Khushi woke up in the morning and stretched languorously, she noticed that Arnav wasn’t on the bed, she casually looked around and sat up with a jerk; he was sitting on the recliner all dressed and ready for the day looking at her with a watchful expression, “Hey Devi Maiyya, is it so late!” she looked at the wall clock, it was just eight in the morning, “Do you have to leave early?” she questioned him. Usually she was the one to get up first, say around 6.30-7.00, she would then freshen up and get ready for the day and he would go for his jog around 7.30 and be ready for breakfast by 9.00 am.
He shook his head, she was surprised, “Toh phir? How come you are all dressed up?”
He shrugged, “Just like that,” still looking very watchfully at her.
She made a face, “And why are you looking at me like that?”
He looked away, a dull flush on his cheeks, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“You are looking as if I am going to break any minute and you are ready to pick up the pieces,” Khushi mocked him.
He immediately picked up the newspaper and rustled it busily, “What rubbish!”
Khushi rolled her eyes and got up, Arnav immediately put down the paper and stood next to her, “Careful Khushi, tum theek ho?”
Khushi threw up her hands and went to the washroom without bothering to answer that, Laad Governor bhi na, either he gives me the royal ignore or he suffocates me with his concern! Hmmph, she snorted, then smiled to herself, aww he was such a darling.
She came out of the washroom, he looked at her concerned, “Tum theek ho?”
“Yes! I am fine!” Khushi hugged him, “You crazy man, no wonder I feel so dizzy, always swinging like a yo-you from one side to another, I can never make out what will set you off.”
“Dizzy!” Arnav latched onto the one word in her dialogue and worried it like a dog with a bone, “Are you dizzy, pehle kyon nahi bataya! Are you nauseated as well? Come sit down.”
“Nahi, come on we are getting late, and Nani must be waiting for us at breakfast,” Khushi dragged an unconvinced Arnav to the dining table.
Nani was happy and relieved to see them back to their bickering self, their nok-jhok she could take and even enjoy, but their silence almost suffocated her, even though they tried their best to cover up in front of her, but unhone bhi kachchi goliya nahi kheli thi!
“Khushi, the driver has taken your car for servicing; I will drop you to office,” Arnav dictated.
“Ji nahi,” Khushi refused, “I will take an auto, waise bhi I want to go to the mandir on the way.”
“Auto!” Arnav again found a word he didn’t like, “No way Khushi, you are coming with me and that’s it.”
“I told you, I am going to the mandir,” Khushi held on to her patience.
“Haan toh? I too can go to the mandir can’t I? Mere liye mandir main koi ban laga rakkha hai kya tumhari friend ne? ” Arnav hid behind sarcasm.
Khushi looked at Nani, they smiled mistily at each other, and Khushi shook her head, “Let’s go,” Arnav stood up nonchalantly.
“Arre Chotte,” Nani suddenly called him, “What is the program for the evening? Lagat hai ki bhool gawa! Anya won’t like it at all, it’s her birthday today and both of you forgot? Galat baat,” Nani chided them both.
Arnav and Khushi looked at each other in consternation, “Nahi Nani, I…We haven’t forgotten, just that we were so preoccupied with,” Khushi trailed off, “But Nani, of course we will go and I have already bought a gift for her, a doll’s house, Arnav was supposed to go with me, but,” Again she trailed off.
Nani smiled and nodded, “I know bitiya and I understand as well, but remember little children are very delicate and don’t understand our problems and because of our preoccupations they must never feel sidelined or ignored, especially not Anya who is old enough to understand and is likely to be sensitive and sentimental about such things.”
“Ji Nani,” Khushi looked at Arnav who too was looking guilty and suitably chastised, he too nodded and said, “We hadn’t forgotten precisely, just that it got a bit lost in the numerous things going on, anyway no harm done; Nani, Khushi and I will be going to the doctor, and once we are done, we can all go over to Di’s place.”
Nani agreed and said, “Theek hai, then I won’t go over to GM in the morning, I will just go with you all in the evening; waisan bhi, Anjali bitiya must be busy in khatidaari of sasuralwale!”
Khushi smiled happily at the thought of meeting her parents, after such a long time and with good news too. She hugged herself with joy at the thought of their happiness and excitement, all of them; she wondered who would be most thrilled! Anya probably would turn cartwheels, she laughed fondly to herself, poor Anya, she had given up pestering them for a baby quite sometime ago.
Arnav and Khushi went to the mandir and Khushi was amused and touched to see that Arnav was becoming quite adept and comfortable with observing the customs and rituals and didn’t have to be prompted. About to rib him, she wisely held back and muttered to DM, ‘lagta hai ab aap ke liye hi aaye hain’ she winked at her.
But something in her expression must have got through to Arnav, as he defensively said, “Whaat?”
Khushi shook her head innocently as she offered him Prasad. Arnav rolled his eyes and strode away to the waiting car, Khushi followed with a demure expression.
The visit to the doctor’s in the evening was a bit of an anti-climax and Arnav was quite taken aback and disgusted with her laid back attitude, ““What the! No medicines, no restrictions, just some simple blood tests, do your normal activities! What kind of a doctor is she?” He fumed.
“A very good doctor,” Khushi shot back, she shook her head resignedly, “She has given me folic acid tablets. What did you expect? That she would immediately perform surgery on me?”
He looked abashed, “But even then…”
“Haan theek hai theek hai, ab chalein? Anya must be waiting for us,” Khushi hustled and distracted Arnav.
GM was a hullabaloo of chatter and laughter as shrieking kids covered the gardens running helter skelter. Anya had invited her friends over for a party at home and there were loads of games and prizes to be won. Ankit of course was the youngest of the lot and poor thing was quite overwhelmed by the crowd that descended on his turf and worse he had his cheeks pulled and squeezed innumerable number of times. Fed up with all the attention, he ran to his mother for protection, but she was too busy managing the kids, as were Garima and Buaji. Khsitij was on photography and games management duty. Reluctantly he sat with his Bade dadaji swinging his legs from the chair, munching intermittently on chips and jalbalis kept on a plate held by his adoring grandpa. But Ankit wasn’t too happy and was feeling restless, that looked like so much fun! And who were all those people playing with his Di! He didn’t like it one bit, he scowled quite ferociously (looking more and more like you know who after the terrace scene) and quickly came to a decision; he swiftly slipped down from the chair and trotted off to join the fun or perhaps to reclaim his Di.
Click here for Chapter 120