Arshi FF : Not Cut Out For Love

not cut out for love: chapter 29

INDEX

 

“khushi?” asr stared at the girl in his arms tears beginning to stream down her cheeks.

“what’s the matter… don’t cry like that…” his voice grew urgent, “i didn’t mean to hurt you, i was worried… are you upset about what i said… you know i didn’t mean that, you know…”

“i know you didn’t mean it,” khushi said and looked up at him, then with a sob, she started weeping again.

“enough!” he spat out sharply through gritted teeth “i said, stop crying!”

khushi was too taken aback not to comply instantly. but her eyes were still filled with an overflow of tears and the man looking into them had an angry frown and yet his eyes were blazing with exactly what khushi couldn’t tell.

“okay, okay… come with me,” he said and was tugging her by the hand and leaving the office even as he spoke. he marched her down the corridor, past the open plan office downstairs without saying anything, but his grip on her hand was gentle. khushi could feel it and a calm began to seep through to her. she tried to control her expression as they passed the ar executives sitting at their work stations… khushi even managed a smile at the receptionist.

of course, neither of them saw the astonished look on the faces hurrying to hide behind computers.

the boss was holding akash sir’s executive assistant’s hand and walking around openly in front of the whole office! not everyone at ar was aware of the goings on of the past few days and never ever before had they seen the stern, workaholic chief of ar in a hand holding mood with an employee.

the silence that descended had several breaths held and almost choking in it. the moment the two were out of the office, a medley of exhales could be heard and then a hum gradually rising.

when akash came downstairs and asked if anyone had seen khushi, he couldn’t fathom the strange quiet that greeted his question, nor the exchange of looks with several expressions in the pairs of eyes that had gotten very busy the moment they heard him.

what was going on? akash shook his head, puzzled. then he thought he might as well call payal ji and ask her if khushi had gone back home, he had a feeling bhai might have seen her in that nasty frame of mind. and bhai was not easy to deal with when he was in that state.

payal saw akash ji was calling her, but her hands were both occupied rolling out samosa dough and before she could do anything about that, billo mausi said, “koi nai, beta, i’ll answer it for you,” and picked up her mobile.

(no problem, child, i’ll answer it for you!)

akash heard the ring tone stop and something seemed to come over him at the thought of payal ji holding the phone on the other side.

he said softly, “you didn’t say ‘i love you’ to me, payal ji, this morning, now i just can’t concentrate on my work…”

there was no immediate reply but a little bit of heavy breathing could be heard at the other end.

akash dropped his tone even lower and said huskily, “say it to me, payal ji…now!”

a loud bellow split his ear.

a voice that was most certainly not payal ji’s yelled, “badmash! besharam! you are talking such nonsense to a sharif good girl, i’ll show you!!”

(scoundrel! shameless wretch! you are talking such nonsense to a well brought up good girl, i’ll show you!!)

akash was too shocked to do anything, he disconnected.

who was that? and how could anyone else have answered payal ji’s phone! it occurred to him then that perhaps she was busy and maybe his mother in law to be or bua ji or someone he didn’t even know, could have answered.

akash wanted to kick himself for doing what he had done… spontaneity was just not his thing, why had he imagined he could get away with it!

he sighed, and took off his specs, then started wiping it with a handkerchief distractedly.

“akash!” lavanya was standing in front of him, frowning, “what’s the matter? tum theek ho?”

(what’s the matter? are you okay?)

akash realised he was still downstairs standing in the middle of the work floor.

“ye-yes, lavanya, everything is perfect… er, have you seen khushi anywhere?” he asked.

in lakshminagar, payal stared at a samosa skin that looked like the map of asia instead of the perfect circles she had been making till then.

billo mausi’s “badmash” had her startled, by “besharam” she knew akash ji must have said those things he was saying this morning again. she felt her neck go hot, her ears burn, her cheeks flame.

when billo mausi slammed the phone down and said, “pata nahin, in this city what sort of people get hold of phones… payal, be careful, beta… this time i told the loafer off… always check before answering a call, okay?” all payal could do was nod slowly looking resolutely at the rolling pin which had halted in its track.

then payal smiled slightly, akash ji as “loafer” was a funny and faintly exciting thought. she remembered how he had eaten those jalebis back in bali, looking at her with warm slightly unfocussed eyes. she wanted to feed him one herself… or maybe a samosa, a really hot one? oh, she did love this man. she smiled shyly at the thought and went back to rolling the dough.

