From the author's desk: Hello people I was supposed to have posted this two days back' But a promise is a promise' so here comes my update amidst my vacation time' Here I am updating for all of you when I have to be up very early tomorrow to start for some place Hope you all will like it' and hope it meets the expectations' Kindly excuse me PMs later!
Thanks so much for all your lovely comments' and happy reading'
Chapter 9: Twists of time
Part 1- The Wannabe Guardian
Arnav and Nani reached the locality and finally found the place with little difficulty. Arnav felt very bad and guilty every time when people to whom he asked for directions replied back with some reference to the deceased man.
"oh, Shashi Bhai house? You cam for his funeral is it? They came back from the cremation house a little while ago only' Go little straight; take second right'dead end then turn left"
"You can take this road itself sab' that road is a little narrow, your car will find it difficult.. Take this road then a first left and take a right immediately' then you have to go straight' you will find his house on the right' Poor fellow- I didn't expect him to die so soon' He was a very good man- very helpful"
"Whose house? Kushi? Hmm' Do you mean Shashiji's daughter? The man passed away yesterday... that Shashi only na? Haan' The road is little narrow' May be you can park the car here' take this road and turn to the right... it is the fourth house on the right"
"Whose House Bhaiya? Shashi Gupta? "----"Hey thats Kushi didi's house sala'Didi's father's name is Shash'"'" Oh yeah'he kicked the bucket yesterday na"--"I know his house' bhaiya it's here only bhaiya...Just around this corner.. '.Come bhaiya.. We will take you'"'
When they finally found the house, a feeling of awkwardness enveloped Arnav. Happy was there too along with a few others.
"Arnav Sir' It was all over just now' we had to---"
"Why didn't you inform me in time?" Arnav asked him before Happy could finish talking
"I ..I am Sorry Arnav sir' It was all so sudden ' Kushi ji was so upset that she'"
Again Happy was interrupted by Arnav mid-sentence. This time intentionally because he was not sure what he was going to hear and may be was scared to think if Kushi had deliberately kept him out of this
"He was my father's friend. I would have attended his funeral if I had known it" He told the obvious not knowing what else to say to stop Happy from saying what he intended to say.
"Where is Shashiji's daughter?" Nani asked sensing Arnav's uneasiness. But she was not sure where the uneasiness rooted from.
"Kushiji is inside" Happy told him taking notice on the change of topic and excused himself from there.
At the mention of Kushi's presence inside the house, Arnav stared ahead awkwardly not sure if he was ready to face Kushi now'
Arnav looked at Nani who nodded at him kindly and then stepped into the house. Arnav followed her meekly.
The house was not very crowded. There were only two or three ladies in the hall and may be a couple more in the kitchen. They saw Kushi wearing a white salwar, She was sitting slopped on the floor, her head resting against the wall, She was staring ahead into the ceiling, her face and eyes swollen with crying.
Taking note of the newly arrived guests, Two of the ladies nodded at them and then clutching at Kushi's hands for a moment, they uttered a few words of consolation and then left the place.
"Kushi, Drink some milk atleast" One of the ladies in the kitchen called out to her, The other lady near Kushi urged her, to which she simply shook her head in negative.
It was then Kushi saw Arnav. In a moment, She stood up and ran and hugged him seeking solace as she cried bitterly.
Arnav stood there shocked. He had expected her outburst, her accusation that he killed her father but this was unexpected- He stood there as his awkwardness left him and sympathy filled his mind. His right hand slowly reached her head to embrace her. Her hair was let loose and dripping wet. It was then he noticed that her dress was wet too though it had almost dried.
Wondering why she was drenched in water like this, He stood there as she slowly hiccupped to normalcy. He had forgotten that they had audience and his thoroughly amused Nani was also one amongst them, he called out her name ever so softly
It was then she jolted out of his embrace, she herself shocked by her behavior. Not knowing what to say to explain what she did, she stood there opening and closing her mouth.
