“Of course Khushi,” ASR held her hand, “That is why I am here.”
Her eyes flickered, “Par aise kab tak chalega? Suppose I am sick like this for the rest of my term? You please go to office; at least I will feel things are somewhat normal. I feel so guilty at keeping you away from work,” she made a face, “Hum bhi ajeeb hain, na hum khud kuch kaam kar pa rahe hain, aur na aap ko karne de rahe hain!” She smiled cajolingly, “Aur aap office jaa hi rahe hain toh, AKC bhi ek baar hote huye chale jaaiye? Hume bhi tassallee ho jayegi,” she pleaded as she mentally crossed her fingers.
“But Khushi,” Arnav was determined to support her, “Don’t worry about me, main theek hoon, main manage kar raha hoon na?”
Khushi rolled her eyes, “Haan dikh raha hai, tabhi toh saara time phone par chillate rehte hain! Office main toh aisa nahi karte the aap? Of course you used to yell at me and Aman always but the rest were usually spared; Ab toh kisiko bhi nahi chhodte! Client ko bhi nahi! Aise kab tak chalega Arnav?”
Arnav looked away and opened his mouth to repudiate her observations but Khushi raised her hand and said weakly, “Humari baat maaniya, aap office jaaiye, waise bhi I can’t get a moment’s peace because of your shouting,” she made face and looked at him under her lashes, “I feel as if you are scolding me, blaming me,” she again raised her hand and said, “Humari baat khatam nahi hui hai,” she closed her eyes and took a moment to catch her breath.
Arnav grimaced angrily as he looked at her, something he avoided these days; damn she was so pale and scrawny. She was probably thinner than she was before Devansh. She didn’t even have the strength to have a conversation with him, he couldn’t bear to see her like this; grudgingly he accepted that perhaps she wasn’t so wrong after all, he was subconsciously blaming her, yelling at her for allowing this situation to arise. But he couldn’t leave her and go to office like this, could he? Suppose she fell down and hurt herself, no one would know, everyone was busy in their own tasks. You are also busy in your telecons and office work, he jeered himself, he sighed maybe he should employ a nurse. In fact pehle hi kar lena chahiye tha!
“Arnav,” she finally spoke, “don’t worry about me, I talked to Amma, she will be coming and staying till however long it is required, ab toh theek hai na?”
Arnav nodded relieved, yes that would solve a lot of problems. In fact that was the best possible course of action under the circumstances. At least this way he couldn’t actually see her pale, wan exhausted face and nor did he get to know about the actual number of bouts of retching she had, so from his relatively cocooned castle he could at least call her up, speak to her in soft soothing comforting tones and in return she was spared the waves of anger that she could very well do without. Moreover, Garima’s presence was of immense support and strength for all RMians in more ways than one.
As Khushi’s pregnancy progressed, she continued to have a poor appetite even though her bouts of nausea and vomiting decreased significantly. Worried about her Arnav brought GGs and jalebis for her hoping and hope to tickle her taste buds. As expected,
Khushi was over the moon, “itne saal ho gaye! Haaiiii thoda meetha thoda khatta, thoda theeka, haiiii!” she drooled as she inhaled the irresistible aroma; but the acid test was still pending.
“Bas ek khana Khushi,” cautioned Arnav, afraid that his plan would backfire, this stuff was highly dangerous but then kuch bhi toh nahi kha rahi hai, shayad yehi kha le.
Khushi pouted, “Ek se kya hoga? Hum toh bahut saara khayenge,” she declared and went back to drooling.
Arnav rolled his eyes and pushed her away from the table, “Wahan beitho, pehle ek toh hajam kar lo! Phir dekhte hain, aisa na ho lene ke dene padh jaai.”
He made one and brought it over to her, she pouted and opened her mouth wide enough to accommodate the GG, yet the juice dripped over, he hurriedly brushed it away with his palm, she stared at him, her life full and rich with the goodness of life, moonh main GG, plate par jalebi, pairon par Devansh with his bus full of animals, one more on the way and here Arnav was looking down at her with such love in his eyes that her heart went dhak dhak, bas aur kya chahiye!
Unable to resist, she got up from the chair and slid her arms around his neck and hugged him, her heart overflowing with love.
Unlike Devansh, the GGs and the jalebis were a great hit with the ‘ aanewala mehman’ and Khushi was soon gorging on them to her heart’s content, after all almost do saal ka quota jo hajam karna tha!
Arnav heaved a sigh of relief as things settled down after the first trimester, her appetite improved, her BP stabilized and she acquired that special glow only a pregnant woman can hope to achieve. Arnav was totally mesmerized and could often be caught staring besotted at his own and very pregnant wife, much to the amusement of Nani and Di. Even Poo noticed and sighed enviously. Garima went back to Lucknow, promising to be back at the first phone call.
At the insistence of Khushi (but not that he minded), Arnav would make sure to devote at least an hour or so to Devansh. As Khushi put it, “Hum toh zyaada waqt nahi bita pa rahe uske saath, kam se kam aap toh kuch waqt usko de sakte hain?”
Giving in to Khushi’s request, ASR made sure to spend some time with his son, usually mornings. And since he was older and could understand spoken language quite well it was no chore at all. In fact Arnav enjoyed these interactions very much and ended up being his stress-busters for the day.
Devansh was a huge connoisseur of vehicles. And all he needed to entertain himself was a box with wheels. He had huge basket full of toys, most of which were cars, trucks buses and he never tired of admiring them or playing with them. Often Arnav returned from office to find the edges of their bed neatly lined with his cars and would scream in protest if even one was dislodged from there. Arnav rolled his eyes and went down on his knees to extricate the truck from under the bed, he heard a shuffle a chortle and the inevitable, Devansh had jumped on to his back and was urging him to trot!
Arnav sighed in resignation and crawled on all fours carrying Devansh on his back while Khushi fell about laughing, “Arnav…. Singh…..Raizada….teen naam wala rakshash ka kya haal bana diya Guddu ne!!!” she hugged and kissed him, “Thank you thank you thank you!!!” she chanted gleefully.
Arnav got up lithely to his feet and said ruefully, “Bahut mazaa aa raha hai na?”
Khushi cuddled Devansh and shrugged her shoulders, “I can’t deny it, mazaa toh mujhe aa raha hai,” she pouted mischievously, “Hume bhi beithna hai ghoda par.”
Arnav sank down on the recliner and pulled both of them onto his lap and murmured threateningly, “Be careful of what you ask for, you may get it!”
Khushi blushed and made to get up but he held her down till the referee blew his whistle.
Click here for Chapter 205