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Aug 16

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 40 times)

Chapter 11

 “Ms. Gupta these are the invitation cards to be sent to all the members for the upcoming show and I want this work to be done by you, see to it that you write it carefully as spelling mistakes would look very careless going by our standards.”

“Spelling Mistakes but why would the print have anything as such as we would check it thoroughly before final ...”

“Because you are going to write all the invitations, I meant to say that I want them to be handwritten, I see you have a very beautiful handwriting.”

“WHAT?” Khushi was horrified with the work she was assigned, in front of her were some thousands of cards, without invitation no one is allowed, she can’t even miss a single card but who in their true senses would hand write them? Once she completed the correction of A’s she went up to his cabin to tell him that it was done but seems like the day is getting worse.

“I hope you don’t mind working till late as you know how important this is. I can see this work getting completed before you leave.” Saying so Arnav got up from his seat and started going towards her, he can see she was shocked and he is enjoying her expressions and vulnerability.

“End of the day? But Sir,” if she was horrified with just knowing that she has to do the imposition then she was feeling close to feeling helpless seeing him giving deadlines for every stupid time taking activity.

“Ah, careful, Ms. Gupta”

Khushi didn’t realize in her haste that she was backed to the nearest cupboard and she stumbled against the chair which was placed right behind making her sit in it and the ink bottle which was placed on the top of the cupboard fell right on her without further intimation as the chair hit the cupboard.

“Awww” the whole of her right side was inked. A part of her face and hands have ink on them. It surely going to take a lot of scrubbing from her side if at all she wants to look normal again without the blue color on her, coming to her dress it was the last day for it, there is no way she can clean it back to before without the stains and smell.

“Before you leave for the day drop the cards in here Ms. Gupta,” he said in a no-nonsense tone as if nothing happened before him.


It was already close to seven in the evening and even if she does a night out her assignment will not be completed on top that the smell of ink is not allowing her to focus. She washed her face and hands but they still are stinking from the smell.

“Today is not Holi I suppose” Aman was astonished looking at Khushi bathed in blue ink.

“Khushi ?! what is this?” Payal was also having a similar expression to Aman.

“Aman, are the invitations sent out for the upcoming show?” Khushi didn’t bother to answer them regarding her state, she wants to be out of those clothes otherwise she is sure to faint with the stinking smell.

“Long back”

"But how did this happen?"

"The ink bottle fell on me from the top of the cupboard while I was in ASR's cabin."

"ASR doesn't like if the cabin is cluttered, his cabin is always well kept, ink bottle on top of the cupboard with no cap?"

“Let’s go Jiji.” She dragged her sister along, damn the invitations she understood that he has purposely given her this task, and the ink bottle too was kept intentionally. what would he gain by this other than making her sit till midnight? He must have heard her speaking to Aman. Right now he is in a conference call whatever it is she would deal with him the next day.


“Hai re Nandakis****! Have you joined any drama company to enact Nandakis**** or what?  What’s with this blue color all over you?” Bauji closed her nose as she was not able to bear the smell.

“Let me get out of this costume then I will tell you Buaji, I can’t bear this anymore.” Khushi ran to the room before she pukes.

 “Sanka Devi, wherever she goes trouble follows her, OOO Payaliya, it is surely going to take her some time before she gives us darshan, you go and freshen up in my room”


Aug 24

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 61 times)

Chapter 12

“You said it? And he heard it too?” Payal was shocked when she heard the reason behind her sister bathing in ink.

“What I said was not wrong because even Aman didn’t deny it,” Khushi said applying moisturizer on her face and hands.

“But Khushi whatever it is if at all you have any issues regarding the work or timings you should have spoken to him directly why to discuss it at their back?”

“But Jiji, why are you scolding me? You should have listened to other people, you would die laughing out hearing the names he has..”

“Shut up Khushi, People who want to waste their time in gossiping would surely be interested in creating these type of names, AR is paying us salaries, it has given us a respect in the society as it employees. Would you encourage the same behavior if this happens in our shop? If at all anyone bad mouths babuji will you accept it?”

