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Hey, you all! Thank you for your responses and thoughts, they truly mean a lot and I’m so grateful. I hope to have your responses coming, because they really help me understand and gauge what would really be better for the story. Thank you to everyone reading and supporting, it means a lot. Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Kunj and Twinkle learn more about each other; Yuvraj and Twinkle argue about their difference of opinions.
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 6
Yuvraj settled in the comfort of the chair in his office and revolved around to look outside the window. His mind was disturbed, flooded with thoughts from the other night. After screaming his frustration on one of his employees, he realised, he needed time to contemplate and understand himself, alone. After all, he had been trying to push it away since a long time.
In a marriage which involved two people, Twinkle certainly couldn’t be the only person to blame. He was sure, he was equally guilty, and the conscience that flooded within him had now developed into anxiousness. His mind reeled back to the time when he’d gotten engaged to Twinkle – as per family’s wish – but back then, life felt so uncomplicated. He talked about his meetings; She talked about the exams she aspired to write – and that was about it. They fell in love much later – a few years into their marriage – but the surrealism was so fleeting – he could barely recall it. It almost felt like, they were enchanted with each other for a short period of time, before their marriage unwound out of their grasp. They began growing cold and distant so early into the marriage, it had scared him.
Like Twinkle, he didn’t see a future with her, either. But he tried insisting, because he wished to provide what Aarohi so dearly yearned for. Even if that meant risking his entire personal life, he wouldn’t care. But as Twinkle’s words began resurfacing in his mind, he knew there was no hope for him to anticipate. He knew, Twinkle wouldn’t involve herself into a sham marriage, whatsoever. And while he wanted to respect her opinion, he couldn’t help but think how it’d impact his daughter.
But in the spur of that moment, realisation dawned on him. He realised, he needed to take a step ahead and resolve their scenario. And he wanted to do it with maturity this time – without accusations, without quarrels. Yuvraj realised, for the longest time, he hadn’t tried himself. But he truly wanted to understand Twinkle this time round, and extend whatever support she needed. He wanted to steel her resolve and help her, instead of weakening her.
Twinkle paged through the papers in the file, reading through the details of the case. She’d been working on the case since the morning and had been trying to gather the requited information. Her fingers skimmed over the keys on her keyboard, and she pressed the keys in a quick motion, after reading through the letters on the papers. It was a small start-up business that required legal help with some registration procedures during a tie-up. It was a small, growing business and she could see how much they’d developed in a brief period of time.
When her phone vibrated in the silence of her cabin, she stared down at the bright, flashing display of her phone. She picked up her phone from the table-top, and her eyes skimmed through the notification of the text message.
Yuvraj Luthra: We need to talk – Yuvraj
The corners of her lips twisted into a frown and she inhaled a deep breath, trying not to recollect their conversation that night. The entire of the previous day she’d been slouching after a sleepless night, and she didn’t want to recollect the occurrences just yet. She swiped the notification out of the screen display and slammed her phone upside-down. She needed time to recollect herself, and while she was partly guilty for how ugly the conversation had turned that day, his accusations had stung and she couldn’t forget them so soon. Every time they met, he tried blaming her and although, he didn’t mean to accuse her solely; She couldn’t think otherwise.
She sighed and returned to her work. She couldn’t distract herself with her personal life while at work. Yet, when her vision darted towards the bottom corner of the monitor display, she couldn’t stop her mind from reeling back into the conversation with her mother the previous night. The evocation unsnarled in her mind, and she relaxed into the cushion of the plush chair.
If the relation between her and Kunj needed to work, she was required to put in efforts, equally. She couldn’t expect him to be the upper hand in the relationship. It was a relation involving the two of them, and she realised, belatedly – after her mother insisted – that she needed to invest herself similarly, too. She couldn’t burden him with the responsibilities, and she didn’t want to do it, either. The relation – if it really formed – between them would be mutual, and she would give her best into it. She wouldn’t want it to fall apart – not until, he wanted it to.
And when her vision darted to the time on the screen again, she picked up her phone and handbag from the tabletop. It was Tuesday afternoon, and she decided exactly where she wanted to be.
Kunj walked into the restaurant later that day – during the lunch time – and checked through the buffet arrangements. He hadn’t been in this restaurant to check through the food the previous day, and wanted to ensure the quality and the taste. He’d been checking their new launches since long, and he’d begun getting bored of that taste. But he couldn’t complain. If there was any minor mistake in the recently launched platters, he’d be ashamed. He’d never be able to bear the thought of disappointing his father.
