the chance of a kiss. the words popped into my head one night. seemed like a title and i realised i had to do something about it. it was time to write. here’s what that name took me to. another few moments in the life of asr and khushi. hope you do enjoy. please do leave your comments and i usually reply to comments so please check later.
khushi had to go shopping today. teej was coming and nani ji had said she must go and pick up a nice saree for herself. it would have been fun to go with jiji she thought, but payal and akash were away on a holiday in los angeles, leaving mami ji rather miffed.
“ee bolly-ood ke logan agar holly-ood banna chahe toh kaisan hum suttupiya rahen? coming lakshminagar aaato riksa going lax phur phur phlying… isse kaliyug na kahe toh ka kahe… hello hi bye bye!!! hooonh!”
(these bollywood people, if they want to be hollywood types, then how can i keep quiet. come from lakshminagar by auto rikshaw and want to fly to lax, if this isn’t a sign of terrible times, what is… hello hi bye bye!!! hooonh!)
khushi grinned as she remembered mami ji’s ire, and tossed some chana into her mouth. okay, so shopping by herself, that’s what she had to be resigned to. di was away in management class, and arnav ji would never go shopping for sarees with her. though how she wished… she tossed another bite of crunchy crisp slightly salty chana into her mouth and paused to enjoy the taste.
a true connoisseur of the humble chickpea here… its freshness, its faint musky aroma, its crusty then melt in your mouth feel, lingering, spreading, blending on the tongue, the palate, the taste releasing with tiny bursts at each bite and melt…
khushi moaned in delight… this was just wonderful, so wonderful, the best feeling ever…
well, maybe just one other feeling was better.
khushi’s eyes flew open. arnav ji’s kiss. khushi struggled with this unsettling thought in the middle of the morning. she was thinking of him kissing her, while eating chana. was this a good sign or a bad sign? what was happening to her?
but before she could get into a proper tizzy, there came the flurry of dhakdhak. how to think of her terribly crunchy, musky, mmman, and not get…
stop it! she admonished herself, those are chana words, arnav ji isn’t like that, he’s… and jump cut to ears flaming. what was happening? her ear lobes felt a heat rising. then came goosebumps up her shin. she hopped in frustration, rubbed her ears hard.
chana chana chana, she told herself, think of the chana.
and she heard the phone ring… ah, something to save her from these crazy thoughts, she grabbed the phone and pressed it to a rather hot ear,
“khushi!” it was him. her hand shook.
“ha-haan…” worry lines started forming on her forehead… why couldn’t he understand, this was not the right to to call her, laad governor really.
“tum theek ho?” came the abrupt question, worry making his voice huskier, grainier; it clung on to her ears, brushed against her ear drums she felt its touch, its concern. she started to reply but realised she couldn’t find her voice. it had plunged deep down somewhere.
(are you alright?)
“hmhm hm…” she cleared her throat and managed a trembling, “ha-aan… kyun?”
(hmhm.. ye..yeah, why?)
“ok, just something i felt… mujhe laga tum theek nahin ho…”
(ok, just something i felt… thought you weren’t alright…)
she tried to say something smart and funny and heard herself gurgle unintelligibly…
“bye,” he said softly.
khushi almost moaned out loud. raksha karna devi maiyya, she said, “theek hai,” instead.
(save me, mother goddess.) (alright)
when she put the phone down, she knew what she had to do.
no more procrastination. she picked up her bag, her trusty cloth jhola with its long handle that slipped over her head and its roomy easy pouch, and dashed out of rm, calling out to nani ji as she left, “nani ji, hum saree leke aatey hain..!”
(nani ji, i’ll get the saree!)
as she ran out of the gate, mohan the driver followed her, “khushi ji, hum aap ko le chale?” shall i drive you, khushi ji? he could never figure out why the wife of one of the richest men in the city always preferred to race out and hail her own three wheeler.
