Chapter Thirteen: Trysting with Midnights

I am hopelessly in love with a memory. An echo from another time, another place.
—–Michael Faudet

 

It was the middle of summer and that had nothing to do with his frame of mind. After all seasons were a state of mind, weren’t they? There was a spring in his step and a smile on his face, unbeknownst to him. This was an unfamiliar feeling.

 

No. 

 

It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling. 

 

He knew it

 

He felt it, he was sure of it. While his heart remained mute, his mind recollected that memory, recognized that feeling. It was a while ago; a very long time ago. 

 

He caught himself smiling yet again and quickly bit into his cheeks. He needed a distraction, something else to do, besides thinking about her. It was time to have a chat with Suraiya, he thought, quickly checking his watch for time. It was almost dinner time.

 

Striding through the long corridor, Arnav took two steps a time down the stairs, that curl in front of his hair moving in tandem with his bounce. It had been a while since Sumitra Raizada had seen Arnav in the manner that he was these days, she noted.

 

What was with him?

 

She wanted to know, but she also knew that he was not ready to reveal yet. This was the third time she caught him talking to himself and smiling. Her old weary heart couldn’t get enough of his happiness. He deserved it, every little bit he seems to have these days. She knew they would not make up for the days he had spent in pain, stoic and alone, unwilling to share his burden.

 

She was reminded of the days soon after Mohan was diagnosed with autism, those periods of utter despondency that sat on his shoulders as his gaze followed his little toddler. Maya was no help at that time, mired in her own struggles with postpartum depression. Arnav had to carry the weight of a new diagnosis of his only child all on his own.

 

This grandchild of hers deserved every bit of happiness he could find, she would make sure he had his share of it. It was a promise she made herself when she found him sobbing in his room for all the dreams he thought he had and for those he lost – his marriage, his divorce and his child with a diagnosis of autism. Her heart broke when he muttered those words into her lap.

 

She was not going to ask him about his smile, or about the twinkle in his eyes, she decided. She was going to enjoy their presence in silence.

 

Just like when they were babies. It was no different from then, watching them explore their worlds with curiosity and wonder.  And it is no different now, watching him navigate his way through to his happiness with hope and impatience.

 

Finding his Nani’s gaze on him, he smiled and asked, “Nani, is Suraiya done with her session with Mohan? Isn’t it time for dinner?”

 

“Dinner will be ready in a few minutes, as soon as they are done. The little one is not too happy with her today.” She furrowed her brows and asked out loud, “Wonder what happened.”

 

Arnav was checking his phone and absently answered, “She came on a different day Nani. She normally comes Tuesdays, but she canceled. She is here today and he does not do well when his routine changes. Remember?” He looked up to find his Nani nodding her head, distracted. She had a frown on her forehead, a rarity that made him pause in his steps. If there was one thing he was sure about his Nani, it was her equanimity, something that saw him through many moments of unrelenting grief and doubt.

 

“What happened Nani? Is something bothering you?” Arnav sat next to her on the couch. Her favored seat in the entire house, he realized. He had not known her sit anywhere else except that particular seat. It was the corner seat that faced the entire house, while also allowing her to look over to the front entrance of the house itself. She ruled over her house from her vantage point, without raising her voice, without losing her calm. But she looked worried today.

 

He took her palm into his and brought her out of her pensive state. He repeated his question, “What is it Nani?”

 

Sumitra Raizada tightened her grip on his fingers and patted them gently. He looked down to her life worn hands, her skin thinned out near her knuckles, making them appear knotty. It was as if all the scars of anxieties she bore manifested themselves on her hands instead of her face. She looked so very fragile at that moment, that her wrinkles bespoke her mortality. Yet the strength of her grip belied her age and her fragility.

 

She shook her head and said, “It’s him.” She nodded her head towards the room where Suraiya was working with Mohan. “How will he manage? How will he live his life? Will he always need this kind of therapy? What will happen to him when we are all gone? When he grows up?” Sumitra Raizada’s eyes filled with tears. She wiped them away fiercely and quickly. She didn’t want to ruin Arnav’s moment of happiness.

 

“Nani, he will be fine. Mohan is a brilliant child. He will not only be fine, he will do great! These sessions are meant to help him with his speech skills, you know that.” He wrapped his arms around her and tried to reassure her with his hug.

