Link for Episode-01: Read Here
Finding Solace In You-
After having a really long day of constant work and a few board meetings, Kunj decided to call it a night. Reaching his room, he tossed off his shoes and jacket. Normally he was a very organized person but at such time he didn’t make it a concern.
Showers always helped him fight the tiredness of long days. In couple of minutes he was all dressed for bed.
Settled under comforter, his body welcomed it’s coolness. His mind drifted to different thoughts, some of them memories and some ideas on enhancing his company’s marketing.
Rolling over, he knew he was exhausted but sleep wasn’t going to find his bed. He was a man who had lost sleep at a very early stage of his childhood. Suddenly, hazel eyes flashed in his head. His all thoughts focused a target on those eyes. He recalled her face, how it changed expressions, her body, how it trembled in his embrace. Why he was thinking of her was something he didn’t understand.
Groaning in frustration, he got out of his bed and marched outside his room. Fiddling with the keys, he pushed open the French doors to his art studio. For a moment, he stood there wondering what brought him here.
Walking towards the stand, he placed a white stainless sheet between it’s clips and spread it open. Next, he picked a pencil and brought it towards his lips. He was in deep concentration, his mind certainly didn’t establish his next move but his heart did. His hand automatically started sketching a shade of grey lines over the white of the thick sheet.
After an hour of non-stop sketching, he felt the urge of using colors. He wanted to fill this piece with shades of his scattered thoughts. He picked up the brush and twisted it in a sea green color and mused it before mixing it with brown color. Deliberately he worked for a few hours straight.
It was two in the morning when he finally decided he was satisfied with the finishing. His hands were covered in paints that was evidence to his new found freedom.
He was staring back at a set of hazel eyes covered within clouds of thick lashes, button nose and a fresh plum small round mouth. The painting clicked a chord within him like offering him promising peace and satisfaction. However one thing was missing. He had her face engraved in a white sheet but her hair were missing. He struggled to pick a shade for her hair. He even found it hard to think of the length of it.
He looked at his painting in mere shock. He wanted to paint strands of her hair, but didn’t know how. He wanted to engrave her eyes, her face, her body into every single canvas but he didn’t know how.
He wanted to know how her hair looked under the different intensities of light, how her eyes and hair shimmered in the sunlight. He wanted to see how she looked like while laughing, did her eyes wrinkle then, he wondered. He wanted to know how peace looked on her face while she submerged in deep slumber. He wanted to know so much about her.
A feeling grasped him, a feeling he didn’t recognise. He was getting desperate. He had to see her, to know her, to memorise her every single detail from her shinning eyes to her bright smile and then paint her. He hadn’t even seen her smile, he frowned at that thought. With that he was struck with a sudden realisation, she was his inspiration. Twinkle was his inspiration.
Gulping down the last piece of her omelette. Twinkle collected the dirty used dishes. The sun hadn’t shone over the horizon yet but she couldn’t find sleep in the glooms of morning darkness. She too had lost sleep long time ago. So she decided to start off her day instead.
Making her way to the sink, she dumped the dishes into water and started washing them. After she was done, she dried her hands on the hung towel above the sink.
Knocking on the door to her father’s room, she waited for his permission. “Abbu?” She called out for him.
“Come in!” Came in his faint voice from other side of the door. She creeked open the door and entered his dark room. Lighted up the bedside lamp and sat beside his laying posture on the bed.
“How are you feeling now?” She asked him with worry leaking her voice. Irfan gave his daughter a warm smile that genuinely reached his old wrinkled eyes.
“Feeling old and ancient.” He joked. She let out a laugh that veiled her sorrow and stared down at him with emotions glassing her eyes.
“How was your day at work?” He asked his daughter.
“It was good.” She replied him abruptly without wanting to share in the details of her encounter with Mr. Fateen. Embarrassment crept it’s way up her cheeks but the dim flecks of light hid them up.
“How did Mr. Fateen react about it?” He further projected. Irfan knew Kunj as his own child. He had watched him bloom before him. He knew what kind of intellect and psychology he possessed. For sure he’d have gotten uncomfortable with the fact that Irfan sent in his daughter to work without informing him first. But if Twinkle hadn’t pressured him so much to stay in and have rest, he’d have never taken such an unprofessional step.
“He was fine about it and said you can have as much rest as you need to get back to health and I can work instead for awhile.” She gave her father a reassuring smile. “Abbu please rest yourself a bit for once. You’ve been working for as long as I can remember and fulfilled our needs. Let me do it for you this once. Please! We don’t want to lose you too.” She pleaded with a week voice.
