Chapter 7: The Ice Breaks


It was a special day at the office, an important meeting was in progress where ASR was looking to crack a major deal with an international brand, and he had left strict instructions not to be disturbed under any circumstances. Yet suddenly, there was a commotion at the doorway and an apologetic guard stood there hesitantly stuttering, “S..S..Si…Sir, woh…woh…”

ASR glared at the unfortunate guard, “How dare you interrupt us when I left specific instructions. Get out; I will deal with you later.”

The man shook but held his ground, “Sir woh…madam..”

ASR, angrier than before, “What ‘woh …madam’, I don’t care who it is, just leave.”

The guard had a brainwave; he stopped trying to speak and just moved away sideways.

Khushi was standing right behind him, agitatedly wringing her hands and shaking uncontrollably.

ASR who saw her just as he was turning away angrily and froze in shock. “What the…!”

Khushi hesitantly raised her eyes, clearly in the grip of some strong emotions held firmly in check, but the moment she met his eyes, her face crumpled and she burst into tears.

Arnav rushed forward and gathered her in his arms, worry creasing his face, “Khushiiii, what happened sweetheart, tell me, Khushi, stop crying, please tell me!?”

Khushi, gulped, sniffed and controlled herself with a superhuman effort, “Woh…babuji..”

Arnav shook her, “Babuji what!”

“Buaji called just now, Babuji is very unwell, maybe heart attack, she doesn’t know,” Khushi dissolved into a fresh bout of tears.

Arnav hugged her tight and shushed her.

He dug out his phone and called up the hospital and ordered that an ambulance be immediately sent to Laxmi Nagar.

He then called up GH, where a panic stricken Buaji picked up the phone, “Hain, kaun hai, HRNK.”

“Buaji, main Arnav, what happened to Uncle?

Buaji, near to tears, “Pata nahi babua, he is very pale and in great discomfort.”

“Don’t worry Buaji, everything will be fine,” Arnav soothed, “I have called for an ambulance which should be reaching any minute, just get him to the hospital.”

Then he called up the doctor-in –charge at the hospital and, “Hello Dr Verma, this is Arnav Singh Raizada. My father-in-law, Mr Shashi Gupta will be reaching your hospital soon. It appears that he has had a heart attack; I would appreciate if you extend all medical support to him. I will be reaching the hospital shortly. Yes thank you.”

Khushi was sobbing quietly in his arms, slightly reassured by the crisp handling of the medical crisis.

He again soothed her and comforted her. He turned to his PA and said, “A glass of water for Khushi please, and tell Mohan to take out my car.”

She nodded and left.

Just then Arnav’s phone rang, “Hello, yes… oh…Happyji, yes tell me? Oh good, they have left in the ambulance. Great, thanks for letting me know, I will talk to you later, I got another call coming. Hello, yes Aakash, I know….no Aakash, dont go to Laxmi Nagar, they are on the way to the hospital in an ambulance, so you go directly to the City Hospital with Payal and we will also be reaching there in just a bit.” Arnav turned to Khushi and said softly, “Here, Khushi, drink some water, you will feel better, come let’s go to the hospital.”

They turned to leave.

“Excuse me Mr Raizada, we have some unfinished business.” It was a member of the international company who had come to finalize the deal.

ASR turned back, “Oh I am sorry gentlemen, this is an emergency and I have to leave now, maybe we could fix up another meeting later?”

One of the gentlemen spoke up, “We understand Mr Raizada, but we are pressed for time and we have other commitments too. So if you leave now, I am afraid the deal would have to be dropped”.

ASR, shrugged, “As you wish” and turned to leave.

Khushi, struggling to control herself, “Arnavji, you carry on, the driver can drop me at the hospital.”

ASR didn’t even bother to reply; he just put his arm around her and hustled her downstairs.

Khushi tried once more, “Arnavji, please I will be fine, babuji is at the hospital and we just have to wait it out now. This is such an important deal; you finish the meeting and then come.”

ASR stopped in midstride, uncaring of the fact that they were in the middle of his office foyer, turned and cupped her face in his hands, “Khushi, haven’t I told you before that you are the biggest deal of my life?”

Her eyes fell against the intensity of this expression.

“Khushi, look at me and tell me you don’t need me by your side, I will go and attend the meeting.”

Khushi started walking, pulling him along with her.

Just as he started the car, his phone rang, “Yes, Aakash tell me….oh okay, that’s great…yeah we are on our way….we will be there soon. Yeah, let me know in case of any further developments, ok bye.” Arnav reached out and squeezed Khushi’s hand.  “Khushi, your babuji has been admitted in the ICU and they have started treatment and he is apparently stable and feeling better. They are still in the process of conducting further tests, but the immediate crisis seems to be over.”

Khushi buried her face into her hands and burst into tears. Awkwardly maneuvering around the gears, Arnav hugged her and let her cry it out for a few minutes, then he moved away and handed her his handkerchief, “Control yourself Khushi, here take this, your dupatta is soaking wet. Come let’s go, stop crying Khushi, how do you expect me to drive in this flood?”

That weak joke earned him a watery chuckle. Khushi nodded her head and wiped her tears.

They had hardly driven half the distance when they were caught in the office rush and the traffic crawled.

ASR got irritated while Khushi fidgeted agitatedly with the handkerchief.

Arnav called Payal and gave the phone to Khushi, “Jijji…” her voice broke

“Khushi,” Payal was reassuring,” Babuji is better, don’t worry”.

Khushi sniffed unhappily, “Jijji, I want to come but the traffic is so bad and we are held up.”

“Relax Khushi. Bola na, the doctor said he will be completely alright and that is because he was brought to the hospital so quickly. Arnavji made a very good decision by calling for the ambulance immediately. That was more important than your coming to the hospital quickly. Come when the traffic clears”.

Arnav spotted a gap in the traffic and quickly slid into the space and slipped into a side road leading to a residential area with an aim to escape the traffic on the main road. After a bit of tricky negotiations, Arnav brought the car to a halt. Khushi looked around in surprise; they had stopped at the temple.


Click here for Chapter 8

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