Greetings everyone!! Thank you so much for sticking along, even after that unpredicted and unannounced long break I took. Apologies for the latter, by the way. I really hope this story gets its share of love and appreciation now that we’re approaching a very interesting turn of events. I’m super excited! Are you? Happy reading!
Twinj: Meant to be: Episode 34
A quick recap (a little longer one, since many of you might have forgotten the story): Twinkle is RT and Leela Taneja’s daughter who leaves their house owing to some undisclosed reasons, and starts a new, independent life – working at a café that she then begins to buy in instalments. One of her customers, Yuvraj Luthra gains her friendship and becomes pretty much the only person she trusts and confides in, and hence his fiancé and now wife – Aditi enters her close circle too. It is only when Yuvi introduces his dear friend – almost brother – Kunj Sarna to her that things change drastically, and her lonely, restricted life transforms into one of an unexplained kind of peace with their growing friendship and then marriage. While Kunj proposed since he had fallen in love with her, Twinkle hasn’t named her affection for him yet, and her prime reason to agree to the wedding was to get her mother and her annoying list of suitors off her back. On the night of the reception, Twinkle finds out what actually threw the Sarnas and Tanejas apart, giving her new family enough reasons to despise her. Despite her attempts to convince them that she had nothing to do with it all, Bebe asks her to leave the house.
Twinkle inhaled deeply, fighting internally to assure herself that it was all going to be alright – that she still had her old rented house where she could return to, the café was always going to be hers, and Kunj and Yuvi trusted her. She would get along somehow. The hurt look in Aditi’s eyes when they landed on her injured her heart more though. Aditi had always been there for her in whatever way she could, she had even accepted her as her own sister and strived to make sure she wouldn’t miss her family on her wedding day, but she had broken her faith. Not that she had much of a choice, but now that she thought of it, she wondered if she should have simply dropped all her defences and confessed her past to them all.
She turned around in her spot, keeping her eyes carefully off of Kunj and Yuvi, whatever they were saying to Usha and Bebe alternatively sounding like unclear mumbling to her. She knew they would fight for her to the very end, but she couldn’t be imposing this on them. Her family – no matter how less of hers now – had already given them enough trouble. It would be best for her to leave, and then, if destiny willed, she would be able to win over her new family, the people who had welcomed her into their world so warmly initially. But just as she had begun to walk away from the chaos behind her, she heard Usha’s voice, “Wait, Twinkle! You can’t leave!”
She looked back so fast that her mind was further confused with this sudden turn of events. She turned to look at Kunj, who appeared equally surprised. Yuvi seemed to have absolutely no idea of what was going on either, and Aditi was blinking blankly. Had Usha finally understood what they were trying to say? “Usha?” Bebe questioned, voicing all of their thoughts. “Bebe, she is our daughter-in-law, inspite of all that they have done. How can we throw her out like this? Besides, where is a lonely, helpless girl going to go at this hour of the night? We should have some pity on her, else what would be the difference between us and the Tanejas?” Twinkle froze at that, another similar night of disowning and demeaning returning before her eyes like it had happened just the previous day.
Aditi sighed, shaking her head and murmuring to herself before quietly ascending the stairs to her room. “This is extremely unfair, Ma! You can’t be saying such insensitive things to her!” Kunj began his protest, while Yuvi grabbed her hand in assurance. Bebe quietened them all with a single raise of her hand. “That’s enough for one day! Usha is right, we can’t ask your wife to leave, Kunj. So she will stay. And that is the end of this discussion.” She announced, gesturing for Usha to accompany her as she headed upstairs.
“Papa-” Kunj tried, knowing that the women of the house wouldn’t listen, but he hoped Manohar would understand. He had to, right? Kunj trailed off when he watched Manohar walk over to Twinkle slowly. “I remember seeing you once when you were a little child. You had come running down the stairs despite Mrs. Taneja asking you not to since there was some meeting going on in the hall.” He spoke slowly, softly, placing a hand on Twinkle’s head. Although he was doing his best to maintain his calm composure, she knew he was breaking inside. He felt deceived but was fighting his bubbling emotions to do what he knew was right. He hadn’t forgiven her, but some corner of his mind knew that she wasn’t wrong. Her past was only hers to reveal, whenever she felt like it. It wasn’t her fault that her old and new family were nemeses.