"I.. I '" She was supposed to be angry with him isn't it? She thought to herself' She tried to say something rude to him- but she was at loss for anything like that' her father's loss still completely filling in her mind, she couldn't get herself to say anything related to his death- wasn't she also responsible? Didn't she try and bring then to meet each other? Maybe if she hadn't tried so hard, they would have met much later and her father wouldn't have had another attack'She then stood there as tears ran down her cheeks slowly and she stood there not knowing what to do.
"Oh you poor thing'" Nani spoke out making Kushi take notice of her. Kushi didn't recognize her at first but Nani went forward hugging her briefly.
"I am Arnav's Nani" She told Kushi as they released eachother.
"Nani' Nani'" Kushi mouthed slowly as if her mind had become so dazed to comprehend anything.
"Kushi" Arnav whispered her name again, not able to take the grief that the girl was going through right now. "I am so sorry'your father'.." he couldn't continue further'Even when he had lost his father recently, he had his family- being the only daughter; Kushi should have been really very close to her father.
"Its.. Its Ok Arnav.." Kushi told him "we tried hard to save him' He had to go" She completed in a hushed whisper. Her sudden mood change to a sober state astonished him. He stood there not knowing what else to say further.
"It must be devastating for you Kushi--- We know that no words can help ease the pain and loss that you are feeling right now'" It was Nani who eased the situation again "Your father was a very compassionate and Kind man'Very Kind to even people who misunderstood him'"
At this Kushi turned sharply towards Arnav
"He told me everything" Nani informed her "I wish our family had a chance to apologize to him"
"Not as much as me wish it for myself, Naniji" Kushi told her dejectedly
"Why are your clothes wet?" Nani asked her sensing the need to change the topic.
"She went to cremate her father ji" A lady by her side informed them.
"you set fire to your father's pyre?" Nani asked Kushi.
Expecting the age old "girls should not do that" talk, Kushi nodded her head.
"Now I know your father was not only a kind man, he was a very smart man to have raised a very forward thinking girl like you!" Nani told her caressing Kushi's head affectionately.
Kushi's eyes filled up with tears again.
"My father raised me all alone' He is no more" She said as she lost conscious and slumped towards the floor.
"But before she hit the floor, Arnav caught her and soon there was a bustle of activity around them. The women in the kitchen as well as a few men standing outside the door came in
She regained conscious soon after her face was sprinkled with water.
"Kushi, drink this" One of the ladies from the kitchen came out holding a glass of water.
Kushi refused to take it.
"I don't want it Uma Kaki"
"How long would you stay hungry like this Kushi? You haven't taken anything from yesterday evening' have some water atleast" The other lady told her.
"I am not thirsty Lalitha mausi" She said as she strained to sit upright, shoving away Arnav's hold on her.
Arnav took the glass of water from the lady's hand and shoved it front of her face.
"Drink this up" he ordered her
Kushi shook her head, trying to get up. Arnav held her back with his other hand
"Drink a little water"
"Staying hungry won't help"
Others assembled there started to comment to her
"I am alright' I don't need anything" Kushi told them all.
. Arnav pushed the glass further up to her lips.
"I said I don't want" Kushi screamed at him "Which part of I don't want didn't you understand? Leave me alone"
She stood up feeling a little wobbly that the other ladies had to support her.
"I am alright' I can manage'" She told them.
"Kushi, you don't have to manage everything alone" the lady whom she had called Lalitha mausi told her "We are all there for you' daughter preeto to be with you for a few days"
"No.. Mausi.. that's not needed"
The lady patted her head affectionately
"I will send her with food" She said as she nodded to one of the men, who must be her husband and then they both left the place.
Soon the rest of the crowd also began to leave, it was then Nani and Arnav realised that though she had been referring to most of the people there with some relationship, none of them were her relatives' they all lived in her neighborhood.
