Instead of answering her, Arnav rounded upon her, “I didn’t ask you to leave, all I did was state facts and give you the freedom to do as you wish,” he put the ball back into her court.
“Don’t talk rot Arnav!” Khushi retorted, her temper peaking, “Directly nahi sahi but indirectly toh yehi kaha na that I have had enough of you now get out? Meri bhi koi self-respect hai how can I continue to stay here after you state ‘facts’?” she was justifiably bitter.
Arnav stood his ground, “Maine aisa kuch nahi kaha, its not my fault if you twist my words out of context,” he was just as cold as she was heated; he turned to walk away but Khushi instantly stopped him, “Nahi aap aise nahi ja sakte,” her voice now matched his coldness, “Aap toh bahut bade businessman hai, you know how to go up dividing assets when partnerships break up, so let’s talk about our ‘assets’, what about the children? What have you planned for them?”
Arnav thrust his hands into his pockets and fumbled, “Jo marzee aaye karo, mujhe jo kehna tha maine keh diya, I have nothing more to say,” he clammed up.
“What!” Khushi burst out incredulously, “Are you serious?!! You have nothing more to say? Unbelievable Arnav unbelievable, how can you be so short-sighted, aap soch kya rahe the? How can you be so callous and indifferent towards your responsibilities?” her temper shot through the roof as his obtuseness, his silence and the way they kept going round and round without any solution in sight.
Khushi took the bull by its horns; she crossed her arms, “I want an answer right now, what are your plans regarding the kids?” she said insistently, “Under the existing circumstances,” she waved her hands about and shrugged dismissively, “I am afraid I cannot continue to stay here,” she gave up all attempts to a reconciliation and jumped up on her high horse as well, “So ab bataiye bachchon ka kya hoga?” she waved them threateningly like a red flag over his head.
Cornered, ASR’s icy self-control deserted him and he instantly retaliated hotly, “You can go to hell for all I care, aur jisko jaana hai jaye, I don’t need anybody, get out of my house this very instant,” he shouted before striding off.
There was a crash as Khushi swept the decorative stand by the poolside in a moment of frustrated anger and wretchedness. It broke into a thousand pieces but Arnav didn’t falter in his stride – not even when he strode past Nani and Chotti.
Nani hugged the sobbing little girl close to her and called out, “Chotte!” but in vain, he had shut himself in his room, “Khushi bitiya!” she called urgently, “ee sab ka hai? Kahe itni raat ko ladat ho? You know how Arnav is, let him be, he will soon calm down, you shouldn’t behave in this unseemly manner, look the poor child is so traumatized and upset,” she scolded Khushi as she caressed Chotti’s head, “bas bas bitiya, kuch nahi hua hai, dekho sab theek hai.”
The fact that Nani and Chotti had been witness to her humiliation did nothing to improve Khushi’s temper, if anything she was even angrier than before – Nani was still siding with Arnav, expecting her to keep quiet, to adjust and compromise! How unfair and unjust was that – aur ab jab Chotti ko pata chal hi gaya hai – toh in for a penny in for a pound – she strode into her room and dragged out a suitcase. She swiftly opened the cupboard and randomly began throwing her clothes into it, “Chotti jao apna saman pack karo we are leaving here,” she said curtly.
“Khushi!” Nani hurried over to her, “Don’t take any hasty decision bitiya, miya-biwi ka toh jhagda chalta rehta hai…”
“Nani please,” Khushi raised a hand, very much on her high horse, “This is no hasty decision, yeh bahut dino se chal raha hai, hum se ab aur bardasht nahi hota,” she faltered and then steadied herself, “Hume jana hi hoga Nani, hume maaf kar dijiye,” she turned her attention to the packing, pausing to snap at Chotti, “kya kar rahi ho yahan par khadi khadi? Bola na pack karo, aur Da ko bhi bolo, we are leaving right now,” she aggressively threw some more stuff into the case. She picked up a comb and ran it over her disheveled hair.
“But Mamma,” Chotti ran to her and shook her, “Where are we going? I don’t want to go anywhere,” she pleaded tearfully, “I want to stay here with Daddy, please Mamma,” she begged piteously.
Khushi threw the comb on to the floor, “Did you not hear your father?” she hardened her heart, “He wants me to leave,” she clearly spelt it out, “And I am not leaving both of you here,” she snapped.
“Aur mera kya Khushi bitiya?” whispered Nani heartbroken, “Meri kya galati hai? Why am I being punished at this age? Hey Devi Maiyya yeh din dikhane se pehle humka bulaiye kyon naahi,” her tears fell thick and fast.
“Mamma please,” Chotti clutched Khushi, “please let us not leave, I…I…love Daddy and don’t want to leave him,” she pleaded, “And besides it’s my birthday next month, I called all my friends here, what will I tell them?” she protested naively.
“Aww Chotti,” Khushi flopped onto the bed and drew her into her arms, “I also love your Daddy but what to do, you heard what he said,” she managed to say.
“I will talk to Daddy,” Chotti ran to bang on the door of the adjoining door, Nani also followed her, “Chotte! Daddy!” they banged and called till Arnav was forced to open the door, they rushed in and cornered him.
Khushi continued to pack, not having the least bit of faith in either her daughter’s or Nani’s capability to move the unyielding man of stone.
It was sometime before Nani emerged from the room, dragging a reluctant Chotti, “Chalo Chotti ab sab theek ho jayega dekhna, Daddy ne bola na, ab chalo sone chalo,” she consoled and pulled her away along with her, giving the beleaguered couple some privacy, “Chotte!” she jerked her head at him insistently urging him to speak to Khushi, who was still packing.
Nani waited until she saw Arnav begin walking towards Khushi and then shut the door, “Khushi,” he mumbled as he stood behind her, “You…you…I…I didn’t mean for you to leave…You can stay here if you like,” he said awkwardly, jerkily, reluctantly – clearly coerced into offering the olive branch.
Khushi shut the suitcase with a snap and turned around aggressively, “Then what did you mean Arnav?” her eyes shot sparks as they bored into his almost nose to nose – if this was his way of apologizing, she was dammed if she stayed back, she fumed, phir chahe Chotti kuch bhi bole ya phir Nani.
“Kuch nahi,” mumbled Arnav before striding back to his room.
Helpless and torn, Khushi sank back onto the bed beside the half-packed suitcase, staring dully at the kurta still in her hand – hey DM ab hum kya karein?
Aisa kya ho gaya that he cannot even ask me to stay properly – did he not know that all he had to do was to take her into his arms, kuch kehne sunne ki bhi zaroorat nahi hai, but kya hum itne door ho gayein hai he couldn’t bring himself to even make that gesture? How can I continue to stay here Devi Maiyya, aap hi bataiye, she begged as she drew in a painful breath, the only sound in the silent room. She looked around dully – it seemed as if an eon had passed since this room had echoed his deep baritone as he called for her – acute pain shot through her – bas ek baar ‘Khhusshhi’ keh kar pukar dete main sab bhoolne ko taiyyar hoon hey Devi Maiyya.
Par woh toh itna bhi nahi karna chahte – a giant hand curled around her heart and squeezed mercilessly; she felt as if she couldn’t breathe.
Khushi straightened her back, nahi, bahut ho gaya I am not going to stay here another minute.
Ok friends, like Nisha said in the previous post: What does one do if they have to face a similar situation in real life? Would love to hear your thoughts or at least pick one of the below options!
- Khushi is right, she should walk out right now
- Khushi should try and reason with Arnav some more
- Khushi has to think of her children’s happiness first
Click here for Chapter 403