Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances

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Feb 18, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 118 times)


Disclaimer: These are fan fictions (FFs) using the character names Arnav and Khushi from the popular Hindi show Iss Pyar ko Kya Naam Doon (IPKKND). The FFs borrows the character ‘names’ for their popularity and in no way claims any resemblance of the televised characters Arnav/Khushi in the show or their IPKKND world. These fan fictions and their situation are purely a work of a fan’s imagination outside the storyline of IPKKND and is intended for entertainment ‘outside’ the official storyline. There is no intention of claiming ownership over these characters or in any profit making from this publication of fan fiction on this website. I am grateful to the makers of IPKKND for their wonderful piece of work and without them I would not be writing these stories.



The story lines of Arshirandomfan’s Full  Circle fictions are purely based on the my imagination and the characters are fictious. Any resemblance, to person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The content is for mature audience. Warning: There are dark elements, violence, vivid descriptions and the readers are adviced to use their own discretion on reading these stories.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~x~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



She was there right in front of his eyes. Her face unclear, behind the veil…but he had seen the tears that slowly made their way down…in the light of the thunder. Her lips trembling...

The storm grew stronger. The wind caused the chandelier to fall from the ceiling. It landed in the space between them, the glass shattered... A shard of glass pierced his forehead...clouding his vision further.

She moved a step, almost floating and looked back at him from behind that veil. She was right at the edge. He stepped ahead…opened his mouth. She pointed to the water…"Arnavji..." her call even if it was whisper was clearly desperate. Her body in the next second went over ledge…

She spread her arms in the air; her body falling into the darkness was rapidly being engulfed by the dark waters below.

He screamed… He had not seen it coming.

“NANDINI…” His hands out stretched to catch hold of her.

A blinding flash…the speeding car slid over into the gravel and raced through the grass land, crashed against a nearby tree…

~~~x~~~


Beads of sweat formed on her forehead. She was unable to focus…she felt drained, gasped…feeling uneasy. She passed out a moment later, falling from her chair. Darkness surrounded her. She had no idea how long she was out.

“Khushi…” someone shook her and sprinkled water on her face…She blinked her eyes open… for a moment she looked blankly at the woman.

“You need to see a doctor…” the woman said firmly. Khushi sat up…gathering her thoughts. “I …need…to finish the article…I am just tired.”

“The article can wait…” the woman responded.

“No… no… this is important…” she got up hurriedly…and stepped back to balance herself on the chair and focused on the woman. “This is important Komal.”

“Khushi… you need to take it slow and cut down on the hours…” said Komolika.

Khushi rolled her eyes… “I am fine…” She sat down, focused on the screen. “I must have skipped lunch…and dinner…” she figured hearing her stomach growl.

Komolika sighed and shook her head…and then said “Danny…went to Fortis…there was an accident.”

“Hmm…” Khushi responded concentrating back on the screen. “Where was I?” she had lost her trail of thoughts for the article.

“It was Arnav Singh Raizada.” said Komolika softly. "You passed out, so Danny had to go...he is important."

She looked up…"Aww ...could n't hold a drink could he?" She sneered. "I have no interest in another sensational hot pot, good thinking...Komal..glad not to go." She smiled. "I have no interest in following these high society folks for an interview to know if they broke any bones..."

"What do you have against news?" Asked Komolika... "We need stories with human faces, all the investigation stuff is definitely not paying for this building... The circulation has gone down... you know…" said Komolika.

Khushi glared... "Yea.. yea.. yeah…remember the counterfeit medicine scandal...it...it brought us back and bought us time." She said defending her work.

“Come Again??” Said Komolika folding her arms... "It paid for a month's rent ... But Danny's clip on the reality show star ...." She was continuing when Khushi typed vigorously on to her key board to shut her up... “Make Danny your editor-in-chief!” she declared grumpily and continued typing on her computer. The photos of the BMW crash came up on her screen in seconds. "There see...” she exclaimed. “How can there be a story? He goes head on and crashes against a nearby tree...thats it!Finished! Whats the story?" says Khushi frustrated...

"He is the story…you make him a story.” Said Komolika icily,“Its your job."

Khushi slumps back against the chair and scowls at the images...The blood splattered on the steering and glass makes her feel guilty...about her earlier comment. "Is it really him? Is he okay?" she asks timidly in the realisation of the tragedy. She was upset that the 750 words were going to cost her another day of her time... She needed to get the article fixed urgently... The national elections was coming up and she had a lot to say…

Khushi stared at the pictures. The front of the car was smashed. "Khushi we checked the license, it is definitely him and Danny said the police easily identified him, his passport was in his back seat in his travel bag. It was him in his car, on the way back from the airport." Said Komolika, her voice softened in a little sympathy.

“The first information report," murmured Khushi slightly angry... she did not like what she saw but more than that she did not like writing such stuff.

"Danny is getting a copy of it. They suspect he was jet lagged and probably went off the road in his drowsiness. No trace of alcohol… or any other drug said the doctors from Fortis.” Komolika added.

“Then what am I going to write?” Khushi winced… there was no angle to this story, it was a simple accident.


"Khushi he sells, any damn little thing on him sells... just write it up. I don’t care." She makes it apparently clear that she was interested in the piece for increasing circulation. Khushi takes a deep breath.

She scrolls through the article… her eyes on the page…Her mind clouds in confusion. But she says nothing.

Komolika looked at her, “Have you met him?”

“No…” coughed up Khushi… "Never.. why?"

"I was just curious." she smiled. "Don't stay too long and make sure you run it with his picture... it will catch everyone’s attention, I met him once…he is… stunning and very attractive.” She says with a little higher pitch.

Khushi looks up with interest, “Komal, he is a billionaire.”

Komal sighs… “I know…” she smiles dreamily. “Look up the database...there must be at least one. It’s so hard to keep track of him…Danny said the place was cordoned off even before the local inspector reached. The DG (Deputy Inspector General) was there…” she paused… “Well, we have no word from AR Industries communications and personnel relations Director… so we are going to…”

Khushi lost the trail of her voice… inside her head she was anxious and her heart thumped heavily… she was nervous and she felt she had lied about Arnav Singh Raizada…

“Carry on…” said Komolika.

Khushi nodded.

As soon as Komolika left, Khushi felt the dribble of sweat in her forehead trickling down… she wiped it quickly and drank the last bit of water from the glass. She closed her eyes trying to picture him. "Nothing!!" She exclaimed and threw her arms up in frustration. "Did you have to hit the tree tonight?" She retorted angrily to the computer screen bearing his name and then run his name through the database. One folder, one picture that’s all that was there. “Hah…there…” she copied the link to the photograph ignoring the rest of the contents of it, and quickly added the intranet link of the photo to the article as she typed out all the generic stuff.

The rest she typed up and send to Komolika once Danny gave her the papers. She folded her arms and leaned back on her chair… “Danny… is n’t there a way…to avoid this?” Khusi looked uneasily… Danny scrolled up and down her article… “No… Its news…Khushi. There is nothing personal about news…” She gave him a half hearted smile.

“It is 3 am…” she said and got up.

“Need a ride?” asked Danny.

“No I have my car…” said Khushi.

“Oh!” he winked… “I hope you don’t have to push it home.”

“Danny… its perfectly fine , my car!” said Khushi with some anger.

Danny chuckled. “Text me when you get home.”

“Okay…” said Khushi.

On her way she tuned some music and sang along the FM retro rock station – “I want to break free….” She was happy… her article was coming along well, she finally had something worth while…It would bring their The Morning Mirror back.”

In the next minute she forgot the strangeness of it all.

~~~x~~~

“Chhote…” she called him again and gently stroked his hair. A tear slipped and she finally got up after hours of waiting, contemplating. She closed the door and dialled the number, still hesitating…

The phone rang, a sleepy voice crackled on the other side.

“Anjali bitiya.” She whispered.

“Naniji?” she exclaimed and sat up.

She hesitated… “Woh…Chhote…” she barely whispered.

“He had an accident.” Said Naniji…her voice wavered. She choked at the last words.

Anjali stopped breathing. “I will come over…right now.” She said after sometime

“Nahi…nahi…the doctor says the injuries are minor… nothing to worry about, no concussion.” said Naniji… “Chhote is unconscious. Just come in the morning.”

Anjali kept quiet… “I will see you in the morning then.”

Naniji sighed. She disconnected the phone.

~~~x~~~


In Fortis hospital, the next morning.

His body still ached. His head throbbed…

He opened his eyes…and reached for his phone on the side table. “Darn…” he muttered.

Naniji came inside… “Chhote…”

He looked up…his throat was dry… “Nani…?” he looked at her hesitantly, hiding his surprise… She sat beside him…pressed his hands.

He scrolled the screen, looking at the headlines… the photograph of his crashed car spread over the page. He sighed.

“I just reached.” Nani lied. He nodded in response... while typing a quick message "Get rid of everyone. I don't want them anywhere around here. Send a car…"

“I spoke to Anjali bitiya …”she added cautiously softening her eyes and looking at him.

“You should n’t have…” he said grimly looking at her directly… “It’s just some scratches…Nani…Whats the big deal?”

Nani did not argue…and said quietly,”I thought she should know…”

“When is she reaching?” he asked.

“She said she will be here in the morning.” Said Nani.

“Okay… we can wait… but you know the reporters…the media.” said Arnav.

“We can wait a few hours…?” she asks…”Or No?”

“Okay…” he says. “But I have to get going soon Nani…” he says.

“You had an accident… you need some rest.” Says Nani.

He looks apathetic.

“Do… whatever you want Chhote.” She says , “Just take care…”

She gets up to go outside…

“Nani…I will be home for dinner.” he says…as an after thought.

She smiles.

~~~x~~~


A few hours later… three cars move out and the media journalists follow all the three…They take different routes to AR Industries head quarters.

Three different Directors get out of those cars – the journalists sigh and their questions follow… “No comments…” remain their response.


A single car leaves the hospital shortly after.

