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Rabbe Ve, my dears!!!
Break in the Break! *chuckle* Got a chance to get a break in the middle of my break and I decided to come down to Arhasia to narrate a chapter or two before the Big Break swallows me up again on APRIL 13th. So here I am and I must tell you all: I missed telling you the tale we love and I missed being around you all, warmed by your love and your smiles which are very discernible in all your comments. Studies are loaded and Aura and I are having a wonderfully packed time under the yoke of education.
Anyway, I don't think I will talk much for now but I would love to congratulate Shas on being a Goldie and Sia too. And also, I would love to welcome back Revathy who had gone on her training and is now trying to catch up with the tale. Dimishra, its so wonderful to see you here my dear! And you know what? The Doritos and Beverages are on me tonight so you can have as much as you want! I would love to thank my dearest Breeze too for her love and her wonderful friendship which I missed a lot. And lastly, thankyou to all my Comrades and Readers who have been part of my tale and in its 100-year celebration. Once again, Happy Wishes to you on our already long passed…..
And if you see the colour I have attained with this post, you will see that thanks to all your love and friendship, I have now been granted the
Though I love blue better...Anyway, on the bright side, Green would remind us for a certain nickname given to a certain loved character in our tale, won't it? And now, to make the joy of this occasion complete, I think it calls for the narration of a chapter…..Don't you think?
Chapter One Hundred Fifty Seven: The Loutra
The very next day was the ceremony called the loutra.
This ceremony was a kind of bath ritual, where the water from a temple lake was poured into a huge bathbasin and perfumed. The groom was the first have a ceremonial bath in it. And then the bride had to take bath in the same scented water. The bath was to symbolize the end of their youth and their choice to dip into the promise of their matrimonial life. The ritual was to be followed by a feast and all this was to take place at the bride's house but since the groom was the Lord of the land, it was decided that the ceremony of the loutra was better celebrated in the privacy of the castle than in the village.
The Industry was granted a day off for the occasion of the ritual and both the First Lord and Second Lord were at the Castle.
It was late in the morning but not yet noon when the ceremony was to begin.
In the center of the ballroom, a huge silver basin was placed and water collected by the servants from the Temple was poured into it. The Lady Mother of the Castle scented it with a special perfume and then she churned the water, chanting words of blessings as she created ripples in the water.
Lady Manorama, Lord Manohar, Lady Anjali and General Shyam stood watching Nani and that was when Rahim Chacha announced that the carriage with the Gupta family had arrived.
The General excused himself, saying that he would personally receive the family and see to it that the carriage was taken to the stable, and Lady Anjali smiled encouragingly, watching him leave the ballroom and then she returned her attention to her grandmother.
Only Fortune, the white parrot perched on Nani's shoulder, suspiciously eyed the door through which the General had gone.
Soon, the Gupta family was shown into the ballroom: Master Shashi and his wife Garima, Mistress Madhumati, the bride Payal and her sister Kushi, all dressed in fine attire.
"Where is Lord Akash?" asked Kushi, looking around and finding only the elders there.
"He will be down any minute," said Lady Anjali and, at that very moment, the door opened and in entered Lord Akash, smiling at Payal on catching her gaze.
"It is nice to see that you could all come on time," he greeted the elder Guptas warmly.
The ritual was to commence immediately. Everyone left the ballroom except for Lord Akash and Nani. Nani blessed him and then told him to bathe in the sacred water and that when it was over, he was to come to hall and inform his bride.
After having given him the instructions, Nani left the ballroom and headed for the living room where all the others were gathered.
Lady Anjali was standing by the window, looking for any signs of her husband but on failing to find any, she turned to Kushi and asked her if she had seen where he'd gone after receiving them.
"Receiving us?" Kushi was confused, "My lady, we didn't see him. It was Rahim Chacha who received us from the stable to the Castle."
"Oh," Lady Anjali frowned thoughtfully, "He said he was heading for the stable…..."
In consolation, Kushi tried to reason favorably, "Maybe he was making his way to the stable when some intrusion that needed his attention chanced upon him…..…."