Irfan lifted up himself off of the bed and sat straight. He kissed his daughter on the forehead with affection. “My dear daughter! Everyone has to leave this world one day, that’s a code we’re born with. You certainly can’t challenge nature. When it’s my time, I’ll have to leave as well and so will you. You can’t outrun death. So relish the time you still have and stop worrying so much. You’ve had enough of it already. So finally when my time arrives, do not grieve over me. And do not think your life halted there, you still got to live and experience. Twinkle I know you’ve grown into a strong young lady. And I hope you keep on staying strong and firm on being who you are. I’m proud of you. And someday do forgive me for the wrong decisions I took in your favour. I only wanted the best for you.” By his last statement, Twinkle knew very well what her father meant. Somehow she always felt responsible for putting him through all that but how could she have known. Instead she nodded at him with a small smile.
“So you’ll have loads of rest and take good care of yourself for the time we still have to relish together. Now abbu get well for us fast and soon.” She told him and grabbed his medication from the nightstand. He swallowed the pills with a glass of water without any protest. For he knew any of it will just go in vain as his daughter always knew how to force her ways. Giving a satisfied smile she kissed him on the cheek which was still burning from fever and baded her salam to him before leaving his room.
She went up to her room and slowly sneaked in. Got into the shower and got dressed up for work. The sun started gleaming it’s first rays through her bedroom window. She made her way towards the double bed where her younger sister layed sound asleep. She shook her slightly to wake her up.
“Azeen wake up or you’ll be late for college.” Azeen stirred slightly and woke up all groggy.
“Good morning!” She greeted sleepily while getting off of the bed. Twinkle grabbed a hijaab and started wrapping it around her head, securing it with a pin. Picking up her hand bag, she was all ready to go.
“I’ve made you breakfast, make sure abbu eats as well. I’m off to work. Allah Hafiz!” She said quickly and left home.
Fumbling with the keys, she unlocked the outside door to the kitchen and entered. Placing her hand bag over the kitchen counter, she took off her shoes to relax her feet. She let out a sigh of relief as soon as her feet touched the warm carpeted floor.
“Don’t tell me you walked all the way here.”
She jumped at the sudden intrusion. “You startled me.” She told him while placing a hand over her beating heart.
Kunj raised a brow at her and crooked his head to a side to have a better view of her. She did have a weak heart for some matter.
On seeing his questioning expression she answered, “Yes, I’ve walked all the way here. And I’m used to it.” She was a lot stronger for a person her size, he mused. Calculating the way from Irfan’s house to his kitchen was an estimate of some four miles. How she managed to pull off such a feat was amusing. Making his way further into the kitchen he sat at his usual across from her. He was wearing a faded jeans paired with a white t-shirt. It was his day off from office but as usual sleep didn’t find his bed even today.
“Why do you walk? I mean you can take a cab or something?” He further tried to investigate into her matter.
She gave him a confused expression. “I like walking.” She simply answered him with a shrug.
“Or maybe you think you’re chubby enough to run a marathon to lose weight. But believe me you’re way too skinner than you imagine yourself. And that ain’t attractive at all.” He joked at her. Kunj was in a good mood today, which was very rare like a blue moon.
She stared back at him wide eyed, offended by his words. Taking in a sharp intake of breath, she opened her mouth to answer him. “Or maybe Mr. Fateen everyone doesn’t have a capacity in their budgets to afford to pay a cab on a daily bases. Neither do they’ve the time to take a look in the mirror because they’re too busy struggling an everyday survival.”
He stared back at her with a shock look but quickly recovered himself. He was greatly moved by her honesty and bluntness. She wasn’t a girl that fancied pretence on something she wasn’t, rather accepted herself for who she was.
“It takes time to accept yourself for who and what you’re. Because at some point of life you don’t have any other choice around. It’s not easy, rather it’s never easy. But to stay content in life, you got to make hard decisions for yourself.” She answered his unspoken thoughts. For a brief of a second Kunj thought she could read him like an open book and that made him feel vulnerable. He hadn’t felt like it in years.
She started moving from her posture to make him breakfast. Opening up the cupboards to fetch the things she needed. He watched her in utter silence. She was growing his fascination with each passing second. When he couldn’t take it anymore he spoke up again, “So, since you’re here for a while, tell me about yourself.” He more than ordered her. He was waiting for a protest from her but was surprised to see she was comfortable with giving him details of her life.
“What’s there about me? A Muslim girl. Elder daughter of Irfan. Twenty-three years of age. Done my majors in economics. And divorced.” She layed contents over the kitchen island and searched for a knife. On seeing her searching Kunj spoke up, “It’s in the top drawer.” He pointed towards the cupboard and she complied with a nod.
