“It’s your story. Feel free to hit ’em with a plot twist at any moment.” ~Unknown

 

Khushi walked through the revolving doors of Gupta Incorporated, coming to a stop at the center of the elegant spacious lobby. She marveled at the stamps of the Gupta’s hospitality brand that surrounded her. One would think they were inside one of the many luxury hotels owned by GI instead of the corporate headquarters. 

 

Being back here after so long, she realized that nothing had changed. Not that an update was necessary. The grandiose classic-style decor could withstand many years to come without looking outdated. 

 

Ever since coming here as a child, she had been drawn to this building. And, it was no different today as she placed her hand on her chest. Her heart warming at the memories of her dashing through this lobby straight to the elevator bank without a care in the world. All the while squealing to her heart’s content, hearing her own voice echo as it ricocheted off the marble walls, whenever visiting her Dadaji and father. 

 

She might have wanted nothing to do with joining the family business eight years ago, fighting endlessly with her father. But, there was one thing that held true all of her life, she was proud of being a Gupta, and admired the empire built by the two men she loved. 

 

Gupta Incorporated had been a second home for her in her earlier childhood days. There had been many a time when she had insisted on spending the day here, not wanting to be home in the care of her nanny after Samaira had left them. Then, when things became too much at home with Mahini, she had become her Dadaji’s shadow, following him wherever he went citing that she missed him. And, not being one to ever say no to her or see her distressed, her grandfather had obliged, bringing her to the office. Though he had made it a point to give her insights into the family business, teaching her all that there was to know. At times, seeking her input on a matter he was working through. He used to say, early education of the business world would set her on the right path to success. And, it most certainly had when it came to starting up Shutter.

 

It felt good to be back, despite the reason why she was here. Deciding to feed off the positive energy rushing through her veins, she took a deep breath then made her way towards the main desk. 

 

“Hi, I’m Khushi,” She smiled, “Khushi Gupta.”

The stocky, bull-necked man in his fifties, Luis, according to the name tag on his blazer, wrinkled his grey eyebrows as he inspected her. She assumed her surname might have had something to do with it, trying to make out whether or not she had any relation to the owner. 

 

Khushi had dressed the part to blend in with GI’s semi business dress code. Underneath her black fall quilted jacket, she had on a pink silk blouse tucked inside her dark grey dress slacks with her designer flats. 

 

“I’m here to…” She didn’t need to finish her sentence, hearing a familiar female voice coming to her aid to avoid going through the security clearance.

 

“Khushi!” 

 

Khushi turned to find her father’s executive assistant hurriedly approaching her. When they came face to face, they both went in for an embrace at the same time. 

 

“Hi Victoria, it’s so lovely to see you again.” 

 

Victoria sent her a wide smile, taking a hold of her hand once they pulled away. “Look at you, all grown up. So, beautiful. Your father’s going to be thrilled to see you here.”

 

“And, you haven’t changed one bit, forever twenty-one just like Daddy.” Khushi complimented, embarrassing the woman as her cheeks brightened with a dark shade of pink. No one looking at Victoria would say she was forty-six years old. 

 

“Not even close. My boys are practically adults themselves now, and with age, life catches up.” She waved a hand over herself for added measure. “Now, come on, let’s sneak you upstairs. Your father’s still at the end of day debrief meeting with the executive team. I made sure they met with him in the boardroom instead of his office after you messaged me earlier to ask about his schedule.”

 

Not wasting any more time, they headed up to the executive floor where her father’s office was located. The next few minutes were filled with non-stop chatter. Both women shared an equal fondness for one another, courtesy of the two men, her Dadaji and father, that linked them together for over twenty years.

 

Similar to today, when the moment she had reached out to Victoria for her father’s schedule, along with informing her that she was on her way to the office, Victoria had always dropped whatever she was doing to put her through to her Dadaji or father whenever she needed them. It didn’t matter what meeting they were in, Victoria made sure they knew she was looking for them, allowing them to decide whether or not they wanted to speak with her or call her back when they were free. 

 

Now thinking back on it, over the years, her father always took her call, even if it was to inform her that he would call her back. Not once had he pushed her aside, unlike her often rejecting his calls, and pushing him away.

 

Stepping back inside this building that held a significant part of her past, brought forth her own flaws when it came to her relationship with her father. 

 

“I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me, Victoria,” Khushi said just as the elevator stopped at their destination. The woman blinked silently, understanding that Khushi was grateful for more than her assistance today. As the doors opened and they walked off the elevator, Khushi continued. “Squeezing me into Daddy’s schedule today must not have been easy with him returning back this morning from his business trip to Los Cobos.” 

 

“It was no problem at all, and I can bet your father would much rather see you than sit through any more meetings. Plus this is the perfect time for him to call it a day. Did you want me to make reservations for you both anywhere in particular for dinner?” Victoria smiled, leading them through the floor lined with offices.

 

“That won’t be necessary. I can take care of it depending on what Daddy’s in the mood for. Doubt he would want to go out after being away the past few days.”

 

“Knowing your father all these years, he would never miss an opportunity to spend time with his children. Especially with you, since you’ve been away. He’s a much happier man now that he has his baby girl back home.”

 

Khushi nodded, exchanging a knowing smile. It wasn’t only her father, she too felt the same being back in the same city as her family.  

 

As they approached the working space with cubicles, Khushi noted that despite it being almost six o’clock on a Wednesday, there were quite a number of people in the office with no signs of it clearing out soon. 

 

“It’s past business hours, I hope my father’s not making you work late this evening. If he gives you a hard time, just let me know. Now that I’m here, I can deal with him.” Khushi’s raised eyebrow made it clear what she meant, along with her teasing smile that had Victoria laughing as they approached the open section outside her father’s office.

 

“I love working for your father, he’s one of the kindest men I know. While on the exterior he might come across tough at GI, but he means well. He’s been good to me all these years, even your grandfather, God rest his soul, when I worked for him. There aren’t many men like them or a company like GI where they promote a work life balance. We’re like a family here, and if we need to work late every so often then so be it. I don’t mind, neither do they.” Victoria motioned to the group looking up at them as they walked past the work area.

 

“My father’s lucky to have such a wonderful, hard-working group of people looking out for him.”

 

Khushi stated a fact that was well-known in the corporate world when it came to Gupta Incorporated. And after getting a tiny glimpse, it was evident with the tight-knit group working diligently after hours. 

 

After spending a few more minutes catching up, Victoria opened the door to her father’s office, urging Khushi to wait for him there until he was done with his meeting.

 

“Are you sure I can’t get you anything to drink, Khushi?” Victoria asked as they stood at the doorway.

 

“No, thank you, I am good for now. If I need anything, I’ll be sure to let you know.” 

 

“Just call out for me, I’ll be at my desk.” Victoria glanced at her watch, then smiled. “The meeting should be ending in a few more minutes”

 

Khushi nodded, then turned to walk inside, one slow step at a time, dropping her bag along the way on the table in the sitting area in the middle of the room. 

 

What was once her Dadaji’s office, now belonged to her father. Of course, it had gone through a transformation after her father had taken over ten years ago. Though there were a few familiar pieces that belonged to her grandfather scattered around. Getting a closer look, stepping further inside, there was no mistaking that this office belonged to her father. 

 

Her eyes shifted to the wall recognizing the landscape photo of the skyline that she had taken during summer break after her first year of college. A soft smile curved her lips, remembering how her father had brought along the printed copy during her first exhibit and made her sign it. 

 

Spotting the traditional rich brown desk, she walked up to it, her heart brimming with nostalgia. She instinctively ran her hand across the top, making her way around the desk, stopping behind the chair that had been left slightly pulled out.

 

She knew it was a childish thing to do, but couldn’t resist spinning the chair. Not once but several times, amusedly looking on. If it weren’t for the incoming call on her phone, she was certain the spinning game would have continued.

 

“Hi Love, have you reached your parent’s place?” She asked softly after accepting the call, resting her hand on the table.

 

“I’m just getting off the freeway, so I should be there in a few minutes. Thought I’d give you a quick call since I just got off the phone with the lawyer. The closing date for our new home has been confirmed.”

