Anjali placed her hands on her hips as she stood before her brother, clueless, in the Raizada living room-
"Chotte, do you have ANY idea where your wife is?"
Arnav, who sat leaning on the sofa, flicking some business magazines and engaged in random conversation with Nihaal and Aakash, looked at his exasperated sister and raised his eyebrows.
"I dunno..where was the victim seen last?"
Nihaal, the soon-to-be groom, his wedding to Anjali just a week away, grinned as he dialled for pizza-hut.
"Very funny both of you. I am actually looking for her. She went to the basement for something three hours ago and I haven't seen her since. I think I should just check the kitchen-"
"Did you check the basement?" Arnav spoke in a calm tone, slowly slipping the magazine back under the table.
"Why should I check the basement?It's been three hours! She had a fifteen minute job!" She scrunched her features in puzzlement..
"If I were you" Arnav continued, in the same placid tone.. "I would have started from the basement"
"So you mean I should-"
"Forget it, I'll check her out" he buried his hands in his pockets as he sauntered down the hallway disappearring into the corridors and down the stairs leading to the basement.
Aakash smiled as he sipped on his tea, "made for each other"
"True.." Anjali momentraly got lost in the pleasure that fact brought , before she noticed her fiance browsing varied pizzas on his cellphone.
"Nihaal! You've come to pick me for a date! Exactly what are we going to the resturant for if we plan to stuff ourselves out here?"
Nihaal narrowed his eyes as he spoke in a no nonsense tone "and what do you expect me to do till your brother finds Lattu? Starve myself to death?"
"I am about to marry a refrigerator" Anjali groaned.
Aakash laughed as he shook his head muttering "..hopeless"
Whoever would have thought spiders would make three separate cobwebs on the same edge of the wall.
Strange minds, these spiders.
Khushi Kumari Gupta, currently engaged in the meticulous inspection of arachnid lifestyles, sat on a cemented shelf, high on the wall, legs criss crossed and a high stool and pile of cartons tumbled all over the floor below.
Three hours and no one in the family had started a search operation.
How comforting, she would die a lone death on a cement shelf, several feet above the ground and hope that maybe someday, someone would come to bury the skeleton.
"HELLLOOO!! IN CASE EVERYONE FORGOT I AM A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY MISSING FROM THE PICTURE SINCE LONG ENOUGH FOR ONE FREAKING PERSON IN THE HOUSE TO TAKE NOTICE, I AM IN THE BASEMENT!" She screamed at the top of her voice for the Nth time in the last hour.
She began with the full-throated SOS call once again before the creak of the door interrupted her.
Arnav stepped inside, as if meeting his wife in the basement was an everyday thing for him, but moved his head around as he couldn't quite spot her anywhere..
"Khushi?" He spoke looking around.
"Hello husband, how does it feel to finally realize that you have a wife?"
Arnav looked up to the topmost shelf in the direction of the voice and widened his eyes at the sight.
"What the-! What the freaking hell do you think you are doing there? Are you out of your mind? Get down!"
"Oh waow.You make a point there" Khushi grinned.. "three guesses why I haven't done it as yet?"
Arnav rolled his eyes.. "How did you get there that high up in the first place?"
In a defined movement of the arm, Khushi pointed at all the big cartons strewn across the floor.. "Once upon a time, they were on top of each other"
"WHO the hell told you to do this sheer act of genius in the first place?"
"Nani told me the old albums must be up here, and this was the last spot left..I was just about to get down when Mount Everest here" she pointed to the cartons "decided to disintegrate"
"Can you do ONE complete thing without getting yourself into a classic mess at the end of which I invariably have to come along to rescue you?"
Khushi widened her eyes and blew her nose wide, and a rush of pleasure, which he always derived out of teasing her, coursed through Arnav..
"I need YOUR help? YOUR help?" Khushi mocked laughter "Come again?"
"You don't? I see..great, self help is the best help they say" Arnav nodded his head in an encouraging fashion and turned around to go.
"WAIT!" Khushi shouted and an amused smirk played on his lips as he turned around..
"yes?" he turned around.
"You are going? Just like that?"
"well, since I am of no visible help, I might as well-"
"Okay so how do you propose I get off here?"
He shrugged his shoulders, "I am sure you will manage"
"Call my brother!"
