Chapter Eleven: Incipience

“Dum spiro, spero” While I breathe, I hope

–Latin proverb

There was something torturous about waiting, especially for those who held the reins of their journey and paved their own karmic path. Waiting required unwavering faith, more than patience; faith that the next moment will bring fruits of all the minutes spent waiting, a moment filled with a sense of anticipation, filled with a sense of hope. Arnav Singh Raizada was known to pave his own karmic road and this waiting was totally new to him. He was not good at waiting, he realized, as he navigated through the streets slowly filling up with people and their automobiles. He sighed and quickly shifted the gear higher and tried to speed up his return home from the hospital.

 

Arnav was not on call the previous night, but had been called in for an emergency. He was prepared for it, it was part of his life now. But there were times when there were fleeting moments of selfish resentment at having to drop everything and rush. He was in the middle of having an early dinner with his son, who had been unusually talkative and particularly seeking his attention. When Arnav had to pry his little fingers off of his t-shirt there was a small part of him that didn’t particularly care for his professional obligation. But his Nani had come to his rescue, distracting his little one with a new unopened box of Legos and Mohan’s loyalties shifted seamlessly, much to Arnav’s chagrin. The memory brought a wry smile to his lips.

 

A distant honk broke his reverie and he shifted to a lower gear nimbly avoiding an errant auto rickshaw, carrying sacks of what looked like red onions and potatoes, not a usual means of transportation for these vegetables, he noted absently. A whiff of hospital antiseptic residue from his clothes increased his urgency to go home and shower off the remainder of his late night.  

 

A physician’s job never ends at the end of the day, he learnt that as a resident and knew it as a practicing cardiologist now. He wouldn’t change his career for anything, even though it often disrupted his routine. There was something of personal healing that he himself went through when he was part of someone else’s healing process, and one of the many reasons did turn out to be a long night for everyone on the case, with things deteriorating for his patient very quickly. It was a routine test, but it triggered a series of heart attacks and ended with a complicated surgery.  The story for his patient ended well, unlike that of many others; Mira’s tear-filled eyes reminded him achingly.

 

The day was barely beginning. The sky streaked a mystical orange on a blue expanse that shifted with every passing moment. Arnav let his eyes leave the empty road briefly to catch a dark silhouette of a flock of birds making their way across. The stark contrast of dark shadows  and something about their harmonious flight sent a twist to his stomach. It felt like a strange sense of loss running through his spine, only to settle softly in his ribs. 

 

Why now? 

 

Perhaps it was a restlessness, a relentless itch under his skin that he had fought to keep under tight wrap since last night. No, countered his internal voice, it was a month ago, since he stepped foot into her house. He shook his head absently, oblivious to the fact that he was alone in this conversation, it was even longer than that, the feeling of solitude forced upon him, that he had to accept and live with. Loneliness had been his most faithful and loyal companion for most of his life, far longer than the people he invited to share his life with him.

 

Was it possible to pinpoint the exact moment in his life?

 

No, he wasn’t going to do this, not slip into melancholy. There was no reason to fall into it, not now when things could be different. Arnav took a deep breath, shifting in his seat and shifting his car into a lower gear to stop at the light. He had driven on these roads for so long that he knew his way around without conscious thought. His eyes traveled back to the skies to trace the last of the birds. He could see the sliver of black disappear from his view and he stepped on the gas pedal, his mind already home. 

 

****

 

An hour later as he stepped out of his shower, he heard his cell phone ring. Without a second thought he hurriedly picked up the phone. It was Maya. He quelled a sigh of disappointment. He seemed to be forming a strange alliance with this emotion lately and a certain hazel-eyed face came into his mind’s eye immediately.

 

“Hello Maya, what’s going on? 

 

“Hey! So, Suraiya texted me and asked if she could reschedule her appointment with Mohan. She isn’t feeling well today.”  Arnav could hear the traffic commotion behind Maya. 

 

“That’s fine, I will text her and reschedule. Are you driving?”

 

“No! Kailash is.” Maya’s voice was laced with puzzlement. There was a significant pause before she responded. “You know that I don’t drive anymore. Why are you asking?”

 

Yes, of course. He knew that Maya had stopped driving unless it was a life-threatening situation. He shook his head to clear his obvious befuddlement. It was probably the long sleepless night at the hospital that was messing him up. He shouldn’t have asked her that question. She was not going to let it go, he was sure.

 

“So, how did that emergency go last night? Did you get back just now?” Maya asked.

 

“It was long and complicated. But it was ok in the end. And yes, I got back just a little while ago. Maya, can I call you back later if there’s nothing else? I just got out of the shower and I need to get dressed.” And eat his stomach protested. 

 

“Sure.” 

 

Arnav heard a quick intake of breath and he paused in his action to disconnect. Maya was known to do this often, wait a breath or two before she hung up or continued the phone conversation. He was used to her, used to it, so he waited.

 

“Er…” She began, then quickly rattled off. “I heard from Nani that GD went to the airport to pick up your friends very late in the night? Was it an international flight, because only international flights come in so late. Right Kailash?” Maya’s voice was quickly replaced by a male voice.

 

“Hello Arnav, we are at the hospital now and I am disconnecting the call. You can thank me later. Enjoy your day off.” That was Kailash. He could hear Maya’s outraged murmur and a quiet click of the phone call disconnecting. Arnav shook his head, laughed softly and thanked the man silently as he put the phone back on his night stand. He needed to eat his breakfast soon. He could feel his blood sugar falling low, and he got dressed quickly.

 

With his head bent over his phone, fingers working busily on the keyboard, Arnav strode down the stairs. Sumitra Raizada gave her grandson a long look. There was something different about him, she was unable to put her finger on it. It was a rare occasion when she and her oldest grandson shared a morning meal. He was either rushing to the hospital during the weekdays or was off running in the morning during weekends. But he was here today and she was glad.

 

Arnav looked up from his phone and said, “Good morning Nani, have you seen GD this morning?”

 

“His name is ‘Gangadhar,’ and what a beautiful name it is! Call him by the name that his parents have blessed him with.” Sumitra felt compelled to lecture on the merits of names given.

 

Arnav sported a sheepish grin and said, “Yes Nani. But have you seen Gangadhar this morning?”

 

“He was here. He dropped Mohan off at school and has gone to fill petrol in the car. He should be here soon.” Walking towards their dining table, Sumitra Raizada asked, “Are you going to have breakfast with me today?”

 

“I would love to join you Nani, if you haven’t eaten yet. Should I check your BP first before you eat?”

 

Sumitra Raizada had developed hypertension, not unusual for a person of her age. But Arnav was not one to make light of her health. He turned to walk back to his room to get his electronic sphygmometer when he was stopped by Sumitra.

 

“Not now my darling, let me enjoy your company first without being your patient. It’s been so long since you and I talked.” Slowly pulling him towards the dining table, Sumitra continued, “Why don’t you tell me about your trip to the US?”

 

She gave him a pointed look and said, “It has been that long. And while we are on the subject of health, how are your blood sugar levels now?” His diabetes was her defense to his demands to check on her health. 

