Hey, you all! Thank you for all your responses and support and support. It definitely means a lot. This episode is mostly focussed on Twinkle and Kunj, and I hope you guys like it. Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Yuvraj talks about Saanjh; Twinkle and Kunj sort their differences
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 29
A FEW MONTHS LATER,
Twinkle descended down the stairs slowly, her palm loosely sprawled atop the banister as she talked on the phone. She brushed away the loose strands of hair from her face and smiled softly.
Twinkle: Mummy! I will take care of things here; you enjoy the celebrations there.
Usha (over the phone): Beta, I’ve never been outside home at this time. You know, I can’t just sit without worrying and…
Twinkle: Pehle aapki bahu bhi toh nahi thi na, Mummy.
Usha (smiling): Haa, that’s true. (pausing briefly) Lekin, phir bhi…
Twinkle: Mummy, that is your house too, nah? You haven’t gone away for a vacation. Your siblings must be so glad they’re getting to spend the festival with you after so many years. So, stop worrying and enjoy your time there. Aur Bebe aur Myra bhi toh aapke saath hai na.
Usha: If I was there, you could’ve spent the festival with Leela ji, na?
Twinkle: I don’t think Maa would’ve stayed here anyway this year. But even if she had, I’d have called her here. With Aarohi gone, there wouldn’t have been any point of going alone. (pausing shortly) But ab aap mujhe gussa dila rahe ho – please, enjoy your time there.
Usha (smiling): Acha baba. I’ll talk to you later, then. Bye!
Twinkle (smiling): Bye!
After disconnecting the call, Twinkle stood at the base of the stairs and looked toward the lawn outside. The rays of the sun reflected against the glass of the windows and she slowly squinted her eyes, trying to adjust herself to the sunny weather. Moments later, her phone rang again and she looked down at the screen to see the caller.
Twinkle: Hello, ji!
Yuvraj: Hi, You aren’t busy?
Twinkle: I’m going to the kitchen for fetching myself my dose of caffeine. Uske baad, I’ll get started with the preparations. Tum batao?
Yuvraj: Mom is already busy setting up the place. Ek toh, it’s a festival time. And upar se, she’s so excited to meet Saanjh.
Twinkle smiled and walked over to the drawing room to settle down. She adjusted one of the pillows on the sofa and sat down, relaxing herself.
Twinkle: Right, she’s also coming over today. Have you decided for an engagement or a marriage, or something at least?
Yuvraj: Not yet. Let’s see for a few more months if things seem real, then we can think. Plus, Saanjh needs to stabilize her career before we think of anything. (pausing very briefly) And I want Aarohi to bond with Saanjh too, so there’s still time.
Twinkle: Vaise, ek baat bolun? Free advice hai, but try ensuring that Aarohi doesn’t get to know from elsewhere. She got very upset the last time…
Yuvraj (interrupting): Let’s leave the negative vibes for today, Twinkle. Tyohaar ka waqt hai yaar.
Twinkle: Alright then, I’ll see you in the evening. Remember to drop by for a while before you take Aarohi with yourself. (pausing shortly) Chalo then, I’ll talk to you later. Bye!
Yuvraj (smiling): Bye!
When Twinkle walked over to the kitchen, she found Kunj inside brewing a cup of ginger tea for himself while Aarohi sat on the counter, looking at him intently. Twinkle leaned against the door and looked at the two of them, smiling to herself quietly. She’d always admired the genuineness that existed in the bond between them.
Moments later, Kunj placed the cup of tea on the counter beside Aarohi and searched the shelves on top, looking for biscuits. Twinkle continued looking at the two of them as Kunj searched for biscuits while she laughed to herself. She realised, he’d mistaken the shelf while talking to Aarohi, but he hadn’t yet realised. Twinkle decided, she’d watch the scene for a few minutes before helping them out.
Aarohi: What’re you looking for?
Kunj: Huh? Oh! Um, biscuits, but I can’t find them.
Aarohi: Aren’t they stored on the right-side shelves? (trying to jump down) Let me check!
As she tried jumping off the counter, her hand brushed against the cup of tea and it tumbled on the saucer, spilling the tea across the counter. When the sound of the glass hit Kunj’s ears, he looked toward her and quickly picked her up, pressing his fingers against the simmering liquid in the process. Seconds later, Twinkle walked inside the kitchen hurriedly and looked at Aarohi, the features of her face crinkling in worry.
Twinkle: Are you fine, Baccha?
Kunj put down Aarohi, ensuring she was fine and shook his hand, trying to rid himself of the burning sensation. He seethed in pain, attracting Twinkle’s attention.
Aarohi (nodding): I am fine. But I guess Dad…
Twinkle (pulling Kunj’s hand under the running tap): Aarohi, please wait outside. Dad will come and help you in a bit. (looking toward Kunj) Hold your hand here. Main baraf laati hoon.
