Joined: 09 February 2012
Joined: 09 February 2012
Joined: 09 February 2012
Payal chuckled as Khushi's voice reached her from the other room. She has lost count how many times Khushi had been asking that one question since last night.
"Khushiii," Payal shouted in reply, "Please tell me honestly, are you going to meet Salman Khan tonight? How many more times do I need to tell you that the Sari is just fine?"
"Oh Jiji! I need to look presentable enough. Don't you get it? .."
"Yeah, yeah! It is an AR Corp party. All the who's who will be there. I know .. stop going over the same details again, please. You will look fine, baba. Don't you have office today?"
Why really Khushi was so concerned with the sari, Payal wondered as she continued embroidering the cushion cover. Khushi had almost cried last night that she did not have enough good clothing. Drama Queen!
"Khusshii," Payal shouted again, "Seriously tell me. Why are you so bothered? It is just an office party."
"No, jiji," Khushi appeared from behind the curtain of the next room, "It is not 'just another office party'. It is a welcome party for the fashion show tomorrow."
Payal stopped her needlework as Khushi walked in and sat beside her on the sofa with her legs crossed.
"It is the matter of AR's status, jiji," Khushi told in a serious tone, "All the models, all the clients .. all the beautiful & successful people will be there. I cannot disappoint Arnav ji."
"Acchaaa," Payal widened her eyes in fake concern, "so all this is because of Arnavji?"
"Haan .. kyaa??" Khushi exclaimed, "Nehi .. matlab haan .. all because of him. He owns the company, naa! And you don't know, jiji! He has such a bad temper. You will not like to face him when he is angry."
"Okayyy," Payal lingered, "I understand. But what does that have anything to do with your sari?"
"Arghhh," Khushi stood up in frustration, "Jiji! What have I been telling you? Chhoro! You are not going to get it."
Payal chuckled as she saw her little sister marching away. She was crazy! No wonder Buaji called her Sanka Devi. But she had never seen Khushi so worried about her attire ever. She was usually pretty confident with whatever she wore. There had to be something really important about today's party. Though she joked but it really cannot be Arnavji! He must be some bald-headed middle aged arrogant jerk. May be it was just the effect of working for a fashion house, Payal concluded.
"Buaji was right perhaps," Payal muttered as she picked up the fine needle, "Fashion house was not really a good idea for Khushi. She is going only nuttier."
Some 15 minutes later Payal saw Khushi leaving in hurry with her jhola and a bag in the hand.
"Khushhii," Payal yelled, "At least have your breakfast!"
"Nehi, Jiji," Khushi yelled back from the stairs, "I am getting late. Tell Buaji, I will be late."
A smile appeared at the corner of Arnav's mouth without his knowledge as his eyes fell on her. He could smell "his" lemon even from so much distance; her green chudidaar only intensified the air. Her braided hair over her left bosom .. the colorful, sequined jhola covering the leftmost corner of her hip .. He could see her matching bangles and nagra as he drove the car closer to her. Was she panting? He could see her heaving chest and her right hand over the middle of her bosom. Arnav swallowed down the fluttering feelings inside him before she got into the car.
Khushi gave him a small, nervous smile as he finished latching the seatbelt. Arnav just blinked and took in her flushed face, perspiration running down her cheeks. He watched her trying to normalize her breathing & wipe off the drops of sweats. How did she manage to look so delectable always?
"Are you alright?"
"Hmm," Khushi replied still panting mildly.
"Why are you panting?"
"Woh .. I got a bit late. So I ran most of the way .."
"Oh. You did not have to."
For three days in a row after the whole fiasco with Maddy, Devi Maiya had been quite enjoying her vacation as the two were getting along pretty well with each other.
Arnav had been accompanying her both on her way to office and home everyday. He had assigned her to the event team and under the direct supervision of Aman. He had given specific instructions to Aman regarding where to involve her, including keeping her away from the male population and anything that can lead to anything even close to dangerous.
Aman and his team were rather surprised and also happy with the CEO's sudden increasing concern regarding their work. The frequency of his visit to their area increased evidently and he was taking interest in the operational details more than ever. Aman was quite happy to have her in the team since she was really hardworking and a quick learner. Arnav was very happy with his feedback and they had discussed about the possibility of having her in the Event & Promotion team permanently. The prospect of having her always in a team working in his floor elated him and he had decided to talk about it once Lavanya was back.
