Aarohan 2005,

Varanasi

No sooner had the lights dimmed, he flicked the switch on the mic off and stepped to the side. He had no idea what he was going to say to her but he knew he wanted to have her look into his eyes. He wanted to feel that thread that seemed to thrum between them – to make sure it was real and not just the adrenaline that came from adulation and applause. He dodged the small crowd of organizers that was headed to the stage to set up the instruments and walked with renewed vigor and purpose.

He heard her voice almost as soon as he crossed the edge of the stage and stepped into the wings.

“What are you doing here?”

She sounded – surprised and disappointed. For a ridiculous second, he wondered if Prashant Tiwari had infact gotten to her. It didn’t seem to occur to him that it was unlikely that Tiwari of all people, could inspire such familiarity in her voice. Fortunately, the other voice was feminine, loud and rather playful.

“I was in the audience and then I walked over to the green room.” The voice explained slowly as if the owner was clearly enjoying teasing her. “Oh and then I saw your friend and he pointed me to this place. I know you don’t have much time but…”

My friend? Khushi asked in confusion that didn’t last long enough to ease his condition. “Oh! Arjun?”

Arjun’s name should have been like a splash of cold water on his face. And if he were honest to himself, he would admit that it did slow him down in his tracks. But the words that followed his momentary deceleration, sent any doubts and questions that might have been lingering in his mind, out of the proverbial window.

“I just had to see you, Di. I mean, if that is who you have fallen in love with…”

He stilled and something in his chest exploded. The voice – she was talking about…

“Tripti!” Khushi’s voice exclaimed in evident mortification, confirming his suspicion. He had no idea why or what made him interrupt but he found himself calling out to her, as if he was unable to help himself. Of course he was unable to help himself. He should have known that about himself especially around her.

“Khushi?”

He waited as she turned to her left and slowly raised her eyes to meet his.

Once again, something, now pulsing in the bottom of his rib-cage lurched as her lashes swept over her dark eyes and against her glasses. It should have been comical the way her eyes seemed to be surprised at the barrier that kept her hidden from the world. Except it was strangely evocative, in a way that made him want to pull the frames off the bridge of her nose and watch her eyes widen in surprise.

“Oh! Err…I think I should go. I’ll see you at home, Di.”

It was her sister, he realized as the voice that was petered in and out of his now hazy awareness. He blinked and tried to look at the other girl – the one who had inadvertently let him in on a secret that he might have never truly known. But how could he let go of this gaze that he found with such effort in the first place. So it was she who blinked first and forced him to follow her gaze. And it was thus that he saw the younger girl make her way out of the wings and in the process stumble almost as if on purpose, against Khushi.

His hands shot out instinctively and grasped her wrists as she brushed against him awkwardly. “Careful,” He said redundantly, his voice inaudible even to his own ears as blood rushed to his fingers, forcing him to let her go as suddenly as he had held her. He swallowed and watched as she uncurled her fingers and released his kurta even as her scent filled his lungs. Everything about her shimmered as she looked back up at him again. In that moment, if Arjun had walked in and called him on his farce, he would have had nothing to say. He would have bowed in obeisance to his guilt and out of the ridiculous plan that there was no turning back from now.

 “Are you okay?”  He asked though he wasn’t sure if it was her or himself he addressed at that point. It didn’t help that his voice sounded like it was being groomed to polish coarse skin off stubborn heels.

 “I’m fine.” She whispered even as she let her gaze slip away. In that moment of a lost connection, the world around them swooped in and sent the little dream shimmering.

“AV-Sir – up in two” Someone called out and he watched as Khushi stepped back and looked away, straightening her dupatta. He almost told himself to bite his words when he saw the small smile curve her lips. It was all he could do to not grin out aloud in juvenile victory snatched from an unseen enemy in an unknown war. “Ready?” He asked.

She nodded and looked back up at him again.

“I’ve changed some songs.” He said as their gazes twisted together into an intangible weave. He had to remind himself to breathe as he allowed the words to settle between them. Suddenly the past few days of searching and planning, meant nothing. All he wanted to do now was feel her voice alongside his own as music rippled around in little joyous waves. Every song he knew he had planned for the evening, so many so specially selected for her, of her choice, engendered a curiosity he hadn’t felt so far. They may not be his selection, but it would still be his voice matching hers.

A small smile curved his lips as she stayed silent but didn’t tear her eyes away. He found strength in that unwavering gaze.  “The plan,” He explained, “is for me to go up first for the opening songs and then you can join me when it is your turn to sing. I am hoping you will know when.” He was all but challenging her and fate to tell him answers to questions he hadn’t posed yet.

Slow down.

He needed to slow down. 

“But I am okay if you don’t want to…” He offered quietly.

Her back straightened as he watched. “I am okay” She assured him and he couldn’t help but smile as he extended a sheaf of papers towards her.

When she looked at it curiously, he explained in a single word. “Lyrics.”

She smiled at that as if amused by the idea. “I don’t need them.” She vowed confidently, accepting his little challenge with more eagerness than he probably deserved. Except in that moment, what he deserved had little to do with what he wanted.

He nodded with a smile and turned to walk away from her. He was almost at the edge where the wings gave way to the stage when he half-turned to face her again. “In case, I forget later, thank you for singing with me today.” He said softly and almost soared a couple of inches up in the air when he saw her face transform with an unrestrained smile. Closing his eyes for a second, he willed his breathing to return to normal before he walked on to the stage and a million halogen lights came alive. Quickly strapping his guitar on, he took his centrestage seat and the light came back on. He gestured to the band behind him with a quick thumbs up and struck the chords of the guitar decisively.

