Khushi came home stomping, muttering furiously.
“Khushi…!” Payal held her hand. “Why are you so late?” she asked her.
“Jiji, Don’t ask me anything now.. I am not in a mood!” she said going into the room to change and freshen up. Payal and Buwaji looked at each other.
“Hmm… Another bad day for her. I think she did not make it!” said payal in a bear whisper.
“Jiji, Bhookh lagi hai! I am hungry!” shouted Khushi from inside and Payal dashed to the kitchen.
Khushi came out, sat on the chair at the dining table and suddenly got up.
“Abhi Ate hain! Be right back!” she said going to pray her Devi Mayya.
“Hey Devi Mayya. Thank you, thank you very much. But why did you make me meet that monster? Barring that.. everything went on so well. I am thankful to you!” she said smiling.
“You know Jiji? I met Sham ji in the morning in the bus. Then when I went for the interview, those people asked me some nasty questions… I said I am not interested to work there and came out in five minutes. I was so upset… but you know? I met Sham ji again and everything was so good.”
Khushi was happy. Buwaji gaped at Khushi raising her eyebrows.
“You know? He recommended me to someone and he offered me a job in accounts department…!” she said happily taking out the terms and conditions papers from the bag.
“What?” Payal was more than happy.
“Yeah, jiji, they will give me Ten thousand per month…!” she looked victorious. There was a knock on the door and Sham walked in. He was welcomed like a king in Buwaji’s house. He asked her about the interview.
She narrated everything that happened during the day. But strangely forgot to tell about her encounter with that Monster, Arnav Singh Raizada…!! Sham listened to Khushi with all his attention and bowed when Buwaji thanked him for helping them.
“Babuwa, you are a lawyer… please help me get my pension released..!” she requested him.
“I will pay your fees once I get my pension..!” she added joining hands. He held her hands and said “Buwaji, you are like my Buwaji… I will do anything for you…! Don’t worry! And no need to thank me for Khushi ji’s job. I didn’t do much, Just recommended. She got the job on her merit..!” He looked at Khushi smiling but she was in a trance.
“I had a chance today, I should have bashed him for what he did to me… I.. I… I lost the chance again…! Wish I met him….!” She grumbled and stoped!! Two smug brown eyes stared at her.
“No, Khushi! No!” she said getting up. She ran to her Devi Mayya. Everybody watched her going …!
“Hey Devi Mayya… sorry! But I want to teach him a lesson. But I don’t want to meet him again… Never! Please Devi Mayya… teach that monster a lesson on my behalf… I know you will do it in a better way….But please.. Do it in my presence... Ok? !” she mumbled.
“Aree Titaliya, Tanik Bahar Toh Aao! Come out!” Buwaji called out. Khushi came out and sat again on the chair inadvertently munching the peas, looking all lost.
“Aree Sanaka Devi, Where have you lost?” Buwaji shook her. She came back from Mazaar from Lucknow!
“Haan?” she looked at Sham. He was looking at her with a smile. She reciprocated.
“Ok. Khushi ji. I take your leave. And all the best!” Khushi nodded. He touched buwaji’s feet and went out of the door.
“Kitana Acchha Ladaka hai. Itana Padha Likha.. Lekin Tameez Nahi Bhula…! Such a nice boy… So well educated and still not forgotten his roots!” Buwaji had all the praises for Sham. Payal nodded agreeing with Buwaji. Someone barked and growled… and Khushi looked lost again.
“Kutte ji!” she blurted.
“Aree Sanaka Devi… forget the dog now. Come have this milk and go to sleep…!” She pushed Khushi towards her room and went away.
“Jiji.. I have to sign on those terms and conditions… Shamji said they are standard ones… but can you go through once?” Khushi asked her jiji, thrusting the papers in her hand.
“Khushi, Shamji knows better than us… if he has recommended, then you should join…He is our wellwisher…!” said Payal with full admiration about Sham.
“How do you know?” Khushi asked defiantly.
“KHUSHI…!” Payal scolded Khushi and went into the kitchen.
Someone growled again…! “Stop thinking about that ungrateful Ketteji…!” she reprimanded herself. But she had to struggle to stop the tears welling up. She missed her Kutteji very much.
