It was early evening with the sun just readying for his nightly snooze just like any other normal day, yet it was a first of its kind at GM; Anjali and Khsitij sat alone in the huge living room.
Anya had a birthday party to attend and hence Anjali was alone at home when Khsitij dropped in, unusually early for him as he generally came home around 8 pm. Taken aback and suddenly uncomfortable, she asked, “Will you have tea?”
“Sure.” Khsitij nodded shooting her a keen glance.
Glad to have something to do she vanished to the kitchen only to be shooed away by Vimla; Anjali came back after giving a few needless instructions, “Woh Anya, she has gone to a birthday party,” she said after a bit of small talk on the weather.
Khsitij nodded his head, “I know, Anya called me….”
Anjali stiffened, “What! She called you?!”
Khsitij looked at her in mild surprise, “Yes and in fact she ordered me to…”
Anjali was by now panic stricken, hey Bhagwan, wonder what that girl ‘ordered’ her dad to do, she blushed a fiery red, “Or-ordered?” she squeaked apprehensively.
Khsitij watched the play of emotions on Anjali’s face with keen interest and increasing amusement, now what has Anya been saying to make Anjie blush so adorably? He wondered, “Yes, ordered me to come home early and…”
“Come home early! Really! And?” Anjali was near to wringing her hands, what had that motor mouth said to her dad, had she…no no, she was too innocent, she wouldn’t have, anyway, why should she worry, it was a natural phenomenon, nothing to be embarrassed about, all married couples…
Vimla came in with the tea tray; she put it on the centre table and left quietly.
“And wait for her,” Khsitij completed, then blandly, “Why, what did you think?”
“Think? Me? oh nothing,” Anjali brushed away his question and said, “Do you take sugar in your tea?” Horrified, she looked at him, hey Bhagwan! Here she was married for 2 weeks and she didn’t even know if her husband took sugar in his tea!
“Half a teaspoon and no milk, thanks Anjie,” said Khsitij looking at her speculatively, “Anjie, it’s ok, you know how I take my coffee!” he joked, “and besides, even I don’t know how you like your tea!”
Anjali shook her head ruefully as she handed him his tea cup and offered him biscuits, “I know but still it is very strange…”
“Anjie, a lot of things about our relationship is ‘strange’ but that doesn’t mean it is wrong, each relationship is different and it is up to couple to explore and find out what works for them and what doesn’t,” Khsitij tried to soothe a clearly ill at ease Anjali, “and it has been a hectic 2 weeks, all my fault I should have taken off from work, but I thought it best to stay away to let you settle down at your own pace and not rush things, but perhaps I was wrong,” Khsitij was a bit dejected.
Anjali put down her unfinished cup of tea and looked at him in consternation, “No no, its ok, I mean I am fine, you were not wrong,” words tumbled out incoherent and disjointed in her haste to convince him, soothe him.
“Then why are you so stilted and formal with me as if meeting me for the first time, that too as if I have come to ‘see’ you as a possible prospective bride,” Khsitij spoke directly, “This is definitely not my Anjie.”
She looked helplessly at him acknowledging the truth of his words, what was wrong, she wondered, where was her friend? No he was right here, she was the one who was ‘different’, stressed out, vacillating between anticipation dread and, will he, wont he, does he or does he not care…tears pooled in her eyes and his eyes softened, he put down his cup and started to get up, “Anjie…
“Daddy! You came!” Anya came running and flung herself into Khsitij’s arms, “Careful Anya, what if I still had the cup of tea?”
“I already saw that you had put the cup down,” Anya said loftily, “Hello Anj…mamma,” she moved towards Anjali and gave her a tight hug and said, “Have you talked to daddy?”
Anjali froze, “Talked to daddy?” She stammered.
Anya vigorously nodded her head, “Yes, that I want a baby, a baby brother or a baby sister, oh Anjie,” she looked pityingly at her, “don’t you even know that both daddy and mummy are needed to make a baby?”
Anjali’s eyes swung almost involuntarily to clash with Khsitij’s amused eyes, oho, so that’s what was cooking, or rather steaming.
He settled down comfortably, this should be fun.
Anjali fumbled and mumbled something incoherently, which was appropriately interpreted by Anya who shook her head resignedly, “Daddy, Anj..mamma really doesn’t know anything,” she looked suspiciously at her dad, “I hope YOU know how babies are made, after all you are also a doctor?”
Khsitij looked lazily at Anjali’s even redder face (if that were possible) but he himself was in a quandary, say ‘no’ and fall forever in his daughter’s eyes as the world’s best ready reference handy ‘Google-cum-wikepedia’ of all times but say ‘yes’ and run the real risk of having to explain the details, he took the middle path, “Hmm, good question Anya, I do of course, they taught us at med school but I have forgotten the details.”
“Forgotten the details! How could you daddy, but then you made me too right?” Anya was fast losing faith in her dad as well.
“But it’s been so long,” Khsitij shrugged, “more than 7 years, don’t forget, a baby stays 9 months in the mummy’s tummy, tell me do you remember the time when we stayed in Canada, that was just 2-3 years ago,” Khsitij neatly trapped Anya (not a mean feat let me tell you).
Anya reluctantly absolved her father of any shame in having forgotten such an important thing, after all she had also forgotten her first mom; she brushed it all away, “Never mind, I know how babies are made, I had a long discussion with Aisha today, she knows everything,” Anya declared confidently.
Anjali sat still as Khsitij murmured, “Really, that is interesting, tell us then perhaps we too could have a baby, I love babies, don’t you Anjie,” he asked Anjie tongue firmly in cheek.
Anjali blushed, recovered and glared at him, he smiled and indicated Anya with his eyes; hurriedly Anjali schooled her expression and nodded her head.
Now that Anya’s students were ready and listening she got to work, theory and practicals in mind.
Busily she rushed over to Khsitij and pulled him by the hand, “Come daddy, you sit here next to Anjie, and put your arm around her, like this and Anjie you lean against him like this and hug him with your other arm, yes, that’s perfect,” Anya clapped happily at the pretty picture in front of her.
Khsitij hugged Anjali close and said gruffly, “This is how babies are made?” Anjali buried her hot face in his neck and gave way to silent giggles.
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