Arnav cleared his throat.
"Does it still hurt?"
"Ah .. you know that .."
"Oh! No, Arnavji. I told you yesterday. It is alright."
"But it still shows .."
"Scars take time. Pain goes away but scars can be stubborn."
Arnav flinched slightly. He knew she did not mean anything else but the talk of pain & scars took him back to the darkest corner of his life. He shook the thought off vehemently and instead, focused on the strange woman sitting beside him who made him do strange things too.
That scar. That little scar on that beautiful, spotless face. Why was it all he could give her? His hands tightened on the steering.
After reaching AR, they took the elevator together as per their new routine. Arnav was still planning on getting a new, smaller lift installed. This was too big for two. However, Khushi no longer thought the elevator was small. And instead of standing in a corner, she was comfortable standing in the middle only a few inches away from him. The ventilation system was definitely still malfunctioning and deteriorating more everyday as it only got warmer inside with every passing day.
As they were to head for their respective office, Arnav stopped her, when they reached the Executive floor.
"Everything ready for tonight?"
"Ji, Arnavji. You don't worry. We are working very hard. We will not let you down."
"I know. Ok. See you."
Arnav turned around and started walking towards his office but he was stopped by a shrill "Hai Devi Maiya" only after a few strides. He turned to see a horrified Khushi staring at her jhola on her side with both her palms covering her mouth.
Khushi pointed her finger towards something in the floor and then Arnav noticed. Sequins were all over the place near her feet and there was a thread coming out from the side of the bag. Arnav followed the white thread and halted on his left hand where the other end of the thread was stuck to his Philip Patek. F**k.
Was he really standing that close to her? Why then it never seemed close enough?
Arnav quickly looked at Khushi and saw her still staring at the mess wide-eyed.
"Khushi, I am not sure how that happened."
Khushi sighed. She ripped off the end of the thread from the jhola.
"It is ok, Arnavji. You haven't done it intentionally. Don't worry. I will sew it back."
Arnav was not sure what to do as he watched her bend down and gather the sequins. He loosened the thread from his watch and walked up to her. Khushi looked up and saw him extending his hand towards her. She held on to his hand and stood up without any discomfort and took the torn off thread from his hand.
"Khushi .. I .. I .."
"It is ok Arnavji. Really."
Arnav wondered how she managed to smile always like that. Her smile .. it always lighted up everything around. Her smile always let sunshine in through the mass of concrete of the AR world. He never knew sunshine could make him feel so good. In his next buildings, he was determined now to ask the architect to let sunshine in as much as possible. May be more windows & skylights.
"Thik hain," Khushi smiled little before turning around, "I am going then."
Arnav watched her walk away and disappear through a door along the corridor after glancing at him once.
Arnav sighed. He had just caused her another loss.
Before he could turn and start again, his eyes fell on the sequins on the floor. Khushi had gathered those but perhaps forgotten to take those along. Without thinking twice, Arnav bent down and put the sequins inside his pocket. May be he could give those back to her.. later.
The day passed very busily for everyone in the office. Arnav was busy with Akash on the details of a new proposal and following up Aman once in a while. He enquired and came to know Khushi had left with the team for the venue after lunch. The thought of her lemony smell being breathed by others bothered him. And then he could not control chuckling at his own madness. He had lost it for sure.
Akash too felt the same as he saw his cousin brother suddenly chuckling out of nothing. Akash was a gentle, young man who always wanted to be a doctor but ended up studying business because his mother wanted him to be a successful businessman. He did not have much complaints but he really did not aspire to be like his bhai who was successful but had hardly any life beyond that.
"Bhai, are you alright?"
"Yes. Why Akash?"
"You just smiled for no reason."
Arnav was in fact still smiling and hearing Akash, instantly stiffened. He immediately wiped off the smile and stared at his bespectacled cousin who seemed genuinely concerned.
Arnav had accepted the weirdness that this particular strange woman caused in him in his own world; but it was risky that he had started showcasing that in front of the real world too. He needed to focus and restrain. This indulgence was getting dangerous. For the first time in many years, he was not sure what he was doing and why. He was not sure what he was looking forward to. He was not sure why he was even tolerating her around him, let alone, giving her importance. He needed to reason with himself. He decided to sit and think about it once the fashion show was over. There was no way he could afford such distraction & indecisiveness in his life. He needed to come to a resolution – this or that.
