From the author's desk: Surprise! another chapter comes your way... Thanks so much for all those wonderful comments... And when you ask for a jealous Arnav, you get it, Because, I like writing about a jealous Arnav as much as you like reading it!
I am not sending PMs yet, there are so many members and I don't know how many are active.
Chapter 11: Brides of Raizadas
Part 3: Secret missions
For a girl who looked meek, Khushi was anything but meek. On one side, the Sharmas were not budging. On the other side, Raizadas and Singhs had arrived at the scene.
Considering that Akaash and Payal’s relationship was a known and approved fact in the family, until a few days back when things turned sour between them, Mama and Mami seemed to have recovered from the initial shock ofthe circumstance they were in. They were the firsts to accept that Akaash was getting married on the same night.
Arnav could see Mama and Mami trying to convince Nani. NK single handedly tried to take the herculean task of persuading Dadi to give her consent.
Anjali and Khushi were trying to make the Sharmas see sense but they weren’t progressing much. The reporters were having a field day.
“Akaash, it isn’t too late even now” Arnav heard Payal suggesting to his brother “We can elope even now, nobody would notice in all this ruckus. Arnav, you have the car keys right?”
Akaash defiantly shook his head. Payal sighed exasperatedly. Arnav caught her eyes and smiled.
Suraj joined them a little while later.
"This is the weirdest wedding I ever witnessed" he said "Half the guests have left with Vinod's party, half of them don't know what to do, look at the poor pandit- wishing if a wedding is ever going to happen today. "
"Where you able to convince Dad and Mom?" Payal asked Suraj
"Not budging. He suspects that I am in your plan"
"He got it right then" Payal chuckled.
“Payal, there is only one way to make your relatives yield” Khushi said as she came back to them again
“What is that?” Payal asked.
“Do you have the penknife that you were threatening Vinod with?”
“Threw it somewhere here…” She replied looking around “Ah there it is” she said bending to pick it up.
“Why do you want it Khushi?” Akaash asked innocuously.
Khushi flashed him a wicked grin and without even a warning, screamed “What are you doing Payal! Stashing your arm with the knife is not the solution”
Payal who was caught unaware looked baffled for a moment "I wasn't" she started to say but quickly caught on to Khushi’s idea
A series of high voltage drama ensued in which Akaash removed the knife from Payal’s hand and threw it away, Payal’s relatives rushed to her side- after a ten-minute spectacle involving pleads, arguments, tears and shouts, finally the Sharmas relented.
“Won’t she even give us a clue before she springs those surprises on us?” Akaash mumbled to Arnav who only could roll his eyes at back at him.
"Spare me please"
Anjali and Khushi slapped their hands behind the Sharmas back.
“Two down, two more to go” sighed Khushi
“Nani will relent now” Anjali said happily. “She only wanted the Sharmas to willingly accept this rishta. I will go tell her that”
“Best of Luck” Khushi said as she walked towards the brothers standing together watching Anjali joining Mama and Mami who were cajoling Nani.
“NK could do with some help” Khushi told to no one in particular, biting her lips and looking sideways at Arnav.
A little further away, they saw Dadi still looking supremely outraged. They could sense that NK was nowhere near convincing Dadi. Dadi was as much as throwing imaginary daggers at anyone who even looked her way trying to persuade her for the wedding.
“He is valiant, isn’t he, he has been taking her fury solitaryly for the past 15 mins” Khushi commented
“He is” Payal replied back with a grin as she joined the trio. “Remind me to treat him later for this chivalry”
A moment later, NK’s attempts notwithstanding, Dadi got up as if she had had enough and started to walk out with a hapless NK following her.
“There goes your wishful thinking that Dadi will relent” Payal told Akaash.
Khushi nudged Akaash and gestured towards Arnav
“I don’t understand. What about Arnav?” Akaash asked softly
“Husshhh” Khushi hissed “Ask your brother to go convince Dadi. Only he can do it. If I ask, Laad governor will show his smugness”
Akaash simpered as he turned to Arnav
“Don’t even try” he said with a poker face as he turned and looked at Khushi “and I heard it”
Khushi rolled her eyes “If you have, what are you waiting for?”
“If you want help, its only prudent to ask for it” he suggested with a halo
Khushi looked miffed
Payal looked from Arnav to Khushi
“Seriously? You both are bickering when our wedding is at stake?” she asked shaking her head
“OK! Can you convince your Dadi for this wedding?”
“You forgot the magic word”
“Is this the time?”
“PLEASE your highness… Happy?”
