FF - Shadows and Lies

Posted by:    Views: 16776   Thanks: 1210    Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon   
Nov 1, 2014

FF - Shadows and Lies (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 90 times)

Chapter 1 – Shadow That Crawl and Creeps!


Eleven years ago

A dark shadow strolled down the hallway of Solanki Mansion in search for his next prey. He took care of two of his problems and now, one was left. Soon that problem will be rectified.

Mom! Dad!

Khushi screamed for her parents who we're lying on the ground, lifeless. On the inside, deep down in the deepest corner of her heart, she could hear her own terror shrieks but on the outside nothing comes out, silent as a rock. No sound is produce. Pin drop silence.

She heard a loud crashing noise. She lift her gaze in the direction of the sound, a dark shadow appeared on the wall, walking in her direction. She hastily gets up beside her lifeless Mom silently, not before touching her cold cheek, and hides in the closet of her parents’ bedroom. Silent as a grave she huddled in the darkness of the corner, scared as a withering leaf, away from the dark shadow. She was palpitating in terror like a water-deprived dog. She peeked through the crack of the closet door, her mother's unblinking eyes stared back at her. She nods, understood the silent message she has conveyed to her beyond the realm. She would obeyed and comply with her wishes.

“I promise, Mommy. I won’t say a word."

“Where are you little one?” A jagged, guttural voice barked, smashing things along the way. “Come out, come out, Uncle Johnny wants to play.” A devilish laugh echoes in the hallway, taunting and mocking, the state of her being.

She mustered some courage to see, thinking it must be her Uncle Johnny, no, a voice in her head shriek. The voice, doesn’t sound like her Uncle Johnny. Frozen like an ice she stays where she was, unmoved and untouched.

More crashing noises echoed the hallway dominating the place. The sounds so loud she clamped her hands on her ears as tightly as she could, praying it would end soon. Soon she would come out of her hiding place and fall into the arms of her loving parents.


Mommy, she…she…is dead and Daddy too. Her Mommy’s unblinking eyes, warning her to stay back where she was. She drew back some more, disappearing completely into the masses of clothes hoping it would protect her from the bad man who call himself her Uncle Johnny. She waited good-naturedly, squinting her eyes, legs and arms crossed in front, huddled at the back of the closet hoping the boogeyman will go away soon and soon, her Mommy would tell her it was okay and safe for her to come out of the closet. But when would she tell her. Only if, her Mommy would stop staring at her.

Khushi! Khushi!


A silent voice screamed out of her head, hoping her Daddy would hear it.

Daddy is here. She recognize her Daddy’s voice. She is pleased to hear his voice. Her Daddy is here to save her. She crawls out of her hiding place to rejoin with her Daddy, but wait…what did she heard, now.

“Please, please don’t hurt my daughter,” Her father pleading to the boogeyman who call himself her Uncle Johnny.

“It’s shame. You are not dead yet.” The man snorted, displeased with himself.

“She is all I got…please…please, take this and leave.” Her father’s voice sounded just like when she beg for some more milk, but this was different, a way different from her begging.

“I’ll take this.” The man snatches the offering out of the dying man’s hand. “Don’t worry. She will soon join you.” His voice low and terribly scratchy. The voice reminded Khushi and thought of the devil she had seen in the play. The show her mommy watches…what was it? Ramayana…the voice just sounded like Raven, the bad man in the show. “Just like your wife.” Cold shivers runs through her body.

So Mommy is really dead.

“Please…” Her father pleaded for his life.

No, not for his life, but hers.

“I assure you she won’t be miss, not for very long, and surely not by you and not by your wife. Reunion will occur in Heaven.” A split second of terrible silence followed, and then more gurgling noises echoed, and suddenly the loud thundering voice.



Like a thundering lightning bolt echoed throughout the surrounding area, reverberating through her little frame, jolting her off the ground. Khushi covered her mouth quickly, muffling her sound, hoping and praying her silent screams wouldn’t be heard, which would alert the boogeyman to come looking for her, find her, and then kill her. Just like her parents.  

Beyond the province, her mother’s voice commanded her to keep quiet, ordering her, “No Khushi, No. Shh! Stay silent. Don’t say a word.”

She bit her lower lip in her efforts to stuff down her screams, scar her petal rosy ones along the way, obeying her mother’s silent command like an obedient child.

Now, her Daddy too laid on the ground joining her Mommy, staring at her just like her Mommy is doing.

Silence took over the house, only she heard was her racing heartbeats which was beating faster than the jackhammer. Tears streamed down her cheeks, wishing could runs towards her mother and father, throw her arms in theirs and let them tell her in their soothing voice, “Everything would be okay. No need to fear. We are here.”

But she didn’t. She heard the footsteps, walking towards her. She huddled back quickly to her hiding place, behind the clothes, cowering herself in the confined place, cramming herself just like a turtle would hide in his shell. Hers was the invisible one.

The door slammed open and that awful devil voice came again, muffled, but Khushi still heard, “Where are you little one? Don’t be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to play with you.”


She’d heard about the shadow who can crawl and creep, Halloween festivity she has celebrated in the month of October with her Mommy, but this wasn’t the shadow. This was an Evil Man. Her Mommy had explained to her and the Pujari (Priest) in temple too, they do exist and one can’t see or hear, but never thought she would witness with her own eyes and hadn’t envision it had a voice too.

Khushi understood, there is no safe place.

She has to stay where she is, hoping and praying, The Shadow would be gone soon. She stepped farther back into the closet, praying to Almighty God to help her in time of her need and yearning and longing for the shadow to crawl back where it came from.

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Nov 2, 2014

Chapter 2 – Shadow, That Still Haunts (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 78 times)

Chapter 2 - Shadow, That Still Haunts

Present day

“You look tired.”

At those words, Khushi delivered a glared towards Payal who was sitting on the barricade waiting for her. Although, she loves her dear Sis, but at this moment she felt like strangling her.

“Gee, thanks,” Khushi replied disdainfully, rolling her eyes. “Remind me to return the same favor one day when you start losing your sleep.”

“Touché, aren’t we today?” Payal remarked, jumping off the barricade and preceded towards the waiting car. Khushi wanted to say something, but discarded for now. “I’m not going to. I sleep like a baby.” Cheekily she responded, a thought ran through her mind. “Unless certain someone steal my sleep.” With a laugh she said dreamily.

“Oh! You and your crush. Get over with it.” She chastise her, taking her place in passenger seat while Payal takes her in driver seat. “He doesn’t even know you exist.” She rebukes her, up fronting the knowledge she acquired in case her Dear Sis failed to notice.

Payal frowns. An obviously exaggerated shudder shook her frame. “Aren’t you supposed to be on my side?” She threw a disgusted glare at Khushi who had adjusted her cap on her head. “Are you my Sister or my enemy?”

A chuckle rumbled through Khushi’s frame. “Enemy…”

Payal gaped at her face for a good minute, reading her expression which is now covered with that awful cap and the aviator, she hides behind. She huff a little, which made Khushi smile. She loves to irritate her Dear Sis, more the merrier when she can't see or read what she is thinking about her behind her seal.

Payal leaned over, meeting her nose to nose, spoke with gritted teeth. “You will pay for this, Khushi.” She back way and shifted the gear on her Porsche Car and drove away from the drive way.


Payal’s Car

2013 Porsche Boxster S in GT Silver Metallic from a front left view


“We’ll see about that. Wake me up when we get there.” Khushi scoff and shifted in her seat, slouching a little, touching her cap making sure it will not leave her head. It looks like her Sis has her needs. Need for the speed.

Payal didn’t think twice of Khushi’s threat and kept her eyes glued on the road. She asked concernedly without looking at her, “Are you okay?” She had seen her face, she wasn’t getting much sleep.

Khushi nods but then realized her Sis wouldn’t be able to see. “Yes.”

“Are you sleeping well?” Still her eyes were on the road as she shift gears zooming through the traffic. They were late for their class.

“Nope!” Nonchalantly she responded.

“Why? What happen?” Now Payal more worried about her sleeping disorder.

“Same old stuff.” With a frown and suckle face she replied.



Payal never asked her about her nightmares, afraid she didn’t want to cause her pain. She had heard her screams daily when she came to live with them but now they have lessen. Years of therapy will have that effect along with the medication. “Want to talk about it?” She asked, took a peek from the corner of her eyes, although she knew what her response is going to be.

“Nope, no desire to.” Curious as she ever can ever be, she still respected her sister’s wishes.

“I’m here you know, if you need to talk.” Payal said little hesitantly. Khushi peek at Payal who had growled with the sudden standstill of the traffic. “You know I’m there for you.” Khushi knows Payal has her back and Payal knows Khushi has hers, but that doesn’t stop both of them to tease each other.

“Why so sisterly-concern you have been?” Dejectedly, Khushi asked. She had notice sudden change in her voice, sadness along with worriedness.

Payal had seen the state of her room today just like she had seen for past 11 years. Blanket on the floor, along with the pillows, sheet crumpled and disorderly, her waking up hyperventilating, covered in cold sweat. Nothing was new to her but she thought she didn’t get nightmares anymore. Was she lying to them? Is she hiding about the nightmares?

“You know I always have. Stop being a brat.” Payal admonished her but tenderly.

“Brat, me. Look who is talking about.” Khushi ridicule, shifted her aviator down her nose. Through the little gap, she glare at her sister until their eyes met. She place her aviator back to its original position.

Payal had thrown a fit at their father, Shashi Gupta, who had inwardly gave in and bought her the new car they were riding in.

“Oh! It wasn’t.” She knew what Khushi was hinting at. She air brush her hand as if it was nothing. Payal was glad the traffic was moving.

“Oh! Oh! Don’t tell me it wasn’t nothing my dear Sis. It was much more of a thing.” Khushi upright herself, getting her chance to tease a little. Payal missed the wink Khushi had delivered in her direction, block by her dark sunglasses.

Payal knew the reason she had thrown a fit. Her crush had bought the car and she wanted to accessories too. Actually his brother bought one for him. Same as her father did for her.

“Aren’t you both a Twinkies?” She teased, getting equal pleasure at the Sister’s condition.

“Not at all. Mine is Porsche and his is Lamborghini.” See there, huge difference. “Beside mine is Silver and his is Black with orange strip, marked straight in the middle.” One more difference between them. So no Twinkies.

Khushi chuckled heartedly. “Yeah! You can say all you want. Your dream boyfriend had one so you wanted too. So my comment still stand. Twinkies.” She countered back.

“Whatever!” Payal brush her tease off as if she just had discarded a lint from her clothes.

By this time they had arrived at their college. Payal did a surveillance around the parking lot to spot that Black Lamborghini after she exited her car leaving the driver’s seat.

“Darn, he is still not here.” Displeased she was.

She would miss seeing him if he doesn’t hurry up and come in next 5 minutes. She had to rush back to her class. While Payal waited for her dream boyfriend, Khushi makes a detoured, not before saying, “See you at the canteen”.

Payal had ignored the words, not intentionally, but her mind was somewhere else.


“How was she today?” Shashi asked Garima as she was serving him his breakfast.

“Not so good. Same as before.” Garima said, unhappy. She was worried about her second daughter.

Shashi acknowledge and took a bite of his breakfast. “Much better than before. Haven’t heard her screams.”

“No, her screams had died down than before, but not completely gone. She gets it, but muffles her screams so that we won’t hear it and be worried.” Garima resided in an empty seat while they commute. This is one of the discussion that shouldn’t be overlooked.

“What did Doctor Bakshi has to say in it?” Shashi inquired staring at Garima’s concerned face.

Due to over demand of his time, he wasn’t able to attend all Khushi’s visit to see Dr. Bakshi.

“What he can say? So far with the treatment and medication he was able to block the nightmares….a temporary fix he calls it, which can blow up anytime and backfires on our faces. Shashi I’m really worried about her.” Garima placed her hand on his, hoping he can share some light and help their daughter in her time of her need. “Payal was saying she had found her in the same state as before.”

“Garima, we are doing all we can. We can’t erase the incident that happened with her parents from her brain. You know she had witness it all and the condition we found her in. That is not something that can be magically disappear. Give some time. Time will heal everything.” He left the fork in his plate and placed his other hand on Garima’s to give the comfort and support she needed.

Shashi was being realistic. Don’t get him wrong. He too was worried about his daughter, but being out of shape, worried sick about it, overwhelming them wasn’t going to fix everything within seconds. It takes time and effort. Effort they have done, taking care of her and giving her all the best treatment she needed to heal herself. That worked out successfully, where her screams has lessen and she is smiling and happy.

