Link for Episode-17: Read Here
Funding Solace In You-
Often times we take out fault in what we hear from others and react, when it is us who have erred in understanding. Kunj was infuriated with Twinkle for walking out on him without a trance of lenient reasons but little he understood that to her, he didn’t even deserve knowing her reasons.
Week flew by with no signs of her. The hopes of her returning when he saw her things still there, had started to brittle away as wild wind. He stared at his wedding album. Tracing the smile on her face with his fingers, he admired how good all of them looked together, like a happy prosperous family. How he wished it were true, how he wished life had given him that chance to be a happy family. But not once, twice Lord had taken away that chance from him. Maybe that’s why he so much opposed the idea of His existence. If Lord had created him, He was supposed to love him too and not make him suffer each time.
In a gloomy mood, with barely few hours of sleep in days, Kunj took a shower and got himself dressed without bothering to observe his attire anymore. The bright sunlight didn’t match his mood either and so he made his way downstairs. On reaching the living room, he turned and slumped into one of the sofas with his heavy weight. He watched Liyannah gracefully sip her tea. “Morning!” He greeted in a grumpy voice.
Liyannah carefully placed the tea cup on it’s saucer and placed it on the table before her. She turned herself to take in the view of her very bothered nephew. His hair was wet and was all over the place, he didn’t bother clamping the few collar buttons of his t-shirt, eye bags had formed under his eyes. Nevertheless she was grateful that he had showered at least and shaved.
She got up from her seat, fetched out a plate and placed a few pancakes on it. She walked over to him and sat beside him. Offering him a plate of pancakes, he slightly pushed her hand away, “I’m not hungry.” But the grumbling of his stomach proved otherwise. Knowing her nephew too well on how stubborn he was, she picked up the fork, twisted a slice and brought it to his mouth, “Eat or you’re getting grounded, you know I can do it, you’re not too old for me to let you always have your ways with everything.” Fully annoyed, yet he opened his mouth and chewed on the slice. It tasted nothing compared to how Twinkle would cook him. “I miss her.” He closed his eyes and swallowed. “We’ll talk after you eat.” Without a word he obliged and let Liyannah feed him like a two years old.
After he finished, he waited for the maid to take away the breakfast and let him be in peace for a while. “Why did you make her go?” Liyannah finally voiced the very question she wanted to ask the moment Kunj had called her and told her Twinkle had left, the moment her flight had landed and she had seen him, she at once realised he was heartbroken despite acknowledging or admitting it to himself.
“I didn’t make her go.” He innocently defended himself. “I don’t even know why she left. I’ve been searching for her for a week now. The FBI is into the matter and there’s no trace of her in the entire freaking state.” He angrily concluded, he was more than frustrated. It had been three weeks and a few days without her and he was ready to pull out his hair by now.
“That girl was deeply in love with you, and to leave someone you love requires big reasons. You gave her those reasons that’s why she left without a word.” He stared at Liyannah with words of defence going dry in his mouth. “Did you call her while you were away?” She asked.
“No-” Kunj didn’t think it was a big deal then as he was trying hard on trying to get her out of his mind but now he realised the gravity of his own actions. She had confessed her feelings to him without demanding his love in return, she had let him have her in any way he wanted, without wording a complaint, all she wanted from him was to only acknowledge her feelings and he had failed to let her know that he did.
“As far as I remember you called this marriage a proposition. Was your marriage consummated? Did you take your husband rights from her?” He knew too well what she was asking him about. His cheeks warmed from embarrassment of having his aunt ask him such a private question.
“Yes.” Very much yes, he had taken his husband rights from her every chance he could. She was like a drug to him.
“Months have passed since both of you get married, are you sure she wasn’t expecting?” Liyannah wanted to ask that question. On knowing the nature of their marriage, she found it rather convenient to think that Twinkle might’ve gotten scared like any other woman when she entered motherhood and she might couldn’t come around to grasp the reality that their marriage on proposition might end one day and Kunj being a powerful man would do anything to have his child. She might’ve gotten scared of losing her child and thus, she took off without a word.
“She wasn’t when I left her here?” He tried to be sure but he wasn’t because at the back of his mind he knew it was a possibility and now digesting the fact that his wife along with his child has walked out on him, was rather hard to take in. He had never given fatherhood a thought and never had he imagined Twinkle could be expecting. The thought somewhat made his stomach twist in nervous knots.
