Turning to face
Aman, Arnav spoke slowly and calmly, 'I want a press conference within the
hour. Get Nandini onto it and make it happen,' he said in a low and very cold
Aman, calm before the storm. Bad sign.
Aman opened his
mouth to say something and then promptly decided against it after one look at
ASR's expression so he simply nodded and walked out leaving Khushi and Arnav
alone in the office.
at the look in Arnav's eyes. She'd never seen him so angry in all the time
she'd known him. Khushi bit her lip as she waited for him to say what was on
his mind. She knew this wouldn't be pretty, she could tell by the way his chest
heaved and his nostrils kept flaring that he was trying to regain come
emotional control, but could also tell it wasn't working; he was radiating pure
rage. Momentarily afraid, Khushi stepped back slightly as Arnav ran a hand
through his hair as his jaw clenched even further.
From the corner
of his eye, Arnav noticed Khushi moving away from him. Her dupatta was enduring
its regular torture between her fingers giving him a sure signal of her nervous
state of mind. He knew that his rage would probably have frightened her but
right now he was in no position to reassure her. Taking a deep breath he turned
back to face his wife, 'Khushi are you ok?' he asked quietly. She nodded.
'Are you ok
Arnav?' Khushi asked quietly knowing that this incident would have had more of
an impact on him than her. She watched him closely and in less than a
heartbeat, his expression changed. Something dark flashed through his eyes as
he swallowed and composed himself. He traced her features with his eyes and he
knew that she was quite shaken up but was trying to hold it together. 'Khushi,
I need to go sort this out. I'll see you after the press conference,' he said
in a clinically calm voice and then turned to leave the room and then he heard
into her chair as she watched her husband leave her office. Her heart was
pounding hard and fast, not just because of what had happened, but more so
because of Arnav's reaction. Devi Maiya, she prayed, protect us, she prayed
As directed by,
actually no, as ordered by Aman, Nandini had assembled members of the
press in the AR Corp foyer in less than one hour. It hadn't been a particularly
difficult task; when ASR spoke the world listened and now given his recent and
secretive wedding, there was massive interest from all quarters of the society
hence media representation from economic, social and general news media.
in the AR boardroom was deadly quiet. It was clear from the faces of the people
present including all the senior AR executives, Akash, Aman and Nandini that
Arnav's reaction to the intrusion was not to be taken lightly; the man himself
was livid with what had just happened and had already initiated a full security
review including an investigation into how an unauthorised person managed to
gain entry into the executive floor of AR Corp without any detection. Khushi sighed as she sent up a prayer to Devi
Maiya for she had never seen Arnav like this and she was frankly petrified of
his anger. She gulped as she saw her husband appear on the screen. Khushi had
to admit that he looked quite daunting on screen, his commanding profile made
him look incredibly fierce. At last he raised his head towards the camera and
she took in the uncompromising set of his mouth and the stern expression that
drew his eyebrows together and fire glinting in his eyes. Khushi stared into
his eyes; he was fierce and possessive... dangerously livid is what he
was Khushi realised and she earnestly began praying to her Devi Maiya.
didn't have to be silenced; Arnav Singh Raizada's entry into the room was
enough of a signal that this press conference was under way. Pin drop silence
was broken by the sound of his expensive Italian loafers on the wooden floor.
Men and women couldn't help but stare as he made his way to the podium; his
well-tailored suit emphasized the animal strength and grace of his body. The
aura of power as he moved forward was unmistakable and one got the sense that
that this man was fearless. Nevertheless they were all very curious as it
was very unusual for Arnav Singh Raizada to face the press himself; this was a
task normally reserved for his right-hand man Aman Bansal or the company media
liaison manager. As Arnav took his position behind the lectern the onlookers
both in front of him and those watching him on screen waited with bated breath.
waste time with any preliminaries and launched straight into what he saw as the
reason for the press briefing; anger, hurt and a sense of betraying his wife -
the woman he swore to protect from any harm. Time to correct his
mistake. Taking a deep breath, not to calm his nerves but more so to contain
his anger, Arnav Singh Raizada began speaking in an even and controlled voice.
