The next day, Di showed the brochures to Khushi and narrated last evening’s incident. Khushi was overwhelmed at Di’s thoughtful gesture but she protested, “Di iski koi zaroorat nahi hai.”
“Of course hai,” Di refuted, “If Chotte can think of giving me such a generous wedding gift, I want to know what he has given you.
Khushi smiled and said softly, “Sab kuch.”
Di shook her head, “Haan woh sab toh theek hai. But just because you don’t ask for anything, doesn’t mean he can take you for granted, Chotte bhi na.”
Khushi clasped Di’s hand and said, “Nahi Di aisi baat nahi hai….”
“I don’t care kaisi baat hai, you are sharing this house with me and that’s it,” Di cut in authoritatively, “If you don’t want a gift from Chotte then accept it as a gift from my side, and besides, we girls need to stick to each other don’t we, who knows when these men need to be taught a lesson,” she giggled happily.
Khushi, overcome by Di’s warm generosity and love for her, over and beyond that for her brother, gave in.
Sometime later, Khushi got a call from Buaji.
“You bought Buaji’s house in my name!” Khushi confronted Arnav.
Arnav stared at her surprised, “Haan toh? I must have done it ages ago and now you ask me! I got the papers signed by you; don’t you read what you sign? You amaze me Khushi, you really do.”
“I just got to know, Buaji called me up just now, I think she had received the papers but she put it away without opening the packet and forgot about it. Today she found it while cleaning her almirah.” Khushi explained, “Par woh sab chodiye, why did you do this, there was no need….”
“Meri marzee,” Arnav interrupted her, “I can do anything I wish with my money.”
“I will never trust you again; I will never sign anything you give without first consulting a lawyer,” Khushi waved her hands in annoyance.
“Khushi, of course you should do that and not just for what I give you to sign, but whatever anybody gives you to sign, didn’t you know that?”
“I trusted you! I thought they were our marriage registration papers; aap aisa nahi kar sakte,” said a clearly upset Khushi refusing to be distracted, “You know I don’t like all this stuff, and phir bhi? hume nahi chahiye,” said Khushi becoming agitated.
Arnav shrugged, “Ok, it is yours, you can do whatever you want with it; you can transfer it to your parents or Buaji, or sell it off.”
Trapped, Khushi glared at him, she knew neither of them would accept it and nor could she sell it off.
Arnav looked at her with a serious expression, he held her by the shoulders, “Come on Khushi, you are my wife, get used to it; no doubt you have started moving with me and are trying to match my steps, yet somewhere I feel you have not really wholeheartedly accepted me as your ‘husband’. Khushi, do you even know what a ‘marriage’ means? There is no yours or mine, it is all ours; it is not only about giving, but also about taking, and taking with haq; you know Khushi I would love it if you demanded something from me,” he gently hugged her.
Khushi swallowed and hugged him hard, “I demand a lot of love.”
Arnav pushed her back and looked at her, “You know I wasn’t talking about that?”
Khushi smiled mistily at him and finally said, “Thank you Arnav.”
Arnav nodded his head and said in all seriousness, “Entirely my pleasure Khushi; now ask me for something.”
“Why should I ask you for anything? You ask me for something,” pouted Khushi.
“But I don’t want anything,” protested Arnav
“So neither do I, besides you have already ‘given’ me Buaji’s house and now Di is also insisting I share a house with her, what will I do with so many houses?” Khushi flopped down on the recliner.
“Come on Khushi, I want to give you something, now it’s up to you whether I give you something you want or I give you something of my choice.” Arnav insisted.
Khushi grimaced angrily knowing she was on losing ground here; then she brightened, “Sure but on one condition! Ek minute,” she rushed to her desk and took out a notebook, “aapko business business khelna bahut achcha lagta hai na? yahan sign karo wahan sign karo, “ she took a pen and started writing and then read it aloud, “ haan..I Arnav Singh Raizada do solemnly promise to accept anything that Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada wants to gift him when she starts earning, without any protest or objections,” she handed the notebook to him, “here sign this.”
He rolled his eyes, smiled lopsidedly, muttered, “Crazy woman,” and then signed it with a flourish, “Achcha, now ask me for something.”
Khushi carefully tore out the sheet of paper from the notebook, folded it and kept it in a locked drawer of her table.
“Come on Khushi,” insisted Arnav.
Khushi hesitated and played with the fingers, Arnav reached out and held her hands and said, “Tell me Khushi, out with it.”
“Woh…I wanted to ask you to redeem Babuji’s shop in Lucknow,” she said in a rush, “Aapko toh pata hai, thanks to all the physiotherapy, Babuji is much better now and is able to move around with the help of his walker and Kishu Bhaiyya was saying that he needs a purpose, a reason to get better, to force him to push himself. So I thought that if he knew his shop was waiting for him, he would have something to look forward to and be encouraged to try harder; initially till he has completely recovered, he could hire an assistant to help him out” she hesitated, “Of course I would be sad if he goes back to Lucknow, but I know he hates being dependent and the important thing is he would be well, it is so painful to see him like this,” she wiped her tears.
Arnav heard her out in silence and then tenderly cupped her face, “Khushi, Khushi always always thinking about others’ khushi,” he wiped her tears and said “Go ahead, you don’t need to ask me for this, you have money in your account, do what you want with it, and I think your Babuji will have less hesitation in accepting it from you? I will ask Aman to contact the concerned person in Lucknow and draw up the necessary papers, ok?”
Khushi smiled through her tears and hugged him; he hugged her back and then insisted like a broken record, “Now ask me for something.”
Khushi sighed and opened her mouth to refuse then changed her mind and gave a brilliant smile, “After Di’s wedding, whenever it suits you, could we, I mean just you and me; go for a vacation by the sea?” Khushi was suddenly very excited, “Aapko pata hai, I had never seen the mountains or the sea, I saw the mountains when we went to Nainital and now I would like to see the sea.”
Arnav nodded approvingly, “It’s a deal.”
Click here for Chapter 49
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