A/N: Hi there! This is my first IPKKND fic and I would love to get some feedback from you guys. Any and all comments will be welcomed with open arms and treated as valuable criticism. So don't forget to review your thoughts and ideas.
Thanks in advance :)
Arnav Singh Raizada knew one thing in life... never give up. He had never given up on anything in his life till now and never compromised on the rules he lived it by - Never admit defeat, never give your opponent the upper hand, never reveal your thoughts and never, ever get emotionally involved. ASR was a name synonymous with quality, perfection, arrogance and at times, uncontrolled anger at the face of incompetence. The man always went after what he wanted and got it by any and every means at his disposal. Nothing was too hard or impossible when it was faced with the self-sized ego that Arnav Singh Raizada carried around. Failure was not a possibility that he even considered. Ruthlessness was a necessity when it came to dealing with incompetence. And incapable people had no business being a part of his world.
He was the toughest boss one could work for, but every one of his employees knew that Arnav Singh Raizada pushed himself to do more than what he expected from them. He kept them on their toes, yelled at them when they did something a miniscule bit lesser than the perfection he expected, went as far as to fire people for no reason except that they loitered in his cabin for a minute too long, but he'd never been blatantly unfair. While ASR might be a slave driver, he also made sure all his employees were more than amply provided for. If they were happy with the salary and other benefits, they had no grounds to complain and so would definitely put in more and more efficient work. AR designs might have been headed by a strong, stubborn but fair man, but Arnav Singh Raizada made sure that he stood up to all the expectations that were heaped on him both by his peers, the industry as well as his employees.
While most people who came across the man saw ASR, only a handful knew of the Arnav that lay hidden underneath the prickly personality. The Arnav, who loved his family more than anything or anyone else in the world. The Arnav who wouldn't hesitate to go to the ends of the world if necessary, for any member of his family. The Arnav, who obsessed about the small things, the man behind the perfectionist, the young man who had forever given up on the one human emotion that could set him free from the prison he'd created for himself.
In spite of all the things the world knew about ASR and AR Designs, the one thing that hadn't come to light was the man's childhood, even his teen years, before he'd come to Delhi. Some journalists had speculated that this lack of information about him might suggest that his name hadn't always been Arnav Singh Raizada. The rumors were never substantiated and died out with time, and the journalists involved would never come to know just how close they had been to the truth.
Arnav Singh Raizada was the epitome of the young, rich, heartless, arrogant business tycoon, a man proud of himself and the world he'd created. And he had reason to be. ASR was a self made man... in every way. A fifteen year old when he'd come to Delhi, along with his eighteen year old sister, their Grandmother and no way to support them, Arnav had already known what had to be done and how it had to be done. He also knew that with his new life, a new identity had to take root, his new personality becoming the face of his new life. And thus, from the ashes of a fifteen year old's dreams of having a normal life, had been born the phoenix that was Arnav Singh Raizada.
This man wouldn't bend, he wouldn't break and he certainly wouldn't back down. He wouldn't have the weaknesses that plagued the fifteen year old he'd been. This new person wouldn't be unable to protect his family, this new man would be able to make his own destiny... and rewrite others'.
But of course, the path to success wasn't without the required sacrifices. Along with the amount of time and effort put in, the armor that the name ASR had become, left him bereft of the smaller happinesses in life and slowly, leached away his ability to feel... ASR had lived up to his fame of having a heart of stone. Because what beat steadily inside the man's chest wasn't the heart that had been inside the fifteen year old's body. This heart had seen and suffered through so much in it's sojourn to the top, that the organ had created a wall, a mile high, between itself and anything that might have the remote possibility of being able to hurt it. Now, nobody had any control over it, not even he.
But that hadn't been too much of a problem to ASR. It was only his Di and Nani, that required emotional responses and even they, were slowly learning that while he was still their Chote, he wasn't... in a lot of ways. No one else expected the cold hearted ASR to feel, to even be able to experience normal human emotions, much less let them hold any sway over him. No one that is, till one Khushi Kumari Gupta had stormed into his life clad in a flimsy green lehenga.
Right from Day one, she'd somehow, been able to trigger emotional responses in him, that no one else could elicit. Not even his dear Di or Nani could get the response that Khushi Kumari Gupta seemed to achieve so effortlessly. And that literally ate away at him. His responses to her were always cloaked in the veneer of disdain, arrogance and even hatred at times, but they were definitely and undeniably emotional responses that ASR had never believed himself capable of.
For years, the sharks of the Fashion Industry hadn't been able to get through to him with their cutting comments and petty jealousies at his meteoric rise, but here she was, one slip of a girl, making him go crazy with frustration, anger, rage, at times, amusement and something that might've even been happiness in some way.
So he'd responded the only way he knew... by trying to break that spirit, that fire he saw within her, so that he could gain some measure of control on the situation. And for the first time, ASR had come this close to losing. Khushi Kumari Gupta was something he couldn't understand. The depth and breadth of her spirit were staggering and repeated attempts by ASR, at breaking that spirit, had done nothing but give him headaches and her, more courage.
It had been quite the frustrating endeavor, before he had come to truly understand the reason he'd so nearly lost it with this woman. She was just like him... she was just like him, but she also wasn't.
They'd both been through similar situations in their lives, having lost both parents at an early age, having to live with relatives that though were very loving, could never make up for the fact that they were not their parents, having had to look after their families from a very early age... so many things struck true. Khushi Kumari Gupta had been through a lot in life, just like he had, but she had managed to react to it in a manner that was so removed from how he had, so different from what he had done with his life, that for some time, Arnav hadn't even seen the similarity in the situations.
