Arshi - Reawakening

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Oct 17

Part 20 (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 59 times)



Part 20 – New relations??

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



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



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



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

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

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

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

“It does not mean anything”

 “It means nothing to me”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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



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

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



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

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

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

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

Did she need anything more to bring tears of joy!

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

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



Oct 23

Part 21 - Envy (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 60 times)

Thank you all for your wonderful support...

Hope you like this update... Please comment


Part 21 – Envy..

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

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

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

“Congratulations... Mami has agreed” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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

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



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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



Oct 26

Part 22 - Persuasion (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 74 times)

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. 

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




Part 22 – Persuasion


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


Payal was was cut off by Garima


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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



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



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



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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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



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



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


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



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

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



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



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


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



Nov 1

Part 23 Anticipation (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 65 times)

Thank you all for your lovely comments and Thank yous 

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


Hope you will enjoy the next part


Part 23 – Anticipation

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

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



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

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



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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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



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

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



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



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

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



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

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


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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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



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



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



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

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



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



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



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

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



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

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



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



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



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



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

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



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



Nov 16

Part 24 New start (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 61 times)

Hello dear friends,

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

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


Part 24 – New Start 

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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



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



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

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



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

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

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



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



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

“Di....”

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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



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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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



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



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

“Anjali ji, I want some water”.

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



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



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



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



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



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



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

This got Anjali all excited. 

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

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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



Nov 20

Part 25 - Planning (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 62 times)

Thank you all for the lovely comments andvoting on Thank yours. Give a lot of hope to write,... Hope you enjoy this part,...


Part 25  - Planning

Sheesh mahal was a busy place with all important decisions made. Morning saw the house busy with all the preparations for the show. Show over, the Raizadas were happily discussing the details of the wedding to happen. Mimi was quietly sipping her tea along with the rest of the family and the Gupta family. She was following Nani’s strict instructions  not to open her mouth. 

“Shashi ji, considering your health, we are happy to accommodate any arrangements for the wedding. Infact our chote was suggesting to have the wedding here in Sheesh Mahal if you are all ok with it.” Nani spoke while Majohar nodded approving the decision. 

“Devyani ji, we are fortunate to get such an alliance,” Shashi paused to take a breath, getting a glare from Mami who seemed to say “Really. And yet you took this long to decide?” 



Shashi continued, “but as is the custom, all the wedding has to be done from the girls side and I would want to exercise that duty, even if it is a  simple celebration in the temple, that is if you are all ok with it.” Shashi requested humbly, fully aware of the financial situation they were in.



Nani refused “No Shashi ji, while it was a custom for the girls side to do this, situation and times have changed. And if we don’t adjust to it, we will be the ones to loose. And I am not ready to give up on your girls. They have proved continuously what treasure they are.” This was a whole hearted appraisal of the Gupta girls. She also knew how much her family too wanted to enjoy the wedding, and be a part of it, especially being the only son, put some extra pressure on it.

“But if you are keen, we can have the celebration here in Lucknow as you want, but we like to have a reception in Delhi as well. ”

“Of course Nand kis****, you should also enjoy. All Shashi Babua wants to do is the Kanya daan (Literally means Give away their daughter, which is part of the wedding ritual). You see it has all suddenly come up, and our house is rented, otherwise it would have been enough for a simple wedding.” Buaji had to have her say, while Garima was now sat nodding her head.

All the pros, cons, and the finer details were discussed.  While the elders spoke, the younger generation had sat listening. Payal was naturally shy and sat with her head bent, nodding yes or no in between, which Anjali noticed with a cheeky smile, matched that of Akash’s approval and disapproval. 

However, the strangest part was the chatter box Khushi who did not speak a word through out and sadly looked quite emotionless. Anjali did not fail to notice her brothers repeated attempts to gain her attention in some form or the other.

With discussions leading to matters being repeated again and again, Anjali finally made a concluding statement.

“So that’s all settled then Nani and Shashi uncle. Since the Pandit ji has told the engagement has to take place soon and the nearest date being only 4 days away, it will be conducted at the Gupta house, with just the two families. The pre wedding rituals and preparations will start once the wedding date will be fixed on engagement day.”

All looked happy with the concise and clear conclusions by Anjali, but Anjali was not finished. Looking at Khushi, she complained,

“Everything is fine, but why is our Khushi ji so sad? Are you not excited about your only sisters wedding? Or are you sad because she will..” 

All attention turned to Khushi. And as was the norm, Buaji was to explain the situation. “Arrey our sanka devi is quiet since morning.” Giggling and looking at the Raizadas, she spoke quietly, “If things go right, soon, she too will be flying away.” And she raised her hands to show an aeroplane.

Shocked gasps followed and Khushi’s attention immediately turned to Arnav. She saw all colour drain out of his face and he stood rooted to the spot.

“What are you saying Madhumati ji, where is she going? What is cooking behind?” Nani asked surprised.

Aqain it was buaji who spoke addressing Nani,, “Do you remember we had told that there was an alliance for both our girls, but due to some problems they couldn't  come?”, 

Nani and the others nodded eager to listen. Buaji continued 

 “when we went for Payals’s horoscopes to be matched, Pandit ji told that the boys were now ready, but Payals as we know was fixed, so they agreed to come and meet Khushi today. But our Sanka devi refused. It was not nice to refuse from our side, so we arranged for the boy to meet her casually outside. And since she has come, bolti bandh hogiyee (tongue has been tied?...). She has become shy..”



Buaji giggled, while Anjali looked sadly at Khushi and in turn at her brother who was still standing, face pale, staring at Khushi. She knew Khushi was not happy with what was happening. Totally disappointed with the turn of events, Anjali suggested,

“Akash and Payal, both of you can go and spend some time. It’s ok isn’t it Nani ? ” she asked Nani expectantly, who looked at Shashi for approval, who gave an assuring nod to Payal.

“Khushi ji you come with me, we need to sort out everything for the engagement, only 3 days to prepare.” She pulled Khushi to her room, while the elders sat discussing further.

“Di, I am going out. ” Anjali heard her brother shout. “where to chote?” She asked, but he was not looking at her. His gaze was intense and would not move away from Khushi. 

Khushi looked at him once, pain evident in her eyes, and moved away sadly with Anjali. What could she do. Before Anjali could repeat, he was out.



This is what Anjali liked about Khushi. As soon as they reached the room, Khushi was back to herself. All chirpy, bubbly and lively. “Anjali ji, honestly, there is so many things to prepare. First of all, ring, then clothes, then sort out food. Tell me Anjali ji, what does Akash ji like. “

Anjali looked at Khushi in awe. Just a moment ago, the very same person was sad and off mood, now as if she had been switched on, she was non stop talking...



“Khushi ji,  we will sort all that soon. First tell me about your,... woh  .. what is his name? When did you meet, where? See we don't even know that.” Anjali asked, not to be fooled by her chattering . 

Once again as if she had been switched off, Khushi went quiet but she had to answer. 

“Anjali ji, I will tell you everything later. In fact I have told amma and babuji not to talk about that until Jiji’s wedding is done. So lets concentrate on that. I want my jijis wedding to take place without any hurdles... and full concentration should be on that..”



“ok baba, don't worry, I will find out. ” she winked at Khushi, trying to be cheerful and both started on with the arrangements to be made for the upcoming engagement.

With all plans made for shopping and managing the next two days, Anjali and Khushi promised to keep in touch with any changes in plan. Considering Shashi’s health, the elders had long gone. With too many people around, Akash and Payal had decided to go on a drive.

Anjali walked out with Khushi to see her off after their long planning process. Khushi opened the door to find Arnav walk up the stairs and face her. Eyes red, mind agitated, he did not know what to say, and the cause stood in front of him. He could still see the sadness in her eyes.

