On these trips to GM, Devansh was accompanied by his new nanny, Punya.
Punya was HP’s niece (her mamaji) and was around twenty years of age. When HP had gotten to know that the Raizada’s were looking for a nanny for Devansh he requested Khushi to employ Punya who lived in the village with her mother. She had been a bright girl and had been good in studies; unfortunately she had unwittingly fallen into bad company. One of them fancied himself to be in love with her and when she spurned his advances, he had thrown acid on her. She had been just sixteen years of age then. Thankfully her face had been spared but one side of her neck and ear was thickened and scarred as was her arm. The culprit had been caught and imprisoned. Although it had been a couple of years since the incident, but the villagers still blamed her for leading a ‘good boy’ astray by her wayward ways. Since the chances of getting her married seemed bleak they thought it best if she could be employed in a decent household, earn money and perhaps learn some skills which would make her self sufficient enough to buy herself male protection in return for the honor of taking care of his needs for the rest of her life.
Punya turned out to be god sent for Khushi. She was totally besotted with Devansh (err perhaps ASR too!) and was soon thick as thieves with him as she whole-heartedly joined in his games of hide and seek and football. And that was enough to endear her to Devansh. Deva could be heard running all over RM calling, “Poo, Poo!” To give Khushi credit she had tried her best to make him call her ‘Punya didi’, but it came out as Poo and Punya loved it (a huge fan of Poo in K3G) so she requested Khushi to let it be. Punya loved Devansh for another reason. Over the years, she had gotten used to people being revolted by the ugliness of her skin and often turned their eyes away and talked in whispers, behind her back. She had learnt to swallow hard and move on with her head held high, while her heart wept with anguish. Even her family members avoided looking at her while speaking. She had withdrawn into her shell and stopped speaking or going out more than was absolutely essential.
Bhabhi and Nani were kind of course (and ‘HE’ so handsome) but Devansh was the one had floored her. He had stared at her, looked her over and reached over to touch her irreparably damaged skin and said with a sad expression, “Oooi!” He scrambled down from Khushi’s lap picked up his ball and kicked it, he looked back at Poo hopefully, “Ball?”
Punya laughed her beautiful tinkling carefree laugh after years as she ran after him. Devansh welcomed Punya into his life as if she had never been away and Punya’s heart overflowed with love and gratitude. Her heart swelled with pride and joy as the corridors of RM echoed with Poo! Poo! Poo! But the best part and possibly the most healing aspect of the whole experience was when she would rock Devansh on her shoulder to sleep, he liked to play with her damaged ear before dozing off into his dream world.
One day, Devansh was cranky and sleepy; he clung to his mum and refused to go to Punya despite her trying several tricks. Finally, a bit self-consciously and desperately (as Bhabhi was looking as if she was going to faint) Punya pointed to her ear and offered it to him and calling him, “Devansh!” Almost, immediately his eyes brightened and he launched himself into her arms without any delay!
This simple gesture brought acceptance to Punya like nothing ever could. In fact, she now wore her burnt scar thickened ear with great pride. And from then onwards she stopped feeling bad about her deformity and was secretly even proud of it.
Khushi now had ample time to devote to AKC (and Arnav, that is if and when he was around!) health permitting of course.
This time, Khushi really had a bad time, especially in the first three months, wherein she had a severe form of morning sickness and lost quite a bit of weight in these months; her BP was also on the lower side and hence often felt woozy and exhausted.
ASR was a model husband and began working from home. But it actually turned out to be counterproductive. He would be in the middle of a conference call, when she would have to rush to throw up, now he could hardly leave his call every other minute or so; (to tenderly hold her and lead her to the washroom and back murmuring lovingly and soothingly all the time 😉 ) Then Shakuntala would be in any case moving in and out of their room, bringing in food and other gharelu nuskhas which Nani thought would help reduce her nausea. It was not quite a comfortable experience for Khushi to be throwing up for the nth time with Shakuntala supporting her and Arnav breathing fire down her neck and muttering, “Aise kab tak chalega?” each time before stomping off to the poolside. Khushi would feel constrained to smile cheerfully and try to eat with Arnav glaring threateningly at her, while all she wanted to do was sink into a black hole and not come out till all this was over. It drew on all Khushi’s nautanki prowess to maintain a façade of wellness when actually things were far worse than she let on.
At other times, when Khushi would be resting, or attempting to catch her breath before the next bout, exhausted and weak; just as she would finally doze off into an uneasy sleep, she would wake with a start, her heart going dhak dhak as ASR lost his temper with some unfortunate fool and yelled his head off. Bas that would be the end of her ‘rest.’
Indeed aisa kab tak chalega!
“Arnav,” Khushi called him and patted the side of her bed; she held his hand, “Aap humare liye ek kaam karenge?”
Click here for Chapter 204