Part 21: Intimacies

 

 

Warm tendrils of awareness unfurled around his mind. Arnav opened his eyes in a state of slight disorientation.  Khushi had her back to him. He rose on his elbow to draw back the curtain of her hair and peer into her face, as if to confirm that last night had been real. She slept here…in his arms.

 

It had been same through the night. Sleep had played hide and seek like it had been its habit for such a long time. But last night, Arnav did not mind. He had been content to play the game; waking up after every few hours to make sure this was not a dream, the warmth, the contentment, the happiness – it was real. Last night he did not mind not being able to sleep. He sighed, falling back on the pillow and turning over to look at the side of her face.

 

Khushi had fallen asleep soon after he had brought her to the room and made her comfortable on the bed. When he rose to return to the couch, she had held his hand, shifting over, making space for him, asking him silently if he would stay with her. She did not have to ask twice. Khushi wanted him. After spending innumerable nights on the deck chair by the pool and the couch, the bed looked inviting. He immediately took the place and drew her into his arms.  She had nuzzled into his neck and fallen asleep almost at once, leaving him to bask in her love. He had woken up repeatedly during the night, drawing her close whenever she shifted away in sleep, moving, adjusting himself so that they were both comfortable. When the nightmare had tried to draw her away, he had whispered the words of love in her ears. And she had relaxed.

 

So despite being a wakeful one, the night had been beautiful for Arnav. And now it was the start of a beautiful day. Sunlight crept through the curtains lighting the side of Khushi’s face. Arnav watched her as she slept, her soft breath fanning the pillow, her cheek gleaming under the light of the morning sun.  Arnav ran the back of his fingers against it, taking in the softness.

 

The eyes fluttered as she felt the fleeting touch. She knew it at once. A smile dawned even before the eyes opened. Khushi turned around and nuzzled into his neck as she had done the night before.  A sleepy ‘good morning,’ was whispered against the skin of his throat, setting the nerves tingling and raising goose bumps all over him. It was only then that Arnav realized that he had been holding his breath. He had been worried if she would remember something – another ugly memory would raise its head to shatter the fragile beauty of the present. It would always be like this till you tell her,  his mind sent a reluctant warning, a warning that was ignored in lazy warmth of the present.

 

 

‘Good morning, Khushi,’ he whispered in the shell of her ear. She purred, stretching her body lazily his arms. Desire unfurled in the pit of the stomach. With a groan, Arnav shifted slightly, hiding his body’s reaction. Too soon for all that. But he could not resist rubbing his face against hers. Eyes closed, feeling her like a blind man.

 

‘Oooo…you are prickly,’ Khushi tried to thrust him away. He would not allow it.  ‘Arnavji, please.’

 

‘Arnav,’ he said, the voice was muffled against the side of her face.

 

‘What?’

 

‘Arnav. Call me Arnav.’

 

Khushi was quiet. He raised his head to find her waiting for him.  ‘Arnav,’ she whispered looking into his eyes. With a growl, he once again returned to his ministrations.  His hands running over her back.

 

‘Again, Khushi.’

 

‘Arnav,’ Khushi breathed, his hands and lips arousing strangest of sensations.

 

‘Again.’

 

 

‘Arnav Bhaiyaa.’

 

‘What the..’ Arnav’s hand stilled as Hariprakash’s voice penetrated the haze of desire. It was accompanied by a discrete knock the door. ‘Akash bhaiyaa has asked me to remind you….about the meeting at nine.’

 

Arnav raised his head. The dismay on his face made her giggle. She tried to pull herself away as Arnav’s arms tightened. ‘Tell Jeejaji that he is getting ready, Hari Prakashji,’  she called out.

 

‘Ji Khushi bhabhi’ HP left. Khushi pulled herself away with a mischievous smile as Arnav slumped into the bed trying to gather control.

 

‘Khushi,’ he called out as she prepared to leave the room. ‘Hamari baat abhi khatam nahi hui hai.

