Devansh stared at her unconvinced and refuted strongly, “I am sure usme bhi koi ulterior motive raha hoga,” he was so close to the mark that Khushi paled, “And main koi dhoodh peeta bachcha nahi hoon that he has to look out for me, I can take care of myself,” he declared grandly, “Apne liye achcha bura kya hai, I can decide for myself par yahan toh there is no freedom at all!” he railed as he ticked off on his fingers, “You decide what I eat, Chotti decides what I wear, Nani decides how I should behave and the rest Dad will dictate hai ki nahi?” infuriated he stomped off while Khushi stood there unable to think of anything to say.
After all what could she say to defend Arnav, that he didn’t want his son to be hurt or taken advantage of by some scheming girl – just like he had been once upon a time? But then Arnav was very likely to throw a fit at having his childhood follies unveiled in front of his children.
“So Dad’s controlling and snobbish huh?” Chotti stood in his tracks with her hands on her hips.
“Chotti don’t mess with me ok?” Devansh said dangerously, “just…just get out of my way,” he ordered shortly.
“So let me see,” ignoring him she tapped her cheek thoughtfully, “Who was it that told me to stay away from Gagan? And why?”
Devansh’ face blackened, he stepped forward threateningly, “That’s different and you know it, in fact everyone in school knows he is a good for nothing opportunist, that is everybody except you,” he snorted, “Tujhe toh kuch samajh aata nahi hai banne chali thi uski dost, bechara uski ma bimar hai,” he mimicked her, “If I hadn’t told you that his mom was just fine pata nahi what trouble you would have landed yourself in,” he snorted disparagingly.
“Thank you very much bhaiyyaji for looking out for your kid sister,” Chotti folded her hands and humbly bowed from her waist, “who by the way is just about 2 years younger than you,” she put her hands back on her hips, “Toh if being this much older to me gives you the right to look out for me, surely Dad has that much right to advise his son?” her eyes bored into his.
Devansh flushed and walked away without another word.
Khushi looked gratefully at Chotti who threw up her hands in the air “Men!” she intoned frustratedly then spoilt it by giggling, Khushi joined in rather helplessly, closing her eyes, at least for the moment, the unavoidable fact – ek aur volcano taiyyar hai.
Thankfully for all concerned, there were no further eruptions as the results were declared and Guddu easily qualified for his subject of choice at his choice of college with a laudable margin much to his gratification (and Khushi’s relief) and everybody’s delight (yes even ASR’s who couldn’t help but boast about his son’s feat to anyone and everyone who came in contact with him – oh yeah I will be there, hopefully for I have to go and find out the details of the admission procedure at IIT Mumbai for my son, you know, hostel and stuff, yeah I know all details available online, but would like to do a personal recce you know, yeah yeah he scored a very high rank, yeah interested in Aerospace Engineering, all his own effort – you get the picture right?).
But then Arnav couldn’t leave well enough alone, “Mumbai jaane ki kya zaroorat hai, he can very well do it from IIT Delhi isn’t it?” he was prudent enough to address Khushi rather than Devansh who was also at the dining table.
Immediately Guddu stiffened and glared at Khushi who frowned at him and said casually to Arnav, “Arre nahi, apparently IIT Mumbai is ranked better than IIT Delhi at least for this subject,” she smiled reassuringly at Guddu, who was still looking uptight.
“Haan but he will have the home advantage here,” argued Arnav, “wahan pata nahi khana kaisa hoga, hai bhi kitna bada fuss pot dekho tumhara beta,” he said a bit disparagingly, “Aur waise bhi, I can always pull a few strings and if necessary he can always go over to IIT Mumbai for any additional training, that wont be a problem,” he dismissed airily.
Devansh flushed, “You are again trying to control…”
Khushi put a hand on his arm, “Hum baat kar rahein hain na?” she said gently, “Nahi Arnav,” she shook her head decisively, “Uska mann hai, toh let him go, waise bhi its good for him to see the world a bit and learn to appreciate his Amma’s cooking hai na?” she said lightly.
Devansh relaxed and smiled back at her; phew eruption phir tal gaya!
Khushi leaned forward to serve some more dal to Arnav and murmured softly, “Abhi drop it, we’ll talk later,” she pacified,” from the black look she received it was clear this volcano was not only active but ready to erupt.
Hey Devi Maiyya sambhal lena!
Luckily for Khushi, DM empathized whole heartedly with Khushi’s sandwiched status and the volcano subsided, but with poor grace – it was pretty much evident that Arnav didn’t much care for his son leaving RM, “Itni door akele kaise rahega,” he fussed.
“Oho Arnav!” Khushi said exasperatedly as she sat down in front of the dressing table and pulled out her hairpins, “The way you are behaving as if he is going to Mars or something! Mumbai is just next door and akele kahan Jiji and all stay there, who knows issi bahane things will normalize,” she said hopefully as she began combing her hair.
“And you are such an unnatural mother,” he shot back, “your son is going away aur tumhe zara bhi dukh nahi hai?” Arnav said scathingly.
Khushi rolled her eyes, “First let me enjoy the first stress free breath I have had in the last four months or so!” she turned to him waving her hair brush in the air, “Aapko pata bhi hai how stressed out he was about this admission? Kitna sar khaya hai aapko pata nahi – no matter what I said, he would get my case! And,” she shuddered, “Agar nahi mila hota na admission yahan par toh pata nahi woh kya karta! Haww!” she peered into the mirror, “Tum baap-bete ne mil kar mere baal safed kar diye!” distressed she inspected the first of the graying strands of her hair, “bas this is the beginning of the end,” she moaned, “do you think I should start dyeing my hair?” she asked Arnav worried.
“Arre kuch nahi,” Arnav said bracingly, “I like the silver streaks, makes you look distinguished,” he brushed a casual hand over her hair.
“Haan but soon it will be just ‘black streaks’ for the rest will be silver,” she predicted direly, “Then I will look old and haggard.”
“Achcha achcha, tab dye kar lena,” Arnav said supportively.
“Oh!” Khushi narrowed her eyes as she rounded on him, “That means you won’t like me when I am all old and wrinkly,” she accused hotly.
Arnav rolled his eyes, “When did I say that?” he protested, “All I said was agar dye karna hi hai toh you can think about it later.”
But Khushi was in no mood to relent, “And that’s because…”
“Oho Khushi and then you accuse Devansh of nitpicking, he must have inherited it from you,” he declared.
“Achchaji!” Khushi began aggressively, but Arnav had had enough of arguing – besides she did look adorable all red faced and fighting mad.
The RV, which was taking a breather by the poolside, hurriedly stood up and dusted itself and swung into its mesmerizing hypnotic swirling twirl.
Click here for Chapter 451