 

“Really? We’re all set to move forward?” Her smile stretched wide as she sat down on her father’s chair.

 

“We are, Sweetheart! Next Friday, nine days till the penthouse is officially ours to move in. We can do the closing at the lawyer’s office anytime in the morning, so let me know what time works best for you.”

 

She nodded, even though he couldn’t see her.

 

“Are you still at Shutter?” He asked a moment later after having been met with silence.

 

“No, actually I’m at GI,” Sitting at the edge of the chair, her eyes swept the room before gazing out the window at the night sky. “Daddy’s office.” 

 

“Why? I thought you were meeting him at home?” There was an uncertainty in his tone given why she was meeting her father. 

 

“That was the plan but I wasn’t sure how his day was going to turn out for him after his trip. So, here I am, taking the first free time slot on his calendar. I’ve already delayed this conversation, and didn’t want to push it anymore.”

 

“It’s going to be all fine. In fact, I bet he’ll be thrilled to know that you’re finally moving out of the shoebox.” He laughed at having been caught in the middle with NK on his back at not having found Khushi better accommodation. 

 

“Hey, don’t bad mouth my cozy home. You love that place more than I do.”

 

“That, I do, and that building, which is going to be yours in a matter of a couple of months. Listen, Khushi, I just pulled into the driveway.”

 

“I would wish you luck, but you won’t need it with your family.” She pouted, suddenly feeling a bit on edge with time creeping closer to her father’s arrival.

 

“Neither will you, NK will understand. I’ll message you when I am leaving, and we can meet up wherever you want to stay tonight.”

 

“Your place. Don’t ask, the loft is a mess right now.” She responded instantly, “Say hello to everyone, and I’ll see you later.”

 

Switching off her phone, she rested it on the desk. In an attempt to relax her nerves, she sank back on her father’s chair, and closed her eyes.

 

Perhaps she should listen to Arnav’s advice, and take out some time for herself before the madness of their upcoming move to the penthouse, as well as Leia’s wedding set to take place in a month. 

 

Lately, she seemed to be on high alert assuming the worst about everything. But in reality, her life couldn’t be better. It was perfect. Everything was falling into place, professionally and personally. Shutter’s doors were now open, and running smoothly. Including the surge of visitors flocking in to view her pieces. Leia and she had already begun talks about the expansion to represent up and coming photographers that had reached out to them after learning she was no longer with Dalal Agency. Arnav had managed to make headway with his talks in securing her the building. While it wasn’t official as of yet, it was only a matter of time before the owner was ready to accept her offer. Finally, after some back and forth with negotiations on the penthouse, it was theirs. Fully furnished, and move-in ready. 

 

Once she spoke to her father about her future plans, only then would she be content. 

 

Hearing a familiar sound of a camera snapping a picture, her eyes opened to find her father standing a few feet away from his desk, dressed in a black suit and a light grey dress shirt. With her eyes open, and sitting upright, he clicked another shot of her. 

 

“Adding this to my collection of you sitting on that chair.” He smiled, raising his phone to show off his photo taking skills. “I think I have one from every year up until Bauji passed away. He loved it when you would sit there, pretending to be our boss.” 

 

“Not true, how about when you made me intern during my summer break when I was in college. I used to sit here, while I waited for you to go home on a few evenings.” She pushed back the chair, and stood up.

 

Made you sounds a bit mean, don’t you think? Can’t we look at it as gaining experience at one of the world’s top hospitality companies?”

 

“Whatever makes you happy, Daddy.” She went into her father’s arms, and swallowed thickly with her emotions getting the better of her. 

 

“You smiling is what makes me happy.” He pulled away, and kissed her forehead. For him, she gave a bright smile, a reflection of how she felt being here with him after years of keeping her distance. 

 

“You like my surprise?” She wrapped her arm around his shoulder, and squeezed him.

 

“I love it! Feel free to stop by as often as you like. Perhaps next time during the day, so everyone can meet my celebrity daughter.” 

 

“Daddy!” She shook her head as he took her hand before she could move away from him. They both walked over to the sofa, and made themselves comfortable. “I’m not a celebrity…”

 

She gasped as her father rolled his eyes, stretching his arm along the back of the sofa.

 

“So, what do I owe this visit to, from my daughter?” He asked with an amused smile at her frowning.

 

“Can’t a girl drop in on her father to check up on him? I mean you left town suddenly, dropping a simple text on our family chat group.” Raising her fingers up, she quoted his message, “Will be out of town for a few days.”

 

“By no means was it my intention to worry you children, but there was an urgent matter at the new site that I needed to attend that had me getting on the jet early Sunday morning. But, I’m back now.” He crossed his leg, resting his ankle on his knee. “Speaking of Sunday, I loved your feature in the Times. The writer did a remarkable job capturing the essence of Shutter and KKG, a very well written article. I’ve asked Victoria to get it framed.”

 

“Not you too?” She smacked her forehead as her father shook with laughter. “Arnav practically bought all of the papers from the newsstand near Shutter.”

 

“That man is a keeper, he’s good for you.”

 

“And, for you. The bromance is going strong.” She sat up, tucking her leg underneath the other. “Kinda weird if you ask me, being friends with your daughter’s boyfriend.”

 

“Would you rather I disapprove of him?” 

 

“Oh God, no. I like that we can agree on one thing in my life. Arnav.” Tossing him a mischievous smile, she winked.

 

“Speaking of Arnav, where is he this evening?”

 

“Home…” Before she could say anymore, he spoke.

 

“That means you and I can have dinner tonight.”

 

She nodded with a small smile, working up the courage to approach the real reason behind her visit.

 

“Perfect, let me have Victoria…” It was her turn to stop him, placing her hand on his knee as he was about to stand up.

 

“I’ve already informed her that I’ll take care of it. Let’s do something casual tonight, but first, ” She paused long enough for her father to sense that something was weighing on her. Taking his hand in hers, she said, “I was hoping we could talk before heading out to dinner.”

 

“Sure, what is it? Something happened? Did Samaira…” 

 

“No, Daddy, I’m fine.” She smiled in an attempt to wipe away his concern. “Actually, more than fine. I’m finally moving out of my so-called shoebox.” She pronounced with an exaggerated shrug, her excitement coming across in her tone and wide smile.

 

“That’s excellent news!” He leaned over, and hugged her. “I knew Arnav would come through, a little later than I had hoped, but this is terrific. Where? When? Come on, give me all the details.”

 

“The new high rise in the center of Rose Hill, we went to see the property Sunday evening, and I loved it so much that we made an offer that night. Arnav actually just informed me that the closing is next Friday morning.”

 

“I know exactly which building you’re referring to, and now that I can visualize it, it’s just the type of place that you would go for. Would you mind if I checked it out? Maybe Arnav can arrange something for tomorrow or the weekend.”

 

“I’m sure we can work it out, though no talks about the finances. We have it covered.”

 

He raised his hands up, “I’ve learned from my mistakes, no butting in with my checkbook. But,” He paused, “I hope you use your trust fund, or the payouts from your share in GI. It’s yours to spend as you please, right now it’s just sitting there in your account. Untouched. Think of it as an investment in your future. And, I assume your new place has a hefty price tag given the neighborhood and the building.”

 

“You’ll also be happy to hear that I plan on making another real estate purchase, the building where I am at now to expand Shutter. And, since the landlord will only budge if I make a lucrative cash offer, it looks like your wish of me withdrawing from my trust fund might come true.”

 

“This just gets better and better. My baby girl is setting her roots in New York, and on the way to owning not one but two properties!” He raised his hand for a high five in exultation, but little did he know what she had yet to disclose. 

 

“As for the penthouse in Rose Hill, the total price is more than what I had originally budgeted for, but,” She paused, looking directly into his dark eyes. “With Arnav and I going in half and half, I’ll be able to cover the cost out of my own savings.”

 

A crease appeared between her father’s eyebrows, taking in what she had divulged. However, it didn’t take him long to put two and two together.

 

“You both are moving in?”

 

“We are. It’s the perfect home for us to start our life together.” She didn’t hold back despite the blank expression staring at her. “How do you feel about us living under the same roof?”

