"Can you believe," Khushi said, her arms
struggling to hold a big roll of fabric, that was clearly too heavy for her.
"the price of velvet doubled in less than a day?"
With difficulty, she managed to place in
atop the counter in front of her. "At this rate, designing clothes will be more
expensive than buying gold!"
Khushi looked at the girl infront of
her, waiting for a response (a usual "hmmm" or "yeah, you are right"), but
received nothing in return. She rolled her eyes and said in an exasperated
voice, "Seriously Ayesh, why are you freaking out? Why don't you"- her fingers made
quotation marks in the air- "chill?"
Ayesh – Ayesha Kapoor – stared blankly
at her best friend, her face pale and sweaty. Being in her mid-twentines, she
had long legs, a killer-figure and curly hair that framed her small face. If
Khushi didn't love her to the core, she would have been very envious of her.
She held a certain aura, that drew your eyes to her whether you wanted it to or
"Khushi," Ayesha whispered. "What will
happen to us?"
"Nothing," Khushi answered, nonchalantly.
She instantly recognized this as the onset of a breakdown, which Ayesha had
atleast once week. She was in all sense – a drama queen. "Stop worrying and try
to breathe okay?"
The corner's of Ayesha's mouth began to
quiver. "I am breathing!"
Khushi only shook her head. "Its very
simple my love," she said, walking over to sit beside her on the plush sofa.
"One breath in, one breath out. And repeat!"
"Okay, stop making fun of me! But
seriously, I am getting worried… will they like our designs?"
Khushi looked at her best friend, seeing
not the stylish fashion designer Ayesha Kapoor, who made the papers almost
every day, but the lost girl she found, stranded on the train to Lucknow which
she stumbled upon almost two years ago now. It was a very dark night, with two
girls sitting in the same compartment, trying to somehow patch up their broken
For Khushi it was her contract marriage,
which she ended on her own terms, and yet still didn't find peace. The moment
she stepped out of the Raizada house, she thought she would feel relief; free
of the burden that was thrust upon her shoulders. Only she didn't. She was in
all sense, alone in the world once again and more than that completely hollow
on the inside. Her eyes even refused to shed tears. She stumbled across Delhi for
an entire day, before finally deciding to pay Lucknow a visit. Afterall, it was
where her life started. But Devi Maiyya seemed to have other plans (no change
there!) and she met the girl who became her life.
And for Ayesha, it was a fake engagement
that broke her. Being orphaned at the age of six, she had many dreams of
starting a family of her own, and when she thought she finally found her Prince
Charming, he ended up using her. Angry, she caught the first train she saw,
away from the mockery she became.
What transpired on the train that night
was not something the girls could put in words, but it was definetly one of the
strongest things they ever felt in their lives. It was almost as if fate gave
them a chance to rebuild their hearts, away from the people who destroyed them.
And two years from then, both Khushi and
Ayesha were found ruling the city of Pune with AK's Seams of Style, a boutique which was recently given the number
one position in the world of fashion. How, when and why they got there, was a
story only they knew. It was just two years of labour, luck and dedication.
Their anger at fate, resentment at life and disappointment with their weakness
somehow brought out beautiful designs, which were found in almost every magazine
Of course, the most important of all the
changes in their lives, was their friendship. Ayesha and Khushi could be almost
called twins now. They read eachother's mind, wore eachother's clothes and more
importantly helped each other in ways that even their family couldn't. It was
soothing for both to wake up every day, without having to worry about pretenses
or pain or heart breaks. And for Khushi, that was more than she could ask for
it. It almost felt surreal that she was forced into a marriage of hate and that
too on a contract!
"We should cancel the meeting," Ayesha
said, bringing Khushi back from her thoughts. "We are not ready."
"Of course we are ready!"
Khushi stood up and began tidying up the
cluttered room. But it was no use. It was a vast space, with shelves lining up
the walls, where endless rolls of fabric were stored. In the center was a huge
a counter, on which there was everything and anything, including their half
eaten dinner. There were also boxes and
boxes of threads, beads, glues and a sewing machine stowed in the corner. It
was a muddled place, but was the girls' favourite room. This is where they
designed clothes, the one place they left all their troubles at the door.
However, it was a stressful week for
After climbing high on the success
ladder, they finally started receiving offers from big companies and after many
negotiations, one of the companies finally agreed to come see their designs. Of
course, every since they got the confirmation, Ayesha was on a roller coaster
of emotions, changing from being excited to being depressed in a matter of
minutes. Sometimes, Khushi failed to understand how her friend could experience
all these things at once! But she accepted it with delight, for Ayesha was the
only colour left in her life.
