It is best to love wisely, no doubt;
but to love foolishly is better than
not to be able to love at all.
He was falling, into a massive black hole.
He hit rock bottom.
He rubbed his eyes open. A flash of white light. Then, a voice.
What matters to you the most in this world, son?
He felt compelled to answer this mysterious yet soothing, and commanding, all at the same time. He didn’t need to think.
Do you love her?
With every single atom in my body.
Do you want to spend the rest of your life with her?
Yes, most definitely.
Do you want her to come back to you?
He thought harder this time.
No. No. I, just want her to be happy. She should get all the love that she deserved from me, but didn’t get.
Someday, my prince will come.
Someday, we’ll meet again.
And away to his castle we’ll go,
To be happy forever I know.
Someday when spring is here,
We’ll find our love anew.
And the birds will sing,
And wedding bells will ring.Some day when my dreams come true.
Ding – Dong.
Ding – Dong.
Who could it have been? Nobody ever came to his house. The sound of the doorbell was strange for his ears. The only communication with the outside world through his flat had been when the milkman or the newspaper man wanted their monthly payments. But in the evening, no. It had been a year, and, not once.
Arnav slowly walked to the door, a little suspicious of who it might be. He opened the door hesitantly. Before it was even open, an exuberant Lavanya pushed it open with her hands and jumped in joy, pulling Arnav into a bear hug.
“Oh ASR! How have you been?”
Arnav was definitely taken aback, but it felt good to see her, he felt a sense of comfort. At least someone still cared about his existence!
“La..” Arnav began to address her, while still hugging her.
Lavanya immediately pulled away from Arnav before answering any of his questions.
“ASR, I have a surprise for you.” she said, taking Arnav’s hand in hers and pulling him out.
Arnav couldn’t believe the sight before him. His eyes fell on the perambulator and the baby that lay in it, and then on the woman holding it, Khushi, his Khushi.
Arnav loked at Lavanya, the baby and Khushi, and then back at Lavanya, utterly confused. Could it have been possible that?
Lavanya’s eyes teared up looking at Arnav.
Oh, these two had so much to figure out still.
She was appalled at the kind mess they had made of their lives when she left them. She thought they’d figure everything out soon enough.
She looked at Arnav, who was looking at her questioningly, and nodded, she understood his question.
“Is she.. I mean.. Is that?”
“Yes Arnav, she’s yours. This little darling is yours and Chamkeelis!”
Arnav turned to look at Khushi just as Lavanya uttered those words. Khushi hadn’t said a word to him.
“ASR, look at her. She’s such a doll, she’s got your eyes.”
Arnav didn’t look at Lavanya, his gaze was fixated at Khushi. She wasn’t letting a glimmer of emotion to show on her face, she looked so cold.
Maybe, she still hasn’t forgiven me, how can she possibly?
Arnav suddenly turned to look at his baby, he bent down to pick her in her arms, his baby. He could not believe it. His baby.
He wrapped his arms around her delicately and kissed her on her forehead, she was so tiny. With one arm around her, he rolled the perambulator into his house.
Lavanaya gestured Khushi to follow, and she did, obediently.
Once all of them were inside Arnav’s flat, Lavanya knew her work was done. She took the baby from Arnav and went into the room, announcing that the baby needed to sleep. Lavanya smiled to herself as she stepped out and shut the door behind her. They didn’t even try to stop her. They needed some space, and some privacy, but they had to be pushed into one room and locked so that they could talk.
He went and sat besides her, she hadn’t said a word. They hadn’t seen each other for a year. But they had thought of the other, every single day. They even had a baby together.
“Khushi” escaped Arnav’s lips, softly, but with so much longing, a longing for forgiveness.
She didn’t even glance at him, almost as if the sound hadn’t reached her ears. She continued to stare blankly out of the window, looking at the open sky. The clear sky, most unpredictably, was suddenly was becoming cloudy.
“Khushi” came in another whisper.
Arnav took her hand in his and caressed it. Her hand felt so cold.
He noticed, his touch didn’t have the effect it used to have. Not that he even expected it, but to know it for certain, hurt somewhat more.
She still didn’t turn to look at him, but she didn’t even withdraw her hand. She let him hold on to it. However much she tried to ignore it, she had missed him, missed having him around.
He took her hand and brought it to his lips, planting a peck on those soft cold hands.
“Khushi, I can’t even… I can’t… Khushi.”
He choked on his words.
“Khushi, thank you.”
Those two words didn’t seem enough. He didn’t know what he was more thankful for, the probability of her giving him another chance, or at their beautiful daughter who was in his bedroom with Lavanya.
He wanted to say so many things to her, but words wouldn’t come to him.
