By the time Aditi had excused herself from Khushi’s side to answer her husband’s call, Khushi’s mood had improved greatly. Somehow, what Aditi had told her – about her own little love story – her first boyfriend – not Aman who was now her husband, made Khushi wonder if she had infact been moping around for four years. Not overtly, she reassured herself as she recalled the fun times in class, the good grades, the not-so-good classes, the tons of books she had wolfed down – even some of the Mills and Boon variety and a long list of things that had happened in the wake of Aarohan-2005. The only thing that she could be accused of was the inability to consider another person romantically – at least seriously. There had been the occasion where she had wondered if one of her classmates – not Arjun – was so inclined towards her. She had of course dismissed the idea for multiple reasons, most already hashed to death in her own head. And the fact that she had felt absolutely nothing positive about the person in question. Vishal Maheshwari had been a shameless flirt and more than one of her classmates had warned him against making the only girl in their class uncomfortable. Although she hadn’t needed anyone to defend her so, it had made her giggle with girlish vanity. A fact that had led to Arjun teasing her mercilessly for days without prompt and almost always after an encounter with Vishal.

No, she had definitely not moped her way through the last four years. And now, she felt almost sure that she would be able to fall in love – for real – when the right person came along, when she knew more about the person than just his pleasing exterior, excellent academic record and a golden voice. If that person was going to be Arjun…No, she shook her head. His outburst couldn’t possibly mean more than just a friend calling her on her waxing and waning interest in Arnav Varun. It had been a long day and Arjun had been out of his element. She needed to back off and let him be. And he was right…she needed to stop asking him for information on Arnav Varun. She didn’t need information on AV-Sir anyway. The fate of his relationship with Saira notwithstanding. That chapter was closed.

Smiling at her own insanely optimistic promise to herself – one long overdue, she pushed herself off the rock and dusted herself before walking up to the Ganga and dipping her bare left foot into the warm water – now a shade of glazed eggplant. Though she had jumped into the river, swam across her breadth in panic and eventually been rescued today, it was this act of dangling her foot against flowing river that felt cleansing. Maybe the Ganga did have a way of washing away sins. In her case, sins were self-inflicted but sins they felt like now. Her Shiv-ji would be pleased, she concluded and pulled her left foot back and repeated the exercise with the right foot. Unfortunately, her little holy dip meant she had to walk back to her tent with beach sand in her toes and shivers in her spine. Once in her enclosure, she quickly dusted her feet and proceeded to change – something she should have done right after coming back from the rafting trip, she realized as she peeled her sticky clothes off.

Forty minutes later, she was seated in a large cane chair, her legs pulled up under her, her stomach pleasantly full after a hot, spicy meal, her hair held up in a tight pony, all wisps carefully tucked in. In her oversized grey shirt and pyjamas patterned with large blue checks, she was relaxed and blissfully settled into the daily campfire ritual. Today, however, she was more the spectator than she was a participant. A part of it was because today singing had petered away and morphed into a game of dumb charades which as much as she enjoyed usually, she wasn’t in a mood for at the moment. It also didn’t help that while Arjun was still in the thick of all things celebratory – his new found partner in crime – Aditi on the opposite team, Arnav was nowhere to be seen. It was too dark for him to not have made his way back to the River on that kayak. Which meant that he was in whichever enclosure was his – presumably one of the tents on the other end from hers.

As she stared into the fire, for the first time – she truly wondered about him – the person beyond the boy-man she had fallen in love with. What had he done with his life in all these years? How had he ended up here – on a camp so far away from civilization? It couldn’t be just because he was nursing a broken heart. People didn’t actually do these things, did they? Devdas had the luxury of being written in a time when pining away to destruction was romantic. This was the new millennium – a decade into it – here people made lives for themselves. True, Arnav Varun was not exactly an ascetic pursuing penance in the Himalayas. But here in mountains – all alone – it was disturbing. Aman and Aditi at least had each other. But AV-Sir…Plus, he had never really seemed like an outdoors person back on campus. Or maybe he had been and she had not known. How did anyone ever get that fit without being outdoorsy, she rolled her eyes in envy.

She knew so little of him. And still she was so sure she had been in love? The thought rattled her. And then the beginning of a little doubt sputtered to life in her head. What if it had never really been love? Could it ever be – knowing so little of him as she did?

As the flames licked the wood and burst into shades of yellow orange and the occasional blue, the realization that what she had felt for him was probably just a crush pushed its way to her conscience. No! A voice chided immediately. She didn’t have crushes. Crushes were by definition physical in their nature. And what she felt…A shudder went through her spine. Hadn’t it been physical? Heck, it still was…What else would make her so aware of that gash on his arm – one that made her want to soothe the hurt it once bore away with a touch and a kiss. Or the way his face shone in the sun – a healthy shade of her favorite salted caramel.

Damn! Wasn’t it a fine time for the universe of her assumptions and beliefs to collapse around her? She grumbled under her breath and wished she had a little twig she could symbolically throw into the fire and see it burn.

She had not been in love? How was that even possible? She had been so sure. Till this morning when she had felt his hands on her waist. And now…She shook her head as if to clear her head but it was as if her mother was scrubbing her mind clean with that dirt-green mop that she used every Sunday to clean the mostly non-existent cobwebs off the ceilings and fans. The doubt that snaked in next was worse.

So she might not have been love. But what if he had been? With that girl named Saira? Even after all the signals that she seemed to have been reading into, what if he had truly been in love? All that Romeo-Juliet stuff – childhood friends – different, mostly warring religions – battles to seek parental approval – they must have meant something. And then to go and have all that end in being dumped? Deserved or not, being rejected was surely painful? Was it really that incredible to believe he was here hiding, licking his wounds perhaps?

And now was the time she had decided to give him grief about something that many other girls of her age would have passed off as nothing? It was nothing – a few songs, a now worn-out mixed tape….

She let her legs fall back down to the ground below and into her chappals. The loud laughter and wild gesturing that came with dumb charades was beginning to annoy her. She need to take a walk. And maybe find Arnav and see him smile or laugh or do something that assured her that he wasn’t heartbroken and lonely. That was a sad feeling. No one deserved that.

Smiling and shaking her head at the few others who looked at her and mouthed questions about her wandering, she walked away from the little setting. At the very edge, she saw Aman who was seated in a chair similar to the one she had just vacated, his eyes lazily watching the proceedings of the evening. He seemed completely engrossed in what was being played out in front of him. So it surprised her when she heard his voice call out to her.

“Don’t go too far out that side.”

She smiled and turned around to tell him that she had been that way before and that she wouldn’t lose her way when he shook his head first.

“No, the camp is safe except insects and harmless reptiles. But there is Varun practicing for his upcoming interview. That is a scary sight.”

Khushi would have stumbled a few years ago. And blushed to the root of her hair. She still did the latter, albeit not to the intensity as she once might have. Thanking her stars that Aman was really looking at her, she made a small noise, nodded with a brief smile and headed exactly where Arnav was expected to be found.

She heard him before she saw him. And she had to give to him – he clearly knew all the secret places that a river bank as open as the one they were in, could provide. For more than five minutes, she only looked around her in awe as he refused to be spotted. And then she saw the large rock away from the beach and realized that he had to right behind it. She had no idea she was going to actively seek him out when she decided to take a walk. But apparently that is what it had come to. So she took a deep breath and proceeded as his voice, muttering as it was, became clearer.

