QUAGMIRE

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Jul 11

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 37 times)

Prologue

Relationships are like quagmire once you get into them they swallow you completely, there is no chance of coming out of it you only have to deal with it. If ever you find a chance to return back you would come out only with the scars, there is no other way out.

FORGIVE- How easily can one forgive a person who is the reason for the uproar in their life?

FORGET- How easy is to forget the past which keeps haunting you in every path of your life?

The past is what you are today. The future is what you want to be.

Chapter 1

“30Lakhs?!”

“Yes, house papers are already in the bank due to loan. The loan is due for one more year so we cannot do anything about it. From where will we get at the last minute?”

“Shashi, Why don’t know you take out the money which is saved under Khushi’s name?”

“Jiji! That is for Khushi’s marriage, how can we use it now?”

“We can see that later, there is still time for it. Now if we think about it Payal’s marriage will be doomed.” Garima agreed with her sister-in-law, there is time for Khushi but Payal’s baraath will be here by evening.

“Garima, it’s only 10 lakhs in Khushi’s account, what will we do about the rest of the amount?” as much as Shashi was not convinced of breaking the saving of one daughter’s for the other, he still wanted to give it a try least it leads the other into a broken wedding.

“what about shop papers? We can as well keep them under any of our relatives and taken amount for now. Later we will think on how to settle it.” Madhumathi advised her brother.

“Jiji, it’s of no use, Payal’s in-laws were very particular on the gifts, jewelry to be given. The shop is in mortgage already.”

“Let me see if I can try with any friends” Shashi went out leaving the other two ladies to ponder upon the issue at hand.

“Jiji, What is this new trouble? When Abhishek was here stating he liked Payal and asked her hand in marriage I was more than happy to see at least one of the daughter’s settled in life. Now, I fear if the happiness of my daughter is short lived.”

“Garima, I can arrange for 5 lakhs which are saved out of pension amount, even then we would 15 more to adjust. Can’t we speak to the family and try to see if they would allow some time to adjust, by the way, didn’t you guys discuss this before ?” Madhumathi doesn’t want her dearest niece to be hurt.

“Jiji, they never mentioned about it and even Shashi never thought”

Unkown to the occupants of the room the discussion was heard by the bride and her sister.

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“Khushi, do you think I did the right thing by saying yes to Abhishek? Is he aware of this? Where will babuji get the amount from?”

“Jiji, Please you don’t worry, Let’s call Jiju, I’m sure he is unaware of the whole issue.”

“Jiji, I think I need to meet him personally, his phone is not reachable. You don’t worry before the barath arrives I will speak to him. You just handle ma and bua.” Saying so she rushed towards her scooty and made a move towards SheeshMahal were the groom’s family were given accommodation.


Jul 13

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 28 times)

Chapter 2

“Di, When did you come here?”         

“Chotte, I  know how difficult it is for you to face this place again, but you are doing it for me, to keep the promise you made to me when you can do so much for me, why wouldn’t I be there for you?”

“Jeejaji, at least you should have stopped her or else you could have let me known that you guys are coming.”

“Saalesaab, now-now, how can I go against my Ranisaheba’s wish?”

“Bhai, when I’m there, you don’t need to worry,” Akash said joining the trio.

“You knew about this and kept it a secret from me?”Arnav was shocked, his little brother who always is on his side has now changed the parties.

“Come on Charlotte, don’t scold him, I denied him from revealing anything to you.” Anjali came in defense of Akash least THE great ASR shows his famous anger on the younger brother, not that he would do it, he is ASR for outside world but for the family he is still Arnav, Yes, he is not as before but still, the difference can be made.

“Now that Rani Sahiba, you are safe with your brothers, let me go and complete my work.”

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“Oh god, how careless can I be? Now how do I know where to go?” Khushi reached her destination within time but when it was time to enter the floor number standing in the lift she realized she is not aware of the room details and her phone is safe at home, in any case, she thought of calling Payal or even Abhishek directly is also not possible.

