Chapter Nine: Cucooned

You left me, sweet, two legacies, —
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;  

You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.
—-Emily Dickinson

 

There was something otherworldly about flying, being suspended at thirty thousand feet in the air.  Cocooned inside a metal bird with the constant roar of the engines provided her a surreal sense of security from the things that haunt while on the ground. Perhaps it was that physical distance that the plane provided from the grounding earth that made it possible for those elusive memories to percolate to the surface of her consciousness. It was dark inside the cabin and their flight was scheduled late at night from the flagship airport in Washington DC.

 

Khushi turned on her seat to look at the two seats next to her and smiled at the sight of her daughter teaching her mother-in-law how to operate the on-board entertainment system. For a soon to be nine-year-old, Mira was a patient teacher, helping her Patti figure out the buttons and touch screen. She was just like NK, a teacher through and through. In fact, she had many of his mannerisms – when she was deep in thought she pulled the curls near her temple as if to straighten them.

 

Khushi had a distinct memory of NK sitting in their living room reading chair with his head buried in a book that he held in his one hand, while the other pulled on his curly hairs by his left temple. She teased him often that he would have partial and preferential baldness, running her fingers through his curly hair.

 

“But you will still love me when I am bald. Won’t you?” asked NK pulling Khushi into his lap, the book now forgotten.

 

Smiling into his eyes, Khushi said, “Hmm… I may have to think about that.” She teased him. There was an answering smile on his face that brought to the fore his dimples that tempted Khushi to feel their depths with her fingers. Tracing his dimples she asked, “I thought you knew that I have a thing for bald men? Bald men are sexy NK.”

 

“Say my name… Naren… not NK, just Naren.” She could feel his stubble on the soft skin of her neck, just below her jaw. 

 

“Naren” she whispered into his neck, placing small kisses on his Adam’s apple. “Let’s see if I can remember some of them… Yes….  Patrick Stewart to start with, most definitely Andre Agassi …” her voice now a mere whisper. All conversation fell aside when NK gently tilted her head upwards towards him before he slowly claimed her lips in a toe-curling kiss.

 

“Samuel Jackson’s name is definitely worth mentioning.”  Khushi murmured against NK’s lips as she tried to continue, but all was forgotten when NK… no, Naren scooped her up in his arms and strode to their bedroom.

 

“Mommy! Are you sleeping already?” Mira’s voice piped up with her hands gently shaking her. Khushi didn’t realize that her eyes were closed. She responded automatically saying she wasn’t, clearing her throat while trying to control the roil of emotions coursing through her. A part of her was content, living in her memories that she felt resentful for being forced back into her seat. 

 

Khushi forced a smile to her face and said, “I was just winding down after all that rush of getting onto the plane sweetheart.” Reaching over to check if Mira had her seat belt on, she continued, “If you want to sleep, we can move these hand rests up and you can stretch out on me and Patti.”

 

Khushi looked over Mira’s head to catch Manorama’s eye. But her mother-in-law was busy with the movie she was watching. But as soon as Mira stretched out, Manorama settled to sleep after switching her entertainment off.  

 

The darkened cabin seemed to demand a quietude on the part of its passengers. All that was left now was the insistent roar of the engines that absolved any other sound that defied the induced somnolence.

 

The tiredness at the end of her day’s activities settled on her. She was grateful for Manorama’s presence, the last couple of days when the travel related frenzy reached its height. Between Mira’s travel vaccinations and packing and between making sure their mail was held and other loose ends tied there was not a moment to rest much less dwell on their ‘first trip back without NK.’ At the same time, every act by itself reminded her of his absence when she had to do them instead of him.

 

Khushi could recall all the platitudes she was offered as part of her widowhood – this too shall pass my dear… take one day at a time, my dear… nothing like a routine to set you back in life my dear… Try not to cry my dear; he wouldn’t want you to, now, would he? Time heals all wounds... Those platitudes were harder to tolerate right after NK had died. She recalled how angry she would get, how her rage would make her dig her nails in her palms, how she would just scream silently in her head that she hoped that her grief would never pass if it meant that she would forget him.

 

She never wanted to forget him. Never ever

 

If she could, she would live in those moments behind her closed eyes, live for those moments when she would find him in her dreams, in her thought, locked in, firmly forever. Death and grief were not wounds that vanished with healing. They were unending holes that remained in her body and soul for as long as there was breath in her. Whoever thought that she could just move on never lived enough, never loved enough, never lost enough. The sharp resentment at the implied expectation that she must move on boiled through her as she tried to even her breath. 

 

A brief jolt of turbulent air, jerking the aircraft, brought her back to her seat, she opened her eyes, checked Mira’s seat belt. Breathing deeply, Khushi closed her eyes to welcome the oblivion that sleep appeared to offer.  

 

Yet sleep proved to be elusive. The turbulence of the plane found an echo in the churn of her grieving mind.  Khushi found herself drifting between wakefulness and sleep, the in-between world where memories reigned free without judgment. She sought their transient pleasure much like an addict to a fix. Unfettered, her mind sought memories of their last trip to India when Mira was six years. At that time, little did she know that her next trip would be without him, her NK.

