“Kab se bula raha tha, tum sun hi nahi rahi thi,” he shot back equally annoyed, “Come here,” he dragged her to the poolside where on the center table, a mound of golgappas and jalebis were spread out. Khushi clapped a hand to her mouth, her eyes big as saucers, “Aapne yeh sab humare liya kiya”?
Arnav shrugged modestly, “Yeah, you are so off food, so I thought you might enjoy this.”
Khushi rubbed her hands in glee, “Jalebi aur golgappas!” she swiftly moved to the poolside and quickly prepared a golgappa for herself while Arnav looked on, smiling indulgently, suddenly his expression changed and he burst out, “What the!”
Khushi had been about to pop the golgappa in her mouth almost drooling in anticipation and she took in a deep breath to savor the fragrance when suddenly she dropped the golgappa and rushed to the washroom and threw up her lunch as well.
She came back after a while drained, and looked regretfully at the feast still lying spread temptingly, “I am sorry Arnav, I don’t think your son or daughter is going to allow me to have anything.”
Arnav brought the plate of jalebis, “Here try this.”
But no sooner had the faint fragrance drifted over to Khushi she charged back into the washroom for another bout of retching.
This time when she came out, the poolside table was clear and Arnav stood staring outside with his hands in his pockets. Khushi slowly crept up to him and slipped her arms under his arms, “Sab aapki galti hai, if you liked jalebis and golgappas, I would have been able to eat them, lagta hai apne Babuji par gaya ye phir gayi hai.”
It was perhaps a measure of Arnav’s concern that he didn’t even notice the Babuji, instead he just stood there looking very guilty and worried, “Khushi, I am sorry, is there anything, anything at all that tempts you even a little bit?” he asked hopefully.
Khushi made a moue, hesitated, and then said reluctantly, “Actually there is something I want to eat, but I have been resisting as I don’t like to eat that.”
Arnav stared at her amazed, “Did you just say what I just heard, what do you mean Khushi? What is that which you apparently have a craving for but are resisting as you don’t like to eat, hey wait, I hope it is not something like clay or chalk?” Arnav was now even more worried.
Khushi shook her head rather shamefacedly and twisted her fingers and mumbled, “Geela geela pusta.”
“What!” Arnav was stunned.
“What nahi, what the!” Khushi was justifiably put out, “Poora ka poora aap ke tarah hoga hume pucca vishwas hai, tabhi toh na jalebi kha sakte hai, na hi golgappe! Mann kare toh bhi kya, pusta! Ppffft,” Khushi grumbled and fussed while Arnav grinned delighted with this turn of events.
He hugged her, “That’s the way, little one, come on Khushi, if the baby wants Italian, so be it, chalein?”
Reluctantly Khushi agreed and after taking permission from everyone, they went off to their favorite haunt. Much to Arnav’s relief, after ages, Khushi seemed to enjoy her meal and she didn’t throw up either.
Soon it was time for Khushi’s parents to leave RM and Khushi was very upset and Arnav wild, he hissed, he gritted his teeth and clenched his fists; Khushi observed these warning signs through her tears and controlled herself with an effort and smiled cheerfully as she bid her parents and Buaji goodbye, wiping away their tears, “Koi baat nahi Amma, aap toh jaldi hi ayenge na? Godh bharai ke liye, jiji bhi ayegi aur Yash bhi! Bahut mazaa ayega,” her joy was infectious and it was reasonably composed parting. After Arnav left for an urgent meeting for an important deal at his office, Khushi rushed to the washroom for a hearty cry; she sobbed her heart out and then feeling better she went off to her kitchen; Nani saw the traces of tears but wisely refrained from saying anything, after all what was there to be said, she sighed and shook her head, duniya ki yehi dastoor hai, beti ko hi apna ghar chhodna padta hai.
His meeting over, Arnav recalled Khushi’s unhappiness, the way she tried to cover up, definitely she would have bawled her eyes out, he grimaced angrily, he hated to see her like this, but what could he do? He played with the paperweight absentmindedly; suddenly determinedly he opened his laptop and began working in earnest. Aman came and disturbed him with a minor office crisis, he shooed him away and continued his task, sent off an sms to Khushi, waited till he received a confirmatory smiley and virtual kiss before calling Aman back in to sort out the issue.
Yeah you guessed it right (or did you?)! Arnav had thoughtfully booked tickets for the latest Salman Khan movie Dabangg 5 for his SK crazy wife. Unfortunately, there was a goof up, all Aman’s fault of course, while booking the tickets online just as he was about to select the movie of his choice Aman came and disturbed him and ASR booked tickets for another movie which had been running continuously for the past year or so. When he realized the mix up at the movie complex, he was of course very upset but Khushi being Khushi soothed him and expressed her excitement at finally being able to watch this particular movie about which she had heard a lot from Ramiya who had watched it 30 times! If Ramiya a diehard fan of SK could rave over some new guy in 22 yards, it was definitely worth watching at least once. Khushi had been intending to catch it, but somehow or the other it had never materialized and look how cleverly DM had organized a viewing for her; she rubbed her hands in anticipation. Arnav relaxed as he saw that Khushi was genuinely excited and thrilled at the prospect of watching 22 yards.
As the impatient moviegoers waited for the hall doors to open, the crowd outside swelled and Khushi was jostled, “Watch it dude!” snapped ASR, he gently pushed Khushi towards the wall and put his hands on either side of her holding the rails, creating a protective cage for her. Khushi’s heart swelled with love and tenderness for this caring complex man, she remembered how he had similarly shielded her even when he had repeatedly vowed that he hated her! Arnav glared at the miling crowd and turned to look at Khushi, he froze at the look in her eyes, the moment was broken as somebody pushed him from behind, he looked away and murmured in her ears, “Khushi, you keep looking at me like that and I won’t be responsible for the consequences.”
Khushi smiled her brilliant smile, albeit mistily, “Tabse!” and unable to resist and emboldened by the poor lighting of the lobby, she turned her head and swiftly planted a kiss on his cheek. He slowly blinked at her as he too remembered that dreadful day, the agony, the conflict all came surging back, the crowd shoved and surged as the hall doors were thrown open conveniently pushing Arnav towards Khushi; he slipped his arms around her and gathered her tenderly in his arms.
Click here for Chapter 128