Joined: 20 January 2006
Today was going to be my last day at work. Even though I knew this day was coming for the past 3 months, I couldn't get rid of that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was meant to be, I was getting married in 5 days. I had to move cities'ok maybe I was exaggerating, I wasn't moving that far. Only three hours away.
I had known this day was coming for so long so why was I worried? Was I forgetting something? Did I miss a file that I was supposed to look over? Did I have any pending contracts that I may have overlooked? Any deadlines that I may have forgot about? That couldn't be because I had given everything over to my replacement- she could deal with that stuff now. Today I was just going to go in and say bye to all my coworkers who had now become a second family for me. I spent more time with these people than I did even with my family in the past five years.
From a junior data entry clerk, I had worked my way up in this company and today I was the CFO of MHP Financial, but not for much longer I guess. I had put 5 years of my blood and sweat in this company and today I was going to leave it all behind to be with the man who I had slowly fallen in love with'wait let me correct myself. Was it love?
No, I was not a fairy tale type of a girl. I was rational. I believed everything in life happened for a reason. We met people for a reason. We made conversations for a reason but my fianc had proven me wrong. He had taught me how to enjoy life, how to let loose and today I was going to leave this life behind so that in five days I could go and spend the rest of my life with him.
Growing up as the oldest child in the family, I was always told I was going to be the role model for my younger siblings and cousins and that is what I had done. I had worked hard, made my parents proud and when my mom had started taking too much interest in her friend's son, I had told her to do whatever she thought was right as I wasn't in the dating business anymore. I believed girls could live life on their own. A woman doesn't always need a man now does she? I definitely didn't. I had enough friends and I was so professionally driven that I didn't have time for that stuff. Nor did I care honestly until one night as I was laying in bed after a long day of work, my blackberry vibrated and that's the day life changed for me.
Facebook friend request? At 3 in the morning? Couldn't people sleep? But not like I was sleeping so who was I to complain. My first thought was to put my phone away and grab 3 hours of sleep before I had to get up and start my day again but curiosity got the better or me. Grabbing my phone, I looked at the friend request- Karan Mittal? Now who was this? Before I could put my brain into overdrive, I thought it would be smart to just read the message that was sent along.
"Hi Khushi, this is Karan. I am not sure if you know me but our moms have been speaking to each other quite a bit and she had given me your name. I know this might be a bit weird but our moms have good intentions at heart so I thought I'll message and see what you think. I know it's kind of late but I just got off work so thought I'll message. Anyways' hope to hear from you soon. Karan"
What the ***. Those were literally the words that came out of my mouth. How in hell did things get this far? Where did this guy get my information from? I scratched my brain and tried to remember my conversations with my mom over the past week but nothing rang a bell. My first thought was to get up and knock on my mom's door but I thought that wouldn't be appropriate since my dad was there too. There was no way I was going to sleep now.
But I was wrong. I never would have thought that a facebook message could change my life forever.
Today, as I got ready to go to work to go say my final byes, I decided to call Karan to see if we had anything left for the wedding since I knew the next five days would be hectic and I probably wouldn't get a chance to speak to him properly.
"Hi Sweetie" I heard Karan mumble into the phone and for some unknown reason my stomach dropped.
"Everything ok?" I asked as panic started to grip me over his tone. Even though I knew he probably just got off work and had a bad case like he did most of the time, my sixth sense was telling me something wasn't right. Lately I panicked over everything. Maybe that's what people called wedding jitters.
"Ya why not.. sorry, just a bad day in the ER (emergency room). The other floor doctor didn't show up so just had way too much running around. Wasup". I admired this guy. Karan was a doctor and worked in the emergency ward of a hospital. He lived in an apartment on his own which was close to his work whereas his parents lived in the countryside which was about an hour away from his hospital. He had worked for a year commuting from home but then he decided to get a place to make his life easier. We had decided to look for a house after we came back from our honeymoon once I got a job. He was a hard working guy. He would work 12 hours straight without a complain whereas after 9 hours, I would get grumpy. Maybe I am just getting old' but not like he wasn't'.
