Arnav Goes to School – IV

Click here for:

Part I

Part II

Part III

berries, blackberries, blueberries
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Part IV

“Can I have a choco-lava cake Daddy?”

“I want an ice cream cake, and an apple pie.” Deva too had his list ready. “Oh and a fruit salad sundae.”

“Da! You are such a hog! Daddy if he’s taking all that, then I want a tiramisu too!” She paused. “Three tiramisu,” she counted on her fingers, “Mamma and Nani also like it.” She looked at Arnav. “Maybe one for HPji as well?”

Arnav rolled his eyes. “Okay enough now. Let’s wrap up this extended lunch. I’ll see about,” he shook his finger at them, “ordering your requests, provided you start studying….”

“Studying! Right away after lunch?” Devansh was aghast. “We’ve just come back from studying…”

“So what?” Arnav said hard-heartedly, “Even I have been working since morning…”

“But Daddy,” Chotti slid close to him, “You went to office two hours later than us,” she batted her eyes at him, “and you’re are so much older than us.”

“Exactly.” Arnav’s lips twitched, “if I being so old can work so much, surely you guys with young blood can work much more than I can.” He crossed his arms and waited sure that fresh salvos were on the way.

“Yes of course we can Dad,” Arnav raised his eyebrow at this unexpected support. “But for an all round growth we need to exercise all parts of the body. We already worked out the grey cells, time for the muscles don’t you think?” he wheedled.

“Don’t listen to him Daddy!” Chotti threw herself into the fray, “he played a lot of football. Before school, during break and even after school!” She turned a beleaguered face up to Arnav and said piously, “It’s my grey cells which need a break, besides my dolls are crying for their Mamma…”

“Oh please Chotti,” snapped Guddu, “dolls don’t cry, they aren’t even alive…”

“Says who?” Chotti ran off to get her favorite doll and pulled a string. Instantly the doll set up a racket.

“Ouch!” Both son and dad flinched.

Seeing his opportunity, Devansh appealed to ASR, “Dad I HAVE to practice more. Shubham scored 3 goals while I couldn’t even score one goal.” He drooped.

“Shubham is older than you,” Chotti consoled him, “and,” with her brow darkening, “a meanie. Only meanies can score goals.” She absolved her brother of any such character flaws.

Arnav frowned. “What did Shubham do?”

“Nothing Dad,” Devansh shushed Chotti, “When she was younger, Chotti used to join us as we ran around the field playing football. She would get underfoot, trip and get hurt. That’s why whenever Shubham saw her near the field, he would hold the ball and not let anybody play. So then all of us would gang up and chase her away and ever since then she calls Shubham a meanie.”

“But that was the right thing to do Angel.” ASR shrugged off his coat and tugged at his tie and plopped down on the settee. Surrender was the only way out. Besides he was finally having fun. “He did what he had to do to save you…”

“Exactly what Mamma said – sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind,” intoned Deva.

“I don’t care.” Chotti put her nose in the air. “Shubham is a meanie. Shubham is a meanie. Shubham is a…”

“He is not!” Guddu cried hotly. “He’s the best.”

“He is not.”

He is.”

Not.”

“Is.”

“Is not.”

“Okay!” Arnav played his trump card. “So which dessert should I order and from where?” He took out his mobile and waved it temptingly. Instantly they both lunged for it and fell on top of Arnav, who held away the phone.

The deserted corridors of RM were rent with shrieks and howls and it was a miracle that the living room settee didn’t crash. A rumpled but victorious ASR emerged from the tangle of skinny arms and legs with the phone still in his grip.

“I think I need to order something to drink as well!” Arnav was bright-eyed and flushed.

“Yay! Orange juice!”

“Pineapple for me!”

“Okay okay fine!” Arnav swiftly tapped the order app and gave a rather generous and large order led astray by the range of demands pouring in from over both his shoulders. Besides he couldn’t refuse them anything. He was just here for one day. Khushi could discipline them as much as he liked. But he did have the ‘deal’ to clinch.

“And done!” He pressed the proceed button. “This will take 45 min to an hour to be delivered. So why don’t you finish your respective homework during this period?”

“Okay Daddy,” Chotti gave an angelic smile, “I will do mine and on my own.” She stuck out her tongue at Deva.

