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A man is sitting in front of the canvas in which sketchy a portrait of a young lady was drawn, with her wavy hair and her big eyes. She looked beautiful, of course this wasn’t the final picture, there was no way that Mr perfectionist could have left is painting without the minute details, the slightest freckles or the final touches to give life to it.

He was holding the brush, but something inside him didn’t felt right. For the first time he wasn’t interested in completing its walk right away.

Karan Singhania, the art fanatic, who strived for nothing but perfection today sat in front of an incomplete canvas completely oblivious and lost in his own train of thought.

His contemplation was interrupted by a girl holding a coffee mug in her hand.

“Good Morning Sir! Here is your coffee, strong with skimmed milk and no sugar,” she said.

Karan looked up, to his astonishment he didn’t want the coffee today he wanted to have ginger tea, the one he had with her, he hated it all this while but somehow today he was hoping that she could show up with her usual he messy bunch of papers asking for him to sign those papers, but she was gone…

He still remembers the first day he met her.

Chapter 1

“Nithya, get up!” yelled her mother, get up or you will again get late. At least you should have been ready for the first day of your internship.

Nithya looked at her phone, damn! it was already 8:00 AM, share to reach the office by 9:30 AM she cannot really be late on the very first day

She quickly freshened up, rubbed down of pair of jeans with a tee-shirt, and tied up her hair loosely in a messy bun which by the way she didn’t do on purpose, any style she tried on her hair, ended up being tucked in a high messy bun.

She dabbed some moisturizers on her face while applying the liner to her eyes, she smudged it. Damn! Why does it happen to me every time? Why the hell am I so messy? She frowned

Nithya Bose, a 23 years old interior design student join the famous Artsy Studios in Kolkata as an interior designing intern.

Usually, a messy person, she never really planned out anything in her life. Last-minute submissions of deadlines were her usual thing a connoisseur of spilling things on herself and the people around her and stripping down literally anywhere, Nithya was an awkward, quite an extrovert ambivert person.

Anyway, Nithya removed her eyeliner, dabbed some lip tint on her lips, and headed to the office. It was almost 9:45 when she reached the office premise she student in front of the building gawking and amused, at the artsy studios, the number one art studio in Kolkata the dream destination for budding designers and artists.

The 5 storeyed glass building stood magnificently in front of her, she couldn’t believe she was actually going to work with Karan Singhania, like The Karan Singhania, she was so thrilled, she could not help but imagine the realm of the place, and adobe of art, paintings, glasswork, sculptures everything she ever dreamt of.

She entered the office it was a well decorated one, beautiful paintings, sculptures were scattered all over the place. A group of 3 boys and a girl was standing at the lobby, by the awkwardness in their behaviour she could figure out they too were there for the same reason she was. She went up to introduce herself ,” Hi ! I am Nithya.” She said . A thin leaky guy in a dorky T shirt a loosely fitted trousers with a pair of black specks extended his hands towards her.” Hi” he said “I am Abeer, new intern.” One of the 2 guys introduced himself, his name was Vishal, the other guy was Rahul and the girl was Dwitiya (or Dits) as they called her. The 3 were from the same college and knew each other for almost 3 years now.

There were a few formal chit chats, but Nithya was feeling a bit awkward, she always felt this way with strangers. She got up to grab herself tea when someone called her from behind it was Abeer, he too was bored and wanted to get away from the college nostalgia of the other three.

“It sucks, doesn’t it?” he said ,” to see others enjoying with their friends and you are completely new to the place.”

“Actually, it sucks because you are here alone and cannot help but miss your friends and listening to their humdrum chit chats kind of irritates you, and trust me you cannot escape it till 5:00 PM in the evening,” said Nithya, they both chuckled.

She took a ginger tea from the staff cafeteria while Abeer grabbed a cup of coffee. This sat in the nearby chairs alongside the counter, from where they could keep an eye on the other 3 if they were being called upstairs.

Abeer was from South Kolkata, Behala to be precise. He was 24 and was here after completing Masters in Fine Arts.” Wow, impressive.” said Nithya,

“So which department are you in ?” asked Abeer, he was really hoping Nithya to be in the department he was.

“Designs and interiors.” she said “ You know I’d ever saw Karan Singhania, but I am a big fan of his work. His hands are pure magic fall shop mainly this is the reason I chose to apply for my internship here.”