“D**** Singh, Shantivan.” he instructs his driver.

After a moment of silence passes between them

“Nani… next time… just don’t.” he says softly, pleading her.

She nods. “How was London?”

“Actually…it was good… I am very happy with the market response to our product, we bagged several long term contracts.” He said… and continued all the way.


They soon pulled over in the driveway to the mansion… “I will see you in the evening.”

She waved a good bye.

The car soon sped away to AR industries head quarters.

~~~x~~~



Feb 18, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 95 times)

Anjali paced near the door.


At distance was her husband, sitting with the guests. The servant came along with the refreshments. She took it from him… “I will take it.” She dismissed him but the servant followed shortly after with tea. She walked towards the group, the sun flashed from over her head, despite the anxiety inside her, she put up a bright smile entering into the vicinity of the men who surrounded her husband. The talking hushed as she approached and her husband looked at her radiant face…


“There was no need…” he remarked cordially. His tall lean body was draped in the finely tailored bundhgala kurta. He rolled his sleeves and extended his hands to take the tray from her hands. His dark sharp eyes were on her face, prominent eyebrows arched questioningly, his straight long nose sat perfectly on his streamlined narrow face, and tight set jawline seemed sharper that morning. His skin shined faintly in the morning sun to translucent light brown and the dark hair was brushed back as usual accentuating his broad impressive square forehead. His thin lips twisted to smile at her.


Anjali swallowed and returned him a smile which followed with a downward submissive glance. She greeted everyone quickly and left without uttering another word. The morning newspaper lay next to Vir Pratap Singh Chauhan’s chair, untouched. He went on to discuss the agenda with his party members.


An hour later he went inside and found Anjali sitting in the living room area, he threw her a quick glance and walked inside his office. A few minutes later he came out and buttoning up his jacket, addressed her, “Anjali…” she looked up. “We will have some guests over in the evening…”


“I will be home.” she responded and smiled.


He turned and left.

She picked her phone… finally.


It rang for sometime

“Chhote…” she said that much and kept quiet.

“I am okay Di… You did not have to come.” He said too quickly and then paused uneasily “Really… it was just a few scratches.”

She listened… a few tears were shed and then she went about describing her exciting evening with distinguished guests in the evening with enthusiasm.

Arnav listened… smiling morosely in his cabin…

“So I guess… we won’t be seeing each other tonight.” He said.

Anjali quietened… “Just that the elections are coming up and you know…” she tried to explain.

“It’s alright…” Arnav interjected, you don’t need to make excuses to me. By the way, I got your favourite things from Harrods… I will send Dharam Singh over…” he said with a slight disappointment… “I felt like seeing you…”

“I am sorry…” responded Anjali after a minute of awkward silence.

“Any way…call me later Di… I got to be at a meeting soon.”

“Bye…” she managed to spurt out and kept the phone before bursting into tears.


~~~x~~~


Arnav stared at the phone, sighed and then he forced himself to resume his work. In the next few minutes he was too busy to think of the abrupt end to the conversation with Anjali.

Some where in middle of this, Sid poked his head in his cabin,"Liked your exit strategy...added a pinch of presidential flavour to it?"

Arnav glared, "You routed three Directors and changed their scheduled..."


Sid grinned, "It worked."

"It did..." And looked gravely, eyeing his dark grey suit questionably with a smirk.

"Trials, got to look serious for the Sunday Morning breakfast show..." He said excitedly. "You would not go any way...right?"

" Sid...if are going make sure you read this." Arnav brought out a 15 inch thickly binded book... "Our HR policies, administrative structures, labour policies, contract clauses and..."

Sid's jaw dropped, "Oi, I am communications head..." He said in a tempered voice.

"Of course... I was just saying. If you want you can glance through the Annual Reports of last 5 years." Arnav pointed to the book case with equally thickly binded neatly stacked books.


Sid scowled and said " I can manage,ASR you will see...and in any case I am going because Kabir Khanna called up after seeing the papers..." He paused. "You don't care anyway." Siddharth Singhania turned on his feet and left. He was medium height and unconventionally attractive. He was not the brawny masculine type, but there was nothing effeminate about him. His lean and toned body appeared very fit, his light eyes sparked with energy and intelligence, he had an easy smile that charmed most.


Arnav heard the bang of his door. He returned to his files.

By the time he finished it was way past six. He quickly left a message for Sid and left quietly. He instructed his driver to change cars again, just as a precaution.


Dharam Singh came around. He busied himself with his mails glancing at the small neatly packed box on his seat.

He left it there.

The dinner was a quiet affair.

He retired early to bed feeling exhausted.


~~~x~~~

Sunday Morning at the sets of People of India Network and Production House.

Kabir Khanna sniggered, "Who is this?"

" She is editor of The Morning Mirror." Replied the unit Manager. "We informed the ..."

"SHUT UP!" Kabir Khanna's voice resonated the walls of his office. "You know how long I have done this, I have never had an unknown face..."

The manager shifted uneasily.


Kabir Khanna walked out and took his seat without acknowledging his guest. He looked coldly at her... His eyes lingered downward until the person in front of him shifted uneasily. He then looked up and smiled "If don't understand whats going on then don't over do it. We got you here for your face and your charming smile."

Khushi nodded meekly, looking nervous.

Kabir looked satisfied. "Shall we start."


A minute later Sid entered shook hands with both and took his seat. He wore casuals, after all it was a Sunday morning show not some business news channel.

The lights went on... 5, 4,3,2,1....

Kabir's deep voice filled the air, "Good Morning..."


~~~x~~~


Feb 19, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 101 times)

At Amrita Bhawan, Sunday Morning


"Anjali...you should have mentioned it at least, I had no idea..." Said Vir sipping his coffee and reading the newspaper. “You know how things are with me.”

"I spoke to Chhote yesterday, he is alright." said Anjali.

"May be you can see him today?"asked Vir.

"I...I have to accompany you to the Press Club and may be on the way back… I will see him." Said Anjali.

"Well, as you wish. I don’t want this to prolong. It is embarrassing because I quite don’t understand why is he so…adamant…”

“Its nothing … Virji. He is just unable to cope with changes.

“Its been five years of our marriage. He better get used to it.” said Vir raising his voice slightly but then he mellowed instantly “Sorry, its Sunday and I don’t want to spoil it for us, be ready by noon.”He said kissing her lightly.

Anjali nodded, stiffened, and held her breath.

"By the way, it was great, the way you arranged everything tonight. Everyone was impressed." said Vir and left.

Anjali stared at the food spread and then resumed eating her breakfast methodically.


~~~~x~~~~

At the set of Kabir Khanna’s breakfast show.

"Today we are having our morning coffee with Communications Director at AR Industries…the smart and suave Siddharth.

The camera focuses on Sid, he smiles his dazzling million dollar smile.

And we also have Ms Gupta, editor of weekly newspaper.... Kabir trailed.

"The Morning Mirror." Finished Khushi, with a warm smile. The camera turns on her briefly before cutting her on the side and focusing on Kabir and Sid.

"Yes, welcome both of you to our show."


“Sid, that’s what everyone calls you right?” asked Kabir and Sid affirmed. “Well, so what’s happening in AR industries now, you are based in Delhi but our sources say that ASR is often missing and running the show from London, is that true?


Sid took a moment, “Actually Kabir, lets separate ASR and AR Industries… AR Industries have dominated the market for the last 5 years and there has been a noticeable change in the growth of the company. This has happened because in AR Industries it has been our policy to let the employees decide and determine the pathway to progress…” Kabir nodded.

Khushi focused at Sid.

“And this growth pattern has remained consistent whether or not ASR is here or in London in any point of time.”

“So you mean to say that things are handled in a manner not compromising the business as usual…” added Kabir.

“Yes, there are direct communication lines for any one…to approach ASR.”said Sid.

“For anyone… except journalists and media.” Said Kabir.

Sid laughed, “Well, if it were different then I would "not" have a job in AR Industries.”

Kabir smiled… “We are in conversation with Siddhartha and Ms Gupta on AR Industries and ASR… we take a short break here and return shortly.


As the first take got over Kabir and Sid got up chatted and left Khushi on the table.

She got up herself and asked for some water.


In 5 minutes they were back on the table.

“You are doing good Ms Gupta.” winked Kabir. “Now it’s your turn and remember what I said…”

Khushi nodded and smiled politely.


“Welcome back… every one… we are in conversation with…..”continued Kabir. “Ms Gupta, what would be your opinion of such a policy, I am sure you would agree that this is a radical approach in today’s scenario.”

Khushi smiled, “Radical? Kabir, I am a cynic and I am not sure until I see for myself that this works… In accordance to the last 5 years of the Annual Gross Income of AR Industries, the profits have largely been used to increase their production and install equipments; cutting down drastically on labour. I wonder if such a change is a result of 'participatory approach' and if it is so then what is radical about it at all?” Khushi pauses looking directly at Sid. “I can give you numbers of the lay offs if you want from the last 5 years.


In Shantivan, a sleepy Arnav Singh Raizada forced himself to sit up on his bed and as the words registered in his head he scowled at the screen.

Kabir looked at Sid, “Would like to respond to that?”

Sid looked at Khushi, “I don’t need the numbers Ms Gupta, but the current economic conditions has forced us to take decisions that has direct impact in our ability to continue to keep the same number of staff…or labour.”

“You then certainly agree that despite your participatory engagement; in making these precise decisions the motive is largely to benefit the company, so inherently they are discretionary and against labour welfare.” said Khushi forcefully.

“I think you are getting me wrong Ms Gupta, I only acknowledged that we are forced by market and economic conditions to take harsh decisions and these decisions are supported …” Sid was explaining…

“You are saying that the layoffs have support from other workers, I am really surprised.” Said Khushi widening her eyes.

Kabir grinned.

“No…” said Sid in a irritant voice…”Supported by analysts, theorists as to what is best for the company’s future.”

“So labour becomes your sacrificial lamb.” Concluded Khushi.

“Look Ms Gupta, your taking words out of me… let me assure you that those who leave, go in good position and have support from AR Industries until they find equally good opportunities...”

“That’s not what your HR Policy say… Do you want me to quote?” retorts Khushi.

“Well, I will have to take break here…” says Kabir and repeats the usual lines in a monotone…

They break… Silence fills the sets.

Sid gets up… “Excuse me.”


Kabir turns to Khushi… and smiles.

“Hope I did not over do it.” she says smugly.

“No… no… not at all.” he says … “I owe you an apology…”

“It’s okay… I look dumb, not your fault.” She says grinning.

“This is my card, if you ever need a platform and just to make up for this morning, I would like you to come to the gala dinner we are hosting …”

The set lights clicked again…

The banter between Khushi and Sid continues for another 10 minutes and the show was wrapped by Kabir Khanna.


At Shantivan Arnav Singh Raizada was on phone with his HR head.

“Mr Mehra, I want everything on that journalist on Kabir’s show. Yes, I saw it.” he said grimly.

“And, she will be joining as the Joint director, Media and Communications.”

“But ASR…” hesiatated Mr Mehra.

“No buts; Mr Mehra make it happen. I don’t care what it takes.” SaidASR.

“She already writes for a newspaper.” Said Mr Mehra.

“I know, and I also know it is not doing well… talk to her boss.” Said ASR.

“Well, it may take time.” said Mr Mehra.

“Next week, I want to see her in that office.” Said ASR and cut the phone.


At the parking of People of India Network,

Khushi turned her keys a few times… the car responded with a stir and stopped.

Sid watched her from behind his Mercedes coupe… he roared his engine and stopped next to her… “Having troubles?” he asked looking at her lowering his shades from the bridge of his nose…

She looked at him…nodded and got out…thinking he meant to give her a ride.


Even before she opened her mouth to respond, Sid whistled.

Khushi looked stunned.

The guard came out of his cubicle… “Haan Saab.”

Sid took out a few 500 hundred rupee notes and shoved it in his pocket… “Madam … here needs a ride… call the tow-truck for her.”

The guard gave him toothed grin… “Yes Sir!”

Sid grinned wickedly and winked at her… and screeching his tyres he sped off from the scene.


Khushi was shocked in the moment unable to understand what just happened and s realisation hit her she fumed standing there, embarrassed.

She took her phone out and called for a taxi.

