Joined: 31 March 2008
Keshav Desai was the apple of his mother's eye and the pride that shone in his father's. Karan Desai couldn't be more pleased to see a positive 180 degree turn his younger son's life had taken. So quite obviously, the following breakfast conversation was inevitable.
'Tanya, what'd you think of
getting KD married now? He looks ready to settle down and he's come of age
'Karan! That's a decision KD has to make for himself. I would really like a new member in the family, but we need to ask him what he makes of the whole thing, don't we? Tanya smilingly nodded at her husband.
'You are right Tanya, you always are!' Karan quickly kissed his wife's temple and made his way towards KD's room.
His father found KD working on his laptop, typing furiously. The youngest Desai had recently been hired by a prestigious consulting firm in Mumbai and he wanted to do his best at his new job. He was hoping to join the family business after 2-3 years of 'real world experience', or so he said.
'Are you planning on breaking the keys of the laptop? Chill down son!' Karan chuckled as he sat down on KD's bed.
'Oh hey dad! What's up? Did you want to talk to me about something? Your eyes have that serious look and your forehead's creasing a little bit' KD observed as he got up from his laptop and joined his father on the bed.
'KD, your mom and I have been thinking. We were wondering if you were ready to get married. I mean, you've come of age, and there's a brilliant proposal awaiting too, that is, if you don't have anyone you'd like to introduce us to'. Karan didn't waste any time beating around the bush and came directly to the point, chuckling a little at the last line.
KD couldn't help but smile at his father's straightforwardness and replied, 'Dad, you know I've left this decision up to you and mom. You guys know what's best in these cases. And plus, I've stopped dating, you know! Koi dhang ki ladki nahin milti! No one's a right match for me in terms of love marriage dad! Maybe arranged marriage is the way to go? Not everyone can be lucky like you and Bhai now, can they?'
The father-son duo shared a laugh before KD resumed his work and Karan made his way to his wife, eager to share the good news!
At the Sharma residence:
Anya and Kiya were sprawled on the former's bed, going over several bio datas and photographs of prospective grooms.
'Kiya, have a look at this one? What do you think? Actually on second thoughts, chuck it! He looks like he's just woken up from a deep sleep and taken this picture! I swear, what do people think when they post such stuff online?!' Anya passed Kiya the photo and two of them couldn't help but burst out laughing.
'Di, look at this one?' Kiya handed Anya a bio data and a photograph to go with it.
'Um, he's okay looking. But he doesn't have any qualifications that match mine! Kiya! You know I need a partner that I can look up to and respect! How am I going to do that if a guy has NO qualifications whatsoever?' Anya chucked away the photo and placed it over the 'definitely not' pile of bio datas.
'Di! Are you going to marry someone by looking at their qualifications? What about love?' Kiya questioned her older cousin as she surveyed the different photographs.
'Kiya, my sweetheart, I'm not like you. I don't use my emotions to make important decisions, you know that! Logic and reason is the way to go!' Anya replied offhandedly.
'KIYA!' Shraddha's voice rang out from the bottom of the stairs, calling her niece for some well needed help in the kitchen. Kiya was always willing to help out with chores at home. Anya, on the other hand, always had an excuse- earlier it used to be studies and now work. Rohit discouraged Anya from "wasting" her time in household chores, by telling his wife, 'there are servants to take care of all this Shraddha! Wherever my daughter marries, she'll rule the place like a queen'
Anya meanwhile liked the next 'proposal'- belonging to none other than Keshav Desai- 'sexy looking, superb qualifications, CEO material, amazing experience at work and otherwise; all in all, a suitable groom!'
Anya soon informed her parents and the Gujrals and Desais decided to set up a meeting at the former family's place for the boy and girl to meet. Kiya was blissfully unaware of the entire discussion and hadn't heard the prospective groom's name or seen the photo.
Next day, everyone at the Gujral residence was ready to welcome the Desais. They were aware of the latter family's stature in society and they made sure they went out of their way to be hospitable.
Kiya, who was informed of the impromptu gathering by her aunt, was ready in a pretty baby blue churidaar and hanging out in the balcony to get a glimpse of her future 'jiju'. Soon, she spotted a little bird in their front yard-she looked like it was injured and trying its best to fly. Kiya, the tender hearted that she was, went downstairs to the bird's rescue. She picked up the injured bird with both her hands and walked towards the house, holding and talking gently to the bird. She did not notice that the Desais- Karan, Tanya, Ranveer, Panchi and KD were also approaching the house. She kept walking and accidently bumped into a tall figure. KD, who had been talking animatedly with his sweetheart of a bhabhi was also not aware of a petite form coming towards them and crashing against his chest, causing him to crash to the ground, taking her with him. Kiya's hands let go of the bird and her eyes focused on the owner of the toned, muscular chest. Chocolate brown met hazel as their eyes met into a furious battle of their own until Ranveer had successfully rescued the bird and Panchi held out her hand for the petite girl lying on top of her brother-in-law and helped her get up on her feet.
