might, Akash was adamant on sending his brother away. His plan was to relax and spend time leisurely, rather than hurrying. Finally agreeing, Arnav left in a grumpy mood. He needed a strong coffee. Already cursing HP in his mind, he set off. “HP, you better keep it ready,...” 



“Payal, how will this look for Mamiji for the sangeet?” Anjali asked showing a gaudy pink Saree with heavy work. Though Payal knew her to be mum in law liked colours on the heavy side, this was too much for her. Hesitating Payal disapproved and showed another similar, much lighter version. “Di, she will be able to dance freely in this.” She suggested. Anjali was already messaging her Miami with both options..

 “Are you ok Khushi? What are you looking for? Anything particular?” Seeing Khushi looking around everywhere, Anjali questioned thinking she was looking for something specific to buy..

“ No Di, no one?” Khushi murmured, raising Anjalis doubts, who repeated “No one..” confused.

Immediately Payal looked up thinking “why did Khushi say no one?” and asked, “Khushi what happened? You have not selected anything? Wasn’t it you who had the biggest list!!!” Payal teased.

Still looking out, Khushi spoke softly, “ No jiji, nothing, lets go out soon..”

“Khushi I should have sent you with Bhai?” Akash spoke guessing the reason. Akash, who was obviously around Payal had observed the happenings.

Khushi looked up surprised. “Ji?” She did not want to specifically ask.

Akash repeated, “I sent Bhai away so that we could shop stress free”

“Oh” Khushi sighed sadly, before moving away on the pretext of looking for something, so as to not show them her foul mood.

The mood wasn’t much great either for Arnav. Reaching Raizada mansion, sending the car back to his siblings, Arnav rushed to his room, calling out to HP and as usual, trembling, HP had served his master with the instant coffee he had learnt to make, knowing his temper.

After savouring the coffee, thinking why the house was quiet, he wandered towards his Nanis room, thinking, “Obviously Di and that monkey is not there, no wonder its so quiet.”

He was going to knock, but stopped hearing his Miami say “That phati saree.. a.. a Khushi... (khushi)” The door was wide open and the three ladies, Mami, her sister and Nani were chatting. He very well knew who his Mami was referring to, his Khushi.

He stood there while the ladies unaware of his presence continued. He heard NKs mum speak confused “Didi (referring to her sister Mami), I mean Khushi for my nanne.”

“Hello hi bye bye, buy one get one free..” mami grumbled,

“Manorama” Nani raised her voice, “I have told you to have some respect for that girl.” Looking back at NKs mum she spoke, “That girl is a diamond. Both of them are. We have known Khushi bitiya for a long time now, you can’t get any better, i.e. if they like each other. We, rather I wanted my Chote for Khushi, but I don’t think I will be able see his marriage while I’m alive.. ”

Nani spoke sadly, Mami taken aback by the revelation quietly spoke, “Sasuma?”

“Anjali and I always wanted that. We thought he liked her too, it looks like Khushi bitiya destiny is in your house.” She sighed at NKs mum. “Their Buaji is a bit orthodox, so she is ready to tie their hands off as soon as a good alliance come by, so you must speak to Shashi soon if you want to proceed.”

“Yes, yes, I will speak to my son first. You know how these kids are now a days. I have prepared him for marriage before coming from Sydney, so I think he should be ok.” 

Mami sat looking from her sister to her mil, as if the world was going to end. On the other end, Arnav’s heart beat had increased tenfold and he stood unable to think next.

 NK and Khushi? 

She will accept anybody her Babuji approves and if Nani also recommends, then there is no chance for him

Can’t see chotes wedding while I’m alive.

She is a diamond.

Speak to her dad.

These and much more were playing in his mind and he rushed off to his favourite place to find solace. Poolside. Pacing up and down, taking his phone, he dialled. Waited, “pick up dammit”

No answer..

He called again, yet no answer, frustrated, he banged his phone on the table beside and paced once again, when he heard the door bell. 



Opening the door, he breathed a sigh of relief “phew,.. where were you? Why didn’t you pick my call? I need to speak to you..”







Who is Arnav trying to talk to? What?

Jan 31

Part 32 Apprehension (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 66 times)

Part 32 – Apprehension 



Opening the door, he breathed a sigh of relief “phew,.. where were you? Why didn’t you pick my call? I need to speak to you..”



Stood at the door, Khushi was totally confused. Holding the shopping bags in both hands, Khushi had barely managed to ring the bell, only to get welcomed by a gust of wind followed by a barrage of questions.   “Arnav ji?” she looked at him with mouth open, eyes wide, completely unaware of his urgency. One thing was for sure. This man would never let her live in peace.



Without asking any more questions, he took the bags off her. Taking her hands, he pulled her to his room, leaving all the shopping bags on the living room sofa on their way up.



HP, who had also come to open the door, was only half way to it, when he witnessed the scene. “Poor Khushi didi, today she is gone!!” he pitied her. Even though he had not seen an angry Arnav or a  rude Arnav for that matter, going into the lions den was enough. “Khushi didi, sorry I cant help you, only your devi maiyya will come to your help today..”. He soon went to help Anjali and NK who  also followed with bags,.... and plenty of bags in their hands.



Seeing HP, giving some bags to him, Anjali told, “garam garam chai.. please with ginger. My head is bursting”



Back in the den, getting Khushi inside his room, he locked the door. He knew there was only one thing that lacked in Raizada mansion, that was his privacy.  Khushi, feeling strange,  looked around. There was no one, he had simply escorted her to his room and locked the door. She felt uneasy. Still standing next to the door, she was totally uncomfortable and kept glancing at the door. He was just not capable of understanding the norms of the society.  



 Before she could say anything, he started, ”Khushi, listen carefully, are you really ready for marriage”



After a long day of tirelessly shopping till they dropped, out of the blue, comes this question. She looked at him , her face itself a big question mark, then she looked at the closed door. Immediately both were taken back in time when she had stubbornly refused to listen to him until he opened the door. He spoke again,  “I will open the door soon, I don't want anyone to come.”



“Arnav ji, this is not right. Let’s go out.”

“Can I not talk to you for two minutes?”



“Yes you can talk, but why in this way, what will your Nani say? Others think? Please” 



“I asked you something.”



“Why are you bringing that topic, I don’t want to talk. Open the door and let’s go out.”



“I asked you a question Khushi,”



“Why should I tell you, I will not, let’s go out”



He was getting irritated by her reluctance to answer. “If we go out that NK  will start flying  around you like a bee. And now...”



Now she understood, or so she thought. She remembered his anger at her house. His anger seeing NK all around her while shopping and now this question. She nodded in realisation. It pained to see Arnav never really understood her.

Scrunching her eyes, giving him an angry look,  she spoke, “Now I understand why you are asking me. You think I am trying to trap your cousin. Right.” 

All the anger bubbled up inside her. She pushed him, ”chi, how can you think like that Mr.Raizada?“ 

More anger seethed into her veins taking his name loud. She pushed him again “Just because he is rich, from abroad, does not mean I am all ready waiting with garland in my hands to marry him, thinking my life is done having found a rich man.  I didn’t even know you had a cousin until today, and already you have made your assumptions.” With each step she took towards him, she was felt like screaming. Pushing him again, ”You know what, every time I leave home, Buaji warns me not to get into any fight with you. But you don’t want that do you? You don’t want let me live in peace. Why are you behind me?” 

Arnav stumbled back. What was happening?  What had all this turned into? It pained to see how she had misunderstood, moreover, all this was only to be blamed on him. He didn’t know what to say, he was stumped. He had trampled her to this extent, it hurt to see her like that. With his mind having gone blank, without thinking he held both her hands and looked in her eyes. She did not resist. Still holding her hands, he brought her to his recliner. 

