“Papa..aaj kaunchi stoly chunaaoge..?..”
asked 3 year old,hopping-on-the-bed,Aara in her cutish child lingo..staring her daddy curiously with her big almond shaped eyes and a smile on her lips.
Arnav looked at his cute angel and instantly the tiredness left off his body in an instant.
Ah..his daughter..His princess!
the reason of happiness in his life..his strength..his power..his everything.
Bending down, he kissed her chubby cheeks and embraced his daughter in a hug. Aara too excitedly wrapped her tiny arms round her daddy’s neck and placed a kiss on his rough stubble-d cheek, therefore making a frowning face.
He chuckled at her cute antics and rubbed his cheek playfully on her tiny face and as a result aara laughed her heart out.
Ruffling her curly locks, he placed her back on the bed and replied,
“Hmm..story?..queen wali ? ..”
She thought for few seconds before shaking her head in denial.
“Okay..so,tortoise n rabbit one.. ?..”
He asked, alongside opening the closet n fetching out a lil night suit with pooh designed all over it.
“Koi aul na papa…”
She replied placing hands on her hips, making a cute angry face, jutting her tiny lower lip outwards,bunching her brows..imitating the famous ‘angry’ expressions she had just recently learned from her Dad.
He rolled his eyes at her now so famous tantrums that have made his life alive with joy,happiness n what not. He signaled her to raise her hands so he could change her into night dress, to which she readily agreed.
He tried remembering any other story alongside changing her dress..but came up with none..Ofcourse, ASR, THE business tycoon wasnt an expert in reciting bed time stories to a 3 yr old. Those 2 were the only professional stories present in his database. He was making a mental note on instructing aman to make a list of all the ‘famous’ stories when aara interrupted in between,
“papa..mumma wali stoly chunaao..jo mumma chunati thi..”
He came back from his thoughts when he heard the name ‘mumma‘.
khushi..he couldnt even tell how much he was missing his wife..the mother of his daughter.
Taking care of a 3 year old,that too single handedly was not easy. Not that there weren’t any other family members. They all were there,who love aara to the core,but still nobody could ever replace what a mother is to her child.
He was tired. Though it being sunday..it was his off, but still couldnt avoid an urgent n mentally tiring tele conference. He was angry cuz it was a day reserved for his daughter only. so, to compensate for the loss, he cooked for her, feed her and then the father daughter duo played together and playing with a kid is definitely a challenging task cuz then you have to always be prepared for their unexpected demands.
and Arnav Singh Raizada just sidelined his work and did every thing his daughter asked him to do. He became a horse and gave her a ride. He accepted her tea-invitation and even had the biscuits paired with the imaginary tea from those tiny tea cups. They then dressed her barbie, changed her into a flashy party dress with matching accessories as she was going to the party. Not to forget that hide-n-seek they played, where every time he said ”where is aara..papa is not able to find her..”, her cute giggles filled the air and his heart with contentment. Cuz its something every parent desires. Happiness for his child!
she added,looking at him with a puppy face and his heart melt looking at aara who was obviously missing her mother and it was a fact that there was nothing in this world he could deny her for.
He replied with some enthusiasm now with a radiant smile on his lips just for his daughter,putting aside all other thoughts and worries.
He sat on the bed after lightening the bedside lamps and adjusted the pillow at the back. Aara hopped on him excitedly, sitting on his lap,placing her tiny elbows on his broad chest, she looked at him with her twinkled eyes that were now radiating with joy.
He released a deep breath of contentment and looked at her lovingly. She so reminded him of khushi. her exact xerox that she was.
Closing his eyes to gather his thoughts,he opened them and lovingly placed a kiss on her forehead.
Caressing her curly hairs, he started this unique in its own way, the most memorable story..the story of his life..his life with khushi.
” beta…Your mumma…she met me by accident..galti se vo wahan aa gai thi jahan mera ek imp event chal rha tha.. ”
galti bhi aukaat dekhar karni chahiye thi.
Seedhe tarike se javaab dedo varna ulti tarah se savaal karna aata hai mujhe
Badtameezi toh abhi maine shuru nahi ki
aara asked curiously scrunching her nose.
He replied after thinking of a easy term to which she could relate to and let out a short laugh when she nodded her her head after asking excitedly,
“jaiche balbie gai thi…”
He smirked at the instant connection she made and ruffled her hairs thus continuing,
“fir..hum thoda lade..”
He replied with an apologetic smile when her mouth turned into a perfect lil ‘O’ and then continued,
“or uske baad aapki mumma mujhse alag alag jagah fir milti rahi…”
aapki mannat ki chaabi gir gai
Devi maiyya ki marzi ke bina koi kuch bhi nahi kar sakta,koi Arnav Singh Raizada bhi nahi.
tumhe bahut vishwas hai na apna bhagwaan pe,main bhi dekhta hoon, tumhara bhagwaan tumhe kaise bachata hai
“Fil kya hua..”
“hmm..fir…fir ek din aapki mumma ko kisi office me kaam mil gya..par unhe nahi pta tha ki vo mera office hai..”
He replied as if visualizing the scenario with dreamy eyes, caressing aara’s hair, who was listening to this story very patiently.
“aapka offich..fir aapne kya kiya..?…”
she asked with curiosity in her eyes.
“Fir…maine unhe thoda ‘aur’ pareshaan kiya..”
