“Tum batao toh!” Di insisted.
Khushi shrugged. “In life one has to choose one’s battles. Agar koi gold-digger, ya phir selfish or koi mean person tries to entrap my son, or any of my children, I shall of course try to talk it out with them. DM se yehi pray bhi karti hoon ki bure logon se bachaye aur himmat aur discernment de sabko. Baaki, they will have to manage while we hope and pray that we have given them the right values, sense and sensibilities. The rest, where they are from who they are, aukat hai ki nahi,” there was the faintest hint of steel in Khushi’s voice, “that we will have to accept.”
Di made a face. “It’s easy to say.”
Khushi nodded. “I agree but that’s my plan. Baaki toh waqt aur DM hi batayenge. Aur waise Di aap tension chodiye, Ankit ek suljha hua ladka hai, kuch galat nahi karega. Aur hume toh laga….”
“Kya laga?”! Anjali asked eagerly.
Khushi shook her head, “Pata nahi, shayad koi Bhanushree karke hai, shayad special hai.”
“Haan, shayad South ki hai.”
“Arre woh sab chodo, Indian hai na. Bas kaafi hai. Batao kaun hai?” Di main jaise jaan aagayi ho.
“Arre kuch nahi Di,” Khushi regretted opening her mouth, “Aisa kuch nahi hai, shayad, mujhe aise hi laga…”
“Kuch toh hua hoga,” Anjali argued.
“Oho Di,” Khushi was in a fix, “bas aur kuch laga mujhe, nothing concrete,” she hastily added, “bas…”
“Bas, something about her body language, ek haq se jaise chai banai,” she mused, “Cup ya samaan kahan poocha bhi nahi, but then again perhaps just good friends…”
“Haan haan theek hai theek hai, zyaada protect karne ki zaroorat nahi…”
“Protect hi baat nahi hai Di!” Khushi protested, “It’s just that hume for sure kuch nahi pata, I am just guessing, woh bhi kyunki aap itna pareshan ho rahein hai, par Di please aap Ankit ko kuch mat boliye. Please! Aapko humari kasam.” Khushi pleaded.
“Hmm, theek hai,” Anjali sighed, “I guess we can only wait and watch.”
Shukriya Devi Maiyya. Khushi heaved a sigh of relief.
But her relief was short lived.
Anjali’s phone rang. “Di! Khushi kahan hai? Her phone…”
“Haan Chotte, yahin hai, yeh lo baat karo.”
“What the hell Khushi. Tumhara phone kyon nahi lag raha?”
“Kab se try kar raha hoon. Aur tum ho ki hosh hi nahi hai. Bas haha heehee bas.”
Khushi took a deep breath and prayed for patience. “Kuch kaam tha toh boliye? Ya phir sirf attendance lene ke liya aur…”
“I told you! There are papers to be signed.”
“Oh papers? Hum bhool gaye the…”
“Haan important cheez kyon yaad rakhogi? Aman ko phone karo.”
“Zaroorat nahi.” Khushi smarted. “Aman is here. Sign kar dete hai.”
“Agar woh bhooli nahi ho. Nahi toh angootha laga dena.” Arnav snapped.
Khushi’s blood pressure rose but she controlled herself. After all bahut din ho gaye the. Perhaps he was missing her like she was.
Aur main Jhansi ki Rani.
“Aap kab aa rahein hai?” She asked willing her voice to be soft.
“Aman se poocho.” He disconnected.
“Sorry,” Aman muttered, “aapka phone nahi lag raha tha, I told ASR ki I will go and get the papers signed, but before I could reach….”
“But of course, itni patience rakhte toh mujhe shaq hota ki zaroor unki tabiyat theek nahi hai,” Khushi fumed.
Job done, Aman beat a hasty retreat but not before he had agreed to bring Poo and Devi soon. Very soon.
“Arre Aman,” Khushi called him back, “Aur yeh bhi bata do kab aa rahein hain aapke ASR?”
“Laad governor kahin ke. Khud batane se shaan kam ho jaati kya?” Khushi grumbled to herself.
“Kya hua Khushi?” Di was curious.
“Kuch nahi Di,” Khushi shook her head, “Wohi naak par gussa…”
“Abhi tak aadat nahi hui?” Di put the onus on Khushi.
“Adat kaise ho sakta hai Di? Ek pe rahein toh kuch karein bhi. Pal mein rakshash pal mein…hmmph.”
Di made a face. “Par woh toh bahut puraani baat hai na? Ab toh mera bhai sirf aur sirf Rajkumar hai.” Her eyes crinkled even as she wrinkled her nose and laughed fondly at her naughty adorable Chotte. “Hai ki nahi?”
“Haan. There was a time when aise hi lagta tha. Par aajkal woh kahin gayab hai.”
