Sunday, 20 July 2014

134. OS 2. ASR in Love





OS 2: ASR in Love


 Section 1



“Chotey,” Nani looked at Arnav as he frowned at the paratha on his plate.

Anjali and Mami looked at his closed face and then at Nani’s determined expression with trepidation in their hearts. Chotey was unpredictable at the best of moments and his temper was uncertain.


Mamaji, Akash & NK watched them curiously.


Arnav looked up, a frown etched on his forehead.


“Is there a vacancy in your company?” Nani asked.


The frown grew more pronounced. “Why?”


“Chotey, Leela called from Lucknow. A girl from her orphanage is coming to Delhi to do some course. She needs a job,” Nani explained. “But just for one month.”



“Can she design clothes?” ASR asked, a sardonic smirk on his face.


Nani looked at Anjali and Mami for help.


“Chotey, she is just eighteen,” Anjali said. “I don’t think she is trained in fashion.”


ASR sighed inwardly. “Then what do you expect me to do with her? Pay her for nothing? Create a job to suit her non-existent skills?” His eyebow made his opinion very clear.


“Chotey, Leelaji...you know how close Nani is to her. How can you refuse her? Please Chotey,” Anjali pleaded, pouting. “Won’t you make your Di happy by giving this girl a job?”




ASR shook off a feeling of doom as he muttered, “Let me see.” How could he refuse his Di’s plea? And it was for just one month.


Anjali’s face bloomed with joy. Nani and Mami smiled in relief.


“Bhai, how can we accommodate her?” Akash asked softly. “She is not trained or skilled. We can’t even send her on errands. She is new to Delhi and...” His eyes widened in confusion.


“You can make her your private secretary, Nannav!” NK discovered. “Then she will be completely under your protection.”


ASR clenched his jaw and fists in irritation. One day he would kill NK! He looked at Anjali’s pout. He hated it when Di went all pouty and forced him in to doing things he didn’t want to do.

 It was all the fault of that miserable girl, he thought, furious with a being he hadn’t set eyes on. Why couldn’t she stay in Lucknow? Why did she want to learn in Delhi?



                                                ***




“Chotey, did Khushiji join the office? What job have you given her?” Anjali asked, bearding the lion in his den while he was working.


Arnav lifted his head from the file he had been perusing.


“Canteen help,” he muttered, lowering his head to focus on the figures he had been frowning at. That was all Aman had been able to find for her. He himself had been out at the site of his new guest house when she had joined work and had thus missed her office pravesh.


“Arnav bitwaa, isn’t she beautiful?” Mami asked. “Didn’t you like her, Hello Hi Bye Bye?”



His fingers clenched around the file. His eyes widened in astonishment. His sixth and many other senses sent warning signals down his spine.


Nani frowned at Manorama for spooking Arnav. “Chotey, Leela was telling us that Khushi is very responsible, very hard working,” she said, smiling at ASR anxiously, trying to soothe him.


“She is attending an evening course on food processing at the Women’s College here,” Anjali added, her eyes hopeful that her Chotey would make friends with Khushi.
 “That’s why she is in Delhi. She is very nice, Chotey. Leelaji brought her here before sending her to your office. We met her.”


“She is a delightful child. I felt as though she were a part of our family,” Nani murmured, a smile on her lined face.


ASR drew in a furious breath. Why did it seem as though his family was pushing this girl in his path, in to his life? Was it possible that his Nani & Leela whoever-she-was was trying to force him to marry this girl...this Khushi from Lucknow, their hometown he had left behind him a long time back?


Rage rushed through his veins, blinding him. His imagination went wild as he saw himself as the victim and his family and that girl as his persecutors. She would pay and pay hard for the dreams that filled his Di’s eyes, for her unwanted presence in his world, for the nagging he was having to put up with, he decided grimly.

He would ensure that she regretted being born!

Let her follow him and make sheep’s eyes at him. He would lacerate her with his tongue, make her wish she had never been born!

Welcome to hell, Khushi-from-Lucknow, he thought, his heart filled with a sense of injury.



                                 



Section 2







Arnav stood in his office and looked down at the girl helping Manju, his canteen manager. She was manning the coffee machine, pouring out steaming hot coffee for the employees gathered around the counter during their break. Her expression was pleasant and cheerful. She chatted with everyone, taking care not to give special individual attention to the men.

Arnav looked at the smiling visages of his employees watching her and ground his teeth in helpless anger.





