Thank you all for reading! Thank you for all the love!

Ahmedabad, October 2014

It was not her. It couldn’t be. She looked….different. He really needed to get those glasses now. The migraines were becoming worse and far more frequent. And he was suddenly, outside of hazy unnerving dreams, “seeing” the girl whose heart he had broken by smashing it against his own.

“Anurag,” He called out to one of the consultants on his team before he ended up walking up to her to check if it was indeed… “Is that the Placement representative for A&M?”

Anurag hurried over to him with his sheets of paper – resumes and case studies which were used to administer the interviews. “She is the Secretary of the Placement Committee. After all the fighting to get a Day zero slot for recruitment, they finally gave us the same slot as Murphy’s and they’ve assigned the Secretary to us. Of course, the Head of Placement has been assigned to Murphy’s. But still…It’s all thanks to you, of course. Our illustrious alum…”

Arnav held back a stab of annoyance that came unexpectedly at his junior’s cheerfulness. “What’s her name?”

“Krishna Tripti Gupta. And weird name notwithstanding, she is some sort of a rockstar on campus. She made PlaCom Secretary in her first year – can you believe it? Even for IM-A, this is unorthodox. Her current grade is also apparently top of the class. Why?”

Krishna Tripti Gupta. Her sister. His heart squeezed and bled into his veins as his pulse jumped. He wasn’t completely losing his mind. Small mercies. “Why isn’t she interviewing with us?” He asked as his brain raced to process the information and began to think of what he would do with it all.

If his junior found it weird that he was asking after a person who wasn’t even on the interview list, Anurag didn’t show. After all, stories of people who hadn’t applied to or made it to the first shortlist firms released; but had impressed the panel on campus, bagging interview chances and offers thereafter, were not uncommon even if they weren’t exactly ethical. B-school placement day was a jungle and there were no rules as long as fancy job locations and seven figure salaries were made available for the newspapers the next morning.

“She isn’t interested in Consulting, apparently.”

Arnav frowned. The current process he was overseeing in his new role as head of Campus recruitment was to fill Summer Internship positions offered to MBA First Years. In many cases, this was taken more seriously than the Final placement for Second Years. Bagging a great internship and getting a Pre-Placement Offer before Second Year, enabled peace of mind that few people could boast of. Arnav had not been one of those people but he knew many of his batch years ago who had been, and he knew how envious he and the rest of IM-A had been of those lucky few. “She’s already decided she doesn’t want Consulting? Investment Banking dreams, I guess” he commented drily.

Anurag chuckled. “No! That’s what’s worse. Apparently she wants Corporate Finance roles. How a fresher with no work-ex has that much clarity of thought, I don’t know. I am almost glad she interviewing with A&M. We need interns with flexible spines,” He joked with an exaggerated wink.

Arnav smiled back and turned his gaze back to Tripti Gupta who was busy directing students with a stern and yet kind look on her face as she checked her sheet and then spoke with the A&M volunteers and then talked to the students waiting anxiously as the A&M interviewing process trundled along in the six interview rooms allocated to the team. Arnav had just taken a break from his panel after having interviewed five students and having shortlisted none. “Corporate Finance. That’s a shame. Investment banking, I would have still understood the temptation for.

“I was talking to her a few minutes ago, extolling praises of A&M and Consulting. She very kindly directed me to shortlist her sister who plans to apply during Finals later this year. Apparently, Tripti is the not Consulting oriented Gupta in the family.”

The coffee he was holding in one hand didn’t slosh and leave angry burns on his skin. And yet, his brain seemed to have picked up the message to trigger pain from a thousand boiling molecules piercing his skin. “Her sister.”

Khushi.

“I’m telling you that girl is…” Anurag said with a speculative smile curving his lips upwards.

“Anurag,” Arnav said in a low, hopefully-not-evidently-urgent voice.

“Huh?” Anurag said, tearing his gaze from Tripti Gupta, half dazed, half struck.

“Her sister?”

Now Anurag Sharma gave Arnav Varun a slightly curious look. But by this time Arnav was beyond caring. “Her sister is here? Final Year?” He pressed on, the need to know, now overpowering every other emotion there was. It was three years since he had heard her voice – the one that had declared love, the one that had sounded so broken that it had scared him away, the one that crept up on him when all he wanted to do was make that life out of the mountains that she had once taunted him of wanting her with.

“No. IM-B.”

A small smile teased his lips. She was in IM-B. She had made it to one of the best business schools in the country. She hadn’t spared any moment since that last phone call in the aftermath of a failed relationship. His heart swelled with cliched, even if misplaced pride a second before an unexpected, half-mad laugh tore through his throat at the thought.

Relationship? What right did he have to label whatever bound him to her as a relationship. He could have had one. If only he hadn’t decided to let a past failure and present guilt scare him away from a very obtainable future.