A voice somewhere announced his presence most dramatically. “Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting, Arnav Varun”

———-

He needed to find Arjun, he thought to himself as he hurried away from the stage just so he could get back as quickly. Trust his sister to summon him away from where he most needed to be. When he had stepped out of the spotlight, all he had been focused on was Khushi. He could see her standing by herself, smiling at those who were raining compliments on her even as her eyes kept veering back to him.

If it hadn’t been for the message Ti-Di had sent for him to meet her before she fell asleep, he wouldn’t have attempted leaving the auditorium. But Ti-Di and her penchant for exaggeration had always been formidable opponents to his best laid plans. The junior who had come up to pass on the message from his sister hadn’t been able to stop laughing as he relayed the dramatic message from Ti-Di about how she absolutely couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer and that not seeing him would keep her awake till she made herself ill – all this when they had come all this distance for him… Arnav had stopped the younger man at this point and rolled his eyes before he decided to make a quick trip to the guest house.

Of course, that also helped him realize that he owed it to Arjun to meet him and tell him…His descent down the stairs of the auditorium slowed as his nervous heartbeat slackened into the normal rhythm of reasonableness. What was he going to tell Arjun? That suddenly it didn’t matter that the songs had been picked by Arjun? That when he sang, he sang every word like he meant it? Every time the reference to her name in a song, every mention of emotion he was scared to name brought forth the revelry that Arjun had imagined for himself but for very different reasons.

The evening around him dimmed as he walked away from the brightly lit auditorium and along the dark roads leading through the campus towards the guest houses. A gust of imminent rain filled his lungs as trees shook in their places and rustled through the night. What was he going to say to Arjun? Perhaps, nothing was needed at the moment. Perhaps, he could wait till Arjun spoke with Khushi. Once Arjun did, whatever Khushi decided would only make his work easier.

Or maybe…maybe could speak with Khushi first?

And say what? A voice taunted him, strangely Saira-ish in its timbre.

If he didn’t know what he would say to Arjun, what he might say to Khushi was even further out of his grasp in the moment. What did one say in such situations? When Saira and he had decided they were more than friends, it had been natural even though it had been Saira who had made him aware of how things were different between them. They were friends one day and they’d been more the next. In moments of awareness, there had been saplings of hesitation that never really took root given how easy Saira made it for them by being who she was till the day she suggested they take a break. The idea of a break too, was so inherently her. “If things don’t seem to be working in your favor,” she’d said onece, “You step away and gather your thoughts. Then one way or the other, you know what you need to do.”

Perhaps, he supposed again, this forced break from the high of the preceding hours was going to be as cathartic as Saira claimed it usually was.

He breathed in his indecisiveness and hastened his pace. The sooner he could finish speaking to his sister and head back, the better it would be for his own sanity.

————–

“She didn’t want to fall asleep without telling you,”

Arnav blinked hard as he turned away from the door that his mother had just disappeared into – with a huge smile on her face and relief in her brows.

 “Munna?” He saw his sister staring at him with those ever knowing gaze and knew that he had given away at least part of his biggest secret – one that was going to have to stay just that now.

“You shouldn’t have told everyone on campus before you told me.” He said softly. The anger that should have punctuated his statement was missing. What was the point of it anyway?

“Why?” She challenged and he knew she suspected enough to make his life miserable. “There is something wrong, isn’t there?” Aditi asked as her brows came closer in a familiar knit.

He took a deep breath and forced himself to smile. “Don’t hold me accountable for reactions that are born of shock, Di.” He said as he fought the urge to rub his tired eyes. “It just hasn’t sunk in, that’s all.” He assured her.

Aditi blinked and for a moment, Arnav was sure she was going to pursue the conversation in the direction he didn’t want it to head in. But something, perhaps it was fatigue of the years that had gone by flickered in her eyes as she smiled. “It had to happen, Munna. You are his favorite child. How long was he going to hold on to this ridiculous stance? Plus, he really missed Ahmed Uncle all these months.”

“He didn’t come with you. He hasn’t called me either,” Arnav pointed out as he sank into the chair in the small adjoining living room.

“You know how he is. His ego is too big to handle more than this. If this relationship needs to be repaired, it will have to be you who will need to make the effort.” Aditi said as she sat down on the other empty chair in the room.

“I have been trying for months, Di.” Arnav said with a deep sigh. “And,” He shook his head, “It will have to be me, yes. Just that…I just hoped…”

Aditi reached out and covered his hand with hers. “One step at a time,” She said softly. “You know the rule with him.”

Arnav smiled and nodded.

“But, Munna,” Aditi started as the silence between them began to stretch comfortably, “Whatever this funk is that you seem to have gotten yourself into – I hope you will snap out of it before Raeesa Aunty tells Saira. Amma and I cheated so that you could know first.”

Arnav swallowed, his throat burning with shame and regret. He clenched his fists, now certain that his sister knew something was off with him – not just between Saira and him. And she’d bought him time by telling him their path was clear before Saira would know. Perhaps this emergency trip down was…

“If I didn’t know you better, little brother,” Aditi said softly, “I’d have asked the question I think you know I want to ask.”

Arnav wanted to laugh out aloud. She was right. If she knew him…if he knew himself….If…that’s what this entire evening was going to come down to – a big, giant if…

“Anyway,” His sister continued, shaking herself to sound infinitely more cheerful than he was sure either of them felt at the moment. “You go back to that Aarohan of yours and enjoy. I’m sure the news of your impending wedding has spread by now. All your friends must be waiting to celebrate with you. Amma and I will see you at breakfast tomorrow and then tomorrow – your time is all ours, okay?”

