Today Khushi was in the seventh heaven of delight, as true to their promise, her Amma and all had come over to spend a few days at RM. Her whole family, jiji and Arnav under the same roof! She thanked DM over and over again for showering her blessings on her.
She twisted her fingers and went up to Arnav who was getting ready for the day and slipped her arms under his arms from behind, a bit awkwardly of course, given her condition, “Kya hua, kuch chhaiye?” he turned around as he held her hand, she hesitated and knotted her fingers some more, “Woh…haan…woh…aapne waise hi itna kiya hai, phir aap sochenge iski demands ki list toh badti jaa rahi hai,” Khushi was reluctant to ask but Arnav reassured her, “Oh Khushi, please, jaldi bolo, I am getting late,” he barked impatiently.
Well, not exactly the kind of reassurance that Khushi was seeking and needless to say didn’t inspire much confidence in her, her heart sank, galti humari hai, yeh koi time hai baat karne ka, she castigated herself; she swallowed and smiled, “Haan theek hai, we will talk in the evening, breakfast bhi toh khana hai?” she pulled him and thankfully just then Yash came charging like a whirling helicopter and almost crashed into Khushi distracting ASR.
ASR having reluctantly accepted that kids will be kids (or his latest gaffe was still fresh in his mind), desisted from giving Yash an earful, although he did scoop up Yash and the helicopter buzzed off in the arms of ASR, Khushi smiled and followed sedately and wished again, hey DM, sab ek hi ghar mein nahin reh sakte kya?
It was indeed a pleasure to see RM bursting at the seams, the dining table was loaded with not only goodies, but also people; keen to join in the fun, Di too had landed up early at RM, Anya’s vacations were on and she wanted to maximally utilize her time. Ankit too had come, of course, clutching his sister’s and mother’s hands for moral support. He looked around wide-eyed, so many people still here, talking so loudly too, and that giantess, was she Bheem’s wife? Yes that must be it, but where was her son Ghatotkach, he looked around half fearful, half excited.
To his relief he spied his Mamu coming down the stairs and then frowned, what the! Mamu was carrying ‘bhiyaa’ he dropped all life support and ran off on sturdy legs to reclaim his rightful place in the arms of his ‘Totte’. Ankit clutched hold of ASR’s crisp freshly ironed trousers and let out a loud wail of protest. Arnav bent down and scooped him up too one under each arm, Ankit was all smiles.
But then Arnav was getting late and neither of them were willing to let go and what with Aman calling him hysterically every other minute, there was a crisis of sorts, until Khushi remembered that their gifts were still lying in the baby room; itne din ho gaye muhurat hi nahi nikal raha tha, either Arnav used to be missing or one of the kids, whatever the reason, the upshot was that the gifts still awaited them. Khushi offered Arnav the lifeline, he grabbed it and charged back upstairs and effectively got rid of the two limpets only to fall into the clutches of another limpet (Aman 😉 Kyon aapne kya socha?)
Excited chatter, laughter and gurgles filled the baby room as Arnav deposited the kids, Yash near the train set and Ankit on his lakdi ki kaathi, he gleefully rocked his horse whilst watching his big bro maneuver the train. Khushi watched from the doorway, her eyes wet with tears, Arnav strolled over to her and kissed her wet cheeks. She scolded him with her eyes and nodded her head towards Anya who stood admiring the train set albeit with a lost expression, he rolled his eyes, still a baby after all! “Anya,” he called, “Come here,” he gave her some cash and said, “You are big girl so we weren’t sure what to get for you, buy whatever you like,” he hugged her, “Hey but make sure you ask your mom ok? Otherwise I am sure to get an earful from her!” he rushed off as he was really very late. Anya giggled happily and hugged Khushi.
The days passed in a happy blur, there was so much to talk, laugh and Khushi was pampered to the hilt and she soaked it all up with pleasure, taking immense pleasure in poking her tongue out at her Jiji at all the attention being showered on her. Payal just smiled serenely.
Ankit was rather disappointed, Mami was no longer Mami, there was no place on her lap, she didn’t play hide and seek any more and neither did she tell stories, she hadn’t even talked to him today, he thought dolefully. In fact nobody was paying him any bav, not a very pleasant situation of Ankit who was used to being the center of attention, of course he did get his cheeks pulled in the process, but he could take a few side effects in his stride. He looked carefully at each one in the lobby and zeroed in on ‘Bami’ (badi mami); she was interesting and he was fascinated by her, not like Buaji who gave him the thrills and the chills, besides he had had several near death experiences as she had crushed him in her massive arms, Hidimbaaaa. Ankit walked over to Bami and confidently climbed onto her lap, much to her surprise. Manorama froze in mid-sentence, torn between worry for her bherry bheryy new banarsi saree and flattery, so many people here and Ankit chose her! Tearwas sparkled in her eyej, she felt as if she had been awarded the Filmfare award for the best Mami, she fumbled with her thank you speech, “Dekha Anjali bitiya, kitna issmart hai ee tumhra ladka, kitni achche se logon ko pehchanta hai,” she sniffed into her kerchief. Suddenly an avalanche descended on Mami, it was Yash, unable to bear the thought of anybody else laying claim on his Dadi! Mami reeled under the barrage of awards, (most popular sadasya), she sniffed hurriedly, nahi toh makeupiya touchupiya naahi re-do karika padi!
