Peace was restored until Anjali shared a few quick words with Anya.
“What is this I am hearing Ankit?” Anya attacked the moment the girls were gainfully employed with their set of toys at GM.
“What?”Ankit asked innocently.
“Yehi live in business?” there was an underlying steely note in Anya’s voice.
“Gosh Mom, you don’t believe in wasting any time do you?” Ankit rued. “Whoever said honesty is the best policy had it wrong – silence is the best policy. Right Mamu?”
Arnav’s lips twitched.
“Ankit, now don’t try to change the topic huh?”
“Oh please Di. It’s really nothing serious. But honestly Di tell me, don’t you have at least a couple of friends who are happy with live in? And given a choice wouldn’t you have preferred…”
“Who is the girl Ankit?” Anya hastily interrupted.
“Just a classmate, who is I suspect more fascinated by India than she is with me.”
“Haan toh theek hai na,” Anya said, “tell her, marriage is a must in India and over here, mother-in-law is queen. She will have to obey the commands and fulfill the demands of not only her MIL but also Sister-in-law. Unke nakhre uthane honge, sewa karni hogi…”
“Aww Mami,” Ankit put his arm around Khushi, “I never realized these guys gave you such a hard time. My heart bleeds for you.” Laughter and chatter echoed in the halls of GM.
“Arre Ankit, Di toh kuch bhi nahi hai, main villain in my life is none other than,” Khushi waggled her eyes and indicated towards Arnav.
“Mamu?” Ankit was surprised, “are you sure Mami? Mamu so cool, so calm collected and composed.”
Khushi collapsed and after a brief struggle Anjali joined in while Arnav just looked on impassively.
“What?” Ankit looked from the giggling gasping ladies to his Mamu. He shrugged. “Beats me. Crazy I guess.”
The men nodded. Anya still had an axe to grind.
“By the way, Ankit for your kind information, I didn’t manage to come earlier because we were already booked for lunch elsewhere, not because I am on a diet,” Anya said loftily.
“Oh aren’t you on a diet?”
“You bet she is,” Sherry managed to speak, and there’s worse,” he rued, “we were invited to a low-cal party. Di,” he looked at her pleadingly, “any leftovers? I am starving and there is only so much of leafy veggies that I can eat.” He shuddered while Ankit looked on in sympathy. “Any more raw veggies and I swear I will soon be mooing.”
“Kya Anya,” Anjali pouted, “mere Bhai ko khana bhi nahi khila sakti? Poor thing.”
“What poor thing Anjie? Just look at him – he is such a tondumal. I don’t need the diet, he needs it.”
“Tondumal,” the girls latched on to it and left their cycle to circle their father. They pushed him down and patted his tummy. “Tondumal, tondumal, tondumal.” They chanted gleefully.
Anjali and the others laughed while Tondu…err… I mean Sherry looked sheepish. “It’s Anya’s fault,” he grumbled. “She puts so much ghee and butter into the girls’ food…
Anjali frowned, “Toh?”
“Toh kya Di,” Khushi butted in, “Sahab must be finishing up the leftovers, hai na?”
“And knowing Anya,” Khushi continued, “she must be making lots in the hope that her daughters will eat kilos while in reality they eat milligrams, right Anya?”
“So ultimately all that yummy calorie rich stuff ends up there,” Ankit completed patting Sherry’s tummy.
“Okay, okay fine fine,” Sherry threw up his hands, “but Anya should learn to cook less….”
“…which you shouldn’t be eating in the first place.” Anya retorted.
“What! And let all that food go waste? Do you know how precious resources are and you want to throw it all down the drain?”
“Ji nahi. The three of us could share but nahi – you head straight for the fridge and grab their leftovers, heat it up and hog it up even if I may have been keeping the rest for their dinner.” Anya glared at Sherry.
“Why give them stale food? Make fresh food them na? My, my lazy aren’t we?” mocked Sherry.
“Not at all,” Anya was unfazed, “I was just trying save your precious resources,” she stalked off with her nose in the air.
“Will you stop it you two,” Anjali moaned, “there are bigger issues which we are losing track of because of your silly argument.”
“What?” Anya came back.
“Bhool gaye?” Anjali said reproachfully. “Ankit and…”
“…. his paramour.” Anya giggled.
“It’s no laughing matter Anya,” Anjali said sternly.
“Arre kuch nahi Mom,” Ankit draped his arm over her and said reassuringly, “aisa kuch bhi nahi hai,” he looked at her, “as yet.” He shrugged, “But who knows in the future? So I was just priming you.”
“But you do have a firangi girl-friend?” Anjai said disapprovingly.
“Come on Mom, the world is a global village. Things are different now aren’t they? Now a foreigner is someone who belongs to a different planet.” He looked over at Arnav and Khushi, “Suppose Deva lands up with a Martian as a wife, now that would be something, isn’t it?” he grinned engagingly.
“It’s impossible to talk to this boy,” Anjali moaned.
“Chodiye na, aap tension mat lijiye, all is fine in Ankit-land, trust me.” He gave his mother a squeeze. “Pucca, I will inform you before taking any major decision okay? But only if you promise not to make it into an interplanetary issue.” He quickly added.
Kshitij put a hand on Anjali’s and gave it a squeeze. She subsided – for the moment. Waise bhi what choice did she have? Besides why waste precious time in arguing about something she couldn’t change – Khushi was right, if she could accept for Chotte, why not for Ankit?
“I have grown old Khushi,” Anjali sighed later.
“Kya hua Di?”
“Nothing. I was just thinking how easily I had accepted Chotte’s live in relationship with Lavanya.” She shook her head. “And now, I seem to have lost my peace of mind ever since Ankit,” she broke off.
Khushi smiled. “It is funny isn’t it Di? I was so horrified when I got to know I don’t know how many samosas I gobbled down. I was awfully sick later,” she reminisced. “But now that Ankit raised the topic, I think I am ok with it. Yeh toh hona hi tha na?” she said bracingly. “If Arnav could live in Shantivan with La…”
Anjali looked at Khushi reproachfully. “In separate rooms Khushi.”
Khushi rolled her eyes. “Yeah yeah,” she muttered like Ankit or Devansh would. “And didn’t Nani catch Lavanya sneaking into Arnav’s room?”
“Oho,” Arnav popped up from nowhere, “tumhe toh sab yaad hai?”
Khushi turned to glare at him as he looked down at her blandly. “I have a naturally good memory.” She shot back. “Aur bhi bahut kuch yaad hai.” There was a dangerous note in her voice and eyes. “Shall I enumerate?” she asked pointedly.
Arnav looked at his watch. “Abhi time nahi hai. Email kardena.”
Khushi’s face was a round O. She shut her mouth and pressed her lips together. “You got yourself a deal. Expect an email soon.” She threatened him in dire tones.
“Sure.” He snickered. “I will waste no time hitting the delete button.”
“No problem.” Khushi smiled sweetly. “I will just resend it and keep doing so till I receive an itemized reply.”
“Whatever.” Arnav made good his escape.
Anjali and Khushi laughed.
“Di, don’t worry so much. Waise bhi aapko toh pata hai na? Whatever is destined, will surely happen. So what is the point of worrying about something that we cannot change?” She put an arm around Anjali and gave her a big squeeze, “We will cross that bridge when we come to it,” she paused, “if we come to it.”
Click here for Chapter 498