Chapter 502: Changing Equations

Arnav threw up his hands and as if the words were wrung out of him, “Get a life Khushi, get a hobby, get a job, get out of the house, find some friends, just…just let me be,” he strode off leaving Khushi alone – wounded and bewildered.

She cried buckets and buckets but there was no balm for her bruised and battered soul – if anything she got a swollen blotchy face with a splitting headache to boot.

After so many years, to be thus pushed away, does he not care even a little about me? Mere hone na hone se koi farq nahi padta – padta hai zaroor padta hai, she thought bitterly. If I am not there, he will of course miss me, just like one misses the most comfortable chair in the house. She keeled over and clutched herself trying to hold herself together as she disintegrated into pieces.

Aisa kaise kar sakte hain woh? How heartbreaking how unbearable, how unfair was it, she screamed silently to herself, she felt lost alone and betrayed, itna sab kuch itne saal tak dekar kya mila mujhe – kuch bhi toh nahi. At this stage of life, I should get a life, get a job, a hobby, friends – jo sab kuch home and hearth ke liye chhod diya ab wohi sab I should have?

Galati humari hi hai, Khushi thought dully, he is right, kuch bhi toh galat nahi kaha – he was defined by his work, his ego, he had always been honest about that. Sahi toh keh rahein hain, why should he have to pretend with me, he should be free to be as he is, humne kabhi nahi chaha that he should change, I loved him warts, ego, laad governorship and all toh ab kya ho gaya? Why do you want him to be something that you have built up in your imagination? Would that be fair to him? Wouldn’t that be unfair on Arnav? He is right, if you love him, let him be.

But unka kya? Does he not love me? Sankadevi reared her head.

That is not your concern, you only have control over what you can give not what you can receive, Khushi snapped back.

Of course that is easier said than done. It was an agonizing heartbreaking period for Khushi, one that almost tore her apart.

But Khushi didn’t have the luxury of falling apart, chah kar bhi bikhar nahi sakti thi. She swallowed all her pain and anguish and did what she had always done – coped – but just about.

Achcha hoga agar if I really do take his words to heart and leave him just ‘let him be’ – that will show him.

But no matter how much she pushed and poked herself, leaving him was not an option Khushi gave herself. So she pulled along as well as she could, hiding her pain and hurt from the world, from Arnav, from herself.

And so, Sankadevi went on and on ad nauseam – if only she could have kept her own ego aside, tried to behave normally, taken a few steps forward, shayad Arnav too would have taken a step or two.

But since she didn’t, he of course didn’t.

Dono hi apne aap se haar gaye.

She thought hamesha main hi kyon? Kabhi toh woh pehel kare.

He thought, maine toh clear kar diya, lagta hai she has got my point and is taking my advice seriously, nahi toh she would have pucca nagged me. After all she is always the one to take the first step – and if she hasn’t well then she has probably got the message.

After all, woh samajthi hai.

Undono ke beech main stalemate thi, yet despite the angst and ego tussle between the two. zindagi toh chal hi rahi thi.

Guddu passed out from Mumbai IIT (of course with honors) and proud parents went to attend the graduation ceremony too. At the ceremony, Khushi shed tears, but khushi ke and if Arnav snorted like a caged bull in a China shop it was not because he was put out with Khushi but because he was having a hard time controlling his own feelings. He forgot himself so far as to reach out and squeeze Khushi’s hand. Forgetting all gila-shikwa Khushi clutched his arm even has she reciprocated the squeeze. And of course at the mandatory photo session the enforced smiles, poses while playing happy families poured soothing balm over frayed sensitive nerves.

Khushi’s breath came easier.

She felt happy almost.

All was well.

The clouds had parted to let the Sun out.

She smiled her brilliant smile.

Phir came the shocker.

“Da! You haven’t taken a single photo with me,” complained Chotti.

“Kyon? Tum kya karogi uska?” Deva shrugged her off. “Waise selfie to liya na?”

“I don’t look good in selfies. Waise bhi I have strict instructions to bring back photos of all of us as proof.”

