Far Away From You

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Jul 4

Far Away From You (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 130 times)

Prologue

 

Raizada Mansion, New Delhi

9.00 am

 

“Everything must be perfect!” a dashing man in his thirties walked down the stairs of the big mansion with Bluetooth glued to his ear, “I don’t want anything incomplete for my nephew’s 1st birthday party!” Dressed in a black-black three piece suit, his Rolex watch shining on his wrist, he switched off the Bluetooth and walked to the dining table where his family had assembled for breakfast.

“Good morning Chotte” his sister greeted him cheerfully and he nodded. Sitting on the seat next to his brother he watched the one year old baby boy playing on his father’s lap.

The baby looked up from his father’s button he was chewing to see his favourite person sitting next to him. He squealed and made grabby hands towards his chachu who took him smiling.

Akash smiled as his son climbed on his brother like a monkey and clinged on his tie. He patted his brother’s cheeks and kissed it dripping it with his saliva.

“Good morning baby” Arnav cooed as he kissed his favourite boy’s cheeks, “Khana khaya?” (Had your food?)

The boy nodded no and made some noises while Akash forwarded Arnav the bowl of food for the baby.

Everyone smiled as Arnav started feeding the boy. It was a ritual! The boy would never eat from anyone but Arnav! If anyone would walk into the dining room of Raizadas they would coo at the sight of Arnav and his son. And the whole family would have to correct them that one year old Ayaan is not Arnav’s son but his brother’s son. But they wouldn’t do that! They would never dare to take away the only person who can make their Chotte smile.

Payal served everyone parathas and placed toasts on Arnav’s plate. Everyone silently took their breakfast smiling at Ayaan’s antics.

“Hello hi bye bye” mami said breaking the silence, “It’s our cutie pie’s 1st birthday! And look at him! Not at all aware of the important day!”

Everyone chuckled and watched little Ayan who was clutching on Arnav’s hand which was feeding him.

“It’ll be a blasting party!” Akash said and looked at Arnav who nodded.

“Time flies!” Nani said smiling sadly, “It’s been a year since Ayaan’s birth! It’s been three years since....”

Nani stopped herself and looked at Arnav who had his jaw clenched. He silently fed Ayan and chose not to respond. The dining table fell silent and everyone looked at each other not knowing what to say.

“I wish she was here” Payal whispered, “She would be the one running around to make this day perfect”

Arnav drew a sharp breath and handed Ayaan to Akash. Ayaan whined and forwarded his hands to Arnav who stood up and took his coat. He turned and left but not before giving a kiss to the baby boy.

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AR Fashions, New Delhi

9.30 am

 

Employees who were busy gossiping ran to their places when they saw Aman Mathur running towards the main door. Aman Mathur sprinting as if his ass is on fire is their cue to know that their boss has stepped into the AR premises. The receptionist dumped her makeup kit into her bag and hurriedly took her seat placing her sweet smile intact on her face. She could see the black Audi that has stopped in front of the front door and Aman rushed to the right side of the car. She craned her neck to see her boss getting out of the car and nodding at Aman’s greeting. Aman opened the back door of the car and took the laptop bag of his boss.

Taking of his aviators, Arnav walked into the building ignoring the security guards who saluted him. The receptionist stood up and greeted him with the most beautiful smile she is capable of. Without sparing a look at her, Arnav entered the lobby where many people who were waiting for him with an appointment stood up.

The security opened the glass door that led to the huge floor of AR Fashions which had countless number of cubicles for its employees. Ignoring every greetings he got, he stormed to the stairs and walked into his cabin door which was already held open by Aman who ran in front of him. Keeping the laptop bag on the table Aman took his place a few feet from the table and glanced at his boss as he sat on his swirling chair.

Arnav took out his laptop and switched it on. He looked at Aman.

Taking his cue, Aman started, “Sir you have a meeting with Malhotras at 10 regarding the merger show we’re holding with them. The meeting ends at 11. A few people have asked for your appointment to meet you. It’s arranged from 11.10 to 11.45. And an inauguration of Hima Fashions at 3. Then you’re done for the day.”

“The party?” Arnav asked looking up.

“I’ve sent people to RM for decorations and arrangements. Food will reach RM by 6 pm. Everything will be intact” Aman assured.

Arnav nodded.

Aman walked away and Arnav looked at his table side to her smiling face. Next to her pic was a pic of him and baby Ayaan. It was two years later she left that Ayaan was born. After her, the baby boy became his life!

He took the pic and smiled sadly at her face. Running his fingers across the picture he whispered, “Where are you Khushi?”

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“Trust me di, he is not a good man! He is a fraud” Khushi said in tears pointing at Shyam who stood with a convincing shocked face.

“Ranisahiba she is lying. How can I cheat you? You’re my life, my jaan!” he said and held Anjali’s palm.

“Di” Payal cried, “You can ask Buaji or anyone at Laxmi Nagar and confirm the truth. He stayed at our house as PG and got engaged to Khushi, lying to us that he is unmarried and an orphan! Please believe us di!”

“These Gupta sisters are nothing but gold diggers” Shyam sneered, “The elder one lured Akash and got her younger sister tied to Arnav. Don’t you have a bit of shame in you? ****s!”

Everyone gasped at his usage an NK lounged forward to punch him.

“NK BHAI!” Anjali shouted seeing NK punching her husband.

“Di he is a cheat! A scoundrel! Just take a look at his computer. Type in the password I LOVE KHUSHI and see whether it unlocks. He is nothing but a double faced ****!” NK shouted.

NK moved to Arnav who stood still not knowing what to do.

“You always have trust issues, I know” NK said holding his shoulder, “But you have to trust your wife and sister-in-law in this. If not them, trust me! We would never lie to you Arnav. This is the truth! Your brother-in-law is cheating on your sister, lusting over your wife and eyeing your property. Period.”

If NK’s serious tone wasn’t enough for everyone to get convinced, him calling Arnav as ‘Arnav’ was enough for them to realize what the truth is.

Everyone, except Anjali.

“Nahi” Anjali said in tears and wrapped an arm around Shyam’s arm, “My Shyam ji would never cheat me. He loves me not my property! He is my life, my god!”

“Get out of your bubble di! Life is not fantasy!” NK shouted.

Arnav walked forward and held Shyam’s collar. He dragged him to the main door and pushed him outside. Shutting the door in front of his face, he turned to his sister and said, “I believe in NK, Khushi and Payal. They are right di! Your husband is cheating on you!”

And he walked to Khushi who stood in tears. She looked at him. More than the love he usually has in his eyes, today, she could see the trust he held. Arnav held her hand and walked towards their room ignoring the pleadings and shouting of Anjali.

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“Sir, we’re here!” driver Mohan said turning to the passenger seat.

He jerked from flashbacks and looked outside.

“Thank you Mohan” he said smiling and stepped out of the car.

Taking a deep breath he looked at the mansion he had walked out three years ago. Akash had called him to tell about his son’s birth. Although he wanted to visit him and see his nephew, the painful absence of his best friend cum sister in the mansion prevented him to.

Today he is turning one. The desire to see his brother’s son grew in him and Arnav’s invitation triggered it.

He looked at Mohan who was carrying his luggage. “What is his name Mohan?” he asked.

Mohan looked at him and said, “Ayaan”

“Ayaan” he whispered.

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“Nanhe ji” she said cheerfully, “I was thinking. If jiji and me, both of us, have sons then we can name them Ayaan and Rehaan! Matching hai na?”

NK laughed and said, “And if it’s daughters?”

“Hmmm” she placed her arms on her hips and hummed. “Ha” she said with an Eureka face, “Hiya and Miya”

  “And if one of you have son and other have daughter?” NK asked raising his eyebrow.

“Ayaan and Hiya. Or Rehaan and Miya. Ayaan and Miya. Rehaan and Hiya” Khushi sang. NK laughed and looked at Payal who was smiling at her crazy sister.

“Jiji deal?” Khushi asked raising an eyebrow.

Payal laughed and said, “Deal! My children would be named Ayaan or Miya!”

“And mine would be Rehaan or Hiya!” Khushi said excitedly.

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“NK bhaiyya!” Om Prakash who was watering the plants cried seeing the most cheerful and jolly member of Raizada family standing at the gates.

“Kaise ho OP?” NK asked hugging him.

“Thik hoo bhaiyya...it’s so nice to meet you....after three years!” OP said happily.

NK smiled and nodded.

“Go go....go meet Ayaan baba...you will love him!” OP said ushering him inside.

NK chuckled and said, “Of course I would. I really want to meet the one year old kid who makes Arnav Singh Raizada dance on his tunes!”

OP smiled sadly and said, “He is the only one who can make Arnav bhaiyya smile....after Khushi bhabhi!”

NK nodded and said smiling faintly, “Let me see why he has Nannav on his tunes. Must be some quality of his maasi that he inherited!”

OP chuckled and nodded.

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Another new story :)


Please comment your views. Silent readers, press Thank You button.

Love,

Archana Suresh

Jul 5

Party At Raizadas (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 125 times)

Party At Raizadas

 

Raizada Mansion, New Delhi

4.30 pm

 

“He likes you” Payal said smiling as she watched her son pulling NK’s hair.

“So naughty!” NK chuckled and patted the boy’s cheek who giggled. He clinged to NK’s jacket and pulled the jacket string to his mouth.

“Ah not again!” NK said and pulled the string out of his hold for the nth time that day. He rocked the boy in his arms and asked to Payal, “Any news on her?”

Payal’s smile faded and she nodded negatively. “Every month Arnav ji calls the private detective in hope of positive news!”

NK sighed and said, “Where has she gone?”

A chewing sound came and NK looked down to see Ayaan chewing his jacket string again and looking at him with his round eyes.

Payal laughed and NK sighed. He slowly pulled the string out and said, “Are you hungry baccha?”

Ayaan whined and held the string with his small hand and pulled it. Payal chuckled and lifted him from NK’s arms. Ayaan pulled the string along and jutted his bottom lip out.

“Nah nah” NK said shaking his head and took the string out of his hold. Ayaan scrunched his brow and his bottom lip jutted out to its maximum.

“Oh no!” Payal sighed and the baby boy burst into tears.

“What’s happening?”