“I discovered the Ganga three years ago when Aman had just begun to get traction with a few key firms – many of whom are regular clientele at the River now. At the time thought, it was just a sport – something one does once every few years to keep the search for adventure within, alive. The idea of…” He faltered as Khushi reached the large rock and placed her hand on it. She hesitated. Maybe now was not a good time. Actually, no time was a good time. What was she going to say anyway? I’m sorry AV-Sir, your girlfriend dumped you? Yes, that would be perfect. A little rude perhaps, she told herself sarcastically and then took another step back when Arnav stepped out of the rock and stood right in front of her.

“Jesus!” He exclaimed as he stumbled. His hand shot out to hold the rock to steady himself, inches away from hers.

“Sorry,” She said hurriedly, her eyes taking in his wide ones, the shock on his face and the paper in his hand and the way his breath felt warm against her forehead. Damn! He was tall! She had forgotten how tall. This was making no sense! What the hell…”Sorry, sorry – I didn’t mean to…” Mean to what? Scare you? Intrude?

He muttered something about close to being even under his breath before he looked up at her. When he did, his face back into being that composed exterior that she was used to seeing. Strange, she thought to herself. She felt like she had only really seen him once before – in the corridors of Besant Auditorium.

Ha, her inner voice laughed. Love? Nice try.

“No, please don’t apologize. I was not expecting to see y…anyone here…” He said softly as he took a step back.

“And you were clearly deeply engrossed in your speech.” She responded, her voice just as gentle as his had been.

She must have really done well with all her hostility. Because what she now saw in his eyes was definitely surprise. As if he was half expecting her to turn around and run. She couldn’t blame him. She had done that rather often. In fact she herself had half expected to turn around and walk away.

“It’s not a speech,” He said with a resigned sigh. “It’s the blasted – sorry, it’s that CNBC interview with the River staff – J thinks I should be in the feature. I obviously don’t agree but…” He shrugged.

Khushi wondered why he sounded nervous. He had been on stage before and he was really good.

“I just don’t want to sound stupid. It is a big deal for J…”

“J?” She interrupted this time, even though she guessed he was referring to Aman.

“Aman – Ti-Di insists that Jeejaji sounds too formal. So it’s J…” He said and then smiled self-deprecatingly, “Ti-Di is Aditi – just…”

She grinned. “Ti-Di is self-explanatory!” And incredibly adorable, she added to herself.

He smiled back at her. As the moonlight caught in his eyes, Khushi noticed their true color for the first time. Black – the iris was that is. The flecks around it – minute as they seemed to be, were lighter – almost rich chocolate. Beautiful eyes. Unlike her own – which despite being big and doe-shaped as people had complimented her in the past, were hidden by high power glasses and hence no good for any purpose.

“Do you need help practicing?” She offered when the silence seemed to stretch. At this point, she was beyond being surprised or shocked by anything. Even herself. She had come to find him, hadn’t she? How was she going to make use of having done exactly that if she didn’t start conversations? Plus, she really did want to know more. And she was done asking others about him. Others were done telling her also, she mused to herself with a smile. “I am a good listener.”

This time he positively looked shocked. For a second, Khushi even wondered if she would see him run in the opposite direction. The thought amused her to no end. And emboldened her new decision.

“No, I don’t…” He began and then shook his head with a rueful smile. “I don’t think I want to sound this stupid more times than I absolutely need to.”

Khushi found herself smiling back instead of ending the conversation and turning away from this. She shrugged instead. “Maybe you should take a break and just say what you naturally feel or think instead of trying to rehearse.”

Arnav bent his head, folded the piece of paper he was holding and tucked it back into his pocket before he looked up at her and smiled. “That is good advice. And I usually would have done that. But this is…Aman and Aditi are really banking on this feature to help them market their offering. And I just want to be….they helped me when I needed it and I hope I can return the favor.”

Khushi looked at him in wonder. He clearly adored his sister and brother-in-law. She was even half jealous in that moment. Having been the older sibling, she was used to being the responsible one, the one who needed to lead the way – which Tripti took rather seriously in all matters academic and professional at least. She had always wondered what it would be like to have someone to give her advice, talk to her about any problems. So she did what she could. Despite everything else that she should or might have in any other situation or even just twelve hours ago.

“How did the River happen to you?” She asked, her eyes finding Arnav’s and holding like they never truly had before. She wasn’t surprised when something flashed in them. She willed herself to remain as calm as she was feeling at the moment, the crisp air around them a great lifter of spirits – especially adventurous ones hidden deep within shy, twenty-one year olds battling conflicting emotions.

He stepped away from her and seemed to take a deep breath before he looked askance at her. She wasn’t sure she nodded with conviction about her decision but a couple of minutes later, they were walking along the river bank, she next to the river and he beside her. She could still hear the strains of laughter and conversation from the campfire in the distance but if the others hadn’t mattered before, they were completely forgotten now.

She waited for him to talk, knowing somehow that her question hadn’t been dismissed or rejected and that Arnav Varun was only gathering the threads of what was about to follow.

So it was unnerving that the first words he chose to utter were was brutally naked as adjoining mountain on the cusp of spring.

“I was fired – from Greenstone Inc. – my first ever employer,” He said softly, his voice steady and unwavering – as if he had practiced saying this to himself several times before this instant. Khushi looked at him blankly, her mind reeling with the piece of news. The firm he named was not particularly known to her except she had heard of it in reference to top paying jobs out of business school. The admission of professional failure – at least as society defined it – was gutting, especially when Khushi realised just how high the pedestal she had placed him on was. It almost seemed unfair now, she conceded, when the truth of his very human story and experiences was being disclosed in a way she had not assumed to be possible in her lifetime. There was something erosive about unraveled mysteries especially when they highlighted how banal their sources could be.

He had been a new associate hired with the said investment banking firm right out of B-School. True to the nature of the industry, the work hours were long and the financial implications of even small decisions, high enough to ensure qualification of this work as high-stress, high-risk and high return. He had done exceedingly well the first few months, he admitted, showing flair for evaluating the right financial metrics that made merger deals for their clients look as honest as possible. In the second half of the first year of his employment, he had been working with a telecom giant that was considering acquisition of a publicly traded smaller network equipment manufacturer. Knowing the nature of sensitivity of such deals and transactions, he was rather pumped to be put on something this significant as quickly as he had been while most of his peers were still burning both ends of the candle with grunt work – complex spreadsheets and little real client facing time. It was a rude shock however, when he discovered that his manager’s boss – a director of the firm was using knowledge of this impending acquisitions to trade stocks for another completely un-related HNI client. Uncomfortable with the direction in which things were headed, he had asked to be kept away from the project and be given something less controversial to do. In the three months that followed, his stellar performance had been labelled whimsical and immature with inconsistent strokes of brilliance. The actual firing had almost been expected and had come with a gentle nudge rather than a hard decision and hasty removal at the end of the performance appraisal for the year.

She didn’t understand the exact technicality of Arnav’s situation but she knew it didn’t matter enough for her to ask for lessons. Khushi heard his story with a shudder in her spine and a grateful sigh for small mercies that came with traditional jobs and uncontroversial expectations, and a growing unease about a future that involved possible travel down the same path.

“I had come to the River six months before I was let go. I spent three weeks here and fell in love with this place. I had come to relax and somehow ended up being fascinated by what J and Ti-Di have here. I never thought I would be here professionally. It seemed so impossible at the time.” He took a deep breath, his gaze never wavering from a point in the distance that she couldn’t see. “I came back to the River in completely different circumstances and somehow, J just knew what I needed. He made me take a couple of courses to be an instructor. And once I started, there was not stopping me. It helped that I could contribute to their work. Having spent a small amount of in a leading investment bank had its advantages. I could bring in leads – many of which converted to actual sales,” He shrugged, more to himself than as a reaction to what he was telling her. “It was what J needed. And it was exactly what I needed and now there is nothing else I would rather be doing.”