“Proof? Of what?” Everyone was surprised.

“Yes!” Chotti nodded airily. “I wasn’t getting leave. They thought I was lying about the graduation ceremony. So I promised I would deposit photos with my parents and sibling in full dress.”

“Why do I get the feeling you are talking through your non-existent hat?” Deva was suspicious. He smelt something fishy.

“Mom! Dekho na Da ko. Ek photo ke liye itna bhav.” Her lips trembled the tiniest bit.

“Guddu le lo na. Hum le lete hain,” Khushi cajoled her son. Guddu grimaced as Chotti who grinned victoriously, “Mom, take my phone please.”

“Anyone can have it photoshopped. How will they prove that you were actually here?” Deva questioned as he posed for yet another photo with his rather uncomfortable headgear.

“Wait!” Chotti stopped him as he made to remove it, “One last one with you alone holding the degree. Yeah like that. Say Choteeeeeee.”

“Okay? Done? Ab batao, why do you actually need the photo?”

Chotti twinkled engagingly at him as she moved away. “Promise you won’t blast me or tell-tales to Mom or Dad or…”

Devansh looked at her with foreboding. “What have you been up to? Out with it!”

Chotti shook her head. “First you promise.”

Devansh sighed in frustration. “Fine.” He bit out not unlike a cornered ASR, “I promise not to tell anybody but I refuse to promise not to thrash you. Now tell me, otherwise I am telling Mom and Dad.” He frowned at her.

“Uff! Relax. Remember you came to my college for my annual day program?”

“Yeah so?”

“I got to know that there are a couple of junior year girls who are rather enamored by you.”

“So?” Deva was beginning to have serious misgivings.

“So in exchange for these photos the girls promised to do my file work.” She burst out laughing at his expression of comical horror.

“Don’t you dare!” he lunged for her phone but she was quicker. Chortling with glee at having got a rise out of her unnaturally serious and sober Da, she dashed away.

With him in hot pursuit.

Hallowed precinct and graduation be damned.

Wohi hua jo har ladki ke saath hota hai (Err kam se kam Hindi serial mein [aur mere saath bhi!!! Sacchi])

She crashed into him. Him being Shubham (and I shall desist [with great difficulty] from adding into a rock hard chest])

Nahi nahi that’s not the shocker. Who abhi baaki hai. Aapko toh pata hai na. Humari adat hai. Bhatakne ki.

Chotti froze as a pair of firm hands clasped her by the arms even as a warm heady fragrance tantalized her.

“Steady!”

She looked up into a pair of irritated eyes whose expression changed the moment they met hers. She was instantly vexed. What was with that all-knowing expression? Who the hell did he think he was? Did he not know who SHE was?

“Wha…Hi Shubh!” Deva had arrived at the scene ready to draw his sword but instead grabbed him into a bear hug. “Long time no see! How come here?”

“Hey! Good to see you too Dev. Congratulations! You look all grown up and cool in that gown and all. Sorry can’t say that for your baby sister.” He slid Chotti a side-long glance. He coughed. “Still gate-crashing parties?” He said provokingly.

Chotti’s blood pressure shot up. She gritted her teeth. She wouldn’t give him the pleasure. “Hello Doctor Shubham. Namaste.” She folded her hands and greeted him. “I have an invitation card. Dikhaaoon?”

“Kahin self-invitation card toh nahi hai?”

She opened her mouth for a fitting blistering response when she spied her parents. She shut her mouth eyes promising just retribution at the earliest. Shubham laughed at her face but straightened to a polite mask as he greeted her parents.

“How nice to see you here Shubham.” Khushi smiled. “Aur ghar par sab theek hai na?”

“Ji.” He nodded.

“But how come you are here Shubh?” Devansh jogged his arm. “Don’t tell me you have a sibling studying here? Graduating today…my batch! Oh I didn’t know….”

“Haha. Yes and no. A cousin is graduating. His parents couldn’t come and I was here for a conference so I just dropped in to meet him. Actually I was just leaving. Namaste.” He turned away.

