“Di!” Arnav cornered Anjali, “Everything ok?” he asked concerned as he shot a glance at Khsitij; was it his imagination was there something wrong between Di and Khsitij?
Anjali smiled and cupped her brother’s cheek, “Haan Chotte, sab theek hai,” but Arnav could have sworn there was a faint tremble in her voice, “Nahi Di, kuch toh baat hai, tell me otherwise, I will go and talk to Khsitij,” he turned away but Anjali urgently clutched his arm, “Chotte! Aisa kuch nahi hai, drop it please,” she urged.
Arnav wore his mulish expression, clearly he wasn’t convinced and neither was he going to let the matter rest there; Di bit her lip worried and heaved a sigh of relief as Khushi suddenly spoke at their elbow, “Chalein? It is very late.”
Arnav dug in his heels, “In just a while,” he muttered as he shook off his Di’s arm but then Khushi clutched his hand insistently, “Chaliye na! Please, I am exhausted, I think my BP is low,” she added for good measure.
Arnav was torn, he flicked a glance at Khushi’s face, she was looking pale dammit; he sighed, “Devansh kahan hai? Aur Nani?”
Khushi and Anjali exchanged relieved glances, “Nani is ready but Devansh is having a sleep-over, Poo is also staying, the kids have a holiday tomorrow, so,” she shrugged, “Anya insisted.”
“Ok,” he strode off, opting to raise a casual hand to everybody rather than share a few words with Khsitij and shake his hand as he usually did. Khushi hurriedly wished everyone and gave a cuddle and a kiss to a thoroughly uncaring Devansh and rushed off with Nani.
The moment Khushi got into the car; she attacked him, “Yeh aapne kya kiya!”
“Me!” Arnav shrugged, “What did I do?”
“You didn’t talk to Kishu bhaiyya before leaving! You didn’t even shake hands!” Khushi pointed out.
Arnav slid the car into gear and eased the car on to the road, “Haan toh? Big deal, don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill; there is no such formality amongst us,” he scoffed.
“Oh really!” Khushi looked at him disbelievingly, “How would you feel if he just walked off without wishing you?” she took a pot shot at him.
Arnav fumbled a bit and then said defensively, “Di uske wajah se pareshan hai aur main ‘formalities’ poori karoon! You got a hope!” he said derisively.
“Haan, that is your solution!” Khushi nodded her head sarcastically, “Problem hai? Toh, aur problem badhao hai na? Aap toh kuch samajhthe nahi hai na, bas apne gusse aur ego main hi vyast rehte hain!” she was disgusted.
“What rubbish Khushi!” Arnav stepped on the accelerator, “Now you are nitpicking, I exercised tremendous self control aur maine Di ki baat mani ki nahi? Nahi toh I would have pucca taken him to task,” he clenched his fist over the steering wheel and gripped the gear viciously. “Or do you think I came away because of you? He sneered.
Khushi swallowed and wisely opted to ignore that comment, she rolled her eyes, “Taken him to task! Over what may I ask? Aapko kuch pata bhi hai?” Khushi waved her hands agitated.
Arnav was a bit stumped at that but then made a quick recovery, “Jo bhi hai, Di pareshan hai, that is what is important to me,” he declared.
“Lo kar lo baat,” Khushi was even more disgusted, she turned to look at Nani, “Di pareshaan hai toh unki pareshaani aur badha do! Now, even if Di didn’t tell you anything, Kishu Bhaiyya will think she complained to you and then Kishu Bhaiyya will be even more upset for discussing personal matters with outsiders!” she crossed her arms, thoroughly annoyed at his insensitivity and obtuseness.
“Outsiders!” Arnav was highly insulted and the car picked up speed, “I am her brother dammit!” he raged.
“Haan,” Khushi said sweetly, “Theek hai, next time we have a disagreement, I will go and discuss with Kishu Bhaiyya, after all who bhi toh humare bhai hain!” she said triumphantly as she saw all the bluster going out of him.
“Haan Chotte,” Nani too spoke up, “Miya biwi ka mamla hai, nobody else should interfere, or be even seen to be taking sides, ee sab toh chalta rehta hai.”
Arnav briefly struggled with himself, it was true he wouldn’t like it if Khushi went and discussed him with her brother behind his back, but then he hated to see Di upset, “Par hua kya hai?” he burst out unable to control himself, “Agar usne Di ke saath…” he ground out angrily.
“Oho kuch bhi toh nahi!” Khushi rushed to defend her brother, “They had a minor disagreement which they are quite capable of sorting out themselves; it is a personal matter and one which in any case aap nahi samjhenge! Waise bhi Kishu Bhaiyya kaafi hadd tak sahi hai,” she said in a rush and then could have bitten her tongue.
Arnav rounded on her in astonishment, “What! I don’t believe it Khushi!” he nodded his head derisively, “I should have known, you will after all support your brother!” he said disgustedly.
“Haan,” Khushi shot back immediately, “Kam se kam I support my brother after knowing the case, aap toh bina jaane hi,” she too shook her head disgusted.
“And this is simply great!” Arnav ground out frustratedly, “Tumko pata hai problem kya hai, aur main ‘outsider’ hoon!” Arnav was furious.
“Yehi toh problem hai,” Khushi sighed, “Nobody can discuss anything with you without it becoming a battle, where one has to be right while the other has to be wrong, one has to win and the other has to lose,” she threw up her hands as if throwing caution to the winds, “Aur jahan Di ki baat ho, wahan toh…” she reined in the words just in time.
The car screeched to a halt, they were home. Arnav helped Nani out of the car and walked on ahead, leaving Khushi to fend for herself, if she could argue so much and that too at the top of her voice, she certainly was well enough to walk by herself, he huffed to himself.
“Goodnight Nani,” Arnav turned away, but she called him back, “Chotte, Khushi bitiya is right, it is their personal matter, we should not interfere…”
“Haan toh main kahan interfere kar raha hoon?” Arnav said curtly.
Nani looked at him wisely, “Kar toh rahe ho na, dekha kuch bhi nahi pata phir bhi you were deliberately rude to Khsitij!” she paused, “He is a good boy, besides he knows how protective you are about Anjali bitiya, normally he would not mind or let it reflect on their relationship, but when there is some disagreement or tu tu main between a couple, anything can trigger another argument, aap samajh rahe hai na?” she queried gently.
Arnav looked at her helplessly, “Di…” he muttered shamefacedly.
“Kauno baat naahi Chotte,” Nani consoled him, “Par aage se dhyaan rakhna, waise bhi, mian biwi ke beech main kaun sahi kaun galat, ya phir dono sahi, dono galat, yeh kehna bahut mushkil hai,” she sighed gently, “Let them sort it out, while you maintain formalities and ignorance until Anjali directly asks for your interference, understood?” Nani ordered sternly.
Reluctantly Arnav nodded his head, “Par Nani hua kya hai? Aapko pata hai, Khushi ko pata hai, aur mujhe nahi?”
Nani shook her head, “It is really not a big issue Chotte, but your tendency to make everything a big issue is the reason we don’t like to involve you in such matters,” she waved her hand, “It is late, go and ask Khushi, tell her that I told her to tell you, since you already know, may as well…” she adjusted her pallu and walked away.
Click here for Chapter 233