Kunj was surprised by her last confession. Why would any man ever wants to give up on a woman like Twinkle? She was beautiful and real. Rather too real for him. He wanted to know what went wrong between them. At the same time, he felt a foreign feeling rise within him. A pang of jealousy hit his chords. She had already been someone’s even if it didn’t last. And he got to see her, know her and fantasise her like an abstract canvas. He felt envious of the man that had her. It was first time in years that he couldn’t get something he wanted.
Silently she started chopping vegetables for his omelette. She wasn’t much of a talker, he noted. He was noting minor to minor details. The way her eyelashes sprawled a shade of black shadows over her cheeks under the light. The way she bit her bottom lip a lot. The way her tiny fragile hands worked. She was nothing less than an art for him.
“Was it an arranged one or a love one?” He asked her silent form. She gazed up at him confusedly. After a few seconds of blank starings she let out a soft ‘oh’.
“Let say it was both. He got interested in me and asked for my hand in marriage from Abbu. He found him a suitable suitor and got me married.” She passed him a small smile that clearly didn’t reach her eyes. As if she was hiding something behind it.
“What caused the divorce?” He asked her intriguingly. Waiting patiently for her to answer. For a moment she paused what she was doing and gazed up at him again. Looking back down at her hands nervously she spoke again, “Multiple reasons that I don’t feel comfortable with recalling.” She looked up at him with pleading eyes. Begging him silently to not ask her further about it. But Kunj seemed oblivious of her pleads or maybe he just ignored them for his own selfish means.
“But he loved you didn’t he?” He further interjected. He himself didn’t believe in anything as such. To him there existed no love, he found the entire idea baseless and stupid. It was like believing void existed. But he also knew that not everyone possessed his mindset and certainly not Twinkle. Or maybe he was very wrong about her when she dropped the knife with a loud thud. At the mention of the word ‘love’ she seemed to flare up right from her seams. She gave him a stern cold look before she spoke up in a dangerous pitch.
“The word love is nothing but a deceptive cover word used for cruel brutality and selfishness. It’s just an excuse people use on you so they can have their filthy ways with you. Any kind of ways Mr. Fateen. And you agree to it willingly because they make you believe in it. They manipulate you into something you’re not, break you to million fragments and make you lose yourself in quest of quenching their selfish thirsts. So, that when finally they’re done with you, you’re engulfed by the broken edges sticking out to have a mind on blaming them for it.” She clutched the slab hardly to control herself from shaking till her knuckles turned white. What she just spoke held an entire mystery.
No one had ever dared to speak to Kunj in such a way. No one had ever dared doing anything for that matter. But this woman who stood before him, had a mind of her own. Her words leaked sorrow, lost hope and pain. He wanted to know what happened to her. He wanted so much but felt helpless. She wasn’t easy.
The rest of this breakfast time went by in utter silence. She didn’t speak a word or even lend him a look. He let her have her space and didn’t ask her further about her life or relationship. But she certainly was a mystery that he wanted to unveil.
“Twinkle, Jen is on leave today. Can you do me a favour honey?” Emma rushed into the kitchen. Emma was at her mid fifties and one of the oldest staff working. She had been like a mother to Kunj, looking after him. And Kunj too got along with her a lot. “Sure anything.” Twinkle informed her with a genuine smile.
Taking in a sharp intake, Emma gave her a soft apologetic look. “Sweety can you go and clean up the mess Mr. Fateen has caused in his art studio? It’s Jen’s responsibility since he doesn’t allow anyone else to enter in there. But she couldn’t make it on work today. And no one else is willing to do it due to his foul temper.” Emma explained out sincerely. Twinkle knew that due to age she couldn’t handle such tiring job of bending and cleaning anymore.
“I’ll go and do it.” She smiled at her. Emma let out a sigh of relief and tapped her on the shoulder reassuringly.
She made her way up to the staircase and followed the direction she was told of. Reaching the French doors of the art studio, she put down the bucket and wipe on the floor. Stretching her hand up she slightly knocked on the doors. “Come in.” Kunj yelled from other side of the doors. She picked up the bucket and wipe, and entered the studio.
It was huge. She looked around taking in every detail. Paintings were sprawled all over the place. There were too many art tools for her to recognise even. And the atmosphere smelt thick with paint fumes. A movement caught her attention. Kunj was standing in the middle of the room hidden by a large painting board.
