On mother's day, comes an OS to all those who fill in the shoes of a mother without being one..
Here comes the next OS in the series…
This theme was one that was much, much requested in the early days of me writing my vignettes. I’m just sad that my lovely friends from before are not around to read it now… It comes a little up in the order of Vignettes, before HRN, actually.
Sarada, Arun, Hriju, Siaa, Indu, Swati… hope you guys get to read this eventually!
Super glad that Aruni and Vi are around!!!
To those who missed the earlier ones, this is a series of one-shots, basically moments in their life that I wanted to see. Well, in my head, these moments did happen!
Please do me a favour and read the OSs in the order that they are written. That way you'll get a feel of how their relationship has progressed. Here is the link to my Index.
Hope you enjoy...and please do leave your comments....
18. Nayi Reet
“No, Aman, I’ll not be back in time for the review. Tumhe manage karna padega. If there is anything extremely critical, you can call me”, Arnav turned around to lift a finger , “Only if it is critical, mind you.”
Turning back to gather up his papers, Arnav asked, “Is my car ready? Aur Khushi aa gayi?”
“Car ready hai, Sir, Khushi Bhabhi aayi ki nahi, mai abhi dekhke batata hu,” his man-friday replied before rushing out.
Shaking his head at how eager everyone working for him became the minute Khushi’s name was taken, Arnav closed his briefcase and sat back down, deciding to call said elusive wife himself.
It was a Friday afternoon, and Arnav had decided to take a rare afternoon off to take Khushi to their farmhouse. It had been months since they visited last, and unknown to her, Arnav had planned for an entire weekend away, not just an afternoon.
The lush greenery and the peaceful settings always a balm to his soul, his farmhouse was all the more dearer as it also housed his mother’s garden. The 20 acre farm, one of the largest in NCR, was his safe haven, and much as he loved his family, the rare getaways he took with Khushi to their farmhouse were some of his most relaxing times. In short, this was a weekend that had Arnav smiling happily.
It was with that same smile that he said a soft hello as his wife picked up his call.
“Hello?! Arnavji ek minute hold keejiye, hey Devi Maiyya!”
Non-plussed at her harried voice, Arnav asked, “Kya hua, Khushi? Kahan ho tum? Car me nahi ho?”
“Nahi, Arnavji, iss halat me hum car me thodi aa sakti thi!”
“What the! Maine kaha tha na, tumhe yahan dedh baje tak pohonchna hoga, maine tumhare intezaar me saare meetings cancel karvaye!”
“Hume maaf keejiye Arnavji, suniye toh sahi, hum aa kyu nahi paaye!”
“What? Kyu nahi aayi tum?”
“Laad Governor! Hum aapke Mami ke sewa me vyast hai!”
Of all the excuses he expected, this was nowhere on the list. Gobsmacked, he asked, “Mami? Kya hua Mami ko? Aur tum kya kar rahi hai? Payal aur baaki sab kahan hai?”
“Mamiji ko food poisoning ho gayi hai, Arnavji, pata nahi kaise. Ghar se hi khana khaayi thi woh. Jiji aur Di kaam pe gayi hai aur Naniji aur hum hi hai ghar par, inko sambhaalne.”
Worried now, Arnav said, “Doctor Khurana ko nahi bulaye?”
“Haan, woh dekhke dawayi deke gaye. Bol rahe the ki theek ho jaayegi, lekin ulti rukne me waqt lagegi. Hum aisi halat me phone tak nahi kar paaye, Arnavji, hume maaf keejiye.”
Smiling softly, inspite of his disappointment, he replied, “Tum kyu sorry bol rahe ho? Iss me tumhari kya galti hai? I’ll come home anyways, aaj ka meeting maine cancel karvaya waise bhi, to go to our farmhouse.”
Her voice lowering in disappointment, Khushi replied, “Hume bhi bohot dukh hai, Arnavji, ki hum farmhouse ni jaa paaye. Kya aap kal bohot vyast hai, hum kal nahi jaa sakte?
Deciding to keep the extended weekend plans a surprise, he muttered non-committantly, “Dekhta hoon.”
After making sure that Mami was resting comfortably, Arnav got up, “Chalo, I’ll see you soon, aa raha hoon ghar.”
“Arnavji, ek minute. Hum bhool hi gaye. Hum naa, humare raste me Buaji ko dene ke liye kuch zamaan gaadi me rakhvaayi thi, ab gadi nikal chuki, aapke office ke liye. Aap wapis ghar aate waqt woh Buaji ke yahan deke aayenge, kya?”
Always happy to meet Buaji, he said promptly, “No problem, Khushi, mai bhi Buaji se milke bohot din ho gaye. I’ll drop it off and come home. Tum khana khaa liya?”
“Nahi, hum itne vyast jo the… aur aap?”
“Haan, maine sandwiches khaa liye, toh tum mera wait mat karna. Eat something.”
“Ji.. ab rakhti hoon, jaldi aa jaayiye.”
