Posted: 3 months ago

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11 Years 

I s s   P y a a r  K o  K y a  N a a m  D o o n ?


A n n i v e r s a r y   C o n t e s t s


with the beloved IPKKND and the world of ArShi marking eleven years since it's was put on-air, we are here to commemorate the day with contests celebrating the joyous occasion that granted us the love story for the ages, alongside beautiful communities surrounding it!


below are the submissions for the four contests held. read the rules and instructions for voting before proceeding;



r u l e s


  • The sequence of entries posted below is 3 OS Submissions, 3 VM Submissions, 7 Signature-Creation Submissions, and 3 Poster Submissions
  • Each member, alongside participants is allowed to vote for 2 submissions from each category.
  • This is an upvote thread. Please do not comment in this thread, and only vote for the entries you want to vote for. 
  • Any participant caught promoting their entry will be disqualified. Participants of the contest cannot vote for their own entries.
  • VM submissions link will be removed once the voting ends.
  • Submissions for the contest were received by June 6th, 2022 11:59 EST. 
  • Voting for the contest starts June 11th, 2022 12:00 AM UTC. Voting will run for seven days and end on June 19th, 2022 12:00 PM UTC
  • Results will be announced on June 19th, 2022.
  • Good Luck to all the participants!!
  • Happy Reading, Watching, and Voting!!

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The participants put in a lot of time, and effort to create the fan art for submissions into this contest. Every silent viewer and those who are active, are consuming fan art content because of being part of this fandom/community. Please make sure to NOT download any of the VM submissions, plagiarize any of the fan fiction content, or appropriate any of the signatures that the participants put their energy in creating in order for us to foster community engagement around IPKKND. Support fellow fanart! Honor the creator's efforts and wait until participants are announced to reach out to them if you want to save their work offline. Thank you!


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IPKKND 11YR Contests were held as part of celebrations surrounding IPKKND marking eleven years since it first went on air on June 6th, 2011. Check out this thread celebrating the show, Arnav x Khushi, the Raizadas, Guptas, and Laxmi ji!!!

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note; this thread took five days to be made live because I had been under the weather. all members' and participants' patience is much appreciated! 

Edited by dramebaaz.af - 3 months ago
Posted: 3 months ago

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"Beetien Batain"



The clock struck one when Arnav stepped inside his bedroom. He felt a click in his bones just as he threw the bag in his hand on the floor and tried switching on the standing lamp in the corner of the room.


His eyes squinted for seconds before trying to focus on the view before him. The bed was made, with barely a crease in the sheets. He turned to see the vanity table behind him. The little tray that would often hold onto her rings and kangans was lying empty. He heaved a sigh whilst pacing the length of the room. 


The bag was left on the floor when he stepped out towards the pool. The water stood still without ripples in it. His eyes darted around while walking the length of the pool.


“Of course” he mumbled. 


He stepped back inside and walked towards the bedrooms shared between his sons. The door was left half ajar with the shadows of the night light lit inside illuminating the doorway. The door was gently pushed open. He walked towards the beds. Aryan’s face appeared tear-stained while snores escaped his nose. His brows furrowed with anxiousness. 


He turned to see Aarav sleeping soundly in his bed. Unlike the previous year, Aarav had been able to fly back right after the end of his semester back to them. His hand involuntarily reached out to smoothen the fallen strands of hair from his forehead. 


He stepped out of the room to step into the one right next to it. He often felt guilty about having a preference but Esha was his favorite. His lips curled into a smile to see her asleep peacefully. 


He closed the door behind him before looking around again. Where could she be? 


“Khushi!!” He said her name, letting the walls bounce off much.


He paced all around the house. Not in the kitchen. Not in the mandir. Not in the gardens. Not in any of the other children’s rooms. Not in the study. Worry and despair filled up inside him. He felt his heart threatening to burst with anxiety and rage.


“This is beyond irresponsible” he muttered under his breath before pulling out the phone. The darn thing was out of battery. He heaved a sign before walking back to his room to plug in the phone and change.