 

“And I will make sure that he will be okay and so will Maya.” He pulled back to look into her deep set eyes. They were the exact shade as his own. “We are his parents, we will make sure that he is able to deal with whatever life throws at him and come out the other end successful.”

 

“But Maya is married to someone else now.” Sumitra’s brows had furrowed deeply.

 

“So what, Nani? She is still his mother. That will never change.”

 

“But what if she has another child? What about..”

 

“That doesn’t change anything. Maya is a wonderful mother, a good mother. You know that Nani.”

 

She looked at him with the same look of confused skepticism. She never could understand his affection and friendship for his ex wife. They had this conversation many times..

 

I don’t understand this thing between you and Maya.

 

She is my friend first Nani.

 

But she is the mother of your child. And she is married to someone else. And you are friendly with her and cordial with her new husband?

 

She fell in love with him Nani. How can I stop her from pursuing her happiness?

 

But what about your happiness my darling boy?

 

He never answered her last question, but she also knew that his answers never changed. His unwavering faith in Maya was almost enviable. 

 

“But what about you, my boy? What about what happens to you Arnav? She has her husband. But what about you… what about your life? Your happiness?” 

 

“Nani…” He began, unsure of how to reassure her. He had not seen her like this in a long time. 

 

She shook her head  and gripped his fingers tighter. “I want you to be happy. I want you to seek your own happiness and this time, don’t let it go.”

 

Sumitra Raizada raised her hand to his face, caressing his cheek and then his hair as she laid it on his shoulder. It was a moment of affection, affinity exchanged between a grandmother and her grandchild. For Arnav she was the mother he never had.

 

“I am happy Nani. And yes, I will seek my happiness.” This time. This time for sure. Arnav Singh Raizada was certain.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

It was dark and quiet in the room, with the monotonous hum of the air conditioner switching on and off periodically. Khushi turned her head to see Mira fast asleep, curled into her side, her curls moving in tandem with the swing of the fan blades. She was her father’s daughter, sleeping with her lips parted and her mouth open. A wave of tenderness washed over her as she hooked her finger under Mira’s chin and closed her mouth.  She turned to check on her mother-in-law and found her fast asleep.

 

So much for that walk in the sun. Here she was, the only one awake and jetlagged. Unwilling to watch the rest of them sleep, she got up and walked quietly to the living room. Her fingers held the cell phone, a second nature to her now, a  habit that she had developed after Mira was born. She looked at the phone in her hands, reminded of the thoughtfulness of the gift. Given by someone she didn’t know very well. 

 

Liar…

 

Khushi shook her head, dispelling the thought that seemed tenacious enough to return more often now and forced herself to be in the present, in her favorite place in India. She had grown up here, spent her summers here when she was away from IIT. Buaji’s apartment boasted a small balcony that overlooked a small patch of community garden. The street lights were a muted orange and spilled over into the balcony. Stepping out of the air conditioned room made the breeze warmer than it probably was.

 

What was it about night time when all doubts took gargantuan forms in ways that made them real and visceral?

 

She looked down at the cell phone Arnav had given her and wondered why he did that. Why did he have to give her a cell phone? Why did he have to send a car? Why did he have to meet her family? Why this? Why now?

 

He is a friend, Khushi! Arnav is a good man, a good friend.

 

But they had not been in touch for a decade. Not a word was exchanged, not a phone call made. Both of them ignored the existence of the other. He was a stranger wasn’t he?  

 

Yes he was, but

 

No he wasn’t.. because…

 

Was there a label for such relationships when a decade’s worth of silence didn’t mute their connection.

 

She looked at the phone, willing it to ring, or say something… anything. She had forgotten this feeling, this small tendril of  warmth unfurling in her, tugging her lips to smile. His kind eyes and his warm smile welcomed her in ways that she was beginning to recognize now. What was she supposed to do with it?

 

Why does life not come with a manual?

 

“Not able to sleep Chellam?”

 

She felt Manorama’s soft palm on her shoulder before she heard her. Manorama was one of those people who could not talk without touching the person she was talking with, especially if they were close to her.

 

Like mother, like son, like granddaughter.

 

She shook her head. “You woke up? I didn’t wake you, did I Amma?”

 

“You didn’t.” Manorama reassured quickly. “Insomnia becomes a reluctant companion along with aches and pains when you are my age.” Manorama smiled self deprecatingly. “But you… You have a long way to go, my darling.” She ran her hand over her back, gently caressing those spots between her shoulders.  She felt her tension ease at her shoulders, tension she didn’t know she carried.

