Khushi stared at Devansh dumbstruck – waise bhi kehne ko toh kuch khas nahi tha.
Devansh read her expression and nodded his head in a self-satisfied manner, his lips drawn and white, “Well what do you have to say now?” he challenged.
Almost by force of habit, Khushi rose to his defence, “Khoda pahad nikla chuhiya,” she said disparagingly, “Isme itna gussa hone wali kaunsi baat ho gayi?” she sniffed dismissively.
“What?!” Guddu who had been lounging against the tree apparently casually but actually stiff with outrage and hurt was stunned, “You don’t think this is reason enough to be mad, you should have heard the way he was talking, then he dragged you into it as well,” he fumed.
“Guddu please,” Khushi massaged her aching temple, “Don’t be like this, aisa kuch nahi bola,” she stuck to her guns, “He was just trying to look out for you and,” she spread her hands rather helplessly, “He…he has never done such stuff alone, haan maybe thoda emotional ho gaye,” she allowed, “you know that he has your best interests at heart, that he was just acting out of concern for you, and besides I did give him a lot of instructions didn’t I?” she tried to excuse him, “yeh dekhna, woh pata karne etc etc, tabhi he wanted to meet your professors and visit the hostel,” she justified.
“Oh please Mom, now don’t shoulder and take on his faults as well,” Devansh cut through, “You didn’t tell him to pick up fights during the flight did you?” he said unarguably, “He is like this only bossy and overbearing…”
“Gudduuu,” interrupted Khushi scandalized, “You shouldn’t talk about your father like that!”
“Yeah I know and apparently it’s all your fault, you didn’t give me the right parvarish, mind you, not his fault, not my fault but your fault,” he said bitterly, “and you are no better, you also say its not his fault but your fault! Unbelievable Mom unbelievable,” he shook his head incredulously.
He got to his feet in a quick smooth motion and paced the sidewalk agitatedly, “You know all the atyachar on bechara women of India?” he rounded upon her, “it’s all their fault, because they accept it, digest it, swallow it and even justify it, just like you are doing now,” he looked at her with something akin to pity, “You may not accept it but you have the Stockholm Syndrome.”
“Stockholm Syndrome?” Khushi repeated bewildered.
“Yeah Stockholm Syndrome,” nodded Devansh, “it’s a sort of a psychological condition where captive person or hostage begins to empathize and sympathize with their captors and even defend and justify their actions,” explained Devansh.
Khushi blushed a beetroot red, “I am not a hostage and your Dad isn’t a captor,” she said stiffly, her hands cold and clammy, Devansh wasn’t talking literally surely? No no he couldn’t know he was just talking figuratively, she told herself.
“Arent you?” Devansh challenged softly his eyes boring into hers as again flopped down beside her, “Then why didn’t you walk out when you had that fight with Dad and he told you to get out of the house?”
The blood ebbed away from her face and her heart thudded dully, “You shouldn’t believe all that Chotti tells you,” she said through stiff lips, “she misunderstood…”
“Oh please Mom!” Devansh threw up his hands, “Not only did Chotti tell me, I was there too, at the far end of the pool, I had gone there to pick up a book I had left earlier in the day, so there was no scope for any misunderstanding or misinterpretation,” he said firmly.
“But…but then why didn’t you say something?” Khushi asked bewildered and confused.
Devnash shrugged and plucked at the grass, “Kya bolta? I guess I was stunned and didn’t want to face facts so I just turned around, walked back to my room and went off to sleep.”
He suddenly got up and dusted himself, “I am hungry, can we go and eat?” and held out his hand.
Khushi allowed herself to be helped up, “But you could have said something later,” Khushi was still reeling from the shock – Guddu knew, bataya bhi nahi, pata nahi how he must have reacted, how it would have impacted his psyche – guilt smote her.
“I told you na Mom, kya bolta? Chotti came and reported everything to me, she also told me you had promised not to leave,” he shrugged, “So I didn’t say anything,” he paused, “haan if you had stuck to your decision to leave I would have probably used every trick in the book to dissuade you,” he admitted.
He turned to her, “But this isn’t about me, aap bataiye sach sach, don’t you agree you have the Stockholm syndrome?” he harangued her, “tabhi you keep defending and supporting him, even if he is wrong,” he declared knowingly.
“Aisa kuch nahi hai,” Khushi muttered defensively caught between the devil and deep – how could she criticize Arnav to his son? That would be so disloyal and surely not right for any offspring – nahi nahi she couldn’t do that to any of them.
But then if she continued to support Arnav she ran a very real risk of losing her son’s respect – she had already seen a sort of a pity admixed with disappointment in Guddu’s eyes, “Where do you want to eat?” she looked around her.
“Here,” he waved his hand, “this is a nice joint, a bit expensive,” he grinned at her, “But cool and quiet,” he pushed open the door, “And you can tell me toh phir kaisa hai?” he threatened with a determined glint in his eyes.
Khushi sighed, “Why are we talking about me?” she retaliated, “this is about you and your father isn’t it?”
“Oh? What about me and Dad?” asked Devansh as he slid into his seat.
“Yehi ki why aren’t you picking his phone?” asked Khushi.
Devansh frowned, “When did I not pick up his phone?”
It was Khushi’s turn to stare, “Tab se hi, I suppose,” she faltered, “Jab you disconnected his phone.”
Devansh shook his head, “He hasn’t called me,” he denied and dug out his phone to check the call records, “There see, he called me once in the middle of the night that day and then once early in the morning,” he showed her his phone, “Bas yehi do toh phone call kiya, should I not even sleep just in case His Royal Highness decides to call?”
Khushi made a face and seized the glass of water, “But you could have called back later, jab ‘missed call’ dekha hoga?”
“Mom please, he too could have called back?” shot back Devansh. He flicked through his phone and showed her her call log, “See aapke kitne missed calls hain? You don’t declare that I don’t answer your calls do you?” he asked reasonably, “No, you understand, busy hoga, maybe sleeping, bhool gaya hoga etc etc hai ki nahi, but aapke Laad Governor ka ek bhi phone return nahi karo toh itna bada issue kyon?”
“Guddu, you really are being very rude,” Khushi reprimanded him, “You should be more respectful towards your elders,” she said reprovingly, “No wonder your father is so angry…”
“Order please,” the waiter interrupted them.
Sorting that out, Khushi plunged back into the discussion, “You should call him up and apologize to him,” she insisted.
“Kyon? Otherwise he will he cut me off from his will?” retorted DSR, “Will he not pay my bills? Abhi se bata dijiye so that I may start looking for a job to support myself and oh you can tell him I will return this semester’s fees very soon and with interest too,” he declared arrogantly, very much on his high horse.
Click here for Chapter 465