Felonious

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Dec 27

Felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 7 times)

Prologue

Panic trembling in her exhausted limbs she sprinted forward, away from the voices behind them. she didn't care if her pace has slowed down or increased, she didn't dare to turn back. The only thing which every cell in her body is screaming which she kept chanting like a hymn is, escape, run, faster. 


I hope readers will give same love as for my other work Quagmire, do let me know your thoughts on the update.



Dec 27

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 11 times)

Part 1

Wiping the sweat from forehead, she collapsed onto the nearest rock. Arms and legs all bruised and cut, clothes looked like rags tattered. It had not been long before she heard the heavy footsteps nearing them. Time to run again. Wind knocked out of her lungs when she couldn't find her companion beside.


" Huhhh... "Eyes flew open to the white rooftop and it took some time to realize that she is in her room, on her bed, safe and sound. Turning to her right she found him sleeping, to assure herself of his presence, she bent forward and kissed him on his cheek.

" Khushi..?"He woke up with the feather-light touch of her lips.

"I'm fine, NK."

Leaning back on to the pillow her thoughts raced back to earlier days in life.

"HOME FOR NEED-that was where she had been living since she was 2 days old. There were no details about her parents or the lady who got her admitted here seeing her vulnerable state on the roadside.

The guardians of the home Mr&Mrs Manohar Gupta did all they could to provide basic needs, education, medical help to the children there. All said and done children were still able to distinguish between the quality of life if their case was otherwise.

While the couple was kind enough to take up the responsibilities of unwanted there was always emotional bond which lacked.

She still remembered the day when she first saw him. She was cleaning her wardrobe when was distracted by a commotion across her room. Running towards Mrs. Manorama's cabin she assumed what could be the reason for the ruckus. A new member to the existing list of unwanted.

Waiting at the doorstep she couldn't resist peeping in and the moment her eyes caught hold of his figure, it was like that love at first sight for her which they show in films. That moment she knew she found her companion, whom she will love and care for till last breath.

ITALICS-DREAM

Dec 27

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 8 times)

Part 2

There he was exploring his surroundings with his eyes, trying to adjust himself to new environment. Holding him was a fair built, clean shaven, spectacled man in his late 30's, his brown hair was swept to the front covering his forehead completely. May be he was here to join the boy. Leaving the kid, the man moved out without turning back.

The moment the man went out she rushed inside to have a look at her new friend, companion, and love. As much as she was allowed she always was there to look after him and later on when he started feeling comfortable around her there was no stopping to their bond. She got so attached to him within a short span of time and it was nothing less vice versa.

Everything was going so well until that day. She couldn't comprehend how her life has turned into a one of a roller coaster ride an unexpected, fearful turn at every stage. If she had the slightest inkling of what could happen she would never part ways with him to repent later.     



That day was imprinted in her memory and will be for the coming years. Thoughts raced backed to the day when it all started.

As usual, there was a medical check-up conducted in the Home For Need. This was the practice, which was followed rigorously, irrespective of the number of donations received or balances in the bank accounts of the trust or guardian couple without fail every year.

The check-up team was ready and the volunteers were setting up the stalls for further procedure.

Even after accepting the bribe, a treat of his favorite chocolates and ice cream, her friend cribbed about the ordeal and she had to be present beside him throughout the routine so that he doesn't run away to duck beneath beds in the dormitory or under Mrs.Manorama's desk.

That was the last night they spent together happily without the shadows of evil, discussing how many can each of them gobble down without stopping, how many flavors they can mix to get a different taste. Once back to the bed, she couldn't quite put finger on what was that which is disturbing her, and that uneasiness followed her until the next three days and then the reason came on.

After her usual prayers to goddesses, she sat for some more time seeking answers for her uneasiness which isn't leaving, before moving out of the prayer room passing by the office room.

"We are happy that you found one among our children. Just give us a few minutes we will get everything ready." It was Mrs.Manorama.

After a pause, she heard her again saying

"Oh yes, you can take him right away. He will be ready in 30 minutes. You can come down.

Thank you. It's our pleasure."

Seems like the conversation ended and before she can comprehend the meaning of what is heard, she came face to face with the lady herself.

"Ah Khushi, good that you are here. Come on move fast and make sure that friend of yours is ready. They will be here any moment to take him."

"Take him? But where? And who? Why?"

"Offo see with the excitement of hearing this news I have completely forgotten to tell you the main thing."

"ShAKSHY selected him this time." The excitement was clear in her voice.

"He got selected?"

"H-he-he got selected?" she still couldn't believe.

"Yes, Khushi. Its good news isn't it? Now run up to his room and make everything ready they will be here any moment to take him away."

"Take him away? Will he be gone?

"What? Is this the first time it is happening? Why is that you are behaving as if you don't know about this? You do know that anyone who gets selected has to go with them."

ShAKSHY is a group of educational institutes the founder of it unknown to the society, wanting to be away from the limelight. The institute conducts several events at different orphanages, rural and backward areas and select kids, who can do exceptionally well in academics, any other art but cannot afford the same due to the financial circumstances they are in. ShAKSHY takes them under its wings by providing food and shelter in addition to donating funds for their education.

