For the one of all my morning afters and night befores – Happy Birthday!

 

It was twenty minutes past their usual meeting time on weekdays that she began to worry about the no-show from Arnav. Looking at her phone as the clock seemed to stay longer on every minute, was beginning to push acid in her gut. She had gulped down her bowl of oatmeal and an apple long before Arnav’s scheduled time of arrival. And had since then downed one serving of black coffee and was well on her way through the second. Her mouth was stiff from smiling at the Inn staff. Her heart of course, was pounding with every wheezy opening of the door.

At thirty minutes past eight, she finally decided to walk up to 1425 to see for herself what had kept an otherwise inhumanly punctual Arnav. As she walked across the parking lot towards his residence, she dismissed the idea of him having second thoughts about what he had revealed to her. She also discarded the option that he might have left for the office without her. Now the only two options weighing heavy on her mind were non-Wyatt work – there was the proposal he was working with Arjun on; and illness.

The thought that he might be sick and invalid, was an unpleasant one – more than she cared to admit. She sent up a quick hoping-otherwise prayer to Shiv-ji and knocked on his door, tentatively at first and then in an increasing pitch of thumps till the door finally flew open with a jerk, revealing a tousled, red-eyed Arnav Varun, still in his crumpled night T and shorts. His eyes, still puffy and full of sleep, were also brimming with disblief and what could only be termed as panic.

“I overslept.” He explained unnecessarily, his face set grimly.

If he hadn’t looked just so shocked by his own, very human frailty, Khushi might have laughed in his face and kissed him soundly on his cheeks.

“I…” He shoved his hands through his hair and looked at her. “Let me….” Without completing his statement, he hurried back into his room, leaving her standing at the door in absolute stunned silence. He returned just a few seconds later with the keys to the Escape. “You should head to the office. Tell Mike I’ll meet him when I come in. Tell him I had a call…” Then he shook his head. “No, don’t say that. Just tell him I’ll catch up with him when I am in the office. You…Jeff will be in by eleven – till then if you can get the task list for the week organized…”

She nodded. “Sure. It’s….fine…I’m sure…” She bit down the impulse to reassure him that the world wasn’t going to end because he had slept in. “It’s supposed to be a slow morning. I’ll manage.”

He nodded. “Thank you.”

“I’ll see you in the office.” She said as she stepped back and then told herself she was being ridiculous when he nodded back at her and waited for her to turn away before closing the door softly.

Whatever it was that she had expected this morning to be, this was not it.

————

He walked in an hour after she did, his face now set in a complete blank, his eyes almost intentionally not meeting hers. Even when she sought him out. She had drawn up the task list for the week to the best of her understanding. When she handed it over, he glanced at it, nodded and thanked her and almost immediately excused himself for his meeting with Mike. An hour after that, he pinged and called her to a meeting room for formally handing her over to Jeff Stevens as he had mentioned over the weekend.

She liked Jeff. He was a rare combination of a fatherly but sharp, decisive Partner. When he spoke, which he rarely did, it was most often the most value adding part of the discussion, the angle the rest of the team hadn’t thought about. The opportunity to work directly with him was a great one. But in the moment that she was introduced to Jeff and then left alone with the Partner to discuss the work she would be part of for the next four weeks, she felt a deep sense of loss. She pushed the feeling to the back of her mind for the day as work assumed the importance it was used to and strung her along. She ended up eating lunch with Jeff that day. Coffee breaks were forced times of solitude that surprised her with how unwelcome me-time suddenly seemed.

It was almost six in the evening, an hour after the employees of Wyatt had left for the day and just as the A&M team was getting settled with work for the rest of the evening, that Arnav finally walked up to her.

“Khushi,”

For the first time in forever, she looked around, unsurprised by his presence behind her. She had in fact been looking for him in every direction of possible appearance from the moment she had stepped out of her room this morning. And now…she wasn’t sure what she had expected but something seemed to be on the verge of snapping in her chest. Anger, unexplained, or perhaps too justified, rolled on her tongue as she swiveled fully to face him.

“I’m…” He hesitated for a second and seemed to change his mind. “I am travelling tonight.” He said softly.

“Oh?” The disappointment in her voice was as unmistakable as her response was instinctive; the silence between them just as thick. She swallowed and waited as he continued to look right into her eyes.

“I’m taking the red-eye to LA. We’ve been invited to the orals at Ivy Networks.” He explained.

“You work with telecom clients too?” She asked, surprised and as always a little impressed with the breadth of his reach in the organization.

“They are Tier 1 to the carmakers now with Telematics becoming central to the vehicle. This is the proposal that Arjun was helping me with.”

Khushi nodded as the redundancy of the question hit her. Of course she knew which proposal Arjun and Arnav were working on together. This stupid change of dynamics between Arnav and her was screwing up with more than just her hormones. She shrugged the thought away mentally and joined her hands in an attempt to gather some normalcy of breathing rhythm.

He was going away.

Just last night they were kissing like…The sense of loss that had been prickling under her skin all day split into a wide chasm of regret. “Red-eye?” She asked, clutching at the only thing that was available easily to keep this thread of conversation going.

“A late night flight which pretty much screws up your sleep for the day that follows.” He explained again as his shoulders relaxed and his eyes shifted to graze her face.

“When are you leaving?” She asked as she stood up. Her legs were shaking – threatening to throw her off balance and most likely right into his arms. Except they were in the office – with the rest of the team within earshot. And he…he was her senior and project manager – in his own words.