His gaze didn’t falter from her face as she continued,
“Arnav, I had no intention of coming here today, or ever.”
Those words hit him like ice.
“You listen to me today Mr.Arnav Singh Raizada.” She walked up to the window. The sky had turned a pensive shade of grey. The clouds were preparing to roar.
Arnav followed her, standing directly behind her.
“It isn’t chains that hold a marriage together. It’s the threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years. But our marriage, it was a contract. You mulched my dreams of a marriage and turned it into a business proposition.”
She turned and walked towards him. She enveloped his face with her hands and made him look up to her.
“Arnav. I know everything that happened after I left.”
There was havoc in the skies, the clods roared, as thunder and lightening struck.
She wiped a tear that crawled out of the corner of his eye.
“You must realize, there are no shortcuts in life, or even, love. That’s what makes us special, that’s what makes us worthy. The pain of how we love. But that pain, it is accompanied by something else. Hope. With that pain, is hope.”
“Arnav, trouble is a part of life. If you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough. You did that with me, and that’s what you even did with Anjali di.”
Khushi felt his weight on her, ashe let himself loose. He was broken, into so many pieces. The mighty Arnav Singh Raizada was crying it out.
She wanted him to let it out, all the pain, all the anguish, all the hurt. He needed to. Over the months, it had just built up in him. And, he needed to hear this.
They couldn’t afford creating another mess of their lives, not again, not when they were responsible for another’s life, not when they were parents.
“Khushi.. I don’t know where it stopped making sense. Where I should have stopped. I’ve hu..”
She brought her finger to his lips.
“Sssh. Arnav, nothing makes sense in the world. It’s a mystery, how everything happens. But, it’s what we do that counts. It’s our choices Arnav, which show what we truly are, more than anything else. How we both met, was fate. But, that doesn’t mean it was any easy. And hell, you know it. A lot of things came in between us. But it is faith, that makes it all worth it in the end. And the promise of never letting go.”
Arnav cupped Khushi’s face.
“Letting you go Khushi, was the worst mistake of my life. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make up for it.”
“I don’t regret the rain, or the nights I felt the pain, or the tears I had to cry some of those times along the way. Every road we had to take. Every time our hearts would break. It was just something we had to get thorugh. To get me to you. And I have found the paradox that, if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love. I have come here with no expectations, only to profess, now I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is, and always will be, yours.”
“Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada, if you ever decided to leave me again, I would go and find you, and being you home, because you would be wrong.”
He wrapped her arms around her, and pulled her closer by her waist. He leant over her, and Khushi could feel his hot breath on flush her cheeks. He whispered in her ear,
“I think you’re the closest to heaven I’ll ever be. And baby, I’m not done loving you.”
He went down on one knee, and took her hand in his, and with all the love in the world in his eyes he asked her,
“I want to do this the right way,
And he pressed his lips against hers. She was a little hesitant at first, but then, she kissed him back with even more passion.
All those brick walls of protectiveness the two of them had build around them came crumbling down. There was no need to worry about it, once he had her, and she had him.
Aranya was peacefully sleeping, and her mouth formed a crooked smile as the door creaked open. Her parents walked in, hand in hand to a Lavaya. Lavanya, who was literally sitting at the edge of the bed, with her eyes wide open, intently waiting to know what had happened. She had prayed several times that the two sort everything out. They were so perfect for each other.
“So, ASR, Khushi?”
Arnav walked up to behind her, and bent down, to kiss his daughter on her forehead.
Lavanya cast Khushi a quizzical look as, Aranv opened the drawer on his bedside. He returned with that little box and string of gold and black beads that Khushi had left him.
He opened the box and went up to Khushi. He took some of the red powder in his fingers and put in on her forehead. He then took the mangalsutra, and gently placed both his hands on her shoulders and turned her around on her heels.
He gently put aside her hair, and placed the mangalsutra, right where it was meant to be.
He kissed away the tears of joy that were blurring Khushi’s vision. He took her hand in his and placed it over his heart pounding against his chest.
“Khushi, from this day on now, and forever more, you’ll be in my heart.You, complete me.”
Lavanya got up from the bed and went to hug the two of them.
“Awwwe! ASR, Khushi” and she turned to look at Arnaya, who moaned in her sleep.
“..and Aranaya, I’m so happy for you today.”
The skies magically cleared, and the sun shone brightly on them.
Aranya ran from one room to another, with Arnav running closely behind her, with a plate of food in his hands.
“Beta, please come and take another bite.”
Khushi smiled to herself, as she looked over at her troubled husband, from the television. Her favorite show was on television was on air – Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, a story of two star crossed lovers, striving to create a world of their own.
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