Chapter Twenty Six: Maana ke Hum Yaar Nahin

Natasha watched as Raj pipetted into the glass cuvette, his jaw taut. When others were watching, the smiles came easy — but she knew him too well to not notice the shadows that darkened his eyes.

 

He had stayed stubbornly silent, refusing to discuss whatever had happened. Natasha couldn’t help the strong resentment that bubbled up towards Ananya for putting him in this position again.

 

“Stop it, Natasha.” Raj said dryly, stretching his back as he stood up. She met his gaze, eyes narrowing.

 

“I didn’t do anything.” She responded pertly.

 

“I can hear you cursing Anya in your head.”

 

“She hurt you. Did you think I would throw a party instead?”

 

“It was mutual. She didn’t do anything wrong.” He repeated, his voice steady even as her words echoed in his head. He willed himself to drown them out, intently focusing on the samples in front of him.

 

“Forgive me if I’m not inclined to believe you.” Natasha commented sarcastically. He gritted his teeth, dangerously close to losing his cool.

 

He didn’t want to talk about this. Not now, not ever.

 

It hurt too fucking much.

 

He felt her hand on Natasha’s shoulder, squeezing gently. He turned to face her, immediately feeling guilty for lashing out at her when he glimpsed the concern evident in her face.

 

“I just hate seeing you hurt.” She said, her tone softening. “And it’s not good to keep everything bottled up like this.” She added. “You don’t have to tell me, but hell, tell someone. I don’t care if it’s a random, angry blog post on the internet, if that’s what you need to do.”

 

He rolled his eyes in spite of himself, snorting. “I’m not writing a blog post about my fucking disaster of a personal life.” A hint of bitterness seeped into his voice, not unnoticed by Natasha.

 

“Thank god. I would almost be concerned if you had.” She said, and he smiled reluctantly.

 

She watched him stew in his thoughts silently, staring blankly at the samples in front of him.

 

“Do you want to go get lunch?” He asked tiredly, a wan smile on his face. She followed him silently as they walked across the street, sitting down at one of the small tables with a container of overpriced Asian food.

 

They ate in silence for a few minutes before he spoke. “I couldn’t give her what she needed.” He said finally, looking up from picking at his food.

 

Natasha watched him curiously, her brow creasing in confusion. He leaned back in his chair with a sigh, staring at an arbitrary spot behind her.

 

“She asked where this relationship was going, whether I had any intention of a future. I… couldn’t bring myself to say yes.”

 

“Why?” Natasha asked, interrupting his furiously swirling thoughts.

 

He snapped back to attention, the words not quite sitting right on his lips. “Because… I can’t trust her again. That would be stupid.”

 

“But she makes you happy.” Natasha said, like it was the easiest thing in the world. A memory slipped forth unbidden.

 

“Raj, stop it. We’re not watching NASCAR when we could be watching a different sport. Literally any other sport.”

 

“You lost the bet!” He exclaimed, snatching the remote back from her wandering hands. She pouted, her legs tossed casually over his, pillow clutched to her chest. He raised his eyebrows as her pout deepened and she reluctantly acquiesced, rolling her eyes.

 

“Fine.”

 

He glanced at her suspiciously for a moment as she settled back. That had been far too easy. When they had dated in college, she had been known to argue for hours over things like this.

 

“That easy?”

 

“I’m not nineteen anymore. I know when I’ve lost a battle.” She said with a touch of exasperation. He put his hands up, adjusting himself on the couch as he settled in.

 

She looked so innocent in her oversized Wisconsin sweatshirt, the logo worn from washing. Her hair was put up into a messy bun, and the sweatshirt nearly covered the shorts she was wearing. She leaned her head back, her eyes closing as a contented smile settled on her lips.

 

She opened a single eye, frowning. “What are you looking at? You got what you wanted.” She groused playfully, pushing a piece of hair out of her face.

 

He couldn’t help but smile at her exasperated expression when it fell right back, warmth spreading through him. He reached forward, brushing it out of her face tenderly. She looked at him in surprise, mild confusion appeared on her face.

 

“What?” She asked, her voice softening.

 

He shook his head, pressing a kiss to the inside of her palm. “Nothing. I’m just happy.”

 

As a smile bloomed on her face, he realized how much he meant those words.

 

He shook himself out of his reverie when Natasha tilted her head, her voice breaking through. “Raj?”

 

He struggled to swallow the sudden tightness in his throat, surprised by how sharp her absence felt.

