Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 22: The thaw sets in

on May 16, 2013

Friday dawned well and early in the Gupta household. Garima and Shashi had travelled to Delhi and Bua’s smile stretched from ear to ear. Her titaliya was getting married. Khushi and Payal were up early and helping Bua and Amma pack the return gifts and getting the thali ready. The smell of sugar and oil was thick in the air.

Khushi did the finishing touches to Payal’s makeup and looked at her sister. She looked radiant. Removing a smidgen of her kajal, she applied it behind Payal’s ear.

“You look beautiful Jiji. Akash ji is a lucky man.”

Payal blushed and looked away. Khushi looked at herself in the mirror. She had chosen a simple suit and had just lip gloss on. Her complexion glowed and she found herself looking at the window in anticipation.

Soon, two cars came to a halt in front of their house and the Raizada family trooped in carrying gifts and wearing smiles to match. All except Manorama mami. She had her nose scrunched as if she smelled something bad. Khushi’s smile faltered only to brighten at the sight of Anjali ji. The two of them hugged and celebrated the happiness that they had wrought about. Just as the family settled down in the chairs that had been arranged, the door opened and Arnav stood there dashing in a white shirt and black vest. His eyes flew to Khushi who stood nearest the door lingering on her before he strode inside to stand by his brother.

Akash bent down to take blessings from the elders as did Payal and Nani ji cleared her throat to speak. She formally asked Garima and Shashi for their daughter’s hand in marriage. Shashi and Garima accepted, tearing up with happiness. Payal symbolically crossed the room to sit with the Raizadas.

payashengmt

Garima indicated to Khushi to bring out the refreshments. Khushi walked with a spring in her step. Her jiji was promised to Akash. There would be more rituals and eventually the marriage. Daydreaming she poured out the tea and set out the snacks. Sensing someone else in the kitchen, she turned and all but collided into the man himself. He was helping himself to water.

Arnav.

Arnav ji.

Her heart beat raced. Looking flustered, she tried to compose herself and raised her head to meet his gaze. He looked straight into her eyes and with a casual motion, placed a note on the counter grazing her wrist as he did and turned and walked away.

Arnav1

The world around her seemed to slow down. Her heart beats sounded way too loud. Clutching the counter for support, she took in a deep breath and willed herself to recover. Her wrist still stung from that accidental contact.

Her Amma voice pierced the haze she seemed to be in.

“Khushi bitiya, are you bringing the chai?”

“Yes. Amma. Coming right up.”

Khushi quickly set the cups on a tray and on an impulse turned the note to read it before she faced him again.

“Can we start afresh? As friends.”

There was no indication the note was from him. She turned it over and scribbled before sliding it under the cup of sugar-free coffee on the tray.

Balancing the snacks and tea, she went around setting the cups. She bent before Arnav and indicated with her eyes before she left. She watched him scoop up the note and slide it into his pocket casually.

Akash seemed content stealing glances at his fiancée to be. Payal seemed to be very interested in her feet and barely looked up. Manorama mami seemed in a hurry to leave.

Finally setting the next day for the Roka ceremony the Raizadas departed. Arnav lingered till he was the last to leave and as Khushi stepped out the door, he slipped right behind her.

Walking in tandem to the car, Khushi was barely aware of anything but him. The air around her seemed to scorch and she moved instinctively to put some space between them. She stopped at the fence while Arnav walked on.

Waving bye as the cars eased out, she kept her face impassive as she saw him mouth the words “You look nice”.

A deep color suffused her face as she walked inside.

Arnav helped his Di and Nani inside the house and took the steps two at a time till he was in the privacy of his room. He hesitated before he pulled out the crumpled note.

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2 responses to “Chapter 22: The thaw sets in

  1. wow arnav trying to mend fences loved it so cute he wrote a note loved that he complemented her so sweet awesome update

  2. Omg wow … Wat happened to Arnav??? H did he become so sweet n kinda flirty?? Im not complaining though:D

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