A moment of tensed silence falls upon the couple.
Mihika (squirms and moves back): Is something bothering you?
Abhishek (hesitantly): I’m worried about Khushi.
Mihika: Uff, you’re too much. Don’t be like that. Arnav’s a great guy. He’ll take care of her.
Abhishek (smiles): I know he will. It’s just that . . . it’s scary to think that she’s lived with us for so long and, suddenly, she’s leaving everything behind to settle elsewhere, in a new family, and adopt a new lifestyle. I always knew this day would come, I had fully prepared myself for it, but now that it’s here – I . . . I don’t know how to react.
Mihika: Abhishek, every girl and her family goes through this. It’s reality, a fact of life. The best thing you can do for her is to give her your blessings and send her off happily. That’s all she’d want.
Abhishek: Yes, but how–how would we live without her?
Mihika: You’d learn to. It’ll be difficult in the beginning but, slowly and steadily, you’ll get used to it. That’s not to say you’ll forget about her and won’t miss her but rather you’ll accept your new life. It’s a fresh start for everyone.
Gayatri (shouts from outside): Abhishek, it’s time for the bidaai. Get downstairs now.
Abhishek sniffs and wipes his tears. Mihika rubs his arm, reassuring him.
Abhishek (to himself): I’ll be fine. I should be fine.
Mihika’s worried for him.
Khushi hugs her mother and cries. Gayatri calms her down, comforting her, and guides her towards Abhishek. Khushi and Abhishek remember their childhood times, good and bad, happy and sad. Khushi falls in her brother’s arms and cling onto them, sobbing. Gayatri tries to pry her off but both refuse to let go. Abhishek closes his eyes, silently crying. Mihika gets emotional. Tears are also dripping down her cheeks.
Anjali (softly): Khushi G, shall we?
Khushi slowly breaks the embrace. Abhishek forces a light smile and kisses her forehead.
Abhishek: Goodbye, Choti.
Khushi (attempts to joke): I told you, didn’t I? You’ll cry the most when I’ll go, and look! That’s exactly what’s happening. Yaani k mein hamesha say sahi kehti thi. You should’ve listened to me sometimes.
Khushi: Promise me, Bhai, that you won’t completely separate me from yourself. Promise me that I won’t become a stranger to you, Ma, and this home. That I won’t be treated as a guest when I return.
Abhishek: Never. This home will remain yours as it’s today, perhaps even more.
Khushi: If you ever need me, don’t feel shy to cause me trouble. I’m still your sister.
Abhishek: Yes, Boss.
Khushi: Oh, and take care of yourself and Ma. Don’t overwork yourself or stress out, and take some time off to rest. Give Ma her medicines on time and take her out on daily walks. Do you get that?
Abhishek gives her a final tight hug before she departs. Khushi sits in the car and rolls down the window, waving as she’s crying. Their car is soon out of sight. Arnav’s family ask for permission to leave and follow the newly married couple in their own cars.
Gayatri sighs and Mihika puts a hand on her shoulder, comforting her. Guests gradually bid farewell and stream out.
Mihika’s phone rings. It’s Raman.
Mihika (picks it up): That’s it, Ji Ju. I’m not talking to you anymore.
Raman (chuckles): Come on, at least hear me out.
Mihika: Nope! You promised to attend the wedding and then cancelled your plans at the last minute. That’s not done. I was looking forward to meeting you all again.
Raman (sighs): If I could come, I would have. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Actually, Ishita had to be admitted to the hospital a couple of days ago. I didn’t want to bother Abhishek. He must have been quite busy with the preparations and all, so I thought of calling you instead.
Mihika grows worried.
Mihika: Kya hua Ishita Di ko?
Concerned, Abhishek and Gayatri look at Mihika.
Raman: There were some complications. She started experiencing sudden pain. No worries, though, she’s fine now. Just resting. I called as soon as I could to explain everything.
Mihika: Ji Ju, take care of her and yourself, and keep me updated, okay?
Raman: Okay, see you.
Mihika hangs up.
Abhishek: Ishita G theek toh hai na?
Mihika tells them everything and they look worried.
