Joined: 06 April 2012
Chaper-5 Deal Set
Chapter-6 The Midnight Sun
Chapter-7 A long Night
For those who understand it-it is an intermission between two births!
For those who try to-its an illusion!
For those who fight it ... its a eluding loop;
For those who question it, its a riddle,
But for those who live it..
For some its an open book;
yet for many its a MIRAGE!!!
Khushi stood staring into oblivion...her eyes showing nothingness in them!!!
Life has never been easy for her... not then not now... but it never went the way it is destined to now.
A different situation a different turn and an absolutely different dimension in her life.
As she stood on the terrace of her ancestral house-her home...THE LEGENDARY SHEESH MAHAL with all its secrets and stories from times unknown.she imagined the first time her cries echoed in the huge corridors of a house that is actually an old fortress. ...After all her ancestors were from a royal lineage although fallen from wealth, for centuries... they still preserved their pride and the family honour came to be of paramount importance.
Baby saa, amma bulaavath hai', Dayee maa's shrill voice peirced her reveire and she turned only to stop as she caught her reflection in the mirror on the wall of the sunshade closest to her...there stood a bride, a most beautiful bride that eyes can behold staring at herself incredulously!!!
Khushi kumari Ji Bhanusinghji Jethwa stared at her own reflection in the mirror! The setting sun in a way enhanced the tone of her skin and made it translucent and radiant. The red and green lehenga interspersed with the raw silk off white colour made her look beautiful almost... out of the world.The elegant and antique jewellery she wore increased the delicateness of her frame fourfold giving her an ethereal look.
The maang teeka that she wore along with the jewellery and the attire made her look like her ancestors whose portraits were still hung in the corridors of the great hall called the Jalsa Ghar with its mammoth chandeliers and ornate banisters. But Khushi was too much into herself to appreciate her appearance...little did she know how the dress and the jewellery enhanced her delicate features making her look fragile and breath takingly beautiful. She looked adorable and any grooms dream bride.
But when was she ever common! Khushi sighed loudly and before dayee maa called her yet again, proceeded towards the narrow winding staircase to meet her destiny.
Silence on the other end. five seconds...six and when Khushi did not know what to do and was about to hang up came the voice from the other end...
Khushi? A crisp voice pronounced her name and Khushi's toes curled in her casual chadaaws at the slight intonation of his voice while calling her name.
"Haan?', for the life of Khushi she could later never figure out how a stranger could sound so familiar, How his voice could be so alluring dragging her into a temporary stupor as if it were a drug and as to how she responded to it as if it was an everyday conversation she had with this man... a total stranger.
...Silence again! Khushi heard something like sucked in breath.., did she have the same effect on the stranger as he has on her? she wondered!
"Aman will call you for some details we shall be needing and you can coordinate with him",thundered Arnav Singh Raizada quelling all her doubts, his slightly accented English reminding her that he is a Harvard graduate, and a world apart from her .
"In 48 hours You shall be...Mine."
"Ji? ",Khushi could not believe her ears that she was being discussed as if she was some possession or a new deal ASR has clinched and most importantly the way he said mine with a slight pause was very alarming!
The phone went dead. There was neither a preamble nor a farewell. "What kind of a man she was getting married to? Is this a hint for how her life would be?" Khushi flopped off into the couch gearing up for a confrontation with Babuji.
...She walked into Babuji's office on the far side of sheeshmahal to give him his daily dose of medication and found him talking animatedly with someone.He was alternatively pleading and this grabbed Khushi's attention as ever since babuji suffered from a paralytic stroke that paralysed his left side khushi took over the overall administration of the family empire of gems and jewellery and the mundane matters of looking into the routine profit and loss of the Jethwa properties strewn in and around Ranpur just to avoid this type of stress.Munshi Brij Bhushan helped as they practically owned half of the properties in the purani chaawni and nava mohalla- both old and new wings of the town.
It is these proceeds that helped in the maintenance and the general expenses of the inmates of Sheesh Mahal.
