SS: I-5: And Amidst Giving And Taking..


For all the times he felt like a walking- talking cliche as an Indian physician in North America, and for all the jokes about the same circulating around, Aman Aggarwal quite enjoyed what he did. And although he gave allowance to parental power of suggestion, because as long back as he could remember his parents had always let him know he was going to be one, it had ultimately been his choice to become one. He liked working at his dad’s thriving suburban private practice too. He disliked changes and had never felt allured, like many of his friends did, toward an urban lifestyle, the attractions of the big city…or any change in general.

He was scrolling down the appointment list when a Medical Assistant showed up at the doorway to his office with a message.

“Dr. Aggarwal called”, she said, “He’s going to be a little late from the hospital”.

“Oh okay”, Aman replied, his eyes halting on a name that was a couple patients down. Navin Gupta. After a moment, he looked up at the MA who was leaning against the door jamb wearing navy blue scrubs. Smiling absentmindedly, he said, “Thank you. Is he still on the phone?

“No, he hung up”, the MA replied, “Yvette wants to know if you want us to stop accepting walk-ins for now”. Yvette was their office manager.

“No no”, Aman answered, his eyes flicking fleetingly toward a faint bruise on her cheek, “It should be alright. I’ll manage”.

After she left, Aman frowned. This was the second time he’d noticed a bruise on her. He wondered if it was something he should be worried about, something he should take seriously. Should he bring it up with Yvette? But then, she seemed alright- cheerful, efficient and absolutely normal in her dealings with staff and patients. He was probably overthinking, he dismissed the thought, pulling a sheaf of lab reports that needed signing off toward him. In between urine cultures and blood counts, he thought about Anita again, his mind dwelling on the likelihood of her being the one accompanying her father like she usually did. He initialed the last report and slammed the ring binder they were all organized in shut.

Turning his head toward the open window near his desk, his restless eyes skimmed across the dim winter landscape without actually registering it. Guilt was an uncomfortable companion to join one’s breaths and heartbeats with and while his guilt didn’t give him sleep less nights or feel as corrosive to his heart as it’s often described in literature, he didn’t plan on waiting it out. He didn’t plan on waiting for it to mitigate to an occasional twinge he could learn to live with. He was going to tackle it by righting the wrong he’d inadvertently committed last year due to his narrow vision and thoughtlessness.

He knew what he had to do. It would require a lot of patience but then patience had always been his forte. With a wry smile, he rose to head towards the exam rooms.
“Have you been eating healthy, Uncle?, Aman leaned against the small work counter of the exam room and asked with a smile that Anita kept her eyes stubbornly averted from. Sitting quietly, her jaws worked on gum that had probably lost all its juice about an hour ago. With her hands folded primly on her lap, her eyes stayed focused on her father.

“Oh yes”, said Navin with something akin to disgust in his voice, “Sujata makes sure I do. She is quite the task master. Lots of salad. I’m starting to feel like a rabbit”.

“Well, you can eat from all food groups but moderation is the key”, Aman said, folding his arms. His voice, unfailingly pleasant to the ears, could switch from professional to old family friend with enviable ease, “Our office dietician is all booked up today but I’m going to make an appointment for you”.

He turned toward Anita, his eyes probing as he addressed her with a direct question she couldn’t evade. “Or do you want to call us later, Anita? To make an appointment?

“Yes, that would be better”, she said, turning toward him, her eyes flickering slightly as they met his, “I have to look at my schedule”.

“Sure”, he said with a smile, “You can let me know and I’ll have the front desk make Uncle’s appointment”.

“Thank you. I will let you know”, she smiled politely at him, with just a touch of color smearing her cheeks hinting at the possibility that her indifference was a facade. It warmed his being with not only that unmatchable feeling of being liked, even loved, by another human, it also swelled his heart with a protectiveness he didn’t know what to make of.

He left the room when he ran out of reasons to linger. A smile played on his lips as he knocked at the door of next exam room. There was something to be said about the calm that comes with having your future cut and dried as he did.

Now if only hearts would stop pining for the impossible and revisiting the ghosts of unfulfilled dreams.There must be a way. Others had done it before him and there was no reason why he couldn’t too. He was determined to.

