The moment Devansh entered RM, Khushi straightaway noticed that something was amiss. He avoided meeting her eyes and his face was flushed; he wore a strange expression too, “Kya hua Guddu?” Khushi asked worried.
Devansh shot her an accusing glance, and burst out, as if against his wishes, “Adults do baaad things.” Perplexed, Khushi wrinkled her brow. “I KNOW how babies are made,” he sniffed disgustedly, and then the slightest hesitation before the unkindest cut, he pointed to her, “Even YOU do it,” he charged her of being a willing party to such unacceptable activity.
Khushi froze; her heart sank yet laughter bubbled up; how to deal with this new jhamela, retrieve her position without injuring his offended prudish sensibilities?
She shrugged helplessly, accepting her culpability, “Yeah well, but then how else could I get you?”
Devansh’s face cleared magically; the accusatory look vanished and he looked gratified and understanding – oh well of course, kuch paane ke liye kuch khona padta hai, I understand especially if it is a question of my very existence, oh well then ok fine, I absolve you of all hanky panky.
He nodded his head, “Yes, yes of course,” then a bit suspiciously, “You did it only once right?”
This time a snort escaped Khushi for she caught Arnav’s expression; their collective guilty conscience and memory of the last couple of hours weighing ‘heavily’ on their minds. She hurriedly coughed into her hand to hide her face and solemnly nodded her head, studiously avoiding Arnav’s eyes.
Devansh turned away satisfied, his mother back on the pedestal, but turned back, struck, “But what about Chotti?” he asked suspiciously.
Khushi searched wildly for a plausible face-saving answer but she was saved the bother by Devansh who was by now feeling very generous and guilty for doubting the one-who-could-do-no-wrong, his mother, offered his opinion, “Oh I know! You got Chotti from the hospital!” his expression cleared as his apprehensions and prudish sensibilities were assuaged, “What’s for lunch? Where’s Chotti,” he skipped away relieved to be able to put his mum back where she belonged – on a pedestal.
Khushi collapsed in Arnav’s arms and they were both in danger of having their respective halos being tarnished forever as they both yielded to the mirth and passion of the moment for as if upon cue the RV began playing in full volume.
Err umm anyone interested in how the Anya-Sherry saga played out? No? Too bad, that’s on the menu 😉
How Sherry came to be rescued by Anya
Sherry was feeling restless, as he often did; he changed into track pants and pulled on his running shoes and dashed out for a quick jog. He had just dropped his mom off at the airport as she was going to Bangalore to attend a friend’s daughter’s wedding. In fact she was going for almost a week to help with the preparations. And Sherry was to fly to London later that evening for some business.
Sherry enjoyed jogging and in fact it was his stress buster; today his restlessness took him past Anya’s college, as it usually did. Unlike Anya, she was very much on Sherry’s radar and he was quite up to date with her activities and had in fact died a thousand deaths as he caught sight of the ‘couple’. But he steeled himself and kept his distance, wasn’t this what he wanted? Perhaps it was for the best, they weren’t fated to be together, he convinced himself.
But dil hai ki manta nahi…
He was completely entangled in this kashmakash and thoughts of his beloved when he stopped short, some men were molesting a lone girl in broad daylight. Sharath’s blood boiled, how dare they! Aaav dekha na taav, he jumped right into the fray without a thought for his safety only to realize it was a set up. The girl was a plant and part of the gang meant for luring such men into the melee and then looting them.
Outnumbered and unarmed, he stumbled and tottered about as they thrashed him mercilessly with sticks and kicks. He was quickly and expertly divested of his belongings, including wallet, mobile and watch. He put up a valiant fight but they were too many for him (and he was no Rajnikanth, not even a Bollywood star) so he collapsed under the surprise attack and his last thought before he lost consciousness was ‘Anyaaaaa is that you?’
“Sherrry!” gasped Anya in shock as she swiftly parked her scooter and knelt down beside him. He was bleeding from the temple and there were bruises all over his face; the four men had been mercilessly punching him and God alone knew for how long and what the actual extent of damage was.
