Chapter 6: Stalemate


Anjali’s phone blinked: Awesome

Anjali smiled and quickly typed in another message, then shook her head and discarded it. No point in disturbing her now, let her enjoy this time with Chotte, she would extract all details tomorrow.


Anjali and Khushi had become good friends over the years and sometimes Khushi felt closer to Di rather than Jiji.

During Arnav and Khushi’s wedding ceremonies, Di had had her unfortunate miscarriage and Khushi brought back Shyamji in deference to Di’s wishes. This had led to a major confrontation between Arnav and Khushi and everybody was worried about the wedding being called off. [In case anybody is interested in that episode, please look up “OS: How dare you Khushi”]

The wedding was marred by a terrible tragedy – Anjali’s miscarriage and it was with great difficulty that the family managed to bounce back and complete the wedding ceremonies. Of course the celebrations were rather low key and forced, each playing his or her role as expected without really having their heart in it.

Anjali had tried her best to put her tragedy behind her and joined in the celebrations with gusto and much enthusiasm, thankful that at least her beloved husband was finally back by her side, yet once the celebrations were over, she broke down. She started having nightmares, doubts and second thoughts. As life limped back to normalcy after the wedding and time hung heavily on her hands, Anjali re-analyzed past events and ultimately was successful in uncovering the whole truth about Shyam [In case anybody is interested in details of how Anjali finds out the truth and exposed Shyam, please look up “Resurrection of Di: A short story”]

Those had been very tough days for the entire family and they could go through it only because of the strong bond of love and friendship that held them together. Khushi turned out to be Anjali’s rock and had been constantly at her side, refusing to let her mope and go into depression. She teased her and nagged her till she found it easier to go along with her plans. Khushi convinced Arnav to think of a suitable job for her at the office and then forced Anjali to go the office. Khushi pushed and pushed a reluctant, hesitant, self-doubting Anjali to try her hand at the job, till a frazzled Di gave in.

And wonders of wonders, Anjali found that she had a knack and eye for clothes and fashion and soon the designers were dependent on her for her opinion and suggestions. Her warm gentle nature (in contrast to her brother) made her an office favorite. Anjali blossomed under all the attention and simple joy of being wanted, needed, of doing a job well, the pride and love in the eyes of Chotte, Khushi and Nani. Her confidence levels increased as she grew into the job and started loving it.

Arnav watched the growing friendship between his sister and wife with mixed feelings. He was happy of course, yet he was resentful and jealous of the time Khushi spent away from him. While he knew what Khushi was doing, was best for Di and only Khushi could achieve what they all hoped for, yet it severely cramped his style as he was unable to unleash all his deadly charms, his determination to woo his lady love in style, in short he was caught between the devil and the deep.

Khushi on her part refused to admit to any sort of ‘feelings’ for him leave aside ‘love’, staunchly maintaining that as it was an ‘arranged’ marriage, he would have to wait, patiently, before she could (perhaps) develop any feelings for him.

If he so much as showed any desire to initiate a personal conversation or push her towards a confrontation, she would immediate revert to the ‘Ji Swami’ avatar, leaving him no choice but to back off.

That she did love him he did not doubt. But he hated the guarded closed expression she wore whenever he was around. He had caught her carefree and mischievous look change in an instant upon spying him and this broke his heart.

He knew he didnt deserve her trust, he had broken it time and again. They had had a disastrous start and yet just as he softened and had begun to yield to her charms, he judged and sentenced her without the courtesy of a hearing or even informing her of her ‘supposed’ crime.

And then just as she was learning to move with him (at his invitation) he accused her of being responsible for his Di’s unhappy state and even deeply regretted his ever meeting her.

And when she wanted to leave, instead of apologizing he threw the contract at her.

He sighed, it was entirely fault and he dearly wished he could do something to wipe off the hurt that lurked in her eyes. Each time he witnessed her silent unsaid pain, the twist in her lips, droop of her shoulders, the over-bright eyes sparkling with unshed tears, his heart tore with self-loathing and disgust.

She had agreed to marry him, twice, but each time at the behest of another, for the happiness of another. No doubt she was back in his room and his life for keeps, but this time round, he swore to himself, she would call the shots, she would set the pace, or at least, he hastily amended, till she forgave him, till she confessed her love.

He vowed to be patient and considerate of her feelings and hold back till she was mentally ready to wholeheartedly accept him in her life.

Not that he had much choice he thought resignedly.

What a waste of a good pair of dancing shoes. Hey but wait a minute, wasn’t that exactly what he was doing? Dancing to her tunes! Suddenly he remembered the ‘rangoli dance’ and a reluctant smile tugged his lips. Minx, no wonder he loved her so, he thought fondly.

He withdrew into his shell and threw himself into his work; much neglected over the past year and even sent Aman off on a much deserved holiday. Arnav came back later and later from the office, ‘sleeping’ beside Khushi had never been such an exercise in self-control before.

Paradoxically, the later he came, the more considerate he was, unhappier Khushi became.

She thought why is he behaving so coldly, what is he waiting for, can’t he just come and sweep me off my feet, doesn’t he love me anymore, does he not even want me?

She lost weight, talked louder and laughed more.

He started having doubts; maybe she doesn’t love me after all; maybe she will never be able to forgive me; I wouldn’t he despaired.

Ultimately it became a vicious cycle and there seemed to be no way out of this messy quagmire.


Click here for Chapter 7

9 thoughts on “Chapter 6: Stalemate”

  1. I was busy reading the two stories and by the time I returned to the main story, they have drifted apart. Holy Moly! Need to findout what happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The post kidnapping track was full of plotholes in the show and honestly butchered Anjali beyond measure. Although the link you have here doesn’t work, seeing your writing, I think I can confidently say you did justice to it. I can make my peace with that!

    The “arranged marriage” bit was lovely. I love how she expects him to sweep her off the feet but can’t really let go of her resentment. It’s real, is what it is. In fact, I would say she is letting him off the hook easy!! But having read the story in entirety, I can now say that Arnav eventually pays off his bad karma…even if it’s at the cost of their relationship!!


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