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Hey, you all! Thank you for all your responses, please keep them coming. Here’s the next episode, Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Yuvraj wishes to amend his differences with Twinkle; Twinkle surprises Kunj and meets him, Kunj thinks of his inner turmoil.
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 7
The sky had grown darker and Twinkle stared above, the brightness of the stars holding her interest. In a relaxed posture, she pushed the swing lightly and occasionally, looked beside herself, at Aarohi. Her hand was weaved around Aarohi’s small fingers and she looked at their intertwined palms in her lap. Twinkle was waiting for her mother to call them for dinner, when Aarohi had insisted to sit with her outside in the patio. Her daughter continued staring at the sky.
Twinkle: Did you understand then, why I like sitting outside at night?
Aarohi (shaking her head animatedly): No. (she paused to look up at Twinkle) Or may be, I do. Do you sit outside to look at the bright stars? They do seem to fascinate me. And I noticed you keep looking at the sky.
Twinkle (smiling): No, Baccha. This is usually where I find my solitude – (seeing Aarohi’s quizzical look) – my alone time. I sit here because I have to think; Think about so many things.
Aarohi (excitedly): Then, Can I sit outside when I’ve to think for all my homework? If it eases your mind to think, shouldn’t it ease mine.
Twinkle (laughing softly): Then, you’ll stare at the stars only. Because, they fascinate you.
Aarohi held her silence at that, and Twinkle knew she was correct. Her daughter really wouldn’t study, if she allowed that.
Twinkle: Do you not have any homework today?
Aarohi: I did. Nani helped me complete it before you came. She told me, you’d spend time with me, if I finish my work early.
Twinkle (rubbing Aarohi’s knuckles): I’m sorry. There are so many days, you don’t get to talk to me and you’re back to bed. I wish I could be at home more often, and have lesser work.
Aarohi (worriedly): Maa, are you crying?
Twinkle (shaking her head): No, I sound like you, because I’m sad. Crying is your job, not mine. I don’t have anyone to wipe my tears.
Aarohi: Why? Nani would happily do, I think.
Twinkle (laughing): If I cry like you, at my age, Nani will beat me.
Aarohi (laughing): Then, Papa can do it. He wipes my tears, too, if I cry.
Twinkle held her silence at that. She hadn’t wanted to talk of Yuvraj – or, even think of him. Yet, Aarohi had broached that aspect of the conversation so casually. Yuvraj had been trying to contact her since the last two days, but she had dismissed all his calls and messages. She couldn’t wrap her mind around their previous conversation, yet. And until she did, she decided it’d be better if they did not converse.
But it wasn’t their conversation that swarmed Twinkle’s mind now. The words that escaped past Aarohi’s lips bothered her. If Aarohi kept believing her birth parents could provide her the home she wanted, despite their years of differences, she didn’t know if Aarohi would ever be able to accept Kunj. Twinkle tried contemplating if she could talk to her daughter about it – her stare alternating between their clasped hands and her daughter’s face.
Leela (coming toward them): Dinner is served. Would the two of you please grace the table with your presence?
Aarohi (freeing her hand and jumping down excitedly): Yes. I’m very hungry. Can I start while the two of you slowly come inside?
Leela (sternly, but in a soft voice): No, that is rude, Aarohi. You can go inside and settle down, but wait for us to come. A family that eats together …
Aarohi (disappointed): Stays together. Fine. I’ll go inside, but you both should come inside fast. Really fast.
Twinkle looked at her mother nodding her head, but Aarohi had already disappeared out of their vision. She hadn’t waited for her grandmother to respond.
Leela (stepping closer to Twinkle): What has you worried?
Twinkle (weaving her arms around her mother’s waist): I don’t know, Maa. Is moving on the correct option? May be, I should just agree to what Yuvraj is saying and settle down with him again.
Leela (caressing her hair): Did Aarohi say anything? (Twinkle nodded her head) The question is; Would you be happy with a sham marriage, Twinkle? As much as I care about Aarohi, I also want you to be happy. If I exclude the chances of uncertainties, I won’t be there by your side, always. Would you be able to handle yourself on your own throughout your whole life? It is not so easy, Beta.
Twinkle: I know, Maa. But all those questions are secondary. What matters to me more is, If Aarohi would be happy with this; If she’d be able to accept Kunj. What if, in turn, it has a horrible affect? If she refuses to talk to me, or anything of that sort, I wouldn’t know what to do, Maa.
Leela (kissing the top of Twinkle’s head and shushing her): Be optimistic, Beta. I’m sure everything will turn out to be good at the end. Just listen to what your hearts says, but also, think practically.
Aarohi (from inside, screaming): Are the two of you coming? Maa! Nani!
Leela (loudly): We are. (softly) For now, come and have dinner. All of us are there to talk to Aarohi. We will manage to convince her, don’t worry so much.
Twinkle nodded and stood up, but the thought lingered in her mind. She couldn’t banish the thought from her mind. Imagining a future without Aarohi felt blemished, and the thought terrified her entire existence. For the longest time, she hadn’t grown so attached to anyone, besides her parents. But Aarohi was her own flesh and blood. She was a fraction of her – of her existence. She could never abandon her.
She was thinking of marrying Kunj, but ONLY if Aarohi accepted him. She knew the constrain always remained between them, and that was why Kunj had asked her about it the other day, too. The comfort and tranquillity he provided her, spread a warmth within her, but she couldn’t have a future without Aarohi. And if a future with her daughter required any sacrifice or alteration, she’d effectuate it without a trace of hesitation.
