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PREVIOUSLY, Twinkle and Kunj continue fighting; Twinkle decides to return home after Aarohi leaves for summer camp
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 27
Twinkle sat away from Kunj and stared at the splashing waves in the pool. She fiddled with the fingers in her mind and mentally berated herself for wanting to leave. It wasn’t that she’d begun hating him, but with every moment in his presence, the conversation from that night crawled into her mind. And maybe, that was why, they really needed some space in the relationship.
She’d tried reconsidering her decision several times, willing to stay back and sort the distance that was arising between them. But after several attempts, she’d stopped trying to convince herself, understanding that a short amount of distance would, perhaps, be better.
“You remember the last time we were here?”
She did. They’d visited the Gurudwara on Kunj’s father’s death anniversary and they’d sat here for hours, consuming the tranquillity. Twinkle had never witnessed him so vulnerable before. Not that he’d talked about his father, but she’d seen his façade falling apart and breaking so subtly, but loudly.
Twinkle (nodding): You were really missing Papa that day. For a second, I’d thought, you’d have asked me to leave you alone.
Kunj (looking toward her): I’d never do that, Twinkle.
Twinkle: I know. But sometimes, some things are better alone, you know? Itna bhi kisi mein consume hona theek nahi, that you forget yourself. Sometimes, distances are helpful, too.
Kunj: That is what a marriage is about, Twinkle. You think about someone more than yourself.
Twinkle stood up and descended the stairs to level themselves, and sat beside him. She looked at the gap between themselves and a small smile ghosted the line of her lips. Moments later, she looked up and stared at the crowd filtering into the Gurudwara.
Twinkle: No, Kunj. Koi bhi rishta aapke khud se existence se bada nahi hota. It’s good to think about others and care for them, but a marriage isn’t about forgetting yourself. It should never be. If that happens, then something is going wrong. Prioritising yourself, at times, can never be wrong.
Twinkle turned around and looked at him, as the consciousness of his gaze slipped into her mind. His eyes held a softness and as they glistened against the rays of the sun, Twinkle looked away and chuckled.
Twinkle: Kya dekh rahe ho?
Kunj (looking away and smiling softly): You remember the day we’d met here? You’d almost asked me to leave.
Twinkle (chuckling): I didn’t mean it, Kunj. And thank god, you didn’t leave. I’d have fallen into the water otherwise.
Kunj (exhaling deeply): Thank God main ruka, because I don’t think, I’d ever have looked at the prospect of the two of us being anymore than friends, otherwise. Uss ek pal mein, aisa laga jaise, there was a part of me that felt so complete, you know? Itna complete ki, I didn’t have to think of Sanjana even once. Itna complete ki, shayad main un yaadon ko jaane bhi deta toh, I wouldn’t have suffered any loss.
Twinkle stiffened at the mention and inhaled a deep breath. Not because she was jealous of Sanjana – she’d never be. But because the name brought back the several instances from the past she didn’t want to think of in this moment. She couldn’t tolerate another moment of silence and hiding.
Twinkle: I guess, I should leave. Maa must be waiting at home.
Kunj (wrapping his fingers around her wrist): Thodi der ruk jao.
Twinkle sat down hesitantly, while the tension slowly began enveloping them. After he’d held her wrist, there was a new, electrifying addition that had lit the nerves within her.
Kunj (several moments later): This was the day when Sanjana had proposed to me, you know? She’d brought me ginger tea and over that one cup, she’d just lectured me and asked me so many times what I was waiting for. (laughing softly) We never said, we loved each other, you know? We just knew, and it just felt so new and profound.
Twinkle turned around and stared at him, the contours of his face visibly relaxing as he talked of her. A feeling of relaxation crawled within her and she allowed her shoulders to droop as she let herself listen to him.
Kunj: I held her hand that day, and I don’t think I’ve ever thought of letting go of her till date. I think, that is why, there are times she keeps returning in my subconscious, asking me to let go off her, because it’s been so long. (pausing briefly; turning toward her) I think, it’s time I let go of her, Twinkle. Because I don’t think, I can let go of you.
He placed his hand atop hers and slowly slid his fingers between hers, lacing their fingers together. Twinkle looked down at their intertwined, and the feeling of freshness returned to her, crawling deep within her.
Kunj: We’d gotten engaged after everything had fallen in place, but the reality was so far away from it, Twinkle. After I’d finished my higher studies and returned from Chennai, something had changed in our relationship, but I didn’t even know. And I don’t think, I can ever forgive myself for it.
Twinkle tightened her grasp around his fingers and urged him to talk. He’d begun talking and sharing his past with her, and she didn’t want to stop him. Despite the vulnerability, there was a sense of relaxation in his voice, and she didn’t want him to stop.
Kunj: I kept thinking about our future, our marriage, but I never saw, how Sanjana was falling apart in the present, you know? It was like, I never really cared for her, because I was so self-obsessed. I kept thinking about how things would change for the better, and Sanjana was just lost somewhere else. She was slipping away and I never noticed.
He paused briefly and looked ahead at the crowd filtering through and exhaled a harsh breath. Twinkle knew this was difficult for him, but she didn’t want him to bear this tension for his entire life.
Kunj: Our parents had gotten us engaged a year prior to our wedding, because I’d to go away to Mumbai for expanding the business. I should’ve never gone, but maine kabhi notice nahi kiya na. I kept living in my own bubble, and when I returned, I talked to her about our future. AGAIN. I never bothered asking her how she was, you know? I never asked her, what was she doing, how she was managing everything on her own. (after a long pause; clearing his clogged throat) She slipped into depression, and I kept talking about our future.
Twinkle gulped and looked at him, staring as the sadness began enveloping him again. She didn’t know, for how long he’d held all of this within himself, but now that he talked about it, it seemed to suffocate him, anyway.
