Hey, you all! Thank you for your constant support and responses. I’d just begun replying to you guys in the last episode, but apparently, the comments’ section was shut down. So sorry about that, life’s just gotten a tad-bit busier. Anyhow, here’s the next episode, so Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Aarohi accepts Kunj as Dad; Kunj learns about Twinkle’s involvement in the law case of their business and misunderstandings stir between them
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 26
“Dad doesn’t want me to go?”
Twinkle looked up from the suitcase, brushing the strands of hair falling on her face. She piled the clothes inside the suitcase, pressing against the edges, and shook her head.
Twinkle: Who told you that?
Aarohi (handing a tube of mosquito repellent): No one. (sitting down and looking at her mother) He just seems very disinterested since the past few weeks. And hum logo ne ek saath time bhi spend nahi kiya. Aur, he hasn’t been helping today either.
Twinkle picked up a set of clothes from the bed and tugged it inside, trying to pack Aarohi’s belongings safely. Her fingers swept over the cardigan inside as she softly twirled a loose thread between her fingers and gulped visibly.
The two of them had refused to talk to each other since the past few days after they’d fought that night. The argument from that night was etched on Twinkle’s mind and regardless of how much she’d wanted, she hadn’t been able to ignore the pang of pain that coursed within her with each thought.
Aarohi (furrowing her brows): Maa, are you fine?
Twinkle (inhaling deeply and nodding): I am. And about your Dad, he’s had a lot of work in the past few weeks, maybe that’s what’s keeping him away.
Aarohi: Would he be able to drop me to the station day after?
Twinkle picked up the phone next to the suitcase and scrolled through the list, ensuring if they’d packed everything. She made a quick list of the remaining items that were needed to be purchased and set herself a reminder for the next day. When she locked her phone and looked back at Aarohi, the question from before surfaced in her mind.
Twinkle (putting her phone away): I did talk to Dad, and he said, he’d try. So, I’m not sure. Otherwise, I’ve asked Papa to drop you.
Aarohi (softly): I wanted all of you to come. Not fair!
Twinkle (sitting down next to Aarohi): You’re growing up, Aarohi. Stop throwing tantrums like kids. You know work keeps getting in between and we can’t avoid it. If not any of us, Papa will…
Kunj (walking inside with bowls of ice-cream and interrupting): Who wants ice-cream?
Aarohi jumped down from the bed and looked at him, elated. A small smile lifted the corners of Twinkle’s lips as she looked at her daughter and a moment of satisfaction coursed through her. She knew, Aarohi had gotten used with her stay in the Sarna Mansion and had begun accepting the Sarna’s as her own family.
She sighed and looked down at the intertwined fingers on her lap. The decision she’d taken had turned out to be right for Aarohi. Her daughter had found the family she’d always craved for and as the love and affection of a family was beginning to weave her into a safe cocoon, she could see her daughter slowly willing to envelop them too.
Aarohi (in an excited tone): You got my favourite flavour!
Kunj (passing her a bowl): Sure, I did. I thought it’d be a good apology, right?
Twinkle (suddenly): You don’t have to…
But as Kunj’s gaze settled on her, a wave of surprise coursing within him, she paused and looked at him. Over the past few weeks, their conversations had limited to mere words and phrases, restricting to discussions which mainly involved Aarohi and very rarely, the family. It’d served as a constant reminder of the fight and Twinkle had hated how disgusting the reality had begun seeming.
However, as Kunj continued looking at her, she shook her head and looked away, constantly berating herself. She’d held herself very well in the last few weeks, but the words had involuntarily slipped from her tongue a few moments ago, despite her unwantedness. She inhaled a deep breath and flattened her palms against the material of her clothing.
Seconds later, when Kunj forwarded a bowl of ice-cream toward her, she looked at the bowl in his hand and stared at the molten ice-cream. She looked up at him, trying to let go off her control, but as her eyes swept over the features of his face, his words from that night echoed in her head, reminding her of the distance between them.
Twinkle (shaking her head and picking up the phone): I’ll whip myself a coffee. (turning toward Aarohi) I’ve to buy a few things from the list tomorrow, otherwise we’re done.
She stood up from the bed and straightened her dress, comforting herself. As Kunj continued staring at her, a wave of consciousness flooded her and she tried ignoring the nausea that stirred inside her.
Aarohi: Maa, sit and have the ice-cream with us, na. Anyway, Dad has been…
Kunj (interrupting, but staring at Twinkle): Let Maa go, Aarohi. (looking at Aarohi) I got you your favourite flavour, let Maa get what she wants to. I’m going to be here.
Twinkle (closing her eyes briefly): Good night, Baccha!
Aarohi (smiling softly): Good night, Maa!
As Twinkle began walking away, she contemplated turning around and staying several times, but an unknown power tugged on her, forcing her to stick to her decision. After all, she’d already told them she’d wanted a coffee. Changing her mind now would mainly reflect her weak determination, after all.
When Kunj walked out to the patio later that night, the water in the pool lapsed softly and a soft breeze swirled in the air with the lowered volume of the songs. He looked at Twinkle and walked toward her. Ever since their argument that night, the two of them hadn’t talked to each other. He’d thought for a long time that it didn’t matter to him, but after Twinkle had walked out of the room because of his presence, a fraction of his heart had stung and he’d berated himself.
