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Hey first Congrats on the new thread. I read your updates yesterday but was really sick and if I had commented, it would have just been a few words. And with such beautiful updates that you gave us, I thought it would be extremely unfair. But today, i don't know what is wrong with IF but this is the third time I am rewriting this. Firstly wonderful pictures of Devaki. Seriously, how do you do it. How do you know exactly how she looked like in my mind- even the hint of mischief in her eyes in the first picture. It is amazing. And comparing Devaki to Kashi. They are both so strong minded and would never change to follow rules or society. They are too independent. I don't know if that is what you meant it to be but for me seeing Kashi dance to her own tunes, putting a completely different spin on it but still making it beautiful kind of related to the story of Devaki. Also, they are both so beautiful, mystical, and lonely creatures. I have started being attached to everyone in this story and could feel the despair and sadness of Kashi for her brother. It was truly amazing.
Now coming to the mother and baby part, it reminded me of a story that I had once heard and completely loved. I went to find it and hope you like it. My apologies if you have heard it before but I felt it related to this situation so much.
"A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.
A faithful man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, "I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me."
The neighbors came by his house and said to him, "We're leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!" But the man declined. "I have faith that God will save me."
As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, "Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!" But the man again said, "No thanks, God will save me."
The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. "We will come up and rescue you!" they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, "Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!"
The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.
A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, "Grab my hand and I will pull you up!" But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. "No thank you! God will save me!"
Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.
When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, "I put all of my faith in You. Why didn't You come and save me?"
And God said, "Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?""
Okay now I am gonna leave before you hate me. Sorry for such a long reply but it was really an exceptional update, although I am still confused about the last part of the update. I cannot wait for the next one to clarify all this fear that Kashi is having. Thank you!!!
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Chapter 35: Tempting the Fates
[Not Proofed Yet]
To his credit, it only took a moment before he guessed that he had said something wrong.
He pulled back from her and cleared this throat before he said, "I didn't mean that, of course."
The chill inside her now felt all the more intense without the warmth of his body next to her.
"Of course…" she said as she looked down at herself to pull her sari back up.
When she looked up, she found him staring at her, but then caught himself and walked to the other end of the room.
There was a clothesline adjacent to her where she had pulled the clothes to dry anticipating the rain. One of the jhubha-kurta set that she had already washed of his was hanging there and she went to get them as well as two towels.
When she walked over to his side, he was standing by the window staring out. The rain was not letting up.
"Here." She gave the towel and the change of clothes to him.
He took it and they both avoided each other's gaze.
"Thank you." He said as she walked away from him.
She paused by the door and turned to look at him. He stood there holding the towel and the clothes, watching her now.
"I will make some chai." She finally said before stepping out.
She walked to her room as she toweled her hair. His lips on hers was imprinted indelibly now into her memory. Except it was not an isolated image. It was superimposed over the image of his sleeve catching on fire and him staring at it with curiosity rather than any inkling of self-preservation.
She would never have thought that he would be a man who would ever lose that central and vital quality for a man in his position.
She changed out of her sari into a dry one with no conscious thought of the process. Thus, it caught her by surprise when she opened the door to her room and found him standing right outside.
"What happened tonight?" he asked without preamble.
"When?" she asked as she brushed past him to make her way to the kitchen.
He pulled her back by the arm and she turned to look at him.
"Don't play dumb, Kashi. What happened?"
She pulled her arm out of his grip and resumed walking.
He pulled her back to him by her waist and brushed her hair out of her waist before whispering harshly in her ear, "I may have said something stupid earlier. Just chalk it up to temporary insanity. Now tell me. What the hell happened?"
She closed her eyes as a scent that was all his own assailed her senses.
He was back. Fully and unapologetically. There were no more trances of either dissociation or passion making him vulnerable… and her by association.
"You stepped too close to the man with the lit torch and your shirt sleeve caught on fire." She said, almost mechanically.
He took that in and when she started to step out of his hold, he pulled her back. "What did I do?"
She wished he would just let it be.
"What did I do?" he asked again, mistaking her answer.
"Nothing Arnav! You did nothing. You did not seem to be aware of it until I pulled you back. Then you just looked at it, watching it burn until I got it out."
"Do you realize that makes no f**king sense? If my sleeve was on fire and it burned all the way to my f**king neck, my skin would be burned now. I am not saying third degree, but at least first or second degree."
Of course she had thought of that. This wasn't like walking through hot coals. The man holding the flaming torch ran it over his body continuously. He never held it to one place and neither did his clothes catch on fire and burn through like Arnav's had.
There must be an explanation. She just needed to research it. There were always explanations. The unexplained was only the unexplained because someone had not figured out how to explain it.
"Are you complaining?" she asked flippantly.
He ignored it and instead turned her in his arms to face him.
"Why did you ask me to leave before?" he asked when she raised a questioning gaze to him.
She scoffed as she pushed at him. "Oh come on, Raizada. You are here to take my house. Surely this is not the first time you have become acquainted with my sentiments on the issue. Your departure couldn't come soon enough."
She could feel him staring at her and avoided his gaze, looking away.
When several moments passed and he didn't say anything, she finally looked up.
"Is that because I am here to take your home or because my touch is not as aversive as you once thought?"
"Oh please! Get over yourself!" she said, rolling her eyes, pushing at him again.
He grasped her hands and backed her against the wall.
"There we go. More manhandling again." she said, cocking an eyebrow.
He didn't take the bait and instead asked, "Or is it because you worry that I too will die here?"
Her eyes widened in shock and she felt her strength give out.
His arms went around her waist immediately to prop her up.
She didn't know much time passed before she finally spoke, trying to find the energy to straighten on her own.
"I don't believe in curses." She finally said.
"Good. Because if your account of what happened earlier this night is anything to go by, I am not that easy to kill."
She placed a hand over his lips to silence him, even though he was done speaking.
"Do not tempt fates by boasting."
The fear and concern must have leaked out on her face because his expression softened as he pulled her hand down.
"Are the fates so easily tempted?" he asked.
"Do you want to find out?" she asked, now angry.
He didn't answer.
She tried to push out of his arms again, but he brought her close to him again as he whispered, "First the snake and now the fire. You have saved me twice. If I were a lesser man, this would be about the time that I would start to develop a complex."
"If you were a lesser man, you would not fall for me." She said without thinking.
She gritted her teeth when it hit her, what she said, and her expression was guarded when she looked up at him again.
He smiled a half-smile.
Her eyes narrowed.
"I am thirsty. Will you make me some tea?" he asked.
She pushed him again and this time he let her go with a laugh.
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