“Khushi, no no, listen,” he nodded his head, but Khushi, though, was not done yet. “No, you listen today. Why should it matter to you whether I  marry or not? Who I marry? When I marry? I wish you could leave me alone. Not just you, everybody. I don’t know what is in marriage,  I don't even want to get married, but what can I do?  I can’t see my Babuji unhappy..” 

Dejected on the whole, Khushi slumped down on the recliner, covering her face with both her hands. She did not want to cry in front of him. She was fed up, because in spite of all this,  her heart still beat for this man, who could never think anything good of her.  She felt for him so badly, that it hurt.



Sitting right next to her feet, his eyes looking somewhere far away in the distance, after a few minutes of peace and calm, he whispered, “Khushi, will you never forgive me? ”



She had sobered by now but she was not expecting this. She opened her palms to see him right next to her on the floor. In her own misery, she had not taken notice of what happened around her or where he was. He was looking at her, but his mind was elsewhere. Elsewhere, thinking of all the cruel things he had done and said to her. He continued.

“Khushi, will you ever forgive me for behaving like a monster to you. You know, every time I have been rude to you, I never meant any of it.  Never. Never. On the contrary, every time I felt the pain a hundred times more. Ever since you entered my life, from the first moment I saw you, you attracted me so much, I couldn’t stop thinking of you. You invaded my life, my thoughts day and night so I hated you for that. You got out all the emotions I thought I never had, and I did not want to accept that I had these emotions.. and so again I wanted to hate you. I tried to put you down by bringing your class, so that I could hate you, but you never gave up, you fought back, so I hurt you more. I had no control until finally one day, I was literally going mad, then finally, I gave in. I tried to accept it, which made it a lot easier. But it was long after you had left me and gone, then I realised I couldn’t do without you in my life. Yet again I thought, with you gone away, I can just get on with my life like a machine that I always was, but see our destiny, we met again. And I thought I was writing my own... “ 



Still away in his thoughts, he gave a sarcastic laugh. “ No just mine, I went to write yours as well. I don’t know what you call it, but Khushi I can’t bear to see you cry, or hurt. I cannot see you in trouble and the thought of loosing you takes my breath away.”



Unknowingly Khushi pressed his hands. Both looked in two each others eyes.

“I can’t fight myself anymore Khushi, I'm tired. I need you ” he said.

This wasn't what she had thought. After having put all her emotions at bay, he was once again trying to stir them, though it gave her some relief, thinking she was not alone in this ride all along. Yet her mind was  blank. He, who never spoke more than two words had spoken, not just anything, but his deepest emotions, which probably, even Khushi would never speak out loud. He  was literally on the verge of breaking down. Listening to Arnav, her mind froze and she sat still like a stone.  

 “Are you sure he was not angry when he took her? ” Anjali was questioning HP



“When is he not angry” mumbled HP to himself,  but said, “Didi before I could blink my eye, he was opening the door, and before I could turn back,  he was already taking her upstairs.. and I did not want to go in front of him ”



Though Anjali laughed to herself seeing how scared he was, she was concerned for Khushi. Down in the living room, as time passed, Anjali got more and more worried. With their previous history of fights and the recent incident with Khushi, she couldn’t wait more. Getting anxious, she repeated,

“oh oh, what is happening, I shouldn’t have got her here..”

NK,  asked without much concern, “why, they must be discussing something casually.., ”

“Casually and chote? He does not know the meaning of casually..” Anjali spoke rolling her eyes. Then she stood up, eyes wide open and exclaimed “That too with Khushi.. hey bhagvan.. I really hope she is ok”

As if that wasn’t enough for NK......



-

He waited for her to speak. Answer to all his questions, oh well speak anything dammit. But as tradition has it, they heard loud incessant bangs on the door. After his outburst of emotions, feeling light hearted, gently squeezing her hands, Arnav whispered near her ears, “Mind you, this family will never give US any privacy in the future.., we will have to live in a different house.” 



This was enough to the get the reaction he was waiting for.. Eyes widened, mouth hung open.  He couldn’t see her frozen for long.



Cursing whoever was at the door, which he obviously knew, Arnav went to open the door, while Khushi sat on the recliner still dazed. Did he just say US, live.... hey devi maiyya, she couldn’t even make herself think of it.





“Nannav, what happened to my friend?” without waiting for a reply, he barged into the room. Seeing her sitting so, and seeing the angry Arnav, though he was angry at being disturbed, NK cried out,  “Khushi, are you ok? Di told me ...“  Khushi could not hear NK, nor see him, all she saw was Arnav stood at the door, hands crossed across his chest, giving her a smile. 



By now Anjali too had caught up. “Khushi..” She was genuinely concerned. Now with the families building relationships with Payash getting married, she did not want any hurdles from her chote. She looked around to guess the tension in the atmosphere. All seemed ok. 



Getting back to earth, Khushi replied, “A a a a , Anjali ji,  Its getting late, I think I should leave now”

“Array, how is it possible, remember Akash will be bringing Payal here, then you can both go after dinner”



Having no choice, Khushi had to agree, and all moved to the living room, with Arnav excusing himself. No sooner had she gone down, Khushi excused saying, “Anjali ji, I will use the washroom”

“Khushi use my room, NK is in the guest room”



Anjali’s room decor was changed. It was a pleasant surprise for Khushi, and knowing nobody will come there, she sat on the chair exhausted by the whole ordeal. It was a relief to be alone. She was still unable to come to terms with what had happened. There was a time when she had wished it would happen, longed to be accepted by him, but when it never happened,  she had lost all her hopes. She didn’t feel all that excitement which she thought she would feel. Was  the wait  too long... she needed time..



While nobody came to disturb her, there was always the mobile, which could disturb anyone anytime,.. though she wanted to ignore, she thought better of it and she answered. 

“Jiji, everything ok? When are you coming...”

“Khushi listen” she could here Payal whispering, “Akash wants to take me out for dinner, then he will drop me home straight .”

Khushi was really upset, literally about to cry. Even though she had been to Raizada mansion hundreds of times, today, she felt like a little girl who was left alone in somebody's house, tossing from one side to the other. 

“Jiji” she spoke sadly. She could have easily gone him by now. Though on second thoughts, she was not sure if she had wanted  to miss what had happened..

“Sorry Khushi, I did not know, and I don’t want to say no, he will be upset.” Payal  sincerely apologized. 

Feeling sorry for her sister, regaining her stance quickly, Khushi affirmed,  “jiji, its no big deal, you enjoy your time. But there I one condition...”

“What Khushi? Tell me.. quick ” 



“I need a detailed report of what all you both did,.. ahem ahem, I mean talk ...” Khushi teased,



“You, Khushi ki bachi,,, ” Payal hung the phone with a smile.



-

On the other side of the mansion, without a care in the world, Arnav, lying on the recliner had dozed off. Feeling light after all these years, he didn’t know what he was carrying on his shoulders all along. Whether he had found a partner to share it or whether getting it off his chest, it definitely was a relief for the business tycoon, who had not known about this kind of complete satisfaction. He was content. Left alone, he would have probably not woken for long, but NK was here to take his sleep off... er well literally too..



“Did you call chote for dinner?” Nani asked NK, who were all sat at the dining table for dinner. 



“You wont believe it Dadi, (NK calls Nani Dadi, since Akash calls her that way), Nannav was sleeping... at this time” he saw his watch, to actually know what the time was.



“Haan haan why not,  he will sleep peacefully, now that he has taken away my sleep.. ” Khushi mumbled under her breath.

