Chapter One

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Jay walks into his room and drops his bag on the bed alongside. Tired after a tedious work trip, he drops dead on his bed in an attempt to catch some breath. He didn’t get a chance to grab some sleep during the whole trip. Their flight was delayed by 3 hours and almost had been cancelled due to stormy weather. But luckily, he was here lying down in comfort of his bed.

“Jay, you want something?” Parnika shouts from the kitchen downstairs. She had seen him dragging himself like a zombie from the door and wanted to comfort him. They had been through a lot and she wanted to make sure he was okay. She opens the door and peeps in,” Jay, you look tired. I have dinner ready downstairs. Should I bring it up for you? Ma and Pa are waiting downstairs for you.” She looks at him, as he rubs his eyes and stretches his arms outwards. “I’m coming down pari, just let me change into something comfortable. These formals I tell you, are the least comfortable piece of clothing in this world. Why there are so many layers in this blazer? It constantly felt as if I am being cooked all this time inside a microwave.” Jay rants as he slowly starts to undress changing into comfy home clothes.

Jay takes his shirt off and throws on the bed. As he removes the belt and is about to pull down his pants, he hears the door getting shut. That somehow brings a smile on his face and he shakes his head rolling his eyes. Parnika was still standing by the door breathing heavily trying to contemplate what just happened. Maybe, I should’ve peeped in for a while. Her internal monologue began as she smiled shyly and walked downstairs.

Seeing the blush on her face, Jay’s parents also smiled at each other and quietly began to wipe their plates. “He’ll be down soon. He looked really tired, that trip must have exhausted him.” Parnika said as she sat down at the table and began to serve food. “When is your mom coming back from jatra ?” Shalini Shah, Jay’s mom asks her. “Her itenary said she’d be back by tomorrow but she hasn’t texted me anything yet. I have left her a message, as soon as she gets network she’ll reply. That’s what she told me last time when I tried to call her 50 times and all failed.” Parnika smiles a little while she finishes serving everyone.

“Ya, mountains are a tough place to get network. Remember last time we had been to Shimla?” Shalini asks Arindam who was quite busy with his own thoughts at that moment. Shalini kept staring at him until that caught his eye and they all started laughing. “What’s the joke, share with me too.” Jay walks down in his loose navy blue tee and black pyjamas. “Nothing, your dad was busy in his own lala land while I was talking.” Shalini teased Arindam who is now keeping his head down and eating. “Oh boy! Not again! Hahaha” Jay chuckles.

“Wow, palak paneer! Yum! This made my day!” Jay exclaims as he dips his finger into the gravy and sucks it off his finger. “ Thank pari for this, she is the one who made dinner today.” Shalini gestures towards Parnika who’s blushing red. “ Thanks a ton pari!” Jay bends to her side and embraces Parnika warmly. “Nothing’s better than yummy food after a hard working day, right Pa?” Jay munches on to the laccha parathas. “ Agreed, I wish your mom did this every day.” Arindam tries to save a glance from his wife who from the side stares at him playfully and hits him on thigh below the table so that no one sees. “ Pari see, I told ya in the kitchen, didn’t I? All these men are the same. No matter how much you do for them it’d be always less.” Parnika couldn’t control herself and laughs out loudly. “Not my fault dear, Pari is such a lovely girl. At times, I wish we had a daughter like her.” Arindam says as Parnika bows head down to hide her blush smiling. “Hey! I am here! Ain’t I a good son?” Jay waves his hand with his mouth half full. “Yes, you are but we had wished for a daughter and it turned out to be you.” Shalini pats on Jay’s cheek lightly who was now frowning.

The dinner time was a lively time for the Shah family to bond together as most were busy with their jobs the whole day. Dinner was the only time they met together at one place. Arindam was a known neurosurgeon and often used to stay away from home due to international emergencies. He was known in top 10 surgeons in the world. Shalini used to spend time at her dental clinic as she had left the practice after getting married but later on on Arindam's insistence she set up a clinic beside their bungalow to continue her dental practice. Parnika used to work with Arindam at his hospital and often helped shalini at home when she wasn’t busy.  Parnika’s dad was a martyr in the Indian Air Force. He was martyred in while being on a covert mission when she was 9 years old. Since then she and her mother stayed alone. Parnika and Jay were childhood friends and had a really close bonding.

Their parents had decided to marry them to each other when they are of appropriate ages. But, they wanted their kids to explore on their own and find out about their bonds on their own. Jay had a little sister Khushi, she was 5 years younger than him but her behaviour was as if she’s the older sibling. Jay had a best friend Hitesh Mehta, who studied with him in the College. Both had a very close bond and he often used to stay at Jay’s place to keep him company whenever Parnika or Parent’s weren’t around.

They used to behave like brothers from two different mothers. Everything was seemingly perfect and happy in their lives apart from one thing that Jay was hiding. With busy parents, he often used to feel alone and deprived of love. Being a child he used to spend time with Pari and her mom when his parents were out for work. But as the time passed they grew up and he started feeling uneasy when their parent’s smiled at them being together. It felt weird for him since it was no different for him than his childhood.


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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 by Dhawal Joshi joshidhawal

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
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