Babuji was explaining something which the person on the other side was not convinced about and his slurred speech was no match added to that. Khushi thanked Devi mayya for showing such quick results and aiding in the speedy recovery of babuji and was happy he started fighting back in every way possible. Alerted by the clincking of her paayal, Babuji signalled munshiji to end the conversation. After Munshiji left Shashi Singhji asked Khushi to sit down ignoring her request to take his medication.
"Bitiya Humein haq tho nahi hain per...hum aap se kuch maangnaa chahthey hai! dengi humein? (I don't have a right to but...can i ask you for something! Will you grant me that?)he asked without any prologue.
"Hukum kijiye babuji... apko pura haq hai"( Just order me! You have a right to)Khushi said thinking what brought out this odd request from him?
"Apne Babujiko galat tho nahin samjhengi?"(Will You Misunderstand Me?) Shashi singhji asked gingerly.
"Nahin! Aap kabhi galat ho hi nahi sakhthey!"( No sir! You can Never be wrong)Khushi affirmed.
Khushi shut her eyes and thought... believe me Babuji none knows it more than me as what you all know is nothing even nearer to the truth..."And how quickly we had to arrange for a grand wedding to befit our khaandaan as well as the Raizaadas?"...Shashi singhji went on oblivious of khushis thoughts...and the trials we went thru and the huge financial abyss we plunged into to make it one of the centuries most celebrated weddings she added silently! And the unprecedented spending to please the tantramatic mother-in-law Manoramaji of Payal jiji She mentally cursed.
Babuji's query brought her back to the present.
"About what?" She ventured.
Babuji just stared at her and it did not take much of his intelligence to figure out that khushi did'nt listen to him at all... ,
"Khushi listen my child we need to act fast as the mistake we did a few months back is going to cost us Sheesh Mahal!!! did u get me now?" Shashi pleaded with her.
"Babuji what happened? But...but... oh my god! we were given time, is it not ?...an year and...and... its not even six months yet', Khushi wailed!
"Han bitiya but Arnav ji can't wait for so long and he wants it to be settled in 48 hours", Shashi supplied.
Khushi was stumped. "Arnavji? Now where in the world is this related to him?"
...and then she saw her Babuji's guilty face and realised how!"Nay Babuji don't tell me you listened to Aakash Jijaji and took help from him. Not him...Please tell me you did'nt!"Khushi pleaded with him.
"Humein muaaf kardiejiye bitiya" Babuji said in a low voice and went on, "Believe me, that was the best i could do at that time and Raizadas are family now.It was the only thing that prevented Sheesh Mahal from falling into the hands of some outsider. Moreover Aakashji promised me he would prevail if need be if we took money from the raizadas rather than anyone else!"
"Well then where is jijaji? and what does this Arnavji want now? Babuji jiji told me The mighty ASR is very ruthless and everytime she calls me she tells me how he keeps business away from anything else. Be it family or pleasure."
"I know Khushi.Unfortunately i didn't then but I realise it now. But this time he has approached us with a different scheme ..." Babuji's voice trembled.
"What?" Khushi felt an odd sinking feeling inside which always brought something worse and this premonition of her was never wrong.
"Arnavji gave us a two shot payment option for freeing Sheesh Mahal!" Babuji exclaimed.
Khushi waited for her Babuji to explain looking at him expectantly.
Shashi gulped and slowly ventured looking everywhere except at her... "Arnavji is willing to free Seesh Mahal only if..."
"Only if?" khushi prompted unable to bear the ambiguity.
"Only if You marry him!!!" There he had said it and it hung thick in the air the sudden silence deafening Khushis mind and making her go first numb and then insane.
Khushi saw a man once robust in health and pride but now frail and defeated yet with that Jethwa spark in his eyes trying to give strength knowing fully well how futile it was!
"I would not have accepted to even listen to such a proposal had it not been for Paayalia since Arnavji is her Jeth."
