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ArHi: Innocence to a half-mad city [Complete] (Page 79)

RockBarbie Goldie

Joined: 13 November 2011
Posts: 1138

Posted: 06 January 2017 at 11:16pm | IP Logged

Chapter 15: When saints and sinners live together

Arnav experiences a sense of pride when he walks next to the plants he has cared for over a decade. In a house filled with hostility and anger, he had found solace among red roses, dandelions and holy Basil. Now there was a nice patch of strawberries growing in a weather they weren't meant to be grown in because of advancement of sciences. He wasn't for humans intervening in natural order of things like fruits and vegetables but it gave him a thrill to see non-indigenous plants on his terrace garden.  He sits on the only chair in the garden and breathes. He closes his eyes and loses himself in the coolness, earthy smell of soil and faint aroma of various flowers.

"I thought I could find you here."

He opens his eyes slowly and finds Anjali standing next to a blood-red rose plant, examining the bunch in front of her.

"You found me." He says, expressionless.

Anjali hmm-s non-committal and walks further into the garden. Arnav bristles like a mother waiting in on her youngling.

"I am planning on coming to annual board members meeting next week along with Shyam." Anjali says, calm as always.

Something constricts his chest and Arnav leans back in the chair and watches his sister. He doesn't know when Anjali started talking like his father. With Shyam being her shadow, he thinks it was only a matter of time.

"Good for you." He says instead of the long speech that's ready to burst out of his mouth. As he expected, Anjali falters at his casual dismissal.

"You don't mind?" She asks, walking towards him.

"I don't care." He shrugs.

"I am surprised," she says, sounding surprised.

"I still don't care." Arnav locks his arms behind his head and stares at the cloudless blue sky.

"I am not surprised at your acceptance Arnav. I am surprised you didn't already know." Anjali curls her lip in a sneer. "You do walk around with weight of company on your shoulders and the nave arrogance of knowing everything before they happen in the company." She waits till Arnav looks away from the sky and glance at her. "Isn't that how you accused dad and Shankar uncle of antipatriotic sentiments?"

Arnav smiles. "Life doesn't discriminate between saints and sinners. We all live side by side giving and giving, taking and taking, with mistakes trailing in our wake as we rise and fall and break. I don't know who my parents were - saints sinning on the side or sinners masquerading as saints. Whatever they were they made their own choices and left us - well me, to deal with the consequences of their actions."

"You are awfully preachy this morning." Anjali replies without hiding bitterness in her voice. "Did you practice it in front of a mirror every day?"

"Nope. When I am in car I practice these lines with my driver actually." Arnav snorts at Anjali's irritated expression. "Like I said Anjali. I don't care. I don't give a shit. I don't give a f**k. Do whatever you want." He raised gracefully and stretched to pluck a red rose. "I'll see you later."

He ignored Anjali's spluttering and left her unnecessary obsession to bait him to an argument behind.


"What's Anjali doing in office?" Suman asks Arnav in between prioritizing his calendar and planning his travel. Arnav pauses and shrugs.

"She wants Shyam to take over this company. The two have been plotting for half a decade now. This is their first move." He peers at his email and grumbles, "I don't want to go to Canada. I want to go to, I don't know, Ecuador maybe?"

"You are going to Canada for four days and during your return trip you can stop by whichever island catches your fancy and taking three-day solo vacation and you will be home just in time for your annual camping weekend with Aman and Lavanya."

Arnav pauses the shuffling of papers in his personal diary and looks at Suman. "Already?"

Suman gives him a flat look. "Let's see what the two are going to come up with."

"You have no inputs?" Suman asks, strangely not letting the topic go.

"Not this time. I haven't been the best of friend for either of them. Both Aman and Lavanya want some space and I am giving it to them."

Suman places her palm on his arm. "Don't let them go Arnav. I know you are put in a complex situation but it doesn't mean you completely shut them off."

"What do you mean?"

Suman watches Arnav for a moment longer and sighs. "Lavanya and Aman called me several times on your birthday. They were upset when you went AWOL for how many hours since they know that your thumbs are permanently attached to your phone."

Arnav behaves the exact way he does in presence of his college senior now working as his executive assistant - like a brat. He slumps in the chair and pouts. "I wasn't avoiding them purposefully you know? I just wanted few hours for myself where there are no hard-drawn boundaries and weights of expectations."

Suman looks at him, her face not betraying what she feels. "I understand Arnav, I do. Make them understand that. If you don't know something, then ask. Don't assume."

Arnav raises and eyebrow at that. "Really? You are giving me Project management 101 lessons now?"

Suman shrugs and replies without malice. "For someone very smart, you make shitty decisions by shutting people off and stewing in pool of your angst."

Arnav lowers his eyes and ignores the chastising tone Suman has now taken. "I am not ignoring the mistrust you harbor towards your own family and the betrayals that seem to come following years of trust. It is life. And sometimes it is Hell."

Arnav laughs bitterly at that. "It is Hell if hell is made up of memories and regrets. Every good memory of mine is tainted and every regret is obfuscated with tragedies." Looking at Suman's patented flat look he asks, "What?"

