At the end of the first week in college, Kaveri Khushi Gupta had come to two iron-clad conclusions. One that she was destined to be singled out as “that Mechanical Engineering” girl for the rest of stay in IE, Varanasi and the other that she had found in Arjun Agarwal , till then not much more than an unimportant classmate, a friend for life.

And it was the extremes of these situations that helped her get through what was, in her own dramatic words, possibly the most trying period of her life.

Not only had she become the one person who everybody with a basic level of awareness of the day to day goings on of the college knew; she was also relentlessly subjected to questions that ranged from idle curiosity to intense awe, averaging on teeth clashing idiocy. So much so that her responses had become staccato and automatic, nevertheless deterring none of her inquirers – professors and students alike, from shaking their head and wishing her luck.

Yes, she had chosen to study Mechanical Engineering

No, she didn’t know that there would be no girls in her class. Or in any of her senior batches

She was fine and she would be fine for four years.

Yes, she would try and apply for a branch upgrade to Electronics at the end of the year.

Yes, she would lift hammers if that’s what studying mechanical engineering meant.

At home, things were no better with both her parents alternating between worrying themselves sick at their daughter’s unique predicament and being completely blasé about it.

Tripti, however, had completely agreed with Arjun’s point of view that this would someday be a great story to tell and that the momentary discomfort that Khushi felt was just that – momentary.

Khushi, on her part, disagreed (vehemently) with her sister but let her comments slide to avoid getting trapped in a battle of words and views with Tripti.

Amidst the storm that was her life though, she continued to catch glimpses of the mysterious AV Sir all around the campus. If she were to be absolutely honest with herself, she had actively started to look out for the defining shape of the back of his head, the slightly taller silhouette amidst raucous crowds, the lazy but supremely confident swagger that defined his gait as he walked through the corridors of IE. She knew nothing of him except that he known as AV to his batch-mates and as AV Sir to all of hers, a name that would catch her ear when it was being shouted down the alley outside her classroom or amidst the chaos in the college canteen at lunch time. He had not walked into her classroom after that first day but the number of references to him highlighted that he was one of those who was popular across branches and batches; and for the right reasons, not because he had the honor of being the only one of his gender in a class full of the opposite.

“Arnav Varun.”

Khushi looked up to see Arjun set down two plates of samosas topped with luscious green coriander chutney and two cups of steaming hot tea. She continued to look at her friend as the chaos around them swirled to a peak in characteristic lunch time routine.

“AV-sir. That’s his name.” He explained as he settled down on the chair in front of her. When Khushi didn’t give him a suitable acknowledgement, he shook his head and continued.
“You know him… the senior who came to our class on the first day? The one who briefed us about ragging.” Arjun asked, stuffing a samosa into his mouth without caring to be civil with food.

Khushi schooled her features to remain blank and frowned as if in confusion all the while thankful that Arjun had no idea just how quick her heart beat had become.

Arjun clucked and sipped his tea. “Arre, he asked you to sit down while the rest of us kept standing? The person who is responsible for the special status you enjoy while the rest of the class gets ragged into confessing their deepest secrets in front of everyone and participating in the most humiliating dares?” He continued, almost annoyed that Khushi didn’t remember.

“Oh…him…” Khushi said with impromptu carelessness. “Arnav Varun. Two names. Sounds weird.”

Arjun guffawed, unintentionally spraying fried pastry from his mouth all over the table. “So says the girl called Kaveri Khushi Gupta.”

Khushi made a face and dusted herself with a shake of her head. “Gupta at least makes it sound like a name. Arnav Varun just…” She shrugged again.

“He is probably from Bihar. They do that to avoid getting pegged as a particular caste. Big problem in that part of the country, I hear.”

“How?” Khushi asked. “And why?”

Arjun frowned back her even as he chomped away.

“How and why do you know that about Bihar, the two names concept…” She shrugged.

“Dude, forget about his name. The man is a hero. Complete rockstar.” Arjun said emphatically, thumping the rickety table and spilling some of Khushi’s tea on the laminated surface.

Khushi raised an eyebrow at him but remained silent, allowing him to continue.

“Contender for the gold medal by a significant lead. His current CGPA is the highest the branch has seen in more than a decade. He’s got two offers in hand – one from Wheels Auto – with placement in Germany, no less and another from a Korean machinery major – they came recruiting for the first time and picked up just one student. But he apparently doesn’t want either…he is studying for the Common Entrance Test and people are willing to bet their first jobs that he will receive calls from all six Institutes of Management this year.”

Khushi listened to Arjun patiently even as AV-Sir’s ranking in all her lists (real and fictional) spiraled right up to the top. Her friends from school and her sister had always mocked her for placing that much importance on academic success but the truth was that with every achievement being highlighted, Khushi’s awe only grew

Awe? More like a crush, Khushi Gupta, a small voice teased at the back of her mind.

