“Ae Khussi!!!” called Buaji.
“Aaa…aayi Buaji,” Khushi struggled to escape.
Just then the children too descended upon them and swept away the RV along with his Khushi.
Bereft, Arnav stood looking lost and lonely, Chotti came rushing back, “Daddy look!” she said excitedly and raised her hands for inspection – a long column of bangles adorned are tiny forearms, “That’s beautiful Angel,” he smiled, “Bye,” he walked off.
“Jaa rahe ho!” Chotti was disappointed, “Phir aaye hi kyon?”
“Oh dammit! I had forgotten, the pen drive!” he began walking towards his room.
“Pen drive? I kept it inside my pouch,” Chotti skipped along with him, “It was lying under the bed,” she looked at him reproachfully.
“Thanks!” he chucked her under the chin, “What would I do without you?!” he thanked his guardian Angel without a break in his stride.
Chotti preened, “I don’t have any blue bangles to go with my blue dress for the evening function,” she hinted rather obviously.
“Ask your Mamma,” suggested Arnav.
“Oh I did!” she turned her large eyes sorrowfully towards him, “She said she is too busy,” she shook her head sadly, “Nobody has any time for me,” her voice wobbled threateningly as she held on to the proffered pen drive with a calculative gleam in her eye.
An unwilling crack of laughter escaped Arnav’s lips, “Drama queen,” he rued as he neatly flicked the pen drive from between her little fingers.
“Aww Daddy!” Chotti gave up any pretense and clung to him, “Please, please please!” she begged piteously.
“Ok ok fine! I shall try,” Arnav gave her a quick squeeze, “But I gotta go now, I am running late.”
“Oh thank you Daddy,” she was all smiles, “You are the best!” she skipped along happily with him and saw him off but not without planting a seed in his head, “You know Daddy, Mamma also doesn’t have any blue bangles! All she has are loads of red bangles of all shades to go with her red sarees,” she prattled on and on.
Ultimately Arnav managed to make his escape with a final cautionary note from his Angel to come back early and with the blue bangles (in fact she had dashed off for a few seconds and returned just as he got into the car, all huffing and puffing, carrying her blue dupatta making sure he didn’t have any excuses for getting the wrong blue bangles).
Arnav shook his head wryly as he drove off – better see about the bangles first nahi toh there would be no entry for him in the evening! She really knew how to get her way he thought proudly unlike Devansh – usko ek baar mana kar diya toh kabhi wapas palat ke nahi poochega – egoistic like me, Arnav thought ruefully.
“Here,” upon his return, Arnav handed a packet to Khushi whom he managed to finally corner in their room after much plotting and planning with the help of his Angel.
“Kya hai?” she snapped, frazzled and irritated beyond words – itna kaam padha hai, people would be arriving any minute aur here the Laad Governor was demanding his share of attention, “Jaldi boliye, time nahi hai mere paas, Anya ko taiyyar bhi karna hai,” she rushed him.
Arnav’s lips instantly thinned and his nostrils flared, “Tumhare paas sab ke liye time hai bas mere liye hi nahi hai!” he charged.
“Haan haan jaise you have a lot of time for me?” she gave back as good as she got, “itne dino se meri yaad nahi aayi, do you even know how I have been managing? Ghar, AKC, shopping, guests,” her voice broke as she flopped exhausted on the bed rubbing the back of her neck.
“Manage nahi kar sakti toh responsibility leti kyon ho?” he threw the packet on the bed and strode off.
Khushi stared after him unhappily as tears sprang into her eyes and rolled down her cheeks – she knew she had messed up, she shouldn’t have snapped at him that too when he had clearly bought her a gift. Par woh bhi kya karti, she was so damn tired and exhausted, everybody had expectations and demands from her – was she some kind of superwoman, didn’t she yearn for some peace and quiet, some time with her husband? Mujhe koi gift-wift nahi chahiye, she thought mutinously – bas just a few moments with Arnav. Tears pricked her eyes, who would believe it – ek hi ghar, ek hi room, but yet she felt as if she hadn’t met him for years.