Now they need time.

Time has its mind of its own. The keeper of all being.

She nods understanding where Shashi was coming from.


A black Lamborghini with the orange strip, down straight in the middle pulls up in the parking lot.


Dream boyfriend’s Car

As the owner of the car parked his car, something hits the windshield.


“What the…”

A small dimple dent smiles at the occupants.

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Nov 3, 2014

Chapter 3 – First Encounter (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 81 times)

Chapter 3 – First Encounter


Two occupants exited out of the car, one from driver side and another from the passenger side. One of the occupant what it looked like he would vaporized anyone who crosses his path. An invisible steams gushes out of his ears, whereas another one looked like totally shocked and stunned. He knew whoever place the dimple dent on this car is not going to stay alive, not for long.

“Bhai (Brother) is going to kill him.” He shakes his head, take a peek at the blue blanket muttering the audible words. “God save that person from my brother’s wrath.”

Nirav Kaneria who also goes by the short name as NK, his eyes was now glued on his big brother, Arnav Singh Raizada. Whereas Arnav’s gaze was in-tune with the red circular object orbiting on the hood of the car. Although Arnav is the cousin of Nirav, but he adores and respects him just like a big brother.

“What the hell?” He barked as loud as he could. “Who is responsible for this?” He clenched his fist and spoke through gritted teeth. Rage filled his mind completely. His gaze did an orbit to spot the culprit who was liable of this vandalism.

Few minutes ago while Payal awaits for her dream boyfriend Khushi headed towards the group of boys who were playing cricket.

“Hey guys I want to play too?” Khushi shout out. She lightly jogged towards them. Cricket is one of her favorite game. She favors the game in the same manner she is favoritisms towards her desert, Jalebi.

“Hey Khushi, good to see you.” Shahid gleefully welcomed her after he had turned around to see who called out. “Look this RK (Rishabh Kundra) ka baacha is kicking our asses.” Shahid threw his conceited stare at RK, taunting him now let’s see who will win the game. Now, they have their secret weapon.

“Sorry you can’t play.” RK resorted back, walking towards them.

“Why not?” Khushi asked sassily.

“Because the team members are already picked and secondly game already began and middle of it.” RK responded with a grin on his face. There is no way he will let Khushi play, that too in the middle of the game. He knew she will kick his you-know-what, refuse to say the word ‘ass’, if she got a chance.

“Bok, Bok…” Khushi made a sound of a chicken and smiled delightedly. Laughter surrounds them.

“No way. I’m not a chicken.” RK’s grin turn into an anger and resentment. His lips pursed. He didn’t like the sound of it and how the turn of events will take place.

“Maybe not a chicken…say, how about…- placing her index finger in her month, beaming at him, thinking for a comeback - are you afraid of a girl beating your sorry ass.” She contemplated a bit, her mind smiled, hoping to grill the boy to throw down the towel. She knew his weakness and was going to use to her advantage.

“Stop saying the “A” word.” He reprimanded, with a snort.

“Oh!” She exclaimed. “Sorry guys – her eyes took a circle around them, making an eye contact - we have a kid around here. Let’s tame it down a bit. Will it be okay if I say tootsie, hinny, bottom, bum, derriere, and tush… do you want me to still go on.” She raised her brows silently informing him, if he doesn’t let her play she would keep nagging and irritated him.

RK had no choice but to give in. “Okay, and stop rutting out synonyms of “A” word.”

Khushi giggled in triumph. “Bat, please.” She grab the bat as RK handed out.

“Not so fast. You know what you got to do for me.” RK passes a silent message.

“Yes I know.” She respond, understanding his silent message.

“Don’t forget. Be there.” RK said. Promise she has given to him; he expect her to keep.

“I’ll…have my payment ready.” She has no desire to fall back on the promise. She intent to keep.

Shahid spoke, “Guys stop your dealing and play ball.” Time was running out. Soon they have to go back in class. Their dealing can wait.

“I’ll take the ball.” RK took the ball out of Mihir’s had and took his position while Khushi took hers.

RK balled and Khushi hit the ball. The ball leaped and took its rightful place flying into the air, but unluckily it landed on the car with a loud thud.

“Oopsy daisy…” Words left her mouth. Surely she was going to be in trouble.

“Khushi, you hit the dream boy’s car.” Shahid mouthed, worried Payal will be furious with her.

They all ran towards the car, except one person dragging her feet reluctantly behind everyone with a frown face, hiding herself not to be in the spotlight. Evidence still in her hand.

Arnav’s did one more orbit and notice the culprit walking towards the group with a moping face. “There is the person responsible for this vandalism. Now I got you.” His mind was determined for an revenge and punishment to lash out on her.

He strode towards her with the grace of a panther. People moved quickly to give him some space. Scared they were. Soon, he stood in front of her, one quick step and they would have collided easily. She backed up, jumping the step as soon as she spotted a black Armani shoes walking towards her. Although she had her head down on the ground, that didn’t mean she wasn’t attentive.

“You.” He pointed his finger at her, angry and accusatory. “What in the hell did you do to my car? Who the hell is going to pay for the damage you have cost. Do you have any idea how much this car could cost.” He lashed out on her with disdain stare, gaping and gawking at her from top to bottom. Not only his gaze but his words were conceited.

Khushi didn’t like his snobbish behavior. It was really unintentional, innocent act. She didn’t mean it and was going to apologize, but she wouldn’t accept nor will tolerate his rude gesture. “Excuse Me?!!!”

She spoke with honey coated lavish around her words. “Not only I can even tell you how much it cost but also can tell you what it would cost you to fix that dent in that car. The cost of the car in rupees is 30,000,000 and in dollar amount is 488,560. To fix that dent of yours is 1,000,000. I can throw in a freebie and suggest you the place where you can get your car fix. Free of cost.” She told him what he wanted to hear. “By the way, that cost of 1,000,000 was not for the car, but for the dent on your face. The place name is Happy Garage and they will fix it for free. Give my name.” With sarcasm falling out of her mouth she told him the frown on his face will cost him 1,000,000. “Now if you excuse me, I’m late for my class.” She threw the bat on the ground and walked away without looking back.

The bat landed on the man wearing Armani shoes. He yelp “Ouch!”

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Note: I will respond to your comment tomorrow...Sorry. It is time for me to hit the bed.

Nov 13, 2014

Chapter 4 – Friendly Confrontation (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 62 times)

Chapter 4 – Friendly Confrontation


Arnav was really amused and equally dumbfounded with her extremely formal tone she had adopted when she decided to put him in his place in an exceptionally subtle manner. Even though, he was still enrage and annoyed with her it didn’t prevented him to form a twitch around his lips, a smile, which took all his control not to have one on his pensive face. Shield behind his dark glasses his eyes were still scowling.


He quickly marched behind her, still winched in pain, he bellowed, “Hey you! I didn’t catch your name.” He clipped and gave her stern look but she on the other completely overshadowed him by walking away from him. “It’s rude to walk away after injuring someone.” He threw sultry glance at her. He admired her daring to stand up against him. No one has dare to, yet. Now he received the challenge and he wasn't going to lose his opportunity.

“First of all I’m not hey you.” She replied curtly. “Secondly, if you are going to address me then do it by my proper name, otherwise not at all.” She turned around, kept up with her own pace, backward walking and speaking to him. “Thirdly, you deserved it.” Her tone is sharp, carries the waves of pride with the posture she held with grace and her eyes fluttered with hint of mischievous. 

“What the!” He exclaimed. “Are you slow in your thought process?" He raised his brows. Obnoxious and annoyance was flowing from his mouth. "Why in the hell, would I have raised the question of not catching your name if I knew? And what do you mean by I deserved it." His eyes darkened and his tone turned into mocking and cruel. "And what your good name would be?" His voice dropped a couple of notches in a husky and se*y tone, one can find is seductive and liberating but to her was normal as it could be.

"Oh!" She was astonished. "So are we going to play that kind of game." She too honey coated her voice. "I heard, you are an intelligent man, so figure it out. Let's test your intelligence, shall we.” She threw saucy wink at him. “If you are so smart just look up the word in Hindi." She had turned around and was headed towards the building. "By the way I'm getting late for the class, see you later Mr. Raizada." A se*y smile was beamed in his direction. She didn’t make any attempt to explain herself, why he deserved it. She thought, it was unnecessary and inconsequential for any justification.

"What word that might be? And you didn’t clarify the reason for my endurance.” He mouthed it a harsh tone. He lurch at her and grab her wrist and swung her around in sudden jerk movement. “And who the hell is going to pay for the damage?" He was livid. No one has dare to walk away from him. Twice in one day, unacceptable.

She lost her balance and crash landed with a shocking thump on his chest after Arnav had yank her back into his body. Khushi gasped, forged a startled stare into his dark caramel eyes, feelings his body taut, strung so tight like a racket, so physically tense by her measly touch. He oozed clouds of heat and some unknown passion desires. Her head landed near to his heart and one of her free hand landed between them, flat over his hard sternum. She could hear and feel his heart pounding fast through his crisp Armani jacket, meeting the same beat as her. Ripple of shiver passed through his body with a light feathery touch. His grip tighten on her hand.

She winched in pain and little shocked. “The word that is opposite to your mood. And as far for your endurance, it goes for the same.” She remove his grip from her hand like a discarded piece of rag. Without paying him no mind and keeping up with civility she said, "Stop being so prudish and lighten up." She walked away from him without giving him the second look.

He tightened his fist, nails digging through his skin. Angry and furious words were in no comparison to his mood, the state he was in. It seemed they were beneath him. A low, hard sound, left his body. With a growl of fury he commanded, “Excuse Me!” He chase after her, meeting with her beat. Her shoulders stiffened when she sense him besides her.

“As far as the damage is concerned it will be taken care of. I’m getting late for my class. Now, will you excuse me.” Her tone of voice callous and ruthless. She jogged to reach her class in time. For some reason electricity shock waves passed through her body by his touch, she didn’t quite understand what it meant and feel. And his wide dark eyes, intensified ones, what to make out of it, she quite hasn’t fathom figured it out.

Arnav had no choice but had to watch her retreating figure moving away from him. No one has dare to walk away from him when they had crossed him. She was the first and she wouldn't be the last.

"Bhai..." NK called out after seeing the short confrontation.

He turned his head to the sound of NK, and then saw one last glimpse of Khushi before his attentions were fully on the car. Third time in a day, he is clean bowled out. His brain smiled, intriguing, but there was no residue on his face. Still had grim and hard facial expression.

"Who is she?" He roar, still mad about the damaged goods and the rude behavior of the girl.

"She is the daughter of Mr. Gupta." NK replied. Arnav brisk walk towards him.

"Oh!" Arnav said, feigning disappointment; name sound familiar.

"Gupta Industries." NK probe, seeing Arnav's mind reeling on a different path.

"What's her name?" He asked, tossing the ball on the ground and getting acclimated with the dent on his car. Correction not his car, his mind prompted but bought with his money, so technically his car.

"Her name is..." NK was interrupted as he was about to announce her name.

"Mr. Raizada...Mr. Raizada..." A yelping sound came from the opposite direction.

Two heads turned simultaneously facing in the direction of the cried voice. They saw Mr. Shah running towards them. He was informed by his peon Mr. Raizada has reached the destination and had met with an accident. 

Hearing the declaration of 'met with an accident', had Mr. Shah's ear perked up. He was worried and ran from his office to see if there wasn't any injuries to the promising donor. Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada was here, at the University, to donate the money for the new library; the one which was in the process of being built.

Time to tame down his enraged mood. There will be time and day to tackle that one too. Time for show biz.

“Mr. Shah. So nice of you to come.” He grimaced slightly; his voice chirp and businesslike.

“It’s my pleasure. I was informed you met with an accident so…” Mr. Shah sounded sincere.

Arnav cut him off. He had other important matters to attend too with rather than discussing the little fender-bender. “Don’t worry Mr. Shah, it was just a little fender-bender.” Both men shake their hands. Mr. Shah’s gaze fell on the damaged goods.

“Tell me who did this. I will have them rusticate.” Mr. Shah sounded apologetic and madden by the culprit who has caused the damage to his car.   

“No need. It’s all taken care of. The person who has caused the damaged has willingly offered to take care of all the damages and repairs, so no need for you to get involved.” He sounded reassuring, but internally he was no near to it.