"Call bhai! He'll come here to save me I am sure. Unlike my not-so-knight-in-shining-armour husband"
Arnav set his jaws together, then replied.. "Why don't you do it yourself? You were calling out to someone when I came here. Please, by all means, continue"
"YOU are a CEMENT PILE of a husband!"
"You are not going to tell ANYone I am up here? Excuse me Mr Raizada! I run a weekly magazine, I shall soon be discovered"
"Good luck with that" Arnav smirked as he pretended to finally move out of the room.
"OM OORJE JARA DASTYAHA!" Khushi shouted.
Arnav turned around wide eyed, and Khushi grinned.. "Your second vow. Around the fire.To protect me. So despite me not depending on you for help, the fact stands that you are duty bound to voluntarily help me out"
He drew in a breath. This had been the latest trend. Khushi had memorized all of his wedding vows, that too in sanskrit, to fling them at him in situations like these..
"Have you ever bothered learning your own set of vows?" He raised an eyebrow at Khushi..
"Err..no" She smiled sheepishly.. "but according to your Om mayo bhavyas jardastayaha, it's your good fortune to have me as wife anyway"
Arnav couldn't help a slow smile spread over his face as he creased his eyes, narrowing his gaze at her.
Being married to Khushi was one non-stop entertainment.
"Oh the horror, what if I hadn't stopped you on time? Darling, you either should carry Marc or Elliot Lucca handbags to tea parties. Why would you think of carring that-that-"
"purse" Payal finished for her, rolling her eyes, while Mrs Raizada waved a dismissive hand.. "yes, whatever"
A month after her engagement, Payal had officially started accompanying her future mother in law to tea parties. This, it had turned out, was always quite an amusing affair.
"Your son's fiance has some serious taste in fashion Mrs Raizada" A sophisticated lady, holding her drink glass by the tips of her fingers came and stood before them.
Payal felt like giggling in mirth, but put on a warm smile as she said "That's so kind of you"
The woman gave her a once over quickly as she turned to Mrs Raizada, "Not like someone who writes book reviews can't give a judgement on fashion, isn't it?"
"Oh darling of course not" Mrs Raizada made a gesture with her manicured fingers, "Your taste in fashion matches your taste in fine literature. I read your review of Sense Of an Ending, must say I was awed by your views"
Now Payal seriously felt like bursting out, so she chose to pretend looking at someone at the end of the hall and grinned into blank space.
"You..You read The Sense of An Ending?" The woman looked astonished..
"Of course I did..that author..err"
Payal went into damage control mode. As it was, it had taken considerable time for her to make Mrs Raizada remember that it was not The sense of a beginning which she invariably said each time, but they hadn't quite got to roting author names as yet.
"Aah yes, Julian Verne"
The woman nodded and smiled, "Great to know you liked it Mrs Raizada, meet you soon"
Exchanging pleasantries they turned, and Manorma grinned, tugging at Payal's arm "Come darling, why don't I introduce you to the rest?"
Payal smiled as she accompanied Manorma, who was now in a full on showing-off my son's fiance mood..
Oh well, maybe it wouldn't be as bad...she smiled..
"Okay, grip the edges and hang down, then when I tell you, leave your grip" Arnav instructed as he stepped closer and looked up..
Khushi bit her lip in her typical fashion.. "and suppose you don't catch me?"
"Khushi...shut up and just do it"
"Okay" Khushi nodded her head as she gripped the edges tightly, and dusting off her jeans and kurta, held the edges tightly..
"Ahem..Are you sure this is a good idea?"
"Okay fine, but if I fall, we break up Mr Arnav Singh Raizada"
Arnav arched his brow high, "Oh really?"
"For sure" she spoke with immense conviction as she jumped down, hanging by the edges..
"Woah, that was a close call" Khushi laughed nervously, but no response followed..
"Okay, this is the part where you catch me"
Arnav sighed.. "Sure..I just got a call, I'll be back in a moment"
"NO you DON'T" Khushi shouted..
"If I fracture even the pinky of my foot, I'll shake the foundations of the entire Raizada mansion! Remember that!"
She turned her face to look down to see if he had actually left, just at the moment her hand gave away.She shut her eyes immediately.
Which bone would crack, tibia, fibula, metatarsals?
Shit, shit, shit.
Okay, agreed that was a high shelf, but falling couldn't possibly take this long.
And no way was this cement.
Cement pile, maybe.
A chuckle fanned the hair near her ear, just confirming the fact, a strong arm around her waist keeping her steady.