"Weren't your relatives informed of your loss Kushi?" Nani asked her
"I don't have any Naniji" Kushi told her sadly "My father was an orphan who grew up in an ashram. My mother was born into a wealthy family, but they cut all the ties with her when she eloped with father' But I haven't ever felt that I don't have any relatives.. All the while, my neighbors have been more than good enough to be my relatives" she told with a slight pride.
Nani realized that the girl was more alone than she had imagined. A quick look at Arnav confirmed that he had realized that too. But even then she was not prepared for what came next. It took Kushi by surprise too.
"Come home with us" he told Kushi suddenly
"What?" She asked him bluntly
"You can't stay here alone"
"Why can't I?" She asked him "If you are worried' I don't need this pity' I can manage by myself and if I have people who care"
"your neighbors? For how long?"
"They have been there for me for a long time now' They were'nt rudely introduced to me in some unusual situations one strange night last week unlike some"
Arnav glared at her
"Kushi' What he means is if you have someone to stay with you might not feel so downhearted"
"No Nani ji..Thanks for the concern but I am fine actually' I have company ' I am not alone"
It was then there was some commotion outside the house and Happy came in urgently
"Kushiji Stay in" he told her but she had already peeped out along with others in the hall. Some men who have been standing outside had been trying to stop someone from entering the house and the hooligans who had come with that person had shoved and pushed those men away unceremoniously'
"How dare you stop Vicks?"
"Look Vikrant, she has just lost her father.. this is not right.. why do you have to trouble her now?" one of the men outside advised the man in the front
"Vicks- give him one ' on the face' then he will know" one of the thugs encouraged him
Hearing that the man gave way albeit muttering.
Kushi stepped out.
"What is it Vikrant?"
"Hai Kushi" Vikrant stepped slowly towards Kushi "I heard that your father expired' My deepest condolences"
"Thanks so much" Kushi told him straight
"I heard you did all the last rites' You should have told me' I would have done it for him' After all he had decided to.."
Kushi cut him mid-sentence
"Why are you his son? That's so thoughtful of you brother" Kushi told bitterly
"Oye" "aaiye" "ehhh" the thugs behind Vikrant shouted and calmed down as Vikrant lifted his hand
"No yelling against your bhabhi" he told them teasingly
"What rubbish is this?" Kushi asked him
"Yeah' Don't tell me that your father hasn't told you'" Vikrant told her "I told you that I would have done the last rites not as a son- but as a son in law"
"Good joke Vikrant.. But I am not in a mood to laugh right now" Kushi told rudely
"But I am serious- Your father told me that he was ready to give me your hand" Vikrant told her seriously
"I don't believe you and I don't like you" She retorted him
"How dare you" he told as he charged to her going forward to clutch her hand
That was when Arnav who had been watching all the exchanges standing in one corner decided to take things into his hand and coolly stepped between the both of them
Kushi who had been so immersed in the situation involuntarily sighed in relief but Vikrant glared at the man in front of him who had dared to stop him
"Move away if you want to have your limbs in your body" Vikrant told him but was surprised when his threatening tone didn't find any effect in the man in front of him
"Don't you understand? Do you want to die a painful death- f**k off" Vikrant shouted again
"Back off" Arnav told him in a cold and calm voice which dissipated more threat than the screams that Vikrant had employed earlier
"What did you say?" Vikrant asked him in disbelief
"You heard it right.. I said BACK. OFF."
"You f**king'" Vikrant started to say but he never got to finish what he started for Arnav's clutched hand found its target on Vikrant's nose, taking him by surprise.
Everyone else including Kushi gasped at this.
"Back off if you know what is good for you" the cold and calculating voice warned Vikrant again
Hehe' I know that back off would have made you all jump with joy' I made me so happy to type it down as well' and now stop muttering that I have decided to stop here' Two weeks are not long away' tata!Edited by abavi - 6 years ago
Topic started by abavi
Last replied by Khuarv