Joined: 25 October 2011
OS: Knowing me, Knowing you
The closet door had not been completely drawn aside. Whatever gap there was revealed two or three colourful dresses in vibrant hues, replete with adornments like elaborate lace and her signature pompoms. She had not, when she had been packing for Buaji's a few days ago, seen prudence in packing all of her clothes. That would have been a dead giveaway to the fact that she intended never to return.
Yet here she was again, back in the bedroom she had bid a hasty, unceremonious adieu to, back in the house she had secretly sworn to herself she would never see the face of again. She was back amongst the people she had parted from, handing out incomplete farewells, knowing in her heart that their recipients were wholly unaware of the finality in her words. There was a certainty then- a certainty that one phase of life was grounding to an end, that she was stepping out of a domain that would slam shut its gates, and forever deny her entry.
And yet, she was back again, with her bag lying open at her feet, her clothes neatly tucked in inside, waiting to be pulled out and hung back up where they had been over the past six months.
But Khushi could not move. She stood staring, staring unseeingly, at the gaps left amongst the few outfits she had left behind. She had hid in here once upon a time, hid in the midst of his clothes, his peculiar unique scent wafting about her and playing havoc on her already distraught senses as she prayed devoutly that he should not find her. And then, just a few days ago, she had pulled the glass panel open to find him inside, sitting behind one of her loud magenta dresses, waiting for her. The memory of the shock, then the surprise, then the amusement, each a pebble toppling into the still pool of her emotions, set off a flurry of feeling that...reinvigorated. Made her feel alive.
Memories...all memories. Even then, there had been a certainty. She had known who she was then. She had known who he was. To her, he might have changed over time, but his identity had perhaps never altered. To her, he had always been a laad governor. A rakshas. A temper that could terrorise, but which, she had grown to see over time, shrouded his vulnerability, kept from view the only too human heart he hid within him. A heart that had made its debut in the world of pain, of loss, of hurt, and, left wrangled, propped about itself as many walls as it could to keep away the prospect of a repeat performance. He was a rakshas on the outside, just so the human being that existed inside him, the human being that could be so sweet, so caring, so heartbreakingly earnest, so sincere, that it often took her breath away, could survive.
ASR hid Arnav...the Arnav that she had fallen in love with. The Arnav that bought her bangles and channa...and swallowed his pride enough to let some relative of hers get away with calling him a waiter...and nearly ended up throttling someone with his bare hands because they had threatened to hurt her...and hid in closets and sprayed her with coffee to remind her of their strange, unusual, crazy journey together...and held her when she felt the ground slip from beneath her feet, and empty, shadowy space gape open about her.
But who was she?
Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada...her claims to that name would soon end. There was another nine days left to the end of the contract...after that, the wedding that had strung together her name to his would no longer be, and Khushi could not see what life beyond nine days would look like. He had brought her back, had not rested until he compelled her to go back on her own intent and return with him. He had switched rapidly from Arnav to ASR, and ASR to Arnav, had ripped her heart out of its hiding place to peruse its stark secrets, and allowed her glimpses into his...she had seen the same dread, the same pain that tore at her, clawed at her, shredding her apart, bit by bit at the thought of parting from him glimmering in his eyes, had seen his determination in keeping her from doing so incinerating in them...
But none of that changed the fact that after nine days...Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada would be no more. Khushi Kumari Gupta would have no right to remain behind.
She stood there, her limbs hanging slack, her mind a hazy blur, her eyes glazed.
She did not know whether to pack the rest of her clothes into the bag at her feet...nor did she know whether to pull out the clothes in the bag and hang them back up into the closet.
She did not know where she belonged, or who she was.
NK skidded to a halt, and quickly darted around the corner he had just rounded, before peeking out once more.
Anjali Di was standing at the gate at the end of the front garden, with her back to him. And it was pretty obvious that she was busy talking to someone.
NK leant out further, nearly losing balance and landing headlong into a bunch of shrubs, in his effort to catch a glimpse of who she was talking to. But his efforts proved futile, since the narrow doorway had been pulled only slightly open, and Di stood directly in front of the gap, blocking his view. In fact, now that he looked more closely, Di had practically wedged herself into the tiny space cleared by the door, prevented from swinging further open by her arm as she held it to her side. Her head shook ever so slightly, her long hair swinging slightly due to the motion. It looked as though she was having an animated conversation with someone on the other side.
