Khushi and Lovely had
a good laugh about something they discussed as they descended down the stairs. Everyone
had gathered for afternoon tea around the table.. they looked at them… Nani ji happily smiled watching lovely and
Khushi spend time together.
As Lovely took a
seat next to Nani ji, she said, “Nani, I love your Khushi!” and winked.
Nani ji said
proudly, “Our Khushi bitiya is just like that… she wins everyone’s heart!”
looked up at Khushi with a disgusting smile but his eyes were admiring her.
Khushi gave him an angry look and looked away. Anjali was sitting next to him.
She said to Shyam, ”Here you go! Your chai…!”
Shyam was so occupied
with his anger that he did not notice that Anjali was talking to him. Anjali
noticed his angry face, surprised she asked, “What happened? Did I say
Nani ji, Khushi,
Karan, Mami ji everyone looked at Shyam…Shyam immediately straightened his face
and said with a smile, “Arey, Rani Sahiba! You…. You are just too much! You
worry so much about me! I was just busy thinking about a complicated case on
Karan’s sharp eyes
were not missing anything. He winked at Anjali and said, “Wow! How can anyone
think about work when such a beautiful dame is sitting by the side! ….I wouldn’t!”
His eyes were full of mischief.
Anjali curled her
lips as smile spread across her face… Affectionately she said in a scolding
voice with fake anger, “Karan… “
With a steady gaze
Lovely was watching Karan carefully… so did Khushi. Nani ji smiled, ”Karan bitwa, you are such a
should I do, Nani ji, humari toh tabiyat
hi kuchh rangeen hai…I have a heart that loves to love!” Karan said in a filmi
style… everyone including Payal burst out laughing..
Payal said, “You
know, our Khushi is also filmi, just like you!”
added, “Yes, Khushi bitiya is so fond of movies….. she dances so well too…”
Anjali chirped in
enthusiastically, “Lovely, you must see Khushi ji dance at least once!”
bashful with all the praise….felt embarrassed, “Di, no… I don’t dance anymore….
I used to earlier.. . but then.. things were different….”
“Arey, no, Khushi
ji! What are you saying?..... Mami, remember that night…Bali in Delhi?” As soon as Anjali
said this and winked at Mami, Mami covered her mouth and suppressed her
Khushi lowered her
gaze as images of her passionate dance with Arnav flashed back in her
mind… a shiver ran down her spine…
filling her heart with longing..
“Bali in Delhi? What’s that? What
do you mean?” Lovely asked.
“Hello Hi Bye Bye!
Ms Lovely, Arnav bitwa was very busy..
no time for honeymoon, so, Sasuma and Anjali bitiya, created hotel in here… in
the Raizada Mansion…… for that reason..we brought Bali
here in Delhi..”
Mami answered enthusiastically..
Anjali said with a
bright smile on her face and affectionate eyes, “That night… I tell you….
Chhotey and Khushi ji… they danced their heart out! Ahhhh…..!”
“What ..ASR and
dance! I can’t believe it!” Lovely said.
“Ahh.. you will be
surprised, Lovely! They both dance together so well.. so well.. you got to see
it!” Anjali could not stop raving about Arnav and Khushi’s dancing skills.
Payal said, “And
the Sangeet… before my wedding.. remember that, Di? “
Nani said nostalgically,
“Yes! That was the first time we all saw Chhhotey dance on the stage!”
Karan jumped in
immediately, “Ok, then it’s done!”
the table was taken aback with surprise… They all looked at Karan curiously…
Karan slowly rose
to feet with style, everyone else followed him… and they all came to the lounging
area… got settled… suspense was killing them.. curiosity was mounting….
Finally Karan announced, “OK then! It’s decided! Let’s
make a plan for tonight! No one will sleep tonight!…hum log achhi si mehfil jamayenge…we will have a fantastic family
get together tonight…. antakshari… some dance..and great food…what say? “
Nani ji’s face
filled with smile… she nodded happily in agreement.. Anjali though hesitated, “But
tomorrow.. we have the pooja…”
Mami said excitedly,
“Anjali bitiya, I will get everything ready this afternoon! .. and the pooja is
also in the afternoon at the temple tomorrow.