“But still…” Mr. Shah offered his silent condolences as if his car was living breathing thing.

“I will take care. We have other business matter to discuss. Shall we.” He spoke coldly and curtly. He gesture his hand to the path in front of Mr. Shah, giving him indication and alerting him to drop the subject and move along.

“Bhai…” Said NK, timidly.

“Not know NK.” He threw the key at him. “Park the car and go to your class.” He ordered.

“Okay Bhai.” NK took his leave. He hooped in the car and drove off. He was merely following the orders of his big cousin brother.

Arnav and Mr. Shah walked in the direction towards Mr. Shah’s office discussing the matters at hand. In short time they were going to meet the board members to discuss the library project.

“Akash Bhai is not going to be happy.” He muttered those words and headed towards the class.

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Author's Note:

I'm sorry  and apologized for not updating for length of time as well as responding to your comment. Things at work got little bit hectic and will be at least for this month. Please bear with me for the time being for unable to update daily. I'll try my best to give you all short updates if possible.

Thank you for being understanding and patience with me. Love you all. You all are best.

Thank You.


Nov 13, 2014

Chapter 5 – Screams (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 63 times)

Chapter 5 – Screams


Images from the dreams that had started again a few weeks ago and has assaulted Khushi’s mind, more vividly and frequently than before. The encounter of nearly death experience has alerted and opened her mind of distinct images. At first she thought it was just her imagination, her mind playing tricks, but then the images within her nightmare were clear and strong. Even though, she couldn’t see the clear faces within her nightmares, she knew deep in her heart, an awareness, she has experience it and had seen before.

Was it in a different life? Or was it this lifetime? She still have to figure out.

Few weeks ago…

Khushi had sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to a secret destination. Her little hide out, home away from home. She had grab her telescope and other equipments from the garage, the secret hidden compartment she had created in the drawer and place it in the truck of her car. From the outside it appears to be a book cupboard but behind the scene was completely different.

Being young to drive and still haven’t received her driver license she wasn’t supposed to take her car that was bought for her as her Birthday Gift by her loving Dad. She still took her car to the secret hide out, thinking in the middle of the night who was going to care and bothered with; there wouldn’t be police around patrolling the road and check points. The destination where she was headed, taking the side dirt road who will care if she was too young or had her driving license.

Carefree and paying heed to no one in particular, she took the car and drove off. As she predicted there was no one to stop her as well as guarding the road from the crazy drivers, one in particular. She took the side dirt road, the unmanaged one, and headed straight to her destination. Clouds of invisible dust surrounded the area she has just crossed and a distinct dusty whiff can be smell through the nostrils. If it was the day time it could be clearly be seen, but at nightfall it was invisible.

In the distant, long away from her destination she could hear, dogs barking, the owls in the woods hooting, a distinctive sound can be heard; one can surely be mistaken for a shrill woman-like scream of great intensity. Nothing can terrify her, beside her unusual relapses of faint distant memories, which has been suppressed by years of therapy, to block the mind to forget the tragedy she has face during her early childhood age. 

Once she arrived at her destination, she took the equipments out of the truck compartment after parking the car. She place the bags of equipments on her shoulder and walk towards the gate. Typical as it could be, it was unlocked. No issues to head towards the assigned place she like to setup her gears; she just have to be mindful of the resting places of the undead; their home, leaving it undisturbed and intact.

Even though they were undead, she still respected them and their resting place.

She took her gears out of the bag one-by-one and place them gently on the ground. Once it was setup, it was time to watch the twinkle sparkles in the sky. Through her telescope she could see the farthest sparkly stars in the inky blanket, shinning and winking at her, as if she was watching it with her naked eyes. Although it appears the resting place of the stars a long stretch away from earth, the illusion it creates, those sparkling being was just few distance away from her. Be mindful she has help.

She had adopted this congenial habit since she came to live with the family, she is living today. After the trauma and death of her parents she couldn’t cope with the loss and nightmares that have kept her sleepless during the night. Her Mom, who in actual reality is her Aunt, had lean her towards the starry watching, a mid-night passing time, to occupy her mind and discard the bad memories which has caused her venomous pain and suffering. She had adopted this pleasing habit, her escape route, home away from home, in the same manner her uncle and aunty adopted her as their own child.

She stayed out their watching and admiring the untouchable ones as long as she could. Around 4 AM she packed up her things as dawn was about to approach. It was time for the sparkling objects to disappear for the time being until they are welcome back during nightfall.

Illusion that is created by the master mind, the creator of the universe.

On her way back to home, absorbing the serenity and tranquility, enjoying the visible dust clouds, she had just passed through the side dirt road and had taken the main road back to her home. Out of nowhere, disturbing the peaceful environment, she heard screeching noise of the tires, sounds of gunshots, two cars headed towards her direction. Within fraction of seconds, there was a sudden impact of collision with her car. One of the car had collided with her car. The man, the driver, behind the wheel had detour his car, unintentionally, without his own accordance crash into hers. Blood was oozing out of his head was the last scene she had seen after the unconscious took over her wellbeing, but her subconscious mind was still on alert and on guard.

“Is she alive?” A faint voice, her subconscious mind heard.

“Yes she is, but it looks like she has fainted.” Another voice her subconscious mind picked up.

“Good! Make sure he is dead.”

Heavy footsteps were heard.

Bang! Bang!

Two gunshots were fired again to make sure the occupant of the crashed vehicle is dead for good.

Her subconscious pushing her to wake up and save herself. Even though she tried to get up, the muscles and her body wouldn’t work in alignment of each other in spite they were inner linking with each other. The internal scream of cramped muscles from lying in the rigid position shivered for an extended period of time, but they didn’t make any progress expect her eyelids fluttered.


“Boss, he is dead. I made sure. That bast*rd was still alive.”

A dimly dark figure appeared before her eyes. Her subconscious wanted her to open her eyelids to see the person who was standing few distance away from her so she could recognize him, but her mind and body decided to give up the strength and stamina, visionless her, to save her from fatal fate.

“What do you want to do about her?”

“Nothing. Let’s go, before police arrives.”

The bad man has keen senses of the surrounding. The dawn is upon them, time for people to wake up. Another thing to their disadvantage was surely people would have heard the gunshots by now and would come out of their burrow to see what’s going on and what kind of noise did they heard. So no time to take care of the little problem at hand. When this problem becomes a hinder in their path they know how to take care of their problem. They have seen her face. It wouldn’t be a problem to find her.

As they were leaving and predicted, they saw from the corner of their eyes as they were getting in their car, doors opened up in a far distance. They must have heard the gunshot noise. It was summer time and people living in the apartments, high above the ground, had left their windows open to circulate the airflow. Noise has the tendency to carry out through the peaceful and tranquility environment.

Few on-lookers poked their heads out of their balcony to see the seen as it appears before their eyes. They were aghast and shocked to find the scene as it displayed after rubbing their eyes from the deep sleep they were in.

“Arre…what happen down there?” Someone shouted from their balcony.

Another scream.

“Call the police. It looks like an accident.”

“Arre…call the ambulance too…”

“Arre…go downstairs and check if they are alive.”

One after another people were shouting and alerting one another. Few people rushed down to evaluate the situation and alert the authorities.

More footsteps…

“The guy is dead, but she is not. She is still alive.”

“What happen? Is she hurt badly?”

“No…no just the bump and bruises on her head. Not sure if she is hurt badly.” Door opens and person glance inside the crash car to see if any other injuries he can see on her body or the blood, but nothing as it appeared. He wasn’t sure about the internal injuries if she may have acquired.

“Don’t look like she is hurt.”

“Move people. Hai Re Nand Kis****…giving some breathing room to her. You will all kill her before she is dead and all.” Voice echoed through the crowd.

“Arre…Buaji…” Someone addressed her from the crowd.

“I’m not your Buaji…move…get out of my way.” Buaji snaps and makes her away to check on unconscious Khushi. She checks the pulse to make sure she is alive. “Move back you all.” In her harsh tone, she admonished people to move back.

People obliged and scurry away from the scene. She was Amika’s Buaji, the small girl living in the neighborhood. So technically she was their Buaji also; they didn’t mind her chastising them and surely that didn’t stop them to call her and referred as ‘Buaji’ in spite her resistance and reluctance.

“Hey Suresh. Give me some water.” Buaji shouted.

Suresh went and got the water from the nearest hand pump and gave the glass to Buaji. She sprinkle some water on Khushi’s face. Still no effect. She sprinkle some more. Still no effect. She started to fan her with her sari, the extended part, to give some air in case Khushi is exhausted and needed oxygen to breath.

“Did anyone call the ambulance?” Said Buaji, now worried for the girl before her eyes. Still she was unconscious.

“Yes Buaji, it’s on the way.” Suresh replied, delightedly.

“How many times do I have to tell you all? I’m not your Buaji. I’m only Amika’s Buaji.” Buaji scolded again. She sprinkle some more water on Khushi’s face.

“Amika’s Buaji is our Buaji. Whether you like it or not.” In frustrated tone Suresh retorted.

Buaji didn’t want to extend their dispute and will tackle the issue of addressing her at some another time. For now she wanted to concentrate on the fragile child’s wellbeing.

“Arre…see if the ambulance has arrived.” In concerned voice she called out. Now really concerned for the safety and wellbeing of Khushi.

Ambulance noise heard in the distance along with the police siren. Siren were sounding promising.

“Move, move, what happened here?” A policeman yelled out after getting out of his Jeep, wanting to restore the crime scene before it is compromise.

“Not sure what happened Inspector Shahib. We heard some gunshots and came to look outside of our houses found two car lying here. We came rushing down to see and found, one person dead and the girl unconscious.” Ramesh explained with satisfying thrilled.

“Do you know if this girl cause the accident?” Inspector asked.

“Don’t know Sir. But it look like a murder.” Ramesh replied.

“Murder!” Shocked Inspector asked.

“Yes, Sir…look…look Inspector Shahib…See the man in the car…shots were fired on him.” Ramesh pointing out with his index finger.

Inspector walks towards the car, noticed four gunshots were fired on him. Two shots were fired in the chest and two were on the forehead. Whoever shot him wanted to make sure he was dead.

“Pandeji, check and see if you can find any identification on him.” Inspector order his Havaldar. “And make sure the crime scene is intact. Don’t let anyone come near the car or touch anything.”

“Ji Hajur (Sir)…” Pandeji replied; always ready to please his boss. “Move back you all.” He ordered at the crowd. The stump his stick on the ground, few times, warning people to follow his order and gawking them with his intense daring look, if-you-all-don’t-follow-I’ll-lock-you-up-in-the-jail stare, more threatening then it intend to be.

After making sure the crowd has moved back, he went to check on the dead man’s identification.

“Arre…you all are worried about the dead man, what about the living one? Aren’t you worried about this fragile being?” Buaji yelp in her chided tone, still fanning Khushi’s face with her sari. “No one is concerned for this girl… Hai Re Nand Kis****…what world has come too? Kalyug…kalyug…hai this duniya (Age of Downfall of this world)”She shook her head, unhappy with the situation. “Arre…did the ambulance arrived yet or not. Suresh check on it.” She ordered.

Suresh like an obedient child went to check on the ambulance. To him, it should have arrived already. He had heard the siren. He looked doubtful.

“Arre Maji, why are you yelling? Chill Maji, chill…” Said Inspector. “We’re all worried about this girl, but have to secure the crime scene for the Crime Scene Investigator. You know we all have to answer to someone.” Inspector laughed, as if he made a joke and made his way towards Khushi’s car. Crowd slowly dispersed with his each step.

“I’m not your Maji.” Buaji squeal. “Call me Buaji. Everyone calls me here, you can call too. I’m not worried about who answer to who, ultimately we all know who we answer at the end of the day…Nand Kis****…”Buaji was hooked on Nand Kis****’s name. If she had her ways, she would repeat His name, every sentence comes out of her mouth.

“Okay Buaji…” Inspector didn’t want to argue with her. If he was annoyed, he didn’t show on his face. He cared less what he calls her. At the end of the day he wanted to finish his work and go home to his wife and kids. “Can you tell me who she is?” Inspector asked, lifting his head, gesturing in the direction of the sleeping girl.