"Moreover, I just want to say one thing bitiya... In these circumstances i would have not found a better husband for you Than Arnavji. He is accomplished successful and most importantly from a good family and damaadjis brother.After payal got married and i broke down financially and health-wise i was worried for your future. I was worried how i would answer your parents when i meet them after my death",
..Khushi put her palm up to stop Babujis words.
"Never say that babuji. For me u and amma are my parents. You don't need to answer anyone." she hugged him and wept. "If you think Arnavji is a good match for me i will never question your decision. So be it."
Joined: 08 November 2010
Joined: 28 October 2011
Joined: 22 June 2012
Joined: 06 April 2012
I know I should be posting the second chapter but before i do, i want to give a brief description of the main characters.
ASR, Anjali, Shyam, Payal, Aakash and Nani, Garima, Buaji, Shashi, Lavanya and NK are the same characters. But their characterizations have been changed to suit the plot.
Khushi kumari singhji Bhanu Prathap Singhji Jethwa(KKGSR for us...) is the daughter of Rana Bhanu and Rani Reva Singhji Jethwa who is the elder brother of Rana Sashi Singhji Jethwa. Reva died when Khushi was two years old and her brother Suraj and father Bhanu prathap died in a plane crash when she was eight. Ever since Garima and Buaji took her under their wing.
Khushi is very full of zest for life and an undying spirit but is very mature and with an excellent sensitivity that befits her royal lineage.
ASR is a ruthless tycoon who has inherited an empire on the verge of collapse from his father( more about this story later...) and is far from sensitivities and sentiments as a human being.
Thakur Deepthimaan Singh is the childhood friend of Khushi. The Thakurs moved to Ranpur centuries ago and became neighbours and great friends to the Jethwas. Deepthimaan currently is a successful lawyer practicing corporate law in Mumbai.He is also a Harward grad and was a buddy to ASR since then.
Any other narrations and explanations i shall share as Author's notes from time to time as the plot unfolds.
Please do let me know and press like button if you appreciate my work.I also know that the Ippkknd fandom is very religious in its appreciation or bashing.so please...else, I would not know anything about my work otherwise.
Joined: 06 February 2012
Joined: 06 April 2012
"What The ****" Arnav singh Raizada let out an explicative at his bride now in his arms unconscious! His first reaction was to check her pulse as for one insane moment he thought that she tried to end her life. But it came back to him that one does not die falling from a height of seven to ten odd feet and that too especially when caught midway safely.
"Baby Saa", someone was rushing towards him and at the same time naani shrieked "Arnav bitua ka hui gawa hai? aap aisan?",
'ASR you have exactly ten seconds to remove the veil and look at the lady', his inner voice said and before he could adjust her wait and free his left hand, dayee maa naani and paayal came running and he had to put her on the stone bench near the pool where he was sitting minutes ago.
Someone got water and sprinkled on her face and Khushi moved a little.
Paayal was bombaarding him with a volley of questions...Ye aapse milne tho nahi aayi thi na? chot lagi hai kya? kya kiya aapne? yeh yahaan kaisey aayi?
ASR stared at her and when he thought it was enough he just put one hand up and said," relax paayal! Just breathe! I dont know where she came from and why. She just fell from over there", ... he showed the place... ,"and i was sitting here caught a reflection and could save her. Nothing much. I think we are getting late naani he turned to naani we shud start getting ready for the wedding!"
Saying this he turned to leave but something pulled him back. "What th...," he turned back and stopped cursing midway when he found that Khushi still held on to his shirt front! when he stared at her fingers he saw her hands and smirked but not before admiring the shapely and delicately beautiful hands that held on to him as if he was the last straw
"... what is he thinking?" He immediately came out of his thoughts and looked at his bride. Khushi still had her veil drawn and now it was even more pulled forward by payal and dayee maa as they mumbled something about bride and groom seeing each other just before the wedding is an Apshagun and so on...
As he stared at her chin and her lips...which were the only visible parts of her face, Khushi slowly unclenched her fingers and let go of his shirt and moved a little back realising lately that it was a narrow bench and there was nothing to hold her when she moved back.She was howled up into a hard chest with a volley of curses and was roughly showed back into place again.