 

***

 

asr took khushi straight to the suv and helped her sit, he fixed her seat belt and went around to his side and started the car.

“but… where…” khushi was confused? where were they going now? there was so much work to be done… and akash ji had said it was urgent… now this peremptory laad governor was taking her somewhere.

and why had she let him kiss her even! she had to be strong. she had to stop all this.

“i said…” she started, sounding stern, her lips thinning as she ratcheted up her temper ready to take on her adversary.

“why do you talk so much, khushi!” he said to her and then added a dazzling, slightly not straight smile.

khushi felt her heart do a somersault. no, she could have sworn, it flipped twice… her voice choked at the same time too. and her toes, to top everything, tingled.

she shut up. her legs moved involuntarily.

“tum theek ho? anything the matter with your feet? why are they shifting around like that?” he asked again brusque and matter of fact.

(are you okay?)

“huh! nahin… wo…” then she found her strength again, “i won’t marry you!” she said once more. she would not let him fob her off like this.

“let’s talk about this in a bit!” he said curtly and looking straight ahead, drove; a little too fast for her comfort.

khushi could tell the speed was notching up and a terrible feeling began to come over her. but she was not going to talk to this rakshas. he didn’t care anyway. she would be strong and not give in.

“what the!” he fumed under his breath, as he lowered the speed quickly. she looked up startled.

“why must you keep quiet when you know you are uncomfortable!” he shouted, “why are you so exasperating, khushi kumari gupta!”

she was feeling sick and yet angry at the same time. she wanted to do something violent.

he stopped the car, reached behind and got a bottle of water.

“here, drink some!” he thrust the bottle into her hand.

she unscrewed the top, eyes narrowing. how she wanted to pour the water all over his arrogant head.

“don’t even think about it,” he whispered, lips tight, a terse edge to his voice, his whole look.

khushi drank a few gulps of water, then started spluttering and coughing as the liquid went down the wrong way.

“khushi!” asr turned swiftly to her and started patting her back. first gently, then hard… yet the coughing wouldn’t stop.

he held her chin with the most tender touch and lifted her head, “look up! look up!… there, see how pretty khushi looks, all dressed up as a bride…” he said, the grain in his voice deep and full.

khushi was so surprised she forgot to cough. she swallowed hard and the next moment she felt her throat ease. she was alright.

what was that… she looked at him eyes wide and then blinked… once… twice.

he could feel something begin to stir near his heart. nonsense, dammit… he thought; and looked away from her quickly, starting the car again.

“wh–what was that?” khushi asked, still feeling lost, tremulous.

“nothing, just something my mother used to do when i choked… look up look up… there, see how handsome arnav looks, all dressed up as a bridegroom…” he said it nonchalantly, like it didn’t matter, there was even a derisive ring to it… silly things women say it seemed to suggest.

and yet, khushi could hear below all that… a longing… a hurt… a sadness that never went away.

she knew she was very angry with him… but she still had to reach out and put a quiet hand on his forearm. she knew her arnav ji… what? her arnav ji? no! just arnav ji… just… magarmach, yes! no! her arnav ji… her mind refused to let her escape this time… he was hurting and that just was not okay with her.

he looked down startled at her hand, then laughed a little unkindly and said with an eyebrow shooting up, “and you also hold the arms of men you are not going to marry… i see.”

he meant to be hateful clearly.

khushi didn’t disappoint him.

she snarled and snatched her hand away and sat looking fixedly ahead.

 

***

 

“raanisahiba, you are looking so beautiful today,” shyam was gazing adoringly into anjali’s eyes as she sat arranging frangipani on her puja platter.

she was going to do a special havan for chhotey today, there was hardly any time for the formal ceremonies of a wedding. chhotey had insisted that there was no need for an engagement or any of the other thirteen odd ceremonies that preceded a raizada wedding. this included the auspicious last meal as a bachelor at one’s own home. how she wished he would let her do that, she really wanted to make him all the things that maa loved to cook and decorate the formal silver thali and bowls nowadays used only for such ceremonial meals, but chhotey was adamant. nothing.

he was willing to do the haldi ritual the morning of the wedding. he was persuaded to do the pheras… but it had to be a small private ceremony, something simple. he saw no need for such things, the only marriage which was considered valid by law was anyway the registered marriage so why not have a simple registration and be done with it?

what was all the fuss about.

