The days passed swiftly enough, albeit a bit nauseatingly for Khushi. The mornings were particularly bad and worsened by Arnav’s black looks every time she came out of the washroom after a bout of retching. He would glare at her helplessly, clenching and unclenching his hands and one day the pressure cooker burst and he let off steam, “Sab tumhari galti hai, you are the one who was so desperate for a baby, maine toh mana kiya tha na? Bhugtoh ab, why are you looking at me like that as if it is entirely my fault?” he stomped off angrily; Khushi stared at him flabbergasted, What the! Before rushing back in to throw up once again, at least he wasn’t around to make her feel guilty for vomiting!
Sometimes she felt she could cheerfully murder him, grrrrr.
To be fair to Khushi, it is not that she didn’t treasure or understand why her LG was acting up like this, he was so frustrated at being unable to soothe and ease her pain and guilty as well that he took the only viable route, of yelling and generally losing his temper; she was wise enough to appreciate and see through all that bluster, but still she yearned for the warm soothing comfort of his arms, or at least some peace and quiet, while she retched to her heart’s content, instead of worrying about the aftermath even while throwing up! Uff yeh Laad Governor bhi na.
In self defense and for Arnav continuing sanity (or whatever was left of it) Khushi had taken to slipping away from their room early morning to the spare room so that she could throw up in peace without waking the sleeping rakshash! On good days she got away with it too.
Another problem was that she couldn’t stand the smell of food as she cooked and she had to often visit the washroom to throw up, but thankfully at least at AKC there was no added stress of having to face an angry Arnav glaring murderously at her; Ramiya’s concern and support was a welcome relief, if only the Laad Governor could understand that the best way to ease her discomfort was to just hold her comfortingly in his arms rather than by glaring unforgivingly at her (or their baby).
She lost her appetite and looked dull and wan and her clothes hung loosely on her, Arnav watched with concern and harassed the doctor, who was tired of reassuring him that it was just a passing phase, and no, it wasn’t unusual, and yes there were cases where it was much worse etc etc.
The dinner table was the new battleground as mealtimes invariably led to some major confrontations or the other between the two as he tried to force feed her and she pleaded with Nani to convince her Chotte to have some mercy. Nani was exhausted of playing refree to both of them. Everyone was relieved when Khushi’s parents and Buaji turned up for their promised stay at RM, providing a much needed distraction, besides their presence did cramp Arnav’s style a bit, not much, but then things were so bad, any relief was welcome.
Khushi was over the moon and her cup of happiness overflowed, her parents at RM, usse toh vishwas hi nahi ho raha tha, and she asked her Babuji to pinch her, pucca sapna dekh rahi hoon! They all laughed as she hugged them over and over again, happiness lit up her pale face. Garima and Buaji took over the kitchen, with Nani’s permission of course and filled all the dabbas with Khushi’s favorite laddoos, namkeen and what not, “HRNK,” went Buaji, “dekho titaliya, ee sab khaye lena aur khatam ho jaye toh humka bata dena, aur bhijwa denge. Theek hai?”
Khushi nodded her head obediently even as she made haste to rush out of RM, the smell gagging and choking her till she felt she simply must throw up, ‘Hey Devi Maiyya kuch toh khana pasand hoga na humare bachche ko’ she was really worried now.
While making tea, Garima snatched a few minutes of privacy with Khushi and asked her to tell the truth about her health, she had heard Arnav ordering Khushi to take an off from work as she had barely eaten anything that day and significantly, Khushi had complied! Khushi smiled, “Nahi Amma hum theek hai, it is just that I wasn’t feeling upto fighting with the Laad Governor, you know he is, once he gets an idea in his mind, he will not let me be in peace till it materializes,” she grumbled.
“Khussi, tum sach mein bahut paresan karat ho Damadji ko” Garima scolded her daughter.
Khushi’s face was a perfect O, “Hum pareshaan karte hain, hum!” she was affronted, “Amma aapko pata nahi hai….”
