Kolkata, September 2015

5.15 AM

She groaned and turned to lie on her stomach; sliding the phone she was holding in her left hand under the mountain of pillows her head was propped up against. She let snuggled deeper into the softness under her head and smiled. Her mother would have disapproved of the bedding. She would complained endlessly about how it wasn’t good for the back, the neck and practically every perceivable body part. But what was the point of being in a plush resort if she couldn’t even enjoy basic comforts such as three ultra-soft pillows under her neck and being away from Ma.

She closed her eyes at the thought and willed herself to sleep only to open them what only seemed like an eon later and check her phone again.

5.17 AM

“Screw it” Khushi muttered to herself and quickly pushed the covers back to jump out of bed. As her feet made contact with the cool, faux-brick tiled floor of the unfamiliar hotel room, she stretched her arms wide, allowing every nervous crick in her arms to ease itself out.

Except nothing was going to ease itself today, she thought to herself glumly as she allowed her arms to fall back to her sides with a loud floppy sound.

As if on cue, her mobile beeped, the sound almost garish in the way it pierced through the stillness of an imminent dawn. She stepped back to slide her hand under the pillow and extract the phone. She didn’t need to swipe the phone open to see who it was.

Since you are already up, can you please wake me up at 6.30? I have an early class today.

On any other day, she would have smiled at the message and shaken her head in wonder. On any other day, she would have swiped the message open and replied with as much enthusiasm as the message was sent with.

Today, however, the knowledge that her sister knew exactly how miserable she must be to have woken up an hour and half before she needed to, didn’t bring her any sense of relief, warmth or consolation.

“Stop being so dramatic, Khushi” She chided herself and walked into the in suite bathroom to begin what she knew was going to be a long, long day.

Forty-five minutes later, she was seated, fully dressed and more nervous than ever, in the breakfast lounge of the plush resort.  She could see the expanse of the Ganges from the open lounge, still grey in the prelude to dawn and yet so gentle and soothing in its flow, it made Khushi want to walk over and stare at the water and do nothing else. The river was at its serene best as she saw it, a vast change from how she was used to seeing her favorite river in the past few years.

Smiling softly, she turned her head away and glanced around the lounge. As expected, breakfast service had not yet started. In fact, the breakfast staff at the resort had only started to filter in a couple of minutes after Khushi had occupied a corner table, well hidden by a pillar. As she watched the staff began to meticulously go about their respective tasks, the mundane-ness of their activity seemed almost soothing to Khushi’s well-frayed nerves.

In those moments, Khushi envied everyone who was going about their day according to pre-defined, familiar, comfortable routines – those that they had been following for years without break.

If only she could be one of them today…

They said change was difficult. For Kaveri Khushi Gupta, that was the biggest understatement of her life. If there was one thing she hated, it was change. So much so that she could count on her fingertips, every major change that had occurred in her life as far back as her memory could go. Worse, she could recount every one of the days associated with the change with bitter clarity that rose in her throat like bile.

At one point, she had even considered the possibility of a mild case of Asperger’s.

Her mobile beeped again and Khushi picked it up, this time smiling as she read the brief text

Are we on Asperger’s yet?

The smile turned into a chuckle as she breathed in deeply and quickly typed up a reply.

Stop reading my mind.

As she expected her phone beeped with a reply before she could place it back discreetly on the table.

I wish I had the power. Unfortunately my talent is limited to years of forced company with you and a lot of access to your whining. And of course, My Name Is Khan.

Khushi grinned again and pressed the “call” button on her phone, not surprised when she heard her sister’s slightly groggy voice even before there could a ring tone.

“Good morning, Di.”

“You asked me to wake you up. So…” Khushi said drily. “Wake up.”

“Thank you, Di. You are the world’s best alarm clock. Even if you are a little too high strung for your own good.” Tripti said sleepily, her voice ringing with open amusement Khushi knew could be directly attributed to her state. “So, do you feel like throwing up yet?”

Khushi’s stomach growled in answer and she shook her head. “Not yet. Right now, I am just hungry. I just wish they would open the buffet soon.”

Tripti laughed. “Food is the answer to all problems, yeah?”

Khushi made a face. “It most certainly is the answer to nerves.”

“I never understood why new beginnings bother you so much, Di. I mean I understand nervousness about something unfamiliar but you aren’t twelve any more. How tough can it be?”

Khushi closed her eyes and sighed. “Let’s just say new beginnings scare me, okay? Change is my big fear. Like lizards are yours.”

As expected, there was a shriek from the other side of the phone. Khushi could see her sister’s horrified expression and her balled up position at the end of her bed. “Why? Why would you do that? I don’t need to start my day thinking about lizards…” Tripti said breathily, her voice quavering as she spoke. “You are mean. I hope you have a rotten week. Bye.”

“I will, don’t worry. Bye,” Khushi said with a wry chuckle and placed the phone on the table guiltily. She had been slightly mean. Tripti’s fear of lizards was legendary but real. It was a cheap shot to bring it up. In her own defense, however, Khushi couldn’t deny that her sister had been asking for it, what with all the teasing.

