Khushi sighed, of late they seemed not to be able to communicate, all conversations either ended in a slanging match or cold unending silences. Not that they were ever great communicators, Khushi thought rather wryly, they had begun quite disastrously each harboring misconceptions and interpretations according their own perceptions. Yet there had been a phase, albeit very short, where they openly shared their thoughts and feelings till they felt that they were completely attuned to each other.
Then life happened. Jijaji and her Jiji moved to Mumbai to manage the AR Designs branch office along with Mamaji and Mamiji. Di also moved out with her family. Naniji shuttled between them, although she spent her last days with Arnav and Khushi. She had passed away after a long and difficult illness about 5 years ago.
After things had been sorted out between them…that is as far as was possible to sort out in any relationship, Khushi, at the insistence of Arnav, had joined a diploma course on catering and even acquired an MBA degree. She had started her own dabba service and although she had the complete support of Arnav in this venture of hers, she had wisely decided to steer clear of AR Designs. In fact she made it a point to avoid the office like the plague. Memories of those initial crazy office encounters were still stark enough to make her naak lal. She was happy enough dealing with his ‘deals’ at home without having to come to blows at the office as well. Being Mr Arnav Singh Raizada he had no compunctions about using underhand tactics to win a ‘deal’ just like his challenge daudti hui meri bahon main aaogi and her instant retaliation at his utter cheek jis din aisa hoga, hum aapko apna pati maan lenge.
When she lost that ‘deal’, Khushi took a leaf out of ASR’s ‘deal’ book, lied through her teeth and run off to GH way ahead of the expiry date of their contract marriage.
She had lied even to DM as she had convinced even herself that it was purely out of altruistic motives, to avoid disturbing Di, and by default, Arnavji, that she had taken this extreme step. But after so many years Khushi herself was not very convinced.
Introspection and honesty forced her to admit that possibly the ‘real’ reason was she was petrified of her own reaction to the revised and upgraded version of ASR against whom she appeared to dissolve into a quivering mass of emotions. She was unsure of what the future held after the contract, the signals were very strong and clear, Arnav wanted her to stay and would brook no opposition, but yet something held her back.
What was it that prevented her from accepting the unsaid unasked?
Ego, yes that was it and closure.
She had wanted full closure. She was rather piqued at Arnavji cool acceptance of her love for him, his complacence galled her; how dare he take her acquiescence for granted? Six months of anguish and pain couldn’t be just brushed away without a word.
Even then there was not a doubt in her mind that Arnav loved her, just as much as she loved him. But did that mean he could take her for granted. After all he had confessed his love for her (even if this was at gunpoint!) but she had not and he had not even bothered to ask or even let on that he wanted his feelings reciprocated.
How could he think that they carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened ever since they had met? Those unmindful cruel hurtful words still rung fresh and often came back to haunt her.
Her entire being rebelled against the idea, she wanted her pound of flesh and only a heartfelt apology, avowals of undying love and complete openness could substitute for it.
Yet ASR being ASR, adopted high handed arm twisting tactics all geared to set her teeth on edge. Cutting off the bijli paani had been the last straw.
She called his bluff and told Buaji and her parents that she had separated from Arnav.
She escaped answering any of their questions, effectively shutting them up by giving kasam to them and adding as additional insurance that any conversation on this topic and she would run away from home. She even forbade them to discuss the issue with Arnavji.
Victory at having outsmarted ASR was short-lived as she overheard her mother enquiring about Arnav bitwa’s health while talking to Payal on the phone. Alarmed, Khushi extracted all the details from her mother.
It seemed that Arnav had not been keeping well for quite a few days but as usual ignored his health and then yesterday a combination of overwork, fatigue, no medication or food had caused him to faint. He had been admitted to the hospital and although not completely recovered had been discharged today at his insistence.
Panic stricken, Khushi rushed off to RM and barged into their room only to find Arnav hale and hearty working on his laptop. He didn’t look the least bit surprised to see her and his smirk was in full view. The penny dropped. She had been tricked, her blood pressure shot through the roof, if she had access to a suitable weapon, she would have made sure he required hospitalization.