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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Arhi FF, Chamkili. Ch- 14, 'Heralding the quest'.

                                                                                Chamkili



                                                 






                                                    Ch- 14

                                                      Heralding the quest…

Celina entered Khushi’s cabin to find her walking from one end of her smaller cabin to another. Her fingers twisting the end of her dupatta and her lower lip trapped between her teeth in a grip that seemed quite painful to Celina. She knocked the door once again and Khushi came back from… from wherever her mind was wandering.  Still standing at the door, Celina offered a polite formal greeting and then informed her about the meeting that should have started by now but for her.  Khushi looked at her watch and then gasped.
“Oh! I am sorry Celinaji. Lavanyaji had told me about the meeting a while ago, I should have kept that in mind. Give me a minute please.” and saying that Khushi started gathering her things.
Celina looked at her and not as trained in schooling her expressions as her formidable husband, she could clearly see the confused and stressed woman lurking from behind the façade of composure that Khushi had forcefully imposed on her body language.
“Umm Khushi, is something on your mind? I don’t mean to pry, but you seem much stressed.” Celina asked, keeping her tone formal still.
“Oh nothing Celinaji, I am fine. Just a little personal hitch, nothing I can’t take care of though.” Khushi didn’t think it was a good idea to share something so personal with a colleague.
“Oh, okay! Shall we leave then, everyone is waiting for us.” Celina knew better than to intrude on someone’s personal space. And so with her files finally in place, Khushi left with Celina for the meeting.
Throughout the meeting Celina’s attention was trained on Khushi. No one saw anything out of the ordinary and the meeting continued. Celina too wouldn’t have seen it had she not been looking for it. But she had been looking and so she could see that Khushi was attentive, a little too attentive and the force and effort of it didn’t go unnoticed by her. Celina didn't harbor any friendly feelings for her and was always conscious of all her moves. Well, she had to be, afterall wasn't she Arnav SIngh Raizada'a wife? And yet, despite all she couldn't deny the feeling of good-will that she did have for this very odd and quirky girl.  Celina observed as Khushi jotted down points in a note-pad, frowned at figures she couldn't understand, strained to hear what others had to say and yet amidst all this she remained errily quiet. She was there and yet not quite.
The meeting ended with the facts in place, both that needed to be showcased and those that needed to be safeguarded; Figures, with their inflated and deflated versions ready; People, with their parts and positions rehearsed. The presentation was ready to be performed... while another performance was being performed already.  Samay had just said something and everyone laughed at that, and seeing them laugh Khushi stretched her lips too. Lavanya said something about Khushi's spicy secret and Khushi acknowledged it with a polite smile on a pale face, the ever-ready blush on the bare mention of her husband's name suspiciously missing from her face.

Celina prided herself on her observational skills. That was what she required to survive and that was what gave her, the right to.  She could sense Khushi’s discomfort, her fear, something was on her mind and Celina could bet her life on it. Her first thought was that all her worst fears had come true and that Khushi was going to betray all of KaLa’a secrets to her husband’s firm. But her feminine instinct told her it was different, that Khushi could cheat and yet, she would not; that Khushi was more than their rival’s wife and so her problems could be her own, hers and hers only. And so with the kind of interest and care that one human being has for another, she approached her once everyone else had left.

“Hey Khushi! Do you have a minute?”
“Ji Celinaji.”
“Okay, I don’t have the ability to beat around the bush and so I’ll get right to the point. Well, I cannot shake this feeling that you are very upset about something…” she saw Khushi trying to explain something but continued before she could say anything. “See, I know the kind of relationship we share and that you are not obliged to tell me anything. And believe me I won’t really mind if you decide not to.  It’s just that today you weren’t yourself  and with the presentation so close I am a little worried. Losing focus at this moment could be really detrimental to the whole thing. And beside all that, if I can, I would like to help you.”

Khushi was baffled. Why was Celinaji taking so much interest in her life all of a sudden? Was she okay? Did she do some grave mistake in the meeting? But no one else said anything about anything? Khushi was still struggling with all these questions when Celina once again called her attention.