Anjali came forward. She knew he was upset and gone out for a drive, which was the norm when he was very upset. What can she do? She remembered his behaviour towards Khushi the same day. 

“Chote, looks like you have been on a drive. I just came to drop Khushi.” Anjali, though not asked explained. Now his thoughts turned to dropping her off and he was expecting his Di to suggest, but none came by and what more, he heard Anjali say,

“Ok Khushi ji, we will meet tomorrow.” 

“Huh, bye Anjali ji” Khushi too was surprised, since it was so unlike Anjali and she had already started thinking of excuses to refuse. 

Irritated and feeling uncomfortable that he had to take the initiative, Arnav quietly said, “I will drop you” but was surprised when both Anjali and Khushi said “No”

He looked at his sister.

“It’s ok Chotte, she will manage” she told  him giving a sarcastic look.

“Di, it is quite late and what will Shashi uncle think if she goes alone after you held her to spend time with her?” Arnav reasoned

Anjali thought, “clever move chotte, but I won’t budge this time. Come out with what you have in your mind and heart, otherwise it may be really late, or is it already ”

Khushi, getting irritated “Arnav ji, don’t worry.  My Babuji is not worried about that and he will not think otherwise too. Sometimes we make some late journeys when there are parties.. so he is used to it.”



“Khushi it is late and I am dropping you. No arguments. Sit in the car. ” he decided to take control. But Anjali came forward to stop him. “Chotte you cant force her. And moreover after what I saw,...”



“Di, ” he stopped her from repeating. “I am sorry for what happened before. I should not have vented my anger on her. I have already apologised to her. ” and he was running down to open the door for Khushi.



“You’ve already apologised? When did that happen? From what I know she has always been with me.” Mused Anjali marching her way to Nani. There was so much to discuss.

 

Once again Khushi was switched off. She did her seat belt without being told, and basically she felt proud at being in control in his presence. However hard she might try, it was impossible to not not talk to him or interact with him, especially when Jiji was going to be married to the same family. With these and other thoughts running, Khushi did not hear him when he asked “why?”

Surprised he did not get an answer, he emphasized “Why Khushi?” there was so much pain hidden, she immediately looked at him.

His eyes conveyed all the pain he held, but what can she do? 

“Sorry Arnav ji, what?” she wanted to be clear and not jump into any conclusions.

“Why are you doing this?  ” he asked again.

Look in at him confused, she thought, “this man will never give up”

“Doing what Arnav ji?” she asked acting as innocent as ever.

Her reluctance was getting on his nerve. “Don’t act Khushi, you know what I’m talking about.”

Now this was enough to trigger her. It was not just him who could get angry, she had enough up her nose too. In a highly irritated voice she asked. “Arnav ji, please be clear with what you want to ask, what you want to know. Even before you were accusing me of not coming to the show, not being responsible, being arrogant. So please don’t  talk in riddles.”

Taking a deep breath, making a hissing sound, biting his teeth, he asked, “Khushi, I meant what is this, you have been to see somebody? Why are you doing this when you don’t want to?”

“What do you mean by that? I have not done anything wrong. My family wanted me to meet this person, get to know him, so what’s wrong with it? Babuji says,  it is going to happen one day or the other, so why delay, unless I have a proper reason.”

“So you are ready for marriage, leaving your family, you want to go far away? ” he asked her, himself confused how to ask her to stop all this and get on with usual life as before.

“Honestly Arnav ji I don’t want to discuss this. I told Anjali ji as well. So please leave this matter, and leave me to myself.” She told not wanting to answer the questions he was asking, at the same time not to be rude to him.



“That means you don’t want to, but you are doing it for your Babuji isn’t it? You are not doing right. You will never be happy with the person you don’t love. They don’t know that. You know you will never be able to love him” he told her straight on her face, feeling disgusted with the thought of Khushi loving someone else.

Now she was getting frustrated. She stared at him. On one hand she cannot keep pushing things at home without a good reason, on the other, the man she loves will never accept or love her back, what more he was making it hard for her to move on. She thought it would be easy to put off Buaji when the matter arrives, but she just could not refuse when Babuji asked her just meet once. 

“And you know?” she asked not caring if she was rude.

“Khushiiii you don’t understand..” he started stressing the iiiiii, but she put her hand up showing her palm to stop. 

“Arnav ji, it does not matter. So leave this issue. Leave me to my own troubles. When Jiji’s wedding will be done, and all celebrations finished, you would have all gone to lead your own lives back in Delhi, we will have to get back to ours.  Why should you really care isn’t it? After all, you may think my sister has won a jackpot by having a  rich man behind her, but please be assured, it was not your money or status that my Babuji saw, but he saw the love both Akash ji and Jiji have for each other. That is the reason things took this long. Anyway, why am I explaining all this to you? Am I not taking enough care to not cross your path so there can be no misunderstanding? See that's the reason I did not come for the show. Knowing me, I would have done something and you saw what happened in your previous show.” she said it. Though she didn’t want to put him in an awkward situation, she said it. All the pent up emotions did come out though not completely out. 

It pained to listen  to her. It reminded him of the diwali night when he had mocked her. “Dont dream your life is settled thinking a rich man was holding your anklet to his heart...”

He swallowed hard. He did not know what to say. How could he tell her he wants her to be how she is. All the time. But is it possible? With things moving so quickly, he shuddered to think if she might be married even before Payal as if she was trying to get away from him as soon as possible. Still he was not ready to tell her. He did not know what was stopping him from the issue of marriage. 

In a way he was right. Khushi was escaping. Escaping from everyone, and mainly herself. She knew what he said was true. But how long can she wait for her heart to heal. Will it heal really, or just increase the pain more. Will her Babuji wait? However if things change quickly, she will not have enough time to think about her heart and she can move on in life. Little did she know bringing another person would only cause more heartache. But would her heart listen when, all it wanted was to escape?

Both were quiet for the rest of the journey, which thankfully didn’t take long. When it was time to leave, she made sure to look everywhere and take all her belongings, though her heart was left behind. 

When she turned to open the door, Arnav husked, “Khushi..”

She looked at him, relieved to hear his voice though it was only a few minutes of silence. “Sorry. Sorry. It all meant something.. everything to me..”

She raised her eyebrows not able to fully understand where he was coming from. But she was too tired to probe further, rather too scared to fully understand what he meant.

Only when he was half way back home did he come to a sudden halt. “Did I say that to her loud?”


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

I know guys, there was big bang dhamaka of confessions, but I want to take it  slowly and naturally,..



Hope you all enjoyed reading. Please comment.


*********

Nov 27

Part 26 - Outing (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 70 times)

Part 26  -  Outing 

She looked at him, relieved to hear his voice though it was only a few minutes of silence. “Sorry. Sorry. It all meant something.. everything to me..”

She raised her eyebrows not able to fully understand where he was coming from. But she was too tired to probe further, rather too scared to fully understand what he meant.

Only when he was half way back home did he come to a sudden halt. “Did I say that to her loud?”

“Did I really say that loud? Did she understand what I was on about?  Is that why she looked confused? And what did I mean by, ‘ It meant everything to me.’  Diwali day I was not able to hold myself, infact she as well  and what followed was what our hearts always wanted. Yet I crumpled everything in a split of a  second. I betrayed myself by agreeing  to marry Lavanya. Is that what she is doing now? But she is not me. She will listen to her family, she feels indebted. Does she have a choice? Will she accept me after all that I have told her?  .. ” questions raced through his mind. 

“Khushi khushi khushi,.. What have you made of me? I am going mad.” he said it aloud. Hearing his own voice, he felt it was real. Yes Khushi it was who his heart always yearned for. Khushi it was who made his heart race. Khushi it was who invoked all the buried feelings of love he had. But how do I get this across.