"Yes," she is unsure if she is ok with this parting.    




Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

She always valued his presence in her life, the time spent with him and memories made. Considered him the most important in her life, but what never struck her thoughts was, that, such situations may arise where you had to part with or without your desire.

It has been one week since NK was taken away and she is already feeling like it's been years. The only thing which is stopping her from going running to him, to get him back is, keeping in view his better future, the chances for which are very less if he were to be with her. It will take some time, for her, to accept the truth of his absence in her life and live with it but Time never stops for anyone, it has to go on irrespective of the feelings and emotions one holds with memories and persons.

Sighing she started with her routine at her workplace, by lighting the lamp. There is still some time for the customers to walk in, not that there would be rush hours at their shop at any given point in time. It is a small books & stationery shop run by Mr. Happy Singh, a man in his late 60's. In her association of 2yrs with this shop it never required her to slog from early hours in morning to wee hours in the night, but now that she has nothing else to do apart from being here and going back home makes her feel lonely all the more, she opted spend time with the silent companions (books).

"Khushi...."

"Khushi, beta is that you?"

"Yes Uncle, it's me, already here to pester you."

"NK will be fine. He may be just seven years old but he is capable of looking after himself. The kid is way more intelligent than he appears. Don't worry" he, as always understood the worry, behind her extra cheerfulness, nothing goes unnoticed from the old man' eye.

"After all when almighty deprives us of a family he has to provide the strength to look after ourselves."

"I thought you consider me as your family." hurt was noticeable in his voice.

"Sorry Uncle I didn't mean it that way"

"Its ok, beta I understand now don't worry so much, he will be fine."

Dec 27

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 18 times)

Part 3

"Dad?!how many times I asked you not to exhaust yourself for trivial things? What is the use of Hari Prakash then? For fun? Even I'm at home now, you could have called me?"

"Asking for help for every work, which I can actually manage myself makes me feel as a burden and reminds me of my inability to do so. I managed till now and can do so in future too. I don't need any servant." saying so he pushed his wheelchair into the room.

He neither likes to argue with his child over such silly things nor wants anyone to help him or keep a watch over him 24*7 as if he is an infant. He took some time to calm himself down before moving towards his son's room. Arguing would benefit no one; it's time for some talk.

" Arnav?" finding no light in the room made him wonder if his son went out to cool down his bursting nerves.

"I'm here dad." it is clearly evident that he still is in a sore mood.

"Beta, why don't you see things from my point of view? You could have done all this out of love but it makes me feel insecure and dependent which I think you would not want".

"Fine dad" there was no way he could win over his dad.

"If you still insist on having someone to look after me, I don't mind a daughter-in-law."

"Dad! For god's sake, I'm still 20. Here I'm not settled financially and you want me to think of marriage?"

"What does settling in life have to do with love life dear? I was in love with your mom when I was 18 only."

"Now, now... Enough of your share of drama for today, let's gets you to sleep".

"Wish you were here mom" he could do nothing more. He could only keep her alive in his thoughts.

He was 3yrs old when his parents met with an accident. While he was not a part of it, his father escaped after being bound to the wheelchair permanently and he lost his mother.

His father being an orphan didn't sit well with his maternal family, leading the couple to opt for a runaway marriage. They neither showed their presence on his mother's funeral nor when his father had to manage a kid all alone himself being sick.

At first, it looked like a fluttering red bird gradually a shield of smoke can be seen, waves of blazing heat can be felt, sirens could be heard from a distance The flames were engulfing from all sides burning it into ashes sparing nothing. It slowly turned into a bellow of ash and then mixed in the air in form of smoke.

"AAAhhhhhhh...." it was the same dream again. His mind swarmed with so many questions. He never witnessed any such incident to date. Why does he see this dream so frequently? Why does it feel real? What is it that is burning in fire?

Thinking of his parents he never knew when he fell asleep holding the photo frame. Coming out of his thoughts he put back the photo frame and could feel his mother Anjali Raizada smiling through the photo.



His neck and back are paining like hell forcing him to lie down on bed before he starts the day. Its 4am in the morning and there is still some good amount of time before he can freak out of being late. Now that's what led him to hurry into the only stationery shop he found in the vicinity of the office. He was called for interview today and he will surely be out of the list of candidates as he will be late. First the dream didn't let him sleep peacefully and when it was already morning it was his mistake that he listened to his body's demand of taking rest for some couple of minutes which led him to wake up at 8.30Am instead of 5AM.

Standing in front of him was a lady dressed in jeans, red kurti, and a neck scarf, hair pulled back into a ponytail. She was asking him if he was ok, does he need some water or any medical help as he was sweating profusely on a winter morning.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Can I get two copies of this?" Handing her the certificates he perched on the chair nearest to him. She was working on the photocopier and he couldn't resist his mind from replaying the image of her face peeking out of the bookshelf once he entered the shop.

