To tell the truth, Arnav was rather glad when Khushi stopped coming in the evenings, he did get tired by then and seeing her really weakened his resolve, broke into his concentration and distracted him; some particularly tough days he yearned to dump it all and go away with her to Mauritius, but that was out of the question, not just because of his shaan and ego but because too many people depended on him for their rozi/roti so he did the next best thing, i.e. lose his temper, hence he was often rude and cutting; he of course deeply regretted it later, but by then the damage had been done.
But Arnav treasured the little notes; Khushi sent them for her own sanity’s sake little knowing they were a lifeline for Arnav as well, he searched for them like a little boy hunts for his favorite toy, and the day there was none he would be terribly disappointed, (manifesting as the infamous ASR temper tantrums which he unleashed upon the hapless heads of his long-suffering employees).
These little notes were Arnav’s window to a life beyond AR Designs, an assurance that somewhere out there Khushi was waiting for him, cared about him, that he was in her thoughts, she was not really mad at him, she understood his priority, she was the soft cushion that would always be there to fill his arms, whenever he wanted.
He perked up when he saw her latest note, email! He was not really a pen and paper person and hence it had been a rather one-sided lifeline; though frankly Khushi didn’t really expect a response to her notes, but she missed him terribly, dammit. Emails, on the other hand, were ASR favorite mode of communication.
He checked his account, sure enough there she was, ‘Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada’ his heart gave a funny sort of a twist, a clutch in his throat made him realize just how much he did miss her too dammit. He suddenly realized that it was Khushi whom he missed the most. He usually managed to catch up with Nani and the others (even the flowers in his garden which was a riot of colors now that spring was here and Khushi had been busy tending them in his absence) in the mornings and his Di in the office during some meeting or the other. But Khushi, it seemed like ages had passed since he had drowned in her beautiful eyes. He grimaced and gritted his teeth, soon Khushi soon, he promised silently to her and to himself.
Khushi had sent an email giving a few options as the name for her catering service prior to registration of her business; she wanted ASR to help her choose or give another option.
- KKGSR Dabba Service
- From A’s Rasoi
- Khana by AK
- AR Cuisines
He smiled and typed back, ‘Why ‘A’?’
Pat came the reply, ‘A’ lo ji! bhool gaye kya ? humare naam main bhi A hai!’
Arnav laughed aloud in the midst of the meeting with his colleagues and a client, they looked at him in surprise, “A funny forwarded email,” he apologized.
“How about forwarding it to me?” Mr Roy muttered, “I could do with a laugh or two.”
“Sure, but you won’t er get ABC of it, shall we continue gentlemen?” ASR hastily changed the topic and sent his reply to Khushi on the sly – go with ‘AK Cuisines’
Pleased, Khushi ticked off the first item on her list and happily went about the process of registering her company and designing a logo etc. (I see a few raised eyebrows at the sudden improvement of Khushi’s English vocabulary. Well not really sudden, I would say for Khushi had been undertaking English classes, mentioned long ago if you remember, and the diploma course had been all about different ‘cuisines’ but sabse ‘mehtvapoorn’ she found her Man Friday or rather an Aman clone urf Ramiya who would go on to become Khushi’s right hand.)
Hua yoonh ki one evening, Khushi had just finished her day at what we now know as AKC, and Rohan (her as yet one-man army) was locking up; Khushi descended the stairs as the lift was taking too much time to arrive, someone crashed into her, she held on to her in shock and surprise; she was a pretty young girl clearly in great distress, she clung to Khushi and burst into tears. Concerned Khushi held her and then led her back to her office and made Rohan re-open her office and bring some water and tea for the agitated girl. The girl calmed down and opened up under Khushi’s sympathetic and warm concern; her name was Ramiya (oh BTW the ‘i’ is silent and has been introduced for astrological reasons and er also avoid copyright/IPR issues) she said, she had just come from Mumbai in search of a job; actually she belonged to Delhi (Lajpat Nagar to be precise), she had gone to Mumbai in order to stand on her own two feet so that she could earn enough money to support her financially (and otherwise) crippled family in Delhi. But unfortunately Mumbai was no child’s play and despite numerous tries, Ramiya could barely make ends meet leave aside send money home.
In the meanwhile, since she was a huge fan of Salman Khan, she would haunt the gates of his palatial house whenever she was low and depressed (pretty often I am afraid) and being a bright chirpy and friendly girl with a smart mouth had made friends with SK’s security guard, who was like a caring elder brother to her; Veerji not only arranged for a pass for his Veera to ‘meet and greet’ SK but also got her a job as assistant to the secretary to a top shot businessman (Kanhaiyya Lall) who had a ‘chain ki dukaan’ er jewelry shop, actually several chain ke dukaans (I said top shot na) anyway, all was going well, Ramiya was earning well, she was able to save a decent amount of money and send home money for her Babuji treatment, as well as money to repair her Buaji ke ghar ka leaking roof not to mention pay off the debt owed to the nukaad kirana shop; equally important, as an assistant Ramiya utilized her time well and quickly learnt the ropes. Then after about 6 months, as the secretary took a long leave while she got married, Ramiya became KL’s personal secretary.
And therein began her litany of woes, the moment Ramiya came into the limelight, (she being a very sundar girl) things took a turn for the worse as KL started passing lewd remarks and harassed her at every opportunity, Ramiya had no choice but to leave Mumbai.
Unfortunately due to an MU (oho misunderstanding) with her Buaji cum mother over the unlicensed (or perhaps inadvertent) use of certain spices as an ingredient for a face pack, Raimya couldn’t go back to LN either, so she had taken up a job in Delhi and was staying in a PG for girls at Laxmi Nagar.
Today she had been sent by her boss to deliver some important documents to her boss’s son who had an office in this building and was leaving for the States. But the boss’s son turned out to be KL’s clone who too attempted some ‘galat’ moves on her, but she was having none of it (a black belt in Taekwondo) and she had just managed to escape when she bumped into Khushi.
Spent after bringing Khushi up to date with her Ram (bola na ‘i’ silent hai) kahani, she again burst into tears; Khushi was appropriately shocked, horrified, impressed and concerned at her state, hesitatingly she asked, “Ramiya kuch galat toh nahi…”
“No no maam, nothing of the sort maam, main ab bhi Ganga ki tarah pavitra hoon, I would rather die than let my family’s nose be cut off,” Ramiya rushed to reassure Khushi. Relieved, Khushi thanked DM and promptly took Ramiya under her wing; this turned out to be a win-win situation for both of them; Ramiya found a safe haven, a well paying job where she didn’t have to constantly look over her shoulders for well meaning ‘bhaiyya’s (she strongly suspected Veerji of having ulterior motives in sending her to KL) and hopeful ‘saiyyan’s while Khushi found her trusted aide, her right hand woman; soon in a couple of months, Arnav and Khushi could be found talking on the phone more with Aman and Ramiya, respectively, than to each other.
Kuch samjho ke naahi!
Err DMami craves the indulgence of the initiated but forbearing readers for playing the fool with her friends from IPK days
Click here for Chapter 95