 

“I’m not orthodox, Khushi, I would think you know that.” He tilted his head, then added, “Actually, I think it’s a great idea. This move will give you both an opportunity to see what your life will be like as a couple. There’s a difference between being in love and living together. Everything is out in the open, along with the many facets of one’s personality exposing who we truly are, and our expectations of a life partner. Some good, and some not so much. Not that Arnav isn’t perfect for you, but this will allow you to understand him, and he, you. A trial run of sorts before committing to marriage.”

 

“What if I told you we have no plans of getting married?”

 

“Like I’ve mentioned before, and speaking from experience, there’s no rush. You’re more than entitled to explore your relationship, to live in the moment without the added responsibilities that come after marriage.” He squeezed her hand, a reassuring smile on his face. “Though, you won’t get any objection from me should you want to get married now. You already know what I think of Arnav, and after meeting his family on Friday, I can see they’re good people. I think the two families will get along quite well, which is important since not only are you marrying Arnav, but it’s also a union of the Raizadas and the Guptas. And, seeing how traditional the Raizadas are, I’m guessing that they would want their eldest son to be married before their daughter, right?” He asked more to himself, aware of the answer. Then as the realization hit him, his face lit up at the possibility, “Wow, my daughter is going to get married.”

 

Her father’s face shone with an unmistakable glow of happiness. The sight caused Khushi’s heart to constrict with what was to follow.

 

She was aware of her father’s dreams for her since she was a child. One of which was shattered with her not accepting her position at GI working alongside him choosing to go off on her own. And now, she was about to do it again. 

 

“There will be no wedding in our future… ever.” She held her breath, allowing her father to take in what she said. 

 

He looked away, rubbing a hand across the dark stubble shadowing the lower half of his face.

 

“No marriage? At all?” He turned to face her, and she merely shook her head in response. “I would understand if you told me that neither one of you was ready for it now, which I fully support. But, why the abrupt finality of not getting married?”

 

“Our decision might seem sudden, but it isn’t one that we have taken without thinking it through. Can’t two people just be together, like you said a few minutes back, live in the moment… Is a piece of paper really necessary when one is committed to the relationship?” 

 

Her words had sparked something with her father as he frowned, placing his hands on his knees. He shifted slightly, straightening against the cushion.

 

“It’s more than a piece of paper, Khushi. Marriage is a lifetime union of two people who promise to be there for each other. Till death do you apart. Many term it as the highest goal for human beings, to live with unconditional love.”

 

“Which can exist without the institution of marriage.” She retorted.

 

“Perhaps,” He lips clamped shut for all of two seconds, acknowledging her statement, “But then, marriage isn’t just some random relationship. Not when it gives one security, a name, husband and wife.”

 

“Are you really saying marriage guarantees two people will stay together always no matter what?” She firmed her voice before continuing. “You from all people know that doesn’t exist. When things are no longer benefitting one, or the other, one can choose to walk away. Anytime they damn well please.”

 

“If you’re using my two failed marriages to influence your decision whether or not it’s right for you, then I have to say, don’t do that.” He replied, his eyes simmering with a storm of discontent. “What I shared with Samaira and Mahini wasn’t even close to what you have with Arnav. There’s love and commitment from both sides. My marriage with Samaira was doomed from the very first day. And Mahini, do I need to say anything?” A statement rather than a question, based on his matter of fact tone. 

 

“Fine, agree,” Her eyes narrowed, and she leaned forward. “Daddy, I’m asking you to be open about this, and respect our decision.”

 

“I’m trying to, Khushi, I really am. However, I can’t grasp why you’ve made such a drastic decision, and that too, so suddenly.” His frustration evident, dragging his hand through his hair. 

 

“It isn’t like that.” She placed her hand on his shoulder.

 

“To me, it is. You’ve never objected to getting married in all these years. In fact, ” He shifted to his side to face her, taking her hand in his. “Last year at the wedding we all attended in Dubai, you had made a comment about first finding a man when I mentioned I was looking forward to seeing you as a bride. Not just then, but there have been several occasions where you were fine with the idea of marriage. What changed, Khushi?” He asked, then his eyes widened, “This wasn’t your idea, was it? It’s Arnav.”

 

She shook her head, “No, Daddy, it’s our decision, one we made together.” 

 

“You don’t need to defend your boyfriend. Arnav shouldn’t have you doing his dirty work, he should be here having this conversation with me.” He raised his index finger, pointing at the empty chair directly across from them.

 

“I disagree.” She snapped. “You’re my father, and you need to hear this from me, just as he needed to talk to his family. Alone. That’s what Arnav and I agreed on. There will be plenty of opportunities after today to get together to discuss. But for now, you and I need to go through this.” She stopped, meeting the coolness in her father’s eyes. An expression she knew all too well, having gone head to head with him many times in her younger years. She hated it. “Believe me, I have thought this through with Arnav, and we both are aligned that marriage represents a contract, a piece of paper, it does not define our love for each other.”

 

“I find this whole thing perplexing. Arnav, a man who deals with contracts on a daily basis, should understand the significance of having a piece of paper that is law binding. It’s there to protect the couple, and without it, you can be left there standing with nothing.”

 

“Then perhaps it was never mine to begin with.”

 

“Stop feeding yourself that nonsense. You deserve better than that load of crap that marriage means nothing.” He stood abruptly, then pulled off his suit jacket, and threw it on the empty chair. He rubbed the back of his neck and stepped closer to the window, overlooking a city now covered in darkness, while city lights lit the inky night. 

 

A tense silence filled the room for a moment, or two, or even an eternity. All she could do was sit there and watch her father standing in front of the wall of floor to ceiling windows. If she were to guess, he would be turning over their conversation with an extra dose of vexation. She smiled inwardly at having captured this very avatar eight years ago. The difference being, this time she was responsible for his brooding mood.

 

“After Samaira” He turned to face her, breaking the silence. “I had vowed that I would never marry again. I wanted nothing to do with it. There was no way I was going to give someone the power over me, where they could hurt me. But then it changed with Mahini. Do you know why?”

 

She swallowed thickly and nodded. While her father had never openly admitted or explained the reason behind marrying Mahini. She knew.

 

“Of course, you do, my smart little girl who’s always been wiser than her age.” He smiled wryly, walking back to where she was seated on the couch. He took a deep breath, and sat down beside her. “When I found out Mahini was pregnant, I was lost given that I had no intentions of getting tied up in a lifetime commitment after what I had gone through with Samaira. There was no room in my life for a wife. Even after the initial shock and anger towards myself for allowing this to happen, I was firm with my decision. So, I was ready to set her up with whatever she needed, and co-parent with her after the baby arrived. But, there was one thing that gnawed at me whenever I saw your sweet innocent face, and thought about my unborn child. How could I bring a child into the world where he or she would have been called a bastard, an illegitimate being born out of wedlock? What kind of man does that make me?” 

 

“Commendable, Daddy.” She gave him a small smile.

 

“I owned up to it, taking accountability by marrying Mahini despite my reservations. I had to for my unborn child’s sake, who would have to face the brutal taunts that society would throw at them. I refused to sit there and watch it happen.” He vented out his anger, then let it simmer back down to throw her a question. “Now, you tell me, what happens to my future grandchild when the time comes? What will he or she say to the world when they are being called names for no fault of their own?” 

 

She cringed, shutting her eyes, and shook her head. “No.”

 

“Wait, have you also decided to give up on your lifetime dream of being a mother? Guess, it was easy for you to say no to marriage, so to not have a baby wouldn’t be that far-fetched.” His eyes filled with challenge, staring at her.

 

“Stop it will you?!” She said, her voice turning bitter. “I am not giving up anything that I don’t want to. Yes, I will not be getting married. But, I will have children when the time is right. As for what society has to say to my child, well, I think the world has evolved. And for those that have narrow minded thinking, then neither my child nor I will be going anywhere near them. The fact that you are hung up on it surprises me. I thought you were a bit more progressive than that, Daddy.”

 

“I am, but I’m also a traditionalist at heart, and understand the significance of marriage for a woman. As a father, I want that for my daughter. This isn’t child’s play, baby girl. There are consequences of not having that piece of paper as you call it.” 