“no, di!” he had looked stern, “none of that shadi tamasha, what i can’t do, i can’t… you wanted me to marry… i am marrying. but the wedding will happen the way i want it… bas!”

(no di! none of that wedding madness, what i can’t do, i can’t… you wanted me to marry… i am marrying. but the wedding will happen the way i want it… that’s it!)

“but… but!” anjali had looked around desperately for a way to convince him, “but what about khushi ji? have you thought about what she might want… a girl has many dreams for her wedd-”

“dreams!” asr had cut in with a harsh smile, “yeah… it’s a dream really… an empty silly dream… that says marriage is a wonderful thing!”

“chhotey!” anjali had been horrified, she had been angry, “stop talking like that! yes, khushi ji has dreams… the best kind, the most blessed kind… about her wedding! remember that, even if you don’t care about anything… other people do…”

“okay okay, di!” he had been calm suddenly, he did not want to hassle di, not when she was pregnant, so he had let the moment pass… “i’m sorry… fine? now i have to go, you take care, okay?” he had given her a terse smile and gone away.

anjali was glad he had not said anything about the havan when she had told him. she had also told him to bring khushi back with him, she would call the gupta family and speak to them, inviting everyone over. she hoped he remembered… anjali was about to call chhotey when her husband came and sat before her.

anjali turned to him and smiled back, “only today? i don’t look beautiful on other days?”

“nahiin nahiiin, raanisahiba, i just want to say this to you every day, one day at a time… if i say ‘you are beautiful hamesha,’ then don’t i lose the precious opportunity to say the words more often and be given that absolutely delightful look by you? you know your devoted husband is a lawyer, raanisahiba… i will not lose an opportunity to gain advantage…” shyam was smiling indulgently at anjali, he had taken the day off he said to help with the arrangements for the havan.

anjali looked at shyam dotingly, “aa…aap bhi na!” she said and blushed.

(you…you are something else!)

“raanisahiba, once we are done with all the work, i want to take you somewhere special… okay? so be ready!” shyam said as he got up.

“somewhere special? today? but, shyam ji…” anjali started to say they had too much going on to leave in the middle of it all, but shyam interrupted her with a finger on her lips.

“yes, today… because it is so special… uh huh! no more protests, you are coming with me!”

anjali looked at the blood red frangipani on the platter and thought she was really a lucky girl.. to have two such wonderful men in her life.

no, chhotey was wrong, marriage had beauty in it, a beauty that could last.

ever since that night when everything had ended, anjali had struggled with the idea of marriage. she had lost faith in the whole thing, though she rarely spoke of it. she had seen the ease with which even the man who was to have married her that evening, had walked away from a commitment he had made.

anjali had watched shocked as the evening and its aftermath came upon them… changing everything… breaking and destroying so much, it was not possible to find and keep track of all the hurt and pain and more that struck her and chhotey. how hard she had tried to find back her trust, her belief… she had turned to god and prayer for calm, her fears she had brought and placed before the eternal, perhaps it was a plea to help her regain her equanimity, herself.

and all the while someone right by her had been there, a young steadfast boy who had come into her life when she was seven and a bit… and had followed her around everywhere as a child, though at fourteen he was a teenager and in no mood to have his sister pinch his cheek or cuddle him.

chhotey.

chhotey had held her in his arms, his young strong uncluttered grip, and said, “di, main hoon… hamesha, aap ke paas, aap ke saath… i will make everything okay, you don’t worry, okay?”

