Nani put down the phone discontented and annoyed – nobody really cared for her, nobody had any time for her – pehle Chotte and now Khushi as well, she sniffed to herself. Bachche log bhi bade ho gaye the, they too were slowly growing away from her, Devansh preferring to be either cloistered in his room with his ‘cumpooter’ games or outside playing football, Nani ko toh jaise bhool hi gaya. Poo was also busy in her routine, college, AKC the children, studies – Nani sighed despondently. Haan Chotti was still attached to her, she admitted fondly par woh bhi aur kitne din? She too was growing up and would soon out grow her then where would she be? All alone in this big house?
Khushi ko toh sochna chahiye tha na, she went back to her original complaint, what was the need for her to go gallivanting about town? AKC ka kaam khatam karke she should come straight home shouldn’t she? Chotte ko toh kaam hai but she could be home couldn’t she – the children needed her couldn’t she see that? Khushi had no right to dump all her responsibilities on her, Nani thought rather resentfully and uncharacteristically.
Old age and slow deterioration of health and capabilities had made her inefficient and incapable – she chaffed at the slow pace at which her limbs dragged and joints protested – the simplest of crisis (Chotti’s favorite pink frock was untraceable) the minutest of decision making (bhindi kharab ho gaye karela bana dein?) or change in routine (children late from school by ten minutes due to traffic) threw her into a disarrayed fluster making her feel terribly nervous and inadequate.
If only Khushi was here, she could relax, she sighed irritably. Waise bhi ghar par hoti hi nahi hai aur aaaj der se aayegi, she sniffed petulantly, isse toh achcha aapan Mumbai ma hi rehete at least her son would have made an effort to spend some time with her, she thought with a catch in her heart, as loneliness swept over her.
Ok to continue where we left Khushi fuming and determined to run this particular fracas on her terms – her grand plans came to naught.
Yaad hai na sabko ki Khushi ke paas ek threatening call aaya tha ki bhool gaye? Nahi hai toh kripya wapas chapter 349 re-read karein
The car meant for RM had gone for servicing and the children had to be dropped and picked from their respective extracurricular activities, and thus Khushi was forced to abandon her desire for independence by taking her own car. She hesitated briefly and then throwing caution to the winds, Khushi got into the sleek car that had arrived to escort her to the destination.
The ride was a relatively short one and ended at a posh five-star hotel. The driver opened the car door for her before hurriedly muttering something in the ears of a liveried doorman, who nodded and then obsequiously ushered her into the lift. Khushi’s heart was thudding, this was something she had never done before, she hoped it wouldn’t be too late before she got free, ghar par sab intezaar kar rahe honge – aajkal toh even Nani had begun to sniff disapprovingly, she thought guiltily. She stiffened, but yeh bhi toh zaroori hai, nobody but nobody could get away with calling her food ‘ghatiya’ or ‘substandard’ ‘not fit for human consumption’ license ke kitne paise diye and all that had set her back up and she was determined to speak her own mind woh bhi face to face.
Her escort stopped outside a room, which almost instantly opened and a group of people filed out.
At the sight of so many men filing out seriously out of the room, Khushi froze, dammit kahin sach main toh nahi bimar…but then they were soon followed by a couple of waiters who trooped out carrying the remnants of what was clearly a lavish spread. Khushi frowned ferociously to herself as she hid behind the cover of her escort to avoid meeting the men, not that she knew any of them, but still she didn’t want to be distracted from the task at hand.
Besides she was seething, ek toh kehte hain ki severe food-poisoning hua hai lekin meeting kar sakte hain – yeh kaisa ghatiya mazaak hai!
She couldn’t wait to give him a piece of her mind, “Sir, Khushi Madam,” hardly had the escort announced her presence when she moved ahead aggressively, “I can announce myself thank you, aap ja sakte hain,” she dismissed him curtly.
The door shut with a decisive click and the escort allowed himself a smirk – ‘meeting eating aur cheating’ toh chalti rehti thi yahan par – he thought cynically to himself.
“Aap samajhte kya hain apne aapko!” Na aav dekha na taav, Khushi barged right in, “You make such a big fuss and make horrible uncalled for accusations about AKC and here you are sitting fit as a fiddle,” she was on a roll, waving her hands about agitatedly her face red and flushed, “signing big deals while I get a heart attack,” she cornered and backed her gunehgaar to the wall.