Once again, Khushi smiled at her own childishness. Some days she had remind herself that Tripti and she weren’t twelve and nine respectively. And yet, Khushi loved every minute of absolute ridiculousness that she shared with her sister. Knocking on wood quickly, she pushed her chair back and decided to walk up to where the buffet spread was being laid. She could smell the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and that marked the end of her patience.

As she was pouring herself a large mug of strong, black coffee, she felt a presence next to her. Turning her head, she looked up to see familiar warm brown eyes smiling down at her.

“Arjun!” She exclaimed. “When did you get here?” She asked, giving him a hug with her one free hand.

“Late last night. My flight got cancelled and airline didn’t have another flight to Kolkata. I had to pester, threaten, yell, plead – the airline to get any other airline, any other flight they could. It was such a nightmare. Don’t ask.” He said wearily, reaching out to pour himself a cup of hot tea.

“I told you to get in earlier. But no….”

“No lectures, Kavi. My head is still pounding. I couldn’t sleep last night. To top all my travel woes, they’ve given me a smoking room and it just…” He shrugged his shoulders as if shaking a coat of smoke off his shoulders.

It should have surprised her that even after all these years, Arjun couldn’t bring himself to call her Khushi. He was the only one who called her Kavi. And it was endearing. She was Kaveri to the world, Khushi to those she loved and Kavi to Arjun. A twinge of emotion she had long forgotten pinched her. If only… Khushi shook her head to clear the train of thoughts that she knew would follow.

Awwww, poor you.” Khushi said as they walked back together to the table Khushi had to herself. “No wonder you here already. You didn’t make it to breakfast even once in the last two years despite my constant pleading…”

“Pleading? More like bullying..” Arjun scoffed as he slid into the chair.

“Is it bullying if it doesn’t work?” Khushi asked rolling her eyes.

“Yes.” Arjun replied and then took a giant swig of tea. “I feel better.” He said with a dramatic sigh. “Anyway, how are you? Throw up yet?”

Khushi banged her palm against the table softly. “It happened once and that too because I had food poisoning. Stop badgering me both of you.”

Arjun frowned and looked around him. “Ermmm, Kavi – both? Has it come to hallucinations now?”

“Very funny.” Khushi replied. “I meant you and Tripti. She asked me the exact same question. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought you guys came up it together to annoy me.”

Arjun chuckled and went on to drain his cup of tea. “I can’t wait to get started.” He said as he put the cup down. If there was another thing that hadn’t changed in all the years that had gone by, it was his seemingly never-ending supply of enthusiasm. “I hear that orientation week at Alridge and May is one of the best in the industry. Very intense. In fact a couple of our classmates who started at MacMurphy’s last week were saying that they are adopting the A&M Week Zero at Murphy’s. Can you imagine?”

Khushi shrugged. “Stop talking like Murphy’s is God’s gift to the Management Consulting industry. I always preferred A&M.”

Arjun let out a snort. “I know we are here and everything, Kavi but A&M doesn’t come anywhere close to what the consultants at Murphy’s get to do, especially how much they get to charge their clients. Last I heard, their average billing rate is three times A&M’s at each level. There’s a reason for that, you know. They get the better talent.”

“And they breed the bigger jerks. I don’t care for MacMurphy honestly. And unlike you I never wanted to be placed with them. So…”

“Sure you didn’t.”

Khushi frowned, her brows knitting in fierce battle as she did. “I did not!” She exclaimed. “How can you forget? The first time we met the Murphy reps at the Consulting Club inauguration, I told you that they were rude and full of themselves. They may be the smarter ones but I wouldn’t want to spend one day with that firm.”

She knew that her voice had risen in volume considerably like it did when she spoke with feeling. And this was a topic she felt strongly about. Management Consulting had been her career of choice since she had first worked with a bunch of consultants in her first job as a R&D engineer at a leading car manufacturer. And once she had found her way to the Institute of Management, her dream had not only sharpened but also acquired a name – Alridge and May – one of the best Management Consulting firms in the country – one that was known to be different because it focused on employees as people and not just as the assets that rake in dollars. Khushi colored slightly and looked around to make sure she hadn’t attracted any attention to herself with her rant. Thankfully for her, it was still ten minutes short of 7 am and the breakfast lounge was still as sparsely populated as when she had first arrived.

Breathing a sigh of relief, she flicked her gaze back to Arjun. To her surprise, he was grinning from ear to ear at her.

“You did that on purpose.” She said, narrowing her eyes.

“Only so that you would realize that you wanted to be here. That this new beginning is a good one. And all the nervousness that’s making you chew your finger nails down to their roots, is ridiculous. Now, you can thank me by getting me a muffin from that tray.”

Khushi turned to look in the direction that Arjun was pointing at and quickly rose from her chair, ignoring Arjun’s guffaws as her stomach growled indecently.

“I need food.” She announced and quickly headed towards the buffet spread, not aware that her earlier nervousness had already disappeared into thin air.

—————

 

A couple of hours later, they were finally seated (next to each other as expected), in the large boardroom that had been reserved for the new batch of consultants of 2014 at Alridge & May.