Anita considered herself fortunate that her best friend lived in the same neighborhood as her. Aarti. The fact that their friendship spanned a relatively shorter period of time when compared to her other friendships over the years had never stood in the way of it forging ahead of them all to become one of the biggest reasons for her smiles and laughters in life. She still remembered the first time she’d met her with high definition clarity. She was well into the second semester of sophomore year in high-school, eating lunch with a bunch of friends and acquaintances when she’d first seen her, a new face, through a cafeteria window. She sat on a bench by herself, her eyes focussed on her phone screen, appearing utterly lonely although she tried hard not to; and on an impulse, Anita had risen to go to her. Her family had recently moved to Ohio from India, she learnt soon, and on hindsight it was surprising how quickly they opened up to each other, bonding effortlessly over greasy cafeteria fries, Indian TV and a common love for historical romances. After that first meeting, Anita had taken her under her wings, helping her ease into the surrounding alien environment, their relationship strengthening into friendship as days, months and years went by.

“Aarti. You’ve been at it for an hour now. Any makeover that takes this long is an epic fail anyway my opinion. I don’t even need to look in the mirror. Because who on earth would have this much time..

“Shut up, Anu”, said Aarti, wielding a small bottle of lip color, “And open your mouth wide. Wider”.

It was Saturday evening and Anita and Aarti, who were both home from their respective campuses, were trying out new makeup on each other.

After filling in her lips with sheer color, Aarti stepped back with pursed lips and critical eyes.

“It looks very good”, she said seriously, “See when your eyeliner is perfectly winged and your eyelashes curled, it brings out the natural slant of your eyes. They look sharper”.

She turned the swivel chair she sat on toward a mirror leaning against a wall and Anita shrieked in mock-horror.

“Damn. That does not look like me at all”.

“You don’t like it?, her friend sounded disappointed,

“I like it”, Anita said slowly, staring at her reflection, “But it’s not me. Not my real look. It’s a deception”.

“What crap?, said her friend, “I’ve used bare minimal amount of makeup here. All I did was to accentuate and highlight what you already have. Mainly your eyes.That’s all. I call it making the best of what you have, not deception. So stop being an idiot”.

“Fine”, breathed Anita with a toothy grin, her shoulders sagging perceptibly, “It does look nice. Although I can never get my eyeliner to do what you did to my eyes here”. And most of the time, I’ll be too lazy to bother, she added silently to herself,

Aarti hugged her from behind and they stared at their reflection together. “You look like Jasmine, bae”.

The affection in her friend’s voice swelled Anita’s heart with emotion. She wondered if a part of this impromptu make over session was related to a conversation they’d had last week when she’d shared, or had been forced to share, the unfortunate outcome of her first crush/ first love – whatever the heck that thing between her and Aman was.

“Jasmine kaun?, she wiggled her eyebrows and asked in a gruff voice.

A whole new world“, Aarti sang, winking at her reflection, “A new fantastic point of view…waali Jasmine. Aur kaun?

“And don’t get up yet”, she ordered a laughing Anita, “Let me take a picture first”.
Anita had almost reached home when Aarti called her to ask the most unexpected question she could’ve ever imagined.

“Who is Arian Foster?, she asked in an exaggeratedly suspicious voice.

There are some moments in life that take you completely by surprise, knock the wind out of your system, so to speak, and this happened to be one such moments for Anita.

“Huh?, Anita said stupidly, “Why…what…?

The reply to her incoherent question was intriguing to say the least but it also began morphing into the lines between the proverbial dots.

“I captioned our picture as Me And Jasmine and some Arian Foster commented on your wall: Jasmine. Of course. I’d wondered why your face seemed so familiar”.

“You posted my picture on Facebook”, Anita cried in dismay, waiting at a red light, “And you tagged me without asking. Wait till I get my hands on you. Just you wait”.

“You’ve got 73 likes and 50 comments already, sweetie. Even your Di commented. And her husband too”.

“Di commented. Arnav Bhai too”, Anita repeated with her eyes wide.

