Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 10

the sun had almost disappeared beyond the tea estates and the faraway mountains. the last rays of light remained, there was an orangey purple hue in the air, on the green tea bushes, the winding paths, and far flung homes and hamlets. khushi’s tiny diamond nose pin glinted for an instant as she turned her face to take a look at herself. she would have walked away after a cursory glance at the mirror, but then her eyes seemed to take their own decision and lingered on what was before them… the reflection in the mirror.

a girl in a mekehela chadar. her hair drawn up in a chignon, a bunch of bright red frangipani tucked on the right, their soft cool petals brushing the nape of her neck. she wore a curious smile.

khushi went absolutely still. how pretty was the mekhela. the earthy golden mooga had a soft, lush fall… kanumoni had told her only the more expensive variety draped like that. the border was wide and intricately woven with black silk thread and highlights of a light svelte pink. there were motifs in black and pink all over the body. khushi had never seen bootas like that, they were neither flowers nor fruits nor auspicious symbols; one of them reminded her of a drum, the other was a pretty cluster of shapes with fine details. there was not a single thread of zari, nor a sequin, yet it all felt dazzling and shimmery with banks of quiet in between.

her eyes found the tassels in black and pink bobbing down the layered edge of the chadar that was tucked over the pleats in front.

khushi smoothed down the chadar, a tiny frown made a couple of furrows on her forehead, exactly where she had put her plain black bindi. her lips trembled a little. she stroked the pleat once more. her thoughts went far away… a pair of steely cold eyes, a stern voice, a man walking around a white big car toward her. she had been in pink that day, she remembered, of course a brighter, deeper pink and there was lots of gota on it too… her suitcases were right next to her at the main doorway of gomti sadan… in lucknow. she had lied… she was going away to another city and no one was aware she had planned not to come back in a while. no one, not even babu ji.

because a man she didn’t know… a man with anger in his grasp, his breath, his gaze… a man with two surnames which was a sure sign of arrogance and how he lived up to them… a man who had made an offer she really had no way of refusing… because a man she had never ever known she would meet had strode into her life.

she could still remember the derision in his gaze. she could still feel the comfort of his hand on hers as the hawai jahaz took off. who was this man? what was she doing with him?

khushi took a long breath and looked at herself in the mirror again. her eyes widened. he was standing right behind her, looking at her silently. he wore a black silk shirt and a grey woolen suit, there was no tie this evening, she noticed. his hair was combed back neatly, still wet, his stubble was smooth and even.

for some reason neither moved nor said a word.

the sun was almost behind the mountains now. the drums could be heard all the way from the river.

 

***

 

he lifted his hand at last and touched the petals with a half smile, his lips sliding up at an angle.

khushi turned and slipped her arms under his jacket and around him, resting her head on his chest. she said nothing.

“what’s the matter, khushi? didn’t like the mekhela?” asr asked putting a finger under her chin, trying to look at her face.

khushi hugged him tighter still and refused to look up.

“hey! what’s up? you okay?” he tried to sound cool but he was getting concerned. what had come over the girl now? he thought she would like what he’d chosen. he usually was not too keen on pink, but when he had seen the colour as the shop assistant had opened the mekhela out, he’d been reminded suddenly of that day he had gone to pick her up from lucknow. a girl he didn’t know yet who was interfering terribly with his plans to get the autumn collection in place.

really, she had intruded so badly in his thoughts, he hadn’t been able to concentrate on anything. jean pierre was on his way to delhi, and he hadn’t gone beyond the most rudimentary of briefs. lavanya had not said anything but she had been concerned. this was not like him.

yes, not like him at all. he grimaced as he remembered. there was only one thing to do. find her. get her over so that she stopped bothering him. the plan had been simple… just six months. and the moment the collection was done, she could go… leave. simple.

he put his arms around her as the thoughts came, and pecked her on the top of her head.

“tum pagal ho!” he murmured. there was a brusqueness in his voice and that gentleness which made her want to hold him even tighter.

(you’re mad!)

“amph lamph gmphnrm hmph aumgh shamfdnfish shemph bhmph!” khushi mumbled in reply from somewhere near his breast pocket.

“whaatt!” snapped the man in black and grey.

“aap…!” khushi looked up, her eyes flashing now, eyebrows dancing, to repeat what she had said.

he kissed her just then, right on her open mouth, with the words tumbling out.

