Two days later at RM
“A…aap?” Khushi faltered as she opened the RM door and stared at a black Arnav, “You were supposed to return day-after-tomorrow isn’t it?” she asked confused and bewildered as he brushed past her silently.
“Kya hua? Sab theek hai na Mumbai main?” she asked with trepidation as she followed him inside wondering kahin Jijaji se toh phir jhagda nahi ho gaya?
Arnav threw his overnighter on to the sofa and viciously tugged at his tie before shrugging off his coat, “Kuch bhi toh nahi, I didn’t have any work out there so I returned, why waste my time just hanging around,” he strode off.
“Par…par Guddu ka kya hoga,” a worried Khushi tagged along with him, “matlab you were supposed to stay and help him settle in isn’t it?” she asked anxiously.
Arnav rounded on Khushi, “Oh don’t you know,” he thrust his finger into her face aggressively, “Tumhara beta ab bada ho gaya hai, he doesn’t need me or anybody to ‘help’ him settle in, usse sab pata hai,” he turned away and immediately turned back, “And you know what, you better cancel your ticket as well, milne toh door, tumhara phone bhi nahi uthayega!” he disappeared into their room while Khushi stood rooted, quite aghast, “Par hua kya hai?” she pleaded, “Woh theek toh hai na?”
“How would I know?” Arnav shrugged of his shirt aggressively, “he not only refused to let me enter the hostel and disconnected my phone but also refused to pick up my phone calls,” he stared bleakly out to the pool, “Abhi se itna high-handed and arrogant banega toh life main bahut mushkil hogi,” he stated grimly.
Khushi was taken aback – aisa toh nahi hai mera Guddu, bina wajah, “Par…par kuch toh hua hoga, kuch toh…”
“Maine kiya hoga haina?” Arnav attacked her, “Kyonki tumhara ladla beta toh kuch galat kar hi nahi sakta hai ki nahi?” he was furious.
“Achcha achcha theek hai theek hai,” Khushi said placatingly and backed down, “You relax and freshen up, nobody is blaming you, woh he must have been nervous about a new place, new college woh bhi akele, isiliye ho sakta hai emotional hokar kuch galat bol diya ho,” she tried to downplay it, “I will talk to him and don’t worry he will apologize to you, just chill ok?” she handed him his clothes and towel.
Arnav snatched them from her hand and bit out, “Mujhe koi farq nahi padta,” he threw his clothes on to the bed and slung the towel around his neck before vanishing into the blue…err loo.
Khushi went out of the room and sent HP in with refreshments whilst she tried to contact her son.
Unfortunately for Khushi it was the middle of the day and he was attending the orientation classes – phone pehle ringer pe tha, phir silent par and then switch off kar diya – but he did send a terse message ‘in class will call in the evening’
Khushi had little choice but to take comfort from that. Arnav came down freshened and changed, “I am going to the office,” he said curtly.
Khushi nodded distractedly. ASR strode off but then he hesitated by the doorway “Devansh theek hai?” the words seem to have been wrung out of him.
Khushi shook her head, “Pata nahi, phone hi nahi utha raha woh cl…”
“Ab tumhara bhi phone nahi utha raha!” Arnav erupted, “Who the hell does he think he is!” he ranted and bellowed at the top of his voice.
“Umm… ASR ka beta?” muttered a thoroughly frazzled Khushi caught between two warring Raizadas and a couple of weeping and moping Raizadas, “Class main hai, he texted that he will call later,” she said wearily.
ASR banged the door shut behind him as Khushi sank on to the sofa and clutched a cushion tightly – Nani where are you when I need you?
Hey Devi Maiyya Shakti dena she prayed.
It was later, much later when Devansh finally called up, “Hi Mom,” he said casually.
“Guddu!” she sat up, “Kaise ho beta?” she asked concernedly.
“I am good Mom!” he said brightly, “Great campus, super weather, teachers are very nice too and I met some cool guys,” he paused and then wickedly, “and hot girls.”
