And so she fell  straight and only a little bit awkward — into the hands of twelve boys from the engineering batch of 2009 – who as Aman had predicted were as eager as she was to end momentary contact with her body. When she was back on her feet, her cheeks flushed with more exhilaration than embarrassment, she conceded to herself that this was the closest she was going to get to falling into somebody’s arms – twelve arms to be precise. It made her laugh even as she joined the formation as someone after her began climbing the wooden platform.

The day ended at a little after five in the evening, the sun well on its way back home. The group of them, exhausted and invigorated at once, made their way back to their temporary homes as well to wash up and change or simply lie on their cots for a while, before they could be served tea. As Khushi walked back to her tent, she looked up to see two helpers running up to Arnav with an assortment of brightly colored equipment or what she knew minutes later was standard rafting gear when she spotted a bright blue colored boat, a kayak she would find out later, being held at the bank by another person. It stopped her in her tracks. The day had been long and tiring and not just for Khushi and the rest of her Speed Motors colleagues, but surely for Arnav too? Why then was he getting ready for a trip down the river, she wondered. A part of her wanted to walk up and ask. Another part of her unnecessarily worried for mundane things like safety and the third part of her, just wanted to turn her back and walk away. During the day, there had been enough distraction to limit her straying gaze from finding its focus too often. There had even been enough diversion to keep her mind away from the fact that it wasn’t only her gaze that had been wandering.

Now her self-control seemed to have waltzed off to take a break from having been rigorously exercised all day.

So she stood in the path, mid-way from the beach volleyball area to her tent, her eyes fixed in the near distance. She watched rather shamelessly as Arnav pulled his T-shirt up over his head to reveal a black sports vest. It took her all her willpower to not notice the rippling muscle in his arms or the long gash near his left shoulder. She watched as he pulled what she hoped was a life jacket and a helmet. He kicked his sandals off and waved towards the help who seemed to extend another pair of what looked like sneakers. When he was dressed for the expedition, oar and everything, he looked up and straight into her eyes. She knew he was far enough for him to not see her expression or she his, but just having been caught staring was bad. She looked away quickly and turned her back to him, breathing out in small puffs as discreetly as possible before she walked into her tent and pulled the canvas flaps down. Her heart, however, knew to send a little prayer to her Shiv-ji as her fingers clammed with nervous energy at the thought of Arnav in the river so close to nightfall.

For the next few hours, she didn’t see Arnav Varun and tried her level best to remind herself that the man was, in all probability, married or well on his way to being so. Whatever it was that was going on in his mind, she couldn’t entertain any thoughts about him being anything more than a co-instructor for the program she was undergoing. She ignored the little voice in her head that tried to bring up last night’s apology. He was just being….Sincere? Presumptuous? Vulgar? She didn’t have a name for it, whatever it was. And it served no purpose trying to find one.

The first official evening of the program, was as eventful as the day had been – albeit a lot more relaxing. The CNBC team had spoken to a few of her colleagues in small five minute sessions – fishing for bites that would be interspersed in the final thirty minute documentary that was the expected outcome. She had not been one of those, and happily so – she assured herself. She had never doubted her ability to speak with clarity and immaculate diction but the idea of being on TV – even boring, low TRP business documentaries, made her uncomfortable.

The rest of her group had divided itself into two and delved into a fun but intense game of volleyball that she was least interested in. Arjun, true to himself, spoke to the CNBC folks and played volleyball. Thankfully, by now, he knew not to mess with her and so she retained her peace.

Now, just few minutes after another simple but exemplary dinner, the group was gathered around the fire, small groups and scattered conversation marking the transition from evening to night. If yesterday was tentative, today was stamped with certainty. The campers had fallen into a predictable schedule and companionship was a lot more definite. She had just about refused to comment on a controversial topic related to women in the corporate world when she heard a soft chuckle next to her. She turned to see a woman, not more than five feet in height and definitely half Khushi’s weight, smiling down at her. She was dressed in beige capri-pants and a large oversized shirt that almost engulfed her in it’s billowing expanse.

“Kaveri Gupta,” She said with an extended hand. “I have been waiting to meet you.” She said with a warm smile and slipped into an empty chair on Khushi’s right.

Khushi smiled back and took the woman’s hand, surprised that they were rough and un-dainty – the very opposite of the image that she presented overall.

“I’m Aditi,” She introduced herself as one of the helpers ran over and handed her a bottle of what Khushi presumed was beer. “You care for some?” She asked Khushi.

Khushi shook her head with a smile. “I am good, thank you.”

“Not legally allowed to drink or morally against it?” Aditi asked with a hooked eyebrow, the action so familiar, Khushi was almost tempted to ask her if they had met before.

“I have enough stuff to add to my daily calorie count. Beer just doesn’t make the cut.” She said. It was only half a lie. Of course Khushi didn’t drink because she couldn’t imagine what her parents’ reaction would be. And then there was the entire concept of relinquishing control over her tongue – which in turn meant her secrets. Unwillingness to add extra calories were a distant third. In the situation, though, like most others, she used her least controversial reason to her defence.

Aditi laughed and shook her head at the helper – Sanjay – who walked away.

Khushi continued to speak as soon as the two of them were alone-ish again. “I have been waiting for you as well – at least since we heard that you would be one of the instructors.”

Aditi looked at her and smiled. “Yeah, extended supply replenishment trip down to Haridwar. I got in just earlier this evening – you guys were still in the program.” She took a swig of the liquid and allowed her gaze to skim the rest of the group seated around them in a makeshift circle around the fire. “The only girl among so many men. How are you enjoying all the attention?”

Khushi chuckled. “Thankfully, the attention stage is over. I now blend into the crowd. Unlike the first year of college. I think I was in culture-shock for one whole year” She said honestly, trying to ignore the little flutter that erupted under her skin every time she referred to that first year.

“Oh?” Aditi asked in surprise. “What did you major in? Not Mechanical?”

Khushi nodded with a wry smile. “The one and only.”

“Oh” Aditi said with a frown and then clucked in understanding. “Of course, you are all Speed Motors employees – of course you would be Mechanical or Manufacturing”

“Surprisingly, our college had enough women in Industrial Production. Which makes no sense – Mechanical is in fact lesser physical labor than Production – I know that for a fact.”

“That is of course, assuming that physical labor is a problem.” Aditi pointed out much to Khushi’s embarrassment.

“I am not really a physically active person,” She said softly and bit back the urge to point out her size as proof.

“Then this week is going to be a lot of fun for you,” Aditi teased. “But Aman tells me you did the trust fall and the mini-rappelling pretty well.”

Khushi smiled as her skin warmed over. “He is being kinder to me  than I deserve. But yes, I did enjoy myself. I didn’t expect to.”

Aditi shrugged. “The programs are most fun for people who come with an open mind. Im glad most of you, according to Aman and he rarely is wrong, are pretty open to new experiences.”

“Are you an engineer too?” Khushi asked.

The other woman fake-shuddered and shook her head. “No, baba! I couldn’t study physics or math to save my life. In any case, one in the family is more than enough I think.”

Khushi laughed wryly thinking about how her parents would vehemently disagree with Aditi if they heard her. The fight after Tripti suggested looking for alternate professions when it was her turn to find herself a graduate school, was still fresh in her mind.

“B.Sc, M.Sc. then what –  Ph.D? Being a Professor and ruining your life knowing exactly what awaits you?” Shiv Gupta had roared. “And earning measly salaries for rest of your life. No!”

“Papa, B.Sc. from Stephens! It could mean anything in the future – Management Consulting, Advanced Analytics, hell even Writing.” Tripti had shrieked back only to have their mother hiss in disgust at her volume and line of argument.

Needless to say, Tripti had lost the fight. It hadn’t helped that she missed the Stephen’s cut-off by a narrow margin. So IE-V it had been, much to Tripti’s disappointment – although she managed to find a seat in Electronics and missed the golden chance (in her own words) of being the only girl in a class full of boys. A month after Tripti had joined IE-V, however, she had declared, secretly of course, that IE-V might have been the best decision after all.