~~~x~~~

Dear Readers,

I am introducing the characters slowly in this new fan fiction. You will get to know their background and history in the story. I don’t want to give paragraphs of information right away but make it a part of the story. Some characters and their back grounds will come up later.

Thank you everyone for your comments. I have read them all and feel overwhelmed to get so many “welcome backs”- of course most of you are familiar with Full Circle’s and my stories are different from the track line of original IPKKND so if you want to follow this story, you will have to read the updates!! ? I am unable to give snippets or respond back to your questions due to lack of time.

ARF.


Feb 19, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 103 times)

Update 4


Kabir Khanna, the owner of the largest and most popular news network television, ‘People of India News and Network.” In the last 5 years the TRP’s of his new channel had been highest nationally and regionally. In the political hum drum his words mattered. His popularity had soared and remained consistent because of his unbiased coverage. Kabir, however, is known to be arrogant, and much to the dislike of many, a sexist.


“I am free this afternoon if you are willing to come to the Hyatt.” Kabir called Vir Pratap Singh Chauhan after the morning show.


~~~x~~~

Khushi reached her empty office… She went straight to the ladies restroom, and locked it up. She stared at the wall mirror, glancing at her attire- plain white short sleeved cotton kurta top and loose pants. Her face had no make up except the powder and pink gloss the make up artist had forced on her before the show. She splashed some cold water on her face and stood there for sometime until the beats of her heart slowed down thinking of Kabir staring at her. He apologised, but it meant nothing for the kind of discomfort she had felt being stared at in front of ten people. She bunched up the kurta behind her to look at herself and sighed at her modestly endowed body.


Kabir, to her had been an inspiration until she met him that morning. She had for all her life dreamt of him being the perfect man – she wondered if she was in love with him or she worshipped him. Now,the dilemma crossed her mind – how does she perceive such behaviour? But he had asked her to come to the gala dinner…not everyday you get an invitation from Kabir Khanna. Khushi felt better and put his card safely in her bag.


She took a deep breath and then thought of Sid,"He is cute." she concluded. She had fun riling him, although she harboured very different views on AR Industries, she had taken the opportunity to grind him for ignoring her calls to his office. She was smiling thinking of his behaviour that morning, it was almost like a childish prank but he pulled it off to serve his purpose. She giggled and came out returning to her desk.


~~~x~~~

Sid screeched his car to a halt and jumped out and stormed inside Shantivan an hour later.

Arnav smiled behind the paper, sipping his coffee and thinking about the morning show with Kabir.


“Nani…Nani…” Sid burst into the kitchen.

“Breakfast?” he asked, Devyani pointed him to the dinning room. Arnav was waiting for Sid to settle down. Sid made plenty of noise barking instructions at the servant to get him three different cold beverages. He drank them alternatively.


Then he looked at Arnav's twisted lips and shouted, " How long are you going to wait till you say ,"I told you so?"

Arnav grinned. "Well that's the fun part - watching you." He said. "But there is a better part is to see yet - your reaction." Said Arnav.


Sid had stuffed his mouth full of delicious parathas that Nani just served him.

"Reag...tion (reaction) to what?" He asked between his mouth full.

"I have found the perfect candidate for the position of Joint Director of Media and Communications." Said Arnav.

Sid's eyes grew bigger... "You haff (have)?" He said indulging in another mouth full.

"Slow down beta..." Said Nani seeing his bulging cheeks.

Sid nodded, barely paying attention, he wiped clean a spoonful of yoghurt.

Nani walked inside to check on the rest of the preparations.


"Ms Gupta... Your co guest at Kabir's morning show." Said Arnav.

“WHA....?” his words got stuck “Cough… cough..” Some pieces landed on the table ... Arnav got up. "Mehra is taking care of it, expect her next week."


Glup... (the unchewed food forced itself down) "Hic...hic..hic." the food was stuck in his windpipe.. Sid's eyes watered, he held his throat.

The servant dashed ahead and poured water in his glass....

All that came out Sid were strange, loud hiccups.


Nani glared at Arnav, “Chhote what happened?” she asked rushing out of the kitchen hearing the loud hic ups.

Arnav gave her an innocent smile, shrugging his shoulders walked past her in his abyss.



~~~~x~~~


Sidhartha Singhania, friend of Arnav since business school days. Sid was a couple of years younger and hence adored by the Raizada’s. His interactions with Arnav’s family were typically aimed to gain sympathy, but nobody seems to mind it. Sid’s own parent’s were estranged and separated and they rarely kept in touch with him. Arnav who is otherwise detached, dotted on Sid like he would for a younger brother, especially to fill the void in his life after Anjali’s marriage.


Siddharth Singhania, followed Arnav.

“We don’t need another person, I mean not her..” he said vehemently.

“The office is empty, you have been looking for a replacement, no one according to you fits the bill. I just made it easier for you.” said Arnav walking ahead.

Sid caught up and walked briskly beside him…

“Anyone but, her?” he shouted. “She just… just…” he swallowed thinking of the morning.


“Made a fool out of you in National Television. Sid grow up.” Said Arnav. “You can learn from her.”

“I don’t need a mentor.” said Sid. “I am following your mantra.”

Arnav responded rolling his eyes. “And you are doing a fantastic job following my foot steps.”

“Well, you don’t even show up for these kind of stuff...” argued Sid.

“I would, if it mattered.” He retorted. “But you can’t keep playing the guessing game all the time.You need to know the stuff. She will make you learn because she is smarter than you…at least it appears so.” He said and looked around. “Where are we going?”

“I was following you…” said Sid looking confused…

“And I you…” said Arnav… “See… our problem?This won’t do…Sid, you see us? We are dysfunctional when we are together.” he said and turned back.

“But why her…?” asked Sid.

“She did her home work, unlike you… I liked that. Even if she spinned it to her advantage, she knew she could get away with it because you had no idea how to get her." said Arnav. "She was alert, aggressive. You weren't."


“She really made a fool out of me?” asked Sid genuinely surprised.

“Not so much, you held it together but a few punch lines with the word “Annual Report” in it would have crushed her.” said Arnav. “Golfing?” he asked.

“Sure…” said Sid smiling.

“Nani… we are going to the Golf Club…” called out Arnav… and they left without waiting for her response.



~~~x~~~





Feb 20, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 96 times)

Update 5


“Mr Mehra, I can’t say anything for her.” said Komolika. “She has refused to take any calls from you.She is thinking over.”

“All I am asking her to do is set up a time for a meeting.” said Mr Mehra.

“Well, why don’t you ask her?” retorted Komolika.

“She would not respond to my phone call.” said Mr Mehra.

“Then, I am sorry, I cannot help you.” said Komolika again.

Mr Mehra rubbed his forehead, and finally knocked Sid’s doors. “She won’t come. Its been 48 hours and no response…”

“Good…” said Sid and resumed playing some random game on his Iphone. Mr Mehra stood there…clutching the file. “I have a piece to edit for Forbes… is there anything else?” asked Sid.

Mr Mehra looked at him uncertainly and said “I was wondering if I should handwrite my resignation or he’d be happy to show me the door verbally?”

Sid sat up and looked up at the old man’s face… “Resignation?For what?” he asked.

“For failure to set up a meeting with Ms Gupta, I have 4 days left. She has not said a word…”

Mr Mehra clutched the file tighter, “I don’t understand…” he threw a confounded look at Sid and left. “I have not met with such resistance.”

~~~x~~~

Sid tried not to think about it, but it was there… pieces that were circulated based on the show… They all had picked up the line… “That’s not what your HR policy say!” Sid crumpled up the news paper and aimed to throw them at the rubbish bin in the corner.

He felt guilty; it was his first goof up, only because he had stopped caring, he stopped being in the ball game. He was used to the protection, the bubble…

He was protected from everything, except his own self.


