Khushi came home to face another situation. ASR dropped her and without meeting her family members raced away. She came in frowning. The usual arguments were going on. She looked at Buwaji. She and Amma were discussing again about Sham.
“Buwaji.. please stop it! How many times do I have to tell you?” Khushi was frustrated.
“Don’t you love your family?” first time Amma asked her angrily.
“What? Why are you saying this?” Khushi was shocked.
“Khushi look at the condition of Babuji..! Please give him some respite by agreeing to this proposal..!” Amma spat anger.
“What? Babuji wants me to accept? Babuji!..Babuji?” she called out her babuji.
“Stop calling him. How can he agree, when you are not ready?” Buwaji yelled at her. She stood there shocked.
“Where is babuji?” she asked looking around.
“He is taking rest. He had a chest pain in the afternoon. Sham babu sent some Doctor!” Amma too had turned to his side. Khushi darted inside.
“Babuji.. are you ok?” she sat on his bed. He nodded not able to talk
“Babuji!” she had tears in her eyes. He kept his hand on her head.
“Khushi… I have not said yes!” he could talk with efforts. Her face lit up.
“Babuji.. HUM AAP KA KAHA TALENGE NAHI! I will accept whatever you say, Babuji!” she held his hand promising him. He stroked on her hand.
“Now you take rest… and don’t worry about anything!” she said drawing a blanket on his chest. He smiled faintly.
“Khushi..!” Payal called in a worried tone. Khushi looked at her.
“Khushi…Buwaji is not ready to listen to babuji..!” Payal said holding her hand.
“Hmm.. I don’t know, what’s wrong with her!” Khushi blurted.
“Jiji.. I am tired!” Khushi said throwing herself on the bed.
“Khushi..what happened?” Payal asked.
“Nothing Jiji.. I am tired after the dinner!” Khushi said hiding everything.
“How was the dinner?” Payal asked. “You know? I was so worried when you said you are going with your Sir!” Payal was really worried.
“But you know? Later on Aakash Sir called to ask me to keep the designs ready..He is coming home tomorrow!” Payal said dreamily to the snores of Khushi. Payal shook her head hopelessly and drew the blanket.
“What are you searching, Chote?” Anjali asked surprised to see Arnav rummaging through the medicine box.
“Nothing!” he dismissed her. Aakash saw him sliding a Digene strip in his pocket.
“Umm .. Di, I think he had a great dinner!” Aakash said smirking. Arnav looked at him angrily.
“What? Dinner? With whom, Chote? Lavanya came home early!” Anjali asked flabbergasted looking at Lavanya.
“Yeah! ASR! Where were you?” Lavanya asked oblivious to all the drama in the evening.
“Client!” came a monosyllable. Anjali looked at Aakash. He had to work hard to be serious.
“Di, he had a dinner with client!” Aakash said looking away, hiding his smile.
“Which client?” interrogation started.
“Oh! Shut up, Lavanya!” Arnav could silence Lavanya, but Anjali was not to be stopped.
“Aakash?” Anjali turned to Aakash.
“Umm Di… I think the dinner meeting didn’t go well with the client!” he stressed on the word client. Arnav turned to leave.
“Where had you been for dinner!” Anjali winked at Aakash, all set to pull her brother’s legs.
“Parath….!” He stopped abruptly and said “Forget it!” clenching his fists. His burp said it all.
“Wait Chote, I will give you something!” Anjali got up from her place.
“What did you eat?” she asked searching digestive medicine from the box.
“Golgappe ..!” He again stopped from blurting the entire list
“Golgappe?” Nani asked in surprise.
“I am going!” Arnav had enough embarrassment. Aakash couldn’t control his laughter.
“Khushi Kumari Gupta!” he clenched his fists angrily.
“I had asked you not to touch her! Why the hell did you try to kidnap her!” Sham was yelling at someone on the phone walking down the street. He was moving towards Raizada house.
“Saab told us to bring her to him!” came an answer from the other end.
“Shit..! “ sham was frustrated.
“Ok! I will talk to Saab. But warn you, don’t you dare touch her again!” he threatened the other person and disconnected.
“Rattan Saab..!” he started off dialing the number.
“Look sham! If you don’t do it.. I will go my way!” came a warning.
“But Saab!” he started off lowering his tone. But the phone was disconnected.
“This uncle ji is a big hurdle… I have to eliminate him..!” Sham was furious.
“Khushi ji… no one can stop me having you…. And….. Gomati Nivas… . and buwaji’s house… and the shop…!” he licked his lips and stroked his fist.
