Joined: 06 September 2010
Joined: 06 September 2010
PART 1- PRESENT
With the onset of a new brand opening, customers seemed to rush into the outlet with excitement pumping up the adrenaline. The management had one of the interesting sights they never had dreamt of with the opening. The store managers were on their high with the immense positive response of the customers who seem to be so intrigued by the launch and its presentation. He stood beside his GM watching the most delightful sight which he could gather among the hustling crowd. A small baby hardly 1 year old trying to walk among the crowd seemingly her first footsteps inside the store. Apparently the parents seemed to be interested in checking out the new products missing the most important moment of their life. He saw the child getting up without any haste even after falling back ,but still her determination making her achieve the mission of walking through it. He took out his mobile and captured this amazing moment. He felt the child was not getting enough motivation to continue as she sat down on the floor in dismay. He moved forward towards the baby and took her arms in his helping her to get up and continue striving hard. A divine smile was something that he received in return. The baby looked so confident as he left the arms by making her walk through the corridor where there not much disturbances. He ran back towards the other end asking the baby to walk towards him slowly. There the fruits of hard work paid. The increasing energy boosted by the encouraging actions of this man made the baby reach her destination without any self block. He took her in arms and kissed her cheeks giving her a chocolate.
An hour later he plunged on the chair inside his cabin which displayed the name plate Arnav Singh Raizada, Operations Controller GCC. The memories of the child still haunting him with a small smile on his lips. How sweet was the childhood? Devoid of any worries, pain, thoughts, unnecessary fights, no tensions to satisfy anyone, ignoring all restrictions, tribulations, no thoughts or apprehensions about the past present or future. How serene does that phase go through? The childhood slowly took him back to his past where he was carefree, his school days which he enjoyed the most with his friends, vacation with his cousins and all the more his family. Among those strata of memories a blissful memory of those pair of hazel eyes that always had brought a smile on his face even then even now.
As fate would call it the perfect timing his mobile rung into his ears intruding the beautiful thought process that had enveloped his mind. He inhaled deeply getting up as his "present phase" is dominating him to attend the call.
"Hello Di.. How are you? Looks like Jeeju has gone on a trip again"
"Ah, how did you know chotte?"
"You won't call me otherwise. In fact love birds won't have time to think about this poor soul"
He chuckled as he heard an irritating whimper from the other side.
"So have you booked your tickets for the month end?"
"Gosh Di, I just came back from there last month.. Again a trip? I know the implied reasoning behind this request. Now enough of your match making business. I told you I am done with it and don't you dare ask me to meet your club friend's aunt's daughter again"
"Not daughter. She is Namitha Aunt's aunty's grand daughter precisely. And you promised me to meet her once next time" She pouted as she felt only way to deceive her brother into accepting her proposal.
"Whatever. I am not interested. Why can't you leave me like this? Zindagi mein insaan akele nahin reh sakta hain kya? I have papa, mama, you and jeeju , my cutie pie Madhu then who else I need? I have a great bunch of wonderful friends here who take care of me so much"
"But you don't have someone for yourself Chotte."
"No one is permanent Di. One or the other day we have to leave this world. We came alone and will go alone. We can't stick on to anything for eternity"
"Stop all that crap.. Mumma is right. You are a sadist. You get pleasure by tormenting us with your words."
Arnav chuckled again imagining his staring mother and sister in front of him.
"Chote, shall I ask you something? Are you still thinking of her which is the reason why you avoid even meeting other girls?"
Arnav felt a pang in his heart as he moved forwards from the leaning chair towards his table. He gulped down the anger and pain that had formed inside his throat.
"Di. Please.. 7 years. Don't you think it's too much to ask about it now? And to clear your doubts there is nothing related to her that I had denied meeting your prospective bride list. It's just that I don't want to marry that's it"
"The reason does not match your tone Chotte. I can hear the voice cracking up for some reason."
"Mujhe ab meeting pe jaane hain... give my kisses to my baby.. .Bye"
He hung up the call in irritation as soon as the creases in his forehead increased. It's a good time to have a break he thought.
The men were having a gala night with the drinks and snacks while the ladies took time to gossip at one corner, the kids were having a good nap inside the bedroom. Arnav had his 2nd round of Black Label whiskey while the married men around him who were almost his age were sinking in the Black Label boat.
"This is why I like Dubai.. You are a free bird you enjoy life to the core, free of Sasuma Biwi tensions and kids's nagging." Said Amrit as he shoved his nth glass of whiskey into his throat.
"You are lucky enough to stay alone like a bachelor here Amrit. We are stuck with these family tensions here too" Vinay complained like a small kid as he looked around if his wife was hearing this.