There were far too many things wrong with this picture, and they arrested NK's natural instinct to call out and inquire what Di was doing, who she was talking to. In fact, the sensation that befell NK at the moment was almost comparable to squinting through glass that is fogged up, peering hard through the blurred patches to make out what was on the other side. He had heard from Maasi about the few instances when she had caught Di standing apparently alone, busily talking to herself. He had noticed also the vague, faraway look that crept into her eyes whenever the phone rang these days. He had no idea whether these events were in any way connected, or whether he was simply imagining things, but had nonetheless vowed to keep his eyes peeled for further signs of Di's paranoia. Knowing the turmoil she had been through, having the myth of a happy married life shattered before her eyes, and her pregnancy on top, he would not be surprised if she became delusional, mentally unstable. She had tried, hadn't she, to kill her own child? The smiling, laughing, glowing Di from the day before, beaming with joy as her brothers honoured her with tokens of their love and devotion, had been a relief.
But whatever was happening here heightened his suspicions. There was no mistaking the way Di stood at the gate. Whoever it was that she was talking to, she did not want anyone else to see them. In fact, so keen for privacy was she that she had chosen not to inform anyone when leaving the house, had not let anyone have an inkling of the fact that she was expecting someone. And here she was, taking particular pains not to let this mysterious stranger in, her head craning through the tiny opening at the door, its movement becoming more feverish, her speech undoubtedly picking up speed. NK fought the urge to appease his curiosity, remaining where he was, one half of him rattling off his doubts and perplexity, the other half uttering cajoling reassurances, trying to convince him that he was making a mountain out of a molehill.
And while he was trapped between the clash of his conflicting thoughts, Di grew visibly more excitable. She had begun gesticulating with her arms, the door she had so far held in place swinging slightly about on its hinges. Even as NK strained his eyes with the effort of catching the other participant of this unusual rendezvous, Di's voice climbed up a few decibels, and a few snatches of her words drifted up to him.
'No, no, of course not...don't you trust me? I would never think that...things at home are just starting to simmer down...when it all settles, everything will be OK...yes, don't worry about me, I won't let anything happen to myself...or the baby...I'll take care, I promise...no, you mustn't stay any longer...Chote will be back from jogging any minute, if he catches you here, there will be a lot trouble...'
And as Anjali Di, quivering with nerves and suppressed joy, wheeled about from the gate, lifting up the hem of her saree to aid in her haste to get back indoors, she forgot all about the need for stealth, abandoning her conspiratorial air completely.
Courtesy of which, just before the door gently swung shut behind her, NK had one second's full view of the last face he would have wanted to see.
The leering face of Shyam Manohar Jha.
Arnav more or less barged into the bedroom, eager eyes sweeping the breadth of it. He had been able to tolerate only a couple of hours in this room since Khushi's attempt to walk out of his life. It had resonated with her absence, every surface seeming insipid, every colour bland, every corner echoing an emptiness, swathed in the shadows he battled to keep at bay. A mirror into the state of his soul without her. Just her presence in the room could light it up, illuminating every nook and cranny, brightening up the bare walls, infusing every inch with vibrant colour, just as it lit up his dreary world.
There she was. Standing before the closet, her hand resting on the handle of the sliding panel. The bag she had packed before leaving, the bag he had carried home for her, lay open on the floor nearby.
It never crossed his mind for a moment that she was contemplating leaving. There was not any ambiguity attached to the scene he saw. After the few moments they had shared together last night, after he had finally succeeded in adorning her face with the broad, sunny smile he adored, affection tugging at his heartstrings at the endearing sight of her going into transports of delight at such simple, little, everyday gifts...after she had relinquished her dogged defences and approached him with timorous steps, melted into his embrace...Arnav had gratefully allowed himself to believe that the distance between they them had finally, irreversibly, been bridged, once and for all.
To him, the only explanation that seemed valid under the circumstances was that Khushi was unpacking her bags, returning her things back among his, where they belonged and where they would stay.
It was only after he had trotted further into the room, a smirk in place and a repertoire of ways to tease her doing the rounds in his brain, that he noted something not quite right. For one thing, Khushi was not moving. She was standing perfectly stationary, not stiffly enough to hint that she was tense, but so immobile that a needle of fear perforated his heart, the chill nipping at him. And for another...he had not exactly made any effort to conceal his arrival, the door flying open as he entered and thudding shut behind him...and yet, it was evident that Khushi had scarcely noticed his presence.
'Khushi?' he was right behind her now, laying a hand on her shoulder as a curious trepidation sank through him, as rock will sink into slush, dropping the packet of channe he had come in clutching in the hopes of winning some more brownie points.