 

**********************

 

Where was she? It had been a long day. The meeting in the morning had dragged on. The rest of the day had gone into finalizing the details of the deal. It was only an hour ago that Akash and Arnav had been able to seal it in favour of AR Designs. It had been a hard and tiring but a fulfilling day. Once upon a time it would have given the two brothers a new high to be on the top of their business. Today it only made them restless to rush home.

 

And now as Payal served them dinner, Arnav waited for Khushi to join them.

 

‘Khushi is making kheer,’ Payal looked at Arnav before putting down the casserole.  ‘I will just go and help her.’ she said to no one in particular before heading to the kitchen.

Soon the two sisters were back- Payal carrying a large bowl and Khushi, a smaller one. Arnav took in his fill of her as she smiled at him….a soft smile that lingered in her eyes just for him. She put the bowl next to his plate. ‘Here is your kheer, Arnavji. Sugarfree.’

 

Arnav half listened to her, watching her as she took her seat next to him, on his left. Nani coughed discretely. Arnav noticed it rather vaguely as he watched Khushi looking around self consciously. Anjili and Payal were suppressing their smiles.

 

‘Kheer Arnavji,’ Khushi said, drawing his attention to the bowl next to it plate.

 

‘Thank you, khushi,’ he murmured as he turned back to the table.

 

Khushi bent over her plate, avoiding Jeeji and Anjali Di’s teasing grin. But before she could raise her hand to the plate, she found it clasped strongly in his warm one. Khushi shot a look at Arnav. He was eating nonchalantly – as if it was the habit, the most normal thing in the world to hold her hand under the table while the entire family was eating together. Khushi shot a startled look around the table. Nobody had noticed them. She tried to withdraw her hand. His grip tightened and her bangles jingled in the effort. Arnav went on eating with his right hand as if there was nothing out of line.

 

‘What is it, Khushi bititya? Why aren’t you eating?’ Nani asked from the head of the table.

 

Everyone looked at her questioningly. And much to her irritation, everyone included the infuriating man sitting next to her – the laad governor who still held her hand under the table.

 

‘I..I am …I am eating.’ Khushi quickly tore the chapatti with her left hand clumsily.

 

‘Arrey, Khushi why are you eating with your left hand?’ it was Anjili Di

 

Once again she was the target of everyone’s gaze.

 

‘Yes,  Khushi. Why are you eating with left hand today? Are you okay?’ Arnav asked, his voice all concern, its seriousness belying the twinkle in his eyes as if – as if he did not hold her hand tightly under the table.

 

‘Because my right arm is tired,’ she shot back irritatedly. ‘Tired of making sugarfree kheer for…for you!’ she said through clenched teeth.

 

‘Then you should not exert yourself so much. Stay in bed tomorrow.’ He said in a serious ASR voice, all the while his fingers threaded to hers. Khushi looked around in a huff. Di and jeeji looked as if they were going to burst. Arnav went on eating nonchalantly.

 

****************************

 

Khushi told Nanheji about her days in Sheesh Mahal. What a fantastic cook she was? How she had helped keep Arnavji’s hotel afloat though the senior management did not know what to do?  Khushi shot a look at the profile of her husband. His jaw clenched. ‘Devi Maiya, how sweet the revenge tasted…laad governor, acting all innocent holding my hand under the table. Making a fool of me.’ Khushi was all out to pay her husband in kind.

 

‘Nanheji, I can’t tell you. The hotel only had the food going for it. It was in shambles,’ she said loudly, waving her hands as if demonstrating how the hotel would have fallen down had she not propped it up with food.

 

‘Of course.’ Arnav could no longer resist the dig. ‘Khushi was the only one holding it together.’

 

‘Exactly, see what I told you. Nanheji,’ Khushi smiled sweetly at Arnav before turning to NK. NK’s head whipped back from Arnav to Khushi, as if he was watching a tennis match and Khushi now fielded the ball in her court. ‘Even Arnavji has to admit it. He could not manage Sheesh Mahal of Lucknow.’