As soon as she placed their beverages on the counter before the men, she moved away to help another worker in the canteen.


Khushi Kumari Gupta. The thorn in his flesh. The bane of his existence.


She had been there a week. Dressed in bright, colourful anarkalis, her long hair in a neat plait, she looked beautiful, almost stunningly so, but out of place among the fashionably modern girls he employed.

He had expected some animosity or hostility from the employees against her, but he had been disappointed. She went about her job smiling, always cheerful and the employees had all accepted her, maybe grateful for a smiling face among all the stressed and worn out ones, thought Arnav.


 His eyes traced her graceful movement behind the counter as she accepted payment and returned change. His gaze lingered on the lowered lashes, on her slender fingers, on the single plait that swung against her curvaceous back as she walked, on the fine lines of her bare throat, on her captivating smile....


Contrary to his expectation, she had not tried to befriend him, approach him or talk to him.





 He swallowed.


 Why? Why couldn’t she talk to him? In fact, she hadn’t even looked at him.

 Not once.

He had walked past her counter while she had been wiping it.
He had even shared the employee lift with her, astonishing other passengers by not taking his personal lift.
He had gone down to the canteen and asked Manju if the canteen was doing well, almost giving her an attack. But Khushi had not even spared him a glance.

His lips firmed, his jaw clenched.

She could flit among his workers like a colourful butterfly, but wouldn’t give him the time of the day? Why couldn’t she look at him, maybe smile at him? Was she avoiding him? How dare she? How dare she look through him? After all, he paid her salary!


“Aman,” he called.


“Yes, Sir?” Aman looked up from his laptop to see ASR’s strong back facing him.


“How is... our new employee doing?” he asked.


Aman frowned. “Kaushik, Sir? He is OK. The design head is cautiously optimistic about him.”


ASR swallowed. “No, not him. The girl...”


“Sonal Kapadia? She is doing well. Afer all, she has five years’ experience at the job,” Aman said.


ASR drew in a deep breath. “Khushi. How is Khushi doing?” he asked, turning his head toward Aman.


Aman’s face relaxed in to a small smile. “Khushi? She is perfect. Manju is very happy with her.”


ASR turned his face away.


“She...she gets along with everyone?” he asked. “I mean, talks to all?”


Aman frowned in confusion. “Yes, Sir. She does.” His face cleared. “She is a very hard worker and always ready to help out,” he complimented her with a smile.



ASR swallowed hard. “It is time I met her. Ask her to see me here in my office in ten minutes.”


“Yes, Sir. I will inform her,” Aman left the office, feeling pity in his heart for the kind goofball who was going to meet the khadoos of the century.


ASR drew in a deep breath, stilling the nervous flutter in his chest.


                       ***





Khushi walked up the steps on trembling feet. Why did Arnav Singh Raizada, the big boss, the roaring lion whose soaring corporate reputation was matched only by his temper want to see her? Yes, he had given her a job on a personal request made by Leelaji. But why did he want to see her? Was he not happy with her work?

Her fingers clutched the ends of her dupatta in nervousness.


She had tried so hard to escape his attention, keeping away from him and his all-seeing, sharp, direct eyes, even ducking behind the counter on two occasions and hiding behind the dust bin on one.

She breathed in deep, trying to still her thudding heart.


She reached the door and looked in through the glass door. He was seated at his table, his piercing eyes trying to look through the laptop. ‘He is just like the lion in the stories I used to read out to Chunnu, Munnu and the others at the orphanage. Hey Devi Maiyya, where have you trapped me? Couldn’t you have given me a boss who does not lose his temper every few seconds, roar at the workers and frown at walls and tables?’ Khushi chanted silently. ‘He looks angry. Let him not kill me and throw my carcass down,’ she whispered soundlessly.


She raised one trembling hand and knocked timidly on the door.


He looked up, his cold eyes rising to her face and form. Khushi felt her limbs shiver at the heat emanating from those cold, stern eyes.


“Come in,” he called, his husky voice trailing over her sensitive skin like a caress.

Khushi pulled the door open, placed one uncertain foot in to his office and stood there in the doorway, hesitant.

The air was redolent with his fragrance...sandalwood and something else...something male, so masculine that her heart skipped a beat even as her lungs drew in as much of him as they possibly could.


“I said, come in. Are you deaf?” he asked, a frown growing on his face, filling a groove that was already carved between his brows due to years of persistent and consistent frowning practice.