"I suppose it is a possibility," Lady Anjali nodded vaguely, her gaze at the window.
Kushi thought for a moment before suggesting, "Since I have nothing much to do presently, would you like me to go find him for you?"
Lady Anjali looked at Kushi with a gentle smile, "You needn't worry, Miss Kushi. He will come when whatever is holding him occupied is settled. And if there is any need, I can send one of the servants-"
"The servants are always too pressed in the Castle affairs," offered Kushi, "Besides, I am longing to stroll through the garden. I used to spend a lot of time there when Lady Lavanya was here……"
Lady Anjali noted the slight tone of longing in Kushi's voice at the mention of Lady Lavanya.
She smiled, "Alright then. If you walk in the direction of the stable, you will find him in the whereabouts probably. But I suggest you spend some time in the garden as long as you remember to make it in time for the afternoon feast."
"I will!" Kushi said cheerily and then set out to find Lady Anjali's husband whose appearance she did not know. But she was sure she would recognize him for it was easy to spot a Soldier or a Lord in the Castle grounds that was scoured by servants.
Lord Arnav was not interested in the rituals and because it was conducted at his Castle he had assumed he could easily avoid it and hence had left to pass time with a late morning ride on Shadow.
He was just returning from the stable after the heated ride, when he decided to pass by the lake so as to wash his face in it. The lake was right around the bend of the wall from the Castle's stable wing.
His long-sleeved white shirt shone brightly in the sunlight and his strides were swifter than usual because he was sweating profusely and wanted to reach the lake as quickly as he could.
He was turning the bend just then when he clashed into someone coming from the other side of the wall bend, probably heading for the stable, and he caught a whiff of the village flower scent as the head of the person collided with his chest.
His hands reached out and held her from not losing balance and soft uncertain fingers frantically reached out to his arms and gripped him.
But in their attempt to not fall over, they lost balance and fell to the side, right into the lake with a loud splash.
He broke out to the surface first, spitting water out of his mouth, and wading his hands across the surface as he looked around, "Kushi? Kushi?"
Suddenly, right beside him, he heard her rise to the surface and clutch onto the grass at the side of the lake, gasping and sputtering, her long hair undone and wet like her gown.
She climbed onto the bank, muttering under her breath and, after brushing her wet hair off her face, she straightened up to find herself suddenly looking into the face of Lord Arnav, standing before her, his wet shirt sticking to his chest and waist, and the hair over his forehead with tiny droplets at the end of each strand.
They stared at each other disbelievingly when a voice intruded, "Oh my! And I thought it was the loutra ceremony of Miss Payal and Akash!"
Lord Arnav looked over his shoulder and Kushi saw that, behind him, stood Lady Anjali amusedly watching the sight before her with a strange twinkle in her eyes, "You two had a little loutra, didn't you now?"
"This is not funny, Di," grunted Lord Arnav, fuming at both the women, "Messing up my day early on."
And he was about to walk towards the direction of the Castle when Lady Anjali said, "Chotey, I suggest you two better warm yourself up in the Rear Room before walking into the Castle with all that water dripping from your clothes."
Lord Arnav stopped and scowled at his sister, "You really know how to make a day worse, Di. I will show her to the Rear Room if you want but I have no intentions of even stepping into that stuffy place," and then he frowned at Kushi, "Don't make me wait for you to follow me. I've better things to do than this!"
And he was off.
Kushi looked at Lady Anjali who smiled and nodded in her brother's direction, intending that Kushi follow him. Kushi nodded unwillingly and rushed after him, lifting the skirt of her wet gown because it was so heavy with water she was certain she would fall over it in her frantic efforts to catch up with his raged pace.
Lord Arnav led her right up to the back of the Castle where there was an outside storeroom within which unwanted clothes and new firewood were stored.
A thoroughly annoyed Lord Arnav opened the door wide and, standing a few safe steps away from him and the door, Kushi peered in.
The storeroom appeared to be lavishly wide and immensely dark and it was certain that not many visits were conducted to this eerie place for it looked abandoned and mostly empty. A cold fireplace waited to begin burning and there were ropes everywhere, tied from wall to wall and corner to corner with long white curtains hanging on them, probably put to dry after a wash and then forgotten.