 

Fuck, he missed her so much.

 

“Raj, are you okay?” Natasha asked more insistently, placing her hand over his. He flashed her an easy smile, shaking his head.

 

“I’m fine.” He winced as he said the words, already anticipating Natasha’s raised eyebrows.

 

“You didn’t even try to make that convincing.”

 

“It’s over. It’s done with. I finally got the closure I needed, so I can move on.” His voice cracked as he finished the sentence and he ducked his head, trying to mask his expression. He knew he was lying as he spoke, each word falser than the last. He didn’t want to see Natasha’s sympathetic head tilt. “It’s fine. It’s just the standard pain after a breakup. I’m sure it’ll be fine in a month or two.”

 

“Are you trying to convince me or yourself, Raj?” She asked pointedly, never one to mince words.

 

Anger bubbled up even though he knew she was right. “I don’t fucking know, okay? This was supposed to be fucking easier, and it’s really not. It shouldn’t hurt this much. It was wrong, we were wrong.” He snapped. “Stop trying to tell me it was right.”

 

She said nothing, merely looking at him expressionlessly. He stared back at her, crossing his arms across his chest as he attempted to regain composure. He remained in stony silence, and she made no attempt to mollify him as they stood up, tossing their containers into the trash.

 

“I’m sorry.” He said as they crossed the street, dropping his sunglasses down to cover his eyes.

 

“You don’t need to apologize, Raj. You needed that. I know it wasn’t directed at me.” She said softly, wrapping an arm around his waist to pull him into a hug.

 

She paused, turning to face him before she spoke again. “Look, Raj. It’s your decision — but that moment when you went quiet? For the first time in the three weeks since you guys broke up, you were smiling. A real, genuine smile, not that fake bullshit one you put out for everyone else. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that you were thinking about Ananya.”

 

He stayed conspicuously silent, but she saw the flicker in his eyes behind his sunglasses.

 

“I’m not going to sugar coat things for you, Raj. You’re welcome to make your own decisions, of course — but I will give you my honest opinion.”

 

He gave her a half smile, his fingers squeezing gently around her shoulder. “I know. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

 

He ruffled her hair fondly and she smiled, changing the subject to something lighter as they walked back into lab.

 


 

Ananya sighed heavily, leaning her head back against the couch as she sank down. Her heart remained stubbornly at the pit of her stomach, the food tasteless as she put it in her mouth.

 

Three weeks, and they hadn’t spoken once.

 

She had thought about texting him, wanting to maintain a friendship. But every time she had seen his name on her phone, the dull ache in her chest had sharpened.

 

This was supposed to be easier. She was supposed to have gotten closure.

 

She laughed scornfully to herself, shaking her head. It hurt worse now than it had before, because this time…

 

He couldn’t trust her. He never would.

 

He had good reason for it, and she had even expected it — but no amount of bracing had prepared her for the hollow emptiness that she was left with.

 

She groaned when she heard the knock on the door, not wanting to see anyone. She had avoided the missed calls from Pooja, not wanting to break the wedding, instead choosing to hole up in her room and write. She snorted.

 

That was the one thing it had been good for. She was ahead of her deadline, for once.

 

The knock came again, this time more insistently. With a frustrated exhale, she got up, swinging it open with a glare on her face.

 

“You certainly inherited your mother’s glare.” Vishwanathan Iyer stood on the other side of the door, holding a bag. She immediately took it from him, placing it on the side table as she buried herself in a hug. She could hear his quiet laugh against her head as he wrapped his arms around her, drawing her close.

 

“Where’s Amma?” She mumbled into his chest as he smoothed her hair down.

 

“She’s on her way up. You didn’t respond to one of her five phone calls in thirty seconds so naturally her assumption is that you’re dead.” He said with a fond smile, shaking his head. Ananya simply rolled her eyes, her lips stretching up in spite of herself.

 

“It is a perfectly valid concern, Vishwa.” Her mother said from the doorway, appearing behind him. Her sharp glare immediately morphed into one of concern as she took in her daughter, stepping forward and cupping her face. “Have you been eating? You look awful.”

 

“Wow Ma, you really know how to flatter me.” Ananya retorted sarcastically, shutting the door behind them. She heard Radha sigh heavily behind her as they walked into the kitchen, feeling her gaze on her back. “I’m fine, Amma.” She said, not trusting herself to turn around.

 

“You can’t lie to your mother, Anu.” Radha said with uncharacteristic softness, pulling her into a hug. Ananya swallowed tightly, tears stinging her eyes as she leaned into her mother. Her chest heaved with a sob, but Radha held her close even as she tried to turn away.