“Oh Guddu tum bhi na,” she shook her head as relief flooded her. He was fine and his usual self, bekar main hi she had worried herself to death. She was tempted to drop any reference to the fiasco with Arnav but then he was sure to question her upon his return. Aur waise bhi, Guddu had been rude and unjustified in his behavior, which she could just ignore – she had to tell him that this sort of attitude wasn’t acceptable.
“What happened with Dad?” she asked.
There was silence, “What happened?” he asked guardedly.
Khushi rolled her eyes, “Don’t act all innocent now,” she snapped, “Kuch toh hua hai na? Your Dad was supposed to come back two days later but he was back this morning, he complained about your behavior too…”
“He complained about my behavior! That’s rich,” snorted Guddu, “Did he tell you what he did?”
Khushi froze, “Wh…what did he do?” she asked very much on the back foot.
“Why don’t you ask him?” said Devansh grimly.
“I will but why don’t you tell me your version first?” suggested Khushi.
“My version!” snorted Devansh, “He had ants in his pants throughout the journey, first he picked a fight with a guy who jumped queue, then with the airlines for alleged rotten grub and then again an altercation which could have easily led to fisticuffs at the pick up point,” Devansh ranted.
Khushi listened in horrified silence, “Ants in his pants, did you say that to him?” she whispered.
“Yeah so?” said Devansh defiantly.
Khushi shook her head, “No wonder he was so mad at you, aise nahi bolna chahiye tha tumhe,” she said reprovingly.
“Unbelievable Mom!” Devansh sneered, “Dad was the one who threw such embarrassing tantrums in full public view but that is ok huh?”
“But why aren’t you picking up his phone calls Guddu,” Khushi hurriedly diverted the topic, “This is very wrong on your part,” she castigated him roundly, “Akele hostel main ho, naturally he is concerned and worried about you, how can you be so inconsiderate and insensitive as to not even pick up his phone?”
“Aisa kuch nahi hai, I am just busy,” said Guddu sullenly, “Everyone is calling me up, kitne logon ko boloon main theek hoon? Bas Nani ka hi phone aana baaki hai,” he said.
“Guddu!” Khushi scolded him, “Aise nahi bolte beta, at least Dad ka phone toh uthaoge na?”
“Kehne ko ka baaki reh gaya, whatever he had to say woh toh bol diya na unhone,” Devansh said bitterly which did nothing to cover the fine break in his voice.
Khushi’s heart instantly sank, why did she suddenly get the feeling that so far she had gotten a glimpse of only the tip of the iceberg, “Kyon? aisa kya ho gaya?”
“Kuch nahi,” denied Devansh, “I don’t want to talk about it, I got to go Mom, mess bund ho jayega if I don’t hurry, bye,” he rang off, leaving Khushi frustrated and no better off than before.
“Well did you talk to him?” Asked Arnav the moment he returned from office, “Woh theek hai?”
“Hmm,” nodded Khushi.
“Kya bola?” asked Arnav a bit defensively.
Khushi looked at him, “Not much beyond that you were hyper throughout the journey,” She reported, “But yeh nahi bataya why he is not taking your calls,” she crossed her arms and questioned him, “aap hi bata dijiye?” she challenged him.
He turned away, “Mujhe kya pata, you ask your ladla beta,” and strode off leaving Khushi high and dry. And utterly frustrated Khushi burst out, “Koi mujhe kuch batayega bhi?” she felt like pulling her hair out.
But of course she was talking to thin air – there was no point in nagging Arnav for he was conveniently missing leaving ASR to deal with the situation with a forbidding expression and a deaf ear.
And of course Khushi ka mann toh kar raha tha ki she should nag Guddu till she got a straight answer but then on second thoughts desisted from poking him too much. She thought it prudent not to harass Devansh, after all he was alone and in a new place, why add to his stress?
Kam se kam mera phone toh attend kar raha hai – she consoled herself.
Par Mumbai main aisa kya ho gaya ki Arnav came back early and now it seemed as if Devansh was also annoyed and upset with his father?
Phone karke poochoon kya or should I try asking Arnav once again – be patient Khushi, she told herself, sooner or later, one or both would come clean, she was sure.
If only she could hold her peace till then.
Click here for Chapter 462