 

“You cannot simply marry anybody..” again he spoke to himself and made his way home, though he was not sure how to proceed.

Back at Sheesh Mahal Anjali had had a long conversation with Nani. When Akash had accidentally walked in beaming, content, after spend some quality time with Payal, he stood shocked hearing Anjali proclaim “Nani, Khushi likes Chotte and about Chotte, you don’t even have to ask. ”



Anjali stopped and looked at Akash, when she heard, “Di, Dadi,..”

Well, it took some convincing for Akash to believe, yet he had second thoughts. He was in fact the witness to all the atrocities Arnav had done and to an extent tried to mend it. It WAS hard to believe what they were saying, but again, he had hardly noticed what Anjali had, since he was too busy wooing his lady love. With his marriage settled and nothing  more to do on that front , he agreed to support Di in whatever she had planned.. 



And so it was, at dinner, Akash brought up the topic. “Di, Did Khushi tell you about her alliance? Payal was saying, that if things go right, her amma babuji are eager to get her married really soon.”



As expected, Arnav’s attention was all in the conversation . Nani saw him fidgeting the spoon and playing with food. 

“No Akash, she refused to speak. I strongly believe she is not happy, but you know how their Buaji is, their circumstances, her Babuji’s health. It will not take much to convince her and she will sacrifice anything to keep her family happy. Oh, what plans I had for her...” Anjali whined, while Mami and Arnav looked at her questionably. 



Nani interrupted, “What can we do bitiya?  We did not act quick enough,  now she will go away from all of us. Marriage is all destiny. Just like how not every business is a success, even marriage is similar. You have to put your heart in it and make it work. And if both hearts are in it, then every deal will be successful. You have to trust each other.” Nani did not want to stress on failed marriages in view of Anjali’s presence,  but her Chotte had to understand that and move on, leaving the past behind. 



Even though Mami could not get head or tail of the marriage business, she failed to see the curious eyes of Arnav watching his Nani and understanding her language. In deed Nani was clever. With Khushi’s thoughts having taken over his thinking, he failed to notice that his Nani was trying to work her way through his mind.



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

Reaching home late, Khushi found all were waiting for her to finish dinner. It was a long day for all and Shashi was tired. But he was happy with the events. All listened to Khushi with eagerness about the preparations, the plan and what each was to do. 

She did not want to be alone. When she was with everyone, and with the wedding preparation in full swing, she could forget the matters of her heart. But how long will they talk to her?  Night seems to prolong forever. With Payal fast asleep next to her, she lay awake eyes wide open, looking at the ceiling. When the tears reached her ears she did not know, and what she was crying for she did not know. For the first time, she realised  how indebted she felt. Would she have refused if she was their real daughter? It was a question she could never answer. She cried for her helplessness.

Then her thoughts turned to the return journey home.  “Sorry. Sorry. It all meant something.. everything to me..   ”. All his words repeated over and again,  yet she dared not make any conclusions. Of what use were they anyway, she thought. She never knew she would be feeling depressed such. She always thought she was a lively chirpy girl who could win anything, but today, she felt tired.

 

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

“Jiji, how will this set be for both of you.” Khushi asked Payal eagerly who gave an expectant look at Akash to check on the engagement rings. A very elegant, but simple gold ring with  white gold engraved patterns....



“It is ghatia  (horrible)” Arnav, standing right behind Khushi whispered into her ears, making sure Payal did not hear him. Khushi looked at him angry and irritated but did not say anything .  She gave him a look of attitude raising her eyebrows, only when Akash said, “Wow, that’s beautiful,  I like it,  Payal, what do you say?”. However, she was mesmerized to see Arnav walking away to his Di,  with a smile playing on his lips.

Shashi and the elderly Gupta ladies wanted to take leave. All the Raizadas, and the  Guptas seemed to have occupied the entire jewellery shop. In spite of his health Shashi had insisted on accompanying just for the engagement ring. ”Devyani ji, God has given me a  second chance, I want to be  part of my daughters celebrations as much as possible.” When Nani had complained about his health.

Khushi quietly made her way to drop her parents to the cab waiting outside. She failed to notice Arnav had followed her here too. He was quick to open the door for Shashi and make him comfortable. “Uncle, next time, don’t book any taxi, l will come to drop you.”

Khushi stood shocked. “Laad governor” is all that came to her mind. “What is he trying to do? ” she asked herself and hurried soon back to the shop. She wanted to get away from this man.



Khushi and Payal were very selective when it came to jewellery, considering their financial status. Even so, the girls had never extravagantly spent to go for anything grand now. They were aware of the emergency loans that were borrowed for the basic needs of the wedding.



All decided to have lunch outside before going for clothes. As per his status, Arnav had booked a table for the entire family and though Khushi and Payal were awed by it, they did not show. Payal had to get used to such life and for  Khushi, being in Lavanya’s company, this wasn’t completely new.



Arnav sat next to Payal leaving a little gap in between, that way, Khushi would sit between them. With Payal squirming in her seat, he knew Khushi would come her rescue. Grumbling ‘laad governor’,  she came and sat next to a smirking Arnav. “Di, you can taste the best Lucknowi dishes here. What do you want to order? ”  and he turned expectantly to Khushi.



Surprised, she stammered, “huh,.. er aaa ... anything, I... I am fine with anything..”

“Soch lo Khushi (Think Khushi), don’t let others decide for you” Arnav said, while reading the menu.

Khushi looked at him trying to understand what he meant. When he did not speak further, she tried to concentrate on other matters.

After placing the orders, Anjali turned her attention to Khushi, “next is clothes. Khushi ji, where do you think we can get the best bridal dresses?  ”

Nani interrupted her “Anjali bitiya, we have got the rings. So you young ones do the dresses we will head back home.” She spoke looking at her daughter in law. Though Mami wanted to go for shopping, she had to agree to her mil.



“Anjali ji,  Lucknow is not as big as Delhi, so you will find everything nearby. But again the choice is also small.  But I am sure we will be able to get good stuff for the engagement, then we can do the shopping for the wedding in Delhi. What say?” Khushi explained.

Full and content after a hefty meal, while Nani and Mami returned home, the younger generation set out in one car. Anjali didn’t need much convincing to sit at the front seat, but Arnav was irritated since his di was  not cooperating. His comment “Di, you can sit at the back if you need more leg space” didn’t help Anjali to sit at the back. Instead, “I don’t  want to sit between the love birds” she said, pushing Khushi to the back seat.

 

Adjusting the  rear mirror, Arnav set off in a grumpy mode. Why was Di behaving this way... Khushi had little choice but to keep her head down. The moment she raised her head, she saw Arnav staring. “I need to talk to you seriously. Why are you subjecting me to this torture. Why Devi maiyya, am I not giving you enough jelebis? Yes I am eating a bit more now a days but that is because you know I am tensed.” She prayed half aloud and half in her head, confusing Payal sitting next to her



Payal whispered, “Khushi, what are you blabbering? What jilebis, torture, tension? Keep quiet. They will think you are mad,..”

“Huh, mad...., jilebis,  oh sorry jiji. Ok” Khushi stammered. Confused she looked up to see a smiling Arnav happily staring at her.



With Arnav stood behind Khushi all the while causing serious disturbances to Khushi’s brain, let alone her heart, all managed to finish the shopping. Khushi was proud  she stayed strong, even though he criticised all her choices. He so much wanted her to fight back. But none came by. Anjali saw all her brothers excuses to talk to Khushi, be with Khushi and finally she understood why he always spoke against her, since he knew she would argue back, which had been the norm.

