Khushi entered the AR company in a frenzy with million thoughts rushing through her mind at once. She had promised at home to resign today, but what about the contract, and that Laad Governor, the very thought of him sent chills down her spine, How was she to face him? His flaming eyes were something she would never forget, the anger they held when he had pinned her to the wall and the anger he was going to unleash on her now for yesterday, her Jiji n Buaji had thrashed him left, right and center, but he? He didnt say a word, surely he had stored it up for her, As it was impossible for tht Rakshas to Not-be angry.
Back at Buaji's place the doorbell rang indicating the oncoming of a storm. The two ladies Payal and Buaji stared at the door surprised, Khushi couldnt be back so soon. With hurried steps Payal attended the door and was shocked as she received a tight hug from none other than her mom.
"Maa, Bauji? Aap yahaan?" (Mom, Dad? you here?')
As usual Khushi met the peers and murmers of the office staff on her way to her desk. Within a few seconds Sim and Pam graced her with their presence(sic). She half-listened to their snide remarks and comments expecting a call from that Rakshas any second, just then Sim snapped her fingers rudely and mentioned that ASR wouldnt be here by afternoon as there was some emergency at home, clearly god's grace was on her.
"where's Khushi?" Garima asked looking around as she was offered breakfast by her beloved daughter Payal.
"U titli to kaam pe gayi hai" (She has gone to work) Buaji sighed and started retelling the tale with her added spice.
"Kya naam bataya?"(What's the name you just said?) Shashi asked interrupting Buaji as she continued to praise Shyaam.
"Shyaam" Buaji smiled.
"Nahin, humara matlab Khushi ke boss ka" (No, i meant Khushi's boss) Shashi corrected.
"Uu, woh to Arnav Singh Raizada" (Him! He's Arnav Singh Raizada)
Garima and Shashi exchanged worried glances at this revelation, while Payal stood confused and curious.
Khushi gulped down glasses of water checking her watch continuously, ASR was going to be here any second, and she still hadnt figured out a way to even talk about resignation. Could she possibly resign without having to pay by giving him a guilt ride? She shook her head at the impossibility of the idea, Guilt-trip? He wouldnt even let her speak.
Just the everyone around her left their work and stood at their places facing the maingate, clearly the Laad Governor was here, and to no surprise carrying the same rude stoic face. Lavanya walked animatedly towards him flaunting her body to which ASR didnt give a single glimpse as he headed to his cabin, Now that was unusual.
"Ee Tum log ko Akele main ka baat karni hai?"(What is it that you wanted to talk about in private?) Buaji asked as Garima dragged her in to their room and locked the door to ensure privacy.
"Yeh aap puch rahi hain?"(You are asking me that?) Bauji asked concerned. " Arrey Khushi un logon ke yahaan kaam kar rahi hai jinhone uski zindagi ko mano khatam hi kar dia tha"(Khushi is working under the people who had almost finished her life, almost destroyed her!)
"Lekin Babua, woh to Malik-" (But son, that was Malik-)
"Malik parivaar tha, us din woh parivaar barbaad ho gaya, ab to raizada hi unki pehchaan hai..aap yeh kaise bhool gaye?"(They were Maliks! The family was destroyed that day, now they call themselves Raizada's..How could you forget?) Garima scolded.
Buaji's eyes jumped out of its sockets on making the connection "Hum to bhool hi gaye the, Khushi bitiya ke liye pareshani main.."(I completely forgot, in my concern for Khushi..)
"Hum use wahaan kaam nahin karne dengey, agar un logon ko Khushi ka yeh sach pata chal gaya to sab khatam ho jayega"(I won't let her work there, if they get to know the truth about Khushi, everything will be ruined)
Khushi glanced at her watch, it was 3:00 and so far the Laad Governor hadnt called her, Lavanya was seething in her cabin as ASR had banished everyone from his cabin. All work was to be done through calls, and Khushi simply couldnt act on the idea of giving her resignation withut having a word with him, and her supposedly planned guilt-trip would be impossible through a phone call.
Arnav stared at Khushi from his cabin, she seemed tensed, ,worried, frustrated with many more emotions crossing her face every second, she was interesting to watch. Lavanya was seething in anger at her cabin, and she could be there for the rest few days, Anjali Di had been hurt and at that moment when he was in a frenzy, hell scared, she had taken a promise from him, to Leave Lavanya or to marry her. Di was smart, she knew i would never marry Lavanya, and for her sake consider even leaving her.
Life is complicated. If anything is good about today, its Khushi- unhurt and healthier than yesterday.
"Suniye" (Listen) Garima turned to her husband "Aap Khushi ko abhi phone karke bulaye" (Please call Khushi right away)
"Hmm tum sahi keh rahi ho"(Hmm you are right) He agreed reaching for his phone.
After three rings Khushi answered the call. "Hello Khushi"
"Bauji?" (Dad?) she asked surprised.
