Saturday, August 25, 2012

SS - Aftermath

Arnav Singh Raizada stood at the gates of Raizada House watching as the police van drew away. Finally, he was rid of Shyam Manohar Jha from his life. He stood there until he felt a hand on his shoulder. He knew that calming touch - Khushi. He turned around and looked at her. The small gash on her cheek had stopped bleeding. Her face was pale, almost white; the stark red of the sindoor on her forehead and parting stood out in contrast. He’d put that sindoor in her parting just two days ago. Her eyes were full of a pain that reflected his own, glittering with unshed tears. Wordlessly, he took her in his arms and held her tight, his face buried in her hair. Their long shadows in the setting light of the sun merged into one.

For a long moment, they stood like that, holding each other, taking strength and comfort from each other, just thankful that they still had each other. They drew away, but he still kept an arm around her shoulder as they walked into Raizada House together. There was still more to be faced inside.

The living room looked like a hurricane had swept through it, furniture overturned and broken, decorations strewn around, broken shards of glass in lying in clusters. They picked their way through it towards Akash, Payal and NK who stood near the foot of the stairs watching them as they walked in, moving towards them.

Payal came forward and hugged her sister, silently offering her comfort, while NK and Akash clapped their hands on their brother’s shoulder.

‘Bhai?’ Akash’s concern for his brother clearly visible on his face. ‘You okay?’.

Arnav could only nod. He looked at the two men who’d stood by him in what had to be one of the most difficult days of his life.

‘Where’s di?’ he asked.

‘Upstairs, with masi and nani,’ said NK, his face devoid of his usual dimpled smile. ‘She needs to rest.’

‘Yes, I should go to her.’

Akash wordlessly shook his head. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea, bhai. Let it be for today.’ He understood the pain his brother was in, but once again, he was being the sensible one. ‘Payal, why don’t you get Khushi cleaned up? I think she needs some medicine for that gash.’

Payal nodded and led Khushi away to her room. She could see how shell-shocked her sister was. The brothers watched them go.

That night, Arnav and Khushi lay on their bed, each on their side staring up at the ceiling. Finally, he turned his head to look at her. He could see the tears leaking down the sides of her eyes. She made no move to wipe them away.

‘Khushi?’ he said. She swallowed. He turned to face her, putting his hand on her shoulder, she finally looked at him. ‘I need you,’ he said simply. She scooted over to his side of the bed, holding out her arms to him. He held her close, resting his head on her chest. Her arms wrapped around his head, holding him close as well. They finally fell asleep like that.

A piercing scream woke them up. They started up and jumped out of bed. Another scream rang through the house as they ran towards Anjali’s room. Akash and Payal were already going in through the door as they dashed towards it, only to come to a halt in front of Dadi, who held up her hand in her imperious way.

‘No,’ she said. ‘You are not coming in’, her hate-filled eyes looked at Khushi.

‘Like hell, Dadi’ said Arnav grabbing Khushi’s hand, and finally doing what he’d wanted to do for so long. He tried to move past Dadi.

‘Arnav,’ shouted Dadi. ‘You can’t bring her here.’

‘She’s my wife, dadi. I married her, with all the rasams, and followed your stupid rules to the letter. Get used to it, dadi. She’s my wife, the elder bahu of this house, and she goes where I go,’ finally he was letting all his pent up frustration with his dadi out.

‘No,’ said Dadi. ‘She is just a loose woman who has broken up your sister’s marriage. Can’t you see that?’

He looked incredulously at Dadi. Di was inside, he could hear her sobbing but Dadi wasn’t allowing him and Khushi near her? A vein started throbbing on his forehead. He wasn’t aware of how hard he was gripping Khushi’s wrist. She bit her lip, wincing a little from the pain. Immediately, he turned to her, aware of what he was doing.

‘Khushi? I’m sorry,’ he relaxed his hold on her, but still held her wrist.

‘See? Your sister is in pain, inside, but all you can think of is your wife,’ she sneered. ‘See what she’s done to you? She’s even come between you and your sister.’