 

Arnav has developed Type II diabetes a few months after Mohan was born. His physician attributed it to the stress of Mohan’s birth and situations he had to deal with thereafter. But he had worked hard to keep his blood sugar under control with exercise and diet. His Nani’s strict and orderly regiment of menus and meal times had worked to help him maintain his health. His diabetes was also one of her many ammunitions against his concern for her health. It was a counter argument for his insistence on checking on her needlessly, in her opinion. She was a tough partner in this exchange of theirs and he loved her for it. 

 

Both of them sat at the table and Leeladhar, Gangadhar’s younger brother, began serving them. Sumitra Raizada firmly believed that a family that ate its meals together solved its problems together. Even when it was just her and Mohan, she insisted on some degree of ceremony and Mohan seemed to have an appreciation for it.

 

Arnav knew that he was lucky to have Sumitra Raizada in his life. His Nani had to raise her two grandchildren when Arnav and Anjali’s parents died in a car accident when they were just fourteen and twelve years old respectively. It wasn’t easy for her, as a recent widow, having to raise two teenage grandchildren on top of losing her daughter and her son-in-law. But she was a survivor and a fighter and she had prevailed for him and his sister. There was little surprise that Arnav found a natural affinity towards his Nani. It was Anjali who struggled with both, with their parents’ death and her teenage years.

 

He was truly grateful for the blessings he had in his life. Looking at his Nani across the table, he was overcome with emotion. He reached across and held her hand with his free one. Startled, Sumitra Raizada looked up to find her grandson offer her an embarrassed smile. She squeezed his hand and returned his smile with her own.

 

“I’m sorry Nani, if I have been so busy that I have neglected to spend time with you. It’s just that…” Looking away, Arnav tried to take his hand out of his Nani’s grasp. But she held his hand and nodded as if asking him to continue.

 

Something… no, someone seems to have taken residence in his thoughts lately that he was …..

 

He shook his head instead and said, “It’s nothing Nani. I’ve just been preoccupied with things.” He never could lie to her blatantly when he was a child and he couldn’t now even as an adult.

 

“Suraiya will not be able to make it today for her session with Mohan. I have to reschedule it Nani.”

 

Nani nodded her head. Mohan needed these sessions. She could see that they were helping him communicate better than he did before. It was Arnav’s initiative and Mohan’s pediatrician’s recommendation that brought Suraiya into their lives. The little boy had some challenges, she knew. Both Maya and Arnav were great parents and somehow that never changed even after their divorce.

 

Sumitra Raizada looked closely at her grandson and decided to ask him that question that was niggling in her mind since last night.

 

“Gangadhar mentioned that he went to receive some friends of yours at the airport last night. He came back late and I haven’t had a chance to talk to him after he got back. Did your friends land and reach home safely? Do they have family here in Delhi? Is that why they aren’t here, in our house?”

 

Arnav raised his head to answer and found his Nani’s direct gaze unnerving. He felt his blood rise in his neck and he quickly dropped his own eyes.

 

What the? A curse rang in his head. He was a grown man for Christ’s sake!

 

He straightened his back and met his Nani’s gaze, “Yes Nani. This is a friend of mine from many years ago. I met her in the US when I went there, this time. She lost her husband to a sudden cardiac arrest.” He looked at his Nani and found sympathy in her gaze. 

 

“Oh! That is sad, Arnav.” 

 

“She has family here, her Buaji stays in Delhi” Arnav continued. His spoon made mindless designs on his plate while his mind’s eye saw the faces of Mira and Khushi.

 

“She was traveling with her daughter and mother-in-law and flew in really late. I offered to pick her up, but couldn’t go at the last minute because of an emergency. So, GD.. err.. Gangadhar went instead.”

 

Sumitra Raizada nodded her head in agreement and continued eating. But she was quick to notice the warming of Arnav’s face at the mention of these friends. Sumitra’s curiosity was piqued, but she had the advantage of wisdom and patience that came with her age. She decided that she would wait and learn slowly.

 

“Have you heard from them?”

 

“No, Khushi .. That’s her name.. She hasn’t called yet. But am sure she will soon.” Arnav took his phone out as if to check for messages. He looked like he had something else on his mind. He leaned back in his chair and asked with an unusual hesitancy, “Nani, I would like to invite them over here for lunch or dinner sometime. Is it okay with you?  I was hoping that Mohan can meet Mira, Khushi’s eight year old daughter?”

 

“Of course Arnav.. this is your home as much as it is mine. You can invite anyone you like at any time.” Sumitra was surprised at Arnav’s request and more so with his tentativeness.  Her eyes perused his face for clues as a thought crossed her mind. 

 

“What beautiful names, Mohan and Mira.. as if they were made for each other.”

 

I wish…..

 

Quickly squelching that errant and unfinished thought Arnav looked around to see if he could spot GD, and said, “I’ll check with Gangadhar. Is he back yet?”

 

“It is a good name” Sumitra Raizada muttered, although her face sported a teasing glint as she shared a look with her grandson. Arnav’s face broke into a big grin. “Yes, Nani.”  In that moment Sumitra Raizada saw the full circle of time. In that moment, it was Mohan’s grin on Arnav’s face, a son’s smirk reflected on his father’s face. She stood up and dropped a kiss on Arnav’s head and ran her hand down his back. They are never too old for this, she thought as she walked into the kitchen.

 

oOoOoOoOoOo

 

There was a loudness to the land, a level of sound that made its presence known no matter what time of the day or night it was. But it was the type of sound that marked if it was day or night. Khushi was woken up from her sleep by the steady rhythm of pressure cooker whistles and blaring news reports from the television sets of her Buaji’s neighbors. On one side was a softer bhajan rendered by one of the music stalwarts that her Buaji liked to listen to every morning, and on the other side was the incessant ringing of the bicycle bells announcing eggs or bread or leafy greens to be sold.

 

Khushi closed her eyes once again, reveling in the way memories were cascading over her. She used to call out to those vendors by name when she sat on her Buaji’s small apartment balcony those early morning hours she spent studying. She knew each vendor by name and knew their life stories in some instances, much to Buaji’s  chagrin.

 

Why was it that when she left India, she left all these memories as well? Why was it always that every time she visited, these memories returned like homing pigeons? Why was it that they felt familiar like old shoes? 

 

She stretched, or at least she tried to, but was firmly ensconced in Mira’s arm that was around her chest. She turned her head and saw the top of her curls and sweat beads forming on her forehead. The rotating fan was trying its best but thankfully Mira’s exhaustion kept her oblivious to the heat and humidity.

 

Slowly extricating herself from her child’s arms, Khushi walked towards the table with her toiletries. Her eyes caught sight of the cell phone that Arnav had sent through his driver. Her hand slowly reached for it. The newness of the phone gleamed at Khushi as she ran her fingers over it, repeating as though her fingers could discern things that she couldn’t.

 

What was she supposed to make of this gesture? Why did he send his driver? And send the phone with him? She knew now that he would have been there at the airport if not for that emergency. What was she to make of that?

 

She knew that she had to call him and thank him. Making a mental list of things to do, Khushi walked towards the bathroom. She could hear voices from Buaji’s living room. Buaji’s phone conversations were notoriously loud. NK used to make a joke out of her rather loud voice.

 

I think Buaji would have made a great Captain in the army.

 

Buaji must have been the town crier in her previous life.

 

Buaji doesn’t need that damned instrument, I think that the whole city heard her announcing that we are here!