Ignoring it, she shrugged again. “If he wanted to pursue management studies, why take up those jobs and kill someone else’s chances? And why study engineering in the first place?”

Arjun looked at her incredulously and threw his hands up in the air. “Because it’s what anyone in his shoes would do? Because the CET could go anyway and it’s good to have a backup? And Management – well because that is the path to truckloads of money and a cushy job and eventually the chance to be a biggie CEO or CFO or something someday?”

Khushi knew Arjun was right. Well, she corrected herself, he was at least normal for wanting the things that they were conditioned to want. In fact, this was exactly the kind of path her parents dreamed for her. And she for herself.  Who was she kidding? She was impressed. Highly impressed.

Khushi cleared her throat. She couldn’t let Arjun know that though. Because…well, she had no clue why she wanted to hide that particular piece of information from her friend but it seemed important and Khushi decided to cling to that approach like a life raft.

“Yeah well. I think it’s a waste of four years of education. I mean…Wheels Auto? Do you even know what that means? And in Germany – that means they must have been recruiting for design. He could have had a chance to do something really cool. But,” She shrugged.

Arjun seemed to consider her comment for a second before he shook his head. “You may have a point but..without a …aren’t you going to eat your samosa?” He asked, eyeing her snack as he did.

Khushi shook her head. “Help yourself.” She had eaten nothing but samosas and kachoris for lunch all week. This was definitely not the path to losing weight – one of her personal goals – to be achieved during her tenure at IE.

“Thanks. I still don’t know how you can say no to these. I mean I have no idea how I am ever going back to the pathetic excuse for samosas you get back in Mumbai.” Arjun said, taking a large bite of Khushi’s snack.

“I need to lose weight.” Khushi muttered, glancing down at herself and tucking in her stomach with all her might.

“Huh?” Arjun asked, leaning in.

Khushi shook her head. “Nothing…you were saying…”

“Oh haan,” Arjun said, polishing off the rest of the samosa with enviable ease. “I was saying that I see your point but I have been speaking with so many of my older cousins, my Dad’s friends. They all say that at some point management becomes bigger than technical stuff…so it would make sense to have a degree in it, wouldn’t it? Kick start the process.”

Khushi shrugged again. “Maybe. But it’s definitely something one should think about before making a career call, I think. Plus MBA would mean more studying. I just got done with CEE for Engineering entrance. I think I am done with competitive exams.” She said, sighing deeply as she sipped on her tea.

“Now that I totally agree with. Though honestly, I thought you would make it to IE, Mumbai or Kanpur. What went wrong?” Arjun asked casually.

It hurt. Despite her promise to herself, Khushi found her heart sinking as the sliver of a forgotten dream seemed to taunt her. “I don’t know. I think I messed up Physics. I must have. I always do. Which is ironic given both Baba and Ma are so good with it.” She said softly. “I did manage to get Aerospace in Kanpur but…you know that better branch concept. Plus my parents are here and this is just…” She shrugged. “Easy.”

Arjun nodded. “Makes sense. IE, Varanasi is great. I am lucky I even got to be here. And I think your parents were right. Aerospace would have been very narrow in focus, would it not? Though I am not sure they expected to have you be the lone flag bearer for women kind in Mechanical, did they?”

Khushi groaned. “No. I don’t think they did. Though Baba did say something about skewed gender ratios being pretty commonplace across engineering schools in the country. Now why would he not tell me this before,” Khushi said exasperatedly. “I tell you, it’s a bane having absent minded professors for parents.”

“I assure you it’s better than over enthusiastic parents who swear by being over-involved in your life.” Arjun said dryly.

Khushi grinned at him and opened her mouth to say something when loud cheering from a table to her right distracted her.

Turning her head she saw a bunch of fifteen odd students, (all boys, of course), crowding around a table that couldn’t have seated more than five people at a time.

She didn’t know if her pulse had picked up in sheer anticipation or if it was the sight of him that did it but there he was – Arnav Varun as she now knew he was named, amidst loud whoops and rigorous back-slapping, cradling a guitar in his arms, two long fingers poised at the strings as the other hand hovered over the other end.

“Oh yeah, and apparently he is an amazing guitarist and an even better singer.” Arjun added, looking towards the table in awe.

Khushi groaned inwardly. Guitar? She wanted to throw her head down on the table and weep. This is all she needed to finally cement her intrigue. For all her pretense of disinterest and disapproval, she knew she had fallen – hook, line and sinker.

And as if to stamp an approval on her realization, the strains of familiar music erupted and the otherwise noisy cafeteria erupted into loud cheer. Clearly, this sort of an impromptu session was commonplace. And he was the hero.

Guitar strums filled the air and a couple of people seated with Arnav on the table joined him using the table surface as a set of drums.

