“Kya problem hai Dad?” Deva’s voice was insistent and steely. “I will go. I’ve worked hard for this. I want this. But it would mean a lot if I have your consent and blessings.” He bent down and touched his feet.
Arnav’s hands clenched into a fist.
Woh aise hone nahi dega
“Dad?” Devansh straightened and tried one last time.
Aap bhi toh gaye the?
Nani mana kar deti toh aap nahi jaate kya?
Kuch din ke liye khona hai ki hamesha ke liya?
Furious with the world, Khushi, he looked at Deva, ready to bite off his head.
Cool steady eyes met his without blinking. Instead there was a challenge, a dare – mana karke toh dekhiye…
Inexplicably, pride swelled up until Arnav thought his chest would burst. He reached out and enfolded Devansh in a bear hug.
A major crisis averted Arnav thought smugly to himself. For an instant, it had been touch and go. Khud ko bhi nahi pata tha which side he would tilt. His brain had sent instructions to his lower extremities – about turn and stride out – but yet he had moved forward.
His eyes and heart sought Khushi but she busy with her Devi Maiyya.
Everyone had been so relieved; but none more so than him. Who knew better than him the destructive power of his ego?
Bachpan se hi aise tha – jo socha wohi kiya, duniya gayi bhad mein. Di tak ko nahi baksha toh baaki duniya kya cheez hai.
Arnav’s lips twisted how he had burst Di’s gift of balloons and with a twinge, he remembered the feeling of satisfaction at the way her face fell.
Did he have what they called a toxic personality? Was he a sadist by nature?
In Khushi’s dictionary he definitely was – what did she call him? Laad Governor, naak pe gussa and all that.
She was right of course.
But did she know he was basically scared?
Terrified that things would change, that he wouldn’t be in control and in an instant everything would change?
Like it had when he was 14 years old.
But if truth be told, things had begun to change much before that. So much had happened, and he had been so young. Too young to process, understand, realize, so he made his own assessment, judgement and sort of froze in time.
Everything he saw now was colored by what he had seen in those tender years. Yet pushed away to the dark recesses of his mind – no one knew, not Khushi, not Di and for most part not even himself. Whenever the past rose up and confronted him, he would reach back until that fateful day of Di’s wedding, the double suicide, their being on the road. That’s it. He wouldn’t venture further back. He wouldn’t tread that path again.
The present was way better.
Only it wasn’t going to stay that way.
Why did things have to change?
Everything was going so well.
Then Di had to leave – but at least she was happy. The arrival of the children were the only happy change that he could remember. They softened him, made him weak, emotional, gentle, caring – sab Khushi ki wajah se.
But then Aakash went away, then Nani.
That had been really tough.
But he had managed, what other option was there? What with Khushi too losing her ever fresh smile.
He had to tighten up, go back to being his khadoos self, yell at Khushi, snap her out of her morose doldrums. He couldn’t bear to see her like that, the children too deserved their happy joyous dancing crazy mum not this…this.
He did what he was best at – raved, ranted and threw tantrums, forcing Khushi to step up and make everything go back to being normal again.
Sab kuch sahi tha, then Devansh left for Mumbai, then Angel but it had been for a few years. But now it seemed as if it was forever, and far away, with Ankit planning to leave for Mars. What would Di do then? He couldn’t even begin to imagine. And to hide it from all of them until he took a call on it was giving him sleepless night. What if Devansh or Angel or both followed suit?
Bas Khushi ka jana hi rehta hai.
He broke out in a cold sweat.
Itne saalon mein usse ek cheez toh samajh aagaya tha – ki woh aise hone nahi dega – bolne wala koi nahi tha. Hoga toh wahi jo Khushi ki DM chahti, like it or not.
There was only one way to deal with all this.
Work, work and more work.
Jisko jana hai jai.
Jo hona hai, ho.
Mujhe koi farq nahi padta.
He had better things to do with his life than worry about kaun gaya kaun raha.
He had miles to go, heights to reach, deals to crack, he had no time to waste on sentimental issues.
Forget about everything, jo ho raha hai hone do, he would do what he had always done, focus on stuff where 2 plus 2 equalled 4 and where dimaag se kaam kiya jaata hai, dil se nahi.
Aur Khushi hai ki usse dil se sochne samajhne ke liye majboor karti hai.
Well, enough was enough.
He would do his thing and she could do hers.
He wouldn’t interfere in her way of life and she better not interfere in his.
It wasn’t only about himself, his ego, his status but also the people who worked for him. They deserved a boss who had vision, who worked harder, smarter than any of them and gave them all that they otherwise couldn’t have achieved on their own. A better house, a better school for their children, better healthcare, and everything else that money could get them.
But Khushi samjhe tab na.
Usko toh lagta hai ki bas paise should be enough for your needs and not for your greed. But agar duniya mein sab aise sochne lage toh the world economy would collapse.
Waise bhi din mein 24 hours one couldn’t spend chit-chatting could they? What a waste of time and talent.
Kitni baar bola Khushi ko, take up a job but nahi, no initiative, no interest, bas beitho aur coochie coo karo. Yeh koi umar hai coochie coo karne ki?
He had no patience with such stuff. Jo bolna tha bolna diya, aur baaki uski marzi.
But haven’t you noticed ki Khushi aaj kal bujhi bujh se rehti hai? Arnav woke up.
Haan toh? I told her a hundred times to get involved, do something but…
Perhaps we were too harsh, perhaps she is too hurt and upset to understand our intent, agar pyaar se…
Oho, koi doodh peeti chotti bacchi hai kya?
Bado ko bhi toh hurt hota hai? Agar Khushi humse aise bole toh?
Bolti hai toh bole! Mujhe koi farq nahi padta. Sach ko bolne mein kaise hichkichana? I like to call a spade a spade not decorate it with flowers and ribbons….
Waise bhi, Khushi samajhti hai, woh sambhal legi – mujhe aur apne aap ko bhi.
Click here for Chapter 511