“Hey wait. At least tell me who’s your cousin…?” Deva hurried after him.

“Kuan hai yeh ladka?” ASR asked Khushi.

“Yeh? Woh Guddu ke football team mein tha. Bahut achcha ladka hai. AIIMS mein doctor hai.”

“Kuch achcha vaccha nahi hai woh!” Chotti scoffed.

“Kyon?” Arnav was alert. “Kya kia?” He frowned.

“He’s too supercilious for my liking.” She tossed her mane.

“Yeh kaho ki he doesn’t dance to your tunes or fall at your feet like the others.” Deva said as he rejoined them.

“Nonsense.” She shot back.

“Say what you will,” Deva shrugged, “But remember, I know.”

“Know what?” Khushi and Arnav both piped up.

“Nothing!” Chotti slid behind her Dad’s vision and made throat slashing motions.

“I’m hungry,” Deva grimaced barely hiding his grin, “Can we eat?”

By mutual but silent consent they moved to go but it was a slow walk as Deva kept bumping into someone or the other and then the introductions, hello hi and bye bye rituanz was repeated ad nauseam.

Until the shocker. [Yes we finally get around to it :D]

“Congratulations Devansh!” A Professor clapped him on the back. “You must be very proud of him,” He beamed at his parents, “We certainly are. It’s not every day that a student gets a full scholarship to NASA. When do you join?”

“September,” Guddu’s cleared his throat. He flicked a quick look at his Dad before skittering away.

“Arre wah Gud…Devansh! Hume bataya hi nahi?” Khushi didn’t know whether to be khush or dukhi. Or terrified as ominous clouds gathered on the visage beside her.

“Kyon batayega? Ab toh bada ho gaya na.” Arnav bit out.

Guddu mentally rolled his eyes grateful that his professor was out of earshot. “Haan bada toh ho gaya hoon. But I was planning on telling it in style. Waise bhi I got my confirmation just a few days ago. Since you guys were coming over, I thought I would tell you face to face.” He was reasonable.

“We’ve been face to face over three hours now. Kab batate? At the airport gate?”

“Oh please Dad! You saw how it was. No privacy and besides,” he twinkled looking like Khushi all of a sudden, “I wanted my double bhav.”

“Double bhav?” Khushi was puzzled.

“Oho!” Chotti butted in, “He was afraid he would miss out on the gushes for his graduation with flying colors amidst the furore over his leaving home. Hai na Da?”

Devansh shrugged. “Yeah.”

“Con…congratulations Guddu,” Khushi’s heart sank even as she hugged him hard and poked Arnav in the back behind Guddu’s back.

Arnav didn’t even deign to grunt. He just walked off.

Chotti glared at Devansh before hurrying off after him.

Khushi drooped. He was going to be difficult about this. And life was going to be even more tough. Weariness engulfed her at the thought of another battle. It was bad enough to fight when they were on the same page, but now…

“Are you okay Ma?” Devansh looked at her with concern.

She swallowed valiantly and smiled her over-bright smile, “I am going to miss you.” She shook her head. “But I am very happy for you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course.” She nodded and gave him a quick squeeze. “You think I am not happy for you?”

Devansh shook his head. “Aisa nahi hai. But I think you are not happy. Period.”

Khushi’s breath caught in her throat. A big lump formed and try as she might she couldn’t dislodge it.

“That old man bothering you?” He poked his expression grim as he jerked his towards the father-daughter duo ahead.

“Guddu!” The shock dislodged the lump. “He’s your father!”

“And your Simon Legree.” Retorted Guddu.

Khushi wrinkled her brow in confusion. “Who’s that?”

“Slave owner in the book Uncle Tom’s cabin.”

“Guddu please!” Khushi was aghast. “Yeh kaisi behki behki baatein kar rahe ho?”

“Jo sach dikh raha hai wohi keh raha hoon. Ever since you’ve come you’ve been low and not just after hearing I was leaving. And that too you were more upset about Dad’s reaction and consequences rather than your own emotions.”

