“What can time do?” Anya objected in her naivety, “With time her pain and agony can only increase, the situation will only become more and more impossible,” Anya was in tears.
Nani looked at her wisely and wiped her tears, “Bas bas bitiya, bahut ho gaya rona dhona, don’t you know Time is the greatest healer? And what is anguish but a matter or perspective? With time, one’s attitude changes, priorities change and most importantly situations change,” She caressed Anya and patted her gently, “Have a little bit of faith in Devi Maiyya, she may close one door but she always opens another, apna hi dekh lo – she took away your mother, but gave you Anjali; she took away Anjali’s baby but gave her Anya and now Angelika,” she smiled, “I could go on and on, examples abound everywhere, there is no doubt, things will change but you need to have patience and faith, so just tell your friend to hang in there, play her role with honesty and sincerity and let Time take care of the rest.”
Anya looked at Nani with dawning hope, could it that simple, do what you are meant to do and let time take care of the rest, well it was definitely worth a try as just by talking to Nani she felt loads better; she threw her arms around Nani, “Thank you Nani, thank you so much.”
Feeling happier than she had in weeks, Anya was back to her bubbly chirpy self and had a blast with her cousins; she was quite torn as to who held the most special corner in her heart – while it was lovely to cuddle Angelika and listen to her happy gurgles, Devansh’s antics were no less endearing. He clung to her as he saw her attachment to Nglika; he literally hounded her, chanting ‘Di! Di!” trying his best to attract her attention and lure her away by from Nglika by offering her his favorite toys.
She relinquished Angelika to her father and devoted her attention to an overjoyed Devansh and spent the whole of Sunday with him – she bathed him, dressed him and fed him – it was a ‘super se bhi upar’ day for him and was loathe to sleep lest she vanish or the day end. Of course, like all good things, this day too came to an end but the new day brought a new problem for Khushi.
As I said, Anya took care of Devansh and after his bath as she was dressing him, she went gaga over him, “Wow!” she said admiringly, “You look soooo handsome in a collar wala shirt, see look in the mirror; aren’t you handsome?” He stared at himself and was floored by his own image; he was forced to admit in all humility, he did indeed look very handsome and fell deeper in love with himself.
He preened and swelled with Garv (pride and honor) and made an instant decision which he communicated to his maid of honor, Khushi, and passed the royal decree – “no more T-shillts only collal wala shillts”.
Khushi stared at him in consternation; it was almost time for school, she was trying to rush through the morning chores and here the chatak bhar ka ladka was refusing to wear a T-shirt! That too under a sweater – after arguments and counterarguments, Khushi gave up (for the moment!) and dug out a shirt (he didn’t have too many shirts as Tees were more comfortable) and of course it was not ironed; time was running short so Khushi just ironed the collar (waise bhi sweater ke neeche kuch nahi dikhega hai na – confession time: How many of you have been there done that?) and peace was restored as the hero strutted off to school in his collared shirt, feeling rather grand. Anya got a harassed phone call from her Mami for her pains (Anya laughed and shared it with Aisha, who cheered up and laughed along with her, CSR was taken, she would wait for DSR and marry him! Koi competition bhi nahi hoga from Anya and she would love to have Anya as her SIL – they giggled like old days ) and Khushi made it a point to pick up a few shirts; who knows this might be a long lasting fad (actually Devansh was henceforth very particular about wearing only shirts with collars), “Soon he will be demanding black 3 piece suits,” Khushi rued to anyone who cared to listen to stories of her little darling shooting pointed looks at Arnav; he in turn couldn’t stop preening – Garv was a khandani trait.
Armed with Nani’s words of wisdom, Anya met Aisha with a renewed purpose and enthusiasm (DSR’s latest being the ice-breaker). Anya stopped crying along with Aisha; instead she yelled at her, coaxed, cajoled and bulldozed her into counting her blessings – in fact she made her write them down:
My dad loves me
My siblings love me
I have a roof over my head
I have food to eat and clothes to wear
I go to school
If I study hard enough, in a couple of years, I can move out on my own
Mom doesn’t like me
Aisha stared at the list and was struck, she looked at Anya who smiled at her, and “See!” she said excitedly, “Isn’t that cool? Why torture yourself, leave alone kill yourself over one downside against so many upsides?” Anya looked hopefully at Aisha and crossed her fingers.
Aisha stared at her list and then looked at Anya; she added one more item to the ‘Upside’ list; the topmost item now on the list was: Anya is my friend
They smiled and hugged each other and got down to planning their future. To encourage and keep Aisha company Anya who was as yet undecided about her future, chose to go with Aisha’s choice, B Tech. Subsequent to the Class 9 exams which was just around the corner, both joined coaching classes – with school and evening classes, they hardly had time to eat, leave alone mope and their goal kept them hungry (well they kept an inexhaustible stock of Perk, eh ArshiD btw are you here?) and fiercely competitive. It was no surprise then that both passed their school with flying colors and both got into Delhi College of Engineering (in 2022). Aisha and Anya shifted to the hostel, even though things were better at Aisha’s home – possibly her stepmom stopped seeing her as a competition and began saw her as a potential ATM.