Kunj: And then, one day, I kept calling her since the morning, wanting to meet her. I’d planned to go shop jewellery for the wedding, but she didn’t pick-up my phone. So, I’d driven to her house with such a severe temper, because her ignorant behaviour had me worried. But when I reached there, Sanjana was no more.
Kunj paused for a long time, and Twinkle noticed the tears that crawled down his cheeks. She gulped the throatiness that lined her throat and rubbed her thumb over his hand, trying to comfort him.
Kunj: She suicided because of all the pain, and I kept planning for our future staying in my own bubble of happiness even on the day she left us. I never asked her anything, but she left a letter for me so I could find myself some closure. She told me she was in pain, and told me wherever she was going, she was going to be at a much, much better place. And she’d be happy. (pausing shortly) But she didn’t tell me what had happened and till date, I don’t know. But I guess, she didn’t want to tell me. If she did, she would’ve mentioned in the letter, no?
He turned toward her and Twinkle blinked away the tears and ignored the raw pain that rose within her. She nodded her head subtly, and realised the suffocation that was building within her. She couldn’t utter a word to comfort him, and she’d never felt so helpless.
Kunj (after a long pause): I went back to Mumbai after all the rituals were performed and tried keeping myself occupied with work. Maa and Papa used to call me and ask me how I was, constantly insisting on opening. But how could I be okay when I was so guilty of what I did to her. I swear, Twinkle, it was just a few words, some questions, that could’ve made her feel better. I wish, I’d taken time to notice how she was beginning to crumble and succumb. I could’ve taken her to the doctor, to the therapist – whatever she f*cking needed, but I wasn’t even living in the reality.
He let the tears roll down his cheeks and Twinkle watched him helplessly, clueless of everything. She didn’t know how to comfort him and the pain gnawed at her heart.
Kunj: My bubble of happiness burst only when I saw her lifeless, and felt the coldness of her body. Before that, I didn’t realise an ounce of anything. I didn’t understand her, Twinkle. And I’d told myself, I loved her.
Twinkle wrapped her hand around his shoulder and tried comforting him. She continued blinking the tears that pooled in the corners of her eyes, not wanting it to overshadow his pain.
Kunj: It took me years, Twinkle. I didn’t talk to Maa and Papa properly. But then, I realised, that I was treating them the same way. I was just thinking about myself and not about them. So, I figured that I needed to talk to them and pull myself out of this guilt. But when I finally thought, I could share my guilt with them and let go of the past, Papa passed away. (sniffing softly) Kabhi ye mauka hi nahi mila ki kisi se baat karun, apni tension share karun.
Twinkle looked at him and smiled sadly, continuing to rub the small circles on his hand. She held her silence and provided him the quietude he needed. After all, it certainly hadn’t been easy for him to share everything after years of secrecy and silence.
Kunj: After Papa, I never had time to look back. Maa was so vulnerable back then, that I couldn’t think of prioritizing myself over her. Myra bhi tab choti thi; she needed someone who could fill-up Papa’s space. Iss sab mein, main itna involve ho gaya ki, I never thought, I’d need to share my past with anyone ever again. That, ki koi mere baare mein bhi itni chinta karega.
Twinkle looked back at him and noticed the dried trail of tears. She wished she could do something to relieve him from his pain. How much had he borne over the years, but hadn’t complained? How long had he held his silence for, blaming himself over and over?
Kunj (inhaling deeply): You kept asking me what I was hiding, but I was so scared to tell you, Twinkle. I’ve gotten so used to holding back myself, that I didn’t understand why you wanted me to share my past with you. But that day, when you said, you’d leave me and go, I felt the panic kick-in. (holding her hand) Nahi jaane de sakta main tumhe, Twinkle.
Twinkle looked at him, the tears pooling in her eyes and she let them roll down. She could never fall short of appreciating him. She leaned down on his shoulder and allowed the two of them to relax as they stared in the distance.
Kunj: This was the day I’d held onto Sanjana, but I think, I should let go off her now, Twinkle. Meri galtiyon ki saza usse nahi milni chahiye.
Twinkle (softly): I’m sure, she doesn’t blame you, Kunj. Kabhi kabhi, blaming yourself to not accept the reality seems much easier. It was never your fault, Kunj. Jiss Kunj ko main jaanti hoon, he’d never hurt anyone intentionally.
Kunj: Sanjana taught me not to.
Twinkle (smiling softly): Well, I must be grateful to her then.
Kunj: Tum jealous nahi ho?
Twinkle (looking up): Jealous, kisliye?
Kunj: I talked about Sanjana so passionately. And I still do love her, Twinkle. Even if I do let go off her today.
Twinkle: Tum Yuvraj se jealous hote ho? (minutes later) Aur past ko…
Kunj (interrupting): Bhulna nahi hota. Maaf karna hota hai.
Twinkle smiled and rested her head on his shoulder again. Moments later, he rested her head against him and she exhaled a deep breath. For so long, she’d insisted him to share, but now, after he had, she couldn’t ignore the sadness and hollowness that clung to her.
How many times had she overlooked others’ feelings and emotions to think of herself? She didn’t know if she was as strong as Kunj. What if something had happened to someone she loved, and she’d completely chosen to overlook? How would she ever be able to strengthen herself again?
When Kunj kissed the top of her head again, she let the thoughts reside in her mind. For a moment now, at least, she didn’t want herself to be clouded with thoughts. Kunj needed her more in this moment, and she wanted to be there for him.
Alright, that’s it for this episode. So, now that everything is out in the open, tell me what you guys think of the crux of this story. And, anyone who’s missed Yuvraj all this time? It’s about time, we get him back, I guess. Like always, thank you for reading!