Khushi’s heart went dhak dhak.
Acidity phir se?
Must be the sambhar. Zyaada kha liya. Kya karti itna tasty jo tha. Koi acidity ki dawa leni padegi…
“Mamu ka message?” Anya said with a knowing look.
“Akele kyon?” Disha piped up. “Main hoon na?”
“Ha…aan.” Khushi looked up distracted. “But…but aap toh conference main busy hai na?
“Arre nahi!” Disha exclaimed. “I did say business cum pleasure? My conference is over and I have the rest of the week to myself and you,” she laughed. “Unless you don’t care for my company? I agree I can’t match Anya, but itni bhi buri nahi hoon main.”
Arrested, Khushi looked at her.
Laga jaise Devi Maiyya kuch keh rahi ho.
Jaise Sankadevi jaag rahi ho.
Woh rakshash toh hum bhi rakshashi ho sakte hain.
Apne aap ko kya samajte hain?
That he will crook his finger and I will come running?
Fashion show pehle se fixed tha toh pehle se nahi keh sakte the?
Ab yeh high-handed tareeke se hume bulaya and he expects to dance to his tunes?
Nahi hume nahi jaana. Hum hi kyon hamesha? Aur unhe lagta hai hume spa ki zaroorat hai? How dare he? She fumed.
Let the D2P2 games begin (tu daal daal toh main paat paat for the uninitiated – thanks to Prachi).
“That’s great!” She smiled at Disha. “If you are truly free I would love to hang around with you.”
“Awesome!” Disha raised a hand for a high-five. Khushi responded albeit with a quaking heart. Tu toh gayi Khushi. Woh Laad Governor chodega nahi tujhe.
“Mami,” Anya tugged at her hand, “Are you sure? Ek baar Mamu ko pooch…”
Khushi’s eyes flashed. “Kyon? Kabhi woh hume poochte hain kya? Kabhi apna program humare liye change karte hain kya?” She clammed up and smiled brightly. “This is a grand place. I would be very disappointed to miss all this.” She sobered up and cast Anya a guilty look. “If you want me to…”
“No!” Anya was quick to disabuse of her the notion, “I am cool with it. Aur rahi baat Keira aur Maira ki, they are fine, even the doctor has given a clean chit and they are recovering well. Actually it’s Sherry who is cranky as he hasn’t slept for two nights.” She shrugged. “Ma was all for my carrying on with my trip. But it’s Sherry who is getting hyper…”
“Men…” Disha rolled her eyes.
Anya rolled hers. “But you chill Mami. Show that LG of yours kia ap ki kissi se kam nahi hain!”
Khushi tilted her chin and tossed her head, looking remarkably like Chotti at her Shubham-sneering best, “Hume unko kuch bhi nahi dikhana hai.” She instantly spoilt her hoity-toity look by saying. “Unhe koi farq nahi padta.”
“Farq toh padega Mami. If you don’t go back with me, Mamu will come charging here. You just mark my words.”
“Hmph.” Khushi snorted. “Na toh farq padega aur nahi hi time hai.” She picked up her phone to dash off a blistering message to ASR but stopped. Sankadevi popped up and with a devilish grin she called up Aman. “Hello Aman. Sab theek hai na? Achcha, don’t book my ticket to Lucknow. I am going to stay right here until it is time for me to return. Okay? Arre kyon tension lete ho Aman? ASR ko toh sab pata hota hai na? Take a chill pill Aman.” She disconnected the phone.
Anya was looking at her with awe. “You go Mami!”
Khushi sparkled. And instantly drooped. “Aman will get a blasting…”
“Let him.” Anya shrugged. “Saagar mein boond.” They giggled.
“I forgot ask, what time is your flight?”
Anya reached out for the coffee. “Just enough time for another cup of this coffee and then pack and leave.” She cast a longing look at the vast expanse of the sparkling and crashing sea. “I was hoping for a walk, but I guess…” she shrugged and sipped her coffee.
“Have your coffee on the go, I’ll help you pack.” Khushi stood up, “Perhaps you can squeeze in a brief visit to the beach?”
“Yeah, perhaps!” Anya hurried after Khushi. Packing was quick work and leaving her luggage at the reception after ordering a cab, they skipped away to the beach.
“Oh this is beautiful!” Anya spread her arms Titanic style. She looked at Khushi. “Don’t look so guilty Mami. I will come again, with Sherry and the girls. Maybe with you again?” She hugged her. “Okay bye. Have a good time. Don’t fret…”
“Abhi se bye kyon?” Khushi linked her arm with hers, “I am coming to the airport with you…”
“Ji nahi,” Anya gave her arm a squeeze before detaching it, “You make the most of now. Pata nahi kab Mamu may come charging down here to,” She paused, “Waise, that would be grand!”
