The next few days (four days to be precise) were perhaps the most difficult for Khushi. Arnav was on his high horse and he was in ‘mujhe koi farq nahi padta hai’ mode and refused to even throw her a glance and worse in her absence shifted his clothes to the guest room. Apart from Anger, Work was the other armour that Arnav donned to pass a statement to Khushi regarding the extent of his annoyance with her. Damn HP and Shakuntala if they whispered behind their backs. Arnav forcibly pushed Khushi to the backburner and turned his complete attention to his work, work is what he understood, cold objective facts and figures, no messy emotions to deal with. Arnav was determined not to lose out to his rival company not after working so hard and so long on this deal; if this deal got through AR Designs would be far ahead of any of its competitors in the country and he was determined to clinch it. And once ASR got a bee in his bonnet, nobody could distract him, not even Khushi, especially when he took care to avoid her; this was made easy by his refusal to share the room with her, he convinced himself that just as she didn’t care to consult him he too could be cool and standoffish. Very conveniently he forgot to factor in her ‘delicate’ condition.
Khushi was astounded at his behavior, what’s the big deal? The way he was behaving it appears as if I have murdered someone, woh aisa kaise kar sakte hain? What if there is an emergency at night? In fact, this was the time when she started getting excruciating muscle cramps and she would wake up screaming with pain, she dearly wished there was ‘someone’ to massage her cramp and make it better, but Laad Governor ko kya farq padta hai? She thought unhappily, loneliness eating into her. Kitni baar mera test lenge, it is just one stupid haircut, perhaps I am really looking ugly, but does this mean he loves me only for my looks? And hair can easily grow back can’t it? And if he would just talk to me, look at me, I can easily get a wig if he is so averse to this look of mine, she fumed and fretted night after night.
Unfortunately for Khushi, even Di was unavailable as worried about Mamaji Anjali had taken the kids over to Mumbai for a short visit. Kya farq padta hai, nobody really cares in any case, she thought miserably, at least Arnav didn’t and that was what hurt the most. Anger gave way to depression and she lost her bright chirpy look, with no one to oversee her diet or cajole and coax her, food intake suffered, she became morose and silent, her back continued to hurt and she dearly wished her jiji was here to massage her back and legs, the nights were the worst, she sometimes felt like screaming with pain and anguish but what was the point, it wouldn’t help would it?
She sighed and coped as best as she could, perhaps if Nani was here things would have been better, her heart sank, what if she too got angry? Tab hum kahan jayenge? She wept bitter tears of sorrow and heart break, one haircut is all it takes to break us up? Unbelievable! Nahi Devi Maiyya aisa humare saath hone nahi dengi, she stiffened and wiped away her tears.
The doorbell chimed, Khushi waited for HP to and open the door, but as he didn’t appear, she waddled listlessly to the door and opened it.
“Khushi!” Nani said in shocked tones as she stood at the door.
Khushi threw her arms around Nani and burst into tears while Nani stood stiff with shock.
When Arnav returned to RM that evening he froze at the sight that met his eyes. Nani and Khushi were in the lobby and Nani was looking extremely put out while Khushi was crying.
Nani raised her hand, “Naahi Khushi, bahut huwi gawa, enough crying now, don’t think a few tears will soften me up, what’s wrong is wrong; tum bhool gayee ki tum ab Raizada Khandan ki bahu ho, ek baar pooch toh liya hota,” she pursed her lips, pulled her pallu angrily and turned her face away.
Khushi continued to cry inconsolably with her face buried in her hands. Nani gave her bent head a scathing glance and turned to leave, she came face to face with a stunned Arnav, “Chotte,” she acknowledged his presence, “Hum kahe dete hain, I cannot accept this new fashion of short hair, the new generation has no consideration for tradition and no respect for elders, koi aise baal chotte kaat ta hai kya?” She sniffed angrily.
“But Nani,” Arnav finally found his voice, “I don’t get it! Aisa bhi kya ho gaya, jo aap itna naraaz ho gaye? She just got a hair cut, kisi ka gala toh nahi kata?”
Nani sighed, “Haan aapan toh apni biwi ki hi side loge, but just look at her, she is looking so ugly!”
“UGLY!” Arnav was up in arms, “Kya baat kar rahe ho Nani, Khushi kabhi ugly dikh hi nahi sakti, not even if she shaved her head completely, aapne shayad theek se dekha nahi Nani, actually the hair cut is suiting her, look at her properly,” He put his hand under her chin and raised her head forcibly, “Doesn’t she look cute, haan thodi tomboy lag rahee hai, but so what, I think it suits her and mujhe koi problem nahi hai is hair cut se, waise bhi hair can grow back in hardly any time.”
Nani crossed her arms and turned away, “Justify all you want, I am not convinced, what was the emergency that she had to cut her hair? Kaun se fashion show main jana tha?”
Arnav came forward and put his hands on Nani’s shoulder and made her sit down, he went and sat down beside Khushi; he pulled her close and gently rubbed her back, “Nani aap samajhte nahi hai kya, how difficult it is for Khushi? She is nearly 7 months pregnant, it is like walking around with a 5-6 kg ball strapped to one’s waist all the time and she has a job which keeps her on her feet most of the day, she gets tired and exhausted, her back aches like anything; aur aapko toh pata hoga na, long hair is so difficult to manage, makes one feel so hot and uncomfortable, especially washing it can become a big bother; she was really having a tough time and she wanted to cut her hair so big deal! Waise bhi at this time she needs to be kept happy and contented right? Toh just let her be Nani, why scold and upset her for no real rhyme or reason? Just look at the way she is crying,” Arnav spoke up in support of his wife as he lovingly caressed her back and consoled her, “Shh shh, its ok Khushi, Nani ko main samjha raha hoon na, shh shh.”
Khushi pushed away Arnav with all her might and stood up in agitation, her tear streaked face red with anger, “Nani ko toh aap samjha denge, par aapko kaun samjhayga?”
Arnav was taken aback, “Woh..Khushi..main..woh..main,” he fumbled.
Nani too stood up, “Haan Chotte, kya main main laga rakkhi hai, humka samjha rahe ho khud kitna pareshaan kiya hai Khushi bitiya ko aur woh bhi aisan halat main! Galat baat Chotte, I can’t leave you both alone for one week! Are you little children?” she was scathing in her attack even as she put a comforting arm around Khushi.
Arnav finally caught on, “Achcha toh Nani aap…”
“Haan,” Khushi cut in angrily, her tears forgotten, “Unlike you Nani samajhti hain, unhe kuch samjhane ki zaroorat nahi, meherbani ke liye shukriya, chaliye Nani, aap aaram kar lijiye, thak gaye honge,” without a backward glance Khushi led Nani to her room and to top it, this time she shifted to Nani’s room, they had dinner in Nani’s room as well; Arnav did attempt to enter, but as Khushi got very agitated and upset, Nani shooed him away.
Click here for Chapter 134