She smiled softly and bit back an urge to remind him how lucky he was to have Aman and Aditi and the River to fall back on. He didn’t need reminders – it was evident in the way he poured his soul into the venture. But she wondered if this was in fact an easy escape from what would have otherwise been a painful journey back into the world that he had spent years training for and was good at. Whatever the case though, it half gladdened and half saddened her that it was not just a broken heart that he was nursing here in the mountains. For all the brilliance and promise that he had been in IE-V, a few months and years in the real world had been enough to wipe it clean. It was a shame, a deeply depressing thought that made her want to put her hands around him and tell him he was still as much of a hero as he once had been. Or at least hope that he had someone in his life to tell him so – even if it was not Saira.

“Thank you,”

His words, now directed at her consciously, brought her back to their conversation and she smiled at him bemusedly.

“You are a good listener. I was….” He looked away again and then smiled at her. “I have been struggling with this because I have been wondering if I am here only because I am not elsewhere.”

It was exactly what she had been thinking and yet hearing him say it made her realize that she didn’t believe it. “Maybe that is why Aman wanted you to do the interview.” She offered as they reached the end of the little path where they would have to turn back to the camp.

Something rustled between them in that little moment of unguarded reactions and honest conversation. Or maybe it was the bleakness she had seen in his beautiful eyes just moments ago. And the little glint of relief that now seemed to be reflecting in the upward turn of his lips. Her smile faltered as she acknowledged how her heart was now beating in her pulse and egging her to do something she would have never dreamed of.

She stepped forward and raised her face to look up at him. It would be so easy to brush her lips against his, she realized. Her mouth almost tingled in anticipation as she heard a sharp rush of air whoosh between them. Which one of them had taken a deep breath? It could have been either or neither. She took another step forward and this time she was sure she saw him say something.

Except there was no sound in her ears now. Just the thrill of anticipation, of a little flame that was licking at the tip of her nerves. What would happen, she wondered, if she did kiss him? She knew she wouldn’t regret it. It would be her first kiss. And there was no one else she would rather kiss.

“Kaveri,”

His voice permeated the little sliver of satin that was wrapping itself around her senses. She wanted to tell him she still preferred him calling her Khushi. She raised her hand, unaware that she had. Her fingers were almost grazing his T-shirt. “Khushi,” She whispered simply.

He looked at her, his eyes searching her face almost urgently. “I didn’t think you would want me to call you that….not after…”

She looked back into his eyes, a little glimmer appearing in hers without preamble. She blinked quickly, keeping the tears at bay. He called her Kaveri because he didn’t think he deserved to call her Khushi? He had called her Kaveri that night. He had known he was about to talk to her about Saira – break her heart. Was that what he would have told her that night if Arjun hadn’t exposed his secret when he had?

She looked away from him even as a tiny droplet rolled into a sphere at the corner of her left eye. The impact of what he said and what she was about to do dawned upon her with a spray of fine mist from a breeze that skimmed the surface of the river, forcing her to step away. How could she have forgotten all of that? There had once been someone else in his affections. What if there still was? How could she have declared – even if just to herself – that she wouldn’t regret kissing him? What did she know of him and his feelings at all?

She stepped away some more and the river came screaming back in her ear. “How could I?” She muttered under her breath as she struggled to keep her gaze away from his. What was that saying about fooling someone twice? She took a deep breath even as her body flooded with heat. “We should go back.”

She turned and started walking, her pace unhurried but determined. The sounds and lights from the camp neared even as he fell in step beside her in silence. When they had almost reached the place they had started from, he reached out and held her hand, his grasp light against her wrist. Her eyes were smarting now and her breath heavy in chest. Her throat felt full – like it did when she was watching a particularly heart wrenching movie. Before she could extract her hand from his, he let it go.

“We really need to talk.”

She shook her head. They didn’t need to talk. She couldn’t deal with him. It was as simple as that. No amount of courage was going to help her. Not where he was concerned – she had tried everything in the last couple of days. Maybe some relationships were just meant to be this way. The weight of her own feelings was too much to ignore. She turned away from him again, this time more decisively.

She took a couple of steps away when she realized she was being utterly ridiculous. That there was only one thing that was bothering her at the moment. And it was an easy fix if he really wanted to “talk”. So a couple of steps later, she stopped and turned around as the sound of loud shouts became clearer than the gentle chime of the river.

“Is there someone else?” She asked out aloud, making sure the words were out before she could rein them back in.

He looked at her for a long moment and then shook his head. “No.”

 

River Song, Music and Lyrics

 

Song Title: Ishaqzaade

Album: Ishazaade

Singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Javed Ali

Music: Amit Trivedi

Lyrics: Kausar Munir

 

Dil pe jo bhi, bair beeta

Teri khair pe waar diya

Jal jalaakar jo bhi jeeta

Tere pyaar pe haar diya

Humko khud mein shaamil kar le

Ab toh khud ke kaabil kar le

Rang tumhare, rang jaayenge

Sang tumhare, sang jaayenge

 

 

 

Notes:

  1. Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes for my little one. She loved turning five and the Husband and I still can’t believe she is that many!
  2. So, it seems that the River has, true to its form, unleashed bursts of wonderful new life. Three of my lovelyfrien ds from this journey have spun threads of silver from the undercurrents of the Nadiya. I bring them to you here – hopefully with their permission. Please do visit Babbling Brooks to read more. I don’t want to say whether or not they are anywhere close to what I have planned, but it is what they took from the story and hence in many ways more important than the story itself.
  3. Next Update: Monday, July 11, 2016, between 9-10pm IST

375 thoughts on “Chapter Eleven: In The Moment

  1. The feeling is like when you are least expecting some thing to happen, which you are wanting since days now, and as you reached the end, it’s there.

    I really became the khushi fan today. The kind of boldness she showed today. Is she growing? Or taking baby steps? Or finally she is tired of running away? I seriously was surprised to see that she was thinking of kissing AV! 😮
    But thank god kiss didn’t happen, otherwise things would have been more awkward in their already awkward situation.
    I like how you are giving bits and pieces of AV’s life,through khushi eyes. So he was fired and all. The failures in professional life are the most heart breaking ones because they make us question out capabilities and intellect. A college topper who was admired by everybody was fired by his first ever employer. What he must have felt. Thank god for people like J and Ti-Di we overcome our failures too. But in a way khushi helped him here too, when he was in a quora with his presence in River, she came as an authentication that he ‘belongs’ here.
    GASH😀 now this gash is a new mystery which is admired by both Kaveri and we girls here😉

    I like that khushi is now thinking of knowing Arnav. This thing was nagging my mind since so long. They know so little of each other but yet there is box full of emotions between them. With So less of knowledge about each other, They still manage to chat or help each other. Can give long glances or run away like silly teens. So much for not knowing we’ll, right?
    Knowing you so so well, I know talk IS not going to happen. Someone’s going to interrupt them or something. But this chapter is surely a milestone in River history. How many days left in Rishikesh? I lost the count!damn!

    When I take one step ahead and you take one behind, A River Runs through It.

    And Thank You for giving that index of inspired sotries. Gonna read them soon. ☺

    Liked by 13 people

    1. “When I take one step ahead and you take one behind, A River Runs through It.”

