ASYA FF: Prem Kahani Hai Mushkil (Updated Ch. 130 Page 90 Oct. 11)(Page 84)

Posted: 2016-08-23T20:46:11Z
Originally posted by Monali5

Nice update
please write soon

Thanks Monali! 
 I'm hoping to find new inspiration. 
 Will keep you posted.
Posted: 2016-08-23T20:48:43Z
Originally posted by alia383

Very nice update beautifuly written s olwys.but why didnt u pm me.i got highly disappointed:(
I was waiting 4 d update 4 phone rage too n I hoped venever u vud update i got that mean u updated that too n i was just waiting 4 ur i have to check my self 4 d update. N plz next tym pm me if u can

Awww alia383 I am so sorry. 
I thought I had PMed you - is there another Alia on IF? 
I was so sure that I had.
But this time I'll make double sure to send you the first PM - promise!
Thanks for reminding me about that SS Phone Rage. I'm kind of lost for ideas on that one because I don't want to repeat the same nikah and SR. 
 I want to do something different but so far have no ideas. I'll keep thinking about it.

Posted: 2016-08-23T21:04:57Z
Originally posted by MayurChan

Finally I made it to this page for commenting...though not as big as i have a REP...but i will try to make it good enough...EmbarrassedLOL
Starting from the first sentence...which reminded me of where we stopped in the last chapt to this one...that was one of the most endearing family reunions i have read on this the way how Asad laughed at his crazy family and their antics...and how Zaid cried after realising that his father is was too good...Clap
"  Who knew the depth of emotions babies felt? Could Zaid really have feared that? ".
Who knows...what they actually feel ...but yes their actions do give us a lot of ideas...Smile...But yes because of that whole drama at Statue of Liberty...and how Zaid was complaining to that statue about his father...that thing conspired and created this whole suprise thingy...
I remember SRK's dialogue from OSO..." Kisi Cheez Ko Agar Dil Se Chaho...Toh Puri Qayanaat Usey Tumse Milane Ki Sazish Mein Lagg Jaati Hai.. "...
And same happened here too...though not being rude ...but Zaid really has a flair of dramatics like his mother...LOL  
"Things had really been boring lately with the girls gone and no Zaid to gallivant around with. No teasing, no horse play. Bhai was way too serious these days. Even Dobby was cranky. 

It was a snoozefest.".

If Ayaan is telling this...then things must have been seriously dull ...LOL

And Yes...the whole Mission to Convince both the Damaad's...infact only one...because one of them was finally excited to hear the word suprise after so long that he would agreed to do anything without even listening to it...but it was again fun to read that whole part and again how Razia played the Trump card by being emotional and talking about Zaid...hahaha...

I liked all the parts regarding Dobby too...bechari...even after sometime even ASYA would agree that Dobby not coming to USA was enough to win him an award for being the BECHARA'est cat in this whole world...pardon me for my use of words...and i like the way how he treat himself as ASYA's second baby...who knew a BILLI tried ruining their life...and a CAT is now an integral part of their life too...

Rasta bhool gaya ya yahan manzil hai meri, 

          Koi laya hai ya khud aaya hun maalum nahin.".

I love these lines...and the whole hard work and patience Asad gone through to throw a Suprise at Zoya deserves an Applaud ...but Zoya is not a  Suprise loving person...he should have guessed that...i remembered that time when girls were planning something for Zoya's 7th month ceremony when she was expecting Zaid and they were all secretive...but Gaffor's slip of the tongue...ruined it all...LOL.


The rest of the evening was kind of the calming up of their nerves...i liked the selections of songs too..." RAAT BHAR " is good...i will surely add it to my playlist too...


And after so many days...i read something from Dilshaad's pov too...after a really long time...and it was good to read that part...their something about her way of seeing these two and the situations around them which makes her POV's interesting...and this line :

"Bhopal ka gussa and New York ki hansi ... yes, it was meant to be.".

Summed up everything...and a new one indeed...kudos to you for that...Clap

And the after a lot of foreplay on the dinner table...they finally got to reunite...though a delayed one but must have been to good to be their infront of each other rather than seeing eachothers faces on webcam...

Rest of the part...Asad exploring N.Y...and rest about the weather and food was good...but i want to read more about it now...few things on my list ...

I am still thinking...LOL but like can ASYA now go together and have that Allergy test done on Zaid..., Zoya showing her stuff , toys , schools and all to Asad like how she discovered it in the store room in KV...and a little scene between Najma and Asad too...and yes a mad man fight between Omar and Ayaan ...their are so many things on the list...


And now i will rest my comment here...will read some previous parts that i can add to this list...

Till then...

Take Care...and,

Continue soon...Big smile

Yay MayrChan, what a super long and juicy comment! Thanks so much.
I remember that SRK dialogue from OSO and actually did a variation of it when Humaira realizes that Zoya is her sister. Or when Dilshad is thinking about Asya in one of her retrospective moments.

You are so funny ... and right. Zaid is pretty dramatic like his mom! I love your new word - bechara-est! Yes, that totally applies to Dobby.

I am so glad you picked up on this about Billi as nemesis and billi as rescuer. That's exactly why I introduced Dobby in the story. At first I wanted to created a filmy soapy suspense - was Dobby some evil incarnation of Tanveer? But I always wanted him to be a beloved member of the family. A family member who had a strong mind of his own!