Arnav breathed deeply trying to control the rage now coursing through him. Khushi was clinging to his arm with her other hand, and it was only her touch that was stopping him from physically hurting his grandmother. Without another word, he walked past her and entered Di’s room with Khushi in tow.

Inside, he saw Akash on the phone, calling the doctor. Mami and Nani were on either side of Anjali trying to calm her down. Payal was getting out the sedatives and pouring a glass of water for her. Anjali looked at Khushi and screamed again, a loud piercing shriek that hurt the ears.

‘You,’ she said, pointing a long finger at her. ‘It wasn’t enough that you took my Chotey away. You took my Shyam away, too.’ Khushi’s eyes widened in horror as she saw the complete lack of reason in Anjali’s. ‘You flaunted yourself in front of him. You saw how happy I was to have him back and you couldn’t take it, could you, you little slut?’ Everyone looked at her in horror. Vile words kept spilling out of her mouth, their beautiful Anjali transformed into something so ugly they never could have believed it if they weren’t seeing it with their own eyes.

Arnav ran to her, ‘Di, di, what are you saying?’

‘Oh shut up, Arnav,’ she said in disgust. ‘You are so stupid. Can’t you see that she wants my Shyam? Don’t you know what she is capable of? She wanted Shyam to divorce me so she could have him!’ She shoved his hands away. He backed up from this Di that he had never seen before.

‘Exactly,’ said Dadi from behind him. ‘She is the one who needs to be out of this house, not Shyam. You should go and tell the police to release him immediately. Can’t you see Anjali needs him here?’


‘Subhadra!’ finally Nani spoke up. ‘What are you saying? Didn’t you see what he tried to do? He tried to kill Arnav and Khushi, for God’s sake’.

‘He was just trying to protect Anjali and their baby from this woman,’ Dadi sneered.

Arnav looked from his hysterically sobbing di to Dadi wondering if he was in a nightmare.

Payal had her hands firmly on Khushi’s shoulders. She could feel the trembling in her thin limbs.

The doorbell rang. It was the doctor and soon HP was ushering her into the room. Nani, Mami and Dadi stayed inside while the rest waited outside the door. The two sisters were silently holding each other, tears streaming down their faces. The brothers stood lost in thought. NK joined them.

‘Nannav, mere bhai,’ he said softly. Arnav looked at him. There was sympathy in his eyes. ‘It’s not over yet, you know.’ The brothers looked at him questioningly. ‘Di and Dadi. It’s still not over,’ he said again.

‘What do you mean?’ Arnav said. NK just shook his head.

The doctor came out after what seemed a long time. She looked at Arnav and said, ‘I’ve given her a sedative, and she will be resting now. But I’d like you bring her into to my clinic tomorrow. I also need to talk to you alone.’ He nodded his head.

The next morning, Arnav ushered Khushi into the doctor’s chamber at the clinic. He was surprised to a new doctor standing next to Di’s doctor. A short, fatherly looking man in his late fifties, he exuded an immediate sense of comfort.

‘Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada, this is Dr.Kejriwal, a psychiatrist.’ They all shook hands. She looked at Khushi inquiringly. ‘I did say I needed to talk to you alone, Mr. Raizada,’ she said.

‘Khushi is my wife, doctor,’ he said, ‘there’s nothing you can tell me that she can’t hear.’

‘Very well. Please, have a seat.’ She waited until they were all seated. ‘Mr. Raizada, this is always very difficult for us doctors. But I have to ask you this: is there a history of mental instability in your family?’

Arnav looked like another bomb had gone off under his chair. ‘What?!’ he looked from one to another. No!’ he said. ‘Not that I know of, at least.’ He felt Khushi’s hand holding onto his under the table. Her touch calming him down.

‘Very well, then.’ Dr. Kejriwal said. ‘I understand you are her only sibling?’ Arnav nodded. ‘Well,’ he seemed to be gathering his thoughts. ‘It looks like Mrs.Jha is suffering from a form of bi-polar disorder. Now, this may be related entirely to her pregnancy or it may be that the pregnancy has triggered her latent propensity for the disorder. I won’t know until I have examined her in more detail.’