“Doston”, he said out dramatically, grinning as the dimple in his left cheek deepened. “Aaj college ka aakhri din hai…”

A couple of people laughed out aloud and someone yelled from somewhere in the small cafeteria, “Wrong song, AV-sir…There’s still a few months to go for your farewell”

The strumming continued, as did the drums as more people joined the crowd around the table, making it difficult for Khushi to see properly. And yet, she couldn’t move from her seat.

“Aur aanewali zindagi ke liye sabne apne liye kuch na kuch socha hai…”

More cheering followed as people yelled incoherent retorts from across the room.

“Par maine apne liye kuch nahi socha…”

Khushi craned her neck to see him laughing as he finished the dialogue, ducking as his friends clapped him loudly on the back and jeered his declaration. There were shouts of “Hero”, “AV-Sir” from the room that added to the sudden mood of celebration in the small cafeteria.

“Haha, AV – no way…Jhoot mat bol…” Someone yelled from the table in front of the one Khushi and Arjun were occupying. Clearly he was someone from the final year batch. Maybe some other branch. Given what Arjun had said of AV-Sir, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that he was popular across batches…Guitarists were always popular…there was something about that musical instrument. That and drums. Khushi sighed as she craned her neck some more.

“….Aur aaj mujhe baar baar…ek hi khayal aa raha hai….”

More cheering and loud yells followed with more students gathering around and halting their lunch time chatter to listen in. Khushi now noticed that a significant number of women from different branches and different levels of seniority were beginning to stare at the singer. She bit back the temptation to roll her eyes. Of course, he had to be popular with the women.

“Papa kehte hain, bada naam karega”

Beta hamara aisa kaam karega”

The crowd had started to clap in rhythm with the song, making it difficult to hear his voice but the guitar and the table drumming was as loud as ever.

This was one of those songs that defined the concept of college education and filmy romance in Bollywood. Underlined by the fact that the actor had found while filming this song, the love of his life, had always added to charm of it. In all her practiced cynicism, she had never imagined that the world would allow her to see so many people come together in something as simple as a Bollywood song rendition. These were the things that Tripti expected college to be made of, things that Khushi had argued vociferously for years that were only the Hindi film industry’s way of glamourizing something as mundane as education. Or was it the other way around?

It didn’t matter. In that moment, the atmosphere in the canteen, the singing, the hero with the guitar, the admirers, the girls who couldn’t stop giggling, blushing or staring, all screamed celebration in the exact manner that threw Khushi off and pulled her into the depths of their charm.

“He is something, isn’t he?” Arjun said with an awestruck smile.

And that was enough to break the little spell that had woven itself around her in golden threads. But before Khushi could react, the song continued, keeping her glued to her seat.

“Mera toh sapna”

His voice fell, husky and low as some girls wolf whistled and Arnav winked at them with a smirk

“Hai ek chehra…”

“Kiska chehra, AV?” Someone shouted with cupped hands around his mouth, his voice echoeing around the room

“Who’s the lucky girl, AV?” Another voice boomed from another part of the room.

“You are breaking hearts here, AV-Sir!”

“Dekhe jo usko…Jhume bahar…” He continued, swaying slightly as the rhythmic clapping, strunning and drumming continued.

“Gaalon pe khilti, kaliyon ka mausam”

“Aankhon mein jaadu…hothon pe pyaar…”

As his voice rose to a crescendo per the song, the room erupted again, in loud, whistles and cat calls.

Khushi felt a shiver run down her spine even as goosebumps erupted all over her arms. She felt her stomach flip like she had been on a giant ferris wheel.

“We should go. We’ll miss our…” She whispered but she might as well have saved herself the trouble. Because Arjun Agarwal had risen from his seat and was walking over to the table where AV-Sir and his friends were seated.

“Arjun,” She called out but she knew that in all the merriment around her, her voice, already hesitant, would be drowned.

Sighing she looked on as the song ended with loud clapping reverberating across the cafeteria, with faces known and unknown cheering on the impromptu session and a few even demanding an encore. Anyone who witnessed the scene wouldn’t imagine that this was the middle of the day with classes still awaiting all those who stood clapping, shouting, even mouthing the lyrics of their next demand no better than they would at a karaoke night in a club somewhere in town.

No sooner had the thought flashed through her head that Khushi realized she had an Electrical Engineering lab session to attend at half past two. One look at the watch was enough to remind her that she, and Arjun, needed to head towards the lab which would take them as much time as they had on hand, to walk to. Rising from her seat, she picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder, adjusting her dupatta as she did. Her stomach growled with the want of food and she took a deep breath, happy that she had managed to avoid a meal that would do nothing but melt directly to sit on her hips.

Sliding across the chair and out of her seat, she cleared her throat and walked hesitantly through crowds towards where the singing had just resumed, this time another song that was a guitarist collegiate’s moment of shining. Arjun, her friend and life raft, was standing right next to the group of seniors, gawking at the man in the center who was still crooning in his velvet smooth voice. As she approached the table, a couple of students looked at her and whispered words to themselves (“Mech. first year”, what else?), making Khushi change her mind. If Arjun wanted to miss lab less than a month into college, it was his problem. She needed to get a move on.