“lamphg hmph puffht!” said khushi, her eyes now indignant. she tried to push him away.

he held her securely and continued to do what he was doing. he kissed her taking his time, thrusting his tongue into her mouth, making her long for him, making her eyes grow languorous, their indignance forgotten.

she could feel herself lose control as his hands came and caressed her hips. she sighed and let her breasts settle against him and wound her arms around his neck, kissing him back, her body swaying as she went on tiptoe. he moved swiftly and picked her up in his arms and the next moment she was lying on the bed, his hands had pushed aside the chadar, he was unhooking the buttons of her blouse; his fingers felt familiar, she breathed in sharply, her body jerking a little. cold air touched her skin, and then his mouth closing over her right nipple… warm, tender, playful. she held his head and brought him closer, her eyes shutting. longing filled her, she reached with her other hand and stroked his cheek, his stubble tickled the tips of her fingers making her smile.

arnav ji! what if we had never met? what if i hadn’t run into sheesh mahal that evening and dashed into you? what if…? she grasped a handful of his hair.

the drums were getting louder now. a chorus of voices sang a song with a simple lilting melody.

he sat up and took off his clothes with precise, crisp movements. then he turned and pulled her up and began taking her mekhela chadar off. she didn’t demur, just stood looking at him.

when they’d returned from their walk in the river, he’d given her a packet and said, “for you! you don’t look too bad in a mekhela… go wear it, and hurry up! i don’t want to be late.”

she’d known he had meant many other things really, like he wanted to see her feeling happy, he did think she looked nice in a mekhela, and he hated to see her in tears… she had felt her knees turn to water almost at the way he had looked at her.

she had changed and was ready in no time.

but now it looked like they would be late.

his hand was on her navel, his chest rubbed her back, a hand came up languidly and cupped a breast before moving up and tracing her lips. she bit it the way she knew he liked… a little game. he would say “ow!” then whip her around and kiss her hard.

they fell back on the bed, their arms and legs entwined, he rolled on top of her and looked at her keenly. then he scowled and asked, “did you just call me laad governor and shadayantri sher?”

“nahin toh!” she fluttered her lashes and gave him a big not so innocent smile, “humne toh sirf aapko magarmach bulaya, laad governor!”

(no! i just called you crocodile, lord governor!)

he smiled nastily, his eyes narrowing, a glint of brown in translucent irises. she wondered why her heart pelted at that.

afterwards, as they got ready again quickly, he laughed and said, almost to himself, “there never was any question of just six months, was there!”

she wondered what he meant, and when she remembered their first phone call, she seethed. it was supposed to be a job for only six months, but why was he muttering that now? her jaw tightened, her lips thinned, this khadoos, jwalamukhi, magarmach…!

she glared at him, patted her red frangipanis, and said, “oh if you want i can always go aw-!”

he cut her short with an abrupt, “just shut up, khushi!”

 

***

 

the bonfire sent up flickering licks of brilliant orange flames into the night sky. the drummers gathered in a row beating their rotund dhols with sticks. they swayed in unison, their dhols keeping pace, once in a way, one or two or even three of them jumped high up in the air, a frenzy of drum rolls followed. they wore white dhotis under pale brown kurtas with red motifs and trimmings. their dhols were large, at least three feet across and a foot and half in of feet in diameter, the centres growing out to a larger circumference. one man carried a huge drum, its weight making him bend backward.

khushi watched them rapt, standing next to asr, she had never seen anything like this.

there were several bonfires spread over a large area by the river, the night was chilly, the fires brought both light and warmth. the largest of them was right in front, where the drummers played merrily, joyously, and with great vigour. people in brightly coloured clothes milled around. there were so many people, khushi wondered where they’d suddenly appeared from. a little away to the side was a big makeshift hut like thing, decorated with lanterns and streamers of flowers. behind that, there were large fires on which cooking was in progress. most of the cooks were men, though some girls helped out now and then.

“kk!” salman ran up to them, “you’re here at last! come, come… you can sit with my parents there… see? just on the other side of the bonfire!”

as they made their way to where the ghaznavis were sitting, khushi saw kanumoni standing with a group of girls. all of them were in mekhelas, some wore white ones with red work, some wore golden ones with red motifs, they had plenty of red flowers pinned to their beautifully knotted hair, red bindis glowed in the light of the flames, each one carried a flattish round hat made of straw with a conical centre, the hats had red and orange applique like work on them.

khushi’s eyes gleamed, “salman ji! can we go there?!” she pointed toward the girls.

salman waved at them and said, “sure! come, kk!”

asr looked at his wife’s face and couldn’t help but smile at her excitement, she looked like a kid, delighted with all the new things all around. then he shook his head, silently admonishing himself. she was mad, as he had noted earlier, hopefully the condition was not contagious.

he said brusquely, “you two go ahead, i’ll find tazdiq and rehana!”

kanumoni came over swiftly leaving her friends, when she saw khushi, “baideo! nomoshkar, baideo! xubho bihu! you are looking so beautiful!” she exclaimed, then stopped right in front of khushi, suddenly embarrassed.

(baideo! greetings, baideo! happy bihu! you are looking so beautiful!)

“xubho bihu, kanumoni ji! aap bhi kitni khubsoorat lag rahi hain.. aur yeh topi? kitna sundar hai yeh!” khushi said happily, “oh, salman ji! aap ko bhi xubho bihu!”

