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ArHi: Innocence to a half-mad city [Complete] (Page 58)

amaypranay IF-Rockerz
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Posted: 13 September 2016 at 1:38pm | IP Logged
Awesome Clap

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RockBarbie

sisgeo Goldie
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Posted: 13 September 2016 at 3:54pm | IP Logged
poor birthday boy. I liked the way khushi handled things

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RockBarbie

meera30 IF-Rockerz
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Posted: 13 September 2016 at 9:53pm | IP Logged
Comment updated on Pg 56

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RockBarbiekizh72

Tiramisu_coffee Senior Member
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Posted: 13 September 2016 at 10:05pm | IP Logged
I want to take a deep breath and ask K to enjoy her freedom but I am still wary of this Teddy! Besides k has a long way to go - how does one heal from that kind of abuse?

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RockBarbie

docs Senior Member
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Posted: 13 September 2016 at 11:04pm | IP Logged
Men like teddy exists. I happened to witness something similar. The lady took a divorce and is now married to someone else n the guy is pegged to be married in November. He recently got custody of his 3yr old daughter. .
Arnav...my heart goes out to him... Birthday or not he is so alone .

Khushi is lucky to have a sister who is such a sweetheart... 

Their aunt? Arent we all told all the time adjust n compromise?? 

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RockBarbie

jcby Groupbie
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Posted: 13 September 2016 at 11:35pm | IP Logged
Awesome update Clap
This update corrected the number of years Khushi has been married from 16 to 10...smart girl LOL 
Looks like I'm of the conservative type who wants Khushi to be younger than Arnav LOL JOKES ASIDE, I feel sorry for her 10 yrs of wasted marriage life for a worthless guy. I also feel sorry for Arnav who has none who remembers his B'day other than his secretary. I guess Khushi and Arnav forms a bond of support each other's pain. Arnav is here to celebrate his B'day as he has none and she from divorce...what a tragedy Cry

Eagerly waiting for next update...post soon 

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RockBarbie

just4this Goldie
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Posted: 14 September 2016 at 1:12am | IP Logged
Hi
Very well written.
While reading, I often stopped,it got me into thinking.
Mainly Teddy, khushi's aunt. Their thinking , their personality.
Poor Arnav, no one yet wished him..
Thank u for the pm and the update.
Thank u

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RockBarbie

RockBarbie Goldie
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Posted: 14 September 2016 at 7:40am | IP Logged

Chapter 11: When Arnav loosens his tie

"You are going with him?" Payal says, her eyes transfixed on the ridiculous hairband.

"He is coming with me actually," Khushi murmurs, scrubbing her face vigorously. "It's his birthday today and I am taking him to lunch before we shop for his clock." Payal hums in response and shoves the words of caution back to her stomach. It isn't needed at the moment.

"Wear my black jeans." Payal advices instead.

"They are super tight on me Payal," Khushi bemoans around a mouthful of toothpaste.

"Exactly." Payal grins toothily. "And wear some lip gloss, yeah?" Payal walks back to her room and shuffles her dresser for the right shade of lip gloss. "This is perfect," Payal suggests and thrusts the tube in Khushi's hands.

"Is this going to bring out the color of my eyes?" Khushi chortles.

"Don't be an ass." Payal scolds her and pushes her sister to her room. She puts up with Khushi's resistance to wear anything that outlines body shape and ends up bullying her into wearing that isn't four sizes too big.

"You are making me late," Khushi grumbles as she shoves her feet into flats. She put her foot down at Payal's suggested footwear calling them "impractical" and yelling "why the f**k would you spend so much money on shoes".

"He can wait for few more minutes." Payal, as always, takes Khushi's side.  

"I will be back in the evening," Khushi hollers as she sprints through the staircase. As if remembering the morning incident, she stops and watches Payal few steps behind her. "Payal," she whispers. "I am finally free."

"You have been free for six years Khushi," Payal whispers, hugging Khushi's side.

