Khushi in coma

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Apr 14, 2012

Khushi in coma (By Maheen) (Thanked: 17 times)

"Wake up! Wake up Khushi! Please get up!" Khushi is in deep sleep but can hear a woman's voice who is calling her while moving around and about her. She tries to recognize the voice in her sleep but a continuous beep sound next to her head is not letting her.

"Wake up!" She hears it again and this time it's clearer and closer. Khushi tries to open her eyes but it's like she doesn't have any eye lids to open. She tries again but still no use. Slowly, panic takes over her because it's not just her eyes it's her legs too. Her legs are tangled in something. She cannot hear the voice anymore. Suddenly, she starts to move her hands in an attempt to get a hold of something which will help her in sitting up but all in vain. And then with a thud she lands on the floor and her eyes flew open. All she sees is bright light. Her eyes try to register her surroundings. She does not recognize the ceiling, or the window throw which the bright sun light is coming. She cannot breathe properly either. She again moves her hands to feel her nose. Then her situation becomes clear to her. She is all wrapped up in a blanket.

"So, this is what is suffocating me" She works her way out of it and is relieved once it's done. Khushi takes a deep breath and goes to the window to open it but it's stuck. She gives two three pushes but of no use. She hears a sound behind her and turns around. A maid comes in with a glass of milk.

"Khushi Didi, hurry up! Everyone is ready and waiting for you down stairs. You don't want them to miss the flight......again, now do you?" The maid is pushing her towards the toilet after placing the glass of milk on the bed side table. She looks at the maid closely. She looks familiar. Was she always in my service? Khushi wonders.

When Khushi comes down, she sees her father sitting at the head of the table looking down at the newspaper next to his plate. Her mother is sitting next to him talking to someone on a cordless. Then a fat lady comes to serve her mother with a plate of parathas. The woman looks up at Khushi.

"Hai re NandKishor!" The woman puts her hand on her head.

"Are Khushi bitya! Kahe tuk tuki bandhe siriyon pe khari ho? Jaldi jaldi nashta karo nahi to phir se hawai jahaz chor jaye ga" The woman laughs and goes back in the kitchen. Seems like it's a common joke in the house-Khushi thinks to her. She greets her parents and sits down to eat her breakfast.

"Khushi bitya, are you all packed?" Her father asks her while finishing his breakfast. Her mother smiles and passes her the plate of parathas. Only her parents seem to be oblivious to the joke. She just nods yes to her father and in her heart thanks her Devi Maya to be blessed with such loving parents.

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

Sitting in a first class, Khushi is wondering how she is so comfortable with all this luxury. She over hears her parents talking about the family they are going to meet in Delhi. Apparently, the daughter of the same family is getting married and her father is a very close friend of Khushi's father. Khushi does not pay any attention to the conversation and closes her eyes to go to sleep. She smiles thinking that she got up late in the morning and still she is sleepy.

"Wake up! Wake up Khushi!" Aaaaaggghhh, again that voice. Khushi thinks and closes her eyes even more tight at the sound of the same voice she heard in her bedroom.

When she wakes up she finds herself sitting in a chauffeur driven car who is taking them to a guest house of her father's company. Now she is wondering that how rich they are? When she looks at the guest house she is amazed at the wealth of her father. She again thanks her Devi Maya and feels proud of her father.

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

"Wake up! Wake up! You have to wake up!" Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-Khushi is furious.

"What is it? Cann't you see me sleep? Why the hell you want to wake me up?" She gets up with a fit and shouts at the first person she sees standing next to her bed. A stunned young girl of 14 yrs of age is standing eyes wide open next to her bed. She has fresh flowers in her hand meaning to place them in a vase next to her bed. Khushi feels bad screaming like that at the girl.

"I'm sorry. I must have been dreaming." Khushi explains to the girl who in return nods her head in understanding.

"Aap jaldi tayar ho jaye. Sahab is ready to go to the shadi wala house." The girl says while pulling back the curtains to let in the morning rays of light. Khushi is relieved not to hear "warna phir se flight miss ho jaye gi".

She changes and they all go to visit her father's friend. Her father's excitement tells her that he cannot wait to meet his lost found friend. Her mother has taken this opportunity to take the gifts along which they have brought especially to give to the family for their daughter's wedding. Otherwise, the mayo, mehndi, sangeet function was to be held at night time.

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

She is admiring the lawns of the house where the wedding is to take place.

"Oye Shashee yaar! You show me your face after such a long time, yara!" Khushi jumps at the sound and looks up to see a man hugging her father in a tight hug. A very graceful lady is standing next to her mother smiling and chatting to her.

"Oye! This is Khushi putar, right?" The man reminded Khushi of a hawaldar with a big mustache. She smiled at her thoughts and the man hugged her to welcome her. They all sat in a drawing room. Khushi was getting bored. Sensing this, lady asked Khushi to go to the kitchen.

"Khushi darling, my niece is getting the wedding give away packs ready. Why don't you help her? I'm sure you will get along well with her." The lady pointed towards the kitchen with a smile. Khushi smiled in return and prepared herself for the encounter with this niece in the kitchen.

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

"Hi. I'm Khushi. Aunty has sent me here to help you out with the packing." Khushi explained to girl who was sitting on the table placed in the centre of a huge kitchen and was busy putting some items in the boxes she had in front of her.

"Yeah, yeah, sure. Please, come, join me. The more the merrier." The girl was the same age as Khushi, 25 yrs old. Soon the girls got busy packing the giveaway boxes and in chatting. Khushi was telling the niece all about the city Lucknow, the people and life.

