Posts Tagged ‘Arshi’
True love Waits
The excitement continued throughout dinner and way after –“what happened to your leg and what were you doing in Mexico?”
Reporting as I always do –chasing a story –“before I forget Mike’s at Home sleeping in our bed Jiji .We have flown nonstop from Mexico to the US and then picked up another flight to Dehli and the only sleep I have have had is in airport lounges and planes and taxi’s- it has been a bit of planes trains and automobiles journey. So I need to go back and sleep –I am tired –and I told Mike I wouldn’t be long. So I would like to get back and leave you guys to party.”
“No,we will all go home. I’m leaving home and coming into this house , I need to spend time with my sister!”
It was three the next afternoon when Khushi woke up her leg ached but her shoulder and back felt as though it was on fire. Pain killers she need them and she needed to chase the dressing on her back and shoulder. Mike could do it . The house was silent where were all the manic sounds usually associated with a wedding.
He back needed attention first then the rest could be planned. Second problem Arnav. She had not expected to meet up with him so soon , that was a bolt –Jiji was marrying his brother. Part of her quest had been to find him after the wedding not before. She would deal with him and her feelings after the wedding.
“Hey Mike you around?”
“Hey Khush –khush –how’s my baby doing ?”
“Your babies back is burning and icky wet her leg aches and don’t let my buaji hear you call me baby! Or you will be feeling the back of her hand and recently I have been in enough Ruckus’s to last me a life time”
“Yeh you got your compulsory holiday and time to sort out your love life”
“Ok everyone’s gone out they won’t be back till six –so can I be wicked with you ?” i
“No,you can’t idiot change my dressing and help me have some kind of a shower”
“Let’s see I cant wet your back and left leg –so I can helpyou with a frontal rub?”
A cushion landed smack in his face. “ I meant help me wash my hair! I swear what is Joe going to say if he could hear you make comments like that! Honestly !”
I’ve boiled the water lets get your top off – what a view?”
“Shut up Mike!- dressing please!”
Khushi sat there with a towel covering her front giving her a modicum of decency as she lent over the table.
“Hey Khush –khush this doesn’t look so good –you should have woken me up to change the dressing- I think that icky wet feeling is two of your souvenirs getting infected. I am going to change the dressing but we need to get you to a doctor. In this heat we should be changing it at least twice a day”
Mike sat there gently cleaning her wounds one looked particularly angry. To the outside world he had on a vest top and long Bermuda shorts –he could have been her lover giving her massage.
This was the site that greeted four individuals –Akash ,Payal, Di and Arnav .
She was not sure who exploded first-
“What the ……”
Di comment was total silence as she watched emotions flit across Arnav’s face from surprise to anger to sadness to acceptance.
Khushi looked up and the words “Crap” popped out and she attempted to stand up.
Mike instructed “Stay Put –Don’t you dare move Khush –Khush!-You boys get out ”and Mike held her in place while he blocked their view.
“I said NOW!”
Akash and Arnav had the decency to leave the room and wait outside in the veranda.
“Hi Payal –I’m not happy with two of these souvenirs and I want to get her to a doctor as soon as I have dressed her back. Baby take a deep breath this is going to hurt but I need to clean it”
“Get on with….. SHIT ! Khushi grabbed the tablecloth in her fist and clenched her teeth and held her breath.
“Khush –Khush you’re language is out of the gutter. Payal and her friend is around.Their ears are not used to you cussing”
“Exactly what are you dressing – Mike? I thought she broke her leg tripping”
“And some –did she not tell you the whole story?”
“I haven’t had time –stop hurting me Mike!”
“Let me fill you in our little trip, would you like to take a look –all the painful bit is done Khush-Khush you can put your top on now”
Payal and Di saw Khushi back there were multiple lacerations all at different stages some healing, some healed and two that looked angry.
“I agree with Mike two of them need to be looked at –we need an appointment at the doctors”
“We have a function tonight, I’ll go first thing in the morning what can happen in 12 hours”
“Call the boys back in –you were expected back till six”
“That was very evident” Arnav replied sarcastically.
“What made you come back early ” Mike ignored Arnav’s comment.
“Khushi did –we thought we would pick her up and you on the way to the jewellers ”
Mike looked at Khushi from the front and saw Arnav staring; Mike then draped a thick dupatta around her front.
“Baby your on display, is your back still painful”
“Painkillers are magic they are kicking in”
Arnav hadn’t realised that he had been holding his breath that he slowly exhaled when he realise that the scene that they had intruded on had a very different meaning from the one he thought that he initially walked in on.
But it made Arnav think and think again, if he had had relationships then so must have she. Her bond with Mike was evidence of that. Well he hadn’t achieved his position by playing fair. The gloves were off Khushi was his, always his Mike might have borrowed her but he wasn’t going to be around for long. He might just make it through the wedding and then he would be relegated to the history books. Arnav was going to be Khushi’s future and Mike would be her past very very soon .
“Khushi your back, explain?”
“Payal you want my version or hers?”
“I want the truth!”
“Khush-Khush here decided to interview a member to be precise a lieutenant of a drug cartel down in Mexico true or false “
“She took an instant dislike to him and he took an intense liking to Khush-Khush, True or False”
“- She then decided to upset him get photographic evidence against him. Correct me if I am wrong.”
“Using her supreme intelligence decided to reveal this information to him-WHILST WE WERE STILL IN MEXICO –reflecting her ultimate stupidity agree or disagree”
“That’s call good reporting”
“I beg to differ-ULTIMATE STUPIDITY when the guy is pointing a gun at you!”
“Khushi please tell me you didn’t take one of your moralistic view points with a guy pointing a gun”
“Jiji it was moralistic – it was a view point”
“Let’s just say opportunity rose and we ran and we would have made it but her royal highness here had to go back for the film of evidence. He shot her and she fell rolling down the hill into a crevice. They left I got Khush –khus out across the border and into hospital. Hence the delay”
“ But I got my story”
Mike took his fist and slammed it down on the table early hard and screamed “AT WHAT COST KHUSH-KHUSH”
“ Everyone needs a story –this one was was mine –it was my moment”
“Payal it almost cost her, her life getting this story –she has run out of lives, she has used up her luck.Her piece is good she will win the prize for her piece.”
“you do whine like a girl”
For the first time Arnav spoke “But he is right –isn’t he ?”
“Oh don’t you start and join Mike in this conversation. What’s the function and what can I wear ? That sari blouse was too uncomfortable and I can’t get my foot through a lot of the bottoms.”
“How about I take you to AR designs and we choose some interesting designs for you and the rest go back to Shantivan”
Di and Payal were trying really hard not to jump up and down in excitement worry about Khushi’s back disappeared in a wisp of smoke. Arnav had secretly created an opportunity for them to be alone. Di and Payal supported him fully by making sure they took Mike with them.
Arnav and Khushi travelled in awkward silence.
“You have to be really more careful Khushi when you interview –you really tried to take on a lieutenant in the Mexican drug cartel; the US government doesn’t dare take them on and you thought that you could take him on –unbelievable! I’m just glad that you made it out sort of in one piece that we can still recognise. Did you achieve your goal plan?”
“I am a recognised sought after international journalist whose written word is recognised ,respected and quoted and believed.” Khushi stuttered and then stated “ I am ready to come home now, how about you ?”
“I have taken the business to new heights and successes- Arnav Singh Raizada is a name to be reckoned with.” Arnav’s grasp on the steering wheel tightened, his brain telling him to slow down keep the conversation neutral but his heart was having an almighty tussle with his brain. But thankfully the brain was winning so the following statement shocked both individuals -
“Are you ready to start where we left off?”
The words came tumbling out and once out there, there was no taking the words back, only Khushi’s decision. What happened to his brain saying one step at a time? This wasn’t a step he jumped in feet first.
“What exactly are you looking for Arnav ? What do you want? I know I want everything –friendship, partner, lover all rolled into one. I want children, I want a partner to share my good times and achievements. Celebrate with me and cry with me, grow with me love me and let me die before ….”
Arnav stopped the car dead “Never, not the last part –never ever ,ever say that in my presence again. I agree to everything you want except the last part.”
There on a busy street, mindless of the growing traffic or the build up, that he was causing Arnav’s lips met Khushi. There was nothing gentle about it. Years of pent up frustration and anger at her , was poured into that kiss until the increasing volume of horns broke them apart.
“We have to be someplace –let’s move “
At AR Designs Arnav led Khushi to his cabin and then to his inner sanctum –where no mere mortals were allowed. His design room. He reeled of instructions regarding outfits and design alterations and asked to be contacted when the task was complete –otherwise hold all calls.
Khushi she could see the passion in his eyes, it was reflected in her, the love the want the passion –it was all smouldering just beneath the surface –it had been buried like a dormant volcano just bubbling under the surface ready to erupt when all the weather conditions were perfect.
Arnav took a few steps towards her and she copied by taking the exact number of steps back.
“ Khushi Why do you always walk away from me when I walk towards you ? Are you scared ?…….. of me?”
“Nooooo…..just the feelings that are about to explode”
“At least you admit that we have feelings-that are about to erupt- and yes we need to finish something that was left unsaid and unexplored all that time ago. You know my feelings have never changed for. I buried them to survive your absence but they have always been there. Yesterday when I saw you sensed you they all came flooding back stronger than ever before. Khushi I ….I have always loved you and no other. There have been other women in my life, I have liked them but there was always one problem with them –they weren’t you. I have always loved you and thats why none of my relationships have lasted. ”
“What if after …..you change your mind ….sometimes memories lead to greater expectation, the anticipation of unrequited love …the promises that were left uncompleted… sometimes when fulfilled can be disappointing….and then we drift apart and separate.”
“Not us Khushi –we are like a bottle of wine it grows stronger in flavour the older it gets”
“We are different people now, we have different commitments, needs and expectations –you don’t know me anymore –all the experiences that I have been through have moulded me, changed me into what I am today. Khushi of today is not the same as the one you knew and loved.”
“She may have changed. Her Arnav may have changed, but their love will never change, it grows stronger with the passing of time. Khushi do you still love me ?”
Arnav slowly steped towards her but this time Khushi stepped forward to meet him as an equal, no longer running from him –taking the risk, what had she to lose she had put so much on hold for her ambition to realise that the only thing she had really been chasing was him. As she lay in the crevice ,her life flew before her eyes, every image was of him. He was worth taking the risk for, she had come back to India not just for Jiji ‘s wedding but to find him and see if she had lost him forever or did they have a chance. To give them a chance, she had to take the risk –she had walked away then because she believed that she was doing the right thing for both of them. But now was the time to walk towards him and meet him half way. She had always wanted to be equal, compliment him, be his other half, make him proud walk at his side –not in front or behind but by him. In that instant Khushi knew it was their time now.
Arnav cupped her face and slowly their lips met – realisation of his lips and the passion that erupted far exceeded her anticipation and expectation. He began slowly and tenderly brushing his tongue across her lips and then nibbled at her lower lip gently allowing her time to accommodate to him. Involuntarily her lips parted as passion built; to her surprise his tongue took it as an invitation and went inside her mouth. Looking, seeking investigating and then finally it started to play with her tongue. Khushi stepped closer into him unknowingly, searching for his heat as passion was rising. Her arms crept round his waist holding onto him wanting more and then Arnav arms slipped from her face to her back pulling her closer to him crushing her chest into him. He was no longer a college boy and she was playing with fire he needed completion he wanted her completely, he knew he started it but….
Khushi screamed and pushed him as hard as she could in a flash the moment was gone he looked at her she was pale breathless her eyes were filled with tears and pain. She looked as though she was going to pass out. Her back –he had completely forgotten –he had been so lost in her that he had forgotten about her back .
“Khushi I am so sorry …I am really really sorry are you OK”
She smiled weakly – no voice came forth, her back felt as though she had been hit again the pain raged and radiated across her back. Her head spun and she swayed. Arnav quickly moved and steadied her and sat her on a chair. Total silence ensued as he saw her hands grip the edges of the table, her knuckles white as she tried to control her breathing. Slowly the pain subsided and her colour returned.
“Khushi tum teekh hoi?”
“Now I am –it was Devi Maya’s way of retuning us back to reality otherwise who knows…..”
“Khushi I am really really ..”
“Shhh” She placed a finger on his lips – “It was for the best –we need time to get to know each other again –we know we love each other and this is Jiji’s wedding –I am not taking anything away from her.”
There was one question left unasked in his mind- he knew she loved him and she wanted to be with him but Mike –what about him. She had to finish it with him and get rid of him as soon as possible. She needed to send him packing to the other side of the world where he came from. He was not having him anywhere near her. There was no way Mike was going to be on the same continent as his wife. He had seen the comfort between them when he had been looking after her back. How comfortable she was in front of him with minimal clothing. From now on his wife was only going to be that comfortable in front of him in that state of undress. His wife? In less than 24 hours of finding her he had already married her in his mind. She was completely his and no one else’s. It was only a matter of time and formalities that would make it factual. But the word needed to be said, he had to ask her the question and tactfully get rid of him. Arnav knew Khushi, if he demanded anything she would dig her heels in and hold her ground and Mike would be around for the rest of their lives.
