Khushi and Anjali looked at each other and smiled taking out their phones.
“Hello?” Khushi was surprised to hear Sham’s voice.
“Khushi ji!” Sham said in a hushed voice.
“Sham ji? Where are you? I have been waiting here!” Khushi said loudly and Anjali turned abruptly.
“I got an urgent call. I had to go!” Sham said frustrated. “You go home!” he ordered.
“Urgent call? Surprising!! Are you a doctor, to get urgent call like that?” She asked irritated. She was relieved that Sham was not around. The growl in her stomach had stopped. “He is weird!” She thought and shrugged. She turned after disconnecting and Anjali asked her.
“Aree Khushi, Shamji? You said Sham ji?”
“Yes, Anjali ji! He is our family friend… Buwaji’s NanadKishore!!” she said giggling. Anjali joined her.
“You know, what? My Husband’s name is also Sham!” she said and Khushi smiled.
“Where is your husband, Anjali ji? I haven’t met him!” Khushi said looking around.
“Oh! He is a very busy person. Keeps touring..! Even I don’t get to see him for days!” Anjali said sulkily. Khushi smiled. “But I would like to meet him. I want to see who the lucky person is, who got you as his life partner!” Khushi Praised Anjali. She blushed furiously. Panditji came for Aarti.
“Come Khushi, we will drop you!” Anjali offered and Khushi nodded.
“But on one condition! You should come home !” said Khushi and Aakash agreed immediately. Anjali raised her eyebrows looking at Aakash and he looked away! Khushi dialed to forewarn Payal to keep the house tidy..!
********* ********* ********
“Khushi Bitiya, I want to talk to you!” Babuji called Khushi in the night and she went into his room.
“Khushi, listen to me carefully… No matter what, you will take care of the family..! Promise me!” He started off gravely. Khushi looked at him thoroughly confused.
“Why babuji? You are there to take care of us all!” she said sitting on his bed. He had no energy to sit up and talk to her.
“Please listen to me and don’t ask questions Khushi!” he said raising his hand with effort. He started off as if talking to himself..
“I know, you are the stronger one. Payal is weak, timid. She will need protection. Only Khushi can take the decision. I know she will act in the interest of all. She will take care of everyone… I am sure, she will not let me down… She will sacrifice… she will endure… she will take wise decision… she will pull everyone out… she is my support…I know… when time comes.. she will sacrifice herself for the family.. I .. I want her to be strong, she is..!” his voice trailed. She looked at his tearful eyes.
“Babuji, what happened? Why are you so upset? Don’t worry!” she rested her head on his lap. He woke up from his trance.
“Khushi… Listen to me carefully. Promise me… you will take a wise decision…You will not sacrifice your happiness… promise me, when I am not around..!” she got up with a jerk.
“Don’t talk like that Babuji. You will be around.. I am sure you will get well soon. We will go to the specialist.. Please babuji, don’t talk like that!” she wiped off his tears.
“Yes, Yes… Calm down, Khushi! I am just warning you. In case something happens to me, promise me you will take care of the family!” he held out his hand. She promised. “I will always..!” she said gravely. Babuji smiled. “Now go and sleep …!” he ordered her. She looked at him sulkily.
“After giving this serious lecture and scaring me like this, how can you expect me to sleep babuji?” she asked him. He kissed her forehead. “I am sure, this will calm you down.. Now go and hit the bed!” he patted on her head.
***** ***** *****
Office was peaceful as his cabin was locked for next few days. Regi had not turned up at all. Khushi tried calling both but he did not pick up her phone and Regi asked her not to call her as he was busy with some personal work. Rekha had no clue what was going on. That’s what she said! “Khushi, don’t worry. Regi has some personal problem. He is on leave for a week. There is nothing wrong..!” But Khushi was sure, there was something wrong. She didn’t know what.
*********** ******** *********
“What? What happened?” she asked the tensed up people in Raizada house. Ram Prakash shrugged and said.. “Arnav Bhayya arrived this morning and since then he is howling at everyone.