 

A sliver of a memory slipped to the forefront – both father and daughter poured over the safety card that the airline had provided. NK helped Mira understand how the jet engines worked that Mira completely forgot about her fear of flying.

 

But why do they have engines under the wings Appa?

 

Well, how else will this bird fly? It needs its wings powered. So, we have to put the engine where the power is needed most, under the wings. Do you want to learn how a plane flies?

 

Can I fly a plane when I get as big as you?

 

You can do anything you set your mind to darling.

 

Mira’s eyes grew round with wonder as she looked up into her father’s eyes. Hazel eyes met dark ones, but their expressions couldn’t be more similar. All things science and engineering were wondrous and sacred for NK. And he tried to bequeath his love for that knowledge to his young child.

 

NK had always been an explorer, loved to try new foods, new places. It was more of a desire to know more than anything else. He was a sincere student of life. He was unabashed in his curiosity, to know and to learn… And that curiosity took him all the way through to his doctoral degree and into his academic career as well. In just a few years of his teaching, he earned awards and accolades for his teaching. The hall where his memorial service was held was filled with people he met, colleagues, students, and friends. 

 

There was so much she learnt about NK after his death. All those who assembled for him, at his funeral, sought her out to either to give her something they had written about him or had shared their feelings and sentiments about his teaching and research. She was so sure that she had their entire lifetime to learn about her husband. Now all she was left with were these snippets of memories, cards, and things that she was to hold.

 

He promised her old age, but he left her behind. Like everyone she knew and loved, he too left her.

 

The feel of a tear rolling down her cheek woke Khushi. She slipped her hand into Mira’s to hold her daughter’s in an attempt to reconnect with her NK. That feeling of being forsaken was a familiar devil. It lurked within her, dormant for the most part. NK had managed to allay those insecurities with his constancy, his enduring presence. 

 

But here she was, alone again.

 

Feeling her mother’s palm in hers, Mira snuggled closer to Khushi, sliding and moving into her mother’s lap. Arms tightened around bodies and solace was exchanged without any restraint. Khushi knew that she was a survivor, she was sure that she will find the shore to this ocean of grief. Nuzzling her daughter’s hair, she rested her head back and closed her eyes again.

 

Naren Krishnan… NK to most, even to her, but Naren when it was just the two of them. He was first and foremost her best friend. 

 

She lay curled up in her bed, hurting from the wound she had inflicted upon herself. She said no to him, refused to believe that there was any possibility of a future together with him. She wounded herself and wounded him. She knew that things like these never lasted. Relationships didn’t last, people never stayed. Abandonment was a constant, she was intimately familiar with it. That knowledge was her shadow. But he didn’t understand. He didn’t fight her demons. He didn’t know how and she didn’t know how to teach him. The image of his eyes reddened from her refusal and her rejection and his motorbike vanishing in a cloud of dust, making it impossible for her to breathe. But he didn’t put up a fight for her, for them. Instead, he acquiesced.  She wanted this moment to be her last as she sobbed a breath. 

 

Her bed creaked under the weight of another and she felt two arms pull her out of her comforter, unrelenting in their hold. She was in no position to see, much less talk to another person.

 

It was NK. 

 

She resisted, tried to twist herself out of that hold, but he pulled her insistently towards himself and held her against himself. She would not allow herself these tears, she had no right to them. She brought this on herself, didn’t she? She brought it on him!  She didn’t want NK to see her like this.  She didn’t want anyone else to see her like this.

 

“Let me go” she whispered hoarsely. She couldn’t recognize her own voice. “I want to be alone. Please leave me alone.”

 

But he wouldn’t listen and didn’t leave her side. He stayed with her for God knows how long, putting himself at risk of being expelled from IIT. It was a women’s hostel after all and he stayed with her flouting all of those golden rules. He sat next to her silently, offering his arm first, then shoulder and finally his quiet stolid embrace. There were no strings attached to what he offered, no questions asked, no demands made for any answer. He was there. And no matter how many times she fell apart, he helped put her pieces back together.

 

Naren Krishnan, a friend who refused to let her give up, scaled every wall she put up and broke every restraint she threw his way. Without telling him everything, she told him all, dissuaded him from harboring anything romantic with her.

 

“I have nothing to offer you,” she said, looking down at their entwined fingers.

 

She turned her head away from him, unwilling to break his heart any more than she already had. She tried to pry his fingers from her own, but he tightened his grip. 

 

“I don’t want anything you don’t have Khush” he countered, slowly pulling her into his embrace. She stayed with reluctance, but the warmth in his eyes made it impossible for her to maintain her distance. There was no demand in his arms. But she couldn’t lead him on.

 

“I am not in that frame of mind NK. I may never be.” She warned.

 

He just remained looking at her with his steadfast gaze, unwavering in his stand.

 

“I love youAll of you… This you..” He pointed to her pale unadorned face, slumped shoulders and broken spirit. 