By this time a lady came down to the lobby and asked the interns to move upstairs for the induction. Abeer’s coffee was over, he went towards the lift. Nithya was walking behind him, the tea was in her hand, she could not complete it. She thought of having it in the lift .She was almost at the end of the corridor when bam! she bumped into someone, she saw quite a tall and muscular man, had really attractive dark brown eyes big eyelashes ,perfectly chisseled sharp jawlines. He was wearing a blue denim with a white shirt which was now stained by the tea spilled when the bumped.

His saw his shirt and grimaced at her, his jaw was clenched when she finally managed to say “Hey I’m really sorry ,I was in haste . I’m really sorry. Let me help you.” She pulled out a handkerchief from her purse and held it in front of him.

“What the hell!” he burst “can’t you see while walking ? Who has allowed you inside this office and what the hell am I supposed to do with this?” he threw the handkerchief at the floor.

“Hey! I said I’m sorry .” said an enraged Nithya, she continued , “It was an accident’ I tried to help you and you threw it, how could someone be so mannerless? Bloody gouache.”

“Well, I’m here for an important work, I don’t know what about you but I don’t have much time to waste.” Scoffed Nithya.

“Wait! You? What work could you have in this office? He seemed shocked.

“I don’t think I need to update a stranger on everything specially if the person is mannerless like you.” Before he could have said anything, she strode her way towards the lift to go upstairs.

They were sitting in a conference room, Nithya was in the front row, beside Abeer. They had got along well by this time. The room had a large painting of four white horses on a sky blue backdrop. It looked mesmerising, as far as the detailing was concerned, it was far beyond perfection, it was like a dream painted on a canvas. On the lower righthand corner, it was written Karan S, with the date 14.04.2019. Just his name was enough for her to get goosebumps. All these days, she had imagined working with her idol, finally she got her chance. She couldn’t contain her excitement.

A lady entered the room, she introduced herself as Shruti, the HR Head of the company. She welcomed the new joiners and started the induction presentation. It was quite boring. With the dim lighting , Nithya almost dozed off when she heard Shruti say,” Our CEO, Mr Karan Singhania is here. Thank you, Karan, for taking some time out of your busy schedule. I would like you to say some words to these budding talents, joining our company.”

The lights were turned on and to her dismay, she saw that mannerless grouche, she met oiled here today walking in through the door. He was in the middle of the room when he spotted her. His jaw clenched; he was glaring at her. The interns were asked to introduce themselves, as her turn came ,I…. I… Sorry!”. She stammered,” my name is Nithya, Nithya Bose”. It was not possible for her to speak in front of him, now that she knows that she has messed up big time already.

The rest of the day went pretty well, she was allotted to assist the head of the design, Arnav. After a few more presentations they called it a day.

The second day was progressing well boss was a nice person. She was asked to work up some colour combination for an upcoming project. Always going really good until Arnav asked her to get some paper signed by Karan.

Nithya had no choice. She did think of running away rather to face Karan.” It wouldn’t be much hard just go in there and leave as soon as possible .” she was talking to herself on the way to his cabin when she knocked against the glass door and hurt her nose.

Chapter 2

Karan looked up at the door he heard the thud when Nithya ran into the door, followed by an ‘ouch’.

“Come in” he said, “Can you even walk straight without running into someone or something?” he asked.

Nithya thought of saying, “Well can you talk to someone nicely without being so mean?” instead she said “Sorry, I was preoccupied”.

She handed him over the file and said, “Arnav Sir had asked you to have a look at this paper he wanted to finalise the design by tomorrow if you approve it”.

Karan leaned into the chair and stretched his arm a bit he was wearing a sea-green shirt over a beige trouser, the sleeves of the shirt was rolled up on his arms. He wore a big round dial watch on his right wrist. Nithya wouldn’t help to check him out. He was looking incredibly sexy that day.

“Redo it” Karan said Nithya thought was interrupted, “What?” she asked.

“Ask Arnav to throw it away in the garbage and come up with some new ideas”, he said.

This was enough to trigger Nithya. She was shocked how can someone be so ruthless.

“How could you be so rude!” she retorted “we can definitely redo at least you could have said as in a better way”.

“Well miss Nithya, I really don’t care if you call me rude and mannerless. We are the best in the town only because our work is perfect. The furniture and the textures you be selected doesn’t accentuate and complement its wall colour. So, you see you need to think of something else ,I hope I don’t need to repeat myself. You can go now.”

She couldn’t believe this guy and his behaviour. He was so mean and rude. It was almost lunch hours by the time she came out of his cabin Abeer was already waiting for her at the cafeteria.

What happened you look infuriated he asked “that Grouche, (kharush kaheka)”. What does he think of himself ?, Mr perfectionist, my foot!” Nithya murmured.