After checking through all the dishes for the umpteenth time, he looked around the restaurant, scanning through the crowd and waited for the branch manager, Mr. Batra. Despite knowing the statistics, he wanted to talk to the manager and ensure that the employees and interns faced no trouble during their shifts and had enough convenience throughout their working hours. He saw Mr. Batra striding hurriedly to him and he smiled. It was the respect he saw in everyone’s eyes that assured him of his father’s pride.
He walked over to Mr. Batra, meeting him mid-way through and shook his hand – a small smile playing on his lips.
Kunj: How is everything here, Mr. Batra? How was the reception of the new launches yesterday?
Mr. Batra (smiling): It was good, Sir. The customers seemed to have liked the new platters. As you told us on Saturday, we tried taking in most of their responses, and I don’t think we’ve received any bad reviews, as such.
Kunj: Yes, everyone seems to be working very responsibly. I’ve received the responses, and we’ve a team working on it. They shall assess the customers’ responses and we’d know how we’ve truly done.
Mr. Batra smiled and looked around the restaurant. There wasn’t a huge crowd to be attended, yet.
Kunj: I hope no one is having trouble with anything. Is anyone facing any inconvenience with the changes in their shift hours?
Mr. Batra: I haven’t been informed of anything, as of yet. If I do know, I’d get back to you, or Ma’am, whoever would be available. (pausing briefly) Shall I send your lunch to your office, Sir?
Kunj nodded his head and then, weaved his way away from Mr. Batra. He had decided to stay in the office upstairs for the afternoon – just for precautionary measures. If anything, or anyone needed his help, he could assist. It wasn’t always that he got the time, anyway.
He walked toward the staircase, but an acquainted smell drifted through the atmosphere, gathering at the base of his nostrils. He could smell peonies and soap nearby, and he knew whom the scent belonged to. It had appeared very captivating to him the first – and only – time he’d met her till now, and it was retained in his mind. The lightness of the scent was beguiling, and he couldn’t stop wondering of it.
He picked up his phone and pondered on calling Twinkle, wanting to ask if he’d be meeting her in the afternoon. He wasn’t hopeful, though. She’d told him of having work, but he wanted to check once. However, he decided against it, and ascended a step toward the first floor.
Twinkle: Good afternoon, Mr. Sarna!
Kunj looked down through the stair banister and a wave of surprise repulsed within him. While a tiny part of him wished to meet her, he wasn’t expecting it to happen. He smiled down at her, and descended down the stair.
Kunj: Good afternoon, Ms. Taneja!
Twinkle (playfully): Is that your trick of playing me into calling you Kunj?
Kunj (smiling): If you’d like to think so. Miss Taneja.
Twinkle smiled and stared down at the wooden floor, while Kunj stared at her, noticing the waves of hair falling on her face. He decided, the deep blue shade of saree she wore suited her very well, accenting her skin tone.
Kunj: Did you not have work?
Twinkle (looking up): I did, I did. But I was told in the morning, I’m not needed, so I thought, I could come here instead.
Kunj: Your outfit today doesn’t seem to make me believe you’re a lawyer, though.
Twinkle (arching her brows): I don’t have to wear the black-and-white uniform each day. It’s only when I have client meetings and court cases. I only had work in the office today, but our get-up still requires to be formal, just in case.
Kunj (nodding his head; his gaze sweeping through the crowd): Shall we go upstairs? To my office? I doubt, you’d want to talk in between throngs of people, Twinkle.
Twinkle: You say, Mr. Sarna. (laughing at his expression) You’re the one to talk, Kunj. I’m a customer, anyway.
Kunj (mock indignation): MY customer, you mean?
Twinkle (holding her laughter): Even if I sit downstairs, I’d be your customer. Isn’t the restaurant yours?
Kunj sighed. He shouldn’t have tried arguing with Twinkle. She was a lawyer, after all. He couldn’t expect her to not have a way with her words.
Kunj (smiling): If you’ve finished fighting your case, then; We’ll go upstairs, Twinkle.
Twinkle nodded and followed Kunj, closely. When they ascended their way to the first floor, Kunj waited for Twinkle to catch-up. When Twinkle stood next to him, she looked up at him, and he guided her to the end of the corridor, toward his cabin. The simplicity and plainness of the monochromatic cabin reminded him of their small conversation that occurred minutes ago, and a small smile lingered across his lips.
