Kya Khabar Thi Jaana (Part 1)

Kya Khabar Thi Jaana

 

A sudden gust of wind fluttered through the pages of open textbooks and blew several loose sheets of paper off tables. The skies darkened further even as a menacing rumble drowned out Professor Gokhale’s words. Excited whispers and muffled laughter bounced around the classroom, adding to the din, until the short, bespectacled man at the front of the class looked up with a frown creasing his forehead.

“That’s enough! Are you all second year college students or second standard school children? It’s just a thunderstorm. Miss Gupta, kindly shut the window.” He finished with a pointed look at the student sitting closest to the large, wooden window at the back of the classroom.

Miss Gupta dutifully rose from her seat. She struggled with the catch for a minute before turning around with an apologetic smile.

“Sorry, Sir, the catch appears to have swollen up because of the moisture in the air. It won’t latch properly.”

Professor Gokhale huffed in annoyance. “Mr Jaiswal, please assist Miss Gupta.”

As Akash Jaiswal approached the window, Lavanya Kashyap raised an eyebrow at him from beside Kalpana Gupta’s empty seat. Akash returned an imperceptible nod.

After another minute, he too faced the class with a slight shrug. “Kalpana’s right, Professor. It won’t shut.”

“Very well, let it be and return to your seats. And the rest of you, act your age and settle down.”

Surreptitiously high-fiving Akash as he walked back, Khushi Gupta passed a discreet slip of paper onto the desk behind her.

That was inspired, Kalpana Chawla. Props to Akash for playing along, of course. I give it ten minutes before Gokhale loses his mind and dismisses class.

A minute later, a scrap of paper floated onto Khushi’s lap.

You’re welcome, Khushwant Singh. Now the rest of us can get chai and you’ll have an extra thirty minutes to ogle your Stud. In the rain. Don’t swoon.

Khushi grinned into her notebook, scribbling her reply.

If I do, maybe he’ll carry me off and have his wicked way with me. In the rain. Be still, my heart.

True to Khushi Gupta’s prediction, Professor Gokhale snapped his book shut with a disgusted snort in exactly seven minutes. By the time the class sauntered out, all gleeful chatter and jubilant laughter, the wind and rain had gentled to a shy breeze and steady patter. Kalpana lagged behind slightly, trying to zip up her overstuffed backpack while Lavanya waited patiently near the door with Payal Kalsekar. As Kalpana finally caught up, she looked around for her twin.

“Where’s– did she really leave?”

“First thing.” Lavanya rolled her eyes. “I think you need to talk to her about this concept called Self Respect. What she sees in that all-brawn wannabe thug, I’ll never know. That too, one who is completely impervious to her blatant flirting.”

“I think that’s part of the charm,” Payal laughed, “that he’s apparently impervious. And he’s a wannabe IPS officer ya, Lavanya, not thug.”

Lavanya sniffed in disdain. “Cops, thugs, very little difference for the most part.”

Kalpana intervened before Lavanya could begin her favourite police-state rant. “Khushi, as you two well know, is unapologetically superficial. She thinks he’s hot and that’s that. Ab chalein?”

Payal and Kalpana both stifled a giggle as Lavanya muttered under her breath and stomped off, leading the way. “Straight people.”

____

All in all, sitting on one of the empty benches to the side of the basketball court, Khushi Gupta was happy with how her day. And she was even happier with his appearance. Thank god for clueless boys who wore flimsy white t-shirts to play basketball in the rain. Gorgeous, clueless boys, she might add. Tilting her head to one side, she blatantly checked him out from under her umbrella. Slick muscles tensed and rippled on his back, under his see-through wet shirt, as he feinted to one side and passed the ball to a teammate. Seconds later, the ball was back in his possession and he dribbled it towards the post, leaping up to dunk the ball into the basket. A well-timed breeze lifted his t-shirt a couple of inches to expose the tanned planes of his stomach and a sprinkling of dark hair leading south, disappearing into his low slung shorts. Khushi sighed.

“Enjoying the view?”

Khushi started, looking up at a smirking Akash who dropped onto her bench. She returned a cheeky grin of her own and focused on the game again. The ball was moving back and forth between players with dizzying speed.

“Why do you ask rhetorical questions, Akash?”

“I’m curious, was the window-lie an elaborate plan concocted by you and Kalpana to get you extra time to come check out Arnav?”

“Please. My sister is sweet, but she isn’t that sweet. All of us wanted out of Gokhale’s boring lecture, especially with the weather like this. Mine is a happy bonus.”