“What kind of rubbish question it is? I’m not here to find out who she is. I’m here to see the welfare of this child. Go and check on that darn ambulance.” Her ordering tone hasn’t displeased the Inspector. “Has it arrived or not? This child will die before it will arrived in this day and age. What this modern technology useful for?” She waves her hand, angrily, unpleased with the line of questioning.

In her mind she thought, why the hell is he worried about who she is, and not bothering with this child welfare and health. Today’s kid….she tsk, with aghast…in her age, no one care who the person was. They all dive in and were ready to help, and ask later. Kalyug…hai …ye…duniya. She was still shaking her head, infuriated with the people as well as the technologies and comfort of todays.

“Pandeji, see if ambulance arrived.” Inspector commended. “By the way have you found the identification on that dead man.”

“Yes Sir…” Pandeji handed him the ID card on the dead man and went to check on the ambulance.

“If you are so much worried about who she is why don’t you check it yourself.” Buaji probe. “What’s taking the ambulance so much time?” She wondered, by now it should be arrived.

Sirens were heard nearby…finally it arrived. Got lost on the Randevu point…pitiful driver.

Inspector went around towards the passenger side, open the door and retrieve her purse while the paramedic attended to Khushi.

All of a sudden, she screams.



And she collapse again.

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Nov 15, 2014

Chapter 6 - Memories (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 55 times)

Chapter 6 - Memories


Everyone around Khushi are stun and equally daze after hearing her scream. They didn’t know what just happened. A minute ago she was lying unconscious and next second she screamed, and then collapse to comatose stage.


Couple of paramedic arrived carrying medic kit and supplies bag in the hands. “Move people give some breathing room. We need to remove her from the car.” One of the paramedic technician commanded.

Slowly people move away from them. While the crowd scatter, both the paramedic technician gently removed her out of the car and placed her on the stretcher they had brought with them.

“What happened?” One of the paramedic technician asked.

“Beti, look she is unconscious. Treat her first, before asking what happened. Make sure there are no more injuries.” Buaji’s tone was admonished and commanding at the same time.

Safety comes first so they attended to Khushi without giving any hassle or paying any mind to no one. They made sure there are no internal injuries such as broken bones or other fatal ones they could see, but they couldn’t understand the reason behind her comatose stage. It appeared to them she was sleeping in deep sleep.

After few minutes attending to her they placed Khushi in the ambulance and headed straight to the hospital. Further analyzes were done and her personal doctor was called.

While she was taken care of, Inspector was dealing with the Crime Scene Technicians to gather the evidence of the murder and accident at hand. He verified the identity of the guy and also managed to retrieve information on Khushi’s identification found in her purse. Few phone calls were made and he gave the hospital name where she was taken to her parents when he spoke with them.

Khushi’s parents rushed to the hospital, worried to sick. They were unaware she had sneak out of the house. Hearing the news of her accidents they were astounded.

“Khushi…Khushi…” Shahid touched her shoulder. Khushi jumped a little out of her chair. She hadn’t realized when she had dozed off. Thought she didn’t mind, it was a boring class. Anyone would fall asleep.

“Are you okay?” He asked, his eyes concerned and wary.

“You look pale,” RK added. He leaned forwarded from his seat to ensure she was feeling alright. He studied her through a narrowed gaze. “You are more than normal, I mean. Are you sleeping well?” His jaw tighten, realizing he shouldn’t have asked after she threw securitizing gaze at him as if he asked a wrong question. “Sorry I didn’t say that.” He look apologetic. Khushi hates people asking about her lack of sleep and her being well. At times she finds it, annoying and depressing as if she caught a contagious disease and had barely survived.

Khushi knew and fully aware they are her friends and always worried about them, so she didn’t pay any heed to them or scolded them for asking dumb questions. Shahid was staring at her like he was a lost child. “It’s all right. I’m just tired.” Khushi assured them reached out and squeezed RK’s forearm.

She hovered her hands on her face to remove the tiredness and scrub grit from her eyes that had been there all day. “But I’m fine.” She murmured when she hadn’t heard any response from them. When she glanced they both were gawking at her.

Shahid didn’t look convinced. “I’m worried about you. You have been tired a lot lately.”

“I have been busy.” She tried to brush the issue easily. “I have too much on my mind lately rather than to enjoy sleep.” At least that was technically true. She had been busy up late working on the project so should say their special project. She gave a smug smile at them. “Maybe I’ll try to sleep early when our special project is completed and then try to get to bed early. Let’s see if that helps.” She shrug her shoulders trying to convince herself rather than them.

“Oh! That reminds me how it is coming along.” RK asked, enthusiastically. Now something else has perked his interest.

“Few more coding and then we should be good to go.” She responded, kept an eye at the front of the classroom to ensure the teacher wasn’t witnessing their blabber. She isn’t up for punishment and surely not in the mood as well.

Lately, after the accident she has been placed in the dog house so to speak. In spite getting her license she wasn’t allowed to drive, one of the punishment among others. She knew her parents have her best interest at heart, but still she liked her freedom and didn’t welcome people trying to bend and impose their wishes on her.

She was a free bird, but in her heart she knew she wasn’t. She wasn’t going to be or rest until the mystery of the blur images of her nightmare is resolved.

Bell rang…time for next round.

“Thanks guys for caring and keeping in check with my sleep deprivation. I’m fine. Just want to complete the project and ….” She trail off after taking a deep sighs. She grabbed her books off the desk and got to her feet. She didn’t want to explain the reasoning behind her lack of sleep. She wasn’t meeting their eyes in case they would realized she was lying and will interrogate more. It was time for her to leave.

She dipped down and pressed kisses to RK’s and Shahid’s cheeks. “Thanks for having my back.” She was glad they were sitting in the last row at the back of the room, away from teacher’s eyes. She didn’t want her teacher to see her giving peek to her fellow peers as well as friends and accused her and them of PDA (public display of affection).

Shahid shot upright as well as RK and strode with Khushi to the entrance of the classroom. “Wait.” Shahid said, right behind her trail.

“Where you going?” RK added, towering right behind Shahid.

“Why? Do you want to join me?” She gave them a cheekily smile, looking mystified and mischievous.

“Join you…where?” Both spoke at same time, confused and baffled, not sure where she want them to join her. They have seen that look, not sure what her intensions were.

“Bevakuph (Stupid) …to ladies room.” She laughs light. By now they have exited the class and headed to another path.

Hearing the words ‘ladies room’ their feet abruptly seized. Both stared at each other, RK and Shahid, shaking their heads remembering their miserable and embarrassed moment’s they had encountered few days ago. They had accidently entered the ladies room without realizing keeping the same beat with Khushi and got the beating of their life time. No way are they going to make the same mistake.

Ladies room, is off limit to them.

Khushi gaped at them for few minutes before, smiling at them, she too remembered the same flashbacks as them. “I didn’t think so.” She muttered, more to herself rather than them. She headed the same path whereas the boys turned their heels in the other direction, ashamed, saving themselves of another embarrassing moments.

“Catch you later Khush…"

Khushi chuckled heartily and rolled her eyes. She will keep this triumph card stored in her memory bank for later use when she didn’t want to be bothered with by them. At least, they wouldn’t follow her in that one place. 


In the conference room while the discussion was proceeding in regards to library with the board members of the university, Arnav’s mind was still on the girl and her eyes. It looked familiar to him. Where he had seen those hazel ones he couldn’t remember, at the moment, which bugged the hell out of him more so than the dent on his car.

“Dammit where the hell I have seen it. Those eyes looked familiar.” He was having tug-a-war with his mind. Exasperation and annoyance clearly seen on his face.

Seeing his irritated face, Mr. Shah asked, “Anything wrong Mr. Raizada with the proposal.” He kept his securitizing gaze on him. He knew Arnav was infuriated before with the fender-bender on his car and was going to be careful not to cross him nor madden him any further. He wanted to keep him happy. Happy means promising future for him.

“Huh! Nothing.” He looked confounded, annoyed with himself then on anyone. He must have lost the track on the conversation. They have been going in circle since an hour and haven’t resolved anything yet or came to an agreement. He had agreed to join this project on one account, one purpose. His both cousins were studying here and wanted to contribute something for their future. That was the only reason he had accepted to meet with the board members of the university.

Everyone’s head turned in the direction of Mr. Shah and Mr. Raizada.

“Listen people we have been going around in circles for an hour and hasn’t come to an agreement we all can be satisfied with.” He stood up abruptly, knowing the fact the meeting hasn’t adjourned. He button his jacket, ready to bolt out of the meeting room. “Sent the proposal to my assistance Mr. Aman Mathur. I’ll review one more time and see how much I can commit to. Rest be assured and no mistaken on your part, you all have to work together and have to look someplace else for more funding. ARD can’t commit to all aspect on this project.” His voice firm and determined. His eyes, intense and unchallengeable. Defy me and I-will-kill-you look he was staring at them.

He was telling them in a polite way - although there wasn’t anything polite about - they have to find some other donors rather than him. He was tired of listening to their personal agenda conflicting with the project at hand. He has no time for this bullsh*t cr*p. He has other matter to see through than debate in worthless conversation.

After his statement he bolt out of the room without saying a word nor a look, uncaringly and unmindful, leaving the stun and jaw dropped faces.


“Mom…Mom…Khushi just ran off.” Payal was screaming on top of her voice. “She took my car keys.” She was speaking to her mother on the phone while chasing after Khushi who had taken her car keys and bolt out of the bathroom.


While Khushi was running away from Payal, tears sweeping down her cheeks, she bump into a rock solid chest. Both stumble a little, but manage to save themselves from the jolt, inner linking them having their arms around their profile.

“What the…” Hazel blinking eyes staring at the molten ones.

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Nov 16, 2014

Chapter 7 – Name Revelation (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 60 times)

Chapter 7 – Name Revelation


Khushi quickly averted her teary eyes away from Arnav, hoping he hadn’t seen her tears. But his harsh and punitive tone of voice had her head lifted to meet his dark molten ones. “What the bloody hell?” He said tartly. “You again!” It wasn’t a polite statement but a derogative words against her, rude and demeaning.

She looked over to him, looked him right in his eyes. Now he couldn’t forestalled his stare away from her. Khushi sensed with his shrewd narrow eyes, he was gawking back at her as if she was the demon from hell.

“Yeah! Me again.” In equally rude tone she snapped at him, her chin jutting out in defiance.

She didn’t care if he sees her tears or not. Let them run from her teary eyes, as if she wasn’t bothered by. His razor sharp words was gutting her heart. Her anger started to rise in her skin and flame her body. Slowly, hurt was creeping away.

Something stung him inside his heart.


His heart clenched on its own accord, suffocating it, squeezing it sucking the life out of his body. What was happening to him? He quite fathom didn’t understand.

Before he could speak, she blurted out again. “What are you implying Mr. Raizada by saying ‘You again’?”  She said in impassive and infuriated tone. She was tired of his egotistical and arrogant behavior. Twice in one day was enough of him.

Arnav had his eyes glued on her eyes, watching and calculating. Her eyes, the shade of her eyes…the color…reminded of the faint distant memory, raising him the question where had he seen it.

“Mr. Raizada, are you listening to me.” She shouted seeing he was lost some place.

Arnav shook his head lightly to jolt out the memory of the past and welcome him back to the real world. The girl, shouting at him.

“I listened you loud and clear. Don’t need to yell at me, Miss.” He barked.

Miss…Had Khushi’s head spin for a moment. Whether to make a mockery or laugh or tease him a bit she quite couldn’t make her mind. He still hasn’t figure out my name.

Tease would be better to squash his ego…yup that route would be better…she agreed with her own self and pat on her back.

Laughingly she said, glint of mockery swimming in her eyes while she uttered those words. “You still haven’t figure out my name Mr. Raizada.” She gave me a perfect Mona-Lisa smile. “I thought and have heard you are intelligent man, have sharp brain, but apparently it seemed you got nothing in here.” She poke her index finger on his temple.

You know what they say. Don’t poke cobra with the stick when he is enrage, unless you want to get bit by it. Same rule applies here with Mr. Raizada. Don’t touch and taunt him, mocking his intelligent, if you are not up with the consequences.

“Don’t-touch-me.” He emphasized on each other as he said through his gritted teeth, his eyes intense and dark. He had seen in her hazel ones, the glint, and the glimmer, flash in her eyes. “Unless you are ready for the consequences.” He co*ked his eyebrow to challenge her, try again and find out what the outcome would be.

“Mr. Raizada…Mr. Raizada…you can’t simply take a joke. Touché.” She chuckled. She knew she has hit a nerve. His ego and arrogance is hurt now. She liked it. Like it a lot.