Kiya felt extremely embarrassed as she straightened her scarf around her neck. She had completely missed what'd happened and was staring at the retreating backs of the family that had made its way inside the ornate doors. She ran to the back of the house and sneaked into her room, panting while her uncle and aunt welcomed the guests. Kiya shut the door to her room and ran the events of the past 10 minutes in her mind' "No way. It can't be Keshav. There is absolutely no way that I just collided against him in my backyard. Her face turned red as she remembered her school days, especially that one moment that stood out among the rest. It was so special that she couldn't help but go down the memory lane.
It had been the eve of the annual carnival that her school had been hosting and all students had been giving it their best to make it a memorable evening. As she had walked out of the auditorium after her performance, she had felt a hand rest on her shoulders. She had whipped her head around, glancing quickly at her watch, knowing that she was late and Rohit would be waiting for her outside the school gates. Kiya had looked up into those hazel eyes, and had found herself staring at 'Keshav Desai'. She had been in awe of him all throughout her high school days; who wouldn't be? KD was talented, handsome and extremely intelligent. Kiya couldn't help but turn red under his intense gaze.
'You were great tonight!' he'd whispered breathily at her and she couldn't help but notice the minimal distance between them.
'Umm KD, I erm, my uncle is waiting for me outside, I better go' She'd turned around to leave but had found KD standing right in front of her once more.
'You're a great girl Kiya, do you like me?' he'd said cheekily, grinning at her. She found herself becoming flustered under his strong stare, extremely aware of his effect on girls, especially ones like Kiya.
'KD, I..I..erm.. really..erm..really have to go. I'm sorry. My uncle's waiting'. Kiya's eyes had darted to her shoes and couldn't help but hesitate at his question.
Kiya had then made the huge mistake of looking back into his eyes again, only to find his face inches away from hers. He'd come extremely close to her, put his lips on hers, and had kissed her softly. He'd then pulled away and said cheekily, 'Now you may decide whether you like me or not, okay?' He'd turned around and walked off, leaving her staring at his retreating back, frozen with shock.
After that day, KD hadn't given her any more attention. He'd soon graduated and she never saw him again. Until today. The kiss that he'd planted on her lips was gentle, sweet and unforgettable.
'KIYA!' her aunt's voice had rung out, effectively breaking her chain of thoughts and bringing her out of her reverie.
She couldn't help but get goosebumps every time she thought about that evening. She called out softly, her voice trembling, 'Coming Mausi!' and slowly made her way down to the living room, where the very man who'd plagued her thoughts was seated.
Kiya's heart was still pounding as she descended the stairs and caught hold of Anya who was coming up the stairs to fetch her.
'Di! You look stunning! Why are you shifting so much, is everything okay?' Kiya couldn't help but ask in hushed tones.
'Kiya! This thing is SO uncomfortable! How am I supposed to wear this for the entire day!?'
Kiya smiled at her cousin's grumbling at caught hold of her arm, steering her to the living room. 'Uffo di! Let's go right now; you can get this over with, haan?'
KD glanced up and saw Anya being accompanied by the same girl that he'd bumped into earlier. He couldn't help but stare at the younger girl, not being able to place his finger on what was so familiar about her.
KD's thought process was soon broken by Rohit, who couldn't help but make small talk, 'Where did you live in the US son?' KD smiled and couldn't help but engage in conversation about the place that he'd called home for such a long time. His eyes however, kept darting towards the kitchen where he'd seen Kiya disappearing. She was definitely familiar, but he couldn't remember HOW! Gah! Where had he seen Anya's sister before!?
Kiya soon returned to the living room with tea and some snacks for the guests. When she came close to KD, her face got flushed again as she offered him the tea without making any sort of eye contact with him. KD however, was staring openly at her face, trying to recognize her.
After the formalities were over with, Kiya found herself sitting next to Panchi who had an extremely friendly face. Kiya soon became her pleasant, chirpy self as she chatted with KD's sister-in-law. On the other hand, KD-Anya found that they had lots of things in common to talk about, mainly related to the world of business and the stock market.
