Ok ok fine fine here’s the Mumbai ka aankon dekha haal
Thoroughly embarrassed and after casting a quelling look at his father who was clearly not ready to be appeased by anything less than his pound of flesh – mere bête ko, mere bête ko dhakka diya main tera khoon pijaoonga was clearly written on his face – Devansh swiftly grabbed his other two bags, dumped them on his trolley and quickly moved off, uncaring of whether his father was following or not.
Picking up from where we had left them….
Devansh’ father was of course in a fix – ASR toh talwar bandook sab nikalke taiyyar khada tha par Arnav was seriously worried – kahin sach main Devansh akele hostel chala gaya toh, kahin kho voh gaya toh? Khushi toh uski chutney bana degi! Yeh soch kar toh even ASR quailed and seizing that momentary weakness, Arnav hurried off behind Devansh.
Thwarted, ASR was still seething as they waited at the pick up point (Aakash had sent the driver to pick them up) in the sweltering heat (and Arnav in his trademark three piece suit) for the car to negotiate the milling crowd. So when another guy jostled ASR, he erupted once again, “What the hell! Watch out young man.”
Devansh rolled his eyes and shook his head disgustedly; he turned his back to his father and moved slightly away with his trolley sort of distancing himself from Arnav as if he didn’t know him.
But then this time, the other guy turned out to be equally bad-tempered and instead of apologizing, let fly abuses. Instantly Devansh was back by his father’s side, “Kya bola,” he muttered softly but unmistakably aggressively, his eyes shooting sparks and his body language taut.
The ruffian glared back at him and made a rude sound, Devansh took an aggressive step forward, “Inse aise baat karne ki himmat kaise hui?” he bit out through clenched teeth, his fists all bunched up and eyes flashing fire. The other guy also didn’t seem to be in a mood to back off and pushed his sleeves up as he thrust his face into his, “Kya karlega?” he threw back equally rudely.
Arnav looked on in surprise – yeh Guddu ko kya ho gaya! But he was in a fix – he didn’t care what happened to him, but he certainly didn’t want his son to be caught in any fisticuffs, after all who knew what might lead to what (ASR chutney on the menu for sure), “Chalo Devansh let’s not get involved with the riff raff,” he urged softly.
Par ab toh Devansh ka mood ban chuka tha, woh complete DSR mode main tha, “Just a minute Dad,” he muttered even as the ruffian pulled out a mobile and began calling – apparently for resources.
Just then their car drove up and the driver jumped out to help them with their luggage; taking advantage of the distraction Arnav hustled Devansh away, “Come on we need to go, we are holding up the traffic,” he urged.
Devansh gave in after one last glare and snarl.
Arnav sank into the air conditioned luxury and rounded on Devansh, “What the hell were you thinking?”
“Excuse me?” Devansh raised an eyebrow, “What was I thinking?” he threw up his hands, “Unbelievable Dad unbelievable! The whole journey you have ants in your pants and you now ask me what was I thinking? Waise bhi entirely your fault, if you hadn’t yelled at that guy, he wouldn’t have abused and I wouldn’t have had to step in,” he pointed out coolly.
“I had the situation under control,” Arnav said grandly, “You needn’t have interfered,” he protested.
“Yeah right,” mumbled Devansh, “Waise bhi I don’t know why you had to come along, I could have managed pretty well on my own, bachcha nahi hoon main waise bhi, Chachu and all are here na?” his phone rang.
“Hi Mom, yeah we are in the car and on the way to Chachu’s house, yeah everything is fine,” he cast a look at Arnav’s stony profile, “Yeah Dad’s fine,” then slyly, “Don’t worry I got the situation under control,” he said snidely.
Arnav stared determinedly out of the window.
Taking a tip from the previous day’s events, Devansh had the foresight to insist on going to college alone.