(kanumoni ji! happy bihu! you too are looking so beautiful… and this cap? it’s so pretty ! oh salman ji, happy bihu to you too!)

salman grinned, “happy bihu, kk… i am glad you are here this time of the year, you know! tonight is the eve, we call it uruku and that cap… it’s a jhapi, say it with a little nasal twang…”

“jhaa-n-pi?” khushi murmured, liking the sound of the word, a bit like champi… massage… she giggled.

“baideo, take… here’s a jhapi for you!” kanumoni handed khushi a cap as they walked back together toward the girls.

 

***

 

“that hut over there, that’s the bhelaghar, arnav… all the feasting takes place inside,” rehana said to asr. she was wearing a mekhela as well this evening, in a pale blue assam silk with yellow work all over.

they were sitting where rows of chairs that had been placed not far from the bonfire, a sort of vip corner it appeared to be. managers of estates and their wives mingled with army and border security personnel from neighbouring areas; there were a few folks from digboi and duliajan, the oil towns nearby. bank officers, the principal of a local college, school teachers, a well known contractor, doctors, and their spouses chatted and watched the festivities.

everyone seemed to know everyone, and they got along well clearly; now and then a hearty laughter would ring out, glasses of alcohol and other drinks kept being refilled, and plates of snacks were emptied.

“you see, arnav, assam really is a small tightly knit community… well at least upper assam is…” tazdiq explained to asr after a round of introductions, “we all get together for special occasions… in the old days, the coolies wouldn’t join in, but for a few years now, we encourage them to come and celebrate as well… i am glad to see, some of the younger girls and boys are taking part in the singing and dancing… drink? kanchha!” he called out to a young man walking by, “get a whisky for saab and a soda for me!”

“oooh, my my.. who’s this, tazdiq? why haven’t i met the handsomest man out here yet… mmm very bad!” the sultry voice wafted in suddenly. both men looked up startled. a tall, very thin woman stood before them, she was wearing a black printed chiffon saree with a dark red bustier top, her hair was swept up in a top knot, a huge orange canna flower was tucked into it on one side; her cheek bones, asr noticed, were particularly high. her long eyes slanted upward and she wore a thick line of kohl on her lower lids. she had a cigarette in one hand and a glass in the other.

“good evening, bhanu,” tazdiq said getting up and smiling at her.

“muaah, honey… but tell me, who is this you are refusing to introduce to me…” she asked archly and took a long drag from her cigarette.

asr had also stood up by then, he held out his hand and said, “hi, i am arnav… arnav singh raizada! good to meet you!”

“arnav!” said the lady, dropping her voice to an intimate low, then she set her drink down on a table and took his hand, “how lovely that sounds! you do know it means the ocean, don’t you?”

asr smiled politely. he was beginning to enjoy the theatrics, the sophistication, and the playful flirting, which was at such odds with the surroundings. he wished khushi were here, she’d have many things to say about the lady and the extended hand holding he was sure. where was khushi, dammit. he was missing her.

no sooner had he thought that, he kicked himself mentally… why was he missing her all the time, hell… this was totally stupid. unacceptable.

“darling, i’m bhanu… mrs o’leary, if you like… wonderful to see a gorgeous young man this part of the world…” bhanu o’leary smiled and raised an eyebrow, looking at him unabashedly, she shook her head and continued, “absolute desert as far as that’s concerned… all our lush tea gardens and deep oil fields… but the eyes thirst for more…”

she picked up her glass of whisky and raised it, “cheers, arnav! welcome to assam… i hope you’re having a blast!”

then she looked at rehana ghaznavi and said, “hey, reh, where have you been? golf, day after?”

she sat down next to rehana and the two women started talking.

asr looked around, wondering where khushi had disappeared to. the drums began a new beat, the bonfire raged. girls in mekhela, holding their straw hats near their waist, ran lightly in and took their position on the other side of the flames. the dance was about to begin.

he spotted her almost instantly. in a sea of red and gold, she stood out in her dazzling black, gold, and pink. he swallowed hard without realising, there was a tightness in his gut. she held a hat by her waist like the rest of the dancers. even though he couldn’t see it from this distance, he knew her eyes would be shining, her breath falling fast. she loved to dance. but how would she do this one? she hadn’t practiced at all. she didn’t even know this dance, dammit.

he took a sip of his drink. khushi! he wanted to pull her into his arms, make love to her right then..

