To the one of 11 years and the ones of one month too many – Thank you for being with me!

Kolkata, September 2015

Khushi sighed deeply even as a few drops of water splashed on her face, which she ignored unlike the three other girls sitting to her right, just a couple of paces away from the pool, who shrieked and promptly got pulled into the water volleyball game that was currently underway between the new recruits and the “youngsters” of the existing A&M team.

“Shit! I am getting the fuck out of here.”

Khushi turned to her left and saw another girl getting up and looking at her in askance.

“If you think they won’t pull you in, think again. Behind the shiny b-school badges, they are all just engineering school hooligans. The worst kind – mechanical engineering types.”

Despite the blatantly derogatory comment directed at her bretheren across the world, Khushi couldn’t help laughing out aloud even as she stood up from the bench and fell in step with the other girl who was now glaring at the men in the pool, her hair a mess of curls loosely pulled into a braid that was already coming undone. She was wearing a pair of grey trousers, a lemon full-sleeve shirt and a well-fitted jacket – almost a replica for Khushi’s own clothes except Khushi was wearing a baby blue shirt and was a lot more uncomfortable in her formal attire than the other girl seemed to be.

“I am a mechanical engineer, by the way.” She offered as soon as the two of them had stepped into the large auditorium that the entire A&M India Management Consulting team had been occupying just twenty minutes ago.

The other girl, turned around with the jerk and looked at Khushi with wide but completely unapologetic eyes. “Shit, really? Let me guess – only girl?”

Khushi smiled and nodded.

“Kitnay aadmi they, Kaalia?”

Khushi chuckled, instantly warming up to her colleague in a way that only Bollywood and especially Sholay could inspire.

“Sattar aadmi. Sirf sattar aadmi they mere paas. Aur woh sattar aadmi mujhe zindagi bhar yaad rahenge.” Khushi replied without batting an eyelid.

The other girl grinned. “Filmy! I like! I was very worried A&M is going to be a big bore. But…” she leaned in, “you do realize that sounded really wrong right?”

Khushi stuck out her tongue even as her cheeks warmed. “What can I say, mechanical engineering did rub off on me, I guess.”

The two of them chuckled and settled into a couple of chairs right by the door.

“How long do you think before someone comes looking for us?” Khushi asked as she looked at the door.

The other girl shrugged. “Most of them are well on their way to being drunk. I don’t think they’ll care much about the two of us. Now, if Miss Chandigarh was with us, my answer might have been different. Not that Miss Chandigarh would hang out with us.”

“No way, don’t tell me she really is Miss Chandigarh?” Khushi asked as soon as she realized who was being talked about – there was only one girl who might have been Miss anything – tall, skinny and astoundingly perfect in her grooming and appearance. Envy was petty and Khushi was hardly a saint.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she was. If nothing else then Miss Defence Colony toh hogi.” She said rhyming colony with baloney as was typical of the city that housed the area.

Once again the two of them broke into chuckles. “Sorry, I am sure she is a wonderful person…but something about her just isn’t right.”

Khushi smiled but said nothing. She did agree, though.

“Anyway, before we go on and it becomes too embarrassing, let me introduce myself and ask what your name is. I am Raagini Ramanathan.” She held out her hand and shook Khushi’s quickly.

“Kaveri Khushi Gupta.’’ She said and waited for the usual reaction to come. She wasn’t disappointed. Stumped, was more like it.

“Hey, what is it with two named Gupta girls? You are the second one I have met in the last couple of years.”

Immediately Khushi’s eyes narrowed. Two named Gupta girls were not too common, at least not enough for someone to make an unrelated comment. “Yeah? What was the other one called?’

“Krishna Tripti Gupta. But we called her KT. It was also convenient because to call her by her full name was quite the story every time – then there is the gender confusion – we also had a guy called Krishna – terrible for the poor child. So you are better but if we were to shorten your name, you would have to be KK and I am sorry but that abbreviation is over-abused now.”

“Wait a second, you know a Krishna Tripti Gupta. And you call her KT. That’s my sister.” Khushi said incredulously even as extent of coincidence tumbled over her in heaps of grainy wonderment. “How absolutely weird is that?”

“Oh God! Really? No wonder you look so familiar. I have been trying to place your face all day today. I am just glad you didn’t think I was some sort of creep.”

Khushi shook her head. “Honestly I don’t think I even noticed.”

