Arnav received a text "Your vehicle is ready -fully fuelled and in the parking bay "
It was 6:30 time to go home -he would find Aman and return his keys and pick up his car.
Arnav entered to find music belting through the airwaves and a man in overalls strumming along on an air guitar to dancing in the dark by Bruce Springstein.
Obviously the mechanic who delivered the car -what the hell did he think he was doing behaving in this manner in his offices. Arnav not used to raising his voice at his employees -usually his cold glare was enough to reduce them to a quivering mass- that was if he could be heard. Here he was being drowned out by Bruce Springstein.
"Enough !" he screamed as Aman came through the door. Aman was witness to Arnav's screaming -which could be heard halfway down the corridors putting the fear of god into those employee's finishing off their days work and sending a prayer of thanks that it was not them at the receiving end of ASR wrath.
"Just exactly what are you doing ?"
Khushi looked like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Startled and scared -her expressive eyes showed fear and then looked for reassurance from Aman.
"Arnav what's the problem ?" Walking over to Khushi and standing next to her.
"What's the problem ? I come to return your keys and find ...find ..."
It was a rare event that ASR was lost for words -find what ? A young boy enjoying himself in Aman's office after working hours.
"We have a lot of confidential information in our offices -not privy for the likes of every Tom Dick or Harry -that's what wrong!. Who the hell said he could be in here alone -unaccompanied -and then blasting music out as though he were the radio station."
Khushi didn't want an argument flaring between her brother and his employer. She tugged on Aman's sleeve.
Aman spoke to her with a hand gesture what ? But the look that entered his eyes was different from protector to love when he looked at her. Arnav saw the look change in Aman's eyes leaving him more confused state than he was a moment age
Khushi ran to his desk picked up a set of keys and ran over to ASR. She gave him the set of keys and opened the door showing him the exit.
What the ... Is he showing me the way out ...in my own building ?"
Aman laughed - "yes she is !"
" Khushi - i have to have a word with ASR why don't you go make me a drink and a black coffee for ASR and no sugar and ..." He had just been face palmed. " What do you mean no snack ? I am not carrying extra few pounds" looking down at his waist. "Khushi I'm hungry, I haven't had any lunch!"
Khushi glared at ASR "Unbelievable -what did I do ?"
Khushi returned a while later carrying a plateful of samosa's and tea and coffee.
"Thanks monkey -you go home I'll meet you at home ...what do you mean you're going to wait for me ...oh I see you brought ASR's car -you have no car to get home- I'll be half an hour ...don't screw your face up -you don't look pretty like that "
Arnav noticed the smile that lit up her face and eyes -it was the girl from yesterday did she ever say anything -Aman seemed to be able to read this girl perfectly. Why was she dressed in those overalls ?
"ASR lets finish -Khushi I'll meet you in the car -go see what you can wreck!" Aman threw his keys to her.
"Aman you go home -I took up your time yesterday and now she's waiting for again. I'll see you tomorrow this can wait"
Arnav watched form above as he watched Aman and Khushi from his cabin -it suddenly struck him as he watched the two of them laugh and "talk". She couldn't speak, she spoke in sign to Aman and he was her voice. He was her voice. Suddenlly felt his heart constrict. Now he was confused and perplexed -why had she no voice -no that was wrong she had a voice -Aman ! Her eyes spoke volumes. She intrigued him. Why was she wearing those overall's
Yesterday he thought she was model and today she overalls bearing the logo of AKG motors.
They were responsible for servicing the fleet of cars that AR designs and AR enterprises ran.
Was she a delivery girl- a job that involved little or no speaking. He could make her a model she would earn more in one job than she probably did all month. Also she seemed to be close to Akash.
It was obvious from the way they communicated -they had a long standing relationship-the true nature would reveal itself in time. Akash had a very protective streak in him which surfaced every time she was around.
The following two weeks had Arnav in a tizz, he found it hard to focus on meetings and tasks that required his full attention -one particular meeting he found that he his brain had wandered of imagining the the girl with laughing eyes and dazzling eyes calling him and Aman Idiots. It was actually Aman who came to his rescue.
"ASR what happened in that meeting -you seem distracted"
"mmm nothing -I've just got a lot on my mind"
"What more than the normal fifty ball that you juggle"
"Yes -more than that- it's more of a puzzle ,I'll work it out"
"Aman I have to drop of some papers to you,but i m running late "
"I'll pick up from you later,ASR from Shantivan"
Arnav sat there puzzling lots of things one of them Aman never, repeat never invited him to house infact in all the years that Aman had worked for him -he had never had an invite to his house. Other employees invited him -the fact that he didn't attend any employee's had nothing to do with the fact that in the last nine years had never invited him to his house. Despite him being his right hand man, trusted work colleague, friend he had never been invited to his house. All he knew about Aman was he had no parents and seemed to be recently hanging out with a girl who wore overalls from AKG motors.
