To old friendships and new beginnings – Happy Diwali everyone!

She didn’t even bother to assume she would be able to step past Aditi Sinha and walk away with a simple good night. Sure enough, the older woman simply asked her to wait as she hurried past her and quickly covered Arnav’s sleeping form with a thick duvet, her movement practiced and fluid even as her brother continued to sleep on unaware. Before Khushi could gather her thoughts, Aditi was making her way back to her. She came to stop right in front of her and looked up into Khushi’s eyes, her own dead serious in a way Khushi might have never expected.

“He is the one? The one who had a girlfriend?” She asked without preamble.

Would denying it make any difference? Arnav himself knew how she felt about him. How much worse could it be if his sister did too? And even if was a hundred times worse, she had no one to blame but herself, did she? She had volunteered that information. And now Aditi had figured it out.

“Oh my God!” She expelled with a long breath and shook her head incredulously. “And you’ve been in love with him for four years?”

Khushi’s face burned with mortification. When put like that she sounded like a complete loser. And while she might be one – she most certainly didn’t like anyone else pointing that out. “I have not been in…It’s not like I have been pining for the last four years. Even now…” She let out a deep breath. She was not going to admit to Aditi she was in love with her brother. Heck, she hadn’t even admitted that to herself yet. Again, that is. “I don’t know what to say,” She shrugged and let her shoulders slump.

Aditi stared at her and then smiled softly. “If someone had said this to me ten years ago, I’d have been telling her to mind her own business. Or at the very least I would have stomped out without answering.”

Khushi shrugged “I am a pushover. I always have been.”

The other woman stepped closer and frowned. “No you are not. Why would you say that? You are just nice enough to not tell me to fuck off. Perhaps partly even because I am,” She pointed towards where Arnav slept with her thumb, “his sister.”

She refused to blush even as blood surged up her neck.

“He fell asleep.” Aditi said with a sigh. “You guys leave in less than forty eight hours and he fell asleep. Really men I tell you…”

She forced herself to not blurt out something sappy like he looked tired or he needed the rest. She was pretty sure Aditi would laugh out aloud at something like that. So she stayed silent and wondered what this sudden midnight run-in with Aditi was going to turn out to be.

“Would you think very terribly of me if I were to ask more questions?”

Somehow, Khushi was fairly sure Aditi didn’t care much about what people thought of her. Still, for her to ask before firing away indiscriminately, had to count for something. So she shook her head, which thankfully Aditi accepted gracefully enough and then suggested for them to sit somewhere. They found one spot much further away from where Arnav was sleeping, perhaps intentionally picked by Aditi. And as expected, Aditi launched into her questionnaire – it was a surprise she didn’t actually have a sheet of paper she was referring to – as soon as they were seated.

“Have you met in the last four years?” She asked first, turning to face Khushi completely even as Khushi tried to maintain some level of sanity by pretending this was just another casual chat by the river.

Khushi shook her head again.

“No, I mean I guessed you hadn’t seen each other. The last four years..they’ve been hard on him.” She said softly. “Has he talked to you about…errr…damn…I wasn’t thinking this through. I have no clue how much he has told you.” She looked away.

“I know about his job…and I know about his…fiancée…” Saira. The name stuck to the roof of her mouth. She didn’t want to talk about Saira. Especially since Arnav had now confirmed that whatever happened was in the past.

“Ab9ut the job – he is being silly. He did the right thing. And if he got fired for it – the firm didn’t deserve him. He just needs to get back to the corporate world and he’ll be back to being the star he is.” Aditi bit out, her face angry like Khushi knew hers would be if this had been Tripti they had been talking about. Then she let out a deep sigh. “Saira…He told you about her. Of course he told you about her. He probably listed everything he did wrong. And made her sound like the most perfect person there was.”

Of course. That is what he would tell her. Of course it made sense that Saira was a wonderful person. Why should it begin bothering her? What had she expected to hear anyway? Why would he fall in love with, No, she corrected herself, why would he almost get married to someone who wasn’t worthy in his own eyes? Sure, he had also said he wanted to be with her….Khushi frowned. He had never said that. Or maybe he had – he had told her there was no going back, no forgetting about the kiss. That meant that he wanted them to be together, right?

Shiv-ji…this was insane. What was she doing?

“No he didn’t tell me about why they broke up.” She interjected before her head split into two. “He was going to…But he…” She turned her head in the direction of where they had left Arnav sleeping.

Aditi looked at her silently for a few seconds before she spoke again. “He blames himself for what happened with Saira. And…I’m his sister so it is okay if you think I am being partial to him. But I would strongly recommend you take whatever he says with a pinch of salt. He tends to blame himself for everything. The truth is that I am not sure why Saira and he were together in the first place.”

Khushi blinked and continued to stare at Aditi, unsure of whether she should be hearing all this from Aditi instead of it coming from Arnav. But then Arnav was right – he didn’t know how much to tell her and she was sure – given the direction Aditi was taking – she was going to prefer the sister’s version to the brother’s. Even if that made her a bloody coward. She was that without any doubts.

“I mean I am not saying there was no external motivation. There always was. When Arnav and Saira were only kids, Amma – our mother – used to tell Raeesa Aunty – Saira’s mother that if not for the difference in religion, she would ensure she had Saira as her daughter-in-law someday. Both Amma and Raeesa Aunty would have a hearty laugh about it. And somewhere I think neither women really cared about the difference in our religions. But Papa – and Ahmed Uncle – both of them in equal measure, warned their wives against such loose talk in front of either Arnav or Saira. When they neared teenage, the talk died down and all of us thought nothing of it. But clearly Saira didn’t forget. When she was fourteen and declared that she was going to pursue a career in medicine, all hell broke loose. Though Ahmed Uncle was as broad minded and well-educated as one can expect, he was completely against a career as strong as medicine for his daughter – mostly because it would make it very difficult to find a groom for her in their community. She was nudged towards the arts, history – commerce at the most and Saira panicked. She came to me one day and asked me if my parents would ever disapprove of Arnav’s wife studying after marriage if she wanted to. I assumed – and this is probably my mistake – that the question was just one posed by belligerent teenager to arm herself with proof that there would be in-laws in her community too who will choose to be as broad-minded as my parents would be with their daughter-in-law. I said yes and the next thing I knew was Saira declaring – albeit almost two years later and only to me at the time – that she and Arnav were a couple and that I was to help them sail through the storm that the families would create once the knowledge was made available to them. To say I was surprised was putting it mildly. Arnav had never indicated that he was even remotely romantically aware of Saira. I tried talking her out of it but she assured me that this was mutual.”