Yuvraj waited in the reception area, a small fragment of his patience dissipating with each passing second. He had been trying to contact Twinkle since the past few days, but she’d left him unattended – certainly, avoiding him. But he decided, that’s what he deserved. He was sure he’d offended her – hurt, even – the other night and it, perhaps, wasn’t the easiest for her to forgive and forget. Yet, he hoped. And that was why, he’d argued and fought with his mother earlier in the morning. He was furious at himself, and when his mom added to the accusations, he felt himself losing his temper and control.
Saanjh: Sir, you’re here? Is there anything that’s required to be done in the paperwork?
Yuvraj (looking up at Saanjh): No, No. All of that was fine. Thank you, in fact, for helping me out. If I do require help in the future, which might be quite often, I’d get back to you.
Saanjh smiled and waited before him, standing at a distance. Unlike Twinkle, Saanjh wasn’t so serious; She was jovial outside work, and had attempted to build an amiable relationship with him. But he couldn’t really draw a comparison between the two of them. Saanjh was much younger and she’d begun her career a few years ago, whereas Twinkle had been in the profession for a long while and she’d gradually changed over time. Although, he couldn’t recall Twinkle being good-humoured, even when they were married.
Receptionist: Excuse me, Sir! (Yuvraj looked up at her) Ma’am is in the middle of something and won’t be free until lunch. She told, you could either wait, or contact her later.
Yuvraj decided he’d wait for Twinkle. He figured, if he tried contacting her later, she would clearly ignore him, and this was the only way he could talk and resolve their differences.
Twinkle sat opposite Yuvraj during her lunch time at a nearby cafeteria, and contemplated her decision for the umpteenth time. She wasn’t sure if she’d taken the correct decision by agreeing to meet him. Even the previous night, she hadn’t been able to think straight when his name emerged in her mind. That was why, she’d decided, she’d leave the topic untouched and wouldn’t allow herself to analyse what went wrong. Yet, here she was, sitting across him, on the other end of the table.
Yuvraj (skimming through the menu): What do you want me to order for lunch?
Twinkle: I will just have a cup of coffee.
Yuvraj (looking up at Twinkle disbelievingly): That can’t be your lunch, Twinkle.
On any other day, Twinkle would’ve had wanted to have more, but as she predicted the vehemence of the upcoming conversation, the muscles in her stomach clenched and an uneasiness enveloped her. She didn’t know if she was ready for the conversation, yet.
Twinkle: That’d be it. (forming a quick, convincing lie) I’d my breakfast late, so I’m still full.
Yuvraj (staring at her): You’re just nervous. (pausing shortly) If you don’t want to have this conversation, we can talk later; When you’re comfortable talking about it.
Twinkle: No. I want to finish it off. But maybe, fighting wouldn’t be so convenient here.
Twinkle looked around the cafeteria and assessed the crowd that occupied the space. She was certain, they couldn’t fight over their personal issues in that small space.
Yuvraj (faltering): I know, I wasn’t right the other day. I should’ve been patient enough to listen to you, first. I didn’t even try understanding.
Twinkle: It wasn’t you, alone. I broached the topic in a wrong way, but may be, if the two of us had been a little more patient, we could’ve had a civil conversation.
Yuvraj (inhaling deeply): I think, Twinkle, for either of us have to civil conversation, we need to become the friends we never were, first. We need to accept the past we’ve had with each other and despite the differences, try supporting and understanding each other.
Twinkle (nodding her head): You are right. I’m tired of the altercations between ourselves. Neither of us are ever able to converse and act cordially with each other.
Yuvraj: You’re right. (pausing briefly) Did you talk to Aarohi about moving on?
Twinkle (sighing): No, I haven’t. She still dreams of the two of us getting back together, you know? It’s so evident in each of her conversations.
Yuvraj: No one knows that better than me.
Twinkle was sure she had noticed the disappointment that laced his voice. She couldn’t imagine herself having this conversation just yet. The change in Yuvraj’s behaviour appeared too surreal, and she was clueless of her judgement. She wanted them to sort their differences, yet somewhere, in a small corner of her heart, it felt wrong. It felt wrong for several other reasons. Because now when she looked at Yuvraj with a fresh outlook, she was sure she could see the fear on his face; The fear of losing his daughter – perhaps, his daughter’s love.
Twinkle (softly): Yuvraj, you should know; regardless of what happens, Aarohi will always be your daughter. I, or – as a matter of fact – no one, can snatch away those rights from you.
Yuvraj: I know. I know, you’d never let that happen, either. But do you think Aarohi would be able to accept and adjust with the freshness and … such severe changes in her life? It wouldn’t be easy on her.
Twinkle heaved a long breath of worry and looked down at the table-top. Her mind was constantly wrapped around that little piece of thought. The thought that had burdened her shoulders with worry, that she felt could damage her existence. She wanted to remain optimistic and hope for what could be the best, but the thought clenched the nerves in the pit of her stomach and slaughtered her confidence. She knew, within the crevices of her soul, laid a terrifying thought, and she did not want to believe in that instinctive thought. Because as she continued thinking of it for longer intervals, nausea began filling within her, and it forced her to steer away from the thought of moving on.
That’s all for this episode, I’d love to know your thoughts. Please do let me know, if the storyline feels dragged; It just feels necessary to outline each character’s inner turmoil, especially of the protagonists’.