NK and Payal turned to the main door to find Arnav walking in. He had heard Ayaan’s cries and was rushing in.

“Why is he cry...NK?” Arnav cried in surprise.

“Nannav mere bhai!” NK cried and lounged himself on his brother. Arnav staggered back to get balance and hugged him back. “How are you brother?”

“Great!” NK said breaking the hug.

“Why is Ayaan crying? Did you make him cry?” Arnav narrowed his brows.

“He was eating my jacket string! See!” NK showed him the jacket string that Ayaan chewed. Arnav chuckled seeing the string that now looks like apple under car tyre!

“Come here baba...” Arnav cooed and forwarded his arms to the crying baby. Ayaan sniffled his tears seeing Arnav and Payal chuckled. She rocked the baby and cooed, “See Nannav chachu is here....”

NK burst out laughing and Arnav groaned, “Please don’t teach him that Payal!” He took Ayaan in his arms. Giving a kiss on his red cheeks he wiped the boy’s tears. The baby had stopped crying the moment he saw his chachu and gave a kiss on his stubble.

“Aww!” NK cooed and grabbed his camera to capture the beautiful moment.

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Happy birthday to you....

Happy birthday to you....

Happy birthday to Ayaan...

Happy birthday to you....

Akash and Payal held the boy making him stand and blew the candles for him. Arnav stood by the side and watched the scene with a smile. The boy was looking so cute and chubby in his blue shirt and black trousers. Clapping his hands seeing others doing so, Ayaan opened his mouth as his father forwarded him a small piece of red velvet cake.

“He is so cute! I can’t believe I missed a year of his life!” NK whispered as he took place next to Arnav.

Arnav nodded and NK said, “He reminds me of her!”

“Me too” Arnav whispered.

They looked at Ayaan scrunching his face as the guests starting patting and kissing his cheeks.

Arnav and NK chuckled at the boy’s protests and NK said, “Full of life he is! God, I miss Khushi ji!”

“Me too” Arnav whispered again.

NK wrapped an arm around him and said softly, “Hey, don’t blame yourself. It wasn’t your fault!”

“It is! She left because of me!” Arnav whispered.

“No! She left because of others in RM! Because of di, mami, Akash...everyone here except you and Payal! You both were the only ones who supported her!”

“You too! You missed your name!” Arnav said.

“Oh yeah, me too” NK said smiling.

Arnav said, “May be I couldn’t make her feel home. May be she didn’t have trust in me! I couldn’t have her trust. It’s my fault. She was broken and it was my place to fix her. I failed and she left!”

“Stop blaming yourself” NK said again.

“Three years NK” Arnav said in tears, “I’ve the best detectives on her trail but she is nowhere to be found. It’s as if she doesn’t want to come back. It hurts NK. She is somewhere out there living on her own and doesn’t want to come back to me.”

NK sighed and patted his brother’s shoulders.

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“ASR” Aman called him and Arnav turned. He was chatting with his business clients when Aman called. “Can I have a word with you?” Aman asked politely and Arnav excused himself from the clients.

“Better be important Aman” Arnav said warningly as he walked aside with him.

Aman said nervously, “Woh, there is a NGO named Amaara working in New Delhi. They have an orphanage and an old age home under them. They also educate under privileged children and aim at...”

“What’s the point?” Arnav asked impatiently.

“The owner of Amaara, Mrs. Mehra, had been visiting AR for the past few days to get your appointment but is unable to. I....I personally know her. I often visit the orphanage and donate old clothes. So....can you please meet her for a few minutes! It’s a very sincere organization and they genuinely want to help people. They want your help, that’s what she said.” Aman said with hopeful eyes.

Arnav sighed and said, “What help can I do for them?”

“I don’t know. But she wanted to meet you”

“Is she here? Is that why you told me about her now?” Arnav asked and Aman nodded sheepishly.

“Ok, where is she?” Arnav asked.

“There!” Aman pointed to an old woman in her sixties. He walked to her and Arnav followed.

“Ma ji, this is ASR” Aman introduced and Arnav folded his hands saying Namaste.

The woman smiled and folded her hands, “I’ve heard a lot about you sir”

“Nahi....call me Arnav” Arnav said, “Have a seat!”

Some clients came to Aman and he left with them. Arnav sat in a chair next to Mrs. Mehra and motioned the waiter to give her water.

“Thank you” she smiled and drank the water.

“So, you wanted to meet me?” Arnav asked.

“I hope Aman have told you about our organization” she began, “We aim at helping the under privileged. We have an orphanage and an old age home. We help another NGO called Ashiyana in running their destitute home. Our NGO, Amaara, has a branch in Mumbai. That’s where we began. Our Delhi branch is just one and half years old. We’ve been very successful in Mumbai and we want to make our stand in Delhi too.”

Arnav nodded listening patiently. She paused and said, “What we did in Mumbai was providing a shelter to homeless children and educating them. We would like to do the same here in Delhi. But for that we need funds. No one is willing to sponsor it. I’ve heard a lot about you and your charity works. So could you please help us?”

Arnav leaned back on his chair and nodded. “Sure” he said smiling.

 The woman’s face lit up and he said, “Come to my office tomorrow with official documents of your NGO. I’m glad to help you!”

“Thank you so much beta” the woman said in tears.

Arnav smiled and nodded.

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“Arnav ji...have something!” Khushi whispered keeping a tray of food on the table.

Arnav was standing in the poolside with his back facing her. He turned to her and asked, “Did di have food?”

Khushi nodded no and he sighed.

He looked at the tray and then at her. “Did you?”

She looked at him surprised. He had never asked her that question. Not even the nights when she used to wait for him to return from office. Did you have something?

“No” she whispered.

He walked to the green recliner and sat on it. Holding her arm he pulled her down to him, making her sit next to him. Taking the tray and placing it on his lap, he tore a piece of paratha. Dipping it in curry he forwarded it to her.

“Here” he whispered.

She smiled faintly and opened her mouth.

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Keeping the tray back in the kitchen she walked back into her room to find him lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. She closed the door behind her and walked to the bed. Taking the blanket and pillow she was about to move towards the recliner when he called “Khushi”

She looked at him and he patted the space next to him in the bed.

“Nahi...” she said, “I’m fine here....”

“Come here” he cut her in, “Please”

She sighed and walked to the bed. Keeping the pillow on it, she climbed and lied down next to him.

“You were right” he whispered and she looked at him.

“You were always right...about Shyam” he whispered.

She sighed and said, “Leave it! He’s gone!”

He turned to her and held her palm. “I’ve hurt you so much.....I fell in his trap. I don’t know how to....”

“I don’t want to hear it! I don’t like to talk about him!” Khushi cut him in, “He has tortured us enough! Now he is gone and we’ll be happy!”

“Will you forgive me?” he whispered.

“For what?”

“For forcing you to marry me, torturing you, hurting you....”

Cutting him in she said, “Forgiving is easy. Forgetting is not. Instead of earning my forgiveness, make me forget everything!” she said and turned her back.

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He stared at the ceiling and looked to his left. Everything in the room is the same, just like that day when she said those words.

Forgiving is easy. Forgetting is not.

Everything was the same. Except that the left side of his bed was empty.

Instead of earning my forgiveness, make me forget everything!

“I would have Khushi” he whispered, “But you left without giving me a chance!”

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Thank you @gayu @n @Thivaghini @Kpoonam @Valli%2520 @Khushali @Suvvi @Sanah thenu @Neagera @arshigeet @Carolin @Lily30 @Nupur @Candie for your comments


Thank you silent readers

Jul 6

Meeting Harshids (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 145 times)

Meeting Harshids



Raizada Mansion, New Delhi

10.30 am

 

“Where has everybody gone?” NK asked as he plopped on the sofa next to Nani who was knitting.

“It’s 10.30 NK bitwa. Everyone has gone to their works” Nani said shaking her head.

“Nannav and Akash to AR. Mami looking after Ayaan. Payal bhabhi in kitchen. Where is di?” NK asked frowning.

“She didn’t tell you?” Nani asked surprised, “Anjali bitiya is completing her LLB!”

“Really?” NK said excitedly.

Nani nodded and said, “She had left her studies after marriage. Now she is completing it. Said that she wanted a job!”

“That’s great” NK said smiling, “Glad that she is over that scoundrel!”

Nani nodded.

“If only it happened three years ago” NK said and Nani looked away sadly.

“Tell me about you” Nani said changing the topic, “How are you?”

“Good” NK said smiling, “I’ve got a permanent job as photographer in a geographical magazine in Sydney. I’ve to travel places and take photos! They will pay me!”

Nani smiled and NK asked, “Does Payal bhabhi still sell dabba?”

“Yes” Nani said, “She is looking after Khushi bitiya’s catering business. She has regular clients and a bunch of employees! They take dabbas to offices and schools and provide free food to homeless.”

“That’s great” NK said beaming.

“Nani ji, I’m leaving!” Payal called out as she rushed to the living room, “Ma ji!” she called out. Mami came out of the room and stood above the stairs. “Kya huva? Why shouting?” mami frowned.

“I’m leaving to deliver dabbas. I have heated the milk and kept in kitchen table. Ayaan is very cranky but please make him drink it full and.....”

“Payal Payal calm down!” Mami said laughing, “I’ve experience in looking after kids. Your husband is my son! Now go deliver those dabbas and don’t worry about your little packet! Hello hi bye bye!”

Payal chuckled and rushed out of RM with her bag.

Mami went back and NK said smiling, “I see some relationships have grown and matured!”

Nani chuckled and nodded. “Manorama no longer complains about Payal bitiya” she said, “And never calls her khoon bhari taang!”

“Everything changed here!” NK said leaning back on the couch, “Nannav, Akash, Payal bhabhi, di, mami, you....everyone has changed! Everything at someone’s price!”

Nani’s smile vanished and said, “You’re right. It took her absence to change us!”

NK took a deep breath and said, “Let’s hope that she returns! The happiness of shantivan!”

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AR Fashions, New Delhi

4.30 pm

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Arnav walked to his di’s room with a tray of food. The morning rays that usually lit her room were today missing as the curtains covered the glass windows.

“Di!” he called out softly and she looked from the bed she was sitting.