(khushi ji, shall i drive you?)
khushi stopped in her tracks. she was about to decline when an image flashed in her head. she in a yellow green saree, and arnav ji nuzzling her neck, her ears, from behind, blowing on the errant tendrils of hair; she squirming, expectant, wanting a compliment from him, almost passing out at the sensations aroused.
and then he was saying, “iss saree mein tum bilkul…”
“bilkul?” deep breathing on.
“bilkul dilli ki auto rikshaw lagti ho.”
in this saree you look exactly… exactly like the delhi auto rikshaw…!?!!
hey devi maiyya.
was nothing safe from this man.
first chana. now the auto rikshaw. how would she live like this?
she turned and meekly followed mohan to the car. arnav ji had bought her her own red beetle, flower vase with fresh flower every day, sometimes she drove it, especially when she and jiji went to get some chaat from bengali market. but today she was not in a state… no, she opted to take the family car instead, mohan ji at the wheel.
when she entered the upscale boutique at connaught place, there was that rush to serve her which she was still really really uncomfortable with. arnav ji had showed her a very nice english film, yes just to please him she’d watched it too. it was called “pretty woman, ” and there he’d pointed out a scene where the hero… kitne sundar aur susheel the woh bhi, sorry salman ji… haan, the hero had taken the heroine shopping to the same place where they were rude to her when they thought she had no money, and how they flocked around her now, now that she was with him…
(how good looking and good he too was, sorry salman ji… )
arnav ji had been stroking her hand, doodling on her wrist, and she was having trouble focusing, then he’d casually leaned over to whisper to her, “see? no need to get worried if everyone wants to serve you, khushi.”
she’d felt his warm breath on her hair, her cheek, a frisson of anticipation in her. okhhh.
khushi pulled herself together. he was back. even entering a shop had become a dangerous activity now.
“nahiiin!” she shouted to herself, don’t give up, khushi, don’t give up… you can do it… you will not think of him any more today… you won’t let him take over your thoughts like this…
with a determined thrusting up of chin, khushi walked up to the sarees section and started to look for one. the young girl who was assisting her was kind and eager to help.
“what sort of saree, madam? for any occasion?”
“haan, woh teej ke liye…”
(yes…. for teej…)
“okay, what colour would you like? something in red maybe?”
something in red? nooo. he liked red.
“green, phir? or yellow?”
what was this? had he placed spies everywhere… just to remind her. that was it! that arnav singh raizada… how dare he… wait till she got him!!! khushi checked her bout of sanak and got back to reality.
“nahiin, i’d like to see that sky blue saree, and that one, the pale pink one…”
she took the sarees and went to the trial rooms. the rooms were part of an enclosure beyond a glinting curtain made of tiny mirrors. as she parted them, a tinkling of glass… how pretty she thought. just like the sound of my bangles that day when arnav ji was so worried for me, those lovely orange and red and gold bangles he bought… she began to smile at the memory, and again a rush of desire…
ohhh she was missing him today. she wanted him. no point in denying this any longer.
oddly enough, she felt tears sting the back of her eyes.
yes, there were times she felt so alone without him. almost empty. she wanted, no, needed him to be there. to touch her, to hold her, to kiss her… fill her with his energy… that incredible energy of arnav singh raizada. her eyes closed, she felt her body give. she was done with fighting this. she sat down on the plush single sofa in front of her, her body slumping.
the sound of bangles again.
bangles? no she wasn’t wearing so many… it was the curtains.
she looked up.
and there he stood, his hands still holding the curtains he’d just parted, looking at her.
beautiful in his crisp white shirt, charcoal grey waistcoat, grey slim trousers, and that smart fitting jacket. but most of all, beautiful in a way only he could be.
khushi blinked. this couldn’t be happening. arnav ji had an important meeting today about a big deal, he couldn’t be here. was she dreaming?
she blinked again.
but he was still standing right there, looking at her, his eyes searching her face for something.
