Chapter 2 - Old Times with Ks
Khushi still standing at the door lost in her own thoughts, when someone hugged her tight from behind, closed her eyes and asked her to guess who it was?? Khushi's heart immediately recognized one of her best friend's voice but how can Kritika be here?? Still she screamed - Kriti is that you?? And turned around to see Kritika standing in front of her...
Khushi felt so overwhelmed after seeing her bestie after almost more than a year and hugged her tight. Happy tears rolled from both their eyes and both said together - Missed you so much yaar!! Khushi simply could not help but ask where the rest of the K's were. She couldn't believe her life got so busy with a roller coaster ride in last one year that she forgot her 5K gang - Khushi, Kritika, Kamya, Karan and Kavi. Though Khushi was 2 years younger and Payal was 2 years older to all remaining Ks, they all stayed in the same area of Gomati Sadan in Lucknow, grew up together and were besties until Khushi and Gupta family moved to Delhi.
Kritika took a deep breath and was about to start when buaji came up with her patent dialogue "Sanaka Devi do you plan to stand at the door or go to your room with Kritika while Amma will send you both tea and snacks!!"
Kritika looked at her watch and it was 2 pm. She was hungry too and declared she will have lunch with Khushi and cannot miss Garima auntie's delicacies anymore. She also declared to take Khushi with her to meet remaining K gang in the mall at 4 pm. Khushi was shocked hearing Kriti!! Her K gang was here in Delhi?? Khushi dragged Kriti to her room while Amma was making lunch ready. Kriti told her how Karan, Kamya and she were in Delhi working in an educational institute part time while finishing their masters. Kavi had gone for higher education to USA.
Khushi's face fell realizing how much she missed out and how much she wished she could finish her bachelor degree and she could also be doing something she always wanted to do - Related to event management or food technology.
Karan was managing the Institute gaining management experience while doing his masters in Event Management. Kamya was doing her masters in arts and so was Kritika. Khushi felt bad again realizing even Payal would have loved to join masters in arts or specialize in her painting, sculpture hobbies. Her heart pained remembering her jiji always busy in the kitchen and housework trying to please Raizada family who was never going to be happy with her jiji or her!!
Khushi just wished she could do something different and not feel the pain from her current life!!
Khushi and Kritika hopped into an auto to get to the mall. Khushi promptly informed Anjali Di that she was visiting her parents and will come home late, she knew no one bothered or cared but she did not want another argument over such trivial matters.
Karan and Kamya were waiting in the food court and were wonderfully surprised to see Khushi with Kritika. They both jumped towards Khushi for a group hug. Lots of eyes were on the friends when they screamed in happiness after meeting each other. They got the table, their coffee and snacks and started discussing their personal lives and what they all did in last one+ year.
Kamya, Kritika and Karan were shocked yet happy to hear that Khushi and Payal were both married in best possible family of Raizada and especially Khushi being married to the greatest Arnav Singh Raizada... Still all 3Ks felt something was amiss looking at Khushi!! Khushi's face looked marred with worries, her smile not reaching her eyes, her usual spunk and chirpiness was gone and she suddenly looked too mature or trying to act mature than her age and behaved way too serious.
They all enquired about Payal and their family and looked at each other while Khushi was still finishing her snacks!! They could easily guess even Payal's life was not all that happy or blessed. Something was wrong maybe it's their financial status gap, educational gap or culture / family lifestyle gap - Something was a big time miss... Who had not heard Arnav Singh Raizada's tall list of achievements in the business and fashion world yet it came along with lots of Page 3 stories of his affairs, arrogance etc.
What was more surprising was Khushi did not behave or look like Asia's richest business man's wife from any angle!! Not only she still wore similar dresses that she wore back in Lucknow, she did not have much money in her wallet or a standard cell phone... Her friends were super happy she still was down to earth person but something was definitely wrong... She still was completely Khushi Kumari Gupta with no positive glimpse of marrying the great Arnav Sign Raizada.
They did not dare ask her details about her marriage or Payal's. Decided to leave it for some other time. But then Khushi suddenly dropped bomb and cemented their doubts when she requested Karan for a job part time or full time!! All Ks were always known for their very high self-respect but still Khushi looking for a job was beyond their common sense.
They all could easily guess how much Khushi wishes she and Payal could complete their education, earn the degree and do something in life!! Why was she so insecure or suddenly turned timid, they had no clue... But did she not just now mention that hers was a love marriage and the great Arnav Sign Raizada married her twice and that they were recently married again!! Then how can Khushi be so lost??