 

***

 

they turned and twirled, they shook their shoulders, their feet alert and light, their heads shaking to the beat, their jhapi moving in rhythm; they kept their hands on their waist and swung their elbows back and forth as they swayed from side to side; at one point, they deposited their jhapi before the fire and whirled away into another set of steps. their movements was always delicate, almost demure, they had dainty smiles on their faces. in the light of the fire they shimmered like paintings in their reds and gold, a mesmerising quality to the sight.

the audience watched the bihu dance they must have seen many times before, yet their excitement hadn’t dulled. bhogali bihu brought with it a sense of spring as winter began its wind down, of abundance, of happiness. and there was so much good food, pitha and other delicacies of the season. there would be revelry through the night, eating in the bhelaghar, children stealing fruit and vegetables from the gardens as was the tradition, and drinking and dancing. and the next day, there would be prayers and the burning of the bhelaghar, and more eating, singing, dancing.

the girls did a last round of pirouettes and stopped, standing motionless. the audience cheered and applauded.

khushi had stumbled a couple of times, but she had managed to keep pace otherwise, asr noted. he wondered why he felt a funny sort of pride. no denying it, asr grinned wryly, his lips slanting all the way up on one side, he did feel proud of this girl. “khushi!” corrected his mind, as it had now gotten used to doing by now.

“my my!” said a husky voice, “that is some smile!”

asr started. bhanu was leaning close and staring at him, she had an unmistakably inviting look in her eyes.

“so what makes arnav so happy?” she murmured, asking something else really, leaning closer still.

asr’s eyes glinted, he was about to answer when he felt the kiss.

 

***

 

khushi was feeling terribly happy. where was arnav ji? had he seen her dance!

kanumoni and her friends had taught her quickly, in just a few minutes in fact, all the basic steps… no no, she shouldn’t overdo the movements… contained, more restrained… and light, very light… khushi had loved it. a new dance! wait till she showed it to jiji, to amma, and yes, to bua ji.

bua ji always tried to compete with her, “hai re nand kissore!” slipped in her mind just to complete the feeling… but she’d be kind, she’d teach bua ji everything and very patiently too. light… more light, she imagined her heavyset bua ji glaring at her at those instructions, her om locket bobbing at her neck below several layers of highly established chin.

khushi grinned at the thought and shook her head happily. so where was arnav ji?

she looked across the fire impatiently and saw him. there were so many people there…  hey devi maiyya, had he even noticed she wasn’t around! and had he seen her dance or not?

laad governor might have been talking business with someone for all you know, she grumbled to herself and started walking toward him. she had almost come up to the cluster of chairs, when she saw a tall woman with a large flower in her hair begin to sashay up to arnav ji and lean close…

khushi felt a strange sensation at the back of her neck, the outer edge of her ear lobes prickled and went warm. what was the matter with her? but her feet had begun to fly by then, there was no time to think.

the woman was coming closer.

khushi reached asr just as he turned toward the woman with the flower. a wild feeling rose in khushi. she stepped forward and kissed him on the cheek. right there, in front of everybody.

 

***

 

asr frowned even as he turned toward the person who had just kissed him. what th-, his pupils widened. it was khushi. her face was flushed, there was a look in her eyes he’d not seen before. what was the matter with her?

“khushi!” he murmured, a little surprised.

she turned and kissed him on the other cheek. her lips lingered on his skin, asr could feel a shiver in her breath.

he put an arm around her waist drawing her close as she finished the kiss.

“bhanu,” he said to the lady in the black chiffon saree, who was looking completely disconcerted now, “this is khushi, my wife…”

khushi tautened and stood straighter, then she patted her bunch of frangipanis, thrust her hand out, and said, “hum khushi kumari gupta singh raizada! xubho bihu, bhanu ji!”

her voice was sweet, extremely so.

asr watched the cascade of expressions in bhanu o’leary’s eyes. and suddenly he got it. khushi had just marked him…. aggressively, assertively, with no room for any doubts. he was out of bounds.

he swallowed hard and almost laughed out loud, a strange feeling welling up in him.

in the night filled with fires and feasts and aroused senses, a girl slipped her arm around her man’s waist and rested her head on his shoulder. it had been a bountiful harvest, the celebration would go on till long.

 

***

 

she was fast asleep on the bed. her hand lay tucked under a cheek, her dupatta had slipped and her neck and bosom were visible in the low, dimmed light of the room. smooth, ivory skin, rising and falling as she breathed.

he sat on the sofa, his laptop open before him. he frowned a little as he typed, his fingers were fleet and sure on the keyboard. from time to time, he looked up and sat watching her. a feeling he no longer even tried to describe, coming over him, a silence taking hold of his heart.

 

 

video: credit uploader

 

hi, i thought this would be the last chapter, looks like it isn’t. i do hope you enjoy it. will be back soon with the last chapter. please leave a comment, i would really appreciate it. am posting avideo of bihu dance and thinking i realy do need a mooga mekhela with red motifs.