“Now. I’m driving to the airport directly. I packed a bag this morning.” He said indicating the small suitcase he was holding in his hand.

Shiv-ji, she pleaded. How much worse is this going to get now?

She nodded. “You need my help….with something?”

His lips twitched, almost as if he would crack a smile.

“I mean, here…review meetings, any other project management things.”

The smile didn’t come. Instead, she had him shaking his head. “The review for this week has been cancelled. Mike and I will catch up over a call sometime later in the week.”

Later in the week. The implication of that sunk in as she saw his eyes searching her face. “You won’t be here…this week…” He wouldn’t be here for his birthday, the one that they had celebrated yesterday but the one she had actually been looking forward on the actual day. The renewed guilt of having knowingly refrained from wishing him once was strong even if it had been self-justified in the wake of his disappearance after that last call five years ago.

He shook his head.

She swallowed. The question was at the tip of her tongue and yet she couldn’t find the words to shape it out aloud. “Who are we up against? In the orals I mean?”

“A couple of boutique strategy firms and Murphy’s.” He answered, shifting on his feet, his restless as they continued to sweep her face.

“All the best. I hope…we…I hope you win the work.” She wished him earnestly. A second of silent warring with herself later, she held out her hand.

He looked down at her extended palm and put his own palm in hers. The moment, a simple handshake – such a routine occurrence between colleagues, in that moment might as well have been a kiss as intense as the ones they had shared mere hours ago. His fingers were warm around hers as they held on much longer than any professional etiquette mandated. His thumb caressed the skin between her thumb and forefinger lightly before he withdrew his hand.

“Bye.” He whispered.

“Bye.” She replied just as softly as she curled her fingers, as if to subconsciously trap the warmth of his hands under her skin. “See you.”

He nodded and then waited for a long moment at the end of which he spoke in a thick voice. “I’ll call you.”

She felt her mouth curving up in a small smile as she nodded soundlessly.

He smiled back at her and turned to walk away.

She watched as the others on the team wished him luck and he walked out of the cubicles and disappeared along the path that would take him to the elevators. She bit her nails in thought as her fingers continued to tingle before she decided she was being completely stupid. She hurried after him, grateful for having decided to wear her comfortable flats today. By the time she could spot him down the long corridor out, there was quite some distance between them. Without thinking, she called out aloud. “When will you be back?”

He continued to walk without slowing down. She frowned as she kept following him. In the silence of an almost empty office, it was unlikely that he hadn’t heard her. Why…? She turned left and walked into the large square reception just as she saw him slow down. Of course he had heard her. And yet…

“Arnav,” She called out again, her voice faltering as the name she used so easily in her thoughts wobbled on her tongue.

This time he stopped and turned around, his mouth curved up in a small, knowing…The cheek of him, she thought as her face burned.

“Yes, Kaveri?” He asked with a raised eyebrow as the elevator opened behind him. She walked another couple of steps in his direction and then stopped, maintaining many metres of mindfulness as she let his deliberate use of her first name slide.

“When are you back?”

He smiled without restraint now as he walked backward into the elevator, dragging his overnighter with him as he placed the other hand on the elevator doors to keep it open. “Why?”

She fought back a smile as her breathing evened, and shrugged.

“Tell me…” He said slowly, “why you want to know and I’ll answer.” He said again he pushed back the doors that threatened his splayed fingers.

She shook her head. “Never mind then,” she said with a raised eyebrow of her own. Someday, she looked forward to showing him just how expertly she could wiggle her eyebrows alternately. Some tricks weren’t meant for Mr. Varun alone.

He shook his head and then took his hands off the doors. “Friday evening.” He said out aloud as the doors closed and Khushi’s face tumbled into warm chuckles.

“I’ll miss you.” She said to herself as she turned to walk back to her seat. She had barely pulled her chair in when her phone beeped. She picked up her phone and looked at the message from the unsaved number on the screen.

I’ll miss you, too.

She smiled to herself as her heart thumped a couple of times in her chest before it resumed its life’s purpose – literally. She quickly hit reply and struggled for words before she found the right ones.

Don’t oversleep tomorrow. Or day after. Don’t want us to lose to Murphy’s because the Senior Manager cannot stay awake.

The reply came even as she absently drew the familiar insignia on the phone screen.

Is this your way of voluntering to be my morning alarm?

She bit her lips in a never-dimming smile and typed up the reply easily. Alarm is the right word for your expression this morning. As soon as the message left her outbox with a whoosh, she typed up a follow on. And for the rest of the day.

I missed a call this morning! It’s never happened before.

This time she burst out laughing. Suddenly everything he had done this morning, his reticence and aloofness made sense. If this had happened to her, how differently might she have behaved? Did you get into trouble? She hoped he hadn’t.

Arjun covered for me.

Khushi smiled and breathed in deeply at the absolutely unlikeliness of this strange relationship the two men she loved shared with each other. That’s a first.

There is a first time for everything.

Though there was nothing to suggest it, Khushi’s cheeks colored in the implication that her brain could come up with in response to that statement. She hoped to hell that itwasnt what was going on his Arnav’s mind. Except she hoped to heavens, it was. Are you driving? She typed as she realized that his responses were too quick for her liking when she realized he might be behind the wheel and…Panic, real and thick filled her lungs. Without waiting for his response, she typed another message quickly. Please don’t text while driving. Bye.

The phone rang almost immediately.