Guddu was unfazed. “If I had some stupid drawing homework, even I would have done it by myself. But this is Social studies, I bet you don’t even know what it is…”

“Why can’t you do it on your own?” Arnav cut in hastily as Chotti geared up for another round.

“I study like that only,” Deva said sulkily, “I will read the chapter and you will have to ask questions.”

“Sure,” Arnav nodded. “I’ll be happy to do that.” He smirked to himself as he could see Khushi’s crestfallen face. Now what should he make her do? He wondered. Make her dance? Make her say sorry holding her ears? No! He couldn’t do that to her again. Maybe…

“Dad. Dad!” Deva shook him. “I finished reading,” he held out his book.

“So soon?” Arnav was surprised.

Deva shrugged. “Ask me anything from Chapter 22.”

Chotti returned dragging a rucksack almost twice her size. Ignoring them, she upturned the bag and emptied the contents on the floor. She carefully unrolled a sheet of chart paper and weighted them down. She rifled through her scattered belongings picking and discarding things.

“Dad!”

“Oh yeah!” Arnav tore his eyes from Angel and reluctantly flipped the pages. Social studies had never been his kind of subject. “Chapter 21?”

“No Dad. Chapter 22.” Devansh was busy bouncing a tennis ball.

“This is a long chapter,” Arnav accused, “how could you read it so fast, leave alone memorize?”

“Ask me anything.” Devansh challenged, his entire attention on the lime green ball.

Arnav sighed and focused on studying. Devansh had only skimmed through the pages, relying on his interrogator to fill in the blanks while he played ball. This was how he liked to study and so long as he was studying, absorbing and retaining, Khushi saw no harm in going with the flow.

Not so with Arnav. He didn’t appreciate the spoon-feeding, primarily because it meant double work for him – read the chapter, grasp the essentials, and pick up the ones Devansh missed. And to top it all SS!

Who the hell created SS? He would take great pleasure in doing away with the person for once and for all.

*** to be continued***

Click here for Part V

 

 

Arnav Goes to School – III

Click here for:

Part I

Part II

Shallow Focus Photography of Potato

Part III

“Come on Devansh.” ASR said testily. “Enough of this nonsense. Come down immediately for lunch.”

Guddu stiffened and he wore a matching expression. “Where’s Mom?”

“I told you! She is busy. And so is Nani.” ASR added.

“Busy where?” Guddu insisted.

“Just busy.” Arnav repeated feeling out of his depth as Chotti joined them. “Did you finish your lunch?”

“You were taking so long and I was feeling scared,” mumbled Chotti.

“Where’s Mom?” Devansh shouted

“Devansh don’t you dare…” ASR flared up.

“Is she in the hospital? Is she…is she…” Guddu’s voice shook despite himself.

“No!” Arnav was aghast. “Not at all! She’s fine. She’s gone shopping with Nani and Bua. Some wedding coming up,” he finished weakly. “Come for lunch and you can speak to her.” He awkwardly patted Devansh on the head. “Don’t worry. She’s fine. I promise.”

“Why didn’t Mamma take me shopping?” wailed Chotti. “I love shopping.”

“Mom never goes shopping at this time.” Guddu wasn’t so easy to convince. “She’s always home when I come.”

“So today for a change I am home.” Arnav ran a frazzled hand over his hair. “Isn’t that just as good?”

There was a depressing silence from Guddu although Chotti made up for it by giving him a hug. “Yes Daddy. Come Da, let’s finish lunch and then Daddy will play with us. He even promised to tell the story…”

“Did you and Mom have a fight?” Guddu clenched his fists and glared at Arnav. “Has she left us?”

“No!” Arnav gave up and called Khushi. “Hello Khushi…”

“Itni jaldi haar gaye?” She commiserated in a gloating tone. “tsk tsk tsk bechare Arnav.”

“Oh shut up Khushi.” Arnav snapped and instantly regretted it as Guddu’s face crumpled. He softened his tone. “Nice to know you are having a good time Khushi. Just talk to Deva will you? He is rather worried about your well being,” he held out the phone to Devansh.

Unwilling to be left out, Chotti clamored for her share of Mamma and a bit of whine and rant – how dare she go shopping without Chotti?

“Okay?” Arnav searched his son’s face.

Embarrassed, Guddu shrugged nonchalantly. “Whatever.” He mumbled.

“Mamma is at the hospital.” Chotti announced happily.

