Chapter Four: Retrospective

Life is a movie. Death is a photograph
—Susan Santog

Photographs economize the truth; there are always moments more or less illusorily abducted from time’s continuum.
—Sally Mann

 

It was late in the day. Technically it was night, but there was still light and it was raining. Summer rains were something to reckon with. There was somewhat of a reckless abandon about them, like a deliberate attempt at flouting rules, thumbing their noses at nature’s policy and procedure manual.

 

Khushi never liked rain, hated thunder and was downright petrified of lightning. But these sentiments changed after NK died. She became indifferent to the water that seemed to pour and couldn’t care less about thunder. Lightning wasn’t as scary anymore, she thought. What could be more scary than this abyss of silence and loneliness in her head?

 

The darkening sky turned her window into a mirror. She could see her reflection, a crouched figure rocking back and forth, sitting at her dining table with her knees pulled up and her arms around them to anchor herself. Every time she rocked, she could see the twinkle of her nose pin, a small diamond stud that Amma gave her on the day of her marriage. The day after her wedding she got her nose pierced. It was a secret jaunt to the jeweller’s store, just the two of them, Amma and herself. Little did she know at that time that Khushi had won her mother-in-law’s heart for ever.

 

NK loved her nose pin. Actually he thought it was sexy! A small smile crept silently on her face to pay homage to that memory. Of all the things, her nose turned him on. She remembered how outraged she was that it was her nose he chose, not her legs, her breasts, none of the usual sexy stuff. It wasn’t right, she informed him with great indignation. She also remembered how he laughed at her outrage and how quickly that laugh turned into the very subject they were arguing about, like it always did with NK.

 

Naren.. she whispered his name. Her eyes burned and her throat clogged tight. She took a deep sobbing breath and then another and waited for that control to surface. Two deep breaths always did the trick. I am okay. I will be okay. The two short and pithy sentences were her new mantra for survival, moving from one moment to another.

 

It was time to check on Mira, she thought, her eyes finding the clock on the kitchen wall. It was the wall of photographs that Mira had pointed Arnav to. She had taken every single photograph there. But it was NK who had designed and framed them. It was NK who had gifted her the camera on their second wedding anniversary. They barely had money as graduate students and she was flabbergasted that he would lavish her the way he did.

 

“But what is yours is also mine, isn’t it?” He pulled her into his lap as he whispered his question into her neck, the camera pack forgotten. His lips traced the curve of her neck as his breath left tickles in their wake. His lips seemed to follow their own path down her shoulder. He had managed to pull her offending blouse down the shoulder.

 

“I always thought that what was yours was mine and I got to keep mine as well?” she giggled, sliding her fingers into his curls and pulling gently so she could see his face.

 

“When I am yours, how does anything matter Khush? If you take pictures, you will take of me and Mira. It all comes back to me, doesn’t it? I give you the camera and you make me memories? Fair exchange?” The earnestness in his gaze sliced right through to her soul. All she could do was pull on his curls towards herself and kiss him.

 

There was nothing fair in the exchange he had dealt her. She sniffed and looked mournfully at the photographs that he had hung on her kitchen wall. All that was left for her were memories that he had created, memories weighed down by deep sadness and what-ifs. Khushi shook herself out of her melancholy and looked at the clock again.

 

The little one went to bed by herself today.  She insisted on sleeping in her own room and bed. “ I am going to be a big girl,” she announced to her Paatti and her mommy. Walking lightly on her feet, Khushi peeked into Mira’s bedroom which was adjacent to her own. The night light was on, which meant that Amma must have turned the study light off after Mira went to sleep. It was a big step for Mira today that she went to sleep without Khushi or Amma next to her. Especially so, considering that Mira couldn’t fall asleep, nor stay asleep for many months after NK’s passing. With tenderness, she ran her fingers along her curly hair and down her back. She slept on her stomach with her mouth open, just like NK. Tucking her forefinger under Mira’s jaw, she slowly brought her lower jaw up to close her mouth. Perhaps it was the touch, perhaps it was the sense that it was her mother, Mira drew a deep breath, almost a sigh and went back to her rhythmic breath of deep sleep.

 

Khushi would have never guessed that sleep would be one of the many things that left with the person who died. Along with NK’s companionship, she lost her companionship with sleep as well. Insomnia became a reluctant friend on those long dreary nights along with that shrill silence. When she did sleep, it was roiled with dreams, visions that left her feeling empty and dissatisfied when she awoke. That was when she found herself gravitating towards their collection of home videos that she had begun recording after Mira was born. Slowly she walked towards the discs that she had made, slid one into the player and sat on the couch. When she was about to push the play button, she heard feet shuffle and a gentle hand on her head.