He nodded his head. Right or wrong – she’d saved him from being the person he wouldn’t have recognized in the mirror when the euphoria of the unattainable settled. He thanked her silently, pinning her with a weary smile that she didn’t return before he prepared to head back.

————-

For months that would follow, Arnav would think back to the night and everything leading up to it, to figure out what and at which point he should have done something differently. He would indeed come up with answers – all leading to just one badly-made decision. But the night of Aarohan 2005 brought nothing but a see-saw of emotions that wrung him dry after flinging him to unwarranted highs and unexpected lows and everything in between.

As he reached the auditorium again, the chill crept up his spine and spilled into his fingers. It was when he thrust his clammy hands into his pockets that he re-discovered the mixed tape he had been carrying. And it was then that he knew that whether he did anything else or not, he needed to hand the tape to her. Perhaps she would know then that he wished things…No, he shook his head as he trudged up the stairs, he couldn’t even wish things were different. After all, what had happened tonight was what he had once wished for too – fervently.

As he joined the crowds, he received congratulatory messages ranging from teasing, shocked, surprised, happy and yet felt nothing except a sense of impending misfortune. He saw Nishant Pathak by the wings when he suddenly knew what he needed to do.

“Congratulations, AV-Sir!” Nishant said with a small smile, though it was a gaze full of questions bestowed on him as he offered his wishes.

“Does Arjun know?” He asked as he shook NK’s hand. Arjun needed to know. Once Arjun did, he would know to tell her. And then… “Tell him,” Arnav said to NK without waiting for an answer. “I don’t want him cribbing about not knowing,” He continued lightly, hoping it would fool his junior.

Nishant smiled bemusedly but nodded.

“Have you seen Khushi?” He asked next, hoping that in the wake of Arjun’s mention the question wouldn’t raise NK’s curiosity any more than necessary.

“Kaveri? I think she is waiting for Arjun to drop her back home. She just went towards the washrooms,” Nishant pointed and then fell silent as Arnav nodded and turned away.

He placed himself in the dark alleyway that joined the washrooms to the auditorium and waited for less than a minute when he spotted her walking out of the ladies room. Without paying attention to the skip in his chest, he called out her name and cursed silently when he saw step back and stumble backwards as her sandals caught her ill-adjusted dupatta.

If it was any brighter in the area, he was sure he would see panic on her face. He hated himself for doing this to anyone, much less this girl who had him tied up in knots and seemed to know nothing of it. At the moment however, he had no patience for decency that was his favored cape. His spell of providence was limited; his presence in her company would soon be unwelcome.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you but….” He said softly as he stepped into the light. He saw the spark of recognition spread warm pink across her otherwise pale face. He waited as her expression eased and then in less time than it took for him to decide to close the distance between them, her gaze transformed into one of questions, worried. He might have celebrated the knowledge in other circumstances. Now…

“Is everything okay?” She asked, stepping forward toward him.

“There is something I neeed to…” He took another step forward and watched her brows furrow. He looked around him as voices from outside filtered in and seemed to near them. “I have to be somewhere….my family….” He took a deep breath again, not sure what he was trying to say or succeeding in. “I got this…,” He extracted the mixed tape from his pocket and held it out instead, “for you…as a thank you for tonight….You know the conversation we had about obscure music from the last decade…I don’t know if you will like…I have it here, nevertheless…”

He waited as she seemed to scan his face, her eyes worried as her mouth tightened as if she was…She was going to say no, excuse herself and run away. She should. She was the sensible one, wasn’t she? Except it scared the hell out of him for reasons he didn’t want to examine. “Please….” He whispered as he reached out to catch hold of her palm and place the mixed tape in it…“I need to…” He took a deep breath and looked away, cursing silently. What was he doing?

“AV-Sir…” She began and looked up at him. It was then that he realized how close she was, how her scent filled his lungs again. Her eyes were trained on his, full of softness that he didn’t deserve. And yet, he was a selfish bastard, wasn’t he? “Kaveri…Can I drop you home.” He asked abruptly a long, silent moment later. Yes, he was selfish. He needed to take what he could. Soon there would be nothing.

The fact that she mutely nodded and walked ahead past him as he waited for her should have sent a frission of relief through his body. Only his limbs stiffened further warily. What was he doing, he asked himself again in despair.  

They walked in silence, the voices, loud and cheerful in the distance a mock reminder of the fact that they had both just minutes ago been part of the same merriment and now were literally walking away from it all. He walked on knowing that she was taking any chance she could to glance at him, perhaps trying to figure out what he was thinking, or what he wanted to say. He wished he could tell her prepare for the worst given he himself didn’t know what the end of this journey would look like.

“Shit!” He cursed softly as a mindless detail interrupted his silence. “I forgot my bag backstage. He said turning around, his eyes never meeting hers. “Just give me a second…I’ll be back.”

By the time he came back, however, damage was all set to take over.

“No, I think I can manage, Arjun…you should go…Nishant Sir…”

He saw Arjun almost immediately and knew that this was it, that the little detour he’d been ready to risk despite everything, was never meant to be.

It was for the best. Of course, it was for the best.

“I met Nishant Sir,” Arjun was saying, “and it is pretty late…we have strict instructions from AV-Sir and team that no girl is going to be allowed to walk back alone – even to the hostels.