(di, i am here… always, near you, by your side… i will make everything okay, you don’t worry, okay?)

anjali smiled faintly at the memory. her chhotey. she had believed him. she had known she could. and had let him be her mainstay in that calamitous hour.

and when shyam ji had come and wanted to offer her what she had thought was no longer in her fate, she had hesitantly reached out and let it come… if she had had any doubts, shyam ji with his gentle caring ways had taken them all away. nothing mattered to him it appeared… not her handicap, nor her age, her shattered wedding, even her inability to completely separate herself from her family. he loved her and wanted to be part of her life.

everybody had grown to care for and respect her husband who had fit in so beautifully with her family. he had told her he adored her folks and since he was an orphan with no one to call his own, he would adopt her family as his.

shyam ji bhi na! anjali smiled to herself.

it was so good to see chhotey take to shyam ji. she knew chhotey respected him a lot, in fact, after pita ji’s… betrayal, chhotey had lost faith in many things… seemed to her, shyam ji had brought a bit of that trust back.

and yet, he did not believe in marriage still.

anjali wondered why. in fact, the way he had scoffed at a girl’s dreams of a wedding, there had been a vehement bitterness in his tone. what was the matter?

had something happened again to exacerbate his old wound?

what could it possibly be?

anjali stroked the soft yet strong petals of the frangipani. red. yes, chhotey loved red.

 

***

 

asr pulled into the porch of the taj mansingh hotel and got out passing the key to a valet for parking.

the liveried watchman had come around to open khushi’s door. she got out looking disoriented… what were they doing in a hotel in the middle of the day? she felt arnav ji’s hand on her elbow and looked up, he was steering her toward the staircase leading to the lobby already.

why was this man so swift and sure all the time, khushi grumbled to herself.

everything at high speed. she remembered how he had come the very same day that he had called her in lucknow, to pick her up.

and then the moment he wanted to see her in bali, he had made her take a plane.

she had taken it too!

khushi said to herself, she would not give in to his bullying and rushing any more.

asr walked straight to a door behind the reception area, the man standing there knew him and smiled widely.

of course, everyone in fancy places knew the laad governor, khushi thought with a nasty grimace, as they were led to a quiet table at the restaurant that lay beyond the door. but huh! the chanawala at devi maiyya temple behind lakshminagar bus stop knew her, khushi kumari gupta… okay! not you, you arnav singh raizada.

also the golgappa man, bankelal ji, who set up stall next to the flower shop at sarojini market. so no need to look so smug, you rakshas. khushi’s eyes narrowed, her eyebrows moved up and down, her pompoms bobbed just a bit as she tossed her head a little in keeping with the “hoonh!” coursing through her mind.

“when you have finished having a chat with yourself, khushi, you may wish to order some food… it’s almost two in the afternoon and you must be…” asr was sounding most reasonable.

“ravenous!” she said before she could stop herself, she had learnt the word from jon piye ji who was going around trying to find some sort of expression of it, she had no idea why…

asr looked at her, eyes bright. she checked herself immediately, also cursed her unthinking mind.

“no… er… i am fine… you eat… i will just have some…” she looked around and grabbed the glass in front of her, “…water!”

“okay!” he said, and looked at the waiter, “i’ll have a chicken sandwich… toasted. and for the lady, a masala dosa with an extra helping of the spicy chutney, a rasam, maybe some vade, and rasmalai, thanks. i’ll have coffee, black… after the meal and the lady will have mango lassi.”

khushi was staring at him, eyes becoming rounder and more angry at every word.

“mr raizada, south indians don’t have dosa during lunch…” she said tartly, remembering what their tamil neighbour back in gomti sadan always said.

“aah… really?” came the smooth answer, “but khushi kumari gupta, you are not south indian, so i guess it should be quite alright…” he shrugged and made a face.

“anyway, i wanted to talk to you about something else… i can’t marry you!” khushi decided to take the bull by the horns. she would have her say… and her way, this time.

did she imagine it or was there a flash of anger and something else in his eyes?

“so you keep telling me,” he said in an almost friendly tone, “would you care to tell me why and how you have come to think that whatever you say is going to happen?”

khushi realised he was not being friendly at all. and yes, that had been anger streaking through his eyes.

she swallowed at the menacing tone and felt her toes wriggle, “i don’t think it is right… and beside…” her brow puckered as she recalled the woman who had called and threatened that ar’s show would be ruined if she went through with the wedding.

