Monday, July 2, 2012

SS - Sliding Doors

What would have happened if it had been Shyam who'd been five minutes late and not Arnav?

Arnav Singh Raizada stared thoughtfully at his open palm. In it lay a beautiful diamond ring set in platinum. The band split into four bands forming a double ringed oval, each covered in tiny diamonds. In the center of the oval was a little star, holding a small blood red ruby in the center. He eyes crinkled, and corner of his mouth lifted in a lop-sided smile at the thought of seeing that ring on an alabaster finger. If all went well, this evening it would be resting in its rightful place. He put the ring back in the box to join its mates – a diamond bracelet with little sunbursts, stars and half-moons hanging off it; and a pair of earrings with half-moons, both with the same intricate setting – diamonds and rubies. A brief hesitation and then he took the ring out and dropped it into the pocket of his deeply embellished sherwani.

The room was an oasis of calm in the chaos of the wedding. The pool outside reflected the fairy lights around it. He’d turned off the large overhead lights after he’d dressed leaving only the sconces on the wall and the lamp next to the couch on, warming the room with an amber glow in the cool February evening.

He looked at his watch. Hopefully Khushi would have finished getting her sister ready by now and would be free. He picked up his mobile and hit the speed dial.

Khushi was trying hard to be nonchalant, but not succeeding very well. Her eyes were brighter than normal and two red flags on her cheeks owed nothing to artifice. Her usually ivory skin glowed against the deep navy and red of her lehenga. She looked at herself in the mirror and sighed. She wished she was more beautiful. However, right now, she was concerned with the hammering of her heart as she wondered what to do. When Arnav-ji had told her he wanted to speak with her, she had been startled, wondering what it could be. And then there was the whole bindi thing in the hallway – why hadn’t he said anything then? The more she thought about it, the damper her palms got. She had read his eyes, his smile and while her heart was hoping, her mind kept telling her ‘Khushi, calm down. The Laad Governor will never look at you like that’. ‘Never?’ questioned her heart. ‘What about the sangeet? And then on mehendi, down by the pool?’ She looked at her palm. Inscribed in dark brown was the letter ‘A’.

The sudden ringing of her cell startled her. She looked at it – ‘Arnavji’ she whispered, accepted the call. For a moment she did not speak, eyes closed as she felt his presence like a breath of air in her life.

‘Khushi,’ it wasn’t a question or a statement just somewhere in between, in that husky voice.

‘Ji, Arnavji,’ she squeaked out. Cleared her throat and tried again.

She heard the smile in his voice as he husked. ‘You okay?’

She nodded her head before she realized he couldn’t see her, and then said softly, ‘yes’.

‘Free now?’
‘Yes’

‘Can you come up … ‘ he stopped, then went on, ‘to the poolside?’ He closed his eyes, he so wanted to say, ‘my room’. Then he did, ‘No. Come to my room. We can talk here.’

Her eyes widened realizing that this was the moment of truth for her, for them.

She picked up the hem of her garment, and decided to take the long way to his room.

He stood pensively by the pool – a tall sardonic figure in dark clothes, the chiseled outlines of his face shadowed by the stubble he normally wore. His head was tilted looking at the twinkling outlines of the lights reflected in the pool. His normal glowering look was nowhere in sight, instead there was a faraway look in his eyes. The knock on his door startled him although he’d been waiting for it.

He opened the door and for a moment, his world stopped. She looked heart-stoppingly beautiful today. The long tresses were lightly waved, a tika on the parting of her hair glowing in the dark. Gorgeous eyes, gray-green and trusting looked up into his hazel ones. A hesitant smile turned up the corners of her pink full lips. He didn’t even notice the gorgeous yet elegant lehenga she had on. All he saw was the marble skin in contrast to something dark. He swallowed.

‘Come’, he said, holding out a hand. She placed her small hand in his large one, raised her right foot, and crossed the threshold. He turned and shut the door.

She moved to the center of the room and turned to him as he walked towards her. His piercing hazel eyes held her as always, while he felt himself drowning in those gray-green eyes. An amused smile crossed his lips as he noticed how nervously she was clutching her skirt.

'What happened? Why are you scared?’ he asked.

‘Scared? ‘ she denied. ‘No. No. I am not scared. Why should I be scared? And of you?’ she was prattling on, her nervousness disappearing by the syllable.

‘No? You should be’, he retorted, then stopped. This wasn’t how he wanted this to go. He took a deep breath and straightened up.

‘Khushi’, he started. ‘There is something I want to tell you’. He paused. ‘My name is Arnav. And I…’ he stopped. Reaching out, he took her hands in his, staring down at them for a moment. He looked up into her eyes - her trusting, questioning eyes. ‘I love you’, he said. All the simplicity of his feelings laid out in three bald words. He went down on one knee, still keeping his eyes on hers. ‘Marry me, Khushi Kumari Gupta’.

She closed her eyes. This was so much; oh so much more than what she had wanted. ‘Hey, Devi Maiyya’, she thought. She raised her suddenly heavy lids, and looked at this man, this proud, arrogant, beautiful man at her feet. She nodded – a little bird like nod.

He didn’t know how long he’d been holding his breath until she nodded. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out the ring and stood up. Holding her left hand in his, he slowly put the ring on her finger. She watched with her mouth in her usual ‘O’. Her eyes darted up to his face. He was concentrating on what he was doing, raising his eyes to hers only when the ring sat snugly on her finger.