“Some guys have all the luck. Why don’t you ditch that bastard and go out with me some time?”

Khushi snorted, carefully following Arnav who was guarding Aman as he scored a spectacular three-pointer. “At least wait until he’s within earshot so I can make him jealous, yaar.”

Akash sighed dramatically while a group of sweaty, rain-soaked basketball players started drifting off the court and towards them.

“That was a fucking good shot, boss.”

Aman Krishnan nodded his thanks at Akash before winking at Khushi. “With such a pretty cheerleader coming to watch me play all the time, my game’s bound to improve.”

Khushi laughed, her trademark silver hoops swinging against her cheeks. “Chalo, at least you admit that my presence improves your game. Warna I was sure all it improves is some people’s macho posturing.” Her gaze deliberately met Arnav Singh Raizada’s, who was looking at her with familiar exasperation.

For a moment, she was sure he was going to say something suitably sarcastic. Her body hummed with anticipation. Instead, he turned to Akash. “I thought you had class at this time, Jaiswal. How did you get here so early? And why didn’t you join us if class was cancelled?”

“Arrey, we do have class at this time. Thanks to this random storm and some clever maneuvering by Kalpana, Gokhale let us go early. But not early enough to make it in time for the beginning. So I figured I’d come watch, at least. You know, with the regular fans.”

Arnav’s expression darkened at the teasing note in Akash’s voice. “Hilarious. If you’re all done with your juvenile jokes, can we go get food? I’m starving.”

Aman answered on behalf of everybody. “Haan haan, calm down, bhai. Khushi, tu nahi toh teri behen hi sahi. Did you say Kalpana is also at the canteen?”

Before Khushi could answer, Kevin cut in. “Paagal hai, Aman? Do you have a death wish, messing around with Kalpana? Lavanya Kashyap is just waiting for a reason to bite your head off anyway, ever since you accidentally spilled coffee on her assignment last year. Just give her further reason to slip rat poison into your coffee, why don’t you?”

Aman shuddered visibly. “Fuck, I forgot only. She’s not still holding a grudge?”

“Tere ko chance lena hai?”

“Much as I like Kalpana Gupta, I like my own life more.”

Dylan gave him a conciliatory pat on the back. “Hota hai. The best ones are either gay or taken or both. Or crushing on one’s unappreciative asshole friends.”

Amid laughter and continued ribbing, the guys determinedly walked off, leaving Arnav to gather his towel and water bottle and walk with Khushi. It had finally stopped raining and Khushi almost regretted it, as she put her umbrella away. They could’ve shared her umbrella to the canteen, Raj Kapoor-Nargis style. Then again, Grouchy McSexyPants would probably have refused to walk under her umbrella anyway.

“Say it, you’ll feel better.”

He scowled at her, swinging his backpack over one shoulder. “What?”

“Don’t get me wrong, your silent brooding is beyond attractive, but you’ll feel better if you just say whatever angry things you’re framing in your head and not saying to me.”

“Khushi Gupta, you’re fucking impossible.”

Khushi neatly fell into step beside him, as they made their way towards the college canteen.

“Not at all. On the contrary, I’m extraordinarily easy where you’re concerned, jaaneman.”

The corners of her lips twitched with the effort of holding in her laughter, and he shook his head with a resigned sigh.

“What will it take to get you to shut up and stop annoying me?”

“You’ll have to do it physically, I’m afraid. Preferably with your mouth.”

She turned her head to look at him, her eyes bright with mischief and challenge, meeting his heated, unsmiling ones. The amusement slowly faded, replaced with a delightful shiver running down her back, as the intensity of his gaze held her captive. He turned away first, walking into the canteen without a backward glance.

____

“He raced against time itself, recklessly endangering his own life, until he got to me. He pushed me out of the cab’s way in the nick of time, using his body to shield me. Not a moment too soon, ‘cause the cab crashed into the barricade I had been standing in front of within seconds. And because I was too overcome with shock to talk or move, he swept me into his arms and carried me to college.”

Lavanya and Kalpana groaned simultaneously while Payal covered her mouth to swallow a fit of giggles. The first year from Payal’s drama club looked at the hero of Khushi’s story who was sitting a few tables away, with a healthy amount of awe and romantic stars in her eyes.

“Ayesha, don’t listen to Khushi. The line between slight exaggeration and outright lies is very blurry for her.”

Ayesha looked rather disappointed. “You mean, Arnav didn’t save Khushi’s life?”