Your list has given me some great ideas - I'll definitely try to incorporate some of this stuff. I was already planning for Asad to explore Zoya's childhood memories.

Thanks again for your detailed response. 

Edited by Klondy - 2016-08-24T08:40:44Z
Posted: 2016-08-28T22:48:26Z
Its okay. n plz update soon "phone rage" n "after dil bhang n more" which is stopped at such a bad note

Waiting eagerly
Posted: 2016-08-31T11:21:06Z
Love this story a lot
Been reading for a long time now
U Rock
Please give us an update for deskjob as well
Posted: 2016-09-17T10:47:17Z
Originally posted by alia383

Its okay. n plz update soon "phone rage" n "after dil bhang n more" which is stopped at such a bad note

Waiting eagerly

Thanks Alia! Oh god, I completely forgot about my other OSes & SSes. Can't seem to come up with anything fresh with those but I'll definitely keep them in my mind now that I know that you're interested. This FF has kind of occupied me for the longest time - over 3 years now! But I keep making detours to other plots when I run dry here. 
Posted: 2016-09-17T10:48:33Z
Originally posted by SanKsgian

Love this story a lot
Been reading for a long time now
U Rock
Please give us an update for deskjob as well

Thanks so much, SanKsgian! You're so sweet to say this. Oh darn I completely forgot about Desk Job. I had written a couple of paras but never really continued. Thanks for the reminder. 
Posted: 2016-09-18T14:29:30Z

Previous Chapter:  136012201

Le Chal Wahan Jo Mulk Tera Hai

Chapter 129

"There he is! There's my tiger!" Asad held his arms open and Zaid leaped down into them from the bed. This had become his new American ritual. It had started that first day when Zaid woke up and discovered himself all alone in the bed. He'd blinked in confusion at first. Where was Ammi? And Abbu? Had it been just a dream? Didn't Abbu hold him last night? The party ... the dancing ... 
His face began to scrunch up.
But then he heard soft whispers and giggles coming from somewhere in the room. They sure sounded like Ammi and Abbu. But where were they? This called for a Zaid Miyan and Dobby Miya-oon investigation. But Dobby wasn't here. No matter. He decided to solve this mystery on his own and went exploring by crawling around the bed. There were pillows here ... and here ... He went straight to the edge of the bed and peeked. And a wide grin spread on his face.
"Hi sweet baby," his Ammi smiled up and waved at him from the sleeping bag on the floor. 
"Come to Abbu," Asad held out his arms and Zaid jumped into the air to be caught by his daddy. This was a fun new game! Zaid gurgled as Asad kissed him and passed him on to be kissed by his mom. Yes, this was just M.A. even if Abbu's stubble itched and tickled only a bit. 
Zaid kicked his legs in glee.
"Ufff!" his dad yelped and sucked air the next second. 
Zoya hefted Zaid out of the way--his face had fallen and he was this close to bellowing in fear. What happened? Did he do something bad? 
"It's OK, baby," Zoya soothed both her boys, holding one and patting the other.
She squeezed Zaid's cheeks between her thumb and forefinger. "But you gotta be careful, cowboy," she told her son as she rubbed noses with him. "Keep that up and you won't have a chhota bhai or behen to to play with." 
A toothy grin split Zaid's face. Did someone say play? Let's roll! 
He twirled his mom's hair around his finger absently as he latched on for his morning feed. 
"Are you OK baby," his mom asked and Zaid nodded, eyes wide and bright. He didn't realize that Ammi was actually talking to Abbu. Abbu grunted something unintelligible. And as his parents talked he wondered what they would do today. Were they going to ride that open bus? Would he see the horsey again and ride the carriage? No, he didn't want to see Elmo or The Hulk in Tai Scare, thank you very much. They scared him. He wanted to sit on the red steps and look up at the huge billboards. He couldn't swivel his head around enough to catch the changing images and videos.