And Khushi’s hyperventilation, was back.

With a vengeance.

 “You have got to be kidding me!” Khushi exclaimed as she flipped through the program schedule that had been placed in front of her.

“Shhhh”

She looked up to see the rest of the rather quiet conference room looking at her, all of its occupants having come together instinctively to shush her unintentionally loud voice. She felt her face flood with color and smiled sheepishly at the others before mouthing a quick apology to the coordinator of who was looking at her with a bemused smile.

“What?”

Khushi looked sideways to see Arjun flipping through the schedule and a few pre-read materials that they had been given at the start of the seven day orientation program. For a moment, she almost considered not telling Arjun about her discovery. He wouldn’t understand. Or maybe he would understand too much and then…

“You should be thankful you have four days to prepare yourself. What if that session had been the first one? Imagine that.”

Khushi narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. “How long have you known?” She asked in a hushed whisper, thankful for the fact that the day hadn’t been kicked off yet. She needed to calm herself. As if it wasn’t enough that this was her first day on this job, the job of her dreams – one that would give her everything she had been conditioned to long for.

Arjun continued to read through the sheaves of paper in front of him. “About five minutes.” He answered without bothering to lift his head and look at her.

Khushi tilted her head to one side and raised her eyebrow in disbelief.

“Don’t give me the K-roll.” He said dryly, still continuing to keep his eyes averted from her gaze. “I saw the name a couple of minutes after we were given the agenda. And the only reason I didn’t bring it up is because I knew it would come up anyway.” He said drily. “And I am not lying.” He insisted a second later, finally lifting his head to look straight at her.

Khushi continued to stare into his eyes, scanning through them to see if she could spot anything that…

“I would have told you had I known, Kavi. At least give me that much credit. I haven’t actually been following his career you know?”

Khushi let out an ungainly snort. “Yeah, right. The term groupie was relevant at a point, if I remember correctly.”

“Anymore.” Arjun quipped, his voice forceful and simmering with something she hadn’t heard in a long, long time. “And groupie? I know we use the term rock star liberally but might be too much.”

Immediately she looked away. Every once in a while something came up to remind Khushi of just how thread-bare her relationship with Arjun had become at one point. The occasions had become fewer and farther in between in the last couple of years and still…

“You are not lying.” She repeated softly, more to herself than to her friend. She shouldn’t have doubted him in the first place. But when destiny had decided to make her life miserable at predefined intervals and one common recurrence, what choice did she have but lose sight of her basic instincts about people?

“You know, if only you had given your curiosity free reign in the past couple of years, you would have known too. Well, you would have at least known to anticipate this. Only you can be this surprised about an event with greater than ninety percent probability of occurrence, especially in age of social networking”

Khushi drew herself up to full height. “I am against social networking in principle and you know that. And please give me credit – I tried to like Facebook, pun intended. But I am sick of people flaunting what they have on one more platform. Pictures of exotic vacations, weddings that should strictly belong only to Karan Johar films, …”

“You like Karan Johar films.” Arjun interjected.

“Only Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and that is…” Khushi shook her head and held up her hand. “That’s not the point. I am sick of all these supposedly fantastic things happening to people. And have you seen the amount of PDA in there?  It makes me want to throw up…” Khushi gagged exaggeratedly. “My life is miserable enough, thank you very much.”

“There you go again!” Arjun whispered, his voice brimming with barely concealed exasperation. “Your life is not miserable.”

Khushi snorted again. “It’s an expression.”

“It’s not. You are just being a pessimistic idiot as always” Arjun concluded as went back to his reading.

Khushi continued to stare at her friend, her thoughts alternating between wanting to whack Arjun sharply for being too honest about his opinion of her and wanting to run away so that she would have to face what the week held in store. Unfortunately for her, she knew that neither was truly an option – the former because every word Arjun had uttered was true – she could be unrealistically pessimistic with very little warning; and the latter because, this job, this new beginning was everything she had worked all her life for – a career of her choice, financial independence and the path to a comfortable, even luxurious life

She looked down at the piece of paper in front of her, her eyes glued to the name that was threatening to disrupt her world. Again.

She should have known. She should have expected. After all if there had been one common thread that linked all her new beginnings in the last decade, other than nervousness and nausea, of course, it had been this…this name.

She allowed herself to read again, this time slowly as she digested every syllable

Friday, 2 pm – 5 pm

Session: Working In Teams – The Power of Synergy

Instructor: Arnav Varun (Senior Manager, Service Area: Strategy)

“Which office, Arjun?” She whispered. She didn’t have to look at Arjun’s what-do-you-think expression to know the answer to her question.

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Aye Ajnabi

Album: Dil Se

Singers: Udit Narayan, Mahalakshmi Iyer

Music: AR Rahman

Lyrics: Gulzar

Tu to nahin hai lekin teri muskurahatein hain
Chehra nahin hai par teri aahatein hain
Tu hai kahan kahan hai
Tera nishaan kahan hai
Mera jahan kahan hai
Main adhoora tu adhoori jee rahein hain

215 thoughts on “Prologue: (Back To) Square One

  1. Welcome back Meera! I have read almost all of your stories so far except for EIT and I am thoroughly looking forward to the journey of ‘A River Runs Through It” along with you and the many readers. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah the joys of down filled pillows piled high, who cares about future wrinkly necks! Is Khushi happy to be away from a well meaning Ma or a draconian Ma?