Anya’s heart almost stopped beating, she shook him urgently, “Sherry talk to me!” she urged, “Tum theek ho?”
He opened his eyes with difficulty and gazed blearily up at her; a spark of recognition flared, “Anya,” he breathed indistinctly, “Is it really you?” he closed his eyes and drifted off.
Thankfully the police arrived just then and they carried him off to the nearest hospital in the jeep, while she followed them on her scooter.
At the hospital, while he was wheeled in for tests and treatment, Anya gave her statement to the police, or whatever little she knew of the incident. Unfortunately, since the miscreants seemed to have robbed him of both his mobile and wallet, there was no identification on him. Anya was his only link to his identity, especially since he was unconscious and she took care of all the paperwork and admission, including payment.
Anya spent a restless worrying couple of hours waiting for the doctors to complete their examination and treatment of him, wondering how to inform his family, his mother, his w…wife, maybe he had children as well, she swallowed hard. She clasped and unclasped her hands, they must be so worried about him, and there must be some way to find out their contact number? Think Anya, think, she pressed her fingers to her throbbing temple and took some deep calming breaths. She dug out her mobile and called up Aisha’s cousin but his phone was switched off, probably travelling or out of country, she drooped. She discounted calling up Aisha, no point in entangling and worrying her while she was enjoying at the wedding (or perhaps subconsciously, she didn’t want Aisha to talk her out of prolonging her interaction with Sherry, inviting agony and more heartache – this was an emergency dammit).
Should she call up Dad or Mamu, but instinctively she shied away from doing so, she knew they would instantly manage everything but then she also knew they wouldn’t approve of her involvement and bundle off to the hostel or home within no time. And she wasn’t ready to leave him yet, not so soon, not before she had assured herself of his safety and well being; she would wait a while, see how he was, till he regained consciousness and then take a call.
She crossed her fingers and prayed earnestly to DM for his quick recovery.
It was a long wait and it was dark by the time the Sister came to inform her that he was conscious and asking for her; he had been shifted to the private ward. She heaved a huge sigh of relief and sent heartfelt prayer of gratitude, before rushing off to see him.
She stopped outside the door and took a deep calming breath before tiptoeing into the room. He was dressed in the hospital gown, his right arm completely bandaged; his left leg in a cast, his ribs too appeared to be bandaged and his face bore witness to his recent scuffle – several black bruises and cuts dotted his face.
She leaned over him and whispered softly, “Sherry?”
His eyes opened and clashed with hers – after brief pause Sherry broke the unsaid flow of words, “So it was you,” he said huskily, “I was afraid that as usual I had dreamt it all up,” his drugged and run down condition making him more indiscreet than he would have otherwise been.
She looked down at him worriedly, his words, their implications hardly registering, “Are you ok Sherry?” a tear escaped and dropped on his cheek as she took in his battered state, she bit her lip to prevent herself from sobbing, “Yeah I am fine,” he grimaced as he shifted a bit, “Anything to have you by my side,” he was clearly not in full control over his senses, a heady delirious cocktail of emotions and drugs had loosened his tongue. But Anya herself was too emotional to actually analyze the import of his words (that would come later), she just sank down besides his bed and clutched his hand the only bit that seemed clean of any injury or bruises; she buried her face into his hand and burst into tears, the stress of the last couple of hours taking their toll.
Sherry let her cry, not that he was in a position to do much about it except whisper weakly, indistinctly, “Hey kiddo, come on I am fine, all thanks to you.”
Spent, she hiccuped to silence and straightened; she brushed away her tears, “Let me know your mother’s, your…your wife’s phone number, I will inform them, they must be worried about you,” she said stiffly embarrassed to be weeping all over him, like a baby, she thought disgusted with herself.
Sherry looked at her strangely, “Ma wont worry about me, at least not till morning,” he paused and continued with an effort, “She is on her way to Bangalore for her friend’s daughter’s wedding and I was expected to fly to London this evening, so she would be expecting me to only contact her in the morning.” He fell silent.