 

“Can’t sleep?” Amma’s whisper made her look up. Manorama stood next to her couch, looking at Khushi as if she understood her insomnia.

 

“Yes” she nodded. She patted the seat next to her, inviting her to join.

 

Manorama sat slowly. It looked like her arthritis was bothering her; the rain certainly will do that, thought Khushi. But she was not yet sixty years old. Manorama was life’s foot soldier, trudging across the ups and downs that her life threw at her. She carried through them all with such strength and grace. But today, she looked tired, all of her fifty eight years and then some.

 

Khushi sat back to gaze at her mother-in-law with new eyes. This was an unusual relationship she shared with her. Manorama was more of a mother than a  mother-in-law these days. When NK introduced Khushi to his parents for the first time as the girl he was going to marry, Manorama opened her arms and her heart to Khushi almost instantaneously. She insisted that Khushi call her Amma instead of Aunty. Khushi was not just her daughter-in-law, she was her daughter too, she declared. NK’s father, on the other hand, was more reticent. But there was a polite distance that Khushi and Manorama maintained for a long time. She was an affectionate mother-in-law, but it was Khushi herself, she realized, who maintained that distance between them. However, when NK passed away, everything changed between them. The cordiality shifted to a need and a shared friendship. It seemed to Khushi that Manorama needed them as much as Mira and Khushi needed Manorama in their lives.

 

Leaning back, Manorama looked at the television and asked with a questioning look, “movie?”

 

“No” Khushi shook her head. “Videos of Mira and NK.”

 

There was a look of utter despondency in Manorama as she raised her head to look at Khushi. “Isn’t it strange that things outlast people? And all we are left with are memories.” She shook her head sadly as tears gathered in her eyes. Manorama lost her husband five years ago and her only child in the last two years. Khushi knew what that was like – to be alone, truly alone. Having lost her own parents at the age of twelve, she knew what it was to not only bear losses, but also to be left behind.

 

“Will it ever go away? This pain and how much I miss him?” It was more of a question to herself.

 

“No, it won’t. It will never go away” Manorama replied. “But the pain will lessen. It won’t hurt your heart every time you think of him.” She sighed. “You will be able to smile without tears when a memory shows up.” She slowly ran her hand on Khushi’s head and then down her back. The touch soothed and Khushi leaned into Manorama and laid her head in Manorama’s lap. It worked for both of them, to seek and receive this exchange. Manorama resumed running her hand on Khushi’s head.

 

“Is that what happened to you when NK’s Appa passed away?” Khushi wanted to know.

 

Manorama’s hand stilled for a moment, but it resumed soon after. “It wasn’t the same. He was not my best friend, like Naren is to you” Manorama said softly. “We were not like you two. He was my husband, you know, that’s all. But you and Naren are more than that.” Khushi noticed her mother-in-law’s usage of present tense when she referred to NK. It heartened her.

 

“I was so young when we got married. I was not quite twenty and Naren’s Appa was twenty eight years old. In fact, I turned twenty after a few months of our marriage.”  Manorama seemed to be lost in her own thought. “We were not friends. We were married, he was my husband and I was his wife, you know? I didn’t know that your husband could be your friend!” Manorama turned to look at Khushi with puzzlement in her eyes. “I think I truly understood that when I saw you and Naren together. Is that strange to you?”

 

Khushi smiled and said nothing. Perhaps it was her silence, perhaps it was her smile, Manorama continued as if she were asked to. “He was my husband, I was supposed to do things for him – cook for him, remind him of things that were needed in the house, give him coffee when he came back from work, that sort of thing. We didn’t talk about anything else. His parents used to stay with us. There were these unwritten rules about everything, when I could talk, who I could talk to and things that were my business and things I couldn’t talk about.” Manorama’s fingers were now running circles in Khushi scalp. A scrap on the carpet seemed to have her focus as she resumed.

 

“I didn’t talk to my in-laws much. I used to help Naren’s Paatti in the kitchen, but I never spoke to his Taatha. It was very hard, everything was new. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, to ask if this was how life was supposed to be. I was alone most of the day. I felt very lonely.” Manorama stopped. Her fingers stilled on Khushi’s head. The heaviness in Manorama’s breath traveled to Khushi.  “Then I had Naren.” Now Manorama’s eyes held a soft, tender look. “He brought so much happiness into my life. He was my life, my own special toy; he filled my day and my night. I felt like God sent him to me so that I wasn’t lonely any more. I had him for myself, you know?” Khushi could tell that these remembrances were Amma’s treasure. Joy poured out of her eyes as she traveled back into her past.

