“Sleep well?”

The voice would have alarmed her if only she had not been waiting to hear him speak for more than twelve hours now. And then there was the freshness of his citrus scent that was pulsing in her lungs as she held her breath prisoner. Still, the long-handled steel ladle she had in her grasp rattled against the steel bowl that held the aromatic aloo ki subzi that had climbed up her charts to become her favorite dish served at the River. She let the ladle dip back into the thick gravy – this time silently – as she turned to her right and looked right into Arnav Varun’s eyes.

She nodded and muttered a quick hi even as he motioned for her to continue serving herself. It was still very early in the morning and she was the first one from the Speed Motors team to walk in for breakfast. She was famished in a way she guessed was typical of the outdoors and hence was immensely glad when the cook – Asha Chachi – had looked at her knowingly and silently confirmed that breakfast had been served.

“I’m glad you did not wait up last night.” He said quietly as he picked up a plate and headed straight to the side of the table that was stacked with dry toast and fruit.

She frowned. He didn’t sound glad. He sounded almost…disappointed that she had chosen to go to sleep. “I was really tired and I didn’t want to end up sleeping in your bed again.”

The implication of her words struck her cheeks in a streak of warm-hued gold even as he looked up from the bowl of fresh fruit, his eyebrow hooked and lip half-curled in a teasing glint that seemed to twinkle in his eyes. Shit. Why did she have to say that? “I mean….” She definitely did not have to explain, now that the damage was done. “I mean…the charpoy that…” Oh Shiv-ji. She needed to stop. So she took a deep breath and looked directly at him, the thought of aloo ki subzi further from her mind than it had ever been. “I was tired. And it was late.” And that was going to be the extent of her explanation. She had all reason to be tired and very little reason to wait for him. It wasn’t as if they had explicitly decided to meet.

He smiled and shook his head. “You don’t have to explain. I didn’t mean to imply…” He put the serving spoon back into the bowl of fruits and headed back up to her. “I am sorry. I wanted to be back in time. But J and I….we go this place up the hill sometimes…as a break. And it is usually a long trip and yesterday it…” He looked away for a second, as if catching his breath. “I hope you didn’t wait for too long.”

Was there any point pretending she hadn’t been waiting? After what she had almost done last night. She had almost kissed him, hadn’t she? And she had asked him if there was anyone else in his life – romantically. What was the point of all the blushing that she was subjecting herself to now? Stop. Stop. Stop.

“Khushi.”

She blinked and looked up at him sheepishly, having been caught daydreaming once again. Why always with him? Why? “Sorry?” She said and then rolled her eyes at herself.

“I was telling you about the place we ride to…”

“Yes, enroute to Devprayag.” Her ability to multi-task even while daydreaming was her biggest asset. And clearly not just in class and boring meetings.

“Someday…” He paused with a faraway smile and then shook his head. When he spoke next, his tone was more reined in, focused. “It is a really busy day today. And tomorrow is the longer rafting trek day. So I will be away almost all day. But I…meet me by the riverside tonight? Even if it is a little late?” His eyes stayed still and set on her, in silent query, tells of nervousness given away only by the slight flutter above his left eye.

She nodded. Like you could do anything else, a voice challenged. You waited even without being asked. Like you would say no when he in fact does ask you to wait for him.

“And don’t worry if you do fall asleep on my…on the charpoy, I’ll wake you up in time to make sure you are not cold.”

With that he stepped back and away from her. Before he turned away though, she was sure he had winked at her.

——-

“You look like a there are a thousand light bulbs under your skin.”

The inexplicable half-smile on Khushi’s face curved into a defined crescent as she watched Arjun slide into the empty seat next to her. “Is that your way of saying I look nice?” She said without thinking and then bit her tongue. She really needed to watch what she said to him. Especially after all the mixed signals she had been getting from him lately.

“Well, you always look nice. If only you let yourself believe it.”

Surprisingly, despite what she had just been thinking, her grin deepened. Maybe it was the very wry Arjun way in which the compliment was offered that made her dismiss the self-reproach she had just been inclined to seconds ago. “Bas, bas. Channe ka jhaad and all that.” She said quickly and then continued to stare at him as he wolfed his breakfast down. After the last conversation they had shared, she was doubly grateful that he had chosen to come sit by her so that they could pick up the thread of their friendship. And for that she found herself thanking him by way of apology she offered more even more readily than she ever had. “I am so sorry about yesterday, Arjun. I shouldn’t have pretended to not be curious. When…” She smiled slightly and shrugged, “You of all people, know that I am curious. About everything. Even stuff that is completely irrelevant.”

Arjun took a deep breath and then looked up at her, his inky eyes silently glittering in the borrowed light of filtered morning sun. “No, I am sorry. I got upset for absolutely no reason. It is so typical of you to fish for information like you don’t care. You do it all the time. I am used to it.”

Khushi’s eyebrow shot up in a brave attempt to meet her hairline. “I do not.” She said but with only half a begrudgingly acknowledging smile and absolutely no conviction.

Arjun rolled his eyes and then went on to finish his breakfast. They ate thereafter in near silence – though the silence was companionable and warm, much to Khushi’s relief. They had an hour to themselves after breakfast which Khushi spent walking along the Ganga with Arjun as they spoke about a range of topics, none of which truly held her heart. Yet in the light of an unexpected start to her day, she found herself truly engaged and pleasantly disposed to everything around her.

“So are you going to admit you have a crush on him, or not?”

The question threw her off as much in its phrasing as it did in the manner in which it was put forth, amidst a mundane discussion about timing B-school admissions and Tripti.

“Huh?” She asked, buying herself a few seconds.

“You really frustrate me most times, Kavi.” He said with an exasperated sigh, a little exaggerated Khushi guessed, only to dramatize the point like he was always prone to.