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

Payal was worried, and so was the rest of the family. “Anjali ji, I have been trying as well, but she is not answering. Babuji is quite worried. Its nearly 9”



“Payal, it has been nearly 4 hours since we all returned. Where has she gone? All she said was she has half an hours work in market and she would return home.” Anjali asked in a tensed voice, raising concerns of the rest of the family. She saw Arnav pacing up and down and trying to call her.



When Akash entered all tensed up after talking to Payal, he heard his brother , “Where on earth has she gone? This girl can never look after herself and she will leave me worried... ”





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



That's it guys,

Hope you enjoyed reading and thanks a million for all the comments...

Love you all

Dec 8

Part 27 Engagement (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 68 times)

Part 27 – Engagement 

When Akash entered all tensed up after talking to Payal, he heard his brother , “Where on earth has she gone ? This girl can never look after herself and she will leave me worried... ”



Though Akash had had doubts that Di and Dadi may have been mistaken about his brothers amorous intentions towards Khushi, things were starting to fall in place now. He saw the same concern in his Bhai which he would have shown for a family member. Now he was showing similar concerns towards Khushi. When did this happen? How is it none of us saw it before? Was it always there? Is that why Bhai was showing such strong emotions towards her? And Khushi? Does she like him? He swallow hard, too many thoughts running amok. “Whatever it is, I just can’t understand you Bhai..” he strode to his room shaking his head, while making plans to call Payal to check if they heard anything from Khushi.

As was earlier decided, Khushi had left the gang to run  errands to complete next few days catering tasks. She could not put that on hold.  She had managed to get extra help for the next few days from  students who were ready to do work for extra pocket money.  Tired after the days slogging, she decided to talk to her Devi maiyya. There was some talking to do. Why was she putting her through this.  



 “What does he want Devi maiyya? I have once lost my control Devi maiyya and you know what happened on Diwali night. Yet I fell for him . But again you gave me enough courage to move on in life and now he is back? What does he want from me? And what did he mean by ‘meant everything to me?’ Devi maiyya, you have to show me answers please”





When the temple pandit asked her help for next days special pooja, Khushi did not hesitate.  Even though it turned dark, Khushi sat inside with the pandits wife, preparing laddoos. She felt it was like a therapy rolling the laddoos. The temple being only walking distance to her house, she felt safe, hence did not bother to look at the time nor the phone. With so many things happening, she just didn’t have a second to think of anything. And  to top all this, there was Arnav who just wouldn't leave her alone. Now she wanted to be away from everything and everybody who would constantly remind her of Him again.



And on the other side of the town, in his anxiety,  Aranv had taken to the wheel. He drove aimlessly, while constantly trying her number. After about 20min of driving, when he was near her house, what a relief he felt  when it was answered. Finally he let out the breath he never knew he as holding. He was angry, but at the same time he was reassured when he heard “hello.... Arnav ji?”

“Khushi...” he snarled.. “How dare you” ? How dare you do this to me Khushi?”

Obviously confused since she had not bothered to see the missed calls, she asked rather angrily, “Arnav ji, it looks like you have got the wrong number. I don’t want to talk to you. I will keep the phone..”. However, before she could disconnect, 

“Khushi, khushi,  don’t..” his voice was almost pleading.

“What do you want?” she snapped,

Now he did not want to strike the wrong chords, so very politely he spoke, “ Khushi do you have any idea what we are going through? It is now 9.30 pm, nearly 5 hrs since you left. All are worried about  you. Where are you? ”



Still speaking in the same tone, she replied, “Arnav ji why are you making a big deal of this. My family knows that I will be busy with work and they are fine, there’s been so many times when this happens. Anyway I’ve just finished the work and I was returning, its just 5 minutes away.   ”

“Couldn’t you answer the calls? All are damn worried.” Again his voice started to rise, but Khushi did not give him a chance. “Arnav ji, I think I am  old enough to look after myself. Nobody needs to worry about me.” And she disconnected. 



Enraged,  he called again, but did not shout. 



“Arnav ji, if you don’t keep the phone, how will I inform my family? ”



“Ok ok, listen, tell me where you are and don’t leave until I come. I’m close to your house.”

She didn’t want to argue.  She knew he was too stubborn to leave her alone.

“Khushi” he said aloud to himself and breathed a sigh of relief.



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







  Back home, Khushi got an earful. “Hai re nand kis****, if you don’t improve, we will get calls from your in laws everyday!!! It’s good thing Arnav baba was ”

“Babuji, I know I should have called and informed, but I was so busy, it just went out of my mind. First I had to get collections from of the deliveries, and they made me wait saying their boss was in a meeting, then I met these students, who will help next 3 days in making sure none of the work is affected. Then of course I had to talk to Devi maiyya, and I would have come earlier, if not for the pandit who wanted help for tomorrow’s offerings.” Moving to her babuji, holding his hand, “You know it takes time to go from one place to the other, that’s why I was asking for a Scooty. What about after jijis wedding?”

Hearing this Buaji exploded, “As it is you are always on the run, if we buy Scooty, God knows when you will come home and what will happen to Lucknow. And what happened in dilli? Have you forgotten?”

She left the elders to discuss. How could she forget her little accident on the first day in Delhi? I have come a long way since then, it  all seemed ages ago now. 



Soon, she went to tease Payal, who seemed disinterested in everything now a days. “Jiji, are you still in your dreamland or should I send my scooty to bring you back...  so where did Akash ji take you? Oh, poor bechara he won’t know Lucknow, so where did you take him?”



Twisting her ears, Payal told her off. “Khushi, do you know how worried we were? Anjali ji kept calling a thousand times. Even Arnav ji called. Where did he meet you?”

“Everywhere...” Khushi grumbled to get a confused look from Payal. Payal was yet to be updated about them.

“I know I know,.. there were about a million missed calls from him.. ” saying  so Khushi slept, knowing very well, she had to go through another sleepless night. The conversation, or rather argument in the car playing in her mind like a movie..

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

Putting her seatbelt, tired, she looked at him thinking, “Devi maiyya, don’t put me through this again, I don’t have any energy to fight  him, please help me.” And she thought her prayers were answered when he did not speak a single word until they reached her house.



Immediately locking the doors, he started his tirade of accuses.

“How many times should I call you before you can pick? ” 

“Arnav ji, please you asked me not to go alone, I listened to you. You are going to be our relative, so I don’t want to unnecessarily argue. Please I think we should stop all our differences and get on with things. My family will not accept if I am this rude. ” Khushi explained. She thought she was being very polite and understanding.

Arnav was in no mood to understand her point of view. He was still angry. “Khushi, do you know how worried everyone was? Di kept calling, Payal, Akash everyone was trying your phone”

Still talking politely, but slowly getting angry , “Yeah, does that not explain that my phone must have lost its charge or been on silent or just that I am busy. Do I need to give account of each and every minute?”

“So you don’t care if others are worried, your Babuji, Payal, even Mami was checking on updates. ” he replied getting angrier.

“Arnav ji, just leave it now and lets get back please.”



Arnav got  irritated seeing how calm she  was when he was all stressed over her. Looking at her seething with anger, rising his voice, “What do you mean leave it, do you even know how stressed I was, What thoughts came to my mind, nearly 5 hours, no phone, no message, don’t know your whereabouts...”

She could not hold it any more. She had literally tolerated all kinds of his advances through out the day and now, he was here again blasting her. Matching his temper, looking straight in his eyes, she shouted,

“Stop it, why should you be stressed? What does it matter to you? Day or night, whether I come or go. Aapko kyon farq padta hai (why does it matter to you).” There,  she asked the question that had been lurking in her head for a long time. 

“what do mean? Everyone was worried. You were alone on the roads, getting darker and darker. Do you know how scared I was?  What if something had happened? How dangerous it is to go about alone.” He shouted.