 

Stepping out of the bathroom minutes later, he lurched towards the phone to call his beloved. It took a good five minutes which felt like an hour before she picked up. 


“Kahan ho tum!”


“Huh?”


“Maine pucha kahan ho tum!” He was doing his best to keep his tone in check.


“Lucknow mein! Kuch hua hai kya? Bache theek hain?” The drowsiness was evident in her tone through the brief slip of worry etched in between.


“Lucknow mein?? Lucknow mein kya kar rahi ho?”


“Aik toh aap shaant ho jaye pehle. Lagta hai aap ke raqeeb ne aap ko bataya nahi.”


“Kya bol rahi ho Khushi!” He was exasperated, “Lucknow mein kya kar rahi ho!”


“Hum akele nahi aain hain! Jiji bhi hain hamere saath! Aur humare flight ke tickets Aman ji ne book kiye thi!”

“Aur hum Lucknow aise Thori aain hain! Amma ko laga ke babu ji ko dil ka dora para hai phir!”


“WHAT” he exclaimed! In the past years, he had urged Shashi to perhaps hire more help to run their family shop but he had been adamant since the day he regained his ability to walk, to take back charge himself.


“Ghabrane ki baat nahi hai!” She interrupted, “Sirf blood pressure high tha! Khair hum kal subha waisa aa jaain ge! Jiji kuch din aur rukein gi!” 


“Hmm”


The anger bubbling inside him from mere minutes ago find itself subsiding but he was still displeased with the way things had unfolded. His train of thoughts and muddled feelings found themselves being cut off by her voice. 


“Aap ghar abb ayain hain?”


“Kya?”


“Ghar! Aap aab aain hain?!”


“Haan. Kuch dair pehle!” 


“Aik toh khud itni dair se aain hain opar se phone kar ke humme dantne ka plan tha aap ka!” She sounded upset.


“Aise batae baghair ghaib ho jao gi toh kya phone kar ke shayeri sunaoin ga?”


“Aap ko pachas dafa call kiya aur aap ke phone pe messages bhi chore. Aman ji aur jija ji dono ko pata that ke hum kahan hain! Aap kisi ke haath aainge toh pata chale ga na ghar mein kya ho raha hai!” 


“Wapis kab aa rahi ho?” He asked, swiftly switching the trail of her complaints.


“Kal Arnav ji! Aab hum sone ja rahein hain! Aap bhi so jaye!”


He stood still for a few seconds, unable to process that she had hung up on him. It had been just a bit over nine years since their wedding but the bickering often felt the same as it did in the days leading up to their wedding. She had just said that Akash was flying in but was he just supposed to go to bed knowing she was planning on coming back a few hours later anyway. His hand raked through his hair, wondering if he should be impulsive or stay back home.


– –


Khushi opened the door of the house thinking it was the milkman but instead it was her husband. 


“Aap??”


“Haan main!” 


He didn’t smile but stepped inside without being invited. With years in between visiting Gotmi Sadan, he had grown just as well versed with the layout of the house as his kids.


Khushi’s mouth briefly fell open at being pushed back but then she rolled her eyes at the expected reaction before closing the doors behind her. Maybe she’ll be able to get more shut-eye time with him here but before she could lament over how much she could relax further, her mind rang with the concerns over Esha being left under the care of Mama, Mami, and Nani ji alongside her cousins and brothers.


She looked up to see him slowly walking towards the table to fill the empty glass with the water from the pitcher.


“Aap yahan hain toh Aryan, Aarav aur Esha ka kya?!”


“Ghar mein aur loog bhi hain mere ilawa! Aur mein Sunaina ko subha bula kar aya hoon!”


“Agar aise ayah aur nanny se sambhaltein laad governor ke bache toh kya hi baat hoti!” She mumbled.

 

“Kuch kaha tum be?”


“Nahi!” She replied annoyed.


He gulped the water down before looking at her, “Akash shaam mein Priya aur Aditiya ke saath aye ga," he informed.


“Haan Mami ji ne jiji ko rukne ke leye kaha tha jab phone aya tha tho. Warna toh sirf hum hi aate.” She added glumly.