Arnav shifted in his chair and straightened himself.
"I just remembered something. Can we continue with the discussion?"
"Of course, Bhai."
Though Akash instantly got busy explaining the figures in the projected statements, he took a mental note to talk to Anajali Di about it. He had been noticing for a few days that Bhai was not being his usual self. He was even sometimes losing attention in a discussion which was so not like Arnav Singh Raizada. Akash once caught him googling "lemon fragrance" and Mohan confirmed that Bhai suddenly got very particular about the car perfume. God knows what he was up to now! Was he planning some new venture?
Arnav & Akash left together for home at 5.
Sharp at 7, Arnav reached the venue in a Black tuxedo accompanied by an immaculately white shirt. The black neck tie was knotted in a perfect half-windsor. Patent leather shoes in black & black leather strap wrist watch – Arnav did not need anything else to look the man of the evening even when handsome models, taller than him were roaming around the venue in fancy clothing. One glance at him – and every woman sighed in admiration – be single or married. He was perfect.
The man's eyes however were looking for a familiar face instinctively. Where was she? Somehow the fairylights adorning the venue reminded him of her more. Somehow he knew those were hers. He could feel her touch on those but she was nowhere to be seen.
At that very moment, the object of his interest was intently looking at her reflection in the mirror in the dressing room a floor above.
Khushi thought twice before she finally set aside her every day snap clips. She brushed her hair straight once more. Before turning away from the mirror, her eyes fell on the little scar on her left cheek. She had tried to cover it as much as possible but it would not hide. She sighed. She hoped he would understand. She hoped he would ignore.
The scar did not remind her of the pain that had accompanied it. Rather, the moments that flashed in front of her eyes made her smile again – for the umpteenth time in 3 days.
It was the day after the fiasco in the Design floor. Khushi was very nervous, still affected by her last night moments with Arnav. She felt like a fool blushing over the incident over and over again. He just took out the pen and gave it to her. It could not be anything else. Why would he want to do anything else with her? But the way he touched her, the way he tucked her hair .. the way his voice got huskier, the way he smirked … Khushi could not but keep thinking that there were more to it. There had to be ..
However, her jitteriness vanished as soon as she noticed Arnav was pretty much reflecting herself. The great Arnav Singh Raizada seemed nervous! He was glancing at her every minute and the moment their eyes met he would instantly turn away. During the whole ride, Khushi felt like he tried to say her something quite a few times but then held himself back. Khushi deployed her brains to understand what was going on with him and soon forgot what transpired between them last night.
Arnav was still silent when he unbuckled her in the parking. He glanced at her multiple times but did not utter a single word. Khushi kept wondering what suddenly happened to Laad Governor. They both walked into the elevator silently and as soon as the door shut, she heard Arnav murmur something but it did not make much sense.
"Aap ne kuch kaha, Arnavji?"
Arnav again murmured inaudibly.
"I could not hear you."
Arnav again murmured inaudibly.
"Speak a little louder, naa!"
Arnav suddenly slammed his hand on the elevator panel and Khushi felt the lift stop with a jerk.
"What happened? What did you just do? Hai Devi Maiya .. have you damaged the lift? Are we stuck? What is wrong with you? Why are you beh.."
Khushi could not speak any longer as Arnav roughly shut her mouth with his strong palm. Khushi could see her blazing eyes .. but it was not all anger there. And the shiver running up & down her body was not due to fright too.
"Shut up, Khushi!"
Khushi stared at him wide-eyed as he hissed.
"You have to shut your mouth first to listen to what I say!"
"I am .. I am just .. I am just trying to say .. I am .. Iam .. Dammit!"
Arnav slammed his free hand on the wall behind her in frustration. Why was it so difficult? Why was he even trying to say it to her? He could do it. He was Arnav Singh Raizada and nothing was impossible in his dictionary. He stared at the blank wall behind her before he opened his mouth in determination.
"I am just trying to say .. I – I am sorry!"
There he said it. For the first time in .. who knew how many years.
He expectantly looked at her to see some sort of acknowledgement in her eyes but her eyes were blank.
"Did you hear what I just said? I said I am sorry, dammit!"
Khushi almost jumped as he shouted and then quickly nodded her head in affirmation. She signaled him to remove his palm over her mouth. Arnav abided by instantly. He seemed embarrassed. It must have been really difficult for him .. Khushi understood and her heart suddenly was filled with a kind of warmth that made the world seem only beautiful.
