Finally when the Raizada khandan went downstairs for the Sangeet, ‘ma-beti’ were indeed looking stunning in their matching ensemble and Arnav couldn’t take his eyes off them – well worth cancelling the meeting!
At Arnav’s explicit request, Khushi danced to desi girl, “But why?” she had protested, “Chotti and I have prepared something else,” she explained.
“I don’t care,” he said arrogantly, “Yeh wala toh karna hi padega,” his tone brooked no argument.
“Par kyon?” Khushi insisted.
“Because I couldn’t enjoy the ‘original’ performance I was so mad at you,” goaded, he finally came clean.
Khushi’s face broke into a delighted smile; she clapped her hands and gloated, “Achchaa! Toh yeh baat hai!”
He shrugged nonchalantly, “It’s not such a big deal, its just that you are wearing the same blue color so I just remembered,” he waved away any significance.
“Oho! Yeh bhi yaad hai kya pehna tha!” she mocked him gently.
Arnav looked at her ruefully, “Haan, yaad hai,” he said with a hint of a challenge, “aur yeh bhi yaad hai how annoyed I was, zyaada patar patar kiya na toh wohi phir gussa phir aa jayega!” he said sternly.
Unrepentant and not a bit chastened, Khushi shot back, “Toh phir toh shart wale gaane ka bhi repeat performance karna padega!” she swished away to the dance floor and made his heart beat to her taal once again.
On popular demand she also did ‘didi tere jethji’ much to the delight and surprise of the kids, “Daddy was like that! Noooo!” squealed Chotti as she hugged him, “Suppose you had gotten married to the ‘laptop’ like Mamma said, phir mera kya hota?” she said curiously.
Arnav shot Khushi a darkling look but she just grinned at him, he pinched Angel’s cheeks, “Phir kya tum meri Ipad Mini hoti aur laptop tumhari Mamma, you would have loved that Devansh hai na?” he asked his son, with a challenging look to Khushi.
“Nahi,” Devansh shook his head decisively, “Laptop khana nahi bana sakti, bina baat ke ‘crash’ kar jaati hai and you cant even cuddle a laptop,” he topped off his argument with a hug to Khushi and ran off to join his cousins followed by Chotti.
Khushi looked at Arnav reproachfully, “Aapko toh laptop hi pasand hoga na tabhi you spend more time with it than with me,” she sniffed.
“Yeah sure,” Arnav nodded, “I am not that interested in food and my laptop has yet to crash, although,” he paused and let his eyes do the talking till Khushi blushed a rosy red, “How ironical isn’t it?” he murmured, “Even then I couldn’t hug you and even now I can’t,” he looked around the crowded hall and then consideringly at her, “I could of course…”
Khushi fled before he converted his thoughts into action.
The other highlight of the shaadi was the bidai ceremony.
As is usual, everbody was emotional and tearful. Only Chotti couldn’t understand, “Why is everybody so upset?!” her voice broke into the heavy silence (ASR had yelled at the musicians to stop their ‘bloody wailing’), “Sab toh khush hote hai na shaadi main? Then why is everybody so sad?” she was very confused.
Since Anjali was weeping inconsolably on Nani’s shoulders after Anya (also in tears) had left with her brand new husband, Khushi hurriedly wiped her tears, “Haan Chotti, shaadi is a happy occasion but also sad because then the daughter leaves her parents house and becomes the bahu of another house, so the girl’s family feels sad,” she tried to explain.
But Chotti shook her head, “But Di already lives in Bangalore away from her parents?” she pointed out irrefutably, “and besides, she is not becoming bahu of another house, she is now bahu of this house, then why is everybody so sad!” she protested loudly.
Everybody burst into laughter, even Anjali’s interminable flow of tears ceased and she gave a faint smile. Arnav picked up Chotti in his arms and said, “Tum nahi samjhogi Angel, yeh ek rasam hai aur rasam ke bina koi bhi shaadi complete ya phir valid nahi hota, hai na Khushi?” he looked challengingly at Khushi.
She pulled a face at him, “Rehne dijiye na,” she hissed, “Don’t confuse Chotti even more.”
“Confuse Chotti?” Arnav was incredulous, “Main khud confused hoon! Girls spend their entire lives planning their wedding but when the time comes what do they do – they cry buckets!” he was disgusted.
Unable to deny his allegation (though mann toh bahut kar raha tha ki woh usse sunaye why she had cried buckets at her own shaadi – but kya karti Chotti was within earshot), Khushi made a moue and looked away.
Phir Chotti piped up, “Theek hai Daddy,” she put her little hands on his cheeks and turned his face towards hers, anxious to divert his attention, “Aap gussa mat ho, when I get married I promise I will not cry!” she declared, “Let anybody cry, you and I will laugh and dance when I get married and leave ok?” she consoled him.
Arnav’s eyes involuntarily swung to Khushi’s whose eyes were exactly as he feared – they were dancing merrily, she happily waggled her eyebrows at him and clapped her hands, “Excellent! Well promised Chotti dearest,” she leaned closer to them and kissed Chotti, “Ab Daddy ko bhi promise karna chahiye hai na Chotti?” she breathed softly.
“But Daddy never cries!” Chotti protested, “So why should he promise?”
Khushi pointed towards Kshitij, “Dekho Mama also never cries, so who knows?” she shrugged in a knowing-unknowing manner.
“Theek hai Mamma,” though Chotti wasn’t really convinced – Mama may cry but Daddy never – she saw no problem in Daddy promising this, “Daddy aap bhi promise kar do that when I get married and leave this house you also won’t cry.”
“Haan Chotte, kar do na promise,” Anjali also butted in.
“Angel,” Arnav said in a ruminative tone, “You know what I was thinking that isn’t it time some traditions and useless customs were done away with? I mean har saal Diwali par there is cleaning of the house, all cupboards emptied and sorted, unwanted, outgrown clothes discarded, similarly,” he moved and sat down on the couch, “old out-dated meaningless customs should also be reviewed and discarded don’t you think?”
Khushi crossed her arms, “Achcha toh now you will ban ‘crying at weddings’?” she asked incredulously.
“Nahi,” Arnav shook his head casually, “Tears are a natural emotion usse kaise ban kar sakte hain?” he said piously, “Actually I was referring to the traditional custom of the girl leaving her parents’ house, why can’t we change the custom, why can’t she stay with her husband at her parents place? After all we are almost into the middle of the 21st century?” Argued Arnav.
Khushi raised her eyebrow, “Oh! Toh phir aap chahte hain that when Guddu gets married, he should leave home and stay with his wife at her parents’ place? Even better, you will stay with me at our place with Amma babuji!” Khushi relished Arnav’s trapped expression.
Arnav yawned ostentatiously, “Gosh look at the time! Nani you should go and rest, it is really not good for you to be running around at this hour, chaliye,” he went and solicitously helped Nani to her feet, who exchanged a knowing look with Khushi and Anjali before allowing herself to be led away with Chotti skipping ahead of them.
Khushi and Anjali giggled into their hands with Poo following suit.
“Zyaada hanso mat,” Khushi mocked Poo, “you are next!”
Click here for Chapter 378