He had to clarify Mikes position in her life. Taking a deep breath .. “Khushi, what about Mike?”
“What about Mike ?”
This was harder than he thought “ I don’t share”
“You don’t share what- Arnav you are not making sense”
“I won’t share you with anyone –you are exclusively mine”
“I really don’t know what you are talking about –yes I am yours exclusively as you so eloquently put it – but there are other people in my life that you are going to have to learn to share me with just as I accept that Di, Nani, Mum and Dad, the list is endless and all this, has a call on your time but we will make time for each other and we will make our moments count – Don’t worry we have families and responsibility- we will negotiate a way through them finding time for us –OK”
“Khushi that’s not what I mean I will not share you with any other man”
Khushi patience was beginning to wear thin –“Really is your opinion that low of me that you think, that I would have another relationship with another man while I have one with you –oof all you men are the same –bloody one track minds –Take me to Jiji now”
Crap Arnav thought to himself –he should have known better there was no way she would be unfaithful to him. He had to build his bridges and do it fast.
“Khushi I am really sorry for suggesting that you would …”
“Yes! I’m listening what were you thinking or might I ask what part of your brain were you thinking from?”
Just as quickly as her temper surfaced it would disappear as fast. That hadn’t changed –she could never stay angry at him for long.
“It’s just that when I see you with Mike …..The green.. monster ….”
“What is it with you and Mike? Why this hang up with him?” As she asked the question she realised how they may look to an outsider. She Mike and Joe had been a team for the best part of three years now –they had lived eaten and breathed together. Everyone knew about them they were an invincible team. This was the first time that Joe wasn’t with them but he would arrive soon he was tying up loose ends in the states before they moved here. There were a lot of worries for Joe and Mike would they be accepted into Dehli society but money was a big factor and that always helped.
They both knew that Khushi wanted to come back and find Arnav –they were going to help her –she hadn’t expected it to happen so soon.
“Arnav sit….. Mike and me are really good friends, we have lived together for the last three years”
Khushi could see his jaw clenching and his hands clenching into fist.
She smiled at him and stroked his hand and kissed his jaw “Relax – I said we were friend very good friend and that’s all” She saw and felt him visibly relax.
“Mike and Joe “
“Now who the F*** is Joe –I’m having a hard enough time dealing with Mike and now you introduce a Joe in the conversation!”
“Will you just shut up and just listen to me?”
“I like a dominating woman …
“You’re goanna get a slap from me in a minute –if you carry on like this …”
Arnav saw the glint in her eye he knew he had pushed her to her limit any minute she would flip on him he had better backpedal some so she didn’t quite kill him. They were friends, that’s all if people could hear he was sure they would hear his heart singing –that was laughable the arrogant short tempered ASR who was thought to have a heart made of stone, really was just like any other man. In love –totally infatuated with her and had a heart that was as fragile as anyone else.
“Mike and Joe are my best friends they have been there for me through good time and bad times. They have always had my back, every time. We are a team and will carry on being a team for at least another year –we work together –camera man, sound man and reporter. They have been my mother, father, brother, nursemaid, everything to me over the last three years. We have shared everything together-rooms, tents sleeping bags. That’s another story for another day. If you want me, it’s not Babuji and Amma that you need to impress it’s them! Kepish’! And before you say anything about them they are a couple, if you have any hang ups about that relationship, get over it. I mean it I will not tolerate any kind of comments made about them!”
“How about comments made about us ?”
“After Jiji’s wedding”
“As soon as that plaster cast comes off –that’s all the time you are getting OK”
Arnav purposely brought his face close to hers and was about to kiss her – his phone rang.
Aman thought to himself what had he done now? Why was ASR angry with him now –he would never understand the man.
“Khushi we have to go your clothes are ready for you to try on but not before I get a kiss .
Aman was debating whether to call his boss again they had been waiting thirty-five minutes in the trial rooms – she must be a very special he had clothes taken from his special collection that were not available to anyone not even Anjali Ji was allowed them but he had them taken and altered them to fit someone –She had to be the one –Everyone involved in the alterations were buzzing with anticipation- who was she? They were certain that they were meeting the future Mrs Raizada.
Although this OS is at an end I feel that it deserves an epilogue – what do you think ?
The Rise of The Phoenix
“Do you know how lucky you are to have me as your husband – you have the Gupta name, the Gupta money and you have the privilege of having me. I allowed part of me to take seed within you. I allowed you to grow my child within you. You are truly honoured and now every time I visit you , you should thank the gods for giving you such a virile man”
Shashi left in a drunken stupor.
Bua was hovering around she had heard it all. The horrific screams, the pleading, the beseeching voice to leave her alone. Not to touch her, the soft painful screams turned to pitiful whimpering and then nothing-just cold dark silence. But Bua waited in the shadows, fearful of what she would find. What state would Garima be in? He was slowly destroying her inch by inch. She wouldn’t live much longer if things continued like this; he was getting worse with each growing day, with each growing moment. What would she find this time? At least he never touched Khushi, for whatever reason that little angel was safe –for now.
She saw Shashi leave and fearfully entered the room. The scene that met was as horrific as the screams she had heard –was he a man or an animal and she was not much better! She had stood by and let it happen. She had tried to close her ears to the sounds that stilled echoed in her brain. Only the promise that Garima had taken from Bua stopped her from entering the room whilst he was there.
Garima lay there curled up in a foetal position with silent tears coursing down her face. Bua looked at her “Enough is enough” She lay there like a battered, bruised, crumpled china doll. She lay there like a lifeless angel, her eyes staring into space. Bua had to get Garima out of here and she had to do it tonight before anyone found out. There was only one person who might help her tonight. The call was made and Bua cleaned Garima up she lost count of the cuts bruises and bite marks she had on her body. As she bathed Garima, more bruises appeared; there seemed to be no inch left unmarked on this innocents body. She packed a few clothes dressed Garima silently in the simplest of clothes and led her to meet her brother in the dead of night. She handed Garima over to her brother-
“if he ever finds her or finds out that we helped her get away ,all three of us will be dead. After today we will never speak of this again. Take her to Ganganagar to Major Piyush Singh here is the address he knows she is coming. Keep her sedated and I will handle things at this end. Do not get seen or heard. Remember leave no trail or evidence. Drive at night take the risk. It is safer than being seen by anyone”
Bua returned unseen and stayed with Khushi.
The next morning at eleven she approached Shashi saying that she had not seen Garima did he know where she was?
Garima Gupta was never heard of again –no one had seen her, there was no trace or sightings of her by anyone.
The gossipmongers were rife, she had run away with millions, he had killed her which was far closer to the truth , she had run away with her lover. It really didn’t matter thepolice looked but she was never found. Shashi Gupta had hired detectives but nothing was found. It was as though Garima had become a ghost. Beyond that fateful night it was as though she never existed there was no trace of her.
The reality of Garima’s life was that she felt as though her soul had been ripped from her body. There was no reason to live. He had used her, body and soul, he had abused her. And disregarded the soul inside her killing it slowly and then finally that night he executed her soul. Garima relived that night repeatedly until her mind separated itself from her traumatised battered body and locked itself away in a place where no one could harm her or hurt her. Here she existed without fear of reprisal, without fear of recrimination, without fear. Here is where Garima chose to live long after the external scarring and bruising of her body healed. Here she didn’t have to face the trauma of abuse, that she had lived with for the last fourteen years. She didn’t have to remember about her past that had stained her soul forever.
The lost scared soul lived in Major Piyush Singh’s house. She sat all day staring out of the window not paying attention to who came, who went where she was or who had provided her the sanctuary to rest her broken body and soul. To let it heal sufficiently so that she might carry on living. So that she might pleasure in the small things.
Slowly Garima returned to the present painfully, slowly. She felt herself breathe and live. Here there were no monsters to hurt her. But her mind still hid from the pain that it had to face before she could live again.
Slowly the gentle soul who came to visit her every day brought her back to life slowly but her mind still hid from the horrors that she had left behind refusing to remember what had brought to this place.
But slowly gaining courage and strength from Piyush she remembered. Garima remembered everything. She remembered all the horrors that she had had to endure, but she also remembered the good, her daughter ,Bua who had helped save her and now Piyush, a face from the past. Her past who had somehow become her present. He was no longer married, he was free. But she was. Is that how fate played her game? But this time it was different he understood that she needed time to heal and then feel and gradually live again. She needed a place to hide away from the world and let the world believe that she was dead. She needed to hide in his shadows and live there without the world questioning who she was and why she was there.
Garima did exactly that –slowly learning to smile again.
By the time she was ready to take the next step with Piyush, Shashi had destroyed another life.
Another angel had had her wings clipped. Her child needed her. Her baby whom she had left behind needed help. Was she suffering as much as she had. Surely not- fate couldn’t be so cruel as to play the same game twice.
Garima knew Bua would get Khushi to her safely without anyone knowing who Khushi was or who Garima was.
She would wait for her baby and keep her safe. Just like Piyush had help fix her , she would help Khushi. No one would see the glue that held her together from the outside she was the perfect china doll . The scarring was all on the inside.
Rise of the Phoenix
Khushi’s thoughts flew back to her mother images flitted through her mind her when she was a child her long black hair , her almond shape eyes and the smell of jasmine. She always associated that with her mother.
Khushi was the spitting image of her mother. Her mother had disappeared leaving her behind.
Never in a million years did she imagine that Khushi would be a victim of her father’s plans. Garima had always loved another man but marriage was marriage. Garima had never strayed once married. She had loved another but had buried his love deep inside her.
It was only as Shashi behaviour got intolerable did memories surface of the life that she could have had, of her lost love that she ran leaving behind her heart.
He would not hurt his daughter, if she had run with Khushi he would never have left her. Shashi would have hounded her till he had found her and Khushi.
Garima didn’t know where she was going or what she was going to dobut she knew that she had to leave disappear without a trace and never make contact.
Losing Khushi was going to be the hardest thing she did; but if she stayed ,Khushi would lose her. How much longer could she surive in this place? She had had enough of Shashi’s ways, he had a string of affairs one after the other, he was no longer discreet about them. He had two other children –all girls he wanted a boy. She couldn’t have any more children after Khushi. Thats how she initially discovered his affairs. She had picked up an infection –an STD that had made her sterile Chlamydia-he had been sleeping around that’s why she picked it up. Was she hurt-No. Was she bothered –NO. Was she relieved-Yes. She wouldn’t have to have him on her like a rutting stag. There was no pleasure, no love, just the act. The hard cold physical act of sex. For him he needed a child, an heir to take over his empire. For Garima she needed to share her love. She needed a reason not to die. Her love for life was slowly withering away –she would soon have no reason to live. Every time he came to her there was no love, no tenderness, no feeling; it was always the same she prepared him with her hands and when he was ready he pierced her and grunted as he moved back and forth till he emptied into her. For both of them hopefully a child, hopefully he would leave her alone. What was the difference between her and someone who was paid for their services- answer- nothing. They were both vessels to be used for relief –not hers but his. She wasn’t even sure if it was relief for him anymore. They shared nothing, they had nothing in common, there were no kind words ,there was no laughter, she was his prize put on display when needed. Her life had been shattered twice and she had survived and come back.
First when she fell head over heels in love –with a married man. She made a choice- she was not a home wrecker he deserved a chance with his family. She cried that night and locked up her heart and agreed to the marriage proposal her father had put before her.
Then her nightmare really began –a man she knew nothing about had become her life partner, her soul mate-that was a far cry from the truth.
She had been bought and paid for; she was a business deal for her husband. Initially she had blamed herself because she had given her heart away to someone else. The first time he came to her, their wedding night, there was a glint in his eye. She thought it was passion later she realised what it was when he left her. Those words rang in her head –she would never forget them-“So that’s what it feels like to take a virgin- no fun at all. I had to do all the work”
She was bruised, battered mentally and physically. She had made the choice maybe she didn’t enjoy the act of sex because her heart belonged to another. After his words she realised that maybe it wasn’t her –it was her husband.
He drank, smoked and gambled. All qualities she abhorred. She later realised that he liked other women, a quality she later appreciated as he left her alone in that department.
She thanked God when she found out she was pregnant –he had left her alone in that time –nothing should harm the baby. He had a name picked for his son –Khushal.
When Khushal would arrive he would do this and he would do that.
When Khushi arrived Shashi had shed tears, the only time that she had seen him cry.
Garima thought they were tears of happiness, joy on the arrival of their daughter.
He later had told her they were tears for the death of his son.
Shashi hadn’t warmed to Khushi till a year later when she started to walk, and a business associated commented how beautiful the little baby was and how she would be a stunner when she grew up. He would have to keep the boys away from her.That day he told Garima he had finally realised Khushi’s worth. It wasn’t till years later that Garima would remember those words-her daughters true worth was to be sold-like her.
After the realisation that he could have no more children with Garima, there were no longer any nocturnal visits at certain times of the month. She no longer had to endure his visits. He left her alone and for that she was grateful he no longer visited her.
Slowly she had made Khushi her reason for existence, but even there he was controlling. What she wore, who she played with, what she learnt, how she spoke. He had a full time nanny for her. Thankfully Bua and her got on. Bua came to love Khushi as her own and for that Garima would always be thankful.