~~~x~~~

Siddhartha felt the presence of his own uncomfortable shadow in the room as the past loomed over. He closed his eyes; the questions never stopped ringing in his ears.

“What was your reaction Mr Singhania?”…

“Tell us how does it feel to know that you have been betrayed by your own friend…your only friend?”

“It must be hard for you, how do cope with a life of estranged parents?”


“Respect our privacy and get the hell out of my property.” ASR had threatened the journalists and forced him to enter in the protective bubble.

The media had turned riotous soon after, they were never left alone, in those days of agony.


~~~x~~~


The bubble had finally burst. He was in his present trying to make something of himself, trying get out of these shadows.

Three days later Sid picked up the phone, “Mr Mehra…What is Ms Gupta’s office address?”


Sid parked his car, further away from the dilapidated building. The sign board was half way down, supported by a pole and tied together with ropes that hung loosely from the sides. The paint was almost out… it read, “The Mourning Mirror.” Perhaps some kids had added the “U” in black paint for fun.

It had not been changed.


Sid went inside the gate.

“Yes… Sir…” asked the peon, checking him out.

“Ms Gupta?” asked Sid.

“Gupta Sir?” the peon smiled.

“No… no… Gupta Madam…Editor.” Said Sid.

“Oh… Khusi Madam…” the peon bit his tongue… “This way Sir…”he grinned eyeing him again. Perhaps making some assumption of his own. For the first time a young good looking Sir had asked for the young Madam… He nodded his head as he walked.

Sid followed…


“Khushi Madam…” the peon calls her meekly.

“Ram Saran…Don’t disturb me.” Said Khusi from behind the door.

“Sir… is here to meet you.” Ram Saran, says folding his hands.

“Which Sir?” she asks…

“Woh…” he scratches his head. “I don’t know … Khushi Madam.”

“Then why don’t you ask first…” she says exasperated. “I have told you…”

Sid hears the movement of her chair, she opens the door.. ajar.

“Ms Gupta…” says Sid from behind Ram Saran.

She measures him with her eyes and snubs him, “Stop the formality, you called a tow truck, to tow me away.” She looks at him haughtily.

"And you put your words in my mouth and steered the conversation. I know exactly what our HR policy says…” Sid said in one breath. “Just that you were not giving me the opportunity to get to the point… Ms Gupta!”

“You’re the Communications Director for AR…” she glared. “Communications is supposed to be your forte.” she fired.

“Yes… I agree…-COMM-U-NI-CATIONS and NOT MIS- Communications like you journalists." He gritted, tightening his jaws, "You guys have a thing for twisting everything.” He retorted.

“No we don’t… we just say things in a way to get people’s attention.” She said and then bit her tongue.

“You twist things to your advantage to sell news… We don’t do that, we communicate the truth…” he retorted.

“But if you had to, if circumstances forces you … you would have to twist the facts.” She said mocking him.

Sid glared. She glared back…

Ram Saran grinned stupidly standing in between them shifting his gaze from one to the other and seeking the opportunity of their silence…he sought for a solution,“Chai Madam?”

Khushi nodded. “Chai?” she asked looking at Sid.

“Okay… only if you are going to give me ten minutes.” replied Sid.

“Ram Saran… Do(two) chai...” she dismisses him. He goes obligingly, happy that Sir and Madam had stopped their bickering.


They enter her modest office.

“Well, I am here to apologise…for my behaviour, I was mad at you.” admits Sid

“You are doing well so far…” she replies sarcastically.

Ram Saran brings in the tea.

After sometime Sid finally resumes what he had come for, “Don’t make this an issue, you can deny the offer if you are not interested, but you can’t keep ignoring our efforts to get a response from you. It is unprofessional.”

“And, I should say the same for you and your boss.” Said Khushi…

Sid glared, “You would not say that. We have always given all statements to the media on time…”

“Agreed… very methodical. But there has never been any effort on your part to communicate directly… it is always the circulation of notes from AR or the emails. Does your Chairman have a voice…?” she said caustically.

“Trust me… you would not want to hear it, when you hear it.” said Sid.

“And you have had your ten minutes, thank you!” she said.

“I don’t have an answer.” said Sid.

“Your apology is accepted.” said Khushi.

Sid got up… “That is it?”

She nodded.

He walked out.

~~~x~~~

The next day was a restless one. Khushi turned on her computer but looked at her watch frequently throughout the day. The hours crawled.

~~~x~~~

The hand written resignation letter was duly presented by Mr Mehra at half past five, end of office hour for him at AR Industries that Friday evening.

ASR read it with a tightened jaw, a flicker of anger rose in his dark brown eyes and then calmness that settled as a mask on his face, he tore it into pieces and threw it in the trash can. Collecting his keys, he addressed Mr Mehra in his deep and commanding voice,

"Fix an appointment in 15 minutes." ASR barged out.

Mr Mehra nods silently following his steps and calls Komolika frantically through his mobile.


It rings.

“Komolika Madam, ASR is on his way to your office, he wanted an appointment with Ms Gupta.” He said swallowing the saliva that seemed to gather in his mouth.

"WHAT?" Komolika shouted over the phone, “He does not need an appointment.” She responds.

“He insists.” Says Mr. Mehra. “Please send a confirmation via email.” He cuts the phone.

A business meeting message pops up on Mr Mehra’s screen a minute later.

He nods


Komolika bangs the phone a few times and finally rushes out of her cabin.

Khushi packs her stuff and gathers her laptop to leave.

Komolika blocks her way out of the door. “Are you insane?” she shouts.

“Now deal with your next appointment.”

Khushi stares at the print out – “Meeting with Arnav Singh Raizada at 5:45 pm, confirmed. Location: The Morning Mirror Office premises.

Primary Appointment – Ms Gupta,

Other attendees: Ms Komolika Chatterjee and Mr Subhas Mehra.


“I… I… was going home.” said Khushi nervously

"KHUSHI..." Komolika lost her cool, "The chairman and CEO of the conglomerate of AR Industries has an appointment with you, in your office in ten minutes!!" She shouted.

"What were you thinking?"

Khushi stared back at Komolika with her mouth open. "What appointment?I did not ask him to come here." She said meekly. "I just wanted his office to call me directly...instead of sending Mr Mehra. I don't like to deal with HR. Anyway...I..."

Komolika winced “Khushi… it is AR Industries HR head…he is not our HR head. The Chairman’s office does not call up anyone unless it is the equivalent office.” She said.

“Deal with it and don’t make it worse…apolo…”

Komolika’s phone flashed. She winced… “They are here.”


Komolika rushed towards the back entrance.

Mr Mehra led the way…


Arnav Singh Raizada stared at the sign board.

"The Mourning Mirror."

“Indeed.” He said to himself and smiled inwardly.

~~~x~~~


Feb 20, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 92 times)

Update 6


Komolika ushers him and Mr Mehra inside.

ASR looks grimly at his surroundings – “Komolika, the last time we met was at the …?”

“Business Week…corporate dinner.” said Komolika giddy inside and anxious but also flattered to know that he had remembered their last meeting. That was a few years ago.

ASR looked at the vacant cubicles and dust laden empty desks.

Komolika followed his gaze uncomfortably.

“Actually, we ran into debts. The circulation has gone down considerably.” She said.

“I heard…” he said… striding ahead.

“This way…’ said Komolika.

They turned around.


ASR approached the two separate cabins, Ram Saran was just coming out of one.

Ram Saran gave him a salute without hesitation. His entry seemed to demand one. Of the two men, who had come to see his favourite Madam, Ram Saran had instantly felt the stir in his soul of forever being the peon for this man. He looked like a true “Sahib.” Ram Saran thought, he could tell his grand father about this encounter, finally proud of his job. Ram Saran dreamt of serving someone his grand father would refer to as “Laat (Lord) Sahib.”


ASR walked in.

The cabin shrank a thousand times. She lost her words the moment she met his brown piercing eyes, her hands clammy, her mouth dry. She felt a rumbling in her stomach and thought she urgently needed to go to the restroom but instead she jumped out of her chair, alarmed of her own reaction.


She smiled awkwardly and said… “Mr Raizada…” failing to breathe, her heart seemed to be stuck in her throat as soon as she uttered his name…


She cringed in discomfort, standing in front of him…gaping at him with her luminous almond eyes…She held her stomach and blurted out, “My mouth is dry… and my hands are cold and clammy…and I think… no… I know … may be… I… have to go… to the… to the… loo…”



His eyes were on her face…scrutinising every detail…watching her lips move more than listening to her.

Komolika bit her lip, standing behind at the door.

“Mr Mehra, shall we sit in my office?” she whispered in his ear, embarrassed.

He nodded and followed her.


Khushi made no attempt to leave the room. She could not dare to step closer to the door, he stood in her way. She tapped her feet nervously and twisted her fingers… looking up, giving him a side way glance, with every second she felt her nervousness settle in her undulating chest.

He noticed that too.


His presence demanded authority. She had thought of pressing on him her best “professional persona” but it had been thrown out of the window, unable to survive those piercing brown intriguing eyes on her.

She had thought of him only as a billionaire, out somewhere... but right now he was in her field of influence... in front of her... The sturdy built, the length of his legs seemed not to end...the torso and chest...infallible; made her weak in her knees.

She opened her mouth and drank the saliva out of desperation… despite that her mouth felt drier.

The jaws…set tight were chiseled as if they were art, and the lips…

She gulped.

Crispness flowed from his face to every thing else.