    Tripti sounds like a great younger sister, cheeky, caring. I was amused when you said she’d replied to Khushi’s text even before she could put the phone down … the sheer speed at which people can text continues to confound me.

    Arjun seems to know Khushi very well. He knows how to take her mind off her frettings. You wrote of his voice becoming “forceful and simmering” after Arnav was mentioned. I’m intrigued to know about their past. Someone he once hero worshipped having feet of clay because of whatever transpired between Kavi and him? Seems he didn’t agree with it, if it had caused straining of relations between them.

    The name Kaveri seems to suit Khushi perfectly going by all that you’ve written of her.

    She’s met him and had her life disrupted by him, but he continues to be an ‘ajnabi’?

    Can’t wait to read more …

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Brilliant start Meera already loving Tripti and Khush’s bond. Arjun is fab. Awee I have the same issue anxiety when there is some change. Loving the start… oh so there is something between Arnav n Khushi already. Can’t wait for Tuesday.

    Like

  4. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

    But I am here…better late than never right!

    Sisters…I love stories with sisters. Underlying the comfort, habits, bullying and tiffs is the love that has the strength to fight the tide of time. I’m looking forward to the sisters (rivers) and their journey towards the sea and ocean.

    And Friends…What can we do without friends in life? They are our support system. They are there through good and bad times. They offer a shoulder to cry on and high-five your success and dance and drink with you till the wee hours of the morning. No judgements and only encouragements and suggestions.

    Your story obviously has these components and I for one am looking forward to read it. Simple is good. A simple life is the best thing if you ask me. So I look forward to your simple story told at your pace.

    And Varun Arnav…hmmm… the ex… waiting to see the sparks, discomfort and or whatever you propose to show…

    Good Luck M!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great prologue, Meera! Funny that I was lying in bed propped up over 5 pillows, surfing when I decided to finally read your prologue! And that’s how I read it and am typing in this comment! clearly it back to square one for Khushi and Arnav. She’s not looking forward to it; I wonder if he is? Btw, I love the names Kaveri Khushi Gupta and Arnav Varun

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  6. And you are back with a BANG! You’ve made me so so happy:-)
    I absolutely love the prologue. Khushi and Tripti’s conversation tells it all what a wonderful bond the sisters share. It seems Arjun is a common friend of both khushi and Arnav and poor dear. wouldn’t want myself ever stuck in such a position.
    can’t wait for the next chapter.

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  7. What a beautiful start.

    Love your stories and the characters in them, the reason is simple. They cover a spectra and this spectra is so easy to walk along and also feel their emotions. It is a flow which carries you along and you have added your magical touch this time as well with more music with the story.

    Looking forward to this journey along the banks of the Ganges.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Joining another journey of your story, this one though from the beginning and I can’t be more than happy, thanks to Sandhya.

    Simple story is good, hope life could be simple as well.

    So far you wrote to two important component of a story/life needed to live. Siblings, the inherited right to bully, joke, leg pull and share everything with.

    The second one being friends. They are those siblings which good forgot to give us by birth. The best lot is the one who are there to support you always, no questions asked, no judgment, point blank honesty and they somehow always know what you want to heara nd when.

    Here Arjun and Khushi’s relation is of same category. And there talk after the mention of Arnav got me intrigued as to what happened in the past to bring change on Arjun from following Arnav’s career path.

    And the song, I love it, every word of it’s lyrics. And if holds true to this update or story, than even though Arnav causes the disputation or the much hated change in Khushi’s life, she still cherishes the memories.

    “Tu to nahin hain per Teri ahatein hain,
    Chehra nahin hain per muskurahatein hain.”

    Like

  9. It seems i am horribly late at this party. So so sorry!
    Are Arjun and Khushi childhood friends. They seem to know each other well. And Arjun hero worshipped Arnav? What went wrong between Khushi and Arnav? Can’t wait for them to meet again.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. welcome back!! it has been ages since you have weaved your magic on us! as usual your writing style leaves me enchanted. they flows fluidly and enriched with such clarity – one can only wait impatiently for the next chapter. i cannot wait to lose myself in your artistry. you promise and you deliver – and most importantly never let your readers down. it is a simple start to a wonderful tale – i have absolute faith in you meera. loads of love,
    chardonnay

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  11. I swear, I couldn’t quite believe that I was reading a new story by Meera when I began reading the prologue. It’s been so long!
    But then, as I continued, I realized that it couldn’t be anyone BUT Meera. I found all the comfort of knowing that I’ll find these characters super relatable (hate change passionately– routinely get called out on it by my little sister), along with all the thrill of anticipating discovering their quirks and what makes them tick and getting swept up in their journey.

    Oooh so there is obviously history between Arnav and Khushi here. But you say it’s not of the epic-tragic-scheming variety. Ah well, real life can be plenty heartbreaking/exhilarating without being epic-tragic.