"Haan Beta, hum delhi main hi hain ,Buaji ke yahaan" (Yeah dear, we are here in Delhi, at your aunt's place)
"Lekin aap-" (But you-)
"Beta tum baz ghar jaldi aa jao"(Dear, just come home quick)
"Hum kuch nahin sunna chahte" (I don't want to hear another word)with that he disconnected the call.
Khushi sighed and looked up at ASR's cabin nearly getting a heart attack as she met his gaze, he seemed surprised or maybe it was an illusion as the next second his eyes were throwing daggers at her.
Chills ran down her spine as she looked away, stealing a glance she looked up once again, glad that he was gone.
Anger flushed through her at his behaviour, she picked the phone knowing it was now or never, gathering up all the courage needed she called him.
"Arnav Singh Raizada" welcomed his rude voice at the other end.
"Khushi Kumari Gupta" she retorted mimicking him. Arnav fought back a chuckle and maintained his stoic voice now irritated at the effect she created on him.
"Kyun phone kia?" (Why did you call?)
"Hume ghar jaana hai aur aapse-"(I want to go home and you-)
"Ja sakti ho" (You can go) he replied curtly.
"Ji?"(what?) she asked shocked.
"Ghar jaana hai na, ja sakti ho" (You wanna go home, then Go)He ended the call heaving a sigh. Just this day..Ms Gupta, tomorrow i will personally welcome u back to Hell. For all that passed between us last night, Just this One day.
Shocked, confused, surprised Khushi packed her stuff and headed out, maybe she could convince Bauji n Maa regarding her job, and that Laad Governor had given her an off without any condition or insult, she better take off before he changes his mind.
Khushi made a quick prayer as she entered home. All of them greeted her at the hall, for a while they talked about worldly things almost everytime ending on her health. She could sense the anger brewing in them and was waiting for the explosion. After dinner finally her mom dropped the bomb announcing that Payal and her were leaving Delhi the next morning, going back to their beautiful city Lucknow.
As much as it pleased her the thought of her job made her speak up.
"Maa, hamari Job-" (Maa, my job-) she began.
"tumne resign nahin kiya?"(You didn't resign?) Payal scolded.
"nahin"(No) Khushi sighed.
"Haye Re Nand Kishore!" (Oh My dear Lord)Buaji said dramatically.
"Hume moka hi nahin mila, Woh to Bauji ka phone aaya, aur hum daftar se chhutti leke aa gaye, Hum baat karne wale the-" (I didn't get the chance, Dad called, i took a leave and came, i was going to talk about-)
"Koi zaroorat nahin hai, Kal Subah hum Ja rahe hain, tumhare boss tumhe lucknow se pakad kar yahaan nahin le aaengey, tum itni bhi khaas nahin ho unke liye" (There is no need, we are leaving tomorrow morning, your boss wouldn't drag you all the way back from Lucknow, you are not that special to him)
"par Maa-" (But Mom-)
"Aur nahin to kya"(Exactly) Bauji interrupted. "Bade log hain unke liye ek mamuli employee ke liye itna time kahaan?" (They are rich and busy people, who would have the time for an ordinary employee?)
"Mamuli hi to hum nahin hai unke liye Bauji, woh to hamare peeche pade hain, aise kaam dete hain jinhe pura karne main hume takleef ho, har baar hamare abhimaan ko chot deke unhen achha lagta hai, jabke hamari haar to unki haar hui" (Ordinary is what am not for him Dad, He is behind my life, he gives me work which would would be near to impossible for me, every time he demeans me he gets a pleasure out of it, despite the fact that if i fail, he fails )Khushi stopped abruptly realising that she was digging her own grave.
"Bauji aap to humari baat samjhe, woh chahte ki hum haar maan ke Job chhod de, lekin hum-" (Aunt atleast you try and understand, he wants me to admit defeat and leave the job, but i-)
"Khushi baat tumhare abhimaan ki nahin hai, Baat tumhare parivaar ki hai, hum tumhe aisi jagah pe kaam nahin karne dengey" (Khushi this is not about your self-esteem or Ego, It's about your family, we won't let you work at such a place)
"Lekin 15 din se pehley humne job chhod di to pata nahin woh kya karengey, Shyaam ji lawyer hain, lekin Arnav Singh Raizada to apne aap ko Bhagwan samajhte hain, unhen kya sahi hai kya ghalat iska fark nahin padta-" (But if i leave the job before completing a period of 15 days, i cant begin to think what he would do, Shyaam Ji is a lawyer, But Arnav Singh Raizada considers himself God, he doesn't care about right or wrong-)
"Pata tha hume"(I knew it) Garima let out a silent cry. "unhen sab pata chal gaya hai, isliye aur ab woh isse nahin chhodengey, Raizada parivaar pehley bhi- yeh devi maiyya kaisi pariksha le rahi hain" (They know everything, that's why he has her tied down, Raizada had back then- why is the Goddess putting us through such hardships)
"Maa yeh aap kya keh rahi hain?"(Mom what are you saying?) Payal inquired as she sat next to her.