“Very much” Arnav smirked at Khushi before he went the towards the entrance through which Dadi and NK had just disappeared 5 mins ago.
“I hope he works his way” Akaash told Payal.
“I will go help Anjali” Khushi said as she started walking towards Nani.
“Sasuma, what is the problem now? We know Payal from childhood… You were OK with her becoming our Bahu for a long time…why are you not accepting for this wedding now?”
“Maa, The young ones like each other… why this unwanted adamancy now?”
“Nani, Even Sharad Uncle and Susheela aunty have agreed… You wanted only that na… Now what?”
“Sasuma, If we don’t agree, It will break Akaash bitwa’s heart”
“Maa, What’s stopping you now? say something… why are you so quiet?”
Nani sighed “Manohar, Don’t you see what is wrong? The suddenness of all this? The children eloping… the unabashed nature of the entire thing?”
“That would be my mistake Naniji, but please don’t punish them for my fault”
All of them turned to see Khushi standing there.
“I didn’t know what else to do. I wanted to help them. In-spite of all that, they are still waiting for your blessings Naniji…please?”
Nani still kept looking at her hands hesitatingly as if something was troubling her.
“You could have spoken to me about it you know” she said finally “I would have expected you to have that much trust in me”
Khushi was crestfallen. Nani was one of the kindest souls who insisted on taking Khushi in when she had nowhere to go. She was so kind,accepting and loving. She was also very protective of Khushi, she had always looked out for Khushi and saved her on numerous occasions from Dadi’s sharp tongue. A very encouraging and engaging lady, who was one of the first persons to accept Khushi in spite of the prejudices that usually come with what transpired between her father and the Raizada family on that fateful rainy night
Now, Khushi has disappointed her.
“I am sorry” She whispered in a broken voice “I am very sorry Naniji”
“Nani, please say yes” It was Akaash. He and Payal were standing a little apart
Nani sighed and then stood up from where she sat.
“Off all the grandsons, Akaash, I never thought you would have a rebellious wedding” she said in a reprimanding tone
Akaash and Payal looked up at her apologetically. But her eyes were smiling with mirth.
“Nani?” Akaash asked tentatively
Nani smiled opened up her arms wide and nodded her head at them as if she was beckoning them.
“Khush raho” she said as the two went and hugged her. She put her hands lovingly around the two.
“Love you Nani”
“Yay, Nani also accepted” Anjali jumped with joy and slapped her hands in high five with Mama, Mami and Khushi who stood nearby. Mami lifted up her hands in same josh to clap it against Khushi, a little awkwardly hesitated and then smiled and gave her too, a high five. It was her first decent encounter with Khushi.
“Good job Khushi” Mama told her.
As Mama and Mami escorted the couple back to the stage,Khushi looked at Nani as she held her ears with both her hands
“Naniji” Khushi called out tentatively
“Next time, you want to help anyone at home get married,come to me and discuss. I may be old, but I would have managed to skip all this public drama.” She said
“Nani, we asked you people… remember?” Anjali told her in support of her friend
“Yes, you did. I had expected that you people won’t sit quiet. I was speaking to your Dadi, for the past one week, readying her. I had been telling her that much at least- that we should do something before the young ones took the matter in their hands…But we didn’t know the wedding was today, I thought it was next to next Friday?”
“It got pre-poned”
“That explains” she nodded enigmatically
“Will you forgive me?” Khushi asked pleadingly
“Khushi, there is nothing to forgive… We all do mistake, we have to learn from our mistakes and move forward” she told wisely “The Sharmas may have behaved meanly, but they did it because they love their daughter… Look at the publicity this entire ordeal has created? No one would want to be in their shoes now Khushi… the guests, the reporters and on top of it the wrist slashing drama…we could have skipped all that.”
"Thank God she didn't see your previous drama, she would have taken more time to come around" Anjali chuckled to Khushi who shushed her.
“I understand Naniji, Next time I will be more empathetic”
Nani patted her lovingly
“So I am forgiven now?”
Nani patted her lovingly as she nodded.
“Thanks Naniji, I will never ever disappoint you again”
“Three down, one more to go” Anjali whispered to Khushi
“Fingers crossed” Khushi replied back
After a tense few minutes, where the couple waited surrounded by their friends and families, Well-wishers, Gossipers, guests,reporters and the like, they saw Dadi entering into the mandap again along with her grandsons on the either side. She looked grim, nevertheless, Arnav had succeeded in bringing her back.