He lifted his eyes and send her a quiet signal to leave... She stepped forward, stopped, her chin buried…

He moved aside … She ran out past him straight to the restroom.

~~~x~~~


She rushed and banged the door shut panting. She hit her head on the wood a few times.

She splashed cold water of her face and rubbed it vigorously, thinking of the embarrassment she had caused. The more she thought of it the more her cheeks coloured. She rubbed them further, only causing them to darken and the colour stay in place.

Tears rolled, in frustration, as she wiped her face and pulled herself together in front of the mirror to face the impatient man in her tiny cabin.


Impatient he was – not because of her audacity to ignore him; but now more to see her. She looked pale and seriously agitated by his presence. His mind had troubles to sweep those business agendas out of his head, but he did and then all he wanted to think of was to take her out of her current chaos he caused.


He had no idea, how to do it though.


When she entered, clearing her throat and taking her chair in front of him.


He was fixated with her rose coloured cheeks and a dark desire - to kiss.

She was looking anywhere but him.


“It is a libel suit.” He said drawing her eyes back on his face. “That’s better.” He thought.

“You put things in the show to cause a stir, Ms Gupta…I hate it when someone calls out on AR Industries, you must know that, or you may have guessed.” He mocked her.

“You have been asking for it, my attention, you have it now Ms Gupta.” He twisted his lips… Her eyes grew wider and her lips parted to speak up… but she drew only a deep breath and her face flushed seeing the twist of those lips.

He saw the renewed flash of colour. It made him move up close…he stooped resting his hands on the chair handles deserting his temptation half way to touch her cheeks and he looked directly into her eyes.

“So Ms Gupta, what can I do for you?” he said and straightened him and went back on his chair.

Her mouth opened.

He arched his eyebrows and tilted his head…giving her a go ahead.

“What…you did was humiliating.” She said.

“Humiliating?” he asked, looking a little surprised.

“I am the editor-in-chief.” She said throwing a fiery glance at him. “I don’t have to look for a job, I have a job. I write for this paper.”

“I put it precisely on the contract that it was for a period of time for you need to determine and get clarity on the alleged accusations you made against the company ethics and labour policies.” He said.

“I read it.” she said.

“Then?” he asked raising his voice.

She kept quiet.

“You don’t have the nerves to get inside and find out the truth for yourself? You are an investigative journalist of some caliber then.” He smirked.

“What about the times you refused to give an interview for the Morning Mirror.” She said angrily.

“I don’t have time for that.” he said.

“Then I don’t have time for you, Mr Raizada.” She flared up in anger and got up…

“Calm down… and sit down.” He growled and gave her a stern look. “You know, if I were to press charges, you will loose the ground that you are standing on.”

“Go on, go ahead?” she said fiercely.

“You want me to?” he asked angrily, his veins riveting in the compulsion to keep his temper down.

“Yes… if you must. But listen to this Mr Raizada… I will not have your HR come here and ask me to fill out forms…” she shouted at him, glaring, trembling, shaking in her anger.

In the other room, as their voices soared…

Komolika shifted in her chair…

Mr Mehra looked to the ground.


“I will not have you demean this office or this position.” She said in a hoarse whisper.

“Demeaning, Ms Gupta?” he asked in a scathing whisper as he pulled her shaky figure up… “My offer for you to check your facts; seems like something demeaning to you.” Heat emanated from his breath and fell on her face, his grip on her arms seemed bearings of iron fists on her tender skin. “That says something about me.”


She feels her blood circulation stop. “My father died saving this paper.” She said feeling a painful surge in her heart… “And no one, not even you Mr Raizada, can dismiss the reverence that this office demands.” She whispered…”When I enter this place, I have that pride in my heart, and it will be there till I have tried everything to save it from conceited people like you…” she glared at him and her eyes glistened for a moment.

“As for your offer, I have sent you my reservations on accepting a contracted position.” She said swallowing, ‘However, I have agreed to do the fact-finding independently, the way I wish.”


He stared at her for a few seconds more, bound in that moment in a compulsive feeling inside him- to apologise, but he did not, mortified he eased her slowly, not sure once again what to say.


He turned his icy voice… “If you already expressed your interest, why did you waste my time …having this ridiculous conversation over an hour? Don’t you have any sense of …”


She snatched the words off him…“I faxed it to Mr Mehra before the end of the day… but you stormed in here anyways to get an explanation Mr Raizada! I just obliged you and gave you one, thereby, justifying your effort; for making that appointment out of your busy schedule!” she gazed at him from his toe to his face. “Unlike you I don’t regard every appointment as ‘frivolous’ on the face of it.” she said viciously


“Business is in my blood Ms Gupta…” he said in a low rasp stepping into her space… “We can see from our differences, where I stand and where do you stand in today’s date…” he paused measuring her once again “So for the time being remain in your bounds and don’t forget you have a debt to settle, a bill to pay, a paper to run and on top of all save yourself and this paper from an incredibly damaging law suit. If I were you, I would be quieter and remember the place where I stand,and shut up.” He said with a twisted hint of smile and threw a dismissive glance at her before leaving the room too quickly...

– bursting in the inner turmoil of temptations.


Feb 21, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 91 times)

Update 7


“Mr Mehra!” Arnav raised his voice as he came out and walked towards the other office.

Mr Mehra came out, “Yes…” he said.

“Ms Gupta, here wants to save me the “hassle” of a contract.” Said Arnav loud enough for her to hear.

She mimicked inside her room making a face, “Blah..blah..blah..”

“The non-disclosure document, Mr Mehra.” He asked. Mr Mehra took the paper out of the folder. Even before he could pass it on to ASR, her voice trailed from behind.

“I won’t sign it. That’s the way I will do my work, I have exclusive rights over what I find out and the way I want to inform the public. You will have no say in it. Like I said, I would do this independently.” She said coming closer and balancing on her toes to raise her herself closer to his ear, and mutter again, “Independently.”

Arnav Singh Raizada snatched the paper from Mr Mehra crumpled it with a grunt of annoyance.

Komolika nudged her…and gestured. “Come this way…”

“What?” Khushi shouted. “What does he think, this is some tabloid news paper that he has cross check my integrity…”

“Khushi… the signing the disclosure document is necessary for indemnifying us against…HIM.” says Komolika.

“No…I will not compromise the rights over the information I gather…if he is displeased with any of those revelation than he can take us to Court…or file a hundred law suits against us!” she said equally angrily.

“There will be no law suits Ms Gupta,” the icy voice rattles her and she turns to find him there…he had heard everything. “We were having a private discussion.” She snaps.

“Forget privacy Ms Gupta, you just made it abundantly clear, your dislike and dismissiveness of the systems that are in place…to protect one's interest." he said.

“The systems can be manipulated.” She shouted.

“By anyone…” he said.

“No… particularly by people in position of power, like you.” she said.

“You have a deep understanding of my philosophy self preservation.” He said quietly, then eyeing her

“Hurmph… What is that?” she said glaring at him.

“Nothing, Ms Gupta, we both beleive in self preservation." he pauses. "Well, you have convinced me and like I said there will be no restrictions on the publication of your findings, but then we agree that if there is any thing at all that compromises my Company and or any of its trade secrets, we would settle it the old fashioned way…mediate the damages…he said and whispered in her ear, close enough to feel the tension and yet far enough that their bodies stayed away.. “But Ms Gupta, If you cause harm to my company I will suck the damages out of you and this news agency for the rest of your life time…” he said in a threatening tone, meaning it and then threw her a taunting glance.

“And it would be settled?” she looked at him suspiciously. "Huh?" She looks skeptical.

“Ms Gupta… you will trust the two witnesses we have here…if not my word?” he said with a satisfactory smirk.

“Agreed.” She says after thinking a bit and turns away.


“What?” shrieked Komolika.

“But…”mumbled Mr Mehra


“Its done…”He said. “You are welcome to visit…AR Industries.” He remarked ASR with a hint of approval… and then in the next second said jeering, “That was gutsy!” he whispered from behind her ear…

“It was not nice to meet you, Mr Raizada!” she says between her teeth turns back angrily and gets stuck, facing him.

“I thought so…” he searched her face for a second and said “Likewise, Ms Gupta” he said. “But I wish you well, on your first ‘real’ case with considerable risks!” He smirked looking at her reddened face. “It’s not my first…I wrote about the scandal with the fake med-i-cine…I have done exclusive coverage…on paoching of endanger....” she was saying closing her eyes, gathering her thoughts but then got startled, why was she explaining herself to him!! “Arghhh…”she growled and stormed into her room… wanting to scream.

He was already walking out with Komolika and Mr Mehra.


~~~x~~~


That weekend.

Khushi brooded mostly over her lack of confidence.Then she also had never really thought of dealing with so many things all at once. She was in London, in her graduating ceremony for distinguishing in fine arts. Her father had failed to come, she was upset and had not called him and then through that night her world had collapsed. Her father had suffered severe heart attack that night. The servant had found him in the morning, her father had died of a heart attack even before she reached.


She was surrounded by uncertainty. Helpless, without a soul. Her father had always protected her, kept her away from the grinds of life.

She was too naive to understand business. Suddenly, everyone was against the Morning Mirror. He had not been able to save its integrity. The allegations came from powerful places and people, condemning the paper that had caused investors to pull out. Within, a short period of time readers had cancelled subscription. From a daily news paper, it the publication was reduced to weekends only.


People had taken every advantage of her extracting all the money that they could, coercing her. She had failed to understand any of the paperwork they had produced. All she knew was that she had paid cash, cheques, sold their house to pay those debts but they never seemed to leave her. When it was finally over, she was left with an empty floor and just a handful of staff.


She had advertised for help. Received no responses and then just like that she had met Komolika at a cafe. She was alone and they had casually chatted up. Khushi had offered her the position and she had accepted. Since then Komolika with her management and business school background helped Khushi to push through the tough times. Khushi had relied on her and taken up to revive the paper doing what her father did best, investigative journalism.


She was not good with no experience but she had her heart and soul in it. One day it paid off. She got her first story. The circulation grew steadily but that was not enough to cover the print machines,the paper, the space, the salaries... And inflation.