 

There was nothing that she could say which would make her father see this whole thing any differently. Their disagreements had put a strain on their relationship in the past, cutting a little too deep. But, they had come far to be able to get through the intense conversation that had taken place this evening without either of them not listening to the other, or worse, storming off. 

 

Her eyes filled with tears, but she was her father’s strong, determined daughter, and pushed them away. Though, not before he saw the torment in her eyes, grasping her thoughts as he voiced them to her.

 

“We’ve been through so much together, my baby girl.” He put his arm around her shoulder, pulling her close to him. “There is no way we are going to allow our differences with your decision to not marry come in between us. You have your views, and I have mine, which don’t align. What’s important for me is your happiness, and whether I like it or not, a future with Arnav. Unconventional, but it’s your life. I’ve learned the hard way by interfering in the past, pushing my decisions on you. But, not anymore. All I can do now is be there for you, no matter what.”

 

And, she knew he always would be.

 

 

 

Sorry about the slight delay, the chapter turned out longer than I had planned, as well as madness taking over our home in making my daughter’s birthday special for her. ❤ I may or may have not gone overboard, but couldn’t resist filling our home with balloons! 

 

I do hope you enjoyed this chapter, would love to know your thoughts 😉

 

Till next time, keep smiling, while I’ll keep writing and ballooning for my eldest son’s birthday coming up next week! 

 

Love always,

Jigs

 

214 thoughts on “Chapter 42

  1. ❤️

    There is something very poignant in seeing a younger version of yourself in the space you stand in as a grown up. How easily the years fall away. Khushi in the GI lobby reminded me of her reminiscing in Grand Central. Hindsight gives us perspective, doesn’t it. And Khushi has been nothing if not honest about herself to herself.

    The entire scene from the moment she walked through the revolving doors to the time when she opened her eyes at the sound of a picture being taken, had a palpable feeling of warmth about it. Her Dadaji was intuitive to her needs, loving, nurturing, and teaching by example. His way of engaging Khushi was just what she needed.

    Coming to Khushi and NK’s conversation, first of all I really liked that it was one. A conversation. The way you showed NK’s feeling towards Arnav change as the conversation wore on was, I felt, particularly well written. From “Arnav is perfect for you”, to “whether I like it or not, a future with Arnav“. I liked how Khushi immediately stood up for Arnav when NK accused him of sending Khushi to do his “dirty work”.

    While they may have agreed to disagree, this will continue to be an issue. And one can see NK’s point of view. He is not wrong in what he said. A traditionalist does not not mean being orthodox. His life experiences and his values shape his thoughts, as does the era he grew up in. But, neither is Khushi wrong in her place. And in this impasse, I suspect the “bromance” may be the one that bears the brunt.

    Happy Birthday once again to our baby girl ❤️ And, those balloons were gorgeous!

    Liked by 30 people

        1. Kaun hai jo sapnon mein aaya

          is this going to be back & forth song dedication between us , like antakshari

          Jiya o jiya o jiya kuchh bol do

          Prachiji 😬😜😃

          Liked by 5 people

    1. A traditionalist does not not mean being orthodox. His life experiences and his values shape his thoughts, as does the era he grew up in.

      ^^^ Very well said, and how true. With every generation the way of thinking changes, but there are traditions that we grow with which stay with us. As you said, they are both right in their place, but it does make you question if there’s a right or wrong. ❤

      Liked by 14 people

    2. U captured my thoughts ditto Ruchiji. I liked how khushi was walking through GI, remembering all that was & is. Feeling proud for her dadaji, father & being a Gupta herself. She may not have join d family business in traditional sense but she has beautifully carried being a smart Gupta business woman in her life. Shutter is d best example of that. To me thats d crux of khushi. If we see in traditional sense, she has not joined d business & now no marriage too. But does that mean she is not following Gupta legacy in both things? Infact khushi is making her dadaji & father proud by starting her own venture from ground zero. & Now with Arnav & his family she is showing what loving upbringing these men has given her, despite of having such poor examples of mother.

      I don’t blame NK at all. Arnav & Khushi has to accept that just like they have their experiences & values to decide that a piece of paper is not a certificate of commitment. Similarly NK is entitled to have his views. Now what’s important is not that they have different povs but how they r going to accepting & respecting it whole heartedly. If NK is going to allow it to come in between him & Arnav also, it will definitely going to affect his relationship with khushi too, whether he agree to disagree with khushi or not. Thats d beauty of relationship, it doesn’t matter whether marriage is done or not, blood related or not, once they r formed from heart, they r forever.

      Let’s hope NK, Khushi & Arnav can meet in d middle & don’t stand on two end or put burden of their disappointment on another. Khushi can’t function without one of them & this should b d most important thing for both NK & Arnav

      Liked by 10 people

    3. My dear Ruchi ,
      As usual outstanding comment
      Hindsight gives us perspective 👌great line
      As we grow older , the things that mattered to us most are no longer relevant
      except values,& thought process
      Lots of love ❤️ & hugs 🤗
      Cheers 🍻

      Liked by 6 people

    4. Loved your comments Ruchi. NK has realised that Khushi loves Arnav and wants to be with him, marriage or no marriage. The father promised his daughter that he will be always there for her as in the past he was not there when Khushi needed him. What will have Arnav to say in his defence will be interesting.

      Liked by 6 people

    5. Agree with you and your thoughts on the subject, Ruchi. Don’t all parents, however forward thinking we might be, dream of their children’s wedding from the time they grow up! One can’t help but agree with both NK and with Khushi too. One has to leave our children the freedom to decide their future as they think is best for them, but we as parents do have our own opinion on what we think is best too. Very interesting chapter, Jigs. Thought provoking. Now I am looking forward to Arnav’s family’s opinion on the subject, specially Dadi’s.
      PS- Isn’t it typical of a parent to always blame the spouse(or boy/girl friend) for their own child’s decisions. 😉
      Please wish your daughter a belated Happy birthday for me. I am totally with you on going overboard with the balloons. I did the same with my grown up daughter on her birthday! 😊

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Isn’t it typical of a parent to always blame the spouse(or boy/girl friend) for their own child’s decisions. OMG yes!!! No matter the age, parents are so quick to blame the spouse 😂😂

        Liked by 5 people

      2. @1chilly, giving words to your PS😜
        Typical parent admonishing😔 the girl be like
        Did he put you up to this ?
        And hiding like a thief ?
        Why not come face to face & discuss issues like a grown up 😃😬
        as though ladli is red riding hood , babe lost in the woods 😧

        Liked by 5 people

    1. A very happy belated birthday to your daughter, Jigs. I am sure you made it extra special for her! 🥰

      I looked at the banner and knew that a conversation between the father and daughter was in the offing. Then I read the quote of the week and plots and twists. 🙂 So I decided to hold my breath till I was fully done with the chapter.

      Jigs – this is such an important chapter of this tale. For one, Niran and Khushi are able to have a conversation on a topic that is so close to his heart. They have both come a long way, as we all know, but it was not an easy topic to broach, for Khushi. She used her love for Arnav and her conviction on the matter as her strength, to wade through the evening. Niran has come to adore Arnav, as he first pointed out at the beginning. But as the evening turned its tide, Niran was quick to point out something else too – that Arnav should have been the one talking to him (NK) about it. The father in Niran came to the forefront when he made that statement – he is human, after all. A doting father at that. And I justify him losing his guard and making that comment. Niran also decided to explain his side by showcasing his experiences and the lessons he he learnt from them.
      But then, Khushi knows where she stands, and what she really wants in her life. She has her thoughts clear on marriage and even having children.

      The beauty of this chapter, as is a trademark in your work Jigs, is that I was finding hard to take sides. Yet again, I loved the traditionalist NK… while still wanting to support Khushi.
      At the end of the day, this was a victory for the father and daughter’s love, despite any event in their lives.

      Spectacular, Jigs. 👏👏

      PS:
      Hope you are staying safe, watching the winter wonderland (and there is no power outage!)

      Liked by 10 people

      1. The beauty of this chapter, as is a trademark in your work Jigs, is that I was finding hard to take sides.

        Yet again, I loved the traditionalist NK… while still wanting to support Khushi. YES!!!!