“When are we opening up for Finals application at IM-B?” He asked Anurag and then realised his life had suddenly clicked wheels back on track even though it was one he had least expected to stumble upon again. He didn’t know what, how or to which end he was going to traverse the path. But he knew he couldn’t, that he wouldn’t veer off again. There may be no end or no destination waiting, but it was a journey he had to make – to either churn the waters and cast away the poison or find what he knew he had been looking for all along.

“Three weeks from now.” Anurag answered as his gaze pivoted back to find Tripti Gupta, who was now laughing out aloud at something a panel member who had just stepped out said.

“Tell her we appreciate her help with today’s process.” He said as he stepped away and back towards the interview panel that was incomplete without him. “And Anurag, stop leering. Focus on getting us the right people. Tell Tripti Gupta we hire the best and that so far, IM-A is coming up short.”

“Yes, Sir” Anurag Sharma saluted with a half stomp and a full grin, before he headed to speak to Tripti Gupta.

————-

December 2014

He had no idea what he was doing on campus today of all days. Did he plan to meet her? To let her see him on a day when she was most likely nervous and wrought from the worries of a future that would rarely ever feel as momentous as it did today? Didn’t he know from experience that Placement Day was one of the most harrowing experiences of business school education in India even if one happened to be the one whose name would feature in the news as the highest grosser of the batch?

He took a deep breath and crushed the urge to head out for a smoke. In the years since his time as a staffer at the River, he had smoked only a handful of times, each time only as an indulgence he wasn’t particularly proud of now that his only company had sworn off it thanks to his newly minted parenthood.

He watched impassively as Anurag Sharma, his most trusted Recruitment team aide from A&M briefed the panel on the process and schedule for the day. He let his mind wander away from the frequently used speech that was being bolted out by his junior with much-appreciated enthusiasm. Recruitment was a thankless job and he was lucky to have people like Anurag help him manage A&M India’s expectations from leading Indian business school campuses. God knew, it was no mean task dealing with smart people and their swollen heads.

He raised the shortlist in his hand and allowed his gaze to rest on the name that had brought him here today.

Kaveri K. Gupta.

There was star against her name – indicating that she was a candidate of choice based on all the interactions A&M folks had had with her over the year during different informal and formal interactions – a practice that allowed them to focus on good candidates but also helped them manage losing out to their competitors who were also vying for the best talent from these campuses.

And then he allowed his gaze to travel up to the top of the list where he saw the other familiar name. Arjun Agarwal. There was, not surprisingly, a star against his name too. When he had first seen the shortlist a day before it was released to the campus – about two weeks ago –  he had laughed out aloud at the sight of Arjun’s name. He was still with her. Arnav’s stomach had churned with envy even as the wind had slapped him for his pettiness at the time. Now, it just seemed so endearing – bittersweet almost – to know that Arjun and Khushi really did seem to be destined for a life of shared milestones.

Perhaps, in his absence, things had finally turned between them too?

“AV, any final thoughts before we start?”

Arnav thanked the universe for saving him from his own jealous alter-ego that had unexpectedly taken up residence in his soul, and put the shortlist and thoughts of Arjun and Khushi in the same breath, away.

—————-

He saw her almost immediately. How could he have ever confused her with Tripti? This girl in the distance, tall and seemingly unflappable, dressed formally for the occasion, the expression on her face pleasant except the small tell of fingers tightly gripped against the small folder she was holding. And her eyes. Even with glasses keeping them shielded, he could see how large and wide they seemed to be. A sudden memory of her lashes curving against the glass when she pushed them up the bridge of her nose, curled his fingers into a fist. He had laughed and pulled them off before kissing her lips soundly, capturing her gasp of surprise just long enough to make her blink and her skin darken in that familiar shade of warmth.

How had he assumed he would be able to forget about her? How had he assumed he would be able to feel for someone else even an iota of how he felt for her?

She looked up from the floor – still her favourite point of focus and though he knew she couldn’t see him clearly from his position behind the large column of stone, he stepped back and turned away. He couldn’t spoil this day for her.

He stayed away from the process, making sure that neither Khushi nor Arjun were sent to the panel he was running for any of the rounds. He held himself back from asking his colleagues how either of them had fared. He did find out sometime during the day that Khushi was infact also a member of the Placement Committee at IM-B, not unlike Tripti was at IM-A. It made him smile and thank his stars that the IMs across the country had a uniform rule of ensuring those on the Committees couldn’t interact with the interviewing members of firms that had shortlisted them. That he should have felt like a stalker, an idiot who was seemingly content watching and not talking like the adult he was, never entered his head once he had imagined Khushi’s stricken face and possible bid to escape his company.

By the end of the day, as the A&M recruitment team on campus assembled in a room to discuss the final offers being made, Arnav knew that what he had hoped for had come through without any interference from him. Except if that thing about universes conspiring to make things happen was true. He did, however, have a conundrum he didn’t expect in the least to solve.

