He shook his head frustratedly, “Oh come on Anya,” he said wearily, “Just go will ya?” Then as if the words were wrung from him, “What about your boyfriend? He might get the wrong idea if you…” he trailed off, realizing a little too late that he was treading into risky waters.
Anya stared at him, “No boyfriend,” she said thoughtfully, “But why do you think I have one?”
He shrugged and winced for his pains, “Just thought you might be having one,” he too dismissed casually even as his heart sang and soared in sudden exhilarated relief. He couldn’t believe his ears, he had all but given up hope, after all she did deserve someone younger, but her denial seemed to be honest and frank enough, “But still Anya, I am telling you I am fine, I can manage, just go home,” he said more firmly than before; he still didn’t think it right that she should stay the night with him at the hospital.
Besides, there was another reason. He was a terrible patient and who knew what ruckus he might create, scaring her away – perhaps forever.
But his words fell on deaf ears.
“Nope,” she shook her head defiantly, “and don’t waste your breath,” she waved him away dismissively, “I am famished, I am going to the canteen, do you want anything specifically or should I get my choice?” she asked in a tone that brooked no opposition.
“No thanks,” he snapped instantly, the thought of food making him feel queasy, “I am not hungry,” he said rather sullenly.
She sighed and rolled her eyes, “Come on, now don’t behave childishly, you know you gotta eat?”
Feeling rather helpless and unwell, he was very near to throwing a tantrum but that stopped him short, ‘childish’ and him! What nonsense!
“Maybe a sandwich and a juice,” he said rather grudgingly, just to disprove her allegation and get her off his case, but he was dammed if he was going to listen to a chit of a girl and eat. He wasn’t the least bit hungry he vowed; in fact he was very nauseated.
She nodded and walked out of the room.
Sherry closed his eyes and tried to sort out the messy situation and make the right choice – should he call his mum now or should he let Anya stay the night? Or should he call someone else? Oh wait a minute, he didn’t remember any other number except for his mum’s and Anya’s (that is if she hadn’t changed her number).
It did feel good to see her and be with her, after such a long time, he sighed and admitted reluctantly to himself. It was the only thing that made this fiasco worth it and he was loath to let her go; but it wasn’t right that he impose on her like this.
As soon as a loaded Anya came back sometime later, he said, “Anya give me your phone and let me call up Ma will you?”
“Nahi,” Anya refused, “Why bother her and deprive her of a good night’s rest? Poor thing, she would have reached just now and abhi she would have book a ticket, God alone knows what flight she will get, think of her hanging around the airport half the night worrying herself to death and then reach here, ready to collapse,” she glared at him, “Don’t you have any consideration for her sentiments and age?” she was put out with him for his insensitivity.
But he couldn’t just sit back and put Anya to so much trouble could he? She had already done so much, he looked at her undecided.
Anya stared back at him and nodded her head knowingly, “I know! You don’t want to be beholden to me right? You big fat ‘ego’ wont let you right? Chahe mamma kitna bhi pareshaan ho jaye hai na?” she was scathing.
Sherry raised a hand weakly, “Uff would you give a man, that too a thoroughly bashed up man, a break? Look,” he said placatingly, reasonably, “Whenever she comes she would be worried right, so why not now?”
“Ufff,” She copied him and went a step further, Anya smacked her head, “Didn’t you hear me just now?” she spelled it out slowly as if speaking to a child, “Because it is night and she needs her rest as you do, if she comes tomorrow morning she will be in a better position to take care of you without risking falling ill herself, now do you understand?”
She was right, Sherry thought helplessly, if he informed his mum right now she was bound to panic and would move heaven and earth to reach her son. And of course she wouldn’t be able to catch a wink of sleep and generally be so exhausted by the time that she might need to be admitted in the hospital! He discarded that idea, best that she came in the morning after a good night’s sleep as it is once she got to know, she would get no rest.
Sherry reluctantly gave in muttering, “But I am fine, you go off to the hostel, I will manage,” he insisted.
Anya just ignored him and asked him thoughtfully, “Do you have anybody you can call apart from your mother in Bangalore?”
He looked at her strangely, he shrugged and winced, “Yeah sure, why?”
Anya shook her head, “Do you remember any of their phone number or do you have any way of contacting them? We could ask him or her to arrange tickets for your mother for the first flight, so that she doesn’t have to at least bother about that be running helter skelter trying to book a seat at the last minute.”
Sherry looked at Anya with dawning respect, “Ahh that’s thinking ahead,” he said admiringly, “Not such a kid after all!” he needled her.
Anya grinned at him amiably, “Oh don’t you know, kids are far more intelligent than you oldies, you should see my 7 year-old cousin – she knows ‘everything’; anyway, the number?” she reminded him pointedly.
Sherry closed his eyes, pale and wan, “I just remember Ma’s number.”
“Relax,” she soothed him, “Okay any one dependable and someone who won’t panic that you can email? I could send an email with my phone number?”
He perked up, “Yeah great idea! But I would have to login to my mail account.”
“Sure,” Anya handed him her phone, but he was unable to handle it with one hand, so ultimately Anya logged into his account and sent a mail to his mother’s friend’s son, Ronak, with a request to contact the given number urgently and a note not to inform his mom without talking to him first.
“Oh wow,” he heaved a sigh of relief, “that is a load of my mind.”
“Is it?” Anya countered, “Now I have your password as well,” she gloated.
“You are welcome to it, I got nothing to hide,” he declared bravely.
Liar liar pants on fire screamed the voice in his head. He blushed, thankfully he had changed his password just a couple of months ago. If he hadn’t, well tab toh bhanda hi phoot jaata!