“Finally” Khushi let out a thankful sigh
Akaash and Payal who were holding hands, let out an audible gasp of relief.
The Pandit who almost looked bored with nothing to do, immediately jumped into action and hastened with the mantras. He wanted to do away with this and get away from this weird wedding before another drama broke out. He had seen enough for the evening.
As the others indulged themselves in the proceedings of the ceremony, Khushi came and stood next to Arnav and cleared her throat.
“If you haven’t noticed, My plan succeeded”
“Is that all you can manage?”
“It would have fallen flat if not for me. If I had notconvinced Dadi…this marriage would not have happened”
“So what if you convinced Dadi ji, you were a part of myplan like others were too… It was my plan ok? Did you hear? MY…MY plan… and itworks”
Arnav shrugged. “Isn’t it a wonder in itself?” he asked “Inspite of being your plan, it worked?”
A little away, Dadi was watching Arnav and Khushi. Shecouldn’t hear what the two were speaking about, but she could see the latterleaning towards the former and whispering something and the former was smirkingnon-stop with a twinkle in his eye.
She didn’t like any of it. She decided to put a stop to itbefore it was too late
“You know what? This is Jodi number 18 that I helped getting married.” she said proudly.
“Oh interesting” Arnav said with Mock interest. “You should start a business. It will flourish.”
“Nah… Not interested in matrimony business”
“I meant the drama troupe” he said “May be, try toning down the melodrama a little, it may even turn a little watchable”
He was smirking again. She stamped her foot down.
“Khadoos” Khushi muttered “Laad governor!” She hurriedly went and stood next to Anjali who was jubilant
“Thanks Khushi… you made this possible” Anjali hugged her as the couple were taking their pheras.
“We should thank Suraj for his help” Khushi told Anjali as the girls settled down under the dais, sorting the gifts into different bags.
“Rajma what?” Khushi grinned “Why do you call him that?”
“you don’t know who he is?”
“Haven’t seen him before?”
“I met him only today”
“I asked if you had seen him before… I mean in the TV”
“He comes in TV?”
“How do you call yourself a reporter? “
“I don’t work in the entertainment area…”
“He is an actor. He is the male protagonist in one of those leading shows… it’s called Pyaar se Pyaar thak”
Khushi giggled at the name of the show
“He acts in a romantic show?
“Quite popular among the school girls”
“But what has that got to do with you calling him RajmaChawal? Don’t tell me his name is that in that show”
“No” Anjali laughed “It is a couple name… the one that the fans invent by putting together their character names? His name in the show is Raj Mathur and the female lead’s name is Chaavi Walia… Raj Ma Chaa Wal… got it? Also,Rajma Chawal is a nice combo- so literally made for each other”
Khushi burst out laughing as Anjali rolled her eyes.
“Don’t tell me you are a fan girl”
“No, I am not.” Anjali said indignantly.
Khushi waved her hand apologetically “Sorry, isn’t it a dumb name”
Anjali grinned “I know, don’t mention in front of him”
“I will remember that”
“Hey, I forgot. Did Arnav call you before you reached here?”Anjali asked in a casual tone, albeit her brain on over drive to fish some facts that she hoped were true
“No, why would Laad governor call me?”
Anjali was lost a bit in this revelation before she caught on to something else.
“What did you call him? Lord governor?”
“Naah, you say it in an affected way… Laad govarnar… pisses him off” Khushi looked pleased
“You remember I am his sister… don’t you?” Anjali chuckled shaking her head. Khushi too joined in the laughter.
“Why do you like riling him up so much?” Anjali asked her,her match maker instincts again trying to pick up some hints
“hey I think Rajma is trying to steal your brother’s shoes” Khushi informed her, changing the topic tactically. Anjali looked in the direction where Khushi was pointing. Suraj was standing next to Akaash’s footwear, looking around.
“Wait I will come” She said getting up but sat back quickly clutching her heart “OMG”
“What happened?” Khushi tried to turn back to see what caused Anjali to act so flustered.
“Don’t look” Anjali hissed “He will come to know”
“Who he? Another actor?”
Anjali shook her head; she was fanning herself
Khushi turned back and saw Arnav conversing to a very handsome and tall man.
“Who? The person your brother speaking to?”
Anjali nodded breathing in and out
“Who is he?”