“Arjun…” Khushi began as he neared her.

She was waiting for him. She was going to hate him. And he…he would deserve every bit of that hate.

“AV-Sir…” Arjun beamed as he looked up and over Khushi’s shoulder. “Congratulations! Great news!!” He said, his eyes at odds with the cheerfulness of his voice,” He stepped forward to extend his palm towards Arnav. “Party kab de rahe hain…Nahi pehle Ma’am ki photo kab dikha rahe hain”

He watched as Khushi’s face paled even further in the dim lights, her eyes wide as she heard and processed Arjun’s words. I’m sorry, he said silently and knew even then that it wouldnt be enough.

“Nishant Sir told us that your parents are here to surprise you with their acceptance. I didn’t know ki aap Romeo-Juliet type ki ladaai lad rahe the ghar pe…No wonder IE-V girls were never good enough for you…You must be relieved now…Shaadi kab…Oh…” Arnav watched as Arjun continued to ramble, now turning to Khushi to bring her in to the conversation. “Kavi – Congratulate AV-Sir. His parents have finally accepted his love story. They are here today to surprise him…That is what Nishant-Sir wanted to tell me…Bose is waiting to party all night…”

If he had ever any questions on what heartbreak looked like, it was answered with the small smile on Kaveri Khushi Gupta’s face as she muttered her wishes to him with a small smile, looking everywhere except straight at him. Look at me, he wanted to say. Look at me so you know it isn’t what I…

For the next few minutes Arjun talked and he replied in monosyllables. A part of him wanted to end the conversation and send the two of them on their way. Arjun had an evening of declaration waiting for him. And Khushi…she could have something…even if she didn’t…

“God,” Arjun said suddenly, bringing Arnav’s attention back, “We should really get going” He said as he looked at his watch. “I’ll see you back at Bose?” He asked Arnav and seemed to know just how difficult it was for Arnav to nod in that moment. So he stared blankly at Arnav for a moment and then turned to his friend. “Kavi….”

The dull, spaced out look in her eyes disappeared as she turned to look at Arjun with a small, clearly forced smile.

“As usual, you were lost in your dreams. I was saying let’s go. I’ll drop you and then I need to hurry back for the continuation of the party…”

“I’ll manage, Arjun…” Khushi started and then fell silent.

“AV-Sir is here – he is the one who made the rule…Sir – aap bolo – Ms. Gupta has decided she is aaj ki ladki…”

Before he could say anything, however, Khushi shook her head and said. “Ok…chalo…it is getting late.”

She then tried to look at him directly and failed. He swallowed painfully as he watched her clutch the mixed tape in her dupatta covered hand and mutter a whispered goodbye in his direction. Before he knew it, Arjun and his Kavi were out of his sight.

Eventually, it was not NK’s heart that had been trampled on that night. And it had not been Khushi or Arjun who’d trampled it.

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Saanware

Album: Phantom

Singer: Arijit Singh

Music: Pritam

Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

 

Pehle kyun na mile hum

Tanha hi kyun jale hum?

Milke muqammal hue hain

Yaa thhe tanha bhale hum?

Saanware

Na humara hua, na tumhara hua

Ishq ka yeh sitam, na gawara hua

 

Note

  1. Phew! That was a long chapter. Thank you for staying with the trip down memory lane. I’ll see you back at the Inn in Detroit in the next chapter
  2. Next update: Aug 28, 2017 – late night IST
  3. The River song today is a recent, unexpected discovery. Something about it just seems to fit here. Hope you enjoy it – I don’t think this is as popular as most River songs are with you all.

465 thoughts on “Interlude X – D: The Perfect Storm

  1. Meera , I am so moved by this chapter. To know that Arnav felt as much as khushi did and the way you have written this down, … just magical. I could feel her nervousness, the helplessness, the excitement, the heartbreak. This chapter is indeed a closure to the entire journey and we know that that they are two exactly similar people with very deep emotion for each other… love love love

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful sentences to feel those emotions once again.
    So there is more than one heartbreak on that night,AV too felt that.
    He shouldn’t have given that tape,it’s cruel.
    He had feelings for Khushi since Aarohan but still he remained quiet for these many years is out of my understanding.
    He knew he broke her heart on Arohan night but still he remained quiet when she professed her love for him,why? Saira wasn’t there in the picture but still ,he disappeared for that many years,why?
    AV is a big puzzle who should be decoded by Meeraji by writing as many interludes as possible,so sisters like me can understand:):):)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I do agree Meera . Pls do unravel Arnav .
      I’m unable to understand why it has taken him 10 years , and , a jolt in the form of Khushi meeting Rajat , to express himself .
      He knew it then , she confessed a couple of years earlier ..
      What is the issue ?? Pls do expound on Arnav’s innermost thoughts and mindset as I’m unable to decipher his thought process .