“They have the same profiles. Let’s pick one. We need five or six from this campus and the others are all already pegged to different service lines.”

Arnav watched as Anurag Sharma circled Kaveri K. Gupta and Arjun Agarwal’s names and waited patiently as his seniors debated.

“If you ask me to choose between two candidates of equal merit and opposite genders, my vote is always for the girl. We need our diversity.”

Arnav cringed as one of the three Partners from the Bangalore office offered his advice to resolve the dilemma. Thankfully, Shyam Anandraman, the head of A&M India spoke before Arnav could, saving him from the unpleasant task of correcting a senior from work. “Let’s not use that term, please.” Shyam then turned to Arnav. “Thoughts?”

He knew this would happen. And he squirmed as he realised that he had the power to turn this anyway he wanted – power he had used many times in the past – it was a matter of business need. It was not personal. It couldn’t be seen as so.

Except in this case.

“RDX was very clear he needs people with Automotive experience. Our US offices have very few Consultants and Senior Consultants with Automotive Manufacturing and Sales experience. If he were here, he’d be okay with both.” Arnav said softly. This was the best he could do. What he said was true and impartial, after all.

Another Senior Manager standing to his right snorted. “RDX wants to fill the entire practice with Auto folks. Let’s pick Kaveri. She was good. And Raman is right, we need our ratios to stay high.”

Shyam turned to Anurag Sharma – who was the most recent alum from IM-B. “What do you say? You probably know both from last year?”

“Arjun is the resourceful one. Kaveri is the quiet but smart worker. I don’t know her much but they are friends and this is going to be…”

Shyam shook his head. “We cannot waste this much time on every campus, guys.” He turned to Arnav. “What happens if we hire them both from here?”

Arnav held on to the sigh of relief in his chest. “Calcutta is next. It’s usually our worst shortlist to final offer ratio. We’ll be fine, numbers-wise.”

Shyam nodded. “Both. Let’s go.”

Arnav let his breath out and watched as the group of loosened ties and suits filed out of the room to announce the final list to the students waiting outside.

“AV. Joining us for the announcement and welcome dinner, right?”

He looked up to see Anurag standing at the door as the last member of the A&M team left the room. Arnav shook his head. “I have a call. You guys go ahead. I’ll be heading back to Chennai tonight. Shyam knows.”

————-

September 2015

It was ridiculous plan that had brought them to point where they were today. To engage in anymore was a sure-shot way of killing even the spark of a chance that flickered in his heart as fledgling hope. But there was no way he could miss the opportunity to be in Calcutta for the Consulting Fundamentals session that all new hires underwent in the first few days of joining A&M. The introductory meeting with the India leadership of a potential telecom client came through almost as if it was divine intervention. What kind of a fool would he have been to let the opportunity go after having done nothing for more than half a decade? What kind of fool allowed fear and guilt to keep him away from the girl who had been driving him insane for years now?

And yet, when it was time to walk through the doors and face her, he found himself stumbling and grasping at any excuse he could find to delay the inevitable. He used a completely unimportant call to gather his wits and stack his thoughts and actions neatly enough to ensure she had no opportunity to balk and run. And so when he walked in to the room as the new batch of 2015 was heads down and deep in their assessment of personality traits, he had the extra moments she wouldn’t have, to find her and allow his face to betray what he couldn’t once he found her gaze. When he spoke, he directed his voice to withhold its quiver and ensured his eyes fell on hers only when it was nothing more than a professional glance between former acquaintances.

When he approached her during the coffee break, he wanted to start by wishing her on her birthday – one that had just gone by and the ones in the intervening years that they had been apart. But the words he uttered were ones that made no sense in his head but could be faulted for nothing more than professional courtesy.

But when he was forced behind the microphone, the song had come from the place that was mirrored in her eyes even though he couldn’t see her face clearly as he belted out the words that twisted his heart and yearned to reach their destination.

He had no option but to leave that evening and wait for the day when the chance to work with her would present itself. He was gambling with the biggest decision in his life and hers. And yet, when he saw her get up and leave, his heart had swelled with hope. Petty and dramatic, foolish and naive, childish and vain, hopeful and hopeless. He was all of these things and more. But he needed her to see him for who he was. And he needed her to know that this is what she had once claimed to love. Even if she didn’t anymore. Even if all this came to naught now. One way or the other, a decade after he had first realised he would never understand what bound them so, it was finally time for all or nothing.

———-

Late January 2016

“How soon do we need to turn this around?” Shyam asked as Arnav finished briefing him about the potential project he had helped Wyatt Motors carve out for Consulting help.

“In a couple of weeks.”

“Just us?”