“Joke I can take, but people who mock my intelligence that isn’t palatable to me, unless they aren’t up for my conquest.” His defying stare was attempting her to go against him and see what the aftermath would be. His comment suggest he like to mingle with intelligent people, stupid and foolish people are worthless and wastage of his time.

“Tsk…tsk…see I made you angry. That wasn’t my motive at all.” She saw from the corner of her eye Payal was right on her track and headed her way. She got to bail out. “I love to chat with you and hash out our, who conquest who, but at the moment it has to be put on hold. Got to run…hope our next encounter is more pleasant than it has been.”

She pushed him away from her. Both were still interlinked with each other. They were comfortable in each other’s hold more so than they have realized it.

“What the…” She heard him bellowed.

She was running away from him and her sister Payal. Arnav stood there, dazed, staring at her retreating figure.

“Mom…mom she took my keys.” Payal just passed Arnav, speaking to her mother on her phone.

“What did you do Payal?” Garima asked, as she sense there must be a reason for Khushi’s defiance.

“Nothing Ma.” Payal replied, exasperated and defeated.

“Payal…” Garima sounded admonishingly.

Payal told her rush, what had happened in the bathroom. She had found out she had dented one of her good friend’s car and she went to comfort her. She didn’t want to tell her Mom she had hearts for this so called friend. So she kept it lightly. During their conversation, thing heated a bit, although her intensions weren’t. In their arguments she said something and hurt her feeling. While her back was turned around Khushi had grab the keys from Payal’s purse and took off.

Garima wasn’t pleased with her daughter. “You know Payal how sensitive she is and can be at times. You shouldn’t have said what you said.”

Payal had told her how she could have done to Akash’s car. “How could you Khushi?” Her tone was harsh. She was mad and little annoyed and hurt.

Khushi had told her it was an innocent act.  “But Sis it happened. I had no intension of denting his car.”

“Khushi how can you be so foolish and ignorant.” Payal raised her voice.

“But Jiji, please I had no idea.” Khushi pleaded with blurring eyes. Tears started to form.

“I don’t want to hear anything what you have to say.” Payal was insensitive of Khushi’s feelings. She always has been mindful, but this time she was hurt and didn’t care about Khushi’s feeling. Her dream boy’s car was dented none other than her sister Khushi. “Always looking for and asking for attention…always needy…always helpless. Go Khushi from here. Get out.” She spats out when she felt Khushi’s hand on her shoulder and brush it away.

While Payal’s back was turned away from Khushi, she grab the key from the purse which laid on the top of the shelf and ran with it. Khushi’s feelings were wounded and miffed.

“I know Mom, I should said those words to her, but I was angry. By the time I realized it, it was too late.” Payal sounded sincere of her crimes.

“Okay I will call your Dad and see what he can do. And Payal listen, try to stop her. Go after her.” Payal obliged and said she would do everything in her power to go after her.

An innocent by stander heard the whole conversation. He smiled. How foolish he had been? Yup, he is stupid and lacks his intelligence. Opposite of sad is happy and happy in Hindi is ‘Khushi’. So that’s her name. What a fool he had been?

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

P.S. Sorry for short update, head was hurting all day. Only a short one I was manage to get it out in short time.

Nov 17, 2014

Chapter 8 – Fear (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 58 times)

Chapter 8 – Fear


“Shashi, Khushi…” Pleaded voice of Garima had alerted all his awareness. He was in the meeting, but as soon as he saw Garima’s name flashing on his phone, he answered it without any hesitation. He realized she wouldn’t have called unless it was an emergency.

“What happened to Khushi?” He asked concernedly.

“Payal just called and said…” She narrated all that had happened at the university, their little quarrel, and how she had taken her car key and left the premises of the university.

“Payal did what?” He stood up from his executive chair without giving any thought. He was shocked and angry at the foolishness of her daughter. She knew better.

“It was an innocent act. She didn’t mean it.” Garima pleaded for her daughter Payal. “She had realized her mistake and ran after her. Shashi…” She begged the forgiveness from her husband for her daughter.

“Garima don’t make any excuse for Payal. She knew better and well aware how sensitive Khushi can be. After what has happened.” He was speaking in furious tone and now really worried about her.

“I know Shashi…but still it was her honest mistake.” Garima knew how much Shashi adore and love Khushi than her own daughter Payal. Since day one after her parent’s death she had become like his real daughter. He always make sure her wishes, her desires, her dreams, and every obstinacy are met without any question asked. In short, he had fulfill her wishes she had asked for. Never let her feel she wasn’t their own daughter. Always treated her like one.

“Where are they both?” He asked, abruptly, cutting her short in the midst of her explanation.

“Payal said she had taken car key and ran off. She doesn’t know in which direction she was going. I told her to go after her no matter what.” Garima explained, all her fear crawl onto her skin similar like ants crawling on the body.

“I will leave and see what I can do.” He said, while leaving his office without giving clarification to his employees who were staring at him with beady eyes.

They all knew about the code word. “Khushi”. Everything come second to her. They didn’t mind their Boss leaving them in the middle of the meeting. They knew how important ‘Khushi’ is for their Boss and family.

Shashi left his office and went straight to the elevator. After few minutes he reached downstairs and exited the building. His car was waiting for him. Before he left he had commanded his secretary to bring his car in front of the building.


Khushi had left the premises of the university in Payal’s car. She didn’t know where she was heading. She just drove off. Payal was chasing after her and calling her name, but Khushi acted like she hadn’t heard her name. Worried Payal didn’t know what she needed to do. She felt like she was fish out of water and was squirming to how to survive the fatal fate.

Her phone rang and she picked up immediately. Her Dad was calling her.

“Dad, Dad…I didn’t mean it Dad…I’m extremely sorry.” Her sincere pleading voice came over the phone.

Shashi knew how sorry Payal was but still he couldn’t let her drop the subject without saying what he needed to say. In his reprimanding voice he spoke, “Payal, you knew better.” That should speak for itself.

“I know Dad, but I was mad and in anger I said things I shouldn’t have said. I didn’t mean it.” Payal spoke with sobbing voice.

“Okay…okay Payal. Don’t cry.” Shashi knew she sounded remorseful. “Now tell me where is she.”

“Don’t know Dad. She took off. I called her out but she acted like she hadn’t heard me.” Payal said sounding genuine.

“Do you worry…I will figure out. If you can find help, get it to find her.” Shashi knew he had banished Khushi to drive car and she had been getting ride from Payal to attend her classes at the university. “Oh! She was in so much trouble.”

“Okay Dad. I will see.” Payal said and hung up the phone. She looked around here and there but couldn’t see anyone who can help her. She ran back to the classroom to see if Shahid or RK can help her out.


Arnav had called the texted Aman to send another car at the university while he was in the meeting. His car was waiting for him when he had exited the premises. He called NK had told him to take the other car to the Happy Garage and get it fixed. He had commanded in demeaning tone of voice to inform the mechanic all dues will be paid by Miss Khushi Gupta and if he has further concerns or questions he should ask her.

“Nanav…” NK interrupted Arnav while he was giving instruction.

“Shut up NK. How many times do I have to tell you not to call me Nanav…” He wasn’t angry and annoyed because NK interrupted him, but he was as he had dismembered his name like a mutilated body. He hates and irk him when NK calls him Nanav. Although NK doesn’t mean it, in nervousness it happens. It’s just a slip of his tongue.

“Sorry Bhai…you know in my anxiety I slip.” NK said apologetically.

“What are you nervous about?” He spoke annoyingly.

“You know Akash Bhai…when he will find out about the dent on his car…you know how furious he will be.” NK explained in broken voice.

“Stop you broken record. I will take care of it. You, don’t need to worry about.” He reprimanded him and clarify he didn’t have to break the news about damaged goods to Akash. He will take care of it.

Relief scorch through NK’s veins. He knew how much Akash liked his car. It was his baby, which had a dented dimple due to certain someone’s sister. He knew how Akash hates Payal who follows him around like a sick love puppy. Always gaping at him, admiring him, try to speak with him…etc…etc…Though Akash likes Khushi but would prefer to stay away from her clingy sister.

Without further due, he obliged to his brother. Why fear when Arnav is here…the mantra he uses certain time, when his life depended upon his Bro.

“Okay Bhai…will do. I got to go to the class.” He disconnected the call, before Arnav asked or should say order him his next command.

Arnav headed to his waiting man and his dear car…his 2014 Aston Vanquish. ”Mohan…” His driver waiting with his keys to his car.

Arnav's Car

“Sir…keys…” Mohan hands him his keys to his car.

Arnav accepts and headed towards his car. Mohan nods and gets into another waiting car. Arnav prefer to drive his own vehicle and doesn’t need any assistance to have him chauffeur around. He likes his order and control. Chauffeur means losing his control and chaos to his order.

While he drove, his thoughts wanders back to one individual, Khushi. Today his thoughts are drifting too much and he was losing his dominance and stability. Calmness and reliability were no near to his existence. This girl had occupied his mind, throughout his meeting and now too.

This girl had the audacity to challenge his intelligence. Her boldness and speaking her mind had shook the ground where he walk. Her closeness, her aroma, her in his arms, how comfortable she fits in his body. His testosterone hormones were sky rocket high. No one so far in his life time had shaken the grounds of Arnav Singh Raizada…or has it

Somewhere in their whole ordeal she had hit some nerves. He can’t let her win. He zoom through the traffic dogging and avoiding other vehicles along the way. He was agitated by the traffic in the same manner he was restless and distressed by certain someone and his mind drifting towards her. He had to get his revenge. He can’t let her win.

How the hell did she knew his name where he had his shortcoming.

While his mind was wrapped up in the delusion state, not in literally terms but figuratively speaking, his phone buzz. He answered it without glancing who had called him.

“Arnav here…” He barked in the phone.

“Chote…what’s the matter.” Anjali spoke in panicking voice. All ears attentive and on alert. “Why you sound angry? And on who?”

“Nothing Di…” Still disturbed and infuriated he was. “Why did you call?” He asked, his tone still domineering; hasn’t left the touch.

Anjali knew her brother. Something was bothering him otherwise he wouldn’t be snapping turtle. “I’m not going to tell you now, not before you tell me why you are acting like a snapping turtle.” She too was his sister and knew how to bend a spoon. When she wants something she gets it.

“Snapping turtle.” He scoffs, laughs at himself. He wonders where does his Di comes up with weird name calling, just for him and no one else.

“Yes, you are acting like one.” She said with much audacity.

“Who said I’m…” His deniability has no ending.

“Have you heard yourself? How you sound right now.” Her tone hasn’t change. She wasn’t going to accept her defeat.

Arnav realized he was being snobbish and inconsiderate to his Di. Before he could apologize she spoke. “Well I see you are not up for it, I’m hanging up the phone.” In complaining voice she said.

“Di…wait…” Anjali smiled to herself. She knew all her tips and tricks that would allow her to scope the ghee out of the jar.

“Sorry Di…I shouldn’t have taken out someone else anger on you. It’s just Di…” He took a moment to think and took deep sighs to release the stress that had build-up in his veins. “Someone had dented Akash’s car and I was just annoyed by the situation.” There he told her. She wins…as always. He knew all her tricks in her goody bag and how she manipulates everyone in the house when she doesn’t get her way…even her husband who also bows his head to her demand. He feels sorry for her Jijaji.

He only allows her to manipulate him and no one else. No one dares him…not even his entire family. Just her. “Di…don’t say anything to Akash just yet…I will take care.” He doesn’t want Akash to find out and add to his worrisome. He will tell him in due time. Break the news gently and modestly.

Anjali smiled cheekily she won the game. She was master of manipulation. No one has come empty handed. “I wouldn’t.” Happy and glad with her accomplishment.

“How is he?” He asked, though he knew the state of his condition.

“Oh! He is still a sick puppy dog…complaining and ****ing…I think he got a bug…lovaria bug…” She chuckles. She had heard horror stories about the girl at university who is after him…chasing him…following him everywhere he goes.

“Why did you call Di?” He asked, taking few deep breath. Stress and anger leaving him. He doesn’t want to hear Akash and his dorky lovaria bug.

Anjali told him he has to come tomorrow with her to Devi Maiya’s temple, with no ifs or buts. “But Di I can’t. I have a meeting in the morning.” He pleaded.

