Anjali’s phone rang. It was Kshitij. Anjali moved away from the chattering crowd and stood by the French windows and said, “Hello?”
She was met with silence; she looked at her phone and then around the room, he was nowhere to be seen, puzzled she again said softly, “Hello, is that you Kshitij, are you ok? Kahan ho?”
Kshitij: “I am in the guest room.”
Anjali: “Wahan kya kar rahe hain?”
Kshitij: “Trying to gain some control over my anger and frustration.”
Anjali: “Anger and frustration? But WHY are you angry and frustrated?”
Kshitij: “It is not fair.”
Anjali: “What’s not fair?”
Kshitij: “Look how openly ASR hugged my sister in full public view.”
Anjali: “Haan toh? biwi hai uski, haq hai uska.”
Kshitij: “Haan haan pata hai, I too want that haq, that right.”
Anjali: “Uff, Kshitij, you have that right na, go and hug Khushi if you like.”
Kshitij sighed, “Anjie, ASR hugged my sister, so I want to hug his sister.”
Suddenly a calmness enveloped Anjali, there was no doubt in her mind, this was meant to be, she just knew it, her heart knew it and she had no choice but to follow the call of her heart, she broke free of the constriction around her throat, blinked away her tears, smiled and said softly, “Aap bhi na.”
There was silence and then a choked voice said, “I love you,” a soft gentle sigh, a sigh of relief came floating across, “So when are we announcing it to the family?”
Anjali was back on her guard, “Announcing what?”
“Our engagement aur kya?” said Kshitij confidently.
“Engagement? I haven’t said yes and we haven’t even talked to Anya yet,” Anjali protested.
“But you did agree just now,” Kshitij refuted instantly.
“Agree, maine? kab?” Anjali was surprised.
“Come on Anjie, don’t back track now! Didn’t you just say ‘aap bhi na’? A sudden transformation from ‘tum bhi na’ don’t you think?” Kshitij said triumphantly.
Just then Khushi came up to Di and said, “Everything ok Di?
Anjali flushed even more, smiled and nodded her head, then as her emotions overwhelmed her, she moved forward, she kissed on the cheek and said, “This is for my pyaari nan….I mean bhabhi.”
She then disconnected the phone.
Khushi chewed her lips and looked at Di, she was looking beautiful, in fact she was glowing, a faint blush staining her cheeks, a sparkle in her eye, a smile on her lips; Khushi looked around, she spied her brother coming out of the guest room searching for something, no, searching for someone, his eyes zoomed in on Di and stopped searching further. Di’s eyes found Kshitij’s eyes and she too stood frozen; recognizing the symptoms, Khushi hid her smile and walked over to her brother and said while dragging him over, “Kishu bhaiyya, Anya is such a darling and it is obvious we all love her so much. But you haven’t told me how you find our Di?”
Kshitij looked Khushi; she waggled her eyebrows at him as they reached Anjali.
Kshitij smiled resignedly and said, “Khushi you haven’t changed a bit, still naughty as ever.”
Anya came skipping, “Anjie Anjie I saw the whole house with CSR but I want to see your room with you, please can you take me to see your room?”
“Yes of course dear, but first let us have dinner,” Anjali coaxed the excited little girl to the dining table where a sumptuous meal was laid out. Soon everyone was tucking in great gusto and talking nonstop.
After dinner, Anjali took Anya’s hand and went to her room, Anya investigated each and every corner and even requested Anjali if she could inspect her cosmetics and jewelry. Anjali was more than happy to show it all.
Tired out Anya lay on the bed and yawned sleepily and said, “Anjie, I wish I could stay with you forever,” she spotted her dad by the doorway who had come looking for her as it was getting late, “Dad,” she beckoned him urgently, “Dad can’t we all stay here with Anjie? It would be so much fun, everyone is here!”
Kshitij looked at Anjali and regretfully shook his head, “Sorry Anya darling, you know that is not possible, of course you can visit them here whenever you like or they could come over.”
“But Dad,” Anya was not satisfied, “that is not the same as staying always! I want to be with Anjie always,” getting worked up.
Kshitij threw Anjali a helpless glance, she caught a glimpse of his dimples, he reluctantly entered the room and sat by Anya’s side on the bed, “Sweetheart, let’s go home, you are all tired out and it’s been a long day, come,” he coaxed gently.
But Anya was adamant, excitement and exhaustion combined to make her cranky and recalcitrant, she scrambled away to the other side of the bed and hugged Anjie, “I want Anjie! I want to stay with Anjie!” She brightened. “I have an idea, Dad, if we can’t stay here, can you take a bigger house so that they can all come and stay with us?”
Kshitij shook his head, “So many people in one house! We would have to rent a palace!”
Anya could see a point in that, “Ok then maybe Anjie could come and stay with us, we wouldn’t have to rent a palace then. She could share my room,” she added generously.
Kshitij held Anjali’s eyes over Anya, “You know Anjie can’t stay with us just like that.”
“Why not, Nanny does?” Anya pointed out with irrefutable logic.
Kshitij sighed, “Nanny is an employee; she is working for us. Only relatives and employees can stay with each other. Anjie is not an employee and technically she is not related to us.”
Anya sat up excitedly, “I KNOW!!! Aisha lost her mommy too and now her Daddy brought another mommy for her by marrying her. Marry Anjie Daddy, then she could come and stay with us right?”
Kshitij’s dimples disappeared as he held Anjali captive with his eyes and said softly, “You are so right Anya! But do you think she will agree to marry me?”
Now that finally she had her dad’s support, Anya jumped up and hugged Anjali, “Anjie, Anjie will you marry Daddy and be my mommy forever?”
Tears fell thick and fast as Anjali hugged Anya and said shakily, “How can anyone refuse such a beautiful proposal?”
Anya danced up and down on the bed and clapped her hands, “Is that a yes? Say yes, say yes.”
“Yes yes surely yes,” said Anjali looking at Kshitij her heart in her eyes.
“Great! Now can Anjie come with us Daddy?” said Anya
“No dear, it is not so simple, first somebody has to take her grandmother’s permission then there will be some ceremonies and then a wedding after which Anjali can come and stay with us,” Kshitij tried to explain.
“Ohhh,” Anya was disappointed but she cheered up and got off the bed, “I can wait a few days, but I will go and take permission from Badi Nani.”
“No wait Anya…” Kshitij tried to stop her but Anya had already vanished.
Click here for Chapter 37