She changed her direction towards the exit, maneuvering her way through the jostling crowds, ignoring the way people around her, girls and boys alike were singing praises of he-she-did-not-want-to-glance –at.

Just like that, she raised her head and looked directly at him.

And the unthinkable happened.

He was looking at her, his eyes crinkling in good humor as he smiled, the dimple in his left cheek deepening just as the color on her face.

Kaveri Khushi Gupta was a dead woman.

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Album: The Great Gambler

Song: Do Lafzon Ki

Music: R. D. Burman

Singer: Asha Bhonsle

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Dil ki baaton kaa, matlab naa poochho
Kuchh aur hum se, bas ab aa poochho
Jis Kke liye hain duniya deewaani,
Yaa hain mohabbat yaa hai jawaani

155 thoughts on “Chapter Two: (Not) At First Sight

  1. Fantastic update. Such is the power of your writing that I am sure there is a long list of “dead women” amongst your readers who have joined KaveriKhushi Gupta :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arjun’s relaying of info reminded me that it was I who was use to gather info about the happening in college and share in my group. The ‘chatter box’ or the ‘gossip corner’ of my group.

    But he re Khushi really faked innocence and got all the info about Arnav and even witnessed the life performance by the ‘hero’ himself. And what a performance that by the end if it they even have an eye lock.

    Yup, Khushi is the gone girl!!!

    P.S. The way Arjun was swooning while relaying Arnav’s achievement and future plans, seems like he had a crush on him ;).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Uffffff….loving this Meera!! I’m sooooooooooo glad you are writing again! It reminds me of how much I enjoyed reading your earlier stories and just like then, I find myself waiting for your updates…

    So want to know the reason behind AV’s smile for Khushi…

    Eager for the next update…
    Cheers!

    Rayolight

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Meera, I read the chapter atleast four times before deciding to comment. You took me to dreamland with Arnav singing and playing the guitar in the college canteen. I remember passing hours in my college canteen eating samosas and kachoris with a hot cup of coffee. But I was not lucky enough to have a AV singing there. ;)
    No wonder this Arnav has all the girls and the boys falling over him. The guy has everything one can wish for. I love this Arnav and I love this story. Can’t wait for the next chapter.
    And I love the songs you post. They are what I would call ‘sone pe suhaaga’. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Meera, what magic you weave…I was transported back to my college canteen snacking on piping hot samosas and drinking steaming cups of madras filter coffee with my ‘bestie’, indulging in unending gossip sessions, being awestruck by the cool college dudes strumming their guitars in the cafeteria or on the college steps and innumerable group songs with my college buddies!! Your vivid prose is so captivating that it hypnotizes your readers, making them believe that they are part of the goings on.

    My pulse quickened in tandem with Khushi’s in anticipation of seeing the guitar strumming AV, I was right with her when she broke out into goose bumps hearing him sing; my heart was ready to jump out of my ribcage when Khushi/AV made their first eye contact, such is the impact of your story-telling.

    “Papa kehte hain” and “Do lafzon ki” are amongst my favorites; I love your song selections…looking forward to the next update

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was so light-hearted and refreshing to read! Such a change from your other works. I love that you’re experimenting with incorporating a filmi setting into the story. It’s lending itself beautifully to the create the perfect backdrop and set the mood for the story.

    My thoughts exactly when she found out that he is a musician with a velvety voice capable of charming any soul. Can the man BE any more perfect!? I have high hopes of her being serenaded by him under a moonlit sky, outside her balcony, with a rose in hand… or some version of this at some point in this tale… because it doesn’t get more filmi than that?

    The meeting of their eyes is of course a defining moment… aankhon se tune yeh kya keh diya

    Me can’t wait for their first exchange of words!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hey meera read both the chapters at a go..i’m so delighted that u r back and writing! Loved the start..college k din..ahh blissful..and u r so bang on right about the whole setting..so realistic..khushi has developed a crush and whu wudnt..mysterious AV..kachoris and samosas 4 lunch,uff..i used to live in a paying guest durhng graduatn and remember havng those and a host of other junk food 4 lunch so much that evn aftr years i dnt particularly crave samosas..seems like i had my lyftym’s fill of dm durhng those years! Lastly the eye lock..and the ball gets rolling! Lukng forward to the journey..

    Like

  8. Wow.. Superb update.. Sorry am late to read.. Never mind..

    Wow the Arnav in this seems to be super smart huh.. 2 offers from biggies.. Which he will not accept n plan for masters.. Topper of his batch..
    N then he plays guitar n sings too.. So bloody impressive.. Who wouldn’t fall for him..
    N out Khushi kaveri Gupta is already fallen for him.. Cooool..

