Joined: 05 May 2011
Joined: 04 April 2010
Joined: 18 March 2011
Joined: 31 August 2011
nice update Shreya...Thanks.
Joined: 31 August 2011
cont aoon n thanks 4 d pm..
Thanks a ton Akshi
Joined: 31 August 2011
Joined: 31 August 2011
Thanks so much Shrish Let's see if you are correct
Joined: 31 August 2011
"Piyali, relax!" said Siddharth as she fell off her horse for the fifth time.
"Siddharth, why don't you get up and show her?" said Maithali. She and Abhayendra had stayed that day to watch Pia ride a horse.
"There's no point getting up there with her, " ventured Abhayendra, who'd not spoken more than ten words all day. " Piyali must learn to ride on her own. Or else she will get used to having someone there with her."
He spoke quietly, without getting angry or frustrated, but all the same, Pia felt an irrational fury towards him.
If only he would stop watching her! Every time, as Pia mounted the horse, she felt his gaze on her, assessing her actions, shaking his head almost subconsciously every time she mounted, but not saying a word. It made her feel almost as though he was pitying her, and Pia hated to be pitied.
Dusting herself, Pia tried again, fiercely concentrating on not looking at Abhayendra.
She looked as Siddharth's and Maithali's encouraging faces, braced herself for the fall as she clambered up clumsily. But surprisingly- she didn't fall. She managed to hold herself steady for a few minutes, and heard Siddharth cheering her on. Feeling a sense of triumph, Pia looked at Abhayendra, who smiled his approval- and lost her concentration again, which caused her to yank Krish's reins much more than necessary. So it wasn't Krish's fault, then, that he reared, neatly making Pia slide off his back into a pool of mud, this time face down.
"Piyali!" she heard Abhayendra and Maithali shout together. Abhayendra reached her first, holding out a hand and helping her to her (rather unsteady) feet, as Maithali arrived, and began wiping her face(as much of it as was visible, anway), cleaning it of the muck. She was clearly holding back a small smile, but Abhayendra remained as impassive as ever. If anything, he looked more pityingly at her.
"Piyali, you need to get this off," said Maithali, gesturing to her veil. "It's wet and dirty."
Pia moved inside the stables, checked and confirmed that nobody was looking, took out a spare piece of silk and made her veil again.
There was a snort behind her. Pia whipped around to see Siddharth bent almost double, clutching his sides and howling with laughter. He didn't even attempt to cover it up.
"Stop it, Siddharth, look at the poor girl," began Maithali, but Siddharth only howled more.
"Piyali…..you….you…." he started to say again, but soon went off into hysterics again.
Pia closed her eyes, trying to ignore him.
"I beg your pardon," said Siddharth at last, wiping his eyes. " Piyali, you should have seen your face as you fell…..You bad boy Krish…." He went off into peals of laughter again, and Maithali stifled her mouth with her handkerchief. Pia glanced at Abhayendra- he was grinning at Siddharth now. As if sensing her gaze, he turned back to her.
"You know, that poor guy probably thought you were trying to throttle him," he said, and this time he didn't try to hide a smile. " You looked so…..lost….. What were you so engrossed in?"
Pia felt herself flush violently.
"Leave her alone, you two," said Maithali. She wasn't smiling now. She looked at Pia.
"Piyali- you aren't offended , are you? They didn't mean to be mean."
Pia gave her a wan smile. She didn't really feel offended. No…there was something inside her that burned, making her want to be as good as they were.
She climbed up again, this time careful to lose her concentration, as she managed to balance herself. Krish went into a slow trot this time, and Pia heaved an internal sigh of relief, determined this time not to make a fool of herself. And looking at Siddharth's clearly proud face, she felt a huge happy bubble swell within her.
There was a clatter of hoofs, and Pia turned around to see Maithali join her on her mare.
And after a long, long, time, Pia felt a sudden sense of belonging, with them, as Abhayendra and Siddharth followed, and the three of them kept her well in their midst as they went for a short ride….Pia's first.
As the dismounted and left for the palace, Pia noticed how Abhayendra seemed less deferential to her and more friendly, Siddharth kept making exaggerated imitations of Pia falling off her horse, and Pia felt glad to join in the laughter which invariably followed. They reached the castle gates, and bid goodbye to the brothers, and Maithali went up the staircase, after one last parting look and smile. Pia however remained- she wanted to thank Siddharth. She turned, but he was already walking away. She made to call after him, but noticed in slight surprise that Abhayendra was still standing there, studying her.
"You're really new to all this, aren't you?" he asked.
Pia wanted to snap at him, but something in his voice made her stop. She realized it was curiosity, not pity.
"I was surprised when you managed it," he continued. "You seemed so uncomfortable, I thought it was a miracle if you would even sit on a horse. But you rode quite well- measuring for a begineer. You were better than Siddharth when he first rode- although I'd prefer I you didn't mention that," he said, smiling slightly.
Pia felt her lips stretch in an unwilling smile.
"Thank you….I suppose?" she said, amused.
"You're welcome," he said formally, and turned to go.
"Abhayendra!" she could not help calling after him.
