Khushi turned to Nani and attempted to smile, “Nothing to really worry Nani, thoda weight kum hai humara aur baby ka growth bhi thoda kum hai,” she clamped down on her own fears and concerns. One was bad enough; she didn’t want Nani jumping down her throat as well.
But then she had underestimated Nani.
Nani patted her and smiled reassuringly, “Haan ho jawat hai, kuano baat naahi, it is early days yet, thoda dhyan rakhho sab theek ho jaayega.”
Nani’s kind calm support did what Arnav’s rant couldn’t, she burst into tears. Nani took her into her arms, murmuring soothingly, “Bas, bas bitiya, DM par bharosa rakho sab theek kar dengi.”
The doctor’s strictures had alarmed Khushi just as much as Arnav, and she had felt guilty as well, she should have tried to eat more. But she had also realized that if she had given in to her emotions, Arnav would not have been able to take it. He was so upset as it is, all the anger was just a façade she had no doubts but then if she too had given into the luxury of expressing her thoughts, he would likely be caught up in a bigger maelstrom of emotions, the worst of which would be guilt – guilt at having allowed Khushi to become pregnant, guilt at not taking adequate care of Khushi. And of course his other pet emotion – worry, for the the baby and Khushi – all in all, double trouble. She could clearly feel his anguish and pain behind the bluster so she kept quiet and let him yell. Perhaps letting it out would help him. But then it had been a huge strain on Khushi to hold in her emotions and pretend nonchalance when all she wanted to do was throw herself in Arnav’s arms and bawl her own fears out.
Finally, DM had taken pity on the poor girl and sent Nani’s comforting arms, of which Khushi made the most of. Khushi sniffed and wiped her eyes as she straightened, feeling much calmer and ready to face another tirade from the teen naam wala rakshash, better go before he decided to come down here and start off again.
Emotions spent, feeling lighter and more relaxed, Khushi hugged Nani, “Shukriya Nani, hum bhi apne aap ko yehi samjha rahein hain! Hume DM par bharosa hai, jo bhi karengi, achcha hi karengi,” She sniffed and sighed resignedly, “par aapke Chotte ko kaun samjhayega! Nani aap hi kuch samjhaiye unhe; woh toh ek hi din main mahine ka do kilo badwakar chhodenge!” she spied HP carrying the tray upstairs, she made a face,“Hum aate hai Nani, uss La..humara matlab hai Arnav ko office bhej kar,” she gave a watery smile to Nani, scrubbed her face dry and walked sedately to their room.
Khushi thought it prudent to wait till HP had left, before entering their room. Sure enough, there he was snorting impatiently like a bull before the fight, a smile spontaneously lit her face as she looked down at her suit, it was red. She was surely the matador thrust into the arena where the angriyafied bull was so looking forward to gore his prey.
He caught her grin before she could straighten her expression, “What the hell Khushi, yeh tumhe mazaak lag raha hai!” he thundered his voice echoing around, she winced and demurely shook her head.
He glared at her rather frustrated, he had been expecting rather hoping for a smart comment which he could then chew up with great relish not to mention violence, but she, she was determined to thwart him at every damn step, pehle pills, phir khana and now silence, “ENOUGH!” he barked, she looked at him mildly surprised, still keeping a firm check on her unruly tongue, knowing very well that her Laad Governor was spoiling for a fight, bechara, she blinked tenderly at him, he was feeling so guilty, aww poor thing, he did love her so much, “Khushi,” he clenched his hands, “Don’t just stand there looking like that,” she gently fluttered her lashes at him, questioning, “Ohh,” he sighed even more frustrated, he looked away, attempting to hold on to his anger ‘sab Khushi ki galati hai’, he chanted to himself, that was the only way to keep fear, concern and guilt, and other unfamiliar emotions he didn’t know how to deal with at bay.
He gestured stiffly to the bowl of cornflakes, and looked at his watch, “Hurry up and finish, I haven’t got all day you know,” he snapped irritably.
Finally Khushi fell into his trap and added grist to his mill, “Ha..an, toh aap jaaiye,” she airily waved her hand, “H…hum kha lenge,” she smiled at him, a hint of trepidation in her eyes.
