Thursday, 22 December 2016

episode 2 still breathless

i feel the asphyxiation. i feel the tremors of fear and feelings never felt before. it's episode two. apparently, no one remembers who came second, well the second episode is not one i'll ever forget. her eyes perplexed, completely puzzled, at times angry, at times terrified and then a moment held still for eternity.

a hand where it shouldn't be.

an indrawn breath.

clenching of a hard jawline, eyes dark and boring. uncaring. egregious. untenable.

a set of eyes shocked. unable to fathom the moment.

a row of pearls... falling, scattering... a sound filtering through numbness, the choked breath.

a rank stranger has touched what's next to her skin and ripped the string that holds her blouse in place. in a looming deserted haveli unfamiliar to her, late in the evening, as she stood there alone with him. his captive. his prisoner. and he not there to show mercy.

not a single thing about the man looked forgivable at that instant. he had lost control.

he had perhaps lost it the moment he'd seen her on a ramp. his ramp. and then she'd tripped and his arms had reached out without seeking his express permission.

a contact with a complete stranger with large frightened eyes and trembling lips that had perhaps ripped something way deep within him.

he didn't know.

he is a man who operates from what he knows, not what he feels. and from that perspective, she could only be a spy, someone sent by business rivals to ruin his show. as his eyes find it hard to move away from her visage, he must act... he throws her away from him, violently, of course.

she is terrified. an evening that was supposed to bring a solution to the problem of dowry for her sister, where she'd meet her to be brother in law who she's sure is a wonderful man, a man of conscience, zameer... she has fallen straight into the arms of a man who moments ago we have seen disavowing that very thing, no place for conscience in his world of business... should you by any chance have it... you must crush it.

he is angry, a white hot anger. who is she? find out. lock her up.

she is a girl of eighteen or so, who has never ever been in a place like this before. nothing she says makes a difference. unknown men hurl her into a room, lock the door. that the room is fairly brightly lit with illuminated boards that seem to be part of a set, doesn't make a difference... it is suffocating and unreal. scary. she is banging on the door... please let me go, she pleads. there's no one around... and if they come, they only come to ask questions that make no sense to her.

and then he comes, a cruel slant to his lips. his eyes glowing with deep dark anger. he is arnav singh raizada and he is about to interrogate an enemy, a spy.

a girl alone and a man possessed.

this is just a tv show but i am feeling tense, breathless. he flicks his fingers imperiously. they open the door... she races out. a gazelle like creature, her beautiful glimmering lehenga and choli lift as she runs behind the pillars. i have to say in episode two again direction, art direction, music, dialogue, everything is a cut above. thrilling.

dark and light... a sense of chiaroscuro... each frame like a portrait. she runs, but she hasn't seen the man in front... a man in black who's walked up that same corridor of light and shade from the opposite direction.

she is free she thinks and then something slams into her elbow, grips, throws her back. she almost falls, taken completely aback, fear returning... and confusion. why why are they doing this to her. she has to go home, she knows nothing, her sister's getting married, she must reach... if she doesn't...

opposites. they are on two completely different sides of a plane you sense. and yet, they must collide.

he fixes her with a cold merciless gaze and starts walking toward her. she's mesmerised by that gaze. unknown, unheard of threats seem to murmur and hiss in the space between them. what will he do, why does he walk that threatening pace to her... she starts walking backward.

no, at this point, even though i'd seen diwali before i saw this episode, and now the entire show a couple of times, i still don't think this is one day going to be their signature forward backward walk, a sign of their romance. even now it is plain terrifying... she is alone in a huge mansion with a man who might do anything when crossed.

an interrogation gets going. he wants to know who has sent her, she has no idea what he speaks of. she says it was a mistake. he says mistakes must also be made according to one's place in life... aukat. she is shocked. what is this man saying? but she must plead, beg, do what it takes to get away. jiji's wedding is about to start...

please let me go, she says, otherwise my sister's wedding might break.

he doesn't care, let her marriage break. anyway, and this he says with an utterly insulting sneer, girls like you, nothing makes a difference, if one guy goes you'll trap another... "tum jaisi ladki"... girls who "phasao" guys.