“Hey Devi Mayya… Please punish that person who killed my Kutteji… Please…!” she joined her hands in prayer and threw herself on the bed.
Her routine was about to start from the next day.
******** **** *****
“Why was the payment released?” Arnav asked sternly looking at guilty faces of his staff.
“Answer me! Damn It!” he yelled at Aman.
“Sir… Its Advance payment… per the terms of contract..!” Aman stuttered.
“I know the Advance part Damn it! Why was it paid before entering into our ERP? Why was it paid outside the system..?” he yelled again. The staff looked at each other.
“Sir… I had entered it into the system…!” accountants assistant spoke in a low tone.
“Then where is the entry, damn it? Aakash, what the hell is going on?” he looked at his cousin, Aakash.
“I will look into it, Bhai…!” others took a sigh of relief. It was easier to talk to Aakash.
“Aakash, find out, how many payments are done outside the system…!” he ordered and dismissed the assembly.
********* ********** **********
He had helped Khushi to get a job. Now he had a free entry in their house.
“Buwaji, give me your pension papers… I will look into it!” he offered his help. They were having dinner together.
“I will come tomorrow to pick up the papers…! Khushi ji, how was your day?” he asked in a soft voice.
“Yeah, it was good! I am learning data entry and record keeping..!” she said again looking lost.
She had seen HIM in the morning while waiting for the bus at the bus stop. She saw a car slowing down at the bus stop. Someone rolled down the glass and looked out wearing sunglasses. Gust of wind blew her hair. She looked at the white SUV. He looked at her and raced the car away. Her jaw fell open in hatred. She jerked her head back and looked in opposite direction. She went to her workplace burning with rage.
“Khushi… Sham babua is asking you something? Where are you? Lucknow?” asked Buwaji slapping on Khushi’s hand. She came back with a thud.
“What happened? You look disturbed!” Sham asked kindly leaning forward.
Khushi opened her mouth to tell about that Monster.. Arnav Singh Raizada…!
“That..!” she started off. And suddenly fell silent listening to a growl..!
“Again?” she blurted.
“ What happened Khushi ji?” Sham was curious to know.
“Nothing…!” she said suddenly getting up.
Payal had cleared the table. Khushi took out her bag and kept on the table.
“I need to work, Jiji. I have to complete it! Tomorrow I will have to enter it into the system..!” she said taking out the Invoice File and Delivery Challens…!” Sham gazed at her smiling. She was engrossed in her work and sham was sitting there flipping through the papers while talking to Buwaji.
************ ********* ******
“Lavanya… this is not the first time we struck the deal…!” he brought her down from her euphoria.
“But ASR.. I had done the presentation!” she said proudly wrapping her arm around his. He looked at her. She rested her head on his shoulder.
“Why are you slowing down, ASR?” she suddenly asked looking around. He had slowed down the vehicle at the bus stop.
“Haan? No… nothing…!” He raced away slamming the accelerator.
“Lavanya, I need those files as soon as we reach office!” he said little sternly looking at Lavanya’s relaxed mood.
“And Get your car repaired immediately!” he said looking ahead on the road. She nodded sulkily. She was enjoying the drive to the office with him.
“ Oh No! Hey Devi mayya.. I saw his car… My day is ruined…! I think I have to change my timings..!” she grumbled.
****** ********* ***********
“Jiji… I got reprimanded today!” Khushi said sulkily.
“What? Why?” Payal asked looking worried.
“Because, I carried the files home. And I saw…!” she stopped biting her tongue.
“What? Who did you see..?” asked Payal bewildered. Khushi ignored her.
“Forget it, Jiji. I will have to work extra hours from tomorrow! I cannot carry the work home..!” Khushi said entering her room after dinner.
“Hey Devi Mayya… Thank you! I will go early tomorrow and work more. Thank you Devi mayya… for saving me from losing the job…But really, I didn’t know that we cannot carry the files out of the office…!” she had tears remembering the scolding…!
“It was a silly mistake..! But my boss mishraji was very serious…!” she said closing her eyes.
Someone growled again….”Kutte ji…!” she mumbled in her sleep turning on her side.
********** ********* *****