 

“I miss him, Amma.” She choked out, hot tears staining her cheeks. “I miss him so much. I was supposed to get closure.”

 

She held Ananya as her daughter cried, her shoulders shaking with sobs. She looked over her head to meet her husband’s eyes, guilt weighing her down.

 

If she hadn’t interfered, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened.

 

Vishwa silently shook his head from the doorway, walking over them as he rubbed Ananya’s back. He reached around, squeezing Radha’s hand in a quiet reminder.

 

Stop blaming yourself.

 

“I know, kanna.” Radha responded quietly. “I know.”


Song: Maana ke Hum Yaar Nahin

Artist: Parineeti Chopra


Note: I hope you enjoyed the update! It’s a little on the short side, so I’ll try to update ASAP. To all those in America, I hope your Independence Day weekend was filled with grilling and fireworks. As always, follow buttons are on the right — if you find that you are not receiving notifications, feel free to follow me on Twitter @chotidesi or unfollow and refollow again.

Love always,

MN>

42 thoughts on “Chapter Twenty Six: Maana ke Hum Yaar Nahin

    1. I guessed this would happen…
      know what… i am gald to see Raj this way 😀😀😉…
      Anya did mess up in the beginning but she had her reasons…
      But now Raj is looking very uncertain and downright afraid to except her…
      i hope he finds it in him to go to her and tell that he trusts her…!!

      Glad Anya has her parents with her..
      beautifullyvwritten dear..
      plz plz continuee soon..

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Am I the first?
    Excellent! Loved it. The heart break when you end a very satisfying relationship is never easy. Good both have someone close to vent their frustrations and sadness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very very small update, as you also agree with it i am expecting the next one soon, very soon 🙂

    Nice update, dealing with their emotions, they both are fools to think they got the closure, and I am sure they realise it soon, that will be the start of a new journey, this time the relationship builds on one thing that matters the most, trust!!

    They both certainly need the time away to get the reality check, which they are experiencing first hand, happy to see Anya’s mum comforting her, will she talk to Raj? Natasha is there for Raj on the other side, a true friend, its hard to see the close friends hurting, no matter who is involved at the other end we will blame that other individual (even without knowing the person), because we love our friend dearly and obviously will not see their mistake(s).

    Nice update showing where each of them are after what transpired, waiting for the next one soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “it was wrong” “we were wrong” …did not buy that from Raj especially after the brief time the spent with one another; so tuned to each other in all respects and both acknowledge it too then why….😒 Of course “closure” is what those moments was in aid of 😏

    Did not expect a break up but fine with the path …One concern though hope Radha will not get involved now to mediate…Awkward 🤔?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Closure really .. i so wanna laugh at thr stupidity or whatever u never ever ever getting sumthing like closure whn ur this much in love .. so many years thy never got over each other n thy think after a second chance thy can .. set of idiots I tell u …. n I again feel like locking them in closet 😂😂🙈…

    And ya wht was thy we r wrong ya we r exactly why we feel so complete more over happy together … u spend ur whole life n u don’t find a person who makes u happy at times not even the person u love ..

    I feel so angry yet so much for bth of them … he is so so scared like little child .. she sumhwere has lost the trust in herself tht she can do it …
    her mother yes did hell of wrong to interfere but thn two people make a relationship u can’t blame others .. people keep influencing.. u can only blame ur self to let thm influence u … khir this pain n longing the feel of missing piece will bring thm together more stronger thn ever n nthing will matter

    Wonderful update dear I jst make me do this 🤦‍♀️ Pagal dono waiting to read further hope so the wedding or rather prr wedding

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Painful chapter..

    The first step to change is to become aware of your own bullshit! Raj knew he was having trouble trusting her but still went in with it for closure but why did he give up? Three weeks since both split and both are miserable and feel they were in it for closure and apparently that was not the truth..they were in it for their love for each other and their happiness in each other..so hopefully they will realize it sooner and mend things.

    It is heartbreaking chapter to see how they are breaking apart due to their ego. Trust is key and sometimes not easy to win but one has to take risks and especially In relationships you have to thread them carefully! Very well written meena..loved the intensity you bring out from the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Perfect song …. They take one step ahead and the result is 10 steps back.
    They are both so unsure of what they want ! They love each other and miss each other but are not trusting themselves more than the other. Raj is always afraid that Anya is going to one fine morning decide they are not good for each other and leave him again and anya is afraid that Raj is never going to trust her ….
    I think they need to realise that first they need to trust themselves to give 100% to the relationship and then take it one day at a time till they are comfortable …. One cannot forget the painful incidents from the past completely but can atleast stop trying to bring it up every few minutes and make it an unhealed wound….
    There seem to be quite a few chapters where they finally begin again! Waiting to read .