She again asked “And why are you bothered? ”



“Faraq padta hai dammit, kyon ki,,,” he was now just inches away from her face, looking at her, worried and angry at the same time. 

She widened her eyes looking for answers. But none came. He did not know the answers or rather how to word the answers. She looked at him eagerly waiting for him to continue. Both sat looking at each other until her phone rang.  He turned his face away  frustrated by the interruption and in himself. He could hear Payal’s loud voice asking her whereabouts. Gaining all the courage, and  trying to be normal, Khushi spoke “Jiji I‘m just outside, I will be there in a minute”



Suddenly she felt too overwhelmed, closing her face with her palms, she bent down on her lap. She did not want to cry, or rather did not him to see her like this.

Arnav sat numb from her reaction,  questions,  his inability to reply,  inability to show his emotions.  Moreover he did not want to see her like this. Helpless and crying because of him. “Khushi... ” he whispered. Gently placing his hand on her shoulder, he quietly spoke “ Khushi, please don’t do this. Don't  please. I’m sorry”  as if he was in a trans. 



She sat up straight, his touch sending a shiver down her spine. She had again calmed down to talk some sense into him. She was literally fed up of his behaviour, which cannot go on the way it was. 

“Arnav ji, Why are you doing this  to me? Since morning you are trying your best to irritate me.  I am honestly trying my best to not get in your path, but its not happening. May be my choices are not as sophisticated as yours. ” 

Arnav nodded negatively at the misunderstanding, but she continued “I should not say this, but don’t you think you are giving me a bit more attention? If you have not noticed it, or if this is ok in your world, then you are mistaken. In my world, all that you are doing will be mistaken, sending wrong signals to everyone. Please stop this, you should not be doing this. There has once been a huge misunderstanding, and people don’t forget those things, this will only  lead them further “ (she meant how people talked when the tv footage showed her fall.)

Also, she had seen her Babuji eyeing her a few times while he was making a fuss over her selection while shopping. She did not want to convey any wrong messages to her Babuji especially. 



“Khushi” he murmured, but she was already trying to open the door. Without further argument he let her out. When she was out, he opened the window calling her “Khushi,”

She turned around raising her head asking “what”

Arnav just nodded calling her to come close, and said “By the way, all your choices were The best. ”, giving her a genuine smile “I want to talk to you later”, turning away he drove off, leaving her behind looking at the disappearing car. 

It was that smile which was haunting her through out the night.



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

Arnav waited eagerly at the door. How cleverly Khushi had managed to dodge him last two days. She had not even picked his calls, ever since he had dropped her at her place. He thought his Di seemed to have changed as well. Ever since she saw him blast Khushi, a few days ago, she tried to protect Khushi, and to top it, being too busy with arrangements for engagement, she had ignored him completely. 

The auspicious time being 11am, the Raizadas had descended on Gupta house way ahead of time. 

“Namaste,... please come in.” Buaji welcomed the Raizadas. Arnav’s eyes were all around to get a glimpse, and when he did get, it was a treat to his eyes. He could not take his eyes off her. White  Anarkali dress with pearl work, Khushi looked like an angel. Payal, as graceful as ever was dressed in green lehenga with heavy lucknowi work, giving her a very elegant and sophisticated look.

Even though the notice was short, with just the family present, everything was in place. The pandit  and his assistant had arrived and were busy making all the necessary arrangements.  It was agreed that a small Pooja would be conducted in view of Shashis’s health. They were happy  things were moving positively, but there were few issues lurking behind for which they wanted enough strength. 



Khushi stood in the kitchen giving out the things needed for the pooja. “Buaji, the flowers, fruits, butter are all on this side. I will get the milk.” And she was back in the kitchen.

Busy trying to organise all the requirements, she was engrossed in her mundane c****s when she heard, “Someone is very busy.” She turned immediately to see Arnav standing at the kitchen door, hands crossed on his chest and giving her a serious look.

As usual, in his presence, she lost track of what she was doing, and stammered, “aa ssssomeone bbb  bbusy?”

Without taking his eyes off her, smiling his way through the kitchen, looking straight at her face, he said “Honey”. Khushi went red. Now she was completely off ground. She blinked, unable to comprehend. Was he openly flirting with her, even after her lecture, just 2 days ago? 

“And water. The pundit wants..” He went close to her and whispered.

“Water, honey ?” Khushi  once again repeated, looking at him. 

By now it was nothing new to Arnav, and he thoroughly enjoyed her confusion. Seeing the water jug on the kitchen top, he whispered close to her ears, “Yes Honey” and walked  out with the jug smiling, leaving her more confused than ever.



All sat around the pundit and witnessed the pooja with utmost devotion. Even though Khushi tried to sit far from Arnav she ended up sitting right in front of him, giving him a chance to stare at her without blinking. When the pooja finished, Payal and Akash came forward to do the exchange of rings with special chanting from the pundit.

Payal took the blessings of Nani, Mama and Mami, while Akash that of Shashi, Garima and Buaji. Khushi squirmed where she stood, with Arnav’s gaze following her everywhere and Anjali’s gaze following her brother.



Pundit left soon after, and both the families sat relaxing discussing next plans for the wedding. Both Khushi and Payal changed into something more simpler.  Lunch done, teasing done, the new couple went out for a drive.

Buaji was quick to mention, “ Hai re nand kis****, last 2 days have been quite busy for all of us and exhausting too. All plans are changing.. ” she was going to continue, but Khushi squeezed her hands to keep quiet.

Khushi had to  excused herself in the name of work when she got a call, causing distress to one particular gentleman. She did not forget to mention, 

“Babuji, you need not worry if I am late, you know me. Moreover, I have some important stuff to finish off.” While giving side ward glances at Arnav.

“Khushi I will drop you.. ” Arnav shouted. When Anjali, Shashi gave him a look of surprise, realising it looked quite obvious, he defended with “I have to get back as well, I have some work. Di I will send the car back.”



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

Thank you for waiting patiently. It has been a busy week. 

Thank you all for your lovely comments, hope you all liked this update. Please comment



Jan 3

Part 28 - Another move (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 55 times)

Happy New year to all my dearest readers. 2018 has been a very memorable year for me, I started writing my first story. Thanks to all the support you have given me, without which I could not have come this far. My sincere thanks to all of you...



Part 28 – Another move..



A very happy Raizada family sat relaxing at Sheesh Mahal. After a busy and eventful day at the Gupta’s, totally exhausted, yet an over enthusiastic Anjali spoke,



“Nani, you know, I’m so happy today. Everything seems to be falling in place for us. I know I am being selfish when I say this,  I know Buaji and Shashi are not too happy about it.”



“Anjali bitiya, it is not so easy to move about like this at this age. They are not young  and if they again have to move to Delhi, obviously they will be tensed” Nani commented, sitting down next to her drinking her hot glass of water.

“But sasuma, you must think of all the opportunities they will have when they move. Where else can they get better care for Shashi ji.” Manorama, who had recently gone quite soft on the Guptas claimed.



“Manorama, after their previous experiences, l am not so sure if they are looking forward to moving... They have already lived there and it was a nightmare for them” Nanis strict comment reminded them of all the unpleasant suffering  they went through.



“Who is moving and where to?” all faces turned to Arnav who had just entered after his tiring day doing the drivers job!!!

Mami was soon to fill him with the details of the news, “who else, the Guptas” she still had to  learn a lot to hold back her arrogant tongue. “Shashi’s doctor wants him to go to Delhi for his physiotherapy sessions,  since he is not showing further improvements. They are not sure how long it might take, so they are worried about it.. ”



The tone  Manorama spoke irritated Nani, and she sarcastically commented “Manorama, what do you know what financial struggle is? It is not easy for the whole family to move   to a different city every six months. They have only moved here to Lucknow few months ago, Madhumatis house in Delhi is rented, so where will they stay? They have to think of all that. Moreover, they are worried about Khushi bitiyas,..”