    I’m even more excited to read this knowing that lots of this is inspired by events and incidents in your own life. (and Hindi films, of course)

    Is it Tuesday yet? :D

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Crap! I can’t believe how late I am to your comeback! Sorry sorry, laakhon sorry. Better late than never, I suppose… I have my sister to thank for this. Thank God for sisters who have their priorities straight in life and never fail to inform you of the same.

    Moving on to the Prologue… what can I say? You never fail to disappoint. Beautiful start to a story that promises to be nothing short of spectacular. Because let’s be real, anything by Meera will be anything but.

    As I’ve told you before (a long time ago so you probably don’t remember), you have an uncanny ability to transport your readers into the scenes you write and just make them feel the characters’ emotions alongside. I could feel Khushi’s jitters about her first day at work… it took me back to my first day at my first job. If only I had an Arjun who knew how to soothe my nerves or a peaceful view of a placid river at it’s calmest to do the job. How I would have loved to just sit and stare at it’s beauty. Thank god for small mercies though because I did have a twin sister who can read my mind, quite literally, and pacify it. Have I said that your stories are extremely relatable? :D

    Let’s hope Khushi doesn’t have a nervous breakdown when she comes face to face with you know who. And even if she does, I have a feeling dearest Arjun will be there as the ever supportive friend. Can we expect an Aditi for our Arjun?! By the way, I love love love the name Arnav Varun… it’s like a tribute to the reel life and real life hero considering he was supposed to be named Varun instead of Barun.

    I am oh so excited that you have picked up the pen again (figuratively, of course) and can’t wait to begin this journey with you! You have already set the bar so high for yourself with CW, AWW and especially with EIT that I am jumping in joy for this one, quite literally. And the fact that this story is so close to you as a person intrigues me even more… Can’t wait for Tuesday!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hey there Meera!

    I love your notes and disclaimers! They are just so sweetly written!!

    Two things I would like to say:
    1. “It is a simple story of two people spread over a few years. I promise you there are no big twists, scary secrets and heartbreak that makes you want to weep (or pull your hair out!)” This REALLY reassures me! I am currently reading some heartbreaking stories and can really handle no more of that! yaaayyy so happy!

    2. I would LOVE to hear and get to know about your favourite songs and movies! Am always up for listening to different types and genres of music. Looking forward to your suggestions and recommendations!

    First off, I love the simplistic look of the blog! As for the picture you have put up, I always loved the ones you would put up for EIT! Sigh, I wish you had a gallery for those, would have loved to download and hoard all of them.

    Khushi waking up on her own before the clock rang cause she was worried about something reminded me of the times I have done just the same thing when I have exams or interviews!

    The almost telepathic “EIT refuses to get out of my mind :P” message of sister made me smile! Amazing description of the resort and the serenity and the silence of the early morning, seemed so calming and soothing just reading about it! Reminded me about the time I spent in Darjeeling.. .

    Oh yes, change is difficult, for example, it will take me some time to get used to her name being Kaveri Khushi Gupta and not Khushi Kaveri Gupta. LOL their conversation was just too cute! I am loving the sisterly bond here! (cheeky reference to EIT, this time by the Author herself *Wink*)

    Oooh, this Arjun character intrigues me! He certainly seems to have known her for a long time! Please do put up images for the characters if you get the time! (It took me eons to recognise that it was Fawad Khan you choose as Aman in EIT Day Dreaming and that made me so jealous of Aditi, you have no idea! LOL)

    Loved the camaraderie these two share! Oooh she is a Management Consultant?? I love that, infact I am giving exams for MBA so that I become a HR rep!

    And there he comes, AS… Wait what, Arnav Varun??? Varun as a surname?? hmmm, interesting! You know if it had been Varan, his name would have been as anagram. I am rambling. Oh dear, both of their names have changed. And what happened in the past between these two for Khushi to react in this manner? Were they lovers? Were they friends? Colleagues? Rivals? I’d better stop before I go bonkers!

    Anyway, fabulous start Meera! Can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fabulous start Meera….Thanks to Sandhya giving me the link for this story…joining another journey of your story…..this one though from the beginning and I am excited about it. Arjun and Khushi are childhood friends??? So far we are introduced by two sisters and wonderful friends. Arnav Varun….hmmmm….interesting…now waiting for them to meet.
    Looking forward to this new journey with you…. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So good to read a new story by you Meera!! And you are back with a bang!!
    Oh so khushi hates changes!! Our very own ‘ narayan shankar’ from movie mohabbatein who also ‘ never liked changes! Perhaps changes in her life have never been for good!!
    Oh i loved her sister tripti! Specially her ability to read and understand khushi so well!!!

    Arjun guy seems like a friend who knows khushi inside out! N probably knows alot more then he lets out.

    Coming to our hero Arnav varun,! well its quite clear that he and khushi share some history and he is definitely not a good news for khushi!
    Curious to know wat could be the reason behind this animosity.

