The days and months passed rapidly, with AR Designs back on its feet with full if not greater glory; AKC too had made its presence felt and Khushi was busy juggling home and career; the kids were growing up fast; Yash was a happy chubby boy about three years of age, surprisingly he was quite the chatterbox and was sports crazy, specially cricket, nothing was safe from his bat; on occasion even HP’s rear suffered [of course he was thoroughly disciplined for such rare transgressions by the ladies while Arnav had a hearty laugh as his secret desire was fulfilled].
Ankit was also doing well; he had a keen power of observation and nothing escaped his eagle eye, ever since he learnt to walk, the moment Khsitij would pick up his bag, he would drop whatever he was doing and rush to clutch Khsitij’s trousers. Khsitij would then have to give him a short ride in his car if he wanted to leave without having the image of a bawling Ankit on his conscience. It became a game as Khsitij would try all sorts of tricks to fool Ankit but he was no match, sooner or later, Ankit cottoned on to his tricks. Khsitij started sending Vimla out with his bag; the first day of course went off smoothly, but the second day, Ankit came and gheraoed him at the breakfast table and that was the end of his escape. Anjali had decided to take a couple of years off, or at least till Ankit was old enough to join play school.
Although it was not yet clear whether Ankit would be sports mad or not but one thing was sure, he had a temper to match his Mamu. He had a lusty yell and a frown that would instantly remind Di of her Chotte and she never tired of telling Chotte, ‘sab tumhari galti hai Chotte’ and of course, ‘he looks just like you’; since Ankit now looked quite the little devil, Chotte could bear this slur with reasonable equanimity.
Anya of course lorded over her brothers who adored her while Abhinav was generously off loaded to Anoushka. But that was primarily because Abhinav’s height was pretty much the same while Anya had shot up quite bit.
Khushi’s box of khushi was overflowing, except for that tiny little niggle, a little itch, a clutch in her heart. She did try to convince Arnav but every time it either ended in his stomping out or Khushi in tears, slowly she stopped trying to convince him and left it entirely up to DM whom she nagged on a regular and increasingly frequent basis. She more or less accepted that till it was DM ki marzee nothing would happen so she sighed as she made Yash her ‘kaleje ka tukda’ and of course Anya and Ankit too, only she didn’t get to see them as often as she would have liked.
Yash of course was very fond of his ‘Coochie’ turned ‘Motai’ (a cross between ‘mausi’ and ‘tai’). Khushi would rush home each evening so that she could spend quality time with Yash; in fact it was her prerogative to take him out to the park to play and if she were ever late he would be jumping impatiently by the door till she came home. He would insist Khushi feed him his dinner and the days he was ill he would bawl and bawl for Khushi to come and take care of him. Khushi showered Yash with all the love in her warm generous heart and the thought of Yash never failed to bring a smile to her face.
Then the bombshell dropped.
Payash were shifting to Mumbai. The branch at Mumbai was now ready and was in fact doing very well and it was judged prudent to have Aakash shift to Mumbai. Actually the idea of setting up a unit at Mumbai was entirely Aakash’s idea; here in Delhi he felt suffocated and always under the shadow of his more meritorious ‘bhai’; not that he was jealous or anything, just a yen, a desire to spread his own wings, make his own mistakes, be able to say ‘ I did that’; Arnav understood and in fact encouraged Aakash, but he did so with mixed feelings, on one hand he wanted his brother to succeed, yet he could anticipate that if successful, Aakash would have to move to Mumbai. And that he knew that this would be hard to digest for all concerned, even thinking about it gave him a leaden feeling.
As expected, when Aakash and Mamaji revealed that they would be shifting to Mumbai, there was consternation and shock all around, especially for Khushi. She broke into gut-wrenching sobs and was quite inconsolable. Payal attempted to soothe her but was quite unsuccessful, ultimately it was Yash who managed to calm her down; he was horrified to see his beloved Motai like this and kept hovering over her anxiously pulling and pushing her hoping to make her sit up and show her face, unsuccessful, he too burst into tears. That effectively silenced Khushi.
To be honest, Payal was upset of course, but it wasn’t really an unexpected shock as Aakash had shared with her his innermost desires and she had supported and encouraged him. Though sad at having to leave her family, Aakash’s excitement had rubbed off on her and she was in her own calm way looking forward to a new life in aamchi Mumbai. It was better than missing Aakash who in any case was spending most his days over there. And perhaps, just perhaps, in some corner of her heart, Payal felt Yash was too attached to Khushi and so was not very displeased with the turn of events.
Mamiji of course was over the moon and couldn’t bhait to hobnob with all the stars and was already planning dinner parties and what not.
Naniji was torn and devastated, she had stayed all her life here and to move to a new place at this age! Leave Chotte and Anjali bitiya, naahi naahi, how could she, yeh naahi ho sakat hai; her heart broke as she felt herself being cut into two.
Then Arnav dropped his bombshell, “But Nani isn’t going anywhere.”
“Par Bhai!” Aakash was shocked; Mamaji nodded in support, “Amma toh humri sangh..”
“Par war kuch nahi, mujhe kuch nahi sunn, Nani isn’t going anywhere, main unhe jaane nahi doonga,” Arnav was adamant.
“Haan haan toh theek hai na Aakas bitwa, tumhri Dadi ab is umar ma, Mumbai mein upsetiya jayengi, hain na Sasuma?” Manorama Mami on the other hand fully supported Arnav bitwa.
Nani glared at Manorama and spoke to Arnav, “Chotte…”
Arnav glared at her, his fists clenched, “I don’t care Nani, you are not going, end of discussion,” he walked away before anyone could say anything more.
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