“If texting is bad, talking while driving is worse.” She accused.

“I want to apologize for this morning. I panicked. I’ve never missed a call because of my own carelessness. It threw me off. I’m sorry if I acted like a jerk.”

“I understand.” She said softly. “I’d have panicked too.”

“You wouldn’t have. But thank you.”

She smiled as her heart expanded in relief. “Bye.”

Bye.” He said, his voice smiling. “I’ll call tomorrow night.

She smiled as she disconnected the call and put her phone away. Friday evening couldn’t come soon enough.

—————

“What did they say?”

Khushi sighed and leaned back on the pillows, adjusting the laptop so she could see her sister’s face on the screen through the internet video calling app.

“What do you think?” Khushi replied. “We don’t understand what you want. He sounds like a perfectly good guy. If there is someone else, then just tell us. Even if it is Arjun…” Khushi mimicked their mother. “This is after I’ve told her clearly – multiple times now – that Arjun and I are just…I think they really want Arjun to be their son-in-law more than getting me married.”

“He wishes,” Tripti scowled into the screen.

“Actually now he doesn’t,” Khushi replied with a grin, surprised at how easily she could mock herself and Arjun now.

Tripti stared at her for a long second, almost pensively before shaking her head. “Annoying Agarwal ko chhodo. You answer the most important question. Ban gayin tum AV ki biwi*? Ki abhi aur bhi kisi ko bhejna baaki hai CV?”

Khushi rolled her eyes at the laptop screen but fought the blush that threatened to spill her secrets. “What nonsense.”

“What nonsense, nahi. Kya bakwaas hai kahiye. Hindi bolte samay hum angrezi ke shabdo ka prayog uchit nahi samajhte, Saheb.” Tripti said with a laugh as she popped a couple of chips in her mouth.

“Achcha, achcha Pyaare Mohan Illahabaadi.” Khushi responded with a roll of her eyes. “How are you?”

“Don’t change the topic. You tell me how you are.” Tripti said in between mouthfuls. “You are the one in the fancy Amreeka while I am battling inane things like campus placements. I swear Di, I am convinced I made a mistake saying yes to the Pre-Placement Offer.”

“Classic is grass is greener moment, Trip. How many of those who are dying of nerves around you would kill to be in your place?”

Tripti snorted and waved her hands. “Forget my sad, boring life…answer my question. Ban gayin tum…”

“Have you spoken to Arjun recently? I haven’t heard from him in a week and he isn’t answering my calls.” Khushi interrupted.

To her surprise, Tripti’s face scrunched up. “Arre yaar, both of you just need me to talk about the other I think. What the hell…I am not answering questons about Arjun. If you don’t want to tell me what is happening with your AV-Sir, just say that. I am a grown up, you know, Di. I can handle you telling me you need time to disclose what’s happening. I understand it. Heck, I…”

“Krishna,” Khushi interrupted again, this time with a deep frown between her brows. “What…”

“Nothing. I have to go. I am hungry and these chips aren’t doing anything for me.” Tripti replied and looked away. “Arjun is travelling.”

“I’m sorry, baba! What is with the terrible mood?” Khushi quizzed, holding on to the call in the hope that her sister would cool down long enough to stay on as well. She pushed the news of Arjun’s travel to the back of her mind to retrieve later. “Is it Raghav?”

“We broke up almost a year ago, Di. It’s not Raghav.”

“I ask because you mentioned he keeps calling every once in a while. I hope he isn’t troubling you anymore.” Khushi asked worriedly. There had never been anything alarming about the sweet natured person that Raghav Mantri – Tripti’s classmate-turned-boyfriend-turned-ex-boyfriend from IE-V. If anything, Khushi had been surprised at the sudden breakup that came shortly after Tripti’s Singapore the summer before she had joined IM-A. Still, the fact that Raghav had been blatantly heart-broken and had tried many times to reconcile with Tripti – by her own admission, made Khushi relapse into cyclical bouts of apprehension. “Then? What’s the matter? You can talk to me, you know that.”

And you?” Tripti volleyed. “Who do you talk to when you need to?”

“You.” Khushi replied easily. “And Arjun.”

“Come on, Di.” Tripti said with a frown. “You tell us both days after things are done and dusted. You inform. You don’t consult. Why do you expect me to do that?”

She needed to keep her peace when her sister was in this belligerent mood. They knew this routine, they alternated between roles in such situations. “Because I am the older sibling. I didn’t have anyone to consult with. You do.” She said with a goofy grin, hoping to cool her sister. “Plus guess what I do for a living.”

This time Tripti cracked a smile. “Fine. I am being a boor.”

“And I’ll be a pain.” Khushi said with a smirk. “Tell me your dreams.”

“There’s…” Tripti began with a sigh. “Look don’t ask me details okay. I will tell you when we…when I am ready.”

Khushi grinned, folded her hands and leaned forward, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Okay okay, enough disclaimer-ing, start talking. How long has this been going on?”

“Feels like forever.” Tripti said with a grimace.

“Wait,” Khushi said confused, “You are talking about a boy right? Relationships? Love, perhaps?” She asked. “Why the grimace then?”

Tripti stared unblinkingly at her sister through the screen. “He used to be in love with someone…I know….someone close.”

Khushi’s back straightened as the smile on her face dimmed. A flicker of something she didn’t actively consider anymore teased her senses. “Who?”