"It is ok, Arnavji," she smiled slightly.
Arnav looked at her and slowly touched the scar with his index finger. Khushi flinched. Arnav mistook it for pain.
"Does it hurt very much?"
Khushi gulped and her chest started heaving.
"Nehi, Arnavji. It is ok."
Arnav came closer to her cheek making her heart suddenly stop. Only from a very, very few inches away from her face, Arnav blew air on her scar. As the first blow of air touched her, she closed her eyes instinctively, cutting herself off from everything else that existed. Only this moment existed, only him and her, only his warm breath on her.
Khushi could not track how many times he blew air but she suddenly felt him caressing the scar with his thumb as he kept blowing.
Khushi feared she would faint.
"Arr.. navjiii .."
"Woh .. woh .. please restart the lilft .."
Khushi felt his thumb stopped moving over her cheek. And also the hot air stopped caressing her face. She regretted it instantly but she could not turn back the time.
Arnav quickly moved away from her and punched some button in the panel. He did not look at her until the lift halted at their floor. The air was already hotter than ever inside the lift. He turned to her before he stepped out of the lift.
"Sorry," his voice never heard so soft as he uttered it again and walked away.
Khushi touched the scar looking at herself in the mirror. She smiled. Not every scar gave bad memories.
"Sorry," she could hear him say it again. A precious two-syllable word.
Khushi took a deep breath before she stepped out of the dressing room. She clutched her purse tightly. She had never felt so nervous ever in her life. As she went closer to the hall, she felt warmer. She could not control her trembling legs. Her heart raced so fast that she felt she would collapse. She knew why. She could not deny. She wanted him to look at her. She wanted him to .. find her beautiful.
Arnav was talking to a client when a familiar smell tickled her senses. "Excuse me," was all he managed to say abruptly before he turned away to find the source of the smell. He could not wait anymore. He was feeling like he would snap any moment if he did not see her any sooner.
Time froze as he finally found her.
There she was .. standing in front of a wall of fairylights . A red sari .. a small bindi .. a simple jhumka .. .. her free, open hair slightly swaying in the air. And as their eyes met, she smiled at him.
Arnav forgot everything else. Only the vision in red occupied all his senses .. even the ones beyond the fifth. He walked towards her in a trance in slow steps. He did not realize when he put down his glass of wine, when he brushed aside all the greetings & compliments. Nothing existed except for that celestial vision in that small corner of the hall where she stood inviting him with her half-sprightly, half-shy smile.
Khushi gulped down the myriad of emotions that froze her on spot as his eyes landed on her. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen. But this was beyond any definition. She smiled at him but she felt her trembling only intensified as he started walking towards her. His eyes were different. The way he was looking at her, made her shiver all through.
Arnav reached her and soon become a part of the frame.
A gorgeous woman in red. A gorgeous man in black. A backdrop of twinkling lights.
Picture perfect indeed.
"I am ready, Arnaviji," Khushi quickly said with a slight, nervous smile not wanting to collapse in front of him.
Devi Maiya held her breath as she heard Arnav's thought.
She was ready .. she said.
Arnav held his breath too.
Was he ready?
Joined: 26 March 2010
Joined: 29 July 2012
Joined: 22 October 2011
Joined: 27 November 2011
ok...that :( was bcoz I read the update late...You have posted it when I was super bzy...
and it continued..as I read the update from phone in hurry and I was all confused and the essence didnt hit me at all..I finally read the update couple of days back and this time I didnt fail...lovely update once again dear...
I am not able to give a lengthy reply this time...but I cant wait as I dont want these three days to be wasted..so here I am..chleepy..chleepy reply...
He must be some bald-headed middle aged arrogant jerk...LOL..
A smile appeared at the corner of Arnav's mouth without his knowledge as his eyes fell on her. He could smell "his" lemon even from so much distance .. her green chudidaar only intensified the air. Her braided hair over her left bosom .. the colorful, sequined jhola covering the leftmost corner of her hip .. He could see her matching bangles and nagra as he drove the car closer to her. Was she panting? He could see her heaving chest and her right hand over the middle of her bosom. Arnav swallowed down the fluttering feelings inside him before she got into the car.
My fav line...I am sure yours too...
I am still waiting for him to vent out his biggest frustration..this line and jadu hain nasha hai tells me something bigger is awaiting...
Joined: 18 December 2012
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