But there was no time. A debate was up next – To be patient or not to be patient.
Khushi had no trouble identifying with to be patient. Of course, one had to be patient. Things would sort out if only one waited. If not, then it was DM’s plan. Her karma. Her kismet. Isme debate wali kaunsi baat hai?
But it was the counter point of view that blew Khushi’s mind. Patience is only justified if there is doubt as to sahi kya/kaun hai. If something is wrong – why be patient? If someone is wrongly incarcerated would you ask them to be patient and wait in prison? Or should they demand freedom now? How many times have you known that something wrong was going on but you were too ‘patient’ or apprehensive about creating a scene to voice your concerns, demand rectification?
Kitni baar laga, bas this is it. Lekin phir chup ho gaye. Shayad pehle hi bata dete toh yeh sab kuch bhi galat nahi hota…
There comes a time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue.
Isn’t that what she was doing with Arnav? Wasn’t she encouraging him to take her for granted? Biwi hoon, purani hoon but common courtesy to deserve hi karti hoon? Why should I have to go around hunting for bits and pieces of hints and indications that I matter?
Par hum kar bhi kya sakte hain?
Chotti ne sahi toh kaha. Humne hi unko pamper kiya, spoil kiya. Ab it’s too late to change him.
It’s time to change our mindsets and seize control.
Could she….should she…Change herself? But there was no time to further explore and introspect on this line of thinking for she was swept away by the girls on another roller coaster ride.
A literal one this time.
Today was the last day of the festival and they hadn’t had time yet to visit the festival fair – with giant wheels, rides, horror tunnels, tarot reading and what not. But of course they had to visit each and every stall, hog to their hearts content. Khushi got into the spirit of things and had a greater blast than the girls, if that were possible. Her head spinning with the ride on the skirt of My Fair Lady and insides churning with the unaccustomed overdose of jalebi and GGs, she begged them to let her catch her breath whilst they went on the giant Columbus.
“Come on Mami, the last one please!”
Khushi shuddered and shook her head. “I can’t please. Tum log jao.”
“Kya hua Mom? Not feeling well?” Chotti was concerned.
“Nahi nahi!” Khushi clamped down on the rising tide of nausea. “Tum log jao. I’ll just sit here.” She found an empty bench, looking around. If only she could throw up somewhere. Oh there was the washroom. But first she had to get the girls off her hair, otherwise there would be hell to pay. After all hai toh LG ki beti. Fortunately for Khushi, just then a gang of classmates came and dragged them away. Khushi wasted no time in rushing to washroom before the tsunami belched out right there and then.
Wiping her face, she emerged, feeling better but not much. She bit her lip, maybe another bout would help. She swallowed hard, hoping it would pass.
“Deserted again I see.”
Khushi glanced up to see Shubham.
She smiled. “Nahi. They are just here. I only…”
“Not feeling well?” He asked.
Khushi’s smiled faltered. “Nahi. Nothing much. Just woh adat nahi rahi na,” she gestured, “the rides, the food,” Without any further ado she dashed back to the washroom and threw up again.
When she came back, Shubham had disappeared. Good, she thought, she couldn’t bear another round of Q&A. Not with another bout of nausea threatening to overpower her. Hey Devi Maiyya ab bas aur nahi, she pleaded.
“Here, take this Maam.” It was Shubham holding out a tablet.
“Please chew on this, you will feel better in a couple of minutes. Trust me.”
Khushi accepted it more because she didn’t want to offend him, rather than any faith in his words. She bent over and buried her head in her hands. Should she go again? Her head swam and her stomach swirled. But thankfully not for long. In just a little while, her stomach and head steadied. “Thank you!” She looked up at him gratefully. “That was like magic. I was wondering…”
“They shouldn’t have left you.”
“If they hadn’t you wouldn’t have come and I would probably be still throwing up.” She smiled. “Abhi toh woh chotti hai na?”
Shubham laughed. “I know that one! Deva’s permanent grouse.” He turned. “Talk of the devil.” He muttered not quite under his breath.
“Mom!” Chotti came up at a run. “Just came back to che…kya hua?” She hunched down beside her, “Not feeling well? Wapas jana hai?”
“Too little, too late,” floated from above her head. Chotti reared up and spun around so fast that she almost got a whiplash. Clutching her neck she glared at him. “What?”
“Kuch nahi,” Khushi intervened with a pleading look at Shubham, but Chotti had cottoned on, “You are feeling sick aren’t you? Mein dawai lekar…”
“Arre nahi, Shubham already gave me, I am perfectly fine now.”
Chotti went red. She nodded stiffly to him. “Thanks.”
“You shouldn’t have left her and…”
“I didn’t!” Chotti contested hotly, “They dragged me away…”
“Yeah right, it’s never your fault right? Tum toh chotti ho,” this was meant for her ears only. “Please take care Maam,” he sauntered away.
“Ohhhh!” Fists clenched, Chotti was spitting fire. “He’s already so obnoxious now he will be insufferable.” She shrugged. “Jo sochna hai soche mujhe koi farq nahi padta.”
Khushi smiled to herself, yet her heart broke.
Would her darling little Chotti also have to go through a trial by fire and found wanting?
Why did we need validation and approval so much?
“Itna jhagda kyon hai tum dono ke beech mein?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Chotti dug out her phone, “Haan Di, I am with Mom, no she’s ok. You finish your ride and come. I am in any case exhausted. Haan aap araam se aao, I will chill for a bit with Mom, phir toh aap airport ke liye nakal hi jaaoge. Okay bye, see ya.”
“Toh batao.” Khushi prodded her.
“Kya bataoon?” Chotti wore a mulish expression.
“Shubham aur tum…”
“There is no Shubham and me!” Chotti flashed fire.
“Achcha achcha theek hai.” Khushi backed off. “Tell me about just Shubham. Where does he stay in Delhi? What about his parents…?”
“Why do you want to know about him?” Chotti was suspicious. “Shaadi ka proposal lekar jaana hai kya?”
“Kaho toh le jaaongi,” Khushi twinkled.
“Don’t you dare!” Chotti was instantly up in arms, “Bola na that…”
“Haan haan. Wohi toh samajhna chah rahi hoon. He is such a nice boy. Oh!” Khushi smacked herself. “Uska phone number dena zara.”
“Kyon?” Chotti was again suspicious.
“Kuch nahi. I didn’t even get a chance to say thank you. Aur bataya nahi, about his background?”
“Phone number bhej diya hai aapko. Aaap khud hi pooch lena.” Chott huffed.
Oh toh number hai tumhare paas?
“Theek hai,” Khushi smiled and reached out to pinch Chotti’s sullen face. “Pata nahi itna gussa kyon hai. He’s such a helpful person. Kal bhi aur aaj bhi. I am really touched by his care and concern.”
“Sab dikhawa hai Mom. He just wants to show how much of a spoilt selfish brat I am.”
“But why would he want to do that?”
“Who knows?” Chotti shrugged. “Just because I gate crashed his birthday party when I was about this high,” she indicated a Lilliputian height from the ground. “And since then he has taken it into his head that I need to be shown my position at every opportunity.”
“Surely you exaggerate…”
“Not at all,” Chotti cut it, “Even when I joined here, he really pulled me up for throwing an entitled tantrum.”
“Oh.” Khushi was taken aback. “Kya hua?”
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