“Din mein sapne dekhna bund karo Anya! Apna fashion show chod kar yahan?” Khushi’s eyes glittered. “The Sun has a greater chance of rising from the East.” She stopped near the cab.
Anya hugged her. “You never know Mami.” She got into the cab. “By the way Mami,” she leaned out of the window, “The Sun does rise from the East.”
“You know what I mean!” huffed Khushi.
“Bye Mami. Take care and be safe.” She waved.
“You too.” Khushi waved until she couldn’t see the car. She stood there feeling lost and lonely. A bit like she had been deserted at the hostel by her mother.
Her phone rang.
It was ASR.
Hey Devi Maiyya hume raasta dikhaiye.
Khushi quelled her thudding heart and disconnected the phone.
Hey Devi Maiyya yeh aapne hum se kya karwa diya?
Raksha karna Rakshash se.
Her phone buzzed.
A text message.
How dare you Khushi!
Kyon aapne daring kharid rakhi hai kya?
How dare you disconnect my phone?
Aap bhi toh humara phone nahi utathe?
What if it was an emergency?
Khushi’s heart stopped. Her finger hovered over the call button. She desisted.
Aman ka call utha lenge
Why are you mad at me?
Why would I be mad at you?
Hum hote kaun hai aap ke upar mad hone wale?
I am coming down to Kerala
Fashion show chod kar?
After the fashion show.
I won’t be here.
Will leave here today itself.
I won’t tell anybody either.
Phone bhi switch off kar denge
Unless you promise not to come here.
Aap hume force kar rahe hain
Fine. I promise
Don’t push your luck Khushi
Tum wahan akele kya karogi?
Aap bhi toh akele jaate hain? London, Singapore…
Meri baat aur hai
Waise, aapko kisne kaha hum akele hain?
Hum phone switch off kar rahein hain
What if something happens to you?
Promise that you won’t come here unless I ask you to come.
What if you are not in a position to ask me?
There is no end to what ifs
That’s why I can’t promise.
I am switching off.
Aapne force kiya.
Tumhe meri kasam.
You forced me Khushi.
But I will humor you.
Main nahi aaonga.
Do your thing
And come back.
Kaun hoga tumhare saath?
That’s for me to know and for you to wonder
Khushi tum theek toh ho na?
Aapko aisa kyon lag raha hai?
I don’t know.
Kuch ajeeb behave kar rahi ho.
Usual se zyaada.
Aap toh sach mein shatir hain
Aaj bahut time hai aapke paas humare liye?
I miss you.
Aur main Jhansi ki Rani
I love you
Khushi set about raising the saltiness of the ocean even as the ocean rose to the occasion and swelled into a crashing roaring specially made to order RV after ages.
Kya? Arnav ka status update bhi chahiye?
Uska kya, apne kaam mein busy ho gaya – haan par thodi dikkat zaroor thi. Ek earworm – kyon dard hai itna tere ishq mein….
Achcha ab yeh batao ki fandom Khushi wale RV ke saath hai ki Arnav wala?
So peepuls, I am off on a break, mostly because I am not feeling inspired enough to pen down my thoughts. Kehne ko toh bahut kuch hai magar kisse kahe hum? I guess I am feeling a bit like Khushi. Hume iss raah par utar kar, sab apne kaam mein vyast hai. Samajh toh gaye hain na ki hum kis taraf ishara kar rahein hain? Shatir toh hain hi aap. Nahi? Toh spell out kar dete hain.
Aap log kehte hain SS pasand hai, dil maange more and all that, but kahin woh reflect nahi ho raha. Disconnect si feeling aa rahi hai. Very depressing and demotivating. Not a new thing, in fact a favorite grouse since MeD days, but physical distancing ke saath saath cyber distancing is too much to handle. Yesterday there were 63 visitors, 1 like and 1 comment. Bahut nainsaafi hai. Hai ki nahi? Hum kya galat kar rahein hain? Blog ko private bana dein? Usse kya hoga? At least pata toh rahega kaun humare ghar padharne ka kasht uthaya? Socheka padi.
Waise ek request thi (not that I have much hope [especially after that rant] but still apna kartavya toh karna chahiye right?). If you could read Breaking Free (ebook version is cheap and best. And if you have Kindle Unlimited it is free) and leave a review of even a line or two on Amazon/Goodreads I would be very grateful. If you are unable to purchase it but are willing to write a review (free or otherwise) please send me an email, I will arrange for the same. Thanks.
Alvida – for now. I do have plans to at least finish this track. Like I said, hum apna kartavya itni aasani se nahi chodenge.
Stay safe, stay well