Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 2: Not now. Not ever.

Giving her dad’s hand a quick squeeze, Khushi realized there was no point dragging it out. She turned to Buaji firmly. Her voice low and steady she repeated what she said. Without waiting for Buaji to reply, she turned to Shyam and said she would like to speak to him. Alone.

Bua and Garima exchanged glances. Payal seemed unsure if Khushi really meant alone. Khushi gave her a quick nod to let her know she knew what she was doing. Shyam and Khushi walked out to the veranda.

Shyam reached out to hold Khushi’s shoulder so she would face him. She flinched but did not move. Taking a deep breath, she turned and looked Shyam ji in the eye.

Shyam ji, we did talk a few days ago and I thought we agreed we would not get engaged now. Why this hurry? Why now? Khushi’s voice halted, questioning the man she had come to regard as a friend though something in her made her wary of his touch. She stepped back reflexively as if his answer had the power to hurt her.

Shyam gazed at her pretty perturbed face, his brain working overtime to salvage the situation. How he played the game now was critical to ensuring Khushi ji would be his. His face changed. Like quicksilver, the anger was replaced by concern.


Khushi ji! he said. I am in no hurry. I understand how you feel. Perhaps it is best we let this rest for a few days while Shashi uncle recovers. Perhaps in time you will feel differently about me. We can still be friends right? I always wish nothing but the best for you. I will talk to Buaji and your mom. They will understand.

Khushi looked at him. He was saying what she wanted to hear. Yet, there was an uneasiness she could not shrug off.

Quickly discarding the warning thoughts in her head, she smiled warmly and took his hand.

Friends. She repeated after him.

Entering the home together again, Shyam made a beeline for Buaji cajoling her into making a cup of tea. Garima and Payal looked at Khushi expectantly, relief writ large on their faces. Khushi gave them a weak smile and said she needed to lie down for a bit as she felt exhausted. Without waiting for a response, she walked into her room and closed the door behind her. Sinking to the floor, she let the events of the day wash over her. The sobs came unbidden. Did she do the right thing?