Kushi stepped into the room, her hands wrapped around her as though to ward off the biting cold of the wetness on her dress. Without sparing him a glance, she moved into the room, farther away from him. As she made way further into the room, she began draping the white curtains wider on the hanging ropes, making as many curtains and obstructions as possible so that she could distance herself from him.
Lord Arnav paused for an impatient moment and then stepped into the storeroom, closing the door behind him so that the cold outside would not kill the fire he was intending to make in the fireplace. He stepped before the fireplace and began throwing random firewood into it.
Before long, he had started the fire, blazing warm and bright. In the warmth, he was suddenly aware of how is shirt was uncomfortably sticking to his body, and without a thought, he stripped it off and hung it on the rope nearest to him and the door.
He moved back to stand before the fireplace, ruffling his hair, and water droplets splayed around from his wet head.
Then, dropping his hands to his sides, he looked up at the wall above the fireplace, "The fire is made, I'm leaving."
There was no response, and he looked over his shoulder and stared at the nearest white curtain behind which many others crowded the entire storeroom, "Where are you?"
"I am here," her feeble voice answered from somewhere at the dark end of the room.
He frowned, "There is no use standing in the cold corners of this room: you won't get warmed. I'm going back to my room so you have the fireplace all to yourself."
He turned to the door, took down his wet shirt from where it hung and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
As he walked towards his Castle, Lord Arnav decided to go through the backdoor of the Castle so as to avoid attention. But he had barely reached the intended door when Lady Anjali appeared at the door before him, smiling, as she handed him a gown, "An old one of mine but I believe it's the only one that is the right size for her."
Lord Arnav blinked at the gown and then at his sister, "For whom?"
"For Kushi, of course," Lady Anjali rolled her eyes, and then she took his wet shirt that had been draped on his bare shoulder, "She is wet and she will catch a cold if she doesn't get a warmer gown to dress into. Now go and hand her the gown before you storm back to your room."
Lord Arnav was practically furious by the turn of events but without a word, he marched back to the Rear Room, clutching the gown in his fist. He opened the door and, stepping in, yelled, "Kushi!"
With a flurry of white and a loud yelp, a stool placed before the fireplace stumbled to the ground and Kushi sat up on the floor, behind the stool, staring at him with wide eyes, her pale hands clutching at the white curtains that she had draped around her in place of the wet gown which now hung on one of the ropes at the other end of the room.
Lord Arnav looked away instantly, and shut the door, plunging the room into darkness again, except for the golden glow from the feeble fireplace.
The flashing image of how she had looked remained in his mind. A memory crossed his mind of how she had looked when he'd accidently dropped down a white curtain at her from his upper window one day.
"Kushi, I-" he began apologetically. And then he stopped.
Without looking towards her and frowning at the wall instead, he stretched out the gown in her supposed direction, "Listen, Di insists that you wear this spare gown of hers."
There was no movement or response from her for a whole minute and he was contemplating on whether to throw her the gown or simply drop it on the floor and leave the room, when he heard her shuffle to her feet.
She groaned feebly, possibly having hurt her back with that startled fall on his entry. He frowned irritatingly, wanting to yell at her to hurry.
He closed his eyes, knowing he will be tempted to look at her from the corner of his eyes, and as he waited there with the gown stretched towards her, he felt her trembling cold fingers brush against his knuckles as she took the gown from him.
He dropped his empty hand to his side again and stood there, listening with closed eyes. He heard her move away to the other end of the room.
After a pause, he opened his eyes and looked around.
White curtains hung everywhere in the room and the fireplace was alight and already warming up the place, giving the white curtains a gold-caressed impression.
He was overcome suddenly by a flushed sense of awareness that, behind all these curtains, she stood there somewhere, the white curtain that had been draped around her probably on the floor as she dressed into the gown he had handed her.
Lord Arnav closed his eyes angrily, this is so not happening!