He didn’t know who was right or wrong that night, yet. Twinkle keeping her involvement in the case as a secret had continued bothering her and while he knew, it was wrong to do, he didn’t know till what extents could he accuse her, solely. After all, over the past few months, Twinkle had never accused his quietude.
As he stood beside Twinkle, he forwarded her a mug of coffee and looked down at her. He knew, she hadn’t whipped the coffee she’d excused herself for after he’d returned to the kitchen. When Twinkle looked up at him with questions etched across her face, he sighed deeply and extended his arm, pushing the mug further.
Kunj: Can I sit here?
Twinkle (taking the mug from him): Sure, this is your home. I’ll just go somewhere else…
Kunj (interrupting and wrapping his fingers around her wrist): Please ruk jao.
After a moment of contemplation, Twinkle sat down beside him and sipped at the coffee he’d whipped for her. A small smile lingered on his lips and he stared at her, admiring her from away. Despite how much he missed her, he didn’t want to steer close to her and present her a wrong impression.
Kunj (looking down at the floor): For how many days is Aarohi’s summer camp?
Twinkle: Two weeks.
Kunj (nodding): Thank you for not telling Aarohi that we fought.
Twinkle: Why didn’t you come inside before?
Kunj (looking up at her): Main andar aata, toh tum rehti wahan?
Twinkle (inhaling deeply and looking far away): Pata hai, Kunj, after I’d gotten divorced, I was always scared that Aarohi would feel the absence of a father very deeply and I was always concerned. Maine hamesha rishton ko bikharte huye dekha hai, toh now, when I’ve the chance, I don’t want Aarohi to feel it. Tumhe nahi pata ki family kitni maaine rakhte hai mere liye.
Kunj (nodding his head): I know. But you could’ve stayed there for a few minutes today, couldn’t you?
Twinkle: Hamesha saath rehne se family nahi banti, Kunj. Sometimes, some relations just need some space. You think if I’d stayed there, the dispute between us wouldn’t have been understandable? Ham ek saath ek room mein 10 minutes se zyada rehte hain, and Mummy keeps asking if everything between us is fine.
Kunj (inhaling deeply): Would we never move past that night, Twinkle? It’s been weeks now.
Twinkle (smirking): I would’ve certainly moved on, Kunj. But only if you’d asked me for something else. Tumhe toh mujhse iss rishte ki buniyaad maang li. You asked me if we’ve trust in this relation! Nahi, Kunj, agar vishwas jatane ki zarurat ho, then both of us are missing something somewhere. There has to be some flaw.
Kunj: Every relation is flawed, Twinkle. Do people never move past a point or flaw in their relation? Don’t you’ve to look beyond to continue a relation?
Twinkle (nodding her head): You’ve to. But our relation doesn’t have any expanse, Kunj. Yahan toh, bharosa hi nahi hai. And trust is always the foundation of a relationship, no?
Kunj: Twinkle, you know, I said it in the heat of the moment. You know, I do trust you.
Twinkle (exhaling deeply and placing the mug on the floor): I know. But tum 100% sure nahi ho na, that’s why you questioned me. If you’d trusted me completely, you’d have had tried talking to me about it first.
Kunj exhaled a harsh breath and looked toward Twinkle. He hated how this conversation was turning out to be, but he knew everything was so true and it really hurt. He brushed a hand through his hair and stared at her.
Kunj: So, what next? Where do we go from here?
As the two of them sat in silence, letting the quietude envelop both of them, the soft tunes of the songs hit his ears. The tunes were almost similar to the songs he’d been listening to each night and he looked down at the device to read the name of the song. Moments later, Twinkle sat up straighter and looked at him.
Twinkle: I’m going back home.
Kunj (in a surprised tone): Excuse me?
Twinkle (nodding): I’m going back home day after, after Aarohi leaves. I’ll come back the day before Aarohi returns.
Kunj: You’ve to be kidding me. Is this how you’re going to deal with this situation? By leaving the house.
Twinkle (shaking her head): No. I’m leaving because I don’t see a solution for the situation. I’m not running away from the situation. I’m running because this step feels more apt in retrospect.
Kunj (twisting around toward her): Don’t be stupid, Twinkle. We’ll figure out something.
Twinkle (smiling softly): Last kuch dino se figure out hi toh kar rahe hain, Kunj. And we’ve done nothing besides avoiding each other. Maybe, if we stay away from each other, then we’ll be able to see through things.
Kunj: You’re not going anywhere.
Twinkle (shaking her head and standing up): I am, Kunj. This topic isn’t up for debate.
As Twinkle began walking away, Kunj’s hands weaved around her waist and he held onto her. He pressed his lips to the side of her head and tightened his hold around her. He couldn’t let go off her. It almost threatened to break him into fragments again, and he didn’t know if he could bear the pain again. Twinkle pressed her palm against his and inhaled deeply, shutting her eyes slowly.
Twinkle (minutes later): Please don’t make this more difficult than it already is.
When Twinkle began disappearing from his sight, a surge of panic pushed through him and suddenly, everything on his part felt too wrong. Why had he never opened up to her? Why had he thought blaming and accusing her would’ve been the easiest option? Why didn’t he think she was Twinkle first, and Mrs. Sarna later?
“Lag ja gale ki phir ye haseen raat ho na ho,
Shayad phir iss janam mein mulaqat ho na ho.”
Alright, that’d be it for the episode. Pain, anger, everything aside, fights often tend to prolong because of ego and self-pride. Anyhow, do tell me what you think of this episode. And like always, thank you for reading!