THERE IS IN EVERY DISPOSITION a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.* In Arnav Singh Raizada’s case, this defect was pride. Granted, it was a pride which commanded respect; even those disgusted by his hauteur could not sneer with outright derision—for what the CEO of ASR Group had accomplished in his young life was unprecedented.
But they knew not how his pride had impoverished him.
Pride had long kept Arnav from realizing that he loved a firecracker who went by the name of Khushi Kumari Gupta. And when finally he did realize it, fate dealt him the bitterest blow. What happened next you need no reminding of. You recall all too well the manner in which he forced our Heroine to marry him and how he made her suffer—
Arnav suffered too, Sisters—do not doubt it! And his trials never came to an end. Once Shyam’s duplicity was exposed and conditions for happiness were favourable, Khushi made a devastating announcement.
She wanted their marriage annulled.
Her reasoning was just: Whatever her feelings were, she could not reconcile herself to the fact that Arnav had coerced her into an unwanted marriage. Yes, Shyam had been at the heart of that deception, but Arnav had been her judge and jury. She could not build a promising future upon such a repugnant beginning. She believed that the best thing for her was to return to who she was before Shyam entered her life.
Oh, Sisters!—what can I say? You know the strength of Khushi’s affections. You know with what a conflicted heart she must have come to this decision.
But here comes the greater part of this surprise: Arnav supported her decision.
Wait!—not her decision, but her right to decide. Yes, it broke him completely, but when the Raizadas and Guptas accosted Khushi to change her mind, he made them stop. Even when Anjali—reeling from her own loss—begged Khushi, with clasped hands, not to leave the family at such a challenging time, Arnav blocked her influence.
He saw that Khushi, sensitive of Anjali’s fragile state, was in danger of wavering, and he immediately stepped between his wife and his sister. “No, Di,” said he, “For too long has Khushi sublimated herself for family. Both her own and ours. If she feels she must leave, none of us will attempt to weaken her resolve with our selfish demands.”
You can imagine how hearing such words from such a man may itself have weakened Khushi’s resolve. But she thanked him silently, with eyes bright with tears.
Arnav could not speak either. He could only feel most acutely what he was losing. Moreover, he was ashamed at how his abominable pride had kept him from seeing what had stood before him for months. A woman of uncommon strength and principles.
He led Anjali away, making a resolution in that instant that while he had life in his veins, Khushi would never suffer again.