Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Chapter Thirty-One : Tinted White Petals


Devayani walked out of the hospital ward distraught and looked up at Kushal emotionless. As tears fell from her eyes, she shook her head in sorrow before walking over to a tear stricken Anjili, hugging her tightly. 

Kushal numbly walked into the ward and took in the quiet atmosphere. His eye's laid upon Muskaan who was sat up in bed with a blank face and lost tired eyes. In her hospital gown and hair tucked back she sat still. Fearfully still. He felt his heart constrict standing there watching his daughter-in-law slowly falling deeper into the pit of darkness. 

He suddenly turned towards the young baby in the cot who started to cry with hiccups, then loader becoming unbearable for any human's heart. He clenched his fists in pain seeing Muskaan still unresponsive as if she didn't even hear. Kushal immediately walked up to the metal white crib and picked up his grandson, only a couple hours old. He felt his eyes water as he held him in his arms seeing as if it was his own son reborn. As the baby continued to cry in his arms, Kushal steadily walked over to Muskaan and placed the baby in her lap. The continuous cries of the child made his heart bleed, he waited...and waited. 

As if a little glow of light came back to her eyes, she looked down at her baby screaming. Shocked she immediately picked him up in her arms shushing him. 
Muskaan: " Nono Shush Arnav....No no... My Chote don't cry...Maa's here now...I'm here...shushhh..."
As Arnav slowly quietened, tears started to stream down her face knowing he would never be able to see his father. He would't be able to hold Abhi's finger when he tries to walk. He wouldn't be playing with his father like Abhi always wanted. As Muskaan cried quietly, Kushal stepped forward and stroked the top of her head, making her look up. He shook his head at her wide innocent eyes as she bitter started to wail leaning against him.

Muskaan sobbed: "Babujiiii....WHY!!! Why did Abhi leave us Babuji! He was supposed to be here with his son...not with my parents. WHY did my sindoor have to fade. Why did my Mangalsutar have to break!?!? I'm already orphaned Babuji....now...Why Abhi did you leave me all alone...ABHI!?!?!? "
Kushal firmly shook his head as tears rolled down before sternly replying.
Kushal: "No betiya... no...You are my daughter.You call me Babuji. Meaning YOU are my daughter. Never say your orphaned. "
He held Muskaan against him as she cried and vowed to make his daughter's life colorful again. For Arnav. For Abhi. 
Kushal: "You're my daughter. "

As Kushal opens his eyes slowly, his sight remained on the fire in front of him. He was sat still, cross-legged in front of the fire with his grandson beside him and Aman behind. Opposite him was sat Devayani, Madhu and Khushi, with Chinky behind them. All in white, they sat and listened to the ongoing prayer being said by the Pandit. Everyone else was in silence thinking individually of how they had lost a Daughter-in-law, a Mother and a friend. 

Khushi looked across to Arnav who was sat like his Grandfather staring at the fire with lost numbness. She could see the redness of his eye, despite there being a lack of tears. She felt tears in her eyes feeling Arnav's pain and loss and wished she could hug him close. But the moment wasn't right. She gazed her eyes onto the Muskaan's photo adorn with the garland. She looked so happy and content. Khushi wished God didn't have to take the pure hearted up to him.

Madhu thought back to the peaks of Muskaan's life of when life seemed endless. Her smile seemed endless. She shook her head remembering when Muskaan rushed up to her in telling her that she accepted Abhi's proposal. How joyous it was as tears of happiness filled Madhu's eyes that day. Alas the contrast of the tears she holds now. She proudly looked across to Arnav who had become exactly the man Muskaan would have wanted. She thought of Anjili who had her mother's smile and hair. How successful her marriage was and with blessing will always remain that way. Madhu never treated them different from her own Khushi as Muskaan would have wanted the same. She hoped Muskaan is content to see her children to grow up into the dream she always had when she got married. 

Devayani sighed thinking of how time had passed them by. Muskaan's laughter in the house and unconditional love was always the heart of the house. She could still remember when Abhi introduced Muskaan to her timidly, seeking approval. Muskaan's witty charm and adorable nature was understood instantly by her and even her slight clumsiness brought back the smile on her face. Devayani looked up at Kushal who was still motionless. She sighed before looking across to Khushi sat beside her before confirming to talk to Kushal today itself. 