"Bhai! Do you want something?" Khushi heard the girl say. Khushi looked up to see who she is asking this question when she sees him.......

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Apr 14, 2012

Continued..... (By Maheen) (Thanked: 20 times)

Khushi looks up to see a face which she has seen before. It's beautiful. He's beautiful. There is a pin drop silence in the kitchen. Khushi realizes how talkative she was a minute ago. She feels the awkward silence and before her looking becomes to a stare, Khushi greets the man and gets back to work. But she is quick enough to take in the details of him. Clad in denim jeans and white crisp shirt, this guy must flutter lots of hearts around him. Khushi is analyzing. His eyes......hmmmm.......his eyes are more of weapon he must use on his victims. He has intelligent eyes. Therefore, he knows what effects he has on the other sex.

"I'm looking for my breakfast?" He says while picking up the plates placed on dishes to cover them to see what's there to eat.

"What do you want to eat?" The niece asks.

"Fried egg." He replies.

"Can you make it for me?" The man asks the niece.

"No, no. I don't know how to fry an egg." The girl dismisses him.

"Do you know how to fry an egg?" The niece asks Khushi.

"Of course I know how to fry an egg." Khushi replies and looks at both of them with an expression of 'What an absurd question.' When Khushi looks back to the niece, the niece has an expression on her face of 'then make one.' Khushi is taken aback. She looks at the man who looks back at her.

"Do you want me to make one for you?" Khushi asks him.

"Please, if you can. I have to go out to see if the seating arrangements are being made as I suggested." He replies.

Khushi gets up from her chair and goes to the fridge. The man leaves the kitchen. Khushi automatically takes out two eggs considering the size of the man. Then she puts one back remembering that she agreed only on one. She asks the niece where the frying pan is. When the egg is fried, she takes it out on a plate and places it on the kitchen counter, where the man was looking for it earlier. Khushi comes back to her chair.

"What will he eat it with?" The niece asks

"Why don't you toast him two slices of bread too?" The niece answers her own question. Khushi is irritated by her suggestion. She thinks to herself 'Kuch ziyada he free ho rahi hai.' Khushi who was about sit on her chair, goes to the fridge to take out the bread. She puts two slices in the toaster.

"You know what? He will also like a cup of coffee with it." The niece further suggests. Khushi is now furious. She wants to hit the niece with the frying pan right on her head. But she quietly switches on the electric kettle already filled with water. Surprisingly everything which Khushi needed was out there in front of her on the kitchen counter. In her usual way she put a teaspoon of coffee in a mug and was about to beat it to give it froth, that she stopped and place the mug on the counter. Why should she put an effort to make his coffee? And why should she give any impression to him or to this niece that she took care in making his breakfast. Who knows this girl might be framing her. She might go out and spread rumors in her family that I made breakfast for this man and took extra care. Khushi will be scandalized. She poured hot water in the mug, gave it a stir and placed the mug along with the toasts on the counter next to the egg. Then she took few tissue papers from the box on the center table and dabbed it on her forehead.

"All this work has made me tired. I think I'll go to my parents." Khushi told the girl before she asks Khushi to deliver the breakfast to the man on a tray. The girl nods in understanding with a smile.

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

Apr 14, 2012

Continued.................... (By Maheen) (Thanked: 15 times)

Upon entering the drawing room Khushi sees him sitting there with the men. She goes to sit next to her mother who in engrossed in a conversation with the bride's mother.

"Ama, chalen?" Khushi asks her mother when her mother stops to take a sip of her drink.

"Arre, Khushi putar, baitho thori der aur." The lady says.

"No. She is right. We should make a move. You also have to get back to work. We again offer you our help." Khushi's father says to his friend.

"Nahi yaar. Tu aa gaya, ohi bari wadi gal hai." The bride's father says.

The men shake hands and the ladies says good bye and they leave.

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

"I'm so happy to meet my friend after such a long time." Her father says to Khushi's mother on their way back to the guest house.

"He's still the same. Not changed at all-fun, loving and caring. And he's got a good wife too." Khushi listens to the conversation quietly.

"His son, Arnav, he's done well." Her father said with admiration. Hmmmm, so that's what his name is, 'Arnav'. Khushi thinks.

"Malik was telling me that how after graduating he joined the business and tripled it in no time. He said that he's a very ruthless businessman. He doesn't give any chance to anyone to make a mistake. He wipes out his competitors so harshly that they don't even think about getting back to business at all. But he does all this fair and square." Khushi's father was full of praises for this Arnav. Khushi laughed in her heart, 'Perfection, haan? Wait till u get to eat the breakfast I made for u.' She smiles satisfactorily that it won't be up to his expectations and somehow that gave her immense pleasure. She closes her eyes and goes to sleep.

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Apr 14, 2012

Continued...... (By Maheen) (Thanked: 19 times)

"Please come back". Khushi hears a familiar voice of a man next to her ears in her sleep. She frowns because it's like she has heard this voice thousands of times. And it's not just the voice that is now bothering her but it's the intensity in it that is confusing her. She opens her eyes to see who it is. But there is no one in the room. She gets up to have a glass of water when she sees it.......

A beautiful navy blue lahanga choli is draped on a chair at the far end of the room. She walks towards it. It's beautiful. A dark navy blue, almost black, lahanga with sequence all over it as if someone has thrown glitter on it. She touches it with light fingers and feels the material. 'Chiffon, hmmmm, nice.' Khushi likes it. Then she picks up the choli to look at the intricate work done in deep red on the neck line and its short sleeves. She puts it back on the chair because now she has seen a black velvet box lying on the dressing table. On the bed of the black velvet box is a beautiful black polki choker with drops of red rubies. The choker has matching jhumkas with it. 'This must be pretty expensive'. She keeps it back and takes the lahnga choli with her to the bathroom to get ready.

