Khushi eagerly opened the package, it was a beautiful diamond bracelet, which she insisted on wearing immediately; he helped her put it on, “Actually I intended to give it to you on our wedding night, the second one, but you were so,” he made an angry-Khushi face, “so I held it back and then forgot about it. I found it again today amongst my stuff, so, “he shrugged and trailed off.
“It is beautiful, thank you, finally I got a wedding gift,” Khushi rewarded him with her brilliant smile, “I wonder what Di got?” Khushi wondered.
Arnav chortled with glee as he remembered Anya’s secret, he pulled Khushi into his arms, “I don’t know what she will get as a wedding gift; all I know is that Kshitij will not get his SR for sure.”
Khushi’s face was a perfect O and she punched him suspiciously, “Kyon what did you do?”
Arnav wore a pious expression, “Don’t blame me, I had nothing to do with it, all your dearest niece’s doing.” His eyes softened. If Arnav had been Buaji he would have de-nazarofied Anya.
At Gupta Mansion (GM)
The huge house suddenly fell silent and Anjali felt bereft and lonely as everybody left GM. She wondered how Chotte must be faring and Nani, she would also be sad.
Anya tugged her hand excitedly giving her no time to continue this negative trend of thoughts, “Anjie Anjie come to our room,” she dragged Anjali to her own room. Anya left her there and disappeared and Anjali stood at the door staring inside, her heart full, the room was decorated with flowers and twinkling fairy lights above the bed spelt out, ‘Welcome home Mamma.’
Anya came with Nanny who was carrying Anjali’s case. Anjali had packed all the stuff in this case for the next couple of days so that she could unpack the bigger cases at leisure. Nanny heaved the suitcase onto a side table and left the room. Anya opened the case, all the while chattering excitedly, “Shall I unpack for you Anjie, look this side of the cupboard is yours.”
Anya expected Anjali to share the room with her, Anjali suddenly realized, half relieved half something she wasn’t quite ready to put a name to. Feeling uncomfortable and wondering what Khsitij might think, she came forward slowly, “Anya maybe we should let your father come back before…”
Anya shook her head impetuously, “No let’s do it now, I am very sleepy and want to sleep with you. Besides daddy told me to take care of you; is this your toiletry stuff, here I am keeping it in the bathroom and is this your nightdress? Very pretty, you can go and change.”
Anjali sent up a silent prayer of thanks to DM; she had packed a demure full sleeved pink nightgown in her overnighter. Unable to resist the pretty see through night-wears, she had bought a couple but an attack of shyness and modesty had caused her to stuff them out of sight in her trousseau.
Anjali yielded to her ‘daughter’s’ orders and changed; she smiled to herself, oh well, so what if she didn’t have a mother-in-law! Actually she was rather relieved to have the inevitable postponed, not her fault, she shrugged, if Khsitij didn’t like the ‘arrangements’ he could always take on his daughter, she was just being the good bahu, she thought piously and following the orders of his…daughter, she giggled to herself as she hurried with her ablutions and quickly stripped off her jewelry and got ready for bed before Khsitij returned.
Anya was waiting for her with a huge gaily wrapped package; Anjali was taken aback, “What’s this?”
Anya held it out to her, “Here take it, this is a welcome home mamma gift.”
Anjali swallowed and said, “Thank you darling, that is so thoughtful of you; I too have a present for you, let me see…” she moved towards her case, but Anya pre-empted her, “Is it this one?” she held up a wrapped box, Anjali nodded her head and ceremoniously handed it back to Anya, “For my darling dearest daughter and friend Anya.”
Anya gave her a tight warm hug and eagerly opened her gift exhorting Anjali to open hers as well.
“A doll, it is lovely, oh she has so many clothes! Thank you Anjie, how do you like my gift?” Anya was clearly thrilled with her gift but was a bit apprehensive about Anjali’s reaction to her choice.
Smiling Anjali opened her package, “Do you like it! Do you like it?”Anya jumped up and down excitedly.
“Yes, yes,” laughed Anjali as she squeezed the soft cuddly teddy bear, “I love it, thank you dear.”
Anya clapped her hands and pulled her to the bed, “Come to bed, I want to sleep on your lap,” she made Anjali sit comfortably on the bed and lay down with her head on her lap.
Anjali tenderly caressed her head and said softly, “Ok now go to sleep Anya, it is really very late, I am not going anywhere.”
Anya handed the teddy bear to Anjali and snuggled more comfortably with her new doll and said drowsily, “Anjie you do like your gift don’t you? Daddy didn’t want me to buy it; he said it is a very strange wedding gift; do you think it is strange?” she turned to look at Anjali.
Anjali smiled through her tears as she cupped Anya’s cheek, “Strange or not, it is the best wedding gift ever!”
Happy, Anya settled down again, “You know why I bought it Anjie? You remember we were talking at the park one day and I was very sad because I had read Bambi’s story where her mommy dies?”
Anjali nodded her head and said, “And I said don’t feel bad because I was Bambi and I was just fine!”
“Yes,” Anya sat up excitedly again, “and then I said if you are a doe what am I, and you said I was a colorful butterfly and then I asked what was daddy and you said a bear! Since I want you to like daddy as well, I thought of gifting you a teddy bear so that you don’t feel so afraid of him! See this teddy bear is so cute and cuddly. There was a butterfly too,” she said musingly, “but then I thought it might be uncomfortable to cuddle a butterfly and besides I am here with you,” she snuggled closer.
Anjali blushed and wondered if she had told all this to her father as well, “Achcha achcha theek hai theek hai, now go to sleep baba, otherwise I will really be angry, do you even know what time it is?” Anjali gently scolded her.
Anya hurriedly settled down and was fast asleep in an instant, Anjali caressed her affectionately and slipped lower down on the bed and looked at the teddy bear and wondered where Khsitij was and what would he think when he came back. She smiled naughtily and hugged the teddy bear close.
Nanny let Kshitij into GM. He looked around and asked, “Where is Anya?”
“Oh she is asleep,” said Nanny.
Khsitij nodded and started towards his room, Nanny said demurely, “Bhabhi is in Anya’s room,” and left for the night to her outhouse.
Khsitij stared after surprised; he could have sworn Nanny had snickered; now why would she do that?
Click here for Chapter 62