 

Khushi knew that NK was very close to his mother, closer to his mother than his father. There was a small sliver of envy in Khushi whenever NK spoke of his home, especially his mother. Initially she was intimidated by their tight knit relationship, but neither NK nor Manorama ever did anything to keep her out of that circle. When Khushi had Mira, it was Manorama who came to help the young couple with their new baby. Those three months of Manorama’s visit helped cement their relationship to what it was when NK passed away.

 

“So, to get back to your question about NK’s Appa, I don’t know if what I felt for him is what you feel for Naren. I think after living with him for so long, I miss his companionship, his presence. He was almost like a habit for me.” Manorama sighed deeply.

 

Khushi lifted her head from Manorama’s lap and threw her arms around her. “I am sorry Amma, for everything and everyone you lost.” She gave her a tight hug. They stayed in that hug for long moments. The disc in the player forgotten as images from stories shared took precedence. Just then Khushi’s cell phone whirred indicating that there was a new text message. It must be Lav she thought, checking up on her. Manorama looked at her inquiringly. “It is probably Lavanya, I will text her back later” Khushi said. Manorama nodded as she walked slowly towards her bedroom.

 

“You know, I see you in Mira” Khushi smiled at Manorama as she gently touched Manorama’s dimple. She leaned and gave her mother-in-law a kiss on her cheek. They neared Manorama’s room.

 

“And I see you in her sometimes.” She returned her a smile and gently pinched Khushi’s cheek in open affection. “Good night Chellam, sleep well.” Manorama reserved her endearment in Tamil for very special occasions and Khushi knew that this moment was no different.

 

“Good night Amma.” Khushi walked towards her room. She knew it was going to be a long night with insomnia as bedfellow. Looking down at her cell phone, she noticed that it was Lavanya that had texted her.

 

All well babe? How was lunch?

 

Disappointment sliced through her and caught her by surprise. Who was she expecting to text this late? Ignoring her wayward thinking she responded to Lavanya.

 

Yep, all well. Lunch was fine too. And before you ask, am okay Lav.. ☺ .

 

She sent the message and got ready for her night with her book.

 

Propped up against her pillows, she feigned attention to the lines in her book that she tried reading. After her third attempt at trying to read the same sentence, she sighed in disgust and gave up her pretense. Yes, he is probably on his way to the airport. Why should that matter to me? It doesn’t.

 

The light on her cell phone brightened with another whirr. Another text from Lav, this late?

 

On my way to the airport. It was good to see you today. Thanks for meeting me. Her heart quickened at the message. It was from ASR.

 

It was good to see you too. Have a safe flight. Bye. She typed her response but her fingers stalled. Should she respond immediately? Should she wait? Dammit! She sent the message. That’s it, she told herself. He is being polite. Like he was at lunch. Nothing more to it.

 

Khushi had broken down completely at the restaurant, letting free rein to her tears. He held her hands through it all and she could see concern in his eyes. He was worried for her. They left the restaurant soon thereafter, but not before they argued over who was going to pay for lunch. It brought a smile to Khushi’s face. He won this time and paid for lunch. But she wrangled a promise from him that she would pay next time. And he agreed without a demur. Wait, she thought, next time? Of course that explained his smirk! Another whirr of her phone caught her eye.

 

Don’t be a stranger anymore. Can’t wait another ten more years for lunch.

 

Humph! Fingers flew over her cell phone. It takes two to tango. Ha! Now his turn.

 

Looks like someone has an axe to grind! ☺  That was quick, not even ten seconds..

Let sleeping dogs lie. She knew she was being juvenile, but he started it!

 

When pigs fly and You started it.

 

Actions speak louder than words.

 

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

 

What is this? A war of idioms? She had to call him on it and where was he going with this?

 

Touché! But don’t be a stranger anymore please? Can I expect to hear from you when you are in Delhi?

 

Why?

 

What possessed her to ask that question even though the question plagued her mind since he showed up at her door. Seconds ticked by, she tried not to look at her phone for a response. Seconds turned into minutes. Berating her impulsive self, she picked her book up to try reading it again. She caught herself rereading the same paragraph again and again while her eyes surreptitiously peeked at her cell phone. Giving up on both the book and the cell phone, Khushi walked to the kitchen to get a cup of water. This was ridiculous, it was time she went to sleep. She returned to her bedroom and finally got under the covers when her phone whirred again.

 

Why for the stranger part or why for contacting me in Delhi? Ps: Had to clear security and immigration.

 

Khushi held her phone in her hands, her eyes reading his message again and again. Prudence demanded that she cop out of this conversation pleading sleep. Why does he want to have this conversation now? Well, you started it her conscience reminded her. She knew that he was leaving soon. Was she ready to have this conversation?

