ArHi OneShot : |The Sea and the Shore|

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Posted: 8 years ago

This OneShot is dedicated to Rae (Angelteen)  - a birthday gift :) I am most probably not going to be here on the actual day, so I'm posting this in advance coz I don't want to miss it!

(It also means I'm the first to wish her, hehehe)

The OneShot is another 'what-if' based on the IPKKND track, but is slightly AU in assuming that Lavanya and Arnav broke of their engagement before Payal and Akash got engaged :) 


ArHi Oneshot : The Sea and the Shore

His clothes were completely sodden, sticking to his skin uncomfortably, while tiny ice-cold droplets dripped from his hairline behind his collar, snaking a chilly path over his back.

His impeccably polished shoes were probably caked in mud, having had no choice but to step into the squelchy puddles making up practically the entire street.

He was cold, and he was wet, and he was muddy, but for the first time in his life, he could not muster his dislike for the rain.

Several metres in front of him, beyond the gate that he had been clutching and in the process of pushing open, a nymph in white had ducked behind lines of fabric hung out to dry, but now soaked through, shivering beneath the onslaught of slanting rain and fluttering wind.

'KHUSHI! What are you doing?! Just grab the clothes and get inside!'

'It doesn't matter now, Jiji, they're all wet already anyway!'

And Arnav watched, all inclination and intent to move from his present spot gone, as the nymph emerged again from behind the curtain of a huge, flowery bed-sheet, clutching a bundle of clothes in her arms as she skipped across the yard towards the veranda, laughing breathlessly.

She's going to go inside now.

His heart stilled in disappointment at that thought, but his mind was too numb to bother understanding why.

But it seemed that she had heard his heart's lament, for instead of rushing through the open doors where his future sister-in-law stood beckoning to her, she dumped her load at the doorstep before grabbing hold of her sister's hands and tugging her backwards, to a medley of squeals and protests.

'Khushi, stop, stop! The sangeet is in just a few days, we can't afford to fall ill now!'

'Oh, honestly, Jiji!' and he was amazed by how lucidly her voice chimed, when every other noise was dulled by the hiss of rain splattering onto the ground, 'You have to learn to live in the moment sometimes! And who knows when we get this chance again...'

Payal had by now been dragged into the yard, and was standing with her hands fixed on her hips, wet tendrils of hair escaping her plait and plastering against her forehead as she glared at her younger sister - but with a smile belying her temper upon her lips.

It was only then that Arnav noticed that his own mouth had been curving into his cheek.

And that was odd, because he was not used to smiling, and he always felt self-conscious when he did.

Only this time it had happened with such ease he hadn't even noticed.

It shouldn't have surprised him.

'Khushi, what are you doing?'

'Stop being such a spoilsport, Jiji,' the nymph chided, reclaiming his attention once more; she had draped her arms over her sister's shoulders, and even at this distance he could make out her playful grin - his pulse quickened and coursed agitatedly through his body, the sultry warmth combating the heavens' attempts to douse it. And then she winked, and something in his chest clenched almost painfully, cutting off his air, as she quipped, 'Just think of me as your Akashji.'

And with that she had started singing at the top of her voice, bodily twirling a spluttering and indignant-looking Payal in broad circles as she did.

"O RE PIYA HAI...O RE PIYA..."

Payal wrestled to get out of her grip, but Khushi was relentless, grabbing one of her wrists, and sinking to her knees as she threw her other arm out in an exaggerated display of devotion, all the while gesticulating dramatically with each note she sang.

"O re piya hai...o re piya..."

This time he didn't realise when his infant smile had bloomed into a full-brown grin.

Payal had finally managed to free herself from her over-covetous suitor, glowing neon-red as she darted out of her sister's reach and up the steps, shouting something indistinct over her shoulder as she did. Or maybe it wasn't indistinct - maybe he had just tuned her out, forgotten about her, just as he had forgotten his own ire when he'd remembered he had left the umbrella at home and that the road was in too bad a condition to drive up...or his annoyance at having to trudge through muck and mire to get here...or why exactly he was standing outside the gate...

Or why he had come here in the first place.

His entire world centred on the nymph in white, surrounded by a shower of silver, who had fluttered back to the clothes she had left hanging, and had begun weaving in and out through their drapes, appearing and disappearing from his sight, as she plucked one after the other into her arms...