"Sir, are you ok?" She was back in a jiffy with the copies in one hand and bottle of water with other.

"I'm perfectly fine, it's just that I'm heading out for an interview, it's just"

"Nervousness" she completed it for him.

"Here, have some water sir you will feel better and it would look good if you have to carry a pen with you to sign the offer letter"

Looking down into his pocket he realized he indeed was not carrying one with him.

"Well then lady you could help me with that too then"

"All the best, Sir"

There she was wishing him luck with a genuine smile and at that moment from deep inside through every cell of his body he felt the warmth like an old duffle coat, friendly and soft welcoming him. A strange feeling he never felt before which kinda scared him, he started to shiver suddenly and to pose a look of causality, looped his thumbs into the jean pockets.

"It's Arnav. Sir makes me feel like a history teacher back at school, now that you wished me luck would you also like to know if I have got the job or not? Miss...."

"Khushi. On any day you can see me working here from 7Am-8Pm"

"Fine then would be here if it's good news to share" giving a small smile he made his way out. He never was the one who would on just meeting new people extend a friendly hand and it surprised him how he wanted to be more in her presence and share his thoughts. Or maybe the reason behind his behavior was because in a way she reminded him of his mother with that smile of hers.

"Well, Congratulations you are selected. While this is just a process which had to be followed, I must say you proved yourself worthy. I'll look forward to seeing you on board."

"Thank you" collecting the offer letter he moved out. Even after he got promised that he will be given a job at the firm, he doesn't want it to be done something out of gratitude. Now holding his offer letter he thought back to how it all started.

A few days back,

One late afternoon while he walked into his regular coffee shop to grab a coffee, he witnessed a commotion. A man in his late 30's was having a seizure, while people who surrounded him were just watching the scene, with no one coming forward to help. Calling out to the management to at least help him in a boarding cab, he made sure the person was rushed to a clinic and given medical help.

In this whole process, he came to know that the person was the owner of a law firm and in return to his help, the gentleman wanted to help in any way he could, which later made him promise to offer a job in his firm.

He wanted to prove himself worthy of position and finally today he is here holding the offer letter in his hand. He wanted to share the news with his dad but stopped as he wanted to surprise him with a gift out of the first salary. Letting his father know about his job have to wait for some days.

"Black Raspberry"

"Black Raspberry"

He turned towards his right to see the person whose taste matches with him. Clad in the floor-length gown was a lady looking at him in the same amused way as he was.

"I'm sorry there is only one left and.."

"I want it"

"I want it"

"I'm sorry Sir, Mam. You can try other flavors too. We have a variety of new flavors" The shopkeeper wanted to make most out of the lost case. Looking at the faces in front of him, he can vouch that both wouldn't leave it so easily.

"But you don't have the one I want" this is his first job, he wanted to celebrate and there is no way he will let the girl take away this moment from him.

"And I'm not leaving the shop until I eat the one I want" it was her father's birthday today. It's his favorite and no one can make her leave without having it.

"I wanted to celebrate as I got the placement you can have this tomorrow too. I'm sure he will get one for you the next day." He looked towards the shopkeeper to support him.

"Celebrations can be done after you receive your salary as it is you are not the next President of the country. Coming to think of having it tomorrow why you don't do that yourself doesn't seem a bad idea. It's my dad's birthday today and you can't stop me from celebrating it." There was no going back without the ice cream.

"Fine. Give it to her only." dad is above everything for him.

Sighing he turned to leave but stopped as he saw the girl opening the box to eat. There was no one else beside her.

"You liar! Just for the sake of having it, you lied to me in the name of your dad? I can't believe this..?"

"He is no more. It's his favorite and it's my way of feeling close to him on his birthday" a layer of tears formed in her eyes while speaking about his absence.

"I. I'm. I'm sorry"

"Anyways I would also be eating it alone as there is no one with whom I could share this at the moment so " he tried to divert the topic.

"We can share it then. I will think that I'm celebrating my dad's birthday and you can assume that you are celebrating with your friend what say?"

"May I know what this friend's name is before sharing the treat?"

"Lavanya Kashyap," she said extending her hand.

"Arnav Raizada," he said holding the hand.

Dec 29

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 5 times)

Part 4

"Haa there he comes. what took you so long?"

"Traffic dad. That's it"

"hey ..what's that mark on your shirt ?"

"Oh, this! Icecream"

"You had an ice cream treat? You could have informed me I would love to join you. Anyways what made you have it alone my dear?"

"She was right there, how is it alone?"

"She?who she?"

"Umm, its.... yeah. Lavanya. Before you ask anything else about her let me tell you I know nothing else other than that ."

"You had a treat with someone, about whom you knew nothing else other than the name?"

"It's demand of the situation, dad. If you are done with your interrogation can I sleep? I'm totally tired." Before his father can shoot some other questions he ran up to his room.

"My dear son at least tell me what is the situation which demanded to have treated with strangers!?." But his son was no more in his vicinity to answer his question.