“Yes, they did”, said Aarti, getting distracted for a while, “And what the hell are they doing on Facebook? They’re supposed to be on honeymoon”.

“So?, said Anita with her lips quirking, “Even the most arduous of of passions must need occasional breaks from all that honey and moon, right? And although they might not agree with me, this is their second honeymoon anyway”.

“Damn”, said Aarti with frank envy before getting back to the subject at hand, “Anyway, let’s try not to deviate from the main subject of our conversation here. Arian Foster. So here’s what I know about him so far from my expert stalking. University Of Florida. Part of an Indie band called- what the heck- no that’s not the name of the band although I wouldn’t be surprised with anything these days- Politics On The Beach. Not a regular FB user. Mainly uses this profile to promote his band. Can’t really figure out his looks but cool shades. For crying out loud, they need to change their profile picture…

“Are you done?, Anita grinned teasingly, pulling into the garage of their home.

“Jokes apart, spill the beans ASAP. I’m very close to dying of curiosity”.

“There’s nothing to tell, Aarti”, Anita laughed, “He sat next to me on the flight to Amsterdam. That’s all”. She hesitated for a second as memories of a kindness too invisible and too formless to acknowledge in words skimmed over her mind…like a breeze out of nowhere.
Late in the night, Anita logged on to read the comments. There they were, all lined up in a neat column with each comment as gratifying as a bite of her favorite dessert. Some were from friends; some from family. And some from fleeting acquaintances who were practically strangers in ways that matter. She couldn’t help her heart from glowing with satisfaction. It was probably an illusion. It was probably a mirage. Whatever it was, it seemed to be doing wonders, albeit ephemeral wonders, to her self esteem. She felt hypocritical for all those times she’d derided Facebook and it’s inherent narcissism. Maybe it wasn’t just about narcissism; maybe it was also about people with battered self esteems seeking a moment of fake glory.

She reached the end of the column and frowned. Where was that comment, Arian’s comment, Aarti was talking about? She scrolled through the column twice before realizing Arian must have deleted his comment.

As this was something she did a lot- writing something impulsively and later chickening out and deleting it, she smiled widely with amusement. An imp cleared her throat and tapped on her shoulder. She tried squashing it for all of two seconds. The imp won.

Too bad. You were a second too late“, the FB messenger conveyed to him, “I’d read it already :D”.

The sand felt soft under her toes- sun warmed talcum powder where the ocean couldn’t get to it and shifting silk under the frothy waves. She couldn’t get enough of it. She had really meant to go for such a long walk but there was something about long secluded stretches of uninterrupted beach that made you lose sense of time and distance.

Her bare legs were wet and sandy and her hair sun kissed and tangled. Her white sarong, tied low on her hips bellowed in the breeze. She stopped and knelt over a sand dollar half buried in the sand. As she gently pried it loose, she smiled in delight. It was a whole, intact piece. A rare find that is guaranteed to bring joy to even the most experienced of beachcombers. She rinsed it gingerly with water and held it on her palm, admiring the flower like etching on it’s surface.


She turned hearing his voice, sun glinting off of the tip of her eyelashes. He stood on the deck of their small Art Deco style villa, one of the two rental properties on the small private island, his forearms resting on the white rail, a coffee mug in hand. It was just before noon and he’d only just woken up. Khushi rose and gestured him to join her. She watched as he approached her in khaki cargo shorts and white button up shirt, shimmering sand flying off of his bare feet.

“Look, what I found”, she said when he reached her and she could see the wind burrowing through this hair, “A whole intact sand dollar”.

Arnav glanced at her upturned palm with unenthusiastic eyes, “Nice”.

“It’s a flattened sea urchin”, she added, “It’s rare to find it in one piece”.

“A flattened sea urchin!”, he exclaimed with faux interest, his eyes glinting with humor, “Now, I’m really excited”.

“None of your sass with me”, she threatened, her fingers curling into his shirt front, her face mock vicious before crumpling to join his infectious laughter.

“I was going to give it to you”, she smiled as he pulled her close, “but never mind now”.

“I love sea urchins”, he committed a volte face, looking at her with loving eyes, “They are favorite flattened animals in the world. They are so interesting…so rare…so”.