Khushi smiled at the memory and looked away. Now almost everyone around her had a bottle of beer in his hands. Arjun, she could spot from a distance was animatedly talking to Aman who had a looked of bored indulgence, not unlike what one would have for an enthusiastically naïve younger sibling. Khushi would know – she wore that expression more than any other around Tripti.

“Which college did you go to? I haven’t even had the chance to look at your profiles yet.”

“IE-Varanasi” Khushi replied. “Arjun,” She pointed to her friend in the distance, “and I are the only ones from IE-V this year.”

“Really?” Aditi exclaimed. “I didn’t know there were any IE-Vians in this group. Munna never mentioned…” She looked at Khushi and frowned in contemplation. “Which year did you graduate in?”

Before Khushi could answer, Aditi slapped her palm against her head. “Redundant question. You are a GET which means you graduated last year – in 2009?”

Khushi nodded and looked away. Was this really headed where she thought it was?

“Wait a second, that means Munna must have been in the final year when you joined. Oh wait…Mechanical…of course….” She turned to face Khushi completely, “You are the first year mechanical girl who sang with him in the Aarohan of 2005?” She nearly squealed with excitement. “I remember Munna talking about you. And he didn’t…Let him come back here and I will…Ever since I got married, the idiot has stopped talking to me.”

Khushi knew that her heart was in her mouth. And yet she needed to confirm what she already knew. “Munna?” The endearment should have been hilarious. It would have been in most other situations. Maybe she would find it funny a few months later. At the moment though….

“Varun….Arnav….Damn him and his ek hazaar naam. Wait…what was it that the juniors called him…Haan AV-Sir…Hilarious! AV-Sir!!” Aditi laughed. “He took it rather seriously too for a while I think.”

Khushi smiled as her face threatened to crack.

“Don’t tell him I called him Munna, okay. He will kill me. I am supposed to not let people know that he is my baby brother. Nepotism, you know – that he works for Aman? Saala-Jeeja and all that..”

Of course, he was.

Of course. Aman Sinha was Arnav’s brother-in-law. Aditi Sinha was his sister. Of course. 

Dammit!

This trip was going to be the death of her. It was bad enough to be in Arnav’s presence. And now to know that his family – sister and brother-in-law, no less, was going to be right there…Argh, she wanted to scream out loud. Shiv-ji was really being his cruel best to her at the moment. And she really, really wanted to know why.

She shook her head mutely and looked away.

“What a small world. I was there for Aarohan that night…We had all come down to surprise Varun with…” Aditi’s voiced trailed away as the smile on her face dimmed slightly. And then she seemed to shake away whatever it was before she turned to smile at Khushi. “Imagine – we might have met each other that evening. Then it would have been a really small world.”

Khushi had no idea what to say so she looked at Aditi and smiled as brightly as she could. And then quickly changed the topic to ask Aditi about her educational background and how she came to set up A River Runs Through It. And though it came with the memory of Arnav having suggested it, the response Khushi got from Aditi when she complimented the latter on the choice of name for the camp, more than made up for her question.

“I think I had the name figured out in my head way before we finalized on the concept of Outdoor Training for Corporates. I mean – it is…well…it is a Brad Pitt movie but I never saw that but the name as a nice musical ring to it. And this place we have here,” Aditi said looking around the flame lit surroundings, “The Ganga literally runs through the mountains – so apt!” She said with a dreamy sigh, making Khushi smile.

Aditi looked at her and smiled sheepishly. “I should be more humble about it, right?”

Khushi shook her head. “Not at all. You should be as proud as you are, if not more.”

Aditi chuckled and raised her bottle of beer to Khushi. “I like you. Even if you are a teetotaler – and believe me that is the biggest compliment I can give anyone.”

“I count myself lucky,” Khushi replied softly before the two women began to laugh. Shortly thereafter, the two women lapsed into a bout of interactive silence as the rest of the group around them began to shuffle and shift.

“Antakshari” Arjun yelled from across the campfire and was immediately met with a combination of excited endorsements and some very audible groans. Being in neither category, Khushi was free to note that while Aditi had been vociferously supportive, Aman’s groan had been the loudest. And yet, the look they exchanged was almost too intimate for Khushi’s comfort. She looked away quickly as the discussion shifted to division of teams. Aditi, who Arjun continued to refer to as Ma’am inspite of repeated instructions to do otherwise, was Arjun’s perfect companion. Between the two of them the game had already taken on the spirit of competition no group of young and old in India could deny when it came to Antakshari. 

“What about girls vs. boys?” Aditi suggested a good five minutes of haggling later – during which Arjun had boasted endlessly about his prowess of course.

Khushi looked at her and grumbled inwardly. She loved Antakshari, no doubt. A disastrous memory of the last time she sang in front of an audience had not colored her alone time humming. She had even engaged in fun Antaksharis on campus and with her family. She wasn’t going to allow Arnav Varun to taint her love for Hindi film music, even if it meant the memory of sunrise irises every time she sang any of the Aarohan songs. But this….this sudden enthusiasm that she would now be forced to share because of Aditi Sinha’s suggestion – which was already being implemented as the boys shifted to the opposite side of the camp, was too much to handle. Especially when Arnav could walk in and join their group any time now.

Where was he, anyway?

No! Her inner voice scolded. You are doing it again. You don’t care where he is. You DON’T care.

Yes, she told herself. She didn’t care. She was going to sing. If Arnav showed up and sang….dammit, it was his problem. She DID NOT care.

So the game began with the customary couplet that kicked it off even though the starting song always had to be one beginning with the M sound. Arjun, who Khushi was sure, had rigged the couplet pointing to make sure the M was him, started with a grating but popular song that made her stick her tongue out in dislike. As catchy as it was the image of a bike-stunt hero and a heroine wearing a candy-floss colored frock – frock for Shiv-ji’s sake!, was too much to bear. It was, she decided, her duty to bring the standard of this game up. So at the end of the first song, when it was Aditi and her turn to sing something beginning with H, she was all set to revive an old Dev Anand classic when Aditi beat her to the punch and sang another popular 90s college classic.   Basically Bollywood’s version of Facebook fraandship requests, she thought to herself with a chuckle. This one, however, Khushi did like. It was peppy in way only 90s songs knew how to be, absurd lyrics not withstanding.

 

 

Hum se tum dosti kar lo

Yeh haseen galati kar lo

Aao na, haath milaao na

O baby aao na, baat suno

 

Aditi emphasized the word “baby” in an uncanny imitation of the male singer’s voice. Arjun, up to the challenge as always, responded in a high pitched voice saying Na, na, na and the entire crowd burst out laughing.

The game continued with much gusto. And though she did sing and participate with her usual energy levels, nothing could match Aditi’s excitement. If she was Arnav’s older sister, she was at least five years older than Khushi. But nothing in her voice or mannerisms would indicate she was even a day older than her. Younger, someone would have guessed, if enthusiasm towards Antakshari was any sort of measure. And her voice….If she hadn’t already known Aditi was Arnav’s sister, hearing the soulfulness in her voice – even as she sung the most superficial of songs, she would have likened her talent to his. Khushi had always placed greater value on women singers and their voices. She knew now that envy was a part of her evaluation and admiration.

So it was almost thirty minutes later that they finally found themselves stuck with the letter G (as in Goat) and looking at each other in worry as Arjun threatened with customary tick-tocks.

The stroke of genius was immediate and exclusive. The words came to Khushi, in full lyrical glory and with impeccable accuracy. And maybe it was the utterance of the first flirty and yet fairly naïve song in a long time but everyone around her fell silent and allowed her voice to float in the half-moonlit night, the only music to her company – the sound of a rolling river nearby.

 

 

Gazab ka hai din, socho zara

Yeh deewanapan, dekho zara

Hum bhi akele tum bhi akele

Mazaa aa raha hai

Kasam se

The promise was real. She was having fun. Inspite of everything else, in that moment, she was caught in that little bubble that must have been her inner spirit of some sort.

So she repeated the lines with greater passion than before, encouraged by the looks of admiration and pleasant surprise around her.

Gazab ka hai din, socho zara

Yeh deewanapan, dekho zara

Hum bhi akele tum bhi akele

Mazaa aa raha hai

Kasam se

She was about to stop then, the S-cue for Arjun on her lips before Aditi shook her head. “Let’s finish it. It’s too good a song to be left half sung.”