“Have something” he said keeping the tray before her. She looked away blankly and he held her palm, “Di please, don’t do this. It’s not good for you and your little rajkumari.”

“If you were concerned about me or my rajkumari you wouldn’t have kicked my life out of this house” Anjali said and pulled her palm out of his hand.

“Please believe me di. Have I ever lied to you! Trust me when I say this, he is a cheat!”

“Go away” Anjali said and pushed the tray away spilling all its contents in the bed.

“Di...”

“GO AWAY” Anjali shouted.

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“Anjali bitiya has not eaten anything since yesterday” Nani said worriedly as everyone sat for breakfast. Arnav looked down to his food but suddenly looked to his left when he felt her hand slipping into his. She smiled assured and pressed her fingers on his palm.

“Hello hi bye bye” Mami said, “It’s all because of these Gupta sisters”

Khushi and Payal looked up and everyone looked at her shocked.

“Manorama” Nani said angrily.

“Aur nahi tho ka? Why did they have to reveal it in such a way? They should have said this earlier and on a soft note! Poor Anjali bitiya! She is so shocked! All because of these sisters! Don’t you have a bit of common sense in you?” mami said angrily.

“Truth is always bitter mami” Arnav said calmly, “And di has to accept that!”

Mami was about to say something when Arnav said, “It’s not Khushi’s or Payal’s fault. Stop blaming them for every mishap that happens at Raizada mansion”

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“Bhai lets go!” Akash said dashing into Arnav’s cabin jerking him from flashbacks.

“What the! Where?”

“NK has planned an outing!” Akash said chuckling, “He, Nani, mami, Payal, Ayaan and di are at central park and have ordered us to reach there in 10 minutes!”

“I’m not coming. I’m busy” Arnav said and resumed his work.

“Come on bhai! It’s family time!” Akash said.

“Family!” Arnav scoffed.

Akash looked down and then said, pulling the last string, “We’ll be late to return. Most probably by midnight. Ayaan would get cranky without you!”

Arnav looked up and Akash said with a pleading face, “Please come. For Ayaan?”

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“Here!” NK forwarded Arnav a sandwich which he took. He munched the tasty sandwiches Payal made and looked down to his lap to find Ayan playing with his teddy bear.

Payal was chatting with mami and Nani and Anjali were looking at the lake view. NK was sitting next to him, between him and Akash, and was blabbering about his photography works at Sydney’s geographic magazine.

A movement on his lap turned his attention to Ayaan who was crawling out of his lap to the soft grass. The boy pressed his palm on the grass and took it back giggling. He again pressed it and shrunk it back, giggling. Arnav chuckled and the boy turned to him. Giving him a cheeky smile, Ayaan rolled on the grass and Arnav laughed.

“Don’t dirty yourself Kiddo” Arnav cooed and lifted the boy in his arms, “Chalo, let’s go those children!” He stood up and walked to the kids who were playing in the park. Ayaan looked at everyone with keen interest.

Seeing a cute baby in a man’s arms, kids started circling Arnav and cooed at the baby. “What’s his name?” a boy asked and Arnav said, “Ayaan!”

“Ayaan. Nice name!” a girl said and some patted his cheeks. Ayaan scrunched his brows and buried his face into Arnav’s shoulder.

A few minutes passed with children trying to grab the boy’s attention but the stubborn one year old had no intention to lift his face from his chachu’s shoulder.

Slowly the kids dispersed to their games and Arnav chuckled as Ayaan lifted his head. “Such a stubborn boy” Arnav said rubbing his nose at the side of the boy’s face who giggled! Arnav chuckled and looked around the park when he spotted a small girl looking keenly at him and Ayaan. Arnav smiled and walked to the girl.

The girl was seated next to an old man who was reading newspaper. The man looked up at him briefly and then resumed his reading. Arnav sat next to the girl who was looking at Ayaan with her round eyes. Ayaan looked at the girl and made grabby hands to the girl’s straight black hair.

Arnav smiled as he looked at the girl. She appears two-to-three years old. Her straight black hair reaching her chin, she smiled as the baby touched her hair.

That smile!

Arnav felt a rush of heartbeats seeing the girl smiling at Ayaan. The beautiful smiling face of his wife that appears in his dreams everyday flashed before him.

“What’s your name sweetheart?” he asked softly.

“Hiya” she said cutely and poked Ayaan’s cheek who giggled. Her face lit up as the boy giggled and she leaned to give him a kiss on cheek. Ayaan kissed her cheek back happily and Arnav smiled at that.

“His nem (name)?” she asked in her sweet voice pointing to Ayaan.

“Ayaan” Arnav said and Ayaan looked up at him hearing him spelling his name.

“You?” she asked pointing to him and Arnav said smiling, “Arnav”

The old man kept the newspaper aside and looked at Arnav. Arnav smiled and said, “Hello sir, your grand daughter?”

“Yeah! Hiya Harshid!” the man said smiling and lifted the girl to his lap. The baby girl squealed and laughed and her grandpa tickled her.

“How old is she?” Arnav found himself asking.

“Two” he said, “And you are? I’ve seen you in papers! But I don’t remember your name...”

“Arnav Singh Raizada. I own a fashion house!” Arnav said.

“And your son?” he asked looking at Ayaan who was patting Hiya’s legs for her attention.

“Nah, my nephew! He is just one!” Arnav said patting Ayaan’s head.

Arnav heard someone calling her and found NK signalling him to come. He saw others walking towards the car and he stood up.

“It’s time to go. Good day sir. Your name please?” he asked.

“Yash Harshid!” the man said smiling and stood up with Hiya. He shook hands with Arnav and seeing her grandpa doing so, little Hiya extended her hand to Ayaan who was on Arnav’s arms.

Ayaan looked at the girl’s hand and grabbed it with both his palms, pulling it.

“Ah nahi nahi!” Arnav said and slowly pulled Hiya’s hands out of Ayaan’s hold. “Bye Hiya” Arnav cooed and waved to the girl who waved back, “By by by”

Arnav chuckled and walked away with the innocent face of that little girl imprinted in his mind.

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Thank you @Londoner @Ruhamasobti: Yes dear i have a wattpad account. The username is @AchuArchana @Noordina @Nupur @Sandy @Suvvi @Nourhan Khattab @Lily30 @arshi @Sasi @Jalebigirl @Carolin @Prayag1992 @Raani82 @Valli @Khushichaudhari for your comments.


Thank you silent readers.

 

Jul 7

You’ll Never See Me Again (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 111 times)

You’ll Never See Me Again

 

 

Purple Orchid Restaurant, New Delhi

1.30 pm

 

Anjali looked up from her plate when he asked, “So what’s your decision?”

She sighed and said, “Arhan, I really want to introduce you to my family. But I don’t know how my brother would react.”

“Why? Doesn’t he support his divorced sister dating someone?” Arhan asked leaning back.

“I don’t know” Anjali said honestly, “He doesn’t talk to me anymore. He always stays aloof and only spends time with Ayaan, Akash’s son.”

“Why?” he frowned.

“I didn’t tell you about Khushi ji didn’t I?” Anjali said.

He nodded no and Anjali said, “Khushi is Arnav’s wife. She left us three years ago”

“Oh! I’m sorry. How did she....”

“No no she is not dead. She left us! She walked out!” Anjali said.

“Why?”

“Because of me!” Anjali whispered.

.

“Di!” Khushi called out as she entered the room with a tray of food.

Suddenly she froze seeing an unconscious Anjali on the floor.

“DI!” she screamed and ran to her. “ARNAV JI! JIJAAJI! COME FAST!” she screamed and tried lifting Anjali from the ground.

.

.

“She is safe but I’m really sorry. We couldn’t save the child” Doctor said.

Everyone gasped and doctor said, “It was a complicated pregnancy and her body couldn’t take the stress! We had already warned you about it! I’m sorry!” he walked away.

Nani slumped on the seat and mami burst into tears. Arnav supported himself on the wall with tears running down his cheek.

“Are you happy now?” Mami screamed at Khushi and Payal and everyone looked at them.

“My Anjali bitiya lost her baby, just because of you gold diggers! You sisters planned it right? You wanted her baby to be dead. That’s why you revealed Shyam’s truth now, when she was six months pregnant. You wanted the child to be dead so that you both can enjoy the Raizada property all by yourself. Wasn’t this your plan?” Mami screamed.

“Mami stop!” Arnav hissed, “Please....STOP!”

“No I won’t” mami said angrily, “You’re under her spell Arnav. You won’t see anything beyond her. You can’t see these girls’ true colours. You can’t see Anjali bitiya’s sufferings! If you can’t speak up and act for your sister, I will! I will not have these girls in our house anymore!”

.

.

“Then?” Arhan asked.

“Everyone blamed her and Payal, except Chotte” Anjali said in tears, “Although they meant no harm and just wanted me to see my husband’s true colours, they became the culprits! Chotte always supported Khushi ji before us!”

Arhan gave her a glass of water and Anjali accepted it.

“It’s all my fault” Anjali whispered, “If only I was courageous enough to accept the truth. If only I believed in my brother...Arnav and Khushi would’ve been together! But no! I was a weak woman who could not see anything beyond her scoundrel husband!”

“What happened then?” Arhan asked leaning back on the chair.

“Days passed and I was still in my shock state. Shyam used to visit me in secret and that kept me sane. I begged Chotte to bring him back but he didn’t budge. This created hatred in me against Khushi and Payal, Khushi especially. I taunted both of them and mami joined me. Nani, who knew that they were innocent, kept quiet. And one morning, when we all woke up, Khushi ji was missing. Her clothes were gone, certificates were gone.....she was gone. She never returned!” Anjali finished and wiped her tears.

“And then Arnav and NK gathered proofs against Shyam” Arhan said, “That’s what you told me!”

Anjali nodded.

“How’s Arnav? How’s he coping up?”

“He’s still waiting for her. Hoping that she would return!” Anjali said looking down.

.

.

.

.

AR Fashions, New Delhi

3.30 pm

.

“ASR” Aman called out and forwarded a file, “Need your signature in this”

Arnav signed it and said, “Did you transfer the money to Amaara NGO account?”