Khushi looked insulted. “Hush, Lavender Brown. Much you know about it. He very much did, Ayesha. My friends are just salty that they weren’t around to see him in action themselves. Kalpana was sick at home that day, and Lavender and Payal were already in class. I’d been running slightly late na.”

“Lavender?” Ayesha looked curiously at Lavanya. “Didn’t you say your name was Lavanya?”

“It is. Master storyteller here thinks giving us all ‘famous people’ nicknames is cute. Unfortunately, she couldn’t think of a famous ‘Lavanya’ and the closest she came up with was a fictional character’s name.”

Payal grimaced. “I’d rather a fictional character’s name than what she gave me.”

“What did she give you?”

“Payal Rohatgi.”

Ayesha chuckled. “If it’s any consolation, Payal, you’re ten times the actor Payal Rohatgi ever will be.”

“Wow, that’s really not any consolation.”

“Please, you all secretly love it. It’s like we’re in a Mean Girls-esque clique. Stick around, Ayesha, and you’ll get one too.”

“Run as far as you can, Ayesha,” Lavanya advised with a kind smile at their junior, “you don’t want to be the Cady to Khushi’s Regina George.”

“Lavanya, you doth protest too much. I think you love your nickname the most.”

“I really don’t,” Lavanya fervently assured Khushi.

“You really don’t what?” Aman pulled up a chair from the next table and squeezed in between Khushi and Lavanya. Ayesha noted with a spark of excitement that the hero of Khushi’s story and his friends were done eating and had abandoned their table in favour of theirs, even though the hero himself looked rather unhappy about it.

“I really don’t want you butting in, Aman.”

“Rude. I didn’t come over to talk to you anyway. How’s it going, Payal?”

He winked at Payal who steadfastly focused her attention on adding sugar to her coffee.

“You must be Aman.” The chatter around the table died down as all the boys turned to look at Ayesha.

“I am. But you’ll have to help me with your name, kid.”

Ayesha frowned. “I’m only two years younger than you. I’d rather you didn’t use that tone with me. My name is Ayesha– Khushi was just telling me about all of you.”

A sly smile on his face, Aman turned to look at Arnav quickly. “Was she, now? And did she tell you about the time Arnav here saved Khushi’s life a couple of months ago?”

As laughter broke out around the table, Arnav slapped a hand onto his forehead.

“Not that fucking story again. Ayesha, whatever Khushi’s told you is grossly embroidered. It wasn’t anything as dramatic as what she must have said.”

Khushi leaned behind Payal to look at Arnav. “And just how do you know what I’ve been telling Ayesha? Been watching me, have you? Finally confessing your undying love for me, are you?”

“Experience, no, and no.” Arnav deadpanned, while Akash hooted.

“Uff, you’re even hotter when you’re practicing your cop-persona. Don’t worry, love, you just have to clear the exam. They’ll hire you in a shot.”

As everyone around the table sniggered, Arnav rolled his eyes. “That wasn’t even funny, you guys.”

“Don’t think I don’t know why you don’t laugh at my jokes, stud. It’s so no one can say ‘hasa toh phasa,’ right?”

As the table convulsed with laughter, Arnav stared back at Khushi, face shuttered and unsmiling as always. Looking back and forth between Arnav and Khushi, Ayesha, who hadn’t laughed, looked thoughtful.

____

The first excitement of the monsoon had faded, and the endless grey dreary days, the traffic snarls, the heavy humid air, the permanent splotches of mud on the hems of trousers and salwars had all begun to grate on everyone’s nerves.

Khushi was pacing up and down the deserted corridor outside the auditorium where the drama club met for rehearsals. “Yaar, how much longer?”

Kalpana checked her phone for the fifth time in as many minutes. “She texted ten minutes ago saying she’ll be out in five. But you know what her club’s like. The president is impossible to please.”

“We’re going to miss the beginning of the movie, at this rate.” Lavanya had a small furrow in between her brows.

“Will all of you chill? When has Cinescope ever begun any movie at the hour? What we’ll miss are reels of pointless trailers.”

Khushi stopped to glare at Kevin. “I happen to like the trail–”

The door of the auditorium opened and Payal ran out, panting for breath. “Sorry, sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Finally! Okay, if we run, we may still be able to catch the trailers.”

Payal looked around apologetically, not moving an inch.

“I’m so sorry, you guys. I got Michelle’s permission to come out and talk to you for a second, but…I can’t go. Rehearsals have sucked balls today. Michelle is hopping mad and has said she’ll make us practice all night if we have to. I only just managed to come out to tell you all in person.”