Tripti kept staring at her, enough for Khushi’s heart to almost blow up into smithereens. And just when she thought she would die, her sister spoke again. “A friend.”

A friend. It was as vague as Tripti usually never was. She wanted to ask who exactly again, just to dispel the doubt that was refusing to leave her side. But something about Tripti’s expression stopped her. “What,” She cleared her throat, “Is the problem then?”

“This doesn’t sound like a problem to you?” Tripti quizzed seriously.

“You said used to. That sounds like past tense to me.” Khushi replied carefully. Something was eggshell thin here. It slipped in and out of her grasp like a little dust mote in the sun and she allowed it to.

“People don’t stop loving someone.” Tripti echoed softly. “Look at you,”

Khushi smiled tentatively and fought down the temptation to declare she wasn’t in love. She may not be ready to tell Tripti about Arnav – at least not before she had told Arnav himself, but she didn’t need to deny anything that wasn’t dangerous as it once felt like. “I am, fortunately for the world, not a universal prototype.” She joked. “Look at Arjun,” She offered tentatively.

“No.” Tripti replied. “I don’t want to.”

The vehemence of that answer should have been her clue. But whether it was the euphoria of her own little romance or the fear of unleashing something uncomfortable despite all her promises to herself for dealing with things head on, she let it go. She focused instead on more generic advice. As always. “Trust is going to come from within, Tripti. You need to see if you trust this person to have gotten over his feelings for the one he used to love – if he ever truly did, in the first place.’

Tripti snorted. “Classic.” The she blinked rapidly and looked away. “This is precisely why I wasn’t keen on asking for help.” She looked back into the screen. “But no, I have a pain in the ass for a sister.”

Khushi grinned this time. “Kismat se tum, humko mile ho, kaise chhodenge**?”

Tripti groaned. “Well going by how much they fight, I guess my birth is more kismet than anything more biological.”

“Ewwww no, Trip. Don’t make me think about that. Please.” Khushi made a face.

“Ban hi jaogi AV ki biwi jaldi I think, going by that mood.” Tripti remarked with the beginning of a chuckle.

“Whatever,” Khushi replied and the two sisters collapsed into laughter.

River Song, Music and Lyrics

Song Title: Kismat Se Tum Humko Mile Ho

Album: Pukar

Singers: Anuradha Paudwal, Sonu Nigam

Music: A. R. Rahman

Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

 

Yun sharmaai, yun ghabraai

Aise simti, simtaai

O mere baalam, yun hi nahi main

Jaate jaate laut aayi

Preet meri pehchaani tune

Meri qadar toh jaani tune

Ab dil jaaga

Hosh mein chahat ab aayi

 

 

Notes:

  1. Next Update may be delayed. Please visit the Index to check closer to Monday next week
  2. * – To “One Day At A Time ” and it’s wonderful author – taking the liberty here :)
  3. ** – Nivi – I promise you I’d written this before you said it to me a couple of updates ago :):)

505 thoughts on “Chapter Nineteen: The Morning After

  1. Chapter morning after is for me is… nail biting at the start, madly smiling at my mobile through the rest, and Can’t wait for next update moment in the end…..

    Happy to see that kushi is not insecure about his feeling towards her when he dint show up the next day…Her concern about his health, ,the shock of seeing him all sleepy,,her suffer throughout the day,,,her understanding him of His Alarm 😊,, regret for not wishing him……..And her conversation with Tripti …. and her Missing the clues which she would have noticed otherwise.. …The elevator wali moment…making her to call out his name ..AVs little plan worked out I see😊😘.. That was totally Sweet moment..
    Arjun and Krishna… Another Revelation to look forward….😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What can I say?👌😊! Loved it😘😊! Their slow romance is killing me😉😊! You’re one heck of a writer😊. Can’t wait for their longing and passion to erupt😉😃.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Phone ke texts mein mohabbat ki baat ho jati hai…
    Kuch khas ho jate hain ye ishq ke lamhe
    ..Filhaal to Tera dekhna hi sari kainaat ho jati hain.😜.( from Khushi to Arnav)

    Okay Meera– finally I am here and I am late but not sorry as I had to immediately go to LA after reading this update— wo Kya hai ki– hamare Arnav Miya needs some serious lessons of life especially how to pataofi ladki and keep her happy( I know I know our Khushi is so sweet that she still did not mind that much for this unexpected morning after ). So I was traveling from newyork to home but as soon as I read this update while traveling– I was forced to take a detour straight to LA — mujhe AV ke kaan kichhne the. Although I not only pulled his ears but landed up pulling his adorable cheeks and hairs too🙄. If he sleeps at all the crucial moments–🤦‍♀️– Kya hoga iska. I only hope he does not sleep at “THE MOMENT “( you all can imagine at your own discretion). AV ji ke restraint ki daad deni padegi.

    I am so proud of my Khushi though who is so strong and bold despite all of her insecurities. Aab to Khushi ko hi Menka banana padega to seduce AV sir out of his Sainthood. She has 4 days to go to shops and salons and prepare herself for the attack.
    Separation again — aisa kyon hota hai , what kind of conspiracy is this against our dear couple. Although loved their text conversations and all the hidden inneudos esp morning alarm and there is always first time– that is Classic Meera style ❤️.

