Friday, 25 November 2016

epiosde 152 pyaar and its jashan

"khushi, stop it." what's that in his eyes again, though he is mad at her? and she so upset? almost on the verge of a tantrum... not really like her, i thought. a public display of ire, right in front of nk.

they are suddenly free. no commitment to another person, not engaged. free. free to perhaps admit to a heart ache, a faraq? free to say, ye mujhe kya ho raha hai? what's happening to me? or, humne ek ishara manga tha, devi maiyya, aur aapne itne saare de diye? i'd asked for one sign, dm, and you gave me so many?

that sudden lifting of restrictions, is that very thing the problem? too abrupt and unexpected maybe, leaving both feeling utterly defenceless? some instinct recognising this can get tricky. their defence mechanism completely charged, rushing forward to protect those vulnerable hearts... who knows.

he is being constantly nasty to her, right from who's invited you to the party... and she? i thought she really overstepped the mark, taking over and ruining his plans, imposing her ideas... again, a little hard, almost unthinking, not very khushi.

episode opens on a dark tense note... yet close and intimate. he has just hurt her, been as cutting as possible. but she is not allowed to leave alone at night. that same asr of diwali at one level.

a strange blown look in his eyes as he gazes after her. and a very unlike khushi anger and hurt in her voice. a conversation between them without words, tense communication. almost lover like, though neither is aware of it.

khushi stalks off alone.

"nannav, what happened?" straight forward nk talk.

asr looked ready to explode... this time nk went rushing to take khushi home. had he not, i am sure a furious man would have yanked her into his suv and deposited her in front of bua ji's home with enough and more heartless words as his parting gift. man is a creature of habit and the girl knows many of them by now...

as he has just told us, "main aisa hi hoon" he says terrible things and then when he realises he feels really bad.

at home, nani sits in her bedroom, her den as it were... it's a fairly quirky space come to think of it, that work table of hers with all sorts of things on it. today two pickle jars very prominent, i wonder why. lakshmi sits on her lap getting petted... i wonder if goats are managed easily, jayashree t must have had an interesting time getting to know lakshmi. there was a curiously genuine tenderness she expressed toward her pet, never felt false or forced or funny... it might have, but you sensed nani truly loved and respected her four legged lakshmi. four arms, four legs, what difference, lakshmi is lakshmi.

nani and anjali speak of the party.. then khushi's broken engagement. a conversation is overheard by a passing young man.

"nani, khushi ji ka rishta toot gaya!" anjali sounds completely frazzled, almost close to tears. she hates discord in relationships and a breaking of alliance sets up all sorts of feelings in her, possibly because of her own experiences... i liked the way character was held onto and dialogue went beyond just taking story forward.  

he has just snapped at her about her broken engagement.

khushi has not let her sadness come in the way of other's happiness, says nani. la had done the same i think, another most interesting character, that no one could relegate to airhead gold digger.

"khushi bitiya apan umar ki ladkiyon se kayi zyada samajhdar hai..." khushi is much wiser than girls of her age, nani is most touched by her gesture.

though i am aware of what is being done here, it's to get asr feeling like a heel, wanting to apologise, maybe even touch his real feelings for her for an instant... nani's acting always convinced me... she made me feel all this was happening, real... not just screenplay and script.

"hum umeed karat hai khushi bitiya ka dukh ab kuch kam howat hai," i hope khushi's sadness is now abating. of course, he instantly recalls her tear streaked face and knows who caused that.

a guy staring at a closed door with a restless look, a deep frown deepening, a feeling rising... pace pace. no words, not much variation in action, and again barun sobti tells a whole love story in a few moments, with refined expressions and powerful body language

on the other side, the crying girl pauses for a moment on the verandah, she has processed her thoughts, that streak of doing for others has kicked in. she has decided "koi kuch bhi kahe, hum kissike baat ko dil pe nahin lenge..." she won't let anyone's words burden her heart. that valiant upbeat khushi thing was always good to see... the attitude of this girl made her truly lovely.

here the "kissike baat" man is pacing dammit though, not quite aware how much "dil pe" he takes everything. she was upset, she left with nk, it's been a while, nk isn't back. is she okay? is she still upset? where is she? you can feel him going slightly crazy with that worry.

"yeh hui na baat..." exclaims her friend named after the lord... and we are told the choreographer is to come the next morning.

but before that, a nice unchoreographed move with gritted teeth, and whispered angry, "where the hell have you been, nk!"

and then at nk's smitten look and talk of "apni tarikh", the incensed asr. kya hua!... nk exclaims. really, he needs that defence of his.

"answer the goddamn phone next time, right!"

nk is totally mystified by this behaviour.

with morning, came a brighter lighter mood. nani was sure manorama had run away because she is scared of the choreographer.

the girls arrived, nk assured them the choreographer had passed away when what he meant was, everything is organised. 

and there was a meeting at the doorway... there are always these meetings at entrances, and they take us further and further into love. asr had a remorseful air about him, a little vulnerable he looked, khushi was taken aback, but then when he said, maybe, shayad... he shouldn't have said what he did, her hackles rose instantly.


she glared at him and stalked off.

leaving him standing there... alone.

uh huh. not good. asr does not like that at all. does khushi know this? of course, she does. is she playing a game? no... she is very angry with him... and she has the right to show it. her huq. with the whole world khushi is accommodating, thinking of their happiness first. only with this man.

is this a sign of something?

the very strict dance teacher arrives. madhushala... tala... bala ji. madhu. honey. named after one of the most beautiful cine stars ever, with her extra long false eyelashes and super short fuse, she is a quickly and pretty deftly sketched character. i liked the writer's insight about that shaky insecurity of people in this line of business where one minute you're king, next pauper.

"koi toh hai jo yahan gum hai..."

someone is missing, she said, though all were there, including the coyly smiling couple to be married.

clap of hands and "lo aa gaya!" like magic asr appeared, of course glued to his phone... then that cute nod, distant but not disrespectful, at her. he had requested di not to call the lady, but di wanted the best for her cousin's wedding.

what came after that was possibly a little prank by the writers. the entire sangeet sequence... teri meri... was hinted at. somebody was missing, then someone appeared like magic, now what does that remind me of...