    But i am really intrigued by the names.
    Kaveri khushi- name of a river.
    Arnav varun- ocean and rain. lord of rain!
    Now that poem is making sense to me.
    I am sure this love story will turn out to be as beautiful and magical like all your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Welcome back Meera!! I very happy that I will get to enjoy another fascinating story penned by you. Looking forward to the exciting journey of Kaveri Khushi and Arnav Varun.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t know why I didn’t get to know about your story sooner. Thanks to Aquasandhya that I’m finally here.
    It’s wonderful to have you back Meera.
    Coming to the story it’s relatable. I do that alarm thing with my phone quite often and if I’m nervous I can’t sleep much. Also I like to eat. Food is the answer to many problems. If not a solution then at least it gives me the energy to face it. ;)
    There is definitely some history between Khushi and Arnav.
    But also there seems something between Khushi and Arjun. I mean she was about to say something to him in the morning but held back.
    And after reading that the story has glimpses of your life I’m pretty excited. :D

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is very intriguing !! I will love to be with you Meera when you are actually writing it as I have read all your other works after you finished them… I am hell excited..

    The plot is very captivating.. I will wait for you to reveal the story fold by fold but I smell some long lost love between the protagonist here..

    My tuesdays will be colorful now !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Just read the first chapter and I am completely attracted to your AV sir !!! It felt like reliving my first day at college but thank God there were other girls too to accompany me :P

    I like Tripti !! She is this spunky brilliant girl so far … I loving this journey…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I am excited to read a new story from you. Thank you :)

    Your narration is so soothing and real, it was as if the prologue was unfolding before me. You draw them effortlessly. Kushi’s nervousness on changes. Food is a soothing balm for her. Kushi-Tripti sisterly bond, the affection. Tripti understands and knows Kushi too well for her liking. For a moment i was transported to EIT on the mention of telepathic thoughts :)

    And Arjun seems to be jovial type who is Kushi’s anchor and knows her inside out well.

    Kushi Kaveri Gupta and Arnav Varun..interesting name change.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well, because I read the first chapter before I read the Prologue, it seemed like I was going into the future and not the other way around as was intended by the order of the updates. Whoops!

    Kolkata! Yay to you for mentioning my favourite city! :D Btw, did you proof-read this? Because Alridge and May became Alison and May. And a few other things here and there. Anyway, looking forward to reading more of this! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  22. This is the first time i’m reading your story….After reading the second chap i felt like reading it again…and here i am…Dear u r fab….It took sometime to catch up with the flow of your writing as it is different from many of the others in IF….Very very curious to know what happened during there college days!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. So me finally joining the ride :) I was waiting for the day when you would start the series, but just couldn’t find the time… And started reading it a few days back and the story has had an instant connection… It’s like the first time I am brimming with so much words… It may be due to the fact of common backdrop I too had in my life :)

    New beginnings and changes are constant… I can’t fanthom how does it affect people so much as when in engineering the first thing to do is make peace with this law of life :D
    But can understand Khushi’s predicament.. I know many people who detest these…
    So we have new characters.. After the critically acclaimed couple Aman and Aditi we have Tripti and Arjun.. Cool.. Looking forward to them.. Great start to the relationship of them.. Your sibling relationship are the best showcased.. Looking forward to the Arnav Varun mystery…

    Liked by 1 person

  24. welcome back meera!

    i was going through cw last night when i saw someone mentioning about ur new story. so i went to indiaforum and got the link to the blog!

    first things first! thank u so much for writing again and i am glad that this time i could be a part of this journey from the beginning (although i have missed the first 3 chapters)

    as u say the story is really different but yet it looks so similar. the conversation between tripti n khushi especially the ‘reading the mind’ part was so EIT, and then arjun is so aman. at one point i felt that khushi had some feelings for arjun, but no its always arnav for khushi. the name kaveri reminds me of another one of my favourite stories of IF ‘kalarikkal house’ in which khushis real name is kaveri!

    so in short this story reminds of many of my favourite novels leaving no doubt for me that ‘a river runs through it’ will also be acquiring the same place in my heart.

    so bring it on without any doubt or insecurity as i am sure this one is also going to touch our hearts like ur previous stories!

    PS- lets see how the story unfolds

    Liked by 1 person

  25. another point came to my mind. the title describes the story- a river runs to the sea. so literally its the journey of kaveri to her arnav!

    Like

  26. oh i love that song..udit narayan and a broody shahrukh <3
    coming back to the story..wow what a start..love the banter between the two sisters..so typical at being sisters hehe…so arjun is khushi's friend and he seems pretty nice…both A & K's names are bit different..off to read the next chapter.

    love,
    teens! (IF id: MrsKhan-Sobti)

    Liked by 1 person

  27. This happens to me every single time.
    Every single time I read any of your stories, I’m in this dual mindset – where on one hand I want the story to run, so I get to know what happens in the end, but at the same time, I want it to slow down, so I can understand each & every character – sigh!
    Coming to the Prologue – I don’t think the word brilliant does just justice anymore!
    Beautifully written & seems to be a slice of life kind of a story.

