Sunday, 18 September 2016

episode 129 a world of dreams

"haan di, aap pahuch gayi... ok theek hai," he was speaking to his sister on the phone and as he turned to leave, he stopped.

gust of wind.

he turned slowly, but it seemed as though he'd seen her already, knew the undeniable awaited him there, he just had to look... compulsion, can't look away. he is the tormentor, in command, master of the moment in pursuit of an admission of a faraq and just in case it isn't there, then the deliverer of vengeance, devastation... for not caring when he gave such a  damn.

yet in that blood red lehenga, hair open, ethereal, she is the one in control... actually, isn't she the one in control anyway, the one with the power? when she is hurt, she can still look at it fairly reasonably and chat with dm, somehow get back to life. but when it comes to her he seems to lose all his bearings.

why can't his eyes stop smouldering when he looks at her. why is there a  hint of complaint behind the stoked passion... who are you, why are you so far away, why won't you let me matter to you, why aren't you mine?

the wind was hollowing, billowing out, surging.

"la-avanya ji, hum..." and she sensed him too, one hand on chunni, awkwardness within, beyond the mirror curtain he is there. sheesh mahal, the house of mirrors, a dream world of mirrors here... a make believe sheesh mahal? there was the sunday store room; then their room in nainital, a haven in the middle of nowhere; now in a sprawling, crowded shop their private enclosure of mirrors; in a jungle some day, a bucolic hut with all they need... then maa's glowing garden; and finally, a room with the sky within.

why this slipping into fantasy spaces? where only the two and a feeling were present? the constant stepping away from the three dimensions that seemed to invite us to leave hard reality behind too... was it to underscore the non-material nature of love... say it strides another space, a space not measurable in real estate terms but equally valid? and perhaps more essential.

i also feel it had an impact on the viewer. i started thinking of the two together... away from everyone else, and at the risk of sounding nauseatingly mushy, got to say, i let them into a space money can't buy... my "dil." i have never wept over tv characters before... in fact, i am not the sort who cries at films. yet asr touches my insides, and khushi too. i actually spent a whole day feeling terrible about what transpired in 129/130. but let's go back to the two. she has just seen him...

and rabba vey came in, gentle, tender, probing to test the mood; the clear innocent notes of a lightly touched piano.

she was taken aback, embarrassed, shy.

he was dumbfounded... then the three horizontal lines began to appear on his forehead, a trademark asr muscle movement... along with it, eyes growing fiery brown, concentrated...

her hands fidgeted... trademark khushi when nervous, perturbed..

he started moving toward her exactly as he had the day he saw her in a red saree in his office... immersed in her, not really conscious of what he's doing... just being reeled in as though by an invisible rope... that day too her eyes had been troubled, and she had no idea how enchanting she looked. her hair was open, a dark deep red made her look even more vulnerable, innocent... he couldn't help but drown in the sensation.

she squirmed, flustered.

she drew her dupatta, again the dupatta, protectively over her.

when he lifted his hands to part the mirror curtains and enter the enchanted space, why did i get a feeling of a suhaag raat, of a man coming to claim his woman in the most ancient, elemental sense of the word?

he walked right up to her and stared unabashedly. she looked away, a little uncomfortable, very conscious of that gaze... as if of its own volition his hand lifted.

as it did i felt a moment of contact... in his involuntary reach out, in her immediate registering of it and furtively stepping back, they had already touched each other.

what was he going to do? touch her? before one could think, she'd looked at him funnily and stepped out of reach.

and a hardened expression replaced his smitten, mesmerized look.

did he change his mind at this moment? or was he planning to hurt her all along? my bet, he was not thinking at all once he saw his woman in was her stepping back and that "what are you doing" look that catapulted his brain into focus and the meanness came racing out.

that she got under his skin or nudged his dormant dil is one thing, but khushi kumari gupta really invaded arnav singh raizada's most prized possession. his dimaag. she had entered that and played with the synapses, and every once in a while they stopped functioning in her presence... especially when she looked so innocent, so lovely, so... oh all he wanted was her, the why when where of it didn't matter, she overtook his whole mind, he couldn't see beyond that.

this asr could not tolerate. this control she had over his brain. he had to do something about it.

gah, i think he wanted to push that lock of hair back from her face, his hand rose much higher than where the tag hung...

then he reached down and pulled up the tag.

and the devil in him returned with glee.