“Yes” Aman said nodding, “Mrs. Mehra called me. Said you were unavailable. Some of her staff from Mumbai are shifting to Delhi to help her in the educating the children. So they will be submitting a detailed report of how your donation was used in the NGO!”

“That isn’t needed” Arnav frowned.

“They do that” Aman shrugged, “It’s a proof that the money is indeed used for helping the poor.”

Arnav nodded and said, “Okay then!”

Aman walked out and Arnav leaned back on his chair.

.

.

“Did di have something?” Arnav asked as he entered the room.

Khushi looked up from where she was folding clothes and said curtly, “I don’t know. I’m not allowed to go near your sister.”

Arnav said nothing but closed the door behind him. He walked to the recliner and sat on it. Rubbing his face vigorously he said, “She again begged for Shyam today!”

She hummed and he said, “She is not accepting the truth”

She again hummed and kept the clothes neatly in the wardrobe.

“I was thinking...we should bring him back” Arnav said slowly.

She shot looked at him. Arnav shuddered under her gaze. Unlike her usual kind eyes, this time, it spoke fury.

“I meant, we could’ve him around and then place cameras around, recording his moves and then....”

He was cut off by her, “Are you really that stupid or are you pretending?” she asked sharply.

“Khushi main....”

“You are bringing him back! HIM! BACK IN THIS HOUSE!” she shouted.

“It’s for the better. Nothing will go wrong. We all will obse.....”

“OH SHUT THE ****” Khushi shouted and he stumbled back, hearing her loud voice for the first time in his life, “If you want that man back in this house, you can. But you’ll never see me again!”

She threw the clothes on the floor and stormed out of the room.

.

That whole night, she didn’t talk to him. He cancelled the idea. He assured her that he will never bring him back, not only into RM, anywhere near her.

If you want that man back in this house, you can.

She wasn’t right about that. He didn’t want him back in RM. He thought it was a good idea to reveal him before his sister but he was really against the idea of him around his family.

But she was right about one thing!

But you’ll never see me again!

 He never saw her again.

 

Jul 7

Men Out For Lunch (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 137 times)

Men Out For Lunch

 

Raizada Mansion, New Delhi

9.45 am

 

“Nahi nahi nahi” Arnav cried as Ayaan started crawling from his lap to the laptop keyboard. The boy lied on the keyboard and started kicking his legs in air.

“Ayaan!” Arnav cried seeing the boy pressing some keys and his project report going on with too many iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii and oooooooooooooo.

“Come here kiddo!” Arnav said laughing and picked the boy up. Ayaan squealed and played his arms in air.

“Nannav mere bhai!” NK cried as he hopped into Arnav’s room. Arnav looked up and NK asked, “Why aren’t you at office ASR?”

“It’s Sunday” Arnav said chuckling.

“You used to work at Sundays too!” NK pointed out.

“Not since this guy marked his presence in RM!” Arnav said lifting the baby boy in air. Ayaan squealed and giggled as Arnav lifted him up and down in air.

NK smiled and said, “You’ve changed a lot Nannav! A good change!”

Arnav smiled faintly and nodded. He nuzzled his nose on Ayaan’s cheek and said, “Half credit goes to this sweetie pie!”

“And the other half?” NK asked.

“You know who it is” Arnav said.

Arnav was about to say something when HP barged into Arnav’s room. “Bhaiyya....Anjali didi is crying”

“What happened to her?” Arnav asked bored and not even looking up from Ayaan who was climbing on him like a monkey.

“I don’t know bhaiyya....she is crying and wailing loudly” HP said worriedly. The last time he had seen his Anjali didi like this was when Arnav and NK presented the proofs against Shyam.

“Raman must have remarried Shagun in Yeh Hai Mohabatein” Arnav said shrugging and NK chuckled.

HP frowned and said, “She was saying something like cheating”

“Ah mami must have cheated in chess” NK said and Arnav nodded tickling Ayaan. Ayaan laughed loud and lifted his small palms to cup Arnav’s cheek. Leaning to the man, Ayaan placed a noisy kiss on his nose.

“Aww” NK cooed at the heart warming sight and Arnav smiled warmly.

“Bhaiyya....Anjali didi” HP trailed off and Arnav said, “I’m busy HP. See Ayaan is begging for attention!”

NK chuckled and sat on the floor on his knees near the recliner where Arnav sat with Ayaan. Ayaan looked at NK and pulled the strands of his hair that was touching his forehead.

HP walked away and at the same time Akash walked into the room.

“What happened to drama queen?” NK asked looking up.

Akash said worriedly, “It’s a serious matter”

NK nodded in interest but Akash was looking at Arnav who was least bothered. The man was playing with the baby in his lap, forgetting the surroundings.

“Bhai” Akash called and Arnav looked at him.

“Di is in a relationship with a guy. Err....he is a lawyer. And....”

“Why does she always falls for lawyers?” NK asked aloud and Arnav chuckled. Akash sighed and said, “The problem is that....everything was fine. They met for lunch, even yesterday. But today morning, she received a text from him. A break up text!”

“So?” Arnav asked raising an eyebrow.

“So she is crying” Akash finished.

“And she wants her brothers to go and confront her boyfriend!” Arnav stated and Akash sighed, nodding.

“Did she ask us when she started dating? Did she?” Arnav asked and Akash nodded no.

“Then why should we involve now? Let her figure out things with her boyfriend. Stop worrying about her and take your wife out for lunch!” Arnav said and looked down at the boy who was pulling out threads from Arnav’s sweater. “Right kiddo? Papa should take mamma out for lunch right?”

Ayaan looked up to him and nodded his head vigorously.

“Did he understand what you said?” NK asked and Arnav looked at the boy who was looking at him with his round eyes.

“Of course. Ayaan will understand everything his bade papa says, right Ayaan?” Arnav cooed and kissed his cheek while Ayaan giggled. He patted Arnav’s cheek and leaned to him, laying his small head against his chest.

“See your son agrees” Arnav said to Akash, “Now go and have an outing with Payal”

Akash smiled and nodded.

.

.

.

.

12.30 pm

 

Arnav and NK walked downstairs with Ayaan for having lunch when they spotted Anjali sitting on the living room couch and crying. Mami and Nani were surrounding her, pacifying her.

“Chotte” Anjali saw Arnav and called out. She burst into tears and Arnav walked to her.

“What’s his name?” he asked with no expression.

“Arhan” she said weeping.

“Lawyer?” he asked and she nodded.

“Why did he break up with you?”

“He didn’t tell anything. He just sent a text that he no longer wants to be in relationship with me!” Anjali said in tears.

“Call him and ask what the reason is. Or go to his house and confront him. Or just send him a message stating “**** off”” Arnav said bored and looked at mami and Nani, “If you guys are jobless, I can give you a job. But wiping her tears is a **** job!”

He turned to walk away when Nani said, “She is heartbroken Chotte. How can you say this?”

He scoffed and turned to her. Pointing at Anjali, with fire in his eyes, he said, “Years back it was my wife in her place. She was also heartbroken, by you people. I never saw you both wiping her tears!”

He turned to NK and said, “Shall we go out for lunch. I’m not feeling hungry here”

NK nodded and looked at Ayaan who was sleeping in his arms. “What about him?”

“Get his warm milk from kitchen. Payal must have left it with HP!” Arnav said.

.

.

.

.

Smokey’s Restaurant, New Delhi

 

By the time they reached the restaurant, little Ayaan had woke up and started his crankiness. Right now NK was placing orders at the counter and Arnav was sitting on a corner table, with Ayaan sitting on the table before im, trying his best to save his face from Ayaan’s arms.

“Ayaan....baccha...calm down boy” Arnav said softly holding the small wrists of the boy. Ayaan whined and wriggled in his hold and started kicking his legs on the table, knocking out the box of tissues in the way.

“I’m so sorry” Arnav apologized at the waiter who just smiled and replaced the box of tissues. “Its ok sir” he said and patted a whining Ayaan’s shoulder.

“What’s it with him?” NK asked sitting opposite to Arnav.

“He always gets cranky after waking up from naps. Plus he is a new place so....” Arnav explained and scooped the boy in his arms. He cuddled the boy and kissed his soft hair, rocking him slowly in his arms.

“He has relaxed” NK whispered and Arnav nodded looking at the boy who buried himself into his chest and pulled his little palms inside Arnav’s pocket.

“Annav Annav?”

Arnav turned left hearing a familiar voice and saw a man walking to him with a little girl in his arms. His face broke into a smile. The baby girl from park. Hiya!

“Annav hi!” Hiya said cutely and waved his hand.

“Hi Hiya” Arnav cooed and stood up. He looked down to Ayaan who had looked up hearing her voice. He scrunched his brows seeing a familiar face but couldn’t remember where he met her.

“See Ayaan. Hiya is here” Arnav said to Ayaan and held his small hand and waved it to Hiya.

“Hi Ayaan” Hiya cried.

“Is this your father Hiya?” Arnav asked looking at the man.

“No” the man said, in a rough tone, “I’m her uncle. Mother’s brother”

NK frowned and Arnav nodded at his rough tone.

“We should get going” he said and looked down at Hiya who was ruffling Ayaan’s hair. “Say bye Hiya”

Hiya pouted and kissed Ayaan’s cheek. “Bye Ayaan” she whispered and Ayaan pouted, jutting his bottom lip out.

“Bye Annav. Bye....red uncle” Hiya said giggling.

NK gasped and looked down at his red shirt. “I’m NK. Call me NK!”

“Red Uncle” Hiya squealed.

The man nodded at them and turned to walk away with Hiya in his arms when Arnav asked, “What’s your name sir?”

He turned back to Arnav and Arnav extended his arm. “I’m Arnav Singh Raizada”

He extended his free hand and shook hands with Arnav.

“Harshid. Arhan Harshid” he said and walked away.

 

 

Jul 9

Meet Mamma (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 169 times)

Meet Mamma

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Raizada Mansion, New Delhi

7.30 pm

 

“Don’t you dare hung up the call” Anjali said angrily, “You ought to tell me the reason!”

“What reason?” Arhan asked bored.

“Why did you break up with me?” she demanded.

“Aww Ms. Princess Raizada can’t take rejection? So sweet” he cooed.

“Arhan!” she cried.

