Thank you for reading. Thank you for waiting. Thank you for coming back.

And Happy, happy (belated) birthday to Lavz! May all your dreams find realisation this year!

 

There was no way she could change now. Khushi stared at the black turtleneck and jeggings lying on the bed, silently mocking her. She had just been about to change out of her skirt and blouse when the knock had sounded at the door. Never in the her wildest imagination, had she expected to see Arnav Varun standing on the other side of the threshold, his eyes glowing with borrowed brilliance in the sky outside. If there was one thing that could make her even more nervous and disinclined to meet Rajat Garg, it was Arnav’s presence knocking at her door. Shiv-ji really was making sure she rotted in hell for all her mistakes, wasn’t he?

She walked over to the full length mirror on the bathroom door and stared at herself, now even more aware of just how unfamiliar her clothes felt on her body. What had she been thinking picking this for her…date? No, she shook her head even as she fastened the two other silver hoops onto her bare earlobe. The term seemed, felt so wrong – perhaps now more than it had before. Date? No…This wasn’t a date. It couldn’t be. This was a meeting. Something she had never imagined she would do in her lifetime. A conversation with Tripti from a long time ago teased her memory.

I cannot imagine anyone would fall in love with me. And I cannot imagine marrying for anything but love. Some situations are hopeless.

Tripti had responded to that statement with a song, as was the case for most of their conversations from the time.

Pyaar kiya nahi jaata, ho jaata hai

Dil diya nahi jaata, kho jaata hai

She couldn’t fault Tripti or Bollywood. Of course she had had no control over her heart. It was lost, perhaps forever if that little exchange was anything to go by.

Except this time….

It won’t work, Khushi. It didn’t for me. It won’t for you.

She didn’t need to ask him out aloud what he had meant even if it had made him want to scratch his face in anger. She wished he wasn’t right. She wished he didn’t know he was right. But…she took a deep breath. There were things even she couldn’t ignore with her head-buried-in-the-sand attitude. Like the fact that he had just offered, no insisted he would drop her so that she could meet a potential husband. Of course, he didn’t know that but her silence and his response had both clearly zeroed in on the exact nature of her imminent meeting.

Taking another deep breath, she glanced at the clock only to realize that she was running late. Hurrying up, she quickly applied a dash of lip gloss, the palest shade she had been able find in the store. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and winced as her lashes hit the glass and left a trail on the clean surface, forcing her to clean her vision again. She brushed her hair to fall in waves evenly around her face. For once, she seemed to be having a relatively okay hair day. The reflection that stared back at her from the mirror almost looked feminine in the split second before she let her gaze slip away. Mirrors were never going to be her best buddies, there was no point trying to connect with a lifelong stranger.

She then slipped her feet into strappy sandals, thankfully low platform heeled ones that assured her she wouldn’t be tripping or twisting her ankles. She picked up her trench-coat and the small sling bag that she was putting to use for the first time since Tripti had gifted it on her birthday a few months ago – when Arnav Varun was still a distant memory even if a heart-rending one.

She hurried out of her room and block, clutching at the keys to the Escape in prayer. Of course, no prayer was going to help, was it? Arnav Varun was leaning against the black SUV, his head bent as he seemed to be reading something on his phone. In his beige turtleneck, indigo denims and navy jacket, he looked as immaculately turned out as ever. Before he could look up at her, she walked over to where he was standing, by the driver’s side.

He looked up just as she reached him, clearly taking his time to acknowledge her presence. The look in his eyes, unencumbered by glasses, was so casual, the conversation – rather the little aggravating warning of sorts that he had just issued minutes ago, seemed to be a figment of her imagination. Except that his eyes blazed, unblinking as he surveyed her appearance again, deliberately – in a way that made her want to squirm – only for the first time in way that wasn’t completely unsavory.

Simply put, Khushi wasn’t used to appreciative looks. She was used to leering – from men on the streets back home who couldn’t stop staring at her chest – irrespective of how conservatively she was dressed. She was used to judgment – mostly from family – near and far, on how and what exactly was missing in her ability to dazzle. Khushi’s mother, for instance, couldn’t ever stop herself from pointing out what could be better in the way Khushi looked – perhaps that was her self-inflicted role as the “fixer” of all her daughters’ problems. Her father, on the other hand, couldn’t for the life of him fathom why she ever needed to wear anything other than a salwar-kameez and dupatta. Of course, her father couldn’t fathom why anyone would spend more than a couple of minutes to dress anyway – which is exactly how much time he gave to clothing – given his wife had been laying out his clothes – for every occasion – routine or revelry – for as long as Khushi could remember.  Her aunts from either side of the family pitched in with their how-pretty-she-could-look-if-she-could-just-lose-a-little-weight comments.

