Hello Peepuls kaisan ho? Sab kushal mangal na? No seriously asking – hope you and your loved ones are well. My best wishes to all and thank you to all the readers who continue to visit my blog – special thanks to anamika (hararnav IF) who’s been on a reading marathon and let me know – by the click of the like button. But apparently that’s too much of an effort for the others. Ah well this has been a sore point since myeduniya days and I wonder why I continue to harp on it? Anyway getting back to the topic at hand, I managed to write (something afresh) after a gap of more than two years and thought of checking out the public reaction. Perhaps it is so awful that it will jolt you out of your self-imposed annonymity and silence. See how desperate I am for company that even brickbats will do.
Aisa hota toh kaisa hota
“Tumhe mujhse shaadi karni hogi. Aaaj. Abhi. Issi waqt.”
“What?! Aap pagal ho gaye hain kya?”
“Jo sochna hai soch lo. Shaadi toh karni padegi woh bhi mujhse aur abhi, issi waqt, warna…”
“Warna kya Mr Arnav Singh Raizada, Jiji ki shaadi tod denge?”
“Par kyon? Sab kuch itna achcha chal raha tha, phi aise iss tarah kyon?”
“Tumhe har baat batana zaroori nahi hai Khushi Kumari Gupta.”
“Batana toh padega Mr Raizada, ouch! Chodiye mera haath…”
“Shut up Khushi. Mere paas waqt bahut kam hai. Abhi chalo warna main abhi shaadi tod deta hoon. Akaash mujhe sawal bhi nahi karega…”
Khushi jerked her arm free and pushed him. “Pooh! Din mein sapne dekhna bund kijiye Arnavji! Apni Ma ki nahi suni toh aapki kyon sunega?”
“Don’t push me Khushi. I know exactly what I am doing. I just have to click my fingers and Akaash will come running…”
Cold anger gripped Khushi. Everything was crystal clear. As if Devi Maiyya had slid her a special pair of glasses.
“Click kariye.” Khushi crossed her arms.
Khushi snapped her fingers in front of Arnav’s face. “Click kariye na. Zara hum bhi toh dekhein Jeejaji kaise duade chalein aatein hai.”
“You are making a mistake Khushi.” Arnav’s nostrils flared his eyes bloodshot. “Tum Payal ke zingdagi se khel rahe ho…”
“Agar Jeejaji aapke kehne par yeh shaadi tod detein hain, woh bhi bina koi sawaal jawab karei toh isse toh achcha hai ki Jiji ki shaadi toot jaaye…”
“Kya bakwaas kar rahi ho Khushi…” Arnav grew hot under the collar. This wasn’t turning out to be as he had imagined.
“Bakwaas hum nahi, aap kar rahein hain.” Khushi shot back. “Go on I challenge you to snap your fingers. Zara hum bhi toh dekhe kis mitti ke bane hain Jeejaji. Woh humari Jiji ke layak hain bhi ki nahi.”
Her eyes flashed, cheeks flushed, hair flying she looked….Arnav swallowed, “Tum galat kar rahi ho Khushi…” To his disgust he sounded placating.
“Galat toh aap kar rahein hain.”
“I can’t believe you would be so selfish and ehsaan faramosh.” ASR made another stab. “Tumhari family ne tumahre liye itna kuch kiya aur tum itna sa bhi sacrifice nahi kar sakti? Itna bura hoon kya mein?” Damn it where did that slip in from? And what the hell was that wheedling tone? He cursed himself.
“Isse ehsaan faramosh nahi door darshi kehte hain.” Khushi snapped furious. She had had enough of his shenanigans. Time to call his bluff. “Aap apne fingers click kariye aur Jeejaji ko hukum dijiye shaadi todne ki. Agar woh aisa kartein hain toh mein abhi jaakar sawa rupay ka prasad DM ko chada kar aaoongi. For saving my sister from such a spineless husband.”
“Big words Khushi Kumari Gupta.” ASR’s lips curled as he jeered. “Par kar paaogi kya?” Think of the badnaami. Your Babuji, Amma Buaji, people….”
