He walked in a daze to the room and halted at the door to drink in the scene before him. Khushi lay on the bed, propped up on pillows holding their precious bundle, an amazing feeling of tenderness and a fierce protectiveness gripped him, his family! Could there be anything more precious, was there anybody more blessed than him! Khushi looked up and caught his eyes, he stared at her unable to move or speak. Di came forward and pulled him near Khushi, he swallowed; Di smiled affectionately, her eyes too sparkling with tears, she cupped his face lovingly and then put her arm around Nani and gently led her outside the room, giving them their much needed moment of privacy.
Swept away by emotions, Arnav stood there staring at his beautiful family, Khushi carefully disengaged her hand from under the baby and held out her hand to him, her face mirroring his emotions; gratefully he clutched her hand as one would a lifeline, and sank down beside her on the bed, his throat muscles worked frantically, finally he burst out gruffly, “Tum theek ho?”
Khushi squeezed his hands reassuringly even as she scolded him, “Yehi kehna hai aapko?” she motioned proudly to their baby with her expressive eyes.
He looked at the first tangible outcome of the ‘biggest deal’ of his life, he hesitantly raised his hand and ran his finger gently down the downy cheeks, barely noticing that his hand was shaking, he was so little, yet so perfectly formed, his fists were clutched tightly closed, a boxer eh, he slipped his finger inside the fist and the tiny fingers complete with translucent nails instantly clutched his heart. He opened his mouth but no words came out, he looked away and attempted to get a grip on himself, he looked back at Khushi, his lips twisted, “Rehne dijiye,” Khushi spoke softly, “Aapse nahi hoga,” she teased gently.
He stared at his son and back at Khushi and finally whispered, “Thank you Khushi.” Then as if a damn had burst, he gathered them both in his arms, “Thank you Khushi, thank you very very much, main shayad itna khush kabhi bhi nahi hua.”
She leaned away from his gentle embrace to gaze into his eyes, “Hum bhi nahi, hum bhi nahi.”
The RV had just begun to hum softly, when their son let out a long wail of protest, the brand new parents were instantly shaken out of their dream world (the first of many!), “Kya hua!” Khushi rocked him while Arnav hurriedly stood up and watched helplessly, he went out and called in the troops. Apparently relieved that the RV had been switched off, the baby dozed off.
Di picked him up and offered him to ASR, she couldn’t wait to see her baby brother hold his baby, “Nani,” she said, “aapko pata hai, hume lag raha hai ki hum Nani ban gaye hain!” she smiled, “He is beautiful hai na Chotte, looks exactly like you!” Di laughed in happiness, this time Arnav had no problem in agreeing, his ‘ansh’ was indeed the most beautiful baby ever! The round cheeks, the chubby arms, the pink feet, his face scrunched up as the perfectly shaped lips opened in tiny yawn and then he let out a lusty yell. Arnav was fascinated and couldn’t take his eyes off his son. Apprehensively and hesitantly he held out his arms, Di gently deposited his son into his waiting arms, Arnav could almost hear a ‘click’ as everything just seemed to fall in place, he looked up, and Anjali quickly snapped up a pic of his look of besotted wonder. And then of course a disgusted expression crossed Arnav’s face and he hurriedly dumped the baby back to his Di and went off to clean up in the washroom, their laughter following him.
He returned and hung back watching them from afar. Nani came up to him and caressed his cheek, tears running unashamedly down her cheeks, “Humka toh vishwas hi naahi howat hai, humre Chotte ka Chotu,” she buried her face in his shoulder; Arnav slid his arm around her and said gruffly, “Chottu nahi Nani, Devansh, at least usko toh baksh dijiye!” Anjali smiled brightly, “Devansh!” she exclaimed as she too came near her Chotte, “What a lovely name!” Arnav’s lips twisted and he slid his other arm around his Di and gazed adoringly at his wife and son, “Kitne sundar hai na dono,” he murmured as if to himself. Nani and Anjali leaned against him and nodded their heads, too overcome to say anything.
Anjali swallowed and wiped her eyes, “Anya will be so upset, she wanted to be the first one to see the baby!And it is a boy, again!” she laughed, “But since she has been so worried about Khushi and the baby’s well being, I let her go off to school without letting her know that Khushi was in labor, when she gets to know she is bound to be mad and I will surely get an earful,” Anjali sighed as she looked at her now sleeping nephew, and said softly, “But I am sure the moment she sees him, she will forget everything else.”
Unable to control her excitement, Vimla let the cat out of the bag the moment Anya stepped into GM upon returning from school. Bas there was hell to pay! Ek toh ladka and without so much as by her leave, while she was away at school, didn’t she deserve to know, wasn’t she his eldest sister, didn’t she have that much right, why do I have to wait till visiting hours, how come you are there, why not me, so and so forth, she blasted Anjie on the phone, no amount to placation seemed to work, not even when Arnav spoke to her; finally she calmed down when Khushi spoke to her and she heard the baby wail. She jumped up and down in joy, “Ankit! Can you imagine, you are a big bro now! Just like Mamu! Hey Big bro,” she swung him around in excitement, Ankit didn’t much care either way, he was just relieved that his Di was back to her sunny self and thrilled that she was giving him so much attention, he chortled in glee and shouted, “Bibro! Bibro!”
Click here for Chapter 177