Khushi averted her eyes from his face and let go of the door in shock and fear. The door swung shut, hitting her on her back and propelling her in to the room. She almost fell flat on her face before the lion, just managing to retain her balance to prevent that ignominy.





ASR felt a bubble of laughter rise somewhere in the region of his heart. He looked his fill of the girl standing before him.



 Creamy, silky skin that owed nothing to cosmetics. Trembling lashes that hid her eyes. Bright blue anarkali. The hanging earrings with blue stone, the small blue bindi.


“Khushi...” he whispered.


Her eyes rushed to meet his. She held the ends of her dupatta in a stranglehold.


If he hadn’t been already seated, he would have fallen down. Arnav looked in to the most beautiful hazel eyes he had ever seen.


“I didn’t do anything, Sir,” she whispered.


ASR blinked, a look of confusion creeping in to his molten eyes locked on her anxious face.


“Sachi,” she whispered, the fingers of her right hand clasping the skin of her throat in a child-like gesture.


ASR swallowed.


“I didn’t break anything. I did every job entrusted to me, Sir. Promise,” she continued, her earnest face enchanting him no end.


“You did?” he murmured, settling back to enjoy this game he had never played before.


She shook her head vigorously in agreement.

“You can ask Manjuji,” she offered.





“I will,” he said softly. “After all, you are my...responsibility,” he added. A soft smile played on his stern lips.


Khushi gasped.


“You can smile?” she asked in genuine astonishment. “The girls who frequent the canteen said that you can only frown.”


ASR looked at the open wonder on her face with amusement.


“Awww..” her mouth went a perfect round. “Maaf keejiye, Sir. You are my employer. I should not have said that. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Devi Maiyya ki kasam,” Khushi looked earnestly at him.


His eyes softened. “Are the employees treating you well?” he asked.


Khushi nodded. “All are very kind, Sir,” she added. “Especially Manjuji, Amanji, Shuklaji, Kishorilalji and Rakeshji.” Her customary smile appeared on her face.


ASR frowned. He knew Manju and Aman. Who were the others?


“Who is Shukla?” he asked.


Her eyes widened. “The middle-aged man who looks after your car park, Sir.”


“Oh,” ASR mumbled. “And the others?” he asked.


“Kishorilalji is your guard at the entrance. He has big moonchein and a deep voice. And Rakeshji is the thin boy who supplies staples to the canteen,” she enlightened him.


“I see,” he murmured. He needed to know his men better.


“I know Akashji and Nanheji too,” Khushi said.


“Who? Nanheji? Who is that?” ASR asked.


Khushi flushed. “NKji,” she said. "I call him Nanheji because he is so naughty, like a child."


“You like them?” ASR asked, his head against the back of his chair.


Khushi smiled. “Yes. Akashji is very kind.”


ASR smiled slightly.


“... and Nanheji is very funny,” she added with a smile.


ASR pursed his lips.


“May I go, Sir?” Khushi asked hopefully, looking at the shut glass door.


ASR swallowed. He wanted to buy some more time with her.


“Where are you staying here?” he asked.


“In a working women’s hostel, Sir,” she replied.


“You are in Delhi to attend some course, aren’t you?” ASR asked.


“Ji. I am learning to make jams and sauces. I go to the college after my work here is over, Sir,” she answered.


He frowned. “Why do you want to learn to make jams and...what was it...yes, sauces?” he asked.


She smiled. “When I return to the orphanage, we are going to start a business. A small business. The older girls will make such food items and sell them. It will add to our income and we won’t have to depend on donations from kind people.”


He looked at her sweet face and felt a hand close around his heart.


“You are an orphan?” he asked.


Khushi burst out laughing. “Ji. Why else will I live in an orphanage?” she asked. “Aap ko pata tha na that Leelaji, the manager of our orphanage requested your Naniji to find me a job?”


ASR swallowed. “You are happy at the orphanage?” he was forced to ask. He couldn’t accept the fact that something might hurt this smiling girl-child and hurt her, cause her smile to disappear. He had faced the worst life could dish out and didn’t want this girl to deal with disappointment & disillusionment.


Khushi smiled. “Very. I have many friends there,” she said, her eyes filled with happy memories.


“You...you have boys at the orphanage?” he asked, something like fear eating in to his heart.


She laughed. “Boys? No, Sir. It is just for girls.”


