Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Walk the Line: Chapter - 4

There are many ways to confront a situation that you know is going against you. You can run away from it and hope it goes away or you can stand and face the music. Khushi knew she was going to have to take the latter road soon, very soon. She didn’t have the energy to fight it right now. But soon, from somewhere she knew she would find the strength. Just not now.

Her mother came into the kitchen and saw the two cups. ‘Who was here?’ she asked.

‘ASR,’ she replied. Her mother raised her eyebrows. ‘Relax, mom. He was out jogging and then I invited him for coffee, cause I had some made.’ Her mother nodded. Her daughters were the love of her life. At that moment, her husband walked into the room.

‘Good morning, my beauties,’ he smiled at two of his three favorite women. He waited while Anna, his wife, got him a cup of coffee. ‘So, what’s going on?’ He looked at the empty coffee cup on the island. ‘Who was here?’ he echoed his wife. He hadn’t yet met the Raizada family as he’d been at work for the most part of the week.

‘ASR’, said Anna.

‘Arnav Singh Raizada,’ from Khushi.

‘That’s quite a mouthful,’ he smiled.

‘Yes, Dad, and in the world of business he’s called ASR’.

‘And what does everyone else call him?’ her father was amused at the roll of her eyes.

‘His naniji and jiji call him Chotey,’ she giggled. The tall, dark sardonic man is …. Chotey? Suddenly, her funny bone was tickled. She couldn’t stop giggling. The image was too funny. Not having met Arnav yet, Mr Gupta just smiled at his daughter’s giggle. He loved these moments. They had turned few and far between four years ago. But it warmed his heart to see her losing some of that somberness now. He silently blessed the unseen Arnav for giving her something to smile at.

‘Come on, Khushi,’ her mother said. ‘We are going over to the Dutt’s to help with the Diwali preparations. Payal should be here around noon,’ she addressed her husband. ‘Will you be staying back for her?’

‘I’ll be here,’ he assured her, looking forward to some quiet time with them gone.

Khushi and her mother headed over to NK’s.

The house was in a minor state of pandemonium. Workers rushed back and forth with tables, chairs, lights, wires. The poolside deck was being set up for the main party area. Delivery trucks had blocked the driveway by now. There was a lot going on in the kitchen too. Even though the affair was catered, there’s always food being prepared in an Indian kitchen.

Khushi and her mother made their way to the kitchen, where most of the women had congregated. Nia’s in-laws had also arrived. Quite unconsciously, she looked around, looking for Arnav.

‘Are you looking for someone, bitiya?’ Naniji was standing next to her.

‘No, no, no one, no one at all. I’m just looking around.’

‘Do me a favor, Khushi. Can you please take this out to the boys?’ asked Nia. ‘They’re by the pool. That round glass is for Arnav. It’s sugar-free.’

‘Sure, Nia’, she took the tray of lemonade and munchies out on the deck. As soon as she stepped out, she knew he was there. He was powering through the pool stroke after clean stroke, while NK, Akash and Nia’s fiancĂ©, Rahul, were sitting by the pool side cheering him on. He finished the lap and shook his hair out of his face. Placing his hands on the edge, he easily hoisted himself out of the water. His long lean arms and back muscles rippled with the effort. The dripping black shorts clung to his butt as his powerful thighs propelled him the rest of the way out. She realized she’d been staring at him and moved forward with the tray.

‘Nannav,’ NK said, ‘you set a new record! Too good, Nannav‘.

‘Yeah, Arnav, that was pretty good,’ Rahul exclaimed.

He turned around, towel in hand, as if sensing her presence. Then he moved forward to take the tray from her. His damp fingers curled over hers. The sun was in her eyes as she looked up at him. All she could see was his shadowed face haloed by the sun. ‘This… This one is yours. Sugar-free.’ He nodded his thanks.

‘Hey, Khushi, come and join us,’ Rahul said.

‘Yeah, Khushi, join us,’ said NK – his ever cheerful dimples smiling at her. Akash was smiling at her too.

‘Thanks, guys. But I think I am needed inside,’ she smiled at them. Arnav was extremely interested in his drink, she noticed.


  1. ;) hmm Chote, definitely has brought a bit more than a smile to her face, her angel


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