Abhishek: Let’s get you inside, Ma. It’s getting chilly.
Inside Abhishek’s house.
Govind, Kapil, Avantika, and Devyani are waiting. Abhishek looks back and forth between them, confused at their blank expressions.
Abhishek (looks at Govind): Uncle, is everything okay?
Govind (in disgust): Uncle? I’m not your uncle. You have no right to call me so. It’s simply “sir” to you.
Mihika’s shocked by her father’s rude behaviour.
Mihika: Dad, how could you–
Mihika looks at him.
Abhishek (smiles softly): This is between me and him. Please, let us sort it out amongst ourselves.
Abhishek (to Govind): Is there a problem, Sir?
Govind: Yes, actually. A very . . . interesting problem, indeed.
Abhishek (confused): I don’t understand.
Govind (laughs bitterly): Of course, you don’t. YOU’RE the root of that problem after all.
Mihika: Dad, please come to the point.
Govind (stares at Abhishek but talks to Mihika): The point? Abhishek, I must applaud you. You’re a very cunning, manipulative, and sly man. Purely based on that innocent face, I never would have thought that you would stoop so low.
Abhishek: Excuse me, Sir. You’re taking an undue advantage of my silence. Just because I’m not saying anything doesn’t mean I’ll idly sit by and listen and agree to your insults. Bear in mind, I’m a police officer.
Govind: That’s exactly why I didn’t expect this dirty work from you. What a low-life! Using my daughter, tricking her into believing you both love each other, JUST so you didn’t have to bear the expenses of your sister’s wedding? Just so WE could finance for it? If you couldn’t afford it, why did you dream of it?
Mihika (gasps): Dad!
Abhishek (trying to control his anger): You took us wrong, Sir. I never expected Khushi to end up with Arnav. Besides, whatever happens, I’ll make sure I don’t rest until I have returned every single penny of yours. In case you didn’t know, we’re well off than most people. We might not be as rich as you, but we have all that we need. We didn’t need your charity nor would we ever accept it even if you offered it willingly. We value our dignity and self-respect. And, I’ll say this as politely as I can. I believe you’re the real dirtbag here for trying to make me out to be the bad guy.
Mihika (gasps again): Abhishek!
Govind (to Mihika): People like him need to realise their self-worth. Have you heard how rudely he’s talked to me? He has no respect for his elders. I should have known. What can you expect from him anyway? He didn’t have anyone to teach him any manners. He’s fatherless, an orphan.
Gayatri covers her mouth in astonishment, tears falling from her eyes. Mihika looks back and forth between them, worried and upset.
Abhishek (clenches his fist): I think you’ve overstayed your welcome. The door’s behind me, in case you couldn’t see or forgot the way out.
Govind: It’s not like we want to stay here. Being around people like you make me sick!
Govind (to Mihika): Let’s go.
Mihika (looks at an upset Abhishek): Dad, I–I can’t. He . . . he needs me.
Govind (grabs her wrist): I’m your father, and you’ll do as I say! You’ll not stay here any longer, and you’ll never, ever meet him again.
Mihika’s confused and conflict. Crying, she looks at her father and then at Abhishek, who refuses to even glance at her. Finally resigning, she goes with her family. However, as she reaches the door with them, Abhishek stops them.
Abhishek (still looking away): Mr Kapoor, it’s not in my nature to ignore what you’ve done. I must thank you, and I’m saying it genuinely and sincerely. Thank you, Sir, for not creating this scene during the wedding. I won’t forget this favour.
Govind (scoffs): Don’t be a fool. I did so to protect my family name. I’m not bothered about you, your sister, or this family in any way.
Mihika looks at Govind pleadingly.
Abhishek (chuckles): Whatever may be the case, I appreciate it.
Govind grows angry and drags Mihika out of the house, the rest of the family following him. Gayatri sniffs. Abhishek stays silent and tries to control his anger.
I tried to make this part long. How was it?
This season will be more about Abhishek and Mihika again. Raman/Ishita and Arnav/Khushi only play a supporting role and are highly unlikely to have their own “track”.
Thank you for reading!
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