“I have no idea what you are talking about, Arjun. Honestly.” She avowed, hoping that her bravado was enough to mask her outrageous lie.

He stopped walking, forcing her to stop a couple of steps ahead of him. When she turned, he was looking at her with furrowed brows, his eyes scanning her face, as if searching for tells she knew she was hiding expertly at the moment.

“You never talk about your feelings, Kavi. It makes me wonder sometimes if we are friends at all.”

She frowned and stepped forward. Since he was only a centimeter or so taller than her, their eyes levelled and gazes held. “Of course I…”

He rolled his eyes. “I am not talking about how you feel about your Bua who insists you will look pretty when you lose weight. Or how you feel about OPD-Sir not giving you a good grade on the viva though you aced it. I am talking about real feelings. About people who mean something. Or not. Like how you felt about that guy Vishal who you knew had a massive crush on you. Or about AV-Sir and why…”

“Arjun,” She interrupted before they reached a point where AV Sir became the center of the argument. “We have never talked about these things. I mean I don’t know that it was expected – of us. It’s not like you spoke about your feelings for the girls you dated in college.” She countered without thought, which in hindsight, she would know, was the wrong approach. The truth – that she rarely discussed her deepest feelings especially as they related to what other people felt for her or vice-versa – with anyone – not even Tripti, would have been a better option.

“Of course not. I spoke to you about Geetika and Surabhi. At length. I even remember arguing with you about your advice on what I should have bought Geeta for her birthday the year we were together.”

Khushi raised her eyebrow. “But that was after you had started going out with them. You never said a word about either of them before your first date. I know because I remember being stumped both times. Till you mentioned having been on that date…

“They were hardly dates. We met in the canteen.”

“You met as a couple. Alone.” She pointed out. “And it wasn’t always just the canteen. You saw every movie there was to see in the theatre with Geeta. Except…” She racked her brain to remember which movie they had seen together and gave up when she surprisingly drew a blank. “See I can’t even remember the one movie we saw together.”

“Jodha Akbar.” Arjun supplied, making a face.

“Haan.” Khushi nodded and then made a face. “I did not like it. And see you never talked about anyone till you both had openly declared your intentions. I am not in that state…with anyone…” She said softly even as she shrugged and looked away, half guiltily.

He stayed quiet for a long moment and then sighed. “Fine. Ek seedhe answer ke liye itna drama.” He said and began walking. “Chalo, we’ll be late. I can see the others walking towards the beach.”

Confused about what had happened in the last few minutes, Khushi had no option but to simply follow Arjun at the moment.

——-

Despite the bizarreness of the conversations she had shared with both Arjun and Arnav, the rest of the day seemed to roll-by rather smoothly. They went through the motions of what was clearly meant to be a low-energy, more corporate friendly agenda of team building discussions and small role-plays. The only respite was the abundance of beauty around every one of their sessions as Aman chose different locations for each. Just walking from one end of the River to the other and then to a third slightly up the adjoining mountain, was enough to ensure peals of energy and high levels of participation from everyone on the team.

Morning gave way to afternoon, only pleasantly soporific on the other side of lunch as the team got an hour off to fight-off slumber dragons. Evening followed shortly thereafter, unleashing unspent vigor that the twenty something males of her group seemed to be bursting with, as volleyball they called and promptly divided themselves into two groups. Khushi had almost escaped when Aditi joined one of the teams and then declared that she needed to join the other so that gender ratios remained evenly matched. Still, she played with as much conviction as she could rustle up for what she had held a lifelong disdain.  However, a third face-hit knocked her glasses off her nose and terrorized her into laments of potential blindness, scary enough for Aditi to let her off.

Through the day though, she saw little of Arnav. That he had prepared her for his absence was of little relief as he kept stepping and out of the periphery of her vision and thereby kept her on her toes and at the edge of nerves. By the time the camp-fire was blazing again that night, she had dropped all pretense and was actively waiting for him to join the group even as she remained centrally seated amidst the session that was about to be kicked-off.

To her pleasant surprise, Arnav stepped into the circle of music –with his guitar – just as Arjun had finished declaring that the evening’s singing session would be a No Chartbusters one. A discussion about what constitutes chartbusters ensued post which Aman had been installed as the approver of all songs. Any song that he knew of, Aditi confirmed could be easily dismissed as a chartbuster given his lack of interest in and consequently limited knowledge Bollywood music. The songs came slowly at first, with Arjun, another Speed Motors team member called Ravi and Khushi herself leading the way. The numbers were mostly limited to less popular numbers from albums which did have other chartbusters to boast of. To Aman’s credit, his ignorance of Bollywood was as absolute as his wife’s knowledge. But if there was anyone who could match Arjun, tune for tune, word for word, it was her. She sang with little emphasis on melody and yet singing with Arjun – for the most part – was fun despite the music and not for it.

“This is not a real song,” Aman said as Khushi and Arjun finished singing an A.R. Rahman number with the most atrocious lyrics about strawberry eyes and ice-cream.

“It most certainly is,” Arjun avowed seriously before clapping Khushi on the back. “Well done, Kaveri Gupta. You haven’t lost your touch.”

Khushi made a face at him but couldn’t wipe the wide grin on her face even as the words still rang in her head.

“How can you know this song so well?” Aditi chuckled. “The lyrics are downright unpredictable.”

“I have terrific memory,” She beamed proudly, not bothering to conceal her superiority in the one field that she actually held close to her heart. The others burst into compliments that Khushi quite happily acknowledged and mock-bowed in gratitude.