    A fun sibling, a cool friendship & a shared past, add to that a very disciplinary Khushi – excited to see where this goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. first of all, congratulations on new story…. heard a lot about it and was sooo eager to read….. finally i’m here….. read only the prologue, and already i’m loving it…… loved the bond between Khushi and Tripti…..the love between sisters…. its amazing…… and Tripti’s ‘I hope you have a rotten week’ reminds me of my lil sis, she always wish me have horribe day, have nightmares etc….. its actually cute…… and Arjun such a good friend… the way he understands Khushi, tried to ease her, reasoned with her…… loved it…… the past is intriguing me a lot…. dying to read ahead and see what’s next when they met again……
    thnx
    nishu_shorna(I-F username)

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Totally empathize with Khushi. I don’t like change either. It makes me uncomfortable, and yes, sometimes nauseous like Khushi. But, as we all know change is the only constant. So Khushi dear, you gotta suck it in and go with the flow.
    Arnav Varun…a shared past here somewhere, obviously?
    Arjun seems to be a good friend who perhaps wanted to be more than that? Seems that way from Khushi’s “if only” moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Hii Meera…while I was waiting for the next update…I started rereading the story…while I keep reading my favourite bits again and again, I have a tendency of jumping to Arnav khushi convos….this time I thought of rereading the entire story….it gives so many new insights to the story that one seems to miss the first time round… I used to think that she’s gonna meet AV sir after about 8-9 years after college or something of that sort…but she says in the prologue that he has in some or the other way always been a part of all her new beginnings in the past decade and that she hasn’t seen or heard of him in a couple of years…which means that a she keeps meeting him from time to time….this changes almost all the guesses I’d made regarding the story’s progress….you probably can’t even guess how much time and imagination I put into thinking about this story and its characters…thank goodness I’ve been on vacation… I’m starting my internship from monday and if I keep going in the same manner then god help me and my boss :p eagerly waiting for the next update and till then I’ll reread the other chapters as well :)

    Namrata

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Thanks a ton for sending the blog link of this FF Meera. Really appreciate it. Just read the prologue and seems a very different concept and very interesting in a good way. Will be continuing reading it further..as you know I love and enjoy ur writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. What an engaging start Meera ….
    Kaveri Khushi Gupta and Arnav Varun. Different names but they somehow seem to fit.

    I loved the sibling banter between. Tripti seems to be the cheeky, yet caring little sister, that some of us are fortunate to have, but dare not utter these words in front of them. They share an admirable relationship, revealed by how well she knows Khushi and vice versa.

    Change is something that I too passionately hate, so Khushi here is totally relatable. New beginnings bring with them hope and expectations, but they also usher apprehensions and jitters. Don’t they?
    Khushi as an engineer is intriguing, I’m sure from whatever little Arhi fiction that I’ve read, I’ve never come across an engineer Khushi.
    Is Arjun Khushi’s childhood friend? He surely seems like one. Do they have a past too? I’m guessing Arjun liked Khushi. But he also values Khushi as a friend, considering they way he eased her nerves regarding the new start in their professional life.

    Arnav and Khushi obviously have history. Arnav is a linking thread to her new beginnings, so is he a known stranger?

    P.S : Ae Ajnabi is a BEAUTIFUL song! I’ll swim deeper into this river to find out how it fits Khushi’s predicament.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Just went to back to reread the prologue. Like someone else commented I can totally identify with Khushi in this story. The nerves ,the nausea, the absolute reluctance towards any change, the foolish idealism, inability to merge with the crowd, unexplainable pessimism n above all the aversion to Facebook n all that social networking that drivesan average depressed person even more suicidal

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Was going through this prologue once again…I don’t know after yesterday update’s disastrous heartbreak….i wanted to read the future..I guess AV was at IIM too..

    Every once in a while something came up to remind Khushi of just how thread-bare her relationship with Arjun had become at one point. — ok this was something mentioned among in yesterday’s comments n I couldn’t recall…so had to check…however I am glad that Kavi has Arjun by her side…was he forced to take a stance between AV and Kavi? or did something happen which made Arjun keep a distance with AV…ofcourse something did happen…but what..

    I don’t know..often in the past few years I have wondered how it would be…will it ever happen…if fate forces you to face a person who broke your heart again…what would one feel….

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Dear Meera,

    Awesome start. I liked Khushi’s name as Kaveri, its suits her. Already loving Arjun guy…teasing will be his fortee.
    Tripti’s name reminds me of Aditi from CW… :-) Let’s see how the world of Sea (Arnav Varun) and River (Kaveri Khushi G.) clashes into each other in the water battle field of “Working In Teams – The Power of Synergy” session.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. hi meera, started to reading another wonderful story of yours. i know i m late, but wanted to read taking my sweet time not fearing what ifs before atleast half of the story ;)
    anyway, will catch up soon….