 

Biting her lip to keep from smiling too broadly, she walked towards the living room to catch the rest of the phone conversation.

 

“Oh! That was such a nice thing you did! Thank you so much for sending the car. Gangadhar is a gem of a person. He made our lives so much better last night, he simply took over.” Buaji’s ample arms were gesticulating grand blessings.

 

Khushi quickly realized that the person on the other end of the phone was none other than the one on her mind and tried to leave the room as quietly as she could. It looked like Buaji was listening to something that Arnav was saying.

 

“They are asleep right now. I will ask her to call you when she wakes up. She has your cell phone with her. I just wanted to thank you personally dear.” Buaji turned to find Manorama standing by her and she nodded her head towards the phone.  

 

“And Arnav, I was wondering if you could come over for lunch today? That way you can meet Khushi and Mira and I can offer my gratitude.” There was a pause and Buaji continued, “No! I insist. You know our address. We will look forward to you coming over then.”

 

That stopped Khushi in her tracks.

 

He is coming over for lunch? Today? Here? Didn’t he have to go to the hospital or something?

 

She shook her head and rushed into the bathroom. She needed all the time she had to ….

 

What?

 

He was just a friend. Buaji was returning his kindness with her own. That was it. That was all it was.

 

Not wanting to dwell anymore, Khushi quickly went about getting ready for this meeting that she was not prepared for.

 

OoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Buaji was bustling between the kitchen and the dining room. The corner of the living room closest to the kitchen hosted a small dining table. Manorama was in the kitchen, preparing the meal and both older women quickly dismissed Khushi from the kitchen. She wished she had something to do. She looked around the small apartment and there was not much she needed to do. It was spic and span, with colorful cushions that Buaji embroidered herself. There were photographs of Buaji’s late husband, pictures of her parents and one picture of herself with her parents just a few months before they were killed in a bus accident. There were so many framed photographs of Mira from all ages and a few with NK. All the photographs of Mira were taken by NK and every time he visited Buaji, he would fill her walls with photographs of all of them. It was his silent gratitude to her, for accepting him into her ample heart. 

 

Khushi’s eyes traveled all over these photographs and came back to the one when she was twelve. She walked closer to the wall that housed that picture. There was something about that photograph that always drew her. It felt like she was looking at a stranger, not at herself. There was something in that image of herself that she could no longer recognize as her own. That girl in the photograph looked like her. But there was a disconnect there, the older Khushi couldn’t recognize the girl in the photograph. 

 

Is that even possible? That girl looks like me, but I don’t remember being her. Does death steal emotional memories as well? 

 

Her eyes were glued to the picture when she felt a tug at her arm. It was Mira, with a look of question on her face. With impatience, she pushed the sweat dampened curls away and asked, “Why are you looking at that picture like that mommy?”

 

“Like what honey?” Khushi wiped Mira’s sweat with the sleeve of her kurta and pinned her curls back.

 

“Like you don’t like it. Aren’t those your parents? My Nana and Nani? Don’t you like that photograph mommy?”

 

“Yes, they are your Nana and Nani. I like looking at it. Sometimes, like today, I find it hard to recognize myself in that picture darling. That’s all.” Khushi reassured Mira. 

 

Mira nodded her head sagely. “You mean you don’t remember the feeling of being that kid in the photograph?” 

 

Shocked at Mira’s intuitive understanding, Khushi just nodded her head. How could her young child pick up those emotions so effortlessly at such a young age, she wondered. 

 

Distracted by her iPad, Mira quickly went back to the game she was playing. She looked adorable in her pink shorts and white top with spaghetti straps, glasses sliding down her slim nose due to sweat.

 

She looked up at her mother and asked, “When is ASR going to be here? Is he coming to lunch?”

 

“Soon” Khushi responded. She decided to text Arnav instead of calling.  

 

Hi and good morning Arnav! Thank you once again for the car and Gangadhar’s help last night. He was a life saver for us, a wonderful person. And thank you for this phone you sent through him.

 

Within a few seconds there was a ping on her phone.

 

Welcome Khushi. It was no bother, both  – car and the phone as I told you before. I couldn’t make it, had an emergency at the hospital. Hope you, Mira, and Aunty were able to sleep a bit?

 

Yes we did, thank you. I guess we will see you in a little while. I hope this isn’t inconvenient for you.

 

Seeing you or having lunch with you and your family?

 

What was she supposed to say to that? She cursed herself for walking right into that one. Damn it.

 

I meant driving all this way in this traffic.

 

When you’ve flown miles and miles across oceans and time, what’s a little traffic? 😉 See you in a little while.

 

She was left gazing at the phone.

 

He was a master at having the last word, she remembered. It was a running joke between them, who could squeeze the last word in. She bit her cheeks to stop her lips from smiling.

 

“Why are you smiling mommy?” Mira’s question brought her back from her reverie and she realized that she was indeed smiling. She shook her head silently and said, “ASR should be here soon.”

 

She walked into the kitchen to see if she could be of any help. She needed to find something to do before she lost her mind. 

 

Manorama came out of the kitchen at the same time, wiping her hands. Khushi looked at her mother-in-law’s tired face and said, “Amma, you should have let me help you. Will you please sit down now? I can set the table and clean up the kitchen.” So saying, Khushi quickly led Manorama to the couch and pushed on her shoulders gently to have her sit next to Mira. She pulled the coffee table closer to Manorama and raised her legs to rest on top of the table. She could see her mother-in-law’s swollen feet from the long flight. She was sure her arthritis had flared up as well.

 

She felt Manorama’s hand on her head and when she raised her eyes, she could see a wet sheen in her eyes.

 

“What happened Amma? Are your legs hurting a lot? Shall I call the doctor?” Concern tumbled in the form of questions, one over another. “Where are your medicines? Did you take them this morning?”

 

Manorama shook her head and said, “Who said blood is thicker than water? You are my daughter in exchange, you know? When you married my Naren, I got you as a daughter in exchange. You are my daughter in every way possible.” Sniffing her tears away, Manorama pulled Khushi into her arms with Mira and Nandini Buaji watching the exchange.  

 

Khushi allowed herself to be enveloped into Manorama’s embrace. It was a place that was closest to her memory of her own mother, right next to her Buaji.  But noting the time, she gently extricated herself and said, “I better get the  kitchen cleaned and ready before ASR shows up.”

 

Manorama nodded her head while noting the rush of pink into her daughter-in-law’s cheeks. The animation in her face and the color in her cheeks brought a sense of relief to Manorama. It reminded her of Khushi when her Naren was alive. Looking at Khushi walking into the kitchen now, she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to glean from this observation.

 

Soon the kitchen was cleaned and the dining room looked like it was ready to host a lunch party. There were sounds of a violin being tuned and played by young Mira, a new Minuet that she was learning. The fans were whirring at precarious speeds trying to dispel the afternoon heat. It felt like Khushi’s heartbeat matched the fan’s speeds even as she tried to take deep breaths to calm herself down.

 

Waiting was a bitch. She was never good at waiting. She was of the kind who’d rather be the first in line and get the injection instead of delaying it.

 

Really? Waiting to meet Arnav Singh Raizada is the same as getting a shot? This won’t do, Khushi, go find something else to do.

