Greetings all you lovely people!! Thank you for all your love and appreciation for the story! For all those of you who might be wondering if Twinkle is in love with Kunj, or just likes him, or has learnt to accept it all and just live with it, your answer is this: She’s in a fix right now, she knows she ought to keep herself from falling deeper for him, and she tries her best. You might be aware of that state, wherein unrequited love has become an accepted reality, so you try to avoid thinking about the feelings, but the admiration you feel for the person doesn’t go away? It’s that, right now. Alright, that was too much of a lecture to begin with. Let’s go! Happy reading!!
Twinj: Meant to be: Episode 20
A quick recap: Twinkle receives a present from Aditi, a Salwar suit bought by Yuvi and chosen by Kunj. As the wedding ceremony proceeds, she spends a little more time with Kunj before figuring out about his fiancé, Tanisha, that leaves her shell shocked.
Twinkle would have probably spent the rest of her day brooding in a corner or behind one of the food counters if it hadn’t been for Yuvi and Aditi insisting that they wanted her to be present right in front. That, as it turned out, was good and bad. She was close enough to listen to the chants and listen to all that the priest was saying, so it kept her mind off of things, but just as much, she was able to see Tanisha every single moment. There was no way she would be able to miss Usha proudly introduce Tanisha to their relatives from that close. She did notice that Kunj stayed away from both those women nevertheless. Almost as if in protest.
She decided to keep her eyes trained on the beautiful couple in front of her instead. The way the two looked at each other made it seem to her that those happy endings people spoke so highly of were meant to look like this, and this alone. There wasn’t anything fake or ornamental only about the rituals. It appeared like Aditi and Yuvi had carefully kept it shielded from Usha Sarna’s eyes, lest she should make it a posh affair, as if an exhibit. Twinkle laughed softly at that thought, grabbing Aditi’s mother’s attention. She shook her head quickly and lowered it, not wanting any more eyes on her.
She stood by Aditi’s mother’s side all through the post-wedding rituals, her own eyes welling up as she saw the mother-daughter duo exchange their concerns for each other. She didn’t miss the way Yuvi quickly wiped away his own tears before cracking a stupid joke that lightened the mood. She admired Kunj assure both Aditi and her mother that he would make sure he took care of both of them. Twinkle had been surprised when she saw Usha’s eyes too well up as Aditi’s mother bid her farewell, handing her life, her treasure, her everything – her Aditi, who was no longer just hers, to her husband and in-laws.
Just as she saw off Aditi’s mother and turned back into the hall, she saw Tanisha standing in her way, arms crossed in front of her. She had been staring. “Twinkle, this will be the last time I tell you, to keep away from us. From my Kunj, especially. I hope you don’t have to be reminded of the fact that you don’t have a family name or a fortune that you can boast of, so you’ll only become a laughing stock if we see you again. Your services too will no longer be needed by the Sarnas.” She said venomously, throwing her hands around in vague gestures. “Do I need to repeat myself?” She asked when Twinkle didn’t respond, forcing her to mumble a ‘No, I understand.’
There was no way that Twinkle could have stayed there anymore. It wasn’t just about whatever the hell it was that she felt for Kunj, but the fact that she was denied the respect, the recognition that she believed so strongly that she deserved. Not for being Yuvi’s friend, for being a good chef who had rendered her services to the best of her capabilities. It was this very thing that she had left home for – respect, recognition. Back then she also craved inclusion into her own family, but this time round, she wasn’t even asking for that. The fact that she had to listen to all that just because she felt some bit of a liking for Kunj made her feel worse about it. She turned right back and stepped out, making her mind to never return to any place or occasion that had something to do with the Sarnas. Yuvi and Aditi mattered a lot to her, but they would have to understand. The Sarnas had left her no other go.
Maya had been really helpful, not once questioning why Twinkle had left after insisting that she would handle everything at the café while Maya wrapped up issues there. That had definitely not happened before. She had also managed to lie convincingly to Kunj about Twinkle’s sudden disappearance, as she herself narrated to Twinkle later that day. But Maya also knew that Twinkle probably just wanted some space to herself and didn’t push her for any conversation at all. For the next whole day too. Although she had begun talking a little after that, she had restricted all speech to monosyllables unless absolutely necessary, and Maya was getting worried.
It was when Twinkle had paid the instalment towards her purchase of the café that Maya finally saw her smile again. They both knew that saving enough funds to be able to pay up every month was a challenge that they had to keep in mind every single day with every single decision they took. But now, with Yuvi’s wedding having gone well enough, along with bringing the new customers, and a possible set of other events too, things seemed to be getting better.
Twinkle no longer avoided Leela’s calls, surprising the latter. She probably just wanted someone to speak to, and with Yuvi and Aditi away on their honeymoon, loneliness seemed to be creeping back into her life. Right now, she sat on the chair behind the reception table, reading through the mail that she had written to Usha Sarna. Read, but not sent, for she had no courage to do so. Not to ignore the fact that the idea of actually cutting off Kunj completely made her heart give a pang, even if she refused to acknowledge it altogether. Also, she was reading that mail for the hundredth time, it was perfectly formal – an apology that she wouldn’t be able to make it to Yuvi and Aditi’s reception party, but would make sure her staff members would be there with all the arrangements done perfectly. But no, she couldn’t bring herself to click on the Send button.
