Khushi hurriedly wiped her tears and called him in, “Haan Hari Prakashji andar aaiye,”
She waved her hands at the line of suitcases, “take these and put them in the storeroom, we won’t be needing them after all, thank you.”
“Ji Bhabhi,” HP picked up the empty cases and put them on the landing before wheeling them away.
ASR looked as if he had been punched in the solar plexus, “Khushi, yeh sab…”
Khushi looked at him, “Haan sab khaali hain, and I have cancelled the tickets and hotel bookings too. It’s very late and you’ve had a long day, kal bhi bahut kaam hoga, go to sleep,” she turned and pulled away the bedcover.
Arnav swallowed and said gruffly, “Khushi,” she continued with her chores, “Kya hai?” she said brusquely without looking at him, “Your night suit is in the washroom, you can go and change, you need to rest,” she reiterated.
“Khushi, look at me,” he pulled her gently towards him, to his shock he found that Khushi slim frame was trembling even as she held herself together in what could only be called a superhuman effort not to let her hurt be visible, “Oh sweetheart, you didn’t have to do this, I told you, I could have managed to go for a few days…”
That did it!
Khushi thrust him away with a fierceness that took him by surprise and he stumbled and almost fell, but Khushi couldn’t care less, she stalked him as he moved backwards taken aback by the force of her anger, “You still don’t get it do you?! You still think I am upset because our honeymoon got cancelled, or postponed or shortened!” She nodded her head knowingly and turned away, “Forget it! There is no point in talking to such an insensitive person about feelings,” she turned back and then said, “But today Mr Arnav Singh Raizada, you again showed me what you actually think of me, you still think of me as a characterless selfish female who is no better than Sheetal!” overwrought, Khushi went to the corner of the bed and burst into tears; she quickly grabbed a pillow and buried her face in it to muffle her gut-wrenching sobs.
Arnav stared at her in horror, why was she crying like this, what had he said, and what did she mean? He closed his eyes and tried to think rationally, but his brains seemed to have gone into a deep freeze, dammit how could he think when she was crying like this? “Khushi,” he edged closer to her and put his arm around her, but she was not having any of it, she jerked him away angrily, “Don’t you dare touch me or even come near me!” she warned.
“But Khushi, I don’t get it, aisa kya keh diya maine ki you are crying like this?” Arnav was totally at sea (figures doesn’t it?).
“Unbelievable!” Tears forgotten, Khushi threw up her hands and the pillow dropped from her hands, “I can’t believe the great Mr Arnav Singh Raizada could be so thickheaded, kya kaha tha aapne? That you know I am so keen to go to Mauritius that you could manage a few days? You think that even after this hadsa I would still insist on going and would kick up a fuss if you said no? All your life’s work has been burnt to ashes and I would only think of going for my ‘honeymoon’? No not just think, demand that we go regardless of any crisis.”
She put her hand to her head and said, “I can’t believe that you actually offered to take a few days off in the midst of this crisis in order to pacify me, am I a little child? Aapko kya lagta hai, yahan par sab kuch jal kar raakh ho gaya hai aur hum wahan ‘Teri Meri’ pe dance karenge?” Khushi was scathing in her attack; she brushed away her tears angrily and said, “Today was an eye-opener for me, I got to know just how high an opinion you have of me, exactly how inconsiderate, insensitive and selfish you think I am,” she shook her head sadly, “If you had just said, ‘Khushi I am sorry we won’t be able to go’ I wouldn’t have minded at all; but you clearly have a different sort of opinion about me,” she turned away, “Let’s drop it now, it is late, go to sleep.”
Arnav stared at her helplessly as realization struck him, focused on his own agenda, on his own guilt trip, bent on doing what was ‘right’ for Khushi he had failed to factor in Khushi’s perspective, she was right he had insulted her, there was no two ways about it, she was right, she would have refused to go even if he had insisted, then why did he mistake her intentions like this; why did he have to hurt her like this, always?
He yearned to hold her in his arms and soothe her pain away, but her stiff stance, her forbidding expression kept him away.
Angry he went to the washroom to change. When he came back Khushi was sleeping, on the couch. Arnav stared down at her wondering if he should carry her to bed, what if she got annoyed and upset again, what if she started crying again, he wouldn’t be able to handle it. It was late, best to sleep on it, he too was exhausted, and as the emotional upheavals of the day took their toll he swayed on his feet, he went to bed and was soon fast asleep.
Khushi sat up and fumed, kamal hai, itni jaldi so bhi gaye, couldn’t he have picked her up and insisted that she sleep on the bed? Probably glad to have the shrieking witch out of his hair, she grumbled to herself. Socha hoga yehi muaka hai, let me go to sleep, usko toh main baad main dekh loonga, aakhir jayegi kahan? Hmmphh, she snorted to herself.
She got up and slowly walked to his bedside and stared down at him; he looked so exhausted, so tired and so much responsibility on his shoulders, and here his wife was also throwing a fit, she melted, she gently brushed away a lock of hair; she stiffened, and glared at Arnav and shook her finger at him, ‘don’t think I have forgiven you yet,’ speaking perhaps more to herself than her sleeping husband; she went back to the couch and spent an uncomfortable night as price for her need to make a statement.
When Arnav woke up, Khushi had already gone; his first thought was, has she left me? She wouldn’t do that would she? He looked around and spied his clothes and stuff for the day neatly piled on the recliner with a note, ‘Going, have some work, your meds on the side table, don’t forget’. Nope she wouldn’t do that, when would he learn? No wonder she was still mad at him; He sighed as he looked at the note again, no smiley, neither a happy nor a sad one, he noted a smudge on one corner, damn, he gritted his teeth, as he stored the note carefully in the side drawer.
He got ready and had his breakfast, “Nani, Khushi kahan hai?”
Nani shook her head and said, “Haan she left very early, I was doing Puja then, I didn’t talk to her, Chotte, how is the guard?”
His phone beeped, a message from Khushi. ‘Met Sahil and the doctors, he is doing well; nothing to worry’
Mentally thanking Khushi he said, “Theek hai Nani,” he gestured to his phone, “Khushi ka message aya abhi.”
Nani smiled and gave her thanks to the Almighty and patted him, “Chinta naahi karo Chotte, uparwala sab theek kar dega; tum bas apna kaam karo.”
Arnav drew strength from his Nani’s warm hug and blessings, if only he could have a glimpse of his crazy woman, he sighed, he would make it up to her, later, now there was work to be done with no scope for any distractions.
Click here for Chapter 92