" I would say Arnav is the luckiest among us. Good pay, good job, no biwi kid tensions aur dekho how girls swoon over his charm and fall for him with his one look? Manish wrapped his arms over Arnav's shoulders getting proud of his friend.
"What's the use? This Donkey is not utilizing it. He feels enjoyment with girls is a sin.. What on earth I had to do to get him close to that bar dancer girl. Finally that girl was praising him for his good nature as he helped her by lending money for her daughter's education understanding her difficulty without even trying her once. Seriously man If I was in his place I would have tried that chick once atleast" Rohan sniffed in anger glaring at Arnav as if he did a big sin to him.
Arnav controlled his smile looking at Rohan's expressions as others looked perturbed at him on thinking how this man can be so good?
"Anitha... Did you hear that your husband wants to try a Chick tonight?" Arnav shouted from the hall to make her hear in the bed room while Rohan jumped on him for instigating a war with his wife.
"Shut up dammit. You don't enjoy fine! why do you put me in trouble? I would be deprived of enjoyment for many nights then" Rohan said as he pressed a palm on Arnav's mouth earning a chuckle from the group.
Amrit turned towards Arnav as some important matter dawned on him.
"Hey Arnav.. I forgot to tell you.. Can you help me buddy? My Office from Mumbai is sending their Interior Designer tomorrow. I have booked a room in Ibis. Can you pick up from the airport please? I have an important meeting re."
"Why didn't you arrange for an pick up from the hotel?"
"What ??? Hotel pick up for a beautiful young lady? No way.. I would have gone there if that idiot client didn't call for a meeting tomorrow. It's Friday and you are off na Arnav. Apart from you I can't trust all these gentle man to pick up that girl. These are jerks and would flirt with her so easily. I don't want to create a bad impression of myself"
All Arnav could see was the group attacking Amrit for stating the reason. He smirked at the impatient lot who felt like lost an opportunity like a kid losing an Chocolate Ice cream.
"Done.. Pass me the details. I will pick her up tomorrow."
Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport arrivals, he was checking the flight information board which clearly indicated that the flight had arrived. He looked around to spot the girl as he was instructed to stand near the star bucks machine.Amrit had conveniently forgot the girl's name and gave the intelligent job of finding her by giving her name as Ms.Gupta. He just looked around with a sigh as Indian ladies weren't strange here. May be he should look out for girls around his age that might help him to spot her. Obviously she would come to the Starbucks Machine to find Amrit.
Half an Hour later he dialed Manish to inform him that he is going inside to check the immigration while he got a tap on his shoulder which made him turn back to the person.
Thunder stuck their hearts as they met- the two pair of eyes meeting after several years,the yearning of their eyes made them lock it for several minutes. Nothing has changed in their faces except the difference in facial features that the age had brought in them. They could easily recognize each other very much. Questions hurled inside them but their hearts weren't allowing them to take the charge making them frozen to the spot. The flight arrival announcement snapped both of them from the reverie as they turned their faces aside.
"Um.. I.. I was searching for Mr.Amrit" She stumbled for words as she tried to meet his eyes again a futile attempt.
Arnav swore at himself and cursed Amrit for putting him in such an awkward situation. Amrit had mentioned the girl's name as Ms.Gupta and he didn't have the slightest doubt that it would be her. How could have he expect her there?
"hmm.. yea Amrit- he... he had an important meeting.. He sent me. Uh.. I am sorry.. You work in Amrit's office? Erm... A.. Amrit is my best friend so he had asked me to pick up." He was more shocked that words came out in installments in fact he wasn't aware what he was blabbering as he tried to avoid the gaze.
Both of them stood facing opposite sides just to digest this moment. Was it being real? Has Destiny made them meet again? He hit himself mentally for unnecessarily putting up the past in between. Composing himself to handle the situation he turned to her who was still feeling awkward at his presence.
"I am sorry. Come. Let's move. I have the hotel bookings with me. I shall drop you" He took the trolley from her to move towards the exit while she followed him behind as she didn't have the guts to even resist his help.
Silence pervaded between the two souls among the noisy atmosphere. The inner turmoil both were facing looked it impossible to break the ice. Arnav couldn't just concentrate as he felt involuntarily moving the trolley with his numb limbs. He couldn't hold on to this silence for long and started to converse.
"uh. How are you?" He asked in the same husky voice which had melted her heart years back. Her heart began to pound faster with the question as she was reminded of her past. To her biggest shock that husky voice brought back the once vanished fluttering butterflies in her stomach. Why isn't she able to answer his casual question? She still looked down on the floor continued walking with him as they walked past all the perfume stalls and other stores.
He knew this is not going to be so easy but there was something which made him urge to make her comfortable though whatever happened between them shouldn't be reflected towards Amrit's colleague he thought.