Coming back to RM, Angelika unlike the Gablu chubby Devansh at her age, was rather petite and of delicate build –waise badmashi main she could have beaten her brother hands down. Devansh was in that respect quite a bholu little boy, while CLP (Ching Laja Princess) was clearly more worldly wise and knew how to get her way and by six months of age had perfected the art and could probably write a book on ‘How to get your way without exercising the vocal chords’– she would just upturn her pretty rosy little lips (trembling just the tiniest bit) and look at the person with wide sad eyes slowly pooling with tears – the recipient invariably caved in. Arnav was a sucker for it while Khushi was the only one who could resist – at least for some time.
(Aur Mymind bilkul sahi bola, ASR kisi tarah Ma ke ishaaron par naachne se control kar liya par beti ke time fail ho gaya 😀 ab kya bataaon office main kya hua ek din – chalo bata hi deti hoon)
One day, Aman nearly had a heart attack as he knocked and entered his boss’ cabin without waiting for a reply (a long term habit) – he was stunned (not to mention horrified) as he heard the dreaded teen naam wala rakshash Arnav Singh Raizada coochie cooing away on the phone with his daughter – he tottered away feeling faint; a bull on the rampage was something he was used to, but this! This was too much, he drank two cups of strong coffee to revive his failing heart and took a deep breath – this wouldn’t do! He pulled the file towards himself and made some careful changes and took the file to his boss. Thankfully, the phone call was over, but ASR still had a soft warm look on his face, Aman all but shuddered as he handed the file to his boss, carefully averting his eyes (how the mighty have fallen).
There was a crash as ASR banged the file onto the table, “What the ****! Have you completely lost it Aman?” he yelled, “Itne saal ho gaye, koi bhi kaam theek se nahi kar sakte kya?” he blasted Aman, who rocked on his heels with a beatific expression on his face, ASR was back with a bang – BG score intact – no need to resign after all.
Arnav would rush back home and spent hours playing with his daughter; many times his wife and son too would join in. Unless of course they had more important things to do, like prepare for his Annual Day at school. There was heavy excitement in school, vacations were around the corner, it was party time and time to show the world exactly what toddlers were capable of.
Devansh had been chosen to play an Orange; all he had to do was wear an orange dress, and an orange cap with a green leaf sticking out, get up on stage and say, “Good morning everyone, I am an orange; everyone loves to eat me for I am sweet and sour; thank you.”
Pretty simple and cool don’t you think?
Wrong, all wrong.
The schoolteacher initiated training for the speech and then passed on the responsibility to his parents (i.e Khushi) to ‘kindly do the needful’ and a special note to ‘pay attention to his pronunciation which is not up to the mark’. That was enough to set Khushi’s teeth on edge, “He is not even 3 years of age,” she fumed to Nani, taking care to avoid saying anything in front of Arnav, “Orange ko olange bol diya toh kya hua,” Khushi fired up in defense of her kaleje ka tukda. And she was determined to show the teachers what a brilliant nautanki her son was with an endearing totlapan – but then what Khushi proposes, Ching Lajas dispose off summarily.
Devansh was not all cooperative, he dug his heels in, pressed his lips, crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes and violently shook his head. Khushi was maha upset and Arnav also took Devansh’s side, “Rehne do Khushi, kaun sa Filmfare awards event hai; nahi bolne ka man hai toh rehne do.”
Khushi glared at him, “Zaroor aapne hi kuch kaha hoga isse, nahi toh kitna achcha acting karta hai,” she nibbled her fingers thoughtfully, “Pata nahi kya ho gaya hai isse.”
She sighed and started all over again, indirectly this time and finally after a lot of gana, bajana, stories, dance drama, she managed to identify his problem – He was Deva Ching Laja dammit, how do he be an olange? Besides, he didn’t like oranges, especially because they were khatta. He liked apples, could he have one? Khushi stared at him in consternation at his irrefutable logic while Arnav cracked up and swung him up in his arms, “Way to go buddy,” he said delighted with him.
On the day of the gala event, Devansh stepped on to the stage to confidently deliver his (modified) speech, “Good evening evellyone, I am Deva Ching Laja”, he dug out an orange from his pocket and said, “This is an ollange and I don’t like ollanges becos,” he wrinkled his nose and scrunched up his eyes, and made a face as he shuddered theatrically and threw away the orange,” he flashed his toothy grin and continued, “Deva loves apples,” he reached into his pocket and drew out an apple, looked adoringly at it, “It is chweet and clunchy,” he bit into it (of course he got only a bit of the skin); he held it out to his mother sitting in the front row, “Mamma apple kaat do?”
The audience cracked up as they burst into applause; Arnav and Khushi’s hands were sore from clapping; he strutted off the stage with a distinct swagger (the shaan of the mini DSR score a bit spoilt by the fact that he was holding his teacher’s hand), all of a sudden he dropped her hand, ran back to the mike and said, “Thank you!” before being hustled off the stage; the crowd again erupted with applause.
The video clip, taken by Anya and uploaded on YT, got a record number of hits (psst and the last segment captured Devansh take a flying leap into the arms of ASR – Anya ne aaj tak apne Mama ko itna khush kabhi nahi dekha tha 😀
Click here for Chapter 267