ASR heaved a sigh of relief.


“The hostel here? It is comfortable?” he asked.


Her face showed her surprise at his question. After a moment she said uncertainly, “It is alright. May I leave, Sir? It is almost time for lunch. Manjuji will need help.”


“Yes, but...” he said slowly. He looked at her waiting face. “Khushi, if you need help, come to me,” he offered.


Her eyes flew open. “You, Sir? Why should I come to you? How can I ask you for help?”


“Why can’t you?” he asked, frowning.


“I am not a part of your family, Sir. I am just a temporary employee,” she stuttered.





He smiled slowly. “Your Leelaji is my Nani’s friend. She has entrusted your care to her, expecting you to consider my Nani as yours too. So that makes you a part of my family,” the devil reasoned.


“Acha?’ Khushi’s face was a picture of confusion.


“Yes,” he affirmed.


“It sounds ajeeb, Sir,” she whispered.


“And you shouldn’t call me Sir. Call me Arnav,” he said. "After all, we are almost related."


Her eyes flew open. “Call you by name? How can I? You are older than me, my employer,” she gasped.


“Call me Arnav,” he ordered softly, desperate to hear he speak his name.


She swallowed hard. “Arnav...ji...” she murmured.


“What did you call me?” he asked, wanting to hear it once more.


“Arnavji,” she said softly. “Hum chalein?” she asked his permission.


He nodded unwillingly.”Dhyaan se. Don’t let the door knock you down on your way out too,” he said in a low voice, a slight smile on his face.


She blushed and turned to leave the room, stopping to look once more at him before leaving.




He stood up and walked to the glass wall of his cabin to look at her as she tripped down the steps and almost ran to the safety of the canteen counter.



Section 3 





Khushi looked up from the tray she was carrying to the counter. 


Her spine tingled.






Arnavji was walking across the main hall on his way to some meeting, his phone at his ear. He was so tall, so handsome, she thought. His broad shoulders lent grace to the coat made of some fine fabric. Amanji was walking behind him, speaking on his phone. Suddenly, as if he felt her eyes on him, Arnavji turned his head to look at her.


The tray shook, in imminent danger of falling down, spilling the soft drinks on it. She placed it on the counter in a hurry, her eyes wide in alarm.

She looked at Arnavji.




He was smiling at her, his eyes tender and soft. Her mouth fell open as she looked at him as he walked out.



                                       ***




Khushi laughed at something Manjuji said and began stacking the cups. She felt her skin prickle and knew that Arnavji was somewhere in the vicinity.

She stole a look to her right.



 He was at the reception giving instructions to some official, but his intent gaze was on her.

Khushi swallowed hard, put her trembling hands behind her and ran to the store, away from him.




                                            ***




“Chotey, how is Khussi bitiyaa doing at office?” Nani asked.


“Good,” he said, lowering his face to his dinner plate.


 “I talk to her daily. I know she is happy there. But are you happy with her work?” Nani asked.


“Yes,” he said.


“She can’t make mistakes, Nani. All she has to do is serve food and take the money. Anyway I am there to help her, always,” NK smiled.


ASR clenched his jaw.


“She is very nice, Dadi,” Akash said smiling. “Everyone likes her.”


ASR got up from the table. “I have some work left,” he offered the excuse. A few steps away from the table, he turned to say, “NK, I need a favour from you.”


“Anything, Nannav,” offered an unsuspecting NK.


“I want you to accompany Akash to Mumbai tomorrow. It is high time you learned more about the business,” ASR declared.


All smiled. Akash alone looked at ASR in shock.


“I am ready, Nannav. Akash, together we will rock Mumbai!” NK proclaimed.


Akash wiped the sweat from his brow, thinking about all the rocking he would have to do to keep NK out of trouble.


“You will have to be there for 2 weeks,” ASR said. “Pack for the period.”


Akash stared at ASR. “Two weeks, Bhai?” he asked.


“Yes, there are a few things I want you to look in to while you are there. I will brief you in a couple of hours,” ASR said.


Poor Akash nodded.




                                   ***





“Arnav bitwaa, we want to asks you something,” Mami confessed. “But praamise (promise) me that you won’t burst like a volcano.”


Arnav looked expectantly at her, his eyes mild.


“Chotey, woh kya he, we wanted to invite someone over for dinner,” Anjali said, looking nervously at Nani.


“Who?” asked Arnav.