She was just as used to obliviousness too. Her friends – the few she had before IE-V – ignored her appearance almost as easily as she ignored their ability to hold conversations that stretched beyond bitching and boys. By the time she’d found women again in IM-B, it was too late for her to take anyone who spoke of appearance seriously anyway.

“I can drive myself.” She said as a lifetime of anger threatened to burst through her skin. She blinked and looked away from him as she contemplated sliding into the vehicle and getting far, far away. How much of that gaze could she take anyway?

“I have to pick up things from the mall.” He said easily even as he pushed himself off the vehicle and held his hand out.

“I didn’t mention a mall” She said, frowning deeply as her heart tumbled dry in her chest. She held on tighter to the keys in her hands.

“I’ll take my chances.” He parried easily without blinking.

Ha! Like it was any mystery. There was but one mall in the neighborhood and one didn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it out. “I thought you have a rental of your own.” She pointed out, now holding on to the keys like they were purveyors of sanity itself.

“I do.” He replied briefly and let his outstretched palm stay where it was.

There were fights she wasn’t going to win ever. As much as she hated it, this was one of them. Not when she had an appointment to keep and an anal upbringing to live up to. She carelessly dropped the keys in his hand and literally stomped her way around the vehicle to slide into the passenger seat. Twenty minutes, she told herself after she spoke out the name of the mall but held on to the identity of the restaurant. Twenty minutes is all she needed to stay calm and then she would be where she needed to. This madness that he seemed to be insistent on unleashing would need to be picked up and tackled again. But for now…

“I’ve been on three dates in the last five years.”

Khushi refused to turn to face him even as the vehicle slowly pulled out of the parking lot of the Inn. “I didn’t ask.” She bit out.

“For the first couple of years,” He continued as if she hadn’t spoken at all, “it was mostly because I didn’t want to date and I didn’t have the time needed to devote to something personal.”

“I don’t want to know.” She insisted.

In vain.

“I was a new Senior Consultant. I was working with RDX in his Partnership milestone year – which means he was a hundred times as crazy as he is right now.”

She kept her gaze straight ahead and ignored the flutters in her stomach. She didn’t want to hear what he was saying but clearly he wasn’t interested in what she stated explicitly anymore. He had been careful to exactly what she wanted once and look at how beautifully she had disfigured that time of their life.

“When I met Divya and Nishant two years ago – we began having a few of these get togethers – After Aarohan is a product of all those weekends. Divya asked me one weekend if I was open to dating and…” He took a deep breath. “I wanted to know if I was. I wanted to see if it was the mountains after all.

The words she had hurled once in anger – they had struck deeper than she had intended then. It made her stomach churn. She had hurt him and he had taken it seriously. This proof of some sort of weird power she seemed to be able to wield over him, was disconcerting.

“I said yes. It didn’t work. I don’t even know if I tried to make it work with either of the women. I don’t know if I wanted it to work – maybe I really didn’t.” He turned to look at Khushi, his eyes grazing her cheek like he was touching her with his fingers. She could almost feel the calloused skin against her cheek – it was enough to make her turn to look him straight in the eye.

“This date you are going on…”

“It’s not a date.” She corrected before he could make any more assumptions.

“But it is romantically oriented.” He stated with engineered precision.

“My mother met his through a matrimonial website.”

Silence filled the car and she realized that he was breathing loudly enough for her to hear. Glancing at his face though, she still couldn’t see what he was thinking.

When the vehicle pulled into the mall’s parking lot, Arnav got out and was on her side of the vehicle in mere moments. He held the door open and allowed her to step out, stepping to her frame, her own personal space as he did, unapologetically this time. “There is a lot I need to say, Khushi. I cannot because I am your Manager on the project. And because you are meeting someone with the prospect of spending…” He took a deep breath, “of spending a lifetime with him. It isn’t fair.” He said after a few minutes. “Of course, I cannot change what you want to do or what you think is the best. I once said that you were being unfair to everyone involved. I was wrong. You know what you are doing. All I am saying…” He paused for a moment, “I have an answer for what you last said to me five years ago. If you are willing to listen. Just listen. I expect nothing else.”

His eyes still remained glued to hers for a second before they grazed her mouth. He almost leaned in, like he was about to kiss her – in broad daylight, in full public view. Her eyes widened as her ribcage rattled noisily in her chest. The years were nothing in that moment.