Karan just took Khushi's hand in his hands and promised her to help without asking any other questions. They all wanted to wait until she opens up and shares the details. But Karan suggested and asked her if she wanted to complete her graduation (her last semester and exam) by correspondence course and achieve her degree!!
Khushi could not believe what she heard from Karan's mouth and third time today she was super excited!! In fact she felt happy after a long long time almost after a month since Sheetal had moved in their house... She felt Devi Maiya has heard her prayers today - First she was happy with her bauji's treatment and progress news, then meeting her K gang and now the biggest news of her being able to complete graduation. Just thought of studying further and completing her education and may be earn a master degree made Khushi so excited, her eyes sparkled and her friends could see glimpse of their old Khushi.
Suddenly a thought came in Khushi's mind - Arnavji is so highly educated, worked so hard towards getting his degrees from the best university in the world, why he never suggested her for further education or asked if she wanted to study further? And there, the sadness in her eyes was back!!
They never realized it was already 9.00 pm and they decided to drop Khushi at RM which was very close from the mall. Again they stopped feeling surprised that Khushi insisted on going alone and that too in an auto.
Khushi was reluctant yet could not help take Kamya, Kriti and Karan to RM to meet Payal. Now a days she was not sure of anything when it comes to her family especially Arnav. As soon as she opened the door, she heard everyone in living room still talking about basketball game, how much they enjoyed the game and their dinner outside. As usual Sheetal and Aarav were the center of attention and her jiji was serving everyone water or tea...
Khushi first time felt suffocated to return to RM and to her husband Arnav... So Arnav never missed her after the game or does he even need her anymore!! Everyone by then felt their presence and turned around.
They could see Khushi returning back home with 3 other new faces. They could clearly see she knew them well from their expressions! They looked like her friends and they were not wrong! Khushi smiled and introduced her friends one by one... All the three greeted and said hello but were looking for missing person. Just then Payal came out from the kitchen and was shocked to see Kamya, Karan and Kritika standing right in front of her eye!! Oh boy, how much she missed her old buddies... Before she could think more, she was crushed in a group hug!!
Akash, Arnav and Raizada family were stunned was an understatement. Suddenly the Raizada living room was a chaos, loud screams, group hugs among long lost friends! Arnav and Akash felt out of place first time in RM. Mamiji just made face, muttered her patent "Hello Hi Bye Bye" and left... Mamaji followed her. Naniji was happy to see Khushi and Payal smiling after a long time, blessed them all and left.
Sheetal was fuming mad looking at the current scenario and because the center of attention had moved away from her. She left with Aarav to her room. How can Anjali stay back when Aarav was going to bed? Left were Arnav and Akash. Common sense prevailed and they both decided to stay back and listen.
Arnav as usual started feeling jealous seeing Khushi so comfortable with her friends especially Karan. They were all still happily chit chatting when realized the presence of Akash and Arnav. Also they realized it was getting late. Karan side hugged Khushi and Payal and promised them to meet up next morning.
Chapter 3 - Exposing Payal and Khushi by Ks
Arnav was still in his own world of basketball though he felt bad not seeing Khushi after the game was done. But then his Di and Sheetal never let him think and dragged him home for lunch to further continue with the fun they were having... Di even showed him Khushi's message that she was Lakshmi Nagar and will come later. He wonder why Khushi messaged Di but not him... By the time he ponders over his thoughts, Aarav came with chess board and wanted to play chess. He attended couple of business calls with foreign delegates and instructed Aman over phone. He came down looking for Khushi when Di announced they were having dinner outside to celebrate their basketball game. Payal was trying to ask Arnav to call Khushi but Sheetal quickly distracted Arnav with their college talks and Aarav dragged him to the car. Of course his big ego also was stopping him to call her!! Payal felt odd and decided to talk to Khushi later. Payal had never liked the idea of Khushi inviting Sheetal to stay in RM and now Sheetal acting the lady of the house. Payal was always shy and timid between the sisters but she was taken aback when Khushi started giving up and Sheetal started getting more aggressive openly saying things to Khushi in front of Arnav.
Dinner was a quiet affair. Akash was sitting next to her but busy attending his mother. Payal missed her sister's company. Aarav as usual ordered and ate whatever Arnav ordered. Sheetal was enjoying her moments with Arnav and Payal wondered if Arnav even missed Khushi.
The only good thing happened in her life after a long time was meeting her old friends. Even though Payal was 2 years older than 3Ks and they called her jiji, they always involved her in their chats, gossips, teasing and acted as besties.
