Khushi stood waiting for Arnav at the mall; it was past 6 pm and his phone was unreachable too. Must be stuck in a meeting; she called up the office to enquire about his whereabouts, “AR Designs? Hum Khushi bol rahe hain, could I speak to Arnavji? Kaun Khushi? Oh you must be a new recruit, never mind, I am Arnavji’s wife speaking; oh ok, he is in a meeting, time lagega? achcha shukriya,” she disconnected the phone.
She stood there hesitating; now what, should she wait or should she go home, at least he could have called her; Laad Governor kahin ka.
Just then she felt herself being enveloped in an overpowering perfume, while an accented voice drawled, “Oh my! So you are ‘Arnavji’s wife?”
Khushi turned around in surprise, a sophisticated and smartly dressed lady stood there wearing a superior attitude.
“Hello there, I am Sheetal, a good friend, a very good friend of Arnav, err what did you say your name was, Khushi right? Very naughty of him not to have told me that he got married, but then maybe he had his own reasons I guess,” Sheetal looked Khushi up and down very insultingly and said very pityingly, “Poor ASR, never mind, now that I am here, I will put things right,” and swished away.
Khushi stared after the lady, stunned by the open animosity and hostility oozing from her, and I don’t even know her Khushi thought.
Khushi’s phone beeped; an SMS from Arnav, ‘stuck in a meeting at basement, no network, go and shop at The Clotheshorse, ask for Reeta, she will help you.’
Sheetal’s obvious sneer at her attire hit a raw nerve and Khushi charged off to find the recommended store, determined to overhaul her wardrobe just as Arnav had advised even if it meant him going bankrupt, she thought vengefully.
Khushi found Reeta to be a friendly helpful person with a fine sense of dressing. She welcomed Khushi and dedicated herself to choosing clothes for Khushi. She made Khushi try out a wide range and style of clothes and Khushi ended up choosing loads of casuals, semi formals, formals and accessories until she was ready to drop. She also chose 2 pairs of shoes for Arnav and some light colored shirts for Arnav once Reeta informed her that ASR did all his shopping from here. Then unable to resist, she bought for the others as well. Reeta very considerately offered to have the numerous bags delivered home. Relieved, Khushi gratefully agreed.
Khushi thoroughly enjoyed herself and secretly admitted to herself that clothes did wonders for her appearance. But she was also feeling rather guilty at having spent so much and worried that Arnav would definitely hit the roof once he saw the bill. Arnav called to say he was free and would be waiting at the Diner’s Delight.
Khushi rushed off to meet him.
Khushi reached the classy restaurant and was hesitating at the door when the doorman stood in front of the door and said very insolently, “Yes?”
Khushi was a bit taken aback by the tone and the positively rude body language of the man; she looked blankly at him and fumbled to explain but he cut in and gestured for her to move to let the people behind her enter. Highly embarrassed, she turned and bumped into ASR; He took in the situation in a glance, slipped his arm around her and glared at the unfortunate man and said in a dangerous voice, “Any problem?”
Recognizing ASR, the doorman was all obsequious and unctuous politeness personified, but ASR was not mollified and although Khushi tried her best to pacify him, ASR huffed and puffed till he was quite red in the face and looked as if he would actually blow the house down.
Hearing the ruckus, the manager rushed out and tried to sort things out but ASR blasted him about the shoddy hospitality and ill-mannered staff and walked off in a rage vowing never to patronize the Diner’s Delight ever again.
Khushi was extremely embarrassed and finally managed to drag him to another restaurant claiming dizziness with hunger and fatigue.
Arnav, still simmering, turned his anger on to Khushi, “I warned you just this morning Khushi.”
Khushi was bewildered, “What did I do? And why create such a fuss about such a minor thing?”
“Minor!” exploded Arnav, “Uski himmat kaise hui tumse badtameezi karne ki.”
“Arnav, please calm down, ok maybe he was a bit rude, but he didn’t really say anything objectionable did he?” Khushi tried to pacify ASR rather unsuccessfully.
“Bit rude!” ASR again exploded, “I should have punched his face in.”
“Aap aisa nahi kar sakte”, said Khushi looking around wondering if people were eavesdropping.
Uncaring Arnav retorted “Khushi, main kuch bhi kar sakta hoon; tum toh hosh main hi nahi rehti ho; aadhe time tum kya kar rahi ho aur tumhare saath kya ho raha hai tumhe kabhi pata hi kahan hota hai?” Arnav scanned her dress and bit out, “Tell me Khushi, isn’t this the same dress you wore on the day you came to save me from the kidnappers? You wrestled with the goons wearing this dress, lay on the roads of Delhi and even fell off the cliff and still you insist on wearing it, just look at the state of the dress,” he finished scathingly.
Horrified Khushi looked down at her dress and sure enough there was a distinct tear in one of the sleeves; she hurriedly covered it with her dupatta, must have torn it while trying on the new clothes she thought; or maybe even earlier, she ruminated, was that why Sheetalji looked so scornfully at her? She bit her lip embarrassed, but wisely refrained from mentioning about her run in with Sheetal.
“I am sorry Arnav,” she apologized.
But Arnav wasn’t done with her yet, “I told you to go shopping, what happened? Still don’t think you need clothes or did Reeta not entertain you?” He dug out his phone.
Khushi hastily caught his hand and said, “No Arnav, nothing of the sort, I had a great time with Reeta, in fact I am afraid you will be very angry when you see the bill. Perhaps you should take back the credit card; I spent so much money, I won’t be surprised if you go bankrupt.”
Khushi looked so worried that Arnav had a hard time controlling his expression, “Bankrupt! How much did you spend?”
“About Rs 50, 000,” she said in a small voice.
“50, 000! But where is all that stuff? And why on earth did you not wear one of the new dresses?” Arnav asked.
Khushi flushed, “Reeta promised to have it delivered home, there were so many packages; Oh yes I could have done that, I wonder why it didn’t strike me,” she trailed off rather lamely.
“I know it is a lot of money” she continued guiltily, “but it wasn’t all on me,” she rushed to defend herself, “ I bought sarees for Di, jiji and even Mamiji, a shawl for Nani, a shirt for Jijaji and some shirts and two pairs of shoes for you,” she finished triumphantly.
Seeing his expression darken, she hastened to add, “But I didn’t buy anything for HP or for anyone else.”
Arnav sighed and clasped her hand nervously picking at the cutlery on the table, “Relax Khushi, I wasn’t questioning you and neither will I become bankrupt. And you don’t need to feel guilty or justify yourself, haq hai tumhara, mujh par, mere bank balance par,” he paused, “Moreover, each credit card has its spending limits, so even if you wanted to, you couldn’t drive me bankrupt with this credit card.” He winked.
Khushi smiled and heaved a sigh of relief as she sensed the worst was over, at least for now as she remembered Sheetal.
Click here for Chapter 28