Ears alert, anxious, immediately came the next question from Arnav “Why what happened to Khushi?” he searched his sister’s face for answers obviously concerned .



This time however, Miami chose to remain quiet. She did not want to hear  any more from her mother in law and Anjali chose to keep quiet to play along to see her brother’s reactions



“Oh, no nothing big, you know how they are, always worried,..” Mami stared hearing Anjali eager to share the news, but she chose to remain silent.



Nani continued  “Chote , they have just moved here and the girls are trying to establish themselves so that Shashi can take over the business along with Buaji, Garima and  some help from their friends. Now how will they manage if Shashi has to be in Delhi. Honestly it is a big burden. But I think it will soon be sorted you don’t worry,....” She did not, however tell them the steps she had already taken.



While the rest of the family looked at Nani puzzled, Arnav was off to his room to make important calls!!! He knew he would not get any more information from them.

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

“Titaliya, if you are going to slog like this and not eat, you will fly away one day. Hai re nand kis****, see how thin she has become just in the last few days.” Buaji was shouting to her niece, while Payal, Akash, Garima and Shashi were busy discussing further plans. 



Akash had prematurely  taken up the responsibility of the elder son in law of the house and giving suggestions and ideas for the Gupta household.



“Babuji, what did you decide about what  Akash was saying?” Payal asked expectantly, though she did not want to push them.

Giving a huge sigh he called out, “Khushi,” who was gulping down the special snack Buaji had prepared for the future son in law. .. “we are waiting for your opinion, take your dinner and come here..”

Khushi greeted everyone apologetically  with her mouth half full. 



Payal explained, “ Akash was talking a while ago about Babuji’s treatment plans in Delhi. If we all moved, getting some contracts for catering shouldn’t be hard, and he would see to it. I know it is hard for us to leave everything half way through, but can you imagine Amma and babuji in Delhi and we  here? “



She did not want to stress on the fact that maintaining two houses was just not possible and was hopeful , once Babuji gets better, things will slowly get back to normal.



Akash continued from where he had left, “I know uncle it will be hard, but Dadi has a flat just near the hospital where you need to have your treatment sessions.  You can stay there”



All the Guptas looked at him a bit hesitant and shocked, and Khushi swallowed hard. Going back to that place again brought back, some unwanted memories,.. and moreover, going to Payals would be in laws place was even more uncomfortable for everyone.

However, without much delay she agreed to all that Akash said, because she knew the financial state they were in, and getting Babuji treated soon was their ultimate goal, no matter whose help she had to task or to whom she had to bend her head to.



“Of course  Akash ji, we will have to move, just that we have still not worked out what and where.  I think all of us are mentally preparing for this since two days.  ”



Buaji soon joined in and said, “Hai re nandkis****. Beta, it is not wise to take your help now. We have intimated the tenants in Lakshmi nagar and they willing to move out soon. Until then we have asked Happy ji to look  nearby  to move temporarily.”

“No Buaji, Dadi will not be happy and it can also be only until your tenants have moved out..”. Akash wanted to continue to press on the matter, but Payal cleverly signalled to stop and said,

“Akash I think Babuji will think about it and I will discuss with them as well.. ”



Though the Guptas were under tremendous pressure, they were pleasantly satisfied after feeding their future son in law properly to which Akash too buckled without much resistance. Pleasing the son in law was thought to be their only task at the moment!!!



Khushi was moved to tears since her Babuji had waited for her to make a decision. There was no mistaking how grown the  daughters were now and equally responsible, but she knew she did not feel as much in control in Delhi, as she was here, “Devi maiyya, what do you want of me??” she exclaimed while going to her room to speak to her Jiji.

 “Jiji, when did you tell Akash ji?  Because just today Arnav ji mentioned about working for AR canteen. ” Khushi asked not understanding how Arnav had made that offer.



“Khushi I just told Akash today, and Buaji spoke to them about it after you left, so he must have  casually remarked.” Payal spoke without making much of his offer. But Khushi was indeed surprised, she mused over her conversation with Arnav in the car.

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

















“Arnav ji, drop me off here.” Khushi requested in the middle of a busy market just 5 minutes from their house. 

“What work do you have here? I thought you wanted to go the other side of town?” Arnav asked her, a bit upset, the journey got over really soon.



“Arnav ji, there is a tailor here and I had to give them some measurements,”, showing him a plastic bag full of clothes, ”after that I have to go there.” She replied animatedly showing the other side of the town outside the widow....

“I will wait, you finish soon.” Settling well in his seat, smiling, he told her, looking straight ahead.

“Arnav ji?” she looked him raising her eyebrows. “You  had some work, I don’t know how long my work will take, so please, you carry on.”

“Khushi, I told I will wait. Akash will manage the work.” And he bit his tongue immediately realising his mistake. 

Further surprised, she asked “Akash ji. Yes, on his engagement day, while he is on a date with his fiancee, he will work. Only you can think like that and do that as well. Hey devi maiyya, God help your wife.. poor girl. ”

He looked at her angry and Khushi didn't care. If he can blatantly flirt with her, so can she take this much liberty, though she was still hesitant.  She looked at him expecting an explosion, but none came. Gaining some confidence, she spoke, “ anyway, good you don’t believe in marriage and don’t want to get married. ”



 With a killing smile, he aked “Acha (is it?) So you pity her .. ”

“Yes very much ” she said nodding her head and looking at him confident seeing his smile.

“What should I do on engagement day then? You tell me. And who told you I don't want to get married?

Khushi went red. She was not expecting him to say this or ask this. She stammered a bit with “Err.. oh, marriage, ah, well, how should I know what you should do? You ask Akash ji. I’m sure, work is the last thing on his mind now. I think I should go now.”

“Khushi, you alone are managing everything for the family, running everywhere. If you were in Delhi you could have worked in AR canteen.”

Khushi raised her eyebrows. Surprised and confused why he was offering a job in Delhi. Shaking her head negatively with the thought “he doesn’t know anything ”

Then she told sarcastically, “Arnav ji, I should go now, you please carry on, I have plenty of work and I cannot ask my jiji to do.” 

“It is quite far from here Khushi, by the time you get there, finish and go home, it will be late” he tried to reason.



Khushi was very annoyed. He seems to be interfering in all her business. “Arnav ji, I have told you before, I don’t want to be rude, so please leave”

“I said I’m waiting. Finish your work.”

She was fed up, Moreover, she was well aware of her Babuji’s eyes on them today. “Do you have any idea what you are putting me into? We have already heard comments saying that one daughter has pocketed a rich man.”

She could see him go red getting angry, very angry, but giving him a very hurt look, she continued, “This is a small town Arnavji, people know each other, but at the same time, it is not very pleasant when people make such comments, ‘trapped a rich man’, ‘their life is done’, ‘they don’t have a  worry now, even the younger is also seen moving around with rich guys’.... We are already having serious problems, now I don’t want this to bother my Babuji. Other than your would be sister in laws sister, I am nothing to you. So please, let us maintain a cordial relationship and not mess things up.” she did not want to continue, rather, she couldn't. 



He realised what she was trying to say. He felt ashamed. How could he have said those words to her when she was being as hospitable as ever since they were going to be related. It was the very same man who had once taunted her for trying to trap a rich man.

“Khushi” his voice was low and soft, there was so much pain, as if to say, “how can you do this to me.”. He was so hurt, words failed him, and he sat like a stone.

Saying so, she had gone  to finish her work, but only to see him still waiting  after she came about 20 minutes later. “This man will one day kill me. ” she thought to herself and sat in the passenger seat. She did not have the heart to insult him more by simply walking away, while he had sat waiting all the while.  There was a lot more to worry about, rather than this man who was a big puzzle anyway.