 

“Shall I rub your back? Will you try to sleep?” Manorama asked softly. Khushi gave her mother-in-law a hug and shook her head.

 

“Insomnia is a familiar foe of mine too Amma.” Khushi smiled at her Amma. “You know, when NK used to have papers and proposal deadlines, he used to work through the night. I used to stay up with him. That was probably the first time in my life I realized how silent silence could be.” She looked away at the orange light from the street. 

 

“But it didn’t scream like it does now.” She said, almost to herself. “It didn’t matter that we were not in the same room, or even in the same building. It was a quiet kind of silence, a gentle kind of silence. Now, without him, it just screams into my head.”

 

“I am used to it now, the screaming, I mean.” Manorama nodded her head almost distractedly. She was not a stranger to the loudness of that silence. She felt it more with her Naren’s passing. She looked at Khushi to make sure she knew what she was referring to. “It isn’t something that ever leaves me, not even for a second. I look at a child and remember my Naren as one. I look at a young man, and I remember my Naren at that age. I look at an older man and wonder how my Naren would have… ” Manorama couldn’t continue. Tears found their way down her weathered cheek. 

 

Khushi’s arms found their way around Manorama. Both of them rocked each other in silence. It was hard to live with grief, she knew. It was like an untenable rock bound to her neck, weighing her down at moments like this. Yet it was a comforting pain when she needed that contact with NK.  But there was something in watching Amma cry over NK, that wrenched her own heart and gut. While she lost her husband and a friend, Amma had lost her only child. 

 

Meanwhile the tear-worne eyes of Manorama sought Khushi’s, a daughter she had inherited through her son. The sag of her young shoulders, the premature grey that seemed to peek out of her hair seemed asynchronous to the skin and frame that Khushi carried. Manorama’s kinship with grief was acceptable, but not Khushi’s, not on her young shoulders.  Perhaps it was time to have that conversation she had been planning for the last few days, especially since she had begun to notice how Khushi lapsed into her memories. Manorama was worried that Khushi opted to live passively with her memories. She knew that she needed to talk to Khushi. 

 

She led her to the living room couch and patted the seat next to her. She waited until Khushi sat, fiddling with her cell phone. Manorama wondered if Khushi was aware of the fact that she was caressing it. She felt torn, but she knew it was the right thing to do, to talk to her. She clasped Khushi’s wandering fingers and held them in her lap. The phone slipped from their grasp, but Khushi caught it and clasped it to her chest. This time, Manorama brought both Khushi’s hands and the phone into her own. She had to gather her words, had to make sure that she didn’t say the wrong thing. It was too important for Manorama. 

 

“You know, darling, you cannot live your life like this. You cannot live in the past.” Manorama stopped. She had Khushi’s complete attention. “You are too young and you have your entire life ahead of you. Even though it is tempting to stay with those memories that you have accumulated, it is important to live here, with your child, live your life for here and now, you know.” She patted Khushi’s palm that she held in her hand and raised her eyes to Khushi’s pained look.

 

Khushi pulled her palm from Manorama’s grip and shook her head. “I don’t know where you are going with this Amma and I don’t want to know. But I don’t have a choice, do I? I cannot give up, I have to live, for Mira and for you, whether I am here or living in the past as you put it.” She stood up, her heart was beating fast. She tried to keep her tone from being accusatory. She was not free to fail or quit at life anymore. NK made sure of that when he left their daughter and his mother in her care. She had no choice but to live for the two of them.

 

“Come, sit down next to me. I know you are angry and upset.” Manorama patted the spot that Khushi had just vacated.

 

In a placating tone Manorama repeated, “Fine, I will not ask you to live  here or live now, okay? I will stop my bhashan, I promise.”  She looked up and smiled deeply, flashing her dimples. Khushi tried to keep her anger alive, but who could resist that smile?

 

“No bhashan?” Both of them exchanged grins. Manorama pulled Khushi closer to her and said, “Let’s talk about something else.”

 

She then  pointed to the cell phone and said, “Tell me about your friend. Tell me about Arnav. No… it is Arnav Singh Raizada. Mira was right, it is a cool name.”

 

Khushi burst out laughing at the incongruity of a juvenile adjective from this aged woman.

 

“Cool Amma?”