“Some scars,” He whispered as pushed her hair to one side, revealing her shoulder, bared by the deep scoop of the blouse she was wearing, “cannot be hidden.” The wind stole into her clothes and made her shiver.

The scar. She had arranged her hair in such a way that she knew it wasn’t visible. Plus she was facing him. There was no way he could see the now fading but still visible mark of twin ropes down her shoulder. But he had known. He remembered. And he used it effectively. It was all she could do to not visibly tremble from the proximity of him.

When she forced herself to look back into his eyes, he stepped away from her and donned his sunglasses, hiding himself from her scrutiny. “When you are done, give me a call. I’ll be here, waiting.”

———–

There was no way the meeting, the date, whatever the hell it was that she had signed herself up for, was going to go well. Not after that start to the day. To begin with, Rajat Garg was late – an almost unpardonable offense in her book of manners. Khushi placed herself on a table for two and was twiddling her thumbs for fifteen minutes, trying her best not to dwell on what Arnav had said or what he hadn’t. When Mr. Garg did arrive, the first words out of his mouth – though after a quick apology for showing up late – was that she looked better in real life than she did in her pictures. She had, of course, shared no pictures with him. And while she was on Facebook, there were no pictures there for him to have checked out. Which only meant that her mother had sent her pictures to his and they had subsequently made it to him.

She smiled at the statement, though it was amply clear that such statements could at best be classified as back-handed compliments. She would know.

Given that their server had been waiting for her party to join her, they placed their orders almost as soon as Rajat was seated. A part of her was disappointed that he had been courteous and kind to their server. Where were the flaws when you so desperately needed them to hide behind?

“Is this the first time you are meeting someone like this?”

She blinked at the statement, annoyed that she was this transparent even to a practical stranger. “Yes,” She replied. “You’ve met others?”

“Back in India, yes. It didn’t work out. Of course, that’s why I am here.” He chuckled and she realized that it was not an unpleasant laugh. In fact, there was very little about him that was unpleasant. He was smartly turned out – perhaps even a clothes horse given the number of brands she could spot on his accessories. Not exactly handsome but better than average looking. If he was concerned about how she looked, he definitely had good reason to.

As soon as the thought flashed in her head, she winced and scolded herself mentally. She had promised herself she wouldn’t beat herself down in comparison to anyone – even if silently. It was her biggest promise to herself. And she had just failed her own internal surprise exam.

“How long are you Detroit?” She asked, changing the topic from why or how often they had done this to things that could at least get her through lunch.

They spoke alternately almost the entire time they were seated at the table. Perhaps silences were too intimate too soon. Unlike what she expected from their very brief interactions – which were mainly centered on polite conversation, he was neither scintillating nor completely boring. There were things they had in common – they both went to Indian engineering colleges and business schools – those were experiences that could bind any two individuals with a fairly robust connection. They also had younger siblings and very similar family backgrounds – his parents were public servants and not academics but the values were rather similar as she could gather from bits and pieces of conversation.

Of course there were enough points of disconnect too. The biggest, most disappointing and yet most liberating of all was the fact that he was neither a Bollywood fan nor a music aficionado. He admitted to being far more interested in non-fiction content – documentaries, sports – media channels that remained covered in cobwebs and dust on her television remote.

It was something that could have been worked on.

If only there had been no Arnav Varun in the picture. Arnav Varun and his honeyed whispers about lasting battle scars. She needed to remember that she had bared her heart to him and he had bolted out of the door. Only no such shame seemed to be tingeing her senses. She was either completely self-aware or she was completely immune to a sense of self when it came to him. She had wanted him to bolt, hadn’t she? Who the hell declared love like that? Especially when she knew that he was not in the same place as she was?

“Have you been in a relationship?”

The question came as suddenly as it was expected to. The conversation had meandered around it and finally cut through the chaos to settle in deep, simmering waves.

She looked at Rajat, his face amiably set and not really intruding.

“I had a girlfriend in college. It was serious but it didn’t work.”

Her silence had prompted him to speak first. Perhaps he had assumed this was not a question that could be asked without full disclosure. It was a decent thing to do. Except now she had nothing but a bunch of questions that could only be answered with an overall cryptic “It’s complicated”. Had she been in a relationship? Yes, she had. Was it over? No. These were fairly clear. It was the third and fourth questions of the lot that made the difference, made her presence on this lunch date a laugh, an unfair cruel joke on everyone involved.

Could it ever be over?

Did she really want it to be over?

The final one, she had assumed all these years, was a resounding yes. Perhaps if Arnav Varun had not showed up on the radar again, it might have even stayed solid for the rest of her life. But now that he was back in her life… A part of her wondered what would have happened if she had infact moved on with someone and this ….this situation had happened then? What if Arnav Varun had reappeared when she was married and committed elsewhere? The thought was scary.