“Chote…” Admonishingly she sounded. “You have to come. If your Jijaji was here I wouldn’t have begged you. I wouldn’t plead….like a beggar…you know how much I hate to beg…and so forth…” There she goes again with her grumpy tricks. Always bending others to her demand.

“Di stop your whining…I sometimes feel sorry for Jijaji…” He groan. He shook his head, all of a sudden feeling emotional and touchy for his Jij.

“What do you mean by I feel sorry for Jijaji?” In grouchy voice she asked.

“You very well know.” He pointed out her shortfalls. “How is he able to take and endure to your cantankerous behavior, beats me? Only he can put up with your childish act. No one can…” He rumble.

“Because he loves me.” She answered him in sweet loving voice. There she said it, as if it was a magic words. “You know when you fall in love you will act and endure in the same manner as your loving Jijaji.” With pleased she replied.

“Oh! As if I will…never.” He said with matter-of-factly. He knew he wouldn’t fall in love. He didn’t want loveria similar to Akash…gaping at certain some with puppy eyes…shiver ripple through his veins in disgust.

“Don’t say never…when it happens it will swipe you off your feet.” She told him the truth. “Stop being prudish and tell me will you come with me tomorrow or should I have to…” She threatens him, do or else.

Arnav cut her in before she could complete, ‘go alone by myself’. “I will and stop grumbling. I will come.” He didn’t want to hear her complain. He had dropped the white flag long time ago and bow his head to his Di and her frivolous demand.

Prudish…he had heard this word, but where. He allowed her mind to wander off to figure out where he heard it. “Khushi…she said it.”

“There is that word again.” He whispered. It was more to himself than others. Anjali heard it.

“What word Chote?” She asked pleasingly and curiously. Today, someone or something had occupied his Chote’s mind.

“Prudish…” He responded, still in his thoughts.

“Why? What’s so unusual about the word?” She urged. She was on the mission and have to find it…soon.

“Because she said it.” Anjali’s fox ears were on alert. He mention She…now who is She.

She…Who is She?” She prodded, surprised.

“Khushi…” He muttered. He realized his mistake, he said her name. Now more interrogation would come. “Nothing Di…scratch anything I said.” He quickly brush the issue.

“Oh! Chote I wouldn’t say nothing.” She spoke in teasing voice. Arnav knew he was in deep trouble.

“Di…I have to go…” He disconnected the call brusquely, before his actual interrogation would begin. He knew what will wait for him when he returns home…not just her but whole family.

Anjali allowed him for ending the call. “Khushi…huh…” She lightly slap the phone in her hand…thinking…hard. She got to find out who is this girl by the named of ‘Khushi’, who has occupied her brother’s mind. He hasn’t mention any girl’s name from his mouth. He has been careful.



Arnav shouted. “Arrgh…” This girl now has got him into trouble with his Di. Before things get out of hand, he call his dependable assistance. Aman.

“Aman, find out everything about the owner of Gupta Industries and their daughters, especially Khushi Gupta.” As soon as it rang first ring and Aman had picked on the other line, Arnav bellowed his order.

“Sir…” Aman spoke over Arnav, before he ends the call.

“Mr. Jha is here to see you.” Aman said timidly. Arnav growl and grunted.

“I should be there in next few minutes. Have him seated in the conference room.” Arnav said in authoritative tone. He wasn’t looking forward to this meeting. He knew it would be a disaster too…just like the one at the university.

“Okay Sir…” Like a parrot, Aman obliged.

“Listen Aman you will receive the proposal file for the library…” Arnav said formally and Aman listen informally…he knew what his boss was trying to say.

“Understood Sir…Will take care of it.” Aman responded. Arnav liked this understanding between them. Aman knew how to please as well as understanding his unspoken words without any complain.

“And Aman I want the other information ASAP.” Arnav told him what he is more interested in. His fascinated has been piqued by certain someone.

He disconnected the call after Aman told him he will get the information ASAP as he had requested. He remember few days ago he had a meeting with Mr. Gupta. His first rough meeting and he doesn’t know anything about them. He has to find out and be on top of his game before it’s too late.

“Arnav beta be ready to be crucified.” He moaned. He knew what’s forthcoming.


Payal searched for Khushi after getting help from Shahid and RK. She was nowhere to be found and she wasn’t answering her calls.

Shashi tried to call her and his situation was ditto to Payal…no response from his dear darling daughter Khushi.

At home Garima worried about her. Weeping and sobbing were on-going in Gupta House.

Her friends and relatives too were concerned for her safety.

Fear grew seconds by seconds…minute by minute…hour turned into hours…but no sign of Khushi.

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Voting: (Total Votes: 35)

Continue this story (Votes: 33)
or not...stop (Votes: 2)
Nov 19, 2014

Chapter 9 – Stranger meets again (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 70 times)

Chapter 9 – Stranger meets again


Khushi had gone straight to her secret hiding place…the cemetery. The home away from home…but today in daylight it looks quite different than it did during nightfall. There was one more variance, important one, it didn’t feel like home away from home. The whole scene and atmosphere is quite different. Even though, there was serenity and tranquility but today it didn’t feel or appeared to be. She sat there for a while trying to calm her nerves, which eventually happened but not quite 100 percent it needed to be.

Needless to say, usually she is not that sentimental and emotional of but lately she felt like too mopey and needy. Must be the near death experience, may have woken up other senses that were dormant in her life...temporarily. She sat there for an hour and was restless for the whole time.

She needed change and change shall she receives.

She stood up, walked to her hijacked car, and took her rightful place in the drive seat. After the key was inserted the car purr after it was ignited, gears was shifted and it came alive. It rode on the dirt road creating small dust dirt devil along the way. After driving for few minutes she had come to the crosswalk where the whole show down had occurred few weeks ago. She stopped her car and sat there on the side of the road, reliving the memories.

With her random thoughts clashing, her mind was occupied before, in daze and unnoticed, she had pass the same scene, unrecognized. Now, her mind was clear and waiting to mitigate and acquire new information to be stored in the memory bank. She gently shuts her eyelids to wake far distance memories.

While the brain awaits, it reshuffles the data that was registered during the last few weeks. Screens of images passes through in a burr like a fast moving train until it reaches its final destination and comes to a sudden stop without a screeching brakes.

She moves forward and backward the real of her images until she found the correct one. She sees herself pulling up on the main road…two cars coming towards her…one veers off and bam…the car hits her car. The jolt was so hard it had knock down her senses and consciousness. The images makes her gloomy and frowning.

Even though, she had been unconscious her brain was alive, fully working and in functioning order just like the water pump. It had registered all that had transpired during the short time. Some images were hazy but some were sharp as a whistle.

For now, uncaring she brush the images to her foggy ones and concentrate to the piercing ones. The voices of two or more men…them wanting to kill her just like the man in the car…but her comatose stage…her lifeless body save her from the fatal one…one said they have seen her face so if she try to tell her story to the police, it wouldn’t take them long to find her…footsteps…moving away from her…car purring…gone from the scene.

Silence…not sure for how long…

Second memories chime in. People…lots of them came to see the show and get their amu****ts as usual…laughs and make fun on the weak ones…but these people were different…caring and  thoughtful…gentle and considerate…selfless and attentive…loving and affectionate…she can go on but she had to concentrate on her real memories.

“Who was she?”

The sweet loving voice…caring and lovable…rebuking and chastising one…who had cared for her in her lifeless stage…just like a mother would have.

“Who was she?” She asked her brain, but was coming short.

“Buaji…” Her brain feedbacks the response she was looking for. She smiles and is happy.

“What else can she remembered about her?”

Nothing comes to her mind…Fuzzy was her brain, but Woozy wasn’t her memories and not her name…slowly it would come to her. Let her brain contemplate for a while…let it play mind over matter game. Soon the crucial information will piqued her mind.



“There you are…what are you doing here?” A female voice chirped in.

She makes a frown face. She didn’t want to be disturb. She wanted her reminiscence about the sweet lady who goes by the name of Buaji. Now, who was abutting and abruptly her thoughts?

“Arre… Hai Re Nand Kis****…are you listening to me or are you unconscious like the other time.” Same voice but little rough and brittle…more leaning to annoyance…tab bit only…huh!...

She open one of her eye and peek through the invisible peep hole to find out who the stranger might be. She squint her eye and gapes at the human being who stands before her. Her solemn

“Bhagwan ka lakh lakh shukar hai tum use deen bache gaye (By the grace of God, you were saved on that day)” She mutters in a solemn whispers, gaping at her with watery eyes.

She couldn’t believe she is alive and her blearily irises would ever see her again…meet her…face-to-face...like this…on the side of the road. She never ever fathom had imagine nor had contemplated it. She was delighted it wasn’t the middle of the road like the last time their path had crossed before. The ungrateful fate she had encounter in her short span of life.

She glance up towards the blue blanket, thanking the God in the Heaven for giving her the chance to meet the little loving child of God who had cheated death.

Unknown to her it wasn’t the first time Khushi had cheated death and surely it wouldn’t be the last time.

A bright light shines from the high as if the Heavenly God had heard her plea and appeal. The white fluffy clouds passes through the bright light, giving an illusion of Heavenly God winking at her…Her smile has been bestowed upon her.

“Go Bachche… (Go Child)…enjoy the time with her. She need motherly-granny love.” An echo booms in the sky voicing the appeasem*nt. She counts her blessing and accepts the offering with open arms.

“Buaji…” For some unknown reason words escapes out of Khushi’s mouth, involuntarily. Last thing her memory had given a faint imitation of Buaji and that same word, was on her mouth.

“How do you know my name?” Astonishingly Buaji asked after she had averted her gaze from high above. Buaji was surprise to hear her name from Khushi’s mouth. Even though, that wasn’t her real name but that’s what everyone addressed to her in this neighborhood. She was unconscious when they met last time.

“I don’t know.” She muttered, confused and perplex, shaking her head trying to remember how she knew. “Are you Buaji?” She asked in a pleasant and startle tone of voice. Buaji nods. “Actually real Buaji…” More flabbergasted Khushi was. She can’t believe it. She is looking a live person.

Buaji nods again, thinking the girl has lost her head…something really have twisted in her brain after receiving bump on her head.

“Buaji…” She squealed. Heads turned in their direction, gaping at them wondering what happened.

She hurriedly eradicates out of the car, insensitive and indifferent slamming the door…smile on her face, and glint of sparkles in her eyes…embrace her tightly into bear hug. Buaji stumbles a little, wondering what just happen and what kind of earthquake jolted her ground.

“Child if you don’t let go me, you are surely going to kill me with your bear hug.” Buaji croaked, managed to utter some words breathlessly while the grip around her neck was tightly squeezed by Khushi…no room to breathe. Needless to say, the hold never loosen but got little tighter than before.

“Are you real Buaji? I was going out of my mind.” Khushi shriek again. Her expression change from gloomy to in nanosecond. She thought it was just a dream.

She was going in and out of consciousness when she had overhead the conversation by one of the paramedic…who goes by the name of Vibhuti…talking about this famous Buaji and her wits who had help her revive her vital until they had arrived. This Buaji had cared for her and how she was reprimanding everyone including the Inspector…leaving no one from the wrath of her anger. She had thought she had dream and no one by that name existed.

“Hai Re Nand Kis****…Child you are really going to be death of me.” She slaps her shoulder, angrily and reprimanding tone, giving Khushi an indication to let go her hold.

Khushi loosen her grip by an inch or two but never let go of Buaji. “Buaji…Buaji they told me you are a myth. You don’t exist. I try to find you but didn’t know where you lived.” She was telling her in happy tone of voice. She was jumping up and down like a little girl who had found her lost toy.



She was giving peck on Buaji’s cheeks...from right to left…one on each side.

“They told me I was dreaming at the hospital…you were figment of my imagination.” In between she mumbles some more words.


*Muah!* some more smooch was given to the figment of imagination figure who goes by the name of Buaji.

“If you don’t let go of me I am going to smack you some more.” Buaji rebukes.

Khushi let go of her hold on Buaji, happy and zeal…she was excited to find her Buaji…why did she said her Buaji…why she felt so closeness to her. She wondered but couldn’t think of a good reason.

Buaji wanted to scold her but couldn’t. She couldn’t admonish this young being who was smiling from ear to ear…jumping up and down before her eyes…just like a butterfly who could have flown away if she just had wings.


“I’m real and I’m good and alive. Now enough of the jumping jack, like a Titli...tell me what you are doing here.” Buaji chastise her, not in angry tone but in a motherly concernedly fashion.