 

Manorama chuckled and said, “Come on, you don’t agree? It sounds like some Maharaja’s name.” Manorama straightened her back on the couch and sat up straight, pulling a stern expression on her face.  “I feel like I ought to bow or curtsey when I say that name out loud.” She cleared her throat and announced in a mock baritone, “Arnav Singh Raizada!”

 

Both of them dissolved into laughter. In between their giggles, she asked, “You are not offended by my joke are you? He is your friend, no?”

 

Khushi shook her head and said, “You know, when I first met him, he introduced himself as ‘Hi, Am Arnav Singh Raizada’ and I immediately curtsied and said, Your Highness, I am Khushi Kumari Gupta.”

 

Manorama and Khushi burst out laughing again. It was a light moment, a moment when there was no other thought, nothing that weighed them down.

 

“He seems like a nice fellow, a nice man.”

 

“That was what I was thinking too.” Without much thought, Khushi responded. “He is a good friend.” She pointed to the cell phone and said, “See this, the car he sent last night and he came over today …” She trailed off, realizing that she was speaking her thoughts out loud to her mother-in-law. She quickly looked at Manorama to gauge her reaction and found her looking at her kindly, as if she understood.

 

“I liked him. No, I like him”  Manorama said. “Did my Naren meet him? Did he know Arnav?”

 

Khushi stilled at Manorama’s question. She wasn’t sure if she knew how to answer her. She lowered her eyes to the phone she held in her hand and tried.

 

“NK knew of him Amma, I think. Akash is Arnav’s cousin and it is through Akash NK would have known Arnav?” Khushi shrugged and tried to gauge Manorama’s reaction. All she found was curiosity. “But Arnav was more my friend than NK’s Amma.” 

 

NK had not wanted to know anything from her past. He made that very clear to her. She tried telling him but that was one conversation she never had with NK.

 

“I lost touch with Arnav after the four of us left for the US. I am sure he must have kept in touch with Akash. Anyway, he found me now when he visited the US this time. Akash told him about NK and that’s how…”  This conversation felt awkward for Khushi, a sliver of guilt seeping into her. How could she explain her past with Arnav to her mother-in-law?

 

“It takes a very special friendship to survive the distance of time Chellam.” Manorama stood up and gently ran her hand on Khushi’s head. “I am glad you have friends in your life. They are our anchors when we have to navigate this life by ourselves.” The last two words of Manorama were drowned out by her yawn. Both chuckled quietly. “I am going back to bed. Don’t stay up too late.” Manorama ambled back to the bedroom.

 

Khushi’s fingers continued to play with the cell phone. She looked at the instrument he thoughtfully sent through Gangadhar.

 

Well, was it friendship?

 

She wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure if it began as friendship all those years ago. But there was something incendiary between them. The thought sent a shiver down her being. 

 

They were lovers.

 

There… She said it to herself, finally acknowledging to herself. So what now?  With the passage of time, was what remained friendship? That easy camaraderie they shared, the comfort of each other’s presence? But there were moments when she thought it was not just friendship. 

 

Did she want more than friendship? Did he want more than friendship?

 

There is no way I am waiting another ten years. 

 

She remembered that text he sent her when they were exchanging her itinerary. And then earlier in the day when he visited her, he kept insisting that she didn’t have to do this alone.

 

You are not alone anymore… You don’t have to do this alone… 

 

What did he want from her? She had nothing to offer, nothing more than friendship. She did not have anything else to offer. And she was sure she didn’t want anything else. She took a deep breath and looked down at the phone she was still clutching in her hands.

  

Khushi opened her eyes. She didn’t realize that she had closed them, savoring the memory. At the same time there was a niggling feeling that she was trespassing on feelings and memories that were no longer hers to own and recollect.

 

I am a widow, damn it. I have no right over those thoughts or sentiments. Not now, not ever. All I have, or can have, are my memories of my Naren.

 

She took a deep breath to still her runaway thoughts. It was friendship. That’s all it was. He was offering solace as one friend to another. It was a moment of kindness, that’s all it was. 

 

But it wasn’t always friendship that bound them. In fact it was … What was it? Perhaps there was no name for it. Whatever it was, it was magical. Yet not enough and perhaps too late. 

 

She looked at the clock, it was close to midnight and the world she was in was asleep. But she knew that Lavanya would be available. Quickly she texted her new phone number and checked on Pallavi’s pregnancy. Just as she was about to get back to her bed, there was a message from the man who seemed to have taken residence in her thoughts lately.