He entered Raizada House. “Raani Sahebaa..!” he wrapped his arms around her with love.
************** ********* ******
Khushi woke up with a start sweating…The evening events had shaken her up again. The thing that passed her ear echoed in her head…! She held on to Payal scared to the core. Payal held her close. They couldn’t sleep for a long time. Then Khushi raised her head..
“Jiji.. why Buwaji is after me? Am I that bad?” she asked in anguish.
“No, Khushi! She just wants you to be happy!” Payal defended Buwaji.
“But Jiji, this is not fair.. I can’t get married before you!” she said holding Payal’s hand for support.
“It makes no difference, Khushi! They all are worried about us!” Payal was too serious.
“This is Buwaji’s house. Bank has sealed our shop. Even if we go back, what will be our fate?” Payal asked.
“Hmm.. Jiji.. I really really hope, the enquiry goes on for few more months… No matter how bad it is. At least, I will be able to earn something..! I really hope, jiji.. they pay me in full, this month also…!” she prayed her Devi Mayya.
“Khushi… what if Buwaji asks us to leave?” Payal was scared.
“Why would she do that?” Asked Khushi. “She will never ask us to leave. She loves us all!” Khushi was sure about her Buwaji. “Hmm!” Payal sighed.
“Don’t worry jiji, we will find out some way to earn more… !” She assured Payal. Both of them didn’t know that they already have lost their house too!
********* ******** *********
“I will put an end to this enquiry… This can’t go for long! I have to stop this..!” Arnav was pacing restlessly.
“I know she is entangled in this…! I must release her… relieve her from the job… set her free!” his heart ached with that thought. He didn’t know why!
“I just want to know, who is doing this!” he blurted. The gunshot echoed in his mind. Somewhere the growling was growing louder and louder. He turned in anguish..!
“What if the bullet had hit her?” He couldn’t bear the thought. He clenched his fists.
“I have put her in trouble…!” he confessed. “I will pull her out of the mess!” He chocked.
“I just want to know, who that person is! I can’t relieve her before that…!” He thought. He reclined closing his eyes on his favorite recliner.
He had very weird dreams throughout the night!!
********* ******** ******
“Hey Devi Mayya… Raksha Karana…! “ She prayed her Devi Mayya before entering Raizada House in the morning for her double duty.
“Khushi Bitiya.. come! Have Breakfast with us!” Nani invited her fondly.
“KYUN? Hello Hi Bye Bye! GHAR MAIN NAHI BANATA KYA? Why? Won’t you prepare at home?” Mami asked disdainfully to everyone’s embarrassment.
“OR IS IT INCLUDED IN YOUR SERVICE CONTRACT? Hello hi bye bye!” she added. Khushi now had learnt to ignore her.
“No, Nani ji.. HUM NASHTA KARAKE AAYE HAIN!! I had my breakfast at home!” she said politely.
“ITANI JALDI? So Early? When did you leave home?” asked Nani narrowing her eyes.
“Chamakili, Khaa lo na!” Lavanya pestered sitting next to ASR. Khushi shook her head and said..
“Nahi Naniji..! I had at home and last night also I had a heavy dinner..!”
“Aakash chocked and coughed hard while drinking water..!” Everyone looked startled.
“ah..ahhew… Actually bhai too had a stomach upset , last night!” He said coughing in between. Anjali looked worried to Arnav’s embarrassment.
“Chote? Did you not take medicine? What happened?” she asked concerned.
“I am alright..” he said grumpily.
“Aree… Iss Serbhant ka hi Khayal Rakhoge.. ya.. Damaad Ji ki Bhi Sochoge..? Hello hi bye bye..! Bher ijj Damadjiiii?” Mami asked loudly and Anjali turned to look. The next seat was vacant. Sham had vanished.
Her phone rang. “Aree, Where are you? We are all waiting for you for breakfast!” Anjali asked over the phone.
“Why? At least you should have your breakfast..! What is so urgent?” she asked sulkily.
“Aao Khushi Bitiya.. Baitho!” Nani pulled her hand and made her sit next to her. ASR got up without having anything for breakfast. Khushi’s eyes followed him till he disappeared upstairs.
He got ready to go to the office. “Sir?” she peeped into his room to rub salt on the wound.
“Are you alright sir?” She asked innocently. “Get out!” he yelled. she pressed her hands on her ears.
“That means he is perfectly fine!” She ran down the stairs grinning.
“Chamakiliii..! Chalo .. Teach me how to make Halwa!” Ordered Lavanya and Khushi entered the kitchen with her.