In the lobby, Devansh was playing train-train with Poo and wanted his parents to join in too! The ASR bogie quickly derailed itself and got down to breakfast with Nani while Khushi humored her little baby.
Nani smiled affectionately at ASR, “Office ja rahe ho?” rather unnecessarily one might think, “I will meet you tomorrow evening theek hai? I am going to Anjali bitiya’s house this evening with Devansh and Poo (yeah she was now Poo to everybody!).”
Arnav looked at Nani, “Kyon Nani? Udhar sab theek hai na?”
Nani pulled at her pallu and nodded smiling, “Haan Chotte sab theek hai, aise hi, bahut din ho gaye hain aur bachche bhi zidd kar rahe the, aur waisan bhi aaj ka hai, koi angrezi tyohaar hai na, Anjali bitiya aur Khsitij kahin bahar jaana chahat hai, aur kal sabki chutti hai, toh bas iss liye.”
Arnav nodded his head thoughtfully and fingered his new pen, “Khushi!” he called peremptorily, “Enough! Stop it now, bahut ho gaya, itna bhi humor karne ki zaroorat nahi hai, you will feel sick and dizzy,” he pulled the chair next to him, “Come and have your breakfast, then you will say there was no time for breakfast.”
Khushi pulled a face and obeyed her LG’s orders; but she brought Devansh along; for her own peace of mind, she wanted to feed him with her own hand, at least a couple of morsels. Besides, this way she could spend a few more precious moments with him, waise bhi he was going for a night out in the evening, “Kitna bada ho gaye hai mera nanha sa Guddu, hai na Nani?” She kissed and cuddled him.
Nani smiled wisely and said, “Achcha achcha, we will leave only after you come back from AKC theek hai?”
Khushi smiled gratefully at Nani, “Hum jaldi aa jayenge Nani.”
Nani nodded while Arnav’s lips tightened, damn she would be alone at home this evening, “Pichli baat ki tarah HP ko chutti mat de dena,” he said curtly as he left for the day.
Khushi dutifully nodded her head and as she shut the door and murmured softly to the door, “Happy Anniversary Arnav,” she pulled a face and stuck out her tongue, “Laad Governor kahin ke! Pyaar se nahi bol sakte the, ‘Khushi I am worried about you, tum akeli hogi ghar par, apna dhyan rakhna, aur HP ko chutti mat dena theek hai? Main jaldi aane ki koshish karoonga’ Ji nahi bas order karna aata hai,” she frowned at the closed door, “Aur kya pata kya socha Arnav ne! Pucca socha hoga ki humne Nani ko ‘manipulate’ kiya yeh jatane ke liye that I will be alone in the evening and that he should come back home early! Ufff yeh LG bhi na!” she rushed off for a last hug, cuddle, kiss and a bye from Devansh, who was now old enough to happily bid his parents goodbye, well at least on most days.
Arnav had a busy meeting packed day with not a minute to spare. Yet he did manage to find time to make a few personal calls, a couple of them to Nani. He landed up at the Taj for an important business deal at around 4 pm.
He was surprised to find the son Vipul, instead of Mr Tandon waiting for him. ASR was a bit put off for he didn’t have much faith in Vipul’s business dealings and was more accustomed to dealing with Mr Tandon. He frowned; perhaps he could diplomatically postpone the signing of the deal.
Vipul jumped up and greeted ASR with a boyish exuberance, but was also clearly not interested in pursuing the business deal either. He talked of this and that and ASR was getting quite out of patience with the situation when Vipul burst out, “Hey ASR I am sorry dude, didn’t meant to waste your time like this, I am sure you got exotic plans of your own for the evening eh?” he winked at ASR.
ASR looked back blankly at him, “Excuse me?!” he raised his eyebrow.
“Come on man!” Vipul rolled his eyes, “Surely you know about TODAY?” he spread his hands and shrugged exaggeratedly, “Valentine’s day dude! Don’t tell me your wife is not expecting you to roll out the red carpet!”
At ASR’s noncommittal look, Vipul was astounded, “Lucky guy!” he burst out, “You must be the only unique person in this entire city,” he shook his head, “My wife has been dropping hints for the past month, passing pointed comments about how so and so ‘surprised’ his wife with a trip to Timbuktu; moaning about how she is so unlucky to have just got a solitaire and a trip to a five-star restaurant last year,” he shook his head and sighed, clearly antsy, “You know boss, if I am not available to present my ‘surprise’ to my beloved wife, I will never hear the end of it!”
Arnav was frankly speaking exasperated, he gritted his teeth and bit out, “Then WHY did you come?! You should have explained to your dad or called me to postpone the meeting, this is highly irresponsible of you,” he made no bones about making his displeasure clear; besides this was Vipul, his junior at Harvard.
Vipul grinned boyishly and took the castigation in his stride, “Hey come on now ASR, be a sport, what are friends for?” he pulled a face, “Besides you know dad right? He is such a stickler in such matters, he would never let me cry off; he had to rush off to visit his cousin who is serious and in the hospital so he insisted I come for this meeting,” he again grinned engagingly, “besides, I am meeting my wife here so I thought may as well meet you too! That way I wouldn’t really be lying to dad, I could tell him there are a few things that you need to sort out with him and fix another meeting between you two, you will go along with me buddy wont you?” he pleaded.
Arnav sighed irritated, Vipul had always been like this, not at all serious about his work, but there was no real harm in him, “Hey ASR whatcha thinking?” Vipul was worried, “Come on now don’t get me into trouble with both Sheena and Dad!” he rolled his eyes and made a funny face.
Arnav laughed reluctantly, he gave up and relaxed.
Vipul sighed in relief and exaggeratedly wiped his brow, “Phewww ASR thanks buddy you are a friend!” he glanced at his watch, irritated, “Wonder what is keeping Sheena?” he sighed despondently and moaned, “First she sends me a zillion reminders not to be late and now look at her! And now I am expected to be sweet and caring after having imposed on a friend and made to wait for her as well!” he was clearly on a roll, encouraged by the silence, he carried on grumbling, “Women are impossible and they are impossible to please, don’t you think?”
A small smile played about ASR lips, his eyes softened, “Impossible yes, impossible to please no,” he murmured, almost to himself.
Click here for Chapter 209