About two years ago continued
Arnav let Khushi take the lead in shopping, going along amicably with her choices, making little or no objections and the expedition could have been easily wrapped up in half an hour or so, but ASR had other plans.
“Oh look Khushi, this hat is really nice!” he plonked a sun hat on Khushi’s head and she did make a pretty picture, even Khushi liked it, so Arnav promptly put it in the shopping cart ignoring Khushi’s protests, “But where will I wear it?”
“Delhi is a very sunny place, wear it here!” Arnav brushed aside her objections.
“Delhi! But nobody in Delhi wears hats!” Khushi objected.
“So?” shrugged Arnav, “Start a new trend, do a world of good, help people keep a cooler head, less headaches, greater employment as more people get into the hat business…”
“Ok ok!” Khushi gave in.
But then not content with buying her a hat, he insisted on buying a pair of flip flop sandals, just like his, saying he would like to think of her as wearing them while he wore them on the beach; Khushi didn’t have the heart to refuse him. And then his demands kept increasing, he insisted that she try on wrap-around skirts, shirts, shorts (!) and even beach wear; Khushi really had no choice, not with the sales-lady looking on indulgently offering fresh selections each time. In between Khushi protested and objected as best as she could, “But why Arnav, I am not going anywhere, why should I take these, where will I wear these, this is so skimpy, what a waste Arnav!” so on and so forth.
Arnav overruled each of her objections neatly ‘Trust me Khushi, this one is nice’, ‘Oh Khushi you look so good in this one!’; ‘You have great legs Khushi’; ‘You can wear this one by the poolside while I walk the beaches,’ ‘you can wear it the next time our seaside visit does materialize’ and of course the unanswerable, ‘not even for me Khushi?’
She sighed; she had ended up buying more clothes than him! Thank DM, he had backed down when she had objected to the beach wear, pretty two pieces with a flowing sarong, she had modeled a couple of them for him but had refused to purchase them, Arnav had shrugged and given in gracefully. But then another problem arose. Khushi baulked at taking all her shopping bags back to RM and answering Mami’s penetrating pointed quostins, “Hum kya bolenge unhe? That I will wear these by the poolside?”
“Hmmm,” Arnav saw the force of her argument, “Give them to me, I will manage, nobody will ask me anything,” he was confident. He dropped her off at AKC, “Go and put your baby to sleep.”
Khushi made a moue even as she went off to check up if everything was to her satisfaction or not, it was already 6 pm and her staff had begun leaving for the day. Those who came in at 6 am left by 2 or 3 pm while the others left later. Today was the first day Khushi had left AKC alone in the hands of Ramiya while she played hookie with her husband. Arnav correctly read Khushi, who was now feeling guilty and antsy about AKC, she needed to see with her own eyes that everything had been cleared up and settled to her satisfaction. To her surprise and relief, she needn’t have worried. AKC was spotlessly clean with all things ready for the next day, exactly as Khushi liked it to be. All the accounts and events for the second half of the day neatly listed out in her diary. Khushi looked at Ramiya affectionately, speculatively and hopefully, maybe, just maybe in the near future she could think of leaving her precious AKC, at least for a few days to go off with Arnav. She sighed, but not this time, it was too early. But she vowed to start training Ramiya to take up the reins in her absence, from tomorrow.
By the time Khushi came back home, Arnav had neatly and efficiently put away their loot, “Kahan rakh diya?” Khushi looked around the bare room in surprise, she had been grateful that he had offered to take the innumerable bags through RM up to their room, but she had been secretly looking forward to admiring her new clothes, maybe try them on again, bask in Arnav’s admiring looks, but there was no ‘namonishan’ of any shopping.
Arnav shrugged, “Oh I put them away, I packed up my stuff and packed yours in a carton and gave it to HP to put it away in the storeroom, there is hardly anyplace in the cupboards as it is, especially not for stuff you are not going to wear anytime soon. Theek kiya na?”
Khushi nodded her head, reluctantly, dismay clearly written on her face, Arnav’s lips curled.
“Aap beach resort par akele rahenge? How will you manage alone for so many days?” Khushi was worried.
Arnav waved his hands, “Oh don’t worry, it is all very well organized. Vishal has employed a couple who look after the resort. They come in each morning do all the work; and besides it will be fun to stay alone after so long, the private beach, can’t wait to chill out in front of the sea,” he sighed in pleasure; the sound tore into Khushi’s heart.
Not content, Arnav tightened the screws further, “Oh I didn’t tell you did I? Just half a mile or so away, their globally popular annual carnival is going to be held, fireworks, shows, Bollywood celebrities, music, dance, all the stuff that you like,” he patted her commiseratingly, “Never mind, even though I am not really into such stuff, I will go and click some pics, perhaps a video or two, theek hai? Oh by the way Khushi don’t be too disturbed if you see any tabloid pictures of me partying away with half dressed females, you know the paparazzi haunt these places as celebrities are often found letting their hair down at such places and someone may just decide to click my pictures, put some fancy heading and splash it all over; but tum toh mujhe jaanti ho na, bharosa hai na mujh par?”
Khushi smiled brightly and nodded her head, but her heart sank even further, ‘hey Devi Maiyya kya hume inke saath jaana chahiye tha?’ galti kar diya kya, itne saare log aur Arnav akele, pata nahi drink main kuch mila diya toh? In parties main toh aisa bahut hota hai, hume inhe akele nahi jaane dena chahiye, par hum kar bhi kya sakte hain, it is too late now, hey DM raksha karna, pleaaase.
She cleared her throat, “Sounds like fun,” she said cautiously, “It would have been nice to go along with you,” she spoke wistfully, Arnav’s heart missed a beat, yessss, she was going to cave in, give in and ask him to take her along! Kaha tha na maine, tum mere saath jaane ke liye zid karogi?
But Khushi was made of sterner stuff, she sighed, “Pucca agli baar hum chalenge aap je saath, aur apna dhyan rakhiyega, no need to go to the carnival for me, I know you don’t like such stuff, rehne dijiye.”
Arnav hid a smile, her jealousy and insecurity balm to his wounded ego, aaaha so his Khushi didn’t have too much ‘bharosa’ did she? He was thoroughly enjoying the game, one-sided though it was and so what if she hadn’t broken yet, hadn’t begged to come along with him, he still had the ace of trumps.
Time to go for the kill. But being ASR, he let her stew for a couple of more days. Besides he was busy, he needed to tie up loose ends, delegate and organize his own office work schedules before he left for his long overdue honeymoon. And he couldn’t wait. If he were Khushi, he would have probably thought he was suffering from too much acidity and dhak dhak, or if he were younger he would have crossed the days off the calendar, but he was ASR. So ASR, on the verge of clinching a deal, contented himself with interacting with Aman without chewing his head off. More importantly, he went about his daily routine with a permanent smile in his heart with just a hint of a glint in his eyes.
Click here for Chapter 167