“Pre-Gulzar Rahman is pure genius. But to know lyrics of these songs…”

Khushi turned to look at Arnav who had finally spoken after almost thirty minutes of non-stop singing from others – to which he had merely acted as a one-man orchestra with his guitar and make-shift drums using rocks and chair tops. He was an instinctive-musician, no doubt – but it was his voice that had always been his star talent. She had waited for him to join in the singing with a manic desperation that refused to come to fruition almost as if he were holding himself back on purpose. Memories of the first night where she had actively noticed and been bothered by his non-singing mingled with memories of his almost heartfelt recital of those lines from Gazab ka hai din. It confused her as much as it made her curious. He had dismissed it under the garb of physical exhaustion. And yet, she couldn’t help but wonder if there was something more.

“Arnav – stop giving gravely uttered expert opinions and contribute. Or do you finally accede after all these years that I best you at Bollywood?”

The group went up in hoots and loud cheers even as Arnav rolled his eyes and shrugged superiorly, saying something to Aditi which Khushi couldn’t quite hear as clearly as she would have liked. The conversation quickly morphed from some of the non IE-V Speedsters urging Arnav to sing to other songs that sprung up and were chorused with gusto into the night.

When Arnav finally sang, it was enough to surprise Khushi and everyone else into silence. He had picked a song that even Arjun just seemed to know of. Khushi, however, knew every lyric and every little beat in the song – from the millions of times she had heard it when it first came out and with renewed significance in the last four years that she had the mixed tape.

The mixed tape he had given her. Once. And then once again just two nights ago.

Dil mein basa-ke, palkon mein bitha-ke

Nazron mein qaid kar liya

Aankhon ko band kar liya

Maine tumko pasand kar liya

She stared in awe, unaware of anything or anyone else around her. He looked up straight at her as the guitar sounds vibrated in the air around them and elapsed into silence.

She knew he wanted her to sing with him. She felt in her bones, deep where the campfire had nestled as a warm glow she could carry with her for the rest of her lives. And so she sang. With him. Once more.

Dil mein basa-ke, palkon mein bitha-ke

Nazron mein qaid kar liya,

Aankhon ko band kar liya

Maine tumko pasand kar liya

The world came rushing back between them when a couple of others joined them. Aditi with her and Ravi and Mayank with him. The moment had ended and yet, they were alone in the song like they had only been briefly last night – aware and stirred.

Hum dono anjaan raahi, Raste magar mil gaye

Patjhad ke mausam mein jaise,

Dil phool se khil gaye

Tum door raho,  Ya paas raho

Nazron mein qaid kar liya

Aankhon ko band kar liya

Maine tumko pasand kar liya

They sang without looking at each other anymore, almost obviously so in her head. And yet, she knew how every smile in his words would echo on his face. She knew how his fingers grazed the neck of his guitar like it had whispered along the skin of her wrist. This time there was no doubt. And this time, the night lay await. For them

Ab se yeh bechainiyan hain, Aage na jaane ho kya?

Itne kareeb aa gaye hain

Ab kaise honge judaa?

Baahon mein sanam, tune thaam liya

Nazron mein qaid kar liya

Aankhon ko band kar liya

Maine tumko pasand kar liya

 

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Dheere Dheere Aap Mere

Album: Baazi (1995)

Singers: Udit Narayan, Sadhana Sargam

Music: Anand-Milind

Lyrics: Sameer

 

Yeh hai karam aapka

Tumne mujhe chun liya

Ab chaahe kuch na kaho

Hum ne sab sun liya

 

 

Notes:

  1. Apologies for the delayed update. Sick child woes kept me away. Thank you to everyone who sent their love and wishes for her. She is better today.
  2. Next update: Monday, July 25, 2016

353 thoughts on “Chapter Twelve: Repose or Reprieve?

  1. So interesting how Khushi reacts to being called out by Arjun and Arnav. To Arjun she debates for a long time and holds on to her lie the longest, while to Arnav, she just gives up the pretense right away. Arjun does a lot of drama while Arnav has no-nonsense, “I know what you did”, quiet confidence while it comes to her. Both of them try to make her confess her feelings, but she only admits it to Arnav. :)

    Never heard “Dil mein basake” before, and I didn’t even like it much, but works perfectly for them. Growing up so far away in the corner from Hindi speaking crowd, the only ones I have heard are chart busters. This story is an education in Bollywood songs for me. lol.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. lovely song… i had forgotten this one… had actually seen this movie for the songs.. couple of them are really gems….. like the one “madhosh dil ki dhadakan” …..

    the currents are forever changing… the equation Kaveri shares with Arjun and the one with Varun … that too is changing… i am not sure how that is going to pan out for Arjun though….
    he is right to call her out on her reluctance in sharing her feelings…

    Varun is trying to make up for lost time… ??… i still think they need to talk… with kaveri , its really hard to get her to talk…. she is way more private person than i had imagined….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @ladkikijhy: I was kind of surprised when she changed her resolve to not let him affect her anymore. But some feelings are like gravity I guess… you can’t help it. And she prioritized talking to him over food. Who does that?

      @as2001blog: I swear I get into trouble very often in my real life with these comments and eye roll. 😝

      Liked by 6 people

  3. Arjun seems to suffer from a case of the pot calling the kettle black — or as in Tamil, eeyam pithalai paathu chirichudam ;) Although, I think if Khushi had asked, he would have told. It’s so interesting to see Khushi portrayed as more of an introvert. I’m so used to her being eager to be with people, but this Khushi is so reserved and takes her energy from being with her own thoughts. I like that about her, especially since in a lot of fiction, characters like her tend not to be well represented, or only find happiness when the “right person” makes them realize that they’re actually an extrovert/hostess/etc — at least in my experience.

    As for Arnav — I agree with Twiggy, I love seeing the glimpses of AV Sir. There’s something about him that draws you to him, even on the page. He’s not necessarily what I see as an attention seeker, but someone who inadvertently has it bestowed upon him. I love the glimmers of warmth that’s tinging their relationship(?)/friendship/whatever it can be categorized as. I am curious to see what he says to Khushi though — and a little uncertain. We know from the prologue that something splits them apart again, and Khushi shows a good deal of trepidation — what happens between them?