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mind blowing awesome update.
    Feel bad for Arnav from all this flash back and past memories it was all feel like they were puppets in the hand of time and situations.
    Arnav and khushi and Arun and even nishant all were heart broken due to date and time.waiting for next part eagerly.
    Is this all Arnav telling khushi in the Detroit inn?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely update,Meera. Loved reading zll four parts from AV’s point of view and the discussions that followed. I do agree with my fellow readers that this is never going to be enough. One needs a lot more. Hope this story goes on for a long time.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Meera, love reading this story. Every interlude brought more layers to Av. But this one left me shocked.Idk how come Av survived with all these emotions packed up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my 😧! Arnav had feelings for Khushi since he met her and still kept everything to himself. Why? I hope he’s telling all this to Khushi cuz he needs to come out in open. He hurt her twice and this time he better make everything right because Khushi deserves it. Can’t wait to read the love, romance and passion between our Arshi😉😊! Thank you for this wonderful journey👍😃! We are cherishing every word of this story👌😊!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Meera thx for introducing me to a new song , this song is so appropriate and the lyrics are beautiful they not only point to Arnav raw emotions But could apply to many … what could have been . You have done a beautiful story about
    Same topic in your other blog though there the intensity of love is a mere attraction – that too is beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh the heart break … worst of its kind 💔
    The last line was just … don’t knw how to say what I feel … so I’ll go with uff!!
    I’m at loss of words Meeraji
    I think I want more of the past … to see what happened after Arahon … may be u will shed some light on it later?
    Eagerly waiting to be back to the inn 😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reading this was like watching heartbreak in slow motion. There was such a build up to the climax which wasn’t to be after all for anyone, not AV Sir, not Kaveri and not Arjun. You also managed to weave into every minute of that evening this sense that while each one of them had dreams and hopes, they all had a sense that it would not progress into reality….that it was not meant to be….

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi Meera 😃
    Thanks for the interesting update 😃
    So much of revelation 👏😘
    So av sir liked khushi all along but didn’t get a chance to voice out
    The last line was quite a catch, it was fabulous
    Let see now where it goes
    Update soon 😃
    Tc 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  11. River thoughts for the day!!

    Look at me, he wanted to say. Look at me so you know it isn’t what I… – Aadhe adhure lines Meera..the anguish the character goes through…don’t ask hamara kya haal hota hain… double the anguish 😵😵

    After AV spoke to Aditi, he made some quick decisions…..

    – Inform Arjun so she will know – the helplessness, Khushi shouldn’t read too much into him singing songs …make sure the night goes as planned for Arjun and Khushi at least…still counting on the plan to save the day for them?!

    – Meeting Khushi, the detour, changing his mind to tell whatever he was going through with family, it isn’t what he… wants either but will?!

    Chahte the kya Jaanab aap?! sea-saw clearly….

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Lavu, I like the “thought(s)” for the day :)

      What irked me (I need to tone this down now :( ) was the fact that there were two people that night. To me, that just accentuated the Khushi’s hearbreak. Arnav’s thinking part of the brain was eclipsed by the ‘kashmakash’. But the night was not the end of it, as I wrote somewhere. He was still around on the campus…

      Will grab a quick bite so I can digest the food for thought. I think I have officially lost it now ;) :D

      Liked by 7 people

        1. That is what bothers me most that he was there for full year around– what went in his head in those days– what he did and all– my mind does not rest no matter how much I try to divert. There is no doubt we are pagal but this is all Meera’s fault for creating this masterpiece that we live and breath these characters day in and out. Now I am just hoping that she only will resolve this restlessness in its due course.

          Liked by 7 people

      1. Vinu :D

        Trying to understand his mindset here…
        He was still around the campus but he must have paid heed to Saira words once again ….
        “If things don’t seem to be working in your favor,” she’d said onece, “You step away and gather your thoughts. Then one way or the other, you know what you need to do.”
        And after the night, he let things be as the way they were, touching anything would mean backtracking in a way… so he chose to deal with his relationship with Saira and family and kept himself away from Khushi probably….

        Yes wrong of him to do that to Khushi, but he chose to do that….

        Liked by 6 people

        1. Which, then, makes the timelines important here. When did they call it quits? And then there was this issue at his first job after B-school… Arnav certainly had a lot of things going on for him (or rather, against him!) for any coherent thinking to sink in.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. Yes, the timeline is important…. So AV, Saira, and family yes there is a backstory but Khushi was not part of that story is my understanding of it….since we know a little bit of it, the path never turned in Khushi’s direction until River camp (the first interlude)……

            Liked by 4 people

              1. Vin baby🤗🤗🤗
                Itna mat socho!! Come and join us prepare a wishlist of all that we want as the story moves forward to the date night and beyond!

                Think about the joys that await as they get together finally!! That will help diminish the pain! Thats what i did becos at some point i felt like my brain will explode! Paagalpan ki haddh toh dekho!!

                Chek for Divz’s comment at the top! Thats where we r talking!!

                Liked by 4 people

          2. They called it quits just before he passed out of B school.
            Why didn’t he try to talk to her for the rest of the time after aarohan? He could’ve explained things to her….
            Was it for Arjun, arising out of a sense of guilt, that he who had encouraged him about this singing thing, told him to stick with the program and then went ahead and sang as if he meant every word, which he did..
            Both AV and Arjun knew where khushi’s heart lay, they just didn’t want to admit that to each other, so pretend that nothing’s wrong. Their relationship is said to have not changed for the rest of AV’s stay in IE-V, they even talked (or joked) about khushi, now if you think about it something very selfish or self centered in that, just because she didn’t wear her heart on her sleeve you assume that things are hunky dory when you very well know that’s not the case…
            Now its time for me to tell myself “aap tho suttepy karlo” for I don’t think I’m making any sense.😁

            Liked by 4 people

            1. Now you said it– I can not resist agreeing to you wholeheartedly and even if I am ready to enjoy in present but this thing you mentioned will always prickle my heart real deep and that’s why this update brought me back to where I was after Aarohan night. I also wAnt to shut up 😜🙏

              Liked by 5 people

            2. P, I try to “suttepy karlo” many times. Phir aa jaati hoon, muh uthaake :p

              Men go about everything in a business-as-usual mode. And here, Khushi convinced her heart that this was just a one-sided feeling that she had to push into the deep recesses of her heart. What was AV thinking behaving the way he did? Yes, I would like to know too :)

              Liked by 5 people

            3. If you look at his situation, AV tried …took a decision based on bigger picture, feels like instead of adding more complexity, instead of dragging Khushi into his mess by explaining things to her and not be in a position to give her what she wants, he chose a way so that she never questions or dwells on the night and spend a single minute thinking about him and the songs (his assumption).