Was it the gentle praise in Aditi’s voice? She didn’t know. But she did continue to sing.

“Dekh lo, humko kareeb se

Aaj hum mile hain naseeb se

The words were so beautifully etched. The song had always been one of her romantic favorite duets. About letting fate take its course between two people destined to be together and still not be together. When she sang, she sang with feeling. Like she always did.

Yeh pal phir kahan, she asked with a smile, looking around her.

Aur yeh manzil phir kahan?

Indeed, this was a moment that may never present itself again – carefree and full of camaraderie and nothing else.

Aditi joined her then as the two women sang the opening lines again, their voices perfectly in sync with each other. In that moment, Khushi knew she missed her sister and all the singing times they shared – moments which had been far and few in between in the last couple of years and presumably for the years going forward.

Gazab ka hai din, socho zara

Yeh deewanapan, dekho zara

Hum bhi akele tum bhi akele

Mazaa aa raha hai

Kasam se

Arjun and Sameer immediately lapsed into the intervening piece of music, making people around laugh and / or groan in their limited success at mirroring the notes of pianos, violins drums and trumpets. Khushi took the little break to look at Aditi again who was now winking and making kissing faces at Aman who, Khushi was sure, was blushing to the root of his hair. It was a hilarious sight to watch the man who had been their well-spoken, articulate instructor by day, throwing looks mixed with exasperation and unmasked adoration. It was a look she had seen her parents share on few but significant occasions. She smiled and looked down.

Which is why she missed seeing Arnav walk up to where Aman was sitting, right behind where Arjun and Sameer were mimicking trumpets.

But when she heard his voice, there was no mistaking her recognition or reaction to it.

Kya kahun, mera jo haal hai

Raat din, tumhara khayal hai

Phir bhi jaan-e-jaan

Main kahan aur tum kahan

She had no choice but to stare at him even as those around them broke into a applause and Arjun mentioned something about dashing entries as always. She had no clue whether she was angry, sad or just plain helpless in the realization of the fact that in four years, nothing had truly changed. Her own words came to mock her cruelly as the flames flickered and blazed in the distance separating her from him.  Maybe nothing ever really changed.

A heart broken once, knew no better the second time around.

 

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Yeh Dil Deewana

Album: Pardes

Singers: Sonu Nigam, Chorus

Music: Nadeem Shravan

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

 

Dil paisa be-peer hai, who ek tasveer hai

Main kehta hun tod de, kehta hai zanjeer hai

Koi kachchi dor nahi hai, main kya karun?

Dil pe koi zor nahi hai, main kya karun?

 

 

 

Note: Next update might be delayed a little as I see a tough week coming up. I will try to get it up latest by Wednesday, June 1, 2016

314 thoughts on “Chapter Six: Writings on Walls

  1. Gajab ka update aur kya entry thi Munna ki.. one more name of AV sir.. Munna.. oh God Arnav is gonna feel so embarrassed when he will get to know that Khushi knows what his elder sister calls him.. loved Aditi.. amazing personality she made her husband blush.. don’t want to think or talk much.. just wait and watch where the things are leading to now.. loved the update.. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So happy to see Aditi as Arnav’s sister.. I like this new side…and she’s vibrant as always👍👏👌

    Gazab Ki entry ..With Gazab Ke words by Arnav..waah!!!

    Fireworks in the air and in the heart… Bring it on Meera.. This was superb:)))

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Haye, your Amans are just so damned attractive Meera. Aman and Aditi, as Twiggy put it, are truly #relationshipgoals. Forget all the ridiculously cheesy promposals and whatever other nonsense people use that hashtag on, it really should be used for these two. Aman blushing to the roots of his hair is just such an adorable image!

    Poor Khushi. Bhaagne ki koshish karo toh bhi she ends up surrounded by someone connected to the man she is running away from. I vote that she just gets it all out of her system — tell him how attractive she finds him, lay it all out on the table. Even if he responds in the negative, at least it’s out of her system.

    Also, as always — I love the music you pick. Brings back so many songs I’d forgotten about.

    Love always,
    Choti.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. That was a cute update! Music, friends, camaraderie in the middle of nowhere, life should be satisfying, right. Except for Khushi, who likes to get in to messy situations :-D If not for us tentatively knowing where this is headed, I would say Arnav is creepy :-D
    Anyways, I’ll let you steer this ship. Lovely writing as always :)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am so sorry for being late as AD is extremely hectic and now snatching time in between work as thoughts are bubbling in my mind and can not stop myself now.

    Meera ye AV sir ke dimmag aur dil ka secret kab khulega– me to tab tak soch soch kar pagal hi ho jaoungi😜.

    What a heart touching chapter. I became very emotional. Loved aditi and her entrance especially her being elder sister. Aditi and Aman– wah wah Ramji Jodi Kya banayi– drool and dream worthy and gold standard. She made him blush– I am in love with her.

    Kya mahol , Kya sama, aise me antakshri me ho, vo Bhi Ganga kinare in this meera’s musical– how is that possible. Your songs add CHAAR CHHAND to this awesome story and I get lost in the emotions, feelings and imagination of that time. Till now the lyrics of GAjab ka hai are goonjing in my mind– whatever I am doing, constantly my mind keep on diverting to this song and their situation.

    Bechari Khushi is back to square one as expected– dil ke hathon majboor hai– Kya kare. My dimmag want to tell her stop it Khushi— aarohan night heartbreak was not enough learning lesson for you– grow up and don’t look at him etc etc but feel pity on her helplessness – all blame goes to that 4 chamber badmash dil. But I was happy to see her at least enjoying with colleagues and friends and still continuing her Hindi music love despite aarohan night.
    Rippling muscles and shoulder wound– two different emotions– should I drool — yes but knowing Meera– there is a reason for everything mentioned– so how AV sir got that wound, why aditi stopped talking abt that night, why av sir changed and seems disturbed and not able to sit — all these things are telling something which happened– could it be that something happened to childhood sweetheart in some sort of religious fight and that’s how he got that wound and Av sir us not able to forget his past, or hurt or guilt over those happenings, did he land up loosing his Girlfriend in those quarrel– Meera this is silly imagination and believe me I am just praying that please please it should not be true as my heart will break multi Billion times if I found out that AV sir actually loved someone else that much and not Khushi. So plz plz do not break my heart like that 😭😂. I just could not stop myself from speculating.
    This waiting to know about past is turning into desperation Meera– is it really just a fiction?😁.
    I feel so bad for Khushi. Ye pyar boori bala se kum nahi hai.

    BTW my brother nick name is Munna too but I have no brotherly feelings for AV sir at all– just saying. Does he feel something for Khushi– I feel yes– but I don’t think he realizes it. May be he thinks that he was in love with his GF and does not understand the depth of his feelings towards Khushi. Why and why he has to do a dashing entry and sing these double meaning songs with these innuendo — I am with Khushi in hating him for doing this to her. He made her vulnerable again by singing that song. Aab kaise sabar Karoon till next update Meera.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Ahhh what a selection of a songs .. Once upon a time my fav songs …. You recreated the magic of 90’s with this forgot songs … It’s wonderful to hear them again … Very nice
    And the AV sir had made an entry at the last moment and picked up on the song was just soooo romantic

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I feel like it is bit immature especially we do not know anything abt his past, heart and mind but for now ( I know Meera you will force us to change my opinion abt him) want to say this to AV sir:

    वो कहते हैं कि मजबूरियाँ थी,
    वक़्त की…
    साफ लफ्ज़ो में खुद को,
    बेवफा नही कहते….!

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Something about the Aarohan night makes me restless. Aditi was with the family when they visited Arnav that night, something happened then, something very painful, memories of which seem to affect Aditi’s flow of conversation even after 4 years of the incident. There is this nervous energy in Arnav, something he hopes to exhaust by overtiring himself. The shoulder gash tells us that he was involved in a physical fight. I think he either fought for his Juliet or against her. Something or everything went terribly wrong after that night. What intrigues me more is that he seems to have harboured deep feelings for Khushi since he met her but somehow thought or thinks she is unattainable.

    ” woh haan kahegi toh bhi Khushi se marr jaaoonga main yaaron..”