Cursing the person whose face she has seen early in the morning who made her day filled with only negativity she reached reception.

“Excuse me, May I know the room no. of Mr.Abhishek Sinha?”

“Just a second mam, let me check.” The man on the other side of the table replied without looking at her.

“May I know where is AR show being conducted?” at the same moment there was another girl who came to stand by Khushi enquiring about the show.

“Tower 2 Mam” the receptionist was still looking into his system.

“Mr.Abhishek Sinha is in Tower 1, room ...” saying so he looked up to see that the table was empty.

“Where did she go without listening to the answer?” he wondered.

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“Will go to Tower 2 first, obviously someone from the groom’s family will be roaming around, from there it’s easy to find the room number if there is no one found I can as well ask in reception over there, looks like they have a reception for every tower.” In her haste, Khushi didn’t realize that the reply given by the reception is not meant for her.

Between the towers, the Mahal has a huge open area to conduct any open-air events. Even when the path between was well maintained and lit with different colors of lamps, she felt nostalgic owing to the fact that the place was lonely and she was the only one moving towards that direction. Picking up her pace she started to do a little run so as to get away from the unpleasant silence. As she neared the tower she was able to hear some announcements going on, relaxing she slowed down the pace as the voice over is giving her the assurance that she is not alone.

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Arnav was looking towards the stage where the models were exhibiting his company’s designs on the ramp but his thoughts were occupied by the past memories related to this place. He was thankful that his elder sister was here, as much as he may deny but she knew what he needs and she was always there for him, it’s always difficult to revisit the places which are only in your memories with a reason to increase the hurt.

It was time for the showstopper to make an appearance with him and when he heard the announcement to come over he got up to get on the stage. As it was the final blow to the whole show the lights were turned off and the crackers and the whole area will lit up only when he makes an appearance with the final design.

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It would just take a few more seconds for Khushi to reach the tower when the whole area became silent and dark. Khushi felt someone passing beside her in the blackness and she sprang towards the direction her legs took her to get to a safe place.

Jul 13

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 45 times)

Chapter 3

“BOOM”

One moment she was running towards a light and the second she felt herself flying in the air as she missed her foot and the next moment she was held against something or someone.

It took her few seconds to get back her heartbeats in control, the moment she opened her eyes there were flashes everywhere blinding her eyes with the spark and the background was filled with a lot of noise. When she tried to get control of self she came face to face with eyes which were ready to pounce on her.

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Arnav was stepping on to the stage when he felt someone come crashing on to him. Taking support of the railing beside he stabilized himself and held the bundle which leaped on to him. Once the crackers were lit, in that light, he saw the girl in green holding on to him for her dear life with her eyes closed. The flashes of the camera, the questions from reports surrounding them brought both into consciousness. The bundle in his arms finally decided the same moment to open her eyes, the illumination of different colors from fireworks above reflecting in them.

She would have been forever in his arms if not for the look Arnav was giving her. He dropped her to the floor abruptly and started dragging her towards the rooms on the other side of the event.

Is she dreaming or is she really with THE ASR?

“I want all the details of who is behind this Aman, Akash will handle the media while I will try to do some damage control over there.” She was brought out of her reverie by his voice.

“Any update Aman?” he was back within 15 minutes looking more annoyed than before.

“Sir, she claims that by fault she is here and is sorry for creating the disturbance.”

“Sorry? Seriously, Aman, you do know how much that silly girl’s mistake will cost us right? Let it be, I will deal with her I’m sure she is from the rival’s only.”

The moment he opened the door the girl tried to rush past him, alas he was faster than her, holding her upper arm he twisted her body and cornered her against the door.

“Who sent you here?”

“No one, I’m here by my own. See, I’m sorry for gatecrashing your event but trust me when I say it was purely unintentional.”

“Unintentional? Is it? Doesn’t look like it by the looks. You have come here for your own wish to make money. Isn’t it?”