    Love always,
    Choti.

    Liked by 13 people

  4. I missed this very mildly flirty AV sir from last few chapters.
    Now he is back and somewhere Khushi’s talk and hopes of having a more happier future must have brought the winking and eye twinkling AV back.

    “In your bed” – LOL Khushi does know how to embarrass herself too well.

    It is indeed fun to read these lighter moments between them.

    Arjun and Kavi are close yet not so close to share their innermost feelings.
    I guess it is very personal to discuss our infatuations and likings even with our closest friends.

    But Arjun is having an hunch about Khushi’s attraction towards Arnav.
    And not bad Arjun dated during his engineering days, even though it was just lunch or dinner at the college canteen.

    Music is the heart and soul of this story and it is amazing how these two are so in tune with each other regarding the same.
    What a beautiful song you made them sing.

    And now eagerly waiting for their talk on the river bank.

    Raahon Se Raahein, Baahon Se Baahein
    Milke Bhi Milti Nahin

    Hota Hai Aksar Armaan Ki Kaliyaan
    Khilke Bhi Khilti Nahin

    Phir Bhi Na Jaane Kyoon Nahin Maane
    Phir Bhi Na Jaane Kyoon Nahin Maane
    Deewana Dil Beqaraar Ho Gaya

    Raja Ko Rani Se Pyaar Ho Gaya

    Liked by 7 people

  5. as always quite good, loved the story moving up…. Arjun n Arnav both are sailing in the same boat….both know the fact still quite reluctant to fight……….As arjun knows Khushi’s feelings towards Arnav still he is waiting for Khushi…. here Arnav knows Khushi’s feelings towards him but still confused to speak with her as he is confused or reluctant….. We dont want both of them speaking at the same time and then confusing………..
    Is it correct Meera as thats what i am understanding :)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice update! I was hoping they will REALLY talk in this update but looks like 25th chapter is the one. While I can’t help hoping for them to open up and start a relationship of some sorts, but going by the prologue, that is not what is planned for now.
    With each update, the feeling is getting stronger that Arjun does harbor some feelings that are beyond just friendship for Khushi. I really liked what Arjun tells her that she always looks nice, if only she would believe so herself. Even I feel that Khushi suffers from low self-esteem and she needs to share her feelings with someone like Tripti or Arjun. They are close enough to her.

    The last song session was beautiful. It’s nice that Khushi finally got her desire to hear Arnav sing. They are made for each other as far as Bollywood music is concerned.
    Hope Monday comes soon….

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Very interesting update….love the way story is progressing with these amazing characters and their beautifully written feelings and emotions…..eagerly waiting for the next chapter…..
    Lots of love for your little girl…good to know that she is feeling better…Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When a person is anxious and plans on not saying something, that something is the first thing that is blurted out when the moment comes – just like Khushi did! But Arnav was nervous too – these little things about them is so endearing! He made a rendezvous with her for later with a naughty wink before leaving :-)

    They have always connected and have been so in tune with each other through songs. Khushi is an introvert and insecure about her figure but music is something that is dear to her heart. And now, after their last meeting and this song where they continued that conversation silently, it looks like the relationship between them is coming to a head – looking forward to that!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Great chapter and Thank You Meera! I’m not sure who was more curious, Arjun or Khushi. Or may be Arjun was testing waters. Anyways, I think he’s good for her ego. He does know to make her feel good about herself, and he’s not even faking it. That’s so wonderful and rare.

    The conversation between Khushi and Arnav was easy, breezy for me, although pretty loaded for said individuals. They both come across as far too serious for their age, and this was welcome. I couldn’t recall the song or play it (something about T-Series blocking it in the US), but lyrics seem to work when ‘aag dono taraf barabar ki lagi hai’.

    I’ll stop with these lines of one other song that’s an absolute favorite of mine….the singing among friends, the night (sans the rain), and the strong undercurrents of romance just seemed to fit these lines…

    Mehfil me kaise keh de kisi se
    Dil bandh raha hai kis ajnabee se
    Haye kare abb kya jatan, sulag sulag jaye mann
    Bhige aaj iss mausam me, lagee kaisee yeh agan

    Have a great week, and hope your little one is doing better.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. What a apt title Meera— Repose and Reprieve— I actually looked in dictionary to reconfirm what I knew before reading this chapter and this tranquility and pardoning of punishment is a calm before Storm —isn’t it… I was so scared that I read bottom paragraph and beginning and than few lines in between first and than read Nivi’s comments before reading whole update . My heart is at peace for the fact that Arnav has taken a step towards her as well and he is also helpless and confused. After reading this chapter– I don’t want to speculate and think about what is going to happen to them to cause this separation for another five years— nothing makes sense and will pray to dear god( here our God is author sahiba Meera itself )for not to bring Saira again between them but obviously will wait whether God listens to us 😪😜 or not.

    I can not say that this was the best chapter as for me every single word and or story you write is a gem and I get mesmerized in your description , showing little nuances like slight curving of lips, raising eyebrows etc etc( long list). So like always this was a awesum chapter however the way you have described the subtle gestures between them showing romance and flirting were beyond imagination. The ” sleep in your bed”
    Charpoy, ” someday”, lost in their own world without even looking at each other, ” she felt his fingers grazing her wrist when he was playing guitar”——you see all these lines you have written are constantly playing in my head and I can not stop grinning and smiling. My romantic heart and mind is busy weaving many different scenarios between them. As I am not very good with words but all I can say that the feelings and emotions between them ( they may not have acknowledged yet especially AV sir) have touched my heart straight and these will stay in my head for a very very long time. This chapter is a proof of your unique and amazing style . I have read so many FF, novels and stories and various romances and scenes– but your simple and subtle romance is way far far touching and the best Meera and this is reflected in every story you have written whether it is CW, EIT, COTW, wW or various OS. I just want to continue reading more and more-.

