Of course Khushi didn’t venture upstairs, but that didn’t stop her from making further enquiries, nothing in the ‘kasam’s’ fine print about that! She thought triumphantly. She cornered HP, “Upar kya chal raha hai HPji?”
“Upar?! HP was all at sea, “Kuch bhi toh nahi, thoda kaam chal raha hai bas.”
Khushi sighed frustrated, “Jhooth mat boliye HP, aapko pakka pata hoga, aise kaise ho sakta hai ki aapko nahi pata?”
“Nahi bhabhi hume kuch nahi pata,” HP again denied all knowledge, “Arnav bhaiyya se pooch ke bataoo?”
Khushi nodded her head knowingly, “Achcha toh yeh baat hai, hum khud poochlenge,” she waddled off, chewing her finger, pata toh karna padega.
“Naniji!” Khushi happily (hopefully) greeted her as she sat in the lobby enjoying her cuppa chai, “Aao bitiya, aao chai pi lo,” Nani smiled affectionately.
Khushi sat down awkwardly on a chair kept especially for her. The other day she had sank down in relief amongst the cushions on the sofa and had been unable to get up. It was quite a crisis as only Khushi and Nani were at home at that time. Khushi was unable to get up on her own or with Nani’s help, possibly because both of them were giggling so much. Finally Khushi had given up and put up her feet and waited patiently for her knight in shining armor to come and rescue her from her prison. Or rather a torture chamber, for her knight was stuck in traffic and she decided to while away the time with a tall glass of nariyal paani. Bas phir kya tha! The pressure on her bladder increased, slowly and steadily until it went beyond human endurance. Hey DM, ultrasound karte time bhi itna dard nahi hua tha!
Khushi was in agony, she writhed uncomfortably as the pressure got to her, and to top it all, the little one also got antsy and began kicking in earnest, Khushi was near tears, her Devi Maiyya kuch karo, hume yahaan se nikaalo, I don’t want to be the one to wet the sofa! Let that be our child’s prerogative! Please Devi Maiyya please; Hey DM will the labor pains be worse than this! Could anything be worse! Dammit Arnav, can’t you feel my pain, where are you when I need you most! She gritted her teeth and bore it as well as she could.
The door swung open, Khushi closed her eyes, she didn’t care if it was HP, she was willing to embrace him, please anyone DM anyone who can pull me up, please! She opened her eyes with trepidation, please let it be Arnav, she hastily amended, “ARNAV!!!” she screeched.
He dashed across the hallway in terror, “Khushiiii, kya hua?”
“Hurrrrryyy, pull me up JALDIIII” she huffed agitatedly; her control all but slipping as her visions of the desired destination was no longer a distant mirage.
Arnav immediately pulled her up and held her, almost out of his mind with worry, “Khushi kya…”
“Nani se poochiye!” Khushi pushed him away with all her might and waddled off swiftly almost running in her haste to reach the washroom, looking alarmingly like a duck being chased by a wolf.
Phew! The relief was no less than after delivery!
She came out relieved and exhausted with all that stress and excitement, Arnav stood outside looking extremely worried, he took one look at her sheepish expression and burst out laughing, she punched him, “Khabardaar, I will tie you to a chair, make you drink gallons of water and then punch you in your stomach, phir dekhte hain ki aap hanste hai ki rote hai!”
Arnav hurriedly straightened his expression, “Oh I am sorry Khushi,” then burst out laughing again, Khushi punched him again and then giggled weakly against his shoulder, though she couldn’t stop the shudder that passed through her body as she recalled her unfortunate and agonizing predicament just a few moments ago, “Aisa tumhare saath hi kyon hota hai Khushi,” Arnav held her close, he did understand, but she had looked funny charging off like that!
Khushi dolefully nodded her head, “Haan hume bhi pata nahi, aisa humare saath hi kyon hota hai!”
After that incident, Khushi refused to sit on the sofa even if Arnav was around, hence a stiff sturdy chair was kept for Khushi on which she now sat as she talked of this and that with Nani.