Khushi sighed in relief.. "What a wonderful sense of humor, I just died laughing"
"What did you think? I'd let you fall?"
"Oh I can think worse of you" she said, moving to remove his arm to free herself..
Instead the grip only tightened and Arnav leaned on the wall behind resulting in Khushi getting pulled as well, her back hitting his chest.
"Ahem..Arnav" Khushi made a second attempt, trying to convince her arteries that this wasn't some shooting competition and trying to be as rational as her brain on log-off mode would allow her to "That you didn't realize my absence for a pretty three hours does not guarantee nobody did, I guess Ishould-"
"Talking of marriage vows" He continued, as if she hadn't interrupted in the first place... "You should pretty well remember some of yours too" One hand moved up as he tucked a hair strand behind a ear, then placed it back upon the other arm around her waist, trapping her effectively.
Khushi took a deep breath taking a large quanity of oxygen inside..
High oxygen intake made the brain work better.
Or at the least, work.
"I don't remember, maybe it was just you taking the vows and I followed you around" she managed, putting it out in the midst of a shaky laughter..
"What a pity" he nodded, pondering over her statement ,before, in a swift movement coming around in a circle, thereby changing positions.
As two palms went on either side of her face, Khushi's brain conveniently stopped with-: Warning! Battery low signal, to totally dead mode. Involuntarily her arms went over his shoulders as Arnav smiled before bending down and pressing his lips upon hers gently, then as usual, the force and the intensity of it excalated till Khushi, in her trademark, uncerimonious way of ending kisses to catch up on her breath, stomped on his foot.
Breathing heavily to make up for the lack of oxygen, Khushi gasped "I want the sanskrit translation of this vow if you don't mind.I don't quite think the priest said anything of this sort"
Arnav grinned a devilish grin as he shrugged his shoulders, "damn, I guess he missed this one" before bending his head lower and stifling her protest yet again.
"Guys are you in there or-OH..Oh..I am..so sorry" Anjali who had stormed into the basement , swiftly turned around and placed a palm on her mouth, grinning..
A loud thud came behind her followed by a loud 'SHIT!" as the two flew apart, dislodging goods around..
"Ahem.., I was jus' coming to tell you Khushi's here" Arnav cleared his throat smoothing his hair while Khushi resembled a complete, ripe tomato.
"Oh yes chotte, I can see, that you..err..found Khushi, quite an emotional reunion"
Arnav narrowed his eyes at his sister while Khushi took to an immediate cleaning of the basement.
"Oh well, what WERE you doing since so long in here? I mean, before Arnav came, after that I can figure out" she smiled, coughing a little..
"I will just-urm-I will just have a word with bhai-" Khushi mumbled, flying out of the room..
"Hey! Wait! Bhabi!" Anjali shook her head, turning to her brother and raised a brow..
"She got stuck on the shelf di"
"Oh gosh! Really? How did she come dow-Oh..I get it.." Anjali bit her lower lip looking straight at her brother..
Arnav looked back at her, then smirked and winked, walking out of the basement..
Anjali widened her eyes at the gesture, before laughing and following him out.
"Di" Arnav tossed the food around on his plate as he called out to his sister, the entire family seated for dinner, but kept his gaze fixed on his wife..
"When's the priest coming home next?"
"urm..I dunno maybe someti-wait a sec, why are youso interested in priests?"
"Nothing, Khushi wanted me to get something translated in sanskrit for her"
A spoon clattered on the glass plate as Khushi choked on her food, then raised a hand that she was okay and glared at Arnav with one 'no you don't' look..
"sanskrit?" nani laughed "tell me bitiya, maybe I could help"
"Oh yes, maybe you can" Arnav fought with the smirk on his face to pull off a perfectly serious expression.. "just calls for experience"
"NOTHING!" Khushi snapped back, her face putting a beetroot to shame "I mean it's nothing, I was just-"
"she thinks we missed a marriage vow-"
"NO!" Khushi shouted and kicked his leg under the table..
Aakash, winced and whispered a "wrong shot bhabi" into her ears..
"What?" Anjali muttered confused..
"No? But you said in the basement that-" Arnav continued..
"That I was hungry" Khushi got up from the table "I'll just see the dessert"
Arnav smiled as Khushi turned around and stormed into the kitchen..
A few moments later his phone flashed-
1 new message; Khushi
That's it. We break up.
Arnav chuckled as he put the cell aside. The make up was always much better..
Topic started by saucechips
Last replied by pakpearl