"No!" Asad covered his face with his hands that night. 
"But you promised!" Zoya said in an indignant stage whisper as she dangled her gift in front of him. 
Asad groaned. "When I said yes to wearing Batman underwear for you I didn't realize they would look like ... that! He wagged a finger and pointed to the skimpy briefs in black pleather. Who made these things anyways? What imagination! They were emblazoned with the bat signal and even had a zippered front--matte finish of course. 
"Please," Zoya pleaded and pouted. And bounced. The stars and stripes bounced and jiggled too. Asad's head rolled back as he groaned again. She had already changed into her Wonder Woman lingerie and it was making him hard but then when he saw that ... that ridiculous thing that she was holding and expected him to--
Zoya batted her lashes at him and wiggled some more as he went cross-eyed with lust. "Please, Jahanpanah ... for your kaneez." 
Her husky voice steamed his blood even as that se*xy pout did him in--like she knew it would. She held the glow-in-the-dark Batman briefs and dangled them playfully from her fingertips. But he had to burst out laughing when she slowly undid the zipper ... with her teeth.
"I think you'll fill these out real nice," she winked and stuck out a saucy tongue.
"Zoya!" he snatched them from her. "You are so bad!"
"And you love me best when I'm bad, don't cha?" she grinned shamelessly.
He drew her close by her waistband and flicked a finger under her chin, "that's because you're so good when you're bad. And you know it too!" Asad fingered the batman material and made a face. "What is this made of? Please don't tell me it's leather ... or rubber!"
"It's a special ishqiya fabric, Mr. Khan--it stretches in love and molds and hugs like a ... glove." His eyes widened and she giggled. She knew that he didn't expect her to say glove especially when she swallowed suggestively. "Now stop delaying the inevitable--and scoot!"
He spanked her lightly for pushing him. 
"Ooh baby, is that the best you got?" Zoya did a half-pirouette and then with her hands on her knees stuck her butt out more. The royal blue silk panties made his mouth water. His eyes drank her in. She'd really outdone herself in getting most of the costume details right: the gold headband, the red cape. Only the high-heeled boots were black instead of the classic red. "I didn't want to buy a new pair. My old black boots'll have to do," she'd sighed a few minutes earlier. "Where am I going to wear red boots?" 
"In our bedroom?" Asad had teased. He loved those spiky boots of hers. His head swam imagining her in them in public with her mini skirt. 
He saw red. Sonofa--
But then he got distracted by a deepening dimple ... Oh yes, he would insist that she have only those boots on when he took her tonight-- 
Asad dipped his head to kiss her. "You better be packing those boots to wear in Ind--" but she pushed him away.
"Mr. Khan, I need you to focus on the right here, right now! Now go change into your Batman undies. Hurry!" 
They had to keep their voices low. Zaid was fast asleep after a long day of taking his Abbu to the petting zoo at Central Park, walking the Brooklyn Bridge and a visit to the Top of the Rock with breathtaking views of the city--Central Park to the north, Empire State Building to the south, the Hudson River in the West and the East River on the opposite side. 
It was all, as she always said, M.A. 
"Zoya--" Asad tried distracting her by nibbling on her lobe. His hands were already exploring Wonder Woman's curves, thumbs dipping under the star-spangled waistband ... 
"Hey, don't make me whip out my lasso!" she threatened as she turned and assumed her warrior pose.
Asad laughed softly. His American vacation was turning out to be quite the unexpected adventure. But this delicious sightseeing detour he hadn't anticipated.
So far he had loved visting Zoya's elementary and high schools. Outside the elementary school office he'd traced her name on a 6X6 ceramic tile painted by her for a school project when she was nine. He had made her pose in front of the tile wall and point to her artwork with Zaid. If he'd had his way Asad would have liked to cut out the tile and take it back home with them but then he'd end up in an American jail for vandalism.
Everyday he saw a new face of the city. Manhattan hummed with action: New Yorkers hustling away, not making eye contact with gawking tourists who would invariably ask for directions. How the hell did Zoya figure out the whole Avenue versus Street thing, the uptown and downtown speak, the east and the west? It seemed to be some kind of wicked secret that only New Yorkers knew about. Zoya had tried to explain the grid system to him--"remember, 5th Ave. is the spine of Manhattan. Everything east of it is the eastside and the numbers go down. And everything west, westside as the Avenue numbers go up. Simple!" She'd been so patient with him too. It made sense when she said, "simple!" but the instant someone said, "corner of W. 46th and 7th," he got lost all over again. "You'll get the hang of it. A few more days and you'll be a pro," Zoya patted his cheek each time he made faces in confusion. 
And the city plugged away, intimately familiar to the natives, beguiling to visitors who would forget the dizzying street and avenue numbers but remember its steel, and glass, and concrete. 
And grit. 
Of course Ayaan fell in love with New York, hard, just like his nephew. He was still rallying everyone for a club night but Bhai hadn't yet caved in to his charm. Stuff it, he knew just how to get Bhaijaan around--at that he was a pro. But by now one thing was very clear: if Humaira and Mona Darling were opposed to Ayaan's shenanigans then he would never be able to persuade him--"Bhaijaan ki wafadar chamchiyan," he taunted them. But with them on his side, it would be a piece of cake. Ayaan ran a co*cky hand through his hair. Easy as pie. And of course he'd swiftly lapped up all Americanisms by now.
If only they could stay here a bit longer ... this place was freaking awesome! He'd gone a little crazy at the M&M store seeing all that candy, in all possible colors, stacked three stories high. Humaira had to drag him away by pinching his arm. 
"Gotta watch those architectural teeth, Raaburt," Zoya had teased him. "With that much candy, saari foundation bigad jayegi!"
Ppffft! Shut up, Mona. 
R2D2 and BB 8 made out of candy? Come on! Definitely awesome. He freaking loved it! An adventure waiting at every corner or block. Like on one street they had to weave through an army of film crew trucks. Zoya and Ayaan had sidled up to man with a walkie-talkie. "Are they filming something here?" she asked. 
"A scene for the show, Blacklist.' New season."
"Cool!" Ayaan exclaimed. "We'll check out season 1 as soon as we get home," He nodded at Humaira who laughed at her husband's rabid excitement. Ayaan had become a wafadar binge-watching junkie just like his Mona Darling Bhabhi.   
At another street and they'd encountered a long line snaking around a building: The Ed Sullivan Theatre with people lining up to see "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." At Pier 84 they found their way blocked with dozens of NYPD cars, fire trucks and ambulances. This time Zoya and Humaira hurried to ask someone what had happened. "Some kayakers capsized. A rescue operation." 
Late at night people spilled out of the theaters to throng Times Square. The street performers revved up the crowds. The giant billboards lit up the night with a billion-watt shimmer. 
The city kept going and going and going. It may well have been a never-ending broadway show come to life.
It was crazy. It was exhilarating. 