Twinkle (amused): Kunj! Why are you smiling to yourself?
Kunj (realising he’d almost forgotten of their conflicting attentiveness): Nothing. So, you don’t have any work today?
He guided her to the low-seating sofas at the corner of the room, and settled down in the adjacent sofa, next to hers.
Twinkle: I do. I have an hour or so free, so I thought, I’d drop by.
Kunj (nodding understandingly): Did you have lunch?
Twinkle (shaking her head): No, I didn’t. Did you have? (she picked up her handbag, and looked into it, withdrawing a small box) Maa was sure I’d come here, so she sent this for you.
Kunj (taking the box): What’s inside it?
Twinkle: Kheer. Maa read somewhere you love kheer, so she thought, she’d send it for you.
Kunj (inhaling the fresh aroma): That was very thoughtful of her. (he closed the box and looked up at her; in a teasing voice) Is that why you came? To parcel the kheer?
Twinkle (in the same tone): Haa, Ab jaun? I’ve done my job of parcelling, anyway. (she picked up her phone to continue the act)
Kunj (laughing): No, No. Sit down. I’ll ask someone to bring us lunch. You can leave after that, if you want.
Twinkle smiled and placed her phone on the table-top, turning it upside-down. Kunj ordered for two plates of their traditional Thali, and walked back to his seat.
Kunj: So; Did you talk to Yuvraj after your conversation with me the other day? You were quite upset that day.
Twinkle (sighing): I did. I talked about a lot of things, and miserably failed at conveying my message. We had a huge argument afterward. (she laced her fingers in her lap and looked down)
Kunj: I see. (trying to divert the topic) How is Aarohi?
Twinkle: She is fine. She has been so ecstatic ever since she’s returned home. Because I wanted to talk to Yuvraj, we invited him for dinner, and her happiness has been overwhelming since then.
Kunj (smiling): I can understand. (pausing for a long second) Do you think she’d be able to accept me?
Twinkle: She might need some time, but you don’t have to worry; She will accept you. (looking up at him) However, today’s meeting was supposed to be about you. So, if you may talk about yourself.
Kunj: That sounds so much like talking to a lawyer. But what do you want to know?
Twinkle (laughing): Is that what we’d do? Rapid-Fire questions?
Kunj: I’m sure, I must not have such an exciting life.
They fell into a comfortable silence after that. A few minutes later, the sound of the knock on the door startled the two of them; They’d fallen into their own reveries. Kunj stood up and strode over to the door, allowing the waiter to serve their lunch. He stood at the doorstep, holding the door open. When the waiter exited his office, he smiled at him and when his retreating figure disappeared, he shut the door.
Twinkle (looking at the wall ahead): And who would that be?
Kunj (following her gaze): My father. He left us a few years ago. This used to be his business, earlier. Maa and I carried it forward after he passed away.
Twinkle (noticing his pain-laced voice): You seem to have been very close to him.
Kunj held his silence for a minute, amidst the clatter of the spoons on the plates. His eyes followed Twinkle while she distributed the lunch evenly, and let the sadness within himself erupt.
Kunj: I was. What is worse was, I wasn’t beside him when he breathed his last. I’d to go meet someone for expanding our business, and that was when he passed away.
Twinkle (softly): Sorry, I shouldn’t have talked of it.
Kunj (whispering): You don’t have to worry of it. I don’t talk about my father, as such. But I’m glad you touched the topic. It always feels good to have someone to share.
Twinkle: I know.
And they fell into a silence after that, the clattering of cutlery echoing in the emptiness of the room. Kunj had never been good at dealing with his past, and the thought had begun to frighten him now. He felt guilty for doing this to Twinkle. She was honest and outspoken about her past, but he chose to be a coward and hide it from her. He didn’t have anything to fear of, though. His past was truly his past, He would never have to think of any bits of it to have had endured. Yet, his past seemed to rip his heart open. And he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to heal – if anyone would ever be able to help him heal. Because in all these years, no one had even known he had a past that really troubled him, and ripped apart his soul into a bundle of emotions.
He had masked his inner turmoil so exceptionally well, it frightened him to bits and pieces. He didn’t know if he could ever be the real Kunj, again. Because facades are always the path to escape – and he has been trying to escape from his own self since so long now.
Alright, that’s all for this episode, please share your thoughts. The motive of the story is to have flawed characters and show their improvement over the course of time, Hope it feels right to everyone.