Nani caressed Arnav’s face, “Chinta ki kuano baat naahi Chotte, hum bahut khush hain yahaan par; Khushi bitiya sahi keh rahi hai, hum dono khoob mazaa karte hai,” she smiled affectionately at Khushi, “Khushi bitiya itni samajhdar hai ki iske ke saath jhagda karna thoda mushkil hai.”
“Suna Nani kya keh rahi hain?” crowed a proud Khushi, “Ab toh aap manenge na ki jhadgda aap hi karte hain!” she taunted Arnav.
Arnav wore an incredulous expression, “Excuse me! Main jhagda karta hoon! Main? What rubbish Khushi,” he casually waved away her accusation.
Khushi’s face was a perfect O, “Kyaaa matlab…”
Nani sighed, “Phir shuru ho gaye tum dono! Aakash aur Payal be baare main kya keh rahe the?” She diverted the squabbling two.
Khushi jumped in with a glance at Arnav, who rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair as if withdrawing from the conversation, “Nani, pata hai, Jiji aur Jijaji dono hi bahut pareshan hain.” She poured out the details of their conversation with Payal and Aakash, appropriately edited versions of course.
Nani stiffened, “I am not really surprised, Manorama…” she pressed her lips and wore a stern expression
“Nahi nahi Nani,” Khushi hastily jumped in, “Mamiji khud bhi pareshaan hain.”
Nani sniffed, “Of course no doubt about it, it is her nature to be pareshaan or make others pareshan.”
“Nahi Nani,” Khushi pleaded earnestly, “Mamiji khud pareshan kahan hoti hain?” she paused and admitted, “Haan doosro ko pareshan zaroor karti hain, kabhi kabhi,” she swallowed, “par unka dil saaf hai,” she rushed to defend Mami.
Nani and Arnav looked at each other ruefully, “Toh phir, tum hi batao, Khushi,” Arnav rolled his eyes and sighed, “Kiski galati hai? Mujhe toh lagta hai, tumhari hi galati hogi!” he was clearly sick of his wife’s habit of excusing other people’s behavior preferring to take the blame herself.
Khushi was surprised, “Humari galati kyon hogi?” she objected innocently, “Hum toh wahan rehte hi nahi hain!”
Arnav shrugged, “Pata nahi, phone par kuch bol deti hogi, hain na Nani?”
Khushi looked at him confused, “Phone par?” Nani gently smacked Arnav, “Chotte!” she reprimanded him, “Bolne do usse.”
Uncaring Arnav continued, “Haan,” he got up from the chair where he was casually lolling and leaned into her face; his lips twitched as he murmured in sinister hushed tones, “Jaadoo tona karti hogi.”
Understanding dawned on Khushi’s face, she glared at his insufferable superior smirk but his eyes were soft and tender, “Aap humara mazaak uda rahein hain! Naniii! Dekhiye na inhe!” she wailed.
Arnav shoved his hands in his pockets and rocked on his heels, “Achcha! Toh ab tum bhi Devansh ke tarah Nani ke court main case pesh karogi!” he raised his eyebrow mockingly.
Embarrassed Khushi shuffled and twisted her fingers into a knot, Arnav observed her flushed countenance and attempts to gather her dignity with immense amusement; his warm gaze did nothing to restore her equanimity, she fumbled and gave up, “Naaaniii,” she wailed.
Nani too was smiling amused at the by play, she joined in the fun, “Tabhi Devansh hume Naaani bulata hai, kitna samjhaya hum ‘badinani’ hain par naahi woh toh Naaani par hi atka hua hai,” she looked mischievously at Arnav, “Bechare bachche ki galati nahi hai, ab uski amma hi Naani Naani karke royegi toh…” she giggled into her pallu as Arnav hugged Nani, “Dekha! Maine kaha tha na! Pehle meri Nani hai!” he rubbed it in.
Khushi was surprised, “Huuh! Isme aapki tarafdaari kahan hui!” she appealed to Nani, “Aap hi bataiye Nani!”
“Naaaniii,” said Arnav in a high falsetto voice, Khushi instantly rounded on him and beat him with her fists, he easily held her off, “Dekha Nani, aapke Chotte ka kya haal karti hai aapki ‘samajhdaar Khushi bitiyaaa,” he drew it out slowly, teasingly, horrified Khushi suddenly recollected herself and hid her face in her hands; Arnav laughed and pulled her into his arms.
Nani smilingly looked on, shaking her head all the while, “Baat ko kahan se le gaye tum dono!” she marveled; she adjusted the pillow at her back and settled herself comfortably, “Ab batao bitiya, hum kahan the? Haan Manorama ki galati kyon nahi hai?”
Khushi pulled herself away from his arms and looked reproachfully at a still smiling Arnav, though her heart was full, she wished she could capture and freeze this moment forever, unable to resist she gave his hand a tight squeeze and was rewarded with an equally if not more fervent answering squeeze, “Ji Nani, Mami ki galati nahi hai,” she said earnestly.
“Toh phir kiski galati hai?” Asked Nani shooting a warning look at Arnav who seemed determined to take the conversation back to the same point, he rolled his eyes and sobered up.
“Yehi toh baat hai!” Khushi exclaimed triumphantly, “Kisiki bhi galati hai hi nahi! Aur galati hona zaroori hai kya? Sab apne apne jagah sahi hai,” she was serious and twisted her fingers, “Par hume kuch karna chahiye, Mamiji bhi sach main pareshan hai.”
Nani shook her head, “Bitiya tumhe itna kaise pata Manorama ke baare main?”
“Nani, Holi ke baad Jiji log wapas chalegaye the toh Mamiji ruki thi na ek do din?” Khushi reminded Nani; she nodded as she adjusted her pallu, “Haan toh? Unko toh shopping jana tha, dostan se milna tha!”
“Nahi Nani, nahi,” Khushi shook her head violently, “Woh Arnav se baat karna chahti thi.”
Nani looked in surprise, Arnav nodded his head in agreement, “Haan Nani, Khushi theek keh rahi hai, Nani wanted to discuss with me about the NGO she wants to set up in Mumbai and she wanted me to convince Mamaji and Aakash.”
“NGO!”Scoffed Nani, “Yeh kaunsa naya natak hai!”
“Nahi Nani, I don’t think it is anything like that,” Arnav said thoughtfully, “Actually, I was quite impressed at the background work she had done. Aakash had also told me about Mami wanting to open an NGO, but he was quite scathing in his response and gave the impression that it was just a style statement, a whimsical notion,” he shrugged, “Par mujhe toh aisa nahi laga, she was quite passionate and genuine about it, she had done her homework and even offered a rough workable draft proposal,” he looked at Nani, “I think when Aakash refused to take her seriously, she was annoyed enough to follow through and collect information and draw up a plan.”
“Haan Nani,” Khushi butted in, “Humne bhi baat kit hi, actually she used to go out for these kitty parties, but in one kitty party, which she joined by mistake,” Khushi twinkled mischievously, “they were in the habit of visiting a slum once a week to donate stuff which they had collected and offer support in whatever way was possible for them; while visiting the slum, Mamiji was very touched and affected by the plight and fortitude of the women aur ab she is determined to help them become independent and self-sufficient.”
Nani was round eyed, “Manorama sewa karne jaati hai slum main!”
“Ji Nani!” Khushi laughed, “Aap ko vishwas nahi ho raha na, par yeh sach hai, Mami ka ‘turnover’ ho gaya hai!”
Nani shook her head, “oo sab toh theek hai bitiya, par NGO agar khol bhi le, toh Aakash aur Payal bitiya ka samasya ka samadhan kaisan hoga?”
Click here for Chapter 226