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

Khushi is amazed at the arrangements that have been made for the function. A huge canopy of off white silk was standing in the lawns of her father's friend. The seating arrangements were beautifully done too. Chairs with red ribbons as their tie backs looked very cute. Sets of chairs with round tables were placed in the lawns. The round tables had beautiful candle stands with fresh flower arrangements entwined with them. Then there were sofa arrangements too with their individual coffee tables. On the tables there were floating candles. Huge big statues of females holding matkas were placed from the entrance to the stage making a way for who ever wanted to go on the stage.

The stage was what took her breath away. The background of the stage was all done in black raw silk knotted screen. There were big bunches of red roses hanging in a very contemporary style in front of that screen. A big antique sofa was placed in the middle of the stage where the bride to be and the groom to be were seated. 'So, this is the girl.' Khushi looks at the bride to be. She finds her cute looking and very much in love with her husband who is also in love with the bride. Khushi did not get a chance to meet the daughter of her father's friend earlier because the bride was out in the parlor for her appointment. The girl was almost dressed as a bride. 'What will she wear tomorrow if she's wearing all this jewelry and heavy jora today?' Khushi wonders.

Khushi and her parents go on the stage to congratulate the young couple. A photographer starts clicking the camera. They all had to sit with the couple for a shoot. The camera starts clicking and flash lights almost blind Khushi. She panics and gets up in haste when her dupata gets stuck in one of the antique chairs placed with the sofa at both sides. She turns around to look at it when a manly hand comes and very gently takes the dupata out of a nail which is pointing out at the side of the chair.

She looks up to see in Arnav's eyes. She looks deep into them because she feels they are saying something to her. The contact is broken when her parents come from behind to leave the stage for other guests to come up.

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

Khushi is confused. Why does she feel sad? Khushi goes out of the canopy where she can see open sky. All the flash lights and noise was making her dizzy. She sees a bunch of girls laughing and running inside where the sound of some bollywood songs was coming. The beat pulled Khushi inside to see what was happening. She sees girls and boys standing in a line on one side and girls and boys standing in a line on the opposite site. One by one as the song changes one from this line and one from the other line come in the middle and dance to whatever was playing. Then she realized that a competition was going on between the dulha wale and the dulhan wale. But what scared her was that she was also standing in one of the lines.

"Oh! No!" Khushi panics and turns around to disappear. She sees him standing there all dressed up in a designer black suit looking straight at her. He has a smile on his face meaning he knows what situation Khushi has landed herself into and now she's chickening out. First, Khushi thinks of participating in the competition just to clear that smile off his face but then she reasons to herself that why should she give him any importance. But it's too late to come out of the line as her turn has already come.

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Apr 15, 2012

Continued...... (By Maheen) (Thanked: 15 times)

Khushi feels a hand at her elbow. She turns to see who it is. A young man not more than 28 yrs old is holding out his hand to her. When Khushi does not respond he takes her hand himself and brings her in the center of the audience. Music starts to play and he starts to move in a rhythm. Khushi listens to what is being played. It's a western number. 'What the.....' Khushi frowns. 'An English number.......no way I'm going to dance on it.' Khushi just stands there and looks at what the man is doing as if he is a crazy man.

The dulha wale starts booing Khushi. The dulhan wale starts suggesting Khushi what to do. But Khushi does not move and just stands there with an expression of 'I don't care if he wins and I loose.' The music stops. The young man looks around to what is going on? Music starts again. It sounds familiar to Khushi. Her foot starts to drum with it. Her opponent starts dancing in full form. It's a bhangra beat. He moves around Khushi. Then he indicates her to follow his lead. First she moves hesitantly but as the beat increases, her rhythm also increases. She looks at him and likes his face. She understands his moves and get in full form, gracefully.

The audience is now enjoying the performance. No words are being sung, just the drums beat. Khushi is enjoying it very much. She's moving gracefully with the beat. She has taken the lead. Her opponent is a perfect match. The audience has started to clap with the drums beat. Their feet are now moving with the leading couple.

Anjali sitting on the stage looks upon the crowd. She sees everyone moving and enjoying the music. It's like this one girl from Lucknow has made everyone dance on her tune. But she wonders how come the music was changed. She personally told the VJ to play the western number to take the boys side by surprise. She was sure of her girls to beat them with this surprise. She looks towards where the sound system and VJ was placed.

"Chote!!!!" Anjali is shocked to see her brother standing near the VJ.

"Did Chote tell the VJ to change the music? Why? Why to this number?" Anjali did not have to think very hard because the way her brother was looking at the girl told her everything. Anjali knew that very instant that her chote likes this girl. And once he likes someone, he'll make sure nothing wrong happens to her/him. When the girl did not move on the western song, he must have taken things in his hand. 'But why did he think of a bhangra music?' Anjali is now curious about the girl.

"Do you see how our Chote is standing in the shadows enjoying this girl dance?" Anjali asks her fiance.

"Hahahahaha, Rani Saheba! I have been watching your chote since the girl's dupata got stuck here in this chair." Shyam, Anjali's fianc points towards the chair next to him.

