Hey, you all! Thank you for all your responses, it really means a lot. Please keep them coming. This chapter, I suppose, has been long awaited; I hope it lives up-to all your expectations. Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Kunj and Twinkle are caught up in a moment in the Gurudwara; Twinkle decides for a future with Aarohi and Kunj, She decides to overlook her newly-formed perception.
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 9
“Don’t forget these.”
His mother admonished him over the distance for the umpteenth time. She had insisted him to not visit the Taneja’s empty-handed as per older customs, and he had relented. But his mother was too excited ever since she’d heard of the invitation. Initially, she had refused to exhibit her enthusiasm, but when he realised, his mother’s excitement was falling over the edge, he allowed her to share it with him. But as he thought of it now, he was unsure if that had been the correct thing to do.
Kunj (shaking his head): I will, Maa. You need to relax yourself, now. You’ve been too excited about this invitation, despite of it not being so important.
Usha: If you say so to convince yourself, Kunj. But in reality, even you know how important Aarohi is for Twinkle, and if she’s willing to introduce her to you, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be excited. In fact, you should be excited, too.
Kunj (checking his pockets): All I’m trying to imply is, if Aarohi doesn’t approve of me, this relationship won’t even happen. So, don’t get your hopes high, yet.
Usha (scrunching her face): And do you not like Twinkle, at all?
Kunj: I never said that. I don’t know what really exists between us, but you know, that is secondary, Maa. She had that cleared for me since the beginning.
Usha (walking up-to Kunj): Toh lado, Beta. Fight for what you want and what’d be for the better. (pausing briefly and turning him around) I think you’d make an excellent father and husband. And I want you to fight for that.
Kunj (his lips curving into a teasing smirk): Have you been talking to Bebe too much these days? She seems to have influenced you with her words very well.
Usha (glaring at him): You do not speak of your elders like that.
Kunj (laughing): You know I was joking. When is Bebe returning?
Usha: She wanted to return a few days ago, but since Myra’s internship ends next week, she thought, they’d return together.
Kunj (rolling his eyes): Oh no! Why is Myra returning?
Usha (lightly smacking his arm): Why do you want to irritate her all the time? Stop it! (pausing shortly) You’ve to pick them up from the airport next weekend.
Kunj (fastening the watch on his wrist): Abhi jaun, pehle? I will be very, very late, otherwise.
Usha nodded and Kunj walked toward the door, slipping his feet into his shoes. He hoped for the evening to turn in their favour, and wished for Aarohi to be acceptive of him. He didn’t know, till what lengths would Twinkle prefer to go against her daughter’s wishes. He was unsure, till what lengths could they go, if they had to convince Aarohi.
“I told you, you’ll forget these,” Usha nudged him, handing him a posy of flowers. She shot him an admonishing look and Kunj’s lips curved into a small, innocent smile.
Kunj (admiring the posy): I still feel, these weren’t necessary.
Usha: And I still feel they are. I’d be very pleased, if you leave now.
Kunj realised, his mother almost wanted to shoo him out of the house. He had been very reluctant of offering those blooms to Twinkle, and he was still very uncertain. Albeit, they were a mix of yellow roses and white orchids, he still couldn’t believe his mother had wanted him to take these. But his mother had experienced love before, and she knew exactly how it felt to be greeted with roses. Hence why, he’d decided, he’d relent to his mother’s words. Although, love between them didn’t exist. He could only envision friendship between them, and for now, that felt sufficient.
When he drove away, he waved a hand at his mother and pressed the gas pedal, while anticipating the evening. He hoped, it was a long, pleasurable evening. An evening where they could embrace casualty, and refuse to acknowledge any of the posed hardships.
Twinkle waited in anticipation. She didn’t know if it had been correct to extend an invitation for the evening. But after she had firmed herself with the decision the other day, she hadn’t wanted to procrastinate too much. She didn’t want herself to delve into the thought anymore. She knew, if she delved anymore, she might’ve had wanted to convince herself otherwise. And that was why, she had decided, the sooner she extended the invitation, the lesser were her chances to debate and divert.
She jumped out of her reverie when she saw Aarohi roaming around, blabbering to her mother, asking for a treat of chocolate.
Twinkle: Aarohi, why don’t you get changed? I told you quite a while ago that we’re expecting a guest.
Aarohi (turning around and scrunching her nose using her fingers): You told me, it’d be some uncle. Most likely, a client of yours.
Twinkle (sternly): Doesn’t matter. He’s still a guest.
Aarohi (looking down at her outfit): I think, this is good enough, Maa.
Twinkle (glaring at her): Aarohi!