And in the midst of the flapping dupattas and billowing sarees, each and every movement of hers was so infused with grace, she looked like she was dancing.

Her mouth was silently forming around words as he silently pushed the gate, stepping into the yard even as it arced open; he could no longer hear her singing, but he could still hear music. It was everywhere. Around him. Within him.

Udne laga kyu

Mann bawla re

Aaya kaha se

Yeh hausla re

The pulse of the rain, the pulse of his heartbeat, the swishes of material as they were pulled away, and tinkle of anklets and the whispers of her dupatta fanning behind her...she reminded him then of a white peacock, elegant and beautiful, dancing in the rain, unaware of the world around her, enveloped entirely in a realm of her own.

O re piya...o re piya hai...

And it called him, no, pulled him towards her, enticed him to come closer, the compulsion to be a part of that realm so strong that if he did not move, he felt he might physically shatter.

He drew closer to her with every harsh pant his lungs squeezed out, but his nymph was yet to notice - she was standing with her back to him now, pushing herself up on her toes as a milky white arm reached for the clothes-pins holding the bed-sheet in place, her thick bangle immediately drawing his attention to her wrist. His heart-rate stopped entirely.

Taanabana taana bana...bunti hawa...

Bunti hawa...

He kept watching, a curious ache constricting his breathing and leaving him light-headed and dazed, as her motions caused her salwar to hitch up higher, revealing her creamy-white ankles, and the fragile trinkets of silver they were adorned in, and abruptly he had been tossed into reminiscences of resting that delicate foot upon his knee, trying to calm his raging blood as his fingers feathered touches on her beautiful skin as they slid her anklet into place...

And then, of their own volition, his eyes dragged themselves higher, up her slender frame, the white fabric curving over her form, not entirely translucent but still giving away enough to make him ferociously grateful he had declined NK's offers to accompany him...

The thought of anyone else seeing her like this...admiring her like this...

It pumped gasoline into his veins and set it on fire.

And as though she had sensed the anger erupting within him, she snatched her arm away from the bed-sheet and whipped about to face him, her beautiful eyes widening in surprise.

Arnav released a pained breath, one he had been holding for who knew how long as he had inched closer to her, not wanting to startle her out of her oblivion.

Because he loved watching her like that - loved the fact that she could be so carefree, so uninhibited, so...so natural and so genuine...

And because he feared that if he got any closer, he'd cast her in his shadow.

Boonde bhi toh aaye nahi

Baaz yahaan

'Khushi,' he whispered, by way of greeting. It had become something of a ritual with them...something they wound up doing involuntarily whenever they met.

'Arnavji,' she breathed, looking slightly dazed, and his mouth went dry as he noticed the little beads of crystal tucked into her own lashes, or speckled over the cherry-flush pinking her cheeks from the bite of the cold and the wind.

His thirst was a merciless burn at the back of his throat, and its intensity startled him.

But he did not have time to dwell on that, because one sharp intake of breath later, Khushi's guileless eyes were just a foot away from his astounded ones, and she was frowning at him.

'Arnavji! You're completely soaked through! What's wrong with you?!'

His eyebrow quirked of its own accord, as though to say 'So are you,' but Khushi's bottom lip had pushed out in a disapproving moue and his ability to speak died a speedy death.

Saazish mein shaamil

Saara jahaan hai

Har zarre zarre ki

Yeh iltija hai...

And that something, the stuttering spark of static he was so familiar with, connecting them and buzzing with expectancy and with apprehension, with want and with trepidation, burst into life and spurred him on.

But as usual, that static guttered out before he had a chance to understand where it was headed.

'Come on, you have to dry up before you catch a cold.' With that bossy little dictum, her tiny hand had latched firmly onto his and she was dragging him towards her home, and he had no other choice but to wordlessly follow.

All he could do was stare at their twined hands, his head and heart still reeling from how easily Khushi had breached the distance he had been hesitant to, how easily she was welcoming him into her house...

...as though she couldn't remember all that he had done to push her away. Couldn't remember the many times he had tried to throw her out of his office, out of his house, out of his very existence.

He gripped her hand then, small and damp and so inexplicably warm, as though afraid that it would slip out.