Arnav shook his head out of habit even though he was on the phone and out of Shyam Anandraman’s sight. “Jen is going to open this to Murphy. They’ve always been the Consulting partner of choice for strategic assignments. It is a big deal for Jen to even consider bringing us onboard.”

Shyam chuckled. “You sell well, AV. I knew that when I hired you as Senior Consultant instead of hiring you as a Consultant five years ago.”

Arnav smiled. “We need a crack team. And I need someone to help on the proposal right away. I have Ken to support me here but with one person to hold it together in the India time zone will give us enough time to turn out a high quality deliverable.”

“You have someone in mind? Depending on how risky this is, I would recommend using one of our first years.”

Arnav took a deep breath, having expected the conversation to veer to this point. “Arjun Agarwal and Kaveri Gupta both have extremely relevant profiles.”

“Hmm…I remember the debate about these two back in December” Shyam said. “Do you have a preference already? I am okay with your choice.”

“I am working with Arjun on the Koboya’s Customer Segmentation proposal. He is very good. And RDX is making Kaveri build demand analytics model in the anticipation of the work from MAC coming through.”

Shyam laughed out aloud. “I heard. She must be really good. The last time RDX was creating work to keep a resource locked was you and Pricing Analytics for Wyatt.” He took a deep breath. “Which one of them is travel ready?”

“Both.” Arnav answered. “I’d prefer Kaveri, though.” He bit down the temptation to explain his choice. He didn’t have an explanation that Shyam couldn’t counter. But from what he knew of his senior, Shyam Anandraman didn’t care about staffing decisions when it came from those he trusted implicitly. Arnav had earned his right to be one of those people. “I am also hoping I can count on you to help her work through.”

“As long as you don’t make me travel for delivery. I have seen enough of Detroit to last me a lifetime.”

Arnav smiled again and shook his head. “Jeff will be here to deliver. I’ve spoken with him.”

“Okay. Hang on. Let me call Ms. Gupta right away. We should get started tomorrow morning India time.”

“It’s late…”

“She is working for RDX. I think she’ll be glad to close at ten tonight.” Shyam laughed. “Give me a minute.”

Arnav waited, pacing in the small office that was made available to the A&M team at Wyatt Headquarters in Detroit. He heard Shyam’s soft voice and smiled as he imagined the surprise on Khushi’s face as she received her summons. It was late and Shyam’s guess that she was still working was probably bang on. He took a deep breath and waited as Shyam disconnected the phone and excused himself for a minute till Khushi made it to Shyam’s cabin.

Less than five minutes later, the little commotion at the other end of the conference bridge told him that she was in the room. “She’s here with me now AV.” Shyam said as Arnav’s pulse quickened and his pacing halted. “Let me just give her context and we’ll pick up the discussion.”

“Sure. Hi Kaveri.” He said by way of greeting, keeping his voice as neutral as he could.

“Hi.” She replied, her voice sure but soft enough for him to guess that he had managed to surprise her out of her wits. He also didn’t fail to notice that she didn’t speak his name in any of its forms she had knowledge of. It also made him wonder if she had ever called him by his name all…

“So, AV is on the verge of selling his first big deal as Senior Manager.”

“Let’s not jinx it yet, Shyam.” He responded to Shyam’s exaggerated praise with a second’s delay.

“You better get Jen to sign the Statement of Work in four weeks from now, AV.”

Arnav chuckled on the other end but said nothing. Shyam, however, went on to describe the nature of the opportunity in detail. He spoke about the client, the project itself, what was expected of her. He ended by preparing her to travel in case they did end up winning the work. Till that moment, what he was working towards had not been very clear. In the instant of silence followed by Khushi’s still soft acquiescence, the incredulousness of their impending partnership became real to him.

“Ok. Then that’s settled.” Shyam was saying. Arnav forced himself to ignore the sense of overwhelming emotion he couldn’t name or define. “AV, send Kaveri the client communication and deliverable from the project we did for America Motors. I’ll share the latest pricing toolkit with both of you. Put a storyboard and send by the end of your day. We’ll pick it up and let’s start reviewing progress starting tomorrow evening in India.”

“Sure, Shyam. Khushi, I’ll send you the material tonight. And I’ll also send you my conference bridge details. Can you please set up the calls?”

It was the sound of hesitation in Khushi’s response that made him realise that he had called her Khushi and not Kaveri. He closed his eyes and closed his fingers into a fist. Damn. Now if only Shyam…

“Who’s Khushi?”

Nope. Hoping that Shyam would miss something like this was like hoping he would fail to keep track of every one of his three hundred strong team of Consultants through Senior Managers at A&M India. Arnav took a deep breath. “It’s her middle name.”

“It is my middle name.”

They spoke at the same time, cutting Shyam off. It was enough for their senior to chuckle out loudly.

“Ah! Are we all supposed to call you Khushi, then?” Shyam asked Khushi.