“Everything ok khushi?” NK’s mum enquired, looking at Khushi mumbling.



“Haan aunty, all fine. I should be leaving soon” saying so, she helped the others and served the food so that it can be done with. 

“Don’t worry Khushi, driver is there, he will drop you off, relax  and eat, don't hurry” Nani told her.

“There’s no need for that Nani, Mohan has already left for the day, I will drop her.” Arnav just walked in after refreshing. Nani sighed in relief. She could see a glint in her chote’s eyes that was missing since .....    time unknown. 



“I will also come to drop my friend then..” NK spoke excitedly, but Anjali had other intentions. “Ah NK Bhai, you will have to help me on my iPad. You had promised me remember. I need to sort that soon.” She pouted and NK could not say no to her.



Dinner finished, next plans made, all ready to go, Khushi took leave from everyone. With guests in Raizada mansion, there was an ever increasing number of people in the house, that immediately reminded her of the recent comment, “The is no privacy in this house...” 

Asking her brain to stop thinking, saying bye, she once again entered another of his den.. this time his white SUV. She knew there would be talks,... she knew not however, what to say... luckily it wasn’t  a long ride and to her surprise no questions asked, other than confirming what their next plan was, so he could keep it free.. ahem..



However, soon enough, just before she could get off, he asked, “Khushi are you ok?”

Both knew why he was asking this.  Words failed her. She looked him in the eye. Closed her eyes once, and nodded a yes.  He looked at her happy, she closed again and nodded.... No ,.. 

“Khushi...” but she was gone like the wind... leaving him confused,...



How was it????

Feb 7

Part 33 - Doubts (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 59 times)

Part 33 - Doubts




“Khushi...” but she was gone like the wind... leaving him confused,...

“What the... Khushi,..” his instant reaction was to run behind her, but his mind got the better of him. “Let me give her some time..” 



And Khushi’s instant reaction was to run and without bothering to  look back at him. Like a hurricane, she entered the house, without even greeting Buaji who had opened the door, going straight to the kitchen, she was already swirling her hands and making batches and batches of jilebis.



With migraine having kicked over, tying her orangy red thin muslin around her  “Sanka devi, what happened? Did anyone tell you anything?  Hai re nand kis****...”

“Khusi, is  everything ok? Is Payaliya ok, nothing happened to her.. did Mami say anything?” Garima asked concerned if Khushi is upset because of Payal’s ìn laws..

As if Buaji had a brainwave, she asked “Hey parameshwari,  did you by any chance fight with Arnav Babua? “

Khushi looked up instantly at the mention of his name and nodded a no, gaining a sigh of life from everyone. 

Finally after having watched for a long time, when the next batch of jilebies were dipped in the sugar syrup, before she could make the batter for the next batch, silently, Shashi spoke, “Bitiya, you have not taken your medicines today, and moreover, you have been shopping whole day, you  must be tired, and if you fall, Arnav baba is not here to catch you this time... ”  he knew he had hit the right chord, for she immediately stopped, looking here and there, then looking at him, saying a meek, “Ok babuji,,” went inside. His odd remark did get some odd looks from the elder ladies. Fight or no fight, he realised, it had something to do with the above said man. By now, it was no rocket science for him. Something must have happened....



Listening to Khushi’s jilebi making session, and seeing that her sis has already gone to bed,  Payal told, “she sounded quite upset when I told her I wont be going there for dinner.. do you think she has fought again with Arnav ji? Should I speak to Anjali di?” she left her questions open as no one could throw any light...  



In bed she was. But sleep was far away. Khushi reminisced her journey since the time she had met him.  No she couldn't think of love in the beginning.  But there was the moment when she first fell into those arms when she had felt safe and secure. A different feeling had engulfed her, though she could not name it. His gaze had eventually made her scared, and slowly he had made her life hell, and the emotions turned to  hatred, or rather she thought. Every time she met him, her self respect was at stake and she fought for it. Unknown to her, tears streamed down her cheeks,.. 

“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”

“means nothing...”



"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”





His ruthlessness, arrogance, status or money had overtaken everything...

Wept silently she did, on that day and days that followed, and even today it brought fresh pain, when it was nearly turning to a year since it has happened. She had surrendered then, but now, she was not so sure. Yet somewhere down the line had she forgiven or moved on?? Or had she forgotten about it seeing the changes in him, did she still love him the way she did? she did realise there was attraction, but was it love? According to her imaginary book of 100 signs to know if you are in love, by kkg,.. it had passed some of them. Obviously the book was a bit outdated with rules like, 

#he will come in a horse, dressed like a raj kumar

#she will be struggling and running away from the goons and he had to come and save her

#He had to come in her dreams every other day (though she argued, he came in more often than that..) 

#Of course give her red roses

#be the hero of her colony

#stars/flowers fell from the heavens to show her signs...

#she would imagine him everywhere.. (this she remembers having experienced, when she saw him as the chane wala, Rickshaw wala )



Laughing at the rickshaw wala Arnav, laughing at her own rules, which she had probably started making since she was 12, she mused, “You have gone mad, wasn’t it just a moment ago you were crying bitterly, and now you are laughing.” Khushi turned over to see Payal staring at her. “What happened Khushi, we thought you were asleep and here you are, laughing away, when Buaji is worried seeing all the jilebis. Did anything happen at RM?”



“Yes, you cheated me. It’s not fair. You were supposed to come and I was left alone.  So you tell me what has happened, where did you go, and what did you both...”

“Khushi stop..” Payal  shouted. One thing Khushi was good at, distracting, diverting attention. Very cleverly she had distracted and Payal too fell for it. It was only late in the night, Payal again remembered the jilebis. I will ask Akash or Anjali tomorrow, she will not tell me anything..



-

Back home after dropping Khushi, Arnav found the house quiet. A busy days shopping had taken its toll on everyone. Asking HP for a coffee to catch up with the emails and messages from office, Arnav sat on his recliner. Mind was far away from work. His mind was thinking of Khushi, her response to his comments and what stressed him was her nod. Why did she say no? What was not alright? He consoled himself by “Let me give her some time...”



Sunday was all planned. Oh boy was he excited,,.... there was much hustle bustle around the breakfast table when he joined.



Anjali started, “Aaaa nani, you wanted to order sweets right, well, buaji had called. They have truckloads of jilebis from yesterday night. She will be sending some today,”



Curious to know NK’s mum asked, “why so much?”



Chancing an opportunity, Miami was the first to comment, “why, didn’t you know, that phati,.. er I mean, khushi is an expert  ” The word phati Saree, immediately got her some stares from the family, and not to forget, Arnav’s glare..

“Oh is it, we should try as well..” her sister chimed,

“Don’t worry, there will be loads of opportunities in the future too, ” Giggled Anjali, “you see, every time she is upset or tensed, the first thing she does is that. Buaji was quite upset when she told me, that she had made literally for the entire colony... poor Khushi, don’t know why she was upset, and to think of it, she was with us whole day. Wonder what happened...”. 

Did  she accidentally glance upon her agitated brother to see concern in his eyes. Anjali knew something had happened. Since the time she had seen her in Arnav’s room the previous day,  later at dinner, there was something different, Khushi was lost in thoughts.  One thing Anjali was sure of, they had not fought.



 Getting up from his half finished breakfast, “I need to make this urgent call,..” Arnav rushed, with Anjali shouting over his shoulders, “At least finish breakfast before you speak to..” she whispered “Khushi..”

 But he was gone, once again pacing up and down mumbling irritated, “What’s your problem Khushi, why do you have to keep a mobile to keep it switched off..”