    Can’t wait for ur next update..

    Update sooner .

    Love.. Poju

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Arnav with a dimple haye me dead. agree to Khushi what kind of name Arnav Varun is! Aweee Khushi has a thing for intelligence and academic brilliance just like me … He has good manners, got well academic grades, can play brilliant guitar and can sing too now what’s next to make girls NOT fall for him…. I guess nothing. .. Just loved the update and I really am enjoying Arjun’s presence.

    ps:- today it rained and reading about yummy samosa with chutni was a torture for why Meera why..

    Like

  10. I wish like Tripti that my college had this scene. There were popular guitarists no doubt but they didn’t play in canteen for us. *deep sigh*
    I loved the songs and various shouts in between from his friends. This is what really happens in college. It felt so real. Comments/reactions keep pouring in while someone is signing. I totally loved it.
    Now Khushi not only knows the name of the guy she is crushing over but also many details – from his future planning to his ability to sing and play. ;) There is surely something about the guys who can play some musical instrument. :)
    And the end moment where their eyes met I felt goosebumps myself as if ti was me Arnav was looking at. *falls on floor clutching my heart*

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Loved the chapter. Mostly in all stories it’s Arnav’s intelligence and talents are taken for granted. We have shown his smartness by his actions. But here he’s shown possess the talents of a hero. Not only handsome hulk and smarty pants but with golden voice and talented to pair it with an instrument. Lethal combination. Like all other girls Khushi too is dead woman. He also shows that his attension is inclined towards her. Curious to know how Khushi went flustering seing him to getting sick of hearing his name. Loved Akashwani Arjun.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my!!! You are such a magician , M!! <3

    I totally adored this update.. Can anything be more well described than this? A mundane day in a student's life discussing academics , parents , peers , seniors & ofcourse battling the eternal weight issues & crushes… ;) :D Wah re wah!!

    Spl mention :
    God M!! U create such irresistible heros all the time that it simply leaves me tempting for that elusive extra something!!

    Arnav – Varun.. Sigh!!!!

    M speechless yaar.. I thought I'm out of that hormonal teenager phase finally! Alas! One description of HIM n everything back to square one!! Not that m complaining.. Haha ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful update. Waiting for the next chapter since its tuesday.
    I loved your Emerald Isle Tales and read it several times but now the blog is protected.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey… I am so thrilled that you are writing another story… And I just read through the chapters… Awesome indeed…
    I am already loving khushi arjun and arnav so much.. cannot really wait for their story to begin…
    Also the relationship between khushi and tripti is adorable… Loved them…
    So now that the first year mechie has a huge crush on AV sir I can’t wait to know what happens next…
    Waiting already …

    Liked by 1 person

  15. AV sir sounds like the new forbidden fruit… The more Khushi tries to not think about him the more he affects her.. And I can’t really understand till date the huge crush of guitar and engg. By default guys who played guitar in college were popular, every freaking person on the campus was their fan.. Professor’s and students alike..
    It seems no different for AV sir too.. Sigh I too want to join this queue… Where oh where do you get these guys.. Let me know.,. Had I studied less and concentrated on such cute/intelligent seniors even I would have some Arnavji for life :)

    Weight issues this is one another sensitive issue the girls around the globe independent of the field need to keep in check.. Me toh not still not able to get off my college samosa weight.. To top it off adding to it my company samosa weight.. Lol..

    Is the the start of love in the air ?? Waiting waiting

    P.S. you have an awesome choice in songs… I never really paid attention to lyrics in Bollywood, but it seems our history has some hidden gems and you really have eyed the best..thanks for introducing this forgotten part ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Internals!! I can’t believe im so late ..update was super awesome and isn’t it fantastic to have The guy knock at your door to speak to your dad..hehehe poor K..staring sessions and all..waiting to read moree

    Liked by 1 person

  17. our heroine has a crush for the hero! and truly the hero he is, guitarist, singer, topper in academics and also the knight in shining armor for the damsel in distress!

    arjun is cute, updating khushi all the information he has gathered about arnav and i think he wud soon figure out too that his friend has fallen for the hero.

    arnav eyes glance khushi. he would be curious about the single girl who dared to join mech eng. it would be great to read his perspective too.