"Flop" the pen rolled down to the floor from the shirt pocket when he threw the shirt into the bin for the housekeeping to take it for cleaning the next day.

An image of a lady dressed in jeans, red kurti, and a neck scarf, hair pulled back into a ponytail asking him if he was okay with a smile on her face crossed his mind.

Plonking on the bed he started his routine, telling his mom about his day's events.

"and her name is Khushi. Yes I know I promised to meet her at the end of the day to let know about my interview but I missed it, tomorrow I will surely meet her then I will tell you more about her. For now, Goodnight, as it is tomorrow, is my first day at work right? wish me luck ma..." placing the pen beside the photo frame he drifted off to sleep.

Bending forward he pulled up his socks, wiped sweat from his forehead before adjusting shirt for the umpteenth time. Butterflies can be felt in the stomach. He had this weird feeling of running away back and is amused at himself. He looked up to see the name board, written on it were the words "Jha Consultancy" in black with a blue background.

Entering the building he came face to face with a small idol of the goddess. Usually, anyone in his place would take blessings before starting a new journey but he does not believe in all this. He is not against God, believing his own self to be the highest power, he only believes that whatever one does, good or bad will surely come back to them and there is no power which can change this with prayers or anything else. He believes in one's own conscious decisions and hard work, not miracles or destiny.

"Ahh, you are here."

"Yes Sir"

"Oh common you can call me Shyam, there are no restrictions here as such and I'm given a name to be called by it. Why be anonymous when you can be famous with your name."

"Ok sir ..ah oh I mean Shyam"

"It's ok. It takes time, never minds. Come let me introduce to the other staff."

Jha consultancy is the leading legal consultancy for corporate and civil cases. Mr. Shyam Jha is the head of it, anyone who speaks with him can easily say that he is very jovial and kind-hearted person wanting to always help in any way he could. While he makes a profit out of the big corporates he helps the needy with no penny charged. And now seeing him, he is sure that working with Shyam Jha would be very interactive, informative, knowledge gaining and interesting.

Once he was done with the introduction session he is shown at his desk. He knew based on his designation and work here, there cannot be many interactions possible with the head of the firm but he can surely make out the best out of what little opportunity was thrown at him.

...............................................................................................



"La...."


"Laa.."

"Lavanya....."

"Miss Lavanya Kashyap..down to earth now. I have been calling you for quite some time now, where are you lost?"

"Ah..Oh..ya...I'm here only." a failed attempt but she still tried to make it convincing.

"what do you have every time to dream so much? Now move your ass and get me the flask."

"Yaa..yes..Fine.." she made no move showing that she still is not completely out of her dreamland.

"Ms. Lavanya Kashyap, I request you to take the pain in moving your limbs to the other side of the room to get me a flask". Seeing her not making a move still she had to raise her voice a decibel more.

"Now in the sense. Right now."

"Yes.Ms.Malhothra."

Grudgingly Lavanya made a move to get the flask. While she can comprehend that, her supervisor, a lady in her early 30's is a closed book, never the one to let any emotion to show up on her face, what is out of her imagination is how can she not understand a phase of girl which she has already passed in her life. A girl who completed her education, who is now waiting to take the next step in her life which is tying knot would surely be dreaming about her future unknown would be for sure. Isn't it?

Lavanya Kashyap's father found peace in death when she is 5 yrs old but he left enough money for her mom and her to lead their life normally. While she is not interested in working or anything as such she just wants to enjoy her life as a free bird before her mother gets into the full mode of finding a groom for her. Now when she thinks back it's the worst decision she has taken which made her get stuck with a moody boss Ms.Payal Malhothra.

.......................................................................





"Saheb, we received the delivery"

"Send it for further processing."

The conversations come to a halt with a knock on the door.

"Yes."

"Sir, Mr. John from DK services is here."

"It was a pleasure finally meeting you."A man in his mid 40's extended his hand for a handshake.

"Welcome to AS publications Mr. John" the assistant and other inmate made a move out closing the doors behind, providing privacy for further talks.

Later that day

"Is the stock out for delivery?"

"Sir, tomorrow first thing I will send it"

"Is the stock out for delivery or not?"

"Sir..."

"Yes or no?"

"No sir"

"Can you please enlighten me what is the meaning of sending it by EOD?

"Sir.."

"Answer to the point without wasting much time"

"By end of the day, it has to be reached to destination"

"Then why was it delayed?"

"Sir I thought"

"I pay you to follow my orders and if you don't want to be fired do follow them to the T without any further analysis from your side. Now get back to the task given to you"

"Sir the stock has been dispatched"


"Good, why can't this be done without you having to go through my scolding and save us from having a late sitting at the office?"

"Sir.."

"See Rohan you do understand right what we are dealing with. We are running this organization for providing a better future to lot many people out there, who cannot afford the same with the circumstances they come from. If not for the sake of any humanity at least do it because you're paid to do all these without any hitch. You do take your salary timely don't you?"

He couldn't say any further rather than nodding his head and being the silent listener. When his boss has goes from threatening to preaching a lecture to emotional blackmail to last resort of reminding him about responsibilities and duties towards his job that's the best thing to do, Being silent.