"jis adaa se aap ne apna sir hilaya. wahi adaa zara naach ke maidan mein toh dikhaiya," the style with which you nodded, show us that in the dance arena, urged madhubala ji. oh, so she had noticed the nod, the "adaa".

classic kkg reaction at that, eyes rounded. asr, laad governor... dancing!!!

and the look exchanged between nani and anjali, really a feeling of family begins to grow and makes one want to giggle. even though he is the handsomest tycoon and angry at that.

aap ko pata hai main dance nahin karoonga... you know i won't dance, he says.

she will make him dance this time she replies.

long cool asr look.

she avers the main couple will come and "pyaar ka jashan poora manayga" will celebrate love completely.

yeah at the sangeet, there was pyaar ka jashan poora manana... only the couple wasn't the one shyly holding hands here.

even as asr cracked up at the melodrama, the hints came fast and filmi, there will be song, there may be rain, may be fire... and one part of this can be the bride's sis, the other the groom's brother.

"hai na kahani ka the end?" isn't that the end of the story... or maybe the beginning... 

both asr and khushi are shocked. he refuses to dance with her, a pugnacious won't dance with her he shoots off. she is irritated. he thrusts nk forward as the "replacement". i wonder if they were already considering a scenario where nk would be be the replacement bridegroom.

he hadn't bargained for one thing though.

put your hand on her waist... madhu called out to nk.

"sorted" he'd muttered as he'd turned and left thinking everything was under control, his of course...

but the ears heard, the head had to begin to turn.

he hadn't thought it through, had he? another man would touch her... intimately... if she were to dance with him.

interestingly both at the top of episode and at the bottom, he moved toward khushi even though he was raging and seething, almost as if he had no choice, he was compelled to move in her direction. her power over him had grown and he felt a possessiveness toward her which even he wasn't fully aware of yet.

he turned and looked at her, again a million unsaid things in his eyes. he didn't see her discomfort at having a man come that close to her. 

a few beautiful telling moments in an episode getting into the story of a wedding. makers are concentrating on trp spike. a lot of cheesy fun coming our way.

in stark contrast to that, a real man and woman and their attraction. a man feeling the pull of this unclear but undeniable emotion. a girl not being able to hold onto her equanimity... pyaar has its own jashan, sometimes visible in a simple pacing or a pausing before the door.



episodes 149/150/151 to catch a feeling

what do you do with a feeling? one you never thought you had place for. one you never knew. episodes 149/150/151.

i was in a rush. a backlog of almost 12 episodes, plus a couple not done from before, could i finish it in these two weeks of practice? maybe i'll do a couple of combined episodes ones, just choose one scene and talk about it... in this frame of mind i watched 149 to 151. i was fully concentrated on identifying a handful of scenes, started paring away looking for just what i wanted... and was struck by what i found... there was loads of fun and games and bromance and things... but below all that a serious dialogue between a man and his most perplexing emotions.

he had not planned on love. in fact, he shunned it. in his eyes pyaar was galat. he'd do anything to be sahi. anything to wipe away, obliterate the galat perpetrated by a father, a galat that took away his mother, practically annihilated a young boy. he had to stay away from this terrible thing. so he never allowed it in, no fantasies about what will happen when a girl comes into his life. no musings about saansey and things. only work... extreme effort to get beyond the tragedy of life.

so he had no idea what this feeling was all about. like i have no clue about the surface of the moon, they say it's been landed on, but till i get there... and suppose it reached me before i'd done some hectic reading, would i even know it was the moon?

the moon is always big and watching in ipk, and there's always the sun rising.

when he saw her that very first time, something happened to both. what it was neither knew... yet there was a note taking by the gut. a rise of emotions. unfathomable. two meetings, and she was on his mind...

aur uss ladki ka kya?... what about that girl? episode 5, anjali asks asr. his eyes say there is only one uss ladki, and she is on his mind. it's a classic asr scene, his complete persona almost in a few minutes, in a minimum of well crafted lines... and already she's made a mark.

"dulhan ke libas mein arnav singh raizada ke gode mein giri... kabhi socha uss kladki ke baare mein..." fell in your arms in bridal wear, ever thought about the girl? teases a gently interfering sister who cares and has again asked god for a bride for her brother... . an intense look, eyes transported to another space... flat reply, with the slightest hint of devil smile, "soch ke hi toh kiya tha..." thought and did what i did... he'd released her tapes to the media. challenged by her insistence that god exists and creates our destiny. 

was he refuting her theory or really fighting back, sensing her getting into places he never let anyone in. that long long stare at her tremulous lips the very first time she fell into his arms, eyes moving down to them... caught... then somehow managing to look away.

he wasn't waiting for love. he had no fantasies about it. he had no way of knowing what was happening. yet something was.

by episode 7,
akash seems to pick on something that his successful and smart cousin is not willing to see: uss din wali ladki hai kaun? usne gadi se zyada arnav singh raizada ke dimag mein dent kar diya. who is the girl from that day? looks like more than the car, she's made a dent in asr's intellect.

and dimaag enters the conversation. he gives akash a long hard stare, eyes dangerous... then tells him not to mention anything to di... she wants him married, and more talk about dulhan girl is possibly not what he can bear any more.

then came their many meetings and clashes. till her in a red saree... he couldn't just couldn't look away... so he punished her more... and had to save her even if it meant getting hurt, injured, even killed, himself. a hold of desperate hands in the rain... can't let go. why?

he had no answers, but he realised this was something new and impossible... inadmissible. not sahi... galat. not right... wrong. kissi ladki se koi faraq nahin padta. no girl makes any difference...

guesthouse came and with it again that need to reach her, save her. his first "khushi," his first complete loss of control. had to touch her hair, her cheek, a rush of sensations, had to cradle her and take on her responsibility it seemed, a streak of lightning showed a man looking at a woman endlessly as though they had never not been together... they were eternity.

he had no clue what was happening... again and again he asked himself what the h was going on.

and slowly despite lavanya being there, despite him making her move in with him, he couldn't stop thinking of her. oh that collapse of all barriers on diwali.

lavanya knew of love and recognised it for what it was. but even after knowing he had this thing about khushi... she was alw
ays there, that he couldn't bear to see her in tears, she moved him, he wanted to protect her, he wanted to do things to make her happy, he wanted her badly, madly even... he still had no idea what this feeling was. he had no notion of love, never having allowed it into his conscious mind. no picture. no expectation. no recognition.

for that, krishna had to come.

nand kissore... bua ji's ishara that he is the ultimate lover, the beautiful namesake's emissary... later she sees three nand kissore in her inebriated state... all of it pointed to a little play by the writers. of course, to give depth to story, but how well conceived. what lovely understanding of the protagonist they created. when his di asks again and again to tell her why he's breaking off with lavanya... the anguished... "bata deta agar..."

why "agar"? would he have said... "agar main jaanta kyun?" would have told you if i knew why?

