Chapter 35: Sankadevi Again

Kshitij was deluged with food. He chose jalebis for a quick sugar rush; he was keen to have his Rakhi tied after so many years.

It was a beautiful Rakhi ceremony with not a dry eye in the room; Garima was upset that her brother was no more and sorely missed his presence, more so today; she sighed and shrugged off her sad thoughts, at least his son and granddaughter were with them. She sent a heartfelt prayer to DM.

In honor of the reunion after so many years, Anjali insisted that Khushi and Payal tie Rakhi first to Kshitij. But Kshitij insisted Anjali go first; this was enough to trigger a never-ending session of “pehle aap, pehle aap” in true Lucknowi style; that is till Arnav got tired and held out his hand effectively putting an end to the argument.

Finally the Gupta sisters tied a Rakhi to Kshitij; he hugged Khushi and Payal and said, “I am truly blessed, I came to find one sister and found two; I am sorry I can give you both only Shagun; tell you what, let’s meet sometime next week and you can choose your own gifts; too overcome with emotions to say anything.” His sisters hugged him back, they didn’t really care, they had already got their gift.

Anya ran around the three skipping and jumping, clapping her hands and chanting, “I want a brother too, I want a brother too!”

Payal wiped her eyes and turned to look at Aakash and nodded her head; he smiled and nodded back, he came and sat on his haunches in front of Anya and said, “Anya, we can’t promise you a brother, but we can hope to gift you a brother or a sister by next Rakhi.”

The entire RM was in uproar; Payal and Aakash were inundated with congratulations, blessings and good wishes; another round of laughing and crying at the same time;

Garima was overcome while Buaji (original one) charged off to the kitchen and brought a whole packet of lal mirch to ‘de-nazorofy’ everyone, including HP (!). Payal got a double dose of course.

Mamiji was struggling to contain her tears for fear of disturbing her makeupwa, but then she gave in to the joy of unbridled tears of joy, after all it is not every day that one gets the most looked for promotion, that of a grandparent. She fell all over Aakash and Payal; she was so overwhelmed with joy that she took of her kangans and insisted Payal wear them and then embarrassed at her own departure from character she rushed off to touchupiya her makeupwa.

Anya again cut in plaintively, “Will somebody please tell me what is happening!”

This time Arnav was quicker on the uptake and said proudly to Anya, “I am going to be an uncle soon and you will be an elder sister.”

An overjoyed Garima gently explained that her badi bua was expecting a baby, but they wouldn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl till the baby was big enough to come into the world.

As expected Anya was ecstatic, insisted on tying a Rakhi on Payal’s hand (since she couldn’t tie one on the baby just yet) and assured her, “Don’t worry Badi bua, even if it is not a boy, I will always tie a rakhi to my cousin.”

She turned to Anjie and said excitedly, “Anjie Anjie, oh Anjie I am going to be a ‘Di’ just like you!!! Thank you Anjie for everything!” and hugged her hard and suddenly burst into tears.

Kshitij watched Anjali soothe and hug the overexcited child, while she struggled to control her own tears of joy; he wished he could go over and hug them both and maybe even shed a tear or two; unsure of his ability to hold back his emotions, he wisely stayed where he was.

Anjali raised her tear drenched face and searched for him in the crowd, found his eyes and after a while looked away, a smile curving her lips.

Khushi was over the moon, triple bonanza in one single day! Sister, buaji and now maassi!!! She ran to DM and thanked her with all her heart and came rushing back to hug her jiji, “Hume toh vishwas hi nahi ho raha hai ki hum maasi ban ne wale hain aur aap amma,” she gave her jiji a resounding kiss; overjoyed she hugged and kissed Di, and said “aur aap Buaji” and then she enthusiastically kissed Nani who was also standing near, “Aur aap pardadi!”

Sensing an opportunity, Arnav quietly stepped up. his timing was impeccable, he too got a hug and a kiss, right there in the middle of an overpopulated RM lobby.

Khushi clapped a hand over her mouth, embarrassed she glared at Arnav while everyone burst into laughter; Khushi turned to rush away, Arnav smirked and hauled her back into his arms; she gave up struggling and buried her red face in his kurta.

“HRNK,” moaned Buaji in the background, “eeee dekho, eee sankadevi ka toh jawab hi naahi hai!”

“Madhumati ji, kam se kam ee dono ab toh shaadi shuda hai!” Nani joined in.

“Haaainn, ka keh rahi hain aap HRNK,” said a shocked Buaji.

“Haan hum theek keh rahe hain Madhumatiji ee jo humari Sankadevi hain na, shaadi se pehle hi, aur ooo bhi sabke samne hi,” Nani teased Khushi.

“HRNK!!! pata nahi kab sudhregi, shayad khud amma ban jayegi tab bhi naahi”, exclaimed buaji.

“Khushi, tell me the truth, did you kiss me that day because you wanted to fulfill the shart?” Arnav murmured in her ear.

“Chodiye hume,” Khushi struggled to free herself.

“Yes or no? tell me… warna chodoonga nahi.” Arnav was adamant.

Khushi gave up and shook her head.

“Paagal”, he crushed her, “I hope kabhi nahi sudhrogi,” Arnav whispered in her ear before releasing her.

A highly embarrassed Khushi ran off to the kitchen to hide her blushes.

After congratulating Aakash, Kshitij requested him to direct him to the washroom. Aakash ushered him to the guest room and left him there. After ensuring that Aakash had left the room, Kshitij took out his phone and made a call.

***

Click here for Chapter 36

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