Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Seven: Shadows of Trees


Kushal was the best father and father-in-law to Muskaan. Especially after Abhi passed away. 

He spent more time away from office and with her to make sure she didn't fall into depression.

He and Devayani together aided her with raising Arnav from a baby to a young little boy.

With each day passing Muskaan would feel hope again, With each year passing she'd also feel whole again. She knew Abhi would have been proud of her...proud of her Babuji looking after her every step of the way. Never did Kushal let Muskaan feel alone in the world. He'd let Muskaan rest her head against his chest, as he hummed a light lullaby, letting her know her Babuji was here. 

As time passed Anjili was becoming a young enthusiastic woman with a crafty talent in arts, Muskaan and Devayani guided her not letting her feel the loss of a father figure. Anjili and Arnav would go to Kushal for help as they knew that at a drop of a hat, he'd come zooming to make sure they had all the encouragement and support Abhi would have given them. 

Kushal had enrolled Arnav to the best of schools, colleges and Universities abroad making Muskaan upset at first, however hearing Devayani's view when she went through the same thing when Abhi was sent abroad, Muskaan gently smiled. She smiled at the thought of Arnav following his fathers footsteps. 

The joys and happiness was maintained and always connected among the Raizada's, with trips and joyous festivities always spent and shared together. People would praise Kushal and Muskaan's relationship as heartfelt. The all knew Kushal didn't have a daughter, but with Muskaan it was as if she was his own. Kushal would had never raised a voice against her or anyone not being in his nature. The household was sound, with soft memories and thoughts of Abhi always lingering in everyone's mind. The Raizada family was bonded strongly by Kushal, Devayani, Muskaan, Anjili and Arnav. 

However it was one day when only Devayani, Kushal and Muskaan was home...Events happened which changed things for everyone.

Kushal angrily: " You should have told us!! Leaving like that without telling anyone is irresponsible!! Do you know how worried we all were!!?"
Muskaan looked down at her hands tearfully: " I didn't know how time flied Babuji. I thought it would only take about 15 mins to go the mandir and back."
Devayani gently: " But you should have told someone shouldn't you? Hmm? You know how your Babuji is-"
Kushal enraged: " Nearly 5 hours!! 5 HOURS DEVAYANI!"
Muskaan knew it was her fault. She did know how Babuji was and he was right to be angry. 
Muskaan: " Babuji I-"
Devayani quietly indicated to Muskaan to remain quiet as she knew her husband's rage. He needed time to cool down. She went up to his side.

Devayani calmly: " Leave it now Kushal. It won't happen again, right betiya?"
Muskaan nodded desperately wanting Kushal to not be angry anymore.
Kushal's mind still fogged with angry muttered: " She's irresponsible. Just like Abhi was! Why do you think he's not with us now..."
Muskaan looked up at Kushal with her heart stabbed.
Kushal continued: "Children these days don't understand when parents get worried. She went off without a word to go to the mandir and he...he sped home to get to Muskaan in hospital. Irresponsible. "
Muskaan felt hot tears fall and held back a sob before rushing out of the room. 

Devayani shook her at Kushal: "Kushal, calm down. You don't mean that."
Muskaan screamed: "BABUJI!!!"

Just as Muskaan was rushing towards the stairs her feet stumbled upon the bottom of her sari, making her fall forward screaming for her Kushal. With that blood curdling scream, Kushal and Devayani rushed out of their  room to see Muskaan roll down the long length of stairs, with each step thunderous. Kushal and Devayani felt their hearts fall, as their eyes couldn't believe and lips screamed only one name. 


Kushal broke into a sprint along the corridor and stormed down the stairs missing a few along the way. He head spun slightly seeing each descending step was bloodier than the last. Just before Muskaan hit the bottom floor, Kushal stopped her. 
Kushal hysterical: " MUSKAAN!! Muskaan!!"
He gently turned her so her head rested on his arm. He held her face with the other free hand, tapping her cheeks desperately wanting her to wake. 
Kushal frightened out of his wits: " MUSKAAN!? DEVAYANI CALL AN AMBULANCE DAMMIT!"
He turned back to Muskaan to see her open her eyes weakly at him.
Kushal tried to ignore the blood soaking his arm behind her head and tears started to fall heavily.
Kushal : " Muskaan betiya. Wait Ok. The Ambulance is coming betiya. Just hold on for me."
Muskaan simply stared at him with a gently tearful smile. 

Devayani rushed down to come beside them with tears in her eyes and hands shaking as she stroked her head gently. 
Devayani: " Betiya the ambulance is coming. "
Kushal gently started do make Muskaan sit up against him to help the blood flow stop, but Muskaan shook her head.
Muskaan gasped roughly: " I'm sorry ...Babuji."
Kushal roughly: " Be quiet Muskaan you pagli....You're going to be fine.... Just you watch."
Muskaan feeling weaker: " Babuji...Abhi is calling me."
Kushal never felt more vulnerable hearing those words. He grit his teeth as his eyes blurred with tears, while Devayani was sobbing beside her. Kushal held her close against his chest rocking her lightly, making Muskaan smile again.

Kushal desperately: " No...No....Please no... Betiya you can't...Just wait the ambulance is coming.... He can't be...Please don't go. You can't leave your old Babuji like this. And your children?..."
Muskaan smiled again closing her eyes before whispering one last time: " Babuji..."


Devayani staggered forward towards her sobbing husband: " could you say that? .... Everyone knows what happened...It wasn't your fault? How did you kill-"
Kushal shot up and turned to Devayani with fiery eyes: "If it wasn't for me, Muskaan wouldn't have ran!...If it wasn't for me, Muskaan wouldn't have fallen. IF.IT.WASN'T.FOR.MY.GODDAMN ANGER!!!! MUSKAAN WOULD HAVE BEEN ALIVE!!!"