    its so nice to read such light hearted updates,college days, first crush and all.
    really refreshing!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Tripti, however, had completely agreed with Arjun’s point of view that this would someday be a great story to tell and that the momentary discomfort that Khushi felt was just that – momentary. Khushi, on her part, isagreed (vehemently) with her sister but let her comments slide to avoid getting trapped in a battle of words and views with Tripti.—- This reminded me of my musings- “ why younger sisters always have to be smart and logical about everything?” Most of the times their reasoning are bang on but pride or anger or foolishness (whatever!!) doesn’t allow to agree with them…hence the easiest way is to avoid like Khushi did or reply “”you don’t understand” but then that will start another round of arguments and lecturing..Khushi looking out for AV, sigh!! How many times have I kept my eyes open and searching..foolish crushes…oh god! Meera  You are making me laugh…
    But the number of references to him highlighted that he was one of those who was popular across branches and batches; and for the right reasons, not because he had the honor of being the only one of his gender in a class full of the opposite.—ROFL!!! Nice scripting!! It had a punch of Khushi’s frustration in it..
    Khushi schooled her features to remain blank and frowned as if in confusion all the while thankful that Arjun had no idea just how quick her heart beat had become.—-oh god!!!! I know it…I have done this…oh this has happened to me…this heart beat racing, while keep a blank face…how stupid! But that time it was necessary as not to give any indications to friends…I am waiting to see Arjun catching on with Khushi’s crush…I am sure he will soon…after all he is her buddy…
    “Oh…him…” Khushi said with impromptu carelessness. “Arnav Varun. Two names. Sounds weird.” Arjun guffawed, unintentionally spraying fried pastry from his mouth all over the table. “So says the girl called Kaveri Khushi Gupta.” —- Lol! Nice one Arjun!!!

    Now now….look at that crediatials and talents of AV….whose heart doesn’t sigh??

    AV-Sir’s ranking in all her lists (real and fictional) spiraled right up to the top. Her friends from school and her sister had always mocked her for placing that much importance on academic success — I can understand Khushi here very well….this is another similarity I share with her..
    Now Arjun’s reasoning is making me wonder why I didn’t go for Management…I should have taken up that too…
    She couldn’t let Arjun know that though. Because…well, she had no clue why she wanted to hide that particular piece of information from her friend but it seemed important and Khushi decided to cling to that approach like a life raft.— Lol!! I know this feeling too…Now I wonder why that was so important? That secret pleasure is Khushi’s alone..her secret happiness…May be it was to avoid getting teased or judged…
    This was definitely not the path to losing weight – one of her personal goals – to be achieved during her tenure at IE.—-Seriously???? I too had a dream goal like that..I mean whenever I join for a new course or new job or new place, I decide on few resolutions and one constant in them was reducing weight…which till date I didn’t succeed. I hope Khushi succeeds..
    “Thanks. I still don’t know how you can say no to these. —-I cant say no to those, that’s why I don’t reduce..he he…
    Arjun-Khushi’s friendship is getting strong that’s why she was able to be honest with her answer and admit it still hurts. Something great ambitions like that, when it doesn’t material it hurts for a long time. Even if we are blessed with much better choice, we still cling to the lost. Human nature…..

    Khushi groaned inwardly. Guitar? She wanted to throw her head down on the table and weep. This is all she needed to finally cement her intrigue. For all her pretense of disinterest and disapproval, she knew she had fallen – hook, line and sinker.—how can she not??? I wonder what is with girls and guitar? I mean its typical and clichéd but its true, even I had a crush on a guy who plays guitar..it was momentary though..he he…’’AV’s dimples is killing me Meera…why this guy has to be cute too?
    Guitarists were always popular…there was something about that musical instrument. —that’s true!!

    This was one of those songs that defined the concept of college education and filmy romance in Bollywood. Underlined by the fact that the actor had found while filming this song, the love of his life, had always added to charm of it. —very true!!!
    Arjun has a hero-worship too??? Cool!!!
    Her stomach growled with the want of food and she took a deep breath, happy that she had managed to avoid a meal that would do nothing but melt directly to sit on her hips.====oh he he
    He was looking at her, his eyes crinkling in good humor as he smiled, the dimple in his left cheek deepening just as the color on her face. —Mein Maar gayi!!!  he he..

    Meera!!! Thank you for the wonderful update…its one cheerful update…making me go all mushy and smiley….

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ok i think my brain zoned out after i read (and picturised) AV crooning that song..haaayeeee! tussi great ho yaaar!! oh Khushii…i can soo relate babes…when the college hotty stares at you ur just a puddle *lovestruck*
    off to the next chapter

    love,
    teens (IF id: MrsKhan-Sobti)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I forgot to mention about Tripti in my last comment…she is funny and very witty..:)

    Regarding this part, oh i was literally feeling that i am in that crowd, you are so good at explaining situations that anyone can visualize the actual place, very well written Meera !!!!

    And loved the songs and khushi’s reaction and Arnav’s smile, fantastic :)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Khushi toh Khushi, even i am a dead woman right now…… mujhe bhi ho gay crush…. AV-Sir se…… OhhhEmmmGeee…. this man is. . . . kya bolun ab….. he’s just too droolworthy….. academic and everything else…… pata nahi how Khushi’s gonna survive……..