Raagini nodded. “Yeah, you did look almost dazed most times – I just hoped that it was because you are also stumped at finding yourself in this place. I can’t believe I am here.”

“You didn’t want to be here?” Khushi asked in surprise.

“No way. I didn’t even want to go to b-school. Or engineering before that. I would have just loved to be a primary school teacher. But you know parents. Especially teacher parents. They think one needs to get shiny degrees and jobs that pay above average to get “settled in life”. Raagini said with a wry smile. “Look at me, baring my life’s pain in the first meeting.”

Khushi shook her head. “Once I start whining, you will know you are not half as bad. And believe me, it’s just a matter of time.”

Raagini grinned. “Which school are you from?”

“Bangalore. You are obviously from Ahmedabad? I mean that’s how you probably know my sister?”

“Yep. So you are from Arjun’s batch.”

“You know Arjun as well?” Why wasn’t she surprised, Khushi asked herself with a smile.

“Yeah. I met Arjun in our first year when he came for Vishesh – our annual fest at Ahmedabad.”

“Oh goodness…you are Ramu,” Khushi cried out aloud in absolute astonishment. “Arjun told me about you when he came back from Vishesh. Apparently you are actually an IM-Bian who got stuck in the wrong campus.  Or I think that is how he justifies feeling friendly towards you.”

Raagini chuckled. “I am Ramu – yes! And Arjun is such a hoot. He was so upset when you guys lost V-Quiz. I mean I think he might have punched the quiz-master and the man is a legend.”

“And an IM-A alum.” She pointed out drily. “ I am surprised Arjun didn’t call out favoritism on the stage.”

Once again Raagini chuckled. “Yeah I couldn’t care less about this A versus B war. It is so lame.”

“Oh goodness, thank Shiv-ji! I thought I was the only one who was this disconnected. I mean people take it so seriously and I am lost half the time. Even here…especially here actually” She said referring to the A&M crowd.

Raagini rolled her eyes. “People are idiots. Competitiveness is so ingrained in our DNA, we don’t even care if what we are competing for is completely worthless.”

“True.”

“Anyway, so yeah, it is through Arjun that I got to know KT…we met properly only during Vishesh last year when we hung out pretty much every day for the two weeks that Arjun was there. Then after Vishesh was done, KT and I still just kept in touch. She was…is also part of Place-Com – so needless to say getting away from her is almost impossible for anyone on the campus.”

“This is so strange. I cannot believe it. You actually know Tripti…”

“Ah, she is Tripti at home – does that make you Khushi? Or do you prefer Kaveri? I mean what was your dorm name?” Raagini asked. “You know mine.”

“Ramu – it’s funny. Mine wasn’t half as interesting. KKG – but no one really called me that. I go by Kaveri. Khushi is…” She shrugged ignoring the little tug of something she didn’t actively pay attention to anymore.

“Yeah Kareena Kapoor sort of ruined a perfectly good name.”

Khushi chuckled again. “Ah, now I see why Arjun is a fan. How many people even know that movie?”

Raagini pulled herself to her full height – she was almost as tall as Khushi herself, “I can sing along with Hai Re, make no mistake. I might be besura but I will know the words and the inflections.”

“Yes!” Khushi exclaimed. “Although just to hear KK sing, one has to also put up with female voice – could that be any shriller…” She rolled her eyes as she stressed the “be”

“Also a Chandler fan…Just tell me you also love Sheldon Cooper and I will pledge undying love to you.”

Khushi made a face. “Sorry, I haven’t watched Big Bang Theory enough to be a fan.”

Raagini almost looked crestfallen before she straightened her back. “We’ll fix that soon. Watch with me and I will convert you.”

Khushi chuckled.

“I am already feeling so much better, Kaveri. This week seemed almost endless with all that talk about how we change the world one fucked up corporate firm at a time…Now I am relieved there are people like you around….Please tell me you are coming to the Bangalore office once we are done here tomorrow?”

Khushi nodded. “Yes.”

“Where are you from?”

“Banaras – I mean that’s where my parents live. You?”

“Difficult question. I am a Tamilian who grew up in Jamshedpur and my parents are now in Hyderabad.”

Khushi smiled.

“Why Bangalore then? Why not Gurgaon?”

“I’ve been in Banglore for almost five years now. It is just so much more convenient. Plus I never liked living in Delhi much.”

“Can’t argue with that.” Raagini answered with a mock-shudder.

