The year 2032 was difficult for Anjali as well. She too felt the heat and pressures of a working mother. On one side was her business and on the other side were her children – one was expecting twins and the other was in his crucial final year of school. Anjali couldn’t bear to leave Anya woh bhi is halat main, but then Ankit was a bit of a slacker and needed somebody to nag him (and pamper him). So Anjali shuttled between Delhi and Bangalore while Anya and her expecting twins were taken care of by Anjali and Sunita, by turns. Of course all this would in any case have not been possible without Khushi, Anjali’s sheet anchor, who not only looked after Anjali’s business interests but also took Ankit under her wing.
It would have been easier if Ankit and Kshitij had shifted lock stock and barrel to RM, but then there were concerns that two hyperactive cousins in the house was hardly going to help Ankit focus on his studies so they stayed put. That meant Khushi had to oversee the running of that house as well and drop in for surprise checks to monitor Ankit (well mostly at Di’s insistence, who was a worrier by nature – yahan hoti toh Anya ki chinta karti aur wahan hoti toh Ankit ki).
With reason of course – Anya had a difficult pregnancy while Ankit had a tough induction into adulthood. He fell violently in love and apparently for no rhyme or reason, his beloved lost interest in him. He was heartbroken and inconsolable. It required urgent hectic measures on Anjali’s and Khushi’s part, not to mention Anya’s constant counseling sessions to keep the boy on track with his studies.
It was difficult no doubt, but like all good and bad, this too passed – with happy results, Ankit scored a decent grade and Anya delivered two healthy baby girls.
Both RM and GM were in uproar at the fantastic news and they all flew to Bangalore to welcome and bless the new additIons to their family – yes even Nani – woh toh sabse zyaada khushi thi, “Now I can die in peace,” she kept mumbling as she cuddled her great-great granddaughters.
Khushi laughed and hugged her, “Aise kaise Nani! Abhi toh you have to wait for a whole brood of grandchildren – Yash, Palash, Ankit, Guddu, Chotti,” she ticked off one by one on her finger, but Nani shook her head, “Nahi hum in ladkon ka intezaar naahi kar sakat, humre liye yehi kaafi hai,” she stared besottedly at the adorable little babies.
“Not fair Nani,” Chotti piped up, “Who will tell stories to my babies then?” she pouted, “How will I go out for dates with my husband? Mamma is always so busy,” she grumbled while everyone laughed – Khushi felt a pang, was she really that busy? Did the kids still miss her? Her shoulders drooped – it was tough being a mother. If you were home and with them, you were a Noseyparker and interfering, taking away their privacy etc etc. But if you were busy in your own work then you were neglecting them and were never there! Arnav toh Arnav even the kids expected her to just hang around at their beck and call always be within hailing distance – awaiting their royal highness’ summons!
Mindful of Chotti’s grouse, once the reins of Di’s business was back in her hands, Khushi made an effort to stay at home at least whenever the kids were around. She would often look at them with a catch in her heart – both were growing up so fast and in no time they would have flown the nest and busy in their own worlds – just like Anya. Wasn’t it just yesterday when she had entered their lives? Her heart sank, tab kya hoga? She wondered. What will I do the whole day – wait for Arnav to come back?
Inactivity didn’t really suit Khushi, she would often find herself in the dumps. Not that she missed AKC, but yet she wished she had a job, a hobby, a distraction where she could just lose herself even if it were for a few hours.
But the upside was, everyone else was happy with the rearrangement. Nani got used to having Khushi around for breakfast and mid-morning tea; the children crowded around her when they returned from school regaling her with the day’s events, demanding complete attention and often called upon her to settle matters between them. They were growing and so were their problems.
“Ma,” hissed Guddu, “Chotti ko samjha do sab ke saath itna zyaada heehee karne ke zaroorat nahi hai,” he scowled disapprovingly.
Khushi stared askance at Chotti who was hovering defensively at Devansh’s elbow, “Mamma! Dekho na Da ko,” she instantly snapped back, “Always hounding me glaring at me,” she glared at him and swung back to Khushi. She spread her hands and complained, “He doesn’t let me talk to anybody! Aisa mat karo, waise mat bolo,” she shook her head disgustedly, “All I did was say ‘Hi’ to his friend, usme bhi isko problem hai,” she raised her hand, “And please what’s wrong if I smile a bit, heeheee bhi nahi kar sakte kya? Should everyone roam around with a ferocious scowl like yours,” she scrunched up her face in an exaggerated fashion and drew her eyebrows together in an ugly frown drawing an unwilling laugh from Devansh, “Excuse me!” he burst out, “I don’t make a face like that, I just wear an aloof expression,” he said rather superiorly.
“Aloof my foot,” Chotti stamped her foot for emphasis, she turned back to Khushi, “Pata nahi isko kya problem hai,” she started off again, “Even if I just say hello to any guy on the school bus, I can feel Da’s eyes boring into me, aur khud?” she snorted disbelievingly, “Khud he spends hours explaining maths to my classmate, woh theek hai?” she put her hands on her hips and swung between her mother and Guddu.
Khushi raised her eyebrows and looked at Devansh, who flushed slightly and said defensively, “That’s academic! Don’t mix up the two, Mom aap hi bataiye, if somebody asks me to explain something I can hardly refuse can I?” he pleaded.
“Yeah right,” Chotti nodded her head knowingly, “You can hardly refuse if Kritika from my class asks you for academic help but I am supposed to refuse to even smile and say hello if somebody from your class greets me right?” she shook her head disbelievingly.
Seeing Khushi leaning towards Chotti’s logic, Devansh hurriedly defended himself, “Please Chotti you are such a naïve baby, tumko pata nahi hai, they are all sheep in wolf’s clothing,” he muttered darkly.
“And you are such a gooddoo boy,” Chotti put up a hand to pinch his cheeks as she mocked him, “Tumko toh aur bhi kuch pata nahi hai,” she said pityingly.
She turned to Khushi, “Pata hai Mamma, this Kritika is very chaloo, I overheard her talking to Rohini,” she tskd impatiently at Khushi’s blank expression, “Oho, Da’s girlfriend, the one who calls him DE, how she liked him etc etc, and,” she drew out rather triumphantly, “Kritika was really gushing about how much she liked Da and Rohini grumbled ‘koi fayda nahi hai, bahut hi standoffish and grumpy hai’, Kritika just grinned and said loftily ‘oh he wont grumble or be standoffish with me, just you wait and watch’ now what do you make of that?” she looked expectantly from Khushi to Guddu.
Click here for Chapter 415