      Very well said. The wait is for river to merge in its ocean and for them to flow together as one. But you are right the talk may not happen, maybe that what brings AV out of mountains and into the corporate world again to come face to face with Khushi.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Thanks! I read meera’s tweet and this line came in to mind just after.

        Isn’t that obvious that the ‘talk’ will not happen? Their’s relation isn’t like that always?

        Some thing should always be left behind to start a new chapter. And I guess Meera has given enough revelations in this one. More than book 1. What I think is next will be Arjun’s mystery. I hope Arjun’s coast will clear in this one. I am already shipping him with tripti. #ArTi🙈❤❤

        Liked by 7 people

    2. I couldn’t agree more,…inspite of wanting it to happen so bad….it isn’t going to happen….and the no shall be left to speculation for a long time to come….

      And after seeing J with Ti-Di….we must get #ArTi ….I am all for it……
      After that **it would be her first kiss and really wanting to** Arjun dfntly stands no chance….

      Hope the air gets cleared btwn them and Khushi keep this boldness up n clarify her stand with Arjun.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Ha, I *loved* the term J for Jeejaji! I never would have thought :) As for Khushi, however… poor girl, no matter how much she tries to get over this man, there’s just something that tugs her back. I can empathize, strongly. However, I will echo other sentiments — the fact that she is getting to know Arnav Varun rather than the idealized version of AV Sir. That, I think, is what transitions an infatuation to love — getting to know someone and loving their flaws and all. Not that I’m an expert, this all comes from my own idealized world of romance novels, which is obviously how the real world works ;)

    As for his professional setback — I liked the way you chose to present that. Arnav is usually the all-star kid, and it’s refreshing to see him in a situation where he isn’t necessarily at the top of his game (er… not that I wish ill upon him. Not at all!). Really really well done with that.

    Love always,
    Choti.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Whoa! Look at the distinction made between infactuation and love by our very own choti, who claims to have gleamed life lessons from novels!!! Mmmm… now that is something qworth pondering 😉

      Liked by 7 people

  3. I loved this optimistic and positive Khushi … It almost seems that with that toe dipping in the Ganga she shed her old inhibitions … and is ready to pursue her new found feelings (Crush or Love) with determination … :)
    Her inner dialogue with herself about not having actually died of lovesickness the past four years was too cute … Arjun not being the right one etc etc … hahaha …
    Her feet seemed to have a will of their own taking her on Arnavs trail inspite of the warning by Aman … Her new found confidence in herself seemed to be making her do things she never would have earlier … At the first sight of Arnav she would have actually run a mile let alone make a conversation with him … prompting him to talk about his past … her eagerness to know why a person like him who had always been a topper … put on pedestel by everyone was here instead of doing a highly coveted job like most people would …
    The almost kiss was a real bonus … but the best was when she turned around and asked him if there was anyone else in his life … thud … I fainted … thats the way to go girl …
    And who says that the night is over ??? That almost kiss could very well end up in a proper Kiss … ;) lets see what our dear author has in mind for us fangirls …
    The perfect song for the moment …

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Its been so long since I posted a song and I was listening to this one while reading the update.
    I don’t know if any body thinks it fits or not but I think it’s fits to Varun in my head❤

    Liked by 8 people

  5. OH MY GOD!!!! Did this really happen!!??
    They just…. may be not in so many words…. confessed to each other! *jaw dropping*

    It all felt like a dream. I had to shake my head couple of times and re-read it, but :

    Liked by 14 people

  6. Meera,I am at a loss for words…
    Kaveri has really thought things out in this chapter… The last question she asked .. It’s so unlike her… It’s like she has done leashing her inner self… For once she is going to talk and not turn away… I am not sure how this is gonna pan out.. Because I think preview has a different setup.. :)
    Varun.. That ‘no’ was… *sigh*… Poor chap is I think all zapped up seeing Kaveri’s changed avatar.. But he seems so vulnerable and so despondent…I wish Kaveri to kiss away his hurt .. But alas…
    Where is Arjun? Mera Sher… He was so heartbroken… Kahan gaya …missed him and Aditi too..
    Just curious about aman, does he know? He I think can feel the undercurrents and is being a Cupid by sending Kaveri to varun’s hideout…

    Liked by 9 people

  7. Am glad for once that for once she cudnt stop the single most important question in her mind from reaching her lips. Too many years n too much silent suffering. They really do need to talk it out n give voice to those repressed emotions. But even if they did talk about it , it doesn’t seem to have done them much good becoz the prologue suggests that the river has to cover more terrains before it can reach the sea. His answer to her question however lifted a heavy burden off my heart anyway becoz as i wrote before it wud be unforgivable if his heart was not free.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. “We really need to talk.”
    …………….
    “Is there someone else?”
    …………………..
    “No”
    …..

    The most important answer Khushi needed for now 😄

    Liked by 8 people

  9. Ooops Meera! What an update! Her introspection about her ‘crush’, Arjun -No, Vishal – No,realising her ‘love’ towards him, Her emboldened approach, Her patient listening, Her almost kiss, His open talk about his professional set back and finally her ‘Is there anyone else” and His ‘No’- The River has started ithe baby steps towards its Ocean. and there will be no stopping back. Beautiful chapter Meera!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Meera I don’t have words to explain about what I’am feeling now.
    How do you do this every single time.You are really gifted writer.
    Thank you for the link to the stories.
    Belated birthday wishes to your daughter.
    My first one is turning 11 tomorrow,She had her primary school leavers ceremony day before .9 years has gone in a blink of an eye.
    She is going to secondary school in September.
    A small advice (you may not need me to tell you this)cherish every single moment of your little one.
    Things changes when they pass the single digits to double digits.
    It’s a challenge every single day.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Love the Aman and Aditis in your stories. Aman is a family friend and so must have known Arnav also since his childhood and known about his engagement and breakup with Saira. He is more like an older brother to Arnav and looks out for him. It is nice to have a big brother like that! Arnav losing his job after being at the top most of his life, must have hit him hard – but Aman and Aditi were there to help him get back on his feet and do something that he now enjoys!

    For Khushi, it has to be more than a crush. She hadnt seen or heard anything about him for several years, but on seeing him again, all those feelings came back. Crushes and infatuations do not last that long? One may develop new ones :-)

    She actually had a conversation with him and made him feel comfortable enough to be able to talk to her, and that too about something he probably wouldnt with anyone. Now to see if this “talk” will continue..

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Edge of your seat chapter. Like honestly…i cannot wait for the next chapter. She nearly kissed him…and he didn’t appear opposed to it? His no the end too…so he also likes her enough to pursue it further? Oh man…u so want them to have a talk!

    As always your aditi and aman are just the best. The support and love between them and the bond between aditi aman and arnav is beautiful.

    It must have been a shock to arnavs system to be fired from his job…especially after his hero status when he was studying. It certainly matured him and I think it brought him peace as he discovered his love for what he is doing now. I always felt there was a certain aura around the arnav in college. He was a showman and oozes confidence….but there was something secretive. It felt like a front and his personal life was hidden. It might not be like that but thats how i felt. But now we get to see the real arnav. No front. No showman. Just him.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Hi.the update was like much awaited and anticipated first monsoon shower, cools you down but leaves the dry earth thirsty for more. Lovely. I love the way highly relatable journey of a river and human life/emotions are reflected in the story. The highly excitable and fluid flow of nascent river and initial flush of love, the increasing depth of feelings as one finds their space….awesome work

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I am here again!