She had never thought life could be so hectic and happening – people said after marriage, husband and wife get bored of each other, familiarity breeds contempt etc etc. Par yahan toh familiarity ki koi gunjaish hi nazar nahi aa rahi thi, pehle kam se kam kisi na kisi bahane she come in close contact with Arnav. Aur ab dekho, no time for each other at all – couldn’t life run on a more even keel and smoothly, maybe allow for a few RVs?
But nahi, yeh life ko toh bas kuch samajh hi nahi aati, bas ek ke baad ek nautanki laga hi hua hai, kabhi yeh kabhi woh and latest was how to keep Buaji and Mamiji at a distance – pucca ek na ek din they would have a massive face-off.
Her shoulders drooped and she again wearily put a hand to her aching neck, problem kam thi kya ki yeh bhi naraz ho gaye? She thought a bit resentfully admixed with desolation.
She swallowed and reached for the packet on the bed – it was a box of bangles – blue bangles. Her eyes lit up like stars, “Choodiyan!” she exclaimed delightedly and slipped them on rushed to the mirror to admire her brightly adorned wrists, through the mirror she caught Arnav’s eyes – instead of disappearing he slowly entered the room, “You went and bought these choodiyan especially for me?” she asked with a hint of challenge and a faint plea in her voice.
“Nahi,” he shrugged casually, “Main toh Angel ke liye lene gaya tha, then I thought might as well get for you as well,” he disclaimed blandly.
Khushi looked at her bangles and then back at him, “But you got blue bangles for me!” she exclaimed reproachfully, “I have nothing to wear with this, aapko toh pata hai that all my sarees are variations of red?” she regretfully began taking off the bangles. Arnav reached out and put a hand on hers to stop her; with the other hand he slid open the cupboard and took out a packet.
Khushi grabbed it eagerly – it was a matching blue saree complete with blouse and all, “Chotti ke liye bhi saree laayein hain?” Khushi’s eyes were sparkling.
Arnav rolled his eyes, “Angel is gonna look stunning in her blue dress,” his eyes gleamed and his lips twitched, “I just wanted to make sure you looked half-way decent…” Khushi’s face was a round O as she hit him with the saree.
“Mamma!” burst in Chotti with her box of bangles, “Dekho na Da has hidden the bangles Daddy had bought for me,” she was fighting mad, “I think he broke a few of them even – Da is really horrible when all the others are here,” she complained loud and long.
Khushi flopped back with a moan and a hand to her head, “Oh no not again!” she groaned.
Arnav took charge (cancelling his precious meeting and his plan to return to the office), he shushed and reassured Angel; he even offered to go along with her to pull up the boys – Chotti was ecstatic, “Would you Daddy?” she breathed, thrilled – ab niklegi unsabki dadagiri.
Arnav nodded solemnly, “Ek minute,” he sat down beside Khushi to apply the painkiller ointment on Khushi’s aching neck muscles, which he had gone to bring from Nani’s room.
As he gently massaged her neck, Khushi relaxed, peace flooded her – the jigsaw puzzle was complete, she had found her missing piece.
“Better?” he asked softly, his warm hands still on the back of her neck, Khushi looked back at him and nodded, her cheeks flushed and her eyes shining with love; Arnav blinked at her and then with a final squeeze, Arnav left with Angel – ladko ki khabar jo leni thi.
Kitne achche se class li Daddy ne, an immensely satisfied and triumphant Chotti hugged the bangles and apology close to her heart. Not to be cowed down so easily, as ASR strode out of the room and Chotti turned back to gloat for a moment, Devansh gave her pigtails a quick tug as punishment for being a telltale.
Undeterred, Chotti stuck out her tongue at them – she cared two hoots – after all, uske paas Daddy hai.
Umm anyone seen BS latest web series (except for Ruchi and MM)? I am itching for a rant and some venting, anyone game?
Click here for Chapter 377