“Babuji is very nice no one will ever say anything like that, even I worked with him, I never saw anyone pointing out anything”

“Khushi, come on you are his daughter why would they say it on your face?”

“You mean to say that whatever he did today is fair?”

“No, I'm not supporting his actions but I can only advise you because you are important to me. You got a very good chance for your career, don’t lose it with this type of stupidity. You started this Khushi, he offered you even after knowing that you spoiled his show,  maybe unintentional but he still left it behind, but you are only assuming his behavior based on what happened in Lucknow and also on other’s opinion.”

"Why he has to give that stupid work then?”

“Prove to him that you are only concerned about work nothing else, show him your true intentions of working and let him know your talent, even after that if he behaves so let me know then I will look into it. We are here to help babuji, isn’t it? Just think of it nothing else, you will surely see a difference.”

"Fine" Khushi said pouting.

"Now that's like my dear sister."


Arnav was displeased when he found out that Khushi left without informing him and the work given to her is also lying unattended on the temporary desk allotted to her. He spoke to Akash to know about Payal, concluded that only Khushi is not work minded. He decided to throw her out as being with this type of people will only be a waste of time, he was astonished by his own behavior towards her, ink bottle seriously? he was sure it was to show her the gates before his work starts suffering due to all this. But before that, he surely will show her how it would be to mess with ASR.


The next one week passed in breakneck speed to both Khushi and Payal.

Payal had to put more efforts than estimated but she was happy and thankful to God as Akash was very helpful, he let her take own time and handled her portion of work too so as to give her time in adjusting to the environment and work. Even after that, she was not able to wind up her tasks before 8 in the evening.

Khushi reasoned to Arnav that as the invitations are already sent she didn't see it important to write them anymore hence left them. Arnav though didn't react to her reply assigned her all sorts of work from cleaning up the racks in his room to the ones in the storeroom,asked her to take the measurements of all the models who has come up for the shoot, asked her to assist the security guard in car parking lot, assist different departments with the pending or piled up work , she was asked to upload bundles of files which were of data of the initial days of AR. From getting him coffee at the start of the day to switch off his system by the end of the day Arnav made sure Khushi was always on her heels, never letting her take a break. What surprised him was Khushi doing it without denying, he can see that she wants to shout at him for making her do these things rather than giving her time to learn her responsibilities as his PA, but she kept mum all throughout.

As advised by her sister, Khushi kept mum and followed Arnav's order to the T thinking that he will understand her folly and let it go but her patience finally snapped when she was asked to hold the coat of a model until her shoot was done. She was about to shout at him for his silly ways of taking revenge but keeping in mind the people surrounding them, she let him leave the place first to later go and speak.

Sep 3

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 38 times)

Chapter 13

Payal was amused with the tasks ASR was giving her little sister, it is very clear from his stand that he didn’t like Khushi's thoughts regards him and their first meet was not helping them in any way to let go personal displeasure and work in coordination.  Owing to the fact that Khushi was the one who started it she advised her sister to take a back seat not allowing the matter at hand to fully blow out and let her handle it for the time being hoping the situation would change but right now looks like Khushi would burst out any moment. While giving ASR a piece of mind would actually make her relieved, the latter’s reaction to it would surely affect their futures. She rushed to her cabin to see any work which would delay Khushi’s presence in ASR’s cabin, luckily she found out one chance and she almost dragged Akash out of the cabin not realizing his bemused expressions looking at the sudden change in her behavior.


Khushi tried to control her anger before knocking on the cabin door.

“Control Khushi, control you don’t want to take BP tablets at this stage of your life do you? I wish they had a warned that one would need to join meditation classes before joining in this organization,hmpfh”

“Come in, or move out What are you doing there blocking my cabin’s entrance?”

Khushi looked up to see that he was standing a few feet away from her with his famous expression etched to on his face, angry.

“I was coming in, I need to ..”

“What the hell are you doing here in the first place? I asked you to be in the studio, where is the coat?” how dare she deny his orders.

“Sir, my job responsibilities don’t state anywhere that this is my work over here, We both know the reason behind these tasks you are allotting me, I know what I said is not correct. I wish you see me for someone who is hired in replacement of  your assistant rather than some wooden stand.”