Mr. Aman Mathur, his boss is one of a kind, he can go blasting you for a whole day to giving you lectures about humanity to blackmail you and make you feel sick that you are taking your salary without doing a single work.

"Here, I checked and signed the contract of DK services forward it legal department for further processing."

Checking the pages which required his boss signature he made a move-out, without waiting for another round of rant.



Dec 29

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 10 times)

Part 5

"But you said this week you will surely come to ask about my hand in marriage? Why are you delaying this so much? I started working there on your insistence, isn't it? But I can't delay the process anymore you need to speak to my family about us. If not today tomorrow they will surely fix it and I can't escape it with excuses like freedom before marriage, job etc."

"Baby, don't worry there is no one out there who have the dare to hold my love's hand in marriage, you trust me, right? so keep the trust intact "

"But..."

"No, if's n buts' now let's get you home before your family starts searching for their princess and hunt us down here"

Once she hopped on to her seat he started his bike and moved towards her home.

"Welcome Mrs. Saini."

"Please have a seat, please have some water or here taste this tea or you can as well have coffee"

"We don't eat in the house before fixing the marriage. We came to see your daughter. All this can be done after we fix the dates if at all it happens, which I hope we both want. So it's better you get her rather than wasting time with all these pleasantries."

Here she is worried sick with tension in the air and the lady is not doing any help with her heated intense stares and dialogs. It's better she gets her daughter here before she faints with the looks she is thrown at by the groom's mother.

"Ah there she comes"

She had to push her daughter to come forward and whispered in her ears to take blessings from the family.

It is very clear from her daughter's stand that she is not interested in meeting the family; hope the groom's family assume it as shyness rather than rigidness. Wish her husband was alive to deal with all these stuff. What can a single mother do rather forcing these arrangements because if the decision of getting married is left to her daughter she is worried if at all she will be privileged to see it before she dies? Maybe once her daughter meets the groom she may like the whole idea of marriage and go forward with the proposal.

"Madhumathiji maybe we can let the boy and girl have some privacy talk as we decide the marriage dates here." By one look at her son, Mrs. Saini was sure he liked the girl.

"Yes, sure sure. Beta you both can talk in the lawn backside while I send some snacks for you " Madhumathi was more than happy.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Saini but I don't think there is anything which needs to be speaking further as I'm not interested in this marriage." Saying so she left the room leaving her mother to deal with the jibes from the groom's family.

When your good-for-nothing daughter acts too dumb to get the simple message, maybe you have the right to yell and slam the door in her face. That's what exactly Madhumathi did with her daughter after Mrs.Saini left lecturing her about the morals and values one needs to teach while upbringing a girl child. She never forced her child for anything until it's for her own good and this type of behavior in society will never leave a chance for her daughter to have a proposal from the good family in future.

"Bua..?."

"Aman! Beta thank god you came, Now at least you put some sense into her brains. What does she want to do? I'm trying to fulfill the role of her father too here and she is nowhere cooperating with me. Didn't I let her lead a life as per her choices? Even now I'm not forcing any man on her. I'm giving her the choice to select and she? She doesn't even let me know what's the problem? And moreover, with all these, I even have to listen to the lectures on upbringing." What all one has to do being a single parent.

"Did I ask you to arrange for a meet with Saini's? No right. Then? I still sat there to keep your respect but I couldn't take it anymore when she started speaking about fixing marriage dates. That's why I had to speak because you wouldn't say no to them, and I couldn't say yes to them."

"Why couldn't you say yes? That boy was good looking, hails from a good family, he doesn't have any problem with you working after marriage and even his parents won't stay with him here. What else do you want?" she is never among such parents who raise voice against their children just because their opinions differ, she always thinks that a cool mind and smile will sort everything but her daughter is just forcing her to have high BP.

"Bua. Bua, you please calm down. I will speak with her."

Giving a cold stare to both Aman and her daughter madhumathi went away, staying there, listening to her daughter's answers would only make her heart beats rise.

"Now, now sissy tell me. Tell me what's making you postpone this so-called new chapter in your life."

"It's nothing I don't want to get married."

"You don't want to get married now or you don't want to get married at all?" he wants to make sure if at all his sister is completely against marriage.

"Now. I don't want to get married now."

A sigh of relief escaped his lips.

"So what are the qualities you are looking for which these guys lack ?"

"I don't know" she has no other answer.

"Sissy, we both know that you are hiding something. It will not help you way in any if you keep it within you. Tell me, I will try to help you out. I will speak to bua if there is any problem, we will solve it together but one or the other day you need to take this step in your life, you better have a good explanation why you are delaying this?"

Saying so he started to leave his sister to think about his words. standing at the threshold of the door he turned to back to ask something which made her heart skip a beat and eyes to go wide.

"By any chance, are you seeing someone?"



