Khushi was really mad at Arnav, ‘inhuman practice’! aisa kya kar diya humne! Jaise hum koi kahaniyon wali sautela amma hain hum! Samajhte kya hai apne aap ko? Aur AKC ka kya? Kabhi kehte hain, AKC ko neglect kar rahi ho aur ab woh tumhara problem hai! Laad governor kahin ke! She seethed.
The next morning, Arnav had just finished his cup of tea after returning from his jog and was busy reading the newspaper, when Khushi came and put Devansh on his lap, “Isse zara dekhiya, hum tab tak kuch kaam kar lete hain,” she picked up her laptop and disappeared before he could say a word.
Arnav looked at his morning paper, crushed and mangled beyond repair as Devansh attacked it with gusto. He chortled triumphantly as tiny pieces came off and floated away. Arnav sighed and coped as best as he could, which was for perhaps 15 minutes.
Devansh became restless, he had finished with the paper, which was in tatters, oh ok, that corner fine, let’s be done with that as well, so maybe 20 minutes.
Bas that was the limit of both Chota and Bada LG, they had both had enough of each other. For one, the world called, while for the latter, office and the washroom called. When the call of nature could not be ignored any longer, Arnav secured the doors and dumped Devansh in the walker and placed him near the bed with his toys and vanished. Devansh played happily, for a few minutes then he got lonely or realized that he was alone. He was insulted, humiliated, who dare leave him alone! He opened his mouth and howled and howled. When Arnav was in a position to come out, he came out frazzled and irritated, bother! He should have called Shakuntala to at least take him out to the garden till he got ready. But she would be making his breakfast and Nani was probably doing her Puja. Now what? He still had to bathe, oh well, since Devansh was happy to see him and was chattering quietly, Arnav picked him up, walker and all and took him to the washroom so that he didn’t feel lonely and left out.
But then Arnav got more than he was prepared for.
Arnav had a very uncomfortable bath, reminiscent of his infamous experience by the ‘handpump’ while at GH with people milling about him. But at least over there he hadn’t known about it until it was too late and to give credit to passerby’s they were quite blasé about it and hadn’t paid much attention to him. And besides that day he was more angry than embarrassed.
But today Arnav felt strangely embarrassed as Devansh stared silently at him during his bath, not a peep out of him, not even a blink perhaps a bit of re-positioning to get a better view!
Arnav discovered that it was actually quite disconcerting to be the unabashed centre of attention while he bathed even if it were just a baby! In fact when ASR felt very uncomfortable and turned his back, Devansh protested loud and strong. Arnav knew it was foolish but Devansh didn’t seem like an innocent bystander as he seemed to be avidly drinking in the scene before him as if he had plans to make a live report very soon! Arnav gave up; he turned around and finally had his bath sitting down. Devansh was thoroughly mesmerized by the view and was most disappointed when the show ended, “Boooooo boooooo booooooooooooo” he moaned.
“Yahan kya chal raha hai,” Khushi pushed open the door, just as Arnav picked a towel, wearing only a sheepish expression, Khushi quickly shut the door, but Arnav could clearly hear her muffled laughter through the door. He came out with Devansh, ready to give her an earful but Khushi had made herself scarce, her point made, her objective achieved.
He finally managed to locate her, “Khushiii” he blasted her, “Yahan kya kar rahi ho, I am getting late, pata hai na office jana hai?!”
“Haan,” Khushi shrugged nonchalantly, “Pata hai, par kya karein hume bhi kaam hai, aur aapka beta hai, jaise marzee sambhaliye,” she hid her smirk as she fluttered her eyes at him and went back to her laptop.
Arnav sighed frustrated and rolled his eyes, “Khushi, yeh kya bachpana hai…”
“Bachpana nahi, duty, hum toh apna duty poora kar rahein hai,” she smiled sweetly at him, “Aur aap bhi apni duty poora kijiye, aur waise bhi dekhiye na kitna khush hai na aapka beta aapki godi main!”
Arnav sighed irritatedly some more and then dumped Devansh without a word onto Khushi’s lap, clutched his slipping towel and went off to get ready.
Khushi giggled and looked at her son; she scolded him, “Kya hua, badi jaldi thi amma ke paas aane ki, thodi der aur ruk jaate babuji ke paas?” She winked at him, “Kyon nahate hue kaise lage babuji?”
“Gaaagaaaaa gaaaaa gaaaaaaa,” went a very impressed Devansh, as he waved his hands excitedly.
“Haan haan pata hai pata hai, ab amma ki bhi kuch tareef kardo? Bolo amma amma amma amma amma.” Khushi coaxed him softly.
“Gooooo gooooo goooooooooo!” obediently copied Devansh. Khushi laughed and cuddled him close.
This routine continued for the next week or so, well not exactly the same.
Arnav resigned himself to baby-sitting Devansh each morning. He realized soon enough it was one thing to entertain him whilst his mother was sitting a couple of paces away and doing so in her absence. His ego wouldn’t let him admit defeat and Devansh wanted his full attention. So that meant no newspaper time; each time Arnav tried to read the paper, Devansh would try to eat it. Ultimately Arnav would give up and they would spend a few pleasant minutes tearing up the paper, somedays if Arnav was lucky, he got to read while Devansh was busy tearing up the classified pages. But Arnav couldn’t bet on it.
When it was time for him to get ready, wise to his son’s depraved and perverted tendencies, Arnav would hand him over to Shakuntala before going for his bath. Shakuntala would then take him for a stroll in the garden which he very much enjoyed, regardless of the vehicle, of course he preferred his own personal limousine but then he was an adjusting good natured baby, happy to give everyone a chance and spread some joy in the process. Needless to say, Shakuntala adored him.
Then came breakfast time, Shakuntala would put Devansh on the floor near the dining table and then go to serve Arnav’s breakfast while HP tried to entertain ‘chotte bhaiyya’. Actually his function was primarily to ensure that Devansh didn’t wander off to places where he wasn’t supposed to go like the Mandir, where he had overturned the (thankfully unlit) diya and even sneaked away a laddoo or two when no one was looking. An investigative committee had been set up and mouse traps set up but with no luck. But the mystery was solved later when crumbs had been found in his left ear. From then onwards, DM too had to ‘adjust’ to a brief hurried offering of the diya and the Prasad which was then immediately whisked away to safer, higher places. DM continued to smile benignly and affectionately.
Devansh loved investigating the kitchen as well, particularly the dustbins and once had fallen into it, in his hurry to check it out before he was summarily banished from the scene.
But no matter how busy Devansh might be in his games or investigations, he kept a strict eye on his dad, he seemed to have lost his mum, he wasn’t about to lose his dad too. The moment Arnav pushed back his chair and stood up, he would be on high alert and would drop whatever he was doing and come rushing to clutch Arnav’s trousers.
Arnav rolled his eyes, “Did you take training from Ankit?!” Uncaring of this aspersion on his originality and individuality, Devansh would tug on ASR’s perfectly creased trousers till he gave in and picked him up. Devansh would then throw his arms around ASR’s neck as if he would never let him go. It was the same story everyday, with minor variations and Arnav always left for the office with a pang, as he detached the tiny fingers from around his neck and bade HP take him out to the garden. No wonder Khushi found it so difficult to leave him, he acknowledged, albeit reluctantly.
Click here for Chapter 197