 

He had waited for her to heal while he did everything he could to heal her. Akash and Lavanya joined forces asking no questions, offering silence and support when she asked for nothing, but needed both. All four of them graduated and moved to the US to pursue their postgraduate degree. Lavanya and Khushi ended up in the same university while Akash and NK went to a different one.

 

She couldn’t take a chance, she couldn’t lose him too. If NK left her like the rest, she would lose her will to live.

 

That changed nothing for NK. He wooed her with consistent conviction. She couldn’t close her heart from his love anymore. She tried to broach her past with him, but he wanted none of it.

 

Firmly pulling her back into his arms, he said “Khush! Your present and every nanosecond of your future is what I want. I will never stop you from sharing your past with me. But please don’t feel compelled to tell me things. ”

 

She couldn’t believe that a person could be this selfless in their love. Wasn’t he even a little bit curious? She tried to tell him again.

 

“I was involved very briefly…”

 

He cut her off, tightening his arms around her. Her back was flush against his chest, his chin now resting on her head. “I know that Khush. I was there, remember.”

 

She turned towards him, looking up into his beautiful eyes, to seek his beautiful heart. Is he for real? 

 

“Don’t you want to know what happened?”

 

He shook his head. “I don’t need to know what happened and with whom. You can tell me, only if you want to. Don’t tell me because you think you owe me. You don’t.”

 

She couldn’t stand it anymore. He deserved to receive all the love he was offering her at the very least, if not more. A streak of self-loathing sliced through her. She was taking advantage of him and he deserved to hear the truth from her. “I am not sure if I love you as you love me NK. I am not sure if I know how to love at all.” She rose from where she sat and walked away from him, creating distance once again.

 

She didn’t know how to, she was unsure of its permanence. She did know how to cope with life’s battles… Alone. That was her life’s lesson. 

 

He sat right where he was, without moving. Perhaps he knew intuitively that she needed some space to hear what he had to say. He called out to her loudly and said, “You are here, with me. I love you. You know that. I will teach you to love me. I have enough love for the both of us Khush.”

 

And he opened his arms to her like he always did when he saw her. 

 

How could she not respond? How could she not gravitate towards his endless love, his light, his dimpled smile, his generous heart?

 

A year later they were married. She became a part of his world, his family. She transferred to his university so they could live together as man and wife. Lavanya moved with her and all four friends reunited. That small dinky graduate apartment became their home filled with books, laughter, music, and passion. Yes, passion, a lot of it. NK… no…

 

Naren…. 

 

Naren taught her how to love again…

 

What started with a tease and laughter quickly changed into something more. Khushi could see NK’s eyes darken, his dimpled smile dissolve. Unsure of this change, Khushi continued to smile tentatively and took a step back. With a quick tug of her wrist, NK pulled her back hard that she slammed into his chest. His hard body was a surprise to her.

 

But why now?

 

She thought she was familiar with him, his smell, his touch and the feel of that thin gold chain he always wore around his neck. This was her NK. Before she could find her answers, she felt his fingers curl around her neck pulling her with gentle insistence, drawing her face closer to his. She felt his fingers moving from her neck into her hair, threading them slowly over her hair and then her scalp as if he was cupping her head. 

 

She felt her skin frizzle with something new, goosebumps bursting on her arms. Her eyelids growing heavier by the minute she raised her arms to his nape to caress his curls. With his thumb under her jaw, she found her face lifted and his breath on her brows and eyes. A soft warmth began to unfurl in her stomach, rising upwards and finally into her blood. He was going to kiss her, a sigh escaped her parted lips as she waited for his mouth to descend on hers.

 

“Open your eyes” he insisted gently rubbing his lips over hers. Her eyelids felt too heavy, she shook her head. “Look at me” he whispered. Pulling back when she desisted, “Look at me Khush, I want you to look at me.” The urgency in his voice lightened her lids. “I want to see you see me.” She slowly raised her lashes to meet his gaze. There was no remnant of mirth in his eyes. His eyes darker than the moonless sky and they were searching and seeking secrets in her own. 

 

With their gazes locked, he met her mouth with his own and they kissed. Everything about that kiss felt new. Nothing was familiar. There was an insistent intensity to his lips, moving on hers, his tongue finding and mating with hers that seemed to demand her presence. She couldn’t stay on the sidelines anymore. She met him as an equal and kissed him back.

 

Hands and lips moved to discover and rediscover familiar bodies and known spaces. Yet every movement felt different. A new language was spoken between the two. Touch muted their thoughts and overrode doubt. Khushi felt the blanket on her bare back and her nails dragging mercilessly down on his.

 

When did they shed their clothes? Neither knew nor cared. Senses awakened to a symphony of an unrestrained show of faith in each other’s touch. Her body was an instrument for him to be fine-tuned. With desire laced with devotion, he brought her alive.

 

“Don’t close your eyes Khush, look at me.” He was her anchor in this tempest and she opened her reluctant eyes. “I love you” she whispered.

 

“Say my name.”

 

“I love you NK”

 

“No, my name” he insisted.