“Shyam, I have to hang up.” Arnav took the slight break in the formality of their conversation to buy himself the composure he had been so sure of retaining with little effort. “I can see Jen in her office. Let me call you back.” That he did see the person in question and that he did need to speak with her, was purely coincidental.

He didn’t wait to hear Shyam bid him adieu before he disconnected the call and hurried after Jennifer Hart, training his mind to switch gears and relegate anything he couldn’t deal with at the moment to a corner that he would only access when there was nothing else pressing upon him and his time.

 River Song, Music and Lyrics:

Song Title: Rehna Tu

Album: Delhi 6

Singers: A.R. Rahman, Benny Dayal, Chorus

Music: A. R. Rahman

Lyrics: Gulzar

 

 

Thoda sa resham, tu hum dum

Thoda sa khurdura

Kabhi toh ad ja, ya lad ja

Ya khushboo se bhara

Tujhe badalna na chaahun ratti bhar bhi sanam

Bina saajawat, milaawat, na zyaada na hi kam

Tujhe chahoon, jaisa hai tu

Mujhe teri baarish mein bheegna hai, ghul jaana hai

Tujhe chahoon, jaisa hai tu

Mujhe teri lapat mein jalna raakh ho jaana hai

 

 

Next Update: Monday, Jul 24, 2017, late night IST

Please excuse typos!

 

508 thoughts on “Interlude IX: …In For A Pound

  1. Excellent update Meera.
    Here I was waiting for the much awaited Arnav & Khushi’s Dinner and you gave us an Interlude..It was indeed the perfect closing-the-loop chapter.
    Now, cant wait for Khushi to respond positively… But having had the pleasure to read your other works, kinda guess that we will have to wait some more time for that.
    We might be exhausted and emotionally drained with each chapter, but we are sure as hell ready.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yay, another interlude!

    He lied…by omission, of course, but he lied! Now we are at a stage where we want Khushi to move ahead with Arnav, but I dread that the knowledge of Arnav having made the final choice when it came to picking her for the project, will come back to haunt him. Just like it did with the songs…

    I loved how you showed the selection process through the eyes of the recruiters. Not having been on that side, it was interesting to have, if only a glimpse, of the discussions that take place. Made for a very entertaining read ;)

    Next Monday, come soon!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. YES! Another interlude – I must be psychic ;) I loved this for how it showed Arnav’s feelings over time — I wish Khushi could have the chance to look into his head the way we can and see that he is sincere. I have been frustrated with Arnav and Khushi at many points in this story, but these little glimpses remind me that there’s so much we didn’t see. Two sides to a coin.
    Love always,
    Choti.

    Liked by 10 people

  4. Wow Meera just wow!

    This was THE update I have been waiting for, THE interlude which exposed AV’s all vulnerabilities, bringing him back to what he was at the river. In that phase, he had shed his hero avtar and became more human, a little more possible dream for Khushi.

    With this update you closed so many loops. Be it that phone call with khushi’s confession or his fear of failure and guilt. Her heart break he caused, or the one he bore in equal measure if not more. Be it him getting info about Khushi indirectly, or him making sure of staying in the background of the placement process. His pride of her achievements – misplaced or otherwise, or him remebering her favorite focus spot, nerves and the decision to stay away. Him having the power to mold and alter her course and bringing to him sooner and yet not availing it.

    AV is human, and to err is himan to. He did his mistakes but he make aure to correct his actions and not to hurry into making more. He have khushi her time, to adjust to him being around, to prove her capabilities to the firm and to get to know him through this project before he decided to address the bond between them. I love him more for this.

    And I salute you for your writing, the way you closed all these loops without losing the flow or essence of this story. Many have said this but let me just repeat it again. You and your writing are the best. You should be publishing and I will be their to buy whenever you do.

    PS. Arnav and his jealousy be it aman or rajat was so cute.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. “The girl whose heart he had broken by smashing it against his own” – Lavz like you this line really hit me hard when I read this update. I couldn’t write anything coherent after that. My heart was so full. For me it was THE line of the update ( probably THE line of the River) in an update that is full of so many impactful ones. How can one not fall in love with this vulnerable, fallible AV? Hope is really what keeps him going. He has an uphill task explaining it all to Khushi but like Divz said she has to believe. She just has to.
    As for the story-telling the River is a masterclass in how to craft a story. The detailing and precision of every little thing is awe-inspiring. I am even more in awe of Meera with this one.