Kalpana was the first to break the disappointed silence that followed Payal’s words. “It’s fine. We know you can’t control this. It’s cool.”

“But…I was thinking. Since we already got a ticket for me, why don’t you all take Ayesha with you? Michelle is keeping only the core cast back. Everyone else has been let go. She’ll be out in a minute.”

Kalpana automatically looked at Khushi who gave her a rueful smile and nodded.

“Yeah…I guess. If that’s okay with everyone else?”

Noncommittal murmurs followed and Payal beamed. “Great! I’ll go tell Ayesha. Poor thing’s had a rough day– Michelle was especially hard on her.”

As Payal disappeared inside again, Lavanya looked heavenward. “Payal is too nice for her own good. And ours. Now we have to put up with the precocious brat for three hours.”

“Oh, come on, she isn’t that bad.”

Aman shook his head. “Kev, we’re not questioning her niceness. She can be…a little full of it. I’m sure she’ll snap out of it soon. But at the moment–”

“Aman, don’t sugarcoat. She’s been a downright bitch to Khushi on at least three separate occasions in the last two weeks. Like we don’t know it’s because of her thing for Arna–”

Khushi intervened. “Lavender Brown, you know it’s nothing I can’t handle. And give her a break. She’s suffering the agonies of a new crush. I sympathise heartily.”

She smiled sweetly at Arnav who looked away immediately, muttering under his breath. “Here we go again.”

____

Note: It feels like eleventy million years since I last wrote any kind of Celebration, no? It’s not like there hasn’t been stuff to celebrate either. I just couldn’t seem to put a pen to them. Anyway, I wrote this over the last week and while it’s my usual brand of shallow fluff, I really enjoyed writing it. As always, I won’t tell you what we’re celebrating right away but there are hints aplenty everywhere. The story’s actually all done, so I won’t make you wait pointlessly. The only reason I’m breaking it into 3 parts is because I feel it’s a tad too long for one post. Parts 2 and 3 will follow in the next couple of days. Until then!

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46 thoughts on “Kya Khabar Thi Jaana (Part 1)

  1. It feels like eleventy million years since I’ve read anything that gave me any ArHi feelz, but this one does and more! I’m so so glad you’re back, and with a celebration, no less. It just doesn’t get better than this! I love the dynamic between the two, and the funny, real supporting cast that you create with such ease. The banter is fun to read, and I love the nicknames! Lavender 😀
    Its so refreshing to read about a flirty K and an annoyed wannabe-cop A, will he give in to her overtures? Will she? Will Kalpana/La/Akash/anyone help or hinder this celebration? Dekhne ke liye I will be back. Just as soon as I reread it, of course. As I always do with your celebrations, because I just have to.
    Love this story so far!

    P.S: Love that banner too! Akshay Kumar, Kya bolun ab 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  2. When suddenly you got a mail from incorrigiblemagpie and the happiness and then after reading the whole shot you got to know that there are no comments yet and you must the first one. Ah. Happiness indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the whole concept of this shot. The ever so flirty khushi. I cant say if I have ever read this flirtatious khushi and this non chalant Arnav?
    The whole lot of college buddies is funny. And I am unable to guess the celebration. Will rack my brain more. Let’s see.

    You have this unusual (good) thing in your writing which bring a smile on my face every time I read something written by you.

    Ah can’t wait to read more . Reason behind stud’s this not-so-expected behaviour.

    Avanti.

    I hope you remember me😕

    Liked by 2 people

  4. wowie…loved having you back and a double hurrah for our lovely jodi….woh bhi with a college backdrop..sigh!!!ache din yaad aa gaye….
    a flirty kushi is ever fun and Arnav acting unconcerned…and a fun gang thrown in along with Ayesha the dayan…(being bi**** to kushi makes her one;-) )
    having fun here….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, you have an amazingly addictive style of writing. There is so much fun and wit in your stories. I especially love the bonding you bring in between friends and the sharp dialogues. This story is already so much fun. Can’t wit to read more.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This one was a hilarious update with strange characters! I loved all the references ranging from Kalpana Chawla, Lavender Brown to Sedusa. Man!!! Lol. You do have an overactive imagination which you are able to bring out so perfectly in your writings. I’ve missed them!

    I can’t get over what bond Lavyana and Kalpana has. Are they gay? Well, the reactions around them is surely very mature. 🙂 And, then Khushi’s blatant flirting with Arnav. It is pretty funny and at the same time you can’t stop and applaud her guts for doing it so openly. I should take lessons from her. She really does it with so much confidence. I just wanna be like this Khushi 🙂

    Hahahhaha. Can’t wait to read more of this chaos.