    Hope you had a wonderful 4th July.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Heartbreaking… but hopefully distance will make the heart grow fonder and help them to understand each other better. Hopefully Raj would see that taking a risk is better than letting it all go and Anya will see that one can’t push too soon too far… give it time girl… trust once lost is hard to gain.. you have to work hard for it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They say once bitten twice shy that’s what Raj is going through right now … he is too scare don’t to let his fragile heart go through the pain of a breakup once again 😳 But one has to think positively every situation is not the same and people do change with time even Anya will not make the same mistakes she made three years back … waiting for some of the heart break to ease up 😜

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh that was closure for both?? Funny in a quirky way.. hope they understand what they are going through and act accordingly. Natasha is such a good friend. Hope Ananya’s parents will give her some advice.. cant wait to see how they are gonna overcome this situation..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Awesome chapter after that break up what did the two think they’ll happily go back to playing candy crush on their phones 🤦🏻‍♀️

    Silly duo their this was bound to be easy rant is 🤣 Matters of the hearts are not easy kids and thank goodness you’ve a brilliant writer who’s taking the proper route to make you both come together 😎👏🏻

    Natasha as well as Pooja are two good friends and the two try to avoid the friends when they know they are bound to get a whack from them.

    I do understand Raj is justified in his stand about the trust issue because it was two fold rejection last time Ananya herself broke it off without a warning with her mummy too in the picture

    But then she has grown up so this time around without outside pressures personally the two needs to take a stand about this mess and clean it up!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Omg this is so heartbreaking, hopefully distance will make the heart grow fonder, hmm but they already did that didn’t they lol!! Don’t know how they are going to come together now. Cannot wait for the next update!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s really sad to see Raj going through the same pain again.. did they really think it’s the closure ..

    You can’t build trust overnight and it’s literally that.. they both rushed into things and tried to push without realizing that they are not there yet.. sigh..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Another sad update.. it’s a hard place for both of them… one is afraid of trusting and the other is afraid of not being able to earn trust again.. amazing writing by u Meera.. felt bad for all the characters involved… can’t wait to see them all happy..

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. Things seem mixed up. The one making it bad would make it right? I have a feeling. This series of twists and turns and not quite reaching- everyone around them is sad and helpless. Lull before the storm builds these anticipation. You are waiting for the storm but you never know when it is going to come. You are almost waiting for it and are depressed in the meanwhile, relying only on that storm to correct all wrong. In that process, you sometimes forget that you have stopped everything altogether and the gate to bring storm in is not going to open on its own. I am waiting for the storm. Could someone please brave it for me?

    Love,
    Reveur.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Heartbreaking one….
    Both of them are so broken and miserable without each other……Is this pain worth the regret of not having a leap of faith???
    Hope Raj realizes it soon enough and be brave enough to give it one more chance…..Since it was definitely not a closure….They are bound to be….
    ❤️
    Pavina

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I too felt the pinching pain…well they both wanted closure and they got it nobody said things would be peachy afterwards. This should teach them that their closure is with each other….:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am reading it super late becauae life has been crazy busy, and despite this being such a short chapter, I only managed to read it in three parts – I had of course hoped that by the time I would be done resding it, you’d have put up the next chapter 😔

    Now I need more and I need happy and I need reunion, but I know I am asking for too much, but please I need them to talk. I really hope your next update has them talking to each other … I love Raj, and I love Ananya, and as much as I want to pick sides, I can’t. I just want their suffering to end.

    Love,
    Sonia

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What would one do without friends who don’t hesitate to show you the mirror you hate so much. I’m glad both Raj and Ananya have such friends by their side. {Of course, that also always makes me wonder what one’s true decision ever is – hypothetical questions thankfully need no answers. You are a sum of yourself and everyone around you, afterall}

    Sometimes hard decisions and time off is needed to make that evaluation of worth. And then, one way or the other, the final answer serves some purpose. Journeys have to be made in misery and happiness – hopefully in the process, the destination will become more defined, welcome, acceptable.

    Cheers to a story with such beautiful shades!

    Liked by 1 person

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