Khushi made a moue, she was trapped, he was right, but her clothes! Burn them! And that blue dress! Samjhte kya hain apne aap ko! “Look Mr Laad Governor,” she attacked, as he rubbed salt on an old insult, “I still haven’t forgiven you for that calendar shoot fiasco, how could you even think of expecting me to wear that piece of itsy bitsy teeny weeny nothing and that too in front of everyone?”
Arnav looked at her lazily under hooded eyes and said softly, cajolingly, “How about sirf mere liye?”
Temptation warred with annoyance; Trust him to not only side step her grouse but also add fuel to fire and yet tempt her to do his bidding!; she sighed how could she resist him when he looked at her like that! Not for the first time, she wondered how it was possible to be so mad at somebody and yet just yearn to melt in his arms; she pursed her lips and attempted to maintain her dignity as she angrily shook her head at herself; Sankadevi indeed.
Anya came charging, “Mamu! You are here! Let’s go! We are getting late, come on!” Then she looked at both of them resignedly, “Fighting again! Didn’t I tell you no fighting?”She huffed as she glared at both of them hand on her hips.
Arnav’s lips twitched, “Mamu! What happened to CSR?”
Anya grinned cheekily, her annoyance forgotten, “Today you are Mamu and Mami, just in case I forget, you are so many things!”
Arnav grinned back, “Yeah right but Anya I am warning you again, no Pooh or Pah stuff ok?”
Anya leaned forward and said confidentially, “Actually, I am just getting into the habit of calling you Mamu as I don’t want the little baby to get any wrong ideas, as his or her Di, I have to do the right thing, right C..I mean Mamu?
Misty eyed Khushi looked at Arnav while Arnav sighed and shook his head, if this was her idea of ‘no pressure’ God help Di and Khsitij!
“Come on we are getting late,” Anya urged, “Hurry up and change, we are going down to the car.”
“No wait, I will be back in a jiff, I want to go along with you,” Arnav vanished to change his clothes, while Khushi looked after him surprised, why did he want them to wait? She was rather dreading the journey through RM; she had had a vague idea of running through RM before anyone spied her new attire. Haan yehi theek rahega, she thought and edged out of the room, but she was too late, Arnav was back before she could cross the threshold, “Planning on running away Khushi?” he said perceptively. “Didn’t I tell you to wait?” he grinned as Khushi glared, flushed.
As Anya was dancing with impatience and excitement Khushi gave in but with poor grace, Arnav’s grin widened, he clasped her hand and pulled her along with him, and whispered, “Come on, I can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction.”
Embarrassed, she glared at him.
He smiled faintly as he surveyed his beoooooootifoool wife “Waise I for one can’t decide whether you look prettier today or in that red saree on calendar shoot day;” he pulled her close and stole a tender kiss after flicking a quick look at Anya skipping unmindfully ahead, “Know something?” he said huskily, “That day I was so mad at you and then whoosh! All my breath was knocked out as I saw you standing there looking absolutely stunning in that red saree,” he caressed her cheek with the back of his knuckles, “I couldn’t tear my eyes off you, just like today.”
Khushi gave up resisting and unmindful of her surroundings, stood up on her toes, slid her arms around his neck and gave into the RV of the moment. Unfortunately ‘achche sanskar’ stepped in before things could become too heated and it was an all too brief a moment, leaving them both breathless and hungry for more.
The entire Raizada khandan was gathered in the lobby (yes even HP and Shakuntala) as the threesome descended the stairs, Anya skipping ahead and as the two trim similarly clad figures came into view, a loud wolf whistle could be heard. Everyone one looked around in surprise, who could it be, surely not HP! Arnav and Khushi came back to their surroundings with a jolt.
“Badi Nani!” Squealed Anya delightedly as Arnav went over to his Nani and complained, “Sab kuch sikhaya Nani, yeh nahi sikhaya!”
Nani smiled mischievously and said, “Theek hai theek hai sikha denge, par ab niklo, naahi to zoo bund ho jayega!”
They left, but not before Nani reassured Khushi, “Sharmane ki kono jaroorat nahi hai, you are looking very nice and decent too!” Khushi smiled her thanks.
But even as the RM door closed behind them Khushi could hear Mamiji muttering in the background, “Partiality haaan, Khushi pahine toh theek! Aur hum pahine toh bad culture! Hmmph.”
“Manorama!” Nani’s voice rang out sharply, “Har ek cheez pahin ne ka dhang aur umar howat hai! Look at Khushi’s age and figure and look at the decent kurti she was wearing. She is covered from top to toe, so what is the problem. This is more decent than some of the churidars in vogue these days, or even the way sarees are sometimes worn. Aap ko toh yaad hoga what kind of top and jeans you had worn when I objected?”
Mami hurriedly HHBBd from the scene.
The trip to the zoo was a huge success and the trio made a pretty picture themselves drawing admiring glances from other visitors to the zoo. But of course not as many admiring glances as ASR threw at Khushi, bechare animals got quite a complex!!! ‘Par kya kare, tere chehre se nazar nahi hat thi nazaare hum kya dekhein’. Khushi studiously avoided looking at him, fully aware of his glance and flushing even more adorably and irresistibly each time, creating a rather vicious cycle; of course of the more pleasant variety.
It was a pretty long walk but Anya’s unflagging enthusiasm kept her going. Though she admired the big cats, Anya particularly enjoyed those enclosures where families were residing. She lost no time in pressing her point home each time. She even noted that one lone gorilla in an enclosure looked very sad and depressed. As the caretaker was locking the door, Anya accosted him and plied him with questions. She came back and informed her guardians, “See that is Binny, he is very sad because he doesn’t have any wife or babies. Everyone should have a wife and babies, at least two,” she declared pointedly.
Arnav rolled his eyes and muttered to Khushi, “I for one am happy with net practice.”
Khushi elbowed him and finally gathered up courage to say, “But I want a baby too!”
A/N If you have come this far you are probably inured (and resigned) to my rambling style. How about trying out some really ultra short pieces like a 100 words? And mind telling me which one you prefer? Here’s today’s story: Monitoring the Monitor
Click here for Chapter 84