Hey, you all! Thank you for all your wonderful responses, I really appreciate it. I’ll continue writing this story for anyone and everyone who reads this, because I cannot express my gratitude for you all, ever. I’m extremely sorry for the delayed update, but here it is; Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Kunj and Twinkle get engaged
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 20
“Are you nervous?”
His voice leaked over the phone and Twinkle stared at the trees afar, concentrating on the rhythm of the rustling of the leaves. The sky had darkened and time had begun ticking by, sprightly. She couldn’t fathom it had already been three months since the first time she’d met Kunj, and a week since they’d gotten engaged. The knowledge of the vast changes in their surroundings existed within the subconsciousness of her mind, and she couldn’t unsee them.
Kunj (in a louder voice): Twinkle? You there?
Twinkle (jumping out of her reverie): I don’t really know.
Kunj: What does that mean? You don’t know if YOU’RE nervous?
Twinkle (shrugging her shoulders): Sometimes, I don’t know what I feel, or what are the emotions that affect me. (pausing briefly) But I don’t think I’m nervous. I might be a little worried, but that’s about it.
Kunj (taken aback): Worried? What are you worrying about?
Twinkle: I don’t know, Kunj. Both of us have a past and I just hope, we don’t let that affect the future that’s bound to happen for us.
Kunj: And what do you mean by that?
Twinkle (sitting up straight): You know I’ve my insecurities of a failed marriage, and I doubt, I can let go of them anytime soon. But what I don’t want to happen is, (pausing briefly and inhaling, deeply) If situations ever change, I don’t want to bind you somewhere, where you don’t want to stay or exist.
Kunj: Twinkle, zyada mat socho. You should get yourself some sleep.
Twinkle: No, Kunj. I want to have this conversation. Now, that we’ve begun delving into this dimension, let me just finish and get it out. (pausing shortly) I’ve faced a broken marriage before and for days, it’d left me damaged and destructed. That was, partly why, I never really firmed myself and tried moving on.
Twinkle paused and inhaled a deep breath. She’d always wanted to have this conversation before their marriage, and she was pleased they were talking about it, now. She held her silence for a minute longer, appreciating the quietude Kunj provided her, reciprocating the usual warmth and comfort.
Twinkle (swallowing a breath): If you ever think that this marriage isn’t providing what you need, or if I ever feel that, I don’t want either of us to lie or pretend. Usse sirf dikatein badhti hain and I don’t things between us to turn sour. If this relationship ever turns out to be troublesome, main chahti hoon ki ham dono woh himmat rakhein ki, either of us can walk out.
Kunj (in an unbelievable voice): Are we really talking about the ending of a marriage before its beginning?
Twinkle: I know, it doesn’t sound right at this minute, but I don’t want us to pretend in this marriage. I think, the relation between us has always been above that and I would never want that to be damaged.
Kunj (shaking his head): Are you trying to get an exit clause signed, Advocate Twinkle Taneja?
Twinkle: If that’s what you want to call it, you can. But I want to get this cleared beforehand.
Kunj (in a soft voice): Ek baat bolun, Twinkle? Rishtey banane mein jitna time lagta hai na, it doesn’t even take half the time to break it. It’s very easy to let go, but you don’t let go of relationships. You embrace them tightly and fight for them. Because one day, you will look back to the relationships you held onto and fought for. The ones you let go, mightn’t even be in your memories. (pausing briefly) Apna hak itni aasaani se chod dogi, toh anyone will snatch it away, easily.
Twinkle (after a long minute): So, this is Mr. Kunj Sarna tearing apart the exit clause stamp papers, I assume?
Kunj (chuckling): Did you see the moon today?
Twinkle looked up at the sky, carefully observing the celestial body shining against the darkness of the night. She’d never been a keen observer and she couldn’t determine what Kunj had asked her to look at. She stared at the moon for a minute longer, trying to decipher any change and then, cleared her throat.
Twinkle: I’m seeing. It’s circular today.
Kunj: Han ji. It’s a full moon night, after all. But you see the blemishes on the moon? (pausing shortly for her reply) Relationships are like that; incomplete without flaws. But they exist despite the flaws and that’s what we should want our marriage to be like. I want us to forget and move on, despite what happens. I want the two of us to fight with each other, but for each other.