 

She walked into the bedroom that Buaji had assigned to the three of them, and quickly began unpacking her suitcases.

 

The bell rang and along with that sound, Khushi felt her heart slip and drop to her stomach. If she thought that her heart raced earlier, it felt like it was about to cease now.

 

Stop it. Just stop this.

 

Khushi reprimanded herself and walked to the door to open it.

 

He’s just a friend. That’s all it is. Just a friend. Remember, just a friend.

 

A mantra repeating itself in her mind, she opened the door with a smile affixed on her face.

 

The sun hit her eyes as soon as she opened the door. All she could see was the shadowed silhouette of his tall figure and a low husky voice, “Khushi Kumari Gupta.”

 

Khushi moved away from the light and opened her scrunched eyes to see a pair of warm ones gazing down at her with mirth.

 

“Arnav Singh Raizada!” She said softly, returning a smile that felt more human than the one she had earlier. “Really nice to see you again, come in.”

 

Should she shake his hand? Would a hug be inappropriate?

 

Before she had the time to decide, Mira had sidled up to Khushi’s side and peeked over her mother’s arm and offered a shy greeting herself, “Hi ASR!” Her face partially hidden behind her mother, offering only a part of her smile.

 

Immediately he knelt down and offered his hand to shake hers. “Hello Mira! How are you? I am so happy to see you.” When Mira offered her hand to shake his, he tilted his head a bit and said, “But I was hoping to see the whole entire you.”

 

Mira giggled as she came around her mother and grabbed Arnav’s neck for an impulsive hug. 

 

Surprised he drew her close to himself with care and returned her hug as he rubbed her back. It looked like both of them felt at home in that hug. There were three pairs of eyes witnessing this exchange between Arnav and Mira and none of them were unmoved by the child’s unabashed display of affection.

 

Buaji bustled out and busily exclaimed, “Come inside beta!” Chastising Khushi, she said, “Get our guest inside Khushi. He is sitting on the floor at the entrance.”

 

“Hello Arnav. Please come inside..” It was Manorama now. 

 

Arnav disentangled Mira’s arms from his neck. But kept his arm around her shoulders as he walked inside the house. And Mira didn’t seem to object to being close to him. 

 

Khushi stayed at the door, transfixed at the sight that her daughter made with this tall man, walking alongside as if she had done it all her young life. It raised her hackles and mobilized her from her trance. She quickly moved behind Arnav and placed her hand on Mira’s shoulder.

 

Mira turned around and said, “Mommy! You are pulling me.”

 

Before she had a chance to respond, Manorama chimed in. “Nice to see you again in Delhi. Thank you so much for Gangadhar and the car.”

 

Arnav, whose attention was on the exchange between Khushi and Mira, moved his eyes to meet Manorama’s.

 

“Namaste Aunty. It was no problem at all. My Nani asked me to tell you that she would love to have an opportunity to meet with you soon.” He moved his gaze to include Buaji first, Mira next and finally rested on Khushi. “All of you, sometime soon. I hope you will find some time to visit us in Shantivan.”  

 

Arnav had left his gaze to rest on Khushi. He could see that something made her uncomfortable. He made room between himself and Mira and looked around the living room to sit. His move seemed to catalyze the rest to rearrange themselves in the room, making motions of finding a spot for him to sit. In all the maneuvers by Buaji and Manorama, Arnav realized that Mira found a seat next to him. Manorama and Buaji moved to the kitchen under the pretext of getting lunch organized, leaving the three of them alone.

 

Khushi stood behind the rattan couch opposite to Mira and Arnav, watching her daughter, who, despite being a bit shy, chose to sit right next to Arnav, and that too closer than she normally did. Curiosity got the better of the mother at her child’s natural preference. 

 

Children seemed to be willing to take risks with relationships with great ease.  She wondered if they mended faster than adults.

 

Catching Khushi’s gaze, Arnav raised an eyebrow as if in question.  She shook her head with a small smile on her face. Resting his arm around Mira’s slim shoulders, Arnav asked, “Aren’t you jetlagged? Not sleepy?”

 

Mira shook her head shyly. Her bright eyes behind her glasses shone with happiness. “Your ..er.. driver…” Mira turned towards her mother and asked, “What’s his name Mommy? The man who brought us home from the airport?” 

 

“Gangadhar” replied both Arnav and Khushi. “You can call him GD, although you better learn to call him by his full name, Gangadhar, in front of my Nani. She gets really upset with me when I call him GD!” Arnav concluded with a grin on his face. 

 

“You are scared of your Nani?” Mira asked with wonder in her eyes. There was someone that could inspire fear in Arnav Singh Raizada? The young mind could not fathom such a possibility. Then quickly reminded of her earlier query, Mira continued, “GD, said that you had to go to the hospital for an emergency?”


Arnav could see that Mira’s question had a part that she couldn’t seem to articulate, but her face and eyes conveyed her anxiety. It pinched his heart that a child so young keenly felt the consequence of an emergency in a hospital. He took his time reassuring her. 

 

“Yes. He is fine now… My patient.. He will be fine.” He scooted closer to Mira and took her hands into his own. “Do you want to know what happened?” He was sure she had questions. He hoped he had the answers, nay, he hoped he had the courage to give her honest answers.

 

As he waited for Mira’s questions, he found Khushi had moved to sit next to her daughter, close enough that Mira could lean behind into her mother’s lap. He looked up to find her eyes shifting from her daughter to him, wary and anxious, her hands drawing Mira closer to her. In that moment, all three of them were in a tight circle, with Mira in the middle. 

 

“Do all of your patients get better?” Mira’s voice thinned towards the end of that question.

 

Arnav shook his head. “No, not all of them get better. Some patients don’t make it. But some do.” He stopped and waited for Mira to process what he said.

 

“What happens when they don’t make it?” Her look was resolute. She looked like she wanted to know.

 

He met the child’s gaze with honesty and said, “We try everything we can to help that patient. But if he or she doesn’t make it, we feel very sad and then have the sad job of informing their family.”

 

He could see Mira’s eyes filling with tears and Khushi’s eyes as well. There was a lump forming in his own throat. “Is that what happened to your Appa?” He helped her ask the question himself.

 

Mira nodded quietly, her tears spilling down her cheeks. He found Khushi nodding almost unconsciously in agreement. It was a sight that rendered a blow to his heart. He wanted to wrap both of them into himself and absorb their pain. Instead, he reached out and pulled Mira into a hug. 

 

Enfolded in each other, all they heard were sounds of their lunch getting ready, cups being filled, low tones of conversations between Buaji and Manorama. When Mira took a deep shuddering breath and tried to wriggle out of the embrace, both adults moved back self consciously. 

 

Khushi quickly dashed her tears away from her face. She had been transfixed, unable to say anything, watching this exchange between her daughter and Arnav. It was a new kind of pain that her heart had to endure when she witnessed her child express grief and pain to someone other than herself.

 

“You know, I am glad that your patient is feeling better. I am really glad that you were able to help  him, ASR.” There was a tentative smile on Mira’s face.

 

In that moment, Arnav Singh Raizada fell completely and irrevocably in love with Mira. She had wormed her way into his heart with her renewed sense of hope. His face broke into a big smile and he nodded his head in agreement. There were no words necessary as Khushi and Arnav exchanged a look and a smile. In that moment, they were two parents marveling at the wisdom that children bequeathed to the world. And in that moment, there were two more, watching from the kitchen, who bore witness to the happiness that these young people could have, if they chose to. 