Instantly Guddu’s brow darkened. “She’s not!” he denied hotly. “She’s shopping. She told…”

“Arre Buddhoo,” Chotti scorned, “You really should clean your ears while bathing. She said she is NOT shopping but at the hospital.” She gave a dramatic pause, which made even Arnav’s heart rate increase. Was there more to this sudden ‘challenge’ by Khushi?

Chotti coughed importantly. “Mamma has taken Nani to visit her friend who is admitted in the hospital.” Arnav surreptitiously wiped his brow but the seed of doubt had been sown. What was she doing at the hospital? He fretted. Was it as she had told Angel or was she bluffing again? But he would have to get to the bottom of that later for there were other rather urgent and pressing concerns that needed to be taken care otherwise they too would have to visit the hospital.

While he had been indulging in his favorite daydream of ‘How dare you KKGSR’ Chotti had snickered at Guddu for being a Mamma’s boy and thinking she had left them. Devansh’ ego couldn’t take so much battering (at least not on an empty stomach and definitely not from Chotti). He flew off the handle and they were both rolling about on the floor, each hell bent on murdering the other.

“Enough!” ASR barked as he pulled them apart and physically dragged them to the dining table even as his phone rang insistently. “Sit!” His voice brooked no hanky panky.

Suffering withdrawal symptoms, Aman had chosen this moment to call up ASR. “What?” He snarled.

Wide-eyed Chotti began pecking at her food while Guddu sat mutinously. “Da,” she kicked him under the table, “Daddy is really angry.”

“I’m not blind.” Retorted Guddu with a return kick. “And when isn’t he?”

“Haww!” Chotti sat up straight. “How can you say that?!! He’s the best Daddy in the WHOLE world.”

“I don’t know about the best but he may be the angriest.” scoffed an out-of-sorts Deva.

“And you are the most selfishest person.” Chotti chastised him, “You know Daddy has diabetes and falls sick if he doesn’t eat on time? If you don’t eat, he also won’t eat. Do you want him to faint?”

Guddu blenched.

“Or die?” her voice shook.

“I don’t care if the President of Mars is coming.” ASR cut into Aman’s excited crackle. “Cancel my appointments. And don’t call me again.” He glared at the phone in his hand. “Now what the hell is wrong with this phone?” He fumed.

Devansh perked up. “Let me see.” He plucked the phone out of Arnav’s hand. “What’s the problem exactly?” He asked as he ran a professional eye over the phone.

“Noth…” ASR reached out to take the phone but changed tactics. “I don’t know!” he said rather helplessly. “It keeps hanging. I’ve tried everything in the book…”

“What’s this App?” Deva was busy scanning ASR’s phone. “Kill Bill?”

Arnav shrugged, “No Idea. I thought you or Angel must have downloaded it on our last trip to…”

“I didn’t,” Deva denied, “And I doubt if Chotti would be able to download any app,” he scoffed.

“Excuse me?” Chotti said haughtily looking remarkably like a mini ASR. “Of course I know how to download apps.” She peered over his arm. “Which one? Kill Bill? No that’s not mine, besides isn’t that something to do with bills? Maybe Mamma…”

“Why should she download on Dad’s phone?” Deva argued. “Dad, I think this a rogue app. I am deleting it.” He restarted the phone. “I think it should work fine now.” He handed it to Arnav. “Let me know if it doesn’t.”

“Sure. Thank you.” Arnav said meekly. “Shall we have lunch? Angel, have I told you the story about how Grandmamaji made friends with the Martians and set up ARDesigns over there?”

“No, Daddy.”

“It’s a very interesting tale. You see it happened that Mamaji’s space capsule got lost and instead of the Moon, he landed on Mars.”

“Ooh then what happened?” All eyes, Chotti chewed her food. Arnav heaved a mental sigh of relief as from the corner of his eye he saw Devansh pull up a plate.

“A lot of exciting stuff. What’ll you have Deva?” He asked casually. “Rice or roti?”

“Rice.” Devansh served himself and tucked in hungrily.

“Angel, you didn’t finish your roti? You know you are lucky not to be on Mars.”

“Why?” Chotti obligingly took a bite.

A starving Arnav also dug in. “They don’t have rice or roti.”

“Then what do they eat?”

“Algae.”

“Algae? What’s that?” Chotti was curious.