    PS : love Shawshank Redemption

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Wonderful update Meera :)
    I didn’t expect the interlude …:p but nonetheless it was much needed …
    It’s great to see sneak peek into Arnav’s feelings in all the months …

    Eager for next ..hope you continue their dinner night …the wait seems unbearable :P :(

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Wow!!!!
    This sneak peek into Arnav’s mind was amazing!!!
    The lengths he went to ensure he does not do anything and still have her on board!!!
    Universe surely forced her to come into his team!!!
    Rest he did on his own!!!!
    Lovely!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just occurred to me… he has quit smoking! Yayy… one less hurdle on the way to finish line 😀 I recall Arjun’s words in Calcutta! …. she doesn’t like smoking …. or something similar 😀

    Liked by 7 people

  9. 😂 you are right
    No smoking ✔️
    Freshly showered ✔️
    Ek hi kamre mein ✔️
    Privacy ✔️
    Determined ✔️

    Anything we have missed? 😉😉

    Liked by 7 people

      1. The size of the bed doesn’t matter. Close fit works just as well. 😜
        Although I am sure Arnav’s fancier suite does have it. 😉

        Liked by 6 people

              1. (Vinni… the aane do dialogue… it is scene from IPK… the mehendi day by poolside… do you remember?)

                As regards calls, he should have jammers in place :) Yes… K did check her phone before saying she is early at the door. So yea, jammers are needed :D

                Liked by 6 people

                1. Haddi ?!?! Here I was thinking Mother Nature would come to the rescue with either a blizzard so that the duo get a snow day… enough time for Q&A and then to “behene do” in the” jazbaat” after the emotional roller coaster ride! ;) What say?!?! ;) :D

                  Liked by 5 people

                    1. Tumri gold medal vala uthar badhiya tha, for who will buy the book😂
                      Kya boli, look for a new job as situation writers for a sabun which is in dire need of help😜😂

                      Liked by 2 people

                  1. Divz I am sitting in a carpatique waiting for the husband to finish surgery and guess what I am listening to on my phone….behene de 😂

                    Liked by 4 people

                    1. Oh dear!! That was supposed read as carpark. Autocorrect hates me. 😭 I don’t even know what that word means 😃

                      Liked by 3 people

                    1. Nah! The song of the moment will be “aayi re aayi re, aake tujhme samaa jaaun mai, tu hi re, tu hi re….”. Only one important essential there 😉😉😛

                      Liked by 4 people

              1. AV is determined. He is not going to let the “romantic moments bigadne ke 101 tareeke ” get in the way this time. 😎🤓😉😉😂

                Liked by 5 people

                    1. 😂😂
                      Break a pencil!
                      May your laptop(s) never die!
                      May the force be with you guys and all that jazz!

                      I have a doubt though? Who on earth would want to buy it :D :D

                      Liked by 6 people

                    2. Birajwa gold medal wala uthar dia, yejj star minus will definitely buy. They love almost kiss, did it happen or naats scenarios(how many fishes were there hello hi bye bye😂).

                      Liked by 6 people

  10. Splendid chapter indeed. What an interlude 👌👌👌its gives a total picture of whats been going on in Arnav’s mind after river camp. Arnav is taking very slow but calculative steps to win what he have lost 5 years back.
    Ea

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You have totally spoilt me for any other writer. I am not saying that there are no.other good writers. But none that can create the same magic. It’s been years now since Emerald Isles and still I read and re read and re read each of the chapters and the previous ones waiting for next updates. And now, in addition, I can’t seem to listen to few of my favorite songs without imagining Khushi and Arnav singing them.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Beautiful update di!! It was to very nice to know. Arnav s feelings ,his excitement to meet her,his guilt,his thoughts,hopes and to know that even he couldn’t get kushi out of his heart!!kushi has surely driven him insane😜
    Loved the update…👌👌

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello Meera
    Thank u for this beautiful update.
    Oh Arnav has kept tabs on khushi’s progress, but happy to know that he has no role or involvement in her achievements, that’s a relief.
    Hats off to this man, who has kept feeling hidden, and acted so calm and composed in front of khushi.
    Thank u

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I was just randomly picking songs from my playlist and listening to them while doing some chores around the house and the ones I heard in order were
    1. Pyaar hua chupke se
    2. Tanhai
    3. Ae ajnabi
    4. Behene de
    5. Tu hi re
    And I realised that it sums up the story of the River from Book 1 to now. Now my music listening has also become about this journey 😀

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Now I have done a full circle and ended with listening to “ek din aap yun humko mil jaayenge” (which if I recall right was the song after chapter 1 ). Happy and hopeful place to end after all the intensity. 😀 Yes yes I know I am crazy 😛 (It’s because Monday takes so long to come 😛)

      Liked by 5 people

  15. Meera – the best thing I like about your writing is the ability to you have to make us relate to the characters, their lives and emotions. I keep going back and forth with my sympathies for the ‘oh so human’ Weaknesses and vulnerabilities AV and Kaveri show in their non relationship status. I am also loving the shop talk of conducting the sales cycle, strategies for winning and business and delivering the project.