“What the..Not correct?! That’s it? no sorry nothing?” he knew asking her to do these type of works will somewhere irritate her but finally, she will learn her lesson and apologize to him for speaking like that but she said everything else apart from the apology he was looking for.

Khushi can say that he didn’t expect this from her but if he wants her to be silent forever or go beg him for forgiveness then he is mistaken, with one final look at him she turned to leave when she saw her sister and Akash looking at them. She knew she was not wrong but still while crossing her sister she met her eyes to know if Payal approves of her in denying this task and saw a slight blink of her eyes like expected her sister was on her side, giving a smile to Akash she finally left.

“Bhai?” Akash was confused with Khushi’s monologue, what is actually happening here? He was busy with the new client and trying to accommodate Payal’s work too as she still needs some time to be left alone to handle but looks like Payal is aware of it, of course, she would know after all she is Khushi’s sister. I’m ASR’s brother too, isn’t it? He came out of his thoughts when Payal touched his elbow as he was not responding to her calls.

Arnav waited to see if Payal would react in any way but the lady didn’t even turn back to her sister leaving, good for her(he thought). He took the file from Akash and all three sat down to discuss it.


The photo may have worn out owing to its lifespan but his memories with the person in it would never fade away. Finally, after so many years he would get a closure to it. He is carrying it all this while close to his heart fearing that time would erase the pain or memories but it is not the wound anymore it has become the scar which would always remain as a symbol not letting him forget it.

His thoughts raced back to his Lucknow visit. A few more confirmations and he is all set to change their course of life, the smiles which adorned their face will soon turn into tears.


Sep 7

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 42 times)

Chapter 14

“Mano, but there is no reason to throw a party now.”

“HHBB, what do you mean by no reason? In our society, no reason is required for all this.”

“But why do you want to waste the money..”

“Waste? Arey everyone should know how well we are doing and I need to show the new necklace set to my friends which Arnav bought for me when can be the best time for it is rather than these parties?”

“Whatever” he knew his wife will not go back on this even if he breaks his head in explaining to her that it is just a pure waste of money.

Mano, Manorama Raizada his wife, a girl from a well-off family who left everything to be with him, their’s was an arranged marriage but he did find love in it and that too which would leave you overwhelmed. As said by someone - one would only know the real faces of others in hard times, even he understood her truly in all sense when the Raizada’s had to face the downfall. The death of his father, the business running into losses and his sister and brother-in-law’s death, additional responsibility of Arnav and Anjali all followed in a sequence that too within a year. Her family asked her to come back with them leaving all the troubles in hand, they offered to help out in clearing the losses, Akash’s future would be secured but Arnav and Anjali would have to fetch for themselves. That day when her uncle came to take her back, he never expected his wife’s reaction.

“Chachaji, what do you mean by only Akash, what about Arnav and Anjali? And Maaji, she is going through a lot, first Sasurji and now Di and Jeejaji, you want me to turn my back in this time?”

“Mano, if you want we will take her with us, taking the siblings under our custody doesn’t mean that it will be done by just providing food, the girl would need medical attention at regular intervals and what about their education and living expenses? The business is running in losses, what about Akash’s future? Thinking about them will you let your own child’s fate to turn unpredictable?”

“My child? Arnav and Anjali are also mine, only because they are not my blood doesn’t mean they are not my children. Thank you very much that you came here keeping in view my best interest but I’m sorry that you had to waste your time and money to come here."


The coming years they had to face a lot of struggle, they had to shift to a single bedroom flat, there always a compromise in every decision but the smile on her face and her support were always his companions. She wanted him to concentrate on business rather than personal life and took up odd jobs to make sure the basic needs are met. He fell in love with her then. When Arnav wanted funds to go abroad she didn’t think twice before pawning the jewelry which was the last remains of her late mother.

“If a mother backs off from helping her child who would do it then?” these were her exact words.

That’s why as much as he fights with her over these silly things he is proud of having her as his wife, and he knew all these parties she throws is not to show off her status but to show to the world her children’s success.


