They were playing ‘hunt the ring’ when Khushi’s phone rang again, “Ji Naniji?’ achcha? Oh ho, theek hai Naniji, I will come now,” she put the phone down.
Anjali looked at her, “Chotte?” she questioned (and lost the ring); Khushi nodded. “He is yelling at all the workers to clean up the house right now and is refusing to go and rest. Seems to be very upset,” she sighed.
Anjali made a sad face, “Yes, he must be; and you are also not there; it was a bad decision Khushi, we should have known, you shouldn’t have come. At least if you were there,” Di trailed off.
“But Di,” Khushi expostulated, “I had to come na, after all I am your nanad, who will do all this?” she indicated all around, but she knew Di was right, she should have stayed back with Chotte.
She sighed and said, “Di, nearly all the rasams have been done, I think maybe I should go home in a little while and come back early tomorrow morning?”
“Ainh, itni raat akeli jai ho?” Buaji was scandalized.
“Nahi taiji, I will drop her don’t worry,” said Kshitij.
“How can you go? It is your suhaag raat (henceforth SR :D)?” Buaji nudged Garima and they giggled like teenagers, while Anjali blushed.
“Haan theek hai taiji, it won’t take me very long, in any case if Anjie is stressed out about her brother…toh toh,” he rolled his eyes. “Anjie you change and freshen up and I will be back in just a bit, Anya can you help Anjie that is if you are awake?”
Anya perked up and said, “Of course Dad, I will help Mamma don’t worry.”
Anjali melted and went all teary eyed as her long unfulfilled prayers were answered in such a matter of fact manner.
She smiled and nodded at Kshitij, he smiled back at her.
“Babua,” Buaji spoke hesitantly, “If you don’t mind, can you drop us off as well?”
“But why?” Both Anjali and Kshitij were surprised, the plan had been that they would all be staying over and perhaps leave the next day.
“Ooo ka hain na Kishu bitwa,” Garima said apologetically, “in our hurry we forgot to pack the medicines, and we have been wondering what to do; but now that you are going, we thought it is best that we go back and we will also come early morning.”
“Tell me where they are and I will get the medicines,” Kshitij offered.
“Nahi nahi,” Buaji objected, “The medicines are scattered all over and everyone takes medicines, so it is better if we go back.”
Reluctantly, Kshitij agreed, it was decided that he would first drop Khushi as her place was nearer and then drop the rest of the gang to LN.
Khushi thought it prudent to inform Nani that she was coming back soon. Poor thing she must be so exhausted and now having to manage CSR as well!
Naniji put down the phone relieved, thank God Khushi bitiya was coming back, only she could manage Chotte, she heaved herself off the sofa, adjusted her pallu and said, “Chotte, I am going to bed I am very tired, you carry on with the supervision,” She turned to leave. “Oh by the way, Khushi bitiya is on the way.”
Chotte stopped in his tracks, “What, Khushi?! But how? akeli?!!!”
“Nahi, Kshitij will be dropping her, but you carry on,” Nani moved off gracefully.
Nani could hear Chotte bark out a few more half –hearted instructions, then she heard him say more mildly, “Hari Prakash, I am going to bed, Khushi will be coming soon, after she comes, lock up and then you all can go and rest; mind you I want everything spic and span by tomorrow morning.”
Nani smiled to herself.
When Khushi came back to RM, peace and silence had descended with no evidence of the exhausted battered (read massacred) workforce, who had disbanded the moment ASR had disappeared up the stairs. Except that is for HP, who like a true inured commander blandly welcomed Khushi back though he did surreptitiously thank DM.
Khushi peeped in to Naniji’s room to assure her of Di’s well being, her own safe return and most importantly receive latest update of Chotte’s tantrum status.
Naniji smiled and blessed her, “Khushi bitiya, don’t worry, he is fine, he calmed down the moment he got to know you were coming back! Humka toh lagat hai ki, he was more disturbed about your absence than his Di leaving!”
Arnav entered his room and paced restlessly and looked at the time a zillion times. He sighed and went to the poolside and looked up at the sky. Suddenly a light breeze blew, a sense of peace descended around him, his Khushi was back! He looked up at his mother twinkling down at him.
Khushi entered their room to find him standing with his back to the door, his hands thrust deep into his pocket, staring up at the sky. She walked up to him, (her numerous ‘tinklers’ giving away her presence before he saw her) and hugged him from behind and murmured, “Are you Ok?”
He drew her around and said, “Surprisingly yes, actually now it feels just right, Di in her own house with her new family this is what she wanted and she is happy,” he shrugged, “I am fine, yeah actually I am fine,” he reiterated, “look Ma also seems to be happy doesn’t she?”
Khushi looked up at the stars and smiled mistily and leaned against him, suddenly she straightened and punched him lightly, “Then why did you throw such a tantrum, I had to rush back.”
Arnav had the grace to look abashed, “Actually…woh…nahi…”
“Actually you were missing me right?” Khushi cut through, jokingly.
Arnav stared at her. “What have you done to me woman?! I was so angry, if I had a gun I would have happily shot these idiots and then Nani said you were coming back, almost instantly I was like – poor chaps must be so tired – really Khushi,” he shook her gently, “All your fault, why did you have to go, there is so much work left over here.”
Khushi opened her mouth to give him an earful, she was exhausted; she had been running since morning and in fact had anticipated that Arnav would kick up a fuss about something or the other and had taken special pains to take out sometime to think and ensure all things he was likely to need, but that Laad Governor! He wanted the purple night suit!
But then Khushi decided against it, they both knew that Arnav was the one who had insisted she go along to help Di settle down and they both knew the tantrum was provoked because he missed not only his Di but also Khushi so much, well she could live with that, she snuggled up to him and murmured, “Achcha sorry – theek hai?”
Arnav wore an abashed expression, almost as if he wished she had yelled at him.
Then Khushi asked curiously, “What did Anya say to you when she went back to whisper something when we were about to leave after Di’s bidai?”
Arnav grinned, “Oh she was giving me advice on how to cope with Di’s absence.”
Khushi looked at Arnav confused.
His grin widened, “She advised me to have a baby, a baby girl mind you with you for then we would be too busy managing the baby to miss Di.”
Khushi laughed and shook her head, “That Anya is really something!”
Arnav laughed with her, “Niece kiski hai! Achcha toh ab since Nani is saying and Anya is saying…”
Khushi leaned back to look at him, “But you don’t even like babies!”
“Yeah, but then kabhi na kabhi toh…and soon, if I know you, you will be the one hankering for one….and practice makes perfect, so…” Arnav made his noble intentions clear.
Khushi punched him.
“But seriously Khushi, I want you to complete your studies, settle your career before you start thinking of any such thing,” Arnav cautioned her and then less seriously (but nevertheless not entirely joking either), “besides I am not ready to share you with anybody yet. As it is you hardly have any time for me,” he complained.
“Oh by the way,” Arnav slipped his hand into his pocket and dug out a slim wrapped box, “It is a bit late, but still better late than never right?” he handed it to her.
Click here for Chapter 61