“Khushi, see you really don’t have to, I understand.” and saying that she turned away from her and to the door, but was stopped by the subject of her interest.

“No Celinaji, I… I… wo actually…” Celina saw her nervousness and  regretted her enquiry. The inquisitive side of her really crossed the line sometimes.

“Khushi, it’s really fine, it was my mistake, I shouldn't have tried to delve into your private space. I apologize.” But Khushi had already made up her mind and so she started again.

“No Celinaji, you were just concerned and I am grateful for that. Actually, I was a little worried today. Wo, since the presentation was due for today, me and my husband made plans for a week long vacation and now that the presentation has been postponed I… I don’t know what to do.” She had been the verge of a break-down the entire day and now that Celina had poked the bricks once again, the damn holding her feelings inside seemed ready to burst.

“Oh!” Celina wasn’t sure how she felt about this. Compared to the things that she had been imagining, this seemed like a relief and yet, Khushi’s waxen face, now red with her attempt of holding back her tears, told her that it wasn’t supposed to be a relief.

“Khushi, if you really want to go, just talk to La or Mr. Kapoor, I am sure they’ll understand and don’t worry we’ll handle everything.” Celina said in a comforting tone.

“But… but I want to attend the meeting. But then Arnavji planned this whole trip and now if I say we can’t go, I don’t know how he’ll react. And I want to go as well. Devi Maiya please help.” Celina found herself wondering for the first time about how old was this woman or girl… or child?

“Khushi you have to make a choice and believe me whatever choice you make, no one would blame you, everyone will understand.” She looked at Khushi and she still seemed undecided, so Celina added after a little pause,

“Khushi making compromises in a relationship is not a woman’s duty, it’s a choice, and if you ask me, a generous one at that.” Celina smiled at Khushi and then started collecting her things. She knew Khushi needed to make her own choices and saying anything more would have been forcing her into the direction that she thought was right and Celina actually practised what she preached. And so she moved out, leaving Khushi alone, letting her share her space with one that rarely ever staked any claim on her… her space.  
_________________________________________________________________

“Thank god, you are here. I thought you ran off scared of the honey-moon. Remember the time I had proposed backward rituals and how freaked out you were.” Arnav smiled brightly, he was in one of his very unusual ecstatic moods and that made things all the more difficult for Khushi. She was forced to take a guilt trip once again.
No, I have to talk to him, he’ll surely understand.’ Khushi steeled herself. But before she could say anything, Arnav started once again,

“Khushi, all my stuff has been packed and I took the liberty of packing some of my favorite things for you too. I’ll suggest, you pack everything up soon after dinner because we have an early flight and so you’ll have to get-up early. But no need to worry, I’ll wake you up with a kiss on your lips… or maybe somewhere else…” he winked at her. It wasn't a sight everyone was lucky enough to see, Arnav Singh Raizada talking with the excitement of a four year old, going for his first train-ride. And the steel melted once again.

“Ji.” She said in a quiet whisper. And in his excitement, her husband took that quite little, whispery “Ji” as a shy acceptance rather than what it was, a sigh of resignation.
________________________________________________________________

“Aakashji, is it so important? Do you have to leave tonight? When tomorrow…” Payal didn’t need to finish it as she knew that he would understand what she was trying to convey. Some things you didn’t need to say.

“Payal, I have already told you how important this deal is, please don’t do this right now.” Aakash said with his back to her. He didn’t want to face her… to face her fears… to face his fears…

“Aakashji, please just one day. Please, I promise I won’t stop you then. Please Aakashji.” Payal was on the verge of breaking.

“Payal please don’t do this, not right now.” He paused and then turned towards her. Then moving to where she was sitting, he cradled her face in his palms and then looking into her eyes he said in a very gentle tone.

“Payal, please understand! Now, with Bhai going away for a whole week, the entire responsibility falls on me. Please Payal try to understand, I wouldn’t be doing this if I had any choice. You are such a lovely person and very good wife, I know you understand.” He placed a soft kiss on her forehead and then moved towards the cup-board once again, expecting his wife would follow, like always… packing his stuff for him, like always… understanding, nah, obeying him, like always.