Her mind seemed to be playing vicious games with her – it seemed to only fixate on the point that Kunj Sarna was a threat to the very independence that mattered so much to her that she had cut off all her older equations and started completely afresh. Although she knew that it was all illogical thought, she couldn’t deny the fact that he had taken a stand for her every single time someone – anyone chose to speak lowly of her. And each of those times she thought she was perfectly able to defend herself but was letting him do it because he didn’t make it seem like a favour. Her confidence in her ability to do so was whisked away when Tanisha accused her of so many things. The one time that neither Kunj nor Yuvi were there to support her, and she had chickened out without even putting up a fight.
“I wasn’t like this! I fought every single day of these few years! With myself, with my so-called family, with the world!” She reminded herself aloud as she headed for the kitchen to put away her apron. “You began to get used to letting other people fighting your battles for you after Kunj stepped in as your saviour, didn’t you?” Her mind taunted, making her groan. She had no argument to make against that. There was no way she could prove that was untrue, no matter how much she wished to. So, she chose to fight the thoughts instead of succumbing to them at least.
Just as she followed Maya out of the café, she spotted someone sitting on the steps outside the door. “Excuse me?” She called out, handing Maya the keys and taking a careful step forward to see for herself. “Hey.” Kunj’s voice reached her before she saw his face. He stood up and faced her, a hesitant smile on his face. “Kunj!” She acknowledged, trying not to focus too much on how tired his eyes looked. “Why didn’t you come in?” She asked him, not sure if she had to be grateful for that or not. He shrugged, his smile still not reaching his eyes. “Do you want to go in now?” She asked, unsure of herself, and he politely denied the offer.
Twinkle let him have his moment of silence as she waited for Maya to hand the keys back to her. When Maya had turned around the corner, she looked at Kunj, who was watching her intently now. She forced on a smile, but it evidently didn’t have the desired effect, for he still looked at her like that – a blank look, no emotion at all. And for one, she knew she didn’t like that look. “Can I ask you one thing?” He asked and she nodded readily. Anything was better than the awkward silence that was beginning to creep in. She only realized that he would most probably ask why she had disappeared and was ignoring his calls and messages, and for that she had no answer.
“Are you alright?” He asked instead, catching her off-guard. “Huh?” She asked, making sure she had heard him right. “I’m fine, thank you.” She replied when he had repeated himself. He hummed, stuffing his hands into his pockets and momentarily looking away, as though debating something internally. “I was a little busy with the café, since I had been away for quite a few days. Just didn’t have the time to respond to your calls, I’m sorry.” She said, walking a few steps away from him, hoping he wouldn’t ask anything else about it and so that she didn’t have to be looking at him as she lied, but he walked right beside her. “It doesn’t appear so.” He told her frankly, and she knew he was right, so she just chose to hold her silence.
She heard Kunj’s footsteps stop suddenly and turned around to look at him. “I know you’re only ignoring me, not Yuvi or Aditi. Have I said, or done something?” He wondered out loud, his eyes trapping hers in the glance the moment they met hers. He was sure he had seen a flicker of pain cross her features before she quickly shook her head and then lowered it. “Twinkle, do you even trust me a tiny bit?” He asked a couple of minutes of pin drop silence later. She flinched at that, feeling burdened at the realization of how she had made him feel. “I’m sorry, Kunj. I didn’t mean for all this to happen! It’s just that I figured out what was best for us, and made a conscious decision to stay away from your family.” She explained, her voice so low that he had to strain his ears to hear her.
She began walking again, not realising that she was headed straight towards her house – the very house that she had never shown any of her friends or acquaintances so far. “Ma said something again, didn’t she?” Kunj asked, jogging to catch up with her. “I apologize on her behalf, Twinkle! I know she comes off as really rude. What I don’t know though, is why she is treating you of all people like that! We can fix this in other ways than you going missing, you know?” He tried to explain, and she nodded her head in mock agreement. “Twinkle–” He began his next attempt, but she cut him short by holding her hand up.
“Kunj, this isn’t about what one single person did, or continues to do. I know exactly how that class of the society functions. I voluntarily parted ways entirely from all that it meant and represented a couple of years ago. It was all because I couldn’t let go of my self-respect. This simply means that I can, and will do it again if such a situation arises. Trust me, it is better this way. For everyone.” She said slowly, both their eyes welling up. “Also, would I give up all the money I make from Usha Sarna bringing her friends to the café just to retain a friendship with a customer? I don’t think so.” She said, trying a hand at humour and failing as soon as she had begun. He let out a humourless laugh at that, not willing to give up so easily. He knew more than what he pretended to, and he was sure there was more to this than she showed.
“So, you won’t even come for Yuvi’s reception?” He asked, trying all his cards to get his answers out. “I think so.” She whispered, watching as his eyes widened. “Don’t do this to him. And Aditi too. They’ll just be so disappointed!” He whined, not voicing the ‘My heart will break too!’ “I’m not demanding anything of you, Twinkle. But I really want you to consider this, please?” She nodded, throwing him one last glance before opening the gate and entering the dark building that she hoped to call ‘home’ someday.
That’s it for now, guys. I know, many of Twinkle’s actions may seem wrong or unjustified to you all, but she’s only human, she’s struggling in the whirlpool that the battle between her mind and heart has turned into, she’s trying to make it out. Lets’ see how she fares. Let me know your thoughts about this. Until next time, lots of love!!