Cutting the call, he went down to the waiting car, and got in, telling the driver to go home via Lakshmi nagar.
Leaning back, relaxed now that the week was ending and he had a good weekend to look forward to, he gazed at the passing city-sights. Thinking back on how his relationship with Buaji had evolved over the years, he smiled, Right from the days when Khushi was his employee to her steady presence during all the turbulence, coupled along with her jovial, loud, happy personality, who could easily stand toe-to-toe with ASR in his angriest avatar had made her one of his favourite people. He was looking forward to seeing her.
Lost in thought, he jolted up when the car stopped in front of Buaji’s house. Getting down quickly, he directed the driver to unload all the things Khushi had kept in the boot. Ringing the bell, he stood patiently, hearing the “Hum aayi rahe hai Nadkisore” from inside.
Grinning at the monologue he could hear as Madhumatiji approached door, he was, however, unprepared for the sheer delight that dawned on her face seeing him.
“Arnav Babua?! Arre waah, Nandkisore, tumri kirpa hai ki hume apne damadji se milne ka mauka diya aaj.”
Touching her feet, he straightened up, smiling fondly as she grabbed his face in both hands in affection.
“Aao Babua, andar aao.”
Leading him to the couch, as if he had never lived there, she pointed, “Iyaan baith jaao, hum chai laavat hai.”
Grabbing her hand before she could bustle off, he said, “Arre aap koi taqleef mat uthaayiye aur yahan baith jaayiye. Waise bhi do bajnewali hai, mujhe chai nahi chahiye, Buaji.”
As she sat down reluctantly, all her instincts fighting to serve him something to eat or drink, he asked, laughing, “Aate hi itni khaatirdaari karenge aap ki pucha hi nahi ki mai kyu aaya?”
“Wajah kuch bhi ho, Nandkisore, iss akeli budhiya ke paas apan Babua aaya, yeh hi kaafi hai, Nandkisore!”
While delivered in happy tones, Arnav, who was a master at reading people, could easily catch the hints of loneliness in her voice and eyes. Knowing full well from Khushi about how much Buaji was missing her brother and sister-in-law, now that they had shifted back home to Lucknow, though one, or the other or both visited for a week every month, he realised that after years of having her family stay with her, she was back to living all alone.
Madhumati, who had lost her husband long back and had no children of her own, had lived a full life in Delhi, involved in a myriad social and community roles. However, ever since Khushi and Payal first, then their parents had come to live with her all those years ago, she had always had her family with her. Now that everyone was busy in their own lives, she was back to her solitary life, and apparently finding it more difficult to get used to it.
Taking note of all this in a few seconds, Arnav made a decision. But he nonchalantly replied, “Mujhe toh Khushi ne bheja hai Buaji. Actually hum dono farmhouse jaanewale the, dopahar me, aur jaate raste me aapko ye sab denewali thi. Lekin achanak Mami ki tabeeyat kharab ho gayi aur Payal ghar par nahi hai toh Khushi ruk gayi. So I’m the courier person today. Office se ghar jaa raha tha, aur socha aapko ye sab deke jaau.”
Looking on in surprise at the number of packages the driver was bringing in, she asked, “Kaa hai, ye sab, Babua?”
“Actually, I can only guess, par muhe lagta hai ki yeh sab woh hi cheezen hai jo hum aapke liye khareede the, humare last month ki Thailand trip par.”
Putting her hand on her head, Buaji exclaimed, “Yeh Sankadevi bhi naah, Nandkisore! Bhool hi jaati hai apan aap ko… kaa jaroorat thi itna kharcha karne ki?”
His face stern now, Arnav admonished, “Buaji, maine aapko bohot baar keh chuka hoon ki aap paison ke baare me hisaab nahi rakhegi. Khushi is a businesswoman in her own right, so am I. Hum apne parivaar ko jo chaahe de sakte hai.”
Folding her arms, Buaji laughed, “Theek hai. ASRji, jaise aap theek samjhe.”
Laughing outright at her mocking, Arnav thought fondly, ‘Apart from Khushi, this is the only woman who can mock my high-handedness!’
After chit-chating a bit, and her concern for Manorama assuaged, she got up, “Chalo, humre Babua bhooke hai, hum khana laga dete hai. Waisan toh thoda waqt lagega, Babua, hum akeli thi toh zyada naahi banayi thi. Ab toh poori thali taiyyar karenge jhat mein!”
Arnav opened his mouth to tell her that he had already had his lunch, but seeing how happy she looked at having gotten an opportunity to feed him, he closed it, grinning at his memory of having had to eat his weight to impress her and Khushi long back.
Having eaten a heavy lunch and having spent close to two hours with her, Arnav got up finally, just as he received his wife’s call.
“Kahan hai aap? Wapis meeting me khus gaye kya?”
Smiling at her petulant tone, he replied, “No, Khushi, I’m at Buaji’s place. Samaan chodne aaya tha. Aa raha hoon ghar. Lo, Buaji se baat karo.”