              He saw her heartbreak but then had he mentioned anything it would hurt her more (his assumption, but the right thing was to explain) but then what he did, reveals a reason behind his actions. He realized what he had done, he tried to salvage the situation. He shrunk himself when it came to the likes of Khushi (the innocuous list of boys who were waiting for her on the night), he never considered himself worthy of her affection to begin the night with, but as the night went along, he understood. So he must have thought Khushi will forget him in time with the news all over the campus.
              Had he mentioned anything to her, his side of feelings it would have meant “Hope” in a way and he was not in a position to give that to her the next day and nor for coming years since he thought that it was the end of his connection with her….

              Arjun shut himself for next four years and not discuss anything about AV to Khushi knowing what had transpired that night. He gave her time to see if she recovered from whatever that she was going through.
              AV and Arjun joking about her I don’t know what aspect of you are talking about but you are pointing to the drinking session on the night before AV graduated, if I remember right Arjun promised AV that he will take care of Khushi.

              Though they both realized what had happened that night they both tried not to hamper the situation more, their workings of brain once again did what they thought was right at the point in time but the intention was stark clear from both the parties not to hurt Khushi more (however wrong that whole decision was but they didn’t understand the extent of it until later at the river camp)

              Khushi’s heartbreak yes the most to be felt of all the ones. But then AV and Arjun never really understood the extent of it until river camp. Even after River camp, Arjun understood it but AV took longer than that to realize what he had done on the night of Aarohan and the acceptance of it. Not defending AV or Arjun here, I have been Khushi camper for the longest time you know P. But since we know mistakes were committed, trying to understand the mindset what they thought was the right thing to do and how it turned out all wrong.

              Liked by 4 people

              1. I was not meaning to blame anyone, lavzy. Mistakes were made, period. And yes they were all young too. With all the additional information we have now was just pondering on lot of “what ifs”. That joke reference came from here, but I guess joke may be the wrong term.
                “For the rest of the year, Arjun met AV-Sir like he did during the weeks leading up to Aarohan. The two of them laughed and shared stories – some even about Kaveri Khushi Gupta. But every word was uttered with knowledge of an invisible boundary that neither had had the courage to cross.”
                Maybe he couldn’t have explained without letting it out that he knew how she felt, even if he doesn’t mention his interest. That would’ve been embarassing for her, like she felt at first at the river. But he didn’t even approach her as a senior or a friend even, someone who had spent some time with her during aarohan time and have a casual conversation with her. Would it have helped her, maybe, whatever happened maynot have remained a mystery, she might have found it possible to take a lighter approach to it. Now its time to say “suttupy karleo”😁 don’t think I’m making much sense.

                Liked by 4 people

                1. Invisible boundary says the state of the boys P. No courage, and what will they do talking about it or pronouncing it more than what they both were feeling. Voicing it out meaning a problem that needs to be dealt with, not voicing meaning there is no problem, to begin with (they thought it was for the best). They didn’t see a good outcome so they acted normal with each other.

                  Coming to facing Khushi, how would AV lie to her face knowing what they both felt that night?! It would be a bigger cheating to do that to Khushi and discarding what he felt that night according to me. With Arjun, he could act but not with Khushi. Facing Khushi would mean speaking the entire truth, he chose the coward’s route, definitely! but that was the only option he thought of is my assumption.

                  Liked by 3 people

                  1. Basically ran away from the battle field, and before the deewanis get to us its best we both suttepy karlo, what say?😜😂
                    Nobody could foresee how the whole thing would pan out, and we are not always rational beings are we, we are creatures of emotions too, and that day they ruled with some not so good end results, the impact of which were being felt over the next decade.

                    Liked by 4 people

                    1. 😂😂 Yes, ran-away is the word P!!

                      Righto about creatures of emotions :)
                      The impact we have lived through it I feel!! :)

                      Yes Khushi has every right to put him in the dock and question him to no end and maybe his explanations won’t even make sense anymore but that what it is going to be (good thing he accepts what he did..). It would be now upon Khushi what she wants to do with his mistakes :P :D

                      Liked by 2 people

        2. Does Vinu means you combined Vin and meenu🙄🤣😜 lavs.

          You r right lavs and that’s what happened but I want to know all microscopic details of his mind and heart– being selfish you can say– Kya karoon— dil par jor nahi— ye dimaag ki baat nahi sun raha filhaal😩

          Liked by 6 people

          1. Meenu, microscope chodo! Meera will ensure AV gives Khushi all the pertinent details re his relationship w/S!
            Ab khushiyon ka mausam aa gaya so naachon aur jhoomon and celebrate love! 😉😘

            Liked by 5 people

        3. Was it that easy for him to forget all what his heart was feeling– possibly not– yahi to mujhe janana hai Arnav ki jubaani and all the timeline of his relationship with S — was it so easy for him to concentrate in relationship with S for next 3 years as I remember he was in relationship with him for 2 years after Aarohan. Any way– I better shut up as I am just going nuts.