he was feeling many feelings, swamped by them... but what did they all add up to? to come to faraq nahin padta turning to faraq padta hai, to make him hear his first dhak dhak, we needed nand kishore... you know, nk. normally nand kishore arrived from up there, but this time a little variation, he came from down under.

at crucial moments the story that started with "hai re nand kissore," always returned to him.

when asr heard nk was coming, a familiar irritation at the thought of this nutty cousin's cousin who called him naanav/nannav, without any fear that too. (my mind rambles: almost as though krishna knew the little boy that dwelt in the big bad ogre's self... as much a part of him as anything else. that that little boy, laughing, tender, full of tricks, suddenly shut off, needed a friend... and he was that friend. and why the naanav then nannav? also in bangla krishna is often called noni gopal, referring to his penchant for fresh butter, any connection?)

but when he introduced nk to khushi in an exasperated moment, he had no idea what it would do to him. to see the two immediately hit it off. to watch nk "fall" for khushi and chase her around, to have him invite her as his "taarikh." to look at khushi all happy and cosy with this crazy creature with his flamenco beat.

a little break, please.

when 149 starts, a die indi moment.
"haan aman... listen... what?!..." asr is in the car, speaking to yes, aman (peace)... he says that and shifts his phone to the other side... how natural is that... did the director tell him or he did it on his own... so life like, and that busy executive air.

"no way..." oh grain in voice... i'd like to buy some if i may.

okay break over. onto nk and khushi and the intro.

"lekin sab kuch perfect hona chahiye... yeh main apne bhai ke liye kar raha hoon, understood?" he's talking about the party he's planned, everything must be perfect he's doing it for his bro... later khushi will tell him he can never do anything for others, not understand the pleasure bringing a smile to someone's face brings. she is not being fair... she knows it, i think, but the moment is too rife with layers of hurt and pain all ricocheting off one another, and exploding.

in the house, nk does "kathak," khushi gapes, the bwoys come to manage the scene. lots of fun.

"kaan gaye hai yeh toh bataya that, dimaag ke bare mein toh anjali ji kuch kahe hi nahin." khushi is looking at nk and thinking of what di had said about the saree seller... hard of hearing, but hadn't mentioned he was nuts.

classic case of mistaken identities on.

"yeh, nk bhai... kya?"... akash.

"what the!"... guess who.

"shh... bahut chillati hai... very strict," nk says she screams a lot. he's been told by di, the dance teacher, he of course thinks khushi is she, is most strict.

"woh toh sirf iss liye kyunki anjali ji ne kaha tha ki saree wale ko kam sunai deta hai," that's only because di said the saree man little deaf... she's yelling. fantastically natural both sanaya and karan... delightful lightness.

"okay stop... yeh khushi hai... koi dance master nahin hai... aur yeh koi saree wala nahin hai... hamara cousin bhai hai... nand kishore."

stop! yells the man. enough... this is khushi whose sis will marry akash, and this is cousin nk.

khushi's prompt "o" and my recollection of draupadi and nk/krishna and vastra haran, happen practically together. yes, much later, the mortal nk will stand by his friend khushi as her sakha and defend her against the public stripping shyam in duryodhan/dushasan style will subject her to.  that story of draupadi's saree being pulled off her body by dushasan, as she pleads to krishna to save her from this dishonour; dushasan keeps pulling and the saree keeps coming undone... but never ending, always covering her body, her sense of honour, still gives me goosebumps.

saree wala krishna... some might think he doesn't hear, but if you speak from your heart, no way he won't listen.

a delicate subtlety in writing... unless all this occurs to us, the writers never meant it. no idea.

nk says, "aur main saree wala nahin hoon. main iss ghar mein toh... beiman hoon."

khushi corrects him... first of many times... "beiman nahin, mehmaan." not a cad, a guest.

they start chatting promptly, silly, light, girl and boy.

and into the lightness enters a streak of red... burning... a feeling in the head, a zizz in the gut, a look in the eye. he hadn't bargained on this... that she would immediately start laughing and get all friendly with nk.

"hum khushi hai..."

"hum bhi bahut khushi hai..."

the long hand shake has him in a state.

and "phir toh aap bua ji ko bahut pasand ayenge," khushi's then you'll be a favourite of bua ji's brings in the lady around whom a naughty tale writers will spin... innocent yet oddly suggestive.

"inerfamily intro khatam ho gaya ho, toh kaam karen. bahut baki hai." if your inter-fam introductions are over, let's get to work.

absolutely hot gorgeous seething man in brown jacket, brown eyes fiery, lips dangerously pursed.

akash makes it terrible, "nk bhai ko toh apna perfect match mil gaya. khushi ji." nk's got his perfect match. khushi ji.

the eyes stilled, the face too, then the eyes moved... le.thal.

akash didn't see the look, he left to mind nk. only the music knew what went through asr at that moment. something he hadn't thought of at all.

and off this instant friendship came a plan to ruin asr's party and make it more palatable for her jiji. what khushi perhaps forgot as she showed a certain haq over him, is that he too has a place, a right to do his party his way. wonder if she ever considered that. chances are... not.

she was a bit worried about the non-desi stance of a laad gov evening. rather judgmental too in announcing it would be boring. but may have, just may have stayed off, but nk wouldn't allow that. there was work to be done. a feeling taken to its correct recognition.

he said, uh huh, she had a say in this party as being payal's sis, she was a stakeholder too. i thought of shareholder meetings that brought down boards.

and so the two tried to persuade the seething one. who looked coolly indifferent and said things sexily so the viewer went bananas but not without noticing, he told her it would be the best party of her life.

so he had invited her.

also he told nk to stay away from her, ostensible because she's crazy.

or was it because he was going crazy watching them together.

"crazy people." yeah. right.

i don't think at this point he knew it to be jealousy. just a terrible feeling. he knew not why.

but after he'd heard his own dhak dhak... oh then it was jealousy supreme. felt like a master flautist had him dancing to a tune.

 in 150, khushi tried to make him change his mind about the videsi party... add desi rang in party... agar nahin hua toh... if it's not there...

"toh tum uncomfortable feel karogi?" then you'll feel uncomfortable? what was that in his voice. a little concern? some tease?

"ji..." she looks hesitant, unsure... picked that concern in his voice? melting? "abhi bhi waqt hai, bas ek do jilebi ke stall laga dijiye... aur thodi chaat..." there's still time, just a couple of jalebi stalls...

gritted teeth, "aisa kuch nahin hoga..." nothing of this sort will happen. note, he hasn't banged the phone down. he is having a conversation about this party which he wants to be just right for his bro. he has no idea it's love that keeps him here, keeps him tied to a strange loony girl. jalebi? he wouldn't even allow indian classical music, no, with a little expression that devastates... some "jazz... or (and i couldn't figure out that word)."

