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Dil Jaanta Hai - Thread 2: Ch 21 (Pg 134) (Page 44)

kdsubs IF-Dazzler
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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 2:27pm | IP Logged
Chapter - 14 B

Yash had called a couple of days later, asking if they could meet. "Artiji, this is such an important decision of our lives. I am not comfortable making a decision without meeting you at least." He had waited for her to say something, but when she hadn't, he had continued in a slightly doubtful voice, "Artiji? Do you agree? Will it be alright for us to meet once?"

 

The thoughts raging through her mind barely gave her a chance to breathe - she felt she was running, running as fast as she could, but still losing. Losing to whom or what though she did not know. And that thought had prevented her from saying an outright no. She owed it to herself to at least find out. So reluctantly, hesitantly, she had agreed to meet.

 

When she opened the door of her barsaati to find Ansh in Yash's arms, she immediately assumed the worst. Even without letting them in, she stood with her arms crossed, glaring at Yash. "So", she said in icy tones, "You decided to bring Ansh to influence my decision".

 

Surprise flickered across his face, followed almost immediately with chagrin. "Influence your decision? No Artiji. I brought Ansh because we are a package deal. If you have a problem with that, then this was a mistake and I will leave."

 

Feeling embarrassed now for jumping to conclusions, she tried to salvage the situation. "I am sorry. Please, come in."

 

He hesitated a moment but then seeing the sincerity in her eyes, came into the room. He kept a tight hold on Ansh however, who was still napping after his early morning flight.

 

"Please Yashji, sit down. Or at least put Ansh down." As Yash stood there without moving, Arti added softly, "Please."

 

"Why did you think...?" Yash petered off as he saw her flush.

 

She pushed her bangs out of her eyes, clearly embarrassed now. "Its just that everyone wants us to get married. They say they are not pressurizing but the question is always there in any conversation. And Vidhi came to meet me a few days ago, and then you called and then came here with Ansh and I just thought..."

 

"You just thought I had joined the bandwagon." Yash relaxed and gently placed Ansh down on the sofa. Arti watched as he pulled out a soft quilt from the bag he had been carrying and tucked it around his son.

 

Straightening up he looked her in the eye and said, "I did not know Bhabhi had come to meet you. What did she want? Force you to agree to marry me?" He had not expected that from his Bhabhi - he thought she knew him better. Yash felt a sharp sting of disappointment.

 

Arti said, "She wanted me to at least consider a re-marriage". He looked at her sharply, suddenly aware of the implied reason - she must have said no! He had never even considered that. How...arrogant of him, how typically male!

 

"Oh", was the only response he gave.

 

An awkward silence descended between them, as Yash stood looking down at his son, while Arti stood on the side, nervously twisting the edge of her dupatta between her fingers. After a few moments, more to break the silence, she asked, "Would you like some tea?"

 

He looked up at that. "Umm... do you have coffee?" As she shook her head he said, "Ok, tea then. Thank you."

 

She turned away to the kitchen, thankful to have something to do. As she filled the pan with water and set it on the gas, she crinkled her nose, Coffee? Eeeyuckk. How could anyone drink such a bitter drink? Huh. They did not even share the same taste in what they liked to drink.

 

There was no sound from the front of the room as Arti made the tea. She was curious what he was up to, but did not give in to her impulse to peek.

 

He was up to nothing more than taking a good look around the room.  He saw a tastefully decorated room, with simple rattan furniture, decorated with embroidered sofa cushions and woven throws. There were some sketches on the walls, mostly of scenery interspersed with a couple of portraits. He recognized one of them as Vidhi's as a young girl, laughing at something. The sketches were charming. But the coup-de-grace was an oil painting. He went closer to it and read the signature - a simple, elegantly drawn "Arti" painted so as to nearly blend into the painting, unless you looked closer and then it stood out in bold calligraphic letters.

 

As Arti came into the room carrying the tea-tray, Yash turned around from the painting, "The Flying Phoenix? Is this the one you painted with Shiraz?" At her nod, he added, coming back to the sofa and picking up one mug, "He told me about it - said you were very talented but he had to force you to make this into an oil, rather than a sketch."