 

oOoOo

AN: A very belated seasons’ greetings. I hope the festivities were full of love, warmth, and joy. I cannot thank you enough for reading this story, reading my sporadic, inconsistent writing and updates. Some days words are a deluge, some days they leave me parched. A steady stream would be a blessing. 🙂 Until next time then. ❤

 

142 thoughts on “Chapter Eleven: Incipience

  1. “The sky streaked a mystical orange on a blue expanse that shifted with every passing moment.”
    You bring alive the visuals and the sound of mornings with your words ❤

    This chapter gives such a lovely glimpse into the relationship Arnav and Khushi share with their respective mother figures. I love the sentiment behind Manorama saying of Khushi that she is her “daughter in exchange”, even more so after you told me about “maatru-ponnu”. Sumitra Raizada remonstrating Arnav over GD was so amusing. You are never too old for mothers to tick you off! But the respect and affection between them was clear to see.

    I like how you showed both the older women observe the change in demeanour in Arnav and Khushi, and the subtle difference in how they each felt about it. The feelings that seeped out to observant eyes despite their efforts to not acknowledge them.

    And now for the part that stole my heart. Arnav and Mira. How fragile is a child’s heart, yet how open it is to instinct. Loved how you showed Khushi’s feelings about what was happening with her child. And of Arnav’s awareness of them.

    It truly has been a chapter about nascency on so many fronts.

    Warm festive greetings to everyone!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. My dearest Muse

      kya bolun ab? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then consider the generosity and wide expanse of that heart that holds those eyes – your generosity is your gaze and that reflects in the kindness of your words. Thank you for being my sakhi in this journey for this story is as much yours as it is mine. ❤

      –MB

      Liked by 3 people

    1. The chapter moves you literally with the relationship each one shares among them and their ex or new. Each one thoughtful about the other and respectful. Mohan’s struggles is a concern for both Arnav and maya. Subhadra seems very tactful and mindful as well about the whole situation.

      The chapter also shares the doctors pains and struggles and their challenges about their busy days and the impacts they have when their patients or surgery’s go down the wrong way. Mira’s pain remembering NK is heartbreaking. Her maturity also touches your heart in a situation she is so understanding.

      The ladies bua and Manorama also seem to genuinely like Arnav and their welcome is crucial in the days coming.

      Arnav and Khushi’s friendship has anticipation and guilt and longing. It’s will take lot of patience and care to break the barriers to reach out to each other.

      Thank you for sharing your story!

      Liked by 8 people

    1. Incipience – the point at which something begins. Had to look up the meaning, and I think it perfectly fits the vein of this chapter. Today was a day of new beginnings in more ways than one.

      Arnav & Khushi, both are restless when they are apart but all their reservations fade away when they are in front of each other, and of course, when they text 😊 They have a decade of distance to cover, so I don’t expect the awkwardness to go away overnight, especially when they hadn’t parted amicably all those years ago. But, it gets a little better every time they interact.

      We adults seem to complicate things by over analyzing a situation. While Khushi was busy contemplating the best way to greet Arnav, Mira went by her instincts and gave her ASR a bear hug, which was not just welcomed but also reciprocated by equal measure. Obviously, it’s a little more complicated for the elders around her to give in to

      their

      instinct. But they could learn a thing or two from Mira.

      Mira is definitely becoming increasingly attached to Arnav. I wonder if it’s because he is a cardiologist. She asks him a lot of questions about his profession which he answers patiently and honestly. She probably feels closer to her Appa when he talks about his patients. Or maybe she thinks Arnav understands her pain because he deals with such cases day in day out. Or maybe it’s just a cosmic connection. Who knows?! But whatever it is, it’s precious. I could literally sense the moment Arnav Singh Raizada fell completely and irrevocably in love with Mira. Beautiful writing!!

      Khushi doesn’t seem very comfortable with Mira’s equation with Arnav. Is it because she thinks Mira is being to clingy & Arnav may not like it; or is it because she doesn’t want her to get too attached to Arnav, knowing that all this is just temporary? Arnav seems to have noticed it too.

      Still no sign of Mohan-Mira meet 😥 A small part of me hoped Arnav will bring Mohan along for lunch since Suraiya couldn’t make it to her session. What are those sessions for? I have a feeling it is similar to what Khushi does back home. Arnav & Mira ki dosti toh ho gayi. I can’t wait for the Krishnan family to meet Mohan and Nani.

      This chapter also gives a glimpse of Arnav’s past, and looks like he had his own share of miseries. The air of mystery thickens with every chapter. Maya has

      stopped

      driving. Why? Was it somehow related to their divorce? If Arnav was stressed enough to develop type II diabetes after Mohan’s birth, the “situations” must have been quite serious.

      Too many questions, but they are all rhetorical. All in good time 😇

      Thanks for penning such a wonderful chapter, Mira. Hope all is well at your end!

      Liked by 7 people

        1. 🎶 आज फिर दिल ने इक तमन्ना की
          आज फिर दिल को हमने समझाया 🎶
          Was super tempted to ask for farreys, but then controlled 😁 May have to start doing Hatha yoga for peace & patience 😉

          Liked by 3 people

            1. As curious as I am to know what happens next, or what happened in the past, I don’t want you to feel pressurized. Take your time dear. It takes me few minutes to read the update, but it must take hours and days to write one. Hats off to all you writers who have made this SKD so magical inspite of the million things you have to take care of in AD 😘🤗

              Liked by 3 people

              1. thank you for being so thoughtful and kind. It does take a while for me to write and for my beta-Ruchi to read-edit-comment. And I have to steal time to get to the story. But I love the time I spend with these characters and their world. 🙂

                Liked by 3 people

    1. New beginning it is. When Arnav visited them in US, it was just a visit to pay his condolences. But, this meeting is completely different. It is playing with their emotions. Everyone around can see the turmoil or after affects clearly. Are they all in for it or not? Time will tell.
      It looks like Mira got affected when Arnav had to attend an emergency. She straight away related it to a patient suffering from Cardiac problem and wanted to know what happened. So, she was relieved to know, the patient was fine. Was she wishing Arnav was there when her Appa was taken to the hospital? or has she instantly formed a bond with Arnav because he can save many others from meeting the same fate as her father?
      But the bond was pure and instant and here to stay. I know Arnav must have consoled many patients and know what they must be feeling, but I am sure he never had to console an 8 year old kid. Even though he never did it, his fatherly instincts helped him understand where Mira is coming from and form a bond with Mira.
      Can Khushi get away from it. She thought she buried all those memories related to the times she spent with Arnav all those years ago. They are coming back with a vengeance and they both are going to swept away in those emotions.
      I loved Nani’s wisdom. She would like to wait and watch. Right thing to do.
      Dhar brothers replaced Prakash brothers. Nice!
      Maya stopped driving and Arnav developed type II diabetes after Mohan was born and before they got divorced. What could have happened? Is it related to Mohan’s condition or by any chance related to his time before his marriage? Kailash seems to understand his wife and trying to help Arnav from his pushy wife.
      Your narration on emotions, Delhi conditions and weather, medical workings are wonderful and realistic.
      I love Buaji for initiating a meeting so soon. That surely helped Mira.