That should work out fine!... Say, yes..!”
As Aakash walked
in, he asked, “Who are you guys conspiring against? Tell me!”
Karan briefed him
about the plan for the fun night... Mama ji, who followed Aakash also heard
everything and excitedly Mama ji said, “O, wow! This is a great idea! We haven’t
had a fun family night in a very long time...”
Nani ji, Mami nodded
happily in agreement.
nothing.. he just stared at them. Khushi went quiet.. very unlike her…. That
did not go unnoticed by Anjali. She said to Khushi, “Khushi ji, why are you so quiet?
Did you not like the idea?”
Khushi said with
some hesitation, “Di, who… it’s… that… I was…. thinking…”
“Say it, Khushiji!
What happened? What’s wrong? Is there a problem?” Anjali fired question after
question in a concerned voice.
Di!... I was… thinking about him…. he does not like noise…. You know...” Khushi
hesitated… did not complete her sentence…looked at Anjali with suggestive eyes…
remembered… the images of Arnav telling her how he did not like noise come
alive in her mind…Anjali understood… Mami and Nani too..
said in a mellow tone, “Phati Saree, you are right! Arnav bituwa toh ek dum se angry young man hui jayee yeh sunane par..
Arnav bitwa will be an angry young man if he finds out!”
asked puzzled, “Why?”
said, “You know, our Chhotey does not like noise…”
said, “But….Anjali bitiya, you know what to do… you do have a solution…
remember?” Anjali looked at Nani ji with questioning eyes.
is that, Nani?” Aakash asked with curious eyes.
winked at Anjali… Mami looked at them suspiciously.. Anjali smiled as if she
understood what Nani said, “Oh, yes! Nani, you are so smart!”
turned to Khushi and said, “There is only one person who knows how to make
Chhotey agree to this… and that is you, Khushi ji! Remember…when you got
Chhotey to agree for Sangeet on Aakash’s wedding?”
that…. Di, I….. I.. me…..” Khushi stuttered… she did not know how to say it..
Shyam’s anger started mounting as Anjali kept reminding everyone about the
special relationship Khushi shared with Arnav…..
said to Khushi, “Bitiya, please, do it for the sake of our guests! For Lovely
chirped, “Hello Hi Bye Bye..Arnav bituwa…. Phati Saree…. you must get him to agree…
otherwise…. No Fun…. foolishhtop!”
and Khushi were in the kitchen…Lovely was teaching Khushi how to make gourmet
pasta. She showed her how much water she
needed… how it needs to come to a boil before dropping the pasta in… then she
showed her all the veggies they cut before boiling the pasta… next step she
showed her how to get all those ingredients cooking together in olive oil…
she showed her how to garnish..
the dinner plate was ready…. Lovely
threw away her chef’s hat and said, “Voila!” ..”Here… Khushi, pasta is ready
for your Arnav ji!”
got worried, “What if he does not like it, Lovely ji?”
Khushi! Don’t worry….” Lovely said in a confident voice, “I know… ASR just
loves this pasta… this used to be his favorite!.... Now go and surprise
ASR!.... go...what are you waiting for?”
Khushi brought pasta to the table, Mami started sniffing…, “Wow… something
smells so nice!” “What is this?” Mami asked looking at the plate Khushi put in
front of Arnav.
came in with a huge serving bowl in her hands full of pasta. She declared “ASR,
Khushi has cooked the gourmet pasta dish for you!”
Arnav looked at Khushi, Khushi gave him a sheepish look and said nervously, “I
don’t know how it has come out...”
then looked at Anjali, “Di, it’s my first time.. trying a foreign dish…”
Nani ji said affectionately, “Khushi bitiya, don’t
underestimate your own efforts… You tried to cook something that Chhotey likes
so much... that’s good enough!” Then Nani ji looked at Arnav and said, “The
emotions that go into making something special for someone are important than
how the dish turns out.. right, Chhotey?”
blurted, “What the..” As Khushi heard it, she felt bad. She tried to pull the
plate away… Arnav looked at her puzzled. He held on to the plate and said, “Chhhodo… kya kar rahi ho.. Let it be..
what are you doing?”