"nahin hoga?... pa... par hume lagta hai ki..." won't happen? then i feel...

"ki tum nahin aogi, right?" that you won't come, right? he prompts her suddenly, cutting off all argument.

"haan?" she's taken aback... never thought of that.

"toh ek kaam karo, mat aao... it's ok. jo kaam log karna nahin chahte main usske liye unhe push nahin karta, you see..." delicate pause... "bad manners hote hain."

then do one thing, don't come... it's ok. i don't want to push people into doing things they don't want to... it's bad manners.

there's a push and a tease and a getting close and intimate in that. she just affects him... he doesn't seem to be able to control it. even when she's doing something where he's legitimately right in objecting.

"aur waise bhi... maine tumhe invite hi kab kiya tha..." and anyway, when did i even invite you.

smash. game to asr. nasty boy. he was upset, he was angry at all that nk-khushi team making and the interference, he had to give it to her. a decent rally, but then, a little falter by khushi and one smooth powerful shot.

takes off blue tooth. he's done.

"woh laad gov ki itni himmat ki hume party mein nahin bulaya?

she's hurt, and angry... how dare the laad gov... not call her to the party?

the sweet, caring, loving khushi... he seems to bring out the worst in her. after acknowledging why she couldn't marry shyam, she'd decided not to look at a feeling any more. so she resolutely stays away from it. but that feeling wants its own fun. khushi is hurt too... the man didn't call her. how could he.

so a pretense of having hurt her ankle and so too bad she can't come for the party... but jiji must.

till again, circumstances and a ceratin interfering, take over aspect in madam's nature takes her to the venue of the changed menu.

151 has him looking at her nonplussed. she lovely in flowing blue, the colour of night... months later shades of this blue in an intense reverie, rich in psychological meaning... teri meri.


you didn't call me but what to do i couldn't say no to nanhe ji, says the coquettish khushi, most upset by that remark of his.

she's out to get him... hurt, hurt back, hurt once more... so many signs of love. yet one is in denial and the other doesn't know this is what it is.

aur waise bhi maine tumhe invite hi kab kya tha, he'd said, forgetting he had actually taken it for granted that she'd come. his huq over them.

she starts, "waise kaafi udas party hai na... bilkul phiki, bina namak chini ki... arre haan ab agar sugar ki bimari hai toh chini toh kam hi hogi..." seems like quite a dull party, absolutely bland, without salt or sugar, of course, if one has a sugar problem then how to add sugar...

nasty mood, khushi ji. awww.

a conversation between the two is always on. nk is puzzled. what's that in asr's eyes. she is here with nk... what else could be there in his eyes, nk bhai?

right through the evening, he can't stop staring at her... all sorts of emotions in him. she is no less aware... raises her voice to apprise someone, when nanhe ji said she must come, she couldn't say, "no." khushi never asked herself why she had to get her back at him.

"walk straight, dammit!" he of course heard her and had to dammit someone.

she baits him. "hume party mein nahin bulaya" vs "how could she come with nk." i should be laughing but it's becoming hard. i know these feelings and they are all painful. maybe necessary, but painful nonetheless.

a difficult evening moves on. she does whatever she pleases with it. he says nothing. he lets her. telling, i thought.

till the very end.

only when she smiles brightly and invites him to thank her, that he snaps. and in all the turmoil, oversteps the mark... hurts her. again.

"sirf ek pal ke liye mujhe aisa laga tha shayad mujhe tumse yeh poochna chahiye... ki tumhara rishta toot gaya issliye upset ho?... kya hua... tum theek toh ho?"

for a moment i'd thought that maybe i should ask you, your engagement broke... are you upset because of that? what happened? are you ok?

she's beginning to dull, dim, ache... all the pent up emotions, dissipating... taking her down.

"tumhara rishta?..." slightest cocking of an imperious brow, "hua tha... yaad hai na? jissko toote hue, lemme think, abhi ek hafta bhi nahin hua hai... par uss baat ka tum par koi asar pada aisa lagta toh tum yahan meri party ko desi banane mein lagi ho... you really surprise me."

he is punishing in his attack... remember you had an engagement which broke, what, less than a week ago, yet it doesn't seem like it left a mark on you, you are busy making my party desi... you really surprise me.

"aap ki baat... hume bilkul hairan nahin karti... hum jabbhi milte hain... jabbhi aap humse kuch kahna chahte hain... hum aise hi," she's choking... "nahin aise nahin... isse bhi kadwi baatein sunne ke liye taiyaar rahte... kyunki kuch achha toh aap bol hi nahin sakte... ya phir aapne seekha nahin hai..."

but what you say doesn't surprise me... whenever we meet i am prepared to hear bitter words like this... no even more than this... because you never say anything nice... or perhaps you never learned to. she has a point there. he is usually nasty as h.

on talk of his toota rishta... he turns away.

he didn't see her tear this time.

he hadn't meant to hurt her, just ease the anger, the pain he felt...

he turned back, a part of him revealed in his eyes.

but she was gone.

when he caught up with her... oh he did go after her. that he had to. no choice. he may not know what his feelings meant. but there never was any question about what he had to do when it came to her. she was insisting on going home alone in the middle of the night. she too was hurting badly. and he couldn't let her. the sensible man and the lover were one in this decision it seemed. his anguish at not being able to get through to her. he has no right over her... he knows she's doing badly within... he wants to haul her to his car maybe, yet a funny sensitivity. tonight it's tough for both of them...

lines from tagore's shapmochan... "jao morte, shekhane dukha paabe dukkha debe" (alas not on the net, can't correct, straight from fading memory) go to the mortal world, curses indra. his court musician and dancer have committed the folly of forgeting their duty to indra in their love for each other... go to earth, live a mortal life, give pain, receive pain, and that pain will be your prayashcitta... penitance. then you'll find each other and love and return to this exalted state again... just flows though my mind.

"khushi stop this..." dark, saturnine, remorse in every bit of him. he can't help hurting her he can't see her hurt... complicated... it's love.

"khushi kumari gupta, tum andar aa sakti ho..." kkg, you may enter, he'd said in 149/50. way after she was already very much in. entrenched.

he will soon realise why.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

no media, please. ... an asr khushi one shot

"no, aman, complete media ban... that's it... what?!! main ne kaha na, nobody, no newspaper, magazine, channel.. no a no b, no z... no one. i want complete silence for a while. please make sure that happens." he finished his call abruptly, picked up his jacket, shrugged it on smoothly, and turned to leave the room.