        Right back at you, stay safe and let’s keep our fingers crossed with no power outage through the snowstorm… and in advance, happy digging out the snow! 🤗😘

        Liked by 9 people

          1. It’s the best time of snow this time around, so fluffy! I truly am enjoying it today, working and my eyes swaying to the window. Ruchi’s masterpiece is making me take a moment and appreciate it! ❤

            Liked by 5 people

    1. A very happy birthday to your daughter. I would have done the same with balloons..there is something about how that can bring so much cheer in the happy moments. Hope she had a blast. Picture toh banta hain 😉

      Coming to the chapter..the discussion was coming which I knew but didn’t see it take this way. Lot of great points between father and daughter.

      Khushi’s memories of the past and her memories of coming to her dads office and sitting at his chair and being the mini boss makes me nostalgic too..been there done that type. Her grandfather has been instrumental in her growing up as a professional women and looks like he had influence in this space too. Now her father holds that space and making his own marking on how he stands by his daughter..the suitation are different and challenges are different. Khushi was good revealing all good things before she knew where the point of contention could be..but I applaud her for standing as a couples decision and portraying that to her father. NK Is smart to figure out but I am glad he is not pushing hard. Now let’s see how his bromance will influence that or shape that discussion.

      I am with NK all the way with respect to how the society sees the future or the child..Khushi may not realize this yet but she can’t be everywhere her child will go and then when that child faces such remarks, she can’t protect the kid or hurt. No matter how progressive the world is, this one is still traditional for what ever reasons unknown.

      I am curious how the discussion will go in Raizada house next for Arnav. Even the little exchange between Khushi and Arnav was always adorable. Lovely chapter jigs.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. No matter how progressive the world is, this one is still traditional for what ever reasons unknown. This is so very true, there are some things in life that one tends to lean towards the traditional approach. ❤
        And, thank you for the sweet wishes 🤗😘

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I hope all you lovely ladies are all doing OK. Wishing you all a wonderful week… Keep safe and take care… Sending you all loads of love❤❤❤❤❤, hugs🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗 and kisses😗😗😗😗😗.

      Happy birthday to your baby girl my darling. I know she’ll have a wonderful day after all you’re the one planning it… Wishing her all the best and many more years to come❤😗🤗🎊🎉🎉.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Thank you, Jigs!! 🤗❤️

        Birthday greetings to your little girl! ❤️🤗

        Beautiful update! They are both right in their places. It’s hard to say who is and who isn’t. Traditions have their own meaning and importance too. With time and age, the fashion changes but, the crux remains I guess.

        Let’s live for the moment like they’ve rightly mentioned. Let’s take each day as it comes.

        Beautiful to see Khushi walk through her memory lane. I literally imagined a child Khushi growing up to a fine young woman as she walked through the lobby. , Like how they show in the movies. Scene changes, time flies and character grows.

        Beautiful as always! ❤️❤️🤗

        And yes, NK will be there for her. That’s all that matters.

        Cheers

        Liked by 6 people

    1. NK may not agree but he knows where his daughter’s happiness lies. In spite of his experience he still wants a conventional relationship for his daughter. I guess that comes from a father’s heart. But what his daughter shares with Arnav is what should truly be the essence of marriage. So I hope they are left to navigate this.

      Liked by 8 people

  2. 💕💕💕loved the conversation between father and daughter shows the maturity understanding care and respect for each other office scene with the chair had me reminiscing childhood happy birthday to your precious bundle of joy stay safe n take care

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Very beautiful update…Totally agree with NK, He is being traditionalist as well as an open person of a new century…I’m sure, time will come when Arnav & Khushi themselves will decide to jump in the institution of marriage eventually…can’t wait for that day…

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Beautiful chapter,I agree with NK,I hope down the line Arnav and Khusi will give name to their beautiful relationship, Arnav might give a thought about marriage

    Liked by 4 people

  5. A traditionalist does not not mean being orthodox, he isn’t right but his not wrong either, society has a. Way of viewing things differently and we all know whatever decision parents take it’s the child that suffers more. Khushi is right in her on way bu so is Nk and he speaks from experience.

    She saying she will keep her child away from all those who will dare to call her child a bastard, how many people is she gonna hide the child from ? It’s not only adults who would have something to say kids at schools can be so mean to other kids that it pushes them to commit suicide.

    But at the end of the day NK is always going to be there for his daughter no matter her decision and that makes one great and understanding father.
    Jigs NK deserves father of the year award for just being there for his daughter .

    Liked by 5 people

  6. It was not easy for Khushi to tell her father that she was moving in with Arnav and the marriage was not in the cards ever. Nk knew his daughter that Khushi was never against getting married and have children so he knows that it is Arnav who is against marriage and Khushi agreed because she loves him. He told Khushi why he married Mahini when she became pregnant. He married her so that his child is not tagged as an illegitimate child. Khushi argued that all this is outdated and there is no stigma of a child born out of wedlock. Nk told Khushi he loved her and he will be always there for her.
    Thank you Jignasha.

    Liked by 7 people

      1. 🎈Belated Birthday wishes for your daughter and as for the filling the house with balloons, my nephews did the same for old me and weeks later we are still kicking the balloons around.😊

        Liked by 6 people

  7. Culture is not static and being a part of culture, the institution of marriage changes through time. So resisting the change for the sake of protecting traditions and cultural patterns that no longer seem valid is not logical. If a couple decides to not get married, then it’s up to them. Be it a father or another family member, no one has right to intervene in couple’s chosen path.

    Once bitten twice shy. Now NK learnt eight years ago that no amount of threatening will make his baby daughter to change her mind. I just hope that his conversation with Khushi wouldn’t change his and Arnav’s admirable bromance.

    I was away for more than a month and couldn’t comment on some of previous chapters. Now, thankfully I’m back.

    Wishing a very happy birthday to your daughter, and your son in advance.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I’m also glad to be back. Everything is alright. I was busy with my comprehensive exam. That’s why, I wasn’t able to read the previous chapters but I always hit the like button without reading it, knowing that your writing skills are always appreciated by me, even before seeing what you wrote.

        Liked by 4 people

  8. Wonderful update Jigisha ,👏

    I agreed with Kushi & NK , both of them has valid point for conversation.

    Happy belated B’day for your princess 👑
    Enjoy Snow ❄️
    Stay safe

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Dearest jigs ,
    baloonified happy bday to your angel 👑🎁🎊🎉🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈
    Wishing her the best 👍🏼

    Jigs,
    You know me
    I strongly feel for KKG, though born in riches was abandoned by mom at birth
    distanced by stepmom
    did everything to irk / get noticed by papa in her formative years,
    fought her battles all alone, as a woman , until a realtor came waltzing 😍
    to cohabit at penthouse in Rosehill💕🥰

    From the time kh walked through the doors of GI,
    it is like we used the rewind button , imagining little kh
    jumping in joy , holding Dadaji ‘s hands , waiting for him to finish work
    Victoria came across like a long lost relative , pure nostalgia
    The ever sensitive khushi thanked her for everything 👏

    But this update was about , silver fox , NK
    I get him
    Though kh is right in her own way
    NK is a traditional Indian male😬
    Taking care of baby girl along with dad after his wife left
    Until he decided to do the right thing by marrying pregnant Mahini
    He wants kh to do enter matrimony for her sake as well for his future
    grandchildren
    I teared up 🥲
    Aren’t all fathers like him ?
    Mine gave me value based upbringing
    constructive criticism , prodded me to use my intellect
    Miss u papa ❤️

    OMG, Hotwa might have to answer NK, I think
    But NK will come through because he wants his babygirl ‘s happiness
    Agree to disagree update didn’t sit well with me
    But the talk was imminent
    Unconsciously or consciously khushi had broken NK ‘s heart twice
    Hoping & praying he heals faster this time

    Lots of love & hugs
    dear jigs
    Take care
    Cheers 🍻

    Liked by 7 people

  10. happy birthday to ur little one

    the talk..its difficult to say anything abt this now ..NK is right at his place.. Khushi or rather ASR is too… with a baby yes it will b different bt lets get thr when time comes .. he will never tolerate anyone saying a word against khushi forget thr child..lets see how NK reacts to ASR, n moving in will go with his family