“and beside…?” asr was looking at her keenly.

khushi wondered how she was going to tell him all this… she was staring down hard at the table, before her the silverware glinted, she could see his reflection on the gleaming white porcelain plate, the delicate pink petals of the roses suddenly looked so terribly fragile.

hey devi maiyya, by opening her mouth about shyam ji what had she landed everyone in…

she had no way of knowing if the phone call was made by an associate of shyam ji’s but if she had kept quiet, then all this would never have happened.

arnav ji wouldn’t have found out and told shyam ji. lavanya ji would not have been in an accident. she, khushi, would never have had to consider marriage with arnav ji and the lady with the cool voice would not have threatened ar.

khushi shuddered as she remembered the voice. ciao, darling. what did this woman mean?

“what’s the matter, khushi? why aren’t you saying anything?” his voice sounded almost gentle.

that made only tears rush to her eyes. it was all her fault, all of this. she stared harder at the white table cloth and wondered what detergent they used to wash clothes in this place. she had been trying to get the bedsheets at bua ji’s to look brighter, but alas the chamko detergent powder was not half as good as the advertisement had promised.

“okay… let’s eat, we’ll talk after that,” asr said taking a decision as the food arrived.

khushi ate with her head bent still. the dosa was hot and crisp and the masala was delicious, she tucked into it hungrily, taking little sips of the spicy rasam in between. once she was done, she picked up the vade and went through two effortlessly. following which it was the rasmalai’s turn. she gazed at it for a second, maybe she had had enough?

she looked up for the first time after almost half an hour. he was sitting back in his chair, a cup hovered by his lips and he was looking at her, his irises were still and again khushi wondered about the look in them.

she decided she would have the rasmalai after all and dug in. she didn’t notice the little smile that lit up two eyes for an instant before they went opaque brown again.

 

***

 

“come!” he said getting up the moment she had finished.

khushi was feeling a bit better and almost lightheaded with the large meal. within minutes they were going up in the elevator and then they were in a beautifully appointed suite.

khushi looked around the large sitting room and gaped. what were they doing here? asr went and sat down on a plush sofa covered in pale pistachio green velvet and gestured to her to take a seat as well.

khushi frowned and sat on a single high backed chair with dark leather upholstery, as far away from him as possible.

“okay, now tell me, what’s the problem?” asr was matter of fact.

“problem? n..nothing… but i can’t…” khushi began.

the next instant she was wincing and struggling as he had grabbed her by the shoulders and hauled her to stand up, just inches away from him.

his face was set and grim, “why? why can’t you? what is the problem?”

she flinched at his tone, “problem? everything is a problem!” she shot back.

“i am the problem… i! samjhe aap? i should never have told you then none of this would have happened,” she was sobbing in her rage and beating his chest with her fists, quite unaware of what she was doing… the pain had burgeoned suddenly and started to explode in her.

(i am the problem… i! do you understand?)

she had no idea why it hurt so much, but it did…

he caught her fists tightly with both hands and said, “yes! you are the problem… you absolutely are, but now it’s too late, dammit!”

khushi could feel her control snapping completely at that. so even he thought she was the problem.

she went limp and tears fell freely from her eyes now, rolling down her cheeks, falling all the way down onto the plush carpet as she strained away from him and turned her face to one side.

“yes, you are the problem,” he muttered, his eyes roaming over her face. without saying anything else, he picked her up and took her into the room next door, and laid her down on the sprawling king size bed swathed in fine cotton bed linen in sparkling white.

“khushi, i am in the next room, when you are ready to talk, come over… ” he started to walk away.

“arnav ji, what is the meaning of ‘ciao darling’?” khushi’s voice was small and tired.

“hello… darling!” he turned around, “or… goodbye… but who said that to you?”

“she called just when you walked into the office and said… and said, they would ruin the show if i married you…” khushi was looking at the white sheets as she spoke.

again in a flash, he was by her side, “is that why you’re saying you can’t marry me?” his tone was sharp.

khushi kept quiet.

“answer me, khushi, dammit!” he growled.

“n…no! not only that…” khushi looked up at him.

“then what, khushi, what? tell me!” he was beginning to look angry again.

“marriage, arnav ji, is not a game… and if it is not done for the right reason… it is a terrible disrespect of something sacred…” khushi answered him finally, all that was bothering her coming to the fore.

