Anya flushed a deep crimson, “Par Anya,” Khushi rushed into the awkward moment, “Did you not find another Nanny or any house help? No doubt it would be tough to manage two toddlers alone,” she sympathized.
Anya looked at her gratefully, “Yes Mami and trust me I am looking but finding a trustworthy person in today’s era is a tough task, Sherry says I should apologize to Putti but,” Anya clammed up with an obstinate look.
“And what’s this I hear about dieting?” Anjali asked in a steely voice, having finally put two and two together.
Anya again flushed, “Who told you?”
“Never mind who told me? Is it true you have stopped eating anything cooked because you want a size zero figure?” Anjali looked at her penetratingly.
“Oh” Anya nodded her head knowingly, “Sherry ne bataya hoga, he never wanted me to diet in the first place, uska bas chale toh, I would remain a rotund barrel all my life, because that suits him fine, he wouldn’t have to worry about anyone even sparing a glance towards me,” she said bitterly, “What does it matter to him whether I eat or diet, aur aapko batane ki kya zaroorat thi? All he wants to do is create trouble,” she said mutinously.
Anjali sighed and looked helplessly at Khushi, “Tumhe ho kya gaya hai Anya? Actually I just remembered something Chachiji had said sometime back, I hadn’t really paid much attention to it then but today Sherry’s comment to Khushi about feeding her – that’s when it struck me!” Anjali shook her head, “All this crankiness and irritability is just because Anya is starving.”
“Anya bitiya yeh dieting-vieting chhodo, this is not the time for it, see how pale and drawn you have become, waise hi child-rearing, woh bhi twins, is taxing enough,” Nani advised.
“Par Nani dekhiye na kitni moti ho gayi hoon,” wailed Anya, “I know I should exercise but I get so tired so I feel it is easier to diet,” Anya said listlessly.
“Haan,” Khushi nodded, “It is also clearly the shortest and easiest way to,” she paused and waggled her eyebrows, “ a divorce!”
They all burst out laughing which was immediately shushed as the girls squirmed warningly, but the tension broke, “I guess you are right Nani,” she sighed, “This is probably not the right time, but then it will probably never be the right time!”
“Achcha batao kal kya hua,” Nani said firmly as she adjusted her pallu.
“The whole day I am alone with the girls and yesterday I especially requested Sherry to come home early,” she paused, “I was hoping we could go out somewhere, maybe catch a movie together, have dinner outside, kitne din ho gaye,” Anya said with a faraway expression on her face.
“So what happened? He didn’t come home early and that is why you got upset?” Khushi asked curiously.
Anya shook her head, “No mahashay ji was very kind and considerate to be home early, earlier than I expected,” she again paused, “with three guests in tow who would be staying for dinner! A home cooked dinner,” Anya said bitterly, “Which Sherry insisted upon cooking himself but he kept asking me, yeh kahan hai, woh kahan hai? The girls were not at all happy to see strangers in the house, they became clingy and weepy, they stuck to me calling out to their father who was busy playing chef,” she paused, “And the smell of that chicken curry was so overpowering and so not good for my self control – maine bola Sherry ko jaan boojh kar you are cooking at home so that I break my diet hai na? Toh he just grinned cheekily and said koi shaq? I just saw red and I walked out,” she said and looked at the others.
She looked away and looked back at them, “It does sound childish doesn’t it?” she said embarrassedly, “but then at that time it seemed exactly the right thing to do!” she said helplessly, “koi aur option hi nahi tha, except for dumping the chicken curry over his head,” she justified.
“That would have been the better option Anya,” Khushi said, “rather ki tum do bachchon ke saath akele itne dooor aati,” she shook her head.
Anya looked sheepishly at Khushi, “Actually that is exactly what I would have done if the guests hadn’t been there!” Anya grinned cheekily but then drooped again.
“So instead, you decided to walk out in front of his guests?” Khushi asked.
Anya looked resignedly at Khushi, “Please Mami itni bhi buri nahi hoon, I didn’t intend to walk out, I just wanted to get out of the house, I was feeling suffocated, all that tempting flavor swirling around the house was driving me crazy, the kids were wailing,” she shrugged, “I just packed the essentials, milk, diaper etc for the girls, strapped them in their double stroller and informed Sherry that I was taking them to the park, maybe Nisha’s place to play with her daughter to cheer them up.”
“Phir?” prompted Anjali.
Anya’s lips trembled, “As luck would have it, Nisha had gone to her mother’s place so I went to the park, feeling very upset, annoyed and sorry for myself,” she shrugged, “I was fooling around with my phone when I saw all your pics,” she swallowed, “I felt very homesick and lonely so I just booked my tickets on the next available flight, dashed off to the airport and boarded the flight home,” she finished rather lamely.
“Aur kisiko bataya bhi nahi! Hume bhi nahi,” Anjali frowned disapprovingly.
Anya flushed guiltily, “If I told you, the purpose would have been lost, you would have immediately informed Sherry,” she defended herself.
“Ah so the purpose was not to come home, purpose toh Sherry ko pareshaan karna tha hai na?” Khushi said knowingly.
Anya made a face, “Aur kuch fayda bhi nahi hua, he was least bothered, he didn’t panic and fall apart did he?” her voice wobbled, “He wasn’t even bothered about his daughters.”
“Insensitive, I will admit but uncaring he is not,” Sunita spoke up from the doorway.
“Chachiji!”Anjali greeted her warmly while Anya flushed, “Aapko kaise pata?” she asked defiantly.
Sunita smiled and greeted the others as well before sitting down beside her, “Woh isliye ki Sherry knew exactly where you were throughout, first to Nisha’s place, then to the park, airport then here,” she looked at Anya, “it wasn’t a lucky coincidence that you met Pradip at the airport, he was there explicitly at Sherry’s orders to receive you and the girls and to ensure your safe arrival home.”
Anya looked at her bewildered, “B…but how? The tickets were mailed to my email ID and the credit card transactions sms alerts were all sent to my phone so how did he know?” she wondered aloud as her mind raced trying to work out the mystery.
“He had had a GPRS chip inserted into the stroller, don’t you remember?” Sunita reminded her and watched the penny drop.
Anya flushed, “but…but he could have informed my parents?” she protested rather lamely, “They would have received me at the airport, ek baar nahi socha how I would manage alone from the airport?” she pouted.
“Anya!” Nani was surprised, “tumne nahi socha but you expect Sherry to think! Yeh kaisan baatein kar rahi ho?”
“Rehne dijiye na Nani,” Sunita smiled, “abhi bachchi hai, she cannot be expected to take things with dollops of patience and forbearance,” she smiled affectionately at Anya, who looked away guiltily, Sunita shrugged and nodded, “Haan he did think of doing so but then when he called them up, they sounded so happy and relaxed that he didn’t have the heart to worry them unnecessarily while they waited for your flight to land, so he just made sure they were in town and instead called up Pradip to receive you at the airport,” her eyes twinkled, “he wasn’t very sure if you would accept help that came at his behest so he thought it best if you weren’t informed about that angle.”
Anya seethed, “Dekha dekha, this is what I was saying, he is so high-handed and all knowing, he treats me like a baby,” she fumed, embarrassed and taken aback yet secretly pleased but mostly relieved, he hadn’t given up on her!
“Waise bhi I am sure he was probably just looking out for his darling daughters,” Anya sniffed, “and come out smelling of roses with loads of brownie points with me as the villainess,” she flounced away from the room.
The elders just looked at each other and shrugged helplessly – bechara Sherry kuch bhi karei galati usiki hogi!
Click here for Chapter 429