Akash was curious to know why Payal's friends wanted to meet her next day. Payal herself had no clue and she ignored his question saying no idea. These days Payal talked minimal with Akash and his mom to avoid any arguments. She was slowing losing faith and respect in Akash. Even after Arnav explained his sudden marriage to Khushi was forced by him, she could not completely forgive Akash and his mom for their behavior towards her and Khushi. It hurted her how Raizadas never apologized to them after knowing the truth.
Arnav was still his arrogant best and asked Khushi "Did you leave the game to meet up with your friends?" Khushi just looked at him shocked and said no. Arnav was curious to know about her friends, why Karan wanted to meet up the next day but his ego and her one word answer closed the chapter.
"Good night Arnavji" and Khushi slept. First time Arnav felt bad seeing Khushi sleeping. Who was he kidding, he had missed her during the day and dinner. He wanted to sit with her and chat. Somewhere he felt he was going away from Khushi and initially he decided to ignore her over DNA issue, he realized maybe he should talk and forgive her. Oh hell, why was she so adamant not accepting her mistake of doing DNA test? But he decided to let it go but maybe has to wait another day.
"Good morning rainbow and happiness!! Morning Payal and Khush" Karan's loud voice moved everyone at the dining table. If they all heard correctly, Karan just called Payal rainbow. Akash was stumped at the thought of someone calling his plane Jane Payal a rainbow meaning full of colors and life!! Even Arnav hated and felt like choking Karan for calling Khushi Khush, but he was more surprised about Payal being colorful as a rainbow.
"Jiji, you take the toast and juice and I will bring poori sabji" Khushi said walking out of the kitchen. She gave a big smile to Karan who ran to help her out in keeping things at the dining table. Kritika was right behind.
"Your famous 540 calories diet Indian breakfast!!" Both Karan and Kritika shouted together and did hi-fi to each other. "Khushi and calories!! Does she know what that means?? Now Arnav was at the edge and about to collapse. Payal just smiled and nodded her head saying "You guessed it right!!"
"Hello Hi Bye Bye, Khushi do you even know what diet and calories mean?" spat came a question from Mamiji.
"What do you mean? Don't you know Khushi's specialty? She cooks every meal taking calories into consideration and makes sure to serve delicious yet well managed calorie food?" Kritika asked Mamiji back. Not only Mamiji but everyone including Arnav were shocked.
"Khushi may not be fluent in English and talking all those diet related words but she is the best when it comes to serving Indian delicacies combined with perfect portions, adequate proteins and vitamins. How do you think she manages to maintain perfect slim figure by eating so much food that she eats all the time? Hold on, did you think it was magic or god gifted?" Added Karan winking at Khushi.
Arnav Sign Raizada was shocked to death. There was a sudden silence at breakfast table and Payal broke the awkward situation by saying whatever Karan and Kritika mentioned was true. Karan forced Khushi to present what breakfast she was serving today.
Even though hesitant at first, Khushi started "9 multigrain wheat pooris fried in fat free oil - 70 Cal / poori, mix vegetable - 80 Cal / bowl (most of low fat veggies), low fat yogurt - 40 Cal, moong papad with veggie pickle - 40 Cal, salad - sprouts, radish, lettuce and cucumber - 40 Cal, mix fruits - papaya & mango - 60 Cal and overall Protein - 30 gms. So with 4 pooris, and rest all servings it comes down to 540 calories. And you can safely call it a low fat, high energy and protein diet breakfast or brunch to start your day!!"
While Sheetal choked on her water, 3Ks, Payal, Anjali and naniji clapped on Khushi's answer. Mamiji simply ignored Sheetal, ran and hugged Khushi and requested her to serve diet meals from today onwards. After all Mamiji wanted to be slim and trim like Khushi and if she was allowed to eat all the food, nothing like it!!
Arnav still mad at Karan for talking openly about his wife's figure, could not help but admire Khushi's hidden talent. It made him sad to find it out this way and he did not know it before. He always taunted her on her status and pea sized knowledge and brain. Oh god, what else he does not know about his wife? Or does he even know his wife? Question lingered in his mind.
"Come on Khush and Payal. Let's get going and you both need to fill up forms also" Karan shouted.
"Khushi bitiya, all the best and hope you get admission to complete your degree." Naniji said when Khushi bent and took her blessings.
Now Arnav was completely lost. But even before he ask anything, Payal questioned Karan "What? Why me? What forms am I filling?"
"I was wondering if you want to do Advance Painting and Sculptures class before you figure out what master degree you want to pursue Payal. You always wanted to do it, remember. So I just got all the details. Of course I run an education institute so things were handy" Karan spoke sheepishly.
Now it was Akash's turn to get a heart attack. Did he just hear his wife being interested in painting and making sculptures?