Afraid she would let go.

She had hauled him up the steps and almost through the front doors when he remembered something.

'Khushi, wait,' he muttered, grasping her tighter and bringing her to a stop with him. The alternative had been to pull his hand away, but that thought was too daunting to contemplate - not when whatever this was between them, this hanging, suspended something, seemed to rest entirely on their joined palms, 'My shoes...they're covered in mud...it'd mess up the floors and...'

He trailed off - the idea that he would besmirch her home by entering held deeper implications than just shoes trailing dirt over the floor. They were uncalled for, unwanted thoughts, and far too sinister for him to muse on.

But then Khushi glanced down at his shoes, and back up at him, and she smiled beguilingly, her eyes sparkling and as fathomless as the sea.

And as heat bled back into his blood and warmed him, Khushi grinned impishly up at him and said, 'That's ok, Arnavji. You can help me clean it up later.'

***

Nazrein bole duniya tole

Dil ki zubaan hai

Dil ki zubaan

'Arnavji?'

He slung his now damp towel round his neck and spun on his heel towards the door, opened just a chink.

'Can I come in?'

You don't have to ask...

 'Come in.'

Eyes as deep as the sea peeked up at him as the door was pushed open.

He thought that was rather apt. Khushi was like the sea. Vast and depthless, all-encompassing. With so many secrets and so many personas it would take him the whole of eternity and then beyond to learn them all. And just as unpredictable, just as...as whole and unaffected, untouched by the vagaries and expectations of the world.

And sometimes as he watched her, as she gave over to her whims or her wishes or the dictates of her heart, defying any attempts to shackle or stifle her, he felt small and worthless.

Destined to watch from the sidelines.

She approached him on light feet, and he struggled to keep breathing as she slowed to a stop in front of him.

Restless eyes flickered towards him, and were then downcast again. And through the clumped-together strands of her still-wet hair, he could see the rose-red blush painting her face as she silently offered him -

- a folded pair of clothes.

It was then that he recalled that he had divested himself of his jacket and waistcoat, and was now standing before her in a dripping wet shirt, with the first few buttons open, and baring his chest more than was polite.

Ishq maange, ishq chaahe

Koi toofaan

And just like that, that something was back in the room. He could feel it hum and vibrate in the air, winding his heart-beat up to unhealthy pitches, walling in on them like heat-waves...pulling him, pushing him, towards her.

She seemed to sense it too, and the hands holding out the clothes, which he judged to be her father's, trembled a little as she cleared her throat slightly and mumbled, 'I hadn't heard you coming...I mean, we didn't notice your car...I would have brought out an umbrella or something...'

She had changed out of the snowy-white into azure-blue, and the marble-tone of her skin seemed to glow against the colour.

She shivered a little as his fingertips brushed hers when he reached for the garments, and a heady shot of pleasure surged up his body. And as it always did, the moment and the something cart-wheeled through his mind and around his heart, quieting his reservations and inhibitions as he lost himself in sensations only she could evoke.

Chal na aahiste

Ishq naya hai

'So...you listen out for my car, do you?'

Just as he'd expected, Khushi's head jerked up at once at his insinuation, coffee eyes narrowed and flashing.

'No!' she began heatedly, forgetting in an instance her own embarrassment just as he forgot the discomfort of standing in damp, chilly clothes, 'It's always obvious when your car comes up outside - only a bus would make that much noise and no bus passes through here -'

'But I'm not the only one who drives a four-wheeler -'

'You're the only one who drives a four-wheeler through here -'

'So you mean you've been checking every time a four-wheeler passes by?'

'No, I haven't! Every time a four-wheeler passes by, it's followed by you on our doorstep, so obviously -'

'Ah, no wonder the door opens so quickly -'

'Don't jump to conclusions!' she scolded, severe, eyes blazing and once again just a foot away from him, face flushed with the heat of her blush. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a finger pointed at him in accusation, and then a glint of gold caught his eye. Soothing warmth, like a steaming cup of ginger tea after a run through the rain, soaked into his flesh and sedated the electric thrill of teasing her, sparring with her.

Pehla yeh waada

Humne kiya hai

When he saw Khushi pause mid-rant, and watched her eyes round in surprise, he realised her face was coming closer. A second later, he realised he was leaning into her, giving in to the demands of the something that had always hung between them, incomplete.