Twinkle (relaxing against the back of the swing): You can’t forget and move on, Kunj. You’ve to FORGIVE and move on. Your past is a part of you that builds what you’re today. If you forget that, tumhari khud ki toh existence hi nahi rahegi na. If you accept your past, you’ll move on easily. Past ko excess baggage banaoge, toh aage badhne mein difficulty toh hogi hi na.
Leela (from the berm of the patio): Twinkle!
Twinkle (turning toward her mother): Ha, Maa, one second. (turning around and talking into the phone) I need to go, Maa is calling me. I’ll talk to you later?
Kunj: Sure. I’ll see you tomorrow.
A small smile lingered on Twinkle as a course of heat rushed within her body. Kunj stirred very foreign and overwhelming emotions within her – emotions she’d never truly felt, before – and they always sided her worries and tensions. With each passing minute they spent in each other’s company, Twinkle realised how she was growing habitual to his presence around her. She couldn’t choose to ignore those emotions anymore; They were slowly beginning to become a fragment of her – enveloping her like a blackhole.
Kunj: Aur suno!
Twinkle (arching her brows, quizzically): Jaldi bolo, Maa is waiting for me.
Kunj (in a soft voice): Good night, Mrs. Sarna.
Twinkle (smiling): Good night!
When Twinkle disconnected the call, a soft smile lingered across her lips and the muscles in the pit of her stomach clenched, tightly. She looked up at her mother and quickened her pace, striding toward her. She’d assumed her mother had fallen asleep, right after tucking Aarohi to bed and hence, she’d chosen to appreciate the solitude in the patio.
Twinkle: I thought you’d fallen asleep?
Leela: I had, but I woke up suddenly and saw the lights were switched on in the kitchen. Did you make yourself coffee?
Twinkle (nodding her head): I did, but that was a while ago. (pausing shortly) Did I wake you up? I was talking over the phone. I hope, I wasn’t that loud.
Leela (rubbing her eyes): No, don’t worry. In fact, you were so soft, I couldn’t even hear you from the berm of the patio. Were you professing your consent for the marriage to Kunj, over and over?
Twinkle (noting the mischievous gleam in her mother’s eyes): Kuch bhi! We were just talking about a few policies we’d want us to follow post-marriage.
Leela (laughing): Policies? Twinkle, marriages don’t work on policies; Shaadi mein waadein nibhaye jaate hain. You might be signing a stamp paper for legal purposes, but a marriage is a work of emotions. Listen to your heart first, because the mind always has a way to trick us into pessimism, but your heart guides you emotionally first.
Twinkle stopped in front of the room, looking down at the floor while the words swirled in her mind. Her mother had always reminded her a marriage was to be tackled by emotions; emotions that she didn’t want to attend to, frequently. She looked up at her mother, a fleeting softness and desperation surging over her features as she grasped onto her mother’s hands.
Twinkle (softly): Will you stay with me for some more time? Will you tuck me to sleep, Maa?
Leela (softly patting on Twinkle’s cheek): Of course, Baccha. You don’t have to request me for that.
Twinkle walked inside and sat on the bed, pressing her knees against the softness of the mattress. She waited for her mother to settle down on the bed and slept on her lap, trying to eliminate the worries that clouded the insides of her mind. Her mother caressed her hair, slowly gathering the loose strands of hair that fell from her tied hair.
Twinkle: Maa, when you married Papa, did you know everything about him?
Leela (thoughtfully): No. When I got married to your Papa, I barely knew him. I might’ve had met him once or twice before marriage, but that is, obviously, not enough to know someone.
Twinkle: And you didn’t want to know, either?
Leela: Back in those times, we didn’t have so much liberty. But for the few times I met your Papa, I always felt he was very genuine and I didn’t have any problems. Then, after our marriage we got to know more of each other.
Twinkle (in a thoughtful tone): What if someone takes too much time to open-up? It will definitely affect a relationship, won’t it?
Leela: A lot of people just tend to be more introverted. But if you give them some time and show them your trust, they do open-up to you. However, that may take a while.
Twinkle: Maa, were you worried when you were getting married?
Leela: I don’t remember so much, Twinkle. Lekin, everyone is worried and nervous before their marriage. Because marriage comes with a lot of responsibilities to embrace and you’re always worried if you’d be able to pull off everything. But remember, at the end of the day, it is always the effort that counts.