The Morning Mirror was again drowning in debt.

~~~x~~~


"Chal na.." Said Komolika.

She rolled over... "Let me sleep." Khushi groaned.

"When was the last time we were out?" Komolika said leaving her.

"Its been 6 or 7 months..." Said Khushi from under her pillow.

"Its Kabir's dinner." Said Komolika.

She sat up..."You know he was staring at me...before the show. Kind of creepy..." Said Khushi.

"No you need a push up." Komolika, grinned... "Other than that everything else is in place...I hope."

"Hey..." Khushi threw a pillow at her. She blushed... "I don't need a push up..."

"It changes perspective... The lows of life seemingly feel better and reach a new level of confidence." Komolika winked putting her make -up.

"That's ridiculous." Says Khushi.

" Read the surveys, women love it and men can't get over it!" Said Komolika.

"You are so..." Khushi trails off... Throwing some clothes in her bed. "I am taking a shower..."

"Okay..." Says Komolika. She looks at the clothes... "Uh...not again." She takes her lipstick and finally marked it awkwardly in front and leaves.

Khushi comes out, wears her usual default outing dress. Loose pants and a boat necked, full sleeves top. While she dries her hair she notices the mark..."I thought I dry cleaned it! She said to herself.

"Now I have to find something else."she looked through things and finally called Komolika. "Oh! Khushi... So sad!" She empathized. "But what about all the other stuff you have, the ones you never wear." She said.

"Komolika... I don't know...I can't pull them off..." Khushi said. "I am not coming."

Komolika sighed..."You will do fine in other clothes, just wear something else, please..." Begs Komolika.

"That's what I wear all the time..." Says Khushi... " the rest of things don't fit me."

"Everything fits you Khushi, except that maternity wear... I marked it so that you won't wear it again." Says Komolika angrily.

"Why would you do that?" Said Khushi in a hurtful voice.

"I am sorry... I dont want you to dress like a drab 40 year old all the time." Said Komolika.

"I don't dress...like a drab." Said Khushi quietly.

"Yes you do..." Said Komolika. "How long will you take to face it, Khushi?"

"I am not like you... I dont like gatherings..." Said Khushi angrily.

"That is not it and you know it." Says Komolika.

"Komolika, I am not coming." Said Khushi.

"Why Khushi... Are you afraid someone is going to say something nice to you and sweep you off your feet?" Says Komolika.

"That is not going to happen Komal..." Shouts Khushi.

"Why not Khushi? One day or the other... Its going to happen... What are you going to do then huh?" Shouts Komolika.

" I wish such a day never comes!" Retorts Khushi.

"My point exactly!" Komolika fumes. "It won't happen ever because you run around wearing such drab."

"My clothes have nothing to do..." Says Khushi and cries.

"It has everything to do with how you look!" Fumes Komolika..."How many men have asked you out since we have been together?"

Silence.

"Your father can't be the only man in your life!"said Komolika.

Silence.

Komolika ... Regrets immediately,"Khushi ...Talk to me."

Silence.

"I am sorry ..." Says Komolika.

Silence.

"You don't meet anyone, all you do is work." Says Komolika.

Komolika hears her sniffs.. And feels sorry...


"Sniff..." Khushi cries... "I get nervous... And then I cant think." She says in a baby voice.

" I know baby..." Says Komolika... "I promise I won't leave you alone for a second."

"You promise." She asks.

" Come over okay... And take a taxi. They will take your car to the junk yard if you gave it for valet parking." Said Komal.

Khushi giggles.


" Komal... I..am scared.." Khushi mumbles nervously.

" Khushi... As far as I know...no one could walk away saying those things to Raizada. You were awesome... Just do your job and you will be fine." Said Komolika. "And if it is of any solace...I know for sure is that if there is one thing that does not happen is - Raizada muddling business with personal. He may dislike you but he will not sabotage your work, he is too arrogant for that."

Khushi sighs and keeps the phone.


Meanwhile at Shantivan:

ASR and Sid drive out.


"So, she is going to saunter around AR Industries collecting data, gathering information , interviewing employees and she is not legally bound by any legalities." Said Sid measuring ASR.

"We have a verbal agreement, we can get damages, if we find wrong doing or illegal sharing of information related to company trade secrets." Explains ASR.

" What if... " Sid says hesitently.

ASR looks ahead, " Sid... Nothing is going to happen."

"A day ago when she refused, I thought my life was back on track after the faux pax... And then you go and convince her to join. My stars ain't aligned anymore." Says Sid annoyed. "Now she will be all out ridiculing me." He thought.

"She sent a fax of acceptance to do an independent fact finding to Mehra..." Said ASR with a thought. "Well, she has to take her statement back."

Sid looked at him...

"That's right but she does not sign anything." Sid mutters.

"Said something?" Asked ASR, unable to hear him.

"Nope..." Said Sid. ASR pulled into the driveway of a lavish hotel.


"Mr Raizada, this way..." The Manager rushed to him.

"So you won't come even for a minute?" Asks Sid.

" No... Call me... When you are done." Says ASR.


Sid presses for the terrace. "Mr Singhania, its on the 15th floor, the venue is changed." Said the Manager.

"Oh... Is the roof top bar open?" Asks ASR.

" Of course Mr Raizada. Would you like to be there instead." Asks the Manager.

"Sure...and Mr Singh can we not ?" implies ASR for exclusivity.

"Of course... I will inform the staff." Says the Manager.


Half an hour later a nervous Khushi walks into the hotel elevator.

Presses for terrace.

~~~x~~~


Feb 22, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 91 times)

Update 7

At terrace, roof top bar

“But… I was invited…” Khushi protested.

“Ma’m… we apologise. We cannot allow any guests here. It’s closed.” said the attendant.

“It’s closed?" She asked in higher pitch.

“Yes… Ma’m.” the attendant confirmed.

“How can it be closed…?” she argued…

The attendant nodded… “Apologies, this is a private lounge area. Would you like to be in another part of the hotel or may I call you a cab…”

“No…I don’t need a cab. Okay?” she said angrily. “Let me … let me show it to you…the invite… where is it?” she hunted through her bag.


ASR heard her high pitched voice and came over just to confirm if his ears were n't ringing, “She is here?”

He gestured the attendant to go away.

He looked over her shoulder… and said softly. “He has the nerves.”

“I know…Who does he think he is … asking me to leave.” She mutters and pours half of her contents and some envelopes from her bag. She flips through them…”Not… this one…”

“Why would n’t they let you in without that ‘invite.’” He asked plainly.

“I mean… you would think they would…” she mutters “I pick a dress, I get ready, I take a taxi and come all the way and he says I can’t go inside. What rubbish?”


“Dress?” he thinks and glances her over silhouette… in the faint light of the candle. For a moment he loses himself, her white sheath dress fit her too well. Her hair was neatly done up... He admires down her neckline to the perfect dainty figure in front of him and stops at her narrow waist... suddenly conscious of his urge to feel her in his arms.


“All that effort…” he says…"must n’t go waste." and walks away.

She glances behind her... in her mind the voice registers but she is unable to put it together, preoccupied with her current crisis.


A few seconds later the attendant, “Ma’m you can go inside. I just confirmed, he said he expecting you. I am extremely sorry.”


Her eyes throw daggers looks at him. “Its okay… just don’t do this again.” She fills her bag with stuff and struts ahead.


In the roof top…she glances over. There is no one around.

“Excuse me… isn’t there a party here?” she taps on the shoulder of the only dark figure she notices in front of her.

“Of course…Ms Gupta.” He turns and smirks. “Now that you are here, the party begins.” He says.

“Sorry…?” she asks.

“It’s a party. You closed a deal with AR Industries on Friday.” He says.

“You would do that?” she asks almost believing him.

“Yes… why not? After all we have to learn to co exist in the same world." He taunts "And you under my roof." He smirks.

“What?” She raises her voice... "This place is empty. And ...and there is no roof." She exclaims looking around, and twists her ring finger.

"Are you not forgetting something?" He does not say it but looks suggestively. She looks blankly at him fidgeting nervously with her finger. "AR Industries, Ms Gupta. You and I are going to work..." He trails off seeing her reach for the glass on the table...

"Khushi." He instinctively calls her by her first name to warn her...

Too late, she gulps it at one go...


“Ughhh…” she makes a disgusted face as bitterness fills her mouth…her tongue hangs out.

“Water,” he instructs someone.

A burning sensation passes through her… She clutches her throat…tears threaten from the corner of her eye.

Arnav gives her the water…She drinks it thirstily.

The attendant waits, patiently.

She keeps her head down as she feels the burn reach her stomach…It is after a few minutes, she looks up at Arnav, her head spins. “I am going to die.” She says looking miserable and sniffs…

“You are going to have some food to settle it..” he says calmly.

Arnav orders some food, a virgin pina-collada and ice cream to soothe her nerves.


‘I don’t drink.” She mutters.

“I can see that.” he replies.

She sips her pina-collada and feels better after a few bites. Her head spins a bit. “I am drunk.”

“You are not. You had just one drink.” He says…

“Just one drink eh?” she retorts… “I am drunk.”

“You are alright.” He snaps.


“Why am I here?” she says eating quickly…in her nervousness. “Did you..?” she looks at him suspiciously.

“Did I what?” he says … “You walked up here.”

“Yeah, and now I am drunk.” she gave him an accusatory look…

“It’s not my fault…” he attacks his food.

“No, its mine…” she says chewing up her food. “I woke up on the wrong side of bed and decided to come here… to a party. Look, I am having fun. Getting drunk with you.” She jeers.

“I could say the same for you!” he says… “Its so much fun for me to watch you trying to throw up your guts…”

“Huh…that is because of whatever you were having.” She says angrily sipping on her drink.

“Yes… and I forced it down your throat to get you drunk.” He says…


“Yup!” she says and flashes a smile… “Exactly!”

He stops chewing and stares at her face, she is beautiful in the glow…of the soft light.

She makes a noise with the last bit of her drink to annoy him.

He scowls at her, disgusted.


With food in her stomach, she feels lighter, happier. “Can you bring another one of those?” she points to the empty glass. She feels good about herself. A soft breeze makes her smile. She gets up…


“You are not going to have another drink.” He says sternly.