“ACP Abhimanyu Mitra” Anjali mumbled “Arnav’s BFF from school”
“He looks dashing”
“Much much handsome than I remember seeing him”
Khushi was eyeing suspiciously at Anjali
“What’s the matter sweety? I can hear your heart beat fromhere”
“haaw… that was rude” Khushi said in mock offended tone
“I am seeing him after so long time…I think 5 years…no 4 years” Anjali was flushed. “Should have connected when Arnav said that he had asked the ACP to come for support… Didn’t realize it was him... Oh now I get it.. Arnav was speaking to Abhimanyu after we reached here.”
Khushi took a look at the flustered girl who was fidgeting with her dress, twisting her hair, fanning herself and biting her nails at the same time. Khushi attempted a guess.
“Crush. My first ever crush”
“I see. Your brother knows?”
“Not a soul.” Anjali huffed
“Surprising, if you have been acting like this when he visited home, then people should have known”
“I am good at guarding my secrets” Anjali grinned nervously“I wouldn’t have got so affected if it wasn’t so sudden like this”
“Spoken to him ever?”
“hmm… yes, I think so… I used to get so tongue tied when he was around. But later we were on speaking terms… NK used to ask me why I was acting so reserved, But I don’t think he really connected. Thick head.”
“How old were you?”
“When I first met him? I was 11, I think.”
“Impressive!” Khushi said jokingly as Anjali hit her
“They are coming this way” Khushi informed Anjali as she turned back to look at the men again.
“Oh Shit, Hide me”
“What nonsense… Now is the time make yourself visible”
“No way, look at me, I am a mess” Anjali shook her head “Oh God, I thought I have grown out of this… I had never behaved like this around my other crushes or any other boy”
“I will come with you” Khushi told her kindheartedly “You start talking to him, you won’t feel this awkward” she said looking at Anjali’s red face.
“I am not going to do that.”
“Look, it’s easy, just get up, carry some of these gifts and start walking and then bump into him as if was done by mistake, topple some of these gifts down, mumble an apology, then exclaim as if you recognized him and start talking”
Anjali shook her head in denial
“I am sure I will make a fool of myself in front of him”
Khushi rolled her eyes
“Trust me, I will make this work for you”
“It’s just a crush”
“I didn’t deny it”
“Khushi please no”
“Why fear when Khushi is here?”
“What are you trying to do Khushi?”
“I have got a secret mission now; I am not going to rest until I get you both together”
Anjali chuckled sarcastically
“What’s wrong with you Khushi… Abhi is my brother's best friend"
"What's wrong with that... Ok, what about Payal then? She was NK's friend before Akaash started seeing her"
"That was different, NK and Payal were of same age and they went to the same class, we were family friends even otherwise"
"Anjali, when you like some one, it doesn't matter if he is your brother's best friend, the only thing that matters is... do you both like each other"
"You are reading too much into this... Abhi is just a crush”
“Love Guru sees the potential of this turning into much more than a school girl crush” she said in mock tones pulling up her imaginary collar.
Anjali stared at her friend for a whole minute before she broke into giggles
“NO WAY” she said “I am not your next mission, forget it”
“Anjali” NK was coming towards them “RajmaChawal has hidden Akaash’s footwear, I told you to guard it” he stopped suddenly “What happened to you? You look so red”
“No... nothing” she said quickly but NK was gaping at something beyond her head “Hey, that’s Abhi Bhai right… OH MY GOD… I am seeing him after so long”
Akaash’s shoes forgotten, NK went forward to exchange pleasantries.
“This is the moment, Let’s follow him” Khushi said pulling Anjali along.
Khushi saw NK jubilantly hugging Abhimanyu and she deliberately pushed Anjali forward. She was thrilled for Anjali when her plan worked, Abhimanyu exclaimed recognizing Anjali and wondered how much she has grown up now.
Khushi had to pitch in to prompt Anjali to speak.
Sometime during this curtsy chat, Khushi caught Arnav frowning at her. Wondering whether he caught on to what she was upto, she glared back at him daringly. She wasn’t doing anything wrong.
It was NK who inadvertently broke this glaring game between the two, as he quickly introduced Abhi and Khushi
“Abhi bhai, this is Khushi – she is a family friend and a journalist” he said turning to Khushi “ Khushi, Abhimanyu, ACP for the NCR region, Arnav’s friend from school”
“Nice meeting you Khushi” Abhi extended his hand to shakewith her petite ones
“Pleasure is mine”
“And by the way, thanks to your high voltage drama, my lateness was spared by Arnav”
“Drama? Oh don’t offend me, my love got married to someone else” Khushi joked along gesturing towards Payal and Akaash “and I am left tending my broken heart”
Abhimanyu laughed heartily at this comment which displaced the composure that Anjali had conjured up with all the difficulty in the world.