“Green slimy stuff.” Arnav spoke with his mouth full. “Finish up and I’ll show you a photo on my phone.”

“I finished.” Chotti pushed away her plate.

“But you just had one roti! Your Mamma said you have two rotis.”

“Only sometimes,” Chotti prevaricated, “very rarely.” She crossed her fingers.

“She’s lying Dad.” Guddu couldn’t let this opportunity slip, “She always has two rotis unless she’s sick or something. Mom doesn’t let her get up from her chair until she finishes…”

“Daddy do you know Da has his social studies exam tomorrow? He doesn’t know anything in social studies.” She said with relish.

“It’s not an exam, stupid. It’s just a silly test. They don’t count.” Devansh shot daggers with his eyes and promised just deserts later. Chotti stuck out her tongue at him.

“Yech.” Guddu retched. “Don’t do that – not while eating.” He gagged. “With all that muck…”

“Okay okay, enough now.” Arnav interrupted mildly, “who wants an ice cream?”

“There’s no ice cream in the fridge.” Chotti picked at her food.

“How do you know?” Both Guddu and ASR were surprised.

“Don’t you remember Da. Last month …” she clammed up.

“Oh right!” Devansh tapped his chin with an unholy glint, “you filched ice cream from the freezer and then left the freezer door open…”

“Daddy you’ll have to really sit on Da’s head to make him social studies.” She shook her head. “He really hates it…”

“Dad what’s for dessert?”

“I don’t know.” Arnav scratched his head. “I thought there would be ice cream.” He said the first thing that came to his mind.

“Didn’t Mamma make anything?” Devansh asked. “She always does.”

Arnav’s heart sank. Khushi had discussed the menu with him and he had vetoed dessert.

“They like to have something sweet after lunch.” Khushi had warned.

“They can have some fruit. Sugar is not good for health, I think you know that?” He had said pointedly.

Khushi had shrugged. “Have it your way, but they usually have milk and fruits at around 6 pm. But,” she smiled sweetly, “You’re the boss.”

Yes! He was the boss.

“I can order something…” Arnav offered.

 

*** to be continued***

Click here for Part IV

Arnav Goes to School – II

To read the first part first, click here

competition, dispute, fight
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Part II

“I don’t!” Khushi denied hotly. “We have a deal, school tiffin and lunch their way and dinner my way.”

“School tiffin is fine,” admitted Arnav, “but decide on a common menu for lunch not a spread worthy of a wedding reception…”

“Rubbish! See this is rajma for Chotti and she likes a bit of mango chutney to switch flavors. She prefers roti while Guddu like rice but since he doesn’t much care for rajma…”

“He doesn’t like rajma?” Arnav was surprised.

Khushi grinned and winked. “Actually he does like it but since Chotti likes it, he pretends he doesn’t.”

“But why?”

“It’s a matter of principle,” Khushi stuck her nose in the air, “you wont understand.”

“Make me.” Arnav insisted.

“See, it’s like this, one if he and Chotti like the same thing, then what’s the difference between him and Chotti right?” Khushi asked Arnav who rolled his eyes, “Oh come on Khushi!”

“And,” continued Khushi, “if rajma was on the menu how on earth was he going to know if that was for him or for Chotti? Now if I made kadi that would be for him and only him…”

“What rubbish Khushi!” Arnav exclaimed, “that’s so complicated thinking and I doubt if…”

“See!” Khushi wagged an accusing finger. “I said you wouldn’t understand!” She walked off in a huff.

“Did Deva really say all that or did you think it for him?” Arnav followed Khushi upstairs.

Khushi glared at him. “I didn’t think it for him, I know that’s his thinking. If you spent more time at home and with them you would also know it.” She paused. “Waise on second thoughts I doubt if you have enough heart and brain to…” she bit her lip as ASR’s lips thinned.

“Don’t transfer your convoluted thought processes on to my children.” Arnav stressed. “And don’t create complicated issues where none exist. Just lay down the law and watch them toe the line.”

“Oh!?” Khushi’s eyes flashed. “So you think you can make them toe the line?”

ASR raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t you seen me in office?”

“Hmm, true.” Khushi tapped a thoughtful finger to her cheek. “Waise,” she coughed, “I don’t remember ASR being very successful in making someone toe the line.” She bit her lip and watched with glee as he went from a haughty confused expression to a sheepish one within a span of few seconds.