“I’m sorry. You don’t have to answer the question right now. I just thought it makes sense to get that out of the way, since we haven’t really talked about it before.”

She shook her head guiltily. “Please don’t apologise. It’s…” She looked at him and took a deep breath. She needed to be honest. She needed to do the right thing. Deception, she knew, hardly helped anyone. “There is someone I used to…” Like? Did what she felt for Arnav warrant that tame a word? “I don’t know if I can call it a relationship. It was never that official. But…”

“It’s complicated?” Rajat Garg asked with a half wistful smile.

She smiled back but said nothing, grateful that she had an out she didn’t deserve.

“Anyway, I hope the fact that you are here means that it is not something that is expected to linger?”

The rest of the lunch date trickled by in the aftermath of that cheerfully stated assumption, one that left Khushi in tatters. By the time Rajat was offering to drop her home, she was a bunch of nerves, half angry, half frustrated and fully confused. She thanked Rajat for his thoughtfulness but excused herself by lying about wanting to spend some time in the mall shopping. There were things strangers allowed one to do that preserved one’s sanity at times like these. So with a friendly smile and wishes for a good evening but no promises or questions of future dates, Rajat Garg left Kaveri Khushi Gupta to figure what she wanted that Sunday afternoon and thereafter.

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Ruth Aa Gayee Re

Album: 1947 Earth

Singer(s): Sukhwinder Singh, Chorus

Music: A. R. Rahman

Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

 

Geeton ki mauj aayi, phoolon ki fauj aayi

Nadiya mein jo dhoop ghuli, sona baha

Ambwa se hai lipti, ek bel bele ki

Tu hi mujhse hai duur, aa paas aa

 

Next update: Monday, Jul 10, 2017, late night IST

353 thoughts on “Chapter Fifteen: Three’s A Crowd

  1. Omg…how unpredictable , Arnav Varun drives his Khushi for a date ….Instead of conveying what he still feels about her …he wants her to figure out his statements n intentions……stubborn as ever both of them…can someone just knock on their heads with a hammer…so that once n for all they can just stop pretending about” no faraq’s “

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Hi Meera
    Wow, AV Sir covered lots of grounds, with few sentences, here and there.
    Will they get to spent the evening together?, but khushi is in cranky mood,
    Let’s see how the rest of the day turns out.
    Loved the update.
    Thank u.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. How i wish Rajat Garg was an evil man, those who make you immaculately hate them kinda evil. But alas, he isn’t half bad. Doesn’t matter. i dont like him anyway. Hope this is the whole screen space he got, dont wanna see him again.
    Lol. I’m being possessive of AV Sir’s haq. But i really loved him a lootttt today. Okay, agreed i love him everyday some more anyway. But I’m in love with him some more.
    That man is soooo intense. When he talks its like the world around has stopped. I wish i were Kaveri Khushi Gupta.
    Lol. I’ve lost it completely. Dont mind my bakwas Meera. I just loved it way too much.
    Be back soon next week okay. Will be waiting to see what khushi does the rest half of her Sunday.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. So much so unexpected! She told him about the date. He offered, no, insisted to take her. He ensured his presence. He ensured he was at the back of her mind if not up front. After all, out of sight-out of mind, no? So, this was calculative as a whole. Smart. Attentive and efforting. Everything Arnav ran from before? Which was a fresh bait. A fresh take. A fresh start? I hope so. And I hope no matter how this Rajat guy is, his time and effort is not wasted, much. It is unfair when you drag people in your confusion, isn’t it? Nevertheless. That’s what always happens. And that’s what brings upon a change in perspective if any at all.

    There were a lot of undercurrents. A lot. Untalked about. And untamed. I hope it simmers more in the next 20 minutes to their way back. And then some more. The heat, we can feel it now. It is ensnaring. I loved it.

    Love,
    Reveur.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Thinking about it a bit more…by the end, you get the feeling that it’s Arnav that’s making it feel like 3’s a crowd … not Rajat.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Loved the update, the few minutes AV Sir and Khushi were together was intense and scorching…! AV Sir didn’t say much but conveyed a lot. I feel sorry for Khushi to be in this situation… :) AV Sir driving Khushi to her date….and hitting his mark where he know it will hit…”Some scars are cannot be hidden”! Khushi did not stand a chance….Rajat seems so nice oh dear did he have to be? Could he have not been those dim-wit, boring and irritating guys he seems genuine and nice! But Khushi is flustered when Rajat sums up her complicated relationship as something she would not linger on when lingering on is all she has been doing since years….for AV sir…am interested to see what AV sir does with his new found realisation of his love for Khushi. He’s handled the date with much maturity and finesse making sure Khushi goes for the date but its him she is thinking about lol :) Things are surely heating up can’t wait for the next update. Thanks again for another lovely chapter.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. He has his heart in his eyes.
    She has his scar on her nape.
    And all I have,
    Is a prayer is on my lips.  