    I still can’t bring my self up to like or love AV the way I want. For me he still is the person who hurt two peoples feelings. Made fun of their first love. I know we yet don’t know anything about what happened between him and S but the fact he was with her for so long and fought with the world and his parents then for what?
    I know he is human and maybe can’t blame his feelings but somehow I feel what he did with K was wrong.
    ( don’t hate me people)😆

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I agree,….and I personally believe that what he did with her is weighing him down considerable….

      His *I didn’t think I’d want me to call u that after what …* is indication enough…..that doesn’t mean what he did can be easily forgotten….but like he said…the talk needs to happen…but if *anybody* decides to not indulge us and and allow Kaveri to hear him out…..and instead fly high and marvel in that ‘no’……god help us all from another heart break…….

      Liked by 7 people

    1. Also, the one thought that struck me when Khushi was having her epiphany: Why not give Arjun a chance? Is it really that hard to see that they could be more than friends? I think Arjun deserves Khushi much more than Arnav would, ever. He’s been there by her side forever. Khushi’s right – she doesn’t really know who Arnav is, as a person.

      Arjun, on the other hand, she spends as much time thinking about as she does about Arnav. Because he’s actually IN HER LIFE.

      Liked by 9 people

        1. Those smiles as response to Maverick’s respond proposing Arjun as a better match are giving me scares!!! Authorji… remember Saagarasangamam. That is my one and only request :)

          Liked by 4 people

      1. Sometimes these introspective responses are a matter of how ur heart feels subcontiously while making one believe they are actually doing the thinking using the process of elimination and pondering with their trusted brain.

        Classic case of not so true….subcontiously she’s only into Arnav,…..and Arjun may not make it past the friendship line. Although what u said may be true, about Arjun deserving to be with her more than Arnav.

        Liked by 6 people

  15. Great chapter :-)
    Big steps, free falls, and unknowns. A thought goes ‘We build castles with our fears and sleep in them like kings and queens.’ How very refreshing that Khushi chooses to break free, even though she’s not a risk taker by nature. And obviously given her hesitation, that’s such a hard thing for her.
    I honestly do not have much to say about Arnav. He’s almost this ethereal creature in your story. I will wait to comment on him as and when you peel the layers off. But so far in this second leg he does seem like a different version of her. Just as conflicted as her, although he seems to have everything on his side, at least when thought of in conventional ways.
    Lovely work, Meera. Thank You!

    Liked by 6 people

  16. Hmmmm finally I get the chance of commenting. The college work and all is peeling my skin and everyone I talk to say that college is wonderful. Maybe I must wait a little before giving the verdict.
    Okay first things first, thank you so much di for including our crazy imagination in this beautiful journey. I really am grateful to you.

    Coming to the update I was speechless. And every time I recover from my numb state and continue to read again you leave me speechless. Every para left me so for different obvious reasons though and I don’t think I have to mention it again after reading all the beautiful comments. I loved the way Kushi tried to retrospect.
    I cannot believe it AV lost his job becoz of some bloody- sorry internal politics. I loved Aman’s sense of humour and AV’s conscious effort.
    I was left speechless when our dear Kushi started turning bold but the last conversation- from Kushi ‘s trance, everything went over my head. I didn’t understand many things. Few of them are
    Did AV wished to be kissed but felt he didn’t deserve it and so he stopped her or he did not at all wished to be kissed coz he didn’t see her that way.
    Why did he feel he didn’t deserve to call her Kushi coz I don’t remember her telling him that only her loved ones call her with that. She told him that she preferred that name.
    Later why did she have tears in her eyes I mean was it out of regret or embarrassment or realization
    Why did he give that gap before saying no. I mean if he wanted to assure her there was no one else he must have hurried but he didn’t instead he did exact opposite
    Or maybe this the side effect of my churned brain which is a byproduct of living in a class where people use language of machines instead of human language. 😵😭😳
    So for now I would just 🤐

    Liked by 5 people

  17. loved the chapter! Arnav’s professional set-back is heartbreaking…he was put on such a high pesdestal by not only Khushi but his whole college and for everything to come crashing down so quick </3 but i am so thankful for the presence of Aman and Aditi in his life. (Side note: can we get more Aman in the story??..he is so dreamy <3 )
    Coming to Khushi, man this girl blew me away this time. The fact that she initiated the conversation, even initiated the almost-kiss…hayee too good.
    After reading Khushi's question and Arnav's answer I was jumping up and down. That was a very personal question Khushi asked, and the fact that Arnav chose to answer it knowing that the 'No' is kind of a green signal to whatever this thing that is shared between them, makes me sooo happy. I am 99% sure you won't continue their 'talk' but please please please let this 'No' be an opening to a new phase in their relationship…one that is perhaps more romantic? *sigh* i know I haven't forgotten about the prologue, something will go wrong…I hope though we get some moments of happiness before that happens.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Kushi’s emboldened avatar was as much a surprise to me as it was to Arnav. She even considered kissing him!! And admitted to herself to not regretting it if it were to happen!! She analysing her feelings and crush and determined about it. I wish I know what Arnav was thinking when she came near him and thereafter asked the ‘question’. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This update was revelation of at least few out of many questions we desperate readers were speculating and I am very late in commenting to the point that all wonderful sisters here have written everything I wanted to say after reading this chapter but I am writing here because I can not NOT WRITE and feels something amiss if I don’t comment– what have u done to us Meera. After CW and EIT– I thought no other story can involve me this much but you proved me wrong right there and I love you a lots for doing this as I want you to continue writing magic always.👌👌😀😀.
    I am happy and jumping with joy after this update ( even though I know it is brief as we know future is still bleak) because one is that AV sir was not in mountains bec he was in Devdaas mode– I know I know how selfish I am but it’s all for khushi you see😜. Of course I love this Arnav baboo too much now since he said NO to khushi’s answer now– I am content that his heart was not irrevocably involved with SOMEONE else and this is more than enough for me. I know ( I think unless Meera decides to surprise us ) hat awaited talk will not happen soon or will distort by looking at gloomy Prologue but that is okay– I can take that as it gives me much lengthier and steady build up of beautiful journey of ups and down of RIver by none other than our one and only Meera– so I am just happy😀😄💖.

    Finally khushi came out of her comfort zone and asked the penultimate question from him as she is too ethical.honest and scared for more heartbreak of falling in love with already involved man( although poor her still thinking she may be having a crush only—- who is she kidding). I am super super happy and proud of her to get answer to her q. Well almost kiss — though no doubt we all would have enjoyed but would have ended this story here– no way– we want to continue many many chapters and I think Anu rightly said— ” abhi to part shuru hui hai”— thora romance, nakhara , itrana, tadapna to banta hai😜😅.

    Like many other readers I am also perplexed what will happen from here leading to situation in prologue. Your Arnav( like all of your Arnav in other stories) has won my heart again that too without much revealation of his POV– I already love him so much for exsing his using khushi and Kaveri– his heart wants to use khushi but he feels bad for his deeds( haha– used this word for exaggeration– does not actually fit for what he did).

    Somehow I have a feeling that something entangling Arjun and both will cause some trouble in future.
    Who knows Saira may come back– this is my filmi Dinah but no please do not ring her back– actually Meera don’t read this line of me.
    I was sad to see professional setback for Arnav but in my eyes– he became more of hero by not giving up his ideals and he is going to be star one day but I can imagine his pain when all that happened to him. Loved and loved J and Ti-Di. My cousins call my hubby J–JI but this was new and cute.
    Now Meera — I can continue to blabber with my emotions but will stop here and rather dream about the expressions and thoughts in AV’s mind at the time of almost kiss by Khushi– did he understand what she was up to as usually he is Perceptive. My heart is dying to know his reaction—- koi to bataye Kya hua use us samay😏❤️😀😅

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Look who made a grand entry………😝

      Lovely comment as always minu….