“And your wi…wife?” she twisted the knife in her own gut.
He opened his eyes and looked straight into her eyes, “No wife, whatever gave you the idea?”
Anya felt faint and dizzy; her ears were buzzing, had she heard right or had she imagined it? Her heart went mad with excitement and disbelief; in a frenzy of disbelief, her heart flew to her mouth, “A…a girlfriend then?” she whispered through stiff lips, her expression guarded, keeping a firm grip on her haywire emotions (or at least trying to, not that Sherry was in any condition to decipher anything).
“Sitting right in front of me,” Sherry could have bitten his tongue, but you could blame his battered condition for the loss of self control.
But then the effect on Anya was electrifying, she lost her guarded expression as her heart found its way to her eyes; she slipped her hand back into his and squeezed it for all she was worth.
He drank in the promise of her eyes, exhilarated beyond words, nothing had changed over the years, she hadn’t found someone else; he closed his eyes and cursed himself, there was no need to jump the gun, he rued even as he squeezed her hand in response, now shut up he warned himself, before you mess it up completely. It’s too early yet, she’s barely 21 for God’s sake.
Unwilling to break the silence or read too much into his ‘declaration’ Sitting right in front of me she sniffed to herself, flippant as ever she thought silently holding his hand; yet her heart was singing a joyous triumphant song like never before – she finally felt like those Bollywood heroines wanting to burst instantly into a song and dance; she controlled herself with an effort, he wasn’t married, he didn’t have any special girlfriend either!
He tugged at her hand, she leaned over to hear him as he whispered, “Mum thinks I am gay,” he undertook some damage control measures.
And of course she fell for it; she sighed “Are you never serious! Look at you all broken and held together with bandages and yet all you can do is joke.”
He grimaced, “These wounds are nothing compared to my bruised ego; it has been permanently dented I think,” he rued, “Ek toh I fall like a sucker for a damsel in distress; she was obviously part of the ‘gang’ to entrap me into saving her and thereby rob me,” he paused feeling weak and tired, “and if that wasn’t enough, it takes a ‘kid’ to rescue me!” he shook his head disgusted with himself.
Despite herself, Anya grinned triumphantly, “So toh hai!”
Sherry grinned faintly before stiffening; his eye fell on the wall clock, “What the hell are you doing here? It’s past 8 pm!” he burst out in shock, “Don’t you have to go back to the hostel?”
Anya looked at him suspiciously, “How do you know I am staying at the hostel?”
Sherry groaned mentally, he had really lost it today, perhaps the beating had severed the connection between the discretionary corner of this brain to his tongue; he just hoped the damage wasn’t permanent, “Oh elementary my dear Watson,” he covered up hastily, “Unless of course you are married, but I don’t see any signs,” he shrugged, “Of course you could be the modern wife, no signs of ‘shaadi shuda aurat’ and all,” he mocked.
She looked at him disbelievingly, unconvinced, “Yeah but how do you know?”
“Oh come on Anya don’t make a big thing out of it, I presume you must have passed school and joined some engineering college like you always wanted to and since there is only one decent engineering college in this region and its far from your home I just deduced that you must be in the hostel!” Phew that was close, he closed his eyes wearily and opened them again, she looked convinced, “And now Anya I want you to go back to the hostel,” he said crisply, “I really appreciate your timely heroic entry and help with the admission, fees and all that, but I can manage now.” He raised his hand, “Don’t worry, I will call up mum in the morning and she will take care of the rest,” he shut up and concentrated on regaining his breath, dammit he felt so weak and helpless.
Anya sat with a mulish expression, “I am not going anywhere,” she declared firmly, “Not until your mother comes anyway and nobody is looking for me either, hostel rules are cool over the weekends,” she crossed her arms.
“Anya!” he protested, “you can’t stay the night here!”
“Why ever not?” she challenged him, batting her eyes at him, “Do you have plans to ravish me?”
Click here for Chapter 301