As Twinkle continued rubbing the ice cubes over Kunj’s fingers, she looked up at him, trying to ensure he wasn’t hurting. She shook her head and looked down again, rubbing the ice-cubes gently while willing to side-line her own worry.
Kunj: Twinkle, I am fine.
Twinkle (pausing mid-way and looking up at him): Are you sure? I guess, I got more worried because I thought, it was Aarohi who got hurt.
Kunj: Main tha na yahaan. Why did you get so worked up?
Twinkle (exhaling harshly): I don’t know, Kunj. I think, I got scared because of the suddenness of the situation. (looking at him and smiling) But zindagi mein aise kitne log hote hain jo aap pe ek chai ka cup girne se bachate hai? And you really are that person, Kunj. You take care of Aarohi like your own daughter.
Kunj: Beti hai woh meri.
Twinkle (smiling): Haa, and you’re her parent. A parent she’s always going to be grateful for.
Kunj: Ab bas bhi karo.
Twinkle leaned against him and smiled, softly. She’d always be grateful for having Kunj in her life. He was a person, she knew, she’d always find beside herself regardless of the situation. And over the past few months, he’d made her believe in that, firmly.
“Itna andhera kyun hai yahan?”
Kunj descended down the stairs and looked down at the lighted diyas along the staircase. A small smile curved the corners of his lips and he looked around, trying to look for Twinkle. When his gaze settled upon her, he stared at her silhouette against the lit fire and leaned against the banister of the staircase while shoving his hands in his pockets.
Twinkle: Happy Diwali, Mr. Sarna!
Kunj: Happy Diwali to you too, Mrs. Sarna! (walking toward her) Vaise, why didn’t you tell me? I could’ve helped you.
Twinkle walked across the hall and knelt down to position one of the diyas at the corner. She poured the oil into the diya and slowly, lit the cotton wick while using her other hand to envelop the flame.
Twinkle: You wouldn’t have helped me, Kunj. Tum toh sirf mera time waste karate.
Kunj stood behind Twinkle and as she stood up, he wrapped his arms around her and tugged her close. She craned her neck to look at him and widened her eyes.
Twinkle: Let me finish this, Kunj. We’ve to do the puja after this.
Kunj: This is why I’d told let’s go out for a vacation. If we’d told, Maa and Bebe would’ve stayed back.
Twinkle (shaking her head and freeing herself): C’mon, Kunj! Don’t be so self-centred. They barely get time away from home, let them enjoy. We can plan our vacation some other time.
As Twinkle picked up the tray of diyas from the floor and began walking away, Kunj wrapped his fingers around her wrist and looked at her. She turned around and looked at him, furrowing her brows to question him.
Kunj: You need to stop spoiling the moment all the time, Twinkle.
Twinkle (shaking her head): Aap aashiqui na ladaye har waqt. Let me finish my work.
Kunj: Tum bohot unromantic ho.
Twinkle (smiling): Khair, woh toh main hoon. But for now, please help me light these diyas. (looking at him sternly) Sincerely!
As Kunj groaned in annoyance, Twinkle laughed subtly and walked ahead in the darkness. But as the two of them lighted the diyas in the house, the darkness began evaporating and strengthened their belief in each other. They knew, with each other, their lives would always be pleasant, and despite the thorns they’d have to face, they’d eventually find the rose petals, too.
Because this relationship was the sanctuary the two of them had been searching for, so long.
Twinkle plunged her legs in the cold water of the pool and allowed herself to adjust with the sensation. The cold wind brushed against her face and she looked toward the diyas aligned along the edge of the pool on her opposite. A small smile curved her lips as the glass cover shielded the flame, ensuring it didn’t blow away.
“Coffee,” Kunj forwarded his hand before her face and she looked up at him, smiling softly. She wrapped her fingers around the mug and sipped the simmering liquid, relaxing against the pleasant weather. As the smell of the caffeine filled her nostrils, a smile crept up her lips and she looked at Kunj beside herself.
Twinkle: Thank you! (pausing briefly) Why didn’t you get yourself your ginger tea?
Kunj: Pata nahi. I think, your habits are growing on me. I’m enjoying late-night doses of caffeine.
Twinkle (smiling and looking away): Kitne cliché ho na tum?
Kunj: Well, someone has to be the better one, nah? If you keep spoiling our moments like this, I’ve to try building more moments which you can’t spoil.
Twinkle (shaking her head): Kuch bhi!
Twinkle looked down at the fisted hand on his lap and brushed her fingers against his. As his fingers slowly loosened, she laced their fingers together and rested them on his lap. A warmth curled within the insides of her and she relaxed as the cold wind brushed her face.
Kunj: You should sleep early, Twinkle. It has been a busy day for you.
Twinkle (shaking her head): Sit with me for a while.
Kunj (seconds later): Are we picking up Aarohi tomorrow?
Twinkle (thoughtfully): That’s a good idea! We could surprise her, na?
Kunj (with eyes gleaming in happiness): Haa. And we could also get her, her favourite red velvet ice-cream. It really brightens her mood. The last time…
Twinkle (clutching their fingers momentarily): I know. (smiling) You seem more excited. What’s all this happiness about?