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

Khushi was flying high in the sky. She does not want to stop. Her feet don't want to stop. Her opponent is slowing down which further encourages Khushi to dance fast. She brings in new steps. Her opponent is finding difficult to keep up with her. Finally, her opponent stops. He bends down to hold his knees and to catch on his breath. Then he straightens and leaves to get a glass of water. The crowd cheers Khushi for beating him and Khushi takes a bow. Khushi sees a girl coming towards her. She's the same girl whom she met in the morning, the niece. The girl takes Khushi's hand and starts introducing her to the bride's family and friends. They all congratulate her and thank her for giving a good competition to the boy's side. Khushi is very happy. She is talking to some girls when the man who danced with her comes to her.

"Hi! I'm Nand Kishore." He introduces himself to Khushi.

"Hi! I'm Khushi." Khushi smiles at him. And soon they start talking.

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Apr 15, 2012

Continued....... (By Maheen) (Thanked: 14 times)

After coming home from the function, Khushi goes straight to her bed and sleeps soundly. Next morning, when Khushi wakes up, she is surprised that no one had come to wake her up. She changes and goes out to look for her parents. Today she feels energetic. She wants to do something, anything to keep her busy. Finishing her breakfast she goes out in the garden and looks at the roses. She holds the watering can and starts watering them.

Busy with the job at hand she starts humming. But soon she is startled by him......

He is standing very close to her. Close enough for her to smell his after shave. He looks very attractive with his black shades on. The denim jeans and white shirt is back but this time topped up with a smart dark blue casual blazer.

"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you." Arnav apologizes to her.

"I'm surprised to see you in the garden with a water can." He points towards the can she is holding. And he did look surprised as if Khushi cannot even raise her finger to work. Is she a spoilt brat, Khushi wonders?

"Is Uncle inside? Just came to drop this file." He asks when Khushi does not say anything.

"Yes he's in the study." Khushi replies.

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

Khushi avoids meeting him going back in the house. Therefore, she takes the kitchen route and quietly slips to her room. That night she makes an excuse and does not go to the wedding. Her parents also don't force her.

Going back home in Lucknow she over hears her parents talking about a marriage proposal.

"He has done his Masters but still wants to do his PhD. They say that if we want time then we can have the engagement done now and when he comes back we can marry them." Khushi's father was telling her Amma.

Khushi fully awakes to hear the conversation. She knows that it's her engagement they are talking about.

"Hmmm, that's a good idea. During the engagement period, Khushi can get well acquainted with him. That way Khushi's husband won't be a stranger to her." Her mother adds.

But who are they talking about? Who has sent the proposal? Why are they so sure that I will like him in the first place. Khushi is very upset. She cannot breathe. She feels dizzy and before she faints she hears her mother say:

"What did your friend say about the proposal when you asked him about the boy's family?"

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

Beep! Beep! Beep! Uff, God! I hate this sound. Khushi gets up irritated. When she looks around, she's back in her bedroom, in her house. She feels much better at this realization. She joins her parents on the breakfast table.

"Khushi bitya, Anjali and her husband are coming today to stay with us for a night. Tomorrow they'll leave for their honeymoon from here." Her mother tells Khushi excitedly. So, this is not over as yet. Khushi does not share her mother's excitement.

"Why don't you check if the guest room has been cleaned?" Her mother tells her when Khushi gets up from the table after finishing her breakfast. Now I have to do this also. Khushi mumbles to herself. She's not very happy to know that the newly wedded couple are coming to stay with them.

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

"Are Anjali bitya, why all this takaluf?" Khushi hears her mother say when she enters the drawing room to meet the guests. Anjali gets up to hug Khushi and Anjali hugs her tight. Anjali seems very happy to see Khushi. Even her husband looks very happy to meet her. Why suddenly this warmth, Khushi questions herself.

"This is jota utrai." Anjali hands her 5000 rupees. Khushi looks at the money and raises her eyebrows.

"Yes, they robbed me well." Shyam answers Khushi's surprised look.

"And this is a jora which Maa got made for all the girls who participated in the wedding." Anjali hands a beautifully wrapped packet to Khushi.

"She was supposed to give it to you earlier before the wedding but totally forgot." Anjali adds. 'That's a lie.' Khushi takes it and thinks to herself. There was ample time for her to give me this jora but she did not. This is an afterthought. Khushi but thanks them politely. She looks at her parents. Her father looks satisfied. Her mother is smiling.

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

As soon as Anjali and husband leaves for their honeymoon, Khushi is called in her father's study. She finds her mother sitting there too.

"Khushi bitya, we want to talk to you about something important. Please sit down." Khushi's father motions her towards a chair.

"Bitya, we have got two proposals for you." Shahsee tells her daughter. 'Two!' Khushi heard only about one. Where did this second one come from?

"It's going to be your decision. Whichever you choose, we'll support you on it." He puts his hand on her head.

"We have taken time from them to let you decide. If you want to know the boy before saying yes we can arrange that too but it's a bit too much of asking considering the culture and all. We are still a bit old fashioned Khushi." Her mother supports her but tells her the boundaries too.

"One is from the boy, Nand Kishore, with whom you danced. He has done his masters and is going abroad for two years to do his PhD. He's 28yrs old. He's the only son. They live in Delhi and are well established. They are ready to go for the wedding right away or do an engagement and in two years time when he's back will do the wedding. If the wedding is to take place now, which will be your decision, then he will take you with him." Her father tells her. Somehow, she wasn't surprised by this proposal. She had the feeling that Nand Kishore liked her. And during their conversation on the sangeet day, he hinted on looking for a bride.

"The second one is, well, what can I say......" Her father smiles broadly but sobers quickly when he gets a look from his wife.

