Hey, you all! Thank you for all your responses, it really means a lot. Please keep them coming. Here’s the next episode, sorry about the delay; Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Aarohi’s remark jostles Twinkle’s inner turmoil; Twinkle and Yuvraj meet to amend their differences.
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 8
It was a Sunday morning, and Twinkle hadn’t been able to calm herself ever since she’d met Yuvraj. The thought continued lingering in Twinkle’s mind, and the restlessness within her grew, prodigiously. It was a rare occasion. She didn’t find herself stuck in situations, very often. She could, either, rely on her decisions, or be cynical of them. But instead, she found herself entrapped in a plight.
That was why, she decided, she’d appreciate herself a period of solitude. Certainly, the house was emptier than usual with Aarohi gone, but the thoughts continued whirling in her mind, and she couldn’t think straight. She felt incapable for various reasons. Her mind seemed to deceive her, and it made her sanity dissipate. The cluelessness that clung to her, knocked her out of her own self-consciousness. She wanted herself to be more adept, but the thought seemed to assassinate her; Assassinate her comprehension.
In a moment of spur – as the thoughts began strangling her mind, she steered around and dismissed the idea of going to her office. She did not want to come across those white walls of her office. Neither, did she want to greet the professionalism of the office. She wanted solitude and, in a minute second, she figured, the Gurudwara surmised to be the only place that could provide her the comfort, and the tranquillity she, so dearly, wished for.
She didn’t visit the Gurudwara very often. She wasn’t an atheist; No. But it never felt like a piece that fit in the puzzle of her life. Yet, at such a crucial time when she was required to take a decision, that, practically, held her key to the future, the Gurudwara seemed so appropriate to find solitude at. And as she rounded the corner and parked her car in the parking lot, she felt congeniality fill her insides. She was definite, congeniality had never felt so true, before.
She could’ve sworn her house was much, much emptier. And it wasn’t her irony that she talked of; It really was. There were throngs of people walking in and out. Yet, when she saw the gold of the Gurudwara shine amidst the clouds of the clear, blue sky, she didn’t want to be anywhere else. Despite the people that pushed past her – accidentally, thwacking her, or walloping her shoulders – she wanted to go inside and sit by the serenity of the pool, hearing the sloshing of the water. She did not care of the crowd. All she coveted for, was solitude.
She sat close to the pool – on the last stair – and the water brushed the tip of her toes. As the water repeatedly touched her toe, quietude unwhirled within her, and she remained there – allowing herself to remain numb. She’d realised, after a long period of retirement, she needed to devoid herself of thinking of the future. She’d realised, the more she thought of it, the worse her fears turned out to be.
Twinkle knew, she wouldn’t be able to do it for long. Or rather, LONGER. Hence, she allowed herself to remain there, for as long as she could feel the numbness. She figured, once she picked herself up from the stair, her mind would be awake from the stupor and it’d fall out of her grasp sooner than she’d want. She watched the people entering and exiting – together and alone – and it wrenched her heart. She wanted that life – if not for herself – at least, for Aarohi. And she was stuck at a junction, which reciprocated the similitude of a maze, because she couldn’t find her way out.
Twinkle whirled around and saw the most comforting, peaceful smile. She didn’t even have to contemplate the curve of her lips. It had formed with such naturality, and it surprised her. How could the person, she’d met few days ago, effectuate her actions the way he did, she did not know. All she knew was, he did, and she liked it. Perhaps, even appreciated him.
Twinkle: How are you here?
Kunj: I was passing by, so figured, might as well, drop-by. (he turned around to look at her) And what brings you here?
Twinkle: I came here looking for solitude.
Kunj (inhaling a deep breath): That implies, I should leave on cue.
Twinkle shook her head, but she hadn’t spared him a glance. She’d turned away almost immediately after she’d smiled at him. She was staring at the crowd, unfocusedly. But she knew, he hadn’t left; He was there, right beside her. An assuring aura fringed around them. She shouldn’t have had been surprised. He always made her feel calm, and better. Yet, every time, she met him, everything felt anew.
He didn’t sit down right next to her, she had noticed. Instead, he’d sat himself on the stair above hers and had maintained a cordial distance. It was a generous distance, rather. He made sure; he wouldn’t touch her by mistake, and neither would she. She didn’t want to, of course. She barely knew him, and all she saw lying between them – even in that small distance he’d designed – was friendship. True, they’d barely met, but he gifted her a companionship of comfort. And she couldn’t even find that with people she’d known for long; Very long.
Kunj (softly): Something is bothering you.
It was a whisper in the air, almost like a caress. She was certain, she had missed it, but she hadn’t and he knew it, too. Because, he didn’t repeat himself. Twinkle was unsure, if he hadn’t wanted to, though, but her instinct apprised her otherwise. She believed, he wanted to provide her the time she needed to reply. And that was why, she sat there; staring at the sloshing water and mentally scrutinizing the crowd.
Twinkle (minutes later; in an exasperated voice): I don’t know what the future awaits. And that is frightening.
Kunj sat there, almost holding his silence. Twinkle didn’t even expect a response from him after that. She supposed, the future frightened everyone. In different ways, certainly. But it did.
Kunj: When you sign up a court case to fight, Do you always know what the future holds; the opening and the closing statements?
Twinkle (stretching her interlaced hands): I don’t. But I do see some future. If not, I don’t sign up the case.
Kunj: I’m sure you’re seeing a future here, too. You just refuse to acknowledge the brightness that could possibly be held. You’re too busy chasing the pessimism.