    Liked by 4 people

  11. First off, yay an update (a super long one 🥰)!! Also, happy belated and happy early birthday to your kids ☺️☺️ absolutely loved this update. Would’ve seemed unreal if NK had just gone along with her wishes of not getting married so this reaction was very much expected. Why do I think that there’s an impending conversation between him and Arnav coming up though? 🤔 but they’re actually moving in together!! Ahh so excited 🤩 have a good week!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Awesome update, I liked NK’S thoughts and conversation with khushi. He tried to show reality to khushi but she is not delusional right now and when time will come I arnav and khushi will readily take the leap of faith and do marry each other

    Liked by 4 people

  13. A traditionalist does not not mean being orthodox so true and its a good thing that NK expressed his thoughts abt marriage but all disagreements apart he will be always with his baby girl no matter what and khushi is aware of it.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Khushi reminiscing her childhood in her dads office is truly picture perfect.
    Now comes a deadlock situation… as NK pointed khushi was never against marriage and its fair that he had dreams for his daughters wedding. And khushi is also not wrong …. its her life and she could live however she want. But looks like there will be a dent in the bromance….
    Waiting for their meet..
    .

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Amazing Update Jigs

    Loved how Khushi was remembering her childhood days spent in GI during her visits and also feeling proud of her Dadaji and herself being a Gupta though she never joined her family business as her father wanted her to do so. Loved how her Dadaji engaged her with the business talks even at that age while she tagged along with him first when her mother left her and then due to Mahini’s negligence towards her.

    Loved how NK wanted to have a memory of Khushi sitting on his chair in his office. Loved the conversation between NK and Khushi. Though it started with a happy note, NK feeling happy seeing Arnav in Khushi’s life, Khushi moving out of the loft and finding a better place, and Arnav and Khushi are moving in together but it never ended on a happy note when the much-needed topic regarding marriage has been bought out.

    First NK thought Khushi was against marriage seeing his two failed marriages but the moment he realized it is not that, instantly blamed Arnav and got angry with him for leaving Khushi to talk to him all alone by herself. Loved how Khushi supported and took Arnav side letting NK know that it was a mutual decision taken by both of them. Loved how NK made Khushi understand his POV regarding marriage and how kids are looked upon who came out of wedlock and not wanting his own kids to go thru that in spite of not wanting to get married after his failed marriage had to get married to Mahini. Here both NK and Khushi are not wrong but right from their own POV and how they see “Marriage” as. Not wanting to mess up his relationship with Khushi again glad to see how NK wanted to be there for her and support her decision as long as she is happy even both doesn’t agree on it. Hope this doesn’t mess whatever Arnav and NK share with each other who love the same woman and all they meet in the middle ground and also Khushi will not be happy if there is any tension between the two men in her life without whom she can’t be without.

    Eager for the Next one.

    Wishing a Belated Happy Birthday to your daughter and all the best for her future. Hope she had a great time.

    Thanks
    Chinnulu

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I couldn’t take sides at all. Both NK and Khushi made very valid points. It all comes down to personal choice right. It was lovely to see present Khushi reminisce about the past – the lighter or happier side of it.

    Amaze chapter, waiting for the next!

    Belated happy birthday to your daughter, balloons are never enough, bet she loved it.

    Stay safe.

    Love♥️

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Two sides of a coin, no? This argument about to marry or not to marry is very old and yet so new. While each side has some strong points to support their belief, neither side is wrong. The key is to let the two people in a relationship decide whether they want that piece of paper or not.. in an ideal world, NK’s relationship with either khushi or Arnav shouldn’t change based on whether they choose that piece of signed paper or not. I would like to believe that NK will come to terms with it with time and accept their relationship wholeheartedly- marriage or not… the fact that K has found a man who loves her unconditionally (unlike her biological and step mother), who supports her in her career and wants to be a part of her dreams and future without a doubt (unlike NK who had a falling out with her due to her career choice) should mean more than something. If khushi is finding her feet in NYC again then a major credit goes to ASR. That I say is reason enough to let A and K make their choices.
    Love how khushi stood up for Arnav yet did not disrespect NK at any point. Now that is amazing. So happy for A and K on their first house together. They deserve all the happiness especially khushi…
    hope you are well jigs ji. Happy birthday to your daughter.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Another super update Jigs.

    Happy Birthday to your little girl!!! Hope she has a wonderful day.

    Also I saw on the news that you are having a big big snow storm. Stay warm and stay safe.

    Khushi finally told her father about she and Arnav having decided to not get married and stay committed to each other through their love. It must have been very tough for NK to keep an open mind about it.
    For any parent, it is their dream to watch their child getting married to the person they love. If NK is angry on Arnav, I understand his sentiment.
    I hope one day, maybe, Arnav will realise that signing the marriage paper is not bad after all and will do it.
    Or maybe they will live happily ever after without getting married at all, will wait and see Jigs.

    Ruchi, even NK seems to have loved your writing on the NYT.
    Maybe NK should read your new post on your blog too. He would love it.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. Hi….
    This was a lovely and much awaited update.
    First off… in an Arnav-Khushi story , I never thought that I would be eagerly looking forward to read more about NK.😀
    NK has been characterized so beautifully in Listed.
    According to me , all views on marriage are extremely personal and , in this case , the maturity shown by Khushi along with her life experiences surely gives her the confidence to take this decision. And , NK being a typical father and a single parent to Khushi is definitely worried. But , as always Khushi’s Khushi is his topmost priority.
    Thank you , for giving us such a brilliant NK and someone other than Arnav who has Khushi as their top priority.
    Birthday greetings to your daughters 💞💞.

    Regards…..Anita.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Wonderful update.
    Every single time you captivate us with your conversation skills. Be it between Khushi and Aswath or Arnav and NK or now NK and Khushi. It is so endearing to read such conversations. It is not an argument where one has to lose or one has to win. It is a simple conversation where both parties see what the other person is saying and understand. There is no need to give up on one’s beliefs. Loved the whole conversation.
    Before that, Khushi’s narration on her earlier times she spent at GI head quarters was beautiful. Reading about Khushi’s bond with her Dadaji and affection of Victoria and how Victoria used to prioritize Khushi’s visits and phone calls melted our hearts. NK was right in what he felt and what he said. Khushi was right in what she is believing. I hope NK won’t go after Arnav thinking Arnav is the one who put this “no marriage notion” in to Khushi’s head. Or he will make sure Arnav finds out how much Khushi looked forward to become a bride and become a mother and that may make Arnav change his thinking just for Khushi. As I mentioned earlier, personally I don’t think one needs to get married to live together until death do them apart. There are still some misgivings about living together without marriage.
    In the society, people are still weighing pros of getting married against cons of living together without marriage.
    If we look at pros against pros and cons against cons then Arnav and Khushi can live happily ever after without that piece of paper.😊
    Cheers…..

    Liked by 6 people

  21. Loved it. After learning lessons over the years finally NK attempt to understand and give Khushi her space even though he’s not same page with her decision. They really came a long way. Even though I respect Arnav and Khushi’s decision about their relationship but Parent in me agree with NK’s view . So far both of them making both their families to agree with their decision even though it’s against their family’s own views. But when time comes like Ashvath predicted Arnav’s view may change about marriage. As correctly as NK guessed Khushi views about marriage is based on Arnav’s views. If she can change her view when time arises Arnav will also do the same. Because both of them love and respect each other.
    Best Birthday wishes to your Baby Girl!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ever since Arnav and Khushi have decided their stance on the marriage, I have often thought how this discussion would pan out with their families. Believe me, the update was definitely convincing enough for anyone to oscillate in favour of two different viewpoints. Despite it all, my thoughts resonate with that of NK’s. The mere formalisation of relationship can make situations easier – in case of emergencies, (including medical ones), where people do reach out to “families”. Family ties that are not formed by heart, but by papers you know. Small things like these make you question what harm would signing a piece of paper would do if you’re already into a relationship 100%? Wouldn’t you wish to be the first one to know anything, relating to your better half, good or bad? I believe that’s where a piece of paper trumps the informal ties of love. By this, I’m definitely not refuting or condemning anyone’s views, but it’s something that I’ve ruminated quite few times. I definitely think that live-in is a great option before you decide to take things forward but in ArHi’s case since this is all going to be, I wonder where it would lead.