"The second one is Malik's son, Arnav." Khushi's father looks at her to see how she will react to it. But when he does not get any he continues.

"He's 32 yrs old. He's done with his studies, runs the business, is doing well and is handsome." Shahsee stops for a breath.

"Malik wants the marriage to be done as soon as his daughter comes back from her honeymoon. That is, if you agree to the proposal." Shahsee quickly adds.

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

Khushi closes the door to the study after her parents assure her of their support on which ever proposal she agrees to. It was very obvious to Khushi that her father likes Arnav's proposal more than Nand Kishore's. It was very difficult for her father to hold back his excitement when he was talking about his friend's son's proposal. Only Khushi's Amma can tell her father to do so. And she knew why. Khushi loved her mother for the same reason. The same reason, that she never let her husband force anything on Khushi whether it was study wise, dressing, meeting people, whatever. Garima made sure that Khushi knows all the traditional ways of living, cultural norms and religious practices but never forced her decide how her life should move. So, it was she, Khushi, who had to decide who to choose as her husband.

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Apr 16, 2012

Continued........ (By Maheen) (Thanked: 13 times)

Khushi sits on her bed. She has to make a decision. She has to choose one from the two proposals. So far she has managed to stay away from marriage. Marriage proposals had started to come when she was 18. It was a common practice in her family to marry their girls at a very young age. Almost all her cousins were married. Some of them had teenager children. Khushi had been successful in delaying her marriage. First she had an excuse of studies. Then she wanted her brother older to her get married first. Then she said she wants to enjoy her nephew. Thinking of it Khushi admits that her parents also agreed with her because they did not want her to leave them. But now she was 25. She had to get married before she was out of marriageable age. She knew this was the last year they were going to agree with her.

Another reason that her parents are serious this time is because they liked the proposals. They have seen how Nand Kishore was with her on the sangeet function. And then Arnav was her father's friend son. In her heart she knew that her father likes Arnav more than Nand Kishore because he sees his own son Aakash Bhaya in him. But Khushi also knew that her father will not force his likeness on Khushi on any cost.

So, who should she choose? She knows what sort of a life she'll have with Nand Kishore-care free, full of fun and love. He will love her to the core. He will take good care of her. He's the sort who will bring roses for her on his way back from the office. He will never forget their anniversary. And he will take her with him where ever he can and whenever he can. He'll be like a friend to her.

But does she need a friend? She has friends, lots of them. She wants to know every relationship there is in this world. She knows the relationship of a father, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a nand, a brother, a buwa, a nephew. She knows what these relationships are because they all exist in her life.

Now it's 'a husband's' turn. Yes, that's what she wants to know. She wants to know a man as her husband. And Nand Kishore is a wonderful person but somehow she cannot come to think of him as her husband. That leaves her with the choice of Arnav.

Arnav!!! The mere thought of him being related to her in any way scares the hell out of her and to think of him as her husband, brrrrrr. Khushi shivers at the thought. He's old, mature............ and mysterious. There is 7 yrs of age difference between them. Being that old makes him advance in every field. Be it a relationship, a woman, love, affair, business, society, world, everything. Man of wisdom! 7 yrs of age difference is a lot to cover, Khushi thinks. Her parents had a 7 yrs age difference. Her mother is very happy with him because he is a wise man. He knows how to keep her woman happy. It was obvious who is in command, her father. She liked that with her parents but for herself, she had doubts.

Khushi is tired and wants to sleep. She can think about the matter later. She closes her eyes and goes to sleep.

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

"Khushi!" Khushi hears the same manly voice which she has heard before. She smells the same after shave which she has smelt before. She gets up with a jolt when two soft lips touch her forehead in a kiss. 'What the....' Khushi finds her shaking.

"Khushi Didi, are you okay?" Her maid asks her putting down Khushi's clothes on the side of the bed.

"Who else was here besides you?" Khushi asks the maid desperately.

"No one Didi, I just came to put these pressed clothes when you got up scared." The maid replies. Khushi nods her head as okay and gets up to change. She is on the staircase when she hears the phone bell ringing. 'Why isn't anyone picking it up?' Khushi thinks and run downstairs to answer it.

"Hello!" Khushi recognizes the voice instantly. It's Arnav.

"Yes?" Khushi says.

"Can I speak to Uncle Shashee, please?" Arnav asks. Khushi quickly looks around to see where her dad is? She asks the maid, who is passing by, where everyone is. The maid tells Khushi that they have gone out for shopping.

"He's not here at the moment. Can I take a message?" Khushi says.

"Just called to ask him regarding the file I delivered to him here in Delhi. I tried calling his cell but there was no answer." Arnav says.

"I'll pass on your message." Khushi tells him. There is silence on the other side.

"Hello?" Khushi says.

"Thank you. Have a nice day, Khushi." Arnav says and the call is disconnected. Khushi looks at the receiver. Khushi puts the receiver back on the phone and sits down on the last stair. She holds her dropped head in her hands. 'Why am I getting attracted to him? His voice, his eyes, his whole self, is calling me towards him. It's like he knows something, some secret, and I'm the key to it. When he looks at me, his eyes are talking to me. They are telling me something, as if we know each other.' Khushi does not like the idea one bit. Her being attracted to him is not what she wants. She reasons with herself that because he's handsome she's attracted to him and nothing else.

The phone rings again. Khushi jumps at the sound and looks around for the maid to pick it up. But when the phone does not stop ringing and the maid also doesn't show up, Khushi picks up the phone dreading to hear the same voice again.

"Hello!" Khushi's brother Aakash is on the line.