 

Hi! Hope you are asleep.

 

How was she supposed to respond to this text? Her brow furrowed as she typed her message.

 

Yes! This is me sleep-texting. 🙂

 

There was something in the way he made her feel. She remembered that feeling from a long time ago; like she was free falling, off of a high cliff. The rush of wind on her face and her outstretched arms. It was risky and it felt wild and it certainly felt free. She shook her head at her cell phone because she knew she had opened that door.

 

Sleep-texting? What else is possible while asleep, I wonder! 😉 So, what happened to that stroll in the sun? Not helping with your jet lag?

 

Yes, there it was, that smirk could be seen even in his texts. It never failed to show up. She grinned wickedly.

 

Yeah, so much for that stroll in the sun. Perhaps it had to do with the company I kept! But why aren’t you asleep?

 

Do you then accede that you lose sleep over me?

 

Ha ha ha ha.. Don’t you wish!

 

I do, actually.

 

Her heart skipped a beat reading the last text from him. 

 

Why was it so easy to fall into this banter with him?  She felt like a small piece of iron next to a magnet. 

 

But she had to stop him. This was not appropriate for either of them.

 

You have to stop this. Please?

 

Nope. Not going to. 

 

That took less than ten seconds for him to respond.

 

Khushi kept reading his text again and again, trying to glean if there was anything that she was missing in his message. She decided to ignore it, like she had been since morning. She tried again.

 

You didn’t answer my earlier question. Why aren’t you asleep?

 

You may not like my answer. 🙂

 

She shook her head at the latest one. Her smile returned to her face. If this was how he wanted to play it, she was ready.

 

I guess you’ll never know, since you didn’t share your answer… :)…. Oh, I have been meaning to ask if it would be convenient for you and your Naniji if we visited your home tomorrow evening? We leave for Mathura the day after. Amma and Buaji would like me to arrange this visit before we leave.

 

Sure. That will be great. Tell me what time and I can ask Gangadhar to pick you folks up. And…Why don’t I ‘share my answer’ with you when I see you next?

 

It was time to steer the conversation to safe waters, she decided.  

 

No, we will find our way to your house. Don’t worry about sending Gangadhar. How is little Mohan? Mira is looking forward to meeting him.

 

Will he play along? She wondered. She left her phone on the couch and walked to the kitchen to get herself a cup of water. She had to try to sleep, she decided. He needed to sleep too. Leaning by the kitchen counter, she looked outside the window, not really paying any attention to what was outside. 

 

She could feel her blood thrumming through her body and her mind fully awake. She felt alive, she felt a small wave of happiness. She hadn’t felt that in a long time, almost three years. She had forgotten what that was like, to be on razor’s edge, think and respond quickly, with wit. It was a good feeling, but she wasn’t sure about it. 

 

He made her feel this way. He made it so easy to…

 

What is it with late nights, dark rooms and telephones that make implausible conversations possible?

 

Quickly gulping the rest of the water in her cup, she walked back to the couch, expecting him to have responded. But there was no text. With a whiff of disappointment, she muted her phone and walked back into the bedroom to give sleep another chance.  He must have slept, she thought. He needed to sleep.

 

An insistent whirr of her phone drew her attention, she quickly grabbed the phone from the nightstand and checked.

 

Went to check on Mohan. He is well… and any more about him… you will see for yourself tomorrow.

 

He sleeps by himself in a separate room? A big boy?

 

It took Mira many months to be able to sleep through the night after NK passed away. It was not until just a few weeks ago that she slept by herself in her room.

 

There was another whirr and this time there was a picture of Mohan sleeping on his side with his face tucked in what looked like Arnav’s shoulder.

 

He is. But today, his Papa is planning on sleeping with him. Don’t ignore me. And let me know what time and Gangadhar will be there.  

 

The image of Arnav’s son asleep in his arms melted her insides. There was something to this rediscovery of their friendship, she thought. It was a rediscovery of a forgotten treasure, a renewal of their connection. But first, she had to tell him.

 

No, we will show up on our own. Good night Arnav.

 

Good night Khushi. I am glad you are here.

 

Neither of them gave sleep another chance.