But Asad's love affair with New York came with an asterisk. 
Earlier in the day he had grinned broadly when Zoya exclaimed, arms outstretched, from Rockefeller Center's rooftop, "Isn't this city amazing? I love New York! Isn't it the best city in the whole wide world?" 
Yes it was, he nodded in agreement as he tucked a flyaway hair behind her ear. 
Her animation had been contagious.
But then he'd gone dead silent as they rode the elevator down and all the way home. 
"Asad?" she asked when they were finally in their room. Zoya was worried about him. Why was he brooding? She'd been busy with a fussy Zaid initially but had gradually alerted to Asad's darkening mood. She couldn't ask him about what was bothering him earlier--they'd been stuck in traffic forever with the others. But now she had to know. 
He gazed out of the window arms crossed, brow furrowed. 
She slipped her arms around his waist and leaned her face against his rigid back. 
"Everything okay?" she asked again. "Are you mad at me?"
Asad sighed and let his arms fall by his side. She slid her hands up his chest to hug him closer. Jeeju had also noted Asad's sudden stillness. What happened? Was it some crisis at work? Or was it something else? "You're scaring me by going all quiet. Did I do something?"
His hands came up to cover hers. Asad lifted her hand to press his lips against her palm and exhaled. "No it's not you. You didn't do anything, I did." 
"Asad, stop scaring me. What have you done? It can't be anything bad." 
"It is bad." He turned to pull her into his arms. 
"I took you so far away from a home you love ... friends, family." He waved an arm in defeat. "This--New York--the best city in the whole wide world." 
Hysterical laughter bubbled up through intense relief. Going up on her toes Zoya latched her arms behind his neck. "Allah miyan, what's wrong with you, Mr. Khan," she murmured as she brushed noses with him. "Why would you scare a girl like this for such a silly thing? Look who's being incredibly foolish now!" 
He sounded like he was actually jealous of New York! 
Aw, Mr. Khan.
Asad frowned. "I'm dead serious. I feel terrible that you'll have to leave all this behind. Again. I see how much this place means to you. I never realized till now how much you've given up ... for me." 
He'd seen the brimming pride and boundless energy as she'd shown him around, dragged him to some of her favorite places, forced him to sample food truck cuisine from all around the world--falafel and crepes, shwarma and tacos, bagels and Thai rolled ice cream ... he'd heard her brag about the sweet water from the Adirondacks that made the New York bagels and New York pizzas taste the best in the world ... And ya Allah, the coffee was to die for.
This city was alive and throbbing. The city was all her. It beat in sync with her joy, her vibrancy. Why would she like any place else?
"I wish we had more time so that I could show you ..." he'd heard her grouse a hundred times.
Just this morning she'd tried to recreate a photo from her past that graced the mantle in Jeeju and Aapi's home--Aapi holding Zoya as a toddler in her arms with the towers of Brooklyn Bridge rising behind them. Today she had posed with Zaid in her arms in the same spot as she made Asad match the exact details of a picture from nearly twenty years ago. "Won't it be so cool when Zaid comes here years later with his own kid and took the same picture?" 
All his earlier fears and insecurities came rattling back when he heard her declare from the top of the world, "isn't it the best city in the whole wide world?" Was this the real reason he'd hesitated so often in the past each time she mentioned coming to the US? Did he fear that once she went back she'd never look back? That she'd always compare Bhopal to New York and find it lacking? What city could ever compare to New York? 
"You crazy, silly man," Zoya pressed herself closer to him. "I gave up nothing and I gained the whole world two times over! It's not as if by marrying you I'm banned from loving and coming to New York. It's not a zero-sum game--"
"But I see how much you must miss this--"
"I do miss it but it doesn't make me sad or depressed. Each time I miss this a little doesn't mean I don't cherish what I have." She took his face in her hands. "Asad, look at me. I love what I have with you! I love you, our home, Zaid and Ammi, Abbu, Dobby, Aunty, Humaira. Everyone. Everything! Oh my god, Asad nothing else matters, don't you see? I have you. Aap par, humari chhoti si, pyaari si zindagi pe hazaar New York qurbaan!"
Asad smiled at that. Finally! "But I don't want it to be a qurbaani for you!" he tried one last time to make her understand how terrible he felt for wrenching her away from her home.
