Arnav reached out and clasped Lavanya’s hand.
“It is true that things would have never worked out between us but Lavanya, I really am sorry; I shouldn’t have let things move so far, in fact I think if you had not sent those plants, I would not have….”
“Plants? What plants? I never sent any plants?” Lavanya was surprised.
Arnav too was surprised, “Come on Lavanya, don’t you remember when we had the major tiff, you walked out of RM and then you sent all those exotic plants to my office along with an apology letter, then I brought you home….”
“Wait a minute ASR, I never wrote any apology letter!” Lavanya insisted.
They stared at each other in consternation.
“Khushi/Chamkili!!!” Both burst out simultaneously.
Arnav’s lips thinned and he dashed off to find his interfering do-gooder wife.
Lavanya bit her lip and decided to make herself scarce, poor Chamkili, another dhamaka in the offing.
Khushi took a deep breath and shouted, “ARNAV! Relax! Will you please tell me what are you talking about?”
“I was just speaking with Lavanya and she told me she never sent those plants! And that letter…! And you let me believe…and because of that I…Khushi I could strangle you,” Arnav was seething with rage.
Khushi stared at him confused. Lavanyaji? Plants? Letter! What the! Laad Governor seemed to have lost it this time, she decided to give him a piece of her mind, then she turned a bright red. Oh those plants! “Arnav, look I am very busy, I am going to the kitchen.”
“Aahaan, not so fast Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada,” Arnav caught her by the arm forcefully, “you are not moving from here till I have the whole story.”
“Story? What story, I don’t know what you are talking about?” Khushi tried to ineffectually free herself.
“Really, Lavanya ko bulaaoon?” Arnav threatened, “Lavanya came to talk to me and I apologized to her for my behavior and one thing led to another and it came out that she had never sent those plants nor written any apology letter. There is nobody else who could have dared send neither the letter nor the plants. Now stop prevaricating and tell me what the hell you were thinking!!” ASR was clearly boiling mad.
Khushi shook a bit at the return of the unadulterated ASR, “Woh…you were so angry and Lavanyaji was so upset and it was all my fault…so so I thought of calming you down with the only thing you seemed to love, plants.” His grip slackened and she immediately moved away, “Lavanyaji refused to write an apology letter, so I wrote it on her behalf…” she trailed off and looked fearfully at his still thunderous expression.
“I guessed all that Khushi,” he angrily thrust his finger in her face and he bit out, “Just tell me WHERE you got the money from? Those were exotic plants and could not have come cheap, besides you didn’t even have 300 rupees! Now tell me did you borrow it from a moneylender?” he grabbed her by the arms and shook her, “or worse that Shy…”
Khushi quickly put her hand on his mouth, “Nahi nahi, Arnav, nothing of the sort, I pawned my mother’s bangle,” she smiled, happy that she had managed to avert a major crisis only to find him scowling ferociously at her, “Pawned you mother’s bangles, are you completely crazy? How dare you do such a thing! Your mother’s bangles and for what?”
He thrust her away and restlessly paced up and down, “Do you even know that I went to Lavanya that day not because of the plants not because of the letter, but because of your dammed tears, those eyes haunted me, your accusations taunted me…so I..I went back…And you, you pawned your mother’s bangles!!! You are unbelievable, you should be certified and put away and tumhe dekhne ke liye tax lagna chahiye.”
Khushi listened to his tirade in silence; she was beginning to feel that perhaps she had been hasty in her rush to set things ‘right’. She did miss her mother’s bangle so much, she swallowed. But it had been her fault, she made a face and said, “I have a certificate, a marriage certificate! And tax toh lagta hai na, whoever wants to meet me has to lock horns with you!” she waggled her eyebrows mischievously had him.
Arnav shook his head ruefully, “Where did you pawn the bangle, do you have a slip or something?”
Khushi fiddled with her dupatta for a bit but upon seeing Arnav’s face becoming thunderous again, she hastily went to Devi Maiyya’s idol and pulled out a slip of paper tucked away in a corner.
Arnav snatched it away from her and hurriedly scanned it, “I just hope this guy hasn’t sold it off,” he muttered worried.
Khushi too hoped so, not only because she wanted her bangle back but also for the pawnbroker’s continuing good health, “Arnav, give it to me, I will get it redeemed.”
“Nothing doing Khushi, I am not letting you go anywhere near a seedy old pawnbroker; and khabardaar jo phir kabhi gayee! Samjhi tum? I will have Aman follow it up,” Arnav’s tone brooked no opposition.
Khushi had no choice but to agree; she reluctantly went back to the kitchen leaving Arnav to do as he pleased.
Later in the day, everyone (that is apart from ASR and Aakash) was gathered in the lobby as Naniji had called the shopkeeper with exotic sarees and other dress materials. There was much laughter and excitement as the ladies sifted, sorted and admired the huge pile of clothes; NK entertained himself by openly ogling Lavanya who was apparently unconscious of his admiring gaze. Khushi smiled impishly and said, “Nanheji! How is this dupatta?” she spread it out for him to see.
He admired it and said, “Very nice Khooshiji, it suits your complexion.”
Immediately another complexion darkened.
Khushi reached out for another one, “What about this one or this one? Please help me Nanheji, I am very confused,” she batted her eyes.
NK enthusiastically agreed to help, “Of course Khooshiji, anything for you.”
Lavanya wore an annoyed expression and absentmindedly reached for a dupatta, an alert Khushi immediately caught hold of the other end of the same dupatta.
Khushi looked at a seething Lavanya with a demure expression, “Lavanyaji, do you like this one, I also like it very much. Nanheji! Aap bataiye whom does it suit more?” She draped it partly over Lavanya and partly over herself and waggled her eyebrows at NK.
NK looked fatuously at Lavanya and said, “Oh it looks very nice on L…”, he caught Khushi’s warning expression just in time, “Both of you, I really cannot decide,” he blushed.
Lavanya pulled at the dupatta and said, “I don’t care, I am taking this.”
Khushi was faster and pulled it away from Lavanya’s grasp, “Too late, it’s mine,” she got up from her seat.
Annoyed, Lavanya got up from her seat as well to snatch it away from Khushi.
Khushi threw the dupatta to NK, he caught it neatly. Lavanya changed her direction and charged angrily towards NK.
NK threw it back to Khushi only to have it land perfectly on Lavanya.
Khushi clapped her hands and said, “Lavanyaji, take it, it is yours, it definitely suits you better!” and looked mischievously at her; they both recalled the last time a dupatta had been similarly thrown.
Khushi gently nudged a veiled Lavanya and murmured, “You do remember the significance of the dupatta falling on your head right?”
An embarrassed Lavanya slowly raised the veil and said softly while staring at NK, “I do.”
An enraptured NK gazed blissfully at her; the transformation of his wedding nightmare to his favorite dream was complete.
Ooh la la ooh la la tu hai meri fantasy….
Err sorry kuch zyaada hi creative license ho gaya kya? Although strictly speaking not entirely my fault – reader demands for the return of NK and La prompted this series and I had quite a tough time playing to the gallery.
Click here for Chapter 54