for his friend’s visit from Business
Part A: Back Home
Arnav slowly stood Khushi up on her feet back again. Both suddenly realized that
they were at the airport. Khushi could not look deep in Arnav’s eye without
blushing.She controlled herself and
stood up. Arnav let go of her.
As soon as she came back to her senses, she pinched herself, said, “Khushi,
wake up! Don’t start dreaming again…” Arnav looked at her with puzzled eyes. He
blurted, “What the..!”
Finally it dawned upon Khushi. It really was
Arnav and he was actually talking to her in his usual style... Now Khushi’s
throat went dry. She opened her mouth to ask him a question, but then
thought to herself, “He might get upset if I ask him right now. He has just
As it was sinking in that Arnav indeed was standing in front of her,
Khushi’s eyes welled up and tears started trickling down her face..
Arnav said in a soft voice, “Khushi, Tum
thik toh ho na?... are you alright?”
It seemed like ages since he had asked Khushi this same question in this
same affectionate manner. She wanted to let her tears flow freely but she
managed to shake her head, and said, “I have seen you after so many days… safe … and…
sound.. that’s why…”
She wiped off her tears and with a flicker of smile on her face informed
Arnav, “Mohan ji is waiting for us outside. Shall we get going?” Arnav gathered
his bags and walked out with Khushi.
Mohan had the car ready at the curb. “Namaste,
Arnav Bhaiyya!” Arnav nodded and said, “Mohan, you take a taxi and go home.
It’s late. I will drive back home!”
Khushi interrupted, “No! You have just traveled for so long! You should
not!... Let.. Mohan ji...” her words trailed off as Arnav gave her a stern
Mohan said, “Yes, Arnav Bhiayya!’ handed him the car keys and left.
Khushi got in the car as Arnav took the wheel. Put on her seat belt.
In the car… intermittently they looked at each other… pregnant silence
ensued… both of them wanted to talk to each other but they could not… their
hearts were longing for each other but the awkward silence dominated the
They did not speak but that did not stop their eyes…
“Did you miss me, Khushi?”
“Yes, I did..” Khushi’ s moist eyes said…
Arnav looked at her… intense pain buried underneath a
calm gaze was evident in those eyes.. his heart longed to reach out to her…
As they got closer to Shantivan, Arnav stopped the car.
He looked at Khushi and said in a firm voice, looking deep in her eyes…
“Khushi, listen carefully to what I am about to say. I will only say this
once!” Khushi looked up, silently fluttered her eye lids and steadied her gaze
as Arnav continued, “From now on, we will never ever talk about Shyam! I don’t
want any arguments about this... no discussion… never.. period! Do you
understand me?” Khushi silently nodded “Yes!” Arnav closed the conversation,
“Fine!” and started the car again.
After few moments, Khushi tried to say, “But.. what
about… that.. . what... I wanted to say...”
Arnav interrupted her, “I said, no more discussion! Not
on that topic! Not again!” Khushi averted his gaze and looked out of the window
as they approached Raizada
Arnav and Khushi
entered the hallway. No one was around as it was late at night and everyone had
retired to their respective rooms.
Khushi asked in
a soft voice, “Why don’t you go and freshen up! I will set the dinner for you.”
“I am not
hungry!” Arnav said in a flat voice.
Khushi looked at
him, slight hurt reflected in her eyes..
“I mean, I ate on the plane.”
Chai..?” Khushi asked…
“OK, Chai… adrakwali… with
ginger…It’s been long since I had homemade ginger tea…” he wanted to add “made
by you, Khushi” but Arnav could not bring himself to say those words…. His eyes
did not miss the twinkle in her eyes though when he asked for the ginger tea..
Khushi headed towards
the kitchen, “OK, you get going. I will bring it upstairs right away.”
his stuff and took the stairs up… his feet rushed towards his room.
Arnav opened the
door, entered the room…it felt nice to be back home!
quickly went all around the room....the pool... his garden…
He threw his
jacket on the chaise by bedside and rushed into the bathroom…
later… Arnav emerged from the bathroom.. his wet hair dripping down his face
that occasional drop of water on his relaxed face…
As he threw the
towel away, his gaze settled on his photo on the bedside table..
find his own picture by his bedside, he wondered what happened… ”What the..”
Just then Khushi
entered the room with the tray in her hands…
She followed his
gaze.. and said calmly,”Di put it there!” She looked up...
Her voice almost choked as she realized how much she had missed looking at his wet face with water dripping down his hair... A sudden urge to touch his wet hair overwhelmed Khushi's senses... She somehow managed to control her emotions as she realized that he was waiting for his tea.
“Your chai.. with ginger..” Khushi handed him the tea…
Awkward silence filled the air once again. Khushi stood
by the poolside window.. her eyes settled on the tranquil pool water… the light
reflected on her face.. enhancing her beauty further…
As Arnav sipped in his tea, his eyes stayed glued to
His heart was longing to be with her… his eyes took in
Khushi’s beauty as she stood next to the poolside door… the moonlit sky… the
gentle breeze blowing her hair.. nervousness palpable on her face… making her
somewhat breathless.. she kept crushing the pallu of her saree with her
hand… Arnav’s eyes sipped in her beauty… mesmerized…Khushi did not look
straight at Arnav… she did not know what to say or what to do… very aware of
Arnav’s steady gaze on her made her more nervous.. her breaths became quicker