They continued to talk for several more minutes, exchanging personal history, geography and Bollywood. Khushi learned soon that like her, Raagini also had working parents, a math teacher mother and an engineer father. She also had a younger sister though Raagini’s sister Rachna was almost seven years younger than her. Raagini herself was a year and a few months older than Khushi. As she spoke to the other girl, Khushi grew amazed by how much they seemed to have in common – a distate for large gatherings, an affinity for books, the unwillingness to take center stage but doing well nevertheless, when they had to. The last point was exemplified by the fact that Khushi had been declared the best presenter at the end of their four-day long consulting engagement simulation and Raagini had bagged the prize for the best elevator speech. An elevator speech, Khushi conceded was far more challenging given they had less than two minutes to convince a senior Partner playing the role of a client to give them a follow-up meeting. Raagini had convinced the head of A&M India Strategy Consulting practice no less – Khushi had been impressed and awestruck. To know that underneath that sharp mind, there was a goofy side almost completely in sync with her idea of fun, was almost too good to be true.

While she couldn’t share Raagini’s optimism about the rest of the week given what she knew was awaiting her tomorrow, she was hopeful that she would be able to get through the two hours with grace and that it would be the end of it. After all, she had come to know now that Arnav Varun spent almost all his time in the US delivering some of A&M’s best work for A&M’s most prestigious clients. He was here only for the week and would only make an appearance for the session and the drinks and dancing evening planned for the closing ceremony. The closing ceremony was an annual event that marked the year end for A&M and the end of the new batch’s orientation program and was expected to be the much-needed evening of blowing off steam for the A&M team. At the end of it everyone would head back to their home cities and back to the back-breaking work that Management Consulting was going to be – or so they were told no less than once every hour for the last four days.

Yes, she decided. She was not the naïve lone girl mechanical engineer or the love-struck idiot of five years ago. Five years – that was long time for anyone to forget about a couple of kisses and a relationship that never took off. She was sure he had forgotten too. She hoped he had. She had, after all, given him no reasons to remember.

————

Khushi walked out of the little cottage that housed her room and on to the large, well manicured lawns lying in front. The sound of the already muted Ganga in her final few moments before she joins the Bay of Bengal, was almost non-existent in this part of the resort. She took a deep breath as she looked up into the clear skies. Stars twinkled in the distance, flimsy clouds floated by even as the scent of wet earth and dewy grass filled her lungs. The crunch of loose gravel under her feet, felt welcome in the silence of the night – the only natural recurrence that now separated her and what lay on the other side of dawn.

She needed to speak with someone. The evening had passed by in Raagini’s company but with nightfall, she was alone again, buzzing with nervous energy. She slipped her hands into her pocket and fished out her phone and quickly placed a call to her sister. Unfortunately, only an unwelcome, jarring busy tone greeted her eager ears. She clenched her teeth and put her phone back. She was almost at the edge of the little white wall that separated the resort from the River bank when she heard Arjun’s voice and whooped in silent relief.

“What is wrong with you – you know better than to think I called to talk about…”

Khushi’s steps slowed. There was something in his voice that told her that this was not a conversation he might be okay with her eavesdropping on.

“Seriously?” He asked again even as he came completely into her view. He was holding the phone against his ear but his head was hung low almost as if in defeat.

“Fine. Call me when you feel like we can have a conversation.” He said after a while and forcefully disconnected the call. He slipped his hands on the wall along which she was standing several paces to his left and Khushi thought she heard him swear.

“God! This one has you all tied up in knots doesn’t she?”

He jumped back from the wall, quite literally and narrowed his eyes even as she walked up to him.

“Kaveri Gupta – you are going to be the death of me.”

Khushi rolled her eyes as she walked over to lean against the wall, facing Arjun. She stayed silent for a minute even as she let her eyes stay glued on Arjun’s face. He was flushed, his eyes bright, his hair a mess like he had used his finger to comb them into a charming disarray. And there was a tightness in his jaw. She knew that expression. “I think this mystery girlfriend is doing a fine job of killing you – I might not need to bother ridding the earth of you.”

“There is no mystery girlfriend.” He said softly and looked away as his hands stayed on the wall and his body swayed gently on the ball of his feet.

She frowned. “I have had this nagging feeling for a while now, Arjun. Don’t deny it. We had decided we won’t hide things from each other.”

