“Achcha achcha Nani,” Khushi said soothingly feeling sorry for her – poor thing was absolutely panic stricken at the thought of the hospital, “Doctor, is baar hum dhyan rakhenge don’t worry, I will make sure she doesn’t miss even a single dose, lekin agli baar we wont listen to you, any hanky panky and it’s the hospital for you, theek hai Nani?” she asked sternly.
Nani meekly nodded her head.
As they got into the car, Khushi’s phone rang, “Mom where are you? You are late!” it was Guddu.
“I am coming, I am coming,” Khushi reassured him and asked the driver to speed up.
“Mom I need to pick up stuff from the market for the project,” said a sweaty grimy Guddu as he got into the car.
Khushi wrinkled her nose while he grinned unrepentantly, “Guddu abhi nahi later, I have to be home, I am already late, Chotti ke dus phone aa chuke hain,” Khushi shook her head, “you go and buy with the driver.”
“No Mom I can’t go!” Objected Devansh, “I have a test tomorrow and tonnes of homework too, project bhi aap hi ko karna hoga,” he said casually.
“What! No way Guddu, you will have to do the project yourself, I don’t have time, besides its your work, do it over the weekend,” Khushi crossed her arms.
“Mom please pleaaaassssse,” Guddu turned around in his seat, “Tomorrow is the last day of submission.”
“Kal last day hai aur abhi tak you haven’t even collected the stuff needed for it!” Khushi was aghast, “what were you waiting for – magically sab arrange ho jayega? And at least you could have told me about it a bit earlier, you know I don’t like this last minute rush? Haan haan Chotti,” Khushi spoke soothingly into the phone, “bas abhi aati hoon, relax bas another 10 min, pucca promise,” she put the phone down and glared at Guddu.
“Mom!” he said urgently, “Just take a small detour please, it wont take long I promise.”
“If it wont take long then you can go and buy,” Khushi was adamant, “You heard me right, I promised Chotti and if I am now even a second later than 10 mins, I will never have a moment’s peace in my entire life, especially when she gets to know its because of you,” Khushi shook her head decisively, “ Nope either you go and buy the stuff or you don’t submit the project,” Khushi said heartlessly, “I am not involved and that’s that,” she said firmly.
Devansh subsided unhappily into his seat.
Khushi was swamped by a horde of girls the moment she got out of the car, jumping and squealing, all eager to begin dancing, “Guddu escort Nani to her room will you?” she called before she was swept away by the swarm of giggly hyperexcited girls.
It was almost two hours later that a physically exhausted yet mentally invigorated Khushi called it a day – oh boy did she love dancing! Maybe she should join dance classes for it was here she felt completely alive – Khushi shook her head, time kahan hai?
Khushi saw off the girls and received a warm hug from Chotti for her pains. Khushi hugged her back and rushed off to check Nani and give her medicines only to have Guddu hang around with a hang dog expression, “What?” Khushi raised her eyebrows.
He just shrugged and moped a bit more, Khushi sighed exasperatedly, “Come on Guddu itne time main toh you could have bought the stuff and come back! Don’t tell me you were studying non-stop for two whole hours,” she exclaimed disbelievingly.
Devansh looked away and said defensively, “I needed to recharge my batteries for a long night ahead, it was such a tough game,” he said lamely.
“What!” Khushi handed Nani her medicines and frowned at her who was busy making faces and staring with a horrified expression at the size of the tablet, “Itna bada tablet, it will get stuck in my throat,” she whined.
“Ji nahi Nani aisa kuch nahi hoga, even Chotti can easily swallow these,” Khushi turned to Guddu, “You mean to say you slept for two hours and now you expect me to go and buy your stuff?” she was incredulous, “What cheek I must say,” she marveled.
“Isme ‘cheek’ ki kya baat hai,” protested Devansh, “If only you hadn’t put Chotti first and taken a detour of just ten minutes, we would have had the stuff with us,” he sniffed dejectedly, “But nahi you are more concerned about Chotti and her tantrums and just because I don’t create a ruckus you never pay any attention to my requirements, it’s always Chotti this Chotti that! Fine then I will just get pulled up and be humiliated in front of everybody in class tomorrow just because you have no time for anybody except your darling Chotti,” Devansh snarled as stormed out of Nani’s room.
Khushi looked helplessly after him and turned back to pat Nani as she choked on the tablet, “Oho Nani aap bhi na bachchon se kuch kam nahi hai,” said Khushi feeling rather frazzled and pulled in all directions simultaneously.
“Hum theek hai bitiya, jao Guddu ka kaam kardo bechara bahut pareshaan hai, football khel kar thak gaya hai bechara,” Nani excused him.
“Then he should learn to manage his schedule better,” Khushi retorted bitterly, “bada ho raha hai, bade class main hai, he should understand and work according to his priorities hai ki nahi? I have told him so many times to cut down on football, be more organized,” she shook her head, “ But nahi, woh toh ek aur laad governor in the making hai,” she fumed, “he wont tell me in advance and neither will he let me check his bag, pata nahi kya privacy encroach hota hai, hmmphh,” she snorted derisively before rushing off to nag and scold Devansh some more.
Guddu was studying very intently from a whole lot of books open in front of him; Khushi melted, “Achcha de do list,” Devansh fished it out from the mess on his table and handed it to her without a word or even looking at her, “Achcha baba, theek hai, jaise tumhari marzee,” she ruffled his hair, “while you study at night you can guide me and I will make the project theek hai?” Guddu nodded silently, Khushi shook her head and left him.
By the time she came back after shopping, it was already dark with another mini-crisis looming, “Bhabhi,” this time it was Shakuntala with her tragedy.
HP had left for his village because his father wasn’t well and she would have also gone but for their son who was ill with high fever, “Oho! Achcha theek hai, you take him to the doctor and be with him, I will manage dinner,” Khushi packed her off while she attacked the kitchen.
“Where’s Shakuntala?” barked Arnav into her ear. The bunch of methi flew out of her hand as she squealed with shock and put a hand to her heart, “Arnav!” she leaned against him, her heart thudding furiously, “You nearly gave me a heart attack!”
“Where’s Shakuntala?” he repeated, “Phir se chutti de diya kya?” he said derisively, “while you slave away?”
“Arre nahin aisa kuch nahin hai,” Khushi rushed to clarify the situation, “abhi yahin thi, her son is not well, she has taken him to the doctor because HP has gone to his village,” Khushi turned back to the washbasin after picking up all the greenery, “Bas another 15-20 minutes, you wash up and change, dinner will be ready, go on,” she pushed him
Arnav grunted and vanished. He returned a little later and helped with the laying of the table and was even considerate enough to stay back and help her clear up the table, ordering Devansh and Chotti to help as well. Khushi melted and smiled happily at him and mouthed ‘thank you’
He just looked at her unfathomably, “Did you have a look at the file I sent you?”
Khushi stopped in her tracks and stared at him guiltily, oh damn she had completely forgotten about it! Arnav had asked her to look over some important account files for him for he didn’t trust anybody else and he didn’t have any time, “Oh sorry Arnav,” she said apologetically, “kya karoon subah se time hi nahi mila,” she attempted to defend herself.
Arnav’s lips tightened, “Shakuntala toh abhi gayi hai na?”
“Haan par…” Khushi said.
Arnav glared at her, “Ek kaam bola tha woh bhi nahi kar saki, tum karti kya ho saara din ghar par?” and walked away.
Dont look at me as if it is my fault! Khushi ne hi DM se deal crack kiya tha ki teda hai par mera hai – toh lo ab bhugto! 😉
Happy Diwali to all of you and yours!
Click here for Chapter 417