 

oOoOoOoOo

 

58 thoughts on “Chapter Thirteen: Trysting with Midnights

      1. I feel he has had more time and space in his mind to reflect… There are a couple of lines in this song which just evoke the most beautiful feelings… Ye pattiyon ki hai sarsarahat ki tumne chupke se kuch kaha hai… and Hai chandani ya teri nazron se meri raatein dhuli huyi hai…

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Beautiful lines! And you’re right, he’s had more time and space. I wonder when he first heard about her marriage.
          Nani is right about that sense of curiosity & wonder comparable to babies. Now that he has found her again, that joy of his sort of comes through in their interactions. Like that “Hi! Hope you are asleep.”😂 Its as if there is this version of themselves that comes out only with each other.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Strangely or coincidentally, I was here yesterday, thinking I had not posted a comment for the last chapter, read it again, pondered over a lot of lines. Wondered on a singular experience that both have undergone. Of losing their parents at a young age. It takes one to know one.

      “What was it? Perhaps there was no name for it. Whatever it was, it was magical. Yet not enough and perhaps too late.” Those lines, they tease you. You think you see what they are hinting at, but one is not sure. Now I understand what folk feel like when I’m offering farreys😁

      There’s flirting and then there are these text messages in the night! What can I say MB, you and your story were missed.

      Liked by 6 people

    1. Khushi’s conversation with her Amma and Arnav’s with his Nani pulled at my heartstrings. Both ladies want the best for their kins. I have immense respect for Manorama and her conversation with Khushi today reaffirmed it. She is truly worried for Khushi. Her old and wise eyes have seen Khushi come alive at the mere mention of Arnav. Neither have they ignored the way Khushi was holding on to the phone, a thoughtful gift from a benevolent gentleman. Manorama may not know the exact equation between Arnav & Khushi, but she has enough insight to know, both share something that is probably stronger that friendship. Why did Manorama’s advice rile Khushi so much? She wasn’t so upset at Lavanya when she suggested something similar. Did she get upset because the advice came from her MIL? Or was it because Manorama’s words only added to her already jumbled thoughts? Arnav’s words and his texts hint at his intentions, but Khushi is not clear about her thoughts. She probably thinks she is cheating on Naren and his memories if she gives in to her feelings for Arnav. It’s a very difficult place to be, I get that. But I feel inspite of everything that has happened, Khushi has been very lucky when it comes to love. Where people spend their entire lives searching for true love, in Khushi’s case love knocked on her door not once, not twice but thrice in her life. All she has to do is welcome it with open arms. I guess she needs to understand that just because she lets love in her life, doesn’t mean Naren would stop being important to her. He was, still is and always will be an irreplaceable and a very important part of her life.

      The spring in his step and smile on his face is a telltale sign of her grandson being in love. But I appreciate the thoughtfulness shown by Sumitra Raizada when she chose not to ask him about it and just bask in his happy presence. I don’t think she has any clue about how serious her grandson is about seeking his “happiness” and not letting it go.

      We know about Arnav & Maya’s camaraderie from earlier chapters. But I also realized that Arnav is not bitter about the fact that his wife fell in love with another man. In fact, it felt like he was glad that at least she found her happiness and true love. So was their marriage just an arrangement of sorts? Or was he guilty of leading Maya on in the hope that someday he may fall in love with his friend too?

      Legend says that when you can’t sleep at night it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream 🙂 So maybe it’s not the jetlag alone that’s keeping Khushi awake. Similarly, Arnav is constantly running through Khushi’s mind, making it impossible for him to sleep as well. Looks like the legend isn’t completely untrue 😉
      Khushi’s recollection from the past gives a glimpse of the carefree and easy going relationship they shared with each other; and we get to see that everytime they text. It feels as if all the years between them disappear.

      The thought of a little Mohan sleeping with his face tucked in his Papa’s shoulder melted my insides too. I hope the Krishnans finally get to meet Mohan in the next update!!