    Isn’t it diabolical to have our hearts stop at every last line of a chapter? To let it wander in pitiful search, until you beckon after another week, and we fall at your doorstep in a muddled mess. You, Meera, are our Destroyer and Savior.

    I understand when Arnav says he can’t do anything about it until he is her Manager. But is he really going to let this thing between them simmer to a boil before he has her where she should be – in his arms? Give her something to hold onto for a month Arnav Varun. I’m sure that you can take your chances. ;) Khushi was lucky she was wearing a halter-top because anything more and the cloth beneath the hands that pushed her hair away from the shoulders, would’ve self-combusted. Uff!

    Relatives are sometimes barbs packed in golden foil. And most times, we are bound by the propriety that age casts over. Perhaps, this situation will never change because those who say, don’t often see the sensitive membrane they puncture with their words. That remark by Rajat about her being better looking in person is exactly what would mark a big fat negative in his balance sheet. Yes, I am judging.

    I wished there was something more she really liked about him, but Garg lacks intrigue unlike a certain someone who is just as elusive after ten years of knowing. Can’t blame Khushi entirely either because she fell in love a man who cannot be replaced. Not even a little, not wholly either. I guess she can’t boast to their grandkids that she was spoilt for choice, because she really has none. (I am disregarding her ex-aashiqs because she didn’t know until things had reached the point of no return. :p ) Now, if Khushi wanted to get back at AV in return for the turmoil he unleashed, letting Rajat drop you back to the Inn and then calling AV to sweetly inform him, would exactly be a fair kind of revenge. Or she can go out with Rajat once again. What will she do?

    Will she share how it went? Because I know he will ask. He definitely will, one way or the other. If she’s still her stubborn self, he can show – with or without words – how THIS can work. ;)

    Give us more of this AV, Meera. Kyunki, dil abhi bhara nahi….

    Adding my message too – Wish you a very Happy Birthday once again Lavz! I hope you had the best one. :D

    PS: I tend to agree with Mr. Gupta – dressing up shouldn’t be an activity that requires more than 5 minutes.

    PPS: How to stay awake after 20 hours of wakefulness…… Tips anyone?

    Liked by 9 people

    1. That remark by Rajat about her being better looking in person is exactly what would mark a big fat negative in his balance sheet. Yes, I am judging. – Agree it’s a flag. I wouldn’t know if its a compliment or an insult!

      Khushi is too good for her own good…Revenge – yes silence it will be troubling him to speak more :D

      Will she share how it went? Because I know he will ask. He definitely will, one way or the other. If she’s still her stubborn self, he can show – with or without words – how THIS can work. 😉 – 😈😄

      Liked by 6 people

      1. That was a flag for me too. I mean like you I don’t know how to categorize that. Would I say something like to that to someone I’m meeting for the first time, I don’t think so. Would I like to hear that from someone, I don’t think so. For me that came across as crass. But is it right to judge someone by a remark like that, not sure, but it’ll be a flag for sure.
        I don’t blame her, I mean if you have been constantly told by people what you should do to make yourself look better, for a very long time, that is going to color how you view and approach things. This reminds me of the article I had posted after one of the chapters.

        Liked by 5 people

          1. I think if someone who you’re meeting for the first time says something like that to you, whether you have hangups about your looks or not, it is bound to put you on guard or get your hackles up. It does point to how he is approaching this whole shaadi business.

            Liked by 4 people

        1. I agree P. It irked me because it was mentioned that she hadn’t put up her pictures on Facebook too, and that says something about her person. I just expected some sensitivity from Rajat, that’s all.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. She thinks her mom may have shared pics with his. To say something like that when you’re meeting someone for the first time, just comes aross as crass. And its not his first time meeting a shaadi.com girl so can’t really put it down to nervousness and not knowing how to act in a certain situation.

            Liked by 3 people

    2. Nivi🤗. Where have you been?
      Ditto on Mr. Garg. Didn’t like that remark.
      Ditto on the man with two names as well. 😌 Phront phront…..