Abeer asked “Who are you talking about? Arnav Sir? He seemed to be a nice person when I met him today”.

“Are nahi not him ,he is quite good I am talking about that khadoos Karan Singhania. On the first day itself he was lashing out at me, you know normal people tend to talk nicely not this bitter gourd “said Nithya.

Woah, that was quite a good monologue anyway chill. It’s just the second day of work. You will adapt to it soon. Now come on let’s have lunch. I am too hungry

Chapter 3

Days passed Nithya started enjoying her work. She has started working on a new project independently now but Arnav still helps her occasionally on her project.

She was now much close to Abeer. They have been friends since they joined. She had also started talking with Vishal, Dits, and Rahul. They were actually not that bad company and all of them were kind of good friends now.

There was just one thing she wasn’t still acquainted with, though she hoped that one day she would get the hang of working with Karan. It’s not like she didn’t like working with him she had learned a lot from him but sometimes his madness for perfection drove her crazy. She had also come up with a nickname for him, Khadoos.

It was Karan’s 35th birthday, The employees planned a party for Karan. After the celebrations were over., as Nithya was packing a stuff to go home, she got a mail from the clients whose project she was working on. They wanted to prepone the meeting for finalising the initial design the next day. As Arnav left early that day, Nithya had to stay back.

By the time her work was done, it was already 9: 30 PM. Everyone had left the office by then. She saw the lights in Karan’s cabin were on. She walked up to his cabin to get his approval on the final designs. She knocked,” come in”, said Karan. He was working on a sculpture. “Sir, can you please check the final designs for Mr Mukherjee’s project? Actually, they have preponed the meeting and its due tomorrow.”

“Keep it, I will check it,” said Karan, taking his gloves off.

“Sir, I am going to get some tea. Shall I bring something for you as well?” Said Nithya. “Yes. Sure. Strong espresso. doubleshot with skimmed milk. No sugar.”

What kind of a person has double-shot coffee with no sugar, thought Nithya. No doubt he is so bitter.

It was almost 10:30 pm when she completed the designs. Few corrections needed to be done. She was leaving when Karan called her, “ Miss Nithya, it’s quite late. How are you going to get home?” asked Karan.

“I was thinking of getting a cab or taking a bus to the metro station,” replied Nithya.

“Let me drop you. You won’t be getting the bus now”, said Karan.

Nithya couldn’t believe it. Khadoos was being so thoughtful.

As soon as she got in the car. She pulled her legs up and sat cross-legged in the seat. Karan was speechless. He finally managed to say “what exactly are you trying to do?”

“Sir, my legs are hurting, from the morning I have been running in these heels” complained Nithya.

Karan gave in., to be honest, he found her childishness cute. They were almost near her home when she asked him to pull the car aside. It was near Ganga ghat. They went to this tea stall nearby. Karan wanted coffee, but it was not available, so they both resorted to ginger tea. Nithya took 4 biscuits along with them.

The ghat was empty. They sat on one of the stairs. Nithya played a song on your mobile and kept it aside. She loved Hindi retro songs. Karan broke the silence, saying” you come here often?”

“Yes. I come here with my sister. Sit on one of the stairs and enjoy the view,” said Nithya. “Actually, today was a bit hectic for me, wanted to take a break. I’m sorry if you were getting late, you can go. I will walk to my home. It is nearby only”.

“No, that’s okay”, said Karan,” It’s nice over here”.

Karan looked at Nithya. She was sipping the tea from the kulhad. See seemed so relaxed. Her hair was brushing against her face by the breeze. She was looking beautiful.

“Can I ask you something? If you don’t mind, “said Nithya.

“Yeah, sure,” said Karan.

“Hum Tum Kitne Paas Kitne Door Hai Chand sitare”.

Song played in the background.

“Today is your birthday. You must be having a happening party at your place. Why are you wasting your time sitting here with me?” asked Nithya, to which Karan said, “Well, you know, I’m too old now to have a birthday party.”

“ Who said you are old? Have you seen yourself wearing a sea-green shirt and beige trousers? You look so sexy.” She regretted it as soon as she spoke those words.

“Magar acche lagte hai, ye dharti, ye nadiyaan, ye raina aur tum…..”

The song continued to play in the background.

A sheepish smile appeared on Karan’s face, as he said.” So you just called me sexy?”

“No, I meant that you, I mean your works are a sight to behold, I..I.. Don’t know why even I am speaking!” She was embarrassed, she turned her face to the other side and sipped the tea.

Karan was enjoying this, he said.” Careful, Miss Nithya. or else I will understand that you have a crush on me.”