    ” Phir bhi jaan e jaan
    Main kahaan aur tum kahaan”

    Not a lot has changed since the Aarohan night as regards his choice of songs/lines he sings in her presence. These lines …at times, they make me think in a completely different direction regarding the frame of mind Arnav was and is in. Few hundred scenarios in my head, but will wait for Meera to slowly unravel the beautiful mystery that is Arnav Varun. If it’s possible to fall for anyone without knowing anything about them, then I already have … fallen hard!! 😀

    Beautiful chapter again Meera, thank you .
    Khushi has become one brave n tough cookie. I love her even more now… She is much more stronger, wittier and seemingly balanced than before. She’s weathering the unexpected storm called “Munna” quite remarkably! Being hyper aware of his presence and gazing/glancing must be driving her insane. Oh she’s doing very well! But her heart …now that’s another story! 😊

    Reminds me of one of the most beautiful songs sung by a very powerful singer…

    I keep on fallin’…

    In and out of love…with you

    Sometimes I love you

    Sometimes you make me blue

    Sometimes I feel good

    At times I feel used

    Lovin’ you darlin

    Makes me so confused
    I keep on fallin’

    In and out of love with you
    
I never loved someone

    The way that I love you
    Oh, oh, I never felt this way

    How do you give me so much pleasure
And cause me so much pain

    Just when I think

    I’ve taken more than would a fool

    I start fallin’ back in love with you

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I was wondering why I didn’t see your comment :-)
      He did not appear or sound very happy on aarohan night did he, especially after he came to know about his family’s visit. I’m thinking maybe by then he had started having doubts about his relationship, maybe due to the feelings he developed for khushi. So when the family came along with the green flag it was not exactly what he wanted at that point in time. And whatever happened was after his departure from IE-V. But something did happen is the feeling I get, something painful. What exactly we’ll have to wait for meera to disclose at the time of her choosing :-) And the guilt that he feels with regard to khushi has compounded the rest of whatever he’s feeling….
      And I love this Alicia Keys song!

      Liked by 9 people

      1. AD has been powerful enough to keep me away from reading Meera’s update! I thought there would never be a day like this…but c’est la vie! 😰

        Coming back to what you said, what is worth pondering over is the fact that he has known what Khushi feels for him and yet, he has not responded to it. His songs say a lot about his state of heart, but he seems to hold himself back. Something stops him every time. He looked very disturbed on Aarohan night and now, he looks like he has had to battle a lot physically as well as emotionally in past 4 years. One thing seems pretty clear though, something happened because of Juliet AND because of Khushi as well. One of the girls won the battle in his heart, the guilt for the one who lost ensued. I feel for him and Khushi too. Actually, right now I feel for myself too, I am going insane thinking about the ifs and buts! 😋

        What was projected to be a “masala romance”…doesn’t seem to be one! Even if Meera insists on it being one, this is one hell of a style of writing it! It’s got that exquisite Meera touch to it… “Meera-ness” as I love to call it. 😊

        Look at us all going round and round…speculating all day long! 😉 ( sorry, I have a 2 year old who sings this Wheels on the bus all the time!) I hope we get some sort of a sneak peek into AV’s world in the next update, I can hold on for that long without going crazy ..right? Ermmm…😀

        Liked by 9 people

          1. Hahah! My house is Peppa Pigged by my older one, she’s 6! She has everything with Peppa on it…toys, books, bed linen, bags, cutlery….yep the inner wear too! She even oinks if the answer is a yes to any question asked ! 🙁 Two girls and my home is pink and Peppa Pigged!No sanity left! 😄

            Liked by 8 people

        1. This is exactly what I wanted to say as well… but of course, could not as eloquently as you do :)

          Matters of heart are tricky. How does one explain and justify to oneself the strong feeling towards a new girl, when you have thought you have loved another girl forever?! How can you do that without getting dunked in guilt and self-loathing about being fickle and being unwirthy of either girls. Oh this notion of righteousness!!! Poor Arnav😯

          I guess it is the same guilt that held him back from reaching out to Khush all these four years despite the Juliet story going terribly wrong.

          Once again, speculations galore :)

          Liked by 9 people

    2. Loved your perspective. Do u think when he sang those songs you mentioned , he was imagining Khushi ?. I always am scared to think positive and I keep on thinking that may be he was and is remembering his GF when he dings those songs. Why he is changed so much. If he has feelings for Khushi– why he does not say anything — don’t know. The more I think abt it more confused I become. Since he already knows khushi’s feelings, why so much hesitation and melacholony in his mood. He appears in some kind of pain.

      Anyway I am just becoming completely insane in speculating and analyzing.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Hope my dear… don’t give up!!!

        According to my theory, I totally believe he sang with her in mind. On both occasions, the common denominator being impulsiveness. The original flirtyness in Book 1 now being replaced by resignation in Book 2. This is what I choose to believe as of now :)

        Liked by 7 people

  9. The timing of Arnav is perfect or wot?!! once we start liking a person , how seriously , their well being subconsciously jus becomes our priority! Oh dear.. deep sigh!!!

    I love the songs of this update esp Gazab. Personally it revived quite a few memories.

    Khushi n Aditi’s interaction reg Arnav made me look at him as a normal being cuz when u like somebody u always hv them on a pedestal n this was refreshing.

    My heart just tore hearing Arnav singing n right after the gazab song. Talk about co-incidences!! That brings me to his solo rafting at night in the silent river!!! Its truly like a meditation n a case of my serious envy!! Did i mention how drool worthy his physique was ??😂
    Oh shiv ji!

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Awesomest…. My favorite songs… All of them… And how apt they are in the setting….. Truly gazab ba ka hai din…. :)
    Aditi looks like world’s coolest sister….. She seems to have all the history correct right to the years and minutes…. She may be the soul sister Kaveri needs in this place…. Wonder if she shares varun’s story….
    Varun… … Dramatic entry indeed…. But the lines… *sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I just realized the Antakshari just started! Gosh, will the next update be a musical bonanza as well just like the Aarohan night? I am so looking forward to it with nervous anticipation 😯

    The only comparison I have is that of a roller coaster ride – the slow ride up all the way to the pinnacle all the while knowing that the ‘gut wrenching yell’ will follow, the ever so slight pause making a thousand butterflies flutter in your stomach, just in time for the the “life getting out of your hand” kind of free fall. I feel that both Khushi and us have seated ourselves and tightened the harness in the car and are slowing inching up with that wild excitement.
    Thanks truly for the ride Meera. Loving every second of it, even though I am scared :)

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Oh my– in all this emotional feelings, never paid attention to the fact that antakshri just started. I don’t know abt Khushi but I don’t think I will stay alive if I have to go through same as aarohan night

      Liked by 6 people

  12. Hi Meera

    As always wonderful chapter.. Even after 4 years, Khushi is same .. Her heart is still beating for Arnav.. It seems Arnav has painful past.. But need to wait until you reveal it . Aditi entry is like a breeze..
    Waiting for the next update ..

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Loved the update. .!! Super songs with our super Aditi’s entrance . I knew she was Arnav’s sister :)
    Anyway, nothing really changes when it comes to first love, right? It never fades. The heart is still the same.
    I just loved how Arnav replied with those lines. It’s one of my favorite songs.
    With Aditi in the picture, can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Apologies for being late but have no reason than life happened. :(

    First hing first awesome songs Meera, from that peppy song to the blast ‘Gazab’ which brought back a lot of memories to the river song, Dil dewana. If you haven’t than you must create a playlist for all the river songs, including the one used in the update.

    Now the update.
    Hmmm…..Muscles and the gash mark on his shoulder surely he has changed but this description cannot just be to show how changed Arnav is rather a testament of what he went through. Now only if can know the story. Sigh.

    They surely can’t see each other in the eye or there reactions but there eyes finds each other anyway. For Khushi I can understand but why Arnav. I’m really hoping it’s not just guilt.

    Aditi is so cool, so open and flirty that she made Aman blush. Haye, they are so cute. The tough and strong Aman was embarrassed yet so much in love for his wife.