I loved you Anjali” Arhan said, his tone turning serious, “I really loved you. Keyword: LOVED. But you’re not the woman I thought you are”

“Is this about yesterday? I told you why Khushi ji left and....”

“No. It’s not about that. It’s because you didn’t tell me the complete truth!” Arhan hissed in anger.

“What truth?” Anjali whispered.

“The real reason why Khushi left Arnav” Arhan said, “Why Anjali? Did you tell me the real reason why she left?”

“How....how do you know?” Anjali whispered.

He hung up without an answer.

.

.

.

.

“Bhai” Payal called as she walked into Arnav’s room. Ayaan was crawling on Arnav’s bed while Arnav sat on the bed leaning on the headboard watching him.

“Yes Payal” Arnav looked up.

“Who is this guy Arhan Harshid, for whom di is bawling her eyes out?” she asked.

Arnav shrugged and Payal said, “I’m getting frustrated. Everywhere inside this house you’ll hear discussions about Anjali and Arhan! Please find an end to this!”

“What should I do?” Arnav cried.

“Go get that guy, whoever he is, and ask him to officially break up with that limp woman!” Payal said irritated, “I need a peaceful life here!”

Arnav chuckled and said, “I met him today at restaurant!”

“Arhan?”

Arnav nodded and said, “Such a rude person!”

“You didn’t ask him why he broke up with her?”

“Why should I? It’s their problem. He might have recognized me as her brother and that’s why he was rude!” Arnav said thoughtfully. His mind flew to the baby girl, Hiya. Her innocent face and smile unknowingly crafted a smile on his face.

“Why are you smiling?” Payal frowned.

“Ah nothing!” Arnav said jerking from his thoughts.

“Did you take your medicines?” Payal asked.

“Umm...yeah” he muttered.

“Don’t lie” she said sharply.

“I did!” he tried.

“Liar!” she said angrily, “YOU DIDN’T TAKE YOUR MEDICINES! YOUR SUGAR LEVEL WILL GO DOWN MAN. WHY CAN’T YOU UNDERSTAND A SIMPLE THING? YOU JUST NEED TO TAKE THAT TABLET IN YOUR HAND AND THEN TRANSFER IT TO YOUR MOUTH AND DRINK LOTS OF WATER. NO PHYSICAL EFFORT AT ALL. YOU CAN’T EVEN DO SUCH A SIMPLE TASK? HOW CARELESS CAN YOU BE BHAI?”

“AKASH!” Arnav screamed at the top of his voice and Akash came running in.

“Take your wife and GET OUT!” Arnav shouted.

“Akash, ask your idiotic brother to take his medicines!” Payal said angrily.

“Akash, ask your wife to shut up or else....”

“Or else kya? Good for nothing idiot!” Payal shouted.

“You know what, I won’t take my medicines” Arnav shouted.

“Good for you. Don’t come running to Payal for sweets when you faint due to low sugar!” Payal said angrily.

“GOD STOP IT GUYS” Akash shouted shutting his ears.

NK who came in said shaking his head, “Ayaan is crying Nannav!”

Arnav looked at Ayaan who had started crying. He turned to his brothers and said, “He is an attention seeker”

“No he is crying” NK cried and pointed to the baby who was now red due to bawling his eyes out.

Arnav looked at Ayaan and raised his eyebrow. “Ayaan, it’s not gonna work!” he said calmly.

Understanding that the waterworks won’t work anymore and the elders are not interested in him, Ayaan stopped crying and went back to his teddy bear.

Arnav looked at NK who stood gaping.

.

.

.

.

Amaara Orphanage, New Delhi

10.30 am

 

The next morning Arnav drove his car with NK to Amaara Orphanage which is also the office of the NGO. He smiled at Mrs. Mehra who greeted him with joy.

“Come in Arnav” she said smiling.

“How’s everything going here?” he asked pocketing his hands and walked with her.

“Great” she said happily, “We’ve started the work. Teachers have arrived from Mumbai, our branch, and teaching the children for free”

“But what about their salary?” he frowned.

“We pay them from the donations we get. People like you help us! But you were the main contributor, thank you so much”

Arnav nodded and walked forward when his eyes stuck at a bunch of kids who were playing ball.

His lips curved into a smile watching the little baby girl he had grown fond of within few minutes playing happily with kids who are double and triple her age.

“Ah you’re looking at Hiya” Mrs. Mehra said smiling.

“Why is she here in orphanage? I mean, she has a family!” he asked surprised.

“Her mother works here as teacher. She is one of our best! Kids love her and her daughter!” Mrs. Mehra said smiling.

“Anty Anty (Aunty aunty)” Hiya called out sadly walking towards her. She didn’t notice Arnav and hugged Mrs. Mehra’s legs.

“Arrey kya huva baccha?” Mrs. Mehra asked caressing her hair. Hiya looked at her pouting and widened her arms. Mrs. Mehra chuckled and picked the girl up.

“They no pley with Hiya” she said slowly, tears rolling down her cheek.

“Oh why?” Mrs. Mehra asked and called out one of the kid, “Why aren’t you letting Hiya play?”

“Ma ji,” the older boy said, “We cannot run around when she is in the ground. She is very small and might get hurt.”

“Bad bhai bad bhai” Hiya said huffing and attempted to beat the boy who backed away.

Mrs. Mehra chuckled and said, “Bhaiyya is right. What if you fall down?”

“Hiya slon (strong). Hiya no fall!” Hiya said shaking her head and Arnav chuckled seeing her cuteness.

Hiya turned hearing the chuckle and her frown turned into a smile. Her whole face lit up and she cried, “Annav!”

“Hello”

“Anty Annav” Hiya said pointing to Mrs. Mehra pointing at Arnav.

She looked around and asked, “Ayaan?”

“He is home. He didn’t come with me” Arnav said and forwarded his arms for Hiya to come. Hiya smiled and jumped to his arms.

The little girl settled himself on his arms, wrapping her little arms around his broad shoulder.

Strange! That was the only word Arnav could use to explain how he was feeling. Having the little girl in his arms felt.....strange yet special. It wasn’t the same feeling he had when he had Ayaan in his arms. Whenever he took the little baby boy in his arms and watched him play with his little chubby hands, his heart warmed and a contented smile curved into his lips. But now, right now, he felt different. The girl fitted in his arms perfectly. As if, as if she is meant to be. He watched the girl who was blabbering something, her eyes widening at some sentences, her short hair flying in air. His mind went back to the woman who used to mesmerize him with her open hair and big round eyes. Like every time he meets the girl, the picture of his beautiful woman flashed before him this time too!

“Annav” Hiya patted his cheek and huffed, “You lisinin? (You listening?)

“So sorry baccha...what did you say?” he apologized.

“You meet mamma?” Hiya asked.

Arnav nodded no.

“Come.....meet my mamma” Hiya said happily and pointed to a room in the building. She slid from his arms and ran to the room

“Hiya, slowly...wait” Arnav said and hurried behind the sprinting door.

As he approached the door, he slowed down and stopped. A familiar sense of feeling engulfed him. His heartbeats started raising like they do whenever she is around.

She!

“Khushi” he whispered as he felt a wave of memories hitting him.

“Annav come” Hiya called out and sighed. She ran back to the man and with her litte palms clutched his pants. “Come come come” she nagged pulling the fabric.

Arnav was jerked from his thoughts and nodded, “Yeah let’s meet your mamma”

She nodded enthusiastically and ran forward. Little Hiya ran into the room and Arnav could hear her cute squeal followed by her giggle. “Mamma” she giggled and Arnav smiled hearing the sweet voice of the baby girl.

My baby is having fun huh?”

Arnav froze on his steps and stood rooted.

The half opened door seemed to invite him inside but he stood stuck hearing that melodious voice, after long three years.

“Mamma....come out....Annav....meet Annav” Hiya whined from the room and ran outside to Arnav. “Annav” Hiya called out happily and hugged his legs.

Arnav stood on his spot, without moving, and watched the very familiar face, he was searching the whole earth for the past three years, walking out with a smile.

Her smile faded and she froze on her tracks seeing the man to whom her daughter was clinging.

“Khushi” he whispered.

 

Jul 11

Silence Before Storm (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 179 times)

Silence Before Storm

 

“Khushi” he whispered seeing the woman he wished to see for the past three years.

“Annav this mamma” Hiya said jumping happily.

He looked at Hiya and the realization dawned upon him.

The uncanny resemblance the girl has with his wife. Her striking smile. The short but soft hair. Her big round eyes exactly similar to his wife but her nose like his? Her jaw structure that looks like it was carved out of him....how come he never noticed it before?

Hiya.

Khushi’s daughter.

HIS DAUGHTER.

“Hiya go and play” Khushi said softly and Arnav looked at her hearing her voice.

Hiya ran away and Arnav found himself looking at the woman who left him years back.

“Khushi” he whispered and took small steps to her. His eyes filled up in no time as the man lifted his hands to cup her cheek to make sure that she is real. He could see tears rolling down her eyes as well and slowly wiped it away, like he does every time.

Puling her to him, Arnav wrapped his arms around her tightly and rested his head in her hair, breathing her scent. “I missed you so much Khushi” he said in a broken voice, “Where were you? Why did you leave me?”

He broke the hug and cupped her face again. “Why Khushi? Why did you leave me?” he demanded.

Khushi stepped out of his hold and wiped her tears. “You need to leave” she said in a hoarse voice.

She turned to leave and he held her wrist turning her to him. “No” he said in disbelief, “You cannot walk out on me again”

“I can and I will” Khushi said and tried to free her wrist but he tightened the hold. Pulling her wrist he pulled her and she fell on his chest. “Not anymore Khushi” he whispered, “I won’t let you leave again”

“Leave Arnav ji” Khushi hissed in anger, “Why can’t you understand? I don’t want to come back to you.”  

He left her hand the instant.

I don’t want to come back to you!

Her words felt like cold water being splashed into his face.

“Why?” he whispered, tears rolling down his cheek, “Why don’t you love me anymore?”

Her heart broke at his voice and she held back the instinct to wipe his tears away. “It’s not you Arnav ji” she whispered slowly, “I can never stop loving you but....I cannot come back to you”

“WHY?” he demanded.