 

How long before you have to board your flight? She needed to prevaricate; she hoped he would follow along. She waited.

 

In an hour. Not going to answer my question?

 

No. And I asked first. What is it with a phone that makes impossible conversations possible?

 

Alright then, how about we pick this up when you take me out to lunch or dinner when you are in Delhi? This way you get to pay? ☺

 

Good move Raizada! Khushi couldn’t help but smile at his message this time. He was going to allow her to get away with her question this time.

 

You have yourself a deal! And yes, I will call you when I reach Delhi. I believe there is a certain promise you made to an eight year old.

 

No, haven’t forgotten that. It’s probably late and you should probably be asleep? Bye for now Khushi.

 

Bye ASR. Have a safe flight. Ps: Will you send me a text when you reach home? Just to let me know that you are safe and okay? Only if it’s not a bother.

 

Yes, I will. It’s a promise.

 

Khushi’s hand reached for the ring on the chain. It was going to be a long night thought Khushi, looking at her phone.

 

It was going to be a long flight, sighed Arnav Singh Raizada.

*********

Dear Friends
feel like chatting some more – more than the chapter posted? There is a Chatter’s corner now… find the link to it on top… 🙂 Stories are like magpies – they like forming sisterhood and sisterhood needs a corner for a good chat. 🙂

 

107 thoughts on “Chapter Four: Retrospective

    1. Manorama Krishnan is a woman ahead of her times. She married young, into a household where she was expected to be on the beck and call of her husband & his family. She didn’t even have the freedom to express herself or act freely. “I felt like God sent him to me so that I wasn’t lonely any more” – This sentence touched my heart. I read it over and over again. It shows how lonely she was before her Naren became a part of her life. He was probably the only person she ever connected to. Yet she had no qualms when it came to sharing her most prized possession with another woman. To some extent, I would also associate NK’s loving nature to his mother. “A man who treats his woman like a princess is a proof that he has been born and raised in the arms of a queen” 🙂

      One would assume a woman who had always been living under such a confined & strict atmosphere would expect the same from her daughter-in-law. But she not only spared Khushi all these restraints, she also took effort to make Khushi comfortable within the family. Even today, she would want Khushi to settle down and start anew with a nice man. She hasn’t missed the blush on Khushi’s cheeks in Arnav’s presence. She has witnessed first hand how important friendship is to a good marriage. So having seen Arnav’s effect on Khushi and knowing that he is an old friend, I won’t be surprised if Amma decides to play cupid ❤

      Naren & Khushi had a love marriage? I always assumed it was an arranged marriage. Interesting! They were still graduate students during their second wedding anniversary, so I believe it must not be long after she met Arnav.

      I loved the SMS interactions. And you are so right about having impossible conversations over a text, rather than f2f, or even on phone. I guess that’s because there’s less pressure and you can think before reacting. Plus the other person can’t see or gauge your body language.

      I wonder if the next chapter gives a glimpse about Arnav & Mohan’s life in Delhi. I have been reading comments of my fellow readers who had the privilege to read this story before, and their enthusiasm about Mohan & Mira’s interaction has got me excited too 🙃🤩

      Liked by 13 people

      1. Love the way you picked on the most precious point in Khushi-Manorama relationship… U r right.. Naren is her world, and mkre often than not… A woman in her state, a strict household and loneliness would be too possessive of that special bond she has with her child. The open arms she has for Khushi and the fact that she senses remnant feelings in Arnav and Khushi, but doesn’t push Khushi to confess or make her feel overly guilty about it, or that she is open to seeing what comes out of this renewed relation… Says a lot about the woman she is. A strong woman, who is confident in herself, her emotions and those around her to give life and people around her a chance. Hats off to such women.

        Gauri, having read it before, we still are eagerly waiting to read the next part.. Such is the magic of this tale… Starcrossed lovers with an added touch of two innocents and extended families they bring into the picture. So 🤗🤗 .. Would love to read ur words when the time comes.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. This is probably the first ArShi FF where I am more intrigued about the extended relations than Arnav & Khushi 😀
          Arnav-Mira, Khushi-Naren, Khushi-Manorama, Arnav-Maya and of-course, the much awaited Mohan-Mira. I don’t know anything about Mohan, but already very excited to meet him 🙂

          Liked by 4 people

      2. Love the way you said it all! Yes that line about her child being sent so that she wouldn’t be lonely anymore touched me deeply too. And now, she has to look for that in her daughter-in-law and grand-daughter. My God, I can’t even imagine the pain Manorama is going through. What can be more difficult and painful in this world than outliving your child?!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Loved your comment . Although I’ve read SC before , your comment did highlight the MIL DIL relationship with a difference .
        How often we are envious and unwilling to let go of our possessive nature . Here although raised and lived in a conservative setting , NK s mother is so loving and giving … Sharing her son without any animosity or envy or reluctance .
        Such a warm relationship here … ❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    1. “Duniya mein yoon aana, duniya se yoon jaana
      Aao to le aana, jaao to de jaana
      Yaadein, yaadein, yaadein
      Baatein bhool jaati hain
      Yaadein yaad aati hain
      Yeh yaadein kisi dil-o-jaanam ke
      Chale jaane ke baad aati hain
      Yaadein, yaadein, yaadein…”

      Manorama’s recount of her wedded life was profoundly moving. Both Khushi and Manorama lost their life companions, but their marriage relationships were as different as night and day.