 

INDEX

find all chapters here

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 11

 

 

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50 Comments

  • ranog2000@yahoo.com'
    Reply
    ranogill
    May 8, 2016 at 5:29 am

    i just loved khushi when she claimed asr as her man ..asr is a very difficult man but our khushi is no less

    • simamunu@gmail.com'
      Reply
      Farhin
      May 8, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Its lovely update….
      khushi in chadar Mekhela..waoo…
      Bhogali Bihu ki Uruka ke din ka maja hi kuch aur hote he……

      • Reply
        indi
        May 8, 2016 at 11:17 pm

        hi, farhin… glad you enjoyed. i hope the bhogali bihu feeling came through. i remember the firelight and the girls dancing… used to love those jhapis. while writing i was thinking, must get a mooga mekhela with traditional red motifs. 🙂

    • Reply
      indi
      May 8, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      hi ranogill, thank you… yeah, khushi decided enough is enough hahha, no one goes near her arnav ji. she is as you say no less in many ways.

  • shubhangi.k.16@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Shubhangi
    May 8, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Beautiful

    • Reply
      indi
      May 8, 2016 at 11:17 pm

      thanks, shubhangi… glad you enjoyed.

  • Popliarchana@hotmail.com'
    Reply
    Archana popli
    May 8, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    You took us back to a time ,to the time of the British raj were the elite had these get together soon ,the girls dancing ,and the whole atmosphere was pungent with excitement ,loved the way khushie claimed her husband ,

    • Reply
      indi
      May 8, 2016 at 11:17 pm

      hi archana, assam had that sense of another time back when i lived there… maybe a lot has changed now, but i tend to think some things remain… unlike the british times, there was no visible, palpable class barrier… but yes, hierarchy was there, and coolies were not quite included… i hope that has undergone significant change. tea garden life can be pretty lonely, and even oil towns and army camps, etc, were small, so people enjoyed driving miles to get together for occasions…

      thanks o much… always happy to read you enjoyed the chapter. khushi is quite a madam ji, huh. 🙂

  • ratidesh07@yahoo.com'
    Reply
    rati123
    May 9, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Wow ! I have no words,. You describe all the various shades of Arnav and Khushi’s love so beautifully. Thanks a lot for the update.

    • Reply
      indi
      May 10, 2016 at 8:25 am

      hi rati, thank you. 🙂 delighed you liked the chapter. see you soon.

  • mayurisb80@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Mayuri
    May 9, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    you paint sucha a beautiful picture..one does long to go and see …

    • Reply
      indi
      May 10, 2016 at 8:25 am

      hi mayuri, thank you. 🙂

  • Splashofrain40@live.com'
    Reply
    Av Chowdhury
    May 10, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Sorry for late comment. I love the web you create with your words just take us to the place . Just great

    • Reply
      indi
      May 10, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      hi av chowdhary… please don’t apologise. i am so glad you are reading the story and enjoying. thank you.

  • anitalekshman@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Annasabu
    May 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Beautiful update. The beauty of Assam is right in front of along with Arshi.

    Love you Indi.

    Love
    Anna

    • Reply
      indi
      May 10, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      hi anna, thank you… love ya right back. see you soon.

  • soharachowdhury@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Sohara
    May 11, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I just loved this chapter.
    ASR and Khushi’s love is so unique and it’s so special. How a man can love a girl so deeply, so intensely that he even misses her while she is around! As if his every thought involuntarily veers to Khushi. Khushi asked him a very significant question, that if they wouldn’t meet then what would’ve happened! But ASR didn’t answer her. I also want to know. But I know one thing that ASR just can’t breath without her.

    I was trying to imagine Khushi dancing bihu wearing mekhela with frangipani in her hair. I know she must’ve looked ethereal and took ASR’s breath away. She is innocent, vibrant and a free spirited girl, what qualities also attracts ASR.

    I was a bit annoyed with that lady who was trying to flirt with ASR. At first I thought she kissed ASR. I sighed a relief when I came to know that it was Khushi who kissed him. I loved this jealous and possessive Khushi. And it was so cute how she claimed her husband! ASR though was a bit puzzled but he also enjoyed her demeanor.

    Why do you want to end this story?
    Please continue.

    • Reply
      indi
      May 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      sohara, hi 🙂

      super glad you loved the chapter so much. thanks for that beautiful comment. i didn’t want that lady to go anywhere near asr, but she wouldn’t liste… then 🙂 🙂 khushi came and put her nicely in her place. ha. i don’t want the story to end, but it is coming to its last chapter… who knows maybe again some day the kabootar will glare at me and another story will fly out of somewhere. my greatest joy is when a die hard fan like you says she sees and feels asr khushi in my stories and she doesn’t want anything to gt over. thank you for that. i really enjoyed writing that khushi possessive scene i must say. teehee.

  • rrpdxb@yahoo.com'
    Reply
    Rrpdxb
    May 12, 2016 at 3:29 am

    It’s awesome di. Beautiful update. Really enjoyed possessive kushi.
    Waiting for the next update.
    Thanks so much for the pm di.

    • Reply
      indi
      May 12, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      hi rrpdxb, good to see you. delighted you enjoyed. khushi is one madam ji, what. see you soon.

