Hey, you all! Thank you for your constant support and responses, it has always meant so much to me. My schedule has gotten a little hectic since the past few weeks and thus, I haven’t been able to respond to your comments. Please know, I do go through each of them. And I’m also very glad that you all have understood the reason behind Kunj’s long-term quietude – any personal trauma is never easy to overcome. Anyhow, here’s the next episode, so Happy Reading!
[There was a slightly personal response in one of the last few episodes and I just wanted to let you know, that I’m no expert. But I’m glad you thought of me so highly. And I hope, you can sort it through.]
PREVIOUSLY, Kunj opens-up to Twinkle and shares about his past
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 28
Twinkle stared as he walked away, and looked at his retreating figure. Despite the space and quietude, the memories from the past always surfaced to the forefront of her mind and she couldn’t avoid how the muscles in her stomach clenched at the thought. As he disappeared into the kitchen, she continued staring at the empty space, sinking into oblivion.
“Something happened between the two of you?”
Twinkle twisted around, sinking into the reality and looked back at Yuvraj. She rubbed her palms against the ceramic of the coffee mug and shook her head at him. Despite the problems that existed between them, she knew they could sort it among themselves. She didn’t want anyone else to worry about it.
Yuvraj (sighing): You do know, I figure out when you’re lying, Twinkle.
Twinkle (after a brief pause; nodding her head): Right. Silly of me to think I could lie to you, right?
Yuvraj (smiling and leaning forward): I wouldn’t ask you what happened, of course. But you guys should talk it out – whatever it is. (pausing briefly) Since when has this been going on?
Twinkle (looking down): Not very long.
Yuvraj: Phir jhooth! From what I can see, it’s been more than a week. The two of you weren’t on good terms even when Aarohi left for the summer camp.
Twinkle (sighing): I know. But … I guess, it’ll take me some more time. I don’t think I can forget everything that had happened this fast.
Yuvraj: For how long do you want to hold onto it and spoil what you have, Twinkle? This – You think, this is the kind of family you wanted to provide Aarohi?
Twinkle: Aarohi doesn’t really realise. You don’t have to worry about her.
Yuvraj (exhaling harshly): Fine, but can you worry about the two of you then? Are you fine with what’s happening between the two of you?
Twinkle (placing the mug on the table): How is Mom? And how has office – Oh wait, did you employ Saanjh?
Yuvraj (looking away): No. Things got a tad-bit difficult and I haven’t had the time to contact her ever since.
Twinkle looked at him and scrunched her brows. After Saanjh had resigned from the firm, Twinkle had barely contacted her. But she’d always been like that – she let go off easily. However, Yuvraj’s attitude had always been contradictory to hers and he always tried maintaining his contacts.
Twinkle: All good at work? What’s happened?
Yuvraj stood up and looked outside at the patio, staring into the emptiness. Twinkle looked at him from behind and moments later, stood up and walked toward him. As she stood beside him, she noticed the cluelessness that was etched across his face and stared at him, furrowing her brows.
Yuvraj: That day, when all of us were here, you remember how off-character Saanjh had seemed?
Twinkle (recalling and nodding her head): I guess. Is she okay?
Yuvraj: We met in Chandigarh after that, and she told me she didn’t need a job in my office. That, she’d find a job on her own and she didn’t need anyone’s help.
Twinkle scrunched her brows and looked outside at the patio. This was strange, because Saanjh had told her she needed a job and that was why she’d talked to Yuvraj. She turned around and looked at him, confusion creeping into her.
Twinkle: But that day, she’d told me…
Yuvraj (Interrupting): She hadn’t asked you, Twinkle. You’d gone out of your way to help her. She was moving out of Amritsar, because she didn’t want to work with me.
Twinkle (questioningly): But why? I thought the two of you were on very good terms and…
Yuvraj (interrupting): She proposed to me, Twinkle.
Twinkle (taken aback): She, What?
Yuvraj: Yes. She proposed to me and she told me, she’d known my response since so long, that she hadn’t even been expecting. She told me, she needed to move on from me and if she continued seeing me every day, she wouldn’t be able to.
Twinkle stared at the lapping water in the pool for a minute, before folding her hands across herself. She recalled Saanjh’s words from that evening and the meaning behind those words struck to her. After the overwhelming emotions that had enveloped her that evening, she probably had completely ignored Saanjh’s words.