“What? Now you are going to control me?” she says looking spitefully at him.

“Yes, you are going to behave yourself…” he pulls her up.

“I just realised,” she says “I can hold my liquor Mr Raizada…” she says in a defiant tone, freeing herself from his grip.

“No you can’t.” he says encroaching her space again. She steps away.

“Stop telling me what to do…I am… am not… an idiot.” She says.

“You are so not.” he whispers closing up on her. The breeze flows allowing them to fill up their senses…

She backs away and hits the glass barrier, his eyes hold her in his gaze. He moves up and his fingers touch her waist, in feather light touch.

She turns away feeling breathless, gasps, as her eyes fall on the old monument, the lake beside it, the full moon spreads a faint soothing light over it, making it look enchanting.

“Beautiful.” he says in her ears.

She swallows, feeling something strain her nerves. She turns around quickly, averts his gaze and fumbles with her phone.


"Ms Gupta," he says icily...

She looks at him and feels her surrounding shrink again. The world was supposed to be bigger for everyone to survive.

"I have to inform Komolika, she would be worried." She says and tries to dial up.

He moves swiftly and snatches it. "I can read you like a page." He asserts.

She looks up... "If you can, then surely you don't need me to say anything.” She retorts.

He smirks... He blocks her way.

“You should be afraid of me. I am the type who makes your life not just hard but hell." He says threateningly.

"And I am the type who is not afraid of threats..." She pokes him with her finger on his chest and retracts her hand immediately, taking at step back. He is amused but keeps his eyes on her and pulls her clip off. Her hair cascades down...

She looks repulsed, "How dare you?"

She twists her fingers. “Stay away from me.”

"Did your boy friend leave you? Cheat on you? Or, you are just plain awkward?" He asks.

“Not your business.” She says and tries to push him aside.

He looks at her... "I am not done with you yet, Ms Gupta." He pulls her back.

“You just claimed to know everything.” She says.

“It’s my job to know Ms Gupta, but you should be telling me the truth.” he says. “Did he put you up to this, Ms Gupta?”

She looks at him, gaping.

“You have sent your write ups and done every possible hourly work at his London office, as an ‘unpaid’ intern.” smirks ASR. “You have all his collections of write ups neatly stacked in your little office.” He looks at her, “Shall we go and meet Kabir Khanna together?”

She waits.

He looks back.

“This has nothing to do with him.” she says. “I need this, for self preservation.” She says.

“And you would do anything to save your paper.” he adds and waits.

She does not reply and walks up to him.


~~~x~~~



Feb 22, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 106 times)

Update 8


ASR leads her to the elevator. She hesitates for a moment and then gets in.

It takes them only a minute, but she holds her breath unable to understand her uneasiness. She blames it on the liquor and him.


Khushi hopes that he would let her be alone, but he does not. She deliberately slows down...to let him go ahead to avert those shocked faces that were on them dumbstruck. Their entry draws a whisper through the crowd and a buzz travels across the hall as they walk further.


Unable to bear their gazes, she stops mid way…her mind stops working as her heart hammers… she couldn’t look up straight. Her body stiffens.

‘It will pass…it is just for the novelty of it like a new animal in a zoo.” He says to her easily steers her ahead with a light touch of his palm on her slender back. She relaxes her strained muscles…


A week ago, she had resented writing the article about him. But the story had sold. It was just a small piece, but it was staring at her…

On her way to work… she had seen, the marketing was the cue to bring back the paper and he was in the front page of it.

“Madam, two rupees… “The billionaire, Raizada survives an accident.” The street boy had said. She had looked at the black and white photo…

“People bought this paper?” she asked shocked, handing him a ten, for the Morning Mirror.

“Yes Madam, record sale. I am running out of copies.” He had smiled.

“What’s so special about this news?” she asks him.

“Madam… its simple… he is everybody’s dream.” He says.

“Look, I will buy all your papers… have breakfast with me…” She said.

He looked doubtful and then said okay…

“Get in… people are honking.” She said.

The boy came rushed in.

They parked near a road side stall.

“What will you have?” she asked.

“I can have anything,” he asked cautiously.

“Yes, of course.” She said.

He looked suspicious…

She gauged his uneasiness and said, “I write for this paper… and I want to know what you know about this man.” She pointed at the photo.

“You want to know what I think?” he had asked.

She nodded. “Yes… you sell this paper… I write for this paper…we are like a team. Just the beginning of a friendship… What’s your name…?”

“Prince.” He grinned.

“Prince?” she asked.

“Like Prince of England, Villiam and Harri…” he said proudly.

She laughed, “Prince… I am Khushi.”

“Actually my name is Abdul, but…I had problems…back home for belonging to…you know…” he trailed … “I feel safe when I call myself Prince.”

“I understand Prince, what will you have?” she asked.

“Bun maska, chai and double omelette.” He said.

“So tell me…about Raizada.”she asked.

He ate hungrily and drank the chai… burped… she called for seconds.

“Madam…” he started. Khushi looked at him.

He grinned… “ Khushi didi…”

She grinned.

“I was ten when I came here… and then the other boys told me that I could sell papers… they taught me how to sell it…it was hard to read English but I had gone to school so I picked it up quickly. I memorized the words like NSE, SENSEX, Opposition...and names... Whatever sold more copies and… anything with his name sold my paper... the fastest."

“But I don't understand?” she asked.

“Didi… he is like a movie star…dashing, young and becomes a billionaire, just like that. And he is the talk of the town.” he snaps his fingers. “Living the dream.” He grins.

"Prince, you are very smart. Look, keep my number, if you need something call me." He takes it.

"Oh... The papers... How many copies...?" She asked...

"Its okay... I will sell them. Its still 9 o'clock. I have an hour of office rush." He picked it up. "He says, there is no short cut." Prince waved the paper.


She looked at the paper. Her path was clear...in her head. "Get his attention to get real attention."

She had tried everything, nothing had worked. Arnav Singh Raizada never responded directly. Everything was through his office, the Director of Communications. She had called Kabir's production manager every hour rattling about AR Industries and finally was taken as a replacement for the absentee finance expert.


Now she was getting an overdoze of attention. It was surprising how much he was talked about in these spaces, in his absence. His presence just fuelled the gossip vines that night. She could see everyone noted them, and whispered to each other. He walked through them as if there was a wall separating them. It affected her, he did not even blink.


Her thoughts slowed her down. She was overwhelmed, she stopped.

"Now what? Getting a cold feet?" He asked. "Changed your mind, you don't want to schmooze with the tele tubby stars?"

She shoots him an angry glance, "All right, enough! You want to hear it? Your watchman has more access than I do. Happy?" She flares and her cheeks flush in anger.

He looks smug. "Delighted."

"What was I supposed to say? Mr Raizada, can you add me up to your contact list?" She spits out.

"Yea...h may be?" he smirked and looked at her twisting his lips,"Which one? Personal? Professional?"

" Its not funny!" She says throwing a hateful glance.

"You picked on me, Ms Gupta, on national TV." He said. "That's not funny either."

" I am smart enough to figure that out myself." She says. She recalled her dinner. " How much do I owe you for dinner?"

He ignores her.

"I did not know what I was putting myself up for..." She puffs out some air irritated.

He stops for a moment glances over her face, "I only get worse.." He says putting up a straight face as a matter of fact.

She stares at him.


"ASR..." Kabir's surprised tone caught their ears. Kabir ignores Khushi and cuts her out. "Have a drink. How are things?"

"All good. I am in a rush but I just wanted to introduce Ms Gupta." Said ASR. "She will be conducting an independent review of the issues she talked about in your show."

"Oh! That's right. We know each other." Kabir exclaims.

Khushi feels no surprise to see him surprised. Most celebrities behaved the same way.

Kabir's silhouette only moves slightly to bring her back into the conversation space. "Ms Gupta," he smiled. "Good to see you again. I remember you now..." He drawls and laughs softly.

"Excuse me, I just came here to get Sid." Said ASR.

"Stay, its been long, things are looking good for Vir in the upcoming elections." Says Kabir.

"Some other time. I am not interested in politics." He says curtly.

" Or Vir..." Says Kabir cunningly. U

ASR looks at Khushi but glances over her to locate Sid. "There is Sid." He walks away.

Khushi feels the warmth leave her side, and cringes for a second.

"London, intern?" He looks at her.

"Yes..." She confirms.

"You have certainly changed." He says with hint of acidity in his tone.

"Mr Khanna, that was a long time ago." She says softly.

"Call me Kabir." He says ... " We should discuss your project at AR Industries. You should come over.."

" I will certainly, I have always admired your work." She says.

He smiles. " I will see you then."

She nods and smiles. "It was nice..to see you."

He leaves... Khushi looks for Komolika... But then she feels terrible excitement. She rushes... To the ladies room... And yelps.. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" The other women stare at her. Khushi pretends not to notice and fixes her hair. She pulls it together in a bun, looks at herself and then opens it. Her hair falls over her...shoulders and back. She feels her cheeks warm up. She quickly ties it.

She comes out, calls Komolika.


Meanwhile,

"Are you coming Sid?" Asks ASR.

"What have I done?" Asks Sid.

" What do you mean? Nothing?" Says ASR surprised.

" You walked in with that girl." Says Sid.

"So what?" Asks ASR.

"So what?" Sid pauses. " I came in an hour ago, alone. And you walk-in with her. Where is my grand entry?" He whines.

" Sid, you know everyone here..." Says ASR. "And you on your own have earned a place."

" Yeah...right." Says Sid. "Until she showed up."

" I don't understand why are you so bothered?" Says ASR.

Sid shrugs... "I don't know" he pauses and adds " I will come later."

"I will send Dharam Singh." Says ASR.

"Okay.." Says Sid.

"Hey...Sid! The food here is n't bad." Says ASR. "You should try..."

"How would you know...?" Asks Sid...

"I had dinner with Khushi." Said ASR absentmindedly and leaves.

Sid rolls his eyes... "There... Khushi...again." He mutters. " I should have asked the tow truck to tow her away instead."


... "Hey Sid!" Waves Khushi. He turns the otherway.

"Hey..." She catches up. Sid turns away...

"Hey..." Khushi turns him around.

" I was going to see my good friend over...over there..." He points to a dusky lady.

" Oh! I see." Says Khushi. She pulls him by his hand.

" May be I will see her later." Mumbles Sid.

" Why not now?" Says Khushi and taps the lady's back. She turns and smiles looking at Khushi... "Hi..."

" Meet your good friend." Says Khushi and winks.

" Hi!" Says Sid in a small voice.

"Komolika Chatterji." Says Khushi. The girls laugh.

Sid smiles sheepishly.

"Why are you ignoring me?" Asks Khushi.

"I am not." He says... Khushi glares.

" You just walked in with ASR." He said.

"So?" She asked, surprised.

"That is supposed to be me." Says Sid.

"Are you that insecure?" asks Komolika.

"No...Just needy." He says.

"You have a job at AR and he is your friend." Says Komolika.

" Yeah... Now I have to watch out for her." He says. "First on TV and now in office."

" Hey...you have a cushy job. No one's going to take it from you." Says Khushi.

" That's because he did not get your resume last time." He says plainly.

Khushi gapes, Komolika winks... "Lets get a drink."

" I am serious. ASR gave me a lecture." Says Sid looking at Komolika.

Komolika smiles...


Khushi yawns... "I am going home, Komal." She leaves them, sleepy and tired.

As she gets out of the elevator, the attendant rushes. "Madam, you ride is here." He says "And I am sorry about my mistake."

She smiles... " My ride?" The BMW pulls up.

The driver hands her a note greeting her. She reads it "Just because I got you drunk- ASR."

She could n't help smiling folding the note. She gets into the car, instructs the driver. A little later she dozes off, securely.

A discreet knock wakes her up... She gets down, sleepy... "Thank you.." She walks inside.

"Good night Madam." Says the driver.


The driver gets into the car. He dials the number. " I just dropped Madam."

"Are the lights on." He asks.

"Yes...Sir." He replies.

"Okay... You can leave."


ASR lays back thinking of her, unable to understand his need for reassurance that she was safe.