It has been two days since she last met him and there is no further news after that. Maybe visiting his office would reap the results, she can't wait till he makes his appearance all by himself. Will he accept her gesture of visiting his office uninvited? But then it's necessary for her to see and speak to him. It's half past 9 in the morning and there is not enough time to drop by his office and go back to her workplace, now she has to wait until evening to meet him.

Huffing she stood in front of the one-storeyed building painted in brick color, with name board "Jha Consultancy" in bold. She glanced towards her watch which is showing it's 7:30 in the evening. Usually, there will not be much of work but then today it's like the whole world is conspiring against her she had to skip her lunch and break time to at least make it by this time.

There are few lights here and there illuminating from inside the building but other than that it's clear that the staff left long back, hoping for him to be there she moved inside. There was someone hunched behind the desk so involved in the work that whoever was there didn't know of someone entering the office.

"Excuse me,?"

"haa!" startled he looked up.

Dec 30

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 6 times)

Part 6

He can be officially declared as stupid and unofficially you can call him an idiot, moron and so on so forth, he won't mind. Because that's what he is, even today he would miss meeting her it's for sure. What was the need to go party? As it is he is not declared as CEO of the company! By the term party, he remembered a girl in her long frock binging the ice cream after declaring to share it with him. You could as well refer to as letting him taste it rather than sharing. Lavanya.. a small smile played on his lips with that image of her. Nothing other then her appearance would give you confirmation of her being an adult, seeing her love towards the food he is sure meeting her would be more regular.

Coming back he looked towards the pile of work to the clock and towards rest of the office. It's like the watchman and the security are the only ones giving him company other then the two senior most people completing off the last minute dealings. As it is his first job and it being the first day it's obvious it will take time to understand how the firm works, his responsibilities here. Not that he was burdened with plenty of work it's just for everything to get into his brain it took more then required time and now he is still in office rushing up the things so that at least he can have a glance of her or a word with her if not a complete conversation.

Now you would surely ask what made him not meet her in the morning itself rather than getting all worked up now. He never woke up before seven and habits are not made in a click. That's why he hid back the reception table to be out of sight of any emergency client dropping by and having a word with him. He just has to take down their details to pass it on to the required department the next day, but even that few minutes he can't waste. He huffed when he still heard the voice calling out to him even after him trying to religiously escape.

"Excuse me,"

"Haa!" there is no escape now, meeting Khushi has to be postponed again.

....................

She wore a red sweater on blue jeans pairing it with an orange scarf.


She only talked when she needed and sat still drinking small sips of juice. Her eyes reflected tiredness, they were dull.

"Khushi?" he wants to confirm if she really wanted to be here with him at this time of night.

"Huh" she was only present physically there, her thoughts occupied images of her little friend, NK, he liked having ice cream. Clouds of tears threatened to flood but she took a breath and gathered her senses. This is not the right place and time to cry.

Arnav touches her shoulder making her to almost jump away from him, making her push the seat to the other side giving her view of the entrance from which only couples came and left which in turn made her more uncomfortable.

"Hey, I'm sorry you didn't respond so..?" he couldn't comprehend the reason behind the strange behavior of the girl sitting in front of him.

She completely became silent once they reached the spot. She was okay back then when he asked about going out as he wants to give a treat regarding the job offer. The girl first was surprised with the unimaginable request later when he confirmed he was not joking she gave a questioning look towards the owner of the shop whom he came to know as Mr. Happy Singh.

The old man in privacy enquired about him so much that he can write an autobiography on Arnav. Not that Mr. Happy Singh let them go away with simple questioning he made Arnav write his mobile number in the shop records and made a call immediately from the landline in the shop to check his credibility. Next, he made him write his address along with his father's details. He still was not satisfied, he wants to know where he works and When Jha consultancy was mentioned he was more than okay to send the girl with him, as it is Shyam helped the old man a few years back regarding some case and to help him financially he started to order the stationery for his office monthly from the same shop Happy Singh runs.

Hmmm, all this for what.?! Just to send the girl a few buildings away. The cafe he took her to was in the same lane as his shop. Everything was okay for him until the girl beside him is okay, wanting to spend some time with him. But looks like the enthusiasm which was present back then in the shop, which was the reason for the old man to even think of the arrangement was missing the moment she entered the cafe and he is unable to think what could make her so disoriented. Having denied of tasting ice cream she settled for juice. From then he was the only one trying to make a conversation by framing sentences here and there while all throughout she sat absentmindedly. Maybe he should have not asked her to come out with him. From now he will only wait for her to make a move from her side. In this way, he will at least know if she is interested to speak to him or not.



Dec 30

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 10 times)

Part 7

"You?" he all but shouted seeing her in his office.

"I-" he dragged her into the nearest vacant room.

"What are you doing here?"

"It was urgent"

"We would have met at our regular place."

"Do you get the word URGENT? It was important for me to speak to you I couldn't have waited until you turned up at your convenience." She hissed.

"I had to reject one more proposal"

"So what's the big deal? You anyways rejected it, end of the matter." He turned away towards door pulling her with him to send her out.