"Bitiya!!!" naani and dayee maa cried out!
"Its ok",ASR muttered.
Paayal was the first to regain her presence of mind. She tried to make khushi stand and as Khushi stood, She was again rammed into the lithe hard frame of the man who stood rock still without even moving back out of courteousy.She realised his left arm was still around her upper back where he held her to howl her up from falling off the bench. She put her right palm on to his chest and tried to gain some balance and immediately heard a sharp intake of breathe so sharp and fast that none apart from her would have even heardit. She pushed further as she was crammed between the bench and this boulder of a man who did not budge an inch and flinched as the arm round her tightened with a soft exhalation of her name.
"Khushi!" Did she hear it or was it her imagination?
She jerked her head up and tried to see his face but the veil was pulled way down and the heavy zari work plus the border was not helping much... instead she was extricated from his arms by Paayal who mumbled something about getting late to ASR and turned to leave and was pulled back!" Hey Devi Mayya" she softly sighed as she fell back this time her cheek brushing his! ...and turned back to see what was retaining her and heard a soft growl as her ear was against his mouth not before noting that her odhani was stuck into his belt buckle.
"This is getting insane"... Arnav thought! "What is this woman doing? does she even know what she is doing to him rubbing against him before the entire female population of Sheesh Mahal?"And then he noticed the quivering of her lips and her bent head to see that the border of her odhani was stuck in his belt buckle.She was trying to pull her odhani and was frantic when he caught her hand into his to stop her and immediately realised it was a mistake as he felt a strong jolt rake his body.
This was getting out of hand! He put his right hand in between and freed her odhani but in the process his fingers brushed her belly which was exposed cause of the odhani flying astray as it was stuck and felt her shudder!" Good Lord!" Another time another place ASR did not know what he would have done but at that moment he just wanted to grab the lady and taste her luscious lips but not before pulling off her veil to reveal her eyes. Arnav held Khushi with both his hands and put her away! That was hard as he suddenly felt the urge to pull her back into his arms as she felt just right ther! "Wait! was she also reluctant to leave the sanctuary of his arms? or was he imagining it?"
"Ab Chalein?",Paayals words broke the spell and Both Khushi and Arnav moved apart simultaneously. Khushi moved slowly away and turned to go half expecting some other glitch while Arnav just looked on incredulously as his beautiful bride's anklets echoed in the suddenly silent pool side.It spread melancholy. He felt as if his life was fading away from him...
"Whats wrong with him he is arnav singh raizada who cared two hoots about others!"As she moved away Khushi partly turned to her left and slowed for a second before turning back and walking away as if trying to say thank you and Arnav just stood looking at the sight for a second before he just left all of them at the pool side and went towards the room allocated for him.
He went in banged the door shut! "Is he insane! what's wrong with him? He was just about to loose it to that slip of a girl out there! How could he?"
He landed a few hours back in India and drove directly to Ranpur finishing all his work pending cause of his trip to singapore.Aman and a cousin of Khushi, Viraj was there to receive him at the Delhi airport, although he despised the tradition. He was bulldozed by Shashi ji who pleaded "let us perform the wedding in our way the rest anyway is all according to you."
As the car made its way to the rustic land he could not but help thinking about how much has happened within the past two weeks! Whatever it was he was now on a mission and it has to be accomplished at any cost. HE cannot back down now as the stage is set. "Di! How much more you have to endure? Won't that god you pray to so fervently ever have any mercy on you. Every time at every turn, you are denied. But I am there to protect and take care of you! I shall do anything for you and yes! Here i am just doing that!"..." sir, there won't be any meetings for two days as you instructed...," the voice of Aman Mathur his right hand man brought him back to the present. "Yep" he quipped. " Aman Di naani and the rest are settled?" He enquired. "Yes sir no issues there" Aman replied.