It was after the ritual was done when Kushal shook the Pandit by the hand before swiftly walking outside into the garden to be left alone. He would do this every year to spend his moments alone on this day. 


The sun was getting high as Kushal walked past the pool to head downstairs into the garden when he paused thinking about the time when he was sat outside reading his newspaper on a similar day way back when. 

 Muskaan laughed waving at him happily: "Baaabujiiiiii! "
Kushal looked up from his newspaper to see her in the distance running up to him with Anjili beside her. He grinned seeing the mischief on her face. He raised an eyebrow as they both came up to him with two plates of pakoras. 
Kushal pleasantly: "What's this betiya? Pakoras? "
Muskaan nodded: "Yep! One plate I have made them and the other our Anjili has made them."
Anjili giggled: "And you have to guess who made which plate!"
Kushal smirked and put his paper down: "Well well I'd be a fool to miss tasting the Pakoras made by you both. But...*whispering close* You haven't told the wife, have you? She'll drive me up the wall if she finds out Betiya."
Muskaan grinned: "No I haven't told Maa. But she'll be down any minute so quickly taste Babuji!!
Anjili: We promise we won't tell! Pakka!"

Kushal chuckled before comically checking around him before tucking in to one on one plate, then another on the other plate. Anjili fidgeted with her fingers nervously as it was the first time she made them. She looked at her mother who wagged her eyebrows at her reassuringly. 
When Kushal finished eating he hmm-ed thinking hard looking at them both critically. Muskaan knew her Babuji enough to know what he was going to say. 
Kushal confirmed: "These ones were made by Muskaan and these were made by you *poking Anjili's nose*"

Anjili jumped up and down happily. 
Kushal innocently: "What is it?"
Anjili giggled: "Your wrong Dada! Maa made those ones and I made these ones! YAY!"
Kushal grinned: "That must mean you can make them as good as your mother then if I got it wrong."
Anjili couldn't stop smiling and ran off to tell Devayani how well she made her pakoras. 

As Muskaan and Kushal watched her leave Kushal smiled at Muskaan gently making her laugh.
Muskaan hugged him: "Thanks Babuji for lying."
Kushal mockingly: "Who said I was?"
Muskaan looked at Kushal before laughing suddenly they both gasped.
Kushal frowned: "Where is Anjili going...."
Muskaan wide eyed: "To...tell Maa that-"
Shocked, Kushal and Muskaan grinned tidied up quickly before rushing off to hide from the wrath of Devayani. 

Kushal tore his gaze away from the chair and table, and sternly walked down the stairs. Feeling that slight breeze on his arms, he remembered when Muskaan would rush  up to him before he left the house to give him his shawl for the walk. She'd always care for him like that. She's always remind Kushal of birthdays and anniversaries to make sure Devayani wouldn't be upset. She'd scold him if he did forget, which made him make sure he had every one of the dates engraved in his mind so he's never forget.

His stroll in the garden would seem like his normal morning stroll that he takes every morning. However on this particular day he'd search for something that he had been looking for ever since Muskaan's death. 

Kushal entered the house with Devayani, with gifts at hand, he sighed happily as he reached the living room. He sat down tired while Anjili and Arnav ran down the stairs excited. 
Anjili: "Dada!! Dadi!!! Your back!!"
They both slammed into Kushal's arms taking in his warm bear hug as he laughed, before hugging Devayani close. 
Devayani mockingly: "Yes and we would have been back sooner if your Dadaji here didn't want to spend another day roaming around Dehli! "
Kushal leaned back on the sofa's smirking: "I was only taking Muskaan betiya's advice. *chuckles*"
Devayani sat down too with a smile: "Yes, yes. You and your daughter scheming. "
Kushal stating fact:" Of course. I regret nothing!"
Devayani laughed and patted his chest playfully. Muskaan walked in then from the garden with a basket of flowers full of the most radiant flowers in its reds, pinks, orange and purples. As she put them on the center table she hugged Kushal who had stood up waiting for her. 

