“You know Chamakili? I was so scared and confused...! Nani said you won’t come, she had a high fever, ASR was not talking to me, Di was worried too
!” Lavanya sat on her bed.
“What? Nani ji ko kya hua?” she asked concerned.
“I don’t know! She is not well, she has not come out of her room since yesterday..!” Lavanya informed. “I don’t know what happened..! Di said ASR had a row with Nani..! I mean I have never seen that house so upset..!” Lavanya was worried.
“I don’t know, how, But Chamakili you got to come to the house again. Use your tricks, Chamakili.. do something, but I need you!” Lavanya said desperately. Khushi gaped at her.
“You know, not even two days, and I missed you so much, Chum..!” Lavanya was emotional. Khushi was lost. “Nani, not well?” She knew why!
“You know what Chamakili? ASR didn’t have his food.. actually he fainted this morning..!I was so scared..! Thank God! Di was there to take care!” Lavanya went ahead to give Khushi an heart ache!
“What?” she asked aghast.
“Yeah.. He didn’t even have his medicines, it seems..!” Lavanya shuddered with the thought. Khushi had tears in her eyes. “Why is he doing this to himself?” she floundered not knowing what to do.
“And Nani said I should manage on my own! How? Tell me Chamakili?” Lavanya was helpless. Khushi gaped at her. Lavanya looked at Khushi with hope.
“Tum aogi naa?” she asked holding Khushi’s hand.
“No, Lavanya ji!” Khushi withdrew her hand. “Why?” Lavanya was lost. Khushi didn’t answer. Lavanya sat there without a word.
“Lavanya ji..!” Payal gave her a tea cup. Lavanya looked at it.
“Jiji.. unhay juice pasand hain!” Khushi said looking at Lavanya. Payal looked at Khushi desperately. There was no fruit juice in the house. Lavanya didn’t notice anything. She absentmindedly took the cup and sipped the tea. Khushi gaped at her.
“Chamkili..if you are not coming, then I am coming....here! Everyday!” she was determined.
*********** ********** ***********
“Chaliye, Khushi!” Sham held out his hand to support Khushi. She gaped in shock!
“I got a car for you, today!” he said smiling at her. She looked at her Buwaji and understood.
“Come on! Lets go!” he was in a hurry. He held her hand pulled her up. She tried to be free. He glared at her and said “I will carry you to the car!” he looked at Buwaji and she nodded naughtily.
“Aap Kyun Nahi Giri, Buwaji? Why didn’t you fall down? He would have lifted you, Buwaji!” Khushi frowned. Payal stood at the door not knowing how to save her sister. Even Amma seemed to be ok to send Khushi with Sham.
“Umm.. Ok! I will get ready!” she said weakly and Sham with Buwaji went out leaving Khushi and Payal in the room.
“What will you do now, Khushi?” Payal was panic. “I will go with him!” Khushi said helplessly.
“Khushi, if you don’t want to go with him, tell him!” Payal knew that this alternative was not going to work. Buwaji would start hauling and Babuji would be upset again. “Khushi ji!” Sham knocked on the door. Khushi frowned. “Jiji, I don’t feel comfortable with him!” she said in desperation. Payal was nervous. “Ok! Jiji, can you give me the perfume, Aakash ji gifted you?” Khushi asked sheepishly.
“What?” Payal looked shocked. “Jiji, please?” Khushi asked in desperation. Payal gave her the perfume bottle and opened the door. Sham was standing there waiting for Khushi. Khushi sprayed the perfume and went out limping, her bandage still on.
“Jiji, give me Babuji’s walking stick!” she said when Sham was all set to left her. “No need Shamji, i will manage!” she said stopping him from advancing. He frowned.
********** ******** *********
“What did I do Buwaji? It was just an accident! It was so dark there..” Khushi retorted back when Buwaji scolded her badly, placing rose water gauge over Sham’s burning eyes.
“Sham ji..! Do you think I did it on purpose?” Khushi held Sham’s hand and sham shook his head.
“Buwaji.. No, she didn’t do it!” Sham held on to her hand and she let him do that turning her face and winking at Payal. Payal knew that Khushi did something.
“But you know Buwaji, his flat is beautiful!” she said appreciating recollecting the scene.