Ankit sniffed Mami (even gave a couple of sneezes), he gently patted Bami’s chain ki dukaan fascinated by the glittering stuff, Mami was even more flattered, “Yes yes, bitwa, this one for your partnerwa, ok?” she rolled her eyeeej, “Pata naahi shaadi-waadi karoge bhi ya naahi,” she lowered her voice, “Tumko pata hai, tumhre Mamu hi toh,” she faltered as she met her sasuma’s steely eyes, “Kauno baat naahi bitwa, deikho ee tumhre bahu ko, ee Yash ke bahu ko,” she smiled, Nani spoke up, “Aur Anya ka?”
Mami had no choice but to dedicate one to her as well, ‘aisan toh humre liya kuch bachega hi naahi,’ she grumbled to herself.
Arnav watched his Mami from afar with smirk; Khushi came up to him and asked softly, “Kya soch rahe hain?”
He grinned, “I was remembering the day we all went to your place with Shagun for Payal,” he looked her and waited patiently for the bulb to light up, and sure enough she blushed a deep red, “You remember!” she exclaimed horrified, then worried, “Did Mamiji see?”
Arnav shrugged unhelpfully, “I dunno, I could ask her,” he made to move, agitated she clutched his arm and hissed, “Pagal ho gaye hai kya?”
“Oh really!” he raised his eyebrow, “Main pagal hoon, aur yeh tum bol rahee ho,” he burst out laughing, “You’re really crazy you know that! What possessed you to dress up like Mami and then open the door in that get up? Thankfully I was really mad at you so I could control myself, though I have to confess a snicker or two did escape!”
“Haaw,” Khushi was aghast, “Phir toh Mamiji ko bhi pata chal gaya hoga?!” she nibbled her fingers.
“Relax Khushi,” Arnav slipped his arm around her, “I didn’t let her know, in any case she was so ‘bijji in touchupiya of her make up’ that I doubt if she would have noticed anything!”
“And she would have never let me hear the end of it!” Khushi laughed ruefully, she surreptitiously squeezed his hand, “Shukriya.”
Arnav raised his eyebrow questioningly, she smiled mistily at him, “Phir se hume bachane ke liye, you were so angry with me yet you didn’t spill the beans to Mamiji or even the others, Buaji would have had my hide!”
He picked up her hand and dropped a firm kiss on it. “Achcha ab bolo, subah kya bol rahi thi?”
She smiled, “Aap ko yaad hai?”
“Arre bolo na,” he insisted, she hesitated and then said in a rush, “Everyone is here and I wanted to have,” she shot a glance at him, “that is if you are ok with it,” he rolled his eyes impatiently, “I mean I wanted to have a small puja in the baby room,” she looked hopefully at him and since he didn’t look as if he was going to throw a fit, pushed her luck, “Aur agar aap bhi baith jaate humare saath….” She trailed off.
“Ok,” he shrugged, “kab karna hai, let me know.”
Khushi was very very khush and happily organized a small puja for the baby room. Of course she didn’t do anything much, there were so many people at home so she could sit back and enjoy the preparation without getting hassled. It was a unique and rare occasion as Arnav sat next to Khushi for the puja, the first after their wedding and what with the whole family in attendance, Khushi’s cup of joy literally overflowed and she was in tears. Sab kitne khush hain DM, sabko hamesha aise hi rakhna DM. She prayed long and hard to DM, hey DM raksha karna, sab ko khush rakhna, sab ka sehat achcha rakhna, humare bachche ka khas khayal rakhna aur Arnav ka bhi, hey DM aapka aashirwad hamesha iss ghar pe hamesha banaye rakhna, aur haan Arnav ka gussa kam kar dena DM, unke liye itna gussa achcha nahi hai na, aur humare liye bhi nahi! She winked at DM even as she sniffled away.
After the ceremony, as Khushi was resting, Arnav asked her, “Tum theek ho? Why were you crying?”
Khushi smiled as she returned the handkerchief he had offered while she had been crying, “Nahi, hum bahut khush hain, aap puja main humare saath beithe, ghar ke sab log ek saath, kitna achcha lag raha tha hain na?”
He held her hand and kissed it, “Haan Khushi, I can understand, par Khushi, har baat par rona zaroori hai kya?”
Click here for Chapter 155