It was only after they'd declared their love for one another that he'd found out about her original plans when she'd first come to India. It had taken months for her to convince Aapi to let her come to India to search for her father. She'd taken a gap year after graduation even as all her friends had gone on to join new jobs. "I'll always keep wondering, Aapi. Let me have this, please! I'll never ask you for anything else." Aapi had only agreed once Zoya had promised that she would live in India till her visa expired in five months and then return to the US. She could start applying for grad school soon after or join work--but the quest had to be put to rest. 
"Please Asad, it's no qurbaani! If I had to do it over I wouldn't change a single thing about my life! And hey, New York is a state of mind," she countered, and giggled when Asad rolled his eyes. 
"You're just saying that to make me feel better." 
"Of course! But I'm also saying it because I seriously mean it too! Jeez." 
Asad huffed. He was still not fully convinced that she was right and he wasn't. 
"Noo Yaa!" Zaid twittered from where he was playing on the floor with his mega blocks. It was way past his bedtime but he was wide awake. 
"See, even he loves New York!" Asad thundered. The boy said those words at least fifty times a day.
Zoya grabbed his hand and dragged him to sit on the floor next to Zaid. Asad sagged back against the bed and Zoya sat down between his legs. His arms came around her to pull her closer. Zaid noticed this and abandoned his blocks to trundle over. He raised his arms to be included in the family cuddle and Zoya rocked him against her. 
He cooed. 
"Abbu is feeling sad," Zoya told Zaid. "Should we tell him a story?" 
"Owee tai!" Zaid clapped as he twisted to look up at his dad. He loved story time!
Asad smiled at his son's growing vocabulary which was still mixed in with a hefty dose of lisping and humming. And of course, drooling. 
"Once upon a time there was a young girl," Zoya began. Zaid stilled. He understood the cues. His eyes rounded. A girl? Was this going to be the Jhassi kRani story? Good!
"She was happy enough in a city of towers and spires but it was as if half of her was missing. This girl wanted to go on a great adventure but her parents wouldn't let her go. 'It's too dangerous,' they told her. 'Don't go,' they said." 
Asad listened too, intrigued inspite of himself. 
He had picked up on the cues too--the story was for him just as much as it was for Zaid. One hand curled around Zoya's waist and the other stroked his son's head. 
Zoya was on a roll.
" 'No!' she fought with them and begged and pleaded. 'I have to find my destiny,' she told them. 'I have to know who I am, where I come from. And I know that what I seek lies far beyond these skyscrapers and subways, museums and theaters. Far beyond Times Square and Central Park. To the East I must go.' Little did she know that she would find a father. A husband. And a son." Zoya traced Zaid's face with a finger. 
" 'How will you protect yourself? her parents asked. 'You'll be all alone.' " 
" 'I have my pepper spray and iPad!' and the girl held out an arm like the Statue of Liberty's torch with the iPad clutched close to her other side." Everyone knew how much Zaid loved Statue of Liberty. He would raise his arm each time he heard her name mentioned. 
Asad felt torn. The land in the East and the destiny she talked of hadn't treated her well at the beginning. It had given her scars both seen and unseen. 
But this bedtime story though ... its charms wormed and wound their way into his shadowed heart. While Asad bit his lip to keep himself from laughing out loud Zaid looked at his mom intently. His thumb strayed toward his mouth. He frowned when she tugged it away.
Zoya continued her storytelling. She knew she had not 
one but two avid listeners. And she was only just getting to the good parts. Hang on, baby. "She traveled over seas and mountains. Over great lakes and mighty forts. Till she finally came to a beautiful lake city where trolls and monsters chased her. They hunted her down and locked her up." 
Asad's arms tightened around her. All true. This girl had encountered much violence and terror away from her beloved city ... 
Damn. So many times she had coming close to dying.
So many times he had come close to losing her ... 
Asad buried his face in her hair. No, thank god that was all behind them. 
They had beat the odds and made it back to each other.
Allah had opened up a new world to them and the scars that remained were testimony of their resilience. "Hum pe meherbaan do jahan," she loved to sing.
No more tears ... only thanks. 
He nuzzled her neck after pushing her hair to one side. He didn't know whether he liked where this story was going. It churned up too much darkness. And when exactly or how would he be making an entrance in this saga? At this point in her story wasn't she was mixing up the two Akram incidents? 