She did not react except for her head dropping lower. Genuinely disturbed, Arnav gripped her shoulders, turning her about, trying to peer into her eyes...because when she was silent, they could never help but spill out the truth to him.
'What happened Khushi? Tum theek ho? Is Buaji alright? Did Mamiji say something to you again? I'll go down to talk to her right-'
Whatever else he had been about to say wilted on the way to his lips, disappearing, as Khushi obliged to his efforts to look into her eyes, lifting her head lightly. And what he saw encased his heart in a casket of ice, paralysing it with fear.
Those beautiful, dancing, luminous eyes were hollow, their light gone, their fire dormant. A pair of empty brown black orbs gazed back at him.
'Khushi?' he croaked urgently, his voice automatically falling low, instinctively trying to hide his fear, 'Khushi, what happened? What's wrong?'
Khushi drew in a long, slow breath, her eyelids drooping shut for a split second.
'We need to talk, Arnavji.'
'Talk about what?' Arnav's voice arbitrarily went quiet, probably betraying the fear that germinated within him even though he did not know where, or why, it had taken root.
'About-' Khushi seemed to deliberate for a second, her expression pensive, her jaw stern, '-the contract.'
The numbing reach of fear scuttled back as her words registered with his brain, to give way to a different emotion, one that he was quite familiar with.
It was anger. It was hurt.
'The contract again?' he had to hold himself back from growling, disbelief reverberating in his tone. How could she go on harping about that bloody contract after everything they had been through the past few days? How could she keep questioning what they had between them, that special, magical, enigmatic something that bound them together, two halves of a whole, his breath reliant on hers, her heartbeat on his, because of a blasted piece of paper that he is his foolishness had tried to foist upon her? 'Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada-'
But even before he had managed to ground out her name through gritted teeth, his rising irritation at her pointless stubbornness poorly controlled, Khushi had interrupted him. Her tone was flat.
'Exactly. In nine days, I won't be Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada anymore. The contract will be over, and I will be back to being Khushi Kumari Gupta again. There won't be any basis for my staying here.'
Arnav felt the ground jerk beneath his feet, almost staggering back in something that was both incredulity and shock. She was not shouting at him, not arguing, not screaming, not ignoring him. And that frightened him. Because she was trying to reason with him. She was trying to persuade him to consider why she had to go.
Events, scenes, memories that he had shared with Khushi flashed across his mind at a blinding, almost nauseating speed, hurtling backwards...memories of the times they had embraced, memories of the time he had almost quenched his heart's crippling desire to kiss her, memories of the times she had smiled because of him, had reached out to console him, and sought consolation in his touch, his eyes...memories of her lying unconscious in his arms as he, physical pain forgotten, raged at her to come back to him, feeling all the while the wily darkness that prowled the edges of his consciousness slither in, threatening to suffocate him, still his heart once and for all...
He was not letting her go, and she knew it. He had decided on that a long time ago, and there was no reason why he should question his intentions now. He had sworn that he would do whatever it took to win Khushi back, make her Mrs. Arnav Singh Raizada forever, before the contract expired. He knew all that.
But if he knew all that- why was he suddenly so afraid?
'You asked me...that day...' Khushi mumbled, her eyes downcast, focusing on the tips of his shoes, 'whether it's that easy for me...easy to forget...everything that was...everything that is...'
Arnav's breathing began to snag in his windpipe.
'It isn't...' she continued, tonelessly, so low that if he had not been standing half a foot away from her he might not have heard it, 'It isn't easy...I can never forget...everything that was...everything that is...I can never forget...'
'Then why...' Arnav heard himself whisper, the desperation obvious, 'why-'
There was silence for a minute, the longest minute of Arnav's life. The clock ticked away, eating up time, swallowing away the seconds as Arnav's mind scrambled to come up with answers, with explanations...What is she trying to say? What does she want?
'Arnavji-' he couldn't look into her eyes; she kept them tenaciously riveted on the ground between them. But as she spoke, her voice shook. The suggestion of a sob weighed down her whisper, 'I don't know who I am anymore.'
'What?' he whispered again, slowly, hesitatingly, confusion mingling with the mix of emotions swirling within him.
'I don't know who I am...' she repeated once again, this time the tremor more marked, 'I don't know who I will be...in a few days...'
'My wife,' he answered immediately, instinctively.
'No, I won't,' her rejoinder was almost as prompt, and just as unwavering, 'No, I won't Arnavji. You don't understand. After that contract is over, I won't be your wife anymore. I won't have any- any legitimate- position- in this house...this family...'
