Khushi nibbled her fingers, kya baat karoon? And what if Anya doesn’t want to confide in me? Worse what if there was nothing? In just a few days Di would be back, she would talk to Di. Haan, Khushi cheered up, haan yehi theek rahega, and then sighed, but then woh Laad Governor wapas aa kar dimaag khayega! Uffff
Breakfast over, Ankit clamored for a cartoon and the chota cartoon enthusiastically lent his support to the demand. Khushi gave in and set up a DVD in their ‘movie’ room with Poo as their chaperone.
“Anya,” Khushi called, “Would you like to watch with them?” but Anya shook her head disinterestedly, still busy on her phone.
“Umm would you mind helping me sort out Devansh’s clothes,” Khushi asked hesitantly as she suddenly had a brainwave. Anya was probably too well mannered to refuse her outright and working together was a sure shot way to get the other to open up as they discussed this and that. Waise bhi she did need to sort out his clothes, see which ones could be given away and make place for new ones.
Anya gave one last longing look at her mobile and shrugged, “Sure,” Khushi smiled and walked to the baby room, allowing Anya space to say bye to whomever she was clearly chexting with.
Anya helped Khushi carry armful of clothes and dump them on their bed before flopping down to sort according to re-usability and size. Often they would get distracted and coo, ‘sooo sweet’, or ‘awww soo cute’.
Khushi racked her brains and finally said, “How’s school?”
Anya shrugged, distractedly, “Usual.”
“How’s Aisha?” she tried again, “I remember how you used to go on and on about her! She still your BFF?”
A smile lit Anya face, “Yeah, she remains my ‘guruji’!
They laughed; Khushi relaxed, Anya seemed to have shrugged off her preoccupation, “Great! Oh I remember you had recently gone on a school trip to Corbet National Park! How was that trip, see any tigers, make any boyfriends?” there she had said it! Khushi held her breath.
“Oh Mami!” Anya rolled her eyes, “Please spare me the Spanish inquisition! I told you didn’t I? The boys in my school are such babies…” she shook her head.
Khushi hesitated and decided to stop beating about the bush; Anya was too smart for her in any case! “Actually that is what I have been wondering, you think your classmates are like Ankit, and the men in your life are not really men! So whom have you met that you can call a man? I mean there must be somebody whom you classify as a man! Isn’t it?”
Anya’s eyes flickered, she picked up a coat and put it aside, “Too hot for this now isn’t it Mami?”
Khushi nodded, “Probably too small for him in any case and too big for the little one,” she laughed, “Strange how fast kids grow up!” she shot a look at Anya before casually saying, “Just look at you, already such a big girl, and keeping secrets too!” She put out a hand and gave a quick pinch to her cheeks, “I can’t really imagine you keeping such a tight leash on your tongue!”
Anya blushed and reluctantly met Khushi’s eyes; “Mami!” she protested embarrassed, knowing exactly what Khushi referring to,“Are you going to throw that in my teeth? I was six then!”
Khushi laughed, “Aww Anya, I am sorry, I have been restraining myself for so many years and more importantly your Mamu as well!” she grinned teasingly, “But you were such a cutie pie, a darling, love you dear,” impulsively Khushi leaned forward and hugged the still embarrassed girl.
“All Aisha’a fault,” she mumbled, “She was the one who filled my head with all that nonsense,” Anya excused herself.
“But I am so glad she filled your head with ‘nonsense’ for otherwise who knows how long Anjie would have taken to…” they both burst into laughter.
“Yeah I was rather precocious as a child wasn’t I” Anya said a bit shamefacedly.
Khushi looked at her thoughtfully, “Not just as a child, you still are! No wonder you find your classmates babyish! So are you going to tell me about your man-friend or not?” Khushi took the bull by its horns.
“How do you know I have one?” Anya prevaricated as she picked up a bundle of clothes and put it in a carton for donation purposes.
Khushi shook her head, “I don’t, but the very fact that you are avoiding answering me… Does your Anjie know? If she does, then I won’t insist you tell me, unless you want to!” Khushi said comfortably.
Anya sat back, her face red, possibly from bending over the carton, looking clearly bereft and lonely, “I seem to have lost my Anjie somewhere,” she said sadly, “She is too busy being a mum, doing the right thing, laying down the law,” she swallowed; she hurriedly began folding and piling up the clothes scattered on the bed.
Khushi pushed the clothes to one side and patted the bed by her side invitingly. Anya scooted over without much fuss and allowed Khushi to put her arms around her; she leaned comfortably in her embrace and sniffled. Khushi caressed her comfortingly, soothingly.
“Anya sweetie, talk to me please,” Khushi coaxed gently, “Otherwise, you know me, I will start blabbering and before you know it, you will be inundated with an unwanted lecture; worse I may decide to join you in the waterworks!” Anya raised her head, sniffed and gave a watery chuckle.
“Kya hua? Talk to me Anya,” Khushi was getting worried, had Anya befriended some older man unbeknownst to Di! Or worse against her wishes?
“Nothing important Mami,” Anya tried to make light of it, “It’s just that I met this guy,” she looked at Khushi and said almost defiantly, “Who IS a sophisticated civilized ‘man’ not some crass callow youth,” she shrugged, “I tried to tell Anjie about him, but she just threw a fit, just like any eighteenth century mom would,” she said derisively, she paused and burst out, “I hate her,” she declared passionately, “I am never going to speak with her, she doesn’t understand me, she doesn’t care about my feelings at all,” to Khushi’s horror, she threw her arms around Khushi and burst into tears.
Horrified, Khushi soothed her and let her cry it out, poor baby was hurting so much; she suddenly looked up to see Arnav standing at the doorway with a shocked expression. Clearly he had heard every word Anya said and stood frozen. Khushi waved a hand and indicated with her eyes to leave them alone.
Arnav hesitated, then reluctantly nodded and silently padded away.
[ASR does have a habit of landing up whenever somebody is attacking his Di and hugging Khushi, doesn’t he?]
Click here for Chapter 241