she is nonplussed. what is this man saying? why? he is a complete stranger... she must have thought what is this "tum jaisi ladki"? she is not to know of his past, his fixations, perhaps the very sight of a helpless, nubile, middle class girl brings on feelings of chaos in him... i had a sense of that. at this moment, khushi is just a generic type of being, a girl... beautiful... not wealthy... he reads it as danger... destructive.

yet perhaps the way he speaks of her jiji restores a sense of coherence in her. she will not put up with this. that jiji is part of her heart is clear from the moment you set eyes on her, this relationship is priceless, she will not let anything or anyone mar it. denigrate her sister.

she centers through anger and hurls back... how can you say such a thing? what if it were your sister?

how is she to know, it was once his sister... she did have a wedding ruined... on a night which was all and only about treachery and darkness that never leaves, that pervades the heart, that enters the eyes. that untethers the mind.

"kya bakwas kar rahe hain aap? aap kuchh bhi bole jaa rahe hain...

aap ke gharwale ko koi aisa bole! aapke didi ki shadi toot jaaye toh!"

she is not going to bow down to this pressure, one has to admire her resilience. she doesn't notice his eyes growing icier, his stance more angry.

she pushes, tears streaming down her face, voice breaking, yet finding her anger, letting it bring force and courage to her...

"aap ke didi ke baare mein koi aise bolega toh aap kya bolenge?"

she is terrified but not daunted you get the sense, she's going to fight back... not fear the worst that can happen in that scenario...

his eyes glitter, jaws clench.

"boliye," she insists, "hai koi jawab??"

say... do you have any answer?

he says nothing... fury is overtaking all faculties...

"badtameezi ki bhi had hoti hai..."

she has called his talk bakwas, now she calls him badtameez, ill mannered, rude.

"hat jaiye hamare raaste se... hume jaane dijiye!"

she orders him to move out of her way and is about to walk away.

she has no idea you don't order this man, you don't walk away from him unless he is ready to let you.

of course, he reaches out and catches her easily, flinging her back to where she had been standing, a pure anger overflows, the dam has been breached.

"badtamezi toh maine abhi shuru bhi nahin ki," swift low voiced retort. i've not even started being ill mannered.

"tumhe jawab chahiye na?"

you want an answer, right?

and before one can think or feel a thing, a hand moves, a snap is heard... a breath caught... pearls scatter.

a girl's eyes registers complete shock.

speechless... endless moment.

was everything tied right here as a dori snapped? an act of war, almost, committed that would lead us straight and sure to love?

the sound of the those pearls, rat ta tat a tat... was that the drumroll that started the love story, one in which there are no winners or losers, no right or wrong, no good or bad... only lovers and their most precious pearl... an emotion?

at 7:45 of episode two came a key moment in iss pyaar ko kya naam doon? in all love stories lovers meet... which is what we saw in episode one. but every love story is specific... its own kind... with its own unfolding, reasons to exist, ornaments, symbols, associations. in that one act of his, a snapping of a dori, the dori of a girl who was a complete unknown entity, both of them entered a space where suddenly there was extreme intimacy...

a moment neither could ever forget.

and in it it too was the absolute knowledge, he was not immune to her. she had breached and entered his world without his knowing it. when? was it that moment when she fell into his arms and he heard her breath, he caught her, his eyes looked into hers and then travelled slowly down to her lips.

most likely.

otherwise why would he let her go with so much violence? and his eyes darken just looking at her whimpering against the ramp...

he thought it was because he believed she was a threat. to his business... shatir asr, she was a threat indeed. and he had with his own hand started their story. as he has said, he is arnav singh raizada and he writes his kismet with his own hands.

finally, he moved... only to fling her away. again. she fell against the pillar. a thousand thoughts of shame and being a girl alone before cruel male eyes must have gone through her shattered mind. 

then she acted. again a sign of the girl she was. a solution. she found a solution. she untied her gota ribbon and threw her hair on her back, covering it... then she turned to look at him, a tear drop streaming down her cheek.