      Ur take on Khushi (as happy as u are in ur writing ) made me so nervous…….yes we are all excited that she’s emboldening herself and making sure he isn’t involved or otherwise engaged……kind of taking precautionary steps to make REPEATE previous mistakes…..but who is to guarantee she might not make new mistakes…..

      Such as not getting all excited with a simple NO,…..n now come to think of it maybe Arnav understood her reservation and that’s why that long look before the NO……prolly chiding himself on previous happenings that have made her sceptical.

      If she won’t let him talk move in a direction lad by her heart….who will she blame this time…..?

      Minu….help me get out of this scared state for Khushi….

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Just deleted long comment Avni– too sad to write again. Will write tomorrow in detail. You made me nervous as I am most negative person. Thank u and thank u for ur welcome. What do u mean by No and long sigh– he can not raise her hopes without meaning and if he is so guilty from last encouragement from aarihan night– he can not falsely say No to her q just like that otherwise he looses his integrity and character in my eyes.

        Having said that I am also scared and need positivity from Anu and others.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Minu,…..no no no….I didn’t mean he will lead her on

          What I meant was he took time before responding with *No*as in he isn’t committed or otherwise engaged – like how ladkikijhy interpreted.

          I don’t doubt his answer at all.

          The pause before the NO,…..In my opinion was Maybe only because he realized how what he did unintentionally (I still think he never meant to do it inspite of his apology and admission that he lead her on. I strongly feel he got carried away in the moment) has impacted her.

          Just a slight reminder of that time can bring tears to her eyes and turn emboldened Khushi to a sceptical Kaveri…..I think he saw the extent of hurt ( using this word for the lack of a better) his getting carried away action has caused.

          But her taking his NO and getting carried away with it – heck we all are getting carried away and already building dreams- shan’t help her…I hope we continue to see the sensible Khushi inspite of the NO in the next update.

          And his being overly cautious around her due to how he feels about what happened earlier, won’t help his situation…-.I thing someone explained both these point way better than I am.-

          Like he said,…they need to talk…..Meera willing….lol….

          So there i said it…..I may be scared but then this is the beauty of human nature…..we all react on the basis of our previous mistakes and experiences from our actions. So how can we expect these 2 to be any different….

          Everyone is allowed their fair share of experiences and wisdom that comes along with it. So even tho we see where this may lead,…it’s best to enjoy the ride and watch them grow stronger, wiser, confident and mature.

          Minu,….hope I brought some positivity.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. I understand what you mean Avni. I am thinking same thing but happy that we at least know some of the past about enigmatic AV sir. You are right about his nature itself may bring grief for Khushi in future. Also we still do not know anything about saira–what happened to her–is she still in picture and what exactly happened, There is so much to speculate but will not do that right now and will wait for Meera. However that does not mean i am not eager and desperate to know. I hope Khushi stays realistic and dignified even after this revealation by him.

            Liked by 4 people

        2. Positivity… mmmm… lets see our options … 1. Your ever reliable Hanumaan Chaalisa; 2. Unlearn Hindi 😉; 3. Meera is a darling and knows her readers and will aim to keep them happy in the end – have faith in this statement.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. Lol on reading “Saira may come back… sorry Meera don’t read this line” 😂😂😂

      On what could have been in AV’s mind at the almost kiss moment and moments leading up to it… I have an idea!!!

      Meera, you have indulged us so much that we are now starting to become… let’s say…. a little ‘demanding’… my heart is demanding “A peek inside the enigma”. But to make it easy, I will keep a running list of such scenes where us readers seek inside peek. Towards the end, you can indulge us once more by giving his POV for some or all of those scenes… what say? 😉

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Oh no– not done peek only— meets will give full fledged version of AV sir’s feelings, thoughts and emotions starting from when he asked Khushi to continue sitting in class during first day / ragging time-. Since all story is from Khushi’s point of view– Deteiled point of view of Arnav to banta hai na Meera—– say yes please Meera to this indulgence.😅😅😜😇💖.

        Liked by 5 people

          1. Me and my impatience of posting without checking spelling— gosh– has my forever stamp😭😁😂.

            Anu Hanumaan chalisa definitely works but ONLY if I use it rarely and selectively 😋.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. You know there was a time I wanted to know about Arnav’s POV but the situation the state khushi is in, wanted to read about Khushi’s 😏

              I know Meera is going to smack us for this! 🙃 it is always like this when we want Arnav’s POV we get Khushi’s and vice versa …

              Right now I am not liking AV to the extent I loved him before the penultimate update 😈

              Liked by 2 people

  20. Meera,

    Extremely sorry for the delay. I am stuck in work these days so badly that I dont even get time to relax. I now get why you say what you say when work overrides you and you couldnt update..I totally get it now that since I am in bangalore and understand that pressure of work culture here. I am amazed how you still find time to write so beautifully between family management, active 5 yr old and pressure cooker work culture…

    Coming to the update, I am surprised that finally Kaveri had the courage to face AV…oh yes, I understand is a brave soul yet it is not easy to face the man you love and ask him that question or to take any initiative when he had shattered her heart earlier..I loved her introspection about whether she had been in love with him or was it all an illusion…I liked that part where she is with nature and her thoughts being reflected when she is playing with the water from the river…nice portrayal of scene…

    Aman is to be watched out…he is a very deep person…

    Varun, hell…even when I write his name my heart expands in sigh and squeeze a bit too tight…I love this man’s control..and he opened up about his professional downfall in grace…how can one resist not falling…though I proclaim I havent fallen…you have taken me to the cliff here..I want to write more, but pressed for time…

    A loud call out to all girls here, so sorry, I am missing your comments, takes, dialogues, thoughts and songs…Hoping to catch up soon…

    Liked by 8 people

  21. This is the most they have talked till date!
    Khushi has all my empathy here..when you know so little about someone yet you hold onto that one person for so long…sometimes you meet a person whom catergorizing as a crush seems wrong yet saying you love them doesn’t seem right.! I totally get Khushi here..

    Just like her, whatever i knew of Arnav Varun during those years at IV-E, he unconciously ended up on an invisible pedestial that was quite high..so getting to know his story was a shock..i am still digesting it..
    The last few sentences were a shockers Meera..i had not thought Khushi was gonna stay and talk..still not sure what is gonna become of this ‘talk’ that Arnav suggested..

    Ill close with these lines:
    Every day spent at the River makes them open up more,
    Pushing at the boundaries and stretching the limits like never before.
    Much needed closures, some truths and a few lessons,
    The ‘Riverites’ will away these and some memories from this camping session.

    Cheers Meera.! Kuddos to you..you are magic when you write..i swear!
    P.S. – It feels great to see how people have started writing spin-offs from this story..Am gonna start reading those pretty soon.!

    Liked by 7 people

          1. Have always been fond of glitters and shining stuff..actually still am (age no bar!)..
            That is also another reason I like little girls and vice-versa..we are usually facinated with the good stuff.!
            How old is your daughter?!

            Liked by 4 people

              1. Wow..she must be quite a handful at this age..kinds these days usually are!
                Sending a hifive her way, coz we have this thing in common then!

                Liked by 4 people

  22. J for jeejaji..and Ti-Di for Aditi..damn..❤
    Meera, you come up with coolest nicknames ever..!

    Without any intention to offend or sounding nosy, I was seriously wondering what nicknames do you use for your husband and your daugther?!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Thats cute.!
        I take it that K is her initial?!
        Some of my friends address me as ‘M’ and i like it dispite it being not being a proper nickname n all..in fact i think these single letter nicknames are quite simple and stylish!