“So there never was anything?” Khushi asked before she could check herself and winced when she saw Aditi’s pitying smile. There was naïve and there was naïve. And Khushi was both, going by the look in Aditi’s eyes.

“Unfortunately they were a couple. Arnav confirmed it. And I know Arnav cannot lie…rather he does not lie on principle. I was just away from home so often – college, then eventually work – that I never knew when it all changed between them.”

Khushi’s spirits fell and still she hoped it didn’t show on her face. Whether she was successful or not, she wouldn’t ever know.

“Initially, I just reconciled their relationship with my opposites attract theory. But they weren’t just opposites – they were at polar ends of every character spectrum there is. Every couple at least needs something in common – and they had nothing. Because I was always close to Saira – she would tell me about almost everything that they fought about – and like an idiot I even tried solving them. I just needed to make sure they were okay. This was my little brother and his future wife, after all. But…once Arnav went to IE-V – things just got worse. He found this new star status in college – and the acceptance of light – mostly Bollywood music that no one in our family ever really gave him. Least of all Saira.”

Music. Of course. It is what she linked with him – what she would always. That is what he saw in her. “But he once told me he was trained in music. If music was such a taboo…” She began with a frown.

Aditi shook her head. “Papa and Amma are very old school. It comes from being a part of the Patna society that they are so integrated with. Their idea of music excellence is just as any else – structured – he went through years of Hindustani classical training and our parents were so proud of him but any filmy singing and our parents would just clam up. And he…” She smiled and looked away. “He was always the perfect child of our parents. I was the rebel, the girl who is never truly part of the family…”

Khushi’s gut twisted. That sounded…

“Yeah, I know that look. And I know it’s terrible when you hear it. But we have patriarchal societies back home – like we do in most of the country. At least our parents – they are good people – they never made any visible differences between how they raised Arnav and me. But…he was the one who bore all the responsibility of being the good son. It didn’t help that the he is brilliant, polite to a fault. Even when he was a little boy, Papa and Ma had to say it once and Arnav did whatever he could to make it happen. When the news of Saira and his relationship broke – it was a shock – for most of us. Our father was…he didn’t speak to Arnav for almost two years. Nothing Ma and I said to him ever mattered. And I don’t even think it was the Hindu-Muslim angle with Papa. He just couldn’t believe his Arnav – his Munna – had let him down like that. Arnav…idiot was not even eighteen – and the way he handled Saira and Papa – one would think he was thirty. And then when things didn’t work…none of us let him live that down…” Aditi looked away but not before Khushi saw the sheen of tears in her eyes.

She stayed silent as always but not because she didn’t have anything to say. But because she was finally convinced that she didn’t want to know anything more about Saira. If this was how the entire episode could affect Aditi – who, whatever said and done, was an outsider to the event – what would it do to Arnav? And didn’t Aditi just say it – he was not even eighteen when they first got together. How difficult was it to imagine that they made an error in judgement? If someone were to tell her to consider Ruchir Shah from school as a potential life partner now – how would she react? And yet in that year she had turned thirteen – a life with Ruchir might have been the only thing worth any trouble at all, in her opinion. Sure, she was possibly oversimplifying the Arnav-Saira situation but now that it was over, how did it matter how complex it had once been? And how was her grilling Arnav about it, going to help. He had been right earlier today. Whatever he said, was going to serve no purpose at all. She just needed to know one thing. “When did they break-up?”

Aditi took a deep breath. “Just before Arnav graduated from business school. Although I am not sure they had truly been a couple like they had once been for a long, long time. Sometime after the night we arrived unannounced at the campus – Saira stopped talking to me about him. Not when Arnav asked for time to finish studying before the wedding. Not when they told us all it was over. I had assumed it was a sign of their relationship having finally become serious but perhaps it was just a sign of there being no relationship at all.”

A near dead relationship for two years after that Aarohan night. Her chest squeezed even as she tried to quell the realization that was now bubbling up her stomach. Music. Her. Aarohan and what had happened…What if they had broken up because of…

“I like you.”

She blinked and looked at Aditi who was now smiling at her in that familiar, Aditi way, a little twinkle in her eyes. “Huh?”

“Nope I am not saying it again. Though I must say I am very, very surprised you both are together.”

Before Khushi’s face could fall at that incomplete statement, Aditi pulled her hand into hers and tugged at it.

“I don’t mean that in a bad way – I mean look at your…has anyone told you how expressive your face can be?”

Khushi smiled a watery smile even as she gently pulled her hand away.

“I’ll explain. I..and you will soon realize this about me – I love to come up with absurd theories and then go look for data to back them up. Like I have this insane theory about the next big leap for the River coming from Management Consulting firms that recruit from business school…” Aditi trailed off even as Khushi’s brow narrowed. “Okay that’s not relevant here. So I was saying….I always assumed that couples work best only when they are opposites. My parents, Aman and I, Munna and Saira…I mean….” She paused and bit her tongue. “Sorry…”

Khushi shook her head. “It’s fine. You don’t have to apologize.”

“See?” Aditi piped up. “This is what I mean. This is almost exactly what Arnav would have said.” She said excitedly even as Khushi frowned. “He really would have. And any conversation with Arnav would have gone one exactly like this. With me talking and he indulging me every once in five sentences.” She raised her hands up in the air in mock-exasperation. “You are so…alike in temperament. And that…I have never seen that. It’s like…Edward Ferrars and Elinor Dashwood…They never made sense to me. Now Marianne and Colonel Brandon – that was…it was…expected – Also because the man is literally mooning over Marianne for half the story.”

Khushi struggled to follow what Aditi was now saying and it embarrassed her. Clearly she was talking about fictional characters…this – other than the rambling about her brother – was exactly the kind of thing that smart women did – talk about Classics the way she talked about Bollywood.

“You haven’t read Sense and Sensibility?”

Khushi shook her head morosely. She really was going to get back to reading. Real fiction. Harry Potter re-reads didn’t count.