    On serious note–depth of Khushi’s feelings and emotions penetrate deep in my heart( — Bye.” She replied just as softly as she curled her fingers, as if to subconsciously trap the warmth of his hands under her skin. “See you.”) she has ocean full of love for him and can not hide her feelings as her face and expressive eyes gives away and sometimes I hope it was not like this.
    I want her to play hard and not give up easily as she is thinking—“Someday, she looked forward to showing him how expertly she could wiggle her eyebrows alternately. Some tricks weren’t meant for Mr. Varun alone.”– way to go– I like that and will wait for that to happen.

    Now best part of this update was heartfelt conversation with Tripti. Usually I am selfish one and like all the side characters of the story upto certain limit but Dear Tripti is an exemption for this. I absolutely adore her. I can understand her vulnerability– it is very hard to see your young crush later on turned into love crushing for anyone and here it is her own dear sister whom she happens to love as well. Gosh this is a miserable situation and only Tripti can handle this. I would love to be Patakha Tripti as I absolutely love her personality How I wish I was lucky to have a sister like Khushi if I am of course Tripti.

    Totally loved chupke chupke pyare Mohan. Your last line about Tripti mentioning Kismat and not biological one — although brought a big grin to my face but it also forced me to think that may be my both girls will talk similarly about them since me and hubby have janam janam ka bair and still staying married 😂.

    Finally Meera aapki is teasing ko Kya naam doon-??- koi baat nahi chalte hai– DUA karenge ki jab aap next update dogi to chappar phaad kar dogi 🙏.

    PS— Btw what was the reason that AV overslept– due to staying awake( bhy)/dreams/imaginations——- Parda hai parda, parade ke piche parda nashi ko beparda na kar doon to Khushi mera naam nahiiiiii.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. 👌👌 😂😂

      Janaab wanted to give his mouth some rest after the late night activities and decided to sleep it off, missing the call in the process. LOL! 😘

      Liked by 5 people

  4. Hi hi hi

    Total package … hav all in one chapter..
    Lovely

    Ok bit disappointed as i was expecting a kisssy from our misssyyyy..
    Let this distance make it more romantic for Av n KG..

    Tripti.. hmm can’t imagine her in a gloomy mood.. c is always like a pattaka kind so MR Annoying Agarwal do something soonish boy..

    Kushi is getting all kind of signals to put the puzzel correctly but our babe is njoying her completed puzzle.. so surprise abi bakki..

    Meera.. my duniya is kind if spinning crazily.. sorry im kind of irregular here..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry for the delay in commenting. Didn’t expect Arnav to fall asleep the next day or to leave her and go on a business trip to another state.
    He is lucky to have Khushi who loves him tremendously and have the patience and understanding to tolerate is excuses.
    Good chat between two sisters. It is hard for Tripti to open up to Khushi when her story involves Khushi too.
    When is friday? and what will happen to our couple when he returns?
    I feel Khushi is more bolder than Arnav.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Here I am sorry Meera for the delayed comments.. Health issues during last trimester r just too much:)
    Anyways Coming to the update..It was completely unexpected but I know its you as writer we are talking about n this expecting the unexpected is what I like about Ur narration..!!
    Well Mr.Varun in his lifetime missed a call just coz he overslept or was he busy dreaming about his Khushi ;)
    The morning look with which he welcomed Khushi was too cute!!
    I could actually relate to Khushi when she was thinking or rather expecting some sparks in the office.. but we are talking about Mr.Senior manager who would never Cross the line..!
    The way he came n informed her about his trip and disappointment she faced as this year too he won’t be here for his birthday was too Adorable..This reminded me of my saiyyajii who was busy In usa during our initial dating days:(
    I want Khushi to give him some surprise..Meeru r we gonna get one?!
    Ohh lift n phone conversation..Uff ye update pura cuteness overload tha;)
    Coming to Trupti I really hope she finds a way to deal with her insecurities..I guess she needs to talk with Arnav regarding this.. Somehow I feel they would have good connection..!!
    Khushi haven’t understood Truptis clues hoping that with her becoming Avs biwi some things would fall in place.
    This wait for next update!!Uff..!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Khushi ‘jagi’ to AVji soo gaye- yeh majra kya hai?? Thaan li hai kya ‘slow burn’ ka world record banane ki.
    Khushi left the opportunity for a jhappi and pappi subah subah, aur evening mai AVji refrained from pulling her into the lift for a sweet goodbye!
    Arre, ab tou she doesn’t report to you and most of the staff had left for the day!!!!
    Thoda chust hona hoga na agar AVji ko api BV chaiye.

    As for Tripti – she is in a difficult position eh!
    Khushi becoming AV ki biwi may be beneficial for her love life.

    Maza aa gaya, Meera.

    Mere Rashk E Qamar Tu Ne Pehli Nazar
    Jab Nazar Se Milaayi Maza Aagaya…

    Happy birthday to your other half.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I wrote a little something. I’m posting it here, because even in its vague imagery, it belongs here. So um. Meeraji, with your permission, of course. I was listening to music to try and motivate myself to study. I wrote, instead. Whattay only. Bear with me, people. :)
    It’ll either be the next comment, or a reply to this one.
    – Appy Singh!

    Liked by 6 people

        1. Meera — the River has given wings to so many of your readers — Nivi, Sohni, Anu, Bhavi
          And now Appy too!
          You inspire and encourage — and yet continue to remain so humble!!! Such a rare combination of values!
          Stay blessed always Meera — its a privilege to know you — the little that we do 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🙏🙏🙏

          Liked by 7 people

            1. Was reading Appy’s work here and it just brought back memories of the OS’s written by Nivi, Sohni ,Bhavi!
              We have seen more from Nivi, Sohni and Anu and we now have Appy joining that club!
              And thru it all, Meera has been not just encouraging but also their strong proponent!
              Couldnt help but voice my thoughts!!

