After what could be called only an interminable and agonizing wait, the doctor came and informed the anxious fretting group about the successful surgery, Di was now out of danger and recovering in the post op room. Ankit, under 2 kgs, was of course critical and in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
There was air of palpable relief in the room, well begun is half done. An emotional Arnav warmly hugged Kshitij (a first!) in silent apology and relief. But they all knew it wasn’t over yet. Anjali was predictably very upset when she came out of surgery but to her credit she did attempt to cope as best as she could. She broke down on seeing how small her baby actually was but as the doctor advised that her baby needed loads of tender loving care from his Mum, and that a baby could latch on to his mother’s moods and state of mind, she pulled up her socks, determined to give her baby all that he deserved and more. She spent much of her time in the NICU nursing her tiny baby crooning and whispering sweet nothings. Her family was allowed to have a look at the Goyal heir through the NICU window, held proudly in his mother’s gentle arms. All the ladies (including Anya) went gaga over the baby and impatiently counted days (with fingers crossed and fervent prayers included) when they too could have the opportunity to hold Ankit.
Anjali’s family rallied around her and kept up her spirits as best as they could; yes even Arnav, not one tantrum did he throw or let his emotions get the better of him; but then perhaps he was shocked into silence by Di’s comment, “Ankit is beautiful hai na Chotte? Chotte tumhe pata hai, he looks exactly like you when you were born.”
Though Arnav was not really vain about his looks, but this was too much, he tottered out of the hospital, shell shocked, the mighty Arnav Singh Raizada, was once upon a time a squalling wrinkled minuscule, no beating about the bush, monkey. Or Di had his finally totally lost it, he felt better yes that must be it. But Nani dashed his hopes, Anjali bitiya was right, Ankit looked exactly like him; heartbroken Arnav drowned himself in his work.
At home Arnav was well entertained by Anya and Yash who gravitated towards him quite inexplicably. From the moment he entered RM, the children haunted his room and were clearly fascinated by him. Anya had already revealed her affection for her Mamu, but Yash’s obsession was quite a surprise for all concerned. Perhaps he saw in Arnav a father figure as these days Aakash was half the time absent as an AR Designs unit was being set up at Mumbai and he was in charge of it.
Yash had learnt to speak and he would keep saying Mota, Mota Mota Mota, till Arnav gave in and picked him up. Yash would at the first opportunity target Arnav’s phone and play with it and seeing no harm, Arnav let him. That is until he started getting return calls from concerned friends, irate businessmen, international clients etc claiming to have received a call from him at all odd hours. Arnav had no choice but to ban Yash from touching his phone; a lot of tears and wails ensued, finally Arnav yielded and bought him a phone of his own.
The days passed agonizingly slowly, specially for Anjali as she lost all sense of time and day and each rolled into one seamless cycle of feed and change, feed and change, for the little one; an hour of uninterrupted nap was a luxury and some days were worse as Ankit’s jaundice worsened and refused to be controlled; those few days were particularly stressful for all concerned and best skimmed over.
Thankfully things took a turn for the better and Ankit’s bilirubin levels started their downward journey, his appetite improved and he put on weight. There was a sigh of heartfelt relief all around. One day everyone was in the lobby enjoying their cup of tea after good news about Ankit’s jaundice, when Yash picked up the car keys and attempted to slip the key into the French window’s key hole. Naturally it didn’t fit but he stayed at it patiently stretching up on his toes, everyone watched him with amusement. Suddenly the keys slipped from his hand and fell down, immediately, spontaneously he intoned clear as a bell, “What the ….!”
There was silence as everybody turned to look at Arnav and then back at Yash, unconcerned he bent down picked up the keys and started all over again. Nani looked at Chotte resignedly and said, “Chotte, you will have to mind your tongue around the little one, otherwise he won’t get admission in any school!”
Finally after about 6 weeks of his entry to this world, Ankit was healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital; his bodyweight a respectable 2.5 kgs.
GM was beautifully decorated and was overflowing with doting relatives (Garima et al were in residence at GM) and an ecstatic ‘Di’ who skipped and danced for joy, she had returned from RM the day before and had trouble sleeping at night, she had terribly missed her friend and mum, now she was coming home with her promised brother; when she found an opportunity for a personal conversation with her Mamu and Mami, she had a special request, “Please could you try for a baby girl?”
Khushi looked hopefully at Arnav; but he flicked Anya’s nose and said resignedly, “Aren’t you getting a bit greedy? Two pesky squalling kids and you want more!”
“But Mamu you don’t get it, these are boys, I am the only girl. You know I offered Yash my dolls to play with but you know what he did?” Anya was thoroughly disgusted, “He smashed them around with his bat as if they were a ball,” Anya was very put out at her brother’s insult to her beloved dolls. “Ooh I left my doll lying on the bed, hope Yash hasn’t got his hands on her!”
Arnav rolled his eyes, “Poor Yash,” he muttered in a sotto voce as Anya rushed off to get her doll.
She returned with a big box with a big doll and her accessories. Khushi pounced on it in amazement, “How beautiful! Look so many clothes, such a tiny hairbrush too!” She turned excitedly to Arnav, “I have never seen such an awesome doll set in my life,” she turned back to Anya, “Can you actually change her clothes?”
Anya nodded happily, this is the kind of response she had expected from Yash, but of course only a girl would understand, “Look Mami,” she quickly picked up a cool trendy short dress from a neat pile and picked up the doll, and efficiently with a practiced hand snapped the head off the doll, fitted the dress and then snapped the head back in place, “Beautiful right? Yaaaashhh leave her alone!” she rushed off to rescue another of her precious dolls.
Khushi was rather taken aback by the gruesome approach to changing clothes and looked at Arnav disturbed, “That’s really so inhuman! I wonder what the makers were thinking, making a child remove a doll’s head to make her wear new clothes!”
Arnav shrugged, “Oh don’t worry, children are quite inured and blasé about such stuff,” then he smirked and said, “Now I know what to gift you on your birthday.”
Khushi made a moue, “Ji nahi, hume asli wali gudiya ya phir gudda chahiye,” she pleaded as she snuggled up to him.
He looked down at her, “Are you kidding me Khushi!” he waved his hand around, “Even after all this mess you want a baby? No way Khushi, I can’t let you undergo all this horrifying business, not in a million years.” He stomped off to the GM gardens while Khushi looked after him with tears in her eyes.
Click here for Chapter 106