Rather he allowed her to trap him and then made a swift turn and neatly turned the tables – she was the one who was trapped, her back to the wall and his warm breath fanning her cheeks, “Mmmm,” he murmured, “I had forgotten how beautiful you look when you are well and truly riled,” he trailed a lock of hair and slid it behind her ear, “Beauuutifooool,” he murmured huskily, tenderly, seductively.
Khushi’s breath hitched and her anger faltered, but she closed her eyes and clenched her fists, “Aap aise nahi kar sakte,” she threw back at him resolutely.
“Kya nahi kar sakta?” he murmured softly while his eyes roamed her face clearly enjoying the view.
For a fleeting instant Khushi met his eyes, she hurriedly looked away and focused on the tip of his right ear, “Ye…yehi, that you…you make uncalled for accusations about my food and on top of it,” she recovered her composure and glared at him, “You give me a heart attack by claiming to be unwell…”
“Heart attack?” he interrupted an eyebrow raised in disbelief, “You surprise me Khushi– you really do,” he scoffed, “didn’t you say that your heart was with me??” he objected softly, “I didn’t have no heart attack,” he shrugged and shook his head, “Haan,” his lips twisted as he admitted, “Thoda zor se dhak dhak zaroor kar raha tha, khana bekar tha na isliye” he looked down at her intently, “Tum batao tumhari saanse itni kyon phool rahi hain?”
Khushi closed her eyes and took a deep breath, she wasn’t going to give in without a fight, she swore to herself – Hmmphhh – samjhate kya hain aapko Laad Governor kahin ke! Does he think that he can just give me a crooked smile and I will fall at his feet? “Meri chhodiye, aap bataiye, aapne jhoot kyon bola ki stomach cramps ho raha hai, peith main dard hai, khana ghatiya hai and all that?” she attacked.
“Woh toh bolna padha mujhe,” Arnav justified himself, “Aise hi bulata toh tum aati kya? Koi na koi bahana bana leti, aaj Nani, nahi toh Chotti royegi, Di bula rahi hai, AKC main kaam hai,” he ticked them off one by one on his finger and then looked straight into her eyes, “Sabke liye time hai, bas mere hi liye nahi hai,” a hint of despondency in his voice and eyes.
Khushi’s heart went dhak dhak and her breath faltered as the RV slowly snaked and twirled around them in an exotic dance binding and forcing them closer together, “Achcha mere pass time nahi hai?” she attempted to regain her fast losing footing, “Aaj aapke paas time hai toh I am supposed to drop everything and come running at your convenience right?”
“Of course,” he declared in a rather autocratic manner, “After all tum meri patni ho, meri life ki biggest deal ho and I have the first refusal, remember?” he reminded her softly as he ran a finger down her cheek.
She shivered, “Biggest deal ya phir no big deal,” she muttered discontentedly.
“Hmmm,” he tilted his head and said in a considering manner in all seriousness “Tricky question – sochna padega.”
Khushi’s face was a round O and her face flushed alarmingly and Arnav gave a crack of delighted laughter; he drew her into his arms and gathered her unresisting frame close, “you rise so beautifully to the bait every time that I simply cannot resist,” he looked down at her as he tipped her face up by the chin and looked down at her seriously, silently for a moment and then, “Par Khkhushii,” he said drawled huskily – the multi-pronged attack giving her goose bumps making her oblivious to anything but Arnav (and of course the RV), “honestly speaking, ab kya faraq padta hai whether you are my life’s biggest deal or no big deal,” he paused and swallowed, his lips twisted, as he firmly grasped her hands in his, “You tell me, how do I classify or put a label to someone who is part of me, an extension of me?” the chocolate melted and oozed in a sweet sticky gooey mass over the walnut creating a warm and heady cocktail of emotions.
Khushi had no answer to that and indeed there was no need for any answer for her eyes said it all – feeling almost high on the gush of tenderness and love that engulfed her, she raised herself on her toes and gave into the insistent call of the ecstatic RV that had in anticipation unleashed itself to its full melodious glory.
This time, nobody disturbed them and the RV was allowed to play to its heart’s content.
Click here for Chapter 352