“Okay, you must. And if you don’t want to read, catch the BBC series. I have two words for you – Hugh Grant.”

Now Khushi smiled. Grinned, actually. “I love Hugh Grant.”

Aditi smiled superiorly. “That. That is what surprises me. You do look like the sort of person who would like Hugh Grant. You already love SRK. What the hell do you see in that idiot?”

Khushi’s grin dimmed into a smile but it stayed firm on her face, much to her own surprise. If she had been a heroine in some romance novel, she would have said the words that were taking shape in her thoughts at the moment and grimaced as soon as she heard it played back in her head. Have you seen your brother? “The real question is what he sees in me.” She said softly and looked away.

“Ask him someday. Men get totally stumped when you throw this their way. Trust me, I’ve tried. Unfortunately, Aman has caught on now. The last time I asked, he said he loves the shape of my eyebrows. Thankfully, I don’t shape my eyebrows so I can’t say he is secretly crushing on my parlor-wali.”

Khushi chuckled and then started laughing out aloud as Aditi joined her.

And then there was no stopping them. The conversation meandered around topics Khushi hadn’t discussed or even considered discussing with anyone except Tripti in almost four and half years. From beauty treatments to hormonal imbalances to period trouble, Khushi found herself talking about everything she had long hidden away as things she needed to deal with on her own and in isolation, things that had no place for the men who she shared her professional world with and hence had no business holding her back. This sudden, weirdly initiated talk was turning out to be eye-opening in so many more ways than she had expected. Just like the talk they had had a couple of days ago – which had led her to question assumptions she had filed as absolute truths in her head. Khushi smiled inwardly even as her gestures became more pronounced and her volume more definitively a match for Aditi’s.

Neither woman noticed the presence of a shadow behind them or the smile that stole up surprised, sleepy eyes.

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Chupke Se

Album: Saathiya

Singers: Sadhana Sargam, Chorus

Music: A. R. Rehman

Lyrics: Gulzar

 

 

Note:

  1. Happy Diwali to all of you by the River and to all your loved ones. May the light in your lives shine stronger and brighter each year.
  2. Since it is Diwali weekend and because Asli Duniya couldn’t even care about that, I don’t see myself being able to update next week. So next update will be on Nov 7, 2016. Thank you for your patience – I understand this is the first story where I have been so tardy with updates. I promise you it bothers me infinitely more than it possibly bothers any of you.

437 thoughts on “Chapter Twenty: Birds of a Feather

  1. It was quite the girls’ night out. It’s a relief that your Aditi is not the big sister in mommy gear. Yes, get those pesky boys outta the scene. Khushi needed a girlfriend and Aditi was perfect.

    “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Then find someone whose life is givin’ them vodka and have a party!” – Ron White

    Polar opposites, Khushi and Aditi, but when has something like that stopped women from finding common ground. On the other hand, pitch men with such opposing qualities together, and they would just burrow themselves into the wall if need be. We don’t know much about Khushi prior to IE-V. But just from how you portray her she seems to be one who didn’t have too many friends even before, which is fine. Even Arjun forced himself into her world. She is quite lucky that he has stuck around as long as he has and can call him her best friend. I don’t feel like she contributed much to the growth of that relationship. That’s all him. But I hope this one rendezvous with Aditi shows her she can have a thousand male friends, and it’ll still not be anything like the joys (and frustrations) that girlfriends bring. So “Here’s to the guys that love us, the losers who lost us, and the lucky bastards that are yet to meet us.” I would love to credit that line to someone, but it appears there are too many owners; I’ll just credit it to the internet.

    Arnav and Saira, a premature relationship that ended prematurely. I really cannot think of anything more, unless you say there is. It’s really hard for teenage romance to sustain. Teenagers are self-absorbed, they live in a dream. But one day you’ve got to wake up from the dream. And it’s never pretty. I don’t know, even Arnav and Khushi at 18 and 21 were so young. In a way I’m glad they met after 4 yrs., they are little surer of themselves and their space in the world. The only silver lining in the upcoming separation is their age. They will be mature and responsible. It’s very appealing to me.

    As always, Thank you Meera! Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali and a spooktacular Halloween. Stay safe, stay blessed, and many cheers to the awesome girls here :)

    Liked by 15 people

  2. This was such a great update !!
    I loved the way the two girls bonded through the night. ..when you gave us the cliffhanger I was actually worried about Aditi’s reaction but she is genuinely happy for Arnav and Khushi…and our Munna finally woke up to see two of his favorite girls laughing and talking like best friends. .

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I liked the conversation between K and A. Aditi has it in her to strike the right chord. I got something about the past, though I’m not sure what exactly happened between Saira and Arnav. I think you just gave a glimpse from Aditi ‘ pov, the full version is yet to come. Unlike Khushi I want to know from horse mouth. You have ended this with a sleepy smile from Arnav. Idk what the morning is going to bring, its a lovely read, with some past and sisterly bond. Thanks Meera:)

    Wish you all a very happy diwali:)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Amazing update Meera!! All the fears of Aditi being the soap opera over bearing sister were squashed and she stayed true to her character and we got to see a little into what happened with Saira and Arnav. Atlast our sleeping beauty woke up after the kiss from his loved one lol!! Waiting for the promised Tariq before Arjun tells his secret. Happy Diwali to you and your family!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wsh you and your family a very Happy Diwali!
    Loved this chapter Meera.
    I had been waiting for AV to disclose what happened with Saira, but now I am happy it was Aditi who spoke to Khushi about it. Sometimes it is better to hear another person’s perspective than from the principle concerned.
    Loved the bonding between the two ladies.
    So Saira thought of marriage to Arnav as a way to achieve what she desired from life. It is a shame to see young girls not being allowed to take up a career of their choice, just because they were born a woman. On the one hand one is angry with Saira forusing Arnav , but on the other hand one feels sorry for her too.
    I’d like to share a little story here. I know a Pakistani shokeeper here. A very kind and sweet man. He always spoke to me about his young daughter studying in a prestigious school here and wanting to pursue medicine. Then one day I visited his shop and he told me that she was married off at the age of 18 and settled in Pakistan. This upset me so much. A brilliantly intelligent young girl was not allowed to pursue her studies and just married and sent off to a far away land which she doesn’t even know.
    I’ll stop my tirade and just say now that the bonding between the two women made me very happy. And our AV Sir too seems to be liking this new development.
    Wish you and your loved ones a very very Happy Diwali. Wish you love and prosperity. Wish you loads of fun. Think of me when eating mithai and bursting firecrackers! 🤗