  • ishwarya_8@yahoo.com'
    Reply
    Ishu
    May 12, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    It was really awesome yar 😍

    • Reply
      indi
      May 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      hi ishu, thank you. glad you liked the chapter.

  • scrapbooker10019@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Saman
    May 13, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Dreamy!

    I feel like humming some gentle tune. No idea what… Just that all is well and beautiful with the world and there should be a melody to represent that. Absolutely beautiful, Indi… I want to be more specific. You already know that the connection that you have developed between your two protagonists, is beyond compare. More?… The fascination that each has for the other, the possessiveness, the wordless communication, the awareness, the calm that erupts, the curious blend of innocence and maturity, actually in both of them, the synchronization of their thoughts, the ‘Shut up Khushi”. You have managed to imbue those words with his love and emotions. They are not harsh… they are no-nonsense… not letting her waste her time and energy on something that is never going to be… was never going to be!

    I love how you use intimacy so flawlessly… so naturally to enhance their relationship. Have you noticed that couples in Indian Soaps can go years without making love? I mean it seems that they probably ‘do it’ only a handful of times in their entire lives, if that. Your Arnav and Khushi… well, to put it succinctly… Perfect… in a perfectly imperfect way… Did that makes sense?

    I have become a hoarder… I deliberately stayed away from this update for this very reason. What reason you ask? Well the fact that I will reach it’s end. Loved the chapter, Indi. Love this story, love your Arnav and Khushi… for always!

    Love and regards,
    Sam

    • Reply
      indi
      May 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      thank you, sam. i am always delighted and perhaps even relieved when i read the asr and khushi i found in a show are still alive and recognisable in my story. i am not an innovative fan fiction writer, i just seek to find out more and more about two people i met and who made staying sane and coherent impossible.

      so you noticed the no sex please relationships of hindi serials? 🙂 what is wrong with these people? there is a collusion of such horrid motivations and mindsets behind these ridiculous stories. a) you’re eternally haw about sex, which is a most natural thing, essential for the survival of homo sapiens and really while society tries to harness its rampant call, it is considered to be completely valid, even necessary within a marital relationship… so as a tv channel, you should have no trouble with that. b) but then, you want something called trp and titillating audiences you decide is the way to go… dangle a something called “consummation,” a word now used only in legal documents and once confronted in georgette heyer and barbara cartland, books before young girls, get them roused to hysterical pitch, then like a thing in a circus ring… ha, it’s done… the episode to be rewatched a million times a moment. post which of course, the good wife as in our achhi bahu thing kicks in, and all sexual instinct disappears… okay, in our patriarchal, sex is okay for men world, the man can look sort of turned on, tv-ishly only though but the ladki, haye toba no can do.
      c) you actually rob the woman of her right to her sexual instinct, need, appetite. again the comfort of patriarchy for many. a man is allowed to have desires, not a woman.

      everything is bizarre.

      sex in the mean time has become a cosmetic item… not a valid essential part of life at all. just a commodity, to be treated like all else, to make money. no over supply… then the demand might go.

      all this to my mind comes from never really understanding or appreciating the beauty and gift of intimacy, sexual desire, in a relationship. its place in making ties, connecting us.

      also from that silly giggly attitude to sex. i don’t say you have to show people jumping into bed all the time, but that thing, that getting into each other’s space, closer, between two people, how can you simply switch it off and get so stilted?

      i often wondered why khushi was constantly shown kissing asr on the cheek post marriage and then hugging him like a friend, a bro almost, patting him on the shoulders, thapki on asr hahhahah the very thought of it.

      in my head, they are very much into being physical at the moment. just married, abs in love, a major part of their communication is through the physical intomacy route… i must see what they are saying. where it’s taking them.

      you know.

      hoarder.. i like. but i keep writing… tell me when i get it wrong also, won’t you.
      thank you so so much. glad you felt like humming.

      • scrapbooker10019@gmail.com'
        Reply
        Saman
        May 13, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        If you promise to keep writing then I won’t hoard… I am not worried about NCOL ending… I like to think of my favorite characters safe in their Happily Ever After… Plus I am a very happy re-reader. What worries me is that you might disappear with your brand of Arnav and Khushi.

        P.S. If things were actually they way they are shown in the serials… India would have negative population growth!

        • Reply
          indi
          May 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm

          population? what’s that? 🙂 🙂 thanks for being the reader you are. if and when the kabootar glares at me again, i shall salaam saab and be back to asr khushi and late updates. no shaq about that.

  • Itssirenmitra@gmail.com'
    Reply
    SirenMitra
    May 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Their love is out of this world. It always amazed me.
    Don’t blame ASR, even I was smiling imagining Her dancing.. Honestly you had me there when someone kissed ASR but totally forgot our feisty Khushi.
    No can’t be last.. PLEASE

    • Reply
      indi
      May 13, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      hi sirenmitra,

      thanks so much. that kiss.. 🙂 so happy it had you worried. no way is madam khushi allowing anyone near her arnav ji, what. see you soon.