Arjun sighed and let his head drop again. “Yes. Please go on. Hold my eight year old mistake over my head like a dangling sword.”

Khushi winced and then nodded. “Achcha baba, sorry. Tell me when you are ready okay?”

Arjun looked at her and smiled.

“Ah see – so there is someone.”

Arjun rolled his eyes. “Is this how annoying I was in college?”

“Was matlab?”

“Ha ha. You are hilarious Kaveri Gupta.”

Khushi bowed slightly and shrugged. Then she chuckled, “Have we changed personalities for this part of our story?”

Arjun rolled his eyes. “If someone is writing our story, it has got to be a rather boring one. And no, this is just you being overly cheerful to hide the fact that your hands are cold and blue despite it being humid and fucking untolerably warm right now.”

“It’s not that bad, Arjun. At least it isn’t raining. And coming back to our usual reactions. Ha ha.” She said with a small grimace. Of course, Arjun was right. “I am not nervous.” She stated out aloud, for herself to believe more than to convince Arjun. “Why should I be?” She continued as she drew a pattern she shouldn’t have on the grass. “It was a long time ago,” She said as she erased the invisible pattern on the grass forcefully.

“Yeah. Sure.”

Khushi looked up at Arjun with narrowed eyes. “It will be awkward yes but I am not an idiot anymore. I will be fine. More than fine. I am a professional – a management consultant. And he…he is a Senior Manager – how did he make senior manager this quickly.”

Arjun sighed and then turned around to lean against the wall, just like her so that they were now side by side facing the same direction. “Apparently he joined as Senior Consultant and made Manager in a year. He is still quite the legend. So fucking annoying.”

Khushi smiled at that. “You did have a crush on him, didn’t you?” She said.

Arjun turned to her with a raised an eyebrow. “Yeah I was the one with the “crush”.” He air quoted. “ I guess I  left the more serious feelings for my best friend.”

She continued to look at him and realized that they both knew his statement could be interpreted two ways and both were just as true. “Have you been in touch with him?”

Arjun shook his head. “Like I said – if I had been, I would have told you.”

Khushi nodded. “He is in the US almost all the time. It will be okay. It’s not like I am going to see him everyday in Bangalore.” She said, repeating what Arjun had told her two days ago in another similar conversation.

This time Arjun said nothing. When Khushi looked at him again, he was looking at her in that very Arjun-eque way. “There is something I haven’t told you still though. I just didn’t think I would ever need to.”

When Khushi opened her mouth, Arjun stopped her. “I know I know…this is what got us all into a mess the last time. So I am telling you now. He smokes.”

Khushi frowned again. “What?”

“Arnav Varun, the love of your life, the man you won’t move on from or give another chance to…”

“He is not the love of my life. I haven’t seen him in five years. I have moved on. I have been on dates since. Romantically designed dates.”

“Two. Two dates.”

“Haan toh no one else asked me out.”

Arjun rolled his eyes.

“Don’t do that.” She said irritatedly. She hated it when Arjun brushed it off every time. “It is true. People don’t ask me out. And that is a fact. In any case I have given Ma the go ahead.”

Arjun didn’t say anything to that.

“What? No comment on the great Indian arranged marriage bureau?”

“Just like you had no comment on the smoking.”

Khushi made a face. “You should have told me this in college. Believe me, we wouldn’t be here. So typical. Of course. Guitar, music, engineering….Smoking fits right in.” She shuddered and then straightened her spine. “Ok good. Thank you for telling me. I have no time in the world for smokers.” Even if I do trace initials of one of them in my sleep. No. I am done.

“Famous last words?” Arjun quipped softly even as he crossed his fingers behind his back.

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai

Album: Kati Patang

Singers: Kishore Kumar

Music: R. D. Burman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

 

Toote agar saagar, naya saagar koi le le

Mere Khuda dil se koi kisi ke na khele

Dil toot jaaye 

Toh kya ho anjaam?

 

 

Note:

  1. Thank you – to those who have been here through the days of no updates and to those who return today – I don’t know if I deserve your love but I treasure it
  2. As a wise River friend said: Whatever the content of this update, it is probably going to end up disappointing. As always – I ask for time :)
  3. In case some of you are wondering (and I know who you are :)), I have taken the liberty to adjust some dates to make up for the unbelievably long time I have taken to write this story.
  4. Next Update: Wednesday, Feb 15 2017, late night IST (Monday updates shall resume soon-ish)

 

758 thoughts on “Chapter One: Houses on Fire

  1. Meera,

    Welcome back…………… I loved the update.