      PS: I was wondering, what prompted Arnav to visit Khushi in US, 3 years after Naren’s death?

      Thanks for the chapter. Take your time and take care.
      Cheers…….

      Liked by 6 people

        1. Mira, I was a silent reader for a long time. I could not form meaningful comments. Later, I realised, it is not nice to say nothing when the writers are spending so much time in weaving and presenting those lovely tales on a regular basis. Later with all your inspiration, I started posting longer comments and made some friends along the way. Credit goes to all you wonderful writes, wonderful friends.
          My only weakness is, I just can’t stop asking questions. Hope you don’t mind.🙂
          Have a nice weekend.
          Cheers……

          Liked by 6 people

            1. Sorry re, I did not see this movie. Googled the plot and found that, it was a remake of a South Indian movie which I have seen. Paresh Rawal fits into any character. He is one of my favourite actors.
              Thanks for the support G!
              Cheers….

              Liked by 3 people

          1. I am so honored to hear what you have to say my friend. Yes, I write for myself, but when I share, the story and the experience belongs to you as well. And hearing your thoughts makes the writing process so much more compelling. I swear when I am stuck in a rut unable to write, I go back and read my old comments. They really do fuel my words and sentences. So thank you again. ❤

            Liked by 3 people

  2. Its good to see you back MB, hope you’re well.

    “It felt like a strange sense of loss running through his spine, only to settle softly in his ribs.”
    “there was a disconnect there, the older Khushi couldn’t recognize the girl in the photograph.”
    Those two lines above felt like book ends to me, a world of melancholia and loss between them. The experience of profound loss at a young age, is that what calls to the other?

    The little girl with an uncanny (maybe not, its probably something that all kids have, but then do we lose it when we grow older?) knack of hitting the nail on its head, instinctively knowing what it is the adult might well be struggling with, one can’t help but fall in love with her. And Nani just might’ve hit one of her own with ““What beautiful names, Mohan and Mira.. as if they were made for each other.””

    Liked by 8 people

      1. Dear Mira,

        Sorry that this comment is late.. I read the chapter and then was simply sitting thinking about the beauty of your writing…
        The highlight for me in this chapter was

        “Do all of your patients get better?” Mira’s voice thinned towards the end of that question.

        It filled my eyes with tears literally.. Children who have suffered loss are so perceptive and many times their simple question is an iceberg trying to emerge.. I think I too fell in love with Mira in this scene..

        Arnav may be still unsure of what place he has in Khushi’s heart but in Mira”s mind it is already cemented.. Khushi probably is wondering whether she is aware of all the thoughts her daughter has.

        You write about melancholy that Arnav felt.. It was really heartbreaking.. It is not just byproduct of long hours or loneliness or a broken marriage or a relationship which never materialized.. I think he realizes that he is partly responsible for it too as much as destiny?

        Khushi’s confusion is described so beautifully here.. She is unable to handle all this feelings which she somewhere likes to get but doesn’t feel she should be getting.. How strong are the holds of tradition and propriety in our society that she can’t even accept to herself that she has a right to a new life and happiness..hopefully she can start thinking about herself more..

        The senior ladies in your story are adorable and have the advantage of wisdom that comes with age. Though I hope Buaji takes more initiative to get these two together in her unapologetic and unrefined ways! The other two may not actively play cupid 😉

        I am looking forward to Mohan meeting Khushi.. There are some mysteries there I think.. And why Maya stopped driving?
        I know that you are giving second chance to this story and I am really dying to know what comes ahead!! Yeah yeah, patience is not exactly my virtue!😉

        I do hope you post soon the next update. Till then, will keep reading this one and the past ones and sigh!

        Thank you for your wonderful writing!

        Anagha

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Its nice to resd the story again after so long… am eagerly waiting for the part where you stopped previously.. But its nice to see the anticipation among new readers:-))

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I guess children can sense love, the way Mira embrace Arnav and poured her heart to him was so sweet. it seems that she just sense that he is someone special and someone that can be trusted.

    such an amazing update.

    Looking forward for Mira and Mohan’s encounter

    Liked by 4 people

      1. whenever I tried to comment or press like on your page, word-process page pop-ups and I am asked to signed in, yet I am unable to like your page. even though if I tried after login, same process follows.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. This happens to me with some comments I like. The pop up is so quick to disappear that I don’t realise what has happened. It is happening on my computer too. Ah..Well…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Mira, for another great update.
    There is some hesitation between Khushi and Arnav but Not for Mira. She felt connection with Arnav because he is someone who can save someone’s life. She lost her Appa suddenly after a cardiac arrest and her little heart is reassured that people can be saved after cardiac arrest. Her innocence will help Arnav and Khushi to become easier with each other. There is still Mohan to come in the equation. It will be interesting to see how Mira, Mohan and Khushi will get on.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Hi,
      I just noticed a funny thing.
      When ever you like my comments, I get a notification saying “Someone” liked my comment. When others like my comments, their username shows up such as Mirabell, Cheers2all, Ruchi etc,.
      Do you have any idea why it is happening? I am just curious to know.🤔
      PS: By the way, thank you for liking my comments.
      Cheers…..

      Liked by 5 people

        1. Did you set a Public Display name? My Public Display name is Savera84 as shown below. I believe everyone receives notifications under this name when I like their comments.

          Cheers……

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Hi dear, Sorry if made it sound like a big issue. I can see your profile name (ilfordian) and profile picture (duck in the pond) in the blog. Only when it comes to e-mail notifications, your name comes up as “someone” instead of ilfordian. That is what intrigued me in the first place. As Shakespeare said, what is in a name? I know it is you. Let us enjoy our favourite tales.
              Cheers…..

              Liked by 1 person

              1. It is a Swan in the picture. It is ok.No offence taken. I have noticed that sometimes when I click to like a comment ,something pops out and disappears so quick that I never managed to read it.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Raji, for me this blog and Sohni’s blue dust appears different on my Ipad. Its as if I’m not logged in, while I have no issues with other blogs. So for these two I need to use my computer to like and comment. If you have any suggestions let me know.

                Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing and Beautiful Update with lots of emotions

    Arnav is restless while his thoughts are on Khushi the same with Khushi but both feel comfortable only through the texts. Sometimes wondering seeing these two how they feel when they think about the other, their turmoil meeting each other and all the emotions they go through makes me curious to know what made them part ways that too not in a good way. Though they feel awkward thinking about the other they go with the flow when they come face to face and have a long way to go to cover a decade distance and clear everything between them. Loved Nani who can see subtle changes in Arnav after his trip to the US and also when she mentions his friends but her age made her be patient and see where it leads and same goes with Manoramma she notices even a small change in Khushi whenever Arnav is mentioned. Always love seeing the bond between Khushi and Manoramma.

    Wondering what sessions Mohan is going thru which Maya was talking about with Arnav that Suraiya couldn’t make it and also why Maya stopped driving. Loved how Kailash saved Arnav from having to answer Maya’s questions knowing Maya caught his dilemma he is going thru. Though knowing these questions will be answered couldn’t be without asking upfront.