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I love the thought of staying awake because of being present in dreams! I love that legend!! As o was saying earlier, I like writing this Arnav! 😍. I like the way his skin draped over his character. :). Thank you ! 💕

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Both have finally acknowledged that they shared something more than friendship a decade ago. Arnav has already decided to revive that relationship while Khushi is thinking she is not allowed to take that chance. I guess she misunderstood Manorama initially, but that conversation gave her a little push to loosen herself when she was conversing with Arnav via text messages. Manorama noticed and indirectly gave her blessings to Khushi to pursue her life. Arnav is not letting Khushi off the hook yet. He will make sure to let Khushi know that he will be there for Khushi in whichever capacity she likes.
      Nani is great. She noticed the happiness in Arnav’s face and she is savouring those moments. She broached the subject and Arnav promised her that he will find his happiness.
      While Maya was suffering from postparturm deppression Arnav had to not only take care of the baby but also had to deal with it alone, when he found that the baby had autism.
      Was Maya was in love with Arnav and fell out of it after the birth of their baby? What ever it is, Arnav does not want to blame Maya for any of this. He loves her as a friend and as the mother of his kid. He wants her to be happy and he is even willing to make sure that she remains happy as long as he is alive. Maya is one lucky girl.
      Waiting for the meeting between Mira and Mohan.
      Wonderful update.
      Cheers….

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Hi Mira! So happy to see your update 🙂 your writing has such a soothing quality to it. Even their restlessness without each other and with having no name to their relationship was perfectly described and felt so real. I’m loving Arnav’s responses 😍 Khushi needs to open up and he’s giving her the perfect space to do it while making it clear that he’s not willing to let go this time around. Can’t wait for the next one when they meet again ❤️ hope you’re doing well and patiently waiting for all those memories of reading sc last time to unravel a chapter at a time!!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Hey Mira, I cannot thank you enough for updating this story. Beautifully written! Cannot wait to read further! I would request you to continue with this amazing piece of work! To be honest I guess you should publish this! x

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I probably missed a chapter between travel..

    Manorama’s progressive thinking is something we need clearly in indian society. She genuinely cares for Khushi and her future and she trusts she can take care of Mira and her.

    Sumitra equally worried for Arnav and what happens to Mohan and it looks like destiny played its time in a way that it has brought the two past lovers back in a new phase. They have baggage’s to work with and demons to fight. But I see Arnav has made up his mind while Khushi still has a long way to get there.

    This is a very intense story and it works your emotions. Glad to be reading it and loving the story!

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Lovely uodate MB – bliss – that’s the feeling after reading it
    Both the matrons loving their kin and wanting the best for them – very well written – manorama and nani’s Convo with khushi and Arnav was too good – amazing update Mb – was very happy to see an update from you – thank you – will wait for the next

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Amazing Update

    Though Arnav’s Nani is not aware of what is happening in his life, she sees the changes in Arnav’s behavior and wanted to have that smile on his face permanently. Sumitra worries for Mohan at the same time. Arnav might have accepted that Maya has the right to find love in another man and have no grudges with her but that doesn’t sit well with Sumitra. It is not like she is against it but she worries for both Arnav and Mohan and also she doesn’t understand how these two can still be cordial towards each other when one is suffering while the other leading her life happily with the man she loves.

    On the other hand, Manoramma also wanted Khushi to find happiness for herself and move on from her past and the conversation regarding it she has with Khushi doesn’t sit well with Khushi. People like Manoramma are rare to find in society. Though she lost her only child, still she cares and looks out for Khushi genuinely and also she is aware of loneliness in one’s life which she doesn’t wish that for Khushi. Khushi is confused about what she feels for Arnav and also scared and worried if she moves on she might forget Naren. She has to understand that she can still move on without erasing the memories of Naren in her life and will always be part of her life. For that to happen she has a long way to go. Even when Khushi is confused about Arnav, she forgets everything else and be her old self and converse thru texts with Arnav easily.

    Eager for the next one.

    Thanks
    Chinnulu

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Mira…what a heart wrenching update…felt sad and teary eyed while reading Manorama’s pain…In our present society feeling sad for one’s daughter-in-law and wishing for a secure future ,my respect for Manorama has gone to a new level….Eagerly waiting for the meeting of our adorable Mira and Mohan. Mesmarized by your beautiful writing…Stay blessed

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for the update Mirabell.I am travelling to India tomorrow and was distracted but your new chapter brought my mind back on track. Loved all wonderful in-depth comments by my fellow readers.
    A second chance is knocking at the doors of Arnav and Khushi. While Arnav is sure what he wants and is going ahead. His Grandmother is a bit worried that what will happen to Mohan but Arnav has no such worries.
    Khushi, on the other hand, is a bit hesitant. Her mind is overriding her heart which is seeking happiness. She feels she cannot replace Naren in her life. But as her Amma told her he is always there and she has a daughter to remind her of Naren but she has to move forward. Khushi should listen to her heart and grab the second chance.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Hi Mira, my heart warms up whenever I read about these beautiful characters. Today when I was reading about Arnav sobbing in a room quietly ” for all the dreams he thought he had and for those he lost – his marriage, his divorce and his child with a diagnosis of autism” , I had wet eyes.
    I am waiting for Mohan and Meera to meet each other.
    Thanks for giving us this wonderful story. I never miss it even though my AD is brutal nowadays.
    Love and hugs,
    Vandana