He pulled a chair out to seat himself while looking at her. She followed suit wondering if he wanted to say something while still finding herself daydreaming about the bed left half unmade with her sister still sleeping in.


“Khushi kitni dafa kaha hai ke batae baghair ghaib nahi hua karo!”


“Aap aise bol rahein hain jaise hum har dosre roz ghaib ho rahein hote hain”


“Apni mujhe chor ke jaane ki dhamkiyaan bhool rahi ho!” He reminded her 


“Un ko kaafi saal ho gayin hain!” She brushed off the memories.


The two were close to breaking into an argument over the events that had surpassed in the past few hours when Garima finally walked out. She had been in the middle of pulling and fixing the pallu of her sari when she spotted Arnav’s back on the chair. 


“Arre bitwa hum tumhe hi yaad karre rahe!” She exclaimed thinking it was Akash until her eyes rested on Khushi’s face. Arnav turned around just in time for her track to stop in between. 


“Oh”


“Kya hua Amma?”


She chuckled uncomfortably realizing that it was a Arnav instead before stepping towards the couple. Arnav smiled at her and slowly moved to stand up.


“Humme laga Akash bitwa rahe par yeh toh Arnav bitwa rahe!”


“Namaste Aunty! Akash shaam mein aai ga dono bachoon ke saath.” He informed


She nodded for a moment smiling. “Acha hai! Hum uthe toh yaad aya raha ke aaj ke din hi payalia ki pehli shaadi teh kiye rahe na! Devi mayyian ki kilpa rahi ke Aakash bitwa Payaalia ki jeevan mein aye rahe!”


"Woh, tabiyaat, Babu ji ki tabiyaat kaisi hai ab?" Arnav asked, breaking the unexpected morning trail Garima seemed to be on. 


She blinked blankly at Arnav for a good second before realizing the question, "Oh, kal shaam see bohot behtar bitwa!" She started, "Bohot dhanevar ke aap ne aur Akash bitwa ne dono betiyaan ko kal bhejwa diya. Bohot aasani ho gai." She continued before abruptly stopping to ask that if Akash was bringing the children later, why hadn't he brought his and Khushi's kids alongside, "Damad ji app bhi bacho ko le aate?”


“Nahi phir kabhi!” He smiled.


“Haan Amma humein bhi kaam hai toh hum dono kuch dair mein niklein ge.” Khushi added. "Jiji ho gi an aap ke saath."


“Haan, acha. Theek” Garima trailed off, “Chalo, jab tak tumre Babu ji utthe hain tab tak baitho phir sab naashta saath karte hain!” 


“Ji.” The two nodded as she turned to go away towards the kitchen. 


Khushi felt her cheeks growing hot realizing she had completely forgotten that today was the day they had met one another. She didn’t know what was happening but the smaller moments that once met a whole lot found themselves flipping away from her mind to make space for something else. She looked towards Arnav to see him staring absently at the glass on the table. She wondered if he had planned something again this year as he did last year. 


Guilt pooled inside of her with each passing moment. The day they should've spent reminiscing, and alone together, started out with him being out of reach, and her leaving the way she left even if it was for less than twenty-four hours. 


His eyes hesitated to look up to hers for a few minutes. It might have been eleven years since the day they had met but somehow with each passing year, the memories of that day become more and more stark in his mind. He liked that she fell into his arms but everything that followed that moment made him want to crawl up inside of himself. How did he let himself treat someone the way he treated her!


Their muddled thoughts came to a halt with Payal walking out, followed by Khushi walking away to help her father get ready. Arnav followed suit to help her while the family prepared for the day to begin. 


– –


Arnav opened the door of the car for Khushi for them to be driven to Shesh Mahal's airpad to take their flight back. Between the hustle bustle of the morning, the two had barely gotten more than two words out to address last night's argument. She eased herself in once he came to sit next to her and the driver took the car onward to it's destination. 


"Woh.." She started trailing off.


"Office aa jati batane!" He said softly.