I thought… you did not want to taste it...”
gave her a puzzled look.. a question in his eyes….
said hesitatingly “You said…. ‘What the..’”
shook his head and rolled his eyes as he pulled the plate back in front of him,
“Unbelievable!... That was not for you…”
Arnav reached for
his fork.. all eyes were on him… as he started chewing everyone kept looking at
him for any reaction…. as soon as he swallowed, Lovely asked, “So?” Arnav
looked at her… made no gestures… instead he took another bite… and started
eating with his gaze towards the plate.
Lovely kept looking
at him… waiting for his verdict…. Khushi got nervous… her eyes welled up… a
tear was about to roll down her eye when Arnav looked up at Lovely and said,
Anjali could not
hold back, “Only alright?... How can you just say only alright, Chhotey?”
“Just alright, ASR?”
settled on Khushi who was on the verge of crying..
Shyam was irked by
all this attention on Arnav and Khushi… he kept looking at them angrily…
Unaware of Karan’s constant gaze glued on his face…
eyes did not leave Khushi’s face as he said slowly to Khushi, “It’s good!”
Khushi’s face immediately reflected relief, a smile spread on her face, but a
tear trickled down anyway… As she wiped
her eyes discreetly…Anjali looked at her affectionately…
Everyone was in the lounging area… as Khushi started walking towards the stairs with a
tray in her hands Anjali said, “Khushi ji, all the best! I am sure that you
will get Chhotey to agree…!”
gave a thumps up, “All the best, Khushi! Come back soon with a good news!”
Khushi smiled but her heart started beating faster with nervousness…
turned to Payal and Anjali, “Come on, guys! We should start making preparations
for the fun evening… Come on!”
got up enthusiastically… Mama ji was ahead of everyone in full force
Khushi entered the room Arnav was working on his laptop. Khushi slowly walked
over to him…. then she handed him the bowl and said in a soft voice, “Halwa…sugarfree….
For you! ” Arnav took a spoonful and gulped it down hurriedly as he started
working on his laptop again… He choked… started coughing… Khushi came running..
started rubbing on his back, "Arnav ji.. are you okay?” She quickly reached for
the glass of water on the table and held it to Arnav’s mouth… Arnav took few
sips… as his cough slowed down and Khushi put the glass away, their eyes talked
to each other.. a memory from the night when Arnav had gotten sick after Khushi
did not have dinner for him came alive… that night Arnav had choked the same
way and Khushi had run to his rescue..
his throat settled…Arnav’s eyes noticed that Khushi was nervously crumpling her
saree with her right hand standing next to the bed… deep in her thoughts..
“Khushi..” Arnav called in a soft voice.
was lost in her thoughts, “Khushi..” Arnav called again… it broke her thoughts…
looked at him nervously… he asked in a soft voice, “Tum thik ho?... Are you alright?”
I am alright… Di.. was……Di…” Khushi did not know how to broach the topic….
happened to Di?” Arnav jumped to his feet as his face filled with worry...”Dammit…
say something! What happened to Di? What’s wrong?” He grabbed Khushi by her
arms… his eyes were demanding an answer..
said nervously, “No,… nothing…. Di is fine… she asked…. Me… to.. ask you…”
the…! Since when does Di need you to have me ask about something?” his eyes
filled with disbelief...
nervously added, “Di wants to have a family get together tonight…. Some
antakshari… some food… something like that...” she deliberately skipped telling
him about the dance.. It was going to be the next big task for her…. to bring
their heart set on it...” Khushi added with pleading eyes.
idea was it?..don’t tell me that you did not plan this, Khushi Kumari Gupta
Singh Raizada! I know you and your ideas very well!” Arnav said as his eyes
gazed into hers searching for an answer….
it was not me! Honest to God!.... It was Karan ji…, Lovely ji and Di…they made
the plans. I came to ask for your permission for all their sake…...” Khushi’s
voice trailed off as she looked Arnav into the eye…. her eyes innocent… pure… reflected
the truth she spoke… Arnav’s heart started melting… His hold on her arms got
tighter… stronger… he pulled her closer…his gaze steady on her face… he looked
her deep into the eye and whispered... “Fine!....but… Khushshii… it’s just
because YOU asked…” They kept gazing in to each others eyes…Rabba Ve