 

‘And people only remember it for the sweets Khushi made. She would have soon turned it from a hotel to a halwai ki dukaan.’

 

‘What do you mean? Halwai ki dukaan!’ Khushi shot up in anger. Her knee cracked and pain brought her down. Arnav was by her side in a blink. ‘Careful, Khushi.’ He helped her sit coming down next to her, massaging the knee worriedly. ‘Does it hurt?’

 

Khushi shook her head watching her husband. ‘Doctor said it would be better after the surgery. Just in two days.’ He was saying as he tried to rub away the pain.

 

‘Unbelievable,’ NK muttered as he watched Khushi and Arnav.

 

***************

 

‘Why did you not let me sit with, Nanheji? We have met after such a long time,’ came the voice from inside the bathroom door.

 

‘You needed to rest. You were tired.’  He made himself comfortable and then turned on his stomach, eagerly looking towards the bathroom door, waiting.

 

‘I was not.’

 

‘You said you were tired after making kheer.’

 

‘That was because you were holding my hand.’

 

‘Then why did you lie? You should have told me. I would have left your hand.’

 

‘As if I could do that with the whole family watching. Anyway, I know why you did not want me to spend time with Nanheji,’ she stepped out of the bathroom.

 

‘Why?’

 

‘Because you are jealous of him.’

 

‘What nonsense. I am not jealous of NK!’

 

‘You are.’

 

‘I am not!’

 

‘Then why did you come after us on the day of the havan.’

 

Silence.

 

‘You remember? Jeeji’s havan? The day you thought I had an accident and  I….’

 

‘Khushi…don’t….,’ he called out softly.

 

She was frowning trying to place the memory in her mind.

 

‘Khushi, Come here.’

 

No response

 

‘Please.’

 

She put down her day clothes in the basket and sat at the edge of the bed.

 

‘Don’t talk about that time. Don’t talk about accidents,’ He murmured.

 

Jaanti ho kitna darr gaya tha mein…I thought I had lost you.

 

I looked for you all over Delhi.

 I cannot live without you…never.

 

Khushi turned around to hold him close.

 

*************************

 

Arnav rushed up the steps excitedly. He had come home early. He stepped gingerly into the room. It was dark. Carefully he took off the blazer, taking out the single red rose that he had got for her, along with a small velvet box. Putting it in his tourser pocket, Arnav looked around.

 

His eyes were drawn to the poolside. Khushi stood there with her eyes fixed on the sky. Arnav hurried ahead eagerly. But something in her stance made him wary.

 

‘Khushi,’ he called out as he stepped through the French doors.

 

She turned towards him and tried to smile. It did not work. Something was worrying her. Arnav stepped forward holding out the red bloom, awkwardly and hesitantly. It was a rare gesture for him, but he wanted to bring her flowers, stars, anything that would make her smile. So he stood there holding out the flower, not knowing what else went along with the gesture. Should he go down on his knees….

 

Khushi was surprised.  Indeed such sweetness did not go with the man. He was doing all this for her. It warmed her heart making her forget the things that were worrying her a moment ago. She stepped forward, taking the flower, leaning her head on his shoulder as her arms went around his waist.

 

Arnav breathed a sigh of contentment. This is what he wanted …for the rest of his life. The little box was still in his pocket. But before that there was something else. She had been worried about something.

 

‘What happened, Khushi?’

 

Khushi shook her head and leaned more into him. He bent to peer into her face. She shook her head avoiding looking into his eyes.

 

‘Talk to me, Khushi?’

 

‘I…I…Hari Praksash ji was cleaning the shelves under the almirah and …’

 

‘Yes?’

 

‘I used to sleep near the poolside…didn’t I? You would not let me in room…isn’t it?’

 

Arnav was dumbstruck. The excitement dispersed in dread.

 

‘Isn’t it? The matteress was in the shelf. ….why? You were angry, weren’t you? Because of your jeejaji?’

 

‘I am sorry,’ that was all he could say. How inadequate the words sounded.