Twinkle sniffled at the wave of childhood memories being refreshed in her head. “Who knew that the tiny doll I had seen back then would end up being my daughter-in-law, my Kunj’s-” Manohar himself was teary-eyed as he spoke but paused when he realised he didn’t know how to finish that sentence. He shook it off with a smile nevertheless, glancing at Kunj briefly. “Mr. Taneja was someone I always looked up to, so did Usha. We thought of the family so highly that the betrayal marked the beginning of a drought for us, some seemingly endless darkness. It took us years to recover from it all, and perhaps there still are some parts of us that won’t ever heal. We’ll never forget what all that felt like.”
Tears were now falling freely from Twinkle’s eyes. The others were feeling emotional too. She felt incredibly sorry for them, but what was she to do? She had just begun cursing herself when Manohar tutted. “Don’t ever do that to yourself! Everyone knows that we shouldn’t be blaming you, that you must have dealt with so many unspoken things already and continue to do so. Some people will just take longer to come around. Until then, you have the three of us. We could still treat you like little princess Twinkle if you want!” He continued, and she smiled with a shake of her head after what seemed like an eternity.
Kunj, who had been stealing glances at Twinkle all along, noticed for the first time when Manohar had left that is, that Twinkle had been holding onto Yuvi’s hand as if her entire life depended on it. He felt the familiar pang in his heart once again that Twinkle didn’t trust him entirely, but he knew that he was still new in Twinkle’s life. She did trust him, despite the fact that Yuvi had the upper hand here. He would get there too, someday. Hopefully. “It’s all going to fall in place soon. I promise.” Yuvi whispered to Twinkle as he slowly loosened her hold on his hand and gently nudged her towards Kunj. “You both should get some sleep now. To prepare yourselves for round two of this show that’s bound to begin anytime soon.” He chuckled softly, attempting to lighten the atmosphere. Twinkle smiled wearily at him, knowing he was right, but also coercing her mind into believing, for the sake of her own sanity, that it would all actually get better.
“Twinkle? Did you need something?” Kunj asked cautiously when on stepping out of the washroom into their bedroom, he found her sitting on the edge of the bed. Like she was waiting for him. She looked up at him instantly, but held her silence for a couple of minutes, considering voicing her thoughts. “How about a friendly chat about nothing in specific?” He asked right then, and she thought there couldn’t be a better offer made to her. She nodded with a warm smile, patting beside her on the bed. He took his seat, his guilt preventing him from bringing up the incident, but not knowing what else she wanted to hear from him.
He was glad when she turned to face him, indicating she was ready to speak. “Mr. Sarna reminded me of those days when everything used to be perfect, you know? Ma was overprotective of Mahi and me, that’s true, but she always knew how to keep us happy. Papa strived to fulfil every tiny and big wish of ours, and Mahi was my best friend! My world – my family – was everything I could have ever dreamt of.” She spoke fondly, her eyes welling up at the recollection. “Ever since I left, I thought it was impossible to have people I could call my own. Then I met Yuvi and Aditi, and you-” She trailed off, stealing glances from him. He was watching curiously though. Had she just called him one of her own people?
“You found us, and we found you. It was meant to be.” He completed for her, and she smiled gratefully at him. “Everyone here tried their best for my sake, Kunj. I know you all really wanted me to be happy! But look at what I ended up doing! Bebe wouldn’t even look me in the eye, and now Aditi too probably hates me! Usha mam – she … she never looked this troubled before. She thinks I am the worst thing to happen to this family! She…” Twinkle gushed, all her pent up emotions rushing to be vented. She froze yet again when she remembered Usha’s parting words. It was along the same lines that RT had taunted her when she had vowed to leave. She had felt defeated all over again and probably would have given up altogether, had it not been for Manohar stepping in and wholeheartedly accepting her nevertheless, for Yuvi standing firm by her, and for Kunj. Him just being there. For her. It meant so much to her. She had realised suddenly that she had referred to them as Ma and Papa for the first time in ages, and it had also probably been the first time that she had recalled them joyfully. How or when Kunj had become the person to bring all that out in her, she never knew.