      It was really amazing how this update shaped up though. From reminiscing the childhood to figuring out the future by the father-daughter. I especially love how NK’s character is unravelling layer by layer. I love how he doesn’t resent the concept of marriage despite what life threw at him. Considering how decisive and smart he is, I’m hoping that in his own way, he might be able to find the answers to the questions he has about ArHi’s future. I’m also curious now to see how it impacts his relationship with Arnav. It would be quite interesting to see where the story goes on in this new phase.
      Looking forward to the next one already. ❤

      Lots of love,
      V

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The mere formalisation of relationship can make situations easier – in case of emergencies, (including medical ones), where people do reach out to “families”. What a valid, and important call out!!! Really interesting POV, Vinita ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  22. Happy birthday to your baby girl Jigs🎊A house full of balloons sounds wonderful! I hope you all made memories to last for a life time!
    Love this chapter! The maturity that Khushi and NK have shown while handling this rather awkward and deeply contentious conversation deserves lot of praise. I agree with Khushi that she has the right to make her life decisions but I also agree with NK about him being a traditionalist at heart. As we age, no matter how modern or liberal we are, our values and traditions remain with us. Plus life experiences change perspectives.
    The next meeting between NK and Arnav will be a difficult one. But love trumps everything. I am sure they both will make adjustments for the one person they both love so dearly!
    Stay safe dear 😘

    Liked by 5 people

  23. Loved the chapter, brilliant. Reflection of the past in the present at the workplace. Love the open conversation between Khushi and NK, both right in their pov and experience. Good they agree to disagree and not let this be a stumbling block. However this issue is nowhere resolved and will crop up again.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Khushi has some wonderful memories of GI . Her father and grandfather has cherished her like precious gem .
    Arnav has gone to tell about moving in with Khushi to his family . Likewise Khushi has come to tell NK .
    NK’s warm welcome is endearing . Though Khushi is independent and daring she fears NK’s reaction on no marriage topic .
    Both of them are right in their views . No marriage will be success only when they are couples , but a baby will change the whole equation .

    Liked by 4 people

  25. I think one of the things I really like your about your stories in general has to be the fact that you weave in a lot of our current life conversations and structural changes in the context.
    Like this conversation between Khushi and Niran is very insightful not just in terms of a character growth but in terms of real life point of view as well.
    It’s crazy how our parents are evolving and learning with us but they are some things that are deep rooted and difficult to separate. Marriage seems to be like that – the state and the church intersect with a tussle of its own.

    I think more than seeing Arnav’s conversation with his parents I am excited for this story to take a leap of faith.

    Happy birthday to your lovely children. May they have many more filled with love, laughter, happiness and good health always. 💛

    Liked by 4 people

  26. That’s one heavy duty conversation out of the way.
    Makes me wonder ab kya? I am hoping (being a traditionalists that I am) that they will eventually get married.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. NK did handle it well…Why do I have a feeling that the story is going to get intense now.Looking forward to have two hotties under one roof❤️❤️Will Arnav carry Khushi across the threshold?And how are the Raizadas going to react to the latest development?Time will tell I guess.Birthday wishes to the little ones🥳

    Liked by 4 people

  28. That’s so sweet of you … wishing both of your sweetheart kids a very happy birthday. May their lives be filled with great happiness and success 🎉🎊

    Beautiful chapter Jigs. I thought NK will not understand Khushi’s POV. But in the end he did great… he did not want to force his decision on khushi and also did not want to create any distance between them.

    Have a wonderful celebration Jigs .. take care.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. I was honestly very nervous for this “showdown” between Khushi and NK and I am so happy to see it didn’t take a turn for the worse. It shows how truly remorseful NK is of his past high-handed behaviour with Khushi, and how much Khushi has grown in the last 8 years while dealing with her father.

    NK’s concerns are valid and justified but just like he has learnt from his life experiences’ he should extend the same courtesy to his kids.

    I loved how Khushi stood up for Arnav when NK tried to blame him. Goes to show how strong their relationship is, bound by love and not a flimsy piece of paper 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  30. I guess I was wrong when I said NK would be ok with the whole no marriage thing in the previous chapter. A desi dad will always be a desi dad no matter where he is. He is not wrong with his perspective. There are traditions that just stayed with us. But then Khushi is not wrong either. But now with their conversation, I’m now wondering that does Khushi actually not want to married or just not get married to Arnav because he didn’t want to? Great part and continue soon.
    Happy birthday to your daughter as well!

    Liked by 4 people

  31. NK and khushi have come a long way….. despite not agreeing on the matter they’ve maintained their composure and didnot let it come in between them….. NK is definitely an amazing father! Wonder how arnav’s family would react to this….. now can’t wait to see the conversation between arnav and khushi:)

    Liked by 4 people

  32. First of all Happy Birthday to Baby and Baba Jigs 🎂🎉🤗
    Secondly am sorry for missing few comments even though am enjoying all updates ☺️
    Just love NK..beautiful characterisation.. I want a spin off on NK ad his trainer romance..
    Looking forward to NK – Arnav conversation and how their bromance will proceed now onwards
    Btw I didn’t understand Arnav’s reservations about marriage..need to revisit that chapter..he comes from a happy family..or is it because his parents couldn’t give them time..he doesn’t have that issue as he is a millionaire himself. In fact Kushi should be the one who doesn’t want to get married as she comes from a divorce background.
    Very well written Jigs ..love you 🥰

    Liked by 4 people

              1. Same here 👋I think every fan thinks same..haaa haaa.. may be Junior Barun will come soon with same hair 😉 I love his hair style if he styles it well like at present hairstyle or during Payash wedding hair style..

                Liked by 2 people

  33. It astonishes me that every time I visit a place I frequented in childhood gives me immense peace and it soothes me with bittersweet memories I hold close to my heart…I think Khushi went through the same emotions…I would love NK and Khushi’s reminiscing her childhood…but this chapter was rendition of brilliance…❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  34. A belated Happy Birthday to your daughter and advance birthday wishes to your son! You can never go overboard with balloons. I am sure your girl would agree with me 😊

    Loved this chapter, Jigs! I had always wondered how this conversation would go. I was as nervous as Khushi when I realized what was her objective for this surprise visit. If Arnav & Khushi have decided to live their life without getting married, it’s their call. But I think NK reserves the right to be upset about their decision. He is progressive alright. But he raised valid points. The marriage is more than just a piece of paper, especially if/when they have kids.

    Inspite of NK’s 2 bad marriages, Khushi was never opposed to getting married herself. So he has realized that although Khushi is defending Arnav, the no-marriage clause cannot be Khushi’s idea. I wonder what effect this will have on their budding bromance.

    Regardless of his own beliefs, NK has decided to give his blessings to his baby girl. It’s big, coming from a person who calls himself traditionalist. I guess, at the end of the day, his girl’s happiness matters more to him than traditions.

    Liked by 5 people

  35. The father daughter duo has come so far to understand and respect each other’s decisions 🤩. Being a father he has all right to show her the truth of life and his experience being on same shoes, that’s what we look onto our elders for. It was really good to hear about the decision of marriage to Mahini from him. Beautiful update Jigs 😍

    Liked by 6 people

  36. Happy belated birthday to your doll n happy birtday in advance to ur eldest one <3..How many kids do u have ?? 3..RIGHT ??
    I m with NK…
    SUNA TUMNE..
    I hope Arnav n Khushi decide to marry .. If they do so after 10 years for the sanity of their child,will it be convincing ??

    Liked by 4 people

  37. In this chapter I stand with NK. (Not the part where he assumed Arnav sent Khushi to do his dirty work. That was uncalled for.)

    This Living-in is a one sided agreement. Khushi is sacrificing happiness. At the back of her mind she wants the marriage. She wants to known as Arnav’s wife, but something is holding her back. She pointed at her father’s relationships… She knew all this, yet dream of one day tying the knot. She needs to sit down and look through the lens of her own heart.