"Sab kuch itni jaldi mein hua ke humme waqt nahi mila!" She said, "Warna hum bachoon ko aise thodi chorte. Aur phir restaurant ka kam bhi chora kar aise ana." She exclaimed, sharing how she had to leave the meetings at her restaurant midway.


"Pata hai mujhe."

"Bas, tumhe pata toh hai ke tumhare baghair," he started but her hand on his brought his words to a halt.


He smiled and let out a sigh of relief. She was fine. Her father was fine. Everything will be fine.


"Waise aapko yaad that ke aaj kon sa din hai?" She asked softly.


"Tumhe?" He teased, knowing she too had forgotten.


"Humain aap ki ankhien yaad hain. Jab pehli dafa un mein dehka tha." She teased


"Acha. Pehle toh kabhi nahi bataya tum ne."


"Aaj ke din ka intizaar kar rahe the na, iss liye!" She chuckled.


He rolled his eyes while a grin stretched over his face. His fingers intertwined with hers and he lifted her hand to kiss the back of it. She smiled and inched close towards him to rest her head. The ride soon came to a halt and the two found themselves staring at the grounds of the mansion before boarding, remembering the whirlwind romance that started it all. 


– – – –

Edited by dramebaaz.af - 3 months ago


DO NOT COPY THIS POST AS THIS IS EXCLUSIVE TO INDIA FORUMS


Posted: 3 months ago

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"Save Your Tears"


These days Delhi was abuzz with rumors about a hush-hush separation between business magnate Arnav Singh Raizada and his wife, Khushi Raizada. Even AR’s employees were heard whispering in hushed voices,


“Did you hear the latest news? Arnav Singh Raizada is living separately from his wife, Khushi” one said,


“What? You must have misheard it” other AR employee showed his disbelief


“No. in fact, little birdie has it that he is rekindling his romance with his ex-girlfriend Lavanya Kashyap who herself is going through a divorce”


“I can’t believe this. We all know how head over heels ASR is in love with his wife Khushi.”


“Yeah, what can we say? These people never take marriages seriously anyway. Poor Khushi, she didn’t deserve this backstabbing.” They both agreed


 

The same evening, there was a party arranged in honor of the recent business acquisition by AR and naturally the said rumored estranged couple was supposed to make a presence.


It was a party in one of the posh clubs in Delhi where Lavanya was invited too, and he accompanied her. They turned eyes as they made an entry. Arnav and Lavanya, the ex-lovers from 11 years ago, and who seemed to have rekindled their romance! He took her hand as he stepped in, feeling utterly disturbed. Why not, his hands were accustomed to hold only khushi’s till now…


Arnav had invited Khushi too, but he was not sure if she will make a presence.


Suddenly a gust of wind carried the message that she was nearby. And sure enough, he spotted her, on the dance floor, dressed in a beautiful sleeveless gown, she looked happy or so she wanted everyone to believe.



I saw you dancing in a crowded room

You look so happy when I'm not with you

But then you saw me, caught you by surprise

A single teardrop falling from your eye

 

He had to go out! He couldn’t stand there, feeling suffocated. What was he doing? Why was he doing it?


I don't know why, I run away 

I make you cry, when I run away

Take me back 'cause I wanna stay
Save your tears for another, another day!*

 

He still remembers their family’s disbelief and shocked faces when he cold-bloodedly announced he and Khushi were separating. Khushi didn’t say a word and just took her bag and left.


You could've asked me why I broke your heart

You could've told me that you fell apart

But you walked past me like I wasn't there

And just pretended like you didn't care
Save your tears for another, another day!


They locked eyes across the room, and she looked away, unable to see him in arms of another woman while Arnav too tried to suppress the guilt he was feeling. But he was helpless.

 

Later that night,


Khushi was brushing her hair absent mindedly. It was tough to control her feelings when she saw him enter the party hall holding Lavanya’s hand. It took all her patience to pretend she was happy. But when she saw him there, she wanted to run behind him and stop him from being with Lavanya.


But she couldn’t.


She had to do this. This was the right thing to do.


