Poo looked at him accusingly, “Achcha! Itna ladai karenge humse toh kab kahenge!”
“What!” Aman was incredulous, “Main ladai kar raha tha? What nonsense! Tum baat hi aise karti ho,” he retorted.
“Dekha dekha!” Poo pointed at him accusingly, “Phir ladai kar rahein hai!” she looked at him reproachfully, “I had heard so much about you, ki Aman sir is so cool calm collected,” she said sorrowfully mocking, “kuch bhi ho jaye Aman sir never loses his temper, kabhi kisi se oonchi awaz main bhi baat nahi kiya,” she imitated in a high falsetto voice.
Aman looked at her ruefully, “Haan sahi hi toh hai, ek tum hi ho who makes me lose my temper,” he cast her a sly look, “Toh galati kiski hai?” he shrugged and said sadly, “Lagta hai you bring out the worst in me.”
“What!” Poo was deeply offended – she turned away in a huff and crossed her arms.
Aman gave a low laugh and gathered her into his arms from behind, squeezed her hard and kissed her.
He turned her around and asked seriously, “Are you sure this doesn’t hurt?” he raised his hand and gently touched her damaged skin.
Poo swallowed and smiled at him, “No,” she shook her head.
He leaned over and deliberately placed a kiss over it again, “Ab?” he questioned.
Poo met his eyes shyly and shook her head.
Aman’s eyes twinkled, he leaned over again and gently rubbed his bristles over it, “Ab?” he questioned.
Poo narrowed her eyes at him and firmed her lips to control her expression, “Nope,” she shook her head.
Aman swiftly brushed his cheek rather roughly to her other undamaged cheek – immediately Poo squealed and pushed him back, “Aman!” she expostulated.
He grinned unrepentantly, “Oho abhi se ‘sir’ kaat diya baad main pata nahi kya kya kaatogi aur pata nahi kya haal hoga mera,” he made a sad puppy face.
Poo shook her finger threateningly, “Haan don’t forget, I can give as good as I get,” she put her hands on her hips, “Now tell me – who or what put the idea into your head that you should propose to me?” she waggled her eyes at him and said knowingly, “don’t think I have forgotten.”
Aman grinned, “Achcha woh! Guess? Come on,” he challenged, “I will give you three guesses.”
Poo nibbled her finger, “Your mother?” she asked hesitantly.
Aman laughed, “Well she did insist and push me into taking the plunge,” he admitted, “but no she isn’t the one who actually put the idea into my head, the one who opened my eyes and made my understand myself,” he again laughed, “Woh toh sabse tez hai!” he said with wonder mixed with pride.
Poo clicked her fingers, “I know! Chotti!” she declared confidently.
Aman grinned even more widely, “Bingo! Pata hai what she said to me on Devansh’s birthday?”
Poo shook her head all eyes and ears, she could clearly recollect the scene – Chotti chatting with Aman, Aman choking, his comment tumhari Chotti bahut khatarnak hai, feeling relieved that the crisis had blown over, then very upset because Aman disappeared on the flimsy pretext of work, “Kya?” she asked eagerly.
Aman laughed as he pulled her down on the sofa, “First she started off on a roundabout way, how her Maami was also her Bua, she found the name Poohpahji funny and strange and how glad she was that she called him Maamu and then she was very concerned about what would happen when her ‘Boo’ got married,” Aman looked at her, “I was surprised to find that I was almost frozen with fear at the thought of your marriage and wondered if something had been fixed.”
Poo blushed prettily, “Phir?” she asked.
“Phir,” Aman shrugged, “Angel put all doubts at rest and sowed the first seeds towards my final downfall, ouch!” he protested as Poo punched him hard, “Bolo!” she shook him hard.
“And then Angel declared that after I married her Boo, she would continue to call me Anka!” Aman looked expectantly at Poo who clapped a hand over her mouth and stared at him wide-eyed.
They burst into laughter, “Yeh Chotti bhi na!” Poo was thrilled, she spontaneously threw her arms around Aman and hugged him hard, “Dekho gussa mat hona,” she pleaded, “But now I am fully convinced that you do love me!” she smiled happily confidently, “Chotti ki aankhen dhoka nahi kha sakti!” She was flying high and was on seventh heaven of delight, “I never said anything to her about you to her, you must have said…”
Aman shook his head, “Nope, kuch bhi nahi, and how could I say anything?” he protested, “I myself didn’t know anything!”
Poo grinned even more widely her heart soaring, “Toh phir?” she asked coyly.
Aman shrugged, “She must have seen me ogling you with my heart in my eyes, jo baat main khud nahi samajh paaya woh jhat se samajh gayi,” he admitted, “main toh fail ho gaya but trust her to put two and two together!” he applauded Chotti’s observation powers.
He looked at Poo and warned, “bas this is what I will ever request from you – at least one daughter.”
Poo smiled mistily, “DM ki marzee ho toh zaroor,” she frowned and stiffened, “Aur agar nahi toh phir adopt karlenge theek hai?”
Aman nodded and smiled equally mistily, “Theek hai.”
The doorbell rang, it was Aman’s mother, who hurriedly scanned their faces and apparently satisfied with what she saw whacked Aman a tight one on his arm, he winced but she wasn’t done yet, “Kitni der ho gayi!” obviously quite put out with her son, “weren’t you supposed to call me when everything was sorted out between you two?” she double checked, “sab theek hai na? Punya maan gayi na?” she asked eagerly, hopefully.
Poo blushed and moved forward to touch her feet, nudging Aman to do the same.
Happily Reema blessed them both, “Bas jald se jald shaadi karwa do aur main Ganga naha aaoon,” she sent up a fervent plea.
Aman coughed and scratched his head, “Abhi to ASR se baat karna baaki hai,” he looked at Poo and then brightened, “I know, Khushi Bhabhi se baat karte hain!”
Poo smiled, “ Good idea.”
“Theek hai, Bhabhi se tum baat kar lena,” Aman neatly passed the buck to her.
Poo stared at him, “Main kyon karoon?” she was taken aback.
Caught, Aman looked away sheepishly, “Suppose Bhabhi mujhe mana kar dein? Tumhe nahi mana karengi,” he was confident.
“Par main kaise boloon?” Poo objected as embarrassment flooded her, “Aur agar Bhaiyya ne mana kar diya toh?” fear clutched Poo and she stared at Aman in consternation – yeh toh socha hi nahi!
“Kya tum dono bhi na!” Reema was exasperated, “Isme problem kya hai? Main baat kar leti hoon.”
“Nahi Ma,” said Aman gently, “itna simple nahi hai – who knows how ASR will react to his sister marrying his employee,” he shrugged, “he could object you know.”
Poo had a panic attack – to have come so close to heaven and now the specter of having to lose it all, “Phir kya karenge?” she whispered fearfully.
Aman waved his hands helplessly, “Kya karenge…I will leave my job what else?” he said in a flat voice.
Poo stared at him in consternation, “Aur main? I can’t betray them like this, walk out of their house just like that – not when they had done so much for me!” she was near tears.
“Relax Poo, aisa kuch nahi hoga I am sure,” Aman’s voice lacked conviction, “We are just over-reacting I think, we will cross the bridge when we come to it ok?”
Poo nodded, unconvinced.
“We could always fall back on Angel!” Aman suggested; they smiled and relaxed – how could they forget their Ace of trumps – Chotti’s blessings and tacit support.
Jab Chotti saath ho toh bhala ASR bhi kya kar sakta hai!
Click here for Chapter 370