              Liked by 5 people

              1. Kavi, I agree this Riverside has seen a few talented tributaries emerge and flourish, and they have been showered with unparalleled love and encouragement from Meera. In turn our sweet, generous Authorji will say “Maine kuch bhi toh nahin kiya”! 🙂

                Liked by 4 people

  9. It was a usual afternoon. The balmy spring rays that slanted in through the glass threatened to invite her to lounge against the panes and plug in to her favourite music as sleep played catch with her senses. The gentle whirring of her laptop in front of her brought her attention back to the work at hand. Sighing, she cursed heavy lunches. And her predictable, almost cliched taste for stillness and bollywood music. The atmosphere around her, and in her head was set for a premature coffee break. Locking her screen, she walked along the corridor to the pantry at the far end.

    Her pace unhurried, she noticed the way light and shadows took turns startling her, the office blinds hosting this little game of hide and seek. Smiling at a few others who were in the pantry, nursing mugs of what was their work’s blood, she remarked that the afternoon was slow not just for her. Tweaking the buttons of the machine to the least sucky brew offered by it, she waited as the aroma and steam tried its best to make the liquid edible. How she yearned for one of the rare cups of coffee that her Baba made! There was one other person who made a decent cup of coffee. Christ, this was turning into an afternoon of unnecessary nostalgia.

    She hurried out of the room, away from its smell of stale beans and a faint whiff of tobacco; away from thoughts that could cloud the rest of her workday and be her guest for the weekend, if she allowed them to. The weather and the light as still as she had left them, she let the first sip of the bitter liquid meet her lips, stopping at one of the glass panelled windows, staring at the large expanse of neatly manicured lawns below. The steam from her mug stained the glass as its owner unwillingly went down the memory lane. The thin layer of sweat forming on her cheeks, from the heat and the steam of her mug, reminded her of lazy days back home. Of sweltering hot days punctuated by power cuts. Of days whose pace was decided by the music on Vividh Bharti. Of good old coconut oil champi at her mother’s expert hands. Of her sister’s inane chatter as they sat in their garden, the books in their hands forgotten. She knew she was tricking her mind into remembering things so she wouldn’t think of.. other things.

    Her coffee turned cold by the time she reached her desk, her unnecessary trip into the deep recesses of her memory interrupted by a work call. She could take the rest of the day off, maybe? Frowning at the direction of thoughts, she drained her cup, grimacing at the taste. That was it. No more machine-coffee while she was here. Music. She needed music to bring her mind back to where it was supposed to be. Setting her playlist on shuffle, she went through her mails and to-do to see where she was, and how much time she needed to wrap things up. Three songs and a bit of work later, she exhaled. She was finding pace, finally.

    Which is why a second later, when she heard the first strains of the familiar music, she shut her eyes, almost painfully so. She did not need this. And yet, she didn’t switch songs or turn it off. Thoughts she thought she had successfully driven away came back with a vengeance. She yearned for his presence. Not just in her thoughts, but her days. Her mornings. Lazy afternoons such as today. Such as now. And she yearned for time to stop right there. She needed him.

    The lyrics that were penned by the Master himself, and the haunting music had her captive. Her eyes still closed, she let the song end. Unplugging her earphones, effectively switching off the music, she opened her eyes.

    Tere dohre badan mein, sil jaungi re; Jab karvat lega, chhil jaungi re.

    These lines still repeating in her head, she reached out to her eyes to rub them. She wasn’t surprised to find moisture at the corner of her eyes. As much as she loved the still afternoon, she wanted evening to roll by and bring him to her.

    She missed him.

    Yep, was listening to this song. In the afternoon. It was balmy. There was a powercut. There was stillness. And me, my gently whirring laptop, and this song, of course. I don’t have a blog yet. Let me know if you’d like me to start one. :)

    – Appy Singh!

    Liked by 10 people

      1. Meeraji! :) Thank you. Ah yes. It was called Meet The Raizadas. I started writing that before my.. exams. Heh. Notice a pattern here? My creative energies are on steroids when I’m supposed to be studying!

        Liked by 5 people

    1. You most certainly should Appy – start a blog :)

      Thank you, and the balmy afternoon and the power cut too. That was a beautiful piece of yearning. Brought the image of KKG vividly in my head :)

      Battling with books for the Nov exams? (I hope my memory serves me right about what you are studying)

      Liked by 6 people

      1. You’re kind. :) Thank you. And omg you just reminded me of this OS I have saved somewhere. It was called So The Heart Yearns.. Yaar, kambakht exams!

        And yep. November exams. Your memory’s pretty awesome. Aakramann ke liye taiyar mode mein I have to be. But Dussehra-Diwali, a childhood friend getting married, (not to mention, one of the exams is on my birthday, ha!) and my own distractions are making me apprehensive. It’s not like I haven’t pulled a few jugaads earlier, but um, this is different. And difficult. It’s a miracle I’m not going insane yet. Or maybe this is how my insanity comes out. Writing. :P

        Liked by 5 people

    2. Woman — you write so well!!! Get that blog started already!!!! You have your list of readers right here!!!!!
      And the song —- is just something else!!! One of my favorites!!!