    Liked by 2 people

              1. P, I just read Book 1 Chapter 5 again and I so want an interlude on that. In fact starting from then all the way upto end of Book 1. We have a small snatch of it in the chapter 23 of Book 2 and the Arjun interlude which told us more about AV but that wasn’t anywhere near enough.

                Liked by 2 people

                  1. “At the end of Arjun’s speech, AV Sir looked at her once, his eyes strangely muted and yet just as rich as the darkest raven. And then he was gone.” – I would love to know what was going on his head at this point and from here on onwards. Even earlier but especially from this point.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. That’s after her head gets banged by the door he opens right? And then he comes and sits next to her, asks her which song she is going to sing and in the end she tells him to call her khushi… ha yes we need to know all that😂

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. Yes. He is looking at the bump closely and She is looking at him and his mouth and wondering…. and then this bit was after she realises that he thinks she and Arjun have something going. And then all the rest.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. And he is the only one who calls her Khushi from then on. Her parents call her Kaveri and her sister calls her Di. So even her family doesn’t call her Khushi.

                      Liked by 1 person

  16. Yayy!! Another interlude and it was just WOW!!!
    Couldn’t have asked for more as it gave us an entire journey of Arnav’s and what was his role(or rather not) in Khushi’s recruitment and the entire process after her joining and stuff.
    Khushi might not have known or been in touch with him, but he was always there.. omnipresent kind of. But then ai wouldn’t say that he was biased and he had any role in Khushi’s selection in their company. He was asked his opinion and he gave a fair one.. whatever he thought, he said it without being biased!!
    Then regarding the project selection.. yes both Arjun and Khushi qualified for it and he personally wanted Khushi to be a part of it and he said it to Shyam in a way as best as he could put. But then he came out clean in front of Khushi regarding this. So I see no harm in this!!!
    Call me whatever you want to.. but now I really want to see them together.
    Waiting for the next update.. for the dinner!!

    Lots Of Love.. 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Meera
    I was waiting for their dinner date , nevertheless this chapter is much needed one. Looking forward for the next chapter Meera. Thanks for giving us wonderful master piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. All nerves! I have to have to be here! (hopefully, I shouldn’t be pulled away from here! :( …I want to be here! :) )

    AV!!
    Meri Bebasi Ka Bayaan Hai, Bas Chal Raha Na Iss Ghadi
    Meri Bebasi Ka Bayaan Hai, Bas Chal Raha Na Iss Ghadi
    Ras Hasrat Ka Nichod Doon
    Kas Baahon Mein Aa Todh Doon
    Chahoon Kya Jaanu Naa

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yeah me too. The update invariably arrives at dinner time for me. So it’s usually only much much later that I get to read it when I am half asleep. Around midnight or later.

      Liked by 6 people

        1. Ah! I wish I could. But the husband gets home very late from work so hard to switch dinner time to any later. And earlier is not really an option. Although I rush through dinner on Mondays 😛. Besides I am biting my nails and nervous about this one already. Need some alone ‘me’ time to read it. Can’t explain my mad obsession with fictional characters to anyone else other than similarly afflicted folks 😀. It’s my deep dark secret (although the other day I ventured into watching an episode of the latest offering and the husband recognised the rabba vey tune in the midst of some work he was doing 😂)

          Liked by 5 people

          1. Rushing through things! That’s the spirit! Hi5! 😂
            Mad Obsession urf Pyaar, Junoon, Deewanapan all that yeah! sounds right! :D :D
            Poor souls who are around us, trying to understand what is this all about every single time! 😂😂

            Liked by 5 people

            1. Tujhko dekh kar
              Aankhein muskurane lagti hain
              Tujhko mil kar
              Dhadkne gun-gunane lagti hain
              Aisa hota hai kyun?
              Mujhko khabar nahin
              Pehle kabhi hua, aisa asar nahin!
              Yeh ishq hai ya kuch aur hai?……😉😂😂

              Liked by 4 people

          1. There is one on behene do also. Haven’t watched it but thanks to Divz I am now thinking of the pitstop at CVS now 😂
            There are Ragini’s VMs also. I wonder if any of the old ones of hers are there. The ones she made while the show was on air. They were hilarious. 😀. There was one called “have you rabba veyed today?” 😀

            Liked by 2 people

              1. Yeah. There was amazing writing too and so much humour and wit. And some really good VMs. In fact the ismailvegamze playlist was great. One could and rewatch just the good bits without having to forward the rubbish. But I think SP blocked everything.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Yeah star minus blocked everything. That’s what I watched first, the love scenes, then 398 episodes with the least amount of food and sleep I could manage with. Madness had really struck😂 May 2013, the show had been off air for 5 or 6 months, so the good stuff were still there.