    I have promised to myself that today I am not going to write about anything for their future, speculation etc and instead will dedicate this chapter to you for being queen of unique romance . Absolutely loved and loved every single thing in this chapter and even though I never heard the song but the lyrics were fitting and brilliant. So hats off to you for writing this amazing story dear Meera.

    I have to acknowledge your readers who are super heroes and they have their beautiful and amazing style of commenting and posting lovely songs– aw— just loving this fun filled journey of River till it meets her ocean. It’s only Wednesday and I am counting for Monday already— dear god– where can I borrow the patience.

    Hope your little one is better now. 😄

    Liked by 10 people

  11. College romance given a new meaning altogether. We all have had something or the other, some small, other huge things at college. Things I say, for their varied nature. Some, flings, some other crushes and a few serious romances. And I feel that lucky are those people who find true love. They may be in forever after woh their love or not, but merely finding them is a lucky chance.

    And to have had a Pang four years back and still carrying the pang four year hence, one with such a capability to cause upheavals in the life of the one in question. To have found THAT, the remnants of which stay long after having parted ways and to be able to give it up, not for you but for the other person. And then having college attached to all of this is a dreamy scenario for me.

    You have shown everything that goes into her mind, it seems, effortlessly. I won’t ask you to show us it all from Arnav’s POV, it never works for me. But that still works me as to what all turmoils he has seen in life. And the heartbroken Arjun who knows how to mend his own, we have all found that one person some place or the other.

    Beautiful, beautiful story!

    Liked by 10 people

      1. I believe not Mrieshka. But we all have that one common connection, don’t we? 😄 It makes us go, “Hum naa there the Doctor sahab!? Aapse hamara kuch purana hai!” 😀

        This is my first Meera-goi. And I enjoying every lyric in it. 😊

        Liked by 3 people

  12. Sometimes I don’t know what to comment after reading your writing. I love this expectancy Kaveri has to listen to him sing and then lose herself in their worlds while they song along. This world, their own small world they drift to without acknowledging appeases me for now. I can’t wait for the evening gathering to disperse as much as I don’t want them to stop singing such jewels of words depicting their hearts somehow.
    Kavi does frustrate me too sometimes. I feel for Arjun when the other one is inquisitive but isn’t responsive on her own part. But all due for the right time, I suppose.
    The dual meaning banter and shyness of Khushi is something we had been waiting for. For that slightly easy camaraderie to start sailing in their lives even though the impending doom is hanging somewhere close by. Loving it Meera di 😍

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ohh yeah. I loved the song ‘Dil me Basa ke’. Not wanting to repeat what I always say, but you choose the choicest of songs for them to sing. 😁

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Can’t imagine saying anymore than what has already been said by your loving and very engaged “fan-family”. Meeraji, take a bow again, for a brilliantly written chapter. I read it yesterday and downloaded “dil me basa ke” on my phone. I had not heard it before but today (as it played), all i could envision was the campfire, Arnav and Khushi. But then, as quickly as I smiled, sadness crept in, knowing that a heartbreak is pending. Having said that, I look forward to the next chapter (albeit with some anxiety). You rock Meeraji!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Loved the update. It was beautiful.
    The start to it with Arnav and Khushi’s conversation and the topic of discussion. Who was waiting for whom and till when.. Well at least this time Arnav explicitly asked her to wait for him even if it is late.. A little progress if I must say!!!
    And then Arjun and Khushi’s conversation came. I was dreading this one but I think it went fine. Arjun did prod her about Arnav but Khushi steered the conversation in such a way that Arjun had to drop it entirely.
    And then came the evening where people were singing songs andtrust me I was waiting for the moment when Arnav and Khushi would sing together.. and they did. It was pure magical for me :) And the choice of song was not conventional but apt for them

    So all in all it was a wonderful update.
    Waiting for the Monday to come.

    Lots Of Love.. :) :)

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Awesome updates :) It’s been so long since I read ur updates and when I found lots of chapters updated by you, I was on cloud nine :P I loved the way the story is proceeding :) Can’t wait to read more!!!! eagerly waiting for ur updates :)

    Liked by 2 people

  16. It’s been almost a year since I parted ways with the river (more of a stream at that point) with the promise to return, only unsure of the time. And when I could return, it was to see that the stream had morphed into a river, and that was nothing short of overwhelming. However, it beckoned to me, and soon enough I found myself riding in it- the waters now deep, holding so much more than I could fathom.
    You were completely honest when you talked about how similar the Khushi in this story is to you. It is not blatant but more nuanced as we get to see and know more of Khushi. Our conversations may have been brief (and majorly restricted to the CC- god I miss those days), but by the time I started with River of Joy, there was no mistaking that you are in fact Kaveri Khushi Gupta.
    I haven’t been more frustrated by a character as I have been by Arnav Varun. And no, I won’t attribute it to the pace of the story-more on that later. The obscurity surrounding him was okay at first-romantic even, but by the end of Once a Mountain Stream, I was riddled with questions-more so because I feared this one to be similar to the Arnav from the Isle. One Arnav could be forgiven-especially since it was a thirteen year old, but this was a man grown. I went on hoping that he is only human and that there was more to it than what met the eye; at a point of time even thought that it was misconstrued by me as a reader. Interlude 1 pushed me deeper into the confusion, and a long wait ensued till Interlude 2 when I could get a tiny glimpse into Arnav (By the way, is there more to what occurred between him and Saira?)
    Arjun as the personification of Mr. Dependable is just the right element in the story, what with Khushi’s turmoil over her feelings for Arnav, and the man in question’s ephemeral presence-the effects of which havoc inducing, nevertheless. He seems to possess selflessness in abundance, for it must be difficult to stay in the presence of the person who’s the recipient of his one-way affection.
    I always look forward to your Aman and Aditi. Although never taking center-stage, they capture your admiration. It’s time we had faces for them, what say?
    Till now, the story has been gripping. And the pace only adds to it. It helps savor the toe-curling emotion of Khushi’s early days at IE-V, and although makes it difficult to navigate through her heart-break, there is the anticipation of light at the end of the tunnel.
    But what makes it wonderful is the small details that go into the characterization of Khushi (to mention a few of them- her inhibitions about alcohol, or her ability to lie, or daydream without losing track of reality). You laugh at some, even mutter been-there-done-that, and continue to get more engrossed in the story.
    And the songs…how can I forget the songs? Even in times of despair, they provide reprieve. The choice of songs is brilliant; I must admit though that there were many that I was introduced to through ‘A River…
    The point at which we have reached now reminds me of the final chapters of Once a Mountain Stream. Even then, things seemed upbeat, even rosy with the songs sung at Aarohan. But all those castles in the air were brought down crashing in a swift stroke. At present, I feel we are about to see another version of it. Will they talk? Yes I think so. For its only that talk that’s going to reveal things and maybe propel them into Act 3 of the story (I’m making random guesses over here)
    I look forward to the next chapter and the ones to follow…bring it on, Meera