 

“Naren” she whispered. A bout of shyness spread warmth to her face as she found him devouring her with his eyes. “I love you Naren” she repeated as if it was a vow. She watched him catch his breath in his throat as he tried to swallow. “I love you Khush” he echoed. “I have always loved you… only you” he declared. Blinking against his blurred face, she freed the tears that had pooled at the corners of her eyes. Emotions swelled as passion ruled their breath and pulse while time stood still as a witness.

 

“Naren” His name became her guiding light as if it was a chant that gave her courage to traverse these unchartered waters. She whispered his name as they journeyed together. He matched her whispers with his own “Khush” as urgencies took precedence. Screens that held them back were torn down as hands, legs, and bodies danced to their desired melodies. It was as if there was no more doubt, no more distance between these two bodies and souls. Rising and falling to the cadence of their passions the two lovers finally found each other. Soon thereafter sleep claimed spent bodies and minds.

 

Back in their apartment, unpacking their picnic basket and blankets, Khushi and NK moved around, throwing furtive glances at each other when they thought the other was not looking at them. All at once, Khushi felt like a new bride, unsure of herself and her husband. She saw NK pick up the heavy basket in one heave and her eyes were drawn to the clean lines of his biceps, partly exposed under his short-sleeved T-shirt. The memory of her lips moving along those firm muscles quickened her breath.

 

This is NK, my best friend, for god’s sake she reminded herself, trying to walk past him.

 

“Hey,” NK said softly, snaking an arm around her waist pulling her to himself.

 

“Hi.” Blood rushed to her face, making her curse in her head. Shit, am I blushing?

 

“Aren’t you going to look at me Khush?” She heard a smile in that voice. She felt his fingers hook under her chin, trying to raise her face. She couldn’t look at him, she just couldn’t. Resisting his fingers, she shook her head.

 

“You are never going to look at me again Khush?” Now he was definitely teasing her. 

 

With a determined breath, she looked up into his face to counter his dare. But there was no teasing in his eyes, just love, inviting her with his dimpled smile. Feeling at ease at once, she leaned into his arms and raised her fingers to trace his dimples. Not satisfied with her fingers, she quickly raised herself on her toes and dipped her tongue into his dimple, testing and tasting its depth.

 

Surprise registered on his face, soon followed by desire. NK quickly turned his face to catch her tongue with his own and soon they were in each other’s arms. Neither paid heed to the manner in which they divested each other’s clothes. Neither knew how they found themselves in their bed. Nothing mattered anymore except for their need for each other. “Naren” she whispered into his ears, biting his lobe as if his name carried a secret code to breaking her restrain. She punctuated every caress, every bite, every touch, with a “Naren” as if saying his name gave her the freedom to love him like he wanted her to love him like she wanted to.

 

Later, much later, Khushi woke to find herself tucked in the space between his chin and shoulder. She slowly rolled herself a little away from him so she could see his face while he slept. She marveled at how he slept with an abandon. Her eyes trailed alongside his eyes, his lashes and his lips.

 

He was her friend, he had always been her friend, but she saw him with new eyes today. He was her husband, yes, she knew that. Today he was her lover. A shiver ran through her. Her eyes lingered on the long column of his neck, rough with stubble, but bruised where her teeth met his skin. It seemed as if something changed between them in the last twelve hours. Easy comfort seemed to be replaced with something electric.

 

She made love to him today with no restraint, something she never did before. She cringed a little with shyness. He demanded her full presence with his lovemaking. She felt a reciprocal demand of her own, she desired him unequivocally. The thought brought a smile to her face.

 

And all that passion brought Mira into their world, barely a year after their marriage. He gave her everything she had, her Mira and her Amma. He had given her a family that she always sought without conscious thought. He had given her hope and courage, taught her to dare to love again. She had to live if only to hold to his legacy and his piece of soul – their daughter.

 

Khushi was grateful for these quiet moments, trysting with her Naren with no interruption.

 

But she was regrettably right after all. Naren Krishnan loved her like no other. But he left her, although not of his own choice. It was the inevitability of loss in her life, like a faithful shadow that never left her… it was always people that she loved that left…..

 

She opened her eyes and sought her mother-in-law two seats away. Manorama had Mira’s feet clasped in her hands. Both Mira and Manorama were fast asleep. A deep sigh rose through Khushi’s being. She will be okay. She was sure she will be. She has to be. With that thought she finally allowed herself to fall asleep. It was a long flight to New Delhi.