“What nonsense? See, I agree I’m at fault doesn’t mean you would get a right to speak ****. Let me go, it’s important for me to reach on time.” She said struggling to release her arm from his steel-like grip.

“Important! Who else is in your list? Whose program you want to spoil next?”

“See it’s my sister’s wedding today, I need to reach on time, let me go.”

“What’s the proof that you are saying the truth? Maybe you are trying to mislead me?”

“I’m Khushi Gupta daughter of Shashi Gupta who runs Mistan Bandar. You can find the details on our website we undertake catering services. Today is my sister’s marriage and the groom is here in Sheesh Mahal. Mr. Abhishek Sinha” she spoke in one breath least he doesn’t give her time to say further.

“Why should I believe that it’s true?” he still was not ready to listen to her made up story.

“You can verify the details, but please for now let me go, the groom’s family at last minute decided to ask for a hefty amount as dowry. I need to speak to jiju, Please let me go.”

“So, you are here to make money for that?”

“Shut up, when you don’t want to know the truth, why do you even keep me here? As it is you have decided to punish”

May her words hit the right cord, pushing her aside he shouted for Aman, instructing the guy to verify the validity of Khushi’s words. Before turning to go he turned towards her to say

“If at all I come to know the story you said is deceptive, mind it you will not see tomorrow's sunrise. Ten more minutes to decide your fate.” With that, he was gone.

 

Is it the same person whose photo she has secretly kept under her clothes in her cupboard? She and her sister follow the news channels to T always updating themselves about the current interesting happenings across the globe.

A few years back she came across such news one day, about a boy who is emerging as the youngest successful entrepreneur taking over the fashion world. There was very little information about his personal life and no information on his childhood, the thing which attracted Khushi was how single-handedly he managed to reach the heights and she was impressed with his willpower, talent since then she used to follow every news related to him.

She developed a crush on him but that is something else different altogether with the type of looks the guy carries anyone will have it. Looks can be deceiving she understood it today before she wished how would it look if at all she gets a chance to meet him but now she cursed herself for even wishing that ever. Payal always rebuked her about the stupid wishes saying,

“Khushi, think twice before wishing for anything otherwise you never know what it leads to.”

Finally today she understood the meaning.

Jul 16

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 49 times)

Chapter 4

“I’m sorry to say this but for the marriage to be conducted, you need to give the amount now otherwise let’s think about the wedding once you get the money, we don’t mind waiting, our son wishes to marry your daughter and we have no qualms with it.”

“Sinha Saab, for the matter of five lakhs you are asking to postpone the wedding, I promise to pay it to you in 2 days. Just let this happen.” Shashi was getting more irritated with the comments from the groom’s father, but as bride’s father he shouldn’t lose his cool, for the sake of Payal he has to do it, otherwise he would never speak to people who give importance to money than his daughter. Only because he wants his daughter to lead the life with the person she loves, he has to bear this.

“Pay it? What is it you are saying Shashi? You are saying as if it is some fine. This is a gift which you are giving to your son-in-law,  give with happiness not with a sad face otherwise it will affect him.” Sinha was offended with the words Shashi chose.

“Abhishek beta, at least you..”

“Uncle, it’s better if such matters are dealt between elders. It wouldn’t look good if I interfere in it. I like Payal, I want to marry her there is no denying it, I will wait for her to enter my life, you don’t worry.” Abhishek said with a smile.

“But I’m better off without someone like you in my life.” Payal couldn’t hold anymore.

 She was standing outside the room where her father was speaking to Sinha’s. She was disgusted to find out what type of a person she decided to marry. He said he liked her, he was the one to speak to both the families and now when it’s time, he says it’s the matter to be discussed by elders? If he would have raised the matter of dowry earlier she would have never agreed to marry this guy. She never loved him, her parents were okay with the proposal hence she gave her consent otherwise never in her dreams she imagined him to be her husband.