"khushi!!!" he called out, obviously in a hurry, "khushi, where are you... i'm getting late!"

"thahriye... ek minute, ek minute," she rushed in from across the pool, her aarati plate in hand, responding to the impatience in his voice. the grain in it changed at every turn and twist sending all sorts of tremors through her. and it added to her breathlessness.

"okay okay... relax," he said when he saw her in that state... "i'm only getting a bit late, no need to get that hassled." 

her breathing audibly hitched. did he have no idea what that "ralax" did to her every time?

"wo... n.n.nahi, arnav ji... just that... ok, aap bahut mahatwapoorn kaam ke liye jaa rahe hain... hume aarati karne dijiye, asha hai ki aapko poori safalta mile..."

("er... no... you're off to a very important meeting, let me do an aarati, wish you complete success...")

"ok," he said with that indulgent look which always came into his eyes when the women of his family appeared with their aarati plates, lamp lit, and loads of love in their eyes. especially, these eyes... his cooky, crazy, totally her own person wife. he always felt a flip in his heart when he thought of her or saw her. 

he stood obediently, head a little lowered as she raised the plate and made the mandatory three circles around his face, then she dipped her thumb in the red vermilion in the little silver bowl and went to make a "tilak" on his forehead.

his hand came up swiftly and gripped her arm... "khushi, stop!"


"don't put that! i can't go to a meeting with that!"

"kyun nahin? issme kharabi kya hai..."

("why not? what's wrong with it?")

"kharabi... khushi, why don't you understand!!!" his voice grew urgent, irritated, gravelly, "this is a meeting with the world's largest luxury and fashion house... i have to look the role... aur waise bhi, you know i don't like all these things..." he pursed his lips, clearly annoyed.

"par yeh bahut bada kaam hai, aap ko bhagwan ka aashirwad.."

("but this is a huge task, god's blessings...")

"khushi," his voice had grown a little cold, "i've told you many times, i believe i make my own life... you know i don't believe in what people call god. i have never stopped you from doing what you like... don't you think there should be some understanding of how i see things. especially because this meeting is so so important?"

contrarily enough, though she absolutely did not want to see him leave in a bad mood, wanted him to go feeling calm and strong, she felt angry and couldn't stop herself from showing it. "theek hai, aap jaiye phir, hume aap se kuch nahin kahna," she blurted out and stalked off

("fine, go then, i don't want to talk to you.")

"khushi..." he tried to cajole her with a softening voice, but she was adamant, face resolutely turned away.

he looked at his watch, he was going to be late... he had to leave now. again he pursed his lips, this time a note of helplessness.

he walked up to her from behind, when he was really close he bent down and placed a gentle kiss on the the nape of her neck, "wish me luck," he murmured against her skin, and before she could turn around, he was gone.

did my breath stop for a second, thought khushi. she could feel tears sting her eyes sharply. why, why was it always like this with them.


it was late when he got in, she was almost asleep, the room was dark except for the dim night light in the far corner. he walked in, careful not to make any noise. but she'd been worrying about him... that meeting, she had to know how he was feeling after it. was it good or was he despondent? beaten? eyes still closed, she breathed out slowly and started to listen for the signs. if he were not upbeat, happy... oh, please no... don't let that happen... don't even think like that, khushi... achhi achhi baatein soch (think good things)... this is too important for arnav ji... and she listened.

she heard him pick up his change, go to the bathroom... gargle, brush... he must be having a quick shower now, then the silence as he toweled himself dry, changed.. and the door opened, a sliver of light hit her eyelids, she grimaced involuntarily.

"khushi?!!" he whispered.

she stayed silent, eyes closed.

she felt him walk over to his side of the bed, get in. then a rustle of bedclothes as he shifted closer to her, very close, she could feel him exhale somewhere near her ear.

her breath began to change... growing faster. arnav, uff why can't i be calm around you.

"khushi..." he whispered right by her cheek, "you awake, baby?... okay i will whisper because you don't want me to know you're up... you've been fretting the whole evening, haven't you... and praying for me? sitting in front of devi maiyya... talking her into making sure i succeed?'

her eyes flew open... how did he know!

"i know," he said as though hearing her thought... then he kissed the eyelid nearest him lightly, a smile on his lips, "i know you can't ever let me go like that... you made up with me in your mind, said you'd try and understand how i saw things, then missed me like mad, looked at your phone thinking you'll call me... then thought, no, i don't want to disturb arnav ji, he needs to "focus" now... sorry khushi, i keep saying these strange words... but you know..."

she couldn't let him go on like this, she raised her hand and put a finger on his lips, "shhh, aap jaise bhi shabd istemaal kartein hain, theek hai... yeh aapka tarika hai... par...?" the question she really wanted to ask...

(shh, whatever be the sort of words you use, they're ok, it's your way... but?...)

he kissed the finger she'd laid against his lips, and grasped her hand in his drawing in to his heart. then he caught hold of her by both her shoulders and swiftly tugged, landing her on top of him...

she was startled, eyes widening, squeal of "arre!!!" escaping her lips, and she saw his face...

head thrown back, he was smiling hugely, that drugging, utterly male, take on the world smile of his, his chin thrust forward, the stubble as always perfectly shaved, and even in the half light, his eyes shone like bright jewels of a rare chocolate hue, swirling cognac, brown earth drenched in rain. she felt a shiver run through her. he was so beautiful when he smiled triumphant. this is how she always wanted to see him. 

she let her hands slide up and cup his face, looking at him wishing the moment would never end.

he caught her eye, quietly he said, "we did it."

before that could sink in, he was up in one quick motion with her, carrying her in his arms, "yes!!! you and i, we did it, my darling sweet paagal khushi kumari gupta singh raizada."

"kya?" she squeaked as he started to twirl  around with her...

"kya? khushi? that... wo... for which you prayed... the deal is done... it's ours... we succeeded, khushi... your prayers, my focus... came together and got it done..." he was laughing and talking in a rush. 

to watch arnav singh raizada enjoying triumph in business was a pleasure of a very precious kind.

khushi started to grin. "kya!!!" she exclaimed in delight.

he sat down suddenly with her on his laps and nuzzled her neck, he whispered "kya kya karna band karogi..., " and laughed at his nonplussed wife, lover, life, "you and i have pulled it off, and baby, there is no such thing as my success for me any longer... okay, i can't say filmi things the way you like them, but jab se tum meri zindagi mei aayi ho, it's become our world, not just mine... no success of mine is possible without you... and it is always our win... always."

