It was a busy and important day at AR Designs, the board of directors meeting was scheduled to start at 10 am and expected to go on the whole day. The entire office was in full attendance since 8 am and the scene was a flurry of activities, everyone pitched in with enthusiasm as their appraisals were also on the agenda.
ASR was in his room going through some files which had just been handed to him when his phone rang, “Hello?” he said impatiently.
“Hello CSR, this is Anya,” She chirped.
“Anya!” He sat up with a jerk, “Everything ok? Di…?” said Arnav immediately worried.
“Relax CSR, your Di is fine,” Anya rolled her eyes, and said mischievously after a pause, “CSR toom bhi na.”
Chotte burst out through ASR, “Anya! Toom milo main batata hoon!
Anya giggled, she had him exactly where she wanted him, “So caab meel raahe hainn?” she neatly played her game.
CSR laughed and said reluctantly, “Sorry Anya got an important meeting today.”
“Oh,” Anya was disappointed, “But I also need to have an urgent meeting with you.”
Arnav grinned, “Really? So what’s on the agenda?”
Anya sighed, “Never mind, I will talk to you later, bye.”
“Hey wait, Anya,” Arnav now very curious, “At least give me a hint, hey maybe I am not that busy,” he said jokingly.
Anya cheered up instantly, “I was missing you CSR,” she confided, “and I have a lot to tell you.”
“Really! What?” Arnav was touched.
Just then the peon came to tell him that the meeting was about to start, Arnav held the phone away and said “Boldo aa rahe hai, important telecon chal raha hai.”
“Ok Anya tell me,” he spoke into the phone dismissing the peon.
“CSR I can’t tell you over the phone, so I was thinking maybe I could come over to your place meet everybody and when you are free, you and choti bua, that is if she too is free,” She hastily added, “Could take me to the zoo,” Anya said in a rush.
“The zoo!” ASR was stunned.
“Yes,” Anya said very excited, “I have been wanting to go there for a long time, but I thought Anj..mamma may find it difficult to walk so much,” she trailed off.
Arnav swallowed, he said gruffly “True, maybe you could go with your bua?”
“I could of course, but it wouldn’t be as much fun if both of you were there,” she said wistfully.
Arnav looked up to see Aman hovering anxiously by the door, he nodded and indicated he was just coming, “Ok Anya here’s the deal, you go home meet everybody, have lunch and I will try to wrap up things here, though I really can’t promise anything…”
“I have a better idea” said Anya, “I could stay the night at your place and we could go to the zoo tomorrow?” she offered him a way out.
Arnav was impressed, “Good thinking Anya,” he said approvingly, “It is a deal! Zoo it is tomorrow; bye, see you real soon,” he disconnected the phone and stood up.
“Ok Aman stop sweating, let’s get this show on the road, oh by the way, order a box of chocolates will you, umm nutty chocolates, did you get that?” ASR instructed Aman on the way to the meeting of board of directors.
Unfazed, Aman nodded and dutifully noted it down; box of nutty chocolates, amongst the drab annual sales figures.
Mission accomplished, Anya put down the phone with a click and rushed off to get ready pack her stuff, she then came charging back to tell Nanny to get ready as well.
By the time Anya was ready, Khsitij and Anjali had also come for breakfast. Anya then informed them of her exotic plans for the weekend, “The zoo?” Khsitij was surprised, “With whom are you going?”
“CSR and chotibua,” pat came the reply.
“Chotte!” Anjali was surprised, “Are you sure? He has an important meeting today; in fact I was supposed to go but I… anyway if chotibua has promised you, you should wait for Chotte to confirm.”
“No mamma, CSR has confirmed, I still have to check with chotibua, but if CSR is not free today he will surely take me tomorrow,” she looked triumphantly at them.
“Anya,” said Khsitij warningly, “I hope you didn’t pester him?”
“Pester? No not at all, in fact he said it is a deal!” Anya said airily, and she rushed in before Khsitij could discipline her further, “I am going for a sleepover to their place!”
Khsitij opened his mouth to object to her plans, but Anjali forestalled him, “That sounds great Anya, maybe I should come along too!”
“No!” burst out both Anya and Khsitij; Although disappointed, Anjali hid her grin.
“No mamma, you stay here and take care of daddy because I am taking Nanny along to take care of me, ok daddy?” Khsitij looked at Anya thoughtfully but nodded his head.
Khsitij said, “Tell you what guys, I need to go to the hospital for a bit later for a couple of appointments; so I will drop all of you off at RM and on the way back I can pick up Anjie,” he looked at her and said softly, “we will have lunch outside ok?”
Anjie was ecstatic, who said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too! It had really been a long time since she met everybody, the pag phere had been too short and too long ago, besides finally she felt like a newly wedded (er wrong choice of alphabet eh?) wife and this would be her actual pag phere, she blushed.
Khsitij smiled as he read her expression.
Anya too was thrilled, “Daddy!” She squealed, “Your plan is better than mine, oh Daddy you are the best! Don’t you think so too Anjie?”
Anjali nodded her eyes misty, she hugged him, “It’s a date,” she murmured softly.
He grinned looking as pleased as Punch, while Anya viewed the scene approvingly.
Nani sighed as she sat back comfortably on the couch and stared around her; the mansion was running to eat her (ok ok khane ko daud raha tha). Chotte had stopped working from home (!), Khushi bitiya was busy in her studies, Manorama was busy as usual with her ‘satsang’ and makeovers, though she never was any good company, she snorted to herself; Payal was the silent and reserved kinds, oh she missed Anjali so much; A tear slipped out, she hastily wiped it away, she was happy and that was all that mattered.
Payal came up and asked softly, “Dadi what should I make for lunch?”
“Nahi bitiya, you sit here, let the cook Shakuntala make something, anything you like,” Said Nani affectionately.
Payal smiled and sat down, “Of course dadi she will make it but I thought of instructing her because she doesn’t yet know our tastes. But my problem is what to make.”
Nani sighed, “Oh well I don’t know, all this Anjali bitiya used to handle so efficiently, I wish she…”
“Wish kya Nani?”
“Anjali bitiya!” Nani was ecstatic, “What a pleasant surprise, phone bhi nahi kiya?”
Anjali laughed happily as she hugged her beloved Nani, “I wanted to surprise you Nani.”
“Badi nani badi nani, I too have come, aren’t you happy to see me,” Anya demanded her share.
“Of course bitiya, after all everything is because of you,” Nani smiled as she hugged the little girl.
Payal also greeted their guests (bechari, kuch toh screen space mile).
“No badi nani,” Anya said innocently, “it was daddy’s doing; I was going to come alone but then daddy also sent mamma along.”
“Achcha achcha, come in and sit down and Anjali bitiya, you please decide the menu, kam se kam ek din ki toh chutti ho!” Nani sat down happily.
Anjali smiled and said, “Ji Nani, Khushi kahan hai?
“Oh she will be back soon,” said Nani as she surveyed Anjali, her heart swelled with joy and thankfulness; she sent up a silent prayer of gratefulness for making everything so right for her grand-daughter, a wonderful caring husband and a loving daughter as well. She could now die in peace; bas par pota ya par poti dekh loon, maybe Chotte’s and Anjali bitiya’s as well….Nani shook her head self-deprecatingly, the list never ends does it?
Click here for Chapter 72