Twinkle (inhaling deeply): What did Mom say?
Yuvraj (turning toward her): You know how she is. She’s always excited at the prospect of marriages. And for mine, she feels it is the best thing to do even now.
Twinkle laughed and looked at him as she saw the crinkling ends of his eyes. She’d always been amused at how enthusiastic Yuvraj’s mother was at the prospect of his re-marriage.
Twinkle (brushing her hair): But seriously, though, what did you tell Saanjh?
Yuvraj: I told her no, Twinkle. Wasn’t it obvious?
Twinkle (taken aback): But why?
Yuvraj (slamming his forehead): Don’t be stupid, Twinkle. She’s young, and I’m sure it’s just a phase. She’ll get over it, don’t worry.
Twinkle (in a disapproving tone): I don’t really think that is Saanjh, Yuvraj. She must’ve thought of better before telling you. (pausing briefly) And how can you say it’s a phase so confidently?
Yuvraj: When we were of her age, Twinkle, both of us had thought that we were going to be in love forever. But look at us now. It was a phase for us. And I’m sure, Saanjh would get over it, too.
Twinkle: You don’t be stupid, Yuvraj. Stop generalising our attitude and behaviour. Whatever we did was us, you can’t be forming a general theory based on that. And for the time I’ve worked with her, she really seemed way more mature than the two of us at that age. (pausing shortly) Do you like her, at least?
Yuvraj: I don’t know. I haven’t ever thought of her anything more than an employee or colleague.
Twinkle (in an annoyed tone): She fell in your employee and colleague even after she proposed to you? Why, do all of your colleagues propose you?
Yuvraj (sighing): No, I have tried not to think much about it. I guess, she can find someone better than me. Anyhow, we’ve quite some age difference.
Twinkle: Yuvraj, please! You know age is just a number, so don’t give me that sh*t.
Yuvraj (shoving his hands in the pockets of his trousers): Better said than done.
Twinkle (staring at him): I guess, we’ve got some age difference too, though.
Yuvraj: Right. That was why our marriage didn’t work.
Twinkle: My God! Tumhe Saanjh ke saath baat karni chahiye ek baar. (stopping Yuvraj) Shaadi ke liye nahi. Simply, baat karo usse and see, what she has to say. Take your time and get to know her first, and then finalise your decision. Aise hi decide mat karo.
Yuvraj looked at her in disappointment and exhaled a harsh breath. He brushed a hand through his hair and looked at her, but Twinkle stared at him with a stern look.
Yuvraj: You’re really serious?
Twinkle (nodding her head): I am. You should know someone to reject them in the first place, Yuvraj. There might’ve been something you rejected her for, right? At least, so that you’d know for yourself in the future, that she was never your choice.
Yuvraj (moments later): And what about Aarohi?
Twinkle: Uff, pehle Saanjh se baat karo. I’m sure, Aarohi can be handled. She has accepted Kunj quite well, now.
Yuvraj: Yeah. (lacing his fingers together) I saw, she calls him Dad now.
Twinkle (softly): You felt bad? It’s just that…
Yuvraj (shaking his head): You don’t have to clarify, Twinkle. Yes, I did feel bad initially, but I can’t ignore the fact that she stays with him for the whole week. And he does take care of her too well. I don’t think it’d ever be my place to intrude and say something in their relation.
Twinkle: Stop, Yuvraj! You know, regardless of who comes and goes, you’re always going to hold an important place in Aarohi’s life. She really loves you. And you know what? If you want, take her with yourself for sometime after she returns from the summer camp. You both will be able to spend some time together also then.
Yuvraj (nodding his head): I’ll do that. I’ll see if I can clear my schedule and…
Twinkle (interrupting): and meet Saanjh?
Yuvraj (shaking his head; in an annoyed tone): Fine, I’ll do that too.
Twinkle smiled to herself and relaxed in the tranquillity of the patio. The sound of the lapping water hit her ears constantly and her insides calmed down. She looked at the sky – the crimson slowly brightening – and she revelled in the soft sunlight.
Moments later, she shut her eyes and heard, “Acha, suno.”
Twinkle: Haa, Kunj.
Yuvraj (smiling): Kunj nahi, Yuvraj. (he saw Twinkle blink her eyes open) I’m going to be leaving, but I don’t think I’ve to ask you to sort through things with Kunj.