    P.s Happy Birthday to your daughter.

    Liked by 4 people

  38. A very interesting and an insightful chapter, Jigs. Really got me thinking and got me going down memory lane of me and my hubby’s relationship when we were dating. With Khushi and NK’s open heart-to-heart conversation and Khushi’s declaration of her living-in relationship with Arnav, I’m kinda at a two-way crossroad where one side of me is standing for NK and the other for Khushi… each side for different reasons and conflicting beliefs of Asian and Western values/thinking especially when one was born and bred in Southeast Asia and now living in Europe. It is understandable NK’s reason and thoughts and he did raise a very valid point, especially about a child born out of wedlock. And as for Khushi, why do I feel that she is sacrificing her happiness and denying the truth when it comes to marriage. I wonder how NK would behave the next time he and Arnav meet… would it be awkward? And I wonder how Arnav’s family’s reaction about him living in with Khushi? Guess we’ll soon find out. 🙂

    But one never knows what the future brings and one can always hope that there would be a change of mind on Arnav’s part about marriage… fingers crossed? 🙂 😉

    PS: Happy Belated Birthday to your little girl… I hope she had a wonderful birthday. 🙂 Oh, by the way, my hubby loved that pic of NK that captioned – King of Concrete Jungle. Showed him the slideshow when I was rereading chapter 40. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are a sweetheart Rosie (hope I can call you that), I always love reading your take, and I am with you in terms of being in the middle, which is right, which is wrong. And, thank you for sharing the pics, so glad your hubby liked them! 🤗😘

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Of course you can call me Rosie, Jigs ❤️🤗 That’s my name actually 🙂 I’m reading this chapter again… and I’m holding out that hope for Arnav’s change of heart/mind coz I’m a dreamer and an optimistic person ☺️😉🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  39. What an intense conversation between father and daughter…
    It seems they agreed to disagree….. may be NK is traditionalist and his thought process is different than Khushi but he realized his daughter’s love for Arnav and promised to be always there for her…no matter what..
    Wondering if he is going to confront Arnav when they meet next time…
    Thanks a lot Jigs 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Finally the cat is out of the bag .. the much awaiting revelation 😀

    I’m glad NK responded positively.. and I really feel for Khushi at the way she is compromising or giving up her desire to be a mother in a traditional way.. interesting to see how Arnav & Khushi deal with the challenges that come in their way in this unconventional path ..

    Jigs, love the way you developed the conversation between father & daughter 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  41. It was difficult discussion…. NK’s views on things, it makes sense to me… and being traditional myself, I am sort of biased to the idea of marriage…. I also understand khushi and arnav’s view on this…. but I really do hope that they don’t take any extreme decision right now… take one day at a time…. its like never say never…. may be one day they will feel the need and joy to celebrate their union with their loved ones in the form of marriage, not because of to have a just piece of paper… who knows…
    Loved this chapter…. very beautifully executed… ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Finally the much waited conversation. Nk didn’t approve their decision but he is always with his baby girl. Glad that he would creat any problem. Despite his failure in marriage he still believes in that institution. He is a traditionalist and I support that too. Loved the conversation between them. Nk understood Khushis love for Arnav. He believes their bond is stronger and mutual. I think he is also hopeful for future like us.

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Khushi finally told her father about she and Arnav having decided to not get married and stay committed to each other through their love. It must have been very tough for NK to keep an open mind about it….but I agreed with Khushi and NK….both of them has valid point for conversation.
    A belated Happy Birthday to your daughter and advance birthday wishes to your son….🎈🎈

    Liked by 3 people

  44. It was always going to be difficult for NK to accept Khushi and Arnav’s decision regarding their relationship. And he is trying to be understanding, that’s really wonderful. He does not have the same thought process or value system as the younger generation but I dont think that’s what his reservations mainly are. I think he feels his daughter is compromising on her own wishes for Arnav’s sake. Probably yes. Only time will tell. But he is definitely going to be there for his daughter whatever the future brings for her relationship with Arnav. He is determined to make amends and whatever might be his own life experiences, he is letting her take and learn from her own decisions.

    Liked by 3 people

  45. Hi
    Reading this chapter was like walking through a memory. The juxtaposition of Khushi’s childhood with the present was so insightful. It’s like she returns home to find memories of happier times. The Senior Gupta was a very special man indeed.
    The conversation with NK and contrasting views along with their determination to talk and handle the conflict without giving up on each other was a proof of how far they have come.
    A wedding does not make a marriage.
    How many times do we confuse the two? I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your Arnav and Khushi are in love, are commitment to each other, moving forward in their relationship at their own pace…. Why must the parents insist on marriage?
    Children… Family…. That’s a long way off. They’ve been together for a few months. Maybe they just need time without the pressure from their respective parents.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A wedding does not make a marriage.
      How many times do we confuse the two?
      It happens more often than we think, leading to marriages ending before they even get started. Loved reading your thoughts, thank you for being here and reading Listed! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Agree with you on this one. Mistaking a wedding for a marriage leads to many of them being destroyed before they’ve begun.
        It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be here. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Really appreciate your work.

        Liked by 3 people

  46. Thats a beautiful story that you are weaving. I had kept this on hold to read at one go as I was a little caught up with some other stories. I love the Khushi and Arnav you have portrayed here. How you ha e completely played with character names and the backgrounds. Just lovely I love the dadi . I fell in love with the characters just as easily as they fell in love with each other. Waiting for the next update. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  47. Hi Jigs…what a lovely update…Kushi missing her Dadaji who was always with her during her crucial growing up years…whose love and support made her a lovely human being and successful woman…NK now is a changed man…He is a loving father but a stubborn one…But his experiences and his pain has made him a better father and an understanding one …But finally what matters is the unconditional love and support towards your child in any situation…very beautifully written Jigs..loved it..A belated birthday wishes to your cutie pies.Eagerly waiting for the next one…Take care and be safe…

    Liked by 3 people

  48. Hi Jigs, I found your blog before few months. How could I miss such a wonderful blog. I didn’t get a chance to read your removed stories. But I finished reading the open ones. Is there a chance for readers like me who discovered your blog late to read your previous stories? After reading stripped and Listed I am sure your previous stories will not be just a story but a wonderful experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Welcome to Listed, always lovely to have new readers joining in my journey. Unfortunately my other completed stories are closed due to personal reasons, but thank you for inquiring 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  49. Belated happy birthday to your daughter..
    NK is right is right at his place and so is khushi and asr..
    It always depends on person POV of what they think about marriage and later having child / children with or without being married..
    But whatever happens good or bad in future nk will always be with his daughter
    Hope it will be always good..

    Liked by 3 people

  50. Each update shows how far Khushi and NK have come in their relationship….

    A walk down memory lane for Khushi was a revelation in itself…..Some happy and some not so… But a journey nonetheless…..It shaped the person that she is now…..

    The much anticipated and awaited “talk” between father and daughter ….. The whole “marriage ” issue and the contrasting beliefs about it makes you think …What is right and what isn’t ….And then one realizes that there is no right or wrong … Marriage is an institution that has been there for centuries and now, that institution is no longer what it was….the change is a scary, and leaves one floundering … But As DeeAarEss has pointed out
    ” A wedding does not make a marriage.”… And this is what Arnav and Khushi have realized .

    NK finally realizes that his daughter Khushi has grown up into a beautiful and independent woman… Who knows her “Arnav”….even though he is not happy about the whole “no marriage” thing…. He is just happy to have Khushi near him….And no one can predict the future…..But NK was always there ….is here … and will always be there…. for….. Khushi and her siblings……

    Liked by 3 people

  51. That was tense. I stand with NK. Marriage is a home, trusting someone with all that you are. If the paper is meaningless why not just get it and put it in the cupboard to make the parents happy? What would change if Arnav and Khushi are saying it means nothing? I guess Arnav is scared of the Gupta money and being labeled gold digger🤔. For Khushi I think she just went along with Arnav because it’s not a priority right now. But the relationship is still young. They need to ask each other if they are ready to ditch the relationship if marriage becomes a deal breaker for Khushi.

    Liked by 1 person

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