As time went on Shashi grew harder and colder and then suddenly the violence started initially a slap-but no apology. The slaps became more and more frequent.
She had learnt through the grapevine, as people were always willing to furnish her with gossip about her husband that he had another child –a girl.
That was the final straw for Shashi- the deep dark hatred, the need for revenge and peace was missing. He had all the money that a man could need or want- but the final piece of the puzzle was missing –a son. He had the picture perfect wife-she was as beautiful as they come.
He had learnt to take his frustrations out on her without leaving any visible signs. Till one night, near Khushi’s fourteenth birthday.
He had lost an award to his rival –Malik. He never lost at anything. As he drank more and more he realised how much he had lost- his son. That was her fault. She never gave him one and then to top it all off she couldn’t get pregnant.
By the time he reached her rooms there was a haze of anger over his eyes.
That night Garima was raped for the final time.
There is more to Garima’s story but that will come in a few days -hope I have captured you’re interest and hooked you with this story line.
Just wait till I get my hands on you Mr Raizada. Just who the hell do you think you are?
How dare he? Wait till I get my hands round your neck! Then we will see.
Stupid moron! Idiot! That man needs to be thrown down a well!
No that’s too good for him; he will poison the water. He’s a dim-witted brainless ….
Khushi vocabulary was rapidly running out of adjectives that currently described her feelings towards Arnav.
If it were possible you would have been able to see smoke coming out of Khushi’s ears.
Was he finding the whole situation amusing – she would show him exactly how amusing she was finding it. Which planet was the moron from? Businessman of the year –nothing! He was the most useless individual of the year! Where was his famous temper, his acumen? He just sat there like a fool! Not a sound, not a word. Not an utterance. He sat there silent staring at his food. Khushi hoped that he choked on it all the way down.
Her phone rang –the name flashed “LG” – NOW! Now the moron wants to speak!.When he had the opportunity to speak – nothing – well he could stew in his own silence for a while –she was not going to speak to him – she needed to calm down. Jelabi! That’s what she needed! Jelabis-right now!
He could wait as she saw the phone ring again –same name! How dare he do that to her! Didn’t he know his parents well enough by now, didn’t he know her parents by now!
They had all started talking about a double wedding. Hers! Payal and Akash were already getting married. Him the bright spark suggested to her father that he should get Khushi married on the same day and save himself further costs. Two for one –that’s what he said –Boodu ! Fool! Two for the price of one ! Was she a bargain basement deal! She couldn’t believe it one by one all her band members joined in –yes it was a brilliant idea- both sisters on the same day.
Khushi had found a flaw in the plan –she had provided the perfect opening ,the perfect opening, as both sides of the family started getting carried away with a new project- Khushi’s wedding,her outfit, her jewellery, her cake. The flaw in their – the perfect opportunity –“Who exactly am I going to marry?”
Silence, Arnav stared at his plate of food and then the family babbling started in earnest as boys names started being hurled at her until one name seemed to be the one that they were all settling for –Singhania- Karan Singhania – he would suit Khushi down to a tee- he was pleasant, socialable good looking, wealthy, from a good family, well educated and usually the source of laughter at most parties.He seemed to match Khushi in most ways –yes he seemed perfect.
The whole family sat and discussed his and her attributes deciding that he would make the perfect soul mate for her. Khushi looked with disbelief at Arnav –what was the guy thinking? He was silent throughout this conversation – mind you he was silent throughout most conversations that involved Khushi. Suddenly out of nowhere it was decided to approach Karan Singhania’s father for a proposal so that the two individuals could meet up.
Khushi ignored her phone and powered it down .It was 1:00 am but jelabies is what she wanted , they are what she needed before her brain could calm down.
Khushi started frying her jelabies and eating them piping hot –that was the scene that her father walked in on .
“Khushi bitia –whats wrong?”
“Nothing ! Dad !”
“I can see from the amount of jelabies that are being made nothing is wrong- and the rate of demolition –that nothing is wrong! You are going to set a personal best record here, I think –want to talk? Was it the talk of marriage? You know that if you don’t like him you don’t have to marry him –no one is going to force my baby into marriage”
Khushi smiled and hugged her dad and then proceeded to eat more jelabies.
“Khushi do you have anyone in mind?”
“I might have, obviously he doesn’t- stupid man “
“Well if you change your mind and don’t want to meet Karan let me know ….or if there is someone…..else …..you would rather meet ??? …. Khushi just let me Know…I’mgoing to bed!
Shashi walked out of the kitchen with the biggest Cheshire cat grin on his face making sure, that it was not visable to Khushi. Entering his study he quickly jumped on the phone to his best friend Mo ,Arnav’s father.
“She is making jelabies, and is furious she let slip that she might have someone in mind but he didn’t have her in his mind-how are things at your end?”
“My wonderful son has been in the most foulest of foul tempers since the party – i think he has broken another phone and a vase – he has been pacing round the poolside and still is –I have heard his skype go on and on calling someone but no answer – yes I’d say the boy is brewing nicely. Teach him a bloody lesson – think he can kiss my Khushi beti like that and get away with it. No way is she one of his flings –there is no possible way he could mess with someone so close to home. If he is messing with her I will lynch him and tear strips of him.”
“What do you mean kiss your Khushi beti ?”
“She was obviously kissing him back- we know they were both lost-Mo-he is as much my son as Khushi is your daughter- that kiss that we witnessed – they were both lost causes. Ok so now what?”
“Get ready for a second engagement tomorrow-Iam coming to make your daughter my daughter- Arnav’s face will be one to watch –serve him right ! I gave him som many opportunities and openings last night to come clean and nothing! I swear if I were Khushi – I would refuse on principle!”
“Mo don’t even think that- Khushi is so Sanki and so mad at the moment she just might refuse him!”
“She would refuse him but with men like us behind them they will eventually agree.Now I had better go check on my idiot of a son and see how things are progressing”
Perfect Arnav’s father thought to himself – he is going slowly mad he has paced round the pool so many time –he should have spoken when he had the opportunity to .
You need to stew a while longer boy – before you realise that you have won the jackpot.
Arnav was in the Office at 10:30 when he got a call from his dad informing him that the family were on the way to the Gupta household ,Shashi Uncle had invited them for Khushi’s Roka everything was settled and had been discussed last night and the early hours of the morning –since a double wedding was being considered things had to move pretty fast”
Arnav arrived in record time at the Gupta’s to find Khushi serving tea in her pyjama’s –she had on a betty boo pyjama’s and was sitting on the floor crossed leg laughing with the adults – both sets of parents were there.
“Ar..Arnav what are you doing here ?”
“Yes Son ,what are you doing here?”
“Dad you rang up and said ….”
“What did I say ?”
“Err ..you said …err ..Khushi… roka.. this morning at 11:00…?”
At that point all of Khushi tea in her mouth came spraying out all over Arnav as she then proceeded to choke !
Arnav looked at himself and his jacket sprayed with coffee.
The elders looked on at the scene surely an explosion was arriving any second now. Instead he started to pat Khushi on her back. “Tum teekh hoi?”
The parents watched in stunned amazement –he asked how she was? He did’t scream at anyone inspite of being sprayed with tea. His immaculate suit had tea stains on it. Ordinarily if anyone else had dared to do this to Arnav they would surely have killed them at the very least he would have received a severe tongue lashing.
“Roka ? whose roka? What the hell Arnav? Uncle , Aunty where is this man’s brain –has it gone on holiday? It’s Payal and Akash wedding we have had their roka and next we are having their mehendhi-Arnav how can you call yourself Indian –you don’t even know our basic ceremonies!”
“We have too many and I’m sure mum invents some as well”
“Anyway why are you all here this early in the morning?”
“Well Bittia , Arnav was right we are here for you Roka but usually the boy is not here and the girl is not in her pyjama’s”
All Khushi’s brain registered was her Roka her brain didn’t register anything else.
All Arnav’s brain registered was the boy shouldn’t be here –where was Karan he couldn’t see him anywhere.
Two individuals looked at each other staring deep into each other’s eyes excluding all others from their silent conversation. What now what were they to do ? He had to say something before it was too late.He had to speak now or he would lose Khushi forever.
“Dad , Mom , Aunty, Uncle-you can’t get Khushi married!”
“Because… because …. I ..love her!”
“So if you love her why don’t you want to marry her ?”
“Huh …what ? Of course I want to marry her but all of you, are getting her married to everything on two legs that could be vaguely described as male.”
“If you want to marry her why are you stopping us ?”
“Huh what – I swear Khushi bitia is right your brain has gone on holiday”
“She sends my brain on holiday – i swear if she doesn’t send me crazy you lot will !”
“I just said the girl is in pyjama’s and the boy shouldn’t be here! Who is in pyjama’s?”
“Who is the only single adult male here ?”
“Duh …join the dots Arnav ! who could we possibly talking about; are you really my son?”
Khushi ‘s colour had changed from white to rose red. She didn’t know where to look .
“Arnav yesterday at dinner we gave you so many opportunities to come clean – but you didn’t say a word – even now you are being exceptionally dense- so let me spell it out for you in words that you understand – night of a dinner me and Shashi Uncle were discussing things in the Arbour and who should we see in the pavilion ? Do you really need me to spell it out for us what we saw..?”
“No Dad” Arnav at least had the decency to blush, and look embarrassed, matching Khushi who was now hiding behind her cup of tea and staring avidly on a spot on her kameez.
“we have been waiting for both of you to come clean –but neither of you two did- so hence the dinner last night and when you still didn’t we just decided to get Khushi engaged to you but not tell you it was you –and guess what you came running over .That must have been a record time to get you from AR designs to here.”
“So back to the matter at hand would you two like to get married?”
Both individuals concerned looked at each other and nodded.
It was a while later that both Arnav and Khushi found themselves in the Pavillion alone.
“Arnav why didn’t you say anything last night ?”
“Why didn’t you answer any of my call last night ?”
“I was mad at you for not saying anything and they had practically got me married off to karan last night and you didn’t even bat an eyelid”
“I was trying to stop myself from killing them for even suggesting Karan –they didn’t even consider me good enough to be in the running for you –how was I to know they already knew about us and wanted us to come clean. Hang on a second let me check who exactly is in the arbour”
“So I can do this away from prying eyes- are we on for a double wedding?”
“One thing at a time –you owe me an apology for last night first !”
“Shashi shall we go and have our tea in the arbour?”
Garima was the first to speak- “you have both done enough –for now –sit here and drink your tea –leave them alone for now –any more rubbish from either of you and you will have me and Ratna to answer to – we both want grandchildren –so leave the kids alone!”
Getting Khushi Married
“Khushi beti –I promised my best friend Ratna that my daughter would marry her son – don’t make me break my promise.”
“Dad , I don’t even know the guy, I have never seen him, let alone spoken to him”
“Meet him –then”
“What if he smokes? You know I hate that habit- eeww imagine kissing an ashtray”
“Khushi too much detail- I don’t need to imagine my daughter kissing anyone”
“Well you’re the one who wants me to get married! What if he is a secret alcoholic?”
“Khushi – stop it now!”
“What if he is a womaniser?”
“He has had a few girlfriends in the past.”
“What so its ok for him to have a girlfriends in the past yet when he gets married he wants a vestial virgin! No way DAD!”
“His relationships are in the past.”
“How do you know? Are you with him every day? OMG dad what if he secretrly bends the other way and the women are a cover?”
“Khushi stop with the drama queen antics! He is not gay!”
“Ok so he is not gay but a womaniser. Does he do drugs or gamble?”
“Khushi ! He is Ratna’s son! She would not have raised him in that manner; Just like you are my daughter and look how I raised you. Spoilt to the core ! You’re right – he could be more spoilt than you –if that’s possible. Maybe we should put that in your resume. Drama queen, eats her father’s brain up and exceptionally spoilt and very much loved and adored ”
A similar conversation was taking place in another house
“Di I’m too busy to get married”
“Chotey –you’re always busy – you’re already married to your phone , laptop and Aman! Chotey you need a real wife!”
“Wives take up too much time”
“Chotey – Wife! I’m only asking you to marry one not more than one”
“I need a modern day girl who will look after my needs”
“You mean those brainless bimbos who would pass for sticks! They want you for only two things Arnav! Money and sex –in that order!”
“Don’t Arnav me, when you are losing the argument, Di!”
“I’m not losing you’re making me mad! At least the girl that is chosen will have a lot of homely qualities”
“WHAT? You mean like she will be fat and spend her time in the kitchen cooking and eating and getting fatter! Her conversation will revolve around which TV serial to watch and the actor’s lives. No marriage! saints preserve me.”
“Arnav the girl was chosen by mum.”
“Don’t Di-you can’t use the mum card in a situation like this”
“Chote at least meet the girl-mum’s taste was always good and this is mum’s best friend’s daughter.”
“Oh you mean –like my mamoo’s daughter so that almost makes her my cousin!”
“Arnav stop it you are annoying me!”
“Di, you not just annoying me, you’re putting my life on track for an almighty train wreck!”
“She comes from a small village near Jaipur”
“OMG not only is she fat and watches TV serials now she is a village bumpkin. She going to fit well into ASR’s world.”