“something sacred?” there was a mocking glint in asr’s eyes now, “i am seeing how sacred it is, khushi… sab bakwas hai… people just say these things, because they think it sounds nice, right… but what they do… at least i don’t lie about such things. i say what i mean and do just that! sacred… really… anyway, who made the call and tell me what she said!”

(i am seeing how sacred it is, khushi… it’s all humbug… people just say these things,)

“aap… aap… don’t change the subject!” khushi burst out.

“subject? there is none… you are marrying me… this is non-negotiable, now tell-” he said gruffly.

“nahin tell you!” khushi snapped now, “why is it non… non.. whatever… why do i have to marry you… have to.. have to… bade aaye laad governor!”

(… why do i have to marry you… have to… have to… as if you’re the lord governor!)

“what! you are calling me names now! listen, you…” he thrust his face aggressively coming really close… khushi could see the little lines radiating around his molten brown irises, his stubble was so dark and prickly, his breath was falling rapidly, warm, jerky… just above her upper lip.

she looked up into his eyes and everything went still. a large amorphous silence descended… almost a place in itself.

“you are marrying me… and i will be your husband… that is all, d’you understand?” he said in the silence. khushi closed her eyes and wondered why she felt a sudden thrill at his insistent, demanding voice. her husband. she shivered.

“kiss me, khushi!” he said softly, “you are the problem, don’t you see?”

she drew away from him, “no, arnav ji… everything is not to be just joked about and played with… i wish i hadn’t told you about shyam ji… then, then… all this would never have happened.”

“what nonsense,” asr snapped, drawing away, “stop talking rubbish… not tell me about shyam…” his teeth were clenched, “and let my di live with a two timing, dangerous… khushi, have you gone out of your mind? or what is this now? is it again about that sacred marriage thing? so even if your husband is a monster, you live with him… even if it is killing you every second… even if one day you must die because of it… this… this sacred.. so damn sacred thing you go on and on about…”

as he spoke he grew more enraged, he was shaking by the time he stopped, his words seemed to be wrenched out of him, physically hurting.

khushi watched dumbstruck.

she hadn’t meant to hurt him in any way… but…

she got up swiftly and stood before him, “no, arnav ji,” she said, trying to reach him, “i didn’t mean that…”

“you know, she tried…” asr spoke as though he hadn’t even heard her, “she tried so hard to stay happy… stay untouched by all that was going on, while he played… he didn’t give a damn… no one gave a damn. there were women in his life, many, one, i have no idea… but she tried with everything she had…” his eyes closed, he seemed to be in a world far away and khushi felt an emptiness in the room. she wanted to hold him, but she stood quietly, some sixth sense telling her this was not the time to intrude in his world.

“all those pujas, the many ways of trying to make him happy, his favourite food, his kind of music, his friends, his desires… everything for him… in the end…” asr put his head down and sat there saying nothing.

khushi could feel her heart aching for him. how had she been so foolish? of course, she had to tell him about shyam ji. anjali ji had to be protected from her husband. she knew arnav ji would do the right thing and make it alright for his sister. he loved his di so much… and she him. how had she, khushi, become so selfish in her quest to feel right about the marriage that she had been this callous toward arnav ji.

she watched his downcast face and swallowed hard… no he didn’t need her now. she had taken him straight to the hell of his parents’ terrifying marriage… and the loss of his mother. she turned, her legs felt leaden but she didn’t want to crowd him… he needed to be alone.

“khushi… don’t go,” he said it quietly and when she turned around she saw his hand, he was holding it out to her.

she stepped back, a surge of happiness and relief coming over her. she let her hand hold his… tightly. he pulled her onto his lap and sat with her, his arms around her.

there was something in that moment neither seemed to want to disturb.

it mattered little that nothing had been resolved. that there were all sorts of danger lurking nearby. that they stood on opposite sides of the spectrum on the idea of marriage.

she put her arms around him and held him closer still and settled her head on his left shoulder.

he felt her soft yet strong hold, the pressure of her head against his upper chest, just above where his heart beat. she snuggled and curled her body into his, she had kicked off her mojris and he could see her tiny little toes, they were wriggling. he felt a rush of tenderness… and a stirring again near his heart.

he realised that he, arnav singh raizada, had been wrong. absolutely and completely wrong about one thing.

once he married her, he could never let her go. he would never let her go.

