Kshitij nodded reassuringly, “I’ll just get it don’t worry, Anya, Chotti, help her, kya kar rahei ho khade khade?” he ordered peremptorily.
Khushi hurriedly dug out a hot case and rinsed it out giving rapid fire instructions to HP, Anya, Chotti for dinner, Di, something special and substantial for the boys Sherry Ankit and Guddu – they could sleep in the downstairs wala room Nani wala room Di and “Haan HPji jaldi pack kar dijiye khichdi,” she looked at the clock 10.50 – damn and still there was numerous instructions to be given ‘MOM! Are you ok? Say something please!’ It was Guddu.
‘Ok c u soon’ she dashed off, “Haan Chotti kya bol rahi thi? Umm fresh towels and sheets are…
The doorbell rang – it was Aman dropping off Poo for the night, “Pooo,” Khushi fell into her arms almost crying in relief – now she could leave without a care in the world – Poo ko sab pata tha, “Thank you thank you thank you,” she muttered crazily before urging Aman to take her to the hospital without any further delay.
Poo smiled mistily, “Haan Bhabhi you carry on, I will manage everything tabhi toh aayi hoon, I just waited for Devi to fall asleep nahi toh bahut tang karti, jaiye,” she pushed her and nodded to Aman, who nodded back.
Udhar Arnav was better and Khushi didn’t need a doctor to tell her that – his eyes shot sparks the moment he laid his eyes on her; he looked pointedly at the hospital clock which now read 11.10 pm and closed his eyes – waves of animosity singed Khushi’s eyebrows, she winced, “Achcha Guddu, Sherry tum log ghar jaao” she pulled them outside the ICU, “I will stay the night with him in the ICU and Aman will stay in the private ward just in case, jao,” she pushed them and turned back.
“Mom!” Guddu called her back, “Err Dad is a bit annoyed,” he muttered.
Khushi rolled her eyes, “Just a bit?”
Guddu too rolled his eyes, “Yeah well you know him right? He’s been fussing ever since the clock struck 10 pm grumbling where’s your mom, ab tak aayee kyon nahi, is she ok, what the hell is she doing etc etc.”
“Yeah yeah,” Khushi patted him, “Now you go and let me handle him,” secretly a bit pleased not to mention relieved – ASR was back and so was Arnav.
“Arnav, here some khichdi for you, the doctor said you could have,” Khushi served a little bit in a bowl and put a spoon in it. She cranked up the bed so that he was in a semi reclining posture.
“I am not hungry,” replied Arnav sullenly.
“Arre kaise nahi hungry? You have to eat something, insulin shots bhi lagenge, your sugar is all haywire,” Khushi informed him.
“Oh really?” Arnav raised his eyebrow, “And is this my dinner time? Itna hi khayal tha toh you should have come earlier,” he threw at her.
“Sorry sorry,” Khushi apologized abjectly even as she put down the bowl and leaned over to put an extra pillow behind him and get him into a more comfortable position, she removed his mask, “Kya karti, I didn’t want to go only,” she picked up the bowl and spooned some khichdi into his mouth, “but that son of yours is such a bulldozer!” she rued “bilkul aap pe gaya hai,” she accused him laying the entire blame at his door, “he forced me to go home and aur toh aur he refused to send the car before 10 pm,” she shook her head “and then I fell asleep,” she admitted guiltily, “I think Kishu bhaiya gave me a sedative instead of a painkiller,” she mused thoughtfully, “phir ghar par nobody had had dinner, aur woh aapki laadli Chotti hmmph usko toh bas bahana chahiye she refused to eat woh toh achcha hua ki Poo….” Khushi prattled on and on gently while deftly and efficiently spooning khichdi one spoon after another to Arnav till he suddenly got wise to her tactics and protestingly turned his head away. Khushi hid a grin her eyes warm and tender – not much older than the twins, tabhi toh he got along so well with them!
“Thoda aur le lijiye,” she coaxed.
“Nahi bas,” he closed his eyes pale and tired from the effort, damn he felt as weak and helpless as a baby.
“Arre bas last spoon, dahi ke saath apko pasand hai na?” she said brightly swallowing her apprehensions at his paperwhite face.
Arnav raised his eyes to her, “I am neither Keira nor Maira,” he let her know that he was very well aware what she was upto.
Khushi flushed guiltily but grinned cheekily, “Don’t flatter yourself,” she deftly and rapidly slid a couple of spoons of dahi into his mouth,” she leaned forward, “Aap toh Devi jaise ho Devi,” her eyes laughed into his. An answering rueful grin echoed in his eyes before he closed them due to sheer exhaustion.
Khushi straightened, clamping down her fears and concerns, “Achcha achcha bas bas,” she put down the bowl and wiped his mouth with a wet towel and gave him some water to drink, “Ab aap rest kijiye, shall I crank down the bed?”
He nodded, “Hmm.”
Khushi pulled off the extra pillow and generally made him comfortable before tackling the food bag – she packed everything up neatly, “Khushi,” Arnav muttered, “Did you have dinner?” Khushi’s busy hands stilled and a lump formed in her throat, she swallowed hard, “Kha loongi,” she smiled brightly at him.
“Abhi khao,” he ordered, “I want to see you eat.”
Khushi shook her head, “later, abhi I am not hungry.”
“Kab later?” he looked at the time, “Its almost midnight.”
The Sister came bustling to check up on Arnav, “Ho gaya dinner? Give him these medicines,” she handed a small tray loaded with medicines and quickly injected some drugs into the IV drip, recorded his vital stats and bustled off to the next patient.
Khushi pulled up the bedsheet and adjusted the light away from his face and settled herself on the stool beside him, “Good night,” she smiled softly.
He stubbornly shook his head, “Eat your dinner now,” he said grimly, “I don’t want you falling sick,” he declared, “meri sewa kaun karega?” Khushi stared at him; he stared back at her blandly.
Khushi shook her head and pursed her lips but obediently had her dinner. Arnav sighed and closed his eyes tiredly, “You go and rest, Aman can stay the night with me, waise,” he opened his eyes and looked around, “Waise I don’t need anybody, yahan sab hai…”
Khushi reached out and clasped his hand, “Pucca?” she said softly.
He closed his eyes without replying but his hand gripped hers unyieldingly.
Khushi smiled to herself and placed a warm kiss on his hand. Arnav pulled at her hand and placed it on his chest; Khushi was forced to drag her stool to be nearer to him.
Yeh Arshi bhi na – na waqt dekhte na halat!
Kisne socha tha ki ICU main bhi RV ho sakta hai?
Click here for Chapter 490