Suddenly his heartbeats increased,, and there was a slight cool breeze. He rushed down to see Khushi with  her sister, greeting everyone, taking blessings. He stood watching/admiring/ smiling from halfway up the stairs. He remembered her dancing to “oo la la oo la la, tu hai meri fantasy,..” she literally had everyone dancing to her tune... including Di and Nani. His eyes shone with affection thinking how much she had changed from her chamkeeli type clothes to a more simple plain Kurta and jeggings.. however, one thing remained the same, these Kurta too had her own hand made tassels or some kind of hangings... not to forget, how much he had changed.  



Her one look was enough to make his day. Greeting him with a gentle nod, Khushi made her way to the kitchen to keep the box full of jilebis.

“Khushi, Di told me about the jilebis,... get me some, I want to taste them now.” NK still having his heavy breakfast shouted. “I can never think of eating all this for breakfast, but hey, I'm on holiday, I’m allowed isn’t it?”

Narrowing his eyes on this monkey NK, Arnav came back, to finish his breakfast..

“Sorry Payal, Khushi , we are running a bit late. I asked you both to come and early  see we are not ready yet. Once we are ready, we will sit and finalise the parlour lady, mehendi lady, dances... ” turning to a blushing Akash,  Anjali told, “Sorry Akash, not today. We are going to hijack Payal today. We need at least 2 to 3 hours,.. don’t disturb us..”

“Di, that’s not fair.. its Sunday, I wanted to...” Akash protested, but,..

“May be if we finish early you can take her.” Anjali calmed him, while mumbling with a half juicy jilebi in her mouth,..

“mmmm this is yummy... Khushi, everything ok? Buaji was saying,..”



Khushi smiled sheepishly, while Payal took over. “yes yes one bus full of jilebis at home. Di, day by day, her madness is increasing,.. at this rate,..  ouch..” Payal rubbed her arms, which had gone red with the pinch..



“Jiji, we have come here to discuss,.... ”

“I know I know, let them also know, Buaji simply doesn’t call you sanki,..  you see Anjali di,..”

Noticing that they have an audience both stopped. Nani  came forward and putting black mark behind Payal’s ears, she commented, “I did not know my bahurani (daughter in law), could fight as well. It is lovely to see you both like this, hope you two will always stay like this,.. ”

Taking her blessings, Payal said, “Dadi ji, you know, Khushi used  to always say we both should get married to brothers,... ”

Khushi went red, with all eyes on her now, she felt she would melt. From the corner of her eyes, she  could definitely see the smile on his face.



Nani sighed, moving over to Khushi to put the black mark, “All my blessings dear. One sign from my grandson, and I am ready.” Now it was Arnav’s turn to go red and the only thing he could say was, “Nani..” very quietly. He was soooo not used to this... why couldn't people be professional at home as well... why all this drama.. things would be so easy if they were sent across in emails or letters!!! At least Aman could deal with it...



Sensing the tense air, Anjali came in  “I think we should go now. I have got it all sorted with NK, how to use the iPad... common girls.. ” 

Looking at NK, “Will you be here, in case... ”

NK  replied, “No di, Akash is taking me and mum to our uncles house.” Whispering to Anjali “Akash wanted to stay, er well, because you now, but Mami insisted... ”



“Di I am in my room, call me anytime...” Anjali raised her eyebrows at Arnav.



“Thanks chote..” all the ladies went to Anjali’s room..

When they were half way up, Arnav called  “Aaaa Khushi,”

Khushi stopped and turned, “Yes Arnav ji“

“Did you manage to find out about ... “ lowering his voice further, “Payal’s friends..”

Sticking her tongue out, “I completely forgot. Sorry sorry, I will actually try and do it now, I have a few contacts, I will message them.. aa Arnav ji, does Anjali di know about it?”



Nodding his head, “No, Di doesn’t know yet, Akash and that monkey NK is always around, so I couldn't tell her,  “ he never left a chance to show his dislike towards NK.



As time whizzed by with the young ladies working in Anjalis room, on the other side Arnav was getting more and more anxious. Why hasn’t Di called?  Are they ok? Oh dammit why can’t you all come out,... it’s been a while now... finally giving up, he went to her room, he could hear loud music, the door was open. 



He stood watching while the ladies were,  watching dance hits, chatting, laughing all at the same time. He was reminded of what Akash had said the day before, “Di is enjoying,  don’t steal that pleasure off her” He felt happy seeing the three. His Di was thoroughly enjoying and for the first time, he felt a sense of belonging. They were all his family, hmm going to be atleast

Payal was the first to take notice. “Arnav ji”

Both Anjali and Khushi looked up. “Chote, whats up? You are smiling?”

“Di” he gave a look, to say, as if I never smile, but he had to come up with a reason for his visit. “I came to check if the internet ok, I was having some problems connecting”

“It's fine I think, check, we haven’t noticed anything.” Anjali gave him the iPad, putting away all the catalogue for dress, jewellery..

 

“It looks fine now, may be it was my laptop. Di, where’s HP, he is not in the kitchen” 



“He has gone to the market, did you want anything?”



“Nothing, its ok. ” he marched towards the kitchen.  He did not want to disturb them!!!



“Is it tea... actually even we want one as well. Wait chote just give us  a few minutes..” 

When Anjali  got up, as usual, Khushi volunteered “Di, you stay, I will make for all of us..” 



She was engrossed in humming and crushing ginger for the tea, when she heard “can I also have one please” Arnav whispered in her ears standing right behind her. Startled, she turned around. He was so close, she could feel his breath on her nose. For a moment both stood without wanting to move away,  given a choice, Arnav would have gone ahead to kiss the shocked mouth, open like a O ..... but he restrained.



Taking a step back to create a distance, Khushi nodded and stood as if she was numb.  Then she saw him go to the sink to throw his tea,..

“What are you doing? Why are you throwing the tea” she asked getting her voice back

“It was ****, I couldn't drink ”   and he stayed back, just dilly dallying.. while she finished crushing the ginger. Until now, she had never felt conscious while working, though she had realised she was extra clumsy in his presence, but now, with him around, she felt she couldn't move. As if her every move we being watched,  which in fact was true.. now and aaa, actually even before.. 



How she wished he would go away and said, “Arnav ji, you can go and do your work, I will get your tea”, but then realised, that would be even worse.  Better to bear him for a few more minutes than going to the lions den. 



“Why,  I finished all my work..” he said, enjoying the sight. Khushi was all over the place, getting cups, saucers,... When the tea was nearly done, taking his phone out, he went to his room.. leaving Khushi to bring his tea.

“Laad governor” Khushi breathed when he went out. “Stayed here and didn't take his tea either..Hey Devi maiyya,..now I have to take it there...”



“Where do you need to take it Khushi bitiya..” she heard Nani coming to the kitchen.

“No Nani ji, nothing,.. ” Khushi mumbled,.. but immediately saw HP coming from his big shop... happily, she requested, “HP ji, please take this tea to Arnav ji, I will give Anjali di and Jiji. Nani ji for you as well.. ”



Not at all happy, HP,  swallowed hard and said “ok didi”  cursing himself for not taking a few more minutes in the shop...

“What the, ..... “ he rose obviously angry seeing HP coming with his tea. Immediately he called his Di.



Akash and the group arrived on time for lunch, and before anyone would know, lunch was finished, with laughter filled at the table with NK’s jokes, Arnav trying to grab Khushi’s attention, and throwing angry glares at NK, Khushi royally ignoring Arnav . When the elders retired for a nap, NK asked,

“aaa Khushi, Akash is taking Payal out. If you are not busy, why don’t you show me a few places around,... I have heard that you know the best places to get gol gappe..”