morning a media briefing was issued by my wife and I to announce our wedding
had taken place. This was accompanied by statement that we are both private
people and request from both of us asking that our privacy is respected was
also made.' Arnav paused as he looked
around the room before continuing. 'I am therefore very disappointed to have to
be standing here only hours after that statement was made to announce that a member
of the press services entered this building without permission or invitation
and then proceeded to invade the space that my wife was working in at that
time, why, to get what he proudly announced was an exclusive shot of her with a
starting bid of 1 crore rupees.' Arnav paused to compose himself as the
overwhelming sense of rage re-emerged and began boiling inside of him as he
fought the urge to scream at the people sitting in front of him and just as he
prepared to continue, a female voice interjected.
from the Mid Morning Times Mr Raizada. Surely you must be aware of the sense of
curiosity around your announcement Mr Raizada; I mean you were one of India's
most eligible men up until yesterday and then out of the blue you announce that
you are married to a mysterious woman that no one has seen. Isn't it natural
that people will want to see the woman who managed to snare you Mr Raizada? You
may be a businessman Mr Raizada but you are a public figure holding somewhat of
a celebrity status and the public is interested in you - we are just providing
a service in public interest,' the young, overconfident journalist said with a
smirk on her face.
Arnav's hands clenched
into fists behind the lectern as he listened to the question from the woman
seated in front of him. Her voice was calm, but Arnav caught the faint note of sarcasm
in her tone as she looked fearlessly at him.
as Arnav's dark eyes flashed and narrowed as a muscle in his jaw twitched. Oh
Oh Devi Maiya please doesn't let him do anything silly, she prayed furiously as
she shut her eyes.
Kapoor's breath caught as the pair of cold brown eyes locked with hers; it was
like staring directly at a tiger at point blank distance. A fake sense of
bravado stiffened her spine as she tried to convince herself that she was
strong and that she was doing this because she was a journalist speaking on
behalf of the public as she leaned back and folded her arms across her chest as
she met Arnav Singh Raizada's gaze despite the powerful force he exuded. She didn't
manage to hold that stance for very long as inevitably Arnav Singh Raizada's daunting
gaze eventually overwhelmed her and she had to look away; now she understood
why the man was considered to be such an extraordinarily formidable force in
the business arena. When she eventually looked up, Ms Kapoor encountered the
same formidable gaze but there was a half smile on Mr Raizada's face.
his anger for a second, Arnav had to give the young woman points for being
brave enough to ask her question. The problem for her and her peers now was the
Arnav Singh Raizada was going to set them straight with a few opinions of his
down at the lectern where his hands rested and closed his eyes for a split second
- long enough for Khushi to flash before his eyes. His own voice resonated in
promise you that I will always protect you to the best of my ability.' He had promised
to protect her and now it was time to put words into action.
He took a deep
breath, his voice calm as he spoke, 'Ms Kapoor you raise some interesting
points. You say that there is natural sense of public curiosity in my changed
martial status and all that you are doing is serving a public interest. To this
I will say that you as the press createthat curiosity in the public by
gathering every bit of gossip that you can lay your hands on. You then proceed
to publish whatever takes your fancy thereby directly or indirectly manufacturing
intrusion in the lives of so called 'famous' people by fuelling a flame and
then blaming public interest as a means for justification of this intrusion.'