“Stop”, giggled Khushi, slipping it into his shorts pockets.

He pulled her closer, nuzzling against the crook of her neck, his nostril flaring at her floral scent, his tongue tasting sun and salt. She shivered as he nudged a swim suit strap down a shoulder and grazed it’s downy softness with his teeth.

Her toes sank in the wet sand as she stood on their tips to slide her arms around his shoulders. He raised his head and smiled at her, “Want to look for more of these?”.

With their hands intertwined, they walked along the foam and the sand, the salt laden wind carrying their lighthearted bantering to a hidden preserve of time..

“Isn’t it befitting “, she said in a teasing voice, “That I’m a diabetic. I mean I can’t tolerate too much sweetness…so…

He stopped with his eyes narrowed and his lips pursed. His eyes danced with humor.

“You, Dr. Raizada, are going to be punished for this”, he said grimly, sweeping her effortlessly in his arms and ignoring her shriek.

“Oooh, I’m scared. What are you going to do?”, she asked with twinkling eyes, tightening her arms around his neck as he carried her deep into the ocean, “Throw me down to the sea urchins”.

Arnav laughed at that – a deep, rumbling sound that never failed to warm her heart or curve her lips.

As he kept walking, her eyes widened with slight alarm, “Don’t forget I’m shorter than you”.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart”, he said confidently, “Main hoon na’

When he was hip deep in the warm, roiling waters, he adjusted the position of his arms and wrapped her legs around him in an intimate embrace.

He kissed her gently at first, and then with a swift gradation of intensity that made her cling to him as the only stable thing in a vortex of sensations. Consumed by him and consumed by his namesake- the ocean.


Aaj kal paon zameen par
Naheen padate mere
Bolo dekhaa hain kabhee
Tumane mujhe udate huye

These days, my feet don’t touch the ground..

Tell me, did you ever see me fly?

A/N: Thank you so much for your love and concern. I’m feeling better now. Here’s is Ch. 5- Hope you enjoy it. Would love to hear your thoughts as always 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend,

Love always,



101 thoughts on “SS: I-5: And Amidst Giving And Taking..

  1. Loved the surprise!!!
    I feel for Aman but i am really rooting for Arian-Anita… that was sweet.. i cant wait to see how Arian is gonna react now…
    Khushi Arnav… Can they get any more romantic??? They do, each time.. u make’em…
    After this intense story, it’s a treat to read this light hearted tale…:) I’m enjoying it as much if not more…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jenny, wonderful update.

    Sorry I am late with the comments. Last couple of days have been horrible with my younger one falling sick and he torturing me for the discomfort he was feeling.

    Aman is a nice guy. He is patient, considerate, affectionate and kind. The fact that he noticed the bruise on MA’s cheek and was worried about her speaks so much about him.

    Just wondering if the MA would have a significant role in the story? Would Aman and she bond over unusual circumstances, giving a happily ever after to both of them.

    Anita did put up a good front while talking to Aman. It is tough to face your failed first love or crush and especially when the other person is consciously talking to you and trying to maintain normalcy in their acquaintance.

    Overall both did a fairly decent job in talking with each other casually.

    Anita and Aarti’s friendship is like a “Aww so cute ” kind of bonding.

    I loved reading about their makeover session.

    Anita is beautiful in her own way. Being conscious about her sister’s beauty and feeling overshadowed in the same, this was a good morale boosting exercise for Anita.

    Sorry Jen, I did not understand what Aarti meant when she said “You look like Jasmine, bae”

    And what did Arian mean by his comment and why did he delete it immediately?

    Arnav commented on Anita’s FB status too. Aww i just love the affection he has towards her.

    And I do agree, these two are logging into FB on their (second) honeymoon !!!

    Finally reading about our favorite couple is exciting, always.

    Beautiful song for the loveliest couple ever.

    Thank you for another wonderful update Jen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry to hear about your baby, K 🤗😘 Hope he feels better soon…it’s always tough to see your kids suffer and to suffer along with them. About Jasmine…😊 Aarti was referring to Disney princess Jasmine from the movie Aladdin. Anita’s unusual eyes (which she dislikes) reminded her of Jasmine.

