Khushi was terribly unwell for the next two days; she spent a restless night, and of course so did Arnav, not just that she thrashed about so much, but that he was very worried not to mention guilty. By morning, she was running a fever and her hand was swollen and she was in great pain. Arnav called up the doctor, who came to see her; he prescribed antibiotics and some stronger painkillers. Arnav stayed by her side the whole day and cancelled all his meetings, despite her (albeit weak) protestations. He was the model husband, putting cool compress on her forehead, dawai, food, most importantly never lost his temper or patience and even took care of her shringar!
Khushi was irritated with her hair flying all over the pillow and wanted her hair to be put up in a braid but since her hand was paining too much she contented herself by asking Arnav to make a ponytail. In a while when Payal came in to check up on her, Khushi pleaded with her, “Jiji please make me a choti, you know I don’t like to lie down with my hair open.”
Payal was just about to make a braid for her when Yash could be heard yelling for his mum, “Khushi main abhi aayee,” muttered Payal and vanished leaving Khushi bereft of even her ponytail.
She glared at Arnav, who was quietly observing from his corner, he too was getting on her nerves, who was this Rajkumar? She wondered suspiciously, why was he being so nice, she felt totally uncomfortable and so not at home, isse toh accha Laad Governor hi thaa, “Sab aapki galti hai, I hate my hair like this all over the pillow and it really hurts when it gets stuck underneath and gets pulled,” she moaned as she attempted to make a bun, “ouch!” she squealed.
Arnav came and removed her hand, he took her hairbrush and gently untangled the knots in her hair, she felt soothed and closed her eyes, she felt him gather her hair in a bunch and pull gently, she sighed in relief, all the mess was really getting on her nerves, “Lo yeh theek hai?” Arnav asked as he suddenly swung her thick plait in front of her.
“What the!” Khushi was astounded to find a neat plait swinging in front, “Aapne kiya yeh?” She asked her eyes round as saucers.
“Haan toh, I used to make for Di,” Arnav said rather defensively.
“For Di!” Khushi was shocked, “Really! Kyon?”
Arnav’s cheeks turned a dull red as he turned away, mumbling incoherently about soup and went out, but not one to be fended off so easily Khushi attacked him when he returned with the soup and threatened to call up Di or even better ask Nani, in the face of such dire consequences, Arnav loosened up, “Woh…once Di too had hurt her hand and she had difficulty in tying her hair and so she taught me how to do her hair, big deal,” he shrugged.
“But what had happened to Di’s hand,” Khushi asked curiously, the tips of Arnav’s ears turned red.
Curiouser and curiouser.
She waited rather impatiently, zaroor kuch gadbad kari hogi Chotte sahab ne.
He shrugged and muttered, “She got hit.”
“Got hit? With what?” Khushi kept up the grilling.
He mumbled something, Khushi said, “What? Can’t hear you, zor se boliye.”
“I said she got hit by an arrow,” He enunciated clearly.
“An arrow!” Khushi was shocked, “Who shot it?”
There was silence; then Arnav muttered, “I shot it.”
“Kya!!! Aapne!? But why?” Khushi was taken aback.
“Woh…mujhe gussa aagaya tha,” said a defensive Arnav.
“Why what happened?” Khushi was determined to get to the bottom of this.
He shoved his hands into his pockets, “Di had gone shopping with Mamma and she had promised to bring back an ice-cream for me; but then when she came back she told me that she had got one, but as it was melting she ate it up!”
Khushi stared at him, “So you shot her with an arrow?”
“That was her second ice-cream! She had already eaten hers and she was gloating too!” said Arnav his expression darkening at the memory.
“Toh you will shoot her with an arrow!” Khushi was horrified, “By the way, where did you get the bow and arrow from? She asked curiously.
“Woh…actlly..,Di got it for me,” said Arnav sheepishly.
“Arre wah! Aapko toh salute karna chahiyye!” Khushi saluted Arnav, “sach main you are a Laad Governor.”
“Haan theek theek hai, you rest now, bahut ho gaya, lie down and take rest, ab dard nahi kar raha?” He asked rather sarcastically.
“Of course it’s paining,” said Khushi as she lay down obediently feeling rather exhausted, “but if I complain, you will probably shoot me to cure me of this pain,” she muttered more to herself than Arnav.
Khushi closed her eyes and prayed, hey Devi Maiyya, raksha karna Di ki, if something happens to Di, Arnav won’t be able to bear it, aur Di ke baby ko bhi dekh lena, if something happens to the baby, Di won’t be able to bear it, neither will Nani or Anya, aur Devi Maiyya apko toh pata hai na, inka dukh humse dekha nahi jayega, raksha karna Devi Maiyaa, she prayed long and fervently.
The worst was over in a couple of days for Khushi and she was back on her feet, though it took some more time for her to regain full functionality of her hand. This cramped her style at AKC as cooking became a difficult and slow task. Ramiya tried to help under instructions from Khushi and it was bit of a crisis when there was an order for jalebis and pakodas. Arnav came to check up on Khushi as she struggled to make the jalebis holding her index finger at a safe distance. To her credit Ramiya had tried but they were quite a flop, burnt and shapeless, besides there were pakodas to be made.
Seeing Arnav, Khushi immediately roped him in to help Ramiya make the pakodas especially since he was so good at them; he not only knew the recipe but seemed to have done a mini dissertation on the art of pakoda making. But fortunately for Ramiya (she was suddenly feeling very sick and dizzy, er acidity in all probability), Arnav neatly squiggled out of this honor, claiming an important telecom (waise Khushi did argue that pakodas could be done even while chatting on the phone, leading to a minor altercation between the two); phir situation ko sambhalne ke liye Arnav passed the buck to the guy who had actually compiled the pakoda thesis, i.e Aman.
As beggars can’t be choosers, Khushi agreed. Aman came over and taught Ramiya to make hot crispy pakodas but (sabse mehtvapoorn almost) lost his heart in the process. Ramiya too was not unaffected and having very sharp hearing could hear the song, from the movie ‘Naya Zamana’ picturized on Hema Malini and Dharmendra (now you know what they look like) playing in the BG.
Click here for Chapter 104