Arnav felt like his whole world had come to a stop. He swallowed, trying to focus once more on what Dr.Singhania was telling him. ‘Mr.Raizada, whatever be the reason for her mental condition, we will need to start her on medication. But first, we need to talk about the baby.’

‘What about the baby?’ Arnav whispered.

‘Anjali is almost full-term now, Mr.Raizada. Its my recommendation that we perform a c-section on her. In about three weeks. The baby will be premature, but most babies survive at that stage. There are risks but they can be mitigated.’

‘The drugs that we have to use on Anjali might adversely affect the baby, you see,’ Dr.Kejriwal added. ‘So it will be better, if this happens before we start on the medication.’

His listened with his eyes closed.

‘We need your permission, Mr.Raizada,’ said Dr.Singhania, gently.

For the first time, Khushi spoke, ‘Let us talk this over, please’. Her soft voice made Arnav open his eyes. He looked at her, his pain and bewilderment reflected again in her eyes. She looked at the doctors. ‘Can you give us a moment?’

‘Of course,’ the doctors said. ‘We’ll be outside. Please think this over very carefully’.


Six months later, Arnav woke up to the sounds of chirping and gurgling on the baby monitor. He looked at his wife, sleeping in one of her Taekowndo poses, except that she had her slim arm tossed around his bare chest, her long silky legs in between his rough ones. Carefully he got out of bed so that he did not disturb her. Pulling on his jogging clothes, he headed to the nursery. The baby was in the crib, gurgling and kicking around. He picked her up and cradled her, caramel eyes looking into caramel eyes.

He turned around at the sound from the door. Khushi stood there with a bottle of milk in her hand.

‘You didn’t wake me up?’ she asked.
‘You looked too peaceful sleeping,’ he said.

She blushed, went and sat in the rocking chair. He placed the baby in her arms, and she held the bottle to the baby’s lips. She cooed over the baby, while he crouched in front of her, stroking the baby’s head. Their eyes met.

‘Who’s going to go see mamma today?’ she stood up and held the baby on her shoulder to burp her.

This was a day they waited for every month. Anjali was still in hospital - a healthcare facility that took care of the mentally ill. Her baby had been born by c-section five months ago. Dadi had been sent back to her ashram. The Raizada home was once again a home, with a new member and one gone. It was peaceful once more, but peaceful with a sense of sadness and loss.

Arnav stood up and placed his arms around his wife and his niece. ‘Krittika Singh Raizada’, he said in a satisfied tone.



  1. Whoa where did this one hit you ... superbly well written..ANJALI di hai sabse "SAYANI " :)

  2. I loved reading this but somehow calling Anji mentally sick didnt go with me, I wish they had shown her the true colors n she cud face it with strength from within, Nonetheless a superbly diff take,, Kudos


  3. I always thought that Anjali's character was the one that was the most ignored by the CVs in the show. She could have been portrayed as a woman of some strength and sensibility instead of someone given to melodrama and very little else. I did like your version though. It hit me blindside because i did not see THAT coming!! Brilliant - Bhooma

  4. Wow, this was a nice concept... Something totally different... I had always hated Dadi in the show... I think Arnav was wrong... There was insanity running in the family... In the form of Dadi... Who was more in love with Shyam than Anjali herself..

  5. I always felt that anjalie lived in a protective cocoon could not face reality as in the serial their roles were reversed as arnav being the younger sibling acted as the elder

  6. This was a really nice take, we never really saw Dhaddhi after weding no2. Somehow I wish there had been a revalation to her watching on the films that it was Shyam all along and she apologised to Khushi.

    Anjali.. I wish she had been a stronger character. She was after all Ms ASR. Lthough you have shown that she could have got some mental disorder, i really wished for a truely strongervAnjali who came back all guns loaded... maybe turning herself into the ASR...mind you they were winding down the show... which was a real shame.

  7. Sad 😢 I wanted Anjali to be strong


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