"I just thought I'd see if there was anything left for the wedding or if I had to call anyone since for the next few days I might be off limits" I replied laughingly.
"No I think everything is under control. Just message me if you think of something and I'll deal with it. Don't worry about anything". How could I not worry? Planning a 500 people wedding was not easy. The last few months had taken up all my energy. Work, wedding planning, home stuff' I needed a break. I couldn't wait till we left for our honeymoon so I could get my brain back in place.
"Sounds good. K I just gotta go to work and wrap things up' message me when you wake up and I'll call you then". With that I hung up the phone.
Never in a million years would I have thought that that would be our last conversation before my perfectly planned life would fall apart...
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Joined: 20 January 2006
After an emotional good bye at work, I finally left the office and decided to get back into marriage mode. My mom had already called me about 8 times to ask where I was and when I was getting home as our relatives from around the world had started arriving. Getting into my car I was about to drive back home when I looked at the little red flashing at the top of my blackberry. Hmm I wont be getting that as much anymore since I wont have any work emails to deal with was my first thought. Ok I need to get out of work mode and get into marriage mode. Life was difficult for girls I realized. We had too much to deal with. No wonder our hormones always were out of whack. Guys didn't have to deal with this much. Karan only did as much I had told him. From finalizing decorations for our wedding to getting all the catering… I had supplied everything to him in an email. All he had to do was drop off printouts of my emails at different locations. He didn't even need to talk to anyone as I had detailed notes along with pictures of how we wanted things in my emails.
A part of me was happy that all this hard work was coming to an end and the results were about to show but another part of me knew that I would miss all this crazy run around. I loved planning weddings- I had done it for all my friends before and now it was the greatest feeling to be doing my own. Grabbing my phone, I looked at the text I received:
"Hey Khushi- let me know if you need anything done around here… am home today. Karan as usual isn't returning my calls so I am assuming he's sleeping lol- Arnav"
Unknowingly that message brought a smile to my face. Arnav Singh Raizada- Karan's best friend. Both were inseparable. If I couldn't get a hold of Karan, the next person to call would be Arnav since he always knew his whereabouts. It was crazy to see how both got along so well even though they were so different. Well so am I and Karan, a part of my brain reminded me. Arnav was the CEO of AR designs- his father had started off the company and today Arnav had taken it to a whole different level. He had made a place for himself in the fashion industry. When I had first found out that Arnav worked in the fashion industry, my first questions was- is he straight? I mean no offense to all the males that work in that industry, it was just that I hadn't known anyone first hand in that field.
But when I met him for the first time, straightness wasn't even something I should have doubted about this guy. Those features definitively couldn't have belonged to someone straighter. The guy was like a greek god. Dressed in an all black suit and perfectly gelled back hair the first words that I whispered to Karan were "how in hell is this guy still single!". Karan had laughed at my reaction as he was fully aware of the aura his friend had. Arnav definitely had the a****** look to him. As he walked over to our table, his lips in a thin line… typing something furiously on his blackberry, you could see girls flipping their heads all over the restaurant but what came next threw me off guard.
Tucking away his phone securely in his jacket, he looked up and gave me the most genuine and warmest smile ever.
"Khushi!" he walked over to me and gingerly gave me a one arm hug "Finally we meet"
"Yes finally. I have heard so much from Karan about you that I knew it was about time I put a face to this person he always talks about".
The rest of the evening we spent at the restaurant talking about things. One thing I realized at that point was that me and Arnav were quite alike. Professional driven, using our heads over our hearts any time of the day, talking as much as needed whereas Karan was the laidback one, talkative and could charm any girl. Being around him made you feel at peace. He could talk about anything and everything and I knew that's what I needed in life. Someone who could make me feel like a child again. Make me forget the small day to day worries. Maybe that's why people say opposites attract.