Twinkle opened her eyes and looked at the cup of tea, before twisting toward Kunj. She crunched her brows against the darkness of the night and looked at him, questioningly. She took the cup out of his grasp and sipped at the simmering tea, before looking up at him again.
Twinkle: Tum kyun laaye? I’d have whipped it myself. Anyway, Maa had told me that coffee wasn’t there, so I knew it had to be tea tonight.
Kunj (exhaling deeply): Right. But I was making myself a cup, so I thought I’d get you one.
Twinkle: And where’s your tea?
Kunj looked down at his hands and pursed his lips into a thin line. He drew back his hands and rubbed his palms against his trousers. He smiled at her and shook his head.
Kunj: It’s in the kitchen.
Twinkle (forwarding the cup): Jhooth kyun bolte ho? (directing her gaze toward the cup of tea) Take a sip.
Kunj (staring at her): No, I – uh, I guess I’ll just go sleep.
He turned around to leave but Twinkle wrapped her fingers around his wrist and looked at him. When he turned toward her, she looked at him and softened her demeanour.
Twinkle: Thodi der baith jao, please.
When Kunj sat next to her, she loosened her grip on his wrist and laced the fingers in her lap. She grasped the phone from next to her and tapped on the screen to play the songs from the playlist. Despite knowing they were Sanjana’s favourites, Twinkle wanted him to listen to these songs – because she didn’t want him to forget her. Rather, if he forgot the burden he’d borne all these years, she’d be happier.
Kunj: You’re going to let me listen to these songs.
Twinkle (twisting toward him): Of course. When I said, you shouldn’t forget Sanjana, I meant it.
Kunj (relaxing visibly): Thank you, Twinkle! (moments later) Aur suno…
Twinkle (interrupting): I’m sorry, Kunj. I stretched this for too long, I should’ve tried talking to you earlier.
Kunj: I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have said that you don’t trust me. Lekin tumhe mujhe bata dena chahiye tha.
Twinkle (inhaling deeply): I know. But you don’t know how it feels like to be constantly waiting for someone to open-up to you, Kunj. I try my best, you know? And I know, I’m not perfect, but (pausing briefly) you know, there’s the constant fear of not being able to sustain in this marriage too, Kunj? Main bohot strong dikhti hoon, lekin sahare ki kisko zarurat nahi hoti?
She looked up at him, feeling his attentive gaze and noticed the faded freckles in his eyes under the shine of the light. She didn’t know since how long she’d been missing him in her subconsciousness, but as she continued looking at him, she couldn’t stop the influx of emotions within her. She looked away immediately and stared at the wall afar.
Kunj: Jaanta hoon, Twinkle. But you can let go off your inhibitions and your tough front with me. Duniya ke liye kaafi hai woh. I want to be with you – not with Advocate Twinkle Taneja. I’ve my own insecurities too, and it’s not easy to reflect, I know. But we’ve to try. Because life toh humein ek dusre ke saath bitaani hai na?
Twinkle (nodding): And marriage is always a result of trials and errors, after all, right?
Kunj (nodding and wrapping his hand around her): Always.
Twinkle rested her head against his shoulder and shut her eyes, briefly. She’d avoided this conversation since so long, but now that she was relieved of the burden, she realised how easy this was. She realised they needn’t have had avoided each other for so long to talk things out.
Twinkle (looking up): We should try sharing and talking with each other more, right? Chahe, office ki tension ho, ya ghar ka koi bhi masla ho. Both of us should remember that we’re there for each other.
Kunj: Haa, Twinkle. (looking down at her) And you must remember that I’m not going to let go off you this soon. Marte dam tak saath nibhane ka waada kiya hai, and I don’t think I want to break that promise.
Twinkle (smiling): Zyada control na karo. Phir, main haath chudwa lungi.
Kunj (wrapping his fingers around her wrist): Try me.
Twinkle laughed and leaned against him, trying to find the comfort she’d lost for the past few days. Kunj held her against himself tightly, swearing not to let go off her. Moments later, Kunj pressed his lips to Twinkle’s head, and she found herself returning home after days.
Alright, that’d be it for this episode. I know, this episode wasn’t wholly concentrated on Twinkle-Kunj, but the other characters need to be focussed on, too. And Yuvraj’s character has always been a delight for me to write, because of the possible potential and the multiple layers it holds. Anyway, tell me what you think of this episode. But as usual, thank you for reading!