They sat there for some time. It was around midnight when she got a call from her mother. She was getting late. Karan dropped her home.

The meeting went pretty well the next day. Nithya’s designs were approved. The actual work was going to start the next week, so things were pretty cool now.

Chapter 4

It was a few days after the incident, Arnab asked Nithya to join Karan for a meeting. He had another meeting to attend.

She felt a bit awkward traveling alone with Karan after their last conversation. She didn’t speak to Karan the whole journey. Their meeting was over by 7:00 PM.

On their way back, currently stopped the car in the same ghat they went last time. They took the 2 cups of ginger tea. Nithya was confused. She wouldn’t face Karan yet she didn’t want to leave.

It was quite windy with a strong cold breeze from the waves. In short, it was perfect weather to enjoy the piping hot tea. Suddenly, it started raining heavily, with occasional thunder and lightning. They ran towards a nearby shade. The car was parked at a distance.

They were barely dry when they reached the shade, Nithya looked at Karan. They were facing each other, standing quite close. Karan was looking at her. His hazel-coloured eyes were looking, more attractive than ever Nithya was struggling to take her eyes off them.

Nithya's hair was constantly brushing against her face. He tucked them behind her ears gently and held her face in his palms. She clenched the front of Karan’s shirt in her fist. Somewhere in a distance a thunder stroke, Nithya buried her face in his chest, Karan pulled her closer and hugged her tightly. She felt warm.

Standing so close to each other, they lost the count of time, rather they were lost in each other. It was when another thunder stroke that Nithya opened her eyes. She stepped back away from him. The rain had almost stopped. She couldn’t process what just happened and started walking toward her home.

That night, she dreamt of Karan for the first time. She didn’t mind it though. She was elated. She was happy. She couldn’t stop smiling when she remembered those moments, the fragrance of his perfume, the warmth she felt in his arms, and the way he tucked her hair behind her ear. She just couldn’t forget anything.

The next day, she reached the office early. She wanted to see Karan. She wanted to talk to him more than ever before. She even visited his cabin. It was empty. The whole day, she eagerly waited to at least get a glance at him. But he was not there. She realised that she was missing. She realised that she was in love with Karan.

The next day also, she didn’t see him. So many thoughts were crossing her mind. For once, she thought he didn’t want to meet her. To her relief, that wasn’t true. Later that day, Arnav told her that Karan had been sick for the past 2 days. Arnav asked her to join him for coffee. He had something important to tell her. They soon headed out for the café round the corner of the office.

Chapter 5

Karan couldn’t get out of his bed for 2 days due to his fever. He had been prohibited by his mother. He really wanted to talk to Nithya. He couldn’t stop thinking about her all these days. Why did she leave like that? Was it too early? Did I overstep the boundaries, all these questions were bothering him. He was quite paranoid. He was afraid to lose her.

For 2 days he constantly checked his phone, hoping to get at least a text from her. When he didn’t, he drove to the office hoping he would pick her up on the way home. He reached outside the office by 6:00 PM. He checked the register Nithya had already left the office.

He was heading back home when he saw Nithya and Arnav leaving the café. She looked so happy with him. He drove back to his home. He had never felt so restless before. He looked at the portrait of Nithya he started drawing. He didn’t get the time to complete it. He planned to show it to Nithya once it was done.

The next day, he reached the office late. Finally, he could meet her, he thought. He entered the office to find everyone gathered around, cheering loudly. He saw Nithya. She was smiling. She looks so beautiful. And then he saw Arnav standing facing her, he asked a guy nearby what was happening and he said, “Arnav Sir is proposing the new intern. I heard they have been going out for a few days now.”

Karan was left spellbound. What he was seeing in front of his eyes was nothing less than a nightmare. He really hoped it was nothing but a bad dream. He would open his eyes and it was gone. But no, it was his reality. He couldn’t escape it. He couldn’t undo it, no matter how hard he tried. He hurried his way to this office. He was raging with anger, but more than angry, he was hurt. His world was shattering in front of him and wasn’t able to mend it. He canceled all the meetings due that day. He was about to leave when someone knocked on the door. It was Nithya. She was smiling at him. She was so delighted. Of course, it was for Arnav. he thought. He hated it. He so wished it was for him.\

“Not a good day, Miss Nithya. I’m busy today. If you need anything, I’m sure Arnav will be delighted to help you. He said he wanted to avoid her. He wanted to avoid seeing how happy she was without him.