He chuckled making a sorry face and kissed her forehead again.
Tum mere cabin me kya kar rahi ho..
Aap ka cabin..ye toh ASR ka cabin hai
kya karu tumhare saath..tumhe bakwaaas krne ke liye bacha loon ya chod doon
aapke bachane se hume girna jyada pasand hai
Their’s wasnt just any ordinary love story. It was written with god’s own hands. He must have devoted loads of time in writing theirs. Adding these spices to make it a bitter sweet story. He chuckled remembering all those moments that he was visualizing in front of his eyes. He could live them again.
How she accepted his every challenge and stood with a backbone.. completing every task way before time..using her brain..surprising him.. making him furious in return.
Be it that measurement of those hulky wrestlers or that dictation task. She even stood by in the parking lot, fully drenched in that heavy rain. Still she completed all the works alloted to her…fulfilled her terms for maintaining that 15 days contract . He realized the amount of frustration he had felt on founding himslf at the verge of loosing.ASR loosing for the first time..that too infront of a mere small town girl.
kyu man bhar gaya..aur paise nahi kamane..
and then happened that Guest house incident..it still gave him shivers remembering that unfortunate incident where he was this close to loosing her.
mujhe nahi pata tha is jagah ki haalat itni kharaab hai..
aapki personal life, personal life..humari personal life kuch nahi…
aapke parivaar ko kuch nahi..humari jiji ka kya haal hua hoga…ro ro ke unka haal bura hua hoga..
“papa fil..?…”,interrupted aara in between his thoughts
“beta fir kuch aisa hua ki aapki mumma mujhse naraz hoke office chod ke chali gai…”
she made a haww-y expression when he continued quickly,..
“but next kaam jo unhone kiya..vo is ghar me tha…”
“hmaale ghal me? kya…?
aara asked now raising her eye brows with excitement now she was getting to know a lot more about her mother.
Now this innocent question was something he never wanted his daughter to know..he laughed internally remembering how they again met..the circumstances that lead towards it.
Training lavanya? really
He smirked shaking his head.
and that continued all those silly fights..they kept going like ever. Their hilarious moment..that unexpected nainital trip, eating at that dhabha. He smirked realizing how childishly she had started making hole in his tough exterior and he didnt even realized. How he had loosen his calm when those goons had throttled her, how she had a high temperature the following night.
and then after coming back..when he caught her in a moment of weakness. How broken she was in the hospital cuz of her babuji’s health..and that was for the first time when he felt something for her. He felt like protecting her..he felt like assuring her that everything will be fine. Though he himself was messed up to realized his feelings that time.
The following days..specially the Diwali preparations..that was the time when they both travelled steps towards each other..unknowingly ofcourse, despite their mutual decisions about
naa tumhari shakal dekhni hai ..na tumse baat karni hai
How he felt satisfied when she jumped in joy founding those silver coins in the packets which he had secretly put there..The way his heart started drumming when he found her entangled in those fairy lights at the poolside.
He released a breath on remembering what happened next.
a time that changed something for good n bad among them.
How beautiful she looked clasped in a red saree, enlightening diyas. He remembered he couldnt keep his eyes off her that day. That poolside scene was something he could never forget in his life.
He tied her anklet..how he kept advancing towards her..her beauty, her innocence, her charm vanished out every other thing from his sight. How he cornered her..how he was inches close to kissing her.
“fir..aapke papa ko realize hua ki aapki mumma sabse alag thi..”
aara asked giggling with her eyes radiating with glint.
He smiled a lovely and satisfied smile n tapped aara’s cute lil nose.
“fil aapne mumma ko btaya?…”
That innocent question transported him to the moment. How cruelly he murdered that beautiful newly found ‘something’ between them. How brutally he behaved with her..how he broke her..hiding from his own flings n realizing what he was about to do..he went on and announced his engagement with lavanya..crushing her feelings..ripping her hearts into pieces.
hum aapko badhaai dena bhool gaye..hum aapke aur lavanya ji ke liye bahut khush hain
so, you are happy?
Tumhari payal mere paas thi is baat ka koi galat matlab mat nikaal lena.ye mat sochna ki koi raees aadmi tumhari payal ko seene se lgaye rahega
koi matlab nahi?
Shayad tumhare liye hoga..tumhe toh laga hoga ki tumhaari zindagi ban gai..
“Nahi bataya beta..papa bahut bad hain na..”
He whispered in a guilty voice when she instantly cupped his face in his tiny hands and replied in her childish lingo, sensing his mood.
“My papa iddy besht…fil papa?…”
He flt warmth at her cute comforting gesture and found her staring at him with sleepy eyes.
It might not be the ‘best’ bed time story cuz of the way he was delievering it..still she was patiently listening to every word..just because it was her mother’s story.
“fir baki ka kal..it sleeping time baby..common..come here…”
She made a face by bunching her eyebrows to which he chuckled and pulled her towards him, tickling her tummy.
“sleep my little angel…”
“kal chunaaoge ?..plomich..?.”
He replied in the same tone and linked his pinky finger with hers as a way of giving his words.
he kissed her cheeks one more time,
“gud night my angel..”
covering them with the duvet, he switched off the lamp, pulled her little form towards him..carefully adjusting her small body in the cocoon of his arms..both the father daughter duo drifted off into a peaceful land.