CheckMate! Thread 2
From the author's desk:
The next part is here at last... Thanks for the overwhelming reponse and comments on my FF from my regular readers and thanks to all those silent readers, who took time to like and comment on my last update... here we venture into thread 2 for the story! Do enjoy yourselves.. and also be kind to me and let me know your thoughts on the update.. ok?
here is the link to the previous thread with parts 1 to 36:53142700
and here is my index with a link to all my works:51533738
Almost two years had passed since that fateful morning when Arnav came to know that Kushi had left .. Left her house.. left him... and had gone somewhere... Even though the search mission hadnt stopped ever since, He hadnt got a clue where she was...
And the only thing that was driving him now was the hope that she would turn up suddenly at his door step as she had disappeared suddenly, His heart still failed to believe that Kushi of all, would have done this to him, to their love...
And most of the nights he would sit by the poolside reminicing those moments that they spent in the very place bathing in the world of love. All those moonlit , starry nights that they spent there, cuddled in eachother's arms, her childishness, his naughtiness, their fights and the apologies later and the passionate love making that followed the fight and apology, the love and understanding that they both shared would come rushing to him. And he would again and again raise the questions- those questions for which he straved for an answer.. but alas the winds and the plants he spoke to did not have an answer for even one of them...Why didnt she tell me where she was going? Why did she run away like a coward? Why didnt she even call me or message me? Not even once she has spoken to me all these days? where is she now? Is she safe? Is she thinking of me now? Didnt she trust me to keep her safe? Have I failed as a husband, as a lover?
Then he would remember the last time he saw her... She didnt even keep her promise... She told she will be back soon... She didnt even come even though she knew that the marriage contract was expiring... She didnt even bother to speak to him when she called up a couple of times to talk to his sister...and her sister... All those memories would fill him with wrath...
yes, she did call a couple of times or more... when Anjali got married to Ashok 1 and half years before.. some months later when Nani was not well and had been hospitalised and the recent one almost nine months back when Payal and Akaash announced to the family that they were on the family way. But on all the three occasions, she had been curt and had spoken to only the person concerned and had denied and cut the call when asked to speak to him. This had hurt him immensely. He had not able to accept that she was avoiding him and couldnt understand the reason for the same. He brushed of the feeling of insecurity creeping in when she had called the first time to congratulate his sister. Because then , he was not around.
Anjali had asked, actually begged her to return back... But she had told that she wont be able to... Nk had rushed to his room and urged him to come downstairs and that Kushi was on call, He had run down, only to discover that she had ended the call just few seconds before... But Arnav didnt let it go as such. He tried the number again but found that it was a local booth at Bangalore. Then the search mission had started there but in vain.
They had waited for Kushi to call again. But the subsequent calls gave the message loud and clear- that she was avoiding him!
Few months Later, Nani was seriously ill and was hospitalised. Then too she had called NK to enquire if everything was well and and had spoken to Nani. Even Nani's plead to come and see her one last time had also been turned to deaf ears as she had told Nani that nothing would happen to her and she would recover soon... That time too, when Nani had told Kushi that Arnav was waiting to speak to her, She had told that she had to rush now and will talk sometime later... Arnav almost snatched the phone from nani to only catch her last words to Nani. That time when they had traced the number, they found it was from Pune. Again a search mission had started but they couldnt trace her.
They waited for her to call again but she never did until one fine day when the family rejoiced with the announcement that Payal was expecting a baby. That evening, Kushi had called to congratulate the couple... and it was a very crisp call.
Payal and Akaash insisted that they would accept her congratualations only if she came back or atleast tell where she is and what she is doing.. But she had told that she would come when she would become a Maasi, Akaash had corrected her saying she would become a BadiMa and not a Maasi... because Arnav Bhai would be Badipaa. Arnav signalled Akaash not to tell her that he was there and took the phone to hear her empty laugh, followed by a comment "I am not sure if I will be called BadiMa by the baby Jijaji"
"Why Kushi?" he had spoken out.. and there was silence on the other end and then she had cut the call... simply just like that. That time the call had come in from Canada.
That is when he had become very angry at her, for reducing him to a mad and crazy man hunting for her never the less.. He had turned ruthless and insensitive again, while his nights were spent talking to the winds and the plants and her dupattas, the days went by with him concentrating on business and nothing else. The family rarely saw him smile and talk casually or join them for a meal. He went back to the shell that defined ASR and this time he made sure that the shell was hard enough to break through by anyone.
