Joined: 12 November 2011
Khushi walked out of the door and turned back to see the house again. Countless memories were attached with that building; she could feel the heaviness of her heart. She wanted to leave, but she wanted to stay back…
But she knew she wasn't going to see this garden, this veranda, this garage ever again in her life… All that were manageable; but the man who was leaning against his SUV was not something she could handle. Of course, she was left with no option now but to face him; even if she told him to go away right now, she knew he wouldn't budge. She took a deep breath and walked to him.
Arnav saw her walking to the car, each step hesitant. "Car mei baitho…", he growled.
Khushi silently obeyed and went to the passenger side. She tried opening the door, but it was locked. "Darwaja toh band hai…", she told him.
"Kyun? Maine socha tum band darwaje kholne mei maahir ho…", he added casually.
Khushi looked at him through the tinted car windows. He was looking away from her, all of his shirt tucked out now, with his phone in his hand; his Bluetooth fitted in his ears.
He turned to face her and saw her through the windows. "Pata nahi mujhe humesha aise kyu lagta hain ke tum kuch special ho… Khair, ab samajhme aaya, you are nothing out of ordinary…"
His words pierced her heart like cold knives; stabbing her, giving her the wounds that no one could heal. A beep echoed in the garage and he opened the door. He gestured her to follow him inside. Khushi's hands were shaking as she opened the door and sat on the seat.
Arnav started the car with a horrible jerk and he drove out of the garage with a speed more than acceptable for that narrow alleyway. He heard her gasp in fear, but he said nothing. Nor did she… Khushi continued to stare at her feet as he drove in silence. It took a while for her to realize that they weren't headed to her house.
"Yeh aap hume kaha leke jaa rahe hai?", she asked him, confused.
But he didn't say a word.
"Dekhiye, abhi isi waqt gaadi rok dijiye. Hume ghar jaana hai…"
In response, the speed of the car increased further. She could hear the purrr-ed roar of the engine as he drove faster. She closed her eyes in fear and chanted something under her breath – she was afraid of speed. Arnav looked at her from the corner of his eyes and grimaced. The weird ride continued for another 15-20 minutes until they were out of Delhi. And then, out of nowhere, Arnav pulled the breaks; the tires screeched loudly as the car stopped suddenly. Khushi slowly opened her eyes once they were stationary. Her eyes still wore a confused look.
"Aap ne yaha par gaadi kyu roki? Dekhiye, hum dobara keh rahe hai, hume ghar jana hai… Agar aap ko hume ghar chodna hi nahi tha toh hum aap ke ghar se akele hi chale jaate… Aise anjaan raaste par hume leke aane ki kya jaroorat thi..?"
"Oh shut up Khushi, will you?"
"Nahi shut up!", she exclaimed, "Hume ghar jana hai…"
"Oh abhi 5 saal ki bacchi ki tarah innocent banana ki acting mat karo, Khushi Kumari Gupta… Tang aa gaya hu mai tumhari is bachpane se…"
"Pehle aap hume bataiye aap hume yah ape kyun leke aye hai…"
"Gaadi meri hai… Use jaha chaahe le jaa sakta hu… Tumse matlab?"
"Oh ho ho ho… Gadi aap ki hai… Lekin hum bhi isme baithe hai… Haan haan, ab aap kahenge kya maine tumhe isme baithne ke liye kaha tha, toh humare jawaab abhi sun lijiye ke haan, aap ne hi mujhe isme baithne ke lie kaha tha! Lekin humne aap ko gaadi yaha le aane ke lie nahi kaha tha. Ab aap hume humare ghar tak chodenge… Samjhe aap?", she nearly shouted, raising her finger as if reprimanding him for stealing her ice cream.
Arnav sighed and looked at her. His face twisted a bit, reflecting his inner pain. "Kyu Khushi? Kyu hum yeh sab kar rahe hai?"
Khushi's raised finger came down and she rested her hand on her lap. Arnav's eyes followed this movement. He took her hand in his and gently squeezed it. Khushi quivered at his touch. "Hum dono jaante hai ke humare rishte ki sacchai kya hai… Hum dono jaante hai ke humaare beech aj tak job hi hua us sab ka humaare zindagi mei kya asar pada hai… Phir bhi tumhe iss sab ko bedakhal kar ke sagaai kyun ki?", Arnav asked her, not letting go of her hands.
Khushi looked at her hand, gently held in his; unable to say anything.
"Tumhara iss tarah se shaant rehna mujhe pareshaan kar raha hai, Khushi… Kuch toh bolo… Tumhare bolne par humaari, hum dono ki zindagi nirbhar hai… Anjaane mei hi sahi, tum mere zindagi ka hissa ban chuki ho… Aur yeh baat tum acchi tarah se jaanti ho… Badal diya hai tumne mujhe Khushi… Hawaan ka jhoka banker tum meri zindagi mei aayi, aur kab tumne iss dil mei tufaan khada karke rakh diya, mujhe bhi samajhme nahi aaya… Ab jabhi maine iss tufaan se dosti karne ki soch hi li hai, toh tum meri zindagi se jaane ki baat kar rahi ho… Kyun Khushi???", he spoke softly, his eyes intense.
"Par kya Khushi? Tumhe jaan ne laga hu toh itna toh maine samajh liya hai ke tum iss sagaai se khush nahi ho… Kabhi socha kyu?"
"Arnav ji –"
"Main jaanta hu, yeh jo kuch bhi hua, usme sabse jyada galti agar kisiki hai, toh voh mai hu…"
Khushi just stared at him with wide eyes. Arnav was accepting his mistake… He knew he was the one who shooed her away from his life. But he expected her to see through his pretences, and she had failed him. Khushi didn't know what she should be feeling right now – angry at herself, pity herself, loath herself or just kill Arnav for being so stupid.
"Aur mai apni galti ke liye tum jo sajaa do mai bhugatne ke liye taiyaar hu… Par bass iss tarah se mujhe chodke mat jao Khushi… Mai bardasht nahi kar paunga…"
Arnav Singh Raizada, one of the India's biggest business icons, was vulnerable… Vulnerable besides a girl who was his life…. Exposed of his deepest secrets… His heart stripped to the very last muscle for the fear of losing her… The invincible ASR didn't want to kill himself again…*
Joined: 12 November 2011
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