          Liked by 5 people

  12. As always I love the song you selected for the River journey.
    Finally everything clear about the past. Now I am thrilled about the present, how’s is it going to be.
    The wait is really tiresome for me. But any way I will patiently.
    Thank you for the update di.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Meera di I really don’t know what to say. This one has made me somewhat like this😪
    Yes it was not Khushi’s or Arjun or NK’s heart trampled it was Arnav’s heartbreak that day.💔💔
    He realise it very late. Even if he got the consent as YES of marriage by his father he was not at all happy,be coz what love is he got to know after meeting Khushi.
    True love ❤ if I must say!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Brilliant brilliant comment Rimi!! Absolutely loved the way you so worded it!
    All i can do is just nod in agreement with the way you have voiced your thoughts and ours too!!
    And those songs —- just totally bang on – describing what AV’s state of mind over Arohan and when he had to make that decision to trample over their hearts and give in to what he had committed to earlier even though his heart was not in it!! Simply beautiful — the comment and the songs!! Tearing up just reading!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Meera, you knew about his state of mind and you hid it from us all along.. so not fair.. Khushi ko na sahi coz time was not right par kam se kam hame to batati.. did you not feel guilty / overburden / cruel to not share with us.. we provoked pleaded, begged n still you pretended as if you too are clueless..
    I’m sorry to rant like this but do you know how difficult it is to go back n find those Arohan night chapters (mind you of both Arjun n Khushi) on this tiny phone n read it in one go..
    I wanted to be among audience n enjoy the show but you made me play Khushi.. I hope you are happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. that was such an unfortunate twisted situation….there was no way out…today or tomorrow he had to face that….they had to face that…..that was really heart-breaking….the whole chapter is beautifully portrayed….loved it….and by the way this is one of my favorite songs…I have listened to this song so many times on repeat mode that I lost count.. <3 <3 <3

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The song……. Beautiful , apt , perfect , soul stirring….
    Befitting this chapter and their feelings in totality .
    You couldn’t have explained the heartbreak better … Khushi s small smile …..
    👏👏👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Meera , the mix take songs …
    Aankhon mein kya …. From Khaamoshi or Pehchaan …
    The links in the index are not functional so have to search on You Tube and numerous songs wz similar names pop up .
    Pls assist ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A journey spanning a decade…. Of insecurities, hesitancy, regret and third parties adding further complication . Their love have withered all. One could be sagacious and say perhaps it was not their time although destiny kept throwing them together albeit at irregular intervals. But now they are in a place – both geographically and otherwise where there is no Saira, Arjun, Ti Di, NK.or their parents. It is just them so I look forward to them seizing this moment and living up for all the lost years. Too much time lost so just concentrate on one another … Others be damned .. You have plenty to make up for.
    Meera … book 4 tho definitely banta hai . We need more of this Arnav and Kushi

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Meera, I’ve been swimming through Book#2 (feels like forever ;) ) and happened to read a certain dedication from around this time of the year :) . Your mother’s birthday is around the corner, right? Wishing her a very happy birthday!!

    Liked by 4 people

  21. So now we have everyone’s perspective on the journey that led to Aarohan, and that big night itself. I sorta want a few snippets from the crowd surrounding our protagonists. NK,Divya, maybe even Prashant Tiwari. If so much was going on, and our characters are who they are, people would’ve noticed, surely? Like, humare circle mein jab pata chala ki one of the girls is engaged to a senior of ours, everyone had their version of the story. I had the initial dating phase ka evidence, my friend had a “caught them when they pooled home even though he stays in one corner of the city and she in another” story. Another senior called up and said, “They’re engaged?! I knew it when I saw that snapstory of hers, one that she promptly deleted!”

    So I’d tooooootally imagine all of these guys to just go off, when AV-Khushi are mentioned. Maybe they’ll make a video montage for the wedding or something. Jaise Kal Ho Naa Ho mein people talk about Naina Catherine Kapoor in the beginning.

    Tiwari would definitely say something like, “Oh half the campus had the hots for Gupta! Nobody admitted it though. Bloody hypocrites! -insert much more mature insult here- Aur ulta mujhpar chillate! Hmph.”

    – Appy Singh!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tiwari would definitely say something like, “Oh half the campus had the hots for Gupta! Nobody admitted it though. Bloody hypocrites! -insert much more mature insult here- Aur ulta mujhpar chillate! Hmph.” – 😂🤣😂😂🤣😂 Oh! I would like to read about his view about AV Babu and Kamal now! 😂

      Liked by 4 people

  22. And this is the last time i will read this chapter. I may come again and read River but i will not read this heart break full chapters. The sand was slipping from there hands and no one was able to do anything. How time play with us.

    You made me believe in to stupid notions of Destiny. I always crib about situations but now reading this river i feel that maybe in future i will went down the memory lane and will laugh at those times. Some time sadisticly.
    Thank you for giving me River. There was a time when I thought EIT and AWW are unbeatable but not now.
    This song. Saanware. This touch me somewhere.

