Anya was silent as she relooked at the situation.
“Anya dear, don’t forget, only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches, so,” Khushi smiled, “sometimes you have to take off your own shoes and wear the other’s shoes to get an idea of where it is pinching him! Think from Sherry’s perspective dear, his lofty plans were a total flop wasn’t it? The kids were cranky and you were starving so what did he get for his pains – his wife walking out on him in a huff? Worse, she took his darling girls too! Was life fair to him?” Khushi drove home her point.
“I hate being taken for granted,” cornered Anya lashed out, “ek phone toh kar sakta tha? At least tell me that weren’t going out for dinner that guests were coming? At least I would have straightened up the mess at home,” she shuddered, “it was so embarrassing, the whole house was in a mess!”
“Aur iske liye tum ghar chhod dogi? Woh bhi bina bataye?” Khushi asked incredulously.
Anya flushed, “toh main kya karti, chup chaap sab sehti rahoon?”
Khushi looked at Anya, “No doubt there is a larger issue with you of being overworked and overtired, on top it you are on a diet, irritability and exhaustion is not surprising but if we take the events of the last evening – Sherry bringing guests home – per se that is nothing to get annoyed and upset about is it?” Khushi spread her hands and shrugged helplessly, “I mean yes you had plans, imaginary plans,” she stressed, “to go out with Sherry but in all likelihood the babies would not have let you have the kind of romantic quiet dinner you had in mind, phir kya karti? Babies ko chhod kar chalee aati?”
Anya flushed, “Maami you know I would never do that!” she protested.
Khushi shook her head, “No I don’t know that, for I never expected you to behave in such an immature impulsive manner in the first place, who knows what else you have in store for us,” she shrugged.
“Maami!” Anya was aghast, “Aap aise kaise keh sakte hai?! I think I must be the only person in the whole world whose parents don’t support me, instead they support the Jamai raja,” she said bitterly, “You know so many of my friends have packed their bags and gone off to their parents’ place where they have been welcomed with open arms not…not vilified like this,” Anya was in tears.
Khushi’s heart went out to the poor girl but she steeled herself – marriage (not to mention parenting) was a tricky business and not meant for the lily-livered.
“Aur tabhi toh hum kehte hain, aaj kal everyone knows their rights but not their duties,” both Khushi and Anya turned around in surprise.
Nani was standing at the doorway, flanked by Anjali and Arnav, “Aaiye Nani aaiye,” relieved Khushi escorted Nani inside and pulled a chair for her, sparing a warning frown for Arnav to keep his mouth shut and temper under control; he looked surprisingly calm; in fact he gently blinked at her and shoved his hands into his pockets as he stood by the doorway – Khushi’s heart thudded and she blushed pata nahi Laad Governor ne kya suna and more importantly kya samjha!
“Nani aap bhi mere side nahi hai,” Anya said in a small voice as tears slid down her cheeks.
“Bas bas bitiya bas,” Nani affectionately wiped her tears with her pallu, “Don’t you get it dear, Sherry and aur tum ek hi side main toh ho?” she said gently, “Life is difficult as it is with many battles ahead and the institution of marriage has been created so that both of you can face these together, side by side and not to spend your lives fighting with each trying to establish dominance over the other! Sara energy issi main waste ho jayega toh how will you deal with the myriad crises that dog the householder’s lives? Abhi toh bahut papad belna baaki hai – the children will grow up and become even more naughty, they are bound to fall ill, have issues in school, break a bone or two and of course their hearts too, and if their parents aren’t mature enough to deal with their own problems how will they provide emotional support to their children,” Nani caressed Anya’s head, “Patience and tehrav will win you more than any battle could, kabhi kabhi you should go out and look at the trees – come rain, come hail or storm, they stand unmoved and unyielding firm in their resolve and strength of purpose, and they never think ‘why only me’ nor do they stop giving shade thinking ‘what’s in it for me’ do they? You have to do certain things in life because that’s your life’s purpose,” Nani explained.
Anya made a face, “All very well Nani, but I am not a tree am I? I am a live living person with emotions and feelings,” she shrugged unhappily, “Probably would have been easier and better if I had been a tree.”
Nani sighed and adjusted her pallu, “Fair enough,” she nodded, “Then you can look to Khushi bitiya and learn a thing or two.”
“Mami!”All eyes swung to Khushi who flushed a deep red and looked away only to clash with Arnav’s eyes trained on her – the expression in his eyes and the swirling RV – it was a miracle that Khushi didn’t swoon right there and then. And it took all of Khushi’s self-control not to melt into his arms – Arnav wasn’t so hampered by societal norms, he simply reached out and slid his arm around her, his warm breath stirred the tendrils around her ear as he whispered huskily only for her ears, ‘Kkkhhushiii’
Khushi forgot where they were and drowned in the intoxicating heady rush of the moment – before the tsunami of ‘sanskar’ overwhelmed her and she stiffened, “Yeh kya kar rahein hain aap?” she hissed as she attempted to free herself.
Arnav just pulled closer and swung her out of the doorway, out of sight and cupped her face, “I love you Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada more than you will ever know,” he murmured softly as he stared down at her intently. His intense unmistakable sincere emotions shook Khushi to the very core, tears crowded her eyes, her throat closed up and her lips quivered, “Ahh Khushi,” whispered Arnav rather helplessly before stealing the tremble from her lips, which unashamedly clung to his.
Sanity returned soon enough and she withdrew, “What was that for?” she said gruffly trying to reign in her rioting emotions as the insistent RV persisted in playing havoc with her senses.
Arnav’s lips twisted, he raised a hand to straighten her lock, “That was for ‘wearing’ my shoes ever so often,” he blinked at her.
The RV swirled and whirled around in an ecstatic daze.
“But then on second thoughts,” he said musingly after a while, “itna bhi mahan kaam nahi karti ho,” she looked at him questioningly, he shrugged the faintest twinkle in his eyes, “After all, your feet are smaller than mine so its really no big deal,” he stated rather arrogantly.
Khushi’s mouth was a round O and her eyes narrowed as she looked at him incredulously, “Aaap aise,” she began hotly but then he stole her breath again and before she could recover completely he pushed her back in the room, “Kya Khushi itna important discussion chal raha hai aur tum yahan par apne husband ke saath romance kar rahi ho? Hawww,” he mocked her.
Khushi pressed her lips together and turned around to shoot daggers with her eyes (even though man hi man laddoo phoot rahe the) as she stumbled into the room while he simply crossed his arms and smirked, “Kya hua Mami?” Anya asked concernedly.
“Kuch nahi Anya,” Khushi brushed it away, “Just a minor demonstration of the Laad Governor’s high-handedness,” she pulled a face at Arnav who was leaning against the doorway wearing a half smile.
It was all Khushi could do not to fly right back into his arms.
That day was clearly RV’s day out.
Click here for Chapter 432