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Yes. That’s all the old gang from the IPK days. Was good to find so many back. We used to have such fun those days. That forum was something else in its hey days until it turned ugly with all the fan wars.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. I ignore the forum totally. The old one was an ugly mess. No clue about this one at all. Don’t really look at anything else. Just have an old gang of friends with whom it’s good to catch up.

              Liked by 2 people

                1. I just watched the first episode. That too after reading take 5. Haven’t watched any after that yet. I had no idea that the show had started. Hardly watch any TV generally. IPK notwithstanding . Haven’t really watched anything post IPK. I have no idea why I even logged into IF that day and stumbled upon Take 5. But I was glad because J’s snark is always howlarious. 🤣 As for the show it sounds bad!!!! They should leave the damn thing alone and let it rest. As for the forum I don’t even want to know!! I am sure it’s bad. But the old one at its best had some amazing writing and a totally different viewer profile than the usual.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. I saw the first episode and decided I had enough.
                    Hum ijj going to zip it now, for hum ijj isseeing some members of the “bitwa (real) forever and isso hello hi to lunacy and bye bye to sense of all kinds, any thinking etc. group” at times over here. Don’t want to bring their rabid logic less rantings in this space.
                    Let’s say its a different audience in this new forum and I don’t think it will ever have the kind of writers the other one had.

                    Liked by 2 people

            1. You haven’t watched IPK woriginal??? 😳😳😳
              As for edition 3 rest assured you are happier not watching. It hurts the eyes and ears. On the other hand maybe it’s worth a watch just to be struck dumb at the styling!! Made me speechless 😜😂😂😂

              Liked by 3 people

              1. Biraj you are breaking my heart into pieces now ☹️ I did watch IPK! How can I not!

                Yeah have been reading all kinds of reviews on twitter about IPK3 …don’t ask! one picture that has scarred me for lifetime…the lead wearing the Saree ulta 😵😵😵

                Liked by 3 people

                1. Oh and the saree is tame compared to everyone wearing oil barrel earrings and frozen peas necklaces and oyster Sheela on their fingers. 🙄🙄😳😳My eyes are scarred. 😂😂

                  Liked by 3 people

        1. You need an “AV break” Nivi to recharge. 😉. We miss you and your first spot.
          Posted a medley of lyrics somewhere. After a while I get lost trying to navigate my way through the maze of WP to find anything. 😛😀

          Liked by 3 people

  8. In a different country will soon join friends & celebrate their Independence Day yet have got up early just to read your update ……such is the charm of your river trilogy Meera
    So the river is slowly and surely moving towards her destination – the silt can form a small impediments but will soon be eroded . AV 💕 can you fall in love with a fictional hero so completely.? if so I am guilty . In this episode he has killed it . Even though I know he is a lot to blame for his past inactions he is now firmly in control of what he wants and is going to get it .
    Go AV Go
    I think Khushi wants to somewhere .in a small way extract revenge for him not knowing he wanted her and only her as She always knew right from the beginning .

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Meera, Loved the update. It’s gearing up for a much needed one on one interaction between leads. Will we get to read their rest of Sunday post Khushi’s mini mall tour. Can’t wait. I know we are in third book and river has to reach it’s destination…but I want to keep reading your stories. Thanks a lot for this one:)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Three’s definitely a crowd…and Arnav wasn’t even in the vicinity to make that happen ;)

    I should come clear that I was a tad bit irritated by Arnav in this chapter. He was trying every bit to strong arm her, and for a moment I thought the ‘date’ won’t happen. But I wanted it to. For Khushi’s sake. She had to experience it; at least envision what it would be with someone else, toy with the idea of breaking those ironclad shackles, before making a decision.

    And so I’m glad that Arnav’s explanation didn’t come out before the meeting with Rajat Garg. Because now I can happily look forward to what he has to say.

    Liked by 7 people

  11. Wow!! So unpredictable..

    Arnav, after bowling Khushi over by his words actually waited for her to drop her for her prospective groom meeting!! Like really!!!
    And he is nit giving up easily as well. He spoke.. he spoke about how he tried moving on but wasn’t able to do so. And he is saying all this to her at a time when she is just few minutes short of meeting the ‘other’ guy!!

    What actually stumped me was when he told her that he is finally ready with the answer Khushi expected 5 years back.. but is it too late now?? Or would Khushi listen to her heart and come back to hear what Arnav has to say..
    He is waiting and so are we…

    Rajat and Khushi’s meting went on fine I presume.. I really don’t wanna dwell too much on that!!