    Liked by 7 people

  17. Superb update.. Somehow arnav n khushi both are accepting the fact dat things are not over between them.. Can’t wait for next..

    N which is dat strawberry song I din get it.. :(

    Liked by 2 people


  18. In the brilliance of the morning light they meet,
    A promise to hold on, when night sheaths.
    What lies within him, waits to reach her,
    Words unsaid and hidden, seemingly forever.

    In the golden light, a rosy hue painted on her cheeks,
    Someday he says, towards the mountain peaks.
    A glimpse of the shine that was until now bleak,
    Alights in him, awakened from sleep.

    Strings strum against the guitar’s hollow,
    Reading the request in his eyes, she follows.
    Swept into the arresting cadence, together they sing,
    The world forgotten; waiting for what the night brings.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Wow !! Beautiful !!!
      Loved every line but these lines are something which we all have been thinking for long now and how beautifyyly you worded it 😊
      What lies within him, waits to reach her,
      Words unsaid and hidden, seemingly forever

      we wait now for Meera to unveil !!

      Liked by 3 people

  19. Nice, healthful thoughts for your little one. And now I begin:

    Strawberry aankhein
    Poochhti kya hain?
    Ladki tum toh mahalon mein ho pali
    Wo ice-cream ho jo hai fridge mein rakhi
    Tumne jo bhi kaha, wo humesha hua
    Tumhe har cheez mili, Mercedes mili
    Phir bhi aankhon mein hai
    Koi gham kyun chhupa?
    Na na na na na na na
    Bolo hai baat kya?

    Did I get it right?! Apart from the na-na-ing, of course. :D :D

    Oh man, I don’t know even a single person who knows this song and I absolutely love how ridiculous and happy it is! Makes me smile, every time. :D And Chanda Re.

    And also: romaaaance chahiye. Chahiye thoda pyaar, thoda pyaar chahiye. Hindi for “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” :D

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Wo ice-cream ho jo hai fridge mein rakhi – I thought this was the line Twiggy came up with didn’t realize it was part of the song specified by Meera :D

      The lyrics are hilarious !!

      Liked by 3 people

  20. Would u walk away on realizing that the man u loved is still reeling from the after effects of a failed relationship and the insecurities a result thereof? Would u walk away knowing that he needs to get back to the corporate world and prove himself to be the success he was destined to be and not allow one bad experience to mar his views? Would u be able to give him the time and space he needs to be able to give himself fully to just doing that? Would u be able to absolve him of any guilt he still harbors and free him of the burden of a relationship that he is not yet fully ready for? Would you be able to understand him better than he himself does and give him what he needs to make his mark in life??

    Walk away Kaveri Khushi Gupta not just becos u love him but also becos u deserve the love of a man who is sure of himself and what he feels for u and wants u for who u r!
    And becos u believe that if u are meant to be then like Shah Rukh Khan said – the whole universe will conspire to get you together!
    Your paths will cross again and it will be a new beginning!

    This is what i hope for with the prologue — Arnav pursuing Khushi, now , finally sure of what she means to him and what it all meant right from Aarohan when she made her way into his heart for the first time!!!

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Oh! Loved the way you put it Kavi!

      He will probably tell her about wanting to get back to the corporate world. Knowing Khushi, she will never stop him. In fact she will go out of her way to free him of any possible entanglement (without using Arjun I hope !) I think that is the only scenario where they part without anything happening between them, hopefully without any bitterness, which will then lead us to the prologue.

      But yes, as you said it rightly, Arnav pursuing Khushi is the most anticipated scenario for all of us, of course after being sure of Khushi and his feelings towards her.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Yes Sohni, this is my version of how I would like things to be.. No bitterness, no drama.. just plain understanding from Khushi’s side without Arnav having to even say anything of the sort.
        She sees that he refrains as much as possible from singing.. clearly an effect of the fact that it was this love of his for music that was the primary reason for his failed relationship with Saira.. Clearly it has left its mark…
        Just part ways, knnowing that they both have a lot to achieve in life.. and if its meant to happen, it will.
        It should give her enough confidence that somewhere, he did reciprocate some of what she feels for him..
        I would also love to see another conversation — albeit a knowing one this time between Khushi and Aditi!!!!
        Thats my anticipation for the prologue!!!!! Thats how I play it in my head!!!

        But — will wait to see what magic Meera will weave this time around!!!!

