The next few days passed in a happy blur. Di had called them over for lunch, after a gap of one day to allow Khushi to recover from the exertion and Payal and all to settle down as if they had never left RM.
Besides Mamiji was bherry bherry biji, all her frands were dyingwa to see her, touch her shoulderwa which she had brushed with Barun Sobti the new super hit star of 22 Yards, while at the Dadar sabji mandi, yes he was buying karela and mangoes, green ones; ooo yes bherry isshsmart young man, just like Arnawbitwa.
Sallu bhai? Oo haan she met him everyday while jogging at the beach and at the gym she often banged into Duggu, haan haan they were on firsht name calling terms, he called her Mano, very sweet buoy.
Female stars? Mamiji shrugged unconcernedly, who cares, they came and went but they were all so jealouswa of her and her beauty and popularity ki poocho mat, she trilled and fluttered her suddenly extra long lashes.
Her friends gazed at her enviously, Mano had indeed become very issmart since her move to Mumbai and had lost a lot of weight, visits to the beach and gym had paid off and could very well believe that she hardly wore her sarees these days, they looked at each other, hmm Mumbai jaanake padi, not to see the stars but to see Mano in her full Mumbaikar avatar.
Mamaji and Babuji got along like a house on fire and spent hours chatting about Lucknow. Arnav too made an effort to get to know his FIL and ended up having possibly the longest ever conversation with his FIL, “Aap kaise hain?” he asked formally.
He smiled and raised his eyes heavenwards, “Devi Maiyya ke kripa se sab theek hai bitwa,” he hesitated and continued gruffly, “Aur aap ne jo kiya uske baare main hum kya….”
“Maine? Maine kya kiya, woh toh Khushi ne kiya jo bhi kiya,” Arnav cut in embarrassed.
Shashee nodded his head, “Haan par, without your cooperation and support…”
Arnav shuffled his feet, feeling awkward, “Please dont make a mountain out of a molehill, waise bhi…..”
“Waise bhi, he didn’t have any choice did he,” Khushi butted in at his elbow, eyes twinkling mischievously; they both turned to look at her glowing face, it was difficult to say who was more relieved! Arnav clutched the lifeline thrown at him, “Exactly my point, main yehi toh samjhane ki koshish kar raha tha tumhare Babuji ko.”
Khushi hugged her father’s arm and said with an impish look, “Haan Babuji yeh sahi toh keh rahe hain, sab gun point par kiya hai, kyon?” she waggled her eyebrows at Arnav.
Shashee shook his head admonishing at her, “Careful son,” warned Shashee, “She is quite a handful, iske dimag main kya chalta hai pata hi nahi chalta kisiko.”
Arnav looked at Khushi, “Yeah she is a handful alright,” he murmured softly while she blushed at the look in his eyes, she hastily looked away as he murmured only for her ears “And indeed who knows better?”
Unaware of the by-play, Shashee continued reminiscing, “Once when Khushi was about 6 years of age and there was family get-together, the electricity had gone off and we were all sitting together and talking of this and that we were talking about space, asteroids, meteorites and then somebody spoke of a news item of the prediction that soon within a decade or so there will be a big collision and the whole world would go up in flames and the planet earth would be destroyed, nobody would survive. The girls were listening wide-eyed, when Khushi suddenly burst into tears! All of us were surprised and Jiji tried to explain to her that the world would end in an instant nobody would even have any time to feel pain or sorrow and besides it was all conjecture etc etc,” Shashee narrated the long forgotten incident.
“Haan par Sanka Devi sune tab na,” Buaji cut in, “Aiin Khusi yaad hai tumko?”
Khushi shook her head, “Nahi Buaji, kuch bhi yaad nahi hai.”
“Hume yaad hai,” Payal spoke up softly, “Khushi roye ja rahi thi aur sab ne bahut poocha kya hua Khushi, phir thodi der baad subakti hui boli, ‘Hum kya khayenge!!!?”
“But if nobody was alive, the question of eating doesn’t arise does it?” Anya joined in the conversation.
“Exactly! But try telling that to your Bua,” Khsitij added his two bit, “Even I remember that evening!”
Under attack from all quarters, Khushi pouted and said, “I am sure I must have had a reason for my worry,” she defended herself.
“Yes of course you did little sister,” Khsitij mocked her, “After a lot of coaxing and questioning it became clear that a panditji had read Khushi’s hand and predicted that Khushi would live up to a 100 years of age and so what if the world was going to end, Khushi would definitely survive and then what would Khushi eat?!!!”
The gathered crowd cracked up while Khushi smiled embarrassed, Arnav mock reprimanded her, “Kya Khushi, the world would end, everybody would die and all you are concerned about is what you would eat! Chi chi,” he shook his head mournfully.
“Haan haan Chotte, aap zyaada mat boliye,” Anjali spoke up in defense of her beloved SIL, “Aap ki bhi kai kisse hain humare paas, hain na Nani?” she twinkled, Khushi jumped up, “Haan Di sunaiye na,” she pleaded while Arnav looked on ruefully.
“Pata hai Khushi, Chotte as a child was very fond of non-veg and we had gone to Chachi’s house for a couple of days who is a strict vegetarian and after one day of ghas-phoos Chotte had had it and he nagged Mamma for non-veg.” Anjali shook her head and smiled at the memory, “Yaad hai Chotte?” she asked him, he nodded his head, a bit embarrassed, she laughed delightedly and continued, “Mamma was at her tethers end, where could she get non-veg for Chotte, apna ghar thodi na hai, when reason and cajoling didn’t work, she snapped at him, ‘eat me up!’He was silent for a while and then said, ‘But then who will cook?!!!”
It was difficult to say who laughed the loudest, but Khushi was almost on the verge of having labor pains, “Kam se kam hum apne khana ko lekar pareshan the, aap toh apni mamma koi hi khane ko raazi the!”
Seeing his wife and sister laughing up at him, he hugged them both while Khsitij clicked another priceless photograph.
To set the record straight the above two are true incidents 😛
Click here for Chapter 154