“Aacha Payal, I was thinking…” he turned back, expecting to find his wife just a step behind him like always, but she was not there. Some always’ are not meant to be.
_________________________________________________________________

Khushi had packed everything right after the dinner, as he had told her, but he had noticed that she had gone through the dinner very ceremoniously, just like he sometimes sat through those never-ending havans and pujas  that his family threw every once in a while. He had read her hesitance and slight withdrawal as her nervous excitement, but he was beginning to see better now. The hesitance was there, the nervousness was also present, the excitement, however, was absent, not hidden, absent. And that troubled him. Her pain, her withdrawal, her distance, always did. He had planned a romantic night for them, the chocolate syrup finally in place and ready to use. But her quiet withdrawal had dampened his spirit well, and the chocolate syrup still lay unused. His line of thought was broken as she stirred in his arms. He knew she was faking sleep, because he was doing the same.

Sometime during the night, he felt her disentangling herself from him. He let her. With a narrow slit of his eyes, while still pretending to sleep, he saw her look at him once and then convinced that he was asleep, she got her dupatta and  left the room, very conscious of making the least amount of noise possible. He had a fair enough idea of where exactly she might have gone. He closed his eyes and laid there. She needed her space and he would give it to her.

His resolution, however, didn’t last for long and barely ten minutes later he was found climbing down the stairs and heading towards the kitchen. And of course there she was and on the counter next to her was a small pile of jalebis, small but consistently rising.  And Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada making jalebis was a firmer proof of her grief and confusion than a man with a bloodied weapon standing near a murdered man, of his guilt.

“Khushi, what happened? Did someone say anything to you or did something happen at your work? And please don’t insult my love for you by saying you are fine.” He asked her while gently cupping her face.

“Arnavji, please I can’t.” she said looking down.

“Khushi, if it was anything else, believe me I wouldn’t have asked you a second time, but if something makes you sad then I do need to know it and no, here I won’t take no for an answer.” His tone held a finality and the dam that his wife had been building the whole day finally gave way to tears of tiredness and guilt that were now dampening his t-shirt as he quietly caressed her hair.

“Arnavji, wo after you called about the bookings in the afternoon, Lavanyaji… she… she told me that the meeting… the final presentation for our new project has been postponed to Monday... this Monday. And I didn’t know what to do. Believe me I really really want to go with you and I was… no, I am very excited about this trip and I know that you are really excited too. And I don’t know what to do. But this is my first presentation and it’s really important that I be here and I don’t want to let down Lavanyaji and Kapoorji. But I can’t let you down too. And I am feeling so guilty because either way I am letting down someone and I don’t want to. I don’t know what to do Arnavji. Please tell what I should do and I’ll do that.” Sobs at indefinite intervals still rocked her slight frame but her husband by her side, still holding her in his arms was giving her all the strength she needed. 

“Khushi, when you clearly don’t want to go then there is no point talking about it.” She disentangled her form from his and looked at him, her shock evident in her eyes, the sobbing stopped though. And they stood there silently looking at each other. He couldn’t hold it for long though and a small playful smile lifted a corner of his lips.

“This is what you expected, right?” he once again took her in his arms and continued. His smile intact and so was her shock.

“Khushi we are husband and wife, equal partners in this merger, I mean marriage and no one party, I mean person is obligated to make all the compromises. Why would you even think that this would hurt me? Khushi, I am there for you and I know that you are there for me and these little bumps we’ll find all the time, but believe me these little hitches would only strengthen our contract, I mean connection.” He paused and then kissed the top her head before continuing once again.