did his look change as he saw the tear? a seismic shift? or was i imagining it? she walked away this time. he stood still... the aggression no longer in evidence. just a rock like, monolithic stillness. eyes glowing darkly.

i have never seen a moment like this on television. layers and layers of feelings in it. and that act.

she looked delicate and beautiful, vulnerable yet hardy. he looked arresting, lethal, unrelenting. he was in a position of power. she was not. but he did let her go... without getting his answer. perhaps riven by that very at of his.

how would they resolve this i wondered. 

on the other side, her family waited, broken and tense. a wedding hadn't gone through and a daughter was nowhere to be found. it was late at night. beautifully crafted scenes of anxiety, despair, intermittent anger, a family traumatised.

garima exhorted her daughter payal to tell her if she knows anything about khushi. at payal's silence she admonished, how can that be, khushi tells her everything... "sui barabar baat"... something as fine as a needle too... i loved the usage of colloquial language in ipk. i am sure my hindi improved while watching.

shashi gupta was worried sick for chhutki. garima's large expressive eyes hinted at the million fears racing through her mind and also a sense of things terrible to come. the mother of daughters in a middle class set up, who herself is not strong enough to stand firm against unfair tradition, but is sensitive and caring nonetheless, feels and senses things that are hard to understand by anyone not in that place. i am quaking at the thoughts that must have materialized in her mind. the actress portraying garima did a brilliant job of expressing that exploding tension. "kahin usse kuch..." an unfinished sentence thick with fear and love.

khushi's bua ji berated her and ranted constantly and now we knew, khushi was not born to her parents, but was her amma's sister's daughter, come to them only ten years ago when her parents died. it was clear from the way her babu ji spoke, he loved her, he trusted her and he had to stop his respected, much loved sister from going off at a tangent... of course, it was also obvious his sister had a preference for the tangent, and for colourful language. she also sounded completely callous and uncaring toward khushi. grossly so. yet we'll soon find out otherwise.

payal opened her mouth at last... obviously looking for a way to say what she had to without in any way harming her sister. and suddenly a scooter was heard.

shashi gupta smiled a little... relieved. a father knowing his daughter is safe... more important than anything at the moment.

payal smiled, "khushi aa gayi..."

she was about to go out, but her mother stopped her.

and we saw the struggle this woman was going through that evening... love and anger battled. love won when she walked out to get her girl, while curious neighbours looked on. her first words, "tum theek ho?" then  quickly her whispered angry, don't create a scene, come inside.

the neighbours had waited for khushi to arrive and partake of a little more of the unusual. the people of gomti sadan perhaps did not lead very interesting lives, they struggled with all that people not of fabulous means struggle with in life. suddenly amid this, a coming of the baraat and its leaving without the marriage taking place... it was bound to cause talk, unkind barbs and an eagerness for some more drama to unfold.

the night felt oppressive and unkind though so prettily lit with fairylights. silks and zaree and jewellery and colour adorned everyone, yet there was no sign of happiness or celebration.

interstingly, payal was not falling to pieces, instead she worried for her sister.

when garima heard what khushi had done this time, she was beside herself with anger and said, khushi was not her daughter. i got the feeling that hurt khushi more than the snapping of the dori.

payal finally told khushi not to feel bad, the man they thought was good was not really so, he knew of his mother's demand for more dowry last minute yet he had said nothing.

so the man who khushi was sure was a decent man was not so. the man whom khushi had called badtameez, would he turn out to be anything but that?

the pearls scattered again. their sound triggered memory and a feeling that a story had only just begun.




  1. Perfect In di every word. Couldnt agree more.
    This solution provided by Khushi of recovering her dignity, covering her exposed back by untying her hair was used by Arnav later when NK was staring at her. Ha ha! I think Arnav knew the very moment he snapped her dori that he had crossed the limit as far as she was concerned.

  2. hi wiwy, great to see you. that hair fling was touching and yeah, asr noted it grimly and used it angrily when needed. he knew he had crossed a line, he will address that much later looking killer in the rain, why am i thinking again and again that what i am doing is not sahi... it's galat.. nahin... main sahi hoon... arnav singh raizada ko kissi ladki se, gosh the man is thrilling even in arecall minus image or sound.