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Hi Meera
    Happy Diwali to u ad ur family.
    Good to see both the girls bonding and having a good time.
    Got to know about Arnav and saira, still have questions regarding their relationship,
    I know all in good time,
    Thank u
    Just4this from IF

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you Meera for giving us this “Meetha update” on Diwali. Truely enjoyed this girlfriendgiri and sisterhood between Khushi and Aditi. As expected from Meera– she again surprised many of us by showing Aditi this way— no wonder Aman is permanently and irrevocably hooked to this Awesome Aditi in all seven births aka Meera’s stories—- sorry Avni—- you don’t stand a chance here 😜👽.

    I keep on saying this repeatedly that this Khushi feels so real to me and that’s why I may be biased towards her most of the time. I can just imagine her emotions at each step of the conversation between her and others. The credit goes to you Meera for showing this shy, introvert Khushi and how beautifully and simplistically you describe her. For e.g.—
    I can feel the mortification myself when I read this line—

    ” Her face burned with mortification. When put like that she sounded like a complete loser. ”

    “And while she might be one – she most certainly didn’t like anyone else pointing that out. “I have not been in…It’s not like I have been pining for the last four years. Even now…” She let out a deep breath. She was not going to admit to Aditi she was in love with her brother. Heck, she hadn’t even admitted that to herself yet.”

    Her inner monologue with herself shows her unique sense of humor as well as hesitancy and lack of self confidence clearly and I just want to give her a big bear hug to her here❤️❤️.

    “She forced herself to not blurt out something sappy like he looked tired or he needed the rest.
    And she is a goner completely. She cares for him deeply. How sweet— definitely more caring than that ‘S’.

    My dislike for ‘S’ has no logical basis really but I am like Khushi here. Somehow her name stucks to the roof of my mouth and my fingers when I type just like Khushi. Khushi didn’t want to talk about S and so do I.

    –” So there never was anything?” Khushi asked before she could check herself and winced when she saw Aditi’s pitying smile. There was naïve and there was naïve. And Khushi was both, going by the look in Aditi’s eye”

    However again I want to prove that Arnav’s relationship with S was not significant — so when Khushi utters these words , I can easily understand and comprehend her emotions. And than I can not stop grinning. Wow Meera it seems that truly I am khushi’s Antaratma. Khushi is still unsure whether Arnav wants her or not. They really need more time together to develop trust and alas we know what is going to happen soon😭. I am sure she will feel guilty of being the possible reason for their break up after Aarohan after today’s disclosure by Aditi– classic Khushi here.

    Btw I love Huge Grant too but not SRK( sorry all srk fans—- no chappals please).

    Aditi is an amazing women, very perceptive, loves her Munna , upfront and balanced— bas thoda Nosy hai— good to be like that as Khushi needs this kind of pushover . Their conversation was very heartening especially for Khushi it was first time she discussed these mundane but very important day to day feminine stuff with someone else beside Tripti. Jai ho to sisterhood here. I can not imagine survival without my girlfriends and sisters and now we got so many sisters here at river front who are equally sanki and make me grin and laugh at most inappropriate time and places and the fun is just awesome. Looks like river was Adda for us but also became Adda for Khushi and Aditi also🤓😇.

    Now what’s this way to end this chapter— by giving us glimpse of sexy ,sleepy ,and disheveled Arnav and leaving us here with our imagination— ye to sarasar Naainsafi hai Meera — similar to Jaise kutte ko roti ka Tukda dikhai and caused salivation and Pavlov’s Salivation experiment😘😘.

    I also loved the lyrics of this song you have posted. I never heard this before but very apt and fitting like always. Another new addition to my diary.

    Well looks like we will have to brace ourself for the upcoming storm and need this bing of sugar loaded with festive sweets.

    Since reading this update, my mind is stuck at the image of young and naive looking Jaya bhaduri as Khushi. Here is this song from one of my favorite movie Abhimaan.

    Meera, wish you and sisterhood and all yours and theirs loved ones a very Happy and Prosperous Deepawali.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Meenu 🤗🤗
      Your hatred or some similar feeling to hate for “S” makes me smile everytime! :D I dont think “S” bothers Khushi so much! :P You are too sweet! :) So what do we have here? Hugh Grant, SRK, Tripti, Pavlov(!!) and Jaya Bhaduri all mixed up in one cute comment! :D I love the song you posted from Chupke Chupke And I am big fan of Hugh Grant! He is amazing, especially in the movie Love Actually! He had some hilarious lines…

      Ok, I found a few, pasting them! :P ….erm so he plays the Prime Minister in that movie –

      [The new Prime Minister has just arrived in Number Ten Downing Street]
      Annie: Would you like to meet your household staff?
      Prime Minister: Yes, I would like that very much indeed. Anything to put off actually running the country.😂😂

      Annie: And this is Natalie. She’s new as well.
      Natalie: Hello David. I mean, Sir. Shit, I can’t believe I’ve just said that. And now I’ve gone and said ‘shit’. Twice. Oh, I’m so sorry Sir.
      Prime Minister: That’s alright. You could have said ‘fuck’ and then we’d all be in trouble.
      Natalie: Thank you, Sir. I did have a terrible premonition I was going to fuck up on my first day. Oh piss it!😂😂

      Natalie: [talking about her ex-boyfriend] He says no one’s going to fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
      Prime Minister: Right. Goodness. Well, well. You know, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
      Natalie: Thank you, sir. I’ll think about it.
      Prime Minister: Do. The SAS are absolutely charming. Ruthless trained killers are just a phone call away.😂😂

      Sorry Meenu! Just hijacked your post. Couldn’t help it :P And the lyrics of the song Meeru posted have been written by God himself :P They had to be good! :D

      So, let hope and pray that Saira has no role in Arnav’s life in the future for Khushi’s sake, or else I know someone who will personally get inside the story and murder her! 😂

      Straight from the heart again Meenu, loved your comment! :)

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Appu first of all how can u say sorry for writing your reply to mine—madam aapke reply se mera comment bhi padne layak ho Gaya— so don’t ever say that and in fact loved each word u said.

