“I am sorry Anjie, I will stop her!” Kshitij rushed to go after Anya.
“Let her go,” said Anjali softly.
Kshitij froze, “Are you sure Anjie? And I hope you remember what I said earlier, I don’t want just a mother for Anya?”
Anjali emphatically nodded her head, “I am very sure Kshitij, I suddenly don’t feel scared any more, this feels absolutely right; no matter how much I ‘think’, this is meant to be; I am ready to…to love again and to be loved, finally,” her voice broke on the last word.
Kshitij came forward and hugged her fiercely, “I love you Anjali Singh Raizada.”
Anjali hugged him back equally fiercely, “And I love you Kshitij Kumar Goyal.”
She moved back and said, “Let’s go downstairs before they come charging upstairs!”
“You know,” she said proudly as they started walking, “I must be the only girl in the whole world who got two beautiful proposals in one day and could accept both!”
“That just proves that you are one of a kind!” Kshitij declared.
Anya charged downstairs and cornered Naniji, “Badi nani badi nani, can I ask you something important?” she panted.
“Haan haan bitiya,” Nani smiled, “tanik saans toh le lijiye pehle.”
“Shee meanwa that you should takewa some breathwaas,” Mamiji offered helpfully.
Seeing her confusion, Aakash stepped forward and explained, “Catch your breath and then speak.”
Anya nodded her head gratefully, gulped hurriedly and waved urgently for everyone to come near.
Curious they all gathered, while Arnav searched for his sister and then suspiciously for Kshitij, he opened his mouth when Khushi dug him excitedly in the ribs, “What the!”
“Listen!” she hissed excitedly.
There was a hush, a collective sigh, a silence, “Badi nani can Daddy marry Anjie?” Anya repeated .
“No!!!” Arnav’s voice rang out loudly.
Arnav angrily brushed past a glowing Anjali who stood holding Kshitij’s hand by the stairs and disappeared to his room. Anjai looked at his stiff retreating back with a strangely calm expression. Everyone crowded around the couple, Nani spoke first, “Bitiya?” she questioned gently.
Shyly Anjali smiled and nodded her head and moved forward to hug her. Nani hugged her back and said, “Hum bahute khush hai bitiya.”
The others too joined in heartily with their good wishes and blessings. Khushi hugged both of them and whispered to Di, “Don’t worry about Arnav, Laad Governor is just angry because he lost the bet; he will soon come around, I will just go and talk to him.”
Kshitij stopped her, “No Khushi, don’t hassle him just let him be. He needs time to digest it, I can understand what he is going through, it is too sudden; even we are a bit taken aback with the rapid developments. Come Anya let us go home; it is very late.”
Anya stood there with a sad expression.
Khushi sat down on her haunches and hugged her niece, “Don’t worry dear I will convince your CSR.”
Anya looked sadly at her chhoti bua and said, “I know why he is so upset; He is sad because if his Di gets married, she will have to go away from this house. Dad, can’t we all live here?”
Correctly anticipating the outcome of that conversation, Kshitij picked up Anya and said, “Anya, it is really late, we should go, we will talk about this later.”
He turned to the others and said, “My heart is too full to be able to express my feelings, I will take your leave before I disgrace myself, goodnight.”
Garima came forward and blessed both of them and said, “Come and meet us tomorrow, we will talk to the panditji. Once Arnav bitwa is convinced we will come with the shagun.”
Kshitij smiled at her and took his leave from everyone. Nani looked at Anjali who stood to one side, “Bitiya, go with them and tell Mohan to drop them home.”
“Ji Nani,” said Anjali.
Outside, Kshitij put down Anya and told Nanny to take Anya to the car; Anjali turned to Kshitij and said, “Don’t worry about Chotte, he loves me, that is why….”
Kshitij nodded his head, “I know Anjie, you don’t have to justify, I love you too,” he squeezed her hand hard and said gruffly, “talk to you tomorrow,” before vanishing.
Anjali stood there in the open for a while under the full moon, it was clear warm night with a light breeze; she sent a prayer of gratefulness to the Almighty for giving her so much joy in one day and asked DM to bless her family and her soon to be family; a sense of peace pervaded her being, the past didn’t matter suddenly, it was as if she had finally woken from her nightmare. She sent up another silent prayer, a special one for Chotte, before heading back to RM.
Khushi alternatively thanked DM and fumed at Laad Governor; but she was too thrilled to be angry with him; must be cranky with all the excitement she thought and it was rather late; just like Anya, she giggled to herself.
Khushi cleared up the dining table and the kitchen after packing off her jiji to bed. When finally Khushi reached their room, she found it in darkness with Arnav fast asleep on the couch.
Exasperated she looked at him; she wished she could wake him and give him an earful for his childish behavior. She swallowed her irritation and quietly changed her clothes and got into bed. But sleep eluded her, so much had happened today, her cup of joy ran over, there was so much to be thankful for, grateful for and that Laad Governor had to go and spoil it all. She sighed, she wished she could hug him, soothe him, share her happiness with him, but he was off in his own world.
After tossing and turning for an hour or so, Khushi gave up and went to the recliner and slowly eased herself next to Arnav; he shifted and tucked her comfortably to fit his frame, she fell asleep in an instant.
In the morning, she woke up on the bed; Arnav was missing from the room, must have gone jogging she thought to herself. She dressed and went to get tea, which they usually shared by the poolside. She met him on the stairs, she smiled at him, he ignored her and walked off; she glared at him, anger warring with a sinking feeling, so he was going to be difficult about this.
She brought up the tea; he was busy fiddling with his laptop and said with forced cheerfulness, “Good morning.”
He didn’t even deign to grunt.
She served his tea; he ignored it and continued working. She sipped her tea and said casually, “So hot today, I wonder if it is going to rain,” she scanned the sky.
“Your chai is getting cold,” Khushi reminded him.
“Kya ho gaya hai aapko!” said Khushi getting irritated.
“Aapko pata hai, Amma and Buaji are planning to come with the Shagun today?” said Khushi prodded Arnav.
Bang! The laptop cover was shut forcefully.
“Nobody is coming with any Shagun vagun!” yelled ASR.
Click here for Chapter 38