    Now I really pity Khushi. Don’t want to but can’t help. It’s like she is tied with an elastic band with Arnav. The far she tries to go away from him and the people close to him, the stronger she is pulled back. Aditi remembered her and event went in to detail of Arohan night but stoped at the mention of someone. Was it the Juliet? Did she also come with Arnav’s family? Whatever it is it is related to her only. As many pointed out in previous comments, was there a fight related to there religion in which Arnav lost his love or did she betrayed him, giving in to her parents threats. I just wanna know.

    I also wanna know what ‘SOHNI’ pointed out above with those two songs, is it true? Does Arnav really thinks he has no business having feelings for Khushi with or without his Juliet in picture? Btw, Arnav had a damage dar entry. And those lines….

    Why wouldn’t Khushi lose her heart again? I would.

    Will Aditi share what happened? Though it’s not her story to share I still want to be out with secret.

    For Khushi, one time heartbreak is not enough. But ‘Dil pe koi zor chalta nahin’.

    Something like this …

    Is par reh na sake
    Uss par ja na sake
    Khamosh reh na sake
    Jo chahe keh na sake

    Yeh pagal sama
    Yeh mausam jawan

    Yeh Dil Kya Kare

    Liked by 8 people

  15. Well, what a dashing entry by AV. Killed it. And boy he did it again. Expressing his feeling through song.
    Poor Khushi.bi felt helpless for her. Nothing has changed.
    I loved aditi. She is fun. But why she stopped while mention night of aarohan. Something happen that day, which changed their and his life and Khushi might be the reason. Let see what had happen between them.
    I must say this is the place where I find all my favourite song of 80’s and 90’s. Adore them all. Thansk everyone here for putting them.
    Fabulous update Meera.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. k here goes Meera,

    Love love loved the song…..Gazab ka hain din…..indeed…what a love setting u created. totally mesmerized i was while reading and been hearing it all this week…..BUT …..lol…….yes BUT……i felt a little cheated…….k, …..k….before everyone jumps down my throat, let me explain……u know how we do not have anyone else’s clear perspective in his story other than khushi. The only window to other characters are a tiny gestures, expressions and khushis reactions to them you give out along with their dialogues. So when our uber sexy Av-Sir sang -such wonderful line from the song that are now forever etched in my soul- and there was nothing………………………………N-O-T-H-I-N-G…………………..else about him other than the lines frm the song. u just continued on about KHUSHI and how she couldn’t stop herself from looking at him and felt like shes back to square on falling in love with him all over again……

    But then there isn’t anything in moment for her to feel like those were the lines for her……cuz if she could openly gape at him that means he didn’t look her way….which makes me feel like he was indeed lost in his own world with his speculate-able omnipresent *Juliet*.

    so does that mean that the last song …..from pardes Yeh Dill …Deewana…..was indeed Khushi ke dill ka haal…..as u said something about holding ur self from posting the other song that i posted earlier for u……

    cuz honeslty i felt that was him…..with the words…

    Maine uske sheher ko chhoda…………….-which he did…..left varanasi
    uski gali mein dil ko toda……………………..-which he did …..her heart when she heard about Juliet
    phirbhi sine mein dhadakta hai yeh dil ….which is the case…cuz he is still feeling for her
    maine dilse usse nikala…he did that too…..so he could do right by juliet but something unfortunate happened there
    phirbhi yaad ussiko karta hai yeh dil……….i guess he is…..the little sneaking glances.

    And that why when u posted the ****Dil kaisa be peer hai…..its matched so well with him…but i guess its for khushi?!?!?! please me that for Av-Sir…..pretty please…..

    uffffff

    BTW, Sohni and Ladkikijhy, and everyone that followed, u guys have got a gift of gab…what wonderful well written comments …..wish i could write so well….so meera read that thread once for part of my comments….i felt the same way…..

    Tell me if u’ve had enough of my craziness…..ahhahaha

    K so we are not going over to Aditi’s entry and convo……yeah….more craziness to follow…..but before that….oh my god….ur aditi is soooooooo adorable….and aman….awwwwww……me ….blushing frm head to toe…….ur gonna be the death of me soon …….woman u got to post some pictures soon….. i want to so put faces to these wonderful character u have here. so pictures please……

    K back to comment.

    “Wait a second, that means Munna must have been in the final year when you joined. Oh wait…Mechanical…of course….” She turned to face Khushi completely, “You are the first year mechanical girl who sang with him in the Aarohan of 2005?” She nearly squealed with excitement. — *** squealed??? from excitement as if shes his a jackpot??? maybe she know about how his brother felt about another girl other than Juliet???*****

    “I remember Munna talking about you.—-****Really??? why would he talk to his sister about just a first year girl? who is JUST a colleague?? a singing partner??? another what he said….and the mix-tape he was making, that khushi now has,….does Aditi know about that too???****

    And he didn’t…Let him come back here and I will…Ever since I got married, the idiot has stopped talking to me.”—–*****so she thinks he knew about Khushi and Arjun coming to this training and *munna* (giggling)
    missed to fwd the minute details and she got married after the Aarohan.****

    “What a small world. I was there for Aarohan that night…We had all come down to surprise Varun with…” Aditi’s voiced trailed away as the smile on her face dimmed slightly. ******so me thinks Arnav told them about his feeling and hows hes prolly unsure….which lead to unfortunate events in his Juliet’s life. – god forbid she lost her life.
    Is that why he was missing in action for a long time,….btwn sort the alcohol permits and Juliet explanations…..
    and also wanted to come and clarify the same to khushi so shes aware of the whole scenario from his point of view before that plan fell flat with Arjun *untimely* entry.
    Did he hope that the mix-tape would do the trick……did it really hold the key to his heart???

    hmmmmm,…..so the days that followed he was awaiting some sign from her hopping she heard the tape…?!?!?!?!

    And why do i get the feeling that the guilt he is feeling we keep referring to is all about what happened to *Juliet* once she heard about *kaveri Gupta* and how he feels about her. is that why he is keeping his distance from Khushi?….maybe thinking because hows he felt for her unfortunate things happened to an innocence girl?!!?!?!

    Aditi too referred to here as *Kaveri Gupta*…..the first year mech girl who sang with her munna……not khushi!
    so maybe he told them there is a girl called Khushi whom he has fallen for…..kind of keeping the 2 separate….
    and that’s why a lot of times he refers to her as Kaveri too, also again keeping his feeling in check associated with the name.

    *damn my brain must seiously be friend if its coming up with such*

    And then she seemed to shake away whatever it was before she turned to smile at Khushi. “Imagine – we might have met each other that evening. Then it would have been a really small world.” —-****So munna didn’t let them meet her,…or rather see……so they didn’t even see the performance…maybe had aditi seen her brother then,..she would defiantly have put 2 and 2 together. ******

    Well there is 3 more days….maybe there is still hope……..

    CUZ

    I read the prologue AGAIN,….and khushi is doubting Arjun….which tell me the Arohan Night About Arjun knowing ab out Juliet could come up in next 3 days….which makes Khushi Feel scared.

    And Arnav being Antsy……is that why he takes off rafting even after such a long day??? cant keep his mind still,….or is he wanting to put himself in danger purposely…which is a whole different world of speculations saved for another day…..for now i am going gloat over shirtless…..black vested
    *guptahouse Akhada scene* yummilicios Arnav- Varun.

    that little snippet about Tripti was really cute….and why are all out parent so similar…i mean nothing wrong in wanting the best…but why only engineers and docs are the best….arrrghhh. glad tho she found her niche and is happy in what shes doing at Varanasi.

    guess i covered pretty much all i had….other than 1 or 2 things….that can wait…..cant wait for June 1…..its going to be a crazy week next week so not rooting for 1st res……Charu,….u res for me ;)…lol

    Liked by 8 people

    1. All River songs are based on Khushi’s POV because the chapters have been her POV. About Gazab Ka Hai Din – he sang and she has no reason to believe he sang for her..he didn’t choose the songs, but he also had no reason to jump in… I know not knowing is frustrating but then knowing what he thinks hasn’t helped many either :p

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Crisp response Meera! He sang, she has no reason to believe he sang for her, but he also had no reason to jump in (!!) I dont know what to say! Hahahahaha! Yep, leave us poor people to go mental speculating on such a line from you, just a few more words like this and we will be pulling our hair out soon! :D

        Liked by 7 people

      2. It was Wishful thinking I guess on my part….oh I couldn’t agree more,……knowing or not knowing,……is equally frustrating.