“Her name is Khushi”
“Khushi ? what kind of name is that ? Who call’s their daughter Khushi? I mean happiness! She is anything but happiness – right now she should be called Ghum- thats what she is doing to me bringing a whole truck load of misery into my life!”
“What kind of name is Arnav?”
“Di you know it means OCEAN –look at how vast and great and powerful oceans are!”
“Arnav get your head out of the clouds and down to earth not like powerful more like tempest and maybe we need a bit of Khushi to calm the ocean down”
“Di ,I love you , but this is a pointless argument, I’m going to work!”
Arnav left muttering to himself –really I need a bit of Khushi to calm me down! Where does she get lines like that from –She is watching too many serials”
“Shashi uncle, I’m really sorry but Arnav ‘s not agreeing to meet Khushi”
“That’s a relief. Khushi is saying the same thing”
Silence followed on the phone line.
“I’m sorry Uncle he won’t even give her a chance –if only they could meet then we would stand half a chance”
“Beti , brilliant idea – there’s a big charity dinner coming up, we are attending raising money for cancer research- there is a slave auction. I’ll put Khushi up under a false name you make sure you place the winning bid –whatever it takes I’ll pay.”
“Cook for a day”
“Errr no beti, my Khushi will set the house on fire”
“Escort for a day”
“What ? NO – that’s got the wrong ring to it”
“Wife for a day ?”
“No- too suggestive –too many hidden meanings!”
“Driver for a day ?”
“She will smash his car- and they will be both in the ICU”
“Uncle you are really selling her at the moment, what is she good at ?”
“ I can’t say – she tries really hard but things just inevitably go wrong for her”
“Uncle think- there must be something she is good at- that will tempt Arnav to bid for her.”
Time ticked by while the two conspirators thought through a plan.
“Anjali beti I got it – She will be the last in the auction –Secretary for a day –You always say that Arnav changes his staff like socks”
“Errrr uncle does Khushi have any secretarial skills?”
“I don’t know! How about Genie for a day! Her name will be Genie he won’t even know that he is bidding for Khushi”
“Uncle ji you are absolutely brilliant!
“I don’t know- Anjali beti, I am really not showing Khushi off in the best light – she has a clean heart, no hidden agenda, she says what she feels and that’s what usually gets her in trouble. When she sets her mind to a task she will achieve it. If we get them to spend time with each other we will have done our job and the rest is up to fate. At least I can show my face to Ratna when I meet her.”
“Uncle,I couldn’t agree more!”
“Beti you haven’t asked me much about Khushi – but I have asked you everything about Arnav. Err …ummmm ….err ..”
“What Uncle Ji ?”
“I had him investigated after a conversation with Khushi?”
“I found nothing unusal.”
“Uncle Ji this is my Chote- he has a past –but he is not bad boy -he just needs to meet the right girl. As for Khushi I know nothing about her except that my mum chose her.”
“You are too trusting, Anjali. You are like your mother –only looking for the good in people and bringing out the best in them.”
“Thank you Uncle Ji you couldn’t have paid me a bigger compliment –saying that I am similar to my mother”
“Dad –exactly how did I agree to this –to be in an auction –honestly you had better bid high for me if I give you the signal.”
“Khushi – I have got my cheque book ready –Ok and the money is for a good cause!”
On a table on the far side Arnav was bored out of his brains.
“Di how did I let you talk me into this ?”
“You love me and you owed me an apology after that last argument we had –get your chequebook ready Chote –we haven’t bid for anything”
“Di if all you needed was to bid you could have brought a blank chequebook and left me at home !”
“No Chote –then revenge would not be so sweet”
“Di” Arnav groaned. This was probably as bad as going to meet that Khushi girl. At least there iot would be only one girl. Here, there had been so many barracuda’s. He had fought of the army of unmarried girls and their mothers. At least after the auction –he would get Aman to come and relieve him and keep Di company and go home. He had already sent him a text. Besides he had seen Di look at Aman and Aman at Di. Ther was something there between his right hand man ,best friend and his sister. Forget his marriage he would focus on his sisters then at least she would be off his case. Now that was a plan. He was good at this.
Arnav raised his hand .
“Di what are we bidding for ?”
“Chotey this is a blind auction – lot 312 – we don’t know what we are bidding for but we are going to win this lot. It’s the last lot and ASR hasn’t bid –how can I be on the committee and not bid?”
“Don’t worry Di, you win the bid then I’m going home”
“What –NO – you can’t leave me –you promised me you would be here all night”
“No Di, I promised that I would attend and I would ensure you would not be alone for the evening – I have attended, I am bidding on behalf of AR designs and Aman is coming and he is far better company than me! You will not be alone for the evening”
“Lot 312 to table 4- Thank you everyone- and that brings the auction to a close.”
Di looked at her phone Khushi is on her way to table four – I have told her to answer only to the name of Genie, you introduce yourself as Di and ASR she is wearing a green sari.
Chote sat there impatiently tapping his foot where was Aman, he was supposed to be here by now , he wanted to get away as soon as possible –he was bored out of his brains and no doubt that Di would start about marriage again. There was a stunning model that made no bones about how available she was- Sheetal. She might make for some light distraction tonight. Then he saw her –she was absolutely stunning, the way she held herself and walked in their general direction looking for something. Her long sleek black hair hung in curls around her face and down her back. Her eyes smokey green smouldered with undiscovered passion as their eyes met.She wore an emerald green Sari with a simple but elegant sequenced border. She stared at him unflinchingly –she watched the gorgeous specimen hopefully he wasn’t taken or gay. These days all the good looking men were taken or gay. She could feel his eyes undressing her and she did no less to him. She would love to see him without a shirt, that build just screamed to be on display.
Unconsciously she licked her lips and Arnav thought what would she taste like. He felt the instant attraction between them and then the vision was blocked. Aman stood in front of him.
“What the hell-yaar I was watching a vision and then you !”
“You texted me and I quote “HELP- Rescue required” and I’m here”
“Excuse me table 4 ? I’m lot 312 Genie for a day”
Di jumped up “Di, and this is Aman who Is here to keep me company as ASR is about to leave-AR designs bid for lot 312.”
Arnav scowled at Di –he was not letting this genie walk away that easily and she was not claiming her for the day. AR designs had bid –and this genie was his for a day.
“Hi , I’m ASR- I believe I bought a genie for a day”
Khushi smiled and her face lit up “I’ve come to book my day with you”
“Shall we get a drink –and you tell me what a genie does and we will see what day I have available”
“Errr ASR may I remind you that I have a share in AR designs so I also get some of Genies time!”
“I know exactly how many shares you have in AR and I won’t forget to allocate you the appropriate share of Genie’s time, when you start working at AR designs”
“Anjali Ji, Ithink you just got burnt by your Chote”
“Aman Ji,Let me discuss my new working hours at AR designs with you !”
“ASR you just got made!”
“Di please don’t come to AR designs , I will allocate you a share of Genies time.”
“Ahhh- I would make such a good mother –my manipulations skills are excellent”
“Genie the first thing you need to do is save me from my manipulating blackmailing sister”
The whole group laughed.
Di whispered “Oh Chotey –you just have no idea!”
Aman heard and looked quizzically at Anjali.
“Drink and dance Aman?”
Aman saw her text someone – jackpot –the honeys caught the bee.
“Anjali Ji,please explain!”
“Aman stop worrying about your friend –I’ll explain as long as you promise not to say a word of this to your friend- lets go and meet Shashi Uncle!”
“So what does a Genie do for a day ?”
“Your wish is my command!”
Arnav looked in his diary whilst Khushi looked in hers. The first available date was a Friday a month from today.
“Look forward to it genie”
“My number ASR-I’ll send you my email later- I had better get back to my table”
Arnav felt jealousy for the first time in his life –the little green monster was raising his head .
“Who are you with? Husband or boyfriend?”
“Neither- a more important man than those two –my dad”
Arnav smiled; if she had either she would have told him where they were –so she was single.
“Would he like to meet your master?”
“He would like to meet you – I am an independent Genie I have no master!”
Shashi saw Khushi weaving her way through the crowd towards him.
Di saw Arnav .
“Uncle time to go Chotey is on his way over”
By the time Khushi reached her table Shashi was standing up .
“Dad this is ASR”
“Hi, I’m Mr Gupta”
An easy flowing conversation took up. Shashi like Arnav and the feeling was mutal he found that he was actually having an intelligent business conversation with a stranger and his daughter was holding her own in the conversation. She had a view point as they debated the pros and cons of the latest government policy that was impacting on the business world.
It was a long time later that Shashi said “Beti we need to leave I’m tired- I’m an old man ASR and I need my beauty sleep not like you young things”
Arnav looked at his watch the party was still in full flow and it was after 1.00 in the morning. Where had the time gone?
He wished father and daughter goodnight and thanked them for a very pleasant evening. Something he had not done in a very long time- he had enjoyed the evening tremendously.
“CHOTE- you’re still here??”
“You are still here –is everything ok ?”
“I was chatting to Genies dad”
“You were talking – voluntarily, like socialising “
“Di –you are getting annoying. Aman can you drop her home? If she comes in my car and she carries along in this vein headlines will say justifiable homicide.”
“Arnav you go , I’ll make sure that Anjali Ji gets home safe”
All the way home, Arnav kept thinking about his Genie, her eyes, her lips ,her hair. The way she smelt. Jasmine. What was wrong with him he couldn’t stop fantasising about her. The more he thought about her the more he was in need of a cold shower. Arnav had his extremely cold long shower before dreaming of her.
Khushi was not in a much better state. She fancied him. She would love to run her hands through his short dark hair and fell his chest. Kiss those lips and lose herself in him. She had mentally undressed him several times over. What was wrong with her? Khushi looked at herself in the mirror what was wrong with her –she had the hots for her master for a day. Where was her brain? She had oftened wondered was she normal ? when her friends talked about men. She felt nothing. But with ASR she could literally jump him. She would have to careful –maybe she wasn’t that traditional-maybe she was just a late developer.
She had to go to bed –NOW!
Khushi jumped out of bed set up a new email address genie@gmail .com and sent it to ASR.
My email as promised. Thanks for a pleasant evening
Thanks just checking your mail was working .
Ditto – had a pleasent evening too.
Why are you asleep ? Are you a poor sleeper?
My mail keeps pinging – usually iI am a sound sleeper.
Sorry – Good night
Do you have skype or face time ?
Khushi quickly created both new address befoe sending them back
You sleepy ?or do you fancy a chat ?
Then face time happened.
Unknown to Shashi or Anajli Genie and ASR were in continual contact on breaks and in the evenings. Chatting and laughing, discussing his work and her days chores.
ASR suggested that they went out later that evening for dinner.
Khushi laughed “do you know where I even live – I was only in Dehli that day for the charity event . I’m four and half hours on the fast train from Dehli.”
“Ohh tell me where you are and I’ll meet you for dinner- I really would like to meet you “
“OK Oberoi this evening at 7.00”
“Are you serious?”
“OK Oberoi –don’t keep me waiting!”
“Who’s the Genie and who’s the master ?”
“I keep telling you I have no master –I am a free agent”
“See at 7:00 sharp- I don’t like ..”
“Tardiness and I’m always late –lets see how we fare”
Arnav re –arranged his last meeting and told Aman that he was flying to Jaipur on an urgent meeting.
“ASR we have no business dealings in Jaipur”
“Aman –who said I was going on business- it’s purely pleasure- Do you remember that girl….”
“ASR if Anjali ji finds out, both you and I will have our necks in the hangmans noose”
“Unless you tell her how is she going to fingd out?”
“ASR where your concerned she finds out everything especially since she is trying to get you married”
“I’m not marrying a fat matron with two brain cells and no connection between them.”
“No seriously Aman this girl is special-really special”
“Well unless you are planning on marrying her, Dont tell your Di – I would consider this a personal favour to me and my ears would as well.”
“Whats this girls name , who does she model for ? And how soon before you get her in bed ?”
“Aman! Dont’talk about her like that”
“No I am serious about her, Aman. Not marriage but definitely a long term relationship”
“What do you mean Arnav –more than a week ?”
“Aman I’m warning you, you are on thin ice”
Khushi had pulled all her clothes out finding nothing suitable to wear –“ Dad I’ve got nothing to wear”
Her father looked at the tornado that had hit her room , “ I would beg to differ –the evidence suggests otherwise. Why all the fuss? ”
“I’ve got a dinner date this evening !”
“With who may I ask ?” Shashi was getting anxious
“You met him ASR”
“Oh him – I absolutely forbid it – how can you go out with another man when we are in discussions about your marriage”
“Dad –have you lost it –I’m not in any discussion, and I have two weeks holiday left , I am going on this date and then in two weeks back to work ! If you have a sensible contribution to make like what outfit to wear then help otherwise leave me alone Dad.”
Shashi left before he overplayed his hand , he was as excited as a child in a sweetshop and went running to find his phone to text her the exciting news. His daughter and her brother were going on a date.
For the first time –an event to be noted Khushi was early for a social event. Not on time but early
ASR was late. He had been late he had had to get Aman to run interference. How did Di find out ?
She sat in the foyer waiting for ASR. She had texted him but no reply.
