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Joined: 24 February 2012
Every moment spent unoccupied was a moment spend thinking about Khushi Kumari Gupta. So he spent every waking minute working hard at the office. At home he would take time out only for Shanti. To play with her to see he laugh had become the joy of his life. Even if she was sleeping when he got home, he would ask for the nanny to bring her out so that he could be with her. He was tortured soul and if it wasn't for Shanti, he would have been lost. She had allowed me to understand his wrong ways. When he thought of a man ever hurting Shanti the way he had Khushi, it made his blood boil. His time spent with Shanti softened him. Other than work and Shanti, he would occasionally drive by the Gupta residence. Hoping, wishing to catch a glimpse of Khushi but she was not there.
He had inquired about her whenever Payal made a trip down to Buaji's but Payal wouldn't say much. Payal's silence he took as her disappointment in his treatment of his sister. Little did he know that Payal was in on the secret with Buaji.
Every moment not spent occupied was a moment of hell for Khushi. She saw Arnav's face everywhere. Somehow her mind would always wander back to the days she spent with Arnav. If Ayi had not reminded her of the days before Arnav, she would have even forgotten that she ever existed before him. She wondered if he was well, if he was taking care of himself, if he ate and slept well. She had tried to hate but all in vain. She had failed at hating Arnav Singh Raizada. She was so lost in these thoughts of whyshe was unable to hate that Laad Governor she didn't notice that Ayi was calling her name.
"Khushi! Khushi!" Ayi touched her face worriedly. "Kahan kho gayee beta." Ayi asked.
"Nothing Ayi, you know I think of nonsense all the time." She shrugged
"Chalo beta, we have to get Dhruv from the airport!"
Khushi felt a bit uncomfortable in her new outfit. Nani had dressed her in a beautiful while shalwar kameez with long sleeves and a gold border but knowing her clumsy self, she knew she would drop something on it very soon. As she fumbled with her dupatta, nani waived to a tall handsome man whose chiseled jaw. He was wearing a while polo short and jeans and had a relaxed look about him. But as soon as he broke out in a smile, she knew.
Dhruv waived at Nani and was a bit confused why this girl clad in all white was running towards him with jalebi in one hand and dupatta in the other. She looked like she was going to attack him when it all made sense. However as she made his way to him, she slipped due to some water on the floor.
He instinctively grabbed her and held her tightly to save her from falling.
He was a bit taken aback back her beauty but as soon as he saw her big brown eyes, he knew it was his Sanka Devi.
He smiled boyishly and said "Ghira doon?"
Khushi wanted to say something witty but couldn't help but
have flashbacks of the numerous times when Arnav had saved her from falling,
"You don't have the guts Chottay Nawab." Khushi teased as she straightened herself out.
"Don't test me Sanka Devi….." He smiled boyishly.
She thought of how Arnav had always been mad while saving her. As if she was a burden and her clumsiness a sin.
Dhruv bent down and touched Nani's feet and hugged her tightly as soon as he saw her.
Nani, Dhruv and Khushi sat around the table and chatted endlessly about their childhood while eating her amazing homecooked meal. Both Khushi and Dhruv could not stop teasing each other about their childhood antics. Both reminding each other of embarrassing events. Dhruv felt at home in Khushi's presence, he Lucknowi charm, the way she talked, her animated eyes, he expressive lips. He found himself lost in her ways. He could not believe how different she looked.
Dhruv's phone interrupted the banter on the table and he excused himself from the table when he realized it was Arnav Singh Raizada calling him. He waslked away from the dining room and shut the glass door while facing Nani and Khushi.
"Dhruv this is Arnav Singh Raizada." The gruff voice was at the other end.
"Flight as great Arnav. How are you?"
"I am….well" he said hesistatnly but got down to business and said" I just wanted to call and make sure we book our meeting soon as I may have to head out of town later in the week."
"Any chance you would be able to come to Lucknow? I just want to be home " he said looking at Khushi talking nonstop to Nani.
"Sure," he said abruptly "I will see you in Lucknow next
week. I'll have my secretary make the necessary reservations,."
Dhruv insisted Arnav stay with them and while Arnav was in no mood to spend time with Dhruv or his family, didn't want to seem rude to his new business partner and gave in.
Ayi had something special planned for Khushi and Dhruv and told both of them to change into their sleeping clothes and meet her on the terrace. Khushi put on a simple Shalwar Kameez with a shawl wrapped around her as she made her way outside. Dhruv followed behind her in pajamas and a tee-shirt. Khushi couldn't get over what a child he looked like. She compared him to Arnav who was always in a suit and looked threatening even in a tracksuit.