 

‘But you said you loved me?’

 

‘I do…I always did.’ He showered her face with kisses trying to make her forget, trying to apologise  – but how could he…he did not have words, no words would be enough…and he had such a spare store. ‘Khushi, please. Believe me. I always loved you.’

 

‘So much that you left me here? To sleep outside the room?’ She pushed him away. Arnav wouldn’t let her go. He gathered her resisting form in his arms, trying to soothe her, make her stay and listen.

 

‘I am sorry. I was a monster, Khushi. But I have changed. Let me…give me a chance. Never again….’

 

 

A sound from the door interrupted them.  Payal was looking for Khushi. It was time for dinner. Khushi pushed him away more forcefully as she turned to go out and there was little Arnav could do to stop Khushi.  As she left the room, his hand went to the little box in his pocket. The sharp edges poked his palm.

 

****************

 

For an entire day, he tried to get her alone and talk to her. But she would not listen. Khushi looked through him blankly as if he wasn’t there. The night was painful, especially after the sensous warmth of the previous nights. She lay in her corner. When he tried to talk, she told him she was sleepy and turned away. And like a fool that he was, he stalked out of the room. Only when he was in the car did he realize how pointless the gesture was. He was supposed to convince her that he was a changed man, that he loved her….not leave her in a sulk.

 

He rushed back in a half an hour only to find her sleeping on the recliner. The big empty cold bed waited for him. He ignored it, walking to the deck chair by the pool.

 

***************

 

Khushi woke to the light tentative touch on her forehead. Instinctively she knew it was Arnav. She was supposed to be angry but she had missed him. So Khushi lay with her eyes closed, reveling in his soft touch on her temple. He was touching the scarred tissue.

 

‘It’s bad, isn’t it? ’ Khushi could not help asking.  He must compare her with how she was before the accident. The thought worried her often.

 

‘What?’ He looked at her and then the scar he had been rubbing absently.  ‘No. It is just… Khushi, would you…after your leg…would like to go for …for a cosmetic surgery to remove this…’

 

Khushi was quiet for a moment before she withdrew silently. Arnav felt sharp sense of loss as he watched her rise and slowly move her knee to the ground.

 

‘I did not realize it was that repulsive.’

 

‘No,’ he immediately caught her hand. She tried to tug it free. ‘I did not mean that Khushi. I…its just that…that it is a reminder of that  accident. I want to erase it all…all the past.’ She did not reply. ‘Forget it, Khushi. It does not matter to me. Seriously.’

 

Khushi nodded before trying to get up. She would still not meet his eyes. Arnav held her back. He could not take the coldness anymore.

 

‘Khushi, please. Please help me,’ he held her hands tightly, trying to find words to bridge the distance again….heartfelt, honest words that would help him. ‘I am not proud of the past. You should know that by now. You are right – about making you sleep outside, about the cruel words. I am ashamed….downright ashamed of the monster I was. It has been difficult to live with myself, with this anger and hate that I feel for myself. But loving you, in all honesty, making you happy…that is the only way I can redeem myself. Don’t take that away from me.’

 

Khushi sat listening to him, once again his earnest words breaking down the barriers she had been erecting.

 

‘There are many, many cruel memories…they trouble me so much. And I am so afraid that you will remember them too…and turn away from me. … ‘ he spoke as if he was talking to himself, letting out his worries and insecurities, looking at their joint hands but hardly aware of her presence.  No matter how much I try, it is never going to be enough. I fear that you would never belief me completelY.’

Arnav stopped abruptly as if the thought was too painful to contemplate. Khushi could no longer watch him hurting. She was still angry. But in face of his confession, there was little she could do to stop her heart from overflowing with tenderness for the man.

 

‘I will…one day.’ She whispered softly drawing his gaze. ‘I am angry. I cannot deny that. These memories come to me. They upset me. But don’t give up,’ she chuckled trying to lighten the moment. Khushi bent to touch her forehead with hers. ‘They will fade one day. One day these things will not matter.  Only we will matter, you and me.’