“I had to choose between Hiya and you. I chose her” she said and turned to leave when he ran behind her. Holding her arm he turned her and said, “NO. Don’t go!”

“Tell me why you left. Please.....please tell me” he begged.

“I told you didn’t I?” she said in croaked voice, “Your sister put me in a position where I had to choose you or Hiya. I love you Arnav ji but I love my daughter more”

“Why didn’t you tell me about Hiya? Why did you hide my daughter from me” he asked.

“Now don’t act as if you don’t know” Khushi said angrily, “I know what you and your sister is planning to do. Let me get this straight. I won’t let you both take my Hiya from me” she pushed him and walked away.

.

.

.

.

Raizada Mansion, New Delhi

11.30 am

 

“DI DI!” Arnav shouted as he walked into the living room. Hearing his voice everyone walked out of their rooms to the living room to find out the reason for his temper rise.

“What is it Chotte?” Anjali asked worried.

“The night before Khushi left, three years ago, did you say something to her?” he asked angrily.

Anjali looked at him shocked.

Did he meet Arhan? Did he tell him the truth?

“No...Chotte....I didn’t say anything to her” she said, her voice shivering.

“That’s not what she said to me!” Arnav said angrily.

Everyone took a while to grasp what he said. Payal gasped and rushed to him. She held his arm and asked, “She? Khushi? You met Khushi?”

Arnav looked at her and nodded.

“Where?” Payal asked, her face lit up with happiness and surprise, “Tell me bhai where is she? And why didn’t she come home with you?”

“Nannav say something” NK cried.

“Ha Arnav bitwa where is Khushi bitiya” Nani asked.

“She works at an NGO named Amaara. I’m one of their sponsors and NK...” his voice broke as he looked at his brother, “The girl we met at restaurant....Hiya.....”

NK nodded in confusion, “Ha Hiya....she?”

“Hiya.....she is my daughter!” Arnav said in tears.

“WHAT?” everyone gasped.

“Khushi bitiya was pregnant before she left?” Nani whispered and Payal cried shaking Arnav’s arm, “Take me to her. I want to meet Khushi Arnav ji!”

“She left the NGO before I could stop her” Arnav said looking down, “She had her car. She took Hiya and zoomed out of the NGO!”

“Wait” NK said frowning, “The girl...Hiya Harshid. She was with her uncle Arhan Harshid, di’s ex boyfriend. So....Khushi is Arhan’s sister?” he asked in confusion.

Anjali paled. So that’s how Arhan knows the truth.

Arnav looked at Anjali and asked, “Where does Arhan live?”

Anjali gulped. No. If he meets Arhan or Khushi then they would tell him why Khushi actually left. If Chotte knows then he’ll never forgive her. He will banish her from his life.

“Where does Arhan live?” Arnav asked raising his voice.

“He has an apartment in Gandhi Road” Anjali said in fear.

“Give me the address” Arnav demanded.

“12B Skyline Gandhi Road” Anjali said and she looked at mami who was pale as a sheet of paper.

“Hiya was with Arhan. So Khushi ji might also be with him!” NK said and Arnav nodded.

“Let’s go!” Payal said and Arnav nodded. He turned to leave but stopped when he stood in front of Anjali.

“If you have anything to do with her disappearance di, forget that you ever had a brother!” he said calmly and walked out.

He sounded so calm.

But Anjali knew.

It was the silence before storm.


Jul 13

A Hand Of God (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 144 times)

A Hand Of God

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Seeing di heartbroken broke her heart as well. Khushi folded the clothes absentmindedly. She loved Anjali as her own sister and wished nothing but good for her. She wanted her di to deliver a healthy baby girl and move on from the scum bag.

She loved di. But Khushi had to admit that right now she felt anger and pity towards the limp woman. Her leg is limp! Not her brain! Why can’t she see it? Why can’t she believe her Chotte?

Miscarriage broke Anjali’s as well as the Raizadas heart! Khushi sighed remembering the hate words of mami. Don’t worry. She said to herself. Mami is worried for di. That’s all! She isn’t that bad!

But deep down her heart, Khushi felt good that di’s baby died. Even if she doesn’t believe that Shyam is a cheat, later in her life, she will have to face the truth! It would break her completely and Anjali, being the judgemental woman she always is, might not accept the baby girl in her life terming her as Shyam’s blood. ‘Coz no matter how much loving and caring Anjali di is, she can be extremely emotionless towards some things.

“Did di have something?” Arnav asked as he entered the room.

Khushi looked up from where she was folding clothes and said curtly, “I don’t know. I’m not allowed to go near your sister.”

Arnav said nothing but closed the door behind him. He walked to the recliner and sat on it. Ignoring him she continued folding clothes and he said, “She again begged for Shyam today!”

Her first instinct was to retort with a “What should I do about it? Shyam isn’t a thing that’s available in market!” but sensing his sadness, she hummed. And he said, “She is not accepting the truth”

She again hummed and kept the clothes neatly in the wardrobe.

“I was thinking...we should bring him back” Arnav said slowly.

Wait. WHAT?

She shot looked at him. She could see him shuddering under her gaze. Unlike her usual kind eyes, this time, it spoke fury.

“I meant, we could’ve him around and then place cameras around, recording his moves and then....”

He was cut off by her, “Are you really that stupid or are you pretending?” she asked sharply.

“Khushi main....”

“You are bringing him back! HIM! BACK IN THIS HOUSE!” she shouted.

Is this man for real? He wants to man who lusted over his wife and is cheating on his sister, back in the house around them? Has he completely lost his mind?

“It’s for the better. Nothing will go wrong. We all will obse.....”

“OH SHUT THE ****” Khushi shouted and he stumbled back, hearing her loud voice for the first time in his life, “If you want that man back in this house, you can. But you’ll never see me again!”

She threw the clothes on the floor and stormed out of the room.

.

I can’t believe this! Khushi cried to herself as she walked through the corridor. ‘I thought he is with me. He said that he believes me and will support me. Is this how he intends to support me? Bringing the man who lusts over me back in this house? What made him think that I can stand under his eyes roaming all over my body? Ah yes, it would make his di happy! If di is happy, Arnav Singh Raizada is happy. Who cares of my tears? Anjali bitiya is happy! And when Anjali bitiya is happy, RM shines like it does on Diwali nights. Even when Shyam literally undresses me with his eyes, why would anyone care? Why would anyone notice Shyam sneaking his leg under the table to touch her?’

Khushi stopped walking and leaned on the wall of corridor. A shiver ran down her spine. What if Arnav ji brings him back?

Even though Payal knew about Shyam, she never asked Khushi whether she was fine. Because Payal thought that Shyam no longer made moves on her sister. But only Khushi knew!

Only she knows how he wraps an arm around Anjali, smiling and loving, with his other hand touching and caressing her. Only she knows how she spent more time with NK, before marriage, to escape from Shyam.

Khushi gulped and shut her eyes tight remembering that day, at kitchen, when Shyam came behind her. Everyone had gone out and HP went to clean Nani’s room.

She covered her mouth with her palm to control her sobs as tears rolled down her cheek. Her skin still shivered remembering how he wrapped his arm around her, locking her from any movement. Cupping her mouth, he dipped his face to the crook of neck.

Khushi believed in devi maiyya. It was a belief that comforted her. But that day, Khushi realized that devi maiyya isn’t her belief, it’s a presence around her! May be it was devi maiyya who came in the form of Nani’s pet goat, Laxmi and knocked out the utensils of kitchen, causing Hari Prakash to come downstairs.   

She gripped the corridor wall, still remembering Hari Prakash running towards her, when he found her crying in the kitchen. Shyam had run away and Khushi had broken down to tears right in the middle of kitchen.

Who was there for her to confide? Her husband, who loathes her and forced her to marry for six months? Her sister, who had faced enough hardships in life and was finally happy? Nanhe ji, who disappeared to Australia after marriage functions?

The only idea she found was go to Gupta house for a while. So she tricked Arnav ji and convinced Nani ji to let them go to Gupta house. And it only led to the revelation that the snake had played his cards before Arnav ji, convincing him that she, Khushi, had affair with Shyam. Little did she know that getting back from there, she would witness her Arnav ji getting kidnapped.

Khushi sighed and moved her hand to her stomach.

Another secret she kept from Arnav ji.

Her mind flew to her first holi at RM. The first time she and Arnav ji had gone tipsy under bhang. The first time she opened her heart before Arnav ji. The first time he confessed his love.

More than that.

The first time he touched her.

Another sob left her recalling how he walked out after waking up to his senses and never ever acknowledged that. She didn’t want him to accept her or declare that he loved her! All she wanted was a small talk. For him, it was an escape route. But he had no idea that his action of walking out of bed, leaving her naked, made her feel like a prostitute. When he stopped at the door, she had closed her eyes expecting him to throw money at her, but he walked away.

“Hello hi bye bye. Is it true?” Mami’s loud voice jerked her. She looked to her left, from where the voice came and spotted Anjali’s closed door.

Frowning she walked towards it and stood before the closed door.

“Ha mami ji” she heard Anjali speaking, “Dr. Misha is my close friend. She confirmed it to me!”

Dr. Misha.

The doctor she visited. Khushi whispered to herself.

“Hello hi bye bye” she heard mami spitting in venom, “After destroying your marriage and your baby, phatti sadi is having her own!”

“Ha mami” Anjali said in between sobs, “She broke my family. Took my Chotte away from me. She killed my rajkumari!”

“Calm down Anjali bitiya” mami said.

“Nahi mami. I lost my daughter! I want my child back! I want my Shyam ji back!” Anjali cried hysterically, “And how can Khushi have a child when she killed mine? I need it. I need her child!”

Khushi froze under her feet hearing the woman, whom she considered as her own sister, speaking.

“Ha Anjali bitiya” Mami said, “You’re right. Arnav bitwa would agree. I’m sure!”

“Of course he will” Anjali said, “My Chotte loves me a lot. He will give me the baby! He will bring back Shyam ji. He promised me today. I asked him to bring Shyam ji and he nodded. Mami, he nodded. He will bring back my Shyam ji. He will give me his rajkumari. For his di!”

They kept on speaking but Khushi heard nothing after that.

The limp woman’s words bounced in her ears.

I need her child

My Chotte loves me a lot. He will give me the baby!