This time Khushi couldn’t stop the tear that escaped. She hurriedly looked the other way. “Where have they gone?” She fretted. “Chalo jaldi chalo. You were hungry na? Pata nahi Chotti kya order kar degi, phir…”

“Ma,” Guddu held her by the arms. “Ma once I settle down, you come and stay with me. Let him lord over his employers. Right?”

She stared at him in a swirl of if only I could and I can’t.

She yielded to the luxury of leaning into him. His arms slid around her – warm, safe and caring.

Life-saving love flowed into her frozen heart.

Suddenly she didn’t feel so alone.

***

Click here for Chapter 503

 

70 thoughts on “Chapter 502: Changing Equations”

  1. I have written it for something else but it fits here too😈-
    unhe zid thi woh zindagi main shamil hote, woh zid main the ki hume woh samjhe, kambakht zid ki fitrat hai ye, woh jaha hoti hai wahi rahti hai khade..

    Arnav & khushi ka kuch nahi ho sakta. Let’s see aise logo ka aap kya karwati hai Dji, ek baar phir. Guddu babua flying to NASA.. bitwa laut kar toh aaoge na, kahi ye desh hai mera, swadesh hai mera na ganna pade🤦🏻‍♀️

    Dr. Shubham & chhoti, hai devi maiyaa😍. Thank god he didn’t ask teek ho tum, warna hum to wahi shock se faintwa ho jate.

    Guddu sab samjhta hai. Par bitwa aise tho tumhari maa nahi leave kar sakti jallad lord governor ko.. your da aisa hone nahi denge, contract nahi hai toh hai diabetes toh hai uske pass, khushi ko rokne ke liye. But kuch pal ke liye hi sahi, khushi is not signing i m alone.

    Looking forward to nxt set of surprises & distractions Dji.. aur shayad kahi se bhula bhatka rabba vey bhi aa jaye😉

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I keep wondering what ASR is thinking now? Just hope Khushi is able to give a just answer to his moodiness. I think Arnav should change sometime,it seems he is still caught in an angsts teen time warp, no evolution. Please help him evolve😀

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I read it at three o’clock in the morning but my iPhone was not allowing me to respond. Now I need to wake up properly and read it again. See you soon Dahlia.🙂 🙃😀

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A stalemate between ASR (where is Arnav these days?) and Khushi.Pahle aap…Pahle aap kahte kahte , train he na nikal jaye. Deva’s graduation brought khushi and gham. Her Guddu is going away from home leaving her. She will be left alone with her captor. Devansh has seen that Khushi is not happy and he puts all the blame on the slavemaster ASR. (Deva’s words not mine). Is Angelika unaware of the distance between her parents? Or she is trying to ignore it and hope that whatever it is will be sorted soon.
      Khushi should let ASR be as he wanted and leave him. Join Her Guddu in the USA or Choti in Manipur to help her in her study. Go join a cooking class or Bollywood dance class… There is no dearth of options but will she? Jo bhi karna hai Khushi ko he karna hai.
      The good weather is continuing. The garden is blooming. My wild garden is gone as in this lockdown my brother has been busy with the secateurs. So it is all neat and tidy. a well-manicured lawn and all. Haven’t seen much of the RBR junior but he is around.
      Thank you Dahlia for the second chapter.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate is what Main Aisa hi hoon and Hum “Too much” Samajhte hain need to do. I too wonder, like Sri above, what Arnav is thinking…why is he not happy with Da and his going to Nasa? Why is he raining on Da’s parade? Our boy deserves all the accolades and adoration on accomplishing so much from his family. Thank god, he’s sensitive to Khushi’s feelings and she can count on him…but woh toh saat samunder paar ja raha hai, Khushi will have to deal with her issues herself. Do you think they will be open to meeting a counsellor… maybe Khushi’s Kishu bhaiya can subtlety arrange a meeting with one.
    Khushi, remember the pre wedding days and your chutzpah, please go and bring it back and remind Arnav who he fell for.
    Dahlia, I have to confess that I cried at the end… this chapter really tugged at my emotions.
    Lots of love and hugs.
    Everyone here. Take care and stay safe.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “He thought, maine toh clear kar diya, lagta hai she has got my point and is taking my advice seriously, nahi toh she would have pucca nagged me. After all she is always the one to take the first step – and if she hasn’t well then she has probably got the message.” -> Not quite clear on what he thinks usne clear kar diya hai? That he doesn’t want to open up to her at all? And what message does he want to send Khushi… I feel like they have so many buried resentments, I wish they had just fought it out rather than let it reach this stage. Anyway a person who gives in a relationship might psychologically feel tired too. Khushi shows signs of depression. Maybe that’s why she isn’t poking Arnav the way she would. Remember how she confidently told Anya “I know how to bring Raajkumar out from the Rakshash” ?? Kahan hai woh Khushi? If she has always been the initiator, how is the other person (ASR) supposed to know she has decided not to do her job this time? Its a bad space to be in!