Devayani stared up at her husband who she could see clearly now, haunted by the demons in the shadows,  wrapped in the vines of the past. For once in so many years, Devayani would see her husband again pained with guilt. Suffering silently. 
Devayani sadly: " All these years...and you have been thinking it was your fault. *stepping forward* Kushal...It's not true. If it was, why would Chote look up to you, Why would Anjili betiya be coming here over and over? No one blames you Kushal. It was an accident. And you know it. God always plans and if Muskaan didn't die then, she would have died another way. Everyone has their time."
Kushal shook his head, looking to the floor: " You don't understand what it's like-"
Devayani retorted: "I could blame myself then can't I?"

Kushal looked up at her confused. Devayani continued: " Well I should have gone after Muskaan when she ran out the room."
Kushal angrily: " Stop it. You're not taking this upon yourself-"
Devayani grilled: " Then stop taking this upon yourself!! You're blaming yourself for something that didn't involve your hand. Yes you shouted at Muskaan, but you wasn't wrong to. And I'm not saying it was Muskaan betiya's fault either! It's just *tearily* An unfortunate event. "

Kushal remained silent staring angrily at the floor. Somewhere deep inside of him he could feel Muskaan asking him the same, but he couldn't let go. It pained to let go and it pained to hold on. How could he explain this to anyone. 
Devayani put a hand on his shoulder: " You need to let go Kushal. You're letting this guilt take over your present and it's hurting everyone. Doesn't it hurt that it's distancing yourself from your family...And Chote!? He hasn't said a word to you since last week! You'r losing your grandson. Khushi reminds you of Muskaan is a sign Kushal! God wants this house to be full of joy like before. That innocent girl that you refuse to be a Raizada daughter-in-law, knows that you care for her so much and respects you. I'm scared to think that she'll wonder if it's because of her lack of speech you dislike-"
Kushal: " Devayani! Stop it."
Devayani: " Exactly! See! That's what I mean! You never show that outside!? Why!?"
Kushal sternly: " I can't let Khushi be apart of this family. The closer she gets, the more I care. The more I care, THE MORE SHE'LL GET HURT, JUST LIKE MUSKAAN!"

It was the two taps of knocking on the door making Devayani and Kushal remember the world around them. Kushal looked at the clock muttering about who'd be up now and stormed to the door to blast who ever was on the other side with a good shouting. Devayani followed closely behind, hoping he wouldn't say anything harsh at the person. Whipping open the door however the words and expression of anger was shot down, like a bird from the sky. 

Stood nervously in her teal green salwar night suit, with her dupatta openly draped round her shoulders, was Khushi. A silence set in as Kushal looked down at the neatly folded sari in her arms. It seemed like the one she wore earlier that night.
Devayani spoke up with a smile: " Betiya? You here? Is something wrong?"
Khushi shook her head and held out the sari to her. Devayani looked at it confused. She smiled.
Devayani: " Khushi betiya, this sari is for you to keep. You don't have to return it to me or Anjili. "
Retracting her arms hesitantly to hold the sari to herself again, she looked up at Kushal who was staring sternly at her.
Kushal: " Go you should go back to your room and sleep."
Khushi however stared at Kushal with a concerned, sympathetic look, making him wonder if she had heard even a little bit of what was said inside. 
Devayani smiled: " Go betiya, honestly you don't need to return the sari. *hinting at Kushal* Does she Kushal!? " 
Devayani then went back inside to let Kushal shut the door. Khushi was still hesitating to leave watching Kushal. 
Kushal gently in a low tone: " Betiya. Go to bed. Go." 

With that Khushi started to walk away, looking back time to time to see he was watching her leave. With what Khushi knew now, she was determined to help Kushal out of the past and into the future. But first she had to convince Arnav that all wasn't what it seemed with Kushal. And knowing his stubbornness was just as tough as his grandfather's, this was going to take some planning. 



  1. wow...i guessed right so khushal blames himself...i feel sorry for khushi is gonna e the guiding angel...would love to see what she does...u r a great writer writer u know that...i love your style of writing its soo touching...

  2. Finally khusal let's it all out!!!...glad khushi heard the conversation...khushi will bring Arnav an khusal together...can't wait for next chapter!!! :)

    Jina (IF: rainyday3000)

  3. Khushi heard everything which was just perfect!

    Poor Khusal kept it in for so long..

  4. Wonderful chapter Zara.... So now I get the reason why Kushal does not want Khushi to become a part of their Raizada parivaar.....Khushi will have to plan everything out very carefully, if she first has to get Arnav understand and also if she wants to get Kushal out of his past demons...
    great emotions.... thanks for the PM...

    valeyrie - IF

  5. Was hoping Kushal couldn't killed Muskan. So, it was guilt..
    Khushi even can't speak but knows what's going on. Is Khushi going to make Arnav understand about Kushal?
    Beautiful update Zara..

  6. So Kushal blamed himself for Muskaan falling down the step and dying

  7. I'm sorry for the delay Zee!! Internals has kept me away from all techys!! :(

    Neways what an update!! So this was indeed the fear!! Its not a valid fear but nyone who is attached and emotional will def blame themselves!

    My cousins grandpa expired last week co incidentally he was the one to feed him last n he so blames himself saying had I not given the water may b grandpa wud hv been aliv now! But what has to happen will happen had he not given d water grappy might hv made peace some other way!! So u just cant help it!

    And Khushi got to know all this!! Hmm I'm sure she will help Kushal come out of it!! Hmm!

    Just hoping things turn out positive n convincing Arnav is indeed a. Great task! Then the actual stuff!


  8. Hi Zara,
    This is a beautiful story. But my vote goes to DWE I as your magnum opus.