        Certain chapter make me really wanna hate Arnav Varun but the heart wants to redeem him with the silliest excuse.
        Even as silly as Aditi not knowing Khushi is also HER name …..

        Such was my haal e dil during EIT days but believe me this time it’s 10 times worse.

        Thnq for clarifying ONE (hahahaha) of the things I asked.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Hey Avni ! Too much feels is what this story instills in us yeah? I admire that you really put forth almost everything you thought amidst the tornado of emotions going through. I sometimes forget half the stuff I wanted to say. ;p

      Coming to that song and on why Arnav joined them without preamble – though Meera’s mentioned that he had no reason to join in, I thought (*crazy imagination alert*) maybe when he walked back to them after his rafting session, he encountered a radiant Khushi, the atmosphere suffused with the sweet melody of the song and wanted or rather needed to be a part of that happy moment. ( I refuse to believe he had even the slightest thought of the so-called Juliet at that time.)
      About the Kaveri – Khushi switching, if my memory holds right, it’s always been Khushi when his (their) personal moments are in play – the moments when there’s that comfortable silence or calm enveloping them. It’s only when Arnav’s confused/distressed and unsure of what she might think or what her reactions might be that he sub-consciously switches to Kaveri. Maybe?

      PS: I have no idea why I am defending the guy ! That doesn’t make my feelings for Khushi any lesser but….argh, I’ll just stop now.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. About song- so he felt *needed* to be part of the happy moment
        1. Happy here also mean Khushi….so be a part of Khushi or share a moment with Khushi???😍😝😋

        The midnight conversation the night before by the river side when she said he has chanced, he countered, * is that because I didn’t sing?
        1. So here by singing is he trying to make a point,…?🤔
        2. Subconciously wanted her to believe he is still that same AV-Sir whom he know she fell for…..:)😍
        3. Or her voice attract him like a moth to the fire, and he feels compelled to sing. 😋

        Re:Khushi -Kaveri swticharoo:
        1 I agree with all u put forth. I was thinking that till the last chapter too. Until I heard Aditi refer to her as Kaveri gupta. Which sent me, I guess on a wild speculation chase🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔😤🤔🤔🤔

        So based on that both times he gave her the Mix Tape it’s been Kaveri.
        1 first time I get it, it’s cuz he wasn’t sure how or what….
        2 . Second time – he know how she feels now,…..but is not sure of what or how to handle it anymore .!?!?!?? Maybe🤔

        If u think I was uncertain before…..I am now a muddled mess.😤😄😘😋😩🤔🙃☺️😛😍😜😠😔😜

        Liked by 7 people

        1. Muddled mess – aren’t we all ? Maybe listening to her sing he remembered that Aarohan night and the magic it was before disaster struck and joined in. He needed a moment of happiness which maybe the river failed to put in him?
          I think Aditi knew her until now as the First Year Mech Girl, not as Kaveri Khushi. I’m not sure Arnav revealed that much to her.
          I don’t know what to think anymore.
          But, hurray speculations! XD

          Liked by 7 people

    3. Gift of gab? Hardly! As you know there are some big ‘mahaarathee’s who comment like they were born to write!

      You know, for a very long time, I had this uneasy feeling about Arjun. Till things got clearer in the later updates, I thought Arjun orchestrated the whole “Juliet” fiasco with Arnav’s and NK’s help(!) Ahem! I thought he was so madly in love with Khushi, that the first inkling of her having a crush on Arnav made him rush into panic mode. He went to the dark side(Sorry, Im a Star Wars nut!) and planned all this to nip her feelings in the bud! Now I can laugh about this, but I was struggling to like Arjun initially :p Talk of speculations! hahahah!

      Liked by 6 people

      1. And u guys with few more here are amongst those * maharathees…* ……… 😄 * An Inspiration to comment better….to such wonderful story telling.

        Re Arjun,….I think we r going to graze that bit if u recall the prologue….maybe not to this extent – believe me I was a member of that same thought club. Still having a hard time fully trusting Arjun, inspite of him being always there and being taken for granted by Khushi – but get the inkling that she will feel like he purposely hide the *juliet* fact and Arjun will get his doubts confirmed about Khushi indeed have falled for Arnav Varun.

        Thnq tho for finding sense in that long muddled penned thoughtS. I wish there was a way to colour code or even bold /italics while commenting to differentiate and make better sense.

        Liked by 6 people

  17. Sorry for not commenting on chapter 4 & 5……….. But please forgive me dear as this month has been too hectic at office so I did not get time to go through or comment on any story…………..

    I am hopeful that in coming 3/4 days things will settle down at office……. So my routine will be back to normal……..

    (orchids8888 from IF)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please please do not say sorry. Anyone who does take the time to comment here is doing me a favor so when real world keeps you away – I understand and definitely not hold it against you – ever!! Please take care!!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. You create magic. <3 I am spellbound. :O

    Thank the heavens that I accidently stumbled on this story. I would not want to miss reading this story even in the return of chocolates. (I AM CRAZY ABOUT CHOCOLATES!)

    Well, well, well. Coming to the story, isn't it one of a brilliant kind? I love how you have taken an idea so common, so ordinary – unrequited teenage love – and given it such a breathtakingly beautiful shape that we all here, shamelessly, hope for a love like this.

    The title – A river runs through it – speaks of the essence that Khushi is to the story. She is the river – Kaveri, the soul, the blood that runs through it. It is her story. But, it just doesn't end there. Because without Arnav, the story is lifeless. Much like the river, nothing without the sea, the ocean and thus it is, Journey to the sea – to fulfillment, to its truest form, of Khushi to Arnav, of the river to the sea. Love this! <3

    I cannot really jot down all the feels that you have given me up untill know. But I have felt almost everything that Khushi has felt. The escalating hope, the giddy ecitement, the bursts of rainbow dreams, the red-cheeks emarassment, the painful reality, the heart-breaking and about everything else, and even then some more. And I have only one word to describe it all – Captivating.

    I love your format – the division into parts and their titles are to die for. Once a mountain stream – like how did you think that? Amazing. Khushi was once a mountain stream and now, A river of joy. I wonder what next? I cannot wait to read more.

    Also, I do not want to know Arnav Varun's POV. This is Khushi's story and even though, sometimes, like on the night of Aarohan, it was etremely frustrating to not know what was going on in Arnav's mind, to be unable to read what Arnav wanted to tell Khushi; I really wanted to pull my hair until I had all the answers. But, really, what justice would it serve though? Instead, it would be highly unfair of us to know about Arnav's feelings before Khushi. Arnav's POV would only be worth when it will be given to us at the end, when all is said and done between the two.
    And really, why would I need a POV to understand what goes through Arnav's mind? I think you describe his actions excellently to know what goes through that grey matter of his.

    Anyway, this is your story and I would like to see your take on this. I am just glad I am a part of this beautiful journey. Count me in on all the next updates.

    You are gifted with the magic of words. Keep using it for us mere mortals to remain hungry for your stories forever. :)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Wow…. beautifully written!!! As people have mentioned before, these are the types of comments that inspire one to make an attempt to write better comments on a story that totally deserves it :)

      Liked by 4 people

  19. Loved the lively Aditi who makes Aman blush. That is a sight. Poor Kushi..she is still that same naive girl at heart..her heart skips a beat everyone AV is near or mentioned. And why not? Why did he have to sing that last part..impulsive may be..but knowing her heart, he is careless about it. I wonder what is Arnav’s story..why did he seek solitude and adventure — to keep his mind off certain things?! It seems he cannot help it –he is attracted to her but does not want to or is it guilt?

    Liked by 3 people

  20. For me, the whole story revolves around these lines…

    Hum mein tum mein kuchh toh hain… kuchh nahin hain kya
    Aur kuchh ho jaaye toh… kuchh yakeen hai kya
    Dekh lo yeh dil jahaan tha… yeh wahin hain kya
    Arre re arre yeh kya hua ..maine na yeh jaana
    Arre re arre ban jaye na… kahin koi afsaana!