        Hugh Grant— yes I also love him like many others and the conversation u mentioned is just hilarious. I also liked his movie Notting hills with Julia Roberts which was very ordinary movie but somehow stuck in my memory– may be watched with hubby in theatre which is very rare and hubby is big Fan of Julia Roberts always.

        I don’t hate S but for me always any EX’s mention always bring bitter taste to me— nothing against S as such . Perhaps I am little psychotic in a way that the mere thought of second woman or being second love does not sit well with me. And I don’t think Khushi likes mentioning if S too— she is just too nice to stay in denial but her heart gives away subconsciously u see when she jumps to thinking that Arnav’s and Saira’s relationship was not significant etc etc—-😳😜.—-Sorry me phir se shuru ho gayi.

        Yes I loved young Jaya bhaduri and many of her movies ESP mili, Abhimaan, Guddi etc. I cried with her in Abhimaan— I was silly and very naive in those days and used to imitate being jaya bhaduri in my real life-.
        I used to be proud of knowing so many songs but after joining river– I came to know do many dongs which I never heard before ( most of them are newer one though as I still feel I know majority of old songs——-p)— for that big thanks to you , meera and many other readers. I am collecting all these in my dairy.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. madam aapke reply se mera comment bhi padne layak ho Gaya??!?!!? Meenu?! 😳😳😳 Aap bhi kabhi kabhi kuch bhi bol deti ho yaar! Kasam paida karne waale ki, kabbi sorry nahin bolungi if this is the response I get for it! 😳
          You are the only one amongst us who has the heart to pen everything that flows from within it! Do not ever change! I love your comments Meenu and love you too! 🤗🤗🤗🤗

          My dad used to tease me by calling me Jaya Bhaduri or Guddi because I had very long hair like her and my Maa. And then I cut it in the summer before college started….aur zindagi ki sabse badi daant padi thi :P Aaj bhi yaad hain! :D

          Liked by 3 people

  8. Happy Diwali and wish you and your family as well as all the fellow readers a Happy, Healthy and prosperous New Year.

    This was such an endearing update. In general he whole woman to woman sisterhood Idea is rare and precious because I have seen too many women take each other down…be it in corporate world, high school or college campus or even in a family. Except that this was totally believable and precious. Kavi really needed this.

    I am not liking Saira at all.

    Come back soon Meera.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was one of the cutest future sister in love’s conversations😍 Khushi has finally found a friend in Aditi 😊 Loved the pair of eyes that witnessed the scene 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hello lovelies 😘🤗 and Meera,…🙏🏼

    First of wish u all a very happy Diwali and a prosperous new year.

    Been MIA for a few days which isn’t normally a case when it come to River, unless I have broken my hands or worse. So without making any further excuses, Meera I would like to say that was quite a surprise considering how scared I was of this conversation. I was pleasantly surprised. It was what it was and yet didn’t leave a sour taste in my mouth.
    Thnq for making this Diwali a peleasant event…😝😝

    Birds of a feather…..in this case don’t flock together. Referring to Arnav and Aditi here, they seem to have a different take at the same event. Saira and Arnav relationship. Arnav’s Natarration or a little of it with Aman said he didn’t want to demean what he shared with Saira, and yet we get the feeling Aman thought otherwise. Could it be Aditi’s influence or his own opinion of it. Can’t wait to hear his version.
    While Aditi’s version states they were poles apart no scratch that opposite ends of the spectrum and had nothing but conflicts in their relationship. she was the mediator between them that held the whole relationship together.

    No one knew until, one day Saira took the questioning of Arnav’s wife allowed to study with Aditi, that shed light on how far Saira and Arnav had come.
    Although my thought is Saira knowing her mind and being so vocal and confident girl — atleast that’s what she comes across as — prolly took the lead in the relationship. Not that that’s is a bad thing. But maybe she was the ONLY voice. Arnav being smitten by the affection he was getting in his adolescence years & didn’t know any better and went along with it. Again, not saying that’s a bad thing, as long as both parties know what they r doing and it usually lasts if it’s a 2 sided relationship btwn equals. Okay let me back track, he probably knew and was committed, as in trying to do the right thing by the girl being the ideal son and bf he was – by what Aditi said, he seemed like he was 17 going on 30. That’s a lot to take on esp when one is feeling like he isn’t even the voice in the relationship.
    Again, not saying that’s a bad thing, as long as both parties know what they r doing and adolescence love do last if it’s a 2 sided relationship btwn equals.

    And coming to EI-V and seeing how much his voice matter there, finding a girl who not only shared a common interest but also respects and cares for his opinion in littlest things, does indeed paint a very pretty picture of 2 ends of the spectrum. If not make one question the decision atleast it will definitely make them think.

    That in my opinion doesn’t make Saira a bad person in anyways,. She seems just like a vibrant, confident, vocal, go getter type or a person. Sometimes that can be a tad bit much for an introvert, always a good boy of the family and want to be the ideal boyfriend type of a person — which is what Arnav was.

    And from what Aditi was saying, having an older sister who is a mediator btwn a friend and a brother makes it more difficult as now the little brother is also trying to uphold that good boy image while in the relationship where he has a chance to be himself is concerned.

    Not blaming Aditi here either. It’s just a time of life, situation and types of people involved that shape the future.

    Everyone was and is trying to do what they thing is best for the moment from their own perspective. This story is so real and reading it from 3rd perspective makes one realize no one perspective is true to any given time and yet it’s stand nothing short of it for the one seeing from that perspective.

    I had a feeling Kaveri will certainly stumble on that question, — was I the reason they broke off — but I am glad that wasn’t the case. Breakup happened later that AaRohan and yet the detachment had started way before that. I hope she gets a chance to ask AV and also -why her- is answered…😍

    I wish Khushi had asked Aditi, why had they all ( or who all) visited Arnav unannounced on AaRohan night?? Since she said they arrived unannounced, my theory still stands, Saira was there, and Arjun know more then he lets one but this time around I shall be a by stander and let the story unfold. Only cuz last chapter has given more more theories than my poor brain can decipher. Surprisingly every theory feeling like that could be it — the key to the drama. Heck I even had a laugh over Arjun being bi and hitting on Kaveri and AV at the same time. 😂😂 and believe me you, it got me thinking in those lines ehehe ….. reminding me of ur NK in previous story. 😂😂

    Not that I still don’t want to speculate, I love rivering just as much as the story if not more, and the lovely friends hear are a total riot, sankis indeed 😘🤗… but the AD is, won’t call it brutal, but a bit stressful currently so please excuse my absence. I will read and like the comments as and when I am able to.