“Have you ever told her that you love her?” Her question took him off guard.
“I don’t love her.” He rather stated sternly.
Liyannah got irritated on how stubborn he was to accept his own emotions and so she couldn’t stop herself from giving him a reality check, “You married her under a proposition. I don’t care what terms you had but if it was a proposition to you and you refused giving her the status and values of your wife, you had no right to even lay a finger on her and claim her. You had no right to touch her. You used diplomacy Kunj. You took away all you could as a husband and didn’t give her anything in return as your wife. And now you’re wondering why she left without a word? Maybe if you reflect upon your own actions, you’ll find answers deeply rooted within selfishness.” Liyannah let out her words without a second thought.
Somewhere he knew Liyannah was right. Marriage to Twinkle was a mere proposition to him, he just wanted his inspiration from her so he could get back to painting. He had no right to allure her into loving him or most of all claim her. He had claimed her and nothing sounded more wrong than that. What difference was left between him and Faris? He was a monster himself, a brute, he had used her, he had satisfied his own lusts. This reality made him fall even below his own moral values.
Men aren’t good with accepting and acknowledging their own mistakes, they justify their wrongful doings with excuses that are baseless and when you show them the mirror, instead of reflecting upon themselves, they tend to break the mirror in pure arrogance. That’s exactly what Kunj did, “I couldn’t love her and you know exactly why. I couldn’t give her that place of a wife and that’s that.” He growled and got up from his seat in pure anger. He was fuming but Liyannah didn’t cease from making him look the mirror. She had stayed silent and had watched him plunge in past for too long. She had known him for being too heartbroken to move on with old memories. She watched him suffer in silence because of the harsh realities of his life but right now he was nothing but stubborn to accept the crescent of light trying to illuminate his life. He himself was shutting doors on his own chances to happiness and she couldn’t watch him do it anymore.
“Why can’t you love her?” Liyannah challenged him.
“Because I love Elif.” He stated with fair words.
“No. You can’t love her only because you can’t get over someone who has buried six feet beneath the ground for years and I’m sure by now not even trances of her crunched bones would be left.” Kunj’s eyes widened in shock on hearing upon her words and he sharply turned towards her but she didn’t stop.
“Elif is gone. She’s not coming back and it’s better you start accepting that reality. Stop living in mere memories and open yourself to present. Twinkle is your present and she’s very much in flesh and bones, breathing, waiting for you to love her back. Just because you lost Elif doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a chance to happiness and love someone else. Stop being so hard on yourself.” Kunj refused to meet her gaze anymore for he knew she was right.
“I can’t betray Elif. I can’t let her go, I can’t forget her.” He stated all defeated.
Liyannah let out a tired sigh, “No one is asking you to let her go, or forget her. No one is asking you to replace her either, keep her, remember her but stop living in her memories, it’s nothing but a shallow pit that will get you nowhere. Twinkle is your present, stop feeling guilty of loving her. You aren’t betraying Elif rather you’re piercing her soul with what you’re doing to yourself. Just look at you. You think if Elif could see you today this way; broken, shattered, miserable, stubborn, indulging in past, she’d have been happy about it?” Kunj shook his head to her question. Elif loved him and seeing him hurt would’ve bothered her even more.
“There’s nothing wrong with falling in love again.” He raised his head to look at Liyannah. She saw the unshed pain and grief in his eyes.
“Then how do I fix things, how do I get her back?” He asked in a voice leaking with painful emotions.
“Maybe by praying to the Lord you’ve stopped believing in.” She turned and walked away to her room leaving behind a dishevelled and fazed Kunj. He blinked in thick air.
Kunj parked his car in an empty parking lot with just a few other cars. He gazed at the dark night sky, only a few stars glimmering in the gloomy sky. It matched his life. Only little streaks of light embellished his life and now even that seemed to have dimmed away. He started walking down the road pulling his hoody over his head to not let people recognise him. He wanted time to himself, away from everything, walking between busy streets of different venders and people.
He observed people laugh, talk, walk silently by, complaint about prizes and just have their time spend one way or another. Times like these he wished his life was normal. He wished his parents were here. He wished Elif was here. He wished so many things but most of all he wished that the little of what was left of his life won’t crumble to ruins. He wanted Twinkle to come back. He had lost a lot already, he didn’t want to lose her too.