She laughed.

“Nonsense!” He made an instant recovery. “Someone used underhanded tactics besides being as slippery as an eel.”

“Huh!?” Khushi’s mouth fell open. He put a hand under her chin and popped it shut. He walked out into the poolside.

Predictably, Khushi came charging after him. “What underhanded tactics?” she challenged aggressively her eyes glowing with righteous indignation. “You were the one…” she thrust a finger into his face.

He entwined his finger with hers and brought it down. “I was the one who wanted to play a fair game but you…” he said reproachfully shaking his head.

“But I what?” Khushi demanded aggressively.

“You were supposed to take the measurements, but you,” He tapped her on the chest, “got someone else to do your dirty work.” He raised a hand as she opened her mouth to retaliate, “You were supposed to take dictation not tape it…”

“…and I was supposed to start crying and beg pardon not take up your challenge head on,” Khushi completed her eyes sparkling with the light of battle. “And you couldn’t resist the challenge I represented could you?” She waggled her eyes at him.

Arnav’s lips twitched. “I do love challenges.” He flicked her nose and turned away.

“Not so fast Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada,” Khushi caught him by the hand. “Since you love challenges so much, I have one for you.” She grinned at him with a cat-got-the-cream expression.

Arnav raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?” He said arrogantly. “You will give me a challenge? You?

“Yes. Me.” Khushi crossed her arms. “Actually two challenges, if you manage to rise up to even one, I will…I will….”

“You will what Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada?” His voice was deceptively soft.

“I will do whatever you want,” she said recklessly, “for a day,” she added hastily at the glint in his eyes. “And if you lose, it’s the other way round. Deal?” she held out her hand.

Arnav looked at her warily. “At least tell me what the challenge is?”

“Scared?” Khushi taunted.

“Of you?” He scoffed.

Khushi giggled and nodded. She relented. “Don’t worry. It’s something I do everyday.” She shrugged.

Arnav reached out and firmly clasped her hand and jerked her close. “Deal.” He breathed huskily into her ear.

“So, what’s the challenge?” Arnav asked, much later.

“Ah the challenge!” Khushi gave her hair one final brush and turned to face him. “You have to collect Chotti and Guddu from school and take care of them until dinner.”

Arnav frowned. “And?”

“That’s it!” Khushi smiled brightly.

“That’s it?” Arnav said disbelievingly. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch.” Khushi straightened his tie and helped him with his coat. “Just do what I do everyday, for just one day.”

Arnav shrugged. “Sure. Any day. Just tell me when.”

“Tomorrow!” She paused. “Not tomorrow, Thursday.”

“Why Thursday?” Arnav was suspicious of the glint in her eye. “Why not tomorrow?”

Khushi shrugged. “Nothing special.” She dismissed airily.

“Khushi…?” Arnav warned.

“Okay fine!” Khushi capitulated. “On Friday, Guddu has his weekly test and Chotti her project submission.”

Despite the air-conditioning, Arnav broke out in a sweat. He could already see Khushi’s knowing gloating grin.

It was already 3.30 pm and the kids hadn’t even had lunch yet. 

What the…! 

There was no way Khushi was going to win this battle. 

Not again.  

Buck up ASR he pepped himself, buck up.

*** to be continued ***

A/N Since ASR is busy strategizing on how best to clinch the deal, the next post will be on D-Day i.e. Thursday 😀 And in case you are wondering how to pass the time until then here are a couple of links to short stories – go on make my day, read at least one!

Bunch of Short Stories

Some Short stories

Friday Flash

Click here for Part III

Arnav Goes to School – I

Yeah, so well after Moonshine I seem to be in a sort of limbo and haven’t been posting or writing half as much as I would like to. Even this story has been simmering on the back-burner for weeks now. I thought that perhaps if I began posting it, I might get the necessary impetus to finish it. Look forward to your (vocal) support in this 6 part (completed) story.

A quick word (or two) of clarification for those who are not familiar with the characters. This story is about Arnav Singh Raizada also known as ASR and his wife (kam eternal sparring partner zyada) Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada (KKGSR) and their two children – Devansh aka Deva, Da, Guddu and Angelika aka Angel, Chotti. Thanks for reading 🙂

Painting and Drawing Tools Set
Photo from Pexels

Part I

“Daddeeee!” Ponytail and skirt flying Chotti ran out of the school gates and into her father’s arms.

