A gush of blood nearly blinded her and she just saw red -‘Tum karti kya ho saara din ghar par.’ Fury coursed through her veins as she seethed with the injustice of it all. How dare he say that and today of all days when her day was far from over! All she wanted to do was storm upstairs and whack him with the rolling pin in her hand – she suddenly had a mental image of her running after him with a rolling pin while he tried to escape – just like the cartoons!
She couldn’t help but giggle and her anger dissolved in an instant – forgive them for they know not what they say – she shook her head, so much easier to manage an office than home. She was the CEO of RM yet she was the one at everyone’s beck and call – everyone needed her and only her – aww her heart swelled with love for everyone – how could she be angry with anyone for being angry with her for not being there for them? It was after all because they loved her so. If only she could divide herself in four parts – one for each and oh may be a couple more – one for Lucknow and one for Anya and her babies, she too needed her help and besides her arms ached to cuddle the warm little bundles and listen to their snuffles, tiny snores and heartwarming gurgles.
If only her legs didn’t ache so much, she would be at all places at the same time! Khushi cleared up the kitchen and went up to their room, but Arnav was in bed and fast asleep – or at least pretending to be asleep.
Despite her good intentions, she was spoiling for a fight. She dearly wanted to push him awake and make him listen to her side of the story but the more prudent, understanding side stopped her – better let sleeping lions lie, no point in talking to him in this mood, maybe later, waise bhi, gussa toh jaayez hai, she had forgotten about the file, she thought guiltily, par time bhi toh nahi tha! Haan par you could have texted him and told him you were busy – gussa is baat ka nahin ki kaam nahi hua but that she had ignored his request, pushed him to the backburner – she understood the workings of her Arnav’s dil and dimaag (well most of the times!).
Yet the injustice of it all tore into her – kuch bhi bol dete hain, pata bhi hai ghar kaise chalta hai – aise kaise jaane doon?
Khushi shook her head – all of us are tired, let’s not do this right now, besides Guddu ka project bhi to karna hai?
Yet there was a growing kernel of resentment within her – hamesha main hi kyun samjhoon? Kabhi woh bhi toh samjhe? So damn unfair.
Khushi slowly went to Devansh’s room and spread out the chart paper on the floor. Guddu left his books and briefed her before going back to his studies. Khushi and Guddu spent a companionable couple of hours scrunched up over the chart paper and books, respectively. Khushi took a break to check in on Nani while Chotti also landed up to investigate and demand her share of ‘Mom’s time’, “Mom, I am not getting this step right, can you show me how?” Chotti tugged her.
Khushi straightened her aching back, “Nahi Chotti, abhi nahi, can’t you see I am busy, waise bhi it’s late now go and sleep, aur jaao dekho Nani so gayi ki nahi, and if she is awake take her temperature will you?” Khushi went back to the chart paper while Guddu looked at Chotti superiorly who immediately stuck out her tongue at him and vanished in search of ego balm – first to Nani who was fast asleep and then to her father, who had given up his pretense at sleep and was pacing the poolside, seething with annoyance.
‘Ek toh mera kaam bhool jaati hai Khushi and now she disappears without so much as by your leave, meri toh koi value hi nahi hai, ab itna kya kaam ho sakta hai?’ he fretted and fumed.
At the shuffle of footsteps, he swung around aggressively, clearly spoiling for a fight, “Ab mil gaya…oh its you Angel,” he hastily modulated his voice, “Soyi nahi ab tak?”
“Nobody has any time for me,” unshed tears sparkled in her eyes.
“Kya hua sweetheart,” Arnav was instantly concerned and madder than before (if that were possible) at Khushi – where the hell was she!!
“Mamma is busy making a school project for Da and in the afternoon also she was late in coming back for my dance practice, first she took Nani to the hospital then she had to pick up Da from football practice and now she is again doing Da’s work, mere liye toh time hi nahi hai,” she pouted unhappily.
Arnav froze, “Nani hospital gayi thi?” he sat down on the recliner and pulled Chotti towards him.
Comforted, Chotti leaned against him and poured out her angst, “Haan,” she nodded her head vigorously, “Nani has become like a baby, she cheated and didn’t take her antibiotics and now her fever is increasing, toh Mamma had to take her to the doctor, Nani maan hi nahi rahi thi but Mamma insisted,” she rattled off, “but then Mamma had promised to teach me and my friends a dance for Tanvi’s sister’s wedding for which she was late,” she grumbled, “it was so embarrassing, all of us are so busy and here Mamma was missing and then Da wanted Mamma to go to the market as well to buy stuff for his project,” she shook her head, “Da bhi na, sab last minute, thankfully Mamma didn’t agree and came for the dance rehearsal, but Da ne bhi kam nahi hai, he made sure Mamma not only went to buy the stuff but also made the project,” she waved her hand derisively, “dekho Mamma is making the project while Da is studying,” she said disbelievingly, “Studying!” she repeated meaningfully.
Arnav heard her out in silence as guilt smote him – ab pata chal gaya na karti kya hai? – he sneered to himself. Dammit why did he always have to snap at her, hang her without giving scope to explain?
Arnav sighed, “I am sure he is studying Angel,” he softly reprimanded her for her suspicious ways, “Come let’s get you to bed now, its very late, kal school hai right?” he walked out with her and made sure she was in bed before switching off the light. He slowly walked off to check up on Nani. She was dozing lightly and woke up as he leaned over to touch her forehead, “Chotte,” she mumbled sleepily.
“Haan Nani, you have fever,” he said concernedly, “And you didn’t take your antibiotics?” he stated matter-of-factly.
Nani sighed and put a hand to her head, “Oh toh Khushi ne bata hi diya,” she said like one who has been betrayed.
Arnav shook his head, “Nahi Nani, Khushi se toh baat hi nahi hui….”
“Nahi woh tablet is so big and I feel so nauseated,” Nani rushed to explain.
“But Nani you do know that you wont get better without the antibiotics?” he fiddled with the box of medicines on the table, “Did you take today’s dose?”
“Haan,” Nani coughed wearily, “Khushi bitiya had come a little while ago, don’t worry, you go and sleep,” she pushed him. But he sat for a while massaging her head till she dropped off to sleep once again.
His next stop was Devansh’s room where Khushi was still on the floor all hunched up over the chart paper, her tongue sticking out as she painstaking dabbed color on a row of trees of various shapes and sizes. Luckily for Devansh at that moment he was studying assiduously.
“Aur kya chal raha hai yahan?” he said mildly as he entered the room.
Click here for Chapter 418