As they both made their way to the terrace, they were amazed by what they saw. Ayi had arranged a mattress with lots of pillows on the floor and she had chai and jalebis ready for them. They both ran to her lap and gazed stars while eating jalebis. Khushi forced Ayi to tell them her favorite stories and both Dhruv and Khushi were transported back to their childhoods. Nani knew Khushi neeed this distraction and had arranged it to lift the spirits of her Sanka Devi.
Khushi noticed Ayi had falled asleep and told Dhruv she would take her to her room.
As she was about to get up, he startled her by coming close to her.
"Whats the problem?" He said looking into her eyes.
She looked at him questioningly.
"You cant fool me Khushi Kumari Gupta. Your eyes – they give away your sadness." He said knowingly.
"Dhruv, so much has happened since we last met…..I don't
even know where to start. I don't even know if I am strong enough yet ….." Her
voice trailed off.
He tried to hide his feelings of disappointment that she didn't trust him enough to tell him and smiled and told her "What makes you think I even care…."
Khushi hit him on chest when she heard that. He started smiling.
"I will tell you Dhruv….when I am ready." She said quietly
as she tried to wake Ayi.
Dhruv just lay there under the stars watchin Khushi walk away with Nani. His head was full of Sanka Devi and her stupid banter.
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"You want to open a what?" he shrieked as he almost spit his coffee out on the breakfast table.
"A school - what is so crazy about that…?" She retorted.
"Nani, Sanka Devi has lost it once again…." he said looking
He then faced Khushi and said "You are basically going to take normal modern girls and turn them into crazy bhenji-types?!"
"Listen Dhruk ke bachay, KKG Finishing School already has students that I got thru a referral and I have clients from affluence families who want to enroll their daughters in this school! Anywyas I am sorry I asked for your help!"
Dhruv laughed as he saw Khushi's large eyes get bigger as
she spoke about her school. "Ofcourse I will help you Sanka Devi, I don't have
a choice. Let me make a few phone calls and you can probably use the guesthouse
by the pool for your classes." He said giving in. "Acha but you cant use it
next week, I have a business guest coming who will need to use it!"
"Thanks Dhruv" she screamed giving him a hug.
Dhruv did not know how grateful Khushi was. She needed this school, she needed to do something with her life. She desperately needed to keep herself occupied or else she might have lost her mind to the Laad Governor. He had her heart and she could not let him take away her mind and her sanity.
Over the next week, Khushi busied herself in preparations for the school by getting materials and preparing the curriculum. She started reading about Indian history and culture more than ever so that she could teach it to her students. Dhruv's phonecall to his NRI friends in London had kept her phone ringing. Inidan parents from abroad wanted to send their girls to be trained by KKG.
One of the clients had asked Dhruv what her qualifications were like "They are the type you cannot find in London Mr. Bajaj," he had said.
Arnav had been curious about Lucknow since Khushi had enetered his life. He wanted to go places where she might have. Admire the things she did about the city and so he had told Dhruv he would come to his house later at night as he had a meeting. He spent the day roaming the city and sightseeing. Something had not done in a long time. He wanted to visit places so that when he were to see her, he could tell her about them.
Khushi was busy with prepareations for her school all day wen she realized what time it was. Dhruv's business partner was to be coming to the house today and they were to have dinner with him. Khushi ran to her closet and pulled out another one of the fancy outfits Ayi had gotten her. As she put on the red outfit, she couldn't help but remember this was his favorite color. The night he had seen her in her red sari on diwali….She was busy with her thoughts when she heard Dhruv screaming from downstairs.
"Khushi, my business partner will be here any minute. Hurryy!" He screamed like a child.
He was a bit speechless as she made her way down. He had never seen her dressed up with her hair flowing and the makeup on her face. He was unsure of how to react but remembered why he had called her.
"I need help with my tie and Ayi is busy!" he said with his boyish grin.
"Here, let me" she said taking the tie from his hand. She had seen Arnav do up his tie a million times and had learned by watching. She was lost once again in thoughts of the laad governor and had a sad distant look on her face. Dhruv looked down on her beautiful face, and saw a tear rolling down her face. He reached out and put his hands on her face to wipe away the tear when all of a sudden he heard footsteps.