Khushi shakes her head. "I may not have been living with him Payal but legally I was married to him. Now, I am free. Truly, legally, free."

Payal simply nodded at the technical precision with which Khushi lead her life now. In a way Khushi was right. She had been married in the legal sense for sixteen years though they lived together only for ten. Now that chapter of Khushi's life was closed and they were never going to look back again. Teddy, for all practical purposes, was out of their lives and hopefully in few years out of their mind as well.

"I will see you later." Khushi waves and sprints out to the shop where Arnav waits for her.

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

"Lunch first," Khushi declares the moment they step out of the shop. "I will treat you to authentic Chinese food, sugarcane juice and local dessert shop."

"Authentic Chinese?" Arnav echoed skeptically.

"Yes." Khushi admitted and slid next to him in the backseat of his car.

"I have eaten authentic Chinese. In China, as a matter of fact." Arnav waggled his eyebrows. "You better make sure this place stands up to its standards," he adds making sure his voice maintains the mock brag.

Khushi quirks an eyebrow. "You do realize there is no such thing as truly authentic? Like language and its accents, cuisine changes with geography and culture. So what you are going to eat today is authentic Chinese, desi style."

Arnav groans. "You just made it up."

Khushi grins but doesn't respond. She asks him about his travels instead.

"I travel a lot not just because it is necessary for me to be there physically but a way to get away from all this."

"Get away from all of what exactly?"

He sighs and rubs his eyes. "I turned thirty-seven today. That's half of average lifespan of a human being. Half of my life is over but it feels like I have led three lifetimes already. I am afraid if I slouch too low when I sit, the weight of my responsibilities will push me to the ground." He snorts and adds uneasily, "Either that or the constant looks of disappointments that generally accompany people's faces when they talk to me."

Khushi doesn't speak and looks at her hands. "I am celebrating today as well," she murmurs softly. "I am legally separated from my ex-husband today."

Arnav whips his head and looks at her in surprise. There is an expression on her face he has never seen before. She looks older and wearier of the world than she ever did before. "He abused me emotionally and when it started I was too young to understand the working of the world, of people. I believed everything he said and his constant berating, disappointed looks and emotional manipulation became my new normalcy."

"How did you get out?" He asks. He doesn't know if he is asking for her sake or his.

When she answers, she lifts her head up and looks straight in his eyes. "I took the first step."

"What was it?" His heart hammers in his chest.

"I told someone." She replies gently. Arnav lets out a shuddered breath and shakes in the severity of the emotions that course through him. She clasps her hand around his and squeezes tightly. His breathing shallows and heaves dry sobs out of his chest.

"I have never felt so lonely before. Even when I had no one, I had my two best friends. And it's the first time in two decades I am celebrating my birthday without them in it. I know, I know I am too old for these things but the two of them made it a big deal, you know? I whined and bitched and moaned about it though I secretly enjoyed every moment of it."  

"The day isn't over yet." She empathizes. "Think about it this way - your birthday is the day when I got my freedom back. How is that for special?" She nudged his shoulder with hers.

Arnav laughs brightly. "That's a pretty good way of seeing things."

She shrugs. "If you don't mind me asking - how did you deal with life after leaving your ex?" Arnav shifts the topic to more positive notes.

Khushi retracts her hands from his. "When Payal and her inspector friend rescued me from the cage, I didn't have just one giant problem. I had giant several problems. I cried, I fought, I rationalized. At one point I almost went back to him, you know?"

"Really?" Arnav is flabbergasted.

"Yeah." She speaks with an ease he finds envious about. It's the ease he once possessed. Now its bunch of frazzled nerves and cotton-candy thin bravado. She continues in the same tone that she exercises while explaining a clock to him. Cool, calm and detached. "I was eighteen when I got married. He patiently stripped me off my personality, individuality, my personal taste and afflictions. He molded me the way he believed was right'. For ten years I lived trying to fit into the mold he held in his hands. The alternative was looks of disappointment."

"He made you feel guilty." Arnav finishes for her.