Muskaan closed her eyes with a smile: "Babuji."
Kushal fondly: "How are you my betiya?"
Muskaan grinned pulling back: "First class!" 
As Muskaan went over to hug Devayani, Kushal then looked at the flowers again with endearment in his eyes. He went over and picked the basket up, before running his hand over the petals lightly. He didn't know what it's name was. He was a specialist in many things but flowers were not one of them.
Muskaan jumped beside him: " You favorite ones, right Babuji?"
Kushal huskily: "Of course you know.....Why won't you tell me where you pluck these from Muskaan? Where are they in our garden betiya? "
Muskaan wagged her eyebrows cheekily before tapping the side of her nose. Kushal sighed defeated once again but smiled at Muskaan hugging his side. 
Muskaan: " Maa! You and Babuji must be hungry from your trip. Come let's all eat."
Anjili ran: "I'll set the table!"
Muskaan and Devayani smiled and followed her. Kushal watched them walk away and looked back at the flowers sitting perfectly in the basket. Each day Muskaan would bring flowers fresh from somewhere which he had never seen in his life living at the house. Even on his morning walks, he wouldn't see anything extra ordinary other than the usual flowers. 

Kushal then felt a tug on his trousers to see Arnav looking up at him with a frown. Kushal smiled and picked him up to hold in his arms.
Kushal: "After dinner Chote, I'll show you all the gifts your Dadi and I have bought for you and your Di. hmm? Come on. "

As an hour past of Kushal's discrete search, he started to hear a distant bark. He turned to see Raja rush up to him happily greeting him with his tongue out and tail wagging. Kushal got down on one knee to pat him and scratch the back of his ear. Kushal wiped his own eyes before nodding at Raja.
Kushal speaking out his thoughts: "Where are those flowers Raja?...*chuckles* I bet you know. You must have ran round and crawled through every part of this garden. *shakes his head* Where did she get them from?"
Seeing Raja simply tilt his head at him, Kushal shook his head before standing: "Come Raja. Lets go home. Good boy."


As Kushal neared the house with Raja slightly ahead of him, he held something fall round the corner of some trees. Frowning he walked up to see, but halted in his tracks. 
Kushal shocked: "MUSK-"
His hand raised instantly forward, stopped in mid air as he paused realizing what he was doing. A few meters in front of him was Khushi in pain on the floor, holding her knee desperately. The flowers in the basket beside her were scattered indicating that she had fallen badly hurting herself. 

Devayani who was upstairs was putting away some files for Arnav, noticed  Khushi outside on the floor making her rush up to the open window.
Devayani gasped: "Khushi Betiya!!"
She was about to leave for downstairs, only to stop seeing Kushal there too away from Khushi. She watched in shock his hand was raised and nearly cry out...She couldn't believe it. She stepped closer to the window, holding on to it, hoping...just hoping. 

He clenched his fist tightly as a storm brew in him of conflicting emotions. Should I help...no...NO....Why should I help!? I'll just make things worse! Leave!! Kushal was about to turn but he watched Khushi try to get up by herself, but only to fall again hurt. Kushal's jaw was set tightly seeing Khushi in this pain and his mind was lost back when Muskaan was in the same situation. 

Muskaan crying held her leg: "BABUJI!!! *cries*"

As more tears ran down from Khushi's eyes, Kushal immediately ran over not able to hold back any longer.
Kushal crouched beside Khushi with concern in his firm eyes: "Let go of it Betiya, Let me have a look"
Khushi startled at his pretense wiped her tears quickly embarrassed and shook her head. Kushal glares at her solemnly making Khushi obey and remove her hands to show him her wound. The white churidar trousers was slightly muddy but it was the tear at the knee that Kushal focused on because of the slight glaze of blood that peeked through.

Kushal frowned worried before asking gently: "How much does it hurt?"
Khushi shook her hand at him refusing help, before showing with her index finger and thumb that it only hurt a bit. Kushal felt his eye's stick to Khushi like glue.

Kushal frantic: " How much does it hurt Muskaan!?!? "
Muskaan wiped her tears: " It's fine Babuji. It only hurts a bit. I promise. *sniff*"

Khushi hissed with pain making Kushal come back to reality. Dabbing a tissue against her wound, he watched painfully as Khushi's tears slipped down.
Kushal shushed: " Big girls don't cry do they Khushi. Now stop those tears for me. Ok?"
Khushi looked up at him before nodding obediently, enduring the pain. Kushal gulped down thinking how Muskaan would react exactly the same way.