"NO, it is not the end of the matter. Mom wants to see me get married, I can't delay it forever. Why don't you come down to speak to my family?"

"Common you know the reason for it, Your uncle will never allow me to step into your house once I say that I want to marry his niece. You know he is against love after what has transpired in your mother's life. Even Madhu aunty who until now treats me as his son wouldn't encourage this, there is Aman, who looks up to me as a brother, you want me to reveal to him that all that times I came to meet him was to see his sister, not for him. Oh god! No one would accept it ."

"So? What do you want me to do? Go ahead and say yes to any next proposal mom brings to me?"

"Don't you dare" he held her neck pinning her to the door.

"Go ahead finish it off by killing me, because you wouldn't dare to speak to the family"

"I'm trying to find a way out here."

"But you said this week you will surely come to ask about my hand in marriage? Why are you delaying this so much? I started working there on your insistence, isn't it? But I can't delay the process anymore you need to speak to my family about us. If not today tomorrow they will surely fix it and I can't escape it with excuses like freedom before marriage, job etc."

"Baby, don't worry there is no one out there who can dare to hold my love's hand in marriage, you trust me, right? so keep the trust intact "

"But..."

"No, if's n buts' now let's get you home before your family starts searching for their princess and hunt us down here" saying so he dragged her to the parking lot.

Once she hopped on to her seat he started his bike and moved towards her home.

"I decided" she spoke once they reached her home.

"What?"

"If you can't put up the courage to let this know to my family by end of this week, then I will do the honors myself. As far as the reasons you mentioned they will always remain the same so I don't see any point in waiting further, till now it was about you becoming financially secured which stopped you but now since that is taken care I see no other thing is any more important."

"But Payal.."

"No Shyam..your reasons don't matter to me anymore because they are no more significant."

She hurried into the house before he could say any further.



Dec 31

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 4 times)

Part 8

It has been one week since he took Khushi out for the treat. In between, he visited the shop once when his company was updating the contracts with Vendors. Even then she just smiled and said a hello other than that there was no positive stance from her side. He could see she has become more dull and weak compared to that day, the reason for which until now he couldn't fathom or find out. He wanted to help her out if there is anything bothering her but what can he do when she is being too tight-lipped. He is unable to decide if he should force it out of her system or wait for some more days to let her come by her own. He doesn't want to interfere too much in her life if she is not interested.

....................................................................................................................

It has been one week since she threatened to spill out their truth to her family. He was more like a family than an outsider, after all, she knew him since she was a kid. She wanted to become a Jha very long back when Shashi Jha father of Shyam was alive. But then Shyam wanted her to be independent before talking up the next step in the life and she did as per his wishes, joined the office he looked out for her, after that he wanted to get settled before asking her hand in marriage as he wanted no reason for an objection and then when they decided to finally reveal the matter to family and make it look like arranged marriage involving Shashi, he succumbed to death and talk has been postponed as that was not the right time. From then it was getting dragged to forever. Shyam couldn't pull up the courage to speak to her parents and wouldn't let her deal with it because he thinks she will be taken away once the matter is out in front of her mother and uncle. Yes her family is against love as her mother was cheated in the name of love but he was known to her family for years and she doesn't see the reason for her family to reject him.

She wanted to first reveal to her brother Aman before taking any further action to have some support on her side after all Shyam is like an elder brother Aman never had. Before she can do that she was stopped by none other then her love asking her to finally give time of few weeks before which if he didn't take any action she can do as she wishes and she accepted it again like every time before but this time at any given slight chance she will drop the hints to her family about the relation, it's not revealing directly right? Everything is fair in love and war so she promised him to not tell her family (directly).

................................................................................................................

It has been two weeks since he was taken away and she could take the pain no longer. She needs to see him, speak to him. Thinking so she approached Mr.Manohar Gupta seeking the address of the institute to go and meet NK but was highly disappointed when the latter refused to part with any details. He backed up his refusal stating that to begin with a new life you need to leave behind your past, the institute also will not entertain such communications. For the sake of assuring herself of his well being, she just wants to see him once and he refused to even have any further discussion on this strictly. When she thought back to it all the students who were selected and taken away never came back even once to visit the orphanage, as she was not much of a socializing person and never was attached this much to anyone she never gave it a thought. Maybe speaking to the other members of the Home she may get some information, there has to be some way to reach NK.

.................................................................................................................

When the whole universe is conspiring against you there is very little thing you could do that is trust the Almighty to show you away. But when even he is not on your side what could you do? Lavanya sat holding her head on the stairs.

Firstly it was Monday morning, on that she got up late upon that her mother emotionally forced her to visit the nearby temple to offer prayers before she gets busy with her office. Now, what has offering got to do with getting good marriage proposals? She never visited temple these many times since childhood since she visited it in last 3 months, all her life she passed in her exams, got into the job even without following this procedure.

If waking up late and running into the temple was not making her enough late she bumped into a guy to later find out that she has mistakenly kept his Id card in her bag while collecting her things. Now Lavanya being Lavanya couldn't just throw away the card like that which made her call the guy on the number written on the back of the card and now she is waiting for him to reach here soon as she doesn't want her week to start with berating from her boss.