    I am also making a mix tape of River songs.😊

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Heyyy dii!!! Wonderful update😃 Arnav s desperation…his feelings..confusion..and unexpected turn of events..so we’ll described…!! Can easily connect this update to what u narrated in kushi a pov..!! Then u got us thinking arnav is oblivious to kushi s feeling…but here he even understands her heart break

    Like

  24. Heyyy dii!!! Wonderful update😃 Arnav s desperation…his feelings..confusion..and unexpected turn of events..so we’ll described…!! Can easily connect this update to what u narrated in kushi a pov..!! Then u got us thinking arnav is oblivious to kushi s feeling…but here he even understands her heart break and even he has strong feelings!! This interludes also clears a lot about his and saira s relationship..!! A v sir has trampled kaveri s heart!!😐 beautiful di
    P.s sorry for late comments di…college keeps me busy all through week..🙈

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I fell asleep reading one of the older chapters because I was a bundle of nerves (I have super important life-altering exams coming up and I’m surprised at the rather laid back approach I’m taking at the moment. Last night was one of the very few times the nerves showed up.), and I thought The River would calm me. 2:47 am, I wake up with a rather vague reminder that central excise did not apply on alcohol, alcoholic preparations, and narcotic substances because they are covered under the State List as per our Constitution. And I had this urge to revise Indirect Tax Laws. So I jump out of bed, get coffee, and sit in front of the laptop with my glasses on, coffee mug in hand. The laptop comes alive to that chapter of The River that I was reading. Indirect Tax Laws wait a bit more as I finish the chapter and type this comment.

    I have a feeling Krishna Tripti would be very proud of me. :P

    – A slightly anxious Appy Singh!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yupyupyupyup. What entails late night, though? After 9? That’s for girls stepping out. After 12? That’s for finishing an assignment. After 11? That’s for calling that friend of yours to discuss the latest episode of GoT, so everyone’s asleep and you can curse without having to whisper. Between 9 and 10? That’s for hosting fancy dinners. Hmmmmm.

      – A *very patient* Appy Singh! :P

      Liked by 3 people

  26. What a wonderful journey down the memory lane! …It not only answered many questions but gives AV’s perception and involvement from the start. It felt so good to read that KKG was not alone……
    The way you presented the Aarohan night through AV’s eyes is simply magical …His and Khushi’s said and unsaid words …and every single emotion is so brilliantly depicted that one want to read it again and again..
    You are an exceptional author Meera…glad that I got a chance to read your amazing stories.
    Thank you …..

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Aarohan is even more beautiful to see from AV’s perspective combined with that song.I knew the song but haven’t paid attention to it’s meaning before(Hindi is not my mother tongue so).It’s so apt here.
    I have to say it’s really cruel for AV to give her the tape considering he knew how she felt.This update have me in tears

    Liked by 1 person

  28. A couple of chapters before this my heart went out for Khushi, but in this chapter it bled for Arnav. How much he had to go through in one evening. Excitement for Aarohan, surprise visit from family, revelling in the knowledge of Khushi’s love interest, guilt towards Arjun, shocking news of his impending wedding, trying to hold on to the last threads and finally witnessing Khushi’s heartbreak.

    Their love story has gone through the worst of the worst and it survived even after a decade. Now they are in a place where it’s just them, figuratively and literally. It’s time to let go and embrace the love they have for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Damn the wifi.. Im unable to open wordpress reader :-( so cant like the chapter, but am hoping my comments on each chapter r saved…

    Again we reach the all important crossroads of post Aarohan… The moment that changed the paths of their heart to lead it to where they are! You weave memories in words Meera, absokute genius!

    Cant wait to get back to the present chapter!

    Like

  30. After reading the last chapter i prepared myself for reading this chapter because we know wats going to happen….like khushi felt I also can’t go through it again but I did.. its not only she felt something but he also…from the aarohan night itself but I want to know even after his breakup with saira why he took this much years to voice out his feelings…even Atleast at the rivers 5 yrs ago when she confessed her feelings…then I was angry at him for leading her on knowing when he was in a relationship but now I am feeling angry why he took this much time when he felt something similar khushi has felt for him…I need to know his side for this

    Liked by 1 person

  31. The Aarohan night broke NK’s heart.. but I hope it was not not that irreparable ..
    Arnav lost what he had never attained in the first place..
    Arjun not only lost his hope but had to nurse his love cum friend’s bruised heart..
    Khushi.. o Khushi..
    My heart bled for her..
    She could never come out of her first love.. She never knew that Arnav had ever felt for her ..
    She never knew that her best buddy had to go through a lot by concealing his own emotions n giving her his unconditional support..
    I m still angry at AV for not confessing to her at the River ..
    I admit that he tried after 2-3 years .. but was it enough..

    Liked by 2 people

  32. An 18 year old Khushi fell in love and had a heart break when she found the guy who she fell in love with was actually marrying someone else. When she was slowly bringing herself out of the heart break, she had to meet him again and she found more heart wrenching information.
    A 21 year old Arnav who was on a break from a childhood friend turned lover, he got attracted to this girl. But the universe conspired against him and every step of those couple of months, he was made to feel guilty for getting attracted to this girl. Murphy I tell you!
    A decade later, now they are sitting in his Inn room and hopefully discussing about their respective heart aches. Koyi Nahi. They have the rest of their lives to attend to their hearts.
    Cheers…..

    Liked by 3 people

  33. More than kh s heart broke that Aarohan night , true
    Kh lost her first love , when she heard AV was marrying
    to AV she was forbidden
    to Arjun he had to see his lady love pining & withering in unrequited love
    while nursing his own broken heart
    NK, Tripti , & other Deewani s , it becomes too much even for me
    How did they all focus
    burnt the midnight oil
    & get their dream jobs is a miracle 😬
    Mein Tera hero idhar hai
    Varun lost his girl, his first job , made his place in the skeptical world , met kh at the camp
    second time , another heart break
    But he kept quiet even after she confessed on his third call
    My head is spinning
    I will in the words of Mano Mami shutupiya karliyo

    Liked by 1 person

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