"utna bhi bura nahin hai... par tum aur tumhara fiance afford nahin kar paaoge." it's not bad, but you and your fiance won't be able to afford it.

she looked up and she knew he was out to hurt her now.

"what a pity...par aaj main bahut achhe mood mein hoon... so what the hell. main tumhe kharid ke de deta hoon...apne fiance se kahna arnav singh raizada ne engagement present diya hai..."

what a pity... but today i am in a very good mood.. so what the hell. i'll buy it for you... tell your fiance that arnav singh raizada gave an engagement gift.

then he plunged in the dagger and turned it at the same time.

"after all, tumne lavanya aur mere liye itna kuch kiya hai... gift nahin toh tip samajh ke le lo..." after all, you have done so much for la and myself... if not a gift, consider it a tip. to insure privilege. the privilege of being insulted by him.

a little pause before "tip" and the slightest sardonic smile... he's aiming for maximum damage...

but khushi is not wilting. she's had enough. she's not going to give him the satisfaction of that stunned, tearful look she had when he played his necklace trick. something you really liked, i gave lavanya, hope tumhe koi faraq nahin padta. what had he given la? something she'd liked despite herself... no not that necklace, you silly man... but in the complex and convoluted game of emotions they play, they both know that. but this time he's insinuating a price tag can be put on her, her desires, she's for sale... almost.

in a cold, quiet voice, with an edge of return fire, she replied,

"nahin chahiye... lekin poochne ke liye shukriya.. aur aapne bhi theek kaha tha utna bhi boora nahin hai lekin utna khaas bhi nahin hai.. hume yeh pasand nahin hai..."

i don't want... but thanks for asking... and you were also right, it's not bad, but it's not that special either... i don't like it...

tears in her voice. but she had played back a move at him. she rejected his pasand as he'd rejected hers with the ring earlier at rm. his nostrils flared, his lips pursed, he wanted to lash back but the phone rang... he glared threateningly and left...

then came the tears.

she sat by herself holding that chit of a paper which he'd made into such a deadly weapon and cried. la was so sweetly clueless rushing around and trying on things...

"chamkili, in dino aisa lag raha hai jaise main ek dream world mein rah rahi hoon," chamkili, these days i get the feeling i am living in a dream world.

he'd finished his call and was in front of the mirror curtains at the doorway, he just stood there watching her suffering, she looked at the price tag, no doubt remembering the egregious insult... strains of sitar delineate the riffs of pain echoing in her...

and through her tears, a young helpless girl spoke her innermost feelings, unprotected as she was before the harshness of this real world... a trembling voice from deep within, sanaya at the height of her art, never allowing the moment to catch melodrama...

"sapno ki duniya mein rahana hi achcha hai, lavanya ji...kyunki asli duniya mein sirf dil toot-te hain..."
it is better to stay in a world of dreams, because in the real world, only hearts break.

heart break.

he had taken her all the way to this never before seen place. his gift... or maybe his tip.

her broken, shattered mirrors within, seems to cut his heart... the one he believes he doesn't have... and a tear drop drenches a price tag. the priceless one sits before him and weeps and he who is the expert at knowing the price of things but unable to gauge the value of some... suffers watching her. reflections of each other, no distortion if you have the heart to see.

there was no price tag for the scene either...

rabba vey and the most solemn tones of background score.

he parted the curtains again... maybe this time to come and heal her, even surrender... his eyes seemed to go red with tears. tears? yes, they were that. 

his hand came up again as if to tell her not to feel so bad... he couldn't... instead he felt all of her pain... each and every bit of it... in him. he could never hurt her and not feel the hurt himself... a balled fist opened slowly... a girl unaware wept quietly... mirrors swayed and reflected and glittered...he turned and left, still in pain... almost uncontrollable. the glass curtains swung and made noise, she looked up startled... who's there.

asr left soon afterwards, leaving his girl friend perplexed... yet a certain calm had entered khushi after the tears had flowed. she said to la, if you wish to wear something, do so, don't worry what others say and her face was composed. she was learning to steel herself against the onslaught, at least on the surface... she of course, had no idea that someone else too was crying in that corner of mirrors and dreams.


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