“Payal, let your father handle this” Garima tried to hold back her daughter as she knew Payal getting involved in this will only worsen the matter.

“Ma? Are you asking me to be calm? After hearing to what all they said, still you are asking me to be silent? First in the name of jewelry than in the name of tradition and now in the name of gift they are looting us.”

“PAYAL. Mind your words. I like you doesn’t mean I will let you speak against my family.” Abhishek finally found his voice.

“Like? Is this what you call like? You don’t even respect me, or my family. Just get out before I lose my cool and do something which you will regret your whole life.”

“Payal you are crossing your limits, keep in mind that no one ever will come to you once they know of your broken wedding and the reason behind it. You have no other option then me” He threatened.

“It’s better if I am alone all my life then to be with someone like you. OUT now.”

“Wait, Where is Khushi?”

“Khushi?”

“Haa Khushi, she came to meet you, what you did to her tell me, why isn’t she back yet? Speak out otherwise I will rip you out” she looked like a person possessed.

" You will not move from here until you tell me where she is. You think these are false threats right, let me show you the practical." She was about to hit him but her father stopped her.

"Babuji..?"

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"Done with checking? Can I go now? Or something is still pending? As it is you have wasted enough time of mine If at all I reach late due to this and miss the wedding then let me tell you I will curse you daily for rest of my life."

"What the..." Arnav got the required confirmation but he was shocked with the audacity of the girl to give him back after spoiling his show. Curse him? for rest of the life? Seriously?

"Anyways, you are not what I thought you to be, Other then have a charming face, it will be nice if you are good at heart too. It gives the glow to the face you know?" saying so she ran from there without giving Arnav time to react.

Arnav was not sure if she complimented him or commented on his attitude. Whatever it was he has made sure that he is away from this girl. One meet and his work are affected already.

Unknown to him even Khushi wished she never meets him again.

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Was it this morning that their house was filled with joy and laughter? It looked like ages passed since then. Madhumathi sat on the stairs thinking deep. They tried to save the day but it was of no use. On one side the groom's family left after throwing the entire blame on them seeing Payal's behavior, the other side she can hear the neighbors whispering about the uproar caused in their family. Khushi still has not reached home. Her head surely would blast with the amount of pressure it is handling at the moment. Finally to relieve her aunt Khushi made her appearance.

15 hours ago

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 27 times)

Chapter 5

“I should appreciate you for the planning Payal. You sent her away to put the blame on us and make money out of it?” he wanted somehow to make her feel the insult she made out of his family a few minutes before.

“Khushi?! Are you fine? Why were you late? He did something right tell me” 

“Jiji, I’m fine.”

“Abhi let’s go, we shouldn’t stay here anymore .” Mrs. Sinha took the lead this time.

“One moment, when you are not interested anymore in the alliance I think it would be best if you return the jewelry and the money given by babuji till now, as it is you are very respectful people, it wouldn’t look good if you run away with them. Isn’t it?” It was Khushi this time, how dare they give importance to money than her sister and slyly trying to put blame on them and escape.

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Payal sat in her room looking at the screen saver on her mobile, it had her and Abhishek smiling to the camera on the day of engagement. Her eyes darted towards the ring finger which now is showing the mark of the previous owner. Unknowingly her eyes watered, true that she didn’t have any feelings towards him but since the wedding got fixed, they spent maximum time together due to one or other occasion, in all this she weaved dreams of the future ahead with him, they shattered before they saw the light. She stood strong until she took the ring off her finger and threw it on his face. Everyone in the family and neighbors supported them but that moment she was like any other girl whose trust was broken, a girl whose wedding got cancelled at last moment, she locked herself in her room to get back to normalcy again, some me time to process the happenings of the day before she faces the world again.

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“Shashi, never ever feel that you are alone. We are all there for you. It’s good Payal raised her voice against this otherwise she had to face the same trouble which my daughter faced.”

