The morning after Diwali had brought with it a storm at the Gupta household as the news of Khushi's departure was made known to all. Payal had found a letter from her sister, that had read thus,
I'm extremely sorry about leaving thus uninformed, but this decision had come to me in the spur of the moment, and I had wanted to go through with it while I still had the strength. This may bring a lot of grief to you all, but just know that I love you all and always will. The situation of life that I currently find myself in has forced me onto this path of self discovery. And I have decided to be strong enough to undertake this journey. I must do it on my own, so that I can rise out of this dark abyss that I currently see myself in. Do not fret over my safety, Devi Maiyya will look after me.
I am still only eighteen, and know that life still hold many challenges for me to overcome and grow with before I decide to settle down. I refuse to humour Bua Ji's madness, and give into her wishes just cuz she thinks it's the best idea. As for Shyam Ji, I can assure you all that he did not wish to marry me either in the first place, but was just too polite to refuse. And he had himself confessed to me that he had been unable to decline Bua Ji. What's the point of tying up two unwilling people together.
And as for that graffiti on the wall, I painted over it before I left, and for anything else that might crop up, people who have no work will gossip. But that doesn't mean we halt all our important work and give into their ministrations.
I'm sure Babu Ji would've wanted me to be happy, and right now growing with new experiences is what I think will make me happy. I'll work and keep sending money.
Take care of yourself and everybody else.
Yours one and only
"Hayye re Nand-Kishor...", Bua Ji had screamed.
Amma had softly sobbed into her pallu.
Babua had cursed his luck, and the day he had told Khushi Ji that he was also not interested.
While Babu Ji had done a mental bhangra on Desi beats from Bodyguard.
"We should have never forced her into this! Now my Khushi has gone away, and we have no knowledge of her whereabouts...!", wailed Amma.
"Sanaka Devi has ruined us all!
She has run away!"
"That's enough Bua Ji! You'll not speak of Khushi thus! She has not run away! She has merely gone away to be on her own, and all because of you! Had you not made such a ruckus of the whole marriage situation my sister would have still been here amongst us! This is all your doing!"
"Hayye re Nand Kishor!
Look how your daughter is speaking to me Garima!"
"She's absolutely right Jiji! You had brought Shaym in as aa paying guest in the first place. Did you not once think then how it'd look when he'd live with two young girls! It was all your fault to begin with! And now my little Khushi has left us because of your foolishness!", Amma retorted back.
"And you Shyam Ji!
If you did not want to get married then why did you not say so in the first place!
You let Khushi take all the heat! I think it's high time you left and found other accommodation for yourself!", Payal said heatedly as she marched over to Shyam's room to get his stuff. She'd herself show him the door. The man had always peeved her. Something about him was just not right, and it was best that he left. No matter how much Bua Ji loved him.
Arnav opened the envelope addressed to him that had been brought in by Jai Prakash that morning with the mail, and now lay on his coffee table.
It held a cheque worth thirty thousand, and a slip of paper. The paper said,
"Though I can never pay you back for the kindness you had bestowed upon me that day and the comfort your helping hand had brought me, the least I can do is return you your money"
"All the very best for a wonderful married life ahead. May god bless you with all the happiness in the world"
Lavanya wiped a lone tear away as she read the letter Khushi had left her before leaving. She had come to see her before she left Delhi, and had made her swear she'll never mention it to anyone. She had wanted some body's contact information...