        Liked by 4 people

  23. Beautiful update Meera…
    I can’t believe that Khushi actually talked with Arnav for such a long time.
    I don’t know what else to write. I read the comments by other readers and most of them have commented what I have in my mind.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Hello Meera, just caught up with the chapter! I know too late but was travelling for fourth of July and it is still on! will return on Monday when I will get to read River :)

    Khushi’s thinking made sense- her inner struggle to define love/liking makes her more real.
    Aman stands out in his own way!
    AV’s corporate life and his struggle and how J and Ti Di (love the short names!) helped him out reveals more about our Hero. Yes, AV is a hero! and the quote defines him well and I believe the same for a Hero definition:

    The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles – preferably of his own making – in order to triumph
    ― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

    Totally loved the chapter. Khushi is on a roll, I wish she had done what she was thinking ;) Arnav’s “No” in the end is like a soothing balm for now! It will make Khushi bold in her approach in dealing with AV Sir, just in the context that she can speak her heart out if she wants or start knowing Arnav the way she would want.

    Sigh ! couldn’t have asked for a better ending to this chapter.

    Things that stood out were Khushi and Arnav’s easy camaraderie, the way AV shared his life struggle with Khushi and how she gave him advice on what he should do for the video – though very simple to look at but this is what binds them maybe? I laughed hard when Khushi scared AV unintentionally though! Love these chuckles in the updates :)

    Yet to read the comments Readers! will do read them on Monday. I am sure there must be lots of speculations on Khushi’s close interaction with AV :P, eagerly waiting to read them all. It is like quenching thirst of the River by reading comments from interesting minds!!

    Thank you again Meera for coming up with a story which makes you think about one’s growing up years, the goods and the bad(s), the rights and the wrongs, the adrenaline rush and all the different kind of emotions one goes through out. Kudos to you for coming up with such an Exceptional story!! You take it one notch higher with every update, it is never less and that is why exceptional story gets redefined with every update and makes me say it aloud!!

    I was here to just type a quick comment ! Meera you do this to us every time.

    Liked by 6 people

  25. Sins swept, hurt slept,
    Wonderings birth afree.
    A path its own, the heart takes,
    To the banks where hid he.

    Words flow, of seasons ago,
    Of what remained unforseen.
    An urge to hold, a need enfolds,
    To wipe away his misery.

    One and two, their feet move,
    As words and thoughts flow free.
    Love shows, in the light that glows,
    For ties that stay unfailingly.

    A breath flutters, a heart clamours,
    To close the inch that shouldn’t be.
    Towards and away, a dance, a sway,
    And a word to change their destiny.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Oh Nivi! Could there be a more succinct summary of the entire chapter!!! Beautiful as always ☺

      You brought in the last few inches and the word that filled our hearts with glee… thanks!!! It was just what we need be for the river flows again tomorrow!

      Liked by 7 people

    2. That is spectacular Nivi!!! You really should be doing so much more of this! Please put this and other gems you come up with on your blog and I will link them up here on the Brooks page if you don’t mind! Beautifully done!

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Coming from you it means everything! :D
        Effects of having AV and Kaveri Khushi permanently reside in my mind.
        PS: This is increasingly becoming a habit. Good or bad, I don’t know. XD

        Liked by 6 people

    3. My goodness Nivi!!
      How cud u hide such talent??? U r truly gifted my friend!!! Make a collection girl!! I for one wud be ur undying fan — which i already am!!!
      Love ur words Nivi!!!❤️

      Liked by 4 people

  26. He called her Kaveri because he didn’t think he deserved to call her Khushi? He had called her Kaveri that night. He had known he was about to talk to her about Saira – break her heart.

    😞

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Fire and smoke: what a combination

    Oh, So, his closed ppl knows that he has feelings for her, n its obvious to the onlookers,

    Wad it the reason why he is trying so hard to have that talk? Was he trying to convey the sign?

    The most waited talk? Will it happen here or it is going to happen when he joun the corporate world?

    Saira: I wanted to know more about what happened between them. She knew about the existence of her? Wad it the reason for them part ways?

    Waiting for 18th.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Meera,

    First of all sorryyyyyyy for not commenting in the last few months :( . I have been reading but in all honesty with asli duniya and the complications/ transitions it brings, I have not been able to write a string of words worthy of your updates. Today I just couldn’t read without commenting….knowing how unfair it is to the efforts you put in. Just can’t tell you enough how much solace the River gives me…

    Coming back to the River….what a journey it has been

    Honestly, I was disappointed with AV sir when the Saira story came to be.I can totally related that she would feel humiliation and hurt. You have wonderfully expressed the dilemma both now find themselves in. How does one apologize for something which was there yet wasn’t and how does one express anger for wronged in such a manner. You have managed to convey this beautifully. People make mistakes and so did AV sir pedestal or not. He is human too ( this is more to remind me…the way you sculpt your the males no living male stands a chance) ..and Khushi she is brave and courageous to face the embarrassment…even though initially she denies it.

    Now coming to my favorite part AMAN- ADITI….be it the Isle or the River Aman always manages to grap my attention with a force unreckoned. I tell you I fell in love with Aman in the Isle..and somehow this one inspite of being married makes me fear of the same :P . Aditi in the Isle was one fictional character I managed to identify with the most. She was just FANTASTIC…loyal, authentic, feisty and protective of the ones she loved. Meera I hope just like in the Isle we will get a glimpse of Aman Aditi story here too…They make marriage look extremely appealing to me :P.

    Today’s update Aman-Arnav chemistry comes through so nicely. ..its different from the chemistry that Aman-Arnav shared in the Isle…both types just wonderful to read. Though different in nature in both cases the friendship, trust and camaraderie comes through.

    After all “Hero’s” also need “Hero’s” of their own.

    Arjun…oh my! The guy is too cute not to like. His male crush on AV Sir are endearing. From what I read so far it feels like he has feelings for khushi…and can’t help but hope he gets a kaveri too. Kya kare Khushi ke liye toh bass arnavji hi chahiye na :P

    Meera you may already have planned to but please if possible give us some insight into Arjun too…

    Liked by 2 people

  29. How could you leave us at this point?

    I m so longing for their meeting…

    Did Khushi gave a wrong signal to Arjun, telling him that she had never been in that situation..

    What is Arnav going to talk about? His new offer or going to confess?

    The singing session, definitly going to ignite something… This time I can smell the smoke?

    Anxiously waiting for the next update

    Like

  30. It’s curious how khushi goes from feeling sinfully vindictive and almost glad at the thought of Arnav being dumped……to feeling indignant and upset on his behalf.

    Does she feel liberated to be herself and act on her impulses now that she knows arnav is free? Her actions do suggest that – she deliberately seeks out arnav, thinks about kissing him…..no matter that the courage did not sustain for long.

    Amazing to see that Arnav opened up to her about his job, something that would be considered a failure as you said.
    Maybe khushi will start to see him as more than a sir, who she loves from a distance.

    I loved the way khushi clearly asked arnav if there was someone else – way to go girl. You clear your doubts and don’t go in this all over again blind.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. So it’s Ti-Di after the DT of “Word’s Worth” :) I love how you play on her name in your stories.

