“So? Khushi Kumari Gupta, you are going to assist Julie in this shoot! And no messing up this time, understand?” he warned her. She nodded.
“Regi sir..! Khushi looked miserable looking at the way Julie was throwing tantrums..! Khushi knew for sure that she would mess up the things. Looking at her previous experience, others too were sure.
“Do something..!” she pleaded holding Regi’s hand. Regi smiled. “I will handle it!” he assured her. Khushi smiled from ear to ear and jumped in joy.
“Khushi.. no messing up in this at least!” he warned her, assigning her to look after the props. She nodded excitedly. They both came out. She put her head down and started working ignoring the commotion around. The studio looked different. Everything was put in place and it looked neat and clean. The funky props were piled up. A team of photographers was running around. Julie was bossing around yelling at everyone. “Female ASR!” Khushi frowned. She avoided going in front of her.
“Who the hell has kept this here?” Julie yelled at the top of her voice kicking the vase kept on the floor. Khushi ran forward and picked it up. It was heavy. She held it and moved towards the storeroom. The inevitable happened. She slipped and embracing the vase, fell on the ground on her back, wincing in pain.
“Awwaaa!” she screamed… Regi ran forward to help her. “Careful, Khushi…!” he took the vase from her and pulled her up. “Saved the vase..!” she said grinning and next moment her face contorted in pain.
“Come!” Regi helped her and brought her in his cabin. “Are you ok?” he asked her concerned. She nodded.
“I didn’t mess up. I saved the vase!” she said still in pain. He gaped at her. “You are hurt!” she smiled faintly.
“Please.. take rest! I will handle it!” he said closing his cabin door behind him. Khushi sat there with her back paining.
Regi came out and assigned two of his assistants on duty. Aman walked in looking around to know everything is ok.
“Khushi fell down!” Regi whispered. “As usual..!” Aman said shaking his head hopelessly.
“This time no damage..! But she is hurt a bit!” said Regi.
“A lot of money is involved in this shoot… nothing should go wrong… keep her away as far as possible, for her sake!” Aman walked away.
****** ****** *******
“Is everything ok?” ASR asked Aman.
“Yes.. Things are in place!” he said. “Hope she doesn’t mess up the things..!” ASR blurted.
“Umm.. its not much.. she is ok now, but Ms Gupta had a very minor accident..!” said Aman in a small voice.
“Again? When? Is she ok? What did she do now??” he asked in a worried tone.
“She didn’t mess up anything… I think she fell down..!” before Aman could complete, ASR was down moving towards the studio.
“Khushi?” he looked around. “Where is Khushi?” he asked someone. He pointed at Regi.
“Regi, how is she?” he asked concerned.
“Who?” Regi asked looking into his eyes.
“Khushi…!” ASR was more concerned.
“Who Khushi? Your Khushi or My Khushi?” Regi asked piercingly.
“My Khu…!” He stopped. “Where is Khushi Kumari Gupta..? Damn it!” he asked angrily. Regi smirked pointing at his cabin. ASR barged into Regi’s cabin.
“Khushi… Are you ok?” he sat on the sofa beside her and asked her. She shuddered seeing him next to her.
“Ye..Yes.. I am fine… I… I will go start the work!” she stuttered.
“No!” he held her hand pulling her back on the sofa.
“You take rest..!” he said in a soft voice placing his hands on her shoulders. “Are you sure, you are ok?” he asked her. She nodded looking down… She felt guilty. She had no courage to look at him.
“I will call the doctor..!” he said taking out the phone. “No! I am fine..!” she said at once.
“Do you want to go home? Come, I will drop you!” he said getting up.
“No! I am fine ..!” she said looking down.
“Do you want something?” he asked her holding her hand.
“No!” she withdrew her hand guiltily. He kept looking at her.
“I am fine…!” she said weakly. He nodded and got up to go. Khushi sat there staring unfocused for a long time…!
He came out and glancing around made his way back.