"No way" refused Payal bluntly. Mamiji stopped on her way to her room and turned back.
"We knew it Payal. Come on, you always wanted this. Remember you always won the 10 minutes painting competitions and never let go your Uno numero position. What happened now? This one is going to be just 2.5 hours a day class that you can easily pull off. And just 3 months course Payal" said Kritika in one go.
All Raizadas were stunned with the second news Payal being so good with paintings.
"Arnav, let the friends spend time admiring each other. We have meeting to attend and work to do" spoke Sheetal sarcastically and mocked Khushi as well as Payal, while asking Arnav to start for office. Both Arnav and Akash did not like Sheetal's tone for the first time.
"Sheetal, you carry on. If required, I will attend meeting from home." Akash replied looking at Arnav and Sheetal fumed. Akash was anxious to know his wife's talent and first time felt bad that he never looked at her beyond her day-to-day c****s.
"Sheetal, go attend the meeting and I will reach later" Even Arnav declared. Sheetal was cursing herself now. Not only she has to leave for work now but go by taxi since Arnav and Akash would need their own cars!!
"I may not be able to do it. If Khushi gets busy with her studies, I will have to take care of lot of things at home and it's ok with me." Payal still refused politely.
"You are so NOT escaping this Payal jiji!" Kamya walked in with canvas and painting tools in her hand. Payal guessed what was coming her way. Her famous 10 minute canvas painting session. Khushi ran and got her jiji her favorite white frock dress with pockets and handed over to her. Payal was more than embarrassed with all this going in front of her in-laws and naniji and was still refusing.
"Payal bitiya it is my request" naniji politely pushed Payal and blessed raising her hand. Payal quickly got into white knee length sleeveless dress and tied her brush and paint pocket belt to her tummy. By then Karan and Khushi mounted the canvas on the holder and kept things ready for Payal. They requested for a water painting.
Payal looked here and there. All the family members were seated and waited for her to start. She was still hesitating and but got into her trance. And then there was no turning back. Her hands and strokes moved like an expert on the canvas, she was moving back and forth, around the canvas thinking. Her face was so expressive, hard to imagine this is their pale Payal. She had this cute habit of putting paint on her hands or at times on her own cheeks or dress while thinking and engrossed in painting. She had created a beautiful paining of landscape with sunset in the background and presented it to naniji. Needless to say painting looked amazing and complete professional job!!
Everyone looked at Payal and they exactly knew why her friends called her rainbow. She was looking like rainbow with all colors on her face, hands and dress. Everyone gave her a double thumbs up and she ran to her room. Suddenly Akash felt the urge to run behind her and hug her tight and acknowledge her talent.
"Bhai, you go ahead and I will be joining you in the office later" Akash informed Arnav.
"Karan, make sure to run those painting courses and forms by me. Payal is 200% joining the courses and will pursue her master degree. Thanks so much. I owe you big time." muttered Akash while running to their bedroom behind Payal.
Chapter 4 - Can we start all over again?
Even Mamiji was shocked with her son's boldness and taking quick decisions for his wife. She felt immensely happy with Akash's decision. First time she had seen real and happy Payal hiding inside her daughter-in-law who was always quiet, pale with sad face. She was feeling tremendous guilt on treating Payal so bad all these days. What was she doing really by taunting a girl who has joined family as a daughter and who is so simple, beautiful inside out and respectful towards elders? She realized Payal was such a talented soul yet never answered her back to her horrible taunts. Suddenly Mamiji had new found respect for her daughter-in-law and she decided in her mind to encourage Payal.
"And what was that?" Akash pulled Payal and she jerked, crushed into his chest.
"What?" she asked innocently.
"Why you never told me you were so good in painting, art and wanted to pursue it further?" Akash was now getting angry.
"You never asked my hobbies or choices." came a spat reply from Payal.
Akash stood there thinking how their relation has never taken off to a normal understanding level. Right from the day 1, when Bhai and Khushiji suddenly walked in getting married secretly the same night of their marriage, both families were very upset and angry. His mom had started taunting Payal on everything. He could never even talk to Payal properly in middle of all this chaos. Then a series of mishaps hit the family - Arnav Bhai getting kidnapped, Shyam's hideous truth, Di losing her baby and her depression. In all this, their relation was lost and never took off. As it is, it was almost an arrange marriage for them even though Akash loved Payal at first sight. They both being so shy, always dominated by family needs and surrounding situations, it all had taken a big toll on their relationship.
"Can we start all over again?" asked Akash coming out of his thoughts.
"What?" Payal was now confused.