"Yep. The guilt became so deep rooted that stepping out of line gave me a panic attack. And here I was, out of his disappointed and demanding looks trying to find footing in a world that gave me choices but my husband had torn and shred my ability to make a choice into pieces." She exhales and runs a hand on her face.

"Then how?" Arnav asks, not hiding admiration or attraction in his eyes.

Khushi chuckles. "I just restarted. Fix one problem. Decide. Move to next problem. Decide. Move to the next and so forth."

Arnav bites his lip and shakes his head. "You make it sound very easy Khushi." He says, voice trembling.

"It isn't easy Arnav." She looks at him again, her lips quirking in a half-smile. "For the first time I had to become most important person for me. I had to let go of the guilt and the unattainable standard that I had come to practice. I had to live."

"Is the will to live sufficient?" He asks looking at his lap. She shifts closer to him.

"Hey, look at me," she demands softly. He wills his neck to turn and begs his eyes to look at her. It's a difficult task to get past the shame but he does it anyway.

"It is a good start." She answers simply and he breathes out heavily. He is glad she isn't preaching him about forgiveness and moving on. He is happy she has been in the same place he is currently in. His stomach loosens when her acceptance of his emotional stability comes calmly and steadily.

Khushi smiles at him when the driver announces their destination. Arnav smiles back weakly at first but bounces back quickly. "This place smells like Garam Masala and tomato ketchup Khushi, how is that Chinese cuisine again?"

"You can't smell tomato ketchup." She berates him and pushes him towards a corner table in the shabby restaurant. "This place has best fried rice ever."

"I can smell tomato ketchup." He stubbornly insists and whips his head all around to take in the atmosphere. "They are using coriander leaves," he points to the wok few feet away from him.

Khushi groans and kicks him under the table. "Wait till you taste it," she grumbles and motions for a waiter to take their order.

Khushi takes delight in Arnav sweating through three-piece suit and a stiff tie while he settles to eating second order of fried rice. When they walk out of the small restaurant, Arnav has half his clothing in his hand and Khushi is refraining from laughing outright.

"I will have to dump my coat, vest and tie in the car. Can't walk around carrying it." He bitches and ushers her towards the parked car. The driver double takes when he looks at his boss's rumpled appearances but keeps his mouth shut as Arnav hems and haws.

"Now what?" He asks.

"Now I buy you dessert and we walk to the clock store as we eat."

"That's unhygienic." He blurts.

"You will get over it." She replies blandly and quickens her pace. Arnav follows her dutifully, hand in his pockets and ignoring the steady stream of vibrations from his phone.

They stop at the mouth of a narrow street and he waits patiently for Khushi to lead the rest of the way. "Here we are," she trills and rushes into a small shop. "Here" turns out to be a small establishment selling assorted Kulfi. Before he can speak, she thrusts a saffron treat in his hand. "I hope this drips on the cuffs of your shirt to match the green and brown stains on your shirt."

Arnav rolls his eyes. "You aren't funny." He ignores the indignant reply and concentrates on the burst of flavors in his mouth. Instead of walking, they sit down on rickety bunch and enjoy the cold sensation in their mouths on a dry hot dusty afternoon.

"What are you smiling about?" She asks, handing him a tissue.

His smile widens. "It's one of the best meals I have had in days," he answers honestly.

Khushi drops her chin and looks abashed. "Now to get your clock," she comments instead.

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

Its early evening when they call it a day and he drops her off back at Watching. For four hours he was just a guy enjoying a meal and shopping for a mundane thing. It was simple, easy and uncomplicated. With Khushi he didn't have to reveal much or explain a lot. In some moments she understood him better than he knew himself while in some she didn't say anything at all. He took comfort in her silences, he relaxed in her distractions and reveled in those few moments when she earnestly made him feel better.

He sees several missed calls from his family, Suman, La and Aman. There are few messages as well.

He leans back in the seat and closes his eyes. "Take the long way home." He tells his driver.

He wasn't ready to let go of this foreign feeling thrumming in his veins.

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