Set Fire To The Rain

hotel room

‘But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew.
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.’

The door swung shut with a click, telling her that she was alone. Alone, at last. The cold, impersonal interior of the hotel room was strangely soothing. There were no memories here, no associations. There was…nothing. The powerful air-conditioning, the four hundred thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, the subdued lighting, the hothouse blooms that delicately perfumed the air, the spotless glass tabletops– this was home. With a wry smile, Lavanya stepped out of her heels, her feet sinking into the plush carpet. Here, was all the comfort of familiar wealth.

Carelessly tossing her sequined dupatta away, she twisted her hair into an untidy knot and sat down at the edge of the too-large queen bed in the middle of the room. Her eyes felt as heavy as her limbs but she knew sleep was hours away. The earliest flight to London that she had been able to book left late at night, the following day. Of course, there had been no question of staying any longer at–

No, Lavanya preferred to make a clean break and leave with whatever dignity she could salvage.

And for her sanity, she needed to get away from all of it as soon as possible: from Mami’s well-meaning but tactless bumbling, from Nani’s eagle eyes that had thawed considerably but still didn’t quite rest fondly on her, from Anjali Di’s cloying affection and concern, from Mama and Akash’s polite and completely ineffectual queries, from the dratted goat, and from…them.

From Chamkili, her best friend, and from ASR, the man she was in love with, and who had claimed to love her.

No, he hadn’t, she corrected herself immediately. He had never claimed any such thing.

He had hired her to work in his company. He had taken her out on breakfast dates. He had asked her to accompany him to formal events. He had met her eyes, sharing a private joke, when the marketing representative of a rival company had mispronounced an important client’s name at a pitch meeting. He had flashed her an appreciative glance when she’d dressed in one of his label’s new creations for the celebration dinner– a flaming red confection of fine silk and beadwork that had fit her like a second skin. He had pushed her up against the wall of her penthouse apartment, kissing her languidly while unzipping the dress, deliberately trailing his fingers over every inch of skin he exposed, setting her on fire. He had taken her again and again, until he’d known every inch of her body as well as his own, making love to her with heated kisses that made her want to scream. He had asked her to move in with him, after they’d been exclusive for almost two years. He had proposed to her in front of his family and the world. He’d showered her with flowers and pretty baubles, he’d defied his grandmother for her, he’d treated her opinion with respect in the still-chauvinistic world of fashion, he’d been everything she’d ever dreamed of…

But he had never claimed to love her.

Lavanya felt a knife twist in her gut, sharp and excruciatingly painful. He had never loved her. That was what really stung. She didn’t even have the solace of knowing that he’d once loved her and had fallen out of love with her.

It was pointless lying to herself any longer: he may have been fond of her but loved her he had not.

And that brought her to Chamkili, the one who held his heart.

Lavanya wanted to scream with impotent rage and frustration and hurt.

How had she been so blind? How had she not seen the way ASR looked at Chamkili?

She knew the answer. It was because ASR and Chamkili weren’t meant to happen. How, in her wildest imagination, could she have seen someone like him fall in love with someone like her? He’d looked down on everything Chamkili had stood for. He’d hated her. How could Lavanya have foreseen his change in affections? After knowing ASR intimately for over two years, did she not know the man at all?

She stretched out on the bed, hugging a pillow close to her chest and burying her face in its cool softness.

Her fingers clenched the fabric as anger bubbled through her veins, threatening to destroy everything around her.

Was this all that friendship and love was worth? No one understood ASR’s raw animal magnetism better than her– but Chamkili had always sworn by values, and morals, and ethics, hadn’t she? She’d always stressed on how important it was to uphold traditions and be a good Lucknowi bride. Chamkili had been the one to convince her that she ought to ask ASR to marry her, that a live-in relationship was disrespectful to her.

Where had all of Khushi’s ideals disappeared to when she was falling in love with her friend’s man? There was a dirty word that Lavanya knew for women who stole their friend’s boyfriends and husbands. She kept it in check with difficulty, knowing in her heart that Chamkili hadn’t lifted a finger, hadn’t done anything to make ASR fall for her, any more than she had been able to help falling in love with him. She had just been there, like he had. And the two of them together had blotted Lavanya out of the picture.

A hiccup of hysterical laughter escaped her. Respect? Respect didn’t come from a marriage certificate and a bunch of archaic rituals. Respect came from consideration for the feelings of others, from the acknowledgment that each individual mattered and had the right to her own opinions and desires. And she had always known that, yet like a fool, had played along.