      Despite a separation spanning 10 odd years it did not take long for an easy camaraderie to make a re-appearance between Arnav/Khushi. 😊 The flurry of text messages liberally sprinkled with riposte and repartee were a delight to read. 😄

      Looking forward to Krishnan/Raizada meet up in Delhi. Mira, will you consider it weird if I say I am more excited for Meera/Mohan meeting than Arnav/Khushi’s? 😁

      Liked by 9 people

    1. What touched me the most was that view of relationship from an older generation to a younger one. The idea that one could be friends with your spouse. Jeevan saathi we say, but does it really translate to that in real life for many, especially women?
      And replacement of one darkness with another…there’s a lost child inside the grown woman…
      War of idioms and the whisper of passion.
      Like someone else mentioned its difficult waiting for the next one to come!

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Not everyone is blessed to have a friend in your spouse, or a friend as your spouse. Every marriage is built on a brick thats exclusive to itself, though can be categorized generally… Its how every other brick is placed from there on that matters… Here Manorama see the equal relationship between her children and the way they built their world up from that mutual feeling of love. She respects that and that possibly is the reason she stands by Khushi so strongly, cause she knows it.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. You’re right. Most often, especially in the older generation, the relationship is played out with the traditional roles set in place, and also in a joint family setup. Its lovely to see how much she appreciates what she sees.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. I was just thinking about the dynamics of a relationship in the older generation. It was so different. Maybe, because I come from a somewhat conservative tam-bhram family, but, I don’t remember anyone in the previous generation even calling their husbands by their given name, forget being friends and sitting together for a cup of coffee 😏

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I wanted to add this to my comment, then decided not to. One of the earliest memories of for me my parents is of them sitting and reading together. There was a sense of companionship, even though they were both engrossed in their own books. A time when there was no TV!(Now she has her tv viewing time and he his!! But he’ll be sitting around apparently reading, but passing snarky comments about whatever is going on in her tv serials, I’ve caught him humming tunes from them even though he wonders how folk can watch such stuff!😂🤣) The best thing apart from been born as their child, is the love of the written word that they encouraged. More than all my formal education that is the one thing that has helped me in doing much of what I’ve chosen to do. But you’re right, what you have written is the norm rather than the exception, irrespective of community.

          Liked by 2 people

        1. Same here dear… To top it Sonny boy had his bday and Daddyji was travelling… Just got out of zombie zone.. So i can totally understand ur condition… Hope u all feel better soon… And kids.. 😬.. Well will be kids i guess.. If they dont make u a zombie.. They make u a lizzard and drive u up the wall 😜

          Liked by 2 people

  1. You know Mira, I read the story many times before the break and and i am still hooked to it reading again . There is magic in the way you write that makes me feel that the events are happening in front of me. Thanks for reposting and letting all your readers once again revisit this masterpiece 🙂

    I am so eagerly waiting to catch up where you left last time after Arnav got sick and got hurt with his sugar levels down.

    p.s: However, I don’t mind waiting 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  2. What an emotional memory lane Khushi and NK’s. They loved each other and its painful enough to read. Khushi is strong and Manorama is absolutely an adorable mother in law. She has more understanding and empathy towards Khushi before and now. It’s amazing to see such a bond. Her life when she was newly wed was probably the common ways we have seen our parents too..

    Arnav and khushi’s late night texts shows their friendship rebuilding. Can’t wait to see how it progresses!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. True.. Makes one wonder if the friendship was gone, in the first place… A mind may let go of a person, when a relationship breaks.. But the heart holds on… Its easy to fall back into the rhythm, all it takes is an open heart.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Camera… what a wonderful creation .. long after the passing of the dear ones we can see them alive moving and hear their voice ….

    What manorama went thru in her sasural and everyone in the family in those time was like the norms. Every second or third girl was married of at young age and told that this is your family now and you should worship the ground they walk on without asking any question. And yes her child is only thing that probably can bring her joy.