    Arjun is apparently dating Tripti. I am happy for them. Because if Arjun genuinely wants to be with Tripti, ignoring his feelings for Khushi in the past, then its win-win because Khushi never felt in that way for him. With Tripti, he can get his happily ever after……

    Impatiently waiting for Arnav-Khushi to meet after 5 long years. Please dear let them meet soon…………..

    (orchids8888 from IF)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so happy to see you back .. Missed your updates so much.. Havn’t got a chance to read new updates recently but how can I miss yours.thank you meera.. Update was awesome .cant wait to see next .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KT and arjun.. I bet days y her phone was engaged.. When will khushi gng to connect it.. She gt a new friend here and OLD one is returning.. Excited.. Recently I saw an ad of hrishekesh.. Thought of the River n her fellows

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shaam se aankh mein nammi si hai
    Aaj phir aap ki kami si hai

    Dafan karr do humme ke sans bhi le
    Nabaj kuch derr se thami si hai
    Aaj phir aap ki kammi si hai

    Waqt rehta nahin kahi tikk karr
    Iski aadat bhi aadami si hai
    Aaj phir aap ki kammi si hai

    Koi rishta nahin raha phir bhi ek tasvir lajmi si hai
    Shaam se aankh mein nammi si hai
    Aaj phir aap ki kammi si hai

    Liked by 8 people

      1. Sorry moving is no easy job. Trying to keep up with the demand. Still in the process, and hence missing from action😜. Missed you all too. Hope soon will be able to return to normalcy.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay, so today is the D Day..And this past one week was very torterous….Worse than the gap between Book 2 and 3 :P

    You have absolutely no idea…how many times I have imagined AV’s entry scene ….*sigh*

    I have imagined him entering the conference room and starting his introduction speech….
    I have imagined him in the breakfast lounge …
    I have imagined entering the hotel premises ….

    So basically, the story is shaping in my head and I am very excited to see how will you unfold the drama…

    PS : I sincerely hope that AV makes an appearance today *pretty please*

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Bhor bhayi aur sanjh dhali re, samay ne li angdayi
        Yeh jag saara neend se hara, mohe neend na aayi
        Main ghabraoon, dar dar jaaon, aaye woh na aaye
        Aaye woh na aaye
        Radha bulaye kahan khoya Ho kanhaiyya

        Aaye na balam ka karoon sajni, aaye na balam
        Khoj rahi hai piya pardesi aankhiyan……

        Liked by 3 people

          1. Chanda aaye taare aaye
            Aane wale saare aaye
            Ek tum hi aaye sang na, aaye sang na
            Aan milo sajana

            Aaoge jab tum o saajana, angna phool khilenge……😀

            Liked by 3 people

              1. Isiliye to……aaye woh na aaye 😀

                pal pal pal pal har pal har pal
                kaise katega pal har pal har pal
                dil dil dil dil mein machi hain machi
                machi hain hulchul hulchul hulchul

                Liked by 3 people

      2. tha tera intezaar jabse hai, har nazar bekaraar jab se hai
        shamma reh reh ke jhil-milaati hai, saans taaron ki doobi jaati hai
        tu agar meharbaan ho jaye, ye zameen aasmaan ho jaaye
        ab to aa jaake raat jaati hai, ek aashiq ki baat jaati hai
        khaiyr ho teri zindagaani ki, de bhi de bheek tu meherbaani ki
        tujh pe sau janam se fidaa hai hum
        tujh pe sau janam se fidaa hai hum
        ek muddat se aashnaa hai hum phir
        aaj kyun humse pardaa hai, parda hai ji
        aaj kyun humse pardaa hai
        aaj kyun humse pardaa hai, parda hai ji
        aaj kyun humse pardaa hai….