  • stipkfan@gmail.com'
    Reply
    stg1
    May 15, 2016 at 4:12 am

    this is so beautiful Indi! I can almost see and hear and touch all the sights and sounds and colours, I feel like I’m right there. and Assam sounds like a thing of beauty, its almost like another character, deep, dark and layered.

    and as always i love ur Arnav and Khushi, they r brilliantly spot on and imperfectly perfect ❤ KKG is delightfully quirky and ur ASR is breathtaking, a total work of art – I lau him soooo much 😍

    i think I read ncofl on IF and commented there way back but couldn’t resist reading it again right now in one go – its one of my favourite arhi fics and I’m glad u gave us such a fabulous extension, cant wait for the next part 😄

    stg1

    PS kkg marking her man was uff 😍

    • Reply
      indi
      May 15, 2016 at 9:36 am

      hi stg, great to see you 🙂 thanks so much. you liked assam? i’m delighted… a character it feels like, i liked reading that. thank you for enjoying ncofl and its extension so much and reading again. i have fun writing this story… and there’s this constant tussle on between khushi and me over asr… in the bargain he gets to look better and better. not fair, what. yeah, the girl went and marked her man. yeh khushi bhi na. see you soon. and thanks for your lovely comment.

  • rmforrm@gmail.com'
    Reply
    ritu
    May 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    What a beautiful state of mind you are in, what wondrous expressions, the sounds, the colours, the beat, the texture.. just bubblibg through the chapter! Hugs my friend! Tfs for taking me along to the pilgrimage(wink wink, our secret remember!) with arnav khushi to the place that is so you …just there oozing playful, possessive, dancing golden love in the hamesha place…6 months! What the! Even mentioning that is a sacrilege! In every second of their lives they are but one! It needed a catalyst like bhanuji for khushi to take that step and mark him as hers! And how she did! Well done In di! Take a bow for this PDE! Did bhanu really think she had a chance! I feel so sorry for her! Lol! I can feel the content calmness and the raging storm of love and joy in Arnav’s heart for his wife in that last scene. Today he knows she will not shy away from the world to lay her claim on him! And he so badly wants to belong to her, to every boota in her mekhela to every beat of bihu…ah yes the spring is here…how can it end In di

    • Reply
      indi
      May 15, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      “to every boota in her mekhela to every beat of bihu…”
      that sounds too good. yes, wiwy, he does so want to belong. i know he doesn’t exist. i know i colour him perhaps with my longings and desires, but yet he does seem to be around, i hear him saying things in the silence, things that asli duniya can’t hear. so glad the trip to some place kept safe in me for many years was worth it. there is an assamese girl who reads the story, i feel so tempted to ask her how things are there now. does this feel familiar? right? a few days ago a girl was raped and killed in assam. it was in margherita, would you believe it. sad sad sad. but still, no matter how much we destroy, something sort of remains intact… childhood is a funnily strong, what you catch in your mind then, somehow doesn’t go away. spring will roll in slowly… but before that a story must end. thanks so much. loved your comment. see you.
      and will you please tell khushi not to be so possessive, aunty indi needs a break. hahhah poor bhanu o’leary.

  • shruti_keswani2405@yahoo.in'
    Reply
    Shruti
    May 15, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Mein hamesha update read karne mein late kar deti hoon! 🙁

    I am not sure whether it’s your narration or what but after having read this fiction, I eagerly want to visit the beautiful state of Assam, it’s tea estates especially. I wouldn’t mind if I happen to visit it during Bihu because your description of the festival has made it all the more beautiful. I have a feeling that I moght end up meeting Kanumoni out there.

    Khushi’s description of her attire sounded so stunning and it did not surprise me why they ended up reaching the gathering later than they planned. Khushi’s enthusiasm towards dance isn’t new and thus her dancing with the local folks was expected. But I wasn’t expecting the pride and hapiness in Arnav’s demeanour after seeing her dance. Probably, they have crossed so many hurdles together, that now all that is possible between them is more of love and admiration.

    I totally enjoyed Bhanu’s character. She was someone who stood out in the crowd and so did her actions. But then the reaction she got to it was outstanding. Khushi’s fierce reaction was at par and I loved reading it. I loved reading about Arnav wanting to belong to his lady in pink churidaar with loads of pompoms on it and who wouldn’t back out from letting the world know that he belongs to her, be it in Shantivan or Gomti Sadan or anywhere else.

    Waiting for the next part.
    Update soon. 🙂

    • Reply
      indi
      May 17, 2016 at 10:50 am

      hi shruti,

      please don’t apologise… nothing called late here. 🙂

      so happy you enjoyed the chapter. made you want to visit assam? aww… it is a lovely part of the country, still tucked away, not too well known. actually all the seven states in that part of the world… rather gorgeous. i have been to not all. some day, some day.

      haha bhanu really made me write about herself… even her name, she kind of wanted that. but yes, the man has eyes only for his pink churidar wali memsaab of the gota sizzle, how can black sophistication with top knot and canna even hope to divert attention. 🙂

      see you soon. always good to see you.