The truth of the matter was that neither ASR nor Khushi had really respected her. They hadn’t respected her enough to be honest with her about their feelings. They would probably have had continued with that farce of an engagement if she hadn’t finally decided to take her blinkers off and talk to ASR. Lavanya knew she had done the right thing by calling it off, but it was cold comfort.

A sudden, intense longing to return to her old life flooded her being– the life where she knew who she was and what she wanted. The life where she still mattered to ASR. The life that had existed before that whirlwind of colour, sequins, pom-poms, sunshine and kindness had torn everything apart. And the life where everything wasn’t steeped in betrayal and bitter hurt.

Yes, she felt more betrayed by her than by him: perhaps because she had always known ASR to be fickle and thoughtless; and perhaps because she had been convinced that no one would have her back like Khushi would.

She squeezed shut her eyes, trying to stem the endless tears streaming down her cheeks.

Congratulations, Lavanya. It was all a fucking lie. And you, the gullible idiot, fell for all of it. Khushi isn’t your friend. ASR never gave two hoots about you. Di and Mami only wanted you around because they wanted to keep their precious Chhote happy. Nani must be thrilled that you’re gone. No one really cared. And you, people-pleasing moron, wanted to ‘fit in’ and become a ‘suitable’ bride for ASR? Since when has he given a FUCK about ‘suitable’?

She gulped, breathing in deeply. The pressure in her chest was making it increasingly difficult to draw air into her lungs.

God, I hate you two. And I hope you two make each other unhappy and miserable and tear each other apart. I hope you feel every bit of the hurt and betrayal that I do right now.

Lavanya sobbed loudly into the pillow. Her temples throbbed and random flashes of memory from the past year played in her head, until it all blurred together into a psychedelic mess of colours, sounds, and touches.

She had never felt more lonely in her life. Somehow, even the thought of seeing her family in less than 48 hours didn’t comfort her.

Her last conscious feeling as she fell into an exhausted slumber was one of stomach-roiling guilt for cursing the two people she still held closest to her heart.

***

A/N:

It’s no secret that I love Lavanya Kashyap. This is a prequel of sorts to Someone Like You. While I’ve definitely outgrown Adele since I wrote SLY about a year and a half ago, I haven’t outgrown Lavanya and my fascination with her. I’ve been thinking of making it a quick series of maybe 3 or 4 parts at most. Each part will also read as a standalone snippet since this series is canon; so you don’t HAVE to read all parts or even read them in order.
I can’t say when I’ll post the next part but it definitely won’t be another year and a half later. 😛

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28 thoughts on “Set Fire To The Rain

  1. One of the things I love about lavanya series is that Arnav is not totally unaware of her unlike the show. There WAS something between them, even if it wasn’t love. Thank you for pointing that out.
    This is TOTALLY cannon stuff, you are going down in the IPK fandom history pages.
    Back to lavanya, this was one of the most relatable chapters/ DARD/ scenes ever. I know lavanya’s and I know chamkili’s, and every single emotion you wrote is SPOT ON. I wish you would also give a chamkili perspective on betraying (for the lack of a better word) her best friend. Cause I totally feel u’d be able to do justice to it.
    I can’t wait for more lavanya, and hope you open that pandora’a box before the last sun sets in the mystic sky of wordpress.
    LL
    Ps. It’s been a while..couldn’t resist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So terrific as usual, Semanti. Love Lavanya’s thoughts…much more normal behavior than on the show I feel….knowing her earlier avatar! But yeah…A and K could never help it, now could they? They were just there…and it happened!

    Happy new year. See you round the bend with something new? Jaldee karna!

    Best,

    Anupama

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazing. I’ve always wanted you to continue write a series on Lavanya!!
    I completely loved how you have portrayed Lavanya’s raw, unmasked emotions. The way you have so eloquently displayed the emotions of a heartbreak and betrayal is beautiful…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lavanya really lost everything ,a lover and more importantly a friend, it would be unnatural to expect her to be grinning and welcoming for all that pain that followed. Even though it was not really khushi’s or arnav’s fault that they fell in love, bottom line remains that lavanya suffered, my heart really went out for that girl when she finally understood