“Khushi, never forget that we are equals. There are very few people I actually respect in this world and you are one of them, so never change. Besides, I love that spunk you have, the spirit of individuality, it’s precious Khushi and I will never let you lose it. And we have a long life ahead of us, hoping you won’t give me heart-attacks like today…” she hit his chest at that,

“Or hit me so much, so these trips will be many. Khushi, I am greatful to Lavanya that she gave you the chance you needed and I would never let you crush your dreams for anything or anyone, not even me, okay?” He smiled at her and hugged her once again. She hugged him back and thanked her guardian goddess for the nth time for the gift that was her Arnavji.

“Khushi, is everything ready for the presentation?”

“Hmmm.”

“So, you have this week-end free?”

“Hmmm.”

“So, it’s okay if we plan something for the weekend, right?” Her eyes lit-up as she looked at him in awe. He really was her rajkumar, her prince charming. She hugged him again and he got his answer. Smiling at her and then caressing her hair, he asked,

“So, where do you want to go?”

“Nainitaal.” And that one word brought all the hazy memories back; memories of her sanak and his gussa; her fear and his regret; of him fighting for her and her getting the first glimpses of her lover… her very possessive lover; glimpse of his love and of her love…

“Nainitaal it is then, my love. Just remind me to check the car tank before we leave tomorrow, I really don’t want a repeat telecast of our last trip once again.” She hit him lightly at that and he laughed a little before continuing.
“Anyway, talking of unfinished things… I have a bottle of chocolate syrup in our cupboard that has been lying there for quite a while and I have plans that include it ON you and these have been in my head for a much longer period than I would care to admit, for the fear of scandalizing you. So, what do you say Mrs. Raizada, considering our trip has been cut short by almost five days, don’t you think we need to start early… and of course, don’t expect many breaks now.” He winked at her wickedly and then drove his tongue inside her mouth that had opened in an O at his last comment.
_________________________________________________________________

She retreated back in the darkness. It was their personal moment, something that no one else was supposed to see, to share and the truth was that she really didn’t want to. Yes, she was supposed to be happy for them… for their love and she was… she was… it was just that the pain that she harbored within her, carried with her, that lived with her, embittered every other feeling inside her, every other feeling, except the already bitter ones.

Where did she go wrong? What did she do to deserve this fate? Why did Khushi get everything she had ever wanted for herself? Why was she bereft of all that mattered? Why did it hurt so much? Why was she left alone to hurt… to cry soundlessly? Why was he leaving her when she needed him the most? Why could he not understand her fear of what she might see in those reports tomorrow? Why was he running away? Why was he allowed to run but not her? What if she really wasn’t good enough to be a mother? Why was she jealous of her sister’s happiness? Why is she changing? What is silently tearing inside her? What is soundlessly breaking inside her? Where was the Payal she had always known, loved and hated all at once gone?

The answers were not found that night. But the process had started already… For finding the questions was the first step towards finding the answer… wasn’t it?
_________________________________________________________

“Naniji, humen aapki bahut yaat aayegi.” Khushi sobbed a little as she hugged the older woman. This vidayi ceremony had been going on for quite a while now and two people were quickly loosing their cool, and so while Mamiji made a face, Arnav rolled his eyes.

“Khushi, we are coming back in two days okay. Just stop this and come with me.” He made a move to pull her but she once again looked at everyone and bid a moist farewell to everyone there.

“Jiji, please tell Anjaliji that I said bye to her too, okay?” Arnav rolled his eyes once again, this girl was the limit.

Once in his SUV, he took his mobile and hers and switched them both off. When Khushi protested, he silenced her with a kiss and then said to his slightly drugged wife,

“Khushi for these two days, I am not willing to share you with anyone and so I am confiscating this. Our phones will remain off for the duration.”

“But…”

“And don’t worry, Aman knows how to reach me in case of an emergency, and he not foolish enough to risk his head for anything silly, so we have the weekend all to ourselves dear.” And kissing her shock off her face, he finally turned the car and drove out of the Shantivann premises.
________________________________________________________________

“Did you know, her husband left her.” The woman in red whispered in a voice loud enough for everyone around her to hear.

“What? I thought she left him?” the woman in blue was genuinely confused.

Guruji had taken a short interval while narrating the Ram Katha and the men and women were now busy telling their own ram-kahanis.

