“Jiji.. I am leaving…!” Khushi hurriedly picked up her bad and was almost out of the door.
“Khushi..! careful! “ Payal said in a worried tone.
“Don’t worry Jiji., I will manage!” Khushi came back and hugged her jiji.
“Umm.. Khushi, I will go to deliver the fabric. Last time he had given his concept. I worked on it.. Hope he likes it!” Payal said dreamily.
“Why not. Jiji? My Jiji has done it. He will definitely like it. By the way, he who?” Khushi asked narrowing her eyes.
“Who?” Payal asked back. “That’s what I am asking, Jiji, he who?” Khushi pursed her lips. Payal flushed.
“He has given me the big order..! Khushi, I will have to take help of Buwaji also..!” payal was able to change the subject.
“Yeah Jiji. I will also help you, if that monster is kind enough to send me home …!” she frowned.
“Ok bye jiji!” She ran out of the door.
******** ********* *********
“Aakash, you are coming with me!” declared Arnav.
“Umm No, bhai. I will finish off some work and come..!” Aakash said avoiding his gaze.
“Collecting samples? Again?” asked Arnav irritably. Aakash did not answer…
“Hello Hi Bye Bye, Aakash bête, Kaahe ke samples…! Which samples?” mami asked suspiciously.
“Before that I want to show you some samples…!” she took out photos of prospective brides she had shortlisted for Aakash. Aakash looked away in frustration.
“Best luck Aakash!” Arnav murmured with a line of smile and got up to leave.
“Hello Hi Bye Bye! Arnav bitwa, These are for you also. Come, have a look at them…!” Mami invited.
“Oh! Not me! I am leaving…!” he said and turned.
“Anyway, he doesn’t need these photographs..!” Aakash took revenge. Arnav looked at him sternly and left.
“Aakash.. I need to talk to you before you go!” Anjali said seriously.
“I am leaving now Di!” said Aakash getting up from the chair.
Anjali and Aakash were in her room. “Aakash, how serious are these two?” she asked.
“Di, you know, Bhai does not believe in these things and so does she…! They are steady..!” Aakash said sincerely.
“But Aakash… this won’t go far… You know what I mean… they should decide about their future..!” Anjali was worried about her younger brother.
“Di, bhai knows better. He will take care! Don’t worry, Di! Bhai and Lavanya are going steady..! But please, Di save me from mom and her photos..Please!” he pleaded.
“Hmm, only on one condition… you should give me updates everyday about Chote and Lavanya…!” Anjali said smiling.
“I better tolerate those photos..!” Aakash teased Anjali and left hurriedly.
******** ****** ******
“Payal ji, these are wonderful!” Aakash praised her again. They were walking on the market street. She had given him the fabric and had collected the ones on which the motifs were to be worked on. Aakash had given her the concept and had appreciated the earlier work done.
“Would you like to have tea?” he asked hesitantly. She looked around and nodded. Soon, they were in a small hotel sipping a cup of tea together.
“Payal ji, are from Delhi?” he asked hopefully. “No Lucknow!” she said. “Nani will like her..!” he calculated smiling.
“Umm, I think, I should leave now!” she said getting up. He nodded.
“Shall I drop you?” he asked her.
“No.. my house is round the corner. Opposite that big garage..!” she said and left. He waited there till she was out of sight and then sighing, came back to his car parked far away.
********** ******** ********
“Type these letters and get the printouts in half an hour!” he barked at her. She nodded glancing at Lavanya who was sitting in his cabin. She did the job and was waiting for someone to go to his cabin.
“I don’t want to go alone in his cabin. That monster will scare me again..!” she muttered. She saw Lavanya climbing the stairs.
“Umm Madam..! Sir had given the work me to take print outs..!” she held out the papers smiling.
“What do you want me to do?” Lavanya yelled at her. “I am not your servant, go and give it to him yourself..!” Khushi entered his cabin behind Lavanya.
“Sir.. these printouts.. !” he looked at the time. “25 minutes..!” she muttered realizing his intentions.
“You can go now!” ordered Lavanya.. Khushi turned to go happily.
“Wait!” came a malicious voice. Let me read the papers. “Umm Lavanya, I need the presentations post lunch. Make sure the designs are ready!” he said. Lavanya got up. Khushi stood there fidgeting.
His cell rang..! He picked up the phone. She turned to leave.
“Don’t move!” he snarled. She froze. He took the phone.
“Yeah Di. Are you ok?” he was concerned. She was surprised to hear his soft voice.
“Di.. Don’t exert yourself! .. I will call the doctor!” he said. Khushi gaped at him.