    Meera, thank you for moving the story forward, n adding the tidbit of one more night remains in the story as it stands. Totally loosing track of river days. And nights😂😂 chalo… let the hero sleep the night away for tonite. But tomorrow night, I won’t have anything short of the romantic AaRohan night — here at the river bank, on the charpoy, under the starry night by the camp fire along the standing guitar with 2 souls marked by a similar Gash and unspoken promise of love forever proclaimed in Bollywood ishtyle.
    😍😍😍😍

    I know ur listening and won’t disappoint. 😝😝

    🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐🙊🙊🙊🙊🙊😂😂😂😂😂

    Happy Diwali & Saale Mubarak everyone once again. 🤗🤗🤗🤗

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 9 people

    1. That was a lovely take Avni. I agree with you all the things specially this story feels very real and all of them seems to be doing the right thing at different stage in their life including your S( except I selfishly wish to see her villain and prolly she is not). Avni how you do this– so much depth and imagination involved in your analysis. My hats off to your dedication for so much indulgence into the story. Me also curious to know reason behind the surprise visit on aarohan night which possibly instigated by S only. Also curious to know abt 2 years after aarohan night. 😀

      Liked by 7 people

    2. A very thought provoking beautiful comment Avz :) You have thought about this in detail, haven’t you? :D

      Everyone seems to be doing the right thing according their own perspective. But my dearest Meeru has these thin transparent underlying layers to this tale. She has managed to add to the life and the nature of the characters bit by bit, building on them.. and without giving any explanations or descriptions has managed to let us know why each one of them behaved in a certain way in a given situation and what exactly was going on in each one’s mind at that particular junction in their lives. With every layer of the onion peeling off, we can now see how beautifully real this story is.

      Of course each one of us can have a different perspective regarding any event in this story. I am referring particularly to your take on Ti-Di’s involvement in this story.

      For me, Aditi talking to Khushi about Saira and Arnav’s relationship in his absence irked me a lot. I understand, she is a loving sister and she will definitely look out for Arnav at every step. But I don’t see the point. She has done this mediating business before as well, when Arnav and Saira were a couple. Without being aware of the depth of their relationship and feelings, she tried to mediate with good will, patch up and fill in the cracks between them which were the size of the Grand Canyon! Unfortunately, what she saw between them was not even close to reality. Saira’s intention and purpose to stay in this relationship was unclear although she seemed very keen to be with him. Arnav’s involvement and happiness or the lack of it in this relationship was unclear though he seemed very committed to her. No one knows what goes on between a couple, no one ever will!

      For me, the moment she realised that Arnav had not spoken to Khushi about Saira, she should have backed off. It was not her story to tell, however unbiased or equitable she wanted her interpretation of it to be! It would’ve been fair to talk about how she felt about the whole thing if Khushi had come to her willingly and asked her about her opinion. But this seemed, unfair. Don’t know why. These are matters of heart, where vulnerability is the highest. Khushi, now, has an idea of what was going on then, an idea based on Adi’s interpretation. We dont know how close or far it is from the actual truth.

      The only reason why I feel it wasn’t very far from the truth is because the sleepy head was smiling at the end of the chapter and not pulling his hair off! :P Meeru, I am kind of assuming it was Arnav listening to their chit chat :D

      Would it really matter in the long run what Ti-Di told Khushi? I dont know! Meeru knows! :D All I know is that the story just took a turn and its time to fasten our seat belts. :D

      Sexy comment Avz jaanu! 🤗🤗

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Hey Sohni….

        True are the words — to each is own. And as much a single I agree with u with Aditi needed control over her tongue n not share what’s not her story to tell ( I think there is a difference between her and. Arjun eheeeheh, Isn’t that what Arjun does…lol) more on a serious note. We have seen Aditi as this very vocal speak her mind type of a character so far. And as Meera showed us, as soon as she realized her Munnas feeling are reciprocated, the elder sister in her jumped to be the protective shield and set the record right before he gets hurt again. Not that she doubted Khushi but it’s what’s older sibling does. Heck even I would do that for my younger sibling. And so did Kaveri feel towards Tripti.

        So I don’t feel that she meant to intentionally step on Arnav’s toes,…it’s was an impulsive sibling protective act.

        And from what I seen, I think Khushi understood where Aditi was coming from.

        Hoping Khushi realizes that they broke off officially 2 years after AaRohan. And one year after he left from EI-V ( the first interlude)

        Which makes me still think Arjun knew of AVs emotional state even though he wasn’t technically single since AaRohan

        Please don’t run after me with chappals because of our difference in opinions….we r still the river sisters….😂😜🤗😘

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Of course she took on that protective sisterly avatar in seconds! As I said, from her perspective, it was a right thing to do I guess. May be, I think differently lol, ajeeeeb jo hoon!! :P

          Aur Arjun ko mat laao is sab mein oye! He keeps things from her and theres this underlying layer of deceit in it. Remember this… with every update, he is turning a shade darker in grey and soon…its all going to turn black! :P :D

          Aur Khushi! *Sigh*! She won’t sway even if she decided to! Be it this moment or 4 years ago, things haven’t changed for her one bit! Kaveri just keeps gathering more force with every turn and the rush to join the ocean keeps getting stronger and stronger! :) To have and to hold, from that first day at IE-V and forward, for better, for worse, in absence or presence, in stammering or stuttering, in kisses or chats, in songs or studies, in rides or rafting, sleeping or awake…..her heart beats for just one man! ;) Incorrigible! Incurable! Ab kuch nahin ho sakta uska :)

          Duniya jahaan ki bandishon ki
          Yeh kahaan parwaah kare
          Jab kheenche teri dor
          Kheenche teri dor…

          Manchala.. mann chala teri ore
          Manchala.. mann chala teri ore !