He walked many streets when suddenly a voice from afar interjected his clouded mind. Being alert at once he tried to pay an attentive ear to it. Whatever language was being voiced through the microphone, it was very similar to what Twinkle would recite to him each night. He started following the voice. It led him to the city park and on the right corner he saw people entering a building. The sound of the voice was piercing out of the building with a huge dome. He followed the people. He knew it was a Masjid.
He stopped in front of the Masjid, observed an array of boxed cupboards with shoes and at once he realised he couldn’t walk in without talking off his shoes. He took his branded leather boots and placed it in one of the wooden boxes. He walked inside. Looking around he observed different kind of men. Some were busy talking, while some were busy reading, everyone going about their own tasks. A guy pushed into him unconsciously and turned to him apologetically. “Ma’azrat ya akhi!” Kunj didn’t understand what he said but instead he asked him, “What’s that voice?” He pointed his finger upwards in a gesture. The man before him chuckled, “You mean the azhan? It’s a prayer call.”
“Right!” He curtly replied. The man tilted his head to the side and observed him, “You’re not a Muslim are you?” He asked intrigued. Kunj for the first time felt embarrassed, “I’m a Muslim but not practicing.” The man nodded at him in acknowledgement. He saw a light flicker about his eyes, “Want to know about your faith young man?” He asked him politely. He seemed very forward and curious. Kunj didn’t give it much thought and nodded. As if his mind wasn’t following his body, he started walking behind him.
As in everything went in a natural accord. Kunj Fateen was ready to accept new beliefs, he was ready to believe in a Lord, he was ready to have faith; if that meant he could save his life from crumbling. The man stopped before an elderly man and spoke something to him in that very language which Kunj learnt was Arabic. The elderly man smiled at him politely and nodded at the man. The young man patted him encouragingly on the shoulder and walked away.
“Assalam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh!” The man greeted him in a rich voice to which Kunj only noted. He gestured for him to sit on the ground and he did. “I’m the head Imam of this Masjid. Everyday I meet young gentlemen like you who are interested in knowing more about their faith, about Islam. So, before we start with basics mind I ask you what brings you here?”
Kunj tried to calculate an answer, “I-I don’t know, I just followed that prayer call.” He honestly concluded.
“Muslim by birth.” He asked again. Kunj nodded. “Ya’Allah have mercy and guide such irresponsible parents who fail to guide the future ummah towards Deen.” He shook his head with a sad look.
“My parents passed away during my childhood. I’ve brought up in a foster care run by Christians.” Kunj tried to explain to him how he ended up this far from Deen. “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.” The Imam acknowledged with a pitiful nodded.
They started discussing basic religion. He told him stories of the Prophets and Sahabas. He told him facts about Qur’an and Islam. He talked about the miracles of Islam. He told him basics of the religion. He explained to him how everything is maktoob (written) and how fitrah (instincts) works. He explained how everything was destined and every person was to be tested, how many people found their way back to their creator after being inflicted with a trail, like Kunj did. Kunj listened to him silently, trying to grasp as much as he could. It felt like a positive force entering his heart, mending the broken pieces of his soul. Everything made sense to him.
By the end of many consistent hours, the Imam finally asked Kunj to repeat the Shahadah after him. Even though he was a born Muslim, the Imam insisted. As if with reflex his mouth moved and he repeated the Shahadah. He remembered the words very well. It was a phrase his mother would often recite to him during his childhood, little he knew what it was till now.
The Imam got up and informed him it was time for the Fajar Salah (Dawn obligatory prayer). He heard the Azhan again. He taught him how to perform ablution and Kunj followed step by step. The Imam taught him how to pray Salah and made him stand next to a young boy who was asked to recite his Salah loudly for Kunj to repeat after him. Kunj Fateen offered his first Salah in a place where no one asked him about his status or assets. Where he was treated equally among all the different people. Where he was made to prostate on the matted ground before a Lord who had created him.
Finally when they completed Salah, Kunj turned to the boy and genuinely thanked him. The boy hastily walked away after offering him a smile.
Kunj sat there silently observing everyone. After a few minutes he bent down in prostration and let out all the frustration and hurtful feelings he had obstructed for years. He began to sob in complete silence. He had been lost for years and now that he had found his purpose, everything overwhelmed him. He at once understood why Twinkle came into his life after all the tornadoes of his past. She wasn’t his inspiration, she was a means for him to find Lord, find his purpose. He wanted to thank her for it, he wanted to tell her about it, he wanted to cherish the blessing which He sent to Kunj, he wanted to treasure his wife, his Twinkle.