"hamesha," khushi stroked his hair, his nuzzling head, eyes closed, just enjoying him "win..." she was smiling...

he picked her up again without a word and took her outside, by the pool on the recliner. up there the stars twinkled. he lay next to her and watched them for a second, then turned and kissed her deep on her lips, long, slow, wandering, searching kiss.

"er, so did you put the tilak on my photograph?" he said suddenly just as she was about to drown in all sorts of sensations.

"kya?!!!" she yelped, "aapko yeh bhi pata hai?"

("what? you know this also?")

"yes, my ziddi, pyaari, completely lunatic biwi, i know that too... and i know a few other things as well," he winked suddenly, her eyes grew saucer like, lips forming that "o" that was all hers, "want me to show you?" he said as he reached out and touched her flat belly, sliding his hand up to her waist.

the pool, the garden, the skies watched silently. only butterflies fluttered. hush, don't tell anyone anything, asr has banned all media for a while. 


the news broke a week later. ar had tied up with the world's largest luxury house and would be opening boutiques around the world. the news was a complete surprise to the industry. no one had heard that the powerful conglomerate was in talks with anyone in india, let alone ar. how had this young man pulled it off... media started all its speculation, cogitation, analysis, prediction, projection, gossip... aman got a bonus and a break. 

and the young man concentrated on further refining his knowledge of certain things.


hope you had fun. wrote this one in 2013 when something was on abort barun and the media... can't remember now what it was... or maybe, we had not seen him for too long and were missing him in pagal vein. the story marks that, i guess. thanks for reading.



Tuesday, 15 November 2016

episode 148 he's here

epsiode opens on a scene that almost has me yelling, "just loop it!" along with young man going down-isstairs there are all these off hand, not to make a great point of it sort of scenes where it feels a shame that they were shown only once. to wit: asr putting on tie, taking of waistcoat, unbuttoning coat, reversing... stuff like that. as the white big car arced away and they cut to man looking at rear view mirror going for a smooth long reverse spin, i felt an elation in my heart that was almost spiritual in intensity. i am serious here, of course.

he of course, says, "get out," and she is bound to come back with an "o" but there was something else in his eyes this time. not so harsh somehow. laconic as ever, he doesn't say much, just points with a slight gesture. she looks down, sees what's the problem, expression switches to slightly embarrassed air, she hadn't been expecting this, in fact was all set to go to war. the man was actually being decent to her. unbelievable.

she: dupatta
he: itsy bitsy teeny tiny turn of head... i interpret as, yeah, that's right. how so issmart, bwoy. why why why. just to kill aunties, i bet.

she scrambles off to change. he looks at her departing figure, face inscrutable, yet just a little bit of something almost indulgent lurking there. he shakes it off with an, "unbelievable!"

at rm, miss kkg is busy getting things done for the sangeet. she and anjali at work, she's on the phone, ordering sweets. "ji aap likhiye, kaju ki barfi, gulab jamun..." ji, you right, cashew barfi, g jams... girl talks, man walks down the stairs... "rasgulle..." pause... she sees him, he turns and looks at her... an infinite moment, she is ordering goodies that he can have none of, a funny pain in a funny girl for the man who calls her unbelievable and makes love to her regularly with a "get out."

"di, main meeting ke liye jaa raha hoon, thodi der mein aa jaoonga..." di, i am going for a meeting, will be back in a bit... she looks after him as he leaves, still rattled. i feel like leaping in front of her, waving my hand and saying, "haan haan, khushi ji, hum jaante hain ki aap asr se pyaar nahin karte..." yes, yes, khushi ji, i know you don't love asr...

in the car we have him looking as she leaves with a considering gaze, and now her. mirroring, ipk style. but a lovely way to say, they linger in each other somewhere. it's getting harder to just look away and drive off or call people laad governor. they register with each other. the eyes wants to look on... the dil maange more.

and then down the same stairs comes slither. she looks up, her expression again changes like that. he's positively lecherous with that icky smile. she turns away. again a paralleling. long back, in episode 49, there was a scene where the two men sit next to each other at the dining table and think of the same girl.

this is what i'd written then:

taking over from her husband, wither thou goest anjali says, guess what khushi is from lucknow. two frowns, a smile, and head turn one... head turn two.

so much enters a pair of eyes as the owner recalls a young woman telling him she's going away... to lucknow... forever.

tainting the purity of that moment, an illicit sneaky memory of a girl in a saree, looking beautiful, smiling. camera puts the two men thinking of the same girl in the same frame. felt more vulgar than la romping around the house in a bathrobe. obscene almost. bet that's exactly what the creatives planned.

there was always something tragic about the triangle that was created with a young, innocent girl at its core. she had no idea what was happening, and she definitely did not invite anyone's attention. two men, with other women in their lives, forgot their limits, one at least had no idea himself as to what was happening and the moment he did he acted the correct way, but the other? look at him... even now.

sadly, this is what happens in reality too. and in a place where a girl's "abroo," her respect her honour gets compromised at the drop of hat, where the onus seems to be almost on her to keep disgusting men from philandering, khushi is helpless in ways many in a contemporary, urban milieu with a western mindset may not understand. she can't blow the whistle top of her lungs even if she wanted to... too many lives, too many feelings at stake. the "respect" of the raizadas as it were, apart from her own families. but still, she could have told asr, that i have to say was a big mistake. it allowed for precisely the situation we are seeing right now.

our actions have their impact, their repercussions... nothing can save us from that. the meetha and namkeen of good direction in these two parallel scenes of the man falling in love and the man in perpetual lust. visually it felt like a triangle.

shyam tried to paint the truth in a certain light, sure it would get him what he wanted... anjali's money and khushi's "yes," his brain swarming with sick desire he planned and pitched his campaign. khushi was not taken in, and yet a night of difficult thoughts. the director too chose a different light to show khushi in this state. added dimension to her character, khushi had deeper planes and valleys in her, her sunny nature may not give enough hint of it. and when in front of others, she would not reveal her inner turmoil, khushi would not want anyone to worry on her behalf... maybe of that comes the attitude of "i'll take care of everything, i can manage," had the creatives not lost the plot when it came to khushi, we might have seen a hugely interesting character evolve here too.

the theme of triangles continued as 148 brought us yet another love story with three people. a solid lusty bromance.

akash and asr were always shown to be close to each other, but with that interaction on the stairs started a boisterous fun time with the boys. two of them were here... the third was about to appear. before that, his aunt of course had to say a few bizarre things, act as chorus, apprise the audience of the essential details of the new entrant. like, he comes from kidney... "kidney se aay raha hai aeroplane udke..." the aeroplane is coming flying from kidney... instantly to mind that old sardarji joke where he taps his head and says "kidney, kidney," when asked what's the secret of his phenomenal knowledge of biology, meaning "brain, brain," needless to say... way before santa banta there were these simple jokes, silly but unforgettable. i bet utkarsha naik knew it too. no wonder she enjoyed herself so much.

seeing the over excited aunt, asr is intrigued. akash enlightens him, "aap ko pata hai na aaj kaun aa raha hai." you know who's coming today.

for once akash has a good idea... run.

the man is a bit slow on the uptake today, he's still wondering, what's the date, "o god i forgot... par usske liye car bhi nahin bheji..." but i haven't sent a car for him...

akash is in control of the situation, wow... "nahin don't worry about that... driver ko pata hai ki ussko airport jana hai..." don't worry, the driver knows he has to go.