    Khushi is finally beginning to view Arnav as a woman and not the 18-year-old she was when they first met. She now knows what it feels like to be rejected (even though she was not technically rejected in the true sense of the word). She’s seeing his pain, his hurt both in his work and in his failed relationship with Saira.
    Today I think they’ve taken a tentative step forward and I’m glad it was she who made the first move. Although towards the end she again got her defenses up. But then she finally redeemed herself again by asking if there was someone else in his life. And got his instant, unhesitating reply.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Cruel corporate world and it does not surprise..arnav out of that was better than getting deep into the shit..although he was manipulated, but probably good for him in a way. Aman is such a cute BIL and he understand him and stands by him.

    Arnav had setback as lover, his career but sounds like it is time for his shift to a new phase..if only khushi would let him in. She is probably holding back from another heartbreak that may come..it is tough situation for her. Thanks for sharing the blog from your readers who have their pov version..you can imagine what a wave you created in their hearts..intense :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Excellent chapter meera…
    First khushi thoughts…that is she is now started questioning herself…her love for arnav…that phase is a sure thing in everyone’s life who once loved somebody…self examination always helps to understand other person well…i mean they will think from others point of view also…
    Finally khushi started a conversation with arnav that was surprising….
    Shocking that arnav was fired by his first ever employer…no surprise that khushi also shocked…because he is an admiration in college days for them…
    But whatever happened he seems fine now and happy with what he is doing…his connection with river says exactly the same…
    “Is there someone else?
    This simple question by khushi shows how much hurt she bared last time…
    Good song recommend…playing again and again…

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Khushi desires for his kiss & touch. She is fully aware of her feelings…her being in love…admitting is the first step to many…this will bring only Paradise. Self-doubting is no good.
    Aman too have sense of humor in its own corky way…Yes, scary sight would be Arnav practicing for his speech.
    Finally, both communicated with each other….commute was long overdue. His intelligence was abused & wrongly used…went against his ethics. Six months ago he visited River before he was let go, so relationship was rocky between him & Saria. Visiting to River he felt close to Khushi…peace & calm.
    Girl you better watch it….you want him to kiss you, but you are one told him to stay away. Kaveri or Khushi…once again…Make up your mind WOMAN.
    Well they really need to talk to each other about the invisible elephant residing at the banks of the River.
    Wonderful chapter👏

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Meera, even as I am re-rivering now :), just wanted to stop by to compliment you (yet again) on your exemplary research. Writing to you is good for my sanity, than bottling up my thoughts :D :D .

    I know we talked about IE, IM and Wyatt.. but I had conveniently forgotten about the Entrance Tests (ha ha!) including BBET and in this chapter “Green”Stone caught my attention :D — and I felt like sharing a tit-bit from my past. Now, I am not a consultant or an I-banker, nowhere close to that (oh yes, we talked about VLSI Design also didn’t we ;) ). But this xx-Stone firm (of a different color though ;) ) forced my company to go private and with so much of an investment (it was the largest one in the tech industry until recently), we were subject to un-imaginable load-shedding. Un-nerving it was!! Phew! I escaped since I was still in a low-cost center i.e., India. Coming back to the River, what you described as the reason for Arnav losing his favor(s) with the director is really the reason why we end up taking classes on “Insider Trading” and “Business Ethics” in addition to “Sexual Harassment” and wait, even IT phishing :o .

    You obviously have such a keen eye for details. And I am only talking about the Tech World here. There is your take on Conservative families (more likely South Indians though :p), College campus life (including Tiwari :p and Vishwananthan :D), Music training, Music Fest, Orientation and Team-building exercises for Fresh hires (including all the adventures), the placement process at IM’s, the International travel, the motel life, the life of a Consultant at a Client location (including the drill(s)), and much more… I can only claim to have limited knowledge and that too in certain areas, but this type of information is in itself a great learning for many of us and as they say, this is adding to our knowledge base :) . OK, monologue over… and see, I haven’t even gone into writing an essay about your magical story (sssshhh… that’s probably because I can’t write a good one :( ).

    What can I say now about your writing, Meera? I am currently speechless! Thank you for this story. And thanks much, for listening to us :)

    Love you,
    Vin.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Well am glad of the soul searching chapter… Khushi sure has grown much since the last chapter. To think, it was a momentous slip of a question that started a conversation so deep within herself.

    AV is definitely a changed man… And its evident that he hasnt settled for so ething, but found a calling and is at peace… Guess its time for Khushi to work toward her peace too…

    I know, reading the prologue that that’s a long long way away.. But the die hard romantic in me can only hope :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Again, I would point out that it is nice to now that Kavi never let her feelings affect her professional and personal life, in ways many people end up doing. She didn’t allow it to ruin her. It is inspiring and amazing to see her coming out so strongly after this. At some point of time, I used to think that if a person is going through break up or something similar, it is only natural that it would reflect on the other aspects of their life. This whole thing with Khushi reaffirms my beliefs. ” Devdas had the luxury of being written in a time when pining away to destruction was romantic. ” See?

    Yes, like Arnav we are surprised too by Khushi’s behaviour. The other times, she has explicitly avoided him and been so rude to him, no matter how deserving it might be, and now she is officially seeking him out. Though it makes sense. She does feel a lot for him, and she would want to know what happened to him within those four years.

    Professional failures and firing is a significant blow to anyone. And with the growing lack of opportunities, professional and ethical dilemma, the whole deal is becoming quite complicated and more real. It is not AV’s story these days. Several others are working on a similar path it seems. However, with someone like AV, it does become a significant deal. He would have to face ridicule, despite no fault of his. On him, people had placed so much expectation; it would have been a big blow and professional let down. Life does have a way of shocking you.

    The thrill of the upcoming kiss seems so surreal. You could feel the rush. The emotions. Then AV calls her out as Kaveri, and when he offers his explanation, I could not help sighing.

    And, now maybe the story can begin again. Properly.

    Ab toh khud ke kaabil kar le
    Rang tumhare, rang jaayenge
    Sang tumhare, sang jaayenge

    Liked by 1 person

  38. awesome update yar….
    Getting fired from the first employer after being the topper…it must have been difficult for him to face it…….
    Khushi…..I am so proud of you……
    her boldness really stunned me when she thought of kissing him and I loved the way she asked that is their someone else…. that’s single words hold so many meaning at this situation….it perfectly gives the idea that how much she changed and not a teenage girl who will weave dreams out of nothing

    Liked by 1 person

  39. After she found out Arnav had a girlfriend 5 years ago, this is the first time they had a proper conversation. That was progress. But, but the proximity, the information, her own twirling emotions made her almost kiss him. But, she stopped at the nick of the time. When he proposed they need to talk, she wanted to run away. Later gathered some courage and asked him if there is anyone in his life. Luckily there is no one. What does that mean to Khushi? Where will they go from here? Can’t wait to find.
    Cheers……..

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Arre…
    How did I miss reading this chapter…
    OMG..

    Aman is J //
    Aditi is Ti Di ..
    Arnav was fired from his first job..

    Khushi wanted to kiss him..
    He said that they needed to talk ..

    Thank God I started rereading n found this chapter..

    Liked by 1 person

  41. AV sir to Arnav, the vulnerability was so endearing
    His pet name for jiju , failure in first employment, insecurity regarding his role in River ,failed love , kh fell in love with the boy turned man, so did I
    She got over the infatuation & fell for the sachi wala love with Varun
    Wanted to kiss him too, now now what would Gayathri Maa say ?
    Hotwa killed it with I thought you wouldn’t want me to call you khushi 👍🏼

    Like

  42. Wow..great update meera. Finally khushi took that step ..ur aman and additional are too sweet. I had goosebumps thought the update. Thank you for this splendid update ..I m in love with river.

    Liked by 1 person

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