“I don’t know.” That was the honest answer. Buaji saw she was little off base. Her jumping jacks has stop and her face had fallen few notches. Something told her she need comfort and loving.

“If you don’t know then come to my house. It’s over there.” Buaji pointed her the house across the street.

Khushi was grinning from ear to ear…she was invited for a visit. She had nothing much to do so she accepted without a word. She grab the groceries bags out of Buaji’s hand and place it gently in the backseat of the car.

“Hop in Buaji…” She yelled.

“Hai Re Nand Kis****…not in that car.” With wide eye Buaji gaped at the car as if it was death from alien world. “Na baba na (No way Jose…)” She refuse to get into the car.

“Nothing is going to happen…just sit.” Khushi drag Buaji or should say push her from behind, forcing Buaji to take steps involuntarily towards the passenger side.

Buaji pleaded and begged but Khushi’s ear’s went deaf…not listening to any of the pleas. Somehow Khushi managed Buaji to sit on the passenger side. Before she run off from the car she quickly ran to the driver side, hop-in and drove off. She turned around the block and headed towards the apartments Buaji had pointed out earlier to her.

Turned heads were still staring at them in spite they weren’t in same vicinity. They were taken back more than they had realized of the scene that had played before their eyes.

Buaji…riding in Silver Porches…who would have thought of it…just a dream but here it became reality. They were ‘J’ of Buaji.

Both exited the car after parking downstairs below the building and took steps to the 2nd floor. Within their short run Khushi had introduce to her. Buaji opened the door with ease, breathless and huffing…short out of breathe…while Khushi had bags in her hands, no effect of shortness of breath, as if the short climb didn’t faze her a bit. She help put away the groceries in the refrigerator while Buaji made some tea for them after her breathing normalized. Afterwards, both sat in the living room drinking tea and chatting away.

During the conversation both had commute in regards to that day…still some memories were faze and needed a revival start. Buaji explained to her what had transpired after she got to the scene. Khushi asked her about the men who had kill the man in the car…but to her regret Buaji had no knowledge of that incident. She hadn’t seen the culprits leaving from the scene.

Seeing her sad and gloomy face Buaji urge Khushi not to be worried about and thank God she was saved that day. Khushi ignored and skirmish the issue for now not giving the thought. She found Buaji’s house homely. She laid on the couch, chatting and speaking to Buaji. At some time during their commute when she fallen asleep she couldn’t remember.

Buaji kissed her forehead and place a blanket on her body and let her sleep. Buaji could feel something was wrong with her and she needed the sleep more than she knew. So let her lay her head catching up on her nap time.


Arnav came back to his office after his meeting was adjourned with Mr. Shyam Jha. He was displeased with the whole outcome of the meeting. Frustrated and agitated he was throughout the meeting. Mr. Jha, a shrewd businessman like him, wasn’t dislodging at all to his demands. He didn’t like a bit and was aggravated by the whole incident. He had shut his mind long time ago during the meeting when the information was sounded fruitless to him and heading to the path, he despise.

Exasperated and goaded, he picked up his phone after seating into his cozy executive leather chair, loosening his tie, and call Aman, his PA.

“Aman any news.” He bellows, hoping by this time he would have some news…about certain someone…he smiles thinking about Khushi.

Throughout the meeting with Mr. Jha his mind had wandered off too many times thinking about Khushi, when things weren’t going according to his plan. If Mr. Jha was not going to bend to his knees then there was no reason he should pay attention to the details Mr. Jha shared. He let his mind veer off…thrill and excitement he needed during the boring meeting.

Aman had no good news for him. “Not yet Sir…soon you shall.”

“By this time I should have received. What’s taking them so much time?” He barked, unhappily and unsatisfied. He ran his fingers through his tousled hair.

“Sir they are working diligently as fast as they could. You know there is not much information. The family has been too secretive…it seemed they are private people.” Aman responded hoping his response would calm his Boss.

Arnav listened attentively. His thoughts had registered key points…secretive…private. The combination does sound intriguing and interesting but his common sense alerts him otherwise.

“Our investigator have to dig deeper to get some detail. It takes time.” Aman said in pleading voice, crossing his finger behind his back…thinking in his head…I hope Boss takes his response at a face value.

Arnav mouthed, not keen about the news. At least he had some. “Okay. As soon you as…”

Aman was astonished. Okay…to hear from his boss was not only unusual, but uncommon…strange and mythical. This is all heady mix of combination. One can easily get high if they aren’t mindful. “I hear I will bring the information to you.” Aman finished Arnav’s words.

“Unbelievable…” Arnav thought. How this man does knows what he is thinking. Only few people he mingle with can perform this task…finishing his words before he could. His Di and now Aman, since day one he had been working for him.

Arnav disconnects the phone disgruntle after few sighs and grumble. He got busy with his work, wishing to hear good news soon.


RK, Shahid and Payal were searching frantically for Khushi. They have went up and down the streets, the familiar one they knew about...numerous times. On the other hand Shashi had called her friends, relatives to see if she had been there to their house…still no luck.

At home Garima was getting out of her mind…worried sick…panicking…wondering what had happened to her child. She was calling every few minutes to Payal and then Shashi or vice-versa if they were able to locate her.

Each time it wasn’t good news…not yet…was their response.

While the search party was on-going, they had taken the route they hadn’t before. Payal thought what if she must have gone to the site where her accident occurred hoping to relive the memory, thinking if it would jog her dormant ones. While they came near to the vicinity they saw Payal’s car, parked under the building.

They walked around and questioned people showing Khushi’s picture. Few minutes scrambling from one side of the street to another finally found a person who had seen Khushi. Suresh.

Suresh told them he had seen Khushi’s face…that day of the accident but not before. Payal showed him her parked car and question which houses she might have gone to visit and whom.

Suresh blurts out. “Buaji.”

All their heads turned to him. Suresh told them about Buaji’s involvement during the accident and he can think of one person who she could have gone to see. Suresh took them to Buaji’s house.



Bell rang.

Buaji cursed. Usually she doesn’t but she didn’t want to disturb Khushi’s sleep. She was sleeping soundly and peacefully. She was sleeping with ease as if she hadn’t slept for a length of time.

“Coming…coming…don’t ring the bell.” She mouthed, hurriedly she walked towards the door. She opened the door quickly before another bell rang. So far two more had buzz and she didn’t need the third one.

She smack on Shahid’s hand who was about to ring the bell. “Har*mkhor (a person who earns his kicks by doing what he is not supposed to be doing.)…nalayak (worthless)…haven’t I said don’t ring the bell.” She scolded.

“Ouch!” Shahid yelp, his feet up in the air forming a jump. He rubbed his hand feeling the sting from the slap he received.

“My child is sleeping and here you are ring bell one after other. What do you want?” She asked angrily, watching them curiously wondering who they were.

Suresh spoke. “Buaji they came here looking for the girl…” He saw Buaji raising brows questioning him which girl. Suresh understood before he get some lashing with some thrashing from Buaji. “The girl in the accident…few days ago.” Suresh muttered, hoping something would jog Buaji’s memory.

“What about her?” Buaji wasn’t going to let anyone off the street walk in her house. Her house was her sanctuary.

Suresh pushed Payal in front. “She is her sister and these two – pointing at Shahid and RK – are both her friends. They were looking for her.” Suresh explains.

“What proof do you have?” Buaji questioned, raising her sharp brows on alert. Although she wasn’t young, lack few qualities but she was wise too.

Payal showed hers and Khushi’s pictures on her phone. Same goes for RK and Shahid. They too showed their pictures with her…they were delighted and thankful they had some on their phones. Recently some were taken. Payal saw few and questioned where those were taken. She hadn’t known about the place Khushi had gone to.

RK spoke, “Not know Payal.”

“Oops” He thought. It was their secret…now it’s not…the cat is out of bag. Payal wouldn’t rest until he had told her, or he could point to Khushi. Let both sister fight…to retrieve the information. He knew Khushi wouldn’t.

Before they can argue, they heard a scream.



They all rushed into the house immediately to check upon sleeping Khushi. She was shaking like a leaf…screaming and panicking. Her breathing was sky rocket high and she was sweating profoundly. Tears weren’t far too behind. She was crying on top of the lungs.

Immediately Buaji envelope her in her arms and started to sooth her pain. She was muttering ‘Nand Kis****’s name hoping whatever had frighten the child…bad vibes would leave her instantly.

Without further due Payal called her father informing him they have found Khushi, but she wasn’t sound mind. She told him she wasn’t in any kind of serious danger but she was getting the panic attack. Shashi understood and told her to bring her immediately to the hospital.

Without her shot she wouldn’t come out of the comatose faze.

“RK…Shahid…pick her up…we got to go…take her to the hospital…” Payal spoke with broken voice. She was scared and frighten for the safety of Khushi.

“Where are you taking Titaliya?” Buaji roared, as RK took her out of Buaji’s arms.

“No heart feeling Buaji…” Payal was apologetic. “We need to take Khushi to the hospital. If we don’t her condition would deteriorate and will get worse. Before it happen we must leave now.” Payal was firm when she spoke to Buaji so she understand the severity of Khushi’s condition.

“I’m coming. You are not leaving me here.” Buaji unannounced welcome herself.

RK, Shahid and Payal shared the look at each other while Khushi shakes in RK’s arms. “Let her come.” Shahid spoke. It wasn’t time nor the place to argue. If Buaji wanted to come, then let her. There was no harm in it.

All rushed towards the door. Shahid grab Buaji’s house key from her hand. “Buaji you go with them. I will shut the door to your house and I’m coming right behind you.” Buaji hesitate and nods. He seemed like a good boy. She accepted his response and allowed him to shut the front door of her house while she rushes after Payal and RK.

Payal had grab Khushi’s purse and pulled out her key’s to her car. After few minutes all four where downstairs along with Suresh. Suresh helped them in the car. RK had Khushi in her hand and sat behind the back of the car in the narrow space, uncomfortably without giving another thought. Buaji jump into the passenger seat and Payal in driver seat. Shahid ran to his car and took his rightful place. Suresh also jumped in.

The engines ignited and two cars speeded off through the heavy traffic of Delhi Street with occupants in it.


On the opposite side of the town, Arnav had just received the expected file from Aman. So far what his investigator could find information on Gupta family he had it in his hand.

He flipped the pages, one after another, reading the information before him. At some instant he looked displeased and foreboding. But the last piece of information sounds promising.

A small twitch forms on his face…smile…happy and satisfied with the outcome.

“Now Miss Gupta I gotcha you.”

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.

Note: I have training going on at work in regards to new systems and will be busy till Friday. Please forgive me if I am unable to post any update for next couple of days.

To all my readers, readers who have click to Continue the story, @Arshigirl, and @Anamehreen who have voiced why do I don't want to continue the story.

Please allow me the short explanation. I believe honesty is the best policy. So no hard feelings...this is my honest feelings and I have shared here by voicing it out.

I have no desire to disrespect or degrade anyone to any level. So if by voicing out my feelings and hurt you all in any shape or fashion, please forgive me. I am really sorry and do apologize with sincerity and respectfully.

There are number of factors associated asking you to vote to continue or not...please just bear with me.

First of all starting with myself and my shortfalls .... due to on-going conversion of System(s) at work, at times I have been busy and unable to post updates regularly, which in turn have lost reader(s). 

Readers wants daily updates I do understand and respect their wishes. No qualms there.

In spite of the loss I boosted my spirit and continued to post updates when I can by staying late at night working on the update so that I have something to post. 

I get dishearten and discourage when I see only one or two comments after all my hard work by staying late working on the update. And still I continued...

Not only there was shortage of comments like the other stories I have posted, here was the same situation, which I once again overlook, but kept high head and continued. 

Now no. of thank you(s) have decreased so I was wondering and thought readers are not acceptable to this story, lost their interest and had no desire to read it.  

So I thought why don't I ask the readers and see what their wishes are instead of me going out of my mind. So I asked.

Also with other changes on Myeduniya site (under construction at the moment with lot of changes/enchantments to look forward too...so keep in tune...) in regards to comment box(mainly) and other aspects unregistered readers have been dishearten. 

I duly understand and sympathize with your situation. But please understand the dilemma and pressure Admin(s) of this site have to undergo...so harsh actions may have been taken to protect the register users in spite their reluctance. 