“I will buy you pots of ice creams Khushi” Nk offered with mock seriousness.
“you are a little too late NK Bhai, by the looks of it, Khushi is well tended to by your gorgeous little sister” Abhimanyu commented lightheartedly
Anjali gasped. Did Abhi call her gorgeous?
“I like making people envious” Khushi played along, side-hugging Anjali to support the poor ruffled girl who needed the much needed support
Too many innuendos crisscrossing between the party – Khushi meant to hint Anjali that Abhimanyu had noticed that the girls were gossiping together a little while ago. Arnav, who had been silently watching the entire chitchat, without much participation didn’t seem to take the playful banter well.
“You said you wanted to leave urgently” Arnav reminded Abhimanyu rather gruffly “Why don’t you quickly meet Akaash and Payal before you leave?”
“Oh yeah” Abhi caught on quickly checking his watch “Gotta rush. I shall catch up later.”
Khushi was hatching a plan to get Anjali to speak to Abhi alone for a while when Arnav interrupted unceremoniously. She looked disappointed which further seemed to invite a scowl from Arnav.
As the men moved to the dais where the newly wedded couple were taking photos with the guests, the girls returned to the gifts packing.
"So that's Khushi Gupta" Abhi commented as the two men climbed the podium, smirking at Arnav "Remind me about her when we meet for a drink next time"
"oh shut up" Arnav rolled his eyes at his friend who guffawed at him as he moved forward to greet the young couple.
“uuuuffff” Anjali huffed aloud, “that was an overloaded 10 minutes”
“Anjali, I think you brother knows it”
“What does he know”
“He senses that there is something between you and Abhi”
“There is nothing between me and Abhi” Anjali corrected her“And what makes you think so?”
“He deliberately ended the chitchat”
With Abhi gone now, Anjali was back to her usual self.
“Of course he ended it” she said with her tongue in her cheek “But I don’t think he was acting as an over protective brother”
“huh?” Khushi said “What else then?”
“May be you successfully made him envious” Anjali quipped musingly
“What do you mean?” Khushi looked genuinely confused.
“Nothing” Anjali said biting her tongue, hoping that Khushi wouldn’t press her further. Anjali had her own secret mission as well and she was not going to tell anything prematurely that might result in spoiling the success of her mission.
“I was just repeating what you said…” she said lamely.
Khushi raised her eyebrows at the younger girl, but thankfully for Anjali, they were just then distracted with Akaash finding out his shoes were nowhere to be found and there were leg pulling around.
Anjali used the distraction well to change the topic
“Oh, this is going to be fun” She said jumping up to join the leg pulling. “Come along Khushi”
Akaash and Payal were getting ready to leave the mandap and Payal’s Bidaai was in progress. The couple were accompanied by the younger Raizada siblings.
Khushi was looking for someone in the departing guests when she heard that someone clearing his throat near her
“Searching for some one?” he asked her with a smirk that so annoyed her.
Not wanting to admit to anything that would help him retain that smirk, she smiled back at him coolly. Khushi wanted to test her theory that he knows about Anjali and Abhimanyu.
“Your friend left?”
That wiped his smirk off.
“Why do you ask?” he asked insistingly.
“I wanted his contact number” she told, devising a plan on the go. She suddenly realized, she can still make Anjali connect with Abhi if she had Abhi’s number.
“You would have it won’t you?” she asked
“Why do you want it?”
“Why would I want it… He is the ACP isn’t it? it will come handy if you know… If I get into trouble”
“Oh really?” He asked mockingly “Call 100, you don’t need to personally call the ACP for it” he snapped at her irritatingly.
“hmm… I was thinking of reaching out to him for an interview or something” Khushi invented wildly.
“What makes you think that I would give that to you even if I have it?” Arnav asked her bitingly “I am not running any help center to handout phone numbers of my friends to crazy fan girls”
Anjali saw a very miffed Arnav leaving behind a very indignant and open mouthed Khushi.
“What happened, Don’t tell me you both are bickering again”
“Not my fault ok?” Khushi told her “How dare him, that Kadoos just called me a crazy fan girl, I will get back at him for this” she said storming away after him.
Anjali could only sigh looking at their backs. At this rate,her secret mission of getting her brother and Khushi together was far away from getting realized.
To be continued
Tada... now tell me in comments how you liked it. Two crazy girls and two secret missions... only time will tell how many feathers will get ruffled before they complete their mission!
Until the next update, stay tuned...
Topic started by abavi
Last replied by SirenMitra