"Bhayaaaaaa!" Khushi is relieved not to hear the other voice.

"Whats up little sister? What took you so long?" Aakash was worried and angry at the same time.

"Nothing bhaya! When are you coming to India? How's bhabi? And my little nephew? Khushi is very happy to hear her brother's voice.

"Everything and everyone is fine. You tell me what have you decided?" Khushi knows what he's referring to.

"News travel fast!" Khushi laughs.

"Ofcourse! So, should we book our seats for the wedding or you have some new excuse?" Aakash asks her.

"What do you think I should do?" Khushi earnestly asks him.

"Do what your heart says." Aakash simply answers. That's exactly what she's going to do.

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

Apr 17, 2012

Continued....... (By Maheen) (Thanked: 11 times)

Khushi is informed that her parents are in the veranda having tea and she may also join them.

"Aaye bitya." Khushi's father welcomes her.

"What sort of shopping you went for today?" Khushi asks her parents.

"We went to buy some sarees and shalwar kameez for your Bhabi. Your Bhabi said she cann't find any good stuff in New York. I will courier them tomorrow." Khushi's mother gives her few details.

"Why doesn't she come to India for a vacation? She can shop herself as much as she wants. I will also get a chance to be with my cute golu nephew." Khushi says in a complaining tone.

"Bitya, it's not that easy. She has to take leave from her work and from Vijay's school. One has to plan when they have to travel this far." Khushi's father says.

"It's not that easy, even if there's a wedding?" Khushi quietly asks. Her father, who was reading newspaper, looks at her. And her mother who was cutting fruit stops and looks at her.

"Depends whose wedding they have to come to?" Khushi's father asks.

"My wedding." Khushi says. Now she has got full attention of her parents. Garima puts the plate on the table and is all ears. Shashee folds the newspaper and looks at her intently.

"Yes, I have decided to get married." Khushi says but none of her parents say anything or even move. They are like statues.

"It's time that I should settle down and since you know him well, and mom and I are also acquainted with the Malik's tu I will marry Arnav......if you also agree to it." Khushi tells them. Both her parents let out a long breath which they were holding for that time.

"Hahahahaha.....Oh, this is wonderful news! I must call Malik right away." Khushi's father is thrilled. He picks up his phone and dials his friends number. Meanwhile, Garima gets up from her chair and hugs Khushi. She has tears in her eyes. She kisses Khushi on her head.

"Oye Malik! I think I'll make you my samdhi from friend. What do you think?" Shashee speaks laughingly.

"Yes, yes, she also thinks that it's time that we should move forward from friends to relatives." Shashee answers.

"Ok, ok, please come whenever you can." Shashee replies. Khushi has never seen her father this happy. It made her happy to know that her decision made him happy. Her father finishes the call and hugs her tightly.

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

Khushi is also happy because she sees everyone happy around her. She is happy and satisfied that her decision of getting married brought this much happiness in the house. She is looking out of the window when her phone rings.

"Hello bhaiyaa!" Khushi says smilingly.

"To phir dil main aap ke Arnav rehta hai?" Aakash teases her.

"Hahahaha.....it's nothing like that. I just thought that its time I should settle down. And I knew that Ama Babu Jee liked Maliks a lot." Khushi says.

"You are not doing this under any pressure, are you?" Aakash is concerned.

"No. No, no pressure at all." Khushi says.

"Ok, good. Otherwise, you know that I can always talk to Ama Babu Jee." Aakash assures her.

"I know. Thanks. Where's Bhabi?" Khushi asks.

"Here talk to her." Aakash say.

"Hello Khushi darling! And congratulations! Finally, you have decided to honor some man with your companionship." Her sister in law says happily.

"Yes Bhabi I have." Khushi says.

"No, No, don't call me bhabi. It's either Lavanya or La......I don't like Bhabi." Lavanya says.

"Ok, ok. Now hurry up and come quickly to India, lots of work to be done." Khushi says and she

switches off the phone after good byes. Her bedroom door opens and in walks her mother with cordless on her ear talking to someone.

"Yes, yes, lots of work to be done. When is she coming? Yes, we must sit and chalk out the details. Yes, I'll hand over the phone to her. Bye from me." Her mother hands her the phone and tells her that it's Mrs. Malik. Khushi asks her mother signaling what to do with the phone.

"Talk to her." Her mother says. Khushi looks at her mother angrily.

"Hello. Jee Namaste Aunty. I'm fine, thank you. Jee aap ko bhi. Yes, I'll be here tomorrow. Ok, ok, right. Take care. Bye." Khushi switches off the phone.

"Ama, why did you have to give me the phone?" Khushi asks her mother crossed.

"Arre, she wanted to congratulate you. What's wrong with that? Khushi she is your mother in law. You better start behaving yourself." Garima says firmly. The phone rings again.

"Hello!" Garima answers the phone.

"Anjali Bitya! How are you? When are you coming back?" Garima asks smilingly.

"Ok, ok. Yes, she's here. I'll give her the phone." Garima holds the phone towards Khushi. Khushi takes it reluctantly.

"Hello! Jee, same to you. Yes, Aunty told me. Thank you. Ok." Khushi waits for someone on the phone.

"Hello! Thank you and same to you too. Yes, I will. Take care. Bye." Khushi talks to both Anjali and her husband Shyam and switches off the phone. Garima takes the phone and leaves giving Khushi the look to behave. Khushi goes to her bed and sits with a thud. Her cell phone rings. 'Now who is calling?' Khushi is irritated and looks at the number. It's an unknown number. 'Unka hoga. How can he stay behind?' Khushi thinks and answers the phone.

