It was Holi today. Two days after the whole fiasco at the breakfast table, when Arnav had stormed out of the house, and had still not returned. His phone was switched off, and everybody was very worried.
Khushi had given Akash hell over what he had done, and had outright refused to talk to him. And she wasn’t the only one, everybody was very upset with him. He too felt guilty over what he had done. Yes, he had intended to play a prank on his brother, but never had he expected things to get so messed up!
The house was beautifully decorated with flowers and colourful curtains hanging off of every door, window and pillar in the house. The Shamiana was set up outside the house, decorated just as beautifully as the house itself. Tables were laden with mouth-watering jalebis, rabri, gulaab-jamuns, and every other sweet brought in only from the best Halvais in Lucknow. Handis full of thandai and bhang adorned every corner of the field, where people were gathered, and merrily playing Holi. Throwing colours and drenching each other in coloured water.
Huge thals full of gulaal of red, green, blue, yellow and every other colour in the rainbow added joy to the already joyous occasion. Laughter rang every time a stranger wished another a very happy Holi with maybe a modest touch of gulaal, a kid smeared her friend’s cheeks conspiratorially, a sister emptied a bucket full of water over her brother’s head, and a lover toyed with his beloved flirtatiously.
Khushi took in the mirth and the merry with eyes brimming with tears. No colour adorned her on her favourite festival except for the red smear of Sindoor on her forehead. She had refused to take part in the festivities. No matter how much everybody tried to persuade her otherwise. If she was to play Holi, it’ll only happen if her husband initiated it for her, and she was adamant about it.
“Bhabhi.” Akash addressed Khushi in a low morose tone. After getting no response from her whatsoever, he decided to continue anyways.
“Bhabhi, I’m really very sorry. I know there is absolutely no explanation that I can offer for what I have done, but I just want you to know that I never intended to hurt you or Bhai. I just…”
“You just what Akash! You just thought it’d be a good idea to mess with an Amnesia patient who is probably going through the worst crises of his life!
How very thoughtless of you Akash! He’s been trying to put himself together, string his life to make some sense out of it. Been trying very hard to just live in the moment and not think about what’s true and what’s not. He doesn’t remember anything! He’s confused about things, and is in a very delicate mental condition. And now we have no idea regarding his whereabouts. I swear Akash! If absolutely anything at all happened to Arnav, I swear I’ll never ever forgive you! And for now, it’d be best if you did not show me your face!”
And with that said Khushi walked off, leaving a guilty Akash behind.
She made her way through the Shamiana, to a secluded spot away from the crowd. Leaning against a pillar, she closed her eyes and sighed. She reminisced over the magical month she had spent with Arnav clucking over her like a mother hen. Smiling sadly, she wiped the tears off her cheeks as they finally spilt over. Her heart was heavy with grief, as she pondered over what turmoil he must be going through right now, and worry pulsed through her as she wondered where he must have gone. His secretary had called the day before to inform them of the overseas meeting that Arnav had suddenly departed for, not divulging the details of his meeting, nor the place he had left for.
She was brought out of her reverie as a pair of hands suddenly covered her eyes and a familiar voice whispered into her ear.
“Yeh haath nahi, faansi ka fands hai Gabbar!”
Khushi’s tired lips stretched into a soft smile, as she pulled the hands away from her and replied.
“Yeh haath mujhe dede Thakur!”
Khushi and Dhruv pulled each other into a hearty hug as they saw each other after almost eight months.
When Khushi had first met Dhruv Singh Raizada after her marriage to Arnav Singh Raizada, she had realised that he was the one who she’d get along with the most in the entire house. Not only did they share each other’s love for food and cooking, they were both huge Bollywood junkies, and loved to enact scenes from movies and serials.
As they pulled apart, Dhruv noticed the tear tracks on Khushi’s face.
“Hey! What’s wrong? Oh, I get it! Emotional reunion huh!” he winked at her.
Khushi slapped him on the chest as she laughed at his cheekiness.
The rage in Arnav’s eyes combusted into flames, as he took in the scene forth him. Khushi hugging Dhruv. Khushi laughing with Dhruv. Dhruv wiping away Khushi’s tears, that had been borne of the joyous reunion most probably? He was touching her. Touching what he had claimed as his own. Touching what only he was supposed to touch. Had he touched her before? Dhruv was her husband. Had he touched Khushi before? But she had said that he, Arnav was the only man in her life. Then why the hell was she letting Dhruv touch her!
Eyes red. Fists clenched .Body taut.
Arnav Singh Raizada advanced towards them with murder in his heart.