    While Khushi was contemplating how to greet Arnav, Mira hugged ASR. Loved Mira being comfortable with Arnav which Khushi is not seeing the same. Wondering why. Is Khushi scared thinking Arnav might not like it or something else bothering her seeing Arnav and Mira getting close to each other? The conversation Mira had with Arnav about the patient was emotional. Mira is so mature for her age and the level of her understanding what happens if the patient makes it or doesn’t and what follows after the surgery. Loved how Mira asked questions and Arnav answering it patiently.

    Buaji and Manoramma accepted Arnav’s invitation of coming to Shantivan. Hoping Mira and Mohan will be able to meet then.

    Eager for the next one

    Thanks
    Chinnulu

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Eeeekkkk I’m so excited. That update was so worth the wait. Thank you so much. Ugh Mira the scene with her Appa had me so sad it’s so sad to see their child going through despair. Thank you so much 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s absolute joy to read the story again, Mira.
    I just love all the characters, but I am partial to a particular curly haired, bespectacled ,curious one .
    I can not suppress the feeling of wanting to read more. This story is very special to me.
    Keep it coming , Mira.
    Love and Hugs,
    Vandana

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gangadhar hi Shaktimaan hai ! 😛

    Another beautiful chapter. I love the equation both Arnav and Khushi share with the elders of their respective families. I smiled at the part where Nani chides Arnav for calling ‘Gangadhar’ as GD- reminded me of my own Nani who used to be so fed up with my love for nicknames and acronyms. I called my cousin ‘Mazzy’ once, and she sat me down and explained at length the beauty of his original name.

    Arnav’s character in this story just serves to reinforce my existing admiration for people involved in the medical profession. In today’s corporate culture, long and absurd hours are not unheard of, yet I feel that such jobs do not entail a sense of associated guilt with wanting a little time off for yourself that is so much a part of the medical line. Anyhow, I love the subtleties in your writing, for instance- portrayal of a mother’s heightened sense of foreboding at having her orphan child gel so quickly with a man she hardly knows. “Arnav had left his gaze to rest on Khushi. He could see that something made her uncomfortable. He made room between himself and Mira and looked around the living room to sit.”– and how well he perceives it!

    What a befitting title to the chapter- Incipience!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Hi Mira..such a wonderful chapter. Very emotional…Felt very sad for kushi and Mira struggling to come out of their loss…Arnav’s characterisation is awesome…such a wonderful story..Eagerly waiting for the next one

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a Beautiful Chapter it is ❤️

    I love your take on “WAITING” . How aptly you have described Some very Fact Emotions related to WAITING 👏🏻👏🏻
    Waiting isn’t just about having keeping patience but it involves some major emotions too !
    Waiting is about having a sense of keeping Faith/ a Hope in your heart, that whatever you’re anticipating for….it will bear the desired fruits.
    (Just the way, I was waiting with a Hopeful patience that you’ll update the Chapter soon di 😊)
    You have put it all so Perfectly Di 👏🏻👏🏻

    This is such a RELATABLE Feeling. We love/become accustomed to our respective Profession,, but in some fleeting moment’s , when all we want to steal some moment’s for ourself. That feeling is so Relatable !

    I love how you showed up these small but daily occurrences which became a part of our lives somehow. Like for ARNAV, the roads which he got so familiar with, that even in his subconscious state of mind, he remembered them by heart , the passing vehicles, the vendors , the morning air , the chirping birds….. little things but they just without asking Became a part of life !
    You have described these little moment’s so Beautifully di 💓

    I second with RUCHI di on this line – 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘬𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘮𝘺𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘭𝘶𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵…..You give life to words 𝑀𝑖𝑟𝑎 di. All I have to do is to close my eyes & I can visualize this scene unfolding infront of my eyes 💓 Such an Phenomenal Writer you are.

    What’s goes into a Doctor’s head ? Feels so good to know what Goes in Arnav’s Dil & Dimaag regarding his Profession.
    The doctor’s pain, the hardships, the Struggles they had to go through in their profession & The moment’s of sheer helplessness 💔
    The significance of this line runs deep — 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘸𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦’𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴….. WHEN not just physically but mentally too , a part of Arnav’s being is invested in his Profession ! Superb Writing ✍🏻👏🏻

    I will always say this , that …..some Relationships in this Beautiful STORY SECOND CHANCES….gonaa memorable for me. ARNAV & MAYA’S RELATIONSHIP & KHUSHI’S & MANORMA ❤️.
    The comfort level between ARNAV & Maya , even being exe’s, the Understanding, the Friendship between them ….has my entire heart 🤧❤️
    & Manorma’s Motherly love for Khushi…..an ideal example of Relationships ❤️

    & Maya has stopped driving ! Why ? Is it something related with Arnav’s accident or something else ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Khushi is feeling all Nostalgic, the past memories rushing into her being, the Time she had spent in Buaji’s home.
      Memories never fades With Time, They live on Forever.
      & What is about that picture , where KHUSHI can’t remember herself being her in that ?
      Something just unsettled me & I’m slightly puzzled to know, is There something more to it ?

      ARNAV & KHUSHI…..Both are in a Denial mode, somewhat confused the way their Dil is dhadke-ing for each other.
      Trying to make each other being labeled as ‘Friends’ …..but I don’t think so, they were More than just being ‘Friends’ ! There’s more to it , EK ANKAHI SI KAHANI HAI INN DONO KE BEECH MEIN !!
      There
      is a thin veil of unspoken Intimacy sorrounding between them, screaming in their hearts to stop fighting with it & give this unsaid feeling a Chance to Bloom ❤️
      There’s something very Strong emotion floating in between them , whenever these two are Together !
      & This making me even more curious to know , what had happened in the past between ARNAV KHUSHI , this is so unsettling me 🥺

      Arnav Khushi’s Round of TEXTING as usual is a Delight to read 😊 & i want to see more of it coming in the next Chapters.

      Love the way , The 3 of Them, the MOTHERLY FIGURES …….Arnav’s Nani , MANORMA & Buaji ,their elder parents are witnessing & noticing the subtle change in their kids, in ARNAV & KHUSHI ❤️ For whom , We can see Arnav’s & Khushi’s Respect & affection they hold for them 💓

      This lines is pure love or i don’t know what to say 🤧 — 𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘈𝘳𝘯𝘢𝘷 𝘚𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘩 𝘙𝘢𝘪𝘻𝘢𝘥𝘢 𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘔𝘪𝘳𝘢……..So True is that , the children are more accepting , more open hearted than elders when it comes to embracing a relationship with open arms.
      They’re not complex like elder’s. & Sometimes their wisdom & Genuiness of heart just leave you all speechless at moment’s.
      Meera , the child’s vulnerability , the fragility of her emotions …..pinched my heart 💔
      But the maturity in her words & the goodness of her heart has won mine & Arnav’s Heart too !
      That’s what ARNAV felt for Meera , the kid who without asking, without trying has made an permanent residence in his Heart ❤️. Whenever I see , ARNAV with Maya, their bond just warms my heart from within ….. Precious💓 🤧
      & You have completely rendered me Speechless with this line di – 𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘸𝘰 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥….. I Literally have no words enough to praise you Mira di ……The impact of this line is something else ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 𝙈𝙞𝙧𝙖 𝙙𝙞 ……what I say , I’m just awestruck with your way of Writing ✍🏻.
        Frankly , I’m at loss of Words !
        What an Incredibly Hella Amazing Writer you are di 👏🏻👏🏻.