 

oOoOo

 

 

 

89 thoughts on “Chapter Nine: Cucooned

  1. How easy it is to fall in love, yet how difficult it is to surrender to love. Naren’s belief in the depth of his love for Khushi is so moving to read. A beautifully written chapter, Mirabell. As always ❤️

    Liked by 15 people

    1. @~Ruchi~ How beautifully you put it – “easy to fall… yet how difficult it is to surrender.” Two very different choices, different actions. It is the light of nuance you bring to this story by reading, chatting, cajoling me to think through. I love it and I love you for it. And I completely surrender when I hit “accept” on your suggestion. There are moments in life when words, language manifest their inadequacy. This is one. ❤

      Liked by 7 people

    2. I’ve been mulling over your words; “How easy it is to fall in love, yet how difficult it is to surrender to love”. Why is it so? What does it take to make that move, to surrender? Trust and a willingness to open oneself to the potential for loss? Or is it just a question of right time. NK I assume, he always had feelings for her, but something he didn’t act on till later. And he became her sheet anchor, because he refused to leave her side at her lowest. Wooing her gently, consistently, while giving her the space to heal and trust. He lived up to what he was first and foremost, her best friend. But there’s this imp in me which is asking, even if she didn’t say anything, he I’m assuming definitely knew that something important happened between her and Arnav, enough to leave her in a broken state, enough for her to tell him at one point that she may not be able to love him the way he did, so why didn’t he encourage her to reach out? “Without telling him everything, she told him all, dissuaded him from harboring anything romantic with her.” Or did he? Since I’m playing the devil’s advocate, did Aakash hear him call out her name when he came over after his accident? If so, what did he do with that?
      Why do we do the things we do? No easy answers for that, we are complex beings (if not phroidji and his ilk would’ve been out of business!).

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Its a lovely line indeed and thought provoking…
        Trust and willingness do play a major role.. But the timing is a key… You may realise the emotions the other person has, but not be ready to accept. It doesnt mean you dont trust them, or can’t open up to them.. Its just that one needs time to sort their own emotions enough to find that opening within them.. To let love walk in again.. To accept that you are vulnerable, but willing to be vulnerable together, with that person.

        Surrendering to love is a journey more beautiful and emotional than falling in love. Its a beautiful realization, that no matter how much you push it away and try to keep yourself from accepting and reciprocating, the person has already made a place in your life, in your heart and mind. That despite putting up walls arpund the heart, this one special person has still found a way to not just make inroads, but also lay a strong foundation of emotions in you.

        Lucky are those who find and fall in love… But truly blessed are those who can find the chance to surrender to the beautiful emotion.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. “Lucky are those who find and fall in love… But truly blessed are those who can find the chance to surrender to the beautiful emotion.” What a beautiful thought and do well said ❤️

          Liked by 3 people

  2. So beautiful. Naren was so much in love with Khushi that he taught her to love again. So much love he given her and then God snatched in one minute. But all his memories are with her. Awesome

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That was beautiful. It captures Khushi’s heartache and memories so beautifully and makes us feel for their lost chance at growing old together. Thank you for that update!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Naren was with her all those years. Supported her when she lost herself, offered his hand, once she caught it, he promised to never let it go. It is hard for Khushi to cope. I can understand her anger when people say you will learn to live without him. You will be able to move on etc., Khushi does not want to move on. She would like to live with Naren’s memories. He gave her so much. There are so many memories. Is there a storm awaiting for her in Delhi, which can create havoc once again?
    Wonderful update. This chapter is wholly and rightfully dedicated to NK aka Naren.
    Cheers…….

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Naren and Khushi’s love is so pure and their friendship is the base of it.

      For Khushi it’s like being in love gave her all the strength she needed to overcome her painful relationship and then falling in love with him she gathered all the courage she needs for her journey without him.

      Naren was an amazing friend who stood by her when she needed most and showed his affections in ways only a good human being or a best friend could do. He won her over with his simplicity and care and just being with her filling her with true essence of life – laughter and hope.

      My heart cried for Khushi and rejoiced the love and bond they shared. She has so much of lovely memories filled that she can just live with that and agreed who says that too will pass?

      Amazing writing Mira.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. What a heartbreaking recollection of memories.. You made me cry Mirabell with Khushi’s pain..😔😔😔

    AND I love your Naren!! It takes a very strong heart and love to accept a partner like that..

    Anagha

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am really wondering how you will make Khushi fall for Arnav again after having had such a great relationship with Naren.. They both are changed people now and Khushi definitely seems to have experienced a selfless love from Naren, that is hard to move on from..
      She and Arnav may have had chemistry and an intense time years ago but just intensity is not enough after you have matured.. I am really looking forward to it! I am sure you have thought and planned it all beautifully already!! 🤗🤗

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I agree.. It is a difficult task for Mirabell indeed… But Arnav and Naren are so different yet same in a way.. They both have called for and laid claim to her affections over different phases in her life. Im a firm believer that you can love more than once in life.. A heart can heal when it learns to accept and when it is ready to love again.. Time is a healer and love sure is magical.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. From the time I have been following IPK and reading FFs, there has never been a time when I wished to see Khushi with anyone other than Arnav. But you have changed that for me, Mira. It feels like Khushi & NK were destined to be together. I have no doubt in my mind that you will make us all fall irrevocably in love in Arnav when the time comes, but for now my heart lies with NK…no, Naren ❤

    “He” didn’t fight her demons and she didn’t know how to teach “him”. But Naren could see through it all and give her the comfort she didn’t realize she needed. He didn’t take her request to leave her alone at face value, unlike “him”. Even Lavanya, who was supposedly her best friend, didn’t find it right to reach out to Khushi when she was heartbroken. But NK didn’t care about the pleasantries and formalities. He dived right in. Not only did NK love her with no strings attached, but he eventually made her fall for him, just by being himself. It takes a big heart to love someone unconditionally knowing that they may never love you back.

