Days passed happily enough with only one grouse, there was absolutely no time. Khushi felt as if she were forever running, running to AKC, running home and that she was always late for everything, guilt gnawed at her, she was neglecting Devansh (while at AKC), neglecting AKC (while at home) and of course neglecting Arnav, no matter where she was. Her earlier morning time with Arnav had been done away with and if he was late in coming back from office, she missed those precious moments with him in the evenings and by night she was too exhausted, to do much more than just sleep off in his arms. Yes Arnav had insisted she stick to her deal and Devansh slept in his room; well most of the time, and on most days.
But kya karein, a day had only 24 hours and she was only a mere human, even though Khushi did believe she was blessed with superhuman powers and could be everywhere and do justice to everything, if only she tried a bit harder. And sometimes, trying a bit too hard, or making too many extra efforts can backfire, just as it did for Khushi. Taking care of so many things at a time, somethings are bound to slip, a tiny bit of carelessness; taking the shortcut, a simple oversight can have long term and far reaching irrevocable consequences.
Khushi’s enthusiasm and spirit were flagging, she felt as if she couldn’t cope anymore. The more she did, the more everyone expected of her, AKC demanded more than a cursory look, no matter where she turned her gaze there were decisions to be taken, problems to be handled. At home too, it was the same story, when she returned home, Devansh would be waiting for her impatiently; he demanded her full attention and cooperation in his favorite game, football. Now that he had started walking, actually running, he wanted to play with his mum. In fact even when Ankit came over, both wanted her to join in as well and there were loud protests if she just shuffled and pretended to be playing, she would sigh and join in wholeheartedly, loathe to disappoint them.
And of course ASR couldn’t stand the sight of a pale drooping Khushi and woe betide if he caught her with looking anything less fresh as a nosegay; there would be hell to pay and a long lecture to boot. The moment she spied Arnav, she would hurriedly straighten her back, perk up her expression and attempt to look as bright and chirpy as was possible under the circumstances.
“Khushi,” he came up behind her as she sat on the recliner, swinging Devansh on her feet like a human see-saw, “I think you should keep another help, maybe a young girl who could help you in taking care of Devansh. She could play with him, keep him busy. All this is too much for you.”
Hot tears pricked her eyes, she hastily blinked them away and smiled at him, “Nahi hum theek hai, waise bhi Devansh is no bother, I love to play with him and wouldn’t want to miss out on this time with him, not for anything in the world,” she swore.
Arnav shrugged helplessly, “Soch lo, I still think you should consider it; waise bhi it takes time and luck to find good help and train one. Devansh is only going to get more and more boisterous, kitna bhagogi uske saath?”
“Achcha hai na!” Khushi laughed, “Gym ke paise bach jayenge!”
Arnav rolled his eyes and turned on his heel muttering, “Crazy woman.”
But Khushi wavered, he was right, she rubbed her aching back, it was getting too much and it wouldn’t hurt to have somebody who would just be there for Devansh, then perhaps she wouldn’t feel so guilty about leaving him to his resources or bothering Nani. If she felt upto it, she could always play with Devansh or keep him company. But, at this rate, she admitted rather reluctantly to herself for the first time, she would fall sick. She brightened, yes that must be it, she must be coming down with some viral fever or something, after all it was season change time. Winter was just around the corner and the mornings were chilly, Guddu had started wearing his woollies but she hadn’t yet taken out her warm clothes, she must have caught some infection and that is why she felt so exhausted, so depressed, so irritable, so sick and dizzy all the time.
Chalo the weekend was just around the corner, at least AKC toh jaana nahi padega, but then Arnav had invited some foreign clients home for dinner so that meant the weekend would be dedicated to Sunday’s dinner. As expected, the weekend was a hectic blur of preparations and even Devansh was deprived his ‘amma time’ and she of a precious helper in the kitchen as HP and Shakuntala took turns to entertain and keep Devansh company.
Only Khushi knew how she managed to serve up a mindblowing fingerlicking traditional Lucknowi dinner, all cooked by her. The guests were properly impressed and all the praise, especially the warm appreciative glint in Arnav’s eyes, more than made up for her exhaustion to the point of collapse. She smiled happily, feeling a bit dazed.
She spent a restless night, feeling sick and dizzy even while lying down. She managed to doze off into an uneasy sleep in the early hours of the morning and was still sleeping when Arnav went for his jog. He looked down at her pale face tenderly and left without waking her. She woke with a start as Arnav came back, she took a look at the clock and stood up with a jerk “Hey Devi Maiyya, itna late ho gaya!” She swayed dangerously and fainted, in Arnav’s arms, “Khushiiiii!”
Arnav hurriedly picked up Khushi and laid her on the bed, he sprinkled some water on her and shook her gently, she moaned as she came back to consciousness, “Shhhh,” a relieved Arnav pushed her back on the pillows and called up the doctor. Devansh started wailing from his cot in the next room and Khushi struggled to get up, but Arnav barked at her and she subsided gratefully. He rang the bell for Shakuntala and handed Devansh to her; he instructed her to bring up the doctor when he arrived. Nani too was very worried and bade her take rest and assured her that she would take care of Devansh.
The doctor found her BP to be low and advised her fluids and rest for a couple of days and if the symptoms persisted or there were any further developments, such as fever, he would prescribe medicines and recommend further tests.
Taking matters into his hands, ASR made arrangements with a domestic help agency to send a suitable female over to RM at the earliest possible. It was all for the best, Khushi thought hazily as she lay on the bed listening to Arnav speak tersely on the phone, Devi Maiyya forced me to take a decision, I do need another full time helping hand for Devansh, he was really a handful and so fond of hide and seek too. I am exhausted trying to keep pace with him. Waise bhi Arnav sahi kehte hain, hum sab kuch akele nahi kar sakte, she dozed off.
“Khushi,” Arnav spoke softly as he woke her and helped her sit up, “Here have some of this soup, you will feel better.”
Khushi nodded her head and accepted the bowl of soup, but a wave of nausea hit her. She clamped down on it, kal raat se kuch bhi nahi khaya tabhi yeh haal hai, kuch kha le Khushi, nahi toh yeh Laad Governor tujhe kachcha kha jayega. Feeling terribly queasy, Khushi managed to gulp down a few spoons. But then the urge became uncontrollable, she hurriedly dumping the soup bowl on the side table and rushed to the washroom to throw up.
Click here for Chapter 199