He will bring back my Shyam ji. He will give me his rajkumari. For his di!

Her arms unknowingly covered her stomach, protecting her two months old baby from the world.

He will bring back my Shyam ji.

“I was thinking...we should bring him back” his words from the room earlier came back to her, mocking her.

He is bringing him back! She whispered to herself. He will bring Shyam back. He will do anything to make his di happy. Even at their baby’s cost.

Khushi walked towards the terrace and sat in the chair there. She caressed her flat stomach and whispered, “No baccha....I will never let you go! I have sacrificed my whole life for the people whom I love. Not anymore. I can sacrifice anything for anyone. But not you, my child! You are my baby! I will protect you!”

Khushi looked up at the sky and said in tears, “Ma...Papa....give me strength. Stay with me!”

It would wrong if she didn’t admit that she felt a new found determination in her.

Raizadas....Anjali....Arnav....can go to hell!

They are right! Khushi is kind. Khushi wishes good for everyone. Khushi sacrifices everything.

But Arnav ji and his di got one thing wrong.

No mother would sacrifice her child.

‘Coz if there is something called hand of god, then it’s your mother’s hand.

 

Jul 14

A Visit From Anjali (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 159 times)

A Visit From Anjali

 

Ayaan wailed loudly and crawled to the other end of the bed when Laxmi, Nani’s pet goat, climbed on Arnav’s bed and approached the boy. He screamed and burst into tears as the goat came near him. Laxmi, being the harmless creature she is, bent down and rubbed her face on his small legs.

Arnav ran to him and picked the boy up in his arms. Shooing Laxmi away, he walked to the poolside with the baby who had now stopped crying. He sat on the poolside slab dipping his legs in water and having a firm clutch on Ayaan who was bending down from his arms to touch water.

The boy giggled and clapped his hands happily as Arnav lifted him in air and slowly brought him down just enough for his legs to touch the water. He kicked his legs happily splashing water everywhere.

Placing the boy in his lap and cuddling him, Arnav rested his head on him. Suddenly he wished Hiya to be in Ayaan’s place. How would it be if it was his Hiya? Will she clap her hands like Ayaan? Will she also giggle uncontrollably like the boy in his arms?

Meeting with Arhan was least pleasing. After telling them the whole past he had lashed out on Arnav, thinking that he agreed with his sister.

His mind went back to the night, the night before she left.

.

Khushi walked into the room angrily and slammed the door shut. Locking it she walked to the wardrobe and took her night clothes.

Arnav sat up on the bed, biting his lips, waiting anxiously for her to come out.

Moments passed and Khushi walked out in her night dress. Braiding her hair, she walked to the bed and slid into the covers. “Khushi....” he called out but she turned her back and switched off the lights.

He sighed and laid next to her. Turning to her side, he wrapped his arm around her waist, just for her to shove it away. He again wrapped his arm around her, this time stronger, and pulled her to him. Her back hit his chest and she said angrily, “Leave me!”

“Listen to me first” he said softly.

She stopped struggling and he said, “I’m sorry for asking that earlier. I will not bring him here. It’s a promise!”

“As if you’re a pro in keeping promises!” she scoffed without turning.

“This one will be kept” he said firmly, “Please trust me!”

“Trust!” she said, her voice cracking, “I hate that word!”

He held her arm and turned her to him. Under the moonlight he could see her cheeks strained with tears and her eyes red. He caressed her cheek and said, “I love you”

She looked at him blankly. Without responding for a while, she asked, “And di?”

“I love her too! She is a mother to me!” holding her waist he drew her more close and said, “and you are my lifeline!”

“Will you do anything for di?” she asked slowly.

“Yes” he said nodding.

“Without a second think?” she asked her insides burning at his words.

“Yes! I’ll bring the world to her feet!” he said.

She nodded and hugged him. He smiled and hugged her back. Little did he know that his answers had broken her beyond repair!

He felt her hand in his back sliding up to his shoulders as she buried her face in his crook of neck. “I love you” she whispered in a slow voice. He smiled and kissed her hair. “I love you too” he whispered in her ear.

“I’ll miss you” she said slowly and snuggled into his chest.

“Huh?” he frowned.

She hummed and Arnav realized that she has slept. Holding her close he closed his eyes for a peaceful sleep, hoping for a nice next day.

Little did he know that he will not have in his arms the next morning.

.

Ayaan’s squeal brought him back to present. He looked at the baby who was clapping his hands and then dipping it in the pool. He squealed again as the water is cold and withdrew his hand and then again dipped it. Repeating the cycle, he bounced on Arnav’s lap. Arnav smiled and bent down to place a soft kiss on the baby’s cheek.

Ayaan looked up and stood up on his lap. Arnav held his small frame afraid that he’ll fall. Ayaan held his shoulders for support. He lifted his small palms and wiped Arnav’s tears. It was only then he realized that he was crying. He smiled through his tears and scooped the boy in his arms.

But this time Ayaan didn’t squeal or giggle. Unlike every time, this time, he patted Arnav’s cheek and looked at him sadly. Arnav realized that he had never been sad around Ayaan and the baby was accustomed to his smiling face. For the first time he was sad before him and it reflected on the baby.

“Why is my baccha sad?” Arnav cooed and kissed the boy, “Look Nannav is happy!” he used the word NK uses to irritate him. Lately Ayaan has started to realize words and the things that they mean. He knows that Arnav and Nannav is the same person, his bade papa, and always looks at Arnav when NK screams that name.

“Aaaa” Ayaan made noise and leaned to Arnav and kissed his chin. He patted Arnav’s cheek asking him not to cry. Arnav smiled and cuddled the boy.

“Bade papa bolo.....ah how can you say such a big word. And I really don’t want you to call me that! Hmm....let me try...Arnav? Call me Arnav!” he said to the baby who was looking at him, “Akash won’t let you but still...call me Arnav!”

“Aaaaaa”

“Aaa nahi Arnav.....Arrr....nnnaaa....vvvv.....” Arnav spelt the word.

“Aaaaaaa”

“****o! Nahi ho payega” Arnav said chuckling and tickled the boy. He stood up from the poolside and sat on the chair there. He kept the boy of the floor and made him stand. Ayaan could now stand with a support to hold but he hadn’t started to take his first steps and Arnav was helping him to.

.

.

.

.

Hearing the knock, Arhan opened to door. His eyes narrowed and he asked angrily, “What are you doing here?”

Anjali shifted uncomfortably in her feet and said slowly, “Can I meet Khushi ji?”

“No” he said curtly.

“Please” she begged.

“Leave Anjali!” he said and reached his hand to close the door when she held his hand. “Arhan please” she said slowly, “Let me meet her, for once!”

“Kon hai mamu?”

Anjali looked behind Arhan to hear the voice and her heart melted at the small baby girl who stood frowning at the visitor.

“Anjali” Arhan hissed, “Leave”

“Ammaaaaaaa.......gest Amma...gest....(guest)” Hiya called out loudly.

Arhan groaned and Hiya said in her cute anger, “Mamu....let her in.....bad hos mamu!”

“Hos nahi...host!” Arhan corrected her and stepped away from the door for Anjali to enter. Hiya ran inside to drag her mother out and Arhan clutched Anjali’s arm.

She hissed in pain and he said dangerously, “Don’t create a scene before Hiya. And if you make my sister cry, trust me Anjali I’ll make your life hell!”

She gulped and nodded. He left her arm and leaned to close the door.

He locked the door and was about to walk past her when she held his arm. He looked at her and she asked, her voice shivering, “Was our....our relationship...an act? Were you....taking revenge?”

He shoved away her arm and said angrily, “I’m not like you to take revenge on people and mess with their emotions. I never knew that the horrible sister-in-law Khushi talked about was you! I fell in love....with the wrong woman!” and he walked inside.

“Ammaaaa come” Hiya said dragging her mother. Khushi chuckled and walked fast to keep up her bubbly daughter’s pace but stopped on her tracks seeing the woman before her.

“Khushi ji” Anjali said slowly.

Khushi’s eyes widened and she looked at Hiya who was smiling at the guest. She bent down and took the girl in her arms, hiding her face from Anjali.

“Who is it?” an old man walked out and Arhan said curtly, “Anjali Singh Raizada” the man stopped and looked at Khushi who stood pale.

“Don’t worry Khushi” Arhan said loudly for Anjali to hear, “No one is going to take Hiya from you when I’m around!” he turned to the man and said, “Baba...take Hiya inside”

Yash Harshid nodded and Khushi gave the girl to her nanu who happily jumped on to his arms.  Yash walked inside and Khushi looked at Anjali.

“Why are you here?” she asked.

“I wanted to talk” Anjali said slowly.

“To whom? Me or bhai?” Khushi asked crossing her arms.

“You”

Khushi scoffed and said, “I thought you’re here to discuss about your break up and future plans with bhai! Why would Anjali Singh Raizada care about others?”

“Future plans” Arhan scoffed.

“Can we talk?” Anjali asked to Khushi.

“If it’s anything related to my daughter....the door is open for you to leave” Khushi said sternly.

“No..it’s about Chotte” Anjali whispered.

Khushi looked at Arhan who was warning her with his eyes. She signalled him to go and he widened his eyes. He nodded no and she sighed. “Leave bhai. Let me talk to her!”

Arhan sighed and stood up. Giving his sister a kiss on her forehead he said, “Call me if anything happens. I’ll be in the room”

She nodded and Arhan walked in.

Khushi looked at Anjali and motioned her to sit on the couch.

“Tea or coffee is given to guests or when people you love visit you. Since you don’t belong to any of that category, I hope you won’t need it”

“No...no need” she said.

“Good. So what about your brother? Wait did he sent his lovely kind compassionate di to talk to me out?” Khushi raised an eyebrow.

“No” Anjali whispered.

“Then?”

“I feel terrible about what I’ve done” Anjali said slowly, “I never wanted that to happen. I was so....I was mad in love with Shyam and believed him. It was him who instigated the idea of taking your child and raise as mine. I never wanted you to leave and I don’t hate you”

“Ok” Khushi said nodding, “Anything else?”

