CSR was getting angrier by the minute, what was all the rona-dhona about, why couldn’t Di just stay here? Everything was going just great and now she was going away, he had never been away from her, how would she manage all alone, he felt like smashing all the crockery, no that would be too easy, the furniture, he focused on which pieces annoyed him the most, possibly that might prevent him from going to pieces. He clenched his fists, and gritted his teeth.
CSR suddenly felt a tiny arm slip around his shoulders. He turned to find, Anya standing next to him on a convenient chair, “I am sorry CSR,” a tear slipped down her cheek, “I didn’t know that what would make Dad and me happy, would be so sad for so many people.”
He shrugged distantly. “It doesn’t matter.”
Anya shook her head fiercely, “It does matter, Anjie loves you so much, it is always, Chotte this, Chotte that, if you are sad, she will also be sad and I don’t like to see anyone sad,” she crossly folded her arms and glared back at him even as tears rolled down her cheeks.
CSR felt a sudden intense warm gush of emotion for Anya, he almost felt as if this were another Khushi; trust her niece to feel the pain of others over that of her own joy even at such a tender age, he swallowed and gently wiped her tears, “It’s ok Anya, this is what Di wants, and so long as she is happy, we will all be happy.”
Her tiny hand too reached out to brush away his tears, “Don’t you worry CSR, I will take care of your Di; don’t forget she is not only my best friend but also my new mommy,”
CSR’s expression lightened, he tapped her nose, “Are you 6 years old or 60 years old?”
Anya straightened and said a bit proudly, “Daddy says that I have been very old ever since I was a child!” she waggled her eyes at him.
A crack of laugh escaped CSR, since I was a child! He tapped her nose again, “And where did you learn that from?”
“Learn what,” she smiled innocently at him, looking like a miniature carbon copy of Khushi.
He shook his head smiling slightly.
Glad to see him smile, she leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially in his ears, “Let me tell you a secret, I have made all arrangements, Anjie is going to share my room so that she doesn’t feel lost or lonely in her new home,” she looked triumphantly at CSR confident that now he would rest easy; sure enough a broad delighted smile creased CSR’s face as he high-fived her.
He wished he could see Kshitij’s expression when he got to know his daughter’s special plans for the suhaag raat not to mention several raats.
Khushi came up to Arnav and said hesitantly, “Aap theek hai na? May I go with Di for the conducting the rituals there. I will be back as soon as all the rasams have been done.”
The plan was that the entire GH gang (except Payal) would go to GM, complete the rasams and then return to their respective residences.
Arnav nodded his head, a mischievous look lurking in the corner of his eyes, Khushi looked at him wonderingly and then at Anya, must be her doing, she thought bless her.
Khushi caught hold of Anya’s hand and said, “Come let’s go welcome your amma,” happily Anya skipped along with Khushi.
At the gate, both turned to look at a bereft and lonely Chotte, Khushi bit her lip, she was torn between wanting to stay where she was needed most and going with Di; Anya suddenly left Khushi’s hand and rushed back to CSR. She jumped back on the chair and slipped her arms around his neck and whispered, “CSR, I was thinking maybe you and Choti bua could have a baby girl who would be just like your Di, then everybody would be happy right?”
Overwhelmed CSR hugged Anya tightly. “Great idea Anya, will work on it with your Choti bua,” he looked at Khushi and winked as he let Anya go.
Relieved, Khushi smiled as she left with Anya and the newlywed couple.
Arnav dejectedly turned to go back inside the now deserted house and nearly tripped on a loose rug lying near the stairway.
“HARI PRAKASH!” yelled ASR, “What is this doing over here? What if Di had tripped? Or Payal?” He made a quick recovery. Not that his temper improved much, in fact it worsened. He insisted that the hired help immediately get to work to clean up and put things right at RM immediately VARNA…
Aakash had already disappeared to his room tenderly holding a downcast Payal by the shoulders and guiding her as if she didn’t know the way to her room. Mamiji, the smart Manorama Bond that she is, quickly assessed the situation, “Anjali bitiya bye bye saath ma oo phati sari bhi bye bye ab toh yeehaan Hai hai” she quickly made her escape. La and NK were probably busy resuscitating each other.
Nani sighed, for it fell upon her to bell the cat (err a wild, very wild and big cat), “Chotte, abhi rehna dijiye, bahuti der hui gawa, sab thak gaye hain aaram karne do, subah ma…”
“Aaram!” Chotte cut in angrily, “I don’t pay them for aaraam, get to work HP and get all your stooges pronto, come on hurry up, those plates, those rugs, those drooping flowers, I don’t want anything out of place, hurry up,” he barked orders right and left (oops the cat seems to have turned into a ferocious dog…in my defense he could have hardly mewed the orders could he?)
At GM, the scene was very festive and full of good cheer and Khushi busied herself in making sure all the rasams were held in the true spirit and letter of tradition. Yet she was worried and distracted in a corner of her mind for her LG, bechara she thought he must be so dukhi (little knowing he was in full LG mode doing what he excelled at; making others dukhi).
Sometime later Khushi’s phone rang; it was Arnav, “Hello?”
“Khushi! Where the hell is my night suit?” Arnav yelled.
Khushi was taken aback yet she replied calmly, “In your cupboard where else, the pile on the right side?”
“Nahi hai, I can’t see it” Arnav snapped, “I really don’t know what you do with my stuff, I never had any problems earlier, now I can never find anything,” he grumbled.
Khushi closed her eyes and prayed for strength, taking a deep breath, she said in a loving voice (that is as loving as it is possible with clenched teeth), “I am sure there are at least two of your night suits there, please would you look again?”
“I am looking, I am not blind you know,” Arnav bit out, “the purple one is not here.”
“The purple one? That is in the washing, you took it off only this morning don’t you remember?” Khushi’s was fast losing patience, here there was so much to be done and that Laad Governor…uffff.
“Yeah yeah,” muttered Arnav, “nothing is ever there when you need it the most,” he disconnected the call. Khushi looked at her phone, half-angry, half- awww poor baby, he was really missing Di…and her. She sighed and went back to the rasams.
Click here for Chapter 60