“Hmm..! So, Return of the Tornado! Part 2, is released this morning in the theaters of Raizadas..!” smile appeared on her face. She peeped into Lavanya’s room, she was in the bathroom. She went to Anjali’s room and knocked on the door.
“Raani Saheba.. ask Ram Prakash to keep the Tea on the table!” yelled Sham from the bathroom.
“Anjali ji?” Khushi called out and he froze in the bathroom. Khushi stepped in and looked around. Anjali was not there. She came out of the room closing the door behind. “I have heard this voice somewhere!” she said to herself. “Was that Anjali ji’s husband? I may be able to meet him today!” she smiled and came to the dining table.
“Aakash sir, what happened?” she asked in a hushed voice. Aakash shrugged. “Someone disturbed his plant arrangements at pool side!” he said looking at her. She shuddered biting her nails.
“Hayain? Hello hi bye bye..! Why do you look so pale, Phati Sadi ka Phata naseeb! Did you do something?” Mami asked loudly.
“Yes.. I mean.. no… I mean.. I wate..r…!” her voice trailed in fright.
“Aii lo ..! Hello hi bye bye… ! Arnav Bitwa… come here!” she called out loudly. Khushi’s knees wobbled when she saw his figure on the stairs. She made an attempt to run from that place but her legs turned into stone.
“Arnav Bitwa.. you asked everyone… yelled at everyone.. but forgot someone..! hello hi bye bye!” she pointed at trembling Khushi…!
“Yehi toh thi woh..! Paani Dalanay wali..! Hello hi bye bye!” Mami pulled the pin of the grenade and Khushi shuddered looking around for support.
He came to face her. She had no courage to look at him. He gripped her wrist and dragged her to the pool side.
“Who did this?” he asked in a deadly voice. “If voice could kill… Khushi would have been reincarnated by now, after her death!”
“Wa..What?” she stuttered! “Who changed this?” he asked his voice rising. She just looked at the plants.
“Answer me! Who brought these down?” he pointed at the plants she got down from terrace. She gaped at him and then mustering up her courage said..
“Woh…. Upar Sookh Rahain The ! They were dying in the sunlight…!” before she could complete he grabbed her and shaking her vigorously yelled..
“Agar Akal Nahi Hain… Toh Taag Kyun Adati Ho? Why do you poke your nose when you don’t know anything about plants, you brainless git!” he gritted his teeth.
“Nahi… plants were in the sunlight…!” she tried to justify herself. “So? Who asked you to bring them down?” he yelled. She looked hurt.
“I know, why did you punish the plants… because they were gifted by me… you kept them in sunlight!” she sobbed. He pushed her away.
“You empty headed girl… you would have killed the plants. They are flowering plants. All flowering plants need bright sunlight… they will die if you keep them in shade!” he felt like slapping her. She gaped at him with open mouth.
“Now shut your mouth up and pick them up!” he ordered. “What?” she blurted. “Is he going to return my gift?” she thought.
“I said pick them up!” he yelled.
“Chote..! Please… she didn’t know!” Anjali pleaded looking at Khushi pathetic condition. Khushi nodded in acceptance.
“I didn’t know!” she said apologetically. “Pick up the plants, Damn it!” he screamed clenching his fists. She shuddered and picked up the plants losing her balance. “Careful!” he yelled and she jerked back. “Yes!” she said.
“Go keep them back on the terrace..!” he ordered and she turned to climb the stairs.
“Chote, Ram Prakash will keep them!” Anjali said .
“No! She will go and keep them on the terrace!” he said raising his hand and she frowned.
“Yeah! I will go and keep them back..! Rakshas! He could have told all these things nicely.. But no! He gets sadistic pleasure in yelling at me! “She muttered furiously.
“Chup Chap Chalo and keep them back!” He gave her a shock by following her to the terrace.
“Yes Sir!” she said and kept them at their rightful place and straightened herself up.
“Any other order sir?” she stood in attention. He stared at her reddened face.
“Yes, get me a black coffee!” he ordered looking at her descending figure. She turned.
“I am not YOUR servant! I come here to teach Lavanya ji! Go and get it by yourself ! Black coffee!” she said bluntly and ran down to Nani’s room.