    Liked by 6 people

  21. Meera,

    Anything that comes from you get dissected, analysed, re-analyzed, and interpreted until we get a feel that nothing makes sense anymore, and we feel like dumb heads – you know that right? :)

    So after you posted that short response, of course I had to start the process all over again. What do they call it? Yes – masochism!

    Thanks for saying “…he didn’t choose the songs, but he also had no reason to jump in… ” – First of all, he need not have sung. After the tiring Day 1 of camp and the subsequent kayaking trip, he could have just been quiet and blamed exertion for his non-participation – just like the previous night. But he didn’t! Second, even if he chose to jump in, you say he had no reason to – i.e. no one compelled him to join the game. There was no REASON, but just the incessant NEED to sing, especially considering the lines he chose to sing. He could have sang along during the chorus or waited till it was time for the next song to join. But no. He didn’t. How can we stop ourselves from inferring that he needed to utter those words because they reflected his plight?!

    You say ‘…knowing what he thinks hasn’t helped many either ”. Now, I cannot stop myself from going to the short Interlude chapter:) Wow – it turned out to be a treasure chest for my optimistic & greedy self!!! 

    1. It starts off with “For the longest time, he had tried to convince himself that the emptiness he felt was because he was leaving a place that had been home in so many ways…”.

    AV felt empty when he left college. He needed convincing probably because he KNEW that the emptiness was not only due to the impending departure from campus, but also due to this unnamed thing that was brewing with a certain ‘someone’. Something he wasn’t ready to name or acknowledge yet. This in a way explains the laughter that ended in a fit of cough, when he tries to find a name for the relationship with Khushi. “a colleague who he shared a taste in music with” rightly sounded absurd in his own head!!

    2. “But standing at the gate that separated the staff quarters from the rest of the campus, he knew that was not the only reason why he was here looking for Professor Gupta.”

    Of course the reason of thanking the project guide is a good way to deceive oneself and the world from not seeing the real reason – ‘the possibility of seeing a certain ‘someone’ for the last time before leaving campus’.

    3. “Whatever it was, it was a story that was over. A short, bittersweet tale that had no business being allowed to take shape.”

    This brings me back to the ‘notion of righteousness’, which I feel had held AV captive four years back. The compulsion of following societal norms and playing by rules & convention, even though the heart screams loudly otherwise. Did he have a name for the new feeling yet? Most likely no. But did he start doubting the name of the feeling he had for Juliet? Possibly yes. Too many permutations and combinations on what could have gone wrong with his childhood love. Will leave it to you to narrate :)

    4. I have never felt this bad for not understanding Hindi well as I do now right now. I re-read the River song lines from Interlude chapter. If this was a tiny peek into AV’s world, then the song should have been a reflection of his feelings too – right!!!

    “Kahan kisi ke liye hai mumkin
    Sabke liye ek sa hona?
    Thoda sa dil mera bura hai
    Thoda bhala hai, seene mein”

    Isn’t this him acknowledging his pull towards Khushi – the part of his dil he calls bad. The fact that irks him for having led her, though inadevertantly? The good part being the one forcing him to do the right thing by Juliet?

    5. ‘…there would be etchings in his memory that lingered forever’

    This to me, is his ultimate acknowledgment of the impact Khushi and her soulful voice had had in his heart.

    6. ‘Except when he would catch strains of that one song – about falling in love secretly and rivers meeting oceans.”

    He knew that the song reflected Khushi’s plight and yearning – No matter what, her heartfelt emotion will stay with him for his life :)

    If you comment today was once again a slight miss from you, I am grateful and thankful for the slip of the tongue :) It made my night !!!

    PS: Every time I read the reader comments, the one thing that always pops in my mind is – what will Meera, the only privileged soul with the ‘wand’ in this group and the only one who has complete visibility into the story, think of the comment and the reader’s plight. If it is possible, possibly at the end of the story, can you share your thoughts? That would be as interesting as the story itself:) Some things that readily pop into my head are:
    – Just after reading this one – “wow… she must really have a lot of time!!!”
    – “I am loving this – getting everyone riled up is so much fun!”
    – “Really! When I read it, it did not seem that difficult – why could they not get it? ”
    – “Even I did not think of this angle – these people have some imagination :)”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. My after the story notes are as long as some chapters :) but mostly I am thinking – what did I do deserve such wonderful people reading my story. :) honest to god

      Liked by 5 people

  22. Will a sorry do? I know am awfully late here but there were so many reasons. It was like whenever I thought of coming here and read something came up. So on Sunday, today I decided that no matter what I am gonna read. Sorry M:(

    Is he buying apologies by singing with her this time. Munna’s behaviour is unpredictable, this is what we know. But Kaveri is also confusing me now in all the right way but. What does she want. Either she herself don’t know or still battling. If going by the theory of him-leading-her-on then after all these years, Kaveri should be angry no?but may be its not in her nature to be angry? Long lost glances and everything she od feeling only shows that she is still into him. And I only hope for less pain for her.

    Something happened at Aarohan night. The way Aditi’s smile dimmed. That does indicate something. And that gash on Arnav’s Arm. Did something happened to him.? And because of that something Juliet left him and now he is here literally in forests?
    Only time and You will tell.

    Aditi brought that energy in both our and Kaveri’s life. Now may be we can hope for a new companionship?
    Honestly, I want now to sit and relax.and read this spectacular story the way you had planned.
    These characters are so so different. There is a tinge of realism but still I believe I’m in a dreamland. Things you do to us!

    Love both the songs but love #yedildeewana more ☺

    Liked by 6 people

  23. im just going to go with the flow ,
    …. ..i wish i could say something very nice like those people out there,,, but as of now..it was a great update..waiting for tomorrow

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I am so sorry for being so late di
    I am actually going through the after effects of writing JEE Advanced exam awfully/awesomely(not so sure which ;) )
    And u know what was in my mind all through the exam – I must get into the IIT no matter what ,atleast to meet someone like AV sir. I was already quite obsessed with the iit but after reading ur story i have started wanting the seat more and more . All thanks to ur kaveri and varun and their wonderful IE V experience. Somehow i always end up picturing/comparing IE with IIT.
    Anyways coming back to the story- i dont know what to comment. I simply wanna pull my hair out seeing AV’s behaviour. Seriously why should he sing the song. And to add to our misery why should u comment that he had no reason to sing and all.
    Huh i am damn confused. Aditi is super cool. I love her and aman. They are so cute.
    I wanna know whats going on in our AV’s mind but from now on i would just relax and read the story without coming up with different theories.
    And the comments were amazing too (i have read them for the first time *sorry*). Now i really wanna relax coz i have company of many people wanting to pull their hair out.( i was actually wondering why is the story distracting me so much, but the realization that its not only me who is going crazy feels good. I dont wanna lose my mind all alone i need company.lol
    Looking forward for the update di
    Love ARRTI

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Oh dear dear Meera, will you ever know how much I love relishing your stories simply for the characters and those tiny situations you create? And have me go all warm and fuzzy over the kind of couple Aman-Aditi are? And this time you decide to go a notch higher and have Aditi and Arnav as siblings! Honestly, at the moment, I am looking forward to the equations that Aditi-Khushi and Aditi-Arnav share rather than Kaveri-Varun themselves.

    Oh and should I also tell you that I absolutely loathed it when Arnav decided to join at the end? He shouldn’t be duet-ing right now, that’s for sure. For now, Khushi empathy mode is on before it decides to switch to Arnav.

    P.S: I am sorry, I am almost 2 weeks late. But holidays are not exactly what they are expected to be, in my case.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Hi meera30. I find you truly inspirational. As a newbie to the writing, and blogging world, I was hoping you could give me some advice. Do you find it benfical to post your stories as part of your blog? Do you have intentions of making a book, if so how have you found the process thus far?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Poor khushi…..she’s trying so hard to control her heart and fate conspires and surrounds her with Arnav’s family.
    There’s no escape.
    I thought for a moment that Aditi would reveal what actually happened on Aarohan 4 years ago- I should have known that was wishful thinking, you will take your time to get to that.😄
    And Arnav’s flirting with his signing again. Sign.
    khushi tu to gayi…

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Audacious Aditi. She’s back and as gorgeous and spirited as you always write her Meera. Thank you for never disappointing me…muah!! Aman tu toh gaya :)

    So “Munna” did talk about the girl who sang with him at Aarohan. And enough to make that girl memorable to his sister. Interesting…

    Khushi Kaveri Gupta needs a serious dose of self-esteem. I’d said it in the earliest chapters of this story and am saying it again now. She has such a negative self-image. And it’s all because of this insane focus we put on body size and shape! Her first reaction to Aditi was that she was half K’s own size. I do hope with time and the love of the right man she gets that idea thrown right out of her head.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Despite being an Arnav fan I almost wish that just as a river changes its course when it encounters an unmovable
    force maybe Kaveri Khushi should also change her course ,on the other hand the final sangam can only be with the ocean right —- at the same time we have so many oceans .. #just wonderng

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Wow aditi..Arnav’s sister. Wish she completed her revelation about arnav.