Then the famous
Ping! Sorry got held up!
How long are you gonna be ?
Ping! how long are you prepared to wait for me?
Not long !
Ping ! Liar you’d wait
I’m going call me if you get here !
Ping ! cream‘s ok, red looks better on you
How would you know what colour suits me ? your not here to admire me!
Ping gold shoes would have finished off the outfit well.
Couldn’t find them so wore wore gold slippers instead.
Ping – you still look stunning
How do you know, i’m not wearing gold shoes –ever the designer! Where are you ?
Ping – finally , the penny ‘s dropped !
She finally saw ASR approach her staring at her lips
Then she heard ping
A gentleman always asks
Khushi looked at him questioningly
ASR reply was to place a soft warm tender kiss on her lips.
Khushi hesitated and then returned the gesture with interest that left him breathless and stunned.
And then he heard it her growling stomach .
Dinner , a show and finally a leisurely romantic walk in the gardens.
“ASR I need to go home, I’ll meet you for breakfast.”
“How about a night cap Genie ?”
Khushi smiled “ASR , the way we feel about each other a night cap would only lead to one logical ending- bed !”
“So whats so bad about that?”
“ASR – I don’t do one night stands or short term relationships. Unfortunately I’m a one guy girl in for the long haul- I want the whole package house 2.4 children and a husband to go with it. A faithful one, not one that flits around from person to person “
“Genie I have known you for three weeks –long enough to that i want more than a one night stand, I need more time”
“Thats why a nightcap is not a good idea – neither of us will survive the fallout –we need more time”
“See you for breakfast then ?”
Ping – What time is my Genie reporting for duty?
I’m flying in on the early flight in the morning
Ping – I’ll pick you up time and flight ?
Arrival 9:15 on AI 439 return is open.
Ping –thats the first sensible thing you’ve done
NO! my new job is Dehli based –starting on Monday
Ping – you work?
Yes actually I am considred quite intelligent.
Ping – I know that, from you’re opinions and arguments.
Working for AIMS New Dehli
Ping – as what ?
Ping – as what ?
What do people do at AIMS?
Ping- study medicine- but you’re working
Holy crap ASR you’re hard work or is it so hard to believe if they study medicine and I’m working what must I do ?
Ping –teach ?? but what ?
Are you sure you got your degree from Harvard ? They supposedly only take intelligent individuals/Or did you pay for your degree!
Ping –you teach some branch of medicine??
Finally ! And dad says sometimes my light is slow in coming on but god your really slow. What auction was I at – Cancer research- so what do you think I teach?
Ping – cancer stuff?
Yah – I have not long returned from the states having completed my post graduate degree after a medical degree specialising in oncology. I am 28 years old ,the same as you .
Ping – you a proper doctor?
Ping- I apologise -I thought you did nothing.
Sometimes I do nothing –but when at work I really work like you – will you take me to my flat , I have alot of baggage.
Ping – You’re the genie and I’m the master
I keep telling you that I’m independent –free agent I don’t have a master
Ping – so what are we going to do today?
Khushi flight arrived and even though Arnav threatened not to meet her he still came to pick her up .
“Where are your bags?”
It was a beautifully simply decorated flat. He could see traces of Khushi’s personality all over the flat.
The traditionally coloured wind chime, the multicoloured cushions that were scattered around the room.
The large poster of Salman Khan and the huge collection of DVD’s all dedicated to Salman khan.
A series of photographs of Khushi kissing a man on his cheek –not until the final picture did Arnav realise that it was her father. The first was of her smiling lips and laughter filled eyes kissing a cheek.
The second was of daughter kissing her father.
There was a stunning picture of Khushi in a red sari twirling feeding the pigeons in a piatza in Venice.
“Genie can I have a black coffee?”
“One coming up. Have you got work to do or the day off ? “
“Bit of both”
The morning was spent with ASR on his lap top whilst Khushi unpacked rang her dad.
“Genie at your service what next ?”
“Sit next to me or Massage my shoulder”
Khushi started to massage his shoulders –relaxing ASR completely and the she started to nibble his neck and ear.
Before she knew it ASR had pulled her from the back of the sofa and she was under him having the daylights kissed out of her. Her top was lost and so was his shirt he knew things were progressing to fast for her but neither had the will power to stop.
Arnav ground his arousal into her hips . Khushi felt the heat and depth of his passion through their clothes. She had heard of dry humping but this was her first experience of it. Both were lost to passion that had taken over their lives.
Genie if you’re going to stay here and I’m going to visit you I need to keep a spare change of clothes here.
“What exactly are we doing , ASR?”
“Unbelievable – you’re the doctor and if you need a biology lesson the rest of the world is going to need some serious help.”
He felt himself being hit by a cushion.
Genie,Its a long time since my love life has gone so slow that I am dry humping you. Fair warning to you I want you and I am going to have you. I know you want the package but I’m not ready for the package deal. But I know that I want you around for a long time. Is that going to be enough for you?”
“I won’t have my man fooling around –you are exclusively mine!”
Arnav loved the possessive tone in her voice her man. Genie it’s a two way street –I have exclusive rights over you I don’t share either.
“Let’s go out- ASR”
“I don’t have a problem with the view”
Slowly with time their relationship grew, Arnav would meet up with Khushi nearly everyday time allowing.
Aman knew the extent of the relationship but there was very tight seal kept over the relationship. Things would have ambled on in this way had not an incident occurred which made Arnav realise that he wanted to name their relationship. Boyfriend , girlfriend , long time partner –none of these wordswere sufficient for what he felt.
They had argued,Arnav wanted Khushi to accompany him to the fashion industry awards where he had been nominated for business man of the year.”ASR its an event for family for your Di, Nani Ji not me. I have no standing –no place there exactly what am I, how are you going to introduce me to them.No ASR I can’t do that to them or my father.”
“You knew from the start that marriage was not on the cards”
“I’m not asking for marriage all I’m saying is that this is not the best place to introduce me as your girlfriend and when you do that they will all be after you what next –when’s the date, they will pressure you, not me but it will be me that you grow to resent. No ASR I am not coming to the event and thats final”
Arnav was furious he slammed out of the flat. Khushi hated it when they argued and she always said, never go to sleep angry and never leave angry –you never know what the future may hold.
He had just slammed out of here. Khushi went racing after him to say bye or give him a kiss –why would he not listen to her.
Arnav heard her calling him but why couldn’t she come –he knew she spoke the truth –he was fed up of hiding her relationship from his family ,her family .He wanted men to know that she was taken ,off limits.
He jumped into his car and drove off watching in the rear view mirror the horrifying scene that unfolded. He was as much to blame as Khushi was.
Khushi ran after him tear streaked face – he knew exactly what she was saying never leave angry –you never know what the future might hold. She didn’t see the large fast approaching taxi as she turned to returned back to her flat. Arnav saw her tossed in the air like a rag doll and lay there for a second not moving and then a crowd gathered.
He reversed his car like a man possessed back to the scene when he saw her his heart stopped. There was blood everywhere her eyes were blinking at him but no recognition –complete blank.
The ambulance arrived and whisked her away, he followed. Who was he – her fiancé sometimes the threat of losing something makes one realise what they actually want, what is their true value. He wanted the whole package with her. He couldn’t lose her.
Arnav called Aman and Di while he waited for her outside surgery. Aman explained to Di that Genie was in surgery and Arnav was blaming himself for the accident.
“Di what will I do without her ?” he lay his head in her lap. Tears fell uncontrollably –the great Asr was just a man ; a scared man, a fearful man who kept hearing Genies words never leave angry you never know what the future might hold. “Chote she will make it- let me call Uncle and tell him”
“Arnav was confused his brain really didn’t register what Di had said but Aman had.
Deal with one problem at a time that would wait. Hopefully ASR would forgive Di and Uncle and him more easily.
The surgeon came out smiling, a large group of individuals had gathered, students, doctors, friends.
“Dr Gupta’s surgery has gone well , we are shifting her to the high dependency unit. She should be fine and fully recovered in a few weeks –so I suggest that you all go back and let me talk to her family.I am sorry about the crowd – she is a very popular and well liked member of staff so when the news got round that it was her- hence the crowd developed. It was only when we cleaned up her face that we recognised her. Your nickname Genie slowed us down but it’s all sorted now.
She has few fractured ribs, a punctured lung , a broken leg but and then obviously multiple cuts and stitches. Khushi is such a fighter she will be on the mend very soon-you can see her as soon as she shifted to HDU. We didn’t realise that Khushi was engaged but it doesn’t really surprise any of us Khushi is such a lovely warm hearted gentle person –she was never going to be single for long-any way don’t worry she will be fine now.”
Arnav’s brain was hearing bits of information but had not yet pieced together the information Genie Khushi Gupta. But now that the crisis was over his brain started putting bits together –“DI! Explain”
“Explain what Chote ?”
“Genie / Khushi GUPTA ,Jaipur ”
“Now Arnav relax let me explain..”
“What you too you knew about Genie being Khushi –for how long ?”
“Arnav does it matter? In the scheme of things you want to marry her –you love her ,if she happens to be the same girl that Anjali wants you to marry –is that a bad thing –only your feelings for her are important. You could have lost her today then what? How empty would your life be”
Arnav felt a shudder down his back.
“Does she know ?”
“I don’t think she has made the connection that you are Arnav, Ratna’s son. You’re the bad tempered ASR of AR designs not her lovely son ”
“Chotey is all forgiven ?”
“Di when did you exactly set us up”
“Blind auction- So to confirm you do want to get married to her”
“She turned out exactly as you predicted didn’t she Chotey let me see fat , unintelligent and could cook – total strike out Chote ”
“Yes Di- Ma was right and so were you- Ok I said it now leave me alone”
“Really Genie you had me pegged as a smoking closet gay alcoholic womaniser! Unbelievable!”
“Well you had me as a stupid fat serial watching cook. You were wrong on all counts ASR especially the cooking part”
“Thankgod for HP and take aways –really Khushi it never ceases to amaze me that you can manage in a kitchen but when it comes to the human body you are amazing”
“What would you rather I was good at the human anatomy or cooking”
Arnav feeling her hands on his body –“human anatomy –every time Genie. Do you know that its our anniversary and we need to celebrate”
Khushi looked down at him “what anniversary do we need to celebrate?”
“We have been married seventy two hours –that needs celebrating”
“ASR you are incorrigible you were bad before but now ….. I have not been out this room since we arrived and i have not been able to wear any of my new outfits and everytime I turn round you jump me –is there anywhere in this room that we haven’t done it”
“Are you complaining and I am getting my fill ,between you, your father living in your flat, Di and Aman I have not been able to get close to you since the accident. It feels like I have been on war rashens”
Khushi laughed and then……………..
Just Good Friends
“Khushi what are we going to do ?”
“La what are we going to do?”
“Arnav, what are we going to do ?”
Each looked at the other, the situation was hopeless. Clothes had been chosen, flowers and jewellery picked, Shantivan had been draped in flowers and lights so the smell of jasmine and sweet roses filled the air. The house shone like a star announcing to the world of the forthcoming joyous occasion that had a whole house hold in a complete tizz.
The tables were laid out with food and drink to welcome the guest that would be soon arriving. The band played happy music to suit the occasion.
Shantivan about to be witness to a monumentous occasion the eldest grandson’s engagement. But the reality was that the individuals divided into two camps had panic bubbling just beneath a calm cool exterior.
Anjali was discussing with Nani Chote’s impending engagement with La. She was raising her concerns that she wasn’t really the right girl for her brother, he was being forced into a situation that he was not ready for. She just couldn’t allow this. Not to her Chote. He just needed more time to grow to realise what he really wanted.
Nani only reply –“Child do you think for one minute I would allow Arnav to make a wrong decision. Especially one that would have such far reaching consequences. I love him, he is my grandson; I am not blind to his faults, he is after all a man. Sometimes men not only need to be led but shown what is the right decision for them. Arnav has just got used to what is around him that he cannot see what he really wants because it is so readily available. He just needs a gentle or a huge kick up his rear end to make him realise the true worth of what is actually around him.”
“Nani Ji I don’t understand what you are saying?”
“Even you Anjali Beti ! Can’t you see what is in front of our noses – Khushi! She has been part of our family for so long no one sees her as an outsider; she has no rating because she is one of us. Those two love each other they just haven’t realised it yet. But it is there in everything they do, they say, they way they look out for each other, the way they support each other in good times and bad. Look at the way he rescues her from all those escapades. Remember that day Khushi pulled Arnav into the pool –had it been anyone else even you I don’t think even you would have got off scot free. Remember when Khushi climbed out of the pool – who did Arnav stand in front of too save her from any embarrassment as her clothes stuck to her and became see through. Who do you think he was protecting? Her? It was a bit of both! He was protecting her but primarily he was being a man he was not sharing her with any other man present. He was being a possessive jealous man that day staking his territory!”
“But Nani if you want those two to get married why don’t you just tell them why all this drama?”
“Anjali beti, in matters of marriage do you think that Chote would even listen to me. Whatever idea I presented to him, it would be dismissed without even a second’s consideration. If it was business deal –then it would at least get a peek in before he dismissed it. He would way they benefits and losses before reaching his decision. So I have two options let him realise what is going on between them – god knows I gave him enough time or force his hand. Well I have been hinting and suggesting finally I resorted to force- hence the engagement party.”