  • ibms202@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Faiqa Choudhery
    May 18, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I enjoyed last two chapters, 🙂

    Asam and it’s beauty under the Sunset behind the mountain with Mekhela up on shoulder…veiling many things along with it…feelings, emotions, longing, passion, hugs, kisses, and everything what one night does taking all , enveloping all with it…

    Daman main…Raat ki chaadar taley

    Love it.

    Love the concerns over many things for each other…

    He knew she is upset and her hump, lump. dumph [lol] are the ones instigate him…he becomes a drunk just mere by her one smile..Of,course her dancing with flowers …spreading an essence which always brings smile over his face…what else he wants?

    Nothing…

    His woman in his arms and he is the one who has been called humph, lumph, dump,

    nah magarmach, Laadgovernor

    who is just hers..

    you better watch Lady…and a kiss was planted to show everyone who he belongs too

    feisty aren’t we?

    Lovely chapter

    • Reply
      indi
      May 19, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      hi faiqa, good to see you. you liked all the madness of the chapters? yay. hahha humpph lumph dumphed he is by the ladki in his arms. glad you enjoyed the feel of the evening. laad gov better know he is just hers… 🙂

  • peacelover6684@gmail.com'
    Reply
    linsie
    May 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Beautiful…well written
    about their tradition…and video..
    khushi marking arnav… sweet…

    • Reply
      indi
      May 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      thanks, linsie. 🙂 glad the quick byte of tradition appealed. see you soon.

  • lovesaishu2014@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Aishu
    May 23, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Loved the update,
    especially the insight it is providing to a world new for me!!!
    Loving it,
    Also the highlight was Khushi marking her man,
    never thought would get a chance to see it!!!!!

    • Reply
      indi
      May 23, 2016 at 1:45 am

      hi aishu,

      glad you enjoyed. hahhah yes, khushi is full of surprises i guess. thanks so much.

  • yoga1237@gmail.com'
    Reply
    yoga123
    June 26, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Amazing update……….

    • Reply
      indrani robbins
      June 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      thanks, yoga, good to see you.

  • nisso_z@mail.ru'
    Reply
    nisso
    July 1, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    awesome update!
    loved it!

    • Reply
      indrani robbins
      July 2, 2016 at 3:10 am

      thanks, nisso. 🙂

  • lalitasarya@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Lalita Arya
    July 6, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    khushi & arnav’s story is so inviting to read, as it continues in your writing. Very, very appealing. You play the characters so well, full of life, full of reality. please give us more…

    • Reply
      indrani robbins
      July 10, 2016 at 6:54 am

      thanks, lalita…glad you are reading this one, will update soon.

  • zf05@sbcglobal.net'
    Reply
    Rabiabegum
    September 12, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Where are you? Please update soon!!! Waiting for soooo long for Ncofl to have some kind of progress. Is this story going to continue or not??? Please some kind of note or update would be appreciated. Please don’t disappoint your loyal readers.

    • Reply
      indi
      September 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      sorry rabiabegum… i know i have been absent too long. mad work. apologies. have you read chapter 11? the story ends there and i should be doing an epilogue this sunday. you sound upset. really sorry you were disappointed… hope you enjoy the last chapter. take care, indi

  • mathiindhusm@gmail.com'
    Reply
    gprs
    October 15, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    I’m reading this with a cup of tea (yup for some reason my mom decided to make tea today for a change) in a drizzling background..Perfect mood to enjoy the bonfire..

    I like how you include the social problems in it..It’s true, we can say and give proof that all are same& treated equally..But the occupation and economic status of a person and a group decide many things still atleast in my known parts of India..
    Or the workers are used only to create a show off for the owners’ s goodness and kindness by involving all..

    I absolutely love the connection between them..The proud in the eyes for his woman/man-The respect, the love,the possessive marking, the missing even in the same place:di, you’re making my future partner life a bit harder by all this every second..
    Jokes apart I love really the bond between these two And Khushi’s haq on him..

    Six months-You helped me to build a new memory on this words unlike the show..A big NO for any months in question and his Shut ups don’t make me wanted to smack his face..Sometimes these two made me forgot that afterall I’m watching a Indian serial where logics and emotions don’t matter at all..I’m wanting them to behave as truly as I wanted in real life

  • Reply
    indi
    October 16, 2018 at 11:27 am

    “di, you’re making my future partner life a bit harder by all this every second..” hahhahah, you know, as long as the person you are with is exciting to you, that’s all that counts… it’s really about a connection. then it all kind of becomes romantic… even if you’re making the romance up in your mind. but then the best of life is really things you give shape to in your mind, na? hope the read was enhanced by tat cup of hot tea.

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