~~~x~~~


Feb 26, 2013

Full Circle: Tryst with Shadows and Second Chances (By Arshirandomfan) (Thanked: 107 times)

Update 9

A day before ASR’s visit to the Morning Mirror Office.


AR Industries headquarters.


ASR paced around the room, the French windows overlooked the busy city.


"Is that all you have?" he ASR looking at Mehra.

"All I can find. It’s not even been 24 hours since you... suddenly requested all this information." said Mehra.

ASR looked grim going through the papers, one by one. He looked through the various documents, checked on them.

Mr Mehra looked at him. “What are you looking for?”

ASR did not reply.

He sat down, leaned to the backrest of his chair. ASR scowled. “This Mehra.”

“What about it?” asked Mehra looking at the paper.


"Was there any inquiry?" Asked ASR looking disgruntled.

"I don't know." Said Mehra.

ASR glared at him. "Then find out ehra , don’t sit here." and he added“Tomorrow, get her to sign.’

Mehra grimaced, “I am trying.” He paused. “I don’t understand what is the need though.” He looked guarded but looked inquisitively at ASR. “Is she of ‘y’our interest?”

ASR was not paying attention; he was reading the briefs, processing the information. He looked up as he finished another page. “What?” he asked frowning. “Why are you still here?”

"The girl?" asked Mehra again.

"What about her?" retorted ASR.

"Tell me, what is she doing bringing up AR Industries?" Mr Mehra asked.

“Ask her.” said ASR giving him a lopsided smile.

“I am too old.” Said Mehra exhaling in resignation“I don’t think she will agree…”

“She will, Mehra.” Said ASR… “After all she is asking for our attention.”

“And what is she supposed to do?” asked Mehra.

"She will do what she is supposed to do." He paused. "Review, evaluate, interview and produce a nice report for us." said ASR.

"Why are you ignoring the fact that she manoeuvred to seek out AR Industries." Said Mehra.

"Please, Mehra... She did kick off a little controversy,” said ASR and determindedly looked dismissive of Mehra’s apprhension “I know her way is wrong.”

"And you have no issues with that." said Mehra. "That she lied."

ASR opened his drawer and took out a laminated article and pushed it in front of Mehra. The yellowed paper was almost crumbling from the corners but the lamination had saved the content. "Have you seen this?" asked ASR. “Perhaps, the only copy available.”

Mehra turned pale. “Where did you get this?”

“I borrowed it.” said ASR.

“You paid someone?”… “You paid…someone to look her up.” he looked shocked reading through it. “I can’t believe it.”

“Get used it, Mehra.” Said ASR nonchalant.


ASR looked at Mehra, “You know the strangest thing, this went on circulation, but was withdrawn. Check it Mehra, I am sure you know everyone mentioned in it.” said ASR and walked up to the glass window over looking the city.

Mehra slumped and glanced over the paper cutting.


"She is Sudhir's daughter." ASR looked distant. "I did not know ... he had a daughter.

"But ...ASR." interjected Mehra. "She is not Sudhir, she does not have the skill, steadfastness or the integrity of her father." said Mehra.

ASR said quietly ..."They have seen difficult days."

Mehra looked aghast, “How can we trust her? She is out there to get her money from the market, the means don’t matter. Today, she has just created a stir, tomorrow it will be a storm.”

ASR looked thoughtfully at the papers again. "Her father was respected; whatever she is… we will deal with, Mehra..." ASR’s forehead creased in thought.

“You are saying this … you have not even seen her…you don’t know her. She refuses to listen…” Mehra started his long list of complaints.


ASR listened for sometime and then his eyes focused, on Mehra putting him in the testing ground.

“Mehra… get her to accept the offer or you are out.” he threatened.


Mehra got up and left grumbling. “You threaten to fire me over that stuck up girl… I have had better days… I will resign…”


The next day Mehra handed over his resignation and ASR sought an appointment to meet Khushi.

~~~~x~~~

Morning after Kabir’s party

7 am. AR Industries headquarters.


"Is she..." Mehra hesitated. “Coming over?”

ASR nodded.

Mehra sighed still reluctant.

“Get Sid to fix her a place to sit and a list of people she needs to meet, interview. Make her comfortable.” said ASR.


Mehra got up and turned to leave.


ASR said from his desk.

“Kabir has such a bad memory.”

“Huh?” asked Mehra. “No… he does n’t.”

ASR narrowed his eyes. “I thought so too…” he recollected Khushi being snubbed off. It was just odd. She had been on his show not even a week ago and then he had invited her to the dinner.

“Anything you want me to look into.” Asked Mehra.

“No, I was just wondering.” Said ASR.

In the next hour he got busy with his work.

~~~x~~~


Monday morning, 9 am.


Khushi’s bedroom.


“Get up…” said Komolika.

“G-Go away…” said Khushi, her voice hoarse and her words slurried.

“It’s already 9 am.” Said Komolika. “Do you want to go to work or no?”

“N-No…” she said and buried inside her covers.


Komolika took a deep breath and pulled the covers…

“Ko—ma…al… don’t.” she protested.

Komolika laughed.

“This will wake you up.” She said and pressed on her phone.


Khushi’s slurred words –

“May be just a li'dle tipsy…” she said in a small voice.


Khushi leaped out of her bed…”That’s me…?”

Komolika giggled… and swayed a bottle of baileys in front of her eyes. “Do you remember anything? I found you talking on your phone…drunk…”

Khushi looked wide-eyed… “And?”

“It was n’t me you were calling.” Said Komolika swinging and dangling her phone in the air. Khushi leaped to snatch it from her… she jumped over the couch… “Guess who is on your speed dial now…baby…?”

“Who…?” Khushi screamed as she leaped over running behind Komolika.

“Are you going to tell me what happened?” asked Komolika…

“Nothing… I don’t know what you are talking about…” said Khushi….

“No…?” asked Komolika, standing on top of the couch…


Komolika played her video again…

It was Khushi…addressing Komolika… “Shhh…I am on phone with the sour puss Raizada…”she said holding her finger over her lips…widening her eyes she pointed to her phone. “Shhh…”

Komolika giggled… “Sweet heart…you should call it a night. I think you are drunk.”

“I am not drunk…”Khushi protested…

“May be... just a li'dle tipsy…” Khushi said in a small voice, sipping her baileys.


“OH…!!” Khushi cried.

She snatched the phone…

Komolika giggled. “Do you remember anything?” she laughed…

“No…I mean Yes…” Khushi gasped and searched her call list. “Did I dial him…middle of the night ? Good God… No…” she yelped.

Komolika smiled… “Why did you drink at all…?”

“I did not… and you saw me…I was fine.” Said Khushi… “I was fine…” she said recalling walking in sleepy

And there it was… the note and his number on it on her side table.

Khushi dropped on the bed, her heart thumped as she scrolled. She hoped badly that he had called... at least she would be save some face...


But no,

Last dialed call on her cell was Arnav Singh Raizada…at 1:30 am…

She hit her head with her palm…. “I am… an idiot… Stupid… stupid… stupid…” she screamed…

Komolika laughed.

“Stop laughing… this is embarrassing.” She looked hurtfully at Komolika…

She stopped … “You called him a sour puss…” and burst out laughing again.


Khushi covered her self with her sheets…her cheeks flushing …her ears steaming in embarrassment. What was wrong with her... First the encounter in her office, then the dinner and now she was making drunk calls... She had no idea what she had said...


She closed her eyes…trying hard…to recall the night’s conversation. Nothing came back.

She stood under the shower, calming herself...It was not so bad... she would apologise... But in that moment the memory of him came rushing back... "Beautiful..." his deep throated whisper clear in her ears... sent a jolt through her and she turned around suddenly...found nothing.


She hurried, out wrapped in her towel... and dressed trembling in her nervousness.

~~~x~~~


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