It was as if she read his mind. He heard the smile in her voice. "She fought hard but she was losing. Her energy was fading. There was no Zaid Miyan or Dobby Miya-oon to help her."
Asad's eyes clamped shut in remembered shame when she spoke of the fading energy. They had drugged her--why had he been so such a stick-in-the-mud in those days? Tehzeeb-obsessed and blind ...
Zoya squeezed and patted his hand as if to say, wait for it, the good parts are coming. We're fine. Aal iz well. 
Zaid's eyes shone. He liked being in a story but why wasn't he around to help this girl? Where was he? What happened to that girl? Someone help her! 
"Then a fearless fighter leaped up and scissor-kicked the bad guys away. Like this!"  
Zoya grabbed his little legs and helped Zaid mimic his father's kicks. Zaid gurgled some dhisoom-like sounds. They both cheered and Asad laughed. It became a little easier to breathe.
" 'Are you okay?' the warrior asked the girl after he beat up the bad guys." 
Asad smirked. There was a lot missing from this mixed-up story but some details were spot on.
He couldn't resist adding to her narration. " 'Allah miyan, what's wrong with you! I can fight my own fights,' the young woman replied. 'I can take care of myself. I'm a strong girl,' " Asad butted in with his own version of the story. Thank god he didn't brand her a princess in his story or he'd have gotten a sharp elbow in his ribs.
It was Zoya's turn to laugh at her husband's returning humor. 
" 'May be you should go back to New York,' the man told her." Zoya continued the double-edged chronicle: as a lullaby for her son, and a deeper message wrapped in repartee for his father. 
" 'May be this is not the right place for you,' he added."
A soft gasp escaped Asad's lips. His hand at her waist moved to hold hers tight. He took up the narrative now, voice dropping to a husky murmur.
Asad: " 'Oh really? Who are you to tell me where to go or stay?' the girl sassed at the man. 'I'll choose what I do because I'm here on a secret mission!' "
Zoya giggled. A secret mission? Wait, was he making fun of her mistaking him for a secret agent? Jahanpanah Bond, you better not! 
It was Zoya's turn to tease him for his Jahanpanah episodes.
Zoya: " 'Girls shouldn't go on secret missions,' the man breathed fire like a big Akdu dragon!" 
This was fun. She loved how naturally they were role-playing each others' angry words from their first few meetings. No, scratch that. Their first few collisions. 
Asad: " 'Girls can do whatever they want to do without any one telling them what to do,' she yelled." 
Zoya elbowed him. She did NOT yell, thank you very much.
Asad chuckled. He remembered thinking differently on their second meeting. "Apni hifazat ke liye apko pepper spray ki zaroorat nahin hai," he had snarked that day about her screeching.
Zoya: " 'New York has made you strong but badtameez,' the Akdu dragon dared to say."
Asad: " 'You betcha!' the ziddi girl said, nose high in the air."
"Please, I do NOT talk like that!" Zoya protested through giggles.
Zaid didn't understand why his parents were grinning and why Ammi was slapping at Abbu's chest. But he was getting drowsy and this story was not as interesting as his parents thought it was. He watched their eyes snag and hands still. They leaned into one another. This was all too familiar.
"India makes me strong too, you know," Ammi whispered. "And incandescently happy." 
Abbu stroked her cheek. "How?" he asked.
"India gave me you. And Zaid." 
They both looked down at their son. But he'd fallen asleep by then. Asad played with her fingers. "I was arrogant to not consider that you might have regrets about settling down in India."
She shifted sideways with Zaid still clutched in her arms. "No, you're a sweetheart for feeling all this guilt. But it's unnecessary. Give it up, Mr. Khan, I'm not going to let you paint yourself as the bad guy--the super Akdu husband who forced his wife into exile. You're not that guy. And I'm not that girl. Besides, if you keep this up I'm going to think that you don't think I'm capable of making my own decisions and choices!" 
"You're sure you made the right choice?"
"How can you even ask me that!" 
"Because I don't want to be the reason for tying you down or holding you back. You studied and worked here, were independent. You're brilliant! God knows what you might have gone on to do, how high you might risen in the corporate world of technology or finance--"
"Asad! And finance? Ugh. I wouldn't last a day there!"
Taking a slumbering Zaid in his arms Asad rose to deposit him in his pillowed nest on the bed. God knows why he felt weighed down by these silvery cobwebs of doubt and what ifs. In a more playful mood Zoya would have teased him: "you're PMSing again Mr. Khan!" 