It’s been two months since they joined AR and as much as the first week was a terrible experience to Khushi the later part was not that bad, after her one on one with Arnav he didn't give her any such task which would be called useless but did he spare her anywhere from showing hell? Hell No she was on her toes for the most part of the day, running behind him to running to different sections for handling different works. The pressure increased for her when Aman had to leave by the mid of second month that is well before the said time, the office was not completely set up but the work has kept him mostly glued to new responsibilities. Khushi was lenient and relaxed a bit and always  looked up to Aman to confirm her work before reaches out of her cabin or mailbox but with Aman’s sudden departure everything changed and Arnav was never there to help with anything she couldn't blame him completely too as AR was trying to put ints base in abroad Arnav mostly would be in conference calls or meetings as this was a crucial step for them he rarely was seen relaxing or having his lunch on time. But all said done she somewhere feels that if at all he helps her a bit then everything would fall into place with time and practice.


Akash was genuinely happy with his assistant's work. Payal was anything but lazy, the girl was always ready with the information the tiredness was never visible in her words or work. As they were trying to spread their business overseas they want the best client for this exposure so Arnav wanted to look into every possible option and make out the best and all three of them were working solely on this to get this done perfectly he can see that Payal was even trying to help Khushi but as Arnav is currently more into this segment all other his works were added to Khushi's list. khushi has to give a thorough check twice before it reaches Arnav for finalization to cut off any time waste, all in all they are working their asses off, mostly returning home only to log into their laptops for some con calls or to complete off pending work they are rarely managing with a bare minimum of sleep of 4-5hrs from last 1 month.


Payal is very happy with her work life, she rarely finds time to think of her broken wedding, this is what she wants, now there is no time to sit and mourn about her life and how it changed in just a matter of seconds, the work feels refreshing, after coming to Delhi no one ever spoke about the incident to her and she never spoke with her parents or her sister about what or how she felt about the whole fiasco as she doesn't want them to feel bad seeing her sad, now she is sure with time she will close that chapter in her life.

Sep 13

QUAGMIRE (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 38 times)

Chapter 15

"Garima, do you think it would be better if we accept Mittal's proposal for Payal?"

"What are you saying? A new proposal?" shock was an understatement for her when she heard her husband suggesting of marriage arrangements for their elder daughter.

"They are good people, they are our clients since long and most importantly they are aware of the recent happenings and are okay with it, what more can we ask for?" he tried sounding hopeful, hopeful of a better future.

"Shashi? is it you who is saying this? The poor girl just had heartbreak a few days back and you are eagerly trying to hook her up?" she couldn't comprehend what suddenly went wrong with her husband. He never took the decision on their daughter's part, it was always telling them the pros and cons of the action and letting them decide, even in Abhishek's case they said they like him, they had no qualms about her marrying him but only after Payal said yes did they gave their acceptance to the Sinha's.

"Garima, think it from my side, the more the marriage is delayed the more rumors will be spread about our daughter, no one would think that it is Payal who rejected Abhishek because of his money mindedness."

"Yes, I know, as we are living in a society there are some things which we do inevitably keeping in view the society's acceptance of it, but Shashi it is the matter of her life, can we rush this? Our daughter will be the one who would suffer the most in all this, let us give her some time to get over this, I will speak to her if you think it is getting too prolonged, but for now, let us not discuss this with Payal."

"As you say" there is nothing wrong in what his wife has suggested but he didn't want his wrongdoings to affect his children, he is changed man now but will karma let it go? It will get back to him, he had his first experience when Payal's wedding broke, he couldn't tolerate if this continues. Wish he was a little more rational back then.

"By the way, I heard from Jiji that kids are facing trouble in traveling by bus daily, so I'm sending them the scooter."


"Jiji, come fast it is getting late"

"Let's go,"  Payal said hopping on the pillion seat.

Both the sisters were pretty much happy when their  father sent the scooter without much discussion, they doubted if they had to do  some sort of pleading so as to make him acceptable to the fact that they would ride the bike on the busy streets of Delhi which is a quiet contrast to the less traffic and peaceful roads of Lucknow.