He was reminded of the night he had to spend in the forest with her and all the nameless emotions that had racked his senses near the riverside then came rushing towards him again.
He took a deep breath, turned around and determinedly made for the door. His hand had barely touched the handle of the door when he heard her complain helplessly from afar, "It's too small…."
He paused uncertainly and then frowned at the white curtain behind him, "What?"
"It must really be a very old one of your sister's for I simply cannot fit into this. My hands can barely do the laces of the bodice."
He felt as though the world had frozen around him and his mind was blank, knowing not how to act for a faltering moment.
"What do you want me to do?" he asked at last.
After a pause she replied feebly, "I don't know. Could you possibly ask Lady Anjali if she has a more-"
Lord Arnav gritted his teeth, "I'm not your servant to do your bidding, beggar!" He clenched his fists and then asked, "Where are these…..stupid laces?"
"What do you mean?" her voice was so frail he would have nearly missed the question.
Impatient, he took a deep breath, "I'm coming in," and then he headed for the other end of the room, moving the white curtains away as he walked through the maze towards her.
At last, when his hand had reached out and slid away one last white curtain, he paused and stared at the sight before him.
Dressed in a pale yellow gown, her dark wet hair framing her fair face, she looked at him nervously, her beautiful eyes with their wet eyelashes evoking fire within him.
He stepped towards her and she pressed her back to the cold wall, flinching when she felt the coldness of the wall seep through her back.
Clutched desperately in her hands was the troublesome bodice.
He tried to appear impassive, "I don't have all day, turn around and let's get done with it."
Her lips trembled as she struggled with her will.
She gulped, staring at his bare chest that was before her, unable to look at his face as she said bravely, "First……I want you to close your eyes."
"What?" he was taken aback, "Why?"
"I don't want you to see," she stared pointedly at the white curtain behind him.
He didn't answer at first and only frowned at her, and then he closed his eyes.
She looked up at him nervously and when she saw that he had conformed, she took a deep breath and trustingly turned around slowly, her fingers trembling as she pressed the bodice to her chest with one hand while with the other hand she moved her long hair away for him to access her back more easily.
"Are you turned?" he asked behind closed eyes.
"Yes," she said, and then she gasped feeling his warm fingers fumbling uncertainly on her back.
She closed her eyes as his fingers, having found the laces, began bringing them to the center of her back to tie them in pairs which was a struggle for it was so many years ago that he had helped his sister with her bodices and he had long forgotten the way to do it right. And to add to it, he was doing this with his eyes closed.
She felt the minutes drag and her heartbeat grow unsteady, as he tied each pair of lace slowly, his fingers sliding down her back as he let each lace tighten the bodice to her chest, enclosing her in the security of her gown.
After a few fraught seconds, he said, "It's done," and opened his eyes.
She stood with her back still to him. His hands reached for her hair and helped drape it down her back. The feel of her hair...
They didn't know what happened the next moment but suddenly she gasped, sensing his face press into her hair.
He was surrounded by her wet flower scent.
She closed her eyes and pressed her forehead to the cold wall to not let her swirling senses slip.
He breathed in her scent, his hands sliding to her hips. What was happening to him?
She opened her mouth but no sound came.
With his hands on her hips, he turned her around to face him.
She looked up at him and blinked.
He pressed her gently against the wall, his firm hands on her hips, and she placed her reluctant hands on his bare hard chest, wanting to push him away but unable to muster the courage to.
"Please…...don't……" she pleaded not knowing for certain what she was pleading for.
He leaned down and ran the tip of his nose along her forehead and down her cheeks. All she could do was close her eyes and helplessly try to push his chest away from her.
"Please," she whispered, "If this is your way of punishing me, don't…..."
His voice came in a low rumble, "Tell me, are you not affected by me?"
"I'm not," she squeezed her eyes shut.
"Not even if I do this."
She felt his warm breath on her face and then his hot wet mouth was on her cheek.
She opened her eyes suddenly, moving her face away as she glared at him, going red in her face, "What are you DOING?"
He looked calm but his gaze was mischievous, "Tell me, Kushi, do you feel nothing when you are with me?"
