It makes the Difference(Farak padta Hai)
By Niranjana
Date: January 12, 2021
Ch. 11Status Game


Part 11

Khushi woke up from the bed. She took her mobile to set "what's app status". She was keeping those statuses, keeping someone in her mind. Even though she knew that person was not seeing it. She gasped at her status.

"I miss the old you.

The one that

cared about me."

She was about to change the status, her hand got stuck seeing "Allav" in the status list. Because he does not usually do that. She opened it hurriedly. Her eyes went wide open seeing his status.

"Don't judge someone's

Attitude until you've

felt their pain."

It seemed like the answer he gave to her. She checked her yesterday's status's seen list. His name was not there. Can it be a coincidence? She thought something and changed her status.

"Silence isn't empty.

It's full of answers."

She went to the washroom without stressing herself. But after seeing his status, she couldn't be relaxed which he changed a few minutes ago.

"Distance doesn't

Separate people.

Silence does."

....

Arnav was in the office. He was busy with the upcoming project. Seems like, he couldn't go home at the usual time. It was teamwork. It's not enough if he is perfect. Everyone in the team should be right. That's what always makes him irritated because no one was perfect like him.

That's when he received a call. He was puzzled seeing Garima's number. He attended it.

Garima: Arnav beta...

Arnav felt the nervousness in Garima's voice.

Arnav: Aunty is everything ok?

Garima: Don't you know the news? An hour ago Police encountered a Goonda. People say that there is a riot in the city.

Khushi called me and said she is safe and will reach home after everything got settled. I don't know how she will come home safely in this mess. Shashiji is not in town. Can you make any arrangements on this issue beta?

Arnav was stuck for a while. He understood Garima want him to pick her up. That's why she is asking him. How could he enter the campus where his life has changed upside down? But how could he even deny Garima in this critical condition?

Garima: Arnav...

Arnav(without any other choice): I will bring her home aunty. Be relaxed. He cut the call and rushed to do what he has to do.

Garima was right there was a huge mess in the city. Arnav saw some shops were being broken. Broken glass pieces were spread throughout the road. He reached the college avoiding main roads using small lanes.

Arnav reached the college.... to the same place... where he flew like a butterfly without any stress. In fact, giving stress to his professors. He closed his eyes. His heart started thudding. It was so hard for Arnav to control himself without thinking about his past. He saw the flashes of his college days in front of his eyes. College ground, Classrooms, Auditorium, his friend's noise.....

That's when Arnav saw the peon who recognized him. He smiled at him.

Peon: Arnav... you here? How are you? What are you doing now? I never got any details about you from anyone. You didn't even attend the Alumni meet? I'm so glad to see you here. What made you come here in this riot? He arrowed his questions in one go.

Arnav: I'm good Rajan Anna. I came to pick someone up.

Rajan: More than half of the students left. And hostel students were also being sent safely. The remaining students are waiting for their people in their respective classrooms. Whom you want to pick up? Who is he?

Arnav: Not he. She is Khushi Gupta from Msc computer science.

Rajan: Ohh that North Indian girl?

Arnav nodded yes.

Rajan: Jasmine wing, second floor.

Arnav: Thank you.

Arnav left the place didn't want to stay there. Rajan may start to talk about his past which he could never allow. He came to the second floor of the Jasmine wing looking for Khushi. He saw she was sitting alone in the classroom reading something.

She was surprised seeing him here
She was surprised, seeing him here.

Arnav(looking at her): Let's go.

Khushi(sternly): I won't come with you.

Arnav: Khushi, don't fuss...

Khushi: It's you who is fussing here. Who asked you to come here?

Arnav(controlling himself): Garima aunty. I have her order and I will do it by hook or by crook.

He said sternly making Khushi drop her jaw
He said sternly making Khushi drop her jaw. That's when they heard "Arnav?" Arnav turned his face towards the direction. There he saw Anjali standing with teary eyes. Disbelief was written on her face. In no time she rushed towards him and hugged him. Arnav did nothing but stood like a stone. Khushi was thunder stuck seeing that.

Anjali(lifting her head): How many years....? You didn't even like to meet me at least for once? What a bloody damn you are?

She pushed him in frustration.