      Bae: is a slang ( that I personally detest!) that has shot up in popularity amongst HS and college kids in recent years! It can be short for babe, baby…or an acronym for before all else.

      This might help:

      Arian’s message: if you recall their convo in Amsterdam, Arian was trying to figure who Anita reminded him of. Now we know.

      Hope that helps ✨

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for the information Jen. Now I understood what Aarti and Arian meant.
        Also in the unofficial teaser you posted once, Arian was looking at the Jasmine stuffed doll his nieces had and was reminded of Anita right.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I like this Jasmine character. I was reading the writeup about her in the link you gave and she seems pretty brave and cool. And her eyes are amazing. Anita should adore her eyes more.

            Also curious to know as to what did Arnav comment on her FB status.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Arnav-Khushi romance …
    A heavenly touch .. hamesha..
    I m sure they will be romancing like this only even when..

    Jab hum honge 60 saal ke aur tum hoge 55 ke ..

    Anita..Arti…Arian.. Aman..
    Intriguing characters..

    My vote is still for Aman…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awww I find beaches so romantic😍Arnav and Khushi in their little paradise 🙂

    Loving their cosy time just being together.. These moments don’t come back.. They make lovely memories happy for them👍👏👌

    Jen thx for updating.. Sorry for the delay from my side!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! the climax scene of the update is breathtaking Jen!! For a girl who loves the samundar wit all her heart , this one scene of alluring passion is going to be saved in my heart , forever! the coupe whuz basking in the love for one another are the most beautiful ones n our ArShi are the ambassadors for it 😀

    Anitha n Aman. what do i say? Aman is i guess very much conflicted in his emotions. He likes to be loved , does everything to seek the attention yet in denial??

    That was one heaven of adorableness between Aarthi n Anitha!

    Precise take on the Social Network Jen! my thougts sync on it wit u ! Im very curious to know how the jeeju has maskafied his saali 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read this whole chapter with my teeth flashing – my son looked up from his book and commented ‘mum you know you look silly grinning while reading ,right?
    Kids these days have no respect!

    He should know that I was just happy reading this light, joyous chapter.

    Aman may not fully realize but he does have some feelings for Anita, beyond just feeling guilty.
    Wonder if he will persue it.

    Anita is so loveable with her unsure heart, her banter with her friend and the virtual friendship.

    I am sitting on the fence between team Aman and team Arian.

    But am unequivocally on Mr & Mrs Raizada side, thoroughly enjoying thrive honey and moon vicariously.😗😗

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aman is keeping hope alive yet not over the past. Anita trying to be indifferent but way of heart isn’t that easy to understand and play with. But a heart can learn to love again, question is will it be same, will the brokenheart be same in giving and recieveing of love the second time.

    Arian, seems to be a best bud to have. His act of kindness has touched a broken heart. Will he be able to heal that broken heart and teach it how to love again the same way or better yet?

    Arnav and Khushi, there moments are so surreal. Who would have thought given there past and hardship rhere there will come a time that love and peace will be in abundance in there life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful update. Aman regrets his behavior and is hopeful of reconnecting with Anita but he has to earn her back. Having a friend like Arati just made me nostalgic. This carefree Khushi and Arnav looked so adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another day in Arshi’s life or should I say, another page from Arshi’s diary. Loved the update. Sometimes, I really feel sorry for Aman. Whatever feelings, he had for Khushi was quite genuine & deep rooted. Yes, it was not returned. He would definitely need some time to get over it. added to it, the guilt feelings.

    Moreover, if he find out , he do have some feelings for Anita, apart from guilt, that feelings needed to be a strong one before Aman decide to pursue it. Because , getting involved with a person having little feeling, when you have quite a deep rooted feeling for the elder sister of that person, things might get more complicated. So, it’s better, he should take more time to sort his feelings out.