“Matlab pata chalte hi aapko khabar kar denge Di.” Khushi sighed. “Hume toh kabhi kabhi lagta hai unko menopause ki shikayat hai.” She heaved another deep sigh.
“Right!” Di was relieved. “Yehi hoga.”
They looked at each other and burst out laughing.
Khushi’s phone rang. “Ab toh baj raha hai phone.” She was mystified. “Haan Chotti. Kaisi ho?”
“Mom! Did you get a chance to speak to Mami? My dress…”
“Haan haan Mami bhi yahin hai. She came to deliver that only.”
“Great!” Chotti was ecstatic. “Please send it jaldi! Plijj! My program is this weekend huh, not next. Yaad hai na?”
“Ab tum bhi mere yaadasht toh tana marogi?”
“Aww Mom!” Chotti instantly latched on, “Daddy being Baddy again?” But she had her Dad bhi na voice.
“Courier kar doongi, tomorrow morning. Bolo toh I will come and deliver it?” Khushi snapped.
“What a great idea Mom!” Chotti squealed. “Come! Come! Please! Please. You never come to my programs. Always so busy. All your time is just for Dad. Is baar toh Dad bhi nahi hai. Come na. Please Mom. Mami too.”
Oops. Ab kya boloon main? Ki ASR is coming back on Saturday?
“Haan Chotti dekhti hoon,” Khushi muttered, “Let me talk to your Mami.”
“Do whatever you have to but come.” Chotti declared, “Then I can ask Mami to send a couple of more dresses!” She signed off cheekily.
“Dekha!” Khushi rued feeling trapped. Me and my big mouth. Ab toh jaana hi padega “Di, can you go?” She brightened. “Haan yehi theek rahega…”
“Oh how I wish I could!” Di shook pouted, “I have to be in office on Sunday. Chotte’s orders.”
Di ko pata hai aur mujhe nahi? Hadd hai.
“Why can’t you go.” Anjali asked.
“As if you don’t know Di.” Khushi pulled a face. “Laad Governor ka order ho na ho…”
“Yehi toh galati karti ho Khushi!” Di clapped a hand to her head, “Ab I don’t like to give you ideas against my little bro but tum bhi na! Yehi toh mauka hai, chauka maro.” She got up to leave. “Angelika se main baat kar loongi ki kya aur chahiye usse.”
Is me daring wali kaun si baat hai?
Hadd hai Khushi.
Guddu is right.
You do have the Stockholm syndrome.
Chotti sahi toh keh rahi hai. I’ve never been to any of Chotti’s programs all because Laad Governor never had the time and she didn’t want to leave him alone.
Not that he needed her.
Wohi zabardasti gale padh rahi thi.
She would go.
Not just for the weekend but for the week.
Maybe a month.
Khushi boarded the aircraft and cast yet another worried glance behind her. Yeh ladki kahan reh gayi?
Kitni baar phone karoon?
Ayegi ki nahi?
Ayegi toh ayegi – nahi toh nahi.
It was too late to worry. Jo hoga so hoga.
She was leaving on a jet plane.
Khushi sank back into her seat with a sigh. It had been a close call but she had persevered. All because she had wanted to show that Laad Governor that she was no less an LGness.
Hmmph samajhte kya hai apne aap ko?
But sochne kehne aur karne main farq hai.
Hai ki nahi?
But ek baar jo Chotti ne thaan li toh koi usse tass se mass nahi kar sakta. Now that Mom was coming, she thought of including a dance in the program too, phir uske liye dresses and choreography, practice, the works.
Too late for Khushi to have second thoughts but that didn’t stop her from dithering.
Go no go.
Aise ghar chod kar kaise chale jaaoon
Chotti would be busy with her friends, what would she do? Rehearsals bhi kitni der ke liye.
What will I do there?
ASR would be really mad if he found her gone when he came back phir…
Are you sure?
Sapno ki duniya se bahar aa Khushi. Unko koi farq nahi padta tum kahan ho kya…
Nahi! Yeh sach nahi
Sach! Nothing but the truth. Aur ek aur truth bhi suno. Guddu sahi keh raha tha. He’s your Simon Legree. And tum darte ho.
Hum? Aur LG se darte hain? Rubbish.
Really? Toh phir himmat hai toh ja kar dikhao?
Isme himmat wali kaunsi baat hai? Hum jaayenge. Zaroor jayenge. Waise bhi do din ki toh baat hai.
Just go for a couple of days and laut ke budhoo LG ko aaye?
Yeh hui naa baat! Kuch dhamakedar karika padi.
“Tiya! Tiya!” A warm bundle threw itself on to her and Khushi fell back on to the settee clutching the welcome tornado.
Q1. Tiya kaun hai?
Q 2. Khushi ko Tiya kyon bula rahi/raha hai?
Click here for Chapter 508