"When you see your brother….Will you tell him I said thank you for helping me today?"
Abhayendra's eyebrows quirked in a manner highly reminiscent of Abhay.
"Yes, I think I can manage it," he said with a hint of irony. Then he was gone, and Pia shook her head. Just when she was convinced he was nothing like Abhay….He'd go and do something just like him. It was unsettling.
"Piyali sends her greetings, and thanks for helping her out today," announced Abhayendra, and Siddharth looked up.
"Just that," he replied, smiling slightly. "Do you think she has a preference for you?"
"Siddharth looked at him as though he'd grown an extra head.
"Honestly, Abhayendra, are you that blind?"
"What?" It was Abhayendra's turn to be confused.
Siddharth merely shook his head.
"Nothing," he replied.
"You tell me- what did you think of Piyali?"
"Piyali?" said Abhayendra, frowning.
"I don't know…..She looks so frightened of us. And she acts funny sometimes….she's very….timid, don't you think? I suppose she could be easily influenced by someone who wanted to….."
"Frightened of you, more like," said Siddharth. "And I don't think she's that easily influenced. You didn't see her face when she got up after she fell- I think she would have carried on trying to ride Krish till midnight today if she could. Don't you think she's very…….determined?"
"You know, I see what you mean," said Abhayendra thoughtfully. "She would be very persistent if she wanted something very badly."
"I wonder how she and Maithali can be friends," remarked Siddharth.
"They seem so different….."
"Different?" echoed Abhayendra skeptically.
"Yes." Said Siddharth. "They're very different. Piyali does not like attention very much- Maithali revels in it. Piyali seems timid- Maithali was born to be anything but. And somehow ….I think she's very…lonely. And I have a feeling that she's closing herself a lot around us…..Maithali never does that."
"You know her very well?" said Abhayendra, smirking slightly.
"No, I don't," said Siddharth calmly. "I merely notice things, because you, my dear brother, see with the eyes and the heart while I see with the eyes and the mind."
He got up and went out , ruffling Ahayendra's hair as he went.
"Clerido," whispered Reina, and the image of the stables faded….., as the woman who was watching the conversation a hundred miles and a hundred years away, got up and paced the room.
"Yes, you were right, Siddharth," she said quietly. "That was always the difference between you two- because Abhayendra obeyed his heart, and you , your mind…… He still does, as a matter of fact. I wonder what would have happened if he hadn't killed you……I wonder……And now that you've returned……"
She sighed softly : both the brothers had long intrigued her, but it was Siddharth who was more complex, and hence more…..intriguing.
Panchi Dobriyal scowled at her mobile phone : she'd tried Abhay's number nearly a hundred times, but there had been no answer. She felt a sudden surge of anger against veryone in the world. Nobody understood her! Everybody wanted her to be what they called "sensible"! How much more sensible was she supposed to be?
Siddharth had understood her. Yes, he had understood her needs. But he had still used her against Pia! She wanted to howl with the injustice of it all. Why did Pia get in the way of all her serious relationships? First there was Danish, then there was Sid….Now Abhay, too? What did she think she was, anyway?
Fuming, she dialed the number of her best friend since two months : Snigdha, who was a fashion designer and completely understood Panchi's feeling of rejection, as she herself had been an aspiring actress.
The two friends chatted for a long time ,wallowing in their self-pity and reveling in the other's.s
Rue Piat, Paris (2011):
Nicolas Bourg sat back in his armchair, recalling how Pia's contract had been so hastily made. He hoped she would cope with it emotionally. He'd recognized the suave businessman who'd met him earlier in the day, of course.Abhay Raichand…..Pia had told Nicolas about him. From what Pia said, he'd treated her like dirt. But , if Nicolas read between the lines…..he seemed worried about her. Worried enough to come all the way to Paris….
He saw a young lady, her hair into two ponytails, her teeth framed by braces, wearing thick spectacles. "My name is Alina Khurana," she said, in a quiet voice to Nicolas, who looked at her in slight confusion. She continued : "Pia requested me to come to you with her contract. You know the terms and conditions; all you need to do is sign them. She's signed them already."
"And how can I know if this is not ..a … forg...forgery?" said Nicolas skeptically.
"Would you like to speak to her?" said Alina quietly. "Of course, I'll need some time to contact her, but I assure you this is absolutely genuine."
Nicolas felt an aura of trustworthiness about the girl. Everything- from her way of spaking to her quiet confidence, suggested she was telling the truth. Picking up the pen, he pulled the papers to him, signing them. In effect, he was agreeing to tell everyone that Pia was actually doing a modelling assignment with the company. He would have a copy of it, and another would be delivered to Pia….or so Alina said.
Once he'd signed, Alina left a copy of the contract on the table, and left the office.
Nicolas wondered if the lady- Alina had known that Raichand was going to contact the agency. For Abhay Raichand's secretary had arranged an appointment with him only a few hours later.
PS. Panchi's friend is a guest appearance...So no need to worry about her. For anyone else who knows anyone by the name of Snigdha...Well, I can't guarantee that she does not resemble the one here.
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