In the meanwhile, Anjali had gone in and sat beside Anya, “Oh darling sweetie,” she cupped her cheek and said softly, “No matter what you do you could never be the vamp! You will always be our little girl, no matter what I promise,” she reassured.
“Haan woh sab toh theek hai Anjali bitiya,” Nani interjected, “But we mustn’t forget that she is now also a mother and a wife, it’s time she grew up, shaadi or for that matter, motherhood is no child’s play, jab mann kiya khel liya aur jab mann kiya chhod diya,” Nani pulled at her pallu disapprovingly.
Anjali bit her lip and nodded, “Haan Anya, Nani sahi keh rahi hain, thodi bahut maturity toh laani padegi.”
“Thodi bahut nahi, bahut saari,” Nani said firmly.
Anya swallowed hard, “Are the girls still sleeping? Abhi toh uthne hi wale honge, I better go and arrange for their lunch otherwise,” she moved to get off the bed but Anjali held her back, “Relax everything is under control, abhi khana hi kha rahein hain,” she informed.
Anya looked at her in surprise, “Oh!” then, “but Sherry doesn’t know what they eat,” she protested jealously.
Anjali shook her head, “No, Sherry brought their Nanny along, what’s her name? Haan Putti,” Anjali smiled, “The girls are so intelligent! They immediately recognized her and latched on to her and now there are happily having their khichdi with dahi,” Anjali laughed and raised her hand, “haan baba haan, sugar for Keira in the dahi and salt and pepper for Maira!”
Anya stiffened with surprise, “Putti is back?” she said faintly as if unable to believe.
“Haan Sherry lekar ayaa,” Anjali said happily and proudly, she suddenly bit her lip and cast a guilty look sidelong glance at Anya – kahin phir se toh nahi bura maan gayi!
But Anya was quite relaxed and the relief very much evident on her face, “And where is Sherry?” she hesitated, “Ma?” she asked.
“Chachiji is enjoying the company of her grandchildren,” Anjali smiled, “I packed off Sheru for a bit of a shut eye, bechara has been up all night,” Anjali said; Anya reddened, “And Dad? Is he also mad at me?” she asked in a small voice.
“Ahh no sweetie,” Anjali rushed to reassure, “none of us are mad at you, disturbed and upset maybe but angry, never,” she shook her head, “Your Dad is with his patients,” she shrugged, “waise bhi, you know him na, he is not an advocate of the Spanish Inquisition, he would prefer that you open up on your own and not be browbeaten into a full confession or dragged through a post-mortem.”
Anya nodded, “I…is Sherry ok? I mean usne kuch khaya?” she asked.
“Haan baba, don’t worry I fed him, after all he is my brother hai na?” she teased Anya who flushed and muttered, “I am sorry Anjie,” and hugged her hard.
Tears sprang into Anjali’s eyes as she hugged her back feeling more confident and relaxed – the crisis seemed to have blown over!
At least for the moment.
“Umm I better go and apologize to Ma as well, I was very rude to her as well wasn’t I?” Anya said shame-facedly.
“There is no need dear,” called out Sunita from the doorway clutching one wailing precious bundle; Putti carrying the other bundle of joy on her back closely followed her. Keira gave a huge wail and immediately threw herself towards Anya and instantly Maira who so far was quite content with her piggy-back ride began hankering for her share of mommy dearest, “In just an hour, these two have driven both of us crazy!” Sunita flopped down on the bed, “dono itne badmash hain ki poocho mat!” she said with great pride, “the drawing room looks as if a tornado has swept through the room, sab kuch ast vyast and strewn on the floor, and this Kiera toh definitely has a shoe fetish,” she shook her head and made a disgusted face even as she pinched now peaceful little girl’s cheeks, “the only thing is she must first chew on each pair before giving them her approval and this Maira, all she wants to do is tear up books, Anjali dear I am afraid despite our valiant efforts we couldn’t save your coffee table book on 100 places to visit before you die.”
“Oh!” Anya looked guiltily at Anjali who just smiled and shook her head, “Koi baat nahi.”
“Mom, just hand me that newspaper will you? Its not today’s is it?” Anya asked as she handed a sheet each to Keira and Maira after putting them down on the bed; Anjali shook her head.
In any case it was too late, both the girls gleefully clutched their respective sheets and tore into them with great gusto and enjoyment. The adults couldn’t help but laugh at their obvious merriment and antics. Nani laughed gleefully as she too joined them and tore up a sheet as well. The twins froze and looked at her in surprise, Nani smiled and tore another sheet, they frowned disapprovingly at her their heads bobbing like buddha babas, “Ka hua, eelo aapan bhi kijiye,” Nani offered them a piece of paper each. Keira grabbed one with her podgy fingers while Maira pointed accusingly at the mess Nani had created and declared, “oooo!” in stentorian tones.
“Haan Nani sahi bola Maira ne ‘haaww’ indeed! Kitni galat baat hai na Maira? Koi eshe karta hai kya bhala,” Anjali said affectionately as she cuddled the chubby little girl.
Nani simply laughed and tore up the paper some more; Keira continued to look at her solemnly – she looked down at her piece of paper and then looked up at Nani, slowly and deliberately she tore up her paper and declared triumphantly “Wooo!”
“Haan,” Nani laughed, “kaunsi badi baat hai? Hum bhi kar sakat hain,” she tore some more.
Keira stared back unblinkingly and then reached out and clumsily picked up a piece and thoughtfully put it into her mouth and salivated on it looking all the while at Nani as if to say ‘ok now your turn’.
Nani threw up her hands and admitted defeat gracefully even as Anjali jumped up and slid a finger into her mouth in an attempt to prevent the little girl from choking on the piece of paper, “Gagagaga,” Keira drooled happily and triumphantly all over Anjali’s hand.
Anya got up from the bed and slowly walked up to Putti and put up her hands to her ears and said sincerely, “I am sorry Putti, bahut badi galati ho gayi mujhse, I was really mean and unfair to you, quite unpardonable I agree but do forgive me if you can.”
Horrified, Putti raised her hands and pulled down Anya’s hands, “Madamji! Please aap mujhe sharminda kar rahein hain, pehle Sir aur ab aap,” she wiped her eyes, “bhool jaaiye na.”
“Kaise bhool jaaoon Putti,” Anya was extremely repentant, “How could I be so unjust and hasty! Pata nahi kya ho gaya tha mujhe, I cannot forgive myself so how can I expect you to forgive me leave aside forget it,” tears rolled down her cheeks. She hurriedly wiped her eyes and looked away. Her eyes clashed and tangled with those of Sherry, who was standing apart, partially hidden by the doorway. Anya caught a flash of approval in his glance before he turned and walked away.
A sudden lightness pervaded her and the death clutch around her throat eased.
Click here for Chapter 433