"Hey Arnav- I think we're ok for things. How come Mr. Workaholic decided to take a day off" I texted back and decided to get home before mom lost it on me.
As I opened the front door to get into the house.. I felt my phone vibrate.
"HAHA so funny Miss. Gupta (or can I just say Mrs. Mittal already) ;)"
Jerk. But that comment put a smile on my face. Even though Arnav wasn't a man with many words, I actually found his dry humor rather funny and ofcourse Karan thought that was weird. Hmm maybe I should hookup Arnav with Priya (who is my best friend). They would be cute together… why in hell did I never think about that before? Jeez Khushi you're slow. But before I could think any further, while standing on the front steps of my own house, I felt the door barge open and saw my little brother standing there.
"Khushi Di! Mom's in emergency mode! Help!" saying that Rohan ran back into the house.
My mom's emergency mode consisted of a few different options:
1. She was cleaning the house inside out and my dad didn't know how to stop her from scrubbing the walls and floor before the paint came off but that couldn't be possible as she already did that last week
2. She overdid everything. She absolutely sucked at estimating quantities. So if she somehow was helping the ladies in the backyard making the mithai… we definitely had a problem on our hands, because we could probably give the mithai to the whole city and still have leftovers.
3. She was crying. Ever since the year had started, she would cry almost over everything. If I refused to have supper, she would go all motherly on me telling me how I won't be eating with her regularly anymore so I had to eat. My only way out of that was by telling her that if she continued doing it, I wouldn't fit into my wedding lehnga which would definitely not be good.
Bracing myself I slowly walked into the house and saw option#3 being played. There was my mom, sitting on my bed, holding onto one of my favorite t-shirts crying her eyes out. My masi and nani were trying to console her but it was of no use. Taking a deep breath and fully knowing how to control the situation I walked towards her.
"Mom- am not even late today. It's like 1 pm and your crying like I went missing or something" saying that I pulled the old t-shirt out of her hands and gave her a large hug.
"Please stop crying. If you're going to continue doing this, then I will cry and if I cry, you know my eyes are going to be all swollen and then I will look like disaster on my wedding day". If there was anything that would stop my mom from crying was this excuse. Whenever I would cry, my eyes would go red underneath and then I would get dark circles the next morning and that is something she would definitely not like.
"chalo thik hai, lekin ab toh tuin kam par nahi jaayegi naa?"
"No mom, I am all done and all yours for the next 5 days so you can start with all the mehndi and yellow stuff" I laughed back at her knowing how much my mom enjoyed all these pre-wedding rituals whereas I didn't pay much attention to them. I mean c'mon, I was already so pale that I don't think I needed all that haldi stuff to make me any more fair but I knew for the next five days I would not be saying a single word and would just go with the flow.
And with that started all the wedding rituals….
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Joined: 20 January 2006
As I lay in bed staring at my mehndi clad hands, I realized it would be my last day that I would be sleeping in my bed alone and in this room. Not like I wouldn't be coming back and visiting my parents but ofcourse I'd have to share the room with Karan then. I looked at his name that was printed by the mehndi artist so creatively that I knew Karan would never be able to find it. I hadn't spoken to Karan since my last day of work. Things had been so crazy that either when I called him, he'd be busy or when he'd call me I would be doing something.
Well I'll see him later on anyways I decided while staring at my phone ready to dial his number even though it was 2 in the morning. I was suppose to get up in 3 hours as the makeup lady was going to be coming then and I heard Priya and my mom running around downstairs while they tried to finish last minute stuff ofcourse not allowing me to be a part of it since I was suppose to get my "beauty" sleep.
I definitely had to hook up Arnav and Priya I realized. That way Priya would also move closer to me too.
Now how am I going to do that….