"No. I feel nothing!" She pushed him away and stepped to the side, feeling giddy. She felt funny in her insides too, and she pressed her hands to her waist as though to silence those strange sensations.
There was a slight pause before she looked up at him curiously, "Do you?"
"Do I what?" he looked at her, uninterestedly.
He gave her an impassive look, "No."
But they could not take their eyes off each other, and stared as though lost in a spell. She looked into his eyes as he stepped towards her and then leaned down to her face.
His lips neared hers and her parted lips trembled as she closed her eyes and clutched at the sides of her gown.
But suddenly they looked away.
She didn't know why he was doing all this but she could not let him mar the sacredness of the first kiss on her lips, and she frowned at the wall beside them, while he clenched his fists, angry over the way he was being affected while he reminded himself: No, not the lips………..never the lips.
And then before she knew it, he was moving away, striding past all the curtains, and he was out of the door in an instant, leaving her alone to fight with the chaos within her.
If you are confused with regard to why Lord Arnav is acting this way with Kushi, so cool and familiar-like, then I suggest you go back and read all the chapters from end of the ballnight onwards and you will recognize the slight change in his approach to her. Also, just like how the engyesis was a Greek ceremony, the loutra is also a known ancient wedding ceremony of Greece. However, just like in the engyesis, I have taken the liberty to twist the rituals to suit my perception of meaningful ceremonies...
Kushi and Payal would be as cheery and fine attired as this:
And in case you need to know what a bodice roughly looks like:
Kushi's expression in the Rear Room of the Castle:
I will try to make an update tomorrow as well. That is if the weather is fine in Arhasia so that I can make it to the Inn. Leastways, I would love you all to know that you are all the best readers a writer could wish to belong to. I am proud of you, my dears. And one more thing: if possible do take a peek into the amazing question paper sansu made in the previous thread (Thread Five) in Page 146. http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3431041&TPN=146. Have fun trying to answer it! Like I always say, there is no right or wrong answer. There are only likes and opinions. That is what interpretations are all about. Thinking and not being afraid to think. LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Joined: 14 April 2012
Loutra, another wedding ceremony.
This ceremony was a kind of bath ritual, where the water from a temple lake was poured into a huge bathbasin and perfumed. The groom was the first have a ceremonial bath in it. And then the bride had to take bath in the same scented water.
And so..the ceremonies for wedding have begun in Arashia.. that too with a double take!
Besides'Lord Akash and Miss Payal's Loutra..we witnessed another 'so-happened' Loutra for Arnav and Khushi too.
However, this one with its own modulations! Unlike the usual tradition, both of them fell into the lake together..somehow maybe signifying the equal 'haq' they both would hold over each others... ..nice games Destiny play!
And that is not all'this lead pair unknowingly happens to complete the other part of ritual too.. the (flowery) scent intake!
General is cleverly making escapes from the eyes of two..Buaji and Khushi..and without having any suspicions raised on him from other members of the family. But little does he have an idea..tht a pair of suspicious eyes have always followed him..and I m sure..when the time comes...Fortune..would definitely become a major reason to put off evil happenings.
And the happenings in the rear room...well no words!! *blush*
But it was awesome...Linny! u made my day so much better with this awesome "Rabba-Vey" chapter.
Come lemme hug u!
P.S. i have posted a few word's for Lady La...please check them out here...
and will edit the other post soon too.
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|ArHi FF:1: The BEASTS and the BLEEDING ROSES||Aquiline||1254||197480||07 September 2014 at 1:05am
|Arhi os:HILARIOUS CONVO BETWEEN ARHI.||Hina69||71||34612||27 August 2014 at 2:59am
|Arhi os:Khushi's chalenge to Arnav for arhi sangeet||Hina69||70||26270||27 June 2014 at 7:35am
|ArHi FF:2:The BEASTS and the BLEEDING ROSES||Aquiline||1210||71698||04 March 2014 at 10:38pm
|ArHi FF:7:The BEASTS and the BLEEDING ROSES||Aquiline||1201||80939||29 January 2014 at 11:18pm