"usske flight kab hai akash?" when is his flight, akash! a note of panic in the hushed voice... they do not wish aunt to know.

um... desperate watch check by akash... a hand gesture... gone, too late.

finally, "let's get out..." sexiest ever. the entire staircase interaction is worth playing intermittently as episodes run. akshay and barun are in perfect sync, you can feel the zing between them, and they are funny... no doubt about it. none of that thick meh television soap humour here, it's real, sexy and guffaw giving.

adding to this, mami's arbitrary twistiya, "kaas tum log pharen-return hote... gori gori daater in la aati aur kahti, maam, hum tumri daater in law hai." if only you were foreign-return, fair fair daughters-in-law would come and say, mom, i'm your d-i-l... "humse kahti, bootiphool mother-in-laaa," would have said to me, beautiful m-i-l... please note look on her indian nephew and son's faces, especially the neph.

the "foreign-return," what a concept. how it excites us, this thing of "abroad," while we adore the motherland, somehow the touch of foreign land (by which i think we mean essentially western countries... uk, us right on top, australia not too bad either, once in a way, a germany or france) hayeee how we loves it. such a lot of pride in saying the son got educated abroad, or the sister has been living in london you know, or the neph is coming from kidney, aastraliya.

for mami ji, nand kissore, her own nephew who lives in gora-land is no less than a major status symbol. she who was a maid prior to her marriage, has very few things she can flaunt that give her "face." one of them is arriving any moment now.

can you blame her for going all filmi and repeating a scene from a popular film, movies being possibly her main source of info and knowledge (as mine is a daily soap)?

delightful set of scenes.

"ok... hum chalte hain," nephew can't take it any more, he's gotta go.

"have fun," smiles son as he hastens to make his exit... but alas too late.

"maasi..." a voice from nowhere, where, is he here is he there... nice touch, creatives, funny and sort of cocky... this is nand kishore, krishna, after all, his voice cometh from the heavens it seems.

ooo aay gawa... he's here, mami ji as proud maasi goes into super drama. the two bros fall apart, mami fancies she hears a helicopter landing a la kkkg, anjali asks the wrong question, "chhotey, waise tum unse itna darte kyun ho?" chhotey, why are you so scared of him... man not happy.

enter nk.

"aai gaya humra pharen return bootiphool babua humra nand kissore aayi gawa" ah the ecstatic aunt. she whirls around when at the last minute nand kishore stops the game and appears... on flamenco music. akash grips asr's shoulder. time to for support group. (those who have had cousin's cousins they couldn't take, or even cousins, but had to in that nice indian happy big extended fam way, will know exactly what the two feel at this instant.) but the rest of the clan is delighted. so cute this spiky haired cool dude, ear stud in place.

"you know, mausa ji, yeh india ke sparsh bhi na..." nk said "sparsh" or touch for "farsh" floor, and so started the saga of wrong hindi words that would keep us giggling and deciphering wildly forever. have to say, karan goddwani has this clean clean feel... difficult to dislike him, and yes, if i had a cousin like that i'd run for cover too.

he told all to call him nk, short and sweet and then gave asr the name which stood a 180 degrees on the other side from the haughty arrogant three initialed rakish one... "hey naanav, naanav mere bhai give me hug!"

naanav? phhwa...

"arnav," corrects the man coldly... but this is naaty nk you're up against.

"dekho dekho naanav ke naak se ghooan araha hai..." of course, he means "dhooan" smoke... that's coming out of asr's nose ... everyone takes turn correcting his hindi... but i'm stuck on the image of fire breathing asr.

as nk carries on regardless, through gritted teeth asr enquires, "aane mein koi takleef toh nahin hui?" no problems getting here?

and sweet nk, as innocent in many ways as the extremely non-phaaren-return khushi, launches into a lovely account of all the fun he had flying business. all those people who are too jaded to appreciate these little luxuries should listen to this lovely flakepot. bright gleaming life in his eyes.

the triangle is complete. yo, bromance.

but before i go, nk said, he had no trouble doing the entire journey... even cried after watching harry potter, but after getting to here, he found it difficult to find the main door. what... are the creatives trying to hintiya something... 


Sunday, 13 November 2016

the break of day : one shot

the night closed in around the white mercedes-benz suv as it shot through the empty after hours roads. there was a slight drizzle building up to something more falling lightly onto the asphalt, the large old trees, and the pretty landscaped circles of new delhi. dark windows sat behind high walls and rolling lawns, the rich part of town.

he drove without seeing a thing, eyes fixed straight ahead, hands gripping the leather of the steering wheel,
knuckles white, his jaw was set, a complete stillness in his frame, the darkness outside seemed pale in comparison to the lack of light in his irises. opaque, pebble like, inert, inaccessible. his foot pressed down on the accelerator as though glued to it. he was leaving behind the bungalows and avenues, heading toward what who knew. he didn't seem to care, he looked neither left nor right, just followed the path where it led him, turning whichever way it went, tyres screeching against the slippery surface, headlights throwing two harsh pools of light in front. blue black road, a ribbon stretching on, and a car gleaming white against the rain drops, speeding.

the thoughts had come he had no idea when, but as usual, suddenly they had him enveloped. choking. gagging his insides, he couldn't breathe, he needed to get away.

he's running down a corridor, a terrible feeling growing. he's bounding up old marble laid steps two at a time, over the inlay work on each step, banisters with cast iron curlicues on either side topped by a smooth gleaming railing in dark mahogany, how many times he's slid down them, playing with his friends, getting away from someone out to catch him at a prank... but tonight there was no time. he had to get there, get there before something terrible happened. his heart had a premonition too heavy for his 14 years, his head whirled with a smell of danger, he ran faster, almost tripping on the edge of a slightly chipped step.