“What took you so long to come and clean up? Can’t you find yourself fit anymore on following orders at once?” He growled in a dangerous voice. For a moment she lost her balance and stumbled back. “What? Did you lose your voice or something? Or you need me to remind you of your-” He came out from behind the painting and stopped mid sentence when he saw her. She was staring back at him wide eyed.
“What are you doing here?” He asked her being annoyed. He didn’t like her invading his personal space without his will.
“I-I-” She spluttered in her speech.
“Where is Jen? I asked for her. She’s responsible for here.” He spoke up while making his way towards her. He came to a halt right in front of her and folded his arms over his chest. The vein in her forehead started popping visibly and she stared up at his height with an unknown expression. By seeing her react that way, it confused him. Sure, he had many people suffer his temper and foul mood but never had anyone reacted the way she did.
“Twinkle?” He softly spoke this time. He remembered her name was a surprise in itself.
“Jen couldn’t make it to work today so Emma sent me in.” She finally spoke up after swallowing audibly. “What am I supposed to clean?” She gazed around, dismissing his intense glare.
Silently he pointed towards the paint mess on the floor he had caused. She made her way towards it and started working at once. Something was off about her. And he couldn’t pin point it. She seemed to be a confident and outspoken woman. But physical closures and bad tempers certainly made her nervous and scared her off. Something was very wrong with her.
He watched her clean up. She struggled with the stains but finally cleaned them. After a few tiring attempts at washing off the paints, she retained herself and got up. He was watching her the entire time from his earlier position. To say she was growing on his senses was believable now.
She stopped abruptly and didn’t make a move. She stared at the damaged canvas with blank expressions. Her own shinning hazel eyes were staring back at her. Now dripping with pitch black water. Confusedly she searched around for him and caught his gaze. He looked back at her with the same blank expression.
Making his way towards her, he closed the space between them. Picking up the cloth, he freed his hands off the paints and put it back.
“I-is that me?” She asked him without changing her blank expression. He nodded at her. She looked between him and the ruined painting. It had her features, her face but something was missing. After a few stares she realised her hair was missing.
“I couldn’t finish it.” He answered her unspoken question. She kept staring at herself in ruined canvas. Why would anyone even want to engrave her face on canvas. She was nothing extraordinary. She wasn’t even the kind anyone would grant a second glance at. Such pessimistic thoughts ran through her mind. ‘You’re nothing but trash.’ His words replayed in her head. She shut her eyes to silence her demon mind.
“I want to finish it.” Kunj interrupted her inner battle. Her head shot up at him in confounding expression.
“Why me?” She finally managed to ask.
“Because you intrigue me.” He honestly answered her question. Never once she imagined herself grabbing attention of a world famous artist. Never once she imagined anyone wanting to engrave her into something so allegorical. She continued staring at him, reading his sincerity through the depth of his eyes.
“I want to see you Twinkle.” He finally managed to speak out his demand. She narrowed her eyes at him questioningly. “But you’re seeing me.” She proposed to him.
He lifted his arm to bring it near her face. Pleading her silently. His finger tips grazed the metal of her pin on her scarf and the skin of her cheek. She flinched at the sudden contact and abruptly stepped back. She hit the painting in a move and it fall onto the ground with a thud. Terrified she looked up at him.
He ignored the scenario that just happened and took a step towards her. “I want to paint you. And I want to memorise your each and every detail. You don’t know how important this is for me.” He proposed with a serious tone.
“What do you mean?” She eyed him. “I want to see your hair.” He took a deep breath and continued speaking, “I tried painting you and I succeed at it. But like always something was missing. It’s been a year now and there’s always something missing. It frustrates me with every passing minute. It kills me… The first time I layed eyes on you, I found what I needed. An inspiration. I want to paint you, engrave your every single detail from your eyes to your smile to your hair, everything into that canvas. I want to fill it with colors. I-” He stopped mid sentence when he noted her uneasiness.
“Take that thing off.” He ordered her finally.
Thank you very much for reading.
Hey fellas! First of all thank you RAMYA, SIDHHANT and MASMAHI for such love. I just opened up the TU and read your comments and was like Oh my Allah- you guys are so amazing. Thank you peeps:*
Apart from that, I wasn’t feeling well at all- Fever and flu had worsen my state but still managed to write this episode with breaks because I didn’t want to make you guys mad at me for taking advantage of your love… In short I didn’t want you all to wait for something stupid *smiling sheepishly* so here I’m! And all you’ve to do in return is to write some lovely words which would sure enough boost me up to write 3rd episode. No views from my side regarding the episode, I just want to read yours so don’t forget to leave one. Stay awesome till the next one;)
Love you all<3