 

Arti smiled, "Shiraz Sir is very kind. But oils are not my specialty - I haven't done too many of them. He was very insistent and helped me tremendously, I couldn't have done this one without him."

 

Yash smiled to himself at her modesty. The story Shiraz had told him was quite different - the only "help" he had provided being the insistence to make this as an oil painting. She had done the rest.

 

The brief exchange had broken the initial ice and the two settled down with their teas. After the first sip, Yash said appreciatively, "This chai is really good."

 

Arti grinned, "Good enough to convert you?"

 

Yash laughed out loud, "That will take some doing. But I may consider it if the chai is this good."

 

Just then Ansh woke up and wailed. Immediately putting his mug down, Yash picked up the child. Placing him on his shoulder, he patted the child, trying to calm him down.

 

"Is he hungry?" Arti asked softly. At Yash's nod, she asked further, "Does he drink regular milk? Should I warm some for him?" When Yash nodded a yes again, Arti went into the kitchen and heated up some milk. She brought it back in a cup and mouthed at Yash Bottle? He pointed to the bag from which he had pulled out the quilt and Arti squatted down to search through it.

 

Finding a bottle, she poured the milk into it and then tested the temperature, dropping a few milk drops on her wrists. It seemed ok so she handed the bottle to Yash.  As he fed Ansh, she went back into the kitchen and finished packing the picnic lunch.

 

When she came back into the room, Ansh was just finishing his milk. He saw her and broke into a wide smile. Pushing the bottle away, he burped and then pointed to Yash and said, "Papa", just as if he were introducing Yash to Arti.

 

Arti chuckled, "I know he is your Papa, mere Chote Nawab. Now hurry up and finish your milk, we have a busy day."

 

Ansh gurgled happily as Yash put the bottle back into his mouth. Still smiling Arti looked at Yash and asked, "So he is talking now? He wasn't last month."

 

Yash grinned, "Naah. All he can say is 'Papa'".

 

Arti laughed, "Well, he is a smart one, isn't he. Knows exactly what he should say." Not noticing the shadow that seemed to play across Yash's face, she picked up the tea things and went back to the kitchen.

 

 

The three went to the Train Museum - a one-of-a-kind museum in New Delhi which had train carriages from as far back as the 19th century on display. There were even some train rides that children could go on. Ansh was delighted - he had never ridden a train, his limited travel experiences being confined to flights. And these train-rides were charming, in open carriages where children were hopping and playing, shouting across the carriages at each other.

 

They had the picnic lunch at the museum garden and then started on their way back. Yash and Arti had split the day's planning. The train museum and picnic had been Arti's idea. The rest was Yash's and he was determined to, putting it bluntly, test Arti as a mother.

 

As they entered the taxi, he told the driver, "Sarojini Market". At Arti's raised eyebrows he said, "I need to buy some fabric and also some gifts for Payal." Arti nodded and went back to playing with Ansh. She had not noticed when she had taken the baby from Yash's arms. In fact, she had carried or held him throughout the morning, since they had left her house. She was the one who had taken him on the train ride, Yash only riding along as an after-thought. She had fed him lunch, changed his diapers, distracted him when he started getting cranky and finally now in the taxi, she patted him to sleep as he snuggled onto her lap, burrowing inside her warm coat.

 

While she had not noticed, Yash had.... and whatever he had seen till now had been positive. But the shopping would be the real test. Ansh hated shops.

 

It being a weekend, Sarojini Market was especially crowded. It seemed to Arti that everywhere they went, the crowds seemed to rush in on them. She clutched Ansh to herself, holding him tight, trying to keep Yash in her view as she followed him through the crowds. Ansh whined. The constant jolting and pushing unnerved him and finally he let out a loud wail. Some of the people turned to look at them, but no one offered any help.

 

By now, Arti was getting tired. Ansh was heavier now, and the constant pushing and shoving was not to her taste either. As he started crying she looked around frantically for Yash. But he was nowhere in sight...