    Years ago, when “he” left Khushi with a broken heart, NK was right besides her to gather the pieces, as a friend, and also as a soulmate. Now, when NK has left her in a similar (or maybe worse) situation, will “he” be the solace she needs? Life has come full circle for these 3. It’s ironical how their lives are interconnected.

    Every person Khushi has in her life binds her back to her Naren, in one way or the other. Mira, Manorama, Lavanya, Akash and even Arnav, for that matter. Not that she is trying, but how does one forget a person when the entire Universe is conspiring to remind her of the very person who helped her build it?

    Another chapter high on emotions, Mira. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to say you bring out the emotions like no other. I deliberately didn’t put kajal today, knowing I will end up looking a mess 😀

    P.S. – This flight to New Delhi is indeed quite long. When does Mira get to meet Mohan??!!

    Liked by 11 people

    1. You know there are a few folks on this blog whose words I look forward to (biting my nonexistent nails to their core). You are one of those Gauri. Thank you!
      Words and responses for my readers are my source of validation; my renewable source for energy and creativity, my call to return. So this is a message to all the writers and to you Gauri ❤️.

      Liked by 6 people

    1. Alas I wish I was blessed with a way with words, but unfortunately I’m not. My meager words will not capture all that I want to say. While yours move me and make me think in equal measure.

      Naren didn’t acquiesce, while “he” did. Do some souls come with insights and the skill to understand and heal? And do they get called away early? Candles that flicker bright in their short life.
      Here was a man who loved with all his being, without expecting anything in return. He really was the wind beneath her wings. She had to fall in love, with him and that generosity of spirit, NK who was also her best friend and that makes her loss much more profound.

      “He” is a broken soul too I guess, though one may not perceive so.
      This was an absolutely beautiful chapter.

      Leaving a Coke studio favorite of mine, a song described as “an ode to love found and love lost.”

      Cr: YT/Uploader

      P.S: As I’m listening to the song now, the line from the chapter that is popping up is this: “The image of his eyes reddened from her refusal and her rejection and his motorbike vanishing in a cloud of dust, making it impossible for her to breathe.”

      Liked by 10 people

      1. @ladkikijhy – No meager words here my friend, if I may contradict you quite openly on this forum. Words are bitcoins we exchange here, don’t we? I write, you write back and those are the threads we weave together, making this tapestry full of color and texture, building ideas and fostering relationships. The song is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. ❤

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Words are our currency, I like that! You can call me P (for Priya, not a fan, scarred that I am having listened to boys singing every bloody song there is with my name in it. Back when I was young, which feels a life time ago now!!).
          The voices meld so beautifully don’t they, making us feel loss more than anything.

          Liked by 6 people

      2. That part moved me too dear… Its amazing the way one man’s loss was another man’s gain… The foundation of Naren and Khushi’s relationship was made strong over the remains of her’s with Arnav.. and most say that such relationships do not last…
        But thats not always true… Destiny and timing is crucial in every relationship.. The One sitting up above sees the whole picture.. Blessing come our way everyday, we need to open our minds and hearts to see and accept them. Eventuality is imminent… The big picture is almost always certain.. And subtle events direct us toward it. They seem major and feels like we would never get past them.. But we do.. Eventually everything falls into its own place in its own time.

        Such is the case here… Heartbreaking, for a wonderful man as Naren to have passed, but he did treasure every moment of his life with her and that is endearing.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Naren what a wonderful and great human being he is.It’s very rare to see people like him in this world.Khushi cherished all their memories and it’s not easy to her lead a life with out NK.How wonderfully you penned all the emotions Mira.Thanks for this wonderful update.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Khushi n Arnav parted their ways because of Khushi’s rejection… OMG..
    Y O Y ??
    Why couldn’t she believe in him.. in herself.. in their love..
    He was lost .. he just left.. He didn’t fight for his love ..

    I’ll dwell on it later when our wonderful writerji brings us there..

    Now….it’s Naren .. again Naren..
    He saw her in all her vulnerability…
    He tried to soothe her with all his might … without giving up ever..

    Finally.. she has to give in ..
    She fell for him irrevocably ..
    He was her best friend turned into a deep lover n life partner..

    Naren’s selflessness n his unwavering love for Khushi brought her out of her grief ..
    She spent the best time of her life with him..

    She doesn’t wanna move on in life if it means to forget him …
    He will remain in her heart even she even gets another chance to love n life with Arnav..

    Mira…
    I m dying to know the exact detail of what actually happened between our Arshi but the respect n love for ur Naren stops me to pester u..lol

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Hi Mira,

    I am moved by the varied emotions Khushi went through.

    The deep excruciating pain caused by ‘him’….The break up…and then finding comfort in a true friend…trying to gather the pieces of life .
    Being hesitant to accept Naren’s love and then finally being in love with husband enjoying the marital bliss.
    Naren….I think his character comes very close to the partner that we all long for. Caring, compassionate, non-judgmental, warm friend… a truly genuine soul.
    Now I really understand khushi’s non comfort and hesitation when she is around Arnav. Who can move over such a wonderful partner as Naren…..