Kunj (visibly relaxing): I don’t know, Twinkle. I guess, after I said it aloud in the morning, the realisation has been forged within me. It’s like, I realise now, what Aarohi means to me. How she’s made me experience fatherhood in these past few months, and how everything just seems so different around her. (pausing shortly) It’s like she’s the centre of my universe. Like, a gravitational force pulling me closer by heart each passing day, you know?
Twinkle (smiling softly): Bacche jaadu hote hain, Kunj. You know, when Aarohi was born, I couldn’t leave her unattended for a minute. I wanted her hand wounded around my fingers all the time. I wanted her presence to linger on me. I wanted to be there for her every minute, every second. I wanted to give her everything she needed and now she’s growing up. It’s been so long, but those times – I can’t get them out of my mind. I’d do anything to get all of those moments again.
Kunj (sighing): I wish, I could be there when she was born, Twinkle. Not as her own father – woh haq hamesha Yuvraj ka rahega, but maybe, as someone else. Someone who’d have just been there with you guys to experience the liveliness of all those moments.
Twinkle sipped at her coffee and looked up at him, noticing the ray of hope that stroked through his eyes. She felt the ends of her eyes crinkle and moisten, and she rubbed the corners. After all, she knew how it felt like to embrace parenthood with an infant in arms.
Twinkle: Have you ever thought of having a child, Kunj?
Kunj: I’d thought of adopting a few years after Papa had passed away, but it never happened. (pausing shortly) I’ve thought of talking about it with you several times, but…
Twinkle: Phir kyun nahi ki?
Kunj (shrugging his shoulders): I don’t know. Maybe, I’m just scared, Twinkle. What if that kid becomes more important to me than Aarohi? I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself ever after that.
Twinkle (clutching his hand tighter): Rishtey dil se judte hain, Kunj. All these theories of your own blood aren’t really true. I know, how much you love Aarohi. You would never neglect her for someone else, Kunj.
Kunj (exhaling deeply): Pata nahi. Maybe, I’m also scared that your pregnancy might’ve complications. I don’t know, I’m just not ready to risk anything, Twinkle. I’m happy with you and Aarohi around. I don’t think I want anything anymore.
Twinkle: Why didn’t you ever think of adopting again? We can adopt a kid, na?
Kunj (looking at her): It’s going to be difficult for Aarohi to accept, Twinkle. Our marriage hasn’t been for too long, she’s probably still trying to fit in at certain places and situations. And now, even Yuvraj is thinking of re-marrying. It wouldn’t be easy for her to process all of this, together.
Twinkle (nodding her head): I know. That’s why, I’m not talking of now. We can give it some thought ourselves and then talk to her. Let her take her time, then we can adopt. (looking into his eyes) I want you to embrace parenthood from the beginning. Adopt karna ho toh, we can adopt an infant also, na.
Kunj: We’ll see, Twinkle. It’s a difficult decision to make.
Twinkle: I’m not asking you to decide right away, but it wouldn’t be so difficult, Kunj. Imagine being able to make a difference in someone’s life who’s underprivileged? You already know how it feels. And you know, how lucky this family is to have Myra.
Kunj (nodding): I know. And maybe, that is why, I’m saying. Not always do such cases have positive repercussions. A lot of times, the child’s also very traumatised with the revelation. Just because Myra has taken it so sportingly, doesn’t mean all kids will.
Twinkle (inhaling deeply): I know. But woh toh hamare pyaar aur parvarish pe depend karega na? See, I’m not asking us to decide right away. Let’s give ourselves some more time, then we’ll think about it. We’ve to talk to everyone in the family (looking away) Yuvraj included, because he can legally have a say in this. And then, Aarohi also.
Kunj: Acha, chalo. We’ll think about it. Tum ho na mere saath?
Twinkle (smiling): Hamesha.
Kunj (smiling back): Then, we’ll figure out what’s right. (moments later) How was the coffee?
Twinkle: It was very good.
The two of them sat in silence, embracing each other’s presence in the quietude. As the temperature lowered with the darkness of the night, Kunj wrapped an arm around Twinkle to comfort her and the two of them moved closer to each other.
Twinkle: Kunj? (looking up at him as he furrowed his brows) Thank you!
Twinkle: For being you.
Kunj (smiling): Thank you to you, too, then!
Twinkle smiled and rested herself against him. As a few moments swirled by, Twinkle picked up the phone from the floor and tapped on the screen, resuming the playlist. As the tune echoed in the silence of the night, Kunj pressed his lips against the top of her head and she shut her eyes, revelling in the tranquillity of the night while the song continued playing.
“Bade acche lagte hain; ye dharti, ye nadiya, ye raina aur tum…”
Alright, that’d be it for this episode. I think, the conversations from this episode fall under my list of some of the most beautiful conversations in this story. But I’d love to know your opinion on them. Like always, thank you for reading!