Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 17: Unexpected run ins

“Jiji wait!”

Payal stopped. Khushi caught up with her only to drag her back to their room. Stars dangled from the ceiling. The decor of the room had changed but the Salman Khan poster and the neon stars that light up at night had not. She felt a rush of affection for this girl who spilled sunshine where ever she went.

“I can’t promise not to tease you but what I can tell you is that Akash ji is a nice guy. He may be silent but he has the spine to stand up for his mother. Mami ji is weird for sure but at heart she is not all that bad.”

Khushi hesitated as she continued.

“From what I have seen, it seemed that Mami ji was trying hard to make up for the lack of class she perceived in herself. I am sure if you understand why she is who she is, it will make things easier. I am not going to lie and say it will be a cakewalk but… but if you really like Akash ji you should listen to your heart jiji.”

Breathless from spilling what she felt, Khushi paused and looked at her jiji.

Payal’s face mirrored her anguish.

“Why are we even talking about this Khushi? Last I know Akash ji has not indicated in any way he is romantically inclined towards me. If… If he ever talks to me about how he feels, I will keep what you said in mind. Happy?”

“By the way, I did run into Anjali ji at the temple today. She was sweet. She said she would like to talk to you.”

Digging into her bag, she fished out the note Anjali ji had written for Khushi.

It read “Khushi ji, Please call me. I am sorry I have not reached out in the past year. I hope you will call me.”

Khushi held the note with trembling hands. All the emotions she had tucked away out of sight came to the surface. She turned away under the pretext of putting the note away and composed herself.

“I’ll call her jiji.”

With that she left the room.

If she noticed how the note had affected Khushi, she did not show it. She turned her attention to moving the groceries from the hall to the kitchen smiling as she did.

Khushi walked out to the veranda. It was early evening. Bua was visiting neighbors. Payal would take care of dinner. Perhaps she should find out if Anjali ji was free now.

She quickly dialled Anjali ji’s number. The phone rang a few times before it was picked up.



A familiar voice sounded on the other end. Khushi froze. Her spine tingled and she closed her eyes. She heard that voice in her ears as clearly as yesterday.


Recovering her senses, she managed to keep her voice steady as she spoke.

“Hello. Is Anjali ji there?”

Arnav felt his breath catch.



“How warm her voice sounded! He remembered the last time she had spoken, questions in those clear eyes.”

“Why did you keep my payal? What was it… that happened to us back there?”

He closed his eyes, regret filling his heart.

The silence was thick between them. Anjali ji’s clear voice cut across the tension.

“Who is it on the phone Chottey? Are you OK?”

“Anjali here. Who is it?”

Khushi composed herself before she responded.

“Anjali ji, it is me Khushi. How are you? How are Nani ji and Mami ji? I am sorry I did not call you before. Payal gave me your note.”

She paused as she realized how she must sound on the other end.

Anjali ji’s voice came in clear and melodious.

“Khushi ji! How nice it is to hear your voice. You should come visit us. We will all be very happy to see you. Please say you will come. Pretty please.”

Khushi relaxed. Anjali ji sounded as sweet as she had been before. It was easy being herself with Anjali ji.

“Sure I will. Does tomorrow work for you? I have work that side and can stop by after lunch.”

“Yes. That works. We are all home. I look forward to seeing you Khushi ji!”

Khushi hung the phone up happy to finally find closure from the fear she carried in her hurt. Anjali ji was OK. She was not mad at her. Even as she smiled, memories of the first voice she heard snuck back in her head and the smile died away.

“Arnav ji.”

His voice had caused her throat to constrict. What had happened that Diwali night was something she had analysed in her head many times over. She could not bring herself to believe he meant what he said when he had dropped her home that night.

He had broken her that night. She would never trust again.