“Khussi bitiyaa,” Nani said.


Arnav stared at her in shock for one moment, fearing that he had heard wrong.


“You don’t mind, do you?” Anjali asked.


“No,” he croaked.


“Chotey, you don’t have to be here,” Nani said. “It is just a matter of two hours,” she tried to get his approval. “Just stay back at office for sometime. We will finish dinner and send her home with Mohan.”


“I meant I don’t mind her coming over for dinner,” Arnav mumbled before leaving.


The glass fell from Mami’s hand, spilling water all over her Benarsi sari and the floor.



                      ***



Khushi knocked on the door of RM, feeling her heart beat fast. Was Arnavji at home or at the office? He must be working, she comforted herself. Nanheji and Akashji were in Mumbai. So Arnavji must be working extra hard, she comforted herself.




The door opened and she looked in to his incendiary eyes.


“Aap!” she gasped.


Arnav raised one eyebrow.


“I..I just thought you wouldn’t be here, that you would be at the office” she confessed in her innocence.


His lips quirked in a smile. “It is my house,” he replied mildly.


“Ji, ji. I am not disputing that. I just...I was thinking..I mean that is your office too,” she countered.


Before Arnav could answer that, the ladies arrived and Nani clasped Khushi to her bosom.


“How are you, Khussi bitiya?” Nani pinched her sweet chin.


“Fine, Naniji,” Khushi blushed, feeling Arnavji’s eyes on her.


“Is your boss treating you right, Khushiji? If not, we can arrange a hartal against him,” Anjali chuckled, hugging Khushi.


Khushi lowered her eyes in shyness. “Everything is fine, Anjaliji. And I will be leaving in four days anyway.”


Arnav looked at her, feeling cheated, hurt, lost. Leaving him in four days?


“Phor days!” Mami exclaimed. “Taim (time) flaijj (flies) when you are workings for hamre Arnav bitwaa.”




The ladies led Khushi inside the house. Arnav tagged along. They sat in the living room, Arnav taking a seat across from Khushi.


“Is your course over, Khussi?” Mami asked.


“Ji, it finished yesterday,” Khushi smiled at her, taking care not to look at Arnavji.


“Chotey, if you are busy, you can leave,” Anjali offered.


“No, I...I will have dinner with you,” ASR said, looking away to hide his flushed face.


Nani looked at Mami & Anjali. All were wide-eyed in shock.


Mami asked, “Arnav bitwaa, are you sick?” She touched his forehead to make sure that he was OK.


“I am fine,” he mumbled.


The ladies chatted with Khushi, asking her about her life in the orphanage, her friends and her experiences in ASR’s office. Arnav listened intently to her replies, taking careful note of her expressions.




“What about marriage, Khussi bitiya?” Nani asked, stealing a sly glance at Arnav who sat up, alert.


Khushi blushed. “Leelaji will decide it,” she said softly.


“What kind of baai ijj she looking for?” Mami asked with a nudge to Nani.


“I don’t know, Mamiji,” Khushi said, hoping Arnavji wouldn’t look at her with those penetrating eyes.


“What kind of ladka do you want, Khussi bitiya?” Nani asked. 


“Pata nahi, Naniji,” she blushed.


“Will you mind if your husband has a short temper, Khussiji?’ Anjali asked, her eyes on Arnav.


Khushi did not even try to reply to that. Her nervous fingers attacked the hem of a dupatta.


“Chalo, let’s have dinner,” Nani suggested.


All got up to move to the dining table. Nani motioned Manorama & Anjali to stay back and to let Arnav escort Khushi, which he did with alacrity.


The ladies watched in delighted astonishment as Arnav seated her next to his customary seat. Khushi settled in and waited for the others to be seated. 


Arnav passed Khushi the basket of roti and served her sabzi and dal with his own fair hands. Khushi moved back in her chair as he leaned uncomfortably close to her to serve her.




“Is anything wrong, Khushi?” Arnav whispered as if he didn’t know what he was doing.


“Nahin,” Khushi replied as she drew in deep breaths to calm herself.


Dinner passed in this manner with Arnav paying close attention to Khushi and Khushi trying to pretend that she didn’t notice his attention, her face red.







After the torture of dinner, Anjali decided to take pity on Khushi and took her on an inspection of the house.


Mami & Nani moved closer to Arnav.


“Chotey, what do you think of Khussi bitiya?” Nani asked.