        Used to be my grandpa’s favourite! :D

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Appu tere liye isspecial!!😉😀

          aao na gale laga lo na
          Lagi bujha do na oh jaan-e-jaan
          Tumne jo agan lagayi hai
          To chhu ke dekho na kahan kahan
          Dekho seene mein kaisi
          Hulchul machi hai oh saajna

          Liked by 3 people

              1. I am more like…


                Ye raat aur ye doori, tera milna hai zaroori
                Ye raat aur ye doori, tera milna hai zaroori
                Ke dil mera! *ta da*
                Ke dil mera dhak dhak dole
                Deewana liye jaaye hichkole *ta da*
                Ke dil mera dhak dhak dole
                Deewana liye jaaye hichkole…
                :D

                Liked by 3 people

  6. Amazing update meera…
    Looks like arjun and tripti are together….
    Impatiently waiting for arnav and khushi facing each other after some many years…
    Off to read next update…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Meera.
    Thank u for the update,sorry for the late comment, I just read both the chapters.
    Loved it.
    Really excited to see how the story unfolds from here.
    Thank u, thank u so much.

    Like

  8. Dear Meera,

    Okay, right now, I feel drunk (But I’m not. Never tried. Should do that sometime soon. 23 is way more than legal an age, aint it?)
    Apologies aforehand if I’d just blabber and make no sense whatsoever below.
    The bottom line though, is that I love you for whatever I’ve gotten to know about you through your astounding works. Coz, I believe, or rather know that a writer’s works have the writer’s soul flowing through them. One way or other – the thoughts and emotions that reflect through words are actually what the person penning them down own inherently.
    And if I turn out to tell many a things and make you wonder what I actually wanted to say, I want you to know that I admire, adore and respect you <3

    (Heads Up: Its gonna be pretty lengthy. The comment or umm..letter sorta thing this will shape up to be)

    IPK happened to me after IPK went off-air. With me being 'soaps? What crap?!' kinda girl, it took someone to compare my little brother with Arnav Singh Raizada (which is true except for the dark past and the borderline walking on the gray shades) to get down and watch IPK and…I was hooked.
    Whom am I kidding? I still am hooked.

    Though I've always been an ardent reader, I've never come across a concept of Fan-fictions. It was after IPK that I got introduced to this world and…The Emerald Isle Tales is one of the first fan-fictions I've ever read!!

    And girl, I was hooked like never before, I swear.

    I mean, you serious? How did you even think of such a wonderful plot that ranged over generations and generations?
    Connecting, interweaving, reconnecting…you made me fall in love with the art of telling stories.

    It wasn't just the magic, but the emotions, the faith, the love, the pain, the loss…the realistic take to the magical world…I fell in love with everyword you've put in there, I swear!!

    If I had thoughts swirling in my head, you, Dear Meera, helped me sort them out and name them as a plot. I am not a bit ashamed to tell that its through your writing did I understand how important and fulfilling it is to go to the depths of not just the minimal details but also the collective, individual reactions and repercussions.

    Oh no. Hell no, I have never copied any of your work. But yes, the way I write..is mostly inspired by how you write. Taking my own time to word everything I wanna say, add the details, make it a wholesome experience.
    And for that…I want to thankyou!!!

    Why now? Why not just back then?

    Coz I lost you, lmao.

    I dint even know IF back then. I read it on your blog.

    And then I read Careless Whispers. (I'd rather not begin fan-girl-ing now, lest the er…comment might go lengthier than the update)

    And when I got into IF, I dint know how to search for a writer in IF.
    I did start with a few fictions, which people really liked and now that I look back, I feel like laughing at myself. I mean,,,that was way armature of a narration. Not that I excel now, but yeah, I've come a long way now.

    And then I got recruited and had to go on a hiatus for until I settled down and then, a couple of months back, I found you back. Reciting this yet another wonderful tale.
    Believe me, it felt like finding something I lost. A real valuable one at that.

    I always wanted to tell you how much you and your works have inspired me, more so..made my day. Be that after a shitty day at office or the emotional turmoils every once and then…you have always managed to calm me down with a smile lingering over my lips.
    For all those times…thankyou <3

    I dont know why I dint tell you all this all these months. Its not like me to sit quiet when I like something. There are just a few things that really touch me and when they do, I am extremely vocal about it.
    But yesterday, one of my readers+friends was asking for a good work to binge read and I was like 'Emerald Isle Tales' 'Careless Whispers'
    She asked for rating and I was like ' outta the world'. I cant possibly rate it. Its not something you can rate and I began to tell or rather push her to read it, telling her how it is the one work that inspired me to be a writer. That just…captivated me. And I kept praising and praising and…I realized that I never told you how I felt about it. Of how much I love it and every other work.

    I just..couldnt believe I dint ever tell you. I mean, as a writer, I know how much it means to hear people liking your work. How much every review mean, no matter how many you get.