He had always suspected that she had been more frequently in contact with her family as any news be it happy or sad seemed to reach her so fast. When he asked her family, that had moved back to Lucknow after a few months after Kushi disappeared, they told him that she did call them, but again it was very occasional and even if they wanted to tell her about the news, they couldnt as they didnt know where she was... She had only once visited them when Shashi had fallen very sick and had stayed with them for an hour or two but had taken a promise that they should not inform anyone that she was there... or she would leave immediately and wont come back again. They had remained quiet. "She has changed so much" Buaji had commented.
Anjali was deeply saddened by the turnover that Arnav was facing again. Even though Ashok had clearly told her before they got married that they would live at his house and not in her brother's house, He had been kind enough to let her stay at her brother's house at times when her brother was in one of his miserable moods. And she would come to RM during the day time when Ashok would be at the hospital and would try to cheer her brother. But she soon found that nothing that she did could help him and he has slowly started to hide himself behind that mask of his.
But if there was one good thing that all this was doing to him, it was the business, it was flourishing more than ever, as he found work a distraction, an escapade from his distress, that emptiness in his life. He expanded his empire drastically and was listed in the top 10 Young Business Tycoons and Successful Entrepreneurs of India. And that evening Arnav had recieved a bouquet of red roses from an Anonymous sender. Arnav didnt know how to feel about the bouquet, as much as he wanted to think it was from Kushi, he couldnt deny feeling little lost and hopeless and angry for softening down for a small gesture that he only thought was from her.
When Ashok had informed the family that Arnav was listed in top ten and said he will throw a party for his Brother in law, Arnav had politely and firmly declined saying it is nothing that has to be celebrated and he is a failure in his personal life and had walked away. Anjali broke down hearing this. Though her other two brothers and her husband tried to console her, She started telling them how it was all her mistake to have fallen in love with a wrong guy that has screwed up her brother's love, life and peace totally...
"He is not sleeping properly, not eating properly, look at him... I reduced him to this..." she wept
"No Anju, this is not your mistake"
"It is.. I am responsible.. Shyam is responsible..My life with shaym is responsible...My broke my brother... I failed as a sister... He considers me next to Ma.. I failed to protect him.."
"No Anju, you have tried your best... remember everyone was cheated... But we recovered didnt we? Shyam is out of our lives... Kushi should'nt have let him rule her decisions so much" Ashok argued
"How did you know Kushi let him rule her decisions? " Nk stood up strongly for his friend.
"We had planned it all properly.. then why did she run away like that? why is she not talking to him?" Ashok shouted back
"maybe she has a reason" NK reasoned.
Of late any discussion on these lines, always ended up as a argument between Ashok and NK, with Anjali and Akaash trying to pacify them.. and sometimes the arguments ended when Arnav would lash out at them rudely and strode towards his room banging the door behind him.
The happiness of the family returned back with Payal giving birth to a lovely baby girl and for once everyone forgot their differences and problems and rejoiced the entry of the new bundle of joy in the family. Even Arnav forgot to be gloomy and moody once in a while. Maybe kushi would call, arnav would secretly hope, then chide himself for having such thoughts.
One evening almost 15 days after the baby was born, the family was gearing up for the naming ceremony of the new baby the next day.
"Arnavji, you will stay at home tomorrow wont you?" Payal asked Arnav as she saw him coming out of his room
"No payal, I .. you people carry on.. I am travelling tonight" Arnav informed
"Where?" Anjali cut in
"UK, I will be leaving to the airport in a couple of hours"
"you are going tonight and you inform us now? why Chotey"
"I informed now.. havent I di? and Payal this is for the baby"
"What is this Bhai?"
"I have created an account for the baby, for any financial needs for the baby you"
"Bhai, we wanted your presence and not this" Akaash cut him
"I need to go Akaash.. I hope you will understand" he told ending the conversation turning to go upstairs to his room when the calling bell rang.
Arnav looked around, and moved to get the door as he was closer to the door than the rest of them.
He opened the door, to get a pleasant surprise, there standing in all glory was Kushi!
To be continued...
Edited by abavi - 13 March 2013 at 1:04am