"Look at me Payal, all I want to say is we both have been through too many things, misunderstandings, family issues and somewhere we lost each other. And we both are responsible for it. Or maybe it's my fault mostly and I am really sorry from my heart. But can we start all over again and this time with all our hearts, sharing, caring, honesty, love and trust?" Akash was now holding Payal's hand and playing with paint on her hands and cheeks. Tears rolled from her eyes and Payal just launched herself into his arms. Kept nodding her head, not caring all her paint was on his suite now.
They had already lost precious first year of their marriage in all the misunderstanding and chaos. Akash promised her to prove his love by his actions going forward. He would rather not waste time justifying his past behavior but would show her his real love and care.
How much ever Payal wanted to punish Akash for his cold and disrespectful behavior, she could not deny they lost their first year of their marriage owing to misunderstandings. She always asked herself, would things have been better if she had shared Shyam's secret with Akash taking him into confidence? So she could not blame him alone. Trust was kind of never built between them.
"Akash, thank you so much for allowing me to study further. It means the world to me. And yes, let's retry and redeem our marriage!" Payal genuinely thanked him. Payal decided to take the plunge and see how things go for them. She was also tired, exhausted and was ready to grab any positive change in their life...
It was second chance for both of them to revive their marriage and they both happily grabbed it!
"Don't say Thanks!! It is your right to do whatever you want, Payal. It is my mistake I did not know it else you would have already been enrolled but never too late. Oh gosh, I had a meeting to attend with Bhai and looks like I have to take a bath." Akash said smirking, Payal looked at him and said "Sorry! I did not mean to do this. I was just too happy."
"But you do deserve a punishment first for hiding your talent and now for messing my suite" with that Akash picked up Payal in his arms, before she understands what he meant and headed towards the bathroom to take a shower with her... Payal was all red and hid her face in Akash's chest...
Khushi lit the lamp in front of Devi maiya inside the temple in their house and thanked her from the bottom of her heart. She never thought this day would come and that too so early. She was ecstatic and over the moon when Akash announced Payal will pursue her education. She knew how much it meant for her jiji. She decided she will personally thank jijaji later.
Arnav thought he guessed it right!! Akash would be a NO show at work the way he ran behind Payal. First time Arnav found his brother happy and expressing feelings freely in his marriage without worrying about what will Mamiji say. To some extent, he was the one to blame for problems in his brother's marriage. His sudden marriage to Khushi on the same day has created lot of problems for them and he was aware it. He had seen the tension between Payal and Akash, and had thought to discuss with Akash but was glad it might not be needed anymore!!
Arnav was surprised to see Akash walk into office by 1.00 pm. He was talking on phone and walked in Arnav's cabin.
"Bhai, guess what? I was talking to Karan. He suggested courses for Payal in one of best Institutes in Delhi that happens to be closer to our house. I just now enrolled Payal for the first course. The timings are 4.00 - 6.30 so she can easily go and come back. I have asked driver Manoj to take her to the classes and bring her back every day. Payal would be so excited. I need to tell her."
"Breath Akash and take a break!" suddenly Arnav had the urge to stop his brother and offered him water. His brother was acting like he was married yesterday.
"Bhai, I am heading home, need to inform Payal about her classes and go shopping with her. So you guessed it right. I am a NO show at work today." Before Arnav could stop, Akash vanished and Arnav could not help but smile looking at romantic version of Akash.
Sheetal was re-planning her moves now that she could smell 3Ks can be a big trouble for her motives. She heard Akash was leaving and took opportunity to take Arnav out for lunch. "Let's go Arnav, I am so hungry" Sheetal as usual walked in showing herself busy and banged into Arnav.
Arnav was lost in morning's incidents, how Payal and Khushi turning out to be different talent all together. He felt annoyed with sudden hug.
"Not again Sheetal, can't you watch and go?" Arnav was kind of convinced she purposely runs into him. Now a days he was getting annoyed with her behavior.
"Italian?" she asked ignoring his comment. Suddenly Arnav missed Khushi coming to his office and getting him home made hot lunch. He decided wrap up work as soon as possible and head home early for lunch.
"I just remembered I had an urgent call. Please leave." Arnav could not be polite even though he tried hard. Sheetal was disappointed and she knew today morning's circus was the reason but decided to let go and try harder next time.
Arnav reached home at 2 pm. There were no signs of Khushi being at home. He decided to finish couple of calls relaxing on his recliner and started working on his laptop.
Time went by and he came down for a cup of coffee at around 6 but still no signs of Khushi.
Payal informed him about Khushi going with 3Ks and doing part time job in Karan's institute. Arnav was hopping mad now.
Topic started by SwatStar_Arshi
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