Just then she heard a knock on her window. Smiling lightly, she opened it for the person to jump in


No sooner did he stepped in; Khushi was pulled in a heated kiss!


“umph-leave me” she tried to free herself from this sudden assault of his kisses!


“Not now, I am already in a very bad mood! Thanks to my wife who is hell bent on showing to the world that we are separated so she can save Lavanya’s marriage! In all this, who is getting tortured? ME!” Arnav was clearly annoyed. Yes, it was none other than Arnav Singh Raizada who had agreed to play along with Khushi’s plan so they could reunite Lavanya and her now husband Nk, who were thinking of separating. And Khushi’s ‘genius’ plan was to fake Lavanya and Arnav coming closer to make Nk realize what he was losing and Lavanya too to confront him.


But this whole separation drama was taking a toll on Arnav. After all, why the heck was he staying from his wife in all this bargain?

 

“Arnavji, sorry na. but you also must agree our plan is working. Didn’t you see how Lavanya ji was fuming with anger when she saw Nanheji there? And he was giving you murderous glares. They love each other Arnavji, we just need to give them a push.” She said keeping her palm on his cheek, to pacify his anger.


“to hell with their push. In all this, my wife is staying away from me, and it’s been a friggin month! I am done meeting you like a teenager sneaking out to meeting his girlfriend.”


“not my fault that you can’t stay away from me.” She pinched his nose in teasing way


“shut up khushi” Arnav rolled his eyes


“Waise, I am sure we’ll not have to carry this charade for long.”


“oh I hope so, because my patience is running lose. I need you in our room, in our bed asap now! At least before our 11th anniversary. You remember right or only remember someone else’s marriage now?” he scoffed


“haw Arnavji. I will never forget anything related to you and us! Don’t worry, it’s your wife’s promise that she will be back to you in your room by next week.”


“You better.” He said and pulled her back in his arms.

 

3 days later

The same two AR employees were talking about new gossip:


“Hey! Breaking news! ASR and his wife are back together and in fact going stronger than ever! Apparently, it was all a rumor, and they were never separated”


“I told you beforehand, ASR is head over heels in love with his khushi!”


“Yeah, and I heard even Lavanya Kashyap is back to her husband. Cute na?”


“very” the other employee rolled his eyes

 

In front of them was a photo of ASR holding his wife by her waist and planting a kiss on her cheek, while she had her eyes closed. The headline read - '11 years and going stronger!'


*song credit - The Weekend

Edited by dramebaaz.af - 3 months ago


DO NOT COPY THIS POST AS THIS IS EXCLUSIVE TO INDIA FORUMS


Posted: 3 months ago

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Sheesh Mahal


“Hi,” Khushi smiled as Arnav greeted her even before she entered their room. A couple of years ago she had decided to test their connection, determined to disprove NK’s ‘he surely cannot sense you everytime!’ She first removed her payals, then her sandals, she kept away her favourite jasmine perfume - anything that could have indicated Khushi’s presence. Once she even walked right behind NK to keep her shadow at bay. 


And every single time Arnav wished a ‘Hi’ five feet before she stepped in the room. 


NK obviously left with the upper hand by stating that Arnav could sense Khushi before she could step in, but not state ‘I love you’ till it was late until their elopement. Of course NK was met with a flying rolled magazine from Arnav’s end and Khushi realised apart from Arnav instinctively knowing where Khushi was, he also was great at throwing stuff from a distance without looking. 


“So, that’s good?” Khushi snapped from her thoughts and looked at Arnav.


“Huh, haan, yes it’s good.” She smiled. Arnav raised an eyebrow and shut his laptop.


“You didn’t hear a word of what I said, right?” Khushi flustered - did nothing ever escape his eagle eyes! - but of course she wasn’t Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada for nothing. 


“Of course I heard everything you said.” Arnav savoured Khushi’s attempt at lying. 


Achatoh repeat what I had just said.” Arnav leaned back on the lounge, a challenge bright in his eyes. 


“Why? Did you forget what you said? Maybe that’s why you’re asking me to repeat it.” Khushi said. Arnav only gave her a pointed look in response. Jutting her chin high she sat delicately next to him and stared right into his eyes.