      Liked by 6 people

    3. Beautiful Appy ji!! Start blog, whirrrrr your laptop and write more …and more, we are waiting! :)

      PS: When I had heard this song for the first time, these are the exact lines which had slayed me in this song. And I remain slayed. Forever. The Master can make or break anything inside me with his words. Every word of every song from Omkara, every single one.. is close to my heart, as close as heat is to fire. And Vishal B…god I have no words for this album :)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Right? Gulzar and VB – something else. That combination is on another plane altogether. So many songs of theirs have inspired me to write on so many occasions! And thank you! I did edit something on the blog that my WP account has. Let’s see how soon I can take this there.

        The CA in me almost wants to calculate rent for posting my work here. :P
        – Appy Singh!

        Liked by 3 people

  10. Meera, you make me happy like pagal wala happy, like there are many many butterflies in the stomach wala happy :)

    I can feel Arnav ji’s exhilaration now when he has finally got what he always wanted, but my dearest Khushi was so easy on him, thoda tadpana tha aur, she waited for a decade. After reading so many chapters where I had no clue who this Arnav Varun is, at a point I actually believed that he doesn’t reciprocate Khushi’s feelings. And now it’s a completely different world, can’t hold the excitement for the upcoming chapters. Please make it a very memorable birthday for Arnav, yeh dono bahot boring hain, how can they both sleep after such a huge confession.

    P.S. Khushi should have called him Munna :p Mr Tease ko ache se milna chahiye ab.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just feel like writing kismat se tum humko mile ho coz u just write so beautifully. Coming to chapter romantic exchange between khushi and arnav in the office was too good apt for office environment. Khushi’s sudden disappointment of him being away was so natural i just loved it. the conversation between khushi and tripti was really funny both won’t let it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What to say … again an amazing chapter.
    I feel bad for Khushi. Poor her she was waiting for AV on their first ever morning after love confession was night and this guy just overslept 😴😴
    And now with his impromptu trip . abhi to mile dono aur abhi abhi bichadana. Meera this is wrong.poore armanope pani phail gaya..😣😣😣
    I like the convo between Gupta Sisters. Especially “bangayi tum AV ki biwi”.
    It seems like Tripti is in love with Arjun and waiting Khushi to move on with AV so her line will be clear😉😉😉
    Waiting for next update … I want to see how these two celebrate AV’s bday.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s too early in yours and a day late in mine – Happy birthday Khushi!

    Ek baat batao,
    Birthday pe kya maangogi Kaveri?

    Kyunki ban to tum jaogi hi AV ki biwi
    Kisi aur ko nahin baatna hoga CV
    Kyunki, O mummy mummy,
    O daddy daddy,
    O mummy daddy
    Ho jao ready….

    :p

    I remembered, of course I did. Dead batteries and power cuts kept me from getting here on time and I can still hear the knocks of hell on my door. I hope everyone’s been having a great week. Apologies are the only thing I can offer for not being here, until I have better ways to evade punishments for the sin I’ve committed this week. :)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. A very very happy birthday(belated) by a day to our Kaveri Khushi Gupta!!
      Heres hoping the celebrations in the story on her birthday will be as momentous as his birthday celebrations!!
      Waiting with bated breaths!!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I am late I know that but what to do. Hardly get any time to read the updates as my studies takes my all of the time.
    Coming to update
    After the great confession of our dearest AV Sir I was thinking u know some mushy mushy love❤😘😚 but aisa toh kuch Hua hi nahi ulta woh Hua jiske bare mein mere dimaag mein durr durr tak nahi tha😜😜
    But their text conversation was quite loving as well as cute thing!!!
    Loved some sisters time too.
    Khushi and Tripti well they were really having some quality sister’s time🙂🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you so much for another amazing chapter …..So simple but beautiful words and a unique way of writing romance….. . Aap ki jitni bhi tareef ki jaye wo kum hy Meera.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. awesome update.. loved it :)
    their morning after was totally different from what I could have imagined.. haha.. but when arnav and khushi are concerned, how can we expect things to go the normal way :)
    but i want them to spend AV’s birthday together.. uff yeh AV ko bhi abhi travel karna tha..
    Tripti is hilarious.. Ban gayin tum AV ki biwi? ;) :D
    and khushi has a seed of doubt in mind about tripti and arjun.. but i think she still will be very surprised when she will come to know of it.. and arjun is travelling.. is he by any chance traveling to US to be be AV in the meeting?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Missed you loads Meera!!!!!!!

    Humme tumse pyaar kitna Yeh Hum Nahi Jaante
    Humein Tumse Pyaar Kitna, Yeh Hum Nahi Jaante,
    Hume tumse pyaar…

    Din Bhi Yaha To Lage, Baras Ke Samaan,
    Hume Intezaar Kitna, Yeh Hum Nahi Jaante,
    Hume Tumse Pyaar…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. So true Lavs 😀
      And I just read the title of the next chapter. The “din bhi laage hai yahan baras ke samaan” feeling just got heightened after that. Sigh! Intezaar aur abhi, aur abhi, aur abhi……

      Liked by 5 people

        1. Absolutely Lavs. The title is such a tease. To tease and then make us wait……. total zulm 😛
          Am going to be in Mumbai on the day of the update but as long as mobile data is meherban nothing will keep me away from it.