          Liked by 4 people

      2. And I thought I was the only one who found her prying behavior irksome. Instructing him to leave the camp, /that Khushi is not Saira would make you conclude that Arnav is 15 not 25 and never been in a relationship :)

        Liked by 3 people

  11. Had heard this the first time at a friend’s beach party in Dubai a decade ago almost. Standing on the beach at 2am listening to this song, every note was etched on every cell in me. Beautiful memory this…
    Amr Diab is a better composer than a singer I feel…or is it the other way round? :) Can never have an answer to that one.
    Words to watch out for in this song – “osad einy..fey kol makan”… every time they are sung, in different ways…even after so many years, my heart still skips a beat :) A Beautiful song with heart wrenching lyrics ..and very very beautifully sung too. Posting the one with sub-titles in english. Hope you guys like it.
    PS: I already see Arnav singing this for the next 5 years! :P ;)

    Liked by 8 people

  12. Happy Deepawali Meera!! Have an awesome time with family!!

    Happy Deepawali to the sisterhood which resides on the bank of this river….Best wishes and times with your loved ones!!

    There is Hope and then there is Hope…. just like this amazing chapter… will wait for the Hope of that sleepy smile and what lies thereafter!! Will wait till 7th …take care!! Such an apt chapter at Diwali time…..Thank you Thank you!!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Meera and Meera ki diwaniyo,

    Wish you all a Happy Diwali!!!

    Sorry never said that as I totally forgot about wishing after reading the update. :-)

    And my Diwali started on a magical note. There was a Harry Potter Film Marathon in city’s theatre. So I was watching 8 films, back to back. :-D

    So have a good, fun and safe Diwali.

    Love,

    Madhuri

    Liked by 7 people

  14. Hello River sisters ,I was hearing this song couldn’t  refrain from sharing here!specially for the lyrics.  Sung by a very very unconventional singer a very common Tagore song 

    Watch “Sanam | Tumi Robe Nirobe | Rabindra Sangeet” on YouTube

    This is the best translation  I got online

    You shall silently reside in my heart

    Akin to a dense lone full moon light

    The prime of my life

    My world outright

    You fill me with pride

    Akin to a lone night.

    You silently reside.

    Shall remain awake your melancholic eyes

    Shall your cloak’s shadow always mask my animus

    My sorrows and pains

    My fecund fancies

    You fill with fragrance

    Akin to a lone night

    You silently reside.

    You shall silently reside in my heart

    Akin to a dense lone full moon light

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Absolutely beautiful! 🙂

      All I know is Sanam Puri has sung “Ishq Bulaava” from Hasee Toh Phasee and I think a lot of solos as well, he’s been around I guess. Is he a Bengali? The ease in which he has sung a Bengali song is shocking! I would faint if he is not !! 😳 Thank you for sharing! 🙂

      Liked by 7 people

        1. Oooh I love the guitars Avz! 😘 Love this!!! Bandaa kinnaa dil se gaata hain rey! Pappi shappis for just that! 😘😘 And look at how he switches between languages so seamlessly my god! Idhar meko woh punjabi munda lag raha hain!! :D Harr rang mein dhhal jaata hain, talent hain baap!!! I prefer the original though, the beautiful flow of guitars and accordions in between and all around the songs is stunning. Vishal and Shekhar have composed gems for this movie! Love love love Zehnaseeb and Manchala as well! :)

          Liked by 3 people

    2. Sanam rendition keeps the spirit of song alive. He has sung it beautifully. Amazing more than 100 years later this Tagore’s composition retains its romantic charm. How appropriate for these two. A full moon today or tomorrow maybe :)
      Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 5 people

  15. I have just caught up withthe last few chapters. For some reason i had to follow the blog again as email notifications stopped!

    Anyway, i am so so so so glad we got a lot more insight into arnavs feelings. That it wasn’t just khushis imagination and feelings going into overdrive. He actually confessed a lot more than i thought he would have. However, arnavs equation with saira is stil a bit of a mystery. I wonder what really happened.

    Also, arjun is starting to annoy me. As much as i like the fellow….he is such a kebab ni haddi! After his convo with khushi in the tent he strolled out and had that convo with arnav?? Did arjun not understand the signals being sent by khushi? Or is he being deliberately blind/optimistic?! And what the heck are arnav and arjun hiding??!!!!

    Love how anjali and khushi are getting on. Its nice to see khushi have a female friend that she has let her guard down with.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ah,

    So many comments and such interesting conversations and songs being exchanged. How I missed these!

    I will need some time to read, digest, smile at some, laugh with some and sigh at some (Did someone mention Hugh Grant?) and then reply at some.

    But for now, back to Asli Duniya.

    Pip pip!

    Madhuri

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Humko aajkal hai, intezaar….
      Madhu, waiting to read your thoughts 😄
      Hugh Grant, he was so good in movies like four weddings, nottinghill, love actually…..played the blundering blubbering english man to perfection. There’s another english actor who played that even better as Wooster, Hugh Laurie or House as he’s more popularly known now 😄 Not to forget the baap of them all, Mr. Bean 😂

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Blundering blubbering Englishman! Ah! I still regret not dating two kinds of guys! A parsi and an Englishman! :-D

        Spent most of my dating period on geeks! :-D

        Liked by 4 people

      2. What to do Priyapedia! :-D

        Recovering from watching too many films, reading a (very disturbing and really good) book, cooking and writing!

        I am stalking the thread for a well deserved break. And Reading you all (Sohni, LOVED that song)

        Making me happy.

        Madhuri

        Liked by 6 people

        1. I watched one movie and it has put me off movies for a long time, it looks like! The ultimate WTF movie I’ve seen in quite a while, not that I watch many. The new one from Mr. Koffee
          I’m going to drool over Aidan Turner, much required therapy 😄

          Liked by 5 people

          1. Feel for you P. You are one brave soul to have gone and weathered it! :D I don’t think I’ve been forewarned so much to not watch a film so vehemently ever lol!
            I am waiting for Dangal, trailer looks promising.