“You were talking of Sheesh Mahal.” Arnav’s eyes widened. He was so sure she was busy in her thoughts. Khushi often had the habit of beginning a conversation and stopping it midway for whatever trail of thought she had. Khushi grinned at him. 


However, as much as Khushi loved Arnav seeing her in wonder, she found no glory in cheating. So she handed the file on the table to him. A file that had the words ‘Sheesh Mahal’ boldly written on it. 


“Unfortunately I’m not that talented.” Arnav laughed at her confession. 


“You’re plenty talented.” Arnav grinned, letting his eyes rest on her delectable body. Khushi slapped his chest, he gripped her hand and pulled her in for a hot kiss that ended too soon for her liking. 


“So, as I was saying,” Arnav opened the file, “I’ve finally gotten the permission to raze down Sheesh Mahal.” Khushi sighed. It was a hot debate between him and Anjali when the government forbid him to tear down the building owing to the heritage status Sheesh Mahal achieved that year. 


Anjali was convinced it was divine intervention. Arnav saw it as the last thorn pinning him to his traumatizing past. 


After multiple paperworks, money in the right hands and an election with a new MLA who wasn’t politically interested in old buildings for once - Arnav Singh Raizada finally had the permission. Perhaps that’s why Anjali left Shantivan a week earlier than she had promised - the siblings barely exchanging a word. 


“Do you really want it, Arnav-ji?” Khushi asked, sighing as he went tense under her touch.


“Ye-”


“Hear me out, if this was the place where all the things didn’t happen - would you still want to break the house-” Khushi held his hands but he took it away.


“Property, it’s not a house Khushi.” Arnav replied, sitting up, “And let’s not delve into what ifs. A lot could’ve happened then. A lot could have been saved.” Arnav stopped, realising his tone had a sharper edge than intended. Khushi was extremely quiet, clenching her fists with uncertainty. 


He hated whenever he made her uncomfortable. His experience told him he often brought up the past to blame her. A decade later, it pinched that she still expected to be judged the worst for nothing. 


Arnav took her hands in his and kissed her knuckles, Khushi softened under his touch and cupped his face. 


“I understand. If it’s what you want then I’m with you. Hamesha.” Khushi smiled weakly, soothed by his soft kisses. Perhaps a few years ago she would’ve fought with him to save his ancestral property - one of the signs of his past regardless of the trauma - for Khushi would’ve done anything to save a memory of her parents.


But she realised that he’s not her. She cannot recommend things to him based on what she would’ve done. 


“It’s also where we first met…” Khushi whispered, relieved at the soft smile on his face. 


“We would’ve met regardless,” Arnav mused. 


Acha? You’ve finally started believing in fate.” Khushi teased him and loosened his tie.


“Nope, I believe in you.” He confessed, pulling her closer. 

– – –

Khushi watched the grounds through the helicopter. Only Arnav Singh Raizada could be in a helicopter and check the news instead of the amazing sights of Lucknow from thousands of feet above in the sky. 


Laad Governor,” Khushi mumbled, happy that the noise was enough to drown her quip. Except he looked up from his phone and rolled his eyes. Knowing her, it was better to keep the phone away and ‘enjoy little moments’. 


He had Khushi next to him. That, was enjoyment enough. 


But Khushi’s excitement was infectious. To be honest, he was a little jealous of how Khushi seemed to enjoy the littlest pieces of life regardless of the number of experiences she had with her. It’s almost like she was flying for the first time. 


Khushi looped her arms with his and pointed to the little streets she could recognize from the sky. When she nearly clapped at their arrival to Sheesh Mahal, he had half the mind to keep the building for the glowing smile on her face. 


If there was a second thing he was jealous of Khushi, it was how anyone and everyone was truly drawn to her. Be it his office staff, his family - or now all the workers at Sheesh Mahal


Due to the ongoing case no one was permitted to the grounds so it had been years since Khushi saw the structure in detail. 