Khushi hesitated. One, she was not interested in going. Two, she knew she was already being stared down by someone and she did not like it. Then remembering she had to get hold of Payals friends, she said, “Actually Nanne ji, I have some important work, today is Sunday, I have to sort it out today, cause Monday all will get back to work,..... sorry”  she did not want to disclose about the party in front of everyone. 

“No worries Khushi, some other day..., may be I should catch up with my friends back in Sydney.. Hey di, did you manage to get your work done without any problems??” NK was already walking towards his room, not bothering to listen to her answer..

Though he was happy she had refused, he did not show it since he was upset at being ignored. With Anjali, Khushi and Arnav left alone at the table, Anjali asked, “Chote, so tell me about this party you told me about, where is it going to be,  have you got the venue sorted,.”



Khushi was surprised, “When did he tell her about it...”

“Di I think we need to go there today and fix the dates, otherwise we will have difficulty is getting the place. I have two places in mind, we can see and select today.. ”

Though Anjali was eager to select, she was not too keen on going far, the heavy afternoon lunch had slightly sedated her.... and she loved her nap..”Chote, I will be happy any place, I trust you. Khushi, do you mind going..”

Now now, this is exactly how he had planned it all. But what was this work of hers, did she really have some work? He wanted to find out.. which to his relief, Khushi clarified.. ”Actually Anjali ji, I wanted to make calls with regards to this matter itself.”

Thought of going alone with him, not ready to answer his impending questions, Khushi tried “Di, we can always wait, why don’t you rest for a while, I can make the calls, and then we can all go?”



“What the..” he grumbled, “Khushi, are you serious?..  as it is, we cannot get any time for us in this house, now you want Di  to accompany?” 

Come what may, he was bent upon cornering her.. Quickly thinking of an excuse, “Khushi, we have to leave now. I have another work nearby, you can make your calls there and then move on from there ”



“Khushi, he wont eat you, Chotte should I send NK” Anjali winked knowing how terrified he would get.

“DI.....” 

Having no other options, Khushi made her way into his car, mentally preparing for his questions. It was a pleasant ride for Arnav with his Khushi beside him. Though he had chauffeured her hundreds of time before, knowing she is his, made a difference. Well, being ASR, top business man, as habit had it, he had already started making plans..

Stopping at a nearby office to pick up his deal papers, Arnav asked ”Khushi I will be a while, do you want to finish making your calls? Its too hot, come inside..“ he suggested seeing her sweat inspite of the AC in the car. Khushi did not fail to notice the change in him. Though he was caring towards her, she felt  he was extra caring and trying to come close to her at every prospect. Be it while having food, making tea in the kitchen, she realised he was hovering constantly around her.

 



“What the.... how can you sleep? You are unbelievable... ” Arnav muttered  on their way to the resorts, but did not fail to see how cute and peaceful she looked while asleep. Lack of sleep the previous night, and the long journey in Delhi’s hot weather along with the car ride had taken its toll on her. 



“Arnav ji, are we there yet? ” she asked like a child, waking up with the car having come to a stop. 

“Its been about 5 minutes Khushi ” he hushed, still looking at her mesmerized by her innocence.

“Why didn’t you wake me? Sorry, I don’t know how, I was too tired..”

“why Khushi did you not sleep last night” he asked with his eye brows raised. Khushi looked at him. Was there a hidden meaning to this question? 

Slightly stretching herself, wiping the sleep off her eyes, “No” she came straight.

“Why?” he was smiling...

Khushi sat still, did not talk, then after about a few minutes, realised there was no reason waiting for him to ask,

“Because   ” she looked at him,  he sat straight, eager, a little smile playing on his lips, waiting for her to continue, 

Taking a long breath, looking away from his eyes, “Arnav ji, I am not sure..” and she paused... “I don’t know... ” another pause..

He went pale, the eagerness gone,.. “Khushi.. ” he husked. He wasn't sure if he was ready to hear her out,..

For the first time, doubts crept into his mind. “Does Khushi share the same feelings?”

Feeling all stressed up, pushing his hair away from his face, “Khushi” he breathed again looking away, out of the window. 

The first  seeds of rejection were sown. 

“does she really not love me..”

“Do I want to listen to her no?”







That’s all for now,.. hope you all enjoyed,

What do you think Khushis response would be/should be according to you...



Feb 15

Part 34 - Wait (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 62 times)

Part 34 - Wait

The first  seeds of rejection were sown. 

“does she really not love me..”

“Do I want to listen to her no?”

Even the thought of it was not acceptable “how can she? Why will she? I have told her everything, she knows now, so she can’t do that. Well if she doesn’t then I will speak to Nani, who will talk to her family, then she will definitely listen to her Babuji”



It had never ever occurred to him that anyone could  reject him. Did it have something to do with the constant mention of “most sought after bachelor...”  by the media, girls swooning over him all the time.,.. and being a businessman, he was trying to make different plans in case one method fails. Hence, all he could think of was to somehow get her to accept, if not by her, then through her Babuji.   



Perhaps, Devi maiyya must have laughed, “Destiny ha. Here he is sat afraid of a middle class girl  rejecting him and plotting ways to get her..”



The more he thought about it, the more negative his thoughts were turning. 

Trying to calm his mind, taking deep breaths, “You can deal with it Arnav, whatever it is there will always be a way..”

“Arnav ji, ” he looked at her hopefully

“I know people have been talking about my marriage, but at the moment, marriage is the last thing on my mind. My life has changed in the last one year. And I don’t need to say, since you have been there at every step. Even when you were not physically there, you have always kept a tab on everything.” 



Arnav looked at her with a sense of belonging and pride when she said this. That was in fact very very true. He knew everything about her either through his sis or somehow he managed to get information .



“This one year has taught me a lot of things. It was foolish of me to challenge you at every step. I did not know how big a man you were, how I had to talk to you, I honestly thought I could accomplish anything. You tried to drill into me every time we met, but I was in my own world, I didn’t think it mattered what status or money I had. Little did I know about this big city, how people can take advantage (her mind was thinking of her sham engagement). Moreover, when I think of my behaviour at certain times, I cannot believe I had  crossed my own moral boundary. Thanks to Devi maiyya, nothing happened and I was shown the right place...  (This time it was her giving in to her emotions on the Diwali night when she was very well aware she was employed by him, and that too to train his.....)“



It pained to hear how much she had changed and how he was the reason for all of it. He hated himself for it. Though she had not mentioned, he knew it was the diwali incident she was referring to. He put his head down in shame and mouthed “Khushi”. Could it get any worse? His only comfort, she had not spelt out the incidents.    



Khushi, still looking far away, no where in particular, continued, “But now I know my limits, how to control my emotions. I know the power of money. What I was, my thoughts, my ideas, everything has changed, even my thoughts about marriage, well at least to an extent. I have a few things that I need to sort, I can’t be thinking of marriage ..“



However sad and dejected he was listening to her,  first things first. Putting aside all his thoughts aside, he interrupted “But Khushi, everybody, I mean your Buaji, Di, now  NK’s mum”



Slowly Khushi looked at him, laughing slightly, “Arnav ji, Buaji has been talking about our marriage since we were 12 or 13. Di, you know is always teasing“ looking confused, “where does Nk’s mum come into picture ”



Surprisingly for Arnav, he was for once having a calm conversation putting aside all his own fears. His only consolation, she had not said “No” to him. Aaaaaaa well at least for now, his mind said.



“Khushi, you don’t know what is happening do you? Nani and NK’s mum are planning to come to your house to ask.. ” he couldn't continue.



Though she was frustrated with all these constant pestering of marriage, she had not shown it. Now she was fed up. “I sometimes can’t get it, why is marriage the ultimate goal for any girl? Can we not do anything without getting into this whirlpool of marriage? I hate this..”