“Whoa!” Arnav’s face softened and creased as he gathered her into his arms. “Where’s Deva?”

“Must have sneaked off to the playground for a bit of football,” Chotti sniffed disparagingly.

“Go and call him.” Arnav was uncomfortable among the milling crowd of children and mothers. “We are getting late.”

“You know him right Daddy?” Chotti spread her hands expressively and in a manner belying her age. “He won’t come before he’s scored at least 3 goals. Even Mamma can’t…” she paused, “where’s Mamma?”

Arnav cleared his throat and passed a finger around his neck, feeling rather hot under his trademark three-piece suit. “She’s busy.”

“Hey Da!” she waved frantically.

Deva dragged his feet and satchel, shirttail sticking out of his shorts. “Where’s Mom?”

“She’s busy. Come on now hurry.” He hustled them, feeling a bit put out at Deva’s lack of reaction. After all ASR had cancelled his meeting just to…oh well at least Angel was happy to see him.

“Why isn’t there anybody at home?” Deva asked. “Not even Nani?”

“I told you. They are busy. Wash up quick and come for lunch.” He waved his hand at the lunch laid out on the table.

Chotti took a sneak preview and backed off. “I’m not hungry.”

“Angel!” Arnav called sternly.

Chastened, she came back. “Only if you tell me a story.” she bargained

“I don’t want this goop,” Deva stirred the hornet’s nest.

Predictably Arnav’s brow darkened. “Excuse me?”

Deva excused himself.

“Da is a bad boy.” Angel crowed, “Isnt he Daddy?” She sidled close to him.

Arnav patted her head distractedly. Now what? He was getting late dammit.

Chotti tugged ASR’s hand. “Forget him Daddy. He’ll come down when he’s hungry. No need to pamper him like Mamma does.”

Arnav grunted.

“Which story are you going to tell me Daddy?” She shook him. “Don’t worry about him Daddy, he always does this! I won’t eat this I won’t eat that,” expressive hand gestures accompanied her passable imitation of her sibling, “and then Mamma always has to bribe him with something special.”

“Something special?!” Arnav asked. “Like what?”

Chotti shrugged. “This and that. Sometimes Maggi, sometimes burger, sometimes mango shake,” she turned to him struck, “Daddy can I have a mango shake?”

“No Angel.” Arnav was firm. “You’ve got to eat this.” He quickly served her and placed her on the chair. “Now be a good little girl and eat up. I’ll just go and check up on….”

Chotti’s lower lip trembled. “Aren’t you going to tell me a story?”

“Ahh Angel,” An increasingly frazzled Arnav cast a helpless glance upstairs, “I don’t know any story…”

“Don’t worry about that!” Chotti was all smiles as she beckoned him and pointed to the chair in front of her. “You can tell me about how Grandmamaji went to Mars and set up shop there.”

ASR hissed in frustration as he disconnected Aman’s phone for the nth time. “Sweetheart, why don’t you start eating? I’ll just go and get Devansh,” his voice hardened.

Devansh!

Daddy was mad.

Chotti nodded angelically and delicately tore off a tiny piece of the roti, dipped it in the rajma and popped it into her mouth. “Daddy can I come and watch while you get Da?” she asked with morbid pleasure.

“No!”

Angel’s eyes swam with tears.

Arnav hastily softened his tone. “I’ll be right back sweetie. Finish your food.” He dropped a kiss on her head. Satisfied, Chotti stayed put her eyes glued to the stairs.

She could imagine Daddy dragging a kicking and screaming Da by the ears. She shivered with dreadful anticipation and gory relish.

“Devansh,” Arnav cracked the whip, “come on now and eat your lunch. I am late for my meeting.”

“I’m not hungry.” Devansh said sullenly.

“Of course you are.” Arnav was starving. This was not how he had imagined he would be spending Monday. A fun-filled afternoon, with adoring grateful children hanging on to his words with each of them vying to do his command was how he had visualized it.

And bragged about it to Khushi as well.

“Why are you always in the kitchen?” He had grumbled. “What do you pay HP for?”

“To run errands while I stir the pot and whip up stuff on the that ever growing list,” Khushi wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her wrist.