But Zoya knew this weird thing sizzling within him. It was indescribable but still cast a concrete shadow on his heart. She didn't want to make fun of him; she wanted to reassure him. Sometimes he needed this assurance like he needed oxygen. Sometimes fear of losing a good thing or being undeserving of fortune seemed to claw him hollow. Even Ammi had told her about this early on. "He's scared that everything good might be ripped away from him. And then he begins to doubt himself, ask if he's good or deserving enough." 

Pushing him to sit and lean back against the headboard Zoya climbed into his lap. Asad's arms came around her. She turned out the bedside lamp and burrowed into the familiar nooks and crannies of his warmth. Zoya dragged his mouth down to hers for a deep kiss. Streetlight splashed in from the window painting dark gold swatches on the floor and walls. Shadows elongated and snuggled. She kissed his palm before placing it on her heart. 
"I love, love, absolutely love that you can even think this way. Jahanpanah, you sure have come a long way and I'm so proud of you. Every girl should have such a husband and champion!"
He stirred, embarrassed. Asad tried pulling his hand away.
"But seriously though, I wish you wouldn't think like that." Her voice got all papery and quavery.  "You know that first time in the Thai restaurant when you said I love you Zoya? I thought to myself: I'm finally home. This is where I belong. With you. There was no New York then, no nothing else. Just you. And us." And an unknown ache that only he could fill. The raging emotions of that fateful day flashed through her--from morning to evening that day had dragged but the looming get-together at the restaurant had come too soon and, Bam! it had slammed her flat in the chest. How many times has she cried that day! She'd fought with him and yelled at him and with a final, "you're not worth it," she'd run out of the house crying. How hard it had been to step out of her room that day to face a whole evening of chitchat about engagements, nikaahs and waleemas. But then by night that day turned into the best day of her life. 
Thank you, Allah Miyan! Zoya hugged him to her. 
Asad dropped a kiss on her head but still remained unconvinced. His continued silence craved comfort. So she pulled out her trump card. She saved it for special times. And these were desperate times. Asad hadn't decended the black hole in a long time.
"Remember I told you long ago about the vow I'd made to myself when I came to India? Jo chahat hai, usko paane ki taqat dena. Jo kismat hai, usse qubool karne ki himmat dena.' It was more like a pact with God, I guess. But I'm so blessed that Allah made you my chahat and kismat. Don't you see how right this is? How right we are?"
"Of course I do. But--"
"Shh," she pressed a finger to his lips. Instinctively he kissed it. "Two things, Mr. Khan: one, what corporate high-flying job? I would never have joined the corporate world. Seriously, can you see me being a part of that universe? A non-profit, may be. A start-up, definitely! But I see myself more as a freelancer who would pick and choose projects based on my specs. And two, do you think I'm not doing anything worthwhile or productive right now? That I'm somehow wasting my potential?" 
"No way! I didn't mean that at all. You're doing great stuff, on your terms, and making a huge difference ... I'm so proud of all your projects and dreams. I love that you hold yourself and me to a high standard." 
"Exactly," she smiled smugly. She was reeling him back in from the abyss. "That's what I've been trying to tell you--sure, had I stayed on in New York I would have been doing some cool stuff. Who knows! But I chose to settle in India the day I chose to say qubool hai to you. 
Do you think I could have survived knowing about Abbu and Tanveer conning him without you? Don't forget, you've been my rock through it all. My North Star!
Asad breathed in her scent. The bands of skepticism were loosening their hold on him. He loved it when she tried to reason with him as he wrangled with occasional uncertainties--Professor Zoya mode, he called it afterwards. On some days she was philosopher Zoya too. "Baba Zoya ka gyaan-pedia," Ayaan would roll his eyes and tease. But these were short bursts of reflection on her part. Most days she was the same crazyass Zoya who had disrupted his life by being the brash and careless New Yorker who forever interrupted his stony isolation.
"Jo chahat hai, usko paane ki taqat dena. Jo kismat hai, usse qubool karne ki himmat, hmm?" Asad repeated softly in her ear. 
"Exactly. And by the way, I said settle IN India--that doesn't mean that I settled' or compromised any of my life choices!" She waved mad air quotes for added emphasis. "Got it?" 
"Got it." 
"Aal iz well?" 
Asad grinned. "Aal iz well." 
"Do you know how much I love you?" he asked after a few minutes of reflective silence. 
"No, I'm sorry I don't. How 'bout you show me how much, Mr. Khan?" 
He did. And a long and satisfying show it was because hadn't she worked really hard to steer him back to the light? 
She'd lifted him up once again like she had on their Mehendi night--another night when he hadn't felt worthy of her love. The night when she'd returned his ring ... When he had feared that she could never love him because he may be the son of her mother's murderer.
"Asad, just hold me, please," she'd said making everything right again.
"You make those nightmares go away and make me feel beautiful despite my scar," she'd soothed away his fears then too.
"Can't you see, we're even!" she'd cried with full conviction in their made-for-each-otherness.
Yes, we're even. We're right for each other.
"Because you are here, in my arms, crying for me and loving me. Why would I turn away from the best thing that happened to me?" 
It was probably 4 in the morning when Asad tapped her shoulder and gently shook her awake. 
"Hunh?" Zoya rubbed sleep from her eyes. What was with him? If he wanted a quickie he'd never bothered to ask permission before. Ususally he just flipped her over and entered without so much as an if I may, or by your leave. 
Allah miyan, what's wro--? 
"By the way, if I'm your chahat and kismat you're my taqat and himmat, got it?" He risked telling her this even though he was about 78% sure that she would call him Tubelight Ahmed Khan for this belated epiphany. 
Mission accomplished Asad turned his back on her to resettle into a morning nap.
Zoya blinked. Twice. "Gee, it's so nice to know that Jahanpanah. After all my hard work I stayed up the whole night worried that you would never realize that!" 
A shocked laugh burbled up through his diaphragm. Trust her to have a comeback even half-asleep. He fell silent though when he felt her finger trace words on his bare back. 
His eyes widened and erection mounted the next instant. 
"F-u-c-k m-e," she scrawled across his skin and added three violent exclamation points stabbing him with a French-tipped nail. 
His flip and her being pinned on her back was just as violent. And instantaneous. 
"With pleasure, babe," he breathed in her ear as he entered her. "And here I thought you'd never ask for a demo of my taqat and himmat!" 
She was too far gone for a smartass comeback. His hands ... his mouth made her mute as her nerves danced and screamed. Zoya may have lost this round pinned flat on her New Yorker back, but damn she'd missed his weight on her all those days. Him, sliding hot and hard between her legs as he made her insides clench and toes curl. Him, just fire-starting a whisker burn on her neck and cheek and setting her aflame. A sleeping bag on a New York floor or a plush and wide bed in Bhopal--what the hell did any of that matter? 
What mattered was only this. 
Oh yeah baby, right there. Aanh--
This incendiary rhythm and this grindin--

