Arnav sighed and hissed in frustration, “Do what you think is right, but I am warning you agar Nani aur zyaada upset ho gayi toh the responsibility will be yours,” he squarely placed the onus on her head.
Khushi stared at him helplessly quailing a bit, “Achcha achcha,” she said placatingly, “I wont tell her everything in its gory detail, just tell her, that there is some business MU between the two of you isliye they are avoiding contact with us, not because they don’t care for her, aur mauka dekh kar hi bataoongi, theek hai?” she sought his approval.
Reluctantly he shrugged, “Dekh lo, khana toh order kar do.”
They scanned the menu card and Khushi gave their order, “And also please pack one blueberry cheesecake and one tiramisu,” she smiled at the waiter as she handed the menu card back to him.
“Tax,” Khushi grinned at Arnav’s raised eyebrow, he relaxed, “Aise hi thodi na aane diya,” laughed Khushi, “Chotti toh nearly threw a fit woh toh Guddu ne sambhal liya but even then later Chotti came and wheedled ‘mere liye bhi kuch le kar aana’,” Khushi waved her hand, “Tabhi I ordered for it abhi se, kahin baad main bhool gayi toh ghar par no entry lag jayegi!”
Arnav’s expression softened and he wore an indulgent look, “She is special isn’t she?” he said proudly.
Khushi nodded, “Dono hi special hai, aapko pata hai Guddu has been selected to play the lead role in school’s annual function?”
Arnav looked up, “That’s great! But I didn’t know Devansh was into dramatics,” he wore a mildly surprised look.
Khushi made a moue and dug into her food, “Aapko pata hai kya hai? Office and bas office, bachche bade ho rahein hai,” she waved her fork around, “ Wake up and smell the coffee Mr Arnav Singh Raizada nahi toh one fine day you will find that both have them have flown the nest,” she shook her head and concentrated on chewing her food.
“Achcha hi toh hai, phir Devansh can complete his graduation and then join A&Ddesigns, and in no time, he and I will be together the whole day,” he smirked arrogantly.
Khushi looked at him aghast, she put down her fork, “What? Aapko pata bhi hai aap kya keh rahein hain?
Arnav frowned at her absentmindedly as he served himself some more pasta, “Aapko pata hai na he wants to take up engineering?” Khushi asked.
Arnav waved his fork and swallowed, “Sure let him do that phir MBA karke he can join A&Ddesigns, that is what I meant.”
Khushi shook her head, “Usko MBA nahi karna, he wants to do Aerospace Engineering, bataya toh tha na aapko?”
“He is still young,” Arnav dimissed, “bachcha hai, abhi toh he wanted to be a paleontologist then he wanted to live in space, aise toh bolte rehte hain,” Arnav advised her, “its not so easy to get into space research, you know, you need to be really brilliant…”
“Haan toh Guddu is brilliant,” Khushi jumped in to defend her jigar ka tukda.
Arnav smiled at her pityingly, “Of course he is and you are not the world’s first mother to think so.”
Khushi glared at him, cut to the core, after all baat Guddu ki thi, “Ji nahi, it’s not that I am saying so, even his school teachers keep saying how intelligent he is and have repeatedly told me he is far ahead of the others in his class…”
Arnav took a sip of water, “I bet they tell that to all mothers,” he smirked, “tum bhi na Khushi you think your children the world’s best and most brilliant,” he taunted.
“Hai tabhi sochti hoon,” Khushi narrowed her eyes as she seethed in annoyance, hamesha hi aise karte hai, whenever I try to tell him how much his teachers gushed over him, he always dismissed it as her fanciful notions, ‘ma ka ladla beta’ and all, but Chotti ka toh phatak se maan jaate hai ki kitna hardworking hai, organized hai – ‘beti kiski hai’ he would preen, “You know you really do Guddu an injustice…”
“Kya injustice?” Arnav challenged, “Abhi kal hi ki toh baat hai, he made you do his project did he not?” he shook his head, “Khushi you really pamper him you know, you should let him handle his responsibilities on his own, it’s time you let him grow up,” he exhorted, “with this kind of organizational skills, he plans to go to NASA or what?”
“Have you any idea what his schedule looks like? He is in the school play, State football team, north zone GK team, and this project was handed to him at the last minute for some international competition,” her pitch rose in her annoyance, “he had expounded to his physics teacher on some idea he had and she had encouraged him to send it in, project toh koi bhi bana sakta hai, the idea and the conceptualization is what is remarkable,” she put her nose up in the air.
Arnav shook his head, “He is always so busy in extracurricular activities, I have rarely seen him with his books.”
“Woh isliye because he is brilliant,” Khushi shot back triumphantly, “he has a sort of a photographic memory – ek baar padh le toh use yaad ho jaata hai, aur waise bhi aap ghar par hote hi kahan hai that you can comment on how much he studies or does not study,” Khushi’s eyes were glittering and her face was flushed.
Arnav leaned back in his seat and smirked at her, “Bete ko kuch bola nahi aur tum main kitna josh aa gaya! Abhi thodi der pehle toh aise lag raha tha ki stretcher mangwana padega.”
Khushi flushed at being caught, “I am equally fond of both my children,” Khushi said loftily, “Not like you, sirf Chotti ke sau khoon maaf,” she crossed her arms, “Abhi baatoon Chotti madam bahut upset thi aaj?”
Arnav put down his fork and picked up his napkin, “Angel upset? Kyon? Kya hua?”
Khushi shrugged, “Wohi pangs of first love,” she waited for the fireworks.
“What the! Pangs of first love!” his eyes hardened, “Whose the guy Khushi? What has he done?”
“Relax, usne kuch nahi kiya,” Khushi said in soothing tones even as she grinned at him knowingly, “She didn’t get a birthday invite from one of her best friends, girl friends,” she specified pointedly, “because they both like some guy and she was maha upset about it, she refused to talk to me, barely pecked at her food and howled buckets.”
“Howled buckets! Angel upset hai aur tum usse chhod kar yahan chalee aayee? What kind of a mother are you?!” Arnav was incredulous he threw down his napkin and signaled for the bill, which was almost instantly presented to him.
“Oho Arnav, aap bhi na, she’s ok now, tabhi toh chhod kar aayee hoon na,” but Arnav had already got up, Khushi barely managed to collect the packages, before rushing off behind him, “Arnav she must be fast asleep by now, nahi toh pucca phone hi aa jaata,” she tried to pacify him.
“Please Khushi, Angel is just a baby, and she is so innocent and sensitive, how can you be so callous and indifferent?” Arnav seethed as he viciously started the car, “Poor thing, must have cried herself to sleep,” he shook his head his heart breaking for his little girl, he abruptly jerked the gear and released the clutch, the car sprang forward, “Who is this ‘friend’ of Angel?” he asked suddenly, “why don’t you talk to her mother?”
“Arnav!” Khushi looked at him aghast, “I can’t do that! Besides, Chotti has to learn how to deal with such sort of things, after all how many people can I call and for how long, Simran’s mother may agree and extend an invite for Chotti par aap bhi bataiye would that be the right thing to do? Should I go around calling every mother whenever Chotti has faced a slight, imagined or otherwise” she sighed frustrated at the closed, obstinate mulish look on Arnav’s face.
Click here for Chapter 423