    And meanwhile the next generation is falling in louveeeee!!! <3. Finally Choti aur Shubham ke rock hard chest ka introduction ho hi gaya! I'll tell you what though? Deva completely irritated me in this chapter. Not sure why. I guess there is more ASR in him than there is Khushi, in that he wants to rebel against his dad every which way instead of extending an olive branch. Wish he hadn't kept the NASA news under wraps. I mean, it really isn't fair for parents to find out from a third person? Ye log ek dusre se baat nahi karte kyaaaaa???

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Arey but something is bothering him, correct? I mean its not like a person just randomly changes the way they behave. This is similar to his behavior during “I don’t love you anymore saga”. I had thought they had gotten over all that. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Noooooo! How can you say that? He’s not happy at all. He is stewing in his own issues. By the way I don’t remember this very well, but why did Khushi not probe him about the change that happened in him during the choti and Jatin episode? I think something very big happened to him there and they kind of drifted apart since?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I think usko ehsas hua ki woh sab kuch theek nahi kar sakta. But was unable to accept it and set out to prove it wrong by conquering the business world where he felt more in command and secure. He didn’t like the feeling of emotional insecurity at home affairs. Aisa laga. Par who knows just his ego kicking in. Dekhi ka padi😁

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Seems more like it. I think when it happened to his own daughter he actually realized the true extent of damage he intended on Khushi. And he regrets it and feels he doesn’t deserve her. So he’s rejecting her again… Before she does? Or perhaps his motives are more altruistic this time. He’s thinking she deserves better than him. So he’s forcing her to let him be and find a life away from him… Hmm.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Hard to come back from this you know? Even if Khushi insists that she doesn’t hold a grudge… ASR’s personality is such that he will not believe it as he doesn’t see the logic behind it. And when it happened to him (via Choti) he’s understood that if he can never forgive that, how can Khushi. Uff, this is heartbreaking.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah, it seems like i did not leave reading season 1 and season 2 is back. And really i so wanted to whack Arnav then and want to whack him now too. He can be such a boor and needs to be shaken up. And poor khushi is just too miss goody two shoes, but in her defence , she does not know how to be otherwise. The family scene is cute and trust a son to understand his mother and be protective of her. Lets see what the next chapter brings, waiting.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Unless Khushi speaks to Arnav clearly and reasonably and firmly, he isn’t going to understand what she is feeling. Otherwise, he is going to continue assuming that her outburst is going to be followed by appeasement… as has always been the case. It’s Khushi who is changing, not him. With the changes at home, it’s her environment that’s been hit, not his. I wish for her own sanity that she does speak out.

    I think going with Deva to the States under the guise of helping him settle in will do her a world of good. She can spend time with herself there. Discover the simple joy of doing something because she wants to. Not because he, she, they, xyz would like to, or would like for her to do so.

