Joined: 05 December 2011
Awesome FF! Right now I feel like punching Arnav!!
Joined: 29 June 2010
Joined: 30 January 2008
Joined: 29 March 2012
For the second time in the past two days, Arnav Singh Raizada was rendered completely speechless. He could only stare in shock and disbelief as Payal continued to glare at him, her face transformed in her anger. Payal, who had never before raised her voice in his presence; who only addressed him as Arnavji in her soft, modulated tone; who looked at a point somewhere near his shoulder when talking to him, unable to meet his eyes; who had always respected him and he suspected, even feared him; was now literally shaking her finger at him, admonishing him, a look of absolute and utter disgust in her eyes.
Akash knew better than to approach the woman before him. This was not his sweet, serene, humble wife; this was an unfamiliar person altogether. He nevertheless made an attempt to salvage the situation, which was already spiraling far beyond his control. He stepped forward, not knowing what he was going to do. Maybe he would have tried to talk to her, to calm her down, maybe even forcibly led her away from there, but he never got the chance. He had taken one step towards Payal, when she looked at him, her eyes blazing with a fervor he had never before seen in them. It was as if his brother had unleashed an alternative version of his wife, one whom he did not recognize, but could respect. This Payal was stronger; she did not need his support, or his advice. She was entirely in her element and the warning in her eyes halted him in his tracks. Akash always knew when to step aside. As he gazed at Payal, he recognized the emotion, though the expression was unfamiliar on his wife's face. It was a unique combination of anger, hate, recrimination, and sorrow. It was the same emotion his Bhai had been carrying around in his heart for thirteen years. It was pain.
As Payal advanced towards him, Arnav retreated. Another first for him. The week had been full of firsts. His instincts screamed at him to run, but Arnav Singh Raizada was nothing if not prideful. And his ego would not let him back away and so he stood his ground, even as his sister-in-law stalked towards him, a murderous glint in her usually gentle eyes.
"How dare you? How dare you accuse my sister of such heinous acts? I thought you were clever, perceptive enough to see the truth. But I was wrong. You know nothing."
Khushi watched the scene unfold before her eyes, too astonished to do anything. But when Payal began to speak, she knew she had to stop her before it was too late.
"Jiji, stop. There's no need for this. Please. Please stop."
"No Khushi. I've kept silent long enough. I thought he knew the truth. Evidently, I was wrong. So wrong. And my misjudgment and silence have ruined your life. No. I promised myself I would protect you. But it seems as though you have been the one protecting me. You married this monster for me, didn't you? Don't deny it. I can see everything clearly now. I should have known. I should have realized. But I convinced myself that you were in love, that you were happy. It was the only way I could live with myself. But now I see I was just in denial. I'm sorry Khushi. I know I can't ever make up for what I did, but I won't allow you to live like this any longer. Please Khushi. Don't stop me."
Khushi kept silent. She knew her sister would not listen to her now. And perhaps it was better for the truth to come out. Maybe, just maybe, Arnavji will believe Jiji.
Payal turned to Arnav, and he kept silent too, albeit for an entirely different reason. He was curious. What truth was Payal referring to? He would find out soon enough. He would finally have his answers.
"You accused my Khushi of what? Ensnaring Shyam, that filthy, pathetic excuse of a human being? You don't know. You don't know that he came to our house, in the guise of a paying guest. You don't know how he portrayed himself as kind, warm, and loving. We didn't know he was married, that he had married Anjali Di. We didn't realize that until Khushi had already gotten engaged to him. As soon as we knew, Khushi broke it off with him. She had never really loved him. She never wanted to marry him. She had only agreed because Buaji had insisted. It was almost as if she knew. As if she had seen what we had all failed to. It was almost as if Khushi had sensed that Shyam was not the amiable man we all thought we knew. Khushi sensed that there was another side to him, a far more sinister side. But she ignored those instincts. And she paid the price. It was at Khushi's request that we kept silent. She didn't want to ruin Di's life. She thought Shyam would change, that he would remain faithful to Di. Khushi always did think the best of people. But she was wrong. Shyam didn't change. He kept coming back, begging Khushi to run away with him. Khushi was going to tell you then. But at that moment, she found out Di was pregnant. How could she tell you the truth after that? Di would have been shattered. And so we kept silent. I realize now, what a mistake I made. I should have told you all of this long ago. I thought you loved her. I thought you would see the purity that is Khushi, the innocence. I was wrong." Payal shook her head, unable to continue anymore. "I'm sorry Khushi."
So Khushi was innocent. She didn't know Shyam was married. He had been so wrong. What had he done? But then he remembered that night, on the terrace, and Khushi's words, the words she had screamed at Shyam.
"If you love me so much, then why don't you leave your wife? Divorce Anjali Di!"
He was not wrong. Arnav Singh Raizada was never wrong. The sneer returned to his face, and he arrogantly turned back to face Payal.
Khushi saw the proud tilt of his chin, the haughty expression on his handsome face. And she knew. He did not believe Payal. And the tiny ray of hope was smothered in a blanket of darkness. A small smile adorned her face, as she mocked her own stupidity and scorned her innocence. She laughed at her belief that Arnav would eventually change. She always had thought the best of people. She should have known that he would never admit he was wrong. His pride in himself had always been stronger than his love for her.
"Wow. I have to say I'm impressed, Payal. Nice story. Very clever. You almost had me convinced for a moment there. But of course you would support Khushi. After all, you are her sister."
Payal could only stare at Arnav. She had not seen this coming. This denial. But before she could retort, another person spoke.
"You never cease to amaze me Nannav." NK had silently slipped in during Payal's confession, unnoticed by the others. But as he spoke now, he had the attention of every single person in that room.
"I always knew love was blind. And I thought it was your love for Di that was blinding you to the truth. But I realize now that it is your love for yourself, your ego, which will not allow you to see the truth. You will always look for a loophole, some explanation so you can continue to believe you are right. But the truth will come out one day Nannav and even you will not be able to deny it then. And when that day comes Nannav, no one will hate you more than yourself."
After delivering that blow, NK walked out, slowly followed by Khushi and Payal, who had her arms around her sister, in a futile attempt to comfort her. The two brothers remained in the room and Arnav glanced at Akash, expecting him to apologize for his wife's audacity. But the disappointment in Akash's eyes left him reeling. As he watched his brother walk away from him too, the brother who had always stood by him, who had always supported him in his every decision, Arnav felt truly alone. More alone than he had ever felt in his life. He almost went after his family then, but was stopped again by his conviction that he was right. He was once again stopped by that invisible barrier, the barrier which had always alienated him from the warmth of love, of trust.
*THIS WORK IS OF MY OWN CREATION. PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE.*
Joined: 29 January 2012
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