    And so…here I am..

    To tell you that…I love you, respect you, admire and adore you. And cherish your every work I've read so far.

    I also wanna thankyou.

    For simply being the way you are. For the stories you narrate to us. And for the way you narrate them – making them be a part of our lives almost as if it is the most natural thing ever.

    A River Runs Through It is…Meera…I just cant bring enough words to tell you (yeah, the heavy irony there) how I feel about it, everytime I read it.

    Thankyou soooo much!
    Loads of love and hugs!!!

    A lunatic crazy fangirl,
    Chaverah.

    P.S:
    Meera now reminds me of Tanhaiyan ;) <3
    Barun slayed it, dint he?
    I mean, he just owned it in all style and intensity and boi, I fell in love with him all over again.
    Okay, I'l shut up now.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I..whoa. I..dont know what to say.

        I mean, thankyou. Thankyou very much. Thats so sweet of you.

        Totally unexpected. Specially in here. But awwww *hug* <3

        *blushie and hidie*

        I kinda am stalking for the update and the sudden mention of me felt like I've been caught doing something or found out from my hide out spot or something.

        Yeah, I'm a bit dramatic inside my head :P

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I am the guilty one here – one of those silent readers — who has been wanting to let you know for a while now just how much I love – Like Never Before — but AD has been brutal for the last few months since I took up a new job…and I am barely managing!
          But the minute I saw your comment here — I knew I had to let you know — so my most sincere apologies for the silent reading, but at the same time — you are one of the best writers we have!!! I cannot say that enough!!!
          LNB just touched a chord Like Never Before!!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Oh my Gawd.

            Thou maketh me blusheth.

            And Im like..I dont know? I’m confused.

            I mean, I love it. Your words and appreciation but..umm..you know the feeling when you are praised in front of your mentor?

            Coz, even if not directly, as I mentioned before, she’s got a very huge influence upon me as a writer.

            So in my mind, I’m like ‘peeking at Meera and go awkward smiling’

            And I understand what a pain AD can be yaar. It completely fine <3

            Liked by 3 people

          1. Oh I’m really enthralled actually. That I’ve not just found Meera back but also got to tell her atleast a bit of what I’ve wanted to all these years (Is it just me or do I sound like a dramatic teenager here?)

            But yeah, now that I’ve made an entry into the comment section, I’m here to say (What the eff is wrong with me? I sound so dramatic)

            Sankis. I like that.

            Liked by 3 people

  9. “Di, you have killer legs. I mean remember how Mom and I always comment on how thin your churidars always are — Meera, are you talking about me?? You know at many situations in this story I have felt that you are writing about myself and this update was again strikingly similar to mine. Earlier I had forgotten to comment when you had mentioned khushi’s weight issue due to her medical condition I had been surprised because I too has a similar condition, now reading about the shopping experience with Raagini reminded me of a very same experience I had with my friend here in Blr but in the end like Tripti said it’s pretty things and different look which suits me and honestly if my friend hadn’t forced me I would not have bought those on my own will. Tripti’s sudden cough had made me wonder and I love Arjun. God I have badly fallen for this guy Meera, tell me he is real, I would love to meet him 😉 before Tripti does. Btw, Raagini is a wonderful friend, I want her too as my friend who shows the mirror and who understands the difficult emotions which can’t be put into words

    I loved the piece about Shyam Anadaraman. That’s inspiration and motivation. I know for sure I would be quoting his lines from now.

    I refrain from commenting about AV. Like Khushi I am in avoiding or denial mode. God how will it be!! Her trip to US and meeting with him, it’s making me panic! I loved the last bit Arjun said, god is he going to tell her his secret ??

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lovely update Meera .. after a long break m back again to ur story.. reading the update really made my day.. I missed Arnav Khushi so much..
    Coming back to the update.. Khushi hasn’t met Arnav since 5 yrs n Arjun has kinda moved on.. n there is a new character Ramu ( the name is funny though for a girl😂).. N our Arnav has become the manager in the same firm as Khushi is.. hmm interesting.. the story is getting more n more interesting..
    n one question is Arjun by any chance dating Tripti.. 😬😊😬 Can’t wait to read next chapter.. 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Was putting off catching up till book 3 on wards, wanted to savour those chapters left to read , looking forward
    to read the final journey of the river to the sea or ocean , as said by many you Meera are a very articulate writer
    Hope to read all your stories one day .
    Is Ramu your creation or a character from a soap?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. It’s a small world. New beginning of new friendship & Old one is not too far behind . Khushi is anxious and nervous to see/meet him after a long time. Engraving his initial in the grass tell us she hasn’t forgotten him.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been reading your amazingly written work for years now – you spin magic <3
    P.S. Reading "Kolkata" in the first line made me miss my home town :')