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Comments are karmic manifestations of love !! Oh yes! i will show you my love, my first love (one) with you and hopefully not the last. You write so beautifully, one among many of the best like Ruchi, Sohini, jigs, chokri_asr and all. Its like falling in love with Arnav and Khushi again and again , whether the stories follow the show or not. The updates are slow but worth the wait. I jumped up when i saw the message and reread the last two chapters to get into the mood. Keep writing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I love that Manorama is encouraging her to move on even though khushi isn’t there yet or she just doesn’t understand that Arnav is her way to be happy again.
    These two while together bring the best of each other it’s jus magical no name to describe their feelings towards each other’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reading it all over again doesn’t take away the feelings it generated the first time. Like re reading your favourite book to feel happy kind of feeling.

    Loved the chapter. The mother figures standing for their kids is so beautiful. Loved it♥️

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Loved loved your work!!! this is a beautiful story!! warms my heart with each chapter!!! much needed dosage to help a gloomy girl with some moments of escape.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. May be Arnav get his happiness now..and yea..he and Maya are friends..maybe am confused like Nani.. The conversation between kushi Arnav are so normal and its something special between them..and the silence is best and alxo the terrible things happens to you..so waiting for they meet Mohan and Nani alzo

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved the way u showed Arnav’s state of mind ..
    It’s summer..but there’s spring in everything about him..

    Sumitra is the mother he never had..

    They share a unique relationship which is vital for both in equal measure ..
    She is worried for Mohan but don’t want to spoil his moment ,too..

    She can clearly see his happiness n wants to enjoy it in stead of being curious ..
    He hardly answers her when she shows her concern for his loneliness..
    But this time,he replies..

    His Happiness lies in KHUSHI n he won’t let it n her go this time…
    But why did he let go her then…y..y ..y ???

    Manorma is such a good natured n loving woman ..

    She knows that Khushi is as grieved over NK’S death as she is..
    But there is a difference..
    She’s the mother who has lost her only child ..
    This grief will be her companion till her last breath..
    Khushi is young n has her whole lide ahead of her..

    Manorma can’t see her suffering like this ..
    She definitely wants Khushi to move on in life ..
    She can’t say it to her openly but she she will talk to her for sure..

    Arnav Singh Raizada …lol..
    The very name sounds royal..

    The best part of the update is Arshi texting ..
    😀

    I smile like crazy throughout the last part ….
    U always balance well the feelings of anguish n relief ..
    Arnav Bitwa is sure this time n wants to seize the opportunity at any cost..
    Khushi is still confused..
    She thinks her moving on will be not just ..
    Her dilemma is making her more adorable..

    I always wait for the update .. want to read it at leisure .. it’s a soothing effect .. a strange,familiar feeling .. it doesn’t seem like a fiction..it’s so close to life ..

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Am so looking forward for Khushi to go to Arnav’s house.. I love the way they talk to each other.. am sure this time Arnav will surely woe Khushi back..
    can’t wait for the next update.. m already missing it..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey Mira….u are a fabulous writer….I must say…..this story has made me cry mugs literally..I have been so hooked to the story that I read all the thirteen chapters at a go….I am truly and sincerely waiting for the next update.. please do it soon…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Mira,
    Mohan has autism , Nani worrying about him was so sad
    Both kh & Arnav acknowledging they are more than friends
    ASR is very open with his flirty texts &admits that he isn’t going to stop pursuing her

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I recently started following this story ! Khushi’s pain of living the memories without NK is so heart touching. And Arnav’s flirting with Khushi is so cute. Curious to know more about their past and eagerly waiting for next update !

    Like

  19. “What is more important.,”.. asked Big Panda, “The journey or the destination?”

    “The company”said the Tiny Dragon

    Really wonderful story… and am willing for you to update on your time… Wish you all the best and hope all is well in your world…

    Love all the emotions… feel like I am living them… Your writing is so vivid and alive…Hope you will continue with the story soon….

    Like

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