“Fine!” Khushi threw up her hands. “You win. Yeh risk hum nahi le sakte.”
“Hmph. Ab chalo. Bahut der ho chuki hai.”
“Haan chaliye. Par jaane se pehle zara Anjaliji se milna tha.”
Arnav froze in his tracks. “Di? Di se kyon milna hai…”
“Kuch kaam tha…ouch! Chodiye hume. Dard ho raha hai. Chodiye warna police se bhi milte huye jaayenge.”
“Shut up Khushi and tell me Di se kya kaam hai.”
“Kuch nahi, bas Di ko yeh batana tha ki unke pyaare husband is the world’s biggest creepiest lecherous farebi.”
“I don’t believe this! Ekto you trap Shyam in your snares and then you threaten to destroy my sister’s marriage….”
“Shaadi shaadi shaadi. Is that all that you can think of? Yeh shaadi kar lo, yeh shaadi tod doonga, yeh shaadi toot jaayegi…”
“Nahi. Aap shut up. Ab hum bolenge aura ap sunenge.” She advanced upon him even as he backed away. “What kind of men are you guys? Ek spineless, ek lecherous aur ek,” she raked him down contemptuously with her eyes, “panic-stricken. Aapko jo karna hai kariye par hum aapse shaadi nahi karenge. At least not in this clandestine abhi issi waqt. Shaadi karni hai humse toh sahi tareeke se, shagun lekar, band baaja samet…”
“Shaadi. Aur tumse. In your dreams Khushi Kumari Gupta…”
“Nightmare more likely.” Snorted Khushi. “Aur phir aagaye na ussi baat par. Shaadi. Aur abhi toh zabardasti kar rahe the. Bhool gaye kya?”
“Woh sab chodo. Yeh Shyam ke baare mein kya bol rahi thi…?”
“Wohi jo aap sunna ya samajhna hi nahi chahte. Humse shaadi karke kya hoga? You think that will deter him? When we are both under the same roof? Yeh hai South Delhi’s sharpest shatir businessman ki strategy?” She clutched her head and moaned, “Hey Devi Maiyya kuch samjhaiye aap inhe. Kuch akkal…”
“How dare you Khushi…?”
“Kyon idiot ko idiot bulane ka haq sirf aapko hai kya?” Achcha toh isse kaleje par thandak kehte hai!
“KHUSHI I AM WARNING YOU…”
“Chillaiye mat! Di aajaayengi. Phir kya karenge aap? Na toh humse zabardasti shaadi kar payenge aur na hi humara munh bund…”
“Toh kya karoon main?” Flustered, Arnav retorted, “Aise hi haath pe haath rakhkar beith jaaoon?”
“Haan beith jaaiye…”
“Hey Devi Maiyya! Kuch tassali bhi dedo inko. Aaap shutapiyaiyenge tabhi na hum kuch soch paayenge?”
ASR had a near apoplectic fit. But Khushi was on her own trip and didn’t notice. Or pretended not to. She tapped her cheek thoughtfully, “Sabse pehle toh aap us Shyamji ko London bhej dijiye….”
“Aur use kya fayda hoga?” ASR was raring to go. “Wahan kisi aur se chakkar chalaya toh? Aur mein kaise maan loon ki yeh tumhara koi gehri chaal nahin…”
Khushi rolled her eyes and held up her hands. “Humare liye bhi kya aap ticket book kar rahein hain kya? Nahin na? Toh? Aapko toh humari aukat achche se pata hai na? Kabhi kabhi apna bhi dimaag istemal kar lijiye…”
“What’s the point of sending him away? Di will get upset…”
“Less upset than if you forcibly marry me and when she finds out about Shyam’s duplicity….”
“OVER MY DEAD BODY!”
“It may just come to that…”
“What do you mean Khushi Kumari….”
“Yehi ki he may just kill you…”
“Nonsense! Why would he do that? He’s not a murderer he’s just…”
“One of the bois? Just a bit of harmless flirting? Pretending to be unmarried staying as a PG at some stranger’s house, getting engaged to their daughter while having a wife? Tell me Mr Arnav Singh Raizada, what happens when we marry? Contract wedding right? Six months? During these six months what do you expect Shyam to do? Forget about me and start being faithful to Di. Just because I am married? Ha! Really?”