 

**************

 

Arnav had been home since the evening. He needed time to prepare for the plan. Di was supposed to keep Khushi busy…so Payal and  Di had taken Khushi for some shopping. Now he stood at the poolside, surveying his handiwork before walking out and closing the room firmly behind him. Soon the ladies would be back. He waited impatiently for the evening to get over, for the time they could shut out the world and be together.

 

Khushi excused herself as soon as she could. She was tired after the trip to the market. And she  knew Arnav had something in mind. He had been restless the entire evening and then as soon as the dinner was over, he had gone to the room.

 

As soon as she stepped, the spread of colours and lights in the dark corner of the poolside drew her. The darkness was lit with softly shimmering lights. A mattress spread along the side. But there were flowers, the red ones like the rose he had brought for her two nights ago. Arnav sat there working on his laptop. He kept it aside as soon as felt her presence. His hand reached out for the small red box at his side. As awkwardly and hesitantly as he had given her the flower, he held it out for her. A beautiful ring, a small glittering star of diamonds.

 

Khushi looked at the ring and then the small mark on her finger. A man, an angry one,  in a temple, running after her all the way from his home because she had been hurt, just to bandage her finger….his eyes shouting his concern, his care despite his angry words.

 

She knelt down beside him.

‘Khushi, I want that day to be today,’ Arnav cleared his throat, trying to remember the words he had been rehearsing the entire day. ‘You  know, the day you talked about. When…nothing, nothing matters, except you and me. I know you…you don’t…., Khushi, I know I am very impatient. But I can’t wait for that day….’ He tried to find words but faltered, they were so inadequate for all that he wanted to say. ‘I want that day today Khushi.’ Arnav finished unable to say anything else, unable to think of anything else.

‘Today is that day, Arnavji. Everyday is that day.’   Khushi threw herself in his arms pushing him down on the mattress, crushing the flowers and blowing off candles.

————————————

Really sorry for taking so long. This one was difficult to write. I was constantly afraid of going over the board with romance. In case that has happened, do let me know.  Constructive criticism (and deconstructive as well)  — all is welcome. 🙂

 

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Part 20: Confessions

‘Sach?’  her soft voice stopped the stream of words.

Arnav looked into her eyes, fiercely, hardly daring to breath. ‘Sach.’ The voice echoed in his head, his heart….Was it true? What was the truth?  Did he not marry her for love? Of course, he had always loved her.

Jab jo bura kaha uska koi matlab nahi. Jab ko bura kiya koi uska matlab nahi….sach to yeh hai ki main hamesha hamesha….

 

Koi matlab nahi….Nothing matters except that I have always loved you. Nothing matters… matters…His own words.  Weren’t they true?

Koi matlab nahi. It doesn’t matter if I believed Shyam’s words. It meant nothing when I thrust that mangalsutra around your neck and told you that you would be my wife in name only. How does it make a difference if I snatched away your dreams? How does it matter if I told you how disgusting it was to breathe the same air as you did? Wasn’t I in love when I abused and shunned you for six long months? Koi matlab nahi….Nothing matters…it did not matter that I used my money and power to bend you to my will… Jab jo bura kaha uska koi matlab nahi. Jab ko bura kiya uska matlab nahi.

 

But if it all didn’t matter then why were things so difficult now? Why does a small word fall from your lips to shake me to my core? Why does the hope twinkling in your eyes ravage me so? The words….how beautiful they sounded, how profound …vast and deep, as my love for you….and….

As empty and meaningless. The realization dawned in that brief moment as Kushi stood looking at him, waiting for him to confirm that what he said was true.  It all mattered – whatever he had said, whatever he had done – for it had brought them where they stood today.  The sum total of those actions and words which he had dismissed in his egoistical declaration of love – that he can do anything, say anything, that all is justified in the name of love – how wrong he had been? Here stood the girl, he claimed to love more profoundly than any actions or deeds – broken, injured, shutting him out of her life.