“Khaaa lenge,” Arnav ground out with immense viciousness, he thrust his finger angrily into her face, “Agar tum kha leti,” he bit out, “Toh yeh haal nahi hota, samjhi tum, now I don’t want to hear another peep out of you,” he pointed to the bowl, “Just,” he said dangerously.
Khushi obediently slid into the chair and gingerly picked up the bowl as if it was a bowl of earthworms and grimaced in distaste.
But a glance at Arnav’s face was enough to change her opinion, earthworms bhi chalega, she hurriedly gulped the by now soggy cornflakes, frequently gagging, thankfully Arnav was glaring at the poolside to notice.
She wiped her chin and said happily, ‘katammm!’ just like Devansh did and gave Arnav a cherubic smile, par he just looked at her, grabbed his coat and vanished through the door.
Khushi sighed in relief, threw a brief prayer of gratitude to DM and dashed off to the washroom without any further delay.
But clearly DM wasn’t too happy with her thanks for when she came out of the washroom, she got the shock of her life, Arnav was standing there! “Aaa..aap,” she squeaked, quaking with fear, she hurriedly sat down before her legs gave way.
“Haan main!” he ground out viciously, “How dare you Khushi, tum samajhti kya ho apne aap ko? You went and threw up didn’t you?” he accused hotly, “Aise kaise chalega? Don’t tell me you don’t realize the importance of what the doctor said today or is it that you don’t care? Ya phir jaan boojh kar mujhe pareshaan karne ke liye yeh sab kar rahi ho?” he glared at her and hissed angrily, “Oh I know, attention grabbing techniques.”
Khushi closed her eyes and sighed, woh aise nahi manega, well she had tried; she opened her eyes and looked him straight in the eye, “Really! I don’t care! I don’t understand? This is my baby too you know,” she retorted evenly, “Aapko kya lagta hai, I don’t care about my baby, that I am not worried,” she held him with her eyes, he blinked first and looked away, “Khushi…mera woh matlab nahi tha,” he muttered reluctantly.
She stood up; she picked up his clenched fist, gently loosened his fingers and clasped it securely, “Haan that is the problem with you, you never say what is your ‘matlab’,” she held him by the chin and insistently turned him back to face her, “Instead you prefer to go on a rampage, leaving me to pick up the pieces,” she stared at his averted profile, “and if you don’t look at me how will I read the fine print?” she queried softly.
Reluctantly, almost grimly he met her eyes, “Kya bakwas kar rahi ho?” he snapped harshly; but that was before he met her eyes, he melted against such tender warm understanding, ASR’s mask, which he had been holding on to for dear life slipped from his grasp and unable to resist, Arnav gathered her in his arms, “Khushi main…” his voice faltered and broke.
Khushi hugged him back, “Hum jaante hain,” she leaned back to look into his face, “I know you are worried,” she said softly, “I even know your worry is greater than mine,” she smiled at him mistily; “You are worried about the baby and me! While I need worry only about the baby, hai na?”
Arnav let his face speak myriad emotions to her while he struggled to find the right words, he gave up and pulled her back into his arms; she let him find solace, she let him hide his face, but for just a bit, she pulled back and said sternly, “But you have to learn to control to your temper and leash your worry, aise kab tak chalega? Kaise drive kar rahe the!” She shuddered at the memory of that nightmarish ride back home, and she wasn’t talking of his tongue lashing, “aur kaise bole ‘get out’!” her voice broke just a bit and steadied, “I felt as if we were on our way back from Nainital,” she teased him but there was an underlying tone of hurt as well.
He looked at Khushi ruefully, “I am sorry Khushi…”
“Sorry vorry se kuch nahi hoga!” she declared, heaving a huge mental sigh of relief, phew her Arnav was back, it was such a task to strip him off his ASR cloak and even after so many years she couldn’t be sure of success, “You really have to learn you know; you keep lecturing me on ‘tum sab kuch nahi kar sakti Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada’ but it is time for me to spell it out for you, ‘Aap sab kuch theek nahi kar sakte!”
Click here for Chapter 230