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So Arnav’s one of those seemingly perfect guys…high achiever, all-rounder. Sings, probably dances, shines academically. Now we need to see him playing football and taking off his tee-shirt to wipe his sexy chest ;)

    Seriously, though Khushi tu toh gayi. Not only Khushi, Arjun has a serious case of infatuation/hero worship for the “senior-most senior” too. But this is a special time in every girl’s life. Your first crush. And when he looks straight into your eyes and flashes that dimple you can’t help but melt into a puddle right at his feet. Yeh Mech 1st year ka kuch nahi ho sakta ab…

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Oh yes, and the two songs. Papa kehte hain is probably synonymous with every college farewell party of a certain era.
    And Do lafzon ki hai… I get goosebumps every time I hear it.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. So.. Kaveri and Varun… Is this your attempt at moving away from Arnav and Khushi some day! Super smart I must say.. Middle naming them!! Incidentally, these names are rather important to my baby niece… Co-incidence ?? 😜😜😜

    Cute update… Show off seniors are quite irresistible !!

    PS: samosa with chutney on top.. Banake!!!!!!
    PS2: guitar singing… Careless whisper style!! U r a sucker for the guitar aren’t u.. Does ur husband know that!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I loved the conversation between arjun and khushi. Khushi’s pretense about her disinterest in arnav to arjun is very funny. “Arnav Varun. Two names. Sounds weird.” :)
    I am totally falling in love with this breezy and funny romance. I’ve already read every chapter so many times. Another line which made me laugh out loud. “(“Mech. first year”, what else?)” :)

    I feel like may be arnav is very aware of khushi from the beginning. May be he noticed that arjun and khushi having serious conversation. May be arnav wanted khushi to notice him. Is that why he started singing? Oh meera I couldn’t wait to read about arnav’s thoughts. Lovely chapter. Thanks meera

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Let alone Kaveri Khushi Gupta, who can escape from the charms of a dimpled Arnav ? Absolutely no one!
    A heart stopping smile from AV Sir – Khushi along with the rest of the female race are certainly dead!

    Arnav seems to be the star of his batch, and I too am impressed with his academic laurels. Many people refrain from showing respect for academic performance, cause they think it’s uncool, and fear being labeled a nerd. But it’s nice to see Khushi and Arjun respecting that.

    Canteens often feature in many of the fun memories of college life. The vibrancy, the constant chatter, the different people – friends and acquaintances, and the whole meaning of college life is encompassed in this food paradise.

    Kudos to you for taking up a slightly plump Khushi, cause c’mon, how many of us actually look like Sanaya Irani? Your Khushi is so very real and some of her traits, if not all, echo in every reader’s life. Of this I’m sure.

    Papa Kehte Hain is again a crowd pleaser and permeates well into the essence of college life.
    Arnav- a singer AND guitarist! And one who bewitches everyone with his velvety voice.
    Do you really want to spoil us Meera ? You won’t hear me complaining though. But for other guys, you’ve raised the bar high, really high !

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Arnav in CW drifted towards A River runs through it…singing again with melodious songs charming Kaveri not only with melodicous songs but with “dimple” smile. Meera you are making me famous here…with my name on Arnav’s face…I know there are many who have the same name as I have. Thank you.

    Eyes have met, so the journey of River began towards the Sea…but Sea will be going far away from her…until they reunite again.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Just like that, she raised her head and looked
    directly at him.
    And the unthinkable happened.
    He was looking at her, his eyes crinkling in
    good humor as he smiled, the dimple in his
    left cheek deepening just as the color on her
    face.
    Kaveri Khushi Gupta was a dead woman.

    my God..this is one entertaining filmy yet so much more chapter which I didnt want to end.. making me laugh and smile at rvery sentence esp the last few!!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Two chapters and everything seems simple and almost too easy. Well done in pacing it out. Can’t wait for the story to start blossoming into the whirling emotional vortex that your work always is !

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Meera, I fell in love with AV again. For the upteenth time! ❤❤😍
    A guy with a guitar singing in the college cantine is a gift from the heaven. One can imagine right at the beginning of the story how many hearts this guy will break!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Arnav the dimpled guitar playing hunk every college always has , and most of us have crushed on one such guy in college. you bring back beautiful memories of canteens music , first glances samosas, awe for seniors and much more via Khushi Arnav and Arjun . All we need now is some crazy professors with their particular idiosyncrasies.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. It feels good to read these chapters…very pleasant feeling…
    Loved the way khushi was mesmerised by arnav’s singing…
    Very happy that u are reminding me my absolute favourite songs…
    Is she fat in this story…
    He was looking at her, his eyes crinkling in good humor as he smiled, the dimple in his left cheek deepening just as the color on her face.

    Kaveri Khushi Gupta was a dead woman.
    Wow these lines just made my day happy…

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Hi Meera
    It’s well past midnight, really need to stop reading now… Need to get up early. You got me really excited. Not sure how to fall asleep now. Cannot wait for the morning to continue… Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Heard “Papa kehte hain …..” on Radio today and AV sir ki yaad aa gayi…..
    Could not stop my self from returning to the river…..
    Thank you Meera for writing a Classic…….