Anjali: Do you know how much we wanted to invite you to our marriage? Your family shifted to a new place. You didn't even give your number to anyone and ran to Howard to hide from everyone. What about our friendship? Was your care just acting? Why did you change like this Arnav? I'm not your friend?

Arnav: We will talk later.

Anjali (angrily): When? After I die?

Arnav (gritting his teeth): Enough Anju. Don't you dare talk about death. I don't know what I will do.

Anjali had taken a step back seeing him in the same anger which he used to show it in their collage days
Anjali had taken a step back seeing him in the same anger which he used to show in their college days. He looked at Khushi who was on some other planet. So there are so many people who have suffered due to his changed behavior. Are they friends? Maybe. She has heard that Anjali is a former student of this college. So she studied in Arnav's batch? Arnav calls her "Anju" like Shyam sir calls.

Arnav: Khushi... Come with me.

Khushi (hesitating): I will be with Mam and she will drop me. She said standing behind Anjali.

Arnav: Then why I came here? Just shut up and come
Arnav: Then why I came here? Just shut up and come.

He caught hold of her wrist and started dragging her with him. Anjali was looking at them with disbelief. She saw him making Khushi sit on his bike forcefully by dragging her upper arms. That scene made her dizzy. At the same time, Shyam came there. He also saw the scene standing beside Anjali from the second floor.

Shyam (shockingly): Is he our Arnav?

Anjali: Yes.

Shyam: Arnav is with a girl on his bike? I can't believe this.

Anjali: I too can't believe this. Do you remember, how he denies taking any girl on his bike?

Shyam: How can I forget? He even dined me when I asked him to drop you because he didn't want people to talk about any rubbish.

Anjali: And he says only his mother and wife are allowed to sit on his bike.

Shyam: Now he is taking Khushi with him.

Anjali: That too forcefully. Even after she said Anjali Mam will drop me.

Shyam: Do you know who Khushi is to him?

Anjali: He has repeatedly said he has a friend called Khushi and she is so younger than him. I think she is the Khushi whom he talked about.

Shyam: He didn't even change. Though he is staying away from everyone still he cares for his beloved ones.

Anjali: Yes he got angry when I talked about death.

Shyam (disappointed): Are you mad? Why did you do that? Don't you know him? That's the thing which changed him and again why are you hurting him?

Anjali: Then what do you want me to do? What about me? Don't you know how much we were happy in our college days? How loveably he used to call me a sissy and you as uncle? How could I forget Shyam? she said totally broken.

Shyam: At least you have found him now. You should be happy about that leaving everything behind. Try to get information from Khushi.

Anjali nodded yes wiping her tears.

Khushi was sitting on Arnav's bike with extreme confusion. What's the matter between them? Why he got angry when she talked about death? He didn't react when Anjali hugged him and he called her Anju so rightfully. What's all this? But why Anjali Mam got angry with him? Why the hell this man is full of mystery? Seems like, many things had happened in his life after they got separated.

Arnav looked at her through the mirror. He could easily find out how confused she was. He never wanted to reveal anything to her. But circumstance always ends him in front of her like this. Khushi was just ten years when he left Port Blair. If Khushi is angry with his changed behavior... then Anjali's angry is definitely justified. Anjali was a sisterly figure to Arnav. How often he teased her with Shyam? What a sweet person Shyam was? Shyam never treated them like students. He allowed them to call him uncle because they were Anjali's friends.

In those thoughts... Arnav didn't see the pit on the road and maintained the same speed. Khushi horrified seeing it. She clutched his shoulder and shouted

Khushi: Allav pit is there.

Arnav pressed the break giving a big jerk to the bike. In the force, Khushi was pushed close to him and she hugged him from behind closing her eyes tightly in the fear. Arnav stopped the bike after balancing it. Arnav saw her hands were clutching his shirt tightly while digging her face in his shoulder. He gulped hard and started the bike. Don't know why he didn't feel to call her. Maybe, It's because he didn't want her to go to her previous position. After a while, Khushi herself sensed that she was safe. She realized that she was hugging Arnav. She released his shirt from her clutch. As Arnav expected, she went to her previous position. She dragged the bag from her back and kept it in between them which brought a cute smirk to Arnav's face making him forget his grief.

To be continued...



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