(CT) Chapter 11: On the Road

Khushi opened the iron gate and stepped on the road.  No one had come to see her out. Pressing her fingers against her wet eyes,  she cast the last glance at the house. She had thought she would heal the breach.  How mistaken she had been. Sujata was right. Some wounds could never heal. Only if her aunt had the courage. She sighed and checked the watch. Arnav had told her that he would take about an hour. She still had time and she needed to be on her own to come to terms with what happened, to collect her thoughts. The trail around the house called her. It promised a long solitary walk up the hill. Perhaps the exercise would do her good.

 

She had taken a few steps when she heard someone call her name. She turned around.

‘Wait a minute!’ it was Shlok,  his long strides eating up the distance between them. ‘There you are. I thought you would be in the market. But then after a meeting like that one can hardly go shopping.’ He made a wry face and gestured towards the house.

Khushi shrugged and turned away. She was angry and disappointed. But what could she say this teenager who hadn’t even seen her mother?

‘Hey, wait! Don’t be angry. Sudha bua sent me after you.’ That made her stop. She looked at the boy through the narrow eyes, wondering whether he was lying. ‘Sudha bua…er…you know, my bua, your mausi.’

Khushi nodded. ‘Why? Why did she send you?’

‘Gawd, how much like Baba you sound! Why are you here? Who sent you?’

Khushi huffed and turned away. She disliked being compared to that bitter old man who had no a bit of kindness in him.

‘Hey wait!’ he called out

Khushi kept walking not wanting to keep up with his juvenile conversation.

‘Ok Ok,’ he joined her. ‘You are angry. I get it. Baba is like that. He is old. One can’t change him now. Too set. And he has been miserable since dadi passed away. Can’t adjust to life without her.’ Shlok went on with the conversation alone, not needing Khushi’s inputs.  ‘He was driving mom and dad against the wall and they called bua. But it isn’t easy on Sudha bua also. She can hardly stand up to him.’

Khushi listened on silently, still unwilling to talk, but his words thawed some of her anger.

‘So we are struggling. And then you turned up and baba blew his fuse. The problem is no one stands up to him. I tried but then dadi and my mom told me it was disrespectful. SO no one has every told him that he is wrong,’ Shlok paused and Khushi felt his sidelong glance. No except Sujata bua years ago.’ The words stopped Khushi in her tracks. ‘And he has never forgiven her for it.’ Shlok finished quietly.

Khushi turned to look at him. He wasn’t as juvenile as she thought. He looked backed into her eyes with uncommon seriousness. ‘You know my mother,’ she asked.

‘Of course, I know. Dadi talked about her, Bua, even father. I planned to come to meet you when I go to Delhi to study two years later. When dadi was on her death bed and I promised I would bring Sujata bua if she lived for some more time. She didn’t believe me.’ His voice broke. Shlok had clearly been close to their grandmother. ‘Even Sudha bua misses her. I think dad would also like to meet her sometime.’

Khushi nodded, not knowing what to say.

‘Come, there is a small cafeteria nearby. We can get to know each other, Khushi di,’ he asked uncertainly. ‘I can call you that, right?’

Khushi smiled, her heart warming to Shlok’s chatter as they made their way to the café. ‘How is Sujata bua? Dadi said she is married?’

‘Yes, my stepfather is a doctor?’

‘And he is a good man? Not the ogre-like stepfather of fairy tales?’

Khushi laughed. ‘No. No. he is the nicest man in the world. Tell me, Shlok, how old are you?’

They had been in the café for about twenty minutes when she received a message from Arnav.

‘Let me know if you are ready. It is going to rain.’

Indeed it was. The clouds were gathering fast and there was a chill in the air. Khushi quickly told him she was ready to leave and the name of the café.

It took him another fifteen minutes. By the time, the breeze had turned into a dust storm. She had been standing out, chatting with Shlok when the SUV rolled around. A frown and compressed line of his mouth told Khushi that Arnav was not in a good mood. After rather terse introductions, she took her leave, promising to be touch with Shlok. As soon as she had climbed into the seat, the car took off. Fat droplets of rain dotted the windscreen.

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22 thoughts on “(CT) Chapter 11: On the Road

  1. Subha says:

    I recently came across this story and glued to it.. i really like your narration 🙂

  2. suryaravi19 says:

    the update was very interesting and intriguing…keep it up…

  3. Wow!! Great that Khushi has finally got some connection. Hope this grows.
    Am so looking forward to their conversation.
    Thank you so much!!

  4. mahrusweety says:

    Awesome loved shalok reached Kyushu and told her about missing them.
    Lovely part

  5. anu1017 says:

    Awesome update!! After horrible encounter with her grandfather Shlok was such a nice surprise for Khushi!!!

  6. Shlok is a chatterbox…. a sensible one!! What happened to Arnav??

  7. monalisaa1 says:

    Am glad shlok is trying to have a relation with his Khushi di

  8. archu61 says:

    Hope khushie keeps in touch with her aunt and cousin and gets her mom to meet her sister and repair the rift

  9. fermeen30 says:

    Loved the update, brilliant. She has a nice cousin. Eager for the next part.

  10. MYRA says:

    i cant wait for the next chapter …. i just love the way this story is unfolding …. Happy that finaaly u r free to update more regularly 🙂 …… and u know what …. all that waiting was completely worth it ….

  11. Atyay says:

    Loved the update.
    Especially, Shlok’s revealing chatter after such an intense confrontation..
    Now am curious to know what’s up with Arnav…

  12. mrieshka says:

    Thanks fir quick update. Now what’s wrong with Arnav— why us he angry–hope its not related to Khushi.

    It was good to see at least some family members warm to Khushi.

  13. athiyam says:

    superb update 🙂

  14. tabs2016 says:

    Awesome…am glad that somebody went after her.

  15. jyothim78 says:

    Glad Shlok came after her , atleast she has something positive come out of the journey…now what’s wrong with Arnav…cannot wait to find out…how will Arnav react if and when he comes to know about Khushi’s true identity…it would matter how or who will tell him….

  16. arjuhisis says:

    A very different concept –
    Loving the flow of this story
    Love your writing style
    Will wait for ur future updates
    Thx

  17. shils28 says:

    Excellent ! ❤

  18. angellicdoll says:

    Hi Vandhana,

    I came across of this story and loved your writing style.

    Good work.

    Please update the rest soon.

  19. owinblog says:

    I don’t how stumbled up on your stories.
    Oh !!
    I know I read a post in IF asking to help to find this story.And the name which took me to this amazing stories.
    I could leave any comments because I was not reading through my WordPress but I read all of them in one go I was hooked.

    Wonderful stories.The unforgettable made me speachless and it’s a very very emotional rollercoaster ride for me.It was amazing .
    Thank you for the awesome stories

  20. owinblog says:

    I don’t how stumbled up on your stories.
    Oh !!
    I know I read a post in IF asking to help to find this story.And the name which took me to this amazing stories.
    I could leave any comments because I was not reading through my WordPress but I read all of them in one go I was hooked.

    Wonderful stories.The unforgettable made me speachless and it’s a very very emotional rollercoaster ride for me.It was amazing .
    Thank you for the awesome

  21. asha519 says:

    Shlok is a sweetheart but will Kushi be able to mend fences with her grandfather

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