Twinkle (sitting up): Maa, do you think I’ll be able to embrace the new life, again? The previous time…
Leela (interrupting): You will. And I think, you’ll embrace the new beginning exceptionally well. Till now, I’ve always been there to teach you, but now someone else will be there to walk with you on the path of life. And the two of you will learn and grow together. Aur shaadi toh ek dusre ko nazdeek lata hai, Puttar. Shaadi mein itne sawaal jawaab nahi hote.
Twinkle: You grow close when you’ve time to spend with each other, Maa. (laying down on her mother’s lap, again) I don’t think, either of us will have that time. And whenever we’ll have the time, we’ll have Aarohi to attend to. When will we get to know each other?
Leela: Of course, you both have your own lives to take care of, but ek dusre ke liye time nikaalna, Beta. You don’t have to sit and talk every day, but try knowing about each other through small things. If you begin taking care of his needs and requirements, Kunj will also do that for you. If you attend to his needs, you’ll learn about his likes and dislikes, too.
Twinkle (shaking her head): No, Maa. I don’t think those tactics work, anymore. It might’ve worked at your time, but now everyone is very independent and all of us are used to doing our work on our own. In fact, we get irritated if someone tries doing our work.
Leela: This is not about independence, Twinkle. When you do the small things, it shows your concern and care. That is what strengthens a relationship. Those tactics are always effective, regardless of time.
Twinkle nodded and shut her eyes, trying to contemplate her mother’s words. She’d always believed, a marriage didn’t snatch away the independence of the two people involved and she’d always thought, self-sufficiency in a marriage was of utmost importance. But now that her mother’s words swarmed her mind, she didn’t know if she was required to crumble her own beliefs and thoughts.
Her mother had always known better when emotions were to be dealt with, and she couldn’t bounce away her mother’s words, easily. The words began swarming her mind, and her mind began retiring, falling into an absence of thoughts and abilities. She decided, she’d ponder on the words the next day and allowed herself to fall into the alternate reality.
Kunj stared at the sky and let the scent of the terrace garden envelop his senses. The emptiness of the atmosphere began enveloping him and as the memories sprawled within the expanse of his mind, goose-bumps swept across his skin, despite the warm weather.
“You should go sleep now. It’s quite late and tomorrow is a special day for you.”
Kunj turned around at the soft voice and looked at her, smiling as her lips curved upward. He looked at her for a long second, appreciating her beauty and the loose strands of hair that fell over her shoulders and framed the edges of her face.
Kunj: It is. But it is a day without you, again. I’ve begun losing the count of the number of special days I’ve now spent without you, Sanjana.
Sanjana: But if you hadn’t lost that count, this day would’ve never come. You wouldn’t have found Twinkle if you didn’t lose the count and if I wasn’t gone.
Kunj (looking away): It needn’t have happened this way. You could have stayed. Perhaps, a little longer.
Sanjana: Stay a little longer to die with more pain.
Kunj: I could’ve helped you.
Sanjana (shaking her head): You’re forgetting, Kunj. You weren’t always like this.
Kunj: You could’ve changed me.
Sanjana: Twinkle is. She’s changing you. She’s helping you become someone I, probably, wouldn’t have ever helped you become.
Kunj (cracking his knuckles): You didn’t try.
Sanjana (smiling): I think, I’m happy I didn’t. What would’ve Twinkle done, otherwise?
Kunj (looking at her): It wasn’t her responsibility to complete.
Sanjana: But I couldn’t have done it better. And she proves it to me with each passing day.
Kunj: I’ll forget you one day, then.
Sanjana (chuckling): She wouldn’t let you. Past ko excess baggage nahi banana hai, remember?
Kunj (in a scrupulous voice): You were eavesdropping?
Sanjana (smiling, softly): You should sleep, now.
Her fingers swept over his eyes, shutting his droopy eyes, completely. The feather-light touch ignited the senses of his subconscious mind and he let himself relish the emotions that coursed through him. He folded his hands across his chest as she pulled him down onto her lap and let him dream. She stayed there until the dark sky lightened and the first streaks of the sun filtered through the flowers in the garden.
There was only so much time, now.
Alright, that’d be all for this episode. The next episode will be of Twinkle and Kunj’s marriage. And if not early, I’ll try writing a lengthier chapter.