Twinkle stood up and walked further by a mere centimetre. Kunj was right. She knew there was a bright streak that she saw in the future. But she didn’t know if she could treat her life like a court case she needed to work on. If she thought of it, it’d be much easier to behave in a similitude. She would just have to await in anticipation, hoping for the affirmative. It was easy, very easy. But she wanted to believe it wasn’t. Because, she didn’t know what it’d be to conclude at misfortune and loss.
Twinkle: And what if, the future really is as pessimistic as I’m believing?
Kunj: Listen to what your heart says, Twinkle. But also, think practically.
Twinkle spiralled in such expedition; she couldn’t fathom herself. Those were the exact words her mother had advised her with, but she’d forgotten them. And now, when he’d reminded her of those words – replicating the essence in every possible way – she found herself directed on a path she felt too acquainted with; A path which felt too facile.
But she was caught off-guard when she whirled around and saw Kunj so close to her, mere inches away. She had almost lost her balance and any rational had evaporated from her mind, but he held her. His hands wrapped around her waist to steady her, and she felt her skin ablaze. It burnt with an unknown intensity and she couldn’t assimilate the muscles in her stomach that clenched. She felt an ignition within her, and even the tip of her toe – which had felt cold and numb a minute ago – now felt incited.
Twinkle was never observant, a complete opposition to her mother’s extreme carefulness; Yet, when she looked closely, with such infinitesimal distance between them, she couldn’t ignore the small, intricate details her eyes fell on. She could see the charcoal freckles in his eyes she hadn’t noticed before. She could see his messy, dishevelled hair which had been well-combed earlier, before he had casually run his fingers through. She could smell the mix of detergent and woodsy cologne that enveloped him like an aura. She could see the pink, faded freckles that dotted his cheekbone, but were almost invisible when she stood away from him, at a distance.
She could even see his full, prolific and finely moulded lips, and she noticed the uniformity of the pigmentation. It seemed bizarre, because she wasn’t allowed to think this way. Not of Him, Not of anyone else. But she couldn’t step away. She felt entranced, and she couldn’t muster herself to move away from him – step away from him. But she did. However, it was not on her own will; No. He stepped away from her, ensuring she had regained her posture and he looked at her carefully – genuinely concerned. And certainly, clueless of what had transpired in the intimacy of that moment.
Twinkle (hurriedly): I need to leave.
And she left, without waiting for his response; without waiting for him to wave his hand at her. She, for sure, was bewitched. But the hurriedness in her actions contradicted to her self-convincing assurance, and suddenly, she felt, she had found a new reason to ponder on.
Because now, that she’d seen him so closely, almost etching the intricate details in her mind, she didn’t know what to do. And if the transpiration hadn’t been momentary, she did not know if she should have had been frightened to bits and pieces. Because enchantment should have frightened her – terrified, even. She wasn’t supposed to be enchanted by him. She was supposed to see him as a Friend, a Companion, and a Guardian. But she’d overlooked all of those, and she’d seen a MAN in him.
And it shook the very centre of her being, because it felt fallacious for several reasons. She couldn’t allow the new perception she’d developed, dominate her – make her feel vulnerable; selfish, even.
Twinkle sat down in the swing of her patio and focussed on the rhythm of the swaying trees. In the serenity and quietude of the night, she could only hear the clinking of her earrings and the soft bubbling of the searing hot coffee. Her mother had whipped her a cup of coffee and retired to the bed earlier that day. But Twinkle was wide-awake, especially since she had forbidden herself from gauging her future. It had brought her a mental peace and she’d felt happiness fill the insides of her.
But as she sat there, softly pushing the swing and sipping the steaming coffee, she let herself gravitate into apprehension. Now, after several days of suspicion and unawareness, She finally knew, where she wanted her life to be led to. She figured the betterment and happiness of Aarohi, and felt herself steering closer to the future she was imagining. A future with a family she could call her own – a family of Aarohi, Kunj and her. And it uncoiled an impeccable satisfaction within her. This was what she wanted in the future; in her life, in her daughter’s life.
As the thought began residing in her mind, and she finalized her judgement of it, her mind averted to the occurrence of the morning. She couldn’t comprehend the reality and transparency of the moment, yet. But it had seemed too surreal to be true. She had noticed such minute details – such minute imperfections – of him, and it hadn’t felt wrong. She was a Woman, He was a Man. She knew what transpired between them wasn’t wrong; Instead, it had felt so right, so apt. She hadn’t known, she’d craved to be appreciated like a woman, again. And Kunj had made her envision that feeling with a mere touch. But it felt too perfect to be true, and that was why, she wanted to ignore the feeling.
She was marrying him because her daughter yearned for a house – for a family with parents. He was marrying her because his mother wished for him to settle down in life. And that was about it. She didn’t want to think more of it, not when she and he, both, had several responsibilities to be taken care of. There was a bleak hope, though, that they may find each other beautiful, perfect for their own imperfections, but she decided not to indulge in that, yet.
For now, she wanted to secure a future for her daughter. At this moment, her happiness was secondary. Her daughter was whom she’d prioritise, over and over again, and she wouldn’t fall away from that.
When she tucked herself into the bed later that night, she let all other thoughts dissipate from her mind. She wanted herself to pleasure the decision she’d formed while she fell asleep, embracing herself amidst the pile of pillows. And she prided herself, because when she fell asleep in the darkness of that night, she saw streaks of bright light – Of hope.
Alright, that’s all for this episode, I’d love to know your thoughts. Please let me know, if the transition in Twinkle’s perspective was relatable and understandable.