Khushi was sleepy and heavy eyed, 2 consecutively disturbed nights had taken their toll. She kept yawning during breakfast; Nani was the first to comment, “Kaa hua bitiya? You are yawning so much?”
Arnav joined in the fun, “Haan Khushi, what happened? Didn’t you sleep well last? Tabiyat toh theek hai na?”
Khushi glared at him, he looked so chipper today, “Nahi woh, I was studying till late, that is why I am tired.”
“Oh really! Studying?” Arnav raised his eyebrow, “I didn’t see you?”
“Of course you didn’t, you were sleeping na?” she smiled very sweetly at him, “ Naniji I have compiled the list also for the stuff we will need for the shagun. Amma said they will come tomorrow for the shagun ceremony,” Khushi smiled at Nani.
Nani smiled back, ‘Achcha, give the list to HP he will purchase all the stuff for the sweets and other stuff.”
“Ji Naniji, I just have one class today, I will be back soon,” Khushi left the breakfast table and went to their room.
Arnav followed Khushi, “Tum theek toh ho na Khushi?” he needled her.
Khushi glared at him, “Why are you asking this repeatedly?”
“Tumhare gaal laal hogaye”, he smirked.
“Haan toh, drop it Arnav, you may have a lot of free time, I dont, I am leaving, ” Khushi picked up her bag and a list lying on the table.
“Wait Khushi,” Arnav said, “I will drop you, it looks like it will rain any minute now.”
“Kyon?” Khushi was surprised, “It is so much out of your way and you will get unnecessarily delayed. The driver will drop me as usual.”
“Nahi woh…I dismissed Mohan yesterday,” Arnav grimaced.
Khushi rolled her eyes. “I see. ASR on the warpath is it? Anyway, let’s go we are getting late and I have to give this list to HP as well.”
In the car, Khushi suddenly clapped her hand to her head, “Hey DM, I forgot to tell HP to buy 20 packets of Chamko detergent powder.”
“What! 20 packets! of Chamko powder? Are you crazy Khushi?” Arnav exclaimed.
“No Arnav,” she turned to him excitedly, “Dont you remember, last to last Diwali also there was an offer like this where one silver coin was the prize and I won 2 silver coins. It was awesome!”
Arnav sighed and looked resignedly at her, “Nothing awesome, all just a scam, forget it.”
“Why should I forget it?” Khushi was adamant, “I am feeling very lucky, so many good things have happened, I will surely win and who knows 3 silver coins this year; one for Babuji, one for Amma and one for Buaji!” she clapped her hands excited.
Arnav looked at her debating whether or not to tell her or go for a repeat performance, damn she looked so happy. Suddenly he had a vision of a roomful of Chamko detergent powders collected over the years, he sighed and shook his head, “Khushi,” he said gently, “forget it, these offers are just a trick to get rid of their surplus goods and lure people into buying their stuff; look it is not even Diwali and yet they are giving this offer.”
“Haan, wohi toh, it is a Rakhi special offer, today is the last day, I saw the advertisement very late,” Khushi explained.
“Haan all brothers will gift Chamko to their sisters to wash clothes and the best sister will get a silver coin hain na,” said Arnav sarcastically.
Khushi was annoyed, “Aapko kya, you dont have to do anything, you are just jealous because I won 2 silver coins.”
“Jealous and me!” said Arnav affronted.
“Ji haan, jealous, your jealousy clearly showed up that day as well when I wanted to go and return the extra coin, faltu main you started scolding me, salary kat doonga and all hmmpph,” Khushi accused hotly, his words still rankled as they had diminished her joy at having won the coins. What was his problem?
She turned to question him but fell silent, Arnav’s ears were a tomato red and he had a strange expression on his face, or what Khushi could see of his averted profile.
“Arnav?” Khushi questioned.
“What?” said Arnav, without looking at her, “Oh great now that it has started raining we will be even more late,” he grumbled. Not without reason, suddenly the heavens seemed to have opened up and it was raining cats and dogs.
“Look at me Arnav,” Khushi ordered. The incessant patter of the torrential rain almost drowned out her words.
“I am driving Khushi, can’t you see? You want us to have an accident?” Arnav retaliated.
“Oh yeah, sure you are driving, all I can see is a mile long traffic jam!” came the rejoinder.
Arnav flushed even more and looked out of the driver’s window (not that he could see anything, it was raining so heavily), fingers tapping on the steering wheel.
Khushi turned in her seat and settled in more comfortably and said chattily, “Aapko pata hai, I never thought I would ever be glad about the traffic jams of Delhi nor the heavy rains. Today I can thank DM and Delhi CM from the bottom of my heart for ‘imprisoning’ the great Mr Arnav Singh Raizada, tch tch, now you can’t even walk away,” she falsely commiserated, “Now will you kindly tell me what you are so embarrassed about?”
Arnav shrugged casually, too casually, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” he glanced at her fleetingly and looked away immediately.
“Okay, if you insist,” Khushi too shrugged casually enjoying this cat and mouse game, more so because for once she was the cat and the mouse was clearly trapped, “hmm now let’s see, what were we talking about?”
Anjali’s phone rang, a blush suffused her face, “Ji? Aap kaise hain?” she answered the call shyly.
There was silence for a bit, then, “Oops sorry! I seem to have dialed a wrong number,” Kshitij hurriedly disconnected the phone.
Anjali stared confused at her phone.
It rang again; she picked it up on the first ring, “Hello Kshitij, what happened, why did you disconnect the phone?”
“Oh I got some strange female who was going all ‘aap aap’ on me and I could swear she was blushing as if I were some stranger,” said a horrified Kshitij,” but how did you know?”
Anjali laughed, “Kshitij tum bhi na! woh kya hai na humare jaasoos charon taraf fele huye hain.”
“Phew,” came Kshitij’s relieved whistle, “glad to have my Anjie back! Don’t think I can handle Anjali too well.”
Anjali laughed and shook her head, “Well doctor sahab, then you will have to learn, Anjali comes free with Anjie.”
“Well, in that case, welcomz to boths, as Mami would say, waise bhi, the more the merrier, right?” Kshitij shot back.
“Right,” Anjali smiled, “Why did you call? Just like that or something special?”
“Oh yes, I totally forgot, can you talk to Anya or better still if you have time can you please go and meet her?” Kshitij requested.
“Why what happened?” Anjali immediately worried.
“Nothing, she is fine,” Kshitij soothed her, then, “At least I think so, some girl stuff,” he said cryptically and hung up.
Girl stuff? Anjali wondered and rushed off to meet Anya.
Nanny opened the door and let Anjali in. Anya was hovering in the background, hesitating. Anjali opened her arms wide in a welcoming hug; Anya slowly shuffled forward and shyly took the hug.
“What happened Anya?” asked Anjali very worried at this subdued Anya.
Anya dragged her to her room and sat her at the chair by her study table and sat on the bed and said seriously, “There is a big problem.”
Click here for Chapter 44