Khushi, who had held the ultimate opinion on marriage was talking such, Arnav was surprised is an understatement. It was this issue of commitment that had initially kept him  away from her and from accepting his feelings towards her and now when he had overcome those fears of marriage, here was Khushi who had all this time slowly slipping away from it.

  

 “Khushi, you are talking like that? Why? How?  I mean” 

“Arnav ji, as far as I know, you never wanted marriage, you never believed in it. And it is not something like your deals, make it, break it. It is not one the many deals we make in business .. It does not work like that in real life.”

“Khushi, if  you know me, then you will know I will not do anything without giving it thorough thought...” ...... ring ring,..

Has there ever been a thorough conversation between these two without being interrupted by anyone? This time it was Anjali who was calling Khushi, which definitely cannot be ignored. 

“Khushi ji, Hope I did not disturb you, are you ok to talk ” Anjali wondered why she asked this question, but she had asked. Never the less, Khushi answered, “Anjali ji, tell me..”

Arnav looked away annoyed by the disturbance, “When will my family ever leave us alone...”  he mumbled looking away, then  sighed in relief , at least now he need not be afraid of her being snatched away from anyone, no  marriage....



“Ok Anjali ji, I will ask them the details, yes, food, sweets, refreshments,..” Khushi mentally made a note of the list..

“Yes yes Anjali ji, we will not be late” she assured and put the phone down. 

“Arnav ji” she saw he was still trying to see something on the dashboard, “Shall we  ”

 Giving up, nodding his head, he came out, both making way to get on with the pending work.

  





“Di, Khushi is very clever, she does not show any of her feelings, and moreover with all the wedding preparations it is easy for her to keep busy. But yesterday she was completely lost.  However what I can't understand is,  Arnav ji. Is it really him or somebody else. ”

Payal was complaining after listening to how NK and Anjali had gone to Arnav’s room, and found Khushi...



Sipping her ginger tea, Anjali assured Payal, “Payal, there is definitely something going on. I only know because I have seen them together more, you have not had a chance.  Yeah it is difficult to believe its our Chote, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing I suppose for both of them. How harsh he has always been with her. I can’t explain what used to happen when she used to come here before. He hated her so much” 



Anjali was lost in the past, “Or really did he hate her? When I think of it, after being through a tough childhood, I mean teenage years when he was stepping into adulthood, he became tough, very tough. Only us family mattered. He might have not known how to react to his changing emotions towards her. But you know, he always made sure she was safe, I still remember how tensed he was, how he had reacted and was gone like the wind when he found she was stuck in the guest house. Also, fate had it, they always ended up bumping into each other, and unknowingly I have a hand in it too. And Khushi, there is definitely affection in her eyes, true she has not shown any of us, but  it is there, may be she is scared of him. There is a kind of familiarity or possessiveness (best word in Hindi apnapan) between them, a different kind of bond which seem to come from both ends. ”



“Now see, again they are both together, I am happy as well as tensed whenever they are together. I hope this C**** does not make a mess..” let me call them and she had walked out of Payal’s hearing to speak to Khushi, who unlike Anjali wasn't as keen for Khushi to be with him......



Back then in Lucknow at their Babujis treatment centre, Payal still remembers Khushi’s words, “Yes jiji, you are right. We cannot have such high dreams” even though Payal was going through heartbreak,  she had not failed the intensity and pain in her eyes. Has anything been going on since then? Like Anjali had said, they always  managed to be together by hook or crook, without their knowledge. Were they longing to be with each other? Even though both fought like dogs and cats, making us feel oh, this is the end, they always managed to be seen again together next time...

“Devi maiyya, please show my Khushi the right way” she sincerely prayed for her sister.



-

“Khushi, you didn’t ask them the ingredients and which shop or farm they get their supplies from?” Arnav teased Khushi driving out of the Leela palace grounds (Resort). Khushi had thoroughly interrogated them with all the minor details of the party.

Khushi defended with a “Oh.... Did you not hear Anjali Di telling me to ask?  ” getting irritated watching him continuously smile, while she was asking questions,  and even now he was smiling. It was a new Arnav she got to see, with a smile plastered on that handsome face . “Laad governor, why couldn't you have been like this before?” she mumbled to herself.  

“Yeah right... Di..” he dismissed her,..

Drive back home was much relaxing,  with both discussing the party, invites, entertainment et all. Just as she was thanking her Devi maiyya, Arnav asked in a very serious tone ,

“Khushi, what is it you want to sort out? What do you want to do??  ”

“ooooo, there came the dreaded questions again?...” Khushi looked at him all uneasy and automatically her hands held the corner of her dupatta. She had so many plans and ideas, but could she tell him everything?  Would he understand? “If I know this laad governor even a little bit, then he will not leave me until he knows, by hook or crook. Well, no harm in telling, nothing to lose “ thinking so, she started,



“Arnav ji.. ”





Should I continue in this part or next part...... (Wink wink....)


































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Once again Arnav waited eagerly, while Khushi took time to frame her thoughts and words. Very few times she had done this,....  “Arnav ji, the conditions in our house is not as rosy as it looks. First of all, I want my sister’s wedding to be finished without any problems. Especially after the previous failure, I am all tensed up. Not just me, everybody. ” Arnav put his head down,  knowing his part in it, not able to face her. 



“You don't have to feel story Arnav ji, because you know jiji would have never been happy in that marriage, and we have all come out stronger, yet, it is a big stigma when a girl’s marriage breaks.” She was not aware that Arnav knew the pain a sibling would go through. It was heart breaking to see his sister’s marriage break the first time and fail the second time. He really felt for his sister, since she put up with a brave face. 





“You know we will be moving to Buaji’s house next week.“ Her heart constricted to say this, but she had to get it out, “Financially there is a heavy burden. I don’t want my Babuji to feel that pressure. So once the wedding is finished, it will take a few months, probably years before we stabilize. I want to see my family cross through this phase.. How, when and the rest of the details, even  I am not completely sure, but I am slowly making some arrangements,.. we will see. Now do you know why marriage is not in my agenda? ”

Arnav tried to stop her with, “Khushi, you really don't have to feel that. You know we are going to be relations now and we can always talk through it.. ”



Khushi nodding her head negatively,  continued, “Do you know Arnav ji, even though they have never made me feel it, I am still an orphan, I will always feel indebted to them. For all you know, I could have been anywhere, I dread to think. In fact, because of that, Buaji and Babuji have been more caring towards me, so that I don’t feel it. Whatever happens in the future, I would always want to be there for them, financially and support them in however way I can. I am not blaming jiji if she does not share those feelings, when you are their daughter, it becomes their right and end of the day, it is different.”





Arnav sat holding the steering wheel, looking forward. He was feeling very proud of her. This was a common feeling he shared. Perhaps these common things had brought them together unknowingly. He could easily understand her situation. Also, looking back, he realised, financial crisis was never his problem. Yes his mami had sacrificed her jewels, but that was only to set up a new venture, which was chosen by them but not as a necessity. He had come a long way now, and Khushi was taking upon the burden of it all by herself. He felt for her, he wanted to help her, but he did not want to spoil anything by giving his ideas or exercising his decisions on them. Well at least for now.  Khushi would never like it.. 

All said and done, at no point Khushi had told her feelings. He was now thinking of his next move......” How do I make her agree or confess her feelings...” 