    I loved it when you write ‘ Whoever thought that she could just move on never lived enough, loved enough or lost enough.’ So true….

    Correct me if I am wrong but this update in such detail was not part of the original writing. I may be wrong, I just felt that way…

    Can I suggest a song which goes perfectly with this update.

    The song is from chhoti si baat movie.
    Na jaane kyun hota hai yun zindagi ke saath…..beautiful melody from Salil da and voice non other than Lata Mangeshkar.

    Goriya, if you reading this, can you upload this song pretty pleeeeease ?

    I am not a writer at all. I can not pen down the exact emotions that I am going through after reading the update. I just tried.

    This was beautiful , very emotional update for me. Thank you tons, Mira.

    Vandana

    Liked by 7 people

  10. Amazing and Beautiful Chapter

    Loved each and every bit of it.

    Khushi is ready to live all her life with memories of her Naren who was her best friend, though became her husband first but later into her lover. NK was with her when she was facing a hard time in her life. Never left her hand, showered all the love he had for her even when she pushed him away thinking she was not capable of loving him as he loves her. Having shared such a life with Naren, it will be hard for Khushi to move on in her life. No wonder she is angry listening when others say sympathetic words about her loss of NK in her life and now she is angry at NK for leaving her all alone when he promised old age. Khushi’s turmoil of her missing NK, the transition of their relationship, Khushi reliving their passion how Khushi finally surrendered herself to NK’s love was written beautifully. Wondering whether the bold letter “He” refers to Arnav. Did she reject Arnav and he easily accepted her decision without fighting for her? Is that why she was angry at Arnav. Will be waiting for the next one.

    Thanks
    Chinnulu

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Oh MB, a very emotional uodate – beautifully written – pandora box of memories being opened at the right moments – lovely writing MB – keep it up

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Amazing chapter.. Loss of a life is worst thing to happen and coping with it takes everything in you.. But still time is best healer.. Thanks Mirabell ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have read hundreds of FFs..
    But this has been the only story where I loved NK and khush..
    Their love was so beautiful and the devotion with which khushi remembers him makes me cry for them❤

    Such a beautiful chapter Mira di
    Much love 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You are my favorite writer
    I would say a cherished one I found in web
    The story ….it was so much ….life
    Usually we found uneasy to find our favorite leads together
    Here I only see your creativity and the world you created
    Honestly speaking I just love naren, his love , passion and his trust on his love and it’s depth ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So many memories to cherish and feel sad at the same time for khushi
    NK was such a good friend , lover and husband, i guess he fell in love with khushi before arnav entered her life, though he didn’t confess to her
    Love to read more
    Take care

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wonderful read
    Coping with grief is something that no one would understand of its depth unless one experienced it…
    Naren was such a wonderful soul and loved Khushi a lot
    Waiting for the next one
    Thank you 🙂

    Like

    1. Finally.. My app updated and im able to write more than a few sentences.. 😅

      Had quiet a backlog of stories to read and comment… Well thats enuf abt me and my app problems 🙈

      Mirabell, u wonderful enchantress you… One minute u make us fall in love with an Arnav and the other you make us yearn for a Naren… The characters are ao apart, bit connected in such an astute way.

      Have written most of what OK had to say with what the gals have written above.. But there is so much more.. Just so much more that comes to mind when we read your words… So much that just cant be jotted down in words.. Here is a humble try.

      the fact that you start the chapter with Khushi and the feeling of security she felt in the suspended metal bird.. Equating her emotional state and conundrum she feels… A no man’s land.. A shoreless ocean of grief.. And from there to see her straightening up to say to herself, that she will get thru.. They will get thru it.. 👌👌👌
      the bits and flashes of memories.. The point where it all started.. The time she turned away from her like ove and found a whole new world instead. Naren is a wonderful wonderful man. He probably guessed what had happened and in his wonderful love for her,stood by and helped her cope and rise out of it. It takes restraint, enormous restraint to see the one you love pining for another.. While you hokd their hand. He was her Rock.. He kept her from sinking into the abyss of heartbreak. Akash and Lav too seem to have sensed.. May be at different times, but that common solidarity the three had helped Khushi cone off it and explore the new possibilities in life.
      Their initimacy takes more meaning for the fact that He knew how big a step it was for her. To open herself up to vulnerabilities, to trust and accept him physically and emotionally. He sure leaves a huge void in Khushi’s life now… But now its Arnav’s turn to be the Rock and to pull her out of that abyss.
      Delhi, here they come… As much as we delve in the past, cant help but look forward to the new chapter that’s about to come.. The story has taken ‘flight’and we know where it’s gonna land 😜

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “Equating her emotional state and conundrum she feels… A no man’s land.. A shoreless ocean of grief.. And from there to see her straightening up to say to herself, that she will get thru.. They will get thru it.. “. How beautifully you say it here! Thank you! ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

  17. Love- whoever said this path isn’t a bed of Roses, had said a Undeniable TRUTH !
    LIFE…… Nothing could Never be more unpredictable than this ! It can give you world’s Happiness in one moment & can shatter your world in that one moment as well .