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh dear! Terribly heart twisting!
    It hurts n so badly , the heartache can only be known by the person who experiences it!! To cry , to curse, to vent out.. Its truly relieving the misery.. She knows it wasnt deliberate wot ArShi were doing but that moment nothing else matters n her last thought just proves that she is a human afterall..
    Lovelyly written S ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi this was so heartbreaking, I hope Lavania realises that neither Khushi or Arnav meant too hurt her, in fact Khushi brought them together, closer than they could have ever been. I hope she finds that special someone,but she needs a rebound man first me thinks 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely… I love all your stories… But I never liked lavanya… She did not stand upto asr. She was ok to have a live in relationship until khushi shown her better ..she was as selfish as asr Men always like women who keep them on toes.. Khushi in her all naive ness was a challenge … And men love challenge

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First, happy New Year, everyone. May 2015 bring you good luck, good health and happiness.

    Semanti, I have always enjoyed your Lavanya stories. It seems so sad that she was just so summarily dismissed in the original story, except for the little mention by Arnav and Khushi the next day.

    Arnav treated her badly, even callously. Can’t get around that (ducking the shoes aimed at me!)
    And I’ve always wanted to know how she ended up. And with whom.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. this is very good and beautiful….raw emotions in the front. I never even thought about their relationship in lavanya’s view and she has every right to feel angry and betrayed… arnav had treated her badly even his family unknowingly khushi tooo…. well they did suffer as she said later…
    I always loved your stories and this one was one of the best…

    Happy new year semanti

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Now this is a perfect piece to mark my continued fascination for all things IPK topped by Semanti’s writing! I loved Lavanya just as much as this piece is (subconsciously?) meant to. She was the only character in an otherwise fairly insipid show that grew from weakness to strength and this piece acts as a perfect closure. You must write more this year Sem 🙂

    Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2015! May it be everything you want it to be

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is sad. As much as I loved watching Arnav & Khushi together my heart broke for Lavanya especially when Arnav tells her things and takes Khushi’s name, completely forgetting that it was Lavanya behind him, it was Lavanya he was apologizing to. It was heart-breaking.
    You have portrayed Lavnaya so well like in SLY. She knows she became a fool in this pretense of love, marriage and friendship but still she deep down is unable to hold those two people responsible for her heartbreak.
    Would love to read more and hopefully I’ll get to read a happy Lavanya too because I don’t like her feeling sad and crying.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Loved this view, if you look at it closely, they never did any justice to her on the show, ASR is known to be like this, but was expecting that maybe Khushi would take a step to mending things!! If you look at it most of us are like La, Arnav-Khushi are rare, only La like people abound and Respect them for having the courage to move out and try to move on again!! Would be looking forward to your next on her!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve loved Someone like you, and Set fire to the rain, which I loved of course, made me love the earlier OS even more. You’ve depicted Lavanya’s thoughts so beautifully, that it is difficult to not be affected by it. the CVs might have discarded her character in the show much like ASR did with her, but it is through a handful of OSs that she has received the due respect (I’m not sure if that’s the right word) that she deserved.

    Someone like you did have an ending akin to light at the end of a tunnel; this one being the prequel didn’t warrant one, and so the impact is gut-wrenching.

    as days turn into weeks and then months, memories of the show fade (a personal experience), but it is through snippets like these that it all comes flooding back.

    Sigh…just sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very well written…………it is so touching to see her inner turmoil………….she had left gracefully but she was heartbroken………she has tried her best and molded into what was expected of a Raizada Bahu………..but seriously ASR did not wish for any of these things…………….finally she was left with a hurt…………..brilliant take…………

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Loved this series about Lavanya….have always felt that she was never given her due importance in the serial…although she went out of her way to do everything for ASR and his family …and at the end was betrayed by her friend Chamkili too…. Although Arshi did not deliberately set out to do that….still it doesn’t reduce the pain any……

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh this was lovely !

    I did like Lavanya and the way you’ve written about the tempest in her heart. Her hurt and anger come across like a sharp stab of pain, the desolation that creeps up her soul palpable. But isn’t she justified in feeling all of it ?

    Now that I’ve read Someone Like You, I’m glad that she’s in a better space, having finally found her happily-ever-after.

    Will we get another part with Lavanya and Nishad meeting the Raizadas ? Cause it’s been almost a year and a half ;)… Or have you already written another in this series?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. A wonderful shot. This tells the story of Lavanya and Arnav the way the show never did, infact their background was left pitifully unattended portraying Lavanya as a lesser character.
    I love it how you have shown her here as a woman of strength and emotions who knows her own drawbacks and prefers her dignity first

    Liked by 1 person

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