"Jiji, I seriously need a break, today of all at least, my head seems like it has its own rhythm and thudding according to it."

"Khushi, you are saying it now? Why didn't you mention it before? Let me ride us back home, I will drop you and go, you can speak to the HR directly over the phone for an off today."

"It's ok, Jiji, even if I speak I..." Khushi tried to reassure her sister with a smile of her hence she turned her head slightly backward and at the same moment, a car came to a sudden halt beside them slightly avoiding an accident which might take place as Khushi was not concentrating on the road ahead.

"Aaaahhh" with a loud crash both the sisters fell on to the ground with the bike half lying on them. The passer's by stopped to help these two get up and Khushi was the first one to get up and when she confirmed that nothing major has happened to them she leaped forward to teach the driver a lesson on how to drive.

"Are you sleeping while driving or what?" she turned to give whosoever a long lecture but her voice wouldn't support further seeing Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada in full form giving her a murderous glare standing in front of them.


Arnav just wanted himself to never come out from his heaven, his work, he had important video conferences to attend which were preponed at the last moment and the files regarding them are safe in his office desk, he didn't like to be unprepared for anything hence he wanted to rush to office way before the scheduled time but then his Nani wanted to have a talk with him at the same moment, he said they would once he reaches home in the evening but no she wanted to have it then and there and dragged his sister too into the conversation, he was running short of time hence decided to get over with it rather then wasting the time in discussing about the postponement of it.

If Nani thought having Anjali would help her in any way to make her grandson accept her wishes then she was pretty wrong, the moment she uttered the word marriage he broke the nearest vase into pieces and left the room kicking the door after him.

He just wanted to be in office to cool his nerves, it was then he saw the scooter coming in opposite direction and that too the lady who was driving it was not looking ahead, he turned his vehicle to the other side to lessen the impact and avoid a major accident due to the speed both were coming towards each other.



"What the...You? I think I don't have to be surprised to know this fact that it is you, you are the only one in this whole world who would ride a bike without looking ahead, if you are trying for some adventure or trying to get into some world records why don't you practice it at some other time when the crowd is less on the roads, you want to kill some one or what?"

"See it is not my fault that you are driving while sleeping, why don't you prefer some other place to rest rather than this?"

"You are the one who has come to this side, I helped you by turning my vehicle the other side, now when I think about it, I should have let it hit your so-called bike, then you would have felt better, instead of saying a thank you, you are blaming my driving skills?"

"thank you? For what? For making us fall down, and what driving skills are you boasting about yourself? You don't even know how to drive a car"

" Ms.Gupta you are crossing your limits," Arnav said taking a step forward.

"Mr.Arnav Singh Raizada, only because I work for you doesn't mean you are right here too." Khushi too didn't mind giving him a retort after all he has shown her hell.

"Work? Half of the time it is your sister who is helping you out and the other half I see you correcting the mistakes of your previous work."

"See, you are the one who is going overboard on loading me with lots of work."

"Then what do you think the office is for? You need to work to earn. You are taking the salary for it, isn't it? You are not doing me a favor by working there."

"Actually when I think about it, you should in all sense thank me because I'm doing even your part of work without taking any additional salary for it."

"How dare you say that Khushi Gupta, first you have a habit of spoiling my day and have the audacity to speak against me?"

"You haven't seen my dare yet Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada"


By the time Payal got up and checked herself to see if she is injured, Khushi was fighting head-on with their boss. She tried to drag her back but Khushi would not hear any of it, she wasn't even responding to her calls. Their fight took a different route and both of them were taking a step towards each other in the process of trying to intimidate the other with their words and body language. She looked around, the on-lookers were looking enthusiastically to see what else would these two do now, some were even capturing the fight in their mobiles, while some were gossiping among themselves.

"KHUSHI" She had no other choice other than to shout and pull her sister back from the heated eye lock she is having with their boss.


"Jiji? Why are pulling me? He is the one who.."

"Enough, not even a single word, you will sit behind while I drive"



"Good to see that at least your sister is using her brains, unlike you" with that Arnav left without waiting to listen to Khushi's answer.

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