 

Yash felt like a cad as he stood under a shop's awning just out of Arti's peripheral vision. If she turned, she would see him. But he banked on her being too busy with Ansh to search for him. And as he expected, after one frantic look all around, Arti just held Ansh closer and started to whisper to him as she rubbed his back. After a few moments, Ansh looked up at her and gulped. She smiled and continued whispering. He finally gave her a small smile and then hid his face in the crook of her neck.

 

When Ansh seemed to have quieted down, he went back to them and with a bland innocent look said, "You must be tired Artiji. Let me hold Ansh".

 

Arti had tied her long hair into a ponytail that morning, and sometime during the day had bought a gajra from a vendor, which she had draped around her ponytail. Unknown to her, while sleeping, Ansh had caught his hands in her hair and had unwittingly clasped part of her ponytail tightly in his baby fingers. When Arti tried to hand the baby over to his father she felt the fierce tug on her hair. Her eyes filling with tears of pain, she looked at Yash helplessly.

 

Unwilling - the act seemed too intimate - Yash was left with no choice but to extract her hair from his son's clutches. As he opened his baby's fingers to get her hair free, he got a whiff of the scent of jasmines and couldn't help but feel the silky softness of the strands. Quickly he pulled his hand away, stepping back abruptly right onto someone's toes.

 

"Hey! Dekh nahi sakta kya! Andha hai?" (Can't you see what you are doing? Are you blind?) the person exclaimed angrily as he glared at Yash and stomped off. Looking sheepish, Yash held out his arms and gratefully Arti gave him the now half-awake baby.

 

They went to some shops and Arti again had to hold Ansh as Yash selected the fabrics and placed orders with the store-keepers. He didn't really need the fabrics, but he did uncover some unusual selections that would add to their options for drapery and other coverings.

 

His family had told him how marvelous Arti was with Ansh. But Yash had never seen her with him, except on that one occasion at the hotel when she put an already sleepy baby to sleep. Partly, this meeting had been for him to gauge her motherly feelings for Ansh, and so far he had been favourably impressed with Arti's handling of his son.

 

Arti showed her real mettle when she went with him to buy gifts though. Holding Ansh with one hand, she selected gifts with the other, turning to Ansh often as-if to ask his opinion. As she engaged his attention, Ansh stopped being cranky and actually seemed to answer Arti, pointing to one thing or the other. Yash had never seen his baby actually enjoy shopping!

 

Yash and Ansh had a late night flight back to Bhopal, but they did need to check in by 10pm. After the long and tiring shopping expedition, they had dinner at a nearby restaurant. By then Ansh was exhausted, but Arti managed to feed him some naan with raita. Yash was grateful - a hungry Ansh would have been a terrible ordeal on the flight.

 

As the baby fell asleep, Yash and Arti finally had some time to talk. Given the short time on hand, Yash cut to the chase, "Artiji. I wanted to let you know my thoughts and expectations."

 

Arti looked at him and nodded. Then avoiding any eye contact, she went back to eating as she listened to what he had to say.

 

"Artiji. If I do marry again, it will only be for Ansh. I loved Arpita, I still love her. I don't know if I can ever give her place to any one else in my life... I don't want you to have any misconceptions Artiji. I like you as a friend, but if we marry, I don't know if I can ever be anything more than a friend and Ansh's father to you."

 

Arti sighed inwardly in relief. Then putting the spoon down gently she finally looked him in the eye again and said, "Yashji, I can't tell you how relieved I am. I am afraid, I can't be anything more than a friend either."

 

As Yash smiled in understanding, she continued, "But I do have responsibilities and obligations Yashji. I cannot give them up. I have Ma and Bauji - I am the only family they have left. And I also have my children at the orphanage. And my job."

 

Yash nodded. "Of course. Arpita's parents and sister are still my responsibility, and so they will remain. Your Ma and Bauji would become our responsibility too Artiji, we need to take care of them."

 

"They live in Indore Yashji" Arti said, leaving unsaid her implication that it would be difficult to take care of them from a distance.