    Lets see what you got for us next.. 😉

    Lots Of Love.. 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

  12. ‘It’s not fair’ that I can’t write out everything I want 😕. Here I am at the airport for a very early morning flight with an over eager husband daughter duo. She’s chomping down a kinder surprise egg at 3.30 AM. Her Indian vacation is all about autos and kinder eggs. Cannot understand the ban of the eggs in the US…choking hazard my foot….guns are somehow safer 🤔. Hmmm…weird…

    While they are busy exploring, I keep going back to this chapter. A lot of things made me sad…mostly Khushi’s battle with her image. ‘Lifelong stranger’ ugghh…tearing up on that…I want to hug her and say it’s okay, it gets better with age….by the time you get to 40 all of us look like old hags 😂😂…so who cares 😋😋.

    I love that she doesn’t cry. It’s so impressive. I would be a sloppy faucet by now. And with this chapter his misery makes me cry too 😫.

    I have no quote to share sob sob… I realize now how much I don’t like my cellphone. It’s so limiting and my tech skills so lacking. Thank you Meera!! Signing off with melancholy. Apologies for being short. Hope everyone’s well 🤗

    Liked by 7 people

  13. Beautiful update!!!

    The way Arnav told his experience with “dates” to Khushi not caring about her interruptions is funny and also glad that he told her how it feels to be meeting someone else when you love someone..’it just doesn’t work’!!!

    Love the way Arnav trying to express his feelings not crossing his limits… Hope Khushi gives him a proper chance for him to speak and for her to listen the true feelings!!!

    Will wait for Monday!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Crowd indeed…
    AV on fire today.. well spent ride… ‘some scars.. ‘ was indeed a sucker punch… He is unapologetic , brave and at the same time tentative… Kaveri makes it very hard for herself as well as him..
    Kaveri was right.. she needs this alone time to reevaluate stuff… but I don’t think AV is going to wait today.. for him it’s a do or die… And I am rooting for him today..
    Knowing Kaveri, she will spend so much of time evaluating..

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I had cooked up so many scenarios in my brain last week for this update but this chapter is beyond better than all of that :)

    AV’s jealous and thoughtful process of letting Khushi know about his dates , even if she didn’t want to hear it, was superb. I liked when Khushi didn’t ditch Rajat and talked to him pleasantly even if she didn’t see him in that romantic way.
    Khushi’s insecurities are too deeply itched, isn’t it? We all have these insecurities in our life too, not at that level, but we still do. Hopefully AV will help her overcome these.
    Nice chapter Meera !

    Liked by 5 people

  16. Aah the anger n the frustration Khushi felt after the date.. poor girl but it also im sure will give her an absolute clarity as to where she stands in her relationship status. Now i guess is the right time for her to give Arnav a chance to tell her what he intends to. Quite a jhatka it must have been for AV when Khushi told him about the date! which ofcourse got him into the action mode. That stunt he pulled before they parted at the mall , khatarnaak hai woh! sanity jaisi cheez bachi rahni hai ya nahi!! :D <3

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That stunt he pulled before they parted at the mall , khatarnaak hai woh! sanity jaisi cheez bachi rahni hai ya nahi!! – It was a stunt! Desperate times demand quick actions, he took his chances :D

      Liked by 6 people

  17. Uff!!
    Uff!!
    Uff!!
    My feelings are right now COMPLICATED!!
    Forgive me, can’t wrap my head around this Arnav!! Toooooo cooooooool!!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Have been reading this story for quiet sometime now. Like the name, the story too flows through the words of the author. Cant help but swim along till this chapter where the current is low due to the wait on the next chapter :)

    Thank you authorji for sharing such a wonderful story. As a reader, it was pure joy experiencing the story. May god bless you with abundance joy as you give to your readers.

    Its been a wonderful ride so far and expecting tables to turn around as Arnav opens up to his Khushi.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Finally read the chapter….joys of having a newborn might mean i might not always be on hand to comment but know i will ALWAYS be following and reading your stories!

    Well well well…although i love arnav and obviously rooting for arhi…i just think its not fair on khushi! She went in that meeting with rajat with her head all muddled because of arnav. Was a bit of selfish of him to say what he did just before the meeting. Rajat seems like a lovely guy but not right for khushi lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations!!!! God bless the little one. Hope you are doing well too! Being a mother is priority and the River is right here waiting for its people – so no worries at all!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hello, Meera di. I have been an ardent follower of your tales. I can’t express how much your fiction means to me. They are just purely Enthralling. And I wish I get the opportunity to re-read The Emerald Isle tales. Looking forward to hear from you!