“You spoil the kids rotten.” Arnav frowned. “You shouldn’t pamper them so much. Give them one thing and that’s it. How many days won’t they eat? One day, two days? Sooner or later they will come to the table and eat whatever is served.”

“Yeah right.” Khushi rolled her eyes. “Been there done that,” she sighed resignedly, “and got my head chewed off for being such a lazy slacker of a mother.”

Arnav frowned. “What the…! Who dare say such a thing to you?”

“You my darling laad governor,” she flicked his nose with her floury hands before running them under the tap.

“Nonsense!” Arnav denied hotly. “I never said such a thing to you.”

“Yes you did.” Khushi insisted wiping her hands, “When Chotti was having repeated chest infections and the doctor said she was malnourished….” Khushi watched with satisfaction as a dull color suffused ASR cheeks.

“Oh that?” He looked away.

“Yes that.” Khushi crossed her arms and nodded.

“That was ages ago,” Arnav dismissed, “Chotti was just 6….”

“….and now she’s just 8 and Guddu is underweight…”

“Whatever,” Arnav waved his hand impatiently, “all I am saying is that the children are becoming spoiled brats and need to learn some discipline. You shouldn’t give into their demands so much.”

*** to be continued ***

 

A/N Next update is tomorrow. Do let me know your thoughts and if you would like to take more sneak peeks into their lives click here – From DM’s Desk

Click here for Part II

Fighting a Losing Battle

Black White and Brown Chess Board Game
Photo (c) Pexels

Words ~ 800

Don’t you dare shout at me Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada!” ASR’s face was black as thunder.

“Why should I not? Are you the only one with daring?”

“Shut up Khushi.”

“Why should I? You shut up. Besides you started it!” Khushi’s voice was hoarse from the slanging match.

“I did not!” ASR denied.

“You did,” Khushi insisted, “God! You are really high maintenance.”

“I am high….huh?! That’s rich, coming from you.” ASR stomped into the kitchen.

“What are you looking for?” Khushi followed him.

Ignoring her, he banged drawers.

“What?” She insisted.

Slam.

“You tell me.” He snapped. “You know me so well.”

Khushi pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes as she accepted his challenge. She bent down and extracted a box of lemon teabags and banged it on the counter.

Arnav’s eyes flickered and steadied. He raised an eyebrow. “Clearly you don’t know me at all.”

“Oh but I do.” Khushi said mournfully. “I was just hoping I was wrong.” She opened a cupboard. “This is what you were looking for weren’t you?” She held a large kitchen knife.

Arnav smothered a laugh and flicked away the knife from her. “Where’s the kettle?”

“Right under your nose.” She rolled her eyes. “What’ll you do when I die?”

His eyes strayed to the knife.

Khushi rolled her eyes and snitched it back. She dropped it among the pots and pans and dusted her hands while shutting the drawer with a trademark swing of her shapely hips.

Arnav’s lips twitched.

Khushi plugged in the kettle and asked gently. “Shall we come to the crux of the matter?”

His eyes flickered.

Khushi sighed. “Arnav let Guddu go. He really wants to, besides it’s just for a couple of years….”

“Couple of years!” Arnav was up in arms. “How can you say just for a couple of years? Do you know how long that is?”

“You also went off abroad…”

“I didn’t have my parents waiting worrying…”

“Di and Nani were there…”

“Damn.” He turned away and smashed his fist on the wall. “It’s all your fault!” He accused, rubbing his hand.

“If that sorts your problem,” Khushi shrugged, “I accept.” She bowed. “It’s my fault. Happy?” She switched off the rumbling kettle.

“I’ll be happy if you rectify your fault.”

“Rectify my fault? How?” Khushi handed him his tea. (Side note: Yeah along the way, ASR had switched over to tea– coffee caused too much acidity and dhak dhak 😛 )

“Deva never listens to me. You convince him not to go.” He urged. “If you insist, he will definitely change his plans…”

“He listens to me only because I insist on things I know he will listen to…”

“That’s crazy!” 

“Exactly!” Khushi pounced. “And I have to do that thrice over.” She paused to tick them off her finger, “Guddu, Chotti, and of course ASR.”

“Rubbish.”

“Deny all you like.” Khushi shrugged. “All three of you are stubborn and self-opinionated egoistic…”

“Okay okay fine fine.” Arnav raised his hands in surrender. “Don’t drag me into this,” he paused. “Where will he stay? What will he eat?” He fretted. He brightened. “Maybe you could go along with him?”