Shraddha couldn't help but be pleased with KD. He seemed to have a stable head on his shoulders and was very respectful to each and every single member of the house. She did notice however the subtle glances that KD threw in Kiya's direction every few minutes. She couldn't help but smile to herself. She was well aware that Kiya was the prettier of the two girls, even though her husband and daughter thought otherwise. She went up to the two youngsters and finally said, 'Anya, Keshav you two can go upstairs and talk? Obviously, between all of us, there'll hardly be any comfort'
Tanya agreed and KD-Anya made their way to the latter's room. Kiya got up and began to clear the coffee table. She glanced up and saw KD gesturing Anya forward first. She was extremely happy for her cousin, for she knew that KD was a great guy and he'd be perfect for her cousin. He was intelligent, the Head Boy of their school, and equally good at all the extra-curriculars. Her heart started beating at twice its speed but she was rescued from having a seizure right there by her aunt's voice. 'Kiya, could you get the sweets from the fridge please? If possible we could have certain rituals today itself'.
When KD-Anya got back downstairs, they found Ranveer and Panchi chatting amicably with Kiya.
'Are you serious? You went to St. Teresa too? So did KD and I!' Ranveer commented.
Anya couldn't help but butt in and said proudly, 'Oh I see! All of you are from the same school? I went to Dehradun's finest boarding school! I think mom-dad wanted me to have the best education'.
Rohit, having overheard his name, joined in the conversation and patted his daughter on the back. 'Absolutely! Anya was always at the top of her classes, be it school or university! Karan-jee, you're not going to get a smarter daughter-in-law!'
'Papa! Don't start on that now!' Anya went over and hugged her father, secretly thrilled at having her praises sung once more.
KD who was lost in his thoughts until that moment was jolted out of them after having heard the name of his school. 'Okay! I'm so glad that got cleared up! It makes perfect sense now! She went to the same school as I did! Phew! I can stop obsessing over it now.'
'You were at St. Teresa's too? You're Kiya Gujral! You were the lead singer of our school! Were you not!?' Realisation dawned on KD as he stood in front of Kiya.
The girl in question lowered her eyes, and wasn't sure at all of what else KD remembered.
Panchi joined them at this point, 'Kiya, situation ki demand hai! You have to sing for us!'
Ranveer couldn't help but laugh at his wife's comment and agreed with her fully. After being reassured by Shraddha, everyone sat down to listen to the petite girl that stood bashfully before them.
'This one's for my cousin. Anya, may you get all the happiness in the world!'. Saying so, Kiya began humming the music of the classic from Guide 'Aaj phir jeeney ki tamanna hai, aaj phir marne ka iraada hai'
KD was mesmerized by her voice. She had definitely come a long way since her school days. If he remembered correctly, she was always a good singer but her voice had really matured now and it sounded really melodious. He got up and congratulated her, "Kiya, this was a perfect song for Anya! You are really a good singer." Kiya thanked him softly and walked away to the kitchen. KD's eyes followed her till Tanya interrupted, by saying, 'Thank you for a great evening, but we should really get going'
The families then decided to go ahead with the ceremony that was a commitment to the marriage before any formal engagement.
After everyone had left, Anya and Kiya made their way upstairs and seizing the opportunity, the latter started, 'so Di! Did you like him!?'
Anya sighed at her cousin's naughty grin and replied, 'Kiya! There wasn't a thing that I disliked! He's smart, intelligent, well respected. We have so much in common! I don't even think we'd ever tire of one another!'
Kiya felt a pang of disappointment, but hid it well as Anya wished her good night and made her way towards her own room. The petite girl was once again consumed with memories of that fateful evening but she reprimanded herself, feeling extremely guilty! KD was going to be her cousin's husband for God's sake! She really had to stop thinking about him and get rid of that memory forever!'
She resigned to her bed, rubbing her arm, ridding it of the goosebumps that had formed at the sheer thought of that old, but crystal clear memory.
Praying that sleep would come to her, she lay wide awake on the bed, her thoughts going once more to a certain hazel eyed man.
Meanwhile, KD couldn't help but recount the events of that evening as he sat on his bed, strumming his guitar.
He had dated so many girls in his
life but no one had ever stirred his heart yet. Anya was also one of them; he
enjoyed talking to her, just like he would a business acquaintance or a
colleague at work. However, was she the right life partner he was looking for?
May be with time, he would learn to love her just like he'd hoped he would?
He started whistling the song which Kiya had sung and started smiling as he remembered the "bump and fall" with her from earlier in the evening. He was very perceptive about women and judging by her reactions to his presence, he wondered if there was anything between them in high school. Quite certain that there was more to everything than what met the eye, KD dozed off, a tiny smile on his face, courtesy the petite girl with chocolatey eyes.
...to be continued.
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