“BUT NANI, HE IS GETTING TO LA”
“ Anjali, I’m old not deaf! Why are you getting so excited – Arnav is an excellent businessman who knows how to put a deal together and I’m his Nani –do you think I would leave such an important decision to those two idiots. No I have an ace up my sleeve – just watch the events unfold this evening –Khushi Bitia will be engaged to Arnav and by the end of the week they will think it’s all their own idea and they will beasking for a very short engagement. Beti watch and see how the master plays the game and the novices fall into line .”
In another room, Shantivan was witnessing another conversation between three individuals.
“What the **** are we going to do?”
“Arnav your language”
“It’s not your arse on the line! Khushi”
“No it’s not mine so why does it feel like its mine!”
“Hey you two –it’s also my arse on the line. Whilst other girls would jump at the chance of marrying Mr Arnav Singh Raizada in my eyes you’re not marriage material!”
“What’s wrong with my Arnav –he good looking –look at his face” Khushi held his jaw and started pointing out all his features ruffling some and outlining others. “He has a strong jaw line , a full head of hair he’s not bald. He has nice eyes and eyebrows that don’t meet in the middle like a werewolf! He has all his own teeth! Look he has strong arms. Arnav they feel soft –you have not been working out at the gym like you used to”
Arnav looked at Khushi – if she hadn’t been his best friend he would have just ripped her apart for treating him like a piece of meat get priced –ready for a sale. He was incredulous at the turn of events but next few comments left him speechless and blushing.
Khushi had pulled up his shirt and exposed his six-pack. “Look he has gorgeous abs and if I give him a wedgie you would see how well endowed he is- I don’t think he has had any complaints in that department –have you Arnav?”
“Khushi” was all Arnav managed to croak had she really just stood there treated him like a piece of meat and then defended his prowess and then asked him for confirmation. This was not a topic for discussion with her- she was his friend and had she just stepped over some invisible boundary that he had set in her loyalty to defend him. Had he just been complimented or demeaned –he couldn’t figure that out.
“Khushi if you think he is such good marriageable material-then you marry him! Arnav the deal was, I pretend to get engaged to you, but your nani has definitely burrowed a hole in my brain- there’s no way I’m getting engaged to you tonight fake or otherwise! You are going to have to get engaged to this other girl”
Both other individuals in the room cried out together “ you can’t do that!”
“Well we have an hour to formulate a plan”
“Khushi I have an hour left”
“Arnav stop acting like a condemned man who has not been granted his last wish”
“But Khushi it feels like it!”
“Arnav I can’t think straight with you whining on in my ear-be quiet let me think!”
“Ok Arnav, it’s going to have to be the diabetic card that’s our only option now”
“I don’t understand”
“Go with the arrangements till the announcement has to be made –then play sick act dizzy like your having a hypo attack and faint – simple everyone one will be rushing around you – Di will have an absolute mental, Nani Jiwill be upset – you pretend to stay unconscious till me and La get you to the doctors and the engagement will be postponed –hows that for a plan”
“Desparate Khushi I don’t like upsetting Di or Nani ji like that”
“Well then get engaged to La!”
“What ? No way he is getting engaged to me; I’ll be long gone mate – you will be on your own ! Arnav the way I see it you have two options get engaged to the girl that Nani ji wants you to get engaged to or the diabetic card”
“Crap – thats not a choice its a …a….”
“Arnav , La is right, those are the only two choices at the moment”
They all heard the doorbell ring. Guests had started to arrive.
“What’s the decision Arnav am I hanging around and it’s the diabetic card or am I leaving and it’s the other girl?”
Arnav grabbed Khushi’s arm and placed it through the crook of his arm –“let the show begin!”
La smiled as the couple –who thought that they were not a couple, had walked out the room, hand in hand leaving his so called fiancé alone in the room.
La thought to herself – it’s a good job that I have a lot of self confidence those two are definitely not good for a girls ego. Arnav you are soooo gone it’s unbelievable.
The Rise of Phoenix
The bidding had already started and was now between two rivals – AR construction and Gutpa Fashion house. They both wanted the site for expansion. Khushi didn’t want the site nor did she need it. But she was here to screw one or both over. She arrived late –marking her entrance -the stage was set but this time she was the puppet master who knew how to pull the strings.
As per usual impeccably dressed in one of her own – enough to get the flash bulbs igniting.
When the Phoenix arrived she made sure that heads turned. Her presence was felt and murmured through the crowd- what did she want her, this was a private auction for serious players. Her presence was acknowledged as she partook in the bidding.
Khushi noticed that as soon as she started Arnav stopped. He was no longer playing but watching. She noticed that every time she entered the ring to take them on he withdrew.
She was going to have to change the rules when she went after him. He was watching her every move, waiting at the side line. She would have to be careful around him.
Shashi Gupta didn’t care, this Phoenix, this Khushi was not going to win this round. She had already taken two victories away from him. Part of him couldn’t help admire her – after all whose daughter was she! All that time she had spent with him she had learnt something or had she learnt after she had disappeared. He had looked for her –but never found her. Hmmph the women in his life had a knack for disappearing first his wife then his daughter. But she had returned to take him on and she was currently in the lead. Initially he thought that she was not a worthy adversary but she was in the lead –she was playing the game better than he was. He was going to have to re-evaluate the situation, but dam if she was going to win this round.
The bidding took off in earnest well beyond the expected valuation, not in lakhs but crores. Then suddenly when the bid was with her father she waved her hand signalling that it was too rich for.
Shashi Gupta was triumphant he had beaten his daughter. He could taste the triumph and victory. He was back on top and she was where she belonged below him. How dare she even think she was his equal- that she could take him on in the business world, or for that matter any worlds and win. There was no way she was going to come out the winner. Just as quickly as his emotions had reached their pinnacle he felt himself plummet to earth with a resounding thud.
Phoenix went up to the sellers and smiled loud enough for only Shashi and Arnav to hear “I told you to sell and I also told you how much it would sell over the valued price. That should be enough for you to rebuild your world”
Phoenix looked Shashi Gupta up and down –“ I was taught by the masters never to lose the cost is to great. How long did your hollow victory last Mr Gupta – till next time. Ohh there will be a next time – I understand you are going after the Shesherio contract see you their!”
With that Khushi and her team left.
Reporters and observers not quite sure who was the victor her but one thing was for certain there was some bad blood between Phoenix and Shashi Gupta. That was not hard – he was renowned in the business world for having a ruthless reputation. But what was the relationship or history between Phoenix and Shashi Gupta.
As soon as the trio were back in the comfort of their car NK asked “what the hell Khushi ?”
“NK not here back in our rooms do you know how far those mics can pick up sound smile till we reach our rooms.
As soon as there suite room was shut “What was that about the Shesherio contract- you gave him the heads uphe will be looking to undercut our bid”
“NK ,Preeto how important is the Shesherio contract to his fundamental business –he will be so busy chasing it ,he will actually forget to look closer to home –his bread and butter contracts; while he is chasing one we will be chasing all the others –we have our work cut out and we will have to do this quickly and quietly. I have already looked at the weak points in all the contracts and the weaknesses in their owners. If you follow my lead in the next 6 weeks we will control Gupta Fashions by its balls- and then the fun will really begin. He will win the Shesherio contract at the expense of everything else.”
“Khushi – you are not going to find peace by destroying him”
“No Preeto – I don’t think I will ever find peace – how can one – he sold me not once but twice and then he tried to get rid of my child. But she was a fighter and she lived on to fight. It was her mother that gave in, it was her mother who couldn’t protect her, it was her mother who let her down. It was her death that gave me life. She gave me the strength to return and ask for justice. Men like him should not be allowed to live – he has destroyed three innocent lives that I know about- how many more do you think he has destroyed along the road to his success.”
“Which three innocent lives? Yours, your daughter and Arnav’s?”
“He has had a part in all this –he left me to the jackals – to be torn apart bit by bit, he broke my heart into so many pieces that even if you found all the shattered shards you wouldn’t be able to glue it together. Even if you did fix miss most of it, there would always be pieces missing. How do you fix something that is so badly broken that it will never be fully functional again?”
“Khushi you are the Phoenix –you rose from the ashes and your tears will heal you if you allow them to fall. Remember the Phoenix’s tears are all powerful they will heal whomever they touch that includes you Khushi. Allow yourself to feel and breathe to forgive and live again –forget this plan –and let’s go home.”
“Preeto the wheels once set in motion can’t be stopped –the injured lion is far more dangerous than the sleeping lion. That is what I have done. I have injured the lion and he is now out for blood –mine. I warned all of you once the wheels were set in motion there was no going back till the end-the final scene.”
“Khushi you said three innocent lives –who is the third?”
Now both Preeto and NK looked up in astonishment – her mother? Her mother had abandoned her to her fate a long time ago, she had disappeared into the mists of time and no one knew where she had gone.
Why do you think my mother left because she was happy –she left because he made her life so miserable, she alone could disappear without too much question. If I disappeared then my father would never give up the search. What he owned he owned. My mother never thought he would try and destroy me in that way. She felt that he cared about me. Well we all know how that turned out can you imagine what he did to my mother? He has a lot to pay for – three innocents”
“Khushi if you have known about your mother all this time why did you not tell us ?”
“All of you know who my mother is – she just never tells anyone in case he finds her – even now after all this time she lives in fear of discovery. If I can control my father’s wealth I can buy her freedom and maybe she can find her peace and happiness ,that she deserves”
“But Khushi who is your mother?”
Khushi smiled –a rare event as her thoughts flew back to her mother.
His Lady in Red
Arnav arrived not in the best of moods his flight had been delayed he had been out of the country for a week. Now he was at this dam wedding. He could be at home asleep. But no the fall out would be too much –it was easier for him to attend show his face and then leave.
Where the hell was every one? Why did Indian weddings have to be so big? Did they really have to invite half the world to these functions? HP had told him that his clothes were laid out on the recliner if he had wanted to go. Did he really have a choice? They knew the flight had been delayed –the perfect excuse he could shower and sleep –catch up the rest of the family would be back later that night- and he would be rested and in a better frame of mind to face them.
He saw the clothes laid out for him – who were they kidding ? Red ? RED ? Since when did he wear red ? He liked red – yes he loved red on women; it was his favourite colour but not on him!
That red was enough for him not to attend – they knew better than that put a red shirt for him. Second nail in the coffin, first a wedding and then a red shirt – he supposed he should be grateful for small mercies at least it wasn’t a pyjama kurta – thank god! At least some one had some common sense prevailing –no way would he have worn that and gone.
He would shower and go but not wearing that red shirt , he took a blue shirt out and called HP .
“Iron this shirt and bring me a coffee”
“Bhaiya –I’ll iron your shirt and bring you a coffee but she already chose a shirt for you and if you don’t wear it you will hurt her”
He showered and changed and arrived at the wedding – was there no member of his family around. He was having to make polite chit chat with acquaintances .Then he spied the most heavenly creature he had seen, her almond shaped eyes and her hair in curls and a simple red bindi. She was breath takingly beautiful . If he stared at her any longer he would have to pay a tax. He was drinking the vision in, like a man in a desert who had just found his oasis.
He felt a tap on his back he looked and saw Akash –“You too !”
He looked back and the vision had gone.
Akash looked at Arnav’s shirt “We are all wearing the same colour – it was Di ‘s idea initially and when we disagreed she pulled in the muscle power to make us wear these shirts. Even you couldn’t go against the decision – you were my last hope Bhai – I thought you would make a stand but you gave in as well”
“Where is everyone ?”
“If by that you mean Di – she is helping out with the food everyone else is getting ready for the dance and Bhai we are all involved except you – who managed to find a very convenient business trip abroad !”
“I just saw…”
Akash was gone what was it with weddings did everyone’s brains go mush. Did the reasonable thought pattern go down the drain- well he should have known better –this was NK wedding he should expect total madness here. Not a sane thought or person would exist in this zone, only thing was how mad would it get? NK’s wedding would be like entering the twilight zone.
Let’s see if in this mayhem he could find Di- she would be able to help him.
Arnav was enveloped in a huge bear hug. “Chote we weren’t sure you would make it and NK dramabaise joi hai was threatening to postpone his wedding unless his Nanav bhai turned up in time”
“well as you can see I am here but where is …”
“Chote! the music the dancing is starting challo na”
Dance after dance came and though they were entertaining he had other things on his mind; he was about to leave and then he felt it a flower hit him on his head. He turned and looked and he saw her again those eyes. This time he saw the mischief in them and he looked deep into those eyes ha saw the hidden depths of passion. Those eyes were devouring him layer by layer. He felt those stripping him , caressing him and lingering just at hips long enough to turn him on. He felt the heat in her gaze. He felt the warmth in her gaze – there was no one in the room just him and her and then the music brought them both back to reality.
She dance around the stage as if she owned it he was completely lost – who was he kidding ? He was totally besotted with her. Just one look was enough to disarm him.
After the dance there was only one place she would be – changing – he would catch her there.