"Saab, Arnavji aapse milnay ayain hai" said the young boy as he ushered the guest in to where Khushi and Dhruv were.
Both Dhruv and Khushi looked up immediately. And there stood
Arnav Singh Raizada.
He was unable to contain his shock as he saw Khushi Kumari Gupta standing there with her
hands resting on his business partner's chest and his hand on her face. Jealousy and rage took over him as he clenched his jaw at the sight.
Please keep reading.
To be continued……
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Arnav could barely contain himself. He had wanted to see her since the day they last fought. He craved to see her, her eyes, her hair, her innocent look. He longed for yet. She had occupied his thoughts night and day these past weeks but never had he imagined finding her in another man's arms. He tried to hide his irritation but kept staring at Khushi as he walked towards Dhruv, a million questions buzzing through his head.
Khushi was stunned at the sight of Arnav Singh Raizada. He was the last person she had expected to talk thru the door and though she would think about him night and day, his presence had shaken her. She was unable to move and just stood there holding Dhruv's tie. Dhruv grabbed his tie from Khushi giving her a strange look and walked towards Arnav. "Arnav, how are you," he said in his relaxed style which would make anyone feel at ease. Not ASR thought, it irritated him highly that Dhruv was so comfortable around Khushi.
"Khushi this is my business partner, Arnav-"
"Singh Raizada" she completed his sentence all the while not taking her eyes off Arnav.
"Do you guys know each other?!" Dhruv asked confused.
"Yeah we….Khushi was…." Arnav found it hard to find the words to explain what she was to him.
"His cousin is married to jiji" Khushi interrupted.
He looked hurt by her boiling their relationship down to merely Payal and Akash.
"Oh what a small world" Dhruv smiled.
Arnav desperately wanted to know what Khushi was to Dhruv. He was too proud to ask but Dhruv relieved him of his misery when he said "Khushi is a childhood friend, our parents were friends. She is very close to my Nani"
"Come on in Arnav, lets have dinner and then we can talk business. You know in Lucknow, food always comes first" he said flashing his heartwarming smile while looking at his Sanka Devi, of whose appetite he knew enough.
Khushi's head was spinning and her heart beating faster than it ever had as she sat down on the dinner table. Arnav and Ayi were discussing the difference between Lucknow and Delhi but she could barely contribute.
"Why are you not eating? You have one of the largest appetites I have ever seen Sanka Devi" he teased Khushi. She looked up to see Dhruv giving her concerned looks.
Arnav felt a jealous rage within him. How did he know about her appetite and why did he looked so concerned? Arnav knew only Buaji called her Sanka Devi and was irritated by Dhruv's comfortable nature with Khushi.
He couldn't help but stare at Khushi and his eyes followed her every move. She sat across the table from him and had been fidgeting with her food and dupatta constantly and could barely keep a conversation. She was quiet throughout dinner and excused herself after dinner saying she had a headache. Arnav bid goodnight to both the ladies as he and Dhruv made their way to his home office to discuss business. Dhruv was a bit taken aback by how Arnav's eyes followed Khushi as she made her way to the stairs. He sensed some tension between the two but did not know what to make of it.
Khushi bid Ayi goodnight and ran
to her room. She shut the door and paced the room. She could not understand why
he had this affect on her. She could barely breathe. She sat down for a minute
but got back up and forced herself to change and go to bed.
Arnav could barely discuss his business plans with Dhruv. His mind conjuring up a thousand thoughts. I have misunderstood her once and I will not do it again he promised himself as images of Khushi and Dhruv flooded his mind. He wanted to be alone with her, he needed to know how she was. Her quietness on the dinner table had offended and hurt him. She had clearly not forgiven him and was still upset by his presence.
Dhruv sensed Arnav was tired as he barely responded to any of his questions and told him there would be plenty of time to discuss things tomorrow at Dhruv's office. Dhruv walked him to the guesthouse and bid him goodnight.
Once alone, Arnav could not stay still. He had to see her. He picked up his phone and texted her impatiently.
"Meet me by the guesthouse, now"
Her hands were shaking as she picked up her cellphone. It
flashed a text from Laad Governor. She quickly got up , put on a pair of
slippers and grabbed her large shawl before rushing out the door. Somehow when Arnav Singh Raizada asked her
to do something, she for some odd reason did it. She wished she could control
herself but she was a slave her own desire to see him and be near him.
He stood outside waiting impatiently for her. She could see the restlessness in his eyes as he waited for her.
They stood staring at each other for a few moments.
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