'I can't forget...everything we've been through, everything we're going through...I can't forget that I-' she gulped her tears down. She had to say this and move on. She had to get it over with. If she bargained away her pride, her dignity, she would be no better than a destitute woman, except poorer and needier than any lacking worldly possessions, 'I can't forget that I l-lo-ve you...
'But still-' she pushed on wildly, knowing that if he interrupted her she might not have the strength to carry on. The carpet that she had been staring so hard at seemed to swim about in her vision, reducing to a smear of pastel colour, 'I still have to go! Because even after everything...it doesn't change the fact that we won't be married anymore...I won't be your-wife...I won't be- I won't be legitimate! Even if I stayed back...and the world kept thinking I had a right to...I would be...I would be...' Words like 'live-in' and 'mistress', words that suggested transience, temporariness, hung implicitly in the air. She could tell by the way his hands tightened on her shoulders, almost bruising her, that he knew what she was implying.
The tears were streaming freely down her face now. Her brain seemed not to recognise the need to command her limp arms to raise themselves, to wipe them away.
'I would be living a lie...' she whispered, expressionlessly, thankful that she could at least still speak...she had given up breathing, her heart had given up beating, 'I don't want to live any more lies Arnavji...I don't want to hate myself- for going against everything I believe in...I don't want to hate you for making me...I don't want to lose...who I am...'
There was a long pause. A long pause during which Khushi could see, even through the film of her tears, despite the heart wrenching pain that was shooting through every nerve, her life folding in open itself, swallowed into the heart of a dark, destructive whirlpool, sucking everything she lived for and dreamed of into non-existence.
And then he spoke.
'There are still nine days for the contract to end.'
'Which means that you are still my wife.
Pause. Uncertain eyes flickered up, and away again.
'And nine days is enough time for getting married, I should think...even with all the rituals.'
Shock-widened eyes, vision bleared by unshed tears, flew upwards.
'I said,' warm, coarse hands, as steady as the voice of their owner, wiped away her tears, before cupping her chin, 'nine days are enough for us to get married again.'
Eyelashes fluttered in bemusement, in confusion. His face slowly started swimming back into view.
'But you don't- you don't believe in marriage,' she managed to stutter, somewhat mortified by her voice, so controlled from just minutes ago, 'You don't have to- I mean-'
'You mean what?'
'I mean- I mean...if we got married...then you would be living the lie...and you would hate me...' at this point, Khushi was not entirely sure where her line of argument was leading her.
There was a heavy sigh. A hand swept away the strands of her hair that had been clinging to the wet trail left against her cheek.
'Khushi...one can't hate someone one loves...and I have tried. Six months, I think, is enough time to understand that I can't live without you.'
Love. He said love.
Hai Devi Maiyya...what am I supposed to do now?
'I don't want-' she began, almost tamely, having extreme difficulty sticking to any particular line of thought as each speeded off in different directions, charging so fast or leaving off half way or branching into others until she could no longer keep track of them. It did not help that the ruckus they created was drowned out by the din of her heart, 'I don't want to- force you- into something- you don't believe in...something you never- wanted...'
'Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada,' he uttered in one breath. There was no mistaking the authoritarian, do-not-cross-me and don't-you-dare-try-to-contradict-me tone. Arnav was gone and ASR stood in his place, his blazing eyes burning holes into her as they practically glared at her, 'You have no right to be going about telling me what I believe in, or what I want. As far as forcing is concerned...' his voice trailed off. Khushi nearly passed out when one corner of his mouth hitched upwards, into that lopsided smirk that never failed to wreak havoc with her pulse, 'You said you loved me, Khushi...And you know I love you. So...will you please...marry me?'
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Gehnajit, -doe-eyes-, avantika_2012,
Khushi knowing Shyam's evil nature
Author: apekshash Replies: 0 Views: 882
|apekshash||0||882||08 December 2011 at 12:28am by apekshash|
arnav cried after knowing abt engagement
Author: akashi.arhi Replies: 2 Views: 1869
|akashi.arhi||2||1869||19 November 2011 at 7:27am by Addie07|
arnav may b the only person knowing the truth
Author: sparkle2985 Replies: 9 Views: 1778
|sparkle2985||9||1778||16 October 2011 at 5:04am by asmuasmi|
arnav first loves her & knowing d past hates kushi
Author: sparkle2985 Replies: 6 Views: 1452
|sparkle2985||6||1452||04 August 2011 at 7:53pm by AquaBluez17|
#HBDSanaya: These can be tailor-made for the versatile actress..
The director of renowned shows like Geet Hui Sabse Parai, Qubool Hai ...
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