"Hello! Who is this?" Khushi asks.

"Hello, this is your banker calling. Just wanted to check with you if you made any transaction on the net last night?" A lady asks. Khushi thinks about it and replies yes to her banker remembering she purchased some clothes on the net. She switches off the phone. 'It was not him.' Khushi is disappointed.

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

The next day when Khushi comes downstairs for breakfast she sees lots of movement going on in the house. Then she remembers that her in laws to be were coming to talk about the wedding.

That part also went smoothly. Lots of presents were brought not just for Khushi but also for the rest of the members of her family. Everyone was happy. The guests stayed till noon. Khushi was exhausted by the time her in laws left.

Khushi came to her room and instead of going to her bed to sleep she stood in front of the window which as far as she can remember did not open. She always forgets to get it fixed. She gives it two three pushes but it does not open. She wants to breathe fresh air. She is irritated by something but can't put her finger on it. She is tired but does not want to sleep. It's not that she is not sleepy or is overjoyed that she cannot sleep. It's just that she wants to go over on today's events. Everything went well, perfect. Her in laws came, gave her presents, showed their love and fixed the date. But something was missing.

Arnav was missing. 'Why didn't he come? If he was busy tu at least he should have called to congratulate or just talk to me.' Khushi thinks. But he did not call. 'The whole world has called me, to ask me, to congratulate me and he did not.' Why?

From the day she said yes for marriage her life was in a whirlwind. No one let her sleep. She was always needed by someone somewhere or the other. Someday it was her wedding dress, someday it was her jewelry and some day it was the invitations cards. Days were flying away. Her brother and Bhabi were soon going to join them which was the only exciting thing for Khushi at the moment. She was reading a book when her maid came to her room.

"Khushi Didi there's a gentleman downstairs waiting for you." The maid informs.

"Who is it Payal?" Khushi asks.

"He said he has something for you and it needs to be delivered to you directly." The maid says. 'It must be the jeweler.' Khushi thinks and goes downstairs.

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

Apr 18, 2012

Continued........ (By Maheen) (Thanked: 13 times)

Khushi stops midway on the stairs because Arnav is sitting on the sofa in the lounge. 'What is he doing here? Ama Babuji are not home.' Khushi thinks nervously. Arnav stands up when he sees Khushi come downstairs. Khushi likes what she sees. He's formally dressed up in a black suit. Even his shirt is black and is without a tie. He looks very sexy. It's his spectacles that are doing the trick. As she comes closer to him she smells his cologne. 'This guy definitely knows all the tricks of the trade.....attracting females.' Khushi smiles inwardly on her attraction towards him.

"Hi." Arnav says with a short smile.

"Hello." Khushi replies.

"Please be seated." Khushi tells him and takes a seat herself. She looks at him ready to take whatever he has to give her. She is a bit confused because she does not see any file or anything else in his hands or on the table. 'What is it that he wants to give me?' Khushi looks at him questioningly. A smile comes to Arnav's face.

"How have you been? I'm sorry I couldn't call you or see you earlier. Everything was so sudden and I was already tied up in work." Arnav explains. Khushi only nods her head in understanding. When he does not get any words out of her mouth, he takes out a rectangular black suede box from his jacket's inner pocket.

"This is something for you." Arnav hands her the box. Khushi takes it curiously and opens it. She is speechless at the sight of it.

"The jeweler was at our place and he showed few pieces for the wedding. This one wasn't for sale but I liked it so I got it for you." Arnav says when Khushi takes out a long thin glittery bracelet. Diamonds! My God! Khushi is astounded. She looks at Arnav who is trying to gauge Khushi's reaction.

"This is beautiful!" Khushi tells him. Arnav is pleased with the reply and relaxes on the sofa. Khushi tries to put it on her wrist but cannot grasp the clips. Arnav moves forward and points at the bracelet.

"I think it's done like this." He indicates her how to close it but Khushi still cannot clip it properly. It keeps falling down.

"May I?" Arnav asks Khushi. Khushi gives him the bracelet. Arnav takes the bracelet and looks at her waiting. Khushi does not understand what he wants. Arnav looking straight in her eyes takes her hand and puts the bracelet on her wrist. What a combination of ice cold diamonds and warm hot touch of his hands. Lots of butterflies swirl in Khushi's stomach. Arnav clasps the bracelet on her wrist.

"It looks nice on you. Actually perfect!" Arnav says gently placing back her hand.

"Arre Arnav Bete!" The magic is broken when Khushi's father says. He comes cheerfully towards Arnav. Shashee hugs Arnav. Garima also comes forward and gives a kiss on Arnav's forehead. They just returned from their day's shopping spree. Garima gets the glimpse of the bracelet and

looks at Khushi joyfully.

"I was in town and thought of stopping by." Arnav tells them.

"You did the right thing. I'm sure that you can stay with us till lunch." Khushi's father takes the decision for Arnav who does not mind the plan at all. Garima runs towards the kitchen to make sure that everything is prepared to the perfection for her son in law to be. Khushi also had to help her mother as per her father's instructions. They all have a nice time. Khushi finds that Arnav has a good sense of humor and has lots of stories to share. After lunch Shashee announces that the men will go in the veranda for a smoke and Khushi can bring them green tea. Khushi does not like all this 'Khatir tawaza'. She does not say anything in front of her father but makes a face when she enters the kitchen. Once the tea is ready she takes it out. Arnav is sitting there all alone. She puts the tray and hands him the cup and is about to leave when Arnav asks her to join him since her father was busy on a call. Khushi obliges him. They have a small general talk.