    Arnav and khushi knows each other from another life time it seems but now in present time he is trying to know her all over again and is determined that she let him in.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Love Khushi and Manorama’s relationship. Poor Manorama, losing a husband and your only child in a span of few years must have been terrible. Losing a child is never easy.

    Khushi and Arnav are reconnecting. Loved their little banter on the phone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Like I said before, it feels like the first time. You weave magic with your words Di. It’s heartbreaking how a loss can change people around. I love the relationship between Manorama and Khushi it’s beautiful. The return of text messages, how I missed them.

      I think Ed Sheeran got it right-

      “We keep this love in a photograph
      We made these memories for ourselves
      Where our eyes are never closing
      Hearts are never broken
      And time’s forever frozen still”

      Waiting for the next one.

      Liked by 5 people

  5. Lovely . If my memory serves me right, I think there are additions to the old version.
    Beautiful chapter. Looking forward to Khushi’s trip to India.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Naren was a beautiful soul gone too soon. And he is a reflection of his mother. He was raised to be a good human being.
    Arnav and khushi seem to have some unfinished business. Can’t wait for them to meet again in Delhi

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Arnav’s wishes to see Khushi again are so heartfelt I can pretty much visualize Khushi smiling at her phone. At least it took her mind off things 🙂 lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Manorama and Khushi that bond is so beautiful and inspiring. My heart goes out to the krishnan ladies each having lost someone so precious to them. True ,the loss is never overcome, you simply learn to go through it every single day .
    I am more excited for Meera and Mohan to meet. That’s one bond I can’t wait to see flourish.kids have a way with each other.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Hi Mirabell….felt sad while reading Kushi’s loneliness…present generation is lucky when compared to the older generations…At that time women were controlled by her mother in law and a much elder husband.. No companionship and no friendship…When they lost their husbands they didnt miss the husbands but worried about their security ,financial void and the future of their kids…But now as both the partners are working and most of the marriages are love marriages they really really feel the loss of their beloved husbands….you have portrayed both the generations women’s feelings very beautifully…you are an awesome writer..It is a pleasure to read your story…Eagerly waiting for the next one.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Loved Manorama and Khushi’s bonding and their conversation…
    Arnav and Khushi’s text conversation is amazing
    Can’t wait for their meeting at Delhi as Khushi promised him

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amazing part
    Waiting eagerly to see how their meeting goes in Delhi…..
    Loving this Monorama of yours a lot.loved the bondings between her and Khushi…..
    Thanks a lot Mira 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely uodate MB
    Your Naren is the best Naren of all the stories I have read and I have always told you that he is my hero in this story
    Your words have made me fall with him – looking forward to re-read more of khushi Naren and manorama Naren and Mira Naren interactions
    Loved manorama character too – very difficult to find one such bond which khushi and manorama are sharing in this story
    Great going MB
    Loving it

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I have read all parts of the story, a silent reader, but no more. This story has touched my heart and am looking forward to re read.
    Love all characters, wonderfully knit together.
    Thanks for restarting and would love to be part of this journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful Chapter

    Loved the bond between Amma and Chellam. Felt bad for these two lovely ladies for the loss of their companionship especially Manorama losing Naren is so painful. During Manorama’s generation, it was normal for the girl to be married early and shove the responsibilities of handling their house and was told to follow whatever her husband’s and in-laws say and never talk back to them. It was nice of Manorama not to have the same mentality but be open-minded with her daughter in law and accepting her as her daughter by bonding well. Manorama’s story of her life, her being lonely, not having anyone to talk to or open up herself was emotional. Yes as Manorama said the pain of the loss of their loved one will not go away but with time they will be remembered with beautiful memories. Manorama’s joy when talking about Naren and having him in her life was heart-touching.

    When the first part was emotional the second part filled with lighter moments of texting between Arnav and Khushi. Though it is still awkward between these two who meet after a decade, with the flow of their texts both felt comfortable. It will always be easy to communicate through texts than face to face or having phone conversations without worrying that the opposite person might guess what we actually feel with our gestures. Mira is a lively and bubbly girl must have inherited from her father wanting to know more about Mohan and waiting to see how these will bond with the time.

    Eager for the next one

    Thanks
    Chinnulu

    Liked by 3 people

  15. The friendly,witty banter between the two through test messages was a delight to read and full of hope. A glimpse of Khushi before she lost Naren or maybe a playful side of her which makes its appearance only with Arnav. It could be either but it gives one hope. The picture of her hugging her knees and rocking, recollecting her time with Naren, is heart wrenching. One feels her loss,her loneliness and wish somehow she can pick pieces of her life to move forward.