Aarohi walked away in disappointment. Twinkle was certain, her daughter didn’t want to enjoy the company of three adults; She wasn’t old enough for that. But it was necessary to introduce Kunj and Aarohi to each other. She needed to be assured of their bond – regardless of how it would be. Although, she was definite she wanted to exclude professionalism and formality out of their relation. She wanted them to be comfortable around each other. But she knew, she’d be fortunate enough, if they liked each other. Certainly, she couldn’t expect Aarohi to assume Kunj at her father’s position – at Yuvraj’s place.
Leela (placing a comforting hand on Twinkle’s shoulder): Are you nervous?
Twinkle (sighing): I am, Maa. What if something goes haywire?
Leela (softly): If you’ve trusted Kunj on this, allow him to prove himself. I’m sure, Aarohi’s likeability matters to him, too.
Twinkle nodded her head and looked at her mother’s assuring smile. Her mother was right; She needed to trust Kunj on this. His relation with Aarohi needed independence of her prying, and she didn’t want her influence to muddle with their bond. At least, not now – not in the initial few days. When the bell rang, Twinkle jumped in nervousness and her voice croaked.
Twinkle: Maa! Please open the door.
Leela (shaking her head): I’ve the desert to be attended to, in the kitchen. You go and welcome him.
Twinkle tried forming a quick response, but her mother walked away before, leaving her in the emptiness of the drawing room. She knew, her mother had done this on deliberation. She didn’t know if her mother had work in the kitchen or no, but most certainly, it could’ve had been attended to a few minutes later, too.
She sighed and opened the door. She wished, she had someone else to welcome him, especially after the imaginary moment that had transpired between them earlier. She didn’t want to be up-close to him, yet. Twinkle was most definite she could hold herself in control, but her mind seemed to already have had gone chaotic and she wished for no repetition.
Twinkle nodded and let him inside, a small smile lingering on her lips. She tried assuring herself that the moment in the Gurudwara had been a figment of her imagination. She didn’t want to think of it, because if she did, the evening would cause to be LONG. Longer than she’d wished for it to be.
Twinkle (guiding Kunj to the seating area): I’ll just call, Maa.
Twinkle turned around to leave, but Kunj’s fingers curled around her wrist and a warmth unfurled within her. Her skin felt ignited and she couldn’t tend to the nervousness in her stomach. She turned and looked at him, arching her brows. She was certain, she’d around with vigour and it had held Kunj surprised. But Twinkle couldn’t catch the fleeting emotion on his face. But the calmness of her face comforted her and any residual thoughts of earlier, vanished instantly, as always.
Kunj (pressing the word): Hello.
Twinkle (in a confused voice): Hello?
Kunj: You’re quite nervous.
Twinkle (withdrawing her hand): And what makes you think so?
Kunj: If you try to imply, No, I wouldn’t argue, Advocate Twinkle Taneja.
The remark curved her lips, again. She reassured herself, she needn’t behave distantly around him.
Twinkle (in a teasing tone): You don’t take a chance arguing with me, It’s no fun.
Kunj: I’ve had taken my chance earlier. (pausing briefly) What’s worrying you, Twinkle?
Twinkle (sighing): I don’t know. I’m not quite sure of this. I just hope nothing turns out to be ugly.
Kunj (with a reassuring smile): We can only try.
Leela (from behind): Namaste, Kunj!
Kunj (folding his hands): Namaste, Aunty! Thank you for inviting me over.
Leela: It’s no bother. Although, I’m most certain, I wasn’t the only one to invite you.
Kunj (looking toward Twinkle): Definitely. It was a family invitation, I know.
Leela: Of course. (she looked around and then turned to Twinkle) Where’s Aarohi?
Aarohi: I’m here, Nani.
Twinkle noticed how Aarohi strode across the room to stand in front of her. She felt the tugging on her arms and wrapped her arms across her daughter’s shoulders.
Twinkle (whispering): Thank you, Baccha! (looking at Kunj) This would be Aarohi. And Aarohi, this is Kunj Uncle.
Aarohi (in a clipped tone): Good evening, Uncle!
Kunj walked across the room and stood in front of Twinkle. She arched her brows at him in question. Twinkle knew her daughter could be difficult to tame around strangers, and she hoped for what could be the best. She couldn’t muster herself to utter a word, though. She’d promised herself; she’d trust Kunj and she wouldn’t allow herself to break it. Not yet, at least.
Kunj (kneeling down to Aarohi’s height): Good evening, Beta! How are you?
Aarohi: I’m good.
Twinkle pressed her daughter’s shoulders, attempting to make her realise the question she needed to ask. But Kunj looked up at her, shaking his head. She saw him checking his pockets, before retrieving chocolates from his pockets.
Kunj (holding them in front of her): Do you like chocolates?
Aarohi (snatching them away): I do.
Twinkle (looking down): Aarohi…
But she paused mid-way, reminding herself of her own promise, again. In a brief second, she also recalled how Kunj had shaken his head and she stepped away from the conversation, mentally.