He waited patiently till he saw her, he had sensed her before he saw her. He took three steps towards her and she backed away from him.
“Why are you walking away from me ? let me introduce myself”
He had her trapped against the wall with one arm and with his other he had hold of her other hand.
He inhaled her scent and caressed her ear with his lips and huskiliy introduced himself Arnav Singh Raizada”
He was barely in control of himself. He wanted this creature. He trailed warm kisses down her long exposed neck . She felt his passion but she was powerless to stop the onslaught on her senses – but she didn’t want to.
They both heard it at the same time –“Khushi Ji”
“Nk Bhai “ she croaked and saw him come into her line of view.
Arnav had his arm around Khushi and had placed him infront of her.
“Nanav mera Bhai – I see you have found her – I was coming to tell her that you had arrived Akaash had seen you”
“Do you always talk this much – remind me to have a full fledged conversation on your suhagg raat”
“I’ll be back in ten make that fifteen minutes – oh and bhai instead of the hall way – go round the corner there is a very very private pavilion – and you can thank me later !”
“So shall we ?”
“Arnav –someone might see us ?”
“I introduced myself what is your name ?”
“Khushi Kumari Gupta…….Singh Raizada “
“ahhh … let me think…..my wife….whom i haven’t seen for over a week and am wearing a red shirt for – so give me a little credence i need something to keep me going till later – and if they see us so what we are married ! It’s a well known fact that I can’t keep my hands of you; you’re in red you have absolutely floored me.”
“I could say the same about you in red “
“Khushi we have fifteen minutes -I’m not going to waste them talking because that donkey NK will come back in 14 minutes wait till he is married then see the the fun I’m going to have”
“Arnav plan later I have missed you! Its been over a week since….”
“Who’s fault was that ? I asked you to come with me but no you had to stay and support NK in his wedding plans!”
“Arnav we have thirteen minutes “
The rest was lost .
The first sensible thing that NK did was not return in fifteen minutes and the second sensible thing was to keep everyone away from the pavillion.
OS 3 Shot part 3- Waiting /Intezaar
There was no holding him back today. He had told her to wait and as per usual –she hadn’t. All he heard were arguments when he arrived at her house.
“Khushi you can’t go on your own –I won’t allow it”
“Rohit – you can’t stop me. Let go of me!”
“Khushi –you are not going”
“Let go of her this instant”
Khushi looked up and so did Rohit ;Arnav was approaching very rapidly . Rohit looked at where his hand was he let go of Khushi instantly.
“Khushi, I am really sorry –I didn’t realise I had grabbed you. But that changes nothing –you can’t go”
“Rohit, I am going – I can’t leave her, she has asked for our help”
“Khushi they will send another team”
“It might be too late for her, she may have changed her mind and then what – I need to go”
“You are not going alone! A team means two people at the very least and when they send us they know the situation is not straight forward – there are complications we are trained for this –you are not going alone –it’s not safe and that’s final”
“Rohit I am going and that’s final”
Finally Arnav spoke “Khushi , if it’s not safe you are not going anywhere – you were supposed to wait for me why did you leave ?”
“He calls and you jump? That’s not the Khushi I knew”
“The Khushi you knew died a long time ago”
“No she was in my house an hour back laughing with me – where did she go ?”
“Like I said Rohit called”
“If you jump when I call then you can’t go on your own either because I say so… agreed! Khushi if you go on your own I will take you off the extrication list and will place you in support”
“You can’t do that to me, to them – you know how good I”
“I care enough to make sure that you are safe –I can’t be in two places at once –Khushi we have to let this one go”
“NO! What if it had been me – my turn and you didn’t turn up that day where would I be now ?”
“Khushi you would be a little more scarred and a little more bruised but you would have survived, and I would have picked you up on the second visit. As it was you lived on the streets for about a year before you came back to us- It was only that Baba found you on time and gently brought you back to us.”
“I found Baba”
“No Khushi I sent Baba to you –and you both found a need in each other at the time and that helped both of you”
“Arnav – I can go with Arnav”
“Khushi he is not trained and he has no experience of things like this”
“I am going with Arnav or without him your choice ”
“Please may I ask exactly what is Arnav being dragged into ? The last time I heard it was a free country .”
Rohit looked at Arnav –“apparently not when it comes to Khushi –neither you nor I have free choice we are at her beck and call.”
“Oh Rohit you know that I am right we can go as a team.” Looking at Arnav “one –two that’s a team”
“Khushi I’m warning you no risks –you’re in and out safely and Arnav you are going to make sure”
“Is either of you going to tell what are you both involved in? Is it legal?”
“We are part of an underground net work – we rescue women and their children or just children from abusive homes and relationships and relocate them elsewhere with new names and identities so they cannot be traced or tracked. Sometimes its straight forward sometimes it’s not.”
“Todays is a bit complicated –he is a well known individual – and there are three children involved that we have to get out at the same time –neither your vehicle or face can be seen, the men that surround the family always have guns so extra care is needed- do you know how to use a gun? Can you drive really well? Khushi the plan is to get the family in the car and be seen leaving –you will have to give them the slip unload everyone into another vehicle and then you Khushi will take the replacement vehicle with the right number of bodies and ditch it setting fire to it. You have to hang around to make sure the vehicle is totally burnt out. Meanwhile you will change car and meet up with Khushi and get the family back here. They will stay a week or two and then we will move them again.”
“Are you for real ? You think I am going to let Khushi do all that by herself –no way she has just come back to us and you think I am about to let her put herself in danger”
“Arnav with or without you –the bodies have been arranged –it will be a long time before we get another set of bodies the right age –this has to happen at the set time”
“I can’t change your mind – can I ?….. I’m in”
I’ll go sort the vehicle out and get double guards on the house – you wait here Arnav chat to Rohit . I’m sure you’re both dying of curiosity about each other –I’ll be gone an and hour to an hour and a half”
“Did you rescue Khushi from that hell hole of a rehabilitation school”
“Yes I did”
“What happened to her ?”
“You have to ask her – It’s not my place to tell her story –you have to wait till she is ready –She trusts you –so I trust you –wait patiently and she will tell you when she is ready. Are you ready to take her on bag and baggage and she comes with a lot of baggage. Wouldn’t it far easier for you to find a pretty little model than my scarred little doll”
“firstly she is no one’s doll –she is Khushi. I have waited all these years and I will wait for as long as it takes. If I wanted someone else I would have chosen someone else a long time ago. What are you waiting for ? I watched you watch Khushi –your eyes never leave her ?”
“She is the sister that I lost –because I wasn’t brave enough to stand up for her. I have watched over Khushi for a long time and slowly seen her come back from the brink –for a while back there we thought we had lost her. But since Zakki and Payal have come back in her life she has come on in leaps and bounds –this is the happiest I have seen her in a long long time”
Later that evening Khushi took Arnav with her to a hotel, she made him change his clothes and looks. She coloured his hair and redid his face. Arnav couldn’t even recognise himself in the mirror. They left walked into a mall and out the other end caught a bus and taxi and ended up at a garage.
Khushi drove initially making sure they were not followed and changed vehicle twice till their last destination. Arnav saw the bodies in the car he almost threw up. “Arnav – you ok ?”
“Khushi what exactly are you involved in ?”
“This is the world Buaji sent me into because she thought I was a rebellious teenager”
“Khushi what did they do to you at that so called school ?”
“Do you want to really know –can you listen – will you believe that I was the lucky one ?
It was a school where there were troubled children who were taught to feel as though they were garbage they had no worth and no one cared – the girls and boys were farmed out for sexual favours that earnt a supplemental income for the staff there. There was human trafficking on one side and slave labour on the otherside. You worked till you dropped or you sold your soul and slept with the devil. There were unwanted pregnancies which were taken care of by a bai or a coat hanger – ther was no hospital care –at a certain age the girls were sold on or just disappeared and listed as runaways. So no one ever looked for them. It was good riddance to bad rubbish. How did I ever end up there ? Was I that bad Arnav – You don’t know how many times I have asked myself that question. I learnt very early on my worth keep myself whipped and scarred no one would want me. I kept my head shave to look like a boy so I had no street value until someone noticed me and then they wanted me. Baba kept me whipped so that i could not be sold but then when they saw me they started burning me with cigarettes since it was all a form of entertainment. One day I was to be sold and Baba arranged for Rohit to rescue me. I lived in a rescue shelter for a long time and then ran and lived on the streets. Eventually I ended up with Kaka or so I thought and slowly got involved in the rescue of children caught up with similar stories. That is my story Arnav – you see how important it is for me to help other girls and children in this situation. Every time I help someone a little bit more of me comes back. I can fix another little part of myself.”
“Khushi I can’t say anything to make it better –it is what it is –you survived and now you need to move on-I have always loved you and will always love you – when you’re ready I will be there waiting for you. I will always wait for you – that will never change-all you have to do is say the words and I will be there at your side, in whatever you want to do, this fix cars or nothing. Hamesha Khushi I will always love you.”
“Arnav I have always loved you but I don’t think that I will make you a good partner – I bring a lot of luggage as Rohit says –and that’s not fair on you”
“Who said anything about being fair –was life fair to you?- Everything is fair in love and war. Right now we are on a schedule”
The plan was faultless the family was rescued and eventually arrived tired at Khushi house.
The children slept tired and scared whilst their mother cried in relief.
Next day Arnav saw the news and realised exactly who they had rescued. A rich politician’s family had been kidnapped but the car had gone over the cliff and burnt. Identification was made from jewellery and witnesses and dental xrays. Father Fernandez was a witness to the kidnapping.
Arnav arrived the next day and saw a mixture of relief and fear in the girl’s eyes- They would be moved several times before they were located permanently. Only when the children had there new names and history learnt of by heart would they be allowed to leave Khushi.
Rohit came and checked on the family and Khushi and smiled and then smiled at Arnav.
“Khushi’s singing while she in the kitchen that is a major hurdle. She is getting ready to leave her past behind are you going to hold her hand so that she can walk into a new future.”
Arnav walked up to Khushi – and gently turned her around – stared into her eyes and slowly kissed her. A long slow seeking kiss.
“Are you interested?”
Khushi looked up and smiled at him “Definitely- but don’t stop on my account”
A long passionate kiss followed and all Khushi could see in his eyes was pure unadulterated love- “Khushi we can take this as slow as you want or as fast”
Khushi smiled and a twinkle appeared in her eye – something Arnav had not seen for a long time.
“Khushi whatever your thinking the answer is definitely NO!”
“Arnav what is it that you think that I am thinking ?”
“That twinkle tells me you are up to some mischief “
“Arnav just kiss me !”
It was a year later that Khushi got married to Arnav in a very small and private ceremony. All the members of the family including Buaji were invited.
It was Rohit who gave her away who tied her to Arnav and asked are you sure you want her she is trouble. Tie the scarf Rohit –I waited a long time for this.
Everyone laughed .
Rohit smiled along with Kaka and Baba. Khushi was special , she was their success story she had come through and survived to tell her story – she was the face of their new charity. She along with Arnav had opened a new school for troubled children with a very different outlook. She had put herself out there in the public domain she was the very public face of her school. Khushi was the inspiration to many that they could survive and meet prince charming.
Terms and Conditions
“Arnav we want a traditional girl too marry into our family, not a modern girl- someone with traditional values.”
“Dad are you marrying her or am I ? I have to live with her not you !”
“Wrong Arnav we all have to live with the girl you chose- and currently your current choice is not good – how did you let your mother find out! Now my hands are tied – you know I can’t say no to your mum –whatever she wants she gets and right now she wants a girl for you that she has chosen.”
“Dad I don’t understand you are an intelligent business man – we run multimillion dollar businesses and we can’t handle simple women between us!”
“Arnav she is not a simple woman she is your mother and my wife – she has ways and means of controlling us that we don’t even know about – are you going to go against your mother?”
“Yes – it’s a question of my future”
“Arnav beta – do you think you are going to win against your mother?”
Arnav took a moment to consider in the world of business they were undefeatable, but when it came to his mum they were both like putty – she could make both men jump at the snap of her fingers. What did she have over both of them – he smiled she loved them and that’s all it was, unconditional love is what she gave them. She supported them without question and would lay down her life for both of them. They would both move heaven and earth to prevent a tear appearing in her eye. They would do anything to keep her happy.
Arnav just shook his head .
“So Arnav give in gracefully and agree to your mothers demands”
“Dad are you on her side ?”
“You dug your own grave –who told you to get caught in the papers with that girl coming out of your room? Was she fun ?”
“I’m only asking –back to you – at least meet the girl your mother wants you to marry”
“Forget it Dad , mum wants me to get married – I will . I don’t need to stay faithful to her – I can still have my fun”
“ARNAV ! That I will not allow – you can’t ruin a girl’s life like that. It’s not fair on her . We have brought you up with better values than that. Do you really believe that your mum would chose someone who she though was not suitable for you !”
“Do you have a girl in mind , that you want to marry ?”
“Then let your mother choose – she chose me and it’s a decision that i have never regretted –It was the best decision of my life”
“Dad you are head over heels in love with mum then and now”
“So you are going to meet this girl ?”
“Yes Dad – but if i don’t like her then I will say no !”