        Liked by 8 people

        1. Read your comment Kavi again this morning with fresh mind…. beautifully written. KUDOS☺

          Still, something is going to happen… may be not too too bad or bitter as you have rightly said, but not pleasant either…

          On reading the prologue again, it mentions that he relationship with Arjun had become thread-bare at times. So far, while Arjun has explicitly asked her, she has not acknowledged her crush on AV but has just dodged his question. And the ever-forgiving Arjun is back to his usual fascade. The exchange between Khushi and Arjun in prologue seems to be indicative of Khushi having opened up to arjun about AV. Also it mentions their relationship has been better in the past 2 years.

          Also, AV has marked his presence in every new beginning of her life in the last decade. So that leaves another meeting around the time she starts her B-school? I think there is another meeting between River camp and prologue. Once again speculations galore..

          PS: I though I had retired from the guessing game along with Ladki… now I know that is clearly not the case!!! Argh…Meera… 😨

          Liked by 7 people

          1. Being with Kavi all these years Arjun shud by now know and understand that she is not one to share her deepest feelings so easily! He shud also have understood clearly her -not-answering- straight any questions about AV!
            Inspite of all this if he still continues to keep his hopes , he is being foolish!
            Whike i truly love him for thr friend that he is to Kavi any expectation of anything more than friendship from her — is his own mistake!!!

            Liked by 6 people

            1. I dont think Arjun unrealistically expects any reciprocation of feelings from Khushi at time of Prologue though. Is that what my comment sounded like?! Sorry for stirring the already muddy river!!!

              Liked by 5 people

              1. No no — not ur comment!! In the prologue — he seems to have accepted the fact that its only AV that Khushi’s heart beats for!!
                I was referring to the fallout between Khushi Arjun

                Liked by 5 people

                1. Ah ok ☺… the fall out could be coz he was concerned about her as a Friend and not coz of her not reciprocating his feelings…

                  (PS: Did you notice that we have finalized that arjun has fallen for Khushi without any doubt. .. wonder what Meera thinks of that… 😉😉😉)

                  Liked by 5 people

          1. Anu its the prologue that made me think the way i penned!! Khushi doesnt sound angry or bitter or resentful! If anything its her hyperventilation thats back! That makes me hopeful that they didnt part on bitter terms!! Instead its as if she is almost wary of seeing him again after the rendezvous they shared at the river!! Thats what i felt with the prologue!!!

            Fingers crossed

            Liked by 9 people

            1. Time to reread Prologue for me :)

              But then again… eadnt thrre a reference to how she had come close to jeopardizing Arjun’s friendship?! Whatever that has happened so far does not seem to warrant both Khushi’s and Arjun’s reactions in Prologue… or it is my dumbo brain.. i dont know 😄

              Liked by 8 people

              1. I dont know either how its all going to play out.. If Arnav Khushi part on bad terms — i dont know how anything can justify them getting together later…. clearly its not meant to be then!!! Timing cannot be wrong all the time.. .

                Liked by 7 people

  21. Oonche oonche parbat.. jab choomte hain ambar ko
    Pyaasa pyaasa ambar.. jab choomta hai sagar ko
    Pyar se kasne ko …baahon mein basne ko
    Dil meraa lalchaaye.. koyee toh aa jaaye
    Aisa koyee sathi ho.. aisa koyee premi ho.. pyas dil kee bujhaa jaaye..

    Arnav waiting for Khushi, river side, under the cover of moon and the stars ..sitting on a rock, strumming his guitar…this song! Bas!

    Liked by 9 people

        1. Sorry Meera, I didn’t mean to pry. It’s my mum- instinct that always kicks in, unnecessarily at times 😐 Late nights and early mornings always mean an unwell child for me, every mum goes through this I guess! Hope chhotu pari is ok.

          Also, the other thing was, please do reschedule your update dates if you aren’t getting any sleep. I know we all bug and literally harass you, especially when it’s Monday or a day earlier. Trust me, nothing’s more important than your sleep, the most valuable commodity in our phase of life at the moment and of course your health. I’m sure all my lovely sisters agree. Please, don’t be pressurised to deliver.

          I know you know all this, but this comes from the heart of a mum to a mum, just felt like saying it regardless. We love you and will be here, as long as it takes to finish the story. And some weirdos like me will there after as well, waiting for your next one! 🙂

          Liked by 10 people

          1. This is so so so sweet of you, A! I haven’t technically slept through the night for 5 years now I think :p but all is okay. I had particularly unrestful night and phone is the easiest lullaby (I read to fall back asleep). The WP alerts are just a byproduct :) but thank you so so much. Just reading this makes me want to keep updating as promised always.

            Liked by 10 people

                1. Tussi mahaan ho Sohni!! Handling 2 kids under 6 and yet finding the time to engage in these conversations and also be able to write so beautifully!!

                  Main toh ek 13yr old ke saath hi thakk jaati hoon!!!

                  Liked by 7 people

                  1. You spoke my mind Kavi!!! I was going to say that… but instead of 13-year old it is 10-year old…

                    CA… my fab place.. esp So Cal… I spent a week in LagunaNiguel during Xmas… it was a dream come true… off with down jackets!!!!

                    Liked by 6 people

                  2. Well, 6 and 3 to be precise. I don’t know about me handling them, but, at times it feels the other way round definitely! ;) They’ve started teaming up re Kavi! Its awesome how two girls can come together and defeat(I am using a very kind word here!) their common enemy ! :D
                    Its a task dealing with the 6 yr old, I shudder to think what I would do when she is 13!

                    Liked by 6 people

                    1. Lol Aparna… all the best!!!! I see the pain…

                      I cry more than my daughter (internally though) when it come to getting her to do anything… piano practice or HW or clean -up… just that I dont let her know about my trepidiation…

                      Such logical arguments for excuses… now she wants to read Disney FF coz I am reading IPK FFs… ☺☺☺☺ so am forced to bring my craze down when she is around … that leaves mid nights and early morninng and of course work ☺☺☺

                      Liked by 6 people

                    2. Sometimes I wonder, did we even know logic at this age? They negotiate, they argue and debate based on it! I mean you are 6 for crying out loud! lol…I could just go on! :D

                      Liked by 5 people

                    3. This gen is just something else! Compared to them we were duds at that age!!

                      The 2 of them teaming against u!!! That sounds just so adorable!!