She rolls her eyes. "Can you drop your complicated way of looking at things and look things a little more simply?"

"I have no idea what you are talking about. How did we end up, again, on the topic of criticizing me?" Arnav asks with a gallant wave of his hand.

Suman rubs her forehead. "Call your friends. Talk to them. Make plans. Go to Canada and fix the problem we are having. Swim in exotic islands. Come home and go camping with your friends."

"It's not that simple..." Arnav starts.

Suman holds her hand up motioning him to stop. "It may not be simple Arnav. But it can be." She waves her hands around them. "You do one thing and then the next thing and another thing after that. You don't have to deal with everything at the same time."

"Prioritize and fix one problem and then move to the next problem?" Arnav smiles wryly.

Suman throws her head back and laughs. "Think them as contexts and not problems. Close the context, close the loop and then go and open new ones."

"That's one way to look at it." Arnav says seriously.

Suman snorts but doesn't bother to respond. "Have you met your new friend after coming back from Japan?" She asks slyly. She smiles at him fondly as his eyes brighten up and starts a rant on sparkling hair bands and childish hair accessories.

She ignores the notifications on her phone and lets herself be swept in Arnav's excitement. It was a welcome change from the bundle of brood that Arnav was to a sunshine coated blue bubblegum.


"What's new?" Khushi asks handing him tender coconut. She smiles brightly when he takes his wallet out making him promptly shove it back in to his jacket.

"My sister and her husband are planning to take over the company. I don't fully know what they are promising some of the board members. I am quite confident they will do something to damage my psyche and reputation." He slurps coconut water loudly and smiles at her. Earlier she had picked the shiniest hairband from the bunch he brought from Japan and had casually slid it on the crown of her head. Surprisingly it had the opposite effect of looking silly; the golden leaves wove on top of her head like the crowns once worn by noble women from ancient Rome. It had emboldened the effect on her and no one could look away from her without glancing at the faux crown.

Khushi's stunned look made him grin wider. "What? Are you speechless because all of this sounds horrible? I am not kidding, you know. This kind of shit happens all the time in companies like mine where the stakes are very high and the scope is dominating global market."

"But...your sister?" Khushi fumbles.

He shrugs, shoulders tensing at the prerogative of this happenstance. "She is more her husband's wife than my sister. Moreover, she sincerely believes that I am shit at running the company and am directly responsible for my parents' death thus ruining her life. This has been their plan for years now. Shyam has been talking to people about my inadequacy and Anjali strengthens Shyam's argument by adding my emotional instability and overall vacancy in relationship department." He chews on coconut flesh and observes dispassionately.

"How messed up is your relationship with your family members anyway?" She asks slowly.

Arnav throws the coconut to the pile and wipes his hand on the side of his pants. "At this moment, my family can't stand me and my friends need space from me."

"And that leaves me." Khushi smiles.

Arnav falls back and watches her pay the vendor, walk few steps and buy kulfis from their favorite shop. "Khushi." He calls her out.

"Yea?" She says looking at the menu in front of the shop.

"I am not here because I don't have any other place to be. I am here because I am exactly where I want to be." He smiles softly to affirm the affection he has come to have to this woman.

The pink that blooms in the apple of her cheeks un-clenches his stomach and he finally feels a swoosh of happiness cultivating in his heart.

Happy new year everyone. Have a great new year.

Edited by RockBarbie - 07 January 2017 at 1:33am

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meera30 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 06 January 2010
Posts: 5068

Posted: 06 January 2017 at 11:24pm | IP Logged

Things we know after this chapter:

1. We all need Sumans in our lives sometimes to shake us off the downward spiral that's waiting at the edge of our feet
2. While waiting for the next chapter in this story is sheer agony, every little morsel you throw at us is elixir itself
3. You need to write more. 
4. No one does romance (it sounds like a bad word when used for what you write about Arnav and Khushi who) better than you
5. You need to write more.
6. Economy when done right is downright spectacular. Look at your choice of words and lengths.
6. Oh, did I mention you need to write more?

Edited by meera30 - 08 January 2017 at 10:42pm

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slakhani Groupbie

Joined: 08 September 2012
Posts: 84

Posted: 07 January 2017 at 2:29am | IP Logged
Welcome back...with a bang.

Happy new year to you too!

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shils28 Goldie

Joined: 28 January 2012
Posts: 2483

Posted: 07 January 2017 at 2:46am | IP Logged
Happy new year :)

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anjs IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 03 September 2011
Posts: 19768

Posted: 07 January 2017 at 3:00am | IP Logged
Anjali is so cruel, doing this to her own brother. But then she thinks he killed her parents, so cant even blame her.

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swtsam IF-Dazzler

Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 4705

Posted: 07 January 2017 at 4:54am | IP Logged
Awesome... Lovely update... 
Can't wait for the next 

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anamika00 Senior Member

Joined: 13 March 2011
Posts: 384

Posted: 07 January 2017 at 5:24am | IP Logged
Loved the update...

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MysticRiver IF-Addictz

Joined: 16 October 2004
Posts: 80685

Posted: 07 January 2017 at 5:31am | IP Logged
awesome update...very good..

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