While Arnav had learned to protect his heart at all costs, hardening it in the process, Khushi had learned to open up herself to more and more possibilities, never minding if some of it hurt her. She'd learned to tackle everyday with a smile on her face. If there was ever someone over the age of six in this world, that believed in fairytales and happily ever afters, that knew with a conviction that rocked him, that everything would be alright in the end, that knew, that by the sheer force of her personality, she could change lives, it was Khushi Kumari Gupta.
Her perpetual cheerfulness, her unshakeable faith in her Devi Maiyya, her belief in the inherent goodness of people, her fetish for jalebis, her attitude towards him especially, were things that irritated, frustrated and literally drove him up the wall, but they were also things that had made him sit up and take notice. And notice he had.
And that was it. That was what had changed his attitude towards her. She was the one who had brought out the Arnav beneath the ASR facade, no matter how reluctant he'd been to come to light. It was the thought that she was just like him in so many ways, that had reached the core of his being and begun to change something. They were both insanely stubborn, extremely opinionated, supremely confident and stupidly hot headed. But they were also always fair, perpetually generous, though in different ways, after all, ASR had a reputation to keep up, and somewhere inside them, had the capability to love, that went above and beyond what others were capable.
The only difference that existed was that while Khushi's ability to love people and things was evident, Arnav's capability for that pesky human emotion had become hidden under layer upon layer of the hardened crust that was his armor against the world. But very few people knew that underneath that armor, lay a core so soft and vulnerable.
It was this piece of knowledge that led to Khushi Kumari Gupta's transformation in his mind, to just Khushi. She was like him, yet she was different. It was the ultimate challenge for ASR and an eye opener for Arnav. And together, both sides of him had come to the conclusion that the only solution to this, was to make her his. ASR had taken it as a challenge, and Arnav was looking forward to the experience.
It might've been a rocky six months, and in the meantime, ASR might've caused more damage than good, but in those sic months, somehow, when he hadn't been looking, Khushi had managed to take up permanent residence in the regions of his heart. His prolific mind had rebelled against it fiercely, but Khushi had made her residence in the desolate, barren wasteland that had been his heart, and was slowly but surely changing it. More and more, even without his control, ASR was receding and Arnav was taking centrestage. And he'd had no problems with it.
For the first time in his life, he was enjoying the feeling of not being in control. A feeling so alien, that he should've been scrambling to correct the situation, but something made him stop. The run up to Payal and Akash's wedding had been the one time, he'd allowed the softer side of him control, letting his feelings for the firecracker sister of the bride show through. It was immensely gratifying that she'd responded to his every advance with one of her own... in her own pagal way, she'd communicated with him in ways no one else had ever been able to. And to his surprise, he'd not only understood, he'd been able to appreciate the fact that she'd snuck her way into his psyche and was there to stay.
To say that the knowledge wasn't terrifying, would be to deny the truth, but for some reason, he found himself more than comfortable with the idea, even eager to pursue this course and find out just where it lead. He'd been ready to cede complete control over his life and make her a part of his. Which was why it hurt so much more to hear and see what he had that night on the terrace.
Two people, who he'd thought wouldn't betray him, had broken his trust and played with his and his family's lives in such a callous manner that a part of him had literally died that night. His fledgling attempt at trust and something that might've been love, had been treated cruelly and thrown back in his face and Arnav, for the first time, voluntarily gave up the control he had to ASR.
Things obviously were poised to go all the way downhill from there... Khushi ran off from the terrace once she found out her secret boyfriend had no answers to give her. His brother-in-law went off in another direction, no doubt trying to find a way in which he could be together with the person he loved - Khushi. In the midst of it all was his Di, an ethereal figure of goodness and gentleness, that both these people were betraying in such a cruel manner. The woman who had given him the love of a mother, a sister and a best friend over so many years, the woman whom he had sworn to protect to the ends of the earth was being betrayed by her own husband and a woman who had become her friend over the last six months.
Anger took a back seat as pure and unadulterated rage took over. No one crossed Arnav Singh Raizada and hoped to live... and no one even thought about hurting his Di without suffering the consequences. Shyam Manohar Jha might be his Di's husband, but that was all he was. One step in the wrong direction, one toe over the line and ASR would make sure his life wasn't worth living. He was ready to play the bad guy if it saved his Di and the rest of his family from the heartache and disillusionment that would follow if Shyam and Khushi's actions were revealed. As it was, people expected him to be a cold, heartless monster, so he would give them that. For once, ASR would play his part to the hilt, without any worries of consequences, burnt bridges or repercussions of any sort.
These bridges that had been made in the last six months were meant to be burnt and burnt they would be. How dare Khushi Kumari Gupta.. that she would even think of asking Shyam to leave his Di so that they could be together. With those few words, she had managed to kill Arnav... and all that was left was ASR, a man just waiting to even scores. A man for whom all of life was nothing but a business deal, a man for whom emotions had no value, a man who would do anything to retain control.
Too bad, she would have to remain under his control for the rest of her life. Because the only way to make sure Shyam and Khushi were never given the opportunity to be together was to make sure that Khushi wasn't available. And the only way to make sure Khushi wasn't available while ensuring Shyam's continued presence in the house, was to make Khushi come to Shantivan... permanently, as his wife. That's right, he would marry Miss Khushi Kumari Gupta and when she was Khushi Singh Raizada, he would ensure that she remained under his iron control. That was the punishment that Khushi and Shyam deserved. They had planned to leave his Di in the lurch. Now they would have to see each other everyday for the rest of their lives, but they would be forced to bear the torture of never being together.
And he would break Khushi Kumari Gupta, if it was the last thing he did.
A/N: So there it is... my maiden venture at writing Arnav Singh Raizada. Tell me how you liked it... tell me if you didn't too, I would just love to hear from you guys.
Lotsa luv and cookies