“As if he would allow his Mamma to tag along with him! He’s a full grown man.” Khushi prayed for patience. “Besides who would manage things here?”

“What’s there to manage here?” Arnav was blasé. “Angel and I will have a blast with you out of our hair.”

“Mamma!” Chotti called from the living room. “I’m going!”

“Going?” Khushi poked her head out of the kitchen. “Where?”

“I told you!?” Chotti sashayed up to her looking hip in a figure hugging little black dress, “Sammy’s birthday party. I’ll be late. Don’t wait for me.” She twirled around. “How do I look?” she looked at them expectantly.

“Beautiful.” Khushi said extra brightly.

“Bye Mom!” she blew them a kiss. “Bye Daddy.”

“What the…!” Arnav breathed fire into her ears.

“Now what?” Khushi was at her tethers end. Hey Devi Maiyya please! Sambhal lena!

“What the hell is she wearing?!!!”

“Much more than what you wanted me to wear.” Khushi replied tartly.

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Oh how I envy you your convenient memory.” Khushi gritted her teeth.

“That’s neither here nor there.” Arnav brushed her aside impatiently. “Why didn’t you say anything to her?” He was agitated.

“Because I have already had that battle with her and lost.” She raised a hand as Arnav opened his mouth to blast her. “And better you admit defeat too,” she advised kindly, “before she also decides to look for accommodation elsewhere.”

Khushi watched with interest and intense amusement the play of myriad emotions on Arnav’s face, which could perhaps be best described as oops-dammit-left-with-no-option-but-to-allow-Khushi-to-have-the-last-word—–again.

***

Cough cough waise Arnav ko toh aap bhi achche se jaante honge? Toh aapko kya lagta hai, unka expression kaisa raha hoga?

Look forward your reactions to this retrospective look at Arshi and their lives and if you are interested enough, I may just have another one – soon 😉

SPF: A Rough Draft

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Photo (c) Susan Spaulding

A Rough Draft

Words 200

“Well? Is it done?”

“Sort of. Whether it is well or otherwise is not for me to judge.”

“Very funny. So aren’t you going to show off?”

“Umm. Not sure whether it’s worth bragging about.”

“Come on! Are you digging for compliments?”

“From you?! Who hasn’t even looked at it once?”

“That’s a dig!”

“Haha. Very funny.”

“How does it feel to have finished the story you were working on for over two years?”

“Mostly drained.”

“That’s it?”

“So much more remains to be done!”

“You have a complete story! Go find a publisher and just rake in the moolah.”

“If only it were that easy!”

“Isn’t it?

“Before I can even think of contacting a publisher, I have to edit my novel.”

“Isn’t that the editor’s job?”

“Nope! He just draws red lines through manuscripts before throwing it in the trash.”

“Ouch!”

“Exactly. Ideally one should spend at least thrice the amount of time editing as writing.”

“Wow! You don’t like editing?”

“I do but despite the difficult subject, writing was so much fun.”

“How’s that possible?”

“It was possible thanks to all the people who kept me company through the tortuous paths and cheered me from the sidelines.”

***

A/N Sorry about that I simply couldn’t resist bragging in a (not so) roundabout way 😉 I finished Moonshine the story for which I began blogging (240 chapters!) and the reason I’ve been away – just in case any of you noticed 😛 A genuine and heartfelt thank you to all you alpha readers – silent and otherwise 🙏

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Susan Spaulding for hosting the challenge and the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

When the Calling Calls

k-rawson
Photo (c) K Rawson

When the Calling Calls

Words 100

Skipping along the road of life she halted. Her eyes sparkled.

Don’t go down that road, they warned, it is a dead end.

Others said it was tricky treacherous path.

A one-way road to hell.

Quicksand that engulfs and suffocates you.

What rubbish! She tossed her mane and scoffed at the naysayers. You are such scaredy-cats and so darn negative.

We are realists, they claimed, and you but a babe in the woods. You know nothing of life, of sweat, blood, the struggle, the agony…

Perhaps, she laced her shoes, heaved her rucksack, but you can’t see what I can.

***

Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the challenge and K Rawson for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

Well did you see what I saw or was it too obscure? Do let me know!