Khushi's argument died in her throat as tears glistened in her mom's eyes.
"Tum nahin jaanti beta, Woh raizada parivaar, unki nafrat- humari khushi bitiya ko anaath bana diya, aur agar hum na hote to pata nahin iske saath kya hota" (You don't know dear, the Raizada family, their hate- they orphaned our Khushi, and if it wasn't me, i dread to think what would have happened to her)
Payal supported her mother as her father helplessly stared out of the window.
"Raizada parivaar" (Raizada family) Khushi whispered trying to get rid of the lump forming in her throat "hamara ateet? yeh aap kya keh rahi ho maa?" (My past? what are you saying Mom?)
"Hum sahi keh rahe hain, Wahin hain tumhari zindagi ka sach"(I am saying the truth, they are the truth of your bitter past) Garima cried relieving her heart of the burden she had carried for years.
"Lekin-" (But-) Khushi whispered her heart pacing million times faster, she had asked her mom about her past several times, but today she wasnt ready.
"Lekin wekin kuchh nahin" (Nothing more) Buaji rudely interrupted. "Arrey tumhare pita ki maut ke 4 saal baad tumhare hote hue bhi tumhari maa, Malik parivaar ke bete se pyaar kari rahi, bade bade sapne dekh rahi thi...Ek din accident hua, aur dono chal basey tumhe chhod ke, jab sabko pata chala to tum anaath aur udhar Malik parivaar ki bahu ne apni jaan de di...donon parivar tabah ho gaye, Donon bachche apni nani ke saath rahe aur Maliks se rishta tod diye...aur ho gaye Raizada apni Maa ki tarah. Tumhe nahin apnaya un logon ne, aur kare bhi kyun, manhoos to tu humesha se hi thi, woh to raaste pe chhod rahe the, yeh to Garima ne tujhe purane rishton ke khatir apna liya" (4 years after your father's death, despite having you in her life, your mother, was having an affair with the Malik's son...one day they met an accident, they died, when the truth came out, you were left orphaned and Malik's daughter-in-law committed suicide...both the families were ruined, the kids moved in to their Nani's place and embraced the name Raizada's...they severed ties with the Malik family and became what their mother had been, a Raizada. They didn't take you, didn't consider you and why would they, you were always a wretched person, they were leaving you to live on the streets, but Garima took you home for the sake of old ties)
Buaji's words took time to sink in. None of her family members spoke a word, they had only tears n sympathy to offer. Her innerself laughed maniacally at destiny's play, Arnav Singh raizada was bounded to her eversince she was a child.
"Aur isiliye hum tumhe wahaan kaam nahin karne dengey, samjhi tum" (And that's why, i wont let you work there, do you understand?) Garima announced her decision.
Khushi ducked her chin as she prepared for the blow. "Aap hume majboor mat kare amma, yeh faisla hamara hoga"(You can't force me Mom, that will be my decision) she headed towards her room with these words clinging in the air, she knew she had insulted the love and care Garmia had offered to her as a mother, she was grateful for all of it. Garima had not only given her motherly love, but also a family..a name, an identity.
What made her say those words wasnt her stubborness or her helplessness, it was the growing sense of guilt and understanding. She needed time to think, to clear her mind. All her life the thought of her parents plaqued her mind, she had somewhere in her heart assumed that something bad must have happened to her parents, that it was all unfair, but the truth snapped her happy wings and along with that goody-goody illusion she had created for herself to live in peace. As she sat on her bed she wondered about her mother, how could she love someone else after her father? The fairytale quotations like Love Just happens, love is blind all seemed silly and baseless to her now. It was because of her mother's affair with a married man that a family was destroyed. Like her, Arnav Singh Raizada and his sister Anjali were orphaned. What possibly could be worse than knowing that their mother committed suicide coz of their father's betrayal? She knew, The fact that it was her very own mother who was responsible for the Arnav Singh Raizada the world could see today. Akash Sir's words echoed in her ears, adding salt to her fresh wounds. "Unhone bohut hi kam umar bohut kuch dekha hai" (He has suffered a lot at a very young age)
Anjali's sweetness pierced her heart, she was like the sign of life after a calamity struck. But more than anything how could her mother do this to her? How could Arnav's father do this to him and his family? How could Arnav's mother commit suicide? Parent couldnt leave their child so easily..or could they?
Khushi shook her head, no matter what she couldnt believe that, her mother couldnt be selfish enough to destroy so many lives, and with that she promised herself to look ahead and make things right, undo the mistakes made and most importantly know the complete truth. Amidst everything a feeling of certainness came to her easily. From this day onwards she would never be able to Hate Arnav Singh Raizada.
The utensils clang together as in the midst of night, Khushi fried Jalebi's for herself, with no company this time, except the sweetness of the Jalebi's and the sourness in her heart, which simply wouldnt go.
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Love and Luck