    Missed your writings! Welcome back ^___^

    Liked by 1 person

    • P.s. Seeing Akshay on the poster makes me remember the crazy 90s and this one is quite similar to that.

      I believe many would agree with me that 90s Akshay was super Hawt and Sexy!!!!

      Well, we can’t deny singing – Tu Chez Badi Hai Mast Mast!!

      Also, a lame guess – are we celebrating Valentine’s day or friendship day?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Just yesterday I was thinking of you,Semanti, and the fact that you haven’t posted anything on your blog since ages. Love your brand of writing.
    A flirty Khushi is fun to read about. This is maybe thd first time I am reading a story where Khushi is so obviously flirty and Arnav trying to keep her away. Waiting to read the other two parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Omg I got sooo excited seeing my new notification for this story and rightly so because this story as usual was AMAZING!!! Khushi is soo awesome flirting so openly but what is arnav’s problem and what’s the deal with ayesha. Hopefully she’s trying to speed up the process of these 2 getting together 😉 looking forward to the rest of the story! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No one can beat you to writing about a young group of really cool people I tell ya….Dylan, Kevin and all… What a fun little Part 1… As always I have no clue what we are celebrating and it’s too early to try and put brain cells to use… I need chai first… So thank you Sem for not stretching it to eleventy one millions years before the next tale. Now… For Parts 2 and 3 will you?

    PS: I really would have guessed Kumar’s birthday given recent binges. Unfortunately I know for a fact that Akki turns a year older only in September…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Flirty Khushi…now that’s super interesting!

    And the way she kept on making blatant propositions towards Arnav…my oh my; I just fell in love with her. As for Arnav, I would want to see more of Mr. Wannabe Cop (apart from the rain soaked tee) before I can say anything about him 😉

    As for what we are celebrating, I’m clueless (really, I couldn’t come with anything), but the first thing that popped in my mind after seeing the poster and then the rain scene is Tip-tip barsa paani…the male version 😀 So help me and post part 2 asap!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow amazing… Reading something written but you is always a treat to the readers… As always I can’t guess what we are celebrating, but I’m enjoying reading this fun ride… Waiting eagerly for the next parts…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful. While I have read your work and liked it immensely I am commenting for the first time. I love your humor. Waiting anxiously for the next part.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. After a long time !

    Flirty Khushi and “I-am-the-one-enduring-it” Arnav was lots fun to read.
    All other characters do make a lovely banter.
    And Ayesha lol, how khushi waved her off 😀
    La- Lavender Brown. Nice nick names

    divyaarnavsr from IF

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow you are back😊 Always love to read your stories .
    Very refreshing and interesting story. Flirty Khushi and Ignorant Arnav, very awesome concept.also loved the way Khushi gives nicknames to others.
    Eagerly waiting to read other parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nahiiiiiiiii! Magpie ke ek OS ki keemat kaun nahi janta!!! Aadhe Idhar jao Ayesha ko kidnap karne, Aadhe Idhar jao Movie dekhne, aur baki ke Khushi aur Arnav ke pechhe 😛.. Can’t wait for next parts!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. finally read it..2 times already…and cant stop laughing grinning 😀
    how do u create such hot sot guys …I didn’t even get t see 1 eye candy in my uni ever:(

    u r the best when it comes to wring with this college going gang of friends…al interesting characters and conversation…

    I am loving this flirty khushi and brooding unhappy Arnav..

    runs to read part 2-3.

    P.S. what r we celebrating ?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This wannabe IPS and police officer has me thinking that it’s about Barun’s new show 😀 Lets see if I’m wrong or right.
    I loved this super confident, optimistic and flirty Khushi. I also loved the names she has given to her friends especially Lavanya.
    But what are Akshay-Raveena doing in the banner? Khushi hasn’t even said “tu cheez badi hai mast mast” to Arnav ;P

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hey good to see you writing again, you came back with a bang! This crushed up Khushi is driving Arnav up the wall… but hes not impervious to her charms, nor is he yelling at her. Cool. Look forward to reading the remainder of this story.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Well thank god for shallow fluff! I might not have mentioned it… but I love it i.e. shallow fluff that is. Loved the beginning. And I am so glad you are writing again whatever the celebration. I hope the inspiration keeps coming.
    Love and regards,
    Sam

    Liked by 1 person

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