Despite her casual reassuring stance, Khushi was very worried and uska bas chalta toh she would have rushed to Di’s place. But the logistics stayed her –the children and their school, Nani – well, perhaps not much of issue – but likely to be more than compensated by the fuss ASR was sure to kick up. Better to let sleeping the Rakshash lie, she thought to herself.
She tossed and turned, long after Arnav had begun snoring lightly. She finally got up and went to the poolside. She sent another text to Di and one to Khsitij as well ‘All well I hope?’ not really expecting a response – it was after all past 1 am. They would and should be asleep, she told herself as she paced the poolside restlessly. But her phone beeped soon afterwards ‘Situation under control, don’t worry go to sleep’ from Khsitij followed by a longer one from Di – ‘Anya has been crying ever since she landed up and on top of it the kids are so cranky and irritable! My poor baby is totally exhausted, usse sone bhi nahi de rahe, aur na hi mere paas aa rahein hain’ – Di was clearly very frazzled and upset.
‘Should I come over now?’ Khushi dashed off rather recklessly.
‘Could you?” instantly came the SOS. Khushi bit her lip wondering what to tell Arnav so that he would drop her to Di’s place without going off the deep end.
But then her phone beeped again ‘Don’t worry Chatanki, kids will be asleep in a moment, nothing to worry’.
Bhaiyya clearly had no clue what was going on or he didn’t want to bother her, which was more likely. Di must have got an earful for worrying his sister unnecessarily. Sure enough her phone beeped again ‘Its Ok Khushi, the kids seem to be calming down, see you in the morning’
Khushi sighed, perhaps it was all for the best.
Khushi went back inside and crept into bed, hoping to snatch some sleep before another long day burst upon her – hey DM raksha karna, she prayed over and over again, feeling restless and agitated.
Arnav grunted and swore as she twisted and turned for the nth time – frustrated, he threw his leg over hers and trapped her within the circle of his arms –she subsided and almost instantly slid into a dreamless sleep.
The next morning, the moment the children were out of the house, Nani began pestering Khushi to go to Anjali’s place, “Oho Nani, aapki khud ki tabiyat theek nahi hai,” Khushi tried to restrain Nani but she was quite adamant.
“Achcha Nani, let me go and see what the situation is like, tab tak you get ready, pooja kar lijiye, have breakfast etc and then we will see, maybe they can come over?” Khushi suggested.
“Haan aisan theek hai, you go and find out what happened and let me know, I am fearing the worst, waise Sherry toh ladka bura nahi hai,” Nani fretted, “par aaj kal ke bachchon ka kya pata?”
“Haan of course Nani, I will definitely go over but don’t worry so much, situation is under control,” Khushi surreptitiously crossed her fingers, “Meri baat hui thi unse.”
“Par hua kya hai? Aise ghar kaise chhod ke aa gayee Anya?” Nani shook her head, “Zaroor koi badi baat hogi.”
“Woh abhi nahi pata Nani, I will go in a bit and find out, theek hai?” Khushi promised.
But Nani wanted instant gratification, “Abhi jaao,” she ordered.
“Arre Nani, they all had a late night and children were cranky, let them rest a bit,” protested Khushi but to no avail.
Khushi gave in and Arnav dropped her off at Di’s place on his way to the office, “Keep me posted,” he muttered curtly as she got down from the car, Khushi nodded reassuringly, “Don’t worry, and please don’t call up Sherry,” she warned, “We don’t want the situation to worsen do we?”
Arnav wore a closed expression, Khushi rolled her eyes and leaned towards him and muttered, “Please Arnav aisa mat karna, remember, sab Khushi nahi hai that you can say whatever you like without any fear of repercussions!” she said with a long suffering expression.
Arnav looked at her and raised his eyebrow, “Achcha! Apne aap ko bahut Sati-Savitri maanti ho na! No repercussions indeed,” he snorted disbelievingly.
Khushi dearly wished to carry this conversation further but there were other pressing matters, so she just gave a cheeky grin and sent him on his way with an airy wave.
She took a deep breath to calm her jingling nerves and rang the bell, “Kishu bhaiyya!” she hugged him, “Kaise hai sab?”
Khsitij shrugged helplessly, “Better see for yourself,” he waved her in. Unlike his usual unflappable calm today he looking pretty frazzled and frayed around the edges – being surrounded by four crybabies can be a taxing proposition for most people – thankfully Ankit was away at the hostel.
“Di! Anya kahan hai?” Khushi hugged Anjali who looked ready to collapse, her hair standing up on end and eyes bloodshot.
“Khushi!” Anjali’s face lit up, “You are sight for sore eyes! The kids are unmanageable, the whole night one would sleep toh the other one would wake up, one is hungry toh the other needs cleaning up,” Anjali flopped down on the sofa, “I am totally exhausted in one night, bechari Anya, no wonder she,” Anjali bit her lip and tears filled her eyes.
“Par Di,” Khushi was puzzled, “I have been in constant touch with Anya, she never complained that the twins fussed so much especially in the night? Not since they turned one, did she share with you?”
Anjali shook her head, “No, that’s true,” she said reluctantly, “Anya was saying they were behaving oddly, maybe they understand it’s a new place or maybe they are coming down with some infection,” Anjali massaged her aching back.
Khushi sighed, “Anya kaisi hai? Nani was saying the children are sensitive to vibes and they can probably sense their mother is stressed out and that is why they are so cranky.”
“Vimla, zara chai toh dena,” Anjali called as she wearily leaned back against the cushions, “It’s possible, Anya is no doubt very upset.”
“Par hua kya hai Di?” burst out Khushi, “Why did she take this extreme step of landing up without any prior intimation, baat hui thi kya aapse?”
Anjali shook her head, “Nahi, kuch bataya bhi nahi, and I usually talk to her at least twice a day even if just to say hello, yesterday also I talked to her tab toh kuch nahi kaha, in fact she seemed to be in good spirits, they had some evening plans phir pata nahi kya hua,” said Anjali dolefully.
“Aapne poocha nahi?” Khushi asked.
Anjali sighed, “Kab poochti batao? She just landed up at the doorstep at around 11 pm, can you believe it? She came home from the airport around with two babies in tow, ek phone toh kar sakti thi? Thankfully, she had met a friend at the airport who insisted on dropping her home,” Anjali shuddered, “Woh nahi hota toh shayad Anya would have come home alone! Just imagine!”
Khushi nodded thoughtfully, “I guess she was so upset that she wasn’t thinking straight,” she looked at Anjali, “I suppose it must have been quite a shock to see her at the door?”
Anjali nodded, “Haan I toh just kept staring and staring, for a moment I thought I was dreaming but then before we could question her, she burst into tears and howled and howled,” she paused, “I think the girls were shocked and horrified to see their mother like this and that is when they joined in, on top of their lungs.”
Anjali looked at Khushi, “One good thing was that Anya stopped crying but the children were quite unmanageable till early this morning and it has been only a couple of hours since they calmed down and all three are sleeping right now, yeh lo chai lo,” Anjali offered a cup to Khushi.
“Aur Sherry? Uski koi khabar?” Khushi took the cup.
“Koi khabar nahi! Can you believe that?” Anjali bit her lip and the corners of her lips turned down, “I can’t understand how he can sit peacefully at Bangalore while his wife and daughter are missing for more than 12 hours now!” she burst out.
Click here for Chapter 425