the speedometer swung to 90, the silence of late night streets shattered as the tyres hit a pothole submerged in water, it had been raining intermittently the whole day. a dull sort of rain that refused to drain the clouds and clear the skies, burdening the air with a clammy humidity, mid july heat trapped in its pores and threatening to return full swelter the moment the rain drops eased.


a scream pierced the world. a boy knew it was over. everything. she was gone. that was it. a part of him writhed in agony, it wanted to scream, but he couldn't. everything had gone flat somehow, closed. a gate within had slammed shut, inside it the scream, the tears, the pain, the mindless anguish, the fear, the terror, the whimpers that don't stop, the sobs that break out unbidden, the burning feeling behind the eyes, the heaving wracked breaths, the sorrow that lingers in the soul, the keening, and also the laughter of a young boy, his playfulness, his gentle bit, his loving bit, his tenderness, his right to be just that, a boy loved to distraction by his beautiful mother. all shut out. everything gone.

arnav malik had to keep quiet, had to be strong, ruthless almost, and he chose to be arnav singh raizada.

he could feel his breath getting shallow, his head begin to spin. were those beads of sweat on his face? his skin felt fragile. too many thoughts. too much pain, and a question that put cold fear in his heart. at the thought of it his foot pressed down harder, the car bolted and almost spun out of control.

but a part of him knew what was coming and deftly brought it back on to the road; he hit the brakes. the car came to a stop, and a silence descended, only the sound of his long fractured breath in the night, and an underlying whisper of rain.

that fear had come again.

he opened the door and got out swiftly, he needed fresh air. he needed to feel free, he needed to feel like himself, but the fear stalked him, asphyxiating, demanding to be heeded. he had to get away from it, had to stop it, he inhaled slowly then he did what he hadn't done in years.

he screamed into the darkness.

out to the skies, the stars, the trees, whoever would listen. maa.

he sank down onto the bare wet road, looking up, pleading... pleading for what?

the minutes ticked by. barren, desert minutes scorched by a merciless rage. 

at last he felt the drizzle on his skin... he frowned, what was the time? he had to get home. he got up as he had done so many times before, at every instant that life tripped him up, and made his way to his car. in its cabin he was safe, a feeling of comfort here. quiet, giving, as if the machine knew the man's heart.

when he reached shantivan, it was almost midnight, he let himself in quietly and walked down the long hallway and swiftly went up the stairs to his bedroom. a night light was on at the far end of the room, a little adjustment made for khushi, she couldn't sleep in complete darkness. he could see her silhouette on her side of the bed. for no reason, the word "pala" came to his head and a smile almost came to his lips. a tenderness entered his gaze, funny girl, he thought, so innocent and untouched by this world in so many ways.

but he had no place for this innocence tonight, he was too beaten by the world, too fragile, he couldn't take this burden to her, not tonight.

he made his way to the poolside french window, gently opening it so as not to make any noise, feeling the tiny shards of rain that the wind blew in on his face. the curtain billowed, he held it away and stepped out, letting the door slide shut. his eyes fell on the side of the pool and he remembered another night.

a beautiful bride stood outside, alone, helpless. his bride. he had left her alone, made her helpless. he had pushed her out of the room into the cold night. he had made her sleep on the hard flagstone floor while he slept in his bed inside. he was pushing khushi out of the room, shutting the door, leaving her alone out there in the open... how could he?!!

pain made him wince, he felt a sob rise, he sat down on the floor and felt the stone with his bare palms. how could he? and the sobs came. silently, inexorably. his body shook as they tore through him. how could he? the girl who was his love, his very life, who made jalebis when she was angry, but never forgot to make his sugar free batch even then, the girl who forgave so easily, who spoke to stars, who was miss taekwondo in bed and how he loved her moves, the girl who opened her heart with such completeness and gave everyone joy, the girl who was his sweet paagal...

his train of thought was interrupted. what was that? he felt a touch on his left shoulder. he looked up quickly, who was that?

she stood there looking down at him, sleep still clinging to her eyes, "arnav ji?"

she'd never seen him like this. she was terribly worried at what she saw in his eyes. she sat before him and held his face in her gentle palms. she could feel the sobs running through him. "kya hua?" she asked with her habitual directness, her innocence.

(what's the matter?)

he sat looking into her dark, clear eyes, and the fear that wouldn't leave found expression, "khushi, i'm not like my dad, am i?"

khushi stared back, nonplussed. what had brought this on? she had never heard him say this. he never spoke of his father, in fact.

he saw the puzzled look in her eyes and knew he had never shared these thoughts with her or anyone. they bothered him, so he kept them away... but he had loved his father too. growing up, his indulgent father's only son, he'd had a lot of fun with the man he thought was good and kind, who was the "head" of the family, a man he could trust. his father had a nasty temper, but when he was in a good mood there was really no one as wonderful as him.

that night as he ran knowing he would be too late, he'd lost not only his precious mother, but also a man he loved, and every illusion he'd ever had about him. that breaking of trust, that erasing of father was also a pain locked behind the door that slammed shut.

just that once in a while it visited him, in the form of this fear.

was he like his cheating, profligate, untrustworthy father? did his father live in his gussa? in his self, somewhere? was he capable of doing what his father did, after all he'd done that to khushi... and that marriage too. he was perhaps just like his...

khushi began to understand what he was trying to say. and felt the terrifying pain of the man she loved no matter what. she drew him close into her arms and kissed him gently on one cheek. then on the other. then she drew his head down to her breast and stroked him with all the love she felt for him.

"aap sirf mere arnav ji hain, arnav singh raizada."

(you are only my arnav ji, arnav singh raizada.)

she knew hearing his name, the identity that he'd created and worked relentlessly to become gave him strength, it soothed him, she wanted him to feel its truth, its innate courage. his innate courage. himmat dikhai maine, he'd told her when speaking of that night and the days that followed. nothing he'd ever done had made her doubt that.

they sat there, the two of them, in the light drizzle.

when she felt his shoulders relax, his breath ease, she pulled him up and led him to their room. he lay down next to her, holding her close, her back to him she lay, his body curved to fit the lines of hers. he buried his face in her neck, enjoying the touch of her silken hair, his arm stretched across her belly, his fingers were tucked under her waist. his worst fears would always perhaps stay in some corner of his being, but life had sent him a crazy girl to open that locked door and feel all his feelings again, there was no need to be afraid, she was always there. he breathed in deeply.

"will you let me sleep in your pala?" he teased as he nibbled her ear, kissed her shoulder blades lightly, and hugged her a little tighter.

she smiled slightly at his tone. the worst was over she knew. tomorrow let it be a better day, please devi maiyya.