    NK, was not just khushi’s husband. He was The one who was with KHUSHI in her lowest, he was That friend to her who held her firmly when she was shattering, & NK’s love was the most selfless, genuine love ❤️ one can get ! The love NK had for KHUSHI without any condition, with no expectations from her end….is the Purest, Unconditional Love ❤️
    NK was KHUSHI’s Anchor when she was falling apart, the void he left behind in KHUSHI’s life is 😭💔
    But,…
    Why KHUSHI said that she may won’t be able to love him the way he deserves to be ?
    So, one thing is for sure that something definitely has happened between ARNAV & KHUSHI . Something very significant to That extent That had broken KHUSHI’s heart 💔
    But, if I recall previous chapters, Maya had told ARNAV that he was mumuring KHUSHI’s name when he was lying unconcious in that road accident. Why it seems to me, that there’s more to the story that what it is appearing in the present ? There’s many confusions, unsaid words & Feeling’s which both ARNAV & Khushi has bottled in their hearts ! Maybe destiny wants to give them A SECOND CHANCE 💕

    You as A Writer ✍🏻 deserves all the appreciation & more 👏🏻👏🏻 Your way of Writing is sooo….. Amazingly Beautiful di, it makes the Reader’s feel connected to every character’s emotion, their Feeling’s, their thoughts to even nuicance of things 🧡
    You are A Terrific Writer Meera di 👌🏻 I truly admire you so much.
    Love you di HAMESHAA 😘💕
    I’m so eagerly waiting for the next chapter 😀. Take care ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  18. How many times you find people like Naren who are just so giving and selflessly love the other?? I really appreciate this aspect of the story where we know that Naren is very important to Khushi… in fact like the most important person to Khushi in her life!!!

    I have read so many stories in IPK and have never been able to accept Khushi or Arnav being in love with someone else.. but here you just cannot deny the connection and love between Naren and Khushi. It was as if they were meant to be!! Whatever happened had to happen for them to fall in love.
    Naren, not just held her when she was left broken by Arnav, but also healed her completely. He waited patiently, without any questions asked, gave her all his love and made her fall in love with himself irrevocably.

    My heart goes out for Khushi, who is grieving for the loss of Naren, who was her best friend, her soulmate her lover… ❤

    You have a way with words Mira… And I am glad to have been introduced to your world of words.

    Thanks 🙂

    Lots Of Love… 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Meera di, this is the first time I’m reading your work . & What I say, I fell head over heels in love ❤️ with your Way of Writing, with your story “SECOND CHANCES” ~ truly. I just wanted to know, did you wrote more stories earlier ? Plz , pretty please 🙏🏻 share the link to read your previous Writings di . I’m in love ❤️ with your Writing 😘

    Like

  20. Hi Mirabell…. what a fantastic update…Beautifully written….fell in love with your Naren…feeling so sad for Kushi…after loved by a selfless and an adorable Naren living each day will be hell…But she has the responsibility of their daughter…Hope her Naren will guide her through her future…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I love this chapter.. Bz everyone deserve second the chance..most people deny it ,bz of the past…some people only have the power to accept it adopt the change.. So kushi also have the courage ..and she make it wonderfully…
    Wt future hold for her ..

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Naren was such a pure soul….He loved khushi with all his being….He didn’t expect anything…He stood by her when she was vulnerable….Khushi was lucky to get a husband like him….He loved her like anything….That’s why khushi didn’t want to move on….Forgetting such a person is impossible….. He gave her so much beautiful memories but she had a long life to live….She will need partner to be with her in her vulnerability…she needs to give herself a second chance

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hello Mira. I have just started to read Second Chances though I had bookmarked it a while ago. I am enjoying the story. I have also been reading the comments and discussions after each chapter but I found myself unable to give intelligent comments. Maybe, later on, I will find the courage to write more than thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Naren knew about Khushi and Arnav. He consoled her after the breakup. Khushi put up a lot of resistance but Naren persisted and finally, Khushi felt that she can love again and she fell in love with her husband. I still feel that I am not making any sense in my comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Naren was definitely god sent for kh , he was an angel, who went back to heavens
    He never expected anything from her, didn’t fight her demons, not even asked about her ex or her heartbreak
    he more than made up for her unwillingness to let go
    His love made her believe in him , trust friendship, understanding , his love was so pure
    This update was about NK, Naren, and he deserves it
    First FF where I don’t feel disgusted seeing Kh with someone other than Hotwa
    That is the victory of your story & character of Naren.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Mira,
    Wish you are doing great in this difficult time.

    Thank you for writing this story. Its a pleasure to re read it.

    When alive we at times dont relish the moments with our spouse. Knowingly or unknowingly; responsibility and career takes the front seat putting the most imp relation at times at back burner.

    A friend is always a friend and husband later. Nk and Khushis journey and love is something fo behold.

    And that mantra Everything will be fine; yes life is all about the hope

    Liked by 1 person

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