“Mom!” Devansh tried his luck again, “Main theek hoon, really!” he pleaded earnestly with a tinge of desperation in his voice, “Please let me go and play football, it’s been so loooonnggg,” he moaned.
“Guddu,” Khushi prayed for patience, “Please try and understand, your ankle hasn’t healed completely as yet, it’s been just a couple of weeks since the bandage has come off and I can still see a bit of a swelling, rehne do na, you play on your weak ankle and you are liable to hurt it again.”
But her words fell on deaf ears, “Kuch nahi hoga Mamma, pleeeeaaase, everyone is playing except for me,” he was almost in tears but she held on grimly, “Nahi, I am afraid Guddu, I cannot give permission,” she said hard-heartedly, mindful of the fact that if she did give permission and agar DM na karein kuch ho gaya, Arnav would have her hide for sure – she could almost see him hovering over her head glowering angrily at her – tumhari himmat kaise hui.
She closed her eyes frustratedly, “Achcha Guddu, no put the phone down, please bahut kaam hai,” but Guddu ne bhi kachchi goliyan nahi kheli thi, he hung on determinedly; he knew that the best way to wear down his Mom was to call her up while she was at work – at home it was impossible to shake her. Khushi bhi kya karti, after all how much could she argue on the phone? “Please Mamma? Pleaaasseee! Daddy was also asking if I was in the football team or not! If I don’t practice how will I be selected?”
Khushi sighed she was no match for him – poor thing he was really getting bored and antsy with all that sitting around, aur Arnav ne kaha hai toh, “Achcha Guddu one one condition, just play for a bit in the garden, then I will see how you are in the evening and then we will take it from there ok?” she stuck out a tongue at Arnav’s disapproving face in the bubble over her head and then blew him a kiss, “Be careful and don’t overdo things on the first day,” she cautioned.
“Yippeeee, thanks Mamma, you are the best,” Guddu was over the moon but he went one step further, he called a few of his friends over to the RM grounds for a quick football match – how could he play football alone? Obviously Mamma meant that he should try out a friendly game or two to see if his ankle was completely healed – hai ki nahi?
Bas wohi hua jiska darr tha – in his excitement, he forgot his mother’s instructions to be careful and plunged into the game full on with his pent up restless energy – and this time, he cracked his ankle.
Devansh fainted from the pain and there was panic all around. But fortunately Vinati was calm and efficient under pressure; she immediately organized his transfer to the hospital and informed Khushi, leaving it to her to break the news to Arnav.
The immediate crisis was soon taken care of and Devansh was back in RM and in his wheelchair in a couple of hours. Devansh got an earful from his mother, as did Khushi from Arnav.
“Guddu! How dare you disobey my instructions? Mana kiya tha na? Don’t overdo things, be careful,” Khushi scolded him once she had assured herself of his well-being.
“No Mamma,” a contrite Devansh mumbled, “I didn’t mean to overdo things, maine socha nahi,” he was very abject and apologetic
“Maine socha nahi!” snorted Khushi, “Dekh liya na what happens if you don’t listen to me, you heard what the doctor said didn’t you? Now you wont be able to play football for another 3 months,” Khushi was well and truly riled.
“Khushi! Tumhari himmat kaise hui!? How dare you give permission to Devansh?” Arnav attacked Khushi in the privacy of their bedroom.
“Arre nahi Arnav, maine toh bas bola tha that you can play by yourself in the garden and I will see later whether he is fit to play,” Khushi shrugged, “But I never dreamt that he would go one step ahead and call his friends…”
“Tumne socha nahi!” Arnav thrust his finger into her face and fumed, spewing fumes from his nostrils and ears, “Dekh liya na nateeja tumhare carelessness ka!”
“Mere carelessness ka! He quoted you saying that you were worried about his selection into the football team!” Khushi shot back.
Arnav looked stumped; Khushi relaxed, “Ab chhodo na, aise toh hota rehta hai with kids,” she adopted a conciliatory approach, “And waise bhi how many days can one hold a teenager back, I can hardly put him in a cage can I?” she defended herself, “bada ho raha hai, it is time he become aware of the consequences of his actions and take responsibility for them as well, this is one lesson he will not forget in a hurry,” Khushi tried to look on the positive side.
Arnav just glared at her and walked off to commiserate with his son – bechara no more football for so many days now. Devansh lapped up all the sympathy from everyone – except Chotti of course. Chotti secretly prayed long and hard for some ailment (preferably some fatal condition for that would show them!) to befall her so that people huddled around her (instead of Da) shedding copious tears while she wasted and faded away silently, smiling bravely all the while…
Unfortunately for Chotti (and fortunately for us!) her prayers were not answered and much to her disgust Da continued to lap up all the attention – so much so that woh actually phoola nahi samaya.
Summer vacations had just gotten over and Devansh was also finally free of his cast and he was raring to back to school (for once!). But he was in for a rude shock at school.
“Kya hua Guddu?” asked Khushi when she saw him sitting stiffly in one corner.
He just sat there cold and unresponsive, Khushi forced his head up with a hand under his chin.
Reluctantly he met his mom’s eyes, his bravado and expression crumpled; he burst into tears, “Guddu!” whispered Khushi horrified.
It took quite sometime before he calmed down enough to pour out his woes to Khushi – Chotti had to be shooed away, the door locked and after many a hiccup, Devansh finally came clean, “Everyone in school is calling me ‘Motu’,” tears started rolling down his cheeks once again, the humiliation too much for his delicate sensibilities.
“But why!” Khushi was up in arms, “Tum toh kahin se bhi mote nahi ho!”
A faint smile appeared on Devansh’s face, “Mommm! You really are blind and prejudiced, I weighed myself, I have put on 15 kgs in two months!” he subsided unhappily.
“Ohh! Haan toh koi baat nahi,” Khushi patted him bracingly, “That’s because you couldn’t play or swim or anything because of your ankle hai na? In no time you will be back to your six pack abs,” Khushi ribbed him jocularly.
Devansh looked at her dolefully, “Today they called me ‘one-pack tondumal Raizada’, he bit his lip to stop the tears from overflowing again.
“Awww my sweetie, never mind, let them say what they want, this is just a temporary phase, in no time you will be slim and trim aur itna bhi kuch mote nahi ho,” she consoled him.
“Mamma jab tak my weight doesn’t come down I wont go to school,” declared Devansh mutinously.
Click here for Chapter 396