Joined: 25 July 2012
"Father' Her parents' Aminabad market' That dreadful day", the words zoomed in and out of his mind. The world seemed unsteady as Arnav tried to register the fact but failing miserably at every attempt. "How is it even possible? It's too much of a coincidence. The same name: Jitendra Kumar Gupta. His mind was a chaos. He looked at her fright stricken face, tears streaming down her blushed cheeks. He saw her move away from him, trying to get away. "Khushi'" he said as he held her by her arm. He noticed her squirm at his touch and pull the blanket closer over her bare body. "How can things go wrong so quick?" he questioned himself with utmost disappointment.
Khushi tried to get away from the bed but stopped as she noticed she was naked. Arnav held her by her arm, trying to pull her back but she had to get for the moment. She needed air. It was too much of a shock to gulp down at one go. She noticed the payals, which belonged to her mother, on the bedside table. Arnav had taken them off for the night and she grabbed and wore them where they rightfully belonged with sheer urgency. They were the only memory of her demised parents and right now she needed them more than ever.
Watching her react like a frightened doe, he decided to let her be for some time. It was a big jolt to him and he couldn't imagine what it would for her. "Get dressed, I'm not looking" he said grimly and turned over to the other side. She needed privacy and jumped out of the bed at the first go. She quickly collected her clothes on the floor and put them on and rushed out to the poolside. Arnav was trying beat the titanic urge to catch a glimpse of her as she dressed but decided otherwise. Just as he concluded the moral debate in his mind and turned to steal a glance, he saw her rushing outside and making her way through the French window and finally halt at the poolside, panting.
The sight killed him a little more. One moment, here she was in arms, all warm and cozy and the next, she miles away from him. Khushi could handle any crisis in the world in her own fashion but this was a little too much. She needed support now more than ever. Arnav got dressed and walked towards his wife slowly. She wasn't panting anymore but was silently gazing at the ripples of the pool with her arms crossed. The light reflected on her light blue night suit and the beauty of the moment was a sight to behold yet something was wrong. Her eyebrows were crouched, her eyes spelled misery and there were silent tears all around it.
Arnav stood behind her, unnoticed, unable to do what he had come for. Everytime he raised his arm to comfort her, he withdrew. "What's going on in her mind?" he kept wondering. Khushi wasn't blaming him but the facts were too fresh in her mind. Things kept playing in her mind, thwarting her ability to see the present. She wasn't debating about what she had to do next or who was to be blamed, just the past kept flashing before her eyes.
Her childhood. Her happy moments. Her home. Her mother making jalebis. Babuji coming from work with a toy for her in his pocket. The swing at their porch. The garden. Though they weren't rich, they were happy. Then soon the dark times started. Happiness started to slip away. Ma was stressed almost all through the day. Babuji used to come back all tired and frustrated from work. Though none of them ever let it show in front of their eight year old, she knew things weren't at their best. She asked but never got the answer she wanted to hear. One night she overheard her parents talk in their bedroom. Babuji was cursing someone called Malik, calling him names, calling him a fraud. She was shocked; she had never seen her babuji so angry before. She heard him speak about this 'Maliks' plan but never got the hang of it. "What plan?" she wondered. Then she suddenly heard someone coming out of the room and she fled the scene. She rushed back to her bedroom and swore to her Devi Maiyaan to figure out what was going wrong in their life.
"Khushi", the call brought her back to the present. "Khushi", Arnav called again huskily as he touched her shoulder. She couldn't look at him tonight. Not tonight. She needed to be alone, she needed her space to breathe but Arnav had other plans. He couldn't let her just be in this situation. "Khushi, it's late. You should go back to sleep." he murmured. Seeing her show no sign no sign of resistance, he took her hand started back towards the bed. She didn't budge. "Khushi, lets go in" he said he, slightly urging her by her hand to step along. Khushi was in no mood to counter and silently did as she was bid. She found her place on the bed and snuggled to herself, facing away from him, feeling lost in the tides of time.
Here Arnav couldn't decide on his feelings. He had just told her the subtle version of the real deal. He silently thanked someone, something supernatural which helped him not mess up the situation to worse than what it already was. Should he tell her? How would she take it? He had to discuss it with Nani. Yes, she would be the best judge of it all. He had to talk to her the first thing in the moring, he made a mental note. He was about to start on how his father killed them but her expression stopped him from continuing further. He was about to tell her about the blackmail of ruining her mother's life had Jitendra Ji not played along to his game. How Dadi had a role to play that night. How Jitendra Ji's wife had stood up against his father to protect her family and how ultimately they had lost to vice, malice and power but he had been stopped right on time. He was stopped from telling the truth which would shatter her life to pieces. He was stopped from telling the truth which would shatter their relationship forever.
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