Very casually Khushi asked her, “Naniji, upar kya chal raha hai?”
“Upar?” Nani too was all at sea as she looked at the ceiling, “Kuch bhi toh naahi, oh oo chipkali?”
Khushi closed her eyes, praying for patience, even as she tried to convince herself, Nani too wouldn’t be pretending would she, “Nahi Naniji hum apne kamre ki baath kar rahein hain.”
“Achcha oo! Humka naahi maloom,” Nani hurriedly called out, “HP! Sab taiyyarian hui gayee ka achchar ke liye? Hum awat hain,” Nani quickly left the lobby, while Khushi stared after the frustrated. She spied a brightly colored object on the sofa tucked away in a corner, curious she got up to investigate, it was Ankit’s sipper, what was it doing here? She wondered, had Di come here today? Why hadn’t Nani mentioned it? Just then the phone rang, “Nani,” said Anjali before Khushi could say hello, “Nani I think I left Ankit sipper somewhere there today…”
“Haan Di,” Khushi cut in, “I found it in one corner of the sofa, I will keep it safely.”
There was silence at the other end, “Oh Khushi, you are home early today?” Anjali was taken aback.
“Haan Di, I came back early, Ramiya ne zabardasti ghar bhej diya, if I had known you were coming, I would have come back home even earlier,” Khushi said.
“Haan,” Anjali fumbled, “I would have told you but I dropped in only for a short while, Nani wanted to discuss something about the function, so I just dropped by, ok bye,” she hurriedly disconnected.
Khushi looked thoughtfully at the now silent telephone; stop imagining things Khushi, possibly Di had come to discuss and plan for the event or even to decide what to gift her, and that also they would like to keep it as a surprise for her, not that they are trying to hide what is going on upstairs! Arnav was right, the water pipe must have burst and the damage must have been considerable that is why it was taking so long, she smacked herself, kuch zyadaa hi expect kar leti hai Khushi, kya socha tha, humara liye dus din main upar mehel banwayenge kya, waise bhi mehel se kuch kam hai kya yeh ghar, Khushi muttered angry with herself for cooking up khayali pulao. But then why would Arnav keep going upstairs to check on their room. Whenever she met him, he was either going up or coming down the stairs! Kya chakkar hai! Curiosity almost killed Khushi, but she held on grimly, after all ASR ke kasam ki baat thi.
The days passed agonizingly slowly, specially for Khushi, each day she felt more awkward and ungainly, her feet were swollen, her back was aching and worst of it all, she couldn’t sleep, not just because she was uncomfortable, but that the frequent trips to the washroom were very disturbing, and whenever she woke up, she would feel hungry and she simply had to eat something. Arnav would often wake up in the middle of the night and peer in the darkness to find Khushi chomping away on a bowl of pasta or curd rice or whatever had taken her fancy that day. Initially he had leapt up in surprise and concern, but then later, as it became a common occurrence, he would just pull the cushion over his head, roll over and go back to sleep, muttering “Crazy woman”.
Office woes also kept her awake at nights, how would she manage later? She had stopped accepting any new requests and had finally managed to devise a makeshift plan (with the help of Arnav’s helpful suggestions) but the success of this plan had yet to be tested on ground. She needed to put her plan in action soon. She sighed and crossed her fingers and attempted to snatch a few winks, before it was time to visit the washroom again.
However, the knowledge that her Jiji, Yash, Amma and Babuji would soon be with her gave her strength and kept up her spirits. She excitedly counted days and cut them off on a calendar in their room. Arnav teased her at her obvious excitement; Khushi pouted and said huffly, “Aapko kya faraq padta hai?”
“Koi farq nahi padta,” Arnav shrugged uncaringly, then he grinned, “But you are behaving just like a little baby! I can’t believe you are going to have a baby yourself!”
Khushi blushed adorably as he pulled her into a fierce hug.
Here’s the penultimate chapter on Sonu and Lovely: Unanswered Questions
Click here for Chapter 145