He came home completely jaded. He went straight to his room. Anjali followed.
“Chote, are you ok?” she asked worried about his health. He just nodded and went to change. She asked Ram Prakash, their servant to get hot milk for him. When he came back, she was ready with the milk.
“Did you have lunch?” she asked. “Have it, I know you have not had your lunch!” He closed his eyes in frustration.
“Yeah Di! Had Soup!” he said and took the glass of milk from her. “I am Ok, Di!” he said sitting on the bed.
“Ok. Have rest now!” she said and went out. He rested his head on the pillow pulling over the blanket.
****** ********* ****
Khushi grinned seeing him going out with the driver.
“Chalo… Peace at last!” she said little loudly and looked around. The office looked more relaxed with the ring master gone home. She concentrated on her work.
Aman came over. “What happened, Ms Gupta?” he asked.
“Sir was not feeling well, so he went home!” she answered. “Oh! Ok!” he said and went away.
“Chalo Khushi… Aaraam Se Kaam Karo! There is no one to bother you!” Khushi looked at Lavanya’s cabin. She was busy giggling with her friends.
Khushi saw Lavanya climbing up to ASR’s cabin after a couple of hours. She did not stop her. Lavanya came back in no time and asked.
“Chamakili, where is ASR? He has a meeting at Four!” Khushi shrugged looking up. Lavanya looked upset. She picked up Khushi’s intercom and called Aman.
“….OH! Ok! But who is going to handle the meeting then?” she asked worried.
“Ok!” she said and kept the receiver.
“Oh! Poor Baby… not well! I should call him..! I was planning a dinner date tonight with him…!” She blurted and then turning to Khushi, asked
“Chamakili, why didn’t you tell me?” she was furious. Khushi looked down. “I thought you already knew, madam!” she said with mock politeness.
“Oh! Forget it!” Lavanya went away, clutching the phone to her ear. Khushi grinned.
********* ******** **********
“What?” Khushi was shocked. Aman looked helpless. It was five thirty in the evening and Khushi was all set to wind up and go home. Lavanya had already left and Khushi had sent the Monster home. She was humming happily. Aman came over with the message.
“Ms Gupta! ASR sir has asked you to rearrange all the files in the accounts department alphabetically, checking all the papers are arranged chronologically in each of the files!” Khushi’s jaw dropped. There were thousands of files…
“I am sorry!” Aman felt helpless. He knew, it was another round of punishment for her.
“When?” she asked in a small voice.
“Now!” came the answer. “So, no going home tonight!” she blurted hopelessly. Aman went away.
“This Monster…! Khadus… This ruthless, inhuman..Monster…! He is not well, but all set to ruin others wellbeing..! ” she muttered clenching her fists furiously.
She went to Aman’s cabin. “Umm Sir, can I make a call? home?” she asked. He raised his eyebrow.
“Umm.. I don’t have a cell phone…” she paused and then said.. “I can’t make a personal call during office hours..!” Aman had a faint smile on his face. He gave his mobile to her and said.
“Here, have this!” she dialed, talked to her Jiji and gave back the cell. “Thank you!” he nodded.
“Let me know, if you want anything…!” he said kindly.
“Yeah, I want freedom from that Monster! I want him out of my life! ” she muttered. Aman shook his head wondering, what kind of animosity, rancor was this between the two.
Khushi went to accounts department. Saw the racks full of files and fainted for a brief time. The accountant came forward.
“Yeah! I got the phone call from ASR sir. He has asked you to….”
“Yeah, I know what to do!” she cut him off angrily. He smiled. “So had a nice and peaceful day, right?” he asked her disdainfully.
“Yeah… and will have beautiful night with the accounts files and deserted office…!” she said equally scornfully. He went away. People started moving out and Khushi remained alone in the office.
“Khushi, I will help you for some time..!” Rekha gave her a helping hand. Others too, showed her sympathy and willingness to help her.
“No! Rekha, Madam! Thank you… but I can’t take help!” she said miserably. Rekha understood.
It was nine thirty and a canteen boy walked in with a tray.
“No! I didn’t order dinner!” she said calculating the charges for dinner.
“Sir has asked you to have dinner..!” the boy said and went away. She started eating, muttering animatedly in between.
“Pehele Bakare ko khana khilao… phir Halaal Karo…! Feed the scapegoat nicely before sacrificing …!” she clenched her fists.
The phone rang at ten thirty. She ignored. It kept ringing.. “Hello!” she yelled irritably.
“Why were you not picking up the phone?” came a stern hoarse voice.
“Am I supposed to pick up the phone in the department, too sir? My orders were to rearrange the files, Sir!” she said disdainfully.
“Shut up!” he yelled. “Ok!” she hung up and went back to work.
It was six thirty in the morning. Khushi had finished the work and had dozed off on the chair.
“Wake up!” came an order. She had gone beyond hearing anything, taking forty winks. He shook her. She opened her eyes with efforts and saw him standing before her.
“Din Main To Sataataa Hi Hain, Sapne Main Bhi Nahi Chodata!... This is a nightmare!!” she turned and went back to sleep.
He clenched his fists in anger, looked at her sleeping position and his eyes twinkled.
“Khushi, Utho! Get up!” he pulled her hand.
“What?” she struggled to get up. He grabbed her shoulders and helped her stand on her feet.
“Go home!” he ordered. She looked around in fright.
“Where am I?” she asked scared.
“Go Home!” he was little softer. She blinked. He turned her.
“Come, I will drop you home!” he said mildly holding her arm.
“No! No need sir, I can manage!” She pulled herself away with a jerk, looked at the time and stomped out. He gazed at her back.
“Don’t forget to come back at nine!” he yelled at her back. She froze. “What?” she turned back furiously.
“Tomorrow!” he completed his sentence with a line of smile. She looked relieved.
“Thank you Sir!” she said saluting and ran out of the office. He stood looking around at the neatly arranged files in the accounts departments.