          Liked by 5 people

                    1. Or is it “o meri o meri o meri sharmilee, aao na, tarsao na…”
                      Going by past record I want to know who is smitten and who is shy 😜😎🤓

                      Liked by 4 people

  18. Meera all I can say is we are smitten (by the River) and not one bit shy (about asking for what we want) 😜
    The song of the moment is “waiting for tonight……”😉

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Very very late birthday wishes…..

    Maafi to shayad maang bhi nahi sakti.
    Thodi si meri guilt kam ho jaaye

    Sorry for disappearing act once again. Itne disappearing act ke baad shayad ginti hi nahi but still sorry.

    May be this will redeem some of the …

    Unke khwabon pe mera ikhtiyar ho gaya,
    Thi nind se dushmani ab dostana ho gaya.

    Dafattan haath unka aa gaya hathon main, saari khwahishen puri ho gayi,
    Kitni aur lekin tamanaon ka shuru silsila ho gaya.

    Nazron ne unki hai mujhe kuchh kaha khamoshi se,
    Shuru daur ankhon hi ankhon main baaton ka ho gaya.

    Machal rahein hai armaan kitne, fir bhi dil pur-sukun hai,
    Yeh kya jadoogari hai, yeh kya maajra mere saath ho gaya.

    For Tripti ,

    Kyun zindagi hasin kahani nahi hoti?
    Ghode pe aata sehzada, main sehzadi hoti.

    Aata hai paas woh to , uss se Khafa hoon,
    Fir uske Jaane se meri pareshani kam kyun nahi hoti.

    Ikhtiyar main mere nahi tha, usko apna dil Na dena,
    Ikraar dil ki baat hai, to izhaar kyun nahi hoti?

    Aitbaar hai uske ishq pe, shayad khud pe yakeen nahi,
    Jo chahta hai dil, wo hi baat nahi hoti.

    Please do forgive me if I am out of line somewhere. I missed you all.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. As always, your shayari is magic! And what is all this sorry and forgiveness business! As I said, hum hain yahin hum the jahaan. Be here when you can and when you want to :)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Meera.
        And about “sorry”….I know you don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t do it on purpose. But that doesn’t chnage I feel bad. So I say sorry and you accept. That’s that. Deal?
        And the last sorry is for if I haven’t gone out of line about Tripti.

        Liked by 3 people

  20. Super duper n a very cute chapter.. poor Khushi she has to go thru a lil Judai soon after their major confession n a hot kiss.. I was hoping for a good bye kiss when Khushi followed him behind..but I guess we will have to wait for a return kiss 😁
    And Tripti and Khushi convo always makes me miss my older sister.. enjoyed reading the chapter❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I absolutely agree with Khushi here, whatever it was I expected the next morning to be, it was definitely not this. I envisioned a very eager Arnav waiting at breakfast for Khushi to continue what they started the day before, but he surpassed all our expectations and overslept. Khushi should definitely be miffed with him, after the lukewarm morning, he continued like that through out the day. But when Arnav apologizes so sincerely what else can we do. His deliberate attempt to make Khushi say his name out loud was just wow.

    I love the sisters in this story, be it Ti-Di or Tripti. They are such a tease especially towards their siblings. Khushi seems to be on the verge of cracking the mystery about Arjun and Tripti.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Haaaw! Laad Governer makes an appearance…. Calling her Kaveri and then walking away when she called out to him… Hhhhmmmpppfff!!!

    But that was such a cute interaction… If i may say so.. The to n fro was intimate and in good spirits. ♡♡♡

    Agar pehle doubt tha… Tho ab confirm ho gaya hain ke Arjun kaunse Gupta sister se actual pyaar karta hain .. Wink wink.
    This call between the sisters was so genuine and beautifully written! Do u have a younger sis Meera, coz i have one, and this sounds so much like how a conversation would go with a younger sis!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. awesome update yar
    so again arnav had to leave.
    khushi is sad because she can’t be with him on his birthday….
    I can understand krishna’s situation
    it will be very difficult for her to accept arjun’s love because once he was so serious about someone and that person is her sister and after seeing khushi’s never ending love for arnav she too thinks that arjun wnt get over khushi

    Liked by 1 person

  24. What happened the next morning was least expected keeping in view the last update.. sigh
    Work come first naa..so,it’s ok..

    My heart went out to Tripti ..
    She loves Arjun but can’t accept her feelings right now..
    Seeing her Di’s undying love fror AV,she fears that Arjun could be still in love with Khushi ..

    Arjun bechara..
    It would the hardest for him to live near Khushi.. giving her companionship while harboring feelings inside.. n when he finally moved on,his ladylove is not ready to trust him..

    All these characters r so unique..so beautiful..
    I’m gonna read River all over again once I finish it for the first time..
    Fingers crossed !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. More teasing. Arnav had to go on a trip. I wish he sent her a message. Tripti is screaming from the roof tops and Khushi is not getting it. kab samajhegee ye ladakee?
    Cheers…

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Who 💤oversleeps after a mere confession , ok ok & a kiss, no other action ? 🥵
    It was hilarious as kh was expecting something more when she went to his door & in the lift after work, of course he is the senior 😇manager , is a 😩bore , wouldn’t do anything , not even push her locks behind the ear 🙄
    Liked the easy flirting
    Is kh planning something nice as surprise for his bday ?
    Why doesn’t hotwa take first steps towards 🤩🥳will wait
    Tripti is more than explicit , yet clueless kh cannot understand
    I am sure pataka Gupta is giving Arjun a hard time
    Krishna Arjun ki biwi banoage just like kK & AV

    Liked by 1 person

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