“Patience  Arnav” he told himself, ”is the next move,” 



Having said all the practical and obvious reasons,  Khushi sat, eyes closed, her mind in her own thoughts. “Arnav ji, how can I tell you my feelings? Even though I am aware of my feelings towards you, I can't accept you. Our ideas, thoughts, everything is different. You will get fed up of my sankiness (madness). With my middle class mentality, I might never be able to fit into your world. Unlike me, my jiji is quiet, she will adjust. Atleast she would not make a fool of herself like I have done in the past...“ 

Before both of them got out to meet the rest of the family at Shantivan. 





That’s all dearies,.... how was it, what do you all think





Feb 18

Part 35 - Party ... ies.. (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 47 times)

Part 35 – Party...ies...




“Why is Anjali ji so pleased,  she has been smiling through out looking at my sister and her brother ,... Devi maiyya knows what my sister is going through with that man. I must somehow find out what is going on.. ” Payal thought, while the rest of the family and Khushi were busy having food. She did not fail to notice her sister, who always had the appetite of a horse,  was only pecking on her plate, while her mind was else where. Since Payal had missed dinner the previous evening, there was no escape today. 



Life changing weekend for Khushi it was.  But life has to go on. Back home, she was busy getting ready for the coming week’s work. Going to work, then the extra few small catering jobs she had procured, all needed plenty of planning and preparation. Payal was of great help and Khushi was literally in tears thinking how she would manage when she was gone.

The elders were sat discussing the normal rigmorals of life, Khushi approached them , “Babuji, I have got all the plans ready for next week. Buaji, did the tenants call you? I spoke to them and they are emptying on Wednesday. He said he will return the keys to Happy ji. Happy ji is so excited we are moving back.”



“Yeah, Khushi Happy ji had called me. He couldn’t get your number. He said one of his painter friend I coming on Thursday, what is this?  ” Payal asked, why they had to paint the house in this crisis. 



“Jiji, do you remember, Buaji was saying we need to paint the house before wedding, so I thought this was the best time when the house is empty, before we move in. I had asked Happy ji if he knew any painter, he had mentioned about one of his customer. I have taken off on Thursday, shall we finish all the cleaning. Happy ji said he will help us too. If everything goes right, we can shift there by Saturday.”



Babuji, Garima and Buaji all agreed, but Babuji insisted he would be present there as well. “All of you can do the work, I will be in Happy jis garage and rest if need be. I want to help and do things when I am able to, when I can’t, I don’t have any choice.  ”

Which was true, it would keep him busy and change of place and environment was always a good medicine for any illness. 



Though tired, sleep was far away for Khushi. “Sorry Arnav ji, I cannot accept you, and also I know I  cannot accept anybody else either. NEVER. It was on that Diwali day, somewhere I still feel shattered, too many things have happened since and I have become numb to all my feelings. I need some time to understand myself, my own feelings. Hey Devi maiyya, please show me the way.  ”

Back here at Shantivan, Arnav and Anjali sat by the pool,  in their night dress and pyjamas  discussing the party (Hey guys, have they ever shown these people in casual wear in the show? Have they? I just can’t remember..).  “Di, its all booked now, keep these leaflets from the hotel, out of reach of that monkey and Akash.”



“Ok chote, I wanted to ask you, you know that classmate of Akash, Anand, don't miss him. You know how close they were till high school. I’m sure he will be pleased to see them.”



“Di, I don’t have much contacts about them, can you try and sneak it from his phone.  ”



“Don’t worry chote, I will get it off him, though I wouldn’t  want to see his phone now.. I will think of a way. ”



Surprised why it could be a problem Arnav questioned “Why di, you have seen my phone and even his phone before, what’s the problem?”



“Chote, I don't want him to think I am reading his messages,... you know, his, Payal’s... ” and Anjali trailed off,..



“Oh oh , ok ok”  realising quickly, what she was on about..



“By the way, Khushi has managed to get hold of two or three friends of Payal. I guess, it will be a good number with our  friends, and family.” Arnav said while Anjali made her way out saying good night.



It was long after she had gone, he walked back to his bed. His mind had played the conversation with Khushi a number of times, and he was still thinking if she had by any chance told any of her feelings. He realised she had spoken as if she was unaffected,  without much emotions.  The cheery, enthusiastic girl who used to advocate all the good qualities about marriage was gone. Then came her curious face asking the 101 different questions to the events manager at the hotel.   “Khushi.” He whispered and turned off the lights with a smile on his face.  



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

Akash and Payal were surprised is an understatement. Payal closed her mouth with her hands. She just could not believe it. Akash was no different. Both stood at the entrance of the beautifully decorated hall, blinking  and taking it all in,  as the rest of the family and friends welcomed them with a loud “Congratulations”. Akash and Payal looked at each other and together uttered. “Honestly, I did not know.” 



Both were all smiles through out. Family and friends were pouring in to surprise them. Shocked to see some of the old friends, Payal was literally in tears. It had been a few years since she had seen some of her friends. Though  life’s difficulties had taken over their innocence, how could she forget the time spent with her friends. Ignoring Akash she was busy catching up with all their news and news of other friends back home in Lucknow. 



Akash for once did not mind at all, since he was not less busy in getting all the updates of his friends. The elderly Gupta’s were  surprised to see their usually calm and quiet future son in law talking so freely and jovially with his friends.



Finally making some time from her friends, twisting Khushi’s ears,  “So this is the special pooja that Amma, Babuji and Buaji were all attending for which they had to dress up. And this is Arnav ji’s client meeting” Payal was teasing Khushi..

“Jiji.. ” Khushi scrunched her eyes pretending to be in pain.

“Di told me they are going for some special puja in the temple and bhai said an important client party which we had to attend.. and moreover, I couldn't find my phone whole afternoon to call you..” Akash told Payal when they had finally managed to get some time for themselves.

 

“Guess what Akash, they told me the same reason and no surprises now, my phone also was missing since afternoon..” Payal told and both held each others hands feeling content. “I bet this is Bhai’s idea. You can never understand him.”



Though pleased,  Payal raised an eye brow. “Are you sure this is not Di’s idea?“ 



“Aha, I wouldn't think so...” Akash said, “She would have known, but he would have initiated...”



How the time went by, both didn’t notice. Talking to old friends, feeling nostalgic, introducing each other to their friends.  





“Beeeautiful” was all he could think of when he first saw her getting out of the car. Dressed in a plain green saree, hair flying behind, Arnav could not take his eyes off her. Khushi was no less mesmerized. As always in his three piece suit, she thought there was a different charm to him when he greeted her with his “Hi”. Has it always been this husky, or has it be less, she wondered. 



How she always managed to cleverly stay away from him he wondered. Ever since their talk, which was now nearly two weeks ago, he had met her but only once. That meeting too was very short, being in the office, when both had accidentally arrived at the same time at the office door. And Khushi as usual had slipped away after a brief hello. He didn’t want to lose this chance today and WAS determined to have some time with her.



Both enjoyed the party, making sure each were always within seeing distance from the other, though Khushi tried to act innocent twice when she was caught looking at him. Arnav, on the other hand, stared at her without any care in the world. “Shameless laad governor..” Khushi mumbled.



When NK had got a few minutes with Khushi, “Hey friend, not seen you from a long time.  Have you been busy?”



Of course it was Buaji who replied with, “What to say Babua, both girls have been so busy, and their Babuji also seemed to have joined them. Nobody is ready to listen. See, only last week we moved to our house in Lakshmi nagar. Both of them have managed to clean the place spick and span and painted as well.” 



Seeing how close NK  was, Arnav soon came around to make sure Khushi was fine!!! As if! He asked her, “Khushi you didn’t tell me, is that why you were off?”



“It’s was only for a day Arnav ji, the painter did most of it, we just managed to do bits and bob’s, here and there.” 