"Maybe we should try to westernise
this," Ayesha said, picking up a bridal outfit they only managed to finish
yesterday. "Its too traditional… you
know what I mean?"
Khushi tilted her head, trying to find
faults, but she couldn't. It was a beautiful design, definetly the jewel of
their collection. "No Ayesh… Its perfect. Besides, wedding outfits should be traditional."
Ayesha rolled her eyes. "Gosh, you are
still the same. Wake up baby; this is the twenty-first century!"
"How much more do you want me to change? I already stopped wearing salwars,
had my hair cut and started wearing high heels!"
Ayesha grinned. "They look good on you!
In addition to the dramatic changes in
her appearance, Khushi also owned something else – a degree in fashion
designing. She was proud of it, because it meant that she would never be
thought of as a worthless thing, who didn't have a place in the world of the
rich. Of course, not that she had a choice – when Ayesha decided on something,
it happened, even if the world burned down in the process.
"This is good," Ayesha said, picking up
a royal blue salwar. "I like how you added the ruffles in the end. It's a nice
Khushi took a bow. "Thank you! Does this
mean I get a pay raise?"
"Depends," Ayesha answered, looking
through the rest of their outfits. "How many times are you willing to make tea
Khushi laughed. "So, I am judged not on
how I sew, but on how I make tea for you?"
"Of course! I have told you many times,
you should start a side chain – Khushi ki Chai; joh bhi piye, sirf khushiyan hi
khushiyan!" (Translation: Khushi's Tea; whoever drinks, they will find only
"You know, I am so glad, you didn't come up with the name for our boutique. You suck!"
Ayesha aimed a scarf at Khushi. "Shut-up!"
The two girls fell into silence, as
Ayesha once again inspected their collection. She was a perfectionist – from
the way she dressed to the way she designed. Khushi sometimes couldn't help but
admire her strength. She somehow pulled her up from the depths of despair she
was locked in. She managed to push her into getting a degree. She inspired her
to become a designer. And she taught her how to move on. At times, Khushi
seriously wondered where she would have been if it wasn't for this being named
"That's everything," Ayesha said
finally, before sitting down on the sofa once again.
Khushi nodded. The designs passed the inspection,
so they were beyond good!
"Wait!" Ayesh said suddenly, sitting up.
"WHERE ARE THE CONTRACT PAPERS?!"
Khushi jumped at the outburst as Ayesha
began to frantically look for the papers.
"AYESHA!" Khushi yelled back. "They are
right beside you! CALM DOWN!"
Ayesha heaved a sigh of relief and
slumped back onto the couch.
"I swear Ayesha," Khushi said, shaking
her head. "I feel sorry for your heart! The poor thing always works on
overtime. I wouldn't be surprised if it gave up on you one day!"
"But I will still live, just to annoy
the hell out of you!"
"I love you too Ayesh!"
Ayesha snorted and quickly settled into her
world of gloom. "I really hope we get
"You will," Khushi answered confidently.
"I mean after obessing about designing for big companies for almost all your
life now, Devi Maiyya has no choice but to relent, right?"
"You know, if it was upto your Devi
Maiyya, my parents would still have been alive."
Ayesha was an atheist, but Khushi
believed it to only be resentment at all the bad things in her life. "And then
would you have met me?"
"It was random chance we both took the
same train… nothing more."
"Forget it," Khushi said. "Arguing with
you is impossible. Anyway, you never told me which company is coming to see the
"Seriously?" Ayesha's voice was
exasperated. "Why don't you do the paper work with me? Then you would know
exactly who was coming today!"
"Oh please… I can't do all that. Its
boring and looks like gibberish to me!"
"Yeah, but if something happens to me
Khushi silenced her with a finger on her
lip. "I already lost my family twice… I am not
going to let it happen a third time."
Before Ayesha could answer however, they
heard a car pull up into the drive away.
"THEY ARE HERE!" she squealed. And after
a quick look in the mirror, she picked up the file and dashed out of the room to
greet the guests.
Khushi almost laughed. Two minutes ago, she thought, picking up
the dresses they were about to present. She
was worried about them showing up… and now, she is jumping up and down in
excitement, not even nervous. And I am pretty sure, outside, she will be all
professional, as if she doesn't give a damn about the company who is coming to
see the designs!
As she took a last sweep of the room,
her eyes fell on the idol of Durga. With a smile, she folded her hands in a
prayer and said "Please Devi Maiyya, let the company people like our designs.
Ayesha worked hard on them, and even though she is angry with you, help her
Touching her feet, Khushi took a deep
breath and walked out into the living room, where the sponsors were seated.
"Good Morning," she greeted cheerfully
before stopping short, her voice caught in her throat.
Sitting with two others, Arnav Singh Raizada
stared back at her.