Her eyes caught the sight of a pair of boots making their way towards her. Finally, he came.

"Here take this Mr. From next time be a little careful not everyone is like me, because of you I got late to the office, Huh."

Now frustration has to be taken out of the system before she can download the lectures from her boss right?

"Ah well, Miss Thank you, now that you have helped me, Let me return the favor by dropping you to the workplace. Where is it by the way?"

She hopped onto the bike before narrating the address.

There is still some goodness in the world in the form of her and this guy Rohan. Yes, she got delayed waiting for him but he gave her lift also right?    

Dec 31

felonious (By Varanasi) (Thanked: 14 times)

Part 9

" Arnav, are you sure you don't have a girlfriend? I see these days you don't have time for your poor dad who waits all day to spend some time with his son. You are escaping without a proper answer when asked about the reason, is this something related to fixing marriage dates in the future. If that is the case you can as well share with me you know I don't mind. "

"No dad, nothing as such".

"Arnav what's the matter? You can share with me I think I have given you that much freedom"

"I would surely dad if there is anything in the first place" saying so he moved to his room, lying to the man who did so much for him was the last thing he can do as gratitude.

Even when there is no one else to help them in tough times they made it out of that phase only because of his dad's strong willpower to provide him with every little thing possible. Keeping in view his physical state there were very fewer opportunities for him to earn income but he did a great job in providing them with above basic necessities by doing all sorts of odd jobs which were available. Now it's his turn to take the responsibility. Unexpectedly he got the job at a very early stage in his trails of search, but what's the use when the news is being refrained from sharing it with his only family, his father.

Akash Singh Raizada is a very fun loving, caring father. If Arnav wants to sideline his studies to earn more money to provide luxuries to his father, Akash will be adamant to support his son's wishes. That is the reason he stayed secretive about the whole incident in the coffee day and his workplace. By the way, he hasn't neglected his studies he is continuing them as part-time. Maybe once he gets his Master's degree his father will have no issues, until then this has to be kept secret, as it is his boss, Shyam has given him enough advice and chance on how to handle this situation.

...........................................................................................................................

It's close to more than one month since she last saw him. She didn't stop her search.

At first Happy Singh tried to look over the matter, tried to help by asking few of his friends, neighbors if they knew any details about the said institute but there is only little too much he can ignore, his business was getting affected by Khushi's absentmindedness, hence he asked her if she wants to take a leave permanently to solve the issue. The other mates from the HOME too had no idea.

While Mr. Gupta strictly with a polite tone asked her to move on from that phase, Mrs. Gupta didn't mind keeping control over her tongue while lecturing her about the madness she started. The institute had paid a visit to their HOME many times for many years, there have to be some details with the Gupta's which they aren't ready to reveal. Now there is only one way for her to find out, Sneak into the office room. She decided that it's the only way and stealthily made her way to the office once she confirmed it's late enough for anyone to stay awake.

If she thought she just had to enter the room and the details will be on the table ready for her to see then she is hugely mistaken. The hard realization hit her when she understood that she cannot enter the office through windows as there were grill, mesh attached to them. By the time she sneaked into the Guptas room and found the keys it was close to 3' in the morning hence she was forced to postpone the task to the next day.

Even the next day she faced failure, the office room didn't have any details which of use to her. Storeroom, Gupta's room are left behind if she leaves all the data that is stored on the computer placed in the office. It was password protected, she hoped she finds the details in store room only, stealing keys is one thing but searching thoroughly Gupta's room or searching for data in the password protected system is next to impossible.

After continuous check-up of three days in a storeroom on the fourth day, she came across a file. A file which contained few photographs, after checking it she was more than confused. What was HE doing with Guptas? He knew her, he knew she stayed at HOME, accepted that they met very few times but still he never mentioned about him knowing Guptas on a personal level. What's the need to keep it a secret? Keeping the file back she came out, with her current state of mind she didn't know if she can still search for details? There was this issue of NK already eating out her peace now this new information. Maybe he forgot to tell her? but when someone says an about a person whom you already know to the extent that you click photos with them, you would immediately reveal your relation or at least that you are also aware of so on so, isn't it?

After coming back to her room she was unable to sleep anymore. Next day in the shop she sat distractedly turning pages of the random book. She was out of her thoughts when she realized that she was unable to turn the pages as the book is new and paper is thick. Subconsciously she licked her finger before placing it on the book to turn the page. Tears sprang from her eyes when she realized NK had this habit, 'n' number of times she tried to make him change it stating it's a bad habit as books are treated equal to goddess and it's unhealthy too as there may be dust which one would swallow it, but he never gave an ear to her.

Tears rolling down her face she sat turning page after page furiously in the same way NK does every time to irritate her more after she denies his habit. She didn't know for how many minutes or hours she sat like that crying, suddenly everything went black, her breath turned shallow, she felt sick and in the next moment, her body jerked making her face to hit the floor. She fainted.



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