Kunj (holding a small box): Would you like this?
Aarohi (taking the box): What is inside this?
Kunj (removing the lid): You may see for yourself.
Aarohi (picking it up in her hands): This is so beautiful! What is it?
Twinkle looked at the dangling piece of exhibit in her daughter’s hand and looked at Kunj in surprise. She hadn’t expected him to bring gifts for Aarohi, let alone something so beautiful and thoughtful.
Kunj: That’d be a dreamcatcher.
Aarohi (staring at it): And what is a dreamcatcher?
Kunj: It could be your lucky charm. Or, it could help you achieve all that you’ve dreamed of.
Aarohi (dumbfound): All that I’ve dreamt of?
Kunj: Only what’s possible. But also, a lot of what could be better than your dreams.
Twinkle closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. This was his way of attempting to explain – in a very minute way – of their relationship. She’d asked him not to talk of it this evening, but he’d broached the topic so carefully and secretively, it surprised her.
Aarohi: And did you get anything for Maa?
Twinkle: Aarohi, thank…
Kunj (interrupting): I tried, but she refused beforehand. Told me, she doesn’t like gifts.
Twinkle looked down at him in surprise. That was a lie. He hadn’t asked her anything about gifts. Certainly, she would’ve refused, but he hadn’t asked her, even.
Aarohi: That sounds typical of Maa.
Twinkle (mock-glaring at her): Aarohi!
Aarohi high-fived Kunj and wrapped her arms around him in joy. Twinkle looked down at them and smiled in relief. Her daughter didn’t know of their intention. But if Kunj had been able to convince her of amiability in a few minutes, the two of them – together – would be able to convince her of the future, too.
Twinkle felt her insides fill with relief and she looked at her mother who stared at her, a small smile lingering on her lips. She arched her brows in question, but her mother shook her head. Perhaps, it wasn’t anything and she was reading into nothingness. But she knew, her mother was happy, and pleased.
Twinkle walked beside Kunj under the darkness of the sky and wrapped her arms around herself. Her mother had insisted her to walk Kunj outside, and she had hesitantly agreed. Although, she was truly grateful to him, and they’d spent a great evening together, she’d felt reluctant to walk him out. But as she walked beside him, she felt the comforting, pleasurable aura returning and her uneasiness began dissipating.
They stopped near his car and he turned around to look at her. She noticed the brightening of his features under the streetlight and looked away. She couldn’t allow herself to indulge in another bewitching moment. He forwarded his left hand and interlaced his fingers with hers. Twinkle looked up at him in surprise, but he rubbed gentle circles across her skin, looking at their intertwined hands. It calmed the disturbance within her and she looked at him more intently.
Kunj: Something has been bothering you. It wasn’t just about Aarohi.
Twinkle (hesitantly): Don’t worry of it. It’s nothing, I just have some work at office tomorrow.
Kunj: The Twinkle I have gotten to know, is too outspoken. She’s not good at hiding herself.
Twinkle: What makes you think I’m hiding anything?
Kunj: I’d be glad, if you don’t.
Twinkle (stepping closer and looking into the freckles in his eyes): You know, Kunj, I’d be, too. Just because, I’m not pushing you or asking you, doesn’t imply I don’t want to know about you.
Kunj (nervously; looking at their laced hands): I’ll tell you. Very soon.
Twinkle nodded her head and stepped away. She didn’t want to push him if he didn’t feel comfortable, but the thought disappointed Twinkle. She wasn’t sure if she was able to offer him the congeniality he needed, even after days.
Twinkle: Thank you for today!
Kunj: You don’t need to thank me for that. Aarohi should be as important to me, as she is to you.
Twinkle (smiling): You should return home, now. Aunty must be waiting for you.
Kunj (nodding and moving away): She, most certainly, will. She was so excited when I was coming; She’s going to bombard me with questions when I return.
Twinkle (laughing): Then, GO. Good night!
Kunj nodded and unlocked his car. Twinkle walked away to the road-side and waited for him to drive out of the parking lot. But he stepped out again and ran to her.
Twinkle (scrunching her brows): What happened?
Kunj (handing her the flowers): These were for you!
And he ran away almost immediately. Twinkle brushed her fingers along the fresh blooms of roses and orchids, and smiled. Kunj had an inevitable way of making her feel warm and special. She realised, in that spur of the moment – as she saw his car disappear and felt the heat rushing to her cheeks – that a spark existed between the two of them. A spark, which neither of them wanted to acknowledge, but nor, could they refuse and diminish it.
That’d be all for this episode, I’d love to know your thoughts on it. Aarohi’s character would be delved into more, in the upcoming updates. And Bebe will be coming up soon in the story, I hope her character remains to be as enjoyable as it was in the show.