                  Liked by 1 person

  19. Im in the same boat… i even went as far as naming my son Arnav :P <3

    Im usually driving back from moms to work after lunch during the update time ..hope i don't get pulled into any meetings…fingers crossed :)
    eagerly waiting :)
    Dhak dhak dhak dhak<3 <3 <3

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I have waited so long to read this….
    To see how all this fits together… how Khushi is working right next to AV… how has he been doing? Why are they not together?
    I finally know what went on…. you have a beautiful way of giving away your stories… i think this was just the right time for this interlude…. i had to know what is going on with AV….
    so many incidents… each one explaining how we are here in detroit waiting for them to sing together…. I could not be any happier…
    You have done such an awesome job…. magic, this is what it is……
    ♥️
    Pavina

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Its a weekday and because chaitu literally made me curious about recent chapter i am here. Also because i needed a breather after such hectic schedule. What is best than River!

    Is he narrating all that to Kaveri? If he is, then usko mera saara pyaar.

    He was always there no? Recruitment se lekar Detroit tak, he was always there for her. Waiting her. Loving her?

    I always love Arnav’s interludes but this one was different in its own ways. May be because it was too revealing unlike previous ones . Or because we don’t have habits to read this much or may be because this much information we wanted since so long. Jo b ho i loved it too.

    One more thing M. Your songs. All of them. Jidar se I started reading again. They were magical. I seriously think Book 3 got best of dialogues and songs. You please someday time nikal k Muje email karo. I want your playlist. You made me listen to Retros and 90s songs and so many other ones. You have this amazing taste in songs. And all of them merge with the story so well.
    I always play River song in background then read the update.

    And yes i am here. Finally. Where i should be. Recent river chapter. The way chaitu said, i think something major had happened and i cant wait to read.

    Off to next chapter. See you on recent updates now.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Hi Meera ,
    I have reached this far. Amazing story. But your interludes are trying my patience. ofho! get to the main point. No patienceeeeeeeeee. Where is the July 24 update?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. So seeing her sister reminded him of HER until then she was in his hidden corner of his mind/thoughts. Well seeing Tripti had him put everything into perspective and had him decided he wanted in his life but on his own merits as well as hers. He didn’t want to jeopardize his work ethics as well as hers & Arjun to have his say in their choosing. He wanted to be neutral so that it won’t backfire at him at later date.
    This chapter close some of the gaps I had been wondering about. In a way it brought to full circle for at least this part…more to go.
    Sorry Meera for late reading and commenting…life has become crazy & busy & will stay similar for next few months. So please forgive me and be patience…I will be here as soon as I can.
    Sorry peeps…good comments you all have left here…some as very charming, hilarious (communication) …made me laugh…some existing and pleasant to read. Sorry couldn’t read everyone’s comment…Wish you the best. Thank you.
    D

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This Interlude came at a apt point Meera. While all of us were wondering exactly how much of Khushi’s presence in Detriot was influenced. Not only Khushi, we also needed that clarity before the story went ahead. I am really happy that though Arnav did not orchestrate the process, he was still present through out, desperately hoping that this time life would give him a chance to play his part. The composed manner in which he operated those months trying not to use his power and still have her on board is amazing. This little peak into Arnav’s mind has closed a lot of loops that were hanging around, like his reaction to her confession, the decision to stay away from her, his reaction to seeing her after a long gap… Everything was tied so beautifully in this chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Universe conspiracy theory!
    He tried to keep his interference out during the selection process. But he had to choose eventually.. and he chose her!
    ♡♡♡

    Like

  26. It must be so heart wrenching for AV to consider even for a moment that Khushi n Arjun r together..
    He doesn’t plan to get her into the project but he definitely chose her over Arjun ..
    But this’s also correct that he’s been already doing a project with Arjun..

    Amazing story..intriguing characters..
    Wanna read more..

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Arnav cleared all her apprehensions. He truly have no hand in hiring her. In fact he found out that Khushi will be giving interview via Tripti of all people. He made sure he is not in the way. He does not want to overwhelm Khushi and then he did not want increase or decrease Khushi’s chances by staying in the panel. So, Khushi got the job fair and square and by remaining neutral Arnav actually got Arjun hired as well. Arnav included Arjun in a different project and when it is time to pick a person between Khushi and Arjun, he picked Khushi with a bit of indirect help from Shyam. Nice progress in their relationship. Loved it.
    Cheers……

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Even when A/K are just friends colleagues think they are an item, it must have pricked AV
    AV was truly the silent guardian angel, though he had no haath in hiring her ,kept tabs on her progress
    Almost like a proud parent ( I know, it is wacky, weird 🤮) but then Gupta parents always thought that Kaveri was smart enough to make the right choices
    Even when it comes to arranged marriage Gayuma is clueless
    Hope it is more than just dinner ( gutter alert , Meeraji )🥰😬
    Enough of talking , even if Amanji Ka phone or Jen ( ji ) Ka phone aayega toh
    Aane do
    💋chahiye

    Like

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