Please don't have hard feelings towards them thinking they are devil person and they are after you all. Rules and policies are there for a reason and when you break them there are consequences. We should respect and honor them. At times we all have to respect those outcomes we so forth have no desire to see or face but we do whether we like it or not. So please have faith in them and support them.

In short, they are doing the best they can to protect everyone on this site. They have abundance of responsibilities on their shoulders (at times I think they have regular jobs/other various tasks beside patrolling this site (not sure??)) and we should help them to reduce the stress and not to increase it. 

I am not saying you all don't have responsibilities, you do...believe me you do...taking time from your busy schedule, come here on this site to read stories of various writers as well as write one yourself. 

I want to commend them for the hard work they do and have shown. So far they have done an excellent job. They and you all should receive round of applause.

I want to commend you all too for coming time and time again on this site to read and post your stories...giving all of us a peek to your wonderful mind. Hard Work can't be defined and materialized in words, but still want to tell you, you are an excellent and wonderful people I have come across in my life and it is my pleasure to meet you all though through internet interaction.

Keep up the good work.

I am not forcing anyone to comment, threatening you, warning you of some kind...that's just not me. But love to hear from you once in a while. 

In short sporadic updates, lack of notification, lack of comments, thank you(s), changes to the site off/on and other various unknown factors had lead me to ask vote from the readers to continue or not...for my better understanding and peace of mind.

Enough of my ramblings and taking too much of your time. Sorry...

I do understand some of you want me to continue and I will but will let you all know at times I may not have time to post any update for few days when things at work are heated up. I beg for your forgiveness from the beginning. 

At times I may not be able to inform you in time, giving enough notification, due to various factors. So I am asking for your apologizes now. So there would be no hard feelings from either side.

I hope you all understand where I am coming from. Thank you for listening to my reasoning(s). If I hurt your feeling in any shape or form, please...please forgive me. It wasn't my intention at all.

Love you all. Lots of love and kisses and hugs.

Thank you


Nov 22, 2014

Chapter 10 – Paging Dr. Aryan (By Dpatel) (Thanked: 56 times)

Chapter 10 – Paging Dr. Aryan


“Doctor…Doctor…” RK roared, his eyes intense and in fear seeking for anyone who can help his friend. On one instant he was residing in the car, on next he was begone and had ascended the stairs of the building like a greased lightning.

Buaji had just topple out of his way, giving him the space he needed as soon as she had evicted the passenger side.

Khushi was still in his arms. His eyes darted around in search of the doctor. Khushi was rushed to the hospital. Her shivers were non-stop. The panic attack was more severe than before.

“You go. I will park the car and will come,” Payal shouted and drove off.

Buaji hurried after RK. Shahid and Suresh arrived soon after them and followed the path of Payal.

“What happen?” Couple of nurses rushed towards him, inquiry what seemed to be problem.

“She is getting the panic attack and requires immediate assistance.” RK dejectedly explain in flash.

One of the porters trolled the rolling-bed from the side of the wall and brought near to RK so that he could gently place Khushi onto the bed. RK laid Khushi on the bed as mildly as possible, backed off to give room to the nurses so they could check her vitals.

“How long she has been shivering like this?” One of the registered nursed asked, keeping eye on Khushi. “What happened to her?”

“Say no more than half an hour. As soon as she started to shiver we brought her here.” Tamely he responded, his eyes never leaving the fragile body of Khushi. “Her parents are on the way…sister is coming right behind us, after parking the car.”

Another RN nurse started to monitor her pulse, while the other checking her eyes to see if she hadn’t gone in epileptic seizure. Her eyes were not rolled back so she hadn’t, then what it could be.

They rolled the bed inside one of the emergency room so that the attending physician on duty can diagnose, evaluate and come up with the prognosis the cause of her symptoms. RK and Buaji followed them, while Payal, Shahid and Suresh just made in the nick of the time. They all stayed out of the hair of the doctor and nurses but they didn’t make any attempt to remove themselves from the room. Quietly, they watched.

“Who is the family of this patient?” One of the clerical staff joined them with something in her hand.

“I’m her sister.” Payal said softly. She walked towards the staff.

“I want you to fill out the paperwork so we can proceed the treatment.”

“You are worried about the damn paperwork while her life is at risk.” Shahid said through gritted teeth, seething in anger, pointing his index finger at Khushi. His eyes were crunch and a frown appeared on his face.

“Calm down Shahid. It’s just the formality.” Payal placed her hand on his shoulder. She didn’t want any more commotion than it already is.

This wasn’t a hissing spit contest.

“You have to take this outside. This is hospital not the wrestling arena.” The attending physician called out. He was attending to Khushi, figuring out what happened. Still he couldn’t diagnosis. “Has it happened to her?” After checking her vital, he couldn’t start working on her until he knew the details.

“Yes,” said Payal. “Please call Dr. Bakshi. He is her doctor.” Payal added.

The attending physician motion one of the nurse to go ahead and call Dr. Bakshi. He knew the good-old doctor…hoping he can share some light on this patient.

“Give me,” Payal requested, taking the paperwork in her hand. Shahid was about to object but was shot down on his attempt when Payal’s gaze fell on it. She pointed one of the corner for him to stand and stay put. Pin drop silence from him, she needed. Like an obedient, pouted child, he walked towards the corner, with head bowed down he was punished and the teacher had given him timeout.

Shahid had no choice but to walk lazily towards the corner with moping face. He was worried and he blurts out. It was natural.

The nurse Betty came in who went to check on Dr. Bakshi. “Dr. Rahman, Dr. Bakshi’s secretary informed me he was out of town.” Nurse Betty showed the worry in her face for the patient who was lying down on the bed.

Payal’s hand stopped tersely, glanced up wondering, now what. “What will happen to Khushi?”

“Ma’am you need to finish the…”  Fury and intense gaze of RK silence the staff and shiver like a leaf to the ground, crackling and crumbling.

RK is aware of the formality but this was crucial information. The staff should understand not be concerned about the paperwork in time of need and life at stack.

Payal walk towards the doctor and said, “Now what Doctor? What will happen to my sister?” With watery wide-eyes she gaped at him…afraid and in panic. She took a quick glance at the entrance, her parents weren’t still here, yet. She has to act like a trooper and hold the fortress till then.

Around the corner Buaji watch the scene played before her eyes. Her thoughts were reverted back to her 'Amika’. Hope she doesn’t have the same fate as her. Her mind on alert and praying profoundly.

“Don’t worry Miss…” With genuine smile Dr. Rahman spoke, but failed. This wasn’t pleasing matter.

“Payal…” Softly she gave her name.

“Don’t worry Payal, nothing will happen to her?” His gaze averted to Nurse Betty. “Go and see if Dr. Aryan is still here…tell her we need her…”

Nurse Betty glance at the clock on her wrist. “Doctor at this time…she would be gone.”

“Go and page her…try her cell…if you must.” Doctor gave a sincere smile at Payal and nods, assuring her nothing will happen to her sister.


By this time Shashi and Garima arrives at the hospital. Payal had texted her Dad which hospital they had taken Khushi too. He had swing-by towards home to pick Garima and both headed towards the hospital, worried and concerned.

“Hey Bhagwan (Dear God)…please I beg of you, please don’t let anything happen to my Khushi,” Garima mutters softly with wet lips and sobs. The whole time during the journey to the hospital she prayed, begged and cried to spare the life of her child. She has endure too much.

“Nothing will happen to her?” Shashi tried to assure her, but failed.

Heart of the mother knows…little intuition kicks in…something is wrong this time…

“Please don’t let it happen again…please…” She sobbed and begged, for quite sometimes. Her heart was unease…unsettling and unrested.

She had almost lost her four years ago…but somehow with a miracle she survived…for some unknown reasons.

Before she draw her mind back to four years ago she wanted to concentrate on the reality. She can’t allude away from it. She can’t…can’t go there again…

It will break her heart and she wouldn’t survive…

“We are here?” Shashi spoke, breaking her thoughts.

Both got out of the car as they reached and rushed towards the building… ascended the stairs, breathless and wheezing…panic and anxiety clearly shown on their faces.

“Where is our daughter? Khushi Gupta…where is she?” The receptionist at the counter had no knowledge and gape at them in bewilderment.

“Not sure Sir…who are you looking?” The receptionist asked. They hadn’t admitted anyone by that name within the hospital so she didn’t know…no fault of hers.

“Damn woman…my daughter…Khushi Gupta…where is she?” He shouts, and slammed his fist on the counter…poor receptionist shiver in her seat after a slight jump.

Garima gave her a sad, sobbing stare…apologizing for her husband’s behavior. He is not like this when one can find him at his happy moments. This wasn’t it.

Hearing his loud yell, Payal thought she heard her Dad. She peek and surely her Dad was speaking to someone…must be asking about Khushi.

“Dad…Dad…over here…” Payal waved at her parents where they were standing. She didn’t want to leave her post…post beside her sister.

“Shashi…Shashi…Payal…” Garima drew the attention of Shashi, pointing at their daughter standing in the entrance of the emergency room. Shashi was making the receptionist shiver to death…like a raw meat, he would eat her alive.

“Shashi…” Garima yank his hand and pointed to look on the other side of the room. Shashi spotted Payal and both rush towards her.

"Sorry…” Garima stops her tracks, mouths to the shivering receptionist, before she proceeded towards Payal.

Payal hugged both their parents and started to bawl down…not holding tears back. Her parents were here and they will make sure…see to it…Khushi is well taken care for.

“Dad…Dad…they say Dr. Bakshi isn’t there. He is out of town…What will happened to Khushi?” With anxiety and panicking voice she asked and informed. Tears still streams like a waterfall…mascara is smeared down her rosy cheeks.

“Nothing will happen…I will make sure of it.” With determination he went inside to speak with the doctor.

Garima kissed on the forehead of Payal, meeting her teary eyes…assuring her everything will be okay. She saw the guilt look. “It’s my fault. If I hadn’t yelled and screamed at her…she wouldn’t run away from her, be here, in this condition.”

“Don’t worry sweetie…nothing will happen to her. It wasn’t your fault. Quit blaming yourself.” Garima said, with a sweet, loving voice. She knew…mother always knows…Payal was hurting inside and blaming herself.

“Mom…Mom…I was so…” She couldn’t complete the sentence. Fresh tears rolled out of her eyes.

“I know sweetie…I know…you were fretting by the situation…concerned and troubled for your sister.” Garima cupped her face, wiping tears from her blackened cheeks. “She will be okay. Don’t beat yourself too much.”

Payal nods, but that wouldn’t make her heart at peace and rest. She still blames her.

“Now, let’s go inside and help your sister to come back to us. We need her…and she needs us too.” Garima entwined Payal’s palm into hers and giving warmth and step into the room.

The scene played before her eyes…

Doctor and nurses working in diligently to help Khushi…to survive…with her ordeal. They had placed IV in her hand…some heart beating monitor…giving her shots to stop her tremors…oxygen mask placed over her mouth.

Automatically, on its own accord, her hand was placed on her mouth, in shock and she gasps. “My baby…”

Her baby…her child…

Too much to endure in her short life…

In meantime Shashi had spoken with the Dr. Rahman…got the details on the prognosis on Khushi’s condition. He removed his cell and place a call to Dr. Bakshi while Garima, Payal, and whole gang watches Khushi, helplessly.


“Paging Dr. Aryan…paging Dr. Aryan…if you are here, please you are needed immediately in emergency room…paging Dr. Aryan...”

A lady who had just descended the stairs of the building, heard her name calling. She turns around, listened, and heard the announcement again. She nods, yes…it was her…they are calling…

“It’s me…I got to go…” She turned around and headed towards emergency room.

“Paging Dr. Aryan…paging Dr. Aryan…if you are here, please you are needed immediately in emergency room…paging Dr. Aryan...” 


A pair of brown chocolaty eyes stares at the fragile figure, while the hazel ones stares back in return.

To be continued...

Thank you


Thank you everyone who has been following and reading this story. Thank you everyone who has clicked thank you button after each update. Comments good or bad are welcome with open hearts.


Thank you everyone for your comments, suggestions, thank you(s) and vote...

I will respond to your comments tomorrow...time to hit the bed. Goodnight, sweat dreams...Good morning and Good afternoon to some of you....take care.

Lots of hugs and kisses and love...



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are member's views and this website does not comply with it. The views expressed may not be factually correct. Incase of any issue please contact us/report it to us.

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” ~ Bill Gates