Asad had new worries the next day. But these were legitimate. He wanted to pace the floor but held himself rigid and away from Zoya and Zaid.
Dr. Rodriguez smiled at him. "He'll be fine," she said. 
They didn't want Asad to be anywhere near when they tried to give Zaid a dollop of organic peanut butter for his allergy test. In fact Zoya had wanted him to stay outside but he'd bulldozed over that suggestion. Asad had been so sure of himself when they'd discussed this test a few weeks ago. But now he felt cold sweat coat his back. Zoya was nearly in tears and he couldn't hold them. Each feared the worst knowing they wouldn't be able to see Zaid's tiny body seize up if he got an attack. Thank god Zaid didn't sense their anxiety! He lapped up the thick paste as his tongue dislodged this new taste from the roof of his mouth. 
His arms flapped.
"Mmm naaa yaaam," he babbled. There was a colorful play set on the floor. Why wasn't Ammi letting him reach it? Wait, why was she not giving him more of this interesting treat? And why was everyone watching him like that?
He thrashed his legs and tired to reach out to his Abbu. But Abbu wouldn't come closer to hold him. Abbu looked like he wanted to smash something and Ammi's fingers were digging into his sides. Zaid wailed in frustration. 
Lemme down! 
"Zoya, put him down on the floor," Dr. Rodriguez said gently. She sat on the floor next to the toys herself. Zaid's eyes followed her. 
"Come here, peanut," she cooed. 
Zaid squirmed more. Zoya released him after a quick kiss to his curls and he crawled over to lay his hands on the big yellow dump truck that was begging to be test-driven. Up on his knees he wheeled it around making car sounds.
"This is good," the doctor said looking up at both of them. "So far, he's fine. No difficulty in breathing. His color's good and I don't see anything to be alarmed about. We'll give it a little more time and then do some blood work after this to be absolutely sure. Keep a close eye on him the rest of the day and call me if you notice anything irregular."
Asad hadn't realized that he'd been holding his breath. It whooshed out just as Zoya started to cry softly. He leaped to sit by her side.
"Shh," he slid his fingers through hers. "He did it! I told you he's a tiger!" 
"I was so scared," she sobbed.
"Me too." 
Together they watched Zaid playing with Dr. Rodriguez. They watched him clap and squeal as she pressed on a toy keyboard and it made the sound of a fire engine. He pressed down on other buttons. A car honked and then a train whistled. Zaid whooped. 
They watched him for another fifteen minutes. After the other tests were completed Dr. Rodriguez sat them down as Zaid continued to play on the floor. 
"This is promising. I'll call you as soon as I get the blood report but I don't anticipate anything alarming. I know you're relieved. Congratulations, there's nothing to worry about. Some kids beat the gene and I guess Zaid is one of those outliers. Yay, right Mr. Zaid Ahmed Khan?" She turned to the little tyke who eagerly high-fived her. He had never been called such a long name and that too in an American accent. And he didn't know that he was one of her youngest graduates who didn't get to be called peanut anymore. Yay, indeed.
She gave them some tips as Zoya and Asad beamed in relieved delight. She tried to answer all thousand of Asad's worried questions. No, there was no harm in trying to administer this test for an infant under the age of one. The sooner kids were exposed to allergens the better their immune systems fought them. And no, she laughed, they didn't need to redo the test all over again tomorrow. "It's pretty conclusive. No do-overs needed." 
"But should we carry an EpiPen, just in case ...?" Zoya ventured. 
"Sure, there's no harm in that. But do educate yourself on the correct symptoms and use. I don't want you pumpimg him full of epinephrine just because he showed some discomfort or difficulty in breathing." She handed out a glossy leaflet. 
They nodded and expressed their heartfelt gratitude. Zoya hugged the doctor and insisted that she think of coming to India for her next vacation. Asad seconded that. Just as they were packing up to leave her office Dr. Rodriguez detained them. 
"Mr. Khan, Zoya told me about your symptoms and last attack. Looks like you have a high sensitivity to peanuts. While I advise Zoya to keep exposing Zaid to all kinds of nuts regularly, you will have to be especially careful of what you come in contact with. People who are highly allergic to nuts can have fatal reactions if they aren't injected with an EpiPen immediately." She didn't want to alarm them by discussing a recent case in Canada where a girl died because her new boyfriend didn't know about her allergies when he kissed her after consuming a peanut-based snack. But looking at Zoya's pinched face she knew that Zoya probably had heard of this case. 
Asad nodded meanwhile as he strapped Zaid into his stroller. He knew all this already. Why was she--?
The doctor smiled. "I know you must be thinking why I'm telling you something you already know. First, to caution you--don't come too close to Zaid when he's ingested peanuts. Always keep your auto-injector close just in case. And no, Zoya, you shouldn't ban peanuts for Zaid--he needs the exposure to build a healthy immune system. Just make sure that you've brushed his teeth and washed his hands thoroughly before his father holds or kisses him. But more importantly, I brought this up because there've been some medical breakthroughs. These days you can wear a patch that reduces your risk of an anaphylactic reaction when you come in contact with nuts. You should talk to your doctor and look into this. If you want I can give you some names and send you the research. Think about it. It could be life-saving."
Zoya sagged with final relief.
She'd walk to the ends of the earth if somehow she could protect both her guys from evil peanuts. Even if Asad resisted or dithered she'd look into these anti-allergic patches and make him wear one each time Zaid experimented with anything peanut-related. Hell, she would even buy stock in the company that made this magic product. Because yes, she had read that news story about the Canadian couple. It was after reading that story that she'd thanked her instincts which had made her impose a self-ban on peanuts. Imagine if kissing someone you loved could kill them! No way would she let that happen on her watch. She huffed at Asad who had read her mind and was rolling his eyes. He could just see himself now--knowing her paranoia about his allergies she would probably cover him head to toe in these patches. 
Asad snorted.
Oh she heard that all right. 
They glared at each other.
Fists to her hips Zoya frowned at him. Her pout got moodier. 
No Mr. Khan, don't! You will wear that patch even if I have to handcuff you and that will be the end of it. Bas! 
Dr. Rodriguez looked a bit alarmed at these drawn battle lines. 
But what did she know? Only Dilshad could figure this familiar scene out. She was an old interpreter and referee of her son and daughter-in-law's fight club. 
And only Dilshad could smile serenely at this scene and raise her hands in prayer to give thanks. 

Song in Title:
Aaja Nach Le (2007): "O Re Piya"

Next Chapter:  137728486 
Edited by Klondy - 2016-10-11T08:43:03Z

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