“Ab sab theek hai na?” Anjali asked anxiously looking into Khushi’s face.
Khushi nodded. “Di I didn’t mean for him to choose between…”
“I know. But I am happy with his choice. Aren’t you?” she teased.
Khushi blushed and smiled. Di laughed and clapped her hands. “So plan on?”
“Yes plan on.” Khushi echoed. “Full steam. Khushi added.
Arnav had to catch the late evening flight. He returned home a bit earlier than usual. In a foul temper. It worsened when he saw his cases packed and neatly lined up by the door.
Darkening, he looked at Khushi. Anger flared. What the hell was she looking so happy about? Was it because he was leaving?
“I am going for a week not a year.” He bit out. “Itna saara saaman kyon pack kiya?”
Khushi shrugged. “Pack it yourself.” She walked away holding her breath. What if he called her bluff? Saara bhanda phoot jayega DM please!
“Hari Prakash!” Stumped Arnav turned his ire on the hapless but inured and long suffering retainer. “Punya kahan hai?”
“Poo toh nahi hai.” HP rolled his eyes a bit wildly at Khushi (he knew the signs, red eyes, the twitch in the jaw, thinned lips, hint of a fleck) who was hovering just out of ASR’s sight.
She stepped in. “HPji, chai nashta le aana.”
Seething Arnav turned away fiddling with his phone. He didn’t want to get into an altercation with Khushi just before leaving. Although he was itching to do so.
“Kahan ho?” he barked into the phone.
“Stuck in traffic.” Poo said glibly.
“You should have left earlier. I will be leaving soon and Khushi…I have some urgent work for you here.”
“I will be there as soon as I can.” Poo assured him from her office.
“That’s not good enough!” blasted ASR.
“Aman kahan hai?” Frustrated and somehow feeling as if he was being humored, he turned to his favorite punching bag.
“I presume in his office.”
“Chai.” Khushi was at his elbow.
Grunting he accepted the cup of tea. “These are my contact numbers and addresses in Singapore.” He slid a sheet of paper across. “I have mailed them to you as well. The local number will also be working but just in case it doesn’t work. Poo is on the way. She will be staying here.”
“What time are you leaving?”
“In an hour.”
“An hour! Won’t it be too late? Traffic, check in…” Khushi was dismayed.
“I will manage.”
“Fine. You manage. I am leaving.” She stood up.
“Kahan jaa rahi ho?” Surprised he snapped.
“Mrs Verma ko assist karne.” Khushi said sweetly before swishing off to give instructions to HP.
“Khushi!” Arnav stood up.
Khushi turned and met his eyes. Her heart stopped and began thudding madly.
“Woh…main…mera matlab hai, I didn’t mean…”
“Never mind, it doesn’t matter,” Khushi cut in hurriedly, “I am getting late.” She dashed off brushing a hand over her face.
Dammit. Sorry bolne hi nahi diya.
Phir sirf sorry bolna tha na, itna lamba preface ki kya zaroorat thi?
Not at all keen to go, dragged his feet and left RM only after being reminded about a dozen times by HP and the driver (instigated unbeknownst to him by Khushi). Traffic was bad and he reached the airport just in the nick of time – even by ASR standards.
He was the last to board the flight and aircraft doors shut behind him as the air hostess ushered him to his seat.
Much to his disgust and annoyance, the window seat, which he had reserved for Khushi, was occupied.
Fuming he slid into his seat and buckled up. Who on earth traveled like this? Covered from top to toe with a blanket?
He shrugged. How did it matter? Better this way in fact. Not to have some unknown face peering into him, trying to make small talk. But still, Aman shouldn’t have cancelled Khushi’s ticket. What if she had changed her mind at the last minute?
Sighing he stretched out and closed his eyes.
I am sorry Khushi.
I didn’t mean to hurt you.
Liar. You did.
Yes I did. But only because I was upset that you weren’t coming with me.
Achche se nahi bol sakte the?
Main aisa hi hoon.
Forgive me? Please? I hate it when you are hurt and upset.
Phir kyon karte ho dukhi
Dukhi nahi, I wanted to make you happy. Give you a surprise, see the sparkle in your eyes, enjoy through your eyes, your laughter, your joy.
He was surprised.
He could have sworn he heard Khushi whisper in his ears.
He opened his eyes and turned his head.
Dumbstruck, he could only stare as the most beloved face in the whole world laughed down at him.
Enfolding her in his arms he almost squeezed the life out of her muttering, “I am sorry Khushi, I am sorry.”
A disarmed Khushi had little choice but to surrender. She leaned into him and together they soared high above the clouds oblivious to all.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! 🙂
Itna sannata kyon hai bhai? A Tangled Web pasand nahi aaya ka? 😦