    Was arnav again singing his state of mind..I think so..but now khushi is extra careful to thread those emotions..who wouldn’t be? Very cliff hanger thoughts again..loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. She is facing soo many emotions…at the same time she is confused…
    Wow aditi…she is lovely…funny that arnav’s nickname is munna…
    Girls vs boys antakshari is very intersting…
    They sang together…thats a lovely scene to imagine…
    Cant wait to read the next chapter…

    Liked by 1 person

  32. To ignore AV is a must and mantra she chants away but couldn’t resist the lovey-dovey look towards his direction. Must she have one last look but turn out she is shamelessly gawking at him…in full force. No she wasn’t embarrassed at all.
    Good intro to Aditi and delightful commute between the two…Khushi’s inner conscious & wishes for elder Sis who could give advice to her rather she currently now holding the forth & role she has towards Tripti…she adores the role but still desires & hoping she could have one to talk to, privately & share her secrets she currently cherish & hidden in her heart.
    Surprise…surprise…same college…last year for Munna & 1st for her. 1st year, 1st affection feeling and 1st love…list continues. Aditi is sharp…will figure out soon by putting two and two together. Something did happen with her…story leads to her heartbreak & finding love for Aman.
    “Antaksharis” is a key binding them in the messing & entwine feelings & emotions. Aman blushing…man don’t blush enough…lol. Aditi shamelessly flirting with her hubby…openly….no wonder it cause the blush. Opposite attracts…glad to see Aditi & Aman working together & sharing the feeling they have towards each other. Hoping same will happen with Khushi & Arnav. Arjun wishes…but let’s see what happen… What an entry by AV Sir…singing & enjoying the group…reminds his love for singing…missing the key & his Khushi.
    Arjun and his antics…cute.
    Wonderful comments left by my peers…sorry couldn’t read every single one but hopping soon will come back & read after hearty catch up which I really need to do. Love you all.
    Thanks Meera for wonderful update/chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Arnav will be so embarrassed when he comes to know khushi knows his pat name… at the same time khushi is faceing so many emotions will she have a brake out point though or will she just barring then deep under

    Liked by 1 person

  34. And u weave the magic of word and music again…
    Truly, what
    an entry!

    Quoting u “fact that it wasn’t only her gaze that had been wandering.”

    There is something ha niggle, that says he is as affected by her as she is by him. It’s not just GUilt of leading her on (unknowingly, as it may be).

    “Kya kahu, mera jo haal hain..
    Raat din.. tumhara khayaal hain…”

    Uff kya entry hain… maan gaye… ur wizardry continues ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Kaveri does have a self-depreciating humour. I understand where it comes from, having made similar jokes on my weight too. That need for Arnav remains. That need that she declined still exists and however, she is consciously unaware of the same.

    The last time, in so many ways she wasn’t physically aware of Arnav. However, she has grown and is full-fledged checking him out. The conflict still exists. He is still married or may be committed. She cannot think of him.

    I have always enjoyed Aditi’s presence in all of your FFs. She has this endearing quality about that always brings this smile on my face whenever she comes up in the story. Aman and Aditi are just the perfect foil to each other, and their subtle romance always delights my heart. (Like the ways she makes those embarrassing yet cute gestures at him, so freaking adorable) She is Arnav’s sister here and just the opposite of him in so many ways. Both are charming, but while one is enigmatic, the other is exuberant. Khushi didn’t stand a chance on this trip. Every other thing was forcing her to look in that one direction, which she wanted to avoid entirely.

    Antaskshri and an evening of songs, by the riverside, just the perfect end to a great evening. It is good to know that Khushi did not let the whole experience taint her love for the very thing that connected them both so deeply. It would have been a sad loss otherwise.

    Some of the songs that you have chosen are so fun though I admit I have never heard of them. However, they do make me laugh, like the Dosti ones. The 90s were just a shocking decade for music, with music ranging from all kinds of good and bad.

    Like Arjun used to say, The man with two names knows how to make an entrance and just the lyrics that come up. Takes my breath away every time. ” Kya kahun, mera jo haal hai, Raat din, tumhara khayal hai..” Ya, it makes quite a sense, which Kaveri will always remain helpless where Arnav is concerned. “She had no clue whether she was angry, sad or plain helpless in the realisation of the fact that in four years, nothing had truly changed.” She will always be taken away by him.

    ” Is Dillagi Ke Siva Dil Ne Kiya Bhi Hai Kya
    Aashiq Hai Ye Chor Nahin Main Kya Karoon
    Dil Pe Mera Zor Nahin Hai Main Kya Karoon”

    Liked by 1 person

  36. intruing update yar
    something big had happened on that aarohan night…..aditi still feels disturbed while thinking about it……
    and khushi…she is still the naive girl who is so innocent to hold on the crush at the deepest part of her heart

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Hi Meera,

    Guess what there is a guy playing live music with guitar in his hands & singing in train now.. and it reminded me about A/V so cute..

    Awesome update with so many songs.. especially Gazab ka & humse dosti karlo…
    We get to know about yet another siblings aditi & her baby brother Munna..haila so cute..
    Loved antakshri part especially with Ak in the end..
    Aditi &Khushi clicked.. their baatein were interesting & revealing…
    Also let liked AA romance which khushi got to witness..Arjun cracked me up with his line I told mom & she did the rest.. arnav hurt himself as I mentioned about rash…also the way he does masti with aditi.. QSQT what a movie & what’s songs & acting by all..

    Thankyou!
    Love
    Bhavna

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Pardes song yeh dil deewana is one of my favorite too..so excited about this update..khushi toh gayi but something is more brooding with Arnav too

    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Aditi is Arnav’s sister? What a small world? Aditi was at Aarohan in 2005 and she saw Khushi on the stage singing. Did she notice the special interactions her munna shared with Khushi? She stopped mid sentence when she was talking about Arnav’s fiance. I am sure something happened.
    Otherwise why would Aditi let Arnav stay with her to train corporate employees in outdoor programs?
    Khushi is not able to control her thoughts when it comes to Arnav. Has Arnav noticed? He was sorry for not realising her feelings earlier. He assumed she knew about his love story.
    Now that she is almost doing the same thing, It is better for Arnav to clear his stance with her. If he has feelings for her, he needs to somehow convey. There is a million to one chance that because of Khushi he broke up with his fiance. He can’t stay quiet and watch her heart broken again.
    Cheers…….

    Liked by 2 people

  40. So something is not right between Arnav and his so called childhood sweetheart.. and he even stop talking with his Sis….
    He did come on right time to share his lyrics.. I really feel bad for Khushi… she is trying really hard..

    Like

  41. Aditi is such a refreshing change , replica of Arjun with no romantic inclination towards kh
    This AV sir is a tease or wuss ( sorry didn’t get the correct translation for kozhapavadhi/ ammanji)
    He doesn’t want to get involved, yet does, apologizes, ignores, then sings with her like Aarohan
    Yeh dil ( yet again Sonu )
    Meera did u realize Mahima s name is Ganga & SRK is Arjun in Pardes 😬( Mogambo pa calls him ‘ little master ‘🥰)

    Like

  42. munna???as if chhote us less hilarious???lolololol…..n he s doing that yet again they r the hopekess romantic who goes by lyrics in rwal lyf i dn want khushi to get hurt again..so something hapoened that majhab ki diwar gal absconded,or he said no or she died??m pretty sure he was not married

    Like

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