“Cha….ma…ki…li!” Lavanya was on phone. Khushi looked at the time. It was around 8 in the night.
“Lavanya ji?” she called out suspiciously.
“Chamki…! Hehehe!” she was delirious.
“Lavanya ji.. AAP KAHAN HO?” Khushi asked narrowing her eyes. She knew something was wrong.
“Lavanya ji.. Where are you?” she asked again.
“Hehehe.. Party… I … am enjo…ying…!” she raved.
“What? Where are you” Khushi got up in shock
“Huh… ah…where are we?” Lavanya asked someone…
“Lavanya ji… where are you?” Khushi picked up her bag.
“huh…haan… yeh .. this… club…Ven ..ture… Venture club…!” she babbled again.
“Hey Bhagawan…! Devi Mayya… why can’t you give her some sense? What do I do now?” she was lost.
“I… am… not…going.. that ..h..house!’ she was out of her mind. Khushi could hear loud music.
“Come… a..and…en…jo..y!” Lavanya said.
“Lavanya ji…!” Khushi screamed into the disconnected phone. “Hey Bhagawaaan!” Khushi clutched her head and sat on the bed with a thud.
“What happened?” Payal asked.
“Yeh, Lavanya ji.. she will never learn from her mistakes. What do I do now, Jiji?” she asked.
“I don’t know, Khushi… I think your duty hours are over..! I mean.. ignore…!” Payal was reasonable.
“Can I? what if she creates a scene …. Jiji..BANA BANAYA BIGAD JAYEGA, Jiji! Nani ji will throw her out of the house…!” Khushi shuddered with the thought.
“I have to do damage control..!” Khushi was thinking hard.
“Where is this Venture Club?” she asked aloud. Jiji had no answer. “Who will tell me?” Khushi racked her brain. “Should I call Sir?” she thought but then dismissed her own idea saying.. “Are you mad, Khushi? He will kill you!” She was pacing nervously.
“Who is she with?” She dialed Lavanya’s number again.
“Hello.. Lavanya ji.. Who is there with you?” she yelled.
“Hus? Hum… Pam and Sim!” Khushi took a sigh of relief. “Where is this club?” she asked with bated breath.
“Club? Haan Club… it.. is…Venture…!” Lavanya was not in a condition. Khushi disconnected with frustration. “Who will help me?” she closed her eyes joining her hand.
“Hello.. Driver ji? Can Can you tell me where this Venture club is?” She asked in panic.
“Madam ji, it’s on Gurgaon Road,!” Why madam ji?” he asked suspiciously. Khushi was relieved.
“Driver ji, it’s late but, can you take me to the club?” she requested him. Driver ji calculated for a while.
“Ok. I will come to pick you up in fifteen minutes!” Khushi’s problem was solved so was driver ji’s. After all he was on protection duty and Khushi was all set to roam around alone in the night.
“You want to go to the club?” Driver asked her racing away.
“No! I mean yes… There is a situation Driverji… Lavanya madam is in the club.. drunk!” she opened the secret. Driver looked at her from the mirror. She was fidgeting.
“I don’t know what I am going to do!” she said clutching her head in panic.
“I will help you!” he offered never wanting to leave her alone in the crowd of drunken people.
“Thank you!” she was overwhelmed. He smiled.
“What do I do now? I will go in… you wait here… I will call you!” Khushi said hurriedly getting down.
“Madamji.. they won’t…allow you in..!”his voice trailed with her vanishing figure. He got down and followed. As expected she was stopped by the bouncers…She was scared. Driver caught up with her.
“Wait!” he said. He took out a card and gave it to one of them. “Ask your manager!” he said authoritatively. The bouncer returned in few minutes to allow them in.
“What did you show?” she asked bewildered. “Sir’s card..!” he yelled in the crowd. She smiled.
“Lavanya ji..!” she held her hand.
“Hey you? What are you doing here?” PAM asked in rage.
“I am taking her home!” Khushi said resolutely.
“How dare you!” PAM raised her hand and before she could bring it down to slap Khushi, Khushi held her wrist. “Don’t you dare!” She threatened in a deadly voice. Her grip on PAM’s wrist spoke it all.
“I am taking her..!” she declared. SIM and PAM gaped at Khushi’s avatar..!
“Chaliye Lavanya ji!” She maneuvered Lavanya out of the club. Driver followed.
****** ****** ********
“Where are you taking me, my friend, chamki…li?” Lavanya asked in a sleepy tone.
“Home!” Khushi said opening the door of the car.
“No! I am not going back..!” Lavanya resisted in vain. Khushi forcefully pushed her in the car.
“I hate that house!” Lavanya babbled after awhile.
“YEH MAT KARO ! WOH MAT KARO..! I hate it!” she said loudly. Khushi looked at the driver. He was listening to music plugging his ears. Khushi smiled at the wise driver.
“Lavanya ji..! Stop it!” Khushi tried to control her raving.
“No! I can’t go on! You know, Chum? I love ASR, Sooo Muchhhhh!” she declared raising her hand. Khushi gaped at her.
“I am not sure about him….he is…he is a mystery…. Angry…he…he is … always angry!” Lavanya was raving in her drunken condition. Khushi felt embarrassed. She looked around ignoring Lavanya.
“Chum… listen to me!” Lavanya turned her face … Khushi looked at her…
“PAM said we will party… it was great…I … I enjoyyyyyyyyyyed!” she was delirious. Khushi clenched her fists.
“Hmm!” Khushi said.
“You know, ASR! He … he… I don’t know… Hope… he loves me too!” she had tears in her eyes.