“NK, can you check if Akash’s friends are looked after. Even Payal’s ” cleverly sending him away, Arnav asked, “Why didn't you tell me Khushi, I could have.. ”



“No” came the immediate curt reply from Khushi. Seeing  Arnav was a bit taken aback, she said, “It’s ok Arnav ji. There wasn’t really much. Moreover, there was a painter and Happy ji was also there.”



Buaji spoke, “It’s alright beta, there was plenty of help. Most of the things from Lucknow was still in boxes, so it was easy to transport.”



Arnav kept quiet, but his mind was full of upsetting thoughts “Is it just my thinking or are you really avoiding me from every thing? Why Khush? ”





“Arnav ji, its time, can we make sure the ball room is all set?” Khushi told Arnav who was still deep in his thoughts. 



The ball room started pouring with couples and all interested in seeing the place. Swaying to the soft music, Akash and Payal looked a happy couple. NK, Akash and Arnav took turns to dance with Anjali, finally leaving her to settle with Aman.. (Yipeee, now starts their love story). For the first time Arnav was seeing his PA from a different angle. How easily both of them were laughing and Anjali was definitely looking pleased.  This also meant she was not going to keep an eye on her Chote, er well at least for today. But.... no respite for our Arshi, because Payal had taken up the case...

Khushi was making sure their more conservative Lucknowi friends were feeling comfortable. She even managed to pull her Babuji and amma to the floor, who were stood holding each others hands, shy and wanting the floor to swallow them. 

Coming right behind her, Arnav whispered in her ears, “your Buaji seems very impressed with her Nand kis****” Khushi turned around dazed by his husky voice. Putting his hand forward, “May we”



Oh did she want to dance with him. Yes. But did she want him to know that, No.

Khushi put her hand in his, sending shock waves to every cell in them. Her soft slender hand fit into his like a glove. Both felt content and complete. 

Arnav was enjoying since he did not have to do much. Just hold hands and keep swaying, which he was able to manage, though it  started getting a bit boring for our Khushi after the first song, for whom dance meant proper dance steps et al. She thought, if it was for anybody else, she would not have stood swaying so slowly. Also, there was this constant nagging behind her head, she taunted him, “So Arnav ji, I’m sure there is a queue of beautiful girls waiting to dance with you.” 

Arnav further tightened his hold on one of her hand, calmly put the other around her waist, sending shivers down her spine, pulled her a bit more towards him, closed his eyes, mumbled “Mmmmm“ and kept quiet. He was happy. Being so close to her, it felt heaven. He had never felt like it before. Moreover, she was getting jealous. What more could he ask for..



Khushi nearly fainted by his smell, the closeness. She felt elated for a while, then seeing him enjoying so much, getting irritated by his silence, she said, “Go then to those girls, see how they are ogling. Don't disappoint them.“

   

“Do you have to do this Khushi. Let me enjoy for a while at least.”... she didn’t object, it was too good a feeling.



Back home, both sisters were discussing all the friends they got to meet. Payal updated with the latest news from Lucknow. They were soon joined by the elders and the discussion carried on further. The family had had a good time after a long time.



As predicted, both sisters couldn't sleep that night. Sleeping in their Buaji’s  50 year old creaking bed, turning away from each other, both sisters were completely in a different world. Each having shared that little bit of closeness with their love, both were in a state of peaceful happiness. Looking back, Khushi realised, though there had been not much of a dance, it was the most relaxing time she had had in a while. She was thankful to him for not letting her go. She seems to have enjoyed it. 

Payal was also in deep thoughts of how close Arnav had held his sister by the waist, and Khushi had seemed to be enjoying the dance. In fact even Akash was not that close to her. The constant looking out for Arnav, settling once she had a glance of him, burning with anger when he was dancing with others,.. all this only meant Khushi was affected by him... Greatly affected... she had definitely not missed the concern and the smile on Arnavs face when she was twisting Khushis ears.



Out of nowhere, Payal asked, “Khushi, Arnav ji was dancing with you for a long time?” Khushi did not reply pretending to be asleep. Payal turned to see, but Khushi had turned, the other way. Oh there will be answers, soon..



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



With the wedding preparations in full swing, the Gupta ladies sat in the huge hall of Shantivan. Red flowers adorned the pillars, banister and walls of Shantivan, and  women, wearing shades of red, of all age groups had filled the place. Little girls, young girls, grand mums, aunties.


Everywhere you see, there was blah blah blah blah..... blah blah blah blah..... blah blah blah blah.... blah blah blah blah.... blah blah blah blah.... blah blah blah blah.... blah blah blah blah



(Some of the topics included, 

When is yours Khushi

My son and Dil had gone to Mars for honeymoon, oops, I mean Mauritius, 

The CM of .... had come for my wedding, 

We spent n c****s  for the wedding .



Do you all want to hear more about the details of the gossips,)



The only few male members, Prakash brothers no doubt didn't mind at all. But only our OP was getting fed up fulfilling Mami’s wishes than that the guests. They were far better behaved. Of course he wouldn't say it, unless he wanted to leave his job... that’s when he wondered, if I had been married, there would have been a Mrs. O P. I would have put her on Mami duty. Before he could go further, there was a loud


“Hello hai OPeeeeeeeee get some of my healthy smoothie for my friends as well. Let them enjoy the mehendi function  hello hai.. bye bye”



uuugh,.. what dreams, he laughed at himself....



Looking around the house, eyes prying every nook and corner, Khushi was anxious. She had not seen him for a week, since the party.

 “Hey sanka devi, Do you really think Arnav ji will be at home with so many ladies and this noise.. ”. Yet somewhere, she was expecting him to turn up from some where. She was sad. “He knew we were coming, and I came in a bit early too before the guests, still he was not there.”



She scoffed at herself with, “Now madam, how does it feel it be ignored? Isn't that exactly what you are trying to do? He came to Gupta house, you went out on some excuse. He came to canteen, you rushed to washroom,  How much will he take it? ... Hey Devi maiyya, hope he is not angry with me.. “ Khushi prayed silently looking worried.



Oh she was so confused. She wanted to see him, still she didn't want him to be there. “Well, it is better he is out today at least, look at all these girls. They don’t  have any shame. Straight away they want to make him their boy friend... How can they.. ” she had already given a few dirty stares at some of the girls, even some young married women... “Buaji is right, kya zamana aa gaye, No morals, No ethics,.. (What is this age and era of no morals of ethics,....). Good to not be here.  Very Good ”



Making all different expressions, Khushi was busy talking to herself, when Anjali came along, “what are you mumbling? why is it good to not be here Khushi?” Anjali made a sad face.



“No Anjali ji, that, aaa this,  aaaaa ” she muttered thinking of an excuse,.. “Oh, nothing Anjali ji, show me your hands..”





Both of them showed their beautifully patterned hands. Khushi prayed Anjali should not notice the silently sneaked  little A, Khushi had put.  



“How is all the decoration Khushi? You know, I did not know Aman could help me so much. For once Chote also was liberal in giving him time offs to plan for all this.”



Alarm bells started ringing in Khushis head. There had been frequent mentioning of this above said person by Anjali, how they had met up over coffee near the office to discuss the preparations, how both went looking for the perfect colour of the flowers.... and how they had arranged the pandit  for the pooja at the temple. And so on and so forth...



“Khushi, you will not believe who will be coming. You will be glad to see. Got a bit delayed because of the flight...  ”



Khushi saw Anjali all excited. “Who Anjali ji?...”



That’s when they heard the bell, and Anjali said, “Khushi, you go to the door, OP will open..”



Khushi stood with her mouth O... she couldn’t even close it, her hands were full...  



That’s it guys.. “Who do you think  it is??.....”





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