 

"I doubt your Bauji would leave his business and move to Bhopal... Artiji, I can only assure you that I will never prevent you from doing what you need to for your parents, that I will always support you in looking after them."

 

Arti mulled over that. She did not have a solution for the distance herself, how could she expect him to come up with one at a moment's notice? But at least he acknowledged her need to support them, care for them.

 

"And as for the children" Yash sighed as he ran his fingers over his tired eyes. "I wish I had a solution for that Artiji. All I can suggest is we help by opening up new opportunities for them, be it higher education or special classes like Deepak has with Shiraz." After a moment he sighed again, "I know that does not replace the daily visits you make. I have seen for myself how the children look forward to your visits, how much you mean to them, the love and stability you bring them."

 

"Your job - you would have to leave it, unless they can support you working from a different city. But, if you want to work, you can. No one will stop you. Bhabhi works too" Yash added.

 

He looked at her ruefully then and said, "I don't have a good solution for any of the problems you raised, do I?"

 

She surprised him when she replied, "That's ok - I didn't expect solutions from you. I wanted to hear your thoughts."

 

This was one woman he could not underestimate or assume he could read her thoughts, Yash realized. She would keep him on his toes. And right now, he was not sure if that was a good or a bad thing...

 

After dinner, Arti assumed they would take separate taxis, as Yash had to catch a flight. She was surprised then to hear him ask the doorman to call one taxi. "Yashji?" she asked, holding the sleeping Ansh.

 

He read the question in her eyes and replied, "This is Delhi after dark Artiji. I cannot be irresponsible enough to let you go home by yourself. No, Ansh and I will drop you and then we will go to the airport."

 

"But you may miss your flight" Arti exclaimed.

 

He shrugged, "Then we will catch the next one."

 

No further words were exchanged till they reached Arti's home. She handed the sleeping Ansh to his father and hesitated. Yash spoke first, "Artiji, thank you for agreeing to meet with me... with us."

 

She smiled at that and said, "Of course. But Yashji, I need some time to think."

 

"Of course. Take the time you need Artiji. Take care."

 

After she went up the stairs and had safely entered her home, Yash told the taxi-driver to drive to the airport. He held Ansh close to himself and thought, I need time as well Artiji, I need time to think too...


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My profound apologies to coffee-drinkers. I am one too - or rather, i am a coffee-lover, a coffee-guzzler Smile.  As you probably picked up by now, tea/chai in this story is symbolic. It is the beverage that helps calm and soothe, gives time and space for reflection. Coffee is pure caffeine, adrenaline rush, keeps you going. Right now, Arti, and Yash, need the calm soothing atmosphere that chai has come to symbolize in this tale.


Edited by kdsubs - 24 April 2013 at 3:16pm

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lulujjjj IF-Rockerz
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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 2:54pm | IP Logged
Awesome update.thanks for the pm.

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kdsubs

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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 3:01pm | IP Logged
Beautiful update. Loved every bit of it. I was really glad Yash saw for himself Aarti's interaction with Ansh and was impressed by it. Was also glad that both told each other up front that they could only see each other as friends if they do happen to get married. Looking forward to what is in store next for these two as their journey continues.

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kdsubs

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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 3:56pm | IP Logged
very nice

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amudalapalli

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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 4:33pm | IP Logged
ok question first- what was that look on yash when aarti complimented ansh for learning the most important "papa"?
i like this update...a lot
it was simple- straightforward but really well written- i was involved..might have somehting to do with the length.  Clap
really liked the testing both did

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kdsubs

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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 4:35pm | IP Logged
Res!!

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kdsubs

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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 4:59pm | IP Logged
Was that look on Yash's face when Ansh called him 'papa' because of thinking how Ash is motherless and how he should have said mama first and you get the point!

Really nice update! I loved it...please continue soon!

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kdsubs

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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 6:42pm | IP Logged
Read the whole FF today and I must say its really awesome Clap
This update is very beautiful and happy to see that now both Yash and Arati know what both of them want from this marriage and are thinking about it at least.

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