Arnav paused for breath as he continued to lay out his argument, 'It has been
argued that I am a public personality. To me this statement implies that as a
'public figure' it is assumed that I have waived my rights to privacy. To an
extent this is partially true. The press, particularly the so called 'society
pages and page 3 columns' have hounded me for years often choosing to publish
whatever pictorial or written content that they consider is news without
seeking any sort of permission or clarification from me. As you will see from
the number of press retractions requested by AR Corp, I tend to ignore this
sort of 'news.' Arnav looked around the room as his gaze hardened, 'I can now
see that my tolerance of the press has been misconstrued as me completely
waiving my rights to privacy and certain sections of the press have decided
that all aspects of my life are fair game.' Arnav's voice dropped in pitch,
'let me assure you that while I may tolerate publication of news in relation to
myself, I will not tolerate any such behaviour in relation to my wife. Being
married to me does not make her a public figure and certainly does not qualify
her to be subjected to what I and my legal team regard as a severe breach of
privacy. I am therefore strongly urging members of the media to take a long and
hard look at their behaviour and enforce standards of ethics and acceptability
in their news gathering practises and respect the rights and freedoms of
private individuals.' Arnav paused for a moment, 'I will leave you to consider
my words but before I do that, Mr Sorabjee here who heads my legal team will be
speaking to you in relation to the arrangements that have been put in place
after today's incident. I trust I have communicated my message to you. If not,
then the legal implications of breaching my family's privacy will certainly
clarify the message,' he said in a quiet voice which carried a very real and
serious warning. Ms Kapoor and a number of her colleagues shifted uncomfortably
in their seats as the voice of the man who spoke carried a distinctive tone
warning of danger ahead; mess with Arnav Singh Raizada at your own peril.
even realise that she had been holding her breath until Arnav disappeared from
the screen and the broadcast returned to a very agitated discussion around
famous people bullying the press. Her gaze was drawn to the door as the man of
the moment walked into the boardroom with his ever present sense of confidence.
Khushi looked around the room and it was clear from the faces of those around
them that Arnav Singh Raizada had earned himself a new level of respect from
his colleagues and her own heart swelled with pride as she watched members of
the Board shake his hand while Akash hugged him. As Arnav walked towards the conference
table, he raised his head and smiled at Khushi as his eyes locked with hers. The powerful emotions in his eyes, the love
there, was so bright it nearly brought her to tears as she remembered his
promise to her. A promise that he had
fulfilled today. The wide oval table separated them as the room slowly emptied
until only Khushi and Arnav remained in the room.
as Arnav unfastened the buttons on his jacket and tossed it on the chair and
then began walking towards her. Even though he was her husband now, that didn't
stop the butterflies from playing an impromtu game of football in her tummy and
she unconsciously stepped backwards as he stepped forward. The difference this
time was instead of getting scared, she found herself filled with anticipation,
a feeling that seemed to arise whenever he was around her. Khushi was
momentarily distracted by the mention of his name on TV and then she heard
someone suggest that Arnav Singh Raizada's decision to take on the media could
have a negative consequence on AR Corp's reputation and instantly Khushi came
crashing back to reality; what if they were right? What if AR Corp or Arnav
suffered because of her? Khushi gulped as she quickly averted her gaze. Arnav
detected a change in Khushi's emotions in a heartbeat. He came to a stop in
front of her and took her hand in his as he looked into her turbulent brown
eyes. Still holding her hand, Arnav leaned close and brushed his lips against
her cheek. His tenderness undid her and the words came rushing out. 'Arnav,
they're saying that what you just said will have an impact...a negative impact
on you and AR, maybe you shouldn't have called the conference,' she said
hesitantly as she looked at the buttons on his chest. Arnav inhaled and
exhaled. He tipped her chin up so that she would have to meet his gaze.
'Khushi, I made a promise to protect you and I wasn't about to break that
promise in the first week of our marriage. You are and will always be my first
priority. I will do whatever it takes to make sure no harm comes to you,' he
said in a soft voice. 'Second, had this incident happened with anyone, family
or otherwise, inside AR Corp or at home, I would have done the exact same
thing. Khushi I'm not saying this to make you feel better - it's the truth. I
strongly believe what I said out there; the media needs to take a long hard
look at its behaviour and its standards for judging what is acceptable. I think
if more so called famous people took a stronger stand and demanded accountability,
then we'd have less of this renegade paparazzi culture,' he said with a slight
sigh as he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
She couldn't speak because of the tears filling her eyes. This man, her husband,
made her feel like the most precious thing in the universe with the intensity
of his love and care for her. She looked up at him through her tears, 'you know
you are my favourite person Arnav Singh Raizada,' she said as she gave him a
watery smile. She smiled as she spoke, making Arnav aware of her mouth. He
liked that she teased him, probably because no one else had the guts to try it.