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

“Devi maiyya, I know I should not be rude, I should not have said all that, but why do you always put me in such situations with him? And moreover, what does he want, why cant he be clear? There is so much happening and to top that he is eating my head constantly. How could he again call now and shout at me.” And again her thoughts went back to the conversation she just had 5 minutes ago with the laad governor..

“Khushi, you did not tell me that you have to take your Babuji to Delhi for treatment?” he accused her as soon as she had picked the phone. 

What does this man want? Why is he try in to interfere in everything?

Annoyed by his accusation she started, “Arnav ji” 

Immediately he knew he had once again crossed his limits and what was to come. Trying to neutralise the situation, “Khushi, what is this I’m hearing? And what else is happening?” he did not know how to ask her why they were worried about Khushi as such.

Feeling better now, “Arnav ji, its not something big, don’t worry, they are dealing with it. Akash ji was also here, and they are in talks ”

This came as a surprise. Akash. That’s when he realised Akash had enough rights to interfere and make suggestions, while he was left behind. Probably envious, and angry she was not giving enough information, he asked a bit arrogant,

“So what is the plan then? If you had told me, we could have discussed how to go about it.” He tried to take control of the matter, but she did not let him, yet she did not want to completely put him off,.

“Arnav ji, you ask Akash ji itself.” 

Irritated he put the phone down.

--

Continuing her talks with her friend, “See devi maiyya, what I was telling you about... I just can’t understand. Please show me the way...”

“which way Khushi?” Payal asked entering the room. “Isn’t your talk  over with your devi maiyya?” 

“No jiji, you know how I am always complaining to her. But I know she will also show the way. She will show us how to get Babuji treated in Delhi. See isn’t that why my horoscope did not match, so that I could get all that sorted and in turn get more love from Babuji and amma than you?” 

Giving Payal an evil laugh, she spoke in low pitched voice, “What do you think my plan is after you get married? I am already getting the menu ready with just my favourite dishes amma will only make for me.” Khushi spoke to her seriously.

“Khushi, you... badmaash (naughty..)  ” Payal threw a pillow, to which Khushi joked, “haan haan, you will be doing more badmaashi with..” she stopped when another pillow just landed on her face direct.



“You have become so naughty, wait, I will tell Babuji and  get you also married off as soon as possible. Hey devi maiyya  this girl... ” Payal sighed taking back the pillow and resting her head on the pillow with a smile refusing to leave her face.

Sleeping next to her sister, in her own world, Khushi asked, half asleep, half aware she was speaking aloud “Jiji, by the way, you did not tell me where you went, what you did today. Tell me na, tell me, then I can tell Arnav ji.”

Payal turned to Khushi ”Arnav ji ?” she asked, to which Khushi , half asleep, smiled saying “haan (yes)” and closed her eyes.





 Thank you all for waiting patiently and reading the update.

Hope you all liked it..

Please comment



Jan 14

Part 29 - Back to square one (By Mimima1) (Thanked: 55 times)

Part 29 – Back to square one..

How more disturbing could it get? For the first time, ARS felt jealous and he was ashamed of it. “How can I be envious of you Akash?” 

He remembered the conversation Nani and Akash were having when he went to get updates. Akash was all courteous when he saw his brother, and unknowingly Arnav had felt a little small. Nani was beaming with pride at her grand son. “I am proud of you Akash. Just as we are lucky, the Guptas are equally fortunate to get a son in law like you.“

“Dadi, I have made the offer, but they want some time to think.” The ever patient Akash complained. 

“It is not a matter of changing clothes Akash bitwa, the whole family has to move. If you were told to pack up everything and move in next two weeks, how would you be?” Nani tried to explain.



Seeing Arnav had also joined in the conversation, Akash mentioned, “you are right Nani, all of them are saddened, especially Khushi.” 

It was funny how Akash  silently enjoyed the desperation in Arnav to get information on Khushi..

“True Nani, Khushi is really sad. Payal is also devastated.” Akash reiterated once again seeing Arnav fidget in his seat like a worm, hard to accept he had been side-lined and they had made all the decisions. 



When nobody told him anything clearly, giving up his ego, Arnav finally asked, “What is the plan now?”  



Though pleased the Guptas would be returning to Delhi, Arnav plunged into the depth of sadness thinking about their lives, how his one action had shook the basic foundation of their lives. He was the cause of all the distress they were now going through. He took it upon himself more seriously to bring some relief into their lives. Well, he remembered Payal had clearly mentioned, “Everything happened for the best”  And, when he finally fell asleep in the early hours of the morning, he had sorted it all out in his head. It was full of solutions, results, and it seemed perfect. 

However the morning did not bring in much hope. He woke up with a  groggy and heavy head, and all the clear plans seemed muddled and confused. His dreams were plagued by various dialogues 

“Arnav ji, why do you interfere in everything?”

“You are the elder son in law...”

“Leave us to ourselves, we are already having serious problems”

“I am proud of you Akash..”

“I am nobody to you Arnav ji”

“Elder son in law, Akash has sorted out everything...”.......



“Anjali bitiya, make aloo puri, Khushi bitiya likes it.” Arnav, all ears, stood listening to his Nani talk to Anjali. Deliberately entering the kitchen to know more, Arnav asked, “Di can I have a strong coffee please...” and waited..... when nothing came off it, he asked with a sigh,...

“What’s happening Di, you seem quite excited for the first time in the last one month you have been here in Delhi? Anybody coming?”



“Chote, Akash has called the Guptas for dinner. It has been a month since uncle has started  his physio.  He is much better now gaining enough strength to do a bit of socialising, so we thought we will call them over and discuss about the wedding.” Giving a wink to his brother, Anjali whispered, “Akash is desperate to get married soon. Well, how long can he wait,.. I can't see him like that...”



Arnav did not show much emotion. Taking his coffee, he hurried off to his room with, “Di, I need to make some important calls so I may not come down, ..” but really,.. he did not want to miss this opportunity and finish his work....





When he was out of earshot, surprised, Nani asked, “Anjali bitiya, what is happening to our Chote’s rishta (alliance). Their gaadi (vehicle) does not seem to be going anywhere. The Guptas have moved places but their love story does seem to move an inch.. I am fed up ”

Giving a sad sigh, Anjali replied, “Nani, I honestly don’t know how to bring them together. From what I hear from Akash, Payal still thinks there is nothing between the two.  Khushi does not speak anything about chote and Payal does not think there is anything going on.” 



“Nani, todays dinner is for that reason as well. Akash tells me he has kept a close watch on both of them and according to him, Khushi has not met Arnav since nearly a month now. ” Anjali was explaining when Akash popped into the kitchen to make sure all arrangements were right. 

“Akash, update me about this chote. I thought Khushi bitiya being in AR would have helped them, but they haven’t met for nearly  a month now? How is that even possible?” Nani asked her grandson with concern.

Taking a glass of water Akash, sitting on the table top, Akash recited his version of the story, “Dadi, its now about a bit more than four weeks since the engagement. You saw how the Guptas were reluctant to take any help, but anyways, it is good at least Aunty and Uncle came with us  the following week. Before coming here, I gave hints to Payal about what we think might be happening with Bhai and Khushi,,”

“What did she say Akash, did she know anything? Did they also have  doubts?” Anjali fired him with questions.

“Di, she straight away refused. she had a fit of laugh and she said, ‘Akash if you were to listen to all the names she used to  call him, you will cancel our wedding as well’  Di this is exactly what she said.” He saw the amused faces Anjali made, listening to his story.