    Mothers excess attachment to their kid,s not so uncommon in Indian marriages, especially the kind of marriage Manorama had. She not holding on to her son after his marriage makes her unlike many though. She was neither jealous or threatened by her son love for another woman. She is a caring and loving mother who did not grudge the happiness and friendship her son found in his marriage that was lacking in hers.

    It will be interesting if she will be okay with Khushi dating Arnav. She stills talk about her son and Khushi’s relationship in present tense. Someone else taking that position in Khushi’s life will hurt and bother her. It will be like letting go of her Naren.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. True.. Speaking of Khushi and Naren in present tense.. Superbly put… She may feel the pinch for sure, cause she is holding on to Khushi and Mira as memories and consolation of the son she lost. It sure will be difficult for her to let go, if and when the time comes. Im looking forward to reading that part again… 😬.. I remember well when i read it the first time and wondered at the consequence the realization of a re-budding relationship would have on Amma and her Chellam.

      Liked by 4 people

  16. Though we’ve all read it before, but re reading gets a smile.on our faces. Especially knowing, they will acknowledge their feelings, cause when I had read it for the first time, it was always less.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. sorry wont b able to comment much .. my mom was in hospital recovering now bt im little caught up…

    yes bt im reading again n living n feeling all emotions

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Okay okay. I’m so excited to know what happens next!!! I want to know if she has the ability to move on and accept the love or will she recoil from it. Will Arnav and khushi resolve their issues? Will their love blossom again? What happened for it to die down anyways? Will this love have a name;)? I guess I’ll have to stay tuned to find out. Till next time!

    Thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tried soemthing new… Wrote comments on a notepad, as i was reading the chapter 😬. Hope its not too disjointed. And thanks for the chat corner… 🤗

      “I am okay. I will be okay.” the mantra that follows every loss… it sounds hollow.. But one looks to draw a strength from those very words, to keep their sanity about them. Heart wrenching, knowing that nothing is okay, and nothing will be okay, but they have to build a new definition of ‘okay’ to move on.

      The relationship between Khushi and Manorama was and is the highlight of your story… i was awed by it when i read it the first time and this time too! The acceptance doesn’t come easy, especially giving a son’s wife/partner, a place in your heart and equal if not more special a place in your life for that person, as you have your own child. We all dream of that relationship, which very few people are blessed with. Most of us adjust, either one sided or both, to maintain a sense of peace. But here we see two women who have loved NK albeit in seperate ways,to whom he was the world, who are desolate with his passing, find an anchorage in the deep whirlpool of his fond memories.

      Quoting ur words – What is it with a phone that makes impossible conversations possible?
      it’s just the sense of security that you can hide your emotions and speak/write out what you feel knowing that the repercussions will atleast be put off till you meet next 😝.
      Every romance begins with words. Actions measure to a lot, but every sweetheart waits for a written/spoken word from their love. Purane zamaane mein love letters, ab ke zamane mein texting… zamaana badla hain.. But some things remain the same through transformation, I guess 😬😜

      Liked by 6 people

        1. There is such an amazing lot to think and write about.. Can’t just summarize… Sometimes saying (jotting down) things, as and how they occur to u.. Is good 😬.. No chance of missing something out 😜

          Liked by 2 people

  19. Lightning wasn’t as scary anymore ….Wats more scary than this absyss of silence and loneliness in her head….These lines really got a pinch in my heart…..It shows how much Naren’s absence had affected her……..
    You beautiful showed the development of a MIL and DIL relationship….. Manorama is a strong women….her relationship with Naren’s Appa is just like the most of the older generations in our home….binded by social norms….set of rules…… “A husband can be a Friend too…. That i learnt from Naren and you” That has all my heart…… sometimes loss of a close one makes relationship stronger…. Both khushi’s and manorama’s world revolved around Naren… suddenly they both lost their world…so these two needed each other to be strong…it made their relationship like a mother and a daughter now……
    Arnav and khushi’s chatting was awesome…..

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Why!Me wondering too… Why did Arnav show up at her doorsteps after all these years…strangers who share intimacy gave me goosebumps… why did they breakup?
    Simply love the relation Khushi and Manorama share.But its Arnav relationships dynamics that are very intriguing.His ex wife her husband and the son…not going to say much at the risk of giving away spoilers.
    Though Khushi doesn’t know yet her heart wants companionship…we all do❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I had so many thoughts when I read this chapter yesterday. Even if the bond between Khushi and Manorama had been deep when NK had been alive, it has deepened to another level in their shared loss. How utterly heartbreaking that the price had to be so high. I almost want an AU where we get to see Khushi live happily with her NK, Mira, and amma; blessed with all the love and laughter the world has to offer. How one wishes death was not so final!
    The fortuitous meeting with Arnav couldn’t have come at a better time for Khushi. A meeting with someone who wasn’t a part of her life when NK passed away would do her a world of good. At least, she doesn’t need to see NK’s death through their eyes every time she meets them. She doesn’t have(fresh?) memories of happy times spent together in the company of NK and Arnav. I loved their idioms banter. And the easy moment of camaderie they share. They slipped into it almost without realizing, right? It was lovely!!
    Now, on to the next chapter.
    P.S. Love the chatting corner idea. Will stop by when I get a chance.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. 😔
    Just caught the update….looks like I was following the other blog…

    Manorama and Khushi talk, so touching. Wonderful to read the warmth and affection between the two, at the same time heart wrenches when Khushi thinks about Naren.