        For me , SECOND CHANCES means more than a Story to me. It’s a Reflection of your being, the kind of Wonderful soul you are & your understanding towards Life & Relationships ❤️ It’s a roller coaster of Emotions which I’m feeling after reading each chapter throughly…..I’m getting an Experience of a Lifetime….all because of you di …..& For these Beautiful Emotions…..I am Forever going to be Grateful to you di 🙏🏻🙏🏻

        I got to know that, besides Second Chances , There are some more Stories that you have penned down Di. & What a Story without the Reader’s ? A Writer must share their Stories because You are an Writer & holds this ultimate Power to heal , help someone with your Writing’s.
        & 𝙈𝙞𝙧𝙖 𝙙𝙞 you definitely have these qualities ❤️. Such an Brilliant Writer you are , your each Writing is soul stirring , one which has made me see Relationships , emotions in a new positive light ❤️ .
        & I hope , in future , You think of sharing your other wonderful works with us as well 😊.
        Please di🙏🏻.

        & At last , Thank you 𝙈𝙞𝙧𝙖 𝙙𝙞 🙏🏻 more than my words could convey here.
        & I hope , we gonaa get the next update soon ( The reader in me , can’t get enough of your Amazing Writing’s 😉) Well , Take your time, always here for you !
        Love you di….so, so much ~ Always 😘🤗

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey… here are your comments and I am finally getting to them. 🙂 You wrote abut waiting but won’t give me time to respond? 😉
      Kidding aside – thank you for picking up on the small things that I love to think about. I do think they make a difference for me when I am telling the story. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You take all your Time to respond
        …. because I’m not leaving your side ever 😉

        Just wanted to say what I feel …..that one day I want to hold a copy of Your Stories signed by you MIRA di 😊 & flaunt it .
        Truly , from the core of my heart….. YOU ARE AN FREAKING TALENTED & AN PHENOMENAL WRITER.
        The Dedication with which you write is visible is each chapter of yours.
        &
        I consider myself Blessed that I’m getting this beautiful chance to read your Amazing Stories ❤️.
        Thanks a lot Di …..Dil se 🤗❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Mira…I love the slow pace with which the story is progressing..
    It’s life ..
    Arnav n Khushi feel awkward whenever they r in front of each other..
    But their minds r always preoccupied with each other’s thoughts..
    They r at their best when they r texting..

    I feel so vulnerable when u describe Mira’s emotions..
    She misses her father ..he respects Arnav as he can save his patient’s life..
    Arnav-Mira share a bond now..
    I wanna see Khushi-Mohan n Mira-Mohan’s meeting..

    @Mirabell..
    I don’t know why r my comments not publishing..

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Sorry di , i just thought that maybe you are irritated a bit reading my comments , which got long 🙈

            I understand totally how consuming our Asli Duniya is !
            & You are busy , I understand.
            All sorted now .

            Mira di , there’s so hurry take your time. You & your well being is outmost important ❤️.
            Take care di , Love you 😘🤗

            Like

      1. Right now I mon a phone but I tried to comment yesterday through my laptop.. Everytime my comment didn’t get posted as they say.. Sorry. Ur comment couldn’t be posted .. WordPress error..

        Liked by 1 person

  13. SECOND CHANCES IS NOT JUST A MERE STORY…… IT’S AN EMOTION, A JOURNEY OF LOVE’ & LIFE…..filled with plethora of Feeling’s to feel which just got absorb in your Being 💖
    An Experience of a Lifetime to feel !

    Forever gonaa Grateful To you Mira di 🙏🏻 Love you ~ Always 😘💖

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Welcome back😘😊!
    I’m so much in love with this story. The way you describe each character and their emotions is unbelievable and awesome. Both Arnav and khushi have feelings for each other. I hope it blooms in to love and something more for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi dear just came to this new blog for second chance I’m so happy that you started writing again n now plz finish this amazing story as I had read all the chapters previously n loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh My Goodness… it is my ALL TIME FAVORITE song. ❤ It is so hard to sing, the taal is tricky… but oh goodness the lyrics … sigh… makes me want to write my friend. Thank you for reminding me. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Kuch Kho diya hai paike, kuch paa diya gawai ke … sigh… Gulzar-sahib’s first song. Also this movie is so far ahead of its times! Women’s rights and roles scrutinized in such detail and critical eye. Hai… what have you done to me. LOL ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I remember listening to “O jaanewale ho sake” as a child. My dad used to play lot of Mukesh and Talat Mehmood in those days.
        We seem to have regressed in many ways if we look at popular culture.
        And so much packed in that line!

        Liked by 2 people

  16. Omg..!!
    You have started a new blog for this beautiful story..!! M so happy 🙂
    I have followed your story on IF and finally now that you are updating this I am glad that we will be able to see what happens to Arnav and Khushi..
    I love this chapter..the start of something new for both of them..
    The way you write about Arnav and Khushi relationship..it’s so easy to connect with them and their feelings.
    Love this story of yours.. pls continue

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This story is really heartwarming. Every new turn and corner speaks volumes. Here Arnav and Khushi both the characters are so relatable. The plot and background of the story is highly indulging for me. Eagerly waiting for the next update.
    Thank you Mira.

    Like

  18. Hi Mira, so I used to read this story once upon a time and I am glad that you have resumed writing this. It tugs at my heart every time I read a chapter. I get tooo involved with the character and shed a tear or two along with Khushi and little Mira. I vaguely remember what happened btw Arshi but I would love to read it again soon. Hope you can update it soon. I really don’t mind the wait and I really hope you truly give this story a second chance!
    I did not comment previously as I was in a hurry to finish all the 11 chapters and now I have all the time in the world to comment! While reading the story if I feel these strong emotional connect I really wonder how it would be for you as the author! I really am looking forward to the new chapters and I hope to read one soon! Please? Pretty please? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Hey Mira ! I just got introduced to the world on IPKKND (8 yrs too late, I know!) and stumbled upon this blog as I was seeking for fan-fics that would keep the world alive ! In one word this story is amazing 🙂 Looking forward to more updates !

    Cheers,
    Shweta

    Like

  20. Have been reading this story, missed it the first time. Loving it truly, Khushi’s pain is poignantly portrayed. All your works have give me a feeling of looking at a beautiful painting, with myriads of hues. Love the story and waiting for thfuture chapters

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hello Mirabell.. Finally read all the chapters together.. thank you for the email for letting me know that you have started writing again..
    Had read all ur chapters earlier and was waiting for u to continue.. and now reading the story all over again feels so good..
    Loved ur writing then.. Love it now.. I get so lost in your stories.. this wait for your next chapter is going to be very difficult 😁 update soon

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Maybe little Mira thinks Arnav could have saved her appa, don’t know but she feels very close to Dr.ASR .
    She was relieved to know the patient was ok
    What is wrong with Mohan?
    Waiting for Mohan / Mira meeting , just like Nani wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Learning an instrument /Carnatic music is a must in our family (community, I think ) , felt nostalgic when I saw Mira taking her violin to India
    As kids we used to play, sing & dance at Saraswathi temple in our village on Vijayadhasmi day

    Liked by 1 person

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