Wonderstruck at how long he must have spent there, Khushi asked Buaji, “Kya gappe maar rahe the aap apne Damad ke sath? Woh bhi humare bina?”
Smirking and winking at Arnav, Madhumati replied, “Woh kaa hai na, humri ek bhateeji hai, Nandkisore, bahut badi kaarobaar ki maalkin hai aur humre paas aane ki phursat hi naahi hai usko. Toh ussne apan pati ko bheja, iyaan, jo maamuli si insaan hai, toh unki khaatirdaaari kar rahi thi.”
“Haun!! Buaji, aap bhi na! Woh jo saamaan Laad Governor leke aaye naa, woh hum liye the aapke liye, woh nahi!”
“Toh kaa hua, humra bitwa humre saath baithke khoob gappe maare aur peth bhar khaana bhi khaaye. Tumri saamaan se keemti cheez hai woh, samjhiyo, Sankadevi!”
Realising that inspite of having eaten lunch, her Arnavji had eaten again to make her aunt happy, Khushi smiled, misty eyed, as she continued talking to Madhumati, until Arnav decided to put and end to the session that was apparently going to extend long, and took his leave.
Reaching home, he looked in on his Mami, who was looking much better and walked up to their room, calling for Khushi to come up when she could.
Getting Manorama settled comfortably, with Naniji sitting next to her, Khushi walked up wearily, exhausted from the day’s worry and work. Walking in and spotting her husband bathed and changed, and lying on the deck chair, she walked up to him and stood near, looking down at him.
Smiling with his eyes closed, sensing her standing nearby, he held up both hands, extending his silent invitation. Dropping down on his lap and cuddling close, Khushi sighed, relaxing finally.
Eyes still closed, Arnav gathered her close and tucking her head under his chin, breathed deep, his evening ritual of unwinding starting hours early today, thanks to him having reached home before 5pm.
“Mami kaisi hai ab?”
“Behtar mehsoos kar rahi hai. Hume bas iss se hairani ho rahi hai ki Mami ne bhi woh hi khaya jo hum sab ne khaya, fir bhi unko food poisoning kaise ho gayi, Arnavji?”
Slowly running his hands over her back, he mused, “Shayad koi allergic reaction jaisa hua hoga, pata nahi.”
“Acha hua ki Mamiji akele nahi thi ghar par, aur hum unke dekhbhaal kar payi. Hain na?” Khushi asked, looking up at Arnav and adjusting so that she lay against him, facing up to his face.
Sliding up a little and finally opening his eyes, he replied, “Hmm… tumhare iss baat se ek aur baat yaad aayi.”
Looking down at her curious face, he continued, “Buaji bhi akeli hai na? Jab Amma aur Babuji yahan nahi hai toh? Tumhe pata hai woh kitne khush ho gaye the mujhe dekhkar? “
Looking up at him silently, wondering where this was going, Khushi waited for her husband to continue.
“Kuch aisa-waisa khane ki plan kar rahi thi aur mujhe dekhke full on preparations shuru kiya. I didn’t want to disappoint her, toh maine bhi nahi kaha ki mai already kha chuka hoon.” Looking down at her and grinning, he said, “Waise bhi, Buaji ke haath se das logon ki equivalent khana ek hi baari mein khane ka technique seekha hai maine”, referring to his mega-eating session in his attempt to woo back his upset wife.
Giggling at those memories, Khushi cuddled closer, “Aap jitna bhi chupaane ki koshish kare, Arnavji, hum jaante hai aapka dil kitna naram hai.”
“What mat boliye! Aur nahi toh? Aur koi karte Buaji ke liye itna, woh bhi jab aap din bhar itna vyast jo rehte ho!”
Laughing softly, Arnav tweaked his grumpy wife’s nose, “Khushi, are we seriously fighting over whether I have a good heart or not?”
Seeing the humour, Khushi started laughing too, “Aapko kya lagta hai, jab hum dono buddhe honge aur apne par-poton ke sar baithe honge, tab bhi har cheez ko lekar ladne ka ye reet barkaraar rakhenge?”
“Of course! That’s what adds spice to our lives!” He quipped, pulling her close, “Aur ye reet mai achche se nibha bhi leta hoon na?”, adding to his wife’s laughter.
A little while later, as they were getting up to go down and join the rest of the family, Arnav said casually, “Khushi…”
“Maine decide kar liya hai ki hum hafte me ek baar at least buaji ke sath lunch karenge. What do you think?”
Smiling softly at her Arnavji, Khushi walked up to him and wrapped him in a bear-hug.
“Kya hua?”, he asked, hugging her back.
Looking up at that beloved face, Khushi murmured, “Aap har kisi ke baare me kitna kuch sochte hai, Arnavji. Buaji bohot bohot khush ho jaayegi. Aur haan, purane reet nibhaane me hi nahi, naye reet banane me bhi mere Arnavji ka jawab nahi…”
Hope you guys liked this! And browny points to those who catch the dialogues I snuck in from other episodes…Edited by AparnaRenu - 5 months ago
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