“You will back me against mum”
“Agreed but then we will then meet the next girl till we find one you like”
“Well did he agree?”
“I swear doesn’t anyone in this family think about me ?”
“Adi, he is almost 28 with a string of girls behind him who are only interested in his money –I want someone who is interested in my son! You are meant to look out for his best interests”
“Shushmita I love him and you; I have to find a middle ground for both of you – he said he will meet the girl if he doesn’t like her then he will meet the next girl till he finds one he likes”
“Adi he will love Khushi and so will you!”
“Forget about me loving anyone I want to love you !”
“Adi ! You have a 28 year old son behave !”
“Shush- If i had behaved do you think we would have had a 28 year old son?”
“If he is half as happy as us then he will have won the jackpot”
“Arnav are you ready we are expected for dinner –I don’t want to be late”
“Mum I’m going in my own car –you got me for two hours”
“Adi talk to him we go as a family”
“In two cars”
“Shush – you never know he may want to stay late or take her out for dessert ?”
“I hadn’t thought of that”
They all arrived at a simple house in Laxmi Nagar. Simply decorated, they all sat in the main room.
“Garima, my son Arnav”
Payal and Khushi are just finishing the dinner they will be in shortly.
The conversation was lively and friendly between the real grownups and it was obvious from the conversation that his mum and Garima aunty had been friends at some point in their childhood. Very close friends which they both seemed intent on turning into a relationship.
A girl traditionally dressed wearing a dupatta over her head with a large part drooping over the front of her face. All he could see were her lips – beautiful glossed luscious lips with a kissabilty factor of 10.
If those lips belonged to her what did the rest of her look like. She had piqued his interest.
Dinner was served and Khushi hardly said a word. Throughout the dinner her gungat didn’t move –the only part Arnav saw were her hands and her lips. He was turned on by what he saw. He was intrigued by this girl – those lips they had captivated him.
After dinner Arnav left. He had to prove a point to his mother. Khushi smiled in relief. In front of her future in laws her mouth ran away with itself before anyone could stop her.
“Ma he’s gone, can I go as well, you made me come home early, I have a job to complete- it has to be ready before the morning. I have to get the amended designs up to head office ready for production. I might not come back till the afternoon.”
Adi looked up questioningly at his wife.
“Khushi is a designer, and runs her own successful business.”
“Go me and your aunty will chat –ring me when you get there and ring me in the morning as well”
“Love you ma”
Five minutes later had Adi choking on a drink as gone was the traditional Indian girl and was replaced by a stunning girl her hair in a pony and kurti and jeans.
“See you later Aunty and Ma”
“That was not Khushi was it ”
“My daughter floats seamlessly between modern and traditional.”
On their way home “Come on Adi what’s on your mind?”
“Shush Khushi seemed very traditional and then she said she had designs to submit –does she work ? Initially she seemed shy but when Arnav left she started talking.”
“Adi –would I choose someone who my son would be unhappy with ? Adi why would I want to see my son unhappy ? I have known Khushi a long time and watched the way she conducts herself in the world that she works in. Adi stop the car !”
“Shush we are told old for that –wait till we get home. Owww! Why did you hit me!”
“I’m talking about my son- and your brain has a one track mind”
“It’s your fault for being so pretty”
“Adi –focus –I want to tell you about Khushi – Khushi is very well educated she has completed a degree in fashion and design and then she did her internship in the states with Victoria Secrets for one year and worked with them for another year and then she set up her own business and now owns a string of stores in all major cities and has a major internet business. Does it sound like someone we know ? The difference is in what she designs –Arnav designs what we all see and she designs what goes underneath!”
“Lingerie! Ladies underwear, bra’s knickers –get the picture- her business goes by the name of Naughties and Nice.”
“What ? She is the owner and designer of naughty and Nice ? Her –but she barely said a word during dinner?”
“Khushi lives at home –her parents don’t want to move they say that they have lived their all their lives they know those people – they are friends and family –they don’t want to start again. So she stays with them she has a flourishing business that she has already said that she won’t give up. She says she has the business at a place where it will manage itself as long as her designs are innovative and fresh- she is currently looking for a new designer so that when she gets married she can spend more time with her husband. Adi she is a lovely girl traditional values ,with a modern outlook, educated hard working –she knows what it takes to run a successful business the amount of time you have to dedicate to make it work –she knows what it takes to balance business and a successful homelife.”
“Shush – I have always trusted you all my life to make the right choices for all of us – even now I don’t doubt you for a minute- but Arnav is stubborn and …”
“Arnav ,if he gives himself half a chance will be besotted with her- I know all about the girls that Arnav has hanging on his coat tails and so does Khushi- The reason he moves on from girl to girl is that they are pretty airheads after his money; Khushi is stunning and intelligent and fun loving- she is his equal –oh and she is equally stubborn –that may be a problem. She respects tradition and money”
“Ummm Shush I have noticed your lingerie recently – is she why it has got interesting recently ?”
“Adi do you have a one track mind? I’m am talking about our sons future here and you .. you .. are thinking about one thing !”
“Shush I trust your judgement – what will happen will happen so while thats happening I intend to enjoy myself- so shall we go home and continue this discussion of your lingerie at home. You can still blush?? Lets go, I ‘ll look after my love life and you can plan your son’s tomorrow – I already told him he was going to lose this battle”
“dad” He acknowledged his dad’s greeting and kissed his mum on the cheek.
“Before you ask mum I went to work before i came home late – I don’t know what she looks like so no comment – she was dressed as a complete benji – her clothes were so ..so.. about three seasons ago. How can my wife be dressed like that ? She has to be dressed in the latest fashion to compliment y business.”
“Sweetie trust me she will compliment you in every way –what time you coming home tonight ?”
“Again Mother .. really ?”
“Yes my Son – what time?”
Arnav looked up at his mum and saw the hurt flicker in her eyes –he had replied sharply –he saw tears being blinked away. He hated himself when he hurt his mum. He grabbed his toast and swigged down his juice and got up and left. By the door he shouted back “six- I’ll be back by six!”
Shush smiled and Adi asked “How do you do that? I thought he wouldn’t give in but …when it comes to you we are both putty in your hands”
“I heard no complaints last night about my hands”
Adi came over and kissed her on her lips –“Trust me –I’m not complaining – I thank god the day he sent you into my life and I hope Arnav is half as lucky as me”
That evening Arnav made sure he got home by six. As he pulled into the drive another car pulled up behind him.
He saw a beautiful woman alight from the car wearing jeans and a pale pink kurti top with silver embroidery. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail. She was stunning and those lips –he knew those lips he had spent half the night fantasizing about them. He felt his breath catch as he saw her for the first time the rest of her matched those lips –her eyes were almond shape hazel in colour. She looked completely different today from yesterday –well for one he saw all of her not just her lips amd hands.
“Hi Arnav – your mum asked me to drop some stuff of to her”
“She did ,did she . You look tired – what have you been doing ?”
“Amending and resubmitting designs so that samples can be ready for tomorrow – you know sometimes just to get something right can take all night –well it did after you left I went back to the design studio and have been there all night and then your mum asked for something to be dropped off on the way home so here I am – then I’m going home to sleep!”
“You design ?”
“Yes! Aunty hi, I brought you your stuff”
“Khushi you have come in at the right time, there is hot hot pakora –I know you can’t resist them.”
All three sat having tea and pakorai and chatting.
“Ok aunty, I need to go home and sleep any problems let me know”
“Khushi you never said what you were designing and resubmitting ?”
“No i never did –did I. See you soon Arnav ,Bye Aunty”
“Well Arnav what did you think of her ?”
“No comment! Stop smirking mum !”
“I’m not smirking –I’m smiling –you can’t fault your mother’s choice”
“No you can’t –her choice is perfect –look she chose me! What did she choose for you ?”
“Khushi, Adi- he won’t admit it but he likes her really likes her”
“yes mother “
“don’t yes mother me! you ate all the pakorai – including the potato ones that you hate and create so much fuss over when i make them but you ate a whole plate while he chatted to her!”
“I’m going to my room”
Half way up the steps he received a text. He looked at his phone it was from his mother.
Khushi number all those aloo pakorai that you ate –at least let me give you something.
Arnav shook his head smiling –his mother was completely interfering but he loved her.
He had Khushi’s number finally.
It was a couple of days later when he rang “ What you doing ?”
“Busy on a shoot want to join me if you’re free”
“Where is it ?”
“I text you the address”
It was near lunch time when Arnav arrived at the shoot. He was used to seeing models semi dressed but these models were really lacking clothing – he spied Khushi sorting out a shot.
His eyes widened with realisation –this was a lingerie shoot. He looked at the label N&N.
It had to be a Naughty and Nice shoot . Was she a designer for them ? They were a fast expanding brand .
“Hi Arnav – we are running late on this shot be with you in a minute”
He looked around there were scantily clad models floating around –for the first time he didnt’ see the models only the designs that they were wearing the cut, the trimmings the stitching.
Khushi smiled as she saw him pick up a piece of underwear and look at the cut. She saw that he paid no attention to the scantily clad models and was more interested in the designs.
Later at lunch after the shoot – Arnav came to realise exactly who Khushi was.
“You invited me to the shoot on purpose-didn’t you –did I pass?”
Khushi laughter made him smile. Her laughter was like bells –musical.
“I needed to make sure that my future husband has eyes only for me and can accept the the job I do –without any hang-ups”
“What makes you think that I am your future”
“Your mum !”
Arnav laughed “When she sets her mind to something then there is no stopping her –I am grateful for small mercies that she is not involved in the business world”
“Your mum has all but set the date!”
“Is that a bad thing Khushi – do you want to get married to me?”
“I like you Arnav –but i need more time – I need to see your world home and business and you need to see mine. We need to get to know each other better”
“How do you propose that?”
“Spend more time with each other –and leave our parents out of the equation-find out about each other and then decide without any pressure –how does that sound to you?”
“It’s a plan better than the one that my mum has”
Over the next few months Khushi and Arnav met without either set of parents knowing –claiming that they were busy with a particular upcoming fashion show.
They chatted, had dinner and spent time getting to know one another.
Arnav was love struck with Khushi and Khushi was equally smitten with Arnav.
They were both extremely careful that they were not seen in the public eye together and definitely not seen by their parents.
It was late one evening when both were working late when Arnav’s father came by the office. He walked into his son’s office without knocking expecting to find his son hard at work.
Instead he found Khushi sitting on Arnav ‘s lap feeding him dinner. Adi retreated out the room straight away and thought for a few minutes. This was a perfect opportunity to have some fun at his sons ‘s expense. He texted his son “I need some figures ,I will be at the office in five minutes “
He waited patiently and opened the door five minutes later.
“Hi Arnav , I need the Oberoi figures –mmm that smells nice –it smells like aloo bagun and korma- have you got food here. Mmmm this is nice –where are you getting this food from?”
“Dad- its local they bring food over – I’ve got the Oberoi figures here dad – anything else”
“No but do you mind if I share your dinner”
“No dad – help yourself”
Arnav was muttering to himself how long would Khushi be able to hide under his desk.
“Arnav you seem distracted –is everything ok ? You know that your mum has found you another girl to meet”
“What ? Dad ? –Not again ! I’m not meeting anyone I’m far too busy”
“I know I told your mum. Arnav what is that strange smell – it smells like Jasmine – your new aftershave doesn’t suit you – its a bit on the feminine side”
“Oh – dad its a new one on trial”
“Oh what’s the trial like – any success? You know this food is really good you must tell me the name of the delivery service –so that I can order from here too”
“Ok Dad , I need to finish my work so that I can come home later –is it only the Oberoi papers or anything else?”
“yeh I had better get going – Arnav thank Khushi for the dinner and don’t leave it to long befor you tell your mum about her otherwise we will be going to another dinner –to meet some girl. Good night Arnav make sure she gets home safe – goodnight Khushi”
Arnav and Khushi knew they had been caught –she might as well face the situation with as much aplomb as she could muster – avery red faced Khushi peeped her head over the desk –
“I’m glad you liked the food –I bring extra next time and uncle he usually drops me home every night”
“Arnav – I like her –she has gumption –tell your mum soon or she is going to kill me when she finds out”
“Now what Arnav ?”
“I’m going to have tell mum that I am seeing you and have been for the last four months. She is going to ask me what are my plans ? What am I going to say Khushi ?”
“She’s your mum I don’t what you are going to say ?”
Arnav buried his face in her hair. “You know that I am in love with you”
“What about you ?”
“Khushi are you listening ?”
“Sorry what ?”
“Khushi ! What are you thinking of ?”
“I’m designing my wedding lingerie”
“Now that will be very interesting – do i get a sneak preview”
“No you do not – weeelll not of my wedding lingerie but the other- well thats negotiable”
“What terms and conditions are you going to apply?”
“MMM let me think ?”
“oh shutup Khushi you think too much”
The rest was lost in an investigation of not only her lips but what naughty and nice designs she was wearing- and Arnav was complaining about the clasps being fiddly. Well now that’s a thought exceptionally fiddly clasps and buttons would be needed on her wedding lingerie with a hidden easy release tie – now that would make life really interesting. But for now he had her full attention with what his hands were up to.