He refused to let Arnav accompany him to complete the admission formalities, “No Dad!” he shuddered, “You are not coming with me, I can manage, trust me, let me do this please,” he begged, (Pata nahi wahan jakar what tantrum you will throw next – you will go back to Delhi, but I have to stay there for the next four years na? he wanted to say but restrained himself with great difficulty), “I will give you a call if needed, come on good practice for me don’t you think?” he coaxed.
“There is a lot of work,” Arnav cautioned, “you will have to go to various counters and manage documents, bank draft, ID proof, photocopies…” but Devansh cut him off, “ Relax Dad, I have everything in this folder,” he held it up, “I will manage, don’t worry,” he reassured.
Seeing that Devansh was adamant, Arnav gave in ungracefully, “Phir main aaya hi kyun?” he grumbled.
“Exactly my point your honor,” Devansh bowed impudently before dashing off but not before his father had pressed some cash into his hand, “Here, keep this you may need it,” he said gruffly.
Admission formalities took him most of the day but he returned victorious and gung ho – he had met a few fellow students who had attended the same coaching classes as him and it’s always a relief to find a familiar face in a new place.
Hostels were allotted the following day and once again Devansh shifted lock stock and barrel on his own while Arnav sat and twiddled his thumbs.
Actually Arnav had had some grand visions of guiding his son through the admission process, generally being the pillar of support and the port in a storm so to speak – and he also had some as yet unconfessed (even to himself) aims of putting the fear of ASR in his son’s campus, students, teachers and staff alike so that kisiki bhi himmat nahi hogi usse pareshan karne ki (but then what Dads propose sons dispose).
Yahan toh beta sava ser nikla, ASR ko campus se hi ban kar diya, and in fact refused to tell him even which hostel room he had been allotted or who were his room-mates, “I got it all under control Dad, just chill will you?” was all he told Arnav.
But ASR itni aasani se kahan maanne wala tha – he landed up uninvited to the campus and tried to meet with the professors but fortunately for Devansh they were all busy with the new joinees while the Chancellor was busy handling some admission crisis. So that was a dead end. Next he attacked the hostel, but strict rules denied him entry without resident’s permission – and DSR did not even come down to the lobby to meet him.
Devansh was terribly annoyed to know that Arnav had tried to meet up with his professors, “How can you do this to me Dad! Come on give me a break Dad please,” he fumed.
“But what did I do?” protested Arnav, “Come on maine kuch bhi toh nahi kiya,” he defended himself vigorously.
“Aapko pata hai, the guy who jostled me at the luggage belt?” Devansh asked.
“Haan toh?” said Arnav.
“Well he is in my batch! Suppose, just suppose, I hadn’t walked off then, just imagine how awkward it would have been!” Devansh ranted.
“But I didn’t say anything unjustified to him,” retorted Arnav was unrepentant.
“Well you would have if I hadn’t forced your hand by walking off!” Devansh seethed, “And you are lucky that you couldn’t meet up with my professors, I would have never spoken to you if you had!” he said threateningly, “Just imagine how awful it would have been!” snapped Devansh, “I cringe to think what the hostel guard must be thinking about me.”
“What a guard thinks usse mujhe koi farq nahi padta,” ASR said grandly.
“Par mujhe toh padta hai,” shot back Devansh immediately, “Please Dad, don’t embarrass me any further, please go back to Chachu’s place,” he urged.
“What the! I am embarrassing you!” ASR was highly insulted, “Is this how you talk to your elders? I wonder how you speak with your teachers,” he rued and then “All your mother’s fault for giving you too much freedom,” he raved.
“Don’t drag Mom into this,” Devansh instantly retorted.
“Why not? I expected better from you,” Frustrated and thwarted at every turn, strongly missing Khushi’s soothing presence, Arnav lashed out, “not even one day in college and you already want to have nothing to do with your father is it?” he paused “Fine, as you wish,” his voice cold as ice, “I also want to see how long you can keep this up,” he challenged, “after all the money won’t last forever.” the words were out before he could stop them.
There was pin drop silence and Devansh disconnected the phone.
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