“Di please.. Or I will come there!” he threatened his di softly. Suddenly he looked human and not the monster.
“Where does his softness go, when he is talking to me?’ Khushi wondered.
“Yeah Di, take care!” he disconnected the phone, glanced at the papers and gestured her to go.
She turned muttering…. “No personal calls during office hours…!” she was sure he had not heard it, but she was wrong. She barely reached her cubical…
“Khushi!” he yelled. She shuddered. Others too looked up and understood.
“Ab to isaki Khair Nahi..! Khushi will have it now!” her colleagues thought. Friends were sad foes were happy.
She went up and stood at the door.
“What the hell is this? You have spelt me wrong… You have spelt Arnav Singh Raizada, wrong!” he barked. She came forward to take the papers from him.
“I will rectify and get the printouts..!” she took the papers and turned.
“Did you forget? Let me assess the damage. Arnav Singh Raizada has a big name, big enough that no one would spell him wrong. You spelt him wrong.. the damage is ..” he paused and smirked. She looked up at him in shock.
“But Sir, I will get it rectified immediately.. Only the paper cost…!” she was reasonable …
“Enough! How dare you argue with me! I will assess the damage!” he came around and again had invaded her personal zone making her weak and to hold her breath in fright.
He stared at her. “How many thousands?” she thought. He turned his back on her thinking.
“Let me see…say ten thousand per wrongly spelt alphabet?” he turned to her. She was furious..
“Only? Your name is worth only this much?” she asked scornfully to enrage him. He came on to her.
“Even if you work for the rest of your life in this office without any pay, you will require several lives to repay the damage… That’s my worth..!” he said with gritted teeth.
“Ss.. Sorry!” she was frightened. “You better be!” he said proudly. “Ghamandi! Conceited Monster!” she muttered.
“Oh is it?” he again had heard it.
“This time, I am lenient. Say Ten thousand Rupees? Or…!” he stopped smirking.
“Or?” she asked hopefully. “Is there a way to avoid paying money..?” she thought looking at the monster. He had a lopsided smile.
“Let me think..!.... I think you need to practice spelling my name..!” he said again invading her personal zone. She felt weak. He smirked wickedly.
“Stand in that corner and spell out my name a hundred times..!” he said and she gaped at him shocked.
“What? Is this a school?” her voice was loud enough to irritate him. He trapped her between the chair and his arms and said in a deadly voice.
“If you behave like a child, you will be punished like a child!”
“Sss … Sorry!” she said weakly looking into his eyes.
“Decide, Khushi Kumari Gupta! Ten thousand or hundred times..! You have time till evening..!” he had moved away. She reached the door.
“Head Monster.. I mean master..!” she muttered furiously. “Take his name 100 times! My foot!” her rage went over the edge. But then losing ten thousand was out of question. She frowned. She calculated. It would take only fifteen minutes for 100 times. She went back to his cabin.
“umm Ok!” she said and stood in the corner. He smirked wickedly… She started off counting her fingers..
A.R.N.A.V Arnav, S.I.N.G.H Singh, R.A.I.Z.A.D.A Raizada! …. He focused on his laptop listening her taking his name. With every count, bitterness in her mouth increased. “No Wonder, he has sugar problem. He is so bitter..!” She thought frowning. His smirk grew in a smile as she reached one hundred.
“Finished!” she said grinning and came forward, picked up the glass and drank water. He looked at her and picking up his laptop said “I am going for a meeting…! You got to write my name hundred times, by tomorrow..!”
“What?” she screamed. He turned and said “Yeah! You heard it right..!” She gaped at him for a while. He was gazing at her. Her expressions changed. “Yes Sir!” she stood in attention. Now, it was his turn to be shocked. She went out of the cabin grinning. He shrugged and went for the meeting.
********* ******* ******
“Khushi, what happened? Why were you standing at the corner for so long, in his cabin?” asked Rekha. There were Ten people now for Tiffin Sharing. Khushi felt embarrassed. She looked down recollecting the humiliation she felt and then looking up, said
“Nothing Rekha Madam.. Sir wanted to change his ringtone, so he requested me to spell his name in my sweet voice to record it…! A.R.N.A.V. S.I.N.G.H. R.A.I.Z.A.D.A. Arnav Singh Raizada..!” she said grinning and the table erupted in laughter.
“We tried a hundred times, but he couldn’t get that sweet melodious tone from me! I guess, I will have to try again, tomorrow! ” Khushi took her revenge sending another wave of laughter. Others looked at their table enviously, missing the fun.