“Haan haan Khussi humka sab pata hai, kitna khayal rakhte hain Damadji aur tum ho ki,” Garima took a deep breath and said, “pata hai, jab Preeto ki shaadi hui thi aur tumne bataya tha ki Arnav bitwa duniya ke sabse achche pati hai, sach kahein toh achcha toh laga tha par poora vishwas nahi hua tha, ab dekh bhi liya aur vishwas bhi ho gaya,” happy tears rolled down Garima’s cheeks, “aur suno unko itna paresaan mat kiya kar, samjhi ki naahi?”.
Khushi’s eyes too misted over, “Haan Amma, aap theek keh rahe hain who duniya ke sabse achche pati hain,” then her tone turned complaining, “Par aapko pata nahi hai Amma, main nahi, woh hume kitna pareshaan karte hain?”
“Chup kar Khussi, kuch bhi bole jaati hai,” Garima scolded her and sent her off to Arnav to ask if he required anything and give him some company, “naahi toh ooo sasural walon par gussa karenge ki meri Khushi ko mujhse alag kar diya,” she giggled into her pallu.
Khushi went to Arnav who was watering his plants, “Kya hua?” he asked.
“Kuch nahi, Amma wanted me to find out if you wanted something, to eat or drink” she said distractedly, then without waiting for an answer, “aapko pata hai, sab kitne ajeeb hote hain hain na?”
Arnav put down the watering can and asked her concernedly, “Kya hua Khushi, kisi ne kuch kaha kya?” he held her by the arms.
Khushi said wonderingly, “Strange, jab hum jhooth bolte hain, tab usse sach maan lete hain aur jab sach bolte hain tab maante hi nahi,” seeing Arnav’s confused expression, Khushi rushed to explain, “During Preeto’s wedding, when Amma asked me about you, I lied and she believed me, today I told her ki aap kitna pareshaan karte hain, she refused to believe me! What the!”
Arnav could clearly recall that conversation; he dropped his hands and turned away as guilt and self-loathing returned with a vengeance.
“Kya hua?” Khushi was taken aback, “Achcha hume maaf kar dijiye, humara woh matlab nahi tha, I will never say complain against you to anybody, I promise.”
“Nahi Khushi,” Arnav turned around, “It is not that, you are right to complain, main tumhe sach mein bahut pareshan karta hoon aur tum ho ki,” he swallowed and looked at Khushi with deep regret in his eyes, “I heard everything you spoke to your mother about me that night after your friend’s wedding.”
Khushi was astonished and taken aback, “Woh! Aap ne suna tha? I…I didn’t want my family to worry, that is why….”
“I know Khushi,” murmured Arnav, his voice thick with emotion, “I should have guessed, I should have realized then that you couldn’t be having an affair with that creep or even when you were ready to commit suicide for me, but main hoon ki, I have such a blinkered vision, that I couldn’t see the truth even when it was staring at my face,” he swallowed hard, his eyes bright with unshed tears.
Khushi didn’t like to see him so broken and upset, “Achcha achcha chodiye, puraani baton ko yaad karke kya fayda, jo beet gayee so beet gayee,” she exhorted cheerfully.
Arnav shook his head, “Nahi Khushi, just because I don’t say it doesn’t mean I don’t remember all the injustices that I have heaped on you and who know how many more I will heap on you, but wada karo Khushi mujhe chhod kar nahi jaaogi, Khushi main tumhare bina jee nahi paoonga,” a lone tear slipped out.
Khushi enfolded him tenderly in her embrace and murmured in his ear, “Aap bhool gaye kya, phere lete waqt yehi toh wada kiya tha!” she wiped his face, sniffed and said with mock anger, “Aur khabardaar jo mere Laad Governor ko phir se in baaton ko lekar pareshaan kiya toh, yaad rakhna, unhe pareshaan karna ka haq mere siwa aur kisi ko bhi nahi hai, Arnav Singh Raizada ko bhi nahi, samjhe aap?”
Arnav’s face lightened a bit and he pulled her back into his arms and attempted to convey the extent of his regret through his silent hug.
Click here for Chapter 125