“Please don’t take it out on Chotte. You don’t know how much he suffered without you. The only person who keeps him sane is Ayaan...and Payal ji. They are the only people whom he smiles and talks. And yes, NK bhai visited us after three years. Everything at RM is broken Khushi ji! Please come back.....please return the shanti of shantivan!”

Khushi chuckled and said, “Look at you Anjali. Even now you want me back, not because you feel guilty for what you did or you feel for me, but only because your Chotte is suffering. Your mansion RM is suffering. You want me back because you want your Chotte to smile at you again! You want his attention on you, not on Ayaan....who is Ayaan by the way?”

Anjali looked down and sniffled her tears.

“Ayaan...who is he?” Khushi asked again.

“Akash and Payal’s son. It was his first birthday last week!”

“Ayaan” Khushi whispered with a smile. Her jiji is a mother! And she named him Ayaan. The names they had sealed a deal on!

Tears rolled down her cheek remembering those days with jiji.

 The only person who keeps him sane is Ayaan...and Payal ji.

She looked at Anjali who was crying. “Is jiji looking after him?” she asked.

Anjali looked up and Khushi asked, “My jiji....is she looking after my Arnav ji?”

She nodded yes and Khushi smiled.

“Please come back Khushi ji.....we all need you and Hiya” Anjali whispered in tears.

“I won’t come back to that house, ever again” Khushi whispered in hatred, “And I’ll never forgive you. Nor will I forget how you wanted to take away my child”

“Okay” Anjali nodded in tears, “At least....forgive Chotte”

“I’m not angry at him. And he knows that. I won’t come back to RM or to him because I don’t trust you. I don’t trust him. He might change his colours for you. After all, you’re THE di! The Raizada princess! I cannot take the risk of raising my daughter around you!”

“Khushi ji main....”

“Leave Anjali. And never show me your face!” she hissed.

Anjali wiped her tears and stood up. She was about to turn when Khushi said, “Tables have turned right? Earlier it was Arnav ji who hurt me for his sister. And now....my brother left you for me!” she stood up and looked at Anjali. “Anjali Singh Raizada, do you know what this is called? Karma!”

 

Jul 20

Talk About Us (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 148 times)

Talk About Us

 

Raizada Mansion, New Delhi

9.30 pm

 

“When can I meet her?” Payal asked in tears and Arnav shrugged.

They had met Arhan but Khushi and Hiya weren’t home. Arhan, after narrating them what happened three years back, had kicked them out asking them not to return.

“I want to meet her bhai” Payal said between her sobs, “It’s been three years. I didn’t even know why my little sister left. I didn’t know what she was going through! I have a lot to make up!”

Arnav patted Payal’s shoulder and said, “We all have tons to make up!”

“What are you gonna do about your sister?” NK asked from the bed where he was lying down with Ayaan. He patted the boy who was rolling on the bed giggling.

Payal looked at Arnav.

When they returned from Arhan’s apartment, NK and Payal had lashed out on Anjali and mami but Arnav stayed quiet. He stormed upstairs without sparing a glance to the women and shut himself from others. Hours later, he opened the door only after hearing Ayaan crying. Payal could see his blood red eyes and his tear strained cheeks.

“And mami too” NK added.

“I don’t know what you’ve decided” Payal said, “But I’ve decided something.”

Arnav and NK looked at her.

“I’m leaving the house” she said.

Arnav looked at her shocked and NK gasped.

“I need to talk to Akash. Either he can follow us or we leave!” Payal said firmly.

“We?” NK asked.

“Me and Ayaan” Payal said looking at her son.

A shiver went down his spine as Arnav heard her words. Ayaan is leaving!

“No” he whispered and Payal looked at him. “Please don’t do this. I can’t....Ayaan....he is my life!”

“I know” Payal said softly, “Although we’re his parents, Ayaan is more attached to you. It’ll break his heart if I take him away from you. But I can’t keep him in a house where people talked about taking away my sister’s child. What if they take away Ayaan from me?”

“Not when we’re here Payal bhabhi” NK said softly, “No one will take Ayaan away from you.”

Payal smiled faintly and said, “The mere thought of my son being away from me scared me to death! How would have Khushi felt when she heard them talking about it?”

.

.

.

.

Skyline Apartments, New Delhi

10.30 pm

 

“And they lived happily ever after” Khushi said smiling and closed the book. She looked down to find her daughter looking at her with her round eyes.

“Arrey” Khushi said smiling and ran her fingers through the baby girl’s straight hair, moving the strands from her forehead, and cooed, “My Jalebi isn’t sleepy today?”

“Hiya no sleepy” Hiya said pouting.

“Why?” Khushi asked pouting.

“More story” Hiya demanded kicking her legs which were covered with blanket.

Khushi laughed and said, “Story is over baba..”

“Nahi...more story” Hiya said stubbornly.

“Okay then” Khushi said smiling, “The prince and princess got married and when the king stepped down, the prince became the king. The new king and queen ruled the kingdom and people were happy. They had a beautiful daughter! Her hair was black and straight. It was short till her ear. And the small baby princess had chubby cheeks” Khushi bent down to her daughter and rubbed her nose on Hiya’s cheeks earning a giggle from the girl. “Hey eyes were chocolate brown and she was very very naughty” and she tickled the girl.

Hiya squealed and Khushi lifted her from the blanket. Cuddling her daughter, she placed a sweet kiss on her forehead. Hiya cupped her mother’s cheeks and kissed her forehead in return.

“Mamma” she called softly.

Khushi hummed and Hiya asked, “Me baby princis (princess). You new qeen (queen). Who new kin (king)?”

Khushi froze and looked at her in shock.

“Who my papa?” Hiya asked looking at Khushi.

Hiya was growing up and she was starting to realize that every child of her age had two parents – dad and mom. Khushi knew that one day her daughter would question regarding her father but never expected her to ask the question so soon.

“Ma...” Hiya called out pulling her mother’s hand, “Who my papa?”

Khushi bent down and kissed her forehead. Covering her daughter with a blanket, Khushi stepped out of the bed and whispered “Good night bacha!”

Hiya pouted but she cuddled into her blanket.

Khushi walked to the balcony and stood there watching the night sky when her phone rang. “Hello” she asked picking it up without looking at the caller id.

“Khushi” he whispered.

She gasped at his voice and he asked softly, “Is Hiya asleep?”

“How did you get my number?”

“Mrs Mehra” Arnav said simply.

Khushi kept mum and Arnav said, “Come down. I’m outside your apartment premise”

She sighed and craned her neck over the balcony. “Why are you here Arnav ji?” she whispered.

“Come down Khushi” he said sternly.

She sighed and hummed.

.

.

“Why are you here?” Khushi demanded crossing her arms. Arnav stood leaning to his car and said, “Payal wants to meet you and Hiya”

Her face broke into a smile. Jiji. She too wanted to meet her badly but...

“I’m not coming into that house to meet her” she said sternly, “Please give me jiji’s number. I’ll ask her to meet me at a restaurant.”

Arnav dug his hands to his pocket and took out a card. He forwarded it to Khushi and she took it frowning.

Her smile widened to maximum as she read

Payal Gupta

KKGSR Dabba Service

MG Road, New Delhi.

Contact: *********

“KKGSR Dabba service” she read in a whisper and looked up at him. He nodded smiling. “She’ll be there at the office tomorrow morning. And Ayaan....I can come there with him”

She nodded in tears and looked down at the card again. “Payal Gupta?” she asked looking at him.

“She didn’t want to change her surname” Arnav said smiling recalling the drama that occurred at RM when Payal declared that she isn’t gonna change her surname. Akash had disapproved and Anjali had created a ruckus but when mami agreed to her daughter-in-law, the discussion ended.

“Hiya told me about Ayaan” she said smiling, “Said he is very cute”

“He is” Arnav said, a warm smile filling his face. Khushi didn’t miss his fondness and love when he talked about the boy. “Can I see his picture?” she asked.

He took out his mobile and switched it on. Forwarding it, she looked at the wallpaper. It had a smiling Arnav with a cute handsome baby boy in his arms. His cheeks were chubby and his little arms were wrapped around Arnav’s neck. Khushi felt her insides warm when she looked at the pic.

“He is very naughty” Arnav said smiling, “And very cranky too. Especially when he wakes up. Such an attention seeker. And when someone takes away his teddy bear, he attempts to growl but it comes out as a whimper. And NK, just to hear that sound, takes away his teddy and....wait see this video” he snatched the phone and then clicked on a video.

Khushi awed at the video where Ayaan was rolling on the bed with his teddy bear and Arnav sitting near him watching him, laughing. The boy stopped rolling hearing his laughter and squealed, making grabby hands towards Arnav. Arnav laughed and scooped the boy in his arms and cuddled him making the baby boy squeal and giggle.

“So cute!” she cooed and he said, “He loves when I cuddle him like that. Will be giggling mess! And also when we take him to water. He loves playing peek-a-boo with his own reflection on water and also....” he stopped seeing Khushi smiling at him.

“Sorry. I got carried away” he said sheepishly. He cannot help but rant his words when it comes to Ayaan.

“You love him so much” Khushi whispered and Arnav nodded, “He is my life”

She handed him the phone back and said, “Can I meet him tomorrow?”

He nodded and then asked, “I....I want to meet....Hiya”

She nodded and said, “We’ll meet tomorrow at jiji’s office. Bye!”

She turned to leave when he held her hand. “Wait!” he cried and she turned to him.

“That’s it?” he asked shocked.

She looked at him frowning and he asked, “You don’t wanna talk about us?”

“There is no US now Arnav ji!” she said softly and freed her wrist.

“Khushi ji, any problem?” the security guard at the apartment gate came to her seeing some man holding Khushi madam’s hand.

“Nahi Raveendar ji, he is my.....friend” Khushi said and the security nodded and walked away.

“Friend?” Arnav scoffed.

Khushi looked up at her apartment balcony. Arhan was standing there and watching them. She switched on the phone she was holding and dialled his number. “Bhai, I’m going out for half an hour”

Arnav looked at up to find Arhan speaking to Khushi over his phone, his face concerned for his sister.

“I’ll be fine. Arnav ji will drop me back” she said and hung up. “Let’s go!” she said.

“Where?” he asked frowning.

“Somewhere where we can talk about US” she said and got into his car.

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