He relaxed and a full smile appeared on
his face. His eyes crinkled at the corners, his expression calmed. His face was
instantly transformed from unreadable and stern to approachable and handsome.
'I'm glad to hear that Khushi - I'd be worried if my wife had another favourite
man barely three days after our wedding,' he said as his smile broadened.
Somewhere deep inside, Khushi's stomach tightened, but this time it had nothing
to do with fear or apprehension and everything to do with the man. She felt a
little tingly and light-headed as she took in that heart stopping smile.
to him, Khushi placed her hands on his strong forearms. She then moved one hand
to his head where she ran her fingers through his silky, dark hair. Her other
hand moved to his back where she felt the thick strength of his muscles. She then
braced herself on either side of his shoulders, leaned up and pressed her mouth
to his. It was an innocent kiss. Then she moved slightly and Arnav felt a jolt
of fire burn through him as the images of their wedding night raced through his
mind. Need and hunger consumed him until he could only think that she must not
stop kissing him. Her lips were warm and soft and tempted him. Khushi continued
the kiss, pressing lightly, teasing. Arnav groaned as he undid her hair clip
and sank both hands into her thick black hair as he held her steady and deepen
the kiss. He claimed her with a touch filled with yearning. Heat poured through
her. She wrapped her arms around his neck, both to touch him and to keep him
close. Arnav tilted his head, touching her lower lip with his tongue. She parted
immediately desperately wanting to taste him. Khushi kissed him deeply, their
breath mingling. She wanted her husband. No, she cravedher husband. As
her hands glided over his broad back, Arnav broke the kiss and pulled back.
'Khushi, we have to stop,' he said with a groan. Khushi smiled, 'Arnav, I'm not
sure if you remember this, but we are married now...you can stop saying stop,'
she said with a cheeky smile. Arnav stared at Khushi for a split second before
his trademark half smile appeared as he lowered his head coming to a stop as
his lips brushed her ear, 'Khushi, I think tonight it's going to be you telling
me to stop,' he whispered huskily before planting a kiss on her jaw and then
pulling back to see her reaction. He wasn't disappointed - Khushi still blushed...
even though she was Mrs Raizada now.
strong encouragement to leave AR Corp early, both Khushi and Arnav had both put
in a whole day's work and were on the way back to Shantivan in the helicopter
with him. Akash couldn't help but glance at his brother and new sister-in-law
who sat hand in hand opposite him. They were clearly deeply smitten with each
other. Not smitten, in love, whispered a little voice in his head. 'I
wonder if we'll ever find anyone to be smitten with?' wondered the same voice
and in an instance Payal Kumari Gupta flashed infront of his eyes. Akash
practically jumped as he shook his head in disbelief - where had that come from
he wondered? Reddening, he stole a
glance at his co-passengers. He shouldn't have been worried because the love
birds clearly only had eyes for each other only he decided with a shy smile.
Khushi walked ahead of Akash as they entered Shantivan. Deviyaani Raizada was
waiting in the entrance for them. She didn't waste any time as she walked
towards them. This was absolutely ridiculous and both Arnav and Khushi would be
getting a piece of her mind today she thought with determination as she came to
a stop in front of the newly-weds.
Before I say anything else, 2 things:
Yes I still exist on planet earth and I am still interested in writing Masterclass. So everyone panicking - relax and enjoy the ride because its still continuing.
Second, I hear all your pleas. I will try to update more frequently - once a week at least.
In the meantime, I hope this chapter is enjoyed and in advance, yes I know, I ended on a cliff hanger... old habits die hard I guess
Edited by warriorprincess - 15 March 2013 at 2:17am