    Liked by 1 person

  35. “she continued to catch glimpses of the mysterious AV Sir all around the campus.” I know that. You always make it point to notice the person of interest around you, even though there 100 others who also walk around you but fail to attract your attention. Strange how mind and awareness works.

    “Contender for the gold medal by a significant lead. His current CGPA is the highest the branch has seen in more than a decade. He’s got two offers in hand – one from Wheels Auto – with placement in Germany, no less and another from a Korean machinery major – they came recruiting for the first time and picked up just one student. But he apparently doesn’t want either…he is studying for the Common Entrance Test and people are willing to bet their first jobs that he will receive calls from all six Institutes of Management this year.” – Kuch Baki reh gaya hai, ya aur bhi hai? I mean seriously that guy just made me so jealous. Solid achiever that guy.

    “but the truth was that with every achievement being highlighted, K, Khushi’s awe only grew Awe? More like a crush,” – Ya Kavi, tum akeli nai ho beta. Hum sab hain crush mein.

    “This was definitely not the path to losing weight – one of her personal goals – to be achieved during her tenure at IE.” Been there, never been able to achieve that. Alas! Weight struggles are serious pain in the ass. why can’t we all be thin?

    “Guitar? She wanted to throw her head down on the table and weep. This is all she needed to finally cement her intrigue. For all her pretense of disinterest and disapproval, she knew she had fallen – hook, line and sinker”. – What is with this guitar types. I mean, why do they mess with our hormones. Does this guy get any better?. Dream girl ka gender equivalent song hai koi? Ek shyar ki gazal dream boy? maybe. I mean he like every girl’s dream come true. “Of course, he had to be popular with the women.”

    The whole canteen scene was like – take me back”, please! Meera, you brought this out, yes it happens, but the way it happens here, I believe is still less commonplace. Though the scene brought this huge smile on me. :) This was nostalgia personified, if that is even a thing.:P

    “And the unthinkable happened. He was looking at her, his eyes crinkling in good humour as he smiled, the dimple in his left cheek deepening just like the colour on her face.” – This warm feeling, the first few good phases of crush, ahh!!1 You induced these feelings in the reader as well. The heebie-jeebies. The butterflies in the stomach.

    Like in the song at the end, you left feeling fuzzy – “Dil ki baaton kaa, matlab naa poochho
    Kuchh aur hum se, bas ab aa poochho.” No song, could be more apt.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Hello Meera,

    Omg just a awesome chapter with so much hot and happenings…

    This Arjun reminds of arjun of pardes with his actions and comments..so cute..
    Kaveri and her talks with Lord Shivji is so divine..like it..and the way she finds out about arnav…
    This part was so nostalgic..I saw one guy today @ timessquare subway station playing guitar and I just remembered AV sir…LOL…he is too good to be true..and all the way in end with his smile..kaveri is all fida…best part was spontaneous comments while AV sir was singing that song..all down memory lane..

    Keep up the good job!

    Bhavna

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Khushi is already falling for Av Sir but pretends so innocently before Arjun..
    I feel like laughing on Arjun’s joining the group…fogetting about the lab session..
    Khushi wanna remind him but stops on getting attention..

    Ab sari update ek taraf aur last scene ek taraf…
    Awwww…
    Their eyes meet n he smiled genuinely at her..
    :)

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Arnav is a singer. He can play Guitar, he has a dimple, he has two job offers one from Germany and one from Korea, but he prefers to study MBA. Wow! A dream boy. And Khushi the only girl in the entire Mechanical Engineering branch across all batches. I think Arnav knows about it and I am sure he was awed by the fact.
    I have gone through these impromptu music/singing sessions and some times our lecturer’s participated too! Good old days. I have no such talent. I was always a spectator.
    Cheers…..

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Dimpled AV sir ,not only excels in academics, gold medal winner , plays Papa kehte hain in the college canteen , has the sweetest voice ,has boys & girls swooning ( talking about Arjun who has a John / abhishek vibe while discussing AV), is there anything that Arnav cannot do ?
    Full paisa vasool , Meera , isse kehte hain , HERO.
    I am in love with AV much more than Kaveri
    I am willing to forego the samosa but will take AV , for sure .
    Great selection of songs Meera

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Two job offers, wants to do MBA , can he get any cuter ?
    Have seen hard working ASR, but never relaxed , easy, empathetic to outsiders
    He did the play the drums with Aarav, but playing the guitar 🎸 & singing ( like John Mayer , John legend ) is yummilicious 💕😬

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Re-reading this for the nth time and I could still feel what khushi goes thro when she met AV’s gaze..

    Promising myself not to rush and savour each and every chapter this time 🙈🙂

    Lots of love to you Meera ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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