“Yes Garima, it’s good they showed their true faces now, imagine how it would have been if at all it happens after marriage. Our Payal will never be happy in that miser’s house.”

Khushi rushed behind her sister the moment Payal ran away, while the elders remained behind to manage the situation. All were supporting them but the pain that this incident will always remain as a scar in their daughter’s life is not allowing them to be calm. There will be rumors for some time which cannot be avoided and Shashi was most affected as he failed in finding the perfect life partner for his princess.

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“Babuji, Jiji and I decided to go to the dargah, as it is what all bad has to happen have happened now to start everything fresh we want to take blessings.”

“What fresh will you start Khushi? Payal will not go anywhere henceforth” Bau declared her ultimatum.

“But buaji what wrong did Jiji do? It was the mistake of Sinha’s not her she will resume her job and before that, we will go to the dargah.”

“Yes, Jiji you also come with us. Let us thank the Almighty for saving us from getting into this relation were in future it will only let our daughter face troubles.” Shashi supported his daughter’s, anything for his daughter to come out of grief.

“Shashi even you are on their side? I think no one is worried about the happenings of yesterday. fine, why should I keep worrying then, let’s go.”

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“Di? You are still here? I thought your tickets have been booked for early morning.”

“Ha chotte they are, but I canceled them, I need to visit the dargah, after all, he fulfilled my wish which I asked many years back.”

“Di?! He fulfilled? Seriously? Fine then, I will arrange the car you can go and praise him for all that he has showered on us.”

“Chotte, you will never stop it will you?”

“You know that I will not.”

“Okay but you and Akash are accompanying me and before you deny let me tell you this is final.”

“Will I ever get a chance to deny you?”

“Never” Anjali smiled looking at the sulking face of her brother.

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Khushi after finishing the prayers asked Payal to look for bangles while she goes and ties the lock which fulfills the wishes. Bua wished to return back to the car once they were done offering the prayers so the elders left to wait in the car. She tied her’s and saw that someone who just has passed her has dropped his key and called out to him to give it back and to her surprise, it was none other than the ASR.

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Arnav was irritated with the noise around him, above that his sister forced him to tie the lock while sits for some more time in the prayer hall. Akash rushed to a side as he got a call from the client and was nowhere to be seen. Muttering under his breath he tied it and started to go from there as early as possible but he was stopped by a voice from behind. And he turned around to see the girl in green from yesterday’s mishap.

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“AAP!”

“YOU?”

 “Your Key.” She said forwarding the key which fell down from his pocket.

“Throw it away”

“Throw away? You are standing on the premises of  dargah and you also tied the lock but you don’t want to keep the blessings with you?”

“Blessings? When I don’t believe in God, keeping a key in the name of blessings is far. In fact, I don’t think he exists”

“How can you say that? The luxury and success you are enjoying today are given by him and you deny his existence?”

“ASR writes his own destiny. If at all there is someone up there, then there will be no pain in this world.”

“Hawww!” Khushi was left behind looking wide-eyed at the person who just showed his audacity which was due to his status in the society.

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“And you know what Jiji? He doesn't even believe in the almighty? How can someone be like that?”

“Khushi, it’s his life, he gets to decide what, whom he should believe. Why are you worrying about it?”

“Ya, I know, that’s why I just left it there otherwise I was ready to give him left, right and center for speaking all that yesterday and today. But I never thought that he will be like this”

“We can never know how a person is until we get to know them close enough to see their true intentions.” Payal thoughts raced backed to he ex-fiance.

“But you tell me this, where did the pearl strings from your blouse go flying?” 

“What? Show me. This is all because of him, he pushed me so hard, the blouse would have got stuck to some sharp object in the process.”

“Khushi? You didn’t even realize that it got torn?”

“What can I do Jiji? I was shocked and surprised at seeing him in front of me. Now leave about him let’s go eat Golgappe.” Pushing his image out of her thoughts she got ready to go with her sister to enjoy the delicacy.

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