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I was reading the prologue again after glimpsing what transpired between AV sir and Khushi in the past, and thought of this song …

    Jhonka hawa ka aaj bhi
    Zulfein udaata hoga na

    Mere khayalon mein sanam
    Khud se hi baatein karti hogi na
    Meri di cassette chhup chhup ke sunkar
    Mujhe paas mehsoos karti hogi na

    Saavan ki rimjhim, mera taraana
    Yaad dilaati hogi na
    Ek ek meri baatein
    Yaad to tumko aati hogi na

    Kya tum mere inn sab sawalon ka
    Kuch to jawab dogi na

    Sigh … will he ask … will she answer …

    Liked by 5 people

  38. Such good creatively written prologue..Never once was I distracted.. Except that knowing that every line made me clueless.. What why how.. And then deciding I’d love to read the story unfold as the build up was great!! Loved the names.. Gives freedom to imagine our own faces other the serial ones.. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Hi Meera,
    I’m one of your old readers back from the days when you were writing ‘Careless Whispers’. After that I tried to follow ‘Wordsworth’ but couldn’t because of some issues going on in my life. A couple of days back I stumbled upon this precious gem of yours and I can’t tell you the amount of happiness I’m feeling since than. I just love your writing and your enchanting stories. You have such a beautiful way with the words that us readers are left spellbound after reading them. The best part of your stories are the female characters, all are strong and independent. They may have tons of apprehensions regarding themselves but are strong and gritty for the world. I’m super excited to be a part of this journey so I hope it’s ok to join in on such a later date. Take care & stay blessed.
    i.f-deepa876

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Oh phenomenal happiness for me in the new year to stumble upon your new work. I have been a follower for a long time and I still go back to EIT site so many times hoping I can experience that magic you created once more. Welcome back (even though very late from me). Really looking forward to this story unfolding. And hoping one day to get access to re-read EIT.
    take care Meera.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Hi, I am not really good at this commenting stuff, a silent reader if you will. I don’t really know what else to say except that your stories are loved and they make up for the long days life throws sometimes. I read when i need a distraction. I have read all of your stories, except this one which I am starting now, I don’t comment too often because i wouldn’t really know what to write except just loving your work. So, I apologise for not commenting, i know writers need support. I appreciate your work, really do.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Two years already since you posted the prologue. How time flies! I still remember the early days when you wrote your first fan fiction. Reading River again has brought back so many memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Hi Meera, my first Q is are you the same Meera of emerald isles tales , careless whispers, A words worth, which have
    been recommended by many sites and readers as some of the best Arshi FF’s , I heard about you from my sisters and the Ficverse site. Unfortunetly I have read none as could not find them anywhere on If or word press. hope this one is yours . will be back with more after starting to read .

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Hi Meera,

    After Super Trooper P’s policing on the choice of songs that I was posting, I decided to come back and re-visit the “actual” songs by the river :D . As lame an excuse as it may sound, when I binge-read Book#1 and 2 on my tab, the links wouldn’t load and I for one, was too eager to move on to the next chapter. And you saw the result ;-) .

    The river song collection is eclectic and amazing. I had seen in one of the comments in Book#3 recently, that someone had made a play-list on youtube, we should probably cut a CD also :-) (don’t know the copyright implications though). The songs from 90’s are closest to my heart, those were my teen years (which makes me a senior citizen on this forum :D ) and FM was the un-winding medium. I love all the Anu Malik, Jatin-Lalit, Nadeem-Shravan, SEL and AR songs that you have included from 90′ through 2010 (the list is so long, I won’t reproduce it here) — the clear favorite (it was not really a river song, but was brought up as part of the Gupta-siblings’ conversation) happens to be Tip Tip Barsa Pani , for Akki and more… everything about the song is sensuality at it’s best! You also took us down memory lane to Raj Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Sanjeev Kumar and Meena Kumari-Raj Kumar. Would you believe me if I said that I actually sang this song ” Ajeeb Daastan hai yeh ” in my college and was literally booed away? Folks could not connect with it and were simply dis-interested. They wanted to hear a “Dum maro dum” instead, I guess.. going by the response that the girl next in line got ;-) . Then, there are these songs from the 70’s-80’s, again classics. I don’t quite relate to any of the latest songs.. simply because I have not been following Bollywood music any more. I will catch up on those leisurely…

    I would *humbly* request you to post some more songs from the golden 60’s era, if the situation warrants, that is :-) . Beautiful lyrics woven into melodious songs by Shankar Jaikishan, O P Nayyar, Salil Choudhary, Hemant Kumar etc etc.

    Vin.

    Liked by 3 people

  45. Interesting prologue meera…
    So khushi is tensed to meet arnav…who is arnav varun in this story…arjun seems to know khushi very well…cant wait to read next chapter…

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Finally finished the prologue.. after few failed attempts of course . Hope i can complete atleast one chapter a day. Meera, your work is awesome as usual 👍. Eager to know what its all about 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Hi Meera!
    I am back to this ‘duniya’ almost after a year or so. This story is still going on and I missed so much of it and have so much to catch up on. It would be only justified to read River from the beginning coz anything else would be kind of incomplete. So here I am..ready to flow with the River once again. I just wish asli duniya would be kind enough to me this time around so as to give me time enough to read about A n K in peace and happiness that your work brings!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh..it’s already nearing the end?! But the good side is, I will get to read all of it in one go or with very little ‘next-chapter-ki-raah-me-pakle-bichaye’ 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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