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey what’s so wrong with knowing Khushi, the movie? I didn’t watch the Hindi one, because I’d watched the Tamil AND Telugu, and had decided that the Telugu one was my favorite. It has Pawan Kalyan at his best, even if a tad (or more) annoying, and had the best bgm and music of those times! Also, the most iconic scene of ‘Nuvvu naa nadumu chusavu!’ Translation: ‘You looked at my waist!’ (Do NOT google those few words, unless you want to be weirded out. You have been warned.) Yep, yep, yep. Still enacted at engineering college fests and other youth gatherings with vigour and received with love.

    You know the movie ends VERY weirdly? They have 17 kids in 10 years and enter the Guinness Book. Teehee. For a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first 2 hours and 45 minutes of, the last 4 minutes creeped me out as a 9 year old, and today too. :D

    P.S: I clicked on a random update to read. That’s why I’m here.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Finally Khushi has a girlfriend and someone who shares her penchant for Bollywood. May be her personality attracts Bollywood fanatics. Apart from Tripti and an evening of conversation with Aditi, we have never seen Khushi have girl to girl conversations. So not only Khushi, but I was also thrilled with the entry of Raagini Ramanathan. It seems as though I was enjoying her company. Whenever I read about Engineering, B-Schools, A&M, Consulting and so on, in your story, it makes me want to go back to school and experience everything again. I have been an engineering student by the way but not Mechanical.
    Again a little hint at Arjun and Tripti. Meera you are being more secretive about them than Arnav’s feelings.
    Tripti’s phone being busy right when Arjun was on talking on the phone. Will Arjun’s past feelings towards Khushi are hanging like a sword with his new relationship presumably with Tripti, as he points out to Khushi. And Khushi she can say all she want about moving on but what will happen when she comes face to face with AV. It’s amazing how you have updated us about Arnav’s professional life through other conversations. We are yet to see in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Khushi yet again looks like she has steeled herself,b we all know what happened the last time she assumed, it doesnt matter!

    Arjun and Tripti for sure kuch pakk raha hain.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Khushi has got an amazing friend like Raagini ..
    She knows about Tripti .. n .. Arjun ..
    So..
    Arjun is dating Tripti..
    Then I really hope he is out of his dating habit in general..lol

    Khushi is tensed..
    She’s gonna meet AV after 5 yrs..
    Let’s see what happens..

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ragini aka Ramu blew me away. I wish Khushi found her years ago. Ms Chandigarh hasn’t made her entry. Is she going to enter along with AV?
    So, AV came all the way from US to present a 2 hour long seminar to this group. I wonder why. Did he think Khushi’s leave me alone time has expired and he needs to make a move?
    Anyway, looking forward to their meet. Whenever Khushi felt jitters she ended up getting closer to AV. I hope this time too, something is going to happen to bring them together.
    Ragini knows Tripti, Ragini knows Arjun. Does she know Arnav as well. That will be interesting.
    I completely forgot, Khushi told her parents to look for a suitor for her. I hope that won’t create any problem when she rekindles her relationship with Arnav yet again.
    Cheers…..

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Arjun hiding his mysterious gf , is it Krishna ?
    Meera,
    Have you heard of the song ‘ kanna sugama
    Krishna sugama
    Kanmani sugama 😬
    K B sir named his leading lady Krishna , you called another Ramu
    Enjoying this chatty

    Ramu,
    just like
    astute
    Krishna ?
    Waiting for ASR

    no longer AV – he is US returned , so accented Uber sexy suited hotwa from IPK
    He should make a dashing entry to disturb kh
    Both are no longer college kids 💕

    Like

  20. Who was Arjun talking to? Tripti? Why does he chose to tell what Khushi doesn’t know about Arnav, right when they are about to met or are sure to meet? I am waiting for Tripti and Khushi’s interaction, I really love their bond, but I don’t know why, Tripti doesn’t have much presence in this FF… not similar to your other ffs

    Like

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