Continuing , “Now it’s about two weeks Di since Buaji, Payal and Khushi have come over to Delhi.  Initially my plan was to set up meetings between Bhai and Khushi, but somehow Khushi seems to always get away being extra busy and I just end up with Payal and Bhai tagging along. ” though he said that with a hint of disbelief, as if to say “can you believe it.” 

Anjali immediately commented raising her eyebrows, almost laughing, “I am not sure how much you can ‘enjoy’ with chote around ”

“Don’t ask me Di. He seems to be get angry on me for tagging him along, and ends up leaving in a taxi. Obviously why would he come along, if we were going to a restaurant or for shopping. We have gone out three times, tagging Bhai along, but every time, Khushi seems to take a miss.” Akash complained.



“Have they fought?” Asked Nani.

“No, nani, they have not met since the engagement day.” Anjali told.

“Argued on the phone???” Nani again asked,..

“na....” Anjali dismissed the idea,.. 

“You both seem to be keeping good track on their movements.. but with those two, you never know..” Nani stated.

-

Back at Nani’s two bed flat where the Guptas were now residents since four weeks, it was a mad rush.

“Khushi were is the dupatta for my green dress” Payals  shout was heard from the kitchen. Frying the jilebis, Khushi shouted equally matching Payals shout..,  “Jiji, it is with my orange kurti. All the clothes got mixed up while packing.”

“Do you two have plans to go to Raizada house or stay here itself. Hai re Nand Kis****, look at this sanka devi. She has made jilebis for the whole of Delhi.” Buaji stood at the kitchen door, with her hand on her forehead, looking at the pile of Jilebis Khushi had made.

“Buaji, did you forget? I am offering  some at the temple nearby and then we are taking some to Payals in laws as well. ” Khushi told taking out the boxes to pack the jilebis and giving a teasing glance at Payal..

“Bitiya, you both have proven yourself once again. All your hard work has paid off and see your Babuji is so much better now. Thanks to my Nand kis****, the tenants will be leaving our house and we can move back to our old house in  Lakshmi Nagar. It is not nice staying in somebodys house for long” Buaji spoke as she helped Khushi pack.



“Jiji, all of you leave for the Raizada mansion, I will go to the temple and come later.” Khushi told, while the others looked at her blankly.

“Why? What's the big deal?  I need to offer these. And I have some work. ” Khushi tried to send the rest of them so she could delay and cancel her visit. She had learnt a great deal of excuses recently.

“What work? ” both Garima and Payal chimed not at all happy to leave her behind.. 

“Well, well, you know I have not spoken to my friend from a very long time and she maybe upset with me. ” told Khushi as a matter of fact.

“You are coming with us and that is final. Otherwise I am coming with you as well to the temple” Payal insisted.

“Jiji, you have become very stubborn, amma see how she is taking advantage and making us all listen to her..” Khushi complained. 

“You both have started. Let us all go to the temple and then go together. It does not look nice to be going one after the other in batches.” Garima spoke and all agreed.

Khushi had to agree, since she did not want to push and raise their doubts. Moreover, she was also waiting to have a glimpse of him. 

Her mind went back to Payals engagement day. She  remembered  her Babujis words “Bitiya, whether a thorn falls on the flower or the flower falls on the thorn, it does not matter, it is the flower who will have to bear the pain. You are my dear flower and I don't want it to get hurt in any way.” 

Even though he did not mention any names, somehow Khushi guessed this had to do with Arnav chauffeuring her around on that day and previous few days. Ever since, she had made sure she would stop seeing him and fortunately she had successfully managed to do it. 

Moving to Delhi was more depressing . She had tried to contact all her old friends to check if there were any opportunities. She cursed her fate when she could not get anywhere and had to take up the offer Akash gave.  It was indeed a severe blow to go back to that place. She was sure Arnav would take every opportunity to meet her and may be intimidate her. Somewhere she was very unhappy going back to the same place. But luckily, though slowly, she had managed to get some lunch box offers from her old friends and with the help of Payal and Buaji and the ever helping Happy ji, they managed to raise enough to get through their hard time.

But Payal was irked by the fact she was not allowed to go about freely and work like how she managed in Lucknow. Since she was supposed to become the ‘Raizada Bahu’, Buaji’s rules and restrictions grew overnight, to maintain the dignity of both the families!!

“Norms of the upper class society jiji,.. norms of your upper class...but why do you worry jiji when your sister is here??“ Khushi  had teased her..

“You see Khushi, when you get a husband who is more higher in society, then you won’t be able to do all your sanki (silly/naughty) tricks. ” Payal was not the one to keep quiet.

Going close to her sister Khushi whispered. “Jiji, you have forgotten  something” 

Looking around Payal asked “what?”

“If he must be marrying me, he must also equally be sanki or more than me..” Khushi giggled..

“Hai re nand kis****, who can be more sanki than you parameshwari,.. you should get a very serious, angry, ruthless husband who will weigh every word before talking, then  you will know. But mind you, he will also love you the most as well ” Buaji had joined in with the girls, pushing Khushi by her cheeks and teasing, but Khushi had suddenly gone numb. Into her mind came the very image of the serious, angry, ruthless ASR, perfectly fitting  into what Buaji had just described though she was not sure of the last part about loving her the most..



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

Stepping out of the car Akash had sent, approaching the door Khushi knew. She clutched her heart to stop the pace. She felt the warm, soothing breeze around her. This was a very familiar feeling now. Wasn’t she using the same signs to stay away from Arnav every time he was coming towards the canteen in AR. Now, she did not want to hide. She was eager to see him. A month was a pretty long time. “Let me see him once, then I can move on..” she consoled herself. She was just alright until now, but now she had that urge to catch a glimpse of him once... She felt pity at her own plight, it felt like falling into an empty pit.



 

One Anjali was enough to raise everyone’s excitement. Seeing the super excited Anjali, the Guptas were overcome with affection and love for the girl. HP as usual was asked to serve tea and they all sat discussing matters of least importance, while Akash and Payal kept stealing glances at each other and Khushi kept eagerly looking up the stairs as if Arnav would descend any time.

As if she had a brain wave, Anjali spoke gaining everybody’s attention. “Khushi can you give this tea to chote or even better still  bring him down... please”

The Guptas looked at her surprisingly with uneasiness as if to ask “Why should Khushi go?”

 Understanding their confusion, she explained, “Our khushi has special skills to get Chote down. You know he never attends to any pooja, but on Janmashtami day, Khushi managed to get him down and even do the aarti.” All the family looked at her, Buaji looked with admiration and pride, while Shashi held a doubtful look. Seeing them, Anjali continued, ” And if it wasn’t for her Arnav would not have come down to help decorate for Diwali. Khushi do you remember the rangoli? There were more colours on both your clothes than on the floor. And about the fairy lights ?  How you had got entangled in them and Chote helped you to take them out?  It was such fun ”

Satisfied she had given enough  information for the day, Anjali said “ Please Khushi ji, bring him  down. We can’t discuss about marriage without him.. .”

Anjali  had stirred all the old memories, now they played in Khushi’s mind one by one..

Rangoli,.. he was fixing the lights, and before she knew, his chair shook and both were soon on the floor, rangoli powder smeared all over, Khushi squidging aound to get up,.. ..

How could she forget the fairy lights? Both had immersed into each others gaze, mesmerized.. 

 Then of course the Janmashtami day, how they both had protected the light from blowing out,.

She made her way up the very well know path, to his room..

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

That’s all people for this part, hope you liked it,.. sorry no Arshi this part,. so  next part there will definitely be an over dose of Arshi (wink wink..)



Precap....

“KHUSHI... no.......  don’t do this Khushi,.. please,... please..” Arnav shouted but little could she hear..

“What have you done Chote,..” concerned Anjali looked at her brother with Payal, Akash giving him an accused look



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