Straightening himself, out of nature he raised his hands and cupped them together for a silent prayer, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry for not believing for so long, I’m sorry for not having faith, I’m sorry for every wrong turn I’ve made. Ya’Allah forgive me. I promise to never turn back again, I-I’m sorry for hurting her. Oh Lord, Oh Allah I need her. I want her to come back, I don’t want to lose her. I love her. Ya’Allah I love her…” He muttered with tears streaming down his face.
Liyannah observed the instant change in Kunj’s behaviour. He had gotten a lot silent for a few days. She saw him leave each night and return home after sunrise. She was starting to get worried about his whereabouts since a couple of days. She wanted to confront him about it. He was making her lose her mind frantically.
She walked up to his study and knocked, waited for him to open and he did. It was noon and she could see the scattered files on his study table. He gestured her to sit, “I’ll call you later.” He talked into the phone and then waited for her to speak.
“Where have you been going for past couple of nights?” She went straight to the point.
Kunj didn’t want to play games either, “Masjid.” He answered shortly.
For a moment Liyannah seemed startled, “Masjid?”
“Yes. You asked me to pray to the Lord I’ve stopped believing in, so I did. I prayed to Him. I pray each morning, each night to Him.” And in years she hadn’t heard anything as pleasing as that.
Kunj kept checking his wrist watch for the time to flicker by quickly and let him get done with yet another interview. He sat elegantly in the posh sofa at the other corner of the art studio that held his paintings on exhibition. The channel had demanded to record the video of every single painting of his and get an exclusive interview with him. His agent had agreed to it since his art would find more better spots and that could profit both his fame and business.
He watched the men shooting about the art gallery and busily chattering away. He brought his hand to his stiff neck and rubbed it to loosen the tired muscles. He didn’t know anymore how his life had come to where he was today. Everything was starting to fade away in the background. Nothing interested him anymore. His mind was locked on one picture, Twinkle-
“Are you ready, Sir?” With a deep sigh, he nodded a yes to the middle aged guy.
They sat in the front, of the art gallery, with cameras on them and a view of paintings in the background. He calmly answered each question. Every now and then the guy would make a joke and Kunj would easily laugh to make it look like he enjoyed having an exclusive interview of his.
“People may have asked you this before but today we’re expecting to know genuinely, you’re a self made billionaire entrepreneur, you started from dust literally speaking, how do you feel about it?” He asked seriously.
“Sometimes to keep yourself distracted, you invest all your time and attention in things that help distract you, if it’s productive, you earned for the hard work you do. I earned too, a status, fame, good business, a name even. Often times I wonder if I wasn’t here today, my life might’ve been a lot different but there’s nothing we can do with fate. Everyone is here for a purpose and no one leaves until that purpose is fulfilled. Your purpose here today is to interview me, mine is to answer you and none could run away from that could we?” The interviewer chuckled and Kunj gave him a gleeful smile.
“Despite of all the fame and name you’ve earned, you’ve kept a good reputation. There have never been a negative critics about you. You’re hardly spotted with women and there’s hardly any illegitimate affair that dots your time line. What do you have to say about it Mr. Fateen?”
Kunj loosen up his tie a bit and gave him a warm smile, “I’m not gay if that’s what you’re trying to ask.” The interviewer chuckled in pure amusement and turned to the camera, “I’m starting to like this man, really.”
“So you believe in sacred relations like marriage then?”
“Okay that’s that, tell us about your recent exhibition. It’s topping the charts. After a year of drought, how do you feel about your come back?”
“No art for a year got me frustrated of course but I wanted to break the ice with something solid. Seeing the hard work I’ve put and the success, it all seems worth the wait. Every perfection requires time to come about.” The man agreed noddingly.
“And what about the mystery woman that’s the subject of all of your paintings in this exhibition? People have questions about her whether she’s just an inspiration or reality?” He reluctantly asked.
“She’s an inspiration.” Kunj calmly replied him but as he was about to ask the next question, Kunj added, “And my wife.”
Silence fell in the room, everyone’s mouth fell agap, including his agent. The interviewer being a professional and having had experience with such secretive celebrates, managed to reevaluate his shock, “So you’re telling us that you’re married?” He asked cautiously.