After an hour’s of touring guided by the local house-help, Khushi sat in the balcony with a cup of tea. 


“Arnav-ji you didn’t tell me this was built mirroring the Sheesh Mahals in Agra and Lahore. And you didn’t tell me this was three hundred years old!” Khushi sighed wistfully, imagining what a childhood it must’ve been to grow up here. After a moment she composed herself, knowing what this place meant for Arnav. Beyond the mirrors, beyond the beauty. 


“It’s ok Khushi, it is a pretty place.” Arnav comforted her and took her hand in his. He had always admired the vast curtains and n number of stairs. Fond memories of his mother’s evening prayers echoing all the walls washed through his mind.


“You can’t make a hotel or a museum out of it?” Khushi asked, looking around.


 

“Well the Maliks didn’t actually take care of this place did they? And my uncle sold almost all the chandeliers and decorations . It’ll take a lot of work to restore this place. In fact I’m surprised it’s still standing solid!” Arnav tapped a column and broke into a small laugh. 


“What happened?” Khushi asked. 


“I just realised this is the exact same place where I bought Sheesh Mahal back,” Arnav said.


Arnav relished the revenge as his penniless uncle’s stained smile fell. The huge Sheesh Mahal was back to who it belonged. A look at the building and he realised it had been stripped off almost everything he called him - not even the flowers were spared. Yet, it felt nice to steal the skeleton of history from the man who doomed the house in the first place. 


“Arnav ji!” Khushi broke his thoughts, “where did the fashion show happen?” 


“You want to see it?” Arnav asked. Khushi rolled his eyes at the rhetorical question. He extended his hand and she slipped her hand into it, skipping as he took her to the west wing of Sheesh Mahal


Khushi shivered when she reached the stage. Her exposed skin prickled at the warm June air. The heels wobbled under her feet. Thousands of eyes looked at her - and there was him, eyes piercing through the crowd, fixing her with a stare. 


Arnav closed his eyes, barely interested in the hub hub of the crowd until someone mentioned something was wrong on stage. Wrong? In ASR's show? He opened his eyes and before he was able to direct his full rage a glitter of green and gold fell in his arms. Her eyes were wide, lips parted and the clutch on his neck was too familiar for a stranger. 


The fireworks burst in the background as Sheesh Mahal, decorated like a bride, witnessed the union of the two most unlikely people. 


Khushi touched the walls, the memories eleven years ago as fresh as yesterday. She ran into the vast ground, and lay flat on the grass. 


“Khushi! What are you doing!” Arnav ran up to her.


“Lying on the grass.” Khushi pointed out the obvious. 


“Your suit will get soiled.” Arnav placed his hands on his hips, wondering if he could ever understand her eccentricities completely. 


“I have a husband who makes clothes for a living.” She quipped. She extended her hand, tugging him beside her. 


“I’m not going to lay on the grass. No one has mowed it. I-” Khushi flashed her puppy eyes at him and pouted. Arnav muttered a few curses under his breath and lay flat on the grass, uncomfortable at the prickly sensation.


“Sometimes I feel you and Kairaav are the same,” Arnav referred to their youngest child, folding his arms under his head. 


“Well, it’s a good thing he’s not going to be like his khadoos papa,” Khushi chuckled, cuddling closer to him. 


“Khushi what are you doing? Someone will come.” Arnav warned.


“That’s supposed to be my line.” Khushi laughed as he wrapped an arm around her, “and… you’re forgetting something.”


“What?” Arnav looked at her.


“Today we met for the first time.” Khushi sighed and rested her head on his chest. Arnav was quiet. Birds flew across the evening sky. Sheesh Mahal stood proud despite its age, and true to its name, reflected some of the setting sun’s light with its few mirrors on the couple laying on the grass. 


“Eleven years…” Arnav remarked, stroking a lazy hand through her hair. Khushi hummed in response. It seemed strange how the eleven years passed by. She had never known the wrong turn would lead her to the right direction. 


So much happened, yet all she remembered were the moments that etched him in her mind forever. 


