“Like he would like to eat up Mamma with his eyes,” a laugh escaped Anjali, which she hurriedly converted to a cough, as Chotti wasn’t quite finished yet, “And then when he thinks nobody is looking he kisses Mamma,” Khushi blushed a beetroot red while a rare special half smile broke across Arnav’s face, he rolled his eyes and crossed his arms albeit a bit self-consciously, but as usual Chotti wasn’t done, “On the lips,” the whistle blower revealed, “Just like in the movies! So,” Chotti wrapped up her argument for the defense, “If you want to kiss Di, you will have to marry her,” she rested her case and crossed her arms.
Sherry didn’t quite know where to look, but he couldn’t resist shooting a wicked glance towards Arnav and Khushi – she was busy fiddling with her mobile while Arnav coolly looked back at him – be careful, those who stay in glass houses should not throw stones at the others – Sherry retreated; he cleared his throat, “And will I be able to call you Chotti then?”
Chotti solemnly nodded her head, Sherry sighed lugubriously and raised his shoulders helplessly, “Well in that case I don’t seem to have a choice do I? I will have to marry your Di for I would like to call you Chotti and have you call me Jiju,” he looked over at Anya and said softly, “But then would your Di marry me?”
All eyes swung towards Anya whose face was glowing, she looked ethereal and she had eyes only for Sherry, “Di?” asked Chotti impatiently, who had an agenda of her own – shaadi hogi and that meant clothes, lots of clothes, dancing, masti, she couldn’t wait, “Di!” she insisted – clearly she was now fighting Sherry’s case.
Anya swallowed and said softly, “Sochna padega,” she blinked at Sherry who looked back at her mesmerized giving the others a chance to see what Chotti had already seen – Sherry’s besotted look before he recollected himself and looked away rather self-consciously.
Feeling more confident and ‘boosted’ Anya perked up especially as Chotti came up and said confidingly, “Zyaada mat socho Di, Jiju is very nice,” she dimpled her vote of confidence, “Nani and Boo also like him.”
Khushi came up and shooed away Chotti, “Haan haan ammaji, ab chhod bhi do un dono ko! Bechare have not had a moment of privacy or peace,” she rued, she looked towards Nani who nodded her head approvingly; Khushi looked towards Khsitij and Anjali for their approval, they too nodded agreeably, “Anya,” Khushi broke into their SV, “Why don’t you show Sharath your room?” Clearly Anya was expecting undying declarations of love and a romantic proposal aur yahaan Chotti was determined to steal his thunder, now before their moment was spoilt forever, Khushi thought it prudent to give them some time alone.
Anya blushed coyly and stood up only to be accosted by Ankit. The boys had been introduced to Sunita and had been least interested in the proceedings busy in their own world unmarred by affairs of the heart that is until Chotti descended upon them and explained the situation – in detail, “Just a minute,” he said rather aggressively, possessively, “That’s my Di you know,” he introduced himself to Sherry.
Sharath grinned amiably and sank back on to the couch pulling Anya with him, “Yes and hello to you to Ankit,” he held out his hand and said formally, “I am Sharath.”
Ankit shook his hand suspiciously, “Are you going to marry Di?”
Anya rolled her eyes, secretly thrilled at her kid bro’s attitude while Sharath shrugged, “If you don’t have any objections?”
Ankit looked at him consideringly, “Are you into sports?”
Sherry nodded his solemnly, “Which is your favorite game?” Ankit wanted details.
“Football,” Sherry replied promptly, but the Spanish Inquisition wasn’t over yet, he was drilled and grilled about the nitty-gritties of the game before Ankit was convinced about his genuine love – for football; he graciously welcomed ‘Jiju’ into the family and gave his permission to offer for his Di’s hand but not before he warned his new friend – a true blue fellow fan with whom he already felt a kinship, “Are you sure you want to marry Di? Girls expect you to wish them on their birthdays, give them gifts and all,” he said disgustedly, “ They are also big cry babies but then of course Di isn’t like that,” he conceded the point.
“Then who is?” Anjali was more interested in that.
“Oh the girls in my class,” he said vaguely, Anjali smacked her head, “Hey Bhagwan! Ek ka natak khatam bhi nahi hua aur doosra bhi taiyyar khada hai,” she moaned.
Sherry grinned, he was enjoying himself; he nodded encouragingly towards Devansh who had also participated actively in the inquisition, “Do I have your permission as well?”
Devansh had a slight doubt, “What do you think about dinosaurs? Do you think they really existed or is it just a ho…hogwash?” he held his breath, hoping against hope – he did like ‘Jiju’ but if he failed this acid test he would have no choice but to withdraw his support.
“Hogwash?!” Sherry was incredulous, “Are you kidding me? Dinosaurs and hogwash? What nonsense! Of course dinosaurs existed and straight after college I went on a paleontologists’ expedition to Argentina and there we discovered dinosaur bones – can you imagine? Real dinosaur bones!”
Devansh almost fainted with sheer excitement, “Really!” he said eagerly.
“Yes of course, I will forward you the pictures, give me your mail ID,” while these pleasantries were being undertaken, Chotti got restless. Arre usse toh bahut badi galati ho gayi, the boys took their time in giving their approval aur usse dekho! Bina kuch poochche hi maan gayi, aise thodi na hota hai, “I also want to ask questions,” she put her claim for the final say.
“Yes of course, Ms Raizada,” Sherry turned to her attentively.
Chotti preened, seeing nothing more than her due share of respect given her status, she crossed her arms and began grilling him, “What is the capital of India?
Sherry shot a look towards Anya – ahh he knew it was a trick question, he hemmed and hawed and then said rather hesitantly, “Waise to I is written in capital letters, but otherwise New Delhi is the capital of India.”
Chotti nodded approvingly, “Very good,” she tapped her cheek thoughtfully – all her doubts were at rest, bas ek antim pariksha baaki thi.
She leaned forward and looked into his eyes and said in a hushed voice, “Can you do ‘carry over’ sums?”
Sherry was in great danger of toppling over from his exalted position as the Jiju –waves of laughter bubbled up his throat – he was not helped by the outbreak of coughs and hurriedly stifled murmurs around him – but he managed to maintain control over his facial muscles, although his eyes were a dead giveaway. He closed his eyes and put on a pained expression; he leaned forward and said in an equally confidential tone, “I can,” in a doubtful sort of a way and then confessed, “Though I do mess up then there is a zero somewhere in the middle.”
Chotti looked at him wide-eyed, a gush to sympathy flooded her, zeros in such sums were the bane of her existence! Zero hai – usse ‘one’ kaise le sakte hai – nobody appreciated her dilemma and here out of the blue was a kindred soul – her soulmate perhaps?
She nodded commiseratingly, “Exactly!” she exchanged a hi-five with him and looked reproachfully at her mother – gharwale nahi samajhte aur dekho…hmmphhh, “Di,” she called to Anya, “Abhi bhi soch rahi ho?”
Anya nodded loftily; Chotti looked at Sherry and asked him, “Agar Di shaadi karne se mana kar deti hai, toh can you wait for me to grow up?” she looked hopefully at him.
Click here for Chapter 334