“Mr. Fateen you do know what you’re talking about right? I hope you’ve not taken your work too seriously to have lost judgement between delusion and reality. The woman in your paintings is your wife in reality or in delusion?” His question didn’t annoy Kunj for he was expecting such a reaction.
“She’s my wife and she’s very much real like you and me. We’ve been married for months so it’s lenient for me to say I’m not stating such a thing out of mere obsession with my delusion.” He sternly answered.
“You’ve been secretly married for months?”
“It’s not a secret when you know of it now, is it?” He challenged with a smile.
“You didn’t come public about your marriage. Did anyone get invitation to your wedding?”
“My personal life isn’t a public property like I always say so I didn’t need to make an agenda out of it. I’m a liberal person after all I decided to get married, so I married. My family and friends were there and that’s all a man needs to celebrate any occasion. You don’t always need to make it a show for the world, it loses the charm.” Kunj closed the case with a witty speech.
Being impress with Kunj’s answer, the man turned towards the camera, “The ladies and gentlemen here is our very own famous celebrity Kunj Fateen, who never fails to shock us. He never loses his depth and charm. Secretly married or what, we’re happy to hear that finally he has settled down with the love of his life and we wish best for the beautiful couple. I hope soon we get the privilege to meet the beautiful wife in person, who has been able to tame a man like Kunj Fateen. Must be very special.” He winked at the camera and turned towards Kunj, smiling warmly. Kunj too mimicked back his smile.
The ringing of the phone woke him up from deep slumber. It was six in the evening when he checked the time, “Hello?” He sleepily spoke into the receiver.
“Sir?” The voice of his guard made him shoot up in bed all alert. “Yes-yes Andrew! Is everything alright?”
“Sir, there’s the lady at the gate who insists on wanting to meet you. She has no ID card on her, so I couldn’t let her in but she won’t listen.” Part of Kunj felt overjoyed and part of him felt realistic. It could be someone else and not Twinkle, maybe even some crazy fan but despite that he asked the guard to let her in.
He threw a shirt over his head and covered up his bare torso. He got out of his room and made his way downstairs towards the waiting area, barefoot.
On opening the door, all the butterflies in his stomach died down and excitement vanished. “Hi!” He greeted Azeen.
She got up from her seat and eyed his dishevelled stature. “Hey!” She answered distracted.
“What brings you here?” He asked but didn’t want to be rude.
“I watched your exclusive interview.” She confessed to which Kunj was about to say ‘of course’ sarcastically but she beat him to it, “But that’s not what brings me here.” She waited for him to calculate himself.
“Twinkle called me. She’s in England, Brimington.” Kunj’s heart beat stopped for a moment and he stared at her blankly.
“You’re keeping your promise?” He asked in an unsure voice.
“Yes, I am.” She moved towards him, took his hand lifted it. She placed her phone atop of his palm. “Track her call and go find her. I want you to stop her running from life, after everything she deserves happiness, she deserves care, she deserves love and this time I’m trusting you to give it to her. Don’t make me regret it. Don’t lose her and most of all don’t make her lose you because after everything, she still loves you.” And he loved her too but that was a confession he wanted Twinkle to hear first.
Ma’azrat ya akhi: Forgive me, my brother.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un: We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.
Ummah: The whole community of Muslims bound together by ties of religion particularly Islam.
Shahadah: There is no Lord but Allah, and Muhammed (May peace and mercy be upon him) is the messenger of Allah; one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
(If there’s something missing to be explained please do let me know freely. I’ll answer your queries and please note that the religion isn’t mentioned to offend anyone and someone’s beliefs, it was truly part of the plot.)
Thank you very much for reading.
Hey fellas! So here you go with second last episode of the story which is double the size of normal update:) Now only one episode and an epilogue is left, however there’re some mini skripts which I want to write on Mr and Mrs Kunj Fateen since the story was kind of short, they’ll be just for fun so if you guys are interested in it do let me know;)
Thank you very much for such a warm response on the previous episode also on the sneak peek of my new story. Thanks a lot guys:)
Coming to episode, hope everything is sort out… Kunj’s paintings and his need of an inspiration doesn’t relate to his past, his past just held him back from loving Twinkle and also he married her for that reason but now finally our brooding Kunj Fateen has got some senses;) About Twinkle being pregnant then you guys have to wait for the last episode which will be posted by… I don’t know it depends on your views:) Stay awesome till next time;)
Love you all<3