ASR swallowed. “Why?” he asked.


“I want her as our bahu,” Nani declared openly.


Mami nodded.


Arnav parted his lips to reply but could not find the words.


“It is alright if you don’t want to marry her, Arnav bitwaa,” Mami said. “Hamre Akass bitwa he na? If he is not enough, NK he na?”


Nani nodded. “We have 3 good boys in our family. One of them should marry Khussi bitiya. You are the eldest. Isliye aap se pehle pooch rahi hoon. Do you want to marry her?”


ASR nodded.


Nani sagged in her seat in relief. Mami hugged Arnav and wept all over him, leaving streaks of her makeup all over his clothes.



                  ***






Anjali led Khushi back to the hall, chatting easily with her.


Khushi stole a glance at Arnavji. He was looking at her with a possessive, predatory light in his eyes.


“It is time I left,” she stammered. “It is late. I...”


“I will drop you at the hostel,” ASR offered before she could complete the sentence.


“No, thank you,” said a Khushi in panic. “I will take a rickshaw.”


“At this time of the night?” Nani asked. “Nahi, Khussi bitiya, let Chotey give you a lift.”


“Yes, yes, let Arnav bitwaa lift you,” Mami added.


“Go with Chotey, Khushiji. The roads are not safe at this time of the night,” Anjali advised.


How could she tell Anjaliji that she was in more danger with Arnavji? Khushi wondered.


“Come with me, Khushi,” Arnav invited.




She could not get out of the invitation. Khushi nodded.







She sat as far away from Arnavji as possible, clinging to the door of the car. How many minutes more would it take to get to the hostel? she wondered.


“Khushi, tum theek ho?” Arnav asked.


She nodded jerkily.


“What are your plans after you leave my office?” Arnav asked.


“I will return to Lucknow,” she said.


“You have to teach the girls to make jam, right?” he asked.


“Ji,” Khushi tried to smile.


“What if I send a team of experts to train the girls? Will you stay back in Delhi?” he asked.


Khushi’s mouth fell open. “Why?” she asked after a long moment.


He parked the car by the hostel gate. He knew the address by heart, having memorised it from her file a few days back.


He looked at Khushi. Her eyes darted to his and then away.


“Thank you for the lift. Good night,” she whispered. She put out her hand to unlock the door but he caught hold of her hand, stopping her from leaving him.


“Will you marry me, Khushi?” he asked.


Shock kept her in her seat. Her wide eyes looked in to his.


“You want to marry? Me?” she asked after a while.


“Yes. I am rude, hot-tempered, a workaholic, a diabetic, a taskmaster...but will you marry me?” he asked, looking in to her eyes. His warm, hard fingers tightened around her soft ones.


“I have no one...” Khushi began.


“You can have my family...all of them, including NK the pest,” he offered.


Khushi chuckled. “I meant, I am an orphan.”


“I know,” he said.


“You can marry any rich girl with a powerful family, any one under the sun. I have nothing to give you. I...” she began.


“I don’t give  a damn about all that. I made my way, alone, by working day and night. Will you marry me?” he asked.


“Why? Why me?’ Khushi asked.


“Because you made good coffee,” ASR said.


Khushi burst out laughing. “The machine makes it. I serve it, that’s all.”


“Fine. Then because you serve good coffee,” ASR stated.


Khushi shook her head at his statement, chuckling weakly.


“And because I love you,” he added. “Because I have been getting up to go to office this last month just to see you. Because I have postponed three business trips just to be in the same building as you. Because my day does not begin if I don’t see your smile. Because I don’t want to live here without you. Because if you go to Lucknow, I will have to follow you and I don’t have the time. Because...”


Khushi placed her hand over his mouth to shut him up.

“Yes, if Leelaji agrees,” she said simply.




ASR swallowed hard.


“She will. Nani will make sure of that,” Arnav drew in  a deep breath of relief. “Why, Khushi?” he asked.


Khushi blushed.


“Because my eyes always search for you. Because I can’t see anything or anyone other than you. Because I breathe easy knowing that you are in the same building as me. Because my legs move as fast as they can to get to your office to see you. Because I lie awake all night waiting for it to be morning so that I can see you...” she whispered.


Arnav lifted her hand to his mouth and pressed a kiss on her palm.


“I love you, Khushi,” he whispered against her skin.


“Hum bhi aapse bahut pyaar karte hein, Arnavji,” she murmured.