She was jolted out of her thoughts when he placed his hand over hers. Only then did she realise that he was saying something to her. “… and Aditi knows you! She is just disappointed that she had no idea of all this. She doesn’t hate you! Nobody does! What happened all those years ago can’t be changed, but we all know that you weren’t responsible for it all either. They’ll all accept it soon enough too. Ma and Bebe have stayed strong throughout our struggles, but they are the ones that our tough times hit emotionally the hardest as well. So it’s only fair that we give them some time.” He was saying, the last bit coming off like he was asking for her opinion, her approval, and definitely not imposing his onto her.
Twinkle wasn’t the easiest person to convince, and Kunj had had enough experience of that to know for himself. So he kept at it, even when she resorted to silence, then to tiny nods and finally small noises of validation. It seemed like an eternity after they had finally laid down on their respective sides of the bed, that she still couldn’t fall asleep. She knew Kunj had only managed to doze off a couple of minutes ago, and definitely didn’t want to disturb him. She blinked away the tears that were still flowing down her cheeks and sighed deeply, being dragged involuntarily into a painful memory.
That night was etched into her memory in ways she could never forget – it was the night that RT had accused her of trying to ruin the reputation of the Tanejas by using poor quality articles at a wedding they had been organising. When she had blatantly refused, he had gone ahead and claimed that she had been stealing money from the family and business accounts, and had only intention – to destroy them. ‘But this is my home too!’ She had wailed, but he wouldn’t listen. Leela and Mahi had just stood by and watched, like it didn’t affect them at all. That hadn’t been the first time she had had to deal with something like that, of course, but never before had things gotten so worse either.
RT had been drawing comparisons between her and Mahi ever since the two sisters – just over a year apart – had made their career decisions. Twinkle had chosen her passion – hospitality, while Mahi had gone the traditional Taneja way and chosen to help run all their businesses. RT had been enraged, and then the barbs had never ended. It had all begun as very casual comments, growing to such an extent that perhaps, in some corner of her heart, she had expected things to take a turn for the worse. She had been asked to make a choice that eventful night – to accept all the charges against her, switch careers and follow Mahi’s footsteps, or to cut all ties with them and leave. There hadn’t been a hint of regret in RT’s voice as he had declared his verdict. She had chosen the only way in which she could continue to live with her head held high.
She had nowhere to go when she had stepped out, and not much money either. She couldn’t bear the thought of turning to any of her friends, for it would only prove RT right – that she couldn’t build the independent life that she had claimed she had pledged she would, that she was just another helpless girl on the streets now, and they would show pity on her if she turned up at their doorstep again. She had found herself a dingy hotel room for just one night, and put in her heart and soul to find herself a job and a place to live. She had found the café the very next day and practically lived there until she had accumulated enough funds to be able to rent a house. Then came the day when she was making enough money to live comfortably in those limited resources but was all alone. That was when an all-new journey had begun for her, a fresh start with the dream of owning the café. There was one person responsible to inspire her – Yuvi – and it was all thanks to him that she had slowly begun to regain all that she had lost. A home.
Someone People she could call her own. And she was determined to retain it this time.
That’s it for now, guys! I hope you can now see things clearly from Twinkle’s perspective. I will be posting this story regularly here on, and will finish it off before any other sudden disappearances! 😛 Also, thank you all very much for your love and appreciation for the bonus chapter – it’s incredible. I was too late to respond to you all, but I’ll probably post a few more of those as well, as a thank you sign. Until next time, much love!