“What! Are you mad! What woman in her senses would leave her husband, and that too a handicapped woman? He left her and then her brother, using his power manipulated the system and got him behind the bars.”

“Is that true, behenji?”

“Of course, I have my sources inside the house, so it’s one hundred percent true. I feel so sad for that man, such a beautiful man and a lawyer too. How many good lawyers do you find these days? He could have done so much better had he married my Nisha, but no, Ramji knows what magic that witch had done on him and look what she did to him. He deserved better, poor man!”

Everything else had receded to a humm as she moved down the stairs, but that voice rang clear in hers ears. ‘such a beautiful man and a lawyer too… and look what she did to him. He deserved better, poor man!’

She found herself sitting on a bench in some park, having no idea of how she got there. She had tried calling Chote, but his phone was switched off. She knew she was being selfish, but it hurt so much. The hurt felt like water, water that flowed above her now and she was choking, drowning. The suffocation got too much and she got up, her mind made. Anjali Singh Raizada knew that she was headed for her doom, but where else could she go? Where else did she belong? More importantly, no where else did she want to go but to her ruin. She would start now and then when she had reached there, she would just sit, relax and wait… wait for quamat, for the Judgement Day to come and for the devils to claim her.

 PS: I love reading your reactions, so please be generous with those. My comments section, like my blog is open to all :)

PPS: The banner has also been edited by me, so your comments are welcome on that too :)


Love,
Srija 

17 comments:

rano gill said...

I just want to know that if something happen to anjali will arnav again blame khushi or he learned his lesson....and I never expected that payal will feel like that but life is a bitch ... Awesome..

Anonymous said...

Read the latest I hope you let anjalie gain some strength and self respect ,make her get her own identity .

lovebarun... said...

good update dear

Juwairiah Zia said...

Fantastic update
I am loving Arnav. He is a change man.
I thought he will be very upset if khushi will take decision to cancel their honeymoon. But he reacted oppositely, he understood her, her new priorities like a supportive life partner. The kitchen n Arnav's conversation was very touching. She deserves this, she thinks so much about others so why won't other especially Arnav will not think about her. He reacted very patiently, khushi is indeed lucky.
"it's not a duty of a woman to make sacrifices in relationship" I love this line.
Oh poor Payal, she needs to do something to make Akash realise her worth in their marriage. So much is changing between them, they are getting distant. Both life partners are equal in marriage so they have to face every problem together. Just like khushi is first priority for Arnav , Payal should be first priority for Akash too. He is very loyal with brother but he needs to change now n I am sure Arnav won't mind him giving extra time to Payal, He is a husband too. Akash really hurt payal this time. He needs to be with her at this crucial stage.
Anjali now need to take a stand for herself. Her Chotte won't be with her every moment. As a brother I know Arnav will never back his responsibilities towards his Di but he can't anything to control her life. Anjali is a woman with hidden strength n potential, all what is needed to recognize them n then no one will point fingers to her. People gossip if they are given chance. I hope in next update we will see a brave Anjali.
Waiting for the next update eagerly

rulama said...

That was a lovely update.
Arnav understanding Khushi's state and Khushi wondering how to make choices, Payal wondering where has all the romance gone and Anjali bearing the brunt of the society and feeling all alone.
Hope Anjali does not take untoward steps and hope reasoning prevails.

menaka said...

loved the contrasts in the Raizadas women life. Whereas Khushi has been through enough heartbreak and battled with a mistrusting husband, it's getting better. Arnav is doing all he can to lend his support and love so that Khushi doesn't lose her individuality. But I really wonder whatever happened between Payal and Aakash? I hope he got some clue as to her unhappiness and for once stand by her rather than hide behind his mother's pallu. As for Anjali, life is a bitch ... she deserves better. Wonder when will she stop pitying herself and grow some self-respect.

-Xpress- said...

That was fabulous... glad that kushi shared her inner turmoils to arnav... and everything is find between them... Now also really eager to know what anjali and payal gonna do???
Looking forward to the next part <3

-Xpress-

sugandhbhawna said...

nice update...
waiting for the next part

Anonymous said...

awesum update it was really nice to see how nice arnav handle khushi n make her happy i really feel sry for payal hope her report r normal ohh poor anjili i hope she became strong women n give give this gud for nother ladies deserving answer wait for romantic nanital arshi trip or mini honeymoon thx for blog link sry for late rply was bizy with house hubby n child........roshaan IF

Farheen Sufi said...

I empathise with Payal but what she doesn't know is that Khushi has her own demons to fight, secondly she and Arnav shares a very torturous past where Khushi suffered a lot but still managed to overcome all the hurdles now its Payal's turn to transform herself and work to turn around her personal life around.

So happy to see Arnav being so understanding and accommodating and acting like a true better half of Khushi.

Farheen75

LyssaPie said...

Lovely update, Arnav is just so understanding and Celine did want to help but when she found the reason I bet she found it absurd but I'm glad finally Khushi is at ease.

Poor Payal and Anjali going through rough stuff

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the very late comment. It's been crazy at work lately. Anjali is obviously bearing the brunt of our hypocritical society. It must always be the woman's fault. Poor Payal. I m sure Arnav would have supported Akash if he had told him. But I guess Payal is not really a priority. I m glad for Arnav and Khushi. After all the heartbreak they have faced, they deserve this happiness.

SS88 (IF)

AvikaSharma said...

Nice chapter!
Arnav and Khushi really need some alone time, away from this whole chaos their lives have been lately.
Couldn't make to abroad, Nainital's cool too. :)

What's up with payal. She used to be so level headed, and rational in everything. How can she be jealous of her sister's happiness, heck! noone should. If someone deserves truck load of happiness, its only and only Khushi. First Anjali, and now Payal. And they call themselves sisters. Khushi did so much for them!

Anyways,loved the update. Looking forward to the next, aka honeymoon. :P
*fingers crossed*

Kritika Pande said...

hi this is chavvi16
below is my email id
chavvi09@gmail.com

labiba sharif said...

happiness in arshis life ...at last
poor anjali and payal ....i hope they follow their heart ...thanks for the update
meem17

Anonymous said...

Anjali was always a clingy type, she just chooses to ignore all of Shyam's mistakes, many things were pointing that something was wrong in marriage but she tried to pacify herself saying that everything was hunky dory,
1. Shyam was a lawyer how many times a lawyer travels out of town?
2. Then when he did not come for teej and he couriered Shagun ka samaan, didn’t they notice the local postage.
3. And when Khushi mentioned about her getting engaged to a paying guest and his name is also shyam, ( they might have thought there are so many shyam’s in this world but when she revealed shyam true colors didn’t payal also bring out the truth about shyam, and Anjali quiet conveniently forgot that Khushi came to her first breaking the news about her broken engagement. Couldn’t she put 2 and 2 together.
4. She found shyam hanging around the area where khushi lived several times. She almost caught Shyam talking to Sashi Gupta at the temple. She conveniently blamed Khushi for her disastrous marriage. she went behind Arnav's back and invited him into the house and that's how Shayam was able to create that fiasco at the baby shower where it killed her baby, she even kept walking from her room after she stepped on the glass pieces first as she entered the room and then she cut her feet and she was bleeding she did have come back the same way by walking on the same rug which of glass pieces, here also she was hiding her stupid shyamji.
And Payal also is no less; she blamed Khushi for the break up of her 1st alliance, where in-fact khushi saved her from another leech of a family who were bent up on extracting money from. If not for khushi and Arnav’s interference she would not have married into the Raizada family to her beloved spineless husband of hers, who cannot say one word against his mother no matter how ill his mother talks about his wife.
Except nani they are all selfish people who don’t deserve Arnav and Khushi’s love.

Deepika Gidwani said...

Awesome update, loved how Arnav understood and can feel Khushi's very move! It's like a new step in their lives, I'm so Happy that they both are understanding and moving forward!

Your writing is awesome, makes me love them more!