Anjali couldn’t concentrate on her work. The finality with which he had shown her the door had really shaken her. Why would he do that? It was not at all in keeping with the fun loving easy going teddy bear image she had built of him from Anya’s chatter. In fact he reminded her of a snarling lion annoyed at having his territory encroached.
Khushi came in to Anjali office and noticed the drooping shoulders, “Kya hua Di?”
Anjali poured out her travails to Khushi. As she narrated her run in with Anya’s father, Khushi nodded her head and said, “His response totally makes sense! He feels both threatened and guilty; threatened by his daughter’s obvious love for you and guilt at not being there when Anya needed him most. “Men”, Khushi shook her head, “They are such egoists and to top it all they refuse to admit they need help. And when help is offered, it is considered a direct insult to their ego and a stark and unacceptable reminder that they are unable to manage on their own. Unable to accept their own inadequacies they attack the very person who dared show the mirror. And they called women complicated.” She snorted.
“Don’t worry about him Di”, Khushi continued. “How does it matter what he thinks? Anya will soon be fine and you can go back to meeting her at the park. Just forget her dad. Um Di actually I came to tell you that Arnav is going to Nanital on a trip for a couple of days and he wants me to accompany him.”
Anjali was all smiles and encouraging, “That is a wonderful idea Khushi. You should go; you haven’t even had a honeymoon yet; consider this a mini honeymoon, I am sure you both will have great fun.”
Khushi made a moue, “Fun! Aur uss Laad Governor ke saath?!” She coughed. “Di, actually I need some help from you.”
That evening Arnav came back from office and saw Khushi packing her stuff. He came and hugged her from behind, “So you finally decided to come along with me tomorrow, can’t keep away from me for even a few days eh?”
Khushi turned in his arms, “Ji nahi, I wanted to come along but I can’t.”
Arnav dropped his arms from around her, “Can’t!!!, What do you mean Khushi?”
Khushi took his arms placatingly, “What happened, can’t stay away from me for even a few days eh?” She waggled her eyes at him.
Arnav looked at her resignedly, “Achcha toh you were pulling my leg?”
Khushi shook her head sadly, “Nahi, I really can’t come. You remember I wanted to do that diploma in catering? I just got to know the last date for submission of applications is tomorrow, so I can’t come along with you.”
“But why are you packing your stuff” said Arnav.
“Oh that, actually woh, woh, I couldn’t… I don’t want to stay without you and I was missing Amma Babuji, so I thought I would go and spend a couple of days with them while you are away. And since they are going to the temple very early morning tomorrow, I thought I would go tonight and accompany them to the mandir as well.” Khushi said glibly.
Arnav was annoyed and disappointed, “Why didn’t you check the last date earlier, suppose you had missed the last date; what do you do the whole day? You don’t seem to be serious about this business of yours.”
Cut by his unjust accusations Khushi opened her mouth to retaliate, then closed it and held her ears, “Sorry, will be more serious,” she said meekly.
Arnav grimaced and walked out to the poolside, “Tell me when you are ready, I will drop you.”
“Nahi nahi”, Khushi followed him, “there is no need for that, I know you want to leave early tomorrow morning and I plan to go after dinner. Jijjaji will drop me as jiji also wants to meet Amma Babuji.”
“Okay” said Arnav and started watering his plants, Khushi sighed and went back to complete her packing and called, “Should I pack for you as well?”
He turned and saw her lugging his suitcase onto the bed; he dropped the watering can and came charging, “Khushi leave my bag alone; I can manage, in fact I have already packed my stuff.”
Khushi moved away a bit taken aback by his aggressive reaction.
After dinner, Arnav disappeared to his room and Khushi came hesitantly and said, “Ok then bye, I am going, have a safe trip.”
Arnav curtly nodded his head and busied himself with the laptop.
Khushi bit her lip and carried her suitcase to Di’s room where Aakash and Payal were waiting.
Arnav got up early the next morning as he intended to beat the morning traffic rush. He now wished he had called the driver. Initially as he was expecting Khushi to accompany him he had planned on driving down himself. In fact the meeting was scheduled for the next day, but he had opted to leave a day earlier as he wished to spend some time with Khushi, he specially wanted to relive their last trip. But all because of some stupid course, he would have to spend one whole day in idyllic surroundings, alone. Trust Khushi to mess up his plans, he snorted angrily.
Aggressively he pressed the clutch and put the car into gear and slid out of RM gates. He stepped on the accelerator and he swiftly left behind the roads of Delhi. After about half an hour or so, his phone rang, it was Khushi.
“Good morning Arnav, where are you?” Khushi asked.
“Kyon, tumko kya faraq padta hai?” He snapped, still annoyed with her.
“What are you saying ‘Arnavji’, of course faraq padta hai dammit,” Khushi teased.
“Drop it Khushi, I am in no mood, go fill your form,” he said curtly.
“Arre, what happened to your mood? And what form? Achcha woh….that I have already filled and in fact I have got admission and have to join classes from next Monday. That is what I have been doing the whole of last week, completing the formalities.” Khushi blandly informed him.
“WHAT!” Tum ne mujhse jhoot bola, but why? If you didn’t want to come along with me you should have said so, rather than cook up a story; you know I don’t like all this underhand roundabout stuff,” snarled Arnav angrier than before.
“Achcha chodiye, I have a surprise for you….”
“I am not interested in any surprise from you.” Arnav angrily disconnected the phone.
Click here for Chapter 19