Because of circumstances...because of himself...

Dangling in midair, afraid of falling...afraid of drowning.

But even as his fingers reached up and hooked into the glint of gold, the kangan around her wrist, the one his mother had left behind for her daughter-in-law, and he became acutely aware of the tiny drop of moisture left unattended over the bow of her upper-lip, he realised that she was not pulling away. And neither was he.

There were no relatives knocking at their door, no third person they were being unfaithful to, no cell-phones ringing.

No fears, no uncertainty, no prejudice, pulling him back.

He didn't have to let go.

He wouldn't let go.

Just before he pressed his mouth onto hers, he managed to whisper, 'There's nothing wrong with waiting for your fianc, Khushi.'

And finally, tired of admiring from a distance, he took a leap of faith and plunged straight for the sea.

And as time stilled, and puffs of warm breath clashed between pulls of lips, her supple warmth folding unhesitatingly into his frame, Arnav realised something.

If she was the sea, then he was the shore.

Always stoic, always unmoving.

But he was moulded by her, conditioned by her, just as the shore was shaped by the sea.

She might gush away, she might storm and she might slumber.

But just as the sea was destined to meet the shore for infinity, Khushi was destined to be his for as long as forever lasted.

One hand absently traced the patterns on the kangan while a lump grew in his throat, and then he laced his fingers with hers again.

He knew she was bright enough to drive away his shadow.

Knew that whatever mistakes he had made in the past, she would help him wipe them away.

Knew she would never let go, because she had taken his hand when he hadn't dared to take hers.

And he would make sure he devoted his entire life to making sure she never regretted giving him the chance.

O re piya

O re piya hai

O re piya

***

It was only after she had towel-dried his hair for him, and left him to converse pleasantly with his future sister-in-law and mother-in-law while she brewed him some ginger-tea, that he remembered why he'd come here.

But it seemed he did not have to spend particular effort - Khushi had already seemed to be on to Payal and Akash without a distraught sibling begging her to match-make.

 

 

 I'd love to hear your thoughts on this...please leave a comment? I haven't been very active on I-F for the past few days but will try t0 make up for it as soon as I can :) 

The song, 'O re piya' is from the movie 'Aaja Nachle'. I love it and wind up listening to it whenever it rains...which was ultimately the inspiration for this OS.

And I also posted another OneShot : Seeds of Pomegranate

Question? : Cul-de-sac or Fortunate Events update first?

I reserve all rights over this work of fiction and request that readers do not reproduce/copy/modify it elsewhere, and/or claim credit. 

 

 

Edited by -doe-eyes- - 8 years ago
Posted: 8 years ago
Res

Thank You so much! I shall unres a bit later when I can find the words to do so... :)

*Edited

Thank You so so much for such a wonderful surprise and dedication! This was so unexpected and so sweet! <3

And you used a song from my favourite actress' film and upar se ArHi! Uff! 

The description, the picture we get of Khushi through Arnav's eyes and the characters they both come out to be was marvellously done! The fact that I am currently in a place having the rainy season just added to the connecting factor of it and I couldnt help but sigh at the beauty of their love! And what to say about the surprise you sprung along the way! Pehle laga ki pehli nazar ka pyaar hai, phir laga dost honge and then finally such a beautiful revelation! Uff! Kaise karti ho yaar?! Every time you write, you spin magic!

The rains, the laugh and the eyes which take it all in... <3

And the fact that this piece of brilliance is dedicated to me...you serious?! This is so sweet, Nafisa! I am so touched! Thank You so so much! <3 <3
Edited by AngelTeen - 8 years ago
Posted: 8 years ago
Just beautiful ur thoughts words emotions everything is so soothing n refreshing...


Posted: 8 years ago
Aww this was so beautiful, the way you wrote this thoughts, everything seemed so serene and pure. Lovely Smile
Posted: 8 years ago
Its been forever!...where were you woman!
And this was just wow!
I never wanted it to end, just perfect!
And please update culdesac!...
Posted: 8 years ago
That was really nice, please update Cul De Sac !!
Posted: 8 years ago
This was beautiful. Loved how musical it sounded and the song was apt.
Posted: 8 years ago
That was real beautiful loved it

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