"Do you get the time to watch TV?" Khushi asks Arnav.

"No, not much?" Arnav tells her.

"What about you?" Arnav asks Khushi.

"I'm also not a big fan of sitting in front of it all day long but there are few shows that I like to watch." Khushi tells him.

"Such as?" Arnav asks.

"Such as 'Friends' is my favorite." Khushi tells him.

"Aaaa! That American comedy show. Yes, I have also seen few episodes of it. I was flying from England to India and it was on one of the channels in the plane." Arnav agrees with her.

"What else?" Arnav asks.

"Well! There is one which I watch on Star Plus also, regularly." Khushi tells him gauging his reaction.

"Star Plus! Really? What show do you watch?" Arnav is curious.

"Iss Pyar Ko Kiya Naam Doon?" Khushi tells him. Arnav looks at her as if she doesn't have a brain.

"Oookkkk!" Arnav says and goes quite. Khushi is not surprised to get such a reaction from him. She knew what men thought of plays on Star Plus. Arnav looks at his watch.

"I must leave now. Have a meeting in the evening." Arnav says. Arnav says his goodbyes to the family and leaves. Khushi also goes to her room thinking about her meeting with her fianc. The start was very romantic, the mid was amusing.....but the end was unexpected. Was it Star Plus that put him off????

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

Apr 19, 2012

Continued....... (By Maheen) (Thanked: 15 times)

The hustle bustle of the wedding carries on. Khushi's brother and his family have also arrived. They are all busy in the preparations. Just three days are left for the wedding to start. Khushi's house is continuously occupied by her cousins and friends. The dholkis have started. Khushi is getting ready to go downstairs. Her room is filled with her unmarried hyper cousins. Someone is taking her clothes out to see which one they can keep and someone is taking out her shoes if they fit them and can take them once Khushi is married. Khushi's cell phone rings. It's an unknown number.

"Hello?" Khushi says telling the girls to keep it down.

"Hello Khushi. This is Arnav here." Khushi hears his deep voice. Khushi holds her phone in a tight grasp and tells the girls to leave her room. They all tease her knowingly who is on the phone. When they are all out she puts the phone back on her ear.

"Aaa, sorry about that." Khushi says.

"That's ok. Something similar is going on around here at my place so I understand." Arnav says laughingly. They have small sweet talk then Arnav tells her that he watched few episodes of her favorite show on Star Plus, Iss Pyar Ko Kiya Naam Doon?

"Oh, you did?" Khushi is surprised.

"Yes, I did." That's all he says. Khushi does not ask him what he thinks about it and is not going to either. If he has to say something about it then he'll say it himself. But Arnav does not speak anything of it. Khushi can feel that he will not give his his opinion until asked. Khushi likes his attitude. He is what he is i.e., smart and does not force his persona on any one which gains respect from Khushi. But it made her think about the fact that he watched the show just because she told him that she likes it. This brings a smile on her face and happiness in her life.

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

The wedding functions start. Her in laws shift to Lucknow to their old family house/hawali. They visit her house almost every day/all day except for Arnav. On her wedding day in the morning her mother in law and sister in law visit her. They have brought her wedding dress and jewelry. They had told the Gupta family right in the beginning that it's customary in Malik's family for the bride to wear her bridal attire presented to her from the groom side. The ideology behind it is that the groom shows the world in what manner he intends to keep his bride the rest of his life.

All the girls are sitting in the lounge waiting to see what they have brought for the bride. When Anjali opens a huge white cardboard box tied with big satin ribbon to show them the dress, a loud intake of breath is heard. The dress is beautiful. It is a lahanga choli set with a huge net dupata. It's in shades of light pink. The colours start from off white from the top/choli darkening till at the end/lahange. The dupata is of baby pink colour with a 5 inch silver worked border around the four sides of it. The same border is used at the hem/border of the lahanga. The choli has a boat neck which will show off Khushi's colar bones. The rest of the dress is sprinkled with swarovski crystals. It's simple but elegant. Everyone praises the dress and Arnav's mother and Anjali are very happy to know that.

"This is especially designed for you. Arnav gave a hell of a time to the jeweler to get it right i.e., the way Arnav wanted it to be." Anjali takes out a black suede box and opens it for Khushi to have a look at it. This time there is no sound of intake of breath. Instead there is a pin drop silence. Everyone is speechless. Khushi touches the sparkling choker of diamonds. It's very simple but that's what makes it look beautiful. Khushi looks at the details of it. The choker pati is not broad more than an inch but it's studded with diamonds. Hanging down to the choker in a line are half a carat baby pink tourmaline stones. And in the middle of the choker is a one big tear drop full size of 3 inch tourmaline. Khushi is amazed at how this natural stone of two shades has been crafted to look so beautiful to enhance its natural colour of light and dark shade of pink. Khushi realizes that the wedding dress was made according to this stone's color theme.

Khushi very carefully takes out the choker and puts it around her neck. The choker compliments her long slender neck and the big drop of tourmaline comes right in the middle of her collar bones further enhancing them. This time she hears everyone praising in one go: 'Wow! Khushi this is beautiful!', 'Oh my God! Khushi you look like a princess!', 'This is out of this world!' and so on.

"I think Arnav should also get into the jewelry business." Anjali says happily. Khushi takes off the choker and puts it back in the box. She admires the matching earrings with it but does not dare to take it out in case they vanish as if she's dreaming. 'Arnav got this made especially for you.' Anjali's words come to Khushi's mind. Such care and thought. She smiles and relaxes a bit.

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

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