            Liked by 6 people

            1. For someone who watches so few movies, this was…..
              The question you want to ask all those associated with it is: “WHAT WERE YOU SMOKING?”
              I don’t think I’m stepping into a movie theatre any time soon, even if it is dangal, kangal or whatever else 😄

              Liked by 6 people

            2. I was planning to watch it on Thursday! :-(

              The thing is where I stay I rarely get to watch any Hindi films in theatre. So I sometimes go for just that! :-(

              Now I am scared. But I can live, I am planning to watch The Magnificent Seven later. :-D

              Give me a good dose of Denzil Washington and I am as good as new.

              Sohni,

              I LOVED Dangal trailer. Hope it releases here.

              M

              Liked by 6 people

  17. Yippeeeee it’s Monday 7th of November… Finallyyyy!!!!!!!! I am so excited to read this update… Arnav is awake and the night is still young… Hoping for some heart to heart talk and some romance if possible 😜😜😜😜😜😜😜
    Waiting……. Hurrrryyyyy uppppp💟💞💝🌙⏳

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Enthralling update M!! 👏🤗
    The beautiful companionship formed between Ti Di and Khushi is heartwarming.
    And the “Do Dil mil rahe hai” couple r utterly endearing. They r soulmates. Period 😘😍
    I noted Khushi to be very sorted here except when she got unsettled by u know who!
    Arnav….sigh!!!! Hes almost flawless. M blinded with his chivalry n everything else.
    My views here r on a superficial level though This update is deep in its own way on many levels M. Kudos for yet another Hira update.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. WOW… i have been away … but i didnt expect to see the story turned so much… :D…
    Aditi and Kaveri… having heart-to-heart…. a girl needs her a girlfriend.. ;-)…. besties and BFFs.. go long way to boost up your morale….
    i wish them to continue this … irrespective of what happens with Varun….
    i just feel this is what was missing in Kavi’s life…. though she would never acknowledge that… Arjun was there… but at the end of the day… boys will be boys..:D

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I liked that Anjali Khushi are connecting with each other, the common denominator of course being Arnav.
    Arnav would probably have told the Saira story, by being very hard on himself – as he was guilt ridden not only regarding Khushi, but also because he was entertaing thoughts regarding the disparities between him and Saira’

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wonderful conversation between aditi and khushi…aditi is indirectly helping khushi..last time she helped khushi to clear her thoughts…this time she told everything about arnav and saira…
    So much happened between arnav and saira…happy that they brokeup because aditi told khushi that they are poles apart…
    Aditi is like khushi’s big sister she helping her in so many ways…her love for her brother is so strong…i think aditi really liked khushi…finally khushi felt free to talk…not only about arnav and also other matters….
    Saathiya….the whole album is a package of excellent songs by a r rahman…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Serene & fantastic conversation between Aditi & Khushi…the acceptance & the whole nine yard of coolness of the relationship transpiring between Arnav & Khusi. It appears Saria used him for her personal gain…fear, panic, dream…education she wanted… no choice or way she had felt/thought to persue her dreams. Arnav would have gone through with their relationship but between their rife & qualms Saria’s true intentions may have become enlightened to him. Her hatered for Music.
    Siblings are best person to talk to about sensitive subject…glad it was Aditi to share what had happened…Arnav won’t be able to share all this with Khushi, eventually he would have but not now in so many words…too raw for him.
    Good insight of social structures/status, view point, & religious background…foundation we are built on. Please don’t take it wrongly but that’s how we are wired in.
    “I like you” Aditi is fond of Khushi… will be instrumental in their relationship of acceptance.
    Arnav watching & hearing their conversation or was it Aman?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Amazing… I know I’m repeating the word over the last few chapters..but just cannot help it :-D

    Aditi seems pivotal.. but am glad she spoke to Khushi.. 2 conversation that have made K see so much that she never even dream of!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. awesome update yar
    i loved khushi’s and aditi’s conversation
    but arnav’s relationship with saira was his story to tell….only he can correctly say wat went wrong were….. aditi’s pov had so much situation which khushi can misunderstand

    Liked by 1 person

  25. It was a very nice chapter..
    It’s not all about Arnav..or Arjun ..
    Khushi gets chance to converse with Aditi..
    Aditi tells a lot about Saira in hardly ten minutes,,
    Arnav would have taen ten years for that..

    Liked by 1 person

  26. It is a good thing she stumbled on Aditi and found more about Arnav Saira’s relationship. So, Saira did not like Bollywood music. What will happen when Aditi finds that Arjun has kind of proposed to Khushi and waiting for her answer. Is that Arnav who was listening to them or Aman?
    Cheers……

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Its a good thing that she got to know from Aditi otherwise there won’t be that much questions and talk…
    Arnav has flaws that’s for sure.. so is Saira had… anyways I think they were just attracted to each other.. There was no Love… I think Saira found out about Khushi or guessed it…

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Good Aditi & kh talked , bonded, laughed & bitched
    Arnav would probably take next book & 5 more years to say Tum teek ho , waiting for the whole world to just disperse to give him privacy with Kaveri
    Meera , I was reminded of us bonding over IPK for years even without knowing anything about each other
    We look forward to read / reply / comment like long lost relative
    Girls have that quality . poor kh at last a girl other than trip to discuss menstrual cycle & harmonal imbalance & girly stuff
    Hope her workplace has women who are friendly not bimbos like Sim & Pam .
    Arnav happily with khushi 😬( couldn’t help it ) ki ansoo listening time their chatter
    Want to know more about Saira , though I think she is a 😡🌚Team khushi

    Like

          1. Meera, I read this quote few days back and thought of you.. You might know this one already..

            ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you’ – Maya Angelou.

            Like

        1. Me too!! Me too!!
          For completely selfish reasons I wish that Meera would start writing again.. One I would love to read her new work and secondly I wish I could be part of this wonderful sisterhood that seems to have left indelible comments!! 😘😘

          Liked by 1 person

  29. Hi Meera….

    I am new to this reading world… Thanks to India forums thru which I could able to reach so many wonderful stories…. I read few of your stories and I am in love with it …I am not very gud at words and hence don’t try to comment very often but I had to for your story… Thank you for giving thai opportunity to read such amazing stories…..
    Take care 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Wow finally is in company of a female who is not her sister or mom! They really bonded well, given how uptight Khushi always is! Thank god Arnav woke up 🙏 at least now they can talk, the much needed one

    Like

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