And he? He was afraid that she would remember all that and then no declaration of love would be enough to justify the truth.

And yet it was the truth…a truth he had promised to act on.  That was the only way forward if he wanted to live with any semblance of sanity. He needed Khushi…Khushi and only some more time. He had decided not to jog her memory….let her remember when she did. He would not help her in shunning him, in leaving him and walking out of his life. That was the truth – a greater truth than all others and he needed time to say it aloud and prove it so that when the memories returned there were other memories to take away the sting.

And so mulishly ASR stood firm…his clever brains quailed at the honesty of her eyes, at the stabs of his own conscience yet he was too used to manipulating others, too used to having his own way.

‘Yes, that is the truth, Khushi. The truth. That I love you.’  Arnav moved towards her. This time, Khushi stood her ground, looking at him warily. He moved slowly as he spoke, coming to stand in front of her. Without touching, without any contact. Just near her drawing her by the sincerity of his voice so that she had to turn to him. ‘I had loved you for a long time though I was unwilling to admit. And in the last one year…I have learnt that I cannot live without you. Those things I said… I was angry. My sister was pregnant…Shyam had been a part of the family for so long. I am not justifying anything. But there is more to it than the words you remember.’ He stood in front of her looking in her eyes, willing her to believe in him.

 Khushi still needed reassurance. There was blinding emotion in his eyes as he towered over her yet she had to confirm….confirm before she let the barriers down.

‘You married me because you loved me….despite the fact that your jeejaji…’

‘Why do you ask the same questions again?’ Arnav stopped her from completing the horrible thought. How did she do it? Cut through all his words to ask the questions that mattered, the questions he did not want to answer, the questions he would not answer truthfully. ‘I know you remember my words, the cruel ones…but I love you, Khushi. Whatever else you remember or forget, don’t forget that. Ever.’

‘Arnavji…’ Tears gathered in her eyes as she looked at him helplessly.  ‘there is something else…’

‘What?’ what was it? Why did she look so troubled. Was he missing something?

‘Would you still say the same, if I tell you that I am responsible for the death of Di’s husband? That despite my desperation, I was conscious, fully aware …when I jumped into the river, I knew the car would follow…I .. I led him to kill himself. I killed…’

‘Khushi,’ his hands came up holding the sides of her face. ‘Then I would thank you for freeing Di, and all of us from that devil.’ Arnav looked into her eyes. The thought must have been unbearable for Khushi for whom everyone’s welfare was so important. He could not let her think that way. He looked at her earnestly trying to take the terrifyingly painful thought away from her. ‘Shyam led you into that situation. You said he would have run you over with the car. Khushi, I am glad you were better than him. Don’t torture yourself for that man. He could have easily killed Di, he planned to kill me when he had me. But you came to save me…you are my savior…in more ways than one…Khushi…believe me you are my…savior.’

His words stopped midway, his body stilled as if a shot of electricity passed through him and he stood motionless, afraid that if he breathed this fleeting moment would disappear. Khushi ran her fingers along the side of his face, caressing his eyes, cheeks, ears…she looked in a daze, absorbed in the sight of her hand roaming on his face as if she was learning the feel of him, touching him like a blind person, convinced that he loved her, that he did not care that Shyam had died because of her…that she could give in to the desire to touch him and see if he was real.

Khushi touched the man, Arnavji, her husband, the husband who loved her. His words put to rest the horrible thought that had been plaguing her. His nearness brought her heart alive. His hands, warm on the side of her face, his breath mingling with hers. A scene flashed through her mind. Smeared in colour, dizzy and intoxicated – two figures on the poolside, uttering heartfelt words of desire. Her hand came up to feel his thundering heartbeat. She pressed her palm into to the warmth of his chest.

Khushi surrendered to the tug of desire that drew her to Arnav. Stepping closer, her lips brushed the side of his mouth, a feather light touch before she moved near his ear and whispered. ‘Arnavji, hamari dhadhkanein ek ho jaati hain…’ Khushi pressed her cheek against his stubbled one…standing still for a moment. ‘Hain na?’ Scarcely had the words left her mouth before the peace of the moment was gone.