Not that Priya didn't find Arnav attractive, infact she did have a minor crush on him- I mean if a girl didn't find him attractive, she ofcourse had to be the "other" kind. It was Arnav who was the problem. He absolutely had no interest in being with a girl. He was so consumed with his work and with whatever time he had leftover, he rather just spend it with his friends hanging out. Not that there was anything wrong in that but how long was he going to do this for. Eventually all his friends would get married and he would be too old by then to find a decent girl. I definitely had to crack that guy somehow.
Laying in bed, I looked over at the clock and realized it was already 4:55am. Time to get up and have some chai. I am not sure if I am a caffeine addict but I CANNOT start my mornings without tea. I already had Karan trained on the kind of tea I liked with all the special spices incase I didn't feel like making it myself.
"Chal Khushi take a shower, your makeup lady will be here soon. We are planning on leaving the house by 9"my mom reminded me and went to go get ready herself.
Our wedding was happening on a golf course which was in a little town that was half way between both the cities. Everybody had thought this would be the best just so that one side didn't have to do all the travelling.
"So how do you feel" nudged Priya while giving me a wink. She seemed a little too excited at 5 in the morning especially when she didn't sleep all night.
"Why are you this excited? Did you have too much sugar already? Please don't tell me you went through all those gulab jamuns that you were carrying around last night"
"Nope. My best friend is getting married today and I am just a little excited. Ok, how about you go shower and I'll go make a Starbucks run before the makeup lady gets here" answered Priya while running around trying to locate her purse that was buried somewhere in the midst of all the suitcases in my room.
Three hours later I finally decided that I should have a look at myself. As I already had gotten a makeup trial done, this time I just wanted to see the final product and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I almost screamed. Holy crap did I look like 'not me'! The person staring back at me was someone totally different. I hope Karan recognizes me was my first thought. Oh well if he didn't, he'll know by looking at my outfit which actually weighed 21kgs to be exact. It was soo heavy that I knew I had to weigh that thing so that I could rub it in my husband's face and remind him of the pain I had to go through of wearing that thing the whole day.
While I was debating on whether people would recognize me, I heard all those ooohs and aahs and realized everyone was in my room staring at me. My nani trying to put a kala ticka behind my ear, my mom on the verge of crying, my dad looking at me totally trying to recognize if that was me or not and his expression made me laugh. I am absolutely like my dad, just a simple girl- nothing too fancy. Makeup required too much time in my books so I decided to stay away from it whereas my mom's collection of makeup could easily be compared to the suitcase the makeup lady had brought in. She loved it a little too much.
"Chalo everyone, it's time to go" I heard my dad say and giving my house one last look, I controlled my tears and sat down in the car.
Since we had an hour and a half drive to go and Karan's side should have also left their house, I decided to check if they had left yet or not but instead I got a text back from Arnav telling me that he had Karan's phone and they had left the house.
Well there goes my talking to Karan…
Two hours later, I sat by myself in one of the rooms waiting to be escorted to the mandap when I realized my hands were shaking. These definitely must be wedding jitters but why did I have this sinking feel that something wasn't right.
It didn't take too long for my suspicions to get confirmed when I saw the door to the room fling open and a panting Arnav stood there with the look on his face like he had seen a ghost. As I stood up to ask him what happened, he crossed the distance between us in four long strides and was all of a sudden in front of me.
Before I could even ask what happened, he raised his phone to my eyes and the text message I saw literally pulled the ground from under my feet. It was from Karan and all it said was:
I can't do this man. I am sorry.
"What do you mean he can't do?" I asked fully knowing what it meant but not being able to comprehend it as well as I would have liked to. Arnav stood there with panic written all over his face.
"I can't find him anywhere. I have been looking for about half an hour now while everyone has been asking where he is. He told me he was going to the bathroom but he never returned and his car is missing and…
I didn't hear the rest of the words as my world started to spin and found my legs give up underneath me. But before I could hit the ground, the last thing I remembered was a strong pair of arms coming around me and instead of feeling the coldness of the floor, I found myself being wrapped in this warmth that I never thought I would get used to.
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