“Usne kuch nahi kiya hai. Tumne use fasaya hai…”
“Ohh you poor bois boohoo. So easily fasaod. No dimaag of their own. Just think with their…” she trailed off.
“With their what?”
Khushi firmed her chin and met his eyes squarely. “I am sure you can fill in the blanks.”
“I thought I didn’t have the dimaag to…”
“Yaahan dimaag ki toh baat hi nahi ho rahi hai na. Jiski ho rahi hai, wohi fit hogi.”
“KHUSHI…anyway we are digressing…”
“No we are not. You are. By running away from the problem, creating another problem to solve a problem which will only go away if you face it head on.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Of course you don’t. You are a man. It’s easier for you to blame a woman for your problems. Chaliye aapka dil rakhne ke liye maan lete hain ki humne unhe jaan boojhkar fasaya lekin humse shaadi karke kya solution hoga iss problem ka? You think shaadi has ever stopped two lovers from…”
“You wouldn’t dare Khushi I would…”
“Haan haan pata hain pata hai,” Khushi stopped him wearily with a raised hand, “Jiji ki shaadi tod denge na? Par what if Jiji ka bhi yehi plan hai, shaadi karo, paisa looto aur divorce karo? Aakhir behen toh humari hai? Hum dono ka bhi toh chaal ho sakta hai?”
“Kya hua? Bolti bund?” Khushi smiled, “Kam se kam what the toh keh dijiye!” she jeered. Feeling that tables were about to turn she threw in a twist, “Arre rukiye. Hum ne apna mind badal diya. Chaliye shaadi karte hain, aaj abhi isi waqt. Chae mahino ke liye…”
“Arre kyon ka kya matlab? Aapko toh khush hona chahiye. Aap jeet gaye. Hum haar gaye. Chaliye jaldi kariye warna…”
“Hum apna man badal lenge.” She waggled her eyes at him even as he clenched his fists.
“Khushi I am warning you don’t mess with me. Batao why you changed your mind?”
“High time somebody messed with you.” She shrugged and then backed off. “Okay fine don’t burst an artery, she paused and then said in a sotto voce, “at least not till we are married…”
“Poora boliye na…What the…” Khushi was suddenly having the time of her life while ASR grappled with an overwhelming desire to strangle her, beg her, kiss her…
“Kya hua?” She mocked him, “Kuch samajh aaya ya phir explainiyana padega? Achcha toh suniye, abhi abhi hume yeh samajh aaya ki hum toh bekar hi ek shaadi shuda aadmi ke peeche pade huye the. Yeh to aap ki sangti ka dosh hai. Aapke saath saath humara bhi dimaag thoda dheela padh gaya that. Ab dekhiya na, ek millionaire hum se shaadi karne ke liye utsuk hai toh uss kangal Shyam ke pass kya rakkha hai? Kyon sahi kaha na humne. Don’t worry hum aapka raat ko chupke chupke murder nahi karenge.” She paused, “Haan agar waise hi heart attack ho jaye toh usska hum kuch nahi kar sakte.” She was quite unable to hide the chortle in her voice.
.Arnav pressed a hand to his head. He was feeling dizzy. What the hell was happening here? When did the tables turn? And why was she making more sense than….
“Toh kya decide kiya aapne? Humse shaadi ya phir Jiji aur Jeejaji ke paas chalein?”
Arnav struggled for words.
“Theek hai,” Khushi shrugged, “Since I cannot force you to the Mandir I will go to the mandap. Coming?”
He hesitated, fumbled and then burst out “Par Khushi, Shyam ko London bhej kar kya hoga?”
“Aha. Now we are talking Arnavji. Suniye Jiji ki shaadi ho jaane dijiye phir aap miliye humse chaat par. Wahin sab zaroori baat karenge. Par iss baar aap pehle pahunchna.”
Not to be continued
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