Khushi gathered her knees to herself, as she sobbed into them, the unhappiness in her life getting the better of her.
Her name had always complimented her well, Khushi, cuz she was always happy. That's what she had always been, happy! No matter how bad the situation was, she'd never lose hope, never succumb to misery and despair. Not only did she stay strong herself, but she helped others around her remain hopeful as too. She'd chirp and take all the stress away. No matter what, she'd always bounce back. Be it when she lost her parents, when Payal Jiji's marriage broke, when she had to sustain all the humialiation the Lucknow Fashion show had brought her way, or when her family was undergoing that despicable financial crisis.
Well that had been her life, until he entered it.
She had borne the initial pain he had given her by hurling all sorts of derogatory insults her way, and by even physically hurting her on many occassions. But Arnav Singh Raizada had been too much for her tender heart to bear. She always tried to over look things, forget and forgive. Not hold anything he said, and let it go. And it would have worked had their acquaintance been of a short nature. But their destinies had been intertwined thus by mother nature, that the acquaintance had now turned into a relationship.
Here I'd like to point out that the acquaintance had not grown, but turned into one.
Fate had been cruel, as it always was, but this time its cruelty had struck where it hurt the most and all of Khushi's defences had been shattered. His sharp acrid tongue, and the acrimonious nature of his speech, continued to beat down Khushi's courage and tolerance. And had finally managed to kill her spirit.
They had been married for three months now.
And everyday was another day in the inferno of hell. Where Khushi, the no more happy and optimistic girl would further cremate her dead vigour.
And what had been her fault really?
That she came from a comparitively poor family, lacked the power and connections that Arnav Singh Raizada possessed. And did these factors brand her as a criminal.
Was she to be blamed that Anjali's husband was an unfaithful cheating pervert, who had taken advantage of her and her family's simplicity, and tried to marry her despite being already married!
What right did Arnav Singh Raizada have to punish her for a crime that she had nothing to do with. Hadn't her family been equally decieved! But no! Only the rich were the ones that were taken advantage of, and the poor always the ones who took it.
And Khushi had finally come to accept the fact that poverty was the biggest curse after all.
"Khushi Ji!", came her sister-in-law's sweet voice, breaking Khushi out of her reverie, as she quickly wiped away her tears and rushed out of the secluded spot in the garden that she had sought and found solace in. This had become her den, as she'd always come here to cry her heart out.
"Khushi Ji, pooja ke liye abhi tak saara saman nahi aaya hai, kya aap jaakar le aayengi", Anjali spoke to her kindly.
She was not aware, in fact, no one was. Shyam's truth was still a secret, that had not been revealed to anybody other than him and Khushi.
He had made sure of that.
No one was to ever find out.
Which is why he had forcefully married Khushi in the first place, so that she was out of Shyam's league, and he wouldn't think about pursuing her anymore. Then he had gone on to threaten Shyam, that if he ever tried to cheat on his Di again, or if anything was ever revealed to her, he'd kill him.
The threat in his voice and the murder in his eyes had been enough to scare Shyam in to giving in.
Then he had sent away Khushi's family to Lucknow and had made her sever all her relations with them. Cuz in such a case they'd never try to approach her or the Raizadas again, and the truth from their end would also never be revealed to his family. They'd always remember Shyam as the decent sweet man who had helped them in their times of need and who they had wanted to get married to their daughter. A daughter who they now hated and had disowned.
Putting the heart wrenching memories away, Khushi followed Anjali into the mandir to look into the missing supplies.
"Khushi ji, aap please inke saath jaakar sab samaan le aaiye"
Khushi's head shot up at this in extreme worry and fear. There was no way she could talk to that man, let alone go anywhere with him alone.
"Uh, Anjali ji, hum khud le aayenge, Jeeja ji ko jaane ki zaroorat nahi hai", Khushi replied nervously.
"Are Rani Saiba, aapne hume bulaya", Shyam entered the temple, but stopped when his eyes fell on Khushi. He immediately looked away, there was no way he could pursue Arnav Singh Raizada's wife. He had made it clear in his threat that he'd kill him and Shyam knew him to be capable of much more. ASR had no boundaries when it came to safegaurding his sister's happiness.
"Haan, pooja ka kuch samaan abhi tak aaya nahi hai, aap Khushi Ji ke saath jaake le aaiye", Shyam too looked up at this prospect, distraught.
"Are nahi, hum khud hi le aayenge"
"Are, aise kaise!
Hum keh rahe hain na, yeh bahaut hi zaroori pooja hai, aur isme kisi kism ki koi gadbad nahi honi chahiye. Khushi ji ko sab pata hai, woh aapki madat kar dengi"
"Par Anjali JI..."
"Hum kuch nahi sunna chahte! Aap log aur der mat kijiye, aur jaldi jaiye. Pooja ke mahaurat shura hone se pehle subh samaan aa jana chahiye. Jaiye!"
And saying so she dismissed them, and turned to walk towards the kitchen.
Both Khushi and Shyam were afraid of this prospect. While one was filled with fear, the other was with disgust.
But on incessant pursaution by Nani and Mami as well, they had no other option but to go.