Arnav was supposed to go to Mumbai to help Aakash sort out some issues but he deputed Aman instead as he was not too keen on leaving Khushi ‘alone’ in this condition thereby depriving her of a much needed respite from his almost overbearing protectiveness; On the other hand, as a fallout of Aman’s visit to Mumbai, Arnav’s responsibility at Delhi increased and he had to put in longer hours at the office, giving Khushi some more time with her relatives. Arnav grudgingly allowed her her space, she looked happier and chirpier, but still so pale and wan dammit, he gritted his teeth and wondered what to do. Nani was off no help, she had totally defected; no matter how many times he appealed to her to tell Khushi to take it easy, cut down on her work, eat some more, take some rest, she invariably sided with Khushi, “Chotte, let her be, she can decide for herself whether she wants to rest or work or eat, etc etc.”
‘Nani meri hai ki uski, hmmph’ he grumbled to himself as he moodily shut his file with a snap. Khushi’s weak and exhausted look really bothered him. He had noticed her flopping down ever so often when she thought he wasn’t looking, his lips tightened; she really needed to take it easy, cut down on her work! He had even requested Buaji and Aunty to talk to Khushi, they had looked at him and looked at each other and giggled, “HRNK, Aa babua, chinta naahi karo Titaliya theek hai” she nudged Garima and went off into giggles again, he threw up his hands in disgust. Was there nobody who could convince Khushi?
He snapped his fingers, how could he forget, Di would understand, she could brainwash Khushi, and the icing on the cake, he could meet Ankit and Anya, he cheered up. He promptly landed up at GM, but as luck would have it, Di was out with the kids to attend Aisha’s birthday party and for once Ankit was invited too (actually Aisha wanted to invite HSR as well but Anya refused to pass on the message, saying that he was busy! Hmm not very sure why though, could be she didn’t like sharing him or didn’t like the way everybody drooled over him or possibly she felt sorry for CSR), and of course Anjali went along as well as to provide moral support to Ankit.
As Vimla was out shopping, Khsitij opened the door, it was difficult to say who was more surprised, but Khsitij recovered first and warmly invited Arnav inside. Arnav was disappointed at having missed his Di and the kids but he sat down for a while for courtesy’s sake and joined Khsitij in watching the ongoing football match on TV. They sat in awkward silence for some time, passing stiff, unnecessary comments on the game. After a while, Khsitij got up and went to the kitchen while Arnav picked up the newspaper on the table. Khsitij returned carrying a couple of beers and some dry fruits.
Arnav gratefully accepted the offer; after a couple of beers, the brothers relaxed and loosened up and the conversation flowed easily and silence was more companionable.
“So how’s Anya?” Arnav asked Kshitij
Khsitij nodded and shrugged, “Ok I guess, strange she is technically my daughter but she is closer to your Di,” there was a faint note of pride in his voice, “You know they often gang up against me and I feel quite outnumbered at times. I am waiting for Ankit to grow up so that we are even,” he chuckled.
Arnav too grinned, “Don’t count on it!”
Khsitij pulled a face and nodded his head, “Yeah, you are probably right!” But he didn’t sound too worried about it.
“How is Khushi doing?” Khsitij asked.
Arnav looked at Khsitij with dawning hope, of course Khsitij was her brother and a doctor too boot, surely Khushi would listen to him, “That is the problem, she is not well and she is refusing to take it easy, no matter how much I tell her to eat, she just refuses to eat, why don’t you talk to her?” He appealed to Khsitij.
Khsitij looked Arnav concerned, “Oh I didn’t know she was that unwell, I talked to her just the other day she sounded fine and neither did she complain, lemme see, she is about 2 months gone or maybe just begun her 3rd month right?”
“That is the problem,” grumbled Arnav as he nodded his head, “She doesn’t accept that she is not well, and strangely even the doctor refused to advise bed rest or even that she increase her diet, and was the least bothered about her incessant vomiting every morning! Tell me, did Di also vomit like this?”
Khsitij hid a smile and said seriously, “I am afraid so Arnav, in the early days your Di throughout the day and not just in the mornings!” seeing Arnav’s expression, he rushed in, “but don’t worry, Khushi will be fine in a month or so, usually these symptoms settle down and take heart that she is sick just in the mornings?”
Arnav clenched his hands and burst out, “I feel so dammed helpless, I hate seeing her like this and invariably I end up yelling at her.”
Khsitij nodded his head, “I can understand, must be tough for someone who is used to being in control and having everything as per his orders, after all who dare defy the mighty Arnav Singh Raizada,” the beer had clearly loosened Khsitij’s tongue as well, “except of course Chottu or Chotti Singh Raizada, right Arnav,” he added.
The beer working it magic, Arnav feeling more relaxed than he had in ages, goodnaturedly nodded his head and said ruefully, “You forgot to add your sister’s name to the list.”
Khsitij cracked up, “Yes of course, she is something alright, ever since she was a child, Anya is a carbon copy of her!”
He sobered up and leaned towards Arnav and whispered conspiratorially, “But I can let you into a secret on how to manage a female, actually,” he mused, “jokes notwithstanding, females are much easier to handle than men, that is,” he shook his finger warningly, “that is if you know how.”
Arnav was all eyes and ears.
“Just love them!” he cracked up again, and then sobering up, he continued, “Its true, you know you can get most women do just about anything if you simply love them and show them that you care, you know remember their birthdays, give them gifts now and then, smile at them, spend time with them. Now men, they want more than that, they want to rule the world, conquer space, they want name, fame, money everything and of course someone to love them, feed them and generally take care of them while they are busy doing all this. And to top it all she should do all this without wanting her man to spend time with her, shower her with gifts etc etc.”
Arnav laughed and wryly shook his head, “Yeah I guess.”
Khsitij again leaned forward and peered into Arnav’s face, “You want to make things easier for Khushi don’t you?” without waiting for Arnav’s nod, he continued, “Then stop yelling at her dammit, can’t you see she is already suffering, all she wants is a shoulder to lean, on somebody to support her, and be there with a kind word, a smile and not glower angrily and hiss ever so often like a pressure cooker ready to burst.”
Arnav stared at Khsitij in surprise, “How do you know I do that?”
“Hum sab jaante hain,” declared Khsitij rather grandiosely then hastened to add as he spied Arnav’s darkening brow, “Chill man, Khushi complained to your Di and she gave me a lecture about MEN,” he raised his hands as if surrendering, “All this gyan is not mine huh, I am just telling you as I got it ok?” he spread his hands and shrugged, “After all you did come to your Di for some moral support didn’t you?” he winked.
Arnav relaxed and nodded, “By the way, Khsitij, don’t tell me you get drunk on a couple of beers?”
Khsitij guffawed loud and long, “Guilty, I was just hamming and used the drinks as an excuse to pass on your Di’s rant on to you,” he shrugged, “I thought if you took offense or got on your high horse I could pass it off on the alcohol, and by the way, smart of you to latch on,” said Khsitij admiringly.
Arnav shrugged modestly, “Yeah well, I have been living with a drama queen for quite some time now, could see shades of resemblance here and there in the theatrics you just indulged in,” he peered into Khsitij’s face mimicking him.
“Damn!” Khsitij cursed himself, “I knew I was overacting.”
Click here for Chapter 126