“Khushi... you step in first. We are going to live here after our marriage!” Sham had kept his hand on her shoulder. She was little nervous. She clutched the walking stick leaning on it. It was new building with not much habitation yet. She looked around standing outside. The finishing and plastering work in the neighbouring flats was still going on. Only a few of them had name plates on the door. She was scared to enter the flat. She looked at Sham who was gazing at her. She took a step inside. It was a small two bedroom unfurnished flat ready for possession. Sham came in closing the door behind. Khushi looked around. It was evening and there were no lights. She moved around in the flat hurriedly and said.. “We need to hurry up! It will get late!” Sham had all the time and didn’t pay attention to her.
“Come Khushi.. !” he opened the room. Khushi peeped into the bedroom. The only furniture piece in the entire flat was in the bedroom! The bed!” She perspired nervously.
“I bought this first. My choice!” he said pushing her inside. She stood by the window looking at him.
“Everything else, will be of your choice, Khushi!” he looked at her expecting that she will be happy. He moved closer. Khushi was frightened. She cursed her Buwaji for sending her here in the evening with Sham ji. She moved away pretending to have a look around. He patted on the bed sitting on it.
“Sit!” there was a request cum order. Khushi shuddered praying her devi mayya.
“Humm... she said moving further away.
“Umm Sham ji... This looks to be a very good locality.. the prices must be very high!” she said diverting his attention. He still was sitting on the bed.
“You don’t have to bother about it. I am there to take care!” he said smugly looking around proudly. “Humm... that is right!” she said gazing through the window at setting sun. She felt like running away from that place. Sham was close behind placing his hand on her shoulder, she was clutching her babuji’s walking stick tightly!
“Humm...!Khushi...!” he inhaled the fragrance closing his eyes and she turned to face him placing her hand in her bag.
“Haan shamji! It is a beautiful perfume. It lasts longer! You know? Lavanya ji gifted me this!” Khushi saw at his dreamy eyes getting scared. She continued. “You know I like this perfume very much..!” she was inching away and he was closing in. She took out the bottle and looked at sham through the bottle. She sprayed the perfume on herself and turning the bottle to him asked.
“Do you like this perfume?” he looked at her licking his lips and said..”I love whatever you like, Khushi..!” he took a step ahead holding her hand tightly. The stick in her hand fell down. Khushi gripped the bottle in fright. “Ok then..!”
The next moment his scream reverberated in that empty flat.
“Awaaww~! Shit!..Shit! What the hell..! Shit..!” he was rubbing his eyes in sever blinding pain. Khushi was panic. “Sorry Sham ji! Sorry!” she held his hand and had tears in her eyes. He had lost his senses. His eyes were burning.
“Sorry Sham ji, I didn’t know! It sprayed into your eyes..! Its so dark here, I couldn't see the nozzle.. Sorry!!” she held his hand and brought him to the hall, picking up her stick. Sham was furious. He held her wrist and twisting it pulled her closer, gritting his teeth, still closing his burning and watering eyes.
“Khushi don’t worry! I will be alright soon..! He wrapped her in a hug to her dismay. “
“What are you doing Sham ji..!” she tried to free herself. “We are going to get married, Khushi..!” he said getting angrier. “No! Sham ji! We are not married yet! You will not touch me, till then!” she was furious too. She broke away fuming.
“Don’t try this again, Sham ji! “ She said forcefully taking out the bottle again.
“Oh god! Its written poison here..! I am worried Shamji.. we must go to the doctor!” She yelled and took him out of the main door. She made him keep the car in the parking and took an auto.
“Buwaji, look at this, we bought engagement ring!” Khushi looked at Sham. He took it out from his pocket. Khushi took it and handed it over to Buwaji.
They had going to jeweller and had selected a simple one trying it out on her right hand finger. She had no interest in it but faked her enthusiasm. That night Sham stayed over and Khushi latched her room from inside.
********* ****** *****
“She doesn’t want to see my face! Fine! I won’t see her again..! What does she think of herself...!” he was fuming. He had somehow pulled the day without her, trying hard not to remember her in vain.
“Khushi Kumari Gupta, I am better off without you!” he clenched his fists.
“Bhai...!” Aakash barged in hopelessly. Arnav looked at him questioningly. Aakash sat beside him on the recliner hanging his head hopelessly.
“What?” Arnav was puzzled.
“Bhai... she refused to talk to me! She said, ask your brother!” Aakash dropped the bombshell on him. He froze.
“Bhai...!” Aakash looked at him with hope. He closed his eyes and then said.
“I will handle it! Be ready tomorrow morning!” Aakash took a sigh of relief. Arnav clenched his fists.
“Khushi Kumari Gupta, the last word is always mine..! “ he smirked.
“Don’t want to see my face? Let us see, tomorrow!” he closed shut his laptop and switched off the lights.