‘Arnavji’, she whispered.

‘Hmm?’

‘We cant.. .well we just can’t get engaged like this’, she blurted out.

‘Why not?’ he asked with an amused smile still on his face. All the love he felt shone through his eyes and he had no problem with this – love, marriage. Suddenly, with Khushi – it seemed so right, so… natural. After all his denials, this child-woman had brought him to his knees. He definitely liked it.

‘Well..’ she stopped, not a single good excuse coming to her mind.

He was now standing close to her. ‘Khushi’, he said in his husky velvet voice. ‘You didn’t say anything’.

‘What?’ she smiled. ‘What was I supposed to say? That I love you, too?’ the l-word coming easily to her lips. After all these days, now she could admit it to both of them together. But she thought he needed a little punishment for all the grief he had given her.

‘Well, yes, dammit. You’re supposed to tell me too’, he said, feeling the familiar annoyance rise up in him. But not tonight, he thought.

‘Where is that written?’ she challenged, walking away towards the pool.

‘Written?’ he was flabbergasted. ‘Why should it be written?’ He stopped. No, she was doing it again. With a small smile, he followed her, and quickly held on to one end of her dupatta. Khushi stopped, eyes opening wide, and spun around. Arnav held the duppatta’s end and moved closer to her. This time she didn’t step back. She waited, a small smile playing on her lips, but trembling a little with apprehension. He was now very very close to her. Suddenly shy, she dropped her eyes, her lips parting in anticipation, her heart thumping loudly in her ears.

‘Will you do what I will do?’ he whispered.

She nodded.

'Wanna bet?'

She closed her eyes and nodded again.

He bent and kissed her cheek. But this time, he let his lips trail slowly to her lips kissing the corner of her mouth. His hands came up to hold her face.

‘Your turn’, he said.

She raised heavy-lidded eyes to his searching them for a moment. She raised her hands to his face, for the first time feeling for herself how his stubble felt in her soft palms. There was hardly any space between them. Raising herself on tip toe, she laid her lips against his cheek.

Arnav could feel his heart stop at the soft butterfly touch. He turned his head and their lips met.

Shyam watched Khushi make her way up the stairs. Looking around, he didn’t see Rani Sahiba anywhere. Good. He followed her. She stopped at Arnav’s door. He was taken aback. What was she doing at his Saaley-Saab - his wife's brother's door at this time? The wedding was in about an hour, and they should have been with their siblings. So why was she here? He watched her enter the room and the door shut behind her. Slowly he made his way to the door and lightly tested it. It was locked! From the inside! What WAS going on in there? He wondered if he should knock, but decided against it. Moving slowly over to the corridor he looked into the pool area through the slats. Everyone was downstairs except those two. And there was nobody by the pool.

About an eon later, he suddenly saw her come into the pool area. She was glowing; there was no other word for it. Khushi, his Khushi glowing coming out of Arnav’s room? Then he watched in horror as his brother-in-law followed her out. He fists clenched as Arnav caught her dupatta and moved in on her. He strained to hear what he was saying, but whatever Arnav said, he watched Khushi nod and blush. With growing horror he watched Arnav kiss her cheek, and then.. oh dear God! Khushi laid her hands lovingly on Arnav’s cheeks. Suddenly he saw it. Sparkling on her left hand, a glittering ring! An engagement ring! With bile rising in his throat, he watched Arnav and Khushi kiss.

Face twitching with rage, he vowed, ‘This will cost you dearly, saaley-saab. You can’t just put a ring on her finger and kiss her. She is MY Khushi. And she will be mine. You will pay for this, saaley-saab. You will pay dearly’.

12 comments:

  1. If only......
    I wish this would have happened. Loooooved it..great work girl on fire..

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  2. This is amazing. So descriptive that I can just close my eyes and visualize the scene.
    Thank you so much...

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  3. Kaash...............
    Your are so good with your description.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this with us.

    Liza

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  4. Loved the way you wrote this scene. Wish this had happened in the serial. Just found your blog and reading everything.

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  5. Wow!!! This was fantastic, but I guess if this would have happened in the show, IPK would've probably finished six months before it's actual demise... Why??? Not because ur idea wouldn't have been great, but because the great CVs of IPK would have murdered the show soon after this.. Cos they wouldn't have known how to add more masala to the plot... brainless nitwits that they were... But I loved the concept..

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  6. Sapna ki duniya main hi rehna theek hai Madhu ji!
    Asli duniya main CV's jaise log hote hai!

    Not that I have complaints about why the MU happened, but it shouldn't have gone on for so long! -_-

    Sigh.

    I love this! Brilliant writing!

    I love how they proceeded with their first kiss.. a bet... the best part about their relationship was the hot headedness... brilliant!

    Oh and BTW, BOO YAH Snake! In your face! *victory dance*
    Jammy-

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  7. just started this SS

    Shyam is such a snake peeping at them

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  8. Great OS. This should have happened in the show, instead of the crap we got! Instead of decimating them, the characters would have stayed true, at least!

    IF - kbtr

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  9. Loved it...!!! If only it had happened in the serial too...

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  10. This is one of the best versions of this scene I have read. Nicely written.

    Pinkly (IF Id)

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  11. If only it had been this way

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