They soon reached Ranpur and weaved through the crowded streets to the Sheesh Mahal which stood proudly on the Ranaagadh named after Khushi's ancestors. ASR was received in the traditional way and the Jethwas after a splendid welcome ushered him into the eastern haveli which was fitted with modern amenities and is mostly used to entertain the business guests from India and abroad.
"Chote! Aap aagaye! Shukar hai! hum tho yahi soch rahe they ki Amanji ko phere lene padenge aapki jagah mein", Anjali teased him. "No di I promised you i shall go through all the rituals and i will! My work delayed me but here i am!" He gave her a quick hug and nodded at the others.
He then proceeded to his room Lord Governor ki koti! What funny names! He was amused by each and every room and corrider having a name and some story behind it. As he stepped in he found a pool on the far side! Khushi's Cousin who was still lingering to make him comfortable saw Arnav gazing at the reflection of the afternoon sun in the water and explained," Jijaaji, This was a natural pool turned man made for the then governor of this province Lord williams. If you see yonder you will see that this part of the Mahal is made out of the rock from the hillock leaving the rest of the hill untouched. A mountain stream trickles down to form a pool just where the pool is right now but when the lord was supposed to stay here the then rana... Rana VishwaManohar singhji got a pool constructed in such a way that this could be filled and emptied using levers. As you know water is scarce in this part of the world but Vaishali the stream always keeps the pool from being empty.Ranaji got the pool bed embedded with mirrors so that during nights when they lit the lanterns the pool became a replica of the sky with the mirrors appearing like stars for people afar downtown or at Sheesh Mahal. It Is thats why named Taarasarovar which is now pronounced as taaravar! ASR smirked! Here goes one more story one more name!
"Accha? tell me does your cousin also have a story behind her name?' He could not help but tease the young man trying so hard to please him. "Hanji! Haitho! When jiji was born she brought happiness to one and all. The entire town was supposed to be wiped out cause of some mysterious viral fever but the day on which she was born a vaccination was developed by the local doctors and the town was protected. The doctor who cracked it was Buajis husband and he named her Khushi the one 'who brought happiness'... further inspite of loosing her parents she always was a source of happiness at Sheesh Mahal he added proudly!"" oops! There it goes! Round one to Khushi ASR thought".
Viraj left after Arnav assured him he was comfortable with the arrangements. He went for a quick bath and pulled over a white cotton shirt owing to the heat ... thanking Aman who was thoughtful to add this to his stuff from Shantivan his home.
After checking on his mail he sauntered towards the pool fascinated by it and sat on the edge lost in his thoughts...Today was his wedding! A self professed die hard bachelor! who vowed never to get married after he has seen how hollow the institution is getting married to a woman who he has never seen till date. The pictures googled out by Aman were bad .Only two one from some private party and the other when she got some award at Mumbai... god knows for what may be college or something. Someone has removed all traces of khushi! from the google.That was very strange. And there was'nt any time to trace through private investigators and anyways he knew what he had to and was busy tracing more important stuff!
The chatter of birds brought him back to gaze at the the pool which was exquisite with a tiled bed which was embedded with tiny mirrors in a pattern that was a replica of Sheesh Mahal! Fascinating! he thought! The afternoon was balmy and still with no sign of even a slight breeze and then he sensed it! A strong presence! "What the! whats wrong with him? He never had such a feeling of awareness! as if someone ...someone was there!"He saw it...in the pool! The reflection... he was not sure of whom but it was moving towards him and as it came closer, he realised it was a lady and in a veil! A slight breeze started to blow from the western end and the veil shifted showing him a glimpse of the sharp nose and a set of perfectly shaped lips but hazy as it was in water now rippling a little cause of the breeze. Arnav was captivated by the beauty of the sight!And then it struck him that the reflection was too big and as he turned he saw that the lady was walking on to the low roof and before he knew he was running towards her muttering "Are you..."and could not complete as he was just in time to catch when she landed into his arms calling out loud "Hey Devi mayya !!!"
Joined: 02 November 2012
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