The way he held her, face as handsome as a prince. The way he checked her out in the red saree, lighted their desires at once that never diffused. When he had saved her in the rain, his body warm despite the cold. When he had laughed - carefree - showing her the Arnav she had helplessly fallen in love with. When he caressed her ankle like it was made with gold and went down on his knees - for once they were equal in more ways than one. He stole her earring and heart, returned it all with an unforgettable dance, kiss and bangles she treasured till date. When he showed her stars and took her to the universe with pleasure and promise. A promise he lived upto by arriving at the wedding despite all, for he had given his word. 


Arnav ran his fingers through the length of her hair, wondering how quickly the eleven years passed and how little he had expected when the first time he met Khushi. If he had known she was the one, he wouldn’t have broken the kiss, would’ve given more than a dance, and let the barriers be down even before life had changed things for him. 


There was no regret. Arnav Singh Raizada never regretted. 


But he did wonder how things would’ve been if it had been sooner. If he had more moments to love Khushi - right from the beginning. When Khushi nuzzled closer, he shook his head. Even though he long gave up on the notion that the ends justifies the means, he wouldn’t question how or why they met. 


She was with him and he wouldn’t trade it for anything. 


“You know this was a rose garden,” Arnav commented after a long time, “and of course, like everything else the roses are gone. Every essence of this being a house has gone with it.” Arnav broke the cuddle and got up, dusting his pants. He extended his hand to Khushi and pulled her up, enjoying the familiarity of her brushing too close when she fell against him. 


Khushi looked at his eyes, then flickered her gaze to his lips. Arnav curled his hand around her nape and kissed her. She looped her arms around his neck, opening her mouth and running her fingers through his hair. 


Arnav moved his hands up and down her back, when she suddenly broke away. 


“What?” He asked. Khushi pointed afar. 


Arnav cleared his voice and turned around to give an explanation to whoever was peeking in with him and his wife but was left speechless at what he saw. 


A rose


“It wasn’t all taken away Arnav-ji,” Khushi smiled, giving him a comforting squeeze as his eyes misted at the lone rose. It was the same kind his mother had planted years ago. Arnav crouched by the flower, touching the petals gingerly. 


“Arnav-ji,” Khushi said, after a moment, “it’s time to go…” 


Arnav stood up and looked at the house and grounds. Perhaps everything was not gone


“I think I can restore it. No one knows Lucknow better than me and I come from a line of generational artisans. Buajimight know some people whose families might’ve worked in building Sheesh Mahal. And we can make it something that can be of use to other people. That I need to think about.” Khushi smiled, knowing that if Arnav hadn’t interrupted her till now - he was thinking of the same thing too. 


“Let’s see if the ground is still good for roses.” He mused, sniffling a stray tear with the back of his sleeve. 


He tugged her hand to leave, 


“Arnav-ji, that’s not the exit.” Khushi pointed out as he took her inside the Sheesh Mahal.


“I know.” Arnav said, navigating through the multiple corridors and stairs with ease. 


“Then where are you taking me?” Khushi asked, smiling widely.


“You haven’t seen my room, haina?” Arnav asked. 


“B-but Arnav it must be musty! We can’t-” Khushi shut up as Arnav stopped on his feet and stared at her in surprise.


“I was thinking of showing you my childhood room. That’s it..” Arnav grinned. Khushi blushed. 


“Arnav!” Khushi exclaimed when Arnav scooped her in his arms. 


“Now that you’re suggesting, let me inform you that my room is the only one I keep upto date.” Arnav said, carrying her through the corridor. Khushi looped her arms around his neck and smiled. 


If eleven years ago someone told Arnav that the walls of Sheesh Mahal would hear laughter, he would imagine it’s a dream he hadn’t woken up from.


If eleven years ago someone told Khushi that a Rajkumar would carry her into Sheesh Mahal, she wouldn’t have believed it. 


And where Khushi had been questioned for taking things into her hand and then Arnav was questioned for having a show in Lucknow, they were grateful that on one fateful night a certain Khushi Kumari Gupta slipped and fell straight into the heart of an Arnav Singh Raizada. 

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