Devansh raised his eyebrow, “Par maine toh promise nahi kiya tha that I would tell you, I was just considering sharing with you,” he said stressed, “And the fact of the matter is, what is there in it for me? I mean mujhe kya milega bata kar?” he looked at her slyly.
Unmindful of the trend the discussion was taking or the fact that she was being expertly manipulated, “Kya chahiye? Kuch bhi kar doongi,” she promised recklessly.
“Hmm,” Deva tapped his cheek thoughtfully, “Kya chahiye? Kya kar sakti ho? Hmm let me see, oh yeah,” he clicked his fingers, “I got to make 20 greeting cards for our class stall for the annual fete, you can make those,” he offered helpfully.
“Yeah sure,” Chotti nodded her head eagerly, “No problem, 20 kya 50 cards bana doongi secret batao toh sahi,” she prodded.
“Ahh secret,” Deva said cagily, “Remember the deal huh, you can’t tell anybody and you have to make 50 cards.”
“50! But you said 20?” Chotti protested.
“You only offered,” Deva said in an injured tone, “If you think that the secret is worth 50 then who am I to disabuse you of the notion,” he said piously.
“Haan haan theek hai theek hai, jaldi bolo, I am sure Mom will be here any moment soon, I promise not to tell anybody and 50 cards,” she said hastily, “Ab batao,” she followed him inside his room.
Deva threw his bag on the floor and kicked off his shoes, “Secret yeah hai ki that I cannot wait to be alone at home.”
Chotti looked at him expectantly, “because?” she questioned eagerly.
Devansh shrugged, “That’s it,” he slowly repeated and wrote each word in the air, “I can not wait to be alone at home, period.” and watched the penny drop.
Chotti’s expression went from total incomprehension to complete incredulous enlightenment and Devansh fell on the bed laughing hysterically and clutching his tummy.
“Yooooouuu,” Chotti screamed frustrated and would have jumped on him and probably torn him to pieces, but unfortunately for her, Khushi landed up outside the room, “Kya chal raha hai yahan par?” she asked exasperated, “Kitni baar bulaya sunai nahi deta?” she scolded Chotti, “And what’s so funny Guddu?”
“Mommmm, dekho na Da ne kya kiya!” complained Chotti.
“Kya?” Khushi asked.
Devansh sat up and said warningly, “Chotti remember, whooo whooo,” he made cruising motions in the air.
Chotti stamped her foot and stomped off her seething with annoyance and indignation, “Chotti jaldi karo,” Khushi called, “Just 5 minutes otherwise we are leaving, the girls will wake up soon aur phone aata hi hoga,” she warned.
She turned to Devansh who still wore a wide self-satisfied grin, “And what was that all about?”
“Nothing Mom, just a little secret,” he went off into another fit of chuckles at his own wit.
“Uff,” Khushi rolled her eyes, “Ab the whole way she will be complaining about your tricks,” Khushi rued.
Devansh straightened, his eyes gleaming with mischief, “Nahi nahi, aaj kuch nahi bolegi,” he guaranteed confidently, “And if she does just say ‘whooo whooo’ that’ll surely shut her up” he laughed.
Khushi shook her head resignedly, “Pata nahi kitna tease karte ho usko, just you wait one day she will wise up to your tricks and give back as she gets,” she warned.
Devansh shrugged unconcernedly, “Tab tak toh main NASA main hoonga,” he looked at Khushi and said seriously, “Dad still thinks I am going to join his business? Aapne bataya nahi?” he accused her.
Khushi sighed, “Arre baba bataya tha, but he has probably forgotten,” she said soothingly.
“Mom I am telling you main koi business-vizzness nahi kar raha and do you seriously think I have any sense of fashion?” he spread his hands.
Khushi silently agreed with him; Chotti would often send him back to change because his sartorial style offended her delicate sensibilities – Guddu toh ussi ka beta tha, “Arre baba you wont have to design clothes, just run the business, anyway,” she hastily raised her hand, “Abhi lets not worry about it ok? Waise bhi your Dad hasn’t objected to doing undergraduation in your subject of choice has he?” She put her arm around him and hugged him, “abhi you focus on studying hard, getting into the college of your choice under your own steam and doing well and then we will take it up from there once you complete your graduation ok?” Khushi postponed the inevitable.
Devansh’s scowl deepened, “But Mom,” he protested, “What if then Dad…”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Khushi interjected hastily, “Oh good Chotti bhi aa gayi,” she said in relief, “We better get going, the babies will upset if they don’t see their mom when they wake up,” she hustled Chotti pausing to kiss and reassure Guddu, “Don’t worry beta, sab theek hoga I promise, just focus on your studies, leave the rest to DM theek hai?”
Devansh nodded albeit reluctantly and waved them off with a final betal-wala ‘whooo’ to Chotti who stomped off in annoyance. His good humor restored, Devansh went back to his room to study.
Later, much later, Arnav and Sherry returned to GM where their better halves were almost half out of their minds with worry – though the little ones, bright and fresh from their nap kept them distracted with their cute antics.
The highlight of the day was Maira suddenly started speaking, “Kellie, Kellie,” she sang out in various tones ranging from a loving questioning coo to an imperious demand waxing proudly under the attention she drew from her doting family. She toddled and stumbled around the living room on her dimpled legs calling out ‘Kellie Kellie’ hunting behind the sofa, under the table and pretty much everywhere.
Much to the disgust of Keira of course, who simply stared at her dumbfounded not quite sure what she didn’t like but pucca kuch toh gadbad hai – the best she could come up with after numerous attempts was ‘Baaaahhh’ and one special red-faced dum lagakar ‘Gaaaaahhh.’
Chotti smothered them both and set about teaching them to say Maasi.
Anya was thrilled to bits even though she of course would have preferred ‘Mama’ as her first word but then Keira was her first friend and companion so banta hai she thought generously.
The moment Arnav and Sherry entered GM, Khushi’s eyes sought out Arnav who looked a bit grim but he nodded reassuringly while Sherry’s lips were drawn into a thin white line, “Kya hua Sherry?” Anya jumped up.
“Kuch nahi,” he said distantly.
Anya shot a worried glance at Khushi and Arnav, “Come Sherry, come have a cup of tea,” Khushi rushed in.
Just then Maira came trotting rather unsteadily at top speed, “Kellie Kellie,” she screamed in delight – finally the love of her life was here.
Anya’s expression fell ludicrously while Sherry’s face lit up like a thousand watt bulb; he scooped her up in his arms, “Oh yes my love it’s your Kellie indeed!” he laughed happily. Maira thrashed around in excitement and hit him in the eye, uncaring she drooled all over him still parroting “Kellie Kellie” at the top of her voice. Not to be left out, Keira tugged at his trousers, “Baaa, Baaa”.
His cup of joy suddenly overflowing, Sherry picked her up as well, “And yes darling I am your Baba!”
Anya was dumbstruck, itna bada dhoka!
“Dekhiye na Ma,” she complained tearfully to Sunita, “The whole day I take care of them, play with them, be with them and even stay up nights and who do they call out for? Their father, so not fair,” she grumbled.
Sunita laughed along with the others, “Who said life was fair dear,” she hugged her.
Click here for Chapter 438