“And … that ..house? It’s a museum…!” She again had changed the track.
“Chum… Goat is to eat … not to ..pet! uhu..hi hi hi..!” she was out of control.
“Chup… Bass… We will reach home..!” Khushi tried to stop her.
“Hello hi.. I..I..want to say good bye to her….!” Lavanya went on.
“Chum…. I … will take him away… from his… so called… Raizada…Family..!” Lavanya declared.
“I promise!” she kept her hand on her heart. Khushi shuddered with the thought of breaking up the family.
‘Shuu… Lavanya ji.. Stop it! We have reached..!” Khushi put her hand around Lavanya’s shoulder and Lavanya kept her head on Khushi’s lap. Khushi felt helpless.
********* ****** *****
“Oh God! If they see her in this condition…!” Khushi couldn’t comprehend.
“Driver ji..wait here! I will see .. we have to smuggle her in!” she said getting out leaving Lavanya in the car. It was almost eleven in the night. She went at the back side. Opened the kitchen window and peeped in. Ram Prakash was cleaning. It looked like the entire family had retired to their rooms.
“Ram Prakash ji…!” She called out in a whisper. He winced startled.
“Open the door!” she said.
“What?” he asked bewildered.
“Shhh! Lavanya ji, is at the door!” she whispered again.
“Ram Prakash went out. She came back. “Chaliye Lavanya ji!” She supported her to get out of the car and came to the main door. Ram Prakash opened the door and gaped at Lavanya’s condition.
“Hmm..She is not well!” Khushi tried to cover up sheepishly. She took her to her room.
“Khushiiii~” Lavanya babbled.
“Shuuu!” Khushi clasped her hand on Lavanya’s mouth.
“Ram Prakash ji.. I need to prepare Kadha..!” She dashed to the kitchen.
“Thank you, Ram Prakash ji. She will be alright now. You can go!” she said smiling at him. He nodded and went to the servant’s room in the backyard.
Khushi sat there gazing at floundering Lavanya. “When you know, you can’t handle drink… why do you do this?” she asked in frustration. Lavanya smiled. “I t gives me kick! Courage to speak up my mind…Courage to stand ASR…my love…!” she went on. Khushi sat on her bed helpless. Lavanya’s babble died out slowly and she looked calmer.
“Chamakili, you go! I am ok. Thank you!“ She said pointing her finger at the door. Khushi sighed. She got up switched off the bedroom lamps and went out closing the door behind.
The lights in the corridors were switched off. The light breeze shuddered her. She stood looking around. Everything looked standstill. She took a sigh of relief.
“Thank God! No one has seen me!” she said placing her hand on her chest. She descended the stairs and bumped head on, on someone. She knew, she was doomed. He held her tightly. Her pounding heart beating at athlete’s speed she tried to break free in vain. He had wrapped his left hand around her back and holding her shoulder in a tight grip. She had no courage to look up. She knew his eyes would spat fire illuminating the entire corridor. She closed her eyes tight.
“What the hell are you doing here?” he spat in a hiss. She had no answer.
“CHORI KARANE AAI THI, YAHAN? Were you trying to steal something from this house?” He spat again.
“What?” she tried to break free. He didn’t leave her.
“JIS THALI MAIN KHATI HO, USEE MAIN CHED KARATI HO?” he still held her tightly. She pushed him back with all her might.
“What are you doing in my house, at this hour of the night?” he came on to her like a panther.
“You… ungrateful…!” he couldn’t complete.
“What am I doing here? You want to know, Mr. Raizada?” she came forward, held his hand tightly to his bewilderment, dragged him upstairs, opened the door of Lavanya’s room, Switched on the lights and pushed him inside.
“This is what I was doing. If you call this steeling, call the police!” she spat with clenched fists.
ASR gaped at Lavanya who was lying topsy-turvy, still raving incoherently…!”
“See? .. Take care of your Girlfriend, Mr. Raizada, I am going!” she turned closing the door behind.
“No wait..! Khushi!” he came out. She didn’t stop.
“Khushi Stop!” he raised his voice and she shuddered, looking around the sleeping house.
He came near. She looked at him angrily.
“What? Do you want to have a search on me? Go ahead, do it! If you find anything.. call the police!” she went out of bound in rage.
“Khushi..!” he Blurted. She was panting in rage.
“ I am going. Search the house Mr. Raizada… if anything is missing, call me!” she turned.
“Wait, I will drop you!” He looked at his wrist watch. It was one thirty in the night.
“No Thank you, SIR! Your hired stalker is waiting for me in the car!” she nailed him. He stood there looking in her direction. She already had gone out of the main door, giving him a four forty volt shock…!!
***** ***** ********
“Jiji… Sone doo na? It’s Sunday!” Khushi turned in her sleep. “Samazata hai kya apane aap ko? What does he think of himself? He is the only honest person and we are all thieves? Saint ASR!” she muttered in her sleep!
Payal was trying to wake her up. “Khushi Tumhara phone!” Payal held out her phone.
“Who is it?” Khushi was irritated. “Jarur woh Rakshas Hoga!” she picked up without looking at the screen.
“Hello!” he yelled irritably at the thought of ASR.
“Hello, Ms. Gupta! Good Morning! This is Ranjan!” came a very soft voice. Khushi’s mood changed. She had not answered him. A thought of the night flashed before her.
“Yes, Ranjan sir… Sorry I couldn’t answer!” she said guiltily.
“Umm… can we go today?” he asked hesitantly.
“Yes!” in a spur of moment she answered and Ranjan’s heart jumped out in joy!!