Aman looked at his watch -deliver the documents and get home -it was Rakshbandan today -he was dead -Khushi would have. He was going to have to do some serious grovelling to make up for being late. ASR really had some timing -it wasn't often that Aman booked time off work -this was one of those days and now he was going to be late - but those documents had to have ASR 's signature ready for the courrier to be picked up in the morning.
Khushi -well - he would take his punishment , she would forgive him -she always did. He would buy her some galaxies and chaat on the way home.Her stomach was always the route to his forgiveness.
Aman knocked to find HP opening it -
"Aman Bhaiya -Arnav Bhaiya is having dinner at the table with Nani Ji"
"HP call him out -I have a two minute job"
"Bhaiya you know Nani will not allow Bhaiya to get up until dinner is finished -you come in"
"I am running late -I just need a signature "
"Bhaiya -you know Nani wouldn't let you go without eating"
Oh boy -ASR -you owe me, big time Khushi is going to make mincemeat of me -and you , as it is she really hates you.
"Namaste , Nani Ji, I am sorry to disturb you bit I need ASR's signature -30 second job"
ASR got up to get sign the papers.
"Nani Ji it will.."
"Arnav I said sit-it's dinner time" turning to Aman "join us Beta, HP "
Aman sat trying to stifle his laughter and not look at ASR who was presently glaring at Aman.
Aman looked up ASR and then said "It doesn't work anymore -Nani Ji's is more scarier -two grown men, whizz kids of the business world who strike fear in majority of people they know ,are no more than two purring kittens in front of a beautiful 65 year old lady. If only the world knew"
"Aman -may I remind you who you work for "
"Chote! Stop your bullying ASR tactic's - mera bechare Aman - you tell me if he gives you a hard time -I'll twist his ear"
"Ji Nani ji" -looking at ASR .
"Unbelievable ! It's a good job I never let you come to AR designs -Nani -you will destroy my reputation in minutes"
"Aman -why are you taking so little ?"
"Nani ji, I have to go I'm already late and who jo hai...woi ..."
Arnav now started to smile squirm -you were laughing at me a minute ago -now Nani has caught you -it's your turn. Arnav started to enjoy watching Aman squirm his way out of this little trap that he had got himself into.
"Ji Nanai ji -woi ...she ...my phone!"
Aman saw his text and then the next and then the next
You're late .
YOU ARE LATE
YOU ARE VERY LATE !
Arnav saw the change in Aman -he was literally wolfing down his food swallowing it whole .
"Aman beta -slow down the food is not running away"
"No Nani Ji , but time is, I need to get home soon or Arnav will have to find some one else to shout at tomorrow"
"I've finished let me sign those papers"
Arnav saw the next text
Do you even love me ?
Care for me ?
I've been waiting for you for the last two hours - my forgiveness is rapidly vanishing as my hunger seems to increasing exponentially.
"Aman -you had better go -you are being summoned !"
Arnav knew he didn't like that. He didn't like Aman being called by Khushi -he had finally figured out that part - he like Khushi -a lot! The question was what was her relationship with Aman.
He had see a few of Aman's aquantainces but they never lasted very long but this girl was different -he couldn't put his finger on it.She wasn't his regular run of the mill types of girl. He had taken time to learn sign , for her , she was special to him . He had already figured that out ;but the rest he wasn't quite there.
"Where is she waiting for you ?"
Aman didn't like this line of questioning. Why was Arnav asking about Khushi he looked up at Arnav's face and saw the look. He knew that look well -he was on the prowl, something about Khushi had caught his eye. He knew Arnav 's reputation with women well- he had protected Khushi from him and many like him. Those who thought his ray of sunshine was an easy target. He put them right soon men and aunties all alike. Those who thought she would be an easy catch , those who thought that no one would tie themselves to a mute girl-she wasn't worth much. Khushi was used to being treated like dirt by a lot of people until Aman had shown her her worth. It was there loss that they didn't spend time with her she had a wealth of knowledge and love to share.
Where he had been living for the last nine years people knew Khushi -here she was treated as an equal-they knew her there were no prejudice against her. Here where she lived she was treated as an equal. She had fought her battles and won. She had made people acknowledge her and won their respect. She had shown how to overcome adversity with love and laughter. They had built a safe world for her in which to exist in Laxmi Nagar. He could have moved out of here and into a far more affluent area -but Khushi would have to start her battles again -No they were happy where they were. Thanks to Arnav he was rich. Richer than he could have ever believed possible.
But that look in his face meant that he and Khushi were in trouble.
"She is waiting -I had better go! nani Ji ijazzat ho thoi"
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