    This will give her space (yup pun intended 😉 ) and time to introspect. And for her Laad governor to realise life is moving on. What we assume will always remain the same, doesn’t. And also to understand that, “the only constant in life is change”.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Dear dear Ruchi, belated greetings ( hiding my face) !, 😊😊 and turning red like khushi with embarrassment. Actually its all Jigs’s fault 🤪, with no update on Listed i missed out on wishing you . Sorry dear, i hope younhad a wonderful day. And continue to have many more wonderful days. Lots of love ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My dearest S, many thanks for your lovely wishes 😘 And no apologies please, I’m happy to continue with the celebrations 🤗 ❤️

        Like

    2. Hi Ruchi😊 I also think she should go with Guddu. Par kya woh jaa payegi🧐😇 And yes Khushi is the one who is changing she wants more. Rightly so but kya ASR dene ke liye ready hai?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I don’t know whether woh jaa payegi, aapka intezaar karte hai 😉
        I just read a sher which felt very apt for who Khushi has been,

        maiñ bhī bahut ajiib huuñ itnā ajiib huuñ ki bas
        ḳhud ko tabāh kar liyā aur malāl bhī nahīñ
        – Jaun Eliya

        Liked by 4 people

    3. It’s true that she’s the one who’s stepping out of norm here, however I believe that even if LG realizes she is drifting apart… He might allow it. I think after all this time, he feels thoroughly inadequate in front of her. So distance although would provide Khushi the perspective, might be devastating for Arnav and for their relationship. But that’s just my take.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Haan test le rahin hain. Kahin Khushi esho araam ki zindagi mein soft toh nahi ho gayi hai? Ya phir DM use koi aur ishaara kar rahin hai? Uski destiny kahin aur bula rahi hai. Possibilities are endless!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I agree, he does feel inadequate. But because he can use the crutch of Deva needing her for a while, it may not lead to a drifting apart. Rather to a little bit of re evaluation maybe?

        Liked by 4 people

      3. I’m afraid his re-evaluation is going to lead to a conclusion that he doesn’t deserve her. He’s isolating himself from her thinking he is punishing himself but is punishing Khushi too. Again, it’s his high handedness about taking a decision regarding how Khushi “should” feel according to him rather than how Khushi really feels. He’s messed up.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. You are right in your assessment. I tend to give way too much leeway to Arnav (Khushi doesn’t have a patch on me 😌) The very fact that this cycle continues in him despite all that has transpired in their lives points to things only getting worse 😦

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Time might be better in coming days but right now there is only pain, anxiety and anguish, God egos kill me….it is so easy to see to say….but this works like that…..loved it..loved it lovedit!i m happy to read it…thank you for coming back….words fail everytime i read…and feel….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ““Ma,” Guddu held her by the arms. “Ma once I settle down, you come and stay with me. Let him lord over his employers. Right?””

    So nice to be wanted!

    NASA: They pay you to work there (No scholarships :))

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “You don’t have to take out your magic wand yet to theek karo everything”….. hit the raw nerve for both…. the sarcasm in the word “yet” shows his hurt but the whole sentence hurt her!! (Did some homework as in I read through few back chapters of SS season 1 to get the gist of where this is coming from and I hope Iam on the same page…. yet I am confused still .. kya kya karna padtha hai tumhare liye 🤪 🤪 )

    “As if the words were wrung out of him” …. he is shutting himself out from her in the only way he knows, thereby hurting both!!
    The rush of conflicting thoughts of a troubled mind is well written… loved it!!
    Egos clashing… hmm, interesting… probably this could hurt her more!! Why does she want to be different now, after all these years 🤔 she is losing herself!! A stalemate had a momentary involuntary truce, and now with this new shocker, could they make some headway… especially Khushi.
    Loved the steady flow of retorts and action between Chotti and Deva.. hahaa!!
    “Slave owner”…. that was too harsh and coming from him when he is “like father, like son” …. the works of an impressionable mind!!
    Well, I catch onto your rambling well and this time it is a lovely one 🤩 … whether your ASR’s chest was a rock hard one or not, it sure made a sweet dent and then there was no looking back 🤪

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sweet dent! Waxing eloquent Su! 🙂 Aur itna homework karogi toh kaise chalega – hum aur bhi confusia jayenge 😀 Kab aur kisne bola tha – yeh bhi bata dete? Magic wand wali baat. Waise aap aye bahar ayi!

    Like

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