"uh. Amrit had told me that his colleague is coming from Mumbai but he had forgotten your Name. I just had the surname reference with me. Sorry if I had put you in trouble searching for me".
"No.. I didn't have any trouble. I .. I had already visited Dubai before so didn't have difficulty in finding the Starbucks machine near Currency Exchange counter" she blurted out in one go as she didn't want him to feel guilty.
Arnav felt a heave of relief as he could feel her coming out of the cocoon and more over hearing her melodious voice after several years.
"Oh great. I didn't know you had been to Dubai.. um.. how is everyone at home?"
He started the casual conversation as he thought he got a grip to proceed it.
"All are fine.. How about your family?" She finally got the courage to turn and face him asking the question.
"They are doing good. Umm.. How long is the stay here?"
"One month. I had been deputed for a project here so I have to finalize my designs and submit it before the stipulated period with the team working under Amrit." She stated as it began to open up slowly.
They reached his car and he took out the luggage to be dumped inside his car. He moved towards the front door opening it for her and he got into the driver's seat. She buckled the belt and noticed how he was unaffected after their first phase of conversation.
As the car moved out of the airport he felt some sort of uncanny silence again.
"Ibis hotel is nearby your office. Amrit would pick you up tomorrow morning."
"How long you have been staying here?"
He smirked at the turning of their conversation towards personal front. He didn't want to initiate something like that but thankfully she was the one who started it.
"Precisely 6 years. One year after the MBA I was working as a trainee then got transferred here. Now I am working as an Operations Controller in a Retail organization who deals with Starbucks, Debenhams, and other UK based products."
"oh I see... I joined my firm three years back."
"But how did you get into designing?"
"You knew it was my interest from childhood"
It was a slip of the tongue but both couldn't avoid a gaze that was coming in from the pressure of their hearts to look at each other. She turned herself towards the window to deviate the heart. He smiled thinking about her old interests.
He started to talk about some general things between them which started from Mumbai life to Dubai cost of leaving ranging from economy to food. Though their conversation were more broken ones the initial awkwardness had been worked out. He noticed that she hadn't smiled for once though he had attempted to smile many times at her inviting her to smile.
They reached the hotel Ibis. She was filling her forms for check in as he brought in the luggage.
"Thank you I could have asked the hotel people to get that in. You need not have taken the trouble."
"No.. That's ok... There's not much of trouble. It's hardly one trolley baggage. I would still have to go to the gym for work out apart from this." He said with an impish smile.
Her lips curved into a smile soon stopped by her on purpose not letting it out. She knew he was good in cracking jokes and making others happy.
The hotel assistant took the baggage towards the lift while the receptionist called her.
"Ms.Khushi Gupta. Room no: 504.Here is your key"
He was astonished to notice that she had her surname as Gupta even now? At first he had thought of asking her but that might be a maiden name from the passport he thought. Now his mind was concluded with so many questions which he was so much apprehensive to ask.
"Fine... I am making a move. Amrit will call you as soon as his meet is over. If you need any help you can contact me. Here is my mobile number." He handed over his card to her. She noded in affirmative and turned to leave.
"Khushi.. one second.."
His words stopped her in tracks. After several years she was hearing her name in this husky voice which increased her heartbeat again. He hadn't deliberately called her but he wasn't getting a good vibe without asking her about him.
"I forgot to ask you how is Vijay? And didn't you change your surname still?" He had asked it in a very feeble voice audible to make her hear but his mind was battling against his heart for posing that question which might be disliked by her.
She was breathing hard as the tears struggled to hold on. She closed her fists to control herself not to open out in front of him. She hadn't faced him. She composed herself and derived strength to face him and answer.
"That's because I am still Ms.Gupta.Bye" Her expressionless face with a look of uncertainty had shocked him to the core. She moved towards the lift even without glancing him.
Joined: 30 October 2013
Joined: 22 March 2012
Joined: 18 March 2012
Wowww Hari di... This is really the best surprise for me at the end of the year...
I was shocked to see this page.. seriously...
I love u di... Thank u for the surprise...
For me the best and the awesome scene is Baby walking scene...
I loved it very very much... I felt it very emotional and I am sure even u felt the same when u wrote it... When i read that scene, it was a sheer bliss for me to imagine that scene...
That was my favorite scene and u described it beautifully...
Seven years!!!! I am so curious to know the reason... What made them to get separated from each other??? Why is Khushi nt married to Vijay!!! I am so curious to know all the reasons... I think after they got separated both of them have nt moved on... Arnav has nt for sure by your description bt Khushi??
Do they know frm childhood??? this is really keeping me restless to know the reasons Di...
Waiting for the Past chap...
I completely loved the present update... U have as usually written it beautifully...
Joined: 28 June 2012
Joined: 30 October 2013
Joined: 06 September 2010
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