    At this moment, even I am unsure of Team Aman or Team Arian. So, will go with the flow & support Anita, in whatever decision, she would take.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good to know that u r feeling better now Jen
    Aman is regretting and repenting I guess – desperately wanting to make amends with anita – but who is this MA now – will she have a commendable role in this story ? Will we be getting another love story here? Can’t wait to know more
    How is Arian doing? Loved the mention of him in this update – so he deleted his comment – loved aarti – seems to be a true friend of anita

    Good to know that our Arshi is all set to have super duper fun –
    Lovely update – will wait for the next
    Waiting for ALS too

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful update Jen.
    great to know that Anita and Arian got connected through FB. Thanks to Arti, though she shouldn’t post Anita’s pic in FB without her permission. Anita really needs to get out from Aman’s thought. There is still some discomfort between Anita and Aman, both can’t be easy in front of each other.

    Khushi and Arnav are having the best moment of their life. I can imagine why their feet are not touching the ground as they are in cloud-9 at this moment.
    Looking forward for some igniting romance in the coming update.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am liking how you are writin about a day in the life….we get to see what every main character is up to on this day.
    I can not make up my mind how I want Anitato evolve out of her first love. Aman has potential but then so does Arian. Please Jen, don’t break Aman’s heart again. He has grown on me due to his sheer niceness.

    Yvette needs to hit him back!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I should have made this more clear 🙂 I haven’t yet mentioned the name of the MA with the bruise. Yvette is their office manager Aman was thinking of talking to about this MA who frequently shows up with bruises.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sorry Jenny for a very late comment!
    I enjoyed reading about the honeymooners being carefree and enjoying themselves. Anita and her friend were cute together doing things that kids their age do! The ever evasive Arian Foster! Wonder what his response to Anita is?! I would love to read what Arnav wrote about the picture. I enjoy the bond that Arnav-Anita share!
    I really don’t understand Aman at all! Is he still pinning for khushi? Or is he confused about his feelings for Anita? Aman is very confusing!
    Beautiful update as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. OMG…..Need to knock some sense on this dumbo Aman’s head…..he is so muddled up… sure he has feeling for Anita.

    Arian Foster…..wonder why he deleted his comment! Let’s wait and see.

    Aarthi and Anita are damn cute!

    Our romantic couple Arnav-Khushi on a passionate beach honeymoon…..much needed break for them!

    Was surprised to see the update and since there is no notification I tend to miss out the update unless I login and check the blog. It was a pleasant surprise for me and loved it!

    Anyway Jenny….hope you are better now…take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Apologies for this extremely late reply Jenny.

    I had a smile throughout the chapter. This story is definitely one of my absolute favourites, I am always left with a smile or feeling at peace.

    It was good to see Aman making an appearance. His concern for his MA gives us a little more glimpse of him as a person. I liked that you haven’t turned him into a vamp, he respects Khushi’s family even after everything that happened. He’s a good man, and he still feels guilty, however there seems to be something else brewing up in regards to Anita. I’m curious.

    Anita and Aarti’s friendship is cute. The whole sequence of trying on new make-up was very retable. Arian deleting his comment made me chuckle. So Jasmin is whom Anita reminded him of? I want to know what Khushi and Arnav said in the comments Jenny.

    The newlyweds are enjoying their honeymoon to the fullest. It’s so nice to see them carefree and playful. Their moments are always so beautiful and exciting to read. My mind is still stuck on the prologue though.

    Wonderful update Jenny, and I am glad to know you’re doing better now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lived this one… Reading it finally… I am yet to read further SS chapters…. I couldn’t bring myself to read the story further… I was actually waiting for some chapters bank so that I can read it in one go… That’s the way I bond with the story… That’s what I did with Late spring long time back… And it’s still fresh in my heart and mind….
    I am enjoying this to the fullest now…
    Gonna jump to next one now😘😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Aman is worried for MA But I want to See Anita with arian
    hahaha Anita and aarti’s conversation was funny
    Anita was Bothered of Posting pic on Fb and Arshi commented too Lol anita what FB’s connection
    with Honeymoon Opps Second honeymoon
    coming to Our Love Birds I so Love them how they are enjoying Honeymoon hand in hand Teasing, Love ,Passion and what Not Beautiful Update

    Liked by 1 person

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