Joined: 22 April 2012
Joined: 22 April 2012
Amuda and Anjana came back from school almost running to their house and frowned as they did not find their mother at the door, like always. They removed their empty lunch boxes and walked inside the bedroom where they thought their mother might be.
"Amma' look I finished my lunch and Anjana did not eat a morsel'" Amuda said jumping onto the bed beside her mother. Tamarai sat up on the bed and smiled at her girls. her daughters eyes widened looking at their mother's red and puffy eyes while Tamarai tried really hard to look normal as she wiped her face with a towel.
"Amma..were you been crying? You look so pale.." Little Anjana asked in her cute voice and Tamarai nodded her head hugging her little girl close. Amuda stood there with a different expression on her face as she watched her mother's face closely.
"Its nothing'dear'.its just'your Amma is little tired with all these household'" Tamarai lied as she made her way towards the kitchen to heat milk for her daughters.
"I don't buy it Amma' tell me whats wrong? Whats bothering you?" Amuda asked reaching for her mother's sides and grabbing her loose hand. Tamarai looked at her daughter and cupped her cheeks before dropping a kiss on her forehead.
"Dear'could you please heat the milk and make your sister drink it along with you'I need a little rest'my head is aching badly.."
Amuda nodded her head not really trusting her mother's excuse, she did not want to force her mother, so she just obeyed to what she asked her to do.
"Sure Amma'you go and take rest'I will take care of Anjana until Khushi Akka is back from work'" Amuda said smiling at her mother while Tamarai had already disappeared inside the room.
"Akka'don't you think Amma is hiding something from us?" Little Anjana asked rubbing her chin while Amuda led her to their room to change their school uniforms and freshening up.
Arnav did not know how he spent the whole afternoon immersed in the work while his mind was elsewhere. He stared at the wall clock not having any other option to pass his time. Srinivasan had already left the office, as he had to take his wife to the doctors. They were married for years and have not had a child yet. Arnav had suggested a new doctor to Srinivasan and he had already booked an appointment with the doctor.
Arnav sighed heavily as the clock ticked 6pm and he got off from his seat. The sky was really grey, announcing a rain and he walked towards the hilltop balcony. His heart started beating painfully against his ribs as he heard the chiming sounds of her anklets. Soothing yet disturbing him without his knowing.
She reached the office and searched for the register that she had to sign before getting out of the property. Arnav walked towards her with calculated steps and she found herself looking at his direction without blinking an eye.
His voice was almost a whisper and she did not quite understand why he was saying hi to her when she was the one to greet him with a good evening sir?! She looked at him curiously while he extended the register towards her.
She said taking the same and signing it with trembling hands while she was aware of his gaze upon her. why was he looking at me like that? As if seeing me for the first time? What just changed in few hours? She thought to herself and stepped away to get out of the room. but his husky voice stopped her one more time. She turned around to find him having difficulty to form words and she waited with bated breath to hear him out.
"How are you'.umm'.you can'. I mean'.if you need anything'" he trailed off turning around while Khushi frowned thinking'as if what has gotten into her normally well behaving sir.
"I meant'you can ask me anything'. I mean if you need anything'just ask and don't hesitate'at all'" Arnav managed trying to act very normal while Khushi nodded her head her eyes searching his face for something.
"I am good sir'.and thank you'you are already doing so much for me'.even if I am not asking for your help'.thank you'" She said her eyes welling up with tears and Arnav's heart pricked at the sight. He could not beat tears in her eyes damn it. It pained, he did not know why.
"Don't cry'.Khushi'.just remember that I will be always there..er..for you.." Arnav whispered his voice trembling with emotions while Khushi looked up at him with her huge almond eyes.
"Its just'no one had.. I mean no one had ever cared for me like you did in the past few days..'except my Amma'. I mean you are a total stranger and still helping me out..whenever I was in need' It just scares me.. I don't want you two turn out like other men who tried to use me' I cant imagine you as'" Her voice trailed off as she hurried outside and disappeared into the darkness.
Arnav's fist clenched in his sides as her words registered in his mind and the meaning of that tearing him apart as it echoed in his ears.
Khushi wiped her teary face as she ran towards her house. She could not believe she just spat out about other men infront of him, who tried to abuse and use her for their own benefit and need.
What he might be thinking of me? Khushi sighed reaching the wooden fence as she leaned onto the same for little support. She wiped her face with her small handkerchief before getting inside the house. Amuda and Anjana were busy doing their homework while she heard the sounds of utensils coming from the kitchen.
She put her small bag right next to the kitchen window and reached for her mother, who seemed busy making dinner for everyone.
"Amma' let me do it'you can go and take rest for sometime.." Khushi said kneeling next to her while Tamarai looked up at her with concerned eyes. It surprised Khushi when she saw the red puffy eyes of Tamarai and all the thought of making dinner vanished from her mind.
"Amma'whats wrong'? Are you alright? Ennachu? [What happened?] Khushi asked cupping her mother's face and Tamarai sighed heavily her eyes wavering towards her daughters who were busy doing their homework.
"I'll tell you once Amuda and Anjana is asleep.." Tamarai whispered back and Khushi obliged looking at her sisters who were now looking at them both curiously.
Arnav wandered around the property in his sleep-deprived state. it was almost 11pm in the night and he was walking along the river watching the fireflies which flew across the river making different patterns with their lights. He sat on the wooden bench next to the bank and looked at the darkened sky with his tired eyes.
Everytime he closed his eyes Khushi's crying face flashed infront of him disturbing him like anything.
"This is crazy.." He muttered under his breath and left the bench reaching for the generator room. his memories drawing back to the night when he had saved Khushi from the elephant and had pinned her to the wall when she protested. A small smile stretched on his lips as he walked past the room, kicking few stones in his way.
His eyes wandered towards the direction where Khushi's house was and sighed when he found the lights off. She was asleep, does that mean this whatever he was feeling for her was a one sided one. Here he was wandering around the woods, and there she was sleeping peacefully unaware of him and his restlessness. He pinched the bridge of his nose as he laughed at himself for his stupid thoughts. Its not necessary whatever we feel for someone should be reciprocated in equal measure.
"You are just being silly.." He said to himself as he walked towards his room.
"But no one is stopping you from feeling for her.. you are free to feel anything'" He assured himself as he settled back onto his bed, trying once again to get some sleep.
Khushi was almost in tears as Tamarai shared the whole conversation she had with Munisamy in the morning. And the fact he would have shared the same with Arnav Sir, just made her restless. She got the meaning of his concerned words in the evening.
So that's why he was looking so differently at me?! Khushi thought turning onto her sides while Tamarai waited for her husband to get back home. She knew he was furious and will be coming after he was fully drunk.
Was Arnav Sir really concerned for me, or is he too like other men, who took advantage of my situation?! Her heart was a mess as she finally closed her eyes to get some sleep. But sleep was far from her eyes and there was a dull pain inside her chest as she remembered his concern filled eyes and his soothing words which made her want to trust him, just once. But she was afraid to give in to something so unpredictable, and it was her who had to lose everything, eventually. He was far better than her in everyway and she really could not take risk in that matter, in the matter of her heart.
She closed her eyes wiping away all his thoughts from her mind and drifted back into sleep.
Chapter 15 : Illusions or..?
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