Any guesses to his earlier password?
Yeah that was his plan, to wait till 2028 before attempting to contact Anya and woo her in style; but then he had caught sight of Anya and Anand. He had been heartbroken – once again – the password was too painful a reminder so he had changed it.
Just then Anya’s phone rang, it was Ronak. Sherry briefed him and requested him to book a ticket for his mother, first flight out tomorrow morning but to inform her of his accident only in the morning. Ronak was properly horrified and cooperative; he assured Sherry that he would manage everything as per his wishes taking care to avoid upsetting Sunita as much as was possible under the circumstances. Maybe he would make her speak with Sherry on this number to reassure her of his well being before she flew out.
That sorted, a relieved Sherry sank back to the pillows, “Don’t you need to cancel your London ticket or something?” asked a practical Anya, “Inform that you aren’t going?”
He looked at her gratefully; his mind wasn’t working at all, “Yeah, just search for “tickets and Harry” – yeah that’s the one,” he nodded his head, “Just…”
“Shhh,” she put a finger on his lips, and expertly keyed in a message, “Here,” she said briskly, “This is what I have written, ‘please cancel the tickets, will not be going to London due to unavoidable circumstances’, ok?”
He tiredly nodded his head, feeling very nauseated.
“Anyone else you need to inform?” Anya asked Sherry; he shrugged, “None that can’t wait, I am pretty much my own boss.”
He looked at her with a sudden alertness; “Hey I could get a couple of phone numbers of some of my friends and colleagues from their email signatures!” he was excited.
He was still feeling terribly guilty about holding Anya at the hospital though he admitted to himself, it was because she was here that he was able to bear this misfortune with some equanimity – but the more he wanted to hold her back the more determined he was to send her away (and they call women complicated…)
Anya shook her head decisively and slipped her mobile back into her pocket, “Why bother them at this time of the night? Why spoil their weekend, mera kharab karke tassallee nahi hui?” she looked challengingly at him.
He sighed and and gave in; Anya took in his pale wan look worriedly, “Here eat something, it must be ages since you last ate something right?” she dug out a sandwich and an apple juice.
“No!!!” he protested rather violently, again feeling like throwing up, “I am not hungry,” he said stubbornly turning his face away. He had agreed earlier just to fob her off but yeh toh dana paani lekar chad gayi hai, he was dammed if he kowtowed to her and ate a sandwich!
Not a chance he swore to himself.
“Ohh!” Anya made a sad sound, he turned to look at her, she bit her lip, “At least try a bite or so,” she said in a small voice.
He shook his head adamantly.
“Not even for me? Please,” she fluttered her eyes just the teeniest bit, “I went to so much trouble,” her voice broke a little and her lips trembled.
He sighed and reluctantly took the sandwich; Anya turned away to hide her triumphant smirk –she was an expert at this, after all she had had years of experience in coaxing babies (and oldies like Nani) into eating – And she had had training from the best of the best – Anjie dearest.
He really didn’t want to eat anything dammit, but he swallowed his objections, he didn’t want to offend Anya, she had been so thoughtful and helpful; he grimaced disgustedly as he bit reluctantly into the sandwich.
It tasted like sawdust, he gagged; he hurriedly took a sip of the juice to wash it down and looked with distaste at the huge sandwich in his hand and silently pleaded with Anya.
She shook her head commiseratingly, “I knew you wouldn’t like the sandwich,” she kindly relieved him of his burden, “Here open your mouth,” she held out a spoonful of Mother dairy’s kheer, his favorite, “I am sure you will like this better, that’s too dry for you and besides you have a sweet tooth don’t you?”
He stared, “How do you know that?” he was surprised.
She raised her eyebrow rather superiorly, “I will have you know that the highest authority has certified that ‘I too know everything!” she laughed and proceeded to introduce him to Chotti and chottisms, while she deftly spoon-fed him the kheer.
He laughed and absentmindedly downed the kheer without any fuss while he listened to her. He realized he had been hungry and in fact his nausea too had subsided; he was feeling loads better after that much needed sugar rush.
He smiled gratefully at her, “That was nice and I guess I was hungry, I am feeling much better.”
She smiled at him and lifted a self congratulatory shoulder, “I knew that already, didn’t I tell you I know everything?” she laughed and handed him a bottle of sweet lassi, “here now be a good boy and drink this up as well; this is better than the juice, more nourishment value, good for your tummy and doesn’t cause acidity either,” she extolled the virtues of good old lassi.
“Good boy?!” he burst out offended
“Yeah,” Anya smirked, “There’s lassi for good boys AND,” she paused dramatically and thrust her wide eyed face into his rather threateningly, “For BAAD boys, I have,” she paused and straightened, “Tadddaaaa…hold your breath….MILK!” she waggled her eyes at him, “Samjhe ki nahi?” she waved her finger in front of his nose and pushed up her imaginary specs upon her nose, hands on her hips.
He shook his head ruefully, as crazy as ever, “Yes mam, lassi maam,” said Sherry, besides he was thirsty and gratefully sipped it, “By the way how did you know I was hungry and what I would prefer to eat?”
She divested him of the empty bottle, “Oh all this is child’s play,” she dismissed it airily, she leaned forward conspiratorially, “You see I am an expert at dealing with recalcitrant and cranky little boys,” she winked at his affronted expression.
Good boy, little boy, what nonsense!
I understand it is a bit of a pain to slog through 3 updates daily but then I thought may as well get it over with, and be done with it sooner the better right?
Click here for Chapter 302