Hearing Raja appear behind him worried for Khushi, Kushal turned to nod at him. He went by her side helping her steady herself upright so her weight was dependent upon him. Feeling Khushi rush, Kushal sternly voiced himself.
Kushal: "Stop it Khushi. You'll just hurt yourself more! *calmer* Walk abit slower for me. Hmm?"
Khushi nodded again as they walked across towards the house, with Raja ahead barking for help from anyone inside.

Devayani wiped her tears of happiness before sighing as if Muskaan was watching all this from above proudly. She felt herself smile before rushing to attend to Raja's barks, acting as if she had seen nothing.


As Devayani wrapped covered Khushi with a blanket, she smiled before stroking her hair.
Devayani reassuring: "Don't worry betiya. All will be fine in a day or two. The cut isn't that bad. "
Khushi smiled thankfully, while stroking Raja's head on her stomach as he just jumped on the bed. Kushal on the other hand was had a battle brewing within him.

He remembered back with sorrow of a day when he vowed to Muskaan he'd protect her. He wouldn't let anyone or anything to ever hurt her. His fists clenched staring into space, lost in the painful memory that changed everything.
The scream...
The blood...
The regret...
The anguish...
"I'm sorry Muskaan beyita"

Devayani concerned looking up at Kushal: "Kushal?...Kushal?!"
Kushal shook himself out with a slight shudder before saying vulnerably: "What?"
Devayani frowned: " Khushi betiya will be fine...You don't have to worry."
Kushal felt his heart steel again: "Worry? Why would I worry? I know it was just a scratch, but it doesn't mean I'll come everything she falls or trips clumsily. She needs to learn how to balance before she can walk. Teach her for God's sake! "

With that he stormed out of the room without looking back leaving Devayani shocked and Khushi feeling sorry but also slightly confused at his sudden anger. Devayani turned to her with wide watery eyes making Khushi really concerned then. She watched as she lent forward and stroked her hair with a gentle smile.
Devayani shakily: "Your Dadaji loves you very much betiya."
Khushi frowned before smiling brightly and shrugging her shoulders as if to say 'I know that already'.
There was never a time Devayani wasn't amazed by this young lady's innocent heart and nodded.
Devayani: " You sleep betiya. I'll call the cottage to tell your Buaji. So don't worry. Now sleep"

As Khushi drifted to sleep, Devayani looked away with an odd dilemma in her heart. She felt as if the question she planned to ask Kushal about Muskaan's death and himself, would only cause more bitterness of old wounds revealed. The occurrence  that had happened today was by chance. Not planned. Maybe it would get better naturally. Devayani smiled deciding that there was no point of disrupting the equilibrium at the moment between Kushal and Khushi. As God always has a plan for everyone.

Thanks for reading. Very late update so sorry for any mistakes.


  1. Aww...does Kushal see his Muskaan in Khushi! he really does love her then what's stopping him from showing it? the fear of losing Muskaan in Khushi again? the flashback was so sweet! loved this episode it showed what true love is! It was a happy update! n I'm wondering what dadi wanted to ask n now why she stopped because she already got her answers?

    Cheers for the Pm

  2. Very well done. It was so nice to see the bonding between Muskaan and Kushal. Brilliant.

  3. kushal sees muskaan in khushi....muskaan's antics are similar.....Z it was beautiful....

  4. Thank you ...loved yr writing..khushi reminds Kushal of Muskaan...maybe he feels ,she too might leave him..waiting fr update

  5. won't u ipdate...i was waiting for it paiently...but now i can't be patient anymore...please update...u're not pulling a sobti on us r u?

    1. LOL, nono. I'm continuing on the 5th dec again. got exams and coureseworks to give in thats why. I will be back with updates on the 5th dont worry. I put a note on the IF.

      I should actually put a not up on here too should i....going to do it now:)

  6. Hi Zara... I found this FF reference on Rae's thread..... and I must say once I started reading it, I just couldn't stop....
    This FF is really a brilliant piece of work.... The story is simply amazing.... what captivated my interest best was the writing of pure love which is not tainted by anything... let it be for Arnav-Khushi, Muskaan-Madhu, or Raja-Khushi....
    Waiting to read the real reason behind Kushal's anger for Khushi... may be its the flowers she gets from the secret garden??
    Looking forward to read all your upcoming works also....
    continue soon...

    Shalini (valeyrie - IF)

    1. Thanks so much for liking!! :D
      i hope i continue to impress with the chapters coming up, so you can continue to like and comment.
      don't forget to tell others about this ff. ;)