It was the words that shattered him…he who had been holding still all along, hardly daring to breathe. Arnav had not come near her after she had flinched away from him in Sheesh mahal, not tried to touch her except hold her hands. And now Khushi was touching him. She was touching him! The moment had a dream like quality, like the ones he used to have in her absence. And he was afraid it might be one.  So he dare not move lest everything disappeared.

And then came the words, softly breathed in his ear. She remembered one of those rare moments when they had come together, the moment they had let their guards down.

It was the words, her words shattered him. Arnav let out a cry; his hands pressed the side of her face once before they went around her, on their own volition, fingers of one burying in her hair as he held her still while the other snaked around her waist seeking to draw her close. Arnav buried his face into the side of her neck, inhaling her, feeling her, tasting her warmth, her generosity, her love. Finally, finally.

‘Arnavji’ Khushi tried to push him back. She was breathless…a happy kind of breathless. He was holding her too tight but she felt warm, cared for. One of her hands, the one which had touched his heart, was still buried between them. The other clutched at his shoulder.

The wetness she felt on her shoulder worried her. ‘Arnavji’ she called out worriedly as his body heaved, somewhere between a sob and a sigh, his face still hidden in the side of her neck. She tried to pull him up. Arnav shrugged away her hands, burying his face deeper in her neck as he pushed her back, back till they came up against a wall. Some of his weight slumped on her as he drew deep breaths trying to gather the threads of control. He would not look up till he had settled down this storm in himself , till he had his fill of this warmth – ‘Khushi, Khushi’ – he hugged her closer.

Was it a few moments? Hours? Several sun-lit days?  Arnav lifted his head with a sigh. Only slightly till they were looking at each other, their noses almost touching. This was all he could manage for now.

‘Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada,’ he jerked her gently off the wall making her lean on him. ‘You remember don’t you? Don’t you? Tell me what you remember? ‘

Khusi looked into his eyes and shook her head. ‘I don’t. I just remembered the words when you were speaking…I just get those flashes.’ She whispered.

Arnav nodded slowly bending his head to kiss her cheek, giving her time to draw back, tightening his arms to stop her. When she did not, he looked up and whispered ‘Then remember, remember every time you …you think about me.’

‘What?’

The question annoyed him. Did she still need to ask? ‘That I love you dammit!’ he drew her face closer, only inches apart now.

‘Oh that!’ she giggled as she nodded.

Arnav couldn’t help but smile before he bent his head to kiss her on the other cheek.

‘You believe me. Right?’

He still needed to ask! but his eyes were troubled and Khushi rushed ahead to heal him.

‘I believe you.’

‘Then will you listen to me.’

She nodded.

‘Please go for the surgery….please. Its important…for me’

Khushi smiled and nodded before whispering an ‘Okay’ and leaning her head on her husband’s shoulder. His hand left her head and went around her shoulder, slowly, almost tentatively.

——————————————–

okay. I know some of you are not going to be happy…especially with Arnav. But bear with me. We are nearing the end soon.

Another thing: Arnav’s  lines from the heer-ranjha, I always found them beautiful but very troublesome.  I wanted to deal with them here.

So brickbats …they are welcome and so are all other comments. I really look forward to them. so please make my day.

BTW, i stared watching season two but stopped this week…you know why! (confession, I stopped after Arnav dropped Khushi from his cabin but returned sometime  later when I saw troubled ASR. The conflict in the man just drew you to the character. Moreover Khushi had a  kind of spunk that is so absent in her present counterpart! This one may  spout all the  right things about women’s issues, but blushing and thinking kindly of a man who has just slapped you!!!!! sigh…just at the time when violence against women has become such a heartfelt issue, it is portrayed as something romantic. )

the dilemma now…is there nothing  in Hindi to watch on TV ?