“Sir, I had something important to tell you. I have been meaning to do this for the last 2 days, but…. He cut her midway. He couldn’t bear any more.” Yeah. You wanted to talk to me, but didn’t bother to at least text me once. Anyway, I know what you want, rather I know exactly whom you want. I don’t have time for your nonsense, Miss Bose. Whatever you need, ask for help from your boss. Boyfriend whatever. I cannot care less,” he continued. “Just do me a favour. Do not show me your face till you are here.”

She was still in his cabin when he left. He didn’t look back. He didn’t want to see her anymore.

That night, he couldn’t sleep, even for a moment. Her face flashed whenever he tried to close his eyes. He hated himself. He hated himself for getting attached to someone so much. All this while he thought he was a strong person. What happened to that perfectionist? What happened to that strong-willed person he always was? Why was he getting weak on his knees? He had no idea when was this pain going to fade? When would he feel better? No one ever has these answers.

2 days have passed since he last saw her. Karan was sitting in front of the portrait he drew of Nithya. He wanted to destroy it. He wanted to burn it. He just couldn’t. That day, he hated himself more. For being so weak, so vulnerable, that too, for a person who never cared for his feelings.

He was left in darkness without knowing if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. He didn’t go to the office these 2 days. He didn’t want to see them happy together.

The coffee bought for him was getting cold. He didn’t really want to have that coffee. His phone rang. It was Arnav. He had some clarification for a new design at the end of the conversation, Karan said, “Hey, congratulations. I heard about your last day. Miss Bose must be really happy. She couldn’t even get a better partner than you.”

He least expected what he heard next.

“Nithya why would she be happy? What are you talking about? “ Arnav was perplexed.

“I saw you proposing to her the other day in the office,” said Karan. Arnav was laughing on the other side. “What’s so funny?” said Karan, irritated.” Because it’s not Nithya whom I proposed, it was Dits, the other intern. We had been going out for now for some time, and that day I proposed to her.” said Arnav.” Nitya was just helping me do that,” he added.

What! exclaimed Karan, his voice pounded with excitement. “So Nithya isn’t the one?” He was overjoyed, Arnav definitely had not contemplated this reaction. “No..” he said, confused.

Karan felt like dancing. He was on the 9th cloud by then. He hung up on Arnav after a few minutes.

He needed to find Nithya for all he heard from Arnav was that Nithya had resigned from the company that day. He was afraid he lost her. He hoped he could find her in the Ganga ghat.

Chapter 6

Nithya was sitting on one of the stairs of the ghat. She didn’t want to talk to anybody. She sat there staring at the river. She wasn’t feeling anything. Neither hatred nor anger. Nothing. She was sitting there trying to numb the emptiness in her by the sound of the waves in the river. She looked at the shade where they took shelter last day. It was empty. There was no Karan and Nithya standing there, lost in each other. It was deserted, like the hurting void, she felt inside her. Her solitude felt peaceful all these days, now it was haunting her. Tears rolled down her cheeks. This was not what she deserved. She wondered when it was going to stop hurting. She was clueless. She stood to leave when she saw Karan. He was panting when he reached her.

She turned to leave. When Karan held her hand and then immediately retracted it, he had lost the right to even touch her. Her eyes were swollen red and teary. It was him who became the reason for her tears and not her beautiful smile. It was lost. He lost her. He wanted to apologise to her, he said. “Please Nithya, I know it was all my fault. I didn’t understand you. Please forgive me for once,” he continued. “I know I don’t deserve someone like you. And I know I can’t ever make it up for what I did. I do not have an explanation to justify my behaviour I can only hope you forgive me.” He was crying. He fell on his knees on the ground.” You complete me. You complete my life, my art, everything.Without you. Nothing had meaning. Please complete me. Impart meaning to my art. “

She pulled him up, wiped his tears, and finally said.” I love you. I love you Karan Sir.”. Karan was longing to hear this from her. And finally, when he heard it, he couldn’t contend his happiness. He hugged her tightly. She hugged him back.

Almost an hour had passed, and they were sitting in the ghat, Karan held her hands. He didn’t want to let it go. Nithya stood to leave. It was getting late when Karan said sternly,” Miss Nithya, there is something you didn’t complete the last day. I need you to complete it today”.

Nithya looked bewildered. She couldn’t believe this person. At one moment, he was holding hands, and in the other movement he was talking business ridiculous, she thought.

“Sir, I assure you I have completed my work and gave a proper handover before…” she was cut mid-sentence by Karan. “I won’t let you resign so easily. But more on that later. What I was saying is you didn’t complete our first kiss that day, remember? You ran away.” he said. “So shall I?”

Nithya nodded shyly.

He held her by her waist, pulled her closer, and leaned to kiss her.

.    .    .