    Cheers, Salikaa :D

    On Monday, July 3, 2017, A River Runs Through It wrote:

    > meera30 posted: “Thank you for reading. Thank you for waiting. Thank you > for coming back. There was no way she could change now. Khushi stared at > the black turtleneck and jeggings lying on the bed, silently mocking her. > She had just been about to change out of ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Cannot wait to hear what he sayss!! Khushi has to say yes ,pleasee !!

    Please let me know if there is any way I can get to read Careless Whispers,A Word’s Worth,The Emerald Isle Tales .. I’d love to read them!! I haven’t had a chance to read them but would love to!! Please let me know!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Meera..
        Pls reopen ur blogs if it’s possible..
        I really really wanna read all of ur fiction..
        But I wonder how will I ever know that u intend to open them..

        Like

  22. awesome update.. AV Sir said a lot without saying a lot.. but i feel it was a difficult situation for khushi with him saying all this just before the meeting..
    rajat seems like a good person, but am sure he will get some one else.. khushi is only for arnav :)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow.. Arnav’s confession was really cute…
    from the title I thought all 3 would sit at the table having the lunch.. heheh..
    it was really good update.. now I’ll read the next..

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Arnav wasn’t having her bolt from him. He knew & went to drop her off for her date. He shared his dates experiences indirectly letting her know, it didn’t worked for him so it won’t for her. He asked her to give him a chance & see were their relationship leads.

    Rajat not fan of Bollywood & songs – Rejected with capital ‘R’.
    15 minutes late – No in my dictionary- Rejected with capital ‘R’.

    Arnav – what must be going on with him. Full Torture…miserable as hell. He must have died 1000+ deaths by now. Sweats of buckets… scratch that bath tubs he must have filled by now.💧💦💧💦🛁 🛁🛁😀😀

    I don’t think we have seen last of Rajat.😜 he will be lurking around. Hope to see him in opposite team from Khushi & Arnav. Will be there in next meetings or so…face-to-face. Him being around will nudge Arnav to be more vocal about his feelings & love…borrowed songs & words may not last for too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Arnav is driving Khushi to her lunch date(?) although he does have an ulterior motive, to convey to Khushi in his signature gentleman manner the answer which has been left pending for the last five years. He is determined to voice out his feelings and no plans of Khushi in avoiding this conversation will work this time. It was extremely chivalrous of him to hold back their actual conversation until after she finished her lunch. Khushi now will still be able to try to see Rajat as a prospective partner. If Arnav would have spoken before the lunch, that might have clouded her judgement. At the same time he gave enough hints for her to imagine where their conversation would be heading. My heart went out to him when he said that he wanted to see if it was just the mountains. I can understand how those words would have hurt him.

    Khushi’s lifelong battle with her image is showcased more vividly in this chapter. Our physical image in our eyes is more based on all the (unnecessary) feedback we get from others. And Rajat mentioning that she looked much better in person was more of a negative remark. I didn’t like him after that, not that I would like anyone other than Arnav :)

    Liked by 1 person

  26. She realises the futility of the meeting but has to go through with it… wish she could just give AV a chance to answer what she had literally thrown at him in a moment of passionate anger, over the last phone call they had!

    Like

  27. arnav ufff man….wat are you doing…
    I understand you can’t do nothing when you are the manager but wat hold you back from confessing your feelings for her…you are throwing your words at her and asking her to figure it out…..I had the answer for the question you asked 5 yrs ago…arnav say it yaar…The Rajat guy seems nice. ..not as the typical cameo groom role appear in the film who is boring. ….I wanted him to be like that….
    Here arnav accepted his feelings but dnt know to bring it out and khushi who is in i want to move on but I can’t mode

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Arnav dropped Khushi at the mall and announced that he will wait for her. The date with Rajat, how do I put it, ended before it started. Yes, they did have a meal together and briefly shared their past relationship, not in detail though. Rajat’s question made her think. Did she get over with the relationship? Which lead her to think whether Arnav has has anything to do with her hiring and her inclusion in this project. Well what is stopping her to ask?
    Cheers……

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Some scars can never be totally erased , Bitwa is getting better with war of words , but action mein Chote rehe thi hai
    He had eye s** with her , then drops her at the mall promising to wait up
    AV says that in the position of him being her boss & she going for lifelong commitment, would let her make up mind , on her own.
    Well who in their right mind would stop thinking about him all through Rajat meet & greet
    He seems ok, except the part about her appearance , it was creepy
    Seems like he does it regularly
    Atleast he won’t be heartbroken
    As for Kaveri , it acted as a catalyst for her feelings to come to forefront
    The day is still young, hope Arshi get whatever they🤞🏼 want ( I meant snacks & trinkets at the mall ) 😬

    Like

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