                      Enjoy the phase Sohni!! They grow so fast and then all we will be left with is memories!!

                      And babes // wait till they turn teens!!! U have no idea yet whats in store!! Stressful but fun phase!!!

                      Liked by 6 people

    1. Love this song…very romantic!!
      Kaveri Khushi and AV with guitar around the bonfire😊…. I can imagine all the songs you guys post here with these two guys singing and living the lyrics!!

      Liked by 3 people

        1. :D perfect song for the moment

          I was thinking of this 😊 … no connection I guess but this song came to my mind …

          Sathiya yeh tune kya kiya, beliya yeh tune kya kiya
          Maine kiya teraa intejar, itna karo naa muje pyar

          Liked by 5 people

  22. Khushi partaked in two challenging conversation before finishings breakfast. 😃

    The one with Arnav made my heart go pitted patter and now I am swooning in anticipation of another moment when they meet tonight.
    Rabba ve

    And good on Arjun to finally pull up khushi on her denial of her feelings, but I understand that what she feels is very private and her rationale for not sharing because there is no acknowledged relationship is logical. It does have a ring of truth to it.

    Thank you Meera for making them sing together – your arnav and khushi singing together looking in each other’s eyes is equal to a sizzling sexy moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. So many beautiful moments as they start..lovely phase as they catch glimpse of each other, want to dream about their future and spend time..

    The music is back and I wonder who is the Bollywood geek here? Khushi, Arjun, arnav, aditi or is it Meera? Wow so many songs and collections and dialogues…it is amazing you have a great memory too!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Finally they decided to talk…their conversation was so sweet…he asked her wait for him and she agreed…i hope this conversation will make them understand each other better…
    I liked next conversation in this chapter that arjun and khushi’s conversation…like small kids they started arguing about dates…i think arjun really loves khushi…because of his behaviour i felt like that…he was upset when khushi curiously asked about av sir…and now he wants to know about her crush on av sir…
    Cant wait to read the next chapter…

    Like

  25. Khushali was dumbstruck when Arjun call her out. She will never share her inner feelings for him but she will declare her feelings in front of Arnav. Not sharing her feelings with him will cause a reef between them. Singing along with him is a good giveaway of her inner conscious feelings she has for Arnav. Arjun won’t miss the shared looks and sing along.👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just re – read the chapter. Thank you – I now have a wistful sigh and a smile to last me the whole day. Did they ride on a bike some day? Of course they did :) They rode to DevDwar from Rishikesh just after Humsafar :)

      Liked by 3 people

  26. And the magic weaves them together again… Irrespective of the spoken/unspoken sentiments, the said/unsaid feelings, the bond of lyrics and music binds them. They r so atune to each other when they r together in a song. Sigh!♡

    Liked by 2 people

  27. awesome update yar….
    Ya everyone here is hiding their feelings
    arjun knows khushi had a crush on him then and now also she had a feeling and he wants khushi to admit it….even khushi is right…did he shares everything with her…..glad to see Av singing again

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I like this sweet nokh-jhok. It is establishing this lightness to this relationship which has always been missing. Khushi was the young junior in awe of the handsome senior AV. Now, it seems as their gradually moving towards establishing an equal footing. Like when AV asked her to call him Arnav.

    Again, I would emphasise, Arjun’s argument with Kavi is justified. Talking about your feelings with your best friend is the golden rule of such friendships. However, this time I got to know Kavi’s perspective too. They never talked about those boundaries. They never laid guideline. So, the situation is just a stalemate.

    A non-chartbuster one. Oh, how I enjoy people who love songs and singing. However, I am not a good singer; I do enjoy music. This was unique take though. I have listened to many songs, but that strawberry one was like what? You did scare me with that one. And, made me wonder whether I am even a Hindi Music fan or not. Nowhere I am near to Arjun and Kavi, but I can proudly say that I have heard the next song – ” Dil Mein Basake.”

    I am like if they sing like that and about songs like that I am pretty sure people around them could also pick on the couple-in-making. One can feel the undercurrents and the expectancy of something more in the air already.

    ” Ab se yeh bechainiyan hain,
    Aage na jaane ho kya?
    Itne kareeb aa gaye hain
    Ab kaise honge judaa?”

    Kumar Sanu’s voice is so addictive. That baritone. I do not have favourites because I don’t know how to pick one without thinking how it unfair on the other singers, but some Kamar Sanu has this particular corner in my heart. He will always remind me of some of the best 90s romantic songs. He ruled the 90s, and I wonder why he doesn’t sing much these days. He was an undisputed king of the 90s.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. “Meet me by the river side”. That is it. He wants to talk to her and expects her to be there. Because, he was sure she waited for him last night and she did. Khushi was nervous that she did not realise what she was saying. Silly girl!
    Arjun is Arjun. Trying to extract whether she had a crush on AV or not. What would he do with the information? Does he have anyone in his life at the moment? Once upon a time we thought he was interested in Tripti. Are they in touch?
    The singing session is back. I know they have been singing but, AV and Khushi singing together is a teat to watch. Did Aditi notice the pull? Aman is already privy of it. What is going to happen at the river side tonight?
    Are they going to end up on the charpoy counting stars?
    Cheers……

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Arnav might not do it on purpose , but kh might get hurt once again , as AV might want out
    He needs to pursue her & she should feel confident enough to be with him
    Now all they have is love of music
    No need to mock ARR , the music & the song was originally in tamizh , the movie was dubbed , so were the lyrics .
    Prabu deva got a national Award for Strawberry Kanne & vennilave while ARR for the movie & Chitra for Oo la la la .

    Like

Say something?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s