“Arnie..!” Julie wrapper him again! He smiled at her.
“Is everything ok?” he asked her.
“No!” she pouted garlanding him with her arms. He looked at her.
“You are not here!” she said running her finger on his face. “You know, I don’t like to work with subordinates..!” she said looking around. Regi walked in.
“Julie.. let us start!” he said in a commanding voice. Julie broke away from Arnie. Regi knew Julie since the beginning of her career. It was he who introduced her to AR Designs. Only he could handle her well and not budge to her tantrums.
“Yeah, Regi, I am ready!” she said frowning and moved towards the trial room.
“Regi.. is everything ok? How is your daughter, Khushi?” ASR asked Regi. Regi smiled broadly.. “My Khushi is fine!” he grinned. ASR had a faint smile on his face and then remembering something said
“I met your mother…!” Regi looked serious. “Yeah, I know… she told me! ASR…!”
“Regi, we can talk about it later… I know the problem..!” ASR said smiling patting on Regi’s back.
“You carry on!” he said and left for his cabin.
********* ******** **********
Sham was sitting on the chair next to Buwaji. She was frowning. “Buwaji..!” Sham whispered. She looked at him.
“Sham Babua, please wait for few more days..! I will talk to Sanaka Devi..!” she said holding his hand. He nodded smirking inwardly. Babuji, sitting on the other side, kept staring at the duo. He was deep in thoughts. He was scared a bit. Something was not right… He heard the growl again. He shuddered. Sham’s phone rang.
“Hello… What do you mean, couldn’t do? You know, I can do anything!” he was talking angrily. He knew babuji was listening to it intently.
“See, if you don’t do it, I have methods to get it done from you..Understand? You do not know me yet..!” he was threatening in a low tone.
“I can manage anything… do you understand? Anything!” sham raised his voice a bit to threaten the person on the phone, glancing at Babuji.
Babuji looked away. He understood the threat. Sham smirked. He knew the effect on babuji. Sham had changed his strategy.
“DEKHIYE NA UNCLE JI… THESE PEOPLE… UNLESS YOU FORCE THEM… !” he kept it hanging. Babuji kept quiet. Sham smirked.
“This much is enough for today… tomorrow will be bigger dose..!” he thought wickedly.
****** ******* *******
“Really? You named her Khushi?” Khushi had tears in her eyes. Regi smiled and said..
“Yes..!” She smiled broadly. He patted on her head and winking at her said, “ASR frowned when I told him!” she was shocked.
“You told him? Why?” she looked stupid.
“Why? Khushi, he was there in the hospital ..!” he said gravely.
“What? Why? When?” she was shocked. Regi smiled and walked out of canteen. Khushi sat there not knowing anything..!
“Who is he actually?” she wondered.
“Khushi, I was dying to tell you this.. !” Rekha thumped on her back. Khushi looked at her blankly.
“Why was he in the hospital?” she asked in a hollow voice.
“Why? Khushi, Regi and ASR are friends.. ! Rekha said.
“Friends? Does he have friends?’ she wondered. “Hmm.. !” she sighed and got up to go.
“Khushi… how’s your back now?” Rekha asked. Khushi sat back grinning.
“You know? I exaggerated my hurt!” she said. Rekha couldn’t control her laugher.
“You faked your fall?” she asked grinning.
“No! I fell down, alright! But you know, I was not that hurt!” she said with her nose up in the air with a glint. Rekha smiled at her drama.
“You know, I was sure, I will end up in a mess… so to avoid..!” she said seriously.
“I don’t know… but I feel guil….” she froze in fright. He was at the entrance of the cafeteria. She struggled to get up. She could see his muscles flexing, his face flushed with anger, his eyes spitting hatred…!
“APANI AUKAAT PAR AA GAYI TUM?” He clenched his fists. She opened her mouth but words failed her.
“I knew it!” he spat and strode away. He had turned her into a stone statue again. But this time she had invited it. She had ended up in a mess again.