    You made it all well with the messages… can’t wait for more of this 🤗

    Like

  23. The Camaraderie shows that Arnav and Khushi know each other very well. How did Khushi and Arnav meet? He was into medicine. Khushi was not. Were they friends at school or were they neighbors? Khushi and NK already had Mira by their second wedding anniversary and they were still students. What was the urgency to have a kid even before they settled in life? There is lot of mystery and can’t wait to find the answers.
    Cheers……

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Mira..
    I m not alone here who wanna now more about Khushi,NK,Manorma n Mira..
    I’ve fallen in love with this amazing character..NK..
    I wanna see him caring for his mother,romancing with Khushi n spending time with little Mira ..

    But I think we’ll be getting his glimpse through Khushi’s memories only ..
    It’s heart breaking to see gloomy Khushi n Manorma but it’s heart warming to see their bonding..
    My heart aches for Mira..

    I m looking forward to Khushi’s visit to Delhi..
    Arnav’s visit to her home,the lunch n now light hearted texting has unknowingly lifted Khushi’s mood ..

    I wonder if Arshi have ever been lovers..
    Why did they get separated ..
    Why did he come to see Khushi..

    Khushi has asked him –why..
    But he chooses to keep silent ..though he promises to talk about it later ..

    Mohan… seems an intriguing character ..

    Waiting for the update..
    Chat corner…wow..thanx

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Is there ever expiry date for grief? Manorama- Khushi equation: if I adored it to the core before now I love them. Both women are bound by a common man who now is a memory yet the love between two have just grown.

    Khushi-NK: This is one of the few stories where pairing the lead with other is not out of a place. Their bond; friendship and love all is as soothing. Both started their lives from start. They struggled as a couple yet they had this strong connection.
    The update reminded me of the ED Sheeens song Photograph.

    “Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
    But it’s the only thing that I know
    When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
    It is the only thing makes us feel alive
    We keep this love in a photograph
    We made these memories for ourselves
    Where our eyes are never closing
    Hearts are never broken
    And time’s forever frozen”

    Arnav Khushi: There is something about not seeing people and interacting. We can say things mindlessly and that is exactly what we see here. The interaction gives us a peekaboo at their relation they must have shared. It shows how a young Khushi must have been.

    Nose pin- never knew that was considered sexy.

    Although am reading it again and know the story it’s still stirs the emotion that only confirms the power of your writing Mira.

    Ami

    Ps: I just realized that I started to comment-on your story much later. After 10 or 11 chapters.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There are only few stories that I think must have a closure. This is one of it. I am glad that you gave this and us readers too a second chance.
        Wishing that this time around Second Chance sees the silver lining beyond and that I can read an epilogue with happily ever after.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Amazing chapter mira..
    I’m feeling as if I’m watching everything happening before me as I can relate to kushi’s pain and loss easily, after seeing my co- sister..
    Loving this manorama and kushi bond.. I understood that NK and kushi’s is a love marriage.. that too when they were graduate students.. so when did she meet arnav?
    Though manorama is from a very orthodox family, she didn’t impose the same on kushi.. loved her open minded nature and looks like she is going to play a vital role in getting arshi close..
    I’m eager to read about arnav’s life now..

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sigh !!

    The Kind of Feeling’s swirling in my heart Reading this Chapter……. So much to say, ….. where to start from ?

    LIFE is never a easy walk ,
    & So the loss of something or someone beloved Never ever fades away,
    It’s doesn’t go with time , you just got used to it ….. & Make that Pain a part of your being !!

    Manorma & khushi’s bond is so precious ❤️

    ARNAV & khushi….. What i say ABOUT these two souls….. Just Loving them….so tenderly You have Portrayed their emotions ❤️
    YOU AS AN WRITER ✍🏻 IS PRAISEWORTHY DI….. BEST 👏🏻❤️👏🏻
    THANKS,,SO,, VERY,, MUCH 🙏🏻
    LOVE YOU DI HAMESHAA 😘💕

    Liked by 1 person

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