“so, khushi, will you marry me?” he asked her in a brusque voice. he didn’t want her to know for an instant that he had been wrong.

khushi held him tighter and nodded her head into his brown jacket, she liked the touch of light cashmere against her cheek…

“haan, arnav ji, hum aap se shaadi karenge…” she murmured.

(yes, arnav ji, i will marry you…)

“good!” he laughed, “now that that’s settled, tell me about your mystery caller… what did she say?”

“that she will make sure the show…” khushi began…

“no no! that other thing… ciao… what?” he sounded businesslike, cool.

“darling!” khushi replied without thinking.

“what!” he pushed her head up so he was looking at her as he said, “again you are calling me names!”

she realised he was chuckling and then of course, his head came down and he was kissing her fiercely.

khushi wondered why she could never deny this terrible man. and again he had rushed her and she had gone along. hey devi maiyya, how would she handle this man when he became her… husband.

 

 

ncofl 2 400

INDEX

find all chapters here

ncofl chapter 30

 

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Saman
    January 2, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I want to say that I love how you have captured her distraction when he gives his rare smile… Does he know his smile has the power to make her lose her chain of thought?… and us?

    I want to tell you how enthralling I find this struggle going on inside him… all the reasons and justifications and strategies that he comes up with to keep her close and then how all those justification and reasons and strategies disperse in the air like so much smoke… and the irrefutable fact shines through… HE CAN NOT LET HER GO!

    I want to say that I love your interpretation of Love… Actually Khushi says this in the show… She thought that when she will fall in love… she will see her beloved everywhere… You have gifted or cursed ASR with that love, haven’t you… He thinks about her constantly… even when he tries to evict her from his thoughts… she is there. He goes into full fledged panic mode at any hint of separation or danger to her… And all that anger, all that arrogance… you have used that so well.

    And then there is Khushi… her scatterbrained… absolutely convoluted chain of thought is such a delight to read. This is the Khushi we fell in love with… indomitable… at least in her mind.

    … and this is why I love your writing!!!

    • Reply
      indi
      January 2, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      saman, i am beginning to enjoy reading your comments on the chapters… they seem to add to it all somehow. i read ncofl once in a way, especially when i update and proof read. i too giggle while reading or get that funny angst they set up, or the toe tingling heart twist… i have forgotten the little details i wrote along the way, i am often surprised i wrote them at all, i think what you say about the characters we fell for might have something to do with it… i was really angry and sad about the changes brought in later. maybe that lingered and found cause to express itself through a story like this? i remember one night sitting at my computer, past eleven, or was it one… and suddenly writing the prologfue, no idea what the story was or where it was headed. came back after almost three months i think to actually write it. everything happened inside me, without keeping me to well informed about it… it was something i’d never have known can happen if it hadn’t happened to me. and now after more than a year of writing it, you’re reading it and perhaps picking on those feelings of mine, who knows. enjoy, saman, the kabooter is happy as hell somewhere i know.

  • Reply
    gprs
    August 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    Why do you make them so irresistible Indi di?? I don’t even want to prepare dinner now..

    And how did you manage to capture the essence of the expression beautifully with the words..Arnav’s anger to know the reason, his smile watching her eating, Passion, love for his paagal love, reasons for his protective nature towards her, accepting that can’t let her go and the playful glances..sigh..You along with Mr.Sobti and spoiled me Indi di..I’m always in a dream world imagining them..
    it’s almost like watching another version of the show to me..
    Khushi!!where did I even start?
    The innocent lovely courageous girl..I can feel her anger while wanting to dump the water on him..haha..
    her thoughts, eating, crying, revealing, sensing his pain, the need to comfort, cluelessly caught by him in silly pranks..I absolutely adore her like in the show..maybe more than that♥♥

    Sorry if I didn’t comment on any other in some chapters..These two are stubbornly sitting in my heart that I can’t think anything else

  • Reply
    indi
    August 9, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    what… :). i hope you did prepare dinner though… hehe. love your comments. and if you don’t on some chapters… no problem. as long as the read was fun.

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