“aa…aap?” khushi said faintly as she stood up.
he walked in and the curtains settled back… that sound again. he came up to her and let his arms slide around her gathering her close. mmm warm musky aroma, khushi’s hands went up his chest, up… up all the way till they met behind his neck, her fingers curled around his hair, playing. silky, thick hair… she grabbed a handful and tugged gently. his head came down as though waiting for that signal, brown simmering eyes closing in…
at the last instant he jerked her close with a swift movement, and let his lips swoop down on hers. hard, insistent, forceful; drawing a drop of blood from her soft tender quivering lips. she enjoyed their crunch, the salt on her lips from the blood… and waited.
in time the lips grew gentle, tender, exploring, maddening… lingering… his kiss grew deeper, teeth nipping gently, tongue tasting, playing…
she held on and loved every moment of this heaven. this is what she’d wanted from the morning today.
“aap chane se bhi achhe hain…” you’re better than chana… what was she saying?! why couldn’t her tongue have some control? now he’d say “what the?” then look upset, then he’d lecture her about her inability to give in to the moment, then she’d get mad at him, they’d fight, he would say “enough!” she would storm out…
the kissing however didn’t stop, he was still nibbling at her lips, then he half opened his eyes and whispered as he plonked tiny kisses in between words, “what? really? better than chana? are you sure, khushi kiss kumari kiss gupta kiss singh kiss raizada kiss?”
she realised the last two kisses had been her kissing him back.
again tears stung her eyes. what was wrong with her! but really, this man, her arnav ji, how he made her feel. bet even that handsome rich man didn’t make his pretty woman feel like that. or ranjha his heer, or majnu his laila, or raj his bobby.
“aapne bobby dekhi hai?”
(have you seen bobby?)
“what the…” oh, she had managed to reduce him to that after all. she smiled.
“bobby? who’s bobby?” he seemed more perturbed than necessary. did he think bobby was a man? someone she…?
“aap bobby nahin jaante? toh kya jaantey hain aap? it was my amma’s first hindi picture, she was almost 6 then… amma says it was the hit film of the year. raj kapoor ji told the most dhamakedaar love story in it… and there was rishi kapoor ji as the hero and dimple ji…”
(you don’t know bobby? so what do you know? it was my mother’s favourite picture… she was almost 6 then… mother says it was the hit film of the year. raj kapoor ji told the most fabulous love story in it… and there was rishi kapoor ji as the hero and dimple ji…)
“khushi, what’s the point?” but his voice was a bit less tense… he had thought bobby was a man…
“nahin, there’s a song there where bobby, the girl, says if a tiger comes, she will protect her raj ji and tell the tiger to eat her instead…”
“a..a..and…?” his eyebrow went up quizzically.
“a..a..and kya? main bhi…” she was irritated at having to spell it all out, why wasn’t this man romantic at all… no “ishara” he understood.
(a..a..and what? i too…)
“tum bhi, what?” he asked innocently, but a lopsided smile had started taking shape…
(you too, what?)
“i’ll also tell the tiger to eat me, instead of you… samjhe aap!” she said in exasperated tone… what was the point of being from lucknow and so dry and matter of fact. it must be that business shizness school he went to… that harvard or whatever.
(i too will tell the tiger to eat me, isntead of you… d’you understand?)
he couldn’t control his smile any more… that funny rush of love he felt for this decidedly strange girl… he held her tight and said, “think i’d let him?…”
then after another slow heady kiss, “but something i didn’t understand today… why is it that i kept feeling i had to kiss you, till i just had to, i left the meeting as soon as i could and came looking for you… and you know i had a strange thought about you in a yellow and green saree, you were looking…”
“like a delhi auto rikshaw?”
“uh hun, absolutely beautiful… sexy, i wanted to…”
sometimes words are superfluous, thankfully arnav singh raizada the unromantic had a pretty good idea when.
arnav singh raizada and khushi kumari gupta are beautiful characters conceived and created by the